an appendectomy, the rock boat, and the flu

You know those times of your life when you look back and can't believe all that has happened in a short amount of time?  Well that has been the past few weeks for us!  We were in the process of getting prepped for our time on The Rock Boat (Dan had been voted on to the boat this past fall and we were so excited for the adventure!), when I woke up one morning with intense pain in my abdomen.  By the end of that day I was in the E.R. diagnosed with appendicitis and on my way into surgery to have my appendix removed. It was a whirlwind of a day and the following few days also flew by as we packed for our trip and decided if I could, in fact, go on a cruise just 5 days after having abdominal surgery. 

By the end of the weekend I knew I could make the trip and I'm so glad I did.  It was such an amazing trip!  After Dan's first set, his name was a buzz word on the ship.  They LOVED him and his music!  We also made some great new musician friends, sold a lot of merch, watched amazing music, networked with fans and artists, enjoyed a bit of Mexico, and relished our time together.  Being away from Oak for 8 days was a long time, but the time away was so good for marriage and for our family.  We're excited to see what these next few months hold for Dan's music career as he continues to build with the new fans he made on the cruise.  Thank you to all who voted for Dan to make our time on the Rock Boat a reality! 

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Life would be too easy if we had been able to come home after the high of the trip and hit the ground running back in real life...but often times life isn't that easy and within a day of getting home I had influenza with a high fever and nasty respiratory symptoms.  Oak came down with it a few days later and we proceeded to fight that nasty thing off for over a week.  Oh dear.

Through it all, though, I learned a few things. First, we have amazing neighbors and family.  Our family helped with Oak and made us food and our neighbors brought food, flowers, whiskey, and playdough, and they took Oak at the drop of a hat.  They were all together wonderful.  Second, having a toddler, but not being able to lift him post-surgery is a challenge - so when in doubt, go on a cruise and recover there without said toddler.  Ha.  Third, building relationships with people who share similar lifestyles to you is so, so wonderful.  We have so many musician friends in Minneapolis, but on the Rock Boat we met and reconnected with people who are in similar stages of this game or some who are far beyond where we are.  It was so good to see that we are not alone in this weird life we live.  Others are doing it and making it.  That was so encouraging to see. Lastly, if you have the opportunity to take a trip with your spouse without your kid(s), do it.  It's so, so refreshing and good.  

an anniversary, a wedding, and a 7-month old

Life has been steadily moving.  Not too fast where I feel it whizzing by, but definitely not at a leisurely pace either.  It's been moving at the sort of pace where you think you're generally keeping up with everything and finding time to relax a bit and socialize a bit...but at the same time there are still quite a few things that you just never get to day after day.  This blog, my friends, has been one of those things.  So, here's a little update of what's been happening in our world.  

Two weeks ago, Dan and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary at a little cabin out in the woods of Wisconsin.  It was a lovely time--while not quite as romantic and relaxing as in years past due to the baby we brought along, it was still a wonderful time to disconnect with the world and reconnect with one another.  

Then this past weekend, my brother Jake got married up at my dad and stepmom's home (my childhood home).  It was a beautiful wedding--the weather was gorgeous and the meadow and people all cleaned up really nicely.  It was amazing to see the meadow turn into a wedding venue after years of just being a place to store stuff, shoot guns, hunt, and camp!  They did a fantastic job transforming it.  Oakee also got to dress up for the event as one of the ring bearers.  He got quite a few laughs as he laid in wagon, baby Jesus style, and was pulled down the isle by the two other ring bearers.  Overall, it was a wonderful wedding and we are excited to welcome a new Gilbertson into the clan---a new Megan Gilbertson, that is!  (For those who don't know, Megan Gilbertson is my maiden name and it's taken a bit to warm up to the idea of passing the baton on that one!) ;)  I realized that when you, your husband, and baby are all in a wedding, very few pictures get taken! Ha!  So, below are a few shots from the day before the wedding, one of me and two of my aunts, and one of two bridesmaid bouquets that are currently gracing our table at home. 

