Hi My Name is Rachael, And I’m A Pinterest Mom

Yes. I have a little obsession.

It’s called the Pinterest party. I also have another obsession.

It’s called a daughter.

So, once again, it’s that time of year, where we get all sides of her family (PS, that’s huge) and put them in one room and say, “CELEBRATE OUR KID!”

I know –

So people think its weird. Some people think its over the top. Some people thought we would just go all out for her first birthday but the rest would be low-key. Some people think we spoil her. Some people think its too much.

Her MOMMY thinks its awesome.

And this is the first year that Miss Punky will be interested in actually participating.

She picked out the theme this year. Her first birthday was Dr. Seuss. Her second was Cars.

I’m sure you are dying to know what she picked. SURPRISE SURPRISE!

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It does help that her Mommy is a graphic designer and a party planner in her spare time. So with all the practice I get in my Etsy Shop (SHAMELESS PLUG: While on the subject, don’t forget, ladies with recent BFP, you get a 50% discount in my shop that caters to same-sex baby shower invitations! Just use the coupon code BFP50 at time of purchase) making invitations, this one, was a no brainer.

Minnie AND Mickey must be equally featured in her party this year. But she prefers the pink Minnie to the red Minnie, so it’s making things very, very difficult. So, we will have a dance party (for the hotdog dance of course), a homemade Minnie Mouse pinata, and Grammy is making a Minnie and Mickey cake, and a bow making station!

I am also – if all things go according to plan, taking her to see Disney on Ice. Where she will get to see Minnie and Mickey on ice – for her actual birthday. Just Punky and Mommy. Something special for the two of us to do together. I’m quite excited about it. It will be a surprise and I plan on getting her all dressed up in her Minnie Mouse costume from Halloween or buying a new dress up Minnie Mouse dress from Walmart I saw the other day – because really, who doesn’t find this Minnie Mouse, simply irresistible?!

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So last year, with her party invitation, I also slipped in an update card with an updated picture and all her favorite things. Along with height, weight, phrase of the moment, things like that.

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This year, I am doing something similar – but it will be more interview style, as I will ask her questions and she will answer them. I have yet to figure out which picture from the past year I wanted to use.

So I put it to a vote on Facebook. 52 people have weighed in so far, and I’m looking for your opinions too! I can’t decide! Help me, ladies, help me pick the cutest picture to represent my darling Punky in her second year of life as she gets ready to turn THREE.

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I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that we are already planning for birthday #3. When did this happen? It makes this mommy very sad and unhappy! I miss that sass-free baby that did nothing but cuddle, sleep, and poop. LOL.

The Adventures of Christmas with a Two Year Old

Before I get to the Christmas Day activities, I forgot to post our Countdown activity on the 21st. We went and visited the Live Nativity. It was kinda cute. Miss Punky was having trouble saying Nativity. (Remember the wisemen she popped the heads off of) She kept saying “Bativity.” Finally Kim broke it down “Nu Tivity.” Punky says, “Nutivity? Oh! I like nuts!”

Of course, her atheist moms thought it was hilarious that she continued to call it a nutivity the entire time. I insisted we go to visit the nativity because its something we did as kids with my grandmother. It doesn’t hold the same significance now that I no longer believe in the story of Jesus, but I do want to keep some of my traditions from my childhood alive.

Believe me, there are a lot of childhood memories I work very hard to shield her from, but there are some, the fun memories that don’t involve my upbringing or my parents or alcohol or anything that may contribute to my PTSD, such as this live nativity activity that I cherish in the mixture of crazy in my kidhood. I want to keep that spirit alive in Punky’s Christmas experience.

We managed to make our way over to the people in the nativity, Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus – just to see them. She did not pop anyone’s head off this time. But she did much prefer climbing on the gates to get at the animals than the plastic doll and the story she didn’t understand.

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So, on to Christmas Day.

Surprise, surprise, our kid is spoiled rotten. We have gotten through Christmas with minimal damage – involving only one tantrum/time-in combo, and an otherwise pretty very happy toddler.

