Nauvoo day 4

Today was filled with fun activities and demonstrations. We went at a slow place with no hurry to get from one place to another. I have thoroughly enjoyed that part of our trip. I can’t imagine trying to see it all in just a couple of days. 

    We started the day off with reading stories from our ancestors. I hoped to help the kids feel connected to their roots and this special place. 

Once we got into old Nauvoo we rode on a carriage drawn by oxen. They were so mild. Not sure why but that surprised me. We then enjoyed demonstrations of rope making, rug weaving, bread making in beehive ovens, barrel making (which we later discovered was a profession of one of our ancestors who lived here back then) brick making, and a few other things. We walked through some old homes, the gunsmith, the blacksmith, the bakery and a school. I was well pleased in the way the children behaved. They might of gotten restless a time or two, or even fallen asleep during a presentation, but they were well mannered and good to each other.  

 The kids received a few take aways which they really enjoyed. Some homemade bread, a ginger bread cookie, a nail made into a “diamond” ring, the rope they got to help make and a nauvoo stamped red brick. We were all pleasantly surprised by all the free souvenirs. 

As the day was winding down and everything was getting ready to close we went to the seventies home, which I had not intended to go to but we were right next to it. And it ended up being my favorite stop. A story was told of how the building was built. After one wall was put up a tornado came and the wall was destroyed. When they rebuilt it they ended up going two bricks deep for stability since the one brick depth was not strong enough. 

I couldn’t help but think of the storms that sometimes come into my life. And how devastated I feel when things do not go the way I thought. At times hurting very much. But like this story I can learn from my experiences and be made stronger so that I may weather future storms. The storms are not meant to tear us down but rather to strengthen us so that we may become more than we would settle for. 

And as if that lesson was not enough, we were invited to go up stairs and look through some of the records they had of the seventies of the church at that time. I found 4 of my ansestors names and I felt so close to them at that moment.    

 If they were willing to give everything for the gospel I to could do whatever God asks of me. In that moment I wanted to be strong like they were strong. 
Jacob last night asked if when he is dead there will be a statue of him like there is of Josoeh Smith. I understand his feelings of wanting to be like these amazing people who paved the way so we could have all that we have. Ansestors who stood strong in their belief in God so that I could be raised with those same beliefs. 

And then the town closed and the kids played in an empty field for sometime. Just burning off energy and laughing together. We made a new friend

 Who Joshua carried around for a long time.   

We ended the day with dinner and a movie. The rental we are staying at had the first Work and the Glory. 

  Today was another fantastic day!

Jacobs journal page that he dictated to Ryan.  

 Joshuas journal page  

Nauvoo day 3

This morning I woke up before everyone else. Which is hard to do with my early risers. The trip really wore them out. 

I took the opportunity to study my scriptures outside with this beautiful view.  

 This is just outside the back steps of our rental house. Dreamy, right?  Again I felt teary and grateful for this city.  We took our time getting ready. The kids explored. We read scriptures and talked about church history. The kids seemed closer to each other then they have been and that lasted all day. They laughed easily and seemed to genuinely like each other. As a mother, those are always precious moments and more then I could have hoped for the day. 

We began by stopping at the nauvoo visitors center. They have many displays showing how life was in early nauvoo. The kids ran from display to display while I asked about tickets for the wagon ride. Lucky us it was just about time for the next one. The wagon ride took us throughout town telling the history of the town. 

As we were coming upon the red brick storehouse I felt the spirit come over me. That is where Emma started the relief society. That is where she was sealed to her husband and received her endowments. This place is filled with the spirit of the resorted gospel. Over and over again I felt of Gods love for those pioneers. For their willingness. For their faith. 

We ate lunch at a little cafe in town. Then walked around and looked at the shops. The people were so friendly and the town, although older, was well kept up and very quaint. The kids enjoyed spending some of their allowance and at that moment I was grateful we have started budgeting and make sure hey earn allowance. That way we all knew how much we had to spend and no one was begging me to buy them stuff. Kinda awesome!!

We needed to load up on groceries but the nearest grocery store was over 30 minutes away so we let the kids hangout at our awesome rental. And we made a little date out of it. We headed into Iowa and it fascinated me how different cultures can be even in the same country. I felt humbled for all that we have that is often taken for granted. The town was a poor town and I felt like we stuck out a little bit. Again, I felt grateful for the overly wonderful life we have. 

