29 April 2010

Randomness or Camera: No Batteries

image via Giver's Log

image via Send a Ball

I am in love with this idea of mailing a frisbee or an inflated ball.
Imagine how excited kids would be to get one of the above in the mail?
All you need is a firsbee or ball and the proper postage.

Also, my cousin, Andria, is getting hitched this weekend.
My family is very close, and a wedding with us is always a good time.
It should be quite an event,
and I'm looking forward to dancing the night away with these peeps...

(ignoring Jake and my Bro-in-law in the background)...left to right:
me, Mel, Jill (my sissy), Stephanie, Emily, Andria, Tony

There are 10 of us missing from this photo.
It's a real chore getting us ALL together for a quick pic.
Maybe, Saturday is the day...

27 April 2010

quick update...

lately, i suck as a blogger.

photoshop is on the fritz.

this puts a real damper on a couple of posts i had planned.

i feel fat.

i have a zit the size of brazil in the middle of my forehead.

that is crap because my cousin's wedding is this weekend.

i want 2 big planters for the patio.

i want good, pretty pots.

it probably won't be as cheap as i'd like.


my husband is showing me new van wheels on ebay as i type this.

how can i politely tell him to get whatever wheels he'd like because i don't care?

{i love you, jake.}

bridezillas is possibly the worst show on television.

who, on god's green earth, thinks it's okay to behave that way?

worst still, who allows people to treat them that way?

why am i so dumb that i sometimes watch it?

pete has a band-aid on his nose.

i'm not sure why.

i need to go for a run.

then to bed.


23 April 2010

My lil' scrapper.

injury: day 1

injury: day 2

Betsy fell at school, yesterday, while pushing a couple of other girls
on this merry-go-round bike thingy.
It got going to fast, and she couldn't keep up and wiped out.
It could've happened anytime, anywhere, with anyone.
With her, it breaks my heart into 10.347 more pieces than usual.
I can't help but wonder if she'll always be taken advantage of.
I'm not saying in this situation she was taken advantage of,
but this is what was running through my mind...
"Betsy, come push us, because we know you're super strong,
and you're willing to do the gigs no one wants, and we don't really want
you to ride with us, but you're good enough to push us."
Now, I know for a fact, that's not what happened.
It was innocent.
But those cursed thoughts of possible similar future situations crept in.
"Betsy, if you spray paint the side of the teacher's car,
we'll think you're super cool, and everyone will clap for you,
and you won't even get in trouble."
Wink, wink.
Stuff like that.
It's a cruel world, and let's face it,
she doesn't talk, wants to please,
and, generally, just wants to do what the gang is doing.
We all have anxieties about raising our children.
What can happen to them once they leave the safety of our homes?
Imagine for a moment that your child cannot speak,
and will do just about anything anyone asks of her.
The worry can be grueling at times.
The cherry on top is that since her communication skills are quite primitive,
I don't know how bad she hurts, if she needs Motrin,
if she'd like a backrub, or to rest in Momma's bed.
She's like a 60 lb. infant/toddler,
with 5-year-old wants and needs.
The good news is this:
she seems fine.
A little bruised, but back to her ole self.
Ten minutes after her fall, she was back to laughing and coloring.
Her teachers and therapists adore her,
and even called this morning to check in.
I couldn't ask for her to be in better hands.
Once again, my worries seem to be my own stupid hang-ups.
When is some of Betsy's outlook on life going to rub off on me.
Half the time when she looks at me,
I could swear she's saying,
"Mom, chill out!
Don't sweat all this stuff that you can't predict,
or, better yet, control.
Enough, already!"
Thank you, Betsy.
I will do my best.

22 April 2010

Global responsibiltiy.

photo of a big oak in our front yard

It's Earth Day.
I must admit for a long time
(the greater part of my 32 years)
this day didn't mean a whole lot to me.
Fun activities to do at school,
themed television shows,
save the Earth,
blah, blah, blah.
I had children.
A pull to make this planet the best it could be.
For them, their children, all children.
I had a new consciousnss.
An awakening to what throwing a diaper or a can
in the garbage really meant.
Chemicals in food, cleaning products, chemicals everywhere.
Now, I must admit...
my enlightenment can be shortlived at times.
I can't always get to Trader Joe's or buy the food I'd like,
I don't always want to rinse out every recyclable that crosses my path,
or is it feasible to clump earrands together to reduce my carbon footprint.
I am aware.
I make a concerted effort everyday.
Rosie wore cloth diapers,
our recycle been is full to the brim every week,
I buy eco-friendly cleaning products,
buy unprocessed/organic when I can,
unplug/turn things off when not in use,
and generally, try to be less wasteful.
With 4 kids, the waste can abound at times.
Although, every little bit helps.
I could do a lot better.
No doubt.
But the distance I've come is vast.
All without burning any extra fossil fuels.

20 April 2010

Does he know me or what?

This morning, as I sat here paying bills,
I was overcome with a deep satisfaction.
No, not by the remaining balance, but of how well my husband knows me.
As our 10th wedding anniversary approaches,
we decided on a simple gathering of family & friends.
Sitting outside beside a fire enjoying their company
over good food & drink.
Basically, what our ten years together have been all about.
Family, friends, togetherness.

Of course, we all have dreams.
Dreams of what an occasion of such significance
(and, this day and age 10 years is quite significant...which is totally sad)
could be if money, babysitters, and general guilt weren't an issue.
But, 'issues' they always seem to be.


He announced a surprise.
A big one.

He's taking me to Louisville to see 'The Swell Season' on May 29th.
Just days before our anniversary.
We're staying in an awesome hotel for an incredible deal
 just a block away from the venue.

Overall, I'm just amazed.
Amazed how incredible this little road-trip with him will be,
amazed at how lucky I am,
amazed at how well he knows me
to plan such a trip,
amazed at how resilient we are together,
amazed at how much we've been through in 10 years
(more than some couples in their lifetime),
amazed at the family we've created,
amazed at our over abundance of blessings,
amazed at how much he still loves me and I him.
Just amazed.

So, to recap...






I CANNOT wait!!!

19 April 2010

Pillows & Formspring.

My sewing machine may burn up, I've been using it so much lately. 

I've been making some new toss pillows out of the pillows I already had, because of the yellow I've added to the scheme around here.

Bonus: I taught myself how to make an envelope backing on them, so, I can wash them.  That is tres important around here. 

I think they turned out great. 

Next up, is putting the finishing touches on Betsy's Father/Daughter Dance ensemble.  Three to five-year-olds and their daddies dancing the night away!!!!  Is that not the cutest thing you could possibly imagine?!?!?

Also, recently, I've joined Formspring.  I'm not sure how long I'll stay {I guess it depends how you all respond to it}, but I think it's an interesting concept.  If you would like to ask me a question, all you need to do is submit it in the box near the bottom of my sidebars.  That's it.  Every so often, I will post the answers to those questions right here.  I will do my best to answer them as honestly as I can.  I hope you will want to play along. 

And, until I need to do otherwise...anything goes.  Just remember this is a fairly conservative blog.  :)

16 April 2010

'Haute' Time-Suck.

Okay, so I had a totally different post in mind for today, but I really wanted to share something with you.

I just found out about this new website called "HauteLook".  It's 'members' only, tres exclusive, but you can shop and buy just by following this link:  http://www.hautelook.com/invite/BGrebe818 .  Pretty exclusive, huh? {Said dripping with sarcasm}

Anywho, they have FANTASTIC deals on clothes for the whole family, toys, beauty products, and home items.  The designers/brands change often and new events are introduced frequently.

Here's a few of my current favs:

Jeffan Adam Square Lighted Outdoor Stool: $190.50 (but that's 60% off!)

These are just a few of the deals you can score.  There are soooo many more!  The kids clothes and toys are super deals!  Check it out, but prepared to devote some time.  It will suck you in!

You've been warned!

14 April 2010


Recently, Pete was nominated for the gifted program at school.  I will admit that I was pretty darn happy.  I, too, was in the very same program, and it was so fun & challenging. 

After a couple of days of testing, they found that not only is he gifted, he's beyond gifted (whatever that means).  The program coordinator was giddy with excitement when she went over the results with me. They want him to switch schools, so he can unleash his potential.  Yikes!  It was a lot to process. 

To say I was proud isn't quite the best way to describe it.  I mean, he didn't work towards this end.  His IQ will be high whether or not he graduates Magna Cum-Laude from Harvard or if he chooses to be a construction worker, or chef, or house painter.  Does that make sense?  He was made that way.  It just 'is'. 

Honestly, I'm not sure what I feel.  I'm happy for him because he thinks it's great, even though, he doesn't grasp what this means for him, yet.  I want to give him the reins on this one, and let him reach his own decision.  Such responsibility at age 7. 

The bottom line is this:
Betsy's IQ is about 60, Pete's is 147.  And, it doesn't mean anything.  Not a thing.  They are both hilarious, hardworking, and accomplished in their own right.  I love them both the same. 

Although, I do have to remind myself that along with the likes of Albert Einstein, Leonardo DaVinci, & Mozart stood Adolf Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer, & Ted Kaczynski. 

Hmmmmm...something to think about. 

Maybe we should allow him how to hone his mind.

13 April 2010

The making of a photograph.

First off, let us ignore the fact that this photo is of me.  It's weird and awkward, but it serves it's purpose. 

Okay, so, now that that little issue is out of the way, this story can begin.

Yesterday, it was such a beautiful day.  We took a blanket, some lunch, the camera, and ourselves out on the lawn and vegged out.  Perfect.

However, Rosie is increasingly becoming fascinated by my camera.  She's in that 'I-want-to-do everything-real-mommies-do' stage.  This includes cell phones, lip gloss, purses, babies, strollers, checkbooks, etc.  It is cute, and not a bit annoying.  Not one bit.

I had finished taking a bunch of photos of the girls and was laying down on the blanket when the 'busy body' came over and wanted to take pictures of me.  This is just out of the question.  For several reasons...

1. My camera costs more than all the shoes in my closet put together, AND all of the clothes, AND possibly all of the furniture in the house.  Of course, I'm thrifty, cheap, and repurpose everything, but still.
2. I have the additional battery pack on my rig which makes it weigh about 43.893 lbs., and that little lady has a tough time holding it, let alone operating the shutter WHILE holding it.
3. I try not to encourage her touching things I'd rather her not touch on any given day.  It's just easier that way.

BUT, I was feeling sentimental, I was trying to be in the moment, and was telling myself she won't be this interested in me forever, and I should really embrace it.  So, I put the camera on the blanket, fooled with the settings a bit, and told her to snap to her heart's content without 'holding' the camera off of the ground.  She was estatic, I was relieved, and the whole process began.

Out of 6,839 pictures that she took of me, I thought this one was pretty decent.  Here it is straight out of the camera (SOOC). 

She can really find the light.  No?

It was such a decent photo, in fact,  that it required few edits.  Even with my huge pores, and complete lack of make-up...even Chapstick.


Here's what I did: {all in Photoshop CS4}:

1. Creative cropping...do not underestimate the power of the crop.  It is, by far, the most powerful editing tool.
2. I LIGHTLY feathered out some of my ginormous pores.  I have found that the key to these types of edits is to adjust the opacity so it looks natural, otherwise, you will look like a plastic Barbie.  That's never good, unless, of course, you ARE a Barbie.
4. I painted out the large veins in the whites of my eyes.  This really makes the eyes pop.  Also, it's really quick & easy to do.
5. Finally, I blew out the exposure on the photo.  I played with this a bit until I thought it looked right by creating a layer and using the lighten tool.  Sometimes, blowing it out too much can backfire on you.  It worked on this one.  I have discovered that increasing the exposure can decrease the appearance of ugly-type shadows, and even wrinkles in some situations.  Score!  In this case, it even brought out the high-lights in my hair.

