Tag Archives: beautiful

I need this more than you.

Dear Adelaide,

I recently found myself purposely skipping meals and denying little cravings (PMS) because I thought that was the best way to lose those few pounds that have crept up since football season started. But as I watched you eat yesterday, you smiled and handed me pieces of your food- encouraging me to have some, too. Your ability to read people is astounding.

I am not doing the job I hoped to as a mother. I’m not showing you that it is important to love yourself- not when I am abusing my own metabolism with binges and starvation. I want to share this with you… because I need to hear it, too:

Love your body. Your curves and folds and wrinkles and curls. All the lines and intersections that make up you.

I write this to you because I am only now learning to love mine. Mima always told me how beautiful I was, but I didn’t listen. I hope you will hear me. I hope you will see your body as I try to see mine… A map.

The softness of my belly where I carried you so tenderly. The definition of my calves from years of sports and dance. The sun spots on my nose from seasons spent outdoors. The curves in my pinkies from Mima’s hands to mine. The red in my hair that comes from your Great-Grandmother, Harriet. My body has battled illness, run hundreds of miles, studied into the night, partied into the morning, played countless games, loved a few men and carried me on my beautiful Life’s journey. The best part? My body gave life to you.

Your body will do many of these things, too. You will be a fighter, a lover and a game player. You will feel hurt and pain and joy and pleasure. From stubbed toes to Swedish massages, booboos I can kiss better and others that a doctor with mend. Your body is beautiful.

Your body is beautiful.

Your body is beautiful.

As you repeat that to yourself, let me also tell you this: your body is yours and yours alone.

Love yourself. Be in control of yourself. And love yourself.
If there were ever enough words for me to tell you how beautiful you are, from the strength of your legs through the beaming smile on your face, I’d say them…

I love all of you sweet girl. And all of me, too.



Filed under Dear Adelaide

Love Thyself

As a friend of mine stared at my recent status updates, she emailed me: Bitch.

WHAT?! I replied.

You’re running again! You don’t need to.

…the conversation continued. Mostly about our bodies and how she “hates” her post-baby figure. I turned it, briefly, to running- I do need to. I don’t run for the awesome legs, sun-kissed nose or black toenails. I run because my sanity depends on it. To sum it up: I was a high-risk pregnancy- partially due to miscarriage and partially because of surgeries I’d had. This left me sidelined during 32 weeks of my pregnancy (I ran my last half marathon just a few weeks pregnant… that would explain the intense exhaustion I felt after). All during Addie’s gestation, I worked 60+ hours a week- sure we needed the money, but more-s0, I needed to take up my time. I often stayed late, finishing projects just to avoid seeing my Asics waiting for me at home. At 20 weeks I was rear-ended on my way to work, and that set my back into a spiral. Up until that point, I’d had NO pregnancy pain… from that point on it was pain all the time. I explained all this to my friend and more… I ended it by telling her to take a walk, by herself, with music that she likes, or in a new place. As she goes along, run for a minute, jog, walk- do it for 30 minutes. Tell me you don’t feel better. Running isn’t for everyone, but a family walk that incorporates a jog, a good walk/run routine, or just a brisk walk on your lunch break- if not for your thighs, for YOU- can make a world of difference in your attitude.

So, yes. I do need to run.

Besides that… when I look at my belly now (one year postpartum), I’m not overwhelmed with joy. I have never been a skinny girl. Thin, yes. But I was made to run up and down a field, wielding a stick of composite wood or alloy and leather strings. I was made to run through those skinny girls with my kilt flying high, showing off the spandex shorts beneath. My cleats sounding like a 100 horses, as I slam my feet into the ground. Sometimes I forget that.

Senior Year, lacrosse

Senior Year, lacrosse

Early on in my pregnancy, I went home for my sister’s baby shower. She weighed herself on the super-accurate scale my parents have. When the number popped up, I forgot about everything I just said above. I was so angry at myself for being so big. My sister, at 7 months pregnant weighed what I did before I got pregnant. We are the same height (give or take half an inch)… we are not the same build, and you guessed it: she’s the pretty one. She is blonde haired and blue eyed. She’s thin with lean muscle- not paltry. She’s strong with a long face and a big smile and beautiful skin. I am muscular, and when I’m not in shape, I look round, bulky, dimply. My calves are huge from a decade of dance and gymnastics. My shoulders are broad- good for being a hockey goalie. My face is round and my blue eyes shine from behind long lashes and a shock of dark hair. I have my Mom’s face and my Dad’s body… my sister is the opposite parental combination.

