Thursday, March 26, 2009

Part two of Valentines Day 2009

What is Valentine's day without a cute stuffed animal and sweet baby holding it? Mom and Dad know about this and so after our family was done viewing the Temple open house in Draper, we went to Applebee's for a late lunch. All of us together were quite a site. I think Kristi took this picture and the next few with my camera and I edited them.

We had a yummy meal and then afterwards, the gift giving began. Mom is known for her love of giving gifts during most holidays. This valentines day was no exception. First, the frosted cupcakes that she made were passed out. Then the gift bags of candy and little valentines that were filled out for each grandchild and even us adults were handed out. Lastly, cute stuffed animals for the kids were passed around so that they could choose one. Obviously, Malia loved her animal of choice. Gotta love the next picture!

Cousins! L-R: Morgan, Sydney and McKenzie. Sydney was being silly that day and wouldn't let me get a good picture of her.
The classic McKenzie picture- doesn't she look older/wiser than 8?
Micah- loving every minute with his new dog.
Morgan- surprise!
Our table was so colorful with pink, red and white things all around! What a sight!
Finally Kristi got in a picture while Mom took this one with my camera. What a good ending to a great time spent with family!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Valentines Day 2009 (part one)

My brother Randy was able to get a bunch of tickets for the Draper Temple open house on Valentines Day. We thought it was a great way to spend the day! We had to be at a certain church to catch a shuttle up to the temple. There were atleast four different churches set apart as shuttle bases.

Here is our group waiting to board the shuttle (so we thought). Closest to farthest: Kristi, Ryan, Dallin, Tyler, Linda, Will, Richard (standing), Alina, one of Alina's nieces, Randy, Katie.

Another group shot. Clostest to farthest: Kristi, Ryan, Sydney holding Dallin, Tyler, Linda, Richard, McKenzie, Randy Katie and Micah (with the stroller).

This one is looking the other direction down the line. Closest to farthest: Micah, Malia (the blur), Katie, Randy, McKenzie being held by Katie's sister Megan- fresh from her mission, Morgan being held by Alina (Will's wife), Niece of Alina(?), Will holding Alina's nephew (?). Alina and Will were watching their niece and nephew that weekend. They were great to have along.

Earlier I mentioned that we thought were were waiting to load the bus. We must have waited for about 45 minutes. That wasn't the case as we were led to another room to watch a 10 minute video about the temple that explained the things we were going to see. It was a good video. THEN, we were led to another room for a few minutes to wait. After that we waited in the foyer for the bus to come. That took about 5 minutes.

The bus ride was fun for Dallin since it was his first time. It was so full that many had to stand. It was interesting listening to the different conversations on the way up. Especially as we got closer to the temple. There are so many huge houses in the neighborhood and many of them are for sale now. It was reasuring to hear others talk about how extravagant the big houses were and that most people can't afford them unless both the husband and the wife worked well paying jobs. I'm glad I don't live in such a house.

The bus stopped at a covered awning that turned out to be a long, covered walkway that had heaters running. It led all of the way to the side doors of the temple. That was such a nice ammenity because it was raining and windy that day. When we entered the temple, we were told to talk in soft whispers and that the rest of the tour was going to consist of us following the marked path through the different rooms.

It was very quiet except the sound of many footsteps shuffling in the line and a few toddlers that were tired. The carpeting was covered by a temporary carpet layed over plywood sheets on the original carpet. As we went along, Dallin was sooo good and enjoyed looking around. Some people were smart and brought umbrella strollers (like Randy). Luckily, Dallin had Ryan, Tyler, Sydney and I to hold him. It was good to be in the temple together as a family with our extended family. That is one of the main reasons we have temples. To unite us all as a big family.

When we got to the Celestial Room, which is the biggest, prettiest room, Dallin said "Wow, what's that?" He really paid attention in that room and Sydney and Tyler also loved it. We loved the huge chandelier hanging from the extra tall ceiling that was rounded at the top. It is the tallest celestial room I have ever been in and the chandelier was the biggest/ longest I've ever seen. I failed to mention the walls that were in the endowment rooms were painted in huge murials that went all around the walls. Those were very well done.

When we were done touring the temple, we were led out the front doors and into another covered tunnel leading next door to a church building. At the church, the gym was decorated in many different displays explaining our beliefs. There were also refreshments (cookies) and bottled water to enjoy. Missionaries were available to ask questions. It was a nice break for the kids who had been so quiet for so long (in their church clothes) and by that time were hungry for lunch. We exited out into the covered waiting area to wait for our bus. That took quite a while because a bus had broken down and they had to take care of that matter.

Other busses arrived, but they were going to different church buildings, not ours. We were the "red" group and there were three other groups. We watched as others around us left, but we couldn't. Good thing the cousins had each other to play with. They were a little rowdy/giggly, but who could blame them after having cookies for lunch and being so good for so long. We still had a special time together. My feelings as I was going through the temple surprised me. I didn't feel the same level of the Spirit as when I go to a temple already dedicated to the Lord. It does feel different. I hope to be able to go back someday soon after it is dedicated and enjoy the fullness of the spirit.

This temple was the first one that I have watched through the whole process. Indeed, I have observed the whole city over the past 20 years go through a remarkable change. My Aunt and Uncle live nearby in Sandy and I remember going to church with them and their 6 kids. The big "joke" back then was when the locals said, you can live in heaven (meaning Sandy) or you can live in Draper. Draper back then was known for the cow smells from the dairy farms and there wasn't much in the way of nicer buildings. You would exit off the freeway and drive through the run down places to get to the new, beautiful homes on the east bench which was the edge of Sandy, UT. As I grew up, I saw the transformation of prosperity run down the benches, into Draper. It became a little metropolis with many restaurants and upscale stores. The dairy farms were eventually pushed out. Even bigger homes were built up into the far east canyon and then they went up the south mountain face where the Temple is now located.

When the temple was announced for Draper, I thought of my extended family on the east bench that go to the temple at least once a week for baptisms and initiatories. They used to have to travel to the Jordan River Temple which is about 20 minutes from their house. Then, after the temple was being built, I went twice to take pictures of the progress. That is how I got the first photo you see. Now, I was able to go with my family to the open house. Today my two oldest kids and I were able to get special recommends that allow us to go to the dedication next Sunday. I can't wait to take them to see the culmination of the work put into the building. Then it will be the Lord's house.