Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas to you!

We are in Minnesota enjoying looking out on a serious winter wonderland. During a very brief walk, I heard Greg say "I don't think I'm a North Dakotan anymore." Have we already lost our 25+ years of cold weather stamina? Yikes.

We are doing okay our first Christmas without Maelee and our first Christmas with her brother. It's not easy. Certain moments feel like a slap in the face. But Christmas is a huge milestone and part of me is glad for it to be over... and part of me wants to scream and pout.

We received our first outfit for the baby boy this morning... which is good since he's only going to get to wear a couple outfits of Maelee's! We were definitely ready for a baby girl. So much pink! And now we must gear up for a whole different world of colors. Whoa.

-Heather

We miss you more than we can say today, baby girl.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Letter Debacle.

You may have noticed a lack of Grether Kasowski Christmas letter/photo in your mailbox. Don't worry, we haven't dropped you from our address book. We aren't doing one this year.

I just can't do it! Christmas letters are supposed to be full of happy times, fluffy reflections on the past year, newsy stuff that somehow defines who we were the past year. Last year I was dreaming about the colors and layout of our baby's first Christmas letter (yes, I'm one of those people that loves paper). And of course, our letter last year announced we were having a baby girl.

And this year, well, our little boy is getting the shaft in this Christmas card thing. Because as much as we are thrilled and anticipating his arrival the upcoming year... as much as we would love to write a letter announcing "it's a boy!"... what defines us more from 2010 is our daughter. And losing her is not a fluffy happy time. It's quite depressing. Who wants to read about our journey through grief when they open their mail? Bam!

So instead of sending out a Christmas letter to everyone and forcing all to encounter our not letter worthy year at the same time they get their new Real Simple and junk mail, instead I will say just read our blog when you are up to it. And thanks.

Christmas season allows us to reflect on the previous year. This year, we do with a heavy heart because we were forever changed by a beautiful baby. But Christmas isn't about the best Christmas letters, it's not about Maelee, it's not about us missing her this season, not about family. It's about Jesus.

I hope we all remember that each year. And next year, I'm really hoping that regardless of what 2011 brings, I'll be ready for a photo shoot and excited about paper and layouts and matching envelopes again.

-Heather

Saturday, December 18, 2010

80 Years.

Happy 80th Birthday Grandpa Kasowski!

We love you and wish we could celebrate with you today!

-Greg and Heather

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's a...

BOY! A wonderful little brother to our daughter in heaven.

Our little guy behaved so wonderfully! He showed all the parts and moved around so nicely for us! We saw and heard a most excellent heartbeat (155). We saw him moving his little hands... how cool to see his little fingers almost waving! "Hey Mom and Dad... I know you're nervous but I'm doing well and loving life in here!" We are thrilled that everything looks great and normal and baby is measuring right at 18-19 weeks (since I'll be delivering early, we are at the half-way point for sure!).

And for all you naysayers, we for sure saw there-is-no-doubt-it's-a-boy parts.

So join us in thanking the Lord for a completely positive ultrasound today and for a healthy son thus far.

I'll post some ultrasound photos and maybe even some video of our little red-headed (taking a pretty certain guess there) boy Kasowski soon.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow.

Greg and I saw our first snow of the year yesterday. In HOTlanta of all places! HOTlanta is how we say Atlanta. It's really hot there. But not this week!

It's been colder than normal here in SC, but with no snow to show for it. So it was fun to see a few flakes on our drive yesterday. And when I say few, I mean, like 50. The most I saw was a tiny dusting. But enough to get me giddily excited. Snow is snow. I'll take it!

We went to Georgia to see our good friends from ND who are there adopting a beautiful baby girl. It was fun to see them for the day and hear all about their adoption process... and of course, to meet 'lil Ruby. Watch out Minot! She's adorable and she's coming home this week!

It's shaping up to be a solidly good week for us as well. I got to see Greg for lunch at a most wonderful place today. Tomorrow is Greg's last class and test for the semester (whew)! Most importantly, we are anticipating Thursday morning's appointment to see our little one and find out how things are progressing. And in less than 11 days we will be making snowmen in MN. Huge snowmen, too. Made with like 50 million snowflakes.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ornaments.

