Sunday, April 17, 2011

A GREAT surprise!

First off I need to say I have the greatest husband...last Monday, April 4th Kent surprised me by telling me that he and I were heading down to Utah Wednesday, April 6th morning until Sunday, April 10th. He had made all the arrangements for the kids to be taken care of. Our 3 kids went to Kent's Mom's house up in Innisfail. Izabella went to respite care in Calgary to a lady we knew and Buddy went to a couples house from our ward. I was SO shocked that he did all this! I was THRILLED as I was wanting to go see my parents so badly on their mission. It had been 8 months since they had left and since I had seen them. Plus, I wanted to see my sister Emily and her family as it had been 8 months since we had last seen them as well...I was having MAJOR family withdrawal!!

We wanted to keep it a surprise from my parents and just show up at the Church Office Buildings in Salt Lake City where they are serving their mission. So my sister Emily and her husband came up with a plan to make it all happen. They called my parents and told them they wanted to meet up for lunch on Thursday, April 7th. They arranged what time they would meet up with them and parents had NO clue it was really going to be just Kent and I showing up to see them. 

 Back track a bit...
We took our kids up to Deb's house Tuesday evening and got them all settled. The boys were so happy as they were getting to miss 3 days of school ha ha. They were bummed that they weren't getting to go with us though...I felt bad about that, but money wise this is what needed to happen this time. 

We took Buddy into Airdrie where he was going to stay. I was worried he wasn't going to want to come home as the place he was going to had 2 other big dogs there for him to play with. He was one happy boy when he got out of the van and was greeted by 2 friends :)

Kent and I went home that evening to a VERY quiet house and finished packing and getting ready to leave early the next morning. It was such an exciting feeling...almost like a little kid Christmas morning. I couldn't wait to see my parents and surprise them. We got up the next and took Bella into Calgary to where she was going to be staying and then we were off to Utah. 

When we hit Lethbridge I looked at Kent and freaked out as I realized I had forgot my camera....NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I couldn't believe it...I was SO ticked off at myself!! *sigh* 

Wednesday evening...
We arrived at my sister Emily's house around 8:30 p.m. It was so windy there, which meant a storm was coming in. Of course there was LOL that is just our luck. Going to Utah we were hoping for warmth (unlike what we have at home) but it seems we brought it down with us as it snow heavy wet snow the WHOLE TIME we were there...I was not happy!! 

Emily was working so we were greeted by her husband Mark and their 5 kids. We haven't seen them all since last August and so we were really excited to see them. Their 3 oldest kids Max (13 1/2), Elizabeth (12) and Korhman (10) have all grown so much taller since we last saw them...I couldn't get over it! Their 2 youngest boys Calvin (5) and Nathan (almost 4) are growing up as well and we had a lot of fun playing with them and spending time with them all. 

Every time we go down there we say how we wish we could live closer to them. I think we would really like it down there...but it just isn't possible.  They live in the neatest community, so pretty. The houses are spread out and so nice.

Mark, Kent and I went out Wednesday after we unloaded our stuff and went to eat at one of our favorite places down there called Batos. It is a Mexican restaurant and it is OHHHH SOOOO GOOD!! The portions are HUGE and very filling. We went and got Emily a salad that she asked for and took it up to her work. Emily is a nurse. It was fun to go see where she works and see her briefly. She was working the night shift.
Emily and Mark had arranged with Mom and Dad to meet up with them for lunch in the cafeteria in the Church Office Building down town Salt Lake on Temple Square at 12:30 p.m. When we arrived on Temple Square I was taken back by ALL the flowers and the beautiful blossoming trees that were everywhere. Ahhhh, so THIS is what Spring is like :)

Temple Square
When we walked in the gates on Temple Square the flowers were breath taking and you could smell them so strongly. It was so beautiful there! I have to say it was W-I-N-D-Y there as well as there was a storm coming in. BUT, at least when we first arrived at Temple Square it was nice out and we got to walk around and see the beauty of it all.
Seeing all of this made me take a deep breath and was awesome!
Temple Square is such a pretty, peaceful place. I envy my parents as this is where they get to sit and have lunch when they can. They live very close by and so they walk most days. How awesome is that :)

I love this picture that my Mom took.

My favorite thing at Temple Square were these breath taking Japanese Apple Blossom Trees. They were so pretty! 

It was nice to walk through Temple Square with Kent. Through out our trip I would constantly feel like we had forgotten something or we were missing something...our kids LOL! It felt so strange without them, but we enjoyed our time together just the two of us while we could.
My missionary parents Elder and Sister Holt on Temple Square. They are so happy there! It makes my heart SO happy to see them so happy and enjoying life there. 

