Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Folks Fest 2010

I'm a very happy mama after another perfectly wonderful festival weekend at the Rocky Mountains Folks Fest in Lyons, Colorado.

After a stressful Tuesday at work (in fancy clothes, nonetheless, which is rare for this geologist), I left the office around 4:00 p.m. and raced to the airport to pick up my dearest Rachel P. We packed up and organized (but mostly visited) Tuesday night, did some grocery shopping Wednesday morning, gave my hubby and baby big kisses, and hit the road Wednesday around 1:00 p.m. in the Toyota pickup. We headed for Fort Collins, and joined the organization I'm president of, the Rocky Mountain Association of Environmental Professionals (RMAEP) for our annual member field trip. This year we took a tour of the New Belgium Brewery and it was so much fun! We learned a lot about what an amazing company New Belgium is. Their company culture and environmental stewardship are truly inspiring!

After some delicious tastes of their beers, and a trip down their indoor spiral slide, we were officially on vacation! We arrived in Lyons around dinnertime and had a great night of food, beer, and video games at Oskar Blues Brewery!

Thursday was spent reading, playing music, wandering around Lyons, and lounging next to the St. Vrain River. Around 6 p.m. Thursday, we fired up our engines, and the land rush was on. We secured an awesome, shady campsite near some friends we made last year at this same festival.

Brian and Sadie arrived after camp was completely set up to my OCD satisfaction.

The weekend was perfectly lovely. Beautiful festivarians, good friends old and new, and perfect weather! It's a true miracle of nature that we made it through festival season without a single drop of rain!!! Yeah!

Best music of the weekend, hands down, was Ani Difranco's amazing performance Friday night. Rachel and I sat completely mesmerized by every expression on her face, every word coming out of her mouth, and every note from her guitar. I've seen Ani perform many times, but this was probably one of the very best performances I've ever seen of hers.

We seriously had a complete and total meltdown after it was over (and since I only had 2 beers I can't contribute it to the alcohol....). We fell into a pile in the grass and sobbed and laughed at the same time for at least 15-20 minutes. It felt so good! That's my favorite kind of crying....when you're so overcome by beauty and joy and raw emotion that you can't help but sob and laugh hysterically at the same time. AHHHH!!! So healthy.... Anyway, kudos to Ani for being that good that she had that affect on us!

So, once we'd recovered from that, we continued to soak up some amazing music for the rest of the weekend. I also really enjoyed Darrell Scott's set (of course), Michelle Shocked, and The Waifs. It was great to have my dad join us for the day on Sunday.

Sadie definitely was voted best baby of the festival (and not just by us...). She napped and slept at night like a champ. She smiled, laughed, danced, clapped, splashed, played on the beach, ran, sang, and generally kept us completely entertained. She also wore us out! Wow!

It's definitely a much different festival with a toddler. I used to sit in one spot all day in the sun. I'd knit, read, drink beer, nap, sunbathe, knit some more, maybe work on a crossword puzzle. You get the idea....

Well, needless to say, I didn't have much time for those activities amongst all the Sadie chasing. Yes, it's certainly a different festival experience these days, but I don't think I've ever enjoyed these festivals as much as I did this summer. Instead of being solely about the music, it was more about family and friends, enjoying being away from home in a beautiful natural setting, reveling in the amazing festivarian community, and teaching our daughter about the joy of festival life.

Brian and I definitely made a great team for making the experience great for each other and for Sadie.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Swirling Thoughts On a Tough Day

Wow, am I a busy mama. I'm working fulltime, mothering fulltime, breastfeeding, studying 5-6 days a week, bookclubbing, cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, house concert hosting, bread baking, blogging, sewing, knitting, band practicing, gardening, reading, serving as president of RMAEP, traveling, camping, researching childcare options for Sadie, etc, etc, etc!

Some days I feel like superwoman! Some days I am on top of all of this. I go to bed with a great sense of accomplishment for all that I've done in one day. Then there are days when I feel so busy I can't even sleep and I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water.

I've been giving a lot of thought to this constant struggle for balance lately. The things that I've taken on are either for my career/professional development (RMAEP, professional geologist test), or for the enrichment of my marriage and my family (festivals, cooking, gardening, house concerts, band practice, making time for friends and family). Some of them are for my own personal well-being (bookclub, therapy, Weight Watchers), but that's just as important too.

Yes, I have a lot of things that fill up my life. And I'm a pretty high strung person. But the thing is, I'm proud of those qualities. I think that the things that fill up my life make me a more interesting person, and hopefully a better employee, parent, friend, sister, daughter, and wife. I recognize that there are times that all of it builds up and the stress overwhelms me. I'm working on changing how I react at those specific times. But I truly don't feel that way all the time. Most of the time I just feel really proud and accomplished at the end of the day for juggling all the things I do. I love that my life is rich and full and I don't apologize for it.

But I don't want it to negatively impact my marriage or my role as a mother to Sadie. That's what ends up overwhelming me sometimes, is finding that balance. And finding that balance has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do since having Sadie. It has completely thrown me against the wall. I used to always feel on top of everything. Now there are more times when I don't, and that's because I do feel like I'm being pulled in so many directions. But even under that circumstance, I feel like I deal with it pretty well. I still smile and laugh and kiss and hug and sing every day. Despite all the things I have on my mind and on my plate, I'd like to think that most people who know me would say I'm a happy, cheerful, fun-loving person who really sees the beauty in life and lives life to its fullest.

So, that's how I see myself most of the time....but there are days that I'm not so sure. There are days when I think maybe I'm kidding myself about how I project myself in the world. I want Sadie to see those good qualities in me as she grows up. I want to be a model for her of how to live life to its fullest. But is she only going to see a stressed out, frazzled mom with too much on her plate?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bluegrass Time!!!

Another great festival season has come to an end, and what fun we've had. Rockygrass took place at the end of July and we had so much fun spending the weekend with our neighbors and friends Amanda and Ryan! It was also so wonderful to spend some quality time with Angela and Paul; and Wendy, Nick, and Evelyn (just home from New Zealand).

We got a prime campsite under a permanent shelter. We managed to put Sadie's tent in the shade so she was able to nap happily in the tent every day. I was anxious about how sleeping in the midst of festivarian partying was going to go for our Sadie, but she was a champion! Slept 12 hours through the night every night despite all the mayhem of the campground. Phew!

I knew going into the weekend that Sadie's sleep habits would either make or break the festival (for me). We set ourselves up for success as well as we could. Earplugs in Sadie's ears, a battery-operated white noise machine in the tent, and a homeopathic sleep aid for kids (Calms Forte 4 Kids) seemed to be a great combination. I usually can't sleep in the same room as Sadie because every time she moves, I wake up worried that she's up for the night. But I used the same silicone earplugs, an eye mask, a couple beers, and 2 Benadryl to help me sleep as well as she did. I managed to get more sleep than I ever have at a festival, and Sadie and I both woke up well-rested and smiling every morning! YEAH!

The music was amazing, as usual. Highlights for me were The Infamous Stringdusters; Mark Johnson and Emory Lester; The Farewell Drifters; and the Tim O'Brien band of course.

Ryan and Brian were real troopers and were talked into staying up till all hours of the night (and early morning) playing music and drinking in line in order to get tarp spots inside the festival grounds each day (we really had to twist their arms, believe me). Ryan even managed to get a #3 one night! He was in fine form striding across the festival grounds to secure an awesome spot for the day.

We played in the river, basked in the sun, picked and sang, smiled, drank, ate, listened to tunes, slept, and repeated for 4 days. Heaven....

Thank you to Amanda for sharing her beautiful photos of the weekend!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Breast Is Best !!

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is the greatest outreach vehicle for the breastfeeding movement, being celebrated in over 120 countries. Officially it is celebrated from 1-7 August.

I'm proud to be a breastfeeding mama to Sadie (still going strong at 18 months) and proud to support other mothers in their efforts to give their babies what is best for them.

Some of my favorite breastfeeding quotes (I love the Quote Garden), in honor of World Breastfeeding Week.

A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three. ~Grantly Dick-Read

While breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent, it is the best choice for every baby. ~Amy Spangler

My opinion is that anybody offended by breastfeeding is staring too hard. ~David Allen

Nursing does not diminish the beauty of a woman's breasts; it enhances their charm by making them look lived in and happy. ~Robert A. Heinlein

A baby nursing at a mother's breast... is an undeniable affirmation of our rootedness in nature. ~David Suzuki

If a multinational company developed a product that was a nutritionally balanced and delicious food, a wonder drug that both prevented and treated disease, cost almost nothing to produce and could be delivered in quantities controlled by the consumers' needs, the very announcement of their find would send their shares rocketing to the top of the stock market. The scientists who developed the product would win prizes and the wealth and influence of everyone involved would increase dramatically. Women have been producing such a miraculous substance, breastmilk, since the beginning of human existence. ~Gabrielle Palmer

Breastfeeding is a mother's gift to herself, her baby, and the earth. ~Pamela K. Wiggins

Breastfeeding is an unsentimental metaphor for how love works, in a way. You don't decide how much and how deeply to love - you respond to the beloved, and give with joy exactly as much as they want. ~Marni Jackson

Breastfeeding is a gift that lasts a lifetime. ~Author Unknown

When she first felt her son's groping mouth attach itself to her breast, a wave of sweet vibration thrilled deep inside and radiated to all parts of her body; it was similar to love, but it went beyond a lover's caress, it brought a great calm happiness, a great happy calm. ~Milan Kundera

Ah, the joy of suckling! She lovingly watched the fishlike motions of the toothless mouth and she imagined that with her milk there flowed into her little son her deepest thoughts, concepts, and dreams. ~Milan Kundera

When an actress takes off her clothes onscreen but a nursing mother is told to leave, what message do we send about the roles of women? In some ways we're as committed to the old madonna-whore dichotomy as ever. And the madonna stays home, feeding the baby behind the blinds, a vestige of those days when for a lady to venture out was a flagrant act of public exposure. ~Anna Quindlen

When we trust the makers of baby formula more than we do our own ability to nourish our babies, we lose a chance to claim an aspect of our power as women. Thinking that baby formula is as good as breast milk is believing that thirty years of technology is superior to three million years of nature's evolution. Countless women have regained trust in their bodies through nursing their children, even if they weren't sure at first that they could do it. It is an act of female power, and I think of it as feminism in its purest form. ~Christine Northrup

I am beautiful as I am. I am the shape that was gifted. My breasts are no longer perky and upright like when I was a teenager. My hips are wider than that of a fashion model's. For this I am glad, for these are the signs of a life lived. ~Cindy Olsen, co-owner of The Body Objective

And how awesome is Sesame Street?? You'd never see this on TV these days!