Birthing Athena

Baby #4 has entered the scene! I am so happy that she is healthy and thriving. There was an initial brain ultrasound that said she might have brain ventricle problems but a secondary ultrasound didn't show any size differential.

Pregnancy symptoms: I had a small amount of nausea in the first trimester. I thought she would be a boy because of this. I also had nausea with baby Harold. But then came the sex drive. I didn't have this at all with baby Harold but did with my girls. So when I said I didn't really know what the baby's sex was - I really didn't! It was such a mix of both symptoms. She was riding high up until week 40. Born at week 41 on the dot!

The day before she was born I went to a birthday party where my friend Rebecca gave me strong Raspberry Leaf tea. She also gave me a bag of loose leaves to take home which we joked looked like some other medicinal foliage. I squirted a few Evening Primrose Oils up the baby channel the night before baby came - as well as took 2 a day a week before the pregnancy. This all seemed to get things moving along!

Early labor started around midnight. I fully regretted not getting enough sleep the two nights before. I was determined to keep my hoop orders moving along up until labor so I had about 12 hours of sleep over the past two days. I'm a 7-hour sleeper in the least, so I was dragging my feet a bit when bedtime came. The contractions came on stronger and more frequently at 2 am. They would last a minute and were around 2-5 minutes apart. The longer the gap, the stronger the contraction. I sat in the bath with a few candles. One lovely abundance candle given to me by Amber was my focal point when a contraction came on. Foam letters stuck to the bathroom wall were another focal point. I called my mother to come over and watch the children then Harold and I grabbed the essentials and headed to Lodi.

The car was freezing cold. The cold seemed to make the contractions come faster. My nipples would harden and then a tidal wave of a contraction would flood my body. I'm surprised cold therapy isn't used more in induction - cause boy o' girl did it work. I straddled the back seat of the van shaking my bottom and breathing through the contractions. I tried to keep my legs as open as possible the entire time to facilitate the birthing. I asked for some music and 98 Rock was what I was feeling. A few songs from my teenage years came on: Black Hole Sun, Johnny Cash's version of Hurt (a personal favorite which was background music in a Facebook video I shared during a contraction en route), and Been Caught Stealing by Jane's Addiction. --- Looking up the music video now and wow its a golden one (Watch it here).

We arrived at Lodi Memorial around 3:30 am. I sat in my wheelchair mama throne, turned in my registration paperwork, then headed to Labor & Delivery. They brought me to a HUGE birthing room. They called it the suite. I liked the sound of that! (Room 221 if you are curious). They said it was a busy night for babies. There were 4 Cesareans at the time (there was 1 more later). My nurse was a travelling nurse. She was at a location for 5 weeks then moved along. Today was her fourth day and she was pretty rough at the procedures of this particular hospital.

When I arrived I was at 8 cm. I requested an epidural, but was okay with the idea that if it didn't come in time then that would be an equally favorable outcome. The contractions started to slow when I arrived so I was sensing that my body was relaxing so that I would get that epidural! The shivers came on very strong. So much adrenaline in my body! The anesthesiologist came and had a hard time getting through the tissue around my spine. I think all that leaning over while hoopmaking tensed my back up a bit too much. He tried "the backdoor" - "the front door" - "the side door" ... then again the "other side door" and finally found the right spot. My 6:15 alarm was going off "There is No End to Love" by U2. Its been my alarm for around a month now. I LOVE that song. "Ba ba barbara - Santa Barbara..."

There was a spinal pain relief applied first. I felt like I had just inhaled nitrous oxide. Light-headed in a happy way. Could still feel the contractions but the edge was gone. Then the epidural kicked in around an hour later. They asked if I could feel my legs, rubbing on them, I said yes. Was I not supposed to? I didn't want to dose myself too much since I couldn't move my legs at all with baby Harold's epidural. So I kept it light enough that I could move my legs/body, but when I pinched myself it didn't hurt.

Dr. Russel came in around 9:30 and checked me, still at 8. The lip was in the way. She said she was able to get it to a 9. Then another hour later, 9 "and a half." They asked me to continue to "labor down" while they did another cesarean. At this point I felt a little forgotten. I had been at 8 and laboring down now for around 7 hours. I felt the urge to push a few times but knowing everyone was busy kept me from bearing down into that feeling too much. I just held my left or right leg up while laying sideways and doing my little booty wiggle. (My arms felt that for a few days after - what a workout!) 2 or 3 contractions then turn, repeat. Didn't have music - would've been nice though. Didn't even think about it!

At noon they came in again and said the anesthesiologist was having problems with the other woman's epidural. I thought this guy must be off his game today! They had a little time to help me along. They were able to move over the lip and it was time to push at 12:15. I held under my thighs and pulled my legs. I took the energy from pulling my legs and redirected it into my sacrum. Her head was showing on push 2, and she was out with push 3. The doctor asked Harold, "What's the sex Dad?" he said "It's a girl!" 12:26!

They placed her on my gown - would've liked skin to skin right away but totally didn't think about. (I loved the warm skin-to-skin squishiness with Zora and Willow.) She let out a gurgly cry. Harold cut the cord, then they took her to the warming station a few minutes later so they could use the blue bulby thing to get the gunk out of her throat. After she came out it I still felt like I had a small baby in there. I birthed the placenta and was back to normal.

At first glance I didn't know her name yet, but she did look wise to me. I had a "wise" name picked out. After the commotion settled I held her close while she nursed. She nursed for a half hour on both sides. A natural! They asked her name again - no name yet sorry!

The three names I was liking as the day went on: Athena Grace, Raven Elizabeth, and Sequoia Joy. Raven was a boy name too - but one of the definitions said "a thieving person" - also my mother HATED it. "THAT'S THE DEVIL" - Silly mom. I still love ravens and will have tattoos of them someday. But the thieving person didn't sound too good. Also the numerology on Raven Elizabeth Grieco = 7 Seclusiveness was one of the traits and I wasn't feelin that was her. (I grabbed the name numerology here.) Also I hated that show "Just Raven" on Disney... and she wasn't 100% dark-haired from what I could see. So no Raven. Sequoia Joy and Athena Grace were both 5 numbers. Traits being talented and mutable. Sounds like a good personality for "the baby" to have. I liked them both, but Sequoia Joy was a little hard to say. It reminded me of a game I played with the girls earlier in the week: "Say 'toy boat' 4 times fast!" Athena Grace it is!

So then she had a name! We are co-sleeping, she has half the King size bed to herself with a pillow barricade. She nurses for about 45 minutes, we stare at each other for 20 minutes, she nurses again for 15 minutes, and sleeps for 2 hours. She is so small and smells so good. I am completely in love. There is no end to love!

Third baby birth story - first two natural, third vaginal with epidural

So here's the birth story for those intrigued: I had a non-stress test the day before. I was trying to get a tour of the hospital but I never planned one. I had a feeling when I was there that I would be coming back very soon. I think seeing the labor/delivery ward prepped me mentally and allowed the process to proceed. My kids were at my moms house for a sleepover - everything "felt" ready.

I used 3 "natural" induction methods in conjunction to get it going. Black/blue cohosh (15 drops each) in water, nip stim and prostoglandins. I was feeling squeezy before bed but attributed it to brisket and beans for dinner - although they never made me feel that way before. I had to go to the bathroom 3 or 4 times in 5 hours because I kept feeling like I had to go but nothing happened. Then felt a trickle (def not pee because I had been trying for hours to do that) and it was pink tinged followed by a tranquil contraction. I told Harold to sleep more since it was 4 am... then decided - nope, if these get stronger I do not want to be driving 15 extra minutes on a windy road. So I woke up Harold and we started to get ready. Good thing because it took about an hour to finally leave the house as I had an unexpected nesting "let's not forget this and this and this" moment. Went to my mother's house on the way to drop off carseats for the girls and let my parents know - as well as sneak in a few kisses to my sleeping angels. Then we headed to the hospital around 6am since I was expecting it to get stronger quickly.
On the 25 minute drive there I only had about 5 contractions which weren't very long. This was already different than my previous birth where I went straight to 1 minute contractions 2 minutes apart. But I was still wary that it'd go fast so I was happy with getting there ASAP. We did the sign-in thing and were taken to our room. I wasn't too pleased with the state of the room - it felt old and musty and I realized then I was letting the setting get to me so I withdrew and just held onto my IV pole through the contractions(which they insisted to give me fluids since its "protocal" boo). At the 5 hour mark the contractions were slowing to every 4-5 minutes and 45 seconds apart. They were strong - but not really effective because when I got checked I only progressed about 1cm in 3 hours. I talked to my sister in MD about epidurals and after we talked I felt even more intrigued. I didn't want pitocin but I knew this feeling with Zora. The labor came after water breaking but fizzed out and the pitocin contractions were nearly unbearable.
I had felt like I already had my natural birth twice before. I was anticipating a quick 3 or 4 hour labor but it had been 6 hours and I knew they'd want to do pitocin soon and I didn't want my son to be stuck in there for a 30 hour labor like Zora was. So I asked for the epidural.
I HATE needles and the idea of one in my back seemed soooooooo horrible. It was a small prick for the local anesthetic then it felt like something was sliding between my spine - something was - a tube, ewwww. Anyhow once it was in he did a test dose and it felt cold under my skin by where the needle was. I asked them to pleeeeaaasssseee not give me a catheter and they said they had to assess how far along I was first. If I was close then they could avoid it. Of course I was only at 6 so they put it in. I felt that more than I was supposed to but it wasn't bad. Then they gave me the "remote" for my pain which gave 5mL of the fentanyl (topping out at 33mL per hour and it gave 8mL/hour as the base dose). They said I should "load up" by pressing it a few times over the next 20-30 minutes, it gave one dose every 10 minutes. I did it twice then left it alone for a few hours.
I felt the contractions get shorter and shorter but I my focal point (the external contraction monitor chart was visible in a mirror across from the bed) kept showing the contractions sustaining intensity and duration. Apparently this is the first effect of the epidural. Then my legs were getting number - I could move them but not feel them. Then eventually they turned into lead weights and I couldn't move or feel them. I had to use my upper body to twist myself to my right and left sides for contracting.
As expected the epidural did slightly weaken the contractions (something my nurse said would not happen but I didn't take her word for it since it is written everywhere on the internet that such things do occur and the doctor confirmed it). She said "Sorry about that I told you that it doesn't slow them down" - I guess in every profession people tell the client what they want/need to hear. So since they slowed down I agreed to the pitocin. They started with a "sniff" then increased it slightly once I was regular. I remember twisting my tailbone back and forth for my quick birth and how that helped move things along. So I laid on my right side and swiveled my hips right to left at a slow pace then faster as the contraction got faster. I also moaned through them - even though it wasn't really needed I remember these things helping with my previous births. I wanted to still pretend like I was feeling the pain because those instinctual behaviors probably are what shimmy the baby out. I felt shakey from the hormone adrenaline pumping through me. It all still felt like natural birth but there was just 90% less pain.
I continued to have my phantom contractions - They felt like strong Braxton Hicks contractions coupled with a stomach ache. Then the epidural wore off a bit and I started feeling more of it and being able to move my legs. This was around 9 cm but my cervix still had a lip where it was inflammed but was swipeable. I was at 9cm for about 3 hour having the phantom contractions. Then after the doc birthed the other ladies baby she came over and told the nurse to start pushing and try to push back that bit of cervix. I pushed for about 10 minutes holding onto my legs and curling my chin into my stomach. It took me 2 pushes to remember how to push but then she responded "YES! THAT ONE! THAT'S A GOOD PUSH" - Those words definitely made it far more encouraging! Now I felt equipped. The doc had said before she asked the nurse to start pushing "If the baby can't clear that cervix its going to be bad" - something she really shouldn't have said but I guess she had to prepare me mentally. And those words, despite their negative conotation - were equally encouraging. "EFF THAT" I thought in my head - time to really push! They told me to hold my breath/push into the posterior point of my cervix for 10 seconds, take a fast, quick breath then hold my breath again for 10 seconds pushing again. I did as instructed and then by 15 minutes there was a POP! My mom was holding up my left leg and saw the head and she started to get all teary eyed. The doctor was called for from the nurse's station and another 3 or 4 people rushed in with her. The nurse then shrieked "OKAY STOP ONE SECOND - DON'T PUSH" I guess she wasn't feeling up for catching the baby (probably not permitted to actually). And then after the next contraction came I pushed 3 more times and he came out with the cord twisted around his body like a seatbelt. This dulled vaginal delivery felt very similar to my others. There was a HUGE release like a water balloon popped inside me and exploded out my yahoo. I could say it in more poetic terms but its not a poetic thing - its quite primal. I felt all my organs shift and plummet back into place where they belong. I suppose if someone gutted you it would feel similar - like a massive weight inside your body fell out. Sorry, still not poetic! Maybe next time I'll scream "FREEEEDDDDOOOOOOMMMM"
They put him on me after a quick aspirator suckout and they heard a few cries and he looked so much like his sisters did by first glance. He was all bloody and cute, barely opening his eyes. The placenta came out quickly after. Everything beyond that point (fundal massaging, iv removal, and other hospital protocols) was rather mundane, unexciting, and strategic. As soon as he came I was pretty much ready to leave. The room for postpartum was hot (AC was malfunctioning), the staff was sweet, our methods of parenting were challenged, and in the end we got home safe and sound with our new little prince. Total weight: 8lb 4oz, weight @ discharge 7lb 14oz, 20.5" long! My shortest, fattest baby yet. Total labor length after waters broke: 16 hours

Week 19 pregnancy

Bun in the oven is progressing rapidly. I found out I was pregnant at around 4 weeks and announced it immediately on FB... not waiting for the first trimester to end for this girly. I'm rather excited to have another love of my life in my life... I'm so enamoured with Zora and Willow and I hope it doesn't wane with them but I know I have enough time an energy to bring another darling soul into this world.

I was hoping for a boy until I realized that the show Full House had 3 girls in it and that I always saw my life being something like that when I was a child. Since I only had one younger sister who was 7 years younger than me we weren't as close as DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle but my possibly 3 girls will have much better chances of it!

Since Amber has become a mama she has seemed to grow up a lot. She wasn't really a frivolous teenager, probably more a prude than a philanderer, but she's definitely a woman now. It makes me wish so badly that she was closer but I know she is where she needs to be right now to proceed with a career.

Robbie's (my brothers) birthday was yesterday. I bought him this drapery-like gangster jacket with a silk lined hood. For some reason it seemed like "him." He seems like he's doing better since he's been in karate. The kids have joined him and there's loads of people who used to be in our class who are not going with their kids. It makes me want to go too but with baby bun that's not such a good idea.

I really wanted to make a prenatal hooping video but I'm allowing my self-hate to get the better of me. I'm feeling too "fat" to do it... I'm not even very large right now compared to my pregnancy with Zora but I feel like if I'm not what I've seen in the prenatal yoga videos then I'm not "Tv" quality. I don't know if this'll be my last child and I really don't have much time left in this pregnancy to get a video planned. I should start organizing my time, hiring pregnant moms to help me make the video, and get this video in gear with a studio. It'd be amazing to offer it to the hoop community but I do still have concerns... it almost seems like, What? Ab exercise for women who have stretched abs? And its obviously something you shouldn't start learning if you haven't done it before.

Yoga is advertised as a class that you can do any levels - hell its just stretching. I have seen some yoga hoop stuff that I like. Stretching with the hoop as a tool... then the biggest and best part of a hoop exercise for pregnant women is the arm workouts. I had such great strong arms for holding baby and then my hoop was there to help with the postnatal... it almost should emphasize more on postnatal and I can do TWO videos in one???? Wow what a great brainstorm journal entry!

So my goal now is really to cut out the crap food. No sugar, no processed foods, and no more damn decaff soy lattes. When I make them they are about 30 oz and almost entirely made of steamed vanilla soy milk. I've gone through a gallon in a few days and that can't be good. Plus I don't want to effeminate my male fetus in the event he is a HE.

I haven't picked out a name for a girl yet. Zora likes "Flower Cassina" and Willow keeps saying it. They've said it pretty much since day 1 of finding out I was pregnant and its kind of strange. I've sort of supported them saying it by asking, what's the baby's name? - and allowing them to remember/reiterate: "Flower cassina!"

I guess I do like the sound of it but where the hell did it come from??? If its a boy I would like to name him after daddy and he will be the 4th! We can call him quatro! How cute ^_^

Jessica wanted to help plan a Blessing Way for me which is amazing. I haven't been as close to her since her husband and her split again because her husband is friends with mine and they hangout/text all the time. I don't know anything that the discuss but I have a feeling she thinks I know something so has been at a distance the past few months. It could also be because she's super busy which would be understandable.

But I gotta be honest I have too! I haven't had a hangout session for awhile - today I saw Kim in Lodi but only for about 90 minutes. We talked about the new baby and she invited me to her young/fun church Gravity which has a rock band and a young carpenter pastor. It sounds intriguing but I'm not fully on board and can't help but think of a million other ways my time is required unfortunately.

I wish I could have a whole day of escaping from these 4 walls and having a real day OFF from the business. I check my email constantly to see if anyone wants a custom hoop and direct them to my listings, and also keep going on FaceBook to monitor the hula hoop group feeds and to stay on the up and up about hoopmaking. There really is a whole lot more better things I could be doing. I read a stumble upon 30 challenges list and one was to read a chapter a day on a book. That seems doable. Also walk 30 minutes - and text a friend everyday something you like about them. I've been pretty quiet on the phone front and have a lot of people I've lost touch with. A few random texts wouldn't be so bad :)

Also I remembered that I wanted to write more journal entries - so that is what this is for. Another resolution this year was to make a hooping tutorial every week. I have my reverse thread the needle I really want to get online. I gotta hurry up and get my other pass on youtube as well. *secret* after participating in voting for a rather important hoop award I came upon pretty much the entirety of events and videos that were about hooping. What an amazing experience and I hope I can do it again. It taught me that I'm not far from greatness. I thought I was miles and miles away from achieving something notable in the hoop community. I don't think that way anymore. Prenatal Hooping & Postnatal Hooping Compilation Exercise DVD --- Here I come.

Poem Flow

I'm trying to add more flow to my life in all aspects. When I am singing songs I tend to write new songs by just flowing words and emotions together. I throw in some imagery, irony, and rhythm and ta-da! Music... I can't quite type them like that but I'd be interested in trying. I'm also setting a goal to go to an Open Mic sometime in this coming summer with some friends and we can all share poetry to our fellow human beings.

Here's a first; Unedited, unfiltered, raw poetry (sung in my head though, so its already a song)!


The whispering meadow awaits.
She's fiery and opens the gates.
But it isn't the words that she says.
That delivered the oceans at bay.

What about this frightens you? Is it true to be so blue?
Sadness brings the art to me and happiness sets me free.

Open your heart to the growth that it needs.
Live every year with greatest of ease.
But you'll never give into the norm.
Brave the tides, sing it by, through the storm.

Fill your cup with the things that should, bring about your highest good.
Sadness brings the art to me happiness sets me free.

The meadow is dim from the night.
Let it pass, call the sun up with might.
Walk carefully over the grass.
Nurture it then hunt when you're fast.

We all make tomorrow by our actions today, balance your life through the rest of your stay.
Sadness brings the art to me and happiness sets me free.

Goddess Circle Reflection, March 16

So today I realized that my hesitation toward sisterhood is due in large part to my involvement in male-dominated activities: karate, counter strike along with two brothers closest in age to me. After getting to college and turning 21 that then transferred to hanging out at bars and talking to men. Courtship wasn't my agenda but men always seemed to think that was what I was doing. Did they really like talking to me, or did they appear to like talking to me because they wanted to sleep with me? I never put the two together until tonight... Also there is something to be said about being introverted and not allowing anyone to have the power to make you sad. I realized that the more people I encounter on a daily basis, the more people who will not like me. Every single person has someone who doesn't like them. And people who know MORE people are more likely to encounter said people. I accept that now! So if you don't like me... well that's too bad but I'm over it already. I was expecting you :D

I was always used to talking to men. I was also taught that when women talk its "cackling hens" and that there is backstabbing and manipulation when you speak to women which isn't there with men. That is also what I grew up to understand from my mother's interactions with other women. I didn't think that if I did want to live my life like my mother then I'd end up female-friendless just like her now. When you're a strong women you can either attract other women or you can frighten them off. I never knew that I always frightened them off. The only ones I didn't frighten were all strong women like me who also hung out with a majority of men.

I need to learn how to talk to women now. There are only 5 women I am able to talk to like this. Those women are Kassondra, Kim, Dominica, Nicona, and a new addition, Jessica. These women are amazing and I want them in my life more but time and space make it difficult.

With every other woman I try to talk to, the topics are always about giving birth, babies, lady stuff. Probably because the conversations are new and people don't wear their heart on their sleeve with strangers. I try to but then I think that doing that must be why I only have acquaintances and not close friends.

There's nothing wrong with talking about babies, birth, and breastfeeding... Its just that these topics are what I'm living and I'd prefer to talk about other topics that get me out of the subjects I live with everyday. My daughters are my best friends lately and I don't want to be living this life without a stronger circle and closer human experiences. Now I'm trying to talk to women and I really don't know how! This will take a lot of practice. I think today's circle helped me a great deal in getting the dialogue with my fellow sisters going. I want a red tent to have an open forum to discuss topics at a deeper level.

The topics I shared during the circle are as follows:

First menses, it occurred ides of march as did my first time with intercourse. I find it interesting that while we were discussing these topics I was on my moonphase and it was a full moon and it was a day after this mysterious day! I shared my experience with Danielle, my first and last best friend who I felt abandoned me in 6th grade to find a new best friend named Shannon and I released that! YES! Then opened my heart for new friendships to grow! Yes! I also spoke of my hesitation to launch my business because I think it isolates me from friendships. If I talk about my business it doesn't mean who I am talking to is a client. I need to release the fact that talking to people isn't offensive to them even though I think it is. I'm not a walking, talking commercial for my business. I am a human and hooping is what I love. I left my shame for self-promotion at the circle to be dissolved! A new me is here and I'm ready to stop being ashamed! The new year will be great. Year of the Horse.. I'm going to rise up and make my hoopdance class now. I will have a "Mommy and Me" class as well as an adult class that is aimed at vocalisations/singing while hooping and another standard starter class. These are my dreams!DREAMSSSSS YAY* bed time for girls so I gotta cut my ideas off here* <3

Update on LIFE

Looking around the main page of LJ I can't help but think things have certainly changed. Now instead of simplicity I am marketed by pictures of cookies, knowledge of birthdays and a few other unknown links.

My life has changed too. I am having a second wave of my late teenage phase. I can feel the balance as I have been losing weight recently and feeling very empowered. I did this type of thing before but it has been over 10 years since I've been able to jog 5 times a week and still ache to go hooping at night time after I already jogged in the morning. I love feeling so energized! It started from birth control pills which must have balanced me out hormonally.

I have been feeling the hoop as a partner in dance now. I guess I go back and forth but it is was recently an extra appendage, now it is back to being off me completely and I imagine soon it will have to be a floating apeendage. I am on day 24 of 100 for another round of Hooping for 100 days. I am so excited for my videos. Everytime I go out there to hoop I make up a new move or something to add flare/grace to my dance. Due to recent weight loss and muscle gain I have been getting lower to the ground and started doing a little bit of foot sweeping. Perhaps breakdancing is in the works soon!

I was dancing a bit after my jog this morning at the top of the hill where the sun was reflecting off the water at the lake. I saw a woman sitting leg-crossed on the rocks also looking at the water. I wanted to talk to her so badly. There is never anyone there and this time there are two people. A 40-something on the rocks, maybe meditating, and a 70-something briskly walking along the lake with a cane. I imagine his wife, her mother died recently and they went back there to think about her. A story plays out in my head...

I can't stop this narrative imagination of mind. I've encountered problems with it recently, wondering if I am even living a single life if I have all these narratives and possibilities which surge their way into my thoughts. Sometimes when I am walking around somewhere and I feel a memory come into my head I wonder if whatever I thought happened in the past or will happen someday. I see all these old camping spots with worn out cement and imagine cars in the 1970s parking there and kids throwing bottles into the water. Or maybe some ol' timer at the water with a fishing pole and his faithful mutt by his Jeep behind him...

I think all this creativity is coming from the balance I've been having. Now I'm back in the space where I give myself time to let me mind expand and entertain itself. I can also feel the hormones giving me an uncontrollable sadness. Sometimes I'll think about previous cases against parents who did unthinkable things to their kids or anything bad done to kids and just start crying for no reason! I have been like this before.... 21 years old I feel like I am reliving those years.

On my wanderings my mind encountered another strange observation: was the male's proclivity towards woman with smaller waists because they would be physically easier to grab? I suppose that would explain a lot of things for me, haha.... tarzan grab jane! Of course! But I don't think her waist is too large... I'm pretty certain most guys just have arms that aren't big enough! Ha!

Now on to how the kids are: Zora is stunning, sweet, and stutters a bit sometimes which I think is so cute. We still are not planning to put her in school. I hope I can find like-minded parents who want to do a Homeschool co-op. She has started dressing Willow up and putting on runway shows for me. I am encouraged even moreso to get a sewing setup going and taking some classes so we can start drawing and making her dream clothes.

I think Autumn, my niece, is also on board. She dressed up Zora this evening during their sleepover and she was equally excited about the idea of a fashion label. I can just tell these kids want to look and feel different. Maybe this will help them do it! Maybe ZAW or AWZ or WAZ ? All their initials? Me too? haha... SAWZ? No. that won't work.

Willow likes to grab things in arm distance if she is seated ANYWHERE... and throw the item as far as she can. We were shopping at Kmart and this was all she did for about 45 minutes straight. Then when I took it from her or lightly slapped her hand and said NO firmly but not loudly she would pause, look away from me for about 5 seconds then very slowly reach for something again (but usually much larger such as 3 or 4 hangers of clothes on a rack) and throw it with a scream that would scare a lion. She has such passion in her! She also flails to the ground and covers her head to fake cry and will lay there until I come and get her. And she will hit me then hug me... in that order, on repeat. I need to tone down the physical destruction but she is such a firecracker and its so entertaining :x

I am still facing the big questions in life, the direction I want to go. I'd love to be 35 and have a job that pays me well enough that I can go on vacation with my family for at least 2 weeks a year. How much money do I have to make for that to happen. Its not much, it really isn't. I just want 2 weeks of my life to live on a strict budget outside my home in someplace which is probably hotter or colder than where I live currently. And then maybe a festival every year too, Rainbow, Burning Man, or Hoop Camp on rotation, maybe I could go to Rainbow AS my vacation?? It does change location! Things to think about I guess......
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On Being a Mother

I absolutely loved being pregnant (up to 7-8 months) and loved giving birth (especially after I forgot all the pain). Meeting a new person who shares love and adoration with you is truly remarkable. Birthing Zora, my first daughter, gave me great confidence after persevering a 32 hour labor without pain meds. Birthing Willow, my second daughter, gave me pride after she shot out of me after 4.5 hours - also without pain meds. And waiting for my spontaneous labor was well worth it. I am glad my girls got to choose their destined birth dates.

There are great lessons to be learned on either side of the spectrum. With both a short and long labor I felt very empowered after giving birth. Though my body feels mishapen, I am proud of the accomplishments that helped me achieve this new form. I wouldn't change it for a size 0 pants - ever. I have gained a new love and lost my temporary youthful form. But it was never meant to stay. And I was always meant to love.

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A relaxing prenatal massage... Sounds nice doesn't it? It was supposed to be until I heard the words "no foot massage." I am nearly done with my second pregnancy and have never heard this from a massage therapist or a manicurist. He told the nail lady who was going to give me a mani and pedi that I cannot have my feet rubbed. Despite having paid for all 3 I left! A pedicure without a foot massage is .pointless.

My massage also did not go over so well. I have never had a massage from an older gentleman but I am open. He sat the entire time on a stool and had a cold which meant the relaxing music I was hearing was accompanied by wheezing and 2 sessions of nose blowings. Yuck. Also, there was a black barber shop downstairs and the voices carried a bit too well into the upstairs.
And then no foot massage? Boo hoo. I looked up the evidence and all studies do not provide empirical evidence. The most common places are the ankle points (which I recall using to induce my labor and Zora took almost 2 days to come out so they must not be very effective!)
I will stick to Wine & Roses and their wickedly expensive massages. They have a belly pillow for my massage so I don't have to sit on my side or back, tea, showers, spas to dip my legs into to relax my feet, fuzzy robes and slippers. Girl heaven, even in the freezing cold.

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A sore throat

Children are great. They are uplifting and inspirational. They make you feel like a kid again. Connecting with them gets you in touch with your bewildered human self. Kissing their faces is better than anything because they have these soft squishy cheeks that turn red when you're done smooching them. Then they cough on you. Then you realize, "I'm going to get this, aren't I?"

I cannot stop from getting SICK by the children in my life. I help my brother out by babysitting my niece and nephew two days a week and these kids are always sick. I pump them full of vitamins and nutritious food the entire time they are here, but nothing seems to work. They are accustomed to a high sugar, low nutrient diet. At least that is what I've seen by what they eat when grandma feeds them. And according to her there is no food in the house unless she buys it.

By the time 5 days go by, they are in my home once again. Perhaps I wouldn't mind if I were getting paid, but this is a family contribution of mine. And I don't like being vulnerable to their sickness on a weekly basis. I'm 7 months pregnant and have my own immune system to think about. My other family members try to help out the best they can. My sister or dad usually trade a child with me after my niece gets out of school at noon. So then I have encountered all the children she encounters at school. I bet gradeschool teachers are always sick.

And she coughs with her hand "covering" her mouth about 8 inches from her face, not very efficient! But we're working on it.

So my regimen now that I have a sore throat? Silver 100 drops (a strong colloidal silver treatment Harold swears by), gargling with warm salt water, LOADS of vitamins, EFA's, and colloidal minerals and an attempt to get this house as warm as possible. I am currently running off electric oil heaters alone and it is difficult. As long as you are within 5 feet of it, it works. I have a fireplace but it was poorly designed. It is an insert into a working fireplace. So there is an airspace behind the fireplace that heats up but the metal around the insert does not. Like the oil heater it is only effective within 5 feet, mostly because for fire light as the heat goes behind.

I have one "warm" room: The only reason we don't move immediately with a baby on the way. Although I don't know if its enough space to really keep me sane. Its a rectangular room with no windows and comprised of mostly a King size bed. Not the best setting to keep a new mommy from going mad. I hope to be upstairs at my parents house before then, but we'll have to see what our future with this house is first.

My least favorite thing about being sick is not being able to work out as I want! This is the third time this pregnancy I've been sick and it usually puts me out 3 weeks unless I can nip it in the bud! I will not HAVE IT! Away you red demons of my neck.
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