Musings of the day, in the life of a mom

Time management. What does that make you think of? Perhaps I’m not a very good time manager. The day seems to just slip away. Before I know it, it’s time to get to bed. This is typically when I stop and think. I may be tired, but my brain is still ticking. I believe my body is physically tired, but I’m not mentally tired. Being a mom you may not necessarily be stimulated mentally(perhaps from some mom-life situations, like, “Sweetie, don’t do a headstand on the ottoman. “No, we don’t want to collect and keep all the frogs we find.”).

So I am here to do a brief post tonight as I ponder what my day consisted of.

I may be lax on my time management as I do recall scrolling through Instagram this A.M. I did manage to complete my housework that needed to be done, plus grocery shopping and a quick work out. My children are all alive and well too. I believe it has therefore been a good day, right?

In Memory

As I sit here waiting on the instructor for the neonatal resuscitation program(NRP), my thoughts again drift back in time. Every two years, for the past ten years, I have attended this exact class. Last night I was anxious and couldn’t sleep. It isn’t due to being nervous about taking this class, but to the place that I have to go to take it. It is held at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. On the same floor as my daughter was on. It is held in a classroom on the neonatal intensive care unit(NICU). Some of my readers may know that six years ago, I gave birth, prematurely, to a dark-haired baby girl. We knew(doctors and myself), that my baby girl would have something wrong with her, we just weren’t exactly sure what. When I went into labor at 33 weeks and they couldn’t stop the contractions, she was born. The hospital was concerned about transporting me to the original facility I was supposed to deliver at, the one with the specialty pediatric ward, so I had her at a rural hospital. When she was placed on my chest, she was a beautiful pink color and looked like a perfect little doll. She was also hard like a baby doll. Something was definitely wrong with her. The nurses swept her off my chest onto the radiant warmer next to me. There was a flurry of activity, then they took my baby away. I’m not sure how long it took for someone to come tell me news about my baby, but it seems like an eternity. They told me I was to come to the small nicu area. That Vanderbilt’s Angel team was there ready to transport my baby. They said they never let anyone go back here. That made me nervous to think that they’re letting me and my husband go back. I’m thinking my daughter was in a dire state for them to offer this. They told me that they had given her several drugs to help her and that she was sleeping and may not respond to me. There she was, lying in the radiant warmer, attached to many tubes, she was intubated(a tube down the throat to administer oxygen) and she wasn’t breathing on her own. The staff gently placed her in my arms for me to hold and see her since at her birth, I wasn’t able to. Too soon for me, they took her back. Out to the special ambulance that Angel transport had waiting. They would take her an hour away to the hospital I was supposed to deliver at. I wasn’t able to go with her. It took several hours for me to be discharged. By the time I got to see my daughter again, it was midnight, 7 hours after her birth. The attending doctor we saw that night was absolutely horrible. He pretty much interrogated my husband and I before he let us back to see our daughter. After doing some scans, they noted that she had a severe brain anomaly. We were so tired from the day that we briefly saw her and then went back to the rooms the hospital kindly provided patient’s parents. The next morning, we went back to see her again. An older doctor was there this time. The first words out of his mouth were, “You did nothing to cause what is wrong with your baby. It is not your fault.” I immediately liked this doctor. What a different approach he had than that awful doctor the night before! This doctor kindly and patiently explained his findings. Unfortunately, her cerebellum didn’t form properly during development. The cerebellum is responsible for multiple functions of the body. Which includes breathing and swallowing, two major needs to live. He told us that we could take time to decide what we wanted to do. How long we wanted to keep her on life support. He said that we could keep her on it for as long as we wanted, but said her quality of life wouldn’t be good for an extended period on life support.

The next day, a new nurse was there caring for our baby, Ansley. This nurse had been a former hospice nurse and was amazing. She had me do some care on our baby, like changing her diaper, giving her a sponge bath and changing out soiled clothes and linens. She also helped us make foot and hand cast of Ansley. My husband and I had decided to take her off life support the next day. We wanted family to have time to come visit her while she was alive. It was a hard decision, but we just could see our little baby suffer any longer. She would be lying there, unmoving. Some of it was due to the drugs they were giving her, but she had no motor control of her body. If they hadn’t given her those drugs, she would be in constant contracture(which is when your muscles seize up and won’t release). We took photos of her and loved on her. Family came and went.

The next day came too quickly. I didn’t want to let her go. I held her while they removed life support. Her little heart beat strongly, but she wasn’t breathing now that the tube was removed. It was about an hour before her heart stopped.

Today as I walked out of the big, double doors, at the hospital after my class, I was overcome with sadness thinking that I had carried my baby out these doors. She wasn’t alive when I carried her out. I was able to take her to the funeral home myself.

So, you now see why I get so anxious each time I need to renew this certification. The class is top-notched. That’s why I still go back. But, the memories are strong. This never will go away. I don’t wish them too. The pain isn’t as raw now as it was six years ago, though it is still there, inside of me, like my memories of my precious daughter. In a few weeks, she would be turning six here on earth. My May baby.

Not a journal entry ☺️

Today I didn’t have time to read, pray/meditate, or do my journaling. But, I wanted to hop on here to jot a few things down that I did. Yesterday we had a photographer come to our RV and shoot photos of us. I can’t wait to see how they turned out(and share them with you all)! She did lifestyle photographs of us inside and outside of the RV. It’ll be wonderful to have this time of our lives documented in photographs.Today, my in-laws came to visit as we are only a couple hours away from them currently. Brent and his father went off to search for some family grave sites that his Dad has been searching for for awhile now. My mother-in-law and my three daughters, plus my sister’s boys(she was grocery shopping and going to the chiropractor), walked down to a little creek off of the property we are staying at. The children had fun splashing about in the creek while Mary and I caught up with each other. Brent and Bill found the grave site. Bill was very happy as he’s tried a couple times before to find this. He enjoys documenting and researching his ancestry. Then we all sat down to a delicious dinner of Feijoada, Brazilian black beans. I also made sautéed collard greens and a salad with vinaigrette. I don’t have a particular recipe for any of these dishes. The beans, I believe, are best made with homemade bone broth(preferably from a smoked beer-butt chicken). The salad consists of chopped tomatoes, diced onion, chopped fresh parsley, fresh lime juice, olive oil, a dash of vinegar, salt and cracked black pepper to taste. I like to make this a couple hours in advance so the flavors can meld together. I’ll be back to blogging my daily journal tomorrow and will share some photos of us and our RV as soon as I get them.

Journal Entry No. 13

I don’t usually wait to do what I dream of. I do make sure to look into what I’m passionate about or dream of and research it, if needed.

It took me about two years before going out in an RV fulltime.

As I’ve written in past journal entries, I do wish to travel more internationally. I am going to Cambodia this August, but it is not a trip for pleasure, but to serve the Cambodian people(http://www.lohintl.com). I am still excited to go though!

I have thought of obtaining my master’s of family nurse practitioner, but it won’t behoove me now as I travel and my children are so young, needing help in schooling themselves.

Journal Entry No. 7

#grateful

My family

My friends

Being able to travel

Access to good food and clean water

A vehicle that runs

A nice RV to live in

Freedom in my religious preferences

Right to vote

Running water and electricity

A washer and dryer

Able to do the work I love

Able to homeschool my sweet girls

Heat and AC

Opportunities in my past, present and future

Ability to see and read

Music

Knowledge

The ability to be joyful

Creativity

Sunshine

Dirty and Dry

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We are in Camp Verde currently and it is chilly here! It’s really nice as there’s hiking trails right next to where our coach is parked, as you can see in the photo above.

After spending a month in the warm Phoenix area, the cooler weather is refreshing. We also had rain which we hadn’t seen in a month.

