Saturday, September 20, 2014


I had a "friend" tell me a few months ago that getting married and having children so young had made it so that I was in a cookie cutter mold of a life and that I hadn't really lived. It's taken me some time to come up with a response to this. Because of my strong feelings. And here is what I have to say... You are dead wrong. I have lived. I have never known more love for a person then my time spent as a mother and a wife. I have held a newborn in my arms and have become irrevocably in love. I have learned the true meaning of sacrifice. And the untold rewards of it. I weep more often now because my heart is in my hands. I am softer and kinder and not as selfish or worried about what others see me as. I have learned to give. And expect nothing. Marrying when I did has helped me live in a way that nothing else has. By experiencing everyday with the man I adore. Good, bad or in between we are together. What does it matter if I go travel the world. But have no one to see or tell about it. What does it matter if I "live " in your sense of the meaning but never find the meaning of life. You may think that I have wasted my life away by making these decisions but I am telling you I have not. Because I am full of life. My heart aches when my children are hurt. I feel everything they go through. I can empathize or sympathize with a complete stranger. You say I'm in a mold of a life. Every step planned out. But everyday for me is an adventure. I learn. I grow.  I rejoice in my family. In the end it won't matter what I've seen or where I have been what will matter is if I lived. And being a mother and a wife I have done that. I am doing that. Because living how I am has changed me. Life is bigger. Life is beautiful and wonderful. I see the world and I am enthralled by it. But I only became so because I had people to share it with. Telling my daughter about animals and seeing the joy in her eyes when she saw a panda for the first time made my heart burst. To you I say I am wide awake and full of life. Because I have children. I want them to see the beauty of the world. And I have the privelege of teaching them about it.  I have passion and love in my life that don't come by my hand alone. I have my husband. So if I am a cookie cutter of a mold and I haven't truly lived why am I so ALIVE. Answer me that. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Merrick's one year.

I cannot believe a whole year has gone by. Time has FLOWN.  We had Merricks birthday party, ice cream themed. It was really cute, thanks to my bestie Jessica. She has so much talent its ridiculous. We also were able to get one year photos done by another friend named Traci, They came out amazing!!

Take a look:
Merrick Lewis McGowen

Look at that face! So sweet.

Finley was so excited to jump in the photos.

I love the happiness on her face. Its so vibrant.

My little one walking before hitting the one year mark.

You can see how much he looks like Mike in this photo.

Momma's boy. 
Adorable right?! But through the planning of the party, and the trips to Utah. I took so many moments to sit and watch my little boy. How much he has grown from giving birth to him. I remember when he was born and he wasn't breathing right away. I was so scared, for him. I didn't want to loose him. And when he went in for observation for a day because he was having respiratory issues, my heart went into my throat, and I couldn't help but worry. Even though he had just come into this world. I loved him so deeply. It was irrefutable how much I adored him. He's always been a momma's boy and a snuggler, Finley was different. As Merrick turned one year old. I couldn't help but think of what was in store for my little boy. He is so much like his dad. Sweet, patient, loving, calm. He is such a joy.

I wrote a poem for my children, but I think I'll share it here. Its not much but I'm hoping to improve. 

Never Have I Loved Another:
I watch you grow, 
I see you learn.
And I fly.

You give me meaning, 
I have hope, unwavering hope.
It will last forever.
Never have I loved another.

Your joy is my joy.
Your pain is mine.
Never have I loved another.

I see you,
All of you...
And it is beautiful.
You are stunning.
Beaming like starlight in my hands.

You are stirring, caught up in movement
Yet, you stand so still.
you are rushing water, but a stagnant stream.
You stop and think.
And you soar.
All in the same moment.

Never stray to far for me, for I fear I would break.
My love is yours forever.
Never have I loved another as deeply as I love you.

From before the womb, I knew you. 
As I hold you in my arms, I treasure you.
I hold on to the stillness that is you.
I ache while you grow. 
Longing for you,
But I am like a sail with full wind 
I ascend with you.
All in an instant. 

Your eyes hold so much wonder, 
your heart is full of love. 
No matter where you go,
I will be there.
In heart..
In mind.
Never have I loved another so meaningful as you.
Never have I loved another so willingly till you...

