Friday, January 1, 2016

Where We Are . . .

Most of you have been following Sawyer's battle against cancer via his Facebook Community "Sawyer's Warriors" or his CaringBridge page or maybe you've happened upon our Family's Instagram Account?  I have tried not to write too much about my own experiences there, as those pages are for Sawyer and his warriors.  I have tried to keep my fears and related thoughts off those pages as much as I could . . . but we've reached the time where that needs to change.  I don't want to start an entire new blog, and figured my posts about my own and my family's take on everything, makes the most sense here.  It's a blog I was going to start making more use of before his diagnosis . . . and then of course in April, everything changed.

If you don't know Sawyer or the Awesome family, I should probably catch you up . . .  Sawyer was diagnosed in April with Stage (3/4) Burtkitt's Lymphoma.  He went through several different chemos since.  At first it looked like everything was going to be okay but he was later reclassified as Refractory Burtkitt's . . . growth happened even during the strongest chemos.  We were set for a stem cell transplant as our last option . . . but then cancer grew, so a few days before we were set to transfer to UCSF (from Kaiser Roseville) in November, it was cancelled.  The last hope, a UCSF 500 genome test, which we knew was still really only treatment not a cure, came back the week before Christmas telling us that there was nothing that could be done.  So we continue with the plan we've had since his stem cell was cancelled- weekly infusions to hopefully slow the tumors and radiation for pain as needed. 

Sawyer has been amazing through it all- smiling, not giving up, making the most of everything and rarely complaining.  As a family we have kept moving forward, thinking there was always something else.  And there was, until there wasn't.

Sawyer's family, which for him is two households (Sawyer's dad and stepmom at one house and me and his other step mom at the other).  It hasn't been easy to co-parent through cancer (but that's another story)  Sawyer has definitively made it "easier" on us (if it could be easy) . . . he has shown nothing but grace, dignity and a positive attitude through it all.
He knows he could die . . .  he knows that kids his age, that have his type of cancer don't make it to middle school or high school . . . we have always told him that we won't give up but we are going look for options that fit within our goal for him, which is to have him with us for as long as possible, while keeping him comfortable and able to partake in life . . . however long that ends up being.
Erin (my wife) and I are trying to help make as many memories as possible for our family and soak in as much of our youngest as we can.  We're in a group for mothers who have lost their kids to cancer to learn as much as possible.  We are trying not to mourn him until he's gone- easier said than done.  At the same time, we are trying to do what we've done since Day 1- bring awareness to childhood cancer.  Sawyer has had so many supporters.  I know that when he leaves us, there will be thousands of people who will be so saddened . . . and angry.  Hopefully angry enough to fight cancer head on.  They have already seen the light at how little funding childhood cancer gets . . .  even more so with a rare cancer like Sawyer's. :(
Below was a post I made on his CaringBridge, because I hadn't made the decision to write here yet . . .

We are making the most of our time.

We are LIVING.

We are SMILING. LAUGHING.We are crying and planning and worrying.

We are scared.



I know that sounds weird but through Sawyer's battle, I have always thought . .. "It could be worse."  And even with death, it could still be worse.  We could have lost him back in April, we almost did, did I ever tell you that?  The same exact month, a little girl, in our area, around Sawyer's age, was hospitalized for the EXACT same thing . . .  Intussusception caused by a very rare cancer, Burtkitt's Lymphoma.  But her fight never even got to start.  So see, it could've been worse.  We were given 8 more months (and counting) with our Sawyer and I wouldn't change that for anything.  I was given an extra 8 months (so far) to continue to show him how much I love him and I've gotten to see firsthand that the kind, funny, smart, sweet, loving kiddo we raised is also my hero.


He is STILL SMILING.  After all of this, still smiling.  Take a few minutes to let that really sink in.
He is BRAVE . . .  Oh my god, is my little man brave.  I hope for MANY THINGS in the time Sawyer and I have left together.  Most of all, I hope his bravery rubs off on me because I really need it for the next few months and for all the years I won't be able to hug him or tuck him into bed.  I need it.  We all do.

Be Brave Everyone.  And Smile.  Because if he can, we can too.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Worst. Week. Ever.

I'm going to cut to the chase because I have the entire story written on CaringBridge (link below) but our youngest son Sawyer was diagnosed with Stage 3/4 (undetermined) Burkitt's Lymphoma last week.

