Monday, September 27, 2010

An update on Kayley...

I thought it might be fun to do a quick update on Kayley. She is growing and changing so much just in the last few months! It is incredible. Here are some things she's been up to:
--Kayley can make an amazing mess out of her room...I like to assume it is because she is so creative. (Hey, I ALWAYS had, in fact usually still have, a pretty messy room, LOL!)
--Gramma taught Kayley how to tie her shoes. (Thank you Gramma!!)
--Kayley has officially learned to read. She has read several easy readers, the first series of Bob Books, and lots of signs and billboards.
--She is learning pre-cursive and can write the entire alphabet. She enjoys writing my grocery list for me.
--She can count to 100
--She memorized her first scripture (Genesis 1:1)
--Kayley can identify several historical structures and National monuments (ie the Eiffle Tower, Gateway Arch, Statue of Liberty, etc)
--She learned how to read a graph, make tally marks, identify and name the first 5 ordinal numbers, and complete 3 base series patterns.
Anyway... we are still enjoying homeschooling. We are learning a LOT! I thought you might like to get an idea of what we are working on!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An Update from James - Thoughts on Fearlessly Feminine

Stephanie received several questions in regards to what I thought about the skirts, how I felt it affected our marriage and if I behaved any differently. Stephanie has asked me to share my thoughts on her 7 Day Modesty Challenge...

I did notice Stephanie was more bright and cheerful during the 7-day challenge than she had been before. She appears to feel better about herself and exudes greater confidence. She complained less about her appearance thus elevating her thoughts and actions. This attitude and bearing affected myself and our entire home. She seemed to be more patient, nurturing, softer and giving. She appeared more feminine and behaved more feminine, which I have to agree, men always respond to. I did. For example, I was raised to open doors for women and it seems a lot easier to remember to do that when my wife is wearing a dress.

Ever hear the axiom, "dress for success?" Sure you have. When you're sloppy it's too easy to be lazy and do a bunch of nothing. When I come home and see the house a mess and my wife looking like she laid on the couch all day I might think, "hey I just worked a 10 hour day, so you could lie around and do nothing, how's that fair?" This does not bring feelings of unity, equality or endearment. My job is important; I want to look professional, trustworthy and important. I want to be taken seriously. When she dresses up it feels like she takes her job seriously, and it's easier to think her job is important too. When we're both dressed it feels like you're a team; you're both engaged in the day and doing something important. That builds unity and a feeling of equality, which is endearing. Dressing up makes it feels like today is an important day and it should be used to do important things.

I had some thoughts on the phrase above about how she complained less about her appearance. When someone is obsessed about his or her self they come across as more juvenile or immature. The world, it seems, would have us all stay in this self-obsessed adolescent stage worrying only about the outward appearance. Maturity only happens when one moves beyond the earlier inward focused stages of life into selfless, giving and nurturing stage of life. A woman is beautiful because she has character and influence; this gives her depth, strength and confidence, which is always attractive. A woman is free to be a leader as she concerns herself about others, and in no way is she weak or submissive. I believe I have seen a maturing over the last week in my wife.

So did I act differently? Yes, but I thinks it changed more how I felt which will continue to effect changes.

Have I noticed a difference in my marriage? I think it has been a good influence.
Was it the skirts? I believe they were a catalyst but the real difference was our behaviors and attitudes.

So this begs the last question; should she continue to wear dresses and skirts?
Yes, I would love it.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Fearlessly Feminine - Challenge Day 7

I can't believe this week went by so fast. I didn't get to blog about as many things as I was hoping but I had a wonderful time testing my femininity and my wardrobe.
I did get one question from my good friend Savannah who asked me, "Have you noticed a difference in your marriage? Do you act more feminine then you did before? Does your husband act differently too?"
What a great question. I think so. I definitely noticed that I acted more feminine than before. Honestly I found myself feeling more 'soft.' As in, more soft spoken, less prone to getting frustrated, more forgiving...I know it is kind of weird, but dressing more feminine and feeling more respectful toward myself really encouraged me to feel more respectful toward others.
As for what my husband thought and how he acted...I'll let him give you a blog update on that!

FHE - Reverence

Tonights FHE was on Reverence!
I loved this idea that I found on FHE Planner.
I took a bag and drew small pics of what we can do to be reverent.
I drew eyes, mouth, ears, toys, etc.
Each time Kayley pulled an item out of the bag we discussed what we should do to be more reverent during Sacrament, Primary, and at home.

