Sunday, April 12, 2009

Girls Gone Wild! (Spring Break '09)

Spring break this year was wonderful! Liv had a week off from school, and John (by a delightful arrangement) was able to take a week off from his cardiology block, so stick around South Bend we would NOT! We met the Soelberg family (of Fishers, Indiana fame) in Nauvoo, Illinois, for a little tour of places from early Mormon history.
Olivia and Libby have been friends from WAY back. (I like to think of the two of them communicating silently while they were both in utero and Sara and I spent our lunchtimes at Spanish Fork Jr. High having delightful chats. Libby is obviously the more excitable of the two. (I love that girl!)When they weren't joined at the hip wandering from site to site, they were swimming side-by-side in the hotel swimming pool. (Or the swimming pool sized jacuzzi located on one side of our hotel room.)
Our tour of Old Nauvoo started at the Riser Boot Shop. Can you believe that we immediately met someone from Monticello, Utah? Sister Longhurst grew up as one of the Monticello Lewises, and remembers my Aunts Rachel and Lynette from when they were "these two adorable little girls, sitting on the apartment stairs, looking up at me with those huge blue eyes." John made a rope. If medicine doesn't work out for him, I think he's got a real knack for rope-making, and it seems like a fail-safe backup plan.Sara and I missed this wagon ride through the countryside because Bella needed some lunch (the nerve of her!). When we ran to the pickup spot and realized we'd been left, I was sad for just a second before I realized that meant we had 45 minutes of peaceful interruption-free chatting ahead of us, while John and Joe fielded the limitless questions from four sweet but crazy girls.After the wagon ride was over, the girls all wanted to "pet" the horses. (I don't think a photograph can possibly portray how ENORMOUS these horses were. Their hooves were like dinner plates.) When we asked if we could touch them, the driver said, "Um. . . . okay?" His fearful hesitation made the decision for us. Look, but don't touch.
The Nauvoo Temple is absolutely gorgeous. Breathtakingly gorgeous.
All the tours at all the historic shops, workyards, and homes are guided by older volunteer missionaries. (Who sign up for at least 18 months, usually. And who wear period clothing, that they had to find or make themselves, all day nearly every day. They work SO hard.) This sister was my favorite. She was so animated, and she got diverted from the script left and right. (My all-time favorite line: "You know, Heavenly Father . . . he's a pretty good man. He took care of Lucius.")
Can you imagine baking all your bread and cookies and casseroles and everything else in one of these bustle ovens? That you have to heat by filling it with hot coals from a fire you built yourself? With wood your husband chopped? From the trees he chopped down clearing the land to plant the wheat you had ground to make those bread and cookies? I would absolutely NOT have survived as a pioneer. I love just turning the little knob to 350 and baking for 12 minutes.
The print shop. Before Mimi's first tantrum. (But you can tell she's working up to it.)

Those same cute missionary couples put on a rousing musical play twice a night, every weeknight. There was a point in the first number where several 65+ -year old men made a kickline. I nearly died laughing. You could tell that some of these missionaries weren't really singers. (They were hitting the chorus words with gusto, but sort of muttering the verses.) And only a few were actors. But they all did this happily. It was awfully sweet. The brickyard was one of our last stops after an incredibly long day. After another couple rounds of swimming and jacuzzi-ing, we headed the next day to Carthage Jail, where the Prophet Joseph Smith was assassinated. It's amazing to learn that jailer's families used to live on the floors above and below the prisoners. Compared to today's maximum security facilities, this seems awfully dangerous. The girls all posed in front of a statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith (brothers). The spirit at Carthage is very tender, and it was only accentuated by the testimony of the sister missionary who led us on our tour.Annabel got her first solo picture at the feet of Joseph Smith (and nearly took a header off the statue's base, hence the steadying arm of Daddy).

One of my favorite images from our trip is of these two little girls, both new-reading kindergarteners, trying to figure out this sign at Carthage. It obviously requires a lot of concentration to read.
We hit the Lincoln Museum in Springfield on the way back, and it is amazing. Cool enough to deserve a post of its own, so it'll have to wait until tomorrow.

7 comments:

Liz said...

Love the pictures and the commentary. Those ovens remind me of my grandma telling me to "stick your hand in the oven to see if it is hot enough." What?! I totally agree with your love of modern day conveniences!

Sara said...

Oh that Bella. I love that Bella Boo Baby.

Hooray for a fantastic trip. Thanks for planning and inviting. We loved it.

Kate said...

What a fun trip! How great to live so close to so many fun places. As much as I love AZ, I miss the midwest a teensy bit sometimes.

Mags said...

how is it that everywhere you go you find a san juaner? it must have something to do with the backbone of the earth thing. also your hair is fabulous, it looks great tousled in the wind.
also everytime i look at your blog, mike says, "whose blog is that? and i always say, "emilee anderson wells", and i just have to say that it's a very distinguished sounding name and i think it would be a shame if it didn't appear on a book jacket someday.

brittani c. said...

I'm not gonna lie...I raised my eyebrows when I read the title of this post. What a fun trip! I've got to get there one day, although I still favor Kirtland.

Cynthia said...

What a fun trip!! I so plan on taking in Nauvoo before we leave the midwest.

lauren said...

how fun! i love the missionary couples singing in the show-thats one of my favorite parts about nauvoo.