Saturday, December 31, 2011

End

It was so good to see the kids tonight.  I've missed them, so much.  We did lots of cuddling, watched Little Einsteins, crawled through tunnels, and made brownies.

Now V and I are curled up on the couch in the basement, tv on, snacks from the twins' parents scattered around us.  I need to go get the champagne ready, come to think of it.

Happy new year, everyone.  I'll try not to get pregnant this year either.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cuties

V and I are working on updating her photography website and Facebook page, which means I've spent the past two hours poring over adorable pictures of children.  We really do want to do more couples, wedding, etc; knowing lots of families definitely works in our favor for business though.

I'm caught in that place where I'm enjoying being with friends, but ready to be home.  We've done a lot of location-hopping.  V misses the kitties.  I think I actually may as well.

All in all, no profound thoughts here.  No thoughts in general, actually.  The brainlessness is pleasant.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Air

I think I'm coming up for air after the holidays, but I'm not entirely sure yet.  Christmas went well overall.  Tiring, a bit stressful, but not bad.  V's mom bought her brother and his wife an Our First Christmas ornament...and she got us one too.  That really impressed me.

Today is my birthday, and it's been mostly good.  Still busy.  We ate at the Melting Pot tonight, spent too much money, and enjoyed it so very much.  I would like another birthday soon, though, please.  I need a bit more relaxing and being spoiled.

We won't be back home until this weekend; V and I are watching the twins on New Year's Eve.  It'll be good to see them again, and it'll be good that it's not until then.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cleanse

I'm organizing and de-cluttering my wife's childhood closet.  This is what I do when I am stressed.  There's a giant pile on the floor for her to look through when she returns from shopping with her mom (which I so hope is going well).  But really, who needs to keep this much stuff?

A combination of moving regularly in childhood, and having two houses and rooms, kept my things to a decent minimum.  And I've always been a cleanser.  When I'm stressed, I let things go - literally.  Out with those shoes; away with these necklaces.

I just wish I could make the executive decisions here.  But alas...we'll see how much sway I have.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Off

Oh my goodness.  Is this what a day off feels like?  Weekends always come with their own agenda; today, I slept in, we went to the art museum, finished wrapping presents, I took a nap, we started packing to leave tomorrow...

I like this.  I'll start missing my kids in a few days.  (They called me last night, because Patrick wanted to make sure I had shown V my Christmas present: a framed picture of me and the kids sitting with Santa.)  V looked at me earlier, though, and said "Any kids we encounter in the next ten days aren't ours to deal with!"  It's the same feeling I had when we went away mid-October, and I love it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last

Surprise, I have tomorrow off, as well as Friday.  Today was a wonderful last day to end on, as Patrick, Lilly, their mom, V, and I went to the aquarium and out to lunch.  We all had a blast.

I'm off until New Year's Eve; last year, V and I sat for them that evening, and they had champagne and hors d'oeuvres for us for after the kids went to bed.  Repeat this year.  I'm looking forward to it.

I'm not sure when V and I will head out for the holidays, nor what my posting will do.  But for now, to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Orphanage

Lilly: I'm getting a new baby doll for Christmas!
Me: Another one?!  How many do you need?
Lilly: Five!

She already has two.  I think she's trying to start an orphanage.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reflecting

There's a green tunnel that lives in our car, and occasionally comes out at the twins - much to their delight.  Now V also has a blue tunnel in the trunk; it, along with many boxes and bins, stays there for her job.  Today the kids were playing with the green tunnel (due to my continuing sinus headache), and I texted V that I should get out the blue one and really blow their minds.  She didn't realize that we were already playing with the green one, and texted me back "Please play with the green tunnel instead."

Now, I'm not feeling well, and after ready that text, I got a little miffed.  It sounded condescending.  It sounded politely commanding.  Who is she to tell me that, in that way?  I realized I was getting upset with her, and it would be evident in later texts; since we try to keep the most communication possible, I figured that I'd better tell her how I was feeling.  Had she jut said "I'd rather you not use my work stuff," I thought, I'd be just fine.  She was just insensitive.

