Tag Archives: Friendship

Name change parties and a happy boy.

Kids are funny, yeah? Unless you teach them something isn’t quite right, they roll with it. Unless you teach them that one is better than another, they think everyone is equal. Unless you teach them that a little girl who never felt like a girl at all, but more like a boy who is now living his true self is sick and wrong, they’ll think it’s the most logical thing to do. Be who you are, don’t worry about what others think.

I asked Luke what he would say to someone who didn’t support him, who thought it wasn’t right for someone with girl parts to really be a boy and live like a boy. He said, “I would tell them that it’s okay to be who you are and you should just accept people for who they are.”

Kids get it.

So when I went to Luke’s school and spoke to the principal, the school psychologist, and his classroom teacher, we all pretty much agreed that this would be a smooth transition, that children would be accepting. Because that’s how things should be. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Call me crazy, but I think maybe that even includes transgender children and adults. So imagine my surprise when one of the teachers refused to be supportive (not Luke’s classroom teacher and not the school psychologist or principal…they were and are so amazing. My kids are so lucky to be at that school). She refused to take this as an opportunity to teach her students that Alice isn’t transforming into another person completely, she’s just changing her name to Luke and would like to live as a boy…that same friend is still there, just with shorter hair and a different spelling of the name. Imagine my surprise when she not only put his name change party invites into a sealed white envelope for her class, but also posted about it on Facebook, telling parents that the kids have no idea what’s in the envelope and she wanted them to see it before making a decision. The invite literally just said, “name change party.” I didn’t use words like transgender or queer or go into detail about our situation.  There wasn’t even a rainbow on the invite for God’s sake. It was a simple invitation to all of Luke’s friends to come and celebrate this huge change.

I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Some adults will make a big deal out of things no matter what. Even when it makes it harder for children, harder for families, adults still feel like they  need to insert themselves into every situation and try and take charge. This isn’t something that anyone can really take charge of. It’s not something that can change. This is just the way it is, and if you know Luke, you know it’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

This weekend was Luke’s name change party and how lucky are we that so many people came?

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All these people were here for Luke. Parents I had never met, close friends, kids from the other class, siblings…all of these friends were here to tell Luke that he’s great. That this change is one that will be met with love and support more often than judgment and hate. These are the people who will be his allies, his helpers, the people he can go to when things get hard.

Oh, these friends of ours (and so many that weren’t able to come and aren’t pictured, too!)

I think I took more Polaroid photos than I did normal ones, but this is a pretty good representation. Luke’s face never quit smiling.

We had food and goodies and such a great time.

Gifts. People brought Luke gifts.

What’s one way that someone can show you they love you? By traveling hours and hours for an event that they know is almost as important as a birth to you. (It was. That might sound crazy but this was so important.)

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These guys know life isn’t easy and they know it’s going to be even harder for Luke. They know that the one teacher who isn’t supportive is just a tiny taste of what we’ll be met with for years and years. They know that one thing that a child can never get enough of is love. My kids have no doubt about who they can turn to when they need it.

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These are my people. And all the ones on the other side of the camera. And all the ones to the side and behind us. All the people who see Luke for who he is, what his heart shows, how he treats others, how he loves and how we love him. These are our people, whether they were at the party or not, those who show us love and respect and compassion – those are our people.

 

There’s a song in Hamilton (I know, I know) and the lyrics make me tear up every time.

 

“…you will come of age with our young nation.

We’ll bleed and fight for you.

We’ll make it right for you.

If we lay a strong enough foundation,

We’ll pass it on to you,

We’ll give the world to you

And you’ll blow us all away

Someday, someday.”

Every time I sing this song, I think of what I’m doing for my kids. How hard I’m working, how hard my family is working, how hard my friends are working. It’s not always easy to speak out when you know something is wrong. It’s not always easy to be who you truly are, especially when so many people so loudly disagree. It’s heartbreaking to see someone hate your child when they don’t even know them.

But if we lay a strong enough foundation, we’ll give the world to our children. And they’ll blow us all away. That, I know, and that’s why I’m willing to fight and make it right.

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Party of 17, Please.

We are a large family. With six kids, we get comments/questions/looks just about everywhere we go. I know, it sounds like I’m just saying that, but it’s true. 90% of the time we are out with our kids, someone says something about our family size. It’s rarely rude or mean, most often it’s just a comment on how many kids we have or how busy we must be or how full our hands are.

(so full)

It helps to be able so say, “Oh, I know, but my friends Liz and Paul have seven kids.”

By the time I say this, people have usually moved on and don’t really care to hear what I have to say. They’re more worried about getting that next sample at Costco or making sure their veggies are correctly bagged. Which is fine by me, we all know how much I love talking to people.

But let’s get back to that family with seven kids.

They joined us for a weekend up at Dan’s parent’s cabin in Sandpoint. Yes, that’d make 17 people…13 of them children. Even I have to admit how ridiculous that is.

RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME.

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We had so much fun. We pretty much stayed close to home (with the exception of a trip to a museum and a quick trip back towards home for a couple hours one day). We had dinners at the cabin which I think is really fun because it’s really laid back and the kids can come and go and run around and no one it too concerned with strict rules. Because it’s the cabin. And it’s Liz and Paul. Parents who are laid back are my favorite type. (Dan happens to be the most laid back of the laid back parents. I kinda like him.)

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[chatting over some beer]

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[Liz made salsa}

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The kids were all so good.

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They slept in, they ate, they played, they were fun and polite and easy to wrangle. The big kids took care of the little kids and they were pretty great.

They even played with the adults.

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(for 2 years, I’ve tried to lure this kid into a friendship with me. he’s tough. I’ve tried buying his friendship with frappuccinos, brownies, and Nerf guns. I think I may have won him over when I brought Danny into it.)

We swam and we boated and we jet skied and we ate and we drank and we played poker and we talked and we laughed and we cried. Just kidding, we didn’t cry. But we did laugh.

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We spent a pretty great weekend in a pretty amazing place.

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Dan took a whole week off of work, and that doesn’t happen very often. Usually it’s a day here, a day there…so we are taking full advantage. Mostly because school starts next week and we’re cranky about it.

Happy End of Summer!

The Newest

My favorite thing in the entire universe is meeting my babies for the first time.

My 2nd favorite thing in the entire universe is meeting my friends’ babies for the first time.

MJ did not disappoint.

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I love being able to say, “When you were born, I was __________.” I will remember it all. I remember when Stella and Cleo and Jaxon and Delaney and Michael and George and Brennan and Hayden and Aubrey and Corbin and Lizzie were all born. I remember where I was when I heard the news and what I was doing. I remember being excited and happy and nearly bursting with excitement to see all of them.

I’m lucky that I snuck my way in to meet MJ with Tara and Hailey just hours after he took his first breath.

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I’ll forever associate this tiny little thing (5lbs 13oz to be exact) with intense August heat, the Raspberry Festival in Cottonwood and watermelon beer.

I won’t be able to wear my WSU running shorts without also thinking about the sweetest hint of red on that tiny little head and the way Sadie’s room was overflowing with people who couldn’t wait to meet MJ.

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August 2nd is forever a beautiful day.

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Welcome to the world, MJ. Good luck navigating through the sea of girls that you will constantly be surrounded by thanks to the Boulevard. Thanks for making life a little bit sweeter, more fun, and more beautiful. We love you already!

Mountain Time

We are the first to admit how lucky we are to have access to some pretty incredible vacation homes. To have in laws who are always encouraging us to spend time at their summer and winter getaways is pretty amazing, we know.

One of our favorite places to go is McCall. Until recently, it’s only been Dan’s favorite place to go. I’ve made some choices in my life that make my free time less free. Having kids affects both Dan and I, but it was (and is) my choice to nurse my kids as long as they want it…which means that I miss out on lots of fun adventures because I can’t be away from the kittens for too long. I don’t regret my choice at all, but I do know that I miss out. Winter is hardest, I think, because while Danny LOVES to snowboard, it’s just not as fun for me to go and join him when I’m stuck in the cabin with 6 kids. Or stuck alone taking on and off winter gear for 5 of them over and over and over while they play in the snow. Dan’s up on the hill which isn’t just a couple minutes away, so he’s gone most of the day while we wait for him.

But summer is a different story.

This is the first year we’ve decided to go to McCall a little more often and the reason is mostly this:

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We have a pretty ace group of friends from Boise who go to McCall quite often. So when we hear they are spending the weekend there, we cross our fingers we are free, too.

They are the type of people who will scoop up your kids just because.

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Every get together is kid-friendly.

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The attitudes are always (always) easy going and light hearted.

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(he’s pretending to call the fire marshall to come and help get the girls’ tongues un-stuck from their frozen treats — they think he’s the most hilarious ever.)

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(just a game of jump rope, nbd)

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(Alice II is telling a story — she’s the best)

The kids feel welcomed and wanted and appreciated and that’s something these guys do that I’m learning and hoping it rubs off on me. I have a tendency to get with friends and want the kids to leave me alone. These friends are so nice.

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(the kids created clubs…the girls had several while Jamie had one: Ancient Greece and History Club. I think he was the only member…)

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I think they laughed the whole night.

We come away from every single get-together saying, “They are the nicest. They are so much fun.” And it’s all true. They are the nicest. We rolled in on Friday night around 8:30 I think. Audrey and Jared had family and friends over, but when they saw us, what did they do? They came right up, gave us all hugs, greeted all of us (yeah, even all the kids) by name and introduced us to everyone. They made sure we had drinks and were comfortable and that the kids were introduced to the other kids and were on their way to having fun. If one of my kids ever needs anything, ANY ONE of these people jumps in, without hesitation. We have the best friends, both home and away.

