Saturday, July 31, 2010

When did I turn into one of "those" moms?

I make all our bread from scratch.
Wary of chemicals, preservatives, dye.

And now considering having my next baby at home?

When did I turn into one of "those" moms?

None of these were "cultural" decisions, though. To me, they are well-thought-out decisions that might fly in the face of popular culture, but I feel like I have good reasons.

So why a home birth?

Well, I've had 5 in the hospital, and I started thinking about my experiences. I made a mental list of all the things I am NOT looking forward to.

First of all, I am pretty set against having an epidural this time. I've had five so far. ALL 5 had side effects I didn't anticipate and didn't like, ranging from severely swollen feet for a week to a spinal headache for a week (and another they patched). One epidural left me getting shots to keep my heart going and put my baby in the NICU for 24 hours. Two of them left me with numb spots on my lower body that didn't regain their sensation for six full months (so I'm a little worried about permanent nerve damage). The recovery at the epidural site for at least 3 of my babies was actually months longer than the recovery from the childbirth. Plus I end up having to get pitocin after every epidural, and usually the epidurals don't take evenly all over my body, which leaves me either dead numb on one side, or feeling things on the other. At this point, I'm more afraid of the epidural than the labor pains, so I've decided to try a natural childbirth.  If I could get a legitimate walking epidural, I'd probably change my mind. I actually really like how it works when the epidural has almost taken effect--I can feel everything but the pain in my belly, and I can still walk and shift my position, etc.

Besides, I've noticed over and over that women who have natural childbirths recover a lot faster than women who have epidurals.

So what else am I dreading?

The IV--it interferes with my ability to move around during labor, gets in the way of nursing and bonding with my baby after its born, and hurts the whole time I have it. Plus the IV site hurts longer than anything involved in the actual childbirth. And having a needle constantly sticking into me makes me woozy.

The hospital beds--the beds, plus the lack of ability to squirm around when you're in labor and having a baby, leaves me with no comfortable place to be. For someone else, this might be a minor discomfort. For me, it triggers and then exacerbates fibromyalgia pain to the point that it's screaming. The fibro pain is actually worse than any labor pains I've felt so far, and being forced to stay in the bed (they "SAY" you can walk around, but they really don't want to clean up the mess, actually, so they panic if you get out of bed) makes it much worse. I am in severe, screaming fibro pain the entire time I'm in the hospital, with no relief (because pain meds don't touch fibro pain in most cases). I dread this more than anything else--especially since this has been a bad fibro pregnancy anyway, and I already am only marginally functional. When Fibro is flaring, contact of any sort can be painful, and staying in one position is excruciating, and I recover slowly from injury (for example, I had my blood drawn 3 days ago for my pregnancy labs, and my whole arm still aches and the needle site hurts, too). So I need to be in an environment where I am in as much control as possible of everything around me that touches my body or my senses (including lights and sound)--and hospitals don't give you that.

No sleep.  Thus far, with every baby, I've literally had a couple of hours of sleep for the entire 32-50 hours I'm in the hospital.  Right after you have a baby, the thing you need MOST is sleep. Everyone complains about not getting sleep in the hospital. Try doing it with a sleep disorder! My "night" is from 4:00 am until 2:00 pm. During that time, the hospital always asks me to talk to pediatricians, make important decisions, eat meals, evaluate my pain levels, get a massage, and just generally be awake. The day nurses are required to do things like take your blood pressure every 2 hours. All "night."

Wires and tubes interfering with my ability to nurse, care for a new baby, etc.  They leave that stupid blood pressure cuff on, pinching my arm every so often, for 24 hours. Plus IV tubes, catheters, etc. It really gets in the way! And they are so patronizing if you complain, and they panic if you just refuse to keep them on--I've had nurses bully me. I thought I was a grown up?

The high beds and high bassinets. I can't get out of bed to get the baby after it's born. I can't get back into bed. I can't reach the baby from my bed. I can't safely put the baby in bed with me to nurse it. There is no comfortable chair to settle into to receive visitors and nurse.

Worrying about the kids a) running off and getting lost or b) breaking things when they come visit the hospital.

The food. Hospitals always want me  to eat inedible food or food I really am not interested in. After a baby is born, I want popsicles, applesauce, juice, sorbet, etc. I don't want to be pressured into eating stuff that sounds yucky or be criticized for not doing so. I don't want to be in trouble for wanting food at the "wrong hours" or have my dinner taken away because it wasn't eat by 7:00 pm when I eat dinner at midnight on a normal day. Actually, most of my meals get taken away because they want me to eat two of them in the middle of my night, and one right when my kids want to visit.

I always worry about the kids having to be with a babysitter for 24-48 hours.  We run our lives so different from most people, it's traumatic for the kids to be with a "normal" person for a long time like that. Not only that, then a "stranger" sees our house and our lives for what they are (and that's hard on me, especially since we have had no family in the state for most of our babies).

