Sophia, age 9

Today, I knew I wanted to write and I had about seven topics I wanted to write about- everything from catching you up to speed on my restarting roller derby, to deep and profound proclamations of my undying love to my Valentine, to a rundown of how last night played out. Actually, I will still give ya a quick recap on that–Wifey loved her gift. LOVED. I also loved mine and we were totally on the same page getting completely unique gifts from localish artists. She gave me a gorgeous handmade, handwrapped bronze and rhodochrosite necklace. We managed to get all the Valentine’s and birthday prep work handled and Garrett made sure to not let little things like Valentine’s Day and a boyfriend get in the way of his usual, after-school Netflix time with Madi. We aren’t too worried about her having a date in her bedroom. Privacy isn’t really in her future anyway.

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These are all great topics that I’m sure I can come back to, but for today, the birthday of my first born, let’s focus on this girl. Disclaimer: it’s gonna get real here. I could go on and on about his daughter of mine for hours. That’s been the case every year of her life, and this year is no different. Maybe you remember this kid from here (when she got suspended), here (7th birthday post), or even here (on letting toddler Soph dress herself).

This child has always been the most intriguing and wild mix of spirited and sensitive I have encountered of any human at any age. She’s a bold empath and not someone I was prepared to raise. I often worry that I’m simply not qualified to raise her correctly. I’m too scattered. Too impatient. I hold her to high standards, but then don’t always recognize when all she really needs is a hug. Her worst feeling in this whole wide world is feeling like a disappointment. I never, ever mean to make her feel like that. But I also don’t sugarcoat things, nor am I as sensitive as I need to be. I simply can be at a loss to appropriately and gently guide her through this life. I was raised in a “spare the rod, spoil the child” home. I was not raised to sort feelings and emotions and as much as I personally need that, it’s still hard to convey to her how to do that effectively. This year we hit new trials.

Through 2018 Sophia has been bullied & threatened at school, gone through major life changes with her dad (new gf, moving in, and then getting engaged), and of course balanced that with the usual struggles of having divorced parents in separate towns, a whirlwind of a little brother and two older step siblings, and growing up in a lesbian household in North Idaho.

With all that thrown out there you may think we’ve had a horrid, tumultuous year. Not at all. I’m more concerned it’s slowly breaking her spirit. Like she is getting way too old, way too soon. Yet, here she is, shining bright like a diamond most days. Flourishing in hip-hop dance, thriving in having finally found a theater and been cast in a musical, doing incredibly well this semester in school. Reading. Playing. Making new friends and having guests, and even an occasional sleepover. Working her own sense of style. Dabbling in makeup. For the most part, just doing her thang.

She is my pride and joy. She is an inspiration, but also a frustration. All I want is to effectively let her blossom into who she should be, safely, kindly, and thoughtfully. I want her to be kind, responsible, bold, and smart. And she is. I just don’t want any of that to get lost as the world weighs on her. I want 9 to be her best year ever. I want her to be her best. I want to be the mom she needs, even when I am not sure how. I want her to continue her performing arts as they provide her sense of community, creative outlet, and the attention she craves. I want her to keep using her imagination whether playing baby dolls in her room on the floor, or mastering shimmer eyeshadow in the mirror.

I guess, I just want to get this right for her. My heart gets heavy when I think of all the times I have lost my temper after asking her for the tenth time to really clean her room. Or when I snap at her for snapping at her brother. She bounces back to life of course, but I know each time leaves a little scar and a tiny piece of her free spirit has been reshaped.

But I’ve also seen her sparkle shine brighter than ever in these last few months. I’ve seen her rock a microphone like she owned it. I’ve seen her frolic with puppies, build some really powerful relationships, and come into her own on stage. Her “fash” is certainly detouring from what I’d pick for her, but goddammit I bought the absurd, nineties-esque, over-sized Tweety Bird hoodie and could bask in the glow of her delight for days.

Here’s to you, my Sophia, Valentine Baby. I’m ready to make 9 be your most incredible year yet.

 

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Happy 7th Birthday, Valentine’s Baby

If you happened upon this post, or caught a bit of subtext in some others, or hell, if you happen to actually know me in real life, you know this year hasn’t always been the very best for my S. Since before that child was born *60 hours of labor, cough, cough*, she has been stubborn and willful and the kind of gal that marches to the beat of her own bongo. See here for some toddler reference.

