Sunday, November 12, 2017

So Many Opportunities to Serve

Today during church the head of the Good Samaritan House texted me that tonight's shift workers cancelled. I told her we would go.

First though, we had a few things to do in our own family. Nick is working on his Family Life merit badge which requires him to supervise our family in a project that we all work together on and will benefit the whole family.

For Marty's project we sanded, restained and repaired an outdoor table that had become very weathered. We were able to make the table look like new and enjoy it for several more years. For Chris' project we all planted ground cover between the back pergola and the sport court which created a greenspace instead of muddy area that was also walkable. We also worked together to reinstall doorknobs that had been removed during our remodel and never replaced.

For Nick's we all worked together to install the holds for our climbing wall! Nick and a friend had worked hard the first week we received them. But there are a lot, and he had gotten burned out. It went a lot quicker when we all worked together! And it was pretty fun. (Except I kept dropping my allen wrench and almost hitting Chris below so he didn't like that very well.)

Also, our gas grill was finally installed and hooked up this week! We've been so missing Dan's amazing grilled foods -- generally steak or salmon! So we had a delicious steak dinner and then Dan, Marge and I all headed to the Good Samaritan House. The boys didn't want to go again today since they went yesterday and we committed to going again on a Friday in December. That's ok, they only need 2 or 3 at night anyway.

Tonight was much different than Saturday morning. The sandwiches and lunch sacks were already made (from the morning shift). So they were loaded in a refrigerator ready for us to hand out. It was just the 3 of us and it was a pretty steady stream of customers. Marge sat on a chair and portioned cookies (opening a package and putting a serving into a sandwich bag. Then adding a bag of chips and bag of cookies to a lunch sack. These were then set aside ready to receive fresh sandwiches in the morning.)

Many people came by and it was a delight to be able to give them food and some of the necessities they asked for. They were all very grateful. We also had toiletries and clothes from donations. Many people were hoping for hats, sweatshirts or shoes. Also razors -- which we didn't have any! We had a few pairs of socks and those were readily taken as well. Kimmy, the co-organizer said what they need most are warm socks. We are going to organize a warm sock drive along with the food drive that Cottonwood Res already does. I think I'll carry socks in my car to help people in need on the streets. Diane said that was something she and my Dad did and I think it's a good idea.

It was non-stop people coming by, but interestingly we had a lull for about 20 min. at 7:00 -- just enough time for Dan and I to write letters to Marty. And then the people started up again!

After we dropped Marge off and got home, the boys speedily watched the Cowboys football game. They got creamed. But Nick's popcorn tasted delicious! And then we read scriptures and everyone went to bed.

Tomorrow for FHE we are going to use the Take-A-Name app to find family members for baptisms that we are doing after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


After last year's FHE where we delivered sandwiches to the homeless, I wanted to do it again this year. But I wanted to build on it as well. We do so many fun activities, I thought it would make this holiday season more meaningful it we did more service projects.

Coincidentally, we had a Sunday School a few weeks ago describing the Just Serve app and website created by the Church. The Church used their resources to create it, but it's non-denominational and open to any charitable organizations to add descriptions and links for service opportunities. The Church has also called couples in each area to oversee the submissions, make sure they fit criteria (501-c, charitable. They don't have to adhere to LDS standards) and add them to the website. It creates an easy way for anyone looking for ways to serve to find opportunities. And it's open to everyone.

The app looks like Pinterest highlighting and as you scroll through, you can "heart" the opportunities that appeal to you for easy finding later. You can choose to register, but you don't have to. Opportunities range from food, clothing and toy donations; assisting the elderly or veterans; making blankets for babies, hospice patients or refugees; working at food pantries; playing music at rest homes or hospitals; handyman services etc. So there's something for everyone to share their talents in ways that help those in need.

Monday night Chris, Nick, Dan and I all got on the app on our own phones and scrolled through to find things we would enjoy doing. We wanted activities that required our help, not just donations. We chose helping at a Food Pantry, making sandwiches at The Good Samaritan House and choosing a family for Sub-for-Santa.

