Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Things I've Learned Selling Girl Scout Cookies

Our Girl Scout cookie sale starts Thursday here in Spazland and we're ready to go. This will be Munchkin's 8th year selling cookies and over the years I've learned a few things about Girl Scout cookie selling. So that's what today's Top Ten Tuesday is all about... The Top Ten Things I've Learned Selling Girl Scout Cookies.

1. Thin Mints are kind of like crack. People will cut a bitch for the last box of Thin Mints at a booth. I am freaking out just a little bit because I only have 2 cases (24 boxes) of Thin Mints for Munchkin's first booth on Thursday. Samoas and Tagalongs are pretty popular, too, but nothing like the Thin Mints. If you've ever had to stand on one side of a card table and tell someone who has been waiting all year for Thin Mints that you are sold out, you know what I mean. People can get angry.

2. People like to tell stories. And not just Girl Scout related stories. People just like to talk, I guess. I've heard about upcoming operations, recent travel experiences, irritating relatives, and more. I suppose a Girl Scout mom behind a table is sort of a captive audience. Usually the stories will start out somehow relating to cookies ("I can't eat them because I'm a diabetic") and then launch into a full diatribe of non related information ("My doctor told me to walk more so I've been walking every night and it's really been irritating my left foot so I just bought some new Dr. Scholl's insoles.") This happens. And I have to pretend to care.

3. People would rather buy cookies from tiny Girl Scouts. Munchkin used to clean up at cookie booths. Our troop would earn enough money from selling cookies to do awesome end of the year trips to places like Sea World and the Nickelodeon Hotel. No one could say no to their little pigtails and toothless grins. Now that our girls are in their teens, people pass them by without a second look.

This is something I actually find kind of surprising and I'll tell you why. It's easy to be a Girl Scout when you're 5 years old. All your friends are Girl Scouts and you get to do crafts and go on fun little field trips. But when you're in middle school and your friends stop thinking it's cool to be a Girl Scout and maybe you'd rather spend your Saturday at the movies with a boy instead of planting trees at a nature preserve - well, then it's a little harder to keep up with being a Girl Scout. So when I see a Girl wearing that tell tale beige vest that says she's an older scout, I have a little more respect for her. She's making choices for her life that aren't the easiest, but she feels that they're the best. Those are the girls I want to donate my money to.

4. People are rude. Our girls are working hard. They're keeping their smiles on, they're trying to be polite and happy even when they're tired and often cold. If you don't want to buy the cookies, don't buy the cookies. But don't ignore them. They're not going to chase you down and demand anything from you. A simple "No, thank you" is just fine and much nicer than you looking at your phone the whole time you walk by our booth or practically running the other way.

But sometimes it's even worse than that. I've had people angrily accuse my daughter of charging too much for cookies (she didn't set the price, y'all), get upset with her because they run into Girl Scouts at all the stores, and the ultimate was when a grown man made a friend's daughter cry as he launched into a profanity laced tirade about how she was too old to be selling cookies (she was 14). I try to teach Munchkin to let that stuff roll off her back, but it's hard and it keeps her from wanting to sell cookies in the future. Selling cookies teaches our girls how to deal with rejection and keep on going - but that's a tough lesson for a little girl.

5. Walmart is not a good place to sell cookies. Going back to #4, Walmart shoppers are the rudest of the rude. They will curse in front of our girls, ignore them, laugh at them, and even stand at the booth smoking a cigarette and blowing smoke in their faces. Munchkin and I have done probably three Walmart booths in all the years we've sold cookies and every time I forgot how bad it was the time before. We don't have any Walmart booths this year and I'm thankful.

6. Math is hard. You'd think Munchkin and I would have every way to make change in our heads at this point, but I still find myself fumbling over math at booths. You want 6 boxes? Uh..... that's $24. You're giving me $30?? Um....

Yeah, I totally get it right in the end but at 8:52 pm on a Friday night when I'm just trying to get Munchkin through the next 10 minutes and I've been doing my 4x tables all night, I tend to fumble it up a bit. I'm sure I look like an idiot.

7. Girl Scout cookies were only 25 cents back in the day. Or a dime, or a dollar, or maybe they baked them in their ovens at home and carried them piping hot to their neighbors house and sold them for a nickel. I seriously have heard these stories a thousand times. I simply nod my head and say "Wow!" and take their money. When I sold cookies they were $2 a box and I remember hearing the same stories as I pulled my red wagon door to door to sell. Give it a rest, we all know about inflation now.

8. People are very loyal to "their" Girl Scout. Or maybe it's just an excuse. I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone tell us that they can't buy from us because their neighbor/niece/granddaughter would kill them. As if Girl Scouts are wielding Louisville Sluggers and kicking other Girl Scouts off their turf. I'm pretty sure little Hannah will forgive you if you buy a box of Trefoils from another Girl Scout. Again, just say "No, thank you" and we'll all move on with our day.

9. It takes a lot of cookies to earn enough for our girls to do anything. We get about 60 cents a box. So if our girls want to do one of those big trips at the end of the year they're looking at a 400 box minimum to pay for it. 400 boxes of cookies costs $1600. That's a lot of revenue to bring in and a lot of cookies to hock. Consider making a donation directly to the troop if you don't want to buy the cookies. That would mean the world to the girls.

10. Typically, parents sell a lot more cookies than girls do. This isn't the case for Munchkin really, but I see it with the other girls in our troop. Cookies brought to a place of business sell like hot cakes. Since The Man works in an office with only two other employees and I work from home, we don't really have this situation and Munchkin has to work a lot harder to keep up with the other girls. She does a great job with booths and family sales to compensate and she's never really the top seller in our troop, but since I know Munchkin is the one doing all of the sales I couldn't be prouder of her.

I know a lot of areas have been selling for a while already (I've been selling a lot of this shirt, have you seen any around?) and a lot of areas haven't started yet. To those of you that take the time to buy a box or two (or five) or donate to the troop or send cookies to the Military, thank you so much. Every sale does help a girl in your community and every sale brightens up that girl's day just a little bit more.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Goober's leaving on a jet plane

Goober is a safety patrol at his school and therefore is eligible this year to go to Washington D.C. with the other safety patrols in his grade.

Bug didn't go to Washington D.C. when he was in 5th grade as some of you might remember he was homeschooled that year (at least until March when I found myself crying in the elementary school principal's office that I was failing my child and could they please, please help me) - ah, such a fun year that was.

Munchkin didn't go to Washington D.C. when she was in 5th grade because all of our pennies went to her horseback riding career and we told her she could pick whether she wanted us to suspend horseback riding for a few months and put that money toward Washington D.C. or not. She chose horses all the way with absolutely no hesitation.

Goober wants to go and wants to go badly. So we scrimped and saved and begged and fundraised and made our final payment last month for Goober to go to Washington D.C. with the safety patrols.

Y'all, Goober is my baby. I am not what one would call a helicopter parent. I don't freak out when my children fall down, I don't baby them, I have never had too much of a problem letting them go on sleepovers or what-not. They walk to bus stops and friends houses and parks. They ride bikes and horses and they are not unfamiliar with the bed of a pick-up truck. But making that final payment through the school's website - making that final click - really sealed the deal for me. I would be sending my baby, without me, on a plane, to Washington D.C.

It's not a little city, but my baby is little. He'll be leaving in less than two weeks, in fact. During one of the coldest times of the year. My little Florida kid braving the wintery snow of Washington D.C. in January. I am not okay with this.

Y'all, I am freaking out. The school told us that they've never lost a kid, but I wanted to tell them that they've never taken Goober before. I've lost Goober and I'm his mom. I only had to keep track of three kids and I lost one. They're bringing like fifty kids and Goober is just one of them.

