Tuesday, September 8, 2015

No regrets

Tonight I need to write to be able to sleep. I read a quote that said something about being more creative at night. I eat most of my sugar at night, which makes me kind of weepy anyway. Looking back, I didn't always make great decisions late at night either. Maybe something about lowered judgment or being tired.

Living in Columbia has been a fresh start for me. A good start. It's been really, really, really good for me to be surrounded by positive influences. Alex loves me and we have fun hanging out together. I think my heart will explode every time I think about our kids because they're so amazing. Alex's family has been super supportive. They love us, and I've always felt welcome with them. I have friends here with whom I enjoy spending time. I recently got a job; my supervisor is incredible, and I couldn't ask for better co-workers.

And yet sometimes I still feel a twinge of sadness at the loss of relationships. Forever. I don't think I could ever go back and be friends with people from Life Before.  I'm not even sure some of them were healthy relationships, but I felt deeply in them and now they are gone. Very few of those relationships have translated into my New Life, and that's probably OK. It's probably good.

Losing my grandmother has me thinking a lot about people, about relationships, about how to spend time in this life. I was so full of pride thinking about how I wanted to get my master's degree and my PhD and have a name for myself. And maybe someday, because those aren't terrible things. But I also realized how much I really really love having family and having friends and I don't want jobs and school to be all-consuming.

It used to be how I found my relationships. I was busy-in high school and college. I loved going to class and to work and to church and to volunteer activities and building relationships and friendships in all these venues. I loved all of it.

But now I'm learning (even after some time) how to be a wife and a mom and that kind of being busy is SO different than what I used to do that sometimes I forget that I can be happy and not be out doing things all the time.

Not that life is all about being happy. It's a lot more than that. I'm just saying that I had 8 years of being busy and loving it and living it. Sometimes I look back and think that's what a fulfilled life looks like, and I begin to wonder what life would have been like had I made different decisions.

"Living with no regrets"

That's still something I struggle with sometimes. I have absolutely no complaints, but sometimes I don't "forget was is behind, and press on to what is ahead."

"I press on toward the goal that is the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

So I'm deferring grad school. I'm cherishing my currently relationships. I'm still mourning lost ones, but maybe that's okay too, because it means my Life Before still meant something.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Dancing with Adara

There's nothing so freeing and so exhausting as dancing with a two(almost three)-year old. We turned on the "Honey I'm Good" Pandora Station and danced our hearts out. When the only one watching is Adara, nothing is embarrassing.

Today Adara and I were looking through a book of photos from my wedding. She saw a photo of Alex surrounded by his family, and started naming all the people in the photo. Then she commented, "I forgot to be in this photo." In her mind, she already knows she belongs in the picture with all the other people in her family. I love that.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Memories (photos of grandma)

Today I attended a memorial service. I am so glad that I went. It was sad, but also joyful of the hope we have in Christ Jesus. I will see my grandma again. I also got to see my grandpa, and hug him before we headed back home.
I finally found some of my photos of my grandparents from our last two trips to visit. I'm so glad I have these happy memories with them!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sometimes I don't know what to do

For so long I didn't know what to do, so I did "the next thing."That's how I keep going when faced with  crisis. I don't know how to handle situations, so I do what I know how to do.

I'm struggling with regret. My grandparents got moved into a nursing home less than three hours away and I didn't visit them once since they moved in. Sure, I had a young baby, but I definitely could have made the effort. I made plenty of time to go through my own personal crisis and try out new jobs and school ideas and sell my house and then switch back to social work and get a full time job. Who does that? It was so selfish. I was neglecting time with my babies to try and find myself. How much time did I miss out with them just to focus on myself? And I didn't even take the time to go visit my grandparents in a nursing home, just because it was inconvenient.

And what did I do when I found out my grandmother was dying? I went to work. I didn't rush to her unconscious side to say my last goodbye. It would have been easy-but I wanted to stay home. I selfishly didn't want to give up the time. And now it's too late to do that. I'm going to the memorial service. There's nothing else I can do. Maybe it's because I need closure, but going is the right thing to do.

I should have gone to see her, and I should have gone to say good-bye. I'm not sure if a blog is the right place to bawl out my sadness, but it's the only place I have right now. And even a blog is a selfish thing to do. It's all about how bad I feel about how I've handled situations.

I'm going to go work on paperwork, because it has to get done and I don't know what else to do right now.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Balance and routine

My life has changed so much in the past five years. Marriage, taking and quitting jobs, pregnancy and babies, renting/buying/selling houses, losing loved ones, getting into and then delaying grad school.

My whole life I've been a write. Never professionally, but writing down my life is definitely my go-to coping skill. If I write at night, I always sleep better. If I get stressed, I can let it go (at least for a while). I wrote some letters I'd been thinking about for months now. I even have stamps in my purse. I'll probably send them tomorrow. So I'm going to write again.

This Saturday would have been my first day of Trevecca's Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy program. However, over the last couple of weeks I realized that I currently cannot balance grad school, a full time job, and having a husband and kids. It would be really terrible to be studying to be a marriage and family therapist, and yet never spend time with my husband or kids. So I deferred a semester while I adjust to working a full time Youth Villages job. I'm ever so glad I did.

Because I did not start grad school yesterday, I spend a lot of this weekend working and working and working and working to catch up on paperwork and house work. What a relief to not be able to think of anything else I could do right away for work. I'm sure there is, but for today, I'm done. I also got some lunches made, cleaned the kitchen, got my pump ready to bring to work with me, got the kids stuff ready, and I folded and put away all our laundry. I got more house work done this weekend than I have in the past 8 months since August was born. I'm pretty sure that's true.

I also exercised. That pretty much never happened. You know what I did? I ate sugar. Adara asked me for a cookie, and Alex asked me to make healthier ones. We've been trying to eat healthier again. So I made chocolate chip pan cookies with almond flour and organic sugar and organic chocolate chips and real vanilla. Same amount of sugar, but organic and gluten free. I was almost bouncing off the walls and found new motivation for life. Adara joined right in. Exercising together used to be our everyday thing. (note: eating sugar also puts me in a TERRIBLY stressed mood. However, I convinced Alex to keep the kids away while I fueled my stress into cleaning.)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Memories of Gramda Turner

The hardest part is the memories. The hardest part is remembering my happy, loving, vibrant grandma and realizing she won't be fighting the infection much longer because her soul will be in heaven. She's going to be so happy there.

I remember the last time I saw her. I was pregnant with Adara, and we drove to visit and have a 60th wedding anniversary celebration. We stopped by their house on the way, and grandma was so happy to see us. On the day of the celebration she sat at the table with grandpa. Even though he didn't always know who we were or what was going on, she still looked at him lovingly. She still held his hand. She loved holding his hand. 

I remember when we came and hung out at her house. I remember she told us to all get sticky notes and write our names on whatever we wanted someday. I remember when we helped clean out their trailer of stuff and I got to bring home some baskets from Ecuador. I felt so special.

Grandma loved taking care of her family. When she visited us over holidays, she would always make a huge pile of toast and buttered each piece. 

I remember when my grandparents came to visit. I remember thinking I wanted a marriage like theirs. I remember seeing my grandpa kiss my grandma and she had such a huge smile on her face. They really, truly loved each other.

She used to crochet all the time, and she made us all blankets. She asked me about my favorite colors, and then crochet a quilt of squares with all the colors. It's one of my most treasures things. She would talk about crocheting a quilt for all of her kids and grand kids.

I remember getting to stay over night at my grandparent's house in Guatemala. I remember thinking it was cool that grandma had milk that I could blow bubbles with a straw, and that I could always have a fig newton at her house. 

Looking back, I don't have tons and tons of specific memories with grandma. I remember more how I felt around her. I remember feeling loved and cared for every time. I remember feeling happy with her.

Even though I haven't seen her in years. I'm really going to miss her.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Being Thankful

I read somewhere that a bad attitude can be fixed by writing out a thankful list. So I'm hoping this will help my struggling attitude and lack of life direction today.
1. For my God. I can at least know He is in control of everything.
2. Food. For strength. For comfort. For fun.
3. For Alex. He provides financially, emotionally, enthusiastically, honestly, and encourages me to pursue whatever I want.
4. For Adara and her enthusiasm to do everything with me. She always wants to be with me, and I never have to wonder if she loves me. She inspires me to love unconditionally.
5. For baby August. His smile is so sweet, and he really is an easy baby most of the time. Balancing  two kids is one of the hardest things I've ever done, but he lights up when he sees me, and that's very encouraging.
6. For my extended family. For my mom, who drove us down to my brother's wedding. For my in-laws, who watch my kids while I try out different pursuits and encourage me when I'm struggling.
7. For my health. When people don't feel good, it's hard to imagine doing other productive things. Even though and discouraged because I'm not sure what I want to do, I am able to contemplate these options because I'm physically able to do them.
8.Grace. Adara says she's thankful for grace. From the mouth of babes for sure.

When asked: "What do you want your life to look like 5, 10, 20 years down the road?"

I don't know.

But right now my two year old wants to play "What color do you see?" So I'm going to stop ignoring her and do some soul-searching later.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


I just reviewed this blog to see if I could find anything I felt particularly passionate about. It was kind of fun to review. Some of my cares seemed like such a big deal, and they really weren't. I wonder if I'll look back years from now and think the same thing.

I feel I am at a crossroads. I can do whatever I want, and I have no idea what I want to do. 

I thought about nursing. I took a CNA class and started working as a nurse aid. I'm seriously questioning this decision. I love the people with whom I work, but I really don't like what I'm doing. Maybe I could do it if I knew I was going to be doing a new job soon.

I've considered an MSW, but I'm not sure it's worth the time and money. I could get a BSN or even an RN, make just as much(or even more) money, and have the opportunity to become an FNP. 

I briefly considered medical school, but didn't like all the unknowns. Plus I like spending time with my kids.

I then revisited being a stay-at-home mom, but I think that's the hardest option of all. I want to have some kind of career.

I thought about bar tending, because of the creativity and social aspect. But I barely drink, and I'm not sure I'd handle super late nights very well.

What do I love to do? I'm not even sure anymore. 

I like to feel like I'm a part of something bigger than myself. I like practical solutions. I like to plan, and I like consistency. I like opportunities to be creative, but I also like boundaries. I'm and ESFJ personality for sure. I like job security. 

I'll probably stick with nursing, but I've got to move up from nurse assistant. Maybe I can do organizing groups of people/nurses. That sounds like something I'd enjoy doing.

That's all. I have to process these thoughts somewhere or I won't be able to sleep tonight. And I need lots of sleep because I'm working 3 nights in a row. But after that I asked to be switched to evenings and I am! So that's encouraging.  And that's all.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How deleting Facebook helped my mental health

I deleted my Facebook the other day. And Twitter. And Instagram. Even Pinterest. I'm currently going through some withdrawals. I'm a little panicked when I think about how I'm missing out on everyone's updates and photos. I miss having instant distraction whenever I feel a little bored. 

But the thing is, I don't need any distractions right now. I recently started CNA training and it keeps me pretty busy. I'm hoping to start work soon after getting my license. I'm also planning to go back to school. I'm thinking about medical school. Not 100% certain on that, but I've signed up for some classes at our local community college. 

I also have two kids. When I'm not distracted by social media, I actually pay better attention to them when I am with them. I am not spending all day with them, so I cherish the time that I do have.

I'm already healing from unhealthy comparisons. I feel much more confident in my decisions because I'm not always weighing them against all the other moms I barely see in person.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Letting Go of Guilt

 My husband and I have been talking about both of us going back to school, and I'm afraid I'm going to be a failure at school or a failure at being a mom. I feel like I'm not going to be a good mom if I don't spend a lot of time with my kids. I feel like I am a terrible mom for allowing anyone else to watch my kids while I get to do something else: go back to school. I feel like I'm being incredibly selfish even considering the idea. I loved the academics of high school and college. I've been dreaming of going back someday, but I thought it could never be a possibility.

