Most of you know that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I have a calling (volunteer position) of teaching the Beehive class who are 11-13 year old girls.
This year we are having the girls teach with us and they get to pick the lesson. I was surprised when one girl picked "Why is chastity important?" as the lesson we would teach together. But I was also humbled knowing that she felt comfortable enough to suggest this one, without even giggling, and prepare for it.
I knew I needed help with this myself so I went on Instagram for opinions and insights on this sensitive subject; specifically, what you wish you had been taught as a young woman that you didn't know until you grew up. The response I had from my friends and colleagues on social media was astounding.
So many amazing insights and differing perspectives and I'm going to share them here because this is a conversation I feel we ALL need to have with our children. Especially our sweet girls.
As a youth myself I remember this lesson and feeling the blush come up on my cheeks just hearing the word chastity. That lesson was always a source of embarrassment and uncomfortable. But I never felt like I was being guilted or told I wasn't enough ever in those lessons. I was also incredibly lucky to have my mom and her two best friends as my teachers for 5 of those 6 years in Young Women, so the lessons, while weird, were never to make me feel like my only worth was in staying pure.
For others, they were not as lucky. They got the "chewed up gum" or the "mud splatted white fence"
lessons of guilt and worthlessness should they transgress. The worst thing some one shared was of a leader saying in a lesson like this was "what man could ever want someone that wasn't clean or pure?"
When I heard that from this incredible friend I felt like I personally had been punched in the gut. What a horrible thing to say!
While the law of chastity is there to help keep us pure and IS important to follow, that does not diminish our worth in the eyes of God if it is broken or a mistake is made. It shouldn't diminish anyone's worth in our own eyes.
Most of the time in our religious culture (almost regardless of which religion it is), women are shunned if they transgress with this law. I feel that this is so egregious and horrifying. Instead we should be so loving and open and willing to help them heal.
How do we help them heal? We talk of the healing power of the Atonement. The power of the Atonement is overwhelming when you start to understand it. Jesus Christ literally suffered for ALL of our sins. He did this so when we mess up, NO MATTER WHAT, if we repented of and forsook it, He would remember it no more because He already atoned for it. That is something amazing to realize.
Even if you do transgress in this way, you can recover, You can be healed. You are still so loved beyond measure. He will never forsake you, believe on that and your healing will begin. A friend equated it to a broken bone: over time you nurture it and it will heal, so will your heart.
An amazing woman opened up about how she wished that she had been able to be more open about her changing body. But she felt that every part of her was sexualized and therefore felt embarrassed to even think about asking. She feels that maybe if that had been more out in the open, she would have been able to recognize the times when she was being sexually assaulted and been able to do something.
So much of what we're taught and discussing needs to change.
We need to teach more about what our bodies are capable of: growing human beings, feeding those same babies, preparing to hopefully be able to conceive those babies as well. We need to change the story of breasts being nothing but things to oogle at. We need to change the story that women are inherently sexual and want that at all times. We need to change the story that women are the only beings "responsible" and the only ones that have to "deal with the consequences". We need to change the story that our girls have to be constantly worried about becoming a sexual object by anyone of the opposite sex.
This lesson started as just the question of why is chastity so important? It became so much more to me personally as I read story after story of heartbreak and abuse.
Moms. Sisters. Leaders. Teachers. we need to change how we speak to our young girls and boys. Chastity is a hard thing to describe and explain to a room of preteens. I want to change that. I'm not saying we share intimate details with other people however I believe that an open communication channel between kids and adults they trust is imperative. Be open about what our bodies will naturally do and want to do. If we make it so taboo to even speak of who will they go to for answers when things are hard? I want my kids (my young women included) to feel comfortable to come to me with any issues they may have. I may not have all the answers they seek, but I can help them find them.
We have a long ways to go in our society to change how we perceive things. I only hope we have enough time to teach our kids this: Sexual feelings are natural. You're supposed to have them, it's ok. It's also ok if you don't have them right now. Sex itself is a wonderful natural gift we've been given to show we love someone else so much. But it is also so much more than physical. Save that experience for the one you know will treasure you forever. Someone who will stand by you no matter what. At the right time. In the right place.
