Friends and lovers

Hey Leetah, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

You probably shouldn’t tell people that you will not be hurt by something when in fact you will be.

I agree, I think I should have phrased it better with my cousin. Rather than saying that I wouldn't be offended (I didn't think I would be, but I wasn't sure! And obviously I was wrong about that) I should have come up with something different. What I was trying to express is that I valued her honesty more than any hurt I may feel (if any) about this. I really wanted to get a true sense of her comfort level than her having to say yes out of a sense of obligation. But then how I phrased it did mean that she wasn't to know that it was actually important to me. Anyway it's done now and I'm not going to rehash it, she'll have enough other things to think about.

Re: talking with her later about the family's views... maybe. I guess I'd want to have a clear idea of what I hope to achieve by that. An "I'm not happy with your discomfort" conversation doesn't make too much sense to me. Maybe you mean something else? I've decided to keep some relationships (not many, but a few. Mainly family) that are important to me despite the fact that those people do not fully accept me, my life choices or my family. I like these people independently, a lot, and have buckets of love for them. I take a "live and let live" attitude to it. Would it be helpful to tell them it hurts, for them to be weird about Ocean, etc? Not sure. It wouldn't make them embrace him again, for example. And it's not going to be a deal-breaker for me, in relating to them. I don't turn to them for emotional support, so it's not shaky for me in that way. We share other things together.

I hear you regarding taking the kids along. I took the younger one to the engagement, she had a great time. It's about 1.5 hours air travel and I think it'll be fun for both of them. I travel with them quite a lot and they like the change of scene. Also their cousins will be there and it will be a nice catch-up in that way. I'm thinking of forming an alliance with my dad, who I get along with, and who will likely be dragged along to the event by my mum (whose brother is the father of my cousin getting married). If we can get some separate accommodation and hang out together for the event it would be fun I think. If not that, some other plan.

I usually don't mind attending events by myself but with the two kids it won't be fun if I don't have a support plan. And if I don't figure something out, I'll definitely leave the kids behind! You're right, nothing worse that to be dragged along to a stressful event for no reason!
Full steam ahead

We're having car issues these days, which might be quite expensive in the end. Car at the mechanic again today, we'll see how it goes. Hopefully it's all investing into a better future car rather than pouring money down a sink hole. (I've definitely done that before.) One thing that's been happening is the car blowing out plumes of smoke. Fern calls it a steam car.

My parents are visiting at the moment; they leave this evening for a short trip away and will be back just before Christmas. They're having a grand time with the kids, and the kids are enjoying the grandparently adulation. They've had a few overnight visits which seem to be going ok.

Things between my parents and Ocean are still fairly icy. His reaction to it has been to pull back from socialising with them very much, which feeds into their fantasy of erasing him from the picture and me being in a monogamous set-up with Lobe. My dad keeps wanting to be blokey with Lobe and "invite him into the family" but I bristle at that because of the concurrent rejection of Ocean. It must be a hard situation for Lobe, too, cos he should be able to accept friendly gestures without feeling bad about it. It reminds me a bit of golden child / scapegoat dynamics. Ocean very much remains the scapegoat here. I'm not sure if I'll be able to speak frankly with my parents about this at any point. For now, we're just acknowledging it between the three of us (me, Ocean, Lobe).

Final bit of news - big one for us - I'm pregnant again :) Due in May. We were open to it but hadn't been actively trying so it was a bit of a shock for it to happen so quickly. I had very mixed emotions initially as I feel two children are manageable, but three feels out of control. I'm sure it will be fine once it all happens but my reaction made me decide that this was it for me. Lobe's agreed to a vasectomy and I don't plan on having kids with anyone else. (Well, I have actually agreed to be surrogate for someone if the timing works out for them, so it might not be my last pregnancy, but I don't want any more biological children.) It feels really good to be sure of that, and to be able to plan my life going forward. My feelings might change, of course, but I'm quite confident in this decision.

I currently don't have any sexual partners apart from Ocean and Lobe (and Ocean and I haven't had sex in a long time. That's another topic.) If pregnancy became a risk for me in the future I might consider other forms of contraception for me on top of condoms. Probably IUD? I'm disinclined to use the pill cos I'd prefer to avoid medication. Though I get very strong PMS and I've heard the pill can actually even that stuff out a bit. Anyway, I've got a few months to think about that ;)
Congratulations, also!

