how to take my kid to a festival

i would name this how to take your kid to a festival but i don’t know how to take your child to a festival. i just know how to take my child. hubster and i kinda think of ourselves as seasoned veterans at this point. so get ready for some pix in your face and then my rundown of the 2013 nelsonville music festival with our child in tow.

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if it looks like we just spent the weekend doing cool stuff against a beautiful back drop it’s because we did.

ok, so nelsonville music festival is just simply my favorite thing about living in ohio. yeah, i’m bolding that. this weekend is just magical for me every year. and every year gets a little easier with our little gal.

ok, so steps for taking our child to a music festival:

1. pick the right festival. for me nelsonville is hands down my favorite to bring kiddos. we’ve also done pitchfork a few times which is pretty doable and forecastle which didn’t seem to jive as well for a family affair but NMF seems as though it’s a music festival happening around a kids’ art camp. as i wrote last year, the main goal of the fest, in my opinion, seems to be creating a family friendly event. and it just works. it works really well. they put so much thought into making the children welcome. i love it. can you tell?

kid friendliness of this year: kids’ tent where darla painted murals, made sock puppets and put on plays, played at a water wall made of repurposed plastic bottles, painted masks, tried out different instruments and made a fairywreath crown. a really cool new addition was the bindlestiff family circus. they performed all day on saturday. darla also participated in a parade and had the most amazing pink jetpack custom-made for her out of balloons. she had her face painted on multiple days at multiple locations and beyond that the whole place is like a kid free-for-all. games of soccer and frisbee going and always a new friend to meet. and you gotta love a festival that moves everyone into the gymnasium during bad weather and organizes kids’ games.

2. be at peace with not really getting too close or getting to watch the bands. i’ve not been the best at this in the past but this year was better. this was due to the combination of our girl being more independent and my accepting the fact that i’m just going to have to be content to be in the presence of live music even if my eyes have to be fixed on a roving target.

3. be at peace with the roving target. mike and i have been able to become much more comfortable with darla’s independence. we’re getting into the age of “you can go anywhere you want as long as we can see each other” and sometimes i have to break out of my fear and trust that she’ll be ok. we have more practice now at trusting her own interactions with people and nelsonville is the perfect opportunity for her to exercise a little more independence from us: it’s a contained environment with trustworthy people most, if not all, of whom are fine with a 4-year-old stranger crawling up into their lap to cuddle. in the past i’ve felt guilty about her intruding into others space but i’ve learned that it’s also up to other people to give her the message if she crosses their boundary. and that is fear based thinking any way. several of our coolest interactions happened this past weekend because darla has no social boundaries. really, most people are more open than we are made to believe.

4.  choose your bribes wisely. i tried to bribe darla into being good for the whole festival with the promise of a tiara she had her eye on that she would receive on the last day. that was quickly shortened until the end of saturday when we spent a good number of hours on both thurs and fri standing at the tiara tent while darla tried the tiara on and stared at herself in the mirror. this was then further shortened to midday on saturday when we figured we might as well get it instead of spending many more awkward hours with the tiara lady. in the end it was much better to have something that we could take away if things weren’t going so nicely. also, save food and drink bribes until the very last straw. do not start these too early with her because you will end up in a vicious sugar cycle. also, don’t feed her after midnight.

5. be free and be open. taking darla anywhere means i have to be free and open-minded to whatever the experience is going to be instead of trying to manage the situation. sometimes i fail at this but i feel i did pretty excellent this past weekend. i had to remind myself that this was an experience for darla too and that it’s really in my best interest if she enjoys herself as much as possible in the ways she sees most fit. sometimes this means things happen that would normally be deemed outside the social norms {for some} like playing in the dirt for hours or walking around without shoes or adopting herself into a family of strangers. nelsonville is perfect for this. and really, parenting seems so much easier when those things can be tossed.

