Saturday, August 31, 2013

33 on the 31.

Truly, my happy place is wherever my husband is. And double bonus when we can spend his birthday weekend in Buffalo "the happy place."

Love this man, beyond grateful for him. Bummed his birthday was just more of serving me and Eli, but at least he got a good steak!

-His Happy Wife

Thursday, August 29, 2013


My wonderful dad is 70 years old. I sure love him.

Here's to hoping for lots more good fishing in the years ahead. Eli needs you to show him what it's all about.

Regal? Studly? I can't decide... I'm so taken with all the hair!

Love this wedding photo of my parents... who celebrated 39 years together this month. So grateful for their commitment through it all.
Happy Birthday Dad. Looking forward to time with you soon.


Daughter #2

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No Rosettes.

Our girl is doing well. She was positioned very well for the ultrasound this morning so that was great. Then she took a little nap for the non-stress test portion so I ended up sitting there a long while, she just needed time to show her moves. Went over things with the doctor and we are moving forward... and will do this all again on Friday.

I then overheard someone talking about making sure this or that was ready in their nursery.

Freaking out about a nursery not ready? Please. I'm just trying to get through every day! The poor girl is just not getting a nursery and cuteness for her arrival... she was going to get us-living-in-parents-basement anyway, but even more so is now is getting the short end of the stick on readiness. I know she won't remember or care, that's all me. I have been at least thinking about what we'll need to get yet and may even have her bag packed soon. I had expectations of fun, cute craft projects and things to make for her... cute little headbands and embellished onesies and rosettes on everything. Those are not important in the long scheme of things.

She'll still be adorable!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Auntie H.

I may not be able to do much, but I can hold my niece!


Friday, August 23, 2013


I have a few moments of internet time before my boy wakes up and I have to roll on in to get him;) So here's a few shots for you:

Ahoy mateys! This was when I was in Fargo last week at my friend's store's photo booth. I was being the tester for lighting. Who knew I was harboring a broken meta-whatever foot bone at the time!
This is the perfect lawn-mowing attire, agreed?

Can't get enough of these clouds. And the view.

Great Grandma K with one happy momma and sweet Alexia.

Look at that yawn!

Melts my heart!
As far as our baby girl goes, the baby doctor was not overly concerned with my foot causing baby issues, though she does want me to move my foot more than my foot doctor wants. I sure gave the nurses something to laugh about, I am quite a site rolling around the hallways.

Starting next week, I go in every Tuesday and Friday morning for 1. a biophysical ultrasound 2. a non-stress test on baby and 3. a meeting with the doctor to go over results. It's going to be around 2 1/2 to 3 hours each time. So if you are around Bismarck and want to watch one cute two-year-old, let me know! As hard as it is to get me there and needing to have care for Eli, I'm looking forward to these appointments because if baby is in distress or failing we should know. The doctor also went from 39 week induction to 38 (first week in October) assuming everything is fine and dandy with baby. I'm shooting for 37 (like with Eli) but at this point, we are just taking it day-by-day. Survival mode. Though I did think today perhaps we should get the bags packed...


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Perfect Foot Storm.

Oh dear.

You ready for the not-so-good news on my foot?

The foot doc sees this type of break all the time, it's the most common type. I was the fifth person he's seen this week with this same break. And it is most assuredly broken (and really, really stupid of me to limp/walk on it for eight days). However, I could probably make some medical books for the fact that I'm also pregnant in my third trimester, have a stupid blood clotting disorder that may or may not have caused a full-term stillbirth previously, and I'm living in a basement that requires me to go up/down stairs.

It's the perfect storm.

Normally this type of break would require a no-weight-bearing healing time. The cure is time with cast and crutches, no weight on that foot. However, because of my blood clotting disorder I need to have movement, have blood flow, which means no cast. And because of pregnancy, crutches are not a safe bet (they also put undue pressure on the abdomen muscles). Plus I'm not only dealing with normal weight, but extra baby-girl weight.

The solution the foot doc came up with is a different boot designed for diabetics that has air pumps to get it as tight as possible, a ROLLER-AID scooter for my left leg to get around so that I don't put ANY weight on my foot, and crutches for stairs.
My sweet left leg ride.
Sounds doable? I was optimistic... until I actually got said roller-aid and the darn thing is heavy and hard to maneuver. It's not like I can lift it up/down stairs or in/out of the car. And I realized how very, very difficult it is going to be to not ever put any weight on my left foot and be able to live normally for the next six weeks, give or take. I felt like this was manageable with a boot I could walk on, cumbersome but doable. This not walking on it at all? Quite a bit more complicated.

So I have to be almost completely dependent on other people until this foot heals. And since I also have the most adorable two-year-old dependent on me, that means his care is now mostly up to someone that can actually pick him up. This is so very, very humbling and very hard. A lot of this is coming down on my dear mother-in-law since Greg does have to work. She is really having to do everything, bless her heart (in the most sincere way). This all is really taking away from her getting to care for Greg's sister who is still recovering from her emergency c-section and learning to care for a newborn (read: she could use her mommy big time right now). And even though my MIL is a crazy energetic superstar, she is only one person. Grandpa will be a big amazing help as well, but he also has a job he must do.

They had NO IDEA what they were getting into when we pulled into town! Pretty sure there isn't a thank you card big enough for all this.

But more than all that, the hardest is probably the fear for what this could mean for baby girl. The fear of getting a blood clot in the umbilical cord or elsewhere that could kill her... oh that fear is heartwrenching. The fear and worry were there before but it seemed a bit more far-fetched. When you hear it from a doctor, hearing that it's very much a valid concern, that's hard, friends. I know the Lord is asking me to keep trusting Him for each day with her. I thought I was doing that... but these trusting lessons are constant ones it seems.

Another hard part of this is I felt like we were just about getting to settle and start having fun making a life here, getting into a groove living in Bismarck, living with Greg's parents, etc. We had only been here ten days before the foot incident caused a set-back, one I thought wouldn't get in the way THIS much. And now this is our foreseeable future, a bum foot that's cure could be the thing that hurts our baby.

Uff-da. Times 10.

Obviously I told the doctor she (our dear, sweet, yet-unnamed baby girl) was a priority over my foot and he is trying to make it the best for both (alive baby plus allowing my foot to heal this way versus having to have surgery and stick a pin in it later). I have an appointment with my OB-GYN tomorrow so we'll see what she says about the broken foot and how she wants to proceed from the baby side of things. And in two weeks I'll go back for another set of x-rays to see how the foot is healing.

What a ride. (Literally, how old do I look scooting in that thing?)


Monday, August 19, 2013

Bum Foot.

And it's broken. 

My foot that is. After it not feeling better today, eight days after the trip-over-toy incident, it was time to go to the walk-in clinic. The doctor showed me on the x-rays where my left foot has been revolting. I go see a podiatrist on Wednesday but for now I'm booted up for the next month. 

I have been laughing since I found out. It's just so amusing aallllll that is going on right now! Oh my!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fargo and Back.

Another whirlwind of days. I drove to Fargo Thursday then back to Bismarck Friday. I went to my appointment with the Maternal Fetal Specialist that my new doctor here referred and wanted me to go to. Here's the full-on recap if you want details:

It involved a 45 minute ultrasound of our girl and then a shorter meeting with the doctor. The initial nurse who took all my info was one of the nicest I've ever had. She was so empathetic, she even asked Maelee's name! It's a gift when someone asks questions about your loss and especially in the medical field, such a gift when they make it personal instead of just a fact on record. Plus she got me ice and a pillow for my foot! I considered taking a nice nap I was so comfy in that low-lit room!

Baby girl moved often. She wasn't breech anymore which was good (though she could still flip around again). Everything looked fine and normal. Her femur bone was on the smaller side but still within normal range. He showed me the charts to clarify this, he wasn't worried about dwarfism or anything. But if the ultrasound has anything to say, she'll be short. Sorry baby, that's all me. 

He asked a few clarifications about what went down with Maelee, though I don't think I was really able to answer them as much as he'd like (he did say how hard it is when there is no definite medical answer for why she died). He affirmed what my SC doctor prescribed, he wants me to stay on my lovenox injections. He talked about the research for one of my blood clotting disorders, it's not official that lovenox is precisely the treatment but it has shown that there are better results being on it versus not. (I wholeheartedly agree). The other blood clotting disorder I have he said he doesn't even concern himself with, it's so common in the population. Whatever. I was just glad he was on board with what my doctor in SC was about: lovenox, baby aspirin, prenatal vitamin.

The downside is that he had no samples (oh how I miss my SC doc!) and since our insurance with COBRA still looks inactive (even though we paid that blasted premium), I had to pay for my shots out of pocket. Hopefully insurance/COBRA will get their bums in gear before I run out again in twelve days. What a hassle! But we will do whatever we can to get that shot in my belly each day and care for our baby girl as best we can!

