Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's beginning to not look so much like Christmas. . .

I love Christmas!! We had a lovely day yesterday. All the Goodmans here got spoiled- especially Emma. We started the morning around 9:00 when I FINALLY convinced the two other sleepy heads to come out and see what Santa had brought. Emma was actually a little frustrated with us at first. We have spent all month instructing her to not touch the presents under the tree. It took a few minutes for her to understand that it was now not only allowed, but encouranged to touch, handle, and rip apart the packages that had been so closely guarded. Ross and I were excited to see her rip open all of her presents, and maybe even some of ours. Unfortunately- she found no real pleasure in opening presents. She LOVED playing with all of her new toys and trying on all of her new clothes- but only after we had opened them for her. The highlight for Emma was her new baby doll from Aunt Dana, and her new animal ABC set from Grandma Jones. After opening those two- Ross and I were pretty much able to enjoy opening our own gifts without toddler interuption. Ross and I were also grateful for the wonderful (and cute!!) winter wear that Grandma Goodman and Aunt Stephanie sent for her. Well, technically the cards said that they were from Grandma & Grandpa, and Clay & Stephanie, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the end result was due mostly to efforts on the female part. I guess I could be mistaken though- maybe Grant and Clay both have a hidden affinity for home-made handicrafts. If that is the case, then I apologize, and will simply say here that I love the coat, hats and scarf that were created, whoever the responsible parties may have been.

Now let me say that Ross is the sweetest and sneakiest husband ever!! Because we have been saving up for a down payment on a house, and because Ross had another couple months of unemployment there, we set a budget on each other for Christmas. On Sunday, we went to my Grandma's house for pizza and for our yearly chaos-filled Nativity re-enactment. When we got there, Ross led me down to the basement to reveal my first Christmas present. He bought me a beautiful new rocking chair. It is solid wood with an arched back and beautifully intricate carvings all over it. I LOVE it. I didn't have a rocking chair with Emma- and I really wish I had. I guess 2 years of complaining about that gave a deep enough hint :) This is way more than I expected though. I figured we would wait until right before the new baby, and then get the most steeply discounted glider available. I guess when we were at the Festival of Trees, there was a rocking chair by one of my favorite trees that I just raved about. That was when Ross got the idea. It was a good one. I was reallly touched- but I was also a little suspicious about all the other packages under the tree for me, because I knew the chair alone was probably over the budget. When I started opening up the Pleasures Exotic gift set (that new perfume by Gwyneth Paltrow- yum!!), the long sweater from the Gap, and the new necklace and earing set, I KNEW that he had broken the rules!!! When I told him this, he responded with, "No I didn't!! The chair is for the mother of my children, and the rest is for my wife!! If anything, I am under!"

I suppose I can't point my finger too strongly, because I got around the budget by putting the shirt & tie set, and the slippers from Emma and Sara when I couldn't fit them into my budget after buying the Christus statue and Elf movie Ross had been eyeing. I think we both enjoy getting presents for each other too much to have strict budgets. They are more like guidelines than anything else.

After our beautiful morning of AMAZING gifts and cinnamon rolls, we went over to my Grandma's house for free food and GREAT company. We introduced my uncle Jay and Aunt Lara to my new favorite game. It was a lot of fun, and I was glad to catch up with some family that I haven't seen in a while. Congratulations to my cousin Kandra and her husband Brad on their new upcoming addition!!!! Later that evening, my sisters came over to our apartment to play a few more rounds of Bohnanza (it is really addicting!) while Ross enjoyed the Transformers movie and old fashioned popcorn maker we got from my mom. All-in-all, it was a rather enjoyable day filled with love, food and really thoughtful gifts!! I love Christmas!! I love my family!!! I love the chance we get to remember the humble beginning to the perfect life that leads us to our salvation. I hope all the family and friends that we were not able to see or talk to are all doing well. We love you and pray that your holidays were as fulfilling as ours.

