Fall Festivals: All The Fall Things

It is time for all things fall like festivals. The D.C. area is full of great spots to get out of the city. In less than an hour, you can be on a farm in the middle of what feels like nowhere petting baby goats and sipping homemade cider.

Montpelier Farms – Upper Marlboro, MD

1508936378663Sometimes I do not want to drive to what feels like the far ends of Virginia even though in reality it’s only like 43 miles. Lucky for us there is a great spot less than 20 miles away in Upper Marlboro, MD. We found Montpelier Farms last year when our desire to visit a pumpkin patch was great but our fear of driving an hour with a screaming 1 1/2 year old was MUCH greater.

This fantastic little farm is filled with activities for the whole family. Kids can play games, pan for jewels, get lost in a corn maze, jump on a giant pumpkin air mat, make a scarecrow, go on a hayride and feed farm animals. The alpacas and the horse will nibble the food right from your hand. It tickles, it’s wet and slightly frightening – IT IS THE BEST. We spent a lot of time watching LADC climb up and slide down an old truck bed converted into three slides. After you’re finished with your afternoon of fun, you can pick your own pumpkin.

Admission: $12.00 (2 and under free) – Most events are included with the price but there are some ticketed games as well.

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2016 Montpelier Farms Visit – It was hot hot hot!!!

 

Winterbrook Farms – Thurmont, MD

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Our friends invited us along to this fantastic farm way out in Maryland. This was about an hour and half drive for us but it was well worth it. This beautiful farm has a huge barn with kids activities, animals to feed and shaded tables for eating. There are apple cannons, a cow train (highly recommended), zip lines, corn maze, hayrides to a pumpkin patch. So many things to climb – bails of hay, tire stacks, and even a hill with a bell at the top. We even engaged in a friendly sack race which made me laugh so hard. We spent a lot of time in the giant corn box…a sandbox filled with corn kernels. You’ll want one for your own! The corn box was conveniently located next to a duck race using water pumps which was a hit with the adults. LADC loved the tube slides so much that she insisted on doing them alone. They were not too fast for a tiny two year old so we let her go for it…OVER…AND…OVER…again.

Admission: $10 Regular, $7 for children under 4′ tall – All events included expect Apple cannon and pumpkins

Ticonderoga Farms – Chantilly, VA

This was our (mine and LADC’s) third trip to Ticonderoga Farms. LADC and I have  in the past attended my former employer’s corporate picnic with friends so this year was our first time being able to do all of the farm activities. Ticonderoga has a huge pillow jump, a mountain of slides, several playgrounds, goats and chickens to feed, hay rides, a bamboo maze, pedal carts, pumpkin patches, and live music. We spent a lot of time playing hide and seek in the pumpkin patch and on the slides. WE enjoyed the slides over and over again! Climbing that slide hill like 50 times is an exhausting good time!

Oh and everyone gets their own pumpkin to take home!

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Admission: $16.95 for everyone 2 and up (slightly pricey)

As the fall festival season winds down, I come away with one final thought.  – Turns out all that is important to us is a good slide and apple cider!

Come Out, Come Out…

Where ever you are…how ever you want…when ever you want. It’s really up to you.

Yes, it can be scary.

Yes, the words are hard to find sometimes.

Yes, it feels too hard.

Sometimes it will go well.

Sometimes you will cry….tears of joy, relief, and even pain.

Some people will cry with you.

Some people will hug you.

Some one will be shocked. BUT

Some one will say, “I knew.”

You may lose a friend.

You may lose a family member.

You will feel free.

You will sleep better at night.

You will move forward.

You will know so much love.

It was hard, scary and a very long process for me. BUT I DO NOT REGRET IT! The truth is I still come out all of the time. It is the nature of things still. People assume straight. Sometimes when I meet a new adult especially in a professional setting or another parent, I get to come out. I usually get to come out when I am asked about my daughter’s father. It is often in polite conversation or in reaction to my daughter’s very light blond hair in contrast to my very dark hair. I always feels slightly embarrassed on behalf of the asker as I say, “she has two moms.”

Once you’re out to the people who matter most, the other times will just become a thing you say.

So come out. We are all here waiting for you with open arms.

4 Month Update

We brought our sweet baby home on a snowy blizzardy type day.

It is hot now.

It is summer.

