Rainbow Dragon and Ninja Halloween

Ninja and Rainbow Dragon

These are my fellas in their Halloween costumes: the all-colorful Rainbow Dragon and the Invisible-Like-the-Night Ninja. They were both pleased as punch with their costumes.

Rainbow Dragon

This Rainbow Dragon costume is a great triumph for me. I sprayed with fabric paint a white sweat suit (used for last year’s Hedwig the owl costume!). It was slow-going with little pump-spray bottles and I did it over many days to let all the sections dry in between.

Rainbow Dragon

The day of Halloween — heaps of work and a family wedding prevented me from doing this any sooner — I sewed the tail, spine plates, and wings from a yard and a half of rainbow batik cotton. It was quite a feat of engineering for me and I was very happy to be able to show my design plan to my dear Ritsa, a magnificent professional costumer, and get her OK and encouragement. I feel like my spatial thinking and ability to plan in 3D is somewhat lacking.

Anyway, the tricky sewing parts for me were 1) threading the machine (as always), and 2) figuring out how to sew the spines into the single dorsal seam of the tail so that all the fabric was right side out. The spines/plates are stuffed with wool to make them puffy. To make the tail stand out from Asher’s body, I bent a coat hanger into an oval to set against his back with a long wire to hold the tail up. Thanks for the suggestion, Ritsa! Then I stuffed the tip of the tail with wool roving and the rest with plastic air pillows that are used for shipping. The result was full and delightfully lightweight, and I love that the tail curls at the end. The whole rig just ties around his waist.

Rainbow Dragon

I did a fair amount of inelegant hand-sewing, too. The wings are tacked on in four places each with sloppy stitches.The spines on the back of the sweatshirt are attached by running stitches almost an inch long. I really had to hurry to finish! I painted the mask with my trusty craft acrylics and stuck on sticky rainbow jewels. I literally finished this costume 20 minutes before we had to leave for our visit to the Pumpkin Path.

Rainbow Dragon

We had just enough time to get a few photos before leaving. I was so thrilled to see that Asher loved it!

Ninja!

Lucas had mentioned several times over the last year that he wanted to be a ninja for Halloween. As we got closer to the date, that decision wavered a few times. We looked at costumes in the Halloween store and he felt they were all kind of creepy. But then we found the ninja kit: Lucas got to buy a kit with a plastic sword and sais, a throwing star, and a fancy hood. We cobbled the other pieces of his costume together from his wardrobe and the thrift store. Ian dyed the belt blackish on the stovetop. I tell you, in the night, that kid disappeared!

Pumpkin Path

The Sacramento Waldorf School Pumpkin Path this year was fun as always. The children went on a quest to find the pirates who had stolen King Neptune’s treasure. Along the way, they encountered mermaids, the Lady of the Lake, sea dragons, an explorer, a shark, and more. Some of Lucas’s and Asher’s classmates were in our group, so that was fun.

Pumpkin Path

At each story station, the kids received a gift, such as a gem or a bit of soap or a seashell. There are few things in the world cuter than a bunch of kids in costumes.

Jack

The path was lined with jacks of all types and paper luminaries that glowed in the dusk. There were yummy treats to eat at the end.

Trick-Or-Treating

Then we met up with Grandma and our newlywed aunt and uncle and some friends and trick-or-treated in our neighborhood. Lots of neighbors get into the spirit of Halloween and decorate with lights and creepy things. We finally visited a giant Frankenstein statue that Asher has been obsessed with for weeks. Yes, it is indeed a giant doll. Only a doll.

Trick-Or-Treating

Trick-Or-Treating

Sweet X was a shiny, sparkly dragon. Two dragons and a ninja!

Sleepy Rainbow Dragon

The kids scored loads of candy, which we will soon be giving up to the Halloween Fairy. Asher couldn’t walk all the way home and fell asleep on Daddy’s back and shoulders.

