Playground Birth

Dana's pregnancy went smoothly for the first 36 weeks, until her blood pressure decided to climb as our son was preparing to drop. Our OBGYN monitored her closely and when her BP continued to stay high, we were instructed to check into Labor & Delivery at 38 weeks for induction. Unfortunately, our son's stubborn side showed up that day, proving that he was definitely Dana's biological son. He refused to be born vaginally, Dana's body was being stubborn refusing to start the birthing process, and so we had to schedule a C-section for the next morning (which made Dana's stress drop considerably, along with her BP...funny how that is). The C-section delivery went very well, Sawyer immediately stretched all of his limbs out once he was out (Dana's only 5'1", so he didn't have a lot of room in the womb), and we were finally able to hold our son.

In Kansas City this past week, while visiting my parents, we took Sawyer to a playground, and I immediately knew two things I wanted him to experience: the slide and the tunnel...the closest activities to vaginal birth...although a water slide would be a more accurate simulation. Hmmm...

Technically, if he had experienced a vaginal birth, I might have been the first Mommy he saw, but this is still fun for him AND for Dana. 😉

Technically, if he had experienced a vaginal birth, I might have been the first Mommy he saw, but this is still fun for him AND for Dana. 😉

Definitely faster then the tunnel...and a vaginal birth. 

Definitely faster then the tunnel...and a vaginal birth. 

When is a kid old enough to ride a water slide? We don't need to try and simulate his c-section birth as well, do we? 

Sawyer's Emergency Pizza Fund

We've arrived at the point in our lives when you give your child's daycare lead teacher $30 cash for an Emergency Pizza Fund. What?!?! You've never heard of an Emergency Pizza Fund? The Emergency Pizza Fund is simple. When your child runs out of formula/breast milk, and or blended baby food during the day and is still hungry, the teacher orders a pizza for him/her to eat and share with the other babies and teachers in the classroom. It's just like the Emergency Coffee Fund and Emergency Beer Fund you carry with you in your wallet that you can access using a credit card that your wife has no knowledge of so she can't use it, nor limit your ability to use it. We all run into these problems folks. Get with it. I mean, even our dog, Lincoln, has an Emergency Bone Fund. 

Anyways, this Emergency Pizza Fund was started because Sawyer kept going through the food we would send with him at the beginning of the day. Before we were finished with work, we would receive a text message from the Director of the daycare informing us that we are horrible mothers for starving our child and not sending him with enough food. Honestly, we send him with plenty, but his excuse is that he's a growing boy, who is also trying to grow a penis, and therefore he needs to eat more then what the online parenting articles and his pediatrician says he needs to eat in terms of calories for the day. In the next four years we will need to buy a farm so we can have a cow, goat, lamb, chickens, and acres of gardens to feed this kid.  

When I arrived to pick him up one day at daycare this past week, the lead teacher again asked that we send him with an extra bottle and a pot roast just in case he runs out of food. I told her, "Sometimes when he's fussy, it's because he's tired and he needs to go down for a nap, not eat again. He'll eat even if he's not hungry just because he absolutely loves food. We also would like for him to eat every 2.5-3 hours, not every 1.5-2 hours." Then one of the assistants in the room piped up and started giving me her opinion, but at that point I was already done discussing it because...well, because I'm one of his mothers, and with the amount of money we are spending monthly on daycare, I think the teacher and assistants can work a bit at getting him to take a nap, etc., instead of relying on food to wane his fussiness. Instead of sharing that thought out loud I said that I would bring cash for an Emergency Pizza Fund. If Sawyer eats ALL of his food and is absolutely starving before the end of the day, then that constitutes an emergency, and they have my permission to use the $30 to order an organic vegetarian pizza from Food Shed that they will carefully feed our son, share with any of Sawyer's classmates that are allowed to eat pizza, and enjoy themselves. That seemed to make them happy, and when Sawyer arrived the next morning with the envelope of cash and this letter, it made them even happier, and they laughed until they realized that A) it's an EMERGENCY fund, and B) there was no cash for beer. 




That day, I got a text from the director with this picture of Sawyer enjoying his last bottle, and informing me that Sawyer was on his last bottle and was pointing at the Emergency Pizza Fund envelope.  Holy hell...I've created a food monster. 

Now, you'll have to excuse me. I need to use my Emergency Beer Fund and purchase some beer.  

Damn Bingers

You've really got to keep your eye on these little ones. As soon as you turn your back, they down their bottle without even an ounce of worry if it will come right back up. It's as if Gandalf is standing at the entrance to the stomach and whenever Sawyer eats, Gandalf is slamming his staff to the ground and shouting, "You shall not pass!"  

