Sharing recipes, crafts and frugal living, the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. Yoga Instructor said goodbye to her nightly glass of Chardonnay to give up habits that were not serving her purpose in life! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.


When I was married to a man no one ever asked me that!

It’s no secret...I use to be married to a man.
And now I am married to a woman. 
Stay tuned for my book (coming out 2019) where I talk all about this transition but for now here are my observations about the differences going from a heterosexual relationship to a gay relationship.

When I was married to a man:
-no one ever came to our house and immediately assumed we were siblings before thinking we were married.
-when hearing that we were married the next question asked was never, “legally married?”
-when someone else was introducing us, that person never referred to my spouse as my “partner”.
-no one ever asked us if our children were biologically ours.
-strangers and associates never asked how we got pregnant.
-no one ever asked if our parents and family were ok with our relationship.
-when we got married, people didn’t stop talking to me because they “disagreed with my lifestyle."

The questions and comments that have been asked or said to me after learning that I am married to a woman reminds me of the days in Sunday school in the Presbyterian church in which I grew up, every year we would start with learning the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12). And so I wonder if we all took that approach would the world in which we live be a more compassionate place to exist? Ask yourself would you like it if someone inquired about the intimate nature of how your child was conceived? Would you be okay with someone questioning the legality of your marriage?

I know it's natural to be inquisitive about things that may seem different than you, but if you don't know people very well, maybe ask yourself how your question might be received before you speak and if you would want the person you are speaking with to ask about your infertility or if you used donor sperm. Also, try paying attention to body and spoken language. Gay couples often overcompensate with language and are forthright from the beginning about their relationship status verbally, take your cue from that and use their language. I always immediately say "this is my wife, Lauren" when introducing her, for example. Oftentimes gay couples also make it very clear in subtle ways that we are in fact a couple, and it’s typically the same ways heterosexual couples do. Leaning in towards the person, using “we” language, etc.

I do believe that when we know better, we do better. It starts with very small changes that are easy to make. My marriages have been very different because of the people involved but both have had many similarities as well. Because in the’s a marriage between two people and the gender of those people doesn’t really matter. Love is love and all marriages are equal. 


DIY Crate Bookshelf

I received many requests wanting to know more about the bookshelf in the picture that I shared on an Instagram post of my office area in the new house. I’ve recreated this bookshelf many times over in many different houses in which we have lived. It's a collection of many things, most are actual crates but there is also an old wooden drawer in there as well. It took a while to gather all these things which meant that it started out small. 
And in 2010 I used the wooden drawer as a side table

Right now I feel it's exactly the size that it needs to be, it doesn't need to get any bigger, for the space that it's in. You could create your own crate bookshelf by purchasing crates at a craft store and painting them or staining them. I personally wanted crates that were painted or stained in various shades and of various sizes so I allowed myself the patience in creating what the end result would look like. It also gave me something to always search for at yard sales and antique stores over the years. As it grew and a new crate was added I was able to recreate the shape by putting it together like a puzzle. 

In the mix is, as I mentioned, an old wooden drawer, several authentic milk crates, a vintage Pepsi crate that I found at an antique store, a wine crate from the first time I ordered wine through the mail many, many years ago. The books on the shelves are all mine and ones in which I gravitate to picking up and rereading. In terms of decor because this is in my home office I've chosen items that speak to me personally. A vintage Nikon camera that use to be my father's and when he gave it to me it sparked my love of photography, a wooden dancer figurine which was a gift from a college dance teacher, a glass canister marked "Joy Jar" where anyone is welcome to put their joy on a piece of paper and drop it in, a block with a Buddha quote: "What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create." And a picture from our amazing vacation in South Dakota where we got to go to the top of Crazy Horse! Sitting atop it all is a beautiful stained glass that my mom made for me when I was in college.

I encourage you to find patience in the creating of your home. Allow it to be a reflection of who you are rather than perfectly matched and color coordinated. You aren't living in a showroom, this is your home. Allow it to look like you!


Before & After Pictures of the Old House

We recently moved from a townhouse to a single-family home in a nearby neighborhood, click on this link to read that post. We put a lot of work into the old house and it deserves its time in the spotlight. The before pictures are from the actual listing when it was for sale and the after pictures are from when we almost moved out, I had already started packing up things and then remembered to do this so it's not truly how we lived on a day to day basis but it gives you a general idea of our decor and color choices.


After: updated storm door and front and back doors. 

Before: Front hallway, orange shag carpeting was everywhere! Including closets!
the door directly ahead goes to the basement.

After: Added custom Closet America closet organizing system. Hardwood floors were under all that shag carpeting that my wife and I ripped up ourselves and refinished the floors.

We took down the door that led to the basement.

Before: The kitchen. The oven door couldn't even open all the way because of where it was placed.

After: The layout of the kitchen was an eat-in kitchen and dining room combo. But we found this to be too small for the number of people that we like to host for dinner parties so we decided to put the dining room table in what would normally be the living room and had the eat-in area where the kids' desks were. I was then able to cook dinner and help with homework at the same time. 

The countertops were our favorite feature, quartz with glitter!

Before: Livingroom.

After: Living room area which we used as a dining room.

Before: Each bedroom had wallpaper borders that my mother painstakingly removed for us while we ripped up more orange shag carpeting.


Before: 4th bedroom

After: 4th bedroom. After the disruption of our adoption, we turned the 4th bedroom which was M's bedroom into the living room. We needed this room to have a different purpose. So the TV and sofa lived in this room for family movie nights.

Before: Basement

I forgot to take a picture of the basement before we left. But many of you know that I use to teach yoga classes in our basement. We installed dense foam flooring, new ceiling tiles and LED lighting.
Here are some photos from that time and then after I opened the yoga studio in Roosevelt Center, which is where it is currently, the basement became a kid hangout area.

After the yoga studio moved: Kid craziness!

I truly hope the next family enjoys their time there and fills the walls with laughter and fun!

Moving On: Leaving Behind the Sadness

We recently moved. Ironically we weren't intending on moving but some folks put a flyer in our mailbox and the mailboxes of our neighbors advertising that they would like to purchase the style townhouse that we owned, which there are a limited number of in the community. My wife and I thought it over for a weekend and then said: "why not let them just see the house and then see what happens." And so we did.

The couple came and saw our house on Friday, April 20th and put an offer in of our asking price to purchase it the following Monday. Ten days later we put an offer on a house in a nearby neighborhood. A neighborhood that we didn't really know that well but it had a lot of things we were looking for; single-family house, close to shopping and restaurants, only 15 minutes for me to commute to my yoga studio, 15 minutes to water for kayaking, on a bike trail and had a big backyard with the option for gardening. We moved into our new house on June 10th.

It's been a whirlwind of a time, to say the least. But we are finally settled into the new house and enjoying all the things that it has to offer. Most importantly the fresh start to create new memories. Our old house held a lot of sadness for us. Don't get me wrong we had some wonderful times in the four years that we lived there and made friendships with some great neighbors but there have been some major blows to our family. We waded through the sadness of a miscarriage in that house and then the disruption of our adoption of a boy from foster care. Those walls held that pain and every time we entered we were reminded of the reason why we purchased that house in the first place, the intention to expand our family. It felt like a constant disappointment and we needed a change.

I believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason. The family that arrived on our doorstep wanting to buy our house was a gift from the Universe that we didn't know that we needed. Each step in the process of selling our old house and buying the new house has been flawless, there have been no hiccups. A sure sign that this was meant to be our new journey.

Stay tuned for a Before and After picture post of the old house, we did a lot of work in creating that home, I truly hope the next family enjoys their time there and fills the walls with laughter and fun!


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