Summer Days, Drifting Away…

Parker sleeping on the airplane

Summer is over halfway over, which makes me very sad. July was off to an exciting start with a quick trip to Denver. We went out to visit my brother Josh and sister-in-law Jeni for the first time since they moved there last summer. I was looking forward to a relaxing, low-key getaway, and that is exactly what we had…starting with the flight out there. We left super early in the morning, which was perfect because Parker slept the entire way! He is such a wonderful little traveler.

On the car ride from the airport to Josh and Jeni’s house, it was Daddy’s turn to sleep. Parker got a kick out of watching him sleep as he drank his bottle. At that point, he was wide awake and ready to hang out with his uncle and aunt.

Parker watching Daddy sleep in the car

As much as he enjoyed his time with Josh and Jeni, he really loved hanging out with their big dog Lincoln. Parker was not scared of him in the least, even though Lincoln is a GIANT. A very gentle one, though; he was so good with Parker! He didn’t even seem to mind when Parker pulled his tail, tugged on his whiskers, and laid all over him. They were so cute together.

Parker and a big dog!

We had a big family cookout on our first day there, and I think Parker was a little jealous of all the guys playing lawn games while he hung out on the deck with the girls. He did get to go down and run around a little bit later, though :)

Parker watches the big boys play

The next day was the 4th of July, and we were pretty lazy all day long! Zach met up with a friend to watch the World Cup game, while we hung out at the house and made a trip to the park nearby. We met up with Zach later on for lunch downtown, and Parker stood next to the table dancing to the music the restaurant was playing for most of the meal. He is a dance machine, I tell you. He was cracking me up with this “Mr. Cool” pose.

Parker on the 4th of July

That night after we put Parker to bed, Zach and I headed to downtown Littleton for a little 4th of July date. We had ice cream and appetizers (yes, in that order…we are such rebels) and then got to see the fireworks before we headed home. We realized it was our first just-the-two-of-us date since February; how crazy is that?

4th of July Date Night

We headed to Coors Field for the Rockies game the next day. Zach got us amazing tickets in the Club section, and we were in the shade for the entire game. Parker did really well sitting through 3+ hours of baseball, and it definitely helped that there were lots of people to take turns holding him on their laps. As long as he is outside and has plenty to look at, he is a pretty chill dude.

Parker in the Ergo at the baseball game

Family at the Rockies game

We had an awesome time in Denver, and it was a little bit of a bummer to come home — especially since I had to start work the very next day. Zach took Parker to his parents’ house after we got home on Sunday so that I could catch up on laundry, clean the house, and get ready for my students. I was absolutely exhausted by dinner time, but it was an extremely productive day. Parker and I took it pretty easy on Monday until it was time for me to work.

After I was done, we met up with Michelle, Annabelle, and baby Alec for one last dinner before they left. Parker loves his big cousin so much, and I think the feeling is mutual. It will be fun to see their relationship evolve as Parker gets older and can talk back to her.

Cute cousins!

I made it through my first week back to work, though I felt pretty rusty after taking the entire month of June off. I had a big meeting on Friday that went very well, so we went out to dinner that night to celebrate. We chose Obed & Isaac’s because the weather was so nice and they have a great patio. We didn’t even get seated until 8 (past Parker’s bedtime), but he was a perfect angel throughout dinner.

Parker out to dinner

We ended up going out to eat again the next night, this time at American Harvest with my friend Crystal and her family. On Sunday, Zach dressed Parker up like his little mini-me and the two of them went to The Alamo to watch the World Cup finals. I got to enjoy an afternoon to myself at the pool, which was just awesome. I hadn’t done that since before Parker was born, so I soaked up every last minute.

Parker and daddy in matching soccer gear for the World Cup finals

We don’t have any travel plans or big events happening the rest of the summer, so my plan is to just make the most of the weeks we have left. I refuse to even think about the fall until mid-August!

10 Days in Brazil

Dad Comes Home from World Cup

Seven long years ago, before Zach and I were even married, he informed me that he would be going to Brazil for the World Cup in 2014. I said, “Sure, sounds great!” and didn’t think another thing of it…until a few years and one baby later when I realized it was actually happening.

Zach and a few of his good friends started planning their “trip of a lifetime” last summer, shortly after Parker was born. I can’t say I was excited at the thought of him leaving for an extended period of time — especially since he was headed to Rio (which everyone kept reminding me was not exactly the safest destination in the world).

All year, I listened to them discuss flights, game ticket lotteries, travel itineraries, etc. And as much as I was dreading the 10 days he would be gone, I was glad when the time finally came. Of course I was happy for them getting to experience the World Cup, but mostly I was just looking forward to the trip being over so I could stop hearing about it. Admittedly, I was a little jealous; my husband was off to an exotic country to watch soccer and hang out on the beach while I stayed home with the bambino 24/7.

But Parker and I made the best of it. I took the month of June off from work, and my stepsister ended up coming home during that time with my niece and newborn nephew. So we spent lots of time with them, and had quite a few playdates with friends to keep us busy. We got to FaceTime and text Zach throughout the trip, and of course see all of the pictures he posted to Facebook and Instagram (though that didn’t help my jealousy).

Zach Playing Soccer on the Beach in Brazil

10 days sounded like an eternity prior to Zach leaving, but it ended up flying by. Before I knew it, he was headed back home. Parker and I were just getting home from a walk when he pulled into the driveway, and the look on their faces was priceless when they saw each other. (I suppose Zach was happy to see me too, haha!)

Dad Comes Home from World Cup

A Weekend Away

Mama's Weekend Away

Good news: I survived my first overnight trip away! And not just one night, but three. I wrote about flying solo as I was waiting for my flight in the airport, and I honestly had no idea how I’d handle the long weekend. But I did much better than expected, and now I know that leaving my baby in my husband’s very capable hands (with the help of grandparents) is no big deal.

I had a fun and productive weekend with my friends and colleagues. We got a lot of work done and managed to have a little fun, too. I got to experience Napa Valley for the first time, and can’t wait to go back again soon. I wrote all about my trip here.

Traveling home seemed to take FOREVER, especially since once I finally landed after two long flights, I still had to drive almost 2 hours home from the airport. When I walked in the door, Parker saw me and got the biggest grin on his face. He toddled over and fell into my lap…it was so cute! I could tell he was happy to see me, but not as happy as I was to see him.

Mama's Weekend Away

I don’t have any solo trips planned until AMTA conference in November, which is just fine with me. Parker gets to tag along on our next trip, which is coming up in less than two weeks. We will be off to Denver to visit my brother and sister-in-law! Can’t wait.

MTRT Summer Summit

MTRT in Napa Valley

For the 4th summer in a row, my Music Therapy Round Table colleagues and I devoted a few days to what has come to be called the “MTRT Summit” — where we focus on brainstorming and planning for the following year.

This year we convened in northern California, where our newest colleague Matt Logan lives. While we spend a good majority of the long weekend sitting around his table with our laptops open, we did find time to enjoy some delicious food and wine (in Napa Valley, no less!).

MTRT Coffee Break

I arrived early Friday evening, so Matt and I went out to dinner and started doing a little preliminary planning for the weekend. Michelle and Kimberly’s flight had been delayed, so they didn’t end up getting in until 11 pm. I was already asleep by the time they got to the hotel! We had a super early morning on Saturday, which began with coffee and breakfast at a yummy diner in Berkeley.

MTRT Photo Shoot

Next we met up with Matt’s friend and photographer Tara, who took photos for our website and promotional materials. She was great to work with, and it was a bonus that we got to hang out on the water at the same time. I can’t wait to see the photos after she edits and sends them next week.

After the photo shoot, we headed to Matt’s house for a long day of work. And by “work” I mean bouncing ideas off of each other, setting goals for the year, coming up with new projects, and enjoying the awesome company. We only see each other in person twice a year, so it hardly feels like work even though we are super productive and our brains hurt afterwards.

MTRT Summit

It’s really amazing how much we can accomplish when we are all together in the same room! One of the very best parts of our yearly summit is recording the podcast, since we’re used to doing it via Skype. Being able to read each other’s cues, make eye contact, and really just chat without having to worry about any potential technical difficulties is a breath of fresh air. This month’s episode is one of my favorites.

MTRT Wine Break

The best way to avoid the afternoon slump? A delicious lunch followed by a quick wine tasting. When in Rome, right? We were all ready to get back to work following our excursion, and ended up ordering pizza later that night because we were on such a roll and didn’t want to stop working. That’s when you know you love what you do :)

Recording MTRT Podcast

Our last full day together! Matt made us a delicious breakfast on Sunday morning, and then we picked up right where we had left off the night before. We finished recording both podcasts, mapped out our new content, did quite a bit of writing, and came up with topics for the entire next year. Whew! We more than earned an afternoon in Napa Valley, which is where we headed as soon as our work was done.

Matt took us to his favorite winery, Judd’s Hill, where we learned all about lots of different kinds of wine (and of course, tasted them too). The weather was gorgeous and it felt so wonderful to sit in the sun. The view wasn’t so bad either — miles and miles of vineyards with mountains in the distance. Next we had lunch and then enjoyed another tasting at a different spot before heading home.

End of the Summit

All good things must come to an end, and for us, that was the next morning. Michelle, Kimberly and I headed to the airport at 5 am to catch our flights, but not before taking one last photo. I had a looooong day of flying, followed by a two hour drive home. After being away from my son Parker for the first time since he was born, it was pretty sweet to see him when I walked through the door.

I can’t wait to share with you everything we have planned for Music Therapy Round Table and Music Therapy Pro this year. Not only that, but our summit inspired me to make some big plans for my own personal businesses (Listen & Learn and Music Therapy Connections) as well. Now I just need a few more hours in each day to carry them all out! ;)

Flying Solo

Mama Flying Solo Without Baby

The last solo flight I took was almost exactly two years ago — when Parker was just a glint in my eye — to visit my friend Vanessa in Orlando. Since then I’ve traveled a LOT, but it has always been with my family. The last 6 flights I’ve taken have included a carseat, stroller, giant suitcase, multiple diaper bags, and a baby strapped to my chest.

So it feels a little strange breezing through the airport with just a carry-on and shoulder bag. I forgot how easy it is! But every time I see a family carting all of the aforementioned baggage, I get a little teary; this is the first time I’ve left Parker overnight, let alone for a long weekend.

I’m not going to lie: there were LOTS of tears as I said goodbye to him this morning. Poor Zach had to endure my endless stream of reminders and post-it notes tacked on to every surface of the house, but he took it like a champ. He knows how hard this is for me, but he also reminded me a million times how great this trip will be. And how much I deserve it, bless his heart :)

Every summer, I get together with my music therapy colleagues Michelle and Kimberly (and this year, Matt too!) for a “working weekend” in order to plan the upcoming year for our podcast and business. Matt lives in California, so we are heading there for 3 days of extremely productive work…plus seeing the sights of San Francisco and enjoying the wineries of Napa Valley. It’s going to be awesome.

I know my friends will keep me thoroughly distracted and entertained, but at least a little piece of my mind will always be wondering what my baby is doing. I’ve already told Zach that I expect photos every hour and multiple FaceTime chats each day. And kissing his little face when I get home on Monday night will be the best moment ever.