I hate the medical interventions when none are called for. I hate having nurses check my progress in the middle of a contraction without my permission. I hate that they always want to put an internal monitor on the baby--a needle in the baby's scalp, which hurts the baby (even though they say it doesn't, it does. I feel that kick.)

I hate having to ask permission to do things like go potty. Sheesh. There is no dignity in childbirth.

Oh, and labor pain. I'm dreading that.

So I looked over the list and realized that 90% of what I am dreading about having a baby is actually the HOSPITAL, not the birth of a baby. Then I looked at the complications we've had in the past, and, while two of the babies were in distress and really needed to be induced in a hospital setting, most of the complications we've had were actually caused by the medical interventions in the hospital (specifically, the epidural).

So I started looking into home birth. I would still have to clean the house, but at least a midwife is used to alternative lifestyles! I would still have to do the labor and delivery pain--and with no option to back out like I'd have in the hospital.  But I could control my own fibro, schedule, and food. I could stay in a comfortable environment. I think it would be a better experience and, more importantly, the recovery would be faster. Plus the hospital is literally right around the corner, so if there was a problem, the midwife would be able to send me over there without any problem.

So we're asking the questions. Where would I want to labor and deliver in the house? Water birth, or no? What to do with the other five kids? Could we find a midwife that would let us trade for services since we can't afford $3000 and medicaid doesn't cover home births--and what would we trade? Can I have quite a lot of control over things with a midwife--or do I have to do the whole homeopathy/energy medicine thing, too, which I don't believe in? Can I get a midwife to hurry things along--strip my membranes and then break my water--like a doctor will, or will they really let me sit in labor for 47 hours or pregnant for 42 weeks, neither of which I'm in favor of? What of the care babies get in the hospital is really important (like the vitamin K shot?), so would we be missing any of that care? What about screenings babies get in the hospital? How do you get a birth certificate for a home birth?

Most of those questions a midwife could answer easily. I just need to start meeting them, I think, and pick one I like, and then go from there.

So yeah, I guess I'm one of THOSE moms.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Benji's Logic

Benji: "I need a diaper."
Me: "You don't need a diaper. You can pee in the potty. You're big. Just like Dad. He pees in the potty."
Benji: "I not Dad. I Benji. I need a diaper."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Did I just read that?

These typos cracked me  up. From Denver Craigslist today: "WE ARE HIRING PERFORMERS , for private parties skate boarders ,acrovats,magitians, actors give us a call for more info ,send picture and contac information and a description of your experience as performer "

I wonder what show an acrovat might put on? Magitian?

(Gosh, I 'm so mean!)

First Dr. Appt, baby number 6

I'm not so faithful at going to the OB now that I've had a few babies. But I did better with this baby than the last one. Last time I didn't go in until 30 weeks. This time, I went in at 20.

Officially:  Baby is due Dec 15.

Baby has a heartbeat.

Baby hates the doppler wand pushing on it, and moved away as much and as quickly as possible.

Baby is measuring 2 weeks ahead, which I guessed (I've had all the milestones happening 2 weeks ahead all along).

Ultrasound on Aug 10 to find out if it's a boy or a girl. Everyone's votes so far are coming in girl because I was so sick for so long.

We shall see.

Nine years of motherhood

Nine years of motherhood, and what have I learned?  Lots of stuff, including.....

That 3 year olds sometimes want you to undo actions that can't be undone.

That 8 year olds really are different from 7 year olds.

That most things pass on their own, and too much effort on my part can complicate things.

That problems (especially behavior ones) should be dealt with swiftly and early--little problems are easier to solve than big problems.

That the more natural food you feed your kid, the calmer your family life is.

That it's extremely frustrating being powerless, and kids appreciate it when you recognize that (especially when they can't even tell you what they want!).

That kids' impressions of, feelings toward, and treatment of other people is a reflection of your feelings, impressions, and actions, even when the kids get big. If you want your kids to treat their father kindly and with respect, perhaps you should, too! If you want them to listen to you, perhaps you should listen to them.

That if you want your kid to have a testimony, you have to let them get it the same way everyone does (scriptures and prayers!).

That sometimes the mud is worth it. No--most of the time.

That you really don't need a TV. But sometimes putting on another video really is a lifesaver.

That a messy floor isn't the end of the world.

That kids understand and are trying to communicate from before birth, and they value people who recognize that (even when they're 2 months old).

That a tired mom is grouchy.

That a happy mom is a better mom, so it's a service for everyone in the family if I put myself first in some ways and make myself happy (by eating things I like, by taking time to write, by playing or resting when I need, and by not being a slave to my environment or my assumption of others' expectations of me).

That 3 1/2 year olds are easier to potty train than 2 year olds.

That kids learn at their own pace--and you should let them.

That lots of kids means more time for me--they entertain each other so I don't have to!

