Age of Chivalry

That’s the name of our local Renaissance Faire, which we recently attended. I’ve decided that for me, going to Ren Faire is the adult equivalent to “I want to run away and join the circus.” There is a part of me that wonders (with just a touch of wistfulness) what would it be like if that is what you did…traveled from one Ren Faire or historical reenactment to another doing cool stuff like  weaving trim on a inkle loom whilst wearing a gorgeous period costume and talking to everyone in a cool accent? Le Sigh. I wasn’t even planning on going, but when I finished the kids Halloween costumes ahead of schedule and a friend mentioned that they were going, I reconsidered. I’m all about a Halloween costume getting as much use as possible and going with a friend made the whole thing seem less overwhelming. Throw in a borrowed double stroller, free admission, the prospect of a meat pie and I couldn’t wait. [Warning: Ren Faires are highly photogenic events. Please excuse the ridiculous amounts of pictures in this post and just know that I pared down considerably.]

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Halloween costume preview. Also I’ve decided that the Faire was the most amazing place for my children. Not only are you encouraged to talk to anyone and everyone…most of the people who are dressed up, are at the Faire for the sole purpose of talking to inquisitive kids! It was such a nice change of pace…to be saying, “Go say hi! Ask the scary looking pirate where his ship is! Curtsy to the queen before launching into a 5 minute monologue about your fairy costume and how you are going to wear it on your upcoming trip to the Feywild!”

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Adventurers all. Plus a dragon.

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Ok. During the jousting, both of my little girls ’bout lost their minds. Corra was bouncing and giggling and pointing like mad at all the horses and she couldn’t get enough. Layna spent the whole time burying her head in my shoulder, screaming, and demanding that I keep my hands over her ears. That one doesn’t do loud noise. While we were standing well away from the arena a very nice Wild clan member with some very creative piercings tried to make her smile. Layna was distracted but didn’t quite know what to make of the wolf on the girls head or the white and black body paint. Huzzah for Ren Faire!

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It was so cool to bring the big kids as they are now old enough to care about the historical crafts and other stuff that people demonstrate. They came home and wanted me to print out more Celtic designs for them to paint. Now I just need to learn how to spin hair into yarn on an old fashioned spinning wheel! Oh, it will happen.

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Layna was digging the homemade crane and Naomi was in heaven being fussed over by a royal court.

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After a yummy (if not period accurate) lunch we were able to continue on. The meat pie was delicious.

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Friends were made everywhere (now I get to explain to Naomi why she can’t wear the green feather that her friend let her keep to church today). My little fairy and warrior monk (he’ll be a warrior monk mouse for Halloween) were very popular with everyone. I love the Renaissance Faire and it only is going to get easier to take the munchkins as the little girls get older. Who knows? Maybe someday Layna will be ok with “We Will Rock You” over a loud speaker? Maybe. Although next year I’m totally dressing up…better get on making a peasant shirt to go under the bodice I made in high school for my first Ren Faire.

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on “being in shape”

Health and fitness take up a fairly large percentage of my brain capacity, everything from menu plans for my family to stressing about my body and fitting into those jeans and that sweater this holiday season. I’m in fairly good shape…I eat really well, chase four monkeys around and run a farm. I even squeeze in yoga occasionally. I got this. [Queue tragic fall due to pride... now!] Last year we set up our schedule for our homeschool group field trips and this was one I was super excited about. We headed up to Red Rock Canyon to check out the visitor center that didn’t exist when I was a kid and hike a bit before a picnic lunch. The weather couldn’t have been nicer and the kids were eagerly awaiting lunch and rocks and dirt and friends. I’m still feeling this little outing 3 days later.

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The visitor center was super cool and we loved the outside exhibits that were divided into 4 areas: earth, air, fire, water. Red Rock also has a cute colony of desert tortoises in residence, which Layna enjoyed. Corra really loved sitting in the replica of the agave roasting pits [random trivia for the day: did you know that limestone, once heated, loses it's ability to collect and store heat? crazy huh?]

I asked at the desk which would be the best trail/walk for a group with lots of littles. She pointed to the map and away we went. To be fair to her, it was a great hike…for solid walkers ages 4+. My three and one year old semi-solid walkers? Not so much.

