Our Adventures Thus Far

So, I had every intention at the beginning of the year, to really be more consistent with the blog. I am just not feeling the writing stuff as much as I am listening to Podcasts and I have thrown around the idea of starting my own, with just Punky and I talking. We have some crazy fun conversations sometimes. But, I think since I’ve been following most of the same people here and on Facebook/Instagram I don’t really have anything new to talk about that I don’t already do on Facebook/Instagram.

But, I did come across the most amazing thing this month. It started with me being gifted a Birchbox subscription for Christmas. I love it. I am not a big make-up girl, but I love getting mail that’s not bills and it’s always like opening a present every month. I get stuff for my hair, perfume, and then random make-up things I play with or give away. All in all it’s been a pretty awesome thing. Upon seeing Mommy receive these fun boxes in the mail, Punky expressed that she wished people sent her mail.

So Kim and I looked into subscriptions for kids. There are a lot of them to choose from, but man, this one is my favorite. We got Koala Crate and I’ve been eyeballing it since I first saw it many moons ago in a Facebook promoted post or something. But, I’ve always been kind of skeptical about doing subscription stuff for Punky. She flakes out pretty easily. I bought a subscription to ABC Mouse and while she loved it, she needed a lot of help or had to use one of our computers when we needed it and the subscription soon lost its value. We got her a subscription to an android app for books. And she spent a great deal of time with it, I don’t remember what its called right now, Owl something or another, but it’s just books for all ages and topics and she just had to touch the picture and it read the book her. She played it for about a week and that too went off on the wayside.

So imagine my skepticism when I read I was going to have to spend $20 a month just to send my kid some trinkets in a box. And I didn’t get to pick the topic or the theme for the month. I didn’t know what would be coming until she opened it. I can’t prepare. It’s a bunch of crafts and I’m a crafty mom, but I don’t want to make a mess or have to do too much that I have to be involved in. So, all in all, this seemed like a bad idea, but Punky really wanted mail. They had a special for $10 off the first box and since I pay $10 for my Birchbox a month, I figured, we could try it out and see what came of it. And if Punky really didn’t care for it, or wasn’t engaged enough, I would just say $10 well spent, no more needed.

Our crate came today and I did a huge post on Facebook about how much I love and how awesome it was and it was only after the first of THREE activities. Now, I’m blogging about it, because I needed a better space to give me the time and attention our fun today really deserves.

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Punky immediately noticed there was a package on the porch and while she didn’t know it was for her, she sure loves opening the boxes that come to the house. She just loves it, no matter who it’s from. THEN, I read who the box was addressed to and it said her name and she was so excited that she got a package in the mail. She was just delighted.

We opened it up and found all these neat things she couldn’t stop touching. But, all the pieces were durable and kid friendly. So that was nice. She man-handled the latches on the cardboard for the windcar and it didn’t rip or break, and I was impressed. Because she is good at destroying stuff.

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We put the car together and there are four sails to go with it, made with different shapes, sizes and materials. She was able to follow my simple step by step instructions and put the car together, ‘mostly’ by herself. Which was awesome for me, because while I like to do things with my kid, I am not a sit down and play kinda mom. I really liked that everything came in the crate. Like, literally everything was in there. From the stickers to hold it together, to the oil pastel crayons to decorate. Once I sat at the table with her, I didn’t have to get up again to go get tape or scissors or whatever else might have been needed. It just came with it.

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So, I balked at the $20 a month when I went to check it out originally. But, since the box has come; I realize the $20 is probably a lot less than it should be priced. It’s affordable for the quality, attention to detail and the genius idea they have. It’s tailored to my kid’s age, so I don’t have to worry about it being too big for her or too little. They made WIND fun for my kid.

With the windsock, the second activity we did, she was able to see how the wind outside moves things and in what direction it moves. All the stuff came with it, down to the string you need to tie it to something. Seriously. Every piece that you need for these activities is in the crate. It’s so easy to use and it’s exciting to see her eyes light up when she makes something on her own and then gets to play with it.

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We took the windsock outside and let it blow in the wind, talking about how the wind moves and such. The final activity in the box was a “weather chart”. It has a laminate type surface and re-useable stickers with the different weather on it. Sunny, Windy, Snowing, etc. she gets to change her chart everyday to show the temperature and the weather and then check her windsock to see how windy it is. She’s absolutely delighted.

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As a mom who’s not hands on all the time, this is the perfect amount of activity and engagement for me. The supplies are phenomenal and the quality of the items inside are both kid friendly, simple, and well worth the money. I am looking forward to the next crate to come. I am hoping to blog on this each month, because this Koala Crate is not just teaching my kid about different things, this month being wind, but it’s teaching me ways to spend time with my kiddo that doesn’t involve disingenuous Barbie dialogue or playing an app on my phone.

So, if you are intrigued and you want to try it out, I think you should! They have crates that are specific to the child’s age. We have the Koala Crate for 3-4 year olds, but you can get crates for up to 16 years of age I believe.

If you want to try it out and you want the $10 off your first month. If you are skeptical like I was, use my code and you can get that $10 off using my code to refer you to this awesome company. http://doodle.kiwicrate.com/Refer?i=RachaelF6

I’m excited to go on this Koala Crate journey with my kid and hopefully you will join us! #koalacrate

 

 

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Not So “Microblog Monday” – Teaching Consequences Without Fear

I started this blog as a way to connect with like minded parents who might be raising their kids without religion. I know I mostly don’t touch on it. The reason for that is mostly because that aspect of our parenting has very little effect on us or our day or our relationship with our kid. The absence of religious teaching in our parenting, is just that, an absence.

The fact that we don’t include religious teachings into our parenting, doesn’t change how to we parent much. We will instill the concepts of right and wrong; cause and effect; and rewards and consequences.

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We still teach her manners and using please and thank you, not interrupting adults, and using “nice words”. And none of these have to be done with religious upbringing.

I don’t blog about our lack of religious upbringing because it doesn’t effect how our family functions. I still go to work, Kim still stays home with Punky. Punky still has rules and chores. We still sit at the table as a family at dinner time and discuss how our day was. We still dance around the living room or have picnics at the coffee table while watching a movie.

The point of this blog wasn’t to rant and rave about how religious upbringing is bad or the reasons why we don’t do it, but to simply show, that raising your kid without religion, doesn’t change the fundamentals or parenting dynamics. Our way isn’t any better or any worse than those who choose to parent with religion being the focus. It’s just different.

I bring this up, because our family is a lot of different things. But labels don’t define us. A “None” family. A two mom family. A free thinking family. A family of choices. A family of technology. A family of questions. A family who eats fast food. A time out family. A family who has no limit on screen time. A cry it out family. A family with mental illness. A family without labels or boxed in expectations.

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I bring all of this up, because generally when I tell people that we are parenting without religion, the number one question I get is: “How does your daughter learn there are consequences for her actions without the fear of consequences?” And to that I simply say, “Why does there need to be an essence of fear?” I feared my dad growing up. I don’t want my daughter to grow up in a house of fear. I want my daughter to know that she can come to me with anything. Any questions, any problem, any choice. Any reasonable and respectful argument. Anything.

So, to make it about fear … to me, religion is equated with fear. Which is pretty much why I personally don’t want her raised in a religious household. Fear of “the consequences” are scary when you are a kid growing up with religion. Hell is a scary concept. Especially for a kid. Fear of rejection. From a loving God, but if you do wrong things, you are rejected. Unless you are forgiven, which you can ask for forgiveness for everything, so then your ‘sin’ doesn’t matter anymore. So those bad things you did, it’s ok, and you can keep doing them and keep asking for forgiveness.

Where is the consequence or lesson being taught there? The circle is maddening and it is (for me) simply a way to instill control on children at a young age and to keep people in a box. To make sure they do what their told, when they are told, and don’t ask any questions about anything, because it ‘just is’; ‘just have faith’; ‘you don’t believe enough’. All of which, in my mind growing up, equated to “You aren’t good enough if you don’t just believe in what we are telling you is right and true.” “You aren’t a good person if you don’t believe in this, if you question it, you question God and that makes you a terrible person and you are going to Hell. Repent now.” These are not the self esteem boosters I want for my kid.

Morals and ethics are not taught by religious leaders. That’s the job of a parent. Parents teach their children what is right and wrong in the world. What’s dangerous and what’s safe. Parents, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof teach their children what society finds acceptable, what boundaries are in place (laws and social norms) and where those boundaries can be crossed or JUMPED (gender roles, pfft) over.