And yes, the pill is a godsend for PMS/PMDD.
Hey thanks, Vicki and Evie!

Car issues will be expensive to fix, unfortunately. Well - nothing to be done. Will need to budget pretty carefully in next few months but it's not devastating.

I've got a fair amount of straggly admin tasks to get through in the next couple of months. Kids are changing their days at day care which means I have to rearrange work hours, but their new days aren't confirmed yet. Just little things like that.

The other day I had fun sex with Lobe inspired by a discussion I was reading on another thread about how people prefer to suck cock. I've been a bit cautious with rough play in recent years after some resurfacing of past trauma but I thought it would be fun to experiment again and I got off a lot on it. It's helped that Lobe and I have taken time to unravel how we both prefer to communicate during sex, and how we can best negotiate what I need to feel safe. He doesn't have challenges with feeling safe during sex, but he does have "sex mode" and "conversation mode" as almost mutually exclusive to each other, so it's taken some time to work out how we can do the ongoing communication I might need without snapping him out of his body zone and into his head zone. I think we're still working on it, and will be for a while, but we've established the shape of the problem and the vocab to talk about it, at least.
Organic goodness

Exciting news in my life is a newly-placed musical instrument in our living room. It's a reed organ c. 1905 that I bought on impulse in my early 20s and I've carted around with me since then. It was in pretty bad shape, but I recently had it restored and it's in great playing condition now. We've been enjoying it a lot. I'm learning how to play it properly and Fern and Elf have been learning how to play it at all :)

Christmas was good. This was the second year celebrating in our new house. I sewed Christmas stockings for the five of us. I cut out a sixth one for the baby for next year which I'll finish up once they are out and have a name. Last year I stapled paper ones that we decorated - a temporary solution, but it did the job! The new ones should last us many years now. I got matching socks to put in the stockings for the adults and a few little stocking fillers for the kids.

We've bedded in our Christmas traditions a bit more this year. It's a holiday I celebrated a lot as a kid and I like doing it, even though it feels upside down here in the Southern Hemisphere cos of it being summer solstice, not winter. But I see it more as a social holiday rather than a seasonal one.

I put out advent candles on a small wreath, and a mini nativity scene which changes over the weeks leading up to Xmas (adding more characters and moving them about). I'd like to set up an advent calendar too and some daily reflections that are more ecumenical/secular in tone but still give some meaning to Christian and other stories relevant to Yuletide.

Christmas morning we do stockings, simple presents and eat breakfast together: a special Christmas batch of muesli, with yoghurt and berries (in season, being summer!). Ocean (mostly, sometimes me) makes toasted muesli through the year. The Christmas batch has cranberries, cocoa nibs and whatever other fancies we want to add to it. It's a nice, gentle way to start the day.

Then we do one or two Christmas gatherings with family or friends, depending on what else is happening.

My parents were in town for Christmas this year. Not staying with us, but staying with a relative. We did an extended family Christmas lunch. My parents got Ocean and Lobe matching shirts (striped in the same way but different colours). I made a photo calendar for my dad with lots of pics of Elf and Fern (he's a bit obsessed with the grandkids) and I decided to include important family dates on the calendar like Lobe and Ocean's birthdays, Ocean's and my wedding anniversary (10 years married next month!) as well as key dates from the rest of the extended family. Since coming out to my parents, they avoid any signs of Ocean and me (e.g they made a photo wall including both my brothers with their partners but not me with either of mine. Just a photo of me with Elf. And they've taken down pics they had of our wedding.) I've been waiting for them to process things (and hopefully get over it!) but they're still weird about it. So I've just decided to pretend like they've moved on and act accordingly. Adding our dates to the calendar was a small action in that direction. I don't really like to have ulterior motives with a present but it was more - do I continue to censor things because they aren't comfortable? Or do I assume they can be accepting (even though I know they aren't, yet). So: aspirational.

Christmas night, Grotto and another mutual friend came over and we played Runewars which is a ridiculously complex tabletop game that takes us at least 8 hours to play. This year we started around 10pm and finished around 8.30am on Boxing Day morning. Initially, Ocean played too while Lobe tinkered with machines in the shed. Then Ocean went to bed around 3am and Lobe took his place. The kids were staying over with my parents - joy!

Final news, my cousin replied to me again about her wedding next year. She said that she'd thought about it some more and she's ok if I bring Lobe / Ocean - phew! She said that she didn't mind which one, though she has a slight preference for Ocean as she knows him more. Ocean would be my preference too, if he'll come with me. I'm really happy that turned out well in the end.
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I'm so glad your cousin changed her mind :) I think it's funny that your parents bought Ocean and Lobe matching shirts, lol.

Sounds like you had a nice Christmas! I hope the new year brings many good things for you and your family. :)
Curtains for all

Thanks for the New Year wishes, PinkPig. Same to you!

Re the matching shirts, both Ocean and Lobe thought it was a joke! But I actually think it's my parents doing their best to come up with appropriate gifts :)

I'm feeling pretty satisfied right now. Lobe is asleep next to me in a very dark room! When we bought this house, it had no curtains apart from in one bedroom (Fern's). I'd made a start on sewing curtains many months ago, but the work stalled. Ocean and I made a date this week for a working bee to get back into it. I finished the curtains for his room, which involved some fiddly butchering of the curtains I'd previously made. Then I did curtains for the work room we all share, and finally (yesterday and today) I made curtains for Lobe's room.

Quite a few of the curtains I'm making are using fabric that Ocean's ma bought about 25 years ago and didn't use up. Ocean remembers the patterns from his childhood as his ma had made bedspreads etc with them. The prints are bold, and definitely of a place and time. I love how sentimental he feels about them.

Next room to curtain-up is Elf's, but we need to fix another curtain rod there first. I made a date for Ocean to take Lobe to the hardware store to get supplies for that on Thursday ;) It's Lobe's day off but he doesn't drive. Ocean and I do. I was trying to squeeze in the mission this weekend but we didn't make it. Lobe is the best of us at deciding what hardware things to buy. I was thinking that the next option would be next weekend, if I was going to drive. Then it struck me that I could co-opt Ocean who is home on Thursday! Winning.

Haha I just realised that we'd have to figure some car pooling scenario to make that work though (we also share one car). A puzzle for another day.

Since I'm on House Sprucing News - we finally picked a colour for the exterior of the house, after nearly half a year of mulling it over. It's called "Agar" :D Kinda moss green, I guess? Ocean's finished almost all of the undercoat so will be starting on the main colour soon. The back wall of the house (along the fence) is a wild patchwork of test pot colours. We went back and forth to the paint shop several times. Ocean and I preferred the bolder colours, but in different hues. Lobe preferred it to be muted. We ended up with a curiously pleasant compromise :) Evidently, if our V was a Venn diagram, the union would be painted lichen.
Home life is chugging along. Ocean has more or less decided on a new career path and is making plans for further study this year combined with part-time work. He is so much slower than me at moving on these things! If it were me, and I'd made the decision, I'd be booked into the study program already and I would have flicked off several job applications. But Ocean? He has been settling on this plan for the last few months, and is still talking in hypotheticals and living off his savings. Even though the university term starts soon and last I talked with him he was intending to start study in semester one. Hmm.

He's been amazing around the house this past year being off work, so it's not like he's lazing about. And he's been contributing financially almost the same as if he'd been working. So I'm not complaining at all. It's just, somehow, still a surprise to me how slowly people move compared with me! After so many years with Lobe I feel I'm still adjusting to it.

Both Elf and Fern have been having rubbish nights recently, and sleep is thin on the ground. Often Lobe or I pass out while trying to settle one or the other of them, and we can go a few days without sleeping with each other. I tried to sneak a sleepover with Ocean this last week - it didn't go well. Having kids has really smashed my ability to sleep over with Ocean. He hates having disrupted sleep, and while Lobe is happy to cover the nighttime shift for me to sleep with Ocean, I inevitably wake up if the kids do, and my restlessness irritates Ocean. He loves his sleep, and gets at least 8 hrs a night or is grumpy! Meanwhile I can't remember the last time I got more than 3 hours in a row. Ah well. It won't get better for a while, with the newborn coming!

We've been decluttering the house and we're about a month away from having a proper spare bedroom in a detached building out the back of the house. This will be great, I think. I envisage using it sometimes for date nights and sometimes for time out solo sleeps, when we don't have visitors. We had been talking about getting a housemate but if we do, I think we'd go for short-term tenants rather than someone permanent.

I had another uncomfortable interaction with my dad around Lobe/Ocean. I'm taking the kids on a trip with my extended family in a couple of months (my brothers, their partners, and my parents). It's just under a week overseas together. Holidaying together is something we have done once or twice before. The last time was before kids, and Ocean came along. This time I decided I didn't want to take either Ocean or Lobe because of the uncomfortable dynamics. And I don't think they both would have wanted to come, so it would be one or the other.

Anyway my dad asked me whether Lobe could come. I said no, it doesn't feel right to me that he would be welcome but Ocean not. My dad said "but he's their father, so what's the problem." I said the kids consider both Ocean and Lobe their dads. I said I didn't expect him to change how he feels but it was hurtful that Lobe is accepted while Ocean is not. I said I wouldn't be comfortable inviting Lobe to something like this unless it was ok for me to bring a +1 of my choice, either Ocean or Lobe. I asked him if he understood that. He said "not really".

Thinking afterwards, the only analogy I could come up with was if my parents favoured one child of mine and only invited that child to something. I would say no to that too, because it reinforces a hurtful / disrespectful dynamic. I talked about this with one of my brothers and his reaction was "it's not the same thing". I said: "I know there are differences but it's what I feel. I'm trying to describe what I feel about it, and that's what it feels like." My brother seemed to get that. So I might try talking with my dad about it that way sometime, and see if that's more intelligible.

Ok, Fern is yelling for me to help "get me out of the big old bath" so I should attend my parental duties!
Last Friday, I helped Ocean pull together a last minute enrolment application for a post grad qualification he needs for his new career path. If I hadn't pushed for it, he would have missed the deadline and just waited for semester two (July start). I think he's happy that I gave him a big shove. At least, he said "thanks"!

It's a 1.5 year commitment, though he might be able to do some part-time work while he studies. Classes started this week. It's strange for him to go from being a popular lecturer (in his previous field) to being a student again. I don't think the course work will appeal to him much, unfortunately, but he will like the actual work at the end of it. I need to rejig my work shifts a bit to accommodate his study (as we share childcare during the week) but not too much. I'm on baby-related leave from May anyway (eek!) so it's only for a couple of months.

Next week, I'm on an overseas trip with Fern, Elf and my extended family (my two brothers, their partners and my parents). I wasn't sure til today whether I would actually go after all, because of the global virus situation. The place we are visiting isn't particularly affected right now, but of course things can change. I figure any travel is riskier than not travelling, but in the end I've decided to go. It's for six nights in SE Asia. I'm hoping if we ever go on an extended family holiday again, I'll feel comfortable to invite a partner too. Not sure if I'll make my participation conditional on that, but I am considering it.

Fern and Elf's childcare centre ask for family photos each year, to put up on the classroom wall. We got a mutual friend to take a family pic for us this time as we hardly have any photos of all of us. It came out quite cute! I might get a copy framed for the house.

Tomorrow I'm gonna pull a huge day at work as I'm taking three weeks' annual leave after that. Partly for overseas trip, partly for my cousin's wedding, partly to do a bunch of household tasks, partly for my own recreation. I hope I can get my work files to a happy state to hand over. I reckon it's good timing as I'll be off for six months or so post-baby, so these weeks of leave will start to wean clients off me a bit :)

The kids have both been having shocking sleep recently, which has worn both Lobe and myself out. I feel like I've hardly seen Lobe, I've hardly seen Ocean. I've hardly seen myself!

I am looking forward to organising something nice for Ocean and I for when we are at my cousin's wedding end March. 1 April would be our 14 year anniversary of when we got together (I think! I keep losing track), so maybe we'll have an early celebration of that. My parents will be going to the wedding too, so I might be able to swing some babysitting out of them for a child free date. Otherwise I do actually know a good babysitter in the city.

Ok, I should hop up and do some planning and scheming for our trips away now. Oh, and probably do the dishes. Eventually.
Well, everything's changed in the world right now, hasn't it.

Our overseas trip happened. We got back 16 hours before we would have been required to self-isolate for two weeks at home. One of the kids' daycares didn't allow them back, the other did.(They go to two because of limited availability of days required.) I had taken two extra weeks' annual leave for after the overseas trip - much of that was taken up with the kids being at home (instead of daycare) and me having to connect with work to figure out transitioning to work-from-home.

Cousin's wedding was postponed to December.

Ocean is still in full-time study, which is now all remote learning. Lobe is working from home. I am working from home apart from one day a week when I go into work (we have a roster with one team member physically in each day to cover tasks required on-site.) I work within a community health centre so technically a health worker but I'm not a health professional. Really full on times indeed.

I have just a few more weeks at work and then am on parental leave! Baby due mid May. It's hard to conceive of a newborn at this time. I guess the impact of isolation would be worse with slightly older babies and young toddlers.

Yesterday a neighbourhood friend did an Easter run dropping Easter crafts and chocolates to kids. Their kid is good friends with my two and it was so hard to keep them from running in for cuddles. They really miss playtimes together. We are fortunate that they have each other, at least. And they are still going to daycare some days! (Daycare is still open for those who need to juggle work and childcare).

I'm in a lucky position relationship-wise as both my current partners live with me. I've been connecting with a few people over OKC lately - just for friendships at this stage - but any plans to catch up in person have been put on hold. I've redirected my energies to reconnecting with existing family and friends, especially people I've lost touch with recently. Working on a few collaborative creative projects remotely.

We're eating together a lot more at home and managing to get on top of a few collective chores (relocating a fridge that needs repairing, for example). This period of enforced homely-ness will be a good thing for us, I think. The family vibe has been growing over time and this gives it a bit of an extra boost. Nothing dramatic, just turning up the simmer to a slow boil for a spell.

I do miss social connection with other people in physical space, though. Not alone in that, I'm sure! It's like we're in a tunnel of as-yet indeterminate length... We'll come out of it eventually and I guess we enjoy the journey as much as we can despite the horrific aspects.

Hope everyone is as safe and well as possible in these times.
Crunch time for me at work. Just two more days (today and tomorrow) and quite a bit to get done. So obviously I'm focusing on my work absolutely and not updating my blog ;) heh.

Lobe is struggling with being home bound. His work has intensified due to staffing changes happening around the same time as COVID; it's impractical for them to recruit at the moment so his responsibilities have approximately doubled and will be that way for a while. He really likes giving himself slack within his work day - well that's all eroded for now. And because he's at home he essentially is dad->employee->dad each weekday and dad for the whole weekend. The kids are very attuned to his availability and pounce on him at any opportunity. He finds it hard to extract himself from serving their demands.

I have it a bit easier on that front as I seem to have established more boundaries with them. Also my downtime activities and projects (e.g. making music, making food) are more conducive to working with the kids involved or around than Lobe's projects, in the main (electronics, welding). Now they're a bit older it's getting easier but still, Elf (the two year old) can very quickly kill a project trying to "help". Hmm, ok, now that's broken forever. That's... ok I guess!

The upshot of this is that Lobe and I aren't managing time to connect, the two of us. I hope we get a chance to touch base properly before baby 3 arrives (due in a couple of weeks now). Because that's a whole new level of hectic.

Ocean's study is chugging along well. We do "together Tuesdays" when both of us hang out with the kids. That's nice. I don't have much solo time with him either but these days I feel I have more adult conversations with Ocean than Lobe since we often do chores, cooking, etc together. His schedule is more flexible than Lobe's full-time work.

Ok, well, I'd better get back to work! Hope everyone is taking as much care of themselves as they can - being gentle and kind to themselves during these disruptive times.
I've been having unusually intimate / sexy dreams about ex partners this week. One night's dream was a combo of Grotto (messy break-up ex) and Patch (Grotto's ex-housemate, mutual friend of Grotto and me, semi-ex-crush of mine; he seems to have decided to be friends with Grotto and not me after my break-up with Grotto, as he hasn't really talked to me and has ignored the occasional message I've sent. Been a bit sad about that friendship withering but it's not as huge a loss for me compared with what Grotto copped from our break-up so I don't think I can really complain).

Last night I dreamt of Plinth; the creaminess of his dick featured prominently. We had dream sex pretty much how sex was between us when we were seeing each other. I've mostly lost touch with him since we stopped hooking up. The dream made me want to reach out and just say hi. I might do.

It's weird (the sex dreams) because I think Lobe initiated sex while we were falling asleep last night (we managed to sleep together for once! Yay!) and I was a bit too obsessed with the gurglings, twitches etc of my prelabour body to want to sex back. I'm lying in bed going "hmm ok, that bit's sore and eek what was that" and I didn't feel like sex. But then in my dreams I'm reliving the glory days with exes? Weird.

I haven't had a positive dream about Grotto since... I dunno... Since before we broke up.

These are very unusual dreams for me. Simple fantasies of simpler times - at least as far as these characters go.

My last day of work before baby leave is today. I have heaps to do. They've scheduled a Zoom team meeting to say bye to me this morning, but I'm working from the office today and Zoom connection is rubbish from there. It's just gonna be a hassle I think. Oh well, it's a nice gesture and I do appreciate it. Fingers crossed I'll manage to finish up my actual tasks to a sufficient standard!

I'm back on OKC for a bit. Mostly a procrastination fiddle-toy. I'm making it clear I'm just looking for friends atm, but I'm definitely sowing seeds for the future. Maybe, like, 2 years in the future, hah. That seems to be the pattern for me with kids so far anyway. The burst of wanting-new-intimate-connections happens around the 2 years old mark, when the energy suck from a new baby has lessened a smidge. I don't mean I'm planning anything with the specific people I'm chatting with these days, but more just keeping that part of me alive. The part that still likes to date and be date-able. Kinda like scrolling through job ads to see what skills are in demand, even when you have a job you like right now.
All the best for these last stages of your pregnancy!
Thanks Evie :)

My colleagues decorated my work desk with streamers and Justin Bieber "baby baby" memes <3 Really cute touch. Even though I'm the only team member working from work today, it feel well loved.

Guess I should get back into it, though the streamers make it feel so much like a party in here!
Bub is here! We only had to stay a day in hospital, which was fortunate because they only allowed one support person / visitor per person (Covid restrictions). As Lobe was my support person for labour, Ocean couldn't see me in hospital until I was discharged. And no children are allowed to visit either. Well, it could have been worse. I know some places don't even allow support people. I can't imagine going through that with only hospital staff around me.

I'm feeling pretty great now (pregnancy makes me a tad ill) and bub seems in good nick, too.

We haven't named the baby yet but I'll call him Gnome here :) So now we are six in the house: Ocean, Lobe and myself as adults, and Fern (4), Elf (2) and Gnome (new baby!).

About a week ago I caught up in person with someone I'd met on OKC recently. Turns out he was staying with a friend in the same area where I live, so we met up late night after the kids were in bed and went for a walk. Was fun, would meet again.

Not sure why I've had a sudden burst of energy for OKC in the last few months. Might be lockdown related. (Though it started before that). Actually I think Lobe and Ocean have been more involved with other things of late and I've wanted more human (adult) connection than I was getting at home. I've reconnected with some existing friends but have been curious about new friendships too, I guess.

Making friends on OKC still has a dating/sexual edge which I don't intend at the moment. There are probably other more appropriate tools I could use but I can't be bothered learning a new thing right now. l've made about 8 new OKC connections so far that have some promise, so I might wind it back again for a bit :p

I've had a lovely slow day so far today. Went for a walk in the rain with Elf. Now I'm having a lie down for a bit before the night time party. Gnome is nocturnal for now - oh well :)
Congratulations on the new arrival!
Welcome, Gnome! I hope breastfeeding is going well?

How on earth you have energy for new friends (that aren't mama friends for support) right now is beyond me. I was so non-sexual when my kids were small. They just sucked up all my energy and I was so touched out. But they were all super Klingons and never slept well either.

I'm glad "bub seems in fine nick." LOL what adorable slang.