Monday, December 30, 2013

Weight Bearing

I actually started this post a few weeks ago, after an incident at daycare between Carla and one of the assistant teachers.  I am just getting back to it now...

So today some thoughts came to me.

What led to them is less important than what they are and not nearly as important as my need to get them down some place.

So here is the thing, I don't often get upset about the negative perceptions that I know some people still have about same-sex parents or about lesbians in general.  Most of the time, I am too busy being thankful for the people in my immediate world and for how open and loving and liberal (at least in regards to social issues) they all are.  The gratitude for that fact seems more genuine than the anger that can sometimes creep in about how unfair this world still can be.

But then there are moments, when I just get tired of it all.  When I want to be able to stop wondering if people are treating us a certain way because they don't agree with who we are or because they are just jerks.  I want to stop worrying about finding a way to let people know that we are a family with two moms.  I want to put down the worries that invade over whether or not people are going to give Millie a hard time as she begins school and talks about her family that doesn't look like everyone else. I want to be able to take comfort in knowing that we have wonderful families that surround us and surround Millie and not have to worry about making sure that she is also surrounded by enough families that have two moms or two dads so that she will feel like her family is normal.  And sometimes, every so often, I don't want to carry the weight of giving people a good impression of what a family with lesbian parents is really like.

I know that these are things that I choose to worry about.  That I could just let everyone think what they want and not worry about it.  And the truth is that most of the time, that is exactly what I do.  Most of the time, I am so proud of who we are, as a family, and who I am as a person, that it doesn't matter what anyone else things.  But I am also human.  And I also care about how other people see me.  And I also worry, as a mom, for what Millie might encounter as she gets older.  And that weight...that can get really heavy.  And I will happily bear that weight, so that Millie doesn't have to.  I will pick up extra weight in order to protect Millie from it.  I do that happily. I guess that I just wish that I didn't have to.

And I like to think that the world is getting better.  I know that it is.  I know that laws are changing and that eventually hearts and minds will follow.  I know that already things are easier than they were when Carla and I first met.  And I also know that there will always be people that disapprove and I will just have to deal with that and most days I will choose to deal with it by not dealing with it at all.  And there will also be some days that I will get sick and tired of dealing with it all and wish it all away.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Post-Holiday Contemplating

Today, a kind kind friend said that she trusted that our Christmas was magical.  It was THE perfect word to describe all of the holidays this season.  Holidays have never really felt magical for me before.  But this year...there was magic.  Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas were all filled with family and friends and good good spirits.  And now, in this post-holiday calm, I can start to truly be thankful for the season and its joy and its magic.

Millie's first Christmas was simply wonderful.  In many ways, it was my first real Christmas as well, since Carla and I have never really done much celebrating, outside of what we do with her family.  But this year, we went all out.  There was a tree, there were holiday cards hung up in the house, there were stockings, there was a simply delightful Christmas Eve celebration at Carla's brother's house and when I woke up on Christmas morning, there was evidence of a visit from Santa.  I couldn't help but get excited, even though I knew that Carla had a hand in the morning magic.  We watched Millie open her presents (it is amazing how good she has gotten at it) and we saw her delight in playing with all of her new stuff.  We then all had the luxurious opportunity to take a bit of a family nap before we headed out to Carla's mom's house for the day.  We spent the day with more family and more presents and a visit from Santa (who looked suspiciously like Carla's younger brother, Dave) and it was wonderful.  Millie got to play with her cousins and with her aunts and uncles and do all the things that kids should do on Christmas day.  We left feeling exhausted and so very full of holiday spirit.

And while many of this season's holidays are now behind us, we have some big ones coming up.  We have New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, which happens to double as Millie's birthday.  And at the end of January, we have the day that marks one full year since we brought Millie home.  There is a lot to be said about these upcoming days and I hope to say them as they get closer.  I have been thinking so much of where we were a year ago and where we are now and I have so much to share about all of that as my thoughts have been consumed lately with thoughts of Millie's birthday, the fact that we did not meet her until a month later, the day we brought Millie home and her very precious, very thought-of birth family.  Hopefully, I will find time in the next few weeks to put some of thoughts down on virtual paper.

I haven't written much these past few months.  I am starting to think that maybe it is time to wrap things up over here at the blog after the passing of these next few milestones.  It isn't that there isn't anything left to write about. I think of things to write about multiple times during the course of a day.  It's just that our lives are mostly consumed by the mundane these days.  It is delightfully mundane.  And normal. And regular.  And I am just not sure that  there is much to share that would be of any interest to anyone.  I love that life seems so normal.  Here we are.  A lesbian headed family with an adopted daughter and I am pretty sure that our lives are much the same as any other family out there. So we shall see what this coming year brings for this blog.  I love having this space and I absolutely love the connections that it has given me to other families just like ours and I love the story that is being written of our family that will be here way after I forget all the details of these first months together as a family of three and maybe this space has already filled its purpose.  Who knows.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


This time of year.  It can be the absolute worst one year and then the next year.  Well, the next year, it is pretty incredible.  I just went back and read my blog post from last year around this time.  It's funny, I wrote about settling into a quiet waiting around this time last year.  I wrote about finding a faith that things were going to work out.  And just around that time, perhaps a few weeks after that faith settled in, our Millie was born.  We didn't even know her yet, but there she was, waiting to come on out and find us.  Incredible.

Anyway, this year, I find myself settled deep into the holiday spirit.  Carla and I hosted our families at our house for Thanksgiving and as we went around the table and shared the things we were thankful for, my heart was so so full of thanks and so full of real, true gratitude.  There is so much to be thankful for this year.  For Millie.  For Carla.  For our families.  For work that is meaningful.  For friends that are kind.  For a world that seems to be getting a little bit better and more tolerant.  There is a lot.  

Our Thanksgiving meal was incredible.  Carla cooked the whole thing (with some delicious additions from my mom).  I wish that I could say that I was helpful in the cooking process, but mostly I wandered around the kitchen and tried to clean stuff when I could.  It was a wonderful day. There was so much love in our home.  It was enough to overwhelm me several times throughout the day.  And as family trickled out, we were left with just the three of us.  We felt the love of our families all day and our home stayed so full of all things good. 

After a short rest, something really great happened.  We put up our Christmas tree.  This is my first ever Christmas tree and I am in absolute love with it.  As I write this right now, I have the tree lit up and the blinds open so that the lights will be showing to all those who walk by.  Growing up Jewish, I always wanted a Christmas tree.  They are just so darn pretty.  And to have one, with my family, is exciting in a way that is hard for me to describe.  

