family

Robson-inspired sketches

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Since I have been home taking care of Robson the last few months, AND trying to keep up with my full-time gig – doing any additional sketching seems like a pipe dream! BUT… once in a while, I am able to carve out a precious hour or two to do some art for myself.

Here are a few I have done so far:

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Robson in the Woods admiring the trees as she does on our daily walks. ๐Ÿ™‚ [digital]

 

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Robson running around with multiple sweaters all day. Sometimes she wears 3 at a time. ๐Ÿ™‚ [digital]

 

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Robson and I go to the same park almost every day near our house. I love looking at this massive tree that reminds me of a mysterious cave. I finally drew it from memory. ๐Ÿ™‚ [digital]

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Another letter to Baby Chomiak: She will never say “I love you, Daddy”.

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Hello my little one…. it’s me.

[We will teach you about Adele when you grow up a bit!]

I can’t even believe you are already 28 weeks along, and growing so strong inside of Mama’s belly. Wow, you are doing so great little bean!

First let me thank you for a precious gift you have already given me. [Truthfully I think you and God were in on it together.] A few weeks ago, your Mama and I were putting the Christmas tree up, and decorating it with all of our ornaments. Your Mama said she felt you moving around inside, and to come and see if I could feel anything on the outside. I hadn’t yet. I put my hand on her belly, and we waited there for a minute, in the silence of the twinkling lights from the Christmas tree.

All of a sudden we both felt a huge BOOM from inside – a direct hit to the palm of my hand, and my heart skipped a beat! I heard you, little one! Blinking back tears, I realized how real this journey is. This is happening – you are coming into our lives, a kicking, screaming, laughing, thoughtful little being. You, my little girl, are my miracle. I already thank God daily for your existence; for being allowed to witness this sort of love in my life. I am in awe.

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Now, little bean, I have been thinking about something else I wanted to share with you.

As you will learn, there are many different types of families. Some families just have a Mommy. Some families just have a Daddy. Some have two Mommies or two Daddies. Some are raised by a grandparent or an aunt. Some – maybe most – will have a Mommy and a Daddy. The love is still the same, my sweet one.

I grew up with a Mommy and a Daddy. I was very lucky that they were [and are] both around for my whole life, spoiling me and loving me as I grew up. And if I am being honest, I was definitely a Daddy’s girl. My Daddy is very generous, very funny, and one of the true heroes in my life. I know I can always count on him to be there, fix anything, or make me laugh. I have always thought, even as I am now a grown-up, that I have the best Dad. (He will be the best Grandpa to you, I know it. ๐Ÿ™‚

And as you get bigger and bigger in Mama’s belly, I realize that you will never say those words: I love you, Daddy.

My Evangelical Christian upbringing wants me to feel guilty about that. I want to say that I am sorry that I have chosen a “lifestyle” that omits a Daddy from your life. And I admit that it was one of the fears I had when I was struggling with becoming a Mama myself. How can I withhold anything from an innocent child?

But, my Sweetheart, I won’t apologize. Because I have chosen love, and love is something we never apologize for. My heart is too full of peace and gratefulness to be sorry, little one. No, you won’t have a Daddy in the traditional sense. You will have two Mommies instead. Two Mommies that already love you so entirely, it is hard to properly put it into words. So we will show you. We will show you with every hug, with every tear we wipe away, with every cuddle, with every crust we cut off your bread, and with every moment of sleep we lose when you cry or are sick. You will be so absolutely loved.

I believe to the depths of my soul, that this is the path God has chosen that has led you into this world. I believe that God knows what He is doing, and He isn’t scared that you will be coming into a family “without a Daddy” – but that was His plan. God does not make mistakes – He makes miracles.

So maybe one day you will be with your friends and they will be talking about their Daddies, and it will hit you: I don’t have one. And maybe you will wonder why. And I hope you will come to us with all of these questions, and more. And above all, I hope that your heart and soul is just so surrounded with love that you won’t feel like you are missing anything – but have everything you need. That is my prayer for you, little one.

We are counting down the days until we can stare into your beautiful little face. ๐Ÿ™‚

A letter to Baby Chomiak

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My dear sweet little bean,

You don’t know it yet, but you are so entirely loved.

