Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Summer Vacation!

We went on a great vacation for 10 days at the end of June. My dad is from Arkansas so we went to visit family there. Then we went to Nauvoo and a bunch of church sites. It was great.

Day 1- Saturday, June 19th

We left on Saturday, June 19th. We flew into Kansas City and drove 4 hours to get to our timeshare in Branson, Missouri. We got there pretty late, but saw the coolest rainbow and cloud (the cloud seriously looked fake) while we were checking into the timeshare. We also spent the rest of the night watching and catching fireflies and watching the most amazing lightning storm off of the deck of our room. It seriously lite up the whole sky. It was awesome.
Waiting at the SLC Airport to head to Kansas City.
Courtney, Blake, me, Britton, and Dad
Driving in the car from Kansas City, Missouri to Branson, Missouri -
this was only the beginning of the long road trip
Cool rainbow and cloud in Branson, Missouri - right by our timeshare

Day 2- Sunday, June 20th

We left Branson early Sunday morning to get to 10:00 church in Mountain Home, Arkansas. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive. We went to church with family and then had dinner at our cousins house. We then drove around Mountain Home to show Britton where my dad grew up. It was Britton's first time there. He loved it. He asked if we could move there. It is so beautiful and green and there are lakes and rivers everywhere you turn. There are also a lot of different churches out there. In Utah you rarely see any other kind of churches besides LDS churches. Then we went to visit my grandma. She has dimensia and doesn't really remember us. She has a lady that stays at her house to help her. My grandpa died in May and she doesn't even know that he died. She knows he is gone because she always asks, "Where is that man?" It was great seeing her. I love her so much! We then went to visit my grandpa's grave. We then had to drive 2 1/2 hours to get back to Branson to go to bed. We were already sick of the car, but we still had 8 days to go.
This was one of the churches that we had to stop at a take a picture. We love all of the crazy names of churches out here. It's great!

Visiting Grandma VanderStek.
(Mary Lou - her care keeper, Mom, Linsey, Blake, me, Britton, Dad, and Grandma)

Grandpa's grave

Day 3- Monday, June 21st

We went to Silver Dollar City on Monday. I LOVE Silver Dollar City. It is an Ozark version of Lagoon. There are tons of shows and rides. This was my 5th time to Silver Dollar City and Britton's first time. It just keeps getting better everytime! My sister and I performed there 17 years ago. I was 8 and she was 11. We were on a clogging team that went on tour that summer to Silver Dollar City. It was so fun and we even got payed for it! The only issue is the weather there. It is SO HUMID. I love my dry Utah weather. After Silver Dollar City we went to Branson's Landing (a big outdoor mall that has a cool water and fire show). It was so nice walking around right next to the river.
Silver Dollar City - the Wildfire and the Powder Keg. Those were some of our top roller coasters we have ever been on.

This ride is The Lost River of the Ozarks.

Britton and I were put in jail at Silver Dollar City. Obviously Britton was very excited to be in jail. Me...not so much.

Branson Landing - so pretty and right by the river!

Day 4- Tuesday, June 22nd

This day was full of fun in the water. My dad had to go to a meeting with his brothers about what was going to happen to the family estate now that grandpa had passed away. So Britton, Blake, Courtney, and I rode with him to Mountain Home and went to a Norfork Lake to go swimming. I love the lakes in Arkansas because the water is so warm. We then went to Cotter Springs to jump off the rope swing. We had a lot of fun trying to do tricks and flips off of the rope swing. Some were more successful than others. We had to be really careful going off the rope swing because there was a snake pit just to the left of the spring. A few snakes came out of the pit just after we had jumped and when I heard people talking about them that was the end of rope jumping for me. Then the rest of the family meet up with us to go boating. We went back to Norfork Lake and met mom, Derek, Linsey, Braedon, and Daxton. After boating we went to my Uncle Jess and Aunt Beth's house for a BBQ. They live on 300 acres in the middle of the Ozarks. It is so pretty. We rode their 4-wheelers around their land (we didn't get pics of this...sad).
Little brother Blake and his girlfriend Courtney
The water at Cotter Springs was COLD. It was definitely not like the lake water.

Britton going off the rope swing at Cotter Springs

Boating on Norfork River - Britton, me, Braedon, and Derek
Swimming in the nice warm lake!

