Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Firsts: Ice Cream Cone

Some days since becoming a mother, I feel like a pioneer. I am blazing a trail no one has ever blazed. It's new to me, so it feels like it's a new experience, born the day I live it. Then I remember it's motherhood, and millions of me's have done it millions of times before me. It's the oldest story there is.

But, not the way I did it exactly, right? My genes, his genes, the color of the sky, the air temperature, the exact time of day, day of the week, time of year. Those all make it a unique experience, surely. Right? I like the idea of mommyhood being something I invented. Or the way I live it, at least. It makes it seem less generic, like I'm a maverick, to borrow from Sarah P (and pronounced in that way she does, much like a Minnesota accent). Even though I know so many experiences we have are so commonplace, it helps me to think of this as a big adventure that we all make up as we go along. It's so common, it's uncommon.

Introducing the tot to firsts has been a bit of a journey into the appreciation of something you've done a million times that is suddenly the most revolutionary thing you've ever done. Like ice cream. How many ice cream cones have I eaten in my life? Oh, an uncountable number. While pregnant, at least 3,493. Wrapping the napkin tightly around the bottom to avoid a mess, turning the cone easily with one hand to avoid drips, expertly biting into the cone when the ice cream top had been eaten. It's like riding a bike, so they say. I could do it with my eyes closed, and gladly would if it were Izzy's chocolate coffee ice cream.

Handing that big cone over to the wee Pumpkin this weekend -- his first ever -- I felt like Super Mom, Pioneer Mom, Every Mom. At once living out something that virtually every American mom has already done, and blazing out on a trail of my very own. The way I had to show him to grab the cone, and then put it to his mouth so he would realize it was not green beans but in fact delicious strawberry ice cream -- it was pure genious! Then, sitting in his small, red plastic chair on the patio, he smiled almost imperceptibly and began to swing his feet. Then, later how he wanted to try my cone, then daddy's. So individually him, yet like every kid on earth.

Ice cream may be an old story, tired out and told 100 times. But this weekend I lived the story of my firstborn and me and daddy, on the porch, eating an ice cream cone for the first time ever in the history of Wee Pumpkin's life. And boy did it feel deliciously, trail-blazingly good.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Camper Kid

Well, I wish I could say I was inspired to make this shirt by all the camping we do as a family. But, my husband is a city mouse (okay, so am I) and therefore we're not planning anything of the like. But, I can sure pose my kid as a cute camper in this new shirt I made last night. It's organic cotton and the car and trailer made of vintage thrifted fabric. Next time I'll have to try my hand at making one that looks more like a B & B!

Are you heading out on any camping trips this weekend?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Garage Sale Bliss

If you're looking for me Friday mornings this summer, or any weekend morning in the summer, I'm either at the farmer's market or garage sales. It's been a ritual since childhood when the whole Pumpkin family would load into the gray Pontiac Sunbird (my family's first new car...ah, the luxury!) and hit sales all morning, weaving our way to the south Madison DonutLand for a big ole pile of donut awesomeness.

Nowadays we tend to skip the donuts, but we still hit the sales hard, especially if there's a neighborhood sale going on. Our neighbhorhood is having a big sale in a few weeks and so we'll be pedaling our own wares out in the driveway that weekend. Bummer. I wonder what kind of great stuff I'll be missing out on.

So here's a good indicator of what sort of garage sale freak I am. My wedding? You know, where I got to be the prettiest one in the room and twirl around and look like a princess? My top for my wedding dress came from a garage sale. No kidding. Some day I'll post photos because you won't believe it. Vintage garage sale awesomeness. My ultimate goal is to some day make it to the 100 Mile Garage Sale. I bet the people watching alone is worth it.

Anyway, anyone know how to find out about the local neighborhood sales in the Twin Cities? I used to look for the annual list in the Star Tribune, but last year they didn't publish one. Dang, I LIVE by that thing!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Making Big Decisions

Sprinkles or frosted? Cow or circle or flower shaped? My son knew without hesitation that sprinkles were the way to go, and he ate the whole cookie in a blink. These are the decisions we make at the cookie counter.

I'm not particularly good at making decisions, nor am I particularly bad at it. Some days and some things I just don't want to make decisions on. I mean, do I really need to belabor the Caribou (local chain) versus Starbucks versus Dunn Brothers (another local chain) decision in the morning? No, not really. Maybe if it was a decision as to whether intravenous or regular method was preferred, I'd think it over a bit before choosing.

But big decisions, well, I belabor them. Or I should say that I have a very thorough process of determining "if not x, then y" for every tiny component of the decision. I make pros and cons lists. Interviews seeking opinions are sought. Feedback requested. Books read. Best and worst case scenarios mapped out. Today, I am at such a crossroads requiring lists, diagrams and maps. Short term versus long term considerations explored. It can keep a person up at night with both thoughts of what could be, and what should be and might be and might not be and, well you get the point. It's keeping me up at night. What is this big decision, you ask?

It's simple really. It's a decision about whether to continue along the merry path of being a Minnesotan, buying fully into "Minnesota Nice" and sticking with my current state of residence happily dining on lutefisk and lefse, or whether to head homeward beyond the "cheddar curtain" back to Wisconsin ('Sconi' if you're cool) to live out my life saying "bubbler" and eating brats (not to be confused with a badly behaved child), and avoiding the Hodag. It's a tough choice and I'm not taking it lightly.

