I sometimes forget that a whole bunch of you like to know what's going on around our house because, you know, we live so far away.
Tim is working 80-120 hour weeks lately. What's he doing?
Producing a 5-track "single" for Confidential to sell at the Harmony Sweepstakes Finals
Recording and producing a couple of tracks he wrote at StarFest backstage that were HUGE hits there
Competing, winning, and prepping for the same H.S. Finals with Plumbers of Rome
Rehearsing his tail off to sing with Confidential as their tenor sub (yes, I KNOW he's usually a bass/bari, but his tenor voice is really incredibly beautiful).
Performing everywhere he can with his solo show AND his 3 groups that are performance-ready
Rehearsing with the other groups to get them performance-ready
Preparing to produce 6 videos on a contract that is just coming through (details get nailed down Tuesday)
Running sound for other groups when he has time
Hosting Karaoke a couple nights a week
Keeping up with emails and phone messages
Responding to ads looking for performers (like for Charity events and stuff)
Puzzling over "normal" management problems like how to get this singer to look good on stage (how do you costume that person?!), how much to push (or not) that singer or whole group, managing the calendar and casts, and considering whether he wants to take on that group, too, and under what circumstances, spending time listening to the people in his groups talk about stuff in more casual settings--especially after shows.
Attending other people's performances--Tim considers this a very important part of his job; he's always a student of what is going on in his field
Updating his online store (to sell more of his stuff)
Updating his website, which was hacked last month and didn't recover exactly how he wanted it artistically (although Glen Sawyer managed to rescue all the data and the structure, so that was FANTASTIC) and also considering some suggestions I had for it (really them--he has a bunch of websites!)
Having longish discussions with me about where we want things to go, how to solve problems that come up, and generally keeping me posted
Booking venues for summer concerts in Utah
Polishing up his show for the summer concerts in Utah
Singing bass as a paid choir member in a choir down in Denver that is preparing to perform "Carmina Burana"
Strategizing and preparing for various significant (or not) auditions that are coming up--which cast members from which groups to take, which groups to take in general, how to present the material, etc.
Moving equipment into and out of the van. I assume he does something with it when he drives it away, but he seems to spend an inordinate amount of time moving stuff.
Regular old maintenance on his office (cleaning, etc.) and his "stuff" (costumes, props, and sound equipment that must be maintained).
Plus I think next week he's helping a good friend (and extremely talented sound guy) move his studio and set it up in a new space down in Denver.
That's in addition to the laundry (he folded it ALL today and is the only one who does it anymore), church, cub scouts (he's the assistant Webelos leader for the ward), eating, sleeping, exercising, recovering from a back injury last week, spending time with us being a husband and father, and taking up what he can of the stuff I've dropped lately (which is everything).
Tim has the car almost all day almost every day.
So the kids are I are at home. The computer Caleb was using for his projects died (I think it's the power supply--it was moaning and groaning for a few months there; but it might be the power switch--it was being tricky to turn on for a while, too.). So he's been "borrowing" my computer, much to my consternation. I have such a hard time saying to him, "No. You can't learn how to program computers because I want to read the news!" He's a good sport--he gets off whenever I want it. And I finally reclaimed my rocking chair. But I'm struggling to get school done (which we did on my computer) and keep up with my novel (which I had just gotten back into!).
Still, Caleb is doing cool things. He's learning how to "code" as he says, and he's creating his own RPG (role playing game, I think that means) from scratch this time--not modifying someone else's or even basing it on theirs. He's created characters, settings (including maps, scenes, interiors and exteriors of buildings, etc), plots, subplots, dialogs, etc in a way that most 3rd grade teachers WISH their students would engage in. It's cool.
Anda thought it was cool, too, so she's making one, too. Totally different from Caleb's, but cool still. And, since they're creating new-from-scratch things, Daniel and Benji both had to have maps to make, too, so they are. And, consequently, I spend a LOT of time watching kids walk me through the _whatever_ they just created and pointing out how it really is different from last time they showed me ten minutes ago.
