Packing the car--
I packed at night while everyone was asleep. It was so nice.
We had finished all the laundry, so I could just go from dresser to dresser, room to room, packing outfits for myself and the younger kids (I could let them pack themselves, but I wanted them to match- ha). I am a firm advocate of buying clothes in outfits, putting them away in outfits, and packing by outfit.
I packed one small suitcase for each of the four days we will be traveling with one outfit/panties/t-shirt/socks (and one diaper) for all of us. I packed a duffle bag with pjs, toothbrush, toiletries, diapers/wipes, swimsuits, and hair things. When we stop to sleep each night, we will just need to grab one suitcase and the duffle bag.
I brought another big suitcase of extra outfits and a garment bag of Sunday clothes. We always throw all our shoes in a square laundry basket. I always pack way too much.
Food was a nightmare just because there is SO much. I planned meals and put each meal in a different fabric shopping bag. We have a box of car snacks, a bag for each day, a bag of car snacks to save for the end of the trip, microwave popcorn and Easy Mac (they begged for this) as snacks for the hotel. Bibs, paper plates, paper cups, plastic utensils, wipes, a plastic table cloth (ugh, I forgot the tablecloth), a can opener. A small cooler with meat and cheese and ice.
We brought TONS of food and as I typed this I just remembered I also forgot to stick mayonnaise in my cooler. Ugh. Our chicken salad croissants for dinner will be a little dry. I also bought slivered almonds and grapes to go in our chickens salad croissants. I didn't remember seeing the grapes in the fridge. Todd said the kids ate them Friday. If one of my meals turns out as lovely as I planned them to be, I'll be surprised. :)
Do not assume we have everything all together. We don't. I think I would be able to plan, prepare for, and execute a perfect road trip if I didn't have 8 children to care for every day the two weeks prior to our trip. Basically, I need a vacation to plan our vacation. Ha!
Palmyra, New York-
I had the sweet opportunity to escort my friend, Vicki, through the temple for her first time. I can't tell you how much I love the temple.
While I was in the temple, Todd took the kids to see the Sacred Grove, the Grandin Printing Press, and the Martin Harris Farm. They stopped at a used bookstore to buy books for the trip. And, they went to play tag at a school playground.
He did leave one child at the Sacred Grove and waited a little too long before taking a child with a tummy ache to the bathroom, but everyone was happy and safe when I returned, so I can't complain.
The Hill Cummorah Pagaent-
Together, we went to the Hill Cummorah Pagaent. We packed a picnic dinner in a laundry basket and a couple quilts. We got to the hill around 6pm and got seats in the front section, third row back.
Todd took the kids to see the Joseph Smith movie at the visitor's center while I saved seats. He said they were so cute and interested. Eve kept whispering things like, "Hey! I know that place."
We met up with some old friends from our days in Michigan. Last December their daughter was pronounced cancer free after a long battle with leukemia. She still goes every month for tests.
I love her sweet mother who explained to me how healing the Pagaent was for her family and her daughter specifically. They watched her running and playing with the other children- normal life is SUCH a gift.
One night this cute little warrior said to her dad, "It feels good not having cancer." Oh, my eyes get teary just remembering this conversation.
I really believe that healing is possible and beautiful.
We got to meet up with a friend I've met through this blog and the internet and I heard another beautiful story of healing in progress. Boy, this world is just full of mothers and fathers who all care so much about their children. We are so unified in our quest to love, nurture, teach, and heal one another.
My favorite thing about being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that I really love Mormon families. We know how to do families. I loved people watching at the Pagaent. I loved watching the cast with one sweet little girl with obvious disabilities. They loved her. I spoke with a darling man with disabilities. He had been a part of the Pagaent cast for years. He said he played Jesus three times. I loved that.
Children were children. Gently guided but very free to enjoy the experience. I saw happy, kind people and beautiful families. These are my people.
Obviously there were people of other religions there, and that was great! We should all be able to embrace one another, celebrate with one another, and really experience these gatherings of believers more often.
We walked out through anti-Mormon protesters lining the path. They have large signs a mega-phones. The Pagaent ends around 10:30pm. We had a family of tired kids, Eve and Ben were asleep. These protesters were mega-phone loud, aggressive, and honestly had no business being there. These are other Christian groups trying to save us- preaching anti-Mormon doctrine. It's just awful. They preach what they say Mormon's believe in a mocking and deragatory way and frankly, it's ridiculous. They don't know what we believe and the stark contrast between the sweet Spirit of the Pagaent and the hateful slurs of the protestors actually confirms my testimony every year that I'm so glad to be a member of this church.
If these are the kinds of "Christians" who attend gay pride rallies or preach outside of abortion clinics, I understand why Christians get a bad reputation. They have one thing right- if that is "Christian" (and I don't believe it is) than I'm glad that they don't think I am one of them. I'm not that.
This year, there was one LDS man standing quietly in front of each protestor. They kind of shielded the leaving crowd from the riot behind them. I loved the stark contrast between the LDS man and the protestor that I felt. I find peace, love, and truth in Mormonism.
I have to add- we live an hour from Palmyra and visit here often. The Whitmer Farm is my absolute favorite Church site. It is my Walden. If you are traveling out here- don't miss it!!