6. make a trade-off schedule in advance.  so, since some of the acts go on past darla’s bedtime we usually end up trading off nights for who takes her back early to bed. {and i use that early term loosely since camping means staying up a little bit late to tell spooky stories} this ensures that a) we each get a little bit of kid free time at the fest to enjoy some of the headliners  b) at least one of us is better rested for getting up with her early in the morning.  this was the first year we were proactive enough to make the schedule agreement first instead of making it up during the trip. talking about it ahead of time really helps. you are really smart and probably would have figured that out sooner.

7. go with friends who also have kids. and make friends with the other parents who brought their kids and also have better snacks than you. trust me, both these things are really helpful. this part means i’m not-so-subtly suggesting you should come with us next year.

well, that’s all i got on that. thanks for taking a look at a small bit of our festival experience. i’m really just trying to tell you all to join us next year. i promise you won’t be disappointed.

way yes

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here’s our friday night down at the commons watching Way Yes. i say way yes to this band. i dig. i dig alot. sign me up for their next show!  i’m just wearing my doula shirts at all times from here on out so if you plan on going anywhere with me in the next, say, 25 years then you can count on that being my attire. as far as darla’s outfit goes you can reference this post.

also, the commons gets better every year. it’s easily becoming one of my favorite places in this city. darla ran around like a mad fool and we get to veg out to some good tunes. not to mention jeni’s and late night slice are there now.

i want more nights like that one, please, universe.

daily moment

i know i already shared a moment but there were so many good happenings and doings yesterday. it was a really fantastic day. i thought you wouldn’t mind a double dose, it being a holiday weekend and all.

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darla dancing to dylan on his birthday. hope it was a good one, mr. zimmerman.

my tribute

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dear cousin,

this is a picture of my dad holding you when you were a baby. i have many, many vivid memories of my father holding you. you see, i think i had just become officially too old to be held when you were born. i remember you being content to be held by my father for what seemed like hours to a 5/6-year-old. i wanted to be you. and i was so jealous.

i’m officially over it.

now i am just glad that anyone, anywhere at anytime got to hold you. it’s something many, many people wish they could be doing just now.  i am reminded very much during this mourning period how things we don’t yet understand always serve a purpose.  my mind and heart keep clinging to the small ways our family has been taken care of during this, the small graces, the ways we’ve taken care of each other. everything seems to have its meaning and purpose and i’m so very thankful to be in a place to see those little cracks where the light shines in. i’ve carried around some guilt for being envious of your being held by my father but now i see that if i hadn’t been so attuned to the relationship he had with you as a baby then i wouldn’t have these vivid memories and as an adult they are beautiful.

i know each of us are processing in our own way. for me this means utilizing music, and i know you would appreciate that. mike and i saw jim james on tuesday night. if it had been ANY other artist i would have stayed home but I just knew it was meant to be. I reflected about seeing him at the rudyard kipling with you in louisville,  how excited we were to be hanging out as adults for pretty much the first time. it seems so long ago but so near, like it’s shrouded in a veil and i could reach out for it but for that thin piece of fabric keeping it separated from the here and now. it was a great night. if i never told you that before, i’m telling you now.

it means i’ve been reliving the great lake swimmers and yeasayer concerts from last summer. it means i’ve been cracking up about how vehemently and emphatically every cousin reacted when i asked “does anyone feel like a grown-up yet?” at the restaurant before great lake swimmers.

it means i’ve been listening to a lot of all things must pass and the last waltz. i’ve always thought Forever Young was a beautiful blessing. i’m just thinking of you, cousin, as i listen. i think you embodied the message. i think you got the essence of life that dylan was able to capture in this song. { i know, so cliché to have a dylan song but the man wrote songs apropos to every occasion } it’s everything i could think of to wish for someone and i wish it for you now.

so here it is now, in words and the best version ever for viewing. i love you. i hope you know you are kind and loving. i hope you know you are so beautiful. i hope you know you are so smart and fun and intelligent. you are such a lovely person. may you stay forever young.