Day 5- Wednesday, June 23rd

Wednesday was another day full of water and fun. We went canoeing on Norfork River and we ended at this cool place called Dawt's Mill. Dawt's Mill has a fun shop with homemade goodies. We bought apple butter, BBQ sauce, and ice cream. Yummy! After canoeing we went to my cousin Paul's house that is right behind my grandparent's house. He made a yummy pasta dish for us and we just sat around chatting all night.
The crew getting ready to go canoeing - Aunt Beth, Blake, Courtney, Britton, me, Dad, and Uncle Jess

I love the scenery! Beautiful! We saw snapping turtles, snakes, and crawdads.

Landing at Dawt's Mill

Day 6-Thursday, June 24th

We left bright and early from Branson so we could head off to Nauvoo. We drove through St. Louis and saw the arch. We then stopped at a cute park right next to the St. Louis Temple and had dinner. That part of St. Louis is so pretty and green. After dinner we kept driving and finally made it to Nauvoo around 10:00 that night. That was a long day in the car!
St. Louis Arch

St. Louis Temple

Day 7- Friday, June 25th

Friday morning we went to Carthage Jail. Joseph Smith arrived at Carthage Jail on June 24, 1844. It was really neat to be in Carthage Jail exactly 166 years since Joseph Smith was actually in the jail. His martyrdom was on June 27, 1844. It was cool to hear that the jail keeper and his wife looked up to the men in the jail and tried to protect them. We then went to Nauvoo and walked around and saw the shops and homes and all of the historical sites there. That night Blake, Courtney, Britton, and I went to do baptisms at the Nauvoo Temple. That temple is so pretty and it is amazing how they rebuilt it to be just like the original Nauvoo Temple. I have been to Nauvoo 5 times before and I remember when I was little and we would see the original foundation of where the Nauvoo Temple was. Now it is amazing that we can go to the Nauvoo Temple and do temple work.
Entering Carthage Jail

The door of the room that the mob shot at where Joseph, Hyrum, Willard Richards, and John Taylor were staying

The window that Joseph Smith jumped/fell out of when the mob shot him. The well below is a replica of a well that was there that Joseph landed right next to.

The statue right next to the Mississippi River where Joseph Smith is showing Brigham Young that the saints need to head west.

After doing baptisms

The beautiful Nauvoo Temple

The cool statue of Joseph and Hyrum as they are leaving and heading to Carthage. I love the sunset.

Day 8- Saturday, June 26th

Saturday morning we woke up early to go do sealings at the Temple. This was a wonderful experience that I got to share with Britton, mom, dad, Linsey, and Derek. Then while the rest of the family went on a carriage ride through Nauvoo, Britton and I went to a nearby city Keokuk, Iowa. We rented a plane and Britton flew over the Mississippi River and over Nauvoo. It was so beautiful. I was a little scared because it was windy that day, but Britton is a great pilot and I trusted him. We had a great time up there. It is definitely beautiful land. That night we went to a play that is put on by the Senior Missionaries and the Young Adult Performer Missionaries. Then Vocal Point, an acapella group from BYU, performed. They were really good!
Look how cute he looks flying that plane!

The Mississippi River

Flying over the Nauvoo Temple

The city of Nauvoo
The beautiful land!

Waiting for the show. That night was HUMID & HOT!

Watching the show. I don't know how they could wear those long sleeve dresses in that heat.

Vocal Point

Day 9- Sunday, June 27th

We started making our way back down towards Independence, Missouri from Nauvoo. On our way we went to visit Hans Mill, Far West, and Adam-Ondi-Ahman. It amazes me all that the saints had to go through and how many times they were driven out of the land that they called home. They had to move and rebuild so many times. We then arrived at our hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. When we arrived and checked in...guess who we saw? We saw Sister Thompson from the General Relief Society Presidency. She was with some other sisters from the General Relief Society Board. We said hi to her and told her that we were from Utah and we were visiting the church sites.
It is really hard to get to Hans Mill because it is off of a dirt road and it really muddy. So we just stopped off at the Hans Mill Memorial that is located in a city next to Hans Mill.

This is a mill stone from Hans Mill

Looking over the valley on Tower Hill

One of the Far West Temple cornerstones
The saints built 4 cornerstones to start the Far West Temple. The four cornerstones still remain today. They were driven out of Far West before they could start the temple.

The Far West Temple site

Day 10- Monday, June 28th

That morning we went to the Independence Visitors Center. Kitty-corner is the temple site for the Independence Temple prophesied by Joseph Smith. Then we went to the Liberty Jail Visitors Center. They have built a visitors center around the original site of where Liberty Jail was. They have rebuilt Liberty Jail, but have the original headstone above the door.
The Independence Temple lot

The original headstone over the door of Liberty Jail

We flew home that afternoon. What a great trip! We had a wonderful time. It was great to see family and visit all of those church sites. I can't wait until we can go again!


Yes, I am a slacker. I haven't updated this blog since March. Life just gets too busy and putting off updating the blog gets easier and easier. So here I am ready to update you on life since March.

I turned 25! I was off-track on my birthday so I spent it shopping with my mom and then Britton and I went out to eat that night. Nothing too exciting. Birthdays just aren't as fun when you are old.

Britton and I celebrated our 3rd Anniversary. We didn't do anything fancy because I was back on track teaching and Britton was in the middle of finals. We just went to Olive Garden and then rented a movie.

My Grandpa VanderStek passed away on May 6th. He fell two weeks before that and was in the hospital and had to have a hip replacement. He was 87 years old and his body just couldn't recover from the surgery. My mom, dad, sister, two brothers and I went out to the funeral in Arkansas. It was a sad time, but also a joyous time because we hadn't seen most of our cousins for over 4 years (and some even longer than that). We had a great time getting together to reminisce about the good times we had with grandpa. I know families are eternal and I will see my grandpa again someday.

Britton turned the big 25!

I finished my 3rd year teaching school! I love my job and can't believe that I had taught for 3 years. It goes by way too fast.

My family went on a trip to Arkansas, Branson, and Nauvoo. We had already planned our trip out to Arkansas before we knew my grandpa was going to pass away. Britton was very sad that he could not meet my grandpa. My grandpa had been a pilot and Britton wanted to talk to him about flying and hear about all of his stories. Britton was able to talk to a lot of my aunts and uncles about my grandpa and his flying days. It was fun to hear all those stories. I will be posting more about this trip later...and LOTS of pics!

We celebrated the 4th and 24th of July with friends and family.

Britton and I wrote the song for Trek this year. The theme was "All For the Kingdom of God."

Started my 4th year of teaching. I teach at a year-round school (Jordan Ridge - the school I went to when I was little). Met my new class and am loving teaching! I can't believe I am starting my 5th week of school tomorrow!

Britton went on the High Adventure with the priests. They went to Jackson Hole and he absolutely loved it!

We had a family "camp-out" in my parents backyard. It is just easier to camp that way with little kids.

Well I hope you enjoyed the update. I will be posting more about some of the things you read up above. I will be better about posting...I PROMISE!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My New Nephew!

My brother and sister-in-law just had their 4th child on Thursday! His name is Matthew. He is so cute! His older brother Tyler wanted to name the baby Batman, but of course they were not going to name him that. So now they call him Mattman. It is so funny! I love this new little addition to our family.
Drew, me, Matthew, Mandy, and Britton at the hospital
Tyler conked out on the hospital bed. He was so tired.
Cute baby Matthew!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Years!

We had so much fun on New Years Eve! Our awesome friends Janessa and Jordan invited us over for a New Years Eve Party with yummy food and Karaoke! Here we are singing our hearts out...
Dean got totally into it! He rocked it!
Dean's cute wife Holly! She didn't want to sing, but she did! She is so cute!
Jenny!!! She did amazing considering that she says she doesn't sing. Whatever Jenny!
Jenny's husband Peter! He's a great singer too!
Natalie singing, "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul! We all got into that one!
It's almost midnight!
Jordan rocked it too!
Megan shaking her booty! Wahoo Megan!
Megan and Gillis
Rob and Natalie
Janessa, Claire, and Jordan
Rachel and Jonathon
Peter and Jenny

We had a lot of fun! Thank Janessa and Jordan for letting us party all night long! You can check out Janessa's blog to see some real footage of our karaoke skills.