Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School

Back to a regular schedule! How nice. But yet again that means everyone is 1 year older and 1 year closer to graduating. How sad.

K is a senior.

C is a freshman.

S is in 7th grade.

CR is in 4th grade.

G is talking more and more each day at home with Mami.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

C's 14th Birthday

We actually celebrated C's Birthday by going to Cherry Hill. But then we had her birthday dinner on Sunday. He big present this year was a new violin. She has improved so much and her orchestra teacher kept telling us that she needed a better one so we finally got her one and it sounds really nice. We did a scavenger hunt and she searched throughout the house to find it.

This is why we love having C in our family:

She cares about each member of the family.

She plays the violin beautifully. (L)

She's very creative and nice. (CR)

She's a good sister and always does her nails with me. (S)

She's always wanting to make yummy treats for us.

She's great to talk to and to tease siblings with. (K)

She's very affectionate. (KC)

She always kidnaps me in her room and gives me candy or plays with me (G)

Happy Birthday!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cherry Hill

We went to Cherry Hill finally. We have been wanting to go for a long time but every summer seems to be really busy. Z and I scheduled this day for Cherry Hill at the beginning of the summer and then all of this stuff came up and we almost didn't go but we worked it out.

We had a blast in the water. We even got in for free because one of Z's friends gave her a bunch of entrance passes. That made the day even better!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vacation (Cheyenne to Home) Day 9

We got up late. We kind of just relaxed with KC’s family all morning. It was nice to just be there with nothing to do. We left at 1: 00 and got home a 7:30.
What a wonderful trip we had. We are grateful to be able to see this beautiful part of the US. And to have the opportunity to learn more about the Nauvoo period of the early Latter Day Saints.

We gained a greater appreciation for Joseph Smith and all of those that sacrificed so much so that we now could have the true church on the earth. We are extremely blessed!!
We are also grateful for the protection that we received during our trip. Everything worked out great. Even little G was really good

Friday, August 15, 2008

Vacation (Drive to Cheyenne) Day 8

We got up early and went to have our yummy breakfast again. After that we went back to see the temple and to get some pictures because it was too late the night before for us to get a family picture.
As we got out we saw Jacob. He used to be in our Clearfield Ward but his family moved to Nauvoo a few years back. He told us he was getting married and he also told us where his dad was to we could see him. Jacob took some family pictures for us and then we were able to go see his dad for a minute. It was wonderful to see them. We wanted to but since we were short on time we did not look to hard. But we felt so lucky to see them even for just a few minutes. They used to be our home teachers. These a few last pictures:

Then we started on our longest drive of the trip. We had to drive 15 hours to get to Cheyenne.

We did stop at Winter Quarters and saw the Kanesville Tabernacle and the temple.

When we were still a few hours out of Cheyenne it started to rain. We were already so tired from driving all day so needless to say our last few hours were torture. KC and I just worked on keeping each other awake. We made it to Cheyenne tired but safe.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Vacation (Nauvoo, IL) Day 7

Thursday we spent all day in Nauvoo. Our Motel included a breakfast at a restaurant in town. It was a breakfast buffet and they made you warm pancakes or French toast to order.

Nauvoo has been recreated to look a little like it did back in the 1840's. People can go through the houses and shops and the missionaries there show you around tell you about the place. We were there at a quiet time because the pageant was done. But it was good for us because we did not have to wait for anything. Some of the places we saw were:

The Family Living Center. Here we learned about the daily duties. We got to make a rope as a family. This showed us how everyone in the family has to work together to succeed. If there is only one strand the string will break but once you weave it together it is very strong and hard to break. Just like our family.
At the Brickyard we got to see how they made bricks and they told us of the high demand for bricks in Nauvoo at this time because so many people were moving in. They gave us each a mini brick to take home.

We went to the blacksmith and saw all that they made there. We got a “prairie ring” to take. It is made out of a nail. When kids got married sometimes they did not have any money so this was the only ring that they could afford for a while.

We also went on an Oxen ride and we had frozen custard for lunch.
We got to see a play called: “Just Plain Anna Amanda”. It was made for kids so it was a little cheesy but it was good. The kids really enjoyed Amanda when she said, “I just want to be IMPORTANT”. To this day non of us can hear that word and not repeat it with an accent. The motto of the play was “it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice”.

After that we went and saw the homes of Emma Smith and the gravesites of the Smith Family. The Church of Christ owns these so we only saw the home from the outside because in order to go inside you have to pay and go on a 2-hour tour. We did not have enough time and the tour was too long.

Because we learned our lesson the night before about everything being closed for dinner we went and got dinner at 4:45pm before they closed. We just bough some sandwiches and took them to our suite and had dinner there.

After that we went and saw the play “Old Nauvoo”. The senior missionaries put it on. This showed us how hard it was to be a Mormon back then and how hard it must have been to leave Nauvoo when the saints went west.

After the show, we went and walked around the Nauvoo Temple grounds and took some pictures. It is such a beautiful temple and the spirit that you can feel there is very peaceful.

Afterwards we went back to our suite and had popcorn and watched the Olympics. We stayed up past midnight watching gymnastics to see who got the women's individual gold. KC tried to get the results online so we could go to bed but because it was live the results were not there.

