Sunday, January 29, 2017

Being Perfect is Impossible - But that's OK

In my last blog post I got a lot of feedback from other exmormons, specifically about this comment I made, “telling anyone to try to become perfect is awful. It’s creates a horrible cycle of guilt and self doubt. Discovering I didn’t have to live for anyone except myself was so freeing. I can be who I want to be without worrying if I am perfect or not.” I realized I could write a whole blog post on just this.

My first bump picture, pregnant with Rose
every one assumed I would give her up. 
The Mormon Church teaches that you must try everyday to be perfect, and eventually become perfect to get into the best part of heaven. According to Mormons there are three levels of heaven and in the highest level there are three levels within that level. To get to the very top, you need to be baptized, married in the Mormon temple, and become perfect. Anything else is subpar. The other levels are almost talked about with an air of disgust around them. They are nowhere near as “glorious” as the top.

I have always found this incredibly intimidating. When I believed in an afterlife it was the only thing I thought about. I was told if I didn’t make it to the top I couldn’t be with my family. The Mormon Church is one of the few religions that actually teaches that families might not be together in the afterlife.

This is super stressful. There is a reason Utah is in the top 10 most depressed states. Telling someone they need to be perfect creates a cycle of guilt and self doubt. The cycle goes like this...

  1. You are told you need to become perfect.
  2. You try your best because the afterlife you get depends on it.
  3. You slip up, small or big it doesn’t matter, you’re not perfect.
  4. The guilt sets in.
  5. You repent.
  6. You do your best, but make the same slip up again, you’re human.
  7. The guilt sets in again but this time self doubt follows.
  8. The self doubt overcomes you, because no matter how hard you try, you always slip up, because being perfect is impossible.
  9. The guilt that your family will not be eternal weighs on your shoulders.

Then things start all over again back at number one. The cycle goes round and round and the only way to break it is to wonder what type of God is up there if there and if one even exists.

The adorable Rosalie. I love being a mom.
I am so glad I kept her. She was a few days old here.
I battled with this cycle throughout my entire youth. It was not until I made a “big slip up” that I began to wonder if there was a God. It was not until I didn’t want to repent. The mistake I made could not be erased and I didn’t want it to be. I got pregnant and within days someone from The Mormon Church’s LDS family services was at my parents’ house telling me what my options were. No one asked me what I wanted. And when my decision to keep my baby and work it out with her father was made clear, the guilting started. I got excommunicated from The Mormon Church, for not cooperating. My dad told me he was sad I was no longer a part of his eternal family. That was when I had my moment of clarity. What type of god would tell a father to tell his daughter after she dies they will never see each other again? What god would rip apart families because someone made a mistake and took a different path? It was then that I began to question if there was a god at all. If one did exist, he must be very cruel and sadistic.

It took a good while for me to realize I didn’t need to feel guilty for getting pregnant and wanting to keep my baby. It took me a long time to not feel guilty about “tearing my eternal family apart” because I didn’t. It took me a long time to not feel guilt for my family’s emotions. For some people after leaving The Mormon Church it takes them a long time to not feel guilty after having a glass of wine.

Feeling guilty all the time sucks. Oddly enough now that I have broken away from the cycle of failed perfection and guilt, I am much more honest with myself and everyone else around me. Now that I know all the things The Mormon Church says are bad, are actually normal, I don’t feel the need to lie about them. I don’t even remember the last time I told someone a white lie, because I don’t need to. I don’t feel guilty about my sex life, my sexuality, having an alcoholic beverage a few times a week, or even wearing a tank top (because yes, Mormons think shoulders are sinful).
Rose and me a days ago. Whenever I do my
make up she asks me to draw a heart on each hand.
I am glad I was excommunicated.
Living a life always wondering if you are good enough is not fun. I have realized there is no god, and I am much happier. I only have to be good enough for myself. The only time I feel guilty is when I cheat on a diet, or when I occasionally lose my shit and snap at my kids. It’s ok. I am myself every day. I don’t try to be anything I’m not. I am a perfectly imperfect Megan, warts and all.

I don’t think there is a man in the sky judging my actions. I do what makes me feel happy and proud. I do service because it makes me happy, not because it will earn me cookie points in heaven, or my religion tells me to. I live for the now because there is nothing after. I worry about making the world a better place because my children and grandchildren will live here.

Be yourself! It doesn’t matter what other people think! There is not an invisible magician in the sky judging you!

Thanks for reading!    

Friday, January 20, 2017

I am Bisexual

I am bisexual. In layman's terms, I am attracted to both men and women. I have had feelings towards women for as long as I can remember, but it has only been the past few years of my life I have felt comfortable accepting it, talking about it, and acting on it.  

This will probably come as a shock to most my readers. It was not something I could put words to until recently. The past few years of my life have been very developmental for me. Being excommunicated from The Mormon Church and figuring out what I believe in has been a huge part of learning to accept me for me.

But before I really get into all the “why’s” I want to clarify what being bisexual means to me (my definition is more than likely different than someone else's, which is perfectly fine).

Being bisexual does not mean I love my husband any less than someone who is straight. It just means when I see a sexy person walking down the street that person may be a man or that person may be a woman. Just because that person is sexy and I'm attracted to them does not mean I'm going to cheat on my husband. It does not mean that I don't feel fulfilled in my  relationship with my husband emotionally or sexually. It just means, I can be just as attracted to a woman as man in anyway. Whether that be, physically, intellectually, or sexually.

Being bisexual doesn’t mean I am attracted to every woman I meet. Straight people aren’t attracted to every person of the opposite gender they come across. Look at it the same way.

Now that I am “open” or “out” please don’t treat me differently. I am the same person I have always been. Just because you know something new about me does not mean I am different. I am still Megan. I feel weird needing to say this but I know even after saying this some people will still treat me differently.

RJ is very supportive of me being bisexual. He loves me for me and I absolutely love him for that. I am so glad I found him. No one else could understand me the way he does. Now into all the “why’s”...

Growing up in The Mormon Church I was taught sexual feelings were bad. I wasn't supposed to explore my sexuality by myself, or with anyone else. We were taught “God” had given us all these amazing feelings and body parts but were not supposed to do anything about them until we were married (and they told us this all the time). It was hard to understand why these feelings were so strong before I got married. Why did I even have them if I wasn’t supposed to use them until after I had gotten married in The Mormon Temple? Did something happen in The Temple that changed things? It was impossible for me to understand.

Coping with my sexual feelings as a teen was really difficult. I was super horny (like most teens are), and this caused me to feel guilty alot. I wanted to explore. I wanted to learn everything I could about myself. I masturbated, I felt guilty. I thought sexually about boys, I felt guilty. I fooled around with boys, I felt really guilty. I thought sexually about girls and I felt extremely guilty. I had all these feelings and emotions and I didn't understand why a “loving God” would tell me they were bad, when they felt so natural.

Feeling guilty all the time sucked. I always thought I was doing something wrong, and I wasn’t good enough. Mormons are always told to, “strive for perfection”. As a teen when sexual feelings were really intense and impossible to resist, I thought I would never be good enough. As an adult looking back, telling anyone to try to become perfect is awful. It’s creates a horrible cycle of guilt and self doubt. Discovering I didn’t have to live for anyone except myself was so freeing. I can be who I want to be without worrying if I am perfect or not.    

I never want my children to feel the way I felt growing up. My parents did not know how I felt, and I didn’t know how they would have reacted if I had told them. I was afraid of their reaction. I hope I can raise my children in an environment where they can be themselves. I want them to grow up knowing who they are. Not figuring it out later. I want them to know it’s ok to be whoever they want to be even if that’s not what they/I expected.   

