Sunday, April 24, 2011

ramblings and blitherings

Hi, pals. I've missed posting regular blogs and reading yours with consistency - circling the wagons for conversation. It helps me to sort of de-fragment my life. You know how it is. But when it has been a long while, it's actually a stressor to blog, and reading others' blogs is actually a source of fragmentation. Dumb. I've figured out these main reasons I avoid the world of blogging though:
  • I've got such a backlog of ideas to write about that I'm paralyzed and avoid-ful.
  • I've got a backlog of photos and don't want to jump ahead in chronology.
  • I feel obligated to post something relevant to the world's major catastrophes and triumphs rather than a new recipe or the surprising joy found in making wool dryer balls.
  • It's a major holiday like Easter, but my own spiritual reflections have been focused on finding peace in the seasons of life rather than the specific celebration of Christ's resurrection from the dead, and I don't want to go through the effort of creating a tie-in.
So I'm going to say phooey to those things, and, without further analytical ado, present a bunch of blippets that have been on my brain, in no particular priority order:
  • I'm a little on the terrified side about a new baby coming soon. Although having kids is the biggest thing, the surest thing I've wanted for many years, I sometimes think there's no way I can handle a baby. I got through one, sure enough, but can I get through one plus a toddler? I can hear you gigglers out there - you superwomen with three, four, and eight children. Thing is, I'm a slow poke at housework, at meal preparation, at craft projects, at writing, at darn near everything. And I tend, for whatever reasons, to choose the hard way in some of these areas. So the end of the day comes upon me and I can point to very little I've "accomplished," even though I  didn't lazy around. But I do think people can learn, so if anybody wants to comment back with their best tips on time management - I mean, personal, tried-and-true tips that WORK for you - throw 'em down!
  • I think I should focus on my music more, my development as a musician. If I get to the end of my life and I haven't shared that art form more with whomever cares to partake, I shall be rather put out at myself.
  • The royal wedding thing is piquing my interest these days, and in fact, that last sentence about being put out is best spoken with a British accent. Until the last week I hadn't given it much thought (and considered the whole thing pretty hokey), but lately I've been thinking it's interesting on a lot of levels. The cover of a Newsweek magazine was one thing to make me take notice. It said, "In a world gone to hell - thank God, a wedding." And you know, we have been having a rather long stretch of bad news. But a royal wedding involving a fair maiden from the working class? How often does that come along anymore?
  • I'm not sure I'll ever understand the allure of Justin Beiber. He's not that astounding of a dancer or a musician, and he looks like a garden variety kid. Biological clock-wise, I could be his mother, so maybe that has something to do with my confusion. I dunno.
  • I do like e-bay. My sister pokes fun, alluding to addiction and stuff, but I'll tell you. It's just a cool way to get the things you want - in good used condition, from other people around the country that don't need them anymore. A virtual garage sale / thrift store that includes the thrill of an auction bid. Seems the prices are getting high, like people are really proud of their stuff, but there are still deals and interesting conversations to be had. This week I sold a pair of mountaineering boots to a woman in California who is into mountain rescue, and we communicated beyond the transaction. She let me know the boots fit very well with her orthotics and that they'd be used for continuing rescue work. And I got a good chunk of cash to leave in my paypal account and buy an Ergo infant insert for the baby and some Montessori sandpaper letters and Fisher Price people for Zoralee (and some Rookie Read-About Science books if I win 'em tomorrow - oooh, I'm living dangerously by mentioning that! Don't you dare bid against me! What the heck. I just looked, and someone has outbid me. Very irritating.).
  • Speaking of Fisher Price people, they are a hard toy to speak about in proper singular/plural form. What comes out is, "Look, honey, there's a people under the coffee table." And somehow that's right, much better than saying there's a person under the coffee table, or saying we should get that person out of Molly's mouth. Sometimes I try to hit it all, like, "What cute pigtails are on this people person."
  • Got a couple pairs of glasses real cheap online. I'd never tried that before. I can't say I would've purchased these exact pairs if I'd tried them on in a store, but they're different and fun, and it was a bit of an experiment. They cost less together than one pair using our ooh-fancy, sacred health insurance. Health insurance is such a crock.
  • I sure miss my husband. It's a drag and a half to not live in the same house, or the same state. We like to be together, which is one reason we married each other, so these bouts of separation are really retarded. Literally. They are maritally retarded. There are two main reasons Zoralee and I are in Montana while Jason's at work in North Dakota. For one thing, we don't have a house there yet (he's renting a room from a co-worker), and for another, we decided to have this baby here at my folks' house, using the same midwife we had with Zoralee. We could've rented a place in ND sight-unseen, although others who've tried that are abandoning their horrid rentals and now looking to buy, because the housing situation is so crappy. And we could've decided to have the baby in ND, although the closest hospital is 80 miles away. (There is a rural midwife close by for a home birth, but again, 80 miles seems like a fair piece of ground.) So the separation is really our choice, but it's still pretty stinky, for one thing because, despite our best guesswork, there's no guarantee that Jason will make it for the birth.
  • There's a house we'd like to get, and Jason can tour the inside in early May. We're the second in line to look at it though, and the limited market makes second feel about the same as fourteenth. So, hope, hope, hope.
  • I need to post more pics of my belly. And reflections on the pregnancy. You know what? I'm going to find a phone pic or two RIGHT NOW and post 'em. So, ha!

    33ish weeks - garsh, I feel a lot bigger than how this photo appears.....
    34.5 weeks (today)
  • Zoralee has kicked in to some major tantrums. She also pretends to be a baby a lot. And she hits me occasionally, which I find interesting since she doesn't witness people hitting other people. There have been many changes in her life in the last two months, and she senses the anticipation we've all got for the baby, so her actions are perfectly understandable for a little one who doesn't yet have the skills to cope with strong emotions. Nonetheless, the tantrums test my patience, the baby game is old and bothersome, and the hitting is just weird. I'm experimenting with ways to help her. She's a verbal enough kid that she can express a variety of emotions, but how to settle her down enough to talk to me?
  • On the lighter side, here's a fun anecdote from a few days ago. Zoralee was unhappy about going to bed. She was crying loudly and flopping herself around on the floor - good, classic tantrum-throwing. Somehow I got her to sit upright on the potty, but she kept up the wailing while she tinkled. Then, mid-sob, she said sincerely, "Thanks, Mom." I said, "Okaaay...for what?" And she said, "Thanks for the memory." Of course, I laughed hard. I don't know where she heard that, and I'm quite certain she doesn't know what it means. Then she said, "I was just being silly."  Silliness is a good coping skill; I need to remember that more often.  


Tamie Marie said...

I wrote a long comment and it wouldn't publish. Then it was lost.

Tamie Marie said...

Now I'll leave several little comments, trying to say what I was saying:

1. I'm so glad you kicked all that blog guilt to the curb. For one thing, a lot of us can identify, I think, with being less focused on Easter than on other things going on. I can almost guarantee that *whatever* you are feeling, your readers can identify. So just go ahead and write what comes to mind!

Tamie Marie said...

#2. One thing I try to do around the house is just focus on getting one specific task done completely, or one specific area cleaned completely. Rather than spreading out my energy over the whole house, and not being able to SEE what I've accomplished at the end of the day. So like, I'll try to do ALL of the laundry, or do ALL of the dishes. AT the end of the day, the rest of the house may still be a mess, but I'll be able to see the results of my efforts, and be encouraged. This kind of encouragement usually energizes me to do more too.

Tamie Marie said...

#3. YES YOU SHOULD FOCUS ON YOUR MUSIC MORE. I was reading something Sark wrote a while back, that you should set tiny tiny goals for yourself, that are utterly accomplishable. You'll actually do the things you set out for yourself to do, and in time, you'll have made a lot of progress. During this season of two small children, I wonder what are some tiny goals you could set for yourself musically?

Tamie Marie said...

Oh, and the main thing I said in my long comment was how gorgeous and beautiful and classy you look in those photos.

Tamie Marie said...

And finally, silliness is a good coping skill for me too. Whenever Jon is silly, I usually snap out of my funk, at least a little bit. And I still have adult versions of tantrums, which makes me a little sad, but also probably makes me human.

2 Moms of a Feather...Stick Together said...

Thanks for posting Lori 8-)
Tami had some good advise.
When I think of a lady that gets things done...I think of your my vote is to look to your Mom.8-)Afterall she has helped keep your Dad organized all these years.
I am sad to hear you and Z are away from Jason...but you couldn't have a better place to be and stay.
Glad to hear that you are having your baby in Montana.
Z's little "quirks" remind of your blame him for it...the good or the bad. ;-)
Take care,

Rena said...

I'd love for you to focus on your music more. Anything I can do to help with that?

"Finding peace in the seasons of life" is a great perspective. Not at all easy to do, but very much worth striving for.

And I'll record the royal wedding :)

Christi said...

Oh, I want to have a conversation with you about all of these bullets, little and big.

Here are a couple thoughts:

This will make you feel better when Z is throwing a tantrum. You say in a cheerful voice, "Wow, you are so developmentally appropriate right now, Z!" And then you will realize how dorky you sound and it will make you laugh.

No giggling over here about the freakiness of raising more than one kid. I think I still get scared every night before I go to bed. Jeff actually sang a little made-up song about it this morning after he said, "Did we do this Easter thing right with them?" You would have liked his lyrics.

