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She lifted the front of her dress slightly and adjusted the sides and the back so the ruffles fell around her. She slid her fingers into the gloves and pulled them up to her elbows before clasping her hands in front of her. She lifted her head and smiled and we smiled back as we watched our daughter transform into Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

We’ve always been into Halloween, but the older she gets the more we seem to enjoy it. She remembers every costume she’s ever worn… the duck and the white tiger from 2011 and 2012, the monarch butterfly from 2013, and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz last year. Not a week goes by where she doesn’t throw out an idea for next Halloween. At this point, she’s planned them all until she’s ten years old.

This year, however, she sat under a tree with her yellow gown surrounding her entertaining pretend conversation with a teacup and a teapot and a stack of books. She sat between a candlestick and a clock while the wind blew through her curls. Our self-proclaimed princess in her very own scene while her mother and I took a step back to soak it all in… parenting… and all the beauty that comes with it.


For Madison’s costume, we reached out to Becky (via her Etsy shop, Tony Bud’s Sewing) to create the iconic gown Belle is known for from the movie; she immediately knew what we wanted and managed to bring the animated dress to life flawlessly. If you’re in the market for something custom made or even if you want to browse her other creations, swing by her shopbe our guest, tell her we sent you! ;)


October 28, 2015

She ran her fingers over the mums as she passed and despite all the pots of blooms surrounding her, she still managed to stand out among them. I suppose she always will… in my eyes, at least. I watched as she selected which ones would leave with us and while she stepped lightly through the rows of bright yellows and burnt oranges and deep purples, Fall’s color palette, I watched my little girl grow up. I suppose that’s what I’ve been doing every day since I held her and will continue to do every day going forward.  As the leaves let go of the trees and the grass lets go of the green, I’m forced to let go of the baby she once was in exchange for the little girl she is now. Her bouncing curls and concrete opinions, her squinting laughs and numerous questions, her eagerness to learn and ability to remember it all – this might just be my favorite season yet.


October 22, 2015

They were the first thing we noticed about her after she was born. They were the first thing I reached for after holding her in my arms, feeling each of her tiny fingers fold themselves around one of my own. Over the last four years, I’ve caught myself numerous times watching her hands. I watch her play with her toys and color with crayons, I watch her tuck a loose strand of hair behind her ear and hold the hem of her dress just before she curtsies. I watch her and wonder what she’ll make with those hands of hers.

I remember the uncoordinated movements they made when she was first discovering them, jerky and sudden, and I remember the joy she found when she figured out how to use them. I remember them helping her balance as she crawled and I remember when she held a bottle for the first time. I remember when she gripped and used a spoon successfully and I remember the excitement she had after her mother painted her nails. I remember the first time she reached for my hand unprompted, squeezing slightly so I would squeeze back.

She’s tall enough now she can wash them on her own. She pumps soap into her palm (probably more than necessary, but better safe than sorry) and she rubs her hands together rinsing and drying them. She prefers to have them clean, a trait she more than likely inherited from me. Rarely, will she allow them to be dirty for more than a few seconds… sometimes stopping mid meal to wipe them or wash them again entirely.

There was a day months ago, she helped her mother plant flowers in a bed that lines our backyard. She let the soil separate around her tiny fingers and when she pulled her hands out of the Earth, the freckle in the bend of her left ring finger was covered. She walked over to me and I knew immediately she would request to wash them, but instead she wiped them on my pants. At first, I stepped back in shock trying to swallow the bitter taste of her actions but then I saw her smile.

I could wash my pants and the dirt would disappear and worst case if it didn’t, I could always get another pair. It was her way of sharing with me what she just created. It was her way of getting her hands dirty and bringing them back to show and tell. It was her way to stretch and feel her comfort zone stretch with her and it was her way of providing proof by leaving trails down the front of my legs. She smiled and I smiled back.

Shortly after, we washed those hands. We let the water run over her knuckles and under her nails and we had bubbles up to her elbows until they were clean again. We sat down at the table that night and I watched her weave her fingers together, bow her head and bless our meal. I caught myself watching her hands again wondering what they’ll create next, wondering when they’ll reach for my own again. I wondered what the outcome would be when she allowed them to get dirty once more and how much pride she would find digging deep within to do so. I can't wait to see.


October 7, 2015

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