Monday, July 19, 2010


Here are (finally!) some highlights of our trip to Nauvoo over Memorial Day weekend.

Joseph's entire family (minus one) met up in historic and beautiful Nauvoo, IL for the weekend for a great family reunion.

The first thing we did when we got there was go to the temple. Half of the adults did a session one night while half did a session another morning. That temple is so gorgeous. We drove right by it coming into town and it brought tears to my eyes the minute I saw it.

The last time I was in Nauvoo was when I was a teenager, and the only thing that was on this plot of ground was a grate over the old well in the ground. I can remember hearing a frog croaking down in it. So to see this amazing building there now instead was an emotional moment for me.

The girls couldn't get enough of looking at it. Sophie kept pointing up to the Angel Moroni on top and telling everyone what she saw up there.

You know what? Families can be together forever! I'm so grateful for temples that make that possible!

Just down from the temple you find this statue of Joseph and Hyrum on their horses looking back at their beautiful city before they headed off to Carthage Jail. This is the last time they got to see it. I loved this statue, and apparently so did Sophie.

Off to Carthage we drove next to visit the site of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. It is a well-done tour, and while this building represents a place of great sorrow for members of our church, the missionaries take the time on the tour to remind us of the testimony that these men died for, and the hope that brings diminishes the sorrow. I know they died for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I love them for their lives and testimonies of Him. Lee is showing us here the bullet hole that took the life of Hyrum Smith.

My Grandpa Lamb and Grandma Maybeth have the unique opportunity of serving in the Nauvoo Temple as ordinance workers this summer until November. They have been having a wonderful time and seem to love it there. It was so fun to meet up with them a few different times and see some sites of the city. Here we are standing outside of Carthage Jail in front of the window where Joseph was shot and fell to his death below.

We left the girls with the family one peaceful evening and walked in the warm twilight down the Trail of Hope that the Pioneers walked to leave their beloved city and cross the great Mississippi to head west to Utah. It was interesting reading the placards they have placed there with accounts of different people's experiences in leaving their homes and friends. It must have been so hard.

We spent some time with Maria, Taylor, and Shelly skipping rocks on and staring out at the wide Mississippi River where the ferry boat took hundreds of wagons across to Iowa to begin their trek.

Probably the highlight of the trip for the girls was the oxcart ride we took one morning. They thought it was so cool to be under a real covered wagon,

pulled by real oxen named Duke and Don. They got to touch them and watch them get hitched up and follow directions to move, and they were happy going round and round in that wagon and learning about how the Pioneers traveled west.

The other fun thing for them was spending some time at Pioneer Pastimes. The kids were able to try out many of the games and activities that Pioneer children might have played with. Avery and Clarissa played with these blocks for quite a while.

Sophie got dressed up to look like a real, authentic Pioneer girl. She didn't keep it on long, but she sure was cute!

And handsome Aaron is modeling the clothes of a Pioneer boy.

Joseph and I played with this game for a little while. You have to toss a ring back and forth to each other with these two sticks. Let's just say it's much harder than playing catch with a ball and glove!

You can rope these sheep but Siesa and Sophie preferred to simply ride them.

Another highlight was watching the missionary couples demonstrate how Pioneers would have baked bread, dipped candles, made their own cloth and rugs, and many other things. We got to help them demonstrate how to make your own rope. Avery helped daddy turn this big wheel at the end that tightened the three smaller ropes into a great big one.

Sophie and Sadie carefully kept the rope tight and straight while it was being twisted.

And then Sophie got to bring this rope she helped make home with her! She has loved playing with it.

While we were in Nauvoo we got to stay at the Hyrum Smith home on the outskirts of the city. It was the perfect location for all 31 of us to squeeze into and we loved getting to all stay together. We'd put the kids down in their various separate rooms in one part of the house, and then shut the door and get to stay up late chatting with the adults in the add-on to the house.

The last day we were there was spent touring the various homes and businesses of the Saints. This is at the blacksmith shop that ironically was run by an ancestor of our family. We all got to take a prairie diamond ring which Sophie loved and it was a really neat tour to see how blacksmiths did their jobs.
Joseph and I went with Bob, Craig, Taylor, and Shelly on the Community of Christ tour of the locations they own, including the Nauvoo House, the Old Smith Homestead, the Red Brick Store, and the Nauvoo Mansion. When I was here as a teenager with my Austin family for a reunion, we stayed in the Nauvoo House which was very cool. I still have vivid memories of sleeping with all my cousins in the attic and being scared to death during a loud thunderstorm one night. I know I didn't understand everything about the history of this city very well then, so I'm glad that I got a chance to come back as an adult and hear all the stories again. Here we're standing in front of the Red Brick Store that Joseph owned and where in the top floor some very important things happened for the Church.

And here is the Nauvoo Mansion where Joseph and Emma lived with their family. It was a well done tour and my appreciation for the early Saints and all they did and went through was rekindled by visiting all the buildings of Nauvoo and hearing their stories told again.

It was a very fun reunion trip with the Jensen clan, and we only wish it could've been longer! Thanks again for a wonderful weekend!


Erin said...

I LOVE Nauvoo! A few summers ago Mike went out there to work for a week and so I tagged along. While he spent the week working, I spent the week walking around to every single site all by myself. It was one of the most amazing weeks of my life. It certainly strengthened my testimony. It looks like you had a great time! What a fun place to go for a family reunion!

kim said...

That sounds like so much fun! What a great idea for a family trip!

Holly or James said...

haven't been to Nauvoo since before I was married. I need to get back.

Wendy said...

what an awesome trip! it looks like you had a blast. we sure miss your family and think of you often. you still are not looking very pregnant=)

Sabrina O'Malley said...

Wow, what a fun trip for your family. We got to go there during our internship and just loved it. Congrats on the boy! It is fun to try out the "other side". Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!