Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nauvoo was wonderful!

Thanks for all your kind comments!!!! Here's my Nauvoo report -

Of course - things didn't go exactly as we'd planned, but everything turned out fine. We left at about 2:30 am instead of 2:00 - but I thought that was pretty good for so many people (including 4 children and one pregnant person!). I thought the drive was pleasant and we arrived in Nauvoo about 3:30 on Thursday afternoon. We checked into the lodge at the Nauvoo Log Cabins (I highly recommend them - all different sizes to choose from, we've stayed in three of them and they were all very comfortable and the people who own them are very accommodating).

I had been very concerned about the weather (snow was predicted for Friday and Sat). We are not snow people - and I was afraid that snow would make driving difficult and keep us from doing all that we wanted to while we were there. I tried to pray for the Lord to temper the elements in our behalf - but I just couldn't make myself do it. Not when the pioneers had to leave Nauvoo in the dead of winter for REAL. So the weather was fine when we got there on Thurs (about 38 and cloudy). But we woke up to 2-3 inches of snow on Friday. And it was still snowing. The kids were thrilled and I figured we'd deal with it.

After breakfast we went down Parley Street. Because of the weather I thought everyone would just stay in the vehicles and read the signs from inside. But my entire family chose to walk down Parley Street in the snow (except Banx, Abbie and Andie who stayed in the van with me). It turned out to be one of the best moments of the trip. I waited with the children in the van by the edge of the frozen river and watched my family emerge in little groups from the fog mixed with driving snow. It was so authentic and amazing. Laura and Josh even pushed Harrison in his stroller and from the beginning - everyone had a very good taste of what the pioneers faced on that morning in February so long ago.

After our spiritual moment at the river's edge, there was an impromptu snowball fight. Then we drove around to the graves of Joseph and Hyrum and the prophet's original little cabin. When we got there Aaron said his wedding ring was not on his finger. He said he either left it back at the lodge in the bathroom or lost it during the snowball fight. While the others walked up to the graves, he and I left in search. My idea was to check the lodge first so we didn't search through an acre of snow for nothing. So we were headed that way. But then Aaron said he felt like we should check the riverbank first since it was still snowing and if we waited too long it might be covered up. So we went to the river's edge and after looking for about 2 minutes before we found it - barely sticking out of the snow. I know Aaron was inspired to have us go there first. And when we returned to the gravesite triumphant - Jamie said, "Miracles happen in Nauvoo." And it's true.

We watched the movie at the visitor's center (heart-wrenching but necessary). The wagon rides weren't running because of the snow but we did get to visit several of the historical sites. The snow did keep us from being able to go to our picnic area across the river and eat chicken while looking at the temple. We did eat chicken - but we did it in the lodge. Then we enjoyed Rendezvous at Old Nauvoo (a musical production performed by some of Nauvoo's senior missionaries). It's always particularly poignant to me because I love Nauvoo and I have met so many wonderful people there. It is truly my dream to one day have a Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo with my ancestors, my family and my many friends. Ahhhh.

Saturday morning the snow had stopped but it was colder. We went to the temple and had a wonderful time there. Then we went to Carthage and finally watched the DVD of the City of Joseph together. The only thing that dampened our spirits was the knowledge that we were soon going to have to leave. But even that was part of the pioneer experience - leaving and saying goodbye to those they loved.

On Sunday we packed up and drove through Nauvoo one last time before heading home. We dropped the Farrers off at the airport in St. Louis and made it home about 9:30. And we're already planning next year!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Can't think of a place I'd rather be...than Nauvoo with my family!!!

So Laura, Josh and Harrison arrived on Monday night and it's been great having them here. I've seen a lot more of my other kids too (since they want to visit with Laura) so that's an added bonus.

We are having a big birthday party for Butch tonight (big only because there are so many of us). During the festivities we'll discuss our past experiences in Nauvoo and our ancestors who lived there. Then we'll get a couple of hours of sleep (hopefully) and leave at 2:00 am on Thursday morning. That will put us in Nauvoo about 3:00 on Thursday afternoon - just in time to check into our log cabin lodge. We have a lot of activities planned. Some are logical - anyone would do them if they were in Nauvoo. Others are just silly traditions that we do every time we go. For those who are interested - this is our basic itinerary:

Thursday February 4th (The Journey begins…)
2:00 AM – Leave for Nauvoo (listen to City of Joseph CD)
8:30 – Stop in Paducah for Breakfast, receive N-A-U-V-O-O (similar to BINGO except cooler and more spiritual) games. There is a prize for a NAUVOO (BINGO) and a bigger prize for a blackout (covering the whole card) Participation is optional.
1:00 – Stop in Wentzville for Lunch
3:30 – Arrive in Nauvoo and check into log cabin lodge
4:00 – Some people go to Keokuk and stock up on groceries while others rest/enjoy lodge-living
5:30 – Pizza for dinner (picked up in Keokuk)
6:00 – Drive around Nauvoo again. See the river and temple at night.
7:00 – Go back to lodge. Relax/go to bed

Friday February 5, 2010 (We can’t believe we’re really here!!!)

8:00 – The Big Breakfast (prepared by Dad with minimal assistance from Mom – clean up crew a representative from each family to be determined by each family)
9:00 – Leave authentic log cabin lodge. Visit the Prophet’s cabin and the graves. Look at the Brick Store and Mansion House. Drive down Parley Street, read the signs. Get out and stand on the water’s edge and be glad we don’t have to walk across it to Salt Lake. Drive by the corner lot Lindsay Anderson Brady owned.
10:00 – Go to the City of Joseph Stage. Walk around, reminisce, dance, sing, cry. Stand in our Angel Spot with additional family members and be glad we have each other.
10:30 – Go to visitor’s center. Look around. Watch the Movie.
12:00 – If weather permits – take a wagon ride (snow is predicted so this is probably out)
1:00 – Go back to our Lodge for sandwiches
2:00 – Visit historic sights (maybe break up into smaller groups so everybody can see what they want to most) – Blacksmith’s shop (nail ring), Brickyard (Nauvoo brick souvenir), Browning Gun Place, Bakery (get a free gingerbread cookie that ain’t too great), Assembly Hall where Emma and Joseph danced on a rare happy occasion, Family Living Center (shows how they made bread, you get a rope souvenir, show how they made quilts, etc), Community of Christ visitor’s center and any of their property (if it’s open)
4:00 – Go back to Lodge. Get ready for trip to Keokuk
4:30 – Drive to KFC in Keokuk. Buy chicken. Lots of chicken.
5:00 – Arrive at our spot across the river from Nauvoo. Eat chicken while gazing at the temple.
5:30 – Drive back to Nauvoo
6:00 – Arrive at our Lodge. Rest. Change. Relax.
6:45 – Leave for Rendezvous at Old Nauvoo at the Assembly Hall
8:00 – Clap for the old folks and tell them they did a good job. Go back to our lodge.
Relax, rest, discuss our experiences, share funny moments

Saturday February 6, 2010 (Look at us – we’re in NAUVOO)
Breakfast – self-serve (cereal, poptarts, etc.)
8:00 – Leave for endowment session at temple
10:30 – Baptismal session at the temple
12:00 – Go back to Lodge and get everybody and go to Carthage
12:30 – Eat lunch at Dairy Queen
1:00 – Go through the tour at Carthage
2:30 – Drive back to Nauvoo
3:00 – Go down Main Street and Mulholand Street, get souvenirs, fudge, bookstore, visit any other historical places we didn’t get to see on Friday
4:30 – Go to Ducks and buy some last minute supplies and snacks
5:00 – Dinner (Leftovers of all the stuff we bought and didn’t eat yet)
6:00 – Watch Nauvoo Pageant DVD (eat popcorn, Junior Mints, other movie snacks)
8:00 – Talk about our experiences and how much we love each other. Everyone be prepared to share your favorite Nauvoo experience. (I got Tommy to email me one so I'll share one for him)
9:00 – We drive around Nauvoo for a little while. Go back to the lodge - Relax, talk, Scrabble (only Nauvoo-related words), go to bed whenever

Sunday February 7, 2010 (All good things must come to an end – but they are still good things and we’ll always have our memories…)
Breakfast – Orange Danish Rolls, Chocolate Milk, Cereal, etc.
Make one last drive around Nauvoo.
Leave (Listen to Pageant Music)
Go to St. Louis and take Josh, Laura and Harrison to the airport for their flight to Salt Lake.
Drive home.
Start planning for next year…