For our scripture we used Leviticus 19:30
Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.

and the talk from Elder Oaks (May 2010 Friend) called
"How should I behave in Sacrament Meeting?"

Was one of our better 'discussions' during FHE!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fearlessly Feminine - Challenge Day 6

I have to admit...I cannot believe that I am 1 day shy of the end of the Fearlessly Feminine 7 Day Challenge! It went by really fast, I feel really great and pretty feminine but not "girly." Kayley has participated in over 1/2 the days with me (I am NOT going to make her wear dresses...but she loves it and it didn't take much encouraging). Today was Sunday and I usually change out of my dress as soon as I get home, but I have gotten into such a habit of wearing that I honestly didn't notice and felt pretty comfortable hanging out in my church clothes all day.

A girlfriend of mine posted on her blog about femininity this week too and I just LOVED the analogy she made... I hope she doesn't mind that I re-post it here... It makes a LOT of sense!

When talking about the desire or taking the time to get dressed and fixed up in a feminine manner she said,
"Here is why it matters:"
"Assuming that the prices were exactly the same and the stores were equidistant to your home, at which store would you rather shop? The vast majority of people would feel much more comfortable with the second one. The fact of the matter is, what's on the outside does count."

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that thought... So true!
I love having smart friends, I learn a lot from them.

We Love Gramma!

We love when Gramma comes to visit!

St. Louis Gateway Arch

We were excited to go to St. Louis to pick up Gramma on Saturday. We left Maggie with sitters (thank you thank you thank YOU Grandma Gwen and Grandpa Kay!) while we made the trip. We stopped at the Gateway Arch for a little bit and oooh'd and aaah'd.
Kayley got a stamp in her Passport to National Parks book!
It was hot and we were tired!

The Worlds Largest Rocking Chair...

We couldn't resist this detour to see the worlds largest rocking chair in the middle-of-nowhere on some lonely stretch of old Rt 66 on our way back home...

Fearlessly Feminine - Challenge Day 5

Challenge Day 5 went great. We went to the St. Louis Arch and then picked up Gramma from the airport! It was hot though! Whew!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fearlessly Feminine - Challenge Day 4

I think I could get used to wearing a skirt. It is actually pretty comfortable (will need to invest in some tights if it gets much cooler--work with me, I moved here from Phoenix!) I feel kind of cute, and I love my shoes. LOL!

The garbage man ran my can to me after he unloaded it... I was headed that way anyway, but I like to think it made him feel more of a gentleman since he met me halfway and saw me coming in all my skirted-ness. Then when the UPS man came he offered to carry my boxes into the kitchen for me (they were from Schwans). I graciously accepted. Is it the skirt? I think maybe it is!

Today I wore a simple khaki a-line skirt (no slits in my skirts in case you wondered) and a knit top. (It was chilly again this morning, only 60 when we left the house! I topped my ensemble with a hoodie in the morning, but shed it by afternoon). I went to the Childrens Orchard Tent Sale...(don't bother going, it was a bunch of junk that was not cheap) and then the library. We homeschooled for 2 hours and did another load of laundry (daily!). Now we are just hanging out...Kayley watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Hot Dog!) and Maggie is pushing buttons on her muscial play phone over and over and over again. =)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fearlessly Feminine - Challenge Day 3

Well, here I am on Day 3. Yes, I did this with the camera timer and I could not get one to turn out very well, this was the only one that wasn't blurry. When I tried to take out the red eye, it made my eyelid all black! And then it wouldn't let me 'undo' it. Argh! So, obviously, this is a really horrid picture of me. Sorry all!

Anyway, it was freezing in our house this morning so I have worn this hoodie pretty much all day. I did housecleaning today in a skirt and it actually didn't cause me any problems. I can't guarantee that I stayed "ladylike" the whole time, while I was crawling around on the floor picking up toys...but I tried. We've been home all day today and in this pic I still have wet hair from the shower...and Maggie...well, that's bed hair 100%! LOL! We homeschooled for about an hour, then cleaned, and then had lunch. I have made a discovery though, I need a bigger apron. One that doesn't wrap around my neck. Anybody know where I can get something like that? After about an hour my apron felt like it was pulling on me.

So far, so good!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Adoption News...

So close, yet so far away.
We still do not have a court date to finalize Maggie's adoption. We turned in our papers and we are still just waiting...waiting...waiting... Our lawyer mentioned there is a 6 month waiting period after we appeal to the courts but that they were going to try to waive it. But, we've heard nothing. So! We just keep on waiting.

In other news. Received a letter from LDS Family Services about a change in policy as to how many children couples can adopt through their agency. They have gone back to a "2 Child rule" but thankfully, those of us who were approved couples before the rule are grandfathered in and are able to adopt 1 more time through the agency.

What does this mean for us? Nothing yet. I've heard people say that when their family is complete they feel a really good sense of peace. I suppose the fact that I was already stressed about where our next baby was going to come from didn't imply 'peace.' LOL! Honestly, adoption is such a roly-coaster that I just don't know if we are up for a 3rd go around or not. 2 girls are nice... Our birthmoms are amazing. We have great relationships with them and a high level of comfort. I am almost afraid of the process again. Having Maggie/Melissa and Kayley/Krystin is literally like winning the lotto twice... It just isn't done. And I'm just not sure it can be done a 3rd time.

Seriously though, if Kayley had her way she told me we would have "a lot more girls and just 1 boys, I don't like boys." hahah! Girls are fun! I agree!

Fearlessly Feminine - Challenge Day 2

Why dresses?

Deuteronomy 22:5 reads:
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

So, really, why dresses? First of all, the scripture doesn't say that a woman shalt wear dresses and the man shalt wear pants! Besides, back then, didn't both sexes wear similar clothing? I've been asked the question, "weren't robes like dresses? and Jesus wore didn't Jesus wear a dress?" Goooood Point!

I'll pick apart the research I have done so far...

What did Jesus wear?
(or in other words...did Jesus wear a dress?)

In Jesus' time :
Men wore--
Tunic (short, usually stopped below the knee to mid-calf. No this was NOT a dress, although it was not pant either!)
Girdle (a belt)
Mantle (outer garment - like a robe)
*(Interesting fact... to "gird your loins" meant literally to take your Mantle and bring it up between your legs and tuck it into your girdle to keep it from getting in the way while you were working or running! Men often showed a LOT more leg than girls and when girded had a look that was similar to shorts... Women wouldn't have done would have been very indecent!)

Women wore--
Tunic (very long -- or in other words a dress, definitely NOT pants or something that showed any leg!)
Girdle (belt-more ornamented that a males)
Mantle (ornamented and LONG)
Veil (Head covering)

So- Jesus did NOT wear a dress. And, you are right! He did not wear pants either!

If we look at Deuteronomy we have to understand that the point is that it is NOT appropriate for a woman to wear that which is considered mans clothing. (An image of the restroom sign popped into my head again). She should wear that, which is womans clothing... (which, back then and up until the sexual revolution was modest dresses -regardless of what the man wore!).

I know, I know! There are many, many, many points that could be argued here...

Yes, there are obviously pants that are womens pants that could not really be worn by a man...but the question is, is it truly appropriate for a woman to wear pants at all? Don't look at me...I've been hung up on this issue for a while now. I'm not sure. What about this it appropriate for a man to wear a womans dress? We raise our eyebrows at that because, isn't. A dress is womens clothing! At least here in the U.S. and many European cultures it is. Of course, there are some individuals who cross dress...but, that is not the point!

I liked this comment from Dana...and she is right, a LOT of it does depend on culture. (I love surrounding myself with smart, educated people! Thanks for the thoughtful comment Dana!)

She said, "As for what constitutes "mens clothing" that all depends on the culture in which a person is living. In the middle east for example both men and women wear robes but colors vary. Women also wear the hijab of course covering their hair, neck, throat.

In the Pacific islands we find again that both sexes wear what we'd call a dress/skirt.

It both of the above cultures it's vitally important to wear these items as it helps the body maintain a healthy body temp & prevents overheating.

In colder climates among Innuit peoples in Siberia/Alaska/Canada we find that the dressing standards among the sexs is identical. Again it's a matter of keeping the body temperature regulated in a harsh environment.

Also in the Asian cultures we find that both sexes wear similar clothing tradtionally with color & pattern being the only real difference.