We have entered into the holiday season. And we are already sensing how difficult this is going to be. Maelee should be here to celebrate with us. Eight months is a fun age, right? It would have been so pleasantly memorable with her here. And the outfits! Oh the outfits and bows and snowflakes. Baby's First Christmas everything. But especially tough for me was the ornament.

I have a Hallmark ornament for every year since I was born. And when we got married, the tradition kept going. We have Our First Christmas from 2005, New House 2007, and last year the cute preggo lady holding pickles and ice cream. So when I went to Hallmark this year to pick out our ornament, I should have known it wasn't going to be easy.

And I lost it. Totally lost it in the store. I tried not to look but I found this wonderful little first Christmas rattle that would have been perfect. Perfect. So then I tried looking at all the other ornaments to figure out what to get. I couldn't do it. I finally just gave up and left.

Hard stuff. I am filled to the brim with dreams of what Christmas was supposed to be for our family. The traditions, like our yearly ornament, that we would have kept. The new traditions we would have started like reading the Christmas story together, decorating the tree and talking about what the star on top means. Sigh. Someday, Lord willing, we will get to experience these dreams... but for now, it is a lonely month with just us (and baby inside).

Thankfully Greg and I are in this together. I am blessed with a husband that can grieve with me. So we went online together and picked out our ornament for the year. And Hallmark, thank you for having a perfectly fitting ornament for our family this year.

Here it is. The inscription says: Every life leaves something beautiful behind.

A lovely pearl. Oh daughter, how we love and miss you here with us this month.

And thanks to the Lord, for leaving us something truly beautiful: Hope.

Near this ornament is another one dear to us. A silver bell that reads "Christmas 2008" - the day our first baby was due (lost to ectopic pregnancy in April 2008). It's really the only item we have to remember that life by, so it's a treasure to put it up every year near the top of the tree. The top of our tree is becoming quite special.

-Heather

Monday, November 29, 2010

Good Sound.

Heard baby's heartbeat today. Best. Sound. Ever.

Black Friday.

I forgot to post about this when writing my Thanksgiving post.

Greg got sick a week ago with a nasty sinus infection/cold and who knows what else. He doesn't get sick too often and it's hard to get him to take medicine. I usually end up forcing it down his throat. So when he asks for medicine, I know it must be bad.

It got so bad that on Thursday he couldn't eat the Thanksgiving meal without chewing with his mouth open because he couldn't breathe otherwise. It made for some funny and slightly gross moments. That night he slept for just a few hours and spent two just laying there wishing he could breathe. Finally he got so fed up with it that he decided he was going to go out and buy some pseudoephedrine (the stuff they make meth out of that is often the ONLY thing that works to clear a stuffed nose).

Now I have seen Greg sick but I have never seen him get up in the middle of the night to go get medicine. I knew it was bad. Which is why this is so ironically sad.

The one day a year that you cannot go to Wal-Mart at 4am to buy medicine is Black Friday. And what day does Greg go? Yep, that's right. He pulled up to a completely full parking lot and decided it wasn't worth it. Thankfully his nose cleared up during the drive so he was able to come home and sleep for a few hours without the meds. We did go get him some pseudoephedrine later on that day, however.

Poor guy! And we didn't even get a TV out of his 4am Wal-Mart trip!

The moral of the story: make sure your medicine cabinet is well stocked ahead of the holidays.

-Heather

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving.

My friend Jillmarie came from Colorado to our house for Thanksgiving this year. Jill and I have been friends since junior high. She's a great friend... sometimes we don't talk for months but we can still pick up a conversation like we saw each other yesterday. Also, I don't care if my house is a mess when she's around. That says something.

Greg ended up getting sick all last week and then I got a migraine at the end of the week, so we weren't the most fun people to come visit but we still had a good Thanksgiving. We made enough food for ten people, not three, and I'm already looking forward to the leftovers being gone.

In the midst of our grief and joy and worry, I would be foolish to think there is nothing to be thankful for. Indeed, we have so abundant of blessings I couldn't count them. Here's a few of mine off the top of my head:

  • a rainbow baby and a doc appointment tomorrow
  • grace, from the Lord, from my husband, from our family and friends
  • gorgeous leaves
  • family
  • that moment when a food craving is fulfilled
  • getting to talk about our hometown and reminiscing with Jillmarie (and now craving food I can't get: webe pizza, ranch dressing from gramma sharons and a burger from service drug)
  • bright sunny southern days
  • all the material stuff and convenience we have living in America
  • for a beautiful firstborn and the promise of heaven someday
  • christmas decor
  • clean sheets
  • a truly beautiful marriage
  • being able to approach the throne of grace with confidence
  • packages from aunt ilene (the latest included another wonderful small-town western ND cookbook, brand-new $5 bills and smiley face stickers just like always)
  • creative people
  • disposable tissues... glad we don't do the hanky thing
  • that moment when you realize you are feeling better and you are rightfully thankful for your health instead of the typical taking-it-for-granted
  • relationships
It is good to be thankful.

-Heather

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Brown and Pink Apron = Pure Lovely.

Aprons remind me of Maelee... for many reasons. I have dreams of her and I in the kitchen with cute matching aprons. I told my mothers this and well, they love me a lot. I got an adorable black and white apron from my mother-in-law and my mom has given me three! So now I have a collection!

But the best apron of all is this one that I got from my Aunt Ruth. It's pink and brown! And it has Maelee's monogram on it! She had it made for me by a friend (with an etsy store! genevadesigns.etsy.com) . Thanks for this lovely, sweet, meaningful gift, Aunt Ruthie! I love it!

(I have the "are you taking the photo?" look. Oh well).

I highly suggest taking a browse on etsy if you are needing good ideas for Christmas gifts. There are a ton of people making some amazing things out there and selling them on their individual etsy sites. I think I love it so much because I secretly (well, I suppose not-so-secretly) desire to be like many of these folks and create beautiful, artsy-fartsy items and sell them! It makes my creative juices soar! And I love to support home businesses. So far I bought Ava's gifts and some maelee jewelry on etsy. Love! Where else can you buy a cutting board in the shape of your state? Or a play BLT made out of felt? I just read my paragraph here and decided I better write that no one is paying me to promote etsy, it's just my latest craze!

-Heather

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Games?!

Greg and I need new games to play together. We have Boggle. I am Boggled-out. I can only lose so many times to my extremely word-infused husband before I get too crabby. Seriously, he wins 90% of the time and always has like 8 letter words. Come on! I guess that's what you get for proofreading and studying and reading all the time.

So I am in need of good ideas for games for two people. We aren't super big game people but often when I have a migraine, a game helps the time go by and allows us to have fun together too (and headache = no screen watching of any sort). Board games, card games, whatever. I know there are good two-person card games out there but all I can ever think of is 31 and King's Corner. Lame.

Let me know your suggestions and ideas!

And because I haven't posted a photo in awhile... here's Maelee's name in Boggle (using all the letters and the K and I twice (not legal in real Boggle))!

-Heather

Monday, November 15, 2010

December 16th.

We are really looking forward to this day. As long as baby is doing well, it will be another wonderfully special day in the life of grether. We get to find out, thanks to modern technology, if our baby is a boy or girl.

Hopefully I don't step on any toes here but I'm trying not to live my life to please people (that's a whole sermon series in itself).

I know some people like to go it old-school and not find out the gender of their baby. I was in that camp for a bit with Maelee until the practicality, God's grace and Greg's opinion swayed me. I have never been more thankful to be swayed.

If I would have found out my baby died BEFORE I knew she was a girl... that would have made it that much more devastating. Because we knew Maelee was a girl, we were able to bond with her those four plus months in a unique way. Knowing we were having a daughter altered our perspective.

If we wouldn't have known, we would have had to grieve with a whole set of different emotions (like countless couples did back in the day when stillbirths were much more common - praise God for modern medicine/technology). Since our time with Maelee was painstakingly short, I am ever so grateful we knew at least that much about her in the months we had with her. If only we would have had her name ahead of time! Silly us.

I am glad that we talked to her, knowing she was our daughter, telling her what we dreamed and hoped for her, praying earnestly for her. And knowing she was a she, made it that much more personal.

The story-book moment of the doctor showing you your new baby and saying "It's a boy" or "It's a girl" or "It's twins!" (okay, these days I don't think that happens much in the western world)... well, that scenario loses it's beauty when the baby isn't alive.

