Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Out and About

Over the weekend our friends Kevin and Rachelle took us to the Indiana Repertory Theater and then to St. Elmo’s for dinner. We had such a great time with them and their friends, Nathan and Amber. We saw Shakespeare’s 12th Night. It was a really funny play—the acting was terrific and modern music and dance was interspersed. At first I wasn’t sure about the song and dance, but it quickly started to all fit together really well, and made the play more humorous. It’s amazing what people do with Shakespeare. Here’s a picture I stole from Kevin’s blog.

We also went to lunch on Sunday to the Iron Skillet for Grandma S’s birthday. I’d previously heard lots of talk about family gatherings at the Iron Skillet and now I can understand them, having experienced it myself. It was great because all 22 (yes, that’s twenty-two) of us, including three babies/toddlers were able to sit at the table together! The meal was like a holiday feast, with course after course being served. (I’m still full from eating that lunch.) I only regret that I didn’t bring my camera to take a picture of this memorable event.

Gov. Daniels

Although I belong to the same political party as Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, the more I hear about him the less I like him. There are basically two reasons for this:

1) Earlier this year Daniels made a big push for all-day kindergarten. Excuse me, but this very issue was championed by far-left Democrats in California recently. It baffles me that a Republican is pushing for this—definitely not what I would have expected. Essentially this issue is about free (paid-by-the-state) daycare. Why is it one of Daniels’ top priorities to expand government programs and encourage mothers to be separated from their five-year-old kids for a full day, when otherwise many mothers would opt to spend more time with their young children?

2) Today I heard on the radio that Daniels was “surprised and disappointed” that the legislature failed to pass a tax hike on cigarettes. He was hoping to use the 25-cent per pack hike to expand government health care programs. We also recently faced this issue in the California legislature—and, again, it was the Democrats who supported it and the Republicans who opposed it. Last time I checked, I thought Republicans believed in a) limited government, b) keeping taxes down, and c) personal freedom (i.e., that the government should refrain from micromanaging personal decisions). Although I personally think that smoking is an unwise choice, I don’t think the government should reach in and hike the taxes on someone’s personal choices, just because those choices happen to be politically incorrect.

Until Daniels proves himself to be something other than a liberal in Republican clothing, I doubt he’ll be getting my vote.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What Wasn't Said

I recently went to a lovely bridal shower where several older, married women shared advice with the bride-to-be. The advice was great. This post is definitely not to criticize anything that was said. The purpose of this post is to raise a question about something that wasn’t said.

During the “give-advice-to-the-bride time,” with only Christian women in the room, nothing was said about sex. Come to think about it, I’ve been to many Christian bridal showers where advice was given but never, in my experience, has this topic been raised.

Am I the only one who, during this advice time, is thinking about the unmentioned “elephant in the room”? We all know what brides and grooms do. We also know that sex is a source of conflict for most couples, especially during their first year of marriage. Isn’t it relevant, after all?

Young women are already getting sexual messages from the world—when they turn on the television, drive on the road, stand in line at the grocery store, and also from their friends. Why is it that the Christian community is so averse to talking about it publicly when it’s already a part of everyone’s public lives?

WHOM should we best hear about sex from—older, godly women who can give us truthful messages about the subject or worldly influences and misinformed peers?

Why is it so hard, when talking about how money can be a problem your first year of marriage, to say that sex can be a problem too and you need to communicate about this area and be patient and persistent in working it out.

Why is it so hard, when telling a bride-to-be that she needs to respect her husband, to say that sex (like respect) is a need—both a physical and emotional one—that men have.

Kevin asked me if, given the chance, would I broach the subject at a shower. I told him that I likely would but, honestly (and unfortunately), it would have required some gut.

How do a lot of Christian young women learn about sex? The overwhelming majority of my friends learned about the “facts of life” in only ONE conversation with their mothers (a few friends told me their mothers didn’t even do this), and then learned everything else they know about sex from worldly sources.

My mom told me and my sister about sex after we heard the word “rape” on television and asked her what it was. I was about seven at the time. We didn’t talk about sex again until shortly before I got married and basically it was only a passing sentence so my mom could give me a book to read. I’m really grateful she did this but I do think that there definitely should have been a better history of conversations.

I think it’s imperative for Christian women to get past their discomfort and take initiative in talking about this important subject. They need to provide information, accountability, and encouragement to young women.

I hope that I can have conversations about sex with Meredith early and often, even if it means I have to dig through Teen Magazine and ask her what she thinks, is that biblical, etc., in order to initiate conversation. (But, because sex is so center-stage in our world, I don’t think it will even be that hard to initiate conversation, if I look for opportunities and am unafraid.) I also hope that other godly women in Meredith’s life will have the courage and grace to have biblically-based conversations with her on this topic too, especially when she is a young adult and needs truthful messages and accountability.

Some people might say that all sex conversations should be in private. I disagree. Obviously you need to be tactful—and I don’t think it’s appropriate to divulge certain specifics and things your spouse would likely be uncomfortable with. But having said that, especially since we live in a sexualized world, we Christian women need to stop treating openly-sexual conversations as taboo.

If older, wiser Christian women don’t inform a young woman’s views on sexuality, the world is ready and anxious to do it for them.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Out of the Fog

Okay, here is yet another sickeningly optimistic post. I realize that it’s hard to read these types of things when you’re not having a good day. I understand, because I’ve been there. But, honestly, I can’t believe how good the last few weeks have been. I feel like my life has been restored to me. December, January, and the first part of February were, frankly, miserable. I’d always imagined how awful it would be to be first-trimester pregnant with a toddler. Unfortunately, it was just as bad as I thought it would be and probably worse.

I’ve been feeling so awful, with absolutely no energy, until just a few weeks ago. With renewed energy, I have suddenly felt like going out and doing things (even if it means driving Kevin downtown to work so I can have the car), visiting with friends, taking on new projects, planning things, etc. It’s amazing what a difference a little energy makes.

Yesterday I had a good visit with a close friend and her three kids. We let the kids run around like crazy and play with toys, and then we took them to McDonalds—of course, the ultimate treat for a kid.

Today I had an acquaintance—someone I hardly know—over for tea and scones. I was a little apprehensive about what we would talk about since we don’t have very much in common (yes, even us extraverts fear conversation at times). :-) We don’t share faith, common backgrounds, personalities, or pretty much anything really. Surprisingly, it ended up being a wonderful time of conversation and I look forward to our next get-together.

All I can say is … Praise God that first-trimesters aren’t forever.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wonderful Day, Wonderful World

I think I had one of the most wonderful birthdays ever yesterday. It was just one of those perfect days.

Kevin had me totally fooled—I didn’t think he had got me anything for my birthday because he’s been so busy. He asked me the night before (as we were going to bed), “Now, what did you say you wanted for your birthday again?” I told him not to worry about it, we would go to a nice dinner and that was all I wanted. The next morning he woke me up with a stack of presents, wrapped in paper I’d never seen before. That means that, not only did he go present shopping, he remembered to stop by Wal-Mart and get paper too. The only reason he asked me what I wanted, the night before, was to throw me off his trail. What an adorable brat!

The first present I opened was a CD I used to have, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. I say “used to have” because it was stolen out of our car when we were first married. Listening to the CD brought back many memories of wonderful times in my life.

More reasons why my day was good:

I ate chocolate for a mid-morning snack.

Meredith was especially delightful and obedient.

Even the mailman was good to me—he didn’t bring me any bills or bank statements to open, just fun stuff like cards and magazines and a package. Since when does that ever happen? (Never.) I love it!

Kevin came home early (which also never happens, unless he’s coming home to study), we dropped Meredith off at his parents’ house, and then went downtown for an evening of frolic, fun, and carefree abandon. I felt like a teenager again. (I have decided that I need to have a birthday at least once a month.)

We went to Morton’s steak house and then to see a movie. I won’t tell you what the movie was because you will think less of me. I knew it would be stupid going into it but I also knew it would make me laugh. And, yes, I laughed so hard I thought I was going to cry on several occasions. (Especially during the water slide scene. Now, if you go see it you’ll know what movie it was!)

Then we went to Starbucks for coffee and conversation which is, in my opinion, the best way to end an evening.