Last night, we ended our Christmas Countdown with a gift on Christmas Eve which consisted of brand new PJs. We made a trail in the driveway with reindeer food so Santa’s reindeer knew how to get to our house. We spent the afternoon on NORAD Santa Tracker, following his progress. By the time the cookies were set out and we had a sip of Santa’s milk, we were in bed and Santa was headed out of Georgia!

Since the kid woke up at 3AM Christmas Eve, a day early, expecting Santa and too excited to sleep – she crashed long before bedtime yesterday – in fact before we made it to our first family function. She fell asleep on me while everyone was getting ready to leave and then again in the car on the way to the party.

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We did get some new, current pictures of us as a couple and a family. I really like how they turned out.

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We got home super passed her bedtime,so imagine, no matter how excited she was, with no real nap, other than sleeping in the car for a minute, she fell asleep the minute I shut her bedroom door, and then it was time to get to work on Santa Duty.

I had to pick up the Minnie Mouse bike from her godparents’ house. We had the toughest time finding a bike we could afford and get it in the Minnie Mouse style she wanted. So, we swapped out the neighbor’s kids’ bike and took Punky’s cousins bike from the garage, gave it to her godfather (fucking awesome guy who is wrapped around ALL her tiny fingers) and he painted it up all nice for her.

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I set up her burlap bag from Santa and her stocking in front of the tree and then hid the bike under a blanket in the back where she wouldn’t be looking or paying attention. Helped Grammy and Papa stuff the rest of the stockings and finished wrapping up some gifts for the rest of the family’s kids, then I went to bed. Of course, I was too excited to sleep. Not to mention that we live in the basement and she is at least two flights above me, so I was anxious all night, worried she would wake up and open all the presents, discover the bike and be riding it around the livingroom when I woke up!

As luck would have it, and as expected, she kept her pinky “I Promise” and stayed in bed until the sun woke up so that Santa could deliver is presents and the magic of Christmas would work – if she woke up, he would not be able to deliver the presents she was asking for.

So, when she got up, she was excited to pull open the first present she saw. We had to wrangle her a bit, but she was pretty awesome about opening this year. This is the first year she’s been as interactive and really knew what Christmas and Santa and presents meant to her.

The bike was a hit.

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We took it outside for a bit, with her baby Ellen (who Santa brought a new outfit) and tried to get the hang of the bike. She enjoyed it and then she got frustrated, because she would push the pedals back and put the breaks on and then not understand how to get the bike to go again. So, it will take some getting used to and some practice, but she got what she wanted and it comes with a helmet, knee/elbow pads, and bike gloves. All in MINNIE MOUSE. LOL.

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She wore her helmet and new bathrobe for most of the rest of the morning while she tore through box after box after bag after toy and movies and yet, she still came back to the bike. She did get a very special gift from Grammy this year. Which in her own words is “Very special to me.” Its a music box with a dancing ballerina, the old school kind. Our kid is kind of a tiny dancer and really wants to be a Doctor Ballerina when she grows up, so this was a pretty sweet present for her. Grammy got her into the ballet stuff and encourages her to dance and sing all the time, so this gift between the two of this, was just super heart warming.

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On that note, even though we live with her grandparents, I’m just so glad they were there for her to open her presents. When I was growing up, and I’ve been getting a little sentimental lately, my grandparents came over every Christmas morning and watched us open our presents from Santa and eat breakfast with us. It was one of my more favorite memories of Christmas. A lot of family stuff has happened in the last week and a half that have really put my childhood and my memories in the forefront of my mind. Not all good – but in this case, not all bad.

By the end of the day, she had gotten away with all sorts of stuff. New clothes from her bestie her Aunt Ashley. A new tablet from her Uncle and his wife, and lots and lots of toys from everyone else. The big thing was the accessories for her new dollhouse.

We had been batting around the idea of getting her a dollhouse from Santa, but she asked for a bike and that’s what she was getting. So, the dollhouse was going to be put on hold. HOWEVER, while we were all driving around the town checking out the light displays on houses, Grammy spotted a dollhouse on the side of the road. We stopped the car, I hopped out, grabbed it, and tucked it in the trunk.