And then there's this 7-month old baby of ours!  7 months??? Where has the time gone!?!?!  Okay...maybe it is whizzing by and I'm not even realizing it.  This little boy of ours is army crawling all around the house (which is making my lack of clean floors rather evident), he's sitting up all on his own, he thinks the cat and the chickens are the best things ever, and he's starting to do funny things like laugh at funny faces and be silly.  We are rather smitten with him.  

eleven days of summerfest...with a 4-month old

Wow!  I can't believe we've been home from Summerfest in Milwaukee for two weeks already!  It's been a full two weeks, but our two weeks in Milwaukee were definitely worth writing about!  I mean, it's not every day that you hear about a 4-month old spending 11 days at a music festival!  

With our two travel days and a day off in the middle of the festival, we ended up being away from home for two full weeks.  It was a long two weeks, but overall it went very, very well!  I was amazed at how well Oak rolled with the craziness of the festival and the new surroundings.  Dan played two shows each day of the festival (22 shows in all!) and we were there for each one of them.  The way the festival is set up, we didn't have the opportunity to come and go as we pleased, so we all went in to the festival together and most days we all left together.  One thing that made the trip very manageable was that we stayed in a studio hotel room less than a mile from the festival grounds.  This made for a very easy commute in and out of the festival each day and provided us with a lot of quiet downtime each morning.  Here's what a typical day looked like while we were there:

  • Early morning:  Oak woke us up pretty early most mornings, which made us rather exhausted throughout the trip.
  • Mid-morning:  Dan and I would make breakfast in the kitchen of our little studio hotel room.  With a Whole Foods just a few minutes away, we were able to eat good food like we do at home.  Our breakfasts included eggs, sausage, and homemade scones that I mixed up and baked at the hotel.  Oak would take a early nap during this time as well. 
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  • Late-morning/early afternoon:  We would take care of music related business, run errands, make food to bring into the festival, eat a light lunch, and clean up.  Oak was able to get another nap in at this point. 
  • Mid-afternoon to early evening:  Each day we'd leave for the festival around 2:30.  Once we parked, we'd get a ride into the festival on a shuttle and we'd get set up for the shows.  I would generally feed Oak right before we left the hotel and he'd be ready for a nap right around 4:00 when Dan's first show would start.  I'd then plop him into my Boba wrap, where he'd fuss and protest for a few minutes and then he'd fall asleep.  Since he usually got two really good naps back at the hotel each day, I didn't worry too much about how much sleep he got while we were at the festival.  My goal was at least two 45-minute naps.  This happened most days, but sometimes they were only 30 minutes and other times they were over an hour.  Dan would play for about 45 minutes and then we'd spend 15-30 minutes selling CDs and connecting with the audience.  When Oak was awake during this time, he was mostly very content to watch the people.  A few times he got pretty fussy, which was challenging with how busy I was, but we were able to manage.  After Dan's set, I'd feed Oak backstage, we'd either eat food that we brought into the park or find something somewhat substantial among the fair foods, and we'd relax a bit.  It was pretty warm most days that we were there, so a bit of relaxing in the shade was much needed!  Then around 6:30 we'd start the whole routine again.  I'd get Oak to sleep and we'd start another set.  After that set ended, we'd pack up and head out of the park together and back to the hotel.  A few of the nights Dan stayed at the park to listen to other bands or connect with other musician friends while I went back to the hotel with Oak.  This was super easy to do since our hotel was so close to the festival and Dan was able to walk back at the end of the night. 
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  • Mid-evening/Late-evening: Once back at the hotel, I'd feed Oak and put him down for the night. Then Dan and I would stay up for awhile longer in order to relax and settle down from the busyness of the day.  It was hard for us to get to sleep before 11:00 or 12:00, which made the early wake up cries of our baby a bit hard to handle for two weeks straight.  I must say, that by the time we got home, I was VERY ready to get back to our regular routine!!