That a rocking chair and a lap are better treatments for problems than almost anything else, including "discipline."

That ice cream first, dinner second is the proper order of things when everyone is falling apart and fighting.

That when a kid is really misbehaving or falling apart, they are unhappy and need your love and hugs more than a swift kick in the butt, even though the kick is the most natural response.

That reasoning trumps behaviorism for long-term results in kids.

That kids do actually learn to sleep through the night without being "taught" or forced, and without tears.

That gross is a lot less gross than it used to be.

That I can't do everything--and it turns out it's not important to.

That smart kids make messy houses. Or is it the other way 'round?

That kids want to hear stories from my past.

That kids learn respect from being respected, not from being forced to fear.

That kids naturally like to work--when the project has value or interest to them. The trick is to make things valuable and interesting, not to "teach them to work."

That kids enjoy me feeling excited about things and loving things and having interests and talents--even if they are different from the kids' own interests and talents.

That messes don't really matter as much as we think our neighbors think they do.

That there are more moms with messy houses than moms with clean houses, but we all pretend it's the other way 'round.

That kids learn responsibility by a) observation of their parents and b) allowing natural consequences of things (and I don't mean the natural consequence that I imposed on you), and that reasoning, respect, and responsibility are all tied together and best not forcefully and falsely imposed on children.

That I really can be more patient than anyone ever thought I could be (including me!).

That my kids and your kids are different, so my way and your way of mothering are different, and that's how it should be.

That emotional honesty (with yourself and your children) has far better results than anything else.

That God cares about my kids more than I do, and He will help with this whole mothering thing.

That kids are worth more than any job or any success I ever aspired to (or had), and that I never would have guessed how fun and satisfying being a mom is.

Survived another birthday

My oldest child turned 9 today.

That means I've been a mom for 9 years.

That's weird.

I got him a pocket knife. Seemed like a completely reasonable thing for a 9 year old to own. But then the lady at the store said I had to be over 18 to purchase it, and my other kids found it in the presents we were wrapping and they made me ask Daddy if it's okay to give to a 9 year old. Guess it's a different world than it used to be. I thought 9 years old was actually a little old for a first pocket knife!

We also got him a bunch of books (mostly classic children's lit like "Dr. Doolittle" and "the Book of Three". He was excited to discover that "Homeward Bound" was actually a book first, and that we'd give that one to him, too). Reading lights. A laptop we got free and my brother (computer whiz!) made work despite the crashed hard drive. You know, stuff. When Tim said, "Here's a box for your toys," to Caleb, Anda (7 yo) piped up with, "They aren't toys, Dad. They're real."  I guess 9 years old is too old for toys, even if they're magic sets and juggling balls.

And we survived another birthday. Balloons. Decorations. A cake. Blew out the candles only twice this time. One candle self-destructed, flaming huge and melting itself to nothing while we sang. I've never seen that happen before! No tears, to speak of. Hooray. Plus I got a jump on the next birthday, buying presents that I put away for now.  So that might be easier (since Tim might be on a ten-day tour leading up to that birthday!).

Hooray for 9 years of motherhood!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home Again

First, we drove from Boise to Provo. Then the kids and I rested while Tim worked from midnight until noon finishing a project in a studio in Provo. About when we woke up, he dropped into bed and slept 5 hours. Meanwhile, I collected our stuff from around my mom's house and visited with family for a short time. When Tim got up, we packed and packed our stuff out. One more load to go, it appears! (the large, awkwardly-shaped things didn't fit).

Then, at 9:45 pm, we left my mom's house. And we drove and drove and drove and drove. I don't know how Tim stayed awake. I couldn't. I couldn't sleep, either, for pain and car sickness. So it was a pretty miserable trip home. We got here at 7:00 am (or so), and took an hour to unload the car and get the kids first wiggled out and then settled down.

I got to sleep at 8:00 am and didn't sleep long enough. Tim had to go to a show, call time around 9:30 in Denver. So he didn't get to sleep until after the show--he got home at 3:45 pm and dropped into bed by 4:00 pm, having been going for well over 2 days on 5 hours of sleep.

And I, who slept some, am totally beat. I can hardly function here. I got into the house and had lots of plans of what projects to work on next to get the place looking really pretty, but I ended up moving computers around and then pooping out. Tim's still out cold, thankfully. Hopefully he can sleep 17-18 hours!

And everyone thinks the life of a musician is so glamorous!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

moosebutter and Moving On....

Friday was a work day for Tim (and for me, some. It always is when I come down to shows).

He had to collect people from the airport, introduce cast members who had never met and run rehearsals so they could sing together, set up sound and do the sound checks (always trickier when it's an outdoor venue--they never sound good for all-vocal groups).  We thought: boring workday. Typical. Nothing special.

Brother-in-law and nephew thought: a chance to see what a touring band does for real.

