Monday, May 1, 2017

April 2017

Here's a few moments from April that I haven't showcased yet!
This month, we played in rainy weather,
 and sunny weather.
We drove to Ennis to see their renowned bluebonnets.
We went on a giant group date to play laser tag.
I finished up another lacrosse season,
and we took another trip to the zoo.
One perk of living in a big city is Sprouts delivery.  Another perk is this new website called Pearachute. Basically what it is is you pay a monthly membership for however many classes you want your child to attend, then choose from a list of participating places which classes to attend that month. Because it's a new company, they are doing a lot of promotions right now. We signed up for 6 classes for $12! Through Pearachute, I took Owen to a swim class and an art class. Both classes, we were the only ones there! I loved the art class because it was a completely new experience for Owen!
On the way home from this class, Owen and I stopped at Ikea for lunch. He made us sit at the little table. Other than that, this man made a pretty good date!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Birthday and Earth day

Turned 27 this April, which is really weird because last year I turned 19. Hmm. The older you get, the harder it is to party hard for your birthday. Luckily, I had friends and family who didn't just let me waste the weekend away.
That night before my birthday, I coached a lacrosse game (we won!). Then I went with my girl friends to stuff my face with dessert from Chili's. They all pitched in a got me a massive McDonalds gift card as a gift. Hilarious. I don't eat Mcdonald's food, but I get a Diet Coke there every day. Soo... best birthday gift ever!
The day of my birthday, me and Haley and our boys went to Fair park. I've been wanting to see the butterfly garden there! I loved it!
That night, I had another game to coach. Gavin surprised me and came to the game! Then we went up to Knaras's to say happy birthday to Kinley! We played at a park up there and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over Lake Lewisville. Unfortunately I don't have a picture that captures how pretty this night was.
I told Gavin that I would rather do something than get something for my birthday. So, instead of a gift, we planned a day trip to Dinosaur Valley State Park. It was a little less than a two hour drive to get here. I love going places that I've never been before!
The weather was chilly but that didn't stop Owen from wanting to splash in the water. There are fossilized dinosaur footprints in this river, and Texas-style hiking. It was fun to spend the day here. We will definitely be coming back when it's warmer!
Owen's into doing this thing where he will smile and say cheese for the camera, but he won't look at it. Stinker!
We ended the weekend with some good ole' shake shack and a relaxing Sunday. Here's to 27!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter 2017

It has been fun to celebrate Easter all month long! The Saturday that was a week before Easter, every city around here held a community Easter egg hunt. (I think they all purposely do it the same week so that everyone can only go to one). We headed up to Lewisville to meet Kali and Spencer for Easter festivities. Lewisville held their egg hunt at a ball park and as crazy as it was, I thought it was very well organized! Each baseball field was full of eggs for a different age group. They had all the kids line up against the fence and as soon as the siren sounded, it was a race to fill up your basket with eggs. It took Owen a few minutes to realize other kids were after the eggs too, so he needed to rush to get them in his basket. He had a blast!
The following week, we had another Easter egg hunt! Our ward here is awesome. There are so many kids Owens age and so many moms who love to get our kids together. Of course we needed to do an Easter egg hunt of our own. Owen understood the concept much better this time around!
Then on Easter day, we went to church and were reminded of the atonement and resurrection.
When we got home from church, we had Owen find his Easter basket that the Easter bunny had filled with prizes and hid for him. He loved opening his eggs and seeing what was in his basket! 
Spencer, Kali, and Kinley came to our apartment for a 'nice' Easter dinner. Although I miss my family a lot on holidays, birthdays, etc., it is fun to be on our own and create our own holiday traditions.

