Love embellishes on the sly

By Mir
June 30, 2011

I thought there was nothing I like better than when a reader so totally gets my family, they feel the need to call my attention to something that would make us happy.

Alert reader Jamie did just that: She emailed me earlier this week with this link to say she was thinking about me. In case you don’t feel like clicking, that leads to this little DIY gem:

Awesome, right?

I immediately thanked Jamie, printed out the necessary images, and delivered it to Otto with a flourish. “I have a project for you!” I declared. Otto chuckled and set to work. Just a little bit later he presented me with his finished creation.

Yesterday, Otto and Monkey were out, and Chickadee came into my office and asked if she could have some card stock. “What for?” I asked, because I am a mom and forever asking stupid questions like that.

“You’ll see,” she said. “You’ll like it, I promise.”

I gave her the card stock.

A little while later she returned, told me to check my email, and then asked me if I could print what she’d sent me. I started laughing, but I printed it for her, and she then invited me to Otto’s office to see what she’d done.

It turned out to be this:

See, the original scene didn’t look enough like OUR camper. For one thing, it didn’t have our awning or flag. For another, what’s camping without Licorice and marshmallows? Exactly. Chickie then made me promise I wouldn’t say anything, but just let Otto find it later.

Lately Chickadee has been kind of giving Otto a hard time. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I think it’s equal parts of “now that I’m sure you’re not going anywhere I’m going to be just as obnoxious to you as I am to my mother,” “I just spent two weeks getting fed the message that you’re an interloper” and “I’m a 13-year-old girl and therefore clinically insane most of the time.” Whatever the cause, I know it’s normal, but it still drives me crazy. I just want the people I love to be nice to each other, IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK? (The answer—as anyone with more than one kid knows already—is: Yes.)

But every now and then I get a nice little reminder that actions speak louder than words.

I can live with that.


  1. Megan

    That? Is magic. I particularly love Licorice, although I admit the skill that went into the weensy marshmallows is very impressive!

  2. Otto

    What I love is that she got my camping t-shirt color right. (Yes, I have one t-shirt I wear on the first day of every camping trip and it is bright orange.)


  3. Kira

    She really captured Licorice’s hope that a marshmallow might fall in her mouth, too.
    I am not weeping at y’all, btw. TOTALLY NOT. Love.

  4. Anthony from CharismaticKid

    Just checking out your blog now but I like the camper bit. I don’t think I’ve ever been in one, ever.

  5. Jamie

    That is so completely perfect! Yay Chickadee!!! (And I feel a little bit like a rock star that **MIR** included me on her blog. So cool.)

  6. Angela

    That is super fly! My foster kids counselor says you can tell someone feels safe in the home when they feel “safe” to act like a complete and total (*&^*(% and treat you like garbage. Lucky Otto and lucky us. What a great set up!

  7. Tenessa


  8. Grace

    Oh, this is just the best story! When I think back to being a pre-teen/teen girl with a stepfather, I think you’re 100% right about Chickie’s motivations. But I’m glad she can occasionally overcome teenhood to do something like this. So incredibly sweet.

  9. Sheila

    I love that your arms are all hoisted up and over the backs of your camp chairs, all casual-like.

  10. Andrea

    They have some mad cardstock skillz, those two!
    Is it really the safety thing that makes stepkids act like that? For the last couple of years (and intensely for the last few weeks) I was just thinking they hated me…

  11. Tracy B

    I love the awing and the marshmellows…but most of all, I love that she thought to do it. And I’m with Grace on the whole 100% right about Chickie’s motivation. And I do, am glad she reached the comfort level and the assurance of knowing Otto is there to stay! That is a great relief to all step-children. ;)

  12. Katie in MA

    What *I* love is the entire paragraph diagnosing what’s going on with Chickie. As a mom of more than one kid – plus a Significant Other we’re folding into the mix – that paragraph validated much of my life as I know it right now. :)

    Love, love, love the project. Can’t wait to see what Monkey adds to it!

  13. suzie

    Consider me your own personal “it gets better” project – I’m a couple of years ahead of you on the “step-dad” journey, and my now 15 yo daughter has consistently been tough on my new husband. In the past 6 (ish?) months, they have turned such a corner. It is unbelievable how they get along now, and how few head-butting moments we have anymore. My husband and I find ourselves shaking our heads in wonderment that it’s the same relationship of 2 years ago —

    (My now-13 yo old, though, that’s a different story – they have gone from lovey-all-the-time to head-butting. But we feel like the older one has shown us that it is all cyclical, and we’ll come out the other side.)

  14. MamaChristy

    ZOMG – I love everything about this. Too sweet are her additions. And the FLAG. I might have to get the flag.

  15. Aimee

    LOVE IT! I love everything about it, but especially that Chickie thought to do it and that she wanted it to be a surprise for Otto.

  16. Headless Mom

    Please tell me the flag says “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”? A friend has that t-shirt, complete with the pirate. I covet it.

  17. Jane

    Love – love – love it!

  18. Rachael

    You mean I’m not alone in the 13-year-old vs. stepfather saga? Whew. Chickadee, I give your props. That was a totally awesome thing to do. What I noticed? The people are both smiling. That’s a good thing.

  19. addy

    My now 21-year-old and stepdad are getting to a good place in the relationship journey. It gets better really. It just takes a very.long.time. Love Chickadee’s creativity! perfection!!

  20. Little Bird

    It took more than five years for my step dad and I to get along. We have issues now and then, but no more than any two adults might have with each other. I have won him over with my pesto.

  21. Kathy

    Completely adorable! Love your little family!!

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest