Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dine and Dash... to NYC!!

Thanks to Instagram here are some photos from last Thursday
 when Allie and Justin joined me for breakfast at Kneaders,
 one of our favorite dining spots in Provo.
You just can't beat their "all you can eat" french toast breakfast!
  It was great to catch those two in town and visit with them!  
Allie has just returned from 3 weeks in Ecuador,
where she traveled with the BYU undergraduate nursing students as a "mentor." 
Justin was leaving the next day for Mozambique with a non-profit called Care for Life for the next 4 weeks,
 where he will be working with a health director teaching health and hygiene from a booklet that they wrote.
  Read up all about these two and their summer adventures at Justin and Allie's blog.
After breakfast, Allie drove me to the airport, where I caught my plane for NYC!
I got there just in time to go to dinner with Kimber and Brooke,
 and Ashley, who came up from D.C. to join us for the weekend!
It was such a great day, on the heels of such a great trip with my parents!
Dad would be joining us the next morning and Brett had the weekend off!
I thought it just can't get better than this...
and then it did!!!  Stay tuned!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

A visit with Grandma and Grandpa Olson

People always talk about "growing old together"
 and I've often thought about how it will be when Mark and I reach "the golden years" of our lives. 
Just how will we embrace it, what will our "mature" personalities be like and how we will treat each other.
After spending the past few days with my sweet parents, 
who are in their late eighties, I can only hope that we can be half as kind and gentle, 
and treat each other and all those around us 
with a third as much love and patience as my mother and father do. 
They truly have entered this stage of their lives with positive attitudes and humor 
as they have met the challenges that come with aging with immense grace and beauty.
 As many of you know, my dear mother, bless her heart, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years ago.
Her health has deteriorated to the point that she requires extra love and attention, 
which all falls on the shoulders of my dad with help from my siblings that live in the area.
I've always thought that my dad was "the greatest dad" and one of the most wonderful grandpas ever, 
but these last few years he has proved to be the kindest, 
most patient, loving husband to my mother, his sweetheart of almost 60 years!
It is inspiring to watch him take care of her every need, day and night, bathing and dressing her, 
combing her hair, making sure that she looks just as immaculate as if she did it herself.
He has also taken on all of the household duties, such as the shopping,
 cooking, cleaning, and he even does all the laundry,
chores that were strictly considered my mothers responsibility all these years. 
It is exhausting just watching him do it all, never complaining,
but rather he cheerfully takes care of all my mother's wants and needs,
 carrying on with his usual humor and fun, always a smile on his face, as if "all is well."
We went to church together on Sunday morning and attended the same ward that I did as a kid.
There are fewer and fewer of "the old timers" but it was great to hear Carol Ford play the organ, 
Carma Heywood lead the music and it was wonderful to get a hug from Milicent Matheson.  
Those are just some of my favorite ladies, who were my teachers, leaders 
and friends that I looked up to when I was a kid.
One of the reasons for my this trip was to help my dad drive up to Utah to visit my sister, Mary Ann.
My dad loves to escape the Arizona heat in the summer and retreat to Utah, 
where the weather is much more enjoyable.
But the idea of him driving alone with my mother was impossible, 
so when I heard him talking about going to Utah to be with Mary Ann 
for her next chemo treatment, that's when I offered to drive with him.
He, of course, didn't want to impose but I insisted
 and as the day grew closer to our departure,
call me crazy, but I became excited about our adventure.
 I found myself really looking forward to the scenic drive.
You see, it's been over 30 years since I have made that trek to Utah,
which as a child, I made numerous times with my family.
Traveling was quite the experience with a family of 10 
squished in our old yellow Vista Cruiser station wagon.
So the thought of having the entire back seat to spread out on 
and my parents all to myself the entire drive was an offer that I couldn't refuse!
We made a few stops along the way at some of the nostalgic 
and memorable places such as the Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort, 
which when a kid, I really thought that the mountain was made of real candy.
We drove through Fairview, my dad's hometown. 
We had to drive past my grandparent's property 
and stop to see the old barn that my grandfather built.
Just south of Provo, we drove through Mapleton, my mother's hometown, 
which sits at the base of Maple mountain. 
It was late in the day and with the sun setting, the light on the mountain
looked absolutely gorgeous! 
I quickly remembered why this is one of my favorite mountains.
This is the house that my grandparents home, where my mother grew up.
It's the cutest little house ever and I have lots of fond memories that took place there.
We arrived safely at Mary Ann's around 8 o'clock, unpacked and got my mom ready for bed.
As I put her in bed, I tucked her in "snug as a bug in a rug'' and kissed her on her forehead... 
exactly the same way that she tucked me in as a kid, which always made me feel safe and warm.
She lovingly looked up at me and in a sweet, innocent way said, "I like that!  Can you do that again?!"
I thought about how childlike she is now and how our roles have reversed and now I was taking care of her.   
 I felt this overwhelming love and gratitude for my dear sweet mother
 and for all the many years that she took care of me and tucked me into bed at night "snug as a bug in a rug." 
And grateful that I had the privilege to take care of her, even if it was only for a few days.

Monday, May 14, 2012

AAO Convention in Hawaii!

