Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Proof my in-laws are hilarious and willing to do my crazy minute-to-win-it games!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holed Up.

There is sickness taking over Bismarck. Our daycare lady's husband has pneumonia, mom has influenza A, and grandson has strep. I was supposed to work yesterday or today but did not (so we could avoid all that) and my office is closed the rest of the week... so no work for Heather! Though this afternoon Eli and I were definitely in a power struggle battle and working would have been loads easier! That kid. He's gotten pretty spoiled the last few weeks (especially when it comes to food). He was feeling much better the last two days so momma had to stop the madness. Discipline is hard and not fun but is truly good (Hebrews 11 yo).

Eli being sick made us miss out on some time with the family, but we have still had some great times! We do theme days and have had pajama day (with some serious breakfasty goodness), random bit of Star Wars day, snow day (slushburgers, chili, sausage balls... and fun snow-themed activities like snow ball fights with marshmallows!), and Downton Abbey day (my in-laws rented costumes - that's right! - and served us with the fine china authentic-ish English foods!) - though since Eli was sick that day along with Uncle Andrew, it was a less fun day than hoped.

Here's a few pics from some of the crazy!
Breakfast of Champions.

Alexia is almost a head taller than Annalee. And likes to steal her toys! We are all curious how these girls will love each other as they grow up together!
A few of us had to try on the Star Wars costumes. Chewbacca wrestled with all the kids.
Snowman Plates (and a trashed house after marshmallow battles).

Downton Abbey Day ftw!
Best Picture Ever. John is hilarious.

Doesn't she look like a 1920's baby? Yes, another dress for Annalee.

Thanks to these great hosts! Look at that slick hair! Lord
Just like Downton Abbey, minus the servants and accents and soap operaness.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Three Dresses.

Annalee has a lot of Christmas dresses... more than one girl would ever need to have!

So here's three of them:

Christmas Eve Dress, thanks to Grammy for this matches-her-bro cuteness:
Look how it poofs!

Ignore my beedy eyes and look at this girl! Glad for Auntie Jill to take a photo of me with this beauty.

Christmas Day Dress I bought for her last year:

No words! This is definitely our girl, a gift!

And the dress Lilli made sure to buy with hers so they could match:

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Eli and I have to miss out on Christmas Eve service starting in ten minutes because he's doing this: 

Poor bud just hasn't been in tip top shape since Saturday. Battling fever and a cough. But today he is especially down. He's so whiny and pathetic. We let him go with no nap for a few days but that sure caught up to him. He's on nap two. Hopefully he'll be okay for gifts and food later. But he's young enough to not know what he's missing!


Monday, December 22, 2014


We are giddy that the China crew has arrived. A few days with them around has been joyous. For Eli especially to have boy cousins around, such excitement! Lilli has been here as well and we've already had one delicious theme day!

Our still-southern-bred (?!) kids watching all the others play outside in the not-as-cold-as-it-could-be weather tonight:

And these two seven-year-olds enjoyed following Annalee around tonight:

See Greg there relaxing? Vacation is awesome! Plus my mother-in-law is a fabulous cook. 

Looking forward to the week... though I could really use a few days to wrap presents. Or my mom or the ladies from ProReNata gift shop to come help! I never understood how great it is having others wrap gifts (nicely) for you. I used to hear people be all giddy when I handed them their wrapped present with some fantastic bow after they bought something at the gift shop. I probably thought they were lame for not wanting to wrap their own gift. But now I understand. I love wrapping and paper and bows and matching greatness...but not with children around:) Must let go some of that perfectionism. No bow is ok. And Greg wrapped for me on his day off today, isn't that nice?!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Scarf + Her = Bliss.

I had a few minutes. I had a scarf. I gave her a pretzel. She was a happy camper!

Merry Christmas, love Annalee Linn!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gift Ideas.

I truly enjoy gift giving. I have to restrain myself or we would not be able to pay the bills. Seriously. I love to buy gifts.

It's hard, though, if that's not your thing. So here's a few ideas for you, if you need a 'lil kick in the pants.

One idea stems from a super great gift my husband gave me one year. It was shortly after I started working at CIU. The bookstore next to my office sold Clearly Canadian sparkling beverages in peach! So random for this small southern school bookstore to sell that gem from my childhood! I told Greg one day about them (including how much they cost, with my discount $1.22 or something like that). He remembered and later as a surprise, he made a bunch on tiny envelopes and put exactly $1.22 in each. He also put a Canadian flag sticker with funny Canadian sayings on them (this was pre-kids when he had time). He gave me probably 20 or 30 of those little envelopes. It took me a bit to figure out what it all was... but as soon as I did I loved it. Such a sweet, thoughtful gift! Now a Starbucks giftcard is not as cool... but if you happen to know what drink your gift recipient gets, you could have the card for that drink's exact amount plus city-specific tax (ie, $4.35).