It is July…

And our baby is FOUR freaking MONTHS OLD! Look at how much she has changed from when she was just four weeks old.

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The difference between a 4 week old and 4 month old feels infinitely different. She definitely has less hair. Her fingers are still super long like the rest of her. So much changes so fast. Her little personality is starting to take shape. She has little coo-versations, giggles, smiles, grabs, scoots and sleeps. I swear, yesterday, she fit perfectly in a 3 month onesie but today I couldn’t get the darn thing buttoned. It is fun to watch her grown and change but I would not wish this time away. I savor every laugh, smile and noise.

No official weight or height for this month yet. Her unofficial weight is around 13 lbs.

LA LOVES

  • Making fun noises
  • Holding her own bottle
  • Playing with her feet
  • The taste of a good book or even a mediocre one as long as the pages turn
  • Putting all the things in her mouth
  • Climbing her giant panda bear (w/ mom’s help, of course)
  • Playing with toys that crinkle
  • Gnawing on Sophie the Giraffe
  • Playing on her exer-saucer
  • Smiling at moms
  • Grabbing hair
  • Giving open mouth kisses to everything
  • Riding in her Ergo
  • Laughing at her moms and grammy

LA LOATHES

  • Things that don’t fit in her mouth
  • When her limbs won’t do all the things
  • A cold wipe
  • When moms eat dinner

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SCOTUSBlog Live: June 26th

Good morning! It is Friday which, is amazing. I think real-time blogging about a live blog makes me some sort of weird super fan. However, it did make me sublimely happy yesterday so I am totally doing it again today as promised. Chances are I will be silent during most of the 9:00 AM hour as I have “work” things to do. So here is what you need to know.

You can find SCOTUSBlog if you click here!

The link to all things Obergefell v. Hodges (SSM Case) is right here!

You can see what cases are left, which Justices have issued opinions and other stats if you click here!

You can check out that Hillary Clinton same-sex marriage campaign video that is making everyone cry below!

[9:03 AM EST] Amy How is live blogging for ScotusBlog! It’s time to get on people!

Oh yea, the link to the SCOTUSBlog FAQs….so important.

[9:16 AM EST] Don’t take this to mean anything but today is the anniversary of the Windsor and Lawrence opinions!

A very bad quality picture of me and Edie Windsor...alcohol may have been a factor in photo quality and distance.

A very bad quality picture of me and Edie Windsor…alcohol may have been a factor in photo quality and distance.

P.S. If you haven’t seen A Very Long Engagement, do it! It is how Lisa and I fell in love with the story of Edie and Thea. I am pretty sure it is still available on Netflix.

[9:43 AM EST] The count is 32K on SCOTUSBlog!

Not so fun fact: I’m labeling things right now. Feel the excitement.

[9:46 AM EST] Lyle is the guy from SCOTUSBlog in the press room at the courthouse who calls in the opinions. Thus, #WaitingforLyle

[9:54 AM EST] FOUR BOXES TODAY! FOUR!!!

[9:58 AM EST] 54K people on SCOTUBlog

[9:59 AM EST] OMG! OMG! OMG! 1 minute until opinion time.

[10:00 AM EST] We are officially #waitingforLyle

[10:01 AM EST] Marrriage – First Opinion – Kennedy

[10:02 AM EST] Holding: Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex.

And to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when a marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.

[10:02 AM] 5-4 with dissents from the obvious, Sixth Circuit reversed.

OK I am headed to the courthouse.

Quick Update: There are pictures and a few videos on my Instagram account – LezBVeganMoms. I’ll write more later when I have time. 

Congratulations everyone! Love freaking won!!!!

Thursday, June 25th – SCOTUSBlog Live

Picture Taken on Oral Argument Day outside SCOTUS

Picture Taken on Oral Argument Day outside SCOTUS

I have decided to update my blog in real time in anticipation of the pending decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. I will do this tomorrow and Monday if necessary as well. When the opinion does come out, I promise to run down to the Supreme Court and share the excitement from the streets. I mean this is all purely for my own amusement but I think it could be fun. Feel free to comment on what marriage equality would mean to you. Opposing opinions are welcome as well just be respectful.

[9:12 AM EST] On SCOTUSblog Live – Join everyone!!! Here is a Link!