These past few weeks, the word miracle has taken shape inside of your Mama, and I have had the honor of having a front row seat to the unfolding of it all.

Let me tell you a little bit about how you got here. After all, your Mommies are a bit older and bound to forget some of the details one day.

My sweet little one, this road to bring you into our lives has not been the easiest, nor the most traditional. But as you will find in life, some of the most incredible things in life require the roughest road to getting there.

Your Mama and I went to a fertility clinic and tried six times to bring you into our lives. Each time, we were hopeful and our hearts filled with visions and dreams of what could be… until we heard “Sorry, not this time.” Little one, we shed many tears wondering why we had to wait, and what we were doing wrong. I have to be honest that my heart started to wonder if you would ever come into our lives.

We decided to try a very complicated process called Invitro Fertilization, or IVF, for our seventh – and final – try. [Maybe I will drawย a story to explain how it works for you one day!] Your Mama gave herself many needles of medicine for many days, had two procedures, and then we waited and we prayed.

Photo of two fertilized embryos implanted on July 26, 2015: [the day after myย birthday :D]

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The day we were to find out if you were going to begin your journey to us, your Mama and I met over lunch time when we were both at work. We pulled over to the side of the road, and in the car we called the clinic and held our breath. When we heard those words: “You are pregnant!” – well my sweet child… that was the moment that our hearts burst with a joy I cannot properly put into words. Those tears were oh, so very sweet. And without the lows of the six no’s, the high of this seventh yes would be so much less sweet. And for that, little one, we are so grateful.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, we reflect on this season of waiting. It has brought your Mama and I closer together, and forced us to trust that the God we believe in, has it all under control, despite what we can see or feel. He has been so faithful to us through each step of this process. So in the end, we are thankful for this season of waiting, and for the tough lessons our hearts have learned. What a gift it has turned out to be – the slow and hard waiting, in this world of rushing from point A to point B. We are so thankful, knowing that the waiting will allow us to cherish your arrival that much more. For how can we enjoy the mountaintops without the valleys?

Your Mama and I have been together for many years, and we love each other so much. You will soon find out how incredible she is – she gives the best warm hugs, she cooks the most yummy meals, she will laugh at silly things with you, and she will have a calm wisdom for you when you don’t know if things will be okay. You will be so proud to share some of her genes, and I can’t wait to see how your little face bears an adorable resemblance to hers.

Your Mama, not me, is the one who is carrying you in her tummy right now. But my child, I am carrying you just as gently in my heart until we get to hold you in our arms. We just can’t wait to hold you, dance with you, stay up nights with you, pray for you, wipe the tears away and laugh alongside you.

My precious little bean, you should know that some people have their own opinion about the love your two mommies share. But my sweetheart, the world is sometimes scared of things that are different. I believe that the God who is knitting you together in Mama’s womb right now, is the same God who holds us together, and has blessed the life we have led together so far. We have made mistakes, but we have tried to love, and love well – and we believe that is the most important thing. The love we share is so ready and waiting for you. And through the years of loving each other, maybe we can all show the world that love is love, and family is family, no matter what it looks like.

Maybe you won’t remember, but I have been dancing with you already. I put my hand on Mama’s belly and then I may or may not listen to the latest Justin Bieber song and dance. I am sure one day you will put music on that I don’t understand, but I promise to dance with you anyway.

I pray that you will know what true compassion is, that you would see someone and not question whether or not to help. I hope that you will lead the sort of life who idolizes the Malalas, and not the Kardashians. I hope that you awake each day with a sense of hope and wonder, and embrace beauty in all things. I pray that we can share with you how love can heal, how forgiveness is powerful, how grace should always be the goal, and how to live a life that puts love first.

I know the label Christian is a scary one sometimes, but believe it or not, your Mommies still hold onto that label. Yes, we have been hurt and misunderstood by a lot of people who bear that label, but please keep in mind my little bean, that where the Kim Davis’ of the world exist, there are also the Mother Teresa’s. We have been hurt my little one, but we have also been loved so very well. We can’t wait to share with you why our faith is so important to us, and to see where your journey of life and discovery takes you.

We are trying to be patient these last few months… but we just can’t wait to meet you, Baby Chomiak.

Until then, my little one, keep growing strong.

 

6 week ultrasound:

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8 week ultrasound:

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13 week ultrasound: [Oct 2015, already sucking his/her thumb]

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I’m gonna be a Mom. :D

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We announced our big news on the social medias today, and I did this little illustration for the occasion.

Our hearts are dancing, and we breathe in these moments of joy after a long journey.ย  ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

 

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Just Because He Breathed – the animation.

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Rob and Linda Robertson have an unbelievable story that has moved countless people. Tams and I first heard about their story a few months ago through social media and the article Linda had written for Huffington Post that went viral, entitled “Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son.”

We didn’t realize they lived a couple hours south of us, and that we had a mutual friend as well. Their story moved us so much, we connected with them via Facebook, and then as fate would have it, managed to have the pleasure of meeting Linda for lunch in October of this year. Having my own struggles with my parents accepting my sexuality, I was just so amazed to hear the grace and love that poured from Linda that day. Even her enthusiasm, to our wedding day, wanting to know more, what a gift that was. We knew we had met a lifelong friend.

Not long after that, we heard that Rob & Linda were asked to be keynote speakers at this year’s Gay Christian Network [GCN] Conference in Chicago.

We had been planning to attend this year for our third conference in a row, and were ecstatic that Rob & Linda would get to share their story with the beautiful community of GCN.

A couple weeks before Christmas, Linda called me and wanted my opinion on an idea for the opening of their keynote speech. She had seen some of my sketches on Facebook – most likely from the Movember batch I was working on – and wondered if I would be up for helping. I did not hesitate, as I would willingly do anything to help this amazing family!

I had a 2 week break coming up from the studio over Christmas, but I had already scheduled a couple projects to work on for that time. I managed to push things around and put aside a solid 4 days to devote to this project.

Working with Linda who wrote the script, their friend [and now mine!] Trenton Waterson who acted as Producer and managed all the details, and his contact Jesse Springer who could do the voiceover work – we managed to pull together this little short film that summarizes their journey with their son Ryan. While I wish I would have had a month or two to work on this and not 4 days, I am so thankful I was able to help out!

Watch and share – this story of true love, hope and redemption is for everyone.

Just Because He Breathed. from theCollaborate on Vimeo.

Christmas Commissions

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This year I was able to do a few commissions for people as Christmas gifts [see previous post]…. this is something I as an artist take super seriously, and just love the opportunity to create these special gifts for people!

The first one was for a friend from the studio. She was flying home to the East coast for Christmas, and wanted to give her mom a “cartoon” portrait of her, her brother and her parents. They were a very fun bunch to draw, and apparently when her mom opened it, she said “Oh my soul!”. That makes me SO happy.

Brush pen and Prismacolor pencil crayons on Moleskin sketchbook.

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The second one was super special. A friend had lost her dad a few months ago to cancer, and her daughter had really fond memories of him carrying her on his shoulders. So for Christmas she wanted Santa to give her daughter a drawing of her and “Papa” together. I ended up doing two versions of the drawing, which I almost never do. The first one I did was a bit more cartoony, and the second one was a bit more realistic. I felt like it was such a huge honor to capture this moment, I just wanted to make sure I got it right. ๐Ÿ™‚

Brush pen on Moleskin sketchbook. This is the first version – the second is the one her daughter is staring at in the frame.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

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A Mo’- Success!

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This was the first year I decided to jump into the Movember ring and try to raise some money for men’s cancer. Tams and I have men in our life who have been affected by this… and let’s face it, we all know or love someone who has been touched by this. Let’s do what we can to support one another! Some amazing people donated, and we managed to raise almost $400 throughout my month of sketching! It was definitely an exercise in major time-management, but I was so thankful for the opportunity to stretch myself and try some different styles.

My beautiful wife made a contribution, and asked me to draw Santa for Day 30 – so below is a digital painting of what we came up with. We had also just watched the Christmas classic “One Magic Christmas” – so the ending scene had some influence on it as well.

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Below is the month in sketches! Thanks again everyone!

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