Milestones: Two Year Update

It goes without saying that the past year has absolutely flown by and I’m now going to be completely predictable and say the old saying of; ‘it feels like yesterday’ that T was a baby and just turning one. But it really does. I can’t believe he’s now two years old.

With T starting nursery and me returning to work full time I’m not surprised that the weeks have flown by. We’re set in such a busy routine of work, swimming, weekends that there’s often zero time to just stop and observe. As soon as T turned one it felt like all the milestones were suddenly being reached. Walking and talking to name but a few.

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A Proud Moment as a Same Sex Family 

It goes without saying that whether you’re a same sex family, a single parent family, or a co-parenting family parenthood is full of proud moments. Eating solids, walking, and talking all come in at the top of the list when it comes to achievements.

As a same sex family though we have our own proud moments…

But as same sex parents, there are a handful of milestones that mean more to us than any of the others. For us, we haven’t reached many as T has only been around for a mere 23 and a bit months, but the other day we had our first ‘two mum milestone’.

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Our Top Books for LGBT Families (Childrens Book Week). 

This week is Childrens Book Week. Celebrated every year, it acts as a way to encourage and inspire children to read.

As a same sex family we often keep an eye out for story books that have a same sex family in it, or a special message. Ones that just happen to have two mums or two dads in it as part of the story, instead of ones that specifically educate or explain same sex families.

Here are a few of our favourites:

Mummy, Mama, and Me / Daddy, Papa, and Me. 

One of our first LGBT books, this simple board style book details in a few pages what Mama Does, and what Mummy does.

It doesn’t explain LGBT families, but instead makes them like any other family. Really simple and a good starting point for your collection.

The Different Dragon 

Another wonderful book that doesn’t “defend” or “explain” same sex families. It’s just a story about a boy at bedtime who just happens to have two mummies.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. 


Not a specific LGBT book, but it does teach about equality and how everyone is different but equal at the same time.

The artwork is gorgeous, and I like how the book flows.

Spacegirl Pukes

Spacegirl is just about to leave on another mission when she falls sick.

Her mummies (she has two) also fall sick as well as the cat and rocket she’s meant to fly into space with.

Tango Makes Three


This story is about two male penguins that live together in a zoo in New York. The story details their journey into fatherhood.

Probably one of my favourite LGBT books as it’s based on a true story!

If I Had a Hundred Mummies

This story is about a little girl who talks about what it would be like to have a hundred mummies. Would they all be bossy? Would it be like having a hundred hugs?

In the end, she decided she’s happy just having the two.

Elmer


Elmer is like no other elephant, and that’s ok! When Elmer tries to be someone he’s not, people are sad.

I love love love Elmer and whenever I read it it reminds me of Pride.

The Family Book. 

One of the few books we have that actually teach about alternative families directly.

It’s boldly illustrated and a really simple book to explain alternative families.


What are your LGBT book recommendations? How are you celebrating #ChildrensBookWeek?

Our Family Holiday to Wales

A few weeks, and what feels like a lifetime, ago we went on our second family holiday. This time, Wales was our location of choice. Our first family holiday was based in Cornwall and T was only six months old! How time has flown.

It was an early start on the Saturday, but once everything was packed it wasn’t long before T was fast asleep.


From Brighton it took just over six hours, with only two decent stops. It was actually a shorter (and easier, in my opinion) distance than Cornwall, suprisingly. The journey wasn’t as bad as I thought, although I only had last time to compare it to (last time wasn’t great). T slept for a good chunk of the way, only waking before our first stop, and then watched a film or read books for the remainder of the way. It definitely could have been worse, but he was a star by only really moaning once towards the end.

Arriving just after 4pm, we unpacked, did a quick food shop, grabbed some dinner and then went to bed! Our caravan was gorgeous – T really didn’t know what to make of it but enjoyed running up and down the corridors and hiding in bedrooms.

What’s lovely about going on holiday with T so young is that we get to keep most of our holiday traditions. We still get up early (thanks to T) and we still explore the local area and holiday park on the Sunday. We still eat naughty things (although still watched what T ate) and still played board games of an evening (once T has gone to bed).


On Monday we went to Folly Farm which is a wonderful farm and zoo. This was probably our wettest day, however packed for a monsoon we all had our raincoats on and T had his puddle suit on.

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Thanks to the rain, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Our favourite parts were the penguin walkthroughs and the indoor farm area. We’ll definitely come back when we return to Wales.

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On Tuesday we explored Caves in the Brecon Beacons. I vividly remember coming here when I was young, so this was a lovely jump back in time. What made this special was that I was able to remember what the stalagmites and stalactites looked like back from when I was a child, so seeing what they looked like today got my science-nerd radar going.

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T wasn’t too keen on walking around here – maybe it was too dark or noisy – so we opted to carry/wear him for the majority of our tour of the caves, although he really enjoyed splashing in the rock pools inside the caves. Once outside though, he was more than happy to toddle off up the hills and go dino spotting!

