Sunday, November 6, 2011

Picture Time!

Fall, halloween, leaves, orange, fuzzy socks, sweatshirts around the house, cool weather (oh so happy), witches and ghosts, pumpkin cookies, reading a book with the window open and feeling the breeze come in, "Arsenic and Old Lace" (Cary Grant), taking walks everyday with my girls in the morning, soup and bread, candles...I LOVE this time of year! September through to December never fails to make me come alive in a way that nothing else can. It's the time of year I'm my absolute happiest. Halloween this year topped all halloweens I've had, even considering that I'm in Texas without many crunchy falling leaves. Having Kaylee and Ashlyn made it twice the fun. Parents had always told me it would be like that when I had little kids. I had a hard time believing it was true until I experienced it this year. My parents made holidays so exciting for us. How could it be any better? Well, I learned that life does just get better and better, especially when it's now your turn to make it memorable for your kids.

Decorate the house (done)
Make or buy a new fall craft (done)
Watch "Arsenic and Old Lace" (done)
Make pumpkin chocolate chip bread (did cookies instead)
carve a pumpkin (done)
make pumpkin puree (done)
Visit the bats at Fredericksburg (done)
Fun halloween meal (done)
Take the girls trick-or-treating (done)
traditional disney kid halloween movies as a family (done)
Go on a walk with the family in the evening (done, done, done, done...... yea!)
Make halloween sugar cookies with the girls (done)
carmel popcorn (did carmel apples instead)
Go bobbing for apples (didn't do)
Go to a craft store to see the festive decorations (done)
Read a book with the window open, wrapped up in a blanket (done)
Wear warm socks and a sweatshirt, even if I have to turn the AC down to feel cold
(done, and no I didn't have to turn the AC down, thank you Texas!)
Send Jason a halloween package (done)

Um, peanut butter in the car at the foot of a two year old. Never again.

This was our bat outing. It had been Jared's goal to go see the bats fly out of this cave about half hour away from our home. They fly out in the evening and return around sunrise. He had been so excited to see this. We decided to wait until October (come on, a perfect halloween activity) since it would finally be cool enough to spend time outside. Apparently this was supposed to be a really fascinating thing, to see hundreds of bats shooting out of the cave. Well, we took dinner up, ate it, then waited and waited and waited. We saw one or two bats fly out, that was it. We were disappointed in those bats. BUT, at least we could finally cross it off our "to do" list. And we were still glad we made it out there. It was beautiful.

We visited our families in Utah over labor day.

And there's Kaylee having her first experience on a scooter with her Uncle Brad. She put my mom's lipstick on earlier that day. Oh wow, we could not get that stuff of. never fail to make me happy!

Friday, October 28, 2011


Perception. I love this word. It's the lens by which we see everything. Our perceptions determine how we see ourselves and those around us. Jared and I have talked a great deal about this idea the last week. It's been during those "pillow talks," those heart-to-heart moments when we've both realized that we don't always see things clearly, whether that be in reference to our relationship, the world and its problems, how other people choose to live their lives, and even certain aspects of the gospel. He sees things one way, I see them another. In many ways we agree, in some we don't, and there are some things we may never agree upon. It's like this with anyone we interact with, especially those we are closest to. So lately Jared and I have found ourselves asking "what is really real?" How do I know whether or not my perception of someone or something is accurate? I suppose that's why this scripture has become most meaningful:

"...for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are and of things as they really will be..."

Jacob 4:13 (emphasis added)

Aside from the discussions that Jared and I have had that have brought this subject to my mind I also came across something else that brought this all together for me. A friend posted an internet article about a public high school in New York and its material for sex education next year. It includes far more details and ideas than any high school kid should be exposed to, or anyone for that matter, and way oversteps the boundaries of intimacy as being something sacred and divinely given. It includes more than I was ever taught or exposed to. This was one father's response:

"I think it's a good idea," he told the station. "They're going to have sex. They know it exists. Teaching them about it in my mind doesn't sanction it or encourage it."

