Sunday, August 22, 2010

Not all women can say that they vacation with their ex's...

Not all women can say that they vacation with their ex's... But, I just got back from a week long work/vacation in Sag Harbor, NY with mine. I went with Albert (my ex) and the three kids, as he was performing with me. Jen (his wife) came a day later, and then Dave (my husband) came the final two days. We all stayed with Liz, a good friend of Albert's, who is an amazing puppeteer and an overall super fun person. Liz has a nice big house for us. This is our third year in a row making this trip.

I would love to say that it was an easy, breezy time, but honestly it's always a bit of a challenge for us all to get along at every waking moment. It was a lot of WORK. Everyone has so many needs. To eat, to sleep (and get enough of it), to go to the beach, to shower, to have down time, to drink, to entertain, to not entertain, to nap, to eat again, and to just "be." Albert and I also had to rehearse for the 5 performances and music video thrown into the mix.

Fortunately, Liz has a lot of land around her house, and a lot of animals. 1 dog, 1 cat and 4 chickens to be exact. I am not really an "animal lover", but Emma was in heaven as the nature girl that she is, and for the most part, was pretty easy to handle. Sebastian did OK, too, even though he has allergies to the animals, had summer homework to finish, and had to deal with so many parents under one roof telling him what to do and what is "expected" of a 12 year old.
Cole is three years old and was a combination of deliciously adorable and, well...not so much.
Anyway, I thought I would share a few moments that really stand out for me on this trip:
1. After a particularly awful show, Sebastian said that he thought the show was "great!"
2. One evening Albert, Liz, Jen and I were outside having some cocktails and Jen told me she thought I was one of the most beautiful women she knows.
3. Emma hypnotizing a real chicken and cradling it like it were her own baby.
4. Emma secretly leaving a post it note on my guitar backstage that said "i love you."
5. Dave throwing Emma up in the sky while in the waves of the ocean and turning around to make sure that I was watching the sheer joy on her face.
6. Albert and his puppet "Raul" as he tried out all sorts of personalities (some not so appropriate for a kids show), and watching Sebastian rolling on the ground cracking up.
7. Sitting in the back of Liz's truck on the way to the beach with music blasting and everyone laughing as Albert broke the beach chair.
8. Cole holding the bottle opener all evening and asking everyone if they were ready for another beer?
9. Waking up in the middle of the night thinking that Cole or Emma was crying out and finding out it was only a chicken squawking outside.
10. Riding with Liz in her truck on the way to a show, laughing, and feeling like she is part of our family.

It was a great trip. Exhausting, but great. Anyway, here is the music video that came out of it. Dave is the master videographer. Enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Singing with Liz Mitchell and Daniel Littleton

Yesterday reminded me of why I love doing kids music.

Two of my friends, Brady Rymer and Elizabeth Mitchell, were performing at Celebrate Brooklyn. It was the family show that they only have on
ce a summer, on a big, beautiful outdoor stage. I was invited by Liz and her husband Daniel to sing on "Little Bird, Little Bird." This was a great opportunity for me as I have always wanted to sing in that bandshell, and I knew a lot of my friends would be there. I also love the song.

Dave, Emma and I walked over to the park early, and were easily led backstage where we found Liz in her dressing room. It was great to see her again (we performed together back in May for a Haiti Benefit Concert), and she showed us the green room where Emma happily chowed down on all of the cookies and blueberries that she could get into her mouth before they went and took their seats in the audience.

I went looking for Brady and found him in his dressing room, as well as Claudia and Liz, his two beautiful
backup singers and musicians. I have known Brady since Sebastian was about 3 years old. It was good to connect and catch up. He has an amazing aura of positive energy, and I love that. Plus, his music is so much fun and I was eager to hear them play.

