Daily Texts…

I see so many people writing each day in November about what they are thankful for.  I have so much to be thankful for, #1 being a healthy and happy family.  I hustle, I make enough to get by.  My wife gets to stay home with our girls, and most days she sends me a text with pictures of the girls and what they are doing.

This morning when I was leaving for work, Sidney said “Don’t leave MaTaya” and she blocked the door with some toys.  I said “Baby, I love you sooooo much, but I have to do some stuff to pay the bills. I’ll be back.”

Just a few minutes ago, April sent me a pic of them doing Christmas Ornaments.

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I am so thankful for text messaging!  Some days work is tough, but when I get to see these pics of the girls it makes it all worth it. I am a better provider than a nurturer, so I am happy that April gets to stay home and nurture these girls.  We really do make a good team.

I looked back at the past messages and here are some of my favorite shots 🙂

Here is one, just after Halloween with some face paint.

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This summer was full of walks, and I loved getting these texts 🙂

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Lots of playing in the dirt 🙂

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This one made me laugh out loud!  It is meme ready….

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I have sooooo much to be thankful for, and getting these texts are great reminders of what a great life I have been gifted.

Holiday card

This week we went to JC Penny to take our holiday pictures. Originally, we didn’t have any plan to do an actual photo shoot for the card. We were going to use random candid shots like we did last year…

I just happened to find a few extra dollars in my pocket, so went to Target and picked out some cute Christmas Jammies and then over to JC Penny. We didn’t have an appointment, so we booked the next available and went to get lunch.

For some reason I thought it was going to be easy. Dress up the girls and snap some pictures, how hard could that be? Well it was like herding cats. It was impossible to get them to stand together, they wouldn’t look at the photographer, Sidney kept running out of the room.

April said “I want the girls to have good memories more than good pictures” right as I was about to lose my mind.

I can remember taking the Christmas picture every year and how I hated it. Check out this one from 1982…35 years ago!

My mom had us all dress up in our monogram sweaters and line up on the spiral staircase that went up to Colleen’s and my room. Check out the aftermath photo:

Yup, that is me crying😂. I honestly don’t remember getting through any Christmas photos with out someone crying….usually me.

I am happy to report there were no tears shed at our photo shoot. I really didn’t think we had any good shots at all. I even tried to talk April into skipping out when we were waiting for the photos to download.

Luckily April talked me into waiting and checking out the photos. They were hysterical.

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out pretty good. It is funny looking at them. It had only been 10 minutes since the shoot, where I was so frustrated and angry, but looking at the pictures made me laugh.

The guy showing us the pictures was laughing out loud. He said he loves the pics of the little kids because they are always funny…and he said these were some of the funniest.

Another lesson learned. When you think something is going to come out horrible, give it a chance. Perfection is boring, Imperfection is funny if nothing else.

Bronx Zoo

Sunday was cold and rainy, but we had free tickets to the Bronx zoo.  The ride isn’t too bad from Rhode Island, so we decided to meet up with some of the girls diblings and check out the Bronx Zoo.

Everyone has an opinion about developing relationships with “diblings”, some people even hate the word “dibling”.  My thoughts are that my daughters have biological siblings out there, I think they should have the opportunity to meet them.

Some people in our situation feel you should let the child choose when they turn 18, if they want to meet their “biological” family.  I feel the best way to raise my family is full disclosure on everything.  I want to raise them to see all sorts of families, and to never feel like an outsider.  I want them to have relationships with their brothers and sisters.  I don’t want to just spring it on them when they turn 18.   Besides, the other families are such great families.  Many of the women are great roll models for my girls, many have incredible education (I’m talking Ivy League, one of the few things that impress me) and have multiple degrees, masters and P.H.D.s.  It is amazing we all seem to have clicked and hit it off so well.

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So we got to spend the day with our sister from Harlem, and our sisters (identical twins) from Brooklyn.  “A & Z” (3 years old) from Brooklyn loved interacting with Maxine, who is in awe of all toddlers. Sidney got to run around with all the girls.  We went on our trip to Canada with  “A” from Harlem, and it seems like Sidney has really warmed up to her Harlem family.

It is amazing to think about how these girls will grow up and interact with each other.

The trip was not without any hiccups.  Before we left the zoo to go to Arthur St to eat, we all went to the bathroom.  After Sidney finished, we were still in the bathroom, and we gave her a small box of junior mints from halloween.  Sid was eating them, and one dropped on the floor.  EVERYONE yelled “NOOOOOOO!” but Sid picked it up off the wet floor and ate it.  She is quick, and at this point in her life, I am pretty sure she has great immunities 🙂  (It reminded me of how she drank from the puddles at PRONK.)

Trees in the trash 😢

My (close to 100 years old) neighbor Rosalie, was taken out in an ambulance a few weeks ago.  It has become a common occurrence, sad none the less.  I don’t think she is going to come home this time.

I had only had a few conversations with her.  One of the first times I talked to her was probably close to 10 years ago when we first moved into our house.  I was out side, sitting on our porch smoking when she came to the fence and said “do you want to check out my garden?”

Of course I said yes and walked over. I made it to the door of her greenhouse when I collapsed and had a seizure.  When I came to she was standing there with orange juice.  She was a nurse, and thought I was probably diabetic. 

Luckily, that was the last seizure I have ever had.

I had talked briefly to her, and she said how she was still working as a teaching nurse, teaching women from Africa about nursing.   At 92 she was still working!  She talked about her garden, her flowers and plants.

Today, when I was about to leave I noticed her trash was already out on the sidewalk.  Someone had begun to throw out her plants.


I’m not into plants.  I have overgrown grass and not much landscaping in my yard.  Seeing this plant in the trash hurt my heart.  I don’t even know what kind of plant it is, but it is beautiful. Luckily my sister likes plants, so I called her and she just picked it up a few hours ago.  We will see how it adjusts to its new home.

Pronk

On Monday we went to Pronk.  From the website :

PRONK! (the Providence HONK! Festival) presents a heartfelt antidote to mainstream culture by inviting people from all walks of life to come together for a day set aside for the celebration of music. We aim to blur social boundaries between audience and performers as well as between musical genres, resulting in a joyous reclamation of public space.

We have been going to Pronk for the past few years.  We love music and performance.  This year it was raining a little, but we still got to go and enjoy the performances.  We wouldn’t let a little rain ruin it for us.

 

It is great to see the bands that travel from all over to participate. The event reminds me of Pride, as you get to see people from all different backgrounds….and a whole bunch of different family structures.
Combine cool people and cool music, I look forward to it every year 🙂

This year we did have one incident. Sidney was dancing (aka splashing in a puddle) with her juice box. Randomly she put her juice box down and bent down and put her face into the puddle. Of course I screamed, jumped towards her and pulled her away by the first thing available to grasp…her hair (sorry).  Luckily I got her before she actually got a drink from the puddle. We were in a parking lot of the Hot Club, there is no doubt that the puddle consisted of rain, dirt, cigarette remnants, and urine.   There were a group of young kids walking by and they saw the whole incident happen, they all laughed and for the first time in her life Sidney experienced embarrassment.  She put her head into my stomach (She is 3 but she is sooooo tall and is the size of a 5 year old) and cried.  I felt horrible, and so did the kids walking by. They said “Sorry, we didn’t mean to scare you” but you could tell she was embarrassed.  For the first time in her life, my little ferrel child felt embarrassment.

Macaroooooooon

I am 41 years old.  I have traveled all over the US and the world.  I would consider myself a foodie, I have tried many types of foods.  I can remember being in the Virgin Islands at a buffet and filling my plate and not even asking what things were.  My father, a strictly meat and potato Irish man, asked about each dish.  After I had eaten half my plate, my Dad said “Tara, did that taste good?  Do you know what it is?”  I said “It tasted fine, it is chicken”  and my dad said “Sort of, it is bird”  So I asked “what do you mean bird?” and he pointed to a pigeon not far from where we were sitting.  He said the woman who was filling the buffet told him it was bird, and when he asked the same question as me she said “No, it is bird” and pointed to the same pigeon he was now pointing to.

Until a few days ago I could say, I have eaten Pigeon but not macarons.  For some reason I had never tried a macaron, and I didn’t know what I was missing.

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A man I do business with brought me a box filled with assorted macaroons. He gave them to me as a gift for my girls.  It was just their birthdays (3rd and First birthday) so he brought in a “Rainbow of Macrons”.