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As a kid who grew up with a Christian background, I remember a time when my Sunday School teacher told the class, “Be wary of those who don’t believe in God. Those are not friends to keep.” And I raised my hand, I was about 12 or so, and asked, “But how do we spread the word or tell them about God, if we can’t be friends with them? Doesn’t it push them away from God to shun them from our friendship?” The teacher had no answer and didn’t answer it. She simply gave me look that made me instantly realize I shouldn’t question what she says. And I didn’t question again.

That’s the thing with religious teaching. There’s no questions. There’s blind faith. There’s no answers. There’s no thinking for yourself, only believe what’s being told to you or you are doing it wrong and you MAY end up in Hell. Scary shit for a kid, right? I know it was for me.

I refuse to subject my child to that kind of teaching or upbringing. coloringWith that said, I do have people who tell me “She has the right to believe if she wants to.” And to that, they are absolutely correct. She does have that right and I won’t be the one to take it away from her. My hope is that we can do our best to facilitate and foster an environment in which she can ask questions, think for herself, and really come to a conclusion on her own. One way or the other in which she believes, I will support her. I will love her just the same.

However, right now, she’s too little to understand the things being taught and she doesn’t know any better than to simply believe – without question. She doesn’t know she can question. she doesn’t know what questions she should ask. Until she is old enough to understand, facilitate and make those questions heard and thought through, she will not be subject or introduced to things that are religious in nature.

Her cousins are Jewish. We don’t really talk about it, it’s not something that comes up. But if she had questions, I would make a point to sit down with my sister in law and we could discuss what being Jewish means and how that effects Punky’s world view. Her grandparents are all (primarily) Christian. I have no problem with her being exposed to “Gram’s friend Jesus” on a necklace, or telling her that some people believe that their loved ones go to a place in the sky when they die. Some people do in fact believe that and I want her to respect other people’s beliefs and views. But, I also want her to question why people believe that, where that belief comes from and if she does in fact also believe in that.

When she’s old enough to make up her own mind, she will be free to do so. She will be able to explore the possibilities of belief and what that means to her. Growing up with an absence of religion, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the choice to seek it out and be respected for her own growing belief systems. But I do want her to examine, question, and think about what she believes in. I want her to be able to stand up and confidently say what she believes and be about to articulate it intelligently – not “That’s what the Bible says” or “My Mom told me it is so, so it must be”. As it stands, at this age, she is not able to do that to the extent in which I would like her to.

So instead we teach her about family, about tolerance, about love, and respect. For everyone. And at the core, that’s what religious teachings do too, we just do it without a man in the sky or a guy on a cross, without a fiery damnation or a cycling guilt and forgiveness.

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My Adventures in Potty Training

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The types of messages my best friend (Punky’s godmother) gets to read from me.

Potty training has been the single WORST part of parenting I have ever experienced. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m loving the idea of my kid not having to wear pull ups anymore and the financial awesomeness that comes with that.

But.

This Kid.

She’s been sitting on the potty for over a year, she knows what it is, and she’s been familiar with the potty for a long time now. We started actively trying to potty train around July. I don’t really remember, we weren’t super consistent with it.

We had tried all sorts of rewards. Stickers, candy, dances, tattoos. Blah, Blah. Nothing worked.

This kid was stubborn or not ready. I’m not sure which. But really, she was completely aware of what we were doing. She knew what it meant to be potty trained. We got lots and lots of panties for her in all her favorite characters.

We finally got around to actually being consistent. Right after the new year and the holidays. We eliminated pull ups during the day and it was sort of working. We removed her panties all together and let her run around with a bare bottom. That worked the best.

She recently asked us for panties again.

We decided to take her lead and use the panties as an incentive.

So she was able to have one pair a day. She had to take care of those or she didn’t get anymore for the day. And this strategy worked for a minute.

Then, we noticed that she was starting to stay dry at night, so when she woke up she would have a dry pull up. So, we thought maybe we would start training even more.

Grammy came up with the strategy that has seemed to work the best. That has has the most longevity.

Money. My kid is motivated by money.

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Introducing our Potty Pig. We all put our change in the potty fund and she gets a “penny” when she pees and a “nickel” when she “number 2” and if she has no accidents all day she gets a “quarter”. I put quotes around the money value, because she has no idea what I’m handing her, but if I’m out of pennies, I may give her a nickel or if I’m out of nickels, she may get a dime. At the end of a period of time (this weekend) we will count up her potty money and she gets to go shopping with her own money and pick out her own stuff.

