Thursday, July 30, 2009

You & Me

here we are. you and me. the same two lovers who pledged our lives to each other with stars in our eyes and big dreams in our hearts. and while the years have seen some of those starry-eyed dreams come true. these years have also opened our eyes to the reality that marriage takes work, patience, and the kind of love that stays true. no matter what. here we are. you and me. celebrating another year of loving and living and learning. another year of working to make this life together the best it can be. and i just want you to know that i believe in us. i believe in our love, and i believe in the strength and the beauty that comes from sharing life's joys and weathering it's storms...together.
i love you ryan and i can't believe that another year has gone by, i can't wait for us to become closer this next year by drawing from one an others strengths.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Warning: Blog entry is about a family trip. Super long. May be boring to read.

The date on this blog entry is July 26th 2009 It is actually May 17, 2011. This is the beauty of blogger. I can be way behind on my blog and future generations will have no idea. Finishing this blog entry has been a major pain in the behind. It has become like a giant pooper in the toilet that is my blog. Yeah, I just compared my blog to a toilet. This entry has seriously clogged up everything, and this is why I have put it off for so long. I am so happy that I have broken it all up and am ready to flush. Wheee!! Blogging has replaced my scrapbooking so bear with me as I document our trip.

A few months ago my brother Adam called with with a crazy cockamamie plan to go to Nauvoo as a family. They live in Milwaukee and were planning to go whether we came or not. Needless to say my brother is very persuasive. He also managed to wrangle my parents and the Turners. This was the first time we've gone on a trip all together that doesn't include Park City.

We left at 4 a.m. on Friday morning (July 17th) and headed for Winter Quarters, Nebraska. This was the stop for the first leg of our trip and we really wanted to make it early enough to go to the visitors center. We caravanned with my parents and the Turners (who traveled in a motor home since holly was 36 weeks pregnant). Elizabeth did fantastic in the car, she colored, watched movies played some games. We of course had faith and mystery keep us company throughout the drive time.

Despite our ease of travel it still took us much longer than expected to arrive at Winter Quarters. By the time we arrived it was after 10:00 p.m. and everything was closed up. This didn't stop us from taking photos and wandering around the grounds. This is the only time I have ever seen bats flying around the Angel Moroni. The temple is right next to a pioneer cemetery which was very cool to check out.
ryan and i even got up early the next morning so that we could see Winter Quarters in the morning light.

The next day we headed out bright and early for Nauvoo. We made it there in the afternoon where Adam and Danielle were waiting for us. I was planning on Nauvoo being hot and humid. When we arrived it was cold enough we had to wear jackets. After we bundled up we headed "down town" and did a little sightseeing before heading over to the Nauvoo Pageant.

Before the pageant they have a pre-show that was more fun for the kids than the actual show. They have all sorts of pioneer games and activities. We watched a puppet show, learned how to dance, walked on stilts, played tug-o-war, made pioneer crafts, and had a potato sack race. We then headed over to the pageant. They did an amazing job of telling the story of the saints in Nauvoo.

The next morning we headed out to church. Everyone in Nauvoo had the same idea. I have never seen so many people pouring into a sacrament meeting. They were literally coming in by the busloads. With the pageant going on there was a multitude of Mormons that all decided to go to church at the same time. It was really amazing to attend Sacrament meeting in this historic town.

After church we headed to the visitors center. In the lobby there was an amazing group of statues on display. It was a traveling arrangement and we were lucky enough to catch of glimpse of it. The woman who sculpted them has no formal training and one day just decided to take up sculpting. They are all sculptures of different times in the Saviors life. Quite remarkable.

They also show the movie "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration". It is the same movie that they show at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. We had never taken seen it and thought Nauvoo would be the perfect opportunity. We thought it would especially fitting to see before we went to Carthage Jail.

Outside of the visitors center is the Monument to Women memorial garden. Dedicated to women of the past, present, and future, this beautiful garden displays 13 life-size statues of women, each depicting a different role women play in the home and in society.

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon then to head over to Carthage Jail. We have heard from many people that being there can be a profoundly spiritual experience. I can see how this might be true if you don't have 10 kids with you. Despite the fact that we had all of these distractions there was still a very strong spirit there.

The next morning we headed back over to Nauvoo. We stopped first at Pioneer Past Times. Here the kids dressed up like pioneers and played games pioneer children played. elizabeth loved riding in the wheel barrow. I am not sure why I spend money on toys at all. I am thinking that living in a simpler time would not be so bad.

