Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thank you Daughters of Utah Pioneers...

...for without you, our Biannual tradition would not be possible.
Every 2 years, our family takes these cute pictures outside of the cabins (owned by The Daughters of Utah Pioneers) in downtown Pleasant Grove.
Nothing says the 4th of July like Old Navy.
& nothing is really fun about taking these pictures, other than the fact that we yell at each other until the timer ends & somehow we are all able to pull it together.
But, hey, they make Mom happy.

The classy act of the Palmer's continue as we go to claim our rewards at Macey's, in our matching attire. 
I don't think any of us will be sad that we have to wait two years for this tradition to come around again.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Let me just start off by saying, this post almost had a different name.
But, I thought I better just stay safe, right Kenzie Marie :)
Well two thoughts before I head to bed:
1. Finally gave this to the right owner.
2. Out of the blue, a rather curious event occurred.
If you will please look at my asymmetrical upper lip, you will see that if you look at it on the left side it escalated into poofy new heights.
This has potential to be problematic.
But you know what they say: "Come what may & love it."
I may have a lisp tomorrow, but I will most assuredly love it. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Record Time

Well, we have been home for 1 week & 2 days.
But the way my "room" has been looking you would hope & think that I was still out of town.
On the trip (trek), I thought it would be a wise idea to put some shampoo in my personal bag, for safe keeping or because I wanted to shower at one of the questionable rest stops. (Sorry that was a bad joke.) But as things like this go, of course the shamp exploded & therefore the rest of the trip was spent keeping all my personal items in these trash bags. I felt homeless, & as though I was being judged by not only the classy people at all the rest stops, but by my family as well every time I searched & prodded for things within them. 
Finally put this big beaut back in the laundry room after continuing to live out of it for the past week. I am too cool.
After 5 loads of laundry a few days ago & I finally decided that today I was going to take control of my own destiny & not only fold it, but hang it up in my closet.
I will put off the rest of my procrastinating projects that are on hold until tomorrow.
OH PS Thank you Grandpa & Grandma for sending my book to me that I left in your car. 
Please excuse my negligent mind. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Journey Home. Part 2.

You're probably thinking, wrap this trip up already.
Ok, I will do so.
For some this could be called ending on a high note.
However, for me, the date June 17th will always bring a shiver to my spine.
We drove into town that has the Winter Quarter's Nebraska visitor's center. (Present day council bluffs.)
It was about 8:34 & all of us were ornery & couldn't wait to relax & mentally prepare for 2 more days of driving. Trusty Jack, G-pa Gooch's GPS, was programmed to take us straight to the visitor's center. We arrived, but of course the tour's were closed for the night, & Grandpa told my Mom, "As we drove into town I saw a motel, Let's go there!"
Those words will forever penetrate my heart into fear.
This is what he was talking about:
(Here's to wishing that the NO VANCANCY was actually lit up...)
 Motel Mormon Trail.
Just typing those three words together leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
When I saw that we could make free local calls to the residents of Council Bluffs & there was HBO I knew we had hit the big leagues.
In short, this place is a shady shank.
(go visit this. I don't know what kind of joke this is, but this place is NOT Motel Mormon Trail. False advertisement it what it is!)
And I will prove that to you.
1. We arrived & there were far too few cars in the parking lot. The adults went inside to pay. We learned that a temple recommend doesn't just get you inside those sacred doors, it get's you a discount behind these scary need-to-stay closed doors. 50 dollar flat rate per room, that is shady if I have ever heard it.
2. A nice, odd number of 3 people were accommodated per room. The motel offered only 2 nappy towels & 2 wash clothes per room. Thanks Barney for teaching us about sharing time. (I didn't want to take a shower here anyway, the bathtubs were lined with sandpaper & forever stained blue & green something or another.)
3. It smelt of dust, mold, & as though rat carcasses were rotting within the ceiling.
4. Speaking of the ceiling, there were questionable holes that my father reasoned were holes for perve cameras.
Along with our shading motel, the weather was crazy the night of the 17th and into the 18th. It rained cats & dogs while we were unloading all our gear & after the Celtics lost to the Lakers, we knew we were in for a rough night.
We woke up the next morn & the power went out because a twister was rolling through the town. (It should have taken poor Motel Mormon Trail. Someone needs to end that misery.) As we got into the suburban & watched Motel Mormon Trail become only a scary sight in our rear view mirror, there was an audible intake of clean air had by all.
Consider this a lesson learned & a warning to you & your loved ones.
Do not stay at Motel Mormon Trail.
The power was out as we preceded to go on yet another tour. It was a little different considering we participated in this tour via flashlight.
With Ma in her apron & Pa in his too-small-cap, we all once again saddled up in these clothes to prove once more that pioneer children still sing as they walk, and walk and walk and walk...
We drove an uneventful two more days & kissed anyone & all on the 19th of June.
Those final days of driving were long, but so worth it because this trip strengthened all our testimonies. I will never forget the stories I learned, the feelings I felt, & the promises I made to become a better person. This trip was just what I needed. It changed me. 
Thank you so much to Grandpa & Grandma Gooch for feeling inspired to take us on this trip. We literally couldn't have done it without you. 
We love you so much. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Journey Home. Part 1.

From Niagara Falls (Point A) to our house on 1050 East (Point B) we had 
1962.28 miles to go.
(& that's if we didn't take any detours.)
But we were forbidden to talk about it.
Words put together like this:
Are we there yet?
How much longer?
Were not allowed to be spoken.
They were replaced with sentences like:
What state are we in?
Can I have some candy?
Those questions are much safer to be asked.
Because the thing was, our point B just wasn't in sight.
As we dropped off Grandpa Palmer June 16th at the New York Buffalo airport, I shed a tear. Not necessarily because I would miss him, but the fact that while he would be home at Point B in 7 hours, we wouldn't even be stopping at our next hotel for the night somewhere in Ohio.