This weekend we spent time in 'Sconi househunting and hanging with the grandparents visiting the local farmer's market, oggling the morels and picking up some fresh produce (and cookies with sprinkles, of course). I'm trying to be patient, and not push a decision and all the part that need to fall into place too much. I try to adopt the "meant to be" philosophy.

Maybe we'll look back and say, wow, that was so easy it must have been meant to be. Or, we'll say that it was worth all the hard work it took to get there, wherever there is. It's hard to be patient while letting pieces fall, however. And so of course, I go back and remind myself of all the pros and cons and reaffirm my choices along the way. And then there's the brat versus lefse taste-off. No doubt which'll win that, though.

So, you're me. Your job says "yeah, okay, we don't like it but you can relocate." Your neighborhood sucks and you have to move out of the current house regardless. Do you move a state away where your kid's family is? Or do you stick it out, in relative driving distance from family where you have lots of friends, familiarity, etc.? What do you do? I'll add your opinions to my list of things to consider.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What's Growing On?

May is the time of year when I love to garden. There aren't any mosquitos, the garden is new and fresh, and few weeds are popping up for me to pull. It's easy. I just wander around out there inspecting the progress, not really doing much hard labor. But come mid-June, I'm done. I don't want anything to do with sweating, bugs or pulling weeds. That's for the hired help. Only I don't hire any help. I just let the whole thing go wild. So far, with the help of mulch, it's going pretty well. I had to learn the hard way that coco-shell mulch is a no-no if you have dogs (mine eat it, do yours?), but other than that, it's a pretty smooth ride through summer.

This year, I threw in a few veggies like I usually do. I also grabbed all the seeds I had stashed away in past years and planted them all. Every single one. Like 8 or 10 different things in random places. It's the chaos theory of gardening. Any small little change to the garden environment (in this case, a pretty big one) will have a huge affect. Right? My garden will be wonderous and lush and full of a variety of flowers and edibles?

Let's not wake Pumpkin Girl from her dream state. She hasn't yet realized that in two weeks she'll have a garden full of "stuff" coming up through the ground with no idea what is a weed and what is a precious seedling. But who cares, none of it will be weeded! Bah! Weeding schmeeding! I have gin and tonics to drink on the patio, after all!

Anyway, I have enough rhubard to bake 72 rhubarb crisps, so if you want any, lemme know. It's REALLY going crazy this year.

What's growing in your yard?

Mama to Mama

Mamas everywhere are brunching, hugging, being loved, being pampered and enjoying their families. Or, like me, savoring naptime by doing any variety of things alone: blogging, sorting fabric, working on birth announcements for a new nephew soon to be born. My wee one toddled down the hall to me this morning with the gift of Muppets in his hand, and that's all I really needed (in addition to naptime). He's been addicted to it for about the last two weeks, and although it's never been my goal to have my pre-two-year-old addicted to TV, at least it's not Elmo (which is what he calls it).

I hope all the mamas (and grand-mamas) out there had a wonderful day. If you haven't already been showered with love, I'm sending some your way.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

New Card Designs!

I've been in a real card design rut lately, until I realized that there's a half-hour window between which my kiddo goes to bed and the sun goes down. Some nights that half hour has been used to clean up toys strewn about the house. Other nights, like tonight, it was used to make the most of the daylight by photographing all the toys rather than put them away. I have to admit, I had a lot more fun photographing them than I did putting them away.

What do you think of the results? I'm really not that great of a photographer, so maybe I shouldn't be selling these but instead keep them for my own stash. It's it painfully obvious that I'm a total amateur?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Five Things Making Me Happy Now

Here are some things that are making me happy this week. In no particular order:

1. First pedicure of the season with girlfriends, magazines and a hidden Peanut M&M pounder bag.

2. My first-ever walk home from work (5 miles! Uphill!)

3. The discovery on my walk home of a fence made from skiis

4. Wee ones hip, new Vans shoes

5. Digging in the garden, planting tomatoes, yellow and red peppers and of course PUMPKINS!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Finally Finished with the Baby Blanket Project

Here I sit, wasting time blogging and reading blogs and lolly-gagging around the internet. You'd think I didn't have ANYTHING better to do. Oh, WAIT! I DON'T! That's right -- after four months (more?) of knitting almost every night, I finished my first charity knitting project. It's luckily large enough for a baby, and it's got no major flaws, so I think it's destined to be part of a bundles of love bundle! The feather and fan knitting pattern didn't turn out half bad with two colors. I actually kind of love how down the middle you can really see the curve of the pattern. The pattern was free if you'd like to try it.

Here's what was running through my mind as I knit this blanket over the last several months:
1. I have a really short attention span; why did I choose a blanket?
2. I am expecting my first nephew; should I be knitting for him?
3. I am totally going to run out of teal yarn (which happened)
4. I'd rather be sewing
5. I could get a lot more knitting done if there weren't so many White Russians to drink or bags of microwave popcorn to eat
6. I wonder what sort of baby will get this blanket...? A cute one? A happy one?
7. Am I done yet?

Well, I'm finally done, and I think Bundles of Love will be much better off if I knit some smaller items for them in the future. Otherwise, lots of babies will have cold nights from lack of blankets because of my slowness. Maybe tiny sweaters is more my speed.

In other news, we (like every hipster in town, apparently) hit the Craftstravaganza this weekend. It was nice to see some of the awesomest and most friendly people I know, and we were glad to pick up the next size bigger of our kiddos Charlie and Sarah gear. This time we let Wee Pumpkin pick his own and much to our surprise he chose "aar" (car) over lorry (truck).