Tuesday, November 5, 2013


This month, in honor of Thanksgiving (and because I'm not very good at it), Kam and I decided to fast to have more gratitude in our lives. And in the spirit of that fast, I've decided to (catch up on a lot of news in a little time because I never post anymore) share a few reflections of things I've been grateful for recently.

First of all, Kam and I bought a new car! So, instead of all the adventures I used to take in order to get to work, I get to blast whatever music I want for an hour or so. I can plug in my smartphone to the stereo, so I've gotten pretty creative with that recently. I also get to listen to conference talks, which is really cool. But sometimes I just turn the music off and think. This was one of those mornings (and it makes for a super exciting video!).

So, even though this may not seem like the most exciting thing, it often saves me about an hour each day, if traffic isn't too bad. And it is much less likely to break down than the train (surprising, huh?).

And it's kind of nice to just have time to think. Today as I was driving home I remembered one thing I am definitely grateful for that I have not thought of in a very long time.

When I was growing up, I lived in the same house almost my entire life. It's the only house I remember. So moving was new to me when I was planning to leave for college. I had graduated high school with some of my same classmates from kindergarten, and I was really nervous about making friends in a new place, and especially about making friends with my roommates. I remember the day I chose my dorm room. You did it online at a designated time, and the time that I was given happened to be when I was in Mexico visiting my uncle. So, we got on plenty early to make sure the internet connection was strong, and we hurried and looked through the buildings closest to campus, and the only information about the other roommates who had already picked rooms that you could see was what music they liked, how tidy they were, and when they went to bed. I was supposed to choose who I'd be sleeping in the same room as for the next 4 months at least based on just that! But there was one apartment I stumbled on that just felt right. I had literally been praying that I would get along with my roommates for weeks leading up to this, and when I saw that particular apartment layout, I felt calm. My mom encouraged me to keep looking, but I said, "No, I think this is it."

Turns out it definitely was it. These are the beautiful girls I lived with for my first year away from home, and I owe so much to them.

These three went on to live with me for another year and then some, and were even the bridesmaids at my wedding.

These girls are some of my best friends. I am positive I blessed with these roommates because my Heavenly Father knows what I need. Every move since then has been equal proof. When I was apartment shopping and found Alta, I got that same good feeling and ultimately, I and two of these, my best friends, met our loving husbands there (and I will take credit for that. ;)). When Kam and I were shopping for our first home together, a hard-to-get Wymount apartment fell into my lap, and I snatched it up with confidence that it was no coincidence. We have made many dear friends in this ward, and they have made this new stage in our life together so much more enjoyable.

It's a comfort to know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me no matter where I go. But it takes for me to remember that he has a plan for me even when I'm staying in the same place.

Beginning working full-time has been a little bit hard to adjust to. It's not like school where you know you're going to get to start something new every four months, and if you don't like something enough, it's alright because soon it will be over. There are a few of those projects, but most things go on and on. You're continually improving. It gets me thinking about what it means to endure to the end. So much of my life until now has been about completing milestones. And those milestones have been very tangible. My successes seem a bit more gradient now. But I'm learning to appreciate little milestones throughout the past few months.

Our office decorated for Halloween and handed out candy to all the office's kids. So much fun! Just a little something, but definitely noteworthy.

And Kam and I made his Halloween costume this year! We both wanted to give up a couple times, but I'm glad we didn't! It was a really fun project to work on together. And it was fun to see Kam sewing! I wish I'd gotten a picture.

I made squash lasagna for the first time, and in the slow cooker! It was pretty good, but we decided to add tomato sauce at the very end and that made it a lot better.

I bought our first Christmas tree! And set it up! And then took it back down because it's not quite Christmas time yet, but I sure wish it were! It's getting so close! (You probably already heard in the video how impatient I'm getting for Christmas.)

I did a little decorating...

And I got started on my family history! Kam and I taught a lesson about it in Sunday school last week and I decided to practice what I preach, and it was actually super exciting! I found out a lot about Kam and my families. I even found a transcribed recording of my great-grandfather singing songs that I heard from my parents growing up. I can't wait to continue that tradition.

So, that's what's new here. Not a whole lot for over a month since my last blog post, but a good bunch of little things. And I'm grateful for those little things. :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How's Work Going?

I've waited so long to write another blog post, that even my husband is impatient to read one! (He told me so, yesterday.) So, I'm going to finish what I started... two weeks ago... and get another blog post out into the cyber air.

