Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blue Ribbon

Hooray for me! I'm a winner!
Yup. Took a blue ribbon for the blanket I almost didn't enter because I thought it might not be good enough.
I'm proud of me!
I also wish I had entered a few of my other projects. After scoping out the competition, I think I could have put a hurtin' on the contest. Or at least earned back my fair entrance fees.
The fair was good fun, and for anyone local, there is still one more day to check it out. Beans had a fun time consuming more junk food than she has ever seen in her life, and visiting with the animals in the livestock pens.
Boy, that was FUNNY.
You know, learning the sound an animal makes is basic stuff for kids. Everyone knows a cow says, "Moo" and a pig says"Oink". But watching Beans hear these noises come from actual animals was HILARIOUS. I mean, I do a good cow impression (Hello! I am still a human milk machine!), but nothing compared to the deep sound of an actual bovine. I thought Beans was going to come out of her skin when she heard a rooster crow, and a pig snort while checking her out to see if she was edible.
We have a nightly ritual where I ask if she had a good day, and ask if she remembered what we did that day. Putting her to bed last night, I asked the usual questions.
"Did you have a good day today?"
"Um. Yesh."
"What did we do today?"
"I'm go fair!"
"That's right! We went to the fair! Do you remember what we did there?"
And darn if that girl's eyes didn't get wide and brighten as she let out the loudest and most adorable, "MOOOOOO!"
After a good giggle and mooing fest, I tucked her horse-scented little body into the bed (no time for a bath last night!) and heard a giggle anda good "Cockle-Doodle-Doo!" as I left the room.
Not to worry... she DID get a bath today, after another trip to the fair. The parade rolled through town, and though I cringe at the amount of C-A-N-D-Y Beans was able to collect and consume at the parade, I darn sure wasn't leaving until I saw the MOPS float with all my hard work on it. It took an act of congress to stop Beans from collecting candy, and after the parade passed, she still stood close to the road, waving at cars and yelling, "CANDY!!!"
We checked out a few more booths and made our way to the animal pens again, because you can't leave the fair without visiting Kate the Mule, who was the BIGGEST mule I have ever seen in my life. Seriously, she stands taller than the horses in the adjoining pen! Beans and Little Nugget and I spent the rest of the day in the company of some good friends until the sugar overload was more than I could bear.
Side note: you know you've gone "small town" when you realize you know most of the people at the fair. And also when you can spot the tourists. When I had a few minutes to reflect today, I realized it was really nice to go somewhere that the people don't just recognize you, they KNOW you. They remember to ask about your visit with your in-laws. They notice you took a prize for your blanket. They know your kids and point out that they are pushing their baby sister's stroller out the door (with little sister in it!) while you are busy looking over someone else's quilt.
So, I LOVED the fair. I have to admit that growing up in the 'burbs has limited my experience with real county fairs. In the city, they bring these little fairs into town that are mostly carnival games and rides. If there are animals involved, it's usually a pony ride pen. There's no contests, quilt shows, or cook-offs. This Deltana Fair was The Real Deal. Just like in the old stories like Charlotte's Web. It's a Wanna-Be-Farm-Girl's dream.
And dreaming, I am. I have serious land-envy and also want a pony. And chickens. And rabbits (for eating). And turkeys and my very own rooster. And I can't wait for the girls to be old enough for 4-H and FFA and looking as cute as all the 4-H girls out there in their braids and overalls, taking care of their animals at the fair.
I won't name names, but a friend I was with today (a fellow city girl) said the fair was "ok", but she couldn't do it for more than a couple years. That tweaked my sad little heart-strings, because personally, I could see myself living the small-town life for the rest of my life. I really truly do want to be the 70-something little white-haired lady at the fair, cooing at the new babies in town, passing out candy to the kids, and telling little boys to get their mitts off the Reserve Grand Champion Quilt. (And hopefully, I'll be saying that because it will be mine! HaHa!)
Speaking of quilts, I am going to give a shameless plug for my mom's new etsy shop. If you are inclined to look at some quilts (and soon, embroidery and bags!) then check out
And then please buy lots of quilts so my mom can come visit me in Alaska and maybe dad won't complain about her bazillion dollar quilting machine.
I'm going to give another shameless plug to my mom, too.
Mom grew up in a Kansas farming family. And truthfully, to hear the relatives tell it, when she was old enough she got as far away from the farm as she could. That explains why I'm mostly city girl. But mom still taught me to crochet (one stinkin' granny square at a time!), and a few other farm girl tricks, proving that you can take the girl out of the farm, but you can't wash the farm girl off of her.
I used to envy her box of ribbons for showing horses at county fairs like this one. Every time I asked about them, she always used to get a sentimental and embarrassed little look about them and shove them back into her hope chest, tucked under her childhood teddy bear and Grandpa's Purple heart.
I think I finally kind of get it. It's just a ribbon and a few bucks, but it also kind of proves that your talent matches the amount of hard work, sweat, and tears you put into what you entered.
Thanks for passing down the farm-girl heart.
I'm still on an adrenaline rush from my first blue ribbon. I made the blanket a few years ago, while I was on bed rest and waiting for Beans to safely make it into the world. It's stitched with a lot of prayers for her arrival, tears of worry on the bad days, tears of joy on the good ones, and daydreams of wrapping her up in it. It was good enough to just get her to full term and home from the hospital, and snuggle her in the blanket in the rocking chair for the first time. It was enough to tuck her into bed under it, or snuggle up in it for a story. I'm glad I now get to pass it down to her with a blue ribbon, $3 (my prize money!), and a story of my first county fair.
And since I'm on an adrenaline rush, I came home and went through all my crochet magazines and books, and began selecting items to crochet for next year. Like I said, I've got a good eye on the competition now, and plan on giving those gals a run for the prize money next time. Time to start coming up with some award winning patterns, jams, and various other projects. Good thing winter is just about on the way! (Oooh! I know Susan is gonna get me for that comment! BTW- when you come through town, call for sure! We should be home that Monday and would love to see you!)
Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

When I Say Move, MOVE!

