Monday, January 30, 2012


We are into making funny faces these days. You can't help but smile.


Friday, January 27, 2012


 Edmund Dulac's 1911 illustration of "The Princess and the Pea"

Let me divulge something to you: I am a horrible sleeper. You don't want to sleep with me, for many reasons. The main annoyance is I move all the time... "where at night you lay turning like a door on its hinges, first on your left side, then on your right side, then your left side again."

One night Greg and I started counting the "conditions" that need to be right in order for me to fall asleep and sleep well. There are a lot. Like if I had to pick one indulgent characteristic that describes me as a quintessential  American, my sleeping habits would be it (followed closely by my shower habits). You don't believe me?

Here's a few of my issues: I need a (very) dark and (very) quiet atmosphere. It must be cool. I can't sleep when I'm hot, especially my feet. This means no socks. I need soft, comfy pajamas. A decent bed and numerous pillows are a must... good pillow support is essential. I also need a pillow for in between my legs (somehow I did this while pregnant and can't stop). That puts my pillow count to around 5.

Bonus points if there are clean sheets made with the right material (ie, soft cotton). I must have brushed teeth and chap stick applied. I also must be relatively "clean" because if I feel gross or smelly, I can't fall asleep. I must start sleeping on my side or I will never fall asleep.

And the most important factor: I must be able to move. If you told me I had to lie perfectly still, I would never be able to fall asleep. Must.move.legs. This means no stupid sheets tucked in under the mattress! When I get to a foreign bed (be it a hotel or a guest room), one of the first things I do is go pull the sheets out. My legs need room to roam, folks. Freedom!

Why am I telling you all this? Why am I inviting you into my bedroom? Admittedly, it's a little TMI. But there is a point. My parents gave us money to buy a new bed. A KING size bed so that maybe, just maybe, we have a little more room for me to flop around without Greg waking up. I want to get a good bed because we spend much of our lifetime sleeping. I have heard enough bad back horror stories to know it's a good investment.

And when I was at the chiropractor for the very first time a few weeks ago (how crazy is that?!) she told me I had two bed choices: TempurPedic or Select Comfort/Sleep Number. Coil beds = bad (according to her, not a salesperson for either might I add). I have heard TempurPedic runs "hot" which is not ideal for me really anytime but especially not summertime in this state. But I recall TempurPedic having that commercial with the bowling ball bouncing on one side and the glass of wine not spilling... and well, that sums us up well.

Both brands are ridiculously expensive but most of the money is coming from good 'ol Mom and Pops for it so we should be able to buy one sometime soon-ish. It will barely fit in our bedroom most likely but if it means we sleep better, it'll be worth it!

So here I am asking for your opinions again... if you have either, please share your thoughts! And for the rest of you, you can just be grateful you don't have to sleep next to this princess.


PS- Eli is NINE months old today! And since we are talking about sleep, he's been sleeping like an all-star this week. Yippee! Let's hope he gets his dad's sleeping habits... somehow a man that needs five pillows doesn't seem right...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Have I mentioned?

Have I mentioned I love my new camera?
I can take closer shots. Still not like macro lens close, but closer than I could do before.

Have I mentioned I love living in South Carolina?
I'm all about walks in January with the sun shining and a t-shirt.

Have I mentioned I love, love, love spending time with our boy?
Especially when he is all smiles and forgetting about those pesky teeth coming in.

Have I mentioned I enjoy procrastinating getting something done by blogging?
Seriously, I took like 10 photos today while on our walk, each a gem. The lighting was perfect. I just had to share this cuteness even if I have a long to-do list... and even though he's got lunch specs on his face.

Have I mentioned before I'm glad you read about our lives and care about us?
I really do appreciate your cyber friendship and your thoughts.

And speaking of... what car seat should we buy next for Eli? What brand/style do you suggest? Let me know your opinions...because we need to protect these baby blues from the crazy drivers out there.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fuzzy Wuzzy.

Eli is almost 9 months old and I find myself shocked at how much he has changed in not many days time. He used to be really small. Okay, we all used to be really small. Us humans make some pretty big strides the first years of our lives. I was thinking of his birth, of how great that day was, how reliving to have him be on the outside alive. I don't think I'll ever stop being in awe of that fact.

