Saturday, September 29, 2012


Today I figured out how to use my food saver machine (see line in post below). I need to find an old to-do list just so I can have that euphoric, marvelous feeling of crossing it off.

You listy people with a thing for completion know what I mean. Done. Check. Bam.

Perhaps I should list my outstanding to-do's on the blog so that I'm more motivated to get 'er done?

Na, that's a little TMI.

Not only did I get that done today, but I just made one huge batch of apple crisp, one apple pie and one apple crumb pie to freeze for the next weeks.

While Eli and Greg were out doing yard work (man time) and I was fluting my crust, I had a missing Maelee moment. How wonderful would Saturdays be with her in the kitchen with me, showing her how to make pie crust, talking about the great women bakers that she comes from? In our matching sweet aprons?

Miss that girl and all that we could have had as a mother/daughter duo.

I also had a moment of recognizing how much work it is to core/peel/slice apples... without that little doo-hicky of a machine. I want that. Mom, can I have yours?

And before I put my pie in the freezer (using my MIL's recipe), my darling of a husband gave me quite the compliment "it looks just like my mothers". Now the true test is if it tastes like his mothers... but I'm only 30. I need to bake about 500 more pies to even get remotely close to that status!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I am a list person. To the extreme.

I have always been a list person. My dad loves to recall the to-do lists I would make as child. Back then, I'd have them right down to the minute "9:05 - 9:13 tidy up a bit" and so forth. I'm really not exaggerating. It was pretty bad. I spent way more time writing lists than actually doing anything.

And um, I think I still struggle with that. I have a notebook that I've been writing all my lists in and I have a lot of un-crossed-off line items. Page after page I just keep having to rewrite the same thing because I'm not getting it done. Of course I have to start new lists, half-completed lists are no way to start my day. I swear I've written "figure out food saver machine" on my to-do list for nine months.

Today I had a little freak out moment in accepting that I cannot get all I want to done. I cannot do everything I want. If I only did what I wanted to do every day, maybe I could try to master my lists. But if I want to be a good mom, I'm not going to accomplish as much every day. I will not get to complete everything.

Why this epiphany? Eli has been consistently having a two-hour afternoon nap every day. It's been great. I was getting pretty confident in this schedule, this long stretch of daily me-time. Today? Today Eli took one 45-minute nap. That's it. And I had such a looong list for my time today. Some boring things (make appointments, go through mail), some fun things (finish Eli's personalized family board book, work on free photo book, get my autumn decor out), some needed things (make supper, use up fresh stuff before it goes bad/find recipes, pick up Cheerios from floor) and on and on.

I have to choose, then, what gets done each day. What's important. I want a nice completed to-do list every day. But I need to accept that in this stage of life, that's probably not going to happen. And that's okay. [This is me telling myself that's okay.] I have an Eli and I'm a stay-at-home mom and that's pretty fan-flippin-tastic. I get to be gloriously busy and overwhelmed.

Sidenote: I do choose to do some selfish things to keep me sane like Pinterest and blogging and facebook... I could cut those out and get some more stuff done, but for now, the good of those outweighs the loss of time. Usually.

So I was going to edit this photo. I have quite a bit of photos to edit and organize, actually. And well, it's not going to happen anytime soon. So you get this really gray-ish photo. Oh well. It's us. Happy, blessed and glad to be alive.

Now who is going to come clean up these Cheerios?


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Apple Picking.

Growing up we had a crab apple tree. Every other year it had a butt-load of tart, tiny apples. Excellent pies and crisps and other desserts but usually not awesome off-the-tree goodness.

Yesterday I learned that if there were a competition in my soul of North vs South, the South would win in apple growing/picking category.

We spontaneously went apple picking yesterday. We drove to the mountains for a few hours. We were heading to a yummy bakery and were gladly sidetracked by the you-pick apple place. The orchard is huge. There were a ton of people there. Granted many were standing in a line as long as a football field to get apple cider doughnuts... which we did not get this time (oh man did they smell good).

They have probably 10-15 different types of apples growing on acres and acres of land tucked on one of the first mountains you hit shortly after you enter North Carolina from I-26.

Do you see him in there?
I was determined to find one I could reach that was good enough to pick...thankfully they had short trees full too!
At one point, Eli face planted into the ground. It was hard walking on a mountain with apples all over the ground to trip you up.
Apple Orchard + Mountains = Family Photo Op!
So peaceful!
I also learned that I don't ever want to go picking without Greg. His tallness and abnormally long arms are prime for picking! He did get stung once by a hornet so it wasn't without its pain.

