Saturday, August 17, 2013

Barbie with a Booty

I don't know if I'm just noticing these things more because of how much they have been on my mind lately, or if I'm just being shown what I need to see, but I have seen and read so many inspiring things on the subject of women's body image in the last few days.
Remember how I said I could go on for a long time about how industry benefits from women's self hatred? Well, this guy did. His name is Alok Appadurai, and he and his wife started A Beautiful Body Project. Their mission is to promote a new standard of beauty - one that is based in reality. His wife takes pictures of women's postpartum bodies and leaves them just as they are. No Photoshop. No airbrush. They are publishing a book of the images they have taken so far, and I want it. I want to display it on my coffee table for all my guests to see. I want it to be a part of my children's lives. I want them to see these images and know that they are beautiful and strong and real. The poem Alok wrote - Milking Millons Off Women's Self Doubt - is powerful. I strongly encourage you to read it.
Have you heard about the guy who 3-D printed a Barbie based on the average American woman's body? I think it's amazing and so, so frustrating at the same time. Why has it taken so long to do something like this? Why hasn't Mattel done it themselves? We've known for a long time that Barbie has an impossible physique, why can't we just change it? Either way, I love Real Barbie. I think she kinda looks like me. Or I look like her, I guess. Just minus the blonde hair. Who among us has been able to say that about the Barbie we grew up with...?! I want this new Barbie for my daughters.

I have so much more I could show you, but I think I'll lay this subject down for a while here on this blog. Check out my Pinterest board True Beauty for more inspiring images of real women and links to other people taking a stand.

Friday, August 16, 2013

these are the moments...

Our poor, sweet boy woke up sad this morning. He's been teething again, and I think the discomfort woke him up before he was actually ready to be done sleeping. Sleepy and sad, he needed some cuddles. I was, of course, happy to oblige. I scooped him up with his blanket and his Lovey and joined Daddy on the couch. Daddy wrapped his arm around us both and said, "Good morning, family."
There it was, Emily. The moment to hold on to. Moments that will be gone before I know it. Moments with a sweet, chubby little boy in a diaper. Moments in the quiet morning with just Mommy and Daddy and Drake. Moments when life feels complete and perfect.
Five minutes later, his diaper rode up without me realizing and he peed all over me and the couch.

Monday, August 12, 2013


So, uh..... this is just the teensiest bit late... And by teensy, I mean 8 months. Ahem. Yeah....
I really have been wanting to post these pictures of Drake's 1st birthday since, well, Drake's 1st birthday. And he may or may not be 20 months old already. :} But life gets in the way and priorities get mixed up and excuses get made.... blahdy blah blah.
But here they are now, still as cute as ever. Except for the fact that now they almost make me have a panic attack because, you guys, my baby is SO much bigger than this now! How can this be just 8 months ago?! Parenthood is insanity. High paced insanity.
Speaking of which, his 1st Birthday was an airplane theme. We chose planes because his daddy is going to school to be a pilot, so it's a major part of our life, and because his first year flew by. And now here we are closer to 2 than 1 already... I'm not gonna cry...

The Birthday Boy...
 ...with his beautiful Nana Amy...
...and his cousin Ashton.

                                                                 We set up a photo corner...

 ...and I think the adults had more fun than anyone else...
 .... as evidenced by my Mom and her wonderfully silly fiance, Kyle. :)
Papa Rick and the two youngest.
 The party table...
 ... and our fleet of party favors.
 My [second attempt at my] first birthday cake...
 I was pretty proud of how it turned out (despite the misspelling).
 We were so grateful to have so many wonderful friends and neighbors come celebrate with us.

 Cake time!!

 As you can see, the birthday outfit did not survive the cake...

 The bigger kids played Pin the Propeller on the Plane...

there are a lot of giggles when you accidentally walk towards the wrong wall... :)
 ... and then it was present time!

 Do you see the wonderful rocking horse Kyle made him? I may or may not have accidentally broken it later that night... :S But don't worry, it's ok now! Kyle fixed it.
 It makes my heart so happy to remember how much my Little Man is loved.
Drake and his beautiful Auntie B.

Nana Cindy's necklace is soooo pretty!

Drake and Best Friend Jaime.
 Thank you to all our wonderful friends and family who made my boy's 1st Birthday such a special day. Ready to do it again in 4 months...? Oh geez, I think I'm gonna be sick....

(ps - now I know why I put this off for so long! That just took me nearly 8 hours across 2 days to edit and format all those pictures! Phew!)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Young and Beautiful

I want to quickly share with you a couple of things I came across in the last couple of days that I found relevant to my last post. They aren't necessarily about the words we speak, but perhaps go a bit deeper, to the root of the whole issue.
The first is a simple image and quote from one of my favorite authors, the wonderful Maya Angelou.
The second is a dance choreographed by Stacey Tookey on the most recent episode of So You Think You Can Dance. She takes a look at the high pressure placed on women to be eternally young and beautiful. Why aren't we given the same permission that men are given to age gracefully? Perhaps it's time we start insisting on it.
I hope you enjoy them is much as I did.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I Love My Butt