But also this: You are loved even when you make a mistake. You are worth more than all the treasure of the earth. NO matter what.
I want to wrap every single one of these amazing ladies in the biggest Mama Bear hug possible for being so brave and sharing these very intimate experiences with me. I also am sending a virtual hug to any and all who may be dealing with this now.
If you have felt shamed for anything, please know that I see you. I hear you. I hold space for you and want you here!
I've been getting to know my Silhouette machine on very intimate terms in the past few months most especially. It and I have embarked on many adventures, some have worked, some have crashed and burned hahaha But let me show you some of the fun things I've been able to do!
First let me start by saying "THIS MACHINE IS AMAZING AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH AND IT'S MY FAVORITE!" Ok ok ok lets back up to the end of the school year shall we? For Teacher Appreciation Week I bought tumblers at Walmart and tripped them out!
These were for Jade's amazing preschool teacher, Rory's kindergarten aide, and Rory's kindergarten teacher (in that order) And these pictures were before I sealed them with resin to keep the vinyl on!
I put them in these CUTE tubs I also found at Walmart (on clearance even!!) with some chips and salsa and their favorite soda to fill their tumbler with ;) Ms Sue's preschool is Bee themed so she got a special tub! And she doesn't drink soda so I gave her more goodies and treats :)
These teacher gifts are also PERFECT for the beginning if the year! It would be a great way to start off the year! I was so happy with how they turned out AND how much the teachers loved them!! I even ended up making some for my best friend's kids' teachers and we got the best thank you notes on the planet!
Bonus thing I did: At the end of the year I didn't buy Rory a yearbook. That just seems silly for a kindergartener to me. BUT I did want something for her little friends to be able to reach her if they wanted so I came up with this cute idea: K.I.T. Cards
I'm working on getting a template ready for y'all but it's taking a bit more work than I initially thought it would. I thought this was gonna be such a nice and awesome thing and I got so many compliments on them and then I ran out! OOPS!!! So lesson learned: cut out more than you think so you have enough!
So I recently redid my hair!! I added a little purple to the mix and my amazing hair girl (Shea Madison Salon in Queen Creek) mixed it into my teal so perfectly it's amzing and I will never go back to brown! Ok I probably will at some point, cuz money, but the point is: I love this so much it just makes me so happy!
So I asked my friend Morgan to take some pictures for us again (last year's pictures here) so my hair still looked good and so I can print them out for our walls! Behold our gloriousness hahaha
We took them at the Riparian Reserve in Mesa AZ and I love them!
The cactus were gorgeous that day and even though it was super windy (like seriously.....it was gusty) they turned out amazingly well and Morgan is just so good at getting my kids to be comfortable.
Oh 2018 what a crazy year you've been already! I mean, really! My kids went back to school and the next week had another day off! That's insane to me!
Jade started Sunbeams this year after being in nursery at church! For those that don't know, in the LDS church children move into Primary (the Sunday School for children ages 3-12) after they turn 3. Jade loves being in Primary with her big sister most specifically. Rory takes her to class every week now and has her sit next to her if she's feeling a bit overwhelmed. She's literally the best big sister for Jade. Rory is in CTR 5 this year too and I can't believe it! She's halfway done with kindergarten and almost a 1st grader WHAT?! They're getting so big.
After typing that I realize I'm going to be getting these a lot: "When are you gonna try for that boy?!" or "Jade really needs a little sibling doesn't she!" or "You're not done having kids are you!? You only have two!"
**insert eye roll and a forced smile here**
I'll be blunt: I don't like these questions/statements.
I'll usually laugh or scoff it off but honestly, I think it's a little inappropriate to ask those questions to ANYONE. These are sensitive questions that are only for husbands and wives and our Heavenly Parents to ask each other. Only our Heavenly Parents know how many children are supposed to come to us, They will give us the signs/info/promptings necessary to have more kids.
