We gave Hallie her birthday gift a little early and we didn’t hear any complaints! (Except from Hunter who wanted his birthday gifts early!!) She’s turning 12 in a few weeks so I took her up to Utah to watch general conference (or as our kids put it – church on TV) in person and to spend time with her cousin and my parents. We told her just a few days before we were going and she was more than willing to leave all her brothers behind for a long weekend.

LDS General Conference Weekend

I surprised Steve’s sister at my nephew’s football games. Surprises are the best. I was waiting in her seat when she returned from the bathroom and she looked right at me before recognizing it was me.

LDS General Conference Weekend

It was conference weekend so our plans revolved around watching/listening to conference, but we managed to squeeze in a lot between sessions. The girls made treats and managed to complete a couple sewing projects, they are just about the cutest cousins together.

LDS General Conference Weekend

The boys were occupied Saturday night with their Priesthood session of conference so we set out to find curtains for my mom, go out to dinner and hit an outdoor mall. I’m pretty sure these girls could’ve spent hours at Bath and Body Works. What is it with this age loving that store? I distinctly remember going with my best friend when we were young trying every spray and every lotion – walking out smelling like an awful fruit basket. I also remember my first lotion was Sun-Ripened Raspberry, the second one I purchased was Juniper breeze. To this day, those smells take me back!

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

Sunday morning we got up bright and early and made our way to Salt Lake. My parents had never attended conference there and I had only been one time before when I was dating Steve. Hallie has made a couple visits to temple square, but this was totally new. It was the best of both worlds for me. I got to experience this with my parents and I got to bring my only daughter along. It was a special day.

LDS General Conference Weekend

It was announced just days before that Elder Hales would not be in attendance and that President Monson would also not be in attendance. I was pretty disappointed. I wanted Hallie to feel the presence of the prophet in the same room as her – the same way I had years before. Instead, I reminded her that she was in the presence of the apostles, which she would see as prophets in her lifetime.

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

In between the morning and afternoon session, we stayed on temple square. We heard the news that Elder Hales had passed away as we prepared to enter for the afternoon session. It was a tender session to witness as they opened sharing news of his passing and then the last talk of the day also spoke of him. I have to believe his fellow apostles were mourning his death as they sat on the stand – where he once sat with them.

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

My dad had the special opportunity to meet up with his old mission companion as well as someone he had taught while serving in England. It was fun to sit in the old tabernacle after the second session and hear stories from them as they compared details. By afternoon, the drizzly morning weather had moved on and we were left with beautiful blue skies and moderately warm weather – but coming from Arizona I’m probably not the best judge of ¬†weather because 75 seems cool at this point!

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

Hallie and her cousin have had these matching pajama bottoms for two years – they have about grown out of them and they’re both a little sad about giving them up.

LDS General Conference Weekend

LDS General Conference Weekend

It was a beautiful weekend, so good for the soul. Not only from the messages that we heard, but the people we spent time with. Just what I needed. Steve on the other hand wrestled four boys over the weekend and was left depleted! He needed a vacation from his weekend!

I asked Hallie for her account of the experience.

It was really different being there in person instead of watching it on tv. (even though I was pretty much watching on the big screen the whole time!) While we were walking there, I was anxious and excited. When we got there, there were a couple guys yelling at the mormons with signs. It kind of made me sick to my stomach because I hated to hear them yelling lies about us. But we kept on walking. When we finally got inside, the spirit came over me and it felt like this was all a dream.

But when Dieter F. Uchdorf ¬†stood up to conduct, I knew it was real and I was really seeing the apostles. During our break in-between sessions, we had 4 extra tickets and we give them away to complete strangers. The first 2 people we gave them to were an older couple with missionary name tags. The 2nd couple we gave them to were from Cambodia. We didn’t know this, but they were in Utah for a service mission and they wanted to go to conference. They ended up sitting in the row right behind us and they kept thanking us! (I guess we gave them to the right people!) The second session was just as good. After conference was over we went to the old tabernacle and it seemed so much smaller. (even though the new one is only 3x bigger)

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