It has been a nightmare, a total shock and unreal.  Please join us in fighting this battle, that no 8 year old should have to take part in.  #Sawyerswarriors

Sawyer's CaringBridge- go here for updates but please do not donate their as it doesn't go to Sawyer.

Sawyer's Facebook Community- Join our  "Sawyer's Warriors" Community

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's not Thursday but I'm throwing back . . .

Going back to Christmas 2012

One of the fun parts about blending families is sharing your traditions and creating new ones.  Here Charlie and Erin find out exactly how fun it is to buy matching PJ's for Christmas!  But of course, it can be more fun, right?

Of course it can!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My take on "Dating Masculine Women Is Not the Same as Dating Men"

I have a history of dating men, I even married one 14 years ago.  Since then, I had an opportunity to finally be myself and I took it.  When I came out and started dating Erin, I did hear a few people question why was I dating a woman who looks "masculine" . . . why not just date another man?  I know this idea seems logical for some people, but these may be the same people who are ignorant about gender and sexual expression, identity, etc.

The other day I  saw a great article on Facebook from  Huffington Post, "Dating Masculine Women Is Not the Same as Dating Men."  It was a great article that clearly discussed the difference between the concepts of gender identity, sexual orientation and sexual and gender expression.  

These concepts, along with others are sometimes hard for people to understand.  I have taught about  Human Sexuality for over two decades and when I break it all down, my students seem to get it . . . well, most of them.  One of the concepts I cover in class is how psychological androgyny is a positive thing, possessing both feminine and masculine traits, regardless of gender.

While I loved the read, I really do think  did a great job, I'm sure many in the "mainstream" were left still wondering how/why Dating Masculine Women is different than men.  Like any subject, I think if you ask women who date "masculine" women, some of our answers will be similar and some will vary . . . making it very subjective.

I will try to break it down as simple as I can . . . 

There are several things I find attractive about my wife, Erin.  Some are masculine, some are feminine, and not all are physical.  Here we go . . .

Her sense of humor is inline with my own.  She is one of the funniest people I've ever met. She makes me laugh more than anyone, ever.

Her eyes and smile are to die for.

Her short hair is incredibly sexy.  I love it. When I see pictures of her from high school (pre-coming out) with long hair, she is adorable but with her short "masculine" hair? Hot! HOT! HOT!!

She doesn't just dress like a boy, she makes dressing like a boy look good.  Real Good.  I've seen her in more feminine clothing and it's not her.  We will sometimes do "fashion shows" for our kids (she puts on my skirts, purses, & make-up) and we all die laughing. 

Leah is right.  Erin looks so much hotter in boy clothes than girl clothes.  Don't get me started on her belt.  The sight of her taking off her belt, sends me over the edge!  Oh and I had no idea how great she'd look in boxer briefs. Gesh!!!!

Erin is a baller ;)  She played Basketball in high school like I did . . . but was a lot better! She played in college and even got a full ride.  How hot is that?!  We've coached our childrens' basketball teams before and will again (even hotter) . . .

and when we play basketball outside with the kids, she'll sink three pointer after three pointer. Umm . . . Bedtime, everyone!

And when she turns her baseball hat around, mmmmmmmm.

We share power/control in all aspects of our relationship but I love it when she gets all aggressive and takes control of certain situations. Yes. I. Do.

I also love it when she pretends/jokes to be more "butch" than she is . . . voice change and nose sniff included.

She also smells sooooooooooo good in her Jean Paul Gaultier cologne.  Way better than any man. And knowing that I love it, she'll spray it on my pillow or a shirt to pack with me, when I'm traveling.

I realize that Erin dresses and presents more masculine, but there are several more feminine traits she has that I love as well.

Erin is a great communicator.  From the very beginning I have known where we were and where we here headed.  When we have any issues, we discuss them openly and honestly.  At the same time, she leaves me notes, text, messages, emails, and tells me numerous times everyday what I mean to her and how much she loves me (and the family we have created).  Not quite a stereotypical masculine trait.

I think it's funny when servers call her "sir" . . . I think to myself, how in the Hell do you think she's a man?  Yes she has short hair and dresses like a boy, but her eyes, smile, pretty much her entire face is feminine.  Maybe the no make-up thing throws them?  And then of course, a major feminine feature . . . she's also smuggling some big breasts.  Even with a baggy shirt, it's pretty obvious that she's packing . . .  boobs.  