We had to practically drag the kids away from here but we made it up to them by taking them on a wagon tour of Nauvoo. It was a wonderful way to see Nauvoo without having to drag the kids from place to place. It is amazing to me all of the missionaries they have serving there. Everything we did was free and staffed with missionaries both young and old. They put on plays, gave tours of the buildings, ran the pioneer games, and staffed the visitors center. They have to have an entire sacrament meeting just for all the missionaries they have serving there.

We then went and saw one of the many plays they have there called "Just Plain Anna Amanda". It was a great way for the kids to learn about Nauvoo through the eyes of a child.
After we had a quick lunch Scott, Hayley, Faith, Mystery and my Dad headed over to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. The font in this temple is the biggest font of all the temples in the church. When the original temple was built they would sometimes do two baptisms at a time.

While they were off in the temple we headed to the "Family Living Center." Here we saw more missionaries showing us how the pioneers used to make bread, candles, bricks, rugs, rope, barrels and yarn. The rugs they make there they use in the various houses in Nauvoo.

During the night we were awoken to a huge crash of thunder. This was followed by rain which pounded on our tent for most of the night.

The next morning everyone but Holly, Danielle, Gabe, Caleb and Elizabeth headed out for a handcart trek. We thought it was only going to be a mile and that we would be back by 10. It turns out it was a three mile hike over muddy, rocky hills, in the pouring rain. We didn't get back until after noon. Hayley hurt her lip in he beginning and somehow this made her legs useless, so our handcart carried her about the entire trek. When we all returned we were covered in mud, soaked, and cold. Isabella may have been near hypothermia. He lips were purple for quite a while. We put all the clothes in a garbage bag and showered to warm up and cleaned off.
This was not my favorite activity we did, but it really made me appreciate what the pioneers went through.

The next morning a few of the adults headed over to the temple to do a session, we stayed and watched the kids. Caleb, Elizabeth, and Gabe had way too much fun together. They were always getting into something or other.

Once we were done there we packed up and headed out of town. Before we left we dropped by the temple for a photo op.

The next stop on our journey was Adam-Ondi-Ahman. We arrived there in the early afternoon and gathered together to have a lesson by Scott, Hayley and Jaden. There is one place there where the prophet Joseph Smith revealed that Adam offered up sacrifice after being cast out of the Garden. This is also a place where he said that a Nephite altar was built. There were stones around that he said were remnants of these altars. The kids had a great time climbing on them.

After we left here we traveled to Independence. We set up camp, ate dinner and went to bed.
The next morning we were up again and off to see Independence. The Church has a great visitors center there. The missionaries took us through an awesome presentation on families. After this we let the kids play in the pioneer room they have for the kids. They loved playing in the mini covered wagon. Even Ryan and I couldn't help ourselves.

Right across the street from the visitors center the Community of Christ (the reorganized church) has their "Temple". It reminded me of a giant cork screw. When Danielle was on her mission there they used to call it the "tin man's hat". It was interesting to see how far they have come from the truth. I felt bad for our tour guide. We were very curious about their faith and she may have felt intimidated by us. She was very accommodating and pleasant. Down in their basement they have a small museum with lots of church artifacts. We then went next door to the Church of Christ temple lot. This is where Joseph Smith marked the ground for a temple to be built. The man who ran their "visitors center" was not quite as hospitable as the other tour guide. In fact, he was a bit hostile. I think he may spend a lot of his time battling it out with Mormon tourists. When we were done here we went back to the Visitors Center. Walking back through the doors was like coming home. The Spirit was tangible. It was interesting that two churches that came from the same root could be so different now. It was obvious to me which one had the truth. I am so grateful to belong to the Lord's church.

You can't go camping without having a camp fire. Once we found some wood we lit the fire and made some s'mores.

The next day we went to visit Liberty Jail. The jail has been restored and is housed in a visitors center. This is where Danielle served her mission. Being in a place where the Prophet Joseph suffered so much and received such wonderful revelation brought a very sweet spirit.

We also visited the temple site at Far West. My dad, Faith, Mystery, and Jonathan gave us a lesson.

It was the hottest day so far on our trip and to cool off we stopped off for some frozen custard. Back east custard shops are the way to go. It was pretty good.

Our campsite was near a lake so we spent the last few hours of our afternoon swimming. The water was super warm and being in it felt super good. The kids loved playing in the sand. Ryan and I brought a raft we blew up and paddled around in. I could have spent the whole day here.

Our last night together we celebrated Ryan's birthday.Kennedy even sang happy birthday to him in German. It was sad to think that our trip was almost to an end.

