Wednesday, December 29, 2010


This is my sister.She is also my business partner.
We are often asked how we can have a business together and still like each other. We don't always get along, but balance each other out pretty well. Being adults siblings is a lot different from being sisters as children and teenagers.
My sister and I are pretty opposite from each other and I think that's why we can work so well together.
I love this girl more than she knows... and her sweet little family too.

Christmas 2010

Christmas was quiet. ahhhh.
Brinley woke at 7am, but since Sarah was still sleeping, we had Brinely hop in bed with us and play on a cell phone till 8am, when Sarah woke up. Santa was good this year and brought us a Wii. It's been fun to watch Brinley beat us at everything!!! She is a particularly good bowler :) Brinley has asked for a glow dome for months. It's pretty cool and has been a source of entertainment in the afternoon, when it starts to get dark at 4pm. She got new clothes and a few littlest pet shops. Her favorite thing, and takes it everywhere, is a penguin pillow pet from her Aunt Becca. Sarah is obsessed with horses and got one to sit on for Christmas, thanks to Craigslist. She LOVES it. She pets it and sits on it to watch movies. It moves its head and tail and neighs and snorts and eats it's fake carrot. complete awesomeness. She did the funniest dance when she saw it. I wish I had it on video. She got a new Olivia snack tray, an outfit and a few other horse like objects.
I also made the girls a huge 4'x4' felt playhouse. I forgot to get any decent pictures of it and will do that sometime this week. It was fun to make and easier than I thought too. The girls love it and it can be taken down easily.
Matt and I celebrated our 11th Anniversary on the 10th with a weekend in Seattle without children. It was awesome and much needed. He spoiled me. I found that I am not a fancy hotel kind of person though, room service was nice and all, but I am not a fan of having them set it up in your room. I can do that myself :) We had a blast though. Thanks to my sister, Julie, for watching our kidlings.

Christmas Eve

Most every year we spend Christmas Eve at my parents house. I married into an established family and many of Matt's siblings are grandparents and have their own little families, so we have Kunz family parties usually a few days before or after Christmas. Takes the stress off :)
My parents house is like walking into Mr. and Mrs. Claus house. My mom is the queen of Christmas decor. It's cozy and comfortable and my mom always has tons of goodies and food laid out for us to munch on.
We like to mix it up a bit every year and play reindeer games...Aren't they awesome reindeer? We had my cousin, Heather, over this year too. We don't see her too often, so it's always a treat to see her happy face. She is a goofball like the rest of us and came dressed in Christmas attire, ugly sweater included :)

This year, I surprised my siblings and dad with finishing my Grandma Dot's quilts...with the help of my mom. (My sister, Corinne and her quilt, are missing from this photo. She was with her kids in Utah and wasn't able to join us for Christmas.)

I really wanted to surprise the WHOLE family, but I knew I couldnt get all the quilts finished in time. My grandmother was a pretty spectacular lady. I'll have to find a picture of my grandparents to post. She made all of her 50 some-odd grandchildren a quilt. They were not all completed, I'm not sure who got finished ones and who got scraps. We got scraps and partially finished tops. I helped her with one when I was about 13. It had the little prairie bonnet girls on it.

Her quilts mean a lot to us. We didn't get much in the way of material things after she died, but have lots of memories of her and my grandpa. Each of the quilt tops we recieved were either completely hand stitched or had some hand stitching done on them. I loved the material she used on some of them. My dad said he recognized some of it from other projects she had done.

I still have mine to finish. That is my project for January...maybe I'll get it done before my birthday :) I hope that each of my cousin's will be able to get their quilt finished or those with finished quilts, realize how much work my grandmother put into them. I would be interested in knowing who didn't recieve a quilt, because it seems that we were sent an extra. I will happily finish it and send it off to a cousin who didn't get one. Please let me know :)


I know, I am such a blog slacker. I admit it. I really have had a lot going on...more than just the holidays. Our weather today consists of a foot of snow, so I knew I had no place to go and even though my house is a mess, I just really wanted to sit at my computer and write instead of clean.
I put up this basket for our winter gear. This is a clean picture of it all. Right now, it's piled high with winter coats, lots of boots, and the ocasional outdoor toy that the little girl brings in.
I love days like today. I think I was made to live in the Northwest, summer's are pretty mild and winters can be long and cold :)
I have about 3 other posts to write rather than 1 long post. I don't want my blog to go to pot. I have had many emails from people I don't know who said that my blog has been helpful/a blessing/and inspiring. I want to keep it that way :) I want people to know that there is good that comes from our trials. I want this blog to be real.
I hope 2011 brings inspiration and happiness to me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

