Week-end of Festivals, Part 2

For Michelmas this year, we thought that it would be fun to have the children slay a dragon of some sort. Unable to find our ordinary neighbourhood dragon perched and ready for a challenge, we decided to get a bit creative – and literal. As such, we searched online and managed to find a dragon pinata. From its flared nostrils to its empty belly, this dragon was definitely hungry for a fight (and ready to be filled with candy). Indeed, we had a feeling it would be a big hit with Alina and Finnlagh. No pun intended, of course!

We opted out of filling its belly with candy, and instead filled it with small toys: glow-in-the-dark stars, spidery wall climbers that clang when they fall to the floor, kaleidoscopes, stickers, temporary tatoos and figurines of favourite animals.  The children thought their winnings were brilliant and I don’t think that anyone missed the candy in the end, although goodness, it still is as difficult as ever to burst open a pinata!

One of the most rewarding moments of our celebration came in the form of a drawing presented to us by Alina.  She draws day and night; she uses art not only to express mood, emotions and frustrations, but most of all to tell stories and to make gifts for others. There is just something about artistic expression that really appeals to her, and is such a vital component of who she is as a little girl.

As a special surprise, I took her drawing and sent it to Spoonflower, an online purveyor of custom-made fabric.  I am awaiting the sample swatch, but if it turns out well, I will get her design printed on a yard of fabric or so, and make something out of it for her for Christmas. Maybe one day we’ll even see her designs in the Niko & Nonnie shop!

I am also happy to report that Finnlagh, despite his tumultuous relationship with dragons, was able to save the day. He channeled his inner St. Michael and gave that dragon what for!

We are all looking forward to celebrating Martinmas, a festival which takes place annually on November 11th. This will be our first time celebrating Martinmas together as a family and I’m excited to see how it turns out. As always, I’ll post our festivities and share our day with all of you.



Monday’s Moment

A single moment captured in a photograph. Candid and fleeting, this will always be a special snapshot in time..

We’ve spent our day doing leaf rubbings, making spooky ghost pops for trick or treaters, reviewing analog time telling and packing for our holiday. I’ve been tirelessly sewing birthday crowns and prezzies, needle felting and nursing…it’s a race to beat the clock! However none of those things compared to the expression on Finnlagh’s face this morning. Today he received his first skateboarding ‘deck’ procured for him by his dear Papa from our local skate shop. We have promised to put wheels on it ‘one day soon.’ For now, our almost-four-year-old gets to practice his stance and grin from ear to ear imagining all the tricks he’ll get to do someday. 


Autumn in ATX

We are into mid-October here in Austin, watching Radiohead perform on Austin City Limits from the comfort of our bedroom.  They did a live performance and taping back in March during SXSW, and my husband Grant was lucky enough to catch the latter portion of the concert on his way home from work. Hey, that sounds like Radiohead?! Indeed it was. He sat himself down on a park bench in front of ACL and just took in the moment. It’s not every evening that Radiohead comes to town, or that Willy Nelson retweets you on Twitter. But for my husband, such magical musical moments have sought him out since we arrived. It’s virtually undeniable.

There are many such moments here in the Live Music Capital of the World. You can be casually walking by some hole in the wall and just be absolutely blown away by the brilliance of the performers inside. While March is SXSW territory, October belongs to ACL. The Austin City Limits Festival at Zilker Park is legendary and this year is no exception in terms of performances. For more on who’s playing ACL, visit http://www.aclfestival.com

Autumn in Austin looks and feels more like summer in other parts of the world. For us it has meant slightly more comfortable temperatures; while still warm and sunny, we have gotten the occasional bit of rain which has helped keep the beautiful flora thriving. We have been sure to take full advantage. Daily walks to pick up an iced drink or snack, meandering through the city streets always finding somewhere new… discovering this city’s unbridled enthusiasm when it is Game Day for the Longhorns…

It doesn’t matter how you cut it: every which way you look and turn, Austin, Texas is too cool for school. It’s not just a matter of being the hipster capital of the free world (which it totally is without question), or the fact that the food is so amazing, we have yet to have a bad meal.  I won’t even get into its thriving economy, the best in Texas and most likely, one of the most prosperous in the whole United States. No, it’s more to do with the vibrancy, the pleasant residents you meet just in passing or chat with at the grocery store…most people are actually THAT lovely. I have never had more conversations with total strangers, had more doors opened and seats given to me for my children or to accommodate our stroller. Our days are occupied by pleasant, happy-go-lucky people and without incident.

Just a little bit of what Autumn had in store for us the past couple of weeks…

Til next time,

Friday Favourites – October 5, 2012

Man oh man! What a week it’s been!

I’m currently blogging from my phone, immobilized by my littlest guy who loves to nurse. I can see my computer from where I’m sitting… just…can’t…get…there.

Without a doubt, whether you are American or not, it is a very exciting time to be living in the USA. October, apart from being arguably the best month of the year in general, also is host to the World Series and, every four years, the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates, with elections to be held in November. From Wall Street to Sesame Street, our eyes and ears have certainly taken in a deluge of information this week. We learned how many times you can interrupt a moderator, s t r e t c h  the truth (or tell lies outright), and how, despite the bitter and unwarranted attack launched against President Obama regarding unemployment, the news plastered in the headlines of the New York Times this morning: unemployment has dropped below 8%, the lowest it has been since 2009. Now that is certainly cause for celebration.

Are there loads of things I’d want to include in my #FF post this week? Absolutely. But I think I can afford to leave those pictures and stories til next week. Today I’m suggesting we take an interest in and follow our respective governments. Keep abreast of the facts. Realise that socio-economics and foreign policy can actually be readily understood, assessed and analysed by the average person; it is not the political mumbo-jumbo many worry it’s all chalked up to be. Leave the cynicism at home. Get involved. Raise your voice. VOTE.