Then I realized that my sensitivity levels were off.  She wasn't insensitive; I was oversensitive (I'm sure the astute readers of my blog have realized this by now).  I was quickly getting annoyed over seven words sent via text message.  If I mentioned it to her, in the name of better communication, it would cause a few moments of tension - unnecessarily - and possibly taint some of the rest of the day.

So I got over it.  It was a little thing, yes.  Looking back, it was an even littler thing.  But it's the little things that make for a successful relationship, no?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Parrot

At least, if the kids are going to repeat everything I say, I generally say decent things?

Case in point:  Patrick hadn't finished breakfast, so Lilly and I went downstairs to put laundry in the washing machine.  This is a coveted task, by the way.  When we finished, I turned on the TV down there for her; Patrick yelled down not to do laundry because he wanted to help.

Lilly's prompt response, yelled back up the stairs, was, "It's all done, sweetheart; I'm sorry.  You had a chance."

I have my struggles with "only mommy or daddy or I can give timeouts/take things away/chastise," but I love when they call each other sweetheart just like they're used to hearing from me, mommy, and possibly daddy too.  It's a tiny bit patronizing, mostly sweet, but resigned.  Yep, exactly how I say it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sister

On Monday, I took the kids up to the mall, where we met mommy and daddy for a picture with Santa.  They were absolutely adorable; an older lady stopped at one point to tell me that she loved seeing the old jumper dresses, as "opposed to these crazy things little kids are wearing these days."  Lilly was indeed in a red corduroy jumper dress, white tights, and black mary janes, with her hair pulled back.  Patrick was in blue cords, a red turtleneck, and a cream sweater vest with trains on it.

At breakfast, though, he broke my heart.  "I want to wear a dress like Sissy!" he protested when I got their outfits ready.  I thought fast; I didn't want to tell him he couldn't, except that, well, he couldn't.  I quickly pointed out that she was wearing the only dress like that we had, and tried to redirect him to the trains on his vest.  He wasn't thrilled, but didn't fuss too much.

What made the whole episode memorable, though, was the fact that I texted their mom about it.  I told her his comment, and my response, knowing she's sympathetic.  I loved her text back to me: "Reinforce that he's too big for it, too - but if he wants, he can try it on when you get back."

I know too many parents who would scoff at him, or talk about how ridiculous that is - including, at times, his father.  But I appreciate her sincerity and willingness to let him be his own person.  As I've mentioned before, he wears a bow frequently when we're out.  We've gotten comments ranging from "isn't that a strange bow" (no, it's a normal one, actually) to "look how cute!"  I've learned to smile, comment that life's tough when you have a sister, and move on.  Most people seem to appreciate it; I suppose he's still young enough, though his mom said an older boy asked him why on earth he had it, one day.

It fascinates me, watching his interests grow.  Monday was the first time I've heard him voice clothing desires.  I'm willing to follow this as far as he wants, and it seems like his mom feels similarly.  All I know is that he's darn cute with a bright blue bow in his short brown hair.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Part 6 of 6

Where was I, graduation?  Sounds like a good spot.  Honestly, after there, things have been fairly smooth sailing.  It's hard to believe graduation was over a year and a half ago.  We moved, we settled, we started attending an Episcopal church, we stopped attending an Episcopal church (well, not technically - more on that later), V proposed, we had a fantabulous wedding.

On the family front, life improves, albeit gradually.  My father and I can discuss the fact that I'm married; he has conveyed his disagreement, and now we move on.  I think, in his mind, it's not like we were going to agree on everything for the rest of life, anyway.  He's not pleased, but he's resigned.  My mom seems to be coming around a bit, though she's still flatly against any of my half-siblings knowing.  V's family is confusing as always.  I think her brother and sister-in-law are on the path to approving.  Her mother, less so, but she's less blatantly hostile or depressed.

Religion?  That's out the window for now.  We are both so, so over it.  (Confession: for the past three or four Sundays, we've actually done a happy dance at some point when we realize that we have all morning and no one can guilt us into being in church.)  I love the wild freedom of not caring; I wrote about that recently.

