Halloween IS October 31st! (And Dr. Dog ticket giveaway!!)

Halloween is a ‘holiday’ that is always celebrated on Oct.31st – no matter if it falls on a Tuesday or if it is snowing! Traditionally, it is a celebration on the night before All Saints Day (Nov.1). This year, in Louisville, we have an interesting situation – bad weather (or more accurately, bad weather is being predicted). The weather forecasters have been telling us for a few days that we should expect rain, wind, hail, and a slight tornado risk. Sounds like JUST the type of weather I want to take my kids out in. Riiiight!

Some of the smaller, incorporated cities in the area have ‘moved’ trick or treating to Friday or Saturday night. The Mayor’s office said that government isn’t in the trick or treating business, so they weren’t making a recommendation on when people should trick or treat. So….there has been a grassroots effort to get the word out about pushing the date back one day – to Friday. I can totally appreciate the thought, idea, and effort people have put into changing it. I don’t want my kids to be in danger. I don’t want to be the bad guy and tell them that they can’t go. I don’t want to disappoint them.

But, you know what? Part of my job as a parent is to prepare my kids to be successful adults. And part of that is learning that life can’t always be perfect and sometimes you have to go with the flow. I haven’t cancelled Halloween for them – I’ve offered an alternative (to have some neighbors over, on Halloween, for chili and indoor trick or treating). The idea of Halloween is dressing up and having fun with friends. Oh, yeah….and getting gobs of candy. They will have all of that, just in a different form. And in the future, I hope the weather is perfect and they look back on this year and think of how much fun it was. Or at least have an appreciation for good Halloween weather!

I also hope they acquire skills that help them problem solve, as well as the ability to be flexible in certain situations. I think our society has set up our kids for failure in adult life by making everything perfect for them. Hello – give every kid a trophy for every sport they play, starting at age 3!! Life isn’t perfect. If this is their expectation, then they are in for a rude awakening! It is much more beneficial to help your kids navigate through life’s ups and downs with the proper tools and expectations than it is to (try to) make them happy all of the time. Give your children something they will really thank you for when they are adults.

The point of this post is not to judge other parents and their decision for their family!! The real point was to work out, for myself, why I was so against moving Halloween. And I am sharing my thought process because I am guessing that I am not alone (okay, so I am hoping that I am not alone!).

Now for the Dr. Dog ticket giveaway! My loss is your gain! I can’t use my tickets for their SOLD OUT show on Saturday night at Headliners in Louisville. So…like my Facebook page, Last Bit Of Sanity, and post what your favorite Halloween costume was as a kid. Or if you like to tweet, then you can tweet it. And if you want to double your chances, share a link to this post (tag Last Bit Of Sanity) on Facebook or Twitter. I will randomly select a winner. I will leave you with a Halloween themed Dr. Dog song, Vampire. Funny how these things come together sometimes. Ha!

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(No Longer) Dead To The World

I am still alive! I have not been taken down by my foursome. It isn’t for a lack of trying! My pre-teen likes to remind me daily of my ‘great parenting’ (in case your phone isn’t displaying the font correctly, that is written in the oozing sarcasm font), my 2nd boy has perfected the playing of the middle child card, my daughter is 7 going on 17, at least in her mind, and my baby has up and left me to enter Kindergarten. Oh yeah, and the start of the school year also brought us the gift of the stomach bug. All except my darling daughter got it. My theory is that she is so mean that she scared it away.

The point is, I am still here. Still listening to music. Still going to live shows. Still writing about parenting and music. Well, okay, you got me on that one. In my head, I have written hundreds of posts. Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten out of my head nor can you read my mind. So they have done no one any good. Part of me feels like a slacker, but you know what, the other part of me says screw it. I am a busy Mom of 4 who is trying to balance parenting, wife-ing, working, socializing, and everything-else-including-the-kitchen-sink-ing. Speaking of sinking, I realize lately this blog has been totally lacking my attention. I miss it. I miss you all. I miss talking about music that I love. I miss finding new bands to share with you all.

So, I am back. Part of the reason I had to come out of my blog-ernation (I was going to say hibernation, but if you have seen me around, hibernation couldn’t be further from the truth. It only pertains to the blog…hence the cute, made up name), is because one of my all time favorite bands in coming to town this weekend. And you shouldn’t miss it. And I apologize for all the shows I failed to tell you about. Wow….there were some good ones, too. Anyway…back to the show this weekend….

