We will pick up with our big trip out to Nauvoo to visit my parents and bring them home from their mission.
Finn and Meg were so stoked to fly on the plane, and they did really well with plenty of shows, games, and snacks to keep them entertained.
They even got to go to the cockpit to meet the pilots. Finn kept telling them that he knew about everything (he's such a know-it-all right now).
E was the one I was especially worried about. She has frequent and loud tantrums, and on a plane with no where to take her, I was on edge the whole time trying to make sure she was happy and entertained. She did really well and only melted down for a minute towards the end of the flight, but I was able to calm her down quickly. This trip was a good learning opportunity for her to learn to control some of her emotions.
When we landed in Chicago we got our rental car and took off for Leland IL to meet Roy's paternal grandmother who he had never met. He was nervous not knowing how they would react to us, but the kids really helped make it a comfortable meeting. As soon as she opened the door, they ran in and gave her a giant hug saying, "Grandma!" It was a very nice meeting, and his grandma and aunts were so kind with gifts for the kids and providing lunch for us.
I'm so glad we had the chance to make a stop on our way and meet some more of our family!
We got into Nauvoo late, and crashed...a very long day for all of us. The next day Roy and mom took the car back to the rental place, and I got to go explore with kids. One of our first stops was this little park a stone's throw from the Nauvoo Temple.
After traveling the whole day before, they loved being able to run and play to their hearts content! The hill below the temple offered a perfect place to roam and take in the view of the Mississippi river.
After we got a little more settled we went to go see Grandpa in his element with the oxen. The kids really enjoyed that, and in the fall there is no waiting for anything. We also got to go on the carriage ride with dad as the narrator. It was special even if the kids had a hard time sitting still.
Instead of trick-or-treating this year we got to experience Boo-tiful Nauvoo. We threw together some costumes for the kids and got to go see the carved pumpkins lined up along main street and enjoy a parade.
I could totally be down with candy just being thrown at you rather than all the work.
Taking three kids around to all the historical sites was hit and miss. Some of the things they really enjoyed watching and learning about, but most of the time Roy or I had to take them outside so they could run around without bothering anyone else. E had a good time with this play sheep at one of the sites.
The last day that my parents served, we went down to visit them at their last post in the blacksmith shop. This is such a special picture to me to see them with my kids on their mission!
We were lucky to be able to do a session in the Nauvoo temple while we were there. There was a little hang up with my recommend not being activated, and people had to be called and things verified, but because it's such a small temple we got VIP treatment with them even holding the session for us. What a beautiful sacred place! After the temple, Roy and I also got to sneak off to carthage by ourselves and enjoy that site without three wild kids.
The thing I loved the most out there was all the beautiful fall foliage. The colors are so bright and vibrant, I couldn't get enough of it!
Dad took us out the stables where they keep all the working horses. It was bittersweet to see dad saying goodbye to those amazing animals. You could tell he had made a tight bond with them. Finn loved the farm equipment the most and wanted to check it all out of course.
daddy and him also loved climbing all the enormous trees.
The day before we left town, we helped mom and dad pack up and clean their mission house. They took us down to the Smith farmstead where we could see the graves of Smith family. That night we got to see their last rendezvous performance. I was so worried the kids would be wild and crazy, and they were for a bit, but once the action started, they were mesmerized! So funny to see E just staring at Grandpa and Grandma singing.
We headed out the next day and stopped in Winter Quarters. Again it was kind of hard to keep the kids from running crazy, but for the most part they did ok.
The next day we drove all day. Having two cars was perfect for driving with kids so they weren't all in one car driving each other crazy.
We stayed in Sioux Falls that night, and about 3 in the morning I woke to the worst stomach bug I have ever had. It was miserable! I wanted to stay put and do nothing but live in the bathroom, but we packed up and made our way to Mount Rushmore. Roy documented for me...even though I looked and felt like crap.
Finn also happened to loose his first tooth that day while I was writhing in pain. Thanks to roy for documenting! Luckily the bug was only a 24 hour one, so by that night, I began to feel human again.
We made our last stop at Martin's Cove in Wyoming where enjoyed stretching our legs before our last stretch of driving.
Our trip was a once in a lifetime trip for our kids and us to see my parents on their mission. I'm so grateful to my parents for their sacrifice and for making this trip happen in more ways than one. It truly was a special trip!