Sunday, June 12, 2016

We Must Stand With Strength

My community has been attacked.  So violently. The mass shooting in Orlando, Florida where one man killed at least 50 individuals makes me sad.  At least 50 different lives were ended by one disturbed man.  All day I've thought about those 50 individuals who were enjoying a Saturday night in the sanctuary of a gay club.  They were living life!  And now they are gone.  Think of all that was lost when a life is ended too soon.

It was an act of terror.  It was an act of hate. It was an act that we must not tolerate in our society.

More love.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ten Year Check-In

Ten years ago this month my husband and I stood in front of our closest family and friends and publicly expressed our love and devotion and took vows of commitment.  The goal of the event was to establish a principal value in our world: our love was equal to (not less than) the love of any other married couple.  As I sit here in my office typing this blog ten years ago seems like a different time entirely.  It was a different time.  People stumbled over the vocabulary: "Do you call him your partner or husband?"

In 2006, our wedding in Austin, Texas was not recognized by the law of the land.  Most guests in attendance on our most special occasion had never experienced a wedding between two men.  The newness of the event was nice, since we could make up the rules as we went along without worrying about expectations.  We kept the guest list well edited; we realized at the time that we didn't have many close gay friends - the majority of our friends were straight, which is a fact that is (for some strange reason) still true today.  We served drinks before the wedding ceremony to ensure (have kidding/half serious) that our honored guests (of mostly straight people) could handle two men kissing after the "I do's".  In the spirit of Gandhi's "be the change you wish to see in the world" we held a fun wedding, and at the time we hoped one day we could get legally married.

As is true in life, I'm learning, things appear to be happening slowly and then they appear to be happening all at once!  Seven years after our wedding, in the fall of 2013, that legal marriage happened in Santa Barbara, California.  Our union was recognized by the law of the land, finally.

In the early spring of 2016, our twins were born in Austin, Texas.

And here we are...

It's been a very special ten years, and we are just getting started.  After ten years, my husband is still the man of my dreams and he still owns my heart, completely.

I am grateful.

My life is so special because we are standing on the shoulders of the men and women who lived before us and lived in a time when being true to yourself and loving who you wanted wasn’t always an option and came at a great risk.  If my husband and I had been born in a previous generation, then our life would have been different.  We know this fact, and we've done our part to keep pushing things forward for the next generation.  Isn't that the point of life?  "Leave the world a better place than you found it."

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lake House

Well, here you go...I've found my dream lake house.  Isn't this gorgeous?  I'm posting the photos here so at least I can visit PICTURES of a lake house...

More photos here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Vacuum Lines by Diane Dekker Redlegs

I saw on my husband's Facebook feed this post getting shared, which is a perfect read for my current situation in life.  My husband and I had almost 10 years of marriage before our tiny humans arrived to live under our roof.  We're accustom to living in a house of order and elegance, but that reality has changed.  There is a boatload of baby gear which greeted the twins' arrival in this world.   Our house is morphing to support the rearing of children and it's an adjustment for me.  I am saying goodbye to my constant order and elegance, and I predict I will be a very, very old person when it returns...

...and that's a very good thing according to the advice from Diane:


Vacuum lines

(pay attention young mother's, you may want to read this 😉).

19 years ago, Scott, all 5 kids and I took a trip to Omaha. Kenny was 10, Todd was 8, Kevin 5, Ryan 2, and Lisa was 6 months old. We took a day and went over to visit Scott's Aunt and Uncle who lived in Omaha, in their beautiful new home. When we pulled up, the exterior said to me, "this is what dreams are made of". As his Aunt gave us a tour of their home, I just remember thinking how amazing it would be to have such a beautiful home, full of rooms and bathrooms and a huge kitchen that screamed to be full of family and fun, but what stuck out the most in my mind and sparked a completely different envy than just the size of the house, was the vacuum lines that remained in the carpet in the formal dining room. As we strolled into the dining room, I remember thinking to myself, "oh my gosh! Her vacuum lines are still in her carpet probably a week or more after she vacuumed!! What I wouldn't give to clean my house and have it stay magazine perfect for more than 5 minutes!!" I couldn't wait for the day that I would be able to do that and not have it messed up by sticky little finger prints on the perfectly waxed dining table, or Legos hiding under the table, or walking in to discover Ryan's latest art creation had so carefully been designed on the wall with crayons.

Here's what I didn't know at that time, (and somewhere my mind couldn't even go), that to have all of this picture perfect cleanliness, the kids would have to be gone. You see, I wanted those things because the everyday struggles of 5 loads of laundry, toys everywhere, mouths to feed, meals to prepare, beds to make were overwhelming to me, and the beauty of a pristine home was something only dreams were made of. Hell it took me 20 minutes in each room just to find the floor before I could vacuum it. I never grasped (no matter how bad I wanted vacuum lines to stay in my carpet) that my kids would one day grow up and leave. That thought doesn't exist in a young mothers mind, it's just the things that old ladies talked about, and the endless reminders they tried to give me that "it all goes by so fast".