The Fellas Jack

We were greeted at home by our three Jacks and fell into bed, satisfied and happy.

[Shared with Saturday’s Artist on Ordinary Life Magic.]

Harvest Faire Beauty

Welcome Sign (evening)

Two weekends ago we got to enjoy the Sacramento Waldorf School Harvest Faire and Children’s Festival. Every year I am struck by the amount of time and devotion our school community gives to this event. And their love and attention to detail is evident everywhere—in every nook and corner there is great beauty and intention. Here are a just a few beautiful scenes I caught on camera.

Pumpkins

Visiting Alpacas Scene from the SWS Farm: Pomegranate Asher and Daddy Try Archery Arrows

Felted Dragon

Saint Francis Chalk Drawing

Pie Contest

Children's Store

Country Store Edibles

Country Store Children's Items

Waldorf Student Work

Candles

Ms R and Ms L Making Fairy Crowns

Handwork Yarns

Scene from the SWS Farm

X and Lucas Choose Weapons

I think I’ll just let the photos speak for me.

Rainy Day Game Design

IMG_7490

On Columbus Day, the boys were home from school, Daddy had the day off work, and they had some time to create their own indoor fun. See how diligently they’re all working?

IMG_7493

They designed their own board game, Warrior Quest, complete with beeswax player characters, weapons, a movement system, four regions with corresponding monsters, cards for drawing and battling monsters (even ones that caused you to skip a turn or two), a hit points and damage system to deal with battles and winning or losing. Players could level up and become more powerful through experience so that when they finally confronted the top boss, they would have a chance to defeat him.

IMG_7494

The icy world was inhabited by a Viking with a mighty hammer and its resident monster was a polar bear. Beating the polar bear earned you a hammer for your arsenal. I think this might have been influenced by Lucas’s fourth-grade Waldorf curriculum—Norse mythology.

IMG_7503

IMG_7495

The volcanic world was the home of the dwarf and his fiery dragon. Asher is all about dragons.

IMG_7496

In the middle of the board was a crossroads where you could earn gems by battling monsters. Each gem you earned incrementally reduced the damage you would take if a monster bested you. You needed one of each color.

IMG_7497

This is the biggest, baddest big-nosed goblin boss standing atop his castle. You could only confront him after you’d traveled through three foreign lands, bested their three monsters, and earned a weapon from each—oh, and you also had to beat the goblin’s two big-nosed minions who were standing guard (one of whom seems to be down in this photo). During playtesting, we mutually decided that your region’s monster could join you in the final battle, adding his die roll to yours. Without this boost, the big boss was just too tough. Good thing you had a friendly monster on your side!

IMG_7500

This is the desert nomad player. The desert monster was a giant scorpion. If you beat it, you earned a sword. The forest world had a bowman for a player character and a giant black spider monster. You got a bow for beating this creepy creature.

IMG_7520

When all the game design was done, we all played Warrior Quest together. Dinner interrupted our game temporarily, and rather than move everything, we ate on the floor.

IMG_7506

I have to say, it was totally fun. We had to keep track of our points with, like, math. We had to gain experience and weaponry and go on a great journey with perils and setbacks.

IMG_7512

My sweet guys spent four solid hours on this project. They all stayed involved and contributing. Ian credits the book Geek Dad for inspiring him, and assorted board and role-playing games for some help with game mechanics. But it was all new to the kiddos. Apparently Asher wanted to add a whole cash economy to the game, and Lucas wanted there to be more magic with spells and stuff. Both ideas might have been cool additions, but that sort of thing would have delayed the PLAYING of the game, and frankly, you cannot spent four hours working on something when you’re 4 years old and then NOT get to play it at the end!

IMG_7517

And Asher won!

Our Beautiful Michaelmas

Michael

We had a marvelous Michaelmas—almost two weeks ago now—celebrating with our school community with pageantry and gusto. Grades 2 through 12 participated and it was as inspirational as ever.

