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.

10310966_10153454251919148_88596410900093830_n 10492044_10153454251244148_4449915420871185699_n

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.

253389_10153461580239148_8404981060078766557_n  10351740_10153462795149148_8975803048869855856_n

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

IMG_1630 IMG_1612

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.

10402733_10153459786314148_3113899830967353615_n  10448223_10153462595549148_5152909092707221541_n

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.

2014-12-25 08.44.37

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.

2014-12-25 09.26.37  2014-12-25 09.29.37

2014-12-25 09.32.21  2014-12-25 09.32.40

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.

10891425_10153464431349148_1224042070337876891_n

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.

10462420_10153465515819148_2786617177197688469_n

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.

IMG_1597

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!

Advertisements

Microblog Monday – Day 7 Christmas Countdown

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post over at Stirrup Queens, which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

We went to Christmas in the park. A park full of Christmas light displays. She had a blast looking at all the lights and singing to the Christmas songs on the radio.

IMG_1503IMG_1511

IMG_1527 IMG_1521 IMG_1519Until she had a meltdown in true 2 year old fashion in the backseat when it was time to leave.

IMG_1537

We made a stop at the magic tree and she was cheered up for a moment, until it was time to go home. Hooray Christmas Countdown that is so much fun we have to cry and throw tantrums when its over.

IMG_1547 IMG_1543

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:

IMG_0860

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.

Wedding Collage

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?

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.

IMG_9713 IMG_9743 IMG_9774 IMG_9787

 

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.

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.

0809140947c

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.

CAM00139

 

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.

CAM00140

CAM00142

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.

CAM00154

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………

CAM00156

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

CAM00159

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

CAM00166

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.

0809141106a

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.

0809141115c

0809141118

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.

IMG_20140809_210725

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!

0809141154

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!

0809141210

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!

***

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!!

bestshots

PeytonMommy

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!

Settling In and Smoothing Out

There are hard parts about this move and the transition from independence to the changes that we have had to come to terms with. I like to think the hardest part right now is that we had to take Punky out of school, because we got so backed up on tuition and it now needs to be caught up. It will get there, but it is a sacrifice that I am so very sad about – she was starting to thrive socially, her teachers kept telling me how much more she was talking and interacting. She’s a shy kid and she’s not exactly a social butterfly – especially when she started school, so to hear those things – made me so happy! And, now, we are back to an only child being at home with adults.

The good part about the move is Miss Punky is sporting the best tan on a toddler I have ever seen. Seriously. Grammy has a small pool and our little fish is out there in her swimsuit as often as she can possibly get an adult to take her out there. She goes on trips to the park with Papa in the wagon.

IMG_7382

 

Yea, we have a park – literally in our backyard. Do we live in the basement, yea, but we also live in a neighborhood. Last time I pulled Punky around in the wagon – over to the park that is pretty much right across the street, I got to thinking that we didn’t have this when we were living our apartment. We had a cluster of apartment buildings, but we didn’t have ‘neighbors’ or kids playing in the streets. We didn’t have houses to walk past and she didn’t really see lawns being mowed.

Another silver lining, new things to explore. Of course more thing to hurt ourselves on. I fell down one of the three sets of stairs today and busted my knee and threw my camera on the concrete of the garage in the process. I am currently wearing my knee brace, but I think I will live! Punky’s lip is healing up nicely, this morning it was scabbed over, and I was resisting the urge to pull it off, it fell off by itself this evening before dinner.

IMG_7395

 

My little monkey is such a little curious thing. So it was great to see her be able to explore and enjoy herself. Its super hot, so when we get the chance to make it to the park in the early hours of the day – when it is cooler outside, we take the chance. She finds all sorts of great things to play on and I love capturing the moments. With a pool and a park in our backyard, this summer may be the best yet, no matter where we live!

 

IMG_7400

 

Another weight lifted off my shoulders this week, when my FMLA was approved for my absences as work. It means that for all things that have gone this last year, my job is being held for me. Thank goodness it was approved. Without it, I likely wouldn’t have a job and I am not dismissive about the fact that there are a lot of things we need to work on and I have a plan in place – but its a weight that makes me feel lighter and a little more free.