The pig stays up on the fire mantle, because I have noticed that the idea of having the potty pig in her hand is the incentive mostly. She loves to hold and play with delicate things. She likes to nurture them and kiss them and play with them. (We learned that with the Nativity around Christmas). So I don’t really think it’s the money, but it will be when we finally cash out the money for a special toy. I guess we will see.

So there’s a whole ritual thing we do, because we are all a bit of creatures of habit.

She then gets to dance around with the pig for a minute. Mommy dances and sings and we make a big spectacle about it. So far it’s worked out.

She’s had minimal accidents for about a week. And I have taken her to places for an hour at a time, or visit family member houses with hour potty breaks – with little to no issue. So, I thought, why not take her to the park. She’s started to recognize when she has the urge to go and she is pretty good about stopping and holding it before she has an accident.

Soooooo, I thought, let’s enjoy the nice weather we are having here in the midwest of the US. We have been having great weather. And while I am dealing with my own agoraphobia, it really stems from going anywhere without my kid, so the park was fine. I could take her to the park without an issue.

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We were there for a little over an hour. I would ask her frequently if she had to go potty. She would tell me no. We hit the hour and 15 minute mark and then … disaster struck.

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So that happened. And she had diarrhea for the rest of the day and it was what I thought would be the end of our successful streak. We waited it out a few days and then when her upset belly cleared up, I told her yesterday that if she had a day without an accidents we could go to bed without a pull up and wear panties instead.

She’s been asking for this for a few days and I had been reluctant to do it, because of her issues with diarrhea. But, yesterday, she did really well. She even took a little nap on the couch and had no accidents. I had to wake her up, sit her sleepy bottom on the potty and then she went back to sleep.

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So. we put some plastic down on her bed and bit the bullet. She ran around the house in this ridiculous outfit for quite some time when she realized that she wouldn’t have to wear a pull up to bed.

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She’d been waking up dry for about a week, so I wasn’t super worried about it, but you know – our streak was hindered for a minute, so I got concerned.

This morning, Kim posted this.

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I was reluctant to announce it to the world. Potty training really has been the single worst job of my parenting so far. And you know how it goes, you brag about your kid doing something awesome and then the kid proves you wrong and there’s some crazy setback. It’s like the, for real, law of toddler successes. Don’t post it or brag about it, because it is just a fleeting moment! Haha.

Anyway, I’m thrilled with our success, thus far. I am hoping this isn’t a fluke and we can soon announce that she is POTTY TRAINED. We are so close I can feel it, but then, here I am posting about it and bragging about it, so we will see what tomorrow holds in store!

In other happy news, my sister had her fourth baby this week. A beautiful baby girl named Aurora. I will be calling her “Rory”. She’s beautiful and healthy and hopefully her last one, cause my goodness she has her hands full with the four of her kids in her beautiful and very active family!

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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!

Can I Borrow Your Backyard?

Holy smokes, people. I didn’t really think about how much is costs to have a stupid wedding ceremony. See, I know earlier I was all “Yay Wedding!” “Yay walking down the aisle!” That was before I went to price venues for an affair such as our wedding. Are you kidding me? $2000 for like three hours? Honestly, I have the food taken care of, I don’t need a dance floor or anything fancy. I just need a place to walk down the aisle in a pretty dress and say I DO to the love of my life.

Is that really so much to ask for?

We are parents of a small child and I don’t have the cash to have even a small affair. I mean, sure we could save it up for a while, but then the wedding would never happen, because we really are the worst savers on the planet! LOL.  And, anyone who knows me personally just laughed out loud for real, hopefully you aren’t drinking anything. Sorry about your nose ….

Anyway, so I am thinking about just crashing someone’s backyard. You know, put some lawn chairs out and pay homage to my redneck roots. Here I am rolling my eyes right now. Seriously, that just won’t ever happen.

But, I suppose, eventually I will make this work. There’s got to be a nice place I can have a decent wedding ceremony and not have to give my imaginary second born child as payment. (We can’t give up the first one, they’d give her back, and we aren’t having a second one, now we’re screwed!) Heh, but really, planning a wedding is expensive!

