Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Gift Ideas!

I LOVE (truly I do) LOVE giving gifts. I like shopping for good deals and sweet things that people didn't even know they wanted until you gave it to them or at least, making people smile because they were thought of. If I had endless time and money... oh man! Watch out world! I'd knock your socks off with warm fuzzies of affection.

So while two kids are napping, instead of wrapping or cleaning or packing, here's some nifty gifty thoughts:
  • If someone has recently moved into a new place... a welcome mat is a fun and sweet gift. Just did this for a dear co-worker and noticed she had it out last week. Plus you can get darn cute ones. 
  • NOISE MACHINES are the bestest. Like a fan but without the air and various tones to the wirrrrr. They are well worth $49. They go on sale once or twice a year for $35. I just bought us one more because I'm scared ours will go kaput. I (try) not have Evan used to this but I hate shushing our big kids all the time during his nap. Travelling in a hotel? Hearing annoying neighboors in the floor above you? Your brother-in-law snores when he comes to visit? Answer: NOISE MACHINE. You're welcome, sleep. 
  • Napkins! I do love me a CONSUMABLE gift that won't collect dust especially for the folks that have everything. Everyone likes nice, disposable, possibly-themed napkins. Target had some I bought my mama that I find so stinking adorable for winter but really, anytime of the year is a good idea for napkins. This also falls under the "think of something they use then you could get a nicer, more expensive version" - another idea when gifting.  
  • Gifts with a purpose... the Syria mess got me all up in arms and so I stumbled on this gift catalog with items made by refugees. Make sure your organization is legit and money actually goes to your cause instead of "administrative costs." Again, great for folks that don't need anything. 
  • For moms, personalized jewelry (the cool, not cheesy kind) with their kiddos names (definitely include any in heaven here too) are going to be a win. 
  • Smartwool socks. Oh man these are awesome. 
  • Tiny screwdriver. We use our free one all the time. Handy! Tiny! Cheap!
  • Amazon prime. $99 but would be a great gift for anyone because free shipping! free music! free books! a feeling of status and "no problem that party is Saturday! I can prime that!"
  • White Elephant? Try passive aggressive notes! Hilariousness. 
  • Sorel. Merrell. Uggs. Fancy, expensive boots or slippers or shoes. Not easy to pull this off, but we all need good, supportive, cute footwear. Our elderly future feet will thank us. 
  • Massive quantities of something they use daily or often. One year I got my dad thirty (fifty, maybe) fingernail clippers because he always has one and always looses them. 
  • For anyone that writes lists, awesome paper or sharpies are a win. I own so many, many markers and pens and yet, I feel I can never have enough good writing utensils. 
  • Gift basket you come up with! Target. Go to the "dollar spot" section and just have fun. Add some items from personal care (everyone needs nice shampoo or tissues or toothbrushes). If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joes or ALDI, add dark chocolate or other such goodies. Done. Add a gift card if you need more umphf. 
  • On the gift card line, boring some may say but you can make it more creative with the "presentation". My bro-in-law always makes fun of Kohls for being "not a sustainable business plan" and so their date-night JL Beers gift card was wrapped in three Kohls boxes stuffed with the fifteen Kohls bags I had around. Har har. 
  • If you want to get something but don't have it or need to wait for a better price, etc, make a scavenger hunt (or some other game/poem) that ends with a photo or description of the item (or you could just wrap that). That extra effort will make-up for the item not being there (probably).  
  • If you are buying for someone not living in their "home" state or country, something from home at Christmastime will melt them. A necklace with the shape of their state. An art print of home. Something that shows them familiar. 
  • Mini spatulas for kitchen folks. LOVE my mini spatulas. Get them about anywhere these days. 

