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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What I Wore Wednesday… On a Thursday

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My outfit of the day yesterday was a bit out of the usual for my Work Wear Wednesday look. Maybe you noticed. I mean, I may be a big slob, but I still don’t typically wear baggy dude jeans and a friggin hoodie to work. I recently discovered, however, that this IS my outfit of choice when my kid gets suspended from school for a day.

Yeah. You read that shit right. I knew I wasn’t in the running for mom of the year, but geezus, suspension wasn’t in the playbook either. Tuesday afternoon I was trucking along at work and getting stuff done. Cold calls, follow up, the whole thing and feeling pretty darn good about it. After one such appointment I was checking my email while still parked and received a phone call – from the elementary school principal. I wasn’t actually too surprised to see the school number flash on my phone. S seemed off that morning. I just knew she was coming down with something. As it turns out, it was less flu-like and more Feral Child Syndrome-esque. The principal went on to tell me about how at recess S was caught tackling a kid on the playground with limbs flailing and hair-pulling. More or less a flat out bar brawl. Nice.

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My little sunshine this summer

I’m the first to admit S is a very emotional child and often her feelings and strong will get in the way of five-star manners, but seriously, full on tackle and hair pulling?!?! It took me some time to process but after hanging up, I went back to checking my email. My boss had emailed to let me know the principal called the studio number, and she had given him my cell. Awkward, but since she already knew something was going on it made it easier to go in a ask to work from home yesterday. Thus the outfit.

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Same kid and her expressive face…

Long talks were had with both S’s dad and Terra. Despite S’s previous offenses, this was and is uncharted territory. We’ve looked at everything from emotional issues with the divorce and all thereafter, to her just actually being ill and tired that day, to other concerns such as behavioral disorders. Finally I got the chance to just be home and talk to S privately. I told her to write and draw me a story of her whole day. She told me how in the morning she was so upset that she just hid under her desk. The managed to “turn her attitude around” but had some “not-so-good stuff” at recess.  Here’s her story:

We were on the playground and two kids were playing with a football and I wanted to play with them and they said I could. But then we were gonna play dogs and I was a dog that loved balls and so I pounced on the girl with the ball and tried to get the ball from her and we were playing and I accidentally pulled her hair and we all got in trouble.

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Sassy for sure.

I wasn’t really sure what to think of all that. She’s such a weirdo. 😛 I turned it into a conversation about bodily autonomy and how she shouldn’t touch anyone without their permission, even nice touches like hugs. Nor should anyone touch her without her permission. She spent the day grounded and suspended, missed the one sunshiney day of the week,and “specials day” at school. Stayed tuned. This is far from the last crazy situation I will find myself in with this one.

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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A Little Bit Country

As you may have caught on, I like cities. My heart belongs (mostly) in Seattle. I have no intention of ever living anywhere smaller than my current community. It’s no city but with about 50,000 people, we have enough restaurants,  entertainment, bars, events, shows, and shopping to keep me living my preferred life, all with a small enough population to feel family-oriented and safe. That said, there is something you have to love about the country life, or at least in doses.

This weekend GF and I took my littles to our friends’ ranch. GF has known Kirsten and Marie for many years, and their three year old son since he was just a baby. My daughter just adores it out there. They have everything she wants in life: horses, cattle, dogs, cats, wildlife, and wide open spaces. Look at this joy!

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My son in all his 4 years of glory is a tiny gamer and doesn’t particularly care for animals much at all. But look at him go.

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I am so thankful that Kirsten and Marie continue to open up their home to all of us and let my kids experience so much more than I could otherwise offer them. Not only a peak at the ranch life, but the chance to see a beautiful lesbian family. Neither of my children really said anything about it on the last trip, but this time my son, G, brought up how Colton has two moms several times. And he was excited about it. He told GF that he “yikes” two moms and that he loves her. And that it was like he has two moms because she likes me. I’m just retelling what he told my GF, but you get the idea. He does have kids with lesbian mothers in his daycare class, but I don’t think he really ever picked up on it. It’s beautiful to see that he can love his daddy, love his mommy, and still love this new relationship too. He’s both the sweetest and the cutest. Well mostly. Take his shit and he may try to punch you. We’re working on it. 😛

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I’m working on trying to be less helicopter-y in my mothering. The kids are older and love to explore. This weekend I even let them sit (without keys) on a 4-wheeler without me. Baby steps.

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The pure joy and sunshine in their faces from just running and playing and being just as dirty and happy as they please is a delight. I’m really just sharing all these pics so I can remember them always.

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Oh yes and a view and a Sunday morning Bloody Mary for each grown up doesn’t hurt.

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Cheers.