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The hike was one mile round trip, but between a rotation of carrying one or the other or both little girls or dragging and lifting them by the arm because sometimes that’s the best way to get over a boulder, that mile almost killed me. Lunch was a welcome break indeed. Oh and I’m pretty sure I would have died had my friend not offered to carry Corra the last third of the way. [Thanks again Becky!] I don’t know what I was thinking…

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My whining aside…It was pretty groovy to see Layna so aware of when she walked on her own and when she managed to get herself from point A to point B, how proud she was of those victories. It’s nice to have reminders that she is much more “three year old” than she is “three year old with Down Syndrome.” She wanted to be carried most of the time, but when she walked on her own, she conquered those slippery rocks and stone steps like a pro. Lately has been interesting for me as her speech progress, while happening, is very slow. It’s odd having a non-verbal child after having two that will, literally, talk to you for 10 minutes straight without requiring a response from you. Ah, Life and it’s beautiful balancing acts.

Fall is happening, by the way. I can feel it. A few months ago I thought spring was making a solid play to capture the title of “Best Season Ever.” Psssh. Spring doesn’t have Pumpkin Muffins, and homemade applesauce, and hoodies, or a trip to the most magical place on the planet for Thanksgiving to look forward to.


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moral dilemmas

You know how texting created a whole new realm in the world of etiquette? One that involves the subtle nuance of which winky/smiley face is appropriate in different situations? Well blogging has brought me brand new moral dilemmas about self-aggrandizement and humility. On one hand I feel like apologizing for my almost two week lapse in posts. But that assumes that 1) people read my blog and 2) people care enough to register a longer space between posts than usual. That seems really presumptuous to me. However, to ignore the fact that I’ve been taking my sweet time about writing this post seems flaky and I hate to be a flake about anything, let alone something I care about very much (this blog). So I’m hoping that the previous sentences somehow rectify this whole issue without actually requiring that I solve it. Good, Great, On we go!

We made it to the pumpkin patch this year by way of Santa Monica beach. Last year Corra was just over a month old and I was barely hanging on to my sanity so we didn’t go down, but I missed it. Neil got Friday off work and Corra has never been to the beach so we headed down early for a picnic lunch. Then we went and found my dad, crashed at his house that night, then got to the Pumpkin Patch first thing Saturday morning. Turns out cameras don’t like sand in their innards…I know, right? We didn’t bring chargers for our phones so I had to suck it up and put on my big girl pants when I realized I wouldn’t be photo documenting the whole experience. Don’t laugh…It was a lot for me to not totally freak out. To be honest though, it was good for me. I had to be more present in the moment and not worrying about capturing it. Not that I’m going to stop taking pictures. Ha! I just might learn from the dead sand-filled camera and stress a bit less about every cute opportunity that doesn’t end up on my hard drive.

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Not Pictured: Epic wave chasing and soaking wet everything because I thought “Pssshh. we don’t need no stinking swim suits! It’s September, it’s way too cold for swimming.” Pssh indeed. Mom fail.

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I hope you are happy dancing that it is officially fall. Not that it is any cooler out our way, but the thunderstorm we just had is helping me believe that it really is almost October. And picking up a fake sword for Little man’s Halloween Costume helped too.

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5 going on…something…older…dang…

I was going to say something like “5 going on 15″ but that didn’t fit. Well, sometimes it does, but sometimes it’s more like “5 going on 53″ and sometimes it’s “5 going on 2-1/2.” So I give up on that cutesy opening. My second born turned five and it’s hard to sum up her and where she is at. With an incredible knack for driving her brother (and me) up the wall and a screech that can make dog ears bleed, sometimes I want to put her up for sale (as I sit here typing, she is poking me through the back of the chair with her toes saying “oh it’s a big storm! run!” over and over again). Other times she just makes me laugh when I get a glimpse of what goes through her head (eaves dropping on her make-believe games is often the highlight of my day). Naomi is perfectly content to be in her head, in her own world. For awhile that worried me a bit. Now as she’s gotten older and has a great time running around with other little princesses discussing the finer points of Queen Scarf wearing (it’s a delicate art), there doesn’t seem to be a reason to worry. She will be brilliant through all life’s lonely times and she will shine when she is surrounded by people. She will negotiate even the most hard-nosed hagglers to death and then she will turn around and be super generous. I’m not worried about this one anymore.

Layna is lucky to have her, because Naomi will never let her get away with being disabled. Nay will push Layna (and pull and drag I’m sure) to the limits of her ability and they both will be better for it. Garyn has become an expert on all things “My Little Pony” and they have some riveting debates on finer points of the canon. Again, highlights of my day. He will learn to treat girls well because she demands it and he will learn to be wary because she is pure evil at times. Corra will learn to appreciate being smothered by love all day, everyday. I’m not sure why that will be useful, but maybe? Little girl has pushed me as a mother in ways my sweet son never did and, Dude! we are only 5 years in!


Luckily, she has simple and decided tastes.  This is the exact cake she wanted and I was happy to oblige.

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See these light-up Rapunzel mini-heels? They are awesome.  Not even because they light up, although that is kind of cool too…No they are awesome because Garyn picked them out on a solo trip to the toy section and paid for them all by himself. He was so proud. Also Naomi has decided to Rapunzel again for Halloween so she can be allowed to wear these shoes out of the house! Which means the dress will get even more use and I only have to make 3 costumes this year! Fingers crossed that this stays the plan.

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Because tags and packaging can’t detract from the glory of a Princess Bike helmet. Her bike’s name is “Lil Gem,” in case you were wondering. I didn’t think there was anything on the planet that could help Naomi toughen up and not scream when she even got remotely scraped up. Oh no, this bike has done it. She currently has two scabbed up knees and didn’t even tell me about either one even though they both bled. It’s a big deal.

Here’s to another year of pink (and blue because that’s her second favorite color) and screeching and huge bear hugs and her surprising me everyday with how great she is.

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The Beautiful Dance

Naomi has been wanting to write a post ever since her brother was invited to guest post a month ago. While she hasn’t earned her very own post featuring her photography, she would like to share her thoughts on our recent trip to our “School Picture” Park. I’ll be sharing my own thoughts at the end.

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I love the “Let it Go” pose (on the right) because I like Elsa. The normal “Me” pose is great because Mama loves it. My blue dress has two pockets and is my second favorite color, the color of a blueberry. What I like about my pink sandals, is that they are my most favorite color. Ever.

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I love dancing. It was really fun to dance with my little sisters and I love Corra more than anything else…Whoa! It was so fun to throw pebbles into the pond because I could practice my toss. At the park I loved playing with the toy animals and my friends. Bye! [end Naomi]

This tradition has become an interesting one I didn’t think I’d look forward to. When we joined our homeschool group it was brand new and so we have been there for all of its changes and growth spurts. I didn’t think we would get to the third such picture day…I wasn’t sure if the group would last or if we would last as a part of it. But we did, and to be with the same very cool group of families has been more rewarding than I expected. It’s really cool to watch the kids run around with a pack of similar kids who share the outlook of “Oh you’re new? Well, come on! You are part of the pack because you’re here and you’re you!” However, the big difference between this and any other park day are the gorgeous pictures of my kids that come a few weeks later. Having beautiful children is one of the most fun things ever, not going to lie. Granted, there is usually mud and little man ends up sweaty in his pictures and since Layna is Layna I worried about the lake way more than before.  Corra was toddling and flirting with everyone and Naomi came home with green duck poopy feet.

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Garyn informed me that we need to come back and stay for a few hours because he found the perfect reading spot. He was right, it is the perfect reading spot. And maybe we can also try non-arms folded poses.

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Pretty sure she is the most photogenic baby I’ve ever seen.


Corra’s photogenic-ness is probably to karmically off set this one’s current phase. The middle picture is her telling me “no” when I told her to smile. Meh. I’m just thrilled she is voicing the first consonant, finally. Yay for Down Syndrome and Speech Therapy teaching me the finer points of silver lining hunting! [note: that could be read as being sarcastic and a tad bitter. I'm totally serious. This little girl is teaching me all sorts of stuff about perspective and what is, in fact, worthy of freaking out (Not very much it turns out). These lessons are carrying over to parenting my other monkeys, being a better wife, and a better human being overall. So, Yay!]

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“All the world’s a stage” and my girls take that at face value. Naomi knows how to get her jig on.

I’m teaching a poetry class starting next week and it’s going to be epic. [Get it? Epic Poetry? what ever, it was an awesome pun.] In preparation I’ve been reading and sorting through amazing poetry and it’s changed my outlook a little bit. It’s hard to read “If –” by Rudyard Kipling or “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman and not live a bit better. More intensely sincere in your attempts. Sigh. I love poetry. Anyways. More on the class later and Fall is on the way so I need to go get my own happy jig on…

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Right now…

in this moment, I am content. <—-My new mantra. It’s an unlikely choice of phrases to describe my current mental state given the last few days I’ve had. Also there are no pictures for this post because 1) I’ve been using “no pictures” as an excuse to not write 2) I didn’t really want to include pictures of the events I will be discussing. [launching random babble post in 3...2...1...]

