When I am Not Reading or Editing…

…or raising girls, or working, or homeschooling, or making bookish gifts for my Etsy store, or trying to squeeze in time with my amazing boyfriend, or going to college… I take pictures! I love nothing more than getting in my car before the sun rises, and getting pictures. I love nature, flowers, plants, wildlife, and macro pictures are my favorite!

But Autumn in West Michigan is definitely my favorite time of year!

When Parenthood is Not a Horror Story

What a weekend I have had. One daughter going to her first prom, and my oldest graduating from college. I feel like my heart will burst out of my chest!

The struggles I have went through, the heartbreak, the fear, and the not knowing how I would do it. And this is how I do it.

Jessica GVSU Graduation 4-25-2015 022

I could not be more proud of my oldest; she is beautiful, and will definitely change the world. We have loved each other, she was my only person for so long, that she really is still my “only person.” She gets me. And more than that; I hope she knows I get her.

Jessica GVSU Graduation 4-25-2015 058

I have a couple days of work, as I try to get everything packed up and ready to go for our trip to Illinois. More to come!

Day One of my Crazy Busy Weekend!

Daughter #2 has her prom tonight, and I know she is going to have a great time!

Kendall Junior Prom 4-24-2015 022

Daughter #1 is graduating from college tomorrow; Grand Valley State University, anyone? So another busy day.

And daughter #3 was supposed to be getting confirmed at our church on Sunday, but that seemed to have fell through (much of the fault is mine and my daughter’s), but the lack of communication has me really, REALLY upset.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library 1

So, as I get through this weekend, and then 2 and a 1/2 days of work next week, I am packing up 3 of my 4 girls, and heading to the land of Lincoln! So beyond excited to get to be a part of the Lincoln Funeral Train, and I will definitely be keeping you all updated. (If it bores you, just ignore me for a few days!)

I have 2 dinner tickets for next Saturday night to meet the man who has been building this train for several years, and be one of the first people to actually go inside the train!

Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train 2015 map-from-brochure

Cinderella At The End!

For more information on the author, go here: http://cinderellaatemydaughter.com

Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein. If you are a Mom, Grandma, or Aunt to girls, this is an excellent book with lots of facts and some interesting stories.

This about covers it!
This about covers it!

The end of the book was in the time frame of when Tangled was about to be released by Disney (2010ish) so even some of the statistics I am going to share with you may have increased exponentially since the release of this story.

Shocking, almost impossible to believe, statistics:

The Global revenue Disney experienced from their Princess franchise in 2000: $300 million. In 2009? $4 billion.

The percentage of children ages 8-12 who regularly used eyeliner doubled between 2008 and 2010. Doubled. DOUBLED. What in the world is an 8 year old doing wearing eyeliner?

Nearly half of girls between 6 and 9 regularly use lipstick or lipgloss. (I do not know the number surveyed so it is kind of hard to tell you what the halfway point is, but for me I would have to say 1 out of 2 is one too many. My 9 year old uses chapstick. Plain, colorless, flavorless, chapstick).

Age of Barbie target audience when she was released in 1959: 9 to 12 years old. Age of Barbie target audience today (2010)? 3 to 7 years old.

In 2009, 12,000 Botox injections were given to children between the ages of 13 and 19. (I have absolutely nothing to say about this. I am just dumbfounded).

In 2008, 43,000 children under the age of 18 surgically altered their appearance. (HOW and WHY is this even possible? Unless if it is a life-saving, necessary surgery or a surgery to stop a child from being bullied, i.e. noticeable birthmark that gets them teased, the Doctors doing plastic surgery on children who aren’t finished growing should lose their license to practice, and the parents should just lose their parental rights.)

Between 1996 and 2006, the percentage of children under the age of 12 admitted to the hospital for eating disorders rose 119%.

Between 2000 and 2004, there was a 70% drop in the number of female college freshmen listing computer science as their major.

The age at which children express brand consciousness? 24 months.

I know everyone raises their children differently, and dependent on a person’s upbringing, it may be perfectly normal to allow your 16 year old to have plastic surgery. I have just voiced my opinion about how I feel as the mother of 4 daughters, and my intention was not to offend anyone. But I will certainly not ever apologize for the fact that I find it ridiculous and absurd that any girl under the age of 19 would be allowed to have botox injected. Exactly what is going on with your face at younger than 19 that needs to be fixed?

Good Gracious, I pray for strength, knowledge, and always being able to stay one step ahead of these girls I am still raising to be women, in the hopes of not only keeping them safe, but making them strong, intelligent women.

(Orenstein, Peggy, 2011, pgs 205-206)

That Cinderella Girl – Again


I thought I would have finished this book by now, but I had a change of plans outside of my control this weekend so I am a bit behind my schedule. I am nearly finished and I think one more review should be the end of this story before I move onto the next story.