Happy birthday to my little one.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer Days

These last few weeks have been very hectic in the McGowen household. Michael's new job keeps him busy and he loves the challenge. I have had the opportunity to take the kids to Utah for a week and we did a family reunion for my family in Shaver CA. Mike was able to come to the reunion but not for the wedding in Utah. While in Utah I helped my cousin as her maid of honor.  While at Shaver lake we went on the pontoon boat, swam in the lake and stayed in a cabin. It was a lot of fun and the kids had a blast. They were exhausted!! Finley loved being in the lake and swimming in the pool.
Here are some photos of our trips... ENJOY!
Me and the Beautiful Bride!

On the way home from Utah. They are so happy to be out of the car.

Ready for the boat ride.

Merrick and Great-Grandpa

Playing at the beach.

Ma, I don't want a photo.

Eaten cheetos, and wind blowing in her hair.

She's so cute.

Dad driving the boat.

My happy Girl!

Merrick was so tired.

All the boating left the bottom of the lake all churned up, ignore the brown water.

Captain Merrick! (Thanks Aunt Rachel)

It was gorgeous. Tall Trees everywhere and blue lake water! 

Love taking photos with this cutie!

Finley is reading her Book of Mormon. Apparently daddy is like Nephi. hahaha 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sitting in the Silence

12:33 in the morning. And not a sound to be heard. Except the clicking of the keys as I write this. Man, silence is not very common in my life anymore. I often yearn for time to pick up a book and get lost in it. Or to even go to the bathroom, without my 2 children and the dog following me in.

Now in my life, silence is not needed. When I hear my children; an unexplainable joy comes over me. I love being their mother. And although it can be stressful. I am so grateful that I have two wonderful souls that depend on me and love me so much.

My children are constantly needing me, and its never ending. I wouldn't trade this life for the world. Some are traveling the world. I have my world right here.

I am so amazed at how I can see the love that my children have for me in their eyes. Its unconditional, and it is so infectious. One look in their eyes and any frustration, anger melts away. And I am whole again.

My children are my heart and soul. And I am so blessed to be a mother. To have that privilege from Heavenly Father.

I am so grateful.

My children have given me more meaning, I want to be better, to teach them correctly, to bring them up to be the best self they can be. And more than anything, I am learning. I am growing. My children teach me everyday, my love for them is stronger every moment. Even in times of frustration.

I am so blessed to know my children, to see their sweet and beautiful spirits. I am in love with them.

Being their mother has helped me strengthen my testimony of God and all that I believe in. His little blessing and miracles I can see throughout the day. Being their mother has made me better. And to be completely honest. I don't miss the silence too often. I often miss they're sweet voices and laughter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I am sound.

My husband and I had a pretty interesting talk today. We spoke in depth about The Lord and his plan. And with Mike being a Return Missionary. He was able to provide a unique perspective. I was having some questions on church doctrine. More out of curiosity. And providing a better understanding. I guess you could say it stemmed from the ordination of women movement. And the medias attention of that. Makes me think of the statement it's very easy to focus on the bad then the good. I was wondering about these women. I feel personally that I would not want to be ordained. I have enough on my plate. I think that this whole issue is taking away from all that the church stands for and all the good things that members accomplish. They want to protest in temple square suring the priesthood session, why? Why take away the peace of the spirit from other members why; create disharmony when everything is supposed to be focusing on the Savior. I do not know everything God has planned but I have faith that He has a way. It is HIS way that will lead us to salvation. Not what we think is politically correct. Why must this sacred work be twisted into something that it is not. The gospel is not something that can be changed by our hand. It saddens me to think that these women are taking away from the importance of the work. And more over that they are speaking for women of the church. I do not want them to speak for me. I am sound in my faith. You will not shake me. I know my purpose. 
Anyway rant over. Sorry. 
My husband and I were speaking of this issue. And I was struggling with how these women are able to say they are strong faithful LDS women. We got on the subject of Satan. And what we talked about was that anything not of God, is twisted by Satan. I'm not saying everything is evil. I'm saying Satan is around us everyday. He is watching us, waiting for us to slip up. Waiting for us to doubt. He might not be able to read our minds but he knows us from our premortal life. He can tell when we struggle. This is why we must be extra diligent. We need to protect ourselves with the armour of God. Buoy one another up. Help those around us. And to know that there is a perfect plan that we may return. Because we are spiritual beings having a worldly experience. Not the other way around. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Church is a safe place.

I've been really hesitant to post this. But I feel like it must be said. I recently watched a church video on anti bullying and then read a mothers blog about how her daughter was bullied in school and in church and how the mother suffered through bullying as well.

