We met 17 years ago while working on an artistic project, and two years later we held our commitment ceremony on the beach with family and friends. In 2008 we were excited to legally marry, with our daughter as flower girl & her birth grandmother as one of our witnesses. Our relationship is built on love, creativity, mutual growth & lots of laughter.
Fifteen years ago we began a wedding resource for the LGBT community, and it has grown into a dream come true! We love what we do every day, have the opportunity to travel as a family, and most of all, our schedules are very flexible. That’s very important to us so that we can take turns working half days & one of us will always be home full-time with our next child & big-sister Kestin.
As a family we spend lots of time outdoors on our homestead by the river, playing with our pets & having cookouts with friends. Cindy enjoys organic gardening; she can’t wait to teach our child about watching seeds sprout & crawling under green bean teepees in the summertime. Marianne loves animals, so our homestead is always busy with the fun, lively energy that a barn full of pets can bring. We have a family of wonderful chickens, ducks, cats & house rabbits too.
We also love spending time playing board games together, like Crazy 8's and Catan, playing basketball or tennis, going swimming, watching movies and cooking and baking. Kestin is always eager to help taste those first cookies when they're warm from the oven! Being creative is important to us too, since Cindy is a photographer and Marianne is a writer - we're often found sketching or photographing the river, or taking hikes to discover new views together.
Traveling is another of our favorite pasttimes, and we can’t wait to take our little one for his or her first vacation to the beach or to our favorite spots like Philadelphia, Boston or Washington DC, to soak in the history & visit the many children’s museums as a family. Kestin adores history and exploring new places, so she can't wait to show her brother or sister some of her favorite spots like the Lincoln Memorial, the Liberty Bell and playing putt putt golf at Panama City Beach!
It Takes a Village...
During our adoption of Kestin in 2006, our circle of family and friends joined wholeheartedly in the joy of bringing her into our lives. Now, they are all looking forward to welcoming our new child, and celebrating the growth of our family. Friends are ready to lend a hand when he or she first arrives. Grandparents are ready to do some spoiling & watch our child grow throughout the years. Kestin is eager to teach her sister or brother how to play peek-a-boo, collect fresh eggs from the barn, and swim at the family lakehouse. As parents, we truly can’t wait to share our home and our circle of love, support & wonder in nurturing another child!
We live in a beautiful part of the country, in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. Our home is a modern cabin in the woods, and we love the privacy & closeness to nature that we get to enjoy each day.
Summers are mild & winters bring snow, and our home is tucked on four acres in a little valley on a private road. There’s no traffic where we live; instead we’re delighted to frequently see heron, squirrels, otter, turtles and dragonflies darting over the river on our property. We have warm, thoughtful neighbors and live just fifteen minutes from downtown Asheville, where we’re involved with the local Unitarian Universalist Church.
Especially since Kestin was born, we have gotten to know many other local families with children & have play dates often at our house. Our big yard is perfect for kickball games, and Kestin & her friends love our swings, climbing trees and scooting along on our kid-friendly zip line. The pond and river on our property are perfect for tadpole-catching, tubing and rock-hunting - we have so much fun looking for Indian artifacts & simply soaking in the natural beauty all around us.
We have an organic garden, blueberry and wineberry bushes & a yummy hazelnut bush as well! It is a special experience to pick fresh herbs, corn and tomatoes from the garden, gather fresh eggs from the barn & fix ourselves a meal.
Our home itself is filled with lots of natural light from the big windows overlooking the riverbank, a refrigerator dotted with masterpieces and school papers, a variety of toys and art & science kits, a piano, family photos and quite a few stacks and shelves full of favorite books. Marianne enjoys setting up Montessori-style learning activities for Kestin that are unique and interactive. When Kestin was a toddler, her desk and "work" area was her favorite place in the house! Marianne can't wait to enjoy exploring early learning activities with our second child - this is such an amazing part of parenting!
The schools in our area are some of the most innovative in the state, and many families have moved to western North Carolina from other parts of the world. We welcome diversity and feel it offers an important foundation for our children. Volunteering at Kestin's school is very important to us and we like to be as involved as we can be, in supporting Kestin as well as our community. We have several friends who have also adopted & feel very strongly that it is a wonderful, loving way to create families.
“Marianne is a wonderful mom: she is loving, insightful, artistic and brings so many rich experiences to Kestin's life everyday. Marianne was a teacher for 8 years & I’ve seen just how mindful she is with children, and how calm and gentle she is when handling bumps & bruises too.
She is also the most creative person I know and I love that about her! She writes stories & makes up fun games with Kestin & her friends - imaginations run wild at our house! She makes sure Kestin is surrounded by opportunities to explore her own creativity - whether it's art, music, science, friendship, scavenger hunts or simply daydreaming in the hammock out in our yard. I can't wait to see how she will inspire & support our second child in all his or her own unique explorations :)
Marianne has always had a Dr. Doolittle way with animals and sometimes we have injured birds or rabbits in our care until they’re safely mended. It makes for a home filled with lots of tenderness & a little bit of magic too.
As for our relationship as a couple, I feel so lucky to have found Marianne - together we have built a life together that has been amazing! We created our own company fifteen years ago, helping LGBT couples all across the country plan their weddings, and it's been a gift to work everyday on behalf of Love & Equality. It's been very
fulfilling, and added an incredible dimension to our own marriage.
Marianne and I complement each other well, and we truly have a lot of fun together. We enjoy hanging out in our small hometown of Asheville, where there are so many friendly people and lots of different things to do. We like laughing together, having dinner with friends, checking out the new restaurants and art galleries in town, watching movies, talking about current events and coming up with new ideas.
We also adore being parents! It's our favorite thing to do - spending time with Kestin and simply doing things together as a family. We have so much love to share, and can't wait to bring a new child into our lives and our hearts!” -written by Cindy
“Cindy has such a big heart & she brings laughter to every new day. She's the type of person who makes others laugh, and helps keep conversations lively & authentic. She is a very family-oriented person, and I'd say her favorite part of each day is simply spending time with her family & friends.
When Kestin was about three, she dubbed Cindy "mamma" (and me "mommy") and that's stuck ever since! Cindy is such a loving parent - she dotes on Kestin, gets silly with her, and makes her feel special in so many different ways. Truly, she's the kind of mamma a child feels lucky to have.
Cindy also enjoys keeping in touch with our extended family, including quality time with her mother, stepdad, brother & nieces. When possible, she takes her mother traveling with her, and she loves organizing family vacations at the lakehouse or the beach.
Hobbies that interest her are reading, current events, photography, history and organic gardening. She also really enjoys sports, and having played a lot of basketball in school, she's often outside playing ball with Kestin, or teaching her new strategies about the game they both love. One of her favorite Asheville things-to-do is to head to our local college basketball games in winter, or the Asheville Tourists baseball games in the springtime. Great times with our community!
Cindy & I met over 15 years ago, and I fell in love with her smile, her hopefulness & love of life, her creativity and kindness, and her sense of integrity. I can always count on her to be there for me as well as for Kestin and our extended family too. She's an "all-in" type of person and I love that about her and about our relationship.
When we married, we wrote our own vows and they included phrases like, "I promise to support you on your path and to hold your happiness sacred..." That is the kind of relationship Cindy and I have co-created together, and I feel very grateful that she is my wife. She takes time to surprise me with flowers, to tell me everyday she loves me, and to hug us all often.
Growing our family together with the addition of another child feels so natural and so beautiful! I can’t wait to see her taking those first sweet portraits, kissing those
little toes and encouraging his or her little smiles.” -written by Marianne