And, that's it.  It took about 5 minutes of quick edits, and the result is pretty astounding.  Don't forget...let's not focus on the fact that the photo is of me.  I'm referring to the photo itself, not the subject matter.  Honestly, I wish she had snapped Betsy or even the dog.

I am also a huge fan of Pinoeer Woman's Photoshop Actions.  Although, I tried to do my own thing on this photo, I do love them.  They are free, easy, and can make a crappy photo look incredible.

Moral of the story:
Even a 3-year-old can take stellar photographs. 

Watch out, Annie Leibovitz!

P.S.  I have started running, again.  Alas, I think another toe-nail is going to pass on.  All the runners out there...is it time for new shoes? 

10 April 2010


Hello, everyone!
May I introduce Sheep & Mr.Chair?
They are the newest additions to the Grebe home.
Sheep was purchased with Rosie's very own Easter money.
I allowed it because what home with children doesn't need
ANOTHER stuffed animal?
Certainly not ours. That's for sure.
I love those little incubators of germs and disease. 
However, he has found such a nice home on Mr.Chair.
Rosie agrees.
And, obviously, she is in charge.

{I cannot put it off any longer}
I would like you to say 'howdy' to my secret project.
The one with the scrumptuous fabrics.
It is only half complete, but I am so proud.
Fish Scale skirt, say hello to your public!
This skirt has it all:
pretty fabrics, upcycling, movement, happiness, handmadeness, love, sweat,
 tears, messy edges, colors, sweat, tears, sweat, tears.
You name it...
it's got it.

I now know why certain clothing is so expensive.
The shear amount of time it takes to make certain garments is astounding.
But, since it's for me, and it keeps me from wasting my time in so many
other arenas, it's okay.

Don't you think Fish Scale skirt would look pretty sitting in Mr.Chair?
Maybe with Sheep in its lap?
Rest easy, my friends...
upon completion it's a promise.

If Rosie will allow it, of course.

09 April 2010

Come one, come all!

If you live in the South County Saint Louis area...
stop by.
There will be LOTS of fantastic junk!
Hope to see some of you there!
I may even give you a cake ball.
We'll see...

08 April 2010

Easter Photo Essay

Can you see the 80+ eggs we hid?
What's that you said?
That's because we are that good!

these kids are better!
They found them all in approximately 11.67 minutes.

they got to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

this one is for you.
Especially, for you.

While all the other kiddos were riding or scooting...
Uncle Brent took Bets for a ride.
A highly assisted and supervised ride.
Thanks, Uncle Brent.

Did I ever tell you my folks are Senior BMX champs?
Well, that's because they aren't.
But, they look like they are.
Don't they?
They have mad skillz.

There were pretty cookies.
And, then...
there were crabby kids.

This about sums up the final hour or so we were at my Ma & Pop's.
Yes, that's a corn cob.
{She held it & gnawed on it all afternoon.}
And, yes, she is throwing a

Time to go!

Hope you all had an equally enjoyable Easter!

Sadly, I forgot my camera when we went to Jake's parents' house
for brunch after church.
But, we had a great time there, too.
I highly recommend Miss Paula Deen's Baked French Toast
with praline topping.
I {heart} butter.

05 April 2010

The difference a year makes.

