Friday, August 20, 2010

Kansas trip part IV--Kansas!

Well, the pictures are in reverse (aren't they always) so we'll go backwards. The last day was Maggie's baptism. She was radiant and it was a great time. We had lunch and left. We saw some pretty cool hailstorms on the way to Colorado and Soran puked all over me. The second to last day we went to a space museum which was very informational and had some cool things, but way over the kids' heads. We saw a lot of stuff that had actually been to space and then watched a show where they blew up a bunch of stuff. For me, the coolest thing by far was the piece of the Berlin Wall they had. The picture is really grainy because it was dark down there, but what a great piece of history!
Space museum--Blackhawk something or other
An ACTUAL piece of the Berlin Wall--cool

We took a walk in a nature preserve place and it was beautiful. There were lots of turtles in the water the kids loved. Then we went to Doug and Sara's awesome YMCA. It had a lazy river, pool, toys, hot tub, tube rides--it was a lot of fun. Then the kids went to the drive-in to see Cats & Dogs. I stayed with the babies which was fun for me.
Soran at the nature museum

It was really hot the first couple days. We went to the Indian statue thing in the middle of the river and then to the outside shopping plaza where the kids made a beeline for the fountain and cooled off. Then we went to the Nifty Nut House for the best candy selection and prices EVER. We made another trip back there before we left. Then we went shopping at the mall and that night to the zoo. I wish I had more pics of that. It was great. They had exhibits where you could go in and feed the animals and touch them--monkeys, birds, turtles, kangaroos. It was much more fun than a regular zoo.
Soran and Livi enjoying the fountains
It was so HOT
Troll in the sewer
Family pic at the Indian statue
We also had dinner at an Amish restaurant. We visited an Amish town in Missouri, too. We saw a man tilling his land with his horses and plow, people driving in their buggies and went shopping at some stores. They have really neat accents (they speak German in the home) and they use safety pins on their clothes, no buttons or zippers. Kind of cool.
This was a great vacation! Thanks to Doug and Sara and everyone else who made it so memorable!

Kansas trip part III--Independence

The Christus was beautiful and I couldn't pass up Livi's pose.
Lyssa driving the horse and Amber
Cabin replica in the LDS visitors center
Community of Christ Temple
By the time we got here the kids were REALLY tired of being in the car. Our first stop was to the RLDS temple, now known as the Community of Christ. It was really interesting. They had a whole different set of apostles and church leaders. They said that after Joseph Smith was killed and the church left for Utah there were several offshoots and a few years later they all got together and elected Joseph's son as the new leader. He then passed leadership on to his son and on down through the years. However, now they are so different I think it would be hard to recognize much of our own faith in theirs. They had a museum with great artifacts. Original paintings of Joseph and Emma, and a picture of Emma just before she died. Letters, books, and other belongings of the early saints. Scott and I could have stayed longer but by then the kids were playing tag in the foyer and the babies were climbing on the exhibits so we called it quits.
We headed over to the Visitors Center across the street which was much more kid-friendly. They had touch-screen computers and a play area downstairs. The kids climbed on everything and played to their hearts' content. They had a neat exhibit of Arnold Frieberg's work because he just passed away. Other than that, it was a typical visitors center. And we were finally off for Kansas!

Kansas trip part II--Liberty Jail

The kids in front of Liberty Jail.
Replica of the Liberty Jail

Our kids had been in the car for about 20 hours by the time we got here. But I was so pleased with how reverent they were (except for Soran) when we got to Liberty Jail. It was an amazing place. This is the jail where Joseph and Hyrum and 3 others spent 5 months, from December to April. The jail cell was in the basement and was very cold and dirty. There was nothing for heat except their blankets and the food was rotten. The ceiling was so low that 5 of them couldn't even stand up straight. The worst part, though, was hearing about the suffering of their families and the members of the church as they were forced from their homes in winter. It was here that Joseph cried out (D & C 121:1-2):

"O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall they hand be stayed and thine eye, yea they pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?"
He received this revelation in return (D&C 121:7-8):
"My son, peace be unto they soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over thy foes."

There were signs all over the visitors center that said, Where Faith Was Tried. I feel like our faith has been tested this last year, but I can't imagine going through that and feeling as lost as I'm sure Joseph Smith did. But what a comforting reply. And I know that although the end is unclear to us in the midst of our trials, God does know and He will help us through.

Kansas trip part I--Adam-ondi-Ahman

Scott and the kids overlooking the valley.
Spring Hill, also known as Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Scott read some church history books a few years ago and has been anxious to see some of the places he read about. We planned a trip but it fell through, so we were ready to go by the time we left this year. We left on Sunday and traveled 8 hours to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Then we drove 10 hours the next day to Missouri. Wow, it was so beautiful. Green everywhere you looked. Some of the freeway was blocked off because some ponds had overflown. We stayed at Scott's aunt's house and it was neat. They own over 180 acres which they farm. We were really excited to see fireflies but there weren't any. We also learned about chiggers and Lyssa was lucky enough to catch some. Her ankle was all puffy and itchy the next day. The humidity was out of control. There was moisture running down their windows on the outside and Scott's glasses fogged over when he stepped outside. It made me kind of claustrophobic. The air was really thick.

Anywho, the next day we came to Adam-ondi-Ahman. Historically, this was the place where Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, and other sons met and Adam gave them his last blessing. Also, it was the place where Adam offered up sacrifice after he was cast out of the garden of Eden. This is the place where Adam will come and a great meeting will be held before the Second Coming. It's a beautiful place.

Christian's 8!!!

My two boys doing what they love most.
Christian is such a good big brother. He loves to entertain the babies.
3 years old--boys and their sticks.
Christian making his boy face.
My camera still wasn't working at Christian's birthday party so I didn't get any pics but I did get some good video. I asked him what kind of party he wanted and what a surprise, he said, "Wii." I decided I didn't want them all just sitting around for hours, so we started at the park and had pizza and cake and played games. The kids jumped on goombas (balloons) and collected coins, they "fed" Mario some meatballs (golf balls) and we had a Yoshi egg pinata. THEN we came home to play for hours and had a sleepover. It was weird this year because usually we have friends but it was just cousins. Oh, and Michael, but he's practically a cousin. Then we had breakfast where Scott taught all the boys how to call, "Woman, bring me my drink." They thought he was hilarious.
Observations I've made about my one boy growing up in a house full of girls:
1. He calls his underwear panties.
2. He goes to the bathroom sitting down (until he was about 7 he wouldn't go outside, he'd just say, I'll wait until we get home, even if we were camping).
3. He sings along to Taylor Swift.
4. He's watched all the Barbie movies.
5. His closet is overflowing with dresses which he always complains he has to clean up.
6. He's a sweet, sensitive boy.
I love my Christian. He always wants to do the right thing and make everyone happy. He gets stressed if he can't make everyone happy with his decision. He has the sweetest little puppy dog eyes. I can't believe he's 8, but I'm so excited to see where he's headed.

Gutter of Fire

The Grand Finale
Lots of sparklers
The kids would chase the parachute guys--Alyssa's catch

Christian, Amber (ignore the underwear), Kayla, Aunt Holly and Ayden enjoying the show

Scott's sister and her husband throw a firework party every year for the 24th of July. And what, you may ask, is the 24th of July? Utah's own Pioneer Day, and who doesn't need more holidays? We started out the day at the park where they have a bunch of free activities (making butter, relays, watermelon eating contest, making vests, etc.) and the kids had a good time. Scott was actually able to come this year and he and I sawed a log with an old-fashioned saw--the one with a person on each side. That is harder than it looks! Then we went to the BBQ and firework extravaganza. It's fun to be close to everything and just sit and enjoy the weather. Unfortunately the show was a little TOO good, though, because the fire trucks came. But they only gave a warning so we'll see you next year!