Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Some Mush, Some Not.

In my drafts, I probably have ten would-be posts about Greg. I start them but then remember how much he hates me braggin' on him. I respect his wishes and stop writing them... maybe someday I'll compile them all together and do a doosy of love post. But here's a funny story too good not to share... and it ends with how much I love Greg's sense of humor. Warning - it has something to do with lactation.

Last night we were talking about stillbirth and baby loss and future babies before we went to sleep. I guess that's not normal "pillow talk" but Greg was processing and preparing for class today. Greg gave a presentation to his Crisis Counseling class this morning about stillbirth, teaching them how to respond and counsel others going through these tragedies.

Sidenote: I LOVE that he got to talk about Maelee to 50+ people today. We just don't get to talk about her enough because she's not with us. So a full-on opportunity to talk about her and then professionally present ways to help people counsel others? That's good stuff.

Anywho, as we were talking about these things late into the night, I started to lactate. I guess all that baby talk made my brain tell me to make milk. I told Greg this and after a pause, he gave me a solution:  "just think about old people." I guess because the opposite of a baby is an old dude? He then proceeded to name everything about old people he could think of... "big nose, big ears, big nose hairs, big ear hairs, wrinkles, walkers, walkers with tennis balls, etc, etc." It went on and on. I was laughing very hard by this point. But then he added "diapers" to the list and then had to promptly say "wait, no, don't think about diapers." The joke came full circle.

It was one of many, many deep laughing moments we have had together. Maybe you just had to be there. But that would have been really awkward. You there in bed with Greg and I.

He's just so darn funny. We laugh so often in our home. I'm so grateful for him, for this sense of humor we share, that God has seen fit to give this to us.

And do you know what? Greg's graduating in three weeks! I'm so proud of him. Might just have to break out another mushy post about that.

Sidenote 2: Have you noticed that many people, bloggers especially, have special names for their husbands or kids? Like cool, abstract names for them? Maybe it started with The Pioneer Woman's husband she calls "Cowboy" but I swear I've seen dozens of nicknames lately. They are all the blog-writers rage. I started to feel like I should call Greg and Eli something other than their actual names (to "protect their identity" but really just sound cool). Usually they do their hubby's occupation but "The Web Content Specialist" doesn't sound as inspiring as "The Farmer." I could go with something more romantic like "Mr. Delight" but I'm certain he would not be up with that. We are just too darn practical for this bit of silly in our online life. Greg it is.

Just some ramblings from me today, folks.

-Heather

Monday, November 28, 2011

Created: Football Onesie.

I saw this adorable onesie pinned from etsy and I couldn't help but make one for Eli. It's brown. It's football. It's wearable for months of Sundays.

Supplies: brown onesie, white felt, fabric glue (because I'm not a sewer), scissors, pen, pattern...

I found an image of a football and copied the laces, made them black and printed it. I put that behind my white felt and overly traced (that means I traced bigger than what I really wanted) the pattern. I then cut it out carefully. It's not perfect but I think it's good to have small variations (at least that's what I tell my perfectionism). 


Then I just glued the "laces" onto the onesie using that sweet fabric glue. I really stuck that sucker on there.


Done! And here's the finished product (Eli wore this on Thanksgiving after he spit up on his other outfit):



Greg and his 'lil football (dreaming of the days when Eli will be big enough to actually play football on Thanksgiving):


Hilarious. Love it.

-Heather

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Full of Thanks Indeed.


I'm a big fan of Thanksgiving. It's good to be thankful. We have been given so much. And the fact we get to eat good food on top of that? Seriously awesome.

Of course this year we are overflowing with gratefulness that we have Eli here to celebrate with, to be a part of our family. Thank you, Lord, for this miracle gift, this sweet boy.

We were adopted by our friend's families and joined them for the feast today. Eli wore his "My First Thanksgiving" outfit (yes, that's a Bears logo... thanks Auntie Amy for the cool shirt).


I made Eli do a Thanksgiving craft yesterday. He had a few "I don't want to do this anymore" yelps but mostly he did great (thanks to Dad playing some fun guitar songs to distract). I had great plans to also make turkeys for the grandparents and get them in the mail... but that didn't happen. So this will have to do:



Join with us in having a thankful heart today, and everyday. .

-Heather

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Better Gift Ideas.