3 years

Last Thursday marked 3 years since Olivia was born...and then died in my arms just short of two hours later.
I had gotten a lot of tears out early on in the week and did okay when the day actually came. Last week was a bit of a crazy week. With Sarah's birthday Tuesday, our sealing anniversary Wednesday along with my little sister finding our she was miscarrying and a great nephew being born, Thursday was Olivia's birthday and another great nephew was born. See, I told you it was crazy.
We were expecting snow last week too (which never came) so we went out the cemetery on Monday to plant flower bulbs. Early on Monday, my parents went and straightened Olivia's headstone and cleaned up the area a little. Cody and Melissa, Mackenzie's parents, had come out some time earlier and put the rocks around the girls plot.
My parents bought her balloons and brought apples from their tree.Sarah said hello to her. She loves to stand right above her and ring her chimes. My grubby little Brinley starting to dig holes for the bulbs.Melissa and Kennady met us out there to help plant bulbs for Olivia and Mackenzie. She was also smart enough to bring something to dig holes with.Then Julie came out with her kidlings and helped plant some bulbs too while the babies rearranged the apples and rocks. I hope that people don't mind that my Sarah climbs on the heastones around the cemetery.It was a grand little party :)

Melissa and I took our girls on a short trip to Seattle on Thursday night and got back Friday night. It was a needed trip and I have pictures and a post dedicated to it. I have a lot to say about last week, I just haven't had a chance to sit and write about it. So, my goal this week is to get some posts written.

Monday, November 8, 2010


we have been looking for a table to fit our teeny tiny 'dining room' ever since we moved into our little home. Last week, my sister Julie found this cute vintage table at a thrift shop, but the price tag...OUCH! Lucky for me, the next day was 1/2 off day. And I got it for a bargain. THANK YOU my bargain hunting, thrift shopping, deal finding sister! It needs to be cleaned and so does my floor...yuck. I scraped about 60 years worth of food from in-between where the table leaf goes (and the leaf came with the table) It was really gross.
It fits perfectly! These tables were obviously built for the houses of the 50's. We haven't been able to sit as a family at our table since Sarah was born.
One of my plates broke...sad day. I am on the look out for a replacement.

birthday time

today is Sarah's 2nd birthday.
we celebrated yesterday after church with some family and taco soup, cake and ice cream.
she loves to walk around the house neighing so we had a little horse party. never again will I go to the 50% off card shop for special balloons. Holy Moses. They are expensive! did you know that yokes carries a great assortment of balloons at almost HALF the price? Don't mind my disgusting kitchen counter please. Always such a lovely backdrop, don't you think? I made the number 2 with some scrap fabric and ironed it on to her shirt, which is actually pink, not red. she loved all of her gifts!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the little ones

I get asked a lot on what it is I actually do at the hospital when I go to photograph sweet little babies. Most of the time I am just there to photograph. I'm in the room as a silent guest, not part of the conversation or the goings on, unless I am asked to be. But there are times when I do more. I am able to help relieve the hospital staff from doing prints and molds. And then there are the times when I get to help bathe and dress the babies and those times are a little more sacred.
Most commonly, the babies are stillborn. Usually in the weeks of 20-34. Amazing people make gowns and outfits for these little babies because they are TINY and you can't buy clothes for them. The smallest diapers the hospital provides are way too big. Most of the time they don't put a diaper on the baby. It's difficult to take photos of the feet because they give the babies 'frog legs' and we have to undo the diaper to get the photos.
A good friend of mine who's daughter, Grace, died of the same thing as Olivia, Polycystic Kidney Disease, made her little Grace a diaper. She was born at 32 weeks and her diaper fit.
I had been trying to think of something more that parents can have to take home with them. I had searched the internet for doll diaper patterns, and nothing really seemed to fit what I was looking for. So I made my own pattern in 2 sizes and so far they have been perfect. the smallest if the diapers fit 20 weekers. the biggest fits 34 weekers.

When I have shown these to people in person, they are amazed that a baby can wear such a tiny diaper, but they do.
If you need a good service project, I recommend these. They are simple and easy to make and they will make photographing the tiny babies easier and give parents one more thing. I am happy to get you instructions and the pattern through email or leave a comment and I hope to post it on my blog as soon as I get the pattern scanned in.
(If you know of any places that sell tiny teddy bears, maybe 3-4 inches in size would you let me know? Yes? Awesome!)

i'm a little bit crazy.

