Your Heart I Will Choose

Oh God. I can’t even give an excuse as to why I haven’t posted in here. *laughs* If you follow me on youtube, you know I’ve been doing more videos than anything lately. I need to really find some dang balance with everything.

But anyway… Guess what? We just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary!! Isn’t that CRAZY?? Well, Aldwyn says it’s not really crazy. But still…crazy!

We did laugh, though, thinking about some of the people who said that I was just the “flavor of the month,” even though by the time they said it, we’d been together for almost half a year. I’m still the best flavor, suckers!!

Instead of having a big party or anything, all I really wanted to do was hang out with my little family. It was actually kind of a big night for us!

Your Heart I Will Choose

I’ve mentioned the SL adoption-to-birthing process before in a previous post. Not in really great detail or anything, I’m sure. But as simply as I can explain it: Some parents in SL choose to “birth” their adopted children. It’s a symbolic thing more than anything else. The child is not considered adopted anymore, but a true born child of the parents. Now most parents who do this, the mom goes through the SL pregnancy process – belly bump, labor, and all! Even complete with a prim baby in most cases! But this was not something I was interested in doing. I didn’t want to look pregnant [blogging would be difficult!] and I didn’t want to do the labor thing or have a Zooby baby of the girls. *laughs* I just didn’t. BUT, the whole symbolic thing appealed to me. Because well…they just feel like ours. So I felt like it was time.

I made a video for the girls. [It’s private, but I’ll share one day.] They loved it! Then I presented them with new birth certificates, and the whole family with rings with a Z on them. I actually want to get proper signet rings for everyone one day.

After that, we went on a mushroom hunt! It was the neatest thing. We got to hunt mushrooms and make potions that sometimes made mushrooms grow from our heads. It was soooo cute! We also carved some pumpkins as practice for next month!

It was really a wonderful evening, and the best wedding anniversary. ❀

Enjoying The Day

So this has been kind of a cool week for me. πŸ™‚ I have actually been chatting with people who watch my videos! That was an unexpected side effect of doing YouTube. *laughs* I want to do another video kind of just chatting about that, so I’ll save my thoughts for another day. But it’s been cool, most definitely.

Another thing is that I’ve gotten some wonderful feedback on my post about family! I kind of didn’t expect that either! People can be super judgmental about something they don’t quite understand or aren’t interested in, so it’s been great getting comments and IMs and stuff about it. So today I’ve just been relaxing in SL [because lord, it is HOT outside in RL and I can’t even with that right now]. Luckily in SL, I can relax and enjoy the day and not fry to a crisp.

Enjoying The Day

I had a comment in my last post with a question and I thought I’d answer that here rather than in a video just because I tend to get long winded at times and since I’m subjecting you all to probably another 30 minute video on Friday [Luxe Box opening!], I figured I’d just write. πŸ™‚

So Kate asked what I thought about virtual pregnancies. Honestly, I think what you want to do in your SL is your business. For me personally, it’s not something I’m interested in, but I truly understand people who do them.

I mentioned my friend Renee in my post about family. She was one of those people who went through a virtual pregnancy because in her real life, there was no way she could possibly get pregnant. She wanted to experience some form of motherhood and pregnancy, so that’s what she did and she enjoyed it. Again, I think that is probably one of the best uses of SL – doing things that you truly want and would never ever get to experience in the RL.

Now I know that when people think of virtual pregnancy, they think of 2 things. One, those dang tummy talkers that yell at you if you bump the mom, or let the whole world know when your baby wants you to eat your vitamin or is swelling your ankles. Trust me, I’m just as annoyed by those as anyone else. *laughs* And two, they think of prim babies, like the Zooby babies. And for a lot of people, that’s as far as it goes. But there is another side to the virtual pregnancies that, if you’re not in the family community, you might not know about.