Here is one super practical thing I do to make my day easier: Socks and shoes can be the one task that drives you to the edge with multiple kids. I cut out the middle man (Mr. Dresser Drawer) and socks go straight from the laundry pile to a tub in the van. Shoes have a tub too and Kurtz boys always leave them in the car before coming inside.

I love how you look at the motives behind Z's behavior. She has very little power over her life right now so it makes sense that she is going to find little ways to get it. We all want power.

Finally, Hearing you and Rachel sing is one of my favorite sounds on earth. If you were ever able to record something that would be incredible for a girl like me.

Rachel Clear @ Clearly Speaking said...

"She was crying loudly and flopping herself around on the floor - good, classic tantrum-throwing."

Bwahahaha! That is the best proud-sending critique of a child's tantrum EVER. She was tantruming, sure, but she did it in perfect form. Perfect.

Oh, sister. You are awesome. You get a jillion little creative problems done ALL THE STINKING TIME. You make home-made things for people, you make your own soap, you order Z scads of clothes online, you make delicious meals that are healthy and balanced and creative. You do more in a day than I do in a week, so shut it about that.

Christi! I love the shoes and socks in the van thing. Hahahaha! That makes me really laugh for some reason. Really really laughing here.

As for missing Jason, sis. I feel you on that. That would really suck. I get blue when Cam is gone a lot in the ski season, and that pales in comparison to how much you guys have been apart. :(

melissa said...

hey, i loved this post! it sounds like life: some housework, some current events, and lots of little people stuff
awesome photogs! you're beautiful.
i've been pulling out the silliness coping skill lately with my kids; whine, whine, fight, fight, complain, complain and ENTER MOMMY WITH A TOILET HUMOUR JOKE! And all the crankiness dissipates. It's awesome.
Or if its me who is frustrated, I'll say something ridiculous like, "If you do that again I will cut off your FEET! And feed them to you for LUNCH!" It helps me if I say it in a pretty angry voice, to get out my frustration, but the words are silly enough that my kids laugh after a minute of trying to figure out if I might be serious...

Dude, no matter how many kids we have we always fear adding one more. Our cup is full, our skills are maxed out, how can we do it with a whole other person around? But we do it. We do it so fast and so completely that within several days you will wonder what life was ever like with one less! You'll get overwhelmed. Of course you will! But you will look at the kids and maybe cry, maybe laugh, maybe sigh, and then you'll do what you have to do. Because you're strong and capable and lovely, and tuned into your kids.
And then you'll have another.
You can do it, I've no doubt in my mind.
It IS hard; I've never had a newborn and a two year old before, and I have to say its harder than I thought. But its hard like active labour is hard: you feel how hard you are working and you falter a bit emotionally sometimes, but you find in the moment that you actually do have what it takes to cope with this moment.

melissa said...

And for housework advice, I like the shoe tip! I hate shoes and multiple kids. Especially toddlers; you do up their shoes and then turn around and the shoes are OFF, like FUCK!? why did I break my back and waste my time and then HERE WE ARE somewhere where you need shoes...
I like that tip.
I also like the story of a friend of mine whose 8 year old got to school the other day, hopped out of her minivan onto the sidewalk and realized, OOPS, he forgot his shoes at home and was standing in the rain on the sidewalk in his socks.

My best tip came from my friend Dana. She presorts her laundry.
I have five laundry bins. Whites, lights, darks, towels, and kitchen linen. In our old house, the kids presorted into the correct bins when they took off their clothes. Here, our system is different so I presort when I take the laundry downstairs every day or so.
Then, when I go to do laundry, I do the pile that is the biggest or whose items we need the most. Its incredible to me how much time this saves me, and how it has solved my laundry woes.
The next related tip is to do a load per day, and fold it and put it away that day. We generally always have time to fold ONE load, right? And if we only wash one load, there's only one to fold. Its the folding that actually is the problem, with laundry. It took me ten years to figure that out. Unfolded laundry makes for backlog.

I also focus on ONE area; especially lately since Amarys screams unless she's in my arms and I'm walking, making productivity pretty slim. I will think; today sometime I will clear off the window seat. And all day, I'll kind of keep the window seat in mind and clear one or two items at a time. Then I feel like LOOK, I accomplished THAT THING! But if I don't finish it I think, who the hell cares? I have a baby. And three other kids. Ha ha.

Oh, and as for cooking, you can't beat the efficiency of meal plans. I will plan seven or eight meals, buy the right ingredients, make a list and post it on my fridge, and then each night pick something from the list that I feel like eating. It works like magic for me, because I cannot cook if I don't have the ingredients. I even plan the side dishes and condiments.

My dad does all his dinner prep in the morning, so its done. That could work! I just hate when dinner prep seems to stretch out over the whole day so that doesn't work for me.

you're awesome.