This is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Office Building where my parents serve their mission in Salt Lake City.

 They serve in the Translation Dept. There are over 92 different languages in the church and more to come. They are very busy trying to get things done in all these different languages so ALL can hear the gospel.

Kent and I arrived 20 minutes early to the church office building so I thought let's try to see if we can get upstairs onto the Translation Dept Floor where they work. We went over and talked to these 2 ladies sitting at the information desk and explained who we were and that we had come all the way form Canada to surprise my parents that are serving their mission there. They were just as excited to make the surprise happen as we were ha was so fun! It is quite the process to get up there. You have to get a tag with your picture on it and get an ok to go up. They called upstairs to make sure there were such people called Elder and Sister Holt and that they were there. We were able to get out tags made and security let us go up. 

We were SO excited that we were getting to do this as this is how I had envisioned surprising them. My heart was racing as I couldn't wait to see them. We got off the elevator and had no clue where to go. This older man was there when we got off the elevator and asked where we were going (as we looked lost) and he directed us where to go. As we walked away he asked who we were looking for and we told him Elder and Sister Holt and he said, 

"oh, those are my people, have fun!"

When we found their office cubicle and I could see my Mom sitting facing her computer (so she had her back to me) and Dad wasn't there. I walked up behind her and put my hand on her shoulder. Mom looked at my hand and then slowly turned and looked at me. It was the funniest reaction as it took her a second to react as she was so shocked she said...but once she realized it was me she let out this loud squeal. It was so, so perfect and so fun! We both had tears as we were so happy to see each other. 

Mom took this picture with her camera since I didn't have mine. This is right in her cubicle minutes after we surprised her.

Mom went around and introduced us to everyone that was there on the Translation Dept. floor. Dad finally came around the corner and he was shocked to see us as well. Funny how I am 35 years old and I can still miss my parents so much and NEED to see them and be with that a bad thing?? I don't think so! It was awesome to get to hug them and see them so happy. 

They showed us all the different views of downtown Salt Lake City from there floor...beautiful and you can see so much! She pointed out where the prophet lives (which is right across the street). I was taken back that he lived so close, but it makes sense that he does. 
So, when I saw this picture I realized how much my Mom and I really do look made me laugh, cause I never could see it before. I have always been told I look a lot like her and now I can see it. When Mom introduced me as her daughter to a Missionary down in the cafeteria he said,

"uh, ya that is kind of obvious you look a lot alike." 

Mom said sorry to me and I laughed as I take it as a compliment. I love my Mom and if I can be like her in anyway then I am good with that :)

The cafeteria was packed with so many people...all workers in the church office building. It amazed me to think that all these people (and that is not even close to how many people there are that work there) help run the church and make things possible. The food was wonderful and we were stuffed by the time we were done. 

The tour...
My parents have special clearance/passes to be able to go places not everyone can go. We saw things most members will never get to see...and all I can say is, AMAZING!! We got to go in all the under ground tunnels that connect all the church buildings. My parents have special clearance and passes so every time we got stopped by security to check us out they would show them their passes and all was good. It was nerve racking when we would get questions LOL!

Seriously, I couldn't get over the how clean EVERYTHING was...and I mean EVERYTHING. Walking in the tunnels there was wires neatly organized and up out of the way and ducts and NONE of them had a spec of dust on them. The cement in the under ground parking where the apostles and everyone parks was could eat off of it...I kid you not! Mom said that they have a Zamboni like machine that is constantly cleaning in there.  It amazed me!

 Conference Center... 

Kent and I have never been to conference down in Utah. So therefore we have never been inside where they hold conference either. Usually once conference is over they dismantle and take down ALL the seats from behind the pulpit all the way back to the choir seats...did you know that? I had NO CLUE they could do that. They set up a stage there for other things that happen in there I guess.
 Walking up to the pulpit and seeing it so up close and personal was amazing. Looking out over the pulpit and seeing that view was so cool. Standing in front of the prophets chair where him and his counselors sit and all the apostles was truly so neat. Kent was going to sit in the prophets chair, but I wouldn't let him for fear an alarm or something would go off ha ha ha...silly I know!
Our Prophet Thomas S. Monson sitting in his chair at Conference.

It was so, so neat to be standing up at the pulpit looking over everything and seeing all the behind the scenes.
President Henry B. Eyring, our Prophet Thomas S. Monson and President Dieter F. Uchdorf

This is the view from the highest seats. It is HUGE in there! Our goal is to take the boys to conference one day in neat that would be :)
This is the main service provider room that makes all the languages go out to all the different countries for the church. Kent and I are standing in front of all the different languages...each language has its own provider thing that was flashing away behind us with the language name on it.