It was then, as she stepped off the scale, I began to take belly pictures.

Through the years I’ve had an obsession with my middle. My legs are always questionable. I wish they were leaner… even with all the abuse I put my knees through, they still carry me… but my belly has always been toned (not well defined, just flat)- until I had a baby.

My belly when we decided to conceive, age 27. Me at 21, after being tattooed and me at 25 on our honeymoon.

My belly when we decided to conceive, age 27. Me at 21, after being tattooed and me at 25 on our honeymoon… And a week post-Addie.

So, I write all that to share with you my mantra and what I try to remind myself of daily: “You are beautiful.”
I remind myself… You gave birth to a beautiful baby girl a year ago… it’s not easy to take care of yourself with daily life, let alone when you have a baby. The house is always clean, the dog always walked and fed, the baby clean and smiling. The cabinets are organized and you’re up-to-date on your work. All appointments have been made and kept, the correct paperwork is filled out and sent. All phone calls are in and logged (fighting insurance companies is a full-time job). It goes on from there.
Give yourself a break and love it.

I’m a bit softer… but every extra pound, every little stretch mark… that’s Addie. Sure I’m down a few pounds from pre-baby… but it’s not the same. It being my body. My limbs feel heavier, my butt a little wider, my arms rub as I trudge up another hill in the park. What hasn’t changed is the rush, the surge, the high I get from logging miles. It’s not easy to get out there, but once you’re on the road- it’s hard to stop.

Let’s love our bodies, ladies everyone! Those 20 minutes you think are not going to make a difference, will make a heck of a difference compared to 0 minutes. Get out there and do it. Walk, jog, run, play catch, skip with your kids, play flag football with friends. Get active. Get healthy. And love yourself, love your mind, love your body.

I hope (when we’re ready) I carry just like I did with Addie- (all in the front):

Large photo: Exalt Photography Back and side pic: 37 weeks

Large photo: Exalt Photography, ~31 weeks
Side and back pictures: 37 weeks

For now, my middle is soft but my mind is strong. Run for sanity- reap the benefits of body:

Momma Belly

Momma Belly, May 2013

I hope you know how beautiful you are.

It is so hard to love yourself, especially when we have SO many pictures of our youth reminding us of the times when nothing jiggled! It’s a different love. I think of my pre-baby body as my first love, but as I evolved into wife and then motherhood, it’s a more mature love. A respect for what I’ve done in life and all I have yet to do.

Maybe someday I’ll love myself without trying, but until then… I repeat my mantra in anything but a full-length mirror!


Filed under Fitness, Pregnancy/Birth

This Year, I Resolve…

I never stick to the resolutions that have me saving money I don’t make or going to the gym 9 times a week. And so, I usually don’t make an actual list. This year, however, is different.

To be a better mother, I am making New Year’s resolutions that I hope to turn into whole lifestyle changes.

I’m learning to play more and let go of all of life’s seriousness:

And as fun as it is to watch my infant grow into a baby and beyond, I cannot forget that I too need to grow, myself. I need to continue my life’s trend of learning new things, expanding my passions and, most of all, being the best mom and wife I can be for my family. And so, this year I resolve to…

1. Be nice (to me)
I am a name calling, comparing, down-right mean girl when it  comes to myself. I get into some nasty battles with the mirror, tugging and pulling at the fabric around my body. Flailing my limbs in the reflective surface, making chicken noises. Pinching the skin that showed up with age and life experience. I do all this while my baby girl looks at her own reflection. From behind me, perched on the bed, I see her smiling eyes looking at her own beautiful face. Her perfect little body joyously flailing on the bed as her smile fills her face and her blue eyes sparkle back at her. Children only know what they’ve been told and done, which isn’t much. I don’t want to be the example of body-image issues in 12 years. I never want Addie to think that she isn’t beautiful. Everything about her is gorgeous, perfect, just as I made her, and I guess my body is pretty ok, too. Just as she made me.

