Thursday, November 29, 2012

My brother, Kade.

I have one brother named Kade. We are 21 months apart and I am the older sibling. Growing up we weren't the type to fight all the time but of course disagreed. We always had different interests and different sets of friends. As we have gotten older, we have become very close. We talk on the phone often and even thousands of miles away (he lives in California) we still know what is going on in each other's lives.  I can call Kade and talk his ear off and he just listens. He just gets me and listens without judgement and offers advice if I need it. 
Kade was always the quiet one in our family. He was into climbing trees and building things. I was always the troublemaker and my biggest vice was talking on the phone past 8 p.m. I still talk on the phone a lot now. Times haven't changed much :) 
When I started blogging a few years ago I would post pictures of Kade and talk about his visits, etc. For some people that read this blog and have known me and my family they might have been a little confused because growing up, Kade was actually Katie and was my sister. I want to tell the story of Kade (with his permission, of course) and when I am talking about Kade pre transformation I will call him Katie. I know, it can get confusing.
When Katie and I were in high school she told me she was gay. We live in Texas, in a very conservative town and have a very traditional family. I'm not sure if I was surprised at the time, but I do not remember being upset one bit. It didn't really matter to me who Katie was attracted to. Katie was still the same person. After Katie told me she told my parents. Katie was only 14 at the time and they did not understand how she knew she was gay. This was very tough for my parents and I know that they still have questions. It was a big secret for a long time. Katie started hanging out with the wrong crowd and went through some tough times. When I was in college Katie got involved in drugs and was in a bad place. She was self medicating to escape from her pain. My parents got her help. Although it took a long time for Katie to recover, she did and is here with us today because of my parents determination to get her help. At this point, Katie being gay was the least of every one's concerns. She was healthy and that was all that mattered. Katie was diagnosed as severely depressed and had to take medications to get through each day.
Before Dan and I got married Katie decided to move to California with her girlfriend. This was a life changing decision for them. They picked up and moved there and found that they were accepted by more people and loved it. After being in California Katie confided in me that she was taking the steps to become a male. This was not shocking to me and I told him that I would support him in whatever decision he came to I was just happy he was healthy. I'm not positive what all goes into the transformation, but I know it involves a lot of counseling and testerone shots. For once in Katie's life, living as Kade, he felt comfortable in his skin. He also got off all of his medication and felt normal. Coincidence? I don't think so.
When Kade came home for our wedding this was the first time our family and friends would see Kade as a male. I told him that he could be any part of my wedding that he wanted to be, I just wanted him there. When he arrived we went and bought him a shirt and tie to wear for the wedding. I'm sure it was pretty shocking to see Kade in a shirt and tie but no one said anything about his attire. He was the same person, just looked different. 
I had never known anyone to be transgendered or knew anyone who knew someone that was. It took years to change my thought process to think from she to he. When I would think about Kade I would have to correct my thoughts and not say Katie. I've read that some people feel as if the person died, but I didn't think of it that way at all. Kade is still the exact same person.So much of our world puts a label on people and to me Kade is just like everyone else.
 I tell Kade often that I will be his biggest advocate. I will defend him until the day I die and always be his biggest supporter. I do not care what gender he is. I don't care if he has purple skin or green hair, or tattoos all over him. It doesn't matter because he is still the same person. 
I realize that so many people have different views on this and I don't judge them for that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this is mine. My belief is that people are born this way. My mom says that Katie would cry if she was put in dresses as a baby because she wasn't comfortable. When I hear people say that they "don't understand it" and I say that I don't want to understand it. I have no idea what it feels like to not want to be me. Everyone is entitled to be happy
My reason for writing this is to educate people and also to document my amazing, strong brother. I want to tell Charlotte one day Kade's story. I want her to love everyone equal and not judge and know that everyone is different. Life is short and it should be sweet. 
This is Kade's story. A big thank you to him for letting me share this portion of his life.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Santa Debate

