#72: LAIKA Exhibit

Right now there’s an exhibit going at the Portland Art Museum that’s all about LAIKA, the film studio that made Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings. We all loved these movies, so we wanted to make it a point to go and see the exhibit.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

Of course, our first challenge was making sure everybody had seen all four films. We had a narrow window of opportunity with Will being home, so we arranged things just so, with Will seeing Kubo for the first time the day before we visited the museum.

It was amazing. We were completely enchanted by the intricacy of the models, and the amazing use of technology old and new. Especially having seen Kubo only yesterday, the sheer scale of the work involved to make one of these films is staggering. Highly recommended if you’re reading this while the exhibit is still on.

#99: Becky – LibraryThing

While helping organize the library at the Gardner School, I discovered how easy it could be to organize my book collection. Which is extensive. And one thing I’ve found about having a big library is that it collides with my love of finding used books at thrift stores – sometimes I bring home duplicates.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

That ends now. I signed up for a nearly-free ($5 per year) membership at LibraryThing, which is the software that Gardner uses to organize all the books in all of their classrooms, so I know it can handle the size of our family’s collection. It’s super easy to scan in a new book, but also to search my collection while out to see if I already have something.


As of right now (after Jólabókaflóð) I have 681 books in my library! This whole thing makes me so happy.

#92: Becky – Fix Teeth

This was the year of my teeth. It started early in the year, with multiple trips to the dentist to have all seven of my childhood fillings replaced. They were failing and tiny cavities were appearing underneath them. Next I had to have a crown replaced. It was not a pleasant time.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

Since we currently have excellent dental insurance, it seemed like a good time to just take care of all my issues Starting in June (middle photo) I embarked upon the journey of ClearCorrect braces. As of today, I’m just a month out from being completely done! Then I get to have the “knobs” removed from my teeth and will be wearing retainers for awhile.

I’ve been asked over and over how I “like” clear braces. Well. They are the single most annoying thing I’ve ever dealt with for 7 months in a row. I can’t wait to be done. They are painful and require lots of maintenance as well as lifestyle changes.

Would I do it again? Maybe? Ask me when they are completely finished.

#71: World Map with Pins

We like to travel, and we always thought it would be cool to have a map of the world, with pins in it for where we’ve traveled. When Becky visited her brother in Sacramento, she saw his, which is beautifully framed, and uses magnetic pegs instead of pushpins, it seemed like just the thing.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

Color key:

  • Yellow: Ben
  • Blue: Becky
  • Green: Ben & Becky (yellow + blue)
  • White: Will
  • Red: Lucy

We’re noticing there’s a distinct lack of coverage in the southern hemisphere and Asia. 🤔

#66: Bowling

It’s been a looooong time since we went bowling as a family, and since Will is here on a home pass, it seemed like a great time to do it. So we did!

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

(Yes, that’s a bowling pin crown on Lucy’s head. She’s the Kingpin.)

We hit up our neighborhood lanes, which had that classic feel, just like every bowling alley Becky and I have ever been in, and played two games in rented shoes. We even put up the bumpers for Will and Lucy!

Great fun was had. If you haven’t been bowling recently, we highly recommend it.

#58: Neskowin Trip

Neskowin has been our beach town ever since we bought a vacation/rental house there in 2013. We love this little town, and we don’t want to give it up. So for four days just after Christmas this year, we rented a house and made the town ours again.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

The house we got was right on the riprap, with a panoramic living-room view of the crashing winter waves. We built fires, played games, bundled up for walks on the beach, and watched terrible 80s movies. It was great.

We’re probably always going to have a soft spot for this town. It’s the perfect size, super quiet, the market and cafe are really great, and it’s just perfect.

#42: Start Will’s Home Passes

When Will started going to Sandhill last year, we always knew we’d start by visiting him, and then we’d eventually he’d be visiting us. This was the year the home visits (“home passes” in Sandhill jargon) started, as part of a months-long program to transition him back home.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!


Will’s first trip home was a short one. The goal with the first home pass is to get used to the idea of being away from all the Sandhill support, so he flew in on a Friday night, and back on a Monday morning. We spent a very quiet, very calm weekend at home.

In order to get him to Portland and back, I essentially went to pick him up. Southwest has a non-stop flight to ABQ at 8am, and one back at 6pm, so I flew out there and worked from the airport for a few hours. Around 4pm his therapist dropped him off at the airport, and I took him through security and onto the flight to Portland. Monday morning was a mirror image, except I rented a car for 4 hours so we could get a burger together before checking him back in.



This time was very similar to the first, except his time at home was longer. Our house was listed for sale at this point, so we had to evacuate and go explore a fish hatchery for a few hours one day. We ate sushi, he soaked up puppy time, and we just hung out near home mostly. When I took him back, our rental car was a VW Beetle, which he scoffed at, but I rather enjoyed.



This was Will’s first time flying unaccompanied minor! A Sandhill staff member took him all the way to his gate in Albuquerque, and I met him at the gate in Portland, but he was alone for the entire 3-hour flight. He managed it just fine, though, sticking to just two ginger ales.

This was a busy visit – it was the day after Thanksgiving, there was a Jenson family reunion happening, and we had just moved into our new house, so there were lots of jobs to do. We hung his air chair, built a desk together, and he participated in an intense couple hours of reunioning. We also squoze in a visit with the Swanks, and his great-grandmother Anne, who is 99 this year.



This visit is still happening as I type, and it’s our longest with him yet. We managed it so that we could celebrate our full 12 days of Christmas together, and we actually ended up with snow!

We’ve spent some time making our new house more of a home, as well as a few days at the beach (his first visit to the ocean in over a year), but mostly just being a family together.


#73: Donate Monthly to (more) Causes

Around this time last year, we decided it was time for us to start supporting causes we believe in with some of our financial resources. We’re planning on ratcheting this up every year, so this year we’re adding two organizations to the seven we started supporting last year.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

Here are the new additions:

And for reference, here are the ones we are still supporting:

Again, if you have some spare cash, we highly recommend finding a cause you believe in and sending some of it their way.

#38: Watch 12 Documentaries

  1. We’re always trying to become better people. Part of that is being open to learning new things and exposing ourselves to new information. Every year as part of our media diet, we try to include some documentaries, and as a result we’ve learned a lot.

    This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

    Here are the films we’ve taken in this year. Most are available on Netflix, though we branched out for a few.

    1. Gravity is Just a Habit
    2. Minimalism
    3. The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching
    4. Going Clear
    5. Watermark
    6. Abstract (series)
    7. Embrace
    8. The Brainwashing of my Dad
    9. Rise of the Sufferfests
    10. Tales by Light (series)
    11. Dr. Bruce Perry: Child Trauma Academy
    12. Under an Arctic Sky

#32: 2016 “100 Things” Book

100 Things has become a major part of our family’s life, and a few years ago we found a service called Into Real Pages. You can convert a set of blog posts into an actual book, which sits on your shelf, inviting you to take it down and page through it. What better way to capture all these memories?

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Click on the photos for a closer look!

We have hard copies of our 2014 and 2015 lists, so this year we wanted to do the same with 2016. What we didn’t count on was this notice at the top of the page when we logged in:

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In truth, we’ve been trying to make this book since early November, when we discovered a few bugs in their system. Becky tried 5 times, spending a good two frustrating hours each time, to shove our blog through their broken system, to no avail.

So consider this a placeholder post. Doing this is important enough to us that we’re willing to postpone finishing this Thing until it gets done, but we won’t be able to complete it before the year is out. We’ll post an update here when we get the book.