Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The rest of the story...

I know that it is beyond later on...but just to continue on. After Nauvoo, we drove to St. Louis to see Mark's sister Sara and her family. Sara, major high fives to you for putting up with all of us for a few days and graciously hosting us in your home. Sara's husband, J, is a resident at a local hospital and works crazy hours. Somehow, we managed to see him while there. In fact, we all went downtown to visit the St. Louis Arch. It is an incredible work of architecture and design. Underneath the Arch, there is a national museum and park. We watched a "vintage" 1960s movie about how it was built. The kids thought that was really weird, but the older people felt right like we were in high school science class. We also took a ride up to the observation deck at the top of the arch. The ride was a strange experience to say the least. You climb into this tiny space capsule thing inside a concrete and steel tunnel. Claustrophobics, BEWARE! Then, you ride up an elevator, ski gondola track thing to the top. There are windows in the capsule so you can watch how quickly you go up inside the tunnel, but no windows to the outside. Once at the top, you can look out the windows to all of the beautiful sights in St. Louis including the Mississippi River. However, you also feel a bit dizzy due to some swaying that takes place. Grandma Dee, Lori, JJ (Sara's little boy), Andrew and Sydney were all ready to head back to the ground shortly after arriving. I'm so glad we went to the top, but I'm not sure I would do it again. Kind of scary!!

My kids loved hanging at Sara's for a few days. JJ and Sydney are pretty close in age. One night, they had a "sleepover", but I'm not sure much sleeping happened. I think I nearly shushed myself to death as midnight became the wee hours of the morning and those two were still awake. Sara's baby, Tyler, is so cute, and a really happy baby. Sara fed us, let us crash hard, do our laundry, and generally just be bums while there. Thanks again, Sara and J!! We are excited to see you this summer.

After we left St. Louis, we drove through Kentucky and West Virginia to arrive home. We made very few stops over the next two days because we were ready to get to our new home. We did go to Mammoth Caves, but were too late to go on a tour inside. We did walk down to the gates though. Definitely, going back there sometime. We also stopped at Tudor's Biscuit World in West Virginia. It is a fast food restaurant that serves breakfast all day. The food was really pretty good. When we first walked in, Josh was checking out the menu, and beginning to feel a bit skeptical about his new home state of WV. His opinions were somewhat solidified when a young lady came up to the front and asked for a "bah-ayg fer mah fer-eyes". (In Western American English this translates to a "bag for my fries".) I wish that I had a camera to capture the look on my son's face. He knew that we weren't in Colorado anymore for sure. After eating, we were packing up to go. Josh had some leftover on his plate, so I asked if he was done. He said, "I think I need a bah-ayg fer mah fer-eyes." We are so proud of how he is acclimating already.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Beautiful Nauvoo

Next stop was at Spring Hill, Missouri, also known as Adam-Ondi-Ahman. It is a beautiful place in the middle of nowhere. We went to a couple of scenic overlooks. There are fields and fields surrounding the area, with groves of trees, small streams, and even ponds throughout the property. This is an important LDS church history site. We took pictures of this tree because it had a weird fruit on it that none of us had ever seen before. We asked one of the missionaries about it while in Nauvoo, and he told us it is called Osage Orange. The fruits are larger than grapefruit, and good for keeping bugs away. If you want to know more about Adam-Ondi-Ahman, go to http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=06f2759235d0c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1
for a great article about the events that took place in Missouri.

Our next destination was the Beautiful City of Nauvoo. We stayed at a great place called Nauvoo Family Inn and Suites. I would highly recommend it. There are not a lot of hotels in the area, but this one was great. We got a great room with a kitchen, three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and could sleep 10. It's perfect for a large family who doesn't plan to spend tons of time in the room as the common spaces are kind of small. There is so much to do in Nauvoo for both adults and children. It is a very family friendly place. Mark, Andrew and I all went into the temple to do Baptisms for the Dead on the afternoon we arrived. Andrew had never been inside the temple before. He was so excited. This was a huge highlight of our entire trip. The Nauvoo Temple is exceptionally busy during the summer months, but in the fall and winter it is very quiet. The workers were so thrilled to have a "youngster" there to do baptisms that they really gave Andrew the royal treatment. He was even given a small tour of areas in the temple that most people don't get to see. It was a really special experience for us.

The next day, Gramma Dee and I went to the temple while Mark walked around town with the kids. I ran into a distant cousin of mine there in the temple. The Flakes are serving a mission in Nauvoo. They wear pioneer clothes and talk to people about what life was like there during the "Mormon" period--the mid 1800s. After the temple, we went to the Visitor's Center and on a horse drawn carriage ride and tour. The kids loved it. The cute missionary "grandpas" who gave the tour were so nice. We really felt the Spirit as he talked to us about many of the early settlers in the area. We took tours of some of the historic homes, and visited the Smith Family Cemetary where Joseph, Emma and Hyrum Smith are buried. The entire city is so picturesque there on the Mississippi River. We only wished we had more time there. We may go back next summer. I really need to finish chronicalling our trip so that I can tell you of our current goings-on here in West Virginia. Stay tuned.