I need to have another birthday in March. Definitely.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Six Day Review

I now have a better idea of what it’s like to have twins. I’ve been babysitting a little boy from church the last six days while his parents have been in Mexico. Sol is probably Meredith’s best friend but I seriously doubt that she is his. I couldn’t believe how annoying she was to him when he simply wanted to be left alone. She wanted to play with him constantly, kept patting him on the back, and putting her face up to his. Whenever she had to go down for bed she made sure that “Sol go night-night too.” She just didn't want to miss out on any of the action.

I made brownies and strawberries for an early Valentine’s celebration on Tuesday because I didn’t think I’d see my man at all on Wednesday, the 14th. (He has classes from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.) Fortunately, it snowed like crazy on Tuesday night and classes were canceled. I LOVE BIG SNOWS!!! That was best present I could have had—time with my honey. Time with him is scarce these days ...

Kevin is the best husband and dad ever. He surprised me and Meredith with treats and cards at the table. Meredith went crazy over her stuffed dog and the chocolate. I thought it was sweet that he thought to make her Valentine’s Day so special too.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The results are in ...

The results are 2-to-1.

Kevin and Amy agree: “When it comes to snow ice cream, Breyers most certainly need not fear winter-sales competition.”

Meredith strongly disagrees. (But I guess she's the one who counts, since snow ice cream is for kids, right?)

Snow Ice Cream and Bangs

Apparently we're supposed to get lots more snow today. In anticipation of this, I put a bowl outside our back door to collect fresh snow. Unless there are big specks of dirt in the snow, I plan to make snow ice cream. We'll see if it's any good!

Also, today I finally gave in and cut Meredith some bangs. (I joined many other mothers in finding out how hard it is to use scissors on a moving target.) I was hoping to grow her bangs out but she never keeps barrettes in her hair and she was starting to look like a scraggly ragamuffin. Kevin is relieved I finally cut them. I'm still disappointed, though.

Here is a pic of Meredith playing in the snow last week. She dropped the fork somewhere and we still haven't found it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The "Inside Park"

Today I told Meredith that we were going to the “Inside Park” (The Indianapolis Children’s Museum)—the only problem is that I told her an hour too early (i.e., an hour and five minutes before we were going to go). Therefore, she asked me at least every ten minutes when we were going to the “Inside Park” until we finally headed out the door.

Kevin and I had been debating if and when to get an annual pass to the Children’s Museum. I went ahead and used Christmas money to buy one today and I’m really glad I did. Meredith had THE time of her life. She played so hard at the museum that, by the time I put her in her car seat to go home, she fell asleep before I could fasten the buckle.

The Children’s Museum is great because everything is for kids—even the bathrooms have kid-sized sinks and toilets. It was obvious that Meredith felt at home, and completely uninhibited, as she excitedly ran from display to display.

I went with my friend Rachelle and her son Sol. Although it was hard to visit with the kids running in opposite directions, I really enjoyed getting some “girlfriend time.” I really need that in my life right now. I really appreciate Rachelle’s sincerity and transparency—which I think are two of the best qualities a friend can have.

Here are some pictures:

The Sand Box—Definitely M’s Favorite

Every time I tried to get her to move on to something else, she said “Sand!” Next time I go I’m planning on bringing a book to read for five hours while she plays in the sand.


“Here’s some pancakes, little baby!”

Rock Climbing. I was surprised at how good she was. Maybe this will become a lifelong hobby?

“Little spaces just for me to explore.”

Rachelle and Sol on the Carousel

Meredith at an Excavation Dig, Hoping to Find a T-Rex (Maybe she’ll be a Paleontologist someday? You just never know.)

Amy Resigns Herself

I was trying to hold off until 16 weeks. Don’t ask me why—it was just a random number I had in my head. But I finally gave in at 14.5 weeks. I blew the dust off of my “maternity clothes” box in the basement, and cracked it open.

It’s not that my pants won’t button up anymore. Okay, I confess, only my two pairs of “fat jeans” will button. The main problem is that the top button digs into my abdomen when I sit down and it becomes painful. After enduring a week of discomfort, I decided to give in and pull out the maternity pants.

The main reason I wanted to wait is because I know I’ll eventually become sick of wearing these clothes—to the point where I want to burn them ALL.

Here is a picture of me with Baby No. 2, whom Meredith already likes to kiss.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Somewhere Else

I think I just figured out why I like snow so much—it makes me feel like I’m on vacation.

