Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nauvoo with Texans

Our summer has been full of family and full of road trips - just like a summer should be. Michael's sister Pam drove up from Texas with her fun family, and they invited us to meet them in Nauvoo. We were so excited to see them - Houston is too far away!

We had a crazy week, so we ended up not being able to start on our 5 hour drive until about 7 on Thursday night. And then we had the craziest late night drive. These pictures are all bad and blurry - but I had to document the series of strange events. It started when our gaslight came on (such a frequent depressing), so we started searching for a gas station. We finally found one - and it didn't accept credit cards. At all? We finally found another - and when I scanned my credit card it just flashed this message at me: "No one can pay now. No one can pay now." ?? Then we found a third gas station, and when Michael scanned his credit card it told him to go inside and pay the clerk - but inside was pitch black, empty and locked. We were getting desperate. 

Finally we had to cross the Mississippi and head into Iowa, hoping for a cooperative gas station. Our fourth try finally filled our tank. But then my phone took us some crazy way out of town, which involved driving on an abandoned road that led to a prison, crossing a $2 toll bridge run by a sweet old lady that was right by the prison (I wanted her to get in the car with us and leave that place). Then, we stopped so we wouldn't hit that deer. Then, we stopped so we wouldn't hit that fox. Then, we drove through cornfields and cornfields and suddenly our hotel appeared, kind of in the middle of no where. It was creepy. And add to all that the fact that we had our windows down and music loud and we were pulling out all the stops to stay awake because we were so completely exhausted - holy moly Nauvoo, we barely made it to you.

But the next morning we woke up to these little kiddos! Three nephews and a niece that live way too far away. We had such a good time with them.

Nauvoo is so great. I had only been there once before, with one of my BYU classes in a long ago November. We froze our way through a couple days there, and just loved it. This time the weather was completely perfect.

There are plenty of missionaries around Nauvoo to show you a good time. We went on a carriage ride with horses, a wagon ride with oxen, learned how to make barrels and rope and bread and candles, went to an old schoolhouse and printing press... it's the best.

They let us keep the rope that we made, and this is what ended up happening....Gary loved it. 

The Nauvoo temple is almost always in view, up on a hill over the city. It's beautiful. Michael's sister was married there ten years ago.

We went to walk around the temple grounds that night and took some pictures. I asked little Ben if he was going to get married in that temple, and he said, "No...not this temple. I want to get married in the cookie temple." I'm definitely going to his wedding.

We didn't have time to go inside the temple on this trip, but we'll definitely make our way out there again while we're in Indiana. I think it's such a beautiful place.

We took the kiddos to an old cemetery on Saturday morning, and had fun seeing who could find the oldest grave. We found the headstone of Seymour Brunson - Joseph Smith spoke at his funeral, and it was there that the Prophet introduced the doctrine of Baptism for the Dead. The whole weekend I was just wishing that Susan Black was walking around with us...she is an incredible church history teacher at BYU with a memory like no other. I wish I took her class 10 times.

Speaking of Ben and cookies. We ate a few cookies before leaving our hotel to see a show that night, and ran around outside beforehand to get some energy out. We noticed Ben was still hanging on to his cookie, and when we asked him why, he said "I'm just needing milk." This is a kid after my own heart. We finally convinced him to eat the cookie sans milk before the show, but I completely understand where he's coming from here. Doesn't he look so sad there on the right? Realizing his cookie had to be solo? Poor guy.

This is where they used to have church in Nauvoo. I could totally get on board with that - sunshine and trees during meetings. 

On our way out of town we went to Carthage, where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed. The missionaries there do a wonderful job of teaching you about the final days of Joseph Smith's life, and bearing their testimonies of the Gospel that he restored.

Pam's family drove to Indianapolis after Nauvoo, and spent Sunday here with us. They thoroughly entertained us during church, and then we went on a Sunday stroll down the canal. At one point little Gary was feeding three geese from his hands that were the same height as him...and loving it, of course. Ben fell asleep on the way there and was pretty unimpressed with us waking him up for the experience. But he came around.

It's so fun to have family visit and see where you live. It somehow makes homes feel more homey when family has been there. Thanks for visiting, Walkers!

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