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.