I used to ask people those questions especially when they didn't have any kids yet. I now know that it's very insensitive to do that. Who knows what their journey has been! Maybe they are trying and you asking that just puts another hole in their heart after yet another negative test. Or even the couple that doesn't want children! Guess what? It's not a requirement in life to have children. And if they have made that decision then it's between them and our Heavenly Parents. I'm not saying we, personally, will never have another child BUT for the foreseeable future, no.
My reasons are truly my own BUT I will share them in hopes that it may help someone else who is also feeling this way to know they're not alone.
I could not handle another child mentally right now. My anxiety is too close of a friend still. I'm still in the trenches of small child rearing. It is the hardest and most draining work I've ever done and I worked at Disneyland for a year guys. THAT was hard but this is so much harder. And to add to my already overwhelmed state would not be good for my kids.
I love having two girls. I love that we can take one on one time with them pretty easily. I can take one with me to the grocery store and have some fun talks while the other stays with Andrew and has quality time with him. That time is very important to me because I want them to know we are always there.
Financially we could have another and be fine but diapers.....guys I'm so close to being done with diapers! Jade will be potty training soon and I'd like to rid myself of the smell of them and the cost of them. Because even generic diapers still cost money. A bit selfish? Maybe, but still true.
There are other reasons as well but these came to mind first and some reasons are just too personal to share. I know as an LDS (Mormon) woman there seems to be pressure to have a ton of kids.
I have come to finally understand that your family, and it's size, is a very personal choice. It can't be one dictated by culture or guilt/pressure. And I know most people do not mean harm in asking those questions. I know that. Most people are just sincerely wondering about you and how you're doing and they mean it well. They are genuinely curious or wanting more babies to spoil ;) Which is very sweet BUT I still feel that these questions are just too personal to ask.
And so to answer the above questions:
There are no more kids in our forseeable future. I am honestly perfectly happy with the two I have. I'm not saying never because only God knows when/if more kids are up there for us. I feel like these two are the only ones for me and Andrew and for now. They are more than enough ;)
I swear 2017 just flew by! SO here's our year in review! (I love doing these so I can see how far we've come in a year!)
The girls got their new-to-them bunkbeds and they have LOVED sleeping in them ever since! I talked more in depth about my PPD/PPA and how it's changed/developed in the last 2 years.
I tried to get a handle on our house and the clutter which helped my mental health so much! And we made our master bedroom a little more homey. I still need to fill those empty spots haha
I was given a Canon T3i from my brother and so I just started taking pictures of everything hahaha My Canon Rebel had died and I was in mourning and he took pity on me especially since he never used the camera anyways hahaha I also became a Dating Divas affiliate
This was a big month for us since Aunt Haley got married!! It was a fun and crazy day with quite a good story to go with it. We love Jason and the girls have taken to him. We also got some family pictures taken before the wedding so that I had some of the girls in their adorable dresses we bought for the wedding. Rory had a farm field trip for preschool and Jade got to join too! Yes that's Jade milking a cow hahaha she loved it!
Alyx came to visit and she "forced me" into doing a boudoir session with her while she was here
and it was incredible and a HUGE self esteem booster for me! I attended my first LDS Blogger event which was amazing and funI enjoyed a nice simple Mother's Day and Rory finished her first (and only) year of preschool. I shed many tears realizing she would be off to kindergarten soon
but I had to wait an entire 2 months until then hahaha
Andrew and Rory each celebrated a birthday, Andrew (28) and Rory (5) and we went to Costco for Andrew's and then took Rory school supply shopping for hers. I took a leap and dyed my hair teal. This was something I have always wanted to do but it took some serious self-esteem boosting to actually DO IT. It also helps when your best friend is a complete enabler and has a wonderful husband that flies you out for a girls weekend! Thankfully Alyx was willing to destroy an extra shirt for the teal hair cause! Plus who doesn't love freezing in Pacifica CA when it's over 100* back in AZ?!
We took a trip to South Carolina to visit Andrew's uncle (whom we affectionately call "Unkie") and aunt and the girls had a blast! We went over 4th of July so we did a HUGE display of fireworks in their front yard and thanks to their quick thinking of ear protection the girls weren't freaked out by it. And the biggest thing that happened was Rory starting school!! This has been a game changer for us because Rory and I enjoy our time together but we flourish with time apart. Plus she loves school and her teacher and she's just blossoming.
We threw my mom an epic Harry Potter Birthday Party for her 50th! I found the most amazing salon in Queen Creek where I was able to get my hair to be the shade I was dreaming of! Jade turned 3 and we took her to Build a Bear and had her binki put inside the unicorn she picked! It was a rough transition for about 2 nights and then she was over it thank goodness.
We took our big family Disneyland trip! It was such a fun time and we loved it all! We especially loved seeing the Bowlers cuz it had been years since Andrew and I had seen my aunt and uncle and 2 of their kids. (They had 2 more kids since the last time we saw them hahaha) I also discovered this amazing store in Gilbert called Rod Works and I fell in love with that clock and the measuring conversions chart and HAD to buy them for my kitchen gallery wall! I mean they fit perfectly don't they?!
October was FULL! Alyx came to visit again and this time, she brought the whole family! We realized that she and I have travelled to visit each other BUT our families had never actually met in person! So the guys had a blast with the kiddos while Alyx and I handled some photography sessions (I was assisting, NOT taking!!). We had a fantastic time playing with all the kids and we can't wait til we can do another fun trip altogether! I talked about the positive part of social media and the amazing friends I have found. I celebrated my 29th birthday (Golden Birthday even!) and we hosted Halloween again and the women folk stayed to hand out candy while the amazing, wonderful, dedicated, lovely fathers took the children around the neighborhood!
I'm one of those that puts up Christmas as soon as Halloween is over. It's just who I am. The girls love it though and the magic of the whole season starts. My mom and I were able to go to Time Out for Women in Phoenix. I was part of the volunteer staff at the event and it's an experience I'm not likely to forget. I put a video up here for you that describes my experience as I told it on Instagram Stories (which, if you don't already follow me you really should hahaha more things happen on IG than here on the blog!) It was a very spiritual and fun thing to do and I hope I can do it again this coming year! Rory had her Primary program right before Thanksgiving, and we had Pie Night (which is a Wilson family tradition the Saturday before Thanksgiving, to have as much pie as you want so you don't feel jipped on actual Thanksgiving when you're too full from the other awesome food). Andrew and I were able to go do sealings at the Mesa Temple after Thanksgiving AND I had my first paid photography sessions, WHAT! I made Andrew pose for me a bit so I could get my settings right, he's so handsome!
When is this month ever NOT busy!? We celebrated 7 years of marriage, saw Star Wars before it came out **which was a HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE honor to me** Stacy and I then took our girls to see it too cuz we're good moms like that haha Rory had her first school Christmas concert, which was just as cute as it sounds!! And I stole Stacy for a nice night out to hear Jason Lyle Black at his final Christmas concert for the year! It was amazing and Stacy really got him fooled on her "Jingle Bell Rock - Super Mario Style" song request! It was epic! Whew! That was a lot right at the end of the year there hahaha
How did your 2017 measure up??
And who's ready for a new year!?
Guys I just realized I never blogged about our latest Disneyland trip! WHAT?!?!?!?! Who even am I now? Don't worry, it is now fixed!!
We had so much fun but I will admit that the weather was a real downer when we went. It was randomly super nasty humid, we were all sweaty before we even got on the tram people!
BUT it was a lot of fun hanging out with our little family, my family and even part of my extended Bowler family!
