Monday, February 27, 2017

a day with spence

another day, more fun in utah, with our friend spencer who also served his mission in perth many years ago. upon picking us up and asking us what we would like to do, i replied - more temples! i haven't seen enough of them yet! (funnily enough after posting these pictures, my friend kelly wrote, "some people travel and go on a pub crawl. not our jade, she goes on a temple crawl!" haha) so off we went to the draper temple, set up on a hill in a beautiful neighbourhood with some really amazing houses!

this one did not disappoint and i loved my few (because it was snowing and so bitterly cold!) minutes that we spent going around the outside of the grounds and taking some pics. i am in camera heaven here and madeline is having the time of her life with all these temples around!

our next stop was scheels, a huge sporting goods store that we have driven past numerous times since we arrived. lisa had mentioned that there was a ferris wheel inside, so while it snowed outside, we thought we would check it out! oh. my. gosh. it was the biggest store ever. so much to look at! we, of course, went on the ferris wheel first, while spencer kindly took some pictures of us and madeline seriously looked like she had won the lottery!

huge aquariums in store...

and a giant mountain in the upstairs area, complete with every stuffed (as in taxidermy, not soft toys) animal under the sun. wow wow wow!

there was even a stuffed bear that madeline decided she and spencer needed a photo with. what a store. i totally need to bring doug here one day. he would be in sporting good heaven!

out the front with an nfl player. just for daddy.

spencer and i. it was awesome to be able to spend the day with him and catch up. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

sunday in utah!

what an experience today was! church in utah? check!

we had a wonderful morning at one of the cottonwood heights wards with tara and her family. relief society was a bit full on in comparison to what i'm used to in back home in australia (some rather graphic recounts of the suffering of their pioneer ancestors!) but i was delightful all the same. 

after church we headed over to the hedges house for lunch and to hang out, where i spent most of my time in an in depth conversation with lauren and aspen about temples... madeline was having the time of her life on the staircase being moana on the side of her boat. my heart was in my mouth most of the afternoon watching her antics, not going to lie! 

lisa and the kdis came and collected us in time for dinner and we headed off to the amussens, where we spent some time with her parents, and her twin and boyfriend. it's been so long since i've seen them all and there was so much laughing and fun to be had.

with my favourite twins! ♥

and madeline with her favourite twins

last time we saw michelle was when madeline was just a baby and we took this gorgeous picture (at the top) of them together. today i decided to take the same one and it was totally worth it. oh the memories!

i am loving spending time with friends here and i am going to be so sad when it comes to an end... if only we weren't so far away!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

a day with the stocksdales

todays adventures in utah consisted of a day with the delightful stocksdale family... we became family to brandon whilst he was serving his mission in perth, many moons ago and we have kept in touch through it all, so it was a given that i needed to see him and his cute little family while on my travels. he picked madeline and i up early in the morning, then took us to his house where we met his sweet wife sarah and adorable little girl elizabeth (ellie) before heading out to show us some of the local sights.

first up we went to byu, because let's be honest, what's a trip to utah without seeing byu... that place is huge - and amazing, and everything american colleges are made out to be... with huge stores on campus, cafes (yes i know australian universities have them too, but this was different) and it was just super cool. i was well impressed,,, especially so when after 10 (or maybe even more) minutes of looking, at a mountain covered in white snow, i finally managed to make out the white concrete y. check!

we did a drive by of the provo temple, also a must see, seeing as it's the one my brothers went through prior to serving their missions in italy all those years ago ♥

and a longer stop off at the provo city centre temple... that place is amazing!!! oh my word. built from the old tabernacle after it was destroyed by fire... it was a sight to behold - and even more beautiful in the snow!

a m a z i n g !

we also went for a stroll (not a hike, thank goodness as i still can barely breathe here and i think i would have died!) out to a lovely frozen over waterfall called bridal veil falls in the provo mountains. it was gorgeous and i loved it! 

especially the rushing river to one side which i had to drag maddie back from numerous times. no fear that child i swear it!