I get this question a lot, and I'm not very good at answering it in a way that makes it sound cool and fun, so I thought I'd fix that with a blog post:

As some of you know, my current form of transportation is quite a trek. A 15 min drive to the train station, an hour on the train, and then a 15 min bike ride. But the bike ride is actually quite nice (and considering I'm currently blogging and watching farm animals out my window during the train portion of my commute, I've got to appreciate that a bit, too).

The bike route I take goes through a residential area, and as long as it's not garbage day, that's always more pleasant than the main street (Garbage days are Mondays here. Just another reason not to like Mondays). It's a very eclectic little neighborhood with houses built from as far back as the early 1900's to one house which was just recently finished. And they're all on this same little street. (There are also two houses that have been up for sale all summer, and I covet them every day as I ride past.) So, I wanted to give you guys a taste of my journey, but really had to think about which would be less creepy: me standing on the street taking pictures of people's houses with my cell phone, or me going on to google earth and taking screenshots of people's houses. I decided on the more creepy, but also more anonymous option, because I still plan on riding my bike down that street.

These are a few of my favorites:

Then, when I get to work I'm tired out from my bike ride, and sometimes a little hungry. So I stop by the break room and get a granola bar. I'm notorious for eating granola bars, but they seem to be the one thing we never run out of  (update: in spite of me, we just ran out of granola bars and Dr. Pepper), so I don't feel too bad. At least I'm not the one who's notorious for eating the chocolate covered almonds. This is what happened to that guy:

Ok, not really. But I did find that skeleton in the cubicle next to mine as I was leaving one day. I have no idea where it came from, but it's been floating around ever since.

Then I sit down and make pretty graphs for hours. Or write reports for Comcast. Or try to figure out why my pretty graphs are taking so long to load (which is especially difficult, because I'm typically the "Kam, come fix my computer" type, and know very little--

I just saw a burro! Out the window of the train. It was so short and fat and cute.

Uh, anyway. Then I do boring stuff like that for 8 hours, and then I come home! But I actually really like it a lot. I like being in charge of my graphs. They're actually interactive, not just pretty, and I've been in charge of one project that basically the entire company, including the executives, uses. The CEO presented it at our conference in Park City a couple weeks ago. That's my favorite project, even though it's also very stressful, because it's all mine, and it makes me feel important.

The people I work with are also awesome. They've taught me a lot of important things, like how to gloat about your fantasy football team, and how to fix my wireless mouse, and what wives sound like in their husbands' heads when they're not around (the last one was the first topic of conversation I got in an argument with a coworker about). But they really are great. They look out for me, and buy me pizza when I explode the microwave and give me rides when they want to use the carpool lane. They even care about the well being of my orchid (who isn't doing very well, by the way...), and don't make fun of me for how much I like Startrek, because they all really like it, too.

And as I mentioned a little earlier, I got to go to a conference in Park City! That was really fun. Kam teased me a little, because I was giggling about all of our clients who had taken advantage of the open bar. You've gotta understand, I had never really been to a party with alcohol before, (except for one really bad clubbing incident) and I only just turned 21 in July, so the idea of 40-year-old corporate more-important-than-me people dancing on tables and not remembering it as clearly as I do the next morning, that's pretty exciting stuff. I'm so used to being the one who embarrasses myself, it's really nice to know that by being the sober one at an open bar I have an instant advantage.

And the conference did turn out to be that exciting. Although, I did get called up to the stage to sing 80's songs with a few of our clients. And, wanting to give our clients the experience a fun-loving Mindshare-ite should give, I gave it all I had--and later remembered that everyone else would be recording that for future generations. So I wasn't entirely embarrassment free. Most of the conference was calmer than that, though. We went to lots of speeches and break out sessions about our industry. It really made me miss school a little bit. And then we rode a gondola up the mountain and had dinner and s'mores and hot chocolate, and another open bar. I got really adventurous with what virgin drinks to ask for. And I was very full after the conference was over. They just kept on feeding us! It was a college student's recent college graduate's dream come true.

And and and!...Our company just acquired one of our competitors who is based in Ontario, and the UK. Which may mean some travelling for me in the future. Which I have mixed feelings about, because I really want to travel, but I want Kam to come with me. Maybe we'll just have to make that happen.

Well, if I do go to another country, you will definitely hear about it. But until then, I think I may have just said everything interesting about my work for a long time... so, bye for now!

Monday, August 19, 2013


It's been a while!

I can't deny that I've been busy. I believe my last post was just before I turned 21, and now that I've reached that mighty milestone, all my time is just being swallowed up!