I hated high school. And I'm not afraid to admit it, when I was in high school I hated every minute of it.  But it wasn't just high school that I struggled with, I struggled with church.

I was in a ward where I couldn't be myself, not that it stopped me. But I had a friend, who wasn't all that active and was a trouble-maker I'm going to call her M. My mi-maid advisor at the time, pulled me into a presidency meeting and told me I needed to decide on which side of the line I was on. I could be on the right side, or the wrong side. She wanted me to choose a different friend. Her daughter and I were really close, and my other friend wasn't very nice to her. But I always stood up for my friends, thats just how I was. I didn't care if you were my friend, if I thought you were wrong, I straight up told you. I wasn't into the cliques or trying to be popular, (Thank you childhood trauma.)

I remember coming home after that "meeting" in tears, I was so confused; didn't the gospel say to take in every soul. Weren't we supposed to be helping everyone we could. How could I choose the right, by leaving my friend out in the cold. And thats when the bullying started. We had an amazing woman for our YW's president. But there was one councilor that didn't see eye to eye with M. And M wasn't very nice to her daughter, but her daughter wasn't very nice either. So it was just a very intense situation. Anyway this YW's president worked very hard with M at this time to get her active; and she started working on her personal progress; and M grew and blossomed and she was so in love with the gospel and I really felt she was starting to gain her own testimony. She had completely changed but there was still major tension between some of the girls and her.

When the bullying started it was just against her, and then pretty soon; everyone that was in the mi-maid class started ganging up on M. Even though she had gone through an amazing transformation. I over heard one of the councilors saying that M wouldn't remain active at all; after her high school years.

I was 15 at the time, and I was so appalled by these councilors treatment of M, not only was the bullying coming from the YW but the YW leaders. Eventually the YW councilor became the YWs president and thats when all hell broke loose.

Every little thing was out in the open. The girls were mean and vicious; but so were the leaders. There was not a moment when M wasn't harassed by them. And at the same time, we're are being taught to love one another, and to accept another even with their faults.

Apparently when you call out a leader and tell them that their actions are different than from what they are teaching. That gets you on their radar. Now the bullying started on me and M. It was so bad that I started to go to primary where my mom was the pianist. And I'd sit and listen to these little children sing  through my tears. I would leave mutual every week crying, because of the relentless taunting from the others and their parents. I was so hurt, I was friends with these girls, I stood up for them. And now I was treated like dirt because I did the same thing again for another. I stopped going. I hated going to church and I did over half a years worth of make up work for seminary because I refused to go. And then I started going to go to my grandparents ward. I actually got to see how the YW's was supposed to be run, I got to see love and acceptance. And it was beautiful.

When we received notice that our ward was getting dissolved and that the boundary would be split. I was so excited. But then the YW's president for my "new" ward was released and our old one was called in. I was horrified. Here I had all this hope, and for nothing. But then my Laurels advisor was such an amazing woman. And I grew to love her. (So much that I ended up marrying her son.) ;P

Luckily for me I was called to stake youth committee, probably because I wasn't active in my ward. but ehh, it ended up working out. bullying is a very big deal. And its not just within the youth. Leaders can certainly be the cause of it, even just by singling out a youth. Its like a bunch of wolves circling the herd and looking for the weak link. Its unacceptable and it shouldn't be tolerated.

I have seen it in my life, and in the life of those around me. The girl, M is fully active and was sealed in the Temple. We cannot know another's heart nor why they make the decisions that they do. But our youth and our primary are moldable souls. And we need to build them up and nurture them. Not break them down. No matter if they're "troublemakers" or "rambunctious" we need to find the love that our Father has for them, because he still accepts every single one of us even with our faults. We are ALL Gods children. And we should buoy one another up.

Find the good, there is always good in an individual. You just have to try and find it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Best days of my life.

