Questions

Have you ever had an entire conversation in just questions? Just because you could? Don’t you think some phases in life are just better expressed in questions because answers are few and fleeting?

But WHY did you drop all the contents of my wallet behind the couch and be so busily distracting that I didn’t notice until we were at the gas station? Is it so difficult to remember that “helping” your sister when she empathically does not want help, is not very helpful? How did I never fully appreciate the awesomeness of fat baby legs in jeans? I have no idea how to make a mob trap in Minecraft, can we ask your Dad? What is that all over your face? Why with the eggs, again!?

Did you get completely blindsided by the holidays too? Do you stare at the second half of this month like a deer about to get hit by a truck full of pre-lit, flocked Christmas trees? If you had to go, wouldn’t that make for an epic death story? How do babies manage to shift the perspective from “Holy Crap! Your homemade doll from Santa’s Elves looks terrible so I have to completely start over and not screw it up this time” to “Sparkly lights! Mom, Can we walk under the water jets? I love this place! Life is awesome!”?

What did I do to be so lucky? Can I share some holiday cheer with you, because the magical kid perspective is really all that matters at this point?

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This is why…

…the holiday season is so stinking stressful. We (mostly meaning me, but if you do this too then I’ll feel a lot better about life, the universe, and everything) create a sense of urgency because we have a schedule in our heads that must be met at all costs. I’m not even talking about Sam’s Club sporting Christmas trees in September. No, No this is completely in my own head. For example: I have yet to blog about Halloween (about to be remedied) but it’s already a week into November. So not only am I behind schedule, I’m [GASP!] late.  I don’t do late. Like ever. In fact, when I try to be late out of respect for the host/ess, all I can manage is exactly on time. As a blogger who has been “late” the last few months with everything, it’s all I can do to not hyperventilate into a paper bag every delinquent day . Needless to say when there are so many events to document and no time with which to do it, I’m going through paper bags at an alarming rate and we are only a third of the way through the trifecta of holiday awesomeness! It’s ok though. I’m slowly coming to terms with my crazy, thanks in large part to my husband who laughs at me and hugs me.

He also buys me nice cameras when my old ones get filled with sand. Don’t know what idiot left it in the bottom of the sand-filled diaper bag with it on (and thus with the lens exposed)…gosh! I’m still learning how to use this sucker, so the picture quality is kind of weird. But my camera is purple, so I still win!

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We went to our Church’s Trunk-or-Treat event and for all my complaining about not being able to do this and real Trick-or-Treating, this was great. They went all out and someone was dressed as a werewolf with a very gruesome mask which took care of Garyn’s freaked out quota for the evening. Seriously, he knew where that person was every moment we were there.

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Love this guy…

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And he plays a mean game of “eat the donut off the string.” Layna was the first to win a cupcake at the cake walk and was very particular about where she was going to sit to eat it.

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Hope your night of massive candy acquisition left you feeling this pensive and reflective. Or, you know, hope you got to see a sheep.

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Joys of motherhood

Sorry it’s been two weeks again. I actually wrote a big, long, serious post about why I don’t vaccinate my kids and that would have kept me in my once a week schedule. But in the interest of learning from past mistakes, I decided to not post it right away and after much thought and reflection decided not to post it at all. If you are interested in my thoughts on the matter, I’d be happy to share. However, I’ve realized that there are many times I regret stuff I’ve said (or typed) but I’ve never regretted being silent. Glad we had this talk…On to joy and happiness and unicorns in the form of kid Halloween costumes!

I love Halloween and the vast majority of that love comes from the immense satisfaction I get from pulling off cool/cute costumes for my kids. Yes, I am totally bragging here. Last year was the epic Rapunzel dress, and luckily Little girl was not jumping on the Frozen bandwagon (pretty sure an “Elsa” dress would have killed me). This year’s costumes were simple and I am taking advantage of paired costumes for my littlest girls until they are old enough to argue. I’m thinking I’ve got a good, solid 3 years to choose what I want them to be.

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Little Man definitely chooses his own costumes these days. Often 4-5 months in advance as was the case this year, and he sticks to it. He wanted to be “Matthias,” a monk turned warrior mouse from the Redwall series of novels. It was easy to make the habit, I just modified a basic “Ren Faire” shirt pattern I got off the internet years ago. We dug the leather belt out of the dress up bin, found a sword at Savers and we were set.

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First she was going to be MossFlower, a girl mouse from the Redwall series. Then when I was going through patterns she saw a Mermaid and wanted that. Then she saw Fairies and I mentioned that I had wings from her second Halloween (when she was a fairy) and she was sold. I was just excited that I got to use up all the left over Rapunzel material. Unfortunately, I wasn’t super careful about measuring so this rad fairy skirt will fit her perfectly in about two years. Sigh.

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Little Bo Peep heard you have a sheep problem? She’ll handle that.

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What problem? The picture of her stubby little tail was blurry, but it’s probably better this way. You might have passed out from adorableness overload and we can’t have that now.

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She really does love her little sheep.

I am really pleased with how the impromptu Bo Peep apron turned out. And I might have to make another headband with horns so that Corra can be a satyr baby. Because that would be the most awesome thing ever!  [Funny aside about her costume: So I’ve never had to stop sewing and detach the foot because it got so tangled in the material it wouldn’t sew. That fake fur stuff is beastly to work with! I was explaining all this to my husband who then told me how I could have done it to avoid that problem completely (it really was a brilliantly simple solution). At which point I maturely whined at him for being at work making money to support my hobbies when I needed him home to save me from sewing that stupid stuff all wrong. The nerve, right?]

This year we are going to our church’s festivities but I’m sad that it was planned for Halloween night. I get why and everything, but I still love taking the kids Trick or Treating for real. For me the point of Halloween is not candy acquisition. It’s running around in the dark with spooky stuff all around talking to random strangers. I can buy them candy all year long, but I can’t recreate the above…the thrill, the out of the ordinary, the fun. Oh well. Friday night I’ll remind myself that we’ve got lots of Halloweens ahead and I’ll go raid their candy bags for any and all Twixes. Because for all my lofty ideals…candy is candy and Twixes are the best.

 

 

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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!

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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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