Side note: I tried teaching Owen about the resurrection and why we celebrate Easter. It's hard explaining things to a two year old, but I did my best. "Jesus is the nicest person ever. When he was on this earth, people were mean to him even though he was so nice. The mean people killed Jesus. Three days later, Jesus came back to life! This is called the resurrection. Now all of us can be resurrected after we die, because Jesus did it first! We all can come back to life!" Owen's response: "Ok, let's do it. Let's go die so we can be erected." haha! The good news is that now every time he sees a picture of Jesus in his church book, he says "That's Jesus. he was erected!" and I think that's pretty good for a two year old...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Dallas obviously doesn't have mountains and hiking like Utah does. I really miss it! The closest thing we have to hiking are trails at nature preserves. I am learning to appreciate these.
Kali and I tried to come to Cedar Ridge Nature preserve a few months ago, but turns out these are all closed on Mondays! Weird. So this month when it wasn't a Monday, we drove down there again!
I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of dirt. There was even an incline and scenic lookout on a two mile "hike" we did. Owen did most of the two mile hike himself! I was impressed! I probably only carried him 1/3 of a mile on the way back.
When you find a peak in Dallas, you strike half a yoga pose because you can't do a full one.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

March 2017

March has been madness...nothing to do with basketball. I've been coaching lacrosse, and Gavin has been busy doing people's taxes, so I have to remind myself that it's OK for my house and my hair to look like a total mess two months out of the year (and then some). I'm so glad that I have been busy while Gavin's been busy. I think otherwise, I'd be super bored and anxious for him to come home every day. 
All I've been doing this March is momming and coaching. It is crazy to think that last year at this time I was doing everything I am currently doing, plus young womens, plus working full-time! Go me, how'd I do that?!
Anyways, because of the madness, all my March pictures are just of my boys being goofs. Our adventures this month were limited to Turner Falls, which was cool, and trips to the park. Here's my photo dump:
Gavin and I don't always get a date night, but when we do, we go to Babe's.
I went to Beauty and the Beast with some girls from my ward, in bad movie-theater lighting. I loved the movie- LOVED!
We found a new, awesome park. If it wasn't so far away then we'd go more often. I think if Owen had a Facebook, this would be his cover photo:
Northpark mall has free toddler yoga on Fridays. I love taking Owen. Owen loves that mall because there are moving statues, and a turtle pond. Win-win.
I have been wanting to try this cupcake ATM since we moved here. It did not disappoint. In fact, it exceeded expectations!
Bluebonnet season is upon us, so of course we needed to seize the opportunity to frolic in the flowers!
If you don't take pictures with the bluebonnets, do you even live in Texas?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Girl Power

**I wrote this back in January, when the women's march happened. I didn't feel like publishing it then because it was a heated topic and I didn't want to just jump on some bandwagon. I finally went through it and am hitting the "publish" button for anyone who cares to read it and can respectfully share their comments and opinions.**

When I first heard about the "Women's March" I was like "Yaahhhh Girl Power!" Then I saw people dressed up as women's body parts yelling "we hate the president" and "it's just tissue," and I was disgusted with how wrong it all went. I felt embarrassed by the way "supporters of my gender" were acting. Many (not all, I know) participants of the march were dressing in ways that didn't demand respect, and saying things that didn't promote peace. The march even came off as hypocritical because all beliefs didn't feel welcomed.

Despite the above mentioned disgrace, I am glad the women's march happened. It made me stop and think about what it means to be a woman, and what my role is in standing up for the rights of myself and others. I read a lot of opinion articles, sorted through the facts, organized my thoughts, and now it's time to express myself. This article isn't necessarily a declaration as to where I stand with every issue, but more about my beliefs as to how to make our present issues better.

The fact is: women are not treated as equals in too many situations, and it does need to change, even in the United States. Those meme's going around about middle-Eastern women making fun of American women complaining about  how bad it is here- those memes need to stop. In our country, men get promoted quicker, paid more, harassed less, judged by their bodies less, targeted less. I know that comparatively, women in the land of the free have it pretty good. I am grateful to be living here, BUT- just because other nations unfortunately have it worse than we do, doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to make our soil safer. If we could get our act together in this area, America could serve as an example, and as a better refuge.  Let's focus on changing our nation first. I believe that in order to change our nation, we need to look inward at our families and ourselves. What can we personally do to make this world a better place for women, and in turn, a safer place for families and communities?

I'm sure there are hundreds of answers to that question! I have thought about it a lot and there are two specific answers that I keep coming back to. One is to love your neighbor and the other is to redefine beauty. I'll elaborate.

1) Love your neighbor. What if the commandment to "Love your neighbor" is meant to be more literal than we are giving it credit for? Everyone (literally everyone) has a neighbor that is deserving of love. By "love" I mean the action word of kindness, service, and empathy. If everyone took it upon themselves to love their neighbors, no one would go without the need to be loved. Everyone would be accounted for if every neighbor took it upon themselves to be their neighbors' friends.

2) Beauty redefined. I could write a whole blog post just on this! Through my past job, I was able to attend a devotional put on by the "beauty redefined" organization. I've shared my love for this program with plenty of you already. Their whole campaign is based on how the world defines beauty vs. the value of our souls. Besides some of my habitual slip-ups, their program has completely changed my perspective on talking about "losing weight" and "looking like her." I have recently recommitted to complimenting others based on who they are and not how they look.  If I do compliment looks, I want it to be because I appreciate the light, uniqueness, or talent of the person I'm complimenting. It is seriously ridiculous how much the world has intertwined the looks of a woman and the worth of a woman. They are not the same thing, people! I believe that if we change the culture around the way we talk about women and their looks, it will have a rippling effect, leading to more respect for women across the board. It's this topic that made me want to join the march!

*I'd like to add in that a healthy lifestyle is a great thing! We should be eating healthy and exercising in a way that is respectful to our bodies, not as a punishment for the way we look.
*I'd also like to add in a note to the world: please do not tell me when you think someone isn't pretty. It doesn't make me feel good about myself because I naturally assume you are having those judgmental thoughts about me too. If you're having those thoughts about someone else, it only makes sense that you are looking at me with those same eyes. If you are looking at me in a better light, please use that same heart and set of eyes to look at the person you just degraded.
*Last add-in! Most compliments, even when based on looks, come from nice people with good intentions. I'm not offended by compliments because the world needs more nice people who are willing to give them.

The main reason I like to write and publicize my beliefs is the accountability factor. So world, (and by world I mean mom & best friend cuz I don't know who else reads this haha) call me out when I'm not loving my neighbor or redefining beauty. Those are my current goals. Thanks!

I'll end this with a quick note to the organizers of the march:
Kudos to you! I am willing to bet that we only agree on a handful of issues, but I am still impressed by the fact that you wanted to make an impact and you did something about it. Seriously, that's awesome. Even though I (strongly) disagree with some beliefs the women's march stood for, it made an impact on me for the better.

Love,
Madi

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Turner Falls

I've been missing hiking and waterfalls and outdoor adventures, especially with the weather getting nicer. There are plenty of cool adventure places in Texas, but almost all of them are about four hours away from us... too much for a day trip with babes! After some intense investigation, I learned of Turner Falls in Oklahoma- only a two hour drive from Dallas! I'm so grateful Kali and Kinley were up for the adventure too!
When we pulled in to the park, the ranger told us that the main waterfall (Turner Falls) was closed due to road reconstruction. We were super bummed but decided to venture in anyways because the drive had already been made. I'm surprised how much fun we had without even going to the main waterfall!
First we "hiked" to a little cave. Hiking here basically means going on a walk surrounded by plants. It's better than nothing! It was kind of funny that no one (not even the rangers) could tell us how long the hike to the cave was. We kept asking because we wanted to know if we could make it with our littles. "How long is the hike? Is it steep? Should we pack my 2 yo or let him walk? How long does it take to get to the cave?" Everyone answered like "It's not too far, maybe a mile. It's a little hard but I bet they could do it. The rocks by the water might be too dangerous." K people, it was like a quarter mile walk to the cave and another .1 miles to the water. It was a little sketchy climbing down the rocks to the water with our kids in tow, but doable. 
 Owen was so scared to crawl in this cave! For a minute I didn't think we'd ever get him in. I didn't want to terrorize him by pushing him too hard, but I knew he'd love it once he figured out it was safe, so we kept trying. Once he finally crawled in and out, he wanted to do it 100 more times. He talked about this "kiv" for the next three days straight!
Like I mentioned, getting down to the water was a little tricky just because there wasn't an actual trail. It would be no problem without kids, but we had to be super careful while carrying the babes. Once we were down, it was perfect! The river wasn't rushing and raging, so I wasn't worried about Owen getting swept away or anything. He loved touching the water and climbing all over the rocks.
When the weather is warmer, they dam up the bottom of the falls so that people can jump in and swim. We'll definitely be coming back to see the real falls and swim in the pools. Who knew Oklahoma had these kinds of gems?!