We met so many nice full-time families in Phoenix. We had a great time becoming acquainted and learning their story of why they went full-time on the road. The scenery was so interesting there as well. Very different from where I’ve visited in the past(mostly south east part of the U.S.). Brent loves that there were no mosquitoes around to bite him. It’s so dry and dusty here! Our family did several hiking trails there(only short ones with all three girls). We really relaxed a lot while there. They had a nice swimming pool and hot tub on the camp grounds.

Brent bought a cool portable speaker so we can listen to music outside since he was able to be outside without getting bit.

I’ve been doing the 30 day yoga challenge through Yoga with Adriene this month. I also have continued doing daily, guided meditation. This has been my self-care. It’s nice to do something little like this and not spend a lot of money on self-care(nails done, shopping, etc.).

I do enjoy adding in essential oils or a nice incense to my daily routine. I also love the warm glow of my salt lamp.

I’ve been trying to do more weekly meal planning as it’s hard to put any extra food away in the RV kitchen area. One meal that was a big hit is Ancho Chile Chicken with re-fried black beans and roasted red bell peppers that I found in a magazine I had.

For breakfast, I’ve narrowed down my girls’ choices to: Kodiak Cake mix

Eggs, bacon or sausage(once a week), cereal or smoothies. I typically have a smoothie, oatmeal or eggs with veggies or even leftovers from dinner the night before.

We do our school in the usually in the morning. The girls have enjoyed doing the workbooks I got them and I read aloud to them. We are currently reading the Little House and the Prairie series.

They continue drawing every day and have enjoyed using Art for Kids Hub on Youtube that another full-time family recommended. The drawings they do are amazing from this channel!

We explored Sedona this past weekend and it was amazing! The beauty of the red rocks and landscape were breathtaking. This photo doesn’t do it justice, you’ll have to come see it for yourself.

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We hiked a couple trails at national parks, Red Rock State Park and Slide Rock State Park. Also, we went to the Montezuma Castle. That place I liked for all the vegetation they had labeled there. I learned about so many neat plants that the people there had used medicinally and eaten.

We had originally planned to go see the Grand Canyon, but with the temperatures in the teens and none of us have cold-weather clothing, we are heading back to Tennessee this week now. There, we will catch up with friends and family, go to the dentist, eye doctor and general doctor check-ups. Yes, we still do normal, everyday things like everyone else.

It’s been a great few months exploring different places and I look forward to exploring more in a couple months!

Too long to wait expectantly

Oh my! It has been over a month since my last blog post! I do thank all my readers for being so patient with me. Seeing that having my children home all day and schooling them takes up a good portion of my time that I would otherwise have allotted to work, I am behind on keeping this blog up-to-date.

Since my last post in September, What I have been up to, I have successfully completed the Dr. Sears’ L.E.A.N Expectation training. I am now certified to teach these workshops! For now, I will be offering these workshops via video calls as we have several months of travel planned. We will be returning in March of 2018 and I would like to offer some physical workshops for those in the Middle Tennessee area.

I am excited about this certification since it goes hand-in-hand with my past midwifery work. I am so happy to be able to be involved again working in the pregnancy and post-partum arena!

At the end of September and into the first part of October, the girls and I drove to Lafayette, Louisiana to visit my mother and grandfather. It was so lovely to visit and catch up. A funny thing to note, I didn’t eat much cajun food while there. I did eat a yummy beignet, which I bemoaned the next day as I’m not used to all that sugar, wheat and gluten! We celebrated my mother’s birthday while there and I made a flourless chocolate cake, which was a big hit.

Then back up to Tennessee to drive to Kentucky for a wedding of one of my sister’s. She is expecting her third child in April and I have the honor of attending her birth. We will be parking our RV next to her home as it is almost a 3 hour drive from our home base in Columbia, TN. I am so ecstatic to attend a birth and no less, a new niece or nephew.

After her wedding, we traveled up to Louisville, KY so that Brent could visit some cafes in the area and also my in-laws were taking care of our girls while we went on a cruise.

