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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Lesbian Photo Shoot

I’m a junky for photo shoots. When Terra and I were engaged and planning, I remember her asking what was important to me about our wedding. I told her just to get married and to have some great photos to show it off. For her, all she wanted was to get married and have a honeymoon. Spoiler alert, of those three things, the only one we nailed was getting married. I mean, we saved a bundle and we got married on our timeline, but our photos were done by my dear friend. I’m certainly thankful for them, but they aren’t an editorial spread by any means. You can see more here.

Rewind a little bit and we did the same damn thing when it came to engagement photos, except this time we used one of Terra’s friends. Again, totally decent, just not the professional photographer experience or product. You can see more here.

This summer, I figured we earned it. I wanted one, just us, no rush, fashionable, but relaxed professional photo session with someone awesome. After a little back and forth I chose a local guy that Terra actually went to high school with, Jeremiah Andrews Photography. His stuff is fun, a bit edgy, and high quality. Exactly what I was looking for. We decided on doing a more urban shoot. He and his wife/coworker Shaunna took us to four locations. I was consistently impressed with his work flow. Like seriously, I don’t think he wasted a single click. He got lots of great shots in several poses in all four locations and still had us headed back home within 45 minutes. Impressive. He kept us lose and laughing and ready to be fake models. Y’all I was living my goddamn insta dreams. Check out some of my favorites and hey, if you’ve got a sec, go visit his site, facebook, instagram, or travel instagram.

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Shit you guys.

It happened again. I went like a hundred days without writing a goddamn thing. It’s like I was busy getting married to the love of my life or something. And then maybe raising 4 babies with her. Oh. Yeah. That is what I was doing. Don’t you dare come at me with your, “I know this girl with 8 kids and 17 dogs and she writes every day” nonsense, ‘cuz I already know. And you already know I’m not the kind of blogger. But guess what, I’m tryin. Again.

Let’s recap, shall we?

In my absence I got to….

Legally, actually fucking marry my dream girl:

 

 

Have a few adventures:

 

Send these little ducks back to school:

 

Oh and I got ranked as one of the top 100 LGBT bloggers of 2017. I’ll try to actually blog to hold onto my title. 😉

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Pride Month

It’s weird, but I really do forget how recently I actually came out. This is only my second June to be completely out there living a super gay life. In 2015 I was separated from my ex-husband, and knew which direction I was headed, but most the world did not. Last year Terra and I did go on the Lake Coeur d’Alene Pride Cruise, went to Spokane Pride with my littles, and then went to Seattle Pride. We had only been together three months, but she asked me to go to Seattle Pride with her within our first couple of days talking to each other. I also moved in with her last June.

Last Pride Month (also referred to as “June” by straight people) I was still getting my bearings. I was adjusting to being so out. I was learning about Pride. I was mourning and yet anxious over Pulse. Hell, I was still getting to know Terra, figuring her out and deciphering her Pride style. At the events we attended, we were also watching out for ex gfs, balancing friends, meeting people, and otherwise just not fully engaged on ourselves.

This year is so different. We both know what we want and verbalize that to each other. We typically agree, but have no problems checking out whatever the other is interested in. if she wants to go to the Seattle Pride White Party and I want to raise a sign at the Dyke March, we’ll do both. And enjoy both. We had a blast at this year’s Pride Cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene. It didn’t seem as packed at last year but I just really enjoy that event. We had glorious weather and it’s a fantastic kick-off to summer and Pride. Rainbows and sunshine and beer and friends out on the Lake, what could be better?!

My friend (and maid of honor!) Holly came up and joined us. She is the BEST at making sure to take lots and lots of pictures. I should be way better at it, but at least I have her. And she always ends up getting some good ones of Terra and me. They aren’t always posed, but she even buzzed on cheap beer and armed with just her phone, she captures the joy and love between us. Proof:pride cruise kisspride cruise laure and terrapride cruise 2017 2

Maybe this last one seems like an odd pick. We don’t even know we are being photographed, but that’s just it. We are just so into each other we aren’t even aware of Holl’s shenanigans. You can’t fully see our faces, but you can tell exactly how we are looking at each other. The way Terra has her hand on me just makes me swoon.

This last week it was Spokane Pride. You guys, we were supposed to march at the very front. I ruined that by losing my things and thus causing us to be completely late, but that’s my life. :/ We still made it to wander around and gay it up in not only Terra’s rainbow hair, but also my own. spokane pride

I’ll update you all as more Pride things come along, but just know this year, we are doing Pride exactly right and LOVING it. Happy Pride month. signoff

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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Lesbian Family Photos: Coming Soon

All in all, I’ve been blogging (even if somewhat irregularly) since 2010 after I had S. I know this because it was all about me living the new mom life and trying to lose weight at the same time. For what it’s worth, that did prove to be a pretty effective way to focus on my goals and shed some weight. It was also where I announced my pregnancy with baby G and that was pretty much the end of that.You can check it out here. When I re-hit the scene as Mrs. Mama Elle later rebranded as Life Styled by Elle it was a lot of the usual lifestyle/mom blog, except I knew a little bit better what I was doing. My graphic design skills weren’t total shit and my writing was pretty good. At quite a few points I kept things quite regular and I must say some of the posts and topics were pretty good. My collaboration with Ruthie from fairywingsanddinosaurs.com was something of which I was particularly proud. In fact, with my impending family photo shoot, I was thinking of republishing it here.

Except now I can’t. It’s pretty heteronormative and even more than that, which of the outfits in the “big girls” edition could I even bribe our girls (almost 7 and almost 13) into wearing? I won’t lie, they are super adorable. But every single option includes pink or lace or a skirt or something and there is just no way. And frankly, if I’m being picky, the family pics I used as examples aren’t that great and every single one is just a little family of four. All a mom, a dad, and little kids that parent dress. That’s easy. Sounds like a revamp is in order. Only this time I’m tackling a lesbian couple with four strong-willed kids. And to be frank, I’m pretty sure 4 outta 5 school days a week, the 5 year old dude has the best style. The grand finale will be our family pics. The proof is in the pudding and you can judge whether or not I’m able to pull it off. And fair warning, if they turn out even semi-cute, I will pin the shit outta every single one on Pinterest. I have yet to be able to find much under “lesbian family photos” that isn’t two cute young mama’s with a single little toddler/baby or even just a bump.

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Basically the only big, lesbian family photo on the whole internet. Great show, BTW.

Our family photos are scheduled for Thursday, February 9th. I’m not yet prepared at all, but I am SO excited. I’m silly about stuff like this. I get that it’s not actually important to my relationship or family well being, but to me, it feels like it is. It’s symbolic. It’s all of us together. Blended, sort of matching, sort of crazy, smiling. It’s Terra and I engaged and promised and together. Basically, it’s everything I want most in life captured to treasure forever. Plus, hey, I’m a multi-tasker and it’s new family photos, pictures of just the sibling pairs for the dad’s Father’s Day gifts, and engagement pics all in one swoop. Hell, I’ll probably get a blog head shot and Christmas card 2017 out of it while I’m at it because I’m just that kind of girl. Wish me luck!

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