Consumables. For people that are hard to buy for, consumables are great. Nothing to be stored or collecting dust. Pride of Dakota type mixes or jellies or deliciousness. I bought quite a few gifts at Trader Joes this year (mainly chocolate goodness!). Or Harry and David pears, yum! Some non-food consumable ideas: a Rosemary tree (Trader Joes yet again!), any cool plant, or decorate for them with a swanky wreath.

Supplies for something they already make/use. One year I bought Greg's grandma chocolate chip cookie making supplies (since she makes them allll the time). You could buy the flour, sugar, chocolate chips. Up it with a new pan or cool silicone spoonula (seriously, spoonula's are SO great). Or perhaps it's as simple as paper towels and paper plates because they are about to host family. Practical yet thoughtful!

Gift certificates seem not-personable. But if it's to the right place it can be somewhat personable. A bookstore for a book lover, etc. Try a certificate for something they could or should use! A fitness place if they are often talking about working out (this could backfire though). A car wash if they like a clean car. Any certificate that includes babysitting is also great. Greg's parents gave us a combo movie certificate, dinner certificate, and babysitting as a gift last year! Very great!

Sentimental. You can't go wrong with a photo in a frame. Try an old photo of family or a place. Last year I printed a photo of my dad's favorite place (the road to the hunting shack) on a canvas print. Or think back to a date or memory that makes you happy with your gift recipient and get a certificate for that restaurant, a promise of a date at that park, a reservation at that hotel, etc. Just make sure to maybe say what the connection is (for us sentimental people who can't remember!).

For babies, my co-worker told me about Indestructibles. Books made out of that tough, thin paperish stuff that envelopes are sometimes made out of. I ordered one for Annalee and Alexia this year - they are truly a GREAT book for littles because you cannot rip them! But if you really want to up this idea, Highlights has a subscription to this same type of no-tear book (but with actual words more book-like), so you could buy the kid a subscription for a year and they'd get a book a month!

For kids, Legos rarely go on sale. They are classic. Most kids like them. They sell girl-colored sets now too. They also sell just small sets if you are on a price limit.

I was going to type up some other favorite things but my child is awake. Hopefully this will get you thinking of a sweet gift!


Saturday, December 13, 2014


I spent this remarkably unique numbered day making cookies. For eight hours. Way too long but we did it and had some fun, too. 

Thanks to Greg for watching kids most of the day so we could get this accomplished. Now onto all the other projects... 'tis the season!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mr. Man.

Yesterday Eli had a Christmas program at church. He made it to a few practices but never was into doing the actions or singing. Plus missed the rehearsal. But we still decided to make it a go (partially because I knew it was only 15 minutes and the organizer said to come - though I didn't realize there was another program afterward for the older kids, whoops).

Well, our kid mostly stood there, only picked his nose once, and made a lot of his frowny face. But it was amusing to watch him! And he did stomp a few times like he was supposed to. And I got to dress him up so not a total loss.

Frowny face that is fake and will eventually make him laugh at himself:
Also yesterday he said a new funny thing: "can I have something to tie me up?" Meaning, can I have something to eat to tie me over until supper?

And he named the mouse in our garage "Washi".


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Too Close.

I feel like Thanksgiving and Christmas are too close together. Let's spread the food-family-fun-vacation love around a bit, eh? Thanksgiving should be in September or something. So much to schmoosh in a month. Here's some:

First off, my niece picked ME to write her turkey craft note for... out of all her peeps! And not every day you get thanked for having kids!
What a sweet niece!
And traveling with kids is... is.... is not the best way to spend a day. But we made it! Thankfully we stopped at Great Grandma Welle's for a night on the way there and back to break up the trip. Less screaming and a great time to see our favorite 86-year-old!
On the drive home from MN, bathroom stop.
We also got to finally meet little mister LJ, our dear friend's baby boy born five months ago. Super fun!
Here is my helper today, at the beginning stages of trimming our tree. And me trying really hard not to move the ornaments to look space evenly...
A willing helper, surprisingly!

Holidays are here!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sister Sister.

A few days with my sister, her husband and two girls is always a good thing!
Thanks for the fun, Yipperts:)


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Where In The House Is...

All of these taken in the last week or so:
She finds a way to climb about anything.
Also biting.
Anything could be a chair.

This under-table spot is a fav.

She knows this is a no-no.
But seriously, she is delightful. (sorry for the naked photo, dear)
-Her Mom

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Another Installment of Elisms.

