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

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?!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February 2017

Alright, I'm just playing catch-up on the blog now, so I'm about to just picture dump and maybe (probably not) one day I will come back to clean up this post!
This month, Texas was blessed with beautiful weather that we were able to enjoy! We started the month by visiting the Heard Museum in Mckinney to see dinosaurs.
Most of the models moved and "rawred", so Owen thought it was pretty cool! There was also a replica of a settler's village. Owen had fun playing in these houses.
We made our monthly trip to the Arboretum! February is tulip season in Texas. I always loved the tulip festival in Utah, so it was great to enjoy the same thing here.
After some failed attempts, we made and sent out Valentines cards.
We spent a Saturday walking around Lake Lewisville with the Knaras's.
This was also the day we discovered Raising Cane's. We may have eaten there like five times since.
We enjoyed our usual trips to the park.
It even got warm enough for this one day!
The month was full of unreal sunsets.
We ended the month with a trip to Houston. Owen and I headed down with Kalie and Kinley for our friend Jazmin's babyshower. We got in late Friday night and stayed with some of my high school friends who have a house in Houston! Owen is usually great on trips but you guys- he didn't go to sleep until 4 a.m. that night. I wanted to DIE. Not only was I tired and frustrated, I felt so bad for our hosts and friends for probably keeping them up all night. Ugh. It was awful.
Besides that night, Houston was fun. The babyshower was adorable, and it was fun to see our friends. Saturday evening we went downtown to the Houston Children's museum. It was crowded so we spent most our time in the toddler area. Owen and Kinley were in Heaven. Luckily, we got in for free, so we didn't feel the need to get our money's worth. I had never been to Houston before, and it was better than I thought it would be!
On Sunday we drove back to Dallas and made a pit stop at a state park, which was in this adorable little Texas town. Next time we make this trip, we need to plan a little better. As fun as it was, I think we could get a lot more out of it! Live and learn!
I was offered a job at the Hockaday School coaching 8th grade girl's lacrosse. My friend Haley is a saint and offered to take Owen every day during our practices. I thought last year would be my last coaching, but I am so grateful I am able to do another season of it! I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January 2017

Crazy that it's 2017 already! What?! Gavin had to return to Texas the first week of January for work, but Owen and I stayed in Utah in order to attend a wedding and enjoy the snow!
 My family the Provo City Center temple, enjoying my cousin's wedding.
Owen was the best dancer at the reception! I'm not biased, right?
The picture above is my sister and I enjoying some fresh powder on the slopes. snowboarding is my happy place! 
 We went on a snowy adventure to Potato Hill. I loved having my mom, aunt, and sister join!
The winter is, in my opinion, the best time to visit Hot Springs. Since Texas doesn't have any (at least that I know of), I needed to get my fill of hot springs in. I have awesome, adventurous family members who were willing to make the trips to Meadow Hot Springs, and Mystic Hot Springs.
By the end of our long trip, it was hard to say goodbye. 
Coming back to these friends made it easier though:
I'm thankful for my loving home, and also thankful for my growing Texas family!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

December 2016

Christmas season is great, isn't it?! I love all the charity campaigns, decorated cities, and I especially love the extra time spent with family.
This December, Owen and I took some time to sight-see some of Dallas's decked out cities. We checked out the lights in Addison at Vitruvian park, saw the decorations in Mckinney, and took pictures around Bishop Arts District. We also gawked at the "tallest indoor Christmas tree in America", which is at the Galleria, about 2 miles away from us.
Gavin's work threw a great holiday party! It was held at the Perot museum, which is a very nice and expensive museum to get in to. We were grateful we got to experience it in a way where we didn't have to pay and we didn't have to fight crowds or bring our babe! It was fun to get all dressed up and hang out with Gavin's work friends!
Then the best part of December was flying home to see our families! Hanging out with our siblings is the best! This was the first Christmas in three years that my whole family was together. The cherry on top was that our parents did a good job of spoiling us with presents again this year. 
We ended the year with some snowboarding, Top Golf (twice!) and NYE parties. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of my December pictures due to my computer crashing! These are the two I have left:
This is the first time we've had to travel to see family for the holidays. It was so nice that we were able to just stay with family and play and relax, instead of worrying about to-do-lists. Thank you family, for letting us take full advantage of that!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Santa on the Square

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I love our neighboring city, Carrollton. The city has done a great job of preserving the small town feel of Downtown. Yesterday they hosted a FREE (I love free!) Christmas event. We met Santa, got a printed picture with him, saw some elves, ate some cookies, got a balloon animal, and pet a reindeer! 
"We're basically in Star's Hollow" -Gavin