Friday, 2 July 2010

Parenting, update!

Well ok, there's nothing NEW new on this front, but I was just reading back through my last post and wanted to update a bit on how things are going.

Ray is doing pretty well with the new, gentler me. Shocking, right? It's been a paradigm shift, from the mainstream view that children need to Obey, and Behave. Children are not meant to do any such thing. Some children are naturally agreeable and will listen more often than others, but I'd guess that the majority are not that way. Certainly, not Ray. And I'm becoming ok with that. I'm letting go of the fear of what other people must think of me because he runs around like a wild person. This is the only time in his life when society will let him be this free, and he will get to enjoy it.

Of course, there are boundaries. Hitting (especially his brother) or pushing is not ok. But even then, I simply sternly ask him not to, and remind him that he can still just move away from Dori if he is being bothered. Also, reminders that Dori is not trying to hurt him with the grabbing pinching and pulling. I also request that he apologize, but we're not real firm on this one yet. Sometimes he will, sometimes he won't. I will still put him "on the wall" (timeout, basically) for certain things, but not for tantrums, and I stay with him. It's never long, and then I let him up. Often without doing what I asked him because I just don't want to make a huge fight/power struggle out of something minor. Tantrums are met with conversation and comfort.

Dori of course is not yet on this scale anywhere. I know there's really no teaching behaviorally at this age, aside from giving him love and cuddles and kisses whenever possible.

So yeah, things are improving. Of course I forgot to bring my book that I was reading. Not that I'm getting much time to read anyhow. This visit has been enjoyable, but stressful. The stress-issues that it solved have been exchanged for other issues, like more sleep problems (teeth teeth and more teeth. 6 have come in since we got his tongue clipped back in mid-May) and lack of baby-proofing in a house full of adults. (Well it's partially baby-proofed, but we're hitting that age with Dori where he's learning to get into new things every day so it's impossible to stay ahead of him without emptying all rooms of everything!) I'm having fun but I'm starting to long for home.

Will post more later, I really want to get back into blogging! About more than just babies, too. :) Hopefully in the coming months there will be a revelation of sorts, and then I can share alot more on here. I know, MYSTERYYYYYYY. O_O!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Tattoo ideas

I've been wanting a tattoo, well, for as long as I can remember. But naturally, I'm picky! I want it to be something I LOVE and will hopefully never regret. I want to remember the ideas I have, so I figured I'd just post about it. Also, if anyone reading this is particularly artistic and wants to try their hand at drawing up an idea, please feel free to share. :D I am utterly incapable of drawing lol.

The big one I want when I get back to SD (already pretty sure of my artist) is a small dragon, in the styl eof fire lizards from the Pern series. (Anne McCaffrey) I want him tealy blue, climbing/hanging onto my shoulder, wings slightly spread for balance. Reference pic, smooth out some of the muscley-ness on the arms.

A zodiac tattoo. Found some ambigrams today of just the word cancer that looked pretty sweet. Combine with two simple crabs on the beach with a sunset, perhaps. One blue, one dark red (for Shanna pance). Placement? Forearm/leg maybe.

The Litany Against Fear, Dune series. Maybe paraphrased/shortened slightly. Placement?

Something commemorating the boys. Waiting till we're done having more. Was going to do something with their zodiac symbols but how to incorporate a lion and a set of scales? Lol. Go me, having a kid that's the only non-animal sign. So maybe just the symbol, symbols. Or something else entirely. Give it a few more years. (Hoping Anthony will help design this one!)

More dragons. Little simple ones, maybe of dragons from different cultures. Also like the medieval english lion thingy. Heh. Also, I love lionesses. That would be fun.

Something birthy. A phrase? A picture? I dunno.

Will probably add to this as I think of stuff.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Patient being pushy!

