This weekend has been really special. Saturday my family and I took the train to Salt Lake City. It was a smart choice considering the non-stop snow and closure of I-15 due to more endless construction. We went to the Discovery Children’s Museum at the Gateway. I had won a free family pass at an Adoption Walk I went to in November. We met my sister, my brother-in-law and my two adorable nephews there and we had a great time. There are so many things to do. We could have spent all day there and not gotten bored. I loved seeing my kids and nephews have so much fun. My little toddler was just running around, so happy with his freedom. You know it’s a great place when the parents have just as much fun as the kids.
Then we went and got dinner at the food court there at The Gateway. The Gateway is an outdoor mall and I love how it looks at Christmastime. We walked out into the dark, with all the Christmas lights shining, and the snow falling and my kids were just enthralled. It was so magical.
After dinner, all of us walked over to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights. I just love Temple Square at Christmastime. I don’t love the crowds, the annoying teenagers that travel in obnoxious packs, but I love the way the temple is lit up, all the nativity scenes from all over the world, and the beauty of the lights and the temple. I love walking up to the Visitor’s Center to see the Christus. Temple Square helps remind me what Christmas is all about. Sharing that with my dear sister and her wonderful family was just a great way to get me into the Christmas spirit.
Riding the train home was a lot of fun. Neither the hubs nor I had to worry about driving in the snow, finding parking, or deal with traffic and crappy Utah drivers. It was just a pleasant ride home. Despite my 5 year old son asking me at every stop if we were there yet.
This morning the hubs and I had the opportunity to go the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. They had Natalie Cole and David McCullough has special guests. First they did “Music and the Spoken Word.” Next they had a mini concert. I can’t explain how beautiful the choir is to listen to in person. It’s like listening to a choir of angels. The Orchestra at Temple Square was amazing and they had a few Children’s Choirs and dancers perform. The hubs was sick, and even after getting home late, and getting up early, he said it was worth it. The organ solo alone was worth going for. You all will get to see this concert when it airs on PBS next Christmas. Natalie Cole was gracious and had a lot of nice things to say about her hosts and the church. President Monson was there and he presented Natalie Cole and David McCullough with special thank yous. It was the last concert over a 4 day period, and the choir sang “God be with you ’til we meet again” to Natalie and David as a way to thank them for performing with them. It was so beautiful. There is never a time where I don’t hear or sing that song where I don’t have tears come to my eyes. I could see from the screens that Natalie was emotional as well. Even the 4 block walk to our parking lot in several inches of snow while it was still snowing and wearing high heeled boots that gave me 2 very large blisters on the balls of each foot couldn’t take away the wonderful spirit the hubs and I both felt there.
Right as we got in our car to drive home, my Dad called and asked how the concert was. I didn’t tell him we were going, so I was kind of shocked. He and my step-mom had driven down there without tickets and stood outside a door looking pathetic until a nice usher gave them tickets. They loved the concert and were so glad they went. We invited them out to lunch with us and it was so nice having a meal with my parents without little kids interrupting us every 5 seconds.
The poor hubs was so sick so I had to go to my Dad’s house tonight alone with the kids. They invited us over to see their Christmas tree and served us hot cocoa and very delicious treats. I was so happy to see my brother and his wife had come. It was so nice to visit, share memories, and get excited for Christmas this year.
I’m a big homebody and I really don’t like to be busy on the weekends. It’s like my only two days to rest. It’s usually only one day with church on Sunday. But this weekend, even though I basically was only home to sleep, it was truly wonderful. I haven’t felt the Christmas spirit in a long time. Working retail during the holidays literally beat it out of me. And then there was school and finals working against me as well. The last two Christmases have been hard what with losing my Mom a month before Christmas in 2007 and traveling to Indiana last year for my Dad’s wedding 2 days before Christmas (literally, the most stressful week of my life…try combining travelling at Christmastime with a baby and bad weather, mixed with coming home at 11:00 pm on Christmas Eve, and throwing your father a wedding reception 2 days after Christmas). I’m really thankful to recapture an exuberance for Christmas that I haven’t felt in years. I already have the best Christmas present I could ask for (a wonderful family and a new house) and honestly, I don’t need much else.