Thursday, February 3, 2011

Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa (part 2)

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

I told you on my first post about our Christmas visit to Grandpa and Grandma's that the second post would be about a surprise.  Well, for a week or two before Christmas I had known "something" was going on.  Then, the Monday night we were at Grandma's we had to pack enough stuff for an overnight stay...somewhere.  Tuesday morning we had a really yummy breakfast and then we relaxed for a little bit before we piled into our cars and headed for...Maryland.  After a little bit of driving we arrived at the National Harbor, MD Gaylord Hotel.  I still had no idea what we were going to do at a hotel! :)  After some debate, we went and parked our cars in the nearby parking decks.

We then carried all of our stuff down some escalators, across a street and finally into the hotel!  As Grandma went to check on the status of our rooms we sat down in the gorgeous lobby.

  Isn't it beautiful?  There were Christmas decorations everywhere and everything was gorgeous!

Since it would be about an hour until we got our rooms we went and explored for a little bit! 

 'Manda and Hannah by a Christmas tree.

We went down the escalators to the shopping/restaurant area (a.k.a. the atrium) and just took everything in!  There were real trees and plants - it was the nicest hotel I've ever been in!

Lydia was a little scared and was a big place for such a little person! :)

In the middle of the atrium were some beautiful fountains that spurted and changed colors with the lights beneath them!  Later that night, they synced with some Christmas music being played.  It was so beautiful!

Lydia and Lexi posing in front of some of the beautiful landscaping (this is all inside still)!!

 Close to the fountains was a little train that you could buy tickets for and ride on.  Lydia was enthralled with it so Grandma bought her and Lexi a ticket to ride!

 Grandma coming with the tickets!!!

Lydia waiting for her turn.

Above the train ride was a huge synthetic glass Christmas tree.  I saw something about it being the biggest synthetic glass Christmas tree that exists currently; it was pretty neat!

(Left) Diana, my cousin,
Hannah (right).

After some time of waiting Lydia and Lexi finally got on the train ride and went around, around, and around!  

After the train ride we decided to go back up to the lobby and see what the status of our rooms was. 

Eden and Lydia by a statue of the Grinch.  (The Grinch will come into the story later!)

Going up the escalators!  (They were lots of fun!)

When we got back to the lobby, the rooms were not ready yet so we went and looked at a crystal shop that was in the hotel.

 Daddy asked one of the ladies working there if they could open up the glass barriers between the crystal figurines so I could get some better pictures and they said yes!  These figures were actually very small but thanks to my  handy-dandy micro lens capturing them was no problem!  Aren't they  beautiful?

Also in the shop was a really pretty glass block that was laser engraved so when light hit the square it would shine in different colors!  It was really neat!

This picture doesn't do justice to how pretty the "spinning cube" was!

Anyone want to guess how much this spinning piece of glass cost?
Yep - two hundred and forty nine thousand dollars!!  Isn't that crazy?

Anyways, as we were looking around the shop we were called and found out that one of our rooms was ready!

Going up the elevator (I love everyone's faces in this picture!) to the 7th floor.

The girls' room!
(Our room was the first one available so everyone camped out in our room for a bit!)

The rooms were really pretty (this may sound weird, but the bathroom was really, really cool)!  We had 4 rooms altogether and they were all beside each other.  Daddy, Mama and some of the little ones had a room connected to ours so we could go "visit" them when we wanted.  Out the doors you see in the above picture was a little balcony that gave you a nice view of the atrium:

Eden peeking over the edge.

It was a little dizzying being up so high and seeing all these little people below you!  At night the atrium was so beautiful (pictures further along)!
Judah and Diana.

After a little more relaxation we walked across the street to the other surprise Grandma had waiting for us:  ICE! at the Gaylord National.  ICE! is a place where you go and view lots and lots of masterly crafted ice sculptures.  Some of the best ice sculptors in the world help chip, form, and dye the ice into different shapes and colors.  The theme for ICE! this year was the Grinch and everything else that went along with him. 

When we got there we stood in a line for a little bit.