As of today those are the only true variations between the sexes within Western culture. People of both sexes tend to dress comfortably in whatever way best suits their individual needs. As we saw the need for women to crossover into jobs that were traditionally held by men we found that they began to adapt their dressing style to suit their workplace environs. For instance women can't work wearing dresses inside a factory setting as the loose garment could easily become entangled in fast moving equipment resulting in catastrophic injury and even death. The same goes for women who began to operate farm equipment once it became mechanized. It's too dangerous to work around thrashers/hay bailers/etc... in a skirt so they changed their attire.

She is absolutely right, historically, a lot of things changed during WWII when it became necessary for a woman to wear her husbands trousers while she worked on heavy & dangerous machinery... but interestingly enough, most women did NOT wear pants during social activities. It was still 'not done.' I wasn't until the late 60s (the sexual revolution man! peace! love! etc...) that everything changed.

It has only been in the last 50 years or so that wearing pants became 'OK.' My mom has told me that, for her, even up until late elementary school, it was required that girls wear skirts to school....because...well, girls wear skirts. Boys wore pants.

I'll be blogging more later this week about fashion, culture and changes through history and it is interesting to see the hemlines go from modest to (in my opinion) immoral in less than 3 decades.

I'll also be reviewing an interesting book I read by Colleen Hammond called "Dressing With Dignity." Just to give you a taste, Colleen says, "Do parents realize that 'ladies of the night' wouldn't wear on the street corners in the 1950's what some girls wear to the mall these days?" Yipes! I know I've seen this! Have you?

Also... What do you think a mans eyes are drawn to when a woman wears pants? What about when she wears a nice, modest skirt? I'm still looking for facts and figures on this one... Women who advocate skirts insist that mens eyes are drawn directly to your crotch in front...your booty in back. I'm still researching this and will see if I can get more on this before the 7 Day Challenge is over.

So, I did wear a skirt today. It went really well. I've actually been pretty comfortable and I don't think anybody thought anything of it. I ran a couple of errands and now just hanging out at home while the girls enjoy "quiet time."

As a quick Afterward:
NO! I am not trying to convince you to wear skirts. =) But I do feel something working in my own mind and I cannot help but study this out to see where it will go. I have had a couple of people ask me, "Do you feel the Holy Ghost is prompting you to wear dresses?" It is NOT culturally necessary in the LDS Church and I would be the cheese standing alone if I decided that this was the case. Honestly, I don't know. I did ask my husband (bless his heart-he supports me in these wild ideas I get) what he thought. I wondered if I were truly being prompted to wear skirts and dresses...then why am I the only one? His response was, "because you asked." Hmmm... good point. I can't imagine too many of my friends asking a similar question. LOL! When I mentioned it to a few friends many of them thought I was crazy...and usually ended up saying something like..."I'm afraid to ask because I don't want to find out the answer!" I did get a few comments about how, if it was truly an issue the President Monson would say something about it... but, would he? I mean, do we need to be commanded in all things? He is awfully busy combating bigger issues right now like Pornography and Provident Living. I believe there are some things we just have to decide for ourselves... And NO WAY! I did NOT throw out my pants... This is a 7 Day Challenge... Which is not only challenging me to dress femininely for a week...but challenging me to think about my wardrobe and decide what is modest and feminine and what makes me look like a bag lady and to thoughtfully consider new scriptures.


Out of all the toys...
she heads for the humidifier!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

FHE - Modesty...

For FHE, and to help kick off our 7 Day Modesty Challenge, I thought it would be appropriate to teach the girls (yeah, I know, Maggie wasn't really listening) about modesty. We used the article "Modest at Any Age" from the May 2010 issue of The Friend. We talked about what it meant to be modest and what the standards of modesty and grooming are according to our church's (and the Lords) standards and expectations.

We used the Modesty Checklist
(also found in the May 2010 issue of the Friend)
to evalute several pictures of 'tweens
(who, by the way, do not typically dress
modestly in fashion catalogs! Holy moley!)

It reads:
Shoulders covered?
Shirt covers tummy?
Shorts or Skirts go to the Knee?
Shirt not low cut?
Clothing not tight?
Combed hair?
Clothes not torn, saggy or holey to fit in with a style?
Labels on clothing not rude or offensive?

Then we read from 1 Timothy 2:9
Women adorn themselves in modest apparel...

To test our knowledge of modesty,
for our activity we made a life-size Kayley paper doll,
and dressed her in modest clothing!

Tracing Kayley...