I don't think this father has an understanding of how this perception of kids today, particularly his own for whom he has the greatest influence, will have an impact on them as to the choices they make. Today I just read this:

"In the eyes and attitudes of the parents and teachers who raise and educate them, children find mirrors through which they define themselves (71)."

Raising Self-Reliant Children In A Self-Indulgent World
Glenn and Nelson

The book went on to explain that children largely see themselves as a result of how those closest to them treat them, whether it be to treat them "as they really are" or not. I combined that thought with the New York father's incorrect and damaging view of kids and their use of sex. Because he believes most kids will sleep around, regardless of what they're taught, his actions toward them will reflect that belief. Perhaps it's true. Lots of kids will sleep around no matter what....but what about the one? Perhaps there may be a sixteen year old boy out there for whom, a belief in—or against—him and his ability to be chaste may be what makes all the difference between a correct or an incorrect choice.

"Stand up for integrity in your business, in your profession, in your home, in the society of which you are a part. Again, it is not enough that you retreat to your private cloister and pursue only your special interests. Your strong voice is needed. The weight of your stance may be enough to tip the scales in the direction of truth."

President Gordon B. Hinckley
Stand Up For Truth, BYU devotional on 17 September 1996

As I grew up I was surrounded by people who constantly re-affirmed the pure Gospel truths. I learned them from family, church leaders, friends, and teachers, to name a few. I was taught that we are children of God, that our bodies are divinely given, that intimacy is sacred, and that as hard as it may be to stay chaste, it was possible.....I could make it. I learned to see myself this way because others believed in me. As a result I also recognized that Heavenly Father believed in me.

Although there are countless things I still don't know, and things I think I know but later find out were perceived incorrectly, there are some things I do know, things I've come to see "as they really are," which experience we are all able to have if we look through the right lens.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A thought on modesty

For Strength of Youth:

"Your body is God's sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is...The way you dress is a reflection of what you are on the inside.

Servants of God have always counseled his children to dress modestly to show respect for him and for themselves. Because the way you dress sends messages about yourself to others and often influences the way you and others act, you should dress in such a way as to bring out the best in yourself and those around you. However, if you wear an immodest bathing suit because it's "the style," it sends a message that you are using your body to get attention and approval, and that modesty is not important."

I believe in modesty. This is an issue I've been taught since I was a little girl and something that's very important to me, especially now that I have two little girls that I have teach these principles to. I believe it's important to respect our bodies by wearing clothes that cover us appropriately. It’s an issue of showing respect not only for ourselves and also for others. It adds to, instead of taking away from, our relationship with those we interact with. When I've come across this scripture it's always been interesting to me:

"and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely."

Alma 1:27

The dictionary definition of "comely" says "goodlooking." I love this! So we can make ourselves attractive while still maintaining a sense of decency and propriety, in spite of the clothing and bathing suit trends of our day. A lesson I learned in regards to this occurred at BYU-Idaho, while I was working at the testing center. At this job it was stressed that we lived up to a professional and modest dress code so that we could maintain a high level of learning and atmosphere within the school. I did my best and always considered myself modest in dress anyway so I didn't give it much thought. After a month or so of working there the manager, an older lady, pulled me aside in her office and asked me to look at how I was dressed. They had a full-length mirror in the office and she turned me around to see myself. She lovingly told me that she felt my shirt was a little on the edge for our standards at the school because it was capped sleeve, somewhat in between sleeveless and a tiny little sleeve. I had never recognized it before. It had never bothered me before until then. I was so embarrassed and went home and cried and thought about it the rest of the night. But she was right. I went back the next day, hugged her, and thanked her for her honesty with me, for teaching me in such a gentle way, and for helping me learn something important that I had missed. I will never forget that lesson. I then went through what I had considered already "modest" clothes and threw out ones that would leave anyone in question as to my dress standard. Throughout the years since I've been so grateful for my experience with that dear lady in the Testing Center.

"It is impossible to expect a child who has been taught to love to dress in the immodest style trends of the day, to then change overnight to an entirely different wardrobe when they enter a Church university or a missionary training center, or when they are married in the temple, or even when they dress for the Sabbath day. Modest, proper styles must be taught almost from birth."

Elder L. Tom Perry (Ensign, Nov. 1988, 75)

Before Kaylee was born Jared and I talked about baby swimsuits. I asked him what he thought of putting our soon to arrive little baby girl in a baby bikini. I don't like bikinis but they're not too bad if it's just on a baby, right? We talked about it and he seemed hesitant. We then wondered that if we let our little girls wear bikinis when they were 6 months, then a year old, then five years old, at what point did we pull them aside and teach them that it was all of a sudden immodest? We thought about it for a while and together we realized, no, it does't matter the age, modesty is modesty. I was so impressed with my younger brother Jason, being about seventeen at the time, when we put Kaylee in a two piece swimsuit around the house for a few minutes. A neighbor had given us a bunch of hand-me downs and we wanted to see what this little two piece looked like on her with her cute big belly poking out. When he walked in the room he looked at her and said "Uh-oh Kristen, you can't let her wear that. It's not modest." I laughed and said we were just playing around but he picked her up, hugged her, and talked to baby Kaylee about modesty. I was so impressed that my younger brother instantly knew and understood something about the principle of modesty, and made a stand for it, even in our own home. As a new mom I have learned repeatedly this counsel: Teach them when they're young.

I have learned again the importance of modesty in our dress and bathing suits while being in Texas, in a state that is sweltering hot a good portion of the year, and makes you wish you could walk around naked sometimes. We have a pool view from our apartment and although it is a beautiful view, it was difficult over the summer to see mostly naked bodies laying out sunbathing and swimming all the time from my own home, especially with Kaylee watching.

President Gordon B. Hinckley

"Of all creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth."

"Our Responsibility to Our Young Women," (Ensign, Sept. 1988, 11)

I believe in the standards of modesty... I love it! I have felt of its protection. I know it’s not popular and I have long since learned to be ok with that. I know it’s inconvenient sometimes, especially in Texas where this weather is just killing me (oh Idaho, I miss you so....). I know it takes some work to find a decent one or two piece swimsuit...been there, done that, will do it again someday. You may or may not think it makes much of a difference to be modest, especially when does. People notice. I notice. I have a husband. I have brothers. I have a dad. I have brother-in-laws. I care about these men in my life. When we dress modestly it helps all of us keep our thoughts where they belong. It helps create a level of respect that ought to always be there.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Sabbath!

Here is a beautiful thought for your Sabbath day. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Ok, I can't help it. I've watched this four times today, dancing and singing along to the music. I'm sure I'll turn it on one more time and Kaylee, Ashlyn, and I will dance to it again. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I always post a lot of pictures, but we're far away from family so they probably prefer to see pictures than read.

Kaylee is so good at making Ashlyn laugh. I love to catch it!

Memorial day weekend BBQ with Jared's brother, Mark, his roommate, and our friends from our BYU-Idaho days.

For memorial day weekend/Jared's birthday we stayed overnight with friends at a Timeshare. We had a great time!

..and we played some crazy "minute-to-win-it" games.

(spitting garbanzo beans contest)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Yesterday we celebrated Jared's 28th birthday. We decorated, made a cheesecake-cookie-chocolate type cake, went to Olive Garden (his favorite), talked to family, and then opened presents.

At Olive Garden...
Kaylee was less than thrilled, but she did like the "du-raw" (straw).
This is what our days consist of as of far not too bad. She makes it in the potty about twice a day and then twice on the floor. Odds are at 50/50 which...we're working on.

This is how my baby sleeps. It makes me nervous. She won't fall asleep without pulling something over her face. Sometimes I go in her room and she's pulled the bassinet blanket thing even more over her face and pulled another blanket clear on top of herself so that when I go in and check on her I can't see a single part of her body.

My little's so fun to be a mom of two girls!
Mother's day flowers. It's a shame they won't last forever. In fact, they're almost dead right now.
Kaylee loves to help me clean.
Kaylee is now in a toddler bed, oh and sometimes her crib if she doesn't stay in her bed the first time. The other night I went into her room before I went to sleep and this is what I found:

Making strawberry jam!
We took a boat ride down the San Antonio riverwalk.

and last but not least, bath time after swimming with dad.