I'm here to tell everyone out there these feelings are normal. There is nothing wrong with you! Exploring your sexuality responsibly will not send you to hell or hurt anyone. Find someone to talk to. I believe if someone had told me these feelings were normal and not feelings from “Satan” I would have been happier as a teen (I’m sure I looked happy from the outside but on the inside but I had a lot going through my head. P.S. Mom, I was not depressed).

It took me a very long time to realize that any feelings I have towards women are not bad. I regularly wonder what my life would be like if I had gone through my teenage, hormone filled years in an environment that accepted all sexual orientations. I am sad for people who are influenced by others around them to hide how they feel sexually, or are pushed and told there is only one way (again I am so lucky RJ is understanding and loves me for me). No one is the same, that’s what makes us all so amazing. No one is perfect, but no one needs to be.  

I hope that opening up helps others who are struggling with their sexuality. It’s OK to be attracted to any gender, multiple genders, or no one at all. It’s not a disease or something you can change. It is part of your DNA, like your hair color. You might be able to mask the color but you will always be a brunette or a blonde.  

I am happy to be a listening ear for anyone who needs one, and I am willing to answer any questions anyone has for me. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Binky Ditching 101

I have been able to get both my girls to part with their binkies just after they turned one. There are a few things I did that helped make the transition easy. I thought about sharing this awhile back but I didn’t know if it would work on Heather. Now that I got Heather to ditch the binky too I think this is a method that will work on more than just my children.

Heather dragging her blanket around the house today. 
I need to put a big disclaimer here... Neither of my girls ever took a bottle. They were pretty much only breastfeed from the breast. If I did need to leave one of them at home they drank breast milk straight out of a cup, from a straw, or a sippy cup with a hard top. We tried pretty hard to get Heather to take a bottle and she refused. Just keep in mind, if you bottle fed your little one this method may or may not work for you, I have no idea.

Also, both my girls were completely transitioned to whole milk when we got rid of binkies. They were being sent to bed with a sippy cup of milk, I think they were falling asleep drinking milk and not looking for binkies after they had finished their milk. I do not know how this would work if you are still breastfeeding.

The biggest thing going for this method, is that most one year olds most do not have a word for binky yet. They cannot/do not know how to ask for it. If we would have waited till later than 12 months with Heather I think speech would have been a problem. Heather has a lot of words now that she is 14 going on 15 months old. I am glad we got her off the binky when we did.

Here are the steps I have used to ditch the binky.

  1. Attach your child to something other than a binky. A blanket, a lovey, a stuffed animal, whatever your child gravitates to most.

Preparing to get rid of the binky starts day one. Day one as in the day your baby is born. Your child needs something other than a pacifier to soothe him/her. Rose has a knit blanket that she takes everywhere with her. Heather has a minky blanket with silky borders that I made. My daughters are usually attached to a stuffed animal of some sort as well, but those rotate. Their blankets are always with them.
Heather getting snuggles with her blanket and favorite
stuffed dolly. 

The step is critical. It’s important that your child has something other than a binky that makes them feel secure. You do not want to take away their only security item. It will not go well if they only thing they depend on to soothe them is the thing you take away.

Attempt to soothe your child with with their alternative object before giving them a binky. A snuggle with a blanket or stuffed animal might be just what they need. If they are soothed with their blanket more they will naturally prefer it over the binky.

2. Approaching your child’s first birthday try to cut down on binky time, save it for naps, bedtime, car rides. Then limit to naps and bedtime. When/if your child begins to lose interest in their binky make sure to act quickly. You never know how long the window will last.  

Rose was around 15 months when we took her binky away. I actually forgot to put her to bed with a binky one night. She slept the entire night so we gathered up all the binkies and went cold turkey. Rose did just fine without a binky from then on. I believe she got sick the next week so I am unsure if the fussing was because the binky was gone or if she battling the cold.

