Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rockygrass...with two tiny kids!

For the fourth year in a row, Jack flew to Colorado with me to visit his Grandpa John and Grandma Kelly, and to attend our favorite festival: Rockygrass.

This year it was a lot different. For the first time, he had a new baby sister festivating with him!

Kelly and John, thanks for making this possible for us. When Kelly came to the festival, she would take Jack down to the beach on the St. Vrain to play with toys and other kids. We would all watch music together and enjoy the gorgeous weather (and cold beer).

Grandpa John didn't come to the festival, but he did pick up Jack from the festival at 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. He gave Jack his dinner and bath; he read Jack his books and he put Jack to bed all by himself. This is a pretty amazing feat for a Grandpa, I must say. (It's difficult, even for an energetic young auntie).

Jack's favorite part of the festival was becoming a tiger, playing on the beach, and using his binoculars.

Cora's favorite part of the festival was flirting and smiling with everyone at the Planet Bluegrass Ranch.

My favorite part of the festival was the beer. Oh, I mean, seeing dear friends I only see once a year, such as Erin and Aaron Youngberg. And meeting their precious daughter, Ramona!

Festivation with libation in our baby station

It looked fun when she was doing it! 

Personal binocs!

Coco-motion doing the festivation!

Jack, Mommy, Cora, Aoife O'Donovan, Erin, & Romona (Youngberg)

Lovely hike in Nederland
Visit with Uncle Emory in Ned

Becoming a pilot like his granddaddy?

Poser pit, baby headphones.

St. Vrain beach hang: moms like me can see the stage, nurse their babies, and watch their toddlers dig in the sand...simultaneously


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Manic Mommy Monday

Warning: This post will probably only interest other mommy musicians who have to organize all the details of childcare and music!

The 7 am wake up call came blaring through the monitors, even though I'd stayed up late folding laundry. I went and got Jack out of his bed and let him snuggle with me and Cora for a while. He quickly tired of that activity and moved on to looking for a specific long lost fire truck that moved to toy heaven a long time ago. He got frustrated and followed me around the house screaming that he needed said fire truck, so I was unable to make coffee, change Cora's diaper and dress her, brush my teeth, or anything else.

I made sure to bring him to summer camp right at 9 am, where he immediately started running on the playground. Phew. I do think that Eastwood provides a lifeline for mothers of young children.

John was nice enough to keep Cora while I did drop-off. We're trying to get her on a sleep schedule now. 9 am is her morning nap time, and John put her down for me.

I went about my day in my office and tended to Cora. Jack came home at 2 pm. I attempted fruitlessly to put him down for a nap and to put Cora down for a nap. Both kids were awake, tired and wired, while I got ready for my lessons and gig.

I got Jack ready for his swim lesson and met his dad in the driveway. They sped off to the Vanderbilt pool. Soon thereafter, Rhonda arrived to watch Cora so I could leave to teach my guitar lessons on Music Row. I left several bags of expressed breast milk and some bottles, and I left some penne and vegetables for the boys.

I nuked some food at the studio after my lessons at 7:30 pm. I pumped some milk and put it in a little cooler. I changed clothes and drove down to Broadway to play at Layla's Bluegrass Inn with Paul Kramer and his crew: the "Grassaholics."

Cassie had relieved Rhonda at some point during the gig. And John had put Jack to bed at 7 pm. I kept texting during little breaks in the gig. And around 10 pm, I definitely felt my milk getting swollen.

We had a great time playing til midnight. We've had our first good weather this week, and we had a nice summer crowd of tourists and locals. I met an insanely great fiddle player who sat in: Chase Potter. Wow. And Jennifer Strickland sat in, which was fabulous too.  I got home around 1 am and spent the next half hour pumping. I got to sleep a little after 2 am.

I confess that it is a little crazy to try to play music and be a mommy to tiny kids. But as Alison Brown once said, when she left for Scotland and had to arrange an intricate childcare schedule, "A girl's gotta pick, right?"