October has been a crazy month.
My house is a disaster right now and it has been for a week. I volunteered myself to make the class quilt for the school silent auction...what was I thinking. Making Brinley's Halloween costume, the Halloween parties, volunteering at the hospitals, volunteering at school, the meetings I attend, the callings I have at church and the photography business, and just being a just wasn't enough for me, so why not throw in making a quilt. Actually, I quite enjoyed it. So much that I forgot to get any good photos of it, which means I will have to get photos of it at the school on Friday, before they display it for the auction. :(
We have been doing lots of fun stuff this month too.
Grandma Lana had a Halloween party at her house. The kids decorated cookies and made their own pizzas.


We went to the pumpkin patch too. Twice actually. The first day was a bust. Brinley was out of school for Parent Teacher Conferences, but it was rainy and muddy and Sarah fell just as we got out of the car. I had my niece, Chloe, with me also. It's hard to run after a couple of almost two year olds in mud. These pictures are from the second trip.

I'm such a dork.

The 'three little girls' were a handfull.
Busy. Busy. Little. Girls. We don't recommend having babies with your sisters. When you have family events, nobody wants to play with your baby cause they have their own. Just kidding. Having babies with your sisters is awesome!
I'm sure these stinkers will be best friends. And why walk when your mom can pull you and your pumpkins around.
October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Death Awareness Day. We took balloons and apples out to Olivia and Mackenzie. I still need to fix Olivia's headstone. I would like to get it done before the snow falls, which won't be long.

Since Olivia and Mackenzie share a plot, I had a little plaque made for Mackenzie until her headstone is placed. I didn't realize how small each of the girls spots are. We have plans this Spring for making them look nice. I'll have to get the bulbs planted as soon as possible though.

That night we drove to Coeur d'Alene to release balloons for our babies. We had three. One for our Olivia. One for my great nephew, Christian. One for my great niece, Makenzie.

It was really beautiful and we will be doing it again next year.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I should be:
editing photos
cleaning the house
doing laundry
mowing up the leaves
vacuuming/sweeping the floors
Instead, I am:
picking up Brinley early from school and heading to Greenbluff with my family
carving pumpkins
making pizza
decorating cookies
watching Halloween movies
The other stuff can wait till tomorrow, right?

Friday, October 8, 2010

pretty little girls

Brinely taught Sarah how to make faces.
I especially love that they both have dirt on their faces.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

well, heeeellllllloooooo there.

This sad neglected blog. I have had so many things I have wanted to sit and blog about. I was sure that once Brinley started school again, my life would be back on a schedule, things would get easier.
Not the case.
Life is busy. Very busy.
But I do want to keep up on this blog, even with small posts about everyday things. I think I will just recap some of the things we have been doing these past few months.

Half of my family went on the 15 mile Hiawatha Trail. It was a lot of fun and I would like to go again next year. Brinley rode most of the way. She did not like going through the 1.6 mile tunnel (which you go through twice) in the dark with a little flashlight connected to the front of her handle bars, the first time through. On the way back, the second time, she was a pro and was singing "Fly Me to the Moon" with her dad the whole way. Sarah did amazing. Not much of a peep from her the entire trip. She loves bike rides :)


Brinely started 2nd grade. She loves it, but has some focusing problems and comes home with lots of extra homework because she doesn't finish it in class. We give her fish oils and other vitamins, but this year, it just doesn't seem to be doing the job. Any suggestions?

I bought a thermos for her lunches this year too. It was worth the expense and has saved us from sandwiches every day. The girl loves soup and leftover pasta.

The week school started, so did the fair. I was a little disappointed this year. The attendance was WAY down. They usually have a kids free/ adults half price day, but not this year. The homemade/ handmade parts of the fair are my favorite. The photography, quilts, cakes, jams, sewing, etc. I lOVE it. The animals too.

I got to go three times this year. Once with all the family, once with Matt to see a Clint Black concert and a third with Brinley and her school. By the time I got home from the field trip, I couldn't walk. I was out for a week, with three trips to the chiropractor. I hate back pain. It was hard to lay on the couch and not be able to work on things. It drove me nuts. I had lists going through my head of all the stuff that needed to get done, stuff that had deadlines. AHHH.

We decorated for Fall/Halloween a week early. I couldn't help myself. It's my favorite time of year. Now if the Fall weather would return... A week of 80 degrees is not what I like to see. I love 65 degrees, where I can wear hoodies and jackets and drink hot cocoa in the morning. (starbucks brought back their salted caramel hot cocoa...yay!)