We (mostly Greg) picked almost a 1/2 bushel of apples (whatever that is) and it cost $14. Here's most of our loot (minus the few we've eaten):

Ya'll should be glad I don't have a smart phone and Instagram. Seriously. There would be so many apple photos this week.


Happy 2nd Birthday Ava Maelee Linn!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Year of Fours.

Eli has been in size four diapers for one year. A whole year. I just got out the journal we kept through his first year. On exactly September 19 last year we wrote we were trying out size fours since he kept peeing through the threes. He grew through each size so quickly, I figured we'd be in 9's in a year.

Kidding. Sort of. I didn't know much about diaper sizes back then.

I'm glad for this year of watching our baby grow and change and live. I want to treasure these days and not wish them away. Because really, they do go fast.

This is what our boy looked like a year ago. What a lovely chunk.  

So smooshable!

-Little Man's Mom

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nose Picker.

I'm going to post some photos that make me smile. I need a smile. Maybe you do, too.
I posted this on facebook last week. I think it made a lot of people smile.
Trying to make pie with my "helper" is not as easy.
I was getting Eli undressed for bath when he requested his squeaky shoes. He also learned that his big head is heavy and if he lays it on the floor, it's not as heavy. Now he does this often.
Our NC friends came for a quick visit. Bliss is one sweet possibility for future wife of Eli, if I have a say!
Another lady said to me at the store today "He really looks like Greg, doesn't he?"
There. Just seeing these photos makes my day better.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Snow Gear.

As a native North Dakotan, I sometimes can't believe our son has a South Carolina birth certificate. He's a southerner! Most of the time I am just fine with that, it's part of his story no matter if we are here two years or twenty. I'm sure as he gets older certain cultural things will define him. I can just imagine if, say, he went to day care, how thick his little accent would be!

"Eli is a South Carolinian" was made hilariously obvious to us this week after a little coat and boots incident. With two trips planned to the north in upcoming months, I felt it wise to buy a winter jacket and snow boots for Eli. Being the savvy shopper I am, I found them for super cheap at a consignment sale ($4 jacket, $2 boots). I did want to try them on Eli when I got home just to see, hoping them to be slightly big.

I got the gear on and tried to get Eli to stand up so I could step back and take a look. But Eli just wouldn't stand. Then Greg was there helping as we realized he couldn't stand up. He fell over in a lump. It was too heavy, this winter gear. He didn't know how to function with this extra weight. And my-oh-my was it funny. I know parents aren't supposed to laugh at their children this much but we couldn't help it.

And yes, my camera was near and I remembered to document both the slug that was our child and the parent laughing:

He doesn't even have snow pants on!
I do recall the dread of putting on the marshmellow jacket, snow pants, hat, mittens, scarf, and boots each day. Multiple times (to school, recess if it wasn't too cold, back home). And those poor teachers that had to help dress us and probably just wished we'd get the heck out of there so they could have some peace. Plus not yelling at the kid that has to go pee once he is finally ready. Peal off the layers. Repeat. Except this time the snow pants are wet from thawing out on the coat rack and now you have to sort of squeeze a kid in there, tell them to suck it in and hope for the best.

Whew. So many winter gear memories. I suppose that's what I get for growing up in North Dakota, where the winter is never too far. Perhaps kids now don't walk home and therefore, do not need the arsenal of winter gear that we once had. Yes, I walked to and from my elementary school (thankfully only a few blocks away). Walking in two feet of snow up hill both ways. Ha. Dad joke came full circle.

Well, here's to hoping Eli figures out how to maneuver in snow gear soon.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stitching in Time.

My dear friend Cindy has an etsy shop and I'm going to shamelessly plug it.

If you need something cute crocheted for a baby, she's your person. A crocheted hat has become my go-to baby gift. I love them on girls because you can do big sweet flowers. But Eli's leaf hat he wore was super adorable and boy-ish so these things work for boys, too.

I asked Cindy if she would make a teeny-tiny rainbow on a white hat for a friend having a rainbow baby boy last month. I was worried it would look girly, but indeed it works for a boy! I love this hat. I'm going to buy one for every new rainbow baby I know! And you should do the same. Really, I guarantee their parents will appreciate you acknowledging their baby journey, their loss/the storm and the joy and promise that has come.