I brought them home and gave one to Maxine (my 1 year old) She smooshed it into her mouth, dropping half on the floor.  I picked it up and popped it in my mouth.  So my first macaroon was a floor macaroon.

It was nothing like what I expected.  I always passed on getting macarons because I figured they would be a nilla wafer consistency with frosting in the middle.  I like nilla wafers, I always ate them at my grandmothers house. (That house always had nilla wafers, jelly beans, and assorted licorice….aka old people deserts)

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Im not a picky eater, I will try almost anything.  (I actually think the only thing I won’t try is dog) If I saw them in a bakery I would pick something else, because I had prejudged them.

So it took a free box of macarons to get me to try them.  Forty One years, and now I know what I was missing.   I wonder what else I might have prejudged and what I missed out on.  I can tell you a half eaten macaron from the floor  is better than buffet pigeon any day of the week 🙂

 

Update:  I was just told that Macarons were gay oreos, so now I am into them even more!!

Hascon

This week we stepped away from yard sales and did a family event…Hascon.

Billed as a “The Premier Hasbro FANmily event”, the three day event took place in Providence, not far from us.

We live right behind the Hasbro factory….I could throw a My Little Pony and hit the building from my front door.  Luckily we won a family four pack of tickets, so I actually felt like we were living a 2017 version of Willie Wonka’s Chocolate factory!

We won our tickets by getting a special “Pinkie Pie” donut at PVDonuts.  We posted pictures of Sidney eating the donut and we  were chosen!Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 10.45.55 AM

We decided to go to the show on Saturday.  Saturday was a big day for my family.  Sidney had her first soccer game and Maxine had her first birthday!  We left the soccer game, went home to change (we tried to dress up a little) and then we went to PVDonuts. We wanted to thank them for the tickets…..and of course devour a few more donuts.

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The Hascon event was great.  Because there is a My Little Pony movie coming out, there was a ton of MLP stuff.  We didn’t get to see all of the exhibits, We probably only saw 25% of what was offered, but we had fun.   I give major props to Hasbro because the event was not just about pushing their toys, they also had a social message.  They had kids take pledges to not bully and to be inclusive.  They also had kids pick toys to donate to Toys for Tots.

As a Rhode Islander, I am happy to see success for a home grown company that does so much for the community.   Last week when I was driving home from the gym I saw a bunch of people with Hasbro Shirts volunteering, doing the landscaping in front of the junior high, creating a seating space for the kids waiting for class.  A great example to show how a successful business can give back to the community they come from.

Check out the video below to see the inside of Hascon.

 

Get your shotgun???

I am just like every other mom in this world.  I think I have some gorgeous girls.  I know I am biased, because I also think my fur baby “Birdie” is the cutest dog alive. Here is a picture for reference:

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We get stopped a few times by people who tell us we have a pretty baby.  We constantly get told we have a “cute son”, our daughters are often mis gendered.  It does not bother me, I am used to it.  People comment on their hair and eyes and dimples.  Sometimes I do get annoyed or caught off guard when someone asks “what are they” or “what is she”, so I usually answer “A Virgo”.

We were on a bus in Niagara, I was sitting with Sidney (the almost 3 year old) and across and a little bit up April was sitting with Maxine (almost 1 year old).  A older gentleman was sitting next to April and Maxine and kept complimenting Max on her beauty.  He said, “She must be a daddy’s girl” April responded “She is mommy’s girl”.  He went on “Oh no, that must be daddy’s girl.  I hope daddy has a shot gun”  April just responded “She is mommy’s girl”

A few days later when we were driving home, we stopped at a rest stop.  I waited in the car with Maxine who was sleeping and April took Sidney inside.  April came back and said while she was waiting in line another man started a conversation with her.  He also said “She must be daddy’s girl. I hope daddy has a shot gun” April used the “She is mommy’s girl” response once again.

I know a day will come when the girls will respond for themselves that they have two mommies.  I have no idea how people will react, I just hope for their sake they react positively.