We have a date though, in May, hopefully. I am really shooting for that, regardless of what we do. And, we will technically be getting married before that, legally, with the paper and all that signed in a month – maybe less, as soon as we get some information from Iowa on how we have to proceed. I don’t want to be driving all the way to Iowa (I know, I know it’s only 2 hours) and find out that we weren’t fully prepared.

I sent an email to the county recorder’s office there on Labor Day and haven’t heard anything yet. I figure they are busy with a lot of midwesterners with the same questions I have about same-sex marriage, since the IRS ruling that just came out. I’m sure I’m not the only one with the questions on how to do this properly. And, Iowa is the closest state we can do it when we are smack dab in the middle of the country. I swear, the midwest needs to get with the program for crying out loud.

So, we have a semi-plan for the trip to Iowa, now we just need to figure out how to make the ceremony nice and still keep it reasonable  for our pockets. It’s really going to be a frivolous expense anyway, but I am set that I will have my day to walk down the aisle. Our mothers will be able to see us stand in front of our friends and family and proclaim our love to the person we have shared the last decade with. Our fathers will have the chance to walk us down the aisle, give us away and dance at our wedding. It will happen. It will.

In other news, I’m still working the night shift, getting off at midnight. I’m still doing a fill in supervisor job in the hopes of making it permanent. Keep your fingers crossed for me, it’s a great opportunity and it’s definitely what I want to do.

And, as always, it allows me to do great things with Punky that I wouldn’t normally be able to do. K and I decided that for pictures that aren’t ‘creeper worthy’ or nude pictures and stuff that I don’t actually ever post, I am not going to password protect, because damnit, I hate doing it. So, for your viewing pleasure, here’s what we have been doing!

Over the last holiday weekend, Punky helped me cook spaghetti. She really just stirred her own pot of cold, salty noodle water and nibbled on the uncooked noodles.

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We also spent some time at Barnes and Noble for the first time with Punky. She had a nice time with their Lego display thing.

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Tuesday we went to story time at the library. I didn’t get a chance to get any pictures of her there, because the story time was too little for her and she was too busy. We may try storytime for toddlers next time.

Then today we went for a little outing to the store this morning. I am just loving the fact that she walks to the car by herself and she can hold my hand, even if she doesn’t really want to.

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She climbs up the stairs, she takes a little break and then of course, becomes distracted by things on the way, but we get there eventually. I know I have more patience than K does in this department, but we are working on it! Our little girl is getting bigger and bigger. Her half birthday is on Saturday! We will likely have a little celebration for her 18 months. I’m sure I will have pictures for you then too!

Hope everyone had a great week and has a great weekend!

 

My Family Is Just Like Yours

**Posted for Blogging About LGBT Families Day (June 3rd)**

At the end of the day, that’s the simple truth. It doesn’t matter what parents head a family. In the end, my family is the same as yours. While your husband may go to work and provide for the family, that is my job in my family. You may stay home with your child and care for the needs of their everyday, we have a stay at home mom too, and it’s my daughter’s Mama, my partner.

The one thing I can never wrap my head around is that simple fact.

It doesn’t matter if the family is headed by two moms or a mom and a dad. It doesn’t matter if the family is headed by two dads or a single mom. When it comes down to the nitty gritty all we should really care about is whether or not the children in the family are being cared for, whether or not they are loved. I can say that I am sure your children are loved and well cared for and you do it in your own way.

The same courtesy is all I am asking for. This isn’t just about being a two mom house hold, it’s about being a family who parents differently than someone else. It’s about the “Mommy Wars” and judging other people’s decisions. Just because you didn’t allow your child to cry it out, doesn’t make my child a future sociopath. Just because we didn’t allow our daughter to co-sleep, doesn’t mean yours will grow up to be a clingy co-dependent adult.

See what I did there? I changed the way things look.

Imagine if you were me and your children were told that their father was not really their father because your marriage wasn’t legal and it wasn’t allowed because of some archaic rules from who knows where. Imagine for a moment if your husband passed away and your marriage was not fully recognized and your relationship to your child was not legally binding, thus, the moment he passed away, your child could be ripped from your arms. Imagine for a moment, you are sitting at a bench at the park with your daughter and you are sharing a nice little chicken nugget meal and someone were to come up and give you a judging look for feeding your child fast food. Now, imagine that you didn’t have time to cook a meal for your daughter because you just got off work, but your main priority was to take her out to play at the park and bond with her for a few hours.

