You Are Beautiful

She goes bounding up the stairs, taking them two at a time. I call after her, “You’re beautiful, you know that?” She turns around, and with flushed cheeks and a darling smile, says, “Of course I do! You tell me that all the time”.

This led me to wonder though, does she know it, or does she just know that I know it?

Amelia is entering the age where she is becoming more aware of how she looks, how others perceive her, and that there are standards the world has that no one really achieves. She is six, and while I want to live in a world where six year olds don’t think about those things, and where they only worry about what they are going to play, who they are going to pretend to be, and what doll they will get with their birthday money – I know this is not the case.

I had hoped that six was way too young for me to start worrying about this, but after reading about the Mother in Australia who found her 7 year old’s “diyet” list…my stomach churned and my heart dropped. I quickly came to the realization that now is when I need to start having these conversations with Amelia.

I remember being insecure with my body at a very young age. I remember very vividly looking in the mirrors at dance class and realizing that my body didn’t look the same as those other girls. My body was “fluffier” than theirs, and their hair was cooler – they had beautiful long hair, I had short “Annie” hair. I was no older than 7 and I was already comparing myself and my body to those of others.

This is something I never wanted for my daughters. It is one of the reasons I wanted to be a Mom to all boys. I didn’t want to have to face the reality of body issues and that they are not just for teenagers.

I want my girls to know that beauty comes from the inside, that while it is good to be healthy and strong, to eat well and to look nice – those things are just things. What matters is on the inside – how they treat others, how kind and loving they are, the compassion and nurture they show – these are the things that make beauty.

Of course as a family we talk about healthy eating and living – about sometimes treats and all the time foods. We talk about ways to stay strong and treat our bodies with respect. But we equal that out with talking about character and how important that one thing is.

I know this is not an easy road I am on. I have lots of nieces and while I think they are all so beautiful, I know they don’t always see it. I know my siblings have done everything in their power to help their daughters realize their true beauty, just as I will do with my girls.

I will tell them they are beautiful, I will encourage them, lift them up and do my best to be a safe place, so when they do feel insecurities, they know they can always talk to me.

I will just keep doing the best I can do and pray it is enough so that they always know they are beautiful.

Don’t Forget This

To my children,

I hope you will always remember the simple joy of playing with a box

the love you share with your siblings


the love of books and the feeling of reading until you just can’t keep your eyes open one more second

the thrill of staying out late in your pajamas on a school night,

And the joy of knowing you can take off on your own two feet.

Love,

Mama

My First Christmas

crop imageDear Meemaw and Grampa,

Mama is so busy right now, so I thought I would help her out by writing you about Christmas.

As you know, this was my first Christmas.  At first I didn’t understand what the big deal was. Mama was in the kitchen a lot more and she was busy putting things in her mouth.  The big kids were too and I kept wanting some, but no one would give me anything but puffs. Even though I like those, the brown things looked yummier.

One day Mama and the kids put a lot of things on plates and then we had to drive all over the place (I didn’t like that part).  They said something about taking goodies to our neighbors and friends.  Whatever goodies are.

You know my Dad? That hairy guy? Well, he was around a lot more than normal.  Mama seemed really happy about that, but I wasn’t. It just means that he holds me more and he isn’t soft like Mama and doesn’t give me milk, and he is hairy.

On Christmas Eve I was pretty cranky. My mouth hurts so bad and my ears too. So Mama and Daddy keep giving me this stuff in a squirter thing. It tastes okay, but I like to chew on the squirter thing more.

Anyway, on Christmas Eve, I woke up and Mama was gone. I was NOT happy about that. She came back home all sweaty and said something about running, and feeling good, and whatever. I just wanted some boob, so I cried until she gave it to me.  Then we went to a party where everyone ate a lot of food that I couldn’t have. I played with my friend Landon, then decided there was too much going on, so I cried until Mama gave me milkers. Then I fell asleep and it was great.

