Ariel is Deserves a Defense

Right now, as I type this I hear The Little Mermaid opening credits playing in the girls’ room. It’s one of those movies they have on repeat as they play with their dolls and “ahh ahh ahh” along.  I know I am not the only one who is excited for the new version of The Little Mermaid. I also know I am not the only one who has been criticized for loving Ariel and the original movie.   

I remember having a discussion in one of my undergrad classes about Disney princesses. The discussion was about the cookie cutter princess, and we were trying to decide when they started to become more strong female figures rather than damsels in distress. I immediately offered Ariel as the first feminist princess. I was then immediately shot down. Collective groans, eye rolls, and even a gasp or two came when I said I thought she was the first step towards feminist princesses. How could I think the girl who literally gives up her voice for a man is a strong princess?

I was probably 20ish years old at the time, and I had not sat and watched the movie for years. I remember floundering a bit to explain. All I could think was that one: her muteness is part of the original story and two: in the first scene where we meet her, she beats up a shark. That wasn’t enough, though. In the moment when I hadn’t seen the movie in so long and everyone was telling me I was wrong, I couldn’t articulate why I felt like she was such a strong lead. I just knew that when I first saw The Little Mermaid at 4 years old, I wanted to be like Ariel. And my idea of being like Ariel was being spunky, strong, and independent. After class, another girl came up to me to say that she agreed with me. She told me she felt the same way, but she also couldn’t articulate why.

This 5, maybe 10 minute discussion that took place 15 years ago never left me. How could I, a woman who prides herself in her feminist ideals, have such affection for the girl who “gives up her voice?” How could anyone allow their daughters to love a princess who would give up her voice and family for a man? Every now and again I would remember and think to myself that Ariel deserved more. I knew she was a strong princess, and at some point I’d be able to explain why. 

I could not defend Ariel then, but thanks to my daughters’ obsessions with the movie, I am no longer so far removed from the film. I know now that I was not wrong about her being one of the first strong, independent princesses, so I will defend her now.  It is a gross generalization to say that Ariel gives up so much for a man. In actuality Ariel gives up very little. She risks her life for a chance to live the way she dreams for herself, yes. But give up her voice? No. She is bold enough to trade her speaking voice for a chance to pursue her own happiness. She uses actions to convey her messages, and a man just happens to be along for the ride.

We immediately know Ariel is not your “ordinary” princess because even before we meet her, we learn that she is defiant. She doesn’t care about the pomp and circumstance of presenting herself to a kingdom. Rather than being put on display in a giant clamshell throne, forced to sing and entertain, she skips out on her performance to explore a dangerous shipwreck.

We know it is dangerous because, as I mentioned in my English class eons ago, she gathers her treasures even while outwitting a hungry hunting shark. Rather than retreating home after narrowly escaping the danger of being eaten alive, she swims to the forbidden surface to try and discover more about her treasures. Then she rushes home to apologize to her father, but when he learns what she was doing her father reprimands her for going to the surface (again). What I find interesting is that the mention of the shark attack gets little to no reaction, but the danger of the surface sets the King off on a tirade. “As long as you live under my ocean you obey my rules.” Those rules include being ignorant of anything outside of “his ocean,” his world.

“If you would just listen,” she begs.

“Not another word!”

So far, in (less than) the first fifteen minutes of the film, we know that Ariel is daring, defiant, and courageous, but with a voice that is not heard. Try as she might, she cannot get a word in. I can understand how this can be seen as just an insolent teenager being shut down by her parent’s “because I said so” argument, but she isn’t disobeying her father just for the sake of disobedience. She is trying to learn about new things. She also tries to justify her actions but is not allowed to express herself. (How many of us have the same problem?)

Then comes the song. The beautiful, iconic “Part of Your World.” Interesting side note – the song is called “Part of Your World,” but the lyrics are actually “part of that world.” I think the misheard lyric attributes to the idea of Ariel giving everything up to be a part of someone else’s world rather than just that other world. Anyway, the song starts off sweetly enough, about her gadgets and gizmos, but then she desperately sings “I want more,” and she doesn’t mean material things.

Bet’cha on land they understand

Bet they don’t reprimand their daughters

Bright young women sick of swimmin’

Ready to stand

And ready to know what the people know

Ask ’em my questions and get some answers

Beyond just trinkets and objects, she wants to be taken seriously. She wants to “wander free” to explore the things she has not seen before. She wants to learn and “know what the people know.” And even more importantly she wants to “Ask ’em my questions and get some answers.” She wants to be able to ask and be answered! Not just shoo’d away, told not to think about it, just do what she’s told, and shut up. She believes that in this new world “they understand,” are less constrictive, and more open to “bright young women” who aren’t reprimanded for curiosity but encouraged. More than just dancing and sunbathing, she wants her turn to do and learn and love as she pleases.

It is important to note this all happens before she ever even lays her eyes on Prince Eric. We know right from the start of the movie that Ariel wants to be a part of a world different from hers. She lives in a world that is not her own but her father’s, where her personal voice is not a treasure. It is only there for performance purposes.

When she does see Eric, I cannot say I blame her immediate infatuation. She peers from the side of his ship – she must again be quiet as to not draw attention to herself – this is forbidden and dangerous. Ariel learns that this human is very much like her. He is humble and does not like to be put on display (in his case in statue form). We learn he does not want to be married off to just anyone for political purposes, but to “the right” person of his choosing. Also like Ariel, when faced with danger, he doesn’t cower and hide. He helps his crew gain control of the ship until it is impossible, he saves drowning passengers, and he risks his own life to save his beloved dog. He is not just a stock cut out of a prince, but a character with personality, so of course she is smitten.

If this movie was just about a girl who was willing to give up her voice for a guy, Ariel would have made her bargain with the Sea Witch right then and there. But she doesn’t. She does what most teenagers do and fantasizes about what could be, but she never considers making a bargain with Ursula until her father finds out about her crushing on a human.

From the aforementioned shark scene, we know Ariel has risked her life for at least some of the pieces in her human artifacts collection. Her last haul was only a few items, but her cavern is filled from sand to ceiling. Who can guess how long she has been collecting? But because she disobeyed her father, her collection of artifacts, her life’s work, are turned to dust and all she can do is watch. It doesn’t matter if she begs, pleads, and cries. A disobedient teenage girl must suffer and be silenced.

It is only after the work of her life is destroyed that she considers talking to the Sea Witch. Ursula insists “on land it’s much preferred for ladies not to say a word.” So far, we can see why Ariel does not value her speaking voice. Any time she attempts to use it, she is silenced, must be quiet for her own safety, or told it is not needed. In this world, Ariel already doesn’t have a voice. What difference does it make if she gives up what she doesn’t actually have?  At least now she has a chance at having her “turn” to “explore that shore up above out of the sea” and be “part of that world.”

Throughout the rest of the movie, we See Ariel and Eric reunite, and I appreciate the fact that Eric is not so easily won. We see that he does begin to fall for Ariel’s charming personality as she combs her hair with a fork, her adventurous spirit as she leaps her carriage over a cliff, and her unapologetic excitement as she blows pipe smoke in Grimsby’s face. But he is ever respectful, and even “Kiss the Girl” doesn’t really work until Eric is sure Ariel wants to be kissed (I am curious about the lyric change in the new film, and I applaud the writers for making necessary changes).

Certainly Eric’s chivalry and honor are beside the point here. Having two interesting and lovable characters fall in love with each other is really just a bonus happy ending to Ariel finally getting what she wants. As Sebastian points out, Ariel “traded her voice to the Sea Witch and got legs” (NOT Eric – legs). Because of that trade she is able to experience everything she sings about in “Part of Your World.” During the scene where she and Eric tour the kingdom she jumps, dances, strolls down the street, and more. Furthermore, her speechless communications with Eric were effective. He understands what she wants to see and do and assists her in all those things. He doesn’t tell her she can’t take the reins but hands them over and lets her guide their carriage. She doesn’t spend her time touring the kingdom trying to make Eric fall in love with her. Instead she uses the time to engross herself in and truly becomes “part of that world,” to which his falling for her just comes naturally.

And it is, in fact, Ariel’s voice that Eric loves. He wants his bride to have her own voice and not just be a thing on his arm. It is her voice that enchants him. He wants his future wife to be heard. This is what makes Ursula so clever. She knows that a good man (a feminist – yes they can be men too!)wants the woman he loves to have a voice. Ursula convinces Ariel that men do NOT want a talking woman because she knows that is only true of oppressive men – the exact type of men Ariel could never fall in love with anyway. (I am especially interested to see the lyric change in the new version. To me this manipulation is key, and I wonder how it is changed without taking away the fact that Ursula is clearly lying.)

