Friday, August 31, 2012

Separated and Then Reunited

While Abigail, Karolyn, and I were visiting and playing all week, my sweet husband was working. He was grading examination after examination after examination. It was pretty mindless work and was pretty boring. He lucked out, though, and did not have to share his room with anyone. This opened up lots of possibilities for him. He called me and invited Abigail and I to come and stay with him in Salt Lake City for a few days. We accepted. Before we got there, he spent his evenings reading, meeting up with high school friends, and having his little sister come and sleep over one night.

He took her to the Gateway Mall and she really loved the science center.

Funny story: Benjamin purchased Abigail a large soft-plastic parasaurolophus dinosaur when we had gone to the dinosaur park. She had lost it somewhere at Grandma's house and we could not find it before we had to leave to go visit Katie's family. Abby was so sad about losing her dinosaur. After we left, they found it hidden under grandpa's pillow. Denali brought it with her when she stayed the night in Salt Lake. Then they strategically placed it on the pillow of one of the beds before Denali left with her sister Jenny the next morning. When we arrived at the hotel and went in to the room, she was ecstatic. She still, months later, talks about when the parasaurolophus found her and snuck in to her room in Salt Lake City.

It was a Thursday when we said goodbye to Karolyn and to Kristy and her family. I drove to downtown Salt Lake and picked up Benjamin from the conference center. We had been invited to dinner at my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Leigh's house and we headed there. Our summer trip did not coincide with family reunions on either side of the family and there were lots of family members that we did not see while on this trip. I was so glad that we were able to see these two. They provided us with a delicious dinner and it was fun to catch up on their large and growing family. Abigail enjoyed playing with the toys and puzzles that were set out for their grandchildren. We impressed to learn of all the things that they were doing. They put on a summer camp for their children once a week and they taught science and other fun subjects. They also volunteer giving tours at the Temple Square Conference Center. Uncle Leigh keeps busy by auditing classes at the local university. That is the way to live. I also got to look through some of Aunt Nancy's scrapbooks. She is a thorough and great record keeper. Our visit was short, but we were so glad to see them.

Then it was on to the hotel. I won't complain about sleeping on a real bed for a few nights, not that air mattresses aren't convenient nor that we hadn't been well taken care of at every house we visited, it was just nice to sleep on a soft mattress.

Benjamin had to go to work the next day, so Abigail and I decided to explore Salt Lake City. I had not been there in several years and was impressed by all of the beautiful improvements to the downtown area. We saw the new City Creek mall and were impressed. We also walked to the Gateway mall.
Abravanal Hall

She was hesitant at first to get wet at the splash pad and contented herself with watching the other children.

She soon got into it.

Daddy met us at Macaroni Grill (OH SO GOOD!) just as we were finishing our lunch.

I love that they let you color on the table there. So did Abigail.
 After lunch we went to the General Conference center hoping to get a tour from my aunt Nancy. Success! She was second in the queue and the other volunteer generously let her go first. It is a beautiful and impressive building.
This is a picture of us up on the roof of the conference center. Amazing. She said that the main reason they made the roof so beautiful was so that the residents nearby (in high rise apartments/condos) would not have to look out on to an ugly, humongous roof for the rest lives.

This is the only picture that I have of my aunt giving us the tour. Abby took it.
Small Mormon World Moment (our 2nd this trip): There were two other families on our tour. One was a couple with one small child and another was a woman with several young adults. We found out that the latter were from Kentucky and that the teenagers know and are friends with my seminary students...and....that they had heard of me. Wow! We both happened to be visiting Utah at the same time for different reasons and out of all the tours and all the days, we ended up on the same one.

After our tour we went back to the hotel room to rest. I had an appointment to meet with a mission friend at 4 p.m. and I wanted to sleep until then. I got back to the room, however, and the pool bug bit me. We rushed into our swimsuits and then spent an hour in the hotel pool. I do love being in water. Bee had a lot of fun swimming around by herself with her floaties on.

Then it was rush rush rush to get dressed and ready. We walked to the church history museum where we met up with Rebecca Hinkle, one of my mission companions. She had her three children with her and we took them to the new children's museum part. It was a lot of fun and the children happily played for an hour. The only problem was that they all wanted to play different things and be in different rooms at the same time. We couldn't talk very much as we were constantly trying to monitor where the little ones were as they hopped from room to room. It was still great to see her.

 We met Benjamin at Temple Square after work and Abigail had her first real visit. We walked through many of the buildings and saw the new scale model of the Salt Lake Temple, it was amazing. The temple grounds were beautiful and the landscaping was nice. I enjoyed being there as I have not been in a little while. We, of course, walked up the ramp to see the statue of Christ. The spirit is always so strong in this room and it reminds me of what my goals are and how much I love my Savior.

Abigail was fascinated and wanted to take pictures. She looked so cute.

Here are two of the pictures that she took.

I love the angle of this one.

The two loves of my life in front of the Salt Lake Temple. Benjamin was able to visit there for the first time during one of his free nights. I had been before for a session and also for several temple weddings/sealings.
Here is a picture of the iconic organ inside of the tabernacle.
It was a busy day in the city and we enjoyed ourselves. We were so glad that his roommate had not shown and that we got to have a small family vacation to ourselves as part of our large family vacation. I'd probably never turn down a free night in a nice hotel.

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