Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Celebrations

As usual, we began our Christmas celebrations early in December, and continued throughout the month. Here are some of the highlights of our holiday season:

We enjoyed “Zoo Lights” with Kristin & Abby Randall…We went to see the lights at Temple Square on Christmas Eve with Rara, Papa, Marc, Frances, Alice & Claire…On Christmas morning, we opened a few presents at home……and then spent the rest of Christmas Day at Marc, Frances, Alice, and Claire’s house. We had fun opening presents, playing games, and playing with Alice & Claire.Ryan & I gave Alice & Claire personalized brushes (pink for Claire and purple for Alice), and personalized pillows with handles (Alice in Wonderland for Alice and The Little Mermaid for Claire). They LOVED them!
We also had our annual Jensen Family Christmas party a couple of days after Christmas.Our Christmas celebrations ended just in time for our New Year’s activities to begin!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

On Sunday, November 21, Ryan gave a talk in Primary. Rara & Papa came to hear his talk, so the three of us were in the Primary room together. I was not feeling well, so I left after his talk. Our neighbors with boys around Ryan’s age brought him home. Later that night, I began developing white sores in my throat. Yuck!

Monday I still was not feeling well, so I called the doctor. I was pretty sure it was strep throat because of the white sores. When I got to the doctor’s office, the medical assistant did the rapid strep test and went to process it. My doctor came into the exam room and said, “Let’s take a look.” As soon as she looked at my throat, she said, “Whoa! I don’t even have to wait for the test results. That’s strep!” Yes, the week of Thanksgiving.

We had made plans to volunteer serving lunch/dinner to the homeless on Thanksgiving. My doctor assured me that if I started my antibiotics Monday when I got home, that I would feel better by Thanksgiving day, and would no longer be contagious.

On Thanksgiving I was feeling quite a bit better, so we followed through with our volunteer responsibilities. There is a public park in downtown Salt Lake City where the homeless people hang out. There is a Greek Orthodox Church right across the street. It’s the church that serves a big sit-down full service meal to the homeless on Thanksgiving.

We checked in and got our name tags and aprons. We attend the Greek Festival every year, so it was fun to be in the various areas we are familiar with as we fulfilled this assignment. (One of the volunteer supervisors that Rara knows took all of these pictures. Sorry that some are blurry.)We were assigned to serve a table. The main hall had about 40 tables set up (our table was #35). We are in the back right corner of this picture.As people would come through the door, they would sit at a table. The servers would get salads from one corner of the hall, and then the main dinner plate from a serving line in the kitchen.

We had one fun guest in particular that was a lot of fun. He had a long white beard, and he entertained Ryan by pulling his beard up over his face and tucking it into his hat. It was pretty funny. Another guest stayed and stayed, but just picked at his food. We each asked him if there was something else he needed. Finally he told Rara that he didn’t have anywhere else to go, and it was so cold outside that he just wanted to stay in there as long as possible. There were several groups who took turns entertaining, so it was a nice atmosphere to hang out in for a while.Even though I was getting over strep, and Papa also wasn’t feeling great, it was a wonderful experience. Ryan was touched to see so many families come in. He had an image of homeless people being the panhandlers we sometimes see. It didn’t occur to him that there would be kids close to his age. Sometimes Ryan feels a little deprived. He has a lot of friends whose families have a lot of money. Many of his friends have flat-screen TVs in their bedrooms (we don’t have one at all), or other toys he wants. Seeing most of these people carrying around all of their worldly possessions in garbage bags, or duct-taped backpacks helped him realize how blessed he truly is.

Come to think of it, it did that for all of us!