Of course this is why the real drama occurs. Eric is cursed by Ursula and Ariel must save him yet again. She saves him from remaining possessed and marrying a squid, then she saves him once more from the Sea Witch’s magical blows. If not for Ariel, Eric would have been dead a few times.  Unlike many other past princesses, she is the one who does the saving.

I think we could take away the whole romantic element of the movie we would still have the same outcome. Upon his destroying her possessions and ignoring her voice, Ursula could have used almost anything to get Ariel to agree to her contract. But this is not an original fairy tale. It is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s story, which is a romance. That is why it is so important that both Ariel and her romantic interest are strong, feminist characters. While Ariel might be a bit naïve (or just flat out wrong) about the human world’s treatment of their daughters as a whole, the person she is willing to be with does in fact hold her beliefs that women are “bright” and worthy to “get some answers.”

I also think as adults we forget what it is like to be young and ambitious. That’s why it is so easy to dismiss Ariel as a silly teenager who is willing to give up her life for some boy. It’s easy to mistake her bravery for foolishness or her determination to be heard for insubordination. It’s easy because a part of us want her to be a silly, foolish, insubordinate teenager because gross generalizations are easy to understand. And why would a children’s cartoon have depth anyway?

The Little Mermaid is not a perfect movie. I am hoping that the writers of the live action film have taken advantage of the nearly 35 years between releases to help clarify Ariel’s strengths. Maybe they will clarify why she can’t just write a note to Eric, or at least have her marry as an adult. I hope the movie makes clear that Ariel did not give up her voice for a man. She traded her voice for a chance to live exactly how she wanted to live. That’s the amazing thing about Ariel. Even though her story is about a girl who is mute, she is not the silent, placid, cookie cutter princess. She finds ways to express herself and follow her dreams without a voice, the same way so many women in the real world are forced to – through expression and actions because we are often silenced by the world around us.

Ariel is a badass, and I am glad my daughters love Ariel as I did. We have the release marked on our calendars and can’t wait to see it!

Sharing Hobbies as a Parent

With the exception of a few puzzle games on my phone, I have not played a video game in years. Probably around 8 years. This doesn’t mean anything to a lot of people. Some might even wonder why a grown woman would have been playing even 8 years ago. But I did. I enjoyed it. It was my indulgence. My favorites were Zelda. I like them because I enjoyed the layers of stories, the quests, the puzzle-solving, the complicated exploring adventures of getting from point A to B to C. When I was in college I kept the smallest DS I could find in my purse and would sneak off and play between classes. When I was first married, Matt tried to play the Diablo on PlayStation with me, but he was too frustrated with how slow and deliberate I take storylines, so he’d go onto his computer while I stayed with my console.

I bought myself a Switch just so I could play the newest game in the Zelda world. But then babies happened, and without really thinking about it I just stopped playing.

Before kids, I‘d have been really sad to think about a hobby I love so much almost completely disappearing, but it happened in a way that made it hard to even notice it was happening. It makes sense that this would be the hobby that goes away. It takes a lot of time, and all at once. Zelda is not a game where I can play for just a few minutes here and there. If I tried that I would forget what I was supposed to be doing. Plus it is so easy to lose track of time while playing. Hours could go in what feels like minutes.

But as it turns out Zelda didn’t go away altogether. Now Giacomo is old enough to play. He started at about 6 years old, sitting in my craft room playing my old Wii while I painted and designed orders for people. He likes to play TP and will either play one of my old games (so he can be a wolf right away) or he just wanders around Ordon Village. He is starting to really progress, especially as his reading gets better (the reading and story telling in the game is a whole other topic I could go on about). He is charging an old DS he found with OoT already inside, and he is the one who is playing BoW on my (now his) Switch.  Santa brought him Skyward Sword for Christmas and he loves it. Sometimes he asks me to play with him or to watch him.

It’s pretty cool to watch someone discover something you love. Sometimes I worry that I won’t have much in common with my kids. We might not like the same music, or hobbies, or interests. So when Giacomo decided he really loves to play Zelda, I was so, so excited. I don’t think Daisy will be so into video games, but she does seem to really like tiny trinkets and creating “potions,” like I always did. And Daphne loves to dance like used to do. All my kids like dark-yet-whimsical stories and movies, Like Tim Burton films, Willow,  and Coroline. So I try not to worry that I won’t have anything in common with these kids and instead remember that, yes, these kids are mine and yes, part of my likes will rub off on them.  If all else, their love for each other will be the biggest thing we have in common and keep us together in our hearts, always.