Then one day I woke up, went to clean my house, carefully placed vacuum lines in my carpet, looked at my beautiful dinning table with a perfect wax coating and zero finger prints and realized it would stay that way for days.....and that's when I realized that vacuum lines are lonely. That Legos and dirty clothes and mouths to feed and backpacks to get ready are sometimes very overwhelming, but they're never, ever lonely and that what the old ladies had been telling me was true! That the Legos slowly disappeared without me ever noticing. They were replaced by video games, and then football gear and then by empty bedrooms waiting for a visit home from college or life. That the loads of laundry gradually got smaller, the dirty dishes were less and the endless treasures of Pokemon cards, or rock collections all disappeared. Everything sits magazine ready in my home now and I appreciate and love this time of my life, I only wish I had known the cost of vacuum lines, because then I surly wouldn't have wanted this day to come as fast as it did.

Happy Mother's Day to mothers everywhere. To the mothers with vacuum lines who miss their children everyday, and to the young mothers who struggle through the mountains of laundry and responsibility. Cherish your children, their messes and stresses and the hell they put you through as teenagers, and trust me, vacuum lines are overrated 😉 ❤



Don't Eat People

Here's a picture of John trying to eat his sister, Susanna.  We're hoping his cannibalism tendencies fade after a few months, since one of our family rules is that we don't eat people (unless we're on a plane that crashes in the mountains and it's the only way to survive).

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bulldogs Down

We came home from the pediatrician with the two legged children on Tuesday and Matt Damon, our 9 month old four legged son, could not stand and would not move.   I was hysterical.   One emergency vet visit and rounds of X-rays later it was determined that he had a slipped disc in his back.  He was put on a five-pills-two-times-a-day routine in addition to bed rest for one week.  Four days into the routine and it appears to be working - he's acting well now and he doesn't understand why we're keeping him locked down most of the day.  He gets out of doggie jail on Tuesday.

On Saturday morning Dooley, our 6 year old four legged daughter, ripped a back claw out of her foot.  We don't know how it happened, but the incident might have occurred when she was defending our house from the exterminator who was outside treating our house for bugs.  I was sleeping and my husband was juggling twins and a big bloody crime scene created by Dooley.   How much blood could she possibly pump out of her paw?  Luckily for us, my husband's parents arrived to take care of the two legged babies while we went to another emergency vet appointment; the second emergency vet appointment of the week.  No worries though, Dooley is going to be fine.

It's been an exciting week with bulldogs, and I'm so thankful for our vets.  I know they are thankful for us and the wealth transfer we have initiated from our bank account to theirs.  It's all worth it.  To me.  I love our dogs!

The key takeaways for the week:

  1. my husband is disturbingly good at cleaning up blood; it's like it never happened,  
  2. the four legged bulldog children are going to be alright, 
  3. Trigger, our 13 year old four legged non-bulldog son,  has proven for the umpteenth time he's clearly superior to the bulldogs (not that it's a competition). 

Sol 36

Have you read The Martian?  More importantly, have you watched The Martian?  The film stars Matt Damon - my favorite Hollywood icon.  You must watch the movie for the lovely acting and shirtless moment delivered by Matt Damon.  (Swoon.)

The final moment in the film when Mark Watney (Damon) is explaining his key to successful survival if frequently played in the internal workings of my mind:

"At some point, everything's gonna go south on you... everything's going to go south and you're going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That's all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem... and you solve the next one... and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home. All right, questions?"

For some reason, I think the wisdom obtained from Mark Watney's survival on Mars is relevant to my survival of the first five weeks of fatherhood.

I am grateful for our son and our daughter and our time together so far.  I glow in much love and gratitude for my life in its current state.  At night when the babies are sleeping, my dogs are sleeping, and my husband is sleeping I pause to say thank you to the universe and my beautiful normal everyday life.  This is all I really ever wanted in life: A two story house, the best husband, babies and lots and lots of dogs.

I'm living my dream and it's kicking me in the ass. 

Having twins is not easy.  My current analysis at 5 weeks is that this is so much more difficult than I expected.  We have nieces and nephews, and when I was 18 years old I lived with my cousin for two months in Austin and she had a toddler and an infant.  I felt prepared.  I was not prepared.  

The joyous news is that the babies are thriving.  At the one month visit our pediatrician said he could not be more pleased with their progress.  Success.  This is what success feels like?  I'm enjoying the daily challenges of fatherhood.  I'm really enjoying watching my husband be a father - he's good at everything.  And like Mark Watney said, "at some point, everything's gonna go south on can either accept that, or you can get to work.  That's all it is. You just solve one problem...and you solve the next one..."