It was a beautiful night and my parents decided to leave the fly off the top of their tent. When I was woken up by a huge crash of thunder.It turns out my parents had just barely their fly on their tent right before a huge storm hit us. In fact my mom was still outside the tent when it hit. The winds were blowing so bad it blew my parents tent right over. The only reason Adam's tent didn't blow over is because they were standing up bracing the sides of it. A couple of our poles broke and water poured into our tent. Elizabeth was screaming scary, and I thought my heart was going to pound right out of my chest. It was an amazing storm, I couldn't get over how loud and strong it was. I had to run to our car with Elizabeth while Ryan went to check on my parents. Several tents in the campground blew down. One family had to get out of their tent and hold their boat down to keep it from lifting off it's trailer. While they were holding it down their whole tent blew away. After worst of the storm was over our tent was not usable, and the Turners were kind enough to sleep in their motor home. It took forever for Elizabeth to go back to sleep, she kept saying 'scary rain'. Faith and Mystery slept in our car. Jonathan slept in my parents car. My parents made a make shift shelter with what was left of their tent and their blow up mattresses. We didn't leave as early as we had hoped but managed to clean up the next morning and head out on our way.

We traveled all day and made it to Laramie, Wyoming where we spent the night at a KOA. Coming home was not nearly as fun as going. We still managed to have a good trip and made it home safe, sound, and completely tuckered out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grandma Joanne's 83rd Birthday

you know how when you get older, most people don't always like to reveal their age? not my grandma, she is proud of her age and loves to share it with everyone she meets.
we celebrated her birthday at cafe rio. my parents and the kids came, holly and scott, aunt holly, and also my cousin daniel and his wife brittany and their beautiful baby girl abby.
it was so funny when we gave her the gifts. we gave her a hymn book with all these beautiful paintings and my mom gave her a painting that she did, and she cried when she opened them. then my aunt holly gave her some nice clothes and shoes, but she didn't cry and we were teasing her about how she didn't get all emotional over the clothes. so grandma picked up the clothes and pretend cries and tell us all how much the clothes mean to was hilarious!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ellie Riding her Bike

we were cleaning out our garage and elizabeth saw her bike and wanted to ride it. we had given it to her for her 2nd birtday. she hasn't wanted to ride it all that much cause she can't reach the pedals but she hopped on and started riding it by herself.
i will have to get a better picture next time cause ryan was worried she was going to fall so he kept putting his hands on the handles. she was truly riding her bike all by herself! we were so proud of her!!

Quick Swim

since my parent's pool is open now, i'm sure my blog will have many 'swimming' posts since elizabeth loves the pool. we thought we would take a quick swim to cool off from the heat with the shumways.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Good Way To End The Evening

after a long day filled with fun, i just didn't want it to end! i thought what better way to end a wonderful day than a swim in the pool! even the pool was super cold, we still had a good time!

Overdue Visit

most of you know that my dear friend mary is pregnant with triples...yes you heard me right, i said triples. okay, i know some of you are thinking, why would you want triples...well let me tell you. before mary thought,'yes i shall have triples', mary considered that rachael and i both for our own reasons are not having babies right now...and mary thought, i could have a baby for me, janie and rachael. mary is always considering others, and that is why she is a dear friend to me. haha...okay, that might not be the whole truth, but i can't wait to till her beautiful babies are here!! although we all have to wait some time, mary unfortunately has to experience that wait in a hospital room.
even though she hasn't been in the hospital that long, me visiting her was much overdue! i am so glad that i was able to go eat lunch with her and catch up (we can talk for hours...i'm not kidding!!) mary, i know that your smile had mostly to do with me bringing cafe rio...but i had a blast visiting you!

Big Smiles

i love this little princess!! she has the most gorgeous smile i have ever seen!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sleeping Angel

i know i have posted pictures of elizabeth asleep before, but i just think it's so cute when she climbs into our bed and falls asleep. she is our little sleeping angel

Friday, July 3, 2009

4th of July Weekend

we headed up for some fun to the cabin for the 4th of July weekend. grandma joanne and katherine tagged along, which made it so much more enjoyable. we had a really nice time, and the weather was awesome.
if any of you have ever met grandma joanne you know why she is a hoot to hang out with. she just makes you laugh all the time. i love when she tells me the stories from her youth. most of the weekend she told me all about my grandpa. he passed away before i was born, but it amazes me the love she continues to have for him. she still wears her wedding ring, and still talks about him like he is here, and she is still so smitten with him. she told me all about when they first met and how quickly they fell in love. it was nice to listen to her wonderful memories.
like i said the weather was so nice, so we all took a dip in the river! not to say it wasn't icy cold!! it was very chilly, but it was fun tubing with everyone.
we also stayed up late playing games, although i have to admit i dominated in twister.
what is a nice weekend without some good food! we had a big dinner and i think watermelon was coming out of our eyes, we ate so much!
then we ended the weekend with what else than some fireworks!!