How to weekend with kids in the winter

Pool days // Kelsey, Especially

The (indoor) pool, duh.

…nuff said.

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We’ve had a good run with the indoor pool thing this month. We’ve found our way to one of the two local indoor pools on three of the four weekends so far this month (so yeah, these photos are from three different weekends and randomly ordered), but sadly I think our swim days in January have come to an end. Unless we squeeze it in some time on Saturday (doubtful…other radtastic plans), we won’t make it this upcoming weekend because like every other God-fearing, freedom-loving American, our Sunday this weekend is booked solid with the Super Bowl and everything that goes with it, which is pretty much just pure gluttony (AKA: copious amounts of food and alcohol). In an attempt to be at least quasi-healthy and productive on Sunday, we plan to hit up our local farmers market first thing (which is an outdoor market that has apparently been open since December?!) and then hunker down for Game Day.

Because best believe there are exactly zero minutes available this Sunday to dedicate to anything other than finding fresh ingredients for salsa and guac at the farmers market, making said fresh salsa and guac back at home, and pigging out on said homemade fresh salsa and guac on salty tortilla chips while watching the Seahawks shit on the Pats, with our feet on the coffee table, our pants unbuttoned, and a beer in both hands at all times. Are we ready for some football? Are we ready for some football?! FUCK YEAH, WE ARE. It’s an exciting time to be an American, people, albeit also bittersweet since after this weekend football disappears for six months. Boo. #football #forever

What about you all? Are you ready for the Super Bowl? Has #deflategate seeped into international news (#leavebelichickalone…who can pull the reference?!)? Have you been swimming at all this winter? Or to a farmers market? Did you know they hold outdoor farmers markets during winter?! Whaaaaa?

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Related: more winter weekending (but outside), some warm-weather weekending, and fingers crossed that the weather forecast for this evening/tomorrow morning brings the kids a Tuesday filled with some of this.

Asking all them questions | Ask Me Anything answers, part 2

‘sup? How’s everyone’s Friday? Have you seen this video before? We saw it for the first time about a year ago and have been laughing our assess off at it ever since. No, it’s not racist to laugh at because we’re white. It’s just funny…because that’s how ALL chicks act, no matter their race. CALM DOWN…and start it at about 1:50…that’s when it starts getting LLOL. #bitchesbetrippin

Anyway, as promised: Part 2 to the Ask Me Anything questions. It’s up later than I wanted but you know, real life. Read responses to Part 1.

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How do you decide what to share here, and what not to? You mention some boundaries with Shannon for some specific topics, but how do you decide for the normal stuff / other people? –Laura

I will not write about anything having to do with Shannon’s job or family/personal life outside our relationship. Other than that, pretty much anything is fair game. As far as writing about other people, if it’s more than just a casual or general reference, I ask permission. I even send copies of draft posts to people to read through before they go live with the express purpose of receiving their go-ahead. Shannon proofs every single post that has to do with her or us in a more-than-just-general way. Every. Single. One.

Deciding what to write about isn’t a laborious decision-making process for me. It’s usually about whether or not I’m “in the mood” to write with a certain tone or about a certain topic, or whether or not I have time.

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You had three kids when you met Shannon. She had none. Presumably she loves yours. But do you think that you and Shannon will have more children together? Have you and her ever discussed that issue? –Caroline

Maybe. We’ve talked about it since the very beginning of our relationship, the first time being in the back of a parking lot over ice cream one summer night in 2013. I started having kids young (at 18). While I did have a few “party years” a few years later, by and large my life has been about my kids. I haven’t had much opportunity or time (or money) to “do me”. I’ve always said that all my kids will be out of diapers by the time I’m 30, and right now, that looks to be true.

I turn 30 in just under a year and a half, and all of my kids have been out of diapers for some time. I love them, but I’m looking forward to having my life be a liiiiiiittle bit more about me now that they’re getting older. I’m just now feeling like I’m getting back on track with being a responsible grown-up (or, rather, that decisions to do so that I made six years ago are just now beginning to pay off) and I don’t want to go back to babies. Not right now. I’m not opposed to revisiting the issue later on down the road, but right now I’m really enjoying not having the stress of a newborn/infant. Plus, every time I’ve been pregnant and gone through childbirth, my romantic relationship suffered immensely. I don’t want that pressure put on my relationship with Shannon. Selfish? Yup. Do I care? Nope.