I saw these jaundice photos when he was three days old and they made me smile. I think it's crazy that I can tell it's Eli, even with his eyes not in the picture, his mouth/nose still have those same features. And the fuzzy hair? Pure cuteness, that's what that is.

Now I am trying something out for uploading videos... so this is a little tester using a video from last week or so. Not the greatest video, but the grandparents will adore it (thanks G & G K for the fun walker, H1 for the outfit!). Eli does a little tumble and Daddy comes to the rescue. He also looks really hefty here. Very sturdy trunk on this kid.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken.

I don't like e-mail forwards. Most of the time they make me groan. Sometimes the premise is good... like when you get one saying type out one of your go-to recipes and send it to the people on this list. But I still don't like that feeling, that pressure. I don't want to feel annoyed at my inbox.

But I do think knowing people's "go to" recipes would be helpful. Getting a meal on the table is important. And life is busy. And who has time to actually attempt all those recipes you've pinned on Pinterest? Okay, I actually do have some time and I have tried new recipes there, thankyouverymuch.

This recipe is similar to ones all over Pinterest, maybe even on there, who knows. I got it from my trusty Kasowski Family cookbook that my MIL put together a few years ago. Have I mentioned before that I LOVE family recipes and cookbooks? Just love them. Well-loved, well-tested recipes that are bound by family ties. I think this one comes from cousin Sarah.

It's easy. It uses Campbell's Soup... because 99% of my recipes do it seems... such a good midwesterner I am.

Crock Pot Chicken

4-6 Chicken Breasts (or around one pkg)
1 packet Italian Dressing Mix
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 8oz block of Cream Cheese
1 cup Chicken Broth (or white wine)

Stick your chicken in the crock pot, it can even be frozen. Sprinkle the packet of Italian Dressing Mix on top of it. In a separate bowl, mix together the two cans of soup and the cream cheese... it's sort of gumpy mushy mixture. Pour (or really, drop) mixture on top of the chicken. Then pour the cup of chicken broth over that. Cook on low for 4-6 hours (or more, it's pretty forgiving). Then shred the chicken with two forks (this takes awhile). Stir it all up so it absorbs all the yummy sauce.

Make some angel hair pasta and serve the chicken mixture on top with a little Parmesan cheese. Serve with a salad. And some garlic bread. And if you are feeling crazy, you could add some veggies into the chicken mixture (like broccoli or something like that).

Here's a couple photos to show you how easy it is... and to show you the Italian Dressing Mix comes in a box with four packets and can be found by the ranch packets in the salad dressing isle. This is a pretty key ingredient so don't mess that up.

NOT cream of celery like I have shown here, it's cream of chicken, folks!!

Gumpy. That's a word, right?

Granted, it does not look very yummy pre-crocked.

But over some pasta, it's sure tasty! Shown here is the whole wheat ubber healthy pasta... but you can go old school to make it really yum.

Now you can go enjoy an easy crock-pot meal.

You're welcome.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No Clip For You.

I was going to post a video for you all to watch of our growing boy talking his sweet "ba, ba, ba" and blowing bubbles. Just imagine how you would have loved that! Sadly, I can't get the video uploader to work.

So all you get is two photos I took of Eli today. One with his daddy when he came home from work (our favorite time of day!) and the other before naptime that shows his two bottom teeth quite well.

My two favorite people on earth! 
Don't worry, you are my third.

Eli Joe!
Eli still prefers to lay down on his back and watch the world go by (you can tell by the nice bald spot he sports on the back of his head) but he does like to sit up and play around with his toys now too. Sitting up makes him seem so old! Eli will also lift himself up on his hands while on his tummy to look around... but still no crawling. I am convinced this is because of his contented personality and not because he loathes tummy time. Regardless, it makes mothering him easier as he's not getting into anything yet!

He really is the sweetest kid. I'm so grateful to have him in our lives.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken Soup.

I have a thing for old men. Before you scowl, I don't mean in a weird, gross way. I just appreciate a really old man. I think they are cute. Like a puppy. Cute in a "aaw" sort of way. I'm sure if I had to take care of one I wouldn't feel that way... but from afar, they make me smile.

