Monday, June 30, 2008

what's in a name...

Arah: Means the way; a traveler in Hebrew (boys name)
Sarah: Means "lady" or "princess" in Hebrew

We really haven't discussed names too much. While we were in the hospital with Olivia, Brinley was sitting on Matt's lap and said "Daddy, we are going to have another girl and her name will be Sarah and she won't die." However, Matt and I aren't all that sure about the name Sarah because, well, I am Arah. So we have been trying to see if Brinley likes other names...she always comes back to Sarah. i do like the name Sarah, i can just hear the phone conversation in my head though... "Is Sarah there?" You want to speak to Arah?" No, Sarah!"... I think I would go a little nuts. How does a person who names there kid after them deal with the mixup? So, I think we will keep trying to change Brinley's mind...or not.

*after some inspiration from Brinley and my SIL, Juli, Matt and I talked about how children must know things that we don't. This little girl was obviously supposed to be named Sarah Mae, after her Great, Great Grandmother Sarah Mae Watkins Castleton.

Friday, June 27, 2008

the baby is...


Yay! Plenty of amniotic fluid, fluid in the stomach and bladder and all looks well. I will have to start doing stress tests like I did with Brinley starting at 32 weeks. I also won't be going to my due date. Dr. Barrong says that he will induce me no later than 39 weeks, but I think I may only make it to 37. I guess with my history of miscarriage, the placenta has a tendency to start to shut down early in the last trimester.

Oh's a GIRL!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I spent yesterday having anxiety attacks. Not little ones, MAJOR anxiety attacks...I haven't had one since early March, when I found out I was pregnant.
I was by myself most of the day while Brinley spent the day at Cody's house playing. As I sat at my computer working on pictures for my nephew, David, it hit me. I had to get out of the house, needing to be around people. Off to Walmart I went. I wandered mostly. I felt better so I came back home to put groceries away. I had a small attack on the way home. I got the cold stuff put away and then went to see Matt. I was fine on the way to his work and then on the way home I had another major attack. There were 3 accidents on the freeway and I just thought about Brinley and if something was to happen to her and so I called and talked to her to make sure everything was okay and listen to her voice. I calmed down after talking to her and worked on pictures again.
I was fine through GNO. I have been cleaning some offices for a friend of mine while she is on vacation and while I was there in a big, quiet building by myslef, I have another major one. Matt stayed on the phone with me while i finished cleaning.
I think that the up-coming ultrasound has really got me nervous. I just don't want to find out that something is wrong again. And then the thought of something happening to Brinley really gets me worried. I can't imagine what it's like for people who deal with this everyday. Their days must be really hard. I can usually talk myself out of an attack, but because I was alone most of the day, I didn't have something to distract me.
Today is a new day and I am doing so much better and it's off to spend the day with my sister, Julie, and my sister-in-law, Becca, and all the kiddlings.
*my ultrasound is this Friday at 11am with a doctors appointment to follow. I will post as soon as I get home about what we are having, unless you get a phone call first...and you know who you are.

ladies night

Laast night was Girls Night Out. We went Miniature Golfing and I don't think any of us have been in about 10 years. Six women can get pretty giggly on a mini golf course.We didn't do to bad...
I came in last by about 10 points...I'll blame it on my belly.
I feel like we were at disneyland in this picture.
Congrats Cindy! Hope your pregnancy goes smoothly. Cindy is due 1 week after my sister, Corinne, who is due Dec. 29th. I sure know a lot of pregnant woman.

Monday, June 23, 2008

applebox oven

( i don't recommend making one with a door, like the picture, you lose too much heat, but it gives you the idea of what it looks like. Make it on the ground and then place the box on top.)
click here for instructions on how to make it and use it. It's easy to make and can be used over and over again.

busy, busy, busy...

