Monday, December 24, 2007

The Big Surprise/Christmas Eve #2

So, for about 3 weeks, we'd known we were going to Utah for Christmas. We swore the Davis' and Tuckers to secrecy. At first, the only person in my familiy who knew we were coming was Jennifer. I felt like I had to tell her so she could plan appropriately - seating, sleeping, food, etc. She was SO excited when I told her! Then, she shared with Taylor because she couldn't contain herself. Which was okay with me. It was her way of sharing the magic secrets of Christmas with him. For a week, it was just the two of them. Then, I heard that Julie wasn't planning on spending the night at Jen's with the rest of the family. That made me so sad. I was really hoping she'd stay and we could all be together for probably the last time ever. So, I called her too. I told he we were coming, but she still said she wasn't going to stay. She was going to miss all the fun we were going to have as siblings and spouses. And, watching ALL of the children the next morning. Again, I was sad. But, she had her reasons. Then, I couldn't take it any longer! I called Angie and told her. Then, she told Kurt. Jennifer told Kevin. The only people in the fam who DIDN'T know were Dad and the rest of the kids. Not even Shane or Colton knew!

The day FINALLY arrived and we were up and out the door at 5 a.m. to head to the airport. Getting through security was fairly easy (especially since I'm finally legal since getting married two years ago!). Our plane took off and we were on our way! We arrived and C said he would stay and get the suitcase and for me to go get the rental car. I walked over to the rental office and then realized I didn't need to go to the counter, I could just go to the car since I was "preferred" (thanks, work). So, I hung out and waited for him. I waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and well, you get the idea...I waited. About 35 minutes went by. Still no Clint. I walked outside looking for him. I went back inside and waited another 10 minutes. Finally, I walked back to the terminal/baggage area. I walked around...couldn't find him. Finally, I saw the missing baggage office. Oh no. I couldn't believe this! How on earth could they lose our one and only small overnight suitcase! I KNEW I should have carried it on! But, it had stuff in it that wouldn't have passed security so I had to check it. I walked in, asked what was going on. The little troll-like goofball behind the desk (okay, it's not his fault, but I had to be livid with someone) was just like "well, it's still in Phoenix." WHAT?!?!?! We had been one of the first people at the airport for that flight! Somehow, it had been left behind (note to self: never be TOO early to the airport if you're checking baggage). He said they would deliver it later that day. I told him that they better or they might as well just put it on another plane and send it right back to Phoenix since we were leaving the very next day! Man, writing this I see how mean I am sometimes! Sorry troll-like person!

Anyhow, we went and got into the car (which also was not the greatest - you call that a FULL size car?) and headed to Wallie's to pick up some things. We called Dad from the road and totally fooled him. We made sure he had already been to Wallie's so we wouldn't run into him there. Then, we went to get Dilly some pickles - the BIGGEST jar ever - and the cheese and salami that Julie was supposed to bring but now wasn't since she and Tanner were way too sick to come (which later they got better and did come so that was good and there was just a lot of salami and cheese left over).

We headed for Jen's and as we were driving down the Bangerter, we started to get raindrops on the windshield. What? There was snow on the ground. It just couldn't rain! It was supposed to be a white Christmas for us! Well, there were only about 164 raindrops and then it stopped. Yeah!!! We saw the new Oquirrh Mountain temple as we headed to Saratoga Springs. It's beautiful and all it is so far is concrete! But, it's still beautiful all the same.

As we headed to Jennifer's, she called us on the cell. She said, "Well, Shane and Colton know now." I asked how and duh, me, I had given the airline her number. Well, they had called to say our baggage had shown up....but Colton had taken the call. He was like "Mom, is Auntie Kristin coming for Christmas?" Jen tried to fibb, but he called her on it and she had to fess up. Shane was standing right there so he now knew too. Cristobal Jalapeno (Jonah) was the only one in the house who didn't know and that was because he was over at his friend's house. We arrived and it was so much like one of those fun Christmas movies where the family comes HOME for Christmas. I loved it. It was fun to see her house all decorated (LOVE your cute pencil tree, Jen!). It was great seeing how she'd fixed up the basement, etc.

She and I were actually in the basement when Dad showed up. When I had been talking with him earlier in the day, I asked him to please be on time so it wouldn't upset her - she was trying so hard to make the event fun and enjoyable and being late would upset her. Well, he actually showed up early! Yeah, Dad! Back up....around 3 pm, Jen and I were sitting on the sofa in the family room talking and looking out the windows. All of a sudden, there was a huge bolt of lightening and then a monstrous clap/bang of thunder! It shook the house! Then, it was as if the heavens opened and all of a sudden there were small snowflakes just floating down from the sky. We watched them increase and increase and soon it was a mini-blizzard outside. Okay, fast Dad arrives and he comes in and sees Clint laying on the sofa. Jen and I are downstairs. He kind of does a double-take and then realizes it's Clint. He's all, "What are you doing here?" C says, "Merry Christmas!" Then I hear him and I go to head up the stairs and he's hauling butt down the stairs. We were all excited! But, I wish I'd gotten to see him when he first came in and saw us both!

So, the snow is getting heavier and heavier. Kevin and Kurt call to say they are on their way. It's one of those movies now where you're just not sure the family is all going to make it. Julie then calls to say Tanner is miraculously better after having a Priesthood blessing and they are on their way too! This is going to be so much fun!

As everyone arrived, it was lots of hugs and smiles. We got the clam chowder started and then everyone worked together to put the platters together. We headed down to the basement where Jen had set a beautiful table with Mom's china (and those pieces she had also been accumulating via eBay). We had one big huge table that sat ALL of us - all 20 of us. It was fantastic! A definite awesome memory.

After dinner, we had our program and there were some tears - Dylan especially. He looked so sad. He suddenly got up and went in the other room. Kurt went in to talk to him. He was missing Nana. We all were. Jen showed a video of Mom's last Christmas. I noticed she was slurring a little. Clint mentioned that it was the first time he'd ever heard her speak. It was nice to see that video because it was her last Christmas and she had a brand new grandbaby she was able to see. Ari was only 15 days old that Christmas Eve. Now...what a beautiful, intelligent little girl she is! Three years old and going on 20!

After the program, we tried to get the kids to bed, but they were all so excited for Santa to come that they just kept talking. Jonah and Dylan were the first to sleep. Oh, I forgot to mention that all of the kids slept in the basement with Grandpa. How fun is that? So, guess who the last ones awake were? Taylor and Ari! Ari kept saying, "I'm not going to close my eyes, Papa! Nope, I'm not gonna close 'em!" Well, then she finally did. It was midnight. Poor Santa! He had to wait a LONG time until he could come to make sure those kiddos were fast asleep! But, I don't think I've ever seen so many presents in one place! There were bikes and trampolines and sleds and all kinds of fun things! He sure knew to bring EVERYONE's presents to Aunt Jen's and Uncle Shane's house! He even intercepted the present that Dad sent to us! He was there a really long time putting everything out. It's a good thing he'd wrapped almost everything already!

Oh, and the suitcase finally showed up around 5 pm. Thank goodness.

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