I guess that's our story, in a black walnut shell.  It's the biggest nut I can think of.  If anyone out there has any questions, comment away!  I love dialogue, and of course, I love talking about myself.

In other news, this has been wonderful, because Patrick and Lilly have been monsters - so I don't have to write about them!

Make and model

Patrick: Your scooter has letters on it!
(It says "Buddy," for the type.)
Me: That's to tell me what kind it is.
Patrick: ...blue!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Part 5 of ?

I have to backtrack from graduation for a moment, to add in family drama.  What would a good Christian-turned-gay story be without family drama?  The first family member to know was my father.  His and my relationship had been rocky, and I finally told him because I knew it was the worst thing I could tell him.  It would either make him shun me completely, or we could start building a relationship again from the ground up.

He did a little preaching, a little "thought you knew better," a decent amount of "of course I love you."  He commented that the daughter of an old friend of his "went through a phase like this."  I promptly facebook messaged her; cue another good friend for us (hint: it wasn't a phase).  We started talking again.  We didn't talk about my relationship, of course, but things were improving.

V told her mom on Easter break of senior year, a year exactly since our first kiss.  She was told that she was going to hell.  Surely Lina knows better, with her father being a pastor.  Jesus isn't happy with you.  I love you, but this is wrong.

I told my mom shortly thereafter.  The next time V and I went to visit her, she made us sleep in separate rooms, whereas before we'd always shared the queen-sized air mattress.  I protested.  If I hadn't told you, I asked, would we still both be sleeping on the air mattress?  Yes.  So the fact that I told you the truth is not in my best interest?  I guess not.

(Things have gotten better in all three cases.  Getting married helped.)

And then, we graduated.  Glorious, beautiful graduation.  The knowledge that no one could take away my hard-earned education simply because I was in love.  The fact that I could tell people I was in love, without fear of recrimination.  The ease with which I breathed.  The kiss we had, on campus, after night fell on graduation day.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Part 4 of ?

The handful of months after V and I first kissed are a blur.  All I know is that two months after Easter, we came to the conclusion that we were in an actual relationship, though we weren't entirely sure how that had happened.  I asked for an anniversary; having never been in a relationship before, I wanted something to celebrate every month.  We chose June 9.

By this point, the summer before senior year, I was ready to be done with both my school and God.  I knew, from everything I'd been taught, that God wasn't exactly a fan of this new relationship, so I told him sayonara.  V and I began exploring this gay new world.  I referred to myself as a straight girl with a girlfriend; I didn't feel any connection to a gay culture, and didn't want to.

I'd been seeing a counselor on campus for depression, and told her about the changes in my life, knowing she would be supportive.  (College was all about finding the right people: not everyone was super-fundamentalist, but you had to dig hard and carefully.)  Her response surprised me.  When I'd talked to her about V over the past year, she'd assumed that we were together, but it wasn't up for discussion.  That would continue to be a common theme: "Of course you're together; you have been for awhile now!"  No, actually, not.

That counselor was our lifesaver through the first half of senior year.  Those awful four months included roommates moving out on us with no notice, the most difficult classes piled together, taking the GRE and applying to grad schools, V breaking up with her high school friend, and - oh yeah - trying to figure out how to be in a gay relationship.  But every week, we could come crawl into two comfy chairs in the counseling center, cry like a baby (me), talk about anything (both of us), and leave feeling a little more capable of handling the next week.

She also connected us to a master's student on campus who was a lesbian; we met for dinner, and she too became a point of stability.  She lent us The L Word so I could get it through my head that just because I had a girlfriend didn't mean I had to cut all my hair off and be angry and ride a motorcycle.  One of our professors in the English department also helped us through senior year, as did our new roommates.  (Tip: If you need moral support, definitely room with the most vocal feminist you know on campus.)

