Thursday, October 22, 2015

Random kid update

  • doing well in her advanced classes.  It's fun to see her enjoying and working hard on them.  Glad Ryan is good at physics.
  • had some trouble with safe driving the first few months (I got some concerned parents''s a good thing.)  We had her pay for and use the MotoSafety equipment and it's gotten much better. I'm really enjoying her driving help.  Right now, she's picking up a wet backpack from the elementary school (water bottle explosion??) so I can do this instead. a 3rd car for her in the plan, but we're procrastinating that expense.
  • great sense of style/Pinterest user.  I love having an in house style expert.  If only I could lose 15 lbs, then I could wear her clothes too.
  • Just went to Homecoming with a cute kid in our ward.  He asked her using Solo cups (Don't make me go "Solo" to Homecoming!) and she borrowed the cutest dress from a friend's modest dress company in Utah.  
  • embarked on a clean eating/exercise challenge with Ryan and me.  I've loved having her exercise with me 3-4 days a week, and having a partner in the more whole foods/less sugar endeavor is nice.
  • Turning into quite the pianist.  She accompanied Seth on Sunday as he sang "Gethsemane" and they did SUCH a great job.
  • works cleaning houses and babysitting 2-3 times a week
  • continues to be a huge help and is happy to attend the many events her siblings in which her siblings are involved.  She has great friends and honestly is pretty darn easy as far as teenagers go, I think.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Driving home: Kansas City, Denver, Utah

We drove to Kansas City for the night, which is only a tragedy because one of my favorite college friends lives there...and she was IN WASHINGTON! So we asked her for some suggestions and found a hotel and tried to get the kids excited about bowling or a waterpark or something.  It was telling of how busy and full our days had been when they asked if we could just get Chinese takeout and play cards in the lobby.  It was a nice quiet night.

The next day we headed to Denver Colorado.  (Exciting sidetone: We got our 52nd license plate on this leg.  Thank you South Carolina driver in Kansas!) We have some very close friends who moved from Spokane a few years ago and we were excited to hang out with them AND excited to not eat out, or sleep in the same room with all of our kids.  They treated us to a lovely picnic dinner near UC Boulder and under the shadow of the gorgeous Flatiron mountains.

The next day was the 4th of July and we opted to drive up to Breckenridge to participate in the small town 4th of July.  It was a fun parade and the town center had quite the party going on.  It was a pretty town with a river running through it, which claimed some flip flops of Faith's (the FOURTH pair of shoes she'd lost on the trip!!). I included a picture of Levi doing what toddlers are forced to do on super long sightseeing road trips: napping in super uncomfortable umbrella strollers. We drove home and had some downtime, but the more adventurous of us REALLY wanted to hike those Flatirons.  We left the really littles at home with Emma and took off.  Hiking and chatting with the Nebekers was my favorite.  Gabe actually RAN two of the flatiron hikes, in the time it took us to we walk the one, but he's kind of a show off.

The next day we found a church close to my cousin's house and then visited my cute cousin Spencer, wife Erin and darling kids...all of whom we adore, but the REAL reason we were stopping in was to see cute baby Tatum and she did NOT disappoint.  We got on the road, got stuck behind MAJOR 5th of July traffic but ended up in Salt Lake.  We got to hang out with Cade and Stacy for a night.  Ryan dropped the teenagers at EFY and BYU cross country camp and, more importantly, made sure to grab some Swig cookies for me!

Normal boring ride home to Spokane but it sure felt LOVELY to be home.  No re-entry issues when the trip you took was quite a bit of work.  I was happy to spread out in the house and not pay restaurant fees for every single meal that went in our mouths.  BUT! I also felt extremely grateful for the things we saw and then time we spent together.  Long road trips have so much value, I think, and I'm grateful for we were able to do it.  PLUS: I even got to cross off a Personal Progress value project at the end of it!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Nauvoo and Adam Ondi Ahmen

The thing I loved about this trip is that every place was just a little bit different.  We were worried our kids would be a little bored with the whole church-site-tour after church-site-tour thing, but it wasn't the case because each spot had something new to offer.

Nauvoo is kind of like LDS Church Site Disneyland.  Happy workers, clean, tours, rides, activities, food, dancing shows and was a fun change from the other spots.

We enjoyed the house and shop tours a lot.  We did probably 10 of them and really loved the sweet short testimony the missionaries would bear at the end of the their spiel.  It really brought the spirit and reminded us why we were there.

We did the Trail of Tears walk, each of us reading the quotes from the different men, women and children who left Nauvoo to walk across the country to escape persecution and follow the prophet and join with the Saints.  I loved knowing my children would picture that spot for the rest of their lives as they heard stories of Nauvoo.

We loved the little plays and musical numbers put on by the young and old missionaries...definitely a highlight of Nauvoo.

We did baptisms (family names!) at the Nauvoo temple.  It was Jane's first time in the temple and it was such a great way to have her experience the temple.  

We toured the visitor's center and took pictures with the famous statues (doesn't everyone have these picture remakes in their photo albums?)

We drove to Carthage and took the tour of where Joseph and Hyrum were killed.  It was solemn and special.  I remembered going as a 7 year old and having one of my first real witnesses that Joseph was a prophet and that he restored the Gospel to the earth, and I was grateful to share that place with my kids.

We said goodbye to Grandpa Mike and Grandma Genie and headed over to Adam Ondi Ahman.  We spent some time in the car reading to our kids about the importance of that place.  It was beautiful and had a neat spirit there, but, honestly, our loud and crazy kids were a little bit of a distraction.  I was glad we stopped, but no huge spiritual experience was happening there.

We spent the night in Kansas City and began our trip back West.  

Springfield, IL

We had originally planned to visit the Indiana Dunes National Park but it was pouring rain and we figured a beach is a waste in the rain, so we changed plans and headed to Springfield, Illinois.  Abraham Lincoln lived and was buried there AND my dad lived the majority of his childhood there, so we decided it was a good Plan B.

We stopped at Lincoln's tomb and were pretty disappointed that they weren't letting people inside, but we rubbed his nose for luck and continued on our way to the Lincoln Museum in downtown Springfield.  It was so great to have my dad along...he'd call us and we'd put it on speaker and he'd give us the tour of the town, complete with childhood stories (which we've all heard all of our lives).


The Abraham Lincoln Presidential museum is without a doubt one of the very best museums I've ever been to in my life.  I'm said it's kind of out of the way, making it hard for people to visit.  Lincoln is an inspiring man, no matter what, and what Disney (the creators of the exhibits) have done there is moving and interesting and beautiful.  We all loved it.  (Except Levi, but saintly grandparents took him on walks so that we could enjoy the exhibit.)  Seriously:  GO if you are anywhere near it.

After the museum, we drove by my dad's childhood home and that was so neat.  I've heard SO many stories about that house and it was really special to be there.  We decided to go visit the spot (behind a house on a lake) where my grandma Paula was baptized and became the first Sherrill to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saint.  We tried to knock on the door, but no one was home and we decided to take our chances quickly walking down to the spot where she was baptized.  Bad move:  the homeowners drove up and caught us.  Embarrassing at first, but he was so gracious and actually shared a few stories about the family from whom he'd bought the house.  Neat experience, fun story.

We finished that day by driving into Nauvoo and getting ready for our 2 day stay there.