Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Morning 2010

I'm kind of a Grinch - I just don't love the commercial side of Christmas, but I have to admit, we had a really nice morning. The reason it was nice was because the kids were so sweet with each other and happy and appreciative of what they were given. We've never spoiled the kids much at Christmas, but this year we decided to go with President Monson's adage: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read - and it worked out great.

The kids were also very motivated to get presents for each other this year. I didn't encourage them at all. Jaxon was especially conscientious about choosing gifts for people and especially gracious about what he was given. It did my heart good to see the kids showing so much love to each other.

Luke wanted to know if he could use my "real" name. Too cute. He wrapped this himself and even dug up a beautiful bow.

All Fred wants for Christmas is for us to keep the tree up forever. He has spent A LOT of time under there in the last few weeks.

For a special Christmas breakfast, we broke out the long lost waffle maker. I literally haven't made homemade waffles in like 12 years. I found a great recipe online for buttermilk waffles and they were definitely a hit.

My theory on cooking: If you hardly ever do it, people really appreciate it when you do.

We had our good friend Molly up for the day and had a super yummy turkey dinner. We went on a walk, played the new Wii games and had just a nice day. Whew, I'm always so glad when it's over. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Countdown of Craziness

I am in the zone - the Christmas Zone. Approximately 162 hours to go until the kids start to open presents. Approximately 150 hours left to go before it's too late to make, deliver or think of any more neighbor/friend/relative/teacher gifts or goodies. Pretty much every moment of my waking hours until now and then are spoken for -  making, creating, baking, delivering, shopping, mailing, wrapping, printing.... 

But as I sat here this morning working on an album for my sister, I felt my blog calling to me - or more accurately hanging over my head. I've been so swamped with photography the last few months I haven't kept up with my blog very well, but I still try to touch base with it without letting too much time go by.

So here's a photo out of the album I'm making for my sister as we speak. I can safely share it with you all because my sister never reads my blog. This is her youngest daughter, my niece: Ally-cakes.

She looks almost exactly like my sister did at this age, which means she looks absolutely nothing like me. But I love her anyway.

So Merry Christmas to everybody out there - perhaps you're also in The Zone and don't have time to read my blog. But best wishes to you anyway.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thansksgiving Trip to Temple Square

My mom and dad live in Utah County and we spent Thanksgiving with them this year. Two years ago, we went up for Thanksgiving and then went to Salt Lake to Temple Square the day after. Temple Square is famous for it's beautiful Christmas lights (among other things, of course) and they always turn them on for the first time on the day after Thanksgiving. We had such a good time last time that we decided to do it again this year.

We made kind of a quick trip this time because it was pretty cold, but here are some of the highlights. I really love these historic old buildings on temple square - and the new Conference Center is a marvelous work and a wonder!

All of the buildings on Temple Square are a different style, architecturally, and I think they're all fascinating. The Assembly Hall, which was begun in 1877, is built in the Victorian Gothic style which was popular at the time. It's built of quartz monzonite from the same quarry as the stone used for the temple. (Trivia: a lot of people think the temple is built of granite, but it's not.) The Assembly Hall was built after the Tabernacle - I read an article that says that part of the reason it was built was that the Tabernacle, with it's huge domed roof, was impossible to heat in the winter and they needed a building in which the the saints wouldn't freeze. Interesting. Something that I never really noticed about the Assembly Hall before this trip - the Star of David above the door. This symbolizes the regathering of the 12 tribes of Israel. Isn't this a nifty building?

The Assembly Hall after the lights came on:

The Tabernacle is famous for being the home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It isn't a very fancy building from the outside, it just looks like an oval dome, but it is an architectural marvel for the fact that the roof is just one big arch. Some visitors around the beginning of the 20th century criticized it as "a prodigious tortoise that has lost its way" or "the Church of the Holy Turtle," but Frank Lloyd Wright dubbed the tabernacle "one of the architectural masterpieces of the country and perhaps the world". It was completed in 1867, in a time before electronic sound systems, and it was built this way so that everyone attending meetings in the Tabernacle could hear the speaker no matter where they were seated. The acoustics are so good in this building that while sitting in the back seats, you can literally hear a pin dropped up by the pulpit! It has a international reputation as being a nearly perfect building, acoustically. And of course, listening to a musical performance in this building is an incredible experience.

The organ in the Tabernacle is one of the largest in the world. Originally, it had about 700 pipes, but it has been refurbished over the years and updated and now has 11,623 pipes! Wow. The Tabernacle, including the choir seating, holds 7000 people, which used to seem like a lot to me. 

The new Conference Center was completed in the spring of 2000 and holds 21,000 people! Not only is the meeting hall part of the building huge, but there are several large galleries and foyers inside the building as well - large enough to hold this tree:

The meeting hall really is immense.

There is a gallery in the Conference Center of 12 original paintings by Arnold Friberg. He was commissioned by the General Primary President of the Church in the 1950s to do a series of paintings of favorite Book of Mormon stories. They're very well known paintings within the church, so it was cool to see the originals hanging all here together in their own gallery.

Abinadi prophesying to King Noah:

Lehi and his family sailing to the new world:

Mormon and his son, Moroni bidding farewell to a once great nation:

And then of course, there's the Temple. What an amazing building! It took almost exactly 40 years to build, which just boggles my mind. The temple is very photogenic and looks good from about any angle. I wanted to just stand around and photograph it all night. While I had my camera to my eye, I didn't feel the cold at all, but my family were starting to turn into familycicles, so I only took a handful of pictures. 

 In't it so purty?!

Seagulls are a fairly common sight around the Great Salt Lake, but I never expected to see them on top of the Trax station near Temple Square in sub-freezing temperatures....

When we go to Temple Square, we always ride the Trax train from Sandy. I think it's the kid's favorite part of the trip. Especially Luke. He loves the train so much, he kept trying to put his mouth on it.

 And some more happy riders: Brynn, my sister Sharon and Sharon's friend Justin.

 And Jaxon and my silly brother, Scott.

 Fun trip. We like Temple Square so much that we're planning to go back in April at Conference time when it's not so flippin' frigid!