Sunday, February 27, 2011

Celebrating Grandma Olson's 85th birthday in Arizona!

My dear, sweet mother is turning 85 next week, 
so all of my siblings and their spouses gathered in Arizona to celebrate her birthday. 
 It was a wonderful weekend with all of the family!
 Grandma, as usual, was so sweet and appreciative. 
 Whenever she got up to get a drink or if she left the room or if it got quiet for a moment, 
she would address everyone, with her soft spoken voice, and tell us how much she loves us 
and how much she appreciates us being there and how wonderful we are. 
 She is so adorable!
My mother loves birds so one morning, we drove over to the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert to do some birdwatching.
Grandma and Grandpa are so cute, walking hand in hand around the bird sanctuary together.
So tender!
I love this cute picture of Grandpa helping Grandma look for the birds.
Brooke and her sweet Grandma and Grandpa!
Brooke and her cousin, Kristen.
Chatting with the family in Grandma's family room.
Grandma's 85th birthday cake!
I took the picture that is on the cake last year when I was visiting them.
I love all the flowers in front of their house 
and I love that Grandma and Grandpa wanted me to take their picture with all the flowers
 but most of all I love that I caught Grandma standing outside in the front yard in her socks.
So cute.
Grandma is getting ready to blowout the candles on her cake.
Grandpa looks on adoringly at Grandma.
He loves her so much and so does all of her kids and grandkids!
We are so lucky to have such a wonderful mother and grandmother!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Powder on President's Day!

It's President's day weekend and once again, we find ourselves in Utah, enjoying the holiday. 
We actually didn't intend on spending the holiday skiing in Utah, 
but Dad was asked to lecture for Invisalign in Salt Lake City on Thursday night and Friday morning. 
 They paid his way and put us up at a nice hotel in the city so Brooke and I tagged along. 
 Brooke headed down to Provo to party with her sister, Ashley while I kept Dad company
 and visited Allie at work on Friday afternoon.
 It started snowing hard on Saturday morning, 
so we all headed for Park City to ski and enjoy a relaxful weekend in the mountains.
Allie, Brooke and Dad skiing down 9990.
Allie and Justin going down Magic Lines (a double black diamond run) on 9990.
Dad and Brooke showing how steep it is on Magic Lines...
the photo doesn't actually do it justice...
it's really steeper than it looks like in this picture.
Our fearless leader, Ashley, trying to find a path through the trees.
Dad is just a little bit happy with all the fresh snow 
and happy that I skied down Magic Lines without any complaining:)!
Allie, carving through the powder.

We woke up on Sunday to 16 inches of fresh powder and it continued to snow off and on all day.  
It was one of those powder days that ski bums dream about...
but we were faithful and got our sunday clothes on instead of our ski gear
and headed out to church.
We love going to the "visitor's ward" in Park City.
They always make us feel so righteous by attending church while we are on vacation!
Yesterday was no exception.  The conductor got up after the sacrament and said, 
"When I was a priest like these boys who just passed the sacrament, on a powder day like today, 
I would have got up and headed out door to hit the ski slopes right about now..."
Really?  Did he just say what I think he just said?  Ha! Ha!
I do appreciate those who preside, conduct and speak at the "visitor's ward."
It is a unique experience to worship with others from all over the country.
We often run into dear friends, reunite with old acquaintances 
and sometimes see friends from home, which is always fun!
A couple of times, Mitt Romney showed up at church.
Sometimes it's a a small group attending the service and other times it's packed with people.
No matter how many or who is attending, there is always a great spirit there 
and I'm grateful that our family can attend and worship, even on the "most incredible powder day ever!"
As we head out on Monday morning at 8:45 (because it's a powder day), skiing down to the bubble chair,
Allie (who is in the very back) shows her excitement about all the new snow!
With all the new snow, we don't mess around and head straight for the 9990 chairlift!  
Dad is pretty excited and a little bit annoyed that I am stopping to take a picture!
Really, Debbie, there is fresh powder waiting for us on the top of this mountain...
would you just hurry and get on this lift?:)!!

