Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo

We took our three little sweet crazies on a trip to Nauvoo last week. We were lucky to be able to fly instead of drive. Although honestly, the airports have gotten to be such a traumatic experience that maybe it wasn't easier at all. Here we are in the Chicago O'Hare airport on our way. This is by the exhibit of Mr. O'Hare himself. (Kate is showing off a "funny band" as she calls them)

Elaine was elated to be on a family vacation at her young age. You can see that she took every advantage to enjoy her surroundings in Nauvoo.

Hayden and Kate LOVED the Pioneer Pastimes area where they could dress up and play pioneer games. Kate is looking westward preparing for her journey across the Mississippi. (Actually, the sun was in her eyes and she was trying to look at me)

The stick pull was a favorite game. Guess who won this match? Hayden challenged me to a game of stick pull. After I easily won, he then challenged me to use just one hand. I still won. It's always fun to humble your children. We took the opportunity to go to several vingettes put on by members of the pageant cast. They were excellent! One was in a grove of trees and (the cast member playing) Joseph Smith came and gave part of the King Follette discourse. Afterwards, in jest, Cletus challenged him to a game of stick pull. Everyone gathered around to watch. I won't embarrass Cletus and say that this guy won in about 2 seconds both times with Cletus flying over his shoulder. I'll just say that .... Cletus was a good sport. Wish I had a picture of that, but we'd left our camera in the car.

Here is our little domestic pioneer. She loved doing housework in this little log cabin. Her favorite activity was making strawberry jam and strawberry lemonade. She and another little boy pretended that theie log cabin was on fire and started throwing the furniture out the front door. How cute.

We were excited to take Hayden to Nauvoo because I think he's finally at an age where he'll remember this trip and where it actually meant something to him. He absorbed a lot of historical information as well as feeling the Spirit several times through our activities. It's amazing to think that boys his age were leading the oxen alongside their families' wagon and some of them were drivign teams of horses.

Elaine was a trooper most of the time on our trip. She was taxi-ed around all day and night and had to eat and sleep on the run. Still, she was all smiles a lot of the time. When I took this picture, she was talking to me. I love hearing her "talk". She is such a little beauty.

We attended several performances: The Nauvoo Pageant, of course (3 times), Sunset on the Mississippi, High Hopes and Riverboats, and Just Plain Anna Amanda. Here we are at Sunset on the Mississippi: the pioneer version of a Stake Variety Show. It was so much fun! One of our favorites for sure. If Elaine looks a little worried in this picture about who is holding her, she probably is. And she should be.

Kate loved being pulled around in this handcart. And, I thought it was pretty fun as well - she only weighs about 30 lbs. I don't think this experience was anywhere close to what it was really like to pull a handcart.

Hayden is learning how to dance a Scottish jig. He picked it up pretty quickly. There were so many activities to do! We were there a week and still didn't manage to see and do everything. We introduced ourselves and our family so many times to people that Kate said in her sleep one night at the hotel, "My name is Kate". Which is ironic because she was playing shy and wouldn't talk to anyone, dance with anyone, and hid her face if anyone talked to her. Strange for a little girl who, a week ago, went to our neighbors house at night (without us knowing, of course), and asked them to help her put on her pajamas and her diaper.

Cletus finally lured Kate out on the dance floor with a jealousy tactic. He danced with me and then she was very eager to get out there and dance with her dad.

I bought Kate a pioneer bonnet while we were there and she wouldn't wear it! However, the dress-ups in the Pioneer Pastimes house were the neatest things she'd ever seen. Oh well. Here she is tending to her sheep.

We walked down Parley street reading the signs and ended up at the Mississippi River. It was amazing to be there in that very spot where so many people made such sacrifices. I was grateful to be there and to have the perspective of being a wife and a mother, leaving my home and taking my children into the unknown. I am awed by the faith that was required for such a trip.

We quickly dropped by the limestone quarry where the Saints got their stone for the temple. Here are our two Nauvoo boys. Hayden's shirt doesn't say "Mountain Dew", it says, "Mormon Dude". Probably one of his highlights from the trip was getting that shirt.

It was a wonderful, busy trip. So glad that we went and so glad to be home.