We Did!

Many of you by now have likely heard about Judge Bernard Friedman declaring Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on Friday evening in the case of DeBoer v. Snyder and Schuette. Because of this decision and our awesome ally of a County Clerk deciding to open for special hours on Saturday to issue marriage licenses, K and I were one of 142 couples to legally wed in our county that day.

It all happened so fast, but we knew that, even though K was miserably sick and I was doing everything in my power to not succumb to the same illness, we needed to make this happen for our family. We knew that a stay was likely inevitable and that we’d have this very tiny window before another potentially long wait for the rights we all deserve. To that end, we got up early on Saturday morning, hustled to get out the door, and made it to the courthouse about 45 minutes before they opened.

I’m not quite sure what I expected but I was surprised that there weren’t more people already there. There were maybe 30-40 couples in line in front of us and there was enough room for us to squeeze inside the building instead of having to wait in the cold. There was very few members of the media present, despite the historic day. At around 9 a.m., security began letting people through and the line then snaked down a long hallway toward the Clerk’s desks.

10147514_10154010548020287_171026002_oA former coworker and her partner were in line behind us and it made the experience even more enjoyable. It was fun to see so many people we knew being able to share an anniversary with us. The Clerk’s staff were all so chipper on their day off, working so hard to make sure as many people as possible could get their licenses before the office closed for the day. We completed our paperwork, paid the fee for the license and to have the clerk preside over our ceremony, and then walked down the long hallway to the County Commissioners’ Auditorium, stopping to change E’s diaper on our way.

When we reached the auditorium, couples had their paperwork confirmed by the Deputy Clerk, and then we were legally wed in a mass ceremony of about 40 couples. It was really meaningful to us that our officiant was The Honorable Lisa Brown, our County Clerk, who had actually been called by the defense in marriage equality case. When she was called to testify, she essentially said that she hated being in the position of having to bar people from accessing the institution of marriage, but had to because that’s what was required of her by law, and that she could not wait to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The words she uttered during our mass ceremony were uplifting, heartwarming, and affirming of the struggle we’ve endured and will continue to endure. K and I kissed each other and then kissed E.

We then waited in a long line to have our paperwork signed by the Clerk and two witnesses. Once that was complete, we walked back down to the other end of the building again to the Clerk’s desks, walking past other couples waiting in line for their chance to legally wed, and were immediately issued our official marriage certificates. Each time a couple emerged with their certificates, the crowd cheered, and though I didn’t know all of them and the circumstances were hardly ideal, it felt like a large, loving family supporting our union.

One of our dear friends, who was there waiting for her own marriage license and certificate, took a photo of us with our official documents and, while she did, a local news station filmed it. They asked for an interview, which I gave, but they thankfully never aired my rambling. They did, however, air at least six seconds of us standing there, having our photograph taken with our marriage certificate, and several of my friends have mentioned seeing it on the news at different times.

Despite the stay being granted only a few hours later, the attorney who represented the Rowse-DeBoers in the marriage equality case is urging families to seek second parent adoptions, as she does not believe the stay will impede their ability to do so. I will be contacting local attorneys in the morning to try to move the process forward for the sake and stability of our family.

I have mixed emotions right now. I am elated that I am now K’s legal wife, though also baffled because, after living through the adoption of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, I never thought I’d see this day. I am heartbroken for the families who continue to wait for the day when they will see equality. I am furious that Attorney General Bill Schuette continues to waste limited state resources on a losing cause, simply so he can kowtow to his party. I am grateful to those like Judge Bernard Friedman and Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown, who believe that equality is just. I feel forever indebted to April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who have bravely fought for the rights of their family and so many others. I feel awash in the glow of love and support from my community, friends, and family members.

I have mentioned several times that this union was one of the least romantic set of circumstances one can imagine – snot pouring out of K’s nose, me wearing dirty, day-old jeans and unwashed hair, scrambling to make it in time. Upon further reflection, I’ve decided that sometimes love looks a lot more like loyalty, stability, and protection, and a lot less like passionate romance. We need room for all of this, and more, in our relationships, and I’m so thankful to have it with K.

Soon to be one!

While E is still merely on the verge of walking, I think it’s safe for us to classify him as a toddler. He’s certainly showing a lot of toddleresque behaviors. For example, where he used to roll with most of what came his way, he’s extraordinarily expressive of his feelings these days. He has a complete lay-on-the-floor meltdown with pouty lips and huge tears when I ruin his fun by taking away an unsafe obstacle or put on his coat to leave.