Normally, this wouldn't last long because I would be rushing off to work on something else or unable to stand there and look at it and pay attention long enough.
But lately, it's not like that.
See, this pregnancy has completely wiped me out in a way no pregnancy has before. All I do, quite literally, is get out of bed and try not to throw up, dress myself, rest in my chair, fix meals, rest in my chair, wash a single load of dishes (in my magic no-need-to-rinse-even-if-the-food-is-baked-on dishwasher) and then go back to bed, where I stay as long as I possibly can (10-12 hours if the kids will let me). Then we start over. The toddlers are going undressed except for diapers (and even not them for Benji, who is casually potty training himself). The big kids are dressing themselves. Kids are down to one bath a week. We're mostly eating out of cans and the things that good samaritans (most of whom have no idea I'm pretty much chair-bound now) have been bringing "just because I thought you might need a meal today" (which we usually did). If I had frozen pizzas and burritos, we'd be eating them three meals a day. It's that kind of a time. And with Tim not home, the house is worse than usual. But nobody seems to mind.
If I DON'T focus on doing nothing--if I try to go about a normal mommy day instead of just resting and eating (both as much as possible), I find that three things happen a) I get incredibly, abusively angry at everything and everyone, b) I get a nasty combination of despair/anxiety/depression that makes me lose all faith in God and in Tim and also think everyone hates me, and c) my fibro, which is MUCH worse this pregnancy anyway, is out of control (which then exacerbates the other two).
Since NONE of those is okay with me, I just rest and eat and feed kids and that's pretty much it. I haven't even made it to church, and it's a good thing we've gotten food from the bishop's storehouse (and Tim has picked it up) or we'd be starving for lack of shopping. And then, just resting and eating, I'm actually really quite calm and happy.
What I've found is that being still--just sitting there at eye level to a kid all day--can be magic for a mommy. The kids talk to me more. They show me what they're working on. I'm available and in the school/playroom all day, and they know it so they come there, too. They climb into and out of my lap all day. We nap together in the rocking chair. I read to them. We sing--a LOT. The kids play with each other more because their needs for me are satisfied, so they don't have to follow me around and be underfoot. Even Nathanael, who has been so clingy for so long, is starting to play by himself or run off with the kids because he knows he can get me as much as he needs me. I feel CONNECTED to everyone's hearts. And I remember how much I love being a mommy (even though, before I had any babies, I somehow got the idea that smart women always hate motherhood). Sitting around looking into kids' eyes all day is incredibly satisfying.
It's not that I didn't listen and spend time with the kids before. I did. But it's different when they're talking to you when you're doing the dishes. It's different when you're spending time together going to the park or in the yard. It's different when there is a steady stream of instructions coming out of your mouth in between listening (Dan is telling you about the dream he just had, and in the middle, you're calling out things like, "Caleb, you left your shoes in the middle of the kitchen!" "Benji, give that back to Nathanael." "Anda, did you need help with that math assignment? Wait just a minute, Dan is telling me something.....").
Doing less of everything else leaves me with more of the things that matter: the kids, the scriptures, Tim, my own mind (oh, I'm getting LOTS of writing and quilting projects moving along, plus having quiet time in my own soul--it's never really quiet in a house of 5 kids and a musician!--to ponder, which has been SOOO valuable right now). With less motion in my life, I've found that I have more time to hear the Spirit, and therefore less worry about things I can't control anyway, and a greater sense of peace and calm and reassurance even in the face of what looks like disaster.
I'm not miserable. I'm tired. I would gladly sleep all day if I could (physically, I probably could; the kids just won't let me). But I'm not unhappy with this change in my lifestyle. It took a little getting used to, but I'm SO glad to have the chance to re-set my focus.
And to discover that being still and doing less is the most important thing I've ever done.