After our informational meeting where I got the exact itinerary of their trip, I rushed home and priced how much it would cost for me to get on the same flight and stay at the same hotel in Washington D.C. for the same few days. It really wasn't that bad, honestly, but The Man informed me I was crazy and wouldn't approve it. Foiled!

I will pack him extra socks and toe warmers and a warm blanket in case he gets chilly on the plane. I will pack him snacks and maybe a couple of super embarrassing notes that let him know how much I love him. I will be a nauseous wreck for the three days he is gone. I will be happily waiting at the school to pick him up at midnight on the day of his return.

P.S. One of my bestie's daughter just returned from this trip and she made it there and back in one piece. So I kinda feel a little bit better. Maybe.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Things I Can't Live Without

So I haven't blogged since last Tuesday but not without the intention. I should do a Top Ten Reasons I Couldn't Come Up With A Good Blog Post. I'll write that one down for a future TTT. :)

Today's post is all about the stuff I think I couldn't live without. I mean, I'm sure I could live without any or all of these items, but I wouldn't want to. Without further adieu, here's my list of the Top Ten Things I Can't Live Without:

1. Biosilk & a Flat Iron - Okay so this is really two items but they work together. Seriously. I've actually blogged about Biosilk before but I feel the need to touch on it again years later. Because I still use it on a regular basis and it still works just as well. I've tried other stuff, other products that were cheaper and promised me results just as fabulous. They all lied. Biosilk Silk Therapy is the only stuff that works. It has allowed me to fall asleep for 8 hours with wet hair, wake up, Biosilk my head, flat iron it, and look amazing. Amazing I tell you!

2. Tervis Tumblers - I'm a total Tervis junkie. I have multiple 16 oz tumblers that we use at home and I have two 24 oz tumblers that I alternate. I carry one of those babies with me pretty much everywhere and always with water in it. It is because of my Tervis tumblers that I typically get in almost a gallon of water a day. Stick a lid and a Bubba straw in that thing and it's way cooler than any silly water bottle.

3. Fitbit - I'm almost 3 weeks in with my FitBit and I still love it. There's been a serious FitBit revolution amongst my friends and almost every day I'm locked into a different challenge with a group of them. It keeps me super motivated and I've reached my 10k step goal almost every day since Christmas, often going much higher than that. One day was over 30k (what??!). I'm part of a FitBit Challenge Group on Facebook where people are insane and get upwards of 50k steps a day, but I'm not going to compare myself to those overachievers. I'm so proud of myself and my ability to keep with it this long. In February, a few friends and I signed up to do a 4k (no, not a 5k) fun run/walk thing so I'm glad to have something to look forward to.

4. Martha Stewart Cast Iron Dutch Oven - Affectionately known at home as, The Orange Pot, my pot makes me so super happy. My parents gave it to me last year for my birthday and I didn't even know how much I would love it when I got it. I happily keep it on the stove top even when not at use as it brightens up the kitchen with it's happy orange. I've made everything in that pot from fall off the bone chicken to spaghetti to taco casseroles to chili. It's my go-to pot. I don't know if it's actually cooking anything better than my old pre-2000 Pampered Chef pot, but it sure does make me happy.

5. Goody Ouchless Hair Bands - My hair lives in these things. They double as funky black bracelets when not in my hair. Just kidding, I realize I'm not resurrecting some Madonna jelly bracelet fad with my hair bands, but wouldn't that be nice? The secret to Goody's success with these things is that they place them in the checkout aisle at the grocery store. So I don't even have to think about it or steer my cart over to the aisle that would typically have hair accouterments in it. I just grab them and throw them on the belt. I realize they're not disposable but they do seem to disappear. I buy a pack about every 2 months and somehow they're all gone within that 2 month period.