I made dinner when we got back as Ryan and the kids explored out by the water. I watched them out the window and wished I could freeze time. Memories were being made.  

Handsome kid here. 

 This is Jacobs vacation shirt. He found it over the summer at a thrift store and declared it such. Now everytime we go out of town he brings it. Funny kid. 

  Joshua was pretty excited about the giant shells he found. 

When dinner was eaten and the dishes were all put away we headed off to see the musical put on in old nauvoo titled Rendezvous Nauvoo. I will admit my expectations here were pretty low. But I was so pleasantly surprised. The senior missionaries performed and I could feel of there testimonies. It was funny and spiritual. My favorite part was the moment the men sang about their willingness to go west.  

Before the play I snapped a quick shot of my people.   
Good looking people if you ask me.   

 My heart is full as I head off to bed. 

Joshuas journal entry for today.    Jacobs  journal entry for today that he dictated to Ryan. 
 (Most of my pictures are on my big camera and I will upload those picture when I get home.)

Nauvoo day 1 & 2

As we drove into town late last night an excitement filled the car. Up until that point everyone was tired and ready to get out of the car. For me I felt the spirit of the town. I thought of my forbearers and what they were willing to go through to remain faithful.  To go into the wilderness, to travel for months, losing family along the way, so that I may be raised with a faith that has sustained me. 

This trip is one I have dreamed about for years and years. Since before I was married. In fact, if I recall, it’s when I read the Work and the Glory. Which is slightly ironic since we listened to that on the 24 hour drive here. 

We drove to Amarillo Texas the first day. So many times I became teary along the drive. We were seeing country I had never seen before. I was taking my family to see one of the most memorable sites in church history. We were taking the trip of a life time.  And then we drove the rest of the way the second day. 

I took picture after picture of the landscape. The top is New Mexico and the bottom is Arizona. 

  This is somewhere in New Mexico. Such a lovely sunset.   
 I felt myself say over and over again “isn’t this beautiful?”  “Oh, isn’t that beautiful?”

We were privileged to listen to conference one the drive, when we weren’t listening to the work and the glory. I felt so full and so blessed. My three favorite talks were from holland, Nelson and the guy who talked about ponderizing. Can’t remember his name. 

I was especially surprised who well everyone behaved. I’m not sure what I expected but the easy of the drive was a huge blessing.  

  Pokemon origami was a if hit.   And a well planned trip in the middle of nowhere so Ryan could try a green chile shake was appreciated. 

Taste the bitter

Today was a little rough. Kids were extra grumpy and I woke up on the wrong side of the bed because of nightmares. I kept trying to keep my cool but I felt I failed more then I succeeded.

Then as were are making dinner my sweet Sarah says to me. “I’ve been thinking about the kind of spouse I want to marry. And I want someone i can talk to and work things out with. Someone who makes decisions with me. Just like you and dad.” She got teary and I felt so much gratitude for this strong willed girl who reminds me of what is really important. It’s love and communicate, even when we disagree.

Rough days pass. The trick is to see the beauty in the bitter. To look for those tiny precious gems that can carry us through the hardships.

Today I’m holding tightly to her words. I may not succeed as much as I would like but I will take this moment as a victory. My daughter is blessed to see that her mom and dad love each other dearly. And I am so so grateful for that.

What a week

This is me laying in bed feeling so sick. Sometimes life comes at you hard. Every single person in our house got sick. Most of us in a 6 hour period. I will say I prefer it to hit us all at once. It was a little bit easier to handle.

But by tonight I was just so worn out and my fuse was a little to short. To add to the sickness earlier today Jared screamed out in pain. Excoriating horrible pain. He moved just the wrong way and displaced his knee.

We didn’t know that’s what he had done. And so I had no idea how to help him. It is so hard as a mom to watch your child hurt. I didn’t know what to do for him. The chiro wasn’t able to see us until after 6 tonight. She was in meetings all day and that’s the soonest she was available. At this point I just thought he had pulled a muscle or something. The poor kid. I held his hand and said a silent prayer. Please help the dr to help him. When she put it back in he was in so much pain. It broke my heart for him.

I am tempted in moments like these to feel a little down, maybe even a little picked on. But then I am reminded of how aware of us our Father above is. He loves us deeply and if we let Him all things in our life can be turned for good. Remembering that can sometimes be the hard part but when we do the peace and comfort can be felt.

