Posts for Gay Parenting 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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If I took care of myself like I take care of my daughter…

Foster/Adoption, Gay Parenting, Girl Power, Parenting, Self-care - Allison Kenny - January 26, 2016

…I would…

Rub lavender oil on my feet at bedtime

Cheer myself on when I’m learning a new skill

Add extra hot water to a bath so I could stay in as long as I wanted

 

If I took care of myself like I take care of my daughter, I would…

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So Excited for our World Changing Webinar Tomorrow

Foster/Adoption, Gay Parenting, Girl Power, Learning, Parenting - Lynn Johnson - August 4, 2015

Camp 2015 collage

I gotta tell you how excited I am today.

It has been so incredibly satisfying and rejuvenating for both Allison and me to have this opportunity to share our stories on this blog as we make our way down our path to raising a Go Girl!.  We have made this space to write about what we know, what we certainly don’t know, what we wished we had known, and what we are working hard to figure out.  The response we have been getting has been inspiring and has motivated us to keep sharing.

And now, we are taking our storytelling up a notch.

Tomorrow, we will be hosting a free webinar called Raising a Go Girl! where we will share our stories live as we present the art and science behind the learning philosophy of Go Girls! Camp.  We just did a test run of the webinar to work out all of the technical kinks and…can I just tell you…I am so friggin’ excited!  There are dozens of folks signed up ready to hear what we have to say about how the heck we can come together to raise girls to be both powerful and peaceful.

I just can’t wait because I predict this webinar is going to change the world.   I know.  When I say this, it sounds naive.  Like a 1-hour webinar could possible change the world.  When I say this, though, I mean that it will change my world…and that counts.  It will change my world because for years now, I have wished and wanted to be able to share more of my philosophy about raising girls with more people.   But wishing and wanting don’t get us very far.  Doing and planning and intending and trying and expecting, however….that’s what moves mountains.

So, I am excited because I am standing at the base of my mountain and I am ready to push.  I am even going to treat myself tonight to get ready.  Take myself to the mall for a little eyebrow threading and perhaps a new top.  We’ll see what Old Navy has in stock that says “world changing webinar” for about $30 or less.

As readers of this blog, I hope you join us.  Let me know if I picked the right shirt.

 

 

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Wow, thanks Wells Fargo

Foster/Adoption, Gay Parenting, Media - Lynn Johnson - April 28, 2015

This commercial made both Allison and me cry.  Have you seen it?  What do you think?

This is the first commercial in Wells Fargo’s #WhyIWork campaign.  This post on Ad Age says that Wells Fargo “wanted to create a more personal connection with consumers and highlight why people actually work.”  I know.  After all that we’ve gone through with big banks recently, it sounds a little like bullshit.  We’re cynical and jaded, aren’t we? Banks don’t care about us!  They don’t want a personal connection!  All they want is our money.

But, here’s the thing.  I am totally taking my cynical hat off for this one.  Many of us, when asked to describe why we work, would share an answer that has something to do with our family.  I am beyond elated that, in Wells Fargo’s attempt to connect with consumers (whether the connection is authentic or not), they have dared to travel outside of the traditional family box.  They have taken a stand that they intend to hawk their wares to all kinds of families.  So there.

I can say that, as a interracial, lesbian, adoptive family, I have never ever ever seen a family that looks anything like mine on a major commercial.  Big bank or not, I think this is really friggin’ cool.  Thanks Wells Fargo.

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We’re Going on a Date Tonight!

Foster/Adoption, Gay Parenting, Parenting, Play Time - Lynn Johnson - April 24, 2015

date night

From our last romantic date night at À Côté in Oakland.

You may remember Allison’s post about self-care where she described the amazing spreadsheet of gifts we have received from our friends and family in loving support of our becoming new moms.  We’re coming to the end of these gifts now (boo hoo) and tonight, we get to take cash in one of the biggys.

One night away in a fancy San Francisco hotel.  No Squirrel.  No dogs.  Just us.  A lot of romance.