He’s also showing a lot of limit-testing behaviors. While K was out on Saturday morning, E and I spent a few hours in each other’s company. During that time, he played mostly independently while I put some laundry away. At one point, he crawled over to an electrical outlet (it’s covered, but I’d still like for him to stay away from it), reached his hand out and looked at me. I know he’s aware that it is a no-touch zone, so I made my “uh oh” sound, said, “Mommy doesn’t want you to touch that. It’s dangerous,” and redirected his behavior toward something he could touch. It happened a few more times and the last time, he had a total meltdown when I limited him.

Beware the silence of toddlers.

Beware the silence of toddlers.

It’s a challenge for me to discipline and this is a whole new set of behaviors around which to increase our parenting confidence. While my brain knows that setting boundaries is healthy and necessary, fear tends to creep in and I worry that it will impact his love for me. That same Saturday morning, it helped immensely to see that the exact opposite played out: just 20 minutes after he had recovered from the limit-setting meltdown, he hurt himself on a toy, cried, and reached out for me. We snuggled for several minutes – also a newer phenomenon – and it melted my heart to see evidence of him needing me and only me for comfort.

E is also looking less and less like a baby these days. I look over and see the child in him, and it makes me both sad and happy at the same time. His milestones are equally exciting and heartbreaking, 1912420_10103643907776423_1068056591_nas I witness behaviors become part of my dear child’s history instead of present. The only thing that truly helps me to feel better is to remind myself to stay present and appreciate what happens as it happens. It’s a tricky proposition for me, though.

He’s been working hard the past couple of weeks to stand for greater lengths on his own, and is cruising a lot. He gets excited when we hold his hands for support while he practices walking and I know that he’ll soon be walking on his own. He’s such a determined little character who spends all day working toward these goals.

Of COURSE we practiced with a cupcake.

Of COURSE we practiced with a cupcake.

We’ve gotten almost all of the details in order for his first birthday party. We ordered and received all decor, food/beverage accessories, and the favors. The musician is booked and we have about 30 people who will be in attendance. We ordered the cake – shaped like an acoustic guitar from my favorite gluten free bakery – and planned the snacks. E has even received his first birthday gift in the mail – a framed share of Facebook stock from K’s Aunt K who hosted our family baby shower. I’m excited about celebrating this milestone with our loved ones!

I can’t believe I’m about to be the mom of a one-year-old kid. I guess I can’t really call myself a new mom anymore, can I?

10 Months Young

E 9 month photo

Technically his 9-month photo

Whoa. I can’t believe how long it has been since our last post. So sorry about that, y’all.

On Saturday, K and I officially became parents of a thriving, happy, TEN MONTH OLD. I can’t even believe how quickly the time has flown, and how rapidly we seem to be closing in on that looming one year mark.

Here are a few stats on our growing guy:

Weight: ~21 lbs

Length: ~28 inches

Clothing size: Mostly 12-18 months for tops because of his long torso and mostly 12 month bottoms, as long as they’re stretchy to accommodate the fluffy cloth diaper butt.

breakfast with daddy

Breakfast with Daddy

Favorite food(s): Pretty much anything Daddy is eating! E has turned into quite the little foodie and will literally try anything we put in front of him. Even things he previously rejected like scrambled eggs and any variation of potatoes are now fair game. He gets really excited when we give him super flavorful food like the quinoa risotto I make that has garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon juice and zest, and goat cheese in it. Like Daddy, he’s a big fan of fruit. He seems to be eating us out of house and home, though, and is now waking in the middle of the night because he’s hungry for an extra bottle!

Favorite activities: Standing and cruising against furniture. E has also recently started doing this hilarious thing where he scoot-hops forward while on his butt and without using his hands. Bath time is also a popular activity, as E tends to melt down when we take him out of the bath before he feels like he’s done with the fun.

Favorite toys: Cups of any variety and any sort of musical instrument.