Getting Miss Paperdoll stuck to the wall...
Drawing panties (can't have her naked under her skirt!)
Curly hair...
Hairbows are a necessity.
Fully dressed Miss Paperdoll.

Fearlessly Feminine - The 7 Day Challenge

I've decided to do something quite different. I am participating in The 7 Day Modesty Challenge from Fearlessly Feminine. Here is what it is about:

The Challenge

The challenge is to wear only skirts/dresses for an entire week of seven days, and then post a photo of your outfits (head to toe) on your blog.

What is on the inside will show on the outside so dressing in a feminine manner in this way shows what we desire and strive for at heart. Why dresses and skirts, you ask? Dressing in a feminine manner doesn’t mean you must loose your respectability. It means you value your respectability and wish to honor to the Father and to yourself more than the whims of society.

The Goal Of The Challenge:

As the mission statement of Fearlessly Feminine says: to encourage, inspire, and challenging ladies to rediscover the treasure of dressing in a feminine manner. They ask us to do some evaluating of yourself at the end of the week and compare it to your regular way of dress.

Consider answering some of the following questions.

How was the experience for you?

Any particular stories?

Did wearing skirts rather than pants affect the way you felt?

The way you felt about yourself?

The way you acted?

The way you carried yourself?

Were you able to go about everyday activity as freely as pants?

How did people respond?

After the challenge do you desire to keep wearing skirts more regularly, or were you desperate to wear pants again?

So, I started the challenge today...and Kayley decided she wanted to do it too. (Although the kiddo wears dresses most of the time anyway-she loves them).

Day 1: Stay at home day. We homeschooled today and did some laundry.
Oh...and I blogged. LOL!
Yes, I really do need to lose about 30 pounds...painfully obvious in this self portrait of me. LOL. I was tempted to just take a pic of my clothes and then decided that I might as well put me on there and not worry about it. (Weight Watchers! I'm coming!)
OH, and yes, those are my fluffy socks and fluffy slippers. My tile floor is always so cold in the mornings!

So, even thought I know that I am no raving beauty (as in, me wearing tight pants probably doesn't turn any young mans head - unless he is gawking at my big butt and laughing about it with his friends)...I wanted to participate in this challenge anyway. I think it sets a good example to my girls and to others around me.

Wearing dresses and skirts is something that I have been thinking about for a long time. I have done a lot of scripture study on it and I have found a lot of interesting details/thoughts/opinions on it but not much by way of answers yet. It does tell us directly in the Old Testament (Deut 22:5) that a woman wearing a mans clothing is an abomination to the Lord. Does this necessarily mean pants?

Well, you tell pants pertain to the man? or the woman?

Which restroom are you going to go into?
(No we are not in Scotland and that is NOT a guy in a Kilt on the right...
this is truly a universal sign of restroom symbols).

This will be an interesting week! I have a lot of stuff lined up in the blog queue that has to do with modesty, femininity and scriptural references. I love being a maverick. Being different is definitely one of the things I do best.

ReRico Brazilian Steakhouse

This weekend we had a great time going to ReRico Brazilian Steakhouse. There was WAY too much to eat...and we did eat WAY too much but it was so different, unique, fun and YUMMY! We had a gazillion choices... This is one of those places where the guys come around with a big hunk of meat on a skewer and saw it off at your table. Yes! It is like a buffet...only you don't have to get up!
They give you these little wooden doo-dads. Green means go (i.e. Bring on the meat!) Red means stop (I'm about to burst! Cease the meat!).
Then very nice dudes come around with that wicked looking knife and a very luscious hunk of steak and saw it off onto your plate. Honestly...I was in heaven.
The floor around Maggie. Where did her socks go?

So... really recommend ReRico. Although...we probably shouldn't eat there too often...since I'm already about 30 pounds heavier than I ought to be...Ack! But, that is a story for another day and another diet. For now...I'll just relive fond memories of ReRico...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Maggie @ 8 Months...

Can you believe it? 8 Months!!

Kayley back to school...

Waiting in the car line...
Kayley was thrilled to be going back to preK.

Random Happenings...

For BJU Math a few days ago we made paper hats (we were learning about triaangles). Kayley thought we should all check it you can see it fit everybody differently. This is Kayley.Mommy...
Look out! Its a pirate! Arrr!
Kayley's hair that turned out so darn cute!
The cats know a good place to hang out to get a snack!
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