Saturday, March 31, 2012


Here's a peak at the front of Eli's birthday party invitation. I took this photo last Tuesday for his 11 month photos. Admittedly I took like 68 photos of him last Tuesday. I had planned on taking other photos/different outfit for his invites but this one captures him so well I decided to go with it. He's such a charmer.

Before we head into his sister's week (that's how I think of it anyway), I decided to spend time thinking about Eli and where he is at, enjoying the details of our dear, charming boy. This is what I came up with, an "all about Eli" list if you will (feel free to skip this over-the-top momness):

  • He LOVES cheese. Like serious love. I think he could be full to the brim and still find room for cheese. 
  • He eats anything. A few times his scrunched his nose up after a bite, but he'll always eat it. He's a true Kasowski.
  • He still nurses and doesn't truly know how to use a sippy cup. I'm planning on weaning this month but I honestly have no idea how my doesn't-use-a-bottle boy is going to handle it. 
  • He thinks it's a fun treat to have Cheerios in the back of his dump truck.
  • He is really into cars/wheels. He likes to sit on the kitchen floor and make his cars go. 
  • He still likes a plain old ball. Rolling, somewhat throwing, face-planting... much fun. 
  • He is selfish.  
  • He can go in a complete circle while sitting. He can scoot a little on his bum especially if he's on the kitchen floor. He can get to his belly from sitting now too, with some effort.
  • He crosses his little legs (more accurately his ankles/feet) often while sitting. 
  • He talks. We are convinced he says "Dad" for Greg and babbles a whole lot more. 
  • He can wave "hi" and "bye bye" especially to himself in the mirror.
  • He has become a pro at turning off the light switch. Has yet to master turning it on.
  • His pointer fingers are always, always on the go, out there, reaching, working towards something. Those two fingers do a lot. 
  • He can walk if we support his hands. If we hold one hand, he can stand. He will pull himself up if we give him support.
  • His favorite time of day is when Greg comes home, they go into our room and have silly time: wrestling, puppeting, tickling. There is much, much laughter. 
  • He is daring when on our bed. He has no fear there whereas he is more tentative when, say, on the living room floor. 
  • He has become more concerned about where I am in a room when other people are around. 
  • He doesn't break out his smiles as often for strangers. He used to smile at anyone but now he's more conscious. 
  • He's a fan of bath time and doesn't whine when we pour water over his head. He's fascinated with the drain and wishes he controlled it.
  • He has become crabby when getting his diaper changed unless he has something to play with or to distract him. 
  • His favorite toys right now are his guitars.
  • He is wearing mostly 18 month size clothes. He has a long torso.
  • He has four top teeth (with one or two coming along) and two bottom teeth. 
  • He hates the booger-sucker (bulb syringe). 
  • He likes music to fall asleep to for nap times but doesn't have to have it.
  • He gives the sweetest hugs. He will cuddle up often, most especially when he's tired.
  • He might give up on something too easily.
  • He is smart. He will use one toy to help himself get at another toy out of his reach. 
  • He likes when I say "buzzz buzzz" or if I imitate his "ba ba ba" ramblings.
  • He still puts most everything into his mouth. Hence the leaf, weed, tissue and post card that he got a bite out of in the past weeks. Loves to chew, not suck.
  • He sometimes whines when he wants something. He has a pout.
  • He remembers which little button to push to make the music he likes.
  • He is fascinated when his older friends come over and play and likes to sit and watch them. 
  • He has certain stories/books that are his favorites and will automatically make him smile when at his favorite page.
  • He takes after his momma in that he's a total crab right after he wakes up and needs a few minutes to re-orientate to being awake.
  • He knows his name, Eli, as well as Pookie, which I call him sometimes (after some of his fav books). 
  • He loves to "look down" at me and be taller than me. He'll always laugh hard when on Greg's shoulders looking at me.
  • He pulls at his hair or rubs it when he's tired or flabbergasted.
  • He'd probably consider it pure bliss if I gave him my phone and allowed him to chew on it. He loves the phone and loves to hear people talk to him on it (for a bit, then he just wants to eat it).
  • He's got a gap in his front teeth. It's cute. 
Wow. I better stop rambling. I want to capture these Elisms before he changes and becomes a full-on little boy and not a baby anymore... thanks for allowing me to treasure these moments.


Friday, March 30, 2012

80's Child.