I hear so many moms say things:

"I'd do anything to get to stay home with my kids."
"I wish I could have more kids."
"I'm so glad I get to home school my kids."
Dr. Sears and attachment parenting. Charlotte Mason and her ideas about schooling.
And I'm surrounded by stay-at-home moms with no plans to go back to work.

I feel guilty for not feeling the same way. I think maybe it's my pride-if God has called me to stay at home, then I should learn to be content.

I absolutely love and adore my children I love them so much my heart aches and I hold them close and I tell them that I love them often. Even recently I can remember being so happy at home.

But then my husband mentioned that I could be a nurse practitioner. I'm still not 100% confident in my ability to do well in all the classes. I think he has more confidence in me than I do.

And I heard stories about other moms going back to work-even becoming doctors!

Hope grows inside me daily. I have wonderful in-laws who offered to watch my kids as often as we need. I know my kids will be well-loved there. I know that I can pump to feed my baby, and I know that formula is an acceptable supplement if needed. I am not going to feel guilty for these choices.

I don't need to worry.

In the words of an admired friend:

"If God's given you a dream he's given you the grace to be a good steward of it... Our kids need more than caregivers, they need role models.... They need to see us channeling the energy of our life (and the light of God) into the world--- our babies need to always be and feel like our priority but they don't need to be our only thing--- I actually feel like the time we expend to cultivate our giftings and use them in the world energizes us in a way that makes us better parents! "

Friday, March 27, 2015

How my baby sleep trains me

I accidentally attachment parented my first because she needed to nurse all day, every day (or so it seemed). The transition to crib was tough for all of this.

This time I was going to wear my baby, bed-share, nurse on demand, the works.

And then I had my baby.

And he was nothing like my first. And I was nothing like the first time around.

This time, when I could feel myself struggling with my temper because my screaming baby wouldn't stop, I just put him down and took a break. Sometimes he would cry the whole time, but often he would fall asleep.

He's found his thumb. If I can't rock/bounce him to sleep, he usually can calm himself down within minutes.

This past week he's been falling asleep at fairly predictable times. And by 7:30 pm he's usually ready for sleep and stays asleep until around midnight.

Then I usually nurse him next to me and he sleeps next to me until morning.

But the past couple of nights he doesn't want to sleep next to me anymore. He nurses, and then he squirms and kicks and then I put him back in his rock n play and he goes right back into a deep sleep.

This morning he just needed to be burped and then slept in his own bed for another couple of hours. He's been napping beautifully and he's so happy for most of his awake time. He loves to smile and make baby noises.

He's only three months old, so I'm sure I'm in for all kinds of changes. But for now my baby is teaching me about letting him sleep.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What if....extraordinary?

I'm listening to Andy Stanley preach tonight, and it's a good challenge:

What if you decided to be extraordinary in your roles in life? What if you asked yourself, "What would an extraordinary person do?"

If we are Christians, we believe that we matter, that everyone is created in God's image, and should be treated that way.

My heart is broken tonight. There's so much sadness in my tiny little world. Most of the time I can live in my little bubble and pretend everything is peachy.
But there's death, miscarriage, divorce, broken relationships, letters from prison. It hurts my heart to feel the hurt of others around me. To admit my own hurt instead of living in denial.

If we could see us the way He sees us. Would we do what is right in our own eyes? We say it's OK because nobody gets hurt-except somebody always gets hurt. People are valuable, they are not commodities, and they should never be treated as such.

What if I thought before each decision, "If I were extraordinary, how would I act? How would I treat the person (my kids, my spouse, my family, the cashier at the grocery store) if I really believed they are extraordinary?"

I would yell less.

I would hug my kids and my husband more.

I would say, "I love you" and show it as often as possible.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How my baby was born just in time.

This is a story of God's perfect timing. He cares about the little things. He cares about my family and brought August to us at the perfect time. He even orchestrated the events of the day so that I could have the birth story for which I prayed. 

