Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Favorite Posts {DAY 6}--Floaters and Sinkers (Parts I and II)

For no particular reason than to simply take a break from blogging as I gear up for a fun filled  romantic getaway with my hot husband, I'm going to share some of my favorite posts from 2010.

Yes, I named it that just so you'd giggle.

Here's what to do.

1. Get a bowl or bin and fill it with water. You can use a bathtub, kiddy pool, or sink.
2. Randomly grab little things you don't mind getting wet (spoon, feather, sponge, pennies, whisk ... probably best to hide your cell phone about now).
3. Show your child how some object float and some objects sink.
4. For each item, have your child guess if it will sink or float.
5. Test your hypothesis!

To make this easier for younger kids:

Omit the guessing and just play in the water with toys that aren't usually water toys.

To make this harder for older kids:

1. Talk about mass and density. Need a refresher? Look here , among other places.
2. Blow up a balloon and talk about why it floats.
3. Put a plastic margarine container or toy boat in the water and add pennies or marbles until it starts to sink. Have your child guess how many of the heavier item it will take to sink the boat!


So we accidentally came across this game last Saturday.

In the original floaters and sinkers, children guessed what items would sink in a tub of water and which would float.

This game follows the same idea but with air!

Here's what to do.

1.  Get a helium filled balloon with a long tail.
2.  Randomly grab little things that can be tied to the balloon (spoon, feather, sponge, pennies, whisk ...).
3.  Show your child how some objects cause the ballon to sink while others float with the balloon.
4.  For each item, have your child guess if it will cause the balloon to sink or float.
5.  Test your hypothesis!

To make this easier for younger kids:

Omit the guessing and just play with the balloon.

To make this harder for older kids:

Talk about mass and density.  Need a refresher?  Look here , among other places.  Talk about why the balloon floats.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Favorite Posts {DAY 5}--How to Wear Skinny Jeans

For no particular reason than to simply take a break from blogging as I gear up for a fun filled  romantic getaway with my hot husband, I'm going to share some of my favorite posts from 2010.

According to my stat analyzer, this is my most popular post.  Apparently people out there on the web want to know who can can wear skinnies and how.  If that's you, read on.  If it's not you, read on.
I highlighted skinny jeans in some previous posts--one on how to make your bum look smaller and one getting Jessica Alba's look for less.

Both times I've gotten comments and e-mails from gals stating:
  1. They want to know how to wear skinny jeans.
  2. Skinny jeans are for tall, thin people.
Today I will address both.

Skinny jeans are for tall, thin people
I agree that skinny jeans tend to flatter those with eating disorders.  That being said, I have a hard time thinking of many trends that are geared toward "short, muffin top, ample bottomed" women.  Okay, I guess there are mumus but I'm not jumping on that trend!  Think about your average model and celebrity--they are tall and thin.  Our society values the way clothes look on tall, slender men and women.

So what are we short, curvy women to wear?  Nothing?  Hardly.  Even if you don't have a model body, you can still wear trendy garb.

How to wear skinny jeans

Okay, now that we've cleared up the misconception that only tall and thin women can look pulled together and sexy, let's address the issue that makes some women's stomachs tighten into a knot of anxiety--SKINNY JEANS.

Find the type of skinny jean that works for you. 
Skinnies come in SuperSkinny (the painted on look), Skinny (stretchy jeans that taper at the ankle), and Straight Skinny (a cigarette-shaped, straight leg skinny that doesn't cling too tightly.  These are great for the skinny-shy).
Buy a pair of skinny jeans in a dark color (black or dark denim) with a slight stretch. 
Consider buying one size bigger if you need the extra hip room.  You can always wear a skinny belt and a tunic to cover it!
Play with skinny jean length.
Role up your skinny jeans (a la 1980s) for a casual, sexy look.  
Get skinny jeans at ankle or capri length if you are short 

 Wear your skinny jeans with the right top.
Balance out the skinny jeans with volume on top.  Bell sleeve tops or tunics are great.  A tunic with a belt helps hide large hips.  Empire waist tops are great for hiding wide hips and ample bottoms.  Long, lean tops that hit at hip level are fabulous.
This long, flowy top looks awesome--not to mention those hot, peep toe heels!

