21 December 2009

it's the best time of the year

the weekend in utah was phenomenal.

the only downside is that we really only got to do and see the tip of the iceberg of things we wanted to do and see. home always leaves us wanting more. still, we loved every bit of it. here is a glimpse of our goings-on.

jeremy and dan enjoying the classic hot chocolate (with whipped cream from a can) at dee's. everyone thinks they are brothers. they only wish they were. i guess it's the year of the beard. i am happy jer has a cute wife to chat with while these two discuss life in law school and the snow reports for hours on end. there have been about a billion mugs of 'cho' drunken over the years by dan and company in those booths. it's nice to know some things are a constant.

speaking of which. spending the better half of the day with dan's grandparents was a highlight. i am always enriched by the words they say, the advice they give, and the simple way they live their lives. every time we leave their cozy home, i want to write down everything they just said. their words are like gold. grandma bernice is still very much running her own home, baking her own from-scratch caramel brownies, and taking care of her husband. she never lets us leave without enjoying a meal on her dining room table, complete with quilted placemats. there is never a meal served without a bowl of sherbet offered. i love love love this about grandparents.

we spent saturday night and sunday morn hustling about on the plaza of Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. the displays are always spectacular. this year luminaries with holiday messages in varied languages were lined up by the hundreds.

a collection of nativities are featured downtown. i am especially taken with the origami camel. it is always a delight to view the many artistic ways to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

walking the downtown streets after church. i kept singing city sidewalks, even stoplights... without really finishing the rest of the songs. it still felt very merry. someday i am sure i will miss the over the shoulder photo ops with benji bear.

the Beehive House. all decked out. i love when architecture reminds me of a time when ladies wore hoops and a fancy christmas ball would've been held and top hats might've been worn. the beautiful wreaths and front garland have me swooning. the addition of the fruit on the gate, along with the pineapple - as a sign of welcome - made me smile.

speaking of which. i was all smiles to hold baby miles. my brother pete popped in just in time for me to get some itty bitty baby love in with my newest nephew. i point to benji, who looks gigantic comparatively, and tell pete, only one year. enjoy every minute. give them a year and they have a whole new bag of tricks. little do these baby cousins know, they'll be best of buds for the rest of their lives. too bad i couldn't catch a photo of them together, as they decided to have bff meltdowns simultaneously.

there's a tree in the grand hotel. this building, built in 1911, used to be known as The Hotel Utah in the heart of Salt Lake City, where grandma bernice used to sway the nights away on the rooftop dance floor. now it is known as the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. it is preserved beautifully, with fancy touches everywhere you look. it's a fun place to stop in and look around, watch a movie and a enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants inside.

how cute is this pair?! mom, here is your christmas card for next year. these two are always such a cheery sight to see, i might think them mr. and mrs. claus in disguise. the older i get the more sentimental i am about my family. my teenage self never thought i'd turn into a piping pot of mush when thinking about the important people in life.

the classic family photo. i was more than happy for benji to take a sunday snooze in the lobby, after the church choir performance while i sauntered around snapping photos. i think carrying (and remembering about) my camera helps me see my surroundings more intently, the world more curiously and people-watch a bit more excitedly. it is like going on a bear hunt for a great photo. p.s. a dear blog friend made benji's cowboy blanket for us when he was born. we seem unable to leave the house without it. thank you for continuing to be so rad. i have loved receiving your christmas cards and wish i could send ours to more of you. i'll be featuring the typical christmas card post later this week.


home sweet home. the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be on your own front door. we made it back in time to unpack the goodies and watch The Family Man, a favorite during the holiday season. mom you were right; benji is getting two new molars for christmas. hopefully santa has something more fun in mind. we are counting down the days, but it seems to be going so fast. christmas is almost here! am loving this season with darlings to wrap my arms around. enjoy the last minute wrap-ups and the running about and the lounging around and the trips to the busy supermarket. hope the reason for the season is still in the frontal lobe. i am shifting my focus this week to what this is all really about.

not pictured. dan's parents whipping up a pancake breakfast of champions for us. meeting the oldest nephew's fiancé who will be a perfect addition. touring new homes and meeting new babes. playing with wooden christmas trains. my mom's house looking like santa's workshop with her toys and puppets all set up for benji's arrival. his main goal was to rifle through her cookie sheets. whit and i squealing and exchanging gifts while our husbands tease us for our syrupy sappiness. and i completely forgot the camera when we went out on the town in the freezing cold for the twinkle lights, the anthro latte bowls, the on sale corduroys at jcrew and the best jeans ever at banana. not to mention our smushed selves on a midnight train ride. it was the beginnings of a very merry christmas.


J, K, L, and D said...

What fantastic photos! I am more in the Christmas spirit now. Thanks so much for sharing.

And I agree with you about becoming mushy as you get older. But I think it's appropriate, and sweet even more.

Merry Christmas!

anna jo said...

I'm so sad I missed you guys, but can't wait for 2010's festivities. and I can't wait for little benji and sweet baby miles to be bff for reals. cutest thing ever!

ps: I've come to the conclusion that my little boy looks like a brute in most pictures. so tough and tumble, ready to knock your block off if you mess with him or his loved ones. (I think it's that stare + the clenched fist combo) he needs to flash that grin more often when the shutter clicks, 'cause it's dang cute! I love that kid!!

ALFIE said...

marta:: these photos FEEL like christmas!!

hope the rest of your christmas is as merry and bright :)

Johanna said...

have a blessed Christmas Marta! Enjoy your time with your sweet lil family! xox

Eliza said...

Can I say jealous that you got to hold baby Miles?! Because this Auntie of his in Georgia so wishes she could meet her newest nephew too :( And his other baby boy cousin who just celebrated his 1st birthday also wishes he could play and be bff cousins with the lil'man too.

Darn the too many miles between us and Miles. But I'm glad you got to spend a wee bit of time with him and everyone else you love too. Merry Christmas Marta!

summer said...

it sounds (and looks!) so, so magical. a truly happy holiday gathering. and you know, you are absolutely right about the tip of the iceberg feeling. perfectly put.

thanks for great photos and stories, marta. thank you for sharing some of the christmasing with us- it gets me in the mood to celebrate every minute!

ps. how benji does grow. and those jammies are killing me! what a cute package he makes.

the whyte house said...

love the nativity scenes and hotel shots. so pretty. have a wonderful holiday with all the family!

Jenni said...

What a wonderful weekend!!!! The over-the-shoulder shot of Benji is ADORABLE!!!!!!

brooke said...

I love hot cho at Dee's and it wouldn't be Christmas without The Family Man.

I love everytime you post about Bernice. I want to be just like that at her age.

I love the JSMB. I had my wedding reception there at Christmas time and it always makes me so happy to visit this time of year!

Melissa A said...

Love the mug mustaches. I'm just finishing up with my own Merry Mix for the holidays. Thanks for the great ideas Marta and Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family.

Travelin'Oma said...

For some reason I missed this post! Love it!

Quelly said...

I marked this to come back to and today I sat down to clean up my back log of "come-back-to" sites and was scrolling through it wondering what it was that made me thumb-tack this entry and then I saw sweet Benji in his daddy's arms all wrapped up in the cowboy blanket and then I remembered! I was so tickled/thrilled to see him all nuzzled up in it!

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