Here’s a brief overview of the last few days in no particular order. Layna handed me a handful of poop before peeing in her potty (yay!) and having her feet slip out from under her on her way to put said pee in the big potty. When I got there she was screaming with pee dripping down her face and everything soaked up to the opposite wall. We went mini golfing at the Springs Preserve. When I was helping Naomi hold her real heavy metal club and showing her how to swing, she missed the part about the club staying at most 6 inches from the ground. I caught the top of her swing with my eyebrow and can’t really open my eye much. Layna demanded to do reading flash cards and sound cards and made more sounds than I’ve ever heard her make. Her speech therapist says she is doing great. Naomi did an entire math workbook because she wanted to and there was noticeable improvement in how well she is writing. She informed me that not only does she love math but she wants to be a math teacher (in addition to swimmer, ballerina, engine painter, and writer). Oh and then she started reading. All by herself, with nothing from me. Not full out independent reader, but she’s getting there. Layna continues to terrorize Corra (think horsey rides only Corra can not and does not want to be the horsey). Layna had a party with a dry erase marker and her legs and my carpet. Garyn is brilliant and he makes me laugh and want to scream when he can’t hear me because he’s reading. Also Legos…I hate them and I love them. Corra likes to bite me and giggle. She is also signing, walking, and has a serious thing for being outside (think loud demanding noises while pointing to any window and huge smiles when we go outside). There is more but the idea is that it’s been the best of times and the worst of times and quite honestly, I’m shocked that I feel so content and peaceful about life in general.

I’m steal dealing with stuff. And in the not too distant past I sent my husband off to work through tears. But I’ve made an effort to slow down and be in the present moment. It’s amazing what you find there. Here? Whatever. I’ve found my kids being very interesting little humans in miniature. I’ve found out that I’m allowed to wear my favorite skirt two days in a row for no other reason than I love it and it makes me happy. Before it was reserved for special occasions or church. Well right now is a special occasion, so there! I’ve found out that my husband makes me laugh really hard and his birthday card to me made me cry. I hear silverware being dropped on the kitchen floor, so i’m going to go now but yeah life is weird. And right now in this moment, I am content.

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No longer…

…does my beautiful fourth child look like Mr. Bates from “Downton Abby.” She did for a while and I’m a seasoned enough mother to know that all newborns look really weird for about 2 weeks.

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Well. This little snookum turned one last week and I don’t feel like the time just flew by because we had a whole lot of life lived in that year. Good: A Rapunzel party, first words, a baptism. Bad: 187 smashed eggs all over the property, poop finger-painting, screams that split the ear drums. Ugly: Post partum depression, ant invasions, this song that my husband thinks is hilarious when he gets it stuck in my head. Anyways. It’s been a unique year that I would add to my list of top 10 favorites.

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My childrens’ first birthday cakes have become a running gag in my family. I am the Queen of the Health Fad and unfortuneatly for my kids they don’t get normal cakes as a result. Little man had an all raw cheese cake, because we were eating raw. Nay had vegan cupcakes because we were vegan. Layna had homemade wheat flour cupcakes because I was between fads but still am a crunchy granola mamma and Corra got a GAPS compliant no-bake cheese cake. In my defense, my children have never complained and I thought all the cakes tasted fabulous. All the girls also had flowers so check one more for Tradition! Tradition! [you sang that like Tevye right? Good.]

Corra took a minute to sort out why everyone was staring at her and smiling. It happens a lot but without the sense of anticipation. She got a taste and gathered steam in no time.

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Presents and, yes, they have all been successfully commandeered by her older sisters.

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She got a new pair of squeaky shoes, which sound like they would be totally “chew your ears off” annoying. They grow on you, and are so stinkin cute. My mom made her that dress, thus making this my favorite outfit for her, ever.


So we’ve come along way. This face. Those eyes. These rolls of chub. I wish I had the right words to gush about her because I love her something fierce. She brings brightness to my life that I didn’t know I needed. Funny how kids fill holes you didn’t know were there. Happy sigh for babies and motherhood. (And no I didn’t paint my fridge teal. My camera just has a weird sense of humor…)

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