We spent the weekend in a magical place full of fairy tales, princesses, walking trees, and guys who like to light fie works off while they are strapped to their chests for the hell of it (and the hopes of a few tips in the hat after the show of course.) It's an annual tradition for us that just got relocated when we moved to Arizona. Instead of trekking to Holly, Michigan, we instead drove to Phoenix for an overnight stay and a drive the following morning to Apache Junction for the Renaissance Festival.
This is the first year Buttercup was old enough to really "get" what she was seeing. And in her innocent little mind, it was all real. As real as the camel's back we both rode on. As real as the elephant she waved at. As real as the princess she became when she donned her fairy dress that morning.
The costumes and the scenery and the mystical sense of stepping back in time has never been as entertaining as it was this weekend. Nor has it ever been as expensive, since Buttercup is now old enough to point, say she wants something, and figure out which string to pull to get me, her father, or both of us to say yes before asking how much.
She scored big with a magic wand ($5), a rare cork-nosed pigg (bank--$18), a ride on that camel ($4), a wooden hair stick for quick and sweet little up-do's ($15), rides on three parent-traps like the giant swan swing and the flying pirate ships ($3 and $4 per body on those bad boys) and a bunch of other goodies on our stops at REI and Ikea. I'll save what I got for myself in another blog post because I already can't afford to write this one.
(And yes, I'm already working on squirreling away some spare change to better prepare for next year so we don't leave crying and broke, thank you very much.)
But the most memorable parts of our weekend all took place in one tiny little hat shop. While The Husband tried on leather fedoras, Buttercup kept me busy. Take a look.
First, she met the Tooth Fairy. She was really just a sweet woman who was trying on corsets and not an actual employee paid to walk around and entertain the crowd with snark and offensive comments (which I happen to enjoy). That made her time checking Buttercup's teeth and posing for a photo and patiently putting up with a million more interruptions from my little stinker all the more sweet.
Then she tried on a coywboy hat.
"Howdy, pardner," she proudly drawled while posing in her "I make this hat look goooood" stance. Proof I won't be dealing with self-esteem issues later, I'm thinking.
And then there was laughter and sunshine and time standing still while pure joy stole my breathe and made me want to never forget the moment I fell in love with my daughter all over again.