It was interesting to see that most small towns we drove through had this on the side of the road coming into their town. They were huge, old looking and quite ugly. We assume that this storage facility was full of wheat due to the picture on the front. Other's had barley, corn and other types of grain painted on them.
Here's Emily just inside the front entrance.
I loved this silk flag with 39 stars.
When we had to leave the museum we took a few minutes to walk around the building to see the different tanks from the different era's. We would have liked to spend some more time but it was just too cold to be outside and we had burried everyone's coats and didn't want to unpack the van to get them. Besides we were still very very far from our final destination.
Monday morning after a good nights rest we started off our day by stopping by the Historic Nauvoo Visitor Center. Here's Madelyn and Kylie standing by a replica of Joseph Smith.
After the Visitor Center we started going through some of the older homes and shops that Missionaries give tours through. This sweet sister was showing us one of the many jobs kids had back in the day. This was the way the kids took water to those who were working on the temple.
This Sister Missionary let the girls have a turn with the print press. We learned and saw the tools that these people used to make news paper's back in the day.
In another home the Sister Missionary was telling us how they use to catch mice during the night. Apparently they had some real problems with the rodents when they first arrived to Nauvoo. They would fill the bucket with water, place a stick across the top and another stick to use as the ramp. The mice would then smell the water, walk up the ramp jump onto that center piece of wood that would then spin making them fall into the bucket and drown. Apparently this trick could trap and kill several mice each night. Brayden was quite enthralled with the set up!
We saw lots of interesting things and heard many great stories about these early Saints. After each home or store we walked through I felt more and more blessed to live in the times that we do. We don't
need running water, electricity or home's with lots of furnishings but they sure are nice to have and I am more thankful for them having seen the more simple way of life.
Most of Kory's siblings went out to Nauvoo last year and they all told us we needed to take the 2 hour drive to Moline, IL to see the John Deere facilities and the Chocolate Factory. And so that's what we did. We packed a lunch, loaded the van's and both families headed off to Moline. Our 1st stop was the John Deere Common's. This was where Kory and Kevin dropped April and I off with all 10 kids. The plan was for us to stay there and let the kids play with all the heavy equipment while the dad's went to the John Deere plant for a 2 hour tour. However the wrong adress was entered into the GPS and the guys didn't make it in time for their tour so came back and played with us instead.
Brayden inside a big tractor.
Jenna sitting inside a GINORMOUS loader's scoop.
Besides all the heavy equipment they also had a table or two set up with blocks, mini John Deere replica toys to play with. Even the bigger boys, Hunter and Josh spent some time here.
Jenna and Emily, the best of friends.
Here's Logan and Brayden spending some time at the tables too.
Hunter and Emily.
When we were finished at the Common's Area we walked out the doors and into a John Deere store. Madelyn loved the pink hat but this mom couldn't fathom the $28.00 price tag.
While the girls were looking at the clothes the boys played once more with John Deere tractors and trucks.
After the John Deere experience we headed over to the much awaited Chocolate Factory. What we discovered was a sign on the front doors saying they were closed for the week because they were moving. Oh..... the disapointment.
Not wanting to head back quite yet we decided to make a trip to the local zoo. Being it was a Tuesday ticket prices were marked down and it only cost us $20 for each family.
It was cold. Oh man it was cold. I can't even begin to tell you how cold it was... well actually I can. Google tells me that it was less than 40 degrees with winds up to 10mph. We have had that temp. at home quite a bit but the difference is at home I'm not outside walking around in it for 2 hours! Despite the frigid weather the kids seemed to have a good time.
We did see some elephants on our walk around the zoo.
Madelyn and Emily.
We did see this little guy who was braving the cold weather.
We all looked forward to the time we could go indoors to see us some animals. This little place was full of birds.
These guys were out in the middle with no cage around them. They had many signs posted saying, "Caution, Birds may bite". I love their colors.
How big is Emily compared to a full grown Eagle?
Emily and Grandma Heaton.
It was great to see the kids spending some time with Grandma and Grandpa. My 2 older kids remember their Grandma and Grandpa and can tell stories about them. Emily and Brayden couldn't do that. Emily was 4 and Brayden was 2 when they left. It doesn't help that we had been living in Arizona up until right before they left and didn't have many opportunities to see them. We lived to far away. I look forward to the time these grandparents return home and my kids are able to spend some more time with them being we will be living right next door to each other.
We took a quick 30 min. trip to Carthage, IL. Here our 9 of the 10 kids. Kylie is being held above the monument by her dad and child #10 is just 3 months old and missed the picture moment.
Here we are inside the jail on the top floor where Joseph and Hyrum Smith and several others were held prisoners for a short time.
This is believed to be the door that the bullet went through that killed Hyrum Smith. There was a second bullet hole that went through the lock.
The top window is the window that Joseph Smith fell out of.
I am so glad we took the time to visit this historical place. I learned so much on this tour. For instance I didn't know that when Joseph Smith was brought to this jail the other 7 men with him were not arrested like he was. These men were free to go and yet chose to stand by the Prophet's side. The jailer was so impressed by Joseph that he ate many dinner's downstairs with the man's family. They jailer was so taken with these men that instead of keeping them locked up behind bars he let them have his personal bedroom, knowing that they would be more comfortable. What an awesome man Joseph Smith was. Carthage is filled with an amazing spirit. Walking through this jail/home and listening to the condition's these valiant men were put through brought tears to my eyes. I am so thankful for the dedication these men had to the gospel. I am more appreciative of the sacrifices that our early leaders where put through and asked to overcome. I hope to one day return to this sacred spot. When we return I hope that my children that accompany us will be old enough to feel the spirit while there and be able to gain a better understanding of what took place and the sacrifice these honorable men made for the gospel. I think too often we take for granted what the gospel gives us and still has to offer.
Back in Nauvoo.... we took a wagon ride. We were given a tour around the outskirts of Nauvoo and were told many more stories about these early Saints.
Here's Brayden feeding the horses after our wagon ride.
Being the chocolate factory in Moline was closed we decided to make a stop at the Fudge Factory in Nauvoo just down the street from the temple. It was more of a store than an actual factory that you could walk through and see the chocolate process that we were expecting the day before. Never the less the kids had fun picking out a chocale treat.
Unfortunately our time in Nauvoo had to come to an end. We had a great time visiting the sites, seeing the Mississippi River and spending time with Grandma and Grandpa. Spending several day's with our dear friends was quite the highlight too. We miss them already and wonder when the next time will be when we see each other. They no longer live in Arizona but in Minesota. With our family now in Utah we are very far apart. We hope one day they will be able to move a little closer and we can see each other a little more often.
We were able to rent the Pountain Home for just $75 a night which we then split between both families. Part of the deal of renting the home was that we were asked to clean it before leaving. So thursday morning we spent some time cleaning the house, washing the towels and bedding, vacuming, taking out the trash etc.In between loads of laundry we began loading the van to begin our journey home. Not having any snow storms coming our way our journey home was much better than our journey out. We did have some car sickness to deal with. This time from Hunter and Emily. We also had a case of hives. Madelyn has always had very sensitive skin. Being we were gone for so long I washed everyone's clothes in some cheap detergent before we left our rented house. It wasn't too long into our journey that Madelyn started to complain about her skin being itchy. The next thing we knew she was covered head to toe in hives. Basically everywhere her clothes touched her. I promised her I wouldn't post any pictures! We eventually came across a town large enough that carried Benadryl. Not being able to rewash her clothes the poor girl got a dose of Bedadryl each day we were traveling home.
On this 1st day on our return home we came across an outdoor strip mall. Needing a break we stopped. We went into a Nike store and was able to pick up some baskettball shoes for next season for $15, originally $98. Woo Hoo! Kory also scored. He picked himself up a new pair of basketball shoes, casual shoes since he had none and a pair of open sandals he uses as slippers since his current pair was ripped a few months back. Five pair of Nike shoes for $97. This outlet also had a Children's Place. We were able to pick up Hunter 2 winter shirts for next year for $2 each and a new pair of play shoes for $5. It was fun to shop but it sure made me miss the old day's when we were living in Arizona and I was able to score deals like this all the time.
We were really hoping to see Winter's Quarter's in Omaha but they were already closed by the time we arrived. These church sites close at 4pm, a little earlier than expected. Not ready to stop for the night we travelled another 2 hours and spent the night in a Hotel in York, Nebraska. They had a pool but Kory and I were both so tired we talked the kids into popping popcorn and watching what we were hoping for was a good movie on the tv. They got the popcorn but we couldn't find anything on tv which is always amazing to me how many chanel's Cable/Dish has to offer and how little worth while programs are out there. They ended up watching a cartoon we had never seen and then we all hit the sack.
We finally got out of Nebraska and into Colorado. The kids continued to do great in the car. We stopped for lunch in Sterling, Colorado. We grabbed some lunch and ice cream from DQ and headed to a park we had passed on our way into town. It was a great non windy, non cold day. The kid's were able to run around, chase after each other, and just have some much needed time away from the van.
We stopped for our last night in Denver, CO. We stayed at a hotel with a very nice indoor, heated pool.
Kylie loved the water.
Brayden and Emily
I think the kiddo's could have stayed in the pool for several more hours before tiring.
We left the hotel knowing we'd be sleeping in our own beds tonight. We were still 9 hours from home but after traveling for 2 days we all felt we were pretty close to being home.
Brayden and Emily
This was the only time on our entire trip that the kids fell asleep in the van, besides the baby of course!
We stopped for lunch in Grand Junction, Co and walked through a Cabela's Store. I'm sure the locals enjoy their store but for us it was much to be desired. I guess we got spoiled being so close to the Phoenix, AZ store. But regardless it was a great way to get out of the van and stretch our legs.
Kylie did pretty well through our many day's of travel. By the time we got to Richfield, Ut just 2 hours from home she was done! I took her out several times tring to nurse her to sleep but she just wasn't having any of it. I finally swapped seats with Hunter so I could sit next to her and try to keep her happy our last little journey home. As much as I wanted to just keep her out of her seat neither one of us was comfortable with that. So her and I made the best of it.
We got home at 10pm that night. It felt so good to be home! It was great to sleep in our own beds, shower in our own shower and be able to eat real meals after eating out for 3 straight day's. We did have fun over our 9 day's of vacation but it's good to be home. We had fun and we are so glad we went. I hope we can go back to Nauvoo one day. I know Hunter and Madelyn will probably remember this vacation but I'm not so sure about Emily and everyone else was just to young. I would love to go back when my younger kids are a bit older and do it all over again.....well maybe next time we'll go when it's a bit warmer. While in Nauvoo we were told many, many times that it's usually not as cold as it was while we were there. Last year at this time the tree's were budding, tulips were coming up and it was in the 70's. Wish we could have had the warmer temperatures but we made the most of it and we really did enjoy our time in the mid west.