The Canned Film Festival

On Saturday, Ross and I were able to be part of a really cool event that his company was sponsoring. AFLAC got a local movie theater to open their doors early on Saturday morning, and let us admit people into their movies for the bargain price of 3 cans of food per person. This year has found the Utah Food Bank in high need. They have not had this high of a demand for their resources in over 30 years, and they have been having a really hard time keeping up. Ross, Emma and I contributed to the cause by going to see the new National Treasure movie. It was fantastic!!! We highly reccommend it. We also reccommend that anyone out here attend the second and final installment of the Canned Film Festival this Saturday. It is being held at the Water Garden Cinemax. That is the one in Pleasant Grove, across from the Macy's on State Street. Ross and I will be there to take Emma to Alvin and the Chipmunks, and we would love to see all your smiling faces there at 9:00 am. It should be a lot of fun!! If you can't make it for some lame reason, then please remember the Food Bank at the tail end of this holiday season. If you see a chance to donate to them- please do. Everyone can make-do with one less can of peas or one less box of mac & cheese.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yay!! Another Survey!! Thanks Tracie :)

Do you have any pets? I have a husband and an almost two year old- do either of those count? I also have a cat that has adopted me, but I don't have to take any responsibility for him because he isn't mine.
What color shirt are you wearing? Cream with pink flowers.
Name three things that are close to you: Ross, my coffee table, pillows
What is the last book you read? Redwall by: Brian Jaques
What's your favorite sport? Ballroom Dancing (is too a sport!!!)
Do you enjoy sleeping late? Absofreakinlutely!!!
What's the weather like right now? Wintery and Blustery- the weather outside is frightful, but the warmth on my lap from the laptop (and from Sara doing her nightly acrobatic practice) is delightful!
Who tells the best jokes? Carrie- she can make anything funny, and I love it.
What was the last thing you dreamed about? Last night I had a couple of very vivid dreams. One was about Sara and Emma playing when they are older. They had a white puppy that was chasing them around our backyard in the snow. Sara fell down and scraped her knee and needed a band-aid, but refused to take the plain old flesh-toned ones that were available. My other dream was not one I care to remember. It featured a scene from a movie Ross was watching the other night, only I was the one getting shot in the head, and not the guy Jason Bourne was trying to protect. That kind of thing happens all the time to me- that is why I try to avoid movies with violence in them. My mind just can't let go of images like that.
Do you drive? If so, have you ever crashed? Yes and no (knock on wood).
Do you believe in karma? Yes I do!! Hopefully all this stuff Ross and I have had to go through in our first 4 years will allow us to have some kind of luck in the future- "Thy trials shall be for a small moment. . . ."
Do you believe in luck? Yup- that is pretty much what keeps me going. I usually use a different term for it though- I like to refer to my luck as tender mercies from the Lord.
Do you like your eggs scrambled or sunny side up? Scrambled is pretty much the only way I will eat eggs.
Are you reliable? I like to think so.
Have you ever given money to a bum? Many times.
What's your favorite food? Steak and potatoes.
Have you ever had a secret admirer?Not that I know of- but if I did know about them, I suppose that they wouldn't really be secret anymore. This must be a trick question.
Do you like the smell of gasoline? Yes.
Do you like to draw? Yes- but I don't do it very well. One of my goals in life is to take some art courses.
What is your favorite invention? The automobile.
What do you like better, oranges or apples? I think I am kind of obligated to say apples.
Do you give in easily? Not even a little bit- and I am OK with that.
Can you read other people's expressions? I think I am pretty good at it- but I have been known to read people way wrong in the past, so I try not to base everything on appearances anymore. I say try because I usually don't succeed very well.
What time did you wake up this morning? 9:30. Ross is the best husband ever and let me sleep in. I heart him!
What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Grape juice and Kix- kid tested, mother approved!!
What do you plan on doing tomorrow? Potty training Emma- wahoo!
