If you are keeping up, I went to Washington last August to help my mother set up her nativities in a display at the fair. But the real reason she has been collecting all of these nativities (besides the fact that she really likes them) is for the 'Festival of the Nativity' that they do in December in her city.
There was actually a rumor that they might not do the festival anymore and I can see why. It takes so much work to put it together. However, it is one of the coolest things I have ever seen and I was glad to hear they were still going to put it on. Not only that, Mom invited me to come help set up nativities again. (Really, it is just a fantastic excuse to go visit family, but I like to feel I am somewhat useful as well.) I asked if I could bring along one child since I feel bad hogging all the extended Washington family, and that was acceptable to mom. (To be clear, she would love to have everyone come, but since she is usually the one who pays to fly me there, a limit is good.)
I chose Robyn to come with me. June is a little busy to miss school right now and I needed an older child who could help set things up. Robyn was a great choice. We had a really good time.
She has been on a plane before, but she was so young, she doesn't remember. Going through security was quite the experience. Robyn didn't have to take her shoes off because she is younger, but her boots set off the metal detector, so she ended up shoeless anyway.
I was pulled aside and had my bags opened because I was transporting a rock for Vicki. Grandma Cazier is quite the artist and she had painted this rock to resemble a dog. Super cute. But really big...and heavy. Very heavy. And of course, the rock shows up as a big black spot in my suitcase, so security had to check it out. Even though I told them it was a rock, they seemed a bit startled when they opened up my case to find, indeed, a big rock.
The one guy kind of laughed, but the other (more serious) guard said, "Don't forget to pick up the rock to see if there is anything underneath it." I must look more dangerous than I think. They also threw away my face wash because they thought it was too full and the container wasn't clear. Oh, the joys of traveling by air.
But eventually, Robyn, the rock, and I were all safely on the plane and flying toward Washington. (Probably the rock's first flight as well.)
We had such a good time in WA. We were pampered with yummy food and good company. Robyn spent almost all her time with Miranda. If I ever lost track of her, guaranteed you could find her downstairs watching a show. The first night there, I went to listen to one of my Dad's classes. He teaches institute for the young adults and it is always an enlightening experience to listen to him talk. I always learn something new. Robyn was busy at home watching a movie without me. (Might I add that it was a movie that I had NOT seen and we were planning on watching it together.) Well, Robyn is not one to wait on ceremony. There were movies to be seen and she was busy making sure someone watched them, even if I was absent. (She is nice enough to watch them again with you later on.)
The first full day there we went over and helped set up nativities. I believe mom has around 127 at the moment. (Meaning, there are probably some in the mail as we speak.) There were lots of people helping. Even so, it took a good amount of time to get things set up. It was really coming together. There were white trees all throughout the gymnasium with lamps on many of the tables. The atmosphere was so beautiful and calm.
It was so fun to walk around and see so many different styles of nativities from all around the world. It was such a inspiring place. Pictures just don't do it justice.
We were able to come back two days later when the Festival was running. I made sure to go around and see every nativity. I found two I really liked. There was this one with the detailed wood designs. And I like that Mary is holding Jesus. A friend once told me that she knows Mary would be holding baby Jesus and now I always notice which nativities have them together versus the baby in the manger.
This one was also very beautiful to me. It was like a lamp/plate. It was like a giant platter with a nativity scene, but there was a light behind it as well. So lovely. In another room, I saw the same picture as a painting, so it must be more common than I think. Still awesome.
As much as I loved the nativities, my favorite part of the whole festival was the 'Savior' room. Inside there are pictures of the Savior's life and props and artifacts that go with stories of his ministry. It was amazing. I could have sat in there for hours. I forgot to take pictures because I was so interested in seeing everything inside.
It was so fun to go. I hope they have the festival for many more years. I know it is intense getting it all set up, not to mention taking everything down, but the influence and beauty it can bring to people is immeasurable.
Some other fun things we did while in Washington: We played Caveman Telephone. (You might have a different name for it.) You get papers stapled together; enough for each person to have the same amount as people playing. (Six people would have six papers stapled together.) Then each person writes something on the first page. Everyone passes their paper to the right, reads the words, flips the page over and draws what it says on the first page. After drawing, you pass again. The person looks at the picture, flips the page and writes what they think the picture is about. The next pass is drawing. Eventually your word or phrase comes back to you and you can see how close the pictures and words were to the original. It can be very funny and the illustrations quite hilarious.
In Washington, people can get very detailed with their words. It can get a bit tricky to try and draw what they want, but we always do our best. It leads to a lot of laughs and inside jokes. A favorite one ended up being Dad's original phrase which said something like, A giant man-sized spider is in disguise and trying to make friends with Tim. (I told you they get detailed.) This is what I drew:
I know it is a bit hard to see. The spider is wearing glasses, a mustache, and a hat as his disguise and he is saying, "Hey Tim, I'm new in town. Know any good places to eat?" In case you were wondering, Tim really doesn't like spiders.
While we were visiting, it was Tim's birthday. Great timing. We got him a gift of water speakers.
We also went out for his birthday. We went to Moctezuma's. Delicious, but a bit of a wait. Although since it is the holiday season, there was probably a wait just about anywhere. We waited patiently and took pictures.
Good food comes to those who wait. And a sombrero for this guy. Happy Birthday Tim.
Robyn drew a self-portrait. She looks like a zombie. That must have been before the meal. Now, with a full belly, she is looking much better.
Grandma took her turn in the sombrero. She makes a cute abuela.
We also did a gift exchange while visiting. My mom has a very fun poem where you pick gifts depending on color and often exchange them multiple times. But everyone ends up with the same amount at the end.
I think I did very well. I got some fun stuff. All things I can use.
All too soon, it was time to leave. We enjoyed our time so much. Tim beat me at almost every game we played, but I will even miss that. I will miss the ritz cracker sandwiches for breakfast. Yum...thanks Miranda. I'll even miss fat puppy April. (I didn't get any pictures of her, but she is a lump of furry love.) Thanks Grandma for letting us come. We hope to see you all soon.
Back on the plane, we were headed back to Utah and the rest of the family. Robyn and I agreed that we missed home too. Our flight was really empty on the way back. Oh, and no trouble with security. (I left the rock in WA.)
It was the perfect start to a wonderful holiday season.