Saturday, December 27, 2008

Snow in Idaho!

Merry Christmas everyone! Here's a White Christmas North Idaho Style!

Times with the Taylors

Over the last few months, I've had the chance to get to know my boyfriend's family and it has been amazing. We've had some great times, and some pretty funny ones!

I went to see Twilight first with Mat's sisters for the midnight showing...

Then again with Mat, and his brother Kimball and his sister-in-law Aubrey. Mat and I decided that it would be fun to make T-shirts for the occasion. Mine read: "Hasn't Read the Books," Mat's said, "Eduardo Marry Me"; Kimball decided that he wanted to get in on the action and made a shirt that said: "Eddie or Jake: I Can't Decide!" The shirts were pretty hilarious, but the best part about it was that Mat and Kimball got stuck walking in together, one of them handing over the tickets as if they were a couple...classic. Something I won't forget.

Mat's nephew's Ross, Rogan, Tad and Peter have decided that I'm okay (after much persuasion and coaxing with treats and playdates). We've bonded through raisins, tickling and, as my family calls it, "The Holey-Doley Store" (kids game). They'll even come and sit on my lap at Mat's volleyball games!

We went to a Kurt Bestor concert and had some fun. Mat got the chance to talk to some people who had served in Slovenia, which seemed to elate him. I imagine that doesn't happen very often. This is Kimball on an important call at dinner that important that he hadn't realized he'd stuck broccoli in his ear...
Other fun experiences: We went to a Ward Christmas Party in Mat's Family's Ward and I think the whole world was shocked to see Mat holding hands with a girl. My wonders were solidified when the man sitting in front of us leaned back and exclaimed, "Mat! I didn't even know you LIKED girls!" Ha ha ha, I am so entertained when Mat is embarrassed.
When Mat's family found out he was coming to meet my family over break, I had a hay-day answering questions about my family. My favorites came from Dave however. It was so entertaining to watch as I explained how cold it is, that not only was my Dad an Obstetrician, but that he rides a motorcycle to work; also, that there are Aryan Nations in Northern Idaho, that we have a gun cabinet from everything from a shotgun to a pistol inside, that I know how to shoot them, the list goes on. Again, experiences that make Mat squirm are so entertaining to me.
It has been amazing to get to know his family, and hopefully the experiences will continue!

Thanksgiving..a little late...

I've been meaning to post pictures from my vacation in Kentucky for about a month now. But i guess better late than never, right?

When I got there, Mom and I spent the first evening watching my niece Millie sing and dance to "Good Morning Baltimore" and "He Touched Me" from the movie Hairspray. Literally folks, this girl can even do the little booty shake...she's 3, mind you... it's utterly hilarious...

While in Kentucky (I went to see my brother who is in residency and U of K) we took the kids to a Shaker community. Has anyone ever learned about Shaker's before? They have some....interesting...beliefs. The kids stay in one part of the house (hmm....i'm liking this idea...), the men in one room and the women in another (wait...not liking this anymore...) they don't use technology (no blowdryer? cellphone? laptop? not cool...) but here's the one that threw us all for a loop: they live a life of celebacy. hmmm... I wonder what God thinks about that one? I think they missed the "multiply and replenish the earth" part in the bible... but that kinda makes you wonder though. How does a community like that thrive?

At the village, there were some farm animals. Here we are staring down a goat...

and charging a bull...

stopped to swing on an old swing...

Saw my brother's work, and a few of us got our eye's checked!

Shawn and I had a good time together. When i was little, he used to love to fling me around and use me as a personal weight set. We thought it would be fun if he tried it aga in .

All in all, it was a great vacation. The best part however, was being able to chat and help the missionaries. They came over for Thanksgiving Dinner and one of them happened to be a greenie from Mexico. He we elated to find out that my brother, Dad and I all spoke spanish. On Sunday we saw them again and i saw him speaking to the spanish elders. when i asked him in passing about speaking with them, he gave me this very concerned look and said, "yeah, but i don't know what they were speaking...i didn't understand that. You i understand, and i'm even learning Puerto Rican, but, i have no idea." I had a good laugh about that. It brought back good memories of greenies learning spanish. Good times....good times, in Kentucky.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finals Week

Things that make finals week bearable:
1) being introduced as "Amber" by my boss
2) BYU catering brownies with nuts
3) the sun
4) knowing I'll be home in 2 days!
5) not ever having to name another bird again!
6) Christmas shopping
7) bundling under a blanket
8) Not having to plan study groups for at least a month!
9) helping women with strollers get through big puddles
10) temple sealings with family
11) watching my boyfriend get teased because of me (i mean, really, did i need the rest of the list?)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Memorable Brother Bott

I think anyone who has been a student at BYU has probably heard of or taken a class from Brother Randy Bott. Just wanted to let you all in on a little news. Check out the following article. (This is just pieces of it, but you can check it out on the BYU webpage:
Randy Bott doesn't sugarcoat the challenges his Brigham Young University students will face when they serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He tells it like it is during the missionary preparation courses he teaches, with a mixture of wit and wisdom, and they love him for it. They love him so much that Bott is the highest-rated professor in America in 2008 at

"Everyone says before you leave BYU, you have to take a class from Brother Bott," said psychology major Cassandra Lawyer, a 22-year-old senior from San Diego...This year alone, 3,149 have taken Bott's classes. That's a full 10 percent of BYU's student body.

"It's ruined my life," Bott said with customary deadpan humor. "My colleagues ask me if they should bow or curtsey. I am by no stretch of the imagination the top professor in the United States."

BYU ranked seventh on the Web site's list of highest-rated faculties, but Bott's place at the top isn't a surprise...Students consider him a mission coach and self-help guru. At the start of his mission prep class on Monday night, Bott asked which of a couple hundred students had received mission calls in the prior week. One woman stood to announce she will be going to Portugal in February. A man was called to go to Brazil in April. Bott also asked if anyone got engaged during the week. None had. "Huh," Bott said, shaking his head in sadness at a sorry group. "Anybody manage a date?"

Short, stout and 63, Bott wore a white, long-sleeved shirt and tie. A low-lying crown of white hair circled his head topped by a wisp of white on top. The packaging made him wonder at the rankings. "I'm a bland person," he said. "I'm not audio-visually friendly." The smile came after the joke.

To his students, Bott is like a cool older uncle or grandfather who makes you laugh, makes you feel good about yourself and sometimes tells a family secret when parents won't, but only to teach you and help you love the family more. He peppers his teaching with highly relevant stories drawn from those sources and his own mission to Samoa.

"Those lessons stick, said Ken Alford, who joined BYU's religion faculty this fall after nearly 30 years as an Army officer. "I have a son on a mission in Fiji who took a class from Brother Bott," he said. "He raved about him then, and he's raved about him even from the mission field."

Bott's ministry extends beyond the classroom. He spends four to six hours a day responding to e-mails from students and former students who ask him for help with life problems. The issues range from the silly — an Armenian woman was told by missionaries he could help her prepare a Relief Society lesson — to the heartbreaking, like handling the divorce of parents and moral trouble. "You get known for that type of stuff," Bott said. "Now I get e-mails from parents and friends of students, too."

Getting an "A" from Bott is easy, according to the ratings on Lawyer said tests are open-note, open-book. "It doesn't have to be a hard class to be a good class," she said. "Missionaries all over the world will tell you they are using things he taught them."