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In the last couple of months there has been an incredible transformation. Sure, she’s still strong and willful and a bit on the stubborn side, but there is no more “clipping all the way down” almost weekly and landing in the counselors or principal’s office. Almost daily she is “clipping up” to “Role Model,” acting as student of the week, bringing home awards, and behaving in such a way that leads to mommy-happy-tears emails from her teacher. She tries to help out, assists with her annoying little brother and, I swear to god, even her room is clean. (Sure, I did most of it, but she’s maintaining it.)

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She has grown from an irritable, emotional, adjusting and sometimes violent level of strong and bold, to a more patient, responsible, accountable brand of strength. She hugs me and tells me she loves me every day. She astounds me academically, especially in math and science. Her passion for animals has never wavered. She sings and dances all around and gives zero fucks about being any kind of a princess in itchy dresses. She is one of the most balanced and awesome girls this earth has been blessed with.

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I can genuinely say I both admire and envy her. At SEVEN years old she has more backbone than I did at …. Shit. At least 23 or so. Her beauty is exterior in her cute, half toothless grin, chubby cheeks and big blue eyes. But her true beauty, what makes her most fascinating is her beautiful soul. I’m glad I had her when I did, and I’m glad I’ve reached a point in my life where I can be stong enough to raise a woman as strong as she. I never want to hinder her from the greatness I know she will find. I never want to cloud the pure sunshine in her heart. I never want to let her down. I know she leads me just as much as I lead her and I can’t wait to see where this next year of her life leads the both of us.

This morning, all six of us were up extra early to celebrate another year of this girl. We dined on fine chocolate chip muffins, strawberries and sparkling cider in plastic eyeglasses sniffing scented pencils. It was honestly great. I mean, sure, the moms throwing sack lunches together as fast as humanly possible while chugging coffee and water equally after too much the night prior. But that’s us. That’s our beautiful life and I know my baby girl seven year old genuinely enjoyed her quickly family’s cheers to her, AM celebration. Next up: Nachos, a “horse cake,” and headache-inducing karaoke.

Happy birthday, my Valentine’s Baby. I love you forever and I like you for always.

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Happy Holidays…

So ‘member that time (two days ago) when I said my life was just too perfect to even be  interesting enough to write about? What I meant really was that to me, it’s pretty effing perfect. I mean that my life has little to no stress or conflict and that I feel loved and love every single day. Let me assure you that what I did NOT mean is that I have all my shit together. I didn’t mean that my kids eat all local, non-gmo foods. I didn’t mean that I’m caught up on laundry. I didn’t mean that no one in the house ever pegs anyone else in the house right in the face with Nerf bullets. And I definitely didn’t mean that I’m always to work on time in starched clothes.

What I meant was that I high five my girlfriend when either of us comes up with a meal that ¾ of the children eat and it isn’t candy or microwaved popcorn. And that we have more than enough clothes to go a full week without desperately needing to wash everything, and that sometimes whatever we are enjoying doing is far more important than laundry. I meant that our kids are rowdy, playful, and kind of assholes, but they have a hell of a time together and sometimes that means Nerf wars in the house. And I meant that far more often than not, I would rather get 15 more minutes of snuggles and kisses in the morning than actually have my shit together and be ready for the day every day. That is what makes my life perfect.

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We yell, bicker, and lose our tempers. We make big ol’ messes, and forget that it’s chorus day or game day. We dance like maniacs, sing too loudly, and honestly a few of us have questionable hygiene. We get cavities & stitches, we miss the bus, and sometimes people lock themselves in the their rooms or get sent home from school. And this year when I had my heart set on Christmas cards from all of us, I didn’t have one single, non-Chuck-E-Cheese photo of our party of six.

Guess what. I did nothing more than upload a few facebook pics onto the Costco website and have them finalized and printed within hours. There was no professional photography. I didn’t spend hours personally creating the perfect, custom card, and then add on more hours designing a perfect holiday newsletter. It’s just us, being more happy than I thought possible.