6. My Phone - I love my phone. It is everything to me, as I'm sure it's everything to many of you. Some of you are probably reading this on your phone right now. It's astounding how much we do with our phones these days. Remember back when phones were just phones? That's ridiculous. Now they do everything. The other day The Man was talking about how he wants to get a smart watch - you know, a watch that works with your phone so you don't actually have to pull out your phone when you want to do stuff - and his example was as follows:

"You know, because I was listening to music the other day and it was really inconvenient that I had to pull my phone out of my pocket to change the song."

This was legitimately the sentence that came out of his mouth. Tell that to someone from 1992, Man.

7. AXE Shower Detailer - Okay, so I don't know where this came from because I'm pretty sure we didn't buy it since it's not anything I'd ever buy and The Man does exactly zero percent of the purchasing for our household. It probably came free with some body wash or something. But I love this thing. It's got a normal puff side and a scratchy exfoliating side and when I'm done using it I'm fairly sure there is no funk on me anywhere. I sort of wish they sold one attached to a stick. I will never not have one of these things again.

8. Back Scratcher - Remember when you could scratch your own back? Remember those days? You'd look at older people who used a back scratcher and think "Really old man? Why not just reach back there and scratch it with your hands like a civilized person?"  Yeah, I remember those days. Now I love my back scratcher so very much. Because I can't think of much that sucks worse than having an itchy back in that spot that you just can't reach. The Man and I both have one at our desks and those suckers get used often. In fact, I think I'm going to pause for a little scratch right now.

9. Thirty One Bags - Okay so at some point a couple of years ago one of my besties invited us over for a Thirty One Bag party. I had no idea what a Thirty One Bag was but my BFF Trish was about to have her 2nd baby so I bought a little set for her to use as a diaper bag. The next thing I knew, another bestie became a Thirty One consultant and before I knew it Thirty One bags were flying all over the place. I started getting one here and one there and after a little while The Man stopped asking where all the bags were coming from. I use one as a purse, I use them to organize my bathroom, I use them in the car. I have cooler bags and bags to carry casseroles and thermal pouches that will hold a sandwich and a juice box in my purse. Munchkin uses one to cart her stuff to sleepovers and another one to cart her stuff to the barn and Goober's getting a new one to cart his stuff around Washington D.C. in a couple of weeks on his patrol trip. I almost feel like a traitor if I use any type of bag that isn't a Thirty One Bag.

10. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches - When I was pregnant with Goober I developed a weird affinity for PB&J. It was even before I discovered that I was with child that I found myself having at least one, often two, a day. Throughout my entire pregnancy I ate a PB&J every morning for breakfast and to this day I often make one for breakfast. I could eat a PB&J for every meal of the day (and probably have before) and be perfectly content. Probably severely deficient in some nutrients, but happy. There's just so many ways to have a PB&J and they're all good. A thousand different jams you could pick (because I actually don't ever use jelly, only jam or preserves, NEVER JELLY), or you could mix it up and put honey in there instead of jam. You can use soft white bread or nutty brown bread. Crunchy peanut butter or creamy smooth peanut butter. It's an amazing sandwich. I bet you kinda want one right now. I'm going to go make myself one just as soon as I stop scratching my back.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Songs That Bring Me Back

Today's Top Ten Tuesday is extra special to me. I love music, almost every different genre has a place in my heart. There are so many songs that take me back to my young and wild and free days that it was really hard to come up with just ten - so I went with the ones that evoked the most carefree emotion within me. The ones that I can listen to, close my eyes, and envision my younger self loving them. Without further adieu, I give you the Top Ten Songs That Bring Me Back.

**Disclaimer** Clicking on links within this post may not be work safe. I did not link to only clean versions. :)

1. Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh - La Di Da Di  (1985) - I discovered this song on a cassette tape I pulled out of a discount bin at a little store in the mall with my grandmother when I was in 5th or 6th grade, at least a few years after it was released. It was one of those various artists compilations and it opened my eyes to rap. I listened to this tape over and over again until I had all the songs memorized (The Show, Rapper's Delight, and more) - but the one that stuck in my head more than any other was La Di Da Di. When I was in high school, Snoop Dogg released his own version (Lodi Dodi) and I shocked my boyfriend by knowing all the words practically immediately.

2. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991) - It may be a little cliche to put this on a Top Ten list, but I just have to. Nirvana opened the door to Alternative/Grunge music for me and Smells Like Teen Spirit was the song that did it. It was the anthem of my early high school years. One of the things I'm most glad about is that I got to see Nirvana in concert at Bayfront Park my junior year of high school. I lost a contact and a K-Swiss sneaker in that mosh pit, fought with my boyfriend causing me to miss part of the set, and still consider it one of the best concert experiences of my life. (Sneaker was retrieved by a crazy guy friend, thanks Drew, wherever you are!)

3. Pixies - Debaser (1989) - I'm sad for anyone who didn't get to experience this band. The Man acts like I'm personally stabbing his eardrums whenever I pay The Pixies so I don't listen to them nearly as much as I'd love to. Debaser is one of those songs I can clearly remember losing myself inside on a car trip with my parents - my Walkman playing it over and over again. I felt like a hero to my friends for discovering The Pixies before they had and giving them all the gift of their melodious awesomeness.

4. The Cure - Just Like Heaven (1987) - I fell in love with The Cure in 9th grade because I loved a boy. He was a senior and he was beautiful and he loved The Cure. That boy barely knew I existed and barely looked my way, but The Cure stayed with me, never once letting me down. Robert Smith was the face I woke up to every morning of my high school years, a giant poster taped to my ceiling. The Cure could bring me through every range of emotion from ultimate sadness to such pure happiness - truly a song for every time in my life. To this day The Cure remains probably my favorite band of all time.

5. Led Zeppelin - Thank You (1969) - There was a good portion of my early high school years that Led Zeppelin was the main event on my Walkman. It was a tough call between this song, Kashmir, and The Rain Song - but in the end I had to give Thank You the edge up. When it comes on, I instantly smile and my day is brightened. I'm instantly transformed to a time when I could live inside my headphones.

6. Weezer - Say It Ain't So  (1994) - This is the kind of song that I can never turn off. It's the kind of song I'll sit in the car for an extra few minutes to let it finish if it's on. This song takes me back to my little red Honda Civic, driving all over town, and belting out the lyrics as loud as I could. I found kind of an epic remix of it while checking out images for this post, too.

7. Montell Jordan - This Is How We Do It (1995) - This song was playing in all the clubs the summer of 95, my first semester of college. I had never been much of a clubbing type of girl before then, maybe because I was barely 18 but also because I identified myself as much more of an Alternative style chick. But I was away from home, in college, not really knowing anyone and my dorm roommate liked to go dancing. So I guess I figured, what the hell, and off I went to the club. It didn't take long before I was a bit of a club junkie and this song was my club anthem.

8. Less Than Jake - Jen Doesn't Like Me Anymore (1995) - I was lucky enough to be at the University of Florida just before Less Than Jake blew up. When I was in Gainesville, Less Than Jake was a great local band that played at all the clubs in the area and was frequently seen around the town. When I went through my angsty teenage piercing phase, it was Roger Lima who pierced my tongue. It's almost like I feel like I know them, they were so approachable back then. This particular song takes me back to all the new excitingness of my first year at college - smoky clubs, cheap beer, and my world being opened up.

9. Big Punisher - Still Not A Player  (1998) - This is one of the few songs I actually enjoy the censored version more, Big Pun definitely takes me back to a time when I was young, carefree, and in it for the fun. This CD is actually in my van's CD player right now, but the kids make fun of me when I car dance while we're driving. Seriously, how can you not get up and move your ass to this song?