This guy is hilarious. Sometimes he means to, other times he just is. Here are a few funny things he has said or continues to say:

  1. "When I was a little boy..." and then a story he either did experience or just made up. He sounds like he's been through a lot of years when he starts out this way.
  2. Breakfast totally sounds like "breast breast" - he can say it right he just defaults to this. 
  3. Instead of saying "I have to go to the bathroom" or "I have to poop", Eli says "I gotta get some poops out."
  4. He's into whatever is "the best" right now. Sometimes used interchangeably with favorite. Like red is his best color right now. "That's my best."
  5. "Can I have something other to eat?" - never something else.
  6. "I'm proud of you Mom" - one night last week out of the blue. 
  7. "How was your day, Dad?" - he will sometimes ask this while we are eating. In a darn adult-like way.
  8. "I'm still a little boy" when we ask him to do something he can't. 
  9. Last night he pronounced lasagna, "basagna" since he still has issues with his "l's" - ususally it comes out as a y-sound but tonight it was a b.  

And some random tidbits of Eli personality:
  1. He all-out hearty laughs OFTEN these days. 
  2. Poop/bathroom humor is now a thing for Eli. Oh dear. 
  3. Greg started a nightly tradition. He hides Eli's vitamin somewhere in his room before bed and gives Eli a clue to find it. He giggles loudly when he finds it.
  4. Eli prays the "abcdefg, thank you God for feeding me" prayer before each meal... even though mommy and daddy are super ready for a new thankful prayer to take it's spot.
  5. He will give kisses if someone gets hurt. Or if he's feeling especially grateful for something you did.
  6. Super annoying aspect of Eli now is he talks baby talk. Or growls. Either of those are not MY favorite.
  7. Eli and Greg watch this and mention it with a laugh often. 
  8. He has an amazing memory. Last week I mentioned our friend Dori and he said "Member Dori and the strawberry? We threw it in the bushes. That was funny, huh? And remember, then we were in her car." They did all that on the last day we were at our house in South Carolina.
  9. In relation, he has a great sense of direction. He knows which roads lead to certain places and will correct us if he thinks we are going the wrong way... or will pipe in "this is the way to church" or "this is not the way to Grandma and Grandpas".
  10. He has a fear of giant mosquitoes, we think. A few times he's had nightmares and he screams for us that he's scared... then mentions something about getting the mosquitoes. He's got a vivid imagination so I'm sure they are quite frightening. 
  11. He seems to have a sense of controlling excess. A few times now he's been offered something he already has (a piggy bank, candy) and he said "no, I already have one/some". Last week it was the doctor offering candy and he said no because we had some at home! Whoa!
  12. Eli loves to play "school" with Grandma. Loves it. Today he begged me to play so I went to his room and said we are going to study geography so we can learn about the world. Eli said "yeah like India." (No idea how he learned about India) and I said "yes! can you name another country?". He responded: "South Carolina." Um, not quite their own country!
  13. The boy still loves his blankies. They are the one thing he loves more than all else.
What a hoot!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Go Zoo.

In South Carolina we used to go to the zoo often. Looking back I wish we would have gone ALL THE TIME because it was really so fantastically special and only a 10 minute drive from our house!!!

I need to move photos from our computer to our external hard drive (before the computer crashes and we lose all of Annalee photos). And so I started working on deleting and filing. And that lead me to the first week in December 2012. And these lovely outside photos and I'm groaning here in the single digit weather with wind and snow... oh Lord help us stay sane!

We went to the zoo that day and I took a photo with Eli and the koala. I did that almost every time we went to the zoo. A sort of tradition, as you will. The koalas were my favorite because they had their own temperature controlled building. It smelled like eucalyptus, not poop or anything animally. And they were just fun to watch, even sleeping. And they are cute, y'all. I miss them. Anyway, someday I will make Eli a photo collage with all his Riverbanks Zoo koala photos.

Cola friends, you must go the zoo for me, okay? GO enjoy the heck out of all the amazing animals, green flowering plants, elephants, giraffes and their crazy tongues, and the tiger that rarely comes out, the lorakeets you can feed so they'll land on your head, the flippin' awesome fish you can watch, and especially the koalas. OH MY GO! It's truly so cheap and such an amazing zoo.


Thursday, November 13, 2014


It got really cold and snowy Sunday night. It's winter now. Burr. So celebrate we must.

Amy had a birthday on Tuesday. We celebrated a day late by having them and the parents over for supper. Family!

Side note: The kids and I didn't leave the house all day and it was great! Grandpa brought the carrots I needed earlier in the day, how great is that grocery service?!

Glad for Amy in our lives!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

High Tower.

I want to record this so it's remembered: Eli and Daddy lego time. They have the big duplo legos in his room (in case Annalee is near) and the actual legos downstairs. And usually every night involves Daddy building some tower and Eli crashing it. And yes, the expired lasagna noodles made a great bridge (I accidentally bought no-cook ones and never used them... who knew they would have a dual purpose). Just one of the reasons Greg is a great dad.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

WGW 2014.

Having fun at Welle Girls Weekend! Here's the crew this year minus sleeping Sarah, eating Alexia, and me photo taking:

After the three one-year-olds go to bed, games will commence and I'm sure it'll be legendary!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Look! She spells already!

Ok I maybe helped a little. 


Christmas Card.

Oh what the heck. It's on Facebook so here you go... this is our Christmas card photo, circa 2014:

Annalee was no napping it that day and was so tired but thankfully we got this shot right off the bat and she's somewhat still "with it" ... by the end she just looked zombie dazed:

But adorable yet!


Sunday, November 2, 2014


Greg's job at KAT Communication is busy. He is way, way more busy than good 'ol BCBS of SC. Way. Much more rewarding, of course, but still much more intense. He does get to be a part of some neat projects. A few weeks ago he learned how to fly a drone so he could help out getting aerial shots for video shoots. That's cool, right?

Drone. Basically a video game with a real helicopter with video capabilities.
Mesmerized by said drone.
Captivated by same drone and desperately wanting to be taken by the aliens.
And when they needed to quick do a commercial for the ND Highway Patrol and an hour before the video shoot a family was needed, Greg stepped up. I was actually working at that time but he texted and said he had to pick up the kids from daycare for a shoot. Earlier that day, we had our Christmas card photos taken. So when you get our card in the mail, you'll know because they are all wearing these same outfits from the video. You can see Greg holding Annalee in a few bits of the video. And Eli debuts at minute 2:48. How cute is he?!

Anyone want to move to ND and work for the Highway Patrol? You should. 


Wednesday, October 29, 2014


It must be recorded that Annalee took at least four steps at one time tonight. She's been taking one or two quick steps here and there but tonight was a much more intentional walk. Greg was holding a light-up princess wand thing and she was determined to go for it. And the Browns and Grandma were there to watch! Super cute to see this little darling grow! I wonder how long before crawling is a distant memory.

Eli was busy entertaining Auntie Julie and Hannah visiting from Florida. He was loving allll the attention! Sometimes I fake a British accent when reading to Eli and he says "read it normal mom" so I have to stop. I was worried he was going to tell Julie to start talking normal (she's from England and has the accent to prove it!). He didn't seem to mind what Juyee was doing as long as she was paying attention to him!

Annalee is mastering the frown I guess. She's wearing the outfit they gave her last year (9 month size, fits great still!).

A fun evening with family!


Saturday, October 25, 2014


Baby Annalee is still very little! She had her one-year check-up this week and… drumroll please…. She’s still our Little Miss 1%!

She actually grew an inch and a half since this summer but that still leaves her at 27 inches and in the 1st percentile. And (yikes) she only gained an ounce since then so she dropped down to the 12% for weight! 17lbs, 5ozs. Her head is big though! 69% on those brains! ;)

I know those percentiles don’t mean squat, really, but they are interesting. She’s growing and doing fine so we are grateful for this little miss. Just try to limit the short jokes in her life, okay?

And yes, Eli was bigger and taller at 5 months than Annalee is at 12+ months. However, Annalee crawled at 6 months and Eli didn’t until 12! Plus Annalee can take a few steps now, if she really wants. But she’s cautious and impatient enough to still choose crawling if she wants to go the distance. Kids are SO different developmentally these first years!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Holding On.

We are holding onto fall as much as we possibly can. Praise God for the awesome weather this month. Really it has been pretty fabulous for October in ND and I am so grateful. It's done something good to my soul to have some warmth left. Seeing 67 degrees in my van as I'm driving to pick up the kiddos, that helps.

At work I sometimes walk from our building to the main medical center. It's a few blocks. When it's nice, it's a lovely walk! Last Wednesday a co-worker and I were walking and I made us stop to take photos of these beautiful yellow leaves on a sweet blue sky backdrop. And today that same co-worker and I walked by those same trees:
Pretty depressing, huh?

Enjoy autumn in ND because it goes so very quickly! Seasons!

Last night we did a quick stop by Grandma and Grandpa's and enjoyed s'mores, for the first time this year, actually. Eli was a big fan of everything about our hour there!

Why we live so close to them!

And tonight Greg was working late so it was just me on the kiddos. I decided park time was in order and we would ENJOY the fact we just needed a hat to cut the cold wind. It was 25 minutes well spent (and happy to have this park a minute's drive from our house)!
Swinging Siblings
Enjoy whatever season you may have now...