Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oklahoma Family

A few families gathered at our home for a Surprise Birthday for one of the 
OLD FART dads / and FHE 
(family home evening)

So you ask who is the Old Fart??  
The man on the left. One of our good friends Ryan Bishop.

His sweet wife Amanda planned a surprise FHE Birthday Bash and we had a total of 6 families and 18 kids!  It was a P>A>R>T>Y!!!  We played a game and found out about all our "unique" qualities. It was such a fun night. We truly feel so blessed to be surrounded by our 
Oklahoma families.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The BIG Surprise!!!

So we ate breakfast and then got on the road so that we could head back to Springfield Mo. where we would meet up with the kids. During our time in Nauvoo my good friend Rose and her son Max helped with the 4 other kiddos.  The kids knew that we were going to meet up with them but what they didn't know was that their Grandma & PaPa would be there also. So Rose and Max timed it just right. Shannon and I had just got back from taking the car back to the airport and so when we got to the room (It was a suite with two rooms and then a roll out couch bed) Granny and Gramps were in a room with the door closed on the bed.  Of course as the kids went to check out all the rooms this is what they found...

Morgan just started CRYING!!!

Preston was sooooo HAPPY!

Sofie was a little taken back because of PaPa's mustache. She thought he was Santa and she is very scared of Santa and asks us everyday if Santa is coming. It was too funny to watch her have to warm up to her PaPa. But it didn't take her too long:)

I  absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this picture of Morgy and her PaPa!!! 
She has been so lonesome for family lately and so she was so emotional. Everytime I look at this photo I too get tears. Oh how we miss our family!

Miss Syd was over JOYED as she hid her face for this photo shot. She too had a face of tears...

Love this picture. Brynlee was so sweet as she held onto her Sofie girl. She really missed her!!!

Mom and Rosie talking on the bed. I couldn't ask for a better friend. What a blessing she is to our family.  She was so worried that my mom might be offended as the kids have adopted her as Grandma Rose. Little did she know that my mom was so touched to see how much the kids loved her and in return the love she shows to them. Blood is blood and of course nothing can replace Grandma Joy. But truly a blessing to have others who can fill in the gaps when it is needed. For that I will always be so grateful! I know that Father in Heaven knows us and he knew I would need a friend, a sister, and one with alot of PATIENCE:)

Day 2 in Nauvoo

Brynlee is so proud of her Mormon Chick T-shirt. She is one cute little Mormon chick if you ask me:)

Early Saturday morning we lined up for the Trail of Hope. This is a very spiritual experience as we lined up on Parleys Street to walk to the riverbank of the Mississippi. We listened to stories of those who walked this road in the 1840's as they left their homes and headed west.

Love this photo of grams and gramps! So fun to spend this time with them...

Daddy and daughter walking hand in hand. I loved walking behind them as I reflected on our sweet family and what it would be like if we had to sacrifice our homes, family belongings, etc... and then I reflected on where our life has taken us over the past 15 years. We have had trials, we have made sacrifices and had to exercise our faith but nothing that has been too hard. I am so thankful for a faithful husband and for his wisdom and desire to begin this tradition with our children. I hope that they will remember these feelings as you can't help but feel it. 

It is said from an actor who represents Parley P Pratt 
"When you're here, we're here."

Overlooking the Mississippi... Imagine crossing this in the winter...

This was the first time that we got to actually do a session at the Nauvoo Temple. Because our friends the Roberts were there, we got to send Brynlee with them and go with my parents. It was a highlight of the trip for me. For it was in this Temple that I recieved a personal witness that through these ordinances we recieve the greatest blessings available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  
Temples are literally the hosues of the Lord.

I left very humble and thankful for this Tender Mercy. I knew that Father in Heaven knew that I needed this experience. I will always remember that moment and the feelings that I felt from the Holy Ghost.

We took in some of the homes where they would tell stories about people who lived in Nauvoo during the 1840's. This was the home of the shoemaker. She learned how shoes were made.

Brynlee LOVED this performance of High Hopes and Riverboats. She was all smiles the entire performance. This guy in the middle was from Arizona and knew our neighbors the Conways. He grew up with some of their boys. So fun! Grandma was asleep during this one but she woke up for the last performance of the night. Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo. A musical comedy about all the "Old Farts" in Old Nauvoo.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 1 in Nauvoo

Day one started in Carthage. This is where we like to start with the kids because you go away with such a deeper love for the Prophet Joseph Smith. 

Brynlee heading upstairs to the jail cell as we took the tour...

The window where the Prophet was shot... 

A bullet hole as the mob came upstairs ready to kill a prophet of God, a father, and a man of great faith, who walked and talked to a loving Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ.

Love this shot of Bryn and Grandma Joy!

We had fun acting as if we were the statues in this beautiful garden...

Of course Bryn loved this little girl. She is so in love with babies right now. She asks almost everyday if we will please have another baby...

Being a parent is not easy. How thankful I am for the scriptures and prayer. I know that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father and that He knows my children because they are His. He created them and will not leave me alone in this challenging world. I need to turn to Him. He is our Father. 

Brynlee is her own little person and so different from her two older sisters. She is a little shy. I never knew this until watching her on this trip. I knew that it is hard for her to make friends at school but now watching her I see that she gets nervous with people she doesn't know. I had to practically force her to sit on the front row for some of the plays. These girls were so nice and were from Arizona. She told them that we used to live there:)

The play was called Anna Amanda and it was a story about being happy about being YOU...
She really liked it. She loved this girl who played Anna.

She got to eat a cookie at...

With her Papa!

Nothing is better than a rootbeer float and seeing your BFF on vacation. 

Our Bishop and his family were there during the same time as us. We happened to be at the same place at the same time and so we had to have a photo. We love the Roberts! Such a wonderful family!

The pageant is such a spiritual highlight! So powerful and always stregnthens my testimony in the knowledge we have that we lived with a loving Heavenly Father and that we come to earth and get a body and that when we die our spirits will live. There is an eternal purpose to our lives. I am so thankful for Temples that unite us for all eternity.

So fun to run into a high school friend. Tusdi Taylor??? Oh my goodness it has been a lonnnnggg time!

And then another really good friends little sister (Juli Patten) and her family were in the pageant. Too fun! I also saw Ashley Lewis another high school friend who was with her mom and sister. The sister happens to be neighbors of  my brother Tad and Sister in law Jaclyn. Such a small world in the church...

The night ended with a photo of Bryn with the actor who portrayed the Prophet Joseph Smith. 
He did a fantastic job!

Bryns AWESOME Surprise!

Brynlee was so excited about renting a car. She is just like her daddy with almost everything. They both love to tease and they can dish it out and take it as well. They look exactly alike. They both LOVE ice cream and they love cars! So every night for almost a week they would look at cars together. We planned to drive to Sprinfield MO and rent a car at the airport. Little did Bryn know that there would be a big surprise there waiting for her...

Grandma and Papa!!!  
She was too sweet. She wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry... 
Grandma and Papa flew in and went with us to Nauvoo.
As you can see in this photo she is all SMILES!
She felt extra special and she should because she is!

First thing's first was a big dip in the pool with her dad. I love this photo of them:)

The first morning we had to drive about 20 minutes to Carthage Jail. I think in this photo Papa and Bryn were excited except for granny Joy... As you will see in more photos to come she is so (not) photojenic. She had us laughing the entire trip with her expressions. She is truly a JOY to be with!
Bryn says "thank you Grandma and Papa for coming and surprising me and going to Nauvoo with me.
 I had an AWESOME time!"