Wednesday, June 1, 2016

First and foremost, I've got a show to promote!
Get your tickets here.
  RSVP to the Facebook event here, so that other people hear about the show.
And please please "like" my Facebook page.

Okay, enough music, now let's talk about my mental health because it's not a blog if it's not oversharing, right?

So many people have sent the most beautiful, caring messages asking how I am doing. Apparently my overt honesty about the trials of motherhood and PPD touched a lot of hearts last time round, and that [over]sharing has made people worried. Thank you!

I'm actually doing well this time around. I've had plenty of overwhelmed moments and a few tears at 4am, but nothing like my first venture into motherhood.

I'm working on a blog post about the various things I've done to ward off the PPD, which I hope to post this week. Who knows if any of them is actually the reason I feel better -- it's all chemical, isn't it? -- but perhaps the combination of doing all the things I can to avoid it is actually working.

I still wish I had more time to clear my head enough to write. I wish I had energy and motivation. I'm tired all the time. So tired. I daydream about Scotland constantly. When I lucid dream, I go there -- usually on a magic carpet -- and wander the cobblestones before flying that same magic carpet over the sea to Skye. I make lists -- so many lists -- in my journal, prioritizing things and not getting them done. This morning between 1:44am and 4:15am, I berated myself for not having finished my new album yet. Then I get sad. Then I tell myself I've had a lot going on, and it's perfectly okay, and that maybe, just maybe, a few music supporters like yourselves out there have not entirely forgotten me ... will support me, will help promote to your friends, will come to live shows, will help me make music videos or share videos with your friends, and maybe my career is not dead as most people warned me it would be if I had a second child, right?

Anyway, I get sad. But I am not in a pit of despair. I think it will work itself out.

Now, must get some rest and pin down that pedal steel and fiddle player to FINISH THIS RECORD! Anyone want to be my booking agent? I'm going to find a way to tour so hard when this album is finished!

Cute baby for the win:

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Proper Pram, but no proper cobblestones.

When I had the first Wee Boy in Edinburgh, Scotland, a dear friend offered me a vintage Silver Cross stroller (or pram or buggy, whatever). I wanted so much to accept -- to wander the cobblestone streets pretending I was royalty, my teeny bairn within the giant buggy, swaddled like a burrito. Alas, we lived in a small one-bedroom flat and it just didn't make sense to accept the giant pram.

We did end up acquiring a secondhand buggy, however, that turned out to be one of my favorite purchases. I loved it so much that it followed us home to America, even though we left most everything else we owned at various charity shops in Scotland. Since the first Wee Boy hasn't really ridden in a stroller since he turned 2.5, it's been packed away in my parents' garage.

Today, we cleaned out the ol' Scottish pram, and I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying wandering the neighborhood with it.

1. It's got proper tires. These American prams, unless you pay a zillion dollars for a high-end jogging stroller, seem to have tires designed for mall-walking, not for actual transportation. Since we are car-free, we need functional strollers.

2. The new wee boy can lie down, all swaddled up if we want, and face me, while still safely secured -- without having to be in a car seat. I can skip about, pushing the pram and still make eye contact with him. It is simply delightful.

I love it. I love having a place to put him for his 28-minute naps, so I can pound out a blog without having him attached to me. I love babywearing, but I need personal space too. But that's another blog... also, it's been 28 minutes apparently.

Also, if you're in the Louisville area, come to this show! It's an outdoor gig, family-friendly and will be loads of fun. My band, plus THE BIRDIES! Get your tickets here ... kids are free.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Matching Derby outfits for the wee boys.


It seems native Louisvillians either embrace all things Derby, or they get out of town and claim to not understand the hype. For those who stay in town, the festivities are still divided -- half of the people following horses, trainers, owners and the SnapChat story (snap code Kentucky.Derby), and the rest of the partiers forgetting the whole two-week festival is actually leading up to a two-minute horse race.

I fall somewhere in between all of these. We rent our house out, but we don't dare leave town. It's much too fun to stay. 

