|Aquarium inside the Mall of America.|
|Inside the Mall of America.|
|Carthage Jail, where Joseph and Hyrum were shot and killed by a mob.|
|A little road trip loopiness. He thought it was hysterical that the DQ had never heard of fry sauce.|
|John Deer Museum in Moline, Illinois.|
|Inside our little cabin. Not sure how this photo got out of order.|
So, I ordered the tickets for James and I, reserved the rental car, booked a hotel for a couple of nights, and made arrangements to stay with some friends who had recently retired to Nauvoo.
I didn't utter a word about our impending trip. The day before our departure, he started asking questions when he noticed me packing a couple of bags. I finally told him he was going with me to Nauvoo and he was excited. His reaction surprised me a little when he said, "It would actually be a little more fun if the whole family was going." I agreed.
We left early the next day, fully expecting James to be antsy, irritating, bored, and obnoxious on the long, long flight and two hour drive but he was amazing! He was like a completely different child without dad and his siblings. He was so mature and kept thanking me for taking him on the trip. Even when he was really tired, he was amazingly calm and so grown up. It was such a wonderful trip as I was able to see my son in a totally different setting.
We stayed a total of four nights in Nauvoo, the first two with an older retired couple from our old ward who built their dream home across the street from the temple. The last two nights we stayed in an original pioneer cabin which James absolutely loved!
I love Nauvoo for many reasons and it's an area that's very close to my heart. It really is my second home. It was fun watching James discover the magic of Nauvoo. It's very kid-friendly and all of the attractions are free (double bonus!). He loved going on the wagon and ox-cart rides, learning about candle making, rope making, going to school in the 1840's, pulling a handcart, and, of course, the blacksmith was his favorite. He also really enjoyed all of the musical performances in the afternoons and evenings. They are cheesy good fun.
He especially loved the temple and we enjoyed our evening walks around the temple, admiring it's beautiful facade. It was wonderful staying with our friends, the Palmer's, who live across the street, and waking up to the massive, beautiful temple outside our window. It was a great experience to attend the temple with my friend Rosemary, while her husband took James to see some of the sights. The interior of the temple is just as beautiful (see photos here) and, to me, possesses an added feeling of peace and spiritually given the history of that beautiful place and the sacrifices made in order to build the original edifice. As I sat in the temple that day, I was struck by the thought that the covenants the pioneers made were very literal to them-- they were, in deed, willing to sacrifice all that they had, even their own lives, for the gospel's sake.
On the last day in Nauvoo, I asked James to tell me his favorite part of the trip. He looked at me very seriously and, by the look on his face, I was expecting to hear something spiritual or whatever, but he said, "When we were at the temple...and we saw that bird...and I got super close to it...That was awesome." Indeed it was.
It was a great a trip and I look forward to returning again but with all of our children next time.
We flew in and out of Moline, Illinois and Nauvoo was a two hour drive from the airport. On our way out, we stopped at the John Deer Museum in Moline, which was free (yay!) and James LOVED it. Talk about a boy's dream coming true. The museum was basically just a huge room filled with all sorts of John Deer equipment, old and new, that people could climb all over. It was pretty cool and James is still asking me about when we can go back. Boys and their trucks/combines/tractors/anything with tires.
The trip was a much needed spiritual boost in preparation for our big move to the great white North. Love, love, love Nauvoo. If you ever have the opportunity, go see it. And if you do go see it, let me know and I will be happy to offer lots of tips and advice.