Instead of judging the dynamic of another family, put yourself in their shoes. Feel what they feel. Regardless of what it is you are “being helpful” about. You aren’t being helpful. In the end, your comments and judgments are unfounded, because my family is just as normal as yours.

Does your daughter like to play at the park? Mine does.

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Do you come up with new ways to entertain your kid or spend time with them? We do!

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Do you have a specific bedtime routine for your little one? We do.

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Do you read stories to your kid at night or during nap time? We do.

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Does your toddler eat things they shouldn’t? Mine does.

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Do you require your kid to eat their veggies? We do.

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Does your daughter go to your spouse for comfort over you? Mine does.

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And, let’s not forget, that because my family is not recognized as ‘legal’ and my partner is not considered my daughter’s mother, if I were to get a car accident tomorrow, my daughter would be ripped away from the person she seeks comfort from. Is that better for her? I doubt it. Does that cause damaging affects on a child’s psyche? I believe so.

If you have the same experiences that we do with our children, then as you can see, we are just like you. Our families are no different; our children are neither better nor worse off. In the end, it doesn’t matter who heads the family – what matters are the loves that comes with the family you have.

Celebrate the differences of the families around you. Remember that just because my daughter has two moms, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have male role models in her life. Just because my daughter has two moms, doesn’t mean she will lack for a male figure in her life.

And, frankly, how to single moms do it without a male figure in the children’s lives? Do we condemn them for not having a mom and a dad household? We sure don’t stigmatize them or say those moms are punishing their children for depriving them from having a male role model.

If you get anything out of this, just remember, my family is just like yours. Full of love and laughter, tears and fears. We all have the same common goal. Love our children and raise them to be good people in the world.

Check out more awesome blog posts about this:

Master List at Mobian

Real families on Equally Family

Baby Number Two?

I am always the first to say that we would not be having a second child. That one kid was enough. However, the real reason for those words was because I didn’t believe we would have another shot. I had, in my mind, made it pretty clear that we were lucky enough to have the one child. I didn’t want to press our luck and our donor has been so very awesome about this in the last year, that who wants to push his boundaries either!

In the back of my mind, I always wait for the day he shows up at the doorstep and wants a relationship with Punky. The way we conceived, it’s his right to ask for these things. K and I have already discussed that we wouldn’t fight it either, but it would be a strain on how we wanted to raise our daughter.  We hear from him from time to time, he’s a blessing. He just likes to catch up and see how we are doing, tell us how he is doing, and it’s a pretty awesome relationship we have with him. I just never dreamed of asking him to help us again, because it’s emotionally something that most people wouldn’t be able to handle twice. Our donor is truly an amazing individual in that way.

Then, yesterday, something happened. Our donor messaged me on Facebook and brought up the very real possibility that we are able to try again. I just assumed he was done with that whole thing. This did two things in my mind. It sealed the fact that he really is just content helping us create a family (I knew this, but there’s always that what-if in the back of my mind) AND we really do have the option to try for another baby.

If we had another baby, K would carry this time. I think that is a beautiful thing. She has her own clock that is just ticking away and I felt terrible that she hasn’t been able to experience being pregnant and having a child. We have a lot of things to work out though. I think we both do want a second child, our hearts are definitely in the path of wanting a sibling for Punky and a second baby to round out our family. Maybe it would be a boy this time!

K is BiPolar and she has some things she needs to work out. She is on a lot of medications that she would have to give up in order to be healthy for the baby. We need to talk to her psychologist and psychiatrist to see if they have options that they can give us for how they feel it might work for her to get pregnant. I also am afraid that all these medications may make it hard for her to get pregnant. She’s also Punky’s stay-at-home mom. I am thinking she is going to be off her medication, pregnant and trying to care for a very mobile, willful toddler.

She is also on my insurance right now, but in the times we have the baby, she would not be, because of the way my insurance is changing. We are going to a high deductible employee plan with an HSA that is overseen by the federal government. The government doesn’t recognize her as  my ‘tax dependent  which means, I can cover her through my employer’s insurance, but I have to pay full cost for all medical and prescription costs because of the deductible and not be reimbursed by the government sponsored HSA.