10. The Crystal Method - Busy Child  (1997) - The Crystal Method was my introduction to Techno. This is probably the song I blew my speakers to in my car. This bring me back to a time when I couldn't have enough sparkles in my make-up, my pant legs were wide enough to use as a sleeping bag, and Adidas visors were a way of life. This was my last stage of youth before I had children so it holds an extra special place in my heart.

So many other songs could have made it to this list, The Breeders, Belly, The Beatles, other bands that start with B... but this isn't called Top Twenty Tuesday (thank heavens) so I had to narrow it down.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The FitBit Is Trying To Kill Me

It really is.

So now I've had the FitBit for a little over a week and I have sustained more injuries from walking than you would have thought. Walking, y'all. This is something you do every day.

The day after Christmas was the first day I really focused on meeting my 10k step goal with the FitBit. After the whole day of trying to get steps in, I dragged The Man out to walk with me at night and we both rejoiced when my wrist went all nutty with vibrations and lights letting me know I had reached my step goal for the day.

Unfortunately, I awoke the next day with my right ankle throbbing in pain. I don't know if I twisted it or if my poor ankle was just in shock from increased physical activity, but I could barely walk all day. It wasn't until almost 11 pm that I realized if I walked in place it didn't hurt. So I marched in front of our bedroom TV and watched reruns of Family Guy until midnight, getting in at just under 7k steps for the day.

On Sunday my friend, N, got herself a FitBit, too, and the next day we started a Work Week Challenge.

See, FitBit has these challenges where you can link up with your other FitBit wearing friends and compete against them. So N and I ventured into a challenge with W, our super competitive FitBit wearing friend (it's cause she's Asian - kidding, not kidding), to see who would get the most steps from Monday until Friday.

Monday we were meeting at F's house (another bestie) to celebrate her son's birthday and decided we would walk at the park across from her house after dinner. Everything was going great and I calculated that I only had to walk around the park 3 more times to meet my daily goal when N decided she had to use the potty. We figured we'd walk back over to F's house and it would just be more steps and she could use the potty.

Except when leaving the park, my right foot found a parking stump and my ambitious forward motion was not to be stopped in time. I ate pavement, so to speak. I really didn't injure my legs too much but I scraped up my hands enough that it kind of put a damper on me wanting to walk any longer. I know, I know - walking doesn't require your hands. Tell that to my bruised ego.

On Tuesday things really got serious, y'all. I ran. Running happened. It was almost midnight and I was just trying to reach my 10k goal. I hit it in time but then it got into my head that if I just kicked it up a notch I could hit 11k by midnight. So I ran. RAN. I haven't run in years.  And you know what happened?

Wednesday was New Year's Eve and W and N were totally kicking my butt in our challenge. We were planning a quiet night at home like we do every year so I figured I'd have some time to get in some steps. When about 10 pm rolled around I decided to run up to the little gas station near our house and fill up our water jugs. We're on well water and we don't think it tastes yummy so we fill up big 5 gallon jugs for our water cooler at home. It's a pretty common practice out where we live so there are little filling stations all over the place. The gas station was closed, but you can fill up your jugs at any time, so I rolled up there and started filling. I discovered it takes 3 laps around the walkway area there to fill up one jug. Score more steps!  Before I left the gas station, I synced my FitBit and noticed that despite all of my extra steps, W had pulled ahead of me once again! A renewed sense of determination overtook me.

I walked in the house, snapped a leash on the dog, and told The Man I'd be back before it was time to kiss him for the New Year. I didn't even give him time to think, just walked out the door. It's creepy walking in our sub-rural area at night, by the way, and the addition of fireworks going off all around me from various locations didn't make it any less so. But by the time the New Year rolled in, I had clocked over 17,500 steps. Not too shabby. 

But still not enough to overtake W, who evidently is a freaking machine. I literally didn't stop my legs from moving until the ball dropped, but I couldn't pass her. I resolved to get her the next day.

New Year's Day N and I made a game plan. But first it was time to procure FitBits for F and another friend, J. Our competitive obsessiveness was catching on. It's a FitBit revolution, y'all. 

Armed with new pink bands, N and I walked around a preserve while our girls rode at the barn. While we were there we not only passed W, but we checked her Facebook notifications and saw she was at the movies! That's great, W, you just sit down and take a load off and enjoy your movie. 

We both got our crazy "you met your goal" buzzes just at the end of our walk, but I couldn't stop there. After dinner I dragged The Man out for another 2 miles, thinking for sure I'd be able to lengthen my lead in front of W in the process.

She's like the Energizer Bunny, the Little Engine That Could, and the Road Runner all wrapped into one amazing, competitive, Asian package, y'all. Not only did she bridge the gap N and I had created, but she passed it. Every time I got a few thousand steps ahead of her, she'd run out and walk five thousand more steps and overtake me.  

Yesterday I decided not to kill myself. Okay, today my incredibly sore body and slightly blistered feet decided not to allow me to kill myself. I went on a walk with my dad earlier in the day and he got me clear over 7k steps by the end of it. Later that evening I knocked out the rest of the steps by taking a little walk here at home. I conceded to W in our challenge, but let me tell you what - nothing has ever motivated me to get out and walk more than this. My body is tired and sore and I'll still push to walk just to get those five little dots to light up. Who would have thought?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Where The Spaz Ponders Gender Equality

I'm more critical of Munchkin - more so than the boys. I'm not sure why, but I think I expect more from her as a girl. Perhaps because I am a woman and I know what pressure society puts on women to be successful in all aspects of life so I put that on to her. Maybe that's the natural order of things. I find that with Munchkin, I often hold back compliments and push her to be better, whereas with the boys I'll tell them what a great job they did at the smallest little things. This is probably something I should be working on changing with myself.

Case in point: About a year ago Munchkin and I were at Girl Scout Camp. It was a rare moment that she and I were sitting in our unit house at one of the picnic tables by ourselves with no one else around. She was reading a book and I was just sitting, resting my feet or catching my breath or something. I found myself looking at her and I couldn't help but think how beautiful she is. Her perfect nose and freckles and beautiful blue eyes. The little pout of her lips and her wispy blonde hair. She doesn't realize she's beautiful, either, and it's almost better that way because she has no sense of vanity. She likes to dabble in the world of make-up and hair products, but she'd rather get down and dirty at the barn than keep a manicure looking perfect. As I gazed upon her, I couldn't help but think how amazing she is - a better version of myself - kinder and more talented than I ever was at her age. She has an uncanny ability to succeed at whatever she puts her mind to.

So I sat there, absolutely in love and in awe with my daughter, amazed that I had made such a perfect girl filled with all of the qualities I would have ever wanted my daughter to have - and I opened my mouth and said

"You've got dirt on your face."

Yep. Mother of the year award - it's all mine, ladies.

I'm sure there's some psychological explanation for this, but I wonder if it rings true with other mothers of daughters and sons. Are we all harder on our daughters than our sons? Or is this just me?

The world expects a lot from women and doesn't give them a lot of credit for doing it all. Today's young girl is expected to do well in school, be helpful at home, be charitable and volunteer her time. She's expected to move on to college where she is expected to prepare herself for a good career. She should build this career and somehow settle down with a partner and have children simultaneously. Her home should be clean, her appearance should be immaculate, her children should be well-mannered, and she should volunteer her limited time with her children's PTA or dance studio or football team. She should have well rounded meals on the table every night and she should never, ever make it look like this is difficult for her to accomplish.

I realize that as a society these norms are changing, but these expectations for women still exist. Check any Pinterest board and you'll see it - the pressure our society puts on women to be perfect.

So I'm harder on Munchkin than the boys. It's something I need to work on. It's not right and it's not fair. My heart swells with pride at her accomplishments... just looking at that picture above brings literal tears to my eyes. But I find that I don't tell her enough how proud I am of her, how fantastic she is, and how glad I am to have her as a daughter.