Monday, April 29, 2013


And for vacation installment #2: NAUVOO! Scott and I met in Chicago on Monday night and then started to Nauvoo on Tuesday morning. We thought it was going to be a sub 4 hour drive but it was more like a 5 hour plus drive. 
Should have looked that one up better...

We got things started with some healthy snacking. Why buy such a big bag you may ask? Because it can be resealed obviously!

Along the way we took a detour to President Reagan's home when he was ages 9-12. (It was right off the freeway and at the exit where we got our 'healthy' snacks anyway.)

The home.

A statue in his honor.

For lunch we went to this cute cafe and they sold some amazing ice cream. We loved the ingredients list! And yes, we did order ice cream despite the freezing wind outside.

Before getting to Nauvoo we went to the Carthage Jail where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed.

The jailhouse is just behind these statues of Joseph and Hyrum.

This is inside the jail where the jail keeper's family stayed.

The room where the prisoners were killed.

The window where Joseph was shot and then fell to his death.
Carthage was neat to go visit. I really liked the drive to Nauvoo from there because you could think about what those men felt as they were being taken to their death, perhaps unknowingly but not unsurprisingly. 

At the Nauvoo Visitor's Center there was a Monument to Women with a bunch of statues. They places women in various tasks that represented qualities of womanhood.

And we couldn't leave without a picture of me by a statue...

Tuesday night we went to Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo. It's a cute little show that the senior missionaries put on each night. They sing and act out a little storyline about establishing and then leaving Nauvoo. Scott and I both had a good laugh thinking about our parents doing this. Nauvoo may not be the place for either of them...

You can't tell by looking but we about froze to death taking this picture. 
There is some bitterly cold wind in Nauvoo! 

This picture is just to show you how poorly I packed. I didn't try on this jacket before leaving and as the days went by the jacket got tighter. Later pictures when I'm facing forward will better demonstrate just how poorly it fit!

We ate breakfast looking out over the Mississippi River. It was so freezing cold but the river wasn't frozen! The Saints were able to leave Nauvoo quickly since it had been an especially cold winter and the River was completely frozen. A blessing but also hardship; I would have froze to death I'm sure!

This is the Mansion House that Joseph Smith was working on when he died.

The graves of Joseph, Emma, and Hyrum.

Where Joseph and Emma lived for part of the time in Nauvoo. 
All of the directly Joseph Smith stuff is owned by the Community of Christ and they gave a nice really tour of all the sites.

The upstairs meeting room in the Red Brick Storehouse.

This is the blacksmith shop and they had a cool demo for making a tiny horseshoe.

We didn't exactly visit Nauvoo during tourist season so we got the extended tour at every stop. While very nice it also meant that we only had time to go to 3 places. Those visits took so long we decided to just drive by the rest of the buildings before eating lunch and going to the Temple.

A really important family lived in Nauvoo...

Brigham Young's home.

Lucy Mack Smith's home. She was Joseph's mother.

In the afternoon we went to a Temple session. 
It is such a beautiful Temple, inside and out. 

This shot took many attempts with me running back and forth to the camera and again, you can't tell by looking how freezing cold we are.

We had such a great time in Nauvoo and were sad to drive away so quickly Wednesday evening. We'd love to go back when it's a bit warmer and busier.

Next week: Installment #3: Chicago.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Getting ready...

(I think I can only blog about one vacation installment a week.)

Monday, April 22, 2013


This whole blogging about vacation has been pretty daunting but here is the first installment...
So in the middle of March my family all went out to Atlanta to see Laura off on her mission to Montana. It was such a fun trip. Only siblings went so it felt like old times, just a bit more grown up. We did tons of sight seeing and even more eating.