They thought it sounded really cool. We couldn't see why. This was baffling. Just as baffling as the fact that the neighbor boy wanted to come over to meet Tim. Why would a kid want to meet Tim? He's not famous. Really.

Anyway, it took me a little while to grasp that the mundane normalcy of our life is kind of exotic to most people (especially ones who live 9-to-5 kinds of lives). So Brother-in-law and nephew went along as moosebutter gathered and prepped the show.

Then sister-in-law and nieces and all my 5 kids started out several hours later to do my part of the job. First, collect food for everyone (7 pizzas this time, which pretty much got devoured despite the group having been fed by the venue AND having gone to lunch for some get-to-know-you time).  Feed the kids and then find the dressing room/green room (this time in a nearby building because the show was an amphitheater show on BSU campus). Tim ran past (literally) and asked for batteries for the mics. Normally my job, I was glad to hand the cash to sister-in-law and let her do that one. It's not easy to find a store with 5 kids in a strange city, but this is her home turf, so it was an easy job for her.

In the green room, everyone extra sat down while Tim and the guys went to work and so did I.

The guys' job: finish dressing and run (again) the last few tricky numbers that could potentially trip them up the most.  My job is to catch loose ends: fix up the comp list, track down missing whatevers (batteries, pitch pipes, water, etc). It's also to give final feedback to the guys. Sometimes it's songs, pitch, sound mixing, notes from the last show. Sometimes it's being a house manager, handling ticketing and audience issues and working with the venue (which is, generally speaking, a pleasure--people who work in venues are fantastic). Sometimes it's being a go-between, running errands between rooms or between the guys and the sound guy or the guys and the venue. This time it was costumes (we had two sets: mixed or all matching?).

I used to do a lot more, but during all of that I'm also doing regular mom stuff getting 5 kids under 9 ready to sit through a show (or TWO shows in this case)--so potty breaks, drinks, making sure everyone understands the rules of whatever venue we're at, finding appropriate seating (where 5 kids won't distract too much), etc.

So we headed over to the amphitheater and made our way up to the grass at the top. The amphitheater was already full of over a thousand color-coded teenagers, there for a week-long summer camp for LDS teenagers.  My kids found seats, and we set up lawn chairs and strollers up above the top row of teens.

And the show went on. Moosebutter did a fine job. They aren't as young as they used to be, and I've seen that show hundreds of times, so I was really taking notes on things instead of enjoying the show. But the kids in the audience seemed to enjoy it. Richard Steighner, the guy who was singing bass AND percussion, was BRILLIANT. He has more "sounds" than any vocal percussionist I've ever heard, either live or in recording. He's the first percussionist whose solo didn't bore me. He's really incredible.

Part way through the show, my 4 yo came up and said, "Can we go home now?" 3 yo was already running up and down the rows of teenagers giving every person "five"--he made it clear across three rows, some more than once, before I caught him. Not long after, 1 yo got fussy, 7 yo came up and started coloring with crayons instead of watching the show, and eventually even 8 yo was ready to go. Before the show ended.

After the first show, we dashed down to the stage and let the kids run, fed the guys again (pizza and grapes), finagled more water for the guys (it was HOT), gave a few notes (I usually bite my tongue, saving most of the notes just for Tim so he can pick and choose what are notes just for him and what are notes for everyone). And then back up to the top for the second show.

Second show of the night was for a college-age LDS audience. Since most of the college-age LDS kids were counselors at the teen camp, the audiences was skimpy--50 people or so. So moosebutter ran the show more relaxed, doing an extended (and really good) requests section. Richard is really skilled with requests, and since the bass/percussion is the backbone of requested songs (which the guys often are making up on the spot), it was really fun. There were some great comic moments. The guys do hilarious Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Lady Gaga bits. My favorite are when they take 6-12 requests at once and blend them all together. Fantastic fun.

They ended with a disco medley that was incredible. I've seen them do this before, but this time it was the first time I've actually wanted to dance to a cappella music. It's been my complaint for years that a cappella music is never danceable, when it should be.

After the show, the usual hangups. We sent some people home in the van with sister in law, but couldn't fit all of us. So the two littlest kids and I stayed to help/watch clean up. It wasn't hard to break everything down, but in the meantime, someone had locked not just the dressing rooms but the entire building they were in. So all the clothes, the keys to the car, everyone's computers, etc. were locked up. It took a long time to sort that out (and, bless his soul!, Richard did it instead of Tim having to do that, break down sound, clean up, deal with the contact person for the show, etc.).  There had been some miscommunication somewhere along the lines and there were no sleeping accommodations arranged for the guys. Sister in Law volunteered her house, where we were sleeping. So Richard came back and slept there. The other two guys had met some girls (they're single, and this is actually really common after shows--although I doubt the girls realized that), so they went to hang out and then spent the night at one their aunt's house near the airport.