Considering I thought the term rainbow baby sounded stupid when I first heard it, I've really gotten into it, eh?

Here's the hat up close and on the sweet rainbow baby last month!

Sweet, eh?

Go here to visit Cindy's Etsy Shop: Stitching in Time.

Cindy has also made the main part to Eli's Halloween costume: a Yoda hat. Adorable, it will be! I can't wait to share photos of that sweetness.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hands Down!

Eli and I did a little hand print craft for his grandparents and great-grandparents last week (inspired by a Pinterest pin... but I made into a card form):

Indeed they are all the best! Happy Grandparents Day 2012!


PS - yes, that left hand print is mighty sad but hey, it's hard to do perfectionism-pleasing hand prints with a 16 month old... I say it just made each of the cards more special:)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lake Beaches.

Lake beaches are far better than ocean beaches.

I just heard someone gasp. I know I heard someone say "Amen." And if I had to guess/stereotype, the first is a southerner and the latter, a northerner. Well, a northerner that says Amen out load, if those exist.

I grew up a flat-lander and about as far from the ocean as you can get in the US. It makes sense that I enjoy what I am used to.

Saltwater isn't enjoyable for me. And the majority of that is because 1. I'm short and 2. I'm not a great swimmer. Translate: the water always gets into my eyes/contacts and it stings plus it gets into my mouth and it's gross.

Lake water is much nicer because there is no saltiness. Sometimes there is gross algaeness though so you pick your lakes wisely.

Now up in ND/MN, the lakes are nice and cold. Down here, the first time we went to one it felt like bath water. Not refreshing. We went in the heat of summer, however, so we gave it another try when we went sailing two years ago. Much better.

And today Eli and I went to Lake Murray public beach. It's not even 20 minutes from our house. Water was great. Eli loved it, up until he got so tired he didn't know up from down. We were only there maybe two hours and I can tell my back in sunburned. I applied sunscreen on Eli three times (once before we left the house because you are supposed to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before being in the sun... things us red-heads need to know). I hope he doesn't have his first sunburn. I'd like to delay that inevitable as long as possible.

Ball at beach.
Yes, this happened.
Too bad Daddy is at work.
I go back and forth... sometimes this get-up is cute, other times dorky. Both?
Really, a great way to spend a Friday.

We had to have fun today because the last few weeks and upcoming few weeks are hard not being in North Dakota with family. My whole family was together over my dad's birthday. They went fishing in Canada and farming with my uncle. And today Greg's whole family are together for the first time in almost three years with the China crew's arrival. This weekend they are celebrating Marian and Lilliana's birthdays. Our sweet nieces are FIVE (M on the 26th, Lilli today!). Ya'll, it is hard to not get to watch your nieces and nephews grow in person.

Be expecting more beach photos, this mama enjoyed our lake beach and plans to visit more often!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


It freaks me out how much Eli absorbs from us. It's remarkable, really. He figures things out so quickly. We were on the porch last week when he found my watering can and this is what he did right away:

He knew what it was for! I'm not sure how... I really don't water my flowers that often (thus why I plant the type of flowers that can go days without water in this blasted southern heat). I suppose now if I forget to water, I have Eli to remind me.


Saturday, September 1, 2012


I swear my husband should write jingles for a living. He makes up songs that are so darn catchy. I've had "banana, banana, eli eats banana.... banana, banana, eli eats banana today! today!" in my head for two days.

If you heard him sing it, you'd understand.

Greg is also excellent at reading stories. He adds voices to almost every story he reads. Plus extra sound effects or words. Because of that, Eli has certain absolute favorite books. If you don't read them like Daddy does, then he looks at you with concern.

One of Eli's latest favorites is "Happy Birthday Pookie." Eli used to hate this book. He wouldn't even let us get through the first page even though he loved other Pookie books. Somehow he let Greg read it (with voices of course) and now certain phrases are said often in our house.

"But it's my burfday!"

And since yesterday was Greg's birthday, that Pookie phrase was said probably fifty times. Yes, our lives have definitely changed with Eli around. We sure sound a lot sillier but we laugh much more.

The big 32 wasn't overly exciting for our most beloved husband and father.... but just having Eli and I in his life makes it special, eh? 

Reading "Happy Birthday Pookie" together.

Love those two!