What's your favorite day of the week and why? Saturday. I can sometimes get Ross to stay home all day on Saturdays, and then we can actually spend time together. That has been quite the rarity lately. It is also easier for us to find babysitters on Saturday.
Have you ever been scuba diving? No.
What's your least favorite color? Puce.
Would you ever go skydiving? In a heart beat!
What's the worst injury you have had? I broke two of my toes during a dance routine in high school and had to finish the routine before attending to them. I also had a big marching band competition the next day. It was awesome in its black-and-blueness (and I really mean that- I love a good bruise)!!!
What's the last movie you saw? The Swan Princess
What do you want to know about the future? If Ross will be able to continue doing what he loves for a living, or if he will have to find a job where he is not his own boss. I am pretty positive he will make it. . . most of the time I am at least :)
What does your last text message say? Probably something like, "Your Verizon bill of (wouldn't you like to know!!) has been posted, and will be automatically deducted from your account in 3 days unless we hear from you."
What's your least favorite school subject? Math.
What is your dream vacation? Some kind of cruise with no kids, and all the free food I can try to not eat.
What is your favorite animal? Owls.
Do you listen to the radio? No- there are way too many commercials to make it worth it. I listen to CD's.
Where were you when 9/11 happened? In my front room. We were trying to have family prayer when the TV turned on for no reason at all. We kept trying to turn it off, but it always popped back on. We figured the remote was trapped under something, but we didn't have time to find it because we were late for the bus. We just turned the sound all the way down and had a quick prayer. When we were done, I realized the the TV was turned to CNN, and it looked like one of the twin towers was on fire. When we turned up the sound, the news lady kept saying something about a plane hitting it, and I just laughed. I said that was impossible- it was probably a bomb of some sort. Just as I was saying that, we watched the live footage of the second plane hitting the second tower. Suffice it to say that we missed the bus.
What do you do when vending machines steal your money? This has never happened to me. If it did I suppose I would get mad and try to post a note on the machine so no one else would lose their money.
Have you ever caught a butterfly? Yes.
What color are your bed sheets? White.
What's your ringtone? Just the standard little ditties that come with the phone.
Do you like things that glow in the dark? Yes I do. When I was in high school, the ceiling in my room was plastered with glow-in-the-dark stars and planets and stuff. It was fantastic!! Unfortunately Ross wont let me do that now. He said something about it being tacky and childish- JERK!! I guess I will just have to wait for one of my girls to get old enough for me to convice her to do it!
What's your favorite fruity scent? Peach or Pear.
Have you ever sat on a roof? Many times.
Name three things in the world you dislike: 1. The prominence of scantily clad women- in print and in person. 2. The dramatic growth in the homosexual population and the ever-increasing acceptance of homosexuality. 3. The fact that people who commit horrible crimes in America are not punished severly enough.
Do you like sushi? I have never actually tried it.
Do you believe in magic? Yes- but again, I have different terms for it besides magic. One is the Priesthood, another is child-like innocence, and still another would be pure ignorance.
Do you hold grudges? Unfortunately, yes. I really really try not to, and I do think I am getting better about it. It's that whole forgetting part of forgiveness that gets me all tied up. I have a very accurate memory- especially in moments when my emotions are running high. (Anyone who just thought of the saying 'an elephant never forgets' is evil and stupid and will burn for such a horrible thought about a pregnant woman who just admitted she holds grudges!!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Potty Training!!!

Ross and I feel that the time has come for Emma to kick her diaper addiction! We would really like to avoid having to buy diapers for two kids. I know that most of you veteran moms reading this are going to say things like, "She is too young!", and "It's not that bad- we all did it." My response to all of you is that I am much more lazy and cheap than most people give me credit for! There is no part of me that wants to change diapers for two kids, and I really don't want to have to buy diapers for two kids either. The reason for this post is to ask some of you mothers who have been through the struggle that is potty training for some tips.

