Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas and the Piano

This was an epic Christmas, that is for sure. It was pretty much perfect and I marvel at the fact that I was able to do all the things that I wanted to do. We went Christmas caroling to our neighbors, delivered a handmade gift, sent off my Christmas cards (a miraculous feat), and decorated the house with Christmas eclat. Well, at least my kids thought it was pretty fabulous. 

On Christmas Eve, Rinar asked me to take the kids and leave in the morning so he could get my surprise here in a timely manner. I took them to the children's museum in Lehi and came back promptly at 12, just like he asked. His mom decided to spend the week with us, so in the interim time the surprise was delivered and he picked her up. 

When I got home, I announced myself and then went into the living room. There it was, a grand piano. And not just any grand piano. Nope. It was a Steinway!  Holy moly. He really went all out this year. But the most shocking part for me was when Melody Brown peered around the corner. Melody is one of the 5 Browns, part of a dynamic sibling piano playing quintet. What in the world? She then shared her musical gifts with our family and played a few songs on the new piano. One of the songs was "My Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music. It was incredible. She is a Steinway artist, so I guess when you buy a Steinway, this is one of the perks of the purchase.

We visited for a while and her husband took pictures of us together. This piano was used in a performance by the 5 Browns this summer at the Draper Amphitheater. If you look inside the piano, they all signed it. It was also a birthday present for Linda to have this private concert with her. Linda had seen her perform live at Tuacahn and now here she was, in our living room.

After Melody left, the kids made gingerbread houses with grandma while I finished up last minute errands for Christmas.

Too cute.

And on Christmas Eve, we ate pork burritos and had a birthday cake for Linda. I think she liked it.

This is what our Christmas looked like this year.

And the kids patiently wait, eagerly anticipating the gifts Santa brought.

We decided to get all the boys a Nintendo 3Ds. I am not sure if I am going to regret this decision, but it sure has been much loved over the past few days, without a doubt. Julia wanted an Elsa doll and Noelle got a cuddly little doll also.

After we opened presents and ate lunch, we headed over to the Draper Rehab center to do a Christmas program for the residents. Linda was able to participate with us, which was a blessing. We left Noelle home to nap with my sister and her husband. That was also super nice to be able to do. Zach wasn't able to go because he lost his voice and was just not feeling very well. Over all, he was not too sick, but at that moment he was probably at his worst.

The Christmas program was lovely and it was nice to be able to do service on Christmas Day. I was really grateful that we could have the kids do that.

Sunday was another spectacular day. We decided to do the same program for our neighbors. I really wanted to do something for them as a way for everyone to get to know each other better and to create more solidarity on our street. I was happy with the turnout. It was kind of last minute.  But you can see, the room was full!

Rinar told me right before our guests arrived that one of our neighbors was going to bring some friends. I was like, uh, okay. Whatever. You can see the "friends" in the very back row. We sang and played and did our stuff. I finished off the program with "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and then was like, thanks for coming everyone. That's it.

But then Rinar stepped in and said there was an encore performance. What? I knew nothing about this. Then he introduced Josh Wright and his wife Lindsey. Josh is a world-renowned pianist and another  Steinway artist. You can find his stuff on Youtube, especially this song where he plays on two pianos. He also was on America's Got Talent. First they played a couple of piano duets and then he proceeded to play a slew of songs. It was breathtaking. And the best part was that we could share this with our neighbors. Everyone seemed to enjoy it immensely. It was just one of those super-cool moments in life I don't ever want to forget.

Of course, Rinar made sure we had a Sharpie, and had them both sign our piano as well. 

This is probably my best Christmas yet. How could you ever top this, right? Merry Christmas everyone.

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