I asked Shannon to answer this question too – from her POV – and here’s what she sent me just this morning (bold emphasis is hers):

“One thing I’m learning (even with being a little over a year and a half into our relationship) is that kids are difficult…especially three kids, two of whom are still daycare age. When we first started dating/talking/whatever the kids call it these days, I really didn’t think much about it. I knew she had children (I talked to Briseis a couple of times before I actually talked to Kelsey), and I slowly started to get to know them, and, sure enough, I thought they were pretty cool (some of that coolness started because Madden wanted to do burpees, pull ups, and thrusters with a PVC pipe).

For me, my relationship with Briseis, Emma, and Madden will always be different than the relationship they share with Kelsey or RJ, and I know and accept that. I won’t ever be mommy…and most certainly will never be daddy (for obvious reasons), but that doesn’t change the fact that I love them and would do anything for them. Kels and I have had the “more children talk,” and I think we are on the same page…we are both fine with how things are now…two toddlers and a tween are enough…especially given all the other circumstances.

We have discussed and agreed to be open-minded about possibly adopting in the future if 1) we wanted more children 2) financially were more stable 3) it would be in the family’s best interest. However, we will revisit the subject when we know we are ready. At this point we are both content and happy with watching Briseis play around and be carefree, and Emma talking and singing and dancing around the room, and Madden running around like he is on a sugar high 24/7.”

So you know. One day, maybe. We’re both open to the idea of more biological children or adopted children. Or no more kids at all. We’ll take it as it comes.

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How did it come to be that Briseis doesn’t live with you? –Ana

Long story short, the summer I gave up custody to her went like this:

Her dad was in the IRR, almost done with his contractual obligation to the military. I was totally lost, looking for direction. At the start of the year the company I’d been working for (Washington Mutual Home Loans) was seized by the federal government and immediately shut down amid the housing collapse. We all lost our jobs. Half a year later, I was still out of work. I decided I would reenlist in the Army, but active duty this time. The thing is, you can’t enlist into any branch of the military as an unmarried person with dependents. Either get married, or give up the rights to your dependents. At the same time, Bri’s dad, who had been done with reserve duty for a few years and had his civilian life completely established, was called back up to deploy. He didn’t want to go (bigger story there, but don’t anyone dare call him a coward for it because it wasn’t like that at all), but you don’t really get to pick and choose whether or not you accept deployment orders. Unless you’re unmarried with a dependent. The military won’t deploy an unmarried person that has dependents.

The stars aligned and Bri’s dad taking custody of her worked out for everyone: she remained with a parent; her dad was able to fulfill his civilian mission stateside; I was able to reenlist into active duty service and establish a real military career. It was a no-brainer. I handed over custody to him with the understanding that I’d get her back when I was done with whatever training I was sent to. But then the active duty reenlistment never happened, I fell in with the wrong crowd, and partying took priority over everything (coincidentally, this was the summer I turned 21). Things just kind of fell apart and we all fell into our new routines. Almost eight years later, here we are.

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At one point, did you mention that you were attempting to change the status of Briseis – longer stays or full time? What happened? And how did it come to be that she’s with her dad? –Laura

True story. A while back I filed a petition requesting a change in our custody/visitation order. At the time, Bri’s dad was living like, six miles straight down the road and I was working from home. I wanted her time to be split evenly among her dad and me. By the time our court date arrived (months later), Bri’s dad and that part of her family moved across town to the other side of a different county. I went back to work in the office. There was no way I’d be able to drive her to school each day and make it to work. It just wasn’t going to happen. Come our court date, I told the judge “never mind” and headed home.