Dragon Banners from Michaelmas

This year I was particularly impressed by the dragon banners for each grade. Aren’t they wonderful?

Lucas's Shield

This year, Lucas is in the fourth grade, and traditionally that class builds and decorates their own shields. In the Michaelmas festival, they are brave warriors who protect the innocent villagers from the dragon when it arrives on the scene. The shields they made were breathtaking, especially when seen all together. They were decorated with swords, arrows, snakes, dragons, wolves, and even sea turtles. Each child designed his or her own crest for the shield.

George Confronts the Dragon

The mighty celestial dragon, built and manned by the sixth grade class, was impressive and graceful. George faced it down and tamed it with his wit and goodness, with plenty of help from Michael.

IMG_7013

When I conquer within me fear and wrath,

Michael in heaven casts the dragon forth.

 

Firmly on the Earth I stand.

Michael’s sword within my hand.

When I conquer fear, the dragon’s chains I tightly bind!

Michael’s light is in my mind.

When I thrust against the monster’s might,

Michael is at my side!

Celestial Dragon

Harken all, the time has come!

When all the world at last the truth shall hear,

Then the lion shall lie down with the lamb.

Our lances shall be turned to reaping hooks,

Swords and guns be cast as plowshares.

Nations shall live in lasting peace.

All men unite as brothers.

IMG_7048

We also celebrated Michaelmas at home. We made dragon bread, adding an exciting, wicked twist with brown sugar, butter, and dried fruits (cherries, blueberries, and cranberries) rolled up inside. We gave our dragon bread dried, candied cantaloupe horns and dried, candied kiwi plates down his spine. Almonds served nicely as teeth and claws.

IMG_7055

And for the second year in a row, we barbecued chicken and created a kind of dragon beast main dish. The “dragon” (colored yellow with turmeric) is resting on purple potato “rocks” in a field of greens and tomatoes and onions (a field of vanquished knights?). I carved a dragon head from a purple pepper and give the beast spinach wings. The boys thought this was pretty awesome, and it was tasty!

IMG_7064

Dragon Puzzle

We also did a dragon craft over a couple of days. I might write more about this later, but here’s the finished dragon we made.

About a week later, Asher’s Kindergarten class held their own Michaelmas celebration. The children all dyed silk capes of golden light using marigold petals in school. The older children in the Kindergarten (second-year kids or children who will be there only one year) sanded and built golden wooden swords. All the children were given golden crowns to wear.

The autumn wind blows open the gate,

Oh Michael, for you we wait!

We follow you; show us the way!

With joy we greet the autumn day!

Michaelmas Walk Through the Farm

We parents were invited to join the class in the school farm amid the fruit trees to witness their Michaelmas circle time verses and songs. It was supremely sweet. I don’t know the parents of this class very well yet, so I don’t have their permission to post photos.  Suffice it to say, it was this cute, times 24.

2011 Autism Walk

I have so much to write about. Life is full and busy and exciting events are happening. I’ve also got major deadlines and tons of work right now, so I have to hold off a bit more.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011

But here are some shots from last Sunday’s event, which bears the cumbersome title of Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is a group that raises funds for autism awareness, research into prevention and treatment, and advocacy for individuals and families.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011

This year’s event in Sacramento raised $200,000, which is pretty cool. Ian’s company worked hard to raise money, staging several fundraisers over the last several months.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011

This was our second year participating. (My post from last year’s walk is here.) We walked from Raley Field in West Sacramento to the State Capitol and back, about 2.4 miles.

Bubble Fun Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011 Asher and Ian

The event has a kind of festival air, but also poignancy, when you read the T-shirts of groups that say things like “I walk for Mason.” This year we were all hoping Governor Brown would sign SB.946, a law to enact autism insurance reform. And he did!

Autism Speaks

Lucas

Walk Now for Autism Speaks 2011

I like this event for several reasons, but mostly because we can do it together as a family. My children are learning that people come in all shapes and sizes and abilities, and that we all need to stand up for people who need help.