When we were first married, I would sometimes point out cute old dudes and say "oh look how cute he is" to Greg. One time that backfired on me and the "cute" old dude walked into the Plain Brown Wrapper. That's a porn store in Grand Forks. NOT cute. Ever since then, I have to make sure said cute old man is legit. Nothing is worse than a nasty old man. There's a fine line.

Last month I saw a normal, stellar cute old dude at Greg's graduation ceremony. He was super adorable. Especially when he spoke. His name is S. Truett Cathy and he is the founder of Chick-fil-A. CIU gave him an honorary doctorate. His daughter, Trudy Cathy, was the actual commencement speaker but after he got his hood, he also spoke. He is 90 years old and it was a bit hard to understand him at times, but he was ridicuously sweet and motivating. Best.Commencement.Ever.

Those of you from the north are probably wondering about "Chick-fil-A". It's a much better version of KFC. It has the bestest faster food chicken sandwiches you can get. Super quality, very yummy. S. Truett started the company in Atlanta in the 40's and has grown it to be a $3.5 billion dollar privately held, family owned business with restaurants all over the place (except the Dakota's, mind you).

People down here LOVE their Chick-fil-A. Most everyone is a fan. They are closed on Sunday so their employees can spend time with family and rest... which Truett decided to do after working long hours and being so tired back in the day. Besides the fact he is so cute, he is a darn good businessman. And an overall good guy. I can't even begin to type all the awards and contributions and philanthropy he's been involved with...but he's just really great.

 Why am I going off about this cute old guy?

I'm just really glad for his restaurant. Because they sell chicken noodle soup. It's not as good as mine, or my mom's or probably any homemade soup, but it's still very tasty. And when we've been sick these last two weeks, I've been ever-so-grateful for the convenience of the Chick-fil-A drive-thru down the road. We typically don't eat out too often, but when you are sick, making a meal is the last thing you want to do. Plus, after hearing Truett and Trudy speak last month, I was all about supporting Chick-fil-A.

So thanks to Jonathan and the Bush River Chick-fil-A employees for making our bellies happy with chicken noodle soup for a few nights. It hit the spot. On the flip side, yesterday I felt good enough to make my own batch of chicken noodle... meaning we are each on the mend. We are sending this nasty virus on it's merry way and we are going to be back to full health very soon, I can feel it! And then we can move on to delicious chicken sandwiches, waffle fries and lemonade. Nom, Nom.


PS. If you don't have a Chick-fil-A near you, you should come visit us. We'll treat you.

PPS. Yes, Greg will be the most adorable old man ever.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I was hoping to post an update of our family saying something like "we are doing great... feeling so much better!" and give you happy photos of three healthy people in a nice clean house void of Christmas decor. 

But, sadly, that is not the case. Eli is doing better. He doesn't cough as much and his nose is returning to normal but he is getting in a top front tooth (I felt a little poke up there yesterday) so we are dealing with a few other "symptoms" with that!

Greg and I are sick of being sick. I assumed earlier this week we were on the tail end of this cold but shockingly it's still here and going strong. I don't remember colds lasting so hard, so long and being so tiring. Blasted viruses! I told Greg on the phone just now "I feel like someone is banging my head with a bat under water" which is basically a headache on top of this sinus stuff.

Needless to say, we are anxious to be healthy again. And one perk about being sick? When you do finally feel better, you are certain to be thankful for your health! And productive! I can't wait to be productive again. And get outside and interact with people again.

Enough complaining. 

Eli is in his "grabby" stage. He reaches and grabs and lunges towards anything and everything he wants to get his hands on. And if you aren't watching... he just may grab something you weren't expecting. Like my napkins piled on the table a little too close to Eli's chair earlier this week:

"I can help set the table. I'll start with this napkin here for me..."
"Gosh, Mom, these napkins are FUN!"


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Quilted Life.

I am thinking often and fondly of my grandmother right now. I miss her. Memories of moments with her abound and the little things that remind me of her keep finding their way to my thoughts. Her delicious homemade buns, her amazing flatbread… if I close my eyes I can almost taste them. The way she served my Grandpa so lovingly all those years. Their home, the sewing room, the squishy seat, the musty basement. The smell of Red Door perfume, her classy attire. Herberger’s store, her thimble collection, the color mauve. The unique way she moved her mouth and how I see that in my own mom and aunts, a family trait.