I’m not even sure why I have chosen to write about this in a blog post.  Maybe I need to share how friggin excited I am.  We have been counting down to this day for weeks like it’s Christmas and we just know that Santa is going to bring us everything on our list.  Maybe I want to publicly share how grateful I am for our besties, Doug and Johnny, for giving us this incredible gift.  Maybe I just want to show off a little.  Rub it in the face of all the rest of you who will be at home with your kids on a regular old Friday night eating boxed mac and cheese and waiting for them to go to bed so that you can catch last night’s episode of Scandal (which I haven’t seen yet…#nospoilers).

I think the real reason I want to mark this occasion with a blog post is because I want to highlight how important this big fancy date night is in the fuller context of our parenting journey.  I love when people ask me “How are you and Allison doing?” when they curiously inquire how my life is these days.  I love this question because I never want to forget how and why I first fell in love with Allison in the first place.  I never want to forget the 13 years we had before the Squirrel came along when we could take off on romantic dates whenever we wanted.  I never want to forget the strength of our couplehood – how we have successfully navigated being best friends and lovers and business partners – and how this strength is what is helping turn us into good (enough) parents.

The answer to “How are you and Allison doing?” is “Great!” because we are making time for nights like tonight.  And when we can’t go to big fancy hotels overnight, we make dates whenever we can.  Over the last few months, we have discovered:

The “Friday Night Happy Hour” where we have a babysitter come from 5-8, we grab an early dinner, and are home in time to put her to bed ourselves.  This results in less drama and headache for everyone involved.

The “Porch Date” where the Squirrel is just inside on the living room couch watching TV and we slip out on the porch with our cocktails and connect for as long as takes for My Little Pony to wrap up their weird little adventures.

The “Walk Date” takes advantage of the fact that we have to walk these dogs anyway so, we may as well make it count for something.

And, my favorite, The “Working Date.”  This is one that is unique to our situation since we work for ourselves, together, from home.  This is one where we say, “we need to have a meeting about such and such” and, instead of simply sitting down at our dining room table, we serve mimosas and make it into a big thing.  This one doesn’t happen very often because it is not the most productive way to get things done but, you know, life doesn’t always have to be about productivity.

As the Squirrel ages and we get more and more enmeshed in this parenting thing, I want to make sure that the answer to “How are you and Allison doing?” is always “Great!”  Prioritizing our partnership is the only way to make it through this crazy life we have chosen.  So, I’m going to pack my bags, pick out a super sexy outfit and get ready for tonight’s mega date.

Goodnight Squirrel.  Love ya.  See you tomorrow!

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A love letter to my wife on our 13th Valentine’s Day

Gay Parenting, Parenting - Lynn Johnson - February 14, 2015

Al on the Love Bench

Dear Allison,

Who knew 13 years ago that we would be here today?  Doing this.  Making our lives together.  Making a business together.  Making a family together.

Who am I kidding?  I knew.  You knew.  We knew from the very beginning, didn’t we?  We knew from the first time we sipped the rum punch happy hour special on Haight Street together.  We knew from the first time we experienced the awesomeness of the Dyke March together.  We knew from the first time we shared a dressing room in the outlet mall together.  We were young and didn’t know much.  But, we knew.

We knew from that first time I looked you in the eye and said “I think we should raise kids together.”  Even though we weren’t even dating yet.  Even though it made absolutely no sense.

I knew that you would be the kind of mother who gives her heart to her kids without giving away her sanity.

The kind of mother who fights fiercely advocating for her kids while also giving them the tools to fight for themselves.

The kind of mother who can play dollhouse, host a dance party in the kitchen, and belt out made up songs at the top of her lungs and then clearly and perfectly articulate the rules and boundaries in a way that transforms a screaming child into a “Yes Mommy” child in the blink of an eye.

13 years ago, I knew you would be that kind of mother and today, you are that kind of mother.  A mother full of passion and strength and compassion and resilience.  A mother who has won the heart of our little girl.

I know a lot more now than I knew 13 years ago.  Sure, I don’t always have the right answer but I do pride myself on my wisdom, my intuition.  I have never and will never be more proud than that day I looked you in the eye and said “I think we should raise kids together.”

Wow.  I really got that one right.

Love,
Lynn

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