Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Latter Day Sentinel

Olivia's story was featured once again.
Thank you Sarah for letting us share with you.

mop top

She has wild hair. I love it. She jabbers up a storm. Tells me all about whatever it is she has in her hand and then says 'here go', and gives it to me.
she likes the camera andops to pose or make a face. I love it.
13 months is an awfully fun age.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Matt turned 40 on the 23rd. I did really good trying to keep his surprise party a secret and Matt's sister, Ami, did a great job on telling him lies to get him to come to her house for dinner that night.I had a cake made of his car, thank you Happy Cake!!! He loves his car, so it was perfect. He did find out about the cake being made...by accident, trying to fix my voicemail, but had no clue that it was going to be as cool as it turned out. And since he was so not looking forward to turning 40, I had my niece, Melissa, make this '40 blows' centerpiece. It was a hit with all the kids who love blowpops. When Matt walked in and saw the ' shrine' I made if him, he said it looked like he was at a funeral...haha, but that really wasn't the point of it. He got lots of cards and gifts from lots of people who love him.I think I figured about 65 people at the party. We even had a few who were going to come, but couldn't make it last minute. I think we would have had over 75.He was completely blown away by all the love. He LOVED his cake. I am so glad I was able to pull it off, even if he did have some idea that something was happening. My family got him a bunch of 'old people' stuff, like depends and hemorrhoid cream. It's tradition...then the fun part is that you have to take it all back to the store for a refund and spend the money on something you want. I hope you had an awesome birthday Matt. I love you!!!
oh...and a huge THANK YOU to all those that helped me with the party and getting it all together and also for taking pictures. There is NO WAY I could have done it all by myself. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

Olivia's 2nd birthday

I really need to be better about posting on my blog. Life has been super busy and I just haven't had a chance to sit at the computer for blogging. Today I have a bad head cold and I feel like crap, so I'm not doing much, perfect time for posting...
for Olivia's birthday, we went to visit her little grave. Other's had visited too and left balloons...THANK YOU! It meant a lot. Matt had to work, so it was me and the girls.
We brought apples and pears and Brinely picked out a dozen roses too. Sarah sculpted an apple with her teeth before leaving it for the deer.Julie and her kids met us out at the cemetery, but it was so cold, we waited in the car for them. Brinley picked out an apple for herself and shared it with Sarah while we waited.Cody brought some carrots, well actually a huge bag. The kids scattered them everywhere. I am sure the deer feasted that night. It was a nice, quiet day. We left from there and went to the mall. We dropped the older kids off to play while we took the babies and walked around, window shopping.
We didn't make a cake this year, I didn't feel like making it. I didn't cry this year either. But made up for it the next day when I went to the WSU Spokane campus and spoke with the nursing students, which has always been healing for me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


My sweet little Olivia,
Today you should be celebrating your 2nd birthday.
You are missed.
You are a part of our lives every single day.
Two years have gone by so fast. I can't believe its been that long. I sat here tonight looking through all of her photos. I cried...and even smiled a little. She was such a tiny little thing. I can't believe how much of Sarah I see in Olivia. I know Sarah knows her. I won't let her forget, either. Brinley is good to remind us. As much as I ache to hold and cuddle my sweet baby, I go would go through it all again. This beautiful girl has brought some great blessings into our life, and others. She is an amazing little girl. There are so very many things that I would have never had the chance to do or experience if it wasn't for Olivia. I believe that no matter how hard the trials we face, it's all about the attitude we have going through them. Some things we just don't have contol over. I'm not sure what the day has planned for us. I can't really say we are going to do anything, but there is no school and so I am sure for Brinley's sake, something will be done. We will be visiting her grave and even leaving a treat for her woodlawn friends...that I know... and I'm pretty sure that there will also be some random acts of kindness around Spokane too.
I wish this was a happy birthday. Do you call it a sad birthday? I'm not really sure what to call it. I hate calling it an anniversary...the anniversary fo her life and death? I guess it's her rememberance day.

I love you Olivia! I miss you and wish you were apart of this crazy life we lead.

I try to imagine you thrown into the mix of things. A 2 year old and a 1 year old...wow, I'm not sure what to think about that. I think that you and Sarah would have grown up to be the best of friends, and have the fights like my sister, Julie, and I used to.

Sarah turns 1

My baby turned 1 on Sunday.
I am a blog slacker and should have posted a happy birthday tribute on Sunday, but no...So here is to my sweet little busy bee, who loves her momma more than anyone else and at times can get really, really draining.
Sarah, you have been a joy this past year. A HUGE healing tool for me after losing Olivia, and I believe you two would have looked so much alike.
You have the wildest hair that hangs down in your face and you love to pull out the barretts we put in it. You are starting to figure out how to pull out the ponytail holders (and always when I have you in the high chair with something really messy).
You have put a smile on my face every single day. You say the cutest "oh oh" and "wow". You LOVE baby dolls and think they are funny when you poke their eyes. Now you have a stroller to push them around in...and for Brinley to push you around in, which you think is a thrill.
You didn't even know it was your birthday, but you loved it when we sang to you and thought it was fun ripping off wrapping paper. You were excited about opening the birthday card from Grandma and Grandpa Kunz. You loved your jammies that Aunt Julie got you and you wrapped yourself in them as soon as the paper came off. The dress Grama Lana and Papa Jim bought you is adorable and you thought so too ( for another post).
You loved the cake and had no problem figuring out what to do with it.
We love you little Sarah Mae. We are so happy that you are a part of our little family. Brinley thinks your the best thing in the world and loves it when you wake her up with a cuddle (and sometimes a pat on the head) every morning before school.
Hope you had a fun 1st birthday.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


It's just now Halloween day and I have had enough. Thursday we had trunk or treat at the church. I made the backdrop for photos and decoration. I'm guessing it was a hit. I did not realize how large it actually was. Something like 10 feet tall. Brinley is a funny girl. As soon as she puts on her costume, she strikes a superhero (or super model) pose. So when I take her picture she gets into character. This is a bunch of her friends from church.
At the trunk or treat, I tied with john McCain for silliest costume. I thought I looked stupid. Brinley tested it out for me...can you guess what I was? I am such a dork... I was a detective, but I ended up looking like Gene Shalit, without the bowtie. Yesterday was nuts!!! Brinley's entire school went roller skating, while a bunch of parents and teachers helped decorate and set up for the Carnival last night. I donated the backdrop to the school and they used it for the photo booth. When the kids got back to the school, Brinley's class had a Halloween party and they watched Wall-e. A lot of sugar went into those kids yesterday. During the party my mom showed up, unexpectedly, as a witch and brought the kids a treat. No one could figure out who she was. It was awesome!!! Even the office ladies and principal loved it, she gave them treats too. I forgot to get pictures, so we headed over to my parents after school got out to get a few photos. Sarah thought she was funny. At first, she wasn't sure what to think of her.
Brinley told me she knew it was Gramma the whole time, because she recognized her voice...and her famous cackle, she had heard it before. Grandma Lana aslo stopped by Cody's school. They have such an awesome Grandma!!!
My mom dressed as a witch even way back when I was in Kindergarten. She would read a story and then hand out a treat. I remember only 1 kid getting scared, ever. It's an awesome tradition!!!
I asked Brinley if she wanted to trick or treat tonight, she said no. It might be a quiet evening for us, thank goodness. I am Halloweened out this year.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Yay! she walks....a little. I'm sure by the time she turns one, she'll be running. Have I ever mentioned how busy she is? And that she NEVER. STOPS. MOVING.

Monday, October 19, 2009

madeline james photography

My sister, Julie, and I... have started a photography business.
you can check out our blog: madelinejamesphotography.typepad.com
(it's still under construction, please leave comments...and try to be nice.)