Addie 2013

2. Know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away. And know when to run. You get it? (Thanks Kenny) I am a feisty woman. I somehow found a man who loves me just the way I am. Poor guy. I often don’t hold my tongue, which is great… you will never have to wonder what I think or how I feel about something. Addie, however, doesn’t need to know how I feel about Dave being on the computer at 2am, or me yelling at him for working late. I need to keep parent things between the parents. Dave and I are happily married, those silly fights are just silly, and we both never want Addie to feel like we aren’t a team. We are one unit of Martinkadelux!


3. Earn it to own it
I want to write more, more, more!!! I need to set aside time for me and my writing. I want 2013 to continue to launch dwarfism awareness. I want to keep being passionate about crafting and getting better at sewing so I can make and alter clothes for Addie in the future. I need to remember that nap time doesn’t always mean vacuum, scrub and dust. Sometimes it means, paint your nails, take a long shower, read a chapter in the same book you’ve been reading for 3 months.


As I watch Dave loving his Christmas gift, I can already see him becoming more organized. If I knew all he needed was a smart phone! His effects pedals, Made Rite Effects are taking off, he is going to London on a business trip, and he’s taking care of his 2 ladies on his own.

We had a beautiful New Years Eve spent with some AMAZING people, and I can’t wait to make this year better than the last (as if 2013 could top Addie?!):

New Years Baby



I’m so ready for you, 2013. Bring it on!

Awesome beginning to 2013: Addie’s 2 bottom teeth popped through (at the same time) on 12/28!

So… she’s learning how to brush teeth!

Being silly with Daddy on NYE

Being silly with Daddy on NYE


Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

You’re Magic

It’s no surprise I think my baby girl is the most amazing human to ever exist. She is, to me, magic. In the days after Friday’s tragedy, I find myself feeling more blessed and emotional than usual (which is intense). I have the opportunity to hold my baby girl today. I have a million and one things to do before the 25th, but my priority is to hold my whole world and kiss her little face, tiny toes and hold her hands in mine.

Addie arrived after personal tragedy. She came in the wake of a lost sibling. She brightened my life from the inside. She is my first birth… and what a birth it was! I cannot believe we are going to be celebrating our first Christmas together as a family. I cannot say that I didn’t know love without Addie, as my husband is one of the most selfless, kind and loving people ever, but I didn’t know how my mom never beat me (literally), or disowned me, or turned me over to the state. I didn’t know the love my mom had for me until I had it for someone else.

And so, before we go caroling into the neighborhood (or just try to regain some normalcy), I wanted to celebrate another milestone: 8 months!

8 month Addie


She’s growing more beautiful by the day, and she is looking more and more like a child and not my infant. I miss her eyes closing at the simplest movements, but I love how she laughs when we dance. Her gentle sighs have turned into deep breaths and her once small movements have turned into rolling herself into the middle of the bed and pushing Dave and me to opposite ends. She is growing up. And I am so proud of her How silly she is just kicking her feet brings a flutter to my heart:

Just two months ago we celebrated with cake (she didn’t have any) and candles and balloons!

She was like "woah!"

She was like “woah!”

6 Month Photo-shoot!

6 Month Photo-shoot!

I love that smile… and I love how silly it is to celebrate 6 months. But, in life, the big stuff is just all the little stuff piled together.

Just a few weeks later, it was her first Halloween…

Standing with some help

Standing with some help

I had asked lots of people to write a letter to Addie, but I’m the only one who did. I think it’s a mom thing, but I want her to know how much I love her- long after I’m not here to tell her:

My Dearest Adelaide,
From the very moment I dreamt of your existence, I felt so in love. Then you were on your way and thought my love could get no deeper. When you first put your head on my chest, my heart stopped. Each and every day I love you more. you are amazing, loving, smart, and so happy! How I got to be so blessed to be chosen by you, I’ll never know.
Happy 6 months!

And then she was 7 months…
7 Months

Growing curiosity

Growing curiosity

Next will be 9 months, and then 10. And then, before I know it, she will be walking, talking. Talking back. She will not like me for a while… but I hope she will come back. This brain of mine rattles off ever different circumstance that could pull her away, but she will always be my baby. I hope that I am blessed to be a mother like mine. To love unconditionally and let Addie fly, the way I flew away. But I never went far. I like to sit on the perch, close enough to home, but never back inside. I am encouraged to be on my own, but I know that my mom is always close by, even if that means a 250 mile drive in the wee hours of the morning. Yeah. That’s the kind of mom I want to be.