I know this may seem odd at best and completely self absorbed at worst, but I'm being serious here. Something has been on my mind a lot lately - something relating to body image and self esteem and parenting. I'm going to try to make sense of it here, if that's ok with you.
There are not many other parts of my body that I would say I "love" - there are a few I like, and a lot that I simply tolerate - but I've always been happy with my backside. There's nothing particularly special about it really. I've always just.... liked it. Simple and easy. So why haven't I been able to do that for all of myself? My thoughts on the whole thing are a bit convoluted, but hang with me for a minute.
My beautiful mother has a rather large rear end (sorry Mom - I'm outing you a little in this post). It's true. But it's great. She never seemed to mind it. In fact, I think she rather likes it. And my Dad used to call it the Great White, in this completely adoration-filled way, like it was one of his favorite things about my mother.
I look a lot like my mother. She calls me her Mini Me. Everyone who knew my mom when she was my age gushes about how uncanny it is when they meet me. So it was natural, I think, for me to like the parts of myself that Mom liked in herself. It was even more reassuring to know that men might like it, too. (I have a lot of thoughts of the power of a Daddy's words on his little girl, but that's for another day.) I never consciously thought about all of this until very recently, but I think the way my mother spoke about herself (and the way my father spoke about her) influenced the way I thought about myself.
And to be honest, I never really heard my mother speak kindly of many other parts of herself. I remember her lamenting that she had inherited her father's nose. I know she wishes she had longer eye lashes. I know she thinks her hands are knobby and unattractive. Basically, she picks herself apart, just like the rest of us. But here's the thing: she is incredibly beautiful. The only person who isn't completely convinced of that is my mother. And that sucks. She deserves better.
So do I.
So do you.
I have a very long list of complaints about my body; my tummy pudge that won't go away no matter how hard I work out or how clean I eat, my big nose, my short legs, my broad shoulders, my small boobs, my crooked smile, my small eyes, my thin hair. (As I'm writing this I'm picturing that Dove commercial that made so much buzz. Have you seen it? Ugh.) But I think it's time to throw that list away.
I am a Mom now, and little ears will hear what I say.
When I was 21, I was in a Christian discipleship program for young adults. It was like boot camp for your faith. Early every morning, our director took us through a workout. He often brought his two beautiful daughters with him. I think they were something like 4 and 6 at the time. They were incredible little girls: super active and strong and happy. They would get right in there with us - work their little tails off - and then hit the showers with us afterward. One day, one of these beautiful little girls started crying in the locker room. When we asked her what was wrong, we were horrified to hear her say that she thought she was fat. Each and every one of us felt an instant pang of guilt, one that I carry still. We knew exactly where she had gotten that idea. Us. The way we spoke about ourselves. (To the parents of that little girl: if you're reading this, I don't know if I ever told you just how sorry I am. I am so, so sorry.)
Our words have so much power.
If I put those ideas into my own daughter's head.... shame on me.
I know I can't be perfect all the time - none of us can -  but I can certainly be better. I can work on it. What if I simply started saying, "I love my shoulders, because they are strong. I love my tummy, because it is soft and feminine."? Even if I don't necessarily believe it. Just say it anyway. And maybe I don't even need a "because." Maybe I can just say, "I love my legs. I love my eyes. I love my nose." Phew. I just tried that out loud, and it was hard. Even sitting here all alone. It will take a lot of work. Because I'm not talking about just changing thoughts, I'm talking about actually changing words: what comes out of our mouths when others can hear. And that's scary. Because it's safer to sound self-deprecating than self-idolizing, isn't it? No one wants to sound conceited. Can't you just hear everyone thinking, "Well someone sure thinks a lot of themselves"?  (I could go on for a long time about why I think this is. About how society likes it that way: to describe confidence as conceit and to promote self degradation. Because if we are never satisfied with ourselves, of course we will have to spend more money in the pursuit of something better.) I say phooey  to all of that. It doesn't make you conceited to accept yourself as you are. It makes you healthy and happy. And if someone thinks less of you when you start thinking better of you, well phooey on them too. Because you are more important.
And so am I.
And so are my kids.
I'm going to work on acceptance. Satisfaction. Contentment. And I'm going to speak them out loud so my children can hear me. And I'm going to pray that my daughters will find it perfectly natural to say the same things about themselves, and can avoid at least some of the struggle we have all been waging for so long. Maybe we can all work on it and can raise a new generation of people more likely to be kind to themselves and to each other.
And maybe, by working on this for the sake of my kids, I'll actually start to believe some of it.Wouldn't that be lovely?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Drake in Motion

I realized the other day as I tried to show a co-worker some pictures of my son that I have so few recent pictures. I used to take ten a day! Now there were only one or two from the past month that you could really see his smiling face. So over the past week, I've made a conscious effort to try to capture a few more shots of my handsome Little Man. And that's when I remembered that I didn't stop taking pictures of Drake, he stopped holding still for them. Seriously, this kid never stops! He has so much energy and even more curiosity about the world around him. I'm lucky if I get a few moments of sleepy boy cuddles first thing in the morning, and then he wants down and he wants to run. He will stop to play with a toy for a moment, but the instant I reach for my phone to take a picture, he's off and running again. Yarg. I guess I just need a better camera. ;)
I thought I'd share a few "action" shots with you, since they are the most accurate representation of his life right now.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Keeping His Cool

I haven't posted in forever - literally forever - and I should probably apologize for that or try to catch up on everything I've missed or write some long winded post about how much Drake has grown in the past six months.... but forget all that. I just want to show you these pictures.
These are the various ways we have tried to ward of the heat this summer with a crazy active toddler. Isn't he the coolest?