Kids and Babies
  • Plan Toys makes some pretty cute toys and games. We have one from there, nicer wooden. So cute. In that same vein, HABA toys (including some of the cutest little red-headed dolls).
  • Books. Greg would put this a-o #1 on his list too. But for kids, a good book that engages them is always a win. Dragons Love Tacos is hilarious (cheaper on Scholastic). Try Better World Books for used fun. 
  • Legos. Just a great gift for a long many years. Mr. Eli may be getting the Millennium Falcon and I'm fairly certain his dad will have just as much, if not more, fun putting it together. 
  • Magformers are great because they'll span ages. Kohls sells them so you can use a deal there. They do go on sale so don't buy for regular price. 
  • Go handmade etsy or local if they seem to have everything... there's always an adorable idea that's not mainstream that will be a hit. 
  • Scripture Lullabies. Such amazing music. Goes on sale over Thanksgiving each year for 30% off. So calming and not annoying. Such a win. 
  • Baby bibs. All the rage and so darn useful. Make sure they are absorbent materials. 
  • Fun band-aids. Because you don't want to cover a boo-boo (or made-up boo boo) with plain, brown boring. 
And no matter who, they will appreciate a thoughtful photo gift. I did photo books for my nine-year-old niece and my 73-year-old dad. Shuttefly has free codes, often, A bit of a learning curve but well worth the time. Otherwise, just print a photo and buy a frame. Sometimes people just don't have the energy to buy a frame for a certain photo. If you gift it to them all done, wha-lah! Just don't judge if you don't see it on display at their house. Ha! 

Okay naptime is ending. That'll get you thinking, folks!


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

ELK - Six Months.

Our sweet baby is half a year old!

And because he thought he should help this tired mama to remember, he did two milestones this morning: popped his second tooth and rolled over from his tummy to back (first tooth and rolling from back to tummy happened earlier). What a baby!

look at these thighs!

He won't have his six-month well baby check until the first week in January but he's got to be getting close to 20 pounds. Heavy baby!

What else!? He smiling often. Still doesn't sit up on his own. Loves milk. We tried feeding avocados mixed with my milk but he was not a fan and had quite the gag reflex. Hope to try brown rice cereal soon. He has dry skin issues, sadly. The other two didn't ever have that this early. Evan is working on a schedule and will hopefully fill me in on what that is soon. He giggles at Eli's antics and smiles at his sister. I'm still the favorite. He wears six month size but also 9-12 month items (long torso, sort legs, round!). Its crazy cold so I'm happy with all footed items to keep him snug. He is happy if he's full, usually. He will take a bottle when I'm not around. He likes to lay on the play mats and bat at the toys. He will give me one longer stretch at night, usually. He likes toys that he can put in his mouth and scrunch and play with. His car seat pull toy is a favorite. He loves sitting in the high chair and watching the rest of us. He babbles cuteness often.

Evan Lloyd, you are a joy! We are exiting the baby baby phase and entering into the "wow, look what you can do now!" stage. I love to snuggle you close, breath in and exhale happily being your mama. I kiss your side forehead fifty times a day. I love to say "Hi Evan!" when I come into your room to see you... or sometimes "Hi bubs!" "Hey Bubba" or "Good Morning Evan Bedevan!"

You are currently pooping one of the longest, loudest occurrences in your lifetime as I type this. Oh bud, here we go again to change your cute bum.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Going Home Final.

On the doorknob to Evan's closet is the brown going home outfit. The one Maelee was supposed to wear but didn't get to. My mom embroidered her name on it and we all hated it was empty. When Eli came to be, we rejoiced in getting to put his name on it and bring him home from the hospital in it.
Eli in the outfit. April 29 2011.
And then again when we carried Annalee into Grandma and Grandpa's home (our temp home at that time). And it was sweet having Maelee's name in pink, Eli's in blue, Annalee's in yellow. And even though I thought we were done, we got another babe to add to it all. Evan wore it in June home from the hospital. A tribute to her all tied up with a wee bit of snarkiness "damn it, I will be worn."

So it's been hanging there and I keep thinking I ought to get a few photos of it worn while we still have a baby to fit into it! And our little five-and-a-half-month sweetie is a big 'en already so it had to be done (ideally months ago). But we squished him in it yesterday as a last tribute to this special going-home outfit that perhaps my grandkids will wear someday!!?

Dear me, he is something.

And the sister on earth found this white dress given to us and she has fallen in love with it, wearing it and prancing and dancing and singing and... praying in it! No idea why, but she has broken out in thankful prayers the few times she wore it. By chance I snuck a photo of her at the right moment and it's preciousness all in its own right.

These redemptive moments are treasured deep in my mama heart.