[9:20 AM EST] I do not comment or ask questions on the SCOTUS Blog. People ask a lot of the same questions but can be answered in the FAQs.

[9:31 AM EST] P.S. I am at work so likely I may get interrupted by work but hopefully not at 10 AM when opinions start.

Also, just saw that UniteForMarriage has a listing of events going on across the U.S. for when the decision does come out.

[9:37 AM EST] There are 7 cases left for SCOTUS to issue opinions in from this term. Several still left from January and February oral arguments. The SSM case was argued in April so what I’m saying is today may not be the day. Check out the statistical analysis of this term.

Another picture Oral argument day at SCOTUS

Another picture Oral argument day at SCOTUS

[9:44 AM EST] The live blog feed has been quiet for 4 minutes…I even refreshed to be sure. Hope the site hasn’t crashed! That would be tragic!

[9:50 AM EST] If SSM opinion doesn’t come out today or tomorrow. I’ll definitely make sure I’m at SCOTUS for the 10 AM opinions. Decision made.

ALSO 30K on SCOTUSBlog Now!

[9:51 AM EST] Two boxes of opinions which means 3 or 4 opinions today are possible or maybe 2 fat ones.

[9:57 AM EST] People are asking some eye roll inducing questions. Some I hope are jokes but maybe not. I just keep reminding myself…Everyone needs to learn. Questions are good.

[9:59 AM EST] 1 minute until opinion time!!! Squeeeeeee!!!!!

[10:00 AM EST] Waiting for Lyle (I can explain that later)

[10:02 AM EST] First opinion – Texas Housing – Justice Kennedy has the opinion.

[10:04 AM EST] This is a pretty major case. I’ll post the link in a bit. Next opinion could be from Kennedy, Scalia or Chief Justice.

[10:07 AM EST] SCOTUS Blog user count 62K

[10:08 AM EST] Next Opinion – Healthcare (King v. Burwell) case – Chief Justice for the Court – 6-3 Fourth Circuit affirmed – Holding: Subsidies are available.

[10:10 AM EST] In layman terms per Amy Howe – This means that individuals who get their health insurance through an exchange established by the federal government will be eligible for tax subsidies.

As a side note: I have to pee. And Scalia is my favorite Justice. I never actually agree with him but I love the way he writes. And he’s pretty darn funny. 

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[10:12 AM EST] There were only two fat opinions today. There are 5 opinions left, SSM being one of them.

OK blog friends…that wraps up our day with SCOTUS. If I am looking at the chart correctly, there is still 1 case left from February, 1 from March and 3 from April but I have to pee so bad I can not concentrate.

Weekend Family Fun in Rehoboth Beach, DE

This whole month I have been thinking about Pride and how to participate with a youngster in tow. In general, Pride is kind of an adult affair…information booths, booze, beads (kids like beads though), parties, and fabulous parades…But who doesn’t love a parade? Am I right? I am sure eventually there would be questions about certain floats…and I’d have to explain that the plastic squares with the round discs are not suckers that have lost their sticks…they are something entirely different!
With an infant though, this year my major concern was about heat and sunburn on very fresh baby skin. June in most of the country is HOT! The last few years we have gone down to the Pride festival we have been so hot that we quickly opted for an indoor restaurant after a quick walk through. In our younger years we probably would have had all the drinks and danced our cares away. But alas…we have to do all the responsible adulting now…Now I know there are some family areas at Pride and I will explore those more in the future as DC Pride has come and gone. Yesterday, I got an email from CAMP Rehoboth about their first annual Family Pride CAMP! This is so exciting! Unfortunately, we will not be able to attend Family Pride CAMP this year so I hope they do it next year!  I am posting details below and click on the link above for more details.
From CAMP Rehoboth’s Website: 
Featuring bouncy-castles, a pizza party, parent’s-night-out, a seaside BBQ, a fire station tour, beach games, a farewell brunch, and more, Family Pride CAMP 2015 will be a fun-filled weekend—generating a lifetime of memories—for all families, young and old, big and small!
Family Pride CAMP Schedule of Events

June 26-28
Rehoboth Beach

Friday, June 26

  • 4-6 p.m. Registration at CAMP Rehoboth. Preregistration is available online or come to CAMP Rehoboth to check in and pick up information about the weekend.
  • 6-9 p.m. CAMP Rehoboth Welcome Party-Featuring food, drink, and entertainment for kids and adults.