Erin freaks out over spiders and most bugs (flying or otherwise) in the house.  She gives me the chance to be the protector, and I love it!  Vulnerability can be pretty damn sexy.

Erin is also the softest person I've ever felt.  Her legs, arms, hands, entire body is like a Jergens' commercial.  Never in my wildest dreams did I realize soft was so sexy. 

She knows things about the female body (since she has one) that is very useful.  Trying to keep it PG here, so you'll have to let your mind wander on this one.

One of the most attractive things to me about Erin is that she's a great mom and wife.  She is helpful, loving, caring, and puts our kids' needs above her own.  She is constantly doing things for them and me and seeing someone love her kids (and mine) is sexy as Hell.  Also sexy . . . helping cook, clean, do laundry without being asked . . .  teamwork is HOT!

And empathy is sexy.  She gets it.  She really gets it.  The pressures that women have (society or self-induced) about being a good wife, a great mother, etc. She gets it. She totally understands what it is like to go through this world as a female. That, in itself, is truly amazing.

There are so many other things I'd love to share, but again, trying to keep it PG.  

Of course there may be some men who have some of this too, I never dated/married them, but there are just some masculine traits that are a lot hotter on women then men.  Again, goes back to me not being as attracted to those traits on men.  

At the end of Anita's article there was a slideshow on "Stylish Women Wearing 'masculine' Attire" and it was like porn to me. Men wearing those same outfits, YAWN!

So to summarize, in my own experience, Dating Erin (a "masculine woman") is not the same as dating men.  She has the perfect amount of masculine and feminine traits . . .  all wrapped up in a perfect package, just for me.  Double the boobs, "penis" on the side (Hey, now!)   ;)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ever been to a lesbian wedding?

No, I've never!!!!!   Easy, easy . . .

Nope. Then here's your chance to get a bird's eye view.

Yes. But were you at ours????

No matter your answer, here's your chance to partake or re-live (for those of you who were there) all the joy that was #EKWED14!!!

Making a long story a bit shorter . . .  (I said "A BIT" people!)

So Erin and I got engaged April of 2013.  It wasn't legal in California yet (or still), but we had our fingers crossed that we'd be destroying the sanctity of marriage ASAP.  I kid, I kid. I have to remember that not all our readers know us yet.  You soon will!  Erin popped the question at the Tower Bridge in Sacramento, California.  Later, Kelly placed Erin's engagement/wedding band in a bowl of popcorn and warned her not to eat it . . . more popcorn posts to come.

Later, we sent out Save The Date Cards

Then, came the Invitations

I will skip the planning aspects and leave that to another time/post.

The day was upon us.  We had asked all of our guests to use the hashtag #ekwed14 so all of our friends/family/fans/gawkers could have chance to be a part of our day, even if absent.  So, if you look on Facebook, Instagram, etc. you may be able to find some gems out there of our special day and time leading up to it.!

A photo montage of our event . . . grab your tissues!

Our photographer, Beth with True Love Photo (and her assistant Sarah) were amazing.  We have over 1300 photos of our day and almost every single one is a keeper.  Luckily for you, they are not all in the above photo slide ;)  You may notice how into our ceremony our guests were.  We think that part of it has to do with having the most amazing people in our lives and part of it was making a ceremony that was our own.  

Erin and I put together most of our ceremony ourselves . . . "put together" as in part original wording + part of other ceremonies we've loved over the years + hints from sites like Offbeat Bride which = An amazing, funny, loving and very true to us ceremony.  One of my only regrets of our wedding plans was that nobody filmed it.  We loved our ceremony, our guests were crying and laughing (a little pee may have also come out of some of them) . . . it was an incredible feeling, the positive energy and love was everywhere!  Anyone who was there, knows what I was talking about.  

Even our DJ Bryan couldn't hold in the laughter! 

I can't be certain but I bet he's thinking, "This is the best ceremony I've ever been a part of"

Our friend Tori was the officiant, which was awesome. So, without further ado, I give you, 
"Our Ceremony" . . . 

Kelly & Erin
Friday April 11, 2014
Westin Sacramento 6:00PM
Love is a wonderful gift. Today is a celebration of that gift. On behalf of Erin and Kelly, I would like to welcome you to the celebration of their union and their love. We are not here to witness something new, but rather to celebrate what already is.

Who supports these brides in their marriage to each other? Children -We Do!  

Let it be known that Erin and Kelly do not enter this commitment alone. Erin brings with her a son, Charlie. Will you please come forward and stand between your Mom and Kelly?  And Kelly brings with her, three children, Ruby, Preston and Sawyer.  (Kelly’s kids come up)

Their children are sweet, caring, loud, loving, funny, snuggle bugs and beyond amazing, each in their own right.

Over time, the six of you have gotten to know each other; sharing meals, playing games, creating inside jokes and just spending quality time together. You have successfully melded into a modern-day family.

Today Charlie, Ruby, Preston and Sawyer, your support to this marriage is clear. Kelly and Erin not only join this family circle as your mom and mom's wife, but as a friend that you can count on and women who love you all of you very much.

Children, please take your seats.

This marriage is the unification not just of two lives, but of two families as well. As Erin and Kelly embrace one another in their love, they also embrace their loved ones who have come together to celebrate with them on this very special day.
To the Parents and Sisters of the Brides, Erin and Kelly would like you to know that they are thankful for the role that you have played in their lives and for your unconditional love and support. You have given them so much encouragement and they appreciate that. On this very special day in their lives, they want you to know that they love you very, very much!
Family and friends, it is also with great joy that Erin and Kelly can share this day with you. They have chosen to honor you: You are their circle of support.  It is your strength and character that will forever enrich their lives. You all have brought one of the most valuable gifts to Erin and Kelly on this occasion, your presence with them at this moment and they thank you!

Let me now share a little love story.  Titled Erin and Kelly.

If you ask Kelly, she will tell you their love story is not unique. A city teenager moves to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned, and Erin’s  rebellious spirit shakes up the populace and in turn Kelly’s heart.  Oh, wait.  Kelly did say that dancing did take center stage in their courtship.  Up until their first date (that wasn’t really a date) Kelly had seen Erin on her friend’s Facebook page and they joked a bit over a few months.  Later she met Erin in person when their mutual friend brought her along to help Kelly move . . . yes, a Uhaul was involved.  Soooooo, back to the date (that wasn’t really a date), Erin and Kelly went dancing, where Erin observed “the slow roll” that you will all have the pleasure of viewing tonight at the reception.  Kelly is pretty sure that is what sealed the deal for Erin.  For Kelly it was Erin’s sense of humor, gorgeous smile and open heart that made Kelly fall hard.  It didn’t hurt that Erin was, and still is, an amazing mother.  Kelly says there is nothing more incredible, than having a partner who knows how to love and be loved in return.

Of course, there are two sides to every story.

When you ask Erin, she will tell you that she met Kelly through a mutual friend. They bantered on Facebook for quite some time before actually meeting in person. After giving Kelly her number multiple times and NEVER  getting a call or text, Erin finally asked her out when Kelly mentioned she wanted to go dancing. They had a great time!
Erin said they laughed until their faces and stomachs hurt and she knew right away that she was hooked. She was pretty sure her fabulous robot dance skills sealed the deal. 

Erin says that anyone who knows Kelly, is instantly drawn to her. She has an amazing sense of humor, is incredibly intelligent, has an infectious laugh, and her breath always smells like cookies. She admits that it sounds cliché to say that she really did know pretty early on in their relationship that Kelly was the woman she was meant to share her life with. Erin said that Kelly has brought more into her life then she ever could have imagined and each day is better than the one before. She loves Kelly with everything she has  inside of her.

And that is how it all went down.

Later, Erin would propose in front of the Tower Bridge, on bended knee.  And the rest is history.

Erin and Kelly, you have been given the great fortune of falling in love with each other. It is rare for two people to find true love yet it is a pleasure to witness how happy two people can be. Lao Tzu said that “to love someone deeply gives you strength. To be loved by someone deeply gives you courage.”

Marriage is founded on love, trust, respect, support, enjoying each other and having a shared partnership.