I'll start things off with a few highlights from last month:

On the day before my birthday, Kam took me out to dinner with his family at a nice little Italian place. His family gave us some very nice camping supplies for his family campout that's coming up. I also got an orchid, which I put on my new desk at work!

Unfortunately, Kam had also thrown out his back, so that was the end of celebrations for a little while. That meant we got to share our first experience with a chiropractor. We were recommended to one by a friend, and he did seem to help Kam feel a lot better. Although, the pulling and yanking and cracking did freak both of us out a little. Kam really doesn't like cracking his neck, and that was where the chiropractor started, and without much warning. I'm not sure who was more nervous, but I think it might have been me. I don't want anyone to break my husband, thank you very much.

After Kam was feeling a little better, he took me on a birthday date to Goodwood (yummy ribs!) and then to see Wolverine at an early showing. The best of both worlds. You don't have to be patient and wait until the second day it's been out, but you don't have to stay up all night and then die at work the next morning, either. Hooray early showings! The movie wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it had Hugh Jackman, and that's fun for me. And lots of ninjas, which is fun for Kam.

Kam and I also decided we needed to take a little vacation before school started, so on the fly we planned a little staycation in Park City for the following weekend. That was a really interesting adventure. Let me just say we learned a lot of things about vacation planning. Like when you book a hotel for one night, you have to leave early in the morning, and that the art festival in Park City is not an event you can choose to forgo if you're staying on Main Street. And that you should find out what town is actually holding the Demo Derby before you buy tickets. But all that said, we still had a really good time. We got a taste of the high life one night with all the art festival and sushi dinner and jacuzzi in our hotel room and whatnot. And then the next evening we got a taste of the other side of western entertainment, at the Coalville Demo Derby. Both very... new cultural experiences. I decided afterward that part of the reason people take vacations is so that they'll appreciate their own towns a little more by the time they're going back. The hotel was my favorite part. It had air conditioning, for one thing. :)

Kam and I started making freezer meals! We experimented with it for just a week's worth of meals and then decided it was worth it enough to make a month's worth. So we set aside 4 hours, cut up 16 bajillion onions, and set to work. It was a long day, but I definitely don't regret it now! They're all slow cooker meals, so it solves the "It's 6:30, and I just got home from work, and I'm hungry now, so I don't want to start cooking now, I want to eat!" problem. It also solves our, "Ok, well, then let's just go out to eat." problem. And our, "But we eat out so much... It costs too much and it's not that good for you, and I really should just go home and cook, but I don't even know what we have in the house to cook, so you're right let's go eat I guess." problem. So that's great! I'll have to post links to the recipes we've tried and liked. I've pulled recipes from about 4 or 5 pins on my neverending pinterest board of foods I wish I were eating.

And finally, I graduated college! This has been one of my greatest dreams for I can't remember how long. I do remember first learning about when my mom graduated because I saw all those pictures of her wearing a funny hat. So I made sure to take plenty of funny hat pictures for my daughter to look at some day. It was also really cool to watch the people before me get their Masters in Information Systems degrees, because I know that's where Kam will be in a few years, and I just thought to myself, "Man! Kam's going to get cool robes!" Seriously. My robes were almost exactly the same ones I wore in High School. Color and everything. But Masters robes look like Hogwarts! You get a pointy hood and everything! Kam's going to look so cool. Actually walking and having all my family there was a really amazing feeling, though. I told some people it was the first thing that really made me feel grown up. I mean. I'm the youngest person at work, so sometimes I just feel like and anomaly, and I didn't know when I'd be getting married for most of my life. I didn't expect it to be as soon as it was. So I did feel a little young. But I went to school for 15 years, and even though I still graduated one year early, 15 years is a long time to know you want something. I told Kam that getting married and graduating college were two of my biggest bucket list items, and he said, "Well, I guess you can die now, then." And I said, "No, I haven't learned Spanish, yet." (That's not my third priority in the list or anything. I was just trying to make a point.)

My little brother also got baptized this weekend. That was a really cool experience for me not only because I love my brother, but because he's the youngest, and now all of my siblings have been baptized, and it's just kind of a cool feeling. And also because Joey asked Kam to baptize him. Kam did such a good job making sure Joey knew what was going on and felt comfortable. I'm very protective of my siblings, and Joey being the youngest, I probably baby him the most. So it really impresses me to know how much Joey seems to look up to Kam. They're both doing good things and I'm proud of both of them.