A couple things that made this whole trip workable:

  • We kept our mornings super low key and made sure Oak got good naps.
  • I worked pretty hard to keep Oak's normal Eat-Play-Sleep routine in place each day even while we were at the festival.  This helped me to be able to generally know what he would need while we were at Summerfest and helped me to be able to plan our time around him and his needs around the set schedule.  
  • We cooked quite a bit of food at the hotel, which kept us feeling pretty good while we were there, even though we weren't getting good sleep.
  • We had family and friends help us during a few of the days and we appreciated them so much!
  • We stayed in a hotel close by the festival, which minimized the commuting time and optimized our time in the hotel. 
  • We brought a few things from home to make our hotel feel more homelike for all of us (ie. Oak's quilt, lounger, basket of toys, pantry items, a delicious bar of handmade body soap, etc.) 
  • Babywearing!  I'm a big fan of babywearing for convenience!  While we brought a stroller with us on the trip, we only brought it into the festival grounds on one of the days (when my dad and stepmom were there and they were in charge of Oak).  On all of the other days, I wore Oak in a wrap during the sets and then Dan would carry him around in our Baby Bjoern between sets.  This kept Oak much happier than the stroller would have, made for better nap times while at the festival, and limited the amount of strangers who wanted to touch our baby. ;) 
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For those who are wondering, Oak's earmuffs are called Baby Banz.  So many people commented at the festival on how cute they are, which, don't get me wrong, I do think they are adorable.  However, Oak did not wear them to make a fashion statement, he wore them every time he was close to loud music at the festival (which was pretty much the whole time).  Hearing damage can be permanent, especially at such a young age.  I saw so many babies and kids at the festival without ear protection and it made me sad for them.  Parents, if you bring your kids to places with loud noises, protect their ears!!! 

In the end, the festival was a great success for us and we are so glad that we chose to go as a family.  It was hard work, a lot of hard work, but it was fun too.  Cheers to another year of Summerfest under our belts!

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adventures in new york

We just spent the past 4 days in New York City and it was perfectly wonderful.  Dan and I travel so well together and the time alone and away from real life was just what we needed before we enter the busy fall season.  We saw so much during our two full days there including Central Park, Times Square, Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, Purl Soho (a wonderful little yarn and fabric shop!), the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (from the ferry), Chinatown, Little Italy, Wall Street, and a show on Broadway!  We also ate a lot of delicious food and just enjoyed our time together.  It was truly a wonderful trip!  

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roadtrip adventures

This past Thursday afternoon, my Dad, little brother Riley, and I hit the road and headed to College Station, Texas.  As we started the drive, I couldn't help but think we were a little crazy--to and from Texas in 4 days??!?!  Well...we did it and it was quite the whirlwind!  We went down for a family wedding and had a wonderful time seeing so many members of our extended family, which is now spread across most of the middle of the country, including Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, and Arizona.  Getting everyone together is becoming much more difficult than it used to be when we were all kids and living in Minnesota, so when it does work out to see a bunch of the gang (and their growing families) it is so very worth it!  And being the frugal people we are...we drove to the occasion!  Two days of driving down, a day to enjoy everyone, and two days of driving back!  Yikes, does it feel good to be home!  

The wedding was beautiful and so much fun!  And the drive ended up being pretty good as well.  Bringing a bunch of our own food on the road made the drive down so much better.  There's nothing quite as great when driving for 10 hours to be able to make up a plate of homemade goodness...yum!  That along with several knitting projects, books, audiobooks, good tunes, and entertaining conversations made our 16 hour drives quite manageable.  On the way home my brother Tanner and his wife Lindsey caravanned with us and my grandparents joined us in the vehicle as well.  

Overall, it was a great trip and a great way to start the month of May!!

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Happy May to all of you!

hello from phoenix

This week I've had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with my aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandparents in sunny Arizona!! It's been a very relaxing and enjoyable trip so far. Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasures and next week we'll return to the typical blog posting schedule...  

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Happy Spring!!! 

making music in nashville

Have you ever been so proud you felt that your heart would burst?!  That's how I feel about my husband right now. Dan and I have known each other for over ten years and since we met, his dream has been to make music--and not just to make music, but to make music in a way that music makes his life.  Does that make sense?  Well, right now, Dan is in Nashville with his band of wonderful friends making music and making fabulous connections.  They are spending this week recording Dan's new album that will be released later this year and they are having a fabulous time doing so!  It makes my heart so happy to know that not only is Dan able to record his record in Nashville, but he's also able to do so with his closest friends.  While he may not get gushy about it, I most certainly will.  I love those guys--they are some of the best out there and I'm so grateful that they get to share in this journey with us.  

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Stay tuned for a Dan Rodriguez album release later this year!  It's going to be swell!