Jenson Beach Trip

When Dorothy’s cancer diagnosis changed to “terminal,” all her kids and their families started to trickle into the area to spend time with her. Becky and I had planned a working trip to our Neskowin house to get it ready to sell, but we saw the opportunity to do more, so we converted our getaway into an impromptu family beach trip.

A large percentage of the 25 people in this extended family ended up in Neskowin that weekend. We even had a surprise arrival from the branch that was living in Germany!

We all had a great time. The beach has always been an important part of Ken and Dorothy’s family, so it seemed fitting that we spend some truly quality time out there.

#7: Surprise Date Planned by Ben

We live in Vancouver now, so I went for a Couve vibe for our date this year.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2016 challenge. Here’s the full list.

We started with dinner at what appears to have been a coffee shop, now converted to a modern-noir waffle-sandwich place with excellent drinks. Yum.

Once full, we strolled the town and ended up at the historic Kiggins Theatre for a showing of Sing Street, a fine specimen of one of our favorite genres of film (Singer-Songwriter Romantic Dramedy will be a category at the Oscars in 2023).

We had a great time, and Becky was the perfect mixture of surprised and tickled. I mean, it’s not singing sharks, but still a pretty good showing.

Dorothy Irene Jenson

We are sad to announce the passing of our wife and mother, Dorothy Jenson. She died peacefully in her home on Sunday, August 21, 2016 at the age of 61 due to advanced stage cho­lan­gio­car­ci­noma, a rare form of bile duct and liver cancer.

Dorothy touched many lives through her work as an artist, through her lifetime of service in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and all those who knew her as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, neighbor and friend.

A memorial service honoring Dorothy’s life was held on Tuesday, August 23, at 11:00 am at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint meeting house located at 14340 Donovan Road, Oregon City, Oregon 97045.

Dorothy loved flowers and the outdoors, which was celebrated at the memorial. She would ask that you paint a picture, take a walk with a loved one, or read a book to a child in her memory.

We appreciate and welcome the sharing of memories and photos.

With gratitude for her life and legacy,

The Ken Jenson Family

 

Girls’ Spring Break Retreat

In March we had to cancel a camping trip, so I quickly put together a quick retreat for Lucy and I in Tacoma. We saw a movie, went hiking, explored the Snake Lake nature center, visited an indoor jungle gym and an apparently-nameless giant outdoor playground on the sound.

We even snuck in a visit to our Epperson cousins in Renton! We went shopping at Goodwill, and Lucy scored Molly, her new favorite bear, who she buckled up into her booster seat on the ride home.

We had a great time. Lucy and I tend to want the same kinds of things on retreats, so the whole trip was a joy.

Devil’s Lake State Park

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

While Becky and Lucy were in Washougal, being around her family for some big news, Will and I headed to the coast to check off a state park. Since we knew Will was headed to New Mexico, we had already discussed a change to this challenge’s rules: instead of requiring all four of us to be present, we now require only that at least two of us be there for the visit.

We picked up a fishing rod for him on the way out, so he could practice the skills he’s been picking up in Trackers, and headed to the park, which is right in the middle of Lincoln City.

We spent two full days fishing, reading, boating, geocaching, and just hanging out. It was a nice respite from our somewhat hectic life at home, and left us refreshed and ready for more.

April Jenson Happenings

In February, Becky’s mother Dorothy was diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct. It was a pretty serious diagnosis, and they immediately started taking it seriously. After a few more tests, it became clear that this wasn’t the kind of cancer you survive. She started chemotherapy, but when she found out how awful it was on her, she stopped treatment and chose instead to live her last bit of life as clear-headed as possible and soak it all in.

Needless to say, April was a roller-coaster of a month for Becky and her entire extended family. Soon after the initial diagnosis, we started spending more time with her, and once the prognosis switched to “terminal,” we gathered all of Becky’s siblings and their families for an impromptu reunion in Washougal (post forthcoming).

Here’s a smattering of images from April. Most were taken while Will & I spent a long weekend camping, so we’re absent from most of them.

There were good moments. Really good. The underlying mood was obviously pretty low, but we all truly enjoyed each others’ company, in a more immediate way than we really had before. Stay tuned for more on the reunion, it’s getting its own post.