Eventually, we got everything worked out and headed home. Got there before midnight (translate this to mean: it was a smooth load-out and things moved pretty quickly). Then we sat up eating ice cream and talking for a long time. It was fun.


Woke up and packed up and drove down to Lehi, UT again to crash at my  mom's house for the night. At least, me and the kids are crashing for the night. In the midst of our trip to ID, a contract Tim's been working on was renegotiated, and he has to spend all night tonight editing video, and maybe most of tomorrow, depending on how smoothly things go.

Then we drive most of the day tomorrow because Tim has a show in the morning on Monday in Colorado.

Not looking forward to that drive. Today's drive was 2 hours shorter than tomorrow's will be, and I was in serious fibro pain for 4 hours of it. Hopefully a good night's sleep will help (minus the stresses of a show).

Kuna, ID

Kuna, ID:

They have a "Lineman's University" there. No, not football. Telephone and electrical wires. There's even a field full of telephone poles--I assume a practice field? We got a kick out of that. 

On the same road, there's a castle. It's a little astonishing to drive past fields and stereotypical red barns and farm houses, and then a castle. That was a surprise.

My daughter LOVES animals and was really excited by all the signs in Boise about a "Birds of Prey Conservation Area," so we asked Tim's sister about it. She took us out there. We drove out past the farmland into scrubland. It was so dry, so vast, so forbidding that I kept thinking, "Who on earth came out here and said, 'I know--Farmland!'"  Right in the middle of a big windy desert, we parked in a tiny parking lot and started down a trail. The wind was fierce, the heat worse, and it looked like no place for a pregnant lady.

We walked about a quarter of a mile--maybe even less--and came upon a long concrete barrier. Just over the barrier was an enormous canyon, with the Snake River at the bottom. The black cliffs towered nearly straight up on both sides of the gorge, and it was a stunning sight! I enjoyed it more than the Grand Canyon. Who knew the desert hid such a fantastic view?!

After we left there, we drove down to the Swan Falls Dam (where there are no falls or swans). We didn't realize until we went around the bend that we would be driving down into the gorge on a steep road--with our little Honda Odyssey towing a trailer full of sound equipment. The road was narrow, and dropped down into the gorge with no place to turn a trailer around. I was immediately worried the poor van wouldn't be able to climb back out of the gorge. The old Dam was very neat--lots of cool old buildings. We had a tricky bit trying to turn around, but Tim is good with backing the trailer and we made it. And we made it out of the gorge with no trouble, despite my worries.

We topped the adventure off with ice cream cones all around, for which Tim got applause from all the children. Best applause ever.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On the Road Again

I haven't posted trip updates in a long time because usually Tim goes alone or we go to Utah, which is a trip I've made enough times that I don't see the interesting things anymore. So nothing to write!

Today, though, we made the second leg of our trip to Idaho, from Lehi to Kuna, ID.  It's a trip I haven't made in many years, so it was new to me.

First thing I noticed were some funny signs:

One read, "Beware Broken Windshields".  Since they're sitting around on the freeway all the time?

Another said, "Idaho is too great to litter."  That's good, since when a state litters, it lands in another state, and nobody wants Idaho's trash.

I also noticed that northern Utah and southern Idaho are a lot more desert-like than I remembered. There are swaths of beautiful farmland, for sure, but most of the drive was dry rolling hills covered with sagebrush. That made it at least as exciting as the drive  through Wyoming, which is one of my least favorite drives around.

Just before the border, though, there is a whole valley of abandoned farms, with empty frame farmhouses worn gray by the weather, fields plowed but not planted and just sitting there. Completely deserted. I realize from my family history that the area around the border is particularly difficult for dry farming, so I can see why it might have been walked away from (that's what my family did in the 1920s).  But seeing farm after farm after farm just left to ghosts begged for two things: exploration and narrative. I can't help but think of a thousand stories for those empty houses.

On the way up, we discovered that most of the Sinclair stations in Idaho are out of everything but the lowest grade of gas. That was bizarre. Snowville (just on the Utah side of the border) was PACKED with cars and trucks, and was running out of gas altogether. So we drove on and eventually had to stop at a little gas station that was its own town. And that means expensive. So we didn't fill up all the way while we were there, but we did take a potty break.

It was the funniest gas station I've ever been in.  On the door was a sign that said, "Baby Rattlers Inside; be cautious." Inside was a deep cage, with steps up to it and chicken wire across the top. The sign said, "Baby Rattlers." In the bottom of the cage was sawdust rattles. Pink ones and blue ones, mostly, but there was at least one yellow one thrown in for good measure.

Next to that was a "phone" that said, "Local calls only." It was a can on a string.

Near the bathroom was a large sign that said, "Watch out for bats."  Yeah, you guessed it. Just through the doorway, a wooden baseball bat was suspended from the ceiling.

The kids got a kick out of that place.

