Saturday, July 11, 2009


Last weekend we took a quick trip to Nauvoo, Illinois. It's about 5 1/2 hours from Bellevue to Nauvoo. We stopped halfway to eat lunch (never stop at a combined Taco Bell/KFC--Yuck! There was a little sculpture garden and it seemed the perfect place for the kids to pose for a picture. Sammy was thrilled to be out of the car. Eli and Carli have always been really good car travelers, but Sammy HATES it. He cries just about the entire time.

I have no idea how Carli can actually sleep in this position, but it happened more than once during our hours in the car. We would just laugh every time we saw her in this position!

We arrived in Nauvoo at about 4 pm, just in time for a show at the Visitors Center. It was called Sunset by the Mississippi. It was kind of like a ward talent show from the 1840's. It was really fun for us and the kids.

On Saturday we went to a puppet show for the kids which was really fun. They loved it. All the missionaries who put on the shows are so talented.

Eli and Carli totally engrossed in the puppet show.

It started raining Friday night and continued until about 5 pm on Saturday. All the Independence day outdoor activities were cancelled and we were so bummed to miss the oxen rides and handcart activities. It made for kind of a gloomy 4th of July.

Thank goodness there were lots of indoor activities. This is inside the Family Living Center where they had lots of displays on pioneer living. In this picture Eli is making rope.

Ben and Eli showing off the rope they made together. We also learned how to make candles, saw a man making a rug on a loom, and learned about baking bread in a fireplace. It was really neat.

We also paid a visit to the brickyard where we learned how they made all the beautiful red bricks in Nauvoo. Maybe the only good thing about all the rain was that Nauvoo was basically deserted and we had the place to ourselves. The senior missionary who showed us brickmaking had time to take us behind the scenes and we sawwhere they actually make the bricks and how the process has been updated.

This is where they make the bricks for the tourists to take home. The signs that say "PLEASE HACK" mean that those bricks need to be turned over every day for seven days, then they're ready for the kiln. It was really cool to learn about all that stuff.

This is the Jonathan Browning Gunshop and Home. Ben was really excited to see this one. I think he loves the fact that one of the best gunmakers ever was Mormon! I didn't go on the tour because Sammy wasn't in the mood to be confined, but Ben went with Eli and Carli. It was really fun to see and learn about all the history in Nauvoo.

Carli and Luella in front of the Nauvoo Temple. It was so beautiful!

This statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith is right in front of the temple.

I remember visiting Nauvoo when I was younger and seeing the rubble of what was left after the Nauvoo temple was destroyed. It was so wonderful to see this beautiful building in its place. Nauvoo is a special, beautiful place.

Fontenelle Forest

A couple of weeks ago we went walking in Fontenelle Forest, a big protected forest area right here in Bellevue. It was really beautiful!

The kids loved walking around on the trails, looking at spider webs and different types of leaves and attempting to be quiet so that we might spot some deer (not this time!).

Here's Ben trying to be artistic with the camera... I think it turned out pretty well, even though it's nearly impossible for me not to smile in pictures.

We even managed to get a picture with all three kids in it. Sammy loved being outside and free to run wherever he wanted to. He did a good job of staying on the trail.

Dear Trampoline, We Will Miss You!

The other night we had the second of two pretty severe thunderstorms this summer. The first one was about three weeks ago and our trampoline flew across the yard and wedged itself between our neighbors deck and air conditioner. We weren't sure what to do to secure the trampoline to the ground, and while we were still thinking about it, a second storm came up in the middle of the night.

We woke up to the wind at about 2 in the morning and Ben peeked out the window just in time to see the trampoline go flying. This time it went the other direction and hit the other neighbors' fence, taking the tops off of some of the slats. We ran outside in our pj's to make sure it wouldn't go anywhere else and it seemed to be pretty well attached to the fence. In the morning there were springs scattered all over the yard and the frame was bent beyond repair. We ended up taking the trampline apart and putting it out with the garbage.

We have had such fun times on the trampoline, we're so sad to see it go. But we just can't chance another storm, we've been lucky with the minimal damage so far. I can just imagine the trampoline slamming into someone's window in the middle of the night. Wouldn't that be a nice wake-up call? So, for now we're trampoline-less. Maybe someday we'll rent a backhoe and dig a hole deep enough to put one down into, but for now we'll have to live without it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hockey Playoffs

We have been loving the hockey playoffs this year... and from the proof in this picture, the kids have too! It's really fun to have everyone get their jerseys on and enjoy the game together. I love that we have such a fun family tradition. We are always texting and calling after goals with Ben's family during the games. His parents are in California, Grammy and Aunt Nancy are in Michigan, Dru is in St. John and Susie is in Sacramento, but during the games it's almost like we're all together.

The Red Wings have made it to the final round again with the Penguins (a rematch of the finals last year) and we are ready to see them win again! Game one is Saturday 7 pm central).

For all of you non-hockey fans out there, you should really try it! I grew up thinking hockey was stupid, violent and boring, but that's not true at all. Once you know the rules and how it works, it's totally fascinating (and the fights, which don't happen all that often, become REALLY fun!). It's super fast-paced and makes basketball and baseball seem really b-o-r-i-n-g.

Go Wings!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Brookings Marathon

Last weekend we had a great trip to South Dakota for the Brookings Marathon. The festivities began on Thursday night when Ben's dad arrived in town from California. We are so glad he got to come, we had a great time with Papa--and it meant a lot to Ben for his dad to come see him in his first marathon!

We took our time driving up to Brookings and stopped at Olive Garden in Sioux City for lunch. Sammy was a devil child during the meal, but we all got through it alive!

We made it to Brookings around 4:30, checked into the hotel and had just enough time for me to change and get over to the University for check-in for the 5K. We got there, checked in, and then had some time to wait before the race.

The wind was really whipping and I was glad I had worn a long-sleeve shirt over my t-shirt! I ran with 72 other people from all over the midwest.

I finished in 25:30 and was 32nd out of 72. I've never run that fast in my life! I was very proud of myself.

The marathon began the next morning bright and early at 7 am. It was a brisk 30 degrees when we got there. Ben and I were very glad Papa was there to stay at the hotel with the kids because it was VERY cold! I couldn't believe all the runners out there in tank tops and running shorts freezing their tails off. Ben had a running jacket that he wore for the first two or three miles. I got in the car and went to find him on the course and he handed it off to me as he passed by.

Around mile 8.

The final 1/4 mile.

The last 50 feet... almost there!

The medal! He did it!

We could see the salt caked to his face and he looked exhausted, but he finished it! The timing chip he had worn around his ankle bobbed up and down for 26 miles and ripped his ankle to shreds. He still has scabs all the away around. The first words out of his mouth once he crossed the finish line were, "Why did I put myself through that? It was so hard!" But not more than ten minutes later, he was talking about the next one. I'm sure this will be the first of many!

You probably can't read it, but his watch reads his time of 4:11:23. It was a great time for his first marathon, we are so proud of him!

The whole family post-marathon.

Later on at the hotel we took advantage of the hot tub and the waterslide. It was a lot of fun! Eli loved the waterslide but Carli didn't want anything to do with it! We had breakfast for dinner at Perkins (the best meal of the trip!), and then fell into bed.

It was a great weekend! Thanks, Papa, for all the meals and the great time, and Congratulations to Ben on his first marathon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Honor of Hockey Playoffs....

One of the funniest commercials ever!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


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