As it came close to graduation, everyone started talking about how much they were looking forward to it.  Every time, I wanted to shake them and say, "You have no idea.  You're looking forward to a piece of paper.  I'm looking forward to my freedom."  The thought of no longer facing expulsion and/or therapy if discovered was tantalizing, and inconceivable.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Help

Oh dear heavenly anything.
These kids are beyond me.

Meltdowns I can remember off the top of my head:
Lilly, when she thought we weren't going to pass any animals on the drive to school
Patrick, when he found out it was Lilly's turn to turn the Christmas tree lights off
Lilly, when Patrick decided to play with the Thomas computer she had until then shown zero interest in
Patrick, when he realized he couldn't have any more garlic bread until his pasta was gone
Lilly, when I told her it was time for dinner

I should note that today, I've been with them 8:30-1:30, and 6:30-10:30.
Child-free weekend.
Child-free weekend.
Child-free weekend.

Part 3 of ?

Where we we?  Oh, yes.  Curious about kissing girls, and trying to figure out if it would condemn me forever.

Let me set up a cliche scene for you:
It's Easter weekend, and V and I are visiting her parents' house.  Friday was her mom's birthday; Sunday was Easter; it was Saturday night, and we were asleep in the twin bed she'd had since childhood.  After we'd been talking awhile, she asked if there was anything I'd do, if I knew it wouldn't change anything.  My brain immediately interpreted it, correctly, as, "I want to kiss you, but I'm terrified of screwing things up."

I called her out on what she meant.  We spent probably close to an hour discussing everything: what if she felt one way afterward, what if I felt another, what could all possible outcomes be, what damage could this potentially do to our friendship.  And then, we made out for ten minutes.  My world went on fire, and I thought something between "Ohmygod that was heaven" and "&$#*, I'm #*$&*ed."  She admitted it was hot.  I thought she said that she was hot under all the covers, and wilted inside, until she realized that I must not have understood, and repeated herself.

We didn't talk about it again.  On the drive home, we stopped to eat, and when I accidentally tried to get her some condiment she didn't need, I commented how I could never remember what she did and didn't like.  "I can't keep you straight," were my exact words; we laughed nervously.

The next month was awkward.  She pulled away.  I tried to pull closer.  She became homophobic.  I got clingy.  She tried to cheer me up one day, when I was having a crying spell, by kissing me.  It made everything better and worse.  I had no idea what was happening.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day

Today was not my day.  Nor was it Patrick's, or Lilly's.
He missed the first half of gymnastics class due to a tantrum and refusing to finish chewing his food.
Both of them were either giggling hysterically or throwing fits.

Although, at first this morning, Lilly discovered she could put her underwear on "like a backpack," and she did that, put her shoes on, and ran around squealing for about half an hour.  Patrick threw on his shoes - and was otherwise totally naked - and joined her.

Anyway, I'm glad tomorrow is Friday.  I have the kids both morning and evening, but evenings they usually cooperate.  Tonight, V and I get to wrestle Kali and her sisters.  Right now, I'm desperately craving a bag of dark chocolate m&ms.

Part 2 of ?

Just before Christmas break of junior year, V's boyfriend/lover/partner (I can't remember what term they settled on) came to visit.  In addition to being polyamorous, he was also in open relationships: in his mind, any sexual interaction was not the primary glue holding a relationship together, and it was not limited to solely inside the relationship.

Long story slightly less long, he ended up being my first real kiss, though all three of us knew at the time that V was the one I really wanted to kiss.  She was terrified, and it was never discussed (though apparently he made sure she was aware of it).  At this point, I honestly felt like God had "released" me from my kissing vow, and I felt no guilt.

V and I would go for long drives at night, partly because I was a depressed, emotional wreck.  We knew what it looked like - going out, far away from everyone, in the dark.  We joked about how it seemed like we were in a relationship.  We talked about delaying marriage (to hypothetical future boys) so we could go to grad school together.  We acknowledged that girls could be attractive, not in a sexual way, just in an aesthetic one.  We decided we were in a platonic relationship.

