Sunday, 11 October 2015

Cedar Point

Monday 13th May 2013 was one fabulously fun day for us!  (Well maybe for me and the kids)  Jason had to go into Cleveland and view some rental properties that we have purchased there so we were able to stay at an amazing place called Cedar Point which is a fabulous amusement park that a missionary from Adelaide told us about.  We are so glad we listened to him and went.  It was fabulous and although not every ride was opened it was still loads and loads of fun.

We were actually really lucky as it had just reopened 2 days before we arrived ready for the upcoming holidays and summer season.  They close for approximately 4-5 months due to the weather.  Some rides were still closed as when you get to high apparently it is too windy, but it didn't matter as there were soooooo many other roller coaster rides. There was this amazing new ride called the Gatekeeper which apparently at that time it claimed to be the fastest roller coaster in the world SO of course Michael and I had to try it!!! It was extremely fast and loads of fun! Great memories.

Daniel was sooooo lucky as many of the younger children rides were completely empty!  He just ran around going from one ride to the next having a great time which was great as I could just sit and watch him sometimes and not worry he was pushing in or anything like that!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Mothers Day

Mothers Day 2013 will definitely be one to remember!!!

Waking up on Mothers Day in a modest RV with 8 people isn't everyone's idea of celebrating but I was sooooo grateful to be traveling around America with all these gorgeous people that I love!  (Plus for this trip we actually had a really nice and supportive mattress so that helped!)

Jason and the children made breakfast for me and then I received a gorgeous present from Tiffanys.  Even though I knew it was coming I was still amazed that I had this gorgeous gold bow necklace.  I love it! It will help me to remember this amazing family trip we had together!  It also reminds me of how blessed I am to have a wonderful husband and a wonderful life!

Then we were able to go to church in Kirtland and have great devotionals for mothers and after church the men had all baked lunch for Relief Society women.  I had to ask if they had really baked themselves and everyone I asked said they did.  I was impressed as everything was sooooo yummy.  As usual for most Mormon get togethers there was heaps of food so all the families were able to eat which is another bonus for our family.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Perry Park

After  Niagara Falls we stayed in a beautiful caravan park called Perry Park in Ohio.  Near where we live in Christies Beach is a nursing home called Perry Park so it reminded us of home. However we had to chuckle as the caravan park was located next to a Nuclear Plant and was situated next to a lake called Lake Erie so in a way were glad to just stay the one night.  The manager of the park was sooooo lovely and had gorgeous dogs so the kids were happy to talk with them.

Throughout the next day we were able to focus upon visiting historic church sites around Kirtland, a small settlement in northern Ohio where members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered shortly after the Church was founded. Between 1831 and 1838, Joseph Smith and early members of the Church established Church headquarters here and built a temple.  At the moment the temple is owned by the Community of Christ Church but you can still visit for a small donation.  We also were able to visit another visitors center and also John Johnson Home and Whitneys home and also there General Store and replicas of the Kirtland Schoolhouse and Sawmill.  In the store we were shown many things but I really remember seeing the actual copy of the stores daily takings ledger and that many things were bought for members by Joseph Smith.  Another example of his love and service. The missionaries at the John Johnson home were very new and we were their first group they toured with where they explained everything themselves.  This couple were actually President Boyd K Packers nephew and his wife. They did a fabulous job for their first tour ....maybe a tad long for children but it was great to get to know them a little better especially as we saw them at church the next day!  

I personally also enjoyed visiting the place in Palmyra where the Book of Mormon was published and printed for the first time.  I hope the children remember the efforts and sacrifices given for us to have that book today.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Niagara Falls

Our day in Canada - Niagara Falls

After visiting a few more sites around Palmyra we drove straight through to Niagara Falls so that we could we could see falls in the morning!

I couldn't believe we were actually there!!! It was exciting to go into Canada even just for a day and say that we had been there.  The view for the falls was a lot better on that side as well.  For me the falls were much smaller than I originally expected, but still spectacular.  If we had enough money it would have been great to take a boat tour down at the bottom of the falls but maybe something for Jason and I to do ourselves a little later in life.  After viewing for most of the day we stopped in to have all you can eat pancakes and real Canadian Maple Syrup!  Absolutely yummo and yes we were all rolling out the door!!!

Hill Cumorah

One of the great places we were able to visit in regards to church history was the Hill Cumorah and visitors center.  It was surreal being able to climb and explore the area where Joseph Smith found the golden plates which were later translated into what we know as the Book of Mormon today! We also had time to visit one of the first book of Mormon Publication sites in Palmyra.

We were also amazed with the 'family' water fountain that was there.  There were 8 spots around the fountain.  Must get lots of large families visiting! We were also amazed that mum let us roll down the Hill Cumorah!!!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Sacred Grove

We began this day with beautiful weather ready to tour around Palmyra New York and learn more about church history. But unfortunately the weather dampened our experiences in some places.  We visited Peter Whitmer Log Home home first where the church was reorganised on 6th April 1830.  This home was fascinating to me as the main frame of the home is original with some remodeling on the inside.  The second picture was the actual room that the conference for 175th anniversary of the church was conducted and streamed live throughout the world.

We went through the visitors center and then drove onto the area known as the Sacred Grove.  When we arrived the weather was awful with loads of rain.  The missionaries at the visitors center talked us into visiting the Smith Family home and then deciding from there if we wanted to tour the grove or not.  Not only do the missionaries talk about the history of the church they really take the time to bear testimony and help the children to feel of the spirit at these places.  On the way to the Smiths family home we could see the new Palmyra temple spires through the rain and trees - it was beautiful!  After touring the home it was still raining slightly so we decided to wait in the barn for a little while and discuss as a family what were we going to do.  We had a couple of days up our sleeve so we could wait and come back but most of us wanted to walk around then and there.  Jason and I got a little tense with all the pros and cons so in the end we went back to the van and decided to come back the next day.  This didn't go down too well with the children so they asked if we could pray for the rain to stop.  How could we refuse this request!  The rain definitely eased so we rugged up and went for a walk and within about 10 minutes the sun was shining.  This experience really helped us.  We were also reminded by one of the missionaries that this was similar to Joseph and Emma who were having an argument one night when Joseph was trying to translate the Book of Mormon....because of the tension he could not translate the words or feel in tune with spirit for the revelation.  So he and his wife prayed and cleared the air and he was able to begin translating again.

We had an amazing time together as a family here in the Sacred Grove.  We were virtually the only people there for most of the time so we were able to pray together and by ourselves and ask Heavenly Father about the truthfulness of the events that happened in the groves to bring back Christ's church on the earth.  - Of course we had a little fun as well and Joanna prayed for a family dog...which we knew wouldn't come true for a long time but hey two years later we have Hugo - the huge dog!!!

Jordyn and Hugo 25-06-15

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Onto to Church Historical Sites

On Wednesday, the 8th of May we prepared to leave New Jersey and the fantastic area that is New York!!! Looking back on it all now it was just amazing to believe that we had a huge camper-van in the middle of a busy busy city with 6 children!  That morning we had the best breakfast burrito ever that I made Michael go back and buy 4 more.  I was constantly amazed at Jason's driving ability in such a big vehicle especially in busy areas.  Just trying to get out of New Jersey was crazy but he seemed to cope so well on the main freeways and highways.

We traveled onto Susquehanna County Pennsylvania to check out the place where the Aaronic Priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith in 1830.  This area had a marked out home of Emma and Joseph Smith and a cemetery with the markings of one of their children who had died.  This was very surreal for me that things I had heard throughout my life studying church history and here we were visiting the areas ourselves.  Unfortunately the weather was terrible so we couldn't stay too long but Jason was determined to visit the Susquehanna River!  So he traipsed through the mud and woods to find the markings that state where the priesthood blessing had been given.  Compared to all the other church areas there was hardly any historical buildings or information here but as I write this blog nearly 2 years later the church is currently building a visitors center and recreate a model of the Smiths home, which I believe will be very helpful to feel the spirit and capture the essence of this historical place.

That night we went to Bingham New York and had a real American diner meal at a place called - The Spot Diner.  It looked  really really dingy and very old fashioned but the prices for the food were really cheap and the service was so lovely just like the ladies in some of the American movies!!! We had a lovely time and the food was pretty good too! Then later that night we drove on a little more to get closer to some places to stop the next day and in a place called Auburn New York, we had our first and only prang in the big car!  Jason was trying to reverse as the car navigator sent us the wrong way and then we hit the back of the van.  Luckily it didn't cost too much to fix but it was still a pain that he had just the one scrape!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

New York New York - Shopping Shopping Shopping

As previously mentioned we were Amazed with New York City.  On our first trip in we all visited Time Square and just soaked in the atmosphere.  Michael saw the MnM Megastore so of course we had to go for a visit!  It was 3 storeys full of MnM goodness!  We loved the elevator doors painted as red or yellow MnM Also loads of people there so it was easy to get caught up in all the excitement and buy anything we saw but luckily Dad was with us and helped talk kids through what they wanted to spend their money on.  We spent nearly 2 hours just in this store.  So after lunch we split into two groups...those who wanted to shop/browse with mum and those who wanted to go to Yankee Stadium with Dad.


Raechel, Jordyn, Matthew and I went shopping!!! I couldnt believe Matthew came with us so we started with the Lego store first to give him something to do if bored later.  It was absolutely packed with people so it was difficult to view the great Lego displays properly BUT overall it was fabulous and we were able to buy a few things.  Then Raechel and I were able to do some clothes shopping whilst Jordy had a little look here and there.  The girls loved Forever 21 and H&M and I loved the Macys and Guess store.  It was just fun walking up and down and around and around and to finish off the afternoon shopping I visited Tiffany's....I dont think my mouth closed the whole time. (I didnt buy anything but gave Raechel a few ideas to let Dad know about for Mothers Day) - And yes the others had a great time at baseball as well.