Allie making first tracks down 9990!
Allie and Justin are liking the fresh powder and the warm sunshine!
This is a great picture of Brooke...
too bad she is wearing a white coat so it's a little hard to see her, 
and there is so much powder that you can't even see her black pants!
Allie, Justin and Ashley are up to their knees in powder!
Brooke is loving her new coat!  
And yes!  She still shops at the kids stores!  Yay for being tiny!
Allie and Justin are so happy after a yummy lunch and free hot chocolate at Red Pine lodge.
A sisters picture.  Cute!  
Thanks Ash, for lowering your neck gator so we could see your cute smile:)!
Here is a great video of Dad skiing the powder at the The Pines.
Trying to get the untouched powder, he skied just a little bit too close to a tree,
 caught a branch, totally took a tumble and lost his ski.
(Sorry for the loud, "Ohhhhhh!" at the end of the video.
I'm just a beginner using my Iphone video and
 didn't realize that the microphone is so close to my face. Ha! Ha!)
The little girls, waiting at the bottom of the hill, after Dad's encounter with a tree incident.
Dad, who always is such a good sport, 
poses for a picture of himself covered snow from head to toe after his tree debacle. 
Then Dad got such a great idea and talked Allie into hiking up to Murdock's Peak
 to catch some untracked powder.
Dad was like, "Hey, why don't we hike to the top there?  
With all the new snow it should be great!  Who wants to join me?  
It will probably only take about 20-30 minutes to hike up there...
 and we will probably get hot and all sweaty!"
 Ash and I were totally with him until he mentioned the sweaty part
 and that was the deal breaker.
We were so glad that Allie was there to keep Dad happy and be his pal.
This is the mountain that Dad and Allie hiked.  
They are the two small black images that look like they are carrying their skis near the top of the mountain.
The snow around them looks dark and it is because that is where they blasted earlier in the day for avalanches.
Now I really am glad that I didn't join them for the hike:)!
Allie at the top of Murdock's Peak looking down at Boa's run.
Allie and Dad...hiking pals. 

Dad coming down Murdock's Peak.
Allie coming down Murdock's Peak.
Allie and Dad, a little snowy but smiling after they hiked to the top 
and skied down "the most incredible powder ever."
Doc's run at the end of the day, skiing down to our place at Vintage.
The end of another wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Congratulations, Nurse Allie!!

It's no surprise to us that Allie got into the Nurse Practitioner's program at BYU
but Allie called it a "Valentine's day miracle" when she received the good news yesterday morning!
Congratulations, Allie!!  We are so very proud of you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brooke's Anti-Valentine's Day Party!

On Saturday night, Brooke hosted the Holt girls' favorite party of the year, the Anti-Valentine's Day Party!  
Allie started the tradition her junior year in high school, 
when she invited her group of boyfriendless (I don't think that is even a word) girlfriends 
to celebrate the romantic holiday without boys!  
They ate valentine goodies and treats and listened to "love gone wrong" songs. 
Then  each of them got to write the name of an exboyfriend or a guy that had broken their heart on a "boy" pinata. 
Everyone got to take a swing at the pinata and beat it until it broke and the candy fell to the ground.  
She even had black t-shirts made for the party with the girls names on the back and "Love Sucks" on the front. 
 The little girls loved helping Allie with all the Anti-Valentine festivities 
and couldn't wait until they could have their own Anti-Vday party.
 This year, Brooke really outdid herself with all the decorations
 and she did everything by herself because Mom and Dad were out of town.
  We flew back from Utah just in time to walk in on all the fun!
The invitation.
The girls.
The kitchen decorations.
Brooke borrowed Allie's giant clothespins from her room to hold up vintage pictures
And took the chalkboards from Ty and Sonya's wedding and changed out the ribbon to match the decor.  Clever!
She made "magazine flowers" and "paper bag flowers" and sewed felt hearts together to make a chain.
She made sugar cookies using the new cookie cutters that I bought her from Williams-Sonoma.  They are adorable!
The chocolate fondue spread.
Tissue flowers and the felt heart ribbon chain.
The official Anti-Valentine's day sign.