And I think that brings us up to date. Kam has that family campout coming up soon, and that is definitely going to warrant a post, so until then, give me warm thoughts and feelings about this camping trip, because I am starting to wonder if I'm tough enough for the Jensen/Perkin family.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Truth Comes Out

I tend to have a Chloe side, and a professional side. My professional side is a little uptight and not that fun. But I'm always worried about letting the people I have to work with know how ditsy and clumsy my Chloe side is! It makes it a little harder to make friends in places like... business school... and... work... But hey, it's not like I spend a whole lot of time at those places...


So maybe it's a blessing in disguise that my quirkiness literally exploded at work yesterday. I mean, people have to learn what Chloe's really like eventually, right?

The potential blessing doesn't spare me the embarrassment, though. I was trying to make minute rice in the microwave in a container that was marked microwave safe. Little did I know, that marking did not apply to the lid. My bad. So, I was just sitting at my desk waiting for the microwave in the break room to beep, until Kimball asked who was burning food. (Do I even know how to save face? Nope.) I jumped up and said, "Oh, crap! Is it burning?" and I ran into the break room, opened the microwave for a second to see puffs of yellow smoke coming out, and I figured, that really can't be good. So I closed the door again, and ran out of the break room and closed that door, too. And I really didn't know what to do at that point.

Kimball mercifully bought me lunch, everyone in the office teased me for a while, and I searched upstairs for the biggest fan I could find, which turned out to be a small desk fan. Later I took my melted container out of the microwave and found that the entire inside of the microwave was yellow. Today I really should have "taken care of it," but I was still at such a loss for what to do. I have now sufficiently googled my stain removers, though, and am prepared to go back and redeem myself. Tomorrow my coworkers find out how good my Chloe side is at cleaning (although they probably doubted that today).

Besides the microwave incident, things are getting along pretty well at work. I'm getting to know people better in general, and there's even one other girl on my floor. I even got my own desk and locking cabinet! (Yes, that is a step up.) I've also been put on what seems to be a fairly you-really-can't-screw-this-up-for-me project, which seems to be a good thing. I mean, at least it means someone has a little faith in me. And thankfully, my ability to use the microwave has no affect on my qualification for that project. I hope. Right?

I'm just going to scrub that microwave real hard tomorrow, just in case.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Team Pikachu

Thanks to a few lovely friends, I have recently been able to start playing football again! Yay!

No really. Lots of yays! I don't know how I missed out on football for so long growing up, but I'm a total fan now. After practice this week I thought to myself, "You know, I've always kind of wanted to be a soccer mom. You know. Driving kids around and getting all excited about their games and knowing all their friends and bringing all the cool snacks and stuff. But I really don't care about soccer. Football is way more fun. Can I be a football mom? Do they even have those?" Anyway, the point of that string of thought is, I really don't think I'm going to get sick of football any times soon.

I mean, it involves strategy, which I like to think I'm good at since I majored in it and stuff. And exercise, which makes you feel good. And it's especially fun to play with a group of girls, because we all talk about being intense and scaring the other team, and then go practice with our husbands and boyfriends and giggle the whole time, and you can tell they're just wondering why we talk so much and don't just play football already. And that's a fun face to watch on a group of guys who really adore you all anyway.

(Another plus is that it's like, the only sport I follow enough to talk to my male coworkers about at work. I can't wait for baseball season to be over.)

But there's another benefit that's particularly exciting for me. When I was growing up I was always hesitant to play team sports because I wasn't very good, or didn't know the rules, or generally was afraid of letting people down. But--maybe it just comes with growing up, or having great teammates--I've just gotten over that with football. I've been trying to do more things I'm not naturally good at recently (Modern dance being one of them. Holy awkward.). It's not really that I've ever had a hard time trying new things. It's that I've had a hard time sticking with them. Throughout grade school, if something didn't come easily, I'd usually give it up for something that did. But that doesn't build character, and if you're as clumsy as I am, it doesn't build muscle either.

So, hurray for my awesome teammates! They are so loyal and optimistic and dedicated. And they forgive me even though I false start like, all the time... I'm just super excited to play, ok!

But also a hurray for my husband, who has stepped up and helped run our practices and write plays for us. I never expected him to get so involved when I decided to set up a team. He's been helping me practice my throws and catches for about a year now, so he knows exactly how much help I need to be decent at football (which is a lot). And he's still come to every game, gotten to know the girls on my team, helped me get team shirts, written a play book, and held weekly practices for us. It's a lot more than I was expecting, but I know we couldn't have improved as much as we have without his help (and the help of all the other husbands and boyfriends who we all appreciate so much! But, of course, mine is my favorite).