We stopped in Kirtland once more time to see the temple. The Community of Christ owns it now. When we stopped at their Visitor's center, the lady at the front desk informed us that the tour had already begun. (this was MUSIC to my ears. I was in get home, no stop mode.) She then said the fateful words, "But, if you want, you can just miss the movie & join the tour right now. But you will have to hurry." My elated mother asked the question, "Do you guys want to go?" I honestly replied, "No." The Community of Christ missionary looked at me like I was a devil child. (Some might say that is true on occasion) But it turns out the question was more of a rhetorical sort of thing, & it didn't matter what I wanted. Carry on...
My smile in this picture is not genuine.
apparently my parents like to choose "favorites" sometimes.
Lucky for us, Mom got lost trying to find the freeway & stumbled across another tour site near Kirtland. Our luck continued as the missionaries there told us to drive thirty miles & go to the John Johnson home. So we took more time & went there. (I was not exactly Optimistic Odette this particular day, if you couldn't tell.)
The Johnson's were rich & were able to afford only the finest in their home. Sister Johnson had a very unique decorating style. I mean get a look at the black/red/green checkered floor! (Grandma & Mom had a picture taking field day in this home, saying they loved this particular stop is an understatement.)
Isn't this door cool? They call it feather painting, & according to the missionary it is coming back in style. Only time will tell, but I am a fan.
I would like to meet Sister Johnson. Only an awesome woman would pick such cool, non traditional colors for her home.
Do you remember the sad story of Joseph Smith when the mob came & tore him from his bed, tarred & feathered him, & then he preached to the congregation the next day? Well that story happened within this home, (while Joseph & Emma were staying with the Johnson's) & that rock we are standing on is the exact same stone that Joseph stood on as he preached that Sunday. So neat.

Next Stop: The Journey Home, Part 2.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Niagara Falls.

Aren't natural wonders like this A-MAZ-ING?
Mom bought the pass so we could experience all the wonders Niagara has to offer. 
First Up:
The Aquarium.
Rachel & Wade thought it was the best thing since ice cream after church on Sundays. 
I thought it was the worst thing since I found out I always have to sit with my legs crossed at church. 
But, moving right along,

Next up: The Maid of the Mist.
(It should actually be called The Lioness in the Eye of the Hurricane.)
Once you were right up next to the waterfall It just pounded & poured on top of us. You couldn't even see anything. We were all soaked. The ponchos did about as much work as Santa Claus does the day after Christmas.

Thirdly we did the activity entitled Cave of the Winds.
(minus the fact that there wasn't a cave the name is completely appropriate.)
Our Cute grandparents sporting the yellow Ponchos & adorable sandles.
Dad giving his Dad a helping hand.
Mom: "1,2,3, say cheese...." It always needs to be said, even if your feet don't need to change when the #3 comes around.
Cave of the Winds is so cool. You walk around on this deck & are able to get within six feet of the waterfall. So awesome!
(rachel cried before, during, & after this experience was over.)

Fourthly, we watched what I kind of perceived to be somewhat of an odd film. We learned the proper enunciation of NI-AGA-ra. Don't make the same mistake we did before going here! Start your correct pronunciation now. Save yourself the embarrassment.
That night we ate here, (some of us ate here twice we loved it so much,)
& then we returned to see the highly publicized "awesome light show" that night.
Lets just say, I bet the show really is amazing if you cross the border into Canada. Wade was so passionate about not being able to cross into Canada that he sang a song personally expressing his outrage. Look for it on Broadway in about 15 years.
We loved Niagara.

Next Stop(s): The Journey Home.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our Pal that was Palmyra.

The time has come to talk about: Palmyra, New York. 

One of my favorite days of the whole trip.
What a special, special place.
I was so excited to see the Smith Family Cabin & be able to go within the Sacred Grove.
This is Alvin's house:
After we all took some "alone" time to meditate & contemplate within this truly sacred place, we of course took family pictures within the grove. I was so amazed at how quiet & serene it is once you are in there. Immediately you are able to feel the spirit & all you hear all the slight pitter, patter noise of feet some where close & the birds chirping in the trees. Such a neat place. Perhaps one of my favorite moments of the trip.

After we got back to our hotel that night, my Mom thought it would be a good idea for us to write down our thoughts & feelings we had within the grove.
This is what Rachel brings back.
A visual representation of Princess Peach & Mario getting married.
What was on the back you ask?
Luigi & Daisy also participating in the union of holy matrimony.
In short: Rachel felt & learned a lot within the Grove.
We also went to the Palmyra temple that day:
And while the adults did a session,
we ate Rock Candy.
But Back to that Sunday where we went to the Sacred Grove & such,
that day we also went to the Hill Cumorah.
We saw Coach Biggs of all people there.
Eldon talked to the Coach,
& Shelley talked to the Wife.
Long story short, we found out that the Coach's wife is my Grandpa Gooch's first cousin.
So we practically had a family reunion on the Hill Cumorah. We hugged & kissed & sang Families Can Be Together Forever by the time it was all said & done.
(I am convinced that the world is actually as big as a pin head.)
But here are some memories from the Hill C. Monument:
Is ballet necessary on the hill?
I certainly think so.
We also had the opportunity to see where the first Book of Mormon was printed.
This particular instance was Rachel's favorite part of the whole trip.
She was in the Lime light the whole time.
& we all know she loves that...
Rachel & her cute missionary kum-pan-yun.
(at least that's how our sweet sister from Samoa said it)
We loved the great town of Palmyra.

Next stop: Ni-AGA-ra Falls.