Mars said...

I like this whole post. There's a lot I want to say...but a nap is calling me. Loudly.
So, I just wanted to say it's interesting that you mentioned Z's baby play and hitting. Charlie's been doing the same things. Pretending he's a baby, talking "baby", etc. Yeah, not real fun. But I put up with it because I'm sure it's his way of dealing with things, too. And the hitting, so strange! He never hits really hard, and it's always "play" hitting, but he never used to do that, either.
Oh, and I totally agree about battling bad moods, tantrums, etc with silly-ness. TOTALLY works for us, almost every time. :) Even owies, I make a joke, and suddenly all the pain is gone! Kids are so funny.

Tamie Marie said...

I think Mel should write encouragement for a living and get paid for it.

lori said...

I looove insight from people I know. Sure, a person can get tips from the web or magazines, but it's not nearly as connecting.

Tamie and Mel - - thanks for the pic comments. :) I have thought a lot about your idea of tiny tasks, one or two, and being satisfied. I realized I usually write down 5-10 "extra" tasks on my day's list, hoping against hope I can get to them amidst the regular household and meal maintenance, care taking, etc. and it just doesn't happen. Such a list should be my two-week list or something, and I should prioritize seriously ONE or TWO small things for that day. Then I should really try and be happy with them at the end of the day.

Nancy - - yes, my mama knows how to get things done! I've always appreciated that she effortlessly incorporates rest and relaxation into her day too. I don't know if I'll ever master that balance. And yes, old Dad does have a quirk or two. What's your favorite? :)

Mom - - thanks for all you ever do! I don't think I can focus on music right now, but hmm...maybe I can set you up to Skype babysit every now and again while I escape just to play pianer.

Christi - - I remember you saying that to one of your boys. Thanks - it really helps to remember that these are normal phases, and even that they are phases period! So sweet about Rach and I singing. We should try to record just one song while she's here for the birth. For Christi Kurtz...and anybody else. I would love to hear a few of Jeff's lyrics if you can remember.

Rach - - scads of clothes, you say. Silly Billy. I guess I do a good thing every now and again; thanks for the encouragement. You nummy nummy sister.

Mars - - I hope your nap was delightsome. So, did Charlie start in with this stuff primarily during your pregnancy too? It's interesting watching kids balance the excitement of a new baby with fear of being forgotten or lost in the crowd or whatever. "Interesting" and trying. :)

Love you gals's.

Shana said...

Ooohhh....I love the pic of your baby belly! Keep those up as you are B-E-A-Utiful! And, yes the royal wedding is intriquing isn't it? And yes I, too am finding myself speaking in some weird British type accent in my head at this very moment. Odd.

Second, I am so very glad you and Jason like eachother. Otherwise, I WAS wondering why the heck did those two get hitched! ha ha. Seriously, though...when the time comes is he going to be able to literally take right off and pull an all nighter' so to speak and drive and drive and drive until he gets to the fish for babe's arrival? I pray he is there for the blessed event. I know he sure wants to be as the "three" of you are his world.

Lastly, Please do try to grow your music talent. You have by far the most beautiful voice of anyone I have ever met. Through your instrumental talents in with that and you are phenomenal and I think...a blessing. Just my two cents.

Shana said...

p.s. I love how Rachel just told you to "shut it". awesome.

Anonymous said...

Lori lou...such a beautiful pregnant mama you are. Thinking and fretting about such normal things! "Our strength will equal our days" they say, and thankfully we are only given one day at a time to live. Stay in the present and deal with what is on your plate today. I can just see you getting trapped in that lovely head of yours and overthinking things to the point of holding that precious baby in! Relax your body and mind, love on little Z. Be understanding of her emotions, but firm with your boundaries. She is uncertain about the future and is looking to you to secure the boundaries. They push the limits to see if we will let them know where they are. She will adjust beautifully to baby as will you. She is your mirror and will reflect your tension or lack thereof. Talk with her about her important and special job as a big sister...make it a special thing for her. Pray over her while she is sleeping :)
I am feeling for your separation from J. I know it is tough, but you really thought out this decision and it was the right choice for the baby's birth. I am praying that he will not miss a thing. Sending lots of love
Miss you friend,

lori said...

Shana - - Yes, that's the hope, that Jason can just take off and get here in time. Since it's a 12 hour drive, though, we know we're on thin ice. Otherwise, if I haven't already had the baby, he is scheduled to come over anyway a few days before my due date and wait it out with us.

Elisha - - Thanks for the words of wisdom about Z. They can be little mirrors, can't they? I like the special job thing; my midwife suggested we think of a couple small tasks she can do during the actual labor and delivery, like making sure the straw is in my cup. Is that not the most precious thing ever? Made me cry when she suggested it.