Last Saturday Adam's cousin got married. It turned out to be kind of an all-day event. We went to the sealing in the morning and I watched all of the kids in the waiting room. Then we attended a very nice wedding luncheon at the Cottonwood Grill. Later that evening we went to the couple's wedding reception. At one point, James asked me, "Why did they get married?" I told him because they love each other. He said, "Oh, well then I'm going to marry you next week because I love you." Aww, so sweet.
Ten years ago I spent a semester abroad in London. It was especially lovely to spend the weeks leading up to Christmas in Europe. It was at the London temple distribution center that I discovered the above album by the Mo Tab. It is now one of my favorites and features Christmas songs from around the world (I think mainly Europe though). I love this album because the songs are familiar yet not the kitschy, over-played songs on the radio. Don't get me wrong, I love "White Christmas" and "Jingle Bells" and all of the old favorites but I also wonder why the "continuous Christmas songs station" can't seem to branch out a little and bring out some lesser known carols like "I Saw Three Ships" or "Go, Tell it on the Mountain" or "Ding, Dong Merrily on High" and the like. But I digress. I thought I had lost my CD until yesterday when I found it crammed in the glove box. I immediately inserted it into the car player and was transported back to Europe. I remember vividly listening to the beautiful strains of "The Rocking Carol" as our bus meandered through the streets of Oxford. Joseph, dearest, Joseph mine. Help me cradle the child divine. We will rock you, rock you, rock you. Jesus, Jesus, do not fear, Those who love you will be near.
Later that evening, we went to King's College (pictured below) and listened to the famous boy's choir perform at Evensong (evening Catholic worship service) by candlelight. It was a beautiful and aesthetic experience.One of my favorite memories of Christmastime in London was when I attended a choir concert at St. Martin-in-the-Field (pictured below). This concert was held in the evening by candlelight and was absolutely amazing! The soft glow and flicker of the candles danced and reflected off of the antique walls and ceilings. The voices from the choir filled the room and its tones were impeccable. It was almost magical to be in that setting and to have nearly all of my senses awakened.
It seemed like Christmas in Europe was much more about the music, the community, tradition and less focused on gifts and commercialism. Maybe I was just blinded because of the difference in culture. Even the Mormon church parties were different. I attended the London Stake Christmas concert in which a professional opera singer was hired to perform an aria from "Handel's Messiah." Holy awesome! Speaking of "The Messiah" I just remembered attending a performance in London shortly before Christmas. All of the performers, including the orchestra, were dressed in traditional Baroque costumes. The sounds were so impressive and incomparable! I had the the opportunity to spend the weekend in Germany with two of my flatmates. One of them had been an exchange student in Germany during high school and we flew from London to Frankfurt to spend the weekend with them. We attended their ward Christmas party and it was so neat to sing Christmas carols in German and, once again, listen to professional performers. Later that night, our German host mom sang us carols in German in her home over delicious cakes and desserts. I'm so grateful I was able to experience Christmastime in another culture. One other thing I loved about London--caramel roasted nuts from street vendors. You could literally smell them all the way down the street and they were so warm and tasty on a cold day.
I took James to a free Christmas craft activity at Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago. Santa was there and he really didn't want to sit on his lap. I finally convinced him, or rather, I drug him up there and plopped him on his lap all for a free picture. He was pretty nervous and he kept twitching his eyes. Here is the exchange that took place between James and Santa. Santa: How old are you James? James: Good Santa: How OLD are you James? James: Three Santa: What do you want for Christmas? James: Pausing for quite a while finally says, "Mmmm, rocks." At this point I busted up laughing and Santa looked like he was thinking, "Okay." Finally, Santa says, "What kind of rocks?" James: Um, big rocks. I was laughing so hard. All I could think was that the employees must think my kid is deprived because the most exciting thing he could come up with was rocks. I still don't know where he came up with that because I have never told him that if he's naughty that Santa will bring him rocks/coal. He's a funny kid.
This is James at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. I helped organize an outing for the foreign exchange students in the Boise and Idaho Falls areas. By the way, little kids don't like creepy old jails. In fact, it really freaks them out. James still talks about it. He would cry and say, "Mommy, don't go in there. I don't want to go in there." I must say, I was little creeped out myself. Especially since it was featured on the travel channel as one the most haunted places in America. Note to self, don't do that again. Although, I have to say, it was a learning experience for him. He now somewhat understands what it means when we talk about jail. Not that we talk about it a lot. This picture was taken at an International Holiday Celebration at Boise State. We joined hands with everyone in the room and did a traditional Native American dance. I think James thinks his parents are officially crazy now. He didn't know what to think about the dancing with the wild shouting and yelling but I think he had fun. This is a picture of the first snowfall of the season. James shoveled our entire driveway and walk all by himself. It was awesome! He did a great job, too. And he's only three!
Here are some pics of Ruby while she was in the hospital. They were taken with my phone so they aren't very good. The first picture of James and Ruby is really sweet. James missed Ruby a lot and worried about her a lot too. He wasn't allowed in the hospital due to the Swine Flu epidemic (no one under 14 allowed) and so he didn't get to see her for about a week. We finally just brought him in because we were the only ones in pediatrics. They were so excited to see each other. They just stood and looked at each other and laughed and laughed. It was so cute. It was the happiest I had seen Ruby in a long time. She looked so cute in her little hospital gown--poor little baby. The last picture was taken right after her first surgery. She doesn't have any clothes on because she was burning up with a 103-104 temperature.
I know this is a lame post but now that it's winter I find myself watching a bit more tv.
Some shows I am really enjoying this season are, in no particular order:
1. Modern Family on ABC Wednesday nights. Funny and original. 2. The Office, of course, but doesn't seem as funny this season. 3. Community. I enjoy this one a lot. 4. Parks and Rec. This show has really redeemed itself this season. Much, much better this year. 5. 30 Rock. Love Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. 6. Heroes 7. Biggest Loser 8. Conan 9. I never thought I would say this but I actually enjoy tuning in to the Jay Leno show now and then. 10. House Hunters International 11. Psych. I'm excited for the new season to start in January! 12. Jeopardy
As for James, he's really into Bob the Builder these days. He goes around the house all day singing, "Bob the Builder can we fix it? Bob the Builder! Yes we can! Working together to get the job done." I personally find the show extrememly boring. At least The Wiggles were somewhat entertaining.