If we're lucky, we are able to direct his spit-up down the if we're training him for college parties already. 

If we're lucky, we are able to direct his spit-up down the if we're training him for college parties already. 

He doesn't even bat an eye when he marks his territory. I now permanently smell like our son's gut microbiome. 

He doesn't even bat an eye when he marks his territory. I now permanently smell like our son's gut microbiome. 

"I totally just coughed up 1.5 inches of bread crust they had no idea I had eaten."

"I totally just coughed up 1.5 inches of bread crust they had no idea I had eaten."

Now that Sawyer is eating more solids, less liquid seems to come back at us. He does like to keep us on our toes though... 

"I think I'm going to vomit." 

"I think I'm going to vomit." 

"Ha ha! Just kidding!" 

"Ha ha! Just kidding!" 

Kids these days... 


I danced, my fists up, a sciamachy at dusk with my mirrored image. A daily battle which impedes sophrosyne. Unfettered with others’ presence, the mask is dropped when I’m alone. This downtrodden feeling cloaks what is seen to others a happy person. There is no explanation…well, maybe a small one. Sometimes it is tragic points in my past that troubles and pulls me in one direction, but I do believe my lack of footing  also stems from generations before me, for there are times when hypophrenia hits. I just feel. It just is.

It’s interesting how when I’m kept busy with work and family life I am able to avoid the negativity I apply within myself. At times I almost feel full of joy, as if I never question my reason for being. Those are the great days. I want more of those days. I need more days like that.

I almost have an intro to the climax of ache, and if I can get to the trails, or home to be with my family, I am able to stave off that overwhelming and sneaky life-sucking force. It’s not like I want it to happen. I know that it holds me back from who I truly am, and can be. I know that it affects those I love, and that is something I absolutely never want. And when I start to think about this, and everything that is plaguing me, I almost seem to spiral down the rabbit hole faster. A slippery slope of seconds…minutes…hours…days…weeks…months…years. Time where everything is personal to me, and I feel as if I take on the emotions and repercussions of others’ words and actions. It’s like I’m more of a sponge than our son, and that terrifies me because I do not want him soaking even a smidgen of this from me. And as I think more on that, I spiral faster then before, guilt overtaking me, adding to the weight of EVERYTHING.

The smart thing would be to actually end talking about that, and mention the bright forces in my life: my wife, son, dog, and even the fish we bought for Sawyer last week when we found out Trump is the President-elect. Shit. That was a negative thing. Alrighty, let’s start again…


Wife, son, dog, and fish—they elicit from me an overwhelming joy for life. My clients. Sure, I’m exhausted from working long hours and worrying about them, but they truly bring happiness to my life, especially when they are able to accomplish a goal they never thought was possible. I helped with that. Being home to cook, bake, garden, read, write, spend time with my family, and sleep. Yep…sleeping in our own bed is a wonderful gift that I appreciate and understand a lot of people do not have the luxury of enjoying. Trails…give me a trail, and I can shake off just about anything. From whence I came, to that I return. Being in nature reminds me of the vast knowledge and life I have yet to attain and appreciate.

I only hope that one day the sagacious love my wife, mother, and other strong women in the world have for themselves, regardless of history, genes, and emotions, will one day be a gift I am able to offer myself in regards to self-love, acceptance…and even forgetfulness. There are just some memories we need to not keep re-living. At the very least, to be more fluid between my own thoughts and emotions, allowing the chance to recover, experience all, and still love myself as opposed to constantly shifting between two opposite sides of the spectrum: self-hate versus self-love.

This is what pure and innocent joy looks like folks. Soak it up.  

This is what pure and innocent joy looks like folks. Soak it up.  

11.9.16: Adoption of Dem-Y

Sawyer has a phenomenal pediatrician, and in both of his offices there are these beautiful fish tanks that the children LOVE. It’s great! It’s not a litter of puppies, a monkey, sloth, lamb, nor baby chicks, but considering some folks have allergies to those, and they seem to be able to avoid anaphylactic shock when fish are swimming in a glass container, it’s the next best thing to take their minds off the immediate future of injections and pain they will be receiving in a room 10 meters down the hallway.

After checking in for Sawyer’s appointment, his gaze at the fish magnetically lures us to the tank, and I get a kick out of his joyous, raptured look, the giggles, babbling, and wiggling that he does. No seriously. He kicks me constantly as I’m holding him because he is actually going ape-shit trying to reach through the glass to touch Nemo and friends. I have no other words to describe his awe. It’s pure entertainment that only costs us our $20 office visit co-pay fee.