I was born in 1982. And I am so, so grateful that the Lord saw fit to have me, Heather Linn, born then and not before. It may sound odd to be thankful for the generation you were born into, but I have my reasons. Do you recall reading classic novels that mentioned ladies with "weak constitutions"? They were usually holed up somewhere or always sitting, being fragile or sickly or pale. I sometimes feel like I would have been lumped into that category if I would have been living in that time period.

My main reasons for being glad to be a child of the 80's (besides modern conveniences) are:

1. I am alive. If I would have been born say in 1782, I most likely would have died when I was 25 from my ectopic pregnancy (which means baby was outside the uterus and unable to survive). Since it was 2008, the doctors were able to save my life. They told me I was bleeding out (from my ruptured fallopian tube) and probably would have bled to death. Thus, I am ever so grateful to be born in an age of medical advancement where people's lives are saved from things that they used to die from regularly.

2. I can grieve out loud. Parents have been losing children for thousands of years. Many babies died in childbirth as did mommas. Many babies were stillborn. Many infants died from fever and sickness. Death was so much more common, sadly. And when it happened, they didn't get to talk about their baby, many probably didn't get to name their baby, most didn't probably acknowledge their baby. It just wasn't done. Fast forward a few hundred years and perhaps they did get to name, hold, bury their baby... but their grief was not shared or recognized months or years later. Surely there were no support groups for these women. It was taboo to discuss it. This was the case maybe even twenty years ago.

Having a stillbirth in 2010 in this age of blogging and openness has given voice to my pain. I do not have to grieve alone. It's still a taboo subject (I mean who really wants to talk about babies dying?) but the doors are open to grieving. I do not have bury my pain inside, forget her life happened, mask my grief. I can freely talk about her (in certain environments), I can honor and cherish her memory. Maelee is not forgotten. I can even make a book of her name for crying out loud (pun intended) and it's seen as awesome and not weird! That just didn't happen back in the day. And for that, I am humbled and in awe of God's sovereignty, in how big He is plus how personal He is for giving me this undeserved gift.

Even if I had to layer my socks and crimp my hair and listen to Tiffany for a few years. 


PS - Yes, for those of you that are doing the math, I'll be 30 this year. Thirty. Whoa.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Maelee's tulips that we planted in the fall of 2010 have bloomed. Last year I took gorgeous photos like this one:

But this year before I got my camera out, we had a hard rain fall that made the tulips all droopy. Then a few squirrels had a hay day and ate most of the blooms. And you know what? That makes me angry. Why? I could say it's because I wanted a perfect pale pink tulip bouquet on my table for her birthday. But the real reason I got upset is because anything to do with my daughter brings out my defenses. I couldn't protect her so the few things on earth that remind me of her I strongly want to defend or protect.

It's silly, I know. But it's why I started crying when Greg accidentally dropped my Maelee mug (thankfully it did not break) and why I freak out if I misplace my ring or when I'm worried Eli's going to break my Maelee necklace. It's why I really ought to find a little box for her cast hand and foot prints as I'm always on edge when I bump our dresser and they move.

I know that these are just things, reminders of her life. But it's all I have of our sweet girl so I hold on quite tightly. And I think that's okay to a point. I don't want to go overboard, of course, and I don't want to get overly upset at a few harmless squirrels. Most of all, I want to keep remembering that these triggers and tangibles things are a gift. A gift of remembrance for however long they last. And the greatest gift? The promise that the best is yet to come. Someday.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be posting often as I reflect on our lives two years ago and the process since then. The blog has always been my place to do that and I'm grateful for this outlet.

To start, two years ago on March 28, 2010, we took the last photo of my belly with Maelee inside. Those were the days of me on bed rest just waiting in anticipation and excitement of our girl due on April 18. Anyone that has ever been pregnant in the third trimester can probably understand how ready I was to have her on the outside. In retrospect, I sure wish I would have enjoyed and treasured her kicks and movements more. It's bizarre to think how we went about our daily lives with no idea the tragedy we were about to encounter.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

If You...

If you lived here, I'd invite you over for some tea and yummy whopper eggs and let you look through Maelee's album. Except I won't let you use Maelee's mug, you'll have to use a boring green one.

I am glad it's done and on our end table, even though it's not how I hoped an album for her would be. But now whenever we meet someone new years down the road that asks about our firstborn, I'll have this to show.


