Galentine’s Day

In my world, for the last nine years, Valentine’s Day has been the day of Sophia, my sweetheart. It’s her birthday and frankly it’s nice to focus on that and skip out on the excessive commercialism of Valentine’s Day. Sure that’s kind of a cop out, but it’s worked for almost a decade so I’m rolling with it.

This year, it feels like EVERY day is child-focused. They are just so god-damn busy. The birthday girl is currently right in the middle of rehearsal for a highly anticipated performance in Suessical the Musical, Jr. We are all very excited, but this M-Th 20 minutes drive for 2 hour rehearsal shit in the worst winter storm in years is getting old. Then of course there are her hip-hop classes, and Garrett’s basketball practices and games. Luckily Tuck just wrapped up his basketball season and hasn’t quite started baseball yet. I’m really not sure how much else we can juggle. With weekend games up here, the littler kids have been with the moms almost exclusively. I love seeing these kids involved in stuff they are passionate about and I genuinely adore having them be active and actively finding their selves. It fulfills me all the way to the land of mommy tears.

That said, I miss my freaking wife. I miss family dinners that are simultaneously relaxing and chaotic. I miss having a glass or two of wine and then a couple more snuggled on the couch watching This is Us after the littles have been tucked in and the bigs have locked themselves back into their caves.

Tonight will be no exception to the chaos. There is dance practice and play rehearsal,  and of course we have the usual ruckus of last minute finishing Valentine’s and birthday treats. The bigs are going all in and having their “significant others” over to hang out before heading to Skate Plaza. Fun little fact: Tucker (6th grade) confided in me that he has planned this in hope of getting to do a little hand-holding during the slow songs. It’s sure to be a glorious, helter-skelter of a night and I’m here for it. And I’m here for the after party. After the madness of getting all of these things done in that never-large-enough window of post-school/work to kiddo bedtime, I’m planning to celebrate a romantic version of Galentine’s Day with my beautiful bride. We may not get there until 9 or 9:30, but at some point today I am gifting my wife with some pretty rad gifts and toasting her with her favorite champagne.

I literally can’t recall ever buying much on Valentine’s Day, even before Sophia’s birth, but this year I went for it and I’m really fucking excited about these gifts. They are personal, fun, cool, sorta-romantic, but not cheesily so, AND supportive of LGBT small businesses/artists. Do I have your attention now?

First, I ordered her the underwear all the cool-girl lesbians wear, but neither of us have ever gotten. You know who I mean- TomBoyX. Hell, I even did the right thing and ordered the appropriate size based on real measurements and followed the size chart. (Adulting takes so much more time than just winging it… :P) AND I got her the styles and colors I thought she’d like best instead of what I’d pick for me. C’mon, that’s harder than it sounds. Anyway, I know she will love them. I probably should have checked the shipping option for discreet packaging, cuz now she already knows she is getting somethings from there. But she thinks she is ONLY getting something from TomBoyX, and that’s where she is wrong.

I have been following an artist from Portland, OR, Veronica Casson,  on Instagram  (@saltandfog) for at least a year. I love her style. I love that she does so many diverse and inclusive works, and that she is part of the LGBT community. And did I mention that I really, really love her style? Yeah ‘cuz I do. I’ve tried to look into getting commissioned work done by her before, but it’s never worked out. This last week she offered a Valentine’s Day special for a couples custom piece to be sent digitally and in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day. It was limited to 3 customers and I freaking got one! I got my proof yesterday and I’m delighted. It’s perfect. She caught our spirit and even managed to incorporate all our signature accessories/style.

Don’t even try to lie to me. This so un-fucking-believably adorable and I love it!

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I need to have a better print done, but in order to give her something tangible tonight I printed a copy already and framed it. Oh god, I really hope she loves it as much as I do.

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I feel like it’s the perfect way to celebrate Galentine’s Day with my favorite Gal.

To check out more of Veronica Casson’s work, visit her website www.saltandfog.com.

Happy Galentine’s Day AND Valentine’s Day from one gal lucky enough to be married to her very best gal pal.

 

 

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Lesbian Boudoir Photography

You will never believe what I managed to drag my wife into. Hell, not that many people we actually know IRL know we did this thing….  And it all started with a simple little Facebook tag.

