June has been exciting in a few ways; my six year old son is finished with summer school and my five month old is almost five months old and starting to eat solid foods. As it turns out, he loves sweet potatoes. I was making some the other day for everyone at breakfast, dicing them and seasoning them- and Amber (my fiancee’) had my baby (Alister) facing me as I cooked, explaining how I do everything as usual. He normally seems to enjoy the spectacle of me making food, though the scent or something about the sweet potatoes in particular lit his face up in a way I had not yet seen. I almost forgot all about it, until he made that same distinct smile when Emily (his occupational therapist who comes over once or twice a week) was feeding him some mashed up, Gerber version of sweet potatoes for babies, and the kid went wild. This is especially exciting, because as many of you probably already know- Alister has CDH and an NG feeding tube as a result, and he is slowly and surely working his way out of needing it, so he will someday eat like most babies do with no need for a bag, a cord, a computer, a rechargeable battery, and all that extra equipment and task-work; just to get something to eat. I love that it supports his life and nutrition and general well being- other than that, I really hate the thing. I hate that he needs it. I hate having to put the NG tube back through his nose when it comes out, and hearing the way he cries when I have to get the tube back through one nostril or the other down to his stomach. It’s a nightmare for me, and it must be worse for him- even when I do it exactly right in no time flat and can quickly soothe the poor boy.
I’ve also been very proud of Anakin, the six year old who just finished summer classes to improve his writing and fine motor skills- which have improved as much as his inclination to just draw and write has. Last night, Amber unpacked from a giant box Alister’s new high-chair- which Anakin immediately took to drawing on with markers. He developed it into a sort of concession stand, which he wanted me to cut a window in so he could serve snacks to people watching movies on our home couch. He started drawing up the menu and adding his best drawings of the menu items next to the words. This was all without pulling him away from a video game or any other such thing- this was completely his own idea, his own volition, his own need being fulfilled to explore his imagination and practice his creative skills. It wasn’t before too long that art went right out the window in favor of math, when he started discussing quantities, storage, and other critical business numbers for the spreadsheet in his giant brain. I don’t know if Anakin’s concession stand will get much use, but hey- it was much cheaper than a Nintendo Labo and gave the little dude something fun to do for a while that didn’t involve a screen or someone else’s idea of what should be going on in his mind.
The band, I am quite pleased to say, has been rehearsing and recording as regularly as possible in anticipation of some summer shows we will be doing in St. Louis. We are almost done getting the whole thing inked, at which point we can make announcements and send out a bunch of messages to you all hoping you can show up in person or watch it on the web. Derek and I may have finally convinced Eddie to show up to this Wednesday night spot off of Highway 61 that goes until midnight, as the whole thing is a much better simulation of a show and therefore a better practice than one with no immediate audience. This audience is comprised almost entirely of ideal candidates for a rock band’s audience, too; they’re there to have fun, they’re already having fun when we go on, and they feel better for having heard us play and hanging out with us that night. The feeling is mutual. It’s just a good old fashioned hootenanny out in the sticks with some good players and a gracious smattering of onlookers who look on and listen more than respectfully. They are not easy to impress, and still- it is possible and quite fun to impress them.
I hope you managed to find (and enjoy) the various recent videos and other blogs I’ve uploaded, and know that the best is yet to come and still in development. Know that Amber, our boys, and I all really appreciate you coming here to visit once in a while and seeing what we’re up to and offering these days. We’ve been doing fine despite plenty of daily challenges, though the good news is we’ve been up to those challenges and always rise above them as a family team. I feel like a big moment is coming for my band, too- because we’re building it for once and not trying to attract external opportunity. Take it from my bottom line here- it is WAY BETTER to use what you have to build an opportunity rather that to try and seduce it somehow.