Tim and I have a dream of wandering the country some day and going to all the little museums in all the little out-of-the-way towns--and finding places like that gas station. It was a great stop. Too bad gas was a dollar more per gallon than some other places on our trip!

Coming up on Twin Falls, we found at least two signs, several miles apart, that said, "Twin Falls 42" (miles, that is), and at least three that said, "Twin Falls 13" miles. All miles apart from each other. Then, when we reached Twin Falls, we drove through it and were in Jerome before we realized we'd seen it. I kept thinking we'd catch up to it eventually and prove the signs wrong (a city can't be receding, can it?), but from the freeway, Twin Falls seems to be more of a farming region than a city. So the signs are all right, I guess, because the exact location of Twin Falls is kind of nebulous. Jerome was great, though. No gas at the Sinclair, but there was a Little Caesar's pizza, so we got pizza for dinner.

The last hour of the trip, after two days of driving, I was in such pain in my hips that I couldn't get comfortable. I was crawling up my seat, squirming and wiggling and so deeply uncomfortable. It was awful. So I was glad when Boise came into sight.

So we eventually made it in to Boise, then to Kuna, and then to Tim's sister's house, where we are staying for a visit (prompted by a gig in the area on Friday).  Hooray!

Monday, July 19, 2010


So we made the huge sacrifice and got up after a mere 4 hours of sleep (2 for some family members, and me waked at least 5 times in those 4 hours), dragged everyone out of bed and into clothes, and made it to church. 4/6 of us made it to the sacrament. (I caught it later, during the 11:00 ward).

This was a MAJOR sacrifice and victory for us, especially with me pregnant.

See, church is at 2:00 am.

(That's 9:00 am for you diurnal folks, but 2:00 am according to our circadian rhythms).

We've often looked at the wards and wondered who would actually still be coming faithfully if they were ALL asked to be there at 2:00 am? Hopefully all of them, but when I hear someone say, "Oh, Sister So-and-So couldn't make it to teach her class because she didn't get off work until 4:00 am!", I don't have much sympathy.

So we were there, but I spent the whole time feeling pretty miserable. It didn't feel like a victory. Instead, we got there and I looked around and saw my little half-sleepy clan interacting with the world--a world who was alive after a full night's sleep and ready to rock at 9:00 am. A world who had no idea the challenges we face, and the battles we fought to get there, and who were judging us (or even just perceiving us) as though we were normal, when we're not. Even people who know we sleep wrong can't possibly really understand what it means in real life because it's just such a completely foreign thing. Everyone's met someone who has allergies--they can comprehend that. Nobody ever meets someone with a sleep disorder--especially a whole family of them! Especially since many people with sleep disorders just force themselves to live in the normal world and suffer for it in other ways.

I saw us through their eyes and was deeply embarrassed. All of us were in wrinkled clothes. I looked horrible. I couldn't remember if I'd even fixed my hair--I think I brushed it, but that's all--and my shirt was nappy and not formal enough for church. Nathanael didn't have shoes. Everyone else was in sports sandals. The three little boys didn't have their hair fixed. Benji's hair was so long it was ugly, and sticking out everywhere, and he still was coated with dirt from playing outside yesterday. Benji looked like we dragged him from a trash bin--his clothes were both faded and stained and belonged in the rag bag, not the church building. More than one child had dirt on their faces. And they all had this vacant look on their faces like we'd prepared them for church by giving them pot instead of peaches for breakfast.

Worse than our appearance, though, was the behavior that I know we were getting judged by ("Oh, those poor Jones kids! Don't their parents teach them anything? If it were MY kid, they'd never get away with that!"). Daniel was clingy, non-verbal (using sign language), unbelievably nervous. Benji just kept bursting out into tears or throwing a fit (he made the nursery say two prayers because he wanted to say one), and he was in and out of nursery over and over. Nathanael, who is now old enough for nursery, played for about 15 minutes and then said, "Done! Time go!" And he spent the rest of the meetings leading Tim up and down halls, sometimes with Benji and sometimes with Daniel, who was also in and out of classes. That doesn't sound so bad, but how many kids do you know that go in and out of sunday school multiple times in an hour and make their parents come, too? None. It's not socially acceptable.   Even the big kids, who are old enough to not misbehave or fall apart, were zombies. You'd never guess they are bright, happy, friendly, articulate children who have heard of the gospel before. And I was grouchy, teary, and couldn't form coherent sentences.  All of us ended up whispering in meetings, which is also not acceptable. And every time someone said, "Nice to see you here!", I wanted to say, "For you, maybe." And when they asked, "How are you feeling?" (a kindness, since I was so sick for so long), it was all I could do to say, "I'm here."

I desperately wanted to connect with my friends (I actually have a handful of wonderful friends who I adore in this ward), but I was too tired to make a sentence to talk to them.

