When we "lived" in Los Angeles, Luke quite randomly ran in to an old mission companion with whom he had lost touch. When we went to Vegas in May, he ran into his MTC companion. When we were in Palmyra, we ran into some good friends from San Jose. And when we were in Carthage, IL we ran into another family that we knew and loved from our time in San Jose. I tell ya, Luke is lucky.
Okay, so, after our time in Palmyra, we met our charter bus and headed out to Kirtland, OH. At this point, Sam was recovering from the stomach flu and EmJ was just beginning. The family was having mean and contemptuous thoughts about us. (I was thinking it was a good thing I didn't spread the word far and wide about Reillee having strep. The family would really have loved us then! During the trip I kept telling myself, "At least it isn't lice!")
Catching some Zzzzzzzs.
The girls in Historic Kirtland.
The Kirtland Temple. I read a book before this trip about the important place that Kirtland played during the restoration and the miraculous things that happened there. We have ancestry that were critical in the temple's construction and thus it remains a special place to me.
We saw the other sites in Kirtland, too...Benjamin liked the saw mill, Sam liked the general store and school of the prophets (pictured), Kayde loved that I wouldn't let her touch anything at our nasty hotel (dude, we probably have lice now!), and EmJ got up close and personal with the toilet in that sad little hotel.
The next leg of our trip was to Nauvoo. Right after I took this picture, we all got off the bus to eat lunch, left our phones in the bus because we were all together in the restaurant, and left Luke and Kayde in the locked, hot bus. Luke was NOT a happy camper. Like a two year old that can't have cotton candy kind of tantrum mad. It was pretty bad. Don't ever, ever lock your husband in a hot bus unless he really deserves it!
Wal-Mart....before we got to Nauvoo we stopped to stretch and to buy cereal (cause that's all you really need to survive, right?)...anyway, the kids had a blast playing on the huge lawn and jumping over this ditch...I got an action shot of Willie, of course.
EmJ was too well-dressed for rough and tumble games.
We finally landed in Nauvoo and quickly decided that we'd like to stay forever in this huge farmhouse. Also, by this time I think Reillee was puking...or maybe she was done and another cousin was sharing the wealth, I've lost track...Luke and I got up early our first morning to attend a session at the beautiful Nauvoo temple. Then we donned our family reunion shirts and hit the town.
Luke might have been an instigator and troublemaker for the duration of the trip. He could usually be found amongst the kids (or hiding out in the bathroom, working).
One of our days in Nauvoo we took just our family to explore the town (oh, the horror at taking the kids away from their cousins!). We went on a carriage ride, saw the blacksmith shop, brickyard, etc, and heard lots of wonderful stories about the Saints' time in Nauvoo. Here they are in front of Joseph Smith's grave.
Real diamond rings from the blacksmith shop.
Luke had a bad attitude about stopping to play pioneer games....
But he quickly got into it!
One evening I made Luke scarf his dinner and walk with me down to the temple so that I could see the sun set over the Mississippi River. Gorgeous.
Our next stop (everyone healthy now, hallelujah) was Carthage Jail...where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred. The kids especiallyoved the water pump...so wierd.
Kayde and Reillee
Then we had the immense pleasure of driving across Iowa. That was sarcastic. I remember driving across Iowa when we moved cross-country when I was a kid. I remember it was boring and our hotel was dirty and the restaurants were dirty and the water tasted dirty. Thankfully, this time we didn't have to stop overnight and I had a water bottle (or 5) to drink from....but I didn't have my grandpa's Johnny Cash tapes to listen to and two times across Iowa is enough for me!