5.16.2011

Monday's Memory: First Kisses


I've spent a lot of days lately marveling at how fast time flies (all of you who are more mature than I will laugh at this because, let's face it, 26 isn't exactly over the hill).  Yesterday, I realized that it's been 10 years since I got my first ever kiss.  After shaking my head in amazement at how long ago that was and, really, how NOT long ago that was, I spent a little time reminiscing about the 5 "first" kisses of my life.  All names (except for Cole's) have been changed to protect the innocent, and, also, because it's just so weird to think that I kissed guys other than Cole and changing their names makes it seem less awkward to think about (although, those of you who know me best know who they are, so it's not like it's secret).  So, without further ado, I begin:

First Kiss #1:  I was 16 years old, and it was the summer after my sophomore year in high school.  I was lucky enough to have snagged Topher as my first bona-fide boyfriend.  He was pretty much the cream of the crop in my social circle, and most, if not all, of my friends admitted to harboring a secret crush on him at some point during our high school careers.  Anyway, we had been dating for 4 weeks, and, as cheesy new relationship rules dictate, we went out for an "anniversary" date.  To this point, Topher had kissed me several times: on the cheek, the forehead, the hand...you get the idea.  Honestly, I was both annoyed and enchanted about this: enchanted because it showed he wasn't just trying to put the moves on me, but annoyed because COME ON!  I waited 16 years to date and have a boyfriend, so it was about dang time that he kissed me!  That night, I got my wish.  It was the stereotypical "kiss at the end of the date on the front porch" scenario.  Sweet, appropriate, and very cliche.

Topher: as in "Topher Grace"--nerdy, kind of boyish, but with an inexplicable charm that no woman can resist.


First Kiss #2:  I had just begun my sophomore year in college.  Topher (First Kiss #1) had been on the mish for about 5 months and I was pining and counting down until the time he'd get back.  Enter Kevin, one of the guys in my FHE group.  I found myself, for the first time in 3 1/2 years, feeling those first exciting feelings of crushdom.  Kevin and I started to spend a lot of time together and I found out he reciprocated my feelings.  Everything came to a head in the breezeway that separated the boys' apartments from the girls' apartments one night--Kevin laid a huge, wet one on me.  Now, even though I had only kissed one boy to that point, I was no slouch when it came to kissing, and I knew that this first kiss was slightly less-than-enjoyable.  Turns out I was the first girl he had ever kissed.  He even made a "VL Club" card to give to me, since I was the one to take his "Virgin Lips".  Cute, but very dorky.

Kevin: as in "Kevin James"--funny, sweet, awkward, but extremely dorky.


First Kiss #3:  It was May 2005.  I had been helping out in the store of some family friends off and on since Christmas, and Diane, the owner, just happened to have a son coming home from his mission.  The problem with this scenario?  I knew this guy.  We had essentially grown up together, and neither one of us had given the other a second glance in high school.  In fact, my friends and I secretly called him "Franken-Cole" because his haircut gave his head an oddly square quality and because he kind of clomped down the hallways at school.  He said his fair share of things about me in high school as well--none were extremely complimentary.  Needless to say, I was extremely uninterested in being hooked up with Cole.  But, Diane just kept pushing, and by May, when Cole got home, I was at least a little intrigued.  Cole, of course, helped his parents out in their store, so we had several brief and awkward interactions that only increased my interest in him.  One day, he came into the store while I was working and asked me out.  He was so awkward and nervous--it was adorable.  We went out and had great chemistry the entire time.  I could tell that something magic was happening, and I knew that if he wanted to kiss me at the end of the night that I'd let him.  We got to my front door (yes, another cliche front porch scene) and it happened.  One word: FIREWORKS.

