Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Being a Girl

I used to think I would have to teach Baby Blue Eyes about a being a girl.

Turns out, she was born knowing.

Before she was a year old, she was snatching shoes whenever she got the chance.

Now she loves walking around in her cousin's pink heels.

And my heels.

Brown-Eyed Boy never gave a second thought to the clothes I put on him, except to maybe exclaim over the monster trucks on his shirt. But Baby Blue Eyes will dig an outfit out of her drawer and insist that I put it on her, refusing everything else I offer. Then she will strut off down the hall to show Daddy.

Yes, she struts. Who taught her that?

She loves having her hair combed, getting her toe nails painted, wearing hats, and dancing.

I guess boys and girls really are different after all.

Of course, I already knew that.

As the Family Proclamation explains it, "All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

So while I don't have to teach Baby Blue Eyes how to be a girl, I hope I can teach her--and show her--how to love being a girl, to cherish that spark of divinity in her, to walk happily and confidently in the knowledge that she is a daughter of God, and to never, ever, think that she needs to change who she is to fit the trends and whims of the world.

But for now I will watch her strut in my high heels and wish that she could stay little forever.

Girls Rule,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Phoenix Temple

Since I posted this a few months back, I thought I would let you know about an exciting opportunity to view the inside of a Mormon temple.

For those of you in the Phoenix area, the Phoenix Temple is complete and open to the public through the end of October.

Free tours are available Mondays from 8-5, and Tuesdays through Saturdays 8-8. You can go here to make a reservation, or just show up. (But be sure to park at Wet & Wild, not the temple, unless you need handicap parking. There will be buses available to shuttle you to the temple.) There will be lots of friendly people there who will be happy to answer your questions.

Mr. Brown Eyes and I spent eight hours at the temple on Saturday, helping with parking. Man, did my feet hurt. But you know what? The spirit of peace I felt just being near the temple more than made up for it.

And so did the sushi we ate afterwards.

The temple is an amazing place. I hope you feel that as much as I do.

With all my heart,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Friday, September 12, 2014

A New Obsession

While in Oregon, we took a day trip to Washington to meet my brother and his wife.
Since Brown-Eyed Boy has taken on a sudden interest in volcanoes, we decided to meet at Mount St. Helens.


I visited Mount St. Helens with my family as a kid. I remember being afraid to get out of the car, sure the volcano was going to erupt again.

I was much less paranoid this time.

In fact, this time, visiting Mount St. Helens sparked an obsession in me. I could have stayed at the Johnston Ridge Observatory for hours, reading the stories of survival and destruction, listening to the rangers describe the science behind volcanoes, admiring the stark but beautiful landscape, still making a comeback after being obliterated thirty-four years ago.

I kind of wish I'd studied volcanology in school. Instead of, you know, English.

When we got back to Arizona I took the kids to the library and loaded up on volcano books. Children's books, because apparently adults aren't interested in that sort of thing.

Brown-Eyed Boy likes looking at the pictures, but I stayed up reading them late into the night, fascinated.

I can now tell you all about volcanic rocks, different types of lava, and the difference between shield cones, cinder cones, and composite cones. I can tell you stories about Mont Pelee, Lake Nyos, Paricutin, and dozens of other volcanoes.

I think it's safe to say I'm way more interested in volcanoes now than Brown-Eyed Boy.

Although he did tell us, while at the observatory, "I think I want to be a firefighter, a race car driver, and a scientist, so I can go inside volcanoes."

Maybe I'll have to live my lost dream of being a volcanologist through my son.

Oh, and while walking around the marsh near the visitor's center, we learned this interesting little tidbit of information:

Sometimes nature is just too awesome for words.

Water-dwelling Bladderwort,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bad Bugs

Brown-Eyed Boy wandered into the kitchen with a little brown bug on his finger.

"Look, Mommy, a beetle."

We often find strange bugs in our house, so I thought nothing of it. "Take it outside," was all I said.

"But I want to play with it."

"Take it outside," I ordered, and he grumbled but obeyed.

A few minutes later, Mr. Brown Eyes hollered my name in a worried tone of voice I don't often hear from him. He held Brown-Eyed Boys' beetle up on his finger, and then showed me a picture on his phone.

A picture of a bed bug.

My heart sank. My worst nightmare had come true.

We tore our house apart. Seriously, it was a disaster. Tools, toys, and cleaning supplies everywhere. Furniture upheaved and pushed aside. Clean laundry piled the dining room table and dirty laundry overflowed the laundry room.

Mr. Brown Eyes took the beds apart piece by piece. We threw everything--toys, books, clothes, blankets, shoes, stuffed animals--into plastic bags and and piled them outside in the hot sun. We bought expensive bed bug-proof bags for our mattresses, box springs, and pillows. Then we sprayed and scrubbed and vacuumed, then sprayed and scrubbed and vacuumed again.

But the next morning we still woke up with bites, so we did it all over again.

Something I didn't know about bed bugs until I watched Animal Planet's "Infested" (I love that show. Disgusting and yet so morbidly fascinating. I know, I'm weird), is that they don't just live in your bed. They can seriously hide anywhere. And you won't know they're there until they crawl out while you're deeply asleep and drink your blood.


Needless to say, I have been paranoid for the last week. We haven't gotten any new bites since that first night of cleaning, and we're staying on top of vacuuming and spraying. But I find myself going crazy, thinking of all the places they could still be lurking. Electrical outlets. Baseboards. Cracks in the walls of our log cabin. Mr. Brown Eyes told me they have even been known to crawl between the frame and glass of a picture frame.

He's so good at calming my fears.

In an effort to not lose my mind, I put together a list of things we could still be grateful for, even though there are blood-sucking parasites hiding in our house:

1. Arizona is hot. Heat = death to bed bugs.
2. Our dryer gets super hot. Again, heat = death to bed bugs.
3. At least we're not infested with spiders.
4. Or cockroaches. *shudder*
5. Bed bug bites are not fatal.
6. At least our house is clean now.
7. Mr. Brown Eyes being suspicious about that "beetle." Good thinking on his part.
8. It could be much, much worse.

Although we suspect Mr. Brown Eyes brought the bed bugs home from work, I have resolved to never, ever, ever, ever, ever, stay in a hotel again.

You just never know.

I overheard Brown-Eyed Boy talking to his cousin about the bed bugs the other day, and he called them "bad bugs."

I did not correct him.

Still shuddering,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Every time we go to Oregon, my awesomely talented sister-in-law gives me a haircut.
This year, since she knew Mr. Brown Eyes and I were going on a date that night, she wanted to do my makeup, too.
I think my beautiful sisters-in-law cringe at how low-maintenance I am.
I've just never been one of those girls who piles the makeup on. I never learned how, I don't like the way it feels, and I'm not really interested in forking out the money to buy it.
Although you can't really see it in these pictures, my makeup is piled on.

I look pretty from a distance. But up close, it's all fake.

My sister-in-law was hoping to knock Mr. Brown Eyes' socks off when he saw me. But what she doesn't know is that a few weeks before our wedding, when my friends were slathering my makeup on in practice for the big day, I went to Mr. Brown Eyes' house wearing an inch of foundation and heavy black mascara.

My future husband looked at me as if he didn't recognize me. "Is that how they're going to do your makeup for the wedding?"

I laughed. "No. They're just practicing."

Later that night he brought it up again. "Please don't let them put too much makeup on you, " he begged. "You're so pretty without it. You don't need it."

That's when I knew I was marrying the right man.

So, while Mr. Brown Eyes thought I looked pretty that night in Oregon, he thought I looked just as pretty after our date, when I took my makeup off. 

That, and he could finally kiss me without tasting concealer.

Pretty happy,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Friday, August 15, 2014

Oregon 2014

We just finished a two week vacation at one of my favorite places in the world.

Meaning Oregon, not Sushi Town, though that is one of my favorite things about going to Oregon.

This year, Brown-Eyed Boy joined us on our crabbing trip. He loved it.

We ate cheese at Tillamook...
Froze at the beach...

Played at Jones Creek...

And ate lunch with ghosts.

This year was the first time we've ever driven to Oregon. Can I just say that sitting in the front seat during a twenty hour drive, mediating arguments between children, doling out snacks, and occasionally checking the map felt like a rite of passage? I feel like I can finally call myself an adult now.

Well, sort of.

I have fond memories of road trips from my childhood. Long days stuck in the car with my siblings, listening to the radio and telling stories, eating fast food and drinking soda, playing with my favorite cousins, and seeing new places. I want my children to have the same experiences.
Except they'll never know what's it like to drive without watching movies or playing games on the tablet for hours.
They have it rough, I tell you.

We had so much fun playing with Mr. Brown Eyes' family.
I married into an awesome bunch of people.
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Truth About Mormon Temples

I recently read a blog post bashing Mormon temples.

The temple is a sacred, cherished place to me, so reading that blog post hurt. In fact, I couldn't even read past the first page.

San Diego California Temple

Days later, it still bothered me. Not because I thought that any of the disparaging remarks were true, but that anyone believed those remarks at all. How could a place so wondrous and holy to me be so hateful to someone else?

So, to clear the air, I decided to post the truth about Mormon temples.

I am a Mormon, I was married in a Mormon temple, and I visit Mormon temples on a regular basis, so I think I'm a pretty good resource.

I also quote from Boyd K. Packer's book, The Holy Temple. It is an awesome reference for anyone who has questions about temples.

Nauvoo Illinois Temple

The truth is, our temples are sacred to us, not secret. There is a difference. Everyone is invited to come to our temples. Yes, you do have to be an active, worthy member of our church. But guess what? Anyone can become an active, worthy member of our church. As The Book of Mormon teaches, “[T]he Lord…doeth that which is good among the children of men…and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female…” (2 Nephi 26:33)

President Packer says, “Temple ceremonies are not something that we try to limit to a restricted number of people. With great effort we urge every soul to qualify and prepare for the temple experience. Everyone who comes within the influence of the gospel is urged to prepare to go to the temple and participate fully in the sacred ordinances which are available there” (25).

And when I say worthy, I am not inferring that everyone else is a "lesser-worthy," or less loved by God. Attending the temple and understanding the things that are taught there requires preparation. Someone attending the temple unprepared would be like trying to take a college-level class before taking the prerequisites; it would only cause confusion and resentment. The Lord doesn’t work that way. His house is a “house of order.” And since it is His house, it only makes sense that “He directs the conditions under which it may be used” (35).

Washington DC Temple

The temple is like a school where we are taught the things of God. In order to learn properly, we need the Spirit of God to guide us.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God...

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:9-11, 14).

Says President Packer, “Without the spiritual atmosphere of the temple itself, and without the worthiness and preparation required of those who go there, the temple ceremonies would not be quickly understood and might be quite misunderstood” (36).

Salt Lake City Utah Temple

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-dsy Saints, I testify that the temple is a holy place, the house of God. It is not a place that divides families. It is a place that brings them together eternally. If the temple divides us, it is because of our choices.

Please go to to learn more.

The Brown-Eyed Girl