Michaelmas Time

Sixth Grade Dragon

Dragon and Archangel Michael from 2009

It’s Michaelmas time again, one of my favorite times of year. Over the years, as I’ve engaged in our Waldorf school’s Michaelmas Festival, I’ve come to see Michaelmas as a truly enlivening and uplifting event that reaffirms my faith in humanity’s goodness. Michaelmas happens each year at a time when I find myself noticing nature turning toward dryness and decay. I notice all the upheaval in the world, both personal and global. It’s not that such things don’t happen at other times of the year, but something about this season makes them more poignant for me. As the nights grow longer and the year begins to die, my own dragons surface and start making noise that cannot be ignored. And so, I pay them some attention.

We all have faced some dragons recently! Ian faced the Tough Mudder and emerged victorious, having worked so hard to prepare both physically and mentally. Asher has faced down his own fears about being in a new school. Lucas is wrestling with new expectations on him now that he is older, and finding that sometimes he wants to quit piano and sometimes he doesn’t—for playing requires discipline and fortitude and stick-to-itiveness. My own issues revolve around some beloved family members, and their ill health is weighing on my mind. (Oh, and fear of failure. And fear of success. Money woes. All those old standbys are still present, too.)

Michaelmas Nature Table

Our Michaelmas nature table display, with handmade figures

For me, the Michaelmas festival reminds us that we all have a part of us that lurks in the murk, with our dragons—fears, angers, resentments, jealousies, laziness, etc.—as bitter (and sometimes comfortable) companions. Our societal dragons are fear, hate, bigotry, greed, and isolationism. And yet despite our foibles and in the middle of our challenges, we keep striving, working for the good. We shine our lights into our days and nights and work to make the world brighter in small ways and in big.

With Michaelmas, we have our metaphor of plucking up our courage and going out on the field to meet our dragons head-on. Though we are frightened, we call them by name and take a good hard look at them in the sunlight. And in doing so, we shrink them and corral them, tame them or banish them, or simply bring them under our better control. When we face reality with honesty and bravery, we are imbued with light and can use this strength daily in our interactions will all people.

But let me be clear, dragons are mighty teachers, too. Our dark sides can be a source of inspiration, power, and mystery. The fertile soil of our inner darkness must be balanced and harnessed by the light in us, that we may live healthy, happy lives and do soulful work.

Asher is experiencing in Kindergarten the story of a simple boy, George, who acts out of bravery and righteousness to help others and in doing so overcomes fear and darkness. He retold the story to me yesterday with great gusto. The older Kindergarten children are making their wooden swords of righteousness. They are dyeing silken capes with golden light. They are preparing themselves to be bold and good in the world.

Lucas's Sculpture of St. Michael Battling the Dragon within a Ring of Fire

Lucas’s 2010 modeling clay scene of Archangel Michael battling the dragon within a ring of fire

Lucas’s class, the fourth grade, are making shields. In the Michaelmas festival this Friday, they will protect the villagers when the dragon arrives. Their great courage will shield the innocent from harm.

So, if you’re curious about this festival, here are some other places you can look. I hope that it might inspire you as it has inspired me.

My post about Honoring Our Dragons.

A Michaelmas craft the boys and I enjoyed last year.

Last year’s 2010 School Michaelmas Festival. And here’s 2009’s festival post.

Last year’s family Michaelmas celebration at home. How might you make a dragon dinner?

Individual Dragons

Third graders making dragon breads at Sacramento Waldorf School

Here are some other wonderful Michaelmas links for you to explore:

Read this one. I promise you won’t be disappointed: Barbara Klocek’s article about Michaelmas in the Kindergarten. (Mrs. Klocek was one of Lucas’s Kindergarten teachers.)

Lots of info about Saint Michael and Michaelmas here.

Carrie’s 2009 post about Michaelmas on the Parenting Passageway is here.