On December 31, 2014, Adara woke up at 2 am crying. This doesn't happen very often, but when I does I get her some milk, let her lay down next to me, and then bring her back to her bed when she is calmed down. This is what I did, but then she woke up again at 4am crying and this time she refused to go back to sleep. This never happens. Alex ended up taking her into the living room and watching TV with her so that I could get a few hours sleep. I then got up and sat with her so that Alex could sleep before he went into work. I got her some "coffee milk" and she fell asleep next to me.

Later that day I did my prenatal yoga, but I didn't clean as much as I sometimes do because I was already feeling pretty tired. I got a shower, Alex left for work, and Adara woke up early from her nap acting very tired and grumpy. I posted this photo and joked that August would come soon because of how ill-prepared I felt today. At this point I was not feeling great, and was even in the early stages of labor. I chalked it up to my lack of sleep and the Braxton Hicks I was feeling on a near-daily basis.
Again, Adara fell asleep in my arms. This rarely happens anymore, and I cherished these moments with her. I'm glad I did, because little did I know these were my last moments as a mom of one.

Meanwhile, my sister-in-law was keeping tabs on me. Apparently she thought the baby was coming soon, even though I was insistent that everything was normal.
While cuddling with Adara, I heard a fairly loud "pop" that was just like when my water broke with Adara-I quickly rushed to the bathroom to find absolutely NO leaking. I googled it, and apparently popping and crackling noises are common in the last trimester. Since it was so obvious when my water broke with Adara's pregnancy, I assumed it was just another weird pregnancy symptom.
I hadn't been very diligent about scheduling my last appointments. I just didn't feel like going in and getting checked-just to me told my baby may or may not be coming soon. I now wonder if I'd gone in that day if this story would have ended up differently.

That evening I spent some time cleaning up and trying to play with Adara. At some point in the evening I gave her a bath. She was splashing a lot and so instead of getting upset, I climbed into the tup with her-this caused instant relief from the pain I was experiencing, and Adara loved pouring water all over my giant belly. Adara was super cooperative the rest of the evening-she helped me wash the dishes, clean up her books, and put away her toys.

Unfortunately I spent at least half the evening in the bathroom because I felt like I had to go ALL THE TIME! Looking back, I should have known that it was labor, despite the fact that I hadn't had the "gush of water" that I had with my first delivery. I spent most of that time reminding myself to relax, and that even Braxton Hicks contractions help prepare my body to give birth. Adara watched "A Bugs Life" and then requested to watch "The Lady and the Tramp." Since it wasn't quite her bedtime-and because at this point I was in pain more often than not-I put the movie in for her and resumed my position at the toilet. As her bedtime drew near, I took her to brush her teeth, bending over the sink to relieve all this terrible back pain I was experiencing. I explained to her that I didn't feel well, so I couldn't sing to her for very long. She lay down with no complaints.

I then decided to lay down to see if this really was labor, or if these terrible Braxton Hicks would finally go away. I decided to clue my husband in on how I was feeling.

Right after I sent that last message I felt a huge gush of warm liquid and I jumped out of bed as fast as possible. I immediately started shaking (excitement, fear) and called Alex. I said, "Come get me now!" He replied, "Ok" and hung up. I accidentally FaceTimed my mom instead of calling, and announced to her (and anyone who could hear my mom's phone at the Musgrove house) that my water just broke. At this point I was feeling really terrible. I dropped my phone during a contraction, and just managed to send one more text message to Alex (at the bottom of the photo).

Alex made it home in record time. He ran to get Adara, and I tried to get clothes on that weren't soaked in amniotic fluid. I started to put on flip flops and Alex said, "You need to put on pants first!" Apparently my mind wasn't thinking all that clearly. He put Adara, her diaper bag, and our duffle bag into the car and we headed to the hospital. Alex explained that his mom is going to meet us there to save time. I told him that I called my mom, but that I forgot to call Callie. He told me not to worry about it.

I had several more contractions on the less-than-ten-minute drive to the hospital. Alex said, "Don't worry-you're good at this! I'm excited-we're having a baby!" I reminded myself to stay calm, and Adara echoed my self-soothing technique, saying, "It's OK Mommy! It's OK!" Having them both talk to me helped me relax despite my discomfort.