One super highlight of the trip was Rory deciding she wanted to do Jedi Training! I was one super proud mama!! When they initially said who was gonna fight whom, she was in the line to fight The Seventh Sister (from Star Wars Rebels) but halfway through the lines, Darth Vader came down so she got to fight the ultimate Sith Lord! When she saw him walking down her eyes got so big! But she went up to him and fought him so well! I definitely teared up a bunch cuz yeah, I'm THAT Star Wars mom hahaha
Immediately after that, Jade begged me for a lightsaber like her sisters, so she and I went and built her a lightsaber that lights up and makes noise! Yeah, I only a little regret anything hahaha
We were exhausted by about 7 each night so we would go home a little early but get to bed and get to decompress a little.
CAFE ORLEANS will probably always be my favorite hahaha can't beat that Monte Cristo sammich friends. The Grey Stuff from Red Rose Taverne is ALLLL of the heart eye emojis! Redd's Apple Freeze in DCA is amazing! (honestly, I love the regular frozen apple juice too, but holy cow!)
This trip was one for the books and we loved it so much!! I'm already planning the next trip whenever we can go again haha Jade wants to do Jedi Training now too and Rory's begging to do it again so that's a definite must for any kid that likes Star Wars! Rory'd been begging to go back on Big Thunder Railroad which is now her favorite ride just like her Daddy.
So who's up for sponsoring another trip for me?? ;)
You guys, it's September! Finally!!!
This means it's one month closer to my birthday! And hopefully some cooler temps PLEASE!
I wanted to share what we did for Jade's birthday this year and just kinda what we've been up to!
We took her to Build A Bear to give up her binki for a new "buddy" (aka stuffed animal, we call them buddies in our house) And she picked a UNICORN! Yeah I know, she's from My Little Pony but my kids don't watch the show so she just knew unicorn! Also, *I* want to go back and get this one ahhhh! (ok and I probably NEED this don't I?!)
After Build A Bear we HAD to stop at the Disney Store or what kind of mother would I be?! They were super sweet to Jade and even to Rory about her birthday! They gave a Rory an UNbirthday button and a bag full of goodies for both of them.
After the Disney Store we took them to Famous Dave's BBQ just like we did for Rory's 3rd birthday! Sadly they don't do the giant ice cream sundaes anymore for birthdays BUT she got to sit by her Daddy and Grandpa (2 of her most favorite people) and Daddy shared all of his corn with her which made her so happy.
And guys she's done GREAT with letting her binki go! She cried for a couple nights then when she realized we weren't giving in nor could we get it back (it's INSIDE the unicorn) she relaxed and is fine now hahaha
We're getting into a better school routine and now Rory is wanting to do everything herself. And I let her do most things but making her sandwich is still MY job cuz I don't trust a 5 year old with a knife yet.
I recently got some new juice boxes from Apple & Eve to try with the girls and they LOVED them! I'm a member of Influenster and we received these samples for free which is always amazing and the kids just loved the flavors!
I've been adding more to my "office/craft room/MY room" gallery wall!
Unicorn Chalkboard/Lightbox/LED Mickey Ears/4 square prints/large print/square print
I've been LOVING putting things up on the wall finally! I have more I'm wanting to display but I need more frames and I gotta wait for the "redecoration funds" to come haha
And just in case you thought I wasn't busy enough, here's what my desk looks like pretty much all the time!
And this weekend we're headed "home" to Disneyland and guys I can't WAIT!!!
How have you guys been?? What are your big plans for Fall!?
I can't believe Jade is 3! Not to be too cliche, but dang that went fast (and yet so slow!)
She went from being our squishy girl, (those CHEEKS!) to this lean and sturdy little tank! I need to get her into tumbling soon as possible cuz I foresee a gymnastics career in her potential future.
She's fearless. And I mean fearless. Rory was at first but then learned caution, Jade throws it to the wind hahaha
She's spunky. There's a fire inside of her and I pray she never loses it, although I wouldn't mind if she tamed it just a bit when talking to ME, but overall I want her to keep it ;)
She loves fiercely but also enjoys her space. Rory being in school has helped her grow so much already. She can do more independent play and learn more instead of being told what to do all the time hahaha She's already thriving in preschool too thanks to her amazing teacher and her patience level!