Right now I have the timer set for 20 minutes. Whenever the timer goes off, Emma has to sit on the potty for at least 5 minutes. She will usually stay there longer than that because now the only time she gets to watch her puppy movies (Lady and the Tramp, Milo and Otis, Fox and the Hound, etc.) is when she is sitting on her potty. She also gets to eat popcorn from a giant Christmas tin with a puppy on it, and drink capris sun juice pouches. I know, I know- puppies and popcorn on the potty- that wasn't meant to be so alliteratively cute. She just really likes puppies and popcorn- so the motivation is a good one I think. We are getting some success from this so far- but she still wets her diaper about twice a day in the 20 minute spaces between her potty times. We have also never gotten a bowel movement on the potty. She always knows when she goes, because she will take her dirty diaper off herself and bring it to me saying, "Yuck, yuck!" I need to know how to get her to tell me she needs to go before she wets herself. We still have 7 weeks- so I think there is enough time for Emma to get enough into the habit that she wont regress when the baby comes.

Again- let me say that I am NOT looking for any kind of negative comments or discouragment of any kind. All comments of that nature will be promptly deleted, and the authors of said comments will be put on the naughty list! Anyone who knows my penchant for reading should obviously assume that I have done my research. I know the signs to look for in order to determine if she is ready or not for this. She is. The reason I am asking for advice is that most of the tips and strategies out there are for kids a little older than Emma. She is not ready to understand a doll that wets herself, and motivating her to keep characters on panties dry is a little abover her as well.

I am also very aware of the possibility of her regressing when little Sara comes along. I have found a lot of tips to both prevent and correct this if it does occur, but I would LOVE to hear anything on that front as well. I really, truly believe that Emma can do this. I just want it to happen as fast as possible so that the habit is more deeply ingrained before the baby comes. Thanks in advance for any tips that do come. We are very excited about this next step of development for Emma. We love her so much and are so proud of her, but I think both of those thinge will be much easier to do when we don't have to change diapers anymore! :)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Calling all Goodman Bloggers

So, apparently my little blog is read by more people than I originally thought. Ross just informed me that two of his sisters are regular readers which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!! I suppose that could have something to do with the 32 week old fetus in there kicking like a buckin' bronco, but it does make me feel good to know that they have a small idea of what is going on with us. The only problem is, we do not know what is going on with them. Ross and I are not privvy to their blogging information, and their profiles are blocked to little ole me! So- the reason for this post is two-fold. First- thanks for reading Gena and Melissa!! I hope you find useful information and not just reasons to mock Ross later (although I am happy to supply you with all the information you want on that front). Second- give us your blog sites!!!!!! Please.

The Joys of Mormondom

Ross and I were just out grocery shopping when we saw something that I felt was totally blogworthy. I wish I had taken my camera with me, because really, it speaks for itself- and I am afraid that the immediate comic-effect will be totally lost when I try to explain it in words.

It has become a trend in Utah for family cars to have little decals in the back window that display members of the family. We have seen this with turtles, shoes, puppies, and other such things- but the most common ones are the stick figures. Families get one decal for each member- some are even personalized with missionary tags, baseball bats, soccer balls, instruments, dance shoes, etc. Ross and I saw a van today with 8 stick figures on the back with the name of the family members below the alloted decal. Cory, Lory (Mom & Dad), Tory, Mory, Glory, Dory, Rory, and Story.

We are assuming that they will stop there because the only other ones we can come up with are Gory, Pory and Hory- none of which are very flattering. Mormons make me laugh sometimes :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Things That Should Never Be Said to a Pregnant Woman (Yes, all of these are true stories!)

1. Hey there Big Stuff!!! This is how my Grandpa Wallace greets me now.

2. Wow, my daughter just had her baby, and she never got that big. Are you sure you are only 24 weeks along? You may want to ask next time you go because really- she was 2 weeks late and she was much smaller than you are right now!! This was from an old temple worker in the ladies room.

3. Wow- you look really uncomfortable. They shouldn't let women work when they get that far along- it slows all of us down. This was from one of my favorite people from work. . . you know, the one whose mistakes I was asked to take care of all the time even though it wasn't my job because my boss knew that she wouldn't be able to handle it and be nice to the customer. Sorry- she just managed to call me slow and fat in the same sentence just as I was putting a band-aid on a monster of a paper-cut after I had spent 2 hours searching through some files for a job that she had misplaced.