Soon, it was time to go over our song, which we did quietly in the dressing room, and then it was showtime. As I waited backstage to be called out for my song, I marveled at the way Liz's voice carried throughout the crowd and how calming and beautiful it was. She and Daniel have a wonderful connection (to the band, to the audience, and to eachother). So many people had gathered to hear them. The sky was blue and the sun was just right. The audience was mesmerized. I was mesmerized.
I saw Dave and Emma in the crowd, and I was so happy to be doing this. I went out, sang my part (bird call and all) and soon, it was over. It was a beautiful day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Balance? Mom vs. Summer with her Daughter

Lately I have felt really out of sorts. I feel tired, I feel restless, and overall, in a bad mood. I know that this hot weather is not helping matters, but just a few days ago, I discovered the problem. I have lost my balance. I have zero balance this summer. Why? I have no child care for my soon to be six year old daughter.

I have tried to embrace the fact that Emma is not in any sort of camp and instead we enrolled her in "mommy camp", where she gets to share in the joys of schlepping around with me to work three mornings a week, along with my guitar, big heavy bag, shakers, and sometimes even a parachute, and we get to save a thousand dollars. Then there are my shows. She is dragged around too early in the morning, usually eating breakfast on the way, only to share me with lots and lots of little kids and their grown ups. Not exactly what she would call the best summer of her life. Or would she?

Emma loves to be with me. She is always concerned about where I am and what I am doing and what I am working on on the computer, and is it her turn to "work" on the computer yet? We are attached at the hip. We do everything together, from grocery shopping to laundry to getting pedicures to dressing her new American Girl Doll, we are a team. This is truly a wonderful time in our lives. I should embrace this time. I should rejoice in the beauty of our girlness. And I do. For the most part.

It's that other part that is driving me crazy. The part that can't breathe and needs to walk at a regular pace for five minutes please. The part of me that needs to go to Yoga once a week and to meditate in the mornings and the part of me that needs so badly to just sit in peace and quiet in the evenings and can't stop looking at the clock until Daddy gets home. Dave tries to help me out, but he is focused on his "backyard project" at the moment, and this is what consumes his after work hours...

Last week, I got a break. Albert offered to take Emma and Sebastian to see a movie. It was heaven. I had 2 hours to myself and I got an amazing amount of work done. Then, two nights later, they went and saw another movie. I went to my usual Wednesday night Yoga class without the usual guilt. It was great. The kids came home happy, and I came home refreshed. Tonight, though, really takes the cake. I actually feel as if I am on vacation. Sebastian has a friend over. They have been happily playing Wii for the past 2+ hours (ok, it IS summer vacation after all), and have "allowed" Emma to watch. I have not heard a peep out of her except for the laughs and cries of approval of great gaming, or the occasional cry for food or drink. It's been lovely. It's been heaven. This is the balance I have been looking for! I feel like myself again. If we could just implement this routine every night for the rest of the summer until school starts again...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Karate Girl Makes Us Proud

Emma has taken up Karate.

This activity was not initiated by me, but rather by Dave. He thought that since Emma has this amazing amount of energy (cough, cough), that this would be a good way for her to channel it in a more positive way. So, far, it seems to be working. At least while she is in the dojo.

Last Friday, she had a graduation from her white belt to a white and yellow belt. I was so glad that Sebastian was back, and we took both him and Cole with us, and made a huge deal about it. Emma was pretty excited. She could barely sit still in the car. When we got there, she took off her shoes and sat down in front of the class, like the rest of the kids. We sat in the seats. Last year, I don't think she could have done this. Sat by herself, I mean.

When it was her turn, her Sensei called the class to attention and she yelled "Yes Sensei!" There was a little smile on her face, but she was attentive. Cole was at attention, too. He seemed pretty impressed.

They showed us an entire class, and also encouraged the parents to sit right up on the mats with them and to take pictures. I was worried that Emma wouldn't want to do what she was supposed to while we were oogling over her, but she did it all. She stretched, she kicked, she punched, and she sat like a champion the whole time.

I could see the sense of accomplishment on her face, and her excitement when her name was called and she received her new belt. She had to run in front of everyone and accept it and bow. I had tears in my eyes. I looked at Sebastian. I looked at Dave. Our girl is really growing up. We couldn't have been prouder.