The doctor also told me I may have a little hairline fracture in my foot and could go get it x-rayed and they'd most likely boot me up. I told him it wasn't bad enough for that, yet, but I suppose if the darn thing doesn't heal soon I may have to go that route. Sanford did wonderful in carting me to the right elevator via golf cart when I got there and then picking me up in the courtesy shuttle right to my car. Great service!

The doctor also made a game plan for the rest of my care (here in Bismarck, won't have to go see him in Fargo again unless something goes goofy I suppose). When I hit 32 weeks coming up, I need to have twice weekly bio-physical ultrasounds and non-stress tests on baby. I'll be at the doctor often and we will be watching baby girl like a hawk. This is good... but there is always a part of me that says "that's all fine and dandy but we did weekly ultrasounds with Maelee at the end, too, with one just three days before she died and all seemed fine." There is no guarantee. We are not in control and we trust God for each day we get with this little darling, as hard as it is to let go.

Speaking of control, on my drive to Fargo, I had a semi almost ram me on the interstate changing into my lane and not seeing me... it happened quickly but I was half in the left-hand ditch stunned for a moment about how I got there. I suppose I could have sung that bad country song "Jesus take the wheel" but I didn't. I did thank Him for keeping me and baby safe and the car okay to get to that appointment! Glad I was driving in ND, too, where you can see what's coming for miles and there weren't any cars directly behind me.

Going to my dear friend's store in downtown Fargo after my appointment was a treat! I have been anxious to see it since they opened a year ago... I consumed delicious cupcakes and could have bought the whole store, or at least most of the baby gifts. I did buy one adorable little teether for our baby girl. In the shape of North Dakota. Heck yes!

Then I headed to Buffalo for the night at the G&G Kasowski hotel. Our happy place.
Buffalo, Alice exit at sunset time.
And in the morning, went to see Maelee's grave and have some quiet moments there, being thankful for the two daughters God has given us.

And then I came back here to this kid. Who probably ate ten smoothies while I was gone! Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa and Daddy and Bri for taking care of him!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013


North Dakota is a bizarre place. It's always been a little off-key. A tad unique, nothing fancy. Cold weather and lack of population made it low on most people's lists of must-see destinations. Pretty sure it was #49 on states to see. Most people can't remember if it is North or South Dakota that "have the presidents" (it's South). Let's just say North Dakota surely wasn't a popular destination for anyone with no connections here.

But the last five years have changed this little state. We left North Dakota at the brink of a insane boom. Insane. People from all over want to come here. Well, they may not really want to but the jobs are here. Loads of them.

Growing up in Williston, all the kids I went to school with were from right around there. I remember the kid that transferred to grade school in the fifth grade from Dickinson (two hours away). It was a really big deal, a new kid from "far away." Yeah. As I think about all the kids I knew in grade school, I think everyone's extended family were from other parts of North Dakota or Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota maybe. Oh there were the few that had an aunt or uncle in some far away place like California or Texas, but everyone was from here.

Now kids going to Wilkinson Elementary in Williston probably have kids from 20 of the 50 states attending their school. I have no research and no first-hand knowledge of this but I'm guessing it's gotta be close to that or more drastic. It just seems so, so different than ten, twenty years ago.

I know this because of all the license plates we've seen in just a short time, from the articles in the newspaper, from the local talk, from the "you wouldn't believe all the driver's licenses I've seen" stated by the bank guy and insurance lady. We're not even living in the thick of it and it's still full of folks from around the country.

We took an awesome riverboat tour on Saturday evening and I could tell within ten seconds of overhearing the young woman next to us that she was a southerner. Turns out her fiancee has been working in ND for over two years. She just comes up a few weeks at a time here and there. I very much enjoyed talking with them about things we actually knew about. Not that we will ever say we mastered southern culture or anything, but we have a great respect and joy for what we learned in SC. I could tell they were so happy to get to talk about southern culture to people that had some clue of it, too.

The other people next to us in the riverboat? Someone that taught with my father-in-law's brother for twenty years. So even though ND has changed with the influx of new people, it's still has some small do-you-know-so-and-so sort of feel. I hope that never changes.

I do wonder what all these new folks are thinking. It has to be such a shock. Especially if they are used to city life and certain stores and restaurants. Especially if they have never been really, truly cold. It's been fun to answer "where are you moving from?" with "South Carolina" and then get that look (usually a "oh you are one of those newcomers coming to try your hand at North Dakota living."). Most of the time I end up saying "but we are originally from Williston so it's not like..." and then I trail off because I'm not sure exactly what I'm really saying. I suppose I just want them to know that I'm not some random person coming here, that I have a history here and deep roots, that I understand how blasted cold it is, that I'm in this for the long haul.