up the top right of the falls there are ruins from what was originally a restaurant (was struck by lightning and burned down years ago), which could be accessed by a cable car, i'm so sad it's not there anymore, it looked amazing! 

what a view. i am so madly in love with utah!

stocks and miss ellie

and sarah with madeline ♥

and me with the stocksdales! at long long last ♥

we also went up the road that leads to the sundance resort where the sundance film festival is held each year. that was awesome. we went as far up as we could... which equated to as far as the road had been plowed haha. the snow on the trees and the snow falling and the mountains and the view... i am obsessed with this place!

snow taller than me thanks to the plows! 

this all looks like something out of a fairytale... i don't know how i am going to leave. 

another picture perfect view!

we spent the evening recalling tales from years ago and laughing our heads off at things that have changed... and things that never will. how grateful i am for friends that become family... and for friendship that you can pick up again after so many years apart ♥

Friday, February 24, 2017

salt lake city!

there are not enough words to describe everything i felt today while finally being able to be in salt lake city and getting a chance to look at the temple and everything around it. after surprising tara at lunch with her daughters, what else could there possibly be to do, than head off into temple square together, as we always dreamed of doing, to have a look. we started in the joseph smith memorial building (formerly the hotel utah) and headed into the lobby.

what a beautiful building! even the edging in the foyer, all done in gold with beehives, blew me away!

not to mention this gorgeous chandelier! 

and the joseph smith statue. madeline instantly recognised who he was and wanted to have her picture taken with him. what a sweet girl i have!

up to the top floor we went, where the restaurants are... and huge windows, perfect for my first proper view of the temple. from wayyy up high, allowing me to get a good look at the whole thing at once. nothing, not any of the thousands of pictures i have seen of it over the years, could have possibly prepared me for the sheer size of it. it is just absolutely incredible! i feel so lucky to be here and to be able to have this experience. someone pinch me please!

from there we went out into the square, to have a look around. it is so perfectly done, so beautifully finished... and i just wanted to spend the entire day walking around and looking at it. i could have spent hours and hours in temple square quite happily.

another joseph smith statue, this one within temple square.

view from the south visitors centre

inside the tabernacle. think that looks familiar? yep. it's the organ on the front of our hymn books!

the north visitors centre was a wonderful experience for me. for years i have seen pictures of the christus in the temple square visitors centre, but obviously had no idea just how big it was... or where it is. to reach it, you walk up a walkway that spirals around until you reach the top and walk into where he stands. it is so so beautiful, the entire room had a huge domed ceiling with the entire thing painted with the sky, stars and universe all around. it was breathtaking. with beautiful music playing and such an inspiring backdrop, it's somewhere you could spend time and find peace with yourself and your father in heaven.

across the road to the conference centre. wow again. seeing general conference via a broadcast truly can't prepare you for the size of that building either. it was incredible!

with all the artwork in the entire place being originals, it's easy to see that the church has so much pride in this building. it's truly worthy of being used for the lords prophets to speak to us.

here we have it. the stand used for the choir during conference

and the view from the front to one side showing just how big the building is! it is the largest theatre auditorium in the world!

on one of the floors there is an area where all of the paintings that are used to illustrate the book of mormon hang. this was especially cool for me to see. paintings that i am so familiar with, originals! right in front of my very eyes!

my favourite one, the stripling warriors.

near the end of the tour, our guide stopped in front of this statue and started to tell the story of joseph smiths version to us. my little madeline jumped in "joseph smith went to the woods to pray, to ask heavenly father what to do. then heavenly father and jesus appeared to him and he said, this is my beloved son, hear him!" oh my goodness, my mother heart was so full hearing her know the story and being able to tell it to someone without missing a beat. i am so grateful to be able to raise her in the gospel!

on the top floor facing the temple is a sculpture of the savior. facing toward him are busts of all the presidents of the church. what a beautiful sight!

what a day, with so much emotion to finally be here and experience the sights that show a physical representation of the faith of the members of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. i felt full of the spirit and right at home. it was a wonderful feeling and a perfect day! ♥