When we got it home, we realized it needed lots of TLC, but it was going to be great for Punky, since she doesn’t know its someone else’s ‘trash’ and she didn’t know it was broken. She was supposed to get it for Christmas, but she found it in a closet and didn’t stop til Grammy cleaned it up and we found some toys to play in the house with it.

Now, as of Christmas Day opening, she has an additional dollhouse (the dogs’ house) and people, furniture, accessories, and puppies to go with it. She also has a mechanical hamster that has a rolling stage van parked behind her massive dollhouse.

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We have more Christmas to go to, but I just can’t thank people in our lives for the support and love our little girl has in her life. I am filled with some melancholy this season, due to the family stuff back home (my family lives 3 hours away) and someday, maybe I will blog about it. It really just involves addiction, neglect, and beating the violent cycle that is my childhood and relationship role models. So, I didn’t get to celebrate with my side of the family and that does make me sad.

But we called all those who we could call (those not in jail and such) and I sent a Christmas text to our ever so special donor to wish him a Merry Christmas. We don’t exchange messages often, but I like him to know we think of him on days like this – special times that we can share these days and spoil the crap out of the kid he helped us create and then took a backseat where most lesbian couples don’t get so lucky.

Anyway, my kid is set for a while. She’s for sure loved and filled with an overwhelming, overflowing support and family – more than any little girl could ask for and more than either of her moms could have expected for her to receive.

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I saw some of my TTC blogger friends got a nice Christmas BIG FAT POSITIVE, congratulations! As for those still trying, you know I’m rooting for you in 2015!

To all the readers out there, whoever you are, Happy Holiday you celebrate, however you celebrate it! May you be happy and loved in every sense of the word!

How to Teach A Toddler The Giving Spirit

Anyone figured that out yet?

I’ve been flaking on our envelopes. I know, I already smacked my own hand.

Anyway, yesterday’s envelope was about Giving to Others. Punky was to pick 5 of her toys to give to the thrift store so another kid would have a fun Christmas with those toys she doesn’t use or play with anymore.

If you want to participate in your own countdown, it’s never too late to start. Here are my cards. You are welcome to use them and share them if you like.

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Apparently, I can’t rotate the example cards. (There’s actually a full 24 at the link. Use what you like!)

 

Back to the Day 10 Giving to Others Cards.

What happened?

Tears. Lots and lots of crocodile tears. She walked to her room in literal panic mode as she headed to the firing squad of picking out five measly toys for her to give away. Head down, tears rolling, it looked like I was sending her off to the torture chamber.

This isn’t a new subject for her or for me as her Mommy. This Christmas season has been a lot about giving to others who are less fortunate, or have less love and material possessions in their life.

A few days ago, I was cleaning our room and going through the laundry. (I procrastinate a lot on the laundry) and I found a lot of clothes and shoes that don’t fit her anymore. Sad, I know. Seriously, when I give away her tiny clothes and upgrade to the big girl clothes, I’m so conflicted. She is getting to big for me!

Anyway, she was helping me fold and helping me sort the clothes into her clothes, dirty clothes or the new basket, “Cousin’s basket”. She has a girl cousin that lives in the area, visits frequently and happens to be younger and smaller than Punky. This is the first time that Punky has helped me with the weeding out of her belongings that don’t fit and aren’t worn anymore for her cousin. Let’s say she wasn’t very thrilled about it.

Literally, my kid (because I swear I am a retail therapy-aholic) doesn’t generally wear the same clothes more than once or twice, before she’s outgrown them or they get cleaned and they don’t fit anymore. AND, because she needs her own apartment for the amount of clothes and shoes she has. Its not all my fault. Her aunt works in a kids’ clothing store too, so she’s been getting clothes that way too. As well, her godparents have a thing with buying her all the cutest stuff for no real reason at all.

This doesn’t just mean clothes, she has more toys than she ever plays with. Case and Point: anyone else remember her birthday party?

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That’s what it looks like at Christmas too. And don’t get me wrong, I am so happy that my kiddo is so loved and so very very spoiled. But, a weeding out process is kind of a must!