The leaves are just starting to fall from the 10 trees we have in our yard. I'm still waiting on the maples leaves to change color.

Matt got our fence finished. It only took him six months :) The gates aren't done yet, but I'm super happy that I have a fenced yard. Sarah is quick and now I don't have to worry as much about where she is.

We bought a chicken coop. I still need to seal the wood. We have decided to wait until Spring to buy the chickens. We are excited to have fresh eggs.

Sarah is a wonderful artist. She likes to show off her work on our walls, Brinley's dresser, her arms, legs and stomach. She is quite a talker now too. My favorite thing...when she walk into the kitchen and points to a cupboard and says 'No canny, no no canny. no" She knows where the stash of candy is for sunday school class and always wants a piece. I always tell her no. She also says:


bye everybody,


baba (grandma),

i go out tide?

binney (brinley)

big gurl



shoosh (shoes)


biaper (diaper)



gabba gabba? (yo gabba gabba)

bunkey (monkey)

da-dee (daddy)

mom, momma , mommy, mom, mom, mom, momma, mom, mooomeeee!!!!!!!

Brinley loves to be at home, jumping on the trampoline, hanging with her mom, playing with her sister. She does not like doing homework, going to bed or brushing her hair.

We took Sarah to the dentist, she had three cavities. She isn't two yet. Brinley has no cavities and perfectly spaced teeth. Lucky girl.

I have been nuts. HA! Our photography business has taken off. We had 4 shoots this week. We have 5 weddings booked already for next Summer. Family pictures are now the season. I have been trying to keep up on everything around the house, including all the yard work. I talked to a class of high school kids about Olivia yesterday. My niece, Cindy, invited me and is fundraising for memory making things for families who's babies die. Her brother just went through losing their daughter a month ago. I also am helping once a week in Brinley's class. I love helping at the school. Tuesdays are crazy. I have meetings every Tuesday. So does Matt. I have to drag my girls to half of them. It is not fun.

Matt works. all. the. time. I see him for a bit at night, but Tuesdays and Thurdays he has meetings, those nights are crazy for me. He has decided that he loves to golf and I allow him to go every Saturday morning. I say 'allow' lovingly... he feels guilty most of the time. I think everyone needs a break from a crazy life :)

Sundays are the only day that Matt doesn't work. It's filled with church and sometimes a photo shoot. It is not a day I get to completely enjoy. Truthfully, I don't look forward to Sunday. Matt and I both teach a Sunday school class. Sarah isn't a fan of nursery and so I am usually wrangling her so that we can teach and then wandering the hallway so that she can get wiggles out. Church is from 1-4, which is right during nap time. I can't wait for the time to change in January to 9-12, however, i dread 9am church and like the 11am time better :) It seems like church has been hit and miss a bit lately, my back was out one weekend, sick kids, being out of town, etc. We try to go faithfully, eventhough I feel like I get nothing out of it, Brinley needs to be there and Sarah needs to learn to sit still. I'm sure that this is just one of those season's in a mother's life.

That's it for now. My crazy life. Filled with lots.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


We are headed to a funeral today.
This past week I has brought back a lot of memories, good and bad, of what we went through more than 2 1/2 years ago. It feels different when it's family. There is more involved than taking photos for a family at the hospital. It involves making sure that everything this week goes smoothly and that they don't have to worry about whats for dinner, which funeral home to go with, where she will be buried, etc.
I was asked to prepare little Mackenzie for burial. Yesterday afternoon I went to the funeral home and got to hold my sweet little great niece one more time. It brought back memories of my little Olivia. It was the same room, the same funeral director...the same sweet compassion.
I was also invited to the birth. When you know people at the hospital, you know that they will have the best nurses on shift. That they will get the best care and that everything will hopefully flow well.
They were placed in what we call, the Olivia room... it was the first time I had set foot in there since Olivia was born. I took a deep breath before I entered. I had flashbacks of that night. I took pictures of Mackenzie in the same place Olivia had her pictures taken, again flashbacks. And as I wathced my nephew hold his tiny daughter, I was reminded of my husband and the sadness on his face when he held our tiny daughter.
It was good to be reminded of those times. It reminds me of why I do what I do and that we have been blessed by our loss. Others are blessed by our loss. Olivia is very much alive.
Today, Mackenzie will be placed right next to Olivia. I went to the cemetery yesterday evening. The grave had been opened, ready for today. I wanted to move away some of the dirt so that I could see Olivia's concrete box (this is what they placed her casket in). I just wanted to touch it. I can't imagine I'll ever get to be that physically close to her again. I won't have those feelings of her being out there all by herself anymore.
I know there will be a lot of tears today. I also know that Olivia and Mackenzie will be there with us, along with Christian.
*the Kunz family as a whole has had three babies die.
Christian Nicholas Call August 30, 2001 born still
Olivia Kamille Kunz November 11, 2007-November 11, 2007
Mackenzie Eva Kunz August 24, 2010 born still