I love Briseis just as much as I love Emma and Madden, who live with me full-time. It sucks that she doesn’t live with me or spend more time over here, BUT…I believe it would be more harmful to remove her from the day-to-day family life that she has known for the past 7+ years than to keep our current arrangement. She only spends every other weekend at my place, but I see her more than that (soccer games, birthday parties, movie dates, dinner outing, school functions, etc.). She doesn’t live with me full-time, but I’m not absent from her life. Plus, she has her own cell phone (not my decision, don’t even get me started) so really, I can literally talk to her whenever I want and she can talk to me whenever she wants. Her dad and I aren’t BFFs but we don’t hate each other, either. We work together to make sure Bri is taken care of. Yes, he works a lot more and a lot harder, but I do what I can. Always.

As Bri gets older, if she decides on her own that she wants to spend more time over here or live here full-time then we’ll revisit the issue. But in no universe is it fair for me to take her out of her dad’s home – a totally acceptable, safe, and loving environment – just because. I was bitter for a long time that she lived with him. I felt cheated, even though I was complicit in the custody swap. I’ve long been over it, though. Our setup works for us. No one else has to live it or understand or accept it. Pushing the issue (which is really a non-issue) would just be harmful to Bri and selfish of me.

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I want to know what printer you are using to do your pics. I’m so sick of picking up prints at Target or Walgreens and having them look like crap. And although I think Persnickety does a marvelous job, mama ain’t got that kinda patience to wait around. –Stephanie

I use an HP Photosmart 7515. It’s one of those all-in-one set-ups. Got it at Costco five years ago. It’s SUPER clunky, but it has wireless capability so it just sits in the basement (my office is a billion feet away) and I don’t have to stare at its clunkiness all day, errryday. It works awesome for me. The only issue I’ve ever had with it is it running out of ink, so really, no issues. Ever.

I refill my ink cartridges at Costco. I spend the same amount of money refilling all 5 cartridges the printer takes that I would on 1.5 new cartridges. Totally worth it.

I used to print on Canon Pixma matte photo paper but then I discovered that the Office Depot brand of matte photo paper is a truer white…and way fucking cheaper (when Canon isn’t on sale on Amazon, anyway). So now I use that.

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I am curious about what you think of the PL community and creative teams in general? –Giada

Hmm. Well. I don’t know. The community as a whole? Eh. The very specific niche of Project Lifers that I know and love and follow and pull a lot of inspiration from? Two thumbs up.

I have a really specific style/aesthetic and I’m not really interested in or inspired by anything that doesn’t adhere to said style/aesthetic. I really love how Project Life enables everyone to become memory keepers in a super non-intimidating way, but I’m not crazy about the super prevalent religious/straight/white/mommy undertone in the community. Nothing against any of those demographics, but I do think that there is a huge segment of the regular American population that is totally neglected by the traditional Project Life community, and that really sucks. Personally, I don’t at all feel represented in the community, which is a huge reason that I wasn’t excited about doing Project Life this year.

As far as creative teams go? I don’t really have any feelings on them. Is that the wrong answer? I feel like that’s the wrong answer. I mean, I think they’re great marketing tools for both the creator who has the team and the people who are chosen for the team. But they’re not my thing. I wrote more about my feelings about it here.

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Well, that’s it for this week. Have a rad weekend!

Artifact Uprising review (AKA: Uh oh/I need a Plan B/FML in the face)

Even though I’m an asshole most of the time in real life, I try to not be one in this space but sometimes that’s unavoidable. I promise that I don’t mean to sound like an asshole in this post. Seriously. I even waited a fucking week after the fact to write this post; to give myself time to calm down and come up with a post that’s not asshole-ish. But in this post I’m going to sound like an asshole. There’s no way around it. Just a friendly FYI before we get started so if you don’t want to start hating me you can click away from my blog now. Ready? GO!

Artifact Uprising review (#notimpressed) // Kelsey, Especially

Oh hey. You’re still here. Cool. Let’s talk. So. That whole revolutionary idea/plan I had to approach memory keeping totally differently in 2015? Yeah, about that. Ain’t gonna happen. Not with Plan A, anyway. And unfortunately for me, Plan A was the only plan I had actually come up with because yes, I’m an underprepared and overconfident idiot. I was so convinced that Plan A would work that I didn’t even consider coming up with a backup plan…or two. Awesome.

