Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Pumpkins Are Carved

"Hold on, man.  We don't go anywhere with 'scary', 'spooky', 'haunted', or 'forbidden' in the title"
- Shaggy, from Scooby-Doo

Usually we abide by Shaggy's rule.  With the exception of one night. All Hallows Eve. On this night we venture out for a little spooky and just a bit scary.  We do steer clear of forbidden.  And the haunted has to be of the Casper variety.   But a little fright, a little fairy mischief, a little night to howl at the moon can be fun. So a haunting we will go.

Our pumpkins are carved.  Our costumes are laid out.  And our candy bowl is full.  Are you ready?

Our Annual Pumpkin Patch Trip

Our annual pumpkin patch trip was filled with extra family members this year which made it even better!  My mom, sisters, and nieces were in town for the weekend to see the middle sprite in her play.  Since we're rarely together at this time of year we decided that it would be fun to celebrate autumn together.  We're quite the circus when we get together with six kids running around.  But that just makes the adventure six times the fun!

I'm thankful for a family that is willing to travel a great distance to show their support.  We haven't lived near each other for years and yet we're incredibly close.  I can't tell you some magic formula that makes that true.  I can tell you that we make an effort to stay in each others lives.  Maybe that's all it is.  I don't know.  All I do know is that I hope that when they're older my children are as close to each other as I am to my sisters.  I would not have been able to survive the last few years without them.  They are my best friends.  And I love them (and my mama) (and our adorable six pack) very much.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tire Swing on a Cool Autumn Night

This Moment

A Friday ritual. A single photo-no words-capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember.

*inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Confidence Building On Stage

Analiese has been a part of the local Playhouse for the past two years.  This fall she was given a part in her first small cast production, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  Honestly, it's been exhausting with rehearsals just about every day for the last two months.  But she has absolutely loved it.  The cast is a wonderful group of kids who all get along very well.  As the youngest cast member, she has loved being doted on by her theater family.  They are definitely her kind of people.  Loud, gestural, and oh so dramatic.  I've loved watching her grow into herself through this process.  I think this has been a defining time in her life.  Her attitude is different on days when she's at the theater.  She happier and more confident in herself.

A couple of years ago she was struggling.  She's the kind of girl that feels other people's emotions and reacts accordingly.  If the situation calls for tears, she will cry.  If the situation calls for joy, she will laugh.  So when our family is in a difficult place, she feels the distress of it.  She was also struggling in school at the time and she didn't really have an area in her young life where she could build confidence in herself.  She isn't academic like her brother or athletic like her sister.  I found myself thinking that she needed a place to shine.  She needed a stage.  At the time, I didn't know that she would find that place on a literal stage.  But she has.

Confidence has the ability to change who you are.  No, that's not right.  Confidence strengthens who you are.  Analiese has always been a creative girl.  She lives in a world of color and imagination.  School and athletics, with their rigid rules, are a hard fit for a girl like that.  Don't get me wrong.  She's incredibly intelligent and a very healthy little girl. She does fine in the classroom these days and she's not opposed to playing kickball with her friends.  But she doesn't shine in those arenas the way she does in a creative setting.  Give the girl a stage or a studio and she lights up.  Who she was made to be comes alive in those spaces.  It's a beautiful thing to witness.

As I said, she's been to a lot of rehearsals in the last couple of months.  And anyone familiar with theater knows that there's often a lot of down time if you aren't in a particular scene that needs to be worked through.  So it's best if you have something to occupy yourself with while you're waiting in the wings.  About a week ago, she came home with an entire tea set that she had  been working on slowly between scenes over the course of about two weeks.  It's made from model magic packs that I had been putting in her bag.  I had noticed that they were disappearing, but I didn't know what she was doing with them until she brought the whole set home.

Doing something you love is a powerful thing.  All of a sudden you have confidence and the encouragement of others.  Your strengths begin to shine.  For this creative girl, finding her stage has sparked other creative parts of her brain.  She's stronger artistically right now.  She's dancing more.  She's even reading more.  She wants to read books about drama and dancing and art.  It's a spiral of momentum.   One that I hope continues.  Sleepy Hollow is almost over, but she has auditions for another play later this week.  I want to see her continue to grow.  She is becoming an amazing girl.  I can't wait to see all of the wonderful things she will do.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Festival Season

October is the month of fall festivals.  We've been to one every weekend this month.  School festivals, town festivals, random middle of nowhere festivals; we've hit them all.  Working for a place that depends on word-of-mouth means that we have to make our presence known. So we set up booths at festivals around the area and cross our fingers, hoping someone notices us, falls in love, and becomes a loyal student.  It's exhausting for me, but it's a blast for the kids.  They get to run around getting candy and freebies, ride all of the rides, play all of the games, and see their friends.  It's a child's cloud nine.  I love fairs but certainly more so when I'm enjoying them rather than when I'm working them.  Unlike the kids, I'm glad festival season is over.  Plus, Sicily's hair has been sprayed with fake dye so many times that I fear her scalp is permanently dyed pink, orange, and yellow.  (Not a good combination as it starts to fade, I assure you.)   Maybe by Thanksgiving her head will be back to normal and our weekends will have regained some quiet.  Yes, quiet, that sounds nice.   Now if only the Cupid Shuffle (the current favorite of festival DJs) will stop replaying in my head. Seriously, make it stop!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Personal Movement

I CRIED over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman,
the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things
come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the old things go,
not one lasts.

- Autumn Movement by Carl Sandburg 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Full Day

Saturday morning.  We rose with the sun.  

On this cool autumn morning, our destination was a small race where the boy ran hard beside his dad.  They had fun and finished strong.

After congratulations and a brief cool down, we loaded back up, stopped for coffee and donuts, then headed to the park so that the littlest sprite could stretch before her dance performance. 

She took her bow, tossed me her jazz shoes, and we ran to the van so that we wouldn't be late to the next stop.  We ate lunch as we drove to the playhouse for the middle sprite's performance.  The Friday night before was the show opening, so the jitters were gone and she bounded up the stairs to the dressing room with a business like determination.  The show was again a great success.  

Now we are home.  Exhausted, but content with a day on the go doing the things we love.  

They are all beautiful in their own unique way.  Each different, each talented.   And even in their diversity, they cheer each other on.   They are lovely little people.