First Kiss #4: Cole and I dated for a tumultuous couple of months, and ended things rather amicably with a mutual break-up.  The months that followed that break-up were less than positive.  He rather quickly (if you ask me) found another girlfriend, and tensions between Cole and I were high.  Things between us were chilly at best and downright hostile at times.  Even though I was still in love with him, I had completely given up hope that anything was ever going to work out for us.  Then, in January, he moved to Provo to start school.  I "ran into" him in the mall where we both worked, and he (having ditched his heinous girlfriend several weeks prior) asked for my phone number so we could hang out.  I gave it to him, and he texted me that night.  We went out on what we now call our "second first date" and had a marvelous time.  Over the next 3 days, we spent every waking moment possible together, and we decided we wanted to give our relationship another try--but on a slower scale than before.  That lasted about five minutes.  We were sitting on the couch in my apartment, talking, and it was like no force in the universe could keep us apart.  The fireworks from our first kiss paled in comparison to our earth-shattering "second first kiss."

First Kiss #5: June 30, 2006.  We knelt across the altar in the Salt Lake Temple from one another.  We had just finished making sacred covenants and promises to one another, and our sealer had just pronounced us married for time and all eternity.  In front of our family and friends, we kissed for the first time as man and wife--the first kiss of the rest of my life.

5.12.2011

Not-So-Thankful Thursday, or Why the DMV and I Aren't Friends

*DISCLAIMER*  This post is far longer than I originally anticipated.  I apologize for writing a novel.

I turned 26 this year...along with many other things, this means I got the opportunity to renew my driver's license.  Getting a tooth filled without Novocaine (which I have done, btw), having my eyebrow hairs plucked out one by one, and appearing in public in the nude are all events that appear higher on my "What I Want to Do in My Spare Time" list than going to the DMV, so naturally, I was less-than-excited for the task.  In an attempt to get it over with sooner, I dragged my sorry self and all of the requisite paperwork to the DL Division at the end of February.  Conveniently, Cole needed to renew his license as well, so at least I had a buddy to commiserate with.

My mom told us the DL Division at Point of the Mountain was better than most--because of its remote location, the wait was bound to be less than at, say, the DL Division in West Valley (which was also bound to be overrun with miscreants), which is closer to our house.  We heeded her advice and took a trip south.  Unfortunately, the whole "less-crowded" assumption was wrong.  The parking lot was full, but we grimaced and groaned and headed inside.

We had the foresight to print the application off the DMV website to speed up the process.  We took our place at the end of the queue and waited for our turn.  Surprisingly, the line moved much more quickly than we anticipated, and before we knew it, we found ourselves handing in our paperwork and posing for the camera.

Speaking of the camera, why is it that everyone looks about 20 pounds heavier in their driver's license photo?  Even the svelte Audrey Hepburn would come out looking like this:




We accepted our numbers then took a seat to wait for them to be called.  Fortunately, we didn't even sit for 2 minutes before they were both called.  "Finally, a bit of luck!" we thought.  For me, that luck seemed to run out as soon as I reached the counter.  Cole breezed his way through, but the gentleman (I use that term very loosely) who was helping me brusquely informed me that he was unable to renew my license at that time.  Apparently my license had been suspended in July 2010 because a ticket I received hadn't been paid in full (oops...:S my bad).  Before I could get my license renewed, I had to pay off the ticket, get a clearance form from the traffic court, and pay a reinstatement fee.  Okay, yeah, that was all well and good.  The problem with the situation was how PATRONIZING the man was.

Cranky DMV Guy: Didn't you receive this letter from us?  *sneer* *shows me the letter on the computer screen*
Me: Well, no, because I haven't lived at that address for a few years (the address in question was where we lived when we first got married...3 moves ago)
CDG: You KNOW it's your responsibility to update your residential address with the DMV within 10 days of moving, right? *sneers again*
Me: I've always had a mail forward to my current address, so it should have gotten to me anyway.  thinking: Because I don't have a kajillion other things on my mind while moving to a new place...OBVIOUSLY I would think to call the DMV and give them my new address before I notify my friends and family.
CDG: Until this issue is resolved, I'm unable to do anything to help you.  I'm sorry (he's CLEARLY not sorry).  *sneers some more*
Me: Okay, well, thanks.  thinking: his face is going to be stuck like that if he keeps this up...but maybe that would be an asset, since he works at the DMV and they're unpleasant on principle.  


Yeah, I know, it was totally my fault--I should have remembered to pay the ticket.  But seriously, did the guy have to be so SNOTTY?  It's not like I killed a guy or anything.

Incensed by the whole exchange, I immediately called the traffic court and paid the citation.  Unfortunately, the office was closed for the afternoon so I wasn't able to pick up the clearance letter necessary to continue the whole ridiculous process.  What was even more ridiculous was what I found out when I picked up the letter the next day: "Oh, you probably don't really need that.  As soon as you paid the citation it was updated in the system and the DMV would be able to see that."

I got my stinkin' letter anyway.  I didn't want to take any chances with the extremely hospitable DMV employees.

Instead of heading back to Bluffdale and risk a second meeting with Mr. Personality, I decided to visit the West Valley DMV.  *shudder*  It was packed despite being 11:30 on a Thursday afternoon.  I took my number, sat for a bajillion years, then finally got my turn at the counter.  The woman helping me was slightly more personable, but did she ask me for the clearance letter?  OF COURSE NOT.  I paid my reinstatement fee and my renewal fee, and everything seemed just peachy...except for two things.

ONE: 
I asked to have my maiden name removed from my renewed license.  

*BACKSTORY*  When we first got married, I was still in school, and a lot of important things were still associated with my maiden name.  Rather than carry my marriage license with me everywhere and whip it out at the slightest doubt that I was "Jessica Kenner" and not some nefarious imposter scheming to take over her life, I left my maiden name on my driver's license.

Now, there's really no need for my maiden name to be on my license anymore so I asked to have it removed. Plus, it's better if my DL matches my SS card, which does not have my maiden name on it.  Easy, right?  You'd think I asked the lady to cut off an appendage.

DMV Lady: Oh, I'm not sure I can do that.  Is it your middle name? after I already explained that it's my maiden name
Me: Um, no.  It's my maiden name.  I don't use it anymore.  I want my DL to match my SS card.
DMV Lady: Ok, well, let me ask if that's ok.  *calls a supervisor*
DMV Supervisor Lady: I'm sorry, but we can't take the name off your license.  We're required to leave all middle names...
Me: But it's NOT my middle name!  It's my maiden name, and I don't use it anymore.
DMV Supervisor Lady: Oh, okay.  Well, then, that's fine.  We can do that.
Me: *relieved* Thank you.
DMV Lady: *types for a million years* There...that's all taken care of.  Oh, just one more thing...

TWO:
I had to take a quiz.

She told me that because my license had been suspended for more than x amount of time, I had to take a 25-question test on the driver's handbook.  "Awesome," I thought.  "It's only been 10 years since driver's ed; I'm SURE I remember all of the answers."  Lucky for me, it was open book.  I only had to get something like 80%, but I had this irrational desire to get EVERY question right.  I didn't want the lady manning the desk thinking I was an imbecile as well as a delinquent.  The quiz took me longer than it should have because of my craziness, but I got all the questions right.  I rolled up to the desk, extremely pleased with myself...until she printed out my temporary license.

"JESSICA KENNER CHRISTENSEN"

There it was, right at the top: MY MAIDEN NAME...after I expressly asked to have it removed.

Me: I talked to the lady who was helping me before, and she told me that my maiden name would be removed from my license.
DMV Lady #2: Oh, well, we're not allowed to remove middle names from licenses.  
Me: *feeling a bit like a broken record* It's NOT my middle name.  It's my MAIDEN name, and I don't use it anymore.  I'd like it removed.
DMV Lady #2: Ok.  Let me call someone and make sure that's all right.
DMV Supervisor Lady #2: We can't take middle names...
Me: IT'S NOT MY MIDDLE NAME!  IT'S MY MAIDEN NAME!  
DMV Supervisor Lady #2: All right.  Do you have a middle name?
Me: No.  I have no middle name.  My name is Jessica Christensen.  That's it.
DMV Supervisor Lady #2: Okay.  *looks doubtful*  We'll go ahead and take it off.  is it really so unbelievable that I don't have a middle name?
Me: Thank you.  