With all the weights getting lighter from my shoulders, it feels like someone else is holding onto the reigns and keeping me afloat. My heart isn’t as heavy and for now, I will let someone else push me. (AKA, Miss Punky was insistent that she push me on the swing, no she did not want to sit on the seat, Mommy, you sit and I will push you.) Silly as it is, but being pushed on the swing – really gave me a sense of freedom and it was great to hang out with my little girl in what feels like the longest time we have ever gone since the last time we spent time together.

IMG_7424

 

We get to spend more time together lately, and with the basement being a smaller space, we spent it closer together. I really do love coming home from work and the three of us going down into the basement and sitting on my bed with  my little girl and talking about what she did that day. We don’t spend all night down there – we sit down to dinner with Grammy and Papa, that’s different for us to, cooked meals and sit down at a table together for dinner, we didn’t do that at our home. So many good things are changing as a result of something that may not have been so good.

Kim and I have things to talk about again. I mean, I can come home and we can just decompress and talk about our day and talk about something other than the mundane and same old thing. We have conversations. We are closer. The metaphor of the small space, the closeness of the basement means we are all becoming closer, bonding and in a way, regardless of what I expected – its a great outcome for us, so far.

 

IMG_7458

Of course, we have only been here for three days – its still the beginning and I have no misgivings that this will be the way this situation will stay. I am sure there will be days when the closeness is the last thing I want, when the lack of private space is the last thing I want, when the constant companionship is something I will want to get away from and have no where to go. But, for now, its just calm and comforting.

We are making new adventures. New memories. We are building new hopes and new plans and new situations. We are exploring, growing and expanding and in all of it, my only hope is that we can bring forth a sense of strength, courage, and determination to our daughter. She doesn’t have to know the circumstances of our situation, the analogies of the bottom in the life we are in right now  – she doesn’t need to know the tears shed behind closed doors or the decisions made in the conversations we have in the dead of night – in the whispers words we speak in desperation of what’s left for us to do.

Instead, she will only know happy. She will only know the memories and the joy. I will only allow her to know the light and the peace and the childhood that she is to have. She is not a grown up and by whatever means necessary, she will not have to be one as soon as I had to be one – I will keep her little and I will let her be a child for as long as I possibly can keep her that way.

IMG_7456

Being a grown up is over-rated and believe me when I say if I could figure out how to go back and make that part stop, be a child longer, savor the playful moments longer, linger in childlike joy and entertain my teddy bears and Barbies just a little more – I would! Alas that’s not allowed, once you are grown up, there’s no turning back and I will not force my baby to grow up. I won’t.

So we are making the best and we are slowly getting out of the holes and smoothing out the bumps. Its not a fix all and its most certainly not the end, but the beginning is looking bright.

Oh and as a side note, all heavy shit aside, I am so proud and pretty darn excited that my kid loves Minnie Mouse and Batman equally! 😉 Its a pretty fantastic thing to me. Raising a kid without stereotypes is my ultimate goal and so far, it’s working out. She thinks for herself and that’s just the way we want her to be!!

Batman

Think Before You Speak – Questions That Erk Me

In honor of Mombian’s 9th annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families, I am writing up a post I have been meaning to write for some time now. As always, my goal of this blog is not only to document our lives and the growing up of our Punky Monster, but also to get the point across that we are just like everyone else.

Yes. We are atheists.

Yes. We are lesbians.

And Yes. Our daughter is still healthy, loved, and nurtured.

So, I wanted to pick apart the questions I get asked pretty regularly. I’m an open book. I have always been an open book.

**See Unconventional Conception if you don’t believe me! I tell that story – in person, without hesitation to anyone who might be curious enough to get into the gritty details of our conception story. (You’d be surprised how many people want to know the details and then regret it when they learn them!)**

Which means that I answer cordially pretty much any question about our family, our parenting styles, our religion, or our lives in general without much hesitation. That doesn’t mean I don’t get annoyed by the frequent questions that are bordering on over the line, I may not voice it, but perhaps, there might be some tact that people could exercise before asking these types of questions.

1. Who’s Mom?

Look, I try real hard not to make this awkward. It always ends up poorly. The very definition of ‘lesbian mom’ means the kid has TWO moms. I also attempt to really think about the fact that its probably really intended to be “Who carried your daughter?” which may be a valid question, it’s still presumptuous that the mom who carried Punky is her “real mother”, which is not the case.

No matter the law, no matter the tradition or the ideals of the world around us, we are always both her mothers.

430491_388697917809619_59562989_n

2. Does She Look Like Her Dad?

Well, again, I will define “lesbian mom”. Two moms. No dad. I mean, I know there are plenty of lesbian moms and families with two moms that do have contact with their donors. The donors are called all sorts of things, including Dad or Father in some family dynamics.

But, we really shouldn’t assume that. For my own family, we have contact with our daughter’s donor. He is and always will be a very special man in our life. We aren’t super close, in that we visit or hang out regularly, we don’t even talk on the phone or text message in regular intervals, but he will always have given us a gift we can’t ever thank him enough for.

He is still … not her dad. To most people it seems harmless, it seems like its no biggie, a slip up, not offensive. But … it is offensive. To my partner, to my daughter. It overshadows the very definition of my daughter’s family dynamic. The family she knows.

He’s wasn’t there holding my legs as I was pushing her out of a small hole. He wasn’t up with her at 3AM singing a made up lullaby in those first few weeks, so I could get a little sleep. He’s not catching her as she jumps without warning towards his arms. That’s Kim. And much more.

Basically, while it may seem harmless, it confuses my kid and I anticipate it will confuse her more as she starts to understand that some kids have dads and she doesn’t. When she really notices that she her family is different from others. Do me a favor. Its already going to be a weird conversation for me to have with my kid, don’t confuse her more.

(And if you ask anyone, she really does look just like me. I got myself pregnant is the joke around our family and friends!)

423291_388700117809399_641012551_n

3. Aren’t You Worried About Her Not Having A Father Around?

You know, I had a dad around. I still have a dad around. I love him to pieces, but he hasn’t always been the stand up dad that traditional June Cleavers are married to. Frankly, my dad has helped mess me up and I’m still in therapy working through the issues I have because of actions, a result of emotional distress in my childhood from having a father.

Do I think having a father is a bad thing? No.

But, do I think Punky absolutely has to have a father? Absolutely not.

We have discussed it before – Punky has more role models than a little girl could possibly had! She has one hell of a godfather in her life, who loves her to bits, like his own kid I would surmise. He is already planning on taking her hunting (which I will probably fight when the time comes), fishing, and teaching her how to do things with cars.

521860_4654270115493_1897243735_n

I have no doubt my brothers will teach her all about comic books, video games, badass underground, never discovered local bands, and how to take the perfect picture of her poop (yes, that’s a thing).

1381364_10152736845224148_1118753656_n

Kim’s brother is sure to bring a culture of motorcycles, tattoos and fast cars.

I know her grandpas have a wealth of knowledge in work ethic, humor and silliness, and overall doting and caring for her.

1209378_10152268781089148_1580162044_n  319803_10150964667134148_1786047715_n

And all the men in her life are sure to teach her how a man is supposed to treat a lady and she will be able to raise any man she dates to the standards they set in her eyes for her future mate. And should she, (personally, I hope not) be a lesbian, she will learn how to treat a lady right as well.

4.  Isn’t Punky Confused About What To Call You?

Okay, so this is a valid question. However, there is a much tactful way to ask it. Perhaps something like, “What does she call you? What does she call her other mother?” I have been asked, “Who’s Mama, Who’s Mommy?” That’s also acceptable. Some lesbian families have all sorts of different ways we help our kids distinguish between two moms.

We decided to sort of guide her in the process of picking a name, but not choosing the name for either of us. She just settled into Mommy for me and Mama for Kim. Both of which we are thrilled with. She’s not confused, because she doesn’t know anything other than having two moms and calling us what she calls us.

Its normal to her, no confusion – thanks for asking!

5. Isn’t It A Concern That She Will Be Teased Growing Up?

This is a very good thing to be concerned about. I don’t know if all lesbian or gay parents are worried about this. I know I was. I still am. I have been concerned – sometimes that we actively thought to have a child, in a world where having gay parents, being gay in general isn’t completely accepted (check out the states still banning gay marriage, HELLO MISSOURI.)

And then I remember that there are several states striking down the bans on gay marriage and it means that acceptance and tolerance is coming around. I put into perspective that Punky is only 2, she’s in preschool, where kids don’t care if she has two moms, her teachers are incredibly supportive and all my mommy friends want to meet Kim and if she wasn’t agoraphobic, they would with no issues.

So in the end, by the time she is school, real school, my hope is that kids will be taught about love and acceptance. That their kids will taught by parents the different ways to make a family, the different kinds of parents and family dynamics out there.

I am getting less worried and more optimistic. This question is a well meaning question, but it can be seen as presumptuous. It could be interpreted by some that you think I’m selfish for ‘daring to bring a child into an intolerant world, just to get bullied.’ I’m sure that’s not the intent, but it sure can be misconstrued.

**

These are my five pet peeve questions. I will always answer them, and they aren’t altogether offensive. But when I answer them everyone is then made to feel awkward. I’m uncomfortable, the person asking is uncomfortable because they made some ill-conceived, usually well intentioned faux pas.

So in the end, I’m more annoyed by the uncomfortable air around the question and the answers and the awkwardness that ensues around the whole thing.

Think before you speak, think about how your words may be interpreted. I won’t ever say out loud that your questions are offensive, stupid, or hurtful – but rest assured, I’m probably thinking it.

Easter Awesomeness

We had a great day yesterday, Easter was pretty darn great. We found out last week that my mom and my niece were coming to visit – so it was an extra treat for us to have them come for the day, stay the night and then go home this morning. I was able to take my niece to the great park we have here. She and Punky had a blast hanging out, even if they are like 5 years apart.

So Easter morning, I heard Miss Punky in her room babbling away, just singing and playing. I held out until around 9, when I finally woke up Kim and told her the festivities were about to start. I got Punky changed and gave her an oatmeal bar to keep her occupied while the Easter Bunny hid her eggs.

When the eggs were hidden, I came back in the room, and said, “GUESS WHAT. The Easter Bunny hid all your eggs and you have to go find them.” She was still tired and not exactly impressed by this. So, I used a different tactic to get her out of her bed. “AND, the Easter Bunny left you chocolate in the living room to eat for breakfast.”

This is the face she gave me in response!

IMG_6028

 

She made a mad dash to the living room and found her basket, grabbed a piece of chocolate, shoved it in her mouth and that was the start of our chocolate and sugar filled day.

IMG_6050

IMG_6032

We did hunt for eggs, which was a pretty good time. We had a blast with the running around, bouncing on the couch and altogether burning all the sugar out by 11AM, just to be fueled by more, only this time she was all dressed up in her Easter best.

Now, as atheists we don’t have anywhere, like church, to attend, but we still like to get our girl all dressed up in a cute dress and white shoes. She looked adorable.

IMG_6059

The shoes were too big, but the smaller shoes were too tight. She has the chunkiest little feet ever, but they are also long! Go figure.

We got to Grammy’s house where she got more candy and more egg hunting done. First thing she tried were PEEPS and while Mommy doesn’t care for them, she sure they they were awesome.

IMG_6069

IMG_6107

After going to Grammy’s – we took my mom and niece home to hang out and look at old pictures my mom brought for us to look through. I found a lot of me when I was Punky’s age, it was super fun to look and see how much we really do look alike.

After a nap and recharge, I took the three of them to the new park that was built a few months ago in town. It’s pretty darn awesome.

IMG_6133 IMG_6140

Punky especially enjoys the sandbox and the slide, my niece had a blast climbing on everything. She got higher on the pyramid than this rock climbing wall – but she freaked out a bit and had to have help getting down. It was silly.

IMG_6154

I got a great picture of Punky with my mom – which doesn’t happen often, since she lives so far away – but it was super great and kind of accidental.

 IMG_6174

And at the end of the evening, before we went home, I got another shot, perhaps my favorite so far of the two of us. If she was freaking looking at me!

IMG_6164

We ended our Easter night with the girls taking a bath, splashing and carrying on and then watching Frozen, since my mom had not seen it yet. Overall, we had a great day and I am so glad we were too super sick to enjoy it.

In the sick department, I missed work for four days last week and I’m definitely going to feel it in my paycheck, so I’m a little stressed out. My throat still hurts when I swallow and I’m starting to cough more up and out – instead of dry coughing – so I don’t feel as bad and I have my voice, so that’s better than last week!!

Hope everyone else had a fantastic Easter and I can’t wait to read all about it 🙂

14/52 – Discovering a Nurturing Side

IMG_5723

 

So my little one has been carrying around two very important babies lately. They both had the name “Ga Ga – Goo Goo” until just a few days ago. Now they are Molly on top and Shell on the Bottom.

That sling there, is a makeshift baby carrier out of my infinity scarf, because I can’t ever get those scarves to look right on me. So I put them to better use.

She has twins and she loves them so much, she popped them into the carrier and waddled around the apartment with them.

This week, I got a wisdom tooth out, and man have I been in some pain for the last two days. I have been hopped up on pain meds and Miss Punky has been (even if she bumps my sore cheek) trying her best to take care of me. Kisses and pets on the face come with the nurturing side of our little one.

Its refreshing and sweet.

We are exploring all the ways our darling toddler emerges into her personality. I love it. I love watching it.

We went to another little friend’s birthday party and it was a ‘dress up’ and be fancy toddler dance party. I picked up a cute little dress at a consignment shop and she looked damn cute in it!

IMG_5689

Her favorite part of going to other kids’ houses is to play with their toys, LOL.

IMG_5676

We took some time to relax and decompress together, which makes me smile so big.

IMG_5717

We also got her some new jammies. They are freaking adorable!

IMG_5732IMG_5740     IMG_5748

Punky’s Awesome Cars Second Birthday Party

Last year was Punky’s one year Dr. Suess Extravaganza, because she and I spent a great deal reading books before bed and spending time hanging out with each other with our noses in books.

I got this from Baby Center this afternoon. Way to put me in a shock for the day. It went from Baby, to Toddler, to Preschooler in a span of time that feels like overnight!

preschool

This year, Miss Punky has gotten really into all things cars and trucks. Kim found some really neat things on Pinterest to make an awesome cars themed party. So, as usual, I ran with it. I’ve been planning more parties and setting up more parties lately and I do love every minute of it. It’s different when it’s your own kid!

Then it’s all the more special!

So, we started with the racecar theme. I incorporated the Cars Movie theme because its trendy right now and the decorations were easy to find and I didn’t have to make everything myself.

So, I made the invitation, and this is the one I’m selling in the shop, it’s not my original, because that has our identifying information it, but this is what it looks like. I’ve shown it before, but I’m so proud of this design, made from scratch, so I wanted to share it again!

BPR1000

Then came all the ideas that were going through my head. Originally, I was going to have cupcakes and put toppers on them with racing flags and Cars characters. That idea was scrapped when Kim came up with the idea of making the cupcakes like stop lights. Red, green, yellow frosting! So we went with that instead. The food was going to be simple anyway, a small cake in the center for her to blow out her candle, and cupcakes for everyone else. Finger foods and no need for utensils means less clean up!

The night before, we all headed over to Punky’s Grammy’s house to make 100 cupcakes (we still have a ton in my kitchen right now) and help start the cake that she would blow out her candles with. Punky made an excellent taste tester when it came to cupcake batter and the ‘dirt’ for the trimming of her cake.

CupcakeHelper

It was a pretty awesome experience to make her stuff from scratch as a family. I really have to say, her Grammy did an excellent job with this, I originally asked if she could help us with the project and she took over like a pro. I just love all the things she did with it! The cupcakes and the cake were both a hit at the party and everyone kept asking me where I got them. They were astonished that I didn’t get them done professionally, because they looked so awesome.

CupcakeCake

The rest of the food was pretty much finger foods. And a little bit of a wacky array of foods, I admit, but it all went with the theme!

We had Luigi’s Spare Tires (Miniature Chocolate Covered Donuts), Guido’s White Wall Tires (Miniature Powdered Sugar Donuts), Tow Mater’s Tow Cables (Chocolate and Strawberry Twizzlers), Nuts and Bolts (Chex Mix). We set it up like people were eating at Flo’s V8 Cafe to re-fuel and hang out.

CarsPartyFood

There were four stations through the party venue; Flo’s V8 Cafe, Ramone’s House of Body Art, Sarge’s Surplus Hut, and Tow Maters Photo Booth. I got the inspiration and a few of the signs downloaded at this site which I found through Pinterest and put my own spin on some things.

CarsPartyStations

The kids had a blast with the temporary tattoos. I just cut out each tattoo individually and then set up the station with a little ‘drip pan’ and sponges for parents to help apply the ‘paint job’ to the kids. It was pretty convenient that the area had a nice sink area to refill the water and make less mess.

The food made up most of the awesome factor as a visual, but I did spend a lot of time on the tables and the decorations. So, we turned a boring clubhouse room into a party room in about 5 hours.

BeforeAfter

The tables were set up to look like roads, with black tablecloths and white address labels down the center of them. I got two Cars party theme kits at Walmart for about $7 a piece, they had the cardboard centerpieces and cones in the packages. I bought a miniature helium tank to blow up some balloons that had Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater on them to attach the cones in the center of the tables.

Centerpieces

Walmart had a ton of decorations and party favors fit for the theme, since it’s so trendy right now. I got a couple packages of activity books and a large box of crayons since we were dealing with a bunch of little ones in attendance. I made some custom chocolate bar wrappers with the cars characters on them and set the candies out on the tables too. In the end, there were three die-cast cars running up and down the roads on the table as well, just for an added effect to go with the theme.

Party City had a great scene setter that I put up on the wall, 6ft plastic puzzle I had to piece together on the wall. Punky’s godfather made an awesome little car cutout photo booth with a poster board and acrylic paints. It was way  more awesome than I expected it to even be!

The banner for the entrance was also another find at Walmart and I set out the Cars rug that Punky got for her half birthday and a crate of cars for the kids to play with. They really got a kick out of the cars and driving them around on the roads.

Activities

I recently just learned about Spotify and I’m in love with it. I didn’t really listen to music that much before it, but in my down moments, it’s been a real lifesaver to helping me really get through this anxiety and depression I’ve been in lately. With that said, I was thrilled when I found this playlist for a Cars themed birthday party! So, I uploaded the songs and played it on repeat at the party.

playlistMy mom came up to celebrate Punky’s birthday and she doesn’t have internet, let alone Facebook, so I put together a video of all of Punky’s last two years. I put together a slideshow of her pictures, some of my favorites anyway. I turned it on and let it play on repeat as well, for people to watch and remember and to see how much she has grown and changed in the last two years.

We had a pretty good day yesterday, celebrating our little one’s second birthday. Kim had a small scare for all of us towards the middle of the party. She hadn’t eaten anything because she was feeling good and she sort of fainted on the porch of the clubhouse. The ambulance and firetruck was out there helping with her vitals. In the end, they recommended she go to the hospital, but she was feeling better, so we got her something to eat and she’s been feeling better, as much as she can, since she ate.

Otherwise, we were surrounded by so many family and friends and Miss Punky has so much love in her life and I am so grateful all the great people in her life that love her. As a parent in a ‘non-traditional’ family setting, it is always the one thing that scares me that Punky will be rejected because of her moms. That’s the last thing I want, but it’s always in the back of my mind. I’m so glad, so far, that we haven’t had to deal with that.

CarsParty1

We had the cake, and that was great. I expected her to cry and get upset about the singing and clapping, but she was eating it all up. It was such a 180 from last year!

When everyone was done singing, I had to whisper a reminder to blow out her candle. It was kind of cute to watch after the fact, as I had no idea we were being filled, thanks to Punky’s godmother who had my camera at the time 🙂

CarsParty2

Presents were hilarious with Miss Punky. She would open one present and then get preoccupied with opening it right away and she said “Thank You” over and over. It was kind of awesome. She’s really quite adorable!

CarsParty3

Our Punky is a great mix of all sorts of things. She likes babies and dolls and high heels and she likes tools and trucks and balls. She really is the perfect mix bag for a child. Especially for two moms with completely opposite interests – we suit her interests well, I think.

CarsParty4

Do you see that giant Radio Flyer, with the 6-foot ramp? Yea, that’s from my dear Mama. Can you also notice my face in reaction to this. Punky thinks its awesome, Mommy is trying to figure out 1. how we get it home, and 2. how we fit it in the apartment. LOL. It’s an awesome gift though and she will get so much use out of it this summer!

So, our daughter turned 2 this last week and it was pretty successful, minus the small ambulance snafu, which I am currently keeping an eye on now, taking the day from work to make sure my dear love is okay.

So, the party was a hit, the baby was spoiled rotten, and I am exhausted!

If you are interested in using the printables that I made or acquired for this party, please feel free! They will be at this link for the next few weeks 🙂

I’ll leave you with this day in history for Punky’s birthday on March 7th that I found on Baby Center Birthday Time Machine. Try it out, it’s kind of neat!

History