It's Ryan's birthday and we celebrated by walking miles and seeing the sights of Temple Square at Christmas time. Our family came down for the sights a few years ago, but Ryan's parents and Caitlin and her girls had not seen them. We have this idea about vacations away from home that you take in as many things as possible, and I think we exhausted everyone else. Some of it is intentional- we want to tire out our children so they will go to sleep at night.
We stayed for an organ concert at the Tabernacle.
We brought plenty of hand warmers to keep us warm outside.
We stopped by the visitor's center.
And the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The architecture is always stunning.
We had lunch at the mall. The kids wanted pizza.
My lunch. I didn't want pizza and this was a really good salad..
Back to sight seeing.
The girls and I would have fit below deck just fine if we'd been pioneers crossing the Atlantic. Ryan wouldn't have been so fortunate.
Back to the visitor's center for a big family picture by the Christus.
The Conference Center. We plan on coming back once the twins turn 8 to attend General Conference.
Naptime was over, so Blair and her kids joined up with us. Blair of course looks pretty, and I look like I'm just trying to keep warm. Always my goal when I'm outside in the wintertime.
We found Elsa and Anna heading to Temple Square!
The Church History museum. Emma decided to get in some practice for when she's called to speak at the Conference Center one day.
Annie decided she was still too short to be able to speak at that podium.
Me- never going to happen. Also, I still haven't managed to shed my winter coat.
Just a little down time before we head back outside for the Christmas lights in the dark!
We headed to Utah Sunday, but that wasn't worthy of any kind of picture. It's just a long day of driving in the car. We listen to audiobooks and music, and audiobooks and music. And stare out of the windows. And dehydrate our children, only giving them liquid if we are within a certain distance of a stopping point. We have a system set up for the most efficient trip, and that does not include unlimited drinks, or even a lot of snacks anymore. After the dump our last minivan turned into, we severely limit the eating that goes on in our new car. You can't go completely without snacks on a trip that long, but I don't give out as many as I used to.
Anyhoo, we got to Michael and Blair's house around dinner time. We brought a returned Christmas present with us from a missionary serving in our ward. We were given a pair of red high tops and a phone number of how to reach his parents when we arrived in Utah. We made the switch successfully just before we ate. It ended up being a houseful because Blair's brother was there, and Rick and Kim arrived with Megan and Amy. Poor Blair, I don't think she planned on having so many people for dinner. But the food stretched and it was all ok.
We spent the night at Michael and Blair's house. The girls slept in Charlotte's room, and Ryan and I slept on our air mattress in Simon's room. Bless them, they had their kids "sleep" in the master bedroom with them. And by sleep, I mean not really. I've never found sleeping in the same room with my offspring to be very restful ever.
Monday took us down to Provo to meet up with some old college friends. On Facebook we discovered they were also in Utah after we arrived Sunday night. We also thought that Kim would love the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the BYU art museum. She collects Norman Rockwell plates and pictures, so it seemed right up her alley.
The foyer of the art museum has miles of rainbow colored thread running back and forth under a skylight. It's cool to look at.
Here's the rainbow. It didn't photograph well.
We had to get tickets to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit. It starts with a BioPic, and then you can wander through the exhibit. But you weren't supposed to take pictures of the paintings.
So I only took one with the kids at the entrance.
Then we took Megan and Amy with us to lunch and to meet our college friends, Wayne and Natalie and their 4 boys. That way Rick and Kim could go back to Michael's for a quieter visit than they would have with all of us there.
None of us had attended BYU so we had to use Siri for directions to the Wilkinsons Center so we could eat lunch. The weather was quite nice for a walk on campus.
Subway sandwiches for lunch!
We had 10 kids between the two families (because we had Megan and Amy), so it was not the easiest way to catch up with someone you haven't seen in 11 years, but it was still good to see them.
Afterwards we wandered around BYU campus and found Brigham Young.
In the evening, we had a triple date- Rick and Kim, Michael and Blair, and Ryan and I all left Emma in charge of a whole lot of children. Emma managed to feed them all, and keep them all alive until we came back. It was good practice for her babysitting skills.
Christmas morning didn't come too early- we only started at 8 am. Sometimes I like having kids who are a little older. This was a really nice start time. I'm pretty much uploading all of the Christmas morning pictures. I tell myself that I'm going to print these off, but let's face it- it's probably not going to happen. So they will be included in the blog book.
We started with the stockings.
And then the Santa gifts.
Then we were all in. I love watching their wonder and excitement.
The aftermath. Even when we try to clean up as we go, we are still left with chaos.
Emma doesn't really want "toys" for Christmas anymore, but she doesn't mind taking little sister's dolls for a spin.
Waffles and sausage for breakfast. That is a tradition from my side.
This was something I got this year. The grater attachment for the mixer was not on my wish list, but oh boy, I'm so excited to have one!
We had a really nice and quiet day. Christmas day should always be like this.