All in all, we would be going about this pregnancy, should she carry this child, pretty much full cost. I am going to talk to some other people about options on that before we go ruling it out based on that alone though. I know I can cover the child on my insurance and claim the baby as a ‘tax dependent’ after it’s born, so that’s not an issue. However, pregnancy is expensive. More expensive than we could afford, I’m still dealing with the bills I racked up from my own pregnancy and I was on insurance that covered a great deal of the cost.

Then, there is the way we conceived. The way we would conceive again, because it is the most full proof and frankly, the least expensive method. If you want to know the details of that, check out Path to Punky. Our donor lives several states away. We would have to get him here and then host him here and hope to conceive as fast as we did with my pregnancy. One shot. One week. One roller coaster of emotions. Can our relationship withstand that twice? I like to think it can. However, the situations is different now. We have a baby in the house. We have more responsibilities than we had last time we did this.

There are a lot of obstacles standing in the way and frankly, I don’t know if it’s the best idea to get pregnant again. However, at the same time, I want to give K a chance to be pregnant.

Also, while I know that she loves Punky as her own, there is something, it’s just different, when you have a child that you carried for 10 months and delivered from your body. It’s a different kind of bond. I know it is. I don’t want to take that away from her. I certainly didn’t like being pregnant, it was my least favorite time of this process of getting Punky, at the same time, I’m glad I had the experience. I also have a bond with Punky that I feel like is stronger because I carried her.

In my mind, I want to make this work! I don’t understand why it has to be so damn difficult for us to have the family we want, and straight couples all around the world are having ‘OOPs babies’ and some are being abandoned or not very well taken care of. There are people out there who say babies of gay parents are at a disservice, I will never understand that. We have to plan. We have to spend a great deal of time and money and effort to have our children. We have to REALLY REALLY want our children.

How can a baby be at a disadvantage because we love them so much we would do anything to have them?

Dear Peyton – A Year Has Gone By

Dear Peyton,

It’s been a long time since I have written a letter to you and I think I will do that now. Mommy is still in awe of you. I am still trying to wrap my head around the little baby that has suddenly grown into a toddler. It still brings me to tears when I see you playing with your toys in the middle of the living room floor and it still brightens my day when you laugh out loud.

It’s such an exciting time for our family right now. Just in terms of the things you are doing. We just celebrated your first birthday, and what a first birthday it was! You are walking like a little pro now, though I really wish you would learn how to watch where you are walking. It may have saved a few chin and forehead bruises if you wouldn’t just trample everything in your path. I hope you are learning that your toy box is bigger than you, and you can’t just walk into it and expect it to move.

Mommy is really concerned about making the transition from formula to real milk. I know you like real milk, but we always said we wouldn’t put you to bed with a drink. We have been doing that up until this little conversation. I’m really afraid if we take that bottle away, your sleep routine will fly out the window. I sure hope I don’t have to sit through another round of crying it out.

While we are on the subject of crying it out, I want you to know that I felt super guilty about that, but I don’t regret it. I want you to know that I am certain you will have no long lasting negative effects because you cried it out as a baby. I also want to thank you for taking it easy on my heart and only having to cry it out for a few days before you got the hang of that sleep thing. If you could, please give Mommy’s heart a break if we have to do it again. You have been so great at that.

Since I am bringing up things you can consider giving your moms a break on; let’s work on not throwing our food on the floor. You see that your moms eat with fork and spoon, and though you still eat with your fingers, it would really help me out, if you could leave the food on your high chair tray. I know you think the cats are hungry, I promise they are not. Look at Kane, he’s twice the size of a normal cat! He really doesn’t need your help, sweetie. Besides, if you throw your food on the floor, Mommy has to spend time away from playing with you to clean it up.

I love sitting in the floor and rolling the ball around. I look forward to taking you to Gymboree, which is why I get so frustrated when you won’t take a nap and we can’t go! I absolutely can’t wait until I get off work and I can come home to sing and dance to the Giggle Bellies with you. I know I am not home with you as often as I would like, and it hurts my heart most days.

However, just remember, that I will spend as much time as I can with you and in the next few months, with summer coming, we will make special trips to the park a regular thing on the weekends. I can’t wait until we can go out for ice cream when you can spoon feed yourself!