But still I am excited that there are some things we can actively do together. Maybe one day we’ll strategize a plan in a video game and play together, create a new recipe, or make up some new dances. Maybe we’ll all write a story together. That would be amazing.

Or maybe they will teach me about something. Maybe I will find my next hobby through helping the kids with theirs. So far that has not happened. I tried to learn Pokémon because Giacomo wanted someone to play with at home, but fun fact about me, I cannot retain card games no matter how hard or how often I try to learn them. So Pokémon is not my next game. But I still am interested in learning about the little creatures because they interest Jack. Maybe it will grow on me? Or maybe I shouldn’t force myself to be “all in” just because the kids are, just like I won’t force them to write for fun, make resin art, or refurbish furniture.

But when something organically happens and they introduce me to something I already love, as if they’re the ones who discovered that Zelda is a Sheikah, Beetlejuice is an awesome movie, or Motown is fun to dance to, my heart is overwhelmingly full.

A Vatican of Cardinals

A few weeks ago I was sitting alone in our back room, in front of my Christmas tree, just grieving. I was very sad thinking of all the people I love so much who aren’t with me anymore. I was missing my grandparents, my uncles, my cousins, and my friends who have all passed on. I just miss them all so much.  I remembered a Christmas years ago, I was a little girl and crying with my mom while we missed my uncles, wishing they were with us.  This felt very much like it did that year – I felt like a little kid again with this gigantic grief that I couldn’t handle or put into words.

I don’t know why but suddenly I stood up and looked out the window. In my rock pit and in the trees behind my house were several cardinals. I had never seen more than a pair together before, but here spread across my yard and trees were at least 5 male and 5 female cardinals, maybe more. They were hopping and flying from the ground to several different branches, so I couldn’t get a definite number, but there were definitely at least 10. I was suddenly so happy.  The logical part of my brain said it is winter, cardinals are not at all rare, this is a coincidence. The other part of my brain said yes, that may be true, but I had never seen so many at once. And some part of me had me stand up to look out the window right then, when my heart was missing everyone so deeply, to see all those birds who are said to represent lost loves ones. Who are supposed to remind us to keep their spirits alive in our hearts.  Who may as well have been saying “we are here, we love you.”

I tried to take a few photos, but the window screen and the width of space the birds took up made my photos a little blurry and without all the birds in the same frame. I love the photos I did manage to get though, and I quickly sent them to my husband, mom, and sisters. It was the little sign from heaven we all needed.

I found out that there are many names for a group of cardinals, and one is called a Vatican. I thought my Mama would like that, so I decided I will only be calling multiple cardinals a Vatican. Part of my resolution this year is to write more, so I figure that on the anniversary of the day my Mama left us, I will write here about the day I feel she and some other loved ones sent some birds to my yard to help lift my spirits. I hope I can keep up, write more, and be happy more. Until next time, enjoy this pair cardinal from that day.

Find Joy in Spring

Tulips lucky enough to avoid the jaws of squirrels

When I started this blog, it was a space for me to pull happiness into the world. In real life, I am not nearly as upbeat and positive as I wish I was. I am actually very cynical, suspicious, and I expect the worst in most situations, but I am trying my best to be more positive. That is why it was so important to me that My Asterisk Life stayed a positive space. Even if no one ever reads a single post, I know whatever I have floating around is happy and safe. Life is really hard. There are terrible and tragic things happening every day, and I want a place to escape.

But over the last year I worried, is it even appropriate to have a happy space? The world seemed to be saying no. Even if I did want to use my blog as a space to reflect on the sadness of the last year, I couldn’t. Some people have the natural ability to articulate their feelings. They can beautifully put into words the pain they feel, and when we read their works we feel a connection. We relate to their pain, we understand where they are coming from, we may feel satisfied knowing we are not alone. I am not one of those people. When I am sad, I am at a loss for words. Nothing comes out and everything is blank. Or, even worse, if something does come out I say the wrong thing. I say the first idea that has come into my head without articulating the nuance of my sadness. Then I am overanalyzing and over thinking my descriptions, worried I have made someone else upset or have come off as stupid. So no, I won’t write sad things, or at least if I do I will try my best to find he light in the sadness (“If there’s a shadow in your life then there’s sunshine”).