Today I advocated for my boy. I took him in for his ENT consult. After poking around a moment in his mouth the doctor said his tongue tie was pretty mild, and he didn't think it should be causing much issue. I explained some of our issues (with a little prod from Shanna to get me going), and he didn't seem convinced. He was a bit dismissive, "well, some babies are just difficult" and I'm thinking well, mine is not. He's an easy, sweet, happy baby, that just wants to find comfort in the breast again. And right now, it's not comforting at all. It's frustrating and likely uncomfortable. He has difficulty eating solid foods, although he shows every indication of interest and really enjoys them.

After a bit of back and forth of "well but there's this problem I'm worried about" countered repeatedly with "well but it doesn't seem that severe I don't know if it would help..." I finally just told him flat out that I wanted it clipped. I feel that I've ruled out all other possibilities, and I'm not just being a whiny mom and complaining about two feedings a night. My older son is over two and I've known he's had a tongue tie for the majority of his life, and never clipped it because it has never caused problems. At night I pray and beg and plead with the universe after every waking for just ONE hour. Please, please, just one hour. And as we progressively worsen, I don't even get that. Day or night. That's not healthy for him either. Babies NEED sleep. Good, solid sleep. Not fitful, restless, anxious sleep. Now even when I sleep I dream that he's waking, or that Ray is waking. I honestly don't know how I'm still sane, or still motivated to do anything around here aside from lay around moaning for sleep. I LOVE sleep. It is high on my list of enjoyable leisure activities. LOVE it.

In other Dori news, as of today he is successfully getting his knees up under him. Honest to goodness crawling is in sight. Also, I've not tried sitting him up much in the last few days, and today he was just fantastic at it. His balance took a sudden leap for the better and he was really enjoying being up.

About it for now. I need sleep!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Oh, you.

A Baby Story (on TLC) has been doing a week of new episodes featuring home births. I am loving it! The births have been beautiful, and a nice little walk down memory lane for me.

Poor Baby Story though, cracked me up a bit. I think they really were thinking they'd end up getting some awesome dramatic footage with lots of craziness when they started in on this idea. They still tried to inject a little drama where there was none, (ominous voiceovers on previews, "...but will they get MORE than they bargained for?!"), but for the most part it seemed fairly innocuous. The births have been lovely, slow, and uncomplicated. The parents have been normal, relaxed, and down to earth. Every single episode I've seen (three of the four, I still have todays left to watch which I believe is the only one featuring a first time mother) highlighted how the couple had a first birth in the hospital that did not go as hoped, and after much research decided on home birth for their second child. The midwives were lovely and knowledgable, not pushy, and treated the women with respect.

We got to hear lots of birth noise, although the last episode I watched (waterbirth in Chicago) they did music over some of her pushing noises. But it's a start. And pushing noises can sound pretty intense to the uninitiated (as my husband and son can tell you!) so I can forgive that. It's a nice little step in normalizing birth, and I'm happy that TLC has treated it so respectfully without fear-mongering of any sort.

Darnit now I want to give birth again. But I really don't want a baby again. LOL. Man I really need to get my doula groove on here soon. I've still never been to a birth other than my own two! Well, whenever I am able to find the childcare and such, I know there will still be women having babies. :)

Small bit of news on the homefront, after a total meltdown day I got my butt in gear and found an ENT with more availability and switched Dori's referral (Shanna totally gets all the credit for this, I was content to moan about in self-pity all day) so we should be seen by the end of next week. THANK GOD. There IS light at the end of this tunnel, and I really want to have this all sorted before we head to SC so I can just enjoy my visit. I am so darned happy, you have no idea. Dori has been trying to cheer me up all day, wanting cuddles so he can get all in my face and be indescribably adorable. My little sweety patoots.
I mean, how can you whinge about with this three inches from your face coating you with drool?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Parenting? I'm working on it.

I found out some good news today, and it reassured me in many ways. It seems a known problem caused by tongue tie is sleep depravation for the baby and their primary caregiver. Those of you that follow me on Facebook know that Dori has struggled with sleep since birth, and especially in the last month and a half, where he has been waking, almost without fail, hourly, night after night. For a while I thought it was comfort nursing. Anthony deployed a month ago, followed by the three of us getting the flu pretty severely, and no sooner was that over then Dori learned to crawl. I exhaustedly put off sleep training, hoping that once things settled things would get better.

And they didn't. Nightly he changed things up, between falling asleep easily at the breast, to wanting to be bounced/held to sleep, to allowing me to pat his back to sleep. I tentatively tried letting him cry, but thankfully gave up on that one quickly. He's a chronic face-scratcher and if left to his own devices would give himself bloody cuts no matter how I manicured his nails. Swaddling averted that, but then he would get hot and super sweaty...overall, there was just no safe way to do it. I strongly suspected he might be nursing for comfort, in which case letting him cry would be completely counter-intuitive. He just wants a snuggle and reassurance.

I am so glad I stuck with my gut on this one, in light of what I've learned. I've concluded that he's probably just hungry. He's eating enough to grow a little and stay healthy, but I think it's still alot of tough work for him, and he doesn't have the mouth muscle to nurse long enough to get a good dose of hind milk. I think he's essentially drinking enough to satisfy himself, and only gaining weight because he gets that one hour cat nap, then has the strength to nurse a little more and continues thus. This is the problem my little brother had as a tongue tied baby, although in his case it was far more severe, he was so tiny after four months and really struggling.

I've been re-evaluating my parenting skills with Ray as well. My patience with him was wearing oh so thin, and he was really exacerbating the problem by being very obstinate, constantly running away from me (usually out into the street/parking lot) when in stores, and in general just being ornery. My techniques with this were not only unsuccessful, they really disturbed me. I noticed when we first got married and got a puppy that I have a bit of a violent streak, and I'm still not sure where it came from, but coupled with my temper...I am so ashamed of the ways I yelled at and spanked that dog (one quick swat, but a smart one), and that I ended up treating my sweet, sweet boy the same way. Every time I would just hate myself and feel so guilty, and swear it would never happen again, and then he would do something and I'd find myself doing it all over again.

So I've really been digging in and examining why I do what I do, and how I can be better. I discovered that what was so enraging to me, was his lack of acknowledgment of my emotions (anger, generally) and that he wasn't equally distressed by the situation. I wanted to yell and scream until he reacted. When he would just go against my wishes without a hint of emotion, without even giving me any visible attitude, it drove me insane. I've begun reading a book called For Your Own Good, and it's a tough read. Tough in that good way, that makes you think, makes you feel. I am not even far enough in to have received any advice on what I should be doing, rather than what I should not (indeed, I'm not even sure the book offers any), but already I am seeing vast changes in myself and my interactions with Ray (and thusly, his interactions with me), and I hope those continue.

For example today, as we got in the car. (This being after I had to cajole and coax and wrestle him a bit to get him dressed.) I put Dori in, and Ray wandered about our yard and near the neighbors yard. He didn't go into the street, which is a plus, though he did pointedly walk along the very edge of the gutter. I called to him that it was time to go, and naturally, he giggled and took off. Before, I would have run after him, yelling, demanding he come back. I would catch him, and roughly sweep him into my arms, scolding him all the way to the car. Depending on if he struggled, I might sit him roughly in his seat and continue talking to him about how he MUST listen to me, as I strapped him in. (God I am so ashamed.)

Today, I just stood by the car. I reminded him that we needed to go, and calmly asked him to come get in the car. He continued running around, and I informed him that I wasn't going to chase him, because it wasn't a game. After a minute or so of him playing by himself while I waited, he shouted "coming!" and ran right to me. Once in the seat he started to struggle, diving to one side to make it impossible for me to buckle him. I found a toy car, and showed it to him. He wanted it immediately, and I held it out of his reach, saying that once he was buckled he could have it. He made a few more futile lunges for it, then settled into his seat and allowed me to buckle him. I gave him the car.

Just in reading bits of this book, and taking the time to understand a little better how my treatment really does affect him, and makes him feel, has done wonders for my patience. Things that before would have me hollering and beyond frustrated, don't phase me. I calmly assess the situation, and act as gently as possible while still getting the same point across, without bullying him and scaring him. I am working on accepting him as he is, strong will and all. I hit a point in Dori's pregnancy when I realized I had not fully allowed myself to love this new baby. That I was afraid I might not like him. And I realized it was silly to worry about, that in a family, you don't LIKE each other all the time. You don't get along hunkey dorey every moment of the day, but you still love each other. I resolved then to love Dori no matter what, and our bond blossomed in that moment. For the first time I really felt connected to that little man.

I am re-finding that connection with Ray. I am going back to the basics, and loving him as is, and spending less time trying to mold him into something he's not. So if you see a little boy with wild blonde hair, running through a store happily shrieking, do not think less of his mama for not howling after him, scolding him up one side and down the other for not listening. I'm just working on working WITH him, on his terms, in ways that are gentle to his vulnerable little self.

(Again, I highly highly recommend this book to everyone with a pulse, current parent of small children, adult children, or having ever been a child themselves.)

(Edit: This is not a judgement on anyones parenting techniques, what works for one will not work for another. It just became clear to me that what I was doing was not working at all, and could be hurting as well, and needed a change.)

Friday, 16 April 2010

For the sake of some clarity

I guess there has been concern over my addition to . I've received some worry and honestly, it annoys me. (Anthony, Shanna, you're off the hook as we already talked a bit and I get where you're coming from and I think you understand what's going on.) I am not in some deep dark place of woe over Ray's birth. And if I was? It's not anyones place to dig me out. Unless of course it's really affecting my quality of life or ability to cope with life. Which it isn't.

It made me feel guilty for posting on the site. It made me feel like I shouldn't feel what I do. And honestly? It was a writing assignment. It's like, four paragraphs. There is no way I can sum up the width and breadth of my feelings on this matter in those many words! I don't think there are enough words in the universe. I took a picture of my scar, sat down and looked at it while considering the questions posed by the site, and the words poured out. It was energizing and a bit cathartic, I had not even realized some of these things were still hiding in there until they came pouring out through my fingertips and my tears.

I think I've felt unconsciously pressured, since my VBAC, to be All Better. But a VBAC is not a bandaid or a magical cure all. Were some things healed? Sure. Some questions were answered. I will admit with a bit of a red face that part of my rush for another child was to get it "right". (There were many other reasons of course, Dori has always been desired on his own merits, and we have always wanted kids somewhat close in age.) But along the way I conquered alot of my demons, learned more about Ray's birth, and in some ways, put it behind me. By the time Dori's birth was imminent, it was about HIS birth, and there was not a thought of somehow fixing Ray's birth, only not repeating the same mistakes, and overall achieving a happier, healthier birth for us all. The VBAC was a great birth, but it was really the pregnancy itself that pushed me to process, to grow, to confront my fears and examine my feelings in real depth.

Since I've been reading, I've been doing alot of thinking. Alot of the other stories have elements of truth for me. It's a many-faceted experience in my minds eye. There you can find women who are triumphant, who have wrung positivity out of negativity, still feel the anguish and relish in the joy of their children. I read them and go "No wait, I feel that too!". And what I wrote, is not true all the time. But it is Truth, if that makes sense. I realized after writing it that it's not entirely factual at this time (I lift my flab and poke at my scar almost every time I go to the bathroom now, but only a year ago I NEVER touched it willingly. My midwives urged me to massage it with oil or lotion and I fearfully heeded their advice) but it once was. These were the words that wanted to be written. They do not speak of the rage, the disappointment, the guilt, the sorrow, the shame, the passion and the purpose in their entirety.

I am not just masochistically digging up difficult feelings. They find me and give me opportunities to heal, mend, and mourn. I try to keep my finger close to the throbbing pulse of the birth-blogging world, and when something jumps out at me that I can lend my voice to, I do so.

I am healed, I am healing, I am changing, I am re-discovering, I am mourning, I am rejoicing, I am determined, I am helpless. There is so much to be done to mend birth in our country, and I will not stop shouting about the good, the bad, and the scarred as long as I live. :)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Contrast and Compare

Rixa posted about contrasting labor/birth pictures, and I thought I would add my own in as they are very very different! Most notably, she linked to a few posts contrasting the difference in the mothers, after a traumatic birth, versus a victorious birth. Here we go!

Laboring with Ray. I want to say this is on pitocin, but before they broke my water. Things are unpleasant, but not killer at this point. Still? Not pleased being induced, and this is already the second day in. Note the distance between us. (Later on I got closer and clutched onto him, but for most of it it was more like this.)

In the pool with Dori, only a few short hours into active labor, and they have all my attention. But in between, I laughed and chatted and had fun.
This is the first time I held Ray, nearly an hour after his birth. He had been bathed, his eyes filled with goop, and wrapped head to toe. Even though we were both healthy with no complications, we were kept apart for that first hour while I shivered and tried to wiggle my toes and chatted with the less than interested corpsman who was hanging around to make sure I didn't die.
The first time I held Dori, before anyone else. Covered in our birth goo, he didn't get a bath for at least a week! He smelled so amazing. My eyes are closed thanks to me blinking from the flash, but I'm pretty sure that's a bit of a smile. :)

I look tired and stunned. Ray is miles from my face.

Honestly, there is no pic in the immediate postpartum with me looking away from him. I know that I glanced away to see Anthony, and Ray, when they met him, but that was it.

Sleeping, a few hours later. Maybe even the next day. The nurses had found him sleeping on me (supported by the boppy) and me dozing as well and apparently that just would not do.

The only place Dori would settle down to sleep.

Obviously I don't love one boy more than the other. But there is no mistaking how the difference in birth affected our first days together and my feelings about myself. When Ray first came out and gave his first cry, it was ear piercing. Heart wrenching. He just kept shrieking and shrieking, the OB and OR techs could barely speak and be heard over him. In the months that followed, with shots, hunger, gas, colds, circumcision (sadly), he NEVER again cried that way. NEVER.

Dori gave a few quiet little squawks and just started looking around. People say I was brave to do it at home, but I can't fathom being in the hospital and enduring that again. If there was no other way, because of health issues for me or the baby, then I would. But when we're both healthy? HELL. NO. I have experienced birth when it is just that, birth. Without a big fuss and to do, without urgency and drama and poking and prodding and fiddling and adjusting and MANAGING. Birth is not perfect, and inherently there is a level of danger. But there is danger everywhere in life, and babies and mommies can die in the hospital too. It is NEVER a sure thing. There are more studies out all the time reiterating what we have found to be true, that in a low-risk, normal birth, being home is at least as safe as the hospital, and in some cases, safer.

It can still be challenging, difficult and overwhelming, without being traumatic. In the hospital, I was actually treated pretty well. There were only one or two nurses I had any issue with, and they were more annoying than anything else. No one mistreated me. It was a normal, average, common hospital birth. And that, to me, is terrifying, because it was long, excruciating, discouraging, harrowing, and yes, traumatic. (No, I thankfully do not have ptsd, but there are many moms that do) While I loved my baby, and bonded well with him, there was a disconnect. My mind and my body had trouble registering that 1. I was no longer pregnant and 2. This was the same baby that had been inside me nearly 10 months. I gotta say, I never felt that way with Dori. To this day, I have trouble connecting Ray Outside with Ray Inside. With Dori, it was not even a first meeting, it was oh, nice to see you today! This was DEFINITELY the same baby I had been lugging around all summer!

So anyway, I ramble. It's been a while since I posted about this stuff. It's still simmering and cooking in the back of my mind. It's not all consuming, not even really distressing, just something I'm still processing and understanding, drawing strength and self-knowledge from.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Ok, I don't even know where to start. There has just been soooooo much going on. Oy.

First off, ICAN night. It was fantastic. Finally met an online friend and I think we hit it off pretty well. Really looking forward to hanging with her again once Anthony has departed.