She's my little snugglebug when she wants to be. Everything is done in HER time frame which drives me NUTS! She and I are trying to work on it together but apparently she's like her daddy in that way haha
We love our Jadey Loo Who! Rory loves you so much and misses you a lot at school. Daddy and I think you're the cutest thing and we can't wait to see what's in store for you sweetie!
Love Mom <3
Well guys. It's finally here. Rory's first day of school! Like official school. Kindergarten. Riding the bus to get there type school!
And I am rejoicing! I had a meltdown on Sunday I'll admit it about her starting school, mostly because I'm not sure what our new normal is going to look like and I'm not the best with change hahaha But just like I thought, SHE LOVES IT SO MUCH! Jade wanted her picture taken too since she starts preschool in about a week or so! I can't believe I'm going to have kid free time DURING THE DAY!
But back to the reason for the post haha The first day of school was a torrential downpour. Need me to say it again? TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR! In Arizona?!
I mean it IS monsoon season but still it was coming down in buckets and soooooo so heavy!
So I took her to school the first day (plus the bus had gotten messed up somehow in the mix of school starting so I needed to talk to the office any ways) but I loved that I got to walk her to her classroom by ourselves (my mom came out and sat with Jade in the car) and I watched her walk right in to the classroom like she owned the joint. Just like preschool, this girl was READY to learn. She waved at me very emphatically and then went to work.
And I left.
I left my baby girl. And I didn't cry. I smiled at her enthusiasm and her optimism. She was ready for this. I knew she was but still you worry as a mother if it's the right time sometimes, it was for her.
We spent the rest of the day at the movies (Summer movies at Harkins!!) and then lunch at Chik-fil-a so Jade could play without missing sister too much. We then went home for a much deserved nap and waited to go get Rory from the bus (I had gotten that all sorted while I was st the school thank goodness!)
She came home in a flurry of "MOM GUESS WHAT?!"s and homework, and slightly cranky haha It was hot on the bus plus she's not acclimated to school yet. That night we had some family over for dinner to celebrate her first day and Bri from Breezy&Co designed some AMAZING party decorations So many in fact that I couldn't use them all but trust me, they're wonderful!
Everyone was hungry and you all know Rory won't resist a moment to be the center of attention so she LOVED everyone coming out to see her ;) Then we had her take a bath and into bed to start all over the next day hahaha
I'm exhausted from this first week! I can't wait for the weekend for us to recooperate!
This past week our family visited Andrew's uncle (Unkie) who lives in South Carolina and we had a fun time!
We flew into Charlotte and then drove to York and when we got there we had food and fireworks waiting for us! After all, it WAS the 4th of July and what kind of Americans would we be if we didn't have fireworks?! The girls loved them (thanks to some handy dandy ear protection) and we all slept very very soundly that night.
Daddy was feeling pretty adventurous while on this vacation because he decided to try to play Monopoly with the girls (insert shocked face emoji). They liked the idea for about 15 solid minutes then they got pretty bored hahaha but they finished it more or less!
Andrew also decided to make empanadas and milanesa for dinner on our last night for Unkie and the family. Guys he made his own dough! From scratch! He hasn't done that since being IN Argentina, and he won parent of the year by letting the girls roll their own dough. Guess who's the favorite parent now hahahaha
We had so much fun but we were very happy to get home.
Even though what we came home to was this (reposting my FB status here hahaha):
"Return home day checklist: forget water bottle in the van. Check.
Giant poop blowout AFTER checking bags (with the flight boarding soon). Check.
Giant branch of the tree breaking off in the storm overnight and blocking the driveway.
Check (friends with chainsaw moved it out of the way for us).
Have A/C go out 2-3 hours before we get home and getting up to 90
in the house before getting someone over to repair $450 later?
Check. Sleep in our own bed after all this? Check and check."
Needless to say, we're chilling at home now and we're ready for the normal to kick back in hahaha
Here you will find love, magic, bookworm favorites, Disney tips, and a family on their journey to Happy Ever After!