Good grief. Ya know, I grew up being an Army Brat (mom and dad are both retired!), so I know the "Hurry Up and Wait" game well.
J and I have been in a "Hurry up and Wait" mode for a couple months now. We were told at the beginning of summer that the base intended to demolish our home (and several others) to begin construction on new housing. We were advised that we would be moving "at some time in the summer". So, we waited. And waited.
Then, the phone rang.
Thursday afternoon, to be exact. J called and informed me that the movers would be arriving on MONDAY.
So, there's your "hurry up" part.

I was somewhat ill-prepared for the move. Not only had I just barely scooted my father-in-law and Other J off the premises, I had seriously committed myself to Other Activities for the weekend. There were more berries to pick, more jam to make, friends to keep play dates with, and more importantly, a float to assemble pieces for the Fair.
And even though I knew I had committed to designing these pieces for the float nearly a month prior to their due date (Wednesday), I had unintentionally procrastinated until the weekend before the Fair. Like I said, there were berries to pick, jam to make, in-laws to entertain, and play dates to keep. I mean, I could think of a hundred different ways to spend my summer days besides covered in glue and scrapbook paper with two screaming kids begging to do something besides watching Tinkerbell for the fifth time in a row. Not that my weekend went that way at all.

I can hear my mom's voice in my head... the same tone as the night before my diorama was due in sixth grade, asking me exactly how long did I know I needed to construct a replica of the Roman aqueducts out of plaster of paris and where did I think I was going to find that at 7 pm on a Tuesday night.
Followed by the chuckle she has adapted since I became a grown-up... the chuckle that says, "I'm so glad I don't have to pull plaster of paris out of thin air for you now, kiddo. Ha, ha."

Against better judgement (according to whom?), I picked berries to my heart's content on Saturday. Since J was working, I went with another friend and her husband's shotgun. Little Nugget was blessedly cooperative, and slept the entire afternoon. Beans was pretty content to eat berries beside me until she and her playmate decided a sword fight with sticks was a bright idea, and Beans lost. Still, I managed to pick a decent number of berries before heading home to tend to Beans' (minor) wounds, which were mostly to her ego.

Once everyone was bandaged up, did I begin packing?

Of course NOT. I made my jam, then observed my messy, sticky kitchen with disgust. Then decided I should really start that float project.
The float project took up my entire Sunday, and I must admit that the glue had hardly finished drying when the movers arrived on Monday.
But dang, my part of the project looks good.
And Beans only had to watch Shrek three times and eat her weight in popsicles for me to finish it.
Lesson learned?
Sure. Don't agree to put together a float when berries are in season.


So, the movers arrived, and for some reason, it took them two days to move us less than three blocks across the base. And good thing we didn't move across the country. When J and I returned to the old place, we found several boxes worth of stuff that they forgot. Important things. Like my aprons. And various other stuff too... but that all belonged to J so, not as important as my aprons, right?

The new place is nice. We have hardwood floors now, which is a definite bonus in any house with toddlers that are potty training. After four days of me solidly cursing the movers and my husband (who did NOT deserve to be called half the names I called him, really), I have most of the house unpacked and somewhat in order. My only complaint now is that I had to be responsible and tell my friend I couldn't go berry picking because I had to unpack.
But I only did that because J told me if I went berry picking instead of unpacking, I would have to clean the old place all by myself over the weekend. With both babies in tow.
So, yeah. Moving won, despite my arguments of how berries don't pick themselves, or how J would really regret not berry picking when we eventually run out of jam (um, probably in like three years, at the rate I've been making jam).

Around 5 pm today, life returned to somewhat normal for us. Being Thursday, we had to stop everything and go pick up our organic produce box. We desperately needed the breather... J and I were hollering really nasty comments about where laundry baskets belong at that point in time. (Boy, you can argue about some ridiculous stuff when you are moving, ya know?)
The drive relaxed both of us a bit, and mercifully lulled one crying baby to sleep. The other baby was content to sing her own special version of the ABCs in the backseat, so all was well in the Moose Nugget household.
We took advantage of the break, and extended it to an impromptu barbecue, putting steaks on the grill and adding some grille zucchini and a salad. Beans was thrilled to be released from indoors, so we had a nice dinner at the picnic table, then watered the few plants that survived the move and colored with sidewalk chalk.
Yup. Sidewalk chalk makes it official... we are moved in.


Met some new neighbors while we were out playing. Fellow homeschoolers and newbies. Seem like nice folks and looking forward to spending time with them.

Not much else to report from here. Moose Nugget plans for the weekend involve getting to the Fair in time to stand in awe of my awesome project, and admire how the other gals involved made my part look a lot nicer than it really is. Also enjoying some Fair fun, and checking in the needlework tent to see if I've won a prize... I entered one of my crochet blankets in the Fair for judging, so here's hoping!
Also some plans to FINALLY meet the new school principal's wife! Only been planning on that for a few months now!

That's the update from this side of the neighborhood!
Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails!