Friday, March 31

spring break: 2017

we hit the road last sunday and didn't look back! 
our destination:

we rented a house for 4 days/3 nights and surprised the kids in a big way!!! 
we had been planning this trip for months with aunt amy and uncle tyler but we didn't tell the kids that cousins would be in nauvoo with us. it was sooooo hard not to tell them and we came close to spilling the beans on accident a time or two. beyond grateful for the seaver family for joining us and making such incredible memories with us. we love you guys and can't wait to be with you again in june!
both families pulled into town monday morning at the same time and we parked on opposite sides of the temple. we walked around the temple and "bumped" into our cousins!!! the kids were absolutely confused at first and then beyond thrilled!

we have so many pictures and i, of course, couldn't narrow them down more than this. these are not in order, but hopefully will help us remember the wonderful time we had in magical nauvoo!

it was the absolute perfect time of year to go. no crowds and no heat!

the animals (horses and oxen) were definitely a fun part of our trip, as were the senior missionaries! they were amazing!!!

owen kept throwing his pacifier on the floor of our "wagon" so i eventually put it away. he started to throw a tantrum and the senior missionary giving us our tour stopped and said, "mom, can't you see he needs his binky?! help him out mom!". it was cute.

learning about bread making in the 1840's

Charlie and Madeline are two peas in a pod.
best buddies right there.

making our rope and talking about families. when we work together, we can be strong, just like a rope.

playing and throwing rocks in the mississippi river.

owen was a stinker while we were at carthage jail, but this was a brief moment of sweetness:
hugging Hyrum's leg.

both mason and owen were not happy about getting their picture taken here, but we wanted to capture the moment and remember that sometimes life isn't perfect but we can still enjoy it anyways.

i love this picture of jack, ellie, and kate because when chris asked them to smile kate responded, "we are in a cemetery... kinda hard to smile, chris"!

we stayed at the brick house and it was absolutely perfect for us! we hung out a lot and let the kids just play together... and eat cookies too...

chris is getting pretty good at photography these days and was able to capture so many beautiful shots of the temple at sunset and sunrise.

i like this image of the brigham young table because the plates that had been recovered from the site. one plate was cracked very badly and then the next was a little bit less so and the next even less until the last plate, which was whole. it was a representation of how the atonement works in our lives, which struck a chord in my heart at the time. i love brigham young.

the seventies hall was pretty cool and the missionary that gave us a tour was awesome! he let the little boys run all around while he spoke and even had the other kids take turns reading from the pulpit.

within the first half hour of our arrival we bumped into a family from our ward on the wagon ride that was also visiting. small world!

we have a sweet lady in our ward, sister cook, who recently returned from a mission to nauvoo. she came over the saturday before we left and spent two hours showing us pictures and going over city maps. her knowledge made our trip so much more meaningful. her sister and brother in law are currently serving in nauvoo, so we tracked her sister down and grabbed a quick photo to text sister cook. we also picked up some dark chocolate orange fudge from the fudge factory (her favorite) and brought it back as a small thank you. she really added so much to our experience.

the adults swapped nights going to the temple. 
it was magnificent!

we asked various workers to show us a few things and were taken on a little mini tour, including down to the baptistry. we were even allowed to walk up the steps to the top of the font. its the largest temple baptismal font and it was breathtaking.

besides ellie, owen and i being sick with colds, this trip was perfection! our testimonies were strengthened and i felt so much gratitude for the saints, for joseph smith, for brigham young, for our ancestors john solomon fullmer and ariah coats brower, and for the opportunity that we had to provide a spirit-filled trip for our family. jack and ellie especially felt the spirit of elijah and want to know more and more about their roots. they have been praying more, reading their scriptures more, and have expressed a desire to be better. what more could parents want from their children than to know they have a desire to be close to the spirit and be good people? what a blessing this trip was in our lives.

we drove straight home on the 23rd, stopping only for pb&j sandwiches for lunch and then in fayettville for dinner. we would never, never miss an opportunity for burgers at hugo's or frozen custard at andy's :)

last sunday we drove about 20 minutes to the burial place of parley p pratt. it is a beautiful little spot in alma, ar and we enjoyed spending some time smelling the gorgeous blooms and watching some storm clouds roll in.

this last picture reminds me of a picture of my dad when he was a little boy, peeking around a beautiful bush of yellow roses with his pink cheeks and soft curls on top of his head. it makes me so happy!