I am not going to criticize those that don't find out, it's a personal decision and every couple gets the right. It's okay if that's the route you choose. We are partial to finding out. But if you ever find yourself tee-tottering with this decision, you can use my argument of "why Heather thinks you should utilize modern technology and find out the gender of your baby." I do recognize that some poor sap of a husband is going to be at a loss for words when the wife comes up and tells him why we must find out the gender! I'm sorry, it's a morbid reason but it is what it is.

So we look forward, anxiously, to our December 16th ultrasound. I have no idea if Maelee's sibling is a boy or a girl. I didn't have a feeling about Maelee, either, so that makes me feel better as a mom. I will say that in the baby loss circle, almost every mom's rainbow baby (the baby after a loss) is the opposite gender. It's actually very weird... I have no official stats, but I'd say it's close to 90%. So just because of that, I think baby may be a boy. Though I would like to share Maelee's room and all her sweet stuff with a sister. But if God graciously gives us a baby to take home, we don't care if it's a boy or a girl! So join us in the anticipation and wonder and thankfulness in the next weeks as we wait until December 16th...

-Heather

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hurdles.

Sometime this summer when I was thinking of possible future pregnancies, I imagined a bunch of hurdles lined up on a track. I am not a runner by any stretch of the imagination nor have I ever attempted to be a hurdler. However, I feel like we are in this incredibly tough hurdle marathon. Hurdle marathons probably don't exist, I know, but bear with me.

Hurdle #1 | Getting Pregnant
This may seem like a no brainer to many. It is not. We do not, for one second, take getting pregnant lightly. There are so, so, so many women that wish more than anything that they could get pregnant and month after month are crushingly disappointed. Just being able to have a positive pregnancy test is a miracle.

Hurdle #2 | Is Baby in the Right Place?
Since our ectopic pregnancy in 2008, our biggest concern right away was finding out if baby is in the right place (uterus). Thankfully our first ultrasound showed the pregnancy sac inside the uterus. Big sigh of relief! Then we had another ultrasound later to actually see the baby and make sure things were fine. Another sigh.

Hurdle #3 | Getting to 12 weeks
Miscarriages usually happen before 12 weeks so most woman think once they hit this point, they are golden. And thankfully most are, since 2nd and 3rd trimester losses are much rarer (however, we know that there are no guarantees). Many woman go through the pain of miscarriage, some in secret, and it is hard. Loss is hard no matter when it happens. I am grateful for every moment we have with this new baby and glad to have made it past this third hurdle.

Upcoming hurdles include: baby passing 18-week ultrasound tests, responding to the many inquiries, "Is this your first baby?" appropriately, not developing thrombocytopenia or preeclampsia or a host of other weird problems, making it through another Easter Sunday very pregnant, getting baby out healthy and in our arms (then the hurdles of parenting a new born start... which is a whole new marathon (that we are so willing to run)), etc.

Essentially every day is a bit of an emotional hurdle for me. Wondering and worrying and praying and hoping that baby is okay... and this will probably get more all-consuming as my induction date looms closer. My hope: to have a baby in my arms alive and healthy by May 1. Though this little one's due date isn't until mid-May, they will most likely induce when I hit 37 weeks the last week in April (yet another hurdle in itself).

One hurdle I'm looking forward to: the December 16 ultrasound where we find out if baby is a boy or girl (more on my philosophy behind that later!).

-Heather

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Maelee has a sibling...

We are happy to announce that Maelee has a sibling alive and growing in my belly. This is very good news. We were and still are shocked as we process grief and joy simultaneously.

We know this baby is NOT a replacement for Maelee. Maelee can never be replaced.

We also know this baby does not “fix” us or make us all better. We are still deeply grieving the loss of our daughter. It does help ... knowing we may get to be parents on earth gives us great hope.

What we are praying:

Lord, please let us meet this baby before Maelee meets him or her.

Maelee already has a sibling in heaven to play with and we are really hoping we’ll get to meet this little one, raise him/her and have him/her meet us all in heaven a long time from now.

Lord, we want to bring this healthy baby home. We don’t want to lose another baby.

There is a lot of worry in our heads and hearts. I wonder frequently the biggest question of all: “Will it happen again?”

Thankfully we have a new doctor, new practice, new hospital and come next spring, I will be watched very closely. I give myself a shot every day and take two pills hoping these precautions will help baby. But in the end, we are not in control.

You can echo our prayers above. Pray things would go smoothly. Pray that we would trust God in all this.

Pray for my health, that I wouldn’t experience bad migraines or headaches. With just Tylenol as pain meds, bad ones have lasted for days.

Thank you for sharing in our grief these past seven months and in the months to come. And now, thank you for sharing in our joy!

-Heather

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Strawberry.

Halloween is an okay holiday, not my favorite but I'm not going to disown it all together. I mean, free candy! Whoop!

But today, like many other holidays and random milestones, is hard. Because last year I thought of all the cute costumes I could be dressing up my 6 month baby in. And I even bought some carter's "little pumpkin" outfits for her to wear this month, in 6 months and 9 months sizes, so no matter how big or little our pumpkin was, she'd have something cute and in season to wear.

And instead of her wearing them, I hung them on her dresser so when we walk by her room we see them. And instead of buying a costume, I just stare at them longingly at the store. Like I did last week when I saw the perfect Maelee baby costume: a strawberry.

Wouldn't she have been the cutest little strawberry with her red hair sticking out?! Seriously, there would have been so many photos taken of her this week, it would have probably been too much even for the grandparents.

So instead of being with her, figuring out our own little family traditions of the day, we are going to hole up... as in, be those horrible people that turn their lights off and not welcome trick-or-treaters. Granted, we've only had a handful the past few years so we won't be disappointing too many kids. But I have to protect my heart and emotions today, just in case some other brilliant parent decides to dress their baby up as a strawberry and come to our door.

-Heather

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Camping Photos.

Thanks for some great photos, Ben!

Hammock!

Good friends... and Linus, the dog.

Creation!

Our tent is the white dot in the trees to Greg's right.

My favorite photo: Me washing cups/doing dishes while Greg is doing nothing! This happens so rarely... it just needed to be captured.

Monday, October 25, 2010

View From Our Tent.

Wish we could open our bedroom door and see this scene everyday! We had a great weekend camping a few hours away... not quite in the mountains but near a beautiful lake. It was lovely! We sure didn't smell lovely after a weekend of no showers, however, so it is good to be home.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Maelee's Cousin:

The photos of Ava Maelee Linn posted earlier just didn't do her justice. She's a cutie!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Songs from Maelee's Daddy.

Greg was able to record five songs he wrote for Maelee at our dear friends' house back when we were in ND in May. He was playing a few last night and that reminded me I should figure out how to post them for you to enjoy. I love to hear Greg play guitar but I especially love when he's singing about our daughter. It's hard but precious.

I hopefully got this figured out where you can click on the name of the song to open a window for you to download. Click open the file with windows media player (or a similar player). And it will download quickly (ideally) for you to enjoy. Eventually I may get this a bit more user-friendly...

Posting Songs!

Does anyone know how to post a song on a blog? I am ready to post the recordings of all the songs Greg wrote after Maelee died... but I can't seem to get it to work to share with everyone in a post. So if you know how to solve my conundrum, let me know!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sweet Treasures.

I wish more than anything that I could be posting photos of sweet six-month Maelee. Her six-month clothes are some of her most adorable. I hate they are stuck in drawers and storage bins and not on her cute little butt. Lord, come quickly!

Instead, I am posting a few gifts we were given that will always remind us of her. I am ever so grateful for all the Maelee treasures we have!

Maelee Bear (or Maelee's Bear) from Auntie Amy and Uncle Andrew. She sits in our living room and you can find Greg or I with M Bear in our laps most evenings.

I don't think I ever posted this gorgeous pillow handmade by my Aunt Bonnie. It sits in M's crib and is so delicate and precious!

The Maelee's Day Quilt! Jillian sent some beautiful fabric from China to use for a quilt. We had folks sign the fabric on Maelee's Day. Grandma K and my mom got it measured and ready for our family friend, Burnetta, to quilt. The fabric is so soft, so sweet and the stitching has a fantastic pattern that adds to the effect. And of course, the signatures remind us of our good friends and family that love us and Maelee...