Plan A was to print monthly 8.5×11 soft cover photo books through Artifact Uprising, but before I splurged on a large, 40+ page photo book (and before I spent the time piecing one together) I decided to put together a small project to be printed by AU, just to make sure I knew what I was getting and that what I was getting was what I wanted. And OMGTHANKGOD I did, because what I got was not at all what I wanted. *Sigh*

I put together a 5.5×5.5 soft cover photo book using photos of Madden and some of his best-said things over the past year or so. I spent the week between placing my order and receiving it in the mail completely excited. The buzz around AU has been great since they first popped on the scene. I was sure this book was going to be the best thing ever. And then it arrived in the mail.

Artifact Uprising review (#notimpressed) // Kelsey, Especially
You guys. I’m sad. I was so excited for this book. I wanted to love it so hard. But I just…didn’t. I don’t. The very first thing I noticed when I took it out of the box was that the photo on the front looked…fuzzy…and splotchy (you can kind of see it in the photo above…a little bit). Then, when I pulled the book out of the cellophane packaging I noticed that there were pink and black marks in at least four different places on the cover, presumably from whatever mechanical press was used during packaging. The marks are pretty light (too light to see in these photos), but they’re noticeable in person and totally take away from the final product.

After momentarily silently seething over the marks on the cover, I returned my attention to the photo. Fuzzy for sure, with kind of grainy and thinly spaced vertical lines from printing present up-and-down the entire photo. I’ve printed that same exact photo at home and it didn’t turn out fuzzy or with lines. What the fuck?

So then I opened my highly anticipated book.

Artifact Uprising review (#notimpressed) // Kelsey, Especially

Two things: (1) The paper isn’t a true white, which bothers me because I expected my photos to be printed on true white paper so that the integrity of the color remained intact. Was that a weird expectation? Does AU state somewhere in plain sight on their site that their paper isn’t a true white? Did I miss that part? It’s possible… (2) The paper is more like a really high quality card stock than photo paper. It’s thick and smooth and a teensy tiny bit slick (see also: it’s nice), but the photos printed on it look nearly identical to the print quality I get at home with my HP all-in-one clunky desktop printer.

Over the last two years I’ve printed 99.9 percent of my photos at home – on glossy photo paper, on matte photo paper, on pure white card stock, on fucking thin ass regular copy/printer paper – and as far as I can tell, the only thing separating this AU photo book from photos I’ve printed at home is that the AU book has a perfect bind (seriously, that’s the name of the binding technique used, not me being randomly exceptionally nice) and the photos I’ve printed at home are hole-punched and bound with small binder rings. Other than that, I can’t tell the fucking difference. Except, also, for the vertical lines on all the photos thing. Seriously. Every photo in my mini AU book has visible (albeit faint-ish) vertical lines spanning the entirety of the photo. The only time my photos have printed like that at home have been when I’m running out of ink.

I’m pissed off and disappointed. I had really high hopes for AU photo books. I was expecting something at least a step above what I’m capable of producing at home and while the perfect bind is definitely something I couldn’t have done as well at home, the facts that (1) the cover is fucked up, (2) the paper is off white, (3) there are visible vertical printing lines in every photo, and (4) the edges of some of the photos are not straight (they look jagged and warped in some spots, identical to what you get in Photoshop with a line that you thought you drew completely straight but realize after you print everything that the line definitely isn’t straight), completely negate the “for quality” points that the perfect bind earned.

With this particular project, AU just didn’t deliver. Maybe I didn’t use the right photos? I don’t know. I was expecting the photos to hold the same color on the page that they hold on my screen. I was expecting the photos to be printed on actual photo paper (I was going for that “step above” aesthetic and feel). I was expecting the quality of the photo printing to be much more professional; seamless. AU boasts using 100% recycled paper, which is great and all, but the aesthetic I’m going for in my photo books does NOT include off white paper that’s full of small but visible (and colored) fibers. It’s not the right venue. Not for the types of projects that I was hoping to create with these books. And that sucks because (1) I didn’t come up with a backup plan, and (2) I was genuinely excited to use AU for my planned monthly projects.