We just got back from a week of fun (for me) and work (for Dad and his staff) in Hawaii,
 where Dad attended the AAO convention on Oahu and Invisalign post conference meetings on Kauai.
Walking on the beach at Waikiki on the way to dinner at Shorebird.
Dad lectured two days at the Invisalign booth at the convention.
He did a great job!
He loves learning and teaching others about how to best treat patients using Invisalign.
On Monday afternoon, we headed up to the Northshore of the island
for an afternoon of fun at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
On the way, we stopped at Macky's shrimp truck for some garlic shrimp.
Dad got the spicy shrimp plate. Yum!
Ken and Jina had never tried the shrimp truck before and they loved it!
Next stop, shaved ice at Matsumoto's Shave Ice in Haleiwa.  
This was one of my favorite spots to frequent when I was a college student
at BYU-Hawaii over 30 years ago.  Still the best shaved ice on the island!!
Ken and Jina had not been here either.
They loved Matsumoto's Shave Ice and agreed that it's the best!
We finally made it to the Polynesian Cultural Center and met up with the rest of Dad's staff.
Here is Pauline, Tomalyn, Lacey, and Andrea with their friends from Samoa.
Of course, we all loved the Samoa show but since Dad served his mission there,
 he really really loves the people of Samoa!  
He hung out in the village after the show and enjoyed some of the Samoan food.
It was fun to take Ken and Jina to PCC, (the Polynesian Cultural Center)
because they had never been there before and they loved it!
And even though we have been to the PCC many, many times,
we never tire of the shows, the performers and the music.
We had all the staff, a few husbands and kids at the luau.
We enjoyed great entertainment...
and a yummy polynesian buffet with all the kalua pig, sticky rice,
 fresh pineapple, guava and mango that we could eat!
This little doll could not be cuter!
We became best friends really quick 
and she promised to come play at my house this summer!
Like I said, Isn't she the cutest thing ever?!!
  Look at the size of that pig!
Brooke, this picture is for you!  Dad had to get a picture with the pig!
I think he was missing his little bear pig lover, Brooke!!
Here is Dad with Dr. Annello and his staff.
We have always been so fortunate to have such a wonderful and loyal staff!
We just recently gave watches to 4 gals, who had been with Dad over 10 years 
and Anne, who has been with Dad from the very beginning, over 20 years!
They all work so hard and keep all the patients so happy!
They really deserved a day to relax and enjoy Hawaii and it was so fun to spend time together...
as you can see the staff had a little bit too much fun here!
And Dad had a little bit too much fun and while I was shopping for souviners,
Dad surprised me and got one of those fake tatoos. 
 Having served his mission in Samoa, we always say that he is part Samoan
 but apparently he feels like he is 100% Samoan and proud of it:)!
Dad had fun speaking Samoan with the famous Samoan fire dancer.
He signed a picture for Dad that will be hung in his office soon.
Fire dancing is a sport, right?!  After watching him dance in the show that night,
it was determined that it is definitely a sport!  This guy is crazy good!
On Tuesday, we flew to the island of Kauai for the Invisalign post meeting.
That night we went to The Beach House for dinner with Ken and Jina.
As the sun set, the view of the ocean were absolutely spectacular
 so we had to take some pictures (along with the wedding couple.)
Dad looked so handsome that I had to snap a picture of him!
It was so fun to have Ken and Jina join us at the convention and post meeting.
They are not only the best neighbors (they live right across the street from us)
and great travel companions, but Jina (Dr. Annello) was in charge of the office
 while we were in Africa and did such a great job, taking care of everything
 so that Dad could be away from the office for almost 3 weeks.
The staff loves her, patients adore her and we appreciate all that she does for the practice!!
Dad ordered the Wasabi Crusted Ono and it was delicious!
The next night, Mike Flanigan of Invisalign took a group of orthodontists to dinner at Merriman's.
It was a great evening with lots of conversation surrounding Invisalign!
It's always so fun to listen to orthodontists that are so excited and passionate about what they do!
They all love sharing information and learning from each other!
It was a wonderful week in Hawaii! I'm always sad when it comes to an end and
 we usually find ourselves planning our next trip back there before our plane leaves the ground.
There are so many places where I love to vacation 
but we both agree that there is nothing like Hawaii.  It truly feels like paradise!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mormon Helping Hands in Granite Bay

One of my favorite things about my church calling (assignment or job) 
is getting the opportunity to work on the Public Affairs council 
and help organize Mormon Helping Hands, a day that Mormons all over California,
 work together providing community service in the area where they live.  
Here is a great video with Steve Young talking about Mormon Helping Hands.
  This year, I was in charge of helping organize two projects in Granite Bay, 
one at Miner's Ravine Trail and the other at Granite Bay High school.
 It was a wonderful opportunity for members of our church to get out and serve in our community.
Here we are at Miner's Ravine Trail and these two girls stopped for a minute
 to get a photo before they start to weed.
I had a cute friend, who was helping at the sign in table.
Here is our group getting instructions from Chad.
We were busy weeding...
and putting in a drip system.
These two boys are almost done weeding and ready to lay down some mulch.
Here is the large group that showed up from Granite Bay 2nd ward.
I caught up with the cousins, Aubrey and Weston, who were working together.
Isn't that cute?!  Grandma would be so proud!!
And here is Pam Hoffman, scrapping off the garbage and debris off the wall.
These girls, along with many others, spent most of the morning scraping gum off the sidewalk.
These lovely ladies were the official window washers.
They were so busy doing their job, washing windows that they missed the group photo!
I wanted to make sure that we recognize them and appreciate all their hard work!
The group planted flowers around the school.
Assemblywoman Beth Gaines stopped by to take a tour with Dan Clift and Stan Leavitt, 
who showed her all the improvements this group made at GBHS.
And this is probably my favorite photo from the day,
the youngest and definitely the cutest little helper
 at Mormon Helping Hands day!  Love this kid!!