Last October my friend Taylor tagged me in a Facebook model call by a Moscow, ID photographer I’d never heard of. After actually reading the model call, I fangirled hard over Whitney Lester‘s portfolio before getting  excited about the actual opportunity in front of me. Here was a young, modern, talented, (seemingly straight?), professional photographer actively seeking a same sex couple to shoot for her boudoir portfolio. Her style was striking, body positive, and empowering. The images I scoured featured women of all ages and sizes, and each one was absolutely fucking radiant. I got a little caught up in *needing* to be a part of this, and before fully thinking it through, I banged out the necessary intro to us a couple and then shared one of my all time favorite photos.  I know plenty of couples younger than us, more fashionable than us, more likely to ‘don a lacy little number, and well, just more, model-esque. But I swear to god this awesome photographer blew my mind and messaged me within 24 hours ready to plan something out.

Lost somewhere in my frenzy of delight and anticipation, I remembered my wife is not inclined to be the little fucking show off/camera whore that I am. She doesn’t hack her way through karaoke, or celebrate birthday month like a princess. She doesn’t blog, act like an expert in public forums, or comment to strangers in groups. She rarely posts to Facebook, and it’s rarer still to catch her on Instagram. Also, you won’t catch her flaunting her cute bod in anything short on the bottom, nor low on top. That clashes a bit with a model call. Spoiler alert: Model calls aren’t just free photo shoots. They’re for the photographer to add something to their portfolio they didn’t already have, and then SHOW IT OFF. Wherever and whenever they please for all eternity. Side note, the model call expressly specified that the models *must* be okay with nudity, and/or implied nudity.

After all this, over a few whiskey drinks and inspired by some sassy drag queens, my wife agreed we should definitely take advantage of this incredible opportunity with Whitney Lester Photography.

Our shoot was booked for a Tuesday afternoon so we both took some time off work and enjoyed a little midweek road trip for the 1.5 hour drive down to Whitney’s studio. I’ve done a bit of boudoir before… although not since after kids, and definitely not with anyone else. Neither of us had met Whitney, and despite all these unnerving details, the entire experience was incredibly enjoyable. We were relaxed within the first five minutes and genuinely enjoyed ourselves. No matter how much or how little we cover up, I felt beautiful and desirable AND comfortable. Terra was at ease, which relaxed me even further. We only worn things we would actually wear, and that was enough. I’m so very glad we agreed to do this. I am even more glad it was with Whitney and the images are truly beautiful and something we will always treasure.

I could go on and on about how intimate it was even in front of a perfect stranger and her camera, but I’ll let the images speak for themselves.

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Thank you to the incredibly talented Whitney Lester for sharing her gift with us, adding to LGBTQ visibility, being a wonderful ally, and giving us an unforgettable experience.

To see her work or to consider booking visit her website at WhitneyLester.com or on Facebook & Instagram.

 

 

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

En-GAY-ged!

Maybe you noticed I jumped back in here and wrote some things and then popped back out again all stealthy-like. Maybe you didn’t, but let’s just assume you did. And then assume that you are so curious as to why. You probably thought it was because I had some big secret plan brewing and I didn’t wanna spill the news or any sort of little hint. You probably thought it was all I was really thinking about to the point that it was causing me to text, message and call people more than usual and also maybe incessantly stalk the USPS tracking feature. If you thought all that shiz, you win. You were completely right.Light up thenight at promwith me-.jpgOn New Year’s Eve 2016 just a bit before midnight, I asked my beautiful girlfriend to marry me. Spoiler alert: she said yes. Every moment up until that was a just a wee bit stressful. I’m not kidding folks, that shit is harder than it looks. And every single person who has ever done all that write-a-song, tell-a-whole-20-minute-story, profess-undying-love-with-original-poetry brand of proposing has my never ending admiration. I was so nervous even a week before the actual proposal that I am pretty sure I had to create flashcards just to remember the phrase, “Marry Me.” But let’s go back a bit, shall we?

