Eastern Trip: A Day of Driving

Today was a LONG day of driving.  Unfortunately, we had to stop for an hour or so to get our tire fixed.

I thought I would  take a minute to talk about RV living.

First off, it is awesome!! I am completely amazed at how much fun my kids are having on this adventure.   I am grateful for the chances I have to just lay down and take a nap with the baby.  It has been way fun to travel this way.

Some things I've learned:
It's louder than I expected.  So I had dreams of reading aloud to the kids and playing lots of games and stuff.  However it's loud and shaky making both things hard.  We do play card games and we've done a lot of personal reading.  I brought activity books for the kids to work on and we've watched an occasional movie.  David is really the only one who gets a little stir crazy.  ;-)

Food!!  I'm so glad I didn't plan elaborate meals.  We stocked up on some snacks, cereal for breakfast and sandwich stuff for lunches.  That has been enough!  Some nights we've stopped for cheap dinners.  And we just went to the store the other day and stocked up on some more cheap dinner stuff.  For example: burritos, pulled pork sandwiches, and salad fixings.  We haven't gone hungry, that's for sure.  It has been very relaxing!

I also wish I'd had the kids reading more American history stuff before we left (like the first six weeks of summer).  I saved a lot of reading for the trip but realize now that we don't have that much time to read all I want them to (or I want to for myself!) in between each place.  But, I remind myself that's not the most important part of the trip.  I am just loving their time together, forced interaction! And, so far so good.

Tomorrow:  Getttysburg!

Eastern Trip: Nauvoo (2 days)

We slept in! It felt great to stop and know we had a couple of days in one spot.

Here we split up. We had John, Brooklynn, Addie and Joel head out to explore the city themselves (mostly because I needed a break from all of them together). J and I headed to a grocery store worth the little boys (because we forgot to find a place along the way). We all met up again for lunch and then separated again for more exploring.  Met again for dinner. Then, off to the fairgrounds for pioneer games and another pageant. Again, we rolled into bed exhausted!

Sunday we slept in again (bad night with the baby!), making it to the 1:00 sacrament meeting. 
After church we met up with our friends and visited Carthage Jail with them.  David was fascinated by the bullet hole in the door. I was saddened to hear they had removed the bloodstained boards due to complaints by others that it was too graphic. I guess it makes sense, but I was still a bit disappointed. Still, the visit was a perfect Sabbath day activity.

We enjoyed dinner in the park with our friends then walked the Trail of Hope. The boys had s chance to dip their toes in the Mississippi River and skipped s few rocks.

The night ended with one more show, "Our Story Goes On." It's s musical production using story and Broadway songs to depict the plan of salvation. We got to bed a little earlier tonight to prepare for a long drive tomorrow.

Eastern Trip: Far West, Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Haun's Mill

 This was a "drive and see" day as we headed to Nauvoo.

Far West

Far West was our first site (about an hour drive from Independence). I was completely impressed by the serenity of that place. I truly felt were in sacred ground. We spent about half an hour here.


We then drove an hour to Adam-ondi-ahman. This is where we believe Adam gathered his children to teach them just before he died. Again, the feelings of peace and serenity pervaded the area. We took a minute to listen to the hymn, "Adam-ondi-ahman."  We spent a good hour here.

Haun's Mill

And then we drove another hour and found the land where Hain's Mill used to be. This is basically just a place in the woods in the middle of nowhere with not much to see. Still, we took a few minutes to walk around and "feel" the area.

On the Road Again
Then, off to Nauvoo! We pulled into Nauvoo State Park around 7:30 and made our way to the fairgrounds for the British Nauvoo Pageant. It was so good! Beforehand we had a minute to say hi to our dear Rexburg friends, the Zengers. We rolled into bed about midnight, exhausted from our travels.

Eastern Trip: Independence & Liberty

Today we bid our family farewell and embarked on the rest of our journey.  Late nights with the cousins led to us all taking naps during the three-hour drive to Independence, Missouri (all but J, of course).

First stop: Community of Christ Temple

We made it just in time to catch the final tour of the day. It was fascinating to learn how their history overlaps with our Church's history. They have some artifacts of interest to us, like the original door of the Liberty Jail.

David had the privilege of blowing out the candle in the temple. 
I really liked this monument/fountain inside the Community of Christ temple.  

