Cleaning Up Joe’s Mess?

It’s been all over the news, and I can’t help but feel a tiiiiiiny bit skeptical: President Obama came out in favor of same sex marriage.

As half of a two mom household, the thought of the sitting President of the United States saying such things is music to my ears, but I have some cynical tendencies and I can’t help but think that this is merely a reaction to VP Joe Biden’s expression of support for gay marriage on this week’s Meet the Press. It wasn’t an official White House statement when Biden made the announcement, and many of the people watching and news hounds went bonkers. I really think that the advisors for Obama encouraged him to express the same message for continuity.

Does this mean that I don’t think that Obama believes it? No. I think he does believe in same sex marriage. I think that his message spoke to his belief in it and his changing opinion, specifically as it relates to his daughters’ friends with two moms or two dads. I think that part was spoken from his heart.

Do I think that he may have just hurt his campaign? Perhaps.

Not that I ever want someone to NOT come out in support of same sex marriage, because god knows I would like have my partner seen as my wife in the eyes of my country, but I worry about the timing. With Maryland already teetering on the brink of overruling the bill for same sex marriage with a referendum this fall, I just worry that something like this will cause so much uproar that we will end up on the polar opposite end of the spectrum. Safely speaking, an announcement of support of same sex marriage may have been better if Obama is reelected, since really we all knew he was in support of it before Joe’s little mess. But I don’t think that was an option. I just hope this public declaration didn’t just cause a bunch of people to jump on the Mitt ship.

**In full disclosure, Lauren and I are absolutely fiscal conservatives and social liberals. Everytime an election comes up, we weigh each candidate in each party to see which best fits our ideology. We have both voted for republicans proudly, as well as democrats. I think for us at the present time, same sex marriage and equal protections under the law outweigh some of our fiscal concerns, but that varies. I am not as bleeding-heart as some of my close friends and family members, and that is ok with me.**

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Curious Kiddos

Over the past week, a few interesting things that I just have to post about have occurred:

1. A woman who went to college with Lauren and I (and has a partner and a 7 year old daughter), posted on her social media feed that her daughter was taunted at school for the first time for having two moms;

2. A little girl in a restaurant saw me tell Lillian to get her mommy (Lauren) and then asked me who I was, to which I replied, “I’m Lillian’s mama.” A look of complete befuddlement crashed across her face and as Lillian and I walked away, she started asking her mom how that little girl could have two mommies (I would have loved to stay for that conversation).

3. A friend of our’s son (who is in the same daycare as Lillian) told his mom that he wanted two mommies too.

So it’s got me all thinking. A lot. Add to that, the whole conversation on my local mommies board about sperm donation, gestational surrogacy, etc. and you get a mashup of a lot of emotions, some chuckles and quite a few tears.

Certainly, I know that Lillian will always be different. She will have two mommies and in today’s society, in the world we live in, that makes her a bit of an outsider. It is definitely more common than when my mother was a child, but it is still different. And to kids, different is weird. And coming from someone who was a bit of a loner and outsider in elementary school, I know how much it can hurt to be different. I can’t count the number of tears I shed being picked on as a kid, and we can somehow instill in Lillian the correct verbal tools and confidence to handle a situation in school well and with bravery. It will not be easy at all, and I am sure I will go into mama-bear mode many times, but we have a few years to prepare and talk to Lillian about what may happen. We will not tell her that it won’t happen, because it will and kids are already starting to see her as different, even if she is oblivious now.

It also got me thinking about the pure innocence of kids. The little boy who said he wanted two mommies is the sweetest, kindest little boy. He comes from a family that is different from what some may see as mainstream (bi-racial and with a fantastic single mom), and the lack of concern or strangeness that he expressed surrounding Lillian having two mommies warmed my heart. I wish kids could stay. Most kids.

The little girl in the restaurant is a kid I don’t know at all. I had never seen her. I don’t know her family situation, but her tone and her expression was not as warm. It wasn’t mean, and it wasn’t malicious. It was pure curiosity, but it was a true reaction that I can see happening. Her face said “That’s strange” but I didn’t stick around long enough to see if it was a good strange or a bad strange. I think I may have missed a teachable moment, and if I could go back in life, I would have stayed and told her that Lillian has two mommies. I would have explained it to her in kid terms as much as her mother would have let me. Because she has the potential to be that kid, in 5 years, that approaches Lillian on the playground and is faced with the decision to kick dirt in her face or give her a hug.

Meet Your…

Last time I posted, I mentioned that we were heading to Boston to spend a long weekend with friends. Well we went a few weeks ago, and we had a blast!

We rented an entire house because it was cheaper than finding the “perfect” hotel room for a family with a nosey toddler. The house was such a great find, cheaper than a hotel ever would have been, and there was a ton of room. To make it even better, it was in a fantastic neighborhood full of cute little restaurants, quirky shops and close to a wonderful liquor store — you gotta have priorities. And our friends treated us like royalty, even renting a car while we were there so we wouldn’t have to take transit. Not that I am opposed to lugging our kid on the train, but trust me, it was soooo much easier to drive around.

Lillian was a champ on the plane. She waved and said hi to every. single. person. that boarded the plane and somehow conned a group of kind little lesbians into playing peekaboo with her. Every moment they played with her meant that I had a moment of free time. Even with a 28 lb kiddo sitting on my lap, a moment of entertainment coming from someone other than myself was glorious. She made sure to blow some kisses and flash a few extra smiles at them when we were departing.

So the house was great, our friends wonderful and the weather was lovely. It was over 80 degrees on the Friday we arrived, and so we spent a good portion of the afternoon and early evening at the arboretum. Of all the trees, dogs and kids to run around and play with, Lillian found the one couple in the entire park that was canoodling under a tree, reading poetry no less, and wanted to be their best friend. I had to chase her away from their love nest a few times as she shrieked in tears. One day, you’ll get it Lillian. One day, I’ll pop out from behind a tree when you’re having a special moment and ask you to play peekaboo! 🙂

We also met up with another lesbian couple who have a little boy, “R”, who is Lillian’s donor sibling. And holy moly… I thought I had dominant genes!!! Wow. That mystery man in California must come from a strikingly handsome family, because the similarities were very clear! I think we all just kept staring in awe. Besides their physical attributes, there were also quite a few moments of “wow! Lillian does that too!” that were really funny and enjoyable.

We have already made plans for them to head towards our neck of the woods in early summer to see each other again. I think this is a great thing. They are wonderful people, their son is absolutely adorable and Lillian and he seemed to have as much fun as two independent toddlers can.

Here are some photos from our trip and adventures with the sibling

 

The Countdown Begins

Baring any more health issues (I have had some female issues and a hideous ear infection this week), we will be heading to Boston next weekend to visit some dear dear friends from college, drink some wine and watch tv, lounge around… and, meet another kid who is biologically related to our daughter.

As you may recall from older posts, Lauren and I have both gone through the emotional rollercoaster about the donor sibling thing. What does it mean that Lillian has a donor sibling in the world, who we know about, can see pictures of on Facebook and have contact with his mommies? What will this mean for Lillian? Does it mean anything at all?

Well, we have resolved ourselves to the fact that we think this is pretty neat and that most kids in our situation wouldn’t have this opportunity so young. I think we are both pretty uncomfortable with the “half-brother” or “half-sister” language that would typically be slapped on this type of genetic relationship, but then what do you call it? They ARE something to each other, but isn’t a brother or a sister really more familial than blood? Lots of people have brothers and sisters that they never see, don’t get along with or disown for whatever reasons, and they are still referred to as siblings (sometimes). I think for us, right now (and I can’t speak for the other moms) we are comfy with them just being L and R and just being kids. I think right now it’s more for the parents to meet and have that connection and see neat similarities, than it is for the kids.

The other moms are super nice from what we have picked up through the internet and text messages, and their son is super cute. Last week, while looking at pictures of their family online and telling Lillian their names, she repeated the son’s name, clear as day. I was shocked. And a little excited.

And so the countdown begins…

We are going to Boston to see friends in a week. A trip to Boston unlike any other. A trip I never in a million years would have imagined.

Better than Nothing

So, I haven’t posted since the middle of January… whoops. When I tell you life with a toddler is busy, that is an understatement. Here is a quick recap of things going on in our lives right now:

1.Lillian is a true toddler: Running, climbing, jumping, screaming “NO MAMA!”, refusing food, devouring food, throwing food — it is a never ending circus in our house. The dogs love her food flinging abilities and hate that she is always trying to ride or “feed” them. Lillian is a ball of fun, energy and excitement. She is also incredibly smart. Last week, she was saying “more, more, more, more” and I asked her what she wanted more of. She looked me right in the eye and said, “mama, blueberries, MORE!” There is no speech delay in this 17 month old, that’s for sure.

2. Furniture shuffle: As of last night, we had the last piece of furniture for sale picked up so that we can get the basement turned from an office/playroom into a bedroom. Lauren’s father is moving in with us on Friday and he will likely be living with us for the rest of his life (which we all hope is a long time 🙂 ). His arrival into our home leads us to number 3, which is…

3. On the hunt: As much as we would like to fool ourselves into thinking it is, a two bedroom urban row house is just not enough space for 3 adults, a toddler, two dogs (who each way about 65lbs) and a whole slew of toys and belongings. We have started to casually browse houses online and have narrowed our search down to a few that we really like. We are hoping to start figuring out finances, ideal house, etc. in the next few months and get settled into a new place by the end of the year. And you know what a new place means…

4. Time to Think about a Thaw: I just paid our frosty storage fees for another year of safe keeping for our donor samples, and as soon as I made the payment, Lauren said, “Why don’t we just use it!”  Yep, blog world, we are thinking of another. Not right now. Not in this house. But a new house means a new kiddo. Hopefully.

