Monday, October 2, 2017

Washington D.C. Girls Trip!!!

Back in July, when we were all in Indiana for a family reunion, we decided it would be really fun to do just a girls trip to D.C. to visit Dan & Kelsey, who have lived there for about 4 years. We immediately went home, bought tickets (most of us using frequent flyer miles) and started planning our trip. It took a lot of coordination for me to make sure I had people able to watch my boys when Josh was working and to set up playdates to allow him study time. I also wanted to make sure I had everything in place so it could run smoothly. I had a great time, and Josh took amazing care of the boys. They loved spending the weekend with their dad. And I came home to a clean house. (Ok, he admitted to me his biggest failure was he left their toothbrushes at Melody's house so they hadn't brushed their teeth in a few days, haha). I realize this post doesn't fully capture their weekend without me, but basically, they had a sleepover at Grandma's, made cinnamon rolls, went to the zoo, went to a birthday party, went to the park, the Ninjago movie and Nolan's music class (not on the same day but the whole weekend).

1st Day: Holocaust Museum, National Cathedral, White House, Washington Monument, Renwick Art Museum, Teaism Restaurant, Pizza 

The Holocaust museum was amazing. Very sad but so important. I believe strongly that we shouldn't just say, sorry your story is too sad, it makes me uncomfortable, I'm going to ignore it. We can't ignore it.Their voices need to be heard. Empathy needs to be felt. That is how change happens, that is how you make sure this doesn't happen again! 

It was so inspiring to see that when good people worked together, they had a chance. Even Denmark as a country tried protecting their jews. There was a whole wall of names of people who had protected Jews and/or opposed Nazis. So inspiring. It made me ask myself if I would be brave enough to stand up for what's right even though it was very dangerous. 

Washington Monument

We went to Teaism for lunch. So good!

National Cathedral

The White House. We couldn't get too close because there was some kind of event going on.

2nd DayEastern Farmers Market, Arboretum, National Museum of Health & Medicine, D.C. Temple where my parents were married, Presidential memorials and Pentagon memorial. Good eats: Farmers market sourdough bread and cheese, and Indian food.

Abroretum. We had a picnic here from the yummy things we got at the Farmers Market.

The D.C. Temple

The Pentagon Memorial was amazing. I wish I could taken picture of all of the graves. They were shaped almost like planes headed towards the building or away. Towards mean people who died on the plane. Away meant people died who were working at the Pentagon. 

We got to see where Kelsey works! There was some fascinating history there, like the bullet that killed Lincoln or skulls from soldiers who died in wars.

Always a protest in D.C. Good for them!!

The presidential monuments were inspiring!

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. I loved the wall of his quotes. Such an amazing man!

Everyone else went to "Crumbs & Whiskers" to pet shelter kitties, and that is NOT my thing, so Dan and I went shopping and had an amazing time.

3rd DayPaddle boating on Tidal Basin, Korean food, African-American Museum and sushi. 

The African American museum was amazing. It is pretty newly opened and Kelsey got special tickets. She had never been before this. There are 3 floors of history galleries. They take you through the history of slavery, segregation, and modern racism/prejudices. It was eye-opening. Kelsey came out of the gallery in tears. It is unimaginable to think of doing this to another human being. For so long. And still has residual effects. One of the plaques talked about the emotional cost of slavery and that cost is still getting paid today. There were many African-Americans viewing the exhibit with us and I wondered what they were thinking and how it made them feel. There were places where you could record your story, thoughts and feelings. 

Our last meal, we went to Sushi. My mom had never had sushi before! She loved it. 

It was an amazing trip. I felt very refreshed when I came home. I loved being reunited with my boys! 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

My amazing Grandpa Roy

Thursday started out as a normal day. I had preschool at my house. But then, I got a text message from my dad saying that my Grandpa Roy, my dad's dad, had been on a road trip with my Uncle Rolf, Aunt Dawn and cousin Andrew and had a heart attack and stroke and was in the nearest hospital in Rawlins, Wyoming. Throughout the day, we were all on edge as we got more updates, that he had coded (heart stopped working) but that they had kept trying to resuscitate. They finally got him stable enough to be lifeflighted to Casper, Wyoming where they had a critical cardiac unit waiting for him. We all thought that now that he had made it there, he was safe and in good hands and going to make it. Well, my dad came over after work to help us with our dishwasher. In the middle of doing so, he got a call from Uncle Rolf and went in the other room. I went in after him and saw my dad in tears and immediately knew what the news was. I curled up in a ball on my dad's lap and just cried. Uncle Rolf had told him that Grandpa had gotten to Casper and had coded again many times, and they talked to Uncle Rolf and my Grandma about how he had been without oxygen for a while and not sure if they should keep doing CPR. So the next time he had a heart attack, they didn't do CPR and he passed away.