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On Wednesday we went to Manor Wildlife Park which was quite literally a stone throws away from the holiday park. Feeling less like a zoo and more of an animal experience, with a majority of enclosures being walkthrough ones, we really enjoyed getting up close with some amazing animals (constantly holding a very touchy feely toddler back).


They had wallabies (that you could also feed), gibbons, and lemur walkthroughs, and wonderful Rhino, Camel, and Tiger enclosures. The place itself is also beautiful with a lot of the walking taking place in woodland.


On Thursday we went to Freshwater West which is the beach where part of Harry Potter and The Dealthy Hallows (Part 1) was filmed.


This was completely off piste, and not your usual tourist attraction, as it wasn’t at all sign-posted. It was only found when S found a bit of Wi-Fi and remembered that Wales was quite famous for film locations.

The beach was absolutely stunning and had miles upon miles of sand and sand dunes, volcanic rock, and other rock formations that housed several pools. I wanted to take all the pebbles home or at least collect all of the driftwood!

The beach is certainly frequented by locals – which is always a good sign. Before it started raining, I was lucky to be able to capture a few family shots and the natural beauty of Wales.

On Friday we explored Pembroke and its castle. As well as farms, we love a good castle. It’s made more enjoyable watching T clamber around the castle hallways, look outside the open windows, and simply listen to the sound of his own voice echoing.

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This was one of my favourite days as the weather was perfect. We were able to have a picnic outside (instead of the car or on the move) and Sharon and I were able to casually walk around the castle knowing T was safe toddling behind us (minus the steep, spiral staircases!).

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Saturday then came round and it was back to good old England. The journey home was pretty much the same as our journey going; with T sleeping for the majority of the way. He got a little tetchy towards the end, but then who wouldn’t be a little upset returning home from a lovely holiday?

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Back to normality, and my current task is clearing the massive washing pile that’s been created over the past week. The stash of welsh cakes and barabreth, however, is helping massively!

K

Days Out: Pride 2016

Last weekend we went to Brighton Pride for our umpteenth time and T’s second time. T was only 4 months old when we went last year.

Typically, T had to be woken up, even though 5:45 was his usual time throughout the week – he clearly didn’t know what was ahead of him. Once we were all washed, dressed, and rainbow’ed up to our eyeballs we were ready. We were so excited.


Arriving a little too early at Hove Lawns, we decided to go get breakfast at a local beach side cafe. During this time, it wasn’t long before we started spotting rainbows and glittery floats. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. We all started getting a little bit excited.

This year, we decided to join in the Pride parade alongside Brighton and Hove rainbow families. We’ve been part of this group for some time via Facebook, although we’ve never found the time to meet up officially (something we’re going to rectify soon). Even if you’re new, the group is always so welcoming, and has a wonderful array of families as members; from two mum families, two dad families, to co-parenting families. It was actually quite a sight to see so many rainbow families in one place. I was actually quite sad at the thought of then having to go home where we’re very much the only rainbow family within a 5 mile radius.

At 11:00 the parade officially started, samba bands and all. This was T’s cue to fall asleep and not wake until we reached Preston Park.

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The parade was fantastic, with a real buzz to it. Everywhere we looked we saw smiling faces and waving from onlookers. The younger children in the group enjoyed high-fiving people as they passed, where as the older children enjoyed dancing on the float. It was a real party.

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Arriving at Preston Park at around 12:45, some 18,000 steps later, we made our way to the family area to meet up with friends and families who we hadn’t seen since the previous year. This bit is like a massive reunion where we chat and swap stories about the past year – commenting on how our little ones are no longer so little.

Located a further back in comparison to last year, which was a shame as we like watching the being a part of the main park as well, I noticed that there was a lot more room for the children to run around this year. Plus, we also had exclusive access to the massive play park within Preston Park. This will be perfect for T in years to come.

After a little sit down and a fruit picnic, we grabbed some lunch; I had a mountain of nachos and S had a rather large Bratwurst (pardon). Although we packed T a lunch, he also helped himself to our lunches.

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Walking around the main park is my favourite part by far. The people, the music, the stalls. Everything about it reminds me why I love our community so much. Everything is so colourful, and everyone is here to have a good time. Now that the organisers charge to get into the park, it means people who do attend are there for the right reasons, and not solely to get drunk and rowdy. It meant the atmosphere was safe for T to have a little wonder, have a little dance, and get a few cuddles from passers by.

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Despite being robbed blind when it came to drinks and food prices we quickly got into the spirit of things. We enjoyed ice cream in front of the women’s tent, drank Pimms with the bears, and chatted about joining the Girl Guides. We had a wonderful time.