I yearn for days with her before Alzheimer's. I wish I could have a few days with her now, as I'm grown and could appreciate her so much more than when I was a selfish teenager. I didn't realize then how blessed I was for having a great person like her as a grandmother, how much I could have learned from her. I ache for those missed moments and I'm sure many who knew her feel the same.

The reality is she is gone and is experiencing something we cannot grasp in our finite minds. Heaven is extraordinary, of that I am sure. And because Grandma Doris trusted the Lord for her life, understood that she couldn't earn her way there by being good or following some moral code, she is now at home with her Savior. That, I fully believe, is the best part about heaven. Her getting to see, know, remember her husband, my Grandpa Ray, meeting Maelee, her namesake, and other loved ones, that is just icing on the cake. We are all in need of a Savior and nothing brings me greater joy than knowing my Grandma understood that.

I found this poem by Elizabth Ryan DeCoursey. And it reminds me much of Grandma.

Life is like a patchwork quilt 
And each little patch is a day, 
Some patches are rosy, happy and bright, 
And some are dark and gray.

But each little patch as it's fitted in 
And sewn to keep it together 
Makes a finished block in this life of ours 
Filled with sun, and with rainy weather. 

So let me work on Life's patchwork quilt 
Through the rainy days and the sun-- 
Trusting that when I have finished my block 
The master may say: "Well done."

The last line alludes to a parable from Matthew 25:23 when the Master says: "Well done, good and faithful servant!" which is what we all want to hear our Heavenly Father say to us when we die. I believe my grandmother's life was a beautiful quilt, that the Lord was pleased with her and she heard those weighty words upon arriving at the gates of pearl.

I also appreciate this poem because it reminds me of the song Blessed Be Your Name, sung at Maelee's funeral. "Blessed be Your Name, When the sun's shining down on me, When the world's all as it should be" ... some days really are happy and bright! But we all know that this road of life is marked with suffering and there is pain in life... dark, rainy days. But no matter what type of day is out there, we can be confident that the Lord is still good, He is still in control and we choose to say Blessed Be Your Name.

We know that Grandma is better off in heaven. We are grateful, so grateful, that the Lord brought her home. But that doesn't lessen our sadness, our grief, that she is no longer quilting each day with us on earth. 

Love to you Grandma Doris. Until we meet again...


PS. Yes, this is incredibly hard being the only one not there for the family service and funeral tomorrow. Because I was the only one that missed out on Grandpa's funeral ten months ago, it makes this distance even harder. Oh that I could be there to join my cousins! On top of being really sick, it's about all I can handle to keep it together! But I choose to be grateful for her life, for knowing I can celebrate her from afar, and for the blessing of my son who is a part of this Zander heritage...

With my favorite blanket, a quilt made just for me by Grandma Doris when I was around 14. She made it for me because I loved the red one she had made many years earlier for my mom and I was wearing it out! She made both using the scraps of material from all the dresses and clothes she made for her daughters over the years. Needless to say, it's a treasure. Even moreso now.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


This has not been a week that I would like to repeat. It just hasn't been very awesome.

Can I just vent?

I spilled a big 'ol thing of yogurt all over the living room carpet and rug. All over. The house is pretty disastrous too.

Greg broke my beloved pickle ornament my mom gave me. It shattered to a bagazillion pieces. He felt bad and did not mean to do it, in his defense.

I thoughtfully picked a bunch of photos to print and send to family and then they didn't upload correctly, just disappeared. So I have to take the time to pick them all out and upload. Again.

I visited a chiropractor for the first time on Friday. After a week of wincing every time I picked Eli up or turned my head, I'd had enough. Verdict is still out whether it was worth the money (plus the three visits next week).

21 months without Maelee. Putting away her ornaments. Wishing for cute tu-tu outfits for her... when life is hard, grief somehow arrives to join the pity party.

My friends shower was today which went very well. But I had planned on making these cute little felt owls and paper latern owls and I didn't get to. I know that's not a big deal but this is the type of thing I LOVE to do! Party planning committee? I'm all about that.