Sugar cookies, cupcakes and my small contribution to the party, Valentine's day candy in the jars.
I love this poster that Brooke made. 
Dad asked where she got all the pictures of the guys and 
she said that she found them in some of Ashley's old magazines.  
Dad was like, "What?! Where did Ashley get those kind of magazines!"  Ha! Ha!
Ribbon bows!  Cute!
The view from the family room.
Cute cookies!
Paper banner, made with tissue paper, newspaper, doilies, magazines, paper bags and coffee filters, that she dyed different shades of pink.  Wow!

The magazine flower hanging from the ceiling with the tissue flower.
She cut out these cute cupid stencils!
Allie, do these phones look familiar?  I'm glad that Brooke found a good use for them!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lots of sun and lots of skiing

This is how Allie and I like to start our ski day, 
laying out at the beach and watching the US Snowboarding Grand Prix at Canyons.
Kimber and Brett like to start the ski day tearing it up at The Pines.
And after enjoying the sun and the competition,
 Allie joins Brett and Kimber at The Pines.
Allie loves her Dad...
 and Dad loves skiing with his Allie!
Kimber loves her new skis!  Thanks Dad!!
And Kimber loves skiing 9990 with her new skis...
but mostly, she loves that Brett likes to ski 9990 too!
Allie taking a break at the top of the mogul run,
 after Allie, Mom and Brett foolishly followed Kimber and Dad,
 down a unchartered double black diamond run, 
which almost lead Allie over a cliff, 
and Brett and Mom almost saw their lives flash before them 
as they descended down the steep slope. 
 We were once again reminded that we should never trust our mountain guides, Kimber and Dad...
especially when it comes to skiing:)!
Once Brett made it down the top part of 9990,
he found that he loved the challenge of the double black diamond run,
as evidence of the big smile on his face!
The next day we headed over to the Super Condor lift first thing in the morning.
Brett studied the trail map and found a black diamond run off of Boa called Cains Lupus, 
which is basically a narrow gully, and thought that it looked like a lot of fun, and Dad agreed.  
The rest of us took a look at the run and decide that it is too icy and narrow, 
but Dad and Brett like an adventure and so they dropped into the gully. 
 We skied down Boa and waited for them to come racing down the run and right as they came into view, 
we saw Brett's binding on his skis pop right off!  
 Dad checks the ski and accesses the situation to see if he can fix it.
It was determined that the ski and binding couldn't be fixed so the only thing to do...
is climb out of the gully with one ski.
After ski/climbing out of the gully, good natured Brett is still all smiles.
Dad was too!  He excitedly shouted, "Guess who gets new skis?!"
Dad loves to buy new skis for everyone.
Years ago, when he and Jerry Martin were looking at skis,
they made up this silly reason why they needed new skis.
 They claimed that it was a "safety issue," that their skis were "dangerous!"
Since then, whenever anyone is looking at new skis or talks about buying new skis, 
Dad will tease and say, "It's a safety issue!"
For once, it really is a safety issue:)!
Here's a very short video showing Brett's skills skiing with one ski!
Pretty impressive!
Kimber was a good wife and carried one of his skis down hill.
 Brett finally took the ski off and walked down the hill.
Dad and Kimber took turns carrying the skis.
 Finally, Brett caught a ride on the snowmobile 
which took him and his skis down to the bottom of the mountain.
 We lunched and sat in the sun at the base of Doc's Run.
Dad and Ashley loved the new comfy chairs.
 Mark, Brett's brother, joined us for the day.
After lunch, he did a little shopping and found this great coat,
which Ashley and Mom agreed that he had to buy it!
Dad said that it's his "girl catching coat!"
 Ashley loves skiing with her Dad!
 And she loves it when her Mom takes lots of pictures of her...
 on every run...
 but she really loves to take pictures with her Mom on the mountain!
but she especially loves it when Dad skis right behind her and surprises her
when he has a "beginner moment" and almost taking her out as he completely wipes out!  
Thanks Dad for all the laughs and all the fun!