 Erin and Kelly, I asked them what they appreciated in each other and why they were convinced they were right for each other. They told me how they are the happiest when they are together, how their love has gotten stronger since the day they met. Kelly appreciates that Erin is the most caring and thoughtful person that she knows.  She absolutely loves how Erin knows just what she needs at any given moment.  Kelly is so glad that Erin is the last person she giggles with at night and is excited that Erin’s concept of personal space has become smaller over time. Erin said she appreciates Kelly's humor and enjoys how much laughter she has brought to her world. Erin appreciates how sensitive and loving Kelly is, as she has never been loved like this before. Lastly, Erin appreciates that Kelly now understands the sense of urgency needed when there is a spider or bug that needs to be killed in order to prevent a panic attack.
Erin and Kelly share many core values, honesty, trust, fidelity . . . popcorn. . . an appreciation of early 90’s hip hop . . . and much more.
When I asked them what being married meant to them, they described it as a lifelong commitment to love, support and have fun with each other. To love and accept each other when times are good and bad. To feel and share in each other’s happiness and pain and to live everyday with their best friend and love every minute of it. Their love is strong, and this marriage is a declaration of their intention to spend of their lives together.

Erin and Kelly, I will now ask you to share your vows--
Erin, do you take Kelly to be your wife, your partner in life and your one true love?
Will you cherish your friendship and love her today, tomorrow, and forever?  Trust and honor her, laugh and cry with her?
Will you love her faithfully, through the best and the worst, through the difficult and the easy?
Will you always be there?

Erin: I Will!

Kelly, do you take Erin to be your wife, your partner in life and your one true love?
Will you cherish your friendship and love her today, tomorrow, and forever?  Trust and honor her, laugh and cry with her?
Will you love her faithfully, through the best and the worst, through the difficult and the easy?
Will you always be there?

Kelly: I Will!

Now that you have confirmed your union in marriage-What Symbol of your marriage do you offer your wife?

May these rings serve as a direct connection to your heart, the perfect spot to place a symbol, representing your eternal devotion and commitment.


Erin, in placing your ring on Kelly’s finger, repeat after me:
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you--- and to all the world ----that you have chosen me--- to be your wife.
Kelly, in placing your ring on Erin’s finger, repeat after me:
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you--- and to all the world ----that you have chosen me--- to be your wife.

You have declared that you will live together in marriage. You have shared your special promises to each other which have been symbolized by the taking of your vows and the exchanging of your rings.
Family and Friends, I do affirm that Erin and Kelly have expressed a strong desire to be joined in marriage.
May you strive all of your lives to meet this commitment with the same love and devotion that you now possess.
For love is the greatest gift you have been given and you have been given it to share.
You are now joined in mutual esteem and devotion, United Forever in Love
By the virtue of the authority vested in me by the State of California.
I now pronounce you legally married!

You may kiss your wife.
It is now my great honor to be the first to present:
Mrs. Erin and Kelly Enders-Tharp

Ceremony Music-

Erin Processional Thousand Years- by Piano Guys

Kelly Processional  Favorite Adventure by K’s Choice

Recessional Friday, I’m in Love by the Cure

The Next Family Connection

The Next Family is a digital magazine for the modern parent. It for gay, straight, single, adoptive, multi-racial, hip, urban parents and everything in between. It is deemed a leading resource for gay parents providing blogs, articles, product reviews and now a calendar section for Los Angeles.
The Next Family represents the next generation of families.

I have blogged for The Next Family, in the past and will try to share several of our 2 mom blogs over there in the future too.  I have blogged under Kelly, Kelly Rummelhart and an alias for subjects like Surrogacy, Divorce, Coming out, Marriage Equality, etc.  I've made a list of several below, in case you're interested in some back story or would just enjoy to read other blog posts I've penned.

Kelly's posts:

Coming Out, etc.:

Marriage Equality/Wedding Stuff:

All of my Surrogacy posts for TNF can be found here:
(Keep going to "Next Page" at bottom left and you'll eventually see them all)

So, who are these "MOMS" you speak of?

The quickest way to introduce us, and then our family is a photo montage I created for Erin for Valentine's Day 2014.  It takes you through our courtship without, and then with our children.

I will do different posts about how we meet, how we told our children we were dating, etc. later. But for now, I give you . . . Us.

Erin just celebrated her 40th Birthday this week and Kelly will be joining her in November.  Erin works full time but has great flexibility within her job, so she is able to be home with the kids as much as possible.  Kelly works part time, which allows her to spend a ton of time with their kids as well.

Erin and Kelly share custody of their children and try to do the best job they can co-parenting. 

Our blog is only about what happens at our house, with two moms, and our experiences.