puppetmaker: (War Doctor)
I have been asked by more than one party recently if their “X” aged child would be all right at Dragon Con or not.

So I am going to give you my opinion based on observation and Caroline’s experience at the convention.

Caroline has been going to Dragon Con her entire life. I know we are in the unusual situation of being guests of the convention, which give us certain perks. I am hoping that what I write will be of general use for someone just going to Dragon Con.

I am asked “what age is a good age for a child at Dragon Con”? I say it depends on the child really.

There are a lot of families at Dragon Con. I know a number of children that, like Caroline, have been to Dragon Con every year of their lives. Some of them are adults now. Dragon Con does try to be family friendly.

Dragon Con is big really big. You may think it is a long way to the chemist’s but that is nothing compare to Dragon Con. The convention is spread over seven (?) hotels and the apparel mart. There can be (is) a lot of walking at Dragon Con. There is time between panels and events to get from point A to point B but I add 10 minutes to my time and 20 if Caroline is with me because of the crowds. Caroline is not partial to crowds but she sucks it up for Dragon. You have to keep an eye or hand on your kid pretty much the whole time.

There are a number of panels in all the various tracks that are geared to children. Some of these are hands on like the puppet making workshop for kids. Others are regular panels with speakers and the like. The program book gives you a fair idea of what the panels are about and who they are geared for.

There is the parade, which is a lot of fun to watch for kids. There are the gaming sessions that the older kids can sign up for. There is the Yule Tide Ball for the Harry Potter fans. There are concerts and costume calls and a lot of things to do with the kids both day and night.

Caveat here. There are performances and a couple of contests, especially in the evening, that are for adults only. There are costumes showing a lot of skin or the super hero equivalent of the naughty nurse costumes you see at Halloween. There are some extreme body mod people wandering around so you may be explaining why someone looks a certain way to your child. I had to explain what someone had done to their ears because they had taken out their plugs and their ear lobe was down to their shoulder. There are areas of Dragon Con, especially after dark, which you want to steer clear of with younger children.

Feeding your child can be a challenge especially in the food court since most places get slammed and stay slammed for most of the convention. I tend to stagger our meals so I am not up against it during the busiest times of the day.

If you are staying at a hotel, I suggest, especially for the younger children, a break at some point in the day just to get the noise out of your ears. To use a bathroom that you control and just decompress from all the input. I still do that with Caroline and for myself.

I have also been asked when can one let one’s children run around Dragon Con. I can say that Caroline has limited freedom like if she is in artist alley with Dad, she can wander that room, the art show, and the bathroom but no further without a trusted adult. If she wants to go anywhere else, she is accompanied. Ariel wasn’t allowed to go to a panel on her own until she was 16 and even then we had her check in via text. There are a lot of people at Dragon Con and not all of them have your or your child’s best interest at heart but I don’t think the hazard is any greater than wandering around NYC or a theme park.

I hope this helps and please ask any and all questions you have. I am an old Dragon Con hand and am willing to tell you what I know.

I am grateful to parents who can navigate Dragon Con safely with their children.
puppetmaker: (At the Circus)
This past weekend Caroline, Peter and I traveled to Addison, Texas, which is right next to Dallas and participated in FenCon. We all had a blast and a half. To my professional buddies, I can highly recommend this convention to you if they ask you to participate especially if you have family that travels with you.

This was the 9th FenCon and they do it right. It reminded me of ChattaCons, Liberty Cons, and Khubla Khans of my youth. The convention is very family friendly and goes out of its way to make sure that the kids have as much fun as the adults. The art show was lovely and I hope to show in it maybe next year. The video room had something for everyone. The Con Suite had food and beverage for all the entire weekend.

The programming was diverse and there was something for pretty much everyone. If you filk, this is your convention. If you like good music, this is your convention. They had pretty much constant concerts of various groups crossing all the genres. I heard a number of groups I hadn’t before and was not disappointed. I discovered the music of John Anealio, which is a wonderful find. I got to hear friends play and have fun.

I talked about Muppets, Costuming, Sherlock Holmes, and Ray Bradbury among other topics. I participated with Peter in the opening act of their cabaret/costume call with the two of the Doctor puppets. I went to panels which is interesting to do again.

