And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Operation Relocation - Day 9: Sunday 07/01

OH MY GOSH!!! Our last day of the trip!  Only 6 hours in the car and then we are done, no more driving.  Oh the sensational happiness this fills me with.  No more endless entertainment of a 2 year old, no more eating fast food outside because we have a puppy, no more kinks in my neck because I am sleeping sitting up, no more driving!!! YEEHAW!!!

Well before I get ahead of myself, we did have to go swimming before we left per our solemn promise to Dominik the night before.  He just loves to swim with his daddy, and thankfully, TJ loves to swim with him too; leaving me completely out of the picture!  I detest swimming though, so it really works out great for all parties involved!

Once we were swimmed out, we packed up and headed out; did I mention it was our last stretch of driving?  It was a relatively short trip, but since we had already been in the car for 44+ hours up to this point, Dominik was not to thrilled about anymore time in his 5 point harness; who can blame him though?  He actually did relatively well though and when we rolled into Bethesda, MD around 5pm we were all on edge just ready to be out of the car.  We are lucky that we are such a close family with lots of love because I'm pretty sure that a lot of families would not have fared so well! 

As soon as we rolled into Bethesda we checked into out hotel and just let down.  It was nice to actually check into a hotel that we were going to spend more than 12 hours in.

While we still have 9 days in a hotel at least we have no time spent on the road.  Our belongings remain in storage and until we get them (on 07/10) we will be in the hotel.  I do have  to say though that there is something quite nice about hanging a little sign on the door that says "service needed" and they come in and clean your room.  I'm definitely going to need to get me one of those when we move into our house!

Anyways...we feel blessed to have made it here safely, and even more blessed to be able to live in this beautiful part of the country.  While we are still saddened by the fact that we have no family remotely close to us, we are excited for the adventures that lie ahead. 

Operation Relocation - Day 8: Saturday 06/30

Today was a pretty good day.  Not too long in the car, but not one of our shorter trip.  By this point Dominik has about had it in the car and is definitely ready to call it quits.  He now says that everything is "At home," and at one point started crying and said that he wanted to "go home."  It's so sad :(  I agree with him and would turn around in a heartbeat, but I'm pretty sure Navy wouldn't be too happy with us!

The road trip did not go quickly, but it was over soon enough.  We rolled into Kirtland around 5:30pm and promptly checked into the hotel.  We didn't spend too much time in the hotel before we headed over to the Kirtland Temple visitor center in hopes that it wasn't too late to do the tour.  We made it just in time for the last tour and were so excited that we did, because the tour was amazing.  We got to watch a video of the Saints time in Kirtland, followed by a tour of the Newel K. Whitney Store, the Whitney home, and then a tour of the town.  Our tour was cut a bit short by the fact that Dominik had a blow out,  but the part that we did experience was phenomenal.  Much like our time in Independence and Nauvoo, the spirit of the pioneers was strong.  You could literally feel the sacrifice and love that the pioneers dedicated to the lord, and this is almost 200 years later. 

After touring the town we headed over to the temple to look around.  We were too late to take that tour but we were able to walk the grounds though and that will still great.  The temple is so beautiful and TJ and I were in awe the whole time looking at this massive structure the Saints were able to construct in the late 1800's.  It goes to show what you can accomplish with the lord on your side.

Once we were done with tours we headed to Red Lobster for dinner, made a quick stop to lake Eerie, and then back to the hotel.  Dominik really wanted to go swimming once we got back to the hotel but it was 9pm and TJ and I thought it was a bit too late.  Although we did solemnly swear to Dominik that we would take him swimming before we left in the morning.  Then it was off to bed!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Operation Relocation - Day 7: Friday 06/29

So remember yesterday how I mentioned all the we were ready to get started and on our way out of the hotel it was like a Mayfly war zone.  Crunch, crunch, crunch all the way to the was so nasty!  They really do have a 24 hour lifespan...I hate these bugs!!!

Today is going to be a good day!  Another day in Nauvoo with the Papenfuss' and hopefully a session at the restored Nauvoo Temple.

The day starts off with a carriage ride around the historic Nauvoo where we got to hear all the cool insider stories and see all the behind the scenes stuff.  Dominik absolutely loved being pulled by horses and had a blast playing with Carly and Sydney who was in the seat right in front of us.  The ride took about an hour and then it was off to the ox rides.  This was much different and only lasted ten minutes or so.  It was basically an opportunity to get a feel for how the pioneers rode across the plains.  After the ox ride we took a wagon ride that was again pulled by horses.  This one was took more of a spiritual tone and was all about cool experiences that the early saints had while in Nauvoo.  We went through a lot of forested areas and along the Mississippi River.  It was special to hear all about the trials and triumphs that the early saints had that you don't get to hear on a regular basis.

After all the livestock rides we headed over to the blacksmiths to get our infamous Nauvoo bricks.  these are special bricks that represent how homes were built in Nauvoo.  Apparently if you go to Nauvoo, getting a brick is a must.  Once we had our brick securely in hand we headed over to do the rest of the tours.  This entailed getting our ring from the blacksmiths, a tour of the tin shop, the Scovil Bakery, John Taylor's home (or should I say great-great-great-great-great grandpa's house), and the Seventies Hall.  Each home had such a presence about it and a powerful spirit.  Most of these homes were built with such sacrifice only to be abandoned less than a year later to move west and avoid persecution.  Most of the houses were just representations of what the home was like back in the 19th century, but they all had little treasures donated by families that were actual artifacts from the early saints. 

Once again we had to head home to put Dominik down for a nap, but this one was quick.  As soon as he was up (perhaps with a little coaxing from TJ and I) we headed back into Nauvoo to do a temple session.  Since Dominik, Carly, and Sydney were too young to go into the Temple, TJ decided to stay out and watch the kids across the street in the Family Arrival Center.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love him!  The Temple inside was AMAZING!!!  The outside is a direct replica of the temple the early saints built but the inside was built just like a regular LDS temple.  Such a powerful spirit that must have been brought by the saints.  Dillon was able to go through for his second time and it was great to get to be near his sweet spirit!  What an AMAZING experience.  The only thing that could have made it better would be it TJ could have gone through with us!

When we were all rejoined back together we quickly got some pizza at a local pizzeria and then hit up the world famous (famous if you have been to Nauvoo) Annie's Custard.  TJ and I shared the lemon custard and it was out of this world!  Oh...My...Gosh!!!  It was amazing!  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

For our final event in Nauvoo we went to the Rendezvous is Old Nauvoo musical production put on by the older couple missionaries.  It was a great musical and a fun way to end the trip...On a side note, the night before we attended the Sunset over the Mississippi variety show and while there a lady sitting in front of us turned around twice and "SHHHHHED" Dominik and Sydney who were dancing and singing along to the music.  Well when we were in line waiting for the Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo guess who was right behind us in line!  It was so funny!  And how ironic that she was forced to sit right in front of us during the musical!  Despite my pride and irritation from the evening prior I did actually try to keep Dominik extra quiet during the production :) 

The lady sitting in the middle was the Shoosher :) so funny!
When the play was finished we said our goodbyes to the Papenfuss' and parted ways.  Tomorrows adventure holds a 10 hour road trip and more church history in Kirtland, Ohio.  Over-and-out!

Operation Relocation - Day 6: Thursday 06/28

Okay so today has been one of my favorite days on the trip thus far.  Not because we have seen cooler stuff then in days past, but we only had to drive 1 1/2 hours!  It is so refreshing to be able to say that you made it a little closer to your destination, but not have to spend much time at all in the car!  We ended up leaving the hotel around 9 but not before we drove through the Mark Twain town and saw the original white picket fence that the tricky Tom Sawyer paid his neighbor friends to paint for him! 

Once we left Hannibal we met up with my Aunt Laurie and Uncle Barry with their 5 kids at the Carthage Jail in Carthage Illinois.  Pretty crazy that they were there right!  We didn't even plan it that way; in fact, we only talked about two days prior when we were in Utah! 

At Carthage we went on the tour of the Carthage Jail and saw remnants and artifacts of the actual Jail.  It's crazy to think that we walked on the same floor and through the same door as the prophet himself!  We even saw the window that He fell out of when he was Martyred.  We were also able to see the place that TJ's great-great-great-great-great Grandfather John Taylor was hidden after he was shot in the hip in order to spare his life.  The place has such a reverent spirit about it and just like at Liberty Jail, actually being in the Jail and seeing where Joesph Smith was at the time he was martyred puts a whole new perspective on things.  I'm so glad that we were able to do this tour!

After Carthage we headed straight to Nauvoo, IL.  It was there that the saints established a city in order to be free of persecution; they even built a temple!  The original city and temple no longer stand, but parts of various buildings remained and the rest of the city was restored to give a semi-representation of what life was like and looked like in the days of the early saints.

We arrived in Nauvoo around 11 and we headed straight to the Community of Christs section of the city which entailed the Joesph Smith Jr., Hyrum Smith, and Emma Smith tombstone along with Joesph Smith Sr., Lucy Mack Smith, and a few of Joesph and Emma's children's tombstones.  We were able to tour Lucy Mack Smith's home and get a run through of what life was like to a homemaker during those times; Daniel even passed off his textile merit badge for his eagle scout when "Lucy Mack Smith" showed him how to turn wool into thread and then into a sweater.  After Lucy Mack Smiths house we hit up the Red Brick Store.  At this point in the day Dominik was ready for a nap and was running rampant through the store.  Definitely not appropriate for the type of store we were in either.  TJ and I parted ways with the Papenfuss' and went and check into our hotel with plans to meet back up with them as soon as he woke up.

Our hotel was definitely a step up from our lovely stay at the Hannibal Inn, Hannibal.  I love Comfort Inns!  Lovely beds that you don't have to be afraid of being eaten by bed bugs, and not one homeless person in sight :)  Dominik took a quick nap and then it was straight back to Nauvoo.  By the time we got back we were able to take a tour of the gunsmith shop/house and then we went and watched the Sunset over the Mississippi in the LDS visitor center.  It was a fun variety show that the kids had a blast dancing and singing along to. 

Our hotel was just across the border in Iowa

When the show was over we decided to hit up the Trail of Hope which is the trail the Saints took when they were leaving Nauvoo and heading west.  From the start of the trail all the way to the Mississippi River there is actual journal accounts that you can read about how the Saints felt about leaving their homes.  When we were walking the trail it was 98 degrees with 80% humidity; I felt like I was sweating from every pour!  When the saints walked the trail on their way west it was freezing cold and very snowy!  Two extreme temperatures; neither one is very suitable for walking.

80% humidity is better than hair gel apparently

TJ caught a firefly (lightning bug) in a jar :)  so cool!
After the Trail of Hope we called it a night and headed home.  On our drive home TJ and I were AMAZED with how many Mayflies were out.  I hear their lifespan is only 24 hours but they are crazy!  There is almost a million of them around every light in the city and they are EVERYWHERE!  TJ kept telling me not to be bothered by them because they don't bite, but they were obnoxious none-the-less! 

Looks like snow; but's Mayflies...
Luckily tomorrow is an all day Nauvoo day too; this translates to NO time in the car!!!! Just the ticket after the seemingly endless spans we have spent in the car thus far!