Saturday, June 27

  • 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Gordons Pond Pavilion-Featuring lunch, beach toys and games.
  • 4 p.m.  Rehoboth Beach Fire Station Tour
  • 5:30-8:30 p.m. Let’s Bounce Party at “Shell We Bounce!”(add-on fee of $30 for first child and $25 for each additional sibling), featuring dinner, babysitters and fun!
  • 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Adult Dinner at Eden (pay at restaurant).

Sunday, June 28

  • Featured Beach: Poodle Beach
  • 12-4 p.m. Farewell Lunch at the Bromley-Salie house, 5 Prospect Street (steps away from Poodle Beach). Featuring food, drink, toys, games and restroom facilities.

$30 per adult;$15 per kid; $90 per family (max). Plus optional add-ons (babysitting, parent’s dinner at a local restaurant).

Even if you cannot make this event! Check out CAMP Rehoboth’s events…they have a Women’s Fest every year which is also awesome! Rehoboth Beach is very LGBTQ and vegan friendly!
The only Rehoboth picture I have on my work computer.

The only Rehoboth picture I have on my work computer.

 

The Twinkle Diaries

Tips to Tackling Transition Talks

There was a time I did not know any gay people. It was probably middle school but the time period existed. Boy George, Ellen Degeneres and Pedro Zamora were my only confirmed gays before my junior year of high school. My parents and grandparents most likely would say they did not know any out (instead of rumored) gay people until adulthood. It is highly likely and most probable that my great-grandparents knew no gay people. If we look at the transgender community, the evolution of visibility is probably similar. Up until a handful of years ago, I did not know any transgender people. However, my daughter whether she realizes/knows it or not will have transgender people in her life. Your children may even already know another transgender youth. Visibility matters because it gets the dialogue rolling, minds opening and hearts growing.

Visibility of people like Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox, Chaz Bono, Aydian Dowling and 14-year-old Jazz Jennings may inspire someone in your life who has been too scared before now. Being gay and/or being transgender means having to do a lot of talking about personal details. More specifically having “coming out” conversations. So from someone who has been “coming out” for like 10 years now; here are some things you should know.

  • Coming out conversations are exhausting, nerve-racking, sometimes scary and just plain hard.
  • Do not tell the person they are confused or worse, wrong. The person having this conversation has been working on this speech and started this process long before talking to you.
  • Because we are all mere mortals, we tend to focus on how it affects us when someone comes out. It is totally OK to have feelings about someone else’s coming out but think real hard before you speak.
  • Sexuality and gender identity are no one’s fault. Also – No one was recruited, conditioned or persuaded.
  • Choice is a word that should be avoided unless you’re just glad they made the choice to be happy and live an authentic life.
  • I do not think people we randomly meet in life owe us a coming out conversation.
  • If someone tells you they identify as a girl or a boy, use the correct pronoun. Sometimes we don’t know what pronoun to use. That’s OK. Chances are the person will let you know.
  • Ask questions even if they seem silly. It’s OK to not know things. It’s OK to wonder. Just be respectful and open to the answer.
  • Unless you’re real real close like that. Who, what, where and how someone is having sex is none of your business. Not saying you should never talk about it…but your new co-worker probably doesn’t want to talk about that with you…yet.
  • Appreciate that this person is placing all of their trust in you with this information. That’s a high compliment to the place you hold in their life and heart.

You can never go wrong if you are honest, open and full of love. Love and light come from all kinds of sources in this world. Be open. Be kind. Be love.

I am very excited about Becoming Us that is premiering next week (Mon. 5/8) on ABC Family. You can check out the full episode right now on the HRC Blog. The HRC website also has a lot of good information on Coming Out, Transgender issues, Marriage Equality and any other LGBTQ+ topic you need to know about.

2 Moms R Awesome 2 

I often read a news story because it shows up in my newsfeed on Facebook, my Google alerts, someone posts it on Twitter or even just my daily scan of CNN.com (I only read the Crime & Justice section) and Huffington Post. I mostly reserve my commentary on current events for Lisa and my close friends. On a rare occasion something will gnaw at me until I feel like not commenting is more harmful than commenting.  Which brings me to Heather Barwick’s letter on The Federalist. (If you’re an American history or political junkie, you’ll get the name reference. If not, click here.) If you haven’t read the piece, stop reading this and click here I’ll wait….(This link is a more in depth iteration or maybe combination of her essay in the Federalist and her interview with WorldMag.com.)