Then after dinner the children and I lined up to go up the Empire State Building.  The lines were no where as long as 15 years ago when Jason and I went and when we got to the top I realised why...very windy and cold. However it was still amazing to look all around and we were lucky enough to be there for sunset so that was beautiful.  It was also surreal looking down Manhattan to see where the Twin Towers used to be and of course are no longer.  Made me reflect on how blessed I truly am!  So after we came down we met up with Dad who had found a place to fix Jordyn's ipod screen for $20...Bargain!  We all knew we had to catch train back which by the time we walked there and home it would be about another hour which would be very late....I wasnt really looking forward to it.  Then at that exact moment I had that thought a Limo driver asked us if we wanted quick ride around city for $50. We dismissed it straight away.  However children really wanted a go.  Then Michael suggested he would pay.  Very generous. Jason then asked how much to New Jersey...$100. No way....and we walked off then driver suggested $80 and we said YES. We were all sooooo excited.  We got this great ride around the city and down Times Square in a LIMO and then a lift back to the RV.  We had so much fun with music and neon lights in the car!  It was one of the best parts of the whole trip!


Sunday was abit of a slow day and unfortunately it was actually really hard to get to any wards for church but we also wanted to do Wicked lottery so we got on train into town again and waited with no luck and then spent afternoon in Central Park.  It was beautiful and loads to do for children including watching a puppeter doing 1/2 hour shows for children. When we got back to RV we realised that the temple was about 3 blocks from Central Park so we were kicking ourselves we didnt go visit!



Thursday, 12 March 2015

New York New York - Wicked!

AMAZING crazy New York!

We had four great days/nights in this area and it was just amazing the whole time being there and an absolute BUZZ travelling on subway and walking around anywhere that was New York.

We luckily found a Caravan/Trailor Park in downtown New Jersey so it was only a 20 minute train journey up to New York City which is what we did on the first day!  I was just amazed to think here we all were standing in Times Square New York City.  We took some time to just soak in all the atmosphere.  We wanted Jordyn, Matt and Joanna to attend Wicked Broadway show whilst we were there so we thought the Time Square bookings office was for cheap tickets but it turned out it was going to cost $600.  Then they suggested lining up for cheap seat lottery which meant only a small chance of  your name being called for two tickets at $30 each.  We all wrote our name down and unfortunately no one called on that day....we met some lovely people in line and also met them the next day....We met a man from Utah who asked us if we were Mormons ourselves which felt great that he could spot that in us. That day was Sunday and we thought because we were lining up that day we wouldnt get picked and thats right we didnt.  We were supposed to leave New York on the Monday but we all conned Dad to stay one more day as there were no Wicked shows on Monday, just to try lottery on the Tuesday for the last time.  Third time lucky....woohoo - Michael and Jordyns names were called out which meant everyone who hadnt seen it could go plus mum of course. Jordyn, Matthew and Joanna loved the show and the atmosphere! I love watching them being so happy and experiencing new things.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the show again and felt proud that the Aussie production was just as good.

Washington DC

One of the places I really wanted to visit whilst in America was the White House but of course whilst we happened to be there they closed the building for visitors for three months!  After hearing about that disappointment it gave us more time to focus on all the Smithsonian Museums.  I thought the Smithsonian was just one historical museum of America but in actual fact it is a group of museums and galleries with all various types of of history and art.  No way did we have time for all so the older ones chose places to go and off we went exploring.  We started at the Air and Space Museum which had alot of interactive things to do which was great for the children and it was great reading about all the history especially the moon landing.

We visited Smithsonian Institute commonaly referred to as the Castle,  American Art Museum,  American History and Natural History Museum which probably tired us out alot. I couldnt believe how many people were visiting all these places espeically on a week day.  Obviously there was alot of tourists and school groups but it just seemed like thousands and thousands of people coming and going, it was a little overwhelming at times.  I thoroughly enjoyed the American History Museum and learning more of their history and seeing all the dresses most American Presidents wives had donated for display.  I was really excited to also see some church history included due to the major role it played in settling the west of America.

Later in the afternoon we visited near the Capitol Building and walked passed the White House (or as close as we could get anyways) then onward up to Abraham Lincoln statue and a chance to rest in front of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.  Unfortunately the Washington Monument was under reconstruction so there was alot of scaffolding out and around but the monument still looked magnificient especially towards the end of the day.


One huge day for some of our little people but one to remember.

Before we left this area we had a day visiting other historical places around Virginia such as War Memorial Monument and down south a little to view some of the Civil War history. There was a small hope we would see some war reenactments but unfortuntely we were visiting the wrong time of year.  We also had an afternoon visiting the George Washington Estate and learning some more history.


On the last night we did a driveby the Washington DC Temple....gorgeous at night time!