And lastly, we are sick. Our sickness is nothing life-threatening. Just a nasty, icky virus that has left all three of us tired, hurting, frustrated, annoyed and crabby. No one is sleeping much at all. Eli hates the bulb syringe with a passion. But the poor guy can't breathe. Doesn't want to nurse because he can't breathe. And to top it off, he has these lovely welts showing up all over, a byproduct of this cold virus. Oh and I can't take many meds because it'll pass to Eli and I'm not a very good sick-with-no-Nyquil type person.

So when I hear my Grandma (who not very long ago at her check-up was given a fairly clean bill of health and could have lived for many years) goes into the hospital on Thursday night and passes away two days later... it's just A LOT to process! She was my last living grandparent.

And last March when my Grandpa Ray passed away I was about 8 months pregnant and thus, couldn't fly to get to his funeral, I swore that whenever my Grandma died I would be there.

It's not looking like I'll be able to. And

First off, I'm still nursing Eli so where I go, he goes. I would consider stopping now but the kid still nurses almost every three (day)hours and he does not take a bottle. We try but he just isn't a sucker. He chews on pacifiers and bottles. No sucking.

Greg can't come. He took too much time off over Christmas and he needs to work. So even if I left Eli here, we wouldn't have anywhere for him to go while Greg worked!

Traveling while you are sick and with a sick baby? I'm pretty sure I would put that on a no-no list.

And lastly, the hardest part, is we live too far away and we are trying to get to small town ND.

No flights were found!
It's near impossible to fly from our hometown, Columbia, to Dickinson. I think I could manage it in three flights, maybe?! We could drive an hour + to Charlotte, fly to MM and then fly MN to Bismarck and drive another two hours... but that is still two flights, one layover and two drives. With a sick baby.

There are times when I think of our family in China and all they sacrifice living there, most notably being away from family. For us It's not that far, of course, but today I feel like SC is another country as I'm trying to get us to ND! It shouldn't be this hard!

So it's not looking like Eli and I will get to be there to honor my Grandma and I'm so very much bummed. I just never thought I'd miss my grandparents' funerals.

Okay, I feel a little better after my blog-venting. Thanks, folks, for being my therapy today.


Wait, I must say a few things I am grateful for, admist this not-so-lovely complaining.

Eli. He's here and alive and healthy and I'm never ungrateful for that. Plus Greg, he's amazing even among our pathetic week.

My grandma died quickly. She could have had a long sickness and have been in pain for months and months. Instead she was fairly healthy until Thursday when she was ambulanced to the ER for difficulty breathing and was basically unresponsive until she died last night. That's God's grace to us in this for sure.

Doris Mae Meets Maelee.

God gives us glimpses of what heaven is like in the Bible, but I feel it is too great, too grand, too supernatural for us to really understand it while we are living on earth. I do know it's a place where there is no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death (Revelation 21:4). There is no more sin getting in the way of our rightness with God. Oh it is a glorious place.

And now my Grandma is there. She passed away last night. Her mind is no longer lost. She is found, she is known by Jesus, she is whole. She met my daughter, I assume. Maybe she's even holding Maelee now.

We got the Mae in Maelee's name from my Grandma Doris Mae. My Aunt had them sign their names on this for Maelee's Name Book, and I recall her saying the Alzheimer's had affected her so badly she could barely remember how to make a "M." But I'm so glad for this piece, this treasure. And it's hard to believe that this was done in 2010 for their great granddaughter and now less than two years later, they have both joined her in heaven.

I will miss my grandmother. I am so thankful for her life, that I am a part of her heritage. I am grateful that I still have things that remind me of her and memories to cherish... here's just a few off the top of my head:

  • Buns. I would love one of her homemade buns right now. Or some flatbread in perfect little buttery rectangles. Oh so delicious. Really she was a stellar woman in the kitchen. Stellar. 
  • My grandmother could quilt like nobody's business. Growing up I just connected quilts = Grandma. And even to this day, every time I see a thimble I think of her! 
  • If I see a Herberger's store or their logo, I automatically think of her. She worked at this midwestern department store for many years . Sometimes I felt like I was shopping with the store's owner when we went in there with her...she knew everyone and everything and had a fancy gold card she used to buy stuff. Elite. 
  • Because of said employment, my Grandma had a crazy amount of perfume. Like crazy. If I smell Elizabeth Arden Red Door, I'd think she was near. She also gave me tons of bottles of Sunflower perfume. She really was a good smelling lady! And classy. So classy.
  • Snowbabies. Towards her later years, we bought those things for her for every occasion. And now I look at them and they seem a little odd... little baby/kid type figurines frolicking in the snow. Just sayin'... maybe we should have gotten her something better! 
  • Mauve. I've said this before but mauve and peach hues remind me of her. I fondly remember those colors permeating her living room. 
  • Because I was the "baby" girl granddaughter, I'm pretty sure she thought I was special. I know she always made me feel loved.  
  • When I was around 10, my mom and my grandparents drove from ND to Washington state to visit family. That's a long drive. And I'll always remember my grandma doing this smacking thing with her mouth and saying she felt like peaches. My mom and I joked about that for many years and it still makes me smile.  

I'll miss you, Grandma. Whatever heaven is like, I know it's filled with Glory and it's perfect. I can't wait to see you again.


You can read my grandmother's obituary here

Friday, January 6, 2012

Last Days.

My Grandma is dying.

She was taken to the hospital yesterday and they are certain it is just a matter of time. She has lived with Alzheimer's for many years now and I think there will be a collective sigh when she leaves this earth. Death is always hard, even when it may just be the best thing. We find great peace in knowing she will be made whole soon, her mind will no longer be in the grips of disease. Soon perhaps she will be dancing in heaven... I'm not sure what amazingness awaits us in heaven, but maybe even a polka with Grandpa? You see, my Grandpa died just last March. So my mom and her three sisters will be losing both their parents within a year.

I sort of felt like Grandma would be around for awhile, even if she wasn't fully there and didn't remember anyone anymore, and there was an odd sense of peace in that. But I feel like there will be even more peace after she dies and goes home. Death, it always brings perspective on life, doesn't it? It helps us to know we are not invincible. We are not in control. Stuff doesn't really matter. Family will always be family. And knowing Jesus is the best thing this side of heaven. He's not just some flippant ticket to get there, or some genie that you call on when someone's dying, but he will comfort and guide and transform you even on those regular 'ol no-one-is-dying days, if you give him the chance.

I digress. So on top of our sickness that has kept Eli and I basically on the couch all week (and the Christmas tree still up and decorated, the porch still adorned with garland, laundry piled up, etc), I now add the fact that I'm in South Carolina and ridiculously too far away from my mama and my Grandma. I'm so sorry that I can't be there right now.

Cute couple, eh?

I just LOVE how she's smiling at Grandpa here! This is at our wedding in 2005. 

Grandma meeting my son, July 2011. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Colds and Photos.

I am sitting here with tired, sore eyes. A reflection of my body right now. I have a silly cold and on top of that some weird sort of pulled muscle in my neck and left shoulder that has progressively gotten worse since Saturday.

I'm wondering what it looks like to be graceful when you are sick. To be loving. To not be a little mamby pamby and whine and whimper and complain. Oh that I would be refined to be a graceful person even when I am feeling most crappy.

Even worse for me is that my boy is sick, too. And it's so hard to hear him cough and then immediately cry out "ouch that hurt" (my interpretation). He looks at me with those sad watery eyes "Mom, why don't I feel well? Make it better!" and I feel horrible that I can't do anything. There are many lessons here.

And now our great daddy and husband got the cold bug, too. He's already sleeping on the couch and it's only 7:30pm. These are the times I wish he had actual sick leave... 'cause I know 8am is going to come too fast for him.

All that to say, we are ALIVE! We are living. We are together. We have so many things to be thankful for, so many things we've been given, so much we don't deserve. And by God's grace this cold will go away and we will be back to healthy again. Soon. Please.

Oh, and one more thing to be thankful for: we caught colds while in MN and not the nasty flu that my family had two days before we arrived. I'll take our annoying coughing over puking any day! Right? I know you agree with me.

I did want to share some photos of our time in Minnesohta.