The sites gave e-mails or phones to text and immediately I got responses from The Good Samaritan House and Sub-for-Santa. We were going to help on Mondays, but The Good Samaritan House took newcomers on Saturdays. We recruited Diane, Luke, Sam and Max to help as well -- because family always makes everything more fun!

The Good Samaritan House gives over 600 lunches a day to anyone who comes and asks. They are a Catholic Charity but receive donations from the LDS Church, the SL Food Pantry, Even Stevens sandwich shop among others.

Saturday morning we worked from 10-11:30. We made 500 sandwiches in that time! They have an amazingly organized system. We ripped open bags of bread and lined up 242 (we counted) slices on a large table. Then each of us squirted the mayo/mustard combo from squeeze bottles on each slice. Next added a slice of cheese -- dealt on like a deck of cards -- and then 3 pieces of meat, which someone had previously stacked in large containers. Then another squeeze of mayo/mustard and then topped with another piece of bread. We then stacked the sandwiches in the middle of the table and followed the very strict procedure wrap them in saran wrap. (When I say strict, it was all in the name of SPEED!) We wrapped the sandwiches up, loaded them on trays and then carried the large trays to the other room where other volunteers were placing them in bags with portioned chips and cookies and then refrigerated. (Another family with young children were portioning the large bags of chips into sandwich bags.) Finally, a couple people were working at the front door as door hosts handing out lunches and water, coffee or hot chocolate to those who asked.

When we finished the first batch of sandwiches, we did the whole thing over again! About 500 sandwiches in 1 1/2 hours! It was incredible. We had a good time working together and the time flew by. Afterwards we went to lunch all together. There was such a happy spirit working at the Good Samaritan House and it felt so good all being together spending a couple of hours doing something meaningful for people who needed it. #JustServe

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Here it Comes!

The skies looked blue, but it was definitely snowing! 

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Grandma Regan 1909 - 2000

Today in Relief Society we sang "There is Sunshine in my Soul Today." I whispered to Marge that this was the song we sang at Grandma Regan's funeral. Marge whispered back that today is her death day.

How perfect. When we chose songs for her funeral, my mom and I went through the Hymnal and looked for songs that described Grandma. We chose "There is Sunshine..." and "Have I Done Any Good." What a wonderful legacy to leave!

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Thursday, November 02, 2017

World Series Game 7

Game 6 was super exciting and when it started feeling like Dodgers were going to Game 7, 
Dan bought tickets. Here's the cool thing: If you buy tickets to Game 7 but it doesn't 
go to Game 7, you get a refund. 
It felt like he had nothing to lose...

Wednesday morning Dan and I flew to LA. 
We had a THE BEST lunch at "2 cents" in Fairfax--
authentic, healthy southern food. It was SO GOOD!

We made a stop at The Grove Barnes & Noble to get a book for Dan so we could get to the parking lot early to avoid traffic and just read in the car.

We avoided traffic, but were only an hour early, so we just went into the park.

Within the first 2 innings, the Astros got 5 runs. The Dodgers fans turned on Darvish real quick.
He got pulled and Kershaw pitched a few great innings as did Jansen. But the Dodgers were out of luck. They kept stranding runners each inning. Lots of chances to make plays, but couldn't pull it off. 

By the 6th inning, it was clear we were barreling toward the end of the game with no great offense.
In a blink, the game was over and Dodgers had lost the World Series. What a bummer. 
There were lots of ticked fans but a few guys were shouting, "we had a great season! Dodgers are still awesome!" I appreciated those guys. 

Early the next morning on the shuttle to the airport, the driver saw my Dodger shirt and said, 
"It's ok girl, we'll get 'em next year!" Loved her too.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Everyone is growing up and Halloween is different. 
It's kind of sad to not walk around the neighborhood on beautiful fall evenings 
with everyone out and about -- socializing and seeing the kids costumes. I miss it! 
Wearing something easy to make and easy to move around in!