We were both curious about kissing girls.  I had hardly kissed anyone, and just wanted more experience; she'd kissed boys and wanted to know how on earth it could be different.  (So different as to send you to hell.)  We knew we couldn't kiss each other, because we had an incredible friendship and didn't want to jinx it.  But she knew I wanted to, and I knew it too, though I didn't know why or whether I should be ashamed or not.  There was a great deal of wrestling with myself, my surroundings, and my beliefs - I wouldn't go back to that place for anything.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Part 1 of ?

It all began sophomore year of college.  My roommate's good friend had just broken up with his girlfriend, V, and they (my roommate and her friend) thought that the newly-not-girlfriend and I would be good friends.  Turns out we were.  Are.

Anyway, ours was the second or third friendship in my life where I clicked immediately with someone.  From the first time we hung out, we were inseparable.  The first six months of our friendship was rough, due to some other situations, but we spent evenings curled up into one lawn chair on the roof of her dorm.  (Note: this is just the first of many "and you didn't know?!" moments)

We were attending a conservative Christian school, which we'd both fit into during our first year or so, but we were simultaneously becoming disillusioned with the religion and the school.  During the first half of junior year, V started dating an old high school friend who was attending college a few states away.  He was a pastor's son turned atheist.  He was living with a lesbian couple, among others.  He was polyamorous, believing it was possible to love multiple people at once.  He had a live-in girlfriend.  He and V began dating.

During this time, I'd become incredibly emotionally close to her.  I was always, always straight; there was never a question in my mind of being "other."  Yet I felt myself drawn to her.  It didn't help that, during freshman year, I'd promised God that I wouldn't kiss a boy until I knew he was going to propose to me.  I wanted out of that deal.  She seemed like a loophole.

Cliffhanger!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Poem

I have a weakness for all things French, and I just found one of my favorite poems written beautifully on Etsy.  It was read, in English, in its entirety, at our wedding; it's one of V's favorite poems, and quickly became mine after that moment.

I don't have a full French translation, though I'm sure one is available.  Just the first line.
je porte ton coeur (je le porte dans mon coeur)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Story

A friend of mine recently asked me about V's and my story, intertwining the faith and orientation and love.  I have plans in the near future to write it out, though I imagine it will be long; I'll try to post here in sections, too.

I am not important, and V is not important (except to me, of course), but our story - and so many similar stories - are vastly important.  Stay tuned.

Update: Here is our story, as written out over the course of the month.
Part 1 of ?
Part 2 of ?
Part 3 of ?
 Part 4 of ? 
Part 5 of ?
Part 6 of 6

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Movie

Me: What color cup do you want, blue or yellow?
Bug, after much thought: Azul.
That kid watches too much Dora.

V and I have watched Bug and Andrew since just before their nap until now, when they are both in bed.  We're still waiting for their parents to come home, but in the meantime, we have internet and are watching Rudolph and Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Good childhood memories, and a nice relaxing evening.

I need this time.  I need a moment to collect myself, and this movie - to be cliche - takes me back to a simpler time, when I wrote long Christmas lists in kindergarten script and curled up, mommy and me, on our old green couch.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Home/settled

Home, we have.  Settled, we will not be for awhile.
I watched the twins last night.  I've started braiding Lilly's ponytail, and of course Patrick then wants a braid.  I told him his hair was too short (as is mine, now, when he asked why I didn't have a braid), but he opted for a ponytail.  It was adorable.
I already always have to have a bow for him when we go out anyway.  His mom loves it; his dad is less fond.
Today was our first gymnastics class in three weeks (due to sickness and holidays), and I'm so in love with them having an independent class.  It's phenomenal.  I just got to sit there, watch, chat with other parents, and write a letter to a friend.
Yesterday, due to a small power-and-refrigerated-food emergency, Patrick and Lilly actually came with me to my old house, and we moved the food at the cats to the new place.  I of course have a stash of kids books and puzzles, so they stayed and played for a good while.  It was, also, adorable.
I feel like it's an auspicious start that we had kids in the house in the first day we occupied it.  But maybe that's just because it's easily a big enough house for a nursery.
(Not now, says V.  Not now.)