Saturday, March 24, 2012


It's already quite warm here so we are retiring the fleece pajamas and going for cotton. He's got two pairs (I may need to go shopping, oh darn) but these are my favorite. Aw shucks, he's so fun.

Now this photo is deceiving. It looks like he could be crawling. But he's not. He's staring at the TV that I turned on. And he stayed like that the whole time Baby Einstein was on. I was hoping to sort of get his muscles used to this position so that maybe, just maybe, he'd be interested in crawling.

Our pediatrician was a little worried about Eli's lack of movement. He really should be crawling by now (apparently). So on April 12 some lady will be coming to our home to evaluate Eli and make sure nothing is wrong and see if he's developmentally okay. I feel like he's been crabbier than his normal self the past few weeks and my guess is teeth plus he's becoming discontent with not being able to get to where he wants to go. He's more frustrated when he wants a toy (or my cell phone) and can't get to it...whereas last month he would just find another toy or his hands.

I am not too worried. Eli interacts with us, "talks" to us and that reassures me. And he's alive. I don't want to ever take that for granted. Plus Eli can get around in a full circle while on his bum and while on all fours, he does sort of move backwards if he really wants. He also reaches, reeeaaaches for anything his little fingers can stretch to find... so there is some movement. I also know that someday he will crawl or walk. It's going to happen!

Until then, we are spoiled in that if you plop him down in one spot, he'll most likely be there when you get back!


New teeth photos to come soon!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I know a fair bit of moms with quite a few kids. We have lots of relatives that had or have lots of kids. My Grandma had like 15 siblings. See:

And I have NO idea how those women did it. Maybe I'm just not made of the same stuff.

Those few times I posted about how I thought Eli was getting his top teeth? I lied. I think I was just trying to find an excuse for his orneriness. Since this weekend, he has been working on five top teeth. Five. The bottom two coming in were a cake walk compared to these. He's so, so miserable.

And I want my sweet boy back! He whimpers, and screams, and looks at us like "stop this pain!" And we ran out of Advil Monday night. He won't nurse or put really anything in his mouth. We were up with him most of the night. Thus the blog post I did yesterday is a random rant of sporadic thoughts. Greg took a nap over lunch yesterday. It was one of those days. Last night was better (we all slept more).

All that to say... it's teeth. They will come in! It's not an option, every person gets teeth. He'll be back to his happy, contented self soon. Until then, we love him the best we can. And since Maelee or 15 other kids aren't around, he's one very spoiled loved kid.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Diapers, Cereal.

For all you diaper buying people out there: If you aren't using those little codes on all your Huggies or Pampers packages, send them my way. Or start using them. But don't throw them away. That's bad.

We are a Pampers family. I've heard it said and I can say it's true for us "Huggies are for girls, Pampers are for boys." Overall, Pampers have won. I had a ton of Huggies saved up for Maelee and we used or gave away most all of them. And yesterday I decided to input all those codes because I want to get Eli something "from" his sister (well, her diapers). That's not weird, is it?

Not sure how to transition here. So I'll post a photo of Greg washing the cars last Saturday and the pool of pollen that accumulated. It makes sense that I thought someone paint-balled our steps the first spring we were here, eh? Yes, I thought that. I called Greg and said "some kid paint-balled our steps, they are yellow" because it rained shortly after the first wave of pollen. Now, now I know.

Now onto our favorite food:

For all you cereal eating people out there: They have Box Tops for Education on most all General Mills cereals (and a host of other products as well). We consume a lot of cereal (maybe an actual ton in our lifetime). We rip them off and put them in a baggie in the junk drawer. Read: you should do this too. It's free money for schools and takes ten seconds.

BUT since Eli isn't school age yet, we don't have one school we are giving them to... so if your school is big on box tops, let me know. I may just give your kid a computer. Or a chair. Or a pizza party. Didn't you just LOVE pizza party days in school?


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Not Irish.

You'd think with the red hair we were Irish. We're not. Well, maybe Greg has some Irishness somewhere. My heritage is all (proudly) Norwegian and a little German. But as a family of red-heads, many will assume we have an Irish lineage.

So I guess we better live it up every March 17. Or at least wear green.

Getting to have a baby wearing these "my 1st..." items just makes me smile. So grateful.