Of course, it can sometimes be hard when your coach is also your spouse. Because even if you talk back to them, they're still going home with you at the end of it all (which I guess could be a good or bad thing, but I was going for good thing). And although I sometimes get frustrated that Kam's not afraid to push me, I'm also glad that he knows that I need the push. Kam talks about how that's the point of being married. You have each other to be accountable to and push each other to be better. And that's how you get better, too.

So... Yay, football! And Yay, Team Pikachu! And Yay, wonderful amazing love of my life.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Breaking the Habit

So... I have a really bad habit of never finishing anything. Ok, that's not entirely true. When I have a deadlines for work or school or something like that, I always get things done. But when it comes to hobbies, I can just never seem to get things finished. So, although I'm typically a little more private about my paintings, I'm feeling a bit more confident about this one, and I could use some accountability for it. So I'm going to be posting my progress here, even if it takes me the next 20 years to finish. (Ok, maybe not. I don't know that I'll still be blogging 20 years from now...) But really, if you notice I haven't posted anything about my painting recently, feel free to hound me about it! It will totally help! (I think.)

But here's the caveat. I'm not going to tell you what it's going to be. So, sorry. Don't ask.

Today I got my paints back out for the first time in almost a year. I've just been so busy with school... and when we moved we didn't have as much room for me to work... But now I have no excuses. I am done with school. I don't work on the weekends. I'm actually complaining to Kam about being bored. And it is actually really getting nice outside, which is good since that's where we've decided my new studio will be. That's right. I'm painting on my freaking balcony. Doesn't that sound awesome? Cause it is. I can spread all my crap out on the table and make a mess without worrying about the carpet. (Which is especially important, because I've already ruined this carpet once. But with a hot pan, not paints. Don't ask me how that happened.) Man, I seriously forget how liberating painting feels. It also makes me feel a little bit like a hippie. Especially when I use words like liberating. And then I think of Kam yelling, "Freaking hippie!" but he is actually very supportive of my painting, because I'm his hippie. And he told me we're going to hang my painting on the wall.

But really. I sometimes forget that painting's kind of one of my things. It's like when you don't pick up a book for a while and after some time you've kind of lost interest in it, and you think, Eh, I could read... but you don't. And then finally one day you get bored enough to and you realize, "Dang! This book is really good! Why did I stop reading it again?" And then you can't put it down. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who does that.)

Only, unfortunately, you have to wait for paint to dry. And when you're like me, you have to wait for a lot of other preparation steps to be ready before you can keep painting, even after your first coat is dry. So this is all I got through today.

You can (hopefully) probably guess what that is. But it's just the background! So, don't think you know it all yet! Cause you don't! Ha ha! You'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


We've reached the hump for our first year! Whenever people ask me how long I've been married, I like to tell them and then say, "I hear if you've made it that long without killing each other, you're probably doing pretty good." I've actually never heard anyone say that but myself, but it's got to be true, right? Cause not killing people is always a pretty good thing. So, yay for not killing each other!

But seriously, being married to Kam for 182 days, is kind of a long time. We plan on going a whole lot longer, though. :) But really, I have not ever hung out with anyone as consistently and frequently as Kam ever. In my life! It's kind of weird to start to be getting used to living with a person (and only one person. Who's a man.). I realized today just how much time we actually spend together and it's a dang good thing we love each other, and not all that surprising really that we haven't always exactly gotten along. So after a long day of play, Kam and I were winding down and listening to some music Kam showed me shortly after we met. And I started thinking back on all of the things we've done together in the past 6 months and the almost year before that we've been together. It was like one of those montages they show in the movies, or when a sitcom is ending for good, only not nearly as vivid and (I might be biased, but hopefully) not as cheesy. Not all of the memories were happy, but the mad ones just seemed silly by now, and the sad ones seemed sweet by now. Because, obviously, not even those hard times prevented us from reaching "married for 6 months." And I wouldn't count on anything breaking a 50 year streak either. And I thought, Man! I wish I really did just have a video of clips of our lives like that. Then I realized just how many pictures Kam has on his phone that I've forgotten about/neglected to share with you! So here is a quick view of the highlights of our lives since "we" started.