A great post about building a dragon with a sixth grade Waldorf class is found on The Waldorf Way blog.

A new article about Michaelmas “The Festival of Human Becoming” by Danielle Epifani on The Wonder of Childhood online magazine.

Mamaroots has a tutorial for making stick dragons

The meaning of the Michaelmas festival by Rudolf Steiner is here.

Rocking Granola has a great list of more resources here.

Dragon Day

Asher, Kindergartner

Asher, Kindergartener (Orientation Day)

Asher has started Kindergarten! He’s been very excited about this all summer. We attended an end-of-summer work party one morning and an orientation morning a few days before the official start of school. Here he is on that September 2 morning.

Kindergarten Orientation Day

Pretty proud and hopeful, right?

IMG_5556

The first day for Asher to join the Red Rose Kindergarten at Sacramento Waldorf School was last Wednesday. He happily posed for pics and marched headlong into the yard to play with friends, many of whom were in preschool with him last year.

IMG_5635

He likes the swings and to run around in the circle bordered by the straw bales. He’s eating all his lunches up nicely.

IMG_5648

This first week has been a little hard, however. He’s still adjusting to all the newness—new place, new teachers, new classmates, new rhythms. My little guy who is normally so bold and jolly has been crawling into my bed before dawn, crying and saying he doesn’t want to go to school. Nothing has happened or gone wrong. It’s just a lot of change all at once. I think things are gradually improving as the days add up. I have picked him up a few days “early,” meaning after lunch at the end of the Kindergarten morning, instead of after nap group. His problem may be merely that he doesn’t want to nap.

I know in another week his anxiety will be gone and he’ll be making lots of friends. I know that he’s brave and will soon be a ringleader. But right at this moment, my sunshine boy is working through it. It is both hard and exhilarating to watch him tentatively taking these steps into the world.

Summer Favorites

IMG_4179

This is a small collection of precious summer moments that I want to remember. It was a summer full of color, creativity, and togetherness. We got our fill of outdoor adventures and indoor play, too. We tested, challenged ourselves, and grew in so many ways.

Homemade Mint Soap

Dizios

Slide

Small Eggs from Young Hens ('Cept Middle)

Bendaroos: Animals with Lightsabers

Basil Bouquet

My Choleric Firebird

"Niobe" Clematis Vine

My Boys Camping

E and Asher

Fuzzoodles

Camping Dinner

My Family on Their Way

From the bottom of my heart, I hope your summertime was full of bliss and daydreams, excitement and rest.

Today one of our summer adventures is featured on the Beneath the Rowan Tree blog, which is super fun! Pop over there to see!

Beneath the Rowan Tree

Strawberry Jam

Jam Helpers

The boys and I made another batch of jam last week, which was Week 11 of summer vacation. You see, we mamas must be creative to survive summertime. We must also do our best to create and squeeze sweet moments out of these long, warm days at home.

Preparing the Berries

I wish I could say we plucked all of these strawberries from our garden, but we don’t grow enough berries to make that possible. I also wish I could say they were organic berries, but alas, they weren’t. They were the next best thing: on sale!

Juicy Lucas Chopping Berries

What is absolutely wonderful, however, is that my kiddos and I worked together on this project. Lucas and Asher were great about chopping all the strawberries. (Getting to use real knives is a thrill for them.) Their cooperation and good natures made this such a fun activity. I just love how capable and helpful they are these days! They got to decide on the sweetener for our low-sugar jam—they picked honey!

Stems

The chickens benefited, too.

Strawberry Honey Love Jam

We call this Mama and Sons’ Strawberry Honey Love Jam. Good name, no?

This Moment: Trying the Kindergarten Swing

This Moment: Trying the Kindergarten Swing

Inspired by SouleMama {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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2017 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

  • Buy Our Festivals E-Books







  • Archives

  • Tags

  • Categories

  •  

  • Meta