In typical Jess and Carla (and now Millie) fashion, there is not just a Christmas tree up, but there are also two menorahs set out on our dining room table.  Each night the light of the Hanukkah candles mixes with the lights of the Christmas tree and our home is filled with so much tradition.  It's funny, neither Carla nor I are particularly religious. I know this sounds funny considering my father is a rabbi, but religion just doesn't mean a whole lot to us.  But, and I have never understood this until now, there is something about celebrating holidays that I just love.  And I now understand that for me, it is all about the traditions.

This year, there is something so incredible about starting traditions with our little family.  There is something amazing about passing things on.  About starting something that is going to live longer than perhaps even we will.  And I just can't get enough of it.  So there is a tree, there are menorahs, there are decorations, there are holiday cards, there is as much tradition as we can jam into this tiny, love-filled house of ours.  And it doesn't matter to us what religion we say we are, what matters is that we have these family traditions that are so very us.  To us, that is what is most important.

So as the holiday season descends upon us, I find myself more invested in it than I ever have been before.  And I am thankful, so unbelievably thankful, to have the family that I have to celebrate this season with.

A few pictures of our holiday fun so far...

First came Hanukkah. Some of our festive decorations. 

First night of Hanukkah. 

And then as we were trying to cook for Thanksgiving, Millie got into the dishwasher. Pretty typical. 

Our delicious Thanksgiving lunch, thanks to the hard work of my wife. 

Millie loved everything about her first Thanksgiving meal. 

Millie and Carla before the tree became a Christmas tree. 

Hanging the very first ornament on my very first Christmas tree. 
The finished product!!
The cats quickly found their place under the tree.
Not at all holiday related, but one of my new favorite pictures. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thank You, Illinois

On the NBC news this morning, there was a report about how Target was going to begin selling chocolate covered Lay's potato chips.  This was definitely a sign that today was going to be a good day.   By the end of the day, it had gotten so. much. better.

As I left work this afternoon and sat in awful, awful traffic, I received a text from HRC that the Illinois Same-Sex Marriage bill had passed.  I was overjoyed.  I instantly became emotional.  I called Carla and she was emotional as well.  Sometimes, I find it hard to explain why these moments feel so monumental. And why they feel so emotional.  It is hard to explain, to those who have never been denied rights that other people receive, why it matters so much.  It is hard to explain, to those who have never been made to feel as if they are less than those around them, why today was such a big deal.  It is hard to explain, to those who have never had people carry around signs that tell you and your family that you are going to hell, what it means to have the government of your own state finally recognize you and your family as equals.  All of this is to say that I am kind of at a loss for words.

By the time I made it to Millie's daycare, I had finished crying and was in a state of simple and pure joy.  I picked our little one up and I told her that today, her mommies got to be married in our own state.  I hugged her and told her that things were going to be different and that they were going to keep getting better.  As I carried her to the car, however, I couldn't help but think about all the states that have yet to feel the joy that I was feeling.  I couldn't help but think of all the kids growing up in states that still send the message that they are not as good as everybody else or that their family is not as real as everybody else's.  I couldn't help but think about how much farther we have to go.  And that is what happens each time a new milestone in equality is reached.  I celebrate the successes while still leaving room for the sadness that these successes are even needed in the first place.  I leave room for the sadness that there is still so much fight left to fight.  And I leave room to remember all of the people who still have to struggle to feel comfortable enough to simply be who they are.  I try to leave room for all of that so that we don't become complacent.

So at the end of the day, I look back and recognize that today was a really good day.  By the start of the next school year, I won't have more money taken out of my paycheck than other people.  By the time we file our taxes, we can file jointly on both our state and our federal taxes.  When I am asked to identify my title, I will no longer have to debate between Ms. and Mrs.  And when I tell people that I am married, I won't ever again have to explain that while we are married according to the laws of Vermont, we are not married according to the laws of our own home state.  These are all really good things.  These matter.  These make me feel more equal.  These things give me hope that more good things are on the way.  These things give me peace that goodness and fairness and justice really are going to win in the end.  That, and the chocolate covered potato chips now on sale at Target, make this world a better place to live in.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Our First, Second Anniversary

Confusing title, huh?

Well, today is the FIRST of our SECOND anniversaries.  Yep.  We have two wedding anniversaries.  I guess that is the silver lining of not having the same legal rights as other couples in this country? Two years ago today, my wife and I were legally married outside of the Flavor Graveyard at the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory in Vermont.  Because Illinois did not, and still does not, grant same-sex marriages, we had to leave our home state to get legally married.  So, the week before our Chicago wedding (the one with the big party and lots of cupcakes), we travelled to Vermont and were married by my very best friend and my sister in this perfect, small ceremony at the happiest place on earth (in my opinion).  It was perfect.

And is two years later.  Two years later and I am more in love with my wife than I ever have been before.  Because now I love her as my wife and I also get to love her as Millie's Mama.  She makes one incredible wife, and she also make the most incredible Mama.  She is everything to Millie.  One minute she will be tossing Millie up and down to make her laugh harder than she ever laughs and the next minute she will be softly rubbing her head to help her calm down and fall asleep.  She teaches Millie about the world and she has more energy for Millie than any other human being that I know.  No matter how long her day was or how tired she is when she wakes up, she greets Millie with the warmest smile and the most loving embrace.  It is amazing.  I feel lucky.

These two years have been filled with so many moment.  Incredible, life changing moments.  Heartwarming, joyous moments. Heartbreaking moments.  Moments that made us laugh so hard that we couldn't breathe.  Moments when we questioned what the hell we were doing.  Moments when it felt like we were in the exact right place, at the exact right time.  These moments have filled our years with so much and it makes me so excited to think about all the moments that are still to come.

So how did we celebrate? Well, this morning we both got to play with Millie before I had to leave for work.  That was a plus.  Tonight, Carla is closing at work, she left us a delicious smelling crock pot dish that has filled our home with a delightful smell.  I am cooking rice so we can eat as soon as Carla gets home.  And when she gets home we will probably watch an episode of Chicago Fire.  And then we will crawl into bed and we will have less room than normal because it is getting cold here in Chicago and that means that our cat, Jellybean, sleeps in the bed with us.  And we will all fall asleep.  As a family.  And nothing. Nothing. Could be better.

I will leave you now with a few pictures from our wedding in Vermont.

Our ceremony took place under this delightful gazebo with our friends and family huddled inside. 

There could have been no more perfect setting than an ice cream factory for our wedding. 

We got to be Ben and Jerry!

We then took our fancy selves on the Ice Cream Factory Tour.  This was our tour guide.  The people at Ben and Jerry's were so so nice.  They let us get married there for no cost AND they gave us the tour for free and even threw in a free scoop of ice cream for everyone at the wedding (there were 12 of us!). Not only do they make the world's best ice cream, they are the kindest kind of people.  
So, today, two years after we left our own state so that we could get legally married, the Illinois congress is getting ready to go back to work in session that might possibly have the chance to vote on a same-sex marriage bill.  Yesterday, the streets of Springfield were filled with people marching in support of this bill.  Today, those same streets were filled with people who oppose the bill and hope that it doesn't come to pass.  Me? I loved our wedding in Vermont, but if I could have, I would have chosen to be able to get married here, in our home state, in a heartbeat.  Just because we made the best of it, doesn't mean that I was okay with it.  I will never be okay with the fact that we are still not seen as equal here in Illinois.  So while we celebrate this day, I hold a small space in my heart of sadness and a bigger space of hope thinking about why we had to leave Illinois and also thinking about what is possibly to come.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall Update

It certainly has been a while since I wrote anything here.

I was thinking about the past few posts and I realize that it has been a good long while since I wrote just about...Millie.

So here it goes.

Millie is now solidly into her ninth month of life.  At her last doctor's appointment, she had gotten herself to the 97th percentile in weight! Yep.  She just keeps growing.

She is chubby and happy and the most recent development is that we have crawling! Just like everything else, Millie crawls in her own way and in her own time.  She is still pretty content to sit still, but when she is really motivated, off she goes.  The things that are most certain to motivate her include any and all pets who happen to walk by, dog toys, dog bones, and her favorite stuffed animals.

In addition to crawling, there is also some serious dancing.  When upbeat music comes on, Millie starts to bounce up and down in the cutest way.  It is like she doesn't even know that she is doing it.  The music overtakes her. It is delightful.

And the eating.  She will eat anything.  Honestly.  There is nothing that girl won't try to put into her mouth and she loves meal time more than any other time of day.  She loves avocado, banana, chicken, butternut squash, and anything else that ends up on her high chair tray.  And when she has had enough, she lets us know by squishing her food so tightly in her hands that it pops out from between her fingers.  It is a real treat.

Millie has really started playing with her toys.  She loves any type of musical instrument.  She loves cars and trucks of any kind.  She loves blocks and Little People figures and her stuffed animal owl, Prudence.  While I would like to say that she is mesmerized by books, mostly she likes to grab them out of my hands and throw them around the room.  She also really delights in pulling them off of book shelves.

And Fall.  Fall has come.  This house loves Fall in a serious way.  Even the dog loves the onset of the colder weather.  I truly love everything about Fall.  I love the colors, the smells, the foods, the clothes, the way that the school year starts to settle in and feel like normal.  It all makes me so very content.  This year, there has been no shortage of Fall activities.  There has been a trip to the apple orchard, two trips to pumpkin farms, and many pumpkin flavored goodies.  Millie seems to love the outdoors in Fall as much as any other time of year.  We are now looking forward to Halloween.  Millie's costume promises lots of cuteness.

So, yes, things are good.

Please don't mistake my happy updates as an assertion that life is without it's struggles.  In hopes of keeping things real, I will say that the start of the school year has been a struggle.  I still struggle to feel as if I am enough both at home and at school.  It seems that when I get on top of things at school, things fall apart at home and when I get on top of things at home, things fall apart as school.  Nothing drastic, but things slip and fall through cracks and I have to stop and remind myself that sometimes I have to be okay with good enough.  It's a work in progress.

Millie still does not nap at daycare.  It leads to some pretty cranky afternoons once she gets home.  Luckily, the girl likes an early bedtime and there are many nights that she is asleep before six.  I would love for her to make it up a bit later, but I am thankful that she sleeps well at night.  I am thankful that when she is home with us she still naps.  But those hours after daycare, those can suck.

There is some pretty awful diaper rash at the moment.  I won't say too much about that.  It's gross.  Enough said.

We haven't heard from Millie's birth parents in a while.  They will come back to us.  To her.  We all know they will.  But, still.  The silence sometimes worries us.

There was a small freak out about day care this past week.  There was a mix up with what she was eating for snack.  There was a new worker who didn't inspire the highest amounts of confidence.  You know.  Nothing big, but everything feels big because it's your kid and there isn't anything that is too little to worry about when it comes to the care she is getting.  But bottom line, we love where she is.  She loves where she is.  We are absolutely in love with the main teacher in the infant room and she is in love with Millie.  We are happy.  We will remind ourselves of that.

This week was a tough one.  I had two nights of parent-teacher conferences, which were all lovely, but still, they were long long nights.  I didn't even get to see Millie awake on Thursday.  That was hard.  But today, we made up for it.  I didn't have to work. Carla didn't have to work.  Millie got to be home with both of us.  We made it a family fun day at the Shedd Aquarium.  It was a good day.

Well.  Now I feel more balanced.  If you made it through all of that, I am impressed.  I will reward you will Millie pictures.  This kid.  She is everything.

These two...they are soul mates. 
Pumpkin Patch #1

Carla and Millie on the Cow Train
Millie and I and a tractor
Out for dinner.  I love this picture.  So much. 

My dad and the grandkids.  I love this picture too.  
Millie's first trip to the Shedd Aquarium. It is one of Carla's favorite spots in Chicago.  Millie was instantly smitten with the place.  

Carla is pointing out the fish and sharks.
These two. Loves of my life. 

She fits perfectly between the big and the little. 

I cannot believe how grown up she looks in this one.  It was a great great day.

Well, that is more than enough for now.  I hope this post finds you all doing well and enjoying the beautiful Fall.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

One Year Ago

This week is my birthday.  That alone is not cause for a blog post, though I do, in general, love my birthday.

It just so happens to be the perfect time for me to remember where I was exactly one year ago. Last year's birthday was rough.  Really rough.  My birthday last year happened to fall on a Jewish holiday, and not a fun one.  That alone wouldn't have been so bad, but it also just so happened that we were in the middle of one of our first times being presented to an expectant mother through our adoption agency.  We had been on the wait list for three months. The waiting was already simply awful.

So as my birthday rolls around this year, I keep thinking back on what it was like last year.  Looking back, I am pretty sure that I was in a bit of a depression.  The adoption wait was as hard as everyone had said it was going to be and at moments, it was harder.  And the not knowing.  It was killer.  Every day of that waiting felt like our real lives were on pause, like we were just kind of waiting around for someone to come and hit play again.  And my birthday happened to fall right in the middle of some of the worst of it all.

But, here is the amazing thing, the thing that I cannot believe is really true, the thing that I would hope gives some small bit of hope to anyone in the midst of a wait themselves, the thing is that one year later, I am happier than I have ever been before.  All that waiting, that stuff is still very present in my heart and mind, I didn't forget it and it didn't go away.  It seems no less awful looking back on it than it did while I was in it.  I would never pretend that it wasn't that bad because that would simply let people know that I was lying.  The thins is that it was that bad and I still remember how hard it all was was all one hundred percent worthwhile.

All that we went through was so very much worthwhile because now, one year later, I know what it feels like to love your own child and I have never experienced anything like it.  Now, one year later, I know what it feels like to be proud of the tiny person that your child is becoming right before your eyes.  Now, one year later, I get to come home from work and pick up this precious little being who is always happy to see me.  Now, one year later, I am a mom of a kid who makes me laugh even after the worst of days.  And it hasn't even been a whole year of being her mom yet.

You know how people say that every hard thing that you go through, every insanely awful and terrible thing that you have to endure, eventually brings you to the exact place that you are supposed to be.  I have to say that, now, I believe it.  This is the exact place where I am supposed to be and if that situation, one year ago, on my birthday, had been a yes instead of a no, then I never would have made it here.

So this year, when my birthday rolls around, I don't need much (though I will always accept cupcakes) because my true gift is already here.  This family that I am a member of, this child that I get to call my daughter, the waiting that I went through but that is now behind me, all of this is my gift.  And that is more than enough for me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


The other day, Carla called me to tell me that Edd was bringing home his baby son.  My eyes instantly welled up with tears.

Now let me tell you, neither of us actually knows Edd.  Edd is a single man who had been on the waitlist at our adoption agency for at least as long as we had been working with our agency and I believe quite a bit longer than that.  Looking at the comments that were posted under the announcement of his good news, everyone seemed to know who Edd was and everyone seemed to be rooting for him.  And now, he is home...With. His. Son.

Since I heard the news and since I saw the picture of them together, I have not been able to stop thinking about the two of them.  The love that they must already have for each other.  It makes me think about the first night we brought Millie home.  It makes me think about what it was like to find out that our baby had found us and that our family was complete.  It makes me think about how sweet it must have been for Edd after waiting for his son for so so long.

Most of all, Edd and his son make me think about all of the misconceptions that are out there about adoption.  As I have mentioned before, one of my greatest joys in being so open about Millie's adoption story, is that we have had many conversations with people who are considering adoption.  The most common fear about adoption (outside of the cost) is the waiting.  And there is no way around is awful.  It is heart wrenching and you have no control and there is nothing you can do and some days it feels like you hate yourself for ever even putting yourself through the waiting in the first place.

But then it happens.  At some happens.  For us it was after seven months, for Edd it was quite a bit longer.  But it happened.  His son found him. Our Millie found us.

I wish I could share with people what it actually feels like to get that phone call.  I wish I could share with people the feeling in my heart when we went to meet Millie for the first time.  I wish I could let people know what it really felt like to find out that Millie was coming home.  Because if people knew, if they really knew what it felt like, then they would know that everything else was worthwhile.  They would know that adoption really can be this magical and beautiful way to build a family.  And my heart is warmed to know that now, tonight, Edd knows that to be true.

So where ever Edd and his son may be on this rainy September night, I know their hearts are simply bursting with joy.  I think of them trying on this new feeling of family and knowing what it is like to be on the other side of this adoption journey.  I wish I could let them know how happy I am for them, but I will have to settle for letting you all know instead.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My small tribute to a life lived so bravely

Yesterday, this world lost an incredible soul.

A dear dear friend and coworker passed away yesterday after one of the bravest battles with cancer that I have ever seen.  She passed away peacefully with her family surrounding her.  The night before she died there was a big, powerful storm in the area and I looked at Carla and said, "This is the storm that Ginny is going to ride out on." And she did.

My heart is so so heavy.  And in some small attempt to put down some of the weight, I decided to put down a few thoughts here.  As it sometimes is, writing will be my solace for today.

Ginny and I worked together.  The first time she met me, she thought I was dumb.  I was a new teacher at our school and I had to quickly confess my terrible sense of direction to her and ask for help getting to another school in our district that was truly just down the street.  She started giving me directions and my face quickly went blank.  She had to draw me a map on her whiteboard.  Luckily, Ginny was never big on passing judgements and she and I quickly became close friends.  Ginny taught special ed and so we often worked together with students that were in my classroom.  Those kids benefitted from having Ginny in their lives more than so many of the other interventions that were put into place to help them.  It's like Ginny herself was an intervention.  Her being in their lives just made them more successful.  That is the kind of power that she had.

Ginny and I cemented our friendship when we decided to work on getting our masters degrees together.  For several years, Ginny and I would head to classes together right after school.  We learned and laughed together as we worked our way through some great classes and some not so great classes.  There was a horrific reading class where we joined forces with other teachers in the class to convince the teacher that she was wrong about so many things.  There was an even more horrific puppet making class, I am not kidding.  But the incredible thing about being in these classes with Ginny is that no matter how bad things got, they never seemed that bad because Ginny wouldn't let them.  She always found us something to laugh about or always found a way to make things seem not so bad.  She had this way of finding positives in situations were there were no positives that anyone else could see.  So, yes, we had to go to this awful puppet making class, but Ginny would remind me that at least we got the change to walk outside on the way from our cars to our class.  She was just that kind of a person.

And when she entered this fight with cancer, she managed to bring that positive spirit with her into battle.  We were all truly in awe as she managed to stay positive and put forth these messages of hope and healing.  The very first time I went to see her in the hospital, there were all these people looking sad around her and then there was Ginny, sitting in the hospital bed, with this giant smile on her face.  It was like she was just so glad to see everyone.  And even when things got bad, Ginny managed to put forward this strength that I have rarely seen in anyone else.  She taught us all so much as she so bravely fought this fight.

Yesterday, her fight ended.  Yesterday her body left this world.  To say she will be missed, is not quite accurate.  It is not enough.  Ginny was an integral part of so many different communities.  There are so many holes, in so many hearts that won't ever be able to be filled.  There is a gaping hole in my heart and her absence is felt so strongly. But the thing about Ginny is that she isn't really gone.  She meant so much to everyone that knew her that there is no way that she is truly ever going to be gone.  Because though there are holes that will never be filled, there are also places in our hearts that will never go empty because she had filled them so fully while she was alive.  The way Ginny made us all feel, the things that she taught us, the memories that she left behind, those are all so much stronger than the cancer that took her from us.  And I am so so thankful for that.

Last night a few of my friends from work came over to our house.  We had some drinks, we ate a lot of ice cream, we watched Millie and allowed all of that to soothe our hearts for a moment.  We talked about Ginny and that is what really soothed our souls.  We remembered her and were thankful for her presence in our lives and it felt good to be surrounded by people who understood.  I know that walking into school on Tuesday morning is going to be tough.  It will feel different to be in that place knowing that she will never walk those halls again.  It will be awful and it will be wonderful to be in the place where Ginny loved to be.  It will be awful and it will be wonderful to be surrounded by others who are grieving and I know that while it will hurt, we will all pull strength from each other.