Happy 8 months to my beautiful baby girl! May you stay forever young at heart! Thank you to God, or whomever is watching over us, for giving me another day. Another milestone. Another month and birthday to celebrate this beautiful baby.

Inquisitive Addie


Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

The Top 5

There are many discussions about mommy wars and who is the better parent (what is better anyway?). Who is right and who is wrong, and a whole bunch of opinions being tossed out by people who are not the parent of whatever child they have an issue with at the moment. People, remember to stop and smell the tulips sometimes. Life doesn’t have to be just one way. Oh, it’s roses, you say? We don’t all smell the same flowers:
Addie and a tullip

Sadly, this is nothing new. When I was engaged, my husband got an anonymous letter in the mail (typed) about not marrying someone for the wrong reasons. Yep. This happened. It was sent to his shop, from a zip code on the West End of Providence. It could have been anyone, but I have my own personal list. I remember someone making a comment about robbing the cradle and then winked at me. *ahem* I was 24 when I got married, I just looked like a baby.

Allebach Photography

Allebach Photography

So why did I think when I had a baby opinions, odd questions and random “winks” of knowledge would end? Because I’m hopeful, I suppose. I feel like having a child who is but 1 out of 45,000 makes her so special that people feel they can ask anything and it’s appropriate because it’s different, but rest assured, some questions are not meant to be asked. Google it next time, perhaps? BUT, more than a few people have asked me the following questions, so here are your answers.^

1. Will Addie grow normally and then stop at a certain age?
Addie will not grow as an average height child would. She will grow slower and possibly reach a height between 3 1/2 to 4 feet. Like any other person, she will be finished growing in her late teens. She may experience growing pains like anyone else, and she has growth spurts as any other infant does. At almost 8 months, Addie is about 24 inches. An average height child would be about 27 inches at 8 months.

2. If Addie’s head is bigger, does that mean she has a bigger brain? Does that make her smarter or dumber? (*One person actually asked if she would be more smarter or more stupider)
Addie’s head is bigger than an average height child’s head. In some cases with an AH child, this could mean a number of brain or skull abnormalities, including hydrocephalus. We were blessed in that Addie’s head size is just a physical tribute to achondroplasia, and does not have anything to do with a medical issue. Because her skull is larger, her brain is, in fact, larger. This has no bearing on her intelligence, either way. Children with achondroplasia are not more likely to have down syndrome, be autistic, have ADD or ADHD or have any certain allergies. Quite simply, their heads are just a bit bigger than average.
*This was from someone at a store who had commented on Addie’s head size and the conversation took off from there.

3. Will her body be even?
I wasn’t exactly sure what this question meant until it was re-worded as: will her body match. The question is still strange, but I understood it better. The answer is: no. Her body will not match or be even. With achondroplasia, the torso is closer to average size, while her arms and legs are shorter. Addie will also have small hands and feet, and as stated, her head will be a bit larger. A common, though not necessary, feature is a little bit of a belly and rolls. Though it’s cute now, this is not something that Addie will necessarily grow out of, thus nicknames such as Michelin Baby or Buddha are truly not things we want her to be called. She is beautiful, but her body will be different. I celebrate her different! The way she needs to have her jeans cuffed already and it looks super cute on her. The way 3/4-length shirts fit her arms perfectly. The way she wears super-cool toddler hats that are too big for most babies. The way I have more baby skin to kiss and more belly to tickle. A full head of hair to brush and small hands to hold on to. Her body is beautiful.

4. Can she have babies?
This question has been asked over a dozen times. The answer is, medically, yes. Addie can have a child. If her partner is another person with achondroplasia, there is a 25% chance of her baby being average height, 50% of the baby being a dwarf and a 25% chance of the child being born with 2 copies of the gene, which is fatal and known as homozygous Achondroplasia. There are a few different types of dwarfism combinations here. Not all numbers are the same depending on your source- science… so un-exact sometimes.
Addie will, if she decides to have children, need to have a cesarean section- but, she should, with a healthy lifestyle, carry a pregnancy just fine.
As her parent, she has to be allowed out of the house first, so NO, she cannot have a baby!