I have been asked by several people how I made the star costume.
It. Is. So. Easy.
I bought 2 1/2 yards of the stiffer quilt batting from Joann's (with a coupon, of course), you know the kind that comes on a big roll? Thats the stuff.
I folded it in half and had Brinley lay on it at an angle, so her head was kinda in the corner.
Then I measured her, to see how big I needed to make the star.
I have a ginormous roll of butcher paper laying around and made a template with it.
Then I used it to cut the star out of the batting.
I then sewed almost all the way around it, making sure that the bottom was open so that Brinley could slip it over her head.
I turned it inside out and had Brinley try it on, I felt for her face and then had her take it off so I could cut out the hile where her face would go. I then did the same for her arms and cut slits where she could put her arms through.
I bought some cheap spray paint, took it to the garage and sprayed it, then let it set overnight to dry.
The points by her legs, I stuffed with extra batting, so they would stay straight, you might add a little in the points by the arms too. ( I sewed around her head hole so that it wouldn't stretch, its worth it, I wish I would have done the same to the arm holes)
And waalaa...you have a star costume.

I was going to add some battery operated christmas lights to it....twinkle, twinkle...but Brinley didn't want them. I would have randomly poked the little lights through the costume, hiding the wires.

(forgive my typos, I have been awake since 2:30am...I can't sleep)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

twinkle twinkle

Friday was quite a busy day for me. I dropped Brinley off at school and then headed downtown to Sacred Heart Hospital, where 3 other mother's and I spoke to around 80 NICU and L&D nurses and a few doctors about the death of our infants. We went in chronological order, the first to speak was a mom who had a baby die 40 years ago. She never got to see him or hold him. He lived for 5 days. Then my friend, Sarah, spoke about her daughter, Grace, who was stillborn at 33 weeks in 2003. She was told to not hold or touch her baby too much because she was too fragile. I was next. In the few years between Sarah's experience and my experience, a lot had changed. I am so grateful for the Forget Me Not Program. I can't imagine being told that my baby was just too fragile...If she's dead, what more harm could I do? The next mom, my friend Jodi, talked about her twin boys, one who survived, extremely healthy, the other, died of many anomalies, including Leukemia, almost a year ago at the age of 2 months.
Being able to share our stories is healing in so many ways. Especially to nurses and doctors who make such a huge impact on families, they are the ones who make your experience either better or worse. You always remember who was in the room, what they said to you and how you, your family, and the baby were treated. If I get to make one families experience a little bit better, then I've done my job.
Later in the afternoon, I headed over t Brinley's school. The first grade was doing a little presentation on Nursery Rhymes. They were told to come to school dressed as their favorite one. I had asked Brinley a week or so ago what whe wanted to be. I figured a spider would be easy enough, especially this time of year. She suggested a star...
I popped her costume out one afternoon in about 10-15 minutes. Then spray painted it yellow and let it set overnight. She LOVED it...so did all the other kids at school who chased after her and poked at it during at the last recess, the only recess she was allowed to wear it out to.
It was a hit. Can you spot her?... They had to put her on the end because her costume was quite pointy and took up valuable space. There were lots of Jack and Jills, Little Bo Peeps, Old Mother Hubbards, and Little Boy Blues.
After school, we met up with my brother Brian and his family, who were in town for a night. They were heading out and we wanted to say bye, we were hoping they would stay later, I had cancelled plans with friends so that we could hang out with them.
Matt took me out to dinner later. We hadn't been on a date in over 2 months. It's kinda nice to get out without children. I wish we could do it more often.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

freezing in greenbluff

Yesterday we headed up to Greenbluff for some Fall fun. It's tradition to take the kids up and get pumpkins, apple cider and pumpkin donuts.
It was a short trip. The temperature up there must have been 35 with the wind chill factor. Babies do not like wind and cold. Neither do adults who have to deal with freezing children.
We had to get some pics of the kids with the pumpkins though.

My niece, Melissa, and her daughter, Kennady, came with us.
I am not in these pics, obviously, but my sister has some of us on her camera.
The kids really wanted to get a pumpkin so we did stop at another little farm and let them pick one out, I smashed Brinley's freezing cold fingers too. Yeah...not good. Poor kid.