Need some ideas for Christmas gifts? Here are a few sites to try that are better-than-mainstream, fair trade, good-for-the-marketplace sites: 

Uncommon Goods
I posted this one on the kid's gifts list, too. Some crazy items. They have a post for Top Christmas Gifts 2011 with something for all ages... they even have a "gifts for ____ " search... I just did a search for man gifts: ridged glass guitar picks, beer making kits, scratch-off-where-you've-been map... really they have something for everyone.

Feed Project
Go to Feed Shop to buy a bag, t-shirt, accessory and at the same time, fight hunger and eliminate malnutrition. There are a plethora of bag options. "Help feed the children of the world" is one of their catch phrases. Who can't love that?

SERRV
Handmade with a story. I am drooling over this fair trade, handmade, non-profit site with such a host of lovely, unique and useful items.

Ten Thousand Villages
In that same craftish spirit, more delightful gifts with a conscious. They are online but they have stores, too. I went to one on our first anniversary in a little town in Canada. I know you could find something you would treasure: like this Tree of Life platter from the West Bank. Or this gorgeous gray scarf. So awesome.

Threads of Yunnan
I was on the SERRV site and stumbled across these beautiful ornaments from Threads of Yunnan... which made my heart do a little flip. I spent a summer in the Yunnan province of China in 2004 and I saw this facility, met some of the workers and bought a few of their items. Love, love, love.

Trade As One
I happened upon this site and just love this birdie tealight holder and this sweet crocheted nativity set. Another fair trade site, they say "your spending can connect you to a story of hope and dignity for the poor."


Other Ideas?

Charities
If you want to give to a charity but you are worried about where your money will actually go and would like some accountability, try the Better Business Bureau charity site, you can search for specific charities and even find ones that meet their high Charity Seal (stamp of approval) like Compassion.


Norwex
Shameless plug here, really. I, the picture-perfect unsalesman, sell this sweet environmentally friendly cleaning and personal care supplies. An Enviro Cloth, super great antibacterial microfiber, will transform cleaning. Get one for your mom. Your mom-in-law. You. Whatev. It's surprisingly worth it. Order from me online here or check out my old blog here... but you'll need me to explain how to use it to make it really worthwhile so contact me if so.

Amazon Prime
Give someone that is online savvy a year subscription to Amazon Prime where you get free 2 day shipping with no minimum order. We have a student trial for a year and it's so nice!  And addicting. And dangerous.

Magazine Subscriptions
This is always a go-to gift for the person that has everything. What woman wouldn't want Real Simple in their mailbox each month?

Gift Certificates
I know, I know. Boring. But get a little creative on the store for the certificate and you may just have a winner. Think Williams-Sonoma or a local restaurant.

Consumables
In my desire for less is more, I think consumables are a stellar gift. Anything you can use up sort of falls under this category, namely food. You can make them food (I do up a big 'ol batch of chex mix for our neighbors). And I'm all about the nifty gifty food basket. Or chippers. Oh, yes, folks, now we are talking! Chocolate-covered potato chips deserve to be on everyone's wish list.

I could keep going but I'm getting tired typing so I know you are getting tired reading! Go, gift something awesome this year! (Sidenote: my goal is to give at least one person something they didn't even know they needed/wanted until they open it).

Giving is so stinkin' fun.

-Heather

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Shoes Not Required.

I don't put shoes on Eli because he doesn't need them yet... and that's one less item I have to put on/take off during the day. But today I was cleaning up his room when I saw the shoes we have on display on the corner of his crib (because baby shoes are cute and these match his room perfect... What? You don't have display shoes?!). I realized they looked about Eli's current foot size. We decided to try them on and found  they are actually too small for his solidly big feet! But I squeezed them in there for a photo just to share with ya'll.


Thanks to my sweet friend Cindy for these awesome decoration shoes! They will go back on the corner of his crib where they fit perfectly.

My boy, his shoes, and his mama this evening.

Today I learned that Eli doesn't take naps in a crib not his own. When did that happen? He does so much better when he's got a good nap in him. Me too! He really has changed much in the last weeks. Grabbing for things, "talking" back, so much more interactive. I hear that this stage is a fun one and I'm wholeheartedly agreeing. But let's be honest, I love all the stages just for the fact I get to be a part. Love.

-Heather

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gift Ideas for Little Ones.

Do you have a little one to spoil? Here are a few suggestions I have for things to buy (sidenote: there are many wonderful ideas of crafty crap I could list here too, but I'll refrain.):

Green Toys
These toys are made in the US from recycled milk jugs! I love the texture and color of all the toys. Best part: there is no questionable chemical crap in them so kids can stick them in their mouths or eat right off them! This is especially awesome because Eli puts everything in his mouth these days. He has the stackers and dishware but I'm certain he'll be acquiring the dump truck or tool set or other boyish items soon (I'd buy every toy they made if I could).


Ali and Marian (nieces) have the tea set. I adore this set because you can actually use it for tea and crumpets! You can buy Green Toys on Amazon and a host of other places.

Best Kids Bible EVER
I love most everything about this Storybook Bible. If you have a kid and want them to read the Bible, this is a must have. The illustrations are amazing. Jesus isn't some cheesy white dude. It is ridiculously well written; I learn a lot when I'm reading it to Eli. It's read in Matt Chandler's house and our resident theologian (Greg) also approves. Here's a quote from the first chapter:

"No, the Bible isn't a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It's an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure....There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them."

It's delightful. Buy it from their site or from Amazon or even Wal-mart. Eli's copy is actually his sister's, a gift from the China crew and one that is treasured and well-loved in our household.

Scripture Lullaby CD
Aunt Jill loves this music and they gave it to Eli. It really is spectacular music... so not cheesy and completely calming. Perfect for nap time. This would make an excellent baby gift... but I would listen to it when I need something mellow so it's not really only kid's music. And the graphics on their web site are awesome.

Band Set
Musical instruments are fun! We bought this music-in-a-box set for Ali for her first Christmas and she consistently played with it for years... which is why it's making this list. If a kid can get years out of a toy, that's a good purchase. Our friends bought the same Pum Pum Drum for Eli and I love the colors! So cool.


Here's to hoping Eli gets his dad's musical talent!

TOMS shoes
If you haven't heard of TOMS, they are a great company. For every pair of shoes purchased, they give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. Awesome. I don't have a pair (soon, perhaps) but we have many friends that do and swear by their comfort. They are pretty spendy but you can walk happy, knowing you (or your kids) just gave a pair of shoes to someone else! The kids shoes, Tiny Toms, are so stinkin adorable I can hardly stand it. Maybe Eli (and someone that needs it) will get a pair for his birthday.

Melissa and Doug products
They are wood and they are fun. I hear lots of good things about them and I like their sturdiness. I also bought a magnetic puzzle thing with Maelee's name on it so she can be remembered in toys, too.


IKEA
We just made a trip last Saturday. I love this store. If you have one near by, they have some fun gifts for kids... like a wooden easel, wooden tool bench, kids table/chairs, quirky bedding, felt food/tools/animals, stuffed animals (like the three smooshy cute elephants I was tempted to buy). Best part: their prices are great! And you can get Swedish meatballs when you go.

Uncommon Goods
I haven't ordered anything from this site but I love to browse. You can search by recipient so this is a great site for all ages but they have some out-of-this-world kids gifts like these funny face plates so kids can play with their food, this shovel you wear on your hand like some sort of sandcastle-making super hero, or this sleek and adorable birdie alarm clock. If you have an older kid, I'm sure you'd find something here.

Etsy
Of course I couldn't let this post go by without a shout out to the handmade and loads of creative gifties out there. Try searching for your favorite sports team to find something unique (oh how I have had to resist all the cute Chicago Bears onesies and hats and toys on there). Or try this cool store for a bunch of toys made out of wood (I so want the wooden camera... for Eli, not me. Okay, maybe me.). Or how about a sweet felt alphabet? I may try my hand at making one someday, but I love the look of felt letters. If I was buying for an older kiddo, I'd try etsy for something unique.

Books
Yes, books are awesome just because. When my parents moved this summer I found some of my most treasured books from my childhood, whose stories are so familiar they were like good friends.You can't go wrong with a good book.

Now, that should get you rolling and give you some ideas besides whatever main-stream toy companies are offering this year. (To be fair, Eli is totally getting the Playskool Elefun Busy Ball Popper because he IS Eli the Elephant and I have weakness for elephant themed gifts! And I have a coupon!).

-Heather

I'm working on my "giving with a conscious" post with some awesome sites you can buy gifts for the whole family AND help the world. I'll have that posted soon!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nifty Gifty, Leafy Fun.

I would like some gift recommendations from you. What is your favorite thing? What are those items that are actually worth accumulating? What do you own that you would want other people to have? I have a list of some of our favorite things that I think would make fantastic gifts. I also have a few great gift ideas that encourage giving something back or giving with purpose. But before I get that long post together I thought I'd ask you for your ideas.

This goes for anything (if anyone gives me a Greg-worthy gift idea, you'll get 10 gold stars) but especially kid stuff. There are a TON of toys and things for kids out there (mind-blowing really) and I would rather get Eli (and our family) a few really wonderful items that will last versus a plethora of nominal stuff.

Get your thinking caps on and let me know.

Now onto some photos of the cutest little boy I know. I love foliage. I really, really do. So it makes no sense that I haven't packed up Eli and stuck him on a pile of gorgeous assortments of reds, yellows and browns. I am shamefully admitting I haven't taken any photos of him with leaves until today. Where have I been? I can't even begin to think of all the missed leaf photo opportunities this past month. Doh. Thankfully a couple trees across the street are still sporting a lovely deep red hue.




Greg wanted to put Eli's feet "in the sand" (our version of dirt) and thought he would love the feeling of it in his toes. It was so under-whelming. No reaction whatsoever from our boy. I guess Eli has already admitted his skin is not meant for the beach.

-Heather

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sneak Peak.


I bought this fancy pants Ralph Lauren outfit years ago on clearance. Maybe in 2005. At Marshall Fields. A store that doesn't even exist anymore. I just loved it and thought it would be the perfect Christmas outfit for a little boy. I assumed I'd give it away as a gift. I guess I was too selfish because I still have it. I don't want to give it all away but this cuteness just needs to be shared:


I really don't think it will fit Eli at Christmastime. It will be too tight by then. But it fits great right now and will be oh-stop-it adorable for our Christmas card photos. I had hoped to take them this weekend or next but now, now our Daddy has a lovely black eye and I'm thinking we should wait a little longer, until it's not so I-got-into-a-bar-fight looking.

I may go a bit over the top with our Christmas card this year but I can't help it. I'm just so darn happy I get to have a baby in our photo. And a really cute one at that.

-Heather

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ball Time.

It's Auntie Amy's birthday on Friday and we want to make her smile. What better way than to have a few funny videos of Eli. Sunday night we broke out a ball and our boy was completely captivated by it. We are talking serious excitement. This was a great treat because usually night time is crabby time for Eli. My guess is he is a morning person like his dad... much to the chagrin of his night-loving mama. 

We find different ways to amuse him to stretch out his happy... usually this involves what we call "naked time." We put down a shabby blanket and let him lay around buck naked. We can usually get twenty minutes of naked calm this way! This evening we were just about to get to naked time when I broke out the ball... thus the reason for diaper-only Eli.

I stuck the camera on the floor as I rolled the ball to him... it's a weird angle and the camera wigs out a few times (I am amazed the camera still works) but you can hear the screaming joy of Eli quite well. The other video is me holding Eli as we make him a human golf club. Oh my, it is quite amusing.

video
video

Hope that made your middle-of-the-week day a little happier.

-Heather

Sunday, November 6, 2011

14-8.

Saturday was the annual North/South flag football game at the university Greg attends. This game used to be called Grits vs Cream of Wheat. Awesome. I will take cream of wheat any day over grits. Cream of wheat was created in Grand Forks, ND and I think it's delicious. To be fair, I don't think I've really had good grits yet. If there were enough bacon and cheese involved, I'm sure I would like them.

Back to the game. You can't get much North than North Dakota... naturally Greg has been on the North team each year. He's been practicing for a month. And he was pretty excited about the game. Me too. I love to watch him play sports. He's so darn athletic.


Our friends picked Eli up at the field and brought them to their nearby house to babysit while I stayed to watch Greg play and cheer for the North. There were only a handful of people on the North "side" so I had to do my part. I knew one fan and she asked me if I knew football, if I knew the basics of the game. I said "yes."

Amber, I heard you laughing all the way from MN. Stop.It.

She had a couple from Germany with her that had never been to an American football game before. And no one else around knew a darn thing about football or how to explain the game. The dude comes to sit next to me so that I can explain the game to him. All he knew was it was played on grass.

I may have just ruined American football for him.

Well, it couldn't have been that bad. I actually think I did a pretty good job. Way better than I could have done five years ago! I know what a safety is.

Greg actually played safety (come on, same name for a play and a position, geesh) for most of the game. They played a soft cover two. (This sentence was given verbatim by Greg). They did not get beat deep. They were not throwing the ball anywhere near Greg's long arms (I think they knew to stay away, like teams do for Devin Hester these days). Then the quarterback got injured so Greg went in as back-up.


He did great! He ran it some. The only other North Dakotan on the team caught a thirty-plus yard pass Greg threw. It was fun. Then on one of the last plays of the game, the other team tried to get the ball... and it ended up with Greg coming off the field with blood gushing from his right eyebrow. 

Ouch. He was wearing his glasses with a strap (he needed to see where he was throwing the ball!) and they got jammed. The sports medicine lady treated him and recommended he go get stitches. And the ER nurse (wife of initially injured quarterback) agreed. So Greg and I had our second "date" since Eli was born... going to the ER on a Saturday night!

Gratefully (oh so grateful), the ER was slow and we were in and out in a little over an hour. Greg got three stitches. The only painful part was the needle of numbing stuff. The doctor was glad Greg mentioned the LSU/Bama game... he promptly had me turn it on. I think he spent a little extra time sewing him up just so he could watch the end of the game. Greg also may have a scar because the doc was distracted. We'll see.


It wasn't an ideal end to the night. Especially because of the $225 co-pay. Yikes! But Greg wasn't/isn't in much pain and we are blessed to live in a country where he can get medical care at 11pm on a Saturday night.

And the North won. So worth it, according to Greg. Of course there was definitely a few times where we quoted Lethal Weapon "I'm too old for this...".

Tomorrow Greg will be sporting a lovely shiner and some stitches to work along with his khaki's. Nice eh?


-Heather (wife of this awesome guy, mommy to our rolly-polly boy, and mama-griever for 19 months today)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Buntings.

Pinterest and blogs and whatnot.... they all have buntings all over the place. These little triangle banner things. They are all the crafty rage. I will not be sewing any, of course. (Someday I'll get into the fact that my home ec sewing superstar of a mother was unable to teach her two daughters to sew a stitch).

But I pinned this sweet poster, from this cute blog, that she kindly shares with anyone that would like to (from her post here):



Today, today among the cleaning and crying and feeding and fun, I am going to think on these things.

-Heather

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fresh.

New fresh look here at grether blog.

Not sure why I chose to give us a facelift and add a little birdie. A few hours ago I was working on updating my Norwex blog to a new address and lookee here, now it's 11:15.

I should be sleeping.

But Greg is out playing football, practicing for the big game on Saturday. CIU (where is attending school) has a North/South game every fall. The students from the North play the students from the South. Isn't that great? Every year that Greg has played the North has won. He didn't play last year. They lost. I'm hoping Greg enjoys playing this year. I hope he doesn't get hurt. He's like the "old" guy playing with all these young-ens.... which is why their practices start at our normal bedtime. Seriously. When did we get old?

He just pulled up. Good thing. I really should be in bed. In my defense, it is really hard for me to fall asleep if Greg's not home. I would be a horrible military wife. Those woman are amazing.



Here's Eli today. I found this shirt at the Goodwill for fifty cents. It's a drum set. Perhaps he will be a 'lil drummer just like his daddy. And play football like his daddy. And be schmart like his daddy.

Off to bed. Here's hoping for another stellar sleep performance by our son tonight.

-Heather

I'll fix any mistakes I'm sure are lurking on the blog... tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quack.

Kids are cute but when you add costumes, you make them even cuter! Having Eli here to dress up is like a little healing balm to my mama soul. Because like a good friend of mine said, Halloween is for kids and for people who have kids. Not great for those that are the in not-so-fun category of "wishes they had a kid". Last year I posted about how hard it was for us, how we holed up. This year we have Eli but that's not to say I still didn't struggle.

In fact, last week Eli and I went to Old Navy and they had a rack full of sweet, adorable strawberry costumes. 18-24 months size. With little green tights. I started to cry. I've usually been able to somewhat "manage" my grief when in public. But not that day. Eli and I had to go to the corner and call Greg and compose ourselves. Okay, Eli was fine. I was the one crying, missing Maelee, dreaming of what her chunky legs would have looked like in those tights, seeing her red hair with the strawberry top.

Last year I bought this duck costume on clearance in November. I was pregnant and so very scared of having this costume that wouldn't get used. But I bought it as a step of faith, of hope, that we would have a child duck this year.

We are grateful. And here are some photos of the most adorable duck. Ever.

Look at those legs!
Sweetest duckie ever!

 
Seriously, I wish you could have held him. So squishy and cute! 

"Get me out of this costume! No more duck please!" - Eli

I asked Eli to make a "I just saw a scary costume!" face.

-Heather