When you receive your call, there is a booklet that is included (the call is a separate letter than the booklet) that tells you all of the things you have to do to prepare to leave on your mission. There is a packing list, so we read through that and thought, oh, we have 4 1/2 months to get everything, no problem. Mom joined missionarymom.com and learned a lot about the mission and what was good to take. Shoes/boots and luggage were the two main concerns. We decided to go to Utah for the 4th to visit family and shop at Missionary Mall and Mr. Mac's. We had a great time in Richfield where our family is from and spent an afternoon at Fishlake! Caught 3 beautiful trout in 50 minutes. And then we headed to Provo.
We first checked out Missionary Mall. They give you a free tie just for coming in to check them out. Spencer tried on a suit and looked at their shoes and decided to go see Mr. Mac's. We ended making our first purchase. Waterproof Ecco Boots. We were ready to go. That was all we bought in Utah.
We figured we would go to Pomeroys in Mesa, and help the Arizona economy. We ended up getting his suit, pants, shirts and 6 ties from Pomeroys. It seemed to be a really good deal and one stop shopping was great for us. The best part was that we discovered a great little Italian sub shop next door that is to die for!!!
From there we had to go places and see people and eat food before Spencer was going to be leaving for 2 years. We went waterskiing several times, and because of Spencer's weight loss he was really able to master the wakeboard. We saw movies, we hung out together and just had some great family time together.
We took two great trips before he left. The first one included the whole family (well almost). Lauren was able to come home and take a trip with us to Grandpa's house in Los Gatos. Unfortunately Dennis wasn't able to get the time off to join us & he sure was missed, especially by Lauren who was away from him for over 2 weeks. But we sure enjoyed having her here with us.
Our trip started by an afternoon at Newport Beach. It was a nice day, but a little windy. The water was so cold that even the older ones who when they were little jumped into glacier water in Canada, wouldn't get in. It was so fun to have the family together.
We stayed at a hotel by Knottsberry Farm and then drove up to Magic Mountain. We were there in line 15 min before it opened and it was so crowded that we only got to ride 3 rides by 5 pm. It was crazy. The 2 of the 3 were the scariest we have ever been on. Spencer didn't think so. He was able to go on the one behind us in the picture 3 times. The crowds died down by the late afternoon so we were able to go on a few more rides before we left. The best part was we got a picture with Spiderman, Mitchell's Hero! We left for Los Gatos and arrived at Grandpa's @ 3 am.
Uncle Brett & his family were at Grandpa's, too.
After recovering from Magic Mountain and driving for 2 days, we went on a family picnic to Vasona/Oak Meadow. This is a tradition to take pictures on the Fire truck and Airplane. We took Togo's (anyone from California knows that this is the best sub-sandwich store-an icon) for lunch & enjoyed a quiet afternoon with the cousin's. We were sad that Kevin's family wasn't able to join us.
We decided to head up to the city and play tourists for the day in San Francisco. It was free day at the Exploritorium. Unfortunately Aunt Michele's Suburban broke down on the way up, so by the time we got to our destination, everyone else in the Bay Area had the same idea we did. There was a line half way around the Museum with over an hour wait. We decided not to go to the Science Center, so we headed to Military Fort under the bridge. That museum was closed, also. So we went to Lombard Street and ran down it and then over to Coit Tower. We met up with Michele and Grandpa and went to Fisherman's Wharf for crab and clam chowder. Then a walk
Tourists in San Francisco along the wharf lead us to Ghiradelli for free
chocolate. We ended the day at the Oakland Temple and realized that it was the day before
Allan & Wendi's 23rd wedding anniversary.
We did take a day and went through Grandma Joyce's sewing room. I don't know what was harder, cleaning out her clothes closet or her puppet factory. It was a very emotional day. She never made a collection of all of her puppets, and she only had two bird puppets, one went with her and one is with Grandpa. Luckily there is just enough supplies to make a puppet for each of the Grandkids. If Brett has anymore kids, we'll have to figure something out for that baby. Wendi now has a project to make 16 Bird Puppets. We ended the trip with Brett leaving and Kevin coming down. We were never all together which was sad, but be spent the last evening at the Los Gatos Cemetery. Hunter placed a can of coke on Grandma's headstone. With a few tears and more chuckles, we said good by to the family and left earily the next morning for the awful 13 hour trip home.
MESA, ARIZONA TEMPLE
Elder Spencer Olsen went to the Mesa Temple, August 11, 2011
Grandpa and Lauren were able to be here with us when Spencer went through the Temple, along with Uncle Brett, Aunt Michelle, Arnon, Sam, and Bob & RaShel. What a neat experience that was to be in the Temple with our 2 oldest children. What a proud day.
LAKE HAVASU, AZ
So our last family trip together without Lauren and Dennis =( was to Lake Havasu. It was a great trip. We had fantastic weather. It was the end of September, and it was still 105*. We took the boys out of school the week before the end of the quarter and they had to play catch-up when we got back, but it was worth it! No one was there. It was like a ghost town. We had great water and skiied to our hearts content. There is a great rock jumping spot and the boys were jumping from about 40-50'. We were so glad we took this trip as
this will be the last waterskiing trip we will take as a family for at least 3 years and probably even 4 years. Connor will get home from his mission after October and Spencer will be at school so it will have to be in the spring of 2015 when we can all go out on the boat, unless they want to ski in freezing cold water. Let's just hope the boat will still be alive for that long. She is 20 years old.