When Dan and I first got married we discussed family traditions and we were raised the same for the most part. When it came to the Santa discussion both of our parents had done things different so we would nicely disagree and tabled the discussion until we had kids. There was no use in arguing about something before we needed to. Growing up, I loved the idea of Santa Clause. I know that it is not the true meaning of Christmas, but it is so fun to believe in something so magical. I was saying to a friend recently that I would love to believe that an old man in a red suit would come down the chimney and leave me presents....when I said that out loud it really did sound SO creepy!  Luckily little ones don't think so :)

Growing up Santa would take a bite out of our cookies, feed his reindeer veggies, fill our stockings and leave us a toy or something small, unwrapped. The rest of the gifts were wrapped under our tree from our parents. To me that was always normal. When Dan and I talked about it he told me that his Santa would leave him all of his presents under the tree and they would all be wrapped and his parents wouldn't give him anything. I know it sounds silly that we would even be discussing this, but it is a big deal when you are trying to decided what your own family traditions will be. 

The reason I like limited gifts from Santa is that I take a lot of time picking out gifts and Dan and I work really hard to provide for our family. I want Charlotte to know that we took the time to pick things out for her that they are from her parents. Charlotte will also not believe in Santa forever and it might be an easier transition if everything isn't from Santa when that time comes. 

I realize that everyone does Santa different in their homes and it's interesting to listen to others talk about their family traditions. Dan 
and I are trying to create our own and are having to compromise on things. What is your Santa tradition?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

11 Months!

Sweet Miss C is 11 months old today. I cannot even believe it. Next month we will have a ONE year old!  Not only will Charlotte be a year old, Dan and I have kept a tiny human alive and healthy for a whole year!  Anyway, back to 11 months. 
This month has flown by and I feel like we have a little lady on our hands and not a baby.  She is more independent and vocal with what she wants, and is absorbing things like a sponge. She is repeating things that we have taught her and she is curious about everything around her. Charlotte can crawl super fast and pulls up on everything. She loves for us to "chase" her and she loves to chase Bella. Poor Bella, she still is not sure what think of Charlotte. 
We end up calling Charlotte Smirky a lot because she will look at you and just make a face instead of a smile. It's pretty cute and hard to catch on camera. When she smiles her eyes glow and she smiles with her entire body. Trying to catch it on camera is really hard. I guess she is camera shy.

For Halloween Charlotte was Minnie Mouse.  We practiced for a month wearing the ears and she tolerated them long enough for pictures but that's about it. Owen was dressed as Mickey and Adrienne and I could not get the kids to 1)keep their ears on at the same time and 2)sit next to each other and smile. Another fail. Oh well, there is always next year! 

Charlotte also tried another hand at finger painting. I decided this would be fun for us to do one afternoon when it was just the two of us. I set everything up in our sun room and let her start "painting". She immediately threw herself on top of the canvas, smeared everything around, rolled over and belly flopped on the floor and started crawling into the kitchen. This all took less than 2 minutes. Finger painting done and paint tracked across the floor. It was washable thank goodness! Just trying to make fun memories!

I was dreading daylight savings time because I heard that babies don't do well with the change. I was pleasantly surprised at how well Charlotte did. She was awake early Sunday morning but back to her regular schedule after that. 
Charlotte has 8 teeth, 4 on top and 4 on the bottom. She eats anything we give her and loves fruit and veggies. I am looking forward to no more bottles very soon! This past 11 months has FLOWN by and we are loving every single second with our little girl.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm never throwing anything away ever again...

Isn't that how Pinterest makes you feel?? Don't get me wrong...I LOVE Pinterest, but every time I look at it I feel like I should save every coffee container, Crystal light container, spaghetti sauce jar and make my own paint and make up. Seriously? Why would I want to make my own nail polish out of old eye shadow??  Maybe I don't have enough time on my hands and I'm sure all of these things work very well, but at the rate of all these pins I would have to keep everything and have a lifetime supply of modge podge.  I love a good DIY project, but some of these are a little much.  Is it just me that finds some of these things ridiculous? Now I'm going to jump off my soap box for today!