Well, what have we been up to lately? Seems like a lot! I feel like more often than not the last week or so we have been out of the house more than we’ve been in it!
Last weekend my brother got married, so we had some out of town family in for that. We got to spend some time with my grandma Linda and grandpa John, who saw Bean when she was about a day old.
We took another trip to the aquarium with them, since it was too hot to spend time outside. Bean loved it.
A New Beanmobile
The day we went to the aquarium I found myself crawling over the front passenger seat of my car to wrestle the stroller into the back seat because someone had parked too closely to me in the parking lot and the trunk had the baby’s wagon in it, and I decided then and there that it was time to get a bigger car. (I drive a Honda Accord.) I thought initially that we would trade in my car for something larger, since it still has a lot of value in it and that way we’d still only have one car payment, but when we mentioned this to Cameron’s dad and stepmom, they graciously offered to front us some cash to buy a car outright, then sell Cameron’s car so he would drive the Honda and I would drive the new car. We spent the weekend poking around on Craigslist and looking up car reviews. Finally, frustrated with the fact that nobody online seemed to be willing to respond in a timely manner to my inquiries about buying their cars, I popped onto a used dealership that has locations all over the place and immediately spotted a 2009 Dodge Caliber for an insanely good price considering it only had 63,000 miles on it. We jumped in the car and headed down to Park Meadows to look at it. It’s in practically perfect condition and we really liked it so we signed it that afternoon.
Here’s the catch though…it’s a standard. And can you guess who doesn’t know how to drive a standard? If you guessed ME, you’d be right. So, so far I’ve only driven my new car a couple of times under supervision while Cameron teaches me how to drive it. I think it’s going pretty well all things considered! I may even brave a trip to the store this afternoon. (In hindsight, that’s the reason it was so cheap. But I’m happy we got a good deal on it even if it is a manual.)
‘Tis the season for ren faire! We’ve taken Bean to the festival twice now and she has a ball. I dressed up her wagon to look like a carriage and she is without a doubt the cutest thing that has ever happened to the faire. Nobody even notices me and my parents in our (cough) thousands of dollars worth of garb because everyone is staring at the baby. I guess that’s okay though.
The temps lately have been in the high 80s and low 90s which is a bit brutal, so I try to avoid taking the baby outside in the middle of the day if I can help it. We go for our walks either early in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler. In between, we steal free air conditioning at the mall or hang out in the basement and watch tv. I say “watch tv” loosely, because we don’t have cable so really we’re watching dvds or Netflix. And when I say watching dvds or Netflix I mean Disney movies or documentaries. I know screen time is supposed to be discouraged at this age, but I honestly have no problem whatsoever with Disney or documentaries. I’m not plopping her down in front of the tv alone so I can go do something else, we always watch together, and I’m comfortable with her watching these programs rather than cartoons.
Plus, this way I get to learn stuff too. This week we have been watching “Blue Planet” which is about the oceans. I may have a future marine biologist on my hands.
Maybe it’s because we’ve been keeping busy and have been out and about so frequently, maybe it’s because she’s not teething right now, or maybe it’s because she’s just figuring it out finally, but sleep has been great lately. She’s had 3 nights in the last week where she slept straight through the night! If she doesn’t sleep all the way through, she only gets up once, has a small bottle, and falls right back to sleep. It’s been awesome.
I definitely don’t consider myself a bargain hunting queen or a master of the thrift shop finds…hell, I haven’t even clipped a coupon since I helped my mom do it every Sunday as a kid. Sure, I buy in bulk and check out sales when I need something expensive, but I’m definitely not one of those wonder people who manage to find a priceless one of a kind Picasso in a thrift store behind a matte print.
There are some things, though, that I typically hate to buy new and spend full price on, so I go out of my way to buy second hand. And by some things, I mean practically all baby items.
Sure, diapers and wipes and bottles and small toys, whatever. If I see a cute outfit on the rack at Kohls on sale, I’ll snag it. But I definitely prefer to buy most or her clothing and large toys used. The nice thing about baby items is that unless it’s been handed down for five children, chances are it was used only for a short time, so damage tends to be minimal. And unless we’re in a desperate pinch–like the time we bought a brand new swing at full price because we were desperate for the baby to sleep–I spend a little time shopping around for a good used one.
Did I mention the baby swing was used for two weeks and has been gathering dust in the basement since? Yeah.
Anyway, enter my two fantastic steals. I started poking around on Craigslist for a used wagon for the baby, since strollers are pretty difficult to navigate on the grounds of the renaissance festival. I was hoping for one with a canopy on it, but would settle for one without and rig up an umbrella if I had to. I finally jumped on one that was being sold not too far away for $40. (A new Radio Flyer without a canopy costs nearly $100.) On Friday I went to pick it up and when I got there, the lady selling it hands me a canvas bag with all the pieces to the canopy. Say whaaaaat. She didn’t even mention in the ad that it had the canopy with it, so I basically robbed this lady blind over this wagon. Best deal ever.
To join in the World Cup fun: scoooooooooore!
And steal number two. Yesterday we went for a walk around the complex and came upon a perfect Cozy Coupe left next to one of the dumpsters. Uh, hello. I was going to get one for the Bean for Christmas, but apparently Christmas came early. We looked around to make sure there were no kids nearby who might have just left it in an unfortunate place, but since there was no one around and the thing was sitting in the dumpster enclosure, we took it. It appears to have nothing wrong with it whatsoever except for the stickers which are peeling, but other than that it’s basically brand new. The Bean is still on the small side for it, so it may be a month or two until we can tool her around in it, but even so, hot diggity! The only thing better than getting a good deal is getting it for FREE.
Oh, and, speaking of the wagon and ren faire…
(Okay so the one of me has nothing to do with the wagon or its contents, but I felt like sharing anyway.)
Woohoo, a non-pregnancy-related post! Instead, gratuitous photos. Of myself. Yay!
This weekend, the Colorado Renaissance Festival opens. We’re going down for our first of hopefully many visits this year. You might think Ren Faire is a pretty geeky way to spend a day at what is basically a giant over-priced outdoor shopping mall full of weirdos in costumes and food on sticks. And it is, sort of. But for many of us weirdos out there, ren faire is a lifestyle. When you’re a rennie you do things like shop for “normal” clothing and don’t buy anything unless it could potentially do double duty at faire. You know how to undress in your car in a dusty parking lot and change into garb without anyone ever seeing a shred of skin. You know what “bodicegasm” and “kilt check” mean. There are many qualifiers in the “you know you’re a rennie when” game and I’m sure I coincide with way more of them than I’d actually care to admit when it came right down to it, but whatever.
Ren has been an amazing part of my life since I was 12. I have met some of the most amazing people at ren. 3 out of my 4 bridesmaids I met at faire. I have met some pretty rotten people too, but that happens wherever you go, so you have to learn to take that with a grain of sand. I have gotten to travel to new and interesting places around the country just to go to a ren faire. I have collected more favors from friends I have met throughout the years than can now fit all at once on my hat. I have had the opportunity to perform and try different characters and make some people very happy. And I can’t wait to start bringing my kids to this world. It really is more than the costumes and food and music and atmosphere. It is, like I said, a lifestyle.
This is the only picture I can find on my hard drive of my first trip to Ren. I know I have a whole roll of photos somewhere from this trip that I will have to find some day.
I was hooked enough to go for the costume the next year. I think it’s fascinating to watch the progression of garb (read: the money I spent) as the years go by.
As you can see, I rocked the fairy look for a couple of years: (I think this one was 2004) Ironically, about 5 years later I would come back to this very same spot and do a fairy shoot with some friends, I’ll post those later.
2005 was the year I started working at the faire and the real obsession began.