After this first year has now flown by, I am beginning to realize that I have a daughter. An actual daughter. I have always known, logically, that I have a daughter. Now, I can let that sink in emotionally. I have a daughter and I will be able to raise you in ways I never was. I can spend time with you in ways that I didn’t have.

I have to apologize now, you will have the childhood I didn’t have growing up. I hope you will find it in your heart to be patient with me. To let me live through you. We will do things I didn’t do, we will experience things I didn’t experience. I will make sure you have plenty of moments in your life that you can look back and say, “I was a happy kid.” that’s all I ever want for you. To be a happy kid.

Love,

Mommy

Time Has Gone Too Fast!

I’m frantically trying to get everything ready for Punky’s party. She is for real going to be ONE in two days. Her party is on Sunday. I have a complete and utter extravaganza planned …. in my head. Yes, I know, I know, you would think with the party date looming I would have more done! Well, I’m the worst procrastinator EVER.

Anyway, Punky is starting to have conversations with me and it’s damn adorable. I just can’t believe we are approaching the one year mark. It’s coming up so quickly that I just stand in awe and look at her sometimes. She toddles across the living room with no problems. I walk in the door from work and she looks up and smiles. And she SAYS HI. Like actually vocalizes the word HI.

F’ing astonishing! Really.

I swear I still can’t believe we have a kid. I am still living in the biggest dream state and have been living there for nearly 2 years since we found out we were pregnant. I don’t know if that feeling will ever go away. I’m in complete amazement that the impossible has become impossible.

We have been one of the luckiest couples on the planet. We have an amazing and incredibly generous donor who asks for nothing in return. We conceived the very first attempt. I had no complications or morning sickness during pregnancy (unless you count sleeping on the couch for 8 of the 9 months), my labor was easy peasy (with the help of an epidural, which was the most traumatic part), our kid is the best sleeper in the world and has been from day one, she freaking listens and comprehends, she loves the camera which is awesome since I take a ton of pictures!

Anyway, I suppose what I am really getting at is that this has been one whirlwind of a ride and I am so glad we have this little one in our lives. She is my very heartbeat. My soul. My breath.

Can you find our daughter?

Can you find our daughter?CIMG4608 CIMG4606

 

Only 4 More Weeks Until We Have a One Year Old

48 weeks ago, my baby was born. Peyton came into the world and we were blessed with a beautiful child. I am still in awe that my kiddo will be a year old in just 4 short weeks. Never did I think we would have a child, I was resolved to having cats. Now, not only do we have a child, but she looks JUST LIKE ME. I can’t even understand how lucky we are. I can’t even fathom what we did to get a baby girl who is beautiful, smart and sweet.

Peyton is learning all sorts of new things. She knows where her nose, toes, mouth, eyes and SOMETIMES her ears are. She can clap, wave, high five, and point. She has been saying new sounds, ‘s’, ‘t’, ‘d’, ‘b’, ‘h’ And we are certain we heard her say ‘cat’ when we did. She sticks her tongue out and she’s eating big people food. She’s mastered her sippy cup and doesn’t drink formula until she goes to sleep for naps or bedtime. She loves spinach, even though her tummy doesn’t, she loves apple juice, organic puffs, and goldfish crackers.

In the last year, I just can’t believe how much she has grown. She’s in 12 month pants and 18 month shirts and onesies. She wears a size 3 shoe. Look at those ladybug shoes! It’s amazing to me how much she is growing. She’s getting taller and she’s always on the move. She has 8 teeth that we know of (whose going to stick their fingers in her mouth? Not me!!) there are four on top and four on bottom.

It amazes me that she is crawling around and wandering from one piece of furniture to another. She will start to let go of something to walk and then she thinks better of it! She loves peek-a-boo, headstands, and somersaults. Her favorite songs are ‘itsy bitsy’ and ‘twinkle twinkle’.

Her all time favorite is ‘apple apple‘. If you haven’t shared this video with your little ones, you should try it! They will probably like it. She loves the Bubble Guppies, Your Baby Can Read, and Blue’s Clues.

I’m not really sure of the purpose of this post, other than to put down all the things that she is doing, the things she’s learning, the things that she loves and all the things about her that astounds me.

Here’s a nice little video of her (Make sure you turn up the volume), its a little dark in our apartment, but if you haven’t see a kiddo watch ‘Your Baby Can Read‘, here’s Peyton’s second real day of it:

Take Care ❤
Rachael