Health: Doing so much better with his ears. He’s had his first ear infection since getting tubes, and it’s kind of gross to see the drainage come out, even though I know it means his ears don’t have that painful pressure. Treating ear infections is so much easier with tubes, too, and only involves ear drops twice a day. He’s fully stopped his reflux meds without incident. He’s had a random cold once since getting tubes, but it’s been minor.

keepin' it classy at Costco

Keepin’ it classy at Costco

Number of teeth: He has the two middle teeth on the bottom, has three of the top middle teeth and one more top middle tooth is currently peeking through. That would make for SIX!

Sleep: When he’s not sick and/or teething, E seems to do pretty well with sleep. Up until his recent increase in hunger and food consumption, he was reliably sleeping through the night. He doesn’t nap very well at daycare, mostly because he has what our dear friend calls FOMA, which stands for “Fear of Missing Anything.” He also doesn’t nap very well for us at home, unless we all take a family nap in our bed, and then he’ll sleep for 2-3 hours without hesitation.

Mommy and Daddy’s humble brags: We hit the baby lottery. E is almost always so happy and curious. This child is a total joy and we absolutely love seeing him explore the world.

Mommy and Daddy’s current gripes: POOP! With the recent increase in food consumption comes a VERY large increase in poop production. Let’s also just say that cloth diapers + solid foods = things that can never been unseen.

Future plans: I really want to enroll E in a swimming class. In a state where bodies of water are so prevalent, it’s important both for safety and enjoyment that E has a good grasp of what to do in the water. It’s also my dream to enroll him in a baby music class, but all of the local ones seem to take place during weekday hours to accommodate stay at home parents.

Looking forward

One of the bonuses of being really, really sick to the point of depleting my vacation time (because of course my sick time is hovering at the zero hour mark), if I have to find one, is that I actually had some time to focus on planning E’s first birthday party.

For months, I have refused to even think about the notion of this event, mostly because of my reluctance to admit that our child is careening toward this milestone, but also because we have a teeny, tiny house that couldn’t contain our immediate family, let alone close friends. The latter concern, now that I’ve solved it, is laughable, given that I am a skilled, professional event planner, but the challenge truly threw me for a loop.

While digesting episode upon episode of the Law & Order franchise, I researched budget-friendly local venues, potential entertainers, and themes. I discovered that a local community center rents rooms of all sizes for very reasonable rates and called their scheduler to inquire about availability. I determined that the musician that E loved when she performed at his daycare Halloween party regularly plays for children’s parties, so I asked about her rates and availability, as well. Within a matter of mere days, I had hired the musician, who will play a half an hour set and bring a craft and an instrument for each child, reserved the room at the community center, paid deposits on both, decided upon a generic music theme, researched decor and sent out preliminary e-vites to close friends and family members.

I guess that settles it. We have a little kid who is turning one year old and we’re celebrating it with a party. Commence freak out.

FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)

This article was making the rounds recently and has been getting a lot of buzz:

FYI (if you’re a teenage girl).

Now, I’m all for encouraging young women to believe that their value stems from so much more than their appearance and that their actions matter, as part of this post addresses, but I have to say, as the mother of a son (at least until/unless he tells me otherwise), I have a few choice words about this post:

  1. I’m horrified by this particular mother policing her kids’ sexuality and invading their privacy.
  2. I particularly hate that she puts the blame and responsibility for men’s urges and subsequent actions on young women. She’s saying that someone can’t be sexually stimulated by something and be able to control his/her urges. Boys will be boys, after all.
  3. What about teaching her young men that women are people who should be respected and that they aren’t just bodies – or worse – body parts, placed on Earth for their sexual stimulation and gratification?
  4. Her assumption that her children will be heterosexual is nauseating and ridiculous.
  5. Double standard much? Young sluts ladies, don’t parade around braless in your pajamas, but be sure to check out my shirtless sons and husband who are flexing at the beach.

What do you think about this parent’s approach to sexuality and social media consumption? What is (or do you plan to be) your approach to these topics?

Edit: I found another blog post that is much more in line with my preferred approach as it relates to sexuality and social media. I decided to post the link as a great counterpoint to the above referenced post.

Brighter day

Today has been a phenomenal end to what has been one of the shittiest weeks in recent history.

K, E and I went to the home of a woman with whom K went to high school because she was selling her used car. It was a 2000 Saturn with low miles, in really good condition, and K’s friend is the original owner. His friend showed us the car and we all went for a test drive. It isn’t perfect and K’s friend was super honest about some of the (VERY minor) things that could use work, but it runs well, has cold air conditioning, and is priced very fairly. Suffice it to say, it looks like we’ll soon be a two-car family! We’re going to meet his friend at the Secretary of State office (this is what most non-Michiganders know as the Department of Motor Vehicles) on September 6 to officially buy it and transfer the title. THE END IS IN SIGHT!