Judah all bundled up!
It was a bit cold outside and we had to dress up really warm for the sub-freezing temperatures we would be experiencing once we reached the ice sculptures.

Uncle Greg and Stephen waiting in the sun that helped warm us up a bit! :)

This is where all the ice sculptures were held, along with an ice skating ring, store, Peeps tree, and more!

Mama enjoying her little guy!


We eventually went from a stand-still in line to moving quickly and getting inside the ICE! tent.

 Inside the tent!

Grandma had already bought the tickets to ICE! so we just kept walking!  Before we could get to the ice sculptures we had to walk through aisles that were lined with information and artwork from Dr. Seuss.  I don't know much about Dr. Seuss (other than that he wrote some weird books; one entitled Green Eggs and Ham ;) so the information was slightly interesting.

Lydia was so sleepy (the ICE! show was during her usual nap time) so she got to rest on Aunt Amy's shoulder!

Hannah and 'Manda.

 Judah went from the above, to the below, within a few minutes of Daddy holding him.
So sweet!

After around an hour of walking through all the Dr. Seuss stuff we were nearing the end of the line and the entrance to the ice sculptures! :)

As we were heading for the ice sculptures we had to put on these heavy blue overcoats.  I actually thought I was going to get hot because I had a huge coat on and to add another heavy, thick coat was (or so I thought).  I turned out to be very wrong!  It was absolutely freezing in the rooms with the ice sculptures!

After donning our matching blue coats we posed for some pictures and then we entered through the doors to the ICE! exhibit.  We were then told not to touch, lick, sit on (basically have no contact with) the ICE! sculptures and allowed to enter the room.  The first thing that met us was a blast of freezing cold wind. 

And we immediately turned to ice.

Just kidding!

Anyways, when I say it was freezing I'm not joking.  They keep the air "heated" to 9 degrees Fahrenheit.  Like I said...ffffreezing.

Hannah and 'Manda inside the ICE! exhibit!  (The clear blocks behind them are ice, FYI.)

Uncle Greg by a sculptured Grinch.

Walking through the ICE! exhibits.

Looking at some ice.

Now remember, as you look at these photos, the majority of everything is made out! :)  It's amazing, isn't it?

Daddy, Judah, and the grinch.Dad did not have a blue coat...Hot Blooded:)


Under an ice archway.
(It was really hard to not touch the was so pretty and smooth!)

An ice pole alongside some stairs. 
When you reached the top of the stairs you would turn to your right (or left, as the case may be) to slide down the ice slides!!

You heard slides!  (The ice slides were the only pieces of ice you were allowed to touch!)

Let's just say that ICE! was packed. :)

 Hannah and Diana waiting to get on the ice slides.

More ice sculptures.

Any part of your body that wasn't covered was really cold!

Uncle Greg going down one of the ice slides!

The ice slides were slippery, cold and fun!

Lexi and Seth going through an ice archway.
(The ice Lexi and Seth are by in the picture was actually lit up in different colors but the flash took that away. :( )

 (I've never seen a movie (or read a book) about the Grinch and his guys, so I'm not sure who these "people" are but if you know who they are - great! :)

As we neared the end of the spectacular ICE! exhibit we entered another room that displayed something I wasn't thinking I'd sculptures of shepherds, sheep, angels, wise men, Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.  I was really quite shocked that they would have something so overtly Christian in such a public area.  BUT, I was so glad to see it!  There was Christmas music playing and it was just absolutely wonderful!

A shepherd and his sheep.

Eden in front of the manger scene.

Seth by the nativity.
 (You can really see baby Jesus and Mary in this photo.)


Seth and Eden by some more sculptures.

The angel Seth (left photo) is standing by was huge!  It was across from the nativity and was by these two lamp stands.  It was really, really neat!

The nativity scene marked the end of the ICE! exhibit and we then entered a warm shop and eventually made our way out of the shop to the ice skating ring.  Behind the ice skating ring was a huge Peeps tree!  And when I say Peeps I mean the fluffy, marshmallow-like stuff you eat!