5. Holy Likeness Batman: Speaking of kiddos… we are getting very very very excited for a trip to Boston at the end of March. Our primary goal is to see our dear friends who moved up there a few years ago, but it just happens to also be a great and convenient time to… meet the other lesbian family who has a child with the same donor. 🙂  We have started showing Lillian pictures of R so that she can maybe learn his name or at least what he looks like (which happens to be a lot like herself!). We are going to meet up to play and have lunch. I think we are all genuinely super excited and curious, and I am hoping it is the start of an annual occurance.

6. Chapel Time?: Over the course of the past two weeks, the House and the Senate in Maryland passes a gay marriage bill, which our Governor will sign on Thursday. There was lots of celebration and quite a few tears of joy in our house. It was all shortlived though, as the opponents to gay marriage have already filed their paperwork for a referendum in the fall. Chances are likely that it will end up on the ballot, and based on recent polls in Maryland, it very well could be repealed. We are all waiting on pins and needles to see if the thing we have dreamed about for so long will survive, or will become a thing of the past. Marriage won’t even take effect until January 2013, per the bill, so it’s not even like we could go get married and then have it taken away. We might just never see it at all. It’s nervewracking and I try not to think about it.

That’s about it for now. We are all running at a mile a minute, and have some exciting things on the professional side  budding — none of which I can talk about until a later post. Maybe that will keep you in anticipation, and remind me to update more often 🙂

Droooool

I haven’t posted a recipe in a long time, so here’s one I made about two weeks ago that was delicious. Lillian literally licked the spoon and hummed mmmmmm to herself. She then chased me around for more.

Pan- Seared Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 1/2 pounds pork tenderloins (about 2 large), trimmed
  • Rosemary Balsamic and Orange Pan Sauce*
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pan Sauce
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium broth or stock

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix 3 tablespoons olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, salt, orange zest, and minced rosemary in a small bowl. Rub the oil mixture all over the trimmed pork tenderloins and place them in a large baking dish. Cover and let the pork marinate 20 minutes.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and sear, cooking until browned on all sides. Remove the pork tenderloins from the skillet and place into an oven-safe dish; cover. Roast the pork until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads about 145 degrees F, about 15 minutes.

For the pan sauce: Pour off the majority of the cooking fat leaving any browned bits in the pan. Heat the pan over medium-high heat and add the shallot and the wine. Continue cooking until most of the wine has cooked off, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.

Add the broth and continue cooking until the sauce has reduced by half. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, one piece at a time, until fully incorporated.

Stir in the balsamic vinegar, rosemary, orange zest, salt, and pepper, to taste. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Drizzle the pork with the balsamic pan sauce.

 

To make pan sauce:
After searing the pork tenderloins, pour off the majority of the cooking fat leaving any browned bits. Heat the pan over medium-high heat and add the shallots and wine. Continue cooking until most of the wine has cooked off, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan.

Add the broth or stock and continue cooking until the sauce has reduced by half. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated.

Add the vinegar, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper, to taste. Spoon the sauce over the pork or meat and serve.

** I cannot take credit for this recipe as my own. I saw it on the Cooking Channel. Here’s the original recipe with some variation suggestions for the sauce.

New Year, New Routine

Life has been busy but exciting, as I mentioned last time. I am going to try to post more, but if I don’t here is one of my reasons/excuses:

I am exhausted.

I was recently accepted into a national weight-loss/healthy living program through The Mommies Network and have been linked with a personal trainer/nutritionist in my area. We have been working on developing an exercise routine that works for my life and schedule, which means that I am getting up at 4:30 a.m. to go to the gym before work. I am really enjoying it, but man, by 9pm, I am collapsing on the couch!

I am hoping to post on here as things move along, but so far I can tell you that I am loving the circuit training and hoping to add some core strengthening exercises in as well (pilates in my living room, anyone!? Yes please!).

In addition to the new changes with my routines, Lillian seems to be growing and changing every day. Language is a constantly and rapidly evolving adventure and we are learning that she is a parrot (the other day she yelled crap, right after I did. Mama fail!). She is doing a great job of verbalizing her wants and desires which helps us eliminate some tantrums stemming from those frustrations. Now the tantrums from just being grumpy… oh they are there still, don’t worry!

All in all things are great. Here are some recent pictures to make your morning bright: