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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Today, we did not watch a giant pumpkin fly

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The pumpkin farm we subjected Pea to on his first full day in the United States is known for the enormous fiberglass pumpkin that sits on top of its silo.  The pumpkin could be seen for miles until a windstorm swept it from its roost last August.  The pumpkin has sat in sad, smashed pieces beneath the silo ever since.

Kyle, with his connections in the news room at work, learned that a replacement pumpkin was scheduled to be lifted to the top of the silo this morning.  We dashed out the door on a whim, hoping to see the giant pumpkin lifted high up into the air.  In retrospect, I questioned my reasoning.  I’m not exactly sure why this would be an interesting activity, but Kyle reminded me that one does not witness a 2000 pound fiberglass gourd dangling in the air every day.

We arrived at the farm one minute after the lift was scheduled to begin, afraid we’d miss the action.  We jumped breathlessly out of the car to see the pumpkin attached by cables to a large crane.  The morning was cool, windy, and bright.  The boys requested sweatshirts which I could luckily provide from the never-emptied trunk.  A handful of reporters and photographers milled around the area.  I met a woman who’d driven over when her son called from the freeway to say he saw the pumpkin hooked to the crane.

Minutes ticked by and the sun got warmer.  Sweatshirts were shed.  Someone on a ladder was working on the eyes of the pumpkin.  Tea took pictures with his camera.  I leaned that my new friend’s twin great-grandchildren are a handful at 4 months old.   A small crowd started to gather.

An hour passed.  Someone from the farm stopped over to inform us of the problem:  the company who made the pumpkin had forgotten to install plexiglass windows in the eyes. They were to have remedied the situation by 9am but were behind schedule.  The eyes of the pumpkin were fitted, slowly, with windows as a woman crawled in and out of the eyes.  Pea played with a (clean) tongue depressor he found in the car.  I learned about my new friend’s grandaughter, who is currently honeymooning in Italy.

There was a flurry of action and a brief moment of excitement when the crane lifted the pumpkin just enough for someone working inside to scoot out a hole in the bottom.  Then the pumpkin was set back on the ground and work continued on its eyes.  Another hour melted in the hot sun.  A videographer from a local news station asked to interview me.  As I couldn’t think of anything to say about watching a crane lift a giant pumpkin that didn’t sound utterly ridiculous, I declined.  My new, talkative friend was happy to oblige.    Tea collected a boquet of weeds to share with her.

Finally, after nearly two and a half hours of (amazingly!  incredibly!  miraculously!) patient waiting, we pouted a bit and piled back in the car.  We were sorry to leave the company of our new friend, but it was not our fate to witness this great event.  We had places to go, people to see.  Exciting plans awaited us in the afternoon, which included Nana, Auntie M, and cousin Cricket picnicking in the shade along the shore of Lake Menona.   (That picnic felt divine after an inpromptu morning under the hot sun without sunscreen.)  But I do not regret the morning.  We actually had fun.  Watching a giant pumpkin.  On the ground.  Doing nothing.

And besides, we of course drove by tonight to check it out.

Somehow or other, the pumpkin made it up there.  We almost feel like we watched it happen.

Secret weapon

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I recently mentioned that we have a Pouter.  Pea alternates between being a most laid back, cheerful child  and a champion bottom-lip-thruster.  Watching his moods shift is like watching the inner battle between his personality and his duty as a two-year-old.  Luckily, our friend Jenn introduced us to the Pout Catcher.  It works every time, and even Tea has perfected it.

The Pout

Tea moves in to catch the pout

Pea's armor cracks

A kiss from Daddy helps melt any residual pout away

Thanks, Jenn.  Do you think this will work when he’s a teenager?

Happy Father’s Day

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Thanks, Dad, for raising me with a sense of humor, adventure, and a passionate spirit for all of the crazy stuff you’ve subjected us introduced us to in over the years.  Dulcimers, drums, kites, kayaks, tandems, and hiking among “bears” whose poop looks suspiciously like horse dung.  Only you could have us in hysterics from pulling bags of beans from the pantry, or from battling an evil oven that refused to cook the Thanksgiving turkey.  I love you, Dad.  Thanks for keeping me laughing.  (And Your Welcome for not posting any of the truly ridiculous photos I have of you – there are so many to chose from.)

props to Mom's mad knitting skills on that sweater!

I can still taste the soap I sucked in through that bubble pipe. And those pants look familiar...

RAGRAI, bike ride across Iowa

hiking in Bozeman - note the inheritance of the knobby knees

teaching Tea to sail at camp

i sorta want to keep it

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Tomorrow is the last day of school and I am realizing, for the first time from the parenting perspective, just how heartbreaking it can be. I remember crying buckets of tears at the end of the school year when I was a kid. I fell in love with my teachers and being cut free in June was hard. (This might be a girl thing. Over dinner tonight we were discussing elementary school teachers from our past and I can remember the name and face and personality of all of my teachers. Jim can not name a single teacher from his past. Not one.) Now I am on the parent side and I still don’t want to let go. Pia’s teacher is every shade of wonderful. I want her to be Pia’s teacher forever.

Alas. That wish is not to be. Instead I funneled that wish energy into making her something heartfelt as an end-of-the-year gift. I asked Pia to draw some pictures for her teacher. She drew flowers, a bird, and a butterfly. I also had her draw a heart and write her name. Then I traced the drawings on to a piece of osnaburg fabric and I embroidered the drawings. Osnaburg is my new favorite fabric, thanks to the recommendation from my mom. Such fun. I then sewed the embroidered fabric into a bag, lined it with felt and made an interior perimeter of pockets. I am smitten with the results. Maybe because the drawings are Pia’s. I think I need to make one for myself.

I am going to fill the interior pockets with little things from the fair trade store: a journal, a chocolate bar, an owl paper clip. Of course, all this pales in comparison to how much gratitude I have for her teacher. Which is why tomorrow I will be, once again, crying buckets.

teacher gifts

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My sister and I were in a discussion about what to give our kids’ teachers for the end of the year and somehow I found myself making gifts for her two kids and her friend’s kid. I’m not sure how this happened. I believe there were cake pops involved. Yummy, delicious cake pops. Anyway, I had mentioned what I was making for Pia’s teacher (which has yet to be started) and she liked the idea. Here is the basic concept (for which I take no credit as many people have done this before me): take a child’s drawing, transfer it to fabric, embroider the outline, then make a tote bag out of it. For some reason embroidery floss elevates simple kid drawings to a new level of cuteness. I am not sure why that is.

The first bag features a super cute turtle:

The second bag (for a teacher who likes magic) has a drawing of a magic hat and wand done by my nephew. I lined the bag with red satin to make it seem like the inside of a magician’s cape. And I added little metal gold stars for added pizazz.

And then the time crunch hit. I ran out of time to do the embroidery part of the project so I had my sister scan the drawings and e-mail them to me. Then I printed them out on fabric printer ‘paper’. Here is my nephew’s elephant (for his teacher who loves elephants… I mean, who doesn’t love elephants?). I made this bag a bit smaller so it would be sized right to carry this elephant journal that I got from Thai Village, Inc

…and on the inside I included a series of little pockets for carrying pencils.

Now I just need to get to work on a present for Pia’s unbelievably fabulous teacher. I have four whole days, no rush. 🙂