Oh my gosh. What a weekend! I don't think I have been that busy in a while. Friday was spent getting ready for Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday was spent at the emergency Preparedness Fair where I sat outside for 4 hours talking to people about how to make and use an apple box oven. I baked a cake in it and it turned out way better than the muffins I had made. It's a great idea for not having to use your oven in the Summer and heat your house.I was placed next to the delicious smells of dutch oven cooking, but i got to try all of the food they made. and they let me use their canopy for a few minutes.
That afternoon we went to my parents house for a bbq. We couldn't stay long because I had to clean some offices for a friend who is out of town for the week. We got home at about 8 and put on a movie, which I fell asleep during. Since I crashed on the couch with my head next to an open window, I woke up with water all over my face. It had started to pour rain and it lasted quite a while.
Sunday we were 1/2 hour late to church. but at least we made it. After church I came home to bake a cake for one of the moms from the MISS Foundation Support Group. Brinley found the frosting...

but didn't want me to take a picture of her chocolate mustache and goatee.

The cake was delicious and the scrapbook night a success. We had a great turn out and are going to try and have something like this quarterly. We had pizza from a place i have never tried before and it was GOOD! I think it's worth trying again for GNO. The place is called Benidito's. YUM!

Friday, June 20, 2008


THIS is the cutest commercial. Brinley and I love it.


Sunday night I am going to a MISS Foundation scrapbook night. Since we got so much stuff donated for the gift baskets for a silent auction, I was able to put together a 6x6 album, which each of us get to make, for Sunday night. Cover.
page 1.
page 2 and 3.
page 4 and 5.
page 6 and 7.
page 8 and 9.
page 10 and 11. (not completely finished)
page 12.
It's not my best work, but it's the first of many things I've been meaning to due for the past 7 months. Not all of the books will look the same. I was going to do a class but then decided that since some of moms didn't get pictures and some did, I would just help them figure out what works best for them.
I'll let you know how the scrapbook night went. It's also one of the mom's birthday and I am making the most delicious dark chocolate cake for is literally heaven.
Tomorrow, Saturday, I get to spend at the Preparedness Fair. Our Stake hosts it every 2 years and this year I get to help with 'alternative ways of cooking'. I got to make an Apple Box Oven. I made some muffins in it earlier this evening and it works. So tomorrow at the fair, I am going to try a cake. Hopefully everything goes as planned.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Earlier this week, I got an email asking me about PKD. She and her family lost a baby last year to Anencephaly and are now pregnant and due in October with another baby. They found out last week that the baby girl, Brecken, she is currently pregnant with, has Polycystic Kidney Disease. I can't imagine what this family is feeling right now. From reading her blog, it sounds like the kidney's are functioning to some degree. If the baby lives, she will need to be on dialysis and will need a kidney transplant early on in life.
They are asking for prayers. You can read her blog here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Summer has arrived...

Julie and I took the kiddlings to the new Southside Aquatics Center. For $2.50 for kids and $5 for adults, we'll be spending a lot of time here.
This place is awesome! Cody and Brinley LOVED it. Julie took the kids down the waterslide. I took the kids around the lazy river...sorry, no picture.
After not seeing sun in quite a while, I became a lobster. Oh, do I hurt. I haven't had a sunburn this bad in years...sorry, no pictures of my sunburn either.

200th post

WOW. I figured I might have some amazing thing to post about, but no. Just a cute shot of my daughters crack... and... giving Olivia loves.
Matt wanted to visit Olivia for Father's day. We couldn't stay long because Matt has horrible, no good allergies and the cememtery is full of weeds. We are thinking in the next month, we will take a lawn mower, rakes, shovels, edging rocks and a picnic and fix up Olivia's grave. Hopefully, sometime this Summer, we will have a headstone for her too.
We came home and Matt spent the rest of Father's day sleeping, Brinley had a really bad cough/snotty nose also and we accidentally overslept...until 10:30... and missed church too. Brinley and I spent the afternoon swinging and riding her bike down to the school while Matt slept.
Brinley decided that their needs to be a Kid's Day, like Mother's Day and Father's Day. What she doesn't understand is that she gets a whole season of "kid's day"...Summer.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day is a special day...

Happy Father's day to all Father's, especially to all the Father's in my life.
To my wonderful husband who is an amazing father to Brinley. I couldn't have chosen a more perfect husband.
Who misses Olivia terribly and will make a great father to the baby joining our family in November.
To Papa Jim, who is an amazing father and grandpa.Who I take after quite a bit.
To Matt's dad, Grandpa Harold.
Who is the sweetest and most caring man I know.

...and to my brothers, in laws, nephews and all the other Fathers in my life, I love you guys!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

my day...

started out as a typical no school kinda day. We slept in a whole 30 minutes longer than usual. We did our usual morning routine and then I took Brinley out to swing in the yard. That's when I got a call from Chaplain Michelle at Sacred Heart. She had 2 babies, different families, that needed pictures done today. My schedule was pretty open and my awesome sister, Julie, took Brinley for the day. Needless the say, I spent most of my day at the hospital with these families and helped the mom that I took pictures for last week (she had her baby over the weekend) move over to the Ronald McDonald House.
The first of the babies was in the NICU. She was just born to early (23 weeks) and had some bleeding. Sweet little thing. We took pictures and then the parents took her off life support. After they said their goodbyes, I got a few more shots without the tubes. Chaplain Michelle, a nurse, and I stayed with her while she passed away. Beautiful little girl.
I then met with mom from last week. I will be going back to take pictures of her baby, which is doing very well, this Friday. I am so glad I got her belly pictures when we did. Her daughter is quarantined for 48 hours from other babies and pregnant woman, so I couldn't see her today.
I had a few hours before the next family delivered their babies, so I was able to have lunch with Matt at his work, which is really convenient since he works about 3 blocks from Sacred Heart Hospital.
I got a phone call from one of the nurses telling me that the family was ready for me. Her voice sounded was my nurse from when I delivered Brinley, she is from Scotland and I LOVED having her as my nurse. She happened to be this families nurse also. The nurses were in the middle of a shift change and Heather Roberts, from Forget Me Not, was there to take over. We met the family and their sweet little boy (25 weeks old). He is a twin, his sister was in the NICU and doing good. This little guy had some major internal/external defects. He was a handsome little thing. This family was doing particularly well. The mom had had an EXTREMELY rough day (and I mean more than just losing a child) and was just taking things so incredibly well. They had some other family there and so we took lots of pictures with them too. They knew just what pictures they wanted with their baby and the grandpa had about 5 cameras (cell phones, digital, 35 mm, etc.) with him so he just followed me and took pictures as I took them. They didn't want to miss a thing. I will be back Friday to take pictures of the sister in NICU.
I picked up Brinley from Julie's house at about 9pm and headed home for the day. Tomorrow I am not going to be doing too much (except getting these pictures edited and put on cds), but Friday afternoon is booked, back to Sacred Heart for me...
oh yeah, while at the hospital the second time, we saw this

just outside the window. Spokane got hit with a freak storm. The picture doesn't do it justice, those were some black clouds! I guess it hailed like crazy in the valley, but downtown got dumped on with rain. The roads turned into rivers and some of the drains were actually bubbling up water. What is with this weather?

*side note: Olivia would be 7 months old today. I passed by my room at the hospital many, many times today.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

tiny car

have you ever seen a car this small? they make it here in Spokane. It seats two people.
Brinley thought it was the funniest thing she ever saw. The people waved to her as they drove off.
*it's called a Tango and it's electric. It's been around for a few years. you can look here for more information on it.

good fancy holiday...

Today was Brinley's last day of preschool. She called it her "good fancy holiday'. Was she excited?... yep.
Since Winter is never ending here, they had to move everything indoors. The kids had games in the classrooms and hallways and gym.
She was most excited about being able to jump and slide on this huge thing. It was her favorite.
They made beautiful art.
blew big colorful bubbles.
hung bananas on a tree
went fishing for goodies
and walked in circles for cake
At the end of the day, she gave her teacher, Ms. Kathy, a great big hug and said her goodbye's to all of her friends and teacher helpers. Did she cry? Nope, she jsut wanted to go home. She got to jump and slide and that made her day. Did I cry? Yes I did.
I really loved having Kathy as Brinley's teacher. Brinley absolutely adored her. I think i will miss her more than Brinely. It's a good thing that I have her email so I can bug her on a regular basis.


Yes, just like January, Spokane has snow this morning... depressing. It didn't come to our house, but i know my sister, Julie, woke up to it. Where is Summer...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hannah's Gift

I just finished reading this book last night. It's a quick read, but such a good book. Grab some tissue though, because you will need it.
Hannah's Gift tells the story of Hannah Catherine Martell, a young girl who
was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer at age two,
and died at age four. The author, Maria Housden, is Hannah's mother, and the
book documents her struggle to come to terms with her daughter's sickness and
inevitable death while making changes in her own life that she never thought

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dear sweet Sierra,

I remember a few days before you went into the hospital, your momma brought you to church, you were about 2 1/2 weeks old. I even got to hold you for just a few minutes. You looked a lot like your mommy. She told us that you were going in to have your heart checked at the hospital. Little did your parents know that you would be spending the rest of your short, sweet life in the Children's ICU.
You spent 5 weeks in the hospital. I didn't visit you because Brinley was only a few months old. I really reget not going, I should have kept your mommy company. She was there with me when Olivia was born. I know that you and Olivia are best of friends. Your probably just like a big sister to her, good practice since you have two little brothers.
I remember helping at your funeral. Your mom never shed a tear, she was such a strong woman. I cried a lot. I couldn't imagine what it must have been like for your parents to lose a child so young. Your mom is a great woman, who helped me through my own loss. I haven't seen her cry much, but I know she does. we are, celebrating your 5th birthday. Your mom thinks about you all the time as she watches all of your friends grow up around her...Brinley is starting kindergarten next school year and you would be too. I know it has to be hard to watch.
We visited your grave today. Last time I was there, was August 3rd of last year, the 4th anniversary of your death. Your wonderful family had stopped by earlier. I can imagine there were a few tears shed as your brothers and sister played.
Keep watch over your family, remind them about what is imortant. They love and miss you.
We miss you too, Sierra!
Love your friends, Matt, Arah and Brinley Kunz

Friday, June 6, 2008


I know it's a weird topic...I'm weird. A husband of a friend of mine, Janet, recently lost his grandfather. For some reason, it got me thinking about all the deaths that I have experienced in my life. Some of them i can recall vividly, others not so much.

1.The first one I can remember was my grandfather, Houston McBroom. I don't have a ton of memories of him, but I remember him letting me take a sip of his coffee in the morning (maybe that is why I love the smell and taste of coffee). He used to sing to us on the porch and I remember him being very tall and skinny. I remember visiting the hospital not long before he passed. My mom said he could get a little rough and didn't always realize what he was doing, so we didn't go visit him very often. He died just before Christmas in 1982. I don't remember his funeral.

2. The second one was when I was in 5th grade. I was just getting know a kid who I thought was really nice and fun to hang out with. I came to school one day and was told that he had committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in his front yard. His name was Bart. That was a really odd experience for me. I didn't realize that a 10 year old would think of something like that. I know he came from a rough home and that is mother had passed just a few years before. I still think about him and I can still remember what he looked like.

3. The 3rd one was another kid I went to High School with. I hung out with him a few times. We used to watch Dazed and Confused at his house. He was out riding his motorcycle and hit a tree head on and broke his neck. He was a member of the church, but i never saw him there. The only time I ever saw his family there was at the funeral.

4. It was my first year as a Youth Counselor at Girls Camp. I was over the 4th year girls and we were on their hike. I was watching over a girl, Jennifer Jones, as she took a swim in a small lake we were camped by. The water was too cold and she slowly became lethargic and took off swimming across the lake. She didn't know how to swim that well and about halfway across she couldn't swim anymore. Her body started to shut down and she couldn't keep her head above water. We did CPR on her for a long time, but she didn't make it. I was right there the whole time, from the time she went into the water till the time the ambulance finally arrived. This experience put a huge weight on my shoulders. I blamed myself for the drowning for quite sometime. I actually wrote a paper on this event in college.

5. My Grandpa Brownie. I didn't know my dad's parents all that well. I didn't grow up living close to them. I remember that he died at home and I think that we came by the house about the same time as the funeral home came to take him. The day of his funeral the weather was horrible and there was a huge storm the night before. It knocked down trees and powerlines all over the place. At the funeral all of the grandchildren that were there sang "Families Can Be Together Forever".

6. My friend, Karen's baby, Sierra, passed away at 8 weeks old. Her 5th birthday would be this Sunday, June 8th. The hardest part about this death was that Brinley was only a few months older than her. There were so many of our friends that had babies that year (literally, something like 15) that I think at any one point, one of us felt awkward around Karen, something I have now witnessed from Karen's point of view. I never imagined that I would know what it was like to lose a child.