To start things off right Laura picked us up at the hotel (we had landed around 1am Friday night so we just stayed near the airport and she came in the morning) and took us right away to Waffle House. Are you wondering what kind of breakfast joint this is? Think of it as a less expensive Denny's... The food was good though. My favorite part of breakfast was when Laura told the waiter it was our "first time at Waffle House!" Not sure if she thought that was going to get us a free waffle but the waiter just smiled.

Next was CNN Headquarters for a tour. We got to see how news is made and it was 
pretty cool. I'm a news junkie so it was interesting to see how they read the teleprompter 
and other behind the scenes stuff.
And the whole fam-damily: Melissa, Cecilie, Laura, Dad, Eric, Mom

Here is the highest free-standing escalator in the world. 
(They must be very proud of that since we were told many times.)

Inside one of the rooms where they do research. We went on a Saturday so it wasn't super busy but we still got to see quite a bit of stuff. We even watched one reporter live. During a break she waved!

No port-a-potty is really a Happy Can...
From CNN we went to World of Coke. Both museums are by Centennial Olympic Park where some of  the 1996 Olympic ceremonial things were held. (And maybe even the bombing but don't quote me since I didn't look it up.) Laura said they have large events and parades there and it looks fun. These pottys were set up for a marathon the next day.

Part of the family just catching our breath before going inside.

Mom holding Coke but wishing it was Pepsi.
This is Dr. Pemberton who came up with the Coke recipe. He was a pharmacist.

This is for Melissa since she's probably going to copy this entire post for her blog.

And here we are waiting for the tour to begin. They have these HUGE beaded Coke bottles that are really cool. Tons of detail and hours of work I'm sure.

Coke paraphernalia.
Some weird/cool Coke sign.

We walked over to the Westin after to have some appetizers in their revolving lounge. You get a great view of Atlanta and its suburbs. Laura has been here 3 years and could tell us tidbits about each area. Great way to see the city with little effort.

Our last stop before dinner was Stone Mountain. It's a memorial to the great leaders of the South: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E Lee, and Jefferson Davis. From the words of the website "finishing touches to the masterpiece were completed in 1972". The South is crazy. Laura gets Confederate Memorial Day off but not President's Day. They refer to the Civil War as the War of Northern Agression. Crazy.

This picture doesn't do justice to how huge the carvings are. I guess they're larger than Mt Rushmore.

I like this quote.

Although I later went to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival this is about as good as I saw, in Atlanta.

And the family again after Laura's talk on Sunday. She did awesome! Loved it!

More family.


Dad, Laura, and Mom.
Sunday night there was a nice little farewell party for Laura and she was set apart as a missionary. No more going to the bathroom solo! We kept teasing her about being alone but I think the joke got old fast... Sunday was so nice to be together and think about her new chapter in life.

Monday morning we went to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. It was a nice self-guided tour and we got bags of shredded money after so that was cool!

For lunch we went to some Southern BBQ place that was basically a heart attack on a plate. Tater tots with a sauce and cheese as an appetizer.

Melissa and Laura with their orders.

Enough ribs Mom?

Finger-lickin' good Eric!

Dad may be holding up the salad but you know what he really ate... 
(And doesn't' he look happy?!)

My order. Yeah, I thought I was getting a little something besides just scoops of meat. 
Should have gone with the ribs. And what's with the white bread underneath? It was 
delicious but not quite my regular lunch.

Here we all are: fat, full and happy!

And this is how the trip ended: everyone on their phones. Nothing like quality family time.

Mom and Laura were flying to SLC the next day but I was going to meet Scott in Chicago and everyone else had to go home to work. Too bad the weather had other plans... Just as we arrived at the airport it started to rain and then it began dumping buckets. I had a direct flight that got delayed a few hours but everyone else was cancelled. They tried to go back to the hotel where Mom and Laura were staying but something happened and they ended up at another hotel. Funny!

We had such a good time in Atlanta. It was seriously so fun to be together again and reminisce and create new memories. We're so excited for Laura and based on her letters it sounds like she's doing great. Can't wait to see her again in October 2014!!