Welcome back….

Reading her story before proceeding is important to me because I do not believe in opining on something based on the title or other people’s perceptions…I like to marinate on my thoughts for a few days to avoid gut and emotionally regrettable reactions especially on something that hits this close to home…but Heather Barwick doesn’t have two mommies. Heather has/had a mom, a step-mother type and a seemingly deadbeat dad. I do not think she represents the whole or even a fraction of LGBT children. I think her situation is different…because she has a dad.

From reading her essay it appears her dad was not around or not around enough or in the right way. She was/is missing a dad. I do not think another male figure would have filled that role for her any better than her mother’s partner. Why, in my opinion? Because she has a dad. I lived in a house with my dad my entire childhood so I can not even comprehend all of the feelings that come along with the knowledge as a child that a parent (mother or father) is out there in the world but does not want to be near. Even though I have not lived this, I have seen the effects in the lives of others close to me. That wound does not seem to heal no matter how stable an environment is created. My parents divorced when I was a senior in high school. They’ve both remarried bringing step-parents, step-siblings and an ever growing extended family (which reminds me that our hearts are capable of limitless love). No parent was replaced though. My father was still my dad and mother still my mom. But step-parents often do step in to take on that role of the absent parent. Trying to fill a hole that may already be shaped like someone else. So no I don’t think Heather’s mom’s partner could replace her father…not even if she had the right parts.

As for the long-term consequences she speaks of, I would like to point out what I think should be obvious at this point…I was raised by a man and a woman. I am now happily married to another woman. I did not grow up around any same-sex couples (that I can recall). There were no same-sex marriage models for me to draw from in my life. In fact, the first same-sex marriage ceremony I attended was my own. Yet so far…I’m (We’re) doing alright.

One thing she says is dead on, “…there are so many different ways that the family unit can break down and cause kids to suffer.” And as I continued to do research on her essay and came across the WorldMag.com interview, I noticed that every example of proof that kids of same-sex couples were unhappy and maladjusted was of some extreme scenario. What I think is that there are far-reaching consequences of divorce, infidelity, abandonment, and just plain unhappy homes that impact families of all shapes and sizes. The impact is greatest on the children. We are the adults and we are responsible for making sure the kids are alright.

Kids do not exclusively come in to LGBT homes as products of divorce, although some do. LGBT families are formed in so many ways…just not in the oops I’m pregnant way…What you should think of when you see a LGBT couple with a child is how much that child was wanted…And how much thought, planning, love, persistence, and even monetary resources were put in to having that child. I am one of two moms to a new baby. A new baby that was planned, conceived and birthed into a family of two moms. There is no dad. There is no missing person. There is no person who did not want to be a dad. Our names are on the birth certificate. I believe with all of my heart that we are enough parent. We are an original intact family of two moms and a child. My wish and hope for my child is that she knows she is loved and wanted every day. She will know where she came from and how she came to be. Because two moms (two dads, one mom and even one dad) need a little extra help to bring a child into this world. Our child will always know that her two moms had help making her and somewhere out there is someone who gave us a precious gift. I know one day there will be questions but we will have the answers. We will always be open and honest.

Heather wanted to start a dialogue and it should continue. I think hearing from kids born or adopted in to LGBT families is important too. My concern for my child is what initially drew me to her story. It is unfortunate that after reading her piece on The Federalist that I found the WorldMag.com article because I now feel like her change of heart/of politics coincides with her chosen denomination. I kind of wish she would have just said that instead. In a way, I feel like Heather Barwick and I are less than 6 degrees of separation apart. She was raised in Maryland, I currently live in MD. She lives in Columbia, SC, a city I called home for 11 years. We are roughly the same age from what I can tell. We even have the same first name. Depending on how long she has lived in Columbia, our paths may have crossed. Our 20 year old selves probably would have been friends. In her role as a child advocate, I hope she finds it in her heart to remember that families come in all shapes, sizes and configurations…

And always remember there’s nothing worth sharing
like the love that let’s us share our name
Always remember there’s nothing worth sharing
like the love that let’s us share our name