Sunday, January 31, 2010

Seismic Design Competition

Natali briefly mentioned that I was going to be leaving her for a few days for an engineering competition. I thought I would give everyone a little update on how that's going. We leave Wednesday evening for San Francisco. We got a couple of sponsors to donate money so we could fly out and compete in a seismic design competition. Even our 5 foot tower got a handicapped spot on the plane. Here is the gist of the competition: There are a whole bunch of rules but in a nutshell, what we are trying to do is build the best tower out of balsa wood that has the best use of floor space and best design against earthquakes. Scoring is based on design, floor space (square inches), presentation and performance against earthquakes. So we will take the tower, and they will put weights on it and put it on top of a shake table and see how it does. Here are just a few pictures of the building process and I will be sure to post pics of the competition this week. Wish us luck!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Holidays (including Halloween ;)

I know everyone has been checking this site daily to see if the big update was up yet... and at long last I give you... Reed and Natali picture extravaganza! We have a few more that I might post that aren't here but I didn't want to wait any longer to post so here we go.
We will start with Halloween. Yes, October 31st 2009. We need to work on our blogging priorities, I know. Well we dressed up twice, once for a little get together with some friends where we were ourselves on vacation for our 30th wedding anniversary. Yes we both put on a few pounds.

Then for Halloween night Natali's sister Jaimee helped us out a little for our costumes. Since Natali and I are opposites, we thought that we would dress up as opposites. And we all know that opposites attract so we were really attractive that night ;) I was Hot/Cold and Natali was Good/Evil.

I didn't know evil could look this good!

Then after Halloween we went on our Honeymoon for Thanksgiving so you can see the previous blog for details about that.

Natali's favorite time of the year is Christmas. She started getting into the Christmas mood right after Halloween. She started playing Christmas music November 1st and she HAD to have a tree. So one day I surprised her with a tree. We actually put colored lights and bulbs on it later but here is our little tree after we set it up.

For date night we also made gingerbread houses. Being the Future Civil Engineer that I am am I planned it all out... and Natali and I went to work.

And here is the final product!

Haha, not really. That was actually a gingerbread house at the Festival of Trees that we went to. They had hundreds of donated trees, gingerbread houses, and everything else you could think of to sell as a fundraiser for the Primary Children's Hospital. It was amazing.

Here is our "Gingerbread house." It is technically a Graham Cracker house but we were porud of it and it is still standing to this day due to my structural analysis of the foundational grahams. Check out the river with the bridge!
Natali had to take pictures at the Holdman's house in Linden, Utah for the Newspaper. This house is amazing. Tons of lights all synchronized to songs. You tune in to the radio and just sit and watch this amazing light show. Check out this video as a sample. It was awesome.

Music Box Dancer 2008 - Holdman Christmas Display from Richard Holdman on Vimeo.

We traveled down to St George this year for Christmas. Natali and I just kinda bummed around for about 10 days. We would wake up late, sit around, watch a movie, eat some of Launa's great cooking, play some games, repeat. It was great. But after about ten days, they got sick of us and we came back to Provo. We did have a lovely Christmas with them and they made us very comfortable. I couldn't ask for better in-laws. For Christmas Eve we all had their traditional Christmas Eve dinner; chicken and dumb little things (dumplings as Natali called them and the name stuck). We then acted out the Christmas story and I got to play a king, a chicken, and a shepherd. Then we went to bed.

My whole life growing up I was probably the first one to wake up to go downstairs to see what Santa Claus had brought me. Even though Natali has 4 younger siblings, the youngest one being 9, I think I was still the first one up. But this year it was fun because instead of waiting to see what Santa Claus got me, I was wondering what Miss Claus had brought me. But more than that, I got to do a little Santa Clausing myself and I surprised Natali with this popcorn machine. It is great. We use it almost every day!

Well there you have it. A little update on us and hopefully the next one not too far away. It takes way too long to catch up.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ya lots of words and no pictures...I'm a bad blogger

Journal writing and blogging both share one unfortunate problem. If you fall behind at all, your next entry has to cover so much that you don't have the time to write it, so you don't. And then you fall even farther behind and the probability that you will ever find time to catch up becomes less and less. So I'm going to try not to let this stop me from posting. I'm going to leave the catching up to Reed haha. He would like to do a big blogpost about the holidays going all the way back to Halloween so I'm gonna let him take the reigns on that one and I will stick to writing updates.

Right now, Reed and I are just getting settled into our new school schedule. I wish I could say that my last semester at BYU was going to be an easy one but unfortunately it is not looking that way. The good news is though that I no longer have to take a math class! As you know, I took French 101 here at BYU before I left to France as a nanny. Since then I haven't really been involved with the French classes. This semester I needed some credits so I signed up for French 102. I went in to speak with the professor in french to make sure he thought I could still handle the class even though it has been so long since I took 101. He said he actually thought I should be in a much upper level class so he asked me to take the placement exam. I did reluctantly even though I thought I was really going to embarrass myself. Well there are 4 levels in the placement exam: 101, 102, 201 and above 300. In order to test into the 300 level, one has to score a 403...and I scored a 636! The French department was blown away. Especially since I didn't really even do very well in French 101 haha. They said they have never had that happen. So they obviously wanted to move me up into the 300 level classes but I found out that if I took french 202 it would count as a math credit so they let me take that :). Yahoo! Reed is probably actually happier than I am about this as he was dreading living with the high-stressed miserable person I become when having to deal with numbers :)

Reed is keeping himself really busy as well. He is on this engineering team competing in some kind of tower-building competition in February. He will be leaving me for 4 days! Wah :(. I guess that sounds like a pretty pathetic complaint to people like Reed's sister who is losing her honey to the marines for a matter of months. But I'm still really dreading it. After living all summer without him I resigned myself to never having to drop him off at the airport without me ever again. Even if only for 4 days, it doesn't bring back pleasant feelings :(. But I'm proud of him and all the hard work he is putting into this and his schoolwork. He is really trying to build up his resume and it's becoming quite impressive!

We do have a little time for some hobbies though. We are having a great time with our new popcorn machine! Haha just trying to figure out the perfect recipe. We also have gotten really into cooking. Fondues, hot wings, hawaiian pork, beef brisket, new pastas etc. It's a lot of fun to make and eat but no fun to clean up...opposition in all things I suppose. However, I did get really cute apron from Reed's mom for Christmas so that at least makes me feel cute and flirty while doing the less fun work in the kitchen :).

Well I have no pictures with this post so that makes it lame but Reed will be putting up TONS of photos pretty soon to make up for my follies.