This is where all the booths are for all the different languages that the church has in it. There is 92 different languages and each one has at least 4 or more volunteers that come each conference time to help translate the language they are to do. They are all screened very carefully and have to have the proper dialect, temple recommends etc. My parents just beamed as they walked us around talking about the people they work with there...they love them and you could hear it in their voices and feel it!

More booths, different languages
I am in awe of the work that is done behind the scenes. Listening to my parents tell us everything they do and how things are done was awesome. I could feel the love and passion they have for their mission and all the people they work with.

By the time we were done the tour my feet had had it as I was wearing boots...not the smartest things to be walking all day in. Ya, let's just say I was not thinking about comfort and what we would be doing that day LOL! For 2 days after that I had shin splints OUCH!!
I found this map online so you could kind of get a feel of ALL we saw and did and where things were at compared to other things on you know what I was talking about. 

We sat for a long time in the room where there are pictures hanging on the wall of all the apostles who have passed away. I starred at Elder James E. Faust's picture for a long time as I loved when he spoke in Conference. He had such a nice smile. It was so peaceful in there. 
 James E. Faust

"Everybody in this life has their challenges and difficulties. That is part of our mortal test. The reason for some of these trials cannot be readily understood except on the basis of faith and hope because there is often a larger purpose which we do not always understand. Peace comes through hope."
James E. Faust

To be honest I didn't want to leave that place. I wanted someone to bring me my kids and then we would stay there forever. I didn't want all that I was feeling to go away. Being there and seeing all we saw, just reaffirmed all that I know to be true.
 Elder and Sister Holt and I

I admire all that my parents are doing and experiencing.This trip has opened up my eyes to so much. I feel like I have gotten that spiritual pick me up that I was needing. So much so that I feel like I am going to burst. My soul feels so happy! 

Brigham Apartments...
 My parents live so close to the Church Office Building where they work each day. They live in the Brigham Apartments and it is a beautiful place to say the least.
 It is a huge place. And it has a swimming pool, hot tub, work out room, family meeting rooms for large groups etc. So cool!
 It is beautiful outside sitting areas as well.

Right next to this apartment building is Brigham Young's family cemetery. It isn't a very big place, but very pretty and so interesting that it is right there.
 Brigham Young's grave has the gate around it.

The funny thing was was that after we had surprised my parents and pulled that off my Mom asked us if we were staying the night there with them. Kent and I looked at each other and laughed as we truly hadn't thought beyond surprising my parents that we hadn't thought ahead. We did stay the night there even though we didn't have anything but what we had on....we didn't care. Thursday night we took my parents out for dinner and had a good time eating and visiting with them. It was so great to just relax and be able to spend good quality time with them and not have to rush. We even slept in every day ha ha! It was awesome :)

Seriously I think I gained like 10 pounds this trip ha ha...but it was all so good! Even though it was a quick trip, it was ALL so worth it.  Seeing my sister and spending time with her and her family was fun. Her and I always have such good talks when we are together. 
This picture of Emily and I is from our visit last Summer. It is a silly one of us, but it is all I have. Em, we need to get a nice picture taken together next time we are together :)

A special thanks to my niece Elizabeth for giving up her bed and her room for us while we were you!

Thanks so much Emily and Mark for helping us make this all happen. You guys are wonderful and we miss you all already!!

We talked to our kids every day and they were having a good time. Thanks again to Debbie for taking such good care of our kids for us while we were gone. And to Kent's sister Sheri for helping out with them.  



Lynn said...

oh man! I just LOVE how spontaneous Kent was in doing all of this for you. I must be having that time of the month, cause this post also had me in tears. lol

It takes me back to when D and I surprised his parents when they were on their mission down there. It is SO true. The feelings there are amazing!! And the cleanliness of it all is even more outstanding!

I can't wait to go back there someday soon. It's like a second home to me, since my dad was born and raised there. Every time I get to truly feels like going home.

So glad you had this time away without the kids and all that your life has brought you lately. Now you feel energized ; D

Barb Stanford said...

Yes Lynn, it definitely did give me the spiritual pick me up I was SO needing. Kent is a really spontaneous person and that is one of the things I love about him as it is always so fun. So if your Dad is from there are you a dual citizen? My Mom is as her Mom is from Idaho. I am thinking I may look into getting mine as well as it would be neat to have :)

Gayla Woolf Holt said...

So loved loved loved the surprise visit from you guys!
Sorry the weather was not nice but we still enjoyed being with you.
Thanks for coming and seeing what we are doing and where we live. Next time we will take you to more places to see stuff.