Which leads me to, we're on our two weeks and counting. Or a little less. AHHHH. I don't want him to go. We're doing a lot lot LOOOOOOTTTTT better than we were just a few months ago. Things were really strained and not fun and so much resentment and just YUCK. So happy that we're on a better page. I won't say we're at our best, but we're working towards it. And not a moment too soon, as he's about to leave for half a year.

Boo on that, by the way. Breaks my heart that Dori will be just about to his first birthday when he comes home. (Pray he's at least here for that, this year is 3/3 of Ray's that he's missed)

I will save Ray and Dori post for tomorrow or something.

It's just been a flurry around here as we are late in getting our tax refund (long story) and the heap of things that need doing that come with that, and Anthony preparing to leave and just so much stuff. Big news in the VBAC world this week (and a big month in the birth world in general) with the NIH conference. My head is still swimming. I really need to download the conference and listen for myself. I've been fairly quiet on that front of late, on my VBAC support boards on babycenter. Kind of burned out and overwhelmed, wanting to do more but not really able to at the moment. I know that the one by one advice/support/encouragement does help, I really do. It's just so daunting seeing almost identical posts just file in one after the next after the next. Hopefully in a few months when things have settled I'll have a little more energy to give to these lovely ladies, for now my home life is in need of the majority of it.

I was so going to write more but it's been a busy wonderful energizing but tiring evening, and sleep last night was utter and complete shit. Need sleep. BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIINNNNSSS. (Also, I have to drag my husband to bed --to sleep--, kicking and screaming if I must, after he stayed up till SIX AM playing final fantasy last night. NOT OK! At least, not when he's promised to get up early and finally, fucking finally, finish this paperwork fiasco and get Dori all into the navy system where he should be.)

More soon, I promise! I miss blogging so very much. <3

Sunday, 31 January 2010

We are here we are here we are here!

I've not forgotten this blog just yet! I'd say I've been too busy to write, but with the exception of today that's really not true. Again, I've fallen into the rut of "I should write about this..." and I just haven't.

Still waiting on Dori to be a full person on paper. We have his birth cert, and are currently waiting on his SSC so that we can enter him in DEERS, and thusly TRICARE! My god, what a wonderful day that will be. Hopefully having to go through all this (and having to do all the "cleanup" himself) will help motivate Anthony to be a little more proactive on the paperwork. Hey, girl can dream!

In spite of it all, Dori is still growing. Probably a little less chunky than he would be without the tie, but he's by no means in any danger. :) Things are becoming a tad on the painful side for me, but I think part of that is him moving more fully into teething. He likes to take the random chomp on my nipple. Owwwooooooooo. Not nice!

He is, overall, a really sweet and happy guy. He loooooves attention, but he rewards it so nicely, with happy coos and gurgles, grins and raspberries. Drool is everywhere. I go through 2-3 shirts a day that are just ring-em-out SOAKED, and he goes through more. How babies at this age are not perma-dehydrated is beyond me. I love it though. He is quite the mover and shaker. In quite the rush to be following brother around, this kiddo is not content to just lie around doing nothing. He still wiggles all over on his back, but he's recently added back to tummy rolling (and occasionally tummy to back) to his reportoire. Even more recently, he's enjoying tummy time more. He's reaching for toys, and when he gets them (or, even better, a burp rag) he clutches them to his mouth with both hands, like a little chipmunk, and just starts slathering them in drool and chomping away.

Ray is still only half interested. He's helped with a couple diapers now, and will sometimes show Dori a toy to entertain him, but mostly he just pays enough attention to him not to step on him and that's it. (Honestly, that's enough for me right now lol) He will talk to him though, and lord knows Dori LOVES watching big brother. Grins big whenever he comes near. Ray is going to have a shadow before he knows it!

He (Ray) is still growing his vocabulary by leaps and bounds. Sentences become more intelligible by the day and come each evening he's always tried out 4-5 new words.

