Christmas 2011

Hoping you & yours have recovered nicely from a magical weekend full of family, friends and brand new diamonds memories!  The four day weekend about did me in – not quite used to so much “busy” in my dull mommy life but seriously, it was beautiful.  Really, really beautiful.

I started writing every last detail but I’ll save the “guts” and just share the “glory”.

I have to admit, I was far more excited than anyone else in the house.  I have dreamed for years for this Christmas.  I know next will even be more magical but seriously, it was perfect.

As you know, we took her to see Santa many times this year.  She definitely gets that he’s a big deal.  But she’s too young to understand the “naughty/nice” thing, in relation to him.  And too young to understand that Santa brings gifts.  Still… it was amazing.

Santa's Corner

A Bit of Dress Up

SO excited!!

Someone got a new puppy! (kind of)

More Dress Up

Mr & Mrs (pioneer) Santa Claus!

Without a doubt, every wonderful thing I imagined and the very Best Christmas Ever!

(we get round 2 THIS weekend!  stay tuned!)

Now I’m On My Way to 3!

It’s official!  She’s out of her 20’s and officially 30 months old!

You all told me this time would fly.  You told me to cherish every minute and document everything you knew I’d forget.  But couldn’t you have been a little more forceful?  I mean, her baby book is a disgrace!  And God knows I only cherish about 3/4 of the minutes and some days that’s pushing it.

Still, with all the things I’ve remembered and all the things I’ve forgotten, she’s nothing short of magic and I love every piece of her.

Her hair … almost daily causing us each a time out.

Her toes … that she puts to my face every night for a kiss.

Her joyful noise … the one that makes people turn their head from clear down the street.

Her voice … when she says, “taytu, mommy” or really any other words besides “NO!”

Her fingers … as she carefully stacks her blocks or not so carefully bangs on her keyboard.

The small of her back, the back of her neck, the sides of her waist, the yummiest lips – and those eyes!

I am in love.  It’s been offical for years now.  But for 30 months in a row, I have been madly in love with this child.

Happy 1/2 Birthday, baby girl.  (yesterday)  & Happy Birthday, baby Jesus.  (whenever that was…)

New "hair"...

Pine Cones & Halle Berry

That’s how we sing it around here.  But that’s the only exception.

Christmas music is my favorite.  I love the old classics like Boyz 2 Men and Celine Dion.  Just kidding.  I like Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Brenda Lee – a little Judy Garland… I love a bit of Elvis and LOT of Barbra Steisand.  And I love the Carpenters!  I love the songs I know and not so much the songs I don’t.

Every year I buy a new cd or two.  This year I bought Justin Bieb*r because if he wasn’t so young I love him.  It’s mostly fantastic because there are many old songs redone in fantastic ways.  But then there are the new songs – the one’s I’ve never heard of and really never wanted to – those should just go right back on the itunes.  Who really learns new Christmas songs?

You do!  That’s right.  Today’s lesson is a few songs that you’ve probably never heard – unless you’re not part of the “in” crowd.  Or as my friend says, “You’re either part of the Inn crowd or one of the Stable few.”  It was kinda cute.  <wink>

1. Welcome to Our World by Chris Rice
This song is one of my favorites, year around.  But that’s because it’s about Jesus and I think the words are some of the sweetest I’ve ever heard.

2. It’s Christmas Time by The Carpenter’s
This is, by far, my favorite song to sing this time of year!  If you ask nicely (& feed me just 1 drink) I’d be happy to perform for you.  & although I don’t have that deep, delicious voice like Karen, I’ll entertain you.  You can be certain of that.

3. Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant
Haunting.  I just think this song is beautiful and her voice can never go wrong with me.

4. Mary Did You Know by Kutless
I’m sure you all know this one but I think it’s fantastic.  My favorite line is, “When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God.”  Lovely.

5. While You Were Sleeping by Casting Crowns
Just the story – plain & simple.  It’s a bit dramatic at the end but it reminds me of all that can pass by me if I’m not paying attention.

Merry Christmas Adam, my friends.  I hope you finish all your odds & ends today.

And now for the ladies…

Who’s your girl crush?  This one should be much easier!

….do be do be do.

This is how I rank (almost) every girl.  Is she a “do” or a “be”?  I know “do” sounds totally crass and that’s not the kind of girl I am but it’s still a very good way to seperate catagories.  I’m embarrassed to kiss my mother with this mouth and please promise me my daughters won’t grow up and read this post…  Anyway, it goes like this:  (for example)

Angelina – do
Aniston – be
Pink – do
Portia – be

Get it?  Plus, since my “kind of” girl isn’t the kind that typically graces the cover of a magazine, I don’t have many (celebrity) choices.  But let’s just get this party started, shall we?  <wink, wink!>

1.  Always and forever, Pink.  She’s beautiful and talented and totally sexy!  I like her best with short, blond hair and make-up.  She’s a rockstar!  Like this, to be exact.

2. Amy Ray.  ARay.  My soulmate – if I believed in soulmates.  It’s not her face or hair or red, plaid pants.  It’s just the way she makes me feel when I close my eyes and just … listen.

3. Rosario Dawson.  It’s mostly that scene in Seven Pounds where she’s standing at the window in the sheer shirt.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can get the movie at Redbox.  And Mimi… oh, Mimi!

4. Rachel Maddow.  With glasses.  She’s wicked smart and I LOVE smart!

5.   Random Women’s Softball Player.  I don’t know her.  I don’t need to.  I love watching them.  Cristy calls it, “walking in on me watching porn.”  Whatever.  It’s my kinda porn, I suppose.  So thank you, every lady that does that tricky fast pitch thing in those cute knee high socks.  And if you have a ponytail under your hat, well that’s just frosting!  🙂

So there you have it!  Sadly, I have far more boy crushes than girls because they just don’t make many like I like them!  And if I could add more boys they would be Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt (because of all those cute kids and that super intimidating, hot wife!) and Leo Dicaprio.

Now you.  Go!

Christmas Traditions

When I was growing up, we’d get our tree(s) over Thanksgiving weekend.  My dad would buy permits and we’d travel to some gawd awful land and cut them down ourselves.  All of their friends and all of their kids would join us.  We’d have hot cocoa & plenty of treats.  It was always fantastic but it seemed we’d get there after everyone else got all the perfect trees that were actually shaped like triangles.  We’d spend hours trying to find something that would fit in the truck and then the house.  It seldom did.  We’d spend the evening trimming off the bottom then lopping off the top.  I swear it was always 5 feet wide.  Fantastic!

My dad would also always sneak in 2 extra small trees.  This may have had something to do with getting such a giant big tree….  Anyway, me & my brothers would also have a little tree in our rooms.  By “little”, I mean about our height.  I loved it.  I loved being able to decorate my own tree with my own popcorn and paper chains.  I loved having the lights on at night – like it was my own little apartment.

Christmas Eve was the same every year.  We’d have visitors – usually my grandparents and friends of my parents.  They’d drink, the kids would play and before we went to bed, we opened 1 present.  Jammies.  Everyone does this, yes?

We weren’t allowed to wake up before 4am on Christmas morning.  It still makes me laugh that this was a problem but seriously, who can SLEEP?  So, promptly at 4am, I would sneak out of my room and creep down the hallway. The lights were always left on (for Santa) so I just followed the warmth that seemed to pull me closer and closer.  I’d climb the stairs into the most magical place that lit up every part of me!  The lights, the smell, All Those Presents!  I’d take a quick inventory of what was left from Santa (because all other presents were wrapped) and run like hell to my brothers!

My intent was always to wake them and guide them to the magic but I could never wait.  I’d wake them up and before we left their room I’d say something like, “you’re going to LOVE your new bike!!”  To this day, I’m not sure my brother forgives me for that.  <oops>

After they looked around a bit, we’d wake our parents.  – who I’m sure weren’t actually asleep this whole time.

Magic.  That’s it.  It was magic.

Stockings first then 1 by 1 we’d each open a present.  And still, this is exactly how we do it.  But now we sleep at different houses and meet at my mom’s around 7am.  Other than sleeping and timing, it’s all still the same.

Because it’s just me & my brother and, luckily, we both still feel like we should all be together, we are.  But I wonder how long that will last.  I mean, my parents didn’t wake us up and take us to their parents house.  & now that my mom is alone, I can’t even imagine it any other way.  In fact, I’m still gonna press her to stay with us Christmas Eve…  We’ll see.

This year we have another family – another WHOLE family to start traditions with.  In fact, maybe it’s already started.  We went over to my dad’s tonight to rehearse our Christmas Eve song (Baby, It’s Cold Outsid) and the kids exchanged their presents. I just inhaled it all – loving them each so very much.

Glory & her Papa

Me, my baby and her baby

Cousin Kenedi

Uncle Ian & Kooper

Anyway, I love traditions.  I love routine.  I love consistency.  & I can’t wait for ALL of Glory’s Christmas’!!  Because you know I’ll be a little old lady, sleeping on her couch, waking her up at 4am to tell her what Santa brought her.

Boy Crushes

You have them too.  I know you do.

Just like I tell Yegs, it’s fine to have crushes – it doesn’t mean you’re gay (or not, in my case) but it’s good to know the kind of “human” you find attractive.  And c’mon, everyone experiments in college, right?  <wink>

So a couple of months ago I saw a movie called “just” In Time.  My “just” in quotes are the beginning of “just’in”, as in Justin Timberlake and he happens to star in that film.  Besides it being just a really cool movie (that I’ll post about soon), he is just gawd awful beautiful.