But I love being home to answer the door and pass out candy! We were unsure how many trick-or-treaters we would get in our new neighborhood as the houses are farther apart and there are fewer children. But word got out pretty quickly about the King Size candy bars and we had 110 trick-or-treaters!

(One 2-year-old came to the door chanting, "King Size Kit Kat! King Size Kit Kat!" Her dad apologized, "Sorry! Her cousin told her there are King Sized candy bars here!")

This year we watched the Dodgers play in Game 6 of the World Series in between answering the door. And as a bonus, the doorbell rang so much we were able to train Kershaw to sit and stay seated until we said "free" so he won't jump on people who come to the door.
Supporting the team with our mascot, Kershaw. "Jansen Saves"

Kershaw's new dog bed. 

Meanwhile, Chris was out getting a perm. He's wanted one a long time, but I was pretty skeptical of spending so much money and having the results not what he wanted. BUT, his hair was so long, he wanted the chance to see it with a perm. And it's not very likely that it will ever be this long again. So, a week earlier I remembered about Paul Mitchell hair school. A perm there was a third the cost. 5 hours later Chris was finally done. He actually loved chatting with his stylist (a black guy -- his skin color gave him street cred with the teenager and being a guy stylist made him "cool" and easy to talk to). Also, one of Chris' gifts is he can talk to anyone about anything, so he had fun meeting someone new.

AND, his perm turned out really cool! It looks great and he loves it!

Successful night!
Happy Halloween 2017!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday Night Jazz Game

I love Mondays! I love getting the laundry done for the week. I love that my trainer comes and I get a good workout to start the week off right. I love that I have time on Mondays to get organized for the rest of the week!

Today I started a book I've been meaning to read: Max Lucado's No Wonder They Call Him the Savior. Lucado is the author of You Are Special and dozens of other books. This was his second book, written in 1986 when Lucado was only 31 years old. I found it on the bookshelf 2 weeks ago and inside found a note from Dad and Diane saying it was a favorite book of theirs and were gifting it to us for Christmas.

I took it and a couple of other books as displays for my last lesson in RS. The other books were C.S. Lewis' What Christian's Believe (another book with an inscription from my Dad to Courtney), and a biography of Mother Theresa, Something Beautiful for God. The lesson was on "Fellowship Those Not of our Faith" and part of my lesson was on how often people not of our faith are great examples to us. These authors emulate that principle.

I spent an hour reading today and cried in every chapter. The writing is conversational and so deep. Large font, short chapters, only 160 pages in total, all centered on the atonement and gift of the Savior. Very moving. I started it with the idea in the back of my head, "this is a book I want to read but I'm gearing myself up to do something hard." And it was the opposite. It's such an easy read but so personal that I didn't want to stop. Can't wait to get back upstairs tonight and start reading again in bed.

Nick and I carved pumpkins today after school. The good news about carving the day before Halloween is we don't have to worry about them going rotten!

And then for family night we went to the Jazz game! It was fun -- and very short compared to the marathon 5 hour and 45 minute, 10 inning Dodgers/Astros game on TV last night.
I am not in the photo because at this moment the 16-year-old was mad at me and I didn't want to rock the boat!
Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday Funday

It's so beautiful!!! I can't get enough of Fall and the leaves on the ground! And how magical it is to have an empty lot next to us while we don't have a yard! Nick, Dan, Kershaw and I all went over to the neighboring yard and played in the leaves on Sunday afternoon. It was so warm I was comfortable in a short sleeved shirt! 

Plenty of leaves to make a pile for jumping!

Chris went to Monster Mash on Saturday night with Lily -- a wardie! Had a blast! 

Dan and I went to Nancy's wedding (our housekeeper). It was so much fun and so beautiful! We are so happy she found a man who works as hard as she does and values family and loves her 2 girls! It was a traditional Catholic Mexican wedding and we sat next to another two couples she cleans for who were Jewish. They were so fun to get to know and we loved spending the evening with them. Sometimes it's really refreshing to do something different, meet new people and learn about new things! I felt so happy after.

Reppin' my new BYU diving t-shirt! I totally should have had her sign it!
On Sunday afternoon, Tiff and Madi came up and brought Morgan with them! So much fun to be all together for dinner! I've hoped Madi and Morgan could get to know each other so it was perfect!

So happy together!!
After they left we watched the Dodgers game. Thought we'd be tuning in to the end 2 hours into the game. But no, it was only 4th quarter. Ended up going 10 innings and lasting until after 11:30! I think it broke some records for longest World Series game and most home runs. And the Dodgers lost so it was a bitter end to a long game!! :-( Hoping for a rally back in LA on Halloween.

Friday, October 27, 2017

My Orchid Rebloomed!!

Three new shoots!
And a couple more spots looks like we may get more!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

World Series 2017!

Straight to Koreatown for Korean BBQ.

Mom gets to experience the Korean BBQ before a Dodgers game tradition.

We are here!


Go Dodgers! World Series 2017
Has it ever been this hot in Los Angeles?
And the craziest thing, this guy looks totally like my Dad!!
I stalked him so I could take a photo and video.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Siblings Trip Where Mom and Dad Tag Along

We like New York so much we just photograph it with our minds and don't document our time there... I guess.

When Courtney, Nick and Chris decided they needed a siblings trip in New York, we thought a great time for that to happen would be UEA. And it would be fun for Dan and I to have some time alone. And then we thought, "If we're going to be alone, we'd rather be in New York than in Utah." So we all flew out together.

Except that last minute Chris realized he needed to work on Wednesday so he actually couldn't go on our flight. So he and Dan switched to the red-eye. Nick and I flew out after school. I dropped Nick off at Courtney's apartment and we made such great time from JFK we were there by midnight. So I went up to see my daughter and quickly catch-up.

How I love being with her and seeing in person the things we'd been talking about recently -- her new posters and art hung. Her new shoe insoles. Her mini freezer that we brainstormed a location and realized it would fit perfectly in the coat closet. A new collage of photos she took and printed (that are so artistic that I want a collage of those photos for my house!)

When teenagers come to town.
Then I thought I better get to my hotel, so I left Nick in the good hands of his sister. And I left Courtney with a pile of Nick's belongings (shoes, socks, sweatshirt, suitcase all dumped in a pile on her floor -- he settled in right well...).

I checked into my hotel but instantly knew we'd be checking out the next day because the room was very old with paint chipping and carpet fraying and the walls were green, the bedspread was green, the nightstands were green, the coffee table was green, the carpet was green and the couch, chairs and pillows were all different shades of green.

Dan arrived at 7 a.m. from the red-eye and went to sleep. I got up and took a jog in Central Park. It was warm and beautiful -- almost hot even. After I got home and showered and dressed for the day, I read my scriptures and then went back to sleep waiting for Dan to wake up. And when we were both awake at the same time, he said, "We're checking out of this hotel." Which I knew he would.

So we got a place closer to midtown that was even cheaper and much nicer. We dropped off our bags and then went off to have the entire day together to do whatever we wanted! We visited the MoMA and the Frick. Loved the Frick especially as the museum is actually in the Frick home -- his personal art collection that went on display to the public in his own home after he died. Super cool.

That evening we had the kids meet us at an Italian restaurant in the theater district. We also got to meet Courtney's friend Sarah at dinner. Yay for friends! And then we saw Hamilton. It was fabulous, fast-paced, loud and non-stop action. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Only Nick was familiar with the music, and while I generally like to know the songs ahead of time, it didn't lessen the experience at all because I didn't. I just had to listen harder to follow. It was great.

Although we did have to laugh because we saw this incredible show which the whole world is dying to have a chance to see, and when it was over, the first thing we all did was turn on our phones and check the score of the Dodgers/Cubs game. Courtney noticed that when we all met up, the first comment was, "The show was great! But did you see the Dodgers are winning!" Go Blue!

