July 10, 2011


It recently hit me that Zoe doesn't dress up in her animal costumes anymore.  

I can't tell you how many times she'd fall asleep in her costumes.  And before she learned how to put them on herself, she'd come into our room around 6am with her costume of choice for the day and ask for help.    

When Zoe was about 18 months old she started carrying a little baby doll around.  She was my 1st girl to do this and I thought it was the cutest thing!  And then shortly thereafter she discovered a stuffed animal--the world of animals had been opened up--and that was the end of that.  She's LOVED animals ever since then.

Zoe wanted to be a "T-rex with big teeth" for Halloween 2009 when she was just 6.  She's not your conventional beautiful little girl.  Never one to be the damsel in distress, in kindergarten she'd chase the boys around during recess making dinosaur noises.  Of course, the boys thought she was the coolest girl they'd ever met. 
She would never be without at least 1 stuffed animal in her arms.  My favorite was when she knew we were leaving to go out, she'd run and grab as many stuffed animals as her little arms would carry and head to the car like that.  And then she upgraded to dressing like an animal.  Playing with them just wasn't enough, she had to be amongst them.  Her response to what her favorite animal has always been, "All of them".

Skunk, tiger, lion, mean mouse with missing teeth. 

It would be hot August in Virginia and she'd have her lion costume on (her favorite) as we headed to Target or the Natural History Museum.  She'd have the most serious look on her furry face, like walking around with a 2 foot tail was perfectly normal.  She'd get looks and people pointing at her--adults would think it was the cutest thing and little kids would sometimes walk closely to observe, maybe trying to see if she was a real lion.  Over time she started to realize that she stood out, that most people were just plain humans when they went out, and relished in the extra attention her costumes brought.  More than once a stranger would kindly say to her, "It's a little early for Halloween, isn't it?" and Zoe wouldn't understand what Halloween had to do with anything and I'd just smile because every day was Halloween at our home.  I knew better than arguing with her when I was in a hurry trying to get everyone in the car and she was upset that she was without a costume.  I learned to say, "Get buckled, Zoe, which costume do you want?" and I'd search for it until I found it.  And I don't regret it. 

Still best friends.

This used to be a normal sight at our home.  Big animals doing regular daily activities.  I remember I used to ask Kurt, "Is she going to be okay?" and he'd reassure me she was going to be fine.  And she's more than fine--she's the most confident and unique little girl ever.   

When we were sorting through her assortment of costumes and stuffed animals before the move (she narrowed her stuffed animal collection down to about 100--and I'm not exaggerating--and all the costumes came with us, too) I remember thinking that by the time our 2 years are over and we're ready to pack up for our next post, they probably won't go with us because she'll be almost 10 by then.  So I didn't feel bad at all bringing every last one of them.  And just over the last couple months, although her love of live animals and all stuffed animals has not diminished, I have noticed that she hasn't worn her costumes at all.  Seeing an end to these sweet chapters in my children's life is always hard, especially ones like this that are beyond cute.

My favorite is when she'd dress up her animal costumes with hats, scarves, and dressy dresses.  The closest I ever got to getting a "princess-y" girl was a "princess-y" animal girl.....and I'll take it.  :)

She loves her hamster, Tiny (who she wipes her tears on when she's upset) and our dog, Rocky.  She loves to lye on him and her strawberry blonde hair is the same exact color as his fur.  Maybe she was a golden retriever in a previous life?  :)
She still plays with her stuffed animals and LOVES lining up all her Pet Shop toys, and tells me that she wants to be an animal rescuer when she grows up.  I think we might still have a little more time.  If only there was a secret formula to slow down these innocent moments.
She wore this rabbit costume until there were holes in the feet and the zipper in the back was broken.  She was so upset when she just plain couldn't fit into it anymore.    

Sleeping bunny.

Zoe (6years) and her old hamster, Fudge.



  1. This whole post made me smile. Aside from church, I know many times I saw Zoe she was wearing one of those costumes. She is such a sweet girl and this was a great post for me to read as my boys come out with their own little quirks. If you discover that formula to keep them little please let me know. :) I'm having a hard time with the fact that Brody's almost 4! Hope you guys are doing well. I love reading your blog! :)

  2. OH my Gosh Erica. Insanely cute. We love you guys and look up to you both as parents for showing us how to love your kids for who they are, not who you want them to be. I hope I am doing as well as you.