I’ve always joked that I love girly boys.  I don’t mean it is a mean way.  I like soft skin.  I don’t like body hair.  I like nice husbands and nice dads.  And my crushes are usually about the attitude, in general.  (Don’t think for a minute that I’m ignoring a certain body part because ewww.)  There are actually some boys who qualify.  But much to Rick Perry’s dismay, far more girls.  Sorry, loser.

Anyway, I have a list.  There are only 5.  Don’t judge.  It goes like this:

JT (that’s what he lets me call him because we’re tight like that)
Zac Efron from that one movie about his little brother that dies.  I LOVE him AND his hair!
Tim (yummy) McGraw  – because he’s married to the most lovely woman on earth AND has 3 lovely daughters that he adores.  I would totally marry him and help him take care of those 4 lovely ladies.
Marky Mark Wahlberg …and don’t you dare disagree with me on this one.  He’s Sooo beautiful.  Inside/Outside/ALL sides.
Eminem.  This one goes against everything I’ve listed.  Just move on.

So I thought since I’m opening myself up to be attacked by the lesbians, you should join me.  Who’s your boy crush?  C’mon…you can tell me.  🙂

Forgiveness

This is a long time coming.  I expect it will take weeks to write but it’s still worth writing.  It’s worth many things.

Many of you know my history from my last blog.  For those of you that don’t, I wouldn’t even know where to start.  But to jump ahead, I wanted to tell you all that things are wonderful with me & Gracie.  …and even her mom.  It’s good.  Without jinxing it, it’s really good.  There are still rules and guidlines and boundaries but as we build trust, those things feel farther and farther away.  And for me, just seeing her is a miracle.

I’m not sure if time was the biggest tool in healing or if it was really just an honest conversation that needed to happen for 9 years or so.  I think it’s different for both of us.  I remember her calling one afternoon after we exchanged (not very nice) emails.  I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror watching my lips move but not knowing what I was saying.  I felt like I had nothing to lose.  I was crying.  She was crying.  And even when we weren’t speaking, a whole lot was being said.

We’ve had a million conversations since that day and they’re always hard.  But every time we hang up I wished we could’ve spoken that honestly all those years ago.  I wish we could’ve been vulnerable and sassy and scared and just plain honest.  What would’ve been different?  And if we could stop any of you from the mistakes we made, what advice would we give you?  We’ve spent a lot of hours talking about this very thing.  What if I had just trusted her enough to say the hard things?  What if I hadn’t given her reason to not trust me?  What if she had more time to sit without making such big decisions?  What if we didn’t have armies pulling at us – creating two seperate sides?

But it didn’t happen like that.  We were awful to each other.  The awful’est.  We were enemies and it turns out that neither of us were ever really comfortable in that camp.

We were talking with her friend a while ago and she said, after spending the morning with us, “I can’t believe you were ever fighting.”  My response was, “Oh believe!”  But then said, “Actually, we weren’t.  We paid other people hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight for us.”  And it’s true.  Any time we were together – just us, we were fine.  Adding in all the laws and lawyers and ego just fueled the forest fire that should’ve just been a temporary burn from a candle.

A few months ago I went to a conference for LGBT lawyers.  It was amazing and there were about a dozen other moms & dads there that went through custody battles like I did.  Out of all of them, I was the only case that lost in court.  But as we all spoke and hugged and cried, I wondered how many of them really won?  There was one mother who won in court but her relationship with her daughter is so broken that she doesn’t even speak to her.  A dad who spent 6 years fighting for his son but those years were too many and now they simply just don’t know each other.  And another who changed the law in her state so now everyone under her is protected but she has such a wounded relationship with her ex that her relationship with her children is robotic – layed out hour by hour by a GAL to make sure the mom’s aren’t hurting the children by talking badly about the other.  Ugh.

I get it.  More than anyone and as the same as everyone, I get the need to fight for your child.  I have never recommended that someone do it through court but I will stand with any one of you who choose to.  I understand the feeling of “even if I lose, she’ll know I tried.”  But what else can we do?  If Cheryl and I could sit in the front of a room (without tomatoes being thrown) and talk about what we would’ve done differently, what would we say?

Coulda Shoulda Woulda.  And a million other things.

I’ve been writing our story for years.  But you already knew that.  I’ve always struggled with the outline because there has never been an ending.  Sometimes there is and I think, “is it really okay with me that it end badly?”  And I guess it is.  But I really don’t want that.  I have always wanted a happy ending and I’m crossing every finger and toe for just that.

Stay tuned.