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ps. forever young is right next to the lyrics for dirge in the bob dylan lyrics book. cosmic connections.


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exhaustingly good amounts of fun time this past weekend. weekend bits:

1.  new bird feeder project  2. selfie before the en vogue show  3 & 4. the terribly anticlimactic show that was somehow still tons of fun and i would go again in a heartbeat  5. tried el camino for the first time. thank goodness for healthy, cheap tacos. and i mean CHEAP.  6 & 7. year of the buffalo in-store at vinyl frontier. Mike arranged his first in store and i have to say, he picked a mighty fine band {biased!}.  8. darla worked her magic and made fast friends with the band. they gifted her a copy of their ep and a guitar pick. it’s been our soundtrack in the car ever since. you should check it out. NOW.  9. finished the weekend with a valentine-crafting & pizza party at our friends’.

weekend also included but not pictured: a karaoke session at mickey’s, sunday brunch with lady friends, darla’s introduction to star wars, and cousin hang-time at our place. all normal things like gym, grocery and housecleaning fit in where they could…or not.

i love busy weekends full of life. keep them coming.


i am playing along with the weekly senses photo feature from Mary Catherine’s blog this week.

i am a dreamer. i think big and dream bigger. the problem with this is that i find myself not being satisfied in whatever moment i’m in. i’m living in the future or the past too much. i feel that focusing on this photo exercise put some perspective in my day: if i’m experiencing something nice pertaining to all 5 of my senses in one day then i’m doing alright. i have it pretty good no matter what my ambitions are telling me. I was able to find all these little gratitudes in a span of about 60 minutes:

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i’ve been making more of an effort to thoroughly use our fruits and veggies before tossing in the compost. the smell of grapefruit after scrubbing the sink with the leftover peel and the smell of fresh veggie stock helped me connect to our blessings in the nourishment department. (yeah, the pot boiled over. so much for the morning stove wipedown.)

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darla and i have a little ritual of scooping out the cream from the top of our freshly opened milk jugs. we get them every other week so it’s a treat to each have a spoonful once in a while. the taste of this week’s spoonful helped me connect to this small part of our life that i hope darla will remember when she is older. just she and her mama sharing fresh cream and feeling it’s a treat every single time.

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a touch of warmth is back in the sunshine. so that means it is real sunshine now. the kind that you can feel warm your skin. you can see my pasty white skin drinking in the vitamin d. the feeling of warmth connected me to the promise of springtime and brighter days to come.

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the fiendish look of accomplishment my girl makes when she’s sneaked a treat. it’s impossible for me to be irked by her cookiesnatching ways. the sight of this smile makes me grateful time and again.


this one was a given. mike won tickets to Father John Misty & The Walkmen this week. it has been quite a drought since my last concert so i was feeling very thankful to get back to some live music. also, i am grateful to have a husband that has calling in to radio stations to win tickets down to a science. i missed most of father john misty due to a birthworkers meeting but made it just in time for 2 of my favorite songs so it was ok. have a listen to my fave above.

that’s all friends. hope you continue to have a grand weekend!!!! xoxoxoxo


no matter what happens tomorrow i’m glad i was there for this.wawwyjay z obamawawwy

and i’m glad i was with these two line buddies. darla was a real trooper. i mean it. we were there from 11 in the morning until 5 and she was great. she got a little bored during the boss’s slower songs so she started playing games on my phone. as soon as jay z started she just handed my phone back to me without even so much as breaking gaze of the stage and stared transfixed. so maybe she’s into hip hop. she a fly girl. she a j-lo.

just now during bedtime routine, i asked her what she thought of the rally and she said “oh it was great. it smelled like popcorn and the nerds you brought were yummy.” soooo maybe she didn’t really get that much out of it…but she told me she really liked the parts where she got to yell with everyone. that’s enough for me.

happy voting tomorrow, everyone!

ps. here was my main reference point for the day to darla. i may rely on an american tail as a teaching source just a little too much: