My wife had been telling me for a while that she had a surprise planned for me the Monday of the week before Christmas. You have to understand that in our family surprises rein supreme. We try hard to surprise members of the family. This desire for surprises has led to a number of memorable things over the years Since it is Christmas time I will share one family policy that this parent lives by. If you tell me what you want for Christmas without my asking (which is hardly ever) then you won't get it for sure. That policy has really helped over the years to minimize any 'Christmas lists' or asking for certain gifts. Rather the art of surprise is at work and must be used to determine what someone wants or needs. In it's perfect form this happens without them knowing that they wanted it themselves until they moment they unwrap it on Christmas morning or afternoon.
This year my wife was working on a surprise to give me for a special celebration. She had done well. I don't try to figure out surprises because it is no fun to figure out a surprise in advance so when my natural curiosity wants to gear up I simply..."look the other way" or in this case think about something else. ["Look the other way" is a famous quote in our family that comes from the book Henry's Terrible Mistake by Robert Quakenbush--it teaches some good lessons I recommend it to parents.]
She took me to a place that I had never been before it is called the The Gaylord National hotel and convention center in Maryland. It was probably the largest hotel I had ever seen and was really a neat place. She took our family to the ICE! exhibit which is an exhibit of carved ice sculptures--this year celebrating the Grinch that stole Christmas. The ice sculptures were nice--especially the bigger than life size nativity one at the end of the exhibit--but the real attraction for me was the COLD. In order for the sculptures to keep from melting they keep the large room they are in cooled down to 9 degrees. People come dressed in their winter attire and then before you enter the sealed room you are given a very large blue parka and that keeps you warm. However since your face is out in the cold as you walk through the exhibit your face freezes! It was great!
After that we went into the Gaylord National hotel which was huge. Hotel rooms go up several stories on each side and in between are streets from a small town village. But the last part of the surprise was that at 6:15 it started snowing indoors! Lisa knows I love the cold and love the snow. I was thinking I new what the last part of the surprise was going to be, I thought there were going to be Christmas carolers coming down the streets but when it started snowing it was awesome! So I enjoyed the surprise and we had a great time. All the family seemed to enjoy it. Wish you could have been there.