She printed out a piece of paper showing me what my REAL license would look like, and told me to expect it in 4-6 weeks.  

I waited.  And waited.  Cole got his license a week and a half later.  I got nothing.

Six weeks later, I called the DMV.  I was told my license had been sent to my mailing address in Springville.

UMM, WHAT?

Yeah.  Some genius left my 5-year-old address as my mailing address, and now my license was who-knows-where with who-knows-who.  Awesome.  The employee told me I had to wait another 2 weeks in case the license came back to them, at which point they would re-send it to my correct address.  I triple-checked the name that would appear on my license: "Jessica Christensen."  Good--it would be just my luck to get my new license and have it STILL bear my maiden name even after asking two employees and two supervisors to change it.

Two weeks came and went.  No license.  I called again.  This time, the employee was extremely pleasant and told me she'd get one sent out right away.

And...three weeks later, I still don't have a license.  I called this morning and was told there was no record of a second license being sent out (thanks a lot, good-for-nothing, albeit pleasant employee!), and the lady I talked to today said she'd put the request in and get one sent out...yeah, we'll see how that works out.

So, the DMV and I aren't friends right now.  My question is, how long do I wait before I beat down the door and demand they make me a copy on the spot?  

P.S. If my new license still has my maiden name on it, I MIGHT burn the place down.  Just sayin'.

5.11.2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I had a wonderful Mother's Day this year.  It actually started on Saturday night, because Cole was too excited to wait until Sunday to give me my present...which, by the way, was a TOTAL surprise.  We usually don't really make a big deal about giving gifts to each other, so I didn't really expect anything.  He came back from a late-night grocery run (he was in charge of making Sunday dinner at my parents' house and he went to get the materials) and told me, "I have a confession to make."*

*A couple of years ago, he started using that statement as a preface to anything he had to tell me that he thought I wouldn't like.  Now, it's turned into a running joke between us.

I groaned and rolled my eyes like I always do when I hear those words and followed him into the living room.  Then, he said, "You'd better sit down for this one."  I started to get worried--usually his "confessions" aren't very serious, but this one sounded more ominous.  "So, I got a bonus at work that I didn't tell you about," he said.  I was confused; usually, getting a bonus at work can be classified as a good thing.  I asked him what he did with it, thinking that would be the "confession" part.  He told me to look behind me.  Hidden beneath the throw pillow was one of these:


Total shock and speechlessness on my part...not necessarily for the gift, but for the fact that Cole kept this a TOTAL SECRET from everyone.  We both are notorious for being bad secret-keepers, so it was a surprise that he kept it to himself.  I was obviously not angry about THIS particular confession.  :)  I've been saying for a while that I need to always keep a book in my purse (I read voraciously)...so he got me a book for my purse!  :)  I've spent a lot of time playing around on Barnes & Noble's website trying to decide what books to get first...I may not get anything done this week around the house.

Sunday morning was nice and leisurely, because the bishop canceled ward council for Mother's Day!  Kyle had a sleep-over with Grandma and Papa, so it was quiet around our house.  With one less kid we managed to get to church EARLY (this is a nearly impossible feat at our house).  Cole taught ALL of the youth Sunday School classes during the second hour--he was the only teacher there!  We were hoping to sneak out after the second hour to my parents' house so we could catch the tail end of the phone call to my brother, Nathan, but one of my counselors went home sick, and I knew it was important for me to stay and help out in Primary.  Fortunately, Nathan understood and was proud of us for magnifying our callings.  :)  Plus, he'll be home at the beginning of December, so we'll see him before we know it.  

After church, we raced home, changed, grabbed the stuff for dinner, and headed to Sandy.  Cole and Chris kicked the women-folk out of the kitchen and whipped up a fabulous dinner--tortellini alfredo, grilled chicken, Caesar salad, mixed vegetables, and garlic bread.  Yummy!  

We had some time to kill before Daniel was calling, so we opened Mother's Day gifts.  We bought my mom Bones season 5.  Stephanie didn't want Mom to know what the gift was, so she cut an insert into the pages of a ginormous book she got from the DI and put the season inside.  It did the trick; Mom was pretty confused when she opened her gift.  Kyle and Lucas made me cute little stepping stones for the yard, and my parents got me some really pretty flowers to plant to go with the stones.  Kyle also made me a gift in Primary

Around 8:15, we gathered around the computer to Skype with Daniel.  It was so much fun to see him!  He had just gotten transferred, and we found out just how small the world is: his new companion is the brother-in-law of someone I went to high school with!  Lucas hammed it up in front of the camera, so Daniel got a good look at him (he hasn't seen Lucas since Lucas was 3 months old).  Kyle started out being really shy--he wouldn't even go in the office.  Near the end of the call, though, I managed to get him to sing "If I Listen With My Heart" for Daniel, and he even talked a little bit.  Dan got to talk for a couple of hours, so we all got a chance to chat and laugh.

All in all, it was a great day.  I'm so grateful I have the blessing to be a mother to my two wonderful boys, and I'm so grateful for my mother, mother-in-law, and all of the other "mothers" I've had throughout my life.  

Wordless Wednesday: Best Mother's Day Gift Ever

5.05.2011

Peanut Butter Egg recipe

Okay, since I want to remain friends with Natalie--where would I get all of my parenting advice? ;)--here's the recipe for the peanut butter eggs I made for Easter...check them out here.

1 lb. butter or margarine (I used margarine, and I would recommend using margarine.  There is a noticeable taste and texture difference if you use butter--they're a little bit drier)
3 c. creamy peanut butter
3 lb. powdered sugar
Chocolate for dipping

Peanut Butter eggs:
Cream margarine and peanut butter together until light and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar slowly, mixing after each addition (I ended up mixing in the last pound of powdered sugar by hand because my electric mixer was getting burned out).

Your peanut butter mixture should be about the consistency of Play-Dough.  Form into desired shape--I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out the mixture before shaping so my eggs were of uniform size (It's best to do this several hours before dipping in the chocolate.  Also, if you refrigerate the peanut butter eggs, make sure to let them get to room temperature before dipping in chocolate...otherwise, disaster will occur, trust me).

Dipping in chocolate:

I would recommend using chocolate specifically meant for dipping; the chocolate sets pretty quickly and the eggs look smooth and more professional.  I used Wilton's light cocoa Candy Melts (you can get them at Wal-Mart for about $3 a bag), but you can get Wilton's Candy Melts in many different colors if you want to mix things up.

  

One 14 oz. bag should be enough to dip all of your peanut butter eggs.  You can also get dipping chocolate at places like Orson Gygi or Zurchers.  If you don't want to use dipping chocolate, you can also use Hershey bars--just be aware, it takes a LOT longer for the chocolate to set.

If you have a double boiler, you can melt your chocolate on medium in it.  You can also melt your chocolate in a glass measuring cup in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water on the stove top.  If you choose either of these options, BE EXTRA CAREFUL!  It's easy to burn chocolate in the microwave, and you run the risk of shattering your measuring cup or contaminating your chocolate with water if you use the stove top. I used the microwave, and (even though it's tricky) I'd recommend that method.  When you melt chocolate in the microwave, always use 50% power or the defrost setting, and never put the chocolate in for more than 1 minute at a time.  Stir the chocolate completely after each turn in the microwave.  I microwaved my chocolate for 1 minute, then for 2-3 more 30 second intervals until I could stir it smooth.