7. My Grandma Esther. She lived with or near us almost my entire life. She went in for some back surgery, which went perfectly, then she had one stroke after another. She was in a coma-like state for about a day. I was there with my Mom and sisters as she took her last breath early in the morning on a December day. Her funeral was in California and that trip was a whole other experience in itself.

8. My sweet little Olivia. You never think that it will be you that loses a child. (You can start at the very beginning of my blog if you want to read all about my experience with that.) It was definitely the hardest and most painful of all the deaths, but it has also had some great blessings that have come with it that I would never have known without going through what she taught me.

9. I am going to combine all of those babies that I have taken pictures of. Being on the other end of the process of giving birth and then watching your child die in your arms, gives me a new perspective on seeing these parents go through a similar thing. I also get to see it from the nurses view.

Life works in a funny way, all the experiences leading up to my daughters death I believe were preparing me for dealing with a loss so close to me. Experiencing my loss of Olivia has given me a purpose. I have said before that I have loved photography and I have always wanted to work with babies. I never thought I would ever combine the two into what I am doing now. I love taking pictures for these families. I know what it means to them to have pictures to remember their children by. It gives me a chance to remember Olivia everytime I walk into the Maternity Ward and go by the room she was born in.

baby loves

Wednesday I went to the hospital to take pictures of a pregnant momma. She is stuck in the hospital until the baby is born, which could be up to 6 more weeks. She is so bored there, so we were able to get her out of the hospital and go to a nearby garden to get some pictures of her belly. Even her husband took the day off to come take pictures. I went back to visit yesterday.
She found out at 20 weeks that there were problems with the baby. Her baby is breech also, but she has to have a C-section. She is handling it very well and has been happy to have people visit (the closest family is 2 hours away). After her ultrasound yesterday, found that things are looking better. Her baby has a large growth that, luckily, hasn't grown in the past week. We will probably take more pictures after the baby is born and although the outcome looks really good, their baby will have to spend quite a bit of time in the NICU.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

doctor appointment

This morning was yet another appointment. Everything is going well. They had hard time, again, finding the heart beat but the baby stayed still long enough to get a rate of 155. We have an ultrasound on the 27th, which feels like too long, but I'm sure we'll manage. My blood pressure is a little high, but they figure it's due to the stress of the appointments.
Other than knowing that the baby has a heartbeat and is moving around, other good news is I have only gained 1 pound, even after the cravings of onion rings, mexican pizza and bean burritos from taco bell, chinese food and bbq pringles (not all at the same time). YIPEE!...I celebrated by having Mexican food.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Saturday morning, we got up bright and early to go to yard sales. There is a huge neighborhood up by where my sister, julie, lives and there was a big neighborhood yard sale day going on. We got some pretty good stuff, including this... which Brinley thought made a good hat. I had been looking for one of these (bumbo) things for a while now and every garage sale I went to that had one, there was a person in front of me that grabbed it before I could. This literally happened liked 4 times. So finally I saw one, a lady had it in her hand and I said "oh dang it, i swear, everytime I find one of those, someone grabs it." She had just paid for it, and then said " You know, go ahead and take it, I have had great luck today and I am sure I will come across another one." So let me have it. It was the nicest thing. When does that EVER happen? I wanted to hug her. I only ended up paying $3 for the thing. Since we have NO room in our kitchen for a full size high chair, I was so glad to get this. It really made my day. Thank you lady stranger! I also found this trunk. i love it. It's quite old and perfect for storing my blankets in.
After the yard sales, Brinley had her last soccer game of the season. I left my camera in the car, so there are no pictures of that.
On the drive home, we stopped to look at some motorcycles and scooters. There was some other people testing out the scooters, so Matt tested it too.

HAHAHA...Matt on a pink scooter . I think he was telling me to stop taking his picture. Actually, he said it was great blogging material.

I test drove it too. I didn't realize how horrible i look! Geez, having babies so close together does nothing for my figure. (Cross fingers i don't gain much weight with this one or I am going to be dieting for the rest of my life to get this weight off.)


My Brinley loves boots. No matter the weather, or the function, she wants to wear boots. She has about 4 pairs of rain boots and 2-3 other boots, thanks to her talented shopping expert Aunt, Julie. These happen to be her favorite pair this week. (Julie, did she leave her cherry boots at your house?)