Obviously, I’ve got it bad, real bad for this woman. I uprooted my kids, career, and home to be closer to her and start building a new life and family with her. That’s kinda big. I mean, maybe less big amongst lesbians (u-haul is a term afterall…) but bigger than that move is what’s happened since then.  Love, growth, my kind of perfection. The kind you just know is right. The children have bonded with each other and with us, the mamas. I want this life forever. This is the woman I want every single day for always.This is the woman I want every sing day, for.pngFor me, it hasn’t been any more complicated than that. I don’t need a ring, or paper or anything to tell her I love her, and I will tell her I love her every single day. But it’s nice. It’s nice to show I’m serious and make plans. It’s nice I’m able to forge a permanent life for us and the kids.

I’ve told her I wanted to marry her. I’ve “fake” proposed at least half a dozen times. Hell, I’ve even fake married her a few times. Every single time I’ve said any of that, I meant it. No matter how silly or sloppy or totally drunk.  She is my person and I meant it each time I said so in any such way. But that isn’t enough. As the woman of my dreams, what she deserves is a decent proposal with an actual ring. So before I continued on with my pattern of awkward, mediocre love words, I needed to make it right. I needed it to be real and make sure she knew it was real.

I’ve had my eye on a certain jewelry style for some time and months ago found a little etsy artist that seems to do it just right. I knew it would take a while to be made and shipped, so before I could blow any more money on Christmas gifts that the children would break before January, I went for it and hit “buy.” From that moment on it was almost all I could think of. I spent all my time trying to predict the arrival date to plan for the right day, reading proposal stories & idea articles, writing speeches, and even made a video to do the job.

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As the days slunk by, the more I began to panic. Nothing was good enough. Nothing. Not me, not any fucking proposal on the planet. Not the ring. Seriously nothing. She’s a goddamn dream. How the flying fuck was I ever supposed to ramble my meager attempts at romantic prose with some little rock on metal and convince her she should totally promise me eternity? Every idea was too lame, too obvious, too cheesy, or too something. All the while I knew that if I was this nervous now, there’s basically no way I’d ever be able  to stutter a sentence in any human language.

I had been communicating with several friends about my plans, including Joanne. She is Terra’s best friend, so her input was helpful. Based on the arrival date of the ring I decided that New Year’s Eve was definitely the day. Then that crazy woman went and made our NYE plans into a whole group affair. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a badass buncha lesbians, but seriously? This is one time that even the thought of the limelight was strangling me. At that point basically all bets were off. I was pretty certain I wasn’t even gonna survive this. Joanne and I finalized a plan for me to take Terra out on the beautiful Coeur d’Alene boardwalk. Joanne would stay far enough behind and take pictures as I did the whole, lovely thing in the moonlight. Sounds great, right? It would have been except for all the things I didn’t account for. The extra people that I really wasn’t sure I wanted to do it in front of, the fact that we spent all day at a ski resort and my little pretty was exhausted and we had to bust ass just to be dressed and make it to the dinner reservations 10 minutes late, or the fact that it was somewhere around 9 degrees out and Terra didn’t bring a coat or even a jacket. None of it was working for me.

After dinner and settled in at the bar, Joanne and I had a couple of quick team meetings and decided I’d wait until the champagne toast and drop it in her glass. It’d be pretty, simple, warm, AND classy AF. Guess what. None of that exactly panned out either. After an evening of perspiration and anxiety I seized a quiet moment just a bit after 11:30. When Joanne’s sister brought a third round of chocolate cake shots, I semi-sneakily dropped the rings into her shot glass. (I fully acknowledge that this method was less class AF than the champagne plan.)

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Chocolate cake shots are delicious. So delicious that even as a tiny shot, a girl may be inclined to slow down and savor them. Thank goddess Terra did just that and didn’t choke to death. She was taking baby sips and I swear she must have seen the rings at least 5 times. This did nothing to help my surging anxiety as I was certain she saw and just decided to ignore them. Like a subtle, “Nah, I’m good.” On that next sip she caught them, dropped them on the table and asked, “what’s this?” I told her that I loved her more than anything and that I was really hoping she’d marry me and love me forever. I’m not real sure exactly what was said after that. Some version of yes, some other words, and a whole lot of hugging, holding, and making out right through until midnight.

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It really wasn’t the grand, glorious gesture my fiancé deserves. Joanne didn’t get to video or take photos of the actual event, but we got some dark and blurry phone pics that I’ve made the best of. And I get to marry the woman of my dreams.

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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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