Pride for us is only going to get better the more T starts to understand what it’s all about. Over the next few years it’s going to be one giant carnival party for him, and thats ok. I can’t wait, however, to explain one day how far Pride has come and why it’s so important. I can’t wait for him to look forward to the Pride weekend and to meeting up with his friends.

This post really doesn’t do our day justice. It really was a fantastic day and I was sad to see it end. Although I nursed a baby wearing hangover for the majority of Saturday night and Sunday morning, it was totally worth it.

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LGBT History Month – Featured Families: 2Brides2Mums.

Our third Featured Family segment features 2brides2mums. Sarah from the blog talks about her wife and their up and coming bundle of joy! Congratulations, ladies!

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Who are you?

We are Sarah (aged 31) and Lauren (soon to be 30!), a married lesbian couple from Birmingham, UK.
Sarah is a manager for a luxury lifestyle brand and Lauren is an amazing midwife. 
When we aren’t working we love travelling (we’ve visted ten countries in ten years!) and food! Sarah is vegan and Lauren is vegetarian – and an amazing cook. Going out for meals is one of our favourite things ever!

How long have you been together?

This year we will have been together for twelve years in September, and married for three years in July.
Where did you meet?

We met in our home town of Birmingham aged 18 and 19. We were both just out of relationships and given each others number by a mutual friend. We met up for a drink one evening and the rest, as they say, is history!
We became a couple two weeks later, and two years later I moved to Leeds where Lauren was at university, to move in with her into a tiny, rainbow coloured flat!
We bought our house in Birmingham after six years together, and added a tiny puppy to the mix! Willow is a tiny cross breed who has been excellent practice for human babies!
We got engaged in Brighton, one of our favourite places in the world, with Lauren organising for the hotel we were staying at to fill our room with rose petals, champagne, and a huge bubble bath for our return.  We married in 2013 in Birmingham – the absolute best day of our lives, then after spending a year exploring the world a little more, we began fertility treatment. Phew!
Do you have any children?

Our little boy (our first child) is due in June this year!
What’s the best thing about becoming a parent?

We are lucky to have lives filled with so much love – from each other, from our families, from our friends, and we can’t wait to have a child to share that with. We love seeing new places and exploring the world, and we can’t wait to give our little one lots of adventures!
What challenges are you afraid of as a same sex family?

We have probably worried about the same things as any other family – if we’ll be good parents, what school our child will go to in our area etc. During visits to our fertility clinic, scan appointments, midwife appointments, even trips to places like Mamas & Papas and The Baby Show, we have been treated the same as any other couple, so it’s hard to imagine a scenario where we are treated differently for being same sex parents. We have discussed that we want our child to be aware of different family units, and also about donor conception (which we will adapt to be age appropriate).
How will you teach diversity to your child?

We are lucky that our family and friends contain lots of positive examples of diversity – single mums, single dads, multi racial families, adoptive parents, disabilities, and same sex parents. We want our child to be open minded, without prejudice, and to judge people by character not circumstance. Its important to us that our child knows that their ‘normal’ is just that – theirs, and that its ok that others ‘normal’ may be different from their own.
What would be your message to a young person “coming out” today?

Be yourself. It sounds simple and cliche, but it is honestly the thing that will make you happiest, most free, and will attract the most genuine people to you. Life is too short to worry about what others think of you!
What would be your message to a couple starting out on the TTC journey?

Every couple is different, but for us , it was important not to rush into treatmnet despite being eager to start a family – we had been together ten years when we began our journey, as we wanted to have our own home, be married, and have had lots of baby-free holidays first!
We also wanted to ensure we had saved enough money – fertility treatment is expensive, with lots of hidden costs, and babies arent cheap either! Like most people on the TTC journey we had numerous draw backs and it’s not not to be disheartened or stressed by it. We tried to always remember our baby would come when it was supposed to, and trust that everything happened for a reason. Our succesful embryo transfer was such a relaxed, peaceful day, and we think this had a positive impact.
What does LGBT History mean to you?
 
I think the thing that strikes us about LGBT history is it never fails to amaze me every time I see examples in media such as YouTube of LGBT history, is how far we have came, and how far there is still to go. When we became a couple, civil partnerships didn’t exist, let alone same sex marriage. We are extremely lucky to live in a safe, tolerant country but are always aware when visiting other countries that this is not the case everywhere, and even in the UK we are occasionally disappointed by attitudes to same sex couples, particularly around marriage and parenting. It is brilliant how the laws have changed to give us equal opportunities, and even better to see attitudes starting to reflect this too.
Where can we find you? 

We are on Twitter at @2brides2mums, Instagram at @SarahLovesL and @LaurenNune, and our blog is 2bridesto2mummies.blogspot.com.
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This post is part of a month long celebration for LGBT history month. If you’d like to get involved, tweet using the hashtag #LGBTHM or find one of your local LGBT groups on Facebook and find out how they’re celebrating LGBT History Month.