We shopped around Times Square after, including the store, Uniqlo, which is a Japanese brand, so we had a little bit of Marty with us. We headed back uptown just in time to get shakes at a fun diner. BUT, the diner closed an hour earlier because it wasn't the weekend yet! Dang! Fortunately across the street was another diner with shakes and fries! Thank you, NYC!

Friday morning Dan and I ran in Central Park again and then went to the Temple. I'd been looking forward to doing our October session in New York. It was small and intimate (only 10 people in our whole session). Loved it.

A remnant of the actual track-turned garden.
That afternoon we walked along the High Line -- a new(ish?) west side Chelsea walking path created on the old elevated train track. It was a great way to see the city walking a few stories up along the backsides of some buildings. 

The Chelsea Market at the end of the line is an indoor marketplace chock full of food options and a large room of vendor booths with crafts, clothes and souvenirs.

While in Chelsea, we walked up and down several blocks checking out dozens of Art Galleries. And we only peeked in the ones on the main level! There were many, many more on the upper levels of the loft-style buildings. We found lots of art we loved and all waayyyy out of our price range.

We came across a building with super artistic graffiti. And a short tunnel. And at the end of the tunnel, an oval-shaped glass door. It was impossible not to walk in. It was the clothing store, Commes des Garcon, which the sales staff, was kind enough to explain to us. Because it was clear we didn't belong there. But we had fun browsing!

Entrance to Commes des Garcon in Chelsea.
Back in Times Square, we ate dinner at a Peruvian restaurant with dishes Dan fell in love with while in Peru with Nick and Marty. I had the Paella which was much better than any Paella I had in Spain. Sad, but true.

Our show that evening was "Dear Evan Hansen," starring Ben Platt. We'd heard it was amazing from many friends and I was prepared to cry throughout based on what they told me. However, although it was fantastic acting and great music, I only teared up a couple of times. I think I was too nervous because the premise of the story is based on a teenager's well-intended lie which is blown completely out of proportion. I was totally preoccupied with what the consequences would be and how he'd be able to manage them. But it was a great show and I'm really glad we got to see Ben Platt starring.

We went to Grom at Columbus Circle for gelato after the show. I usually like the creamy flavors, but I got a second flavor this time on a whim (Crazy! I know!). Blueberry. And it was the most amazing blueberry ever! So delicious! They said their Mango is also amazing, so Courtney needs to go give it a try, because she loves mango.

Saturday morning we started out walking through a street fair near our hotel. Dan wasn't too interested, so he left to go for his run in Central Park.

Sidenote: My hip has been really hurting. It seems aggravated by sitting for long periods of time. It feels fine sitting, but when I stand I have to carefully unfold myself and not put too much weight on it for a few seconds. I suppose it's also become aggravated by my newly running 3 miles. Which is really crappy that I finally achieved a goal but I'm not sure I can keep up with it if my hip is unhappy.

We had no plans that day, so Dan started surfing for more shows. We had considered "Hello, Dolly!" because Bette Midler (!) was starring! 

But we were also interested in "Come From Away." We had both read a book based on the same events as the premise of the show. When the US closed their airspace on 9-11, 38 international flights were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland. A town of only 9,000 residents nearly doubled their size when over 7,000 people arrived in that town for an unknown amount of time. It's very inspiring.

We decide to see Come From Away, and were so glad we did! I was either laughing or crying the whole time. The music was catchy and strong. The actors were phenomenal as they each played different characters with varied accents and styles. The directing was great how they portrayed being on a plane, a bus, a bar. And in addition, the story was inspiring and uplifting.

We met the kids at my cousin's restaurant Black Barn in Chelsea. The weather was so perfect we were able to eat outside and the food at Black Barn is delicious. After, we walked over to the Empire State Building (no lines!) and went up to the 86th and 102nd floor. So fun to see New York from high above the city and with the night lights.