Here are a couple more photos from inside the book.

I have the same photo shown below printed at home on true white matte photo paper. The color in the one I printed at home looks completely different.

Artifact Uprising review (#notimpressed) // Kelsey, Especially

The only photo in the entire book that looked good was this high contrast black and white photo that’s mostly shades of black and grey, not white. The other less contrast-y black and white photos look like old school xeroxed photos. Boo.

Artifact Uprising review (#notimpressed) // Kelsey, Especially

The bright side is that at least I know early on that it wasn’t what I was expecting/wanting, but it’s a bummer on about 537 different fronts – mainly because I was so excited for my now defunct Plan A. We’re three quarters of the way through the month and I have NO FUCKING CLUE how I’m going to document our year…jfldsu98&AS89hksa$5^67d8saFUIHOAWY38^A%%S';le37fffffFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKmmmyyyyyylllliiiifffffeeee. Thankfully, I’ve come up with a plan to document at least January. I’m not sure if it will work for every month, but it will work for at least one. And right now, I just have to get through documenting this one month.

Final verdict? Overall, I’m unimpressed by Artifact Uprising…but I’m still willing to give them another shot. But with a different type of project. Some sort of small mini book-ish project. I’m not crazy about the in-my-hand result from the first go ’round, but I do think that the bones of the book are of great quality (the paper is really smooth and thick; the binding is great) even if the final product didn’t align with my expectations. In the end, it’s not awful but it isn’t that “step above” that I was hoping it was going to be, either (I literally could’ve produced the same quality pages at home). I can definitely see myself using AU for small side projects here and there; for projects that I don’t have time to complete at home (printing and cutting and trimming take forever, yo’), but their books just won’t work for me for primary memory keeping. And I’m equally pissed of about and disappointed by that.

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Related: Why I’m not doing Project Life in 2015 and my original ‘memory keeping in 2015′ plan (which is obviously no longer my plan)

Ask and you shall receive | Ask Me Anything answers, part 1

Rainbow puppy // Kelsey, Especially

I had no idea what photo to throw in this post and not including a photo wasn’t an option because this thing would be way too text-heavy (see also: boring) without one, so here’s a photo of an adorable and well-dressed little puppy. Yes, that’s rainbow attire. Because I’m trying to turn you all gay (it’s the best). JK. It doesn’t work like that. Anyway. As promised, answers to last week’s Ask Me Anything post. This post has answers to about half of the questions from the comments. I’ll be back Friday with answers to the rest of ‘em. I hope these are what y’all were looking for. If not, feel free to re-ask/ask for clarification.

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Do you miss party drugs? I miss party drugs. –Ellie-Mae

YES. But also no. A few months ago I wrote a post about my experience with quitting smoking and it could just as easily pertain to party drugs. Party drugs were fun; I had a lot of fun when I was high. I made a lot of lifelong memories. But I also made a lot of decisions that are, so far, turning out to have seemingly lifelong adverse consequences.

Very occasionally I’ll have strange “flashbacks”. Usually in the shower or when I’m brushing my teeth. Sometimes when I’m drinking orange juice (and hallucinate ants crawling in it) (it’s an ecstasy thing). The flashbacks are brief, but they leave me feeling sick to my stomach and hating myself for hours afterward. And then I stop missing party drugs.

Really though, I think what I miss is the freedom of being so young and feeling so invincible. I don’t actually miss being weak-bodied or weak-minded, like I was when I was strung out. I don’t miss not showering for days at a time. I don’t miss being so tiny that a size 0 falls off my waist. I don’t miss horrible skin or stringy hair. I don’t miss not having a job; not being productive or worthwhile. I don’t miss not seeing Briseis for random (but long) stretches of time. I don’t miss feeling paranoid and angry and sad. I don’t miss feeling numb. I don’t miss being manipulative, using everyone for whatever I needed.

So yes and no. Super cliche and not-at-all specific, I know. But it is what it is. And really, a relationship with party drugs can be complicated. But don’t worry. We’re not ever getting back together. That’s for damn sure.

