Saturday, August 18, 2012

Family Vacation

Last month we went to Palmyra, NY to visit some church history sites and to see the Hill Cumorah Pageant.  We drove to Rochester on Tuesday, making a short detour to visit the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration site.  We got a little lost, since there isn't an exact address for the place.  Once we found it, we realized you really can't miss it as long as you drive the right direction on the road.  We stayed at a hotel in Rochester on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The boys had fun swimming at the hotel.  Preston did really well sleeping in a strange place, in a strange bed.  We were really fortunate.  On Wednesday, we spent the day in Palmyra.  Our first stop was at the Hill Cumorah.  We went to the visitor's center and then up to the monument.  We followed that with a walk around the Palmyra Temple.  After lunch in downtown Palmyra, we visited the E B Grandin Building, site of the publication of the Book of Mormon.  It was interesting to see how they printed the first edition and what a slow, detailed process it was.  We took a little sight-seeing break to play at a playground.  The boys needed to get some energy out.  We then went to the Joseph Smith Farm and Sacred Grove.  Elliott really enjoyed all the sites.  Derek had a rough time once it hit nap time.  He wasn't very agreeable and wasn't interested in being in pictures.  Shortly after we entered the Sacred Grove, we all had a wonderful experience.  We were able to sit and talk about the special feelings we felt in the grove.  Derek was even willing to take pictures and he started singing church songs.  It was amazing to see the power of the Holy Spirit in the boys.  I'm so glad we were able to have that experience together as a family.  We finished our day at the Hill Cumorah Pageant.  We got there quite early and encouraged Derek to take a short nap in the car.  Fortunately, he fell asleep, which made for a much more pleasant evening.  After dinner, the boys had fun running all over the pageant grounds while waiting for dark.  The Sourwines, a family from our ward, were also at the pageant.  We visited with them for a bit.  Elliott convinced Missy (our Primary Secretary) to play tag.  She's a trooper.  I also ran into an old boyfriend, Andrew.  He said hi and that was it.  We all thoroughly enjoyed the pageant.  We were glad we had our jackets and a blanket.  It was a little cool, but overall we couldn't have asked for more from the weather.  The day before was record heat.  The morning threatened rain but none came.  I'm really happy that we were able to visit Palmyra and be reminded of the history of how the church began.  It is such a spiritually uplifting place.  (Since blogger won't let me make a new paragraph or write in between pictures, I guess this will continue to be one really long paragraph.)  On Thursday, we drove to Niagara Falls.  What an impressive sight.  It is so majestic.  We enjoyed our ride on the Maid of the Mist.  Derek didn't really appreciate it for most of the ride.  He stayed in the middle of the boat next to the stroller.  Towards the end of the ride, he finally went to the edge for a minute.  Preston didn't know what to make of the whole thing.  He was a trooper being stuck under my poncho getting water sprayed on his head.  After the boat ride, we walked around and enjoyed the view of the falls.  We ran into Andrew again - random.  Our original plan was to stay in Niagara to see the falls at night and then stay at a hotel in Buffalo.  However, we were done with the boat in the early afternoon and it started sprinkling.  We didn't have anything to do to pass the next several hours before dark, so we decided to just drive home.  It rained the whole way home.  Since we were planning to still be gone on Friday, we headed down to Philadelphia.  Our plan was to go to the Franklin Institute, but that didn't work out because of the new rules with the museum passes.  Frustrating.  We walked to the site of the Philadelphia Temple.  It's still a parking lot, but we're looking forward to having a temple so much closer sometime in the next couple years.  We decided to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall instead.  Unfortunately, I forgot to ask Derek if he needed to use the bathroom before doing the Independence Hall tour.  So about 10 minutes into it he really had to go.  I made him wait for a little bit but then knew he wouldn't make it much longer.  Preston was also being fussy, so I took them both out.  It was a bummer I couldn't see all of Independence Hall, but I'm glad Elliott and Brent did.  Getting out of Philadelphia was a nightmare, as usual.  And once you're out of the city, there's no where to eat.  Brent said he's glad he got to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, because that's all he really wanted to see and he's glad he doesn't have to go back to Philly any time soon.  I agree - at least not until the temple is built.  I've never had a pleasant experience with the drive.  Overall we had an enjoyable vacation.  It was so nice to get away for a few days.  I didn't want to come home.        
Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Site
Hotel fun
The Hill Cumorah (I guess I didn't get a picture of the actual hill.)
Cute boys/Goofy boys
Palmyra Temple
E B Grandin Building, Book of Mormon Publication site
Playtime in Palmyra
Joseph Smith home
Other buildings on Joseph Smith farm (most pictures courtesy of Elliott)
Joseph Smith farm
The Sacred Grove
Hill Cumorah Pageant
Maid of the Mist
Niagara Falls
Many faces
Philadelphia Temple Site - it's the parking lot in the background
Philadelphia - Liberty Bell and Independence Hall
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 5, 2012

First Half of Summer Adventures

Pictures from the first half of summer.
Memorial Day - Ringing Rocks - It's a boulder field at the top of a mountain.  When you hit some of the rocks with a hammer, they make a ringing sound.  Really interesting.  Pretty hike to a waterfall.
Iron Pigs Game - The first game we've been to as a whole family.  Air Products had balls for the kids and they got Ferrous to sign them.
Police Station Tour

Beginning of summer beach trip.  It was cold and windy.  The kids had a blast.  The moms not so much.  Preston was a trooper.
Lehigh Valley International Airport Tour - we even got to go through security.  I think it's a benefit of having a small airport.  I have to say it didn't leave me with a good sense of security for that airport since they just let us through without checking IDs.

Fun at the pool.  These picture were taken at the beginning of the summer.  The boys have since become very accustomed to the water.  Elliott is doing well using a kickboard and Derek loves just goofing off and trying to swim when I can get in the water with him.
Statue of Liberty Ferry
Statue of Liberty - Camille, Tracie, and I took our kids to the Statue of Liberty.  We took the ferry from New Jersey to avoid driving into Manhattan.  The kids had a blast on the ferry.  It was super neat to see the statue that is so symbolic for our country.  Elliott was really into the audio tour, at least for the first 1/2.  The statue itself was closed for renovations.  Brent and I plan to go back once it reopens.  We couldn't have asked for nicer weather.  It was an awesome day trip.
Tricia invited a few families over to celebrate the Fourth of July.  We ate lots of yummy food and enjoyed lots of good company.  After dinner, the Smiths took us to a perfect spot for fireworks.  We had a great view of the Dorney Park fireworks from an elementary school.  That's definitely where we'll watch them from now on.  No crowds, no traffic, awesome view.

The kids put on a little parade - so cute.

Crayola Factory - Fun place for the kids to play for a day.  They got to play with Model Magic, paint turtles with melted crayons, color with glow in the dark markers, color on walls, make a puzzle, paint, draw on a car, and watch a worker make crayons and markers.  They had lots of fun stuff to bring home at the end of the day.
Fish Hatchery - feeding the fish

Best Buds

Fun day at the park.  These boys are the best of friends.  Derek and Thomas play so well together and have a lot of fun.