So, haha, in October, I turned 40! Many say this is a huge land mark in a person’s life. I’m not so sure if I felt it as much as turning 39 last year. For me, 39 was a time of reflection for me. It was the year we decided to fulltime in an RV and I got my first tattoo(one to remember and honor my daughter, Ansley, who died three days after birth).

Back to the cruise now! Brent booked this cruise for my birthday present and he also knew it was something I had always wanted to do. We took a shorter cruise as it was our first, three nights/four days to the Bahamas. Another couple went with us and we all enjoyed the cruise and each other while celebrating my birthday. This was October 19th to the 23rd. We also stayed in Miami, Florida for a day before and after the cruise. We had some amazing Cuban food while there at a restaurant called, Havana 1957. We strolled along the beach front and also enjoyed sight-seeing. We toured Vizcaya, which was lovely, especially if you enjoy antiques and architecture. http://vizcaya.org/

Unfortunately, I did pick up some virus while on the cruise ship. I believe it was due to eating sugar(which lowers the immune system). The desserts offered at the restaurants on the ship were hard to pass up! I don’t regularly eat processed sugar so I am sure my body was having a hard time handling it! So, I spent almost two weeks recovering from this. Now, I am feeling better and will be able to get in the flow of things.

Brent and I also took time to do a “family re-set” plan with Mama Says Namaste. I would highly recommend this to all! It really helped us prioritize what each other means to us and what our family means to us. Go here to read more about her coaching packages:   https://www.mamasaysnamaste.com/coaching/

In December, we leave for Florida to stay at a campsite for the month in Orlando. We will be taking the girls to Disney for their Christmas present. From there, we will drive to San Antonio, TX to explore the area and surrounding it. Then we head to Phoenix, Arizona for a month. We will need to return by the beginning of March to await for sister’s birth. On our way back, we will stay in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which my mother and her family lived for many years when she was a child.

I hope that I will not keep you wonderful readers waiting as long as I did this time!

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What I have been up to

Hello all you lovely readers!

I have been in Kentucky for the past month, staying on a small farm in our RV. It was an enjoyable time there and we had many fun-filled, educational days. If you’re ever in the Louisville, KY area, check out Hillerich Family Farm for some delicious fresh vegetables(their Canary melons are to die for)! https://beechmontky.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/get-to-know-your-farmer-the-hillerich-family/

My three daughters enjoyed gathering and cleaning chicken eggs to sell at the farm stand which they earned some money for doing, picking vegetables from the gardens and going to the farmer’s market to see first-hand the selling of what they helped pick. They experimented with making different vegetable dishes with kale, various colors of beets and melon. At one of the farmer’s market, they saw quails and the vendor had quail eggs to buy. My 8 year old was excited to use the quail eggs as she had seen these videos on You Tube with tiny cooking. She made a tiny cake, which she cooked over a candle flame.

Quial eggs

For schooling, we experimented with different types of slime and gloop recipes. http://www.learning4kids.net/2012/05/02/how-to-make-gloop/  I used tapioca starch as that’s what I had on hand.

The one slime recipe that they prefer is one we made at a little library in a tiny town in north Georgia in June while we camped there. It was on a rainy day and perfect for getting out of the cramped RV space. This one is the same recipe you may try out: http://www.ssww.com/blog/how-to-make-slime-a-safer-recipe-for-kids/

Today we will be trying out floam(yes, still trying out these sensory things!). http://parentingchaos.com/diy-floam/ I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I also purchased an online cooking course for the children. It has been great so far. Here is what I bought: https://kidscookrealfood.com/open/, if you’d like to check it out for your children. There’s beginning, intermediate, and advanced courses. I like that she incorporates a true lesson into each video. My girls have had fun cooking and learning new skills. Check out my IG page for pictures of them showing off their skills.

It was a fun month in Kentucky visiting with family and friends. It’s always sad to leave, but knowing we are able to come back to visit anytime, is great!

We are back in Tennessee now where we have a “base camp”(which is full-hookups) set up on my parent’s property. This has been nice to have so we don’t have to continuously book out RV campsites. It’s nice to visit friends and family around here too!