5. Is there a cure?
And finally, no. There is no cure. Dwarfism is not a disease. Addie’s achondroplasia was caused by a spontaneous mutation in a gene called FGFR3. There is nothing wrong with her. She laughs when I dance, she babbles about her “dadadadadada” and she rolls all over the place to get what she wants. She can stand when leaning against her crib railing, and she puts herself to sleep at night. She loves carrots and turkey, and she thinks throwing things on the floor is hysterical. She eats puffs and her toes. She loves to swim and pull my glasses off my face. She is your average baby… just a bit shorter. But, if you didn’t know this already: the best things in life come in small packages.

I am aware that there are some awkward double standards out there, my least favorite being if you look up what a child with dwarfism looks like on Google images, there are multiple pictures of naked children with dwarfism. If those children were of average stature, that would be child pornography. I do not think it is human to want to examine a anyone in this manner. I know when people first see Addie sometimes I see their eyes scan her whole body, looking for something to be different. Searching her limbs for their incongruity with her torso, or staring just a bit too long at her head or belly. I’ve seen the look in the eyes when they’re caught. The shame that floods someone when they’ve examined a child the way a scientist looks over a subject. Someone whispered an apology to me.  The size of cars, football teams and pickles are described using a derogatory term that offends thousands of people, yet the media still uses it widespread. Imagine another derogatory term used so casually? I’m sure the ACLU would be up in arms.

That being addressed, please ask questions about dwarfism. Remember the way things are worded and what your words insinuate can hurt and offend. If you wouldn’t want someone to ask you questions in such a manner, perhaps an internet search may be a better way to find your answer. I am all ears and eager to learn the things that I don’t yet know and educate others on the things I do, but when things get personal- please remember- this is, and always will be, my baby.


^ Not every question on this list was inappropriate, but sometimes the way the question was posed was what got to me. Again, please be a wordsmith when asking tough questions.


Filed under Achondroplasia, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change, Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Highlights of my day…

Every mommy needs some time for themselves… even if that time is with their baby.

With Addie is tow, I headed to The Gallery Salon in Providence to be color treated by Mrs. Sara Marsh. After washing my hair for the first time in 4 days the night before, I came equipped with a cute baby and a terrifying bun-ish hairstyle. I knew once I sat in her chair, that I would get just what I needed- some pampering and good conversation.

Bring on Sara and The Gallery. A beautiful salon with all of the ooohs and ahhhhs mom needs and the natural environment that is sure to amuse, not over stimulate, the babe you may have to bring with you. Sara’s Wednesday was open, and she asked Addie’s schedule to be sure that we would not disrupt her; this was a time for me to relax, after all. We settled on 10:15am, which was perfect! It was the perfect timing for Addie and me to wake, shower, eat, and for me to pump. As we entered the salon, Sara pumped up the AC for Addie’s temp-sensitive body and turned on the music to a non-deafening, but enjoyable, level. And we were off!

As Addie drifted off for a nap, we chatted about what I wanted, and decided to go with the same colors we had at my last visit (embarrassingly too long ago). I would have the same highlights I’d gotten on the last time to match Addie’s hair color; a beautiful reddish sun-kissed look. Addie’s hair brings me back to my youth. I’m sure you know that time: When you smelled of the lotions and sprays you had time to apply and your eye make-up didn’t disappear into the fine lines that have encircled your peepers. Make-up? It’s the stuff  you used to put on before you turned your head to the left and smelled the faint stench of milk and vomit.

I adore being a mommy, but sometimes I need some pampering.

Just as Sara placed the last foil in my hair, Addie alerted us she was hungry! No problem! Offering up the lovely, plushy, leather couch (SO comfy), Addie and I opted to stay in Sara’s chair at her station. It was very comfortable and with the foot rest and perfectly placed padding, we settled in well. As I processed, Addie enjoyed her milk… just see for yourself:

As if Sara were blessed with the most perfect timing clock, Addie finished eating just as I was finished processing! Moving to the washing station, I settled into another comfortable chair, complete with a strong foot rest- a super fancy recliner, if you will. As I bent my knees up, Addie rested against my legs watching Sara work and being amused (read: smiles brought on by funny faces), as I closed my eyes and enjoyed the warm water and luxury shampooing.

We moved back to the station where Sara was 100% OK with Addie staying on my lap and watching herself in the mirror- she even offered a towel to protect Addie from my falling hair, which I declined (I just blew the hair off Addie). Finally, onto the drying!  Addie loves the hair dryer (and vacuum), so she was not alarmed by the sound and perhaps even enjoyed it. By the end of the blowout, Addie had peaced out:

And, my highlights and blowout look great… even the NEXT day!

The best part mommies: Sara will work with you to get, not only your current desired look, but where you want to be until you can get back to the salon.  Can’t get out every 6 weeks for your hair? Me neither. Who really can these days? Sara gives me a cut and color, every time, that is manageable for everyday wear, and color with a perfect grow out, even if I can’t get back in her chair for a few months (yes, months!). For just over $100, Addie and I were treated to an afternoon of comfort and pampering- totally mom friendly!

And, Sara does a mean trim for men, too!

Let’s be honest here, Addie whimpered, cried and fussed a bit in the 3 hours we were there, but no one was upset by her, in fact I got nothing but smiles and coos her way. Makes a mom feel better about disrupting other people relaxing- good thing she’s so darn cute!

Visit Sara’s webpage at SaraMarshHair.com to learn more about her, get some pricing and contact her for your appointment today. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

*I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own, and are based on a multiple visits, two with a child under the age of one.

The Gallery Salon
31 Governor Street
Providence, RI

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Filed under Reviews

I Knew Before You Told Me

From the moment she was born, I knew she was different. Adelaide Eileen was born at only 18 inches, with my button nose and crooked pinkies. What she was born without was what caught my eye.

27 years ago I came flying into this world with a shock of dark hair, flailing all 21 inches of my body in a fury weighing just shy of 5 1/2 pounds.  During the 3 hours I pushed with Addie, I remember seeing her dark hair, feeling her head and then seeing her little body.  She looked just like me, but, to be honest, squat. I held my little ball of baby, loving all over her and sharing with no one.

I wanted to ask the doctors a million questions- I was shocked the next day when her pediatrician measured her at 18 inches.
I knew before I asked.  I knew she was my genetic miracle. Our little package of jumbled up genes that was perfectly delivered to us.

A daughter holds her mother’s hand for a while and her heart forever.

I was so tired, but I couldn’t stop staring. She was the most beautiful human I’d ever seen.
Watching her grow, or not, led me to think something was up- but you only think to ask the doctors a question if you think there is something wrong. In my heart of hearts I knew there was nothing wrong, just different about my little Addie. Then I read all about it. Her head was big. I was so scared. Could she have hydrocephalus? I researched all I could. I took Addie to her 2 month appointment and mentioned it to the nurse doing her measurements. She inferred that it was something she was going to mention anyway, due to her head circumference growing, and my heart sank.  I wanted to hear “don’t worry about it.” But, as you know from my first post, we ended up leaving that appointment with a script for a ultrasound of her head and x-rays of her long bones.

I took her home, undressed her and examined every inch. I saw her inner thighs and how small her hands were. The non-existent bridge of her nose. The way her legs bowed out. I saw her face, with those shining, deep violet eyes staring up at me. And she’s perfect.

After her diagnosis, Dave and I told a few people. Looking for initial reactions- a way to gauge our responses to people and learn what kind of reactions we would be fielding. And, as if getting unexpected news wasn’t confusing enough, the other shoe dropped.
People said they were sorry. Dave and I found ourselves trying to stop people from saying the wrong thing. Did we tell the wrong close friends? Was it something we said?

Nothing is wrong with her. Why are you sorry? We’re not.
It’s not unfortunate. We’re beyond fortunate to have  be chosen by this baby girl.

I knew she was the most beautiful girl from the moment she was born. She is loved to the core- and being so small, that’s a lot of love per inch!

I knew before they told me. I knew she was going to be the best thing to ever happen to me. I knew it. And I love every little bit.


Filed under Achondroplasia, Community, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change, Parenting/Family/Lifestyle