4. Because I am your friend, I feel obligated to tell you something that most people wouldn't. . . you are putting on a little weight there! OK- in all fairness, coming from Barry- one of my friends from work, this actually would have been really funny if he had chosen the right morning. That particular morning it just made me cry!
5. Does your husband still think you are pretty like that? This one was from a client at work.

6. Lady from my ward: Wow- you are either having twins, or one VERY big baby!!!
Me: Actually, my doctor said I am right on track- I think I just look bigger because I am short.
Lady from my ward: Oh- the doctors always say you are on track as a way of being nice and to keep from scaring you. Trust me- you've got a biggun' in there!!
7. Are you ready to get your old body back? Here's something they never tell you- but it aint gonna happen!! You are gonna be big now for the rest of your life- especially with how much it has affected everything else on you! That's why you got that ring though- just hope he keeps it on unlike my ex-husband! Ladies and Gentlemen- Gaylene S. Ucker!! Yes, that is her real and unfortunate name. I suppose this is why we pretty much excuse most of what comes spewing out of her mouth before going through even a minor mental filter.
8. You could be Santa this year!! A little girl in nursery said this to me one week. It was the same girl who I think taught Emma to say, "NO! I don't want to!" to everything we ask her to do. We have since gotten that mostly out of her system- but it was still pretty frustrating.
9. Hey, we've all been there- you have no right to complain about anything! Some lady in my ward said this when I asked Ross if he could hold Emma for a minute because she had just kicked me in the stomach, and I was afraid I was going to throw up. Our ward has a large population of divorced and widowed women who are all old enough to not have to employ tact in their conversation anymore. It can be rather entertaining!
10. You look like you are about to pop! OK- this one isn't that bad, but I wanted to finish it off with an even 10. My little sister Caulene said this one- but in all fairness, she did say it after I told her to look at how much I had grown since I had seen her last.

11. Sorry- I just thought of one Ross said the other day when I was getting up. How pregnant are you today? I have a favor to ask of you, but I don't know if I should say it now, or wait until the pregnant beast dissipates a little bit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Questions

This is to make up for not posting last week. I was really sick and busy and any other excuse that will save me from the wrath of Brittany. I know she looks all cute and cuddly, but I have no doubt that she could find some ingenious way to make me pay!!! Have you seen her new header?

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags. I am a huge recycler of gift bags as well. I LOVE getting presents in gift bags, because it pretty much means I get two presents in one!

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial all the way!!! Pre-lit!! I love Christmas, but I hate stringing lights on trees, and I hate needles all over my carpet, and I hate trees that dry out before the season is over (real trees never make it until February!!)

3. When do you put up the tree? Around Thanksgiving- usually a couple weeks before. Ross and I both get a little excited!

4. When do you take the tree down? The end of January.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes- but I will NEVER drink home-made eggnog if I can help it. When it comes all bottled up with pictures of mistletoe on it, then I don't have to think about what actually went into making it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I got a bed on my tenth Christmas. Before that I had spent a few months in a sleeping bag on a foam pad- it was awesome.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? A few. . .

8. Hardest person to buy for? Ross. He has the same reaction to everything I get him, and I can never tell until months later if he really liked what I got him or not. This is when I see him either using and enjoying what I bought, or trying to sneak it into the D.I bag without me noticing.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Judy. My mother-in-law melts for anything with Emma's face on it.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Well- never anything terrible, but I do have one pet peeve of gifts that my mother gives. She is notorious for not getting what she wants to get in time for any occasion. She always has great ideas, but she is so crazy-busy that it is hard for her to find time to go and get what she wants before the gift-exchange event. This means that we get little notes telling us what she wants to get for us, and when we can expect it. This is also fine- but then she forgets to give us the gift when she finally does purchase it. I have had numerous gifts wrapped under the tree for Christmas that were really meant as birthday presents back in August that just never quite made it to me.