My greatest joy in all of this is that Ginny got a chance to meet Millie.  Ginny got a chance to hold her and laugh at her and talk to her.  Ginny got a chance to see me as a mom and I know that made her happy.  Ginny was there at my wedding.  Ginny was there to see Millie.  And I know that Ginny is going to be with me, and all of us, as we continue on along our paths.

Ginny, if you can see this, know that I hope to make you proud.  Know that I will think of you every day and think about what you would do in any difficult situation.  Know that you will inspire me for the rest of my life and help me to live a better life.  Know that you have touched my life in a permanent way and that I will forever be changed because I knew you.  And know that I miss you so very much, in the deepest of ways.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Another school year begins...

All week, I have been meaning to write a blog post about the fact that my summer break is over and that I have gone back to school and as of this past Wednesday, I am officially back to being a fifth grade teacher in action.

Oh...back to school.  There is much to be said about it, though I imagine that you could all infer all that I have to say.  The overriding theme of this past week has been exhaustion.  Going back to work, after a nice and relaxed summer, is always exhausting in addition to being exciting and adventurous and all those other good things.

What is different about this school year, is that I am going back to school as a mom for the first time.  I just took a moment to read my blog post from this time last year.  Wow! What a difference a year makes.  Last year, I was thankful to be heading back to school because I had an entire summer to just sit around and think (and worry) about the adoption process. I remember it being an entire summer of worrying about when we would be chosen.  Last year, I was sure that we would never be chosen and that our baby would never find us.  Last year, I was certain that another school year (or two) were certain to go by before Carla and I got to call ourselves moms. How very wrong I was.

This year, I am going back to school after spending an entire summer with little Millie and as a family of three.  Needless to say, it was a lot harder to go back to work this year than last year.  But, the inevitable arrived.  The first day of school.  While getting back in the groove of the school year has been exhausting, there have been many good things to help make the transition a little less painful.

The most exciting part of going back to school this year has been the new role that I will be playing at school.  As you might have gathered by now, in general, I despise change.  I don't like change, I don't like adjusting to change, mostly I live my life hoping that things will remain comfortable predictable.  However, after teaching fifth grade for nine years, I was ready for some sort of change.  But I didn't want to change schools and I didn't want to change grade levels (I know, it doesn't seem like I have left much room for anything different).  What I did change was what I would be teaching in fifth grade.  This year, I will be sharing two classes full of fifth graders.  I will be seeing one class in the morning and a second class in the afternoon.  I will only be teaching literacy this year.  Teaching literacy has always been my absolute favorite part of my job.  I love bringing the love of reading and writing to my fifth graders and I love watching the transformations that take place.  So that is what I will be focusing on this year and I am thrilled.  My fellow fifth grade teacher will be taking the kids the other half of the day and teaching them science, social studies and math (my least favorite of all subjects to teach).

While we are both thrilled with the change and with the possibilities that the change will bring, it has definitely been an adjustment.  We are now faced with the task of connecting with twice as many students.  For me, and for so many of us teachers, building relationships with our students is EVERYTHING.  Without them, the important work that we have to do is just not possible.  If our students aren't convinced that we are on their side, then we will face resistance every time we want to push them just a bit outside of their comfort zone to the place where all the good learning really happens.  If our students aren't convinced that we show up every day because we love them and want to help them to be the very best version of themselves then they won't be willing to trust us when we ask them to do something they would really rather not do.  So, yes, the relationships are important.  As I said, they are everything.

This year, there are twice as many relationships to build and that has been tough.  I try to remember that it always takes time and so this year it will take twice as much time and I must be patient.

And in addition to having two classes instead of one, this is the first year that I am attempting to build these relationships while also saving energy for my Millie.  It is new and somewhat challenging to figure out, but like everything else that comes along with Millie, it is so so very much worth it.

Besides the changes at school, it is good to be back with my coworkers, many of whom feel more like family than like collegues.  It is good to be back doing what I love.  And after a summer of trying to figure out how to be a first time mom, it is good to be back at school where I get to do something that I have already been figuring out for over ten years.  There is comfort in stepping back into the classroom and I am happy to be back in that comfort.

So as this school year begins, it is incredible to look back at where I was a year ago and equally incredible to think about where I will be a year from now.  So much growing takes places over the course of a school year.  Yes, it is incredible to see the growth in my students, but it is also incredible when I am able to see the growth in myself as well.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I thought it would feel more exciting...

Yesterday, we received five copies of Millie's new, and now official, birth certificate.  We have had Millie's original birth certificate for some time now, but we needed to wait until the adoption was finalized in order to get the new one.

We expected to be over-the-moon excited with the arrival of the new birth certificates.  We expected it to feel final and exciting and all things good.  And so when we saw the envelope yesterday, we eagerly tore into it. We took out the birth certificate and, as a family, we took a look.

And it didn't feel all good.

It was wonderful to see our names and Millie's current full name all together on such an official document.

It was wonderful to see ourselves recognized as co-parents (though my name was still written in the box that said father/co-parent, which only made us both chuckle).

It was wonderful to have official documentation of the legal standing of Millie as our child.

But in all of our excitement in thinking about what would be on the new birth certificate, we didn't think about what wouldn't be there anymore.  Millie's birth parents' names are now nowhere on her birth certificate.  The name that Millie was first given is now nowhere on her birth certificate.  And Carla and I both agreed that these facts made us a little bit sad.

Since we brought Millie home, we have had no desire to pretend that we are her birth parents.  We have had no desire to pretend that she only has one set of parents.  We have had no desire to pretend that she didn't have a history and a story before she came into our lives.  And now the birth certificate seems so devoid of all of those things.  For Millie's sake, it makes us sad.

I guess I just don't understand why it had to be this way.  I would have loved to have had her original birth certificate remain official and then be issued a second certificate, but this one a certificate of adoption.  It would still list us as her parents for all legal, and for so many other, purposes.  But, it wouldn't attempt to erase her first family or her start in this world.  If I was in charge of this world, which I so badly wish I was, that is how things would be.  Because then, a child would never have to feel as if part of his or her history and life were being erased.  A child would never have to feel as if his or her adoption meant the negation of his or her birth and first family.

So though we expected to feel only joy, we were actually met with a mixture of emotion.  And that seems to be the hallmark of this whole adoption journey.  In our extreme happiness, there will always be her first family's sadness.  And in the happiness that her first family feels in seeing how happy Millie is, there will always be the sadness that they feel in not being able to be there through every single step of her life.  I guess what we are starting to learn is that there will always be room for both.  We will always try our best to acknowledge both so that Millie grows up understanding that it is okay for her to acknowledge both as well.  We will never ask her to choose happiness or sadness about her adoption. We want her to know that there is always room for both and feeling one doesn't negate the other.

I just wish that we could have incorporated that idea into her birth certificate as well.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

So Very Much at Peace

My heart is so very much at peace.

Yes, Millie goes back to daycare tomorrow after a summer of being home while I was on summer vacation.  Yes, I have just a few days to get myself ready for a whole new year of teaching fifth grade.  Yes, there is more to do than I believe I have the energy to get done. And with all of that occurring, my hears is still so very much at peace tonight.

Today we met with Millie's birth family.  The whole family.  Her birth parents and her five birth siblings.  As I had mentioned before, I was incredibly anxious about the meeting.  My anxiety totally got the better of me in the days leading up to today's meeting. I am talking pain in the chest, racing thoughts, completely irrational worries kind of anxiety. It was awful.  I was worried about feeling their sadness, I was worried that they were feeling regretful of their decision,  I was worried that we would somehow say or do the wrong thing and accidentally offend them.  There were so many things that I was worried about that I can't even really remember what they all were.  All I can say is that I was a ball of nerves and I honestly made myself sick worrying about today.

And then today came.  And it was wonderful.  We met up with her birth family at a restaurant near their home.  Carla and Millie and I got there first and got all of us a table.  Luckily we had the world's nicest waitress and for some reason that made me feel better.  As we waited for them to arrive, my anxiety was so very much present.  And then they walked in the room and sat down and from that moment on, things went so very well.  They were excited to see Millie.  There was not any awkwardness between us.  We had so much to talk about.  They were so so sweet with Millie.  It was wonderful.

Perhaps my favorite part of the meeting was all of the talk of the way Millie was similar to her siblings. She has a screech, a really high pitched, loud screech that is identical to her youngest sister's.  She pulls at her ear when she is tired in the same way her youngest sister does.  The thighs that you are all familiar with my now are the same thighs that one of her brothers had when he was a baby.  Being able to hear those things and know that Millie will get to know those things made my heart so happy.

It was also just so wonderful watching Millie's birthparents hold her. The truth is, that at the beginning of all of this, at the very start of the adoption process, I worried that when we adopted our child and when we with his or her birth family, I worried that I would feel possessive or threatened or something in the way of a jealous kind of emotion.  Well, I can now say that nothing like that entered my heart today.  My heart was warmed by seeing and feeling the love that came from both of them towards her.  It was an incredible feeling and I felt lucky that one day Millie would feel that love and recognize it as the love that comes from the people who gave birth to her.

I am not saying that there aren't things still to be figured out and navigated.  There are some big things.  Things I won't go into at this point because I respect Millie's birth family too much.  I just don't want anyone to think that I am saying this is all easy.  Because it is not.  This shit is hard.  Really hard.  One of the hardest things that I have had to navigate thus far in my life.  And I am someone who always worries about doing things the right way or the best way and I have no clue what is the right way to do most of this.  It is hard and it is also so so very much worth it.

What made it worth it today was receiving a text message from Millie's birth parents this evening.  I had texted them to thank them for meeting us today.  And their response was the following: "Thank you guys for today.  We are so proud of you guys.  You are doing such a great job with Millie and we know we did the correct thing."

That text message was everything.  Absolutely everything.  We may not know exactly how to deal with every adoption obstacle that pops up, but what I do know is that the four of us are joined by this incredible love for this incredible child and there is nothing in this world that I wouldn't deal with or put up with or work to figure out if it meant that I was doing the right thing for this being that I love more than life itself.

And so tonight, with all of the things that I have to worry about in the next few days and weeks, I am happy to sit here with a completely peaceful heart.  As I said at the start of this post...Tonight, my heart is so very much at peace.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013

So, as I mentioned, we had a whole week to be together as a family.  Truthfully, we could not have left the house and I still would have been thrilled with the week.  It is just so nice to have time away from work and away from stress, to just be together as a family of three (well, four if you count the dog, who accompanied us on our vacationing adventures).  

The first part of our vacation was in Galena, Il.  Galena is about three hours away from our house and it is a small, quiet town sort of in the middle of nowhere.  There is a cute cute downtown and lots of outdoor prettiness.  We rented a cabin that was built in the 1800's.  It had one big room and some stairs that led up to a bathroom and whirlpool tub.  It was absolutely perfect. As soon as I walked in, I ran back out to tell Carla that she was going to be in heaven and that we had found the perfect place.  The best part of the cabin was that it backed right up to a dairy farm and you could walk out the back door and visit the cows.  It was adorable.  Carla took Millie out to meet the cows and she absolutely loved them.  We then took the dog out to meet the cows and she loved them a whole lot less.

Anyway, we spent a lot of time going on family walks along the Galena River and through the trails in the nearby state parks. We walked around downtown.  We walked through a bunch of the shops.  We ate a LOT of candy (because in my mind, that is what you are supposed to do in small towns).  We hung out at the cabin.  We realized that in no way whatsoever, under no circumstances, does Millie want to sleep in a pack n' play.  We realized that she is willing to settle in for the night between the two of us on our bed.  And we just had time to relax and enjoy being together.  It was wonderful.

We came home on Thursday and spent the night at home and then on Friday we drove about an hour away from our house to join much of Carla's family on a camping trip.  It was wonderful.  Millie loves being outside and so during the day she truly enjoyed every aspect of the camping trip.  We hung out by the water while Carla's family was fishing.  We went on more walks.  We sat around the campfire. We sat around the campsite.  We ate.  A lot.  It was wonderful.

Again, the sleeping was not so wonderful.  Our two night camping trip turned into a one night camping trip because the first night, after sleeping for about thirty minutes, she woke back up and would not go to sleep.  It got so bad that Carla ended up taking Millie into the car and holding her the entire night, just so she could get some sleep.  So while we enjoyed the next day, we decided to head home in the evening.  It was a good decision for everyone involved.

We then had two more glorious days at home before Carla had to go back to work.  We had a chance to enjoy being home, visit with my family, see my best friend's new baby and just take some much needed time at home to relax.

It was an incredible week. Yes, traveling with an infant is not easy.  Yes, the nights made me wonder why we were doing this at all. But then, I look back at all that we did and the fun that we had and instead of thinking that I never want to do anything like that again, I just think about how excited I am to be able to do it again next year.

I will end with a few pictures from the trip because Millie is getting so big and that should be documented in as many places as possible!