April Misc Roundup

April was an eventful month! In no particular order: chasing bubbles in our local park, hair- and bangs-trims, making birthday cards, cousin Ty’s 4th birthday party, Trackers, surprise “costumes” for a board-game night, Lair Hill Park because traffic was nice and we got to school early, and the Cultured Caveman.

Will

…decided to start using deodorant (and asked us to broadcast the fact), helped pressure-wash the car, discovered frogs in our front yard, loved some Minecraft fiction, did paint-by-numbers with Becky, and built complicated Lego kits from Pley.

Lucy

…got her first hair dryer and a suspension system for her stuffies, set up the dollhouse at the Jenson grandparents’ house, and learned how to brew coffee using a french press.

The Grownups

…sent Ben to SF to start a new job, enjoyed their deck, took some portraits, lounged with the dogs, and sent Becky to get re-injected with her own blood.

C U T E   P U P P Y   T I M E

 

#50: New Beds for the Kids

The kids finally outgrew their Ikea beds, and we wanted to give them a bit more individuality in their rooms. So back in February, they got new beds, ones which hopefully will last them until they’re teenagers, if not longer.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2016 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Lucy ended up choosing a fairytale-style frame from Amazon, while Will got a solid, gray slab from Pottery Barn (on clearance). We got flat-pack box springs from Amazon, sheets from Target, and their old comforters made by Grandma Kay (the Princess Peach masterpiece) and Grandma Dorothy (made out of Margaret’s T-shirts).

(Incidentally, the Margaret-shirt quilt is the one Will took with him to Sandhill.)

This seems like a simple thing, but it was the first major furniture purchase they each took part in on their own. We didn’t choose them as a group, they didn’t confer, they both made their own choice. Will and Lucy are both proud of the spaces they’re making their own.

Will Update #1

Will has been living at the Sandhill Center for a month now. We’ve had four phone calls with him and his therapist, four more with just us and his therapist, and we’ve been out there to visit. We now feel like we know enough to tell you how he’s doing.

He’s great. Honestly. We were worried that he’d get tired of the place, or he’d just get mired in the same black holes he always has, but they’re really helping him build resilience. They have a lot of rules at this place, to provide stability and structure, and when I asked him how that was working for him, he said:

This is going to sound crazy, but all these rules are making me happy.

That deep well of anxiety, unhappiness with himself, and frustration that he usually carries around with him was just gone. He’s so light, so comfortable in his own skin. He didn’t ask to come home, he didn’t display the anger that some kids have towards their parents for being at Sandhill — he knows this is the right place for him to get better. This is the happiest we’ve seen him in a very long time.

Now for some photos. Here are a few of the things he does when we’re not around: horseback riding (and taking care of the horses), school, the “squeeze machine” (like a giant, mechanical full-body hugger), martial arts, and dance class.

He celebrated his tenth birthday in New Mexico! We got together with him over Skype to sing the song to him, and sent him a model car to build. He even got a treat!

Some shots from our visit! We had two separate visits over the space of two days. It was 105°, so we didn’t do a lot outside. We brought some excellent tamales for lunch, got some snuggle-and-read-together time, played a few rounds of Mille Bornes, built a lava lamp, helped him decorate his room with some family photos, and got to meet the therapy pug, whose name is Egg Roll(!). There were also some working sessions with his therapist, which were very constructive.

In between our visits we had a free morning, so Becky and I headed for old-town Albuquerque to see what we could see. We spotted Mike the bike guide while walking through the square, and he took us around for a bit. There were also lots of people playing Pokemon Go.

We can’t say enough good things about how this is turning out. We’re not suffering from the delusion that there are no struggles ahead, but it’s clear  he really is in the right place.

Summa Marketplace

One of the best things about Summa Academy is that they do project-based learning. Part of every school term involves a big project that all the kids work on teams to accomplish. The last one of this year was the Summa Marketplace, where teams of kids started pretend businesses.

Will’s group ran a pet-sitting business. Several families brought their dogs and paid “Summa Bucks” to have them boarded and played with for an hour or two. Lucy’s group ran a spa, with nail painting, massage, and foot rubs. There were also teaching businesses (I got a basketball lesson!), a video-game arcade, and more.

The kids and parents all loved it so much, we won’t be surprised if this becomes a permanent part of the program there. Great fun.