Afterwards we went to the LDS Independence Visitor's Center. A hungry baby kept me from continuing the tour there, but the kids shared what they learned. Thanks to some great primary teachers, Ethan was able to share his "favorite church history story" of the girls who saved the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon.

Brooklynn observed the fact that while the Community of Christ tour was interesting, the guide never bore testimony like the missionaries at the Visitors Center. And John said he felt the temple tour was "more stressful."

We ended our day with a tour of Liberty Jail. My camera died before I could get any pictures of inside. I love Liberty Jail and all it signifies.  We can endure hardship and still rely fully on the Savior for strength and light! 


Eastern Trip: Family Reunion

Our family at it's finest! Grandma and Grandpa with most of their grandkids  (just missing Brayden and Alyson).  It all started with these two, Gary and Janet Fawson!  They taught us to love life and work hard.  Hopefully such a legacy will be passed down to these kiddos.

My siblings!  All about laughter and music.  It was so good to be with them again. 

The afternoon was spent hanging out with cousins for one last day, saying farewell to the Flake family, and a night at the bowling alley all to ourselves!

Hard to say good-bye, but wonderful memories created!

Eastern Trip: Family Reunion (continued)

Day 4: More Family Reunion

The troops headed to the Salt Mines this morning while Donovan and I got some more sleep (no babies allowed in the mines, and I can never get too much sleep these days).  Apparently, it was a very cool experience.  Ethan came home saying, "Mom, it's just like a real life Minecraft!"  And David declared it was, "the best day ever!"  Everyone came home with small bags of salt and I saw a few large rocks of salt as well.

After everyone came home we started tournaments in ping pong, basketball and volleyball.  And, of course, David spent his time in the pool!

And our final activity for the night...the Wichita Zoo. 


Eastern Trip: Family Reunion

Day 3: Travel to Wichita

We were all very tired today!  It worried me that we still have three weeks to go!  However, in the afternoon we all took naps (one perk of traveling in an RV).  So, when we got to my brother's house in Wichita we were refreshed and ready to party!

Being one of the last to arrive we had quite the welcoming committee!  Mostly they just wanted to see the baby and the RV, but it was so fun to see everyone nonetheless.  We arrived just in time for a grilled steak dinner.  And of course, the boys made their way straight to the pool and the teens gravitated toward the ball courts and visiting time.

For Family Night we listened to stories from Grandma and Grandpa's life and shared our infamous Pack family story for the grandkids.  The highlight of the day was getting in the car with just my siblings to go pick up Christine and her daughter at the airport. Reminiscing the whole way there and back, we laughed hard as we sang to Olivia Newton John (our mom raised us well!).


Eastern Trip: And so it Begins!

I can't believe  this is finally happening!  We are off on an adventure we've been anticipating for years.  We rented an RV and will be heading across the country for a church and US history tour.  My goal is to post every day along the way, but we'll see how it goes!  (Pictures may need to be added later?)

DAY 1:  All day travel to Colorado

J. drove up in the RV late last night and we all began loading it up!  Nobody wanted to go to bed we were all so excited to get on our way.  We  woke up early this morning to finish up the packing and then enthusiastically jumped in our temporary "home."

It only took the two younger boys a few hours to realize just what it meant to be without television, video games, and running outside! Ethan told me a couple of times, "I don't think I can do this for three weeks!"  And at the end of the day,  David responded, "This was only ONE DAY, Mom.  This was a long day!"  I smiled at their statements, thinking about what a great brain detox this is going to be for them!

David did invent his own game.  He calls is "Lava Lines."  He watched for tar lines crossing the road and would jump "over" them.  He even gave himself three lives.  So, no need for video games when you have them in your head!

Overall, day one was a success as we all adjusted and became comfortable with our new environment.

DAY 2:   McMillans

We got to stay with our friends the McMillans last night and spent the day with them today. Damon and I were friends in high school.  He has such a lovely family!  It was so wonderful!  Our kids got along great and our adult conversations were lively and refreshing!

One precious moment from today:  I glanced down the aisle at church and saw Addie and Ethan laughing together.  Normally that would receive a reprimand from me in sacrament meeting, but with those two it was a tender moment I didn't want to interrupt.  Family bonding has already begun!  ;-)

So, maybe not too eventful yet.  Hopefully I can figure out pictures soon and most future posts will be more pictures and less words.  BUT - so far so good!

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