Sunday, May 31, 2009

Annabel Rides a Horse!

This weekend we got to spend some time on my uncle's farm up near South Bend. Annabel rode a horse for the first time and LOVED it! She kept asking "more, please!" My uncle Paul was exhausted by the time Annabel was done riding! :) I was so proud of her, because I didn't expect her to like it! (She's not exactly what you would call a dare-devil:)

She did not, however, enjoy petting the horses!

 Mommy gets on

 We even trotted a little, which she LOVED! She was yelling, "vroom, vroom!"

My beautiful cousin Emma

 Annabel was even excited to be on the horse all alone!

For the past couple weeks I've been working on my first-ever quilt. It's not quite done, but here's a sneak peek:

It's a pretty simple pattern, but I love the fabrics and the bright, cheerfulness of it. I'm running into a problem piecing it all together, though. Some of the squares are slightly larger or smaller, so the strips aren't lining up perfectly. Ugh. I'm not sure what to do, except just accept that it's not going to be perfect. It may be kind of obvious though. Hmmm...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sexuality Part II

"Can I just say as the mother of sons.... It takes two to tango. And anyone who would say that having boys is better, or easier than having girls just doesn't get it. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my boys, and I'm proud to say that they are find young men.) Do they think our boys are lusting after every girl just because they have a - *GASP* dare I say it PENIS - ??? PLEASE. It takes just as much energy and time and parenting skill to teach a young boy to be honorable and keep it in his pants as it does to teach a young girl to not put themselves on display, to dress modestly, and to keep their legs together. "

"Can I voice my opinion? :) As another Christian parent, I'm already praying for my daughters' purity and for them to meet Godly men to marry. And in the meantime, I am going to teach them about sexuality, but also about being modest and pure."

I'm posting the comments to my previous post here because I want to comment on the comments, but not in the "comment" section! 
First, I just want to say thanks for the feedback! I love to get people thinking about this topic, and when you get kind of fired up, it just means you have strong beliefs. I think that's awesome. Please don't think you're going to offend me by leaving comments or even disagreeing with what I say. I've developed a pretty tough skin being in my profession! :) Also, my opinions are what they are. I'm not so arrogant to think that they are always right or that they will always stay the same. They aren't the same as they were three years ago, and certainly aren't the same as 8 or 10 years ago. And I fully accept that my opinions (especially on this topic) tend to be more liberal than most (Christian) people's, and I'm okay with that. 
Paula- I totally agree! I think part of the point I was trying to make is that it isn't any easier to raise boys than girls. It's not a gender issue! 

I think what gets me is that I feel that there is so much shame wrapped into the sexuality issue, especially when it is taught in the Christian homes. I feel good to say that it wasn't this way in my home growing up, or even in my youth group. Where I started feeling the pressure of sexuality and shame was at Bible college. Anyone who has been to a conservative Christian school will understand what I'm talking about, or even if you were brought up in an ultra-conservative church. There is so much pressure put on girls to remain "pure" and be modest that girls are terrified to express any sexuality at all, lest it cause a brother to "stumble." I don't think that's fair. It's not fair to put the responsibility of a man sinning on the actions of women. I feel we should have the right to be who we are without the uncertainty or shame of causing another to sin. 

I do understand that men are stimulated differently than women. I get that. But I also think every person, man or woman, has to be responsible for their thoughts, actions, etc. 

I think the problem with the way we teach purity is that we expect girls to be demure, burlap-covered, non-sexual creatures until their wedding night. Until that point, thinking about, fantasizing, touching, and any kind of sexual "temptation" is 100% wrong. Shameful. Sinful. Then the veil is lifted and we are expected to please our husbands in any way they need or want. But it doesn't work that way, does it? There's no magic switch we can turn that undoes 20+ years of the opposite teaching.

And the same goes for guys! I've talked with so many young (and older) men that struggle with being intimate with their wives because as a child there was so much shame associated with masturbation or wet dreams (can I say that here?). And Christian young men have had it drilled into their heads that "you don't lust", and consequently have a difficult time being okay with lusting after their own wife. 

So anyway, I'm not saying that we tell them it's okay to lust. And I don't pretend to have all the answers about how it should be done. But I know there's got to be a better way than how it is right now. I see too many people who can not reconcile Christianity and sexuality to think that Christian parents are doing a good job of this. That's all I'm trying to say.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Phone pictures

I just learned how to email myself the pictures from my phone! Ok, so I'm a bit behind in the times, but what a fun thing! Since I've had this phone for 2+ years, there's a lot on here that I don't have pictures of otherwise.
So I'll share some of them:)

Here are some from before Annabel was born. I think I was about 5 months pregnant and we went to Florida on vacation with my parents.

Catching and cleaning a baby shark

This isn't a shark- can't remember what it was now! Actually, looking at it, I think it is a giant catfish! Blech! 

Ahhh, pregnancy glory- chubby thighs and all!

Those lovely lady lumps (or is it bumps?)
 My mom - the windblown look;)

This picture is so my dad! 

Then there are some later pictures, including this random one of my preggo belly:

And after the blessed event:

And as she grows:

Probably a few days/weeks old

At least 5 months old, because thats when I started using cloth diapers...

highchair time!

Is this what they call "ridin' dirty?"

Her hair is sticking up from the static on our couch!

Older still...

And these were just a couple weeks ago at random playground...

And yesterday we had to kill some time at the college, so I let Annabel explore the statues and take off her shirt and run through the sprinklers! What fun!

She does this all the time now! Just since the other day...

And some other random pics from throughout the past couple years...

My friends Annie and Lynne from our case manager days when we would sneak trips to Starbucks... I miss those girls! (p.s. This is kind of a goofy picture of Lynne. She's actually quite atractive:)

And this one of my beds out front when I first planted them (I think I was pregnant). I thought it was neat to see since I just posted those pics of how they look now! :)

And last but not least, I like to take pictures of myself, apparently!

Maybe next time I won't wait two years to "develop" my phone pictures! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Pet Peeve

You know what really bugs me? When people say that boys are so much easier than girls or how they would rather have a boy because "you have to worry about girls getting pregnant." I think if I hear that one more time I might scream! 

Obviously, I wouldn't want my daughter(s) to be sexually promiscuous, but I wouldn't want that for my sons either. I'm actually excited about being able to teach Annabel about what it means to be a woman and to be feminine, as well as to have a healthy view of sexuality. 

I'm tired of people talking about my daughter's sexuality- scratch that-  women's sexuality as though it were a liability! Why can't we embrace the fact that we are all sexual beings and celebrate that rather than fear it?

Recently, in a class, we were discussing how we, the women in the class, were taught about our femininity and what messages were taught to us about our sexuality as young women. It was such an interesting discussion, and it really got me thinking about this subject. As the mother of a little girl, this is something that is especially dear to my heart. In a society that is so sex-driven and explicit, how will I raise this child to be confident in her femininity and sexuality, while at the same time protecting her sweet, girlish innocence?

I think one place that we as Christians go wrong is that we fail to integrate any positive aspects of sexuality when educating our children. From what I've observed, we tend to preach only "wait, wait, wait," and "modesty, modesty" while failing to recognize that sexuality is a healthy, positive part of the human experience. And- gasp- dare I say it? Is it possible that we are sexual beings even before we are married? No, that can't be. I can't believe the thought even crossed my mind. 

Anyway, if you are the parents of boys, or not yet a parent, please do not say to us mothers of girls that we "have our work cut out for us." I think we know that anyway. But just because my child had the misfortune to be born with a vagina does not mean that she will end up with her own child before she is out of high school! 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

A couple evenings ago, Annabel enjoyed spending some time outside with her daddy. I thought she was so cute in her little pink short-alls! It's hard to resist taking pictures of such a cutie-pie :)

The next day I took advantage of Annabel being in daycare and worked on my flower beds. I think I planted over 25 plants! My good friend Angie let me split a bunch of her plants, which is the best way to get new plants! 

Sorry to bore you with the details, but I'm going to! I'm so proud of my newfound green thumb. 
So here's my rose bush, which is doing beautifully-

And some lillies I transplanted:

 And the best new thing around here- my mother's day present!! Check it out...

 Derek was so sweet and bought me some patio furniture. So far we've eaten outside at least once every day! I absolutely love it. I wish we would have bought some 5 years ago:)

Over the weekend Derek's parents Fred and Sue came to visit (Memorial Day weekend). We enjoyed some quality time and good food. 

Annabel really had fun with her cousin Morganne. They played well together! It's fun to see their similarities and differences. 

Last night Derek and I went to Kmart and Meijers to look for outdoor toys. I'm not one of those mamas who buys a lot of toys for her baby, but as she gets a little older and her activity preferences change and mature, it becomes necessary! So we got lots of bubbles, finger paints, her first coloring book and a life jacket for when we go swimming at the neighbors! She's loving being outside as much as we are. I'm still looking for a (cheap) sandbox and a little slide. I'm hoping to get lucky at some yard sales this summer:)

Here are some other random picks from the week:

 Not sure why she's so upset! 

 But it's all better now! :)

  Hanging out with Grandma Sue in her adorable little shorts and tank top! 
Please can we go outside??

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Home Where She Belongs

Friday I went to pick up Annabel after a long week away at Grandma's. My mom and I met in Indy at the Trader Joe's. I love that store! I got there first, and as I saw them pull up, I could see Annabel see me and she was clapping her hands. That made me glad, because I wasn't sure how she would react after being gone so long. But the first thing she did when I got her out was give me a BIG KISS and a hug for a long time. Wow! It was so good to have her squishy, squirmy little self back in my arms. After shopping, we got some picnic stuff and headed to a park in the Carmel area. Wow- it was probably the nicest park I have ever seen! It was on 116th St, near all the really nice subdivisions. If you ever have to kill time on this side of Indy, I definitely recommend this park! There are water fountains to play in, awesome slides and a rope climbing thing. Annabel had a blast. I love parks. 

This isn't a real culvert (at least I don't think so). It was an underground tunnel system- pretty cool! 

She quickly ditched the "baby slide" for the giant slides!!

The rope climby thing and the giant slide Annabel went down all be herself!