With Heather we purposely put her to bed without a binky one night, we gathered all her binkies and put them away. She slept that whole night. The next night she woke up around 5 and was a little off. I am unsure if that was because we got rid of the binkies or if it was because she was seriously teething. It’s been over a month now and she has really really bonded to her blanket.  

3. Go cold turkey.

Rose still need snuggles with her blanket all the time. 
The night you decide to ditch the binky clear your child’s crib and bedroom of all binkies. After putting your little one to bed scavenge the house, car, stroller for any spare binkies and hide them up high in a cabinet.

4. Be strong.

If your little one is really fussy try not to give up. Try a new blanket or maybe an extra stuffed animal. The goal is to switch the binky with something else. You want your little one to feel secure and comforted.

We try not to backtrack at all costs no matter what we are doing in the Ayres house. So far it has worked well (except for potty training, but that’s a whole other post).

Both Heather and Rose love their blankets. Heather has been dragging hers around with her every where the past few weeks and it’s adorable.

I hope this method works for other people out there. It has worked amazingly for us. RJ’s previous daughter had a binky much much too old. He was ecstatic when we accidently got Rose to ditch hers early. I am very glad this method worked for Heather too. Hopefully we will never have two children with binkies at once.

Thanks for reading. Keep an eye out for my next blog post It will be a good one!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pimm's and Gin Cup Recipe

I am still a newbie when it comes to alcohol. For the first 19 years of my life I was a Mormon, and when I turned 21 I was pregnant. The majority of my legal drinking life has been restricted one way or another. This past year (mostly) has been my largest period of time I have been able to explore alcohol. I love trying new drinks, and pairing foods with with drinks. Alcohol is not all about getting drunk, it can really elevate a meal. However, this drink is pure enjoyment for its taste alone.

Recently, I discovered I like gin. I had my first gin and tonic (g&t) a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I was looking up different gin drinks and recipes and found one for a “Gin cup”, which is a spin off a Pimm’s cup. Pimm’s is a gin based fruity liqueur. In my early alcohol days I really enjoyed Pimms and ginger ale, as my palate developed, it became too sweet. When I saw a recipe for a “Gin cup” I was extremely excited, because I can now enjoy the taste of Pimm’s matured with gin. It’s perfect.

I have perfected this recipe for my taste. I think this is the perfect amount of sweet and tart. For a sweeter drink leave out the tonic water. For a more tart drink, add less ginger ale and more tonic water. Have fun experimenting with it and making it perfect for your tastebuds.


50ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
25ml Pimm’s #1
60ml Schweppes ginger ale
15-20ml Schweppes tonic water
1 lemon wedge
1 mint leaf (optional)
½ of an orange wheel sliced in half (optional)
1 cucumber slice (optional)
1 strawberry or 3 raspberries (optional)


A short glass
A non metallic stirrer. Like a glass cocktail stirrer. I always have plastic baby spoons around, they work perfectly to stir cocktails!
Most importantly you need a small measuring cup. I found a 5-ounce Anchor glass measuring cup at Walmart for about two dollars. I use it all the time for measuring small amounts of liquids.  


Prep all of your ingredients. Chill your gin in the freezer, chill your ginger ale and tonic water in the fridge (Pimm’s stays on the counter at room temp).

Slice your fruits. I just use whatever I have on hand. The lemon is most important in my opinion, the orange is also pretty flavor changing, the rest of the fruits and herbs do add flavor but the drink is still very good without them.

Fill your short glass about ⅔ full with ice.

Add the orange, cucumber, and berries to the glass.

Measure and pour your gin into the glass, then your Pimms.

Next measure and pour your ginger ale and tonic water.

Last, give it a good stir and garnish with mint leaf, and lemon.    

Enjoy responsibly!

I love this drink, it is definitely a girly drink, but it is a less sweet, more boozy version of the traditional Pimm’s cup.

