How this pro-life, stay-at-home mom became a feminist.

Hi there! Yes, it’s been ages since I’ve updated this blog. Apart from child-rearing, writing, editing, designing, and (sometimes) housework, I don’t have time to blog. But this is one of those cases in which I need to have more words than a Facebook post to get my point across. This is me, “coming out” as a feminist, since many of you don’t know that I am, don’t know how I could be one, or don’t know what a feminist is. If this is Feminism 101, I’m merely a T.A.
Actually I’m more like a first-year student that writes allocutions on the chalkboard before class.
 
feminist
 
This post sat in my drafts pile for months because I didn’t want to have to deal with all the trolls, the hate, the threats, or the rest of the “consequences” that come simply from identifying as a feminist. But fear from truth is what keeps ignorance and hate at large. This is what is true for me.

what being a feminist isn’t

“For me feminism is bra-burning lesbianism.”—Geri Halliwell (aka Ginger Spice), not an expert on feminism.

—being a man-hater

Misandry is the hatred of men, like misogyny is the hatred of women. Just because one is a feminist, it doesn’t make that person a man-hater. Women in healthy, loving relationships with men can be feminists. So can men be. Read on.

—being a woman

Men can be feminists, too. Joss Whedon is commonly referred to as a feminist. Any father who loves his daughter is likely a feminist, whether he’d admit it or not. (I can’t blame you if you don’t adopt the term. It’s become it’s own F word. But I can blame you for propagating misinformation about feminism. And if I see it, I will call you out on it.)

—being pro-choice

Let me go on a quick tangent really fast. Stay with me. Most of the world have gotten to the point now where they realize rape is a crime against women because it is an act done without consent.

And yet we assume it’s the woman’s choice if she ends up in prostitution or has an abortion. How do you feel about a person who assumes a rape victim “wanted it” or “asked for it”? It’s impossible to get accurate statistics on these numbers, but most prostitutes were forced into the profession through the sex trade. And many women who get abortions are coerced into them, either by family, their significant other, or their community. Even religious beliefs. Girls get abortions so they won’t be shunned by their church for having a child out of wedlock. Minnesota For Life surveyed women and found 64% of abortions were coerced. If you know better statistics, please share. Obviously those are biased.

Many feminists are pro-choice because they fight for women’s rights to control their own bodies. I’m a pro-life feminist because I think that abortion clinics take advantage of women physically, emotionally, and financially. I view abortion after 6 weeks gestation as mutilation of a woman’s uterus (and also as murder of an unborn child, but that’s not what we’re discussing here). If you are pro-choice for the reasons I listed above, do what you can to ensure that you are also pro-consent. Volunteer at an abortion clinic and encourage the women to make their own choice, whether it is for your way or another.

If you are pro-life, volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. You’ll find that sometimes the choice isn’t as easy as you might assume. Learn to love women whether they choose your way or not.

We are all in this together. Feminists, this is a war for our consent. Pro-lifers, you cannot be pro-life without being pro-mother. Are you prepared to care for the mothers and children that choose life? How are you helping mothers and children NOW?

—being a Democrat

There are feminists in every political party, but Republicans are less likely to use the term “feminist” for fear of its consequences, as well as the assumption that it means they must not be Republican / conservative / manly / Christian. I’m neither party, in case you were wondering. Again, that’s another issue we won’t be addressing here.

—having a romantic attraction to women

Being a feminist doesn’t make you a lesbian, gay, bi, or trans* individual, but anyone can be a feminist because being a feminist had nothing to do with sexual preference. It has everything to do with enabling women to live freely. (Does that mean the same thing as living lawlessly? No. We live in a free country. Do we live in one without laws? Ha. Hahahahaha.)

what being a feminist is

A feminist believes that women shouldn’t live in fear of being a woman.

my journey to becoming a feminist

1. First Grade

I had an evil first grade teacher who introduced me to sexism. She (yes, she was a female-hating woman) would give us math assignments and would give whoever finished first a bag of fruit snacks. If I finished before J.D., a bucktoothed boy that she adored, she’d ignore my raised hand, wait for him to finish, and give him the fruit snacks. This is also the source of my problems with authority.