Easter 2009

Easter 2010

Time is not a mother's friend.
There is never enough of it in a day.
Obviously, for mundane duties: laundry, cooking, cleaning.
But, the good stuff, too: cuddling, playing, running, laughing.
Don't get me started on the speed at which it travels.
It slips away too quickly.
One day, your first born 7 lb. 12 oz. bundle
is a shoe size away from MEN'S shoes and talks about girls with his friends (whaaat?).
The second born who came screeching into the world at 8 lbs. 6 oz.,
and who was a late walker is being asked to be in the gifted program (amazing).
Numero 3, our first little girl weighing 7 lbs. 7 oz.,
is off to kindergarten in the fall and sets the table at dinner (never thought we'd see the day).
And the youngest bundle who was placed in my arms at 8 lbs. 1 oz.,
is as tall as kids in kindergarten and says words like 'appreciate', 'ridiculous', and 'ferocious'
(oh, the mouth on that one).

Every mother thinks their kids are the best, the greatest, the end all be all.
I am certainly no exception.
But, this Easter, I was struck with just how special they each are.
How quickly they're growing and becoming so independant.
Such indiviuals, so unique.
Like it happened overnight or something.
These little people just begging to be loved, and nurtured, and praised, and disciplined.
Tiny humans that Jake and I made and placed where there was no one before.
A choice we made for them without their input,
and now left needing an example of how to live laid before their feet.
Good, strong, positive role models.
Ones who practice what they preach.
Early to rise, early to bed.
3 squares a day, a clean, happy home.
After all, it's the least we can do.

When they have that, they will teach it and give it to their children.
The cycle will continue.
Parents who love & respect their 'teeny' spirits.
                                                Parents who love & respect one another.
                                                   Parents who love & respect others.
Parents who may make mistakes, but learn from them and get it right the next time.
Parents who aren't selfish.
Who don't just look out for '#1' but notice what others might be needing.
Not texting at the park while their kids play,
but playing right along with them.
Not dragging them to the gym daily to sneak in a workout,
but taking a walk with them or
waking up before they do to get their exercise on.
Not reading a magazine while they color,
but coloring beside them.
Not telling them, "Not right now, I'm folding laundry.",
but getting off your tail and seeing what it is they want/need.
(I am so guilty of that one. Yikes!)

I know it's not always realistic.
But, it's definitely doable.
Actually, more often than not it's doable.
We only get one chance at this.

They need us more than they'll ever be able to tell us.

Oh, and...
Happy Birthday, Mummy!
You are one silly, adventurous lady of 56 years young.
I love you!

04 April 2010

Happy Easter!

And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
1 John 2:25

03 April 2010

$50 makeover, I think.

Nice, but dark.
I wanted to lighten up.
You know, have my surroundings work their magic on my insides.


Alrighty, here's the $50 breakdown...

hand-me-down yellow & white sheers (thanks, sissy): $0
quart of yellow Martha Stewart paint: $12
yellow/turquoise spraypaint: $12
assorted fabric: $20
Goodwill child's chair: $9
Goodwill ceramic owl: $3
faux sheepskin: $5
Target plates: $10.20
Homegoods pillow: $5

TOTAL:  $76.20

I totally lied.
It was the $76 makeover.
My bad.
Told ya I make up all of my numbers.
But, I also got projects done in the living room,
hallway, and kitchen.
So, let's figure it like this...
$76 divided by 3 rooms
comes to approximately $25.33.
Not bad.
Not bad tat'all.
Bright & cheery.

02 April 2010

Dough & downstairs.

This is one of my new favorite things.
It's pizza dough from Trader Joe's, and it is awesome!
Not only does it taste good,
but it's very versatile.
You can use it to make rolls, breadsticks, calzones, bread.
If you brush a bit of honey on it after you roll it out for pizza, it's so yummy!
It's all natural, too.
Best part...
it's $.99 a bag!!!
I highly recommend picking up a bag.
AND, the kettle corn in the pink & white striped bag.
$1.99, 4 ingredients, A+.

Also, I've posted lots of photos of the basement.
It still needs some finish work, but I figured it's about time.
You can take a look right here.

Have a great Easter weekend!
Hope you all get lots of eggs in your basket {but mostly chocolate}!