Having two children is crazy. It's draining and half the time I'm lucky to remember to put on the right pair of shoes. I know moms with more than 2, are eye rolling about now. But for me it truly is a roller coaster. I love my children more than anything in this world. And I love being a mother. But even then... I have my moments. But need less to say, these days are the best days of my life. My two year old daughter will never need me as much as she does today. Tomorrow she will have gained a little bit more independence and asserted herself more. She will also be smarter and stronger. Same with my 7 month old. As I sit here and watch my amazing little boy pull himself up, fall and struggle to do it all again. I am reminded that I will never have this moment with him ever again. And it makes me cherish it a little bit more. 
Merrick is a momma's boy through and through. If dad is holding him; he screams. Mom comes and a minute later he's asleep. Although he will always be my little boy. He will never need me as much as today. From the time my babies were born they've been growing strong both physically and mentally. It's exciting and wonderful to be a part of. But it makes me miss all those little moments. In a way, I wish they knew of how much they have accomplished in their short time on earth. 
How much they have taught me. My children have taught me so many things: 
1. How to love
2. How to see the good. 
3. To never give up. 
4. It's ok to not understand. 
5. The best thing is laughter. 

My babies taught me so many things. And even though they learn new skills everyday. I have learned that as a mother you're never too old to be taught by your children. 

They really have taught me how to laugh. Today for instance, Finley comes to me with a big cup filled with ice water. And she pours it all over my leg and my foot. And I'm screaming cause it's so cold. I yell Finley! And she says with a big grin. I got you mommy. I just about died from laughing I said yes you did baby. Good job. 

Sometimes you just have to laugh it off. Because you will never have this moment again. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 26th

Papa's girl!

My wonderful mother and I.
February 26th was a wonderful day for me. And every year, I am reminded of just how special a day can be.  February 26th was the day that I found my forever family. It was a day that changed my life. I would not have the things that I have now if I wasn't surrounded by family. I think its important to realize that when those around you are following the promptings of the Lord, blessings will pour out. And others will be touched. Just as I was.

My mother and father are one of the greatest things in my life. They helped me restore my faith in family and in love. My parents took me in, taught me how to trust and how to love. And that if I wanted to accomplish something; all I had to do was work hard and be tenacious. My parents taught me the meaning of hard work. I never understood before. I remember thinking to myself, that I couldn't achieve the things that I wanted. And I never thought that I could would amount to anything. Of course I was a dinky twelve year old. That had to grow up quickly, and stay that way.

I remember the first time that I truly trusted my father. And I mean dove in and was completely honest. It was the time that my father asked me to tell him what had happened when I was a little girl. With my biological family. Now at this point I am a little girl that for some reason I felt like I had a time bomb on me. Every 5 years; I moved to another place. Another "home". But the truth is it wasn't my home. I finally made it home when I was 12.

When I began to talk to my father about the abuse that I suffered. And I suffered physically, emotionally, and verbally. I was in tears. Every time I talk about what happened in detail. I relive it. And its very difficult. I was terrified that my father would judge me or not want me in his home. There seemed to be so much controversy from others with my parents taking in a troubled 12 year old girl. But I didn't hold back. Maybe it was the tears that filled his eyes, or that I could tell he felt my heart break all over again. But I trusted this man. He was the first man, I ever trusted. And I am so grateful for it. He helped know what I wanted in a husband and in a father. And he truly is my father.

My mother is my best friend. She gets me. And she is an amazing person. My mother is my confidant. She and I can talk for hours. She helped me understand and come to terms with what I suffered through and endured. And she helped me understand that it won't just go away. Everyday can be a challenge. But you just need to be strong enough to get through it and learn from it. And most of all to rely on Heavenly Father to carry you through.

People don't like to hear of child abuse, but I was abused. And I had to cope with it. Learn from it. I suffered from other peoples agency. They chose. I was affected. Our choices effect others. People argue that if there was a God, he wouldn't let us suffer in that way. But the truth is, Heavenly Father will never impede on your agency. He will heal you if you're broken, He will give your life meaning and most of all; he will make you strong.

I was abused as a child, but I am not a victim. I refuse to be. My family made me strong. My family is my strength. How blessed am I! I could let my past define me in the worst ways. But I chose not too. I choose to let it define me in the best ways. In ways that would make my daughter proud. My family has given me hope. My parents taught me so many things, and continue to teach me. My mother tells me every single year happy anniversary. She's never forgotten, and she'll never forget me. Its the best feeling in the world. Two words. Happy anniversary. And I am whole.
 I have such a handsome father.

I finally have the man of my dreams. Thanks mom and dad.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Will you be my valentine?

With Valentines day coming and going, it receives a lot of flack. People either love it or hate it. I happen to love the holiday. Although I don't need any excuse to show my love. It gives me the opportunity to show it. And I can't pass that up!