It’s not uncommon for parents who have adopted kids in SL to later “birth” the child. No, not like… no, not like you’re thinking. LOL! I know what you’re thinking. But the mother goes through the traditional virtual pregnancy knowing that at the end, the “baby” is their adopted child. It’s more symbolic than anything else. Once the child is born, they are no longer considered an adopted child, but instead are considered a true born child. Actually, our friends Jill and Gattz have done this with all of their kids, and you can read about Jill’s last pregnancy on their blog here. Like I said, it’s more symbolic than anything else, although I think most of the people who do this do get a Zooby baby named after the child.

Now would I “birth” Abby and Birdy? Uhh… probably not. *laughs* I mean, if it was something they truly needed, I would do it. I understand the meaning behind it. But I don’t really have an interest.

So really, like most things in SL, I think virtual pregnancies comes down to “You do you.”

But for real. Turn your stupid tummy talker off. No one wants to hear it.

Chit Chat

So I made it to New World Notes with the blog post that I wrote about family stuff! You can read about it right here. And a big thanks to Hamlet for the questions because as many times as I’ve been asked to write about SL families, I have rarely been presented with many questions other than “So why are you doing this?” *laughs* Which is a valid question, of course, but doesn’t lend to a very long conversation.

Speaking of family, we had our traditional 4th of July party this past weekend! It was wonderful, as usual. This was actually the first time in a LONG time that the whole family was able to be together, so that made it more wonderful. We had food and music and dancing, and of course, fireworks! If you follow me, or any of my family, on plurk, then you have seen a lot of our photos and gifs already.

Zanzibars on the 4th

Hm…what else, what else… Oh, our house is basically finished as far as decorating goes. I really love it. I still have a bit to do in my blogger room and the dining room, and the downstairs bathroom needs a few more things [other than a sparkle tub and Birdy’s zombie] but for the most part, everything is finished. I am totally in love with it in a way I haven’t been in love with a house in a long long time. I think what I love best about it is that it’s not “perfect.” If you follow the home and garden bloggers/Flickr folks, the photos are always so perfect. Everything matches, everything is ridiculously pretty. I didn’t go for ridiculously pretty. I’m sure the H&G people would look at it and slowly back out the door. *laughs* But to me it’s warm and homey and very much us, so I’m happy. The only problem is that I’m so happy with our home, I want to be online all the time, and that’s not good! But … it’s not bad either. πŸ™‚

And on that note, I’m going to log in!

Answering Family Questions!

So Hamlet from New World Notes gave me some questions to answer about being in a Second Life family! I definitely don’t mind answering things when asked, especially about family life in SL, just because I feel like it’s one of the more misunderstood sections of SL. People seem to just get it when someone wants to be naked all the time, or wear a collar, or sing for money, or design a dress, or be a cat or a vampire or a jerk. But for some reason, family life is unacceptable to some people. And I know what that’s like, I do. I didn’t quite understand it myself until I got into it. But just as a disclaimer, this is how family life in SL is for me personally. If you’re in a family or have been in one before, your experience is probably a bit different.

Let’s get on to the questions!

What inspired you to have a virtual family as opposed to just a virtual boyfriend?

When Aldywn and I partnered [married] in SL, the first question people asked was, “Are you going to have kids?” I think some people said it as a joke, but it was something that was always kind of in the back of my mind. In my real life, I can’t have children and I’ve always wanted them. In SL, we can do and be almost anything we want that we can’t do in our offline lives. If someone who doesn’t have the use of their legs in RL can come to SL and dance, why can’t someone with fertility problems come into SL and have a kid? My friend Renee [who passed away in 2012] had congenital muscular dystrophy and was in a wheelchair and had a breathing tube. But in SL, she had a wedding, she danced, and she got to experience motherhood. To me, this is one of the better uses for Second Life – to do the wonderful things that your real life might not let you do.

What does your RL family think about it?

