Happy Thanksgiving

As this Thanksgiving comes to a close I can't sit here without expressing my gratitude for these little turkeys:

Oh, and this handsome guy:
They make my world make sense and they bring me immeasurable amounts of joy.

Today was officially our first Thanksgiving with just "us". I even made a mini-fied turkey dinner (it was great for some much needed practice) and after we ate, we went to the matinee, Happy Feet 2 (a beloved little tradish from my childhood) and finished the day off with a bang by eating pie with friends at our Stake President's home. It turned out to be a very nice holiday indeed.

I hope all of you had an Happy Thanksgiving as well! Tomorrow the Christmas comes out. Hurray!

Twenty D's!

It's only been within the last year that I've taken an interest in TLC's 19 & Counting about the Duggar family. It was actually during our summer in Manhattan when at church in Sunday school, our teacher brought them up as an example to illustrate a point in her lesson (I'm a little fuzzy on the point, huh). Anyhow, the two examples I remember she brought up in her lesson were:
  •  During one episode their family was participating in some sort of water recreation and for their swimwear they all wear board shorts to the knee and the rashguard shirts. 
  • When they're together out and about, if one of the boys (maybe girls too, I dunno) notice something inappropriate, they have a code word that they say. When they hear this code word all of the boys know to put their head down and make an effort to avoid looking at whatever it was.
Sometimes I feel that we as Latter-day Saints we are the only ones out there who have such standards, in this case with modesty, chastity and pornography. So you can see I was rather impressed with this family who not only takes our same Christian values seriously, but takes them to an even higher standard. I find it both impressive and refreshing. 
Unfortunately, we went back to no-cable land and I haven't thought too much about them since. But then I saw this little headline come across my people feed on my google homepage (did I just say that?): "Duggars are Pregnant with 20th Baby". How can anyone read that and not let out a gasp or two? TWENTY KIDS!?! They must be crazy. So probably along with the majority of America, I was drawn back to their website. After reading about their story and watching a few clips, I must admit the jury is still out on Jim Bob and I think they should make a special episode for Michelle to get a new hair do (pretty sure she won't though because I'm guessing that's how Jim Bob likes it). However, at the same time, I can't help but like them. And here is the real kicker: their kids ALL OF THEM seem to be good, happy and well-behaved. I find the whole thing fascinating.
So as you can imagine, they're taking a lot of criticism. However, those who do support the Duggars make a strong point. They do way better at parenting twenty children then most people do with two. The Today Show brought on a couple of experts this morning to address why the backlash? And one of the reasons, which surprised me, was jealously or perhaps disbelief that how can these parents do so well with 20 (well, 19) children, when most of us, LDS or not, are trying to keep our heads above water with 2-5? Especially with our belief in the importance of families and having children. 

Hearing this, I couldn’t help but taking a good hard look at my own life as a mother. 
I don’t think it’s so much me comparing myself to Michelle Duggar (way too many jokes to insert here that I couldn’t pick just one), but I do think there is somethings to be learned here. I mean, I’m sitting here as Ryder watches Little Einsteins (still in my pajamas) wondering how I’m going to finish the items on my to-do list and entertain my kiddos for the rest of the afternoon/evening, and when that blessed bedtime hour rolls around, I’ll breath a sigh of relief and feel completely entitled for some much needed me time, usually spent on the couch looking at some sort of screen. Bottom line: Michelle, you make me look like a pansy. 
Dang you Duggars! (I just really wanted to say that).
I think the biggest thing I take from the Duggars is their perspective on the family. I guess I feel their actions are far more reflective of their beliefs than mine are. Which makes me sad. And makes me understand why people are eager to put them down. (Ya know, so we can feel better about ourselves).
Don’t worry, I’m not about to go tell Phil I think we should have 20 kids and home school all of them, BUT I do think I have room to improve. Especially, with how sometimes my actions (run along and play or watch TV) and attitudes (is it bedtime yet?) don't reflect what I truly believe about motherhood and families (there is nothing in this world more important). 
I don’t mean to sound hard on myself, but I think it’s one of those times I can probably work on being better. So that’s what I’ll try to do. 
The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). 1 However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children. 
--Julie Beck, General Relief Society President


Dear Family & Friends,

I don't want to alarm or shock anyone, but I think I just might send out Christmas cards this year.

However, my address book is a sad story and needs some serious updating. If you would like to receive a Christmas card from yours truly (because I'd love for you to have one), please send me your address through a Facebook message or just email me at jasmine{dot}shorten{at}gmail{dot}com. Thanks!

Yay for Christmas cheer!


I don't know if you noticed, but we had the luxury of having not one, but two special visits in October. Here you saw when my parents came to see us and then just last week we had Phil's parents and his little sister, Jaimie, in town. We couldn't have had a more funner October if we tried.

Although I don't think I would've forgotten, this past month did remind me how grateful Phil and I are for our families. We are both so blessed to have have loving, wonderful parents, which also equals loving, wonderful and doting grandparents for our children.
Not to mention the amazing aunts, uncles and cousins we are so blessed to have as well. One of the biggest blessings this life has to offer, I believe. So today I'd like to highlight how grateful I am for family.


In the spirit of kicking off the month of November and everything Thanksgiving,  I thought I'd try to post a few things this month that I am grateful for.

Right now, I have to say it people...it's POWER! Not the sort of dictator-ish power in which I just made that sound, but the power that supplies me the juice to provide you these words right now. The power that lights up my darkest of hallways. The power that allows me to nuke my children's quesadillas. That sort of power.

I can't help but look around and not only feel so grateful that we were one of the few not to lose it, but to also remember what it was like to lose power (and even just for 18 hours) during the hurricane a few weeks ago.

And gee, while I'm add it, let's throw in a good word for water too. In fact, water, is harder to live without than power. (I hear it's kinda necessary for survival or something).

I am so very, very grateful for these modern conveniences that provide me a life of comfort, ease and the ability to check my Facebook page.

Happy turkey month everyone!