So, given today’s Presidential Election outcome, which I and many other human beings believe will go down as one of the most tragic days in American history, I felt a strong need to do something to cheer my family members up. When Dana arrived home we loaded the family up in the car, and I called Sawyer’s Aunt Laura to meet us at the pet store. We bought Lincoln some bones (and a bag of food), and we bought Sawyer a fish. Dana wasn’t too pleased with the purchase of a fish, but I needed to see his look of joy that he has when he sees fish. (The more I think about it, it’s the same look he has when he sees dogs, cats, other babies, the TV…and even our patterned rugs at home. Hmmm…)

Dana will feel happiness when our new TV arrives…unless Trump and his greedy xenophobic minions take that away along with our rights. (Head smack) Wait! Positive thinking Larisa, and positive action!!

Who am I kidding? We’re fucked!

Okay, back to the fish. Sawyer picked out a beautiful Beta fish (that I realized the next morning at 3:50AM cost us $14.99…what Beta costs that much?!?!), we bought blue rock for the bottom of the fish bowl (duh), and his name is Dem-y. His full name is Democrat Rodham Love For All Stephenson-Sabin, but Dem-y is much shorter and easier for Sawyer to learn. 

Sawyer and Dem-Y

Sawyer and Dem-Y

Now that fish will possibly die in the next few days, forcing us to give him a Viking-style funeral in the Napa River, but I’ll go to the store and buy Sawyer another one. Hell, I might even buy him two Beta fishes that day (and another fish bowl since Betas are unable to share space with other fish, just like white supremacists are unable to be in close proximity to anyone). Just like I’ll wake up tomorrow and still be an American…albeit a very embarrassed and scared American who is truthfully searching for work in other gay-friendly countries. We’ve always wanted to live abroad for a couple of years…or until the Third World War is concluded.

Given the pain, fear, and anger I feel towards a lot of hateful Americans right now, I do not have much patience for setting a good example of how to offer a hand of acceptance towards those of you who felt the need to protect your pocket-books and/or white supremacist beliefs more so than protecting human beings. I will continue to work beside you, work with you, stand next to you in lines at the grocery store, smile at you as I walk down the street with my family…even though you don’t smile back…but know that I have lost respect for you. I haven’t lost hope, because I do know that a majority of you do have a good heart that is just unfortunately being smothered by your ego, hate for diversity, and greed, but my respect for you is nil at this point. Perhaps time will heal, but know that progress can not be stopped, and we will not forget the pain we feel towards the choices that you have made against us. We strive for inclusion, and you demand separation. The Republican Tea Party fascist group will eventually go extinct, along with the electoral college, and we will not save you from extinction, nor from Global Warming because, quite frankly, it’s time to join the diverse mainstream. We’ll open our arms and our homes to you when you finally realize your small-minded wrongdoings, but we refuse to save your xenophobic beliefs/hate from extinction. You’re on the endangered list. Love will always triumph, and as Michelle Obama says, “When they go low, we go high.” Unfortunately…when Dem-y goes belly-up high that means he’s dead…hmmmm. Perhaps we should rename him.

His excitement for our rugs worries me.  

His excitement for our rugs worries me.  

Pushing Buttons

I'm an ornery fucker who purposely chooses to push others' buttons just for a reaction. I do this early in the acquaintance because I fully believe their reaction is more truthful than a conversation at times. Rarely does time allow me, a true wallflower, to make up my mind over a multitude of observational and conversational hours and determine who a person truly is. We all wear masks, but pushing boundaries rips those masks off, albeit briefly, providing a viewing window. I use sarcasm often (when I'm playing nice) and their reaction, or lack thereof, immediately can lead me down one path, or no path. Then my dynamite word choice blows the dead end up and I start dangling a carrot (or whiskey) in front of the person to pull him or her in another direction, looking for answers. I do this to protect myself, for I am a sensitive individual. You can only be charred so many times before the white coals engulf your self-esteem. Perhaps I'm giving another too much power, and the weight of their judgement is hard to carry, but I have a difficult path to navigate with my own troubling thoughts that tend to negate my soul. 



Dusk launches the dive. Crisp linens and feathers cradle the joys, aches, and knowledge of the day. Rolling to the west as sleep floats orphic fragments of senses and thoughts. The helix of your internal and external entity winding towards comprehension. A morosis dealing results in a roll to the east and a shift in the sorting like a rock splitting a river’s flow into separate paths. The dip continues on the heels of your inner urchin tackling fears and loss. A petrous yet friable nemesis, acceptance beckons the interstitial fragments to bind. The soul balters like a child in a meadow at sundown, breathing every one of its past lives into your heart. A wellspring of eunoia at dawn.


Room to Rise

It's sad

When you only

Seek perfection immediately

You miss the joy

Of something new

The realization

Of change and growth

The surprise of rising

With each breath


Gaia's Pull

Do not follow me

For I go where I need to be

The place my dreams transpire

The susurrus of the canopy

My toes grip the ground I arose from


Her gravitational pull

Offering reprieve to my soul


Sick Days

Dana's parents are known as Grandma and Grandpa; my parents have been known as Nana and Papa for 12 years now. Since my folks live in the midwest, we have weekly FaceTime sessions with them so they get to talk to Sawyer and Dana (I no longer exist since Sawyer was born). This past Sunday we were at David and Susan's house for a family dinner when we FaceTimed my parents.  

"Hi Nana!"-Sawyer

"Hi Nana!"-Sawyer

"Hi Papa!"-Sawyer

"Hi Papa!"-Sawyer

They could tell during the conversation that Sawyer was a little congested, so they asked Dana which one of us has the most sick days...and then they chuckled. At this point I jumped into the conversation and informed them that Grandma has the most sick days...and then I chuckled. 😛 If Dana and I miss much more work we won't be able to afford daycare, diapers, formula, or food for Lincoln. 

"So Grandma...I'll see you tomorrow then?"-Sawyer

"So Grandma...I'll see you tomorrow then?"-Sawyer

As it turned out, Dana wasn't feeling well, so she stayed home on Monday with Sawyer. They got to play hooky without me! I retaliated by staying home yesterday with him because I wasn't feeling well. I guess today is Sawyer's last day at daycare! He'll miss his friends...


Orchestration of Oneself

Look at the whole

The orchestration of

Emotions, physical, spiritual and intent

Take it all in

What does it mean?

Trace the graft with your senses

To the root

Do not smother yourself

Breathe, release, run, dance, heal



Whole Baby @ Whole Foods

The first day we brought Sawyer home from the hospital we took him to Whole Foods. Sure, he and Dana stayed in the car catching some Zzz's while I went in and stocked up on the necessities (shit ton of coffee, beer, pizza, hummus, veggies--you get the idea), but that was his first outing. He's there weekly with one of us doing the grocery shopping, and often I will find him in one of the employee's arms. Today we were given a snicker doodle cookie as a thank you for Ashley getting to hold him. I knew there was a reason why we had a kid!

We often carry him through the store, allowing him to see all of the veggies, fruits, baked goods, and beer that we're choosing to bring home for him...wait...I mean for US, not for him. Who gives a baby veggies and fruit?!?! Not us I tell you. 

By the time we made it to the check-out line I decided to see how much he was costing us these days. Weirdly, the amount we spent on IVF to get him came up on the screen. Hmmmm...

Whole baby @ Whole Foods: organic, free range, 300% price only. Comes with two caramel apples on the side. 

Whole baby @ Whole Foods: organic, free range, 300% price only. Comes with two caramel apples on the side. don't know my husband.

Our jobs are located in a small town (population is ~6,000 😬), and as all small towns go, everyone knows your business...which is why we live in a larger town ~20 miles away. I think my clients in that small town knew the result of our pregnancy test before we did. I blame Facebook. Dana works for the school district in that small town. She's a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and primarily works with students in the lower grades helping them with behavioral problems, giving them tools they need in order to excel in the classroom (and survive their home life), and being available for their breakdowns. Her co-workers know that she is a lesbian, but it's not really a topic that comes up while she is working with a student who is trying to express their feelings by playing in a sand box. Weirdly, one of the students she works with stopped her in the school yard this week with a question:

1st Grader: What is your husband's name?

Dana: Why are you asking?

1st Grader: I think my Dad knows your husband.

Dana: I don't think so.

I asked her how she diverted his attention, but she said that luckily he got sidetracked. (He's one of those students.) I would love to be a fly on her office wall when a student figures out that she is married to me, this phenomenal, loving wife who is also an excellent mother to our child. Some of the kids in the school know me because their parents are clients of mine, and when they are informed by their parents that I am married to Ms. Sabin, it throws them for a loop. It's cute when they finally connect the dots, and obviously have no problem with it, which is why I find it weird that some people are worried if their kids find out that someone is gay. Actually, I don't find that weird, I just find it sad. 

I promise to not end this blog post on a sad note. Instead, I'm going to share our first family photo, sans Lincoln. We took a small weekend trip up to Gualala, and our friend took this pic while we were hiking along the coast. It was definitely a windy day, perfectly crisp weather, and the views were amazing!

Our Patagonia jackets kept us warm. Sawyer should be a model for them. Look how cute he is!   