Although we are just back from a vacation to Canada, tomorrow we leave for another mini-vacation to Provincetown. (I have entered a point in my life where making memories is more important than making money)  PTown is a gay mecca.  It is one of my favorite places in the world. Every week of the summer they have themes. Everything from  Women’s week, Bear week, gay pilots week, you name it you can find in in PTown.  This week is family week.  Hosted by The Family Equality Council, family week is s big gathering of LGBT families, where there are lesbian moms, gay dads, transgendered couples with kids, every combination of gender / sex / ethnicities and race are represented.  It is amazing the combination of families.  I love going there and being surrounded with families like mine.  I love having the girls be able to be with other kids that have similar family structures.  It is a place where you just feel 100% comfortable, no questions asked.  Best of all, I know I won’t be told “That must be daddy’s girl, daddy better have a shot gun!”

Niagara Falls Vacation

I am just back from vacation.  We went to Niagara Falls and camped at Jellystone Park.  When I say “Camped”, we were in a Trailer and ate s’mores every night.  I am not a camper by any stretch of the imagination. I actually have a “NO CAMPING” clause in the pseudo prenup that I always remind my wife about.

We went and hung out with our girls “diblings”.  For those unfamiliar with that term, that is the word some people use when talking about donor siblings.  There are a bunch of families in Canada, so we decided to do a trip up there and meet some.

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There are a great number of varying perspectives about children meeting their diblings. Some moms want nothing to do with donor siblings or the donor.  I can understand that point of view, but I want my girls to be able to grow up knowing their “Family”.  They do have a unique set of circumstances within their family, and I want to raise them so see all types of families and appreciate the differences.  And I feel lucky that I ended up in this group of “sister moms” because each are incredible people.  There are “SBC” Single by choice mothers, heterosexual couples, lesbian and transgendered families…every type of family structure you can imagine.  The one thing we all have in common is we all had to try extra hard to have our children, and all our children are loved.  I can’t see a problem with wanting my girls to be surrounded by love and unquestioning acceptance.  And there are so many role models for my girls (and for myself).  A large percentage of my sister moms have Master’s Degrees, Ph.Ds, and many are career focused.

As for Canada, I loved it.  I have to say, I am impressed with Canadian women.  We met two Single moms there, one was actually camping in a tent with her two daughters!  Now that is some hard cord stuff.

Other things I noticed about Canada:

  1. Canadians are really nice.  I was driving and obviously unfamiliar with the road, and at one point I had to cut over 4 lanes. Not one driver honked, yelled, or chucked the bird my way!
  2. Canadians are honest.  I had brought a few coins from my shop that were Canadian,  I didn’t know if the coins were ok, because they were old.  When we first got there I went to buy a fry at McDonalds, so I asked the woman at the window. The woman at the window said the coins were fine, but I over paid!
  3. Guacamole is free.  FREE.  I added guacamole once when we were ordering something and I didn’t get the usual “THE GUAC IS EXTRA” and when I checked the bill, there was nothing added.
  4. Canadian Hershey chocolate is better.  We went to the Hershey store and they had a separate section for Canadian and for American chocolate.  The Canadian Hershey Chocolate was creamier.  I never knew how waxy the American Chocolate tasted until I had a comparison.
  5. American Water is better.  I think they add vitamins or something to the water.  I drink a ton of water, but when I was there I didn’t like the taste.

Anyway, that was my trip.  I had a few strange things happen there, but I will save that for the next blog post 🙂

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Duct Tape Bike

This week I did go to a few yard sales, but the most fun I had was from what I found in the trash.  Of all the things I find in the trash, one of the things I find the most is bikes.  I didn’t have a bike, so I figured I would keep this one and “customize” it.

When I got it, it was in horrible shape.  Rust all over it, flat tires, cob webs, kick stand missing.  I really wish I took a picture of it back then. I brought it over to cousin Julies house and had her son fix it up for me.  I had him change out the seat.. I wanted a big wide seat because my butt always hurts when I ride bikes. When I got the bike back it was perfect, but I decided to customize it.

I did a time-lapse video because time-lapse videos are my favorite.  The whole project took about an hour, but that is because I was stopping and taking a picture after every piece of tape was placed.  If I wasn’t filming, I am sure I could have finished in 20 minutes.

 

 

I think it looks cool. I even fixed up my daughter’s helmet from a lame Disney Princess one to Spike Mohawk Rainbows, with Mac & Cheese, Cats, and trailer park motif!

You can buy a huge lot of duct tape and do one yourself. Click the picture below to get started!Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 11.54.00 AM

Thanks for checking out my project. Please like, subscribe and comment.

Happy Hunting 🙂