Afterwards, we spent a couple of hours playing and chatting with friends at a local park. We got caught up on all of our friend gossip, commiserated about baby illnesses and other parenting woes, ate some snacks, and played a little on the playground. K even went down the slide with E, which was really adorable.

Then, we came home, took turns napping and caring for E, then K washed dishes while E played in his bouncy seat (which we’ve termed his “executive chair”) and I baked gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Then, we all danced and sang to oldies music, as E seems to really like Motown (good Detroiter that he is!).

Yesterday, I did something super out of character, and went to my very first playdate with strangers (who AM I?!). A local queer parenting list owner and another member have sons who are just a couple of months older than E and were looking to get together. The list owner invited us to her home and I bravely accepted, knowing full well that it would mostly be a mommy get-together since, at our kids’ age, it’s mostly snuggles and minimal parallel play. We mostly sat around in her living room with the boys, talking about typical getting-to-know-you parenting topics like where we take our kids to daycare, which pediatrician we see, and whether or not we want additional children. We also talked about typical queer parenting topics like how we conceived, whether or not we’re legally married in another state, and what other queer parenting resources/groups we access. It was a fun mommy milestone for me that I’m really proud of myself for embarking upon.

Thankfully, we left this weekend fairly open to allow a lot of time to decompress from traveling last weekend. I’m thinking we’ll be taking a lot of naps and catch up on television shows between chores, and that sounds like absolute perfection to me after the past week of diarrhea, fussing and repair dude in our home.

The Long-Awaited Nursery Reveal

It’s official: the nursery is now mostly complete. I say “mostly” because we are still waiting on the crib skirt to arrive and, because we recently ordered it as a part of our massive Amazon nursery completion order, it likely won’t be here until after our Little arrives. K is trying to convince me that Falco won’t mind.

The nursery is yellow and grey with chevron details. We opted to paint the nursery a cheery but not juvenile looking yellow (Sherwin-Williams Harmony low-VOC Acrylic Latex paint in Lantern Light Eg-Shel). We did this for several reasons:

  • Grey paint is notoriously difficult, as it typically reads as either blue or mauve, depending on the undertones and light in the room.
  • We wanted the paint to be able to easily transition as Falco gets older.
  • We wanted the paint to read as neutral, since we’re renting and didn’t bother to ask our rental agency if we could paint the room (yep, we’re total rebels).

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Crib: babyletto Hudson 3 in 1 in grey, purchased via Zulily for a $60 reduced price. Woot!
Rug: Mohawk Yellow Ziggidy, again purchased via Zulily.
Baby quilt: Designed and constructed by an amazing friend.

mobile, crib and picture

Fitted crib skirt: Sewn by me using a free online pattern with Keepsake Calico Gray & Yellow fabric.
Mobile: Designed and constructed by me
, using various fat quarters, polyfill, ribbon and a yellow yarn-wrapped embroidery hoop. It was inspired by my favorite song I sang as a child (and can’t wait to sing to Falco), “You Are My Sunshine.”
Print: Purchased and framed by K’s Aunt K (the one who hosted our family shower), designed by Ellen Crimi-Trent. K’s Aunt saw that I had posted a similar print to Facebook with the intent of creating a craft that was inspired by it, tracked down the artist, and placed the order via her Etsy store.

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Shelves: IKEA EKBY TONY/EKBY BJÄRNUM (previously purchased, used at my former job and repurposed).
Piggy banks: The Sponge Bob one was gifted to us by my mother at our family shower. It belonged to my late grandmother, who used it for her Bingo winnings, which are also enclosed. The other one was hand painted by me during a holiday outing with my coworkers. One side says, “[Falco’s] 1st Car Fund.”
Sign: Designed and framed by a friend. It says, “E is for… [Falco’s intended name, masked for privacy/anonymity.]”
Bunny lovey: Gifted to us by K’s cousin at our family shower. It matches an adorable stroller blanket.