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I am a new reader too, and have to admit much curiosity about your relationships too and how it all unfolded.   –Tracy

I would love to hear more about:”…so you’re married to a dude but dating a girl…?”  –Megan

I think I’ve always been curious what it was like meeting Shannon, and how you felt (though I don’t know if you knew you liked girls before her?) and how RJ has felt about it.  –Rachel

Last March I posted about the first time Shannon and I ever met, and last July I posted about her being The One. Those posts have the longform answer. Here’s the short version:

Meeting Shannon was…incredible. Granted, what I consider our first time meeting wasn’t really meeting at all because we didn’t actually talk to each other. But we both had eyes on the other for the whole morning. It would be months before we actually talked and a few more yet before we started dating. In that time we didn’t even know each other’s names. Her sexuality wasn’t something she broadcasted at the gym, and everyone knew I was married with kids (because the kids came with me to class all. the. time.) so we had to get creative about figuring out who the other was. We danced around the issue, nonchalantly and subtly asking other people around the gym about one another. Eventually, we attended enough of the same gym-related events that we had plenty of excuses to talk to each other.

We were giddy and shy and flirtatious, still trying to figure out if the other was into girls. Once we figured it out, it was on. And honestly, it’s still just as fun now as it was back then. She is my happy. She has been since that first WOD. I still get goosebumps when she touches me. I still get butterflies in my stomach when she kisses me. We still text each other every single morning when we wake up. We still email each other every single morning when we get to work. I still light up every time I get a phone call or text or email from her. She still excites me and challenges me. And above all, she still puts up with my inordinate amounts of bullshit. She’s a keeper. And I’m lucky that she’s mine to keep (in a non-possessive, non-weirdo, non-stalker/serial killer-y way). I love her all the way to the ex-planet Pluto and back and I will marry her one day.

In a less ‘in-the-moment’ way, meeting Shannon was life-saving. My marriage to RJ had been over for some time, but I was just then finding a way to get it through to him that I had no interest in trying anymore; that no matter what, it wasn’t going to work. Meeting Shannon was revitalizing. I wasn’t looking for a relationship or a hook-up. I was looking for an opportunity to be free from someone else so that I could learn who I was and then learn how to be myself. And the second that I stopped looking, she showed up.

The summer we began dating Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” was HUGE. I loved that song. It felt powerful to me. But I had no idea why. And then randomly one day, it clicked: “All this time I was finding myself/And I didn’t know I was lost”. That line right there was me. My whole life I’d been unconsciously and desperately trying to find myself. In meeting Shannon, I found myself. And in that moment it all come together: all this time I’d been lost and hadn’t even known it. Meeting Shannon was…powerful and surreal and exhilarating. It was incredible; the ultimate. She is the ultimate.

Shannon isn’t the first girl I’ve dated. In fact, my first few kisses (back in middle school) were with girls. I didn’t kiss a boy until sophomore year of high school. By that time, I’d already “hooked up” with a handful of girls, seriously dating one. Well, “seriously” meaning “as serious as you can get for being 14 or 15”. Post-high school I hooked up with other girls but only seriously dated one. And by “seriously dated” I mean “had a very dysfunctional, drug-fueled, symbiotic/leech-ish relationship with” (more on that).

As far as RJ goes, he knew before we were married that I’d been with girls before. But his thoughts aren’t mine to tell, so he’s working on authoring a guest post for y’all. I asked him if he’d be willing to answer that question himself because I think it makes more sense for an answer to “how does RJ feel about that” to come from RJ. So keep an eye out for that. And RJ. If you’re reading this: GET TO IT. PEOPLE ARE COUNTING ON YOU! ;)

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And what happened to Emma’s dad? I don’t think he’s ever mentioned…  –Laura

He is. Once. The story starts like this: Once upon a time my recruiter took me to dinner. First, he got me drunk. Then, he got me pregnant. The rest of that story can be found here.

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I wonder if you worry about what your kids will think reading some of your posts when they’re older, like the *ahem* what lesbians do in bed post or the one about how the kids aren’t always the most important thing in your life (sorry if I got the gist of it wrong, it was a while ago that I read it!)?  –Beth

Nope. Not really ever. Emma and Madden are still really young so I have a while before anything on this blog comes up in conversation with them. And Briseis? She knows about the blog. She’s visited it before. I’m not crazy about her seeing this space at her current age, but I also know that anything I’ve ever posted here is out there for anyone to see.