2. Learning there are more women representatives in Middle Eastern parliaments than in the US congress.

We hear a lot about women’s rights in the Middle East. Most would assume that women have fewer rights in the Middle East than they do in the U.S. So why is the U.S. so behind on having women representatives?

Now, if you’d have asked me five, ten years ago if I would have voted for a woman politician, I would have made a joke about her period and said no. What if she had children? Shouldn’t she be raising them?

What about women who aren’t raising children? Who are empty nesters? What about women who, like me, are thinkers more than feelers, whose maternal instinct manifests in protecting, rather than nurturing, children? The kind of woman who’s really a much better parent if she gets some time without her kids.

And then I considered testosterone, the main hormone in men’s bodies, and wondered if we wouldn’t go to war on a whim if we had a president that didn’t have so much testosterone in her body.

If you are a woman, don’t you want women representing you? If you are a mother, wouldn’t you want mothers representing you in congress, making the kinds of decisions a mother would make?

I am SO glad the Middle East has women representatives. But doesn’t it bother you that the US is ranked 86th place in terms of female representation? Afganistan is 41st. Iraq is 53rd. Pakistan is 73rd. Saudi Arabia is 76th. But here we are, a first-world country with women CEOs running multimillion-dollar companies, and fewer than 20% of our congress is female. Congress should reflect its population. That number should be 50%.

3. These Disney board books.

I got these for Champ when he was a baby, before I identified myself as a feminist.

It made me really angry that the books about male characters were all about their personality and their abilities, but the only thing about the female characters mentioned was that they were pretty and that they fell in love.

Yeah, I want to be pretty. I am madly in love with my husband. But I have interests, a brain, and a soul apart from that.

4. The Transformers movie.

If you’ve seen the first Transformers movie, you’ve seen Megan Fox draping her scantily clad body over machines. Now, I’m not mad at Megan Fox. As far as I’m concerned, women can do whatever they want with their own bodies. I am not okay with slut-shaming.

What I have a problem with is that Megan Fox’s character was reduced to the level of a hot car. Something to drool over, touch, and (if Sam Whitwicky’s mother was right) probably jack off to.

Objectification of women. Everyone should have a problem with that.

5. Jesus was a feminist.

During Biblical times, men really treated women as objects. They were considered possessions, less than human. Jesus spoke to women all the time—something no one else ever did. He even spoke to prostitutes (gasp!) with respect (bigger gasp!). He treated women as if they were human beings, as if they—like men—were children of God.

The Bible is full of sexism, sure. It’s not a guidebook on being holy so much as a story of how God loves his people, even though they mess up and are terrible 99.99% of the time. That’s the gospel. That’s the whole point of the book. And don’t rule out the brilliant women of the Bible Deborah or Jael or Esther or Ruth or Mary or Rahab or Miriam or Abigail…should I keep going?

Bonus: Do you know the definition of an apostle? It’s a messenger. In the context of the New Testament, it’s someone who spreads the good news of Christ. Who was Jesus’ first apostle? Who did he pick first? (Read John 20:17-18)

I didn’t become a feminist overnight. I’ve been a feminist my whole life. I just didn’t call it feminism. I didn’t call it anything.

things that make me more feminist

  • Outrage at comics doing this.
  • Dennis Hoffman’s explanation of what it felt like to play a woman in Tootsie.
  • #YesAllWomen on Twitter
  • #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft on Twitter
  • People blaming victims of rape, prostitution, or domestic abuse while ignoring the criminal’s responsibility to not be a rapist, pimp, abuser, or murderer
  • Stupid articles like this one written by people who have no clue what feminism is, but still argue that it’s terrible.

Feminism isn’t about women wanting to be men. It’s believing that all people have the right to give consent, and acknowledging that women in particular are taken advantage of, harassed, and abused by people. It’s a movement against the sex trade and against rape culture. It’s a movement against other people assuming they have some sort of claim over a woman’s body. It’s rejecting the idea that men should define a woman’s worth.

That’s all I’ve got to say today. I welcome all comments that are thoughtful and not personal attacks, whether they agree with me or not. Know that I vet comments and will delete abusive ones.


 

Update, Q&A

I’ve had people ask me a few questions about the relationship between being a Christian, anti-abortion/pro-life, and feminist. I’ll try to answer those questions here, but if you have more, ask in the comments!

How do you define your terms?

Feminist—Feminism is about consent. I’m a feminist and will continue to be a feminist until every woman feels that she has the right to grant consent, the right to disagree with a man or refuse his advances without being attacked verbally or physically. It’s not a matter of whether a woman will be harassed in her lifetime, it’s a matter of when. That’s a problem. To ignore that problem is to be part of the problem. As a feminist, I am pro-woman, anti-rape, anti-trafficking. I’m not anti-man or anti-men. I’m married and have two sons. I love men, and I want to empower them to empower women so women can feel safe.

Pro-life—In my blog, if I say I’m pro-life, I mean I’m against abortion and for taking care of people. I use “pro-life” broadly, not politically. For example, I’m fine with people using birth control, and I do think that condoms and non-hormonal methods of contraception should be widely and easily available for everyone. “Pro-life” for me includes suicide prevention, humanitarian aid, and war prevention (I’m idealistically anti-war, but realistically pro-military-defense. Pro-negotiations, if that makes sense).

ChristianThe word “Christian” has become just as badly tainted as the words above. I use it in the historical sense: I’m a Christian because I am a Christ follower. I wasn’t always a Christian. I was a searching, agnostic. Every belief system has weird stuff, but the Judeo-Christian beliefs make the most logical, social, emotional, and political sense to me. Nothing else satisfied my need for answers more. Now I believe Jesus of Nazareth is the savior foretold in the Jewish heritage, that he died as an atonement for my sins, and that if I make him both my savior and my lord, and I strive to be like him, then I will be saved from judgment. I think the Bible is true and inerrant, but that people misinterpret it all the time, so we need to bring logic and a contextual analysis of scripture when we determine what it means. For me, blind faith isn’t faith, it’s complacency. My relationship with Christ is a constant struggle, like the image of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32.

How can you be anti-abortion and a feminist?

Because I am pro-woman and pro-person.

I’m against abortion because a beating heart is life, and abortion ends a life. Abortion affects two lives, minimum. It ends one completely.

Abortion is a huge problem. But calling for the abolishment of abortion, without preparing to care for mothers and children, without having those programs already in place, is also a problem.

How can we end abortion?

If you want to end abortion, donate your time and money to helping mothers. If motherhood were easy, no one would get an abortion. People get abortions because motherhood is very, very difficult without support. And the government doesn’t make it easy to be a mother even with support! Vote for candidates that will fight for maternal leave. The United States has the worst stance on parental leave in the world. Zero weeks paid leave in the US means that women lose their income (if not their jobs) simply for choosing not to have an abortion. Seriously, call your representative now and tell him or her how messed up that is.

Pregnancy resource centers always need donations and volunteers. But women in your neighborhood can use help, too. This is something everyone can do, and it’s something everyone can do, right now.

So what are you going to do about it?

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March Madness for Geeks

Star Wars has created a March Madness-inspired bracket tournament using its famous canon of characters.

The Dark Side was easy to figure out, but the Light Side got pretty tricky near the end. So tricky, that Captain and I disagreed on several accounts (there was much discussion on “geek cred” and who had the most fan fiction, and who nerdy boys liked the most, and who was too “mainstream”). So we ended up making two different brackets. Here’s ours.

(If you want to create your own before viewing ours, check out the blank bracket here on Starwars.com. I just used Photoshop to hastily create ours.)

Voting begins March 18th, and the “winner” will be announced April 9th.

Here’s the Captain’s. He can tell you the name of any starship / vehicle in the 6 movies just from the sound effects. This man is legit in his geekery. Click to enlarge.

Capt bracket

Here’s my bracket. Han Solo was my very first crush, people (you’ll see I’m a bit biased towards him). I think the new trilogy is a waste of time (except for the scenes with R2 or Obi-Wan), but Clone Wars is okay. I’m on Pinterest, Woot.com, ThinkGeek, and Wookiepedia more than my husband, so I argued from a marketing standpoint and tried to get into the brain of the average geek that would be voting every day online. It’s a dangerous place to venture.
Wife-bracket

Are you going to vote? Honestly, I’d pick R2 and Han Solo, and then Han would win, but that’s because I’m me. But this brackets business is a whole different game.

Anyway, I’ll likely forget to vote. Hopefully I’ll remember to check the results on April 9th, but that will just be to see who was right out of the Captain and myself :)

Making your Commute Suck Less with Awesome Music

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Are you dreading your commute tomorrow? As I was stuck in traffic today (yes, on a Sunday afternoon), I realized that music is the difference between being mildly unhappy and wanting to tear your hair out. Earlier today, a man ahead of me had stopped in the middle of the street to allow three buses, who were at a stop sign, turn in front of him. We had no stop sign. The buses would have waited approximately seven seconds for both of our cars to pass if he hadn’t stopped. I glared at his side view mirror and decided his random act of “kindness” was a means to make up for his 1970s molest-ache. I don’t know what kind of music was playing at the time, but I’m pretty sure that if I had been listening to the right tunes, I would have been full of love for humankind and imagined sprinkles and rainbows shooting out of his exhaust pipe.

My commute home, though it was incredibly slow going and I got cut off a handful of times, was a completely different experience. And it’s because I was listening to good music from my own playlist.

I have a very eclectic taste in music, so what I recommend for some may not be applicable to others. So I came up with a way of recommending commute music to others. Just imagine, in specific terms, what you would rather be doing than sitting in stop-and-go traffic.

Would you rather be enjoying the succulent nectar of a ripe plum while being carried along the seashore atop a wild stallion? Try some Samba.

Would you rather be nuzzled by the downy fleece of a llama while drinking your favorite frothy libation? Try Winterset.

Would you rather be skinny dipping under the moonlit sky? Lana Del Rey, all the way.

(Here’s one from the Captain) Would you rather be grinning down a bear in a river, claiming for yourself the most prime spot for plucking salmon out of the rapids? Try the Halo soundtrack.

I remember hearing once about a study of drivers and their aggression compared to what they listened to. Apparently drivers who listened to classical music were the most aggressive. Doesn’t really surprise me, since listening to orchestral music manipulates my emotions like few other things in this world (Maybe Downton Abbey). On the other hand, listening to oldies in high school while driving always put me in an almost Stepford Wives state of artificial bliss. There’s a song that goes, “First gear, It’s all right. Second gear, I lean right. Third gear, hold on tight.” I just looked it up, and it’s a Beach Boys song called “Little Honda.” I don’t know why the Beach Boys get so much smack for “Kokomo” when this is easily their most asinine song to date. Still, unless your soul has been ravaged by termites, this song will probably bring at least an ounce of sunshine to your commute, even if you don’t want to admit it to anyone else.

So what would you rather be doing than sitting in traffic? What do you listen to on your commute that keeps you from rear-ending dawdling drivers?

Speakeasy Party: Photos, Food & Dress

This post is full of pictures! It includes some photos from the photo booth, what to wear, how to do 1920s hair, and what food & drink we made for the potluck. Click here to read Speakeasy Party: Part One

Photos

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We clean up pretty nice!

Inspiration:

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via flickr

photoprops

Purchase your own on Etsy from this seller

Don’t you love Pinterest? That’s how I got most of the ideas for this party. I bought some poster board and dowels and ended up making all the props and moon and stars myself. But you can buy the set of props above from Etsy! The favorite prop of our guests, though, ended up being Neville. :)

I set up my Macbook Pro with Photo Booth so people could take their own photos. While we did take a handful of those, we ended up having a party-wide photo op, and took turns taking photos with the nicer cameras. Here’s a sampling from the ones off my camera, photoshopped into a 1920s rich black and white:

arvin1b brothers1b brothers2b brothers3b brothers4b eddy sward b girls1b guysb lindsey1b nemzek1b nemzek2b willard1b willard2b

1920s Dress

Captain wore the suit he bought for our honeymoon cruise. Men are pretty easy, if you ask me. Suit, suspenders or vest, tie, fedora, those caps I call “cabbie hats.” (I just looked online, and that’s actually what they are called! I’m so proud.)

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He’s pretty super.

Women could wear flapper dresses or little black dresses (introduced in the 20s by Coco Chanel). But good luck trying to find maternity dresses from the 1920s. They looked like this:

Don’t ask me how they fit babies in there.

Creamy colors work best for daytime 1920s parties, and blacks and reds work well for late night parties. But pretty much any color is game—it’s the silhouette that’s important. Nothing you need to be sewn into. Dropped waists or no waists for the non-pregnant folk.

I grabbed the only dress from Savers that I could find that would 1) fit my bulbous form flatteringly and 2) had some Art Deco lines to it. It had holes along the top seams, so I got it marked down from $10 to $6. I bought matching thread for $1 and sewed up the holes. Call me Sherlock Holmes, but I’m pretty sure the person who owned the dress before me was a student. The seams were worn down where a backpack would create enough friction to tear them.

As for hair, I looked up a ton of YouTube videos, and I think this one is the best one:

She also has a more classic finger waves style (wet hair) and a 1930s hair tutorial. You can check those out here.

I’m pretty sure the back of my head was a disaster. I was afraid to look, so I never did. The finger waves I had to redo so many times. The gel I used wasn’t meant for this type of thing, and the waves kept falling out no matter how much gel I added, so I ended up using long, thin bobby pins to hold the finger waves in place. I waited for the rest of my hair to dry, then curled the ends with an iron and rolled into pin curls as shown in the video. Then I let dry, sprayed exorbitant amount of hair spray, and let it just sit on my head for an hour or two before removing all the pins and combing through the hair with my fingers.

Here’s what it looked like by the end of the night:

fingerwaves

As for accessories, I ditched my glasses during the party and donned a string of fake pearls. The headband I created myself. Walmart has a “make your own headband” sort of station in the craft section with a bunch of flowers and accessories, stretchy headbands and the clampy kind of headbands (yeah, I don’t know what to call them. The classic kind of headband, shaped like a U). I got the flower there, found an ivory ribbon with plenty of texture, and hot glued the ribbon onto a headband I already had.

I kind of forgot about makeup in the rush of getting food together, so I just used eyeliner. But there are plenty of YouTube videos on the subject.

Food

This was a potluck shindig to save some money. We made hot dogs in the crock pot for the main meal (throw in as many as you need, without water, and cook on low for 4 hours).

Also creamy mints:

click through for recipe

and homemade lollipops with gold sprinkles:

Click through for recipe

And my grandmother’s recipe for punch:

Mix together 48 oz EACH of apple, orange, and pineapple juice (frozen concentrate is fine, but add water, obviously). Right before serving, add a 64 oz bottle of ginger ale.

This punch is amazing and super easy. I don’t even like punch much, but this is gooood.

I was going to make a virgin pina colada for myself, but ran out of time. Friends brought drinks to share as well.

That’s about it! It was a grand party, and we had a ton of fun.

My 3-Year Bloggiversary!

Three years ago today, I published my first post on Bewildered Mother, Those Two Little Blue Lines.

And boy, what a three years it has been! To commemorate, I created a timeline of all the posts from January 2010 until now. You can find the timeline up top in the menu. You can also find the individual pages for each year in that menu.

2010

Seriously, go check out the timeline. I spent time on it and need validation.

I also updated the ABOUT on the blog to include Neville. I’ll update it again when Baby Lion is born or if something monumentally life changing happens (I kinda hope it won’t).

Top 5 posts of all time

#1—The Cure for Hangerphobia, 1-20-2012

In which I humiliate myself by piling all of the clothes that need to be hanged up on hangers onto my own body.

Could I BE wearing any more clothes?

#2—Pinwheels—the Addictive Finger Food, 12-29-11

In which I give recipes for twelve different varieties of the tortilla roll-up appetizer.

Ham and Green Onion Pinwheels

#3—Mommy DIY: Nursing Pads, 11-22-2010

In which I describe the complete waste (and possible alien origin) of disposable nursing pads, and then illustrate how five dollars can make enough nursing pads to last the rest of your baby-producing life.

Easy even for those who mistakenly call seamstresses “sewers.”

#4—Daily Mom and Toddler Schedule, 5-14-2012

In which I am laughably unrealistic.

(This schedule did work well for a while, and I intend to pick up on it again SOON. Moving over the summer, followed by a 1st trimester of pregnancy, followed by job searching, has basically thrown any sense of schedule out of the window. I owe my sanity to PBS. I finally have a chiming clock, so it should be easier for me to keep on track.)