11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? I don't really do either- just call me Ebeneezer!!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Nester the Long Eared Donkey

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? The day after Christmas. I am one of those gift hoarders who has gifts hidden all throughout the house all year long.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Absofreakinlutely!!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Orange Sticks

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear

17. Favorite Christmas song? Mary, Did You Know? and Silent Night

18 Travel at Christmas or stay home? This year there will be no traveling!!!! We FINALLY get a Christmas all to ourselves. I love all our family- but I am tired of always being a guest at Christmas. It means I have to be all clothed and . . . supported all the time!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Who can't? Honestly? Oh- here is another holiday pet-peeve for me though. The name is Donder- not Donner!!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People who hate Christmas. I am so tired of that debate! It isn't hurting anyone- leave it alone you Athiest pricks!!

23. Favorite Christmas tradition? The Mouse!!! When we were growing up, we had an advent calendar with a little mouse that fit in all the little pockets. There was a picture of Santa and his wife sitting in front of a fire at the top, and my mom told us that every day the mouse would watch us from his little perch to see if we were being good or not. At night, he would climb into the picture and give Santa his report. If we were good, then he would send the mouse back with little treats for us to find in the morning. It was awesome!! My mom never had trouble waking us up in the morning when December came around. It was so much fun, and it really set the mood of the whole day. When I moved away to college, my mom called my favorite roommate in the apartment and arranged to send her a package with a mouse and 20 brown bags with dates on them. On the morning of December 1st, I woke up to find a tiny mouse and a brown bag on my TV. Wow- I am totally crying right now! I cried then too. It was the perfect little touch of home- something much needed that year especially. I remember feeling so loved and reassured. (That was the semester that I got walking pneumonia because I had 21 credits, a job that started at 4 in the morning, a missionary I was waiting for, and a fairly active social life.) This is something she did every year I was away from home before I got married because she is the best mom ever and she loves me!!!! When I got married, she made a calendar of my own for my mouse to live in. It has a cute little sailboat all covered in holly so that the mouse can sail away to the North Pole every night. I tried to get Emma excited about it this year- but she is still too young. I was sad. Sometimes Ross (I mean, the mouse) will leave little presents in it for me.

24. Up early or sleeping in? Up early!!!

25. Who hands out the gifts? It depends on which house we end up at. This year Ross will probably hand all of mine to me.

26. Does Santa wrap your gifts? He didn't when we were growing up, but he will for my family. He wraps things in white tissue paper so that we can see which ones are from him under the tree.

27. Do you tell the Christmas story? I own 106 Nativity sets. . . I will let that speak for itself.

28. Do you leave cookies for Santa? Yes. Well, last year I think we left brownies. They were still there when we woke up, so Ross ate them while we were waiting for breakfast.

Fuzzy's Name

I have been very secretive about the name of our new little addition because I have been scared (OK, maybe even paranoid) that someone close to me would steal the name, and that would have made me very sad (and possibly terribly angry depending on the intensity of my pregnancy hormones at the time). Now that I am about seven weeks away from having my little girl, and no one close to me is pregnant with a girl, I feel secure in sharing the name with anyone who cares to know. I have a few reasons for being so picky about the names of my children. The main reason is that I HATED having such a common name growing up. I feel that my name is too ordinary for such an extraordinary person :) No- seriously there has always been another Amanda Jones at every school I have ever gone too. Amanda also has no inner meaning to either of my parents except for the fact that they both liked the name. I decided a long timed ago that my kids would have unique names that reflected something personal about their parents. I have always wanted them to be able to draw strength and meaning from their names.

First, let me share how we ended up choosing our name for Emma. I had always wanted to name a little girl Emma ever since I read Jane Austen's book- I really relate to Miss Woodhouse, and I don't care how many people insist that Pride & Prejudice is the greatest of her books- I find Emma much more believeable. Also, Emma Smith is one of the strongest women I have ever read about. She endured so much, but continually supported her husband. Her gentle strength is something I wanted to give to Emma. This also meant a lot to Ross. His GREATEST hero in life is Joseph Smith. His testimony of Joseph is incredible, and is one of the reasons that I fell in love with him. The name Emma means hard worker- and we wanted to give her a middle name that would balance that out. Roses are beautiful and delicate- we want Emma to work with all her might, and yet retain a gentle femininity.

