Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sojourn in a Far Away Land - We're Flooding Again!

We have had a lot of rain in a short amount of time recently. As a result, we have flood warnings in our area of the Mississippi river again. I guess they were smart not to remove the sandbags.
We drove through flooded roads today. Leilani took pictures of Alan's car in front of us through the windshield.
You can see the water just pouring through the fields and over the road...
and off the road to a field on the other side. This particular flooding wasn't even from the Mississippi river. It was from the Salt river which runs into the Mississippi. What an adventure we are having!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sojourn in a Far Away Land - Nauvoo

I am going to start out this post by admitting to pride and ignorance when I first arrived here in Missouri. After the first four days, I decided that everyone was crazy to warn me about the heat and humidity. It wasn't that bad, and surviving the summer here seemed easy. Well, I later learned that they were having LOW humidity and MILD temperatures when we arrived. The weekend that we went to Nauvoo for the pageant, it was HIGH humidity and 98 degrees. It felt like you couldn't even breathe, and you were wet the minute you stepped outside. My kids couldn't figure out why their clothes were wet. (They just don't seem to get the concept of humidity) To make matters worse, our air conditioning in our car died on the way to Nauvoo. I wasn't a happy camper, to say the least. I am a girl who runs air conditioning at home, where there isn't much humidity. Oh well, we survived and had a great time! It is definitely a great family place. I would recommend it to all!

We stopped to see the temple first.
Benjamin kept trying to go inside. He liked the Twin Falls temple a lot, and he couldn't understand why he couldn't go inside this one too.
We went to the visitor's center and reserved our seats for the pageant that night. Then we went out into the statue garden and posed with some of the staues.
We were trying to copy this statue, and it turned out pretty good, even without the heads on the statue showing.
We got to ride in a wagon pulled by oxen.
It is pretty sobering when they tell you that over 60% of your wagon would have had to be filled with food. Those wagons are not that big. They must have had to leave most everything behind.

The kids enjoyed playing in the children's area. Ben made sure to ride all the sheep.
The girls, of course, played dress up.
They also played pioneer games and tried doing some chores that pioneer children would have done.
At the bakery, they showed us how the ovens worked and gave us some yummy gingerbread cookies. We also got some potato bread that was really good. I had always thought the ovens worked by lighting a fire underneath them, but apparently they had to light the fire in the oven itself, remove all the ashes afterwards and then cook in the brick oven. That is why it would take all day to bake bread, because they had to keep reheating the oven for each batch.
In the Family Living center, we learned how to make barrels, dip candles and make rope. Everybody got to participate in the rope making. Leilani turned the wheel to twine the individual strands together (with a little help from Benjamin), Alan got to tie knots at the end and Emily and Elisabeth got to cut the rope ends.
We got "Prairie Diamond" rings made our of horse shoe nails at the blacksmith shop. Supposedly some people used them for engagement rings. (I know the picture is upside down, but I couldn't get blogger to let me turn it)
Each of the kids got their own brick at the brick maker's shop. Last time we went it was only one brick per family, so they were pretty excited to get their own this time.
We ended up our tour of Nauvoo by visiting Joseph, Hyrum and Emma's graves. They are not on property owned by our church, but the RLDS (I know they changed their name, but I can't remember what it is now) have the homestead and graves and stuff right next to our church's historic Nauvoo area.
They had a mini fair of sorts before the pageant started. They had stations to do pioneer activities at. You got a bead at each station, and when you collected 10 beads you could go get a bigger "memory" bead too.
We really had fun trying the different games and activities. There were lots of volunteers dressed up as pioneers manning each station.

The girls were greatly outnumbered on the tug-o-war game.
The boys won, even with benjamin as their anchorman! (He saw an older boy do it and insisted that he was going to do it too. I kept trying to get him to put the rope on his back, not his neck, but apparently this worked for him)
Each of us teamed up for the sawing competition. It is not as easy as it looks! Each person has to pull, rather than push, and it takes a few tries to get the hang of it.
Alan worked up a good sweat pulling the handcart uphill and then down. The kids even talked him into doing it twice. (He let me ride too on the second trip) It was a lot of fun. We did horse shoes and stickball, and they had an area where they branded the Nauvoo temple onto wood for you. They had paper dolls and coloring. It was a great way to pass the time.
The pageant was very good. Neither Benjamin nor Elisabeth got a nap that day, so I expected them to crash during the pageant. Elisabeth did, but not Benjamin. He managed to stay awake for the whole thing. He loved it when they built the temple and raised it up.
Afterwards we went up and met the actors who played Joseph and Hyrum. It was kind of cool that they really are brothers in real life. They are just out here from Utah for the summer with their family to do the pageant. We met the lady who played Emma too (right side of the picture and behind) I told her that I didn't think I could be a pioneer woman and wear all that clothing in this heat. She laughed and said that you would be hot no matter what you were wearing, even if it was a swimming suit, so it really didn't matter how many clothes you had on. I guess that is probably true... but I still think I would've been tempted to shed a few under layers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sojourn in a Far Away Land - Carthage Jail

We took a weekend trip to Carthage Jail and Nauvoo, Illinois. We were there in spring 2007, so the older kids remembered both places are were excited to go back.

This is Carthage Jail from the side. The little white building is the summer kitchen that was added on to keep the house cooler when they cooked during the summer. The jailkeeper and his family lived in the jail with the prisoners. The prisoners paid the jailkeeper's wife for the meals they ate.
This was the room the jailkeeper's family lived in. They also had a room upstairs, but the jailkeeper gave the room to Joseph Smith and his party because of the heat in the jail and for safety reasons.
This was the downstairs cell for debtors. Joseph Smith and his party were brought downstairs to this cell because it was cooler than the cell upstairs, but then the jailkeeper became worried about the windows and how anyone could walk by and shoot in at Joseph. That was when he gave them the upstairs bedroom to stay in.

This is the upstairs cell where Joseph and friends were first put. It is extremely dark in there.
You can see how big the windows are...they didn't let in much light or air.
This is inside the cell. That mattress is the one that John Taylor was put under when Willard Richards was hiding him from the mob. They say that saved John's life because the straw helped stop the bleeding wounds that he had.
This is the door to the bedroom that Joseph Smith and party were in when the mob attacked. This is the bullet hole that killed Hyrum.

This is the window that Joseph Smith was shot through and then fell from.
It is the second floor window above their heads.
There is a really strong spirit when you visit this place. They have you sit up in the bedroom and listen to "A Poor Wayfaring Man," and then they bear testimony of Joseph Smith. It is a very powerful, moving expereince.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sojourn in a Far Away Land - Hannibal

There are quite a few cultural differences that I have noticed here. For one thing, nobody fences their yards. It is just endless grass with no divisions. Another thing I have learned is that there are not any potlucks here...they are called "carry ins." For the most part, you do not see anybody outside in their yards during the day. They seem to come out at dusk when it has cooled off a bit. The problem is that the mosquitos are large enough to carry off a small baby. I have never seen such large mosquitos, except in cartoons. It actually hurts when they bite you. We have been enchanted by the lightning bugs, though. I have never actually seen one before, so it is fun to see them in the dusky light.

We drove up to Hannibal, Missouri to see what we could see.

We took the scenic route along the Mississippi river, which was very pretty.
You can see the muddy field that is still drying out from the flooding along side the river.

We wanted to go on a river boat ride, but we decided to wait until Alan could go with us instead. (are you happy, Margaret? Benjamin is not looking at the camera because the sun is in his eyes)
They had a picture spot where you could be Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher.
We did take a trolley ride tour of the town. It was very educational
and interesting. We saw the house that the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown was born in, and the caves that inspired Mark Twain. We heard about Lover's Leap and indian scalpings and many other fun stories.

We saw some Mormon missionaries walking down the street as we rode on the trolley. They didn't look very happy. I imagine they were not enjoying the heat and humidity either.
Mark Twain, of course, is the most famous past resident of Hannibal. We haven't gone to see his house or anything yet.
We did learn about turtle island, where they gathered turtles to make turtle soup.
This is definitely a pretty area. But there are also a lot of bugs and unbearable weather.