Sunday, March 31, 2013


Happy Resurrection Day!

It's been a good day. There have been a few fleeting moments where I've panicked or been a little sad, but overall it's been a sweet day for our little family. We had church together, time with dear friends and their sweetly-accented southern family, delicious food I didn't have to cook, a crazed short-napped kid to make us laugh, fun with Eli's new fabric world map, and dinner in the tent we set up in our backyard while it rained.

I hope wherever you are, that you ponder anew what this day is all about. He is risen!

Egg-shaped sidewalk chalk!
Getting to experience chomping the ears off a little Lindt chocolate bunny. Oh yes, he was a fan.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bonus Visits.

We had one day of seeing some other special people while in Arizona. We met up with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Kasowski "The Greats" for lunch. They were in AZ visiting their daughter, our lovely Aunt Donna, who we don't see often enough. Always a smiling fun time!

Eli and "The Greats"
I'm taking the photo, obviously.
We love you, Great Aunt Donna!

Another fun, totally unplanned visit was with my former college roommate. Chris and I roomed together at UND and had a blast. Really, we were well suited. She's a gem. We also both married Gregs. We haven't seen each other since our wedding (has it been that long?!). Her Greg is a pilot so they live out in Washington state (and I suppose we just don't make it out northwest). They've had three mini-me's and it was super fun to see them in person. They were in Arizona visiting his extended family. So we got to see them for a quick park play date... all because she saw my post on facebook that we were in Arizona at the same time!

With the Irelands!
I wish more days of my life involved seeing family and friends from around the country!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ta Da.

Our photographer was into hands-on-waist poses. In a few photos, it looks alright. In others, it's downright funny. But I'm just happy to have us all-together in a shot. I wore white pants. Right when we got to the site, I bent to the ground to get Eli a snack and I got my knee muddy. Reason #1 why I am not suited for white pants.

Eli says "Grammy" like "Grappy" and it's quite adorable.
Missing Maelee here.
Some of our favorite people on earth.
I feel like we are sort of, finally getting rid of the colds we acquired while in Arizona. It's been over a week of resting and trying to recoup (and not cleaning, my house can tell you that!). I bet we'll be all fine and healthy about the time we get on a plane again in a little over two weeks!


Friday, March 22, 2013


A mama friend of mine that lives in Australia was out shopping and found something that made her think of us. It was in this upmarket bag shop there. A little wallet. And when she looked at the tag she saw "Kate Hill Maelee." She took a photo to send to me (so sweet) and then found the shop online for me. There the name of this wallet is the "Maelee Zip Around Wallet" and I very much think I should have it!

The description of it ends with "you'll fall in love with Maelee instantly" and you know, this is such a true statement. I did. Though my little daughter is way more valuable and loveable than a chic wallet. And I say "is" instead of "was" because she, her memory, truly is still valuable to me today.

Almost three years it's been. In some ways that time seems like a lifetime ago, in others it seems so very close. I would love to have our daughter here with us, oh yes, more than most anything. I also wouldn't give up all that I have lived, learned, loved these past three years because of her. Yes all of that has been a gift we have been given. A hard, aching, confusing, tearful gift.

So we again enter into this Maelee season. Yes, that sounds about right. Easter time, then that first week in April, ending with her third birthday in heaven. Oh Lord sustain us in our three-year-old grief.


Thanks, Kara, for showing me this Maelee Wallet and for remembering and missing her along with your two darlings. Someday in heaven we will celebrate together with our kids. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Tuesday we had our family photo taken. My mom found a groupon for a photographer. Being the photo snob that I am, I looked at their web site ahead of time. I was so disappointed. It was a sub-par site with bad design and all their photographs looked like church directory photos. Not impressed. I shared my concerns (can't keep it to myself, me so critical) so we all had low expectations and requested outside shots. And we were pleasantly surprised! The photographer was a nice guy and even though his style is typical formal posed, we got a few good shots. The setting was beautiful, weather perfect. That helps a TON (this coming from our K family shots in December in ND... 16 degrees means you only get a few shots and that's it).

I'll share the officials once I get the CD, but here's a few I took during the day:

Walking to our shoot site. They look quite regal here.
Ah, Arizona. Actually I think this looks more like Florida.
Hard to take a bad photo in this scenery.
My dad was so amused at my crazy antics trying to get Ava to smile, he took this photo. Notice the ORANGE tree behind me. Being a ND gal, citrus trees just tickle me pink.

She WOULD NOT smile for the official shots. But when I'm taking goofy shots, then she smiles.
She actually has her hands folded in anger in the Lippert family shot. Hilarious.
Jeff looks good!
Love this face.

Ali's got a good uncle.
Eli found an orange and thought it was a ball. They played with it until it cracked in two.
Then he ate some.

Can't get much sweeter than an Ava hug.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sitting on Sunday.

On our first day in Arizona, my husband, my mother, my sister, and my brother-in-law all left at 11am to head downtown for the World Baseball Classic (to cheer on the US of A). That meant my father and I were in charge of the three kiddos. We went out to lunch, to a park, and my dad got their kiddie pool rolling. It was a fun day but we were worn out by the time the crew came back at 7pm. Don't worry, I used "being on the kids all day" to get me out of other duties the rest of the week!

Grammy and the Lippert Girls

Notice the kid in the shade with the sunshirt and the girls carefree in the sun! Don't worry, I put on sunscreen. And I couldn't find the pool toys so colanders were it!
On the way to lunch. If you're happy and you know it...
Sweet sisters.
Being taken over with grandkids!
It's hard to get a sweet shot of this little tornado!
These park toys are old school and that is why they are fun.
Really fun!
And then... we crashed:


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mo Please.

We are back from Arizona vacation and we are tired. And sick. My sister shared a cold with Greg and I (thankfully Eli has only had mild symptoms). We are all congested and coughing and whiny. Okay, maybe that's just me.

But really, it is so hard to come back from family vacation. I want more! It's always so fun but it's also usually draining! We were busy busy doing so many fun things together. Add that on top of the fact you usually aren't sleeping as well, plus up at 4:15am for a day of traveling (and then a cold) and well, you got some tired folks.

Worth it? Completely! But we sure could use a few days (week!?) of nothing to recharge and get healthy. Maybe we need two weeks in Arizona, one for fun and one for nothing. Actually there were a few times during our trip where Greg and I felt like we could have had more relaxing fun...if our sweet Eli weren't here! He does make life full, and we wouldn't trade that for an easy, relaxing life. No way. But we did start planning our ten year anniversary trip in 2015.

Here's us at San Tan Flats outdoor bar and grill place. It would have been an awesome date! Eli was quite crabby (kid wants food when he wants food) so it was not as much fun waiting for our delicious steak with him... plus we had to leave early. You could crop him out of this photo for a good couple shot but he's our boy and we love him even when it's not convenient.

I took some great shots of the family so get ready for a photo barrage!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Break.

We are having a great time in sunny, hot Arizona! I suppose its not really spring break for us, but we'll pretend. It's crazy my parents live here part of the year but it sure is a perk for us! The weather has been fantastic. We've done a plethora of fun activities. Eli has started talking more, thanks to the influence of his cousins.

Photos to come but here's one of Eli on the tram at the zoo today, sporting his new Phoenix Zoo safari hat.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


This was us a few minutes ago. We are on our way to Arizona!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


We have been keeping a secret since New Years Eve...Eli is getting a new cousin! The first Baby Brown is due September 1st (Greg is hoping for a day earlier arrival). We are so happy God has blessed Andrew and Amy with a child. Please join us in praying for this much-anticipated and long-awaited little one!

And yes, I am already preparing Baby Brown's wardrobe with some obnoxious, biased promoting!
We love you, Browns! We are So.Very.Excited!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Alphabet Boy.

Over a month ago I needed to distract Eli while out and about so I had him try this alphabet app on my phone. It shows a variety of letters and asks you to point to a certain letter. I just needed a minute so I figured he would just like looking at the letters. But lo and behold, the kid started pointing to the letters. The RIGHT letters! I sat there sort of dumb-founded. And then I thought "I must be a bad mom for not knowing he could and should be learning the alphabet." Whoops. I guess these are some of the issues when he's got no daycare plus a first-time-raising-a-kid mom.

I'm not sure how or why he learned his letters so quickly but he did. And now he knows the whole alphabet, with just a few mix-ups. He also knows some phonetics for a few letters. If you say "go find me a T", he'll say "Tee" then "Tuh Tuh". Craziness. Our little man may be behind in some other developmental ways, but he's got letters down (well, he knows them but still can't say them all). We have a few Leap Frog toys that I think have really helped this out... plus we have read to him a crazy amount since birth.

I think he's just going to keep surprising us each week. It's quite enjoyable as a parent. A few weeks ago he exploded with knowing loads of animal names and corresponding sounds (his monkey is hilarious). Last week Greg taught him his shapes. Now I can say "circle" and the kid knows what I'm talking about. A few days ago he learned to speak "no" which has been interesting to have in conversation. He also learned to say "Elmo" and now considers (or wishes) all things on the television to be so. And a couple days ago he said his name for the first time.

Playing with the letter toy my sister bought for Maelee.

I'm having a blast with this guy! It's hard to believe we are almost done counting in months for him. It really is remarkable what these little beings accomplish in a years time. Last year at this time he still couldn't crawl!