Our first picture together. (Breaking the "hand barrier.")
One of the first dinners we cooked together.
Seeing Wicked when Kam flew out to Denver to meet my parents.
Flying back to Provo on a tiny plane.
Boondocks for our 6 monthiversary of dating (You can tell I like excuses to celebrate, huh?)

At the planetarium on our "staycation" (I thought we were making silly faces).

More staycation adventures. We kind of always love toy stores.

Sometimes FHE is a Broncos game.
And sometimes it's zip-lining.
(Kam is always so brave that I forget he doesn't like heights all that much and beg him to take me to stuff like this.)
Registering for all of the stuff you need when you're married is fun!
(Uh, actually, I thought it was just a teensy bit terrifying at first. Hence, Kam basically chose all the colors for our house. And thank goodness, too. He did a good job.)
Halloween. We went as a super nerdy couple.
Visiting the Salt Lake Temple to see the lights. Just weeks before our wedding there.
On our honeymoon. I really like Hugh Jackman. But this was Kam's idea.

Riding segways outside the Queen Mary. We actually thought the ship was kind of really boring. But segways are fun!
The Star Wars ride at Disneyland. (What's that one called?)
Driving along the shore line in California. in a convertible Mustang! We had the top down just before this. It got stuck rolled back but sticking straight up like in the movies. It was pretty scary. But after all that, the view was beautiful. Don't you think? ;)
San Diego temple. The site at the end of our long drive.
Officially moving in together.
More Broncos. Matchy matchy. Watching the finals.
Tulip Festival. In front of an Italian fountain.
First camping trip together. One night sleeping on the ground was plenty.
And finally, shooting for our 6 monthiversary today.

It's pretty amazing to me to look back on all the adventures we've had, and I feel like the best ones never even got caught on camera. But it is nice to look back at all that's come out of that fateful first date. And I'm looking forward to many more months and years of adventure.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

When Circus Animals Attack

I have a professor who says he hate everything about camping. He says he went to grad school so that he wouldn't have to sleep on the floor.

Well, I didn't go to grad school.

Kam and I went camping for the first time!

And it was super fun. We went with our ward, so it was just our bishop and his wife, and a few other young couples like us. There were no kids around, so we could do whatever we wanted! I worry about setting a bad example for the kids in our ward sometimes. I like to be adventurous! So, even though kids are super cute, it was kind of a relief none of them were there.

That meant I got to explore the river and climb on the logs and walk across the mud and do all of those things you're not allowed to do when you're little. Then we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, and someone brought jumbo marshmallows so I made a crazy huge s'more and it probably wasn't as good of an idea as it sounded. And Kam bought himself a hatchet for the occasion because he's grown up and no one can tell him what to do either (except me). So I guess that's what he wanted to play with. I got to play cards with a few people, too. I always love playing cards, but especially when camping, so I was glad someone shared that tradition. One of our friends' dads came up, too, because he's into all kinds of mountain man stuff and told us some old stories.


I look super concerned in this picture, but Kam says I always look like that when I'm listening to stories. Which is probably true, because I've scared a few people with that face before, and I don't remember any of the stories being particularly scary.

We also got to hear Andrew sing and play guitar. Kam said even he was falling in love with him.

We also had a potluck back at the park by our apartments before we all packed up and left. Kam made the barbecue chicken and it was amazing! I think I'm going to have to make him do that again.

We bought our own tent so that we can go camping again whenever we want. I was super proud we got it up (another thing I was never allowed to do when I was little). I think Kam's more just amazed at how complicated I made it.

So in general, it was a fun, pretty standard, "wake up with a sore back but it's worth it" evening. But I do have a couple funny stories (I mean, of course I do. Right?) that make this a little less typical of a camping experience.

First, this picture:

Our bishop likes to collect bugs. So, naturally, he brought his bug collecting gear. As we were just getting out of the car at the camp site and starting to get our bearings, Bishop hands our friend, Preston, a huge net, points down the parking lot, and says, "Ooh! Go get that!" All of us just kind of laughed. The bug was already far away and flying pretty fast. But Preston's got some crazy reflexes or something, because he just took off running. We still didn't think he'd get it, but to all of our surprise he leaped into the air and came down on that bug in one stroke. It turned out to be a really big fly... thing. I was more impressed with Preston's track skills than the bug.