Alex parked right next to the emergency room to try to get me in as soon as possible. As God would have it, there was no one in the emergency room when we got there, so Alex carried Adara and walked me up to the fourth floor. We stopped through each of my contractions, and I commented that doctors always say it's good to walk to encourage labor, so it's good that I was walking to the women's floor.

We got to the fourth floor and Alex opened the door with his work badge. He quickly found a nurse and said something about how his wife is about to have a baby. She came over and asked if I could fill out a form. I said I could, explained that my birth plan is in the car, and started filling out the form. I got part way through and then had to stop because of another intense contraction. Alex finished filling out the paper for me, and the nurse directed us to a room. Alex brought Adara down to his mom, and the nurse handed me a hospital gown.

I then spent a good 10 minutes just in the bathroom getting through some contractions. Once I came out of the room my robe lasted about a minute before I took it off. I kneeled on the floor and put my arms on the side of the bed. I swayed a little to help get through the contractions, but I was fast loosing any sense of calm I had when I first entered the room.

I told the nurse I didn't want to do this all-natural anymore. She explained that an epidural required blood work and that it might take some time. I said okay and tried to breathe through my next contraction. Alex came up and I told them both to remind me why I was doing this all-natural again. Alex reminded me that I'm good at birthing a baby. I tried to remember that all-natrual makes the baby come quicker. 

At that point Alex said I stopped making much sense. He said I just kept saying "I can't do this anymore." My main nurse checked me and said I was at a 7. Another nurse came in and said "When you finish a contraction let me know, so that I can put your help lock in." I told her that I was NOT done with the contraction. The nurse tried to strap a monitor around me, and told me that she needed me to get on the bed because she couldn't get a very good heartbeat and they were worried. I told her that I could NOT get up on the bed. She checked me again and said that I was at a 9 (this was maybe 5 minutes after checking me the first time). Shortly after that, I felt an incredible urge to push, and announced that I was peeing all over the floor. Somehow after that the nurses got me on the bed and called the doctor on-call. I was still on all fours on the bed, and the nurses and doctor told me that the baby would come quicker if I could get on my back. I told them that I could NOT get on my back. One nurse calmly came beside me and I wrapped my arms around her and she and the other nurses moved me around. I bear-hugged this nurse and pushed a few more times. I felt like my body was doing something that I had no control over-I just had to do what my body was telling me to do. I yelled to put the bed up so that I wouldn't be flat on my back, and the doctor and nurses calmly explained that they were already doing so. I had my eyes closed almost this entire time, but opened them to see a room full of 3 or 4 nurses and the doctor getting ready to catch the baby. I put my hands on my legs and pushed. I heard a nurse say to breathe, relax, and push one more time. I did, and out he came! 
The doctor asked Alex if he wanted to cut the cord, and he said no. The doctor then said, "Well, then, does Mama want to cut the cord." So I said, "Sure," and cut where she told me, my placenta still inside me. She told me to push one more time to deliver my placenta, and I did no problem. I asked to see it, since I didn't get to see mine last time. The doctor showed me where the baby was in the sack, and where the placenta part was. She checked me and said I had no tearing, only a few abrasions!

I immediately felt that endorphin rush. The nurses weighted August, and then let me hold him. Soon after someone offered me a hospital gown so that I would be covered. Within moments of August being skin to skin, he latched on and began breastfeeding. Alex snapped a couple photos and sent them to family. I felt amazing, relieved, and shocked that my baby was already here.

My mom and Callie arrived shortly after August's arrival. They have been a huge source of help and encouragement. Here's the first news on facebook. 

And here I am with my precious baby! The rest of the hospital stay went great! I did take Motrin because the pitocin and breastfeeding made my uterus contract. This is good, but also painful! I could walk around after giving birth! This was the kind of recovery I'd heard about with a natural birth, and I'm so thankful that everything happened just as it did. I'll leave you all with a few photos from the hospital.