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

Yes. I have a little obsession.

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

It’s called a daughter.

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

I know –

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

Her MOMMY thinks its awesome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Christmas Countdown Out of Whack

Well, I’m terrible at updating the countdown this year. But we have done all sorts of fun things.

Day 11: Pick out ornament for the tree (2012 was Cat in the Hat, 2013 was Tow Mater, 2014 is Minnie Mouse) This was the first year that Miss Punky picked out the ornament herself. Its going to be a very Merry Minnie Christmas. Literally. She has asked for only two things from Santa. Minnie Bike and Light Up Shoes. I have the bike in the works (her godfather is painting an old bike we had) and the light up shoes I got for her are Minnie Mouse and the bows and hearts light up. She’s going to love them.

From her moms so far I have gotten her a zebra print Minnie Mouse bath robe, because she’s so dramatic about being cold when she comes out of the tub and dries off. The small walk to her room or down the stairs in just a towel brings on the jitters and shivers. Its pretty darn adorable. I also found the cutest Minnie Mouse duffel bag for traveling and it comes with a sleeping bag. So when we go visit my family, she will have her own bag to take! Just like a big girl.

So – Minnie Mouse is the theme of this year.

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Day 12:Angel Tree and Senior Tree at Walmart. Walmart always sponsors children for Christmas. Kim and I have been picking stars off the tree for several years. This is the first time Miss Punky picked her own star. A 6 year old girl who wanted a baby doll and stroller. Miss Punky picked out the baby doll and I added the cheapest stroller(cause we aren’t made of money) to give to the little girl. Our bank sponsors seniors. I always try to take one of those as well. Punky picked a Grammy instead of a Papa and we bought their wish list item of art supplies.

I always feel bad that the paper ornaments with all the senior citizens on it are not usually touched. In fact, when I went to put the gift in the their collect box, there was trash inside of it, but no gifts. When we went back to Walmart the end day of the collection, there were still the same amount of ornaments on the tree. No one ever thinks of the senior citizens – at least that’s the way it looks. It’s pretty sad.

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Day 13: Kim’s grandfather’s union always has a Christmas Party and he gathers all his grandkids and great grandkids together for chili and nachos at 9am. We adults are getting to be a little less steel stomached for it. But they have Santa and pictures and lots of great things for the kids to do. Its a nice time normally. I didn’t get to attend, because with this midnight shift, I have been sleeping in late. So, I’m not in the family picture with Santa. But! Miss Punky is sitting on Santa’s lap! How exciting is that development?!

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Kim, Mrs. Claus, Santa, Uncle Eric, Punky, and Aunt Ashley

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I very small portion of the very large Italian family that I married into. They are all the grandkids and great-grandkids and their parents.

Day 14: We colored plastic ornament balls with sharpies for our neighbors and their kids as well as her godparents. She had fun just scribbling and it really added character to the gifts.

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Day 15: We filled the ornaments with hot chocolate and then delivered them to their new owners. They are lucky they got any marshmallows though, because she kept putting them in her mouth, instead of in the ornament!

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So that’s what we have been up to so far. I have also mailed all my Santa Letters this year. I dropped them in the mailbox to be picked up yesterday, so they are on their way to all the kids on the list. 140 of them this year!

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We have 9 days til Christmas. This has been the most interactive holiday with Punky – the one where she has participated, started to fully understand that this is a holiday, and really gotten into the spirit. I can’t wait to keep on making traditions with her!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And carve we did, that giant pumpkin.

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

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

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

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.

SAD

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!

Surprise Visits, Starting School Again, and Lots of Playdates

We got a knock at the door last Saturday around 8:00 PM and it was my Mama. I was so excited to see her. She didn’t tell me she was coming and it was quite a great surprise. We were just getting ready to put Punky down for bed and they saved her from bedtime. She got to stay up for another 30 minutes to an hour longer than normal.

My mom and step dad live about 2 and a half, three hours away from us, so we don’t get to see them as often as I would like. I was really missing on my mama too! And, my step dad doesn’t generally venture of his own comfort places, so it was a great big deal that he came with her on their adventure.

He actually played the XBox 360 with Kim most of the night, but my Mama and I got to sit on the beds in our basement home and just chit chat. We played some games. They don’t have internet and don’t have a computer or Facebook or anything fancy on their phones, so when I pulled out the Nook and we played some “brain games” my mama was having a blast.

We didn’t get to bed until late, like 3 in the morning!

We, meaning Peyton, got up around 7:45 this morning and we were watching some TV while the rest of the house slept until around 8:30 or 9. It rained last night, so the wagon was kinda full of water, but Grandpa wanted to take Punky for a ride in the wagon and after much convincing and wiping down the wagon from wetness and she got in the wagon and went for an early morning stroll.

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Miss Punky isn’t really too warm and friendly with men she’s not been around much, but she really took to my step dad and it was a little shocking. I haven’t seen her warm up to a man that quickly. There are very few men she lets take her and do things without needing her Mommy or Mama to be around her.

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My mama and I took her to the bookstore for some new books. I am looking forward to purchasing some of the books we saw online though, where they will be cheaper!