My birthday is tomorrow. I’ll be entering the new bracket when I fill out my age in surveys. The actual “middle age.” My life is different than what I thought it would be by now, but I like it. I am blessed. I am learning new things about myself. I am finding out how complicated it is to be human. To be happy and sad and fulfilled and yearning and anxious and worried and content and curious and excited all at once. It’s a complicated beautiful thing this life we have.

I’d like to continue to share with you some things I find beautiful. Like my sweet Mama’s recipes, adventures with my family, crafting trial and errors, and some other musings I have. I’ll start with my flowers who have bloomed this spring in spite of the bunnies and squirrels digging up and eating the bulbs of their neighbors. The hyacinths are my favorites because they smell so amazing. I with they’d last a little longer before toppling over. Thank you for reading so far! I hope the rest of your day is filled with joy.

The sweet smells of spring

Write Down those Baby Sayings!

Time with babies flies like crazy. I’ve blogged less and less, but that’s mostly because I have less time to edit and proofread rather than less time to want to write. I do keep a few journals with an app on my phone: one for general journaling, one for my daily grateful thoughts, and one for quotes that I hear throughout the day and I don’t want to forget. I got the idea to write down quotes from one of my dearest friends, and I’m so glad I picked up on her habit. I write anything ridiculous I hear from adults, and I also keep note of the funny things the kids say. Now that the kids are getting bigger, I love seeing how their language skills are improving and laughing at what they once were. I have an ongoing list of Giacomo and Daisy “isms,” and soon I’ll be adding a Daphne-isms list.

Here’s some Giacomo and Daisy isms to brighten your day:

Mail Pizza = Delivered pizza
Red store = Target
Blue store = Lowes
Man store= Home Depot
The Man Show = Fraiser
Bird store – Wawa
Squeeze = water enhancers (like MiO)
Dinosaur Movie = Land Before Time movies
Real Dinosaur Movie = Jurassic Park
Good T-Rex and Bad T-Rex = Jurassic World
Blah Blah Blah = Hotel Transylvania

Aside from working and babies I’m also happily busy expanding Asterisk Gifts LLC. I’ve decided to make it possible to order and make payments from to make it a bit easier, but you can also follow my Instagram and/or Facebook account to see some things I’ve been working on or to place an order. Happy summer everyone!

Daisy Singing in the Rain

I think most of us are in agreement that this summer was pretty crappy weather wise. It was either a thousand degrees or raining. Most of us are glad it’s finally fall and some clear, crisp weather should be on the way. While she hasn’t specifically told me, I don’t think my Daisy is one of these people. Not only did she not mind the rainy weather, she enjoyed it. She’s sit and watch at the window and sing “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” but if I’d let her, she’d gladly play in the rain.


After the rain, the kids insisted that it was OK to “splash in muddy puddles.” (Thank you, Peppa Pig). They’d put on their raincoats and too big boots and try to see how high they could get the water and mud to splash up their legs.

Even better than the puddles was the rainbows afterwards. If not for their excitement, I’d have probably missed 90% of the rainbows. One of the perks of being a parent if rediscovering the everyday things we might take for granted with age.

Jack likes all the after rain fun, but playing in the rain isn’t really his style. He’d rather be dry and comfortable inside. Daisy loves the rain. She laughs and squeals and dances in the rain, singing her heart out. I love watching her outside. She loves the rain so much that if she hears someone in the shower, she demands on joining in so she can play in the falling water.

Daisy’s 2nd birthday was a few weeks ago. The plan was to have her party as our final summer bash around my parents’ pool. Her favorite movie is Hotel Transylvania, and the newest movie in the HT series is a summer vacation. I thought it was a perfect theme. Instead it rained. It was only fitting that my baby who loves the rain have her birthday party rained out. She still danced with a pink umbrella and ran out on the lawn in the drizzle. She didn’t care that I wouldn’t let her swim, but she did care when I saw lightning and tried to get her to come inside.


The other day it was raining as we left my parent’s house. Matt took Daisy and Jack to the car and me Daphne. Daisy, instead of going to the car, ran to the middle of the lawn so she could dance, spin, and touch the rain. I heard her singing to herself as she twisted her tiny hands around in the air, catching the drops. As we ran for cover, she was just enjoying the weather. Matt ran over laughing and scooped her up, but I wish I thought of taking a little video or a photo of her pure joy.


Right now, she is all joy and happiness. Her biggest concern is when her brother won’t share a toy or I can’t instantly pick her up because I’m nursing her baby sister.
Why don’t we all dance in the rain? I know we see those cheesy pillows and picture frames that tell us to, but we never actually do it. It must be nice to actually dance with abandonment without first thinking, I should just let go and not care that my clothes are muddy, my hair is wet, or what others see. Even when we do let lose, it’s a conscious decision to ignore societal norms, not a natural, childlike decision.

All I was thinking of was getting into the car and out of the rain. All Daisy thought of was the feeling of the raindrops on her skin. I hope she never loses this carefree part of herself. Of course at some point she’ll become more wary and cautious and care what people think, but I hope not too much. I hope she’ll always find joy in feeling the rain on her face, not caring that other people don’t like to get wet. My little Daisy, keep marching to your own beat. Keep singing and dancing in the rain.


Welcome Baby

It’s been 2 months since we met our new little baby. 39 weeks of being Team Green and wondering who would be joining our family. I painted my nails pastel pink and blue, made a gender neutral reveal shirt, and pulled out all the neutral baby clothes I had. Of course, the day of my c-section several nurses and even the doctor slipped. “Two boys and a girl will be nice,” and “So you’re having a boy?” I was a bit disappointed, not by the gender, but because I waited all that time and they ruined my surprise.


Then in the delivery room, Matt looked over the curtain to announce, “Oh! It’s a girl!” The staff laughed at their joke and teased if he was sure about that. So I was surprised after all. I saw our little girl and was amazed by how tall, alert, and perfect she was. She reminded me so much of Jack. It felt like meeting an old friend. I still didn’t know what her name was, though. I thought I’d see the baby and know her name, but it didn’t work like that. We were between a few names. Maybe she’d be Alice. Or Lydia. Lilly? Nurses and my mom thought she was another Angela or Angelica because she looked like a little angel. It took almost 3 days before we decided. She is a Daphne.

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Our perfect little Daphne Jean with her big, soulful eyes and tiny bald head is the perfect addition to our family. Jack and Daisy adore her. I have to stop them from kissing her too much. Sometimes they try to hug her a little too hard. But making sure the kisses and hugs are gentle is the best kind of “problem” to correct between siblings.

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Daphne is very strong. She was able to hold her head up quickly and tries to move while on her belly. We are lucky she sleeps through the night. But during the afternoon/evenings is another story. I have had to cut dairy out and she is on medicine. Anyone who knows my love of cheese knows how had it is for me, but knowing she is even just a little more comfortable makes it worth it. I’ll give up cheese forever if it means she isn’t in pain. She coos and laughs and makes me remember how sweet spending time with a baby feels.

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I forgot the smallness of a newborn. How their cries sound like little cats. How snugly their bodies are when they are curled on your chest. I am both joyful and sad, because this will be my last baby. My last snugly little smush I’ll nurse to sleep and watch grow.   So I am trying my very best to enjoy my life with all 3 babies. It’s overwhelming. It’s chaos. It’s never quiet, or clean, or relaxing. But it’s also never boring. Right now is one of the rarest of all experiences. They are all napping at once!

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I should be picking up toys and folding laundry, but I wanted to write about Daphne instead. The laundry never ends, and I figure I have at least a few more years of chaos before my house is in real order anyway. I just want my little squish to know that even while running after two “big” kids and constantly nursing her, I still wanted to write to my small blogosphere about her and how much I just adore her. I’m sure when she has her own squishes, she’ll understand what a feat this is!

Defining Love & Happiness

I planned to write a Valentine ’s Day blog about love, but I couldn’t. Instead I took pictures of my loves. I thought maybe I could find words by St. Patrick’s Day, but still, words did not come.  Instead I showed love with food on my husband’s and grandmother’s birthdays. I have been trying to find the words to write a lovely love blog, but I can’t.  I have been thinking about writing and how to write about love and happiness without sounding sappy or corny, and I’m bad at it. I’ve also been wondering why happiness is so boring. There are no great novels or wonderful movies about everyday love and happiness because it’s boring.  There’s always a happy ending, but what about the happy existence afterwards? All we ever want to see is the struggle up to the happiness.


It is so easy to describe hate, anger, frustration. There are so many more words and combinations. But love is different. Love always sounds corny and cliché because we’ve heard it all before. There are only a handful of words I can use to describe the love I feel for my children, and that is no way the same as the love I have for my husband, or my mother and father, or my sisters, or my dog, or my friends, or even the love I feel for nature and animals, yet the language is the same. How can I describe it all differently?  I truly love all of these people and things, but in no way is that love the same.  I can go to a thesaurus and look up alternatives for “love,” but there is still no differentiation between kinds of love.


