Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ft. Lauderdale Temple Open House

This past weekend Anthony had his last Saturday off of work for awhile since he will be changing his schedule back to every Saturday, so we decided to celebrate with a road trip to Ft. Lauderdale for the last day of the temple open house! A lot of our friends from our ward had already gone and said that it was a great experience and James loves to point at any and every church steeple and say, "Look, it's a temple!". We thought this would be a good opportunity to show him what a temple really looks like! Since my mom was in town, we took her car and traded off driving.

The plan was to go real early in the morning and get a morning tour and then turn around and come right back. We woke up at 3:30am so that we could get showered and the car loaded up. Once we transferred the kids to their car seats, we pulled out of our driveway at 4:30am. It was dark and rainy for most of the drive :( After about an hour and a half of driving in some heavy rain, all of a sudden we saw what looked like a stick hit our windshield and my mom (who was driving) couldn't see! Thankfully, no one was behind us and we were able to pull over to the side of the road. It turns out her windshield wiper blade flew off and without it, the rain made it impossible to see where she was going. We were right next to a rest area, so we inched our way to the exit and parked. Anthony got out in the rain and switched the blade from the passenger side to the driver side, leaving the passenger side sticking straight up so that it wouldn't scratch the windshield. I checked my phone for the closest Wal-Mart and found one 30 minutes away. We got back on the road and after only a few minutes we hear from the backseat, "Mommy, I gotta go potty!". We took the first exit we could find and ended up having to go miles down the road to get to the nearest gas station. After that short detour, we got back on the road and made our way to Wal-Mart. Everyone went into the store while I stayed in the car and nursed Rett. It was still raining!! After we got the new blade on and got back on the road, we were an hour and a half behind schedule :(

Thankfully it soon stopped raining and the weather perked up. I was going to be devastated if we drove all that way and didn't get any good pictures of the temple because of the weather!

Finally, some sun!

When we arrived at the temple, they showed us to an air-conditioned tent where they play a 12 minute video about the history and purpose of temples. At the 10 minute mark, James looks at Anthony and says, "I have to go potty!". He got up to take him, but by the time Anthony asked for directions to the bathrooms, James couldn't hold it any more :( They spent about 15 minutes in the bathroom getting cleaned up and changing his underwear. Can you tell that this was our first road trip since he has been potty trained? :)

After our bathroom detour, we got back in line for the tour. The line looked long, but moved pretty quickly:
 As we got closer to the front doors, there was a tunnel of volunteers on each side of the walkway, ready to put shoe covers on your feet for you. I wasn't sure if James would get upset about this, so we have been talking about how cool and fun the shoe covers are for a few days. He thought they were so funny!
 The tour was great, there were so many people there that we were trying not to step on each other in each room. We loved seeing all the different details and the beautiful decor. James especially loved the "sparkly lights" in the celestial room and the mirrors in the sealing rooms. (The pictures are from the official press release since they didn't allow cameras inside)
At the end of the tour, they lead you to another air conditioned tent where you can fill out comment cards and ask missionaries any questions you have about the temple or about the church. They only had very brief explanations inside during the tour, to keep the noise level down and the tours moving quickly.

Time for family pictures!
 James was looking around, eyes wide open, and when he saw someone was taking a picture, he immediately closed his eyes tight. Little stinker!

 James taking pictures of himself:

 Trying to get a picture of all of us with the temple in the background. You can see a tiny bit of Rett's head in the corner :)
 Another attempt:
 Look at my little squish! This baby was sooooo good during the trip. He slept or sat quietly in his car seat almost the entire time! He only started crying the last 30 minutes before we got home, which was after 8 hours in the car, not including the time spent at the temple. Am I a spoiled mama or what?
 Anthony saw some old friends from his ward in Rockledge where he grew up, so he took James to the fountain while I got some solo shots of Rett. He didn't like being put down, but how could I resist?
The trip home was thankfully uneventful and we pulled into our driveway around 3pm, so it was a little less than 12 hours for the entire trip. We definitely don't want to do a car trip like that again any time soon, but we are so glad that we did it. James loves to talk about the temple now and gets so excited when he sees pictures, especially of the "golden Moroni" :)

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