And where was Caroline during all this? In FenKids, where she had a blast and a half the entire convention. It is like a convention within the convention just for kids. She made a rocket pack, had a snowball fight, created a time capsule, and met an Astronaut among many other activities she participated in. She loved the drawing class and the writer’s workshop they did for the kids. She made new friends and declared that she wanted to come back to this convention again. Big tip of my hat to Sarah Brigdon and her staff for creating such a fun and creative programming track for the kids.

It was a good weekend and I enjoyed all the people that I met while there. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun. My thanks to the con committee and to all the volunteers who helped make this convention so wonderful. Special thanks to Rhonda for being so on the ball about everything. Tim Morgan for all the little things he did for us during the weekend. And I know I am forgetting the names of a slew of people who were so nice to us so I apologize. My friends will tell you that I am lousy at remembering names but I don’t forget faces.

If you live in the area, I say go to this convention. You will have fun.

And you really haven’t lived until you have seen Hollywood (FenCon) Squares with a Dalek in the middle square.

I am so very grateful for all the fun at FenCon.
puppetmaker: (Caroline Ninja or Pirate)
And I have been reflecting back on the year and what she has learned and what I have learned.

It is amazing how, when I was a kid, time in school seemed to stretch into eternity especially at the end of the year but as a parent I blink and we are here.

I am glad that math is going back to learning and rote memory. New math was fuzzy math to me. There were a few clever tricks but nothing beats going over one’s times tables over and over.

I don't know if my child is going to have a signature. They are no longer teaching cursive to children in the New York schools. Caroline’s teacher made a serious effort to get the kids to learn script so they can at least read it. I am going to have to teach her that myself. Why aren’t they teaching penmanship? Well it boils down to “the test” which most of the year is taken up with and computers because fewer people write in script.

I am not happy with the pressure put on the teachers to get their students to perform well to “the test”. All we are teaching our kids is how to take tests well. Where is the knowledge that is going to spark the next great Invention? We use to be first on the planet for innovation and creative thinkers. Don’t think we are there any more.

I am very appreciative of Caroline’s teacher this year who encouraged her creativity and thinking outside the box. I also appreciate that her other teachers didn’t try to steam the tide of creativity that is Caroline. Caroline is a good abstract thinker and I think that will serve her well in the future.

I appreciate that her teacher worked with her on her test anxiety issues. Caroline does better with a goal and doing it in her own time. This year she had to learn to work within the clock parameters and for a while this was driving her nuts. But her teacher worked with her and the rest of the class on time management and relaxation techniques during test taking.

I appreciate all the other staff and teachers who kept an eye on her and the other kids while at school. She knows I get updates about her from various people I know there. I also get amusing tales o’ Caroline from them which make me smile. She seems to be a good influence on the people around her.

I am grateful to everyone who helped Caroline this year become the young lady she is growing into.
puppetmaker: (At the Circus)
This week Peter is in Canada and I am a temporary single parent of a nine year old who is probably going to be a lawyer when she grows up or may be a large animal veterinarian.

My hat is off to all the single parents of the world. Being the only one around with the responsibility for another human life is a daunting task but one I embrace with both hands. Plus Caroline is a really good hugger.

It is amazing to me how much my life changed almost 10 years ago. I went from being a step-mom to being a mom the minute they put her on my chest. My whole world shifted in an instant. Before that even though I was pregnant, a child was still sort of academic but that changes when one gets to hold that child after some of the most uncomfortable time in my life but it was all worth it.

Caroline’s birth also changed how others perceived me. I think a number of Peter’s friends didn’t really accept me until that point. They were concerned that I might be someone who was only attracted to Peter because of his status. But having a child together cemented that we were committed to each other. In the eyes of my neighbors I changed from step-mom of the David kids to a mother. I joined a club that I didn’t know really existed until that point.

Now I walk Caroline to the bus stop and talk to the other parents about all kinds of things. I participate in things at her school including the PTA and volunteering at her school’s library. The kids know me at that school by one of two, if not both, names. To some I am Mrs. David but to a lot of the children I am known as Caroline’s Mom and get called such. I really don’t mind the title at all.

