Free fun and the fastest tear-down, this side of the Mississippi

Yet again beginning our morning at Muddy Mo’s. I captured this shared moment of music appreciation between dad and son. I think Jared was sharing some Red Hot Chili Peppers with Rudy (Jared here: Yes. Dani California. Awesome jam.) You know, people ask us all of the time why we don’t homeschool. I usually reply with some version of the same reason, we want Rudy to have at least some semblance of “normal” and schedule. But, also, we actually do spend quite a bit of time “schooling” him, just not in the ways a curriculum might approve of. I think that the public school system has a ton to offer that Jared and I either don’t want to have to learn to teach Rudy, or wouldn’t even think about on our own. We really like that Rudy gets to learn things from all kinds of sources, that we may or may not agree with. It teaches him to use his own brain to decipher what things sound right to him or not, and if he has questions, he always brings them home to us, and they lead to all kings of great dialogue. I don’t believe there is only one way to educate a child, as each one is as different as the next. I DO believe, however, that it is our job as parents to know our children and not be afraid to get in there and have the hard discussions, help with their homework, be active in their learning and discoveries, and get to know their friends. I struggle when I hear other parents blaming teachers or school districts, the government, video games, social media, or even other parents for the downfall of their own children. Everything since the beginning of time could be considered a bad influence to our kids, if it doesn’t align with what we teach them, but Jared and I try to use those things to teach, guide, and strengthen Rudy, helping him to build and begin to stand behind his own convictions. By arming him with more knowledge of everything that’s out there (as age appropriately as we can), and having an open discussion policy on every topic, we are teaching him how to use discernment and his own brain to navigate situations, rather than just making choices so he doesn’t get “in trouble” or “go to hell”. We feel that fear, although temporarily effective, is a horrible longterm motivator to help a child develop social skills and critical thinking. I love when Rudy stands up to Jared and I, saying things like, “I know you and Dad don’t believe (this or that), but I do!” Or, “Well, you guys can feel that way, but I don’t. Or at least, I don’t right now.” He has a deeper understanding of the vastness of the human experience, so he realizes that he is apt to change his mind about some things as he learns more or ages, and we love watching him figure it all out, through kindness, curiosity, trial and error, and general silliness. I’m not sure I intended this to become an excerpt from my new book, “Parenting: So Easy, Even A Caveman Could Do It…Oh Wait, They Did, Or We Wouldn’t Be Here” (working title), but I felt compelled to at least pop some commentary on here (maybe so I can go back and re read it for great advice one day), because I really do get asked quite a bit about the topic. So, that’s a pretty simplified version about how Jared and I feel.

That is, until he comes home wanting to listen to Michael McDonald. Then he’s grounded forever and dead to me. 

While on the mic at Thursday’s gig, I mentioned us looking forward to spending some time in Yankton, hopefully finding some free fun and stuff to occupy our time during the days. Someone from the audience messaged us that night and told us about a free Mario Kart play event at the public library. Mario? Video games? Free? We’ll be there!!!

Fierce Competition!!

I love their faces!

I mean, we like coloring too!!

We had such a fun afternoon and met several people who saw us the night before at the concert in the park. We got to hear lots of fun stories, meet a bunch of families, and hear kids playing. At one point it was really quiet and peaceful, as we all colored and the Mario Kart sounds whizzed playfully in the background. I thought I could stay there forever, coloring with my guys, enjoying the stillness. As much as I love the traveling, visiting, performing, and general hustle n bustle, I REALLY appreciate those little pockets of serenity when we can get them. 

Robot Rudy. When Rudy was little, we made a huge robot costume out of cardboard and tin foil. When he would wear it, he spoke in a robot voice and called himself “Link-o”. It looks kind of like this, but with a detachable head so he could put it on and take it off. I kid you not, he STILL talks about Link-o and asked if we could build one again this summer. As long as we can hang on to the childlike spirit and sense of imagination, you bet we’re gonna! (We may need a lot more foil though!)

Our gig Friday night was at Kozy’s Bar, a local hang out with a really nice outdoor patio, shaded and open. We got there, set up everything and launched into the show. Right before we began, Nate had said there was weather coming, but it would “most likely” break up before it reached us. Regardless, he was keeping a watchful eye on it. Well, it DIDN’T. What you see here is where Champagne Sunday WAS fully set up and playing not ten minutes prior. After the second song, Nate got up and said, I would advise we get this stuff in the garage (pictured in the back). When a man who lived in South Dakota “advises” action regarding weather, you heed the shit out of that advice and MOVE!!! With about fifteen people helping, we had every piece of gear, merch, cables, banner, EVERYTHING, in that garage in literally three minutes. The last piece hefted into the garage, the door shut, and the torrential downpour came with the vengeance of an Old Testament God, angry, righteous, and ready to cleanse the world of the abomination he’d created! We all got inside just in time and celebrated with beer and pizza! (Thank you Heather!)

(Jared here: The above picture was taken only after the rain had died down enough that we could actually see the trailer.)

Rudy, being the quick thinker and quicker witter he is…ran to the jukebox, completely unprompted, pulled money from his own wallet, and, just like his dad who seeks out the best music to accompany any situation, played THIS on the machine!

Everyone in the place died laughing, and we watched the storm demolish the patio for twenty minutes. Then…. Nothing. Blue sky. Sunshine. WHERE ARE WE??? Well, everything was too soaked to set back up outside, so we set up (again) inside and finished our show to a bunch of happy, wet patrons! Being so dark inside, we didn’t get pictures of the show, but you all know what Jared and I look like, so that’s fine. At one point, Rudy took me aside and said, “I understand why they don’t like kids in bars. The alcohol, the way people speak, and the…” with this, his eyes directed my gaze to some scantily clad women in posters. He said, “I mean, these look like they are from the 80’s, so I get it. Plus, it’s really no big deal. They are just bodies.” Now, see what I’m talking about from earlier. HE made those deductions on his OWN. He chose to look, satiated his curiosity, and moved on. No big deal. No issue made. Besides, we saw girls dressed (or barely) way more slutty when we took him to Broadway in Nashville (you know, for America and Jesus), and he just kinda said, “Oh. Ok..” So, whatever we’re doing, I feel like it’s at least in the right direction.

Heather, who insists on spoiling the absolute crap out of us while we’re here, had been talking about these açai bowls from a lady who makes them for a restaurant in town called “The Mint”. Not a DAMN thing Heather said could have truly prepared us for these treats. After shows, we are usually really hungry and don’t love a lot of the food options available, so we try to have heathy options at home for post-show eats. The veggie tray from night one was perfect. But tonight’s decadence was absolutely divine. We all sat in silence, staring first into our bowls, then into each other’s eyes, as the semi-frozen fruity deliciousness, drizzled with Nutella, and loaded with antioxidants, cooled our throats, filled our bellies, and satisfied more than just hunger, filling a need for love even… ok. So maybe not THAT far. But maybe…

If you ever make it to Yankton, SD for that Missouri River Summer vacation I recommended, please don’t be a stupid head. Go here and buy this. 

Second gig in the books! First night, sweltering heat. Second night, torrential downpour. What in the world will we face on the third night?!?!?

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