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Holiday Happiness

I love to write. I really do. And I really, really love to blog. I love everything about it. I love pretty layouts and conversational feels and lots of photos. That said, no one likes the blogs that feel fake, staged and all to perfect. Especially when you happen to know the person irl—Which brings me to my silence of late. Maybe my shiz is just too perfect right now. I mean yeah, Saturday I neglected to get dressed, shower or even bother brushing my teeth, but that’s cuz I was busy just being with my beautiful girlfriend. After having all the kids for about two weeks straight It was nice to just be with her without stopping to find someone’s other glove, pour yet another glass of juice, or argue about whether bedtimes are necessary.

But that’s it. My biggest struggles in life right now are making foods that all the humans will eat and remembering where my keys are. Other than that, I have just been living. Living my every day to the fullest with the people I love the most.

This holiday season has been glorious already. It’s hectic and I wish I had more time off to slow down and enjoy it all, but it’s still fantastic.

We’ve made Christmas cookies:christmas-cookies

Played games:

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Created and worn far too many temporary tattoos:original

Met Darth Vader:img_1956

Played in the snow:img_1912

Cuz our ‘hood looks like this:

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But warmed up in an indoor water park:

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And had way to much fun with that damn elf I never said I’d be a part of. our elf on the shelf.png

And maybe used shopping centers for our our own, personal photo shoots.

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And frankly, I just love all of it.

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Blended, Lesbian Family

When I knew I was separating for my ex-husband, there were a lot of unknowns. All kinds. Was I really THAT gay? How would I meet women? How would my ex-husband and I schedule and share the kids? How would they do? Where would I live? The list went on and on. I even asked myself how I would feel when baby daddy moved on and added to his clan and gave my kids step or half siblings. I assumed he’d eventually have more kids or get with a girl who had her own. One thing I absolutely never considered was me settling down with some cute single mom.

At the time I was certain I was in the severe minority of lesbians. I mean, I married a dude and had babies with him. Kinda silly to worry about, but that’s where I was. Now, I’d say I know more lesbians that have dated, married and/or even bred with fellas, so yeah, lesbian single moms of all sorts of backgrounds are a thing. Duh. I’m one. My gf is one.

With that in mind, together we are tackling the thing that many fear, and neither of us planned for or expected at all – parenting together all blended family style.

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The idea of it is positively daunting. Terra’s oldest is in Jr. High. Once she hits High School, we will consistently have a kind in high school for the next 12 years consecutively. My youngest is in Pre-K now. That means 13 more years of packing lunches, homework, field trips, fundraising, and PTA. We just finished football season for one, but now he’s started chorus, and another is about to begin basketball. Spring will bring soccer and baseball and lord knows what else. We literally have decades of little league and recitals ahead of us. Plus they are all feral and can NEVER all be satisfied with the same meal, on the same day.

To re-cap, two sane-presenting, lesbian mothers decided to shack up after only months of even knowing each other to accomplish shit that is already a struggle with four of the strangest, sassiest little darlings on the planet. Go us, amirite?

The reality is it’s really fucking amazing. I mean it. Sure two days ago I had to put the kibosh on some outdoor activities because one threw a baseball at another (unprepared) one, and kid b strongly considered choking out kid a…. Well, until queen of the children decided this was not acceptable and with the help of her loyal maiden shut it all down. But then yesterday one of the troublesome brothers insisted on helping his “little sister” with all of her homework. I walked in to see this. My heart melted and I once again knew we were all in exactly the right place.

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‘Member Me?

If you have followed me and or my blogging at all, you know this one thing neva-eva changes: Sometimes I have a lot of shit going on and don’t write.

I told you I won Tinder, so as a lesbian, naturally that means I needed to move in with her as soon as possible. Nope. Not kidding.u-haul

So as you can imagine, planning, packing, moving, job hunting, interviewing, daycare searching and touring, school registering and touring, etc. and so on take up a considerable about of time. During this time, nothing in the world has been more important than just being and allowing all of us to adjust and assimilate and enjoy our new life rolling 6 deep.

All four kids are strong. All four are crazy. All four are stubborn and silly and vain and sometimes selfish. They are also fun and sweet and kind and loving. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing how much they take care of each other and just genuinely adore each other. I’m not saying that none of them every throw a punch or yell or send their mothers rushing toward the wine rack at exactly 8:10. I’m just saying they love and we are building a really beautiful life. I may not have written damn near anything all summer, but I had the most amazing summer.