As far as RL family goes, I only have my parents, and they don’t understand anything internet related! No, really. My parents are in their 70s and one time my mom asked if I had a “Twitter machine” because she didn’t get that Twitter was something on the computer. But they know I have had online friends since 1998, so to them, this is no different. My RL boyfriend absolutely knows about my online family. It would be hard to hide it when he hears me talking on Skype to Aldwyn or the whole family, and sees me holding the girls! He doesn’t really fully understand it, because our not having kids doesn’t affect him like it does me, but he knows it makes me happy, and that seems to be good enough for him. He’s quite supportive of my online life because it makes me happy and because I never let it interfere with anything we want to do together in RL. Balance is important!

Do you know your SL family in real life?

How do I answer this one? No, I have never met any of my family in real life. None of us have ever been face to face. But I feel like I know them because we share so much of our real lives with each other. I know schedules and phone numbers and workplaces. I’ve seen pictures and videos. I know about their RL families. Abby and I have each other on our RL Facebooks. Birdy has let me send her a gift to her house. Maybe some people would think because we’ve never been in the same room, we don’t know each other, but I feel like we do.

And if so, tell me a bit about who they are in real life.

I don’t really want to spill their secrets. πŸ™‚ So I’ll just be general about it. In my entire SL family we have parents, grandparents, teachers, nurses, gamers, musicians, and more. Everyone has a great life story, and we love to share with each other. This also means that we don’t all have a lot of time to be in SL together, so we take our moments where we can.

Finally, what RL need or desire does having an SL family satisfy in you?

Well, as I said before, I finally get to be a mom. It has always been a big deal to me that I haven’t been able to have children. In fact, it sent me into a depression for a long time after I found out that it just wasn’t going to happen for me. And adoption, unfortunately, is not in the cards for me in RL for various reasons. Also, my immediate family is very small. I have never had a sibling close to my age because my sisters were quite a bit older than me when I was born, so I was basically raised as an only child. It’s just my parents and me now, and the rest of our extended family all live very far away. So having my SL family helps me so much to feel connected to something. The fact that we live in the same place in Second Life is even better!

And I think that’s what it comes down to. I feel connected. I feel like I belong to something that is beautiful. I feel happy and loved when I get to be with them. They support and encourage me when I try something new. They let me know if they think something might not be a good idea. I don’t feel like I always have to be entertaining or like I have to be giving constantly to be liked. They let me just be myself, which makes me want to give them everything. I’m not saying it’s all rainbows and unicorns all the time. We have had our problems here and there. But it’s usually short lived and we are better afterwards. After many years in Second Life, and doing many different things that didn’t always make me feel happy, I know that this is exactly where I belong. β™₯

And now some photos, and a little video I made earlier this month talking about family stuff.

Zanzibar Family Fall Picture 2015

Style - The Reason Why...

Lolita and me, vacation formal

To The Moon and Back

Taco Tuesday with the family!

The Family OZ - Easter 2015

And I Hold My Favorite Thing

Goodness, it feels like May has been going on forever, and it’s not even mid-month yet! *laughs* May is a SUPER busy month for the OZ family. We’ve had FOUR parties so far, and we have another one tonight! And one on Friday! We are some party people! But they are all good things that we are celebrating, birthdays and adoptaversaries and other things.

Birdy’s adoptaversary party kicked off our month of parties on the 1st. She has been with us for two years! Can you believe it? We had a “Survivor” party for her. Lolita put together an absolutely amazing place for us. I never could have done it! We had to cross planks, search for words, brave a raging river, jump across a tiger pit, climb several flights of stairs to a zip line, and then make it all the way back down to the start. It was SO fun! And I don’t want to say who won, but… well, it was me. I totally won. πŸ™‚

Last night, the kids did a Mother’s Day dance and had dinner for us. It was so sweet. There were many gifts and everything, too. All of the kids in our family are so good to us. ❀

But of course, the best part of my evenings are usually the few minutes I get alone with Aldwyn.

And I Hold My Favorite Thing

He always listens to me rant on about just the most ridiculous stuff! Well, some of it is ridiculous. Some of it are things I’m legit struggling with and I’m not sure how to make better. But he always listens, and he tries to make it better for me in some way, which I appreciate. Next month makes 6 years that we’ve been together. Isn’t that crazy? And I knew him about a year before that. Like I told him last night, “I’ve known you way too long. How am I not sick of you yet?” *laughs*

But seriously. How is HE not sick of ME? Guess I’m lucky that I’m cute!

[Btw, if you want to buy the pose I used for this picture of us, I put it up on Marketplace.]

A Little Bit Of Balance

So we had our first official family-of-6 meeting a few nights ago. As with any SL family, there comes the time after an adoption where you’re out of the bright-shiny-omg-this-is-soooo-happening phase and start transitioning into the “Oh hey, we’re actually a family now” part. And I think that for a lot of families, that’s when things kind of fall apart. They want the bright and shiny new feelings constantly and that is simply not possible. And truthfully? You shouldn’t want it to be. Because the part that comes after is SO much better. But it’s also the part that requires a bit more work. And yes, making a true family in SL does require work. It requires you to put time into it and it requires you to be able to talk things out when necessary.

Aldwyn and I are the type of people who like a lot of communication when something comes up. Good or bad, we want to be able to talk things through. We were having some growing pains as a family, so [after an urging from my sister!] I mentioned to him that we should have a family meeting. Naturally he was all for it, so when I figured out a night we’d all be online, I told the kids we’d be sitting for a chat that night.

Okay. *laughs* I don’t know WHAT goes on in other SL families, but despite the fact that I told the kids several times that this was not a BAD thing and that no one was getting shipped to Heritage afterwards, I could just FEEL the tension as we were getting settled in. My sis told me to expect it, but I just didn’t. I figured me saying “hey, we’re just talking, everyone will still be here after the meeting” was enough. But they were tense and I could feel it.

Then came what I’d like to call the MEETING FROM THE PITS OF HELL.

I’m totally kidding. *laughs* It was really good, actually. We brought up our schedule for May [so many parties!], I had a chance to tell them some things I personally need for a bit more balance, and they brought up some things that they’d like to work on as well. And I’m really lucky that I have the kids that I do because they didn’t make me feel guilty at all for needing my late night alone hours back and that was something I was definitely struggling with. They get stories and wind down time and our attention in the evening, and I get to know that I will have some time to myself or with Aldwyn after we send them to bed. Pretty win win!

A Little Bit of Balance

So that’s kind of a behind the scenes look at a tiny part of what goes into family life in SL. I know a lot of my readers have mentioned to me that they love reading about my family and things we do because it helps them decide on whether family life in SL is really for them or not. I’ll be the first to say that it does take some work. The shiny and new feelings are what draws people to adopting or being adopted, but that part doesn’t last forever. It can’t and truly, it’s not supposed to. You become a family. You have different happy times. You, hopefully, spend enough time with them to share in fun experiences. And yes, sometimes you aren’t thrilled with how something is going and you need to fix it. But if you’re very lucky, your family is willing to listen to you so you can find the balance that makes family life just that much better.

Going Out Fancy Style

And then vacation was over.

We did up our last night in style, as usual, with a family formal dance! I DJed it, so the night was filled with some of our faves and a whole lot of mashups, since that’s what we like. Everyone looked wonderful and it was just a super fun night.

My sister and me.

Lolita and me, vacation formal

And Aldwyn and me.

Going Out Fancy Style

[I’ll actually have this pose up on marketplace at some point. I meant to do it back in February because this was a pose I made for our Valentine party, but I got lazy.]

The past two weeks really have been just wonderful. We have enjoyed ourselves immensely!! There were so many beautiful photos and so much fun. I’m going to miss it!

But after we got home tonight, Birdy said that as much as she loved going on vacation, it was really nice to see home again. She was totally right. πŸ™‚

Huuuuuge thanks to my sister, Lolita, for putting all of this together for us!! You will get your chance to go on your own Greek island vacation soon. She will have all the information for renting in the coming days and I’ll post it when she does.

Now to sleep in my own bed!