June 30, 2009

Air and Space

Tuesday morning we went to the National Air and Space Museum. The best part was after the kids walked through the whole space craft section one of the girls asked "when will we see a real rocket?". "Ummm look around." I think that everything was so big that it didn't register. The other thing that was fun was that the kids (and the Dads) got to do a flight simulator of the Wright Brothers plane.

Battle of Bull Run

Today we went to Manassas Virginia to the site of the Battle of Bull Run. The visitor center had one of those relief maps that has lights embedded to show the locations on the map. There was a narration that went with it and it did a great job of explaining the battle and how it changed the civil war. They also had some neat cannons. I went into the gift shop, one of the things that they were selling was a certificate and all the military records on your ancestor who fought in the civil war, so I had them look up my one ancestor that I knew of and all the info will be mailed to me. I am excited to know more about him. There were also a couple of buildings from that time period. The stone house has cannon balls embeded in it. It was a fun place to visit.

June 29, 2009

American History Museum

Today was our first day in Washington D.C. We rode the Metro into town, saw the Washington Monument from the ground, took a tour of the Treasury to see money being made, and then went to the American History Museum. At the museum we saw "The Star Spangled Banner", the ruby slippers, Kermit the frog, a fun exhibit on Transportation and also an exhibit about Abraham Lincoln. It was a great day.

June 28, 2009


Sunday morning we went to church at the Palmyra ward. It was a nice meeting. Then we drove the 1/2 mile down the road to the Sacred Grove. There was a beautiful path to walk along, and we all soaked in the immense reverence of standing in the place where Joseph saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. It was wonderful to walk and quietly talk to my boys about their feelings of the last week. At the end of the trail is a small grove with benches where the kids spread out and sat with paper and pen to record their feelings about the Savior. We all except Hazel) would have been content to just sit in that grove all day and feel Heaven close around us.

We did have to leave though and we walked to the Smith Family homes and took a couple of pictures.

June 27, 2009

Niagara Falls

So here we are nearly 2,000 mile from home and there are somany places that are a mere 100 miles off the path and we know that we probably won't do this again. So it is hard to decide what to see. Kenneth sits and looks at the map and says things like can we pick up some balogna in Lebanon, Pensylvania? It is only 40 more minutes, oh look, it is near Hershey... Wanna take a tour? So on Saturday we were on our way to Palmyra NY and he says "We are driving right past Buffalo. Wanna go to Niagara Falls?" How do you say no to that.
So here are the photos from our little side trip to see the Falls.It was beautiful. The GPS and I made Kenneth take a wrong turn and he made a crazy driving decision and got yelled at by a policeman who was on his cell phone directing traffic. Kenneth admitted to being from Arizona and the policeman let us through! We ran around and saw the falls. We also made our first stop to a gift shop and bought souvineers. The Girls are adding to their charm bracelets, Nate and Kenneth are collecting pins, and Christian and Truman are adding to their magnet collection. Nate broke a glass and almost didn't get a souvineer but the manager girl didn't let me pay for the glass. My overall feeling of the visit is "New York sure is crowded!"

Kirtland Ohio

Today we went to Kirtland, which is the city that the Saints stayed in for 7 years (the longest they were anywhere before Salt Lake City). We stayed in a hotel last night and that meant that breakfast needed to be cold. So we had cold cereal. I will admit that I had a momentary lapse in judgement and bought sugared cereal. So not only did we polish off 3 boxes of cereal in 10 minutes but all the kids were humming with energy. We got to the kirtland visitor center and the tour included a 20 minute video. The kids and kenneth could not abide another movie so Kenneth asked if we could have a tour without the movie and the Missionary had a hard time with that, he really wanted us to see the movie. He said it wasn't possible to tour without the movie. So Kenneth turned to the kids and said "who wnats to go to Niagara Falls?". The kids cheered and were ready to go. What kids wouldn't pick a raging waterfall over history?!? There was another senior missionary couple who saved the day and said they wold take is. It was one of our best tours. They were wonderful.

We saw the Kirtland temple (after our real tour) which the saints built and then had to abandon when they were driven out. It is owned by the Community of Christ Church (who incidentally, also wanted us to watch a movie before we could take a tour, but we didn't and a guide took us on a tour between tours.) It is well preserved, but not a temple in spirit anymore. It was very interesting to the kids and I that to go inside gave us the same kind of feeling as when someone moves and the house is empty. Nostalgia might be a word for it. Like when you remember all the great memories that you once knew there...
Outside the Kirtland Temple (I am having a problem getting the pictures in vertical, sorry)

The temple again.

This is the Whitney Family home. Newel K Whitney is a man I knew little bits about before and I have a great admiration for now. He was truly a man who was willing to give all he had for the cause of truth. The picture below is in the room above his store where the "School of the Prophets" was held.

June 26, 2009

Carthage Jail

This morning we visited Carthage Jail, the site of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. It is a beautiful property like all church properties. The building has been well preserved, to sit in the room is to take a step back into time. The spirit in that room is as if the Prophet Joseph was just there. I would have liked to sit and soak in more of that feeling of love and peace, the affirmation that all he lived for lives on.

Outside the building are numerous monuments with quotes from Joseph Smith. As we were coming out of the building, I saw one with the quote: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father" What a statement to have sealed with his blood. It would be hard to study the gospel and not be overwhelmed with gratitude for the power of that testimony.

View out the window that Joseph Smith fell out of.

The door that Hyrum was shot through, the bullet hole is still there.


Truman and Bekah "riding" a sheep at the yarn spinning demonstration.

Christian tying off the piece of rope that our family made together. The Missionaries running the demonstration did a good job with an analogy between rope making and working together as a family to remain strong.
Here we are making the rope.

Here is Hazel at the privy. I do think she used every bathroom and out house at least one today.

Rebekah "tending" the flock, in pioneer garb.

Hazel also dressed in pioneer clothes.
Abby's turn with the flock.

4 Pioneer Sisters. Plenty of help to run a homestead.

Nate and Hazel "On their way to town".

The kids and I in front of the "Nauvoo House". I think that this is the actual building not a reconstruction.
Our Ox Cart ride. Joseph F. Smith was incharge of the oxen all the way across the plains when he was 7 1/2. Rebekah is that same age and to see her next to the oxen gave me new awe at the great stories about that man.

Before the Ox ride. Notice Rebekah in front of the Ox.

Nate keeping house.

And Nate riding again.

Sunset on the Mississippi

After seeing all that we could in a day we headed back to the campsite for a quick roast of hotdogs over the fire, we headed back to Nauvoo for a pioneer style variety show. The kids got to decorate a paper hat and take an instrument or a flag and march with the missionaries in a parade. The show was really fun. I laughed out loud several times. There was one of the older sister missionaries did a funny recitation of Rindercella, where the first letters of words were mixed up. The moral of the story was something like “If you want to go to a bancy fall and have a prandsome hince lall in fove with you don’t forget to slop your dripper.” (Kenneth just pointed out that he is amazed at how funny many of the acts were without being coarse or tacky. And I agree!)

Truman and Rebekah sideways (sorry) in front of the shoe and boot store.

The shoe forms hanging inside. We learned how to make shoes. I was supprised to discover that shoes weren't made in a left and a right. Then to make them wear more evenly, the wearer would switch which foot they were on daily.

Inside the gunsmith shop. The men went there while us womenfolk went to the school and post office. We were all impressed with the stories about the great faith of families that ran these shops. I will try to make a post with the info.
This is Sydney infront of the Nauvoo Mansion.

The grave stones of Joseph, Emma and Hyrum Smith. And Truman, Syd and Bekah...

Our not so good in the dark photo infront of the statues of Hyrum and Joseph, leaving Nauvoo, on their way to Carthage Jail.
The beautiful Rebuilt Nauvoo Temple.
This picture is also not so good but is important to include because of the following 2 stories. In the morning we went first to the Visitor Center and Hazel made friends with the sister missionary that is to her right in the picture. They talked (or rather Hazel talked and the Sister listened and laughed alot) for a long time, and it was hard to break Hazel away. In the evening as we were walking to the Sunset on the Mississippi, we saw the sister walking and Hazel called out to her and her companion (now wearing pioneer clothes) "Hey you girls look cute! Didn't you wear a blue dress in the morning?" So the missionarys took Hazel over to the table where they were making hats for the parade.
Story 2: We went to see a show for kids and it was put on by the special "Preformance Missionaries" who are all college age and spend 4 months in the summer performing and serving in Nauvoo. So when the show was over Nate wanted to meet the actors. The main girl was Anna-Amanda (played by a tiny 21 year old girl). She asked Nate where he was from and the conversation was like this:
"Where are you from?"
"Mesa arizona"
"Really I am from Tempe, do you know where that is?
"It is near Mesa"
"oh... Can I have your phone number?"

So Nate is in that picture standing next to "Anna-Amanda" who he now thinks about often.

Abby in the Women's Garden, celebrating the many roles of women.
And Sydney studing up.