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.