Monday, August 23, 2010

relying on Him

A friend of mine, Karin, recently posted something on her blog that goes well with my last post. I thought I share some of it here.
I mentioned the "God does not give us more than we can handle" phrase. It's widely overused in times when it's not what a person/family wants to hear.
So I want to quote my friend...
"At the time it seemed comforting, a nice thing to believe.
Then the days went by, the weeks, the months.
My pain grew deeper and stronger and I started to wonder.
To wonder if this was really a promise of God.
So I opened up His book and came to fine...
there is no such verse. No such promise.
But what He does promise us is strength when we are weak.
Rest when our burdens are heavy.
Peace when our hearts are troubled.
He promises us struggles in life, but a Heaven without tears."
And my favorite part, which I feel is right on...
"So here is what I do believe...
God does in fact give us MORE than we can bear.
He allows it so we will rely on Him, not ourselves.
Rely on His strength, not our own."
So true.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Just last week, a good friends sister tragically lost her husband, leaving her alone with four small boys, the oldest being 7. It has been devastating. I did not know her sister and his family personally but Matt knew him.
We have talked a lot about it and it really got us thinking about how when Olivia died, our lives were changed FOREVER and life for everyone around us had gone on. They had their responsibilities and families to take care of while we were now stuck in a consuming grief. People were preparing for the holidays...we were just trying to get through them. It was hard.
I have read the facebook page made for the family and their friends to leave memories, messages and photos. This man was many.
A quote came to mind.
"Never does one feel oneself so utterly helpless as in trying to speak comfort for great bereveament. I will not try it."
Jane Welsh Carlyle
Oh, how I wish people would have understood what we were feeling. What we STILL feel. I can't begin to imagine how this family feels. How this mother now has four boys to raise without their father.
I remember people telling us about the 'miracle of so-and so's baby and they lived and they are perfectly healthy now' and we felt as if they were telling us we didn't have enough faith to heal our daughter. We knew that she wasn't meant to be with us on earth. We were at peace with that. I know they meant well, but there are times when things are better left unsaid.
Our circumstances were obviously different than those of this family, but I am sure they don't want to hear the "God won't give you more than you can handle" Hallmark card line. However, there were many heartfelt cards that we recieved and I read through them a couple times a year.
What a person NEEDS is service. I remember getting service in the forms of babysitting (even for extended family members), books to read and movies to watch (for when I was pregnant still and couldn't sleep), meals were brought in, cleaning my house, doing yard work and running errands. Even a cash donation for the costs of the funeral, heastone, and even the bills.
I am so greatful for all the service that was provided for us. We didn't have to worry about anything except us.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to this family. I wish them comfort and understanding in the weeks, months and years to come. The grief will NEVER leave them and the normal they once felt is no longer that. A husband, father, son, brother and friend will be missed terribly.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

book report. by Brinley

To get Brinley to read more this Summer, I am giving her a chance to write book reports on my blog. She thinks it's cool and went and grabbed the first book she could find: She got this book for free from her teacher last year. It's a super easy read for a 7 year old.
This is what she has to tell us about it:
' Well, it's about a dog that does the opposite that anybody in the family tells him except his owner, the boy. One day he ran all the way to the park and everybody calls his name but he won't come. The boy called his name and he comes to him. Buddy loves the boy. The end.'
Brinley gives this book a 10... ' because it's very funny and easy to read. I like the pictures too.'
Brinley has a TON of books, so I am hoping she will learn to love books as much as I do.

happiness is...

getting flowers from grubby little hands.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mt. Spokane

We took a drive up to Mt. Spokane Sunday. I haven't been up there for years. The girls LOVED running around and collecting rocks and flowers...well, I think Sarah just loved being free to run and do whatever she pleased.
This is what Sarah looks like 90% of the time:dirty face. messy hair. happy.Brinley fould a few more rocks to add to her collection. She has found so many heart shaped rocks (like the onle in my header), it's awesome. All of them have been found in our yard except one, I think I've got 6-7 now. I LOVE these photos!!! The one above is awesome! The one below I took just before getting a family shot of the 4 of us, but it didn't turn out. I was there, here's a photo to prove it.