I grew up in a part of the world where I only got to experience snow if I escaped the city and went up to the mountains. Therefore, every time I see snow, I must surely be on a holiday get-away. Right?

So today, because the snow is beautifully falling outside my window, I am not sitting in my house. I’m somewhere else, in a cabin in the mountainous woods, experiencing a wonderful vacation.

Monday, February 05, 2007


You know it’s a baby before you hear the first heart beat but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. Today I had my first OB appointment. I’m already at the 14 week mark but it took me a while to research doctors and figure out who would be the best fit for me. Fortunately the research paid off and I ended up really, really, emphasis on REALLY liking the doctor I saw today. She was smart, informative, savvy, patient with all our questions, and had a great sense of humor.

This was a relief because I feel like I need to have a personality-connection with my doctor, especially my OB/GYN. I’m not alone, either. I know of a lot of other women who feel the same. It’s not that personality is everything. Ultimately the most important thing is that your doctor is competent and smart. But personality does play a huge factor. Patients by and large want both.

The last two doctors I saw for Meredith (I’m still trying to find a pediatrician for her) were disinterested and rude, respectively, despite the fact that they both seemed really smart. Because their personalities rubbed me the wrong way, I decided to pass them by and continue my search.

Do they have classes in med school on how to connect with patients? They probably should.

Anyway, despite the blood work and pap smear, I can say that I had a surprisingly pleasant morning. I was glad Kevin could come with me, too. We had breakfast beforehand, which was fun. And when it came time to fill out the five-page information sheet, he was especially handy. I was having a hard time remembering basic information like my social security number and his work phone. I also misunderstood several questions on medical history, which he clarified for me. (I will blame it on pregnancy.) We ended up laughing like crazy at my incompetence.

We are so excited to welcome a new life into our little world. Meredith will have to share her kingdom, which will be very good for her. We love this new baby so much already.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Food for Thought--Relationships

The talk at MOPS yesterday, given by the pastor of Zionsville Presbyterian, Ronn McDonald, made me feel like I was in a marriage counseling session. Here is some food for thought, from my notes. I’m not a very organized note-taker, as you will see, and tend to just write down random insightful things vs. structured things.

Searching for Significance

People who associate with other people in relationships (any group) are less likely to experience serious illness or die prematurely. People with close family/friend relationships recover from illness better and more quickly, according to the AMA.

Studies have shown that relationships and associating with other people are the best determiner of future health, even more so than diet. So, in other words, it’s better to eat ding-dongs with friends than asparagus alone.

If we try to find our identity in another person without first finding it on our own, we will never find it. Another person will never complete us. Only God will. Don’t put that kind of pressure on your spouse or children.

The beginnings of relationships are emotionally charged. Relationships can be compared with space shuttles. 96% of a space shuttle’s fuel is used in launching it, while only 4% of the fuel is used in orbit. People go through life looking for blast-offs. They think if they are not constantly on the launching pad something is wrong. But that is not what true love is. More people need to be told to “wait, stay, persevere—you are moving to something far better and wonderful, the beauty and satisfaction of a healthy and mature relationship.”

When you marry, you marry a set of problems. (And you, yourself, are a set of problems.). If you marry someone else, you’re only exchanging one set of problems for another one.

When people fall in love, they are often willing to go to extremes. For instance, Ronn said he would have gladly given any of his organs to his wife if she needed it, fought any bully in any ally, or swam through shark infested waters for her. Strangely, he was never called upon to do any of this. Instead he was required to deal with the little annoying things that seemed to turn into big issues. Like the fact that his wife never liked to sort the mail and would just pile it up.

Here are some (oftentimes) tough questions for couples to agree on. What is a clean house? What is a romantic evening? What is a great vacation? What is a great retirement? What should be done with any extra money at the end of the month?

You are not likely to marry someone with all of the same ideas. You can overcome disagreements by “positive sentiment override” where you agree that your love is secure and you will work to overcome difficulties. This is a choice.

Marriage is a daily choice. You must commit every day: “I choose you again.” It’s not about “What are you going to do to make me feel alive today?” which is self-centered and the world’s definition of love. It’s about “How are the little deaths I must die each day going to bring us closer to Christ?”

Anything worth anything takes hard work and commitment.

Lastly …

Don’t ever rob your present and future by waiting for someone [a person vs. God] to step forward and be your happiness.