The front seats were occupied by Carla and the dog

I got to ride in back with this delightful being

Here is our adorable cabin in Galena

And here is the view out of the back of the cabin
Millie meets her first cow

Millie was completely smitten with her new surroundings

We spent quite a bit of time hanging out as a family on the bed

And there was a whole lot of walking outdoors...

It was a most wonderful vacation and it was equally wonderful to be back at home and still have time to enjoy as a family.  It's how I know I am in the right place in my life.  We go on vacation and I love it, but coming back home is truly every bit as good.  

And lastly, my current favorite picture of our ever growing baby, because I just can't get enough of looking at it...

Friday, August 9, 2013

My Best Friend's Baby

So, I am a little behind on the blogging end of life, which makes sense since my teaching life is about to start back up again.  I realize I never wrote about our vacation (which was absolutely delightful, despite Millie's complete refusal to sleep in a pack n' play), but things just keep coming up that delay a post about the vacation.

And this one is big.  And wonderful.  And exciting.

Two weeks ago, one of my oldest and dearest friends had a beautiful, beautiful baby girl.  She is perfect.  Absolutely perfect.

I remember the day that my friend told me that she was pregnant.  Carla were on the adoption waitlist at that point and had no idea when our wait would be ending.  We were also deep into the angst and anxiety that comes along with the adoption process.  The conversation took place while we were in the car, driving to meet my sister and her son at the Children's Museum.  She told me she was pregnant and because she is so kind-hearted and so incredibly thoughtful, she was worried that telling me she was pregnant might make me sad.  And I am sure I was a little sad, but mostly I was overjoyed for her.  She told me that the way she figured, the world had a way of making sure that she and I did things at the same time.  We got married months apart even though she had dated her boyfriend for ten years before getting engaged and I had dated Carla for two years before getting engaged.  Still, we were married within months of each other.  The way she saw it, the world would find a way for us to have babies at the same time as well.  Looking back on the moment, there was not a kinder way that she could have told me.  She found the very perfect words to comfort me and little did I know it at the time, but she was right.

Several months after she told me, we found out we would be bringing Millie home.  And now, Millie is seven months old and her new best friend just entered this world.  I am overjoyed.  And as I watch this friend take the first, frightening steps into motherhood, I am so excited for what she will discover in this strange new land we call parenting.  And I simply could not be happier that we get to do it together.  Her presence in my life has been a constant for so long and I have come to depend on her being there in much the same way we depend on there being air for us to breathe. It just will always be so.  And so it seems so fitting for us to figure out these babies together and I am so excited for what is ahead.

So though I know these next week will be filled with sleep deprivation, anxiety, uncertainty, I also know, without a doubt, that there will be so much joy.  I am thankful to be able to watch it.  I am thankful to have her and her beautiful girl in my life and I am thankful that we get to watch a whole new generation of best friends grow up.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Final Beginning

Millie's adoption is officially and legally finalized.

In some ways, this is the end of our adoption process.  There are no more papers to fill out, nothing left to submit to our adoption agency, no more court dates, no more home visits, no more worrying about cleaning the house for home visits or making sure the dog is well-behaved and no more worrying about missing deadlines or needing to get licenses renewed.  These are all such good things.  They are important things too.  In many ways this means that we no longer have to try to prove to anyone that we are good enough to be Millie's parents.  Knowing that there is nothing left to prove to anyone is an incredible feeling and removes a huge weight that has been on all of our minds for these past six months.

And in other ways, this finalization is really more of a final beginning.  In January, I wrote a blog post for It's Conceivable. In this blog post, I wrote about the many different times that it felt as if we were officially starting the adoption process.  Signing up for an information session felt like the beginning, and then meeting with our adoption counselor for the first time felt like the beginning, and then finishing our profile felt like the beginning, etc.  So in some ways, when we received an email on Friday from our lawyer (who also happens to be my wonderful Uncle Rick) explaining that our adoption was finalized, it felt like the very final beginning.

I say that this is a beginning because in so many ways we are just beginning this process of adoption.  We are just beginning to build a relationship with Millie's birthparents that values everyone and allows everyone to feel good.  We are just beginning to understand the impact that adoption will have on our lives and on Millie's life.  We are just beginning to understand how to deal with comments that people make and will continue to make to us out of ignorance and out of misinformation about adoption.  We are just beginning to think about how we will talk about adoption to Millie.  We are just beginning to think about how we will be able to help Millie through the questions that she will have one day about adoption.  There are so many things about this adoption process that we are just beginning because adoption is for a lifetime.  It will always be present in our lives and in Millie's life and in the lives of her birth family.  And we wouldn't have it any other way.

So many of the misconceptions that people have about adoption seem to stem from the way that adoption was dealt with in the past.  In the past, an adoption was a single event.  One that would pass quickly and then be swept under the rug with the hopes of never having to take it out and examine it again.  Adoption meant secrets and dramatic revelations and hurt hearts and missing information.  When an adoption was finalized, it was closed, it was done, everyone just hoped the whole idea of it would go away.  So much of that has changed and continues to change.  We are so thankful that this process will continue throughout Millie's life.  Yes, there are things we don't know how we will deal with, there are things that scare us, there are things we wish we didn't have to deal with, but how is that different than any other set of parents? The things we will have to deal with might be different, but the fact that we will have to deal with difficult and uncomfortable things, isn't that what we all sign up for when we decide to become parents?

Today the actual certified copies of the judgement order of adoption from the court arrived at our house.  As Carla was cooking dinner, I stood in the kitchen and read the whole thing out loud to her and to Millie.  I cried through the whole thing, even though the majority of it was written in very boring and very legal sounding language.  There was one line that struck me and has stuck with me since I read it.  Towards the end of the document it says, "It is therefore ordered, adjudged and decreed that from this day the minor shall, to all legal intents and purposes, be the child of the petitioners and, for the purpose of inheritance and all other legal incidents and consequences, the same as if born to them."

"The same as if born to them." Yes, legally that will be the case, but our relationship with Millie is not exactly the same as if she was born to us.  It has its differences and we are committed to recognizing and honoring those differences.  It will not be enough to simply pretend that it is the same as if Millie were born to us because that discounts the very important and very real truth that she was not born to us, she found us after she was born to her birth family and we were the family that was meant to raise her in this world and that is so so amazing.  And that deserves to be honored and celebrated and that will take a life time to do.  That will never be finished.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Getting Away

I am beyond excited.

Starting on Monday, my little family has an entire week to be together.  One whole week.  Seven days in a row.  I can not wait.

As I have explained before, Carla often has to work on weekends.  This doesn't leave a whole lot of time for the three of us to be together as a family.  This often leaves both of us craving more time just to be together.  So Carla has been working so so hard the past few days, just so that she can take an entire week off of work and we can spend some much needed family time together.  And I can not wait.