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Before they went home again, we took them to the fountains out by City Hall and let them play in the water with Punky.  Its a great free activity for the kiddos in the heat. And of course, Miss Punky loves it!

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My step dad doesn’t usually come when my mom makes one of her rare visits, so it was a treat to see them all three together! I don’t usually spend much time with him, he’s kind of a homebody and tends to stay to himself during our visits too – he’s just quiet. So, it was awesome to get some time with him as well and I know Punky enjoyed it!

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We talk to my mom on the phone frequently, but she wasn’t really interested in talking on the phone – she doesn’t really know them very well, we don’t get to visit as much as I would like. But since they have gone home, she has been talking about them quite a lot and she can recognize them in pictures which was not the case before.

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So, in the move, we now have a backyard to let Punky play in – so she gets to be outside a lot more than she was before. Not to mention that she starts school again on Monday, and I’m so happy about that.

The other day, Punky’s aunt figured out a way to give her a TBall stand. So we spent a great deal of time outside hitting the ball with a bat. She’s not super great at it, but she’s super cute at it regardless!

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I just can’t get over how incredibly big she is getting. She’s so vocal and she has quite a mind of her own. This morning, she told me “I want to go potty training”. I have no idea where she got that from, but its adorable that she is articulating her wish to potty train. For now, we are not quite ready yet as moms, but we will get there. Right now, she will come to the bathroom with me and she will sit on her potty, so she gets practice.

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We also went to the first playdate of the summer. I know, I know – its halfway through summer. But with all the moving and crap going on, we just haven’t had time to do anything – or rather, Mommy has been too tired. But with Punky being out of school for almost a month, its been making me sad she doesn’t have companionship other than adults and I set up a park play date.  The kiddos in her age group have all been hanging around each other (well Punky has) for a little over a year. Its nice to see her grow up with kids, regardless of how often we see them!

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This week has been full of collages. I love this one of Punky and her very best playmate, I call her Cheeks on the blog. She’s pretty cute and shy, where Punky is more adventurous and loud. I just know they are going to be the best of friends, though I have a feeling …. when they get older, it will be my kid doling out the bad advice and being the bad influence!

Facebook feed was full of some collage challenges, which while they don’t mean anything, I thought the sentiment behind them were nice. I participated in both challenges.

SO, we had the “Super Mom Challenge” – you post pictures of you and your kid or cute pictures of your kid.

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And I don’t know what it was called, but the challenge was to find 5 pictures you thought made you look beautiful, so I had to break into the archives, back when I was a little more interested in having my picture taken. Normally, I’m the one taking the pictures, behind the camera, for a reason.

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So overall, we have been busy, keeping busy really.

I am headed to a baby shower for Kim’s cousin this afternoon, and I’m sure it will be super cute and who doesn’t love celebrating new kids coming to their giant Italian family! Literally, there’s a new baby or three every year. Its exciting and overwhelming the larger the family grows, the louder it gets at family gatherings!! Its so nice that I have seen a lot of these kids grow up though, its pretty astonishing that I have known them since they were little bitty and now there are a few graduating this year or just overall getting bigger! But I suppose when you have been with someone for 11 years, you invest in the family too and I most certainly am grateful for all of them!

The move has been pretty seamless – so far, I don’t have any complaints …. well, except that Punky doesn’t want to eat dinner. We have been asking that she take 1 bite of each food on her plate before she can have dessert. So far, she’s had no luck with this and has gone without dessert more times than she’s had it.  Otherwise, we are getting into a nice routine (I can’t speak for Kim!) and I think its going nicely.

I should have made a summer bucket list like the rest of you, but we have just been so distracted, its not been on the radar, maybe next year!

Oh and PS. If you don’t know the words to the “Hotdog Dance” from Mickey’s Clubhouse, you are missing out! (AKA: I envy you….)

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.

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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.

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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!

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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!!

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The Bumps In Our Road

The first of these lyrics hit home on me right now.

“Let it go,
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know
The hardest part is over”

And in the end, that’s all I need to keep remembering. Kim was so sick we really thought she had a disease that wouldn’t be curable, our car was repossessed for a few days last week, we were near eviction from our apartment, and we are now in the basement of my in-laws; but the hard part is over. It really is. No matter what I wish the circumstances were right now, the path to our destination may have twisted a little and taken a different path, but we will get where we want to be – regardless of the bumps in our road.

Kim is feeling much better and on the road to a speedy recovery back to her old self. With much help from great people, the car is out of repossession. We have a great bit of family that was able to get us moved out of our apartment and into the basement before Monday – when the eviction would be going to the lawyers – saving us thousands of dollars and issues with our credit.

This is likely the lowest we’ve been and yet, as I sit on my bed, in our new home surroundings, I have never been more hopeful for a brand new start and a weight has been lifted off my shoulders – the worst is over, the hardest part is over.