UPDATE: After talking with Grandma tonight, we learned Eli is 1/32 Irish. Glad we got that figured out.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Out for Some Sky.

I had a "meh" feeling all last weekend. Just didn't feel great or motivated and maybe feeling a little stuck. For me some of the best medicine is a nice drive. I'm certain this stems from growing up in flat land... plus the fact there is really wasn't a whole lot to do back home so for entertainment we would drive around. And around. And around. I know a large chunk of my high school days were spent in Jillmarie's car on some gravel road around Williston or sadly, dragging main. Yes, driving around was the thing to do.

Thus my itch to get out once in awhile and see some sky through the passenger window. Thankfully last Saturday, Greg took Eli and I on a drive to a small town and we had an early supper (only ones in the sub shop) and a little walk around. Then we came home. We were probably gone three hours but it was exactly what I needed.

Pretty cool clock on the Newberry Opera House plus brick road:

He is a South Carolina boy after all! (this is the SC flag for you non-southerners):

Also, the funny moment of the day was when we decided to get some ice cream for dessert. The man was explaining the different flavors: "Sherbet, Chocolate, and here's a seasonal one" as he pointed to the pink one with the sign "Peppermint Candy Cane." That really should have been our first clue. We preceded to buy some Butter Pecan. I had one bite and knew that stuff had probably been in the case for a few too many months. Old sugar = so not tasty. We should have realized it's mid-March and their seasonal ice cream did not involve St.Patricks Day or Easter. They obviously don't go through a lot of ice cream. Lesson learned.

Yesterday Eli and I joined some friends at our local zoo. I had to share this photo of how CUTE he looks in these short overalls. And his "these flamingos smell funny" look:

I did learn that Eli is so much like his Dad (and me)  in that he is NOT a fan of the sun and being hot. He was just crabby in the stroller as we walked around the different animal exhibits. However when we took a break in the cool shade, he was happy as can be. Then mad again when we went back in the sun. And yes, he had a hat and sunscreen on. 

I told Greg over the phone "I forsee many family vacations to cold destinations, not the beach" and he replied "We can go to the beach, we'll just spend all our time in the hotel room."  Ah, yes, the perfect vacation for a family of red-heads.


PS- Welcome to South Carolina, Sprummer. I know that it's Spring because there is a nasty yellow dust on everything, my car especially. And my nose is so congested. But I know that it's Summer because it's crazy hot and I'm dreaming of a pool. So I guess I'll just say Sprummer is here in full force. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


In honor of March Madness...

And by March Madness, I don't mean basketball. March Madness refers to our family in China (Greg's bro, wife and four kiddos). Today is their anniversary plus Isaiah turns six on Friday, Sunday is Vivian's FIRST birthday, and next week is Matt's birthday. A whole lot of celebration for some dearly loved family!

The China crew will be back to the states next fall. We'll see them when they are down south plus over Christmas. I look forward to meeting Vivi and watching her run circles around Eli... actually all the cousins will probably be running circles! But I'm sure Eli and Vivi will have fun conversations and we hope a good friendship in the years to come. 

What a doll! Happy First Birthday Sweetie!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Iron Fail.

My rug from Pro-Re-Nata that my mother got me for my bridal shower is now scarred. Mr. Iron decided to bungee jump from the ironing board yesterday. And for some reason my reaction time was delayed...



Saturday, March 10, 2012

Big Cone.

My below post got me thinking about a yummy dipped cone. The last time we had DQ, Eli was really small. How small? About the size of this ginormous chocolate dipped cone: 

Nom. Nom.


Friday, March 9, 2012


If you are from North Dakota, then you know that there is a Blizzard season. It starts around the end of May and lasts through September. That's right. Dairy Queen is closed more months than it is open. And if you want a tasty dipped cone or dilly bar or DQ sandwich in the middle of January? Too bad.

Enter in homemade blizzards. I think Greg's sister Amy was the one that got us on these delicious copycat treats. They are ridiculously simple but they taste great. Definitely not like an actual Blizzard (I actually saw a recipe that imitates the DQ version but it was long and complicated and completely not worth it) but this version is still lick-the-cup yummy.

Three ingredients: milk, ice cream, Oreos. Directions: Put together in a cup and smash-stir until blizzardy. I took some photos of this awhile back but really a five year old could do this.

You can use "less fat" ice cream without compromising the taste.

Regular Oreos are good but MINT Oreos make this amazing! I heart mint chocolate!

Helps if you have a sweet guy to mash up the blizzard for you.

Not going to win any "best looking dessert" awards.

But who cares! This is delish!
Now down here DQ is open year-round. Crazy! But there's only two: one in a mall and one in a gas station and they only serve a limited menu. If our homemade blizzards don't hit the spot, however, it's good to know I can get a real one if needed!

Seriously though, try the mint. Your mouth will thank you.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I believe I would be a stellar addition to Angela's Party Planning Committee. Really. I love to plan parties. I love details. I love coordinating. I love celebrating. I love themes. I love, love to plan. I used to get paid to plan events. Indeed, I am a good planner.

So of course I had no idea two years ago that I wouldn't be getting to plan my daughter's birthday parties. I distinctly remember a time after she died when I realized there would be no parties for her. Not long after I was at Old Navy and they had party supplies on clearance and I bought a bunch of lanterns and napkins and plates... a sort of retail therapy.

Last year that first week of April was rough. No fun pink and brown cupcake party was to be had (though we did eat cupcakes!). The same will go for this year. Our girl will not be entering her terrible twos with a fun party. And on top of the mom in me, the party planner is just plain disappointed.

Granted, little kiddos don't need extravagant parties. They won't remember them! It's a bunch of hullabaloo for the parents, really. But because I so badly wanted to plan Maelee's parties for years to come and I didn't get to... well, her brother is going to have a way over-the-top first birthday party.

I started planning last month when I was working on Maelee's album. I found that after a night of going through photos, I was worn out. Grieving is exhausting and depressing. So I would "treat" myself to planning Eli's birthday party the next night. I started buying a few supplies at craft stores when I had coupons. And Pinterest is full of ideas. Full. I didn't need any help with theme or colors, however, I've had that set since last summer!

Don't worry, I'm keeping it small. But it will be way too detailed. I'm just thrilled to be celebrating a whole year with our boy come the end of April. Getting to do this is makes the planner in me giddy... and silly as this seems, it's a bit like healing balm to my soul.


Maelee, sweet daughter of ours, we wish you we here starting your last month before turning 2 and loving on your little bro.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Smiles and Towels.

As I recall what it was like to want motherhood so badly, I am humbled to be in the midst of this role. I love this kid. Here's a photo taken this afternoon, me with my sweet boy!

This is Eli looking at his daddy who was making fun music:

Bath time! I remember when our friend Mollie sent us these towels after Eli was born and I thought "they are so big" and now... now they fit just right!

I love weekends!


Saturday, March 3, 2012


Yesterday I clicked on a link (shopping for a few things online) and somehow got a nasty malware virus on our computer. It was so sneaky. It made it look like a Windows program telling you something was wrong... but I knew something wasn't right. I then spent the next hours and hours trying to make it right again. We're talking into the bowels of the computer... command and registires and other such crazy things. I at least stopped said virus from taking over the world computer. When Greg came home, he spent more hours and hours tweaking and making everything back to normal.

I'm a fairly computer savvy person and I have no idea how non-techy people's computers survive. Really. And the fact that there are people out there making viruses to rob you or mess you up... that's just pure evil.

I am telling you this because it couldn't have happened at a worse time. We've had this computer for three plus years and I've never run into this sort of bull. But the day, the very day that I need to put the finishing touches on Maelee's album and get it ordered... that is the day this happens. Were there tears? Yes. I was so very frustrated. I used a program which stores photo projects on your computer, not on their site. Meaning I couldn't work on it or even have the files if my computer wasn't working. For awhile there, I wasn't sure if the book was completely lost or  not.

Thankfully all was righted and I worked on it late last night. I had until today to order it but I didn't want to take my chances. I ordered it last night. It's done!

Is it perfect? No. But it will be so nice to have. And my gracious husband leaned over and said to me last night, "You can always do another one" after he listened to me worrying about how it will turn out and wondering if I remembered to add everything. It's 82 pages... I sure hope so!

I'll let you know when it arrives and my final thoughts. I may even do a post about photo book sites... I definitely have my favorites and my opinions on them.


PS - No joke... just as I was about to publish this post... Firefox crashed. Thankfully blogger saved this little draft. Must.Get.Off.Computer.For.Sanity's.Sake.