Even knowing that everyone was NOT looking at us (because really, people are ALWAYS more concerned about what you are thinking of them than what they are thinking of you), I came home feeling like they were anyway. Even knowing that if they were busy criticizing us, they were living in their own misery and it didn't really affect us in the end, I was unhappy when I got home.

(Don't panic, those of you who are thinking of calling me to see if I need Lexipro: Sleep helped. (That's part of the problem....when you're sleep deprived, you can't process well and your brain acts like it has depression).)

I came  home with two distinct thoughts. One was that I greatly admire the prophets who were thrown in prison, starved and beaten, and STILL maintained their faith and composure. Having faith is hard enough. When you are physically suffering (or even just uncomfortable), it's all that much harder. Having enough sleep and enough food makes it easier to be kind, thoughtful, and righteous. So when the prophets could do it starved, beaten, and naked--I'm impressed with that.

The other thought was not for me. It was directed at all the imaginary people who were being critical of me in my mind. It was just this:

YOU try taking your family to church at 2:00 am!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why we read/write: to escape; and also, beginnings

The air conditioner in the house isn't working. As far as I can tell, it needs to be recharged.

But we didn't have money for that AND the mortgage, so we figured we'd pay the mortgage, survive the week, and then fix the A/C when some expected checks come in after we go on Tim's next tour to Idaho (we leave Monday).

So it's been almost unbearably hot in the house, even with fans going and our little swamp cooler chugging away, trying to cool 1200 square feet instead of 225. It's really only hot between 3:00 and 9:00 pm. As soon as the sun goes down, Colorado cools off and we can throw open all the doors and windows and put fans in them and blow the house comfortable again. But for the time of day right after we wake up until 9:00, it's around 85 degrees inside, hotter out, and pretty close to miserable. See, when it's 85 degrees in the house and you're pregnant, you don't do dishes, cook, eat, pick up toys, fold laundry, or even move unless you have to.

So how do I escape?

I edit my novel.

Some people read books to escape miserable circumstances. I write them. And I rewrite, revise, edit, etc.

I've been pretty pleased with my novel as I've gone along. And really unsure of the beginning still. Beginnings are what you get judged on, and they're my weakest point.

So at dinner (at midnight, after it had cooled off), I expressed that to Tim. Turned out some of the kids were listening, too. Anda, my fairly well-read 7 year old, said earnestly, "But Mom, many authors have poor beginnings. You don't have to worry about that."

So there you have it. According to my kids, "many" authors of children's novels aren't very good at beginnings. I guess I'm in good company, then!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Did I just WRITE that?

Every once in a while, while editing my own writing, I find that I penned a serious gaffe. Found this one yesterday:  "Kate’s stomach grumbled, and her limbs felt weak and rubbery—whether from fear or hunger, or both, Kate didn’t know. They didn’t speak."

Yes, well, limbs don't usually speak.

Did I just read that?

From "A tip led police to the town of Hawk Point, about 45 miles south of Louisiana, where police found a car parked outside a home that roughly matched that description..."

Right in the middle of the ocean.....

(Actually, in the greater context, they did mention that Louisiana is a town in MO--2 paragraphs before. But the sentence, standing alone, is quite the statement!)

Did I just read that?

From Fox News: "U.S. SENATE
Report: State Department Unaware of Ability to Limit Passports to Sex Offenders"

Good thing they're unaware. Some of the rest of us want to be able to leave the country sometimes, too.

I guess they want the sex offenders to go elsewhere?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nice quote about Tim's show:

"Mister Tim, a solo a cappella artist who uses technology to allow himself to sing along with… himself. A really fun show for all ages."

It IS a really fun show, too!

Did I just read that?

Finally found the other one we clipped from a newspaper over 6 years ago.  From a Thrifty Nickle Classified ad,  from Provo, UT, appx 2004: "BEAUTIFUL NAUGHTY Pine bedroom set, queen size, with night stand, dresser and mirror. Still in boxes, $2500..."

Naughty pine, huh? I wonder what it did that was so naughty?

Must go with the "rod iron" patio furniture you see in classifieds all the time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What happened?

They SWORE the "right wing" were just being hate-mongers and that homosexuality would never be taught in schools. We were all just making that up, right?

Not so much, it turns out.

Not only are they planning to teach it in schools, they're planning to start with 6 year olds and keep it up every year until 10 year olds are getting ALL the details.\


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Did I just read that?


" reported the man -- who also goes by the name Paul Steven Smith -- was a convicted sex offender released from jail just two weeks ago on drug charges."

Usually a person gets SENT to jail on drug charges.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Conversing with my nephew

I have a very verbal, very smart nephew who is six weeks shy of being 3 years old. And today he decided to hang out with me for half an hour before he settled in to playing with the other kids.

One of my  mom's chickens came wandering by, and he said, "I'll chase it away!"

I said, "Oh, no. Be kind to the chickens."
"Because they give us eggs."
"Oh," he said, "so THEY'RE the ones who wash them and hand them to us?"
"Um," I replied, trying to figure out what to say next. "They make the eggs for us."
He thought about that for a minute and then said, "What do they make them out of?"
Now I had to think for a minute.  "They make them with their bodies," I finally said.
His turn to think. Then, "How do they do that?" he asked.
My turn to think.  Then, "That's what they're made to do."
His turn to think. Finally, "Oh."

I'm glad he was satisfied with that answer. Didn't know how to explain chicken ovulation to my sister's kid without potentially getting one of us in trouble eventually.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tim's Latest Show

Years ago, after a couple of years of trying it, we swore off scheduling our own shows at our own risk. The risk was too great, the reward too small. Generally speaking, we found that only 10% of the people who said they would come did, and generally speaking a "successful" show broke even. There was no income in producing your own show, and it was a LOT of work.

This summer, though, we decided to try it again. The problem we've been having is that Tim has a fairly strong reputation as an a capella comedy guy, and that's not what he's doing anymore. To further complicate things, even when we explain what he IS doing, nobody really understands it because they have no frame of reference to stick it in. He is doing something that is rather unique (not completely, but unique enough in the broader musical world that not many people have seen or heard of it before), and that means hard to market. The videos we have of him "doing his thing" are not nearly as cool as seeing it live, too, so that further complicates things.

The sum total of all that is that, after 3 months of trying, we couldn't get anyone in Utah or Colorado to book Tim into their concert series. It's not that we don't know what we're doing: the "traditional" a cappella group he put together is doing plenty of shows, getting gigs off contacts, etc. And that without any performance video at all!

The non-traditional things, though, have been really hard to book. For example, Tim has put together an incredible a cappella rock group. We can't get anyone to book it because a cappella audiences aren't interested in a) original music or b) rock, and rock audiences have zero interest in a cappella. There IS absolutely an audience for this group--we just can't access it because the entertainment BUYERS don't know what to do with it.

Anyway, his solo show has been especially tricky to market. It actually is very cool and has broad appeal, but nobody knows what "solo vocal live looping" is. Even live loopers and their fans are perplexed by it. Solo Vocal Live Looping is an emerging field in music that so few people have the actual ability to do that there isn't a huge community building it--just a handful of a cappella singers/beatboxers in the WHOLE WORLD have the skills to make it work, and even fewer have the songwriting ability to support it and make it viable musically. (It involves being able to beatbox, do multiple instrument sounds, sing with a range that covers 3+ normal vocal ranges so you can harmonize with yourself, set up and run equipment including mixing on the fly from on stage while you're performing, creating the whole sound setup and design because most sound guys can't do what Tim is doing, plus writing and arranging songs based on layers of loops instead of traditional song models without them getting boring. It requires incredible pitch, musicality, and rhythm, as well as the ability to concentrate on multiple things at the same time and still engage the audience.)

Live Looping, too, generally doesn't describe what Tim is doing. Most Loopers do DJ/House music. It has a real strong techno bent to it, and most Vocal Live Loopers do a heavy beatboxing show, and mostly dance music.

ANYWAY, we really wanted him to perform in Utah, so we gave in and broke our own rule and self-produced a show here for family and friends, mostly, to see, so they, at the very least, would understand what Tim does.

And, for the first time ever in booking our own shows, this show sold out. HOORAY!

And it was amazingly good. Hard to believe how impressive it was, and I watched him prepare it. It took 5 years, really, for him to develop the technology, write the songs, prepare the show, etc.  And five years of work created one incredible show.

That nobody who saw it can describe. Not really.

At the request of some who missed the show, we've scheduled a second performance, and even the people who saw it last time, when asked, "What does Tim do?", just say, "It is INCREDIBLE. Coolest thing you'll ever see. You just have to go see it."

So what does Tim do?  Using only his voice, he sings all the parts to songs, live. He does the drums, he does the instruments, and he harmonizes with himself. But even when I say it, it doesn't sound as cool as it actually was. And is.

So that's what I've been pondering all week. We don't even know whether to market the show as a theater or a concert piece. Trying to get better video of it, but I'm not sure video will ever really show what it is.

It's just really cool.

You have to see it.

Last scheduled chance in Utah is July 9, at the Covey Center Black Box theater.

And THEN we have to figure out where we go from here. Now that the show is ready, what next?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

I laughed until I cried.....

I have 5 kids under 9 years old. I read this and quite literally laughed until I cried.

If you don't have little ones, you probably won't get it. But if you have toddlers, be sure you read the comments, too.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Did I just read that?

Got this one as an ad on the side of my Facebook page today:

Yes, it says this: "Let George Clooney wish you a happy 4th of July by watching this sexy new suspense theatres September 1st."

September 1st, huh?  To wish me a happy 4th of July?  Nice......