Some days are just hard. You lay down at night and you feel exhausted. But there is always hope for a better tomorrow. Tonight I am grateful for hope and for the knowledge that me and my family are watched over and loved deeply.

The end has come

It’s a bitter sweet feeling when basketball season, for the high schoolers, comes to a close. With both Jared and Sarah playing this year it got pretty busy. The younger kids liked playing around during the games but I don’t think they enjoyed watching so much. As evident from the pictures they take during the games.





Ryan and I have loved watching them thrive in the sport they love most.

Pine wood derby time






The boys had fun making their cars this year. It was Joshua’s first car and Joseph’s last. We will not discuss that Joseph got 4th out of 4 and Joshua got second to last in his group. We will however mention that the pinewood derby is something that is highly anticipated in our house. We will also mention that lots of graphite is kind of a big deal. We learned that after the races were done.

Birthday Man


This little man is joy. He keeps us laughing and makes us smile frequently. He wants to be the best at what he does and he is eager to help people be happy. He is giving and I am grateful he will forever be our baby.



And didn’t I mention he is easily pleased. He didn’t care to much about his cake or cupcakes he just wanted it to have stitch and have some other characters from his favorite game Disney infinite.

My parents got to be here with us which was also super fun. We don’t see them nearly enough.


We got to take Jacob out to his favorite restaurant for lunch.


He didn’t exactly love being sung to.




But the silly faces this kid can pull sure makes us smile.

Love you Jacob!!

The dangers of perfection.

Hello, my name is Susan and I am a recovering perfectionist.

I firmly believe we should strive for perfection. Understanding we will never achieve it. It’s kind of like doing the laundry. The second it’s done more clothes need to be washed. That doesn’t mean you stop washing clothes just because it will never be done.
Ok maybe that’s a bad analogy.

It is difficult for me to put into words as it’s something I have struggled with for so many years. Back in jr high I would get so stressed about projects that I had to do and I would get terrible headaches and I would procrastinate. The thought of doing it was so so stressful for me. Often I would get terrible headaches.

Over the years I have learned what triggers the stress and usually it is because I have to high of expectations. In myself and others.

Now when I start to feel that way I take it as a big red flashing warning sign. Slow down. Step back. Take a deep breath and always turn to the Lord.

Perfection is just to high a goal to expect while in this life. It’s in the process, in the stretching where we learn and gain greater compassion and empathy.

The last few weeks I felt so proud of myself. I had not missed one day of spiritual study and I felt very confident and excited with what I have gained from that.

And then… I made the mistake of picking up the perfectionist stick. I full on picked it up and carried it around for several days and it was so heavy gaining weight with each passing day.

See, I thought if I could be a 100% at one thing I should find a new thing to be 100% at. What ridiculous pressure to put on myself. That’s not how I live my life normally.

I started to get bad headaches and my neck was full of pain. It took a conversation with Allie to realize what I had done. And when I let go I was filled with peace.

Striving to do our best is really all that God asks of us. Trying, and sometimes trying doesn’t look so awesome. When you want to stay in bed all day but you don’t. That’s trying. When you feel impressed to do something and you obey. That’s trying. When you whisper instead of yelling. That’s trying.

Trying is so doable. Perfection is impossible. Doesn’t that just feel so great to read that. Go ahead say it out load. I am not perfect. I am willing to try and try again. Failing sometimes and yet getting up and continuing on.

Getting real here.

I came across this article the other day and I feel its value is worth more then words can express. Sexual abuse is not something people talk about very openly. I feel for the most part we as parents are doing the best we can to keep our kids safe but how do we do that if we don’t know how? This article addresses so well how to talk to your kids to help keep potential dangers at bay. She brings up things I had never thought of and in so grateful for her realness.

We are fairly open in my house. I have always wanted my children to feel they could talk to me about anything. I have discussed sexual abuse with them at different stages in their life and we add more to their knowledge as they get older.

I have also tried to help them understand the purpose and value intimacy is meant to bring to a married couple. It really is such a beautiful God given gift to unite a couple in love. My hope is that as I help them see that they will cherish intimacy and save it for the one person they are meant to unite themselves with.

It’s sad to me that satan strives so hard to destroy this loving unity and uses it to hurt and destroy people and relationships.

I hope like the author of the above article that parents will be real with their kids. That they will give them tools to potentially handle a would be attacker. And that if something did ever happen I pray children would feel they could talk with their parents.