Uncommon Goods for an Uncommon Guy

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This week we celebrated Cortney’s 37th birthday. I have mentioned before that my love language is the giving and receiving of gifts.  I do love to get presents, but I truly love to give them as well. In a perfect world, I would have unlimited funds at my disposal strictly for random purchases for people I love, just to make them smile.

I love birthday and Christmas lists as much as the next guy, but what I really love is seeing something that makes me think of a friend or family member and knowing they have to have it.

And then I married a guy who is impossible to shop for.

Ok, that is not true. He is not impossible to shop for; it’s extremely hard to find something that elicits any sort of an emotional reaction whatsoever. A smile and a bit of a nod is the best I’ve gotten. In fact, this guy is so hard to excite with gifts, that if I can get him to smile big enough that his dimples make an appearance, I know I have done good.

Which means every December is a challenge since it’s his birthday AND Christmas. He makes a {relatively lame} wish list that I give out to our moms and siblings, and then I am stuck with nothing but my imagination and Eddie and Charlie telling me “get him a tool or a shirt with a bear on it.”

This year, I did a happy dance when Uncommon Goods contacted me to showcase some of their gift ideas. I have been a long-time fan of theirs because their products are so unique and fit most any budget. In fact, you can check out gifts for under $50 here and for under $25 here.

I also love Uncommon Goods because they contribute to some fantastic Not For Profits: RAINN (The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), American Forests, Women for Women International, and one very close to my heart Reach Out & Read. In fact, Uncommon Goods has donated over one million dollars over the past fifteen years to charities around the world. I LOVE THAT!

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Cortney is a fan of craft brew beers. A super fan, you might say. In fact, we went out to a local pub for his birthday and someone suggest he get a Backwoods Bastard from Founders and he declined because “I have had it before.” Even though he really loves it. Uncommon Goods had sweet growlers, and I was able to get him a stainless steal copper one.

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Now he can fill up and keep a favorite beer in the fridge, but still try “new to him” ones when we are out. It’s a win!

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I also picked him out a beer cap map of the United States. DO YOU SEE THE DIMPLES!?  I did it! He was surprised AND impressed! It’s a unique gift that is so very right up his alley. He LOVES to hit up the local beer store that has a wide variety of craft brews and pick up a “mixer sixer”. Now he can keep the caps of those he really loved.

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The big question is…will he just put in any that he loves, or will he try to keep each cap near the state it came from? Decisions, decisions!

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Of course, because I had a wee little left to spend and because Uncommon Goods has such awesome stocking stuffers (no really, they are awesome. Go check them out), I got myself a little something too. I had to feed my writer self a bit, you know.

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And since I am a bit obsessed with leaving my words behind, I got this fun journal that has prompts in it that sort of time capsule who I am and what my life is like.

I absolutely love Uncommon Goods. Love them. I am pretty sure they have gifts for absolutely everyone–you can find something special for every taste and hobby and personality. Plus they have a fun blog that I love to check out because it’s full of what they call “Uncommon Knowledge”.

Anyway, thanks to Uncommon Goods, I saw Cortney’s dimple come out for both of his gifts. And then again this weekend when we took him to TripleRoot and they brought him some birthday cookies.

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Because every local brewery gives you cookies for your birthday, right? RIGHT!

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Disclaimer: Uncommon Goods provided me with with product and payment for my post, however I was able to choose the product, and then opinions are 100% mine (and Cortney’s). I have been a big fan of Uncommon Goods for gifts for a long time, so I was delighted to be able to work with them to make Cort’s birthday dimple-worthy.

a gift

My dad works with his hands.

His job, for a very large office furniture company (Herman Miller), is Model Maker.  Simply put, the designers create new visions of chairs and desks and partitions and other office furniture things and my dad makes work models.  He takes their vision and makes them into something tangible.

From there, he works with the designers to get out the “bugs” before anything can go to production.

My dad has always worked with his hands.

Not only can he–in my mind–fix anything, but he can create things too.

When he had children, he made us blocks.

When my parents finally replaced their 1970’s TV which had it’s own metal, rolling stand to hold it, my dad created cabinets out of oak for the new TV and for my mom’s stereo.

When my brother was being potty trained, he built him a bathroom stool.

When I decided in elementary school that I wanted to paint little wooden animals, he made me some.

When my mom wanted a shelf in the bathroom for her nicknacks, he made it and hung it.

When my brothers needed big boy beds, my dad designed and built them bunk beds.

And there has been more.

That is why, when it was time for Eddie to move out of the nursery and into a Big Boy bed, I asked my dad if he would mind making bunk beds for my boys.

I knew it was a big thing to ask.

Yes, he has made them before, but it’s not something you just whip up on a free weekend.  It takes a LONG time.  Especially since my dad is a perfectionist.

But he said yes.

And proceeded to cut down the tree for the type of wood he wanted to use.

That’s right, he didn’t go to the lumber yard or to Lowes for wood, he chopped it down and dried it himself.

I told you, he’s a perfectionist.

He started the whole process this past fall.  Last Sunday after months of work, most of which was recounted step by step to my mother, he was done..  My patient wonderful mother.

The past few months were filled with measurement double-checks and stain choices…until finally we got the big reveal.

fuzzy because I had a toddler moving me around.

He came over and put together one of the bunks for the bunk beds.  Of course, we only need one right now.

But he had a surprise for us.

After all those months of asking questions and buying new tools and machines just for the bed-making, he managed to add a little something.

Yup, my dad did that.

Cort saw it first as my dad was putting the bed together.

“Oh wow,” he uttered softly.

I was like, “what??”

And then I saw it.

And then the tears burned in my eyes.

My dad kept working at putting the bed together without saying much.

After they left, I ran my fingers over the letters.

I thought about how my kids sleep in the beds he made for my brothers when they stay at grandpa and grandma’s house.  And someday, God willing, when Eddie and Charlie’s kids stay at our house, they can sleep in beds with their dads’ names on them.

My dad isn’t just making beds.  He is making family heirlooms.

Something that we will have for always even when we are all gone.  Something for my boys to have.  And their kids.

bed made by my dad, quilt and matching pillows made by Cort's grandma Sluiter

My dad isn’t finished with Charlie’s bunk yet, and I told him  he could take some time off since we have a while.

He said, “Oh, I was planning to.  I have other things on my To Do list for a bit.”  Then he chuckled.

Because he’s awesome like that.

He takes the duty of “Grandpa” to his three grandsons very seriously.

Well, not too seriously.  He was the one, after all, who taught me nothing in life should be taken too seriously.

Thank you, dad.  For this gift you have created with your hands.

It is beautiful.

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