We did some final shopping at H&M then rode the subway back uptown to Courtney's neighborhood for ice cream.

Because that's what we do.

Japanese store next to The Martin Building. Hi Marty!
Sunday morning Dan and I went to church and coincidentally sat behind the Lunts and next to the Hoole's. The entire cultural hall was filled with visitors (they had us raise our hands!) and I'm sure they were all from Utah on Fall Break.

Three rows in front of us was a man with in a jean jacket with a do-rag on his head. I was imagining in my head what his story might be -- that he felt comfortable coming to church in his comfortable clothes. But just when the last speaker was closing, he stood up and kept standing. And when the bishop went to the pulpit to close the meeting, the man started shouting out things that Mormons need to do better. The bishop said he would be happy to meet with the man to discuss his concerns but now we needed to close the meeting. But the man kept loudly talking about... I don't even know what. A couple of members helped to escort him out. They were unfazed when he started standing and talking, so I think he might be a frequent guest.

After we checked out of our hotel, we met at Courtney's and had brunch at The Mermaid Inn, a place Dan has been wanting to try the last 2 times he was there. It was delicious! We also shopped at a flea market by the Natural History Museum until we had to go.

Back at Courtney's apartment we helped get it cleaned up and back to livable condition after two teenagers descended for a long weekend! Thanks for letting us tag along kids!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Goal Accomplished

I ran 35 minutes today and accomplished my goal of working up to a 5K! 
Yay me!
I actually looked forward to running each day because the app, my new headphones
and the beautiful scenery made it so fun. 

The App sent this to me -- I did not make myself my own certificate to commemorate.
That would be going too far, even for me!

Seriously, I just can't get enough of Fall when I'm surrounded by all these trees!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dreams Coming True

We fell in love with our new property because of the trees, the forest behind it, the river and all the space to explore and let our imaginations roam.

Right now I can't get over how wonderful the streets covered in leaves are. I wouldn't let Dan sweep the driveway because I wanted the leaves there. 
Unfortunately the workers cleaned them up.
Fortunately 45 minutes after they were done, the driveway was covered again!
It's so beautiful!

Saturday, October 14, 2017


Did I ever mention that I got a "B" on my British Lit final and a B in the class? I feel really good about it! I decided not to sign up for another class yet because life is still pretty busy with house stuff.

And, with my new calling as Relief Society teacher, I have quite a bit of other studying to do... Studying for my lessons and also studying to learn to be a better teacher. So I made it a priority this week to spend all my extra time studying and reading the following: Teaching, No Greater Call cover-to-cover; Every Member a Missionary, by Clayton Christensen; "Teaching The Savior's Way"; the scriptures, of course; and beginning "Preach My Gospel." I also started "Sisters in My Gospel," but I didn't really love it.

Some things that jumped out at me specifically are to be more humble as I teach, (which, quite frankly, comes quite easily after a couple of lessons that I didn't feel that great about); initiate discussion so we can teach each other rather than me trying to "impart knowledge"; and be more prepared with a better closing and testimony.

One difficult obstacle is that I don't know the sisters that well since I'm new. But as I studied, I decided I needed to work harder to get to know everyone and even though it's a Relief Society class of many sisters, consider the class "my class" and do everything in my power to get to know everyone, learn about their strengths and gifts and love them. Fortunately Enrichment night was Tuesday, so I made it a priority to go to that and Saturday I hosted dinner group at our home, even though I considered taking a pass since we were new.

But I'm so glad I did both. It was a fun evening at enrichment getting to know some more people and enjoying the company of those I already know. And Saturday night dinner group was wonderful. Three married couples came, a single sister, an older woman who I met at Enrichment and invited, my friend whose husband was working that night, Aunt Marge and Dan and I. We had a lot of fun and several of us didn't know some of the others so we were all getting acquainted better.

The next day I taught and felt like my lesson was received much better. Lots of discussion and comments. I felt better about it and most of all felt like I'm making more friends in our ward.