A Great Big Impromptu Announcement

At approximately 1:40pm we found out the very county that we live in was issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples at 2:00pm. Now, the Missouri ban was put in place in 2004 and put into our Constitution. Ya know, ridiculous. Right? So, St. Louis has been issuing marriage licenses. And today, my county announced their own intentions to issue marriage licenses in our two court houses; in downtown KC and then in the adorning town to mine.

I called the office in that town to make sure. You can’t always believe the internet. And it was the hot topic of Facebook in Missouri friends and family on my timeline. But, there was no way I could vet the issue until I called the office personally. Besides, it wouldn’t help my anxiety disorder until I figured it out.

So, we looked at each other; Kim and I. There was NO plan. NO more waiting.

This was it. This was the time.

11 years later and a 2 year old later; we were getting married.

20 minutes or so later, we were doing this outside the courthouse:

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We got a nice and pretty new marriage license. We also had an all dressed up Punky holding both our hands. Singing about how she was so excited her Moms were getting married. However, for Punky, a marriage is where she gets to dance. A party where she gets to dance her heart out. She was sorely disappointed. She cried for a good 2 hours about wanting to get married. We tried to tell her we were getting married and we would have a party for her to dance at later. And we will.

She was not at all happy about that answer.

I told her she could help Mommy plan the wedding party. So she will help me plan the wedding party.

Instead, we had our fantastic friends and Punky’s godparents came over and we had a little wedding moment on Kim’s parents’ couch, in their living room. Punky’s godfather is ordained and he helped officially marry us. It was a no fuss event, with pretend sipping of champagne (except that I don’t drink and Kim doesn’t care for champagne). We took a few pictures and now, its official.

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We announced it on Facebook, made it “Facebook Official” and we have had nothing but love and support from both our family and friends. Its been nothing but excitement and overwhelming love and its the best possible outcome we could have asked for. I called my mom, to tell her – it’s her 21st wedding anniversary today! We got married on my mom’s wedding anniversary. Woah.

Kim and I had a very rough week this week. Its been, tough. Kim had a bit of an episode with her Bipolar disorder and it was emotional, scary, and made me worry that we would break – our rope, on a thin strand of fraying edges, would snap. But, looking at my little girl’s eyes and seeing them light up when she said “My moms are married!” made me remember that we have weathered a lot of storms in the 11 years we have been together.

It made me come to the conclusion, that no matter how much hard stuff comes up, we made the most beautiful thing in the world – we made Punky with our love. We went through a ton of tough stuff to make her. This episode, this scary, emotional, and hard episode is not our first rodeo – its not like it hadn’t happened before.

Besides, we never expected this ruling to happen so quickly. It wasn’t something I thought would happen in Missouri until the last of the states were called for marriage equality, so when it happened – out of the blue…. I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in fate. But, I do believe in instinct, and this felt right today. We have waited 11 years. That wait is over. They will appeal the decision, that is inevitable. It will happen – but it’s also inevitable that we will be married. We ARE married. And though we had a rough week…..

We are strong enough. And after 11 years, we are officially married. I am officially a MRS. and its strange and weird to think of myself as married. I’m a wife. Not just a mother. Not just a daughter. Not just a sister. I’m a wife…. well, shit just got real didn’t it?

I Missed Halloween….But We Made Up For It The Week Before

Because I had to work. I was pretty damn upset about it.

Punky’s first trick or treating and I had to miss it because I was at work. (At a job where no one really appreciates a thing I do and I am constantly screwed over and walked on.)

But, last weekend we went trick or treating downtown at the shops in her costume. That was fun. It wasn’t the same thing – it wasn’t the same as Halloween – for real, but it was something. They parade the kids down the street and it was pretty darn cute to be a part of though. And she came home with tons of candy.

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That same night, was our annual Kids’ Halloween Party. Punky’s Grammy puts it on for all the kidlets in the family. She spent most of the party playing by herself.

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I dress for it too! I was Medusa this year. It was pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself!

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So that was Saturday of last weekend. Sunday, one of my favorite people got married. We have been planning the wedding for months and it’s awesome that it came together as beautifully as it did! As well – she’s just one of my favorite people in the world! And doesn’t she make a beautiful bride!!

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On Wednesday, we played in the leaves in the yard. Throwing them and making lots of piles in the driveway. At one point, we made “leaf angels” while we waited for her godparents to come over so we could go hang out at the Pumpkin Patch. She was sporting a “braid like Elsa” and it was adorable.

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We headed off to the Pumpkin Patch and hand a nice afternoon with two of our very favorite people, her godparents. I swear, if Punky had a dad, this guy would be the best one for her. She’s got him wrapped around her tiny toddler fingers and I love it!

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And we picked out two gigantic pumpkins to carve that night, because I had to work the night before Halloween.

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And carve we did, that giant pumpkin.

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So…. I missed the traditional Halloween festivities, that she didn’t miss – she went with her Mama and godparents and our good friend Button and his mom. Unfortunately, I missed it, but it was still an awesome week to spend with her. I don’t have to work on the next two major holidays – so I will give them one to them, begrudgingly.

She did get to trick or treat last night and I put others on picture duty. It was not nearly as many pictures as we would normally have, but then again – no one can do Mamarazzi like me!

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Hope you had a great Halloween, we had a nice one with our Mini Minnie Mouse and some of our most favorite people. Here’s to Thanksgiving coming up soon!

On This … Our Wedding Day.

Which was not to be.

We didn’t get married. We didn’t call to check on the status. Instead, I drove home from my parents’ house 3 hours away with a carsick toddler who had to pee (potty training) every five minutes down the highway.

By the time we got home, I had stopped at no less than 4 gas stations and hauled a toddler and her portable potty chair ring into their bathroom. Sometimes she went, sometimes, she had already gone. Thank goodness for pull-ups on long car rides.

I also got to clean up puke on the side of the highway. Lots and lots of puke. So much puke that I had to change my kid, wipe down the seat, and then put her back in it. Puke in the hair, puke on the hands, puke on her most favorite blanket. But, once she was done puking and all cleaned up, she was better. Feeling better enough to keep watching her movie.

Mommy was tired. Worn out and tired.

We had a nice visit with my family though. Lots of nice times and sweet moments. And it took my mind off the fact that we weren’t getting married. I got to spend time with people I love and people who were equally as disappointed that we weren’t getting married.

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It’s nice to have supportive family who love us so much. I really is. Of course, there are some well wishers and people who really do mean well – but let’s just say the one thing not to say to console a person who CAN’T GET MARRIED is to tell them that marriage is just a piece of paper.

Or that we don’t need a piece of paper to know how much we love each other.

That’s not the point. The love isn’t the point. This marriage, this paper that so many straight couples (who I love dearly and I know meant no disrespect) take for granted gives so many rights and privileges that we don’t have.

So, actually – yes. WE do need that piece of paper. To make our lives complete and legal and as equal in the eyes of the law, we do need that paper.

In order for Kim to make medical decisions on my behalf without the hassle of courts and lawyers and still the possibility of a judge declaring its not legal. We do need that paper.

In order for us to be equal parents to our daughter, make decisions in all aspects of her life – financial, education, medical – we do need that paper.

I think people forget, or they are just not aware of the many rights that you are afforded when you get married. It’s not about declaring your love to someone, we’ve been doing that for 11 years. Now, it’s about the same rights. The same standard of care we should be getting from our government in the form of taxes, spousal benefits, and guardianship of our daughter.

Its the legal aspect that means the most.

So do I need a piece of paper to tell the world I love the woman I have been with for the last 11 years? No. That’s a given.

I know the phrase “Its just a piece of paper” is one given out of love and consolation. One that is supposed to make us feel better.

Unfortunately. It only means that there are still people in the world, people who love and support us, who don’t fully understand the ramifications of our being unable to marry.

It’s not about religious beliefs. It’s not about love. It’s not about some ceremony or tradition. Its not about procreation or even raising a kid in the ‘right family.’

You can read about what it’s really about: It’s about the rights we don’t have.

It will come and I think that’s what is so frustrating. This delay is just a delay. An unnecessary waste of energy, time, and emotional heartbreak. In the end, what is another month, really? What has changed? Not much.

Other than the idea that we should have been getting married today. And we didn’t.

And these are the Days of Our Lives…..

I feel like we are constantly in some wackadoodle damn soap opera. The roller coaster of our life just never had a moment to slow down and stop. There are never any breaks along the way, it’s just UP and DOWN. UP and DOWN.

Jeez, life, throw me a damn bone.

I’m super frustrated right now because Kim and I got Punky all dressed up and paraded her around the court house in Kansas to get our application for a marriage license. Literally, just last week, this was a done deal and we found out about it on Wednesday. We were excited, we were so relieved. It wasn’t Missouri, but just the few days prior, Missouri did rule that they would recognize gay marriages performed legally in states that do allow that sort of thing.

So, why not, we said?

We only live 30 minutes away from the court house doing it and we could go up there before I went to work the very next day. So, Thursday, we got ready, we all three got up super early. This was a momentous occasion and one we called all our parents about and pumped up our Facebook friends and family with this adorable video from Punky!

It was pouring down rain when we got in the car, by the time we got on the highway, I couldn’t even really see the cars in front of us. The rain was sheets of water, buckets being dumped on our car. Kim looked at me and said, “You must really want to do this.” And if anyone knows me, I don’t drive in the best conditions, let alone these types of conditions, unless I want to get somewhere. I held it together and kept my cool.

Punky got to press the walk button on the crosswalk and go through the metal detector, all while charming the pants off anybody we passed with her ridiculously adorable pea coat and umbrella.

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We finally found our way to the marriage license window and got the application; after swearing to god that our statements were all true. We got the application and they hadn’t even had time to change the pronouns on the application yet, it’s that new. So we had to cross out groom and we had to change he to she. Normally, this kind of thing might bug me, but not at that moment. I didn’t care. I just wanted to do it right.

11 years we have waited. 11 years we have been patiently watching and silently hoping that we will be married in our own state, or at least close. (Kansas is literally right around the corner from us!)  Who cares if the forms are updated. That time will come. I just wanted it to be right.

We signed some stuff, took our application and went home to wait the three day waiting period for Kansas marriage licenses.

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We were going to make a trip back there on Tuesday. We were going to get married and get our marriage license on Tuesday. The long wait for marriage (and tax benefits and rights and equality) was finally over.

Until tonight.

When we read that the Kansas State Attorney General petitioned a block on all gay marriage licenses. There will be a hearing. Sometime in November. And yes, I know – we will get married eventually. With the way the momentum of gay marriage is sweeping the country – it’s going to happen.

But.

It won’t be Tuesday.

And we are all pretty bummed about it.

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And in other news, we are going to visit my family tomorrow – so that will likely brighten my spirits a bit.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Nap Time Has Morphed to “Rest Time”

When once she was a champion sleeper, bedtime and nap time has become an increasingly difficult thing for our kid lately. Along with potty training, she is very much telling us just what she thinks about us telling her what to do. I read a few articles on potty training that makes the point not to make it a chore. Kids will get bored and less likely to do it if it’s a chore.

But, how the hell do you not make a potty break a chore every hour on the dot? I haven’t figured it out yet.

As for sleeping, Miss Punky was doing some pretty violent reactions to bedtime for a while – she turned into the Tasmanian devil and would kick and bang on her bedroom door and cry and sob and scream. To the point where, I am told, she has been up and down and she still makes up stories to get out of sleep.

All of which are normal for a kid her age, I know, but it’s frustrating for Kim and Grammy – I’m sure! So, I’ve been following “Life with Roozle” about another two mom family who let’s their kid color herself to sleep. I am not sure how they started it, but I just love the idea.

So, the other day, when I was laying Punky down for her nap before work, I said, “You just have to rest. You don’t have to go to sleep if you don’t want to, but you need to make sure you stay in your bed for a few hours and rest.” Of course, she says, “OK, Mommy.” I handed her a book and so far, from what I can tell, she’s pretty receptive to the idea. So, for now, we are working on “resting time”

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This passed week I was moved to a new position at work. I work in a call center for prescription benefits and mail order insurance. So, I have been working as a “Senior Representative” which means I take calls from our customer service agents and answer their questions or help them as well as taking over the escalated callers. It’s just as stressful and overwhelming as it sounds.

Recently, I was put into the position of training new senior representatives and helping them transition from the call center floor to our team and integrate into their new role. I have loved every minute of it. It’s great to get to be in a position to teach and develop our employees in a personal one on one basis.

This week, I have been moved, temporarily I believe, to a position of Executive Recovery. It’s basically the Senior representatives’ help line. So I take the escalated escalations from our senior representatives and help them help our customer service representatives.

For those who have been reading a while, especially my personal family and friends, know that I have interviewed for a supervisor position twice now. It’s been about a year since my last, very disappointing, interview. So disappointing that I ended up breaking emotionally and it really helped brim over my now diagnosed PTSD(rooted in childhood trauma) and Anxiety disorder with agoraphobic tendencies.

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I have been working with my therapist for almost  year and I feel like things are going well enough to take on this new position. Stressful that it may be, I am the type of person who needs to be in charge, needs to be in control and I like to have projects and recognition, this is the best way for me to do this.

So, I’m in a new position at work. My attendance is getting better, where I was calling in due to anxiety every week at least once a week, up to three days a week, I am back to making regular checks, with standard pay – thank goodness.  My anxiety and PTSD is one of the many reasons we are not living in our own place anymore. I couldn’t make myself go to work and the result of the disappointing emotional break that was that interview is part of the problem.

Here I am, a year later, stronger, and I’d say healthier. So, I am ready to make that leap to a new step towards the ultimate goal of supervisor within my company.  So, happy day, this new role will be another stepping stone to do just that.

Monday was my day off, as is today – but Monday we had a nice day out with the moms. It’s a rare occasion when we all three get out and about, with our agoraphobic tendencies and the combined anxiety between both of us moms about strangers, large crowds, and new places. Not to mention, my severe anxiety in the car, especially driving somewhere I have never been. So, needless to say, around here – most of the fun things are to be driven to and it makes for a stressful outing on everyone.

But, we try and make it work. Monday was one of those days. For her half birthday, I redeemed some of my reward points from work and got a $50 gift card to a place called T-Rex Cafe here in the city. We finally made our way there and celebrated with our little. Who was ever so excited!

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I thought at first, she would be scared by all the dinosaurs and instead, she was like a child with ADHD, she was pointing at everything, looking at everything, exclaiming at everything. Oh. And RAWRing at everything. LOL.

Of course, her Mama was also, like a kid in a dinosaur heaven as well.

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I think Kim had fun showing her all the different things that were moving and getting into the spirit of just being a kid, with our kid. It was a great time for all of us. Luckily, we had the gift card, because that character cup alone was 8 bucks and don’t get me started on the food

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It was good, but we went for lunch… needless to say, I was glad for the free money, I didn’t spend more than 15 bucks on lunch and we got to splurge a little in their gift shop.

SO, we won’t be going regularly, but it was a nice time for the three of us to get out of the house and celebrate this nice Fall weather that is rolling in.

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Grammy and Papa were at the hospital with Papa’s sudden sickness they were dealing with, so it took everyone’s mind off the potentially bad news we didn’t receive (thank goodness) and got us out and about. We did call Grammy on the phone, while at the restaurant and told her all about the dinosaurs.

It’s just another great moment in parenting, when you know your kiddo is close to grandparents and family and they are loved just as much in return.

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Everything Smells Like Pee…..

And the joys of potty training. Round one, week one has been a touch and go success around here. With Punky asking for two days straight if she could “go potty training Mommy?” we got out the panties and tried again. This time, we are in a much more stable environment, a routine we are used to and she is pretty well adjusted to the move. With three floors, we have three potty chairs. Thank goodness for Grammy’s Craigslist habit. LOL.

So there’s a potty chair on the upstairs bathroom by her bedroom, one in the livingroom, and one in the basement of our room. No matter what floor she’s on, we got her potty needs covered.

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So, one week ago today – Miss Punky was cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs (who lost) while exercising her potty skills.

Look, I started by reading into that Potty Train Your Kid in Three Days thing, but that didn’t really seem to work out. We didn’t really have a plan. We just started. Luckily, we have a lot of support in the house. The first day went not so great, all accidents – no real success. The second day she got into the groove, she got the hang of things. We got her on a schedule and she would sit on the potty no questions asked.

By the third day, we struggled with desire to sit on the potty. Lots of asserting of willpower and headstrong NO resounded through our house. It was frustrating and not just a little annoying. We have been using pull-ups at night, and we still get periodical resistance from her to sit on the potty. We have resorted to bribery with candy and toys and new Batman shirts. Yes, we are not above bribery.

So, we have had a few rough patches, it’s been a real roller coaster and by far the most unfortunate part of parenting. I feel like someone needs to invent a way to engineer already potty trained toddlers, so parents don’t have to chase their kids around. So, for now, we are doing alright, hanging in there – really, it’ pretty damn tough.

And … everything smells like pee!

Today was the first day without an accident, minimal resistance, though she still protested. We even went out to our friend “Button’s” house and had a little play date. We took her potty chair with us and set it up in my friend’s bathroom and it worked like a charm. A potty break every hour and smore’s cupcakes wasn’t a bad bribery tactic.

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Punky and Button are about a year apart in age, and it is so cute to see them get together recently and play together. Button is at the stage where he is playing side by side – so it really confuses Punky. She keeps asking him to play with her and asking me why he won’t play with her. It’s actually pretty darn cute really, her confusion. His mom and I talk about how they are going to get married someday and be able to talk about how they grew up with each other and were best friends. You know the stories. Those love stories of the people who get married to their childhood friends, the ones they have known forever.

Or at least – they will date at some point. Haha!

So, it’s been quiet around here. I’m working til midnight now, so I have a busy day and a tired night – uber sleepy mornings with the little one. I have been reading all the joys, heartache, and stories. I have just been too tired to write our own stories. Miss Punky has been doing lots of fun things and we have had a great many moments around here, besides the potty dances and songs.

My little one has been increasingly full of more attitude, spontaneous whining and outbursts. And then she turns around and asks to hold my hand.

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We also had our first Sunday Movie Night tonight. So it was a great time the three of us just hanging out and watching Rise of the Guardians. It was a cute movie, and we took some potty breaks in between the hours, but overall, as long as I could wrangle her attentions to cuddling with me, it was a great night!

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And it’s moments like this that will help her make it to three!

Speaking of three, we had a half birthday last week as well. We celebrate those things around here. Miss Punky is half way to three, can you believe it?! I know I can’t! Half birthdays are always full of a sweet treat and maybe a little toy or something, nothing fancy, blow out a candle and remind Mommy it’s almost time to start planning YET ANOTHER birthday party.

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The same night, we spent some time with two of her cousins, the older and the younger. Mommy went through all her clothes and gave them away to her younger cousin.

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The joys of growing bigger and growing out of your clothes. In shirts and dresses, this kid is wearing anywhere from a 3T to a 4/5 in girls. Size 8 in shoes! And yet her pants are still 24 months-2T, but mostly for the length, but anything bigger is too big in the waist. It’s just nuts how much she has grown and every time we sit around and have a conversation – a real conversation, I just find myself staring at this little person, this tiny human in awe.

Like I still can’t believe she’s mine. I can’t believe I’m her Mommy and damnit, I can’t believe how incredibly lucky we are!

The end of this catch-up is the wedding of Kim’s brother. It was a beautiful and long awaited affair. It made me cry tears of joy and made me so happy for them. It also gave me an excuse to get Miss Punky all dressed up and have a place to go!

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And we got a new family picture, which is always the highlight of my week.

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Now … if I could stop smelling pee….

A Monster is Visiting Our House

With being a parent comes the fun and exciting world of “How the hell do you react to that?” moments. I’m having  a few of those lately. I mean, there’s no magical handbook to parenting that comes with your kid. It doesn’t come flying out with the placenta to say, “Here’s how to raise this kid.” and has the perfect guide to every possible situation you will encounter. If it did, I would need to read up on the chapter of “When a Monster Visits Your Toddler.”

Yesterday was a very looooooooong day. And it started as my only day off in the week. And ended with me falling asleep at 7PM, before Punky’s bedtime and getting no cuddle time at bedtime. SAD DAY.

Let’s start at the beginning.

This cute face showed up at the top of the basement steps at 6:30AM yesterday.

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I had fallen asleep around 3-3:30AM after working til midnight. I was shocked and a little disoriented to find her standing at the top of the steps. This picture is actually from a few days ago, at the top of the living room steps, but its the same effect, without the ARMFUL of babies.

According to Grammy, she came down stairs, crying from her room, about how she had a monster in her room and she was afraid. Of course, Grammy tried to comfort her and she was having none of it. Instead, she promptly went down the stairs and found our room in the basement.

She just broke my heart with her little cries of fear and she climbed into my bed and cuddled. “Mommy I cried.” “Mommy I afraid.” “Mommy there a monster in my room.”

Now, I’m a believer of all things, this includes things like ghosts and other assorted things. Yes, for a woman who’s not a religious believer, I do believe there are things that kids may or may not be able to see that we can’t see. So, while I know that monsters are a normal part of a kid’s developing brain, and it was likely just a nightmare.

To Punky, its a real thing.

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To confuse the matter, I’ve noticed in our efforts to help calm her and keep her our ever so presently sweet baby girl, we are all in the house, suggesting different things to her. Giving her many ideas about the monsters that does or doesn’t live in her room. Sometimes we tell her that there are no such thing as monsters. Sometimes we tell her that there are no monsters at this particular house. Sometimes tell her the monster just wants to be her friend. Sometimes telling her that it was a bad dream. At some points we tell her its nothing. In the end, to a two year old, I can’t imagine all the conflicting information is easy to process for her little brain.

And I struggle with what to say at all. I don’t want to discount her fears. I don’t want to tell her she’s wrong. Because to her, its was a very real experience. It was something that very much happened to her. And she was pretty darn vocal about it. I didn’t even know she knew what “being afraid” meant. I didn’t know she knew what that word was. She continues to astonish me with her language skills and the way she expresses herself.

I want her to know that its okay – that she is safe and no one is going to let anything bad happen to her. In the end, the goal for me – is not to discount her experience or if imagination is at work here, to discourage that type of creativity (albeit scary to her at the moment.)

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Its not our job to tell her what is real and what isn’t real. To her this was a very real experience. And I would never want her to think I didn’t believe her. I would like to think I could help her think through the process of determining for herself what it is this monster represents or this monster is to her. What it really means. Because – as a Mommy, I don’t know if I believe one way or another that there is a monster hanging out in her room. I’m undecided. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean its not a real thing to her.

So, I am struggling with the complex nature of the situation, and at such a rapid pace. While she was sitting on my bed, cuddling with me, telling me about the monster in her room, dried tears on her cheeks, I felt helpless. Like I was failing somehow as her mother in that moment, because what do you say? How do you respond? How do you keep her innocent and sweet and so very much content in that moment?

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I want to convey that she is safe. I want her to know that she is loved. I want her to know she can come to me when she is scared, upset, angry. I don’t want to discount her feelings. I don’t want to minimize the very real fear she had in that moment.

And perhaps not all parents think this hard about how the reaction to a real or imaginary monster, a dream or a nightmare, a spirit or a shadow is going to effect their child’s life. I do.

Its the type of parent I am. I want her to think about it, I want her to deduce her own conclusions. I want her to know I will follow her down the path she is on and we can seek the knowledge together. On all sorts of things. This monster included.

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For the time being. I am not discouraging the idea that monsters are real. I am very much open to the possibility that it is something she experienced. Dream or no dream, shadow of a stray toy on the floor or  a creak she heard in the house – it was  real to her. I don’t have the answers.

What I do have is a new identity. An identity as Mommy. And in my little girl’s eyes that means all things will be better with Mommy’s hugs and kisses. And I will always stand by that identity. The more she grows, the more I grow in that role and the more I fall down in the moment, but pick myself up after the fact. The initial response to this monster in her room was not executed as flawlessly as I would have liked. Most things aren’t when it comes to this mothering thing.

But, I feel comfortable in my decision to instead expose her to what is a possible alternative. Monsters may  or may not be around, but she is safe and there is nothing that will harm her, not while I’m around. Not while her Mama’s around.

Because in the end, I want her to be creative. I want her to use that imagination of hers and sometimes creativity and imagination can be scary. I forget that she’s two sometimes  and that doesn’t discount that she is still growing and learning. Her concept of things are still being shaped. I want her to shape them for herself. I want her to be the person she is and think about the world from her own unique perspective.

And hopefully, since last night, she went to bed with no problems. NO need to search the room for monsters I am told (remember, I passed out before bedtime) and no real issues. When she wakes up, I suppose we will see if this was just a passing thing for the day or something we will be encountering more often. I hope for the first one, so that she can go back to building mountains with her Kinetic Sand and riding her trike around the driveway in peace and monster free!

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Have you had to address this monster in the closet yet? Have you been looking under your kids’ beds for things that go bump in the night? I’m all ears on how you handle it. I am am still trying to figure out my own strategy!

Musings from the Night Shift Mommy

I started my night shift – 1pm to midnight – and I will blame that on why I haven’t gotten around to blogging lately. Though, if I’m being honest, I would say it may be that I really just forgot.

I am currently helping plan three parties that are going on at the end of August and in September. So much going on in that capacity! Not to mention orders from my Etsy Shop and changing my shift at my day job, I’ve been uber busy.

So quick Etsy shop plug, all my blogger friends in the sphere, I know you guys are having babies, getting BFP and the like, I want to extend my offer to give you half off on ALL invitations and/or party supplies for baby showers, pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, etc. Absolutely no end date on that offer.  Pass it on to friends and families, I don’t mind! :)

Just use: BFP50 in the coupon code section and it will ring it up for ya!

I’m just so happy for all of you and I want to help you celebrate!! (This includes custom orders, so if you got a special theme in mind that I don’t currently stock, hit me up and I will totally make it for ya!)

And back to real life stuff:

I have been trying to keep up with our two year old, she has a half birthday in September, what?! Half way to three? When the hell did that happen!!

I’m also not really sure when she got sass in her pants, but this kid is one mouthful of sassy phrases and some not too nice to her moms! Its been kind of a pain in the booty, frankly, and she’s had a few run-ins with timeout or a smack in the mouth.

She’s also extra cuddly when she wants to be and is singing and talking up a storm. She’s hilarious, a joy to be around on most occasions and still the apple of our eye. She is still the most perfect little being in the whole world and I really do love her to the moon and back!

But parenting a toddler, a two year toddler, has proven to be a bit difficult. She’s so damn sensitive. She cries at the drop of a hat, she’s offended extra easily and overall, if she doesn’t get her way, look out! They aren’t kidding when they say twos are tough, but then I hear all the time “threes are worse”. Thanks for that encouragement asshole! LOL.

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So, with me working nights, and 10 hours at that, I work 4 days a week, 3 days I’m off, rotating 1 weekend a month. So, I’m home on Wednesday, Saturday and Sundays regularly now. Its been refreshing to be home in the middle of the week. Punky and I have had time to go out and hang together. That’s what I have been doing the most lately.

Here’s what Miss Sassafrass Punky and I have been doing to keep ourselves busy this part of the summer.

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Last week, we headed to the park. Our park has this ridiculously huge rope pyramid that older kids can climb on – to the top – several feet in the air. There is a small piece of it that has a rope ladder to a smaller slide, Punky took a liking to that.

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We moved onto the swings, where she just refuses to actually sit on. She prefers to “fly” – she prefers to push me in the swing. Yikes indeed. We had a run in with a little guy at the park while she was playing with the swing.

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You see that empty swing over there right? The one no one is playing with? Yea, we had a kid approach Punky while she was contemplating her next great fly in the swing and take hold of the chains of her swing and promptly tell her “I’m going to swing now.”

Flabbergasted, I looked around for the child’s guardian. He wasn’t more than say 5 or so. When no guardian emerged I said, “There’s another swing right there if you would like to swing.”

“But I will swing on this one.” He told me matter of factly.

And this is when I really just lost all hope for the future generations. I just knew this is what justified the older generation talking about how our kids nowadays have no manners and don’t know how to respect people and other things.

I replied very quietly, very gently, “No, sir. You will not. There is a swing over there if you would like to use it.”

By this time, Miss Punky relinquished her swing without a fight and headed to the vacant swing. I was astonished, however, when it comes to sharing – for an only child with a lot of sass – she’s pretty laid back about giving up the toys that are taken from her (unless its her very special babies at home, which I hide when we have little visitors so there are no fights, she might draw blood over them!)  I don’t have any concern for her manners, she’s a please and thank you kid for the most part, may have to be reminded, but she covers her mouth with she coughs (albeit sometimes later than the cough), and for the most part can say Excuse me when she burps or farts without prompting.

I took the swing chain gently and said, “No no, Punky. This is your swing. You were using it. Please come back and play with the swing you were on.”

I’m all for sharing. But, the way we share – we don’t take toys from another child. It doesn’t matter whose toy it is (hence why I hide her special babies) if another kid has it, she is not to take it from them and can’t claim it as hers to play with until they are done with it. When the toy is discarded or put down, she can then play with it. Same goes for my kid, people. When she’s playing with something, your child will not take it from her until she’s done. When she has discarded it, I don’t care if its your kid’s toy or not, I don’t tolerate taking toys from each other. Its disrespectful and it teaches kids they can have whatever they want, whenever they want. It shows instant gratification and teaches kids that they don’t have to be patient. That they can take whatever they want and there will be no real consequences.

I absolutely loved the article I read about it, because it made me feel great about my own sharing philosophies and I was so glad to know I wasn’t the only mom who taught my kid this way.

Needless to say, the young man relinquished the swing back to Punky, who went back to “flying to the moon, Mommy” until she was hungry for lunch. I’m glad the other child’s guardian was not around, because if they had reprimanded me or said something, I’m not really sure what would happen, but it would have been very sad to get banned from the best park in the city………

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After a great afternoon at the park, we headed to McDonald’s where she had a nice chicken nugget happy meal and strawberry yogurt.

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And for some reason, when we ordered a small snack version of an M&M McFlurry with two spoons, the cashier just thought it was adorable, as did all the passersby our table who noticed! LOL

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And this afternoon, Miss Punky became the proud owner of her very own library card. She was so very proud of the library card that I thought perhaps she needed a purse to put it in.

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However, before we could go purse shopping, we had to try out our shiny new library card and get some books. This week we picked out Dora and the Twin Puppies and How to Babysit A Grandpa.

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I haven’t read the Dora book and we only got it because she insisted on having Dora. However, the other, How to Babysit A Grandpa, is the cutest thing ever. Its even cuter when Papa reads it to her as her bedstory. (Not bedtime story, people, its a BedStory.) Which is what happened before she fell asleep tonight. Oh, the convenience of having Papas and Grammy’s on hand when a good BedStory  and rocking is needed.

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Anyway, after the library, we went on the great purse hunt. We stopped at Dollar General first, I was just sure they should have a cute, small kid’s purse for her that would be perfect for her library card. What we ended up with instead was a packages of lipgloss for little girls and package of Minnie Mouse socks.

On to the consignment store down the strip mall, which I immediately regretted the minute we walked into. We should have went into the thrift store next door like I thought about. Instead I took her into the consignment store. She found a purse, it was a bit more than I really wanted to spend, but really only like $7, but the purse was not the highlight of her trip.

Oh no, see, this wasn’t a kid’s consignment, there was not clothes for toddlers in there. It was for adults as in the clothing were not small enough for her to ever fit in. But sparklies know no age. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Jewelry doesn’t discriminate. My little one made sure I knew that as soon as she found the glass case of glitters and this awesome table of trinkets for her to touch and hold and oh and ah!

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She went home with a purse, lip gloss, her library card, and three new bracelets. Her purse also has Mommy’s old cell phone since I just got a new one and its not active. She’s  one stylish – and probably spoiled to the core – little two year old. But we had an excellent day out together!

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When we got home, she started to get a little cranky and I knew it was promptly nap time. Of course, she fought it, but eventually, now we have peace, after naptime, dinner, and a bedstory with complimentary rocking from both Grammy and Mommy, she’s had a very busy day and is now sleeping sound in her bed!

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I know this post is getting extra long, however, I would be amiss, if I didn’t also feature the great pictures that were taken of my Punky monster recently. We got her pictures done, mostly for fun, but it was a blast and she looks so much older in these pictures!

 IMG_8226IMG_8218IMG_8243These were taken by a local photographer E. Carlburg Photography to showcase the clothes made by Amelia Bean Clothing, another local business in the area. The outfit is not one I would have chosen for her, in most cases, we don’t really do ‘ruffles’ and things. But, I must say, she makes this outfit look great and she looks gorgeous in this shoot!

The second photoshoot was from an old high school alum. I helped design her photography business’ logo and she repaid me with a great many pictures. Andrea from Morrow Classic Photography did such an awesome job, there are too many favorites for me to choose just a few. So here they are!!

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So, that’s what we have been up to, I shouldn’t wait to update this blog for so long! Otherwise I ramble a ton!! To those of you who just got BFP, again, congratulations! And of course, those of you who are still waiting, I’m cheering for you to have days and brilliant times like these someday soon!

Road Trip to Visit The Fam

So with  my uncle having his seizures lately and then as soon as he came out of the hospital my grandpa fell off his lawn mower and broke his leg above the knee – we thought maybe it might be good to go visit. We haven’t visited for some time, my family lives about 3 hours away. So, its always a ‘treat’ to visit.

On the way there, we started with excitement. Two semi trucks had rolled over in the median and then one was splayed across the other highway, luckily we weren’t on that side! The roads were blocked and the cars were stopped for at least 15 exits, it added another 30-45 minutes to our trip.

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With the smell of soybean (my hometown is pretty much the capital of Soybean Production) and this bumper sticker, I knew I was home….

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When we got into town, we got to spend some time at my Grandma’s house waiting for her to get home for dinner from the nursing home. While we waited for her to come home, Miss Punky got out the toys and talked to Grandma “Scotch” (Scott) on the phone. Is it just as weird for you guys as it is for me that Punky won’t really know what that phone is when she’s big enough to use a real one of her own!?

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My grandparents have a lot of land full of just grass and trees. Punky wanted to go outside, so we went out and had a little modeling session. She’s been having a lot of those lately! (before our trip, Miss Punky had the opportunity to get her pictures taken for a local designer’s clothes with a local photographer. I will be plugging both of them on the blog as soon as I get the pictures from the shoot and I am allowed to share them!)

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Then my grandma came home. We actually stayed at her house this weekend. She and my grandpa are usually in Arizona when we visit, so its nice to have a chance to hang out with them and spend some great time with at least my grandma!

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I asked Kim after this picture if she wanted to have two Punkys. We both decided it was a bad idea to inflict this much cuteness and attitude on the world TWICE.

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On Saturday we had a great time a my nephew’s SuperHero Fourth Birthday Party. I helped his mom with the decorations and planning the details. We had some good times, and Punky got to spend some time with her cousins. It was fun all around!

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The newest addition to our cousin clan in this generation is our sweet sweet nephew Archer. He’s the first baby of my brother and the star of the “Littlest Avenger” over at my sister-in-law’s blog. My little Punky Monster took quite the liking to the baby and made her moms nervous that she may start asking for a brother or sister. Not happening. For sure. No, we aren’t changing our minds!

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We had some really cute decorations and it was pretty much a hit.

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After we spent some time at the party, watched my nephew open all his presents and spent some fun times in the photo booth, Punky and I went to visit my grandpa in the nursing home. He broke his leg right above his knee, so it was sad to see him in that wheelchair. He has the onset, or full-blown depending on who you talk to, Alzheimer’s. Last time I went to visit him, he was confused as to who I was, and it makes things a little difficult to figure out how to explain who Kim is – so while she loves my grandpa and would have loved to visit too, she didn’t want to upset him, so she stayed home while Punky and I visited with my grandpa. I don’t really know if he knows who I was, he was pretty quiet, he did a lot of smiling and nodding and I don’t really know how much he retained.

Punky spent most of the time climbing on this particular chair and looking out the window of the very first nursing home she ever visited. All the older people were very excited to see her and she of course charmed them with her smiles. She was wearing her light up shoes, stomping through the dining hall – they just got a kick out of her.

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After the nursing home, yes – we are still on Saturday, and Yes – we did a lot of running this weekend. We headed out to my dad’s house, one of the houses I grew up in and hung out with that side of the family for the rest of the evening. Their air conditioner went out, so it was super hot in their trailer.

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But we had a nice time visiting and hanging out with them, my step mom has Lupos so she’s usually pretty ill and not feeling well, she was sleeping when we got there, but boy did she get up when Punky came in the trailer, because she’s smitten with our kid and that just makes me so very happy!

Punky also met her first rat during this visit. My goodness… she kept wanting to hold the rat, and then when Kim would put it on her or would try and help her feed the rat, she would FREAK out. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no room to talk, I wasn’t holding the rat for sure! But, it was kind of hilarious to see her curiosity and then fear and then curiosity again.

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So Saturday down on the very long weekend and Sunday was just another really long day! We love visiting with  my family but by the end of the weekend, it is just sooooo tiring. Sunday was full of more cousins, more parties, more cake and more dinner.

Sunday morning, my friend and fellow blogger over at “A Redhead’s Guide” was so kind to meet us at a local park and take some super awesome pictures of Punky. She chased my spirited kid all over for about an hour and I think we got some great shots. Especially with all the movement she made and the sneak peeks she posted on her Facebook page, makes me super excited to get the disc in the mail!

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Her Aunt Brittany brought that dress home from Florida for her older cousin. Its a maxi dress for a 7/8 kid – like for real? My kid isn’t even wearing a ‘toddler’ dress. Her necklace is also from Florida, brought back from her Aunt Jourdan (godmother) – its a little big for her, so I always tie it shorter around the neck. And of course, she looks beautiful, I’m not at all a modest mommy.

Jeebs, I made a pretty baby with a little work, lots of love, and a tremendous amount of luck!

After her little photo shoot, we did visit with my dad and family again. We had another smaller version of my nephew’s birthday party with that bunch. Which really consisted of my dad riling up all the kids and making sure they were all good and sugared for their moms later.

As you can see, Miss Punky just isn’t sure about all the rough housing. She’s pretty timid when it comes to that stuff and really she’s not really sure how to play like that. Her cousins are wound up most of the time, I’m not sure how my sister doesn’t have a perpetual migraine every day of her life and again, I am reminded why I only one the ONE!

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The end of our trip was full of roast and potatoes at my grandma’s and a ridiculous game of Pictionary with my mom on the Xbox 360. We had a blast over there, as we usually do, hanging out with my. Punky was so very interactive with everyone, but she definitely loves her Grandma Stacie and Grandpa James. It was great to see her interact with them and really get to spend some quality time with them!

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My stepdad introduced her to the spoonful of peanut butter and warheads. Neither of which got the reaction we were expecting! She came back for seconds and thirds of both things.

All and all – our trip was a success, we really had a great time and for the first time in her little life, while there were a lot of names to remember and people to remember  - she did a great job interacting, charming and of course making my family fall even more in love her with spunk and spirit.

Adjustments and Changes Coming Soon

Of all the memories I can think of my childhood, very few would be considered “normal”. Very few would be considered “happy”. I’m sure I had lots of happy, normal childhood moments, and yet, I really can’t remember many. I bring it up, because of all the childhood memories, I remember one so vividly , at least the emotion that it sparked in me at the time – that sometimes I have to wonder if I made it up.

As I come out of Punky’s room after 45 minutes of cuddles, rocking, singing, and back rubbing – it reminds me of a time when my Mom did the same for me. I don’t remember the specifics, I couldn’t tell you which house we were in, I can’t tell you how old I was. But I can remember trying so hard to fight off the sleepy feeling as my mom rubbed my back, skin to skin, for how many minutes, I have no idea.

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I knelt next to Punky’s bed, as she was hysterical tonight, not wanting to sleep, scared, just being stubborn, who knows, but she needed some Mommy time. We are a cry it out kind of family in most cases, but I have been extra sensitive to her neediness since the move. She’s been more clingy, more whiny, just more needy in general. She’s also more busy than normal, she doesn’t want to settle down -there’s too much to talk about, too much to do, too much to see and take in.

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While I rubbed her back, humming and making up the lyrics to a tune I didn’t know – I thought about what my Mom was thinking all those years ago. When she was rubbing my back. When she watched me fight the sleep, shushing me and whispering to me to close my eyes. What would go through her mind as she tried to help me fall asleep? Was she worried about missing what was going on in the room next door? Was she overwhelmed with overflowing love for me in that moment? Was she so exhausted that she didn’t really have a thought or time to think about anything specific?

I don’t remember singing, though its possible that occurred. I don’t remember much other than a slow motion sleepiness that happened when I asked her to rub my back and she would roll me on my tummy and sit on the side of the bed until I fell asleep. As a mother now, I haven’t quite mastered the staying long enough to ensure that Punky is fully asleep, but she’s drowsy enough to get to sleep minutes after I shut the door.

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This isn’t her actual bed, but she looks adorable on the baby shower gift Aunt Ashley and Grammy made for someone’s new baby coming soon!

Punky went back to school today, a banking error on the daycare’s part, but its caught up now, so I won’t protest too much. She was delighted to go to school and I know the adults in the house were delighted to sleep in, take a little break and make the day a quiet and peaceful one. She came home from school full of stories about her friends and playing outside, complete with green paint in her banks and glitter on her cheeks. Its nice to have her back in school.

This is my last week with day shift at work. I will start working 1-midnight and contrary to what other people think – I actually picked the shift! I am looking forward to it. I worked it about a year ago with my interim supervisor role and I loved it. I get to see Punky in the morning/afternoon and can take her on early play dates to the park or the library. Its also a 10  hour shift, which means that I will only work 4 days a week with rotating 1 weekend a month. Its the perfect and ideal situation for us. Kim and I have both discussed it and decided with our many doctor/therapy visits – a day off during the week is going to be great.

It will also give me time to decompress during the week. This Monday through Friday 8-5PM is supposed to be a dream job spot for most people, its just not working out for me and I am slowly, well no …. quickly feeling the candle burn out. So a few new change and routine will do me some good – my therapist agrees.

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The changes keep coming for Miss Punky though and I’m not at all delusional in thinking this won’t be a shock to her system. She’s tough – I know toddlers are more resilient than we give them credit for, but I feel like all the changes are overwhelming her delicate little brain and emotions. She’s just so clingy to me right now – but hopefully, this will mean I get to spend MORE time with her instead of less. I may not be able to put her to bed, but I will be able to come home and eat dinner, maybe read her a story before bed.

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Kim’s health is doing better, thank goodness. It was quite a scare for a while. But she has gotten the use of her legs back and her Lithium levels, I believe, are back in the normal range. We are getting into a routine and its about to change, but we can only do what we can do and so for now – I will be thankful that she is better health wise – as as good as she can be. We are happy, anxiously waiting for Missouri to overturn the ban on gay marriage. I’m planning a wedding for my friend, but I’d really like to be planning my own wedding!

In other news, my Uncle had some sort of stroke on Tuesday, I don’t really have all the details. he’s no longer in the hospital and I talked to him this afternoon. He seems as well as expected, tired but alive.

My grandpa fell off his tractor a few days ago and broke his leg right above the knee. He’s currently in the hospital, my poor grandma has been running around taking care of both of them! He’s been showing signs of dementia/Alzheimer’s for quite a few years now and it doesn’t bode well for his condition. They all live three hours away and I don’t feel like I’m getting enough information to feel comfortable about being away. But they tell me he’s out of surgery and doing as well as can be expected as well. They will be moving him to a nursing home rehab center to get some help with walking, like he doesn’t already have a hip replacement as it is.

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So, while that stuff is all scary and the changes just keep coming, the adjustments are being made and we are rolling with the punches life has been dealing out. That’s all one can really do, right? Hang on for the ride…. we are hanging on ….