Blush, brick, wine, burgundy, salmon, cherry, fuchsia, magenta, rose, maroon, pink, scarlet, rust. These are all distinct shades of red that are not interchangeable. A cardinal’s feathers are not the same shade or red as a glass of merlot. With colors it is obvious. We can see a difference.  But with feelings it is not.


Why is it that we have dozens of names of colors and only one word for love?  There are actually no words.  It all sounds the same.  The language of love is boring, and likewise the language of happiness is corny. It’s actually very hard to be happy. It seems easy because we don’t have the same depth of language to express positive feelings. Everything sounds so cliche. When people are happy, they might seem brainwashed or in denial, especially during such volatile times in this world, in part because the common vocabulary used for happiness is much less varied than the weighted words of negative thoughts. It’s easy to explain how scared I might be of threats outside of my control, but difficult to explain how I can, at the same time, be happy and hopeful imagining my children making the world a better place. There are no shades of love and happiness to describe the in between time, the time when you’re scared, angry, blissful, and hopeful all at once.


Then there are kinds of love. When I was a kid, there was a tree outside my home I climbed almost every day. I’d hide in the leaves for hours and read, or daydream, or eavesdrop on the conversations below. There was one spring when I’d sit up in my tree so regularly a family of birds nested just a few branches above me. When it was cut down, I was devastated. I went to my room and cried and cursed my family for killing my friend. It was a tree, not a person to talk to or pet to cuddle with, yet I was still so overcome with the loss my mom had to lie and say the tree men did it on accident and felt terrible just to calm me down. I am still sad that the tree isn’t there for my children to climb.


How could that level of grief be caused by anything other than love? I loved my tree, I truly did. But how can I explain that love without sounding ridiculous when I have to use the same language I to describe the love of my children or the happiness my dog brings? I love my mother. I love my children. I love my house. I do not love all of these in the same capacity, but I am limited as to how to explain the difference.  I have been trying to find words to describe my different kinds of love and happiness without sounding like every other proud mom, wife, daughter, woman. I realize I am trying too hard.


I will never find the words because I am no brilliant writer, but I can see the look of affection my children give each other the first thing every morning. I can smell the warmth of my small flower bed as I open my front door. I can feel the plush comfort of a blanket during a thunderstorm. I can taste my Mama’s pizzachene while hearing her sing lullabies to my babies.


The problem with happiness is it can’t be described in a word or two. It is best described in a story, a photo, a color or feeling. Love and happiness are too good for words. True happiness and love transcends anything we can ever put into a language. I hope you enjoyed the photos that show my happiness!


Baby Feet


I am absolutely revolted by feet. The idea that there are people who have foot fetishes turns my stomach. The person who invented this is a damn lunatic.


Feet are repulsive. I hate looking at them and I especially hate touching them. I know I’m not the only hater of feet. There are others out there like me who cringe away on beaches and in swimming pools.

But then there’s baby feet. Not just any baby’s feet, your baby’s feet. I know it sounds like a given, but even when you hate feet you love your baby’s feet. I didn’t think it was possible. My mom told me I’d be kissing my baby’s feet all the time. I told her she was disgusting. It turns out she was right and I was wrong. As gross as adult feet are, baby feet are that much more adorable. They are the sweetest part of a baby’s tiny body and oh so kissable.


Whenever I hold my children, my hand naturally falls to hold a tiny foot. Daisy’s are so small, I can hold both in one hand. Her little tiny toes are smaller than peas and in constant need of kissing. Sometimes when I play with Jack I put my foot against his, and apparently the size difference is hilarious. The other day I put his foot against Daisy’s. It must have been the most amazing and funny things he’s ever seen. This time it was his foot that was bigger! He laughed and laughed while he touched her toes and tapped his foot against hers.


My mom recently bought him dinosaur feet slippers. He stomped around the house roaring and growling at anything in his path. A few days later we stopped in the store for clothes and Jack spotted little pink dino slippers that matched his. He grabbed them from the shelf yelling “Daisy! Daisy!” and I couldn’t leave without them. Their matching dino feet must have been the second most hilarious thing he’s ever seen.


At some point seeing Jack compare his feet to his sister’s hit me. His feet were once as small as hers. I could hold both of his in my hand. Now only one fits. I still kiss his tiny toes and hold his little foot, but those feet get bigger and bigger every day. I don’t know when his feet will no longer be cute to me, but that day will come (probably with athlete’s foot).


