Moving Day

Today is moving day for the Jensens!

We have packed up almost everything we own (it doesn’t fill up our van) and are ready to make the trek from PG to Bluffdale.   We have made this trip daily for the last 2 months.  But moving day is different in that it is the trip that officially “moves” us into my parents house.  I don’t know that we’re ready for this.

I would love to tell you that I’ll me making regular updates about this stage of our journey, but my parents currently have no internet connection at their house.   I’ll be remedying that as soon as possible, but in the mean time don’t expect to hear from us.

If you need to reach us the only available method will be by telephone.

Wish us luck!


Rock Climbing

I was feeling pretty good on Monday evening, and we wanted a break from housework, so we went rock climbing.

Unfortunately I can’t climb AT ALL! Julie can climb pretty well, though hasn’t done so since we got here to UT. Our climbing time is all about the kids.  They love it.  They feel accomplished and strong and love to tackle new challenges.  Like all siblings, they especially love trying to outperform each other by making a climb faster or by accomplishing a harder route.   It is an individual event, but great for the whole family.

The Quarry

There is an indoor rock climbing wall in Provo called The Quarry that is just right for us on Monday nights.   On Mondays, the cost is only $6 per person from 6pm-10pm.  This is a serious discount that we would like to take advantage of far more than we do (this was only our second time).

They have more climbs than I have been able to count.   I haven’t asked, but I’d guess the walls are up to 45-50ft tall.   They have many, many options.  even the youngest enjoy “climbing the alphabet” (alphabet handholds that ascend the wall).  The staff is polite and helpful as well as the other patrons!

Most of the wall space is set up with ropes in place waiting for climber and belayer to connect and climb.   These range from a beginner/youth level to advanced difficulties.

They also have a significant amount of space for lead climbers as well.  This section has carabiners in the wall waiting for a climber to ascend with rope in tow.  This section is all advanced climbing.

Not only do they have traditional climbing walls where harnesses and a belay are necessary.  They also have an awesome “bouldering” room.  This area has shorter walls but requires some high-skilled technique to complete the “routes”.  My kids don’t follow those, but just climb using anything available.  This is great fun because they can each climb at the same time rather than waiting for Mom or Dad to be available to belay them on the traditional walls.


Rock Climbing Monkeys

I admit I can be a braggart about my kids, and this is no exception.  They are awesome!!  None of them are afraid to try even the hardest walls, yet they still succeed more often than they fail.  When they have shown mastery over an entire section of wall then they attempt to just do one route on that section (doing a route limits your hand and foots holds to only a certain color rather than simply using anything within reach, this makes it much more difficult and requires more skill AND strength).

Steven, our littlest monkey who can climb, has yet to make it up an entire section of wall.  His short arms and small hands make it very hard.  But he still gives his best and is getting better.  He likes to show off when he finds an overhang with a hold he can hang from.

Andrew can make it to the top of certain portions of the easier sections (like the alphabet) and finds a way to scamper up many portions of the bouldering room.   His arm/leg length is the only thing holding him back from the most difficult sections.  Kid is a great climber.

Nikki, only slightly taller/longer than Andrew, has the same issues he has.   That little bit of difference though shows up in what she can do.  She can scamper up most walls that her older siblings can do.

Charlee is soooo strong at this!  On Monday she was about 1/3 of the way up one of the harder sections when one of the college kids next to us started up near her.   In short order their heads were at the same height.  I jokingly told her she’d get $2 from me if she beat him up the remaining 30ft.  I just paid out the money!! (Poor kid really heard it from his friends for losing to a little girl!)

Kristie is a whole ton of strength wrapped up in her petite frame.  Her light stature and strong grip make her a machine on those walls.  She is able to get anywhere she decides to get to!   Any time I give them a new goal (“climb this route and touch that hold”) she is likely to be the first to accomplish it!

Joshua, well, being the biggest and strongest tends to make him the best at our sporting activities.   This isn’t any different.  In terms of pure ability, he is our best.  The others are more impressive because of their size, but he is our strongest climber and most skilled.  He tries harder routes than the others, and so he fails more often.  But he keeps at it and gets better quickly.

Caitlin didn’t make the trip this time.  She was sick and stayed at home with the little one.

Wanting More!

As with all such activities, I’m always left wanting more.  Mostly I want to be able to participate myself, I admit.  But the kids have so much fun and do so well that I want more for them too.   I love their smiles, laughs, and effort to do well.

Unfortunately time is scarce, and money is even more so.  So this isn’t a regular event for us.   But it is one that we will try to repeat as often as occasion and finances will allow.  If you are looking for a fun activity to try as a family, then I highly recommend you give this a try!

I should add a shout out to Paul Murray and his great rock wall at the Family Cinema in West Plains, MO.   His wall was the first one to which we took the kids.  It is also an awesome location and we have had a ton of fun as a family there as well.   If not for Paul’s friendship and suggestion we might not have tried rock climbing as a family, and we would have missed out on something awesome if we had.   Thanks Paul!  Hope all is well!!

Goodbye PG 4th Ward

It is time to say “goodbye.”


Julie and I will be moving this week from her parents house in Pleasant Grove (PG) into my parents house in Bluffdale.  That means that today was our last Sunday attending as members of the PG 4th ward.

We haven’t been here particularly long (9 months) but you have been good to us.  You weren’t even our “home ward” for our house fire, but you took us in and tried to care for us.

Thank you!  It has been nice to get to know so many new people.  It was also nice to reconnect with old friends.  You have been kind and welcoming to us and we appreciate it.  You have been a blessing in our lives, and especially in the lives of our kids.  Again, thank you!


We are eagerly looking forward to getting into the new ward.  There are many faces there that I have known for many years.  It will be nice to get reacquainted with so many of them again as well.   Since this is going to be a long-term/permanent location for us we hope the kids will find and make wonderful friends in Bluffdale.

We should be moving in sometime this week.  SO… if you are reading this as a Bluffdalian (?) (Bluffdalite, Bluffer, Bluffdalasoraus??) you can count on seeing us or our kids around the neighborhood.



Kicking The Parents Out!

It feels a bit odd making preparations to kick my own parents out of their bedroom in the house they built.


With time running out before school starts, it has become depressing clear that they new space WILL NOT be ready for us to live in.  It might be painted, but won’t have any flooring, bathroom fixtures, kitchen cabinets or appliances, etc.  This means that we will be trying to live simultaneously in the space my parents currently occupy.

Julie and I figured we would just be “roughing it” for awhile and finishing things as we go.  We’ve done it before and are happy to do it again.   Some of our favorite memories are from such times.

My father however had different ideas.  His plan is to move himself and Mom into the unfinished basement and turn the house’s master bedroom over to Julie and I.   And he wants to do it soon.  Before we move in.  So that’s is what we are moving toward!

We knew this was the plan, and would eventually happen.  But actually taking the steps to bring it to pass is rather… awkward.  I’ve been jokingly telling people that we are “kicking my parents out and taking over” for a while, but it feels odd to have my parents working hard to kick themselves out.

The Steps Of Kicking Them Out

This week we gave up on the deck project (postponed it) and turned our attention to the basement.  We spent just one day (Tuesday) cleaning out the space that is going to turn into my parents apartment.  Yesterday we built the ‘exterior’ walls to trim out the cement walls.   Today we almost completed laying down some subfloor particle board to strengthen up the flooring.

We will have to finish off the bathroom down there shortly, but I think when the flooring is done that Dad is planning on moving their bed down into the unfinished space.  He says this is so that Julie and I can have a space to move into.  I suspect that he is also secretly looking forward to living (and more importantly, sleeping) in the coolest part of the house – the basement.

My parents say that if the basement is too rough for them that they’ll just stay in the motorhome.  They are taking it on vacation in just a few weeks anyway and so this is a very feasible and sensible plan.   That’ll give us time to keep cleaning/organizing/building to improve the house space for all of us.

Hard To Do?

We’ve been witnessing how hard it has been for my parents to let go of some of the things they’ve collected/stored for years.   As we make this transition I imagine it is going to be even harder to do.  They’ve been living in a huge house for years all by themselves.  To now try to downsize that into a small corner of the same house will stress the emotional limits I’m sure.

Thankfully we don’t actually have much to move into the house.  All of the furniture and decorations will stay for the time being (hopefully without the kiddos breaking them).  We don’t have dishes or appliances either.   So moving/downsizing my parents is really a matter of condensing and moving clothing and a few mementos.

Hopefully that won’t prove to be too difficult!

But Where Will We Park

Like dominoes, there are a lot of things that have to fall in place to accomplish even simple tasks around my parents house.  Answering “where will we park?” is one of those.

Current Parking

The driveway at my parents house is about 400 ft long and takes a near 180 turn into the garages on the back.  Unfortunately nobody has been able to park there for some time.

The culprit is the 40′ motorhome that my parents bought that dominates that space.  That huge machine doesn’t really fit into the space nicely, and it makes it really difficult to park another vehicle in there.   And so for years now nobody has.  Instead my parents (and visitors) have been parking single file in the driveway and walking across the front lawn.

1st Domino

“Dad, when we move in, where will we park?”   With more than just my parents living there soon, we need to find another way to park.  It’s totally impractical for us to continue to try parking single file in the driveway indefinitely.

Because the area in front of the garages has not been drivable, other items have taken over that space.  So, to answer “where will we park”, the answer was “right there were those bags of mulch are.”

2nd Domino

That answer naturally leads to “where are we going to put the mulch?” Well, in one of the flower beds of course.  The only problem was that none of the flower beds were cleaned out and ready for mulch.   So we set the younger kids to pulling weeds out of the flower bed bordering the soon-to-be-parking area.

The kids did great.  They were aided a lot by Julie and her boundless energy who would go over and help them out when ever I took one of my all-too-frequent breaks.

3rd Domino

With that flower bed getting cleaned out and looking much nicer, it became painfully apparent that the tree in the corner of the bed was in dire need of a good trimming.   And so that task was set upon as well.

A good 90 minutes were spent trimming and grooming that tree.  There were numerous branches reaching out and rubbing against the house/shingles.  Those were largely removed.  Many branches were crossing over/under each other or growing down toward the ground that needed removal as well.   And then a whole lot of others that were growing over the parking area were so low that a car would have a hard time getting through them.   Some branches were so think that the loppers were traded in for a reciprocating saw.

4th Domino

Not letting that be enough, now that the weeds were pulled and the tree was trimmed we could easily see how much stuff and been placed under there while we were doing our cleaning.   So now we needed to find a new place to hide quite a few “eye sore” items.   That led to the need to clean off a pallet to place those items on…

You see how this is going right?

In order to fully complete one project another one is required, which needs another, which demands something different.  It is a long line of dominoes that need to fall to make this house comfortably livable for the 12 people who are going to live there.

If there are any expert domino players out there, I’d love the help!


Did you notice that with all that work, I didn’t mention what we’re doing about the real problem, the motorhome?  Well, my parents will be taking it on vacation shortly after we move in.   While they are gone we will clear out a better place in the yard for it to go when they return.