Do you all know how rare it is to find a group of people, not just 1 or 2, who treat you like family. TRULY like family? It’s rare.

My kids adore them. Which, duh, they should, they are spoiled rotten around them. Aubrey and Alice II are the other kids in the group of friends and they could not be sweeter. Aubrey is Jamie’s age and Maria thinks she is the best thing since pointe shoes (and we all know how much she loves those pointe shoes). Alice II is between Ollie and Charlotte and is so freaking hilarious and cute…I think Danny would sneak her home if he could.

Weekends like this remind you of how life should be. It should be fun and spent with people. It should be full of get togethers and everyone contributing and treating everyone around you like you’ve known them your whole life. It should definitely be full of more laughing, less arguing. More bike rides, less TV. More s’mores, less take out. More trips, less boredom.

I mean, we like these peeps. It’s like taking the Boulevard to Mountain Time. Minus 1/2 the Boulevard…. (sometimes people break elbows and can’t feed themselves, much less vacation…thanks for ruining Dan’s summer, Christian.)

But Sunday came too soon and we had to head home. Lucky for us, the trip home is along a river and Danny happens to be an expert in secret spots. We shimmied down a hill and hit up a beach.

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The kids were in heaven.

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And now, back at home, school’s out.

We’ve got dentist’s appointments and ballet camps and doctor’s visits and playdates and lots of NOTHING lined up. Happy summer!

Easter Prep and Surprises

One of my girls’ favorite things in the world is having friends over for an activity. Yes, an activity. Yeah, over to play is fun and great, but when there’s an activity involved, it’s even better.

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I made some Easter cookies (egg and rabbit shaped of course) and some frosting and thought maybe some friends would like to come and decorate with us. I was right, they did.

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Have you guys checked out Alison’s Cookie Party? Alison is great. She’s so fun and creative and doesn’t care if she looks silly — she does what she wants and I love that. She also is good at making and decorating cookies and her instruction booklet (in pdf format) is awesome. Easy, quick, and delicious.

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Of course we invited our girls next door

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And obviously our kindred spirit family (Liz and the kids) and we went to town.

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It’s easier not to do these types of things. To just sit and watch tv or make the kids play outside or let them have video games on. But it’s so much more fun to watch them with their friends and see how happy they are. And I like my grown up friend time, too.

Jamie decorated and ate his “abstract art” cookie, but then quickly switched gears to snap circuit building.

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Alice was very busy — going between cookie making and roller blading and Stampy Cat watching and baby playing. She’s hard to catch.

After everyone went home, I cleaned up. You guys, disposable table cloths are the best things everrrrrr.

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And then Suzanne came by.

I cried today.

She had this made for me:

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That’s us. It’s my clan. Here’s some close ups:

You guys…I’m holding a camera, my hair is green, I’m wearing skinnies and flats, and I’m drinking a Starbucks. Franci is wearing moccasins, Danny is drinking a Pepsi, there are snowboards in the background and look…he’s wearing a Gorilla Skate shirt!!

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Maria is eating an ice cream cone (newsflash, she loves ice cream), has ballet slippers draped over her arm, is on roller blades, and there are chickens at her feet. And Jamie!! Wearing my favorite shirt (from Passive Juice Motel), reading books about Greek Myths, and his hair is perfection. And little Ollie…holding on to a big pink balloon, wearing Hello Apparel shirt, and 2 perfect piggies.

And a pumpkin for Clay.

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Look at Charlotte’s Belle dress!!! And that tiara. And holy  heck, her deedee. And Miss Alice. Fairy wings, that backpack (she packs EVERYTHING AROUND), and a little skateboard. easterprep-110

This gift took a crazy amount of time. Suzanne had to send this artist my instagram feeds, my blog, and then answer a ton of questions to get us looking like this. And like this, I mean perfect.

I CRIED!!! Effort and thoughtfulness and friendship always gets me. *sigh* what beautiful friends I have.

52:1

I started “Project 52” a couple years ago, after reading one of my favorite bloggers over at Styleberry invite people to join her. It’s a really fun idea and if you blog at all, I encourage you to climb aboard the 52 train. Choose a theme or topic and each week, post on that theme or topic. Post a picture relating to it and write about it. It doesn’t have to mean anything to anyone but you. It will get you writing and taking pictures. It will get you thinking. It will help you stay on track with your blogging if this is something you struggle with.

My theme this year is:

What is Perfection?

I will answer that question each week with a different picture and a little diddy about it. Ready? Let’s go.

What is Perfection?

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It’s a friendship like this.

One that revolves around fancy dresses and popsicles.

One where fights last all of 2 minutes and end with hugs and “I love you”s.

A friendship with matching shoes and shirts, playdates outside on scooters and days spent at Dawn’s.

That’s perfection.

(photo cred to Tara)