Palmyra, NY

     One of the things we had talked about for sure doing while we were living in PA was visiting all the church historical sites in Palmyra, NY so a few weeks ago I picked a random weekend, reserved a camp site, and planned a trip. Luckily, we picked our last full weekend here! I'm going to break this into a few different posts because we packed a TON into our trip!

Sunday April 27,
     After church we hurried and packed up the truck and took off on the 5 1/2 hour drive to northern New York. We weren't sure how Spencer would do but he surprisingly did well and we only stopped once to feed and change him. We made it to our camp site about 7pm and set up our tent and then headed over to the Hill Cumorah visitor's center. There we learned about all the different church sites in the area and the significant events that took place at each of them. We watched a video and read about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. And we met a sister missionary from Boise who knew some of the same people so that was fun! By the time we were done in the visitor's center it was too dark to walk up to the Moroni statue so we went back to our campsite where Nate made some bomb hot dogs and then we went to bed.

     It was supposed to be a chilly night and I was very stressed about how it would go with a nursing baby. For our wedding we had received a tent and a family sleeping bag, neither of which we ever used so this was our first chance and we loved them both! I shockingly didn't get too cold throughout the night (except my ears) and every time I'd check on Spencer, he was nice and toasty. But I still didn't sleep well just because it was a different environment and I was worried about the baby. It was not as miserable as I had anticipated :)
     We heard there was a 100% chance of rain that night and I did NOT want to have to deal with that so we decided to try to see everything we had planned in 1 day instead of 2. So once we were up we were moving getting stuff put away and ready to go.
we survived!

just checking out the campground.

the pond at the campground.

Monday April 28,
     Our first stop was back to the Hill Cumorah to walk up to the spire on the hill. It's interesting that at the top of the hill you can look out in every direction and it is nothing but flat lands. It is the only hill for miles and miles. We just thought that was an interesting not-coincidence.

     As we walked up the the statue there was 2 younger guys leaving. and as we were leaving we passed an older couple walking up to the statue (they will both come into play later on).
     We then drove over to the Palmyra temple and walked around its grounds and admired it. It is a beautiful building with beautiful stained glass of the sacred grove in every window. We tried to get some pictures but because it was early morning the lighting wasn't great so they don't show off how gorgeous it really was.

this was the prettiest stained glass but you cant tell by the pic.

     After that we went to the Smith farmhouse and toured there. There was both a log home and I think the other was called the frame home, to tour. The log home was a recreation of the original, though it was on the same foundation. This was the home where the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph for the first time. At the log home we ran into the 2 guys from the Hill Cumorah and laughed how we were just following them around everywhere. We also met up with the couple we had seen as we were leaving as well. They were from McCammon, ID and were on a roadtrip across the country. They had already been gone 3 weeks and were about to head back home.
getting Spence ready.

In the loft where Moroni appeared.

outside the log home.

the house itself.

     The frame home was pretty cool as it was 85% of the original home. It was one that Alvin, the oldest brother, had started and then he died before it could be completed and the Smith's had to hire men to finish it for them. This house had lots of neat storied connected to it and was also the house where Oliver Cowdrey came to live with them at before he learned who Joseph was and anything that situation entailed.
I guess I didn't take any pics of the frame house, this is looking from the grove to the Joseph Smith visitors center and log home.

     Out behind the house was an old barn where they would thresh wheat. It wasn't the original barn but was one taken from the farm Brigham Young grew up on. Next to that was a "cooper shed" where they would make barrels and other wooden tools or instruments.
     One cool story about the cooper shed was that at one point when the mob was after Joseph, he hid the plates beneath the floor boards there. He then had a thought that he needed to move them, so he hid them in the loft above under some straw and wood. In the morning when he came out to the shop, the floor had been completely ripped up and destroyed by the mob searching for the plates, but they hadn't looked up in the loft.
     Just beyond the fields of the farm was the sacred grove. I was slightly underwhelmed by it, which was probably a good thing. In my mind I was expecting some giant forest with magnificent trees and green everywhere and wildlife and whatever else. But it was just a quiet little forest like anywhere else. Flowers were just starting to bloom, but the trees were still bare from the winter. It was still peaceful and the spirit was so strong but it was not some place that was so different from anywhere else. I guess to me that was neat because it just made what happened there more real, like it wasn't some amazing spiritual place to begin with, it was made in to that and it helped me realize that we can make our own spiritual places, there aren't just specific places already in planned.

if you can see the rocks in this picture, they were all put there by Joseph and his brothers as a fence marking their property line.

     Another fact I hadn't realized was that it was not so unusual for Joseph or his family to go to the grove and pray. They did it often as a family so when Joseph went, it was not some crazy thing he just decided to do, it was something normal.
     It was awesome to see all these sites, it just made the whole story of Joseph Smith and what he did more real as I could learn about him as an average person and see where he lived and grew.

5 months old!