I was grateful that I was with my dad that night. My mom and JoJo came over and we all mourned. And tried to finish the dishwasher job ;). We called everyone, we wrote our tributes to him on facebook and we just cried.

I am so grateful we got these pictures in July. I am grateful Josh and I stayed an extra day at his house. I am grateful I got to call him before our trip and talk to him about Josh's school, our house, the boys. He loved talking to us. We loved talking to him. We will miss him more than words can say. 

This is his obituary: Roy Samuelsen's Obituary
"Opera singer and college professor Roy Samuelsen died on September 7, while on a family trip in Wyoming. He was born on June 12, 1933 in Moss, Norway, to Ragnar Andreas Samuelsen and Margareth Olivia (Evensen) Samuelsen. He grew up under the Nazi occupation of his country, and began his career as a singer entertaining neighbors and countrymen in air raid shelters, especially singing American cowboy songs, which he loved from an early age. In 1950, his family emigrated to the United States, settling in Provo, Utah. After graduating from Provo High School, he was drafted into the United States Army, and served in Germany. While there, he began to study with a German music professor, Herr Josef Heuler, who encouraged him to sing opera. He married Mary Lou Thorne in the Salt Lake Temple on May 25, 1955. After finishing his military obligation, Roy became a journeyman sheet metal worker, in the shop of Joe Creer, and also studied music at Brigham Young University.
In 1961, he was accepted into a graduate program in music at Indiana University, in Bloomington Indiana. In 1962, having finished his degree, he was hired as a member of the Indiana Music School faculty. He taught voice at Indiana until his retirement in 1999. He subsequently taught part-time at the University of Indianapolis. He also sang for some of the leading opera companies in the US, including New York City Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera Company, Boston Lyric Opera Company, Houston Opera, and San Francisco Opera. He was well-known in Utah for his many performances with the Utah Symphony. Altogether, he learned and sang professionally over a hundred leading operatic roles. He was frequently featured at the Kentucky Opera, in Louisville, Kentucky. He was also featured in the world premieres and recordings of such seminal LDS musical works as Leroy Robertson’s Book of Mormon Oratorio, and Robert Cundick’s The Redeemer. As a scholar, he was expert in the art songs of Scandinavia, which he also performed and recorded, and especially the songs of Norwegian, Danish, Swedish and Icelandic composers. But he was probably most famous as a singer of the US National Anthem, which he sang at Indiana University basketball games for over 20 years.
He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served in many leadership callings, including as a bishop, and for many years, on the High Council. In retirement he returned to Norway with his wife to serve as a missionary.
He loved the outdoors, loved camping and hiking and fishing, and, most particularly, boating, as befit his Viking ancestry. He was a world traveler, and with his beloved Mary, visited all seven continents, and over eighty countries. He was an enthusiastic and talented photographer, and later in life, loved writing his memoirs.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou Thorne Samuelsen, and three sons, Eric, Robert and Rolf, his sister, Trudy Mulcock, by 13 grandchildren, and by 7 great-grandchildren. Funeral Services will he held on Friday, Sept. 15, at 1:00, at the LDS chapel at 2411 E. 2nd Street, Bloomington, Indiana. Visitation will be on Thursday, Sept. 14, at 7:00 p.m., at the LDS chapel, 2411 E. 2nd Street, Bloomington, Indiana. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Perpetual Education fund of which provides education funding for underprivileged, mostly third-world students."

So, the next day we made arrangements to fly to the funeral in Indiana. I flew with my mom and Josh came for one day and my dad stayed for longer. It was really fun to see my cousins, and my siblings and of course Nolan loved playing with his cousins. But it was so hard to be at their house and not have my Grandpa there. My grandma was showing me her wedding pictures and she said, "We have been married 62+ years. What am I supposed to do without him?" And we both cried. I am going to pray everyday for her. She has Alzheimers and other health issues and we are all worried about her being alone. 

The funeral was beautiful. We cousins sang the song Grandpa sang to my Grandma on their wedding day and we blew her kisses. It was hard not to cry during it. They played a video of him singing, "I love life" and that was heartbreaking. We will all miss his opera singing voice. My dad and his brothers all spoke. His former student sang too and it reminded me a lot of Grandpa.

Nolan had a tantrum during the funeral because his fingers were blue because of the marker he used. Josh had to take him out and it was pretty awful. He threw another tantrum later because fruit salad touched his roll....Note to self: do not bring children to funerals...

My kids did not sleep a lot there. Bennett cried for 3 hours one night in the hotel and I had to take him on a drive to put him to sleep. Man. 

My and my Grandma

The worst thing ever. 

                                                             Nolan and Auggie

I am reading the books Grandpa wrote. It is amazing to be able to sort of hear his voice again. I will share some more memories of him another time. My children are melting down because of the lack of sleep they endured on this trip :).