Sweet treasures, indeed!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Introducing:

Ava Maelee Linn Lippert
Born Thursday, September 23rd at 6:49pm
7lbs, 5.6ozs and 19 inches of little girl.

Our adorable new niece.


This one was sent via cell phone shortly after birth.

A very proud big sister holding her little sister for the first time.

More photos to come! Baby and mom were able to go home on Saturday and they are doing well. Thanks for praying for Ava's safe arrival. We all breathed a big sigh of relief and thanksgiving when we heard the news. And of course, we are humbled by our new niece's beautiful middle name. We wish more than anything that Maelee was here to grow up with her cousin... but we are thankful she'll always be remembered in Ava's name.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Taste of the South.

As a couple of midwesterners living in the South, we have experienced our fair share of culture shock. I could go on and on about the not-so-lovely aspects of living here but I'm trying to be more positive, dangnabbit, so here are some things I like:

  1. How everyone young and old adds "Miss" or "Mr." to people's first names when addressing them. Example: "Go tell Mr. Greg his sweet tea is ready." It is pretty adorable especially with little kids who can barely talk. I think this may be manners, but I'm not sure.
  2. You can talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime for any reason. You feel like talkin' to a complete stranger while fillin' your buggy? Go ahead. No one is a stranger here.
  3. They call carts buggies. Not a big fan of that, honestly, but I figured you should know.
  4. While working out this morning, the weather map was on TV. Bismarck high today is 53. Columbia 93. Now, this could be a negative point for the South (hello, today is supposed to be the last day of summer!) but at least for today I'm glad I don't have to wear a coat.
  5. My porch looks like a greenhouse. And I did not inherit a green thumb. Most plants just love this heat and humidity. My mom planted a ton of things in April and they are still growing (and sort of taking over our porch). Long growing cycles = ample flowers and plants. Take that.
  6. I love Publix. Best Grocery Store Ever. They don't have Publix in the midwest.
  7. I can take walks year round. Granted sometimes the walk is only to my car.
  8. We can travel 2 hours and be in the mountains. We can travel 2 hours (the other way) and be at the beach. Drive a short ways in the South and you can be someplace very different and exciting. Every family goes to the beach for vacation. This makes driving two hours to Minot to the mall seem quite lame.
  9. I never knew mac-n-cheese was a staple side item... didn't know there are more ways to make it than just opening the blue and yellow box. I wouldn't go as far as to say it's a vegetable... but I would say I've had some tasty mac-n-cheese down here.
  10. Ya'll is a good word. "You guys" doesn't flow as nicely. It encompasses a lot for just one word. It's a keeper.
-Miss Heather

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Well Deserved Thank You.

Grief is selfish. We've mentioned that before. I guess that's why it's taken me too long to tell everyone that has ever read our blog, prayed for us, talked about us, loved us... a much overdue thank you.

Thank you for caring. Please know your love and concern has helped us immensely. Thank you for all the love, the comments, the photos, the prayers.

If I was into song writing, I would probably write you a song. A monster thank-you ballad.

-Heather

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In Honor of Grandma Doris Mae Zander.

If you were to go to Dickinson, ND and stop by Country House, you would find my Grandma there, probably cuddling a baby doll. She's there but she's not. She has had Alzheimer's for many years now and has gotten to the stage where she doesn't remember anyone. It's sad for those of us that remember her life, to see her a shell of her former self. It's hardest most on my Grandpa Ray and on my mom and my aunts. It's like they have had to grieve her even though she is still here. Frankly, it really sucks.
With her great-granddaughter, Ali, this summer.

Our daughter was named using her middle name (Mae). I miss you Maelee and I miss you, too, Grandma Zander. One thing I miss most about my Grandma is her homemade buns. I LOVED them. She would bring me a bag full and I would hide under my bed to eat them (I guess I had a thing with sharing). She was a great cook. I remember one of the first times I realized she just wasn't herself was when I realized she couldn't remember recipes anymore.

Wedding Photo of Doris and Raymond Zander

Losing her mom to Alzheimer's has been especially tough on my mom. That's why I am so proud of her for taking initiative to start the Memory Walk in her hometown to help raise money for Alzheimer's research. Go mom! The walk in Williston, ND is happening on October 2nd. If you live there, feel free to join them that Saturday at the WSC campus (9am registration, 10am walk) or click here for more info.

If you would like to donate to helping end Alzheimer's, you can do so through my Memory Walk donation site by clicking here (or go to http://memorywalk10.kintera.org/williston/mae). I am a part of my mom's team: Tysse's Troupe! You can donate in honor or in memory of someone (PS: Maelee would be happy to have her memory honored in hopes to help out cute old ladies with this horrible disease).

And so you know: All Memory Walk donations benefit the Alzheimer's Association, the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. The mission of the Alzheimer's Association is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

With my dad and I at my wedding... where my grandparents danced together probably for the last time - a polka of course!


-Heather

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sail Away.


Our friend Tammie invited us to go sailing yesterday. It was a perfect thing to do. Neither of us had ever been sailing before and it was a treat. I never realized how peaceful sailing is and how relaxing it can be. It was a gorgeous day on the lake for us to think about Maelee and reflect on how much we miss her. And it's good to be around people that are okay with us talking about her.

And for us North Dakotans, being on Lake Murray felt a little like being on the lakes of ND or MN. It was fun to jump off the boat and swim around (no salt water!). I'll take a lake over the ocean any day!

Boat terms we learned: mansil (main sail, but said funny), jig, knot, keel, wench, boom, cleat, come about... and we also learned the difference between an engine and a motor! How 'bout that, mate?

-Heather

PS - Happy 3rd Birthday to our niece, Lilliana, our favorite red-headed three-year-old! And Happy Birthday H1!

Monday, September 6, 2010

That Was Before.

I hope you don't have one. I wish beyond anything we didn't. But we do. We have this event, this tragedy, that marks our lives. All things are measured based on this event.

As a result, we find ourselves saying or thinking statements like "well that was before" or "since then" or just "before...". Our whole lives are marked by Maelee's death five months ago. We don't mean to, but we measure life based on that day. I don't know if it will always be so, but for now, I am deeply aware how much this has changed us.

We miss you, M.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

30 Years Ago...

Happy 30th Birthday to another wonderful man in my life... my hubby of 5+ years, the one and only Mr. Gregory Joseph Kasowski.

I have this photo on my night stand. A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E.

Always a Bears fan! Go Bears! Doesn't he look like the sweetest little boy ever?

With the late Charles Christian "Chris" Welle, Greg's Grandpa. I didn't get to meet him but I know that Grandpa Welle was one of the first to meet Maelee in heaven and I'm sure they spend much time together there.

Mr. Senior 1999. Greg is good at most all sports (sometimes I find that annoying) and he is definitely a rock star on the basketball court.

Greg started dating Heather in college (when Grether first began). Much time was spent doing this (Greg learning guitar, Heather watching, somewhat amused... somewhat bored... wondering when the heck we would just get married).

Greg in Thailand in 2003... pivotal point in his life.

Greg, Jaysen and Bill. Greg has great friends. Greg also spent a lot of time with his band, Crimson. I posted a video about Crimson on my facebook so check that if you are able!

Marital bliss! 2005 was a good year for Greg (okay, definitely for me too). We had some great memories starting out in Grand Forks, ND.

Early years of marriage were surprisingly easy (we kept hearing it was going to be soo hard). One perk of marrying Greg is getting all his family, too! We had lots of fun going to family outings like this one at the Bemidji cabin... we love all our Kasowski/Welle gatherings.

To my wonderful, sweet, hilarious husband. I count you my greatest blessing from God. I love you!

-Heather

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad Tysse.

My dad, little Lloydie, and Aunt Ilene... looks like they are up to no good.

My dad is full-blooded Norwegian. My Grandpa John Tysse grew up in Norway (sailed with the Norwegian navy when he was 14 and ended up homesteading in ND). All his family was still there so I believe this photo was taken on a trip they took to visit.

I have a great daddy. He's loved me like crazy since I was born. I find it easy sometimes to learn certain characteristics about my heavenly father because my earthly father is so amazing.

Apparently building this snowman caused our hearts to swell with feelings of victory! One of my favorite things about my dad is his sense of humor... I think I got mine from him. Notice the curling broom used for one of the snowman's arms - nice!

Dad served in the army stationed in Germany. He worked hard, still does in fact, and we would always celebrate him on Veteran's Day... the one day he got to sleep in and get breakfast in bed! What a beard, eh?