Anything that’s posted here is fair game for my kids to know about and ask me about. I knew going into this (blogging) that the chances my kids stumble across this space one day are really high. And I’m okay with that. But if they ever express that they’re not okay with this space – with what I write about them or anything else in our lives – then I’ll have to sit down and reconsider what I share here. But I’m not worried about it. Everything I write about here is shit that’s already talked about at home; shit that we’ll keep talking about at home, even when the kids are old enough to understand what the hell we’re saying.

Re: the “how lesbians have sex” stuff, here’s how I see it: my kids are going to learn about sex one way or another. I didn’t share any inappropriate specifics of my and Shannon’s personal sex life, just generalizations about one version of sex between two women. Also, I’d rather my kids have a realistic idea about sex and I hope they feel comfortable talking to me about sex when they’re at the age that sex is a “thing”. But that ain’t gonna happen if I stay tight-lipped and dance around – or completely skirt – the issue. No, I didn’t write the post to set up a “birds and the bees” talk seven years in the future. I wrote it because y’all have wondered about how lesbians “do it” and I don’t have a problem telling you. But if it helps set the stage for curious kiddo minds to inquire down the road, cool. If not, that’s cool too.

As far as the “I don’t bank my identity in being a mom” angle, it doesn’t bother me for my kids to know that. My kids will never have reason to question my love for them. But they will (and do) know that being a parent isn’t my only role in life, nor is it my only (or even primary) source of happiness, motivation, or fulfillment. I want them to know these things because I want them to know that there is more to life; that you don’t have to feel guilty or selfish for loving yourself and taking care of yourself; that it’s okay to be more than one person and to find a sense of fulfillment outside of family and the home.

(More on how I choose what to share and what to keep private in Friday’s edition.)

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Image | via

SOTU/STFU

Did anyone else watch the State of the Union last night? We did. Obvs. Because ‘murica. Shannon and I had our own viewing party. It was very exclusive. We were the only ones we invited. We wore fancy outfits (see also: sweaty gym clothes from earlier in the day) and enjoyed a sophisticated spread of gummy bears, yogurt, saltine crackers, and trail mix while trolling the everliving fuck out of all the LLOL tweets floating around Twitter in the time between the Prez’s speech was “supposed” to start and the time it actually started. We also spent the time doodling on the iPad. Shannon drew this highly realistic portrait of us at our own viewing party.

SOTU/STFU // Kelsey, Especially

We watched CNN’s coverage because when I turned on the local Fox affiliate, they were just streaming the FOX News broadcast and no fucking way am I watching/listening to Shepard Smith for any period of time, ever, and by the time I thought about changing to another network from CNN I was worried the whole shebang would begin during my channel-flipping and I’d miss something important. I mean, it’s not like the speech was on every fucking channel. Just kidding. It was. And I didn’t change the channel because the remote was too far away. I would’ve had to move more than just my arm to reach it. No. CNN’s pre-speech coverage was super annoying, though. I kept yelling “SOTU? STFU!” at the TV. Very clever, I know.

Before the speech began, Twitter paid off and supplied us with a copy of Obama’s speech. We opened it up and decided to follow along word-for-word. Then we decided to make a drinking game out of it: any time the Prez deviated from the script, we’d drink. It was a dumb game. It ended before it started because (1) there was an hour of applause after every eighth syllable, which meant that (2) it was taking forever for the speech to happen, (3) he didn’t deviate at all from at least the first five paragraphs, and, mostly, (4) we had no alcohol. Drinking games don’t work without alcohol.

Five minutes in, Shannon got the hiccups. This happens quite frequently to her, and almost always at the most inopportune/most hilarious times. The SOTU wasn’t an inopportune time to get the hiccups per se, but I was on point with trolling at this point (having been fully ‘in the zone’ with my Twitter trolling by the time her hiccups showed up) and I wouldn’t let the hiccups thing go. Every time she tried to be serious, she hiccuped; I cracked up; she tried to frown. But every time she tried to frown she’d just hiccup again, which would just perpetuate the endless cycle of me laughing at and then with her. Finally, I “demanded” she stop hiccuping. She didn’t. In a brilliant but failed effort to get her to stop hiccuping, I told her that every time she hiccuped, I was going to fart on her. I nestled up real close to her on the couch. She started laughing. I basically sat on top of her. She started hiccuping. I pushed my butt into her, but, alas, I didn’t end up farting on her  – because girls don’t fart. JK. They do. do. But not on demand. Lucky for her.

Anyway. Back to the speech. I was surprised that ISIS/ISIL/terrorism didn’t receive more attention, but then again, the state of the Union is, apparently, “strong”, so why fuck up everyone’s vibe with terrorist talk? There was a lot of “the economy is looking up”, a shit ton of “veterans are the coolest ever” talk (#fact), and even more “affordable college” talk. Who else noticed all the talk about affordable college education? I was like “HELL YEAH!” to all the college talk, but then I realized that I graduate in less than four months and by the time any legislative changes pertaining to making college more affordable are effected, I’ll already be done with college and saddled with $50,000 in student loan debt, so whatever the legislation is won’t apply to me. So yeah, whatever. I DON’T CARE.

What else? Oh. Yes. Anyone else catch all the “I believe” statements toward the middle-ish (I think?) of the speech? All I could think of was the USA World Cup Nike commercial and I reaaaallllly wanted the Chamber to break out in an “I believe that we will win!” chant. They didn’t. They do not win. THEY LOSE.

And who else caught all the “21st century” statements? All I could think of was the Placebo cover of T Rex’s “20th Century Boy” in “Velvet Goldmine” and then I just kept scream-singing the song until Shannon’s “SHUT UP!”s were louder than my “TWENTIETH CENTURY BOYYYY. I WANNA BE YOUR TOYYYYYY”s.

We got bored about halfway through the speech, mostly because even with all the words coming out of Obama’s mouth, he wasn’t really saying anything. But no president says much during these things. He did say “Instagram”, though, which was the first time that word appeared in a SOTU speech. Does anyone follow the President on IG? I don’t. I follow Bush 43 because he posts a bunch about Bush 41, who is the coolest person to ever set foot on this planet, but I don’t follow Obama. Speaking of Instagram, you should follow me: DO IT NOW. Or else.

There are lots of questions that arose from the SOTU last night. Here are the more pressing ones:

  • What the fuck was Michelle Obama wearing? Do people wear things like that in real life? (Update/Spoiler: She shopped Alicia Florrick’s closet!)
  • Where were Sasha and Malia?!
  • Where was Rebekah Erler’s husband? (Here are all the other people who were sitting next to Michelle.)
  • Who else thinks outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel looks like Dustin Hoffman and Richard Gere‘s son?
  • How many cans of pledge does it take to shine all the wood in the House Chamber?
  • Why the hell was John Boehner hogging all the water from the Veep? My guess is that it’s because he’s perpetually dehydrated from all that tanning bed action.
  • Who had on the most expensive outfit? My bet is on the Katherine Jackson-esque blue sequin number worn by a lady toward the front.
  • SOTU Bingo? Seriously, CNN? What even is that?
  • How many collective pounds of foundation do you think everyone in the Chamber was wearing last night?
  • Doesn’t Joe Biden seem like he’d be the coolest g-pa EVER? Yes. He does. I wish he was mine. Also, he looks like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, no? Not in a creepy way. In a weird cute-because-he’s-an-old-person kind of way.

Most everyone seemed pretty satisfied with the 2015 SOTU. There was a lot of bipartisan applause. But I think the biggest accomplishment from this year’s speech was that it didn’t bore anyone to sleep like it did in 2011.

More importantly than anything mentioned during the SOTU last night, though…WHO ELSE IS FOLLOWING DEFLATE GATE?! #LeaveBelichickAlone (JK…unless you’re a Pats fan…then not JK.)

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PS: first round of AMA answers are coming later today. AT SOME POINT.

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