The azaleas are blooming, and the liquor store owners are extra chatty. People are generally happy, and I like it that way. I also like bed races, balloon races, steamboat races, parades, and mint juleps (yes - after years of haughtily supposing that no proper Louisvillian actually likes the signature cocktail of the Derby -- I've had a few good ones and have decided they are surprisingly refreshing). 

It's been seven years since I've actually been to the track on Derby Day -- that magical day when I was bequeathed a ticket to Millionaire's Row the day after I sang at the famous Barnstable-Brown Party. Ahhhh, my pre-kids magical life.

Post-kids is pretty magical though too ... the boys got matching adorable Derby outfits this year.

Today the wee boy is 8 weeks old, which means he gets his first shots soon, and I might actually let some of you hold him. 

I'm also close to finishing writing my birth story, so look out for that soon.

In the mean time, check out this video on my Facebook page of me singing, playing piano and breastfeeding simultaneously (or don't check it out if you don't want to see 25% of a boob).

Me and David at the fancy new infield suites at Thurby.
Babywearing at Churchill Downs on Thurby.
We needed the carseat for the Uber, but it was useful too.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Babymooning with my phone turned off.

Deep in babyland over here. We've been diligently resting. David has been trying to recreate the Chinese tradition of Confinement here, bringing me water and bagels and cookies (probably not exactly what they eat in those fancy postpartum spas, but I've been loving it). I have been keeping my phone in airplane mode and telling people we aren't ready for visitors yet -- basically, following midwives' orders. Sorry if you're one of the 18 voicemails I haven't listened to. Will do soon, I swear.

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We went out yesterday for a newborn hearing screening and stopped at a big box store on our way home. A cashier reacher her grubby fingers into the baby carrier and put them on the wee boy's face -- who does that? I probably wouldn't have minded so much if the following conversation hadn't also taken place:

Her: How old are you?
Me: Thirty seven.
Her: And that baby is yours? Whoah! My husband wanted another one, but I was already thirty-six, and I was, like, no way!

I laughed, and somehow David managed to bite his tongue.

What's wrong with people? I mean, I know in the Middle Ages, I would have been a grandmother (or be dead) by now, but seriously ... I'm still in my thirties. Sure, my lower back kind of wishes I'd done this baby thing fifteen years ago, but my passport disagrees.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wee boys at two weeks old: Castles and Couches.

Checking in from the depths of newborn-land. We are well. The wee boy sleeps great -- in the afternoon. At night, it's like playing whack-a-mole trying to get the two boys to sleep at the same time. But we are enjoying our parental leave ... David gets a whopping six weeks off! I, of course, get zero paid time off, though I haven't taught any lessons in the two weeks since the new wee boy was born. Next week is Spring Break, so I will probably return to teaching after that. The whole no-paid-leave thing is sitting well with the whole sit-around-and-hold-a-baby-and-try-not-to-order-things-off-Amazon-Prime thing. I guess it's true: you either have time or money.

Frustrating thing of the moment: the newest wee boy does not have a passport. Because he does not have a birth certificate yet. Because the Commonwealth of Kentucky is pokey. This means David and I are sitting around with extended time off and we cannot leave the country. I swear, I'm thinking of driving up to Chicago the day that birth certificate arrives in the mail, just to get a passport same-day, and then checking the international flights out of O'Hare because TRAVEL BUG! But seriously ... how is it easier to get an American passport while living in Europe than it is while living in America?

Wee Boy at two weeks old: Tantollon Castle, Scotland.

Happy thing of the moment: David brings me meals and snacks and tea and water, and I don't really leave the couch. This is also sort of frustrating because I don't like sitting still. But I'm trying to obey midwives' orders by not overdoing it.

Wee boy #2 at two weeks old: the couch.
When Graham turned two weeks old, we took a train to Tantollon Castle, spent the afternoon in a tea shop by the sea, wandering cobblestones and looking at the birds on Bass Rock. When Angus turned two weeks old, I ate four Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs and visited the basement for the first time in a month.

Life is different in America.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Baby is here!

It's another wee boy!

This may be a complete shock to you, but I had a baby last week. Yes, I didn't even announce the pregnancy until, um, twelve days before he was born. Sorry about that. I've got some work/life/social-media balance issues still to sort out.