"We are the three amigos! Harry, Sven, and Svegos. We always wash between our big toes." I think that's how it went, right? In the background is the playhouse my dad built us, a replica of our big house... he's pretty handy like that.

Thanks for being there for me. You are lookin' good for 67, Dad.
I love you.

-Heather

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Our Niece.

My sister, Amber, is around 33 weeks with our niece. She was put on home/bed rest last week. Please pray for her, for the baby (still waiting on a name for this little one). If Am doesn't go into labor and there are no problems, they are going to deliver at 37 weeks. We are hoping and praying she makes it without issues until then. Amber has a high heart rate and many of the same issues I had. Thankfully, her doctor is watching her like a hawk.

It's not easy to be on bed rest and it's not easy going through losing Maelee and not worrying about the unknowns.

We just want our niece to be here, healthy and alive and loved. We want her big sister to finally get to hold her.

Sorry, Am, this is the only photo that shows your baby belly from my trip in July. Pretty adorable still!

It's a bittersweet time for us. We get to have another niece, another little one to love on and shop for and spoil. We get to reign supreme as Auntie Heather and Uncle Greg. Yet, it won't be without some hard times. Knowing my parents get to have another grandchild around but it's not Maelee is hard. Knowing that I'm not going to fly up to MN to see her right away saddeneds me. I'll have to explain to her later in life "the reason we didn't go see you right when you were born was because we were still too sad over losing Maelee." It just sucks that our grief is clouding our niece's arrival.

Christmas isn't going to be easy. I bought entirely way too many "baby's first christmas" outfits for Maelee and her cousin... pretty sure they would have had a new outfit for everyday in December! We were going to have the most adorable family Christmas photos. And even as our niece experiences milestones in the years to come, there will probably always be a ache in my heart for Maelee to be going through those too. Joy yet sorrow.

Pray for us, too, through this. That the Lord would give us peace, understanding, hope. That we will know Maelee will never be forgotten no matter who comes along. That jealousy won't rear it's ugly head. That the joy will far outweigh our grief. That, mostly, our newest niece would know she is loved by us, that she is special, that she is a gift.

-Heather

PS - Happy 3rd Birthday Dearest Marian! We love you, our favorite overseas niece!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vacuum!

I need a new vacuum.

The Dirt Devil my parents gave me in college (and probably bought for 50 bucks) is just not cutting it anymore. Especially since I'm shedding ridiculous amounts of hair (apparently after pregnancy you shed a lot; I've had two months of crazy bad shedding... good thing I have mounds of hair or I'd be bald by now). I'm too proud to post a photo of my carpet. Besides, who wants to see a photo of dirty carpet?

So if you have a vacuum that you love, let me know about it. I'd rather buy a good one I know works versus just buying one on sale that I know nothing about.

It's Greg's birthday next week, maybe I can surprise him with a vacuum.

Okay, I would never do that. I'm not that lame.

-Heather

Friday, August 20, 2010

Maelee's Name in Florida

Maelee's seashell (a pretty white one). The pink seashell represents our first baby (lost to ectopic pregnancy in April 2008). The seashell holding both the seashells up (in the background) represents the hope we have in the possible blessing of future baby/babies.

Sunrise on the beach...

I heart Maelee Linn.

Emily (gorgeous dear cousin) creating M's name.

The end result... her beautiful name in seashells.

Even in the fun, joyous times we had in Florida, I'm still grieving, still thinking of her, still missing her deeply. Sometimes when I see beauty (like beaches and oceans and pretty boats), I think of her more. Not sure why... maybe it's because beauty reminds me of heaven which reminds me of Maelee... maybe it's because she was beautiful... maybe it's just that I can't experience beauty fully these days... regardless, she was on my mind a lot... along with a few other babies that are in heaven playing with Maelee. Heaven is way better than even these Indiatlantic, Florida island beaches.

-Heather

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yacht.

Dale, Mary and I just got back from sunny Florida. It was wonderful - more photos to follow of all our excursions and family fun. We sure did enjoy our yachting last night... I think Greg and I need to get one of those! We are tired and tan/freckled and peopled-out and full/stuffed ... and boy am I glad to be back home to my hubby!

-Heather