Wednesday, July 31, 2013

King's Dominion

We spent last Saturday utilizing our annual passes to King's Dominion. In the past we have always gone in the Spring or Fall so this was our first time being able to go during the summer. This also means it was our first time being able to go to the water park area which we were all looking forward to.

Our drive down I-95 was disastrous. It was slow as molasses (I-95 is the WORST!) and it took us 4 hours to get there instead of 2.5. And then to top it off, this little guy threw up all over himself about 3 hours into our already frustrating adventure. I think Jason and I were ready to throw in the towel at that point but the sadness of three little faces caused us to show a little pity and persevere. Fortunately he threw up right near an exit with a Target so we were able to get him all cleaned up and buy a cheap outfit to change him into before hitting the road again. Fortunately he seemed to be fine after that one incident and we ended up having a fantastic time!

The booger who almost ruined the trip!!

We got to the park around noon and headed right to the water area. We all really enjoyed the lazy river. As we were riding along, Landon commented "But we're not really DOING anything!" Yup, my man, that's why they call it the "lazy river."

There were several water slides that Abby and Landon were able to go on which they really enjoyed while Nolan really liked the toddler beach areas.

All three kids enjoyed the foam pit!

This was probably the favorite slide from the day (but the lines by this point in the day had become ridiculously long.)

We also spent some time at the two different wave pools while Nolan took a nap in the stroller. (After spending time at the Atlantic Ocean earlier in the month though, the wave pools weren't quite as thrilling!) After Nolan woke up, we decided it was time to leave the water area and explore the amusement part for awhile.

The bumper cars were a huge hit (Nolan cried each and every time he had to get off a ride. This kid sure loves amusement parks!)

Then we hit up all the new rides in Snoopy Land which were actually quite a bit of fun for the kids. Can't you tell how thrilled I am by this rocket ship ride?

Jason and I thought this ride looked pretty fun since it really looked and felt like they were flying!

We finished up with a roller coaster ride (Landon is still not sure what to think about them yet. He makes the best faces while he rides them though!) Then we hit the road to head back home. We took the back roads home and made it in just less than 3 hours so a much better experience than the ride down. Hopefully we'll make it down at least one more time before our passes expire!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


We are in the midst of house training Cooper and have found that he likes to do his business on the family room rug, the one area of the downstairs that is not hardwood! Until he is better able to control his bladder, we have blockaded the family room area so that our rug can be spared his pitstops. 

I thought we had done a pretty good job blocking the area when I heard some whimpering coming from beneath my seat on the couch. Turns out Cooper is small enough to sneak under the couches but couldn't quite figure out how to get himself back out!

 We all got a kick out of our little "sneaky" puppy. Too bad his plans didn't get him any closer to his favorite potty rug!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Announcing a New Addition to Our Family...

Nope, it's not a's a puppy!!

We have been thinking about getting a second dog for a while and finally took the plunge last Saturday after meeting this little guy...

He's a 3-month-old Lhasa Apso who we have named Cooper. He's quite the entertainer and already the kids love him to pieces. (I love him too, but we are still working diligently on getting him house-trained. Once that happens, I think I will enjoy him even more!!)

 We knew we wanted a smaller dog to be a good companion for our other dog Maya. Maya is now almost 10 years old so we wanted to have a "transition dog" to make her passing more bearable when the time comes. Plus, Maya has found renewed energy and pep since having Mr. Cooper around so its a win-win for everyone.

He is so stinking adorable and we are excited to have him as a member of our fur family!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

New York -- Day 3

The third day of our New York trip was a Sunday so we spent the morning going to the Palmyra Ward located right down the street from the Joseph Smith family farm. It was like going to Stake Conference, with the chapel, overflow, gym and stage completely full of visitors that day! The Aaronic priesthood had quite the challenge to pass the Sacrament to that many people but they were very organized and you could tell they were used to those large numbers during the summer months (especially during the weeks of the Hill Cumorah pageant.)

After church, we had a picnic lunch before heading over to the Palmyra Temple grounds. The Palmyra Temple was built just a few minutes from the Joseph Smith Farm and is right across the street from the Stake Center where we attended church. 

It was a pretty hot day but the kids did great touring around all the church historical sites.

After the Temple, we drove two miles to the Hill Cumorah's Visitor's Center in order to cool down a bit. The kids loved all of the interactive exhibits and the adults loved the cool air conditioning!

Then we made the trek up to the Angel Moroni Monument on top of the Hill Cumorah. It was truly a "hill of considerable size" but we made the journey without too much trouble! On the night of the pageant we could actually see Moroni peeking out of the tops of the trees from our seats which the kids really enjoyed seeing.

The view of the Pageant stage from above...

After the Hill Cumorah, we toured the Grandin Printing Press where the Book of Mormon was first published. This was actually one of my most favorite spots because I learned so much and realized just how tedious of a process it was to print books back in the 1830's.

Here is the front of the Grandin Store...

The printing area (I would NOT have wanted to have the job of typesetting all of those pages!)

An actual first edition of the Book of Mormon...

We got a quick drive-by look at the home of Marin Harris...

Before hitting the Joseph Smith Family Farm. Here is the log home...

And the frame home...(the frame home was so much nicer than the log home and I can only imagine how hard it must have been for Lucy to move back into the log home after they lost the mortgage to the frame home. As a woman and mother, that would have been pretty hard!)

Then we headed into the Sacred Grove. We were a bit surprised by just how close the grove was to the farm.

It was so beautiful and quiet inside the grove of trees...

I decided to bear my testimony about the prophet Joseph Smith to Abby and Landon right inside the grove. I'm not sure how much of an impression it made on them, but I hope they remember this incredible experience to see firsthand the sites of the restoration.

After we finished up at the Sacred Grove, we had one more place to visit before our journey was over. It was about 20 miles away and we knew it would be closed to visitors, but we decided to venture on over anyway. Then Nolan threw up in the car (I think he may have had a touch of heat exhaustion) and we almost bagged the whole idea, but after cleaning him and his seat up at the Inn we were staying at, we continued on our way.

Here is the Peter Whitmer farm, where the church was organized over 180 years ago...

From such humble beginnings to a worldwide, rapidly growing church!! It was such a quiet area and a wonderful way to end our trip.

After a restful night, we made the 5-hour journey back home. These kids did so amazingly well and it sure was fun to experience all of these great places with my parents!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New York -- Day 2

The second day of our New York adventure was spent at Niagara Falls. I didn't think this could live up to all of its hype, but it certainly did. We decided to take the "Maid of the Mist" boat ride so that we could really get up close and personal with the Falls.

 The observation tower on the American side of the Falls...

Here's the view of the boat launch from the observation tower.

We all got to wear these cool looking ponchos during our boat ride. It was a good thing too because we were at the front of the boat and we got soaked!!

 The boat took us right up next to the Horsehoe Falls but we didn't dare take out our camera then as the water was raining down on us pretty good at that point. Do you see all that "smoke" in the picture below? That is all the mist that we felt as we got up close to the Falls.

After the boat ride, my mom took  a little rest while the rest of us climbed up to get a closer look at the American Falls/Bridal Veil Falls from land. 

Then we toured the observation tower for a bit before having some lunch.

After fueling up, we took the trolley over to get a closer view of the Horeshoe Falls. The kids all really enjoyed the trolley ride (I think mostly because they didn't have to wear any seat belts!)
Absolutely awe inspiring!

By the end of the day, we all felt a bit like this little man did, but it was well worth the visit!