Perfect shoe pairings with skinny jeans
  • If you have larger hips and bum, tuck skinny jeans into high heeled boots to balance out proportions.
  • Wear skinny jeans with high heels.  Pointy toe heels will give the illusion of longer legs.  Peep toe sandals and wedges make you look taller, leaner, and sexier!
  • If you are tall and slender, wear your skinny jeans with ballet flats **warning** this does make you look fuller around the hip area!
  • DO NOT wear skinny jeans with Converse All-Stars unless you want to look like a high school student.  It's a cute style--if you are 17.
 Tunics, belts, and boots--Easy ways to wear skinnies if you AREN'T the model type!
Want more information?  Watch this two minute video!

How to Wear Skinny Jeans -- powered by

What I think is that YOU, yes YOU, can wear skinny jeans.  Work it girl!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Favorite Posts {DAY 4}--Emotional Porn

For no particular reason than to simply take a break from blogging as I gear up for a fun filled  romantic getaway with my hot husband, I'm going to share some of my favorite posts from 2010.

A few weeks ago I organized my DVD collection (you can read about it here) and noticed how extensive my Rom-Com selection was.  I’m pretty sure I own every movie inspired by an Austen novel or with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in it.  Don’t even get me started on Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock.

Luckily for me, I married a man who loves chick-flicks as much as I do.  (To be fair I should mention my absolute love of sports shows, war movies and action shows.  I practically forced Matt to take me to Gladiator 3 times, I’ve seen the Italian Job so many times that I consider myself an expert Mini-Cooper driver despite never having been in one, and I still get goose bumps from Rudy, Invincible, Hoosiers, Remember the Titans …).  We’re movie compatible—for the most part.

Matt and I parted movie ways when Twilight came out.  And this is when I started to notice a slightly unhealthy obsession with women (not tweens—grown, married women). 

I’ve already shared my thoughts on Edward but as I think more critically, I wonder if there is something wrong with the female consumption of chick-flicks. 

Are chick flicks emotional porn?

When I started looking into this topic, I ran across the article “You’ve Got Lies” by Beth Spraul.  In her article, Spraul asserts that as pornography appeals to men’s visual instincts and creates a false ideal of the female body and interest in sex, chick flicks create a false emotional ideal of the role of men in romance and marriage. Through chick-flicks, Spraul contends that women learn to believe these lies:

  • Men and women view emotional and relational intimacy in the same way.
  • Marrying the right man will make everything perfect in my life.
  • I’ll know he’s the “right” man by the feelings I have when I’m around him.

By accepting these lies as truth, many women compare men to fictional heartthrobs and disregard important qualities like faith, character, and humility because of physical attraction or “chemistry.” (P.S.  I hated chemistry).

I’ll admit that I’ve bought the “lies” in the past.  I’ve been swept up in “feelings” that weren’t ok and have placed super unhealthy expectations on males in relationships.  But now, I think I’m healthy enough to know that life with Matt isn’t perfect. He’s going to make me mad and offend me and not defend me when I need him to.  Only God is my all in all.  And trust me, after being around Matt for 11 years, I’ve pretty much caught on to the fact that we view romance and intimacy in vastly different ways (and I didn’t even need to read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus).

Are women are being subtly attacked?  Are the emotional lies told in chick-flicks less harmful than the lies portrayed in pornography?  Spraul states, “Like pornography, chick-flicks take a good gift from God (romance, relational intimacy) that women are created to desire, and distort it by presenting as “normal” an unbiblical and unrealistic picture of men, love and marriage. And just like men who buy into the lies of pornography, women who believe that their husbands and marriages should always be like what they see on the screen will be sinfully dissatisfied with God’s good gift to them of a “normal” husband and marriage.”

Um, WOW.

I have to admit I struggle with this because I believe pornography actually IS sinful whereas I think chick-flicks can be viewed without sin.   

Suffice it to say, I don’t know what I think about Chick Flicks though research has encouraged me to be a more conscious consumer for the sake of my marriage and Mr. Darcy Matt.

I’d love to know your thoughts (since mine are so scattered)!  Are chick flicks emotional porn?  

 The comment line is open!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Favorite Posts {DAY 3}--The Big "O"

For no particular reason than to simply take a break from blogging as I gear up for a fun filled  romantic getaway with my hot husband, I'm going to share some of my favorite posts from 2010.

survey I read the other day said that 30-50% women are upset by how infrequently they have orgasms.

I started to think about this--a lot.  A ton of questions came to mind.
  • Is there some sort of expectation that women aren't supposed to get the same pleasure from sex that men get?  (If 30-50% of men didn't climax on a regular basis I'm pretty sure there would be revolutions).  
  • What does this reveal about the relationship between a woman and her husband?
  • Is it socially not okay for women not to have orgasms "every time?"
  • What affect, if any, does pornography have in all this?
Remember the quote from Outside Providence: "Sex is like a Chinese dinner.  It ain't over until you both get your cookies."?  What happened to THAT mindset?

Freud ruined it.

Freud broke the female orgasm down into two phases: clitoral (pre-pubescent) and vaginal (more mature).    In essence, women who were past puberty and couldn't reach orgasm through penetration considered themselves inadequate.  Thanks for the huge disservice, Mr. Freud because if you aren't self-conscious enough about your body, your boob size, cellulite and your leg hair NOW you can feel bad that you don't have an orgasm the "right" way.  That ought help the mental state in the bedroom.

Fast-forward to the new millennium and pornography is rampant.  Beyond the 50's pin-ups, men now have access to naked women on TV, Ipods, computers ... Sex sells beer and cars and running shorts and dental insurance.  Somehow these air-brushed, fake boob women deceive men into thinking that regular women everywhere are committed to ensuring male pleasure alone.  And I think this can destroy marriages.

In most cultures sex is generally viewed as enjoyment for men.  But I'm gonna be honest here.  I believe that sex was designed by God to be a loving, intimate, and pleasurable experience between a husband and a wife.  I don't think pleasure was intended to be a one-way street.  But that's not how it plays out, is it?  Now sex seems to be about reaching the Big O for yourself--not connecting with your lover.

I think sex has been twisted into a selfish act, not a self-less act.  

Consider 1 Corinthians 7:2-5:

... each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

This is a deep passage and it is used in a wrong-hearted manner all the time.  Actually, I can visualize some man throwing this verse in a woman's face and demanding sex.  Man, if that is you and you are reading this mom-blog hoping to find a tool to coerce your wife into pleasing you, let me make it clear that this verse does not mean your wife has to submit to your every sexual whim.  If you want to read a verse out of context, I suggest you start with the one about husbands loving their wives like Christ loves the Church

To me, this passage is a celebration of sex.  God is saying--"Hey, I made you husband and wife to submit to one another.  To love one another.  To please one another.  Come together and enjoy.  Drink deeply, O Lovers!"

Husbands and wives are designed to come together sexually to please one another.  Wives please their husbands; husbands please their wives.

So what happens when this doesn't happen?

If the survey is right and 30-50% of women feel like they are duped in the orgasm area, I envision marriages of deep-seated anger and bitterness.  Can't you just see the thoughts that would run through the head of a woman who doesn't feel like her marriage sex life is mutually beneficial: 
  • "great, more sex for your enjoyment," 
  • "sex just isn't a big deal," 
  • "I bet *insert name of actor or guy you work with* is a much better lover than my husband. I bet he could really meet my needs ..."

And when this mindset sets in, sex becomes a weapon.  It's used to manipulate, to control, and to hurt.  What was designed to fulfill,       d  e  s  t  r  o  y  s. 

Is this you?  Have you been there?

If you want to know the truth, this was me.  I've been there.

woman with self-image issues + history of bad relationships + rampant pornography + miscommunication + worldly concept of sex = unfulfilled marriage bed

If you've been there--if you ARE there, take heart because a lack-luster sex life can be transformed with a little help from God.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it worth it?  YES!

The change in sexual enjoyment is a process.  It starts with open communication (yes, this means you have to find a loving way to tell your spouse that you'd like to please one another in the sack more!).  It includes making intentional time together (thus, dating one another on purpose).  It includes talking in bed--what works, what doesn't ...  It may include a marital counselor.

For me what it really took was God reminding me that I am IT for Matt.  It is my high and holy calling to be the sole female who brings him pleasure (and vice versa).  (Is that how you feel?  Does meeting your husband's sexual needs feel like a divine right or a duty?)  God designed me to be Matt's perfect provision and when I grabbed hold of that truth and burned it on my heart, I was freed of the "I'm not good enoughs" that enslaved me. 

An amazing thing happened, the more Matt and I talked about sex and what we enjoyed, the more we explored one another, the more on fire our sex life became.  I thought he didn't want to please me.  He thought I didn't trust him to please me.  What we've figured out is we both desire to please and be pleased by one another.

If you are broken over your sex life, there is hope.  If you are being held back by past mistakes or pornography or cellulite, there is help.  If you want it and your husband doesn't it, you're not alone.

There are resources and people who will help!

Our favorite resource:
A Celebration of Sex 
Christian Nymphos (a website)

Some other sources you might like:
Every Man's Battle 
Every Heart Restored
The Sex-Starved Wife (there are also sex-starved husband and marriage books)
Passionate Marriage (not Christian)

So what do I think about orgasms?  They are created for husbands AND wives to regularly enjoy because they are pleasurable, fulfilling, increase intimacy in marriage, and they knit a man together with his wife.

Here's to celebrating the gift of sex and orgasms with our husbands. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Favorite Posts {DAY 2}--Date Your Man

For no particular reason than to simply take a break from blogging as I gear up for a fun filled  romantic getaway with my hot husband, I'm going to share some of my favorite posts from 2010.

I love this post because it clearly identifies that passionate marriages are a passion of mine.

Matt and I have been together for eleven years.

It was just the two of us (well, and two slightly dysfunctional dogs we played "house" with) for six years.  In that time we were given to weekend trips to New York, moving to Vegas for the summer, and recklessly wasting time and resources dining out, going to the movies, and sleeping in until ten.
My how things have changed since we had children!  Most of the changes have been good but a few times I've looked at my husband and tried to remember the husband he was before he became a father.
Let me say that no man has been or will be as great of a father as Matt is (I expect you to disagree so we'll just agree to disagree).  He plays with our children, changes diapers, makes toys, plays dress-up, cooks, carries, cleans vomit ... He is not of of those men who comes home from a long day at work and is "done" for the day. He finishes his day when I finish mine, and sometimes later.
Though I love and admire the father in him, I also yearn for the Matt who wasn't a dad--fearless, reckless, spontaneous, dangerous, carefree.  Deep down he still is all those things but the daily routine grinds him down.  What I realized in December of 2009 is that he felt the same way about me. And what we learned was that the key to igniting the pre-parent passions we had for each other was within our grasp.
What follows is an excerpt from an e-mail Matt sent to me on December 1, 2009 in preparation for our anniversary.
I tell you all the time that you are beautiful, and I tell you often that you are a wonderful mother.  What I don’t tell you all the time is that you are so mysterious…and I love that about you.  Though you tell yourself and others that you like to plan, play things safe and keep control at all times, one of the mysteries of you is that those things are not entirely true.  Even though you would never admit to it, I have come to realize your secret affinity for adventure and more importantly… spontaneity.
One of the things I committed to you nearly seven years ago was that I would make you happy.  And while I know that you are happy in a general sense, it bothers me that we so easily get bogged down in the routineness of being married, of being parents and of life tasks.  Every time I have asked you in the past three months about your happiness and what about life is causing you stress, it is the daily reality that is grindingly numbing.  You are so tough.  You raise our children with excellence, you care for your family and you are a wonderful friend.  But deep down, I know that a little adventure….a little romance…..a little passion and a little spontaneity just might create an opportunity for us.
Every day from now until our anniversary, I am going to present you with at least one opportunity to do something completely spontaneous.  There is no pressure on your part to accept each opportunity.  Some will be more adventurous than others.  Some may even stretch your comfort level.  But deep down I know there is an inner Bond girl dying to escape…
Thus was born the Legacy Parkway Spy School.  For the next twenty days Matt sent me on wild goose chases taking secret photos of him, creating movies, practicing "Unagi" (we love Friends), and learning how to box. These games, these spontaneous "assignments" were nothing more than little thoughts meant to brighten my day by reminding me that before I was a mom, I was a sexy, confident woman and still could be.
When I share this with friends I always get comments like "I wish my husband would do stuff like that."  All I can say is this, DO IT FIRST! 
  • Date your husband.
  • Wow him.
  • Remind him that he is a sexy and confident man.
  • Remind him that before he was your children's father, he was your lover.  
If you'd like to send your husband to the "Bond Spy School for Hot Dads" click here for ideas.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Favorite Posts {DAY 1}--Letter to My 12 Year Old Self

For no particular reason than to simply take a break from blogging as I gear up for a fun filled  romantic getaway with my hot husband, I'm going to share some of my favorite posts from 2010.
First up, my letter to my 12 year old self.  This letter was later published on Project: In My Daughter's Eyes.

Dear Reagan (age 12),

Put down the book.  I know you can hear me.  I know you can multi-task.  I know you love to read.  Put down the book and listen.  I want your full attention (and get used to hearing this because your future husband will say it. A LOT).

Listen to me.  For once, don’t learn by disaster! 

Never, I repeat NEVER let Randean do your hair for school picture day.  If you do she will make you look like a horned dinosaur.  And mom is going to make you wear a multi-colored cardigan with a cheerleading bear on it.  This combination will result in a hideous school picture of epic proportions.  If the photo disaster happens, resolutely refuse to get photo re-takes and let the picture be a living reminder about how cruelly you were treated.  Will you be totally embarrassed about the awful photo?  Sure.  Will you giggle on the inside when you tell the person looking at the photo about how awful your sister was to you?  Yep.

Do not use Lip Smackers chapstick.  Your freshman year your lips will suddenly become allergic to the acid in it and you will end up looking like the Joker.  And then you’ll have to walk around putting Aquaphore on your lips and people will joke that it is KY Jelly.  Don’t use Carmex or Blistex either.  Find a natural water based chapstick and go with it.

Wear your glasses and do your eye exercises.  Keep the glasses-free dream alive.  One day you won’t need corrective lenses (because they’ll be an eye surgery for you).  P.S.  Get the eye surgery no matter what Kathy Griffith thinks.

You’re gonna buy some black slouchy knee high boots in Canada.  Keep them.  In fact, keep the silver sandals you bought for prom too.  The trend is coming back and you’ll wish you still had them.

You are not athletic or a team player.  It’s cool.  I mean kids at school will think you are a total loser because of your general lack of athletic know-how but one day you’ll totally rock at rock climbing and road biking and running.  So you can’t play volleyball—there are worse things in life.  Maybe not at 12 but at 30+ish, you won’t give a dang whether or not you were on the team. 

What the kids at school think about you doesn’t matter.  I know it feels like it does now but it doesn’t.  Long after you graduate when you’ve forgotten them and they’ve forgotten you, you will still be in contact with your closest friends.  Those relationships matter; cultivate them. 

And by the way, you’ll be smokin’ hot for your 10 year reunion and so will your hubby.  (In fact, hubby will have been on the “must date list” for one former schoolmate.  He never gave her the time of day.  She’ll pretend she doesn’t recognize him at the reunion but you’ll know the truth.  And it’s kinda worth it—though there’s no use being spiteful.)

Be in a school play.  You’re gonna be awful but do it.   Sometimes you have to learn who you are not in order to become who you are. You are not a good actress but at least you’ll know that from experience.

Do not go to prom.

Be prepared for Cubby to die.  Don’t force her to live in pain longer than necessary to ease your own hurt feelings.  The cat you get after Cubby is going to be a royal pain in the rear.  She’ll bite your friends, torture and terrify Ami and will be hated by your husband.  Get her anyway.

When you turn 16 do NOT give your drunk friends a ride in dad’s green truck. They’ll puke everywhere and you’ll have to clean it up.  Dad will never let you forget it.

Skip going to see a Goofy Movie. If you don’t skip the movie, get a motel room to avoid driving in bad weather.  Do NOT let Bethy ride in the back of the car. Have your parents drive you to wrestling state.   I'll be honest, you’re gonna be in at least ten car accidents.  Be prepared and wear your seatbelt.

Now really listen to me here.  The summer of 1996 will be a blast but when you break up with the guy
you are dating—stay broken up.  If you don’t stay broken up then please, I beg you, on July 4th get into the suburban with your dad and don’t look back.  DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH?  Get. Into. The. Suburban!

Wear sunscreen. In about 10 years a song is going to come out and it will make you laugh at the irony of this advice but heed it anyway. When you are 30 and don't have crow's feet and your skin looks 20, you'll be glad you listened. 

Mom and dad do not have a secret stash of college money anywhere.  Study hard because you’re gonna need scholarships.  And when that teacher tells you that you aren’t “college material” fill out applications by yourself.  One day you will get your Ed. D. and you should consider inviting said teacher to your graduation.  Maybe not.

Mom is going to get really sick.  There is evidence of her disease now that you aren’t recognizing (like how it takes her 4 hours to give you a 15 minute lecture).  Don’t do or say anything to her that you’ll regret.  One day your relationship with her will change and you’ll wish you were better to her. Take my advice and be good now.

You’ll have to work jobs where you serve your peers (and handle raw chicken—ewww!).  You’ll live in a trailer and drive junky cars.  This builds your character and humility.  One day you’ll appreciate the experience of not being handed everything.

You hate Randean but this will not always be the case.  Mend bridges now.  It’s worth it, I promise.  Don’t be too ticked about her pink mustang.  It blows up.

You will be involved in a massive food fight.  Roll with it.  It will be one of your fondest memories.

Have fun in college but do not compulsively honk car horns at Megan’s house or bad things will happen.  Be Dave’s designated driver when he goes to a party at the end of the fall semester.  And when the guy wearing a cross comes up to you, be your charming self.  He’s God’s provision for you.  Treat him as such.

Your marriage will not be perfect.  Your husband will say and do stupid things.  You will be hurtful.  You will feel like roommates---you will feel like enemies.  You will blame him for things that aren’t his fault.  He will make you apologize.  Listen to him.  Follow him.  Lovingly submit to him.  You’ll never be more grateful if you follow this advice.

It’s gonna be hard to love a few of your in-laws.  Love them anyway.  They may never like or love you.  Love them anyway.

Be there for Kim because she’s gonna need it.  She’ll be there for you.  Again and again and again.

Don’t let Josh take Griffon for the night.

The move to Cheyenne will be worth it.  Linda will not be a good neighbor but be a good neighbor to her--even when you don’t want to be--even after she’s done being your neighbor.

The doctors are wrong.  You will have children.  When you are in your twenties you’ll have a dream that you have four babies and you will.  Only two will live.  Your relationship with God will sustain you—even through this.

Don’t be afraid to fail.  Apply for school and jobs and volunteer.  Do not be afraid to fail.

Look in the mirror.  You look awkward and gawky and greasy.  Everyone feels that way at this age. You will grow into your nose. You might not ever like it, but you’ll grow into it. Remember that you are the daughter of the King and the King delights in your beauty (and so will your husband).  There are some photos of you in your early 20s that you’re going to want to keep. Trust me, the Cat in the Hat photos will go a long way.

Finally, most importantly, find and know and follow Jesus at any and all costs.  That’s really all that matters.  Love Him and let Him love others through you.

Get into the suburban,
Reagan (30ish)