#5—Potty Training in One Day: Day Zero (Preparation), 1-19-13

In which I talk about the prep work that went into getting my 2 year old potty trained. Be sure to read Day One: The Big Day!

pottytraining0

Golly Moses, I wrote this less than a week ago, and it’s already in the top five posts of all time!

What I’ve learned about blogging

I don’t blog for pay, and I never intend to. Blogging is generally at the bottom of my priorities, even below the dishes, because 1) it is time consuming and 2) it doesn’t have to be done.

I’m an ideas person, but I’m not a follow-through person per se. If the idea ends up not going how I’d like, I ignore it for a new idea. My mind is like a closed room with a pitching machine shooting out bouncy blue racquet balls. I’m like the dog in that room, trying to catch just one ball at a time.

Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

I’m also a very forgetful person, and mommy brain does not help the situation.  I’ve been trying to make myself a cup of tea for the past three hours. I keep forgetting about the water boiling on the stove—we don’t have a whistling kettle and all my timers are already preoccupied. Now my tea is steeping. It’s a good thing I like strong tea, because I’ll probably leave the tea bag in there for about 20 minutes before I remember to take it out.

That said, you’ll find quite a few blog posts in which I start something and never finish it. If you ever want a follow-up on something, please comment on that blog post!

The Future of Diary of a Bewildered Mother

Primarily this blog began as a way to document the confusion, craziness, and excitement that accompanies an unexpected first pregnancy. In that sense, it was definitely more like a diary. Then I got to meet Little Champ, and my life as a mom really started. It’s crazy and unpredictable and anything but orderly.

Now that I have a toddler and am expecting a second baby this spring, I’ve got my hands full, but I’ll have my hands even more full once Baby Lion is born. I know I’ll post Baby Lion’s birth story, and I’m sure I’ll post lots of photos of my two kids once a month.

Ideally, I’d also post some more recipes and DIYs and lessons I’ve learned about parenting and marriage. But with two kids and a dog under 3, I’m just not going to make any promises. Especially since we might be needing another income this year. What I can say is that I post a whole lot more on my Bewildered Mother Facebook Page than I do here, so individual pictures and little moments are more likely to pop up over there. I also ask parenting questions and post links to parenting sites and to things that make me laugh as a mother. Check it out, become a fan if you want.

February 9th is our prohibition-themed speakeasy gender-reveal party! I’ll definitely be posting about that. On the potty front, there isn’t a whole lot more to say except that the Prince Lionheart Potty is far superior to the crap Disney Cars one we got at Walmart. Once I figure out about potty training and public toilets, I’ll be sure to share.

In case you were wondering, the tea is just fine. Champ has had to use the potty half a dozen times (read: 3) since I began this post, so I have been able to check on my tea using his biological clock. Now the matter is drinking it before it gets cold.

Christmas Party

Yesterday we had an outrageously fun Christmas party, with ugly sweaters, awkward family photos, an ornament exchange, games, food, and much laughter.

Photos

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We had some nice ornaments…

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And some White Elephant ornaments…

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Adam West as Batman, and Nicolas Cage Cats ornaments…
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If you have a weird sense of humor and want some Adam West or NickCageCats ornaments yourself, you can download and print my file here. I don’t own any of the images and made no profit from using them—these are for personal use only!

Menu

  • Cocktail Meatballs
  • Homemade peanut butter cups (filling: 1 cup peanut butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 stick of butter; coating: chocolate almond bark)
  • Chocolate Fondue with fruit, pretzels, and marshmallows
  • Pinwheels (tortilla, cream cheese, ham, and pickle)
  • Da Vinci Dip
  • and these, made with peppermint Kisses (click image for how-to): https://i1.wp.com/4.bp.blogspot.com/-zuSLkgkgeRg/TzG8LNyxQmI/AAAAAAAABII/2Mp5STEOWQY/s1600/pretzel+buttons.jpg

Games

Halloween 2012

Our family has never decorated pumpkins together before!


Little Champ got to paint the first coat on his.

I helped him finish it. The Captain painted Gandalf for Neville’s pumpkin.

 

I painted a chevron pumpkin just for fun, and a little lion on an itty bitty pumpkin!

The Captain and I went to a costume party as Tintin and Captain Haddock.

Captain carved a dragon.

I, Wifosaurus, carved Yoshi and Baby Mario.

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for. Little Champ’s costume—