Ha Ha Tonka is playing at Headliners on Saturday night. These guys are just amazing. I’ve written about them a ton! They are extremely talented musicians and vocalists as well as downright nice guys. Come one now…they pulled me on stage at Uncle Slayton’s a few birthdays ago to sing me Happy Birthday!! There is no video (that I am aware of), but many of you were in attendance and can confirm this wasn’t just a happening in one of my dreams! They also win the title of hottest concert I have ever attended. It was in Lawrence, KS (we just happened to be visiting good friends out there). Actually, now that I think about it, they are in a tie with My Morning Jacket at The Palace for that title. Anyway, good times were had by all and we left with a glistening that you normally acquire from the sauna.

Ha Ha Tonka is out touring in support of their new album, Lessons. Brian Roberts, lead singer, has said that he got inspiration from the album after hearing an NPR interview with the late illustrator and renowned children’s author, Maurice Sendak (you know – Where The Wild Things Are and Little Bear, amongst others). These guys will get anyone moving. They rock hard. I have written about them a number of times. I like their new stuff. It’s one of those albums that really grows on you the more you listen to it. And I have been listening plenty!

Also, these guys are BIG St. Louis Cardinal fans and this girl, who is a BIG Yankees fan will be cheering on the Cardinals with them this week! 😉

This is a video of one of their new songs – Dead To The World. And I glad that I am no longer dead to the (blogging) world! I can’t wait to feel their energy Saturday night at Headliners!! See you there?

LOUIE FM! LOUIE FM!

I originally published this on Sept.5, 2009 after discovering that a local radio station had changed hands and call letters. My youngest was about 17 months old at the time. It was a sad time but I am re-posting it because I am excited to say we have a ‘new’ LOUIE FM in Louisville!! 104.3 WLUE. The format is good….lots of old songs I haven’t heard forever, but what is even better is the look on my kids’ faces when they heard the station identification!!

I know it is weird to say I am upset that 100.5 LOUIE FM is no longer. But I am seriously upset about it. It is now called Gen X radio or something like that. The new music format is okay…I have heard many songs over the past couple of days that I hadn’t heard in 10 years!!

But, I cannot get over the fact that I will never hear “You are listening to 100.5, LOUIE FM.” It had a very special meaning to our family. Again, sounds weird, I know! Let me explain.

A few days before our youngest was born, hubby and I came to the mutual realization that we weren’t so crazy about the boy name we had picked out for him. We have used family names for all of our kids (first and middle), so by the fourth child and third boy, the pickings were getting pretty slim. However, we both agreed that we kinda like the name Louis Frederick (nickname Louie), after hubby’s Dad, Fred, aka Frederick Louis. But, we were going to wait until he was born to make the final decision. And we had learned the lesson early not to tell anyone the names we were considering!!

Well, as soon as baby #4 was born, we looked at each, while everyone else was inquiring, “What’s his name?!”, and we both said “Louis Frederick” and that is when our little Louie was introduced to the family. Ben’s Dad had no idea that we were even thinking about using his name and I will never forgot when he was holding Louie in the hospital, nearly too emotional to speak. It is a moment that will forever be burned into my memory.

On our way home from the hospital, we were listening to the radio when we heard “You are listening to 100.5 LOUIE FM.” Again, hubby and I looked at each other and just laughed. Our Louie’s name was Louie FM (Louis Frederick M****). And hubby joked that it was very fitting all the way around, because his Dad had spent his whole life in the radio business.

Whenever the older kids would get in the car and hear the call letters, they would always make a big deal about it. It was something that always brought a smile to our faces. It was fun and comforting at the same time.

It became even more meaningful when my father-in-law lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, just a few weeks after holding his namesake for the first and only time. LOUIE FM always reminded me of the connection that Louie held with his PawPaw, even though he would never get to know him.

So, I am upset that I will never be able to turn the radio on again and hear “LOUIE FM”. I am sad that the family won’t be able to joke about Louie’s station anymore. I am heartbroken that Louie won’t be able to hear those call letters and be reminded of the love his PawPaw had for him, even before he was born.

Here is my request….if anyone has ANY connection at Clear Channel, I need your help! I would love to have a couple of things (bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc) that said 100.5 LOUIE FM on them. I want to save them so that when Louie is older I can show it to him and we can re-tell the story and it will be part of HIS history…not just part of history. Thank you in advance!

And I was able to get a few items that say LOUIE FM on them…posters and plastic cups. If someone at the new LOUIE FM would like to send keepsakes my way, I will not deny them! 😉 I would love to surround my budding musician with reminders that his love of music comes from someone very special who is no longer with us.

this makes me smile…

Ah, the joys of parenthood – you all know what I am taking about.  The joy of going out somewhere nice…with spit-up down your back. The joy of sitting down to enjoy the game…and having the baby scream the whole time. The joy of the anticipated weekend plans…that get cancelled because the little one is sick. The joy of a celebratory work dinner…hampered by knowing that you are missing your little guy’s big game. The joy of waiting in an hour long line at the DMV…wait, that is a joy because you are alone!! 😉

I can say all this because we know the good parts of parenthood–the hugs, the kisses, the ‘I wuv ew’.  But it is the ups and downs that bond all parents.  You can instantly start a conversation with any other parent…it is like trading war stories! Sometimes it is hard to think of sharing such an intimate thing with someone famous, but if we are all parents, then its all shared!  And that is what makes me love this video so much.  Crackerfarm has put out some of the best videos of The Avett Brothers, but this one is tops! I love that Scott is trying to play at hymn at his home, yet his daughter has drastically different ideas.  She may be the only girl I know who would forcibly try to stop Scott from performing! 😉  And I love the look on his face and the laughter in his voice…it’s like he is saying, ‘Really?! I can’t just sneak one song in?!” Yes, Scott…we have all been there before.  Fortunately, a camera wasn’t around.  Enjoy this sweet, funny video on this Monday morning!

It is okay or at least it will be

Is there anything harder than leaving your child, kicking and screaming at preschool for the first time?!  I wish I could say it gets easier, but it doesn’t.  The only difference in the first time and the fourth is that I am more prepared for what will happen…but that doesn’t make it hurt less.  It is so unnatural…we spend the first 3 or 4 years doing everything we can for our children…protecting them from the harsh realities of the world, trying to anticipate any hurts they may feel so we can quickly make it better, just being their comfort and support…and then we drop them off to a brand new, chaotic world filled with new rules and strange faces. Of course they are going to cry!!  Wouldn’t you? (I know there are kids who don’t cry and that is not a poor reflection on your parenting…just means that their personality is ready to take on the world and up for anything!!)

Make sure you feel totally comfortable with the school and educators.  Speaking from experience, if you know that you your teacher loves your child, then saying goodbye between gulps will be less painful since the trust is there. If  your gut is telling you something is amiss, then don’t ignore it!!! That is your parental instinct kicking in….it is like your superpower-use it!! Assuming all is good with the school, then it is time to let go and give your child a chance to grow socially and build confidence.

It is okay…to hug & kiss your child and tell them you will see them soon and walk away.  Quick goodbyes are better because it helps your child know the routine.  One hug, one kiss and Mom will be back soon. L likes to scream and cry, at least until I get down the hallway and then all is magically quiet. Just to play up that Mommy guilt! 😉

It is okay…to give your child a chance to learn how to comfort themselves when you aren’t around.  This is a big deal and something that will help them in the future.  If they need that special lovie in their backpack, then do it.

It is okay….to watch your child’s confidence grow.  They love bringing home their school work-to show you what they can do! They aren’t babies any more, they are big kids. We know what our children are capable of, but sometimes it takes an outside person to show us that we should expect more.  I never thought that L, at 3 yrs old, could spell his (short) name.  But guess who surprised Mama on his 2nd day of school!! And he was sooo proud of himself!!

Transitions are hard for kids, but sometimes they are harder for parents. We all want to raise successful adults (even though our measurements of success may vary) and we all know our children have special talents and strengths that they should share with the world. Pre-school (or even over night camp for the first time) is a stepping stone on that learning path for us and our children.

This song, “We Were Born” by Cloud Cult, is so beautiful and meaningful. It just seems like a good fit for this idea of letting our children go…just a little bit! So, a hug, a kiss, a be back soon and this on repeat.

These lyrics really stand out:

I don’t know where we come from, and I don’t know where we go.
But my arms were made to hold you, so I will never let you go.
Cuz you were born to change this life.
You were born to chase the light.
You were born…