Sunday, July 31, 2011

More K Family.

Eli has seven cousins and met three on this trip. The first was Miss Lilli-Buh-Dilli. Our favorite red-headed girl from Utah!

Some of the fam that we saw in Buffalo. Taken on Grandma and Grandpa's 58th Anniversary.

Grandmas and Grandbabies.

Sweet Reece was born about a month before Eli. I'm sure they'll have many photos together in the years to come!

-Heather

Happy Place.

I can't recall when I first heard the phrase "go to your happy place." I think it was in fourth grade when I went on the Tilt-A-Whirl with Abbey and Michelle. I had no idea swirling movement wouldn't be a good idea. After the first spin, I was about to spew my guts. I remember hearing them tell me to think happy thoughts or find my happy place.

Years later, I did.

Buffalo, ND is my happy place. I went there first when I was dating Greg. We went to the farm where his grandparents had lived for many years. I could sense the history and love and legacy in that home. And I secretly wanted to be a part of it. Good thing we got married!

And a few years later the grandparents built a house in town. No matter. The history and love and legacy moved with Harold and Marian. And even though we often call the house in town "The Farm," it still works.

There's a feeling when you are there. It's peaceful. Even if there are a ton of folks around, it still feels peaceful. And relaxed, comfortable. Like a good pair of jeans that fit. You want to spend time at the table, eating glorified deliciousness or whatever Grandma is "pushing" that day. You want to savor a chocolate-chip cookie made by someone that has made so many she is The Cookie Lady. You want to fall asleep in a quilt that has been washed so often it's as smooth as silk. You want to spend time with these great-grandparents that love each and every one of their growing family.

Not only is it the love of that home, it's also the quintessential small-town America feeling that makes Buffalo my happy place. Everyone knows everyone. They have dirt roads. They do have some nice amenities: a small grocery store, community center, a few churches, a nice bar. And Hazel's Cafe, yet only for another few weeks. It's closing this month and I am bummed. (Perhaps Greg and I should buy it and cook hotdishes and burgers and bars for farmers and locals for the rest of our lives?)

Granted, the times we have been to Buffalo in the last years have been spring, summer and early fall. And well, you just can't beat that scenery. Blue skies, open fields, air so crisp you can't help but fill your lungs. It's gorgeous.

Buffalo is special. We love the people, the scenery. And last year we buried our daughter in the Buffalo cemetery, next to her uncle. It may sound odd to say, but that's the icing on the cake. It reminds me that we will always, no matter what, have a deep connection to this small town in eastern North Dakota.

It's my happy place.



-Heather

Saturday, July 30, 2011

3 Months.

I'm working on posting about our trip chronologically. Eventually you'll see photos taken in Bismarck, Crosby, Williston, Dickinson and a few places along the way.

But I figured I should update with the info from Eli's appointment yesterday.

At three months old, our little man is a whopping 15 pounds, 5 ounces. He's in the 95th percentile for weight. But he topped the charts for height: 25 and a quarter inches. That's in the 97th percentile!

I don't believe I've ever been in the 97th percentile for height so I'm really hoping he's got his dad's legs.

We sure love our chunky boy. He really is a delight, giving us smiles and giggles for long periods. He did great traveling and has been a real trooper. I have noticed that he did get a bit spoiled while with family. Eli now does not like to go to sleep without being held. Like this:

Oh but how can you not want to hold that cutie!

-Heather

Great Grands.

Eli loved his Great Grandpa Harold!

A new apron for a great cook!

The H.L.Kasowski's! Oh yeah!

She knows how to hold a baby.

Much love!

-Heather

Legacy.

Four Generations of Kasowski Men:

Harold Lloyd
Dale Joseph
Gregory Joesph
Eli Joseph

I love these men! What a legacy!

Thank you, Harold, for being a solid rock of a man (literally and figuratively!). For raising your kids the way you did. For the way you love their many, many offspring. For your love of pinocle. For your strong roots in Buffalo. For the great man you have been for 80 years.

Thank you, Dale, for continuing your father's legacy. For loving your family so strongly. For showing Greg what it means to be a dad. For teaching us blood runs thicker than water. For wanting to spend time with us. For spoiling us.

Thank you, Greg, for being the best husband a girl could ask for. For treating me like a queen. For making me laugh every day. For the way you were with Maelee and are with Eli. For the joy to be family with you.

Thank you, Eli, for being the sweetest little man!

I love you all!

-Heather

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Show.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the show. I have enough photos and stories to write 1,000 blog posts. Don't worry, I won't go that crazy. But I plan on posting frequently once I get my photos (and my brain) organized.

It's good to be home.

-Heather

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Having Fun 2.

We have been blessed to have seen so many family members thus far on our trip. What good people! The only downside is Greg having to leave yesterday. It's hard to be apart from such a great guy. Of course, Eli is getting way spoiled with everyone holding him and his schedule is off with all our traveling...but it's worth it!


I really should be sleeping now but here's two photos from our sweet (and hot) time in Crosby.


Happy 40th Anniversary GREAT Uncle Dale and Aunt Ilene!


My sister and my niece, Ava Maelee Linn, at the Threshing Bee parade.

-A very tired Heather

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Having Fun.

Grandma talking to Grandpa on the phone. Notice his sweet white skin!

We are having a blast! The only problem is it's going too quickly. Eli did great on the flights and besides today has been a model baby. He is getting spoiled with love and attention. He doesn't spend much time alone, that's for sure!

More photos to follow!

-Heather

Saturday, July 9, 2011

And We're Off!

Today is Eli's first plane ride! Here we come Bismarck (via Chicago of course... they don't have direct flights to ND from SC... though they should... there would be like 5 people interested in those flights).

We aren't taking our computer so I don't know how many posts I'll be able to do while we are gone... but I'll try post a few photos so you can see how our boy enjoys ND!

Here's a few pics from the last week...




Eli doesn't like waking up... this was taken yesterday when Greg got home from work. I was excited because Eli was wearing this onesie for the first time (size 6 months, oh yea!). And then he promptly spit up all over it:


-Heather

Friday, July 8, 2011

Benjamin is Here!

The Heathers with their rainbow baby boys!
Months and months of worry, pleading, hoping, prayer and now we can rejoice!

What a sweet baby boy!
6lbs 13oz, 18in, 1:18pm (1/18 is also his sisters' birthdate)

-Heather

Anticipation.

Today it's time to be thankful.

Really it is ALL the time but sometimes you need to make a point to be intentional about it. Here's just a few things off the top of my head that we are thankfully, graciously anticipating...

  1. Birth. Benjamin Lamar Caylor is being born this afternoon. Benjamin is my friend Heather's rainbow baby boy. Most of you know Heather because I've talked about her before... told you about the loss of their twin girls Emily and Molly in January 2010... told you how we've journeyed together through loss and being pregnant again. Today is a much-anticipated birthday!
  2. Vacation. We are leaving tomorrow for some much-needed time with family...we anticipate introducing Eli to his extended family, good friends, and especially three red-headed girl cousins!
  3. Eli, Eli, Eli. Everything about having our little man here, doing well is cause for celebration. I anticipate him growing up to be a man I enjoy knowing.
  4. Cheeseburgers. I love them. And I anticipate eating some really good ones in ND.
  5. Flat land. Spending twenty-six years as a resident of North Dakota, I am ready to get back home. I'm anticipating looking out our car window, being able to see beautiful fields for miles and miles.
  6. Countdown. I anticipate Greg's first day of his last semester (I wish I would have taken a "first day of school" photo each year like my parents did growing up!). Graduation in December is going to be legendary!
  7. Memory Lane. Since I'll be helping my parents pack up the house my dad and grandpa built in '77, we'll be going through a lot of stuff. I anticipate the many stories and memories that are bound to come up.
  8. Projects. I have many photo projects and random craft projects and I anticipate the fun of working on them and getting crafty when we get back.
  9. Smiles. Our daily anticipation of talking to our boy, looking him in the eye and getting the sweetest grin back...maybe even with a giggle.
  10. Tractors. Even though we say "if you've been to one Threshing Bee, you've been to them all", I'm still anticipating being there and living a part of my heritage.
  11. Love. Every day I live on earth I knowingly and unknowingly want to be loved. I anticipate how God is going to show me I'm loved.
  12. Buffalo. We anticipate that moment this weekend when we will take our boy in our arms and walk down a lush green grass row near a wide open field to show him his big sister's grave.
I hope that you are thankful. And I really hope you have things in life to anticipate.

-Heather

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hope Does Not Disappoint.

Grief. It's a word normally associated with death. Because of Maelee, we have known it well. It's taken up residence in our house and we have curled up next to it on the couch too many times.

But I have learned that grief is something that doesn't belong solely to death. It is in the aftermath of many types of tragedies or circumstances, too numerous to name. And I could bet all the tea in China that you have experienced it.

I never quite put a name to it when it hit us two years ago. I started working at CIU (where Greg is getting his MDiv) coordinating campus visits but eventually was offered a new position I would say was close to my dream job helping first year students transition well. The job was in a great office, working with great people, doing something needed and significant. And it fit me well.

Sadly because it was a brand new position, it was the first to go with all the budget cuts resulting from the recession. We found out only months into it that the position would be cut as of May 2009. So I worked for four months trying to plan orientation events that I knew I wouldn't get to be a part of and doing a lot of organizing.

And then I was jobless. I had tried finding a new job but higher ed positions were significantly lacking. I had one interview where there were over 350 applicants for one position.

Ah I'm getting away from my point...

I realized later that I really had been grieving my job loss. I had poured myself into my jobs and my employer (that's how I roll) and when it was taken from me, I went through an array of emotions. Sadness. Anger. Hurt. Bitterness. Frustration. Jealousy. Disappointment.

Looking back those emotions sort of mirrored the stages of grieving. And just driving onto campus at times in the last two years would bring up these emotions for both Greg and I.

I'd say grief has been a large part of our lives specifically since being in South Carolina. Leaving our lives, family in ND. Ectopic Pregnancy. My job. Maelee.

Grief looks and feels different depending on the circumstances. And of course, I'd lose a thousand jobs before losing a child. But any significant loss is going to hurt. And it's going to take time to process.

So if you find yourself grieving the loss of someone, something little or monumental, give yourself time to grieve well. Grieve out loud. Grieve knowing it's not hopeless. "and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5

And if you know someone is grieving, walk alongside them, love on them. Our dear friends have been experiencing the loss of not one but two failed adoptions (where the birth mom decides to parent at the last minute) in the past few months. We've tried to join them in their grief. To let them know we are devastated with them. To let them know it's okay to not be okay.

-Heather

Saturday, July 2, 2011