We got a  storage unit, which is filled to the brim, even though we tried our hardest to throw out a lot of the things I’ve been holding onto for a very long time. Luckily most of my ‘sentimental items’ are digital and now backed up on my 1TB hard drive I got for my birthday. We had so much more stuff than the storage unit will hold, so we will probably have to upgrade the storage unit, blah! For now, it’s in the garage, taking up more space, because it won’t fit in the basement with us.

Here’s our new home, of course, there are some things we still have to unpack and whatnot, but so far its getting to be a little homey and comfortable for the time we will be here. **The beautiful model on the couch is my love, Kim!**

Living Area:

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Dining Area (behind the living area):

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Bedroom Area (Next to the Dining Area:

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And yes, we do have two beds, because Kim and I are old so-to-be married lesbians and frankly, we don’t share bed space or bedding well!

While down here hanging out the first night, Miss Punky was jumping on our beds, like normal and her shoes tripped her up and she fell head first into the concrete floor. She bit right through her bottom lip and it was pretty darn scary and I know it was painful – it bled forever! She tried to eat pizza last night for dinner and it kept burning her lips, she was so upset, that really is her most favorite dinner time meal. By morning, it had at least scabbed over a bit, but it sure looks like a nasty war wound, poor kid!

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With the move has come with transitions for Miss Punky of course. She doesn’t fully understand what’s going on. She actually sleeps two flights up from us, in the nursery for the grandkids. They have a bed up there already and it was less cramped down here in the basement if she slept up there. Its a change for both Mommy and Punky, as I’m used to her room being right NEXT to mine and I could hear her if she cried or woke up.

And while we use the cry it out method for the most part, its hard not to get up and make sure she’s alright in the middle of the night, when you have three flights of stairs to get to her. Not to mention, that she really doesn’t know where her moms are in the middle of the night or how to get to them, which in my mind, my anxious Mommy mind, its scary and traumatic for my baby girl.

Our apartment was her only home. Its the only home she has ever known. She’s two and she confused. She keeps telling us she wants to go home. She doesn’t fully grasp the idea that we are already home. We brought her down to the basement with us for a bit tonight and she knew that Mommy and Mama’s beds were down there, the familiar things from home are down here – but she still doesn’t fully understand that Grammy’s house is now her house too.

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I know she will get used to it and its not going to be damaging or traumatic for her, but as a Mommy, a stressed out Mommy, it makes me sad that she has to go through such a confusing time – moving out of the only home she’s known and sleeping in a bed she’s not used to, surrounded by a room that’s not familiar with all her toys in storage, except for her most favorite Baby Ellen and a few comforts from “home”.

Of course, the Nook with her most favorite game “Toddler Shopping 2” is also here, and she sure loves that game. If you have a toddler and they like playing with apps, this is an app to try. Its so simple and I don’t have any idea what the appeal is, but she could play with it all day!

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Its an adjustment for us all – but I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I really appreciate all my blogger friends and my family and friends in our personal life that have given such beautiful and much needed words of encouragement while we all three come to terms with the path of our lives right now – and helping me see the silver lining where it is! I really am feeling much lighter as a result of your kind words. That’s why I love this community of bloggers!!

Besides … with a smile like this in your view, who could be sad for long!

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12/52 – Exploring Family Bonds

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Miss Punky has been crawling into her Mama’s chair whenever it is vacant. She knows that she’s not supposed to be in her Mama’s chair for numerous reasons. Mostly because it’s right next to the computer and she’s sure to be a bull in a china shop and cause that computer to tumble over.

So, now – it’s a game. It’s a game to see if Kim can see her when she comes back into the room. It’s so freaking adorable to watch. While I’m sure I shouldn’t be laughing, it’s hilarious to see Punky climb into the chair and then look so satisfied with herself.

When Kim comes into the room, they have a little (playful) standoff, staring contest and it’s too damn cute not to laugh at. I can’t help it. Sometimes, Punky will hide her face in the chair, like Kim can’t see her.

The whole game ends in lots of spinning of the chair and giggling. Usually some tickling in the mix. It’s just so great to watch from across the room. Sometimes, I’m jealous of their connection, but then I remember, that Kim and I have an advantage.

Having been together for nearly 11 years, Kim and I are actually pretty different in most ways; hobbies, talents, social skills and parenting styles. We both have strengths and weaknesses and frankly, we mesh well. We have grown into each other and really have been able to go through so much together and it really has glued us together as one person.

It’s an advantage for Punky, because, she has two moms who fill in the gaps and become one complete and total mom. She was carried in my belly and she looks like me. She takes on so many expressions and mannerisms that are distinctly me,  and it’s beautiful to watch her blossom and take on so many characteristics of her Mama as well. She laughs at the same things Kim does, she seeks so much approval from her Mama just by imitating her. I see her smirk a bit or light the room in the same way Kim does.

In moments like that, I know – blood doesn’t make a family, love does.

From the moment that Kim started talking to Punky through my belly button while she was still inside, to now, two years later, it melts my heart seeing them bond and grow more and more in love with each new day!

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And this really is the sweetest thing to watch!

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So, while I’m still puny ill and my throat hurts and I’m a coughing mess – its moments like these that bring brightness to the day full of sickliness.

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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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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!

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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.

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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