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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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.

 

 

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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Self Love Week

Look at me now, two posts in one day!

Under normal circumstances I’d write this but schedule it for tomorrow, but it’s time sensitive as I’m already a few days behind. I LOVE a good social media based challenge. I have done a couple whether for health or writing or photos or art or self love and it’s great way to find connect with people of similar interests and gain new followers. You know if you’re shallow enough to care about such things. 😛 😉

My favorite of all the challenges are definitely the self love ones. No matter where I’m at, those challenges always come at a good time. It’s always beneficial. I always grow and I always get to learn about other women and what they are doing to be totally awesome in the world.

I stumbled up on this particular challenge after seeing day one posted by my ex-husband’s cousin’s wife. (That’s a thing). Her photo was captivating her essay of a caption was compelling and after an other day or so of watching I had to join in, even if late.

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It’s only day three, so join in. Do the first two days of challenges like I did, or just go right for challenge 3 (Spoiler alert: It’s treat yo’self!). If nothing else, check out mine or #selfloveweek and read some cool shit from the hearts of some amazing women. Click on my picture above to go straight to source of the challenge, the Instagram page of Mel Wells.

Side note, even if i go totally silent on the actual blog, I typically use insta as my mini blog and you can follow the life and times of my two mom crew.

Peace!

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Engayged AF (With Pictures to Prove It)

You guys. I am getting married in just over 5 weeks. (!!!) We have a place and people and plans. It’s goin’ down fur real.

And we even did engagement photos. In all honesty we did them awhile ago, but I was on my adjusting-to-new-job-and-new-schedule hiatus and I didn’t share. Guess it’s time to hurry up and get them posted since it’ll be time to share the wedding photos soon enough.

Terra’s maid of honor and friend of years graciously followed us around and took these. We didn’t do tons, but how many do we really need? 🙂 As much as I love her bike and think it’s super beautiful, the first one with the smiles and coffee is my favorite. I am in love with how we look at each other.

If you wanna see our full wedding website, check it here.

lesbian photo shoot: tinder couple with coffee

lesbian engagement shoot: Coffee mugs and rings

Lesbian Engagement Shoot: Coffee Mugs

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Lesbian Engagement Shoot Urban with a Harley

Motorcycle Lesbian Engagement  Photos | The Elle Word Blog

Motorcycle Lesbian Engagement Photos

Motorcycle Lesbian Engagement Photos | The Elle Word Blog

Motorcycle Lesbian Engagement Photo Session | Harley Davidson | The Elle Word BLog

Dream Job

Have you ever had you perfect job? The kind you just know was good for you? I’m not talking about those MLM schlepping folks always hyping their #motivationmonday and waking up everyday blasting social media about kicking this day’s ass like a boss. Or maybe that’s how they really feel every goddamn day and i’m just bitchy. But what I’m talking about is *almost* feeling that way without your “coach” telling you what to post of facebook. I’m talking about going from restless nights and anxiety at work to being able to gush to even yo mama about what you do every day. Because that is where I am *finally* at.

Selling radio was a good gig for the time. It paid pretty decent and I got the job exactly when I needed it and it allowed me to move in with Terra and not feel like a totally irresponsible sort of U-Haul lesbian. For that I am grateful. When I sold TV, I had a badass, but gracious boss. He was always cheering for me, whether in my professional or personal life. It was exactly perfect for having tiny kiddos and then separating and eventually divorcing Morgan. It was good for going back and forth between Terra’s and my house and having all the flexibility I needed. But…. Holy fuck I dreaded media sales. I always felt like I *could* be good at it, but 98% of the time, I was not. Which made me hate it and then add in the shitty parts of outside sales… not good.

I pretty much felt like I would handle it. I would survive that level of miserableness because I needed to contribute and there was no other choice. But seriously people, I was working 8-5, M-F, with about an hour of commute. That’s well over 50 hours of my waking life away from my family and basically hating life, trudging through the day. It’s fucking hard to just drop that at the door. My miserable 50 hours were affecting my previously pleasant hours. Pretty sure Terra had to deal with me getting teary and whiny every time I hit glass two or three of wine in the evenings.

I started applying and interviewing elsewhere. For awhile that actually made it worse. Every goddamn time I made it through interviews and second interviews only to find out I wasn’t their first choice, I’d come home mopey to Terra about being “such a loser.” Until the day I was a was someone’s first choice. The company that finally picked me, is the best one I could have picked for myself. I’ll get to the parts about what I actually do, but listen to the perks: four tens every week. I have three day weekends Every. Single. Week. 15 minute commute. My own office (that’s adorable). I get to wear basically whatever I want, including show off tattoos or rainbow hair. And still some flexibility to work from home when necessary.

As for the job itself, well it’s a beautiful combination of marketing, public relations, social media, sales, account management, fashion, and a dash of travel. Cash me at NYC Bridal Fashion Week, how bout dah? I literally spend my every day promoting these babies in some sense of the word:Bridgette FullHalsey FullMadison FrontShaffer FullTerra Full Back

Fun fact: I named three of these gowns. The bottom, super sexy one is named “Terra.” The second and third ones are named for my daughter and step-daughter. 🙂 You can check out the full collection here or our website here.

So yup, that’s it folks. I spend my time sharing these photos, working photo shoots, scheduling trunk shows, creating marketing materials, and looking at pretty things. Our team is small but awesome and I genuinely love what I do. Also I don’t have to spend my nights zoning out on the Wheel of Fortune or Design Home apps, so that’s cool too.

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