Family Highlights from Summer ’15

I can’t believe summer’s almost gone. Every year, just when I sink into the sun’s warmth and start to appreciate outdoor runs, days at the park with the kids, and wearing white shorts, I see an e-mail blast declaring it’s “back to school time” or some other autumn gibberish. My husband’s going to his NFL draft/fantasy thing (as he always does), so I have the mens tonight. And on Monday, for the first time since mid-September 2012, my little Nathan will be enrolled in a whole new school!

I wanted to take a moment to talk about some of my family’s summer highlights (and I don’t mean the ones in my hair, which, by the way, are amazing), because my family is awesome!!

  1. We took our first five-day vacation to Montauk as a family of four!! So grateful for so many days with the guys, my guy (Zack), the beach, and sunshine.
  2. … and we got to go to the ocean 3 times in 3 months (3 times!). In June, it was Montauk as a foursome, in July it was Ocean City (the nearest and dearest to my heart) with Nonna & Nonno, and in August we were back to Montauk with Granny & Bud.
  3. I got to finally share Ocean City with Zack and my sons! It was so cool to see Nathan’s reactions to all the action — ice skating, carousel rides, beaches, pancake houses, the Boardwalk, and kitschy golf courses. Zack’s reactions to the city vibe of OC? Not so much.
  4. Zack and I celebrated five years of marriage. I know it sounds cliche, but I am more in love with him every single day, in spite of some of the challenges that marriage brings.
  5. On July 31/August 1, Logan said his first three-word sentence: “I did it!” He says it regularly now after doing anything. Zack pointed out that Logan’s first sentence, said at the beginning of the summer, was actually “It’s dada” (or “that’s dada”). But still! Logan is so smart. Nathan’s first three-word sentence wasn’t uttered until he was at least 22 months old (I’m not saying Nathan isn’t super-smart, too, just that Logan’s feat seems ahead of the curve).
  6. We switched Nathan to the toddler bed (finally!) on August 17. Got him superhero sheets and everything. He’s totally enamored with Batman, Superman, The Hulk, and pretty much every superhero these days. Trains? Well, after Uncle Al got him the Thomas table in mid-July (when he turned 3), he didn’t seem quite so into it.

There are so many more things I could write about, but I want to respect my sons’ privacy. When they’re older, they might not want every photo of every moment (or every dispatch of every challenge) blasted onto Facebook or this blog. But today I am one proud mama and happy wife!

Preparing for a Show Post Baby: What it’s Really Like for a Non-Celebrity Rocker Mom

You hear them on the radio, and see them gracing the covers of the most exclusive women’s magazines: Rocker moms. Articles about them are usually written in the vein of, “how P!nk is balancing diaper duty with recording” or “How mom-of-three Gwen Stefani makes time for cooking and going on tour!”

Marisa Mini & The Underage Hotties, 2015 version

The article you don’t read is the one offering advice on how to get back into fighting rocker shape (physically and musically) when you’ve got one or two little ones in tow — even though you’re not famous. Most of the moms in bands I know fall into this category: We may have made some money at one time, but we don’t have lucrative recording contracts. We don’t have songs featured on SiriusXM Hits 1.

If you don’t have Gwen Stefani’s salary or fan base, you have to think about the financial aspects of playing a show, such as rehearsal costs AS WELL AS babysitting tabs. Since my band is my baby (I am the writer for all songs as well as the band leader), I foot the bill for $30-an-hour rehearsals, plus gas and transportation fees.

Then, you have to think about the time commitment. Rehearsing in New York City — an hour and a half from my home base of Fairfield, CT — is a seven- to eight-hour excursion. To accommodate this time suck, I had to take on fewer assignments (rock and roll doesn’t pay my bills, Ms. Stefani!), slack on cleaning duties (the floor still has caked banana on it from Monday), and curb my workouts (my kids still have to eat, and the extra practice time has to come from somewhere).

Also, if you’ve been out of the game for a while, as I have, there’s also the promotional and equipment headaches of planning a show. For example: After spending eight hours with my two toddlers, one of whom is potty training, I barely have energy to post anything on Facebook except a selfie of my kids, let alone try to put together some cleverly worded invite to my show. I’ve had to bribe my graphic designer friends and beg my bandmates to pick up some slack in the promotional department!

Oh yeah, and I gave away my big guitar amp a long time ago (you would too, if you needed to squeeze into a Prospect Heights apartment), so I’ll have to borrow two of them (for me and my lead guitarist) for the show. This means I’ll have to leave my house earlier.

The worst part? My mommy friends in Connecticut won’t be able to come (traveling to the Big Apple might as well be traveling to Russia as far as they’re concerned), and most of my city friends I haven’t seen since I became a mom so … I’m not on anyone’s radar anymore. Maybe an ex or two will show up, maybe not. But that’s about all the audience I’m getting.

So after all this bitching about how much effort and money is required to do this show, is it all worth it?

As of now, my answer is yes, absolutely!

One week ago I rehearsed with three amazing musician friends who I hadn’t seen for at least a year each — Morgan, Nora, and Michele. I love each of them for different reasons. Morgan is my bestie and longtime bassist, Nora is my former guitar student turned friend, and Michele is my tour buddy with a shared affection for NYC hardcore. Just being in the same room with these girls made me giddy. And when we plugged in our instruments, magic happened (though Michele wouldn’t necessarily call it magic after being on a two-year drumming hiatus)! Afterwards, I felt a buzz I hadn’t felt in a long time as I savored the long, summer night walk between 251 30th Street and Grand Central. Singing is cathartic, and playing guitar is my passion. I’m feeling inspired and creative and amazing.

I’m definitely bummed that my husband won’t make the show. When we were dating and it was just us, he made the trek to Brooklyn all the time to see me. I’m sure if it were super important I could wrangle him there, but … I need a babysitter for my kids. He is their dad. Problem solved!

I do hope that after this show, I’ll get to do another one soon, and that it won’t be so damn expensive to play. For one thing, I refuse to do more than one rehearsal in Manhattan. I live in Connecticut, and have for five years, and I have two children. I have to make it work here.

In the meantime, I hope whoever reads this post can make it to Friday’s show at The Branded Saloon in Brooklyn. Here’s the address and info:

Friday, August 7, 2015

Marisa Mini & The Underage Hotties (w/ Milf & Dilf and The Rewd Onez)

The Branded Saloon 

603 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11238

8 p.m. doors

Hope to see you there!