Sunday, March 29, 2009

Indecisive? Perhaps. I call it "Fine-tuning my life"

I've spent the last 2 weeks since returning from KY obsessing over what I want to do. I came back resolute to put my shoulder to the proverbial wheel and get on with school, but I was stressed out about it. I had told myself that if I survived the week away from Sam, I could do the program. And physically, of course, I survived. But I didn't thrive. It was very difficult to be gone and I came home to both kids sick and Sam constipated from a day eating formula. And since then I haven't even had time to order my textbooks! Well, I could have in the last few days but I've been coming to the deciding point.

I realized I was doing school because I had planned to and was frustrated at my level of education, but not because I really wanted to be a NP in the US. I want to increase my skill/knowledge level for working overseas, but that's in our future, not present. And why should I put my family through that when I don't really want to use it? Especially when Sam's a baby, and Natty is essentially too.

I really appreciate the words of encouragment from friends and family. It was wonderful to have Lelia here to talk to when I got back. I know I could do the program. Sam would go into daycare part of the week, I would buckle down and focus and get it done - I'm not intimidated by the reading and writing required. But Sam is just 2 months old! And Natty is going to kindergarten this fall - I don't want to divide my focus like that. School will still be there when I come back to it. And there's other issues like friendships and exercise - I need both for my emotional well-being. But they would get squeezed out and that's not pretty on any level.

The 3 + years in Cordova I was frustrated that I couldn't go to school nor work in "my" field, so when we settled here, I leapt at the chance to go to school. Cool reflection isn't my forte -I'm more of an impulsive optimist. So I tried it, I learned what I needed to know to make my decision and I'm at peace with it.

Speaking of big decisions, we're interested in another crazy house! It never ends.....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Home, home at last!

I come home today! I'm excited. It sounds like Murray, Natalie, Sam and Lelia have done just fine without me - better, in fact, than I've done without them. Murray took half days that unfortunately have been busy and longer than half (more like full days) and Lelia has been amazing (no surprise there!). Natty got a cough so only went to school Monday and Tuesday.

But Aunty Lelia has taken it all in stride. She sounds good whenever I talk to her - relaxed, having fun, etc. I'm in awe. Now I'm even more jealous of Teal because I've seen first hand what a child whisperer Lelia is. It was a hard decision to ask Lelia to stay home with both kids instead of coming with me and Sam, leaving Natty at home. And when I first got here and knew that I could have made it work to have Sam here I was really kicking myself for not bringing him. With her cold and his long work days though, I'm so glad she was home to help Murray out with Natty.

They've gone to Victoria's Station a few times, ballet class, "and all the things we like to do" as Natty used to say. Natty's cough hasn't been too bad, I hear. One parenting trap I fell into was letting her watch a movie in bed when she was sick as a 2 yr old. She has always remembered that. And if I hint she might be sick (and she extends it to owies or anything she can think of) she asks of she could watch a movie in bed! I bet that's been a request for Aunty.

Natty is a big nesting person anyway. A common request is, "Come, look at the nest I made." Or she'll want me to put a blanket over her to snuggle down into when she's on the couch. I wonder what that means career-wise. Bed designer?

This week has given me lots to think about and some skills for the distance learning. But it's been a lot of fluff too. It has been reminiscent of camp as a kid. Since I'm such a task-oriented person, and my task is getting my MSN without killing my family, it's been frustrating to do the "community building" activities when I just want to get the work done and get back to them. But I've met some wonderful people I'll be going to school with and the instructors are very encouraging, which I need. It is a big commitment that I am not sure we (me, Murray and the kids) are ready to undergo right now, quite honestly. But I want to go for it so I'm on my way. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Back to school

I'm writing from Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing in Hyden, Kentucky. 5 days away from home - I can't believe I'm doing it. I knew I would regret not bringing Sam, with Lelia to watch him, but it's good that she's home to help with both Natty and Sam. I always second guess myself. That's part of my dark side and I'm trying to overcome it. I made the decision, here I am and I'd best enjoy the adult time. Thank goodness they have an electric pump - pumping manually on the journey here was a challenge. I left a freezer full of milk, although the word from Quaker Rd is that he's going through it fast. I miss him like crazy! But he's in good hands.

When I talked to Natty on the phone tonight, she asked, "What did you do in school today?" We got to exchange school stories. I remember when my mom went back to school - when I saw how hard she was working and how well she did it was incentive to me to also do well in my studies. I want to be an example for Natty and Sam in many ways, but hopefully a love of learning is a big one.

The story of the Frontier Nursing school is inspiring. Reading about it reminds me of why I got into nursing in the first place. Mary Breckenridge, the founder, was an amazing woman along the lines of Florence Nightengale, Mother Teresa and others. Caring spirit, high energy and amazing administrative capacity. She was from a wealthy family and well educated, like Nightengale, and used her advantages to care for others. She also had a strong faith and it reminds me of how much better I do when my soul is healthy. My Lenten commitment was to go to church every Sunday in Lent. So far so good, and I'm appreciating the services more since I've gone a few weeks in a row.

Another area of my life to promote health in is my physical body. I am such a calmer and more pleasant person when I exercise - especially in the mornings because there is the added benefit of waking up in solitude and quiet, instead of the high morning energy of Murray and Natty. So hopefully I'll be motivated to run in the mornings here to kick start my muscles - then keep it up when I get home. I am in a clothing limbo - prego cloths too big, normal clothes too tight. Maybe I could fit into some items when I return. Woohoo!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New snow!

Life is flying by - I stop to breathe and another week has gone by. Sam is growing so fast - he's like a chia pet. We all swear he smiles at us even though theoretically he can't yet. And man, oh man can that boy eat! I feel like he's constantly eating or asking "More milk, please mom." Thankfully I have a breastfeeding pillow (thanks, Janet!) so I can feed him while I'm on the computer (as I'm doing right now). It makes for difficult, one-handed typing while he's actually nursing but then he falls asleep on the pillow and I can use both hands to type again.

Natalie considers him Her Baby and many of our conflicts stem from restricting her access to him. "You never let me touch my baby!" She is a passionate child and he is her passion. I was expecting jealousy over the attention he's getting (and I'm sure subconsciously there is some of that) but she has a firm handle of her own wonderfulness and sees Sam as an addition, not a threat to her glory - after all, she gets lots of attention as the big sister!

I struggle at times to handle both my darlings. I want the idyllic, peaceful feedings that I had with her as a baby, but she wants to be part of any activity with Sam so she's practically in my lap too, touching his head, playing with his feet, any body part she can reach. I get quite cranky in my pursuit of peace. I resolved yesterday after a particularly difficult feeding (I mean difficult with Natty - Sam was great) to figure out some better solutions. One obvious one is to forget the "Sam and Mom" time and read Natty a book while I'm nursing Sam. This works well, but the feeding last longer than her attention span. It's a step in the right direction anyway.

We are going to go play in the new snow as soon as Murray and Natty get home from running errands. I had a fun ski (my first of the year) home from Marmee and Papa's last night (alone, fresh tracks, dusk - bliss! and man, am I out of shape) and Murray went this morning. The afternoon activity will be a family one and we're not expecting aerobic exercise - unless we go sledding and then the adults will get a workout pulling the sled up the hill.

Hilarious Natty quote of the day: "I'm a child. Childs talk about princesses. You're an adult. Adults talk about Barack Obama"