Spending our last day in Nauvoo was the best way to end our vacation.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vacation (Carthage, IL-Nauvoo, IL) Day 6

Wednesday we got up and packed up to head down to the Nauvoo area. We decided to find food along the way so that we could head out faster. Well we could not find anything except for the places that we had already eaten at. So we finally found a grocery store and bought some food to eat in the car.

We drove down to Carthage first that way we could just be in Nauvoo on Thursday and not have to drive any more. We went on the tour at Carthage Jail. This is the place where Joseph Smith, the Prophet and his brother Hyrum were murdered by the mobs. A sister missionary took us into the jail. In one of the rooms she asked us to sing “I am a Child of God”. You could really feel the spirit there as we sang. Then we went upstairs to the actual room where they were staying. The sister missionary bore here testimony and afterwards asked KC if he would share his feelings with us. He of course did and it was very powerful for all of us. There were two ladies in our group that were not members of the church (we did not know this until afterward).

Then we went to the Nauvoo Visitors Center and got some information on what to do and see while we were there. We also watched a short movie about Nauvoo. We got done with this at about 7:00pm and we wanted to get some dinner before going to see a show. We walked around the town and everything was closed. I guess most places close at 5:00. The only place open was this Dottie’s Diner. So we went there. The food was not expensive tub it was not great. Oh well, that’s what diners are like in small towns right?
Afterwards, we went to our Mote Suite. This was a nice bed and breakfast with a kitchenette, family room and two other bedrooms. We all had beds and it was very spacious compared to the other places that we had stayed at. The kids loved the idea that we were staying in the “suite”. We unloaded and then went to see the outdoor night shows. They were very good!!

After the shows, we went to our "suite" and had cookies and hot chocolate provided by the motel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vacation (Chicago) Day 5

Tuesday we got up a little earlier and found a McDonalds for breakfast. CR wanted to go to the Lego Discovery Center and the Girls wanted to go to the mall. They were close together so we split up. G went with KC and CR.
We went to the Woodfield Mall. It was huge. We only had a couple of hours so we really had to hurry and look around. One fun store that we went into was Sophora (sp). We tried on some makeup and we had a fun girl time. We got a few things and then it was time to go meet the boys and G.

We stopped at Burger King and got something to go for lunch and then headed back to downtown Chicago on the CTA.

We went to the Lincoln Park Zoo. It was nice and it was free. The kids were very excited to go to the zoo cause they said that it has been a long time since we last went.

On a side note… before we left I assigned the kids areas to research so that we could figure out what we wanted to do while we were on vacation. The zoo was one of those places that they chose. We made a long list and then picked and choose from that. This allowed the kids to be happy with places we went to since they picked them themselves. It took some pressure off of me also since I didn’t have to research and choose.

After the zoo, we walked the Magnificent Mile. A Mile full of fancy shops, we didn’t really buy anything but it’s one of those things that you have to do while in Chicago. We did see American Girl Place, which the girls were dying to see.
We then got on the subway on our way to Chinatown. It was about 5:30 and rush hour time. This was a good experience cause the subway was really crowded and we had to stand like sardines.

In Chinatown we walked down the main street and found a Chinese Restaurant to eat dinner. It was very authentic and yummy. Afterwards, we walked the street and window-shopped. K got a good deal on a purse. C bought some relaxation balls. S bought a Chinese umbrella. CR bought some Chinease coins.

After that we went to Millennium Park to see Buckingham Fountain. It’s this huge fountain and at night they do a show with music and lights. It was a relaxing time. The last thing that I wanted to do was get on the “L”. This is the train that goes around downtown Chicago above ground. It was no big deal. But I just wanted to experience it. This took us on our way back to the subway and our car.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Vacation (Chicago) Day 4

We slept in a little. We did have to get going we had a lot to see and not much time. We had breakfast at Denny's across the street from our hotel. Then we went to a park and ride lot because we wanted to use the public transportation to get around so we did not have to do any more driving. And driving and parking in Chicago is pretty much out of the question. You can buy day pass that will give you access to the subway and buses for however many days that you will be visiting. We got on the subway and then on a bus and that took us right in front of our first stop the Field Museum.

Wow, it was huge. It was DC quality!! Normally you have to pay to get in but because it was the 2nd Monday of the month it was free. So that saved us lots of money. We walked around there and saw all of the exhibits for a few hours.

Afterwards we got on the bus and went to Navy Pier. We walked around and saw the shops and Lake Michigan. We went on a boat ride that explained the Chicago skyline. We ate a yummy lunch of Chicago Dogs and Pretzels.

By the time we were ready to leave it was about 5:00pm and we wanted to go see the Sears Tower. We got on the trolley but it didn't take us to where we wanted to go. So we had to find another bus to take us there. Well that bus was not coming so we decided to walk the 8 blocks. Needless to say we were already tired of walking.

Well, we walked about a block when someone was getting off a bus and it happened to be the bus number that we were looking for. So we got right on. I consider this our little tender mercy for the day. It's nice to know Heavenly Father is watching out for us no matter where we are!

We saw the beautiful view from the top of the Sears Tower just as the sun was setting.

After that we were starving and wanted some Chicago Pizza. Luckily we found an authentic Chicago Pizza Restaurant just a half a block down the street. It was so thick and delicious.

Then we rode the subway back to our car and hotel.