This book is still as interesting as ever. The author took it upon herself to follow around girls up to the 8th grade, getting a feel for how different a 10 or 11 year old acts now compared with how she herself remembers her and her friends acting at that age. We are raising our children in an environment that is completely different than the one we experienced ourselves. Do you remember when the very first Atari 2600 system came out? When your family got their first VCR, and rented their first movie, likely from the local grocery store because there were no chain rental stores? Remember getting a cordless phone, and you no longer had to wind up the “was-10-feet-but-is-now-35-feet-because-I-stretched-it-to-my-bedroom” phone cord hooked to the phone in the kitchen? My girls will never know a time when there was not a computer in the house. Or a cell phone. Or a DVD player. They have no idea what a cassette tape or player even is.

Wow, the reminiscing has taken me off task! Back to the story. One observation:

From Cinderella Ate My Daughter (pg 162), by Peggy Orenstein, she noted that “doll sales have declined by nearly 20% since 2005. Girls are casting them aside in favor of online play, which offers even fewer opportunities to go off script.  …a quote from a 9-year-old Barbie.com fan: ‘I don’t think I’m good at making up imaginary things; I didn’t know what to do with dolls.’ “ This is a very sad thing for me to admit but I cannot remember that I have ever bought my 9-year-old a baby-doll. Ever. She has had a couple Barbies, Monster High dolls, and numerous Fur-Real Friends animated stuffed pets. The one gift she has consistently asked for, along with 2 of her sisters? Webkinz. You know, the Beanie Baby answer to the internet. They each have several. She was never drawn to baby-dolls, and I never gave her the opportunity to decide if she liked them by just getting her one regardless of her asking or not asking for it.

And a quick observation about social networking, namely Facebook, which has been a troublesome nuisance in my house for one of my girls. Peggy Orenstein points out that “one of my favorite books as a child was Joan Walsh Anglund’s ‘A Friend is Someone Who Likes You’. These days, a better title might be ‘A Friend is Someone You Have Actually Met in Person’ (pg 165). This is in the chapter titled “Just Between You, Me, and My 622 BFF’s”. You know the Facebook pages; the ones where the person has over 1000 friends. This person with 622 friends was a girl in 8th grade, who insisted she had at least met each person on her friends list once. What does an 8th grader need 622 Facebook friends for?

So as I finish up the end of this story, I can definitely say my eyes have been opened to the way I have allowed companies to market to me and influence my decisions. And here I thought it was just my girls asking me for stuff all of the time.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein-Beginning Thoughts


A wonderful Christmas gift from my oldest of four girls (Thanks so much Jess!), this book seems to be spot on to what I have seen and experienced from raising girls for the last 21+ years. With the youngest only 9 years old, I have a ways to go, but a lot of experience and wisdom under my belt (poor girl doesn’t stand a chance!)

This book is about how girls are marketed to, made to believe that pink is the color to end all colors, and princesses are all-powerful. How as years go by, girls are marketed to at a younger and younger age. Case in point: Tweens. What exactly are tweens? When did this definition become popular and part of our everyday language? Not all that long ago. Oddly enough, I couldn’t search deep enough to find any data on this, but being a woman of 41 years old, I was never called a tween, and there was no such thing as a tween. This definition was coined to create another market segment to market to and profit from.

So as a parent who has spent more than half of my life raising girls, and a long way to go, I am very interested in completing this book and seeing exactly just how much I contribute to this situation with my own girls, and how often I have allowed myself to be marketed to in such a way that I am “drinking the kool-aid”, so to speak.

A quote from one woman who was interviewed:

“I think feminism erred in the 1960’s by negating femininity” announced Mara, a thirty-six-year-old education consultant who was currently home with her kids. Her voice sounded tight, almost defiant. “That was a mistake. I want my daughter to have a strong identity as a girl, as a woman, as a female. And being pretty in our culture is very important. I don’t want her to ever doubt that she’s pretty. So if she wants to wear a princess dress and explore that side of herself, I don’t want to stand in her way” (Orenstein, P. 2012, pg. 19).

Now I’m not saying I think Mara is wrong with her feelings on this, but I just have to say that I personally do not want to raise my girls with the understanding that it is important for them to be seen as pretty; that being pretty equals success; that being pretty makes you better than others; that if you aren’t pretty, you don’t matter and you’re not important. Does that mean I don’t want them wearing nice clothes, make-up, and doing their hair? Not at all. I want them to take care of themselves and feel good about themselves. But I don’t want them to ever think that they cannot have a meaningful conversation with a man if they aren’t wearing mascara and high heels.

Enough said for now; I am just getting into this book and I am pretty sure there will be much more to come.