Mama had me take this picture principally for my Uncle Sean who loves Peeps!  :)

After we admired and took pictures of the Peeps tree we met up with everyone and went outside.  We had thought that it was cold outside when we first waited in line before seeing the ICE! exhibit and now the outdoors felt warm!  It was crazy. :)

We then walked over to a nearby restaurant and after waiting some more we ate dinner and then returned to our hotel rooms.

We then put on our bathing suits and went down to the indoor pool where they were showing a movie based on the book The Christmas Carol.  It took us a few floors and a few questions to finally find the pool but we eventually made it!  There was a huge black screen set up with the movie playing and lots of people playing in the pool.  We then hopped into the freezing water.  I'm not kidding, the pool water was cold.  I tried getting into the hot tub but was kicked out, so to make a short story shorter, I went back to our room with Mama, Alexis, and Eden after about 15-30 minutes of trying to not freeze in a pool while watching a movie I could hardly hear.  Meanwhile, we took the wrong elevator or something and walked through the halls of the 7th floor dripping wet until we found our room! :)

It ended up that nobody really stayed at the pool long, so soon everyone was back up in their rooms.  We then relaxed some more while listening to Christmas songs being played in the atrium.  The fountains were spurting along with the rhythm of the music, the lights everywhere were blinking and changing colors with the music and it was just absolutely beautiful!  (They even sprinkled fake snow over the atrium at one point!)

Later that night, when the little ones were in bed, we watched the movie Tangled.  Earlier that day, we had been looking for something good to watch on T.V. but *wonders of all wonders* there was nothing "good" to watch.  BUT, we saw that you could pay $15 and get to watch the movie Tangled without having to leave your room!  Tangled was still in theaters and we had been wanting to see it (Daddy had been reading lots of reviews on it) and, Grandma said yes, so we got to watch it!!  ($15 to watch the movie in your own room was very inexpensive...seeing as theater tickets are around $10-15 each!)

Tangled was absolutely hilarious, cute, wonderful and all-around a great movie!!  We can't wait til it comes out on DVD so we can buy it!  It's one of those hilarious movies that doesn't use profanity or other stuff to make it funny; it is funny by itself.  You'll have to see it to know what I mean.  (If you haven't seen it yet, rent it when it comes out on DVD! You will laugh yourself silly and enjoy yourself the entire's great. :) My Dad works the "smolder" on my mom quite often now....yeah it doesn't work on her either:)

Anyways, by the time the movie was over it was around 11 P.M. so we quickly fell asleep.  The next morning in our room (Hannah, Alexis, Amanda, Diana, and I shared a room) we woke up to this loud banging on our door.  One of the hotel staff was knocking on our door and wouldn't quit!  I was hoping that the knocking would eventually go away but Hannah got up (hair all a-frizz and still in her jammies), goes to the door, and as she reaches for the handle the door opens!  It happened to be a lady checking to see if we'd left the room yet.  Since we, obviously, hadn't left she apologized for waking us up and went on our way.  Meanwhile, we were already awake from the knockings, so Alexis and I got up ('Manda and Diana slept right through it!) and got ready for another day.

After everyone woke up, we packed everything up and left the beautiful Gaylord Hotel.  Before driving back to Grandpa and Grandma's house we stopped at an IHOP for a yummy breakfast.  Then we got in our cars and returned to Grandma and Grandpa's house. (Uncle Greg, Aunt Amy and my cousins, Amanda, Diana and Stephen went to their house after a brief goodbye at Grandma's house.) 

Later that afternoon, while Josiah, Lydia, and Judah were asleep we went to the theaters and watched The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (we had some free tickets from a previous year's Christmas).  They only had the movie in 3-D that day which was disappointing.  Anyways, the movie was okay but not as good as the first one (in my opinion).  [The 3-D glasses had a weird affect on my eyes too.  I'd be trying to focus on the screen and my eyes would constantly be watering making it really hard for me to see.  Has anyone else had that problem?]

After the movie was over we went back to Grandma's house, ate dinner and said goodbye, thus ending our wonderful Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma!

Delighting in Jesus,
Kimber :)

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