Second, man I wish we had a picture of this one. (But since I don't, I'll entertain you with a little video instead. But read the story first. Or you won't get it.) As we were all driving to the canyon where our campsite was, we decided to follow each other in a long caravan so that no one would get lost. So Kam and I were just following this pickup down a street in the middle of no where, when we see we're driving up beside these huge beasts just to our left! It took a minute for each of us to figure out what was going on. It looked like there was a bear with its arms up towards us, and the car in front of us wasn't swerving, and our instincts were going crazy thinking, "What do I do!? Do I swerve? What is that animal?! Is it being carried on a truck, or attacking a truck? Is that a giraffe?! What's going on?!"
Fortunately, we followed suit in the caravan and didn't make any crazy swerving maneuvers. It turns out they were taxidermied animals already (mostly) in their display positions. The animal closest to us was a bear, in the position it needed to be to look as if it were about to chow down on the moose next to it. In a trailer just in front of the bear was most of a giraffe, but its head was detached and in a separate, still visible, crate. You can understand our concern, right? Someone mentioned it at the campsite a little later and it turned out that all of the cars in our caravan had gone through that panic-inducing event, but none of us had decided to swerve. I wonder what that tells you about human nature? If it looks like a bear on top of a truck is about to attack you, chances are you're probably wrong? That's probably true, right? (Ok. If you wanted to watch that video, you now have my permission.)

So, our little show down with the circus animals was definitely our most eventful part of the weekend. And we weren't even to the campsite yet! But really? How do you beat that? But our slightly less eventful rest of our weekend was just how we liked it--without any scary animals in it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Play with Chloe

As it's been like, a month since my last real blog post, I feel like I should have some funny stories to catch everyone up on, but I was seriously drawing a blank until after Nursery today. So, yay for nursery!

Nursery has been a little more of a handful than it used to be for us. When school ended, two out of three of our nursery kids moved away, which I was really sad about. And I was worried we'd have a really tiny class for the summer. I was so wrong. We have 5 kids now, and we'll soon be getting a 6th. So that's 4 (soon 5) kids who are all under the age of two, that we haven't bonded too much with yet. Luckily, we got a new couple to help us (our old team teachers had moved away at the end of the school year, too) just in time. After nursery today I lay down for a little while and realized how sore my arm was just from holding and rocking little kids for 2 hours. It then crossed my mind that I have to go back to work tomorrow, and I realized even though nursery is so exhausting, it is a lot more rewarding than sitting at my computer at work, and I would much rather be chasing kids around. That said, I only have to handle nursery for 2 hours a week, and I have to work at least 16 hours a week, so that could be a contributing factor...

The one little girl who used to be in our class is the one who stayed after the school year ended. She's almost two now, and the oldest out of everyone in our class. She can speak in whole sentences, which makes her one of the easiest kids to take care of. Plus, she knows both Kam and I really well. We're good friends with her family. And, she just became a big sister! Which I'm sure is exciting (and all other kinds of feelings) for her. Kam and I adore this little girl. Frankly, it's hard not to play favorites when she's the only one of the kids you know very well, and you loved her so much already.

The other kids are all super fun. And it's exciting to get to know them better and figure out what they like, and what their mannerisms are. One little boy sat on my lap and cuddled into me and handed me some books to read. That just makes my heart melt. There's something about reading books to boys. I also had to fish a goldfish cracker out of a tape player today, which was surprisingly amusing. Especially when the little girl who put it in there understood when I ask her to pull it back out because her hands can fit and yours can't. Kam even took a video on his phone of one of our boys showing off his killer dance moves, which involved kicking his legs as high as he could and twisting his whole body.

(It was funny to hear my voice talking to all the kids in that video Kam took. At the time I felt a little bit frazzled trying to clean up goldfish and play dough before they got stepped on while chasing two kids around the table and trying to make sure a third didn't get run over. But then I heard my voice on that video saying, "So-and-so, do you want to come over here and dance. Oh, be careful, don't fall over." And it makes me think: Man, how could we possibly have been so serious about doing this. Ha ha.)

But there's a special place in my heart for this first little girl we had in our class. I was trying to take care of another one of our kids for the first half of class, and while I was holding her and trying to find a toy she was interested in, this first little girl ran up and hugged me around my leg. I said hi to her and thanked her for the hug, but I couldn't really do much more than that with my arms full. A little while later I did get to play with her how I'd wanted, and we played a little tag, and danced, and talked about her pretty dress. Then, as class was ending, I told her to get her shoes and she sat in my lap as I put them on, and then her dad picked her up and she waved good-bye to us, and that was all pretty typical. It was after she left that her mom came up to us and thanked us for our help and told us, "Every Sunday as we're walking to church, [my daughter] says, 'Go to church, play with Chloe?'" It probably took me a few minutes to realize I was like, glowing because of that comment. I probably looked pretty silly, just standing there with my face like, "Really?" It really made me smile. As we were walking home, though, I got to hear it for myself. This little girl was walking just a few steps behind us, talking to her mom. She was just babbling, one three word sentence after another, all of which her mom understood and replied to. Then I heard her say, "Play with Chloe?" and when I turned around she was pointing at me. And her mom said, "Yeah, you got to play with Chloe at church today. Say bye to Chloe." And so she pouted a little bit, but waved and said, "Bye, Chloe" perfectly. I waved and said bye to her and turned back around, and then I heard her babbling to her mom some more--it sounded like she was still talking about how she wanted to keep playing. Her mom changed the subject a little and asked who else was at nursery and what she did there. But part of me was thinking, "Oh, just let her come over and play! I don't mind! Play with Chloe!" But the other part of me was like, "I don't want to get involved... And also, I want a nap." And that part won. But as soon as we got home Kam mimicked her, "Play with Chloe?" Man. That made my day.

I love this calling. Having the opportunity to play with other people's kids (and eventually give them back) is a huge blessing. Not only is it fun, but it's impressive what you can learn from such humble spirits. They are so eager and willing to learn and love. It makes me think there are some things we should really learn not to grow out of.

It's Dreen. Why is it Dreen?

I told Kam today that there was a new blog post by one of the bloggers I follow. I was really excited about it, too. And then he said, "Is there a new Jensen Family blog?" And I said, "There could be..." To which he said, "That would be fun."

So that's what I'm doing. Being fun.

I try to take pictures of things we do that I think are blog-worthy, and what I have in there right now is a bunch of pictures of food. (I used to have something against foodies, and so did Kam, but recently when I was about to photograph the 4th dinner that week, he was like, "Make sure you get it close up. You don't have to get me in it." Ha ha.) So, I'll start there.

We've been trying to eat healthier (trying being the operative word for both of us. "Kam, I really want a cupcake..."), so these are a few of the recipes we've tried, with a few minor adjustments.

Avocado Pasta
This tastes surprisingly like pesto, which I thought was awesome. But we ran out of basil after making this dish just twice. We love avocado, so we (probably not so smartly) decided to double the ratio of avocado to other ingredients in this recipe. It made the sauce really sticky, but still delicious. We don't have a food processor, so we just used our blender, but we did have to add just a little milk to make it liquidy enough to mix. Probably another reason for that was that we used lemon juice concentrate instead of a real lemon, so we were already low on liquids. We later decided to try adding chicken to this dish, and it really adds the variety it needs. Otherwise, you kind of end up with a delicious, but slightly monotonous green blob.

Pasta Rosa Verde
This one was way good the first time we made it, and a little disappointing the second time. I think the difference was whether or not we had feta cheese (we used instead of blue cheese). It kind of makes or breaks the dish, in my opinion. We also tried to substitute an onion for garlic, which I think was a loser idea. So basically, don't experiment like we did on this one. It's too good to be messed with (minus the blue cheese thing. Bleh. I mean, unless you're into that kind of thing.)

Mediterranean Chicken and Pasta
Can you tell we like pasta? This recipe can get a little pricey if you try to buy the olives they call for (plus, Kam doesn't like greek olives), so we changed the recipe just a little. The only extra special thing we bought for it were the artichokes. And we love artichokes, so we like to leave the chicken broth out of the recipe so the vinegar flavor is even more poignant. Other than that, we added a red bell pepper, and crushed red pepper seasoning instead of the whole red peppers it calls for. It makes for a little milder of a recipe.

Ancho-Glazed Salmon and Sweet Potato Fries
If the idea of covering your salmon in chili powder sounds weird, I totally agree. I was way nervous about this one. But it's now one of my favorites, and I think Kam's, too. We both really love salmon, and I totally don't feel guilty about it because of all the good omega-3 fatty acids. I will admit, I am not sure what those do, but I know they're good for you. Plus, fish take like, no time to cook.

One of the hardest things about eating healthy, for me anyway (besides foregoing cupcakes), is how long cooking at home takes. We typically eat a lot healthier when we cook ourselves, but by the time we both get home from work it's 6:30, and we're already hungry, or we have somewhere we need to be or homework to do, and we don't have a ton of time to cook. so these 4 recipes have been helpful because they don't take quite as much time. If you have any similar recipes (healthy and quick), I'd love to hear about them. I swear they're the holy grail of recipes.