I never celebrated Vday until I met Michael. I asked him to be my valentine when we first met. He told me no. He was his momma's valentine. (Ouch!) But he started to grow on me. The next time we went to Mexico to visit his mission. We celebrate by giving each other cards, and writing sappy notes in them. And I am so grateful for it.

I've heard lots of people call Vday just another "made up holiday". My response, who cares!? Its a time that is known world wide to grab your loved one and show how much you love them. And yes, of course you don't need a holiday to celebrate or show you love someone. But then aren't all the other holidays we celebrate called into question? I don't want to get into that argument. But if you feel that way, don't hate. Let the others celebrate. Whats the harm to you.

I mentioned earlier, that I am grateful for this time of celebration, because it gives me an opportunity to stop my day to day activities and write my husband something special. It reminds me to show him what I'm grateful for. And I enjoy it.

So for this year, I got Mike a card, and a gift. Nothing very big. And my wonderful husband came home and I received flowers. (Yes, flowers). I have never been more excited about getting flowers. Michael has never bought me flowers. He tends to steal them off of bushes (Sorry random neighbors). And he played a joke on me about a month ago. One of our girls on our water polo team had broken up with her boyfriend and he sent her a huge bouquet with a vase and teddy bears and the whole nine yards. I walked up onto the pool deck and he was holding them. I was thinking what a sweet man! Turns out he was just kidding! lol I was so bummed out. He got me good. So when he got me flowers for Vday. He told me to close my eyes and he came up Finley saw them and said Oh Flowers! (She's got my back) I then opened my eyes to gorgeous flowers. My first bouquet from him and it was so special to me. And hey I love flowers I think they look beautiful.

Finley received a teddy bear
My gorgeous flowers! Awe! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

A daughters love...

Being a mother is the most rewarding thing in my life. Here's a little moment of perfection I'd like to share. After doing a home work out. I was laying on the floor. Dying, and trying to cool down. Finley happened to see my stretch marks on my belly. I have four little patches of scars. 2 from each pregnancy. Finley slowly traced the lines of the scars. And looks at me with concern and asked,"owie mommy?" And I replied yea mommy had owies baby girl. She then looked even more worried and asked if it hurt. I said no sweetie mommy's all better.  

My beautiful, amazing little girl then kissed those scars from bringing her and her brother into this world. And she calmly and proudly said. Now all better mommy. The love in that moment was unspeakable. What I couldn't tell her was I would gladly do it all again. What I couldn't say that those scars remind me of how precious she is too me. Of how lucky I am to be her mother and to have her be in my life. And that I wear my stretch marks proudly. Because every scar has a story, and I received them by bringing her into this world. 

There was so much in that moment I couldn't say. How can my baby show me so much compassion and love. I used to hate those scars. And I thought that I was ugly because I had them. But not anymore. 

My daughter has taught me that I am beautiful. My daughter taught me that life is mesmerizing, and that love is precious. I only hope I can teach her the same. 

What I couldn't tell her then was that to me she was completely worth it. That she has helped me truly know the meaning of love and charity. She is my example. And she is my everything. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Felted dryer balls.

So this is something I have been wanting to buy for a while. As many of you know I cloth diaper. And I really can't use anything to fluff up the inserts in the dryer because it affects the absorbency and they won't wick away moisture as well. So I've been trying to get away from dryer sheets because they leave a residue in your dryer that makes it longer for your clothes to dry. Which gets on my cloth diapers. But man I love that super softness so it took to the web and searched and I found felted dryer balls. 

But one tiny ball was close to $10. And then shipping on top of that. Come on! So I figured. I could make that. How hard could it be. Turns out it was pretty simple. You just have to get the right materials. 

So what you need is 100% wool yarn. Which I got at Joann's for $3. (COUPON!)
Old knee high stockings. 
One skein of yarn made 2 balls.

So you make a little ball of yarn by winding around your first two fingers. Once you get a good amount slide it off you can tie it to secure it if you wish. Then start winding just on the ball. Make it tight. So that it stays together. 
After you've made it the size you want the you use a crochet hook to work the the yarn through the middle of the ball locking it in. You can do this 3/4 times. 
Next you take your knee highs and place the ball in the stocking. Tie the knee high. Then you wash and wash these balls with your laundry. Hot water. High heat. 

I probably washed them about 50 times! Kidding! Felt like it. (See what I did there) just keep washing them until you see little pieces of your yarn felting on the outside of the nylon. Then it should be good. 
Finished product. I think I might make a few more. Oh! The bigger you make the balls the longer they take to felt. 
I'm in love 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Family time.

Finley has been very successful with potty training and I'm so grateful. I was very intimidated by the whole concept. I mean it's not like I remember my experience! 
We've started playing our league games, the girls are 1-2 for win loss record. We're very proud of all their hard work and dedication. It such a rewarding time being able to coach these girls. We are so lucky and very blessed. 
Merrick is still on verge of beginning to crawl, anytime now. He has two teeth now and is getting over his cold slowly. If it persists the doctor wants to try an inhaler. He might have asthma. Hopefully he shakes this cold right off. 
Finley now stomps all the time. But what makes my day is when she sings along in the car. We'll be driving and a song comes on the the radio and she mimics my singing. She doesn't know the words but she makes up her own. It's so fun. She loves to drive with the window down and feel the wind on her face. We've taken her swimming already. Yes. Thats right. In the middle of January, I love SoCal. We're planning on going to legoland soon we've got some comp tickets. Thanks mom and dad!! She loved it.  
Michael is doing well. Hopefully we will be finding out soon about school acceptances. I hate the waiting game. Drives me crazy. 
I'm making a baby blanket for my next door neighbor who is expecting in February. I love crocheting. There's so much I can do! I've already got some future momma's as well that I need to make some for. 
Merrick is a toe sucker. He manages to suck his own toes but one time he rolled onto Mike's foot, and started sucking on Michael's toe!! Aw it was hysterical  I couldn't stop laughing, my baby boy is a riot. He's so calm and gentle. 
Mike and I were able to attend the temple last week. It was such a joyous experience. We've decided to try and attend every month and to provide our own names in the process. I enjoy doing family history very much.  I think we might get up to the snow for the babies. But life is good and we are very happy. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

All Aboard!!

Life just has a way of taking off!
Merrick is such a joy he's already trying to crawl. He rolls around to get to Finley's toys and loves to munch on her building blocks. She doesn't seem to mind too much. More often then not, you can hear Fin saying go Merrick! when he's trying to crawl around. She is an amazing big sister. She makes sure that he is taken care of. He adores her and she always tells him how much she loves him. And Merrick gets the most kisses from her by far. Mike and I are doing well. We live in a new place. We've got a washer and dryer and an attached garage! Wohoo! Its the small things you know. Merrick is sleeping 5+ hours a night. He would sleep from 8pm to 8am. But since he got this nasty cold from Mike and I being in nursery he wakes up. It does seem to be getting better. He's had it since November so hopefully he'll be 100% very soon. I know babies immune system are practically a myth! But we have him on medicine and its helping. Finley and I are potty training. And it sucks. We're taking a break and we'll start again on Monday. She's funny because she just holds it. And holds it. For hours. But the minute I stop asking. BAM all over the floor. But we'll get there. I just have to truly commit to it. And thats hard, cause we are always out of the house. But I'm going to have to be a hermit for a week… 2 weeks… a year….  Who knows. Mike is working at J&N Automotive. My dads shop. He is also coaching Girls Water Polo right now. He loves it. Mike has applied to colleges for Mathematics and he wants to do teaching. Hopefully we hear back soon. Mike is a wonderful father. He loves spending time with the kids. He is the one who tucks Fin in at night because she misses him so much. I love it. And she loves to snuggle with him. He also helps with Merrick when he wakes up at night. Sometimes its a two man job! We are so in love with our children and its so wonderful to see them grow and do new things. Finley has a best friend named Kai. He loves dinosaurs as does she now. And they play dinosaur together. At the park, in the car, in sacrament meeting… you know you gotta do what you gotta do. This new year is exciting for us. So many changes and new things coming up. We've got so many plans. I am currently serving in the Relief society as the secretary. Man oh man. Its busy, overwhelming, and hectic. But so far I am completely in love with it. Its totally my thing. I know I can do it and bring lots of new ideas to the table. Plus our relief society is pretty legit. So thats a high note.

I've been doing some research and getting names for the Temple. From my biological line and Mike's dads line. I plan to drop them off so that the youth have the opportunity to put in some temple work and then Mike and I plan on doing the rest. I think we might start going to the Temple once every three months or maybe even more if I can keep up with the genealogy.  Life is good in the McGowen home and we are living it up. We are in an amazing ward full of caring and loving individuals. And we are so happy.