Posts for Love Wins Category

How We Celebrated a Big Anniversary on a Little Budget

Gay Parenting, Love Wins, Uncategorized - Allison Kenny - June 29, 2016

If you don’t know already, Oakland is one of the priciest places to live in the country. As mampreneurs, my wife and I have had to get real about our spending since bringing our little Squirrel home. I looked to other mommy bloggers for inspiration about living an abundant life on a budget and came across some great stuff by Amiyrah on her blog, 4 Hats and Frugal. After watching her video on creating a family budget and reading some posts on 64 dollar grocery bills, I was ready to help our family shift some things…especially while living in the Bay Area!

But…a 10 year anniversary is very special thing. It only comes round…well, every 10 years. So what if we couldn’t afford the Hawaiin vacation I dreamt of? What COULD we do, given the income we have TODAY? Well, one of our favorite things of all time is to hole up in a nice hotel and eat a fancy picnic. For this anniversary, our “hotel” was a super clean house and gorgeous bunch of flowers my sister gave us to celebrate. We gave ourselves a $50 dinner budget and chose to spend it at Whole Foods, instead of our usual Trader Joe’s.

Fresh flowers + clean house + Whole Foods= ABUNDANCE IMG_2322

We hurried to pick out our all time favorite decadent cheese and some good wine. We rushed to get home in time for the massage therapists who were coming by. That’s right. Our “at home Hawaii” included side by side massages in our living room. Who knew you could book this the day before? Turns out Soothe is the Uber of massage therapy. Yes please!

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I’m aware that spending $200 on massages and $50 on a picnic is not considered a low cost night to most folks. BUT let’s be honest- a trip to Hawaii would have been 2-5K so I’d say we did pretty good. Plus, we chose this budget, based on Amiyrah’s fabulously frugal advice. Our new family budget has us spending 5% of our monthly income on entertainment and another 5% on personal expenses (aka massages!). This is after giving away 10% every month, saving another 10% and paying all our bills.

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It felt so good to know we were being choiceful and smart about the cash we earn AND got to celebrate our marriage according to our values- beauty, self care, fancy cheese…oh and FUN.

Do you think my wife of 10 years busted out the kareoke machine and insisted that we sing all the love songs that were played at our wedding? Oh yes. Yes she did.

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Proud Family

Gay Parenting, Love Wins, Parenting - Allison Kenny - June 26, 2016

How are you celebrating Pride with your family today? We’re keeping in simple- watching the SF parade on tv, dinner with fabulous gay friends and their kid, rainbow gear and THIS BOOK. Right now, Squirrel tells her friends “Pride is celebrating families with 2 moms or 2 dads.” Hoping to dig into this LGBTQ book list this month and round out her answer a little more.

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Can’t help feeling like in the wake of such hate in the Orlando shooting, being ourselves as a queer family is a radical act. Here’s to being loud, proud and queer this June.

One more thing we did as part of Pride- donated to Equality Orlando. Love to hear what actions you are taking to heal your hearts, take care and offer hope…

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10th Anniversary

Love Wins - Allison Kenny - June 25, 2016

Ten years ago today

Our nieces & nephews sang

L is for the way you

Look at me

O is for the only one I see

V is very very extraordinary

E is even more than anyone that you adore

 

Ten years ago today

We promised to be ourselves and

Love each other

At the same time

To strive for

Interdependence

 

We danced on Pride Sunday

We ate BBQ in retro dresses

We produced our wedding TA-DAH  in the

Women’s Building

With so much help from family & friends

We flew to France and took centerstage

Before finding respite in each other’s arms

In that heat wave

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Ten years ago today

We didn’t know what was coming

The cervical cancer

Or memories of early abuse

The way our business would grow

Or who our daughter would be

 

We didn’t know

That gay marriage would become legal

Or that Black and Queer sanctuaries would get

Shot up

And how we’d all grieve

Our sense of safety

Shattered

Our connection

Deeper

 

Ten years ago today

We didn’t know that

Our marriage would be a sturdy

Tether

As the ground shook beneath us

 

We didn’t know how many divorces

We’d see around us

We didn’t know how deep and wide

Our love could

Stretch

 

That our roots would intertwine

Like a redwood grove

How we’d hold each other

Up

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How we’d make each other laugh

How we’d uphold those promises

Those vows

How our words would come alive

In action

How we’d make

LOVE

A verb.

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Welcome to (Dog) Wedding Season!

Forever Family, Love Wins, Tales from the Maxi Pad - Allison Kenny - June 16, 2016

A Flower Girl Prepares

A Flower Girl Prepares

I like to think that I’m really playful with my daughter. After working with other people’s children for a decade facilitating play and drama classes, I pictured myself being the kind of mom who gets on the floor and plays, you know?

The kind of mom who chases her little one on the playground pretending to be the monster that all the kids run from. The kind of mom who is happy to become a fairy princess with hot lava power anytime her child asks. Continue Reading

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Adoption Poem #13: Wild

WILD

What does it mean to be
Raising a black girl
While
Beyonce
Brings us
Lemonade? Continue Reading

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Adoption Poem #12: 4 Mothers

Forever Family, Love Wins - Allison Kenny - May 8, 2016

Spring is trauma season at our house. This means that along with flowers blooming, spring vacations, and deep cleaning, we are also tending our daughter’s wounds. We’re immersed in self care and holding onto the bright spots. We’re reminding ourselves that all things move and change. This poetry series is my way of wrapping love around a challenging time and documenting our journey of building a family through adoption. Enjoy!

This the eleventh installation of an ongoing series of adoption poems by Allison Kenny. Read the rest of the series here.

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10 Reasons Why Every Mom Needs a Nap Every Day…and How to Get It

Foster/Adoption, Parenting, Self-care, Tales from the Maxi Pad - Allison Kenny - May 2, 2016

Daily naps? Oh, please. Who has time for that? Well, I will tell you that my stress levels got so high that I didn’t have time NOT to take them.

We ALL deserve daily naps because…

  1. We’re f%@king tired. We don’t sleep well enough at night.
  2. Depth of processing. We are taking in information at the speed of light. We are thinking 2 steps ahead of our kids. This is exhausting.
  3. Our houses are cluttered. And that’s okay. It’s part of the deal. But it creates visual overwhelm. And we’d rather play with our kids than clean it up.
  4. We make so many decisions. And decision fatigue is a real thing. Choosing how to respond to the 35 questions a minute wears us out.
  5. We are constantly learning new skills. Each phase of parenting brings new issues to wrap our brains around. Perpetual learning curves take a ton of brain power.
  6. We’re tracking other people’s needs as well as our own. Tuning in to the needs of those depending on us is draining. And it’s what makes us amazing.
  7. Empathy. We feel what our kids are feeling. We model emotional language and coach them through the roller coaster of their hearts. It’s depleting.
  8. We solve problems. In our homes, in our families, in our own lives…all day long.
  9. We forget to feed ourselves. I’m talking food and non-food hungers. We forget to play enough, laugh enough, have enough sex, or take enough adventures. If we’re starving for the things we need, we don’t have enough energy.
  10. We are overstimulated. By the sounds of cartoons and crying, kid songs and light up toys. Our phones are buzzing and our Facebook feed is blowing up. Our brains are fried.

So what do we do about it? For me, finding answers had a sense of urgency. When I’m exhausted, I’m irritated. When I’m tired, I’m yelling. When I’m overstimulated, I truly believe that mothering is too hard for me to do and I better find some way to quit. Not possible. But napping is.

Every day, for somewhere between 10 minutes and an hour, I put on sweatpants (if I’m not wearing them already), turn off all the lights and climb into bed. I turn off my phone. I ignore any mess or anything I have to do. I just close my eyes in the dark and breathe. I don’t usually fall asleep but I lie there and just let my brain relax. I enjoy the silence and the solitude. I truly, deeply rest. Even on days that feel too hard to do. And it’s changing my relationship to stress.

If my kid was too little to go to school, I’d nap during her naps. If she didn’t nap, I’d let the TV babysit her so I could. If I worked out of the house everyday, I’d curl up in my car in a sunshine patch and nap on a lunch break. On the weekends, I ask my wife and daughter to excuse me while I go nap and explain how I am not be interrupted.

Can you see where I’m going with this? Nap at any cost! That’s my fierce belief. Maybe you are not an introvert or as highly sensitive as I am. Maybe you are invigorated by all the stimulation, adrenaline, and multi-tasking. If that’s the case, please offer to take the kids of friend for an hour so they can nap.

Honestly, I value this time above all else because it makes me a saner, happier, more flexible, more playful, and more peaceful version of myself.  Everyone in my family likes this version of me the best. They know Mama’s gotta have her naps. Go get yours!

 

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Adoption Poem #3: Beach Day

Forever Family, Tales from the Maxi Pad - Allison Kenny - April 20, 2016

Spring is trauma season at our house. This means that along with flowers blooming, spring vacations, and deep cleaning, we are also tending our daughter’s wounds. We’re immersed in self care and holding onto the bright spots. We’re reminding ourselves that all things move and change. This poetry series is my way of wrapping love around a challenging time and documenting our journey of building a family through adoption. Enjoy!

This is part three of a ten-part series of adoption poems by Allison Kenny. Read the rest of the series here.

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Adoption Poem #2: Rainbow

Go Girl!, Love Wins, Self-care - Allison Kenny - April 19, 2016

Spring is trauma season at our house. This means that along with flowers blooming, spring vacations, and deep cleaning, we are also tending our daughter’s wounds. We’re immersed in self care and holding onto the bright spots. We’re reminding ourselves that all things move and change. This poetry series is my way of wrapping love around a challenging time and documenting our journey of building a family through adoption. Enjoy!

This is part two of a ten-part series of adoption poems by Allison Kenny.

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“Mama has a big butt that jiggles.” Here’s what happened next…

Go Girl!, Self-care, Tales from the Maxi Pad - Lynn Johnson - February 15, 2016

This conversation happened on a recent week day morning when the 3 of us were getting ready for school/work.  I had just come out of the shower and Squirrel decided that this was the perfect time to share your observations of my body. Continue Reading

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