After the chocolate is melted, dip your eggs.  Let excess chocolate run off, then place the eggs on wax paper to set.  After my eggs set up, I used a clean set of kitchen shears to trim the edges of the eggs so they looked more neat.  You can put those chocolate trimmings back in your chocolate pot to melt and re-use.

Embellishment:
The woman I got the recipe from makes frosting flowers using Royal frosting (I doubted my flower-making abilities, so I took an easier route).  I used candy cake decorations in Easter shapes to decorate my eggs.  I think next year (if I have time) I might pipe on frosting decorations.

the finished product
Yield: one batch yielded approximately 7 cups of peanut butter mixture.  I made sixteen 1/4 c. eggs and sixteen 1/6 c. eggs (with a tiny bit left over) but you can split out the mixture any way you want.

It sounds intense, but really, it's pretty easy.  Plus, you look SUPER impressive when you roll in with these babies.  :)

Easter 2011

I've been meaning to blog about Easter for a while now, but it's like I've had writer's block...only about Easter, though, because I haven't had any trouble blogging about anything else...weird.

Anywho, Easter this year was pretty fun, because Kyle is old enough to understand everything.  Because Cole and I wanted to dedicate Easter Sunday to the true meaning of Easter, we asked the Easter Bunny to make a special stop at our house on Saturday morning.

On Friday night, I told Kyle we were going to leave Easter baskets out for the Easter Bunny to fill with surprises.  He thought this was a pretty cool idea.  I asked him if he thought we should leave a snack for the Easter Bunny, and he told me we should leave carrots, celery, apples, and a glass of milk.  So, we did.  He also insisted on leaving the baskets on the piano bench.

Cheeseball Kyle 
Yummy snack for the Easter Bunny
Lucas showing love to the camera--like always
We woke up the next morning to full Easter baskets and an empty plate!  Looks like the Easter Bunny enjoyed his snack.

The Easter Bunny even left something for Mom and Dad...
and he left us a note!
Kyle was pretty excited about all the stuff he got, and he got a little testy when we wouldn't let him play with all of it.  But, we had to head off to Bumpy and Gammy's house for their annual breakfast and Easter egg hunt.  Kyle had a lot of fun searching the backyard for easter eggs.


Lucas didn't really get what was going on...
Kyle with all of his loot
The Easter Bunny paid a visit to Gammy's house, too!  We ended up leaving with a truckload of candy.  Then, we headed over to Grandma and Papa's house for a barbecue and games.  We got the surprise of our lives when Chris and Brittany showed up, though.  Brittany came in first and said, "We brought a surprise with us."  She was followed by my brother carrying...Baby Jack!  He had been in the NICU for 2 weeks and none of us expected him to get out for a while.  Needless to say, we shrieked and cheered and cried a little bit.

Uncle Cole and Baby Jack-Jack
Aunt Jessica and Baby Jack-Jack
Kyle enjoying a cheeseburger
After lunch, we played a few rounds of "Boxers or Briefs?" and tried out my mom's new game, "Pass the Popcorn," which was a smash hit.  The Easter Bunny paid a visit to Grandma's house too, and the boys got more loot.

Even though we had tons of fun on Saturday, we made sure that Kyle knew the real reason for Easter.  Between our conversations with him and what he learned in Primary, I think he got a pretty good understanding of the Savior and his life, death, and resurrection.  He still says to me, "Mom, let me tell you about Jesus" at least once a day and relates the story to me...I love to hear him say the word "resurrected."

We are eternally grateful to the Savior and His sacrifice, especially at this time of year.  We're so thankful for the opportunity we have to repent of our sins and be made clean again through His Atonement and for the chance that we have to live together forever.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

P.S. I also just finished a post I started the day after Easter showing the gifts I made...check it out!

5.04.2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: How Many Adults Does it Take...

to give a pre-schooler a haircut?


Answer: 3...but we could have used more help.
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