Parenting is not easy. I seconded guess myself on a lot of things but I try to stick to my guns when I have drawn a line in the sand. I worry about her health and eating habits. I worry about how she is treated in school. We recently had an incident of her being told that she is not fashionable which lead to a whole “thing” about how I don’t let her express her fashion sense. I try to make sure that she get exercise and play time. I kiss the boo-boos and clip her nails. I worry about how she is going to do in the world but Caroline has proven that she is of pretty sturdy stuff. They labeled her a weirdo and she embraced her inner-weirdo. She knows that things are a little different in her life than in other kids lives. We do have the self-doubts but she tends to work through them.

But I do enjoy being Caroline’s mom. She gives me perspective and a glimpse into things I had forgotten that I did/enjoyed as a kid. She trusts me to be there for her and take care of her and I don’t want to let her down. I love her so much and I want to be the best parent I can be for her.

I am grateful that I am Caroline’s Mom.
puppetmaker: (Default)
A week from Friday is Farpoint. I have a lot to do between now and then. This week I managed to get a majority of Caroline’s costume done and a part of Ariel’s

So we get into how many hours do I have left and how many of those hours can I devote to the projects and how much is everything else that need to be done.

The postcards are on the back burner for the time being.

I have a few things I have to shop for to complete the looks I am creating. Once I have those items, the costumes will be pretty much a snap.

Here is how I am looking at the next couple of days. Mondays are not great days to get things done due to all the other things I do.

Today-Make a list of missing pieces and go and get them

Tomorrow-Finish the headpiece for Caroline’s costumes and sew either snaps or Velcro to get the pieces to fit together. Finish Ariel’s tunic which is taking a little longer than I thought it would and her wig is going to be a two to three day project but it can be done in between other projects.

Thursday-Continue Wig. Start doll 1,2,3. And Ship since I have permission from one of the creators to make one.

Friday-Finish all costume pieces and clean up.

Saturday and Sunday-Wig finishing and doll making

Monday-My busy day in the real world

Tuesday-I hope to be at clothing the dolls having painted them on Sunday/Monday (and do another Crafty Tuesday with an update)

By next Wednesday I want to be basically done so I can spend the next two days getting ready for the convention.

So that is my time management plan for the next week or so.

I am grateful to be able to see my pieces of lawn again without snow on top.
puppetmaker: (Buddah Snow)
Another storm with possible snow and ice is heading our direction. Not that there was any chance of me seeing my lawn before it hit. The snow piles up and down the street are not reducing as much as I would like before the next big thing hits. Yep, it is going to be a long February if this continues into next month which it will for at least the first two days. We have some concerns about getting to Farpoint if this keeps up.

And today is the last day of January. Boy, that was a fast month. We did a lot in it so I don’t feel like a slacker but it seemed to fly by.

Caroline has declared that she will study hard in school because she wants to become a veterinarian specializing in large endangered cats. I told her that if she put her mind to it, she could do it.

Tomorrow is my Crafty Tuesday web log. I still want to know what y’all would like to hear about.

Well off to the gym while I can and then onto the rest of my Monday schedule.

I am grateful for finding patterns that are going to make my life easier down the road.
puppetmaker: (Default)
I would like to offer my thanks to all veterans who have sacrificed so much allowing me to live the life I lead. If you love freedom, hug a Vet. I have had lots of friends who have served and some that are still deployed this day. To them and their families, know that I am thinking of you.

I am taking Caroline into the city for an adventure today. It is sort of at the last minute but she has been jonesing to go to the Natural History Museum for a couple of months now. She wants to see the dinos and look at the shapes of the rocks in the gem and mineral section. We will probably lunch at John’s Pizza because she really likes that place. It will be a Mommy and Daughter day in the City.

We are still dealing with Fig and her intestinal track and parasites. Now it looks like it might be a tapeworm which is a whole other medicine. Either way we have a worm sample to show the vet so we will know what is going on.

Peter has about four writing assignments that are due about the same time. We are not going to see much of him before Thanksgiving which is fine. Work in these difficult times is a blessing and we are grateful for each and every one of them. He is really good at getting a bunch of different things done at the same time. His brain is just amazing that way. Caroline understood the phrase “Daddy is on a deadline” before she could talk.