I'm discovering the joys of domesticity. Well, more specifically, doing things with my hands that yield lasting results. (Dishes = not fulfilling, sewing something I can use daily = highly fulfilling and FUN) Really enjoying what little sewing I'm able to do. Bought a few things today I've been in need of, and soon I'll be setting to work turning the remainder of an old sweater into 1-2 more diaper covers. (I already made wool longies with the sleeves and they are fantastic) I've also discovered a site with some nifty free diaper patterns to use with scrap cloth around the house (which we have tons of, between worn out bed sheets and Anthony's ridiculous number of black t-shirts). SO excited to get started on that but trying to hold off until I get my rotary cutter in the mail next week. I also turned a receiving blanket into 20 wipes, took about 2 hrs and again, very easy. Latest project (and quickest) was a pair of knee socks into arm warmers, the kind that come to the palm and have a hole for the thumb. I actually did those by hand, though they admittedly required almost no sewing at all.

I'm not sure what the inspiration has been, but I've just been so enjoying the thrifty stuff. I'm yearning for a garden. I should really plant some things in pots when spring gets closer (well I could probably do it now, not like we'll get a freeze here). I'm wanting chickens to have fresh eggs, of all things. And you all know how much I LOVE 1. birds and 2. pets in general. Of course the latter is merely a pipe dream for now, I wouldn't even want chickens in a yard this small. Ideally one day we'd have a little spot of land (say, an acre or two would be more than sufficient) so that we wouldn't have them quite so near the house. Plus by that time the boys will be older and we can make a big homeschooling to do over it all. :)

I think that's it. I'm craving nature. And basics. And things that I did growing up. This neighborhood, this whole area, is just stifling with civilization. I want space. I want trees that weren't planted by human hands to "green up" the place. I want bushes and plants that aren't landscaped. Places I can take the boys where they will actually have a chance at seeing wildlife. Space to run! We're in a cul-de-sac but the whole street is so packed with cars and people come flying in here...I'm free-range but it scares even me. I hate that the only place to take Ray and let him run (nearby) are carefully manicured parks and playgrounds.

Reminds me, I really need to take a trip over to our nearest real park. (Like, with hiking/biking trails) Soon. My soul needs nature. I think maybe that's why I've been craving "weather" too. It's just so pasteurized here, and then on top of it even the weather is insufferably predictable.

In short, California, or at least this part of it, is not for me. Not long term.

Still going to ICAN, and loving it. It feeds my soul, directly, talking with like-minded women about my passion. It's honestly stunning how satisfying it is. I recommend a meeting or two to EVERY woman that gets anywhere near birth, whether it's through her profession or because she's expecting. Whether she's had a c-section or not. Go with your ears and heart open, even if you don't say anything. You won't regret it. (Of course, it's entirely possible that the San Diego ICAN is just the best thing ever. Hehehe)

Work continues for Anthony. Same bullshit different year, week, day, hour. Trying to keep our heads up, that thankfully it won't last forever. Before we know it this ship will be in the past and we'll be on to something new, hopefully better. For now, it's tough. We see him so little, just a few hours a few nights a week, and if we're lucky, one day on the weekend. If we're REALLY lucky, both days. Made all the more difficult because we get so little time, and too soon he'll be in Bahrain again. Until October. 3rd Ray birthday that he'll miss, hoping it'll be the last. He may be home for Dori's first, we shall see. It blows my mind that he'll come back to a one year old. And breaks my heart. But I try not to bring it up, because I know it must be so, so hard for him. I start missing my babies if they take an extra long nap. I can't imagine having to leave for even a week, much less 7 months. :( I know they'll survive, and they'll still have a great relationship with him. My mom was gone so much when I was Ray's age, and look at us now? Still jabbering on the phone for hours every few days. Close as could be. But still, it hurts to see it in the short term and I'm sure she still gets a pang for that time lost with me. (At least if all those claims of drunken, weepy "I miss you!" phone calls are to be believed. Lol)

Alright well that's it for now. We keep on keeping on. Squeezing the joy we can get out of it and surviving the rest. There's alot of joy, truly. I just wish Anthony had the time to get more of it. Four years, almost exactly, to being FREE! (Of course we'll be off this atrocious ship before then, thank GOD. I hope it sinks. With no one aboard, naturally.)