Our Patagonia jackets kept us warm. Sawyer should be a model for them. Look how cute he is!   

Punch Card

Our son was born on 04/29/16. Since then, due to regular check-ups, a cold that brought on an earache, a cough from that same cold that robbed him of oxygen as if he had emphysema, diarrhea from the amoxicillin he took for the earache and congestion (FYI: he's allergic), blood in his stool (just a little bit) from a fissure caused by the constant shitting (diarrhea), a slight headache due to falling off the bed weirdly at 2 mos, and now a few seizures this week...(deep breath)...we have not only learned every staff member of the pediatrician's office, but we have also named every fish in the aquariums, and today I invited Sawyer's pediatrician to Thanksgiving dinner. I feel we owe him a meal...or at least a puppy.  Sawyer is only ~5mos old, and he RECOGNIZES his physician and puts a frown on his face as soon as he walks into the room clearly not looking forward to the exams that are about to take place. 

When we arrived at the office for today's unplanned visit, while checking Sawyer in for his appointment, I jokingly asked if they had a punch card system. Whenever I get a coffee at the local coffee shop, they sign off on my card, and after purchasing 12 drinks, I get a free drink of my choice. I think this is a good idea, and was hoping that they offered that same reward system. Unfortunately the woman did not get my joke, and professionally informed me that they do not offer that at their office. Dana was holding Sawyer behind me on the waiting room bench and just started laughing, prompting Sawyer to look at me and give a nice big smile. I, of course, couldn't help myself and just kept going. "I really think you should look into offering punch cards. 12 visits in one year, and the next year is free!" She just smiled at me, apologized, and repeated that they do not offer that. So sad.  

So, I took initiative, and I designed a card for them. 

A punch card for the pediatrician's office. At your 6th visit, they cover your co-pay...& the 13th is free!!  

A punch card for the pediatrician's office. At your 6th visit, they cover your co-pay...& the 13th is free!!  

At this rate, Sawyer will go through three of these punch cards before the year is up. I understand that this is often what happens for the first couple of years of life, especially since he is in daycare. We will roll with it, knowing that his immune system is only getting stronger. However, our pockets are getting lighter. Every time he needs to go to the doctor, I'm having to cancel clients, thereby losing income, and making it even more of a challenge to pay for daycare. Hopefully his immune system knows this, and he'll be healthy through the holidays so I can build up our checking account again! Ending with $14.83 before payday this past week was...nerve wracking. 


"Mom. I do not want to make bread. I want watermelon."-Sawyer

"Mom. I do not want to make bread. I want watermelon."-Sawyer



"I shall lick the watermelon."-Sawyer

"I shall lick the watermelon."-Sawyer

"I shall eat the watermelon...with help, of course."-Sawyer

"I shall eat the watermelon...with help, of course."-Sawyer

The End. 

What's the Password?

Sawyer's daycare sent out a mass email to all the parents the other week. One of the subjects in the email was asking that unless you know the other person, to please not open the door for him. The daycare is secured with a keypad entry, alligators swimming in the moat surrounding the building, guards at all the entrances, and emos wearing hoodies and looking down at the ground standing in loosely-formed groups doing their best to show no interest in life. It is definitely a must protecting the daycare because of all the adorable kiddos inside.

Dana takes Sawyer to daycare in the mornings because of my ungodly work hours. I am often the one who picks him up in the afternoons after work. Last night she told me that earlier this week when she arrived at the daycare, one of the Mom's introduced herself and asked who she was prior to opening the door and letting her in. First of all, in the morning, if someone arrives with a child, either assume they belong to the daycare and hold the door open for them, or walk through, let the door slam, and then wait for them to open the door using the code. Simple, right? (Nod your head yes). However, you should be suspicious of all of the adults arriving in the afternoon for pick-up because we have no kids currently with us as proof that yes, we are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc. (Duh.) But no, that woman had to make sure that Dana and Sawyer belonged.

I told Dana that the next time she arrives in the morning and someone asks who she is while she's carrying Sawyer, she should ask them, "Is this where we leave abandoned children we no longer can support?" And then set him down and start to walk away...but only a few feet. Sawyer's so fucking cute the other parent would probably pick him up, claim him as her own, and we'd lose our expensive son who we truly love and don't want to have kidnapped. Okay. Maybe I should not tell my wife to jokingly leave him by the daycare door in order to prove a point to another parent. 

"Someone might try to kidnap me? Will they feed me ice cream and let me watch TV?"-Sawyer

"Someone might try to kidnap me? Will they feed me ice cream and let me watch TV?"-Sawyer