Sunday, June 29, 2008

Strawberry Fields

This week wasn't as eventful as the last few. We didn't have a weekend adventure. But we did enjoy some fun spots here and there. We had a BBQ with the Elder's Quorum on Sat. That was great and we met a lot of new people. The highlight of the week, however, was Celeste and Brooklyn's trip to pick berries. A few ladies from the ward all got together and went berry picking. Luckily for Brooklyn, they picked Strawberries. She just sat down in the field and started stuffing her face. She was eating berry, stem, leaf and all. Just kept packing them in. Enjoy the pics!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Swimming in Boston history till our fingers get all prunny.

This week we went to Bunker Hill and we saw this guy....
Colonel William Prescott who gave the order, "Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes!"

We also ran into some real revolutionaries!

This revolutionary tried to get recruitments, but Brooklyn said - No WAY- I know my history- you don't even win this battle!

At a ward water party, 9 year olds were fascinated with Brooklyn. After the party, one girl still thinking about Brooklyn, told her mom "I bet Brooklyn looks cute naked!"

"Make Way for the Ducklings"- Statues of the famous book that I've never heard of.

Weekend Visit to Salem- Home of the 1692 Witch Hunts and some literary stuff.

Tour of the "House of Seven Gables" by Nathaniel Hawthorne (also wrote "Scarlet Letter"). The best part was the secret staircase and hidden panel leading to an attic room. Super scary ghost and murder stuff!

Enjoying some Captain Dusty Ice Cream

And of course gotta look in on the Salem Witches right??
This place looks creepy and fascinating right???? Wrong! $8 to see wax characters in bad lighting. And a guilt trip at the end to not judge contemporary "Wica" witches. Come on!! All we want see is a green lady, flying on a broom- singing "Defying Gravity." Is that too much to ask?? Or at least give us boiling cauldron, with some peeled grapes for eyes and spaghetti for brains!

We thought these witches were a little more entertaining.

But, the highlight of Salem is we found a true gem!!! Yes that's right! Its true! Here in America we have a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Who knew??

We saw some of the Witches outside, we asked to see their wands and one transfiguration spell. But they acted like they didn't know what we were talking about! Good cover girls!!! After all we are Muggles!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

2nd weekend adventure

Plimoth Plantation

We went down to Plymouth to learn more about our Puritan roots. There's a museum called the Plimoth Plantation where actors (they call them interpretors) play the roles of people from the Mayflower and that colonization period. They'll actually each pick a real person that made the voyage, study their life, accent, roots, etc and portray that person 5 days a week, 8 months in a year. The next year, they'll pick someone else, and start all over again! So it was a much more interactive museum experience, and quite enjoyable. I struggled to get through the Prado after 2+ hours, but we were there for about 5 hours today! I still got tired, but needless to say, that shows how interesting it all was.

We learned first about the Native Peoples that inhabited the area when the settlers arrived. We talked to real descendants of these People.

Then we moved on to the Pilgrim settlement. It was fun to walk around and ask questions about the way life was, and individual stories. Brooklyn got really excited about the goats. She rushed up a black one, put her hand on its head, and leaned in to give it a hug. It was really cute.
The view was amazing from the meetinghouse up on the hill (as seen in the opening picture). The most fun was just talking to the people. Celeste instantly coveted their jobs. What a perfect way to stretch your acting prowess than to quasi ad-lib/improvise all day long.

One lady in particular was very nice and fun to talk to. She showed us 2 fascinating children's items they used back then. One was called a 'putting'. It's called a 'putting' because it looks like a sausage which is the same process for making English rice pudding. (You stuff all these tasty ingredients inside pig intestine). Anyway, it is essentially a cloth tube that you slip on a child's head, and fasten under the chin. It protects their head if they fall down, or bump into furniture, etc. Cool idea, if not very aesthetic.
The second item was called a 'letting' I think. I can't quite remember now, but it was basically a child's garment with two long, thin pieces of fabric coming off the shoulders. Since their houses were dirt floored, they didn't want their babies crawling around, so they would hold the kids up with the 'letting' to teach them to walk. Also, they could tie kids down to the table if the mother was super busy, or yank them away from the fire or other dangerous situation. Pretty inventive, says I. We loved it so much, we got a picture.

Brooklyn loved the dress so much, she wailed with grief when Celeste took it off her and took it away. She was grabbing on to it for dear life. That was funny.

After our time at the settlement, we went to Plymouth Rock to visit the Mayflower II, a seaworthy, functional replica of the original. It's amazing that 100+ people traveled for 2 months on this small ship. We got to talking to one of the interpretors and we discussed how she liked the new world. She went on and on about the negative aspects of so many trees. It was shocking to hear that some people back then thought the abundance of trees was making the weather so much colder, and they harbored dangerous beasts and diseases. To make it a civilized land, they needed to cut down the trees and plow the land. Environmentalists, beware the Pilgrims!

Week 2

Well, being at Kiva is really exciting and fun. It makes me excited to graduate. While I've been enjoying work, Celeste has been enjoying the sites. Here are some more pics of the various places she and Brooklyn have haunted this week.

Look at the slide show and I'll share with you a few of the highlights of the week.
Brooklyn loves the water and so Celeste took her to a splash park. She loved it, and loved being wet. They went to the zoo and she was the most interesting 'animal' to all the school tours. They all wanted to pet her and take her picture! They went to tour Harvard and picked up some interesting stories. I'll let Celeste blog about those. Boy does Harvard have some crazy stories!

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Brad gets the car for his 25min-60min commute to his internship,and Brooklyn and I got the bus/subway pass. So to defeat boredom and loneliness, we've been hitting the town Bostonian style!

So far we've hit the Children's Museum and Museum of Science -

On Sat Brad joined us for a day at Castle Isalnd and Fort Independence.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Off to Boston

It took us 3 days, but we finally made it. We had our scares and thrills along the way, as all road trips do.

Friday afternoon, about the time we hit Ohio (4 hours into the 18 hour drive), I felt the car lurching, or sputtering every so often. It felt like it happened more when we went uphill, but I wasn't too sure about what was going on. After another hour, we were feeling much stronger sputters and then one big one and the 'check engine' light came on. We started getting worried then.

Now I used to drive a beat up car a few years ago. It would sputter a lot too. So I wasn't terribly worried. I felt the car at least wouldn't explode on us. But we weren't sure it would take us safely the other 13 hours to our destination. So, we decided to forge onward another 3 hours to Kirtland, OH. We arrived at 5 or 6 in the evening, right when everything was closing up for the day. We were all pretty beat, especially poor old Dad who drove the whole time! and poor little Brooklyn who had to sit in her car seat the entire time! :( So Mom went out to the store and to see about the car. She was able to get it checked out, and it was just a misfire on a piston. So they reset the 'check engine' light and we were solid! Huzzah! It must have been the added spiritual bonus of being in Kirtland that saved the day for us.

Saturday morning we toured Kirtland. Kirtland was a really cool experience. I hadn't been there before and I had forgotten a lot of the details of what went on there. Our tour guides were very friendly and knowledgeable and threw in testimonies at all the appropriate places. They were great! I am amazed at how much the Whitney's put into the church. That was one special time and place to be in the history of the church.

After a few hours there, we drove 4 hours to Palmyra, NY. I had been here before and it was great to come back with my fledgling family. We didn't have the same experience with our tour guides though. We got a young sister missionary companionship to show us around. They kept talking really slowly, with all these pauses. (you know how sister missionaries do that sometimes...) I think they were just trying to think hard about how best to phrase things so as to draw the Spirit as strongly as possible. But really, it just made things awkward. Plus, they didn't talk much about the quotidian details of early Smith life, which is what you're most interested in! That's what the Kirtland senior missionary couple did really well. Old people are good with detailed, long stories. Anyways, we just went along with the awkwardness, and finished our tour with a walk through the Sacred Grove. That was great too. It's amazing to think we visited two places where the Savior himself appeared. I know he did. After Palmyra we drove 3 more hours to get to Albany.

In Albany Sunday morning, we went to two sacrament meetings. Celeste served her mission in this area for a while, so she was hoping to see some familiar faces. Well, the nine o'clock meeting wasn't as successful. But in the eleven o'clock meeting we struck gold! She saw so many people from her mission, including this great family she found and taught. They are the super strength to that branch now. About 4 different people got up to share their testimonies, and talked mostly about Celeste. It was a super spiritual high for her, and an emotional time for me as well. I was able to see Celeste through her converts' eyes and love her as they did. We finished church at 12:00 and drove another 3 hours to Boston. We made it! Finally!