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!