I plan on posting more drink recipes in the future, but knowing me I will get pregnant in the near future and drinking will be postponed. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Best Doctored Chocolate Cake with Fudgy Icing

My sister first introduced me to a glorious cake recipe quite a few years ago. I have recently finished perfecting it to for me and my kitchen. It took me so long because I refuse to make it too often because we will eat the entire cake if we do not have company or a party to bring the cake to.   

The first time I attempted this icing I totally fucked it up. It’s not foolproof like butter cream or a simple glaze. Take your time and make sure you have enough ingredients that you can throw it away once and try again just in case.
I will be posting better photos as soon as I bake another cake.

The cake is easy and delicious it comes out perfectly every time. It is the only chocolate cake I ever bake. I prefer to bake this in a bundt tin but I have cooked in 6, and 8 inch tins, and even as cupcakes. You will need to adjust baking times but I have never had this cake seriously flop in any pan.  


Cake Batter

1 Devil's food cake mix
1 small (3 oz) package of instant chocolate (or chocolate fudge) pudding mix
1 cup (8oz) of sour cream (full fat works best, I usually buy an 8 oz just for the cake. It makes for easy measuring)
1 cup of vegetable oil
½ cup of milk (I use whole because I have it on hand but I have made it with skim and it turns out just fine)   
4 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla
1 pinch of salt
¼ cup of mini semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)

For the Icing

1 stick (½ cup) of unsalted butter
2 Tbsp of cocoa powder
2 cups of confectioners (powdered) sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
1-4 Tbsp of milk (I usually pour out about ¼ cup into a liquid measuring cup just to make things easier.)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl (I use my Kitchenaid stand mixer with the whisk attachment), add all the cake batter ingredients to the bowl, except the chocolate chips, and mix thoroughly. Fold in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. I usually fold the batter a few times with a spatula even if I didn't add chocolate chips to make sure everything was mixed completely. Sometimes at the very bottom of my bowl I find some dry cake mix.   

Lick the beaters...
With crisco or butter, grease a bundt tin, then sprinkle it with cocoa powder. Shake the excess cocoa powder out of pan into the sink. I bang it a couple of times on side of the sink to make sure there is not too much excess cocoa.  I always grease and powder my pan just as an extra precaution to make sure my cake comes out of the pan perfectly, I know some bakers who omit this step.

Pour batter into the greased and powdered pan. Bake in your 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. I use a long wooden skewer to check the cake for doneness. A toothpick works just as well.

Once the cake has had a few minutes to cool turn it out onto a cake stand.

After the cake has had 10-20 minutes to cool begin to make the icing. Make sure you give your cake sufficient time to cool, the icing looks best if poured on a mostly cooled cake. If the cake is too hot the icing will just melt and run down the sides.

To make the Icing you need a medium sized pan, and all your ingredients measured and prepped. I do not always prep my ingredients for every recipe, but when you have something on the stove that cannot wait for you to grab the sugar out of the pantry, or the milk out of the fridge, it is very important to have your ingredients ready to go right next to your work station.

Over medium low heat melt your butter, just as it begins to bubble whisk in the cocoa.

When butter cocoa mixture is smooth heat till it simmers/bubbles a tiny bit, turn the heat to low.

Add about half the confectioners sugar. Whisk till somewhat incorporated, then add the rest of the confectioners sugar. At this point it will clump and look awful. Don’t worry it will be ok.

Add your vanilla and a tiny bit of milk. Be careful not to add too much, put in less than one tablespoon at first. Whisk and whisk till it begins to smooth out.

Occasionally the butter will begin to separate, if that happens add a bit of milk rather than powdered sugar. It seems counter intuitive but it always works for me.

You want the icing to be somewhat thick not runny. If it is runny add a bit more confectioners sugar about one tablespoon at a time (also make sure it’s not too hot). This takes practice. It might take you a few tries to get the consistency just right to your liking, and for the temperature of your kitchen.

Pour your icing over the cake and enjoy. It will not last long!    

I plan on doing a video tutorial for this icing in the near future, which I think will be very helpful.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we do. Thanks for reading!