Dear MAD,

Last Sunday you turned 1. It feels like just a moment ago that you were born, making our family complete, and now you are already ticking off the days until you’re 2.

1 week

Your first year was a pretty easy one, filled with smiles and dimples and not much sleep. I look back over the last year and can’t believe that it’s passed so quickly. Other than your sleep issues, you are an amazingly content baby. It helps that you adore your big sister and she adores you. She loves to entertain you with songs, dances and stories and you are more than happy to be her audience. No one can draw a belly laugh from you like she can.

You started out as a big brute of a baby, topping the growth charts and busting out of clothes in no time. But in the last few months your pace has slowed and you are in clothes that match your age (12-18 months) and sit squarely in the low to middle end of the growth charts. Your one-year check-up clocked you at 21 lbs. 3 oz and 29.5 inches.

 6 months

You aren’t quite walking yet and seem perfectly content to cruise and crawl. You are lightning quick and shoot across the room to harass the dog in no time. You’ve been standing and walking with help for at least 2 months and are just now starting to take a few tentative steps way from the furniture. But as soon as you realize you aren’t holding on you drop down to your knees. You also “walk” on your knees, which is funny to watch. You’ve been able to crawl up the stairs without help for awhile, and it’s one of your favorite things to do.

You love anything and everything that has a button, but you prefer the real thing over toys. Remotes and phones don’t stand a chance with you.

There are still no teeth in your mouth. You’ve been drooling, chewing and cranky as if teeth were coming in for months but so far, nothing. I’m enjoying the extra time with your gummy grin.

At “school” you are now the big man on campus – one of the oldest in the room – and you take charge when you enter. You know the routine and as soon as you get there in the morning you make your rounds.

1 year!

You still take 2 naps – sometimes as long as 3 hours. Getting you to sleep is a breeze and you’re a pretty sound sleeper. But it seems that you can’t go more than 5-6 hours without a cuddle or a snack. As tired as I am from getting up every night, I can’t say I don’t enjoy cuddling and rocking you in the dim light of your midnight room. I’m treasuring them because I know their days are limited.

Happy birthday, my little Madman. I love you with all my heart.


The Daughter Project

There are all kinds of websites out there that advocate going on a shopping diet, simplifying, getting rid of the clutter in your life. But, mostly, they promote the simplicity in the name of calming your own life. Which is, for most, a good goal.

But could you wear the same thing for 180 days? That’s 6 months. One dress. Every day, no exceptions. Every time you want to buy something new, donate that money to others instead. Talk about simplicity…mind-boggling simplicity. My friend Amy is doing just that, and no, she’s not crazy. She is doing to raise awareness, money and hope for the forgotten.

I came to know Amy through her aunt, who is a good friend of mine. We were all in a fabulous book club together back in Toledo. (Those ladies are still going strong after a decade and I miss them dearly). The first thing to know about Amy is that she is a beautiful soul. And I don’t say that lightly. Actually I don’t think I’ve ever said that of anyone before. She has an ease about her that radiates warmth and kindness and is the kind of person you want to get to know.

Anyway, Amy came across this idea of wearing one dress for 6 months around the same time she became aware of The Daughter Project:

The Daughter Project is a non-profit organization in Northwest Ohio that exists to help girls recover from the trauma of sex trafficking and to help prevent others from being trafficked.

An idea to wear the dress to gain awareness for both the horrendous problem of sex trafficking in our state and raise funds for The Daughter Project was born. She slipped on her little gray t-shirt dress in November and hasn’t looked back. In addition to everything else Amy is also crazy creative; if anyone can rock a single dress for 180 days and look amazing it’s Amy.

She’s been able to raise a lot of awareness – she works on the campus of BGSU and lots of college students have been lending her accessories to jazz up her outfits. Friends are joining her for a month at a time in their own dress. Sororities have held yard-sales to raise money for The Daughter Project in Amy’s honor. All the news outlets in NW Ohio have picked up her story and it’s made its way through the wires to CNN.

Some facts to ponder:

– Nationwide as many as 300,000 underage girls are being sold for sex in America.

– The Trafficking Victims Protection Act provides federal money to care for foreign victims of sex trafficking but no federal money has gone to help American girls.

– According to the Ohio Trafficking Commission about 1,000 American-born children and about 800 immigrants are forced into the sex trade in Ohio every year.

– Because of weak state laws in Ohio the state is quick to label child prostitutes as delinquents and to incarcerate them, rarely looking further at the adults involved.

– Due to it’s proximity to Canada (Toronto is an arrival destination for international victims) Toledo ranks fourth in the U.S. in terms of arrests, investigations and rescue of domestic child-sex victims.

This is an issue I knew existed, but not until Amy embarked on her project did I know how dire the problem is. Nor did I understand how big of an issue it is here in Ohio.

I ask you to do 2 things – go give Amy some comment love and encouragement as she heads into the home stretch of her 180 days in her gray dress. And please consider skipping that next self-indulgent purchase at the Gap and instead donate to the Daughter Project (or any of the “kindred organizations” listed on their site).

All photos taken from Amy’s site with her permission