So come Monday, we are off to the town of Galena, IL to spend three nights in a rustic cabin with Millie and the dog.  I am so looking forward to getting away from it all for just a few nights.  I am hoping there will be lots of time spent walking around the small town, good food, lots of board games and just nonstop family time.

We will then come back home for a night and then we are off for a two night camping trip with Carla's mom and brother.  This will be Millie's first time camping and I think she is going to love it.  That kid loves being outside and I think she will love being outside nonstop for three days.  We had to purchase a new tent for the occasion because we now need space for the two of us, one pack-and-play and one dog crate.  That's a lot of stuff in one tent.

And then we will come back and Carla will head back to work and I will have my last week at home with Millie before I go back to work as well.  I can't think about that right now because there is too much good ahead in the next week.

Anyway...I am sure there will be pictures galore, but I was feeling so excited about the week that I had to put it down somewhere.

Friday, July 26, 2013

An Award

There is a delightful award given to small blogs, from other bloggers, called the Liebster Award.  And I am so very thankful to have been nominated twice.  Thanks to the lovely ladies at Our Journey to Become Mommies and .breakingintoblossom.  for the very very kind nominations.  I am touched.  Here is the deal with the Liebster Award...

The Liebster is a way for small bloggers to give recognition to other small bloggers (200 followers or less).
When you’re nominated for one, here’s what you do:
  1. Thank the Liebster Blog presenter who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Nominate 11 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.
  3. Answer the 11 questions you were asked and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  4. Display the Liebster Award logo.
  5. No tag backs meaning you can’t just re-nominate the person who nominated you.

My nominees ( I tried to choose blogs that I haven't seen nominated on other lists recently)...

1. Crazy Lesbian Mom -- This one is a must read.  This brave, brave woman is dealing with more than anyone every should and she needs all the good thoughts she can get.  

2. Ryan and Jeremy: Our Adoption Journey -- A delightful couple just starting their journey towards adoption. 

3. i miss you -- I love this blog so much because it is written by a birthmother about her experiences with adoption.  I have learned so much from her.  

4. pajamamommas -- These lovely ladies are on kid number two and I can't wait to see the next chapter of their journey. 

5.  Fish Out of Water -- Such a fun blog from a fellow midwestern lesbian who is just days away from finally moving to the same city as her girlfriend.  

6. Adventurous Moms -- I am nowhere near as adventurous as this family, but it is so fun to read about all the fantastic trips they go on and about their journey towards being moms for a second time.  

7. Bake One Buy One -- I have been following this journey for a while now and I am sending them so many good thoughts on their next round of IVF.  

8. What Words May Come -- For those of you who watched The Real L Word, this is Cori's blog.  It was actually what inspired me to start my blog in the first place.  They are about to start a new phase of their journey towards parenthood and I couldn't be happier for them.  

9. Beginning From the Start -- Such an enjoyable and interesting blog that follows this couples journey toward parenthood.  

10. Peter's Cross Station -- A smart, smart blog about adoption and so many important things.  

11. Two Mothers McGill -- Another good lesbian headed family blog. 

And now I shall attempt to answer the two sets of 11 questions that I was given...

First, from Our Journey to Become Mommies...

1.  White, milk, or dark chocolate mocha? I am a strictly black coffee kind of girl.

2. Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it? The most typical American suburb.  I had a most wonderful childhood and am thankful for the safety of where I grew up, even if it was without much excitement!

3. Your favorite adult as a child? (and not your parents, if they were your favorite) I loved my teachers, many of them, which is perhaps why I ended up becoming one. 

4. Most embarrassing moment from your high school years? There is one that involves a terribly mean prank done at summer camp, but the story is too long to tell here.  Instead I will go with the time I was walking down a VERY crowded stairwell when my sandal fell off and went all the way down the stairs.  I had to fight against traffic to finally get to my shoe.  It was more embarrassing at the time than it sounds now! 

5. What's the most delicious food you've ever eaten in your life? The cupcakes we had at our wedding.  In particular the chocolate one with peanut butter filling.  

6. If you had to move to another country, where would you move? I have often threatened to move to Canada.  Not that exotic, but I don't really like change all that much.  

7.  Coolest thing you've ever been for Halloween? My best friend helped me to construct a Hershey kiss costume out of duct tape. 

8. City or nature person? Ahhh...there are parts of both that I love.  If I had to choose, I choose city. 

9. What are you most proud of in your life? My family. 

10. If you could relive the past would you? And to which part of your life? No. I am so happy in my current now. I would not want to go back.  

11. If you had to change careers, what would you pick? Taste tester for Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream factory.

And now, from .breaking into blossom. ...

1. What comforts you most when you’re sad? Chocolate ice cream (and my wife)

2. What would you do on a dream day where money and travel time were no object? A picnic, with my family and closest friends.  There would be incredible food and perfect weather (sunny and 78 degrees).  The entire day would be spent just enjoying being together...and playing board games.  

3. Favorite drink (with or without alcohol)? Ice coffee

4. What character trait (of yours) do you most struggle to accept about yourself? I can be incredibly moody.

5. How much water do you drink in a day? Not nearly enough, unless you count the water that is used to make coffee.  

6. If you’re a parent, what has surprised you the most about the gig? If you’re not, what do you like best about not having kids (right now or at all)? I have been most surprised by how long I can just sit and watch my child play and how easily parenting can make you feel like a failure.  

7. What (if anything) makes you feel insecure about either being a parent or not being a parent? Oh everything can make me feel insecure about being a parent.  Knowing that I can't possibly get it right all the time and people will see that, makes me incredibly insecure.  

8. Top three television shows of all time? West Wing, Brothers and Sisters, Law and Order

9. Specialty dish (or baked indulgence)? Something you’ve made time and again. Oh dear...I don't cook or bake.  Every so often, I make a taco bar for my wife.  That is the best I've got. 

10. Favorite thing about the person you’ve grown into? My ability to own up to the mistakes I make.

11. One simple, happy memory. The day we brought our daughter home.  Nothing could be better.  

And eleven questions for my nominees to answer..

1) What is your favorite time of day?

2) What is your favorite spot at home?

3) What was something you were scared to do, but did it anyway?

4) What book had the greatest impact on your life?

5) What grammatical error is most irritating to you?

6) When you are feeling bad about yourself, who is the first person you turn to to remind you of how great you really are?

7) When are you at your calmest?

8) What is your greatest fear?

9) What is one thing you want to accomplish during your lifetime?

10) Who inspires you?

11) When do you feel the most vulnerable?

Wow! That took a long time, but it was well worth it.  I can't wait to learn more about fellow bloggers.