So a few weeks ago all my magical dreams came true and my parents came and visited for a week! It was awesome sauce. They are the ones who drove the kids and I out here when we moved, so they had seen our house and the area, but this was their first time out here now that, you know -- we have a life. So it was good. I enjoyed every single second. Love them both so much!
They flew in on a very rainy morning, they said it was pretty bizarre landing when you couldn't see anything at all! (Sidenote: glad that wasn't me!!!) We went to lunch at my favorite sandwich place, Planet Sub, and then visited Liberty Jail. This worked out great, because my missionary bff's, Sister White and Sister Call, were on duty that morning and got to meet my "folks." I was glad, because I really love those girls and we've developed a really great friendship. I love Liberty Jail. It really is an honor to live so close to such a special place.
Then we went and got the kids from school. This picture of Livi shows the level of excitement they felt seeing their grandparents there waiting for them! Warms my little pea-pickin' heart. KJ and Liv both ran for all they were worth to get to Grandma and Grandpa.
The next day my parents, Kate, and I set out on an adventure to visit Far West and Adam-Ondi-Ahman. Two of my favorite places. It was a beautiful day, and my Dad's first time visiting these very special places. There was a little group of gals also seeing the sights from Virginia that we kept running into. It was pretty funny. But we did become besties, so that is good.
We drove through many tiny Missouri towns (including the birthplace of J.C. Penney, woot woot!) and ended in Jamesport, which is an Amish community. That was super fun, and I tried not to be a creeper every time we passed a horse and carriage, but it was hard. We ate lunch at a little restaurant there, and that was good clean fun. Our waitress was a little iffy, and after she took our order my Mom leaned over and whispered "I think she's fake Amish." Bwah-ha-ha!
Definitely. I am thankful to have a new line to use for the rest of my natural life.
Then next day we headed out to spend the weekend in Nauvoo. It was fun to drive across our new great state, we passed hours and hours of gorgeous farmland (note: I have really come to love and appreciate these great farmers) and even stopped in Hannibal, the home town of Sam Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain. Interesting. The Double B is notoriously a terrible sport about things like this, and this time was no different. He moped behind us for the hour or so we spent there looking through many dusty shops with an unusual number of mannequins. Good clean fun!
We got to Nauvoo in the late afternoon and squeezed in a few stops before the sites closed. Here's KJ practicing how to carry water in case we ever need to go back to the bucket system:
That evening we walked the path to the river the early Latter-Day Saints followed when they left their city beautiful. The temple was beautiful behind us and the great Mississippi sparkled in front of us. There are lots of little plaques along the route, and we had a nice time. Then we saw this one and I laughed, laughed, and laughed. I thought it was SO AWESOME! So I made the Double B take my picture in front of it and I sent it to all my brothers. My brother Jon texted back: "And later that night Louise Pratt in a rage beat her husband for not doing the dishes." Ha ha! That Jon. He's always known how to handle me! Liv also wanted her picture in front of it, and I admit, I think it's about the cutest picture ever. I really am going to frame it and put it in her room -- it's just that awesome.
Katelyn got a lot of quality time on Grandpa's shoulders. My Dad pretty much spent a week being bossed around by my two tiny ladies. They just love their Grandpa and his total willingness to do pretty much anything they ask. Pretty sure he sighed a big sigh of relief on that airplane home!
We saw the senior missionaries do their program, which I think is adorable and touching. My kids LOVED it. They loved sitting up front without Mom and Dad, too. There's this song they sing that says something along the lines of "We go willingly because we have to," then at the end changes "We go willingly because we WANT to." I found that a very profound thought and can relate it a lot to life in generally and certainly my own life. It was also a very catchy tune that KJ and I both got in our heads. I'm pretty sure everyone wanted to divorce us by the end of the evening. Because we just kept singing it while we searched for food. And seriously, there is NOWHERE to eat in Nauvoo after seven o'clock. I find that a serious flaw in the system.
We slept in a great cabin and had the best couple of days seeing the wonderful restored sites and learning so much. It was both my Dad, Double B's, and the kids first time to Nauvoo. The last time I went was with my Granny, and I basically spent two days going slowly with her there from site to site. I had lots of memories and pretty much still want to cry about it. I'm so thankful I had that experience and so grateful I've had my new experience there, too.
P.S. Katelyn ran ahead of us and climbed on top of Joseph Smith's gravestone. Yikes. I told my brother Jon this as well, and he said he didn't think Joseph Smith would mind. I think that's probably right. The good news is, none of us were zapped. Phew!
My Mom is going to kill me for posting this picture, but I had to because it is just so AWESOME! We were waiting outside Lucy Mack Smith's home (which smelled really funny), and I pulled out my phone for a little picture. Normal smiles, then on three, she pulled this amazing face! HA HA! I was totally shocked! Total shock and awe, in fact. She was pretty proud of herself, too. She said that is for saying that sometimes she has a tired smile picture face, so she decided to blow that reputation to pieces. Well, it is gone forever! Maybe this should be your new picture face, Mom! I like it! Total awesome Mom moment.
Stinking awesome. That's what this is.
Saturday night we went to visit Carthage. Let it be public record (since it's now police record), that I did in fact get a whopping $120 ticket for speeding. 20 miles per hour too fast, and that is true, so I can't lie about it. I wasn't paying attention, and I am not proud. I also got a verbal warning for evading law enforcement, since he said he followed me with lights and sirens for a mile and a half (I find this questionable, but hey). So he said if he'd decided to ticket me for that, he would have had to arrest me. So I was almost arrested. So that's good. I also had to get out of the vehicle twice. Not my finest hour. I am thankful to be married to the Double B, who was so gracious about it when I deserved to be left in the desert. I have suffered terrible guilt since then, because I totally WAS speeding, and I have been speeding for awhile now, and apparently I believed I was above the law. That is really not what I stand for, and since I owe the state of Illinois $120, it has caused me serious reflection, and I am not going to lie, I needed to repent. I felt better after taking the sacrament this Sunday, and I am changing my ways. So from now on if you are driving with me, plan on going the speed limit. Sigh.
I say a lot of things on this blog. But I am changing my ways, man!!!
Carthage was interesting, and we made our way home on Sunday and had a rousing game of Hand and Foot with our friends the Tates. We are glad my parents had the chance to spend some time with them, since they are, without a doubt, our Missouri family, and we are so thankful for them.
Grandpa and KJ outside the beautiful Nauvoo temple. BB and I had the chance to attend a session inside, and I was so touched.
Monday we went to a great mall on the other side of the city called Oak Park. I tried not to wallow in despair so I could enjoy the last few hours with my favorite people, before taking them to the airport. I held it together pretty well dropping them off, when really I just wanted to lay down on the ground and cry. I'm proud of myself -- I'm such a big girl! Kate fell asleep on the way, so she didn't see them go. When she woke up when we were almost home she gasped and demanded "You take them away?!?" I comforted her and myself with popcorn, snuggles, and the Lorax. All was well.
So thankful for such a wonderful visit. I love you, parents! Thank you so much for coming all the way out here to be with us. It meant so much! Lots and lots of happy memories.