The rest of the day was fun. We opened presents (I loved the wrapping paper), and played games. Our favorite present was the big swing set from Mama and Daddy and you guys. Mom says it will be great after Daddy puts it together and I can swing with my sisters and brother.

On Christmas Eve night we did the Nativity. Mama told us that she did this every year when she was little and that she was always Mary. Amelia and Libby got into a big fight about who was going to be Mary. Amelia ended up being the Angel and Libby was Mary — only because Mom and Dad promised we could do it again the next night and Amelia could be Mary then.  But, when it was time to do it on Christmas night, guess who threw a fit? Yep, Libby.  Girls. I don’t understand them. I know when I am big enough to be someone Seth and I won’t fight over who gets to be Joseph. If I knew how to roll my eyes, I would do it right now.

Christmas morning came and while I was sleeping everyone else opened presents. I got two cool wooden toys and a couple books.  But, my favorite toy was a toothbrush. I love to chew on it. After Church, Mama and I had a good nap while Daddy and Seth played Wii and the girls played with their new ponies and art supplies.

We had a really good Christmas. I liked seeing you on the computer that day. It always makes me laugh.

Mama says she misses you but knows you are doing the Lord’s work, so it is okay.  I can’t wait to get to see you again.

Love you lots,

Elliott

Sometimes

Sometimes you get a picture that so accurately depicts each of your childrens’ personalities it would be a crime not to share it.

This is one of those times.

Happy Sunday friends!

Our Song

I come from a very musical family.  We were always singing together.  It isn’t uncommon for someone to say something and to be answered with a song.  It is how we think…in music.

When I had Emma, I naturally started singing to her.  I sang her songs that my sister sang to me when I was little, songs I made up, and songs that everyone knew.  I sang her Primary songs, lullabyes, and silly songs.  I sang and sang and sang.

I didn’t know that babies could have favorite songs, but she did.  It wasn’t a song I sang to her, but one that was on a CD I got (who knows where) when I was pregnant with her.

Fugi, Fugi, Fugi. A song sung in Italian that I couldn’t really ever sing to her.  This was her favorite and to this day, when I hear it I am taken back to those beautiful days with my baby.

When Seth was born and would get fussy, I put on Fugi, Fugi, Fugi for him.  It worked like magic to calm Emma, so it should work for Seth, right???  WRONG.

Seth’s music of choice wasn’t music at all, but WHITE NOISE.  We have videos that I wish I could find to share with you, of Seth screaming at the top of his lungs and as soon as the white noise starts, his screaming stops.  That was the soundtrack of our lives for the first year of his life.  He then moved on to other music, but when I think of his babyhood, I hear white noise in my head.

Amelia was funny from the start.  She didn’t need white noise (thank Heavens!) and again didn’t love Fugi, Fugi, Fugi.  Her favorite song was the theme from The Office.  It was the ringtone on my phone for years, and I would play it for her in the car when she was super fussy.  She would calm right down, and as she got older she would even laugh a bit.  I always attributed it to the fact that I found The Office when I was pregnant with her, and she associated the music with the endorphins that were released when I would laugh so hard at the antics of Michael Scott.

Libby’s song was one I found shortly after she was born.  This one was an actual lullabye and I was so excited to have something I could actually sing to her!

I hear this song today and it takes me back to holding my sweet Libby when she was such a little baby.  She has had many other songs that are her favorites since then, but this is the one that could calm her like no other in that first year.

Now we are at Elliott.  Number 5 baby, you’d think I have it all figured out by him.  Again…WRONG!

This sweet boy isn’t a fan of ANY of the previous songs that have worked for my kids.  He is his own person, and therefore likes his own song.

This song will forever be imprinted on my mind and soul, just like the others, as the song of my baby’s first year.

Although his favorite way to hear this song is sung by his big sisters.  Melts my heart every time.

What are the songs that make up the soundtrack of your baby’s lives?  Do you and your baby have a song?

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