March 2011

I’m not that old. Either that, or I didn’t realize 34 constituted the need for Centrum Silver. But, this post might make me sound just the slightest bit like an old curmudgeon.

It really hasn’t been all that long since I was a little kid. Just ask my parents. I know that things change, but I’m finding that I am just a little bit unnerved by some of the changes. Part of that is probably because, well, I’m the mommy now.

I’ll give you an example (two, actually). As you can imagine, I played with dolls when I was a child. I certainly had favorites, and Strawberry Shortcake was one of them. Oh, yes. I had the dolls – plural because you couldn’t just have Strawberry Shortcake herself; you also had to have her friends, Blueberry Muffin and Apricot. My obsession didn’t stop there. I had the comb and brush set, the bowl, cup, fork, and spoon set, the sleeping bag, the wall hangings, the t-shirt, and yes people I ate Strawberry Shortcake cereal for breakfast.

This is how she looked when I was 5: 

Look what a cute little girl she is! Everything from the pudgy cheeks to the sweet smile to the ruffled pinafore screams innocence and fun for young kids.

This is what Strawberry Shortcake is, 2011:

I’m OK with her wearing her little jeans and t-shirt outfit. But, and this is where I start to sound old, can someone explain to me why, exactly, a five-year-old needs to be putting on the glitz? What message does that send to little girls when we can’t keep them sweet and cute without “glitz” beyond their single-digit age?

I have another example, and it is another doll that I loved as a child. Remember Rainbow Brite? If you weren’t a little girl/didn’t have a little girl in the early ’80s, then probably not. But, I do! Again, I had the doll, the coloring books, her horse (whatever his name was), the stickers, and I watched the cartoon every Saturday.

Here she is, ’80s style:

In case you’re unfamiliar with Rainbow Brite’s story, she is supposed to be a little kid – like, 8 or 9 at the very oldest. She’s a child on a mission to bring more love and joy to those who don’t have it. But, in 2011, Rainbow Brite is…

…no longer a little kid! What the heck?? I thought the whole idea behind these things was for kids to be able to relate to the characters and aspire to do good because they see children like themselves doing the right thing.

Are we really in such a hurry for our kids to grow up and look like adults? Why does a kindergartener need to dress like a high school kid?

I know I ask this a lot, but, is it just me?? Am I really so weird because I want my daughter to be a little girl for a while – to have fun playing outside and coloring and dressing up her dolls while she’s so young?

If this whole “tart ’em up early” thing is the current accepted trend in childhood toys and fashion, I’m still going to lean toward the Amish thing. I really don’t want her to grow up too quickly, and it bugs me to no end that so much of our culture is geared toward making her believe she’s supposed to.

I would really prefer to let her be a child for as long as she needs to foster a sense of strength and self-worth, so that she can learn who she is without all these images showing her what she “should” be.

I ask again – am I that old? That weird? Is it just me??


This is how we celebrate the first day of spring.

There are two words I’ve been waiting to hear from Madeline for the past couple of months, ever since she clearly strung together the words, “Hi, Daddy!”

She says those two a lot, and usually says them to Dan and me, interchangably.

But, today I was in the kitchen making cupcakes and she was watching me from the living room. With Dan’s prompting, she finally said it – “Hi, Mama!”

Such a cutie patootie. I just want to squeeze the stuffings out of her. I won’t, though. She needs her stuffings.

Madeline is becoming such a little girl, and by that I mean that she is turning into a little kid instead of my sweet little baby.

I know this is a good thing.

It’s just so funny to see how she’s developing into her own person. She’s a little Dan, a little me, and a little of her own sweet self.

For example, she has Dan’s eyes, his smile, his height, the ability to stay in the room with a basketball game on TV without screeching in terror, and most likely his sense of humor since she laughs often.

She has my gestures, my lips, my love for fruit and milk, and this…

First, let me explain my loathing for the great outdoors. I can handle a bit of time outside in the fall, and for about a week in the spring before the temperatures reach the boiling point. I detest being hot, and there are both dirt and bugs outside (shudder). What’s even worse, you could break a sweat out there. Gross!

OK, Madeline is probably not that bad. But, this is what happened the other day when it was sort of nice outside and I decided to take her out to play –

The look on her face was accompanied by much whining until I took her back into the climate controlled, non-bug infested house where she was perfectly content to play with these very same toys.

I would like for her to be a more, well, normal kid about being outside than I was, just so she will play with other kids and get some exercise. That, and Dan needs someone to watch sports with.

At the same time, I like that she loves her baby dolls, her tea set, and her purse. I can’t wait for Barbie and the Easy Bake Oven to make their first appearances under the Christmas tree.

But, what makes me even happier is that she’s becoming herself. She doesn’t have to be like me or Dan or anyone else. And, if it turns out that she doesn’t like sports or the arts and she goes her own way that neither of us gets at all, that’s AWESOME!

There’s always something to sacrifice. But, how big do you want that sacrifice to be?

Each year at this time, for 40 days, we make a small sacrifice. It’s always something that’s “do-able.” Oh, sure, we can go without coffee for 40 days. (There’s always tea, right?) We can give up desserts for a little over a month. It shouldn’t be a problem to avoid this temptation or that one for such a short period of time. Besides, all bets are off once Easter arrives.

I don’t want to think of Lent that way, but let’s be realistic. Let’s say the thing that people keep inside their heads. I’m not, in any way, suggesting that this is true of every year, but often we do get so bogged bown in our daily lives that we forget why we’re making the sacrifice and just go through the motions because it’s “what we’re supposed to do.”

Lately, I have been spending a great deal of time thinking about what kind of sacrifice I could make that would accomplish what it is supposed to accomplish. I finally came to the conclusion that no sacrifice I make will ever come close to the one that was made for me, but that I do want (and need) to spend some time contemplating the ultimate sacrifice that he made and what it means to me.

Not being one to keep spiritual thoughts and insights to myself, I decided that Dan needed to hear my contemplations, as well. I do wonder what goes through a man’s head when his wife approaches him with the words, “We need to discuss our lenten journey for this year.”

So, I will not be forgoing caffeinated beverages or sugar or anything of that nature during this season of lent. My personal goal is to share some of Christ with someone every day, in whatever way is possible. My goal for us, as a family, is to pray together and delve more deeply into scripture on a daily basis. But, I don’t want it to stop after Easter. I want this to continue, because I know it will help us to grow closer in our marriage, but more importantly, it will help us grow in our personal relationship with God.

I cannot even articulate how important it is that we grow as a family in Christ and that we set that example for Madeline, giving her the tools to grow into someone who seeks to love and serve Him.

Why not start today?

” So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,  but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:8-10