Our new little girl will be Sara Belle. Sara in the bible is the epitomy of the power of women. She helped her husband be who he was and establish what he established. Sarah from "A Little Princess" is one of my favorite literary characters of all time. I love the confidence she had in her father's love- no matter where her current circumstances had placed her. Her loving heart touched so many people and the world she created through the powers of positive thinking have really gotten me through a lot. Belle means beautiful and Sara means princess- and what girl wouldn't want that kind of a title? My only concern with this name is the possible nick-name of Sara-bellum, but as the cerebellum is a part of the brain, I think it would only be given if she is a genius like her mom :)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Festival of Trees

Yesterday Ross and I had an amazing and VERY tiring day walking around the South Towne Expo. Center to see one of my very favorite parts of the Christmas season- the Festival of Trees. I LOVE this event with all my heart. It is always fun to see all the trees- but more than that, I love to read the touching stories behind the trees. Basically, over 700 groups and organizations decorate trees in some intricate fashion- usually to a theme. Some of these are just pretty decorations- but others go all out including furniture, motorcycles, gift certificates, plane tickets, signed jerseys and other sports memoribelia, action figures, and I think we even saw a real ski lift chair. Ross's favorite was a tree that had half BYU and half U of U. Now don't worry- we are still BYU fans through and through- but this display was pretty fantastic. There were 2 four wheelers- one red, one blue, signed jerseys and balls, recliners for each side, season tickets for BYU's basketball season, and next year's football season, and a lot more. Then, in big block wood letters it said Peace and Joy to All. :) My favorite was not nearly as exciting- but it was very very cute. It was actually a little cluster of 5 trees all decorated with bears. Next to them was a 3 foot bear carving and a really nice antique rocking chair. The final touch that won me over was a beautiful bookcase and desk with some cute figurines and classic books.

When all of these trees are on display, the public gets to walk through, and there is something like a silent auction placed for the trees. The minimum amount to bid is $500 but some of these displays go for more than $50,000. All the proceeds from this event go to the Primary Children's Medical Center, so a lot of the trees are donated and purchased by people whose lives have been touched by something that has happened at the hospital. This makes for a very sweet spirit of love and devotion.

I was a little worried to go there with Ross because I was afraid that this would not really be his kind of thing. I got even more worried when we realized that we had forgotten to switch the stroller from his car to mine, and we were looking forward to walking through the whole thing carrying Emma. I figured that if he really hated it, we could just leave early. While walking around and seeing all the pictures of the people the trees were dedicated to, I found myself getting really emotional. I figured this was due mostly to my pregnancy hormones finding a good excuse to make me cry, so I didn't say anything about it. A few minutes later I was really surprised to look over and see Ross with tears in his eyes. He pointed out that Emma kept pointing into the air and saying "Baby! Baby!". I figured she was pointing to other babies there- something she does all the time now that she knows that a baby is coming to our house soon. Ross said that he was pretty sure she was seeing the beautiful spirits of some of the babies that were in these touching stories because she really was pointing into the air. This was just the first of a few VERY touching experiences that day- mostly for Ross. I will leave those for him to tell though- they are kind of personal. Let me just say that the Church is true, and we are so very grateful for the knowldge that we have. The spirit was so strong there, and it was such a wonderful thing to share that with Ross in such a public place. It was truly a beautiful way to get the Spirit of Christmas into our hearts. We went home feeling humbled and blessed and so grateful for each other. I love Ross- he is such an amazing husband and father and his heart is so tender and pure.

We have decided that next year we will be donating a tree to the festival. I think I am going to do a 12 days of Christmas theme (700 trees, and there was not even 1 with that theme this year). If anyone has any ideas for me, or if they would like to donate decorations or money to go towards decorations, let me know.