So, needless to say, she has plenty of clothes and no need to keep the stuff she doesn’t fit in anymore. The concept however, has been super tough on her. Especially for her shoes. She got the cutest little light up shoes for her birthday last year and she loves them. However, she has outgrown them. Unfortunately, for all of us, because they are Sketcher’s Twinkle Toes and they are awesome. But, they went into the basket for her cousin to enjoy. Punky didn’t see it. (Maybe I was trying to be sneaky, avoiding the inevitable meltdown – don’t judge me! LOL)

Anyway, as fate would have it, her cousins came to visit the next day. I came home for lunch from work and found that her cousin was actually wearing Peyton’s brand new tennis shoes (she doesn’t have many of those actually) and I was concerned she might accidentally go home with them when I went back to work. So, I changed out those shoes for the light up shoes. One to appease the toddler who I was taking shoes from and to experiment with the giving idea with Punky again.

Of course, Kim said, “This is going to cause a problem.”

And I simply didn’t mind. Punky and I had already had a conversation about other things her cousin was getting. That we give away our clothes and shoes that don’t fit anymore and after many attempts to put her feet in some shoes (Cinderella step sister style) and with no success, she got the concept, I thought. Now, it was time to test the theory.

Her cousin was delighted when I showed her how the shoes lit up and how she could stomp around and make them light up. Punky came to see what the commotion was and realized very quickly that her favorite shoes were on another kids’ feet. It didn’t take long for the protest and the tears. We sat down again and had another talk. I told her that her cousin would love to play with the shoes she couldn’t wear anymore and she had to learn that Christmas wasn’t just about getting presents, but about giving presents as well. I suggested to Punky that she teach her cousin how they work. And, for a bit, that was fun. She was the big kid and she was teaching a little kid how to do something.

Of course, it didn’t last and her two year old brain just couldn’t handle the idea that her cousin was taking her favorite shoes home with her. But, it happened and I think the light up shoes are no longer on her brain, but it really brought the idea home to me again that we need to continue to instill in Punky the real spirit of Christmas.

As her moms believe the real spirit of Christmas is about giving and its about spending time with her family. She has lots and lots of family and family friends who love her and spoil the crap out of her and I don’t want to take that away from her, she’s a very lucky little girl – but I also don’t want that to overshadow the giving spirit. I want to nurture the idea of giving to other kids, to sharing her luck and love with other people, to be generous and kind; not just during the Christmas season, but all the time.

So, when we opened this envelope today and it said she was to go up to her room and pick out 5 toys to give to another child, we at tearful struggle and sad conversation about how, again she was a lucky little girl and not everyone got to have the things she had and she needed to help another kiddo have a good Christmas. She got hung up on all the things she didn’t want to give away. Her favorite doll Ellen, the Dreamlight my sister got her, her Minnie Mouse blanket.

To redirect her, I suggested things. Like the rocking horse she hasn’t played with for months. Its also too small for her, in reality. What did she do? Much like the shoe incident the other day, she tried it on.  She hopped right on that horse and said, “No, Mommy see. It still fits. Its not too small for me.”

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*Insert eyeroll here*

We still live with my in-laws, so technically all her toys are mixed in with the community toy room toys. Once she finally got the idea that we didn’t have to give away anything she didn’t want to give away, but she had to pick five things she could part with. She picked …. random toys that weren’t really hers to give away.

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I suppose its a step in the right direction, anyway. When we are in our own home next Christmas and she only has her toys to pick from, it won’t be as much of a surprise, because; like it or not, this will be a tradition she will participate in. I feel very strongly about it. Last year we picked all the toys we gave away – to make room for the gobs of toys we knew she was getting for Christmas from other family and friends. She wasn’t part of it. So this was the first year.

I’m not sure how to make this process less painful for her or to make her understand what she is doing is really a good thing, the right thing to do. She’s two, so I don’t have much of a high expectation, but its something I’m very passionate about and I’m sad she doesn’t go along with it, better. But, she’s two. I just have to keep telling myself – she’s two!

What traditions do you have this time of year? Anyone else trying without avail to instill that generous and giving spirit into your child this holiday?

I’d love to hear all the tips and tricks you have tried!