Today Spencer is 5 months old!
     Nate and I have both in the last week commented on how much older he looks. He is definitely longer and getting some chunk to him. He is starting to fit into his 6 month clothes and I think he has officially grown out of his last 3 month outfit.
     We have started feeding him some rice cereal as the doctor said it would help with his reflux, he doesn't mind it but doesn't seem very interested either so we just give it here and there, nothing consistent.
The other night at dinner he was being cranky (have I mentioned we gave up on trying to get him to take a binky?) I had just packed them all away when we got a sample in the mail, I knew he wouldn't take it so i just gave him the whole thing, package and all to play with. He LOVED it and was having a great time until he started devouring the cardboard package and I took it away. It made him sad so Nate opened it up and gave him the pacifier to play with. He wasn't really happy about that so Nate dipped the binky in some jello salad we were having with dinner and Spencer loved that! He would suck it all off and then spit the binky out waiting for Nate to dip it in the jello again, then suck it all off and spit it out. They repeated this about 3 or 4 times until I finally made them stop. Our kid is never going to eat vegetables. So far he has tried; chocolate frosting, jello, ice cream, cool whip and probably more I don't even know about.
     Spencer loves to go for walks and we often walk to the library or the post office. But since the weather's warmed up my new favorite thing is to walk to a little park about 15 minutes from our house. I lay Spencer on a blanket on the grass under a tree and I read my book while he plays. He seems to like being outside.
     He is still a stinker when it comes to sleeping alone. He still sleeps in bed next to me and as soon as I move away or try to move him he is wide awake! Needless to say i get about nothing done during his naps. But I do enjoy cuddling with him because when he is awake he sure isn't cuddly.
    All the youth at church love him. Every Sunday and Wednesday he gets passed around to all the young women and he smiles and giggles for them. Even some of the young men love to come up and play with him and get him to smile.
    He has some really long hairs on top of his head, at least an inch and a half long, but they're still so blonde you can only see them in the right light. And sometimes he looks like he's getting just a hint of red in his hair, guess we'll just have to wait and see!
     He still really loved the bathtub and has just figured out how to splash with his hands. The bathroom is drenched when he's done. He has a few bath toys that he loves to reach for which causes him to faceplant so we have to be super careful with that.
     He is still practicing rolling over, he can do it but doesn't really like to. He does like to just scoot in circles when on his belly. He is going to be mobile before we know it, his upper body is sooooo strong! He can also sit up for about 3 seconds.

    We sure love this baby! He is so fun and pretty cute too!

DC Cherry Blossom Festival.

On Friday, April 11 we had a wedding reception in DC to go to and since it happened to be the week of the cherry blossom festival we decided to just go ahead and spend the day down there.
The weather was perfect and the blossoms were gorgeous!
It was a perfect trip!

Story: as Nate was walking back toward me after taking this picture we both notices an older asian couple taking a picture of Nate and Spencer and not Abe. Nate stopped and smiled for them and then they kept taking more pictures and walking up to him. They were smiling and speaking their language (didn't speak a lick of english) clearly talking about Spence. So they walked right up and started grabbing his hands and touching him which wasn't my most favorite thing but Spencer was being very cute and smiley back so we let them interact. Then the lady just reaches out and grabs Spencer out of Nate's arms! I just got really bug eyed at Nate. The lady just hugged him and smiled and played with him. Her husband took a picture of them and then she handed him back and I think tried to say "thank you". It was the weirdest thing. At first I wasn't sure what to think. I was a little bit annoyed that she just grabbed my baby! But then I realized, no harm came from it, Spencer was happy to smile and interact with her. And after Nate telling me his fist was balled ready to punch them if they tried to run off (ha) I just hope that it made their day to get to hold my little baby because clearly she was loving him.

on the steps of the Lincoln where Spencer and I almost got trampled by a group of 5th graders and once they realized I was there, all yelled out to the kids behind them "WATCH OUT FOR LADY WITH A BABY!"

the best picture we could get of us and the blossoms.

Heat's visit- DC day 2.

Thursday March 27

We still needed to see all the monuments in DC and the weather was thankfully much more cooperative this day! Nate decided to ride his bike to work so we could leave earlier and have a full day of sightseeing. We again parked and rode the metro into town.
We started out walking to all the monuments which ended up being about a 5 mile walk and taking longer than anticipated but it was fun. Afterward we tried going to the zoo but it was too cold, none of the animals were out and we were exhausted so we left.
On our way back there was a very long escalator down to the metro stop. And wouldn't you know it but it was out of service with no elevator to be found. The next closest metro was at least another 5 miles from the direction we had just come. What a nightmare that was. I put Spencer in my sling and then ever so slowly with Heaton holding the front of the stroller and me holding the back we bounced down ever. single. escalator. step. I was sweating by the end trying to hold my baby with one hand and a stroller with another while going down a very steep incline. How obnoxious that TWO up escalators were still working just fine??  We even overheard people going up commenting, 'oh my gosh, look at them!' 'take a picture!' And we were not the only ones with issues, there was an older couple slowly making there way down as well. I am just glad we only had to do that once. I'd be fine to never have that experience again.
the White House.

not the last time we were mistaken for a cute little family!

Washington monument.

Heaton photobombed this couple taking their selfie pic. at the WWII memorial.

WWII memorial.

Vietnam memorial.

can you spot Heat?

Lincoln memorial.

very busy at the Lincoln memorial!

Korean War memorial.

Korean War memorial.

Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.

Roosevelt memorial.

Jefferson memorial.

at the zoo.

another Cassowary in honor of Nate.

We had a fun time and were glad he got/wanted to come hang out with us!

Heaton's flight out of DC left at 7:30am which meant we needed to leave home by 5am to get to the airport on time. Nate had an interview the same morning at 10am. I gave him the option of taking Heaton to the airport or staying with Spencer, he picked staying with Spence. Heat and I got up and got ready and Nate and Spencer were both asleep. A half hour into the drive Nate text me saying 'as soon as the door closed behind you he started crying and hasn't stopped since.' And apparently he cried the whole time I was gone...that rotten baby! Because as soon as I got home it was cease crying and straight back to sleep (nursing of course). 

That same morning I had to be to the church at 11am to help set up for the Women's broadcast at the next day. My friend asked if I was sad that my brother left and although I was a little sad, I was also a bit relieved, it was hard work just going and going and going everyday and especially the days where it was just me taking care of Spence. I was definitely glad for a day to just sit and home and recoup!