2006, the year I graduated high school:
I can only find a handful of photos from 2007, which is okay because I had come back from my first year of college 30 pounds heavier (no joke) and so none of them are particularly flattering. So we’ll skip to the next year, which is when my pirate character, Zoë, started to take shape. See that gold corset, by the way? I spent the entire year previous paying that sucker off with tips. 2008 was a big year for me. I spent that summer working at ren faire and at Elitches, the local amusement park, on the entertainment crew. It was also the year I moved into my first apartment. It was an exciting summer to spend at ren faire but it was also exhausting.
2008 was also the first year of the Santa Fe renaissance festival, which has to this day been my favorite faire ever. I took my pirate character there and got to play around for 2 days and it was just spectacular.
In 2009 my whole family traveled to the Arizona ren faire in February. It wasn’t the first time I’d gone to a big faire (Santa Fe is quite small) outside of Colorado, I’d gone to one of the faires in New York in 2006, but it was the first time where I got to meet people from the ren enthusiasts’ online forum, where I’d been an active member for several years.
Back at Colorado, 2009 was another exciting year. I was made supervisor at my booth and I worked with some great people. I started dancing this year, and I was feeling very good. I even had a [short-lived] romance this summer. I can always tell when the summer was particularly good, because there are a lot of pictures. I probably have more pictures from 2009 than any other year.
2009 was the year I introduced my fairy character, Fritzie. She was born out of a photo shoot done with a very good friend of mine, Charlotte, who is (the best, if I may say so) face painter at the faire.
(In this picture I’m standing on the exact same chain I was sitting on in the picture from 2004.)
Later that year I took Fritzie to the Santa Fe faire too.
Also that year, I went to the Maryland Faire for the first time, for a gathering of the online community called Rendezvous. I am still longing to go back to that faire. (Luckily, a few friends are about to move to Baltimore, which may mean I’ll have an excuse to visit in a few years.)
2010 was the year that things started to peter down for faire in a weird way. For me, a big part of it was that it was the year I met Cameron, and I was definitely no longer using faire as a potential place to flirt and find romances. Many of the great girls I had worked with for so many years were also starting to work in the beer booths and I didn’t see them as much. We did attend Arizona in the spring and Santa Fe in the fall. But like I said, the number of pictures I have of a particular year is an indicator of how good the year was–and I have very slim pickins as far as that year goes. Also, early this particular year, I had a very upsetting falling out with someone with whom I had previously been very good friends with through faire, and due to the fact that it had to do with a very unwelcome sexual advance that took place at faire, it put a very bad taste in my mouth for me and I found myself not enjoying it as much as I always had. It took me a really long time to come back from that one.
In 2011, I returned to work at faire very much at the last minute. I had just graduated college and had moved in with Cameron, and I had hoped to be working full time before the faire started. That didn’t happen, and so I called my boss the weekend before faire opened and begged for a job. Not only did he give me a job, but he gave me a job as a beer wench, which makes you a ton of money. So it ended up being okay in the long run, though I hated being away from home every weekend for two months. (Faire was too far away from our place in Fort Collins to drive back and forth each night, so I stayed with my parents halfway during the weekends. I had done that for several years, but it was different now that I was living with Cameron.) I missed Santa Fe that year due to work conflicts and though we had made plans to go to Scarborough, a big faire in Texas, the plan fell through literally within hours of departure. I still haven’t been.
2012 was a much more exciting year because for the first time, I did not work the faire and just got to go to play. (Though I was roped into working a couple days)
I also made it back to Santa Fe, just a few weeks before the wedding.
So, as you can see, there has been A LOT of change in many ways over the years, and through it all ren faire has sort of been this thread that weaves itself in and out. I love it. I spent most of the morning going through my garb to make sure everything was clean and didn’t need repair. Best of all, Cameron is coming along tomorrow. He’s only been once, a year that I was working, and it was a bit of a culture shock for him, so tomorrow he’ll get the real insider’s experience. And, because he has no excuse not to wear his kilt, we’re going to get him a few more pieces to his garb so that he doesn’t look like a total outsider. 😀 I know this year will be different, with the pregnancy, and I’ll have to be more careful with the heat and dehydration, but I still couldn’t be more excited.
Oh, and for the record, my parents do faire too. And they are fucking fabulous. That’s them in the Santa Fe photo with me above. They even get to walk in the parade.
Well, we’ve come to the end of the world the year. The solstice is here and now the world begins to turn back toward the sunlight and the coming of spring. (Which is why I much prefer the notion of today being midwinter instead of the first day of winter!) Guess it’s about time to give a little recap of the year maybe!
2012 came in snowy, cold, and windy here in Estes Park. We spent a lot of time up in the Park snowshoeing and exploring. Here’s the highlights of the year!
In late January, we brought Sherlock home from the shelter.
In early February we went on a short vacation to Ouray (near Telluride) in the San Juans and it was AWESOME! We spent time at the hot springs and we got to go sledding and snow mobiling in the mountains (well, for a little, till Cameron dumped the snow mobile in 16 feet of powder). We also got to go on a zip line! It was so much fun.
Snowshoeing at Cub Lake
In March, Cameron shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s. Scary!
In July we bought a house! We were able to move from our 600-sq ft cabin into our very first, very own 1600-sq ft house.
Over the summer I got to see Florence and the Machine (birthday gift from Cameron) and Mumford & Sons at Red Rocks Amphitheater. AMAZING.
September brought a trip to Santa Fe to visit the renaissance festival there. One of my favorites!
In October, of course, we ate candy. Just kidding–we got married!
Right after the wedding, I got an offer from a literary agency to represent me and my book.
This year was my first Thanksgiving! It was nummy.
Some other photo highlights, in no particular order:
Saints versus Broncos
Colorado Renaissance Festival
Hiking Lily Mountain
Christmas cookie party
Playing Lady Macbeth for an acting class (wish I’d gotten to do the whole show)
Singing with the Oratorio Society of Estes Park
My 24th birthday
Cameron’s 29th birthday
Hard to believe that 2013 is already upon us. We are leaving almost immediately as the new year comes in and heading to Hawaii for 3. Whole. Weeks. Good lordy I can’t wait to be a beach bum for a while. We are also hoping that 2013 might include a mini Carruthers joining the family–keep your fingers crossed for us!
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of returning to Santa Fe for our yearly pilgrimage to the Santa Fe Renaissance Fair. We’ve been attending each year that it’s been in operation and it’s one of our favorite events all year. The fair is put on in conjunction with El Rancho de las Golondrinas (golondrinas.org) and was originally made to benefit an operation called Open Hands, which unfortunately shut its doors earlier this year. Still, the fair is all for helping the volunteers at the Rancho. Each year my folks and I have gone to be on their cast because they only have the help of volunteers to put on the fair. We have so much fun at this event every year. It’s made totally of heart. The site is on a living history museum with a working mill, 100 acres of farm land, a school house, and a host of other replica or renovated historical buildings all of which are still in operation. It’s an amazing little place and someday I’d love to see it when it’s not done up for the fair.
This fair is unlike most ren faires in that it’s set in the Spanish court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. The court is made up of a large multi-national contingent which is great to see. My parents play the [fictional] Duc et Duchesse du Gasgogne, and I appeared as Captain Zoe d’Arcachon, pirate and privateer for hire. In the past I have also appeared as a woodland faerie, Fritzie, and as a gypsy, whose character is currently still in development. While we were there I purchased a beautiful Italian-style gown and plan to appear at the next faire as the lady in waiting to the Duchesse.
We were very pleased to see how much the fair had expanded this year. It grows larger and larger each year and this year the attendance was over 6,000, which is phenomenal. Its very first year we had just under 2,000 attendees for the weekend and even THAT was above and beyond our expectations. It’s just great to see this thing grow in popularity and see people return each year to enjoy. I already can’t wait to go back next year.