Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chickens

My dear friend Jennifer recently embarked on the journey of raising chickens. You can read all about it on her blog here.

So these chickens have now made her house the absolute coolest place to be in Addy's mind. We visited them last week (because Addy is asking all the time, "Can we call Jennifer and see how her chickens are growing up?"), and Jen's youngest boy showed us what a good chicken-raising helper he is: 


That's bug (as Jennifer calls him), holding one of the friendly hens while Addy tries to feed her a leaf. These kids are adorable, are they not? Bug is amazing with these chickens. He jumped right in their grazing area and quickly picked one up. Addy tried to emulate, but her quick movements scared them all away. Regardless, she was tickled pink to spend some time hanging out with them. I have to admit, they are pretty cool to watch! Maybe next time I'll try to pick one up too! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

My bologna has a middle name

My middle name is Marie, and so is my sister's. You would think my mom or dad had some sort of family significance in using the same middle name for both of us, but apparently, they just happened to like it. I continued the tradition and used Marie for Addison's middle name as well. 

When you're growing up, of course the only time you hear your middle name being used is when you're in trouble, doing something you shouldn't be doing. So naturally, what we heard was either "Stacy Marie!" Or "Stephanie Marie!" We have a funny story in our family dating back to when Stephanie was about four years old, and I was two. Stephanie caught my dad doing something she didn't think my mom would approve of (no one remembers what, exactly), and reacting as she had always seen mom do with us, she promptly yelled, "Daddy Marie!" Since then, giving everyone and everything the middle name Marie has become somewhat of an inside joke for our family. Insert this fabulous card my sister stumbled upon and sent me for my birthday one year:



Last weekend, Matt and Addy and I spent a large chunk of time doing yard work outside. Matt's task was to transport a dirt pile from our front yard to the perimeter of the house in the backyard. Each time he loaded up the wheelbarrow, Addy would follow him to the back yard to watch him dump it. On one occasion, she was busy catching frogs and missed the trip to the back. When she came looking for him and didn't see him, to my utter delight she called out for him, "Daddy? Daddy Marie? Where are you Daddy Marie?"

It gets even better. A few days later Addy sat down next to me on the couch and quickly expressed her concern over my need for a shower with, "Ewwww, you're STINKY MARIE! You need a shower!" 

And so the cycle continues. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Letter to My Daughter

Dear Addison,

One of the things I love best about having you as my daughter is that I get to see the world through your eyes. So many times, watching you has reminded me of what truly matters in life: being loved and giving love. The best thing about your age right now, as a girl, is that you are absolutely in love with yourself. You radiate confidence, and you see pure beauty when you look in the mirror. When you get dressed, or play with your hair, or even put one of your daddy's hats on your head, you say, "Don't I look beautiful!" You are not yet aware of what society and the media deems "beautiful", you have no idea what being teased feels like, and you don't know what it means to compare yourself to other girls. As you grow into a woman and learn those things, I wish that it wouldn't have any impact on your confidence, but it undoubtedly will.

As your mother, I am the role model that will shape how you view your body, how you react to the portrayal of women in media, and how you cope with societal pressures of what it means to be a woman. If I teach you nothing else, I hope I can teach you this: Your self-worth is not determined by your physical attractiveness. 

As I write you this letter, I am nearly 34 years old, and I am just now allowing myself to believe that statement. My self worth is not determined by my physical attractiveness. My self-worth is determined by the actions I take every day. It's found in the way I treat other people, and the effort I put into relationships. My self-worth is the result of the person I am on the inside. It has nothing to do with the size of my waist, my weight on the scale, or the shape of my arms.

I want you to know that YOU are the reason I'm finally finding the self-confidence to think this way. I look at you, and you are the spitting image of me. And I think, this little girl is so beautiful.


 You have my thin, flat hair. I've always complained about my hair, but I look at yours and see beauty. You have my wide feet, with a bulbous big toe. I cringe when I look at my feet, but I look at yours and think how awesome your feet are to carry your body wherever you go. You have my smile, right down to my ornery smirk. I've never liked my smile because it's not "classically beautiful", but I look at your smile and it fills my heart with joy. You are beautiful, and through you, I'm learning that I am too. Thank you for that gift.

I hope that I can take this newfound confidence and teach you that, while it's important to take care of yourself and present yourself to the world in a clean and well-groomed manner, your value as a woman goes far deeper than your appearance. I hope I can give you the tools to battle the bitchy girls in high school who try to make you feel inferior, or the boy in sixth grade who tells you your knees are fat. I hope I can teach you to always see something beautiful when you look in the mirror and when you examine your soul. I am aware of the responsibility I bear in shaping your vision of your self-worth, and I know it starts with improving my own. I promise you that I will do my best.