Just another rainy playdate...a very Mommy Saturday

Have I inherited my parents' insomnia?  was awake at 3 am, unable to fall asleep. Cora awoke at 4; I nursed her. It started to get light at 5, at which point I threw in the towel and made coffee. It dawned on me that I could go running alone, so I ran 6 miles at 5:30 am. Yes, it was very weird to go jogging sans 80 pound jog stroller and kids!

After I showered at 6:30, the kids were still asleep. I played guitar until Cora woke up at 8:15. I nursed her and sang to her and waited for Jack to wake up: 9 am.

Jack's buddy, Rafe, arrived at 10 am, just in time for the storms to come raging through East Nash. I'd asked Rafe's mom to pack a swimsuit so we could do the Slip n' Slide. Woops. Instead, the kids ran around in the rain and under our carport with the big wheels; and soon the torrential downpour had filled up Jack's toddler pool. The kids jumped in it, clothes and all, as the rain poured down. It was quite a sight. They would tramp around in the mud, hop in the pool, hop back into the mud, pool, mud, pool.

I stripped the kids down and told them both to go pee pee in the yard. They both walked over to the pool and peed in it.

I instructed both kids to hop in the tub. I de-muddified their little bodies while they went nuts in the tub together. I dressed them in clean clothes and took them to the playroom, where I'd set up Jack's train tracks for them. Cora crawled around and looked interested in their doings.

Then the kids headed upstairs for snack and juice while I made their PB&J's. Rafe's mom had told me, "He doesn't like jelly. Give him only peanut butter on bread." I said to Rafe, "Just peanut butter, right? No jelly?" He said, "NO! Only jelly. No peanut butter." I texted Rafe's mom. She said, "Don't trust him!"

After lunch, Rafe's mom, Tessa, came to pick up her son. She said, "No one would understand unless they had little kids. Nothing else breaks you like this. Nothing!"

Earlier, I'd told her about my weird morning, jogging at 5 am. She said that she knows other moms in show business, and that some of them manage to sleep until noon (their husbands do the early morning shift, I guess). She asked how I managed to be a musician and still raise two tiny children. I said, "I had to change my lifestyle. And it was not without a fight!" We're talking about my old life: I'd play a gig, wind down, and go to bed at 2 am or so (or drive in the van til 3 am and crash in a hotel). I never thought I'd be an early riser.

I can't fight with a child's sleep schedule. There's just no point. Children wake up at 6 or 7 am, and they need an early bedtime. Thank goodness for the invention of monitors!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

An "Unwilling Slacker"

This afternoon, I have an indefinite amount of free time to write this post. It's one of those rare days when both kids are napping at the same time. One child might start to babble or cry any minute.

A few days ago, I texted Jack's godmother to tell her that Jack adores his baptism gift. I apologized that I haven't written thank you notes yet, but I wanted her to know how much we love her presents. I said, "One child seems to be awake at all times. I get nothing done." A mother herself, she responded, "I know. It's like being an unwilling slacker."

What a fabulous phrase! This pretty much sums up my feelings about my days. I can write to-do lists all day long, but the lists just sit there as I tend to my children's needs.

Of course, after covering my kids' basic needs, such as potty and/or diaper, putting them down for naps and bedtime, preparing meals for them. nursing them, bathing them, dressing them in clean clothes and pj's, brushing teeth, taking them to doctors' and dental appointments, etc, I still play with them too. So we go to the park, we go to the zoo, we go to the playground, we set up the slip n' slide, we go to swim lessons, we go on trips to Colorado or Virginia to see grandparents, we "connect" dinosaur puzzles, and we fill our days with as much learning as we can while we're at it.

While I'm not doing those things, I pick up my guitar, sing, songwrite, clean the house, grocery shop, pay bills, do laundry, write thank you notes, call people back, try to get my CD finished, etc. I try to be in the moment when I can; but it seems that when I'm doing the childcare items listed above, I am plotting to fit in five minutes of cleaning or guitar playing or writing thank you notes.

Thanks, Sara, for providing me with this phrase. In fact, while my kids are still napping, I think I'll try to avoid the laundry and write a guitar instrumental under this title...