It does always take us a week or so to get back in the groove it seems. I started off using an online program for the girls for their schooling at home called, https://allinonehomeschool.com/, but I have been recently looking into Charlotte Mason. This is our first full year of schooling at home, so it is kind of a trial run on what works and what doesn’t for our family. We so far have been incorporating unschooling and some structured schooling. With different learning styles in both older girls, I am trying to see how best to “teach” them.

If you school at home, what have you found to work best for your family?

I am also in the midst of a six week health coach training through Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. I will be done in two weeks! Check it out, if you want to learn more: https://www.drsearswellnessinstitute.org/health-coach-certification/

Well folks, that’s all for today and I will be writing more, especially after I’m done with this training. Thanks for reading and I am thankful for all my readers!

 

 

 

 

Moisturize your Body

If you live in a colder climate, during the winter months it can be extremely harsh on your skin. I know my skin suffers during these cold months. I have a few favorite moisturizers that I stock up on for the winter months. I also make sure to drink plenty of water, eat healthy fats and oils. My threee favorite moisturizers are Jason aloe lotion, Plexus body cream, and Trader Joe’s moisturizing cream.

The Jason aloe one is nice with the aloe in it to help seal in moisture and its unscented.

The Plexus body cream has spirulina and activated charcoal in it. The activated charcoal helps work against age-advancing toxins and impurities. The spirulina aids in detoxing. It has a light feel and I will use it on my face.

The Trader Joe’s moisturizing cream is very emmolient and keeps my hands soft for quite some time. I like to use it on very dry areas of my body and my hands are one that needs the extra moisture! With all the hand washing from taking the toddler to the potty, to washing dishes, to cleaning up messes all day, my hands are in water all day long it seems.

Drinking half your body weight in water is vital, especially in the winter when the heat is blowing dry air constantly and when the skin is exposed to the harsh, cold air outside.

I try to make sure to consume good quality olive oil(don’t cook with it, only use it in salads or to drizzle some over foods!), avocados, unsalted nuts, and salmon are all great to help keep the skin healthy.

What are your favorite ways to stay moisterized in the winter?

 

 

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No Guilt

I know many of you feel guilty indulging in the yummy foods and goodies that are all around us during the holidays. I’m sure like me this morning, you awoke feeling not your best. Perhaps feeling sluggish this morning. Tired from the celebrations, tired because of the not-so-healthy foods consumed, and a bit mentally exhausted too.

I am here to tell you, there’s no guilt needed. You enjoyed your day and today is a new day to start fresh.

To make sure you’re starting your morning off healthy, make up a hot smoothie. I made a hot orange, ginger, carrot smoothie from http://kitchensanctuary.com/2014/10/orange-carrot-and-ginger-hot-smoothie-week-4-of-my-hot-smoothie-saturday-series-for-october/

Like many of you, I am tired and did not create my own recipe this morning. I chose this one with oranges for two reasons. One is that while visiting my grandfather and parents in Louisiana last week, I was given a huge bag of fresh oranges, satsumas, and grapefruits. These all came from my grandfather’s back yard. They weren’t the prettiest, but they are home-grown and pesticide free! The satsuma oranges are so sweet, juicy and brightly colored! I wanted to incorporate these delicious, fresh fruits into my morning.

The second reason I chose this recipe was that it is loaded with vitamin C from the oranges and lemon. The ginger in it helps with so many things, but the gingerol that is present in fresh ginger, can help with lowering the risks of infection and we all know at this time of year, ourselves and our children tend to get sick. The carrot is full of healthy nutrients as well. Honey is great, especially if you choose local honey as it may help with seasonal allergies. Also, the hot water and lemon combination is so good for your body! It helps balance your body’s pH, flushes out your liver(hello holiday cocktails!), and stimulates your gastrointestinal tract. As you can see, this is a powerful combination of nutrient-rich foods, a great way to start your morning, every morning, but especially after indulging during a holiday.

So, enjoy your no guilt Monday and be renewed and refreshed with a tasty hot smoothie!