Being a parent simultaneously freezes and quickens time. Some days Daisy is only four months old and Jack is only two years old. I worry so much about them meeting their developmental milestones. I try so hard to teaching and engaging with them making sure they are where they are “supposed” to be.  Plus I feel like I’ve known them forever. Life has adjusted to them, and I am in a comfortable space of understanding their needs. Then suddenly only becomes already. Jack is already two! I was just throwing his first birthday party and then all of a sudden I was planning the second. Daisy is already four months old. Didn’t I just take her home from the hospital yesterday?


It’s both beautiful and heart wrenching watching them grow. Daisy is realizing she can move on her tummy if she kicks her legs hard enough. The other day Jack figured out how to climb the playground “rock wall,” something he couldn’t do two months ago. I want them to stay little, but I love seeing them discover new things. I’ll enjoy their littleness while I can. It feels slow but time is going quickly, and those baby feet won’t be as cute as they are now. I never thought I’d want to savor my time kissing a foot, but here I am soaking in every toe filled kiss in.


Welcome Miss Daisy

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She’s here! She’s home, healthy, and oh so beautiful! I can’t believe she’s mine, that I made someone so pretty and sweet.  Giacomo adores her too. Before I had her I was so afraid that he would be resentful or upset because of the new baby and/or because of my surgery. I underestimated him for sure! The first thing he does in the morning is give her a kiss (if I’m lucky, I get one too, but she is #1 to him). I did cry, though, looking at how tall and grown he looked next to her. It didn’t help that he is so tall (he isn’t even 2 yet and is in 3T clothes). It’s so bittersweet, watching him grow, and now I get to have the emotional rollercoaster of mommyhood twice over with my little Daisy girl.


When I first saw Daisy, I was in complete awe. I couldn’t believe that I made someone so perfect. I couldn’t hold her in my arms for a long time (the wait was much longer than when I had Jack), but I was able to touch noses with her little button nose, kiss her sweet soft cheeks, and laugh as she blew raspberries from her perfect plump lips. I know every mother thinks so, but I just couldn’t, and I still can’t believe how beautiful she is.


My Daisy girl has been here a month and a half. But I feel like it’s been much longer. I feel like I’ve known her forever. I think because now I am constantly going. I’m pretty sure Jack and Daisy are in cahoots. Once one stops fussing the other needs my attention. It is tiring for sure, but never boring. And on those rare occasions where they both have naps in sync, the time is all the more blissful.

Mommyhood part 2 is much different. I remember spending most of my time with Jack holding, rocking, and soothing him, and on the rare occasions when he did sleep, I just watched him. It was a very sweet time, and it does not exist at all now! Not that I don’t want to hold Daisy all day and watch her sleep, but time is divided now. I have to put her down to play with Jack, and I have to make him wait when she fusses. I think he has adjusted better than I have. Jack has learned patience and he has not one ounce of jealousy in him, so I can tend to Daisy when I need to and he will wait for me to play with him. I also learned that my baby can cry for longer than a few seconds so I can finish feeding or changing my toddler.


They are better at handling my divided time than me. I wish I could split apart and tend to them both all day. I’m sure that’s something all 2nd time moms think. But I knew this was coming, and it’s why I wanted to have children close in age. I knew they’d be better at adjusting than me because they are so young. I’m just anxious for the time when I have adjusted!

I took to using a baby carrier for Daisy. I tried with Jack but it didn’t work, I think because I didn’t have a “good” carrier. The one I have now is much more comfortable and made with small framed people in mind, so it’s much easier to use. Plus I get more done, and it’s a lot easier than lugging out the double stroller. The only downside I see is that Daisy isn’t as visible for pictures. (I know that sounds silly, but you know how I love my photos!) This weekend we went pumpkin and apple picking. I have some adorable shots of Jack but Daisy was too tucked away for pictures. (In reality, I wouldn’t have taken her out of her stroller for a picture, I’m just being whiney).

The night before Daisy was born I wrote them each a letter telling them how much I love them. Up until a minute ago, both of my babies were sleeping, something that rarely happens. But now I hear Daisy, so I guess blog and journal done for now. I should have been cleaning my house, as it is a complete disaster, but instead I thought a few minutes of journaling and blogging would be nice because I hope one day both Daisy and Jack can read the letter I wrote and look through my blog and see how much I love them.

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