"There's no crying in baseball"

"I want every little girl who's told she's bossy, to be told she has leadership skills instead" -  Sheryl Sandberg

A couple months ago, in my Facebook feed, someone was upset that McDonalds gave his daughter a pink spiderman toy in her happy meal.  He was offended that McDonalds thought his daughters spiderman toy needed to be pink in order for her to enjoy it. And he is entitled to his opinion.

On the contrary, Happy Meals are a rare occasion in the Manno house.  If I took my 4 year old daughter, Libby Lu, to Mickey D's and she came home and unwrapped a regular ole' spiderman toy there would have been a shit-fit of epic proportions because she got a "boy toy".

Now, according to a few articles I've read latley I'm suppose to shame her for that.  You know, for liking girl stuff too much.  Because this is the year 2014, and we should all be raising gender neutral kids. Oh, and God forbid don't tell her she's pretty or she'll grow up thinking she's not smart.  I hope my sarcasm on this is loud and clear.

Libby Lu and Luci,

Your gender doesn't define you, but it isn't irrelevant either, and I don't want my daughters growing up thinking they EVER need to apologize for being a girl.

It's okay to peel yourself out of a pink bed, wearing cheetah print jammies,  stumble down the hall in sequin bunny slippers, brush your teeth with a Justin Beiber toothbrush and look in the mirror and think about which of your favorite dresses you want to wear that day.

It's okay to have an entire drawer full of nail polish and bag full of bows. It's okay to dance and sing to Taylor Swift songs and binge watch Disney Princess movies until you fall asleep.  It's okay to sit and mess with your hair for 15 minutes because you want to look pretty.

Don't you dare, ever, apologize for being who you are.
Besides, when did doing something "like a girl" become an insult anyway?  If you ask my 7 year old daughter to kick a soccer ball "like a girl" you're gonna have your ass knocked back about 4 feet.

Because right next to her drawer full of nail polish are her soccer cleats.

When I was in 7th grade english class we were learning about "oxymoron's" as a vocabulary word.  It basically means two words that appear together but seem to be contradictory.  The teacher was giving examples and walked by my desk, tapped on the corner of it and said "Kelly is a good example, she's a girly tomboy" - and that was the first time I ever realized that you can be both and that I was both.  And now I'll never forget what an oxymoron is :)

And I don't want to leave out the boys.  Growing up I liked hanging out with boys just as much as girls, sometimes more than girls.   When I count on my hand the 5 greatest friendships of my entire life 2 of them are boys.  Us girls need them, and they're trying to figure out this crazy world too, so be kind to them.
Gender is not 2 sided coin, it's a spectrum.  The beauty of the spectrum is, you don't ever have to stay in one spot.  You have your whole life to move up and down the spectrum and explore all the different possibilities life has to offer.
Libby Lu, if in 7th grade if you want to chop off your hair and take shop class with the boys instead of cooking with the girls that is fine by me.  But it's also okay if you don't.

Your brothers room is right next to yours and if at any point you want to drop the barbies and play with his monster trucks that is fine by me, but it's also okay if you don't.

When you grow up if you want to run a large company and shatter glass ceilings that's fine by me.  But it's also okay if you don't.

For God's sake you are four, I can't even get you to chew with your mouth closed let alone grasp the concept of gender neutrality that I'm suppose to be shoving down your throat.  Here's an idea sister;

You be you and let the rest of the world sort out their issues.
When I planned this photo shoot with my beautiful daughter I knew I would have to do something really hard.  Dig out my first baseball glove.  There it was, at the bottom of a box with my name in ink on the leather, written by my own 8 year old hand.  Libby Lu slipped in on her hand and it fit…well, like a glove ;)
Every single memory I have with this glove is directly linked to my Dad.  He's the one who taught me that little girls could be good at sports.  He taught me how to play baseball, indian ball, cork ball, and any other backyard games that he played as a little boy in the 60's. He taught me about NASCAR, why we should always root for the Earnhardt's, and I was the only girl on the Granite City Pom squad that could change my own tire.
There aren't many movies that celebrate the art of being a girl better than "A League of Their Own" - it's one of the best movies ever made.

I wanted to do this photo shoot with my daughter to celebrate that wonderful movie, and the tough little girls all over the world who are going to grow up one day and know they can move mountains...without smudging their manicure ;)

I couldn't have don't this photo session alone.  Libby Lu's adorable Rockford Peach baseball uniform was created by Pat on this ETSY site.  You can also email her direct : prettyprincesspatterns@yahoo.com. Her attention to detail was amazing and the uniform is a very high quality.  I can't wait to tuck it in Libby Lu's baby box and show it to her once she's grown.

~ Brittany and Phil ~ MARRIED!

I've known Brittany since she was a kid.  Getting this behind the scenes, first hand look at her wedding day was so much fun.  I just love her and her family to pieces and I'm so happy they picked me to shoot this special wedding. 
Brittany and her girls had me cracking up all day, it was part wedding day, part comedy side show. 
Brittany and Phil picked the hottest, swampiest day of the year to get married. But these bright minds planned an all indoor wedding for the month of August in St. Louis (thank you, thank you, thank you and your guests thank you) We slipped outside for about 5 to minutes to attempt some outdoor photos before we all melted. 

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