2014 Christmas Countdown Day 4,5,6 And the headless wise man…

Yep, I suck at blogging this year when it comes to the Christmas Countdown this year.

Day 4 – Making Christmas Cards for family and friends. She got to color all the cards and then we put wallet sized pictures of her and Santa inside and will mail them to our family and friends. Mostly, my family who is out of town and we don’t see them as much as we do Kim’s side of the family.

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Day 5 – Write a letter to Santa.

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I think she really enjoyed the letter writing to Santa. This year, she’s really getting interactive and that’s why the activities that I picked for this year’s countdown was more interactive and meaningful. If you notice, she asked Santa for … TWO bikes. I also love that she made her squiggles on the lines, like she was really writing a letter.

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Day 6 – Christmas Movie Night with Moms. We watched a movie on Netflix called Little Brother, Big Trouble. About a little reindeer who has to come to terms with his family being different than he wanted. His dad was Prancer and he lived with his mom. His mom was getting married again and the new step reindeer dad had a son. He was not happy about a new ‘dad figure’ or a ‘little brother’. It was kind of touching and nice to see a family with divorced and remarried parents. I don’t remember seeing much of that, reflecting my own family dynamic growing up.

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So far the countdown has been quite the success – and its awesome because she’s sooo interactive. She’s so excited about Christmas and since its my favorite holiday, I’m excited share it with her.

Of course, with this holiday, comes the beginning of the questions that haven’t been asked yet, but I am mentally preparing myself. She loves all the decorations, all the fun stuff around the house, and thus far, she hasn’t really caught on that Christmas, to some people, is not just about baking cookies and getting presents from a jolly fat man who flies the world. To some people its something more. Something we don’t necessarily believe in – her mama and I.

I’ve been bracing myself for the questions. For the why and who and what for that kids always have – and maybe this isn’t the year that will happen. Maybe this year, it will be simply having fun and celebrating with her moms.

She loves all the decorations, especially the talking Santa.

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But, she also loves the Nativity that Grammy has out right now. Complete with Mary, Joseph, the wise men and baby jesus. She likes to play with the little figurines, so much so that the heads have been popped off of the porcelain people.

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She knows that the baby in the manger is baby jesus and she isn’t supposed to hide him. She knows that the two people next to baby jesus are his parents, Mary and Joseph. That’s the extent of what she knows. She likes to hold the baby jesus – even though she hid him that one time. She likes to hold them. So far, she hasn’t asked why Grammy has a Nativity or what its for. She just knows its fun decorations for Christmas time.

I know, the time will come – when she wants to know the story behind that Nativity. And its a story I know well – I can recite it in my sleep. But, Kim and I have not really discussed how we will approach the subject when it comes up.

I mean do we proactively tell her the story that other people believe or do we wait until she asks. Is she really too young to have that discussion? We have lots of different faiths in the family right now. Our own family – her moms – are atheist. We don’t really believe in the ‘spirit of Christmas’ in the same way that Grammy and Papa do. Of course, we also have a set of cousins that are Jewish converts, they are celebrating Hanukkah this year and won’t be having Santa visit their house.

With all the different beliefs in our blended family – what is the appropriate way to approach the subject? Or, maybe I’m just making it too complicated.

I’m so on guard about how we will discuss it. I’ve just recently, in the last few years, myself been more in tune with my non-believing side and what that comes with. I have grown up as a Christian – listening to the story of Jesus’ birth every Christmas Eve, listening to the Christmas carols and thinking of the Christ who saved us, and attending or participating in the Christmas pageants at church.

So, like all things that come with the religious upbringing that has been put in my head from a very young age, it still creeps up. It also makes it difficult to decide how we should approach the subject with our own daughter. The daughter we want to make her own choices, ask her own questions, think her own beliefs.

But, she’s two. She’s interested in tutus and fairies (that’s what she calls the angels around the house) and Santa. So why complicate it with another story, about another imaginary man in the sky?

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I suppose I will enjoy the innocence. The oblivion to the religious undertones that surround her during this holiday. The history and the stories – the beliefs and non-beliefs of her family and friends. She just thinks its a pretty holiday – one filled with magic and presents, and soon with our countdown it will be one of giving as well as receiving, so in the end, that’s all that matters.

But, I struggle with the anxiety of what to say, when the questions come. Because they will come. She’s a smart cookie. She has questions. She’s full of curiosities. It is going to be inevitable. My anxiety disorder is starting to dampen my on Christmas spirit, with the whys and what ifs and the questions that are soon to be coming. I just have to keep reminding myself that I have to enjoy the non-questions this year, and simply wait until they come.

Until that time, we will spend time with our daughter and celebrate the magic and joy of Christmas.

The Holidays Are Here

Where the hell did 2014 go? I also can’t believe it’s taken me so long to update this blog! I’m one of those people who get sad when people have their babies and then get “too busy” to blog… and here I am, I inherited a toddler suddenly and I am “to busy” to blog!

Believe me, if I could stick this two year old back in the bottle I would. She came with a demon inside her. Literally. I don’t know what happened, but she has such a mouth and an attitude that would infuriate just about anyone. We also just got the first “I hate you.” and “Mommy I don’t love you.”

On a brighter note, we had a nice Thanksgiving, hanging out with family. Where she stole my camera and took her own pictures of everyone. She’s really become such a little photographer.

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And she helped her Grammy make lots and lots of sweets. And of course she got to taste test them.

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Last Saturday we had a little date day, and she got to get her haircut and blowdryed at Shear Madness for Kids. I will highly recommend them always! They are just awesome for kids. She got to pick out the car she sat in while the girl cut her hair. She also watched Frozen the whole time. Afterwards, she got a new bow for her hair.

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Have I mentioned that my aversion to large bows and headbands has been overridden? This kid loves all things bows and headbands. SIGH. She wore the new headband when we went on our cupcake picnic. When we go on a date and get her haircut, she usually gets to pick between a cupcake(Smallcakes) or frozen yogurt(Yogurtini). This time she picked cupcakes. The place was packed, so we had to eat outside. Luckily for us, the weather didn’t get bitterly cold until after that weekend!

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Sunday we went to the local mall and saw Santa. It’s been something interesting every year. The first Christmas, she screamed and screamed. Last year, she just sat near him but she clutched her doll the whole time. This year, she almost cut the whole line to tackle the big jolly Santa. I had to stop her before she could get to him and we could wait our turn.

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And then, in true Punky fashion, once it was our turn, she got up there and didn’t want to sit on his lap. She almost didn’t sit at all. Which is why Santa had his hands in his lap, he didn’t want to scare her.

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But, she did tell him she wanted a Mickey bike…. where the hell she got that …. I have no idea. Not to mention that we aren’t really sure when she will get to ride that, since Christmas around here usually turns into Snowmageddon and we won’t be doing bike riding for quite some time.

After we visited Santa, we took a ride on the carousal. That’s another thing that she has always been afraid of. I have tried to get her to ride the horses in the past, or the riding toys in the grocery store and she would just scream and scramble to get off the thing. This time, she  climbed right up there and had a blast.

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And on Monday, we started our Christmas Countdown. We started this little Christmas tradition last year. I made a similar envelope and card system for her. Since we are still living with my mother-in-law, we don’t have anywhere to hang it like last year, but its still been pretty fun. You can find my Christmas Countdown cards here. You can download them if you would like, or come up with your own! I’d love to see what other people are doing with their kids this holiday.

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Day 1 – She got a message from Santa. (I used this site and its free). I didn’t take as many pictures of Day One as I would have liked. But, I have video of the whole thing.

Day 2 – We got to help out up the Christmas Tree and decorations with Grammy, Papa, and her cousins.

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Day 3 – We made a salt dough hand print and compared it to last year’s hand print.

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So far the end of the year has been pretty good. Last year I tried to post our countdown every day, so I will do my best to do that again this year. I swear, this kid is a handful, my Etsy Shop has been blowing up since the legalization of gay marriage everywhere and so many new two mom families have been emerging. I’m also working late shift at work, so I am constantly tired when I get home!

Well, I’m off to catch up on all the blogs I’ve been missing out on! Hope everyone’s holiday season has started out as special as you want it to!

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.

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!