 Family photo! Ali needs to get taller or Jaysen needs to bring the camera lower, she's just barely peeking over the edge. And my dad? Who knows what he's up to here.

 WALLEYE. I love it almost as much as my niece.

 Jaysen. Our good friend.

 It's really hard to get photos of Ava smiling. She's not a smiler or a stay-in-one-placer. But when I plopped Eli down for the photo on her lap, she looked somewhat happy to be in control for that moment. Then I think she pushed him off.

 Three cheers for three smiles from three cousins on three chairs!

 Can't resist the matching pajamas! And Ava is somewhat smiling because I took like 30 photos of this. New camera = crazy lady.


 The Lippert Family.

 Ava was playing then promptly decided to sit on Eli. It was pretty funny though as you can see, Eli was not happy and was trying unsuccessfully to push her off. 

 He picked the right letter to chew!

I just couldn't resist adding this photo. Aren't these just so amazingly cute?!

My sis and our kids on earth. Love.

And in case you are wondering we did bring a ton of clothes for Eli to wear and he wore most all of them. But somehow most all the photos I posted above include his argyle sweater. Go figure. In that case, I'll give you one more,  it reminds me of a Seinfeld episode...

Whew. I think it's time for bed.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I think we have something with argyle in our family. I'm pretty sure Greg owns at least five argyle sweaters. That's a lot for a guy who didn't even own a sweater until he was 26. And I fully expect Eli will be argyle-clad for many years.

We heart you, classic argyle!

Notice the Yoda chair (just ignore the Clone Wars part). Eli really liked it and looked so cute sitting in it and talking like Yoda (which is the rule of the chair). Too bad we left the chair in MN. Especially because my sister hasn't even seen Star Wars and thus, does not respect it.

Rock Santa Hat, I will. 

Such a cute kid we have. The poor guy got his first cold yesterday. I got one, too, except my coughing is nowhere near as adorable as Eli's. I swear even his coughing is cute! I feel so bad for him (and get a little too worked up), it's really just a small cold. I guess I'm like my dad, such a softie.

I'll post more photos and more Eli-isms soon. For now, I hear a little whimper...


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Brown Christmas.

We are back home in South Carolina.

It feels nice to unpack and be home.

I'd like to talk about weather. 

I was really hoping for snow. Actually I wasn't even hoping, I was just assuming. I assumed there would be snow at Christmastime in Minnesota. That's completely normal. Last year it looked like this: 

That picture is a tree chopping truck that got stuck and blocked the road to my sister's in-laws house. Yeah, there was a lot of snow. And it was fun.

This year...well, this year there was NO snow. Not even leftover snow from a previous snowfall. I have no photo because who takes photos of brown grass? I saw one little patch of snow by some trees. That's it.

Until last night, or really this morning, in the wee beginning hours of 2012, some snow and ice finally came. We really only got to experience it from the walk from the house to the truck at 6:30 a.m. as we headed out to the airport. So 2011 will be the year of no-snow Christmas. Darn.

Normally no big deal. But it was Eli's first Christmas. And Christmas = snow (don't worry, I know Christmas really equals Jesus). That warm "cozy up by the fire while you look outside on a winter wonderland on Christmas Eve" experience! Besides I had his cute snowsuit ready to be worn! And the photos? Oh they would have been so cute! I guess Eli will have to wait longer for his first snow experience!

The weather being so nice did have some perks. All our travels were uneventful. On our drive to Wisconsin, we actually saw a tumbleweed. TUMBLEWEED. Do you know those exist? They do. I wish I would have taken a photo of one. Flying over the road because it is SO WINDY. Seriously. Wind. Go to the Midwest if you want to really experience it. I almost forgot what wind was like. Eli's face was almost smashed in the car door a few times.

Good thing I got this cute hat for him to wear:

You can't really tell but it has ear flaps.

We arrived to a warm, sunny southern day in Charlotte this afternoon. After a quick trip to IKEA (nom nom meatballs), we headed home and arrived safely. It's been a eventful past few weeks and we are thankful for all the fun times with family and friends!

Many photos to follow!

Here's one with another Zander-side family member we saw briefly. Eli and his cousin cousin Alex! Great guy!