I am grateful for the opportunity to just take Caroline in the city and go see something on whim.
puppetmaker: (DiscWorld Dolls)
The bright light in this is that I thought I had two weeks. Speaking of bright lights, I think I saw the sun this morning. Now we are back to grey clouds and sad light.

Peter took Caroline to go see Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief to give me a little me time at home which I thought was nice but I also think it is good for the two of them to get some time together.

Peter has been reading Caroline “How to Train Your Dragon” then they will get back to OZ.

Now a couple of shout outs because my brain has been swiss cheese

Shout Out to Mary Aileen, I found Sarah Jane puppet. It shall be yours at LunaCon

Shout Out to my Mom, Caroline got the package and sat down and read the book to herself with very little help from me. She loved it and the clothes.

Shout Out to my sister-in-law Beth, is Emily’s birthday coming up?

Shout Out to Shana, I haven’t forgotten about the puppet, I just have to wait for this set of snow to thaw so I can get the rods done and then I’ll ship him off to you.

Am I a bad fan because I am not getting into Smallville any more? We knew where this was going since a certain person showed up. I really don’t care which is sad because I really like a lot of the actors in the show but the written is not doing it for me. Sorry guys, I know that you keep saying to hang on but it’s just not working for me.

Who else missed Chuck?

We have been watching Caprica and agree that it would have worked without BSG before it but it does make it more interesting. Also love the opening credits on this one more so than BSG.

Spoilers allowed in comments. We got blinded sided by the end of Spartacus last night. Peter had a different theory that would have worked but we both agree that this worked so much better. I will be interested to see what the writers do from this point.

I would have called this a Random Thoughts Before the Coffee Kicks In but I had my coffee for the day.

I am grateful that I did get the bobcatsled done when I did (they extended the entry time by two weeks)
puppetmaker: (Caroline Ninja or Pirate)
And honestly I tried to write my blog in “pirate” but it was just too hard to read after I was done so I am going to acknowledge the day by watching Captain Blood, Hook, Peter Pan, and one of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

I did get Ariel’s bathrobe done for her and she likes the picture I took of it.

(A picture of Ariel’s bathrobe with a skull pattern which she picked out on it)

Tomorrow Caroline and I go up to see Ariel. Caroline is very excited at the thought of this. She misses her big sister so much she invented an invisible little brother to keep her company. Yesterday she had two of her friends over to play and watch a movie. They watched “Monsters vs. Aliens” and created a very large tea party. Caroline pulled out her princess dresses so everyone got to wear a pretty dress and play together. They all had great fun. Today Caroline and I are going to recover the living room from all the toys that were pulled out.

I have a couple of projects for today and then I think Caroline and I are going to head to the playground since it is such a lovely day outside. I plan to not rush the day but let it fall into place.

I am grateful for being able to watch Caroline and her friends play.
puppetmaker: (Default)
It's a great day to take the kids to your local comic book shop and see what is out there for you to read. Comic Book Shops are a good place to get great reads like X-Factor, Fallen Angel TBPs, Wolverine first Class, and other comics written by my husband.

And Happy 2nd of May. Hope that those who celebrated the first of May didn’t celebrate too hard. *grin*

Peter and I plan to make a pilgrimage to Fourth World Comics sometime today. They have some stuff for us and Caroline wants to see what comics she can get. I am raising such a little fan girl. The other day Ariel was wearing her “Nerd Herd” T-Shirt and Caroline pointed to it and said, ‘Chuck, I like Chuck.” So proud.

OK I think I have my Facebook sorted out now so you can find me (Thanks Mary Aileen). I am Kathleen O’Shea David so those people who only know me by my maiden name have a shot of finding me and what happened to me which is a lot. I was going through pictures last night and, since I am the family photographer, there are not many pictures of me. I’m still sorting out everything that is going on there. Dreamwidth is much easier since it is a mesh of LJ and my web log that runs off of Peter’s web log.

I went back and figured out that I have been blogging for over 5 years now and I have a pretty detailed record of Caroline’s life starting then. Peter has a few that he wrote for his column or web log (which goes back to before her birth) including one of my favorite of our visit to Disney and the Peter Pan ride entitled Oh Da! It’s the Moon.

I am grateful for all the memories of Caroline I have recorded in some form.

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