He's here, and he's wonderful. His big brother (the less wee of the two Wee Boys) keeps petting him and saying, "Oh, I just love him so much." We still call the baby 'Pretzel' because that's what Graham wanted to name him in utero. And though we did not flee to Scotland to birth the baby (believe me, we looked into travel medical visas, so I could birth the way I wanted), we did give him a most Scottish name: Angus!

I'll write out the birth story eventually for y'all who like that sort of thing. I have all kinds of commentary on the American maternity care system, having had one baby in America and one baby in Europe.

For now, let me just say that one huge bonus of having a baby in my hometown has been the amazing showering of love and meals from friends and family. While I loved having Graham in Scotland because it allowed us to be insulated and honeymoon with the baby without a constant stream of visitors, I am equally loving being in Louisville this time, where we have been loved daily with visitors and deliveries. I guess I don't actually know what I want, but it's been pretty great. As my husband said: full hearts, full fridge. Thanks for the love, friends. It's been a grand week!

Also, if I haven't responded to your texts or voicemails, sorry. I have 34 unread voicemails and at least as many texts. Trying to babymoon prooperly:)


In music news: baby coming early is perfect timing for the Jason Wilber (John Prine's guitarist, who just played two nights at the Ryman in Nashville last week) house concert I'm co-hosting on Friday. 

Graham went to his first concert (the Leith Folk Club in Edinburgh!) at 10 days old, so wee Angus will be following the family tradition. If you'd like to attend, shoot me an email or a Facebook message and I'll get you the information. Space is limited because it's an intimate venue, so RSVPs are required. There are still a few spots left. I will see you there!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Adorable things my kid has said lately.

Now that I've let go of the big secret, I feel a little lighter. (Except that literally, of course, I feel much, much heavier these days.) I've been trying to enjoy the last month or two of The Wee Boy being an only child.
Cuddled up on a Sick Day last month.

I know that the majority of the world seems to think that making your child an only child is the worst thing you could do to him -- or spoken in a more positive light, but which I find totally condescending and irritating, a sibling is the best gift you can give him.

Ugh. Sorry, but not everyone loves their siblings. And not all only children are entitled freaks. Also, I happened to absolutely love being an only, and I know I would not have gotten half the opportunities I had as a child (piano lessons, guitar lessons, school trips, university) if I'd had a sibling.

So I'm feeling a wee bit of guilt these days about "de-throning," as someone oddly put it last week, the Wee Boy.

I know it'll be fine, and I know that he'll be happy to have a playmate eventually. Still. He's such a good boy these days, that I just want him to have everything.

Honestly, this 3-year-old is amazing. I am being paid back (with interest) for the fact that he is still not a good sleeper. My friends with 3-year-olds will envy me (much as I envied them their good sleepers), but I don't understand the term "threenager." His tantrums rarely last more than 30-60 seconds, and I honestly don't think he has more than 2-3 a month. It's bizarre how emotionally well-adjusted he is. Truthfully, I have more breakdowns than this kid. We keep being told "just give it a month," but months have come and gone. I think he's just got his daddy's well-adjusted genes...

Anyway, the baby book is too far away for me to make notes about some of the wonderful and hilarious things he has said in the last couple of months, so I'm writing them down for posterity:

"I'm sorry to admit this, but I wiped my hand on the table instead of on the napkin. Sorry, Mom." 
"If Daddy sees me wearing mismatched socks, then he will freak out."
"Mommy, I need to be on your pillow in order to properly cuddle you. But just a little bit is showing. Is that okay?" 
"Mommy, I am sad because I want to talk to you all night long. But I will be asleep soon, so I won't be able to use words." 
Wee Boy: Well, instead of jail, we can teach people how to be better.
Me: Yes, it's called rehabilitation.
Wee Boy: Rehabilitation? Well, bust my buttons! 
"Goodnight, Mommy. I love you. There's no person like you in the whole wide world." 
That last one ... oh my goodness. I'll boast about him more another time (I swear, he can just about read), but for now, I am just trying to enjoy every minute of him saying hilarious and sweet things because I know I'll be a bit distracted in several weeks. Thankfully, I'm always sleep-deprived, so nothing new there.
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