Yes, I guess that's what I am. It just hasn't sunk in yet, even when I say "I'm relocating here from South Carolina". As a person born and raised here, it's a little odd that I feel out of place. But I've changed. It's changed. And it's going to take awhile to find out what a new normal is going to look like.  

One thing I am very much looking forward to is playing the license plate game with our kids. We'll get one of those little boards and they are going to get to check off so many different states' plates. So unlike my childhood with the maybe five states I'd get to cross off on our family road trips (don't laugh, I remember being excited seeing a Wisconsin plate). While we still have it, I do hope our SC plate is checking off one state on some game app for a kid. Yes, variety is good. 

Ah. Such a welcoming view.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Today was a monumental day! Baby Alexia was able to come home! We got to hold her! Grandma was itching to get her hands on this sweet grandbaby. A tiny little beauty! We didn't spend much time over there, the Browns need their rest... but enough to get a load full of photos to share:

Isn't this the sweetest three-generation photo ever?
So tiny in Grandpa's big hands!
We were all in love. 
Well, except for Eli. He wasn't sure about anyone else holding this baby instead of him. Oh my the jealousy!
The excited cousins! 
As you can also see, Eli had a bit of a run-in with the front steps today. Thankfully he's okay, just some flesh wounds on the face. Quite the battle scar. Hopefully they'll heal up quickly. I also tripped over a toy while coming down the stairs with laundry and have been laid up with a huge, not fun bump on my foot the last four hours. Both incidents could have been much worse so we are grateful that they did not, thus far, require a hospital visit (see previous health insurance woes post for why this would be the worst timing for those!).

We are just so, so glad Alexia is home.

All in all our Sunday turned into quite the event-filled day!


Friday, August 9, 2013


Eli went to the park with Grandma and his cousin Lilliana today. He was digging around and saw a half of a pistachio shell. He picked it up happily and exclaimed "seashell!" My MIL didn't have the heart to tell him otherwise. Oh son, if only you knew just how insanely far away you are from real seashells.

So, you ask, where do we live now?
Where clouds are so beautiful they make you want to reach out and touch them.
Where wind was invented.
(And double chins). 
Where a relative is in the paper (yesterday was Greg's cousin on the front page of the sports section). 
Where Eli can spend quality time with his cousin before nap.
Where when he wakes up, he can devour Grandma's homemade banana bread in a sleepy stupor. 
Where we wear sweatshirts in August. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013


I know there are lessons to be learned in this time of feeling so very unsettled. It's almost comical all we have going on! The main issue is the health insurance woes. We are doing COBRA but the darn paperwork isn't here, meaning we show up as inactive to anyone as of July 31. They say they will retroactive anything... but we are skeptical at best. Everything is supposed to get pre-authorized so we don't get charged out-of-network costs, but we can't get that because we aren't active. Plus I am running out of my injection I take daily during pregnancy and the special order company won't send to us inactive folks. I'll stop there but needless to say, it's messy and hard to be wise and proactive without being stressed and frustrated. Active-schmactive.

The good news is baby girl seems to be doing just fine! Heard her little heartbeat today (no ultrasound but doctor said baby was still breech). I had my first appointment with my new doctor and even though her plan is a bit different than what I was thinking/how my old doctor did things, I think it'll be a good fit. She wants to make sure all is well and make sure I get great care, so I have to travel to a specialist in Fargo next week. Because they don't have those baby specialists here in the boonies;)

Of course those specialists most definitely need pre-authorization but I can't get that...

Okay, no, sorry, just letting you know how this circle of crazy seems to affect everything! We really are wondering if we are the only people that move cross-country mid-pregnancy and try to use COBRA. I wouldn't suggest it at this point! The perspective to be reminded during this all, of course, is we will do anything to get her here alive and healthy. The rest of this stuff will just have to be worked out.

We are SO thankful that we have, as Greg called it, a "buffer" time living with Greg's parents. I'm not having to plan or prepare every meal (so awesome) and we have childcare if we need to say, open a bank account (like yesterday). And Eli is soaking up all the attention like a sponge! With Amy getting home from the hospital just today and Alexia hopefully soon, it's not like they aren't busy helping with them, too! Grandma and Grandpa are going to need a nice, long vacation soon! But they have been awesome in serving us joyfully since we pulled in a week ago with that moving truck. We are so grateful we have help in this crazy!

Oh and Greg bought me a van last week. That's a nice hubby, eh? Nothing like selling a house, selling a car, moving cross-country, buying a car, starting a new job, and soon having a baby to make life active.

Now if only insurance could be active. Ha!

Time for a nap!


Sweet Peoples.

Our friends had a little going away party for us ten days ago. It was our last night in Columbia. We were definitely going great guns at that point trying to get everything accomplished before we left but it was nice to see so many one last time before we headed out. Today Eli finished my starting prayer of "thank you for all" by saying "the peoples". And I just know he meant to include these sweet peoples:

Thanks, friends, that came and those that were able to say good-bye at different times. It was hard yet good to have a full schedule of seeing dear ones the last weeks of our time in SC. We miss you already.

A few more fun shots from that evening:
Eli and Caleb. Friend hug. Just makes you want to cry.
Eli's BFF.
Wait, no she's mine!
The awesome music youth from church made a silly video saying goodbye to Greg (he's been helping them for the last year and has loved his time with this stellar group of high schoolers). They surprised us with it!

I think this is a great family photo of our dear friends... we plan to live in their house whenever we get too cold up here.

Eli is so going to miss his entourage of friends.

Another great family photo, another great family we'll miss!
I have more photos to share of our southern friends... soon!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Alexia Maelee.

When I said it's been a whirlwind around here, I wasn't lying. The biggest addition to our lives came on Friday night. Our niece was born a month early! She's alive and healthy but will spend some time in the NICU.

Greg's sister, Amy, developed preeclampsia quickly and badly. Friday she had gone into urgent care because of chest pain and a fever and as soon as they checked her blood pressure, they had her go to the ER. Dale had received a text from daddy Andrew saying they were going to the ER because of said symptoms. I figured they were wondering about preeclampsia and were checking on that or would keep her for monitoring but we had no idea how bad her symptoms were. Shortly thereafter we got the text that baby would be born via csection within the next half-hour. WHOA! What a turn of events! We had only been in Bismarck a little over 24 hours and hadn't even unpacked! We didn't even get the cute sister baby belly photo during our short time together on Thursday!

Praise God for modern medicine so that both baby and Amy are going to be okay. Poor Amy was in really rough shape after all her body went through with the preeclampsia and the emergency csection. The only "cure" for preeclampsia is delivery so we praise God she was far enough along that baby will be just fine after some TLC in the NICU. Amy didn't even get to meet baby girl until Sunday because she's still been recovering but Andrew has spent lots of time near his daughter's side.

We are so, so grateful to God that they are both going to be okay. How she came into the world is not the ideal but we know, in part to our Maelee, that just them alive is gift enough. Her middle name remembers our girl, too, so what a precious gift to us. We love this little girl (we got to see her Sunday) and are so excited to get to hold her someday soon! 

Alexia Maelee Brown! 5lbs, 10ozs, 19 inches!

AMB - same initials as her momma!
Uncle Greg happily peeking in!


Saturday, August 3, 2013

35+ Hours.

After over 35 hours, Greg finally pulled into Bismarck with his yellow Penske truck on Thursday. It was a long few days for him. It included: Tuesday driving from Columbia to Indiana, conquering all the mountains along the way. Wednesday morning waking up in Indiana and waiting a few hours for his broken wiper to get fixed (guy had to drive from Indianapolis) then getting stuck in crazy traffic for much of the day and finally making it to MN about 10:30pm that night. Thursday he got company in the "big yellow truck" when Eli and I joined him from my sister's in MN to Fargo (and Eli did quite well in fact). Fargo he dropped off the Camry/trailer and we ditched him for a comfy ride with Grandma and cousin Lilli for that last three hours. We all arrived in Bismarck (safely) around 6pm on Thursday.

On the road again.

Bad lighting but this is the "welcome to ND" sign on the interstate in Fargo.
I was plumb worn out, nerves and all, by the time we arrived. Thursday night we had GREAT help unloading thanks to Greg's dad, our brother-in-law Andrew, friend Nate, and three strong Weisbeck cousins! They unloaded items here and the rest at our awesome friends' house where we are storing most of our stuff. Sadly I took no photos of all the work being done! I was just so glad we had made it in one piece.

Friday Greg and his dad left in the empty big yellow truck and drove it back to Fargo to be returned with a little less than 2,000 miles on it. When they made it back to Bismarck for supper, I'm pretty sure Greg was finally able to take a breath. Though to be honest, he hasn't really gotten a break. Today we had to actually try to unpack and settle in plus Eli got a cold and isn't loving the transition to big-boy bed (read: he's really whiny and tired). Baby has been moving still so she seems to be doing alright among the crazy.

Eli is loving the attention and the smoothies from G & G.

Fun in the grass.
And what a whirlwind since we've been here! More soon!