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Dresser: IKEA HEMNES 8-drawer dresser, purchased by K’s parents as a Christmas gift.
Changing pad cover: Aden + Anais 100% Cotton Muslin in Safari Friends Giraffe.
Afghan: Handcrafted by my mom and gifted to us at our family shower.
Garbage can turned diaper pail: iTouchless Deodorizer 13 Gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Touchless Trash Can with Carbon Filter. There’s also a yellow wetbag inside.

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Vintage diaper pin decor: Ballard Designs, gifted to us by my parents as a nod to our intention to cloth diaper.

new cat bed slash changing pad

Kis thinks this changing pad is a kitty bed. Can’t say I blame him.

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Floor lamp: Nickel-plated IKEA ALÄNG. We also purchased a matching table lamp for later use when Falco is in a big kid bed and has nightstand that we also purchased.

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Rocking chair and matching ottoman (previously shown): IKEA POÄNG, birch veneer with Lockarp gray cover, purchased for as a Christmas gift from my parents.
Bookshelf turned “diaper tower”: IKEA HEMNES in white. Shown is only a small portion of our cloth diaper stash, just enough for Falco’s smaller sizes.
Throw blanket: Frost chevron gray by THRO, purchased via Zulily.
Diaper bag: JJ Cole Mode in Mixed Leaf, purchased by a family friend.
Toy bin: Purchased by K’s mom and filled with an assortment of toys we purchased and acquired as gifts.
Philly LOVE ornament: Purchased for us by a dear friend.
Vintage rolling curtain: Came with our glamorous home rental.

elephants from Grandmas

Elephant plushies: Purchased, separately and independently, by each Grandma-to-be.
Baby book: Purchased by K at a local boutique.

prints

Prints: Designed by a dear friend (the same one who designed, “E is for…”).

What do you think? I’m pretty excited about it and can’t wait for our Little to join us!

Note: the following post, Our Birth Plan, is password protected as some of our future posts might be. We would love to continue sharing details with our treasured followers, so please request a password by emailing us at thefalcoproject (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

We are so incredibly spoiled

Sunday was our friends shower and K and I are still overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our chosen family. As K told our friends, we truly could not have gone down this rather unconventional path toward parenthood without their fellowship. I’m not typically a sappy person, but I keep getting teary-eyed when I think about how lucky we are for our chosen family.

Not only did they spoil us with their affection, but our friends really went above and beyond to help us secure items we need for wee Falco. We received so many practical gifts like adorable clothes, all of our feeding supplies, wet bags, and a diaper/wipes pod, as well as treasured, handmade items like a custom baby quilt, a crocheted hat and wool diaper soaker, and perfect decor items like a framed print that says, “You are loved.”

the stash

clothes

crib

toys

I think this is K's favorite gift: a box of Thin Mints we'd previously purchased from a friend's daughter.

I think this is K’s favorite gift: a box of Thin Mints we’d previously purchased from a friend’s daughter.

Our friends really got into the group craft project: an ABC book for our little one. We created pages that say, “A is for…” and brought a ton of craft supplies for people to create depictions of what could begin with those letters. Some favorites include, “Z is for zombie,” “X is for X-Men,” “Q is for queer,” and “Y is for you,” which has a really touching message about how treasured Falco is. I set aside the letter M so, when I have a free moment, I can create my “M is for mommy” page.

K secured a delicious gluten free sheet cake (vanilla with raspberry filling – YUM) from my favorite gluten free bakery. Despite having spelled out Falco (“F is for Frank…,” etc.), the baker wrote “Salco” on the cake. Really? SALCO?! She “fixed” it for us while we waited, but her version of fixing it just made it look smudgy and worse than it already did with a misspelling. We got a really great chuckle out of it, plus it makes for a funny story. The cake was de-freaking-licious, though, which is what matters most. I consumed two large pieces at the shower and considered a third before bed.

Falcocake

We revealed the sex of the baby but swore our friends to secrecy, as we do not intend to tell our family members or anyone else before Falco’s birth. We recently had some family members start following our blog (welcome!), and there might be some incidences in the near future where we need a more private space to process or discuss some deep topics that I don’t feel comfortable sharing with everyone in my life. A few password protected posts, including one that’s a sex reveal, might be on the horizon. If you’d like to be able to read them, please email me at thefalcoproject(at)gmail(dot)com.

K and I are truly the luckiest people in the world. I know that Falco is going to love all of her/his aunts and uncles!