Saturday, March 20, 2010

little ones

I am not a fan of the nights when you are physically exhausted, but your brain just keeps on going and won't shut down. I have a million things going through my head. A huge to do list and lots of heavy thinking...that is the part that is keeping me awake, I'm sure.
It's been far too long since I've talked about Olivia. She was the reason I started this blog...
A few weeks ago, I took photos of my great nephew, he is so cute and adorable and perfect. The same day, I took photos of another little baby, a boy, who was tiny and adorable and perfect, but it wasn't a happy day for these parents. He had passed away. It was an interesting day for me, to go from one extreme to the other, to see such joy in one family and sorrow in another.
I don't share my story with families at the hospital unless I am asked questions about how I am able to photograph their little ones. This particular family, that few weeks ago, was quiet and reserved, showing little emotion, like they had things under control. I quietly went about my photographing, keeping my words to a minimum so they could keep the quiet peace in their room. I always point out the sweet little features, usually finding that the baby has so and so's nose, or so and so's hair color. I think it helps them to know that I look past the imperfections and see a beautiful human being, their child. I usually end the photo shoot with the parents holding their baby so that when I leave the parents get to have a moment with their sweet little one. As I left the room, the mother started to cry. By the time I was in the hallway, I could hear her sobs. I was thanked by the hospital staff and was told that it was the first time she had cried since she had got to the hospital. I'm not sure what it was I said or did. A few days later, I got a card in the mail.
"Thank you for coming to take pictures of ____ and his family. His parents left this card of recognition for you and they and the staff were so appreciative of all you did.
I can't imagine doing this job without your services. Thanks not only for your amazing photography talent, but for your sensitivity and respect you offer. Thank you!"
Inside the card was a note from the family on a recognition postcard:
"For Arah Kunz.
Deserves recognition for: treating my son with the utmost respect while taking photos. Being respectful of family and boundaries."
This was the first note I have ever received from a family. It made me feel so good that, because of my little Olivia, I can help another family have memories and maybe give them hope that things will be okay, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually.
Earlier this week, I was at the hospital photographing another sweet little baby. This family was more talkative, asked me lots of questions about how long I had been taking photographs for Forget Me Not(I can't believe it's been two years) and how I got started. Sometimes I get a "I'm so sorry for your loss" and I feel bad, like I'm taking a moment away from their child. After I was finished, I left my information with the family, then quietly left. The next day I got an email from one of the family members.
"Hello Arah,
I want to express my thanks for your kindness and caring way that you respected ____ yesterday. Your compassion and tenderness helped to lessen the pain that we were all feeling so deeply..."
It amazes me what my daughter has done for so many families. I know her spirit is right there with me when I am with these little ones . It's my one-on-one time with Olivia that I can't really have anywhere else.

Monday, March 8, 2010

bathroom update

Yay! Our bathroom is almost done!
The tile floor is done... the vanity is in ...
the toilet flushes...
just a few little things left to finish, like the shower head, a toilet paper holder and towel bar, a mirror...oh so close.
It's exciting! Eventually there will be ashower door, but for now a curtain will have to do.

In other projects...
I took the disgusting carpet off the stairs...
pretty huh?
There is some real, real nice linoleum on the stairs. Whoever put the carpet in failed to prep the stairs and I am having to remove the metal edge pieces off of every stair. And the dirt? ugh. It's gross.
Can't believe how close we are to having a basement. As long as we don't have any other set backs, the carpet should be installed next week.
The window in my kitchen is being installed as I type. Can't wait to have a window I can see through and can clean from the outside.


Saturday morning we went to a dear Kunz family friend, Gerald Lowe's, funeral. He is the Father-in-law of Matt's sister, Lori. Such a sweet, loving man. He was buried just a few feet from our little Olivia. Matt's parents haven't been out to the cemetery since Olivia's funeral, so Saturday, they were able to see her headstone in person. Thank goodness for iphone's. We wouldn't have this picture otherwise.
We brought apples (we don't bring flowers often) for the deer. We brought one for Gerald too.
It was really nice to have family with us. Usually it's just me and the girls, or just me or Matt and I. So I really, really appreciated the Lowe family and Matt's sister, Ami, and his parents to just spend a few minutes with her, even while there for the graveside service for Gerald.
Thank you!


Last week, my Grandfather would have been 100 years old.
(my Grandpa, a HUGE A's fan, holding tickets to the '89 World Series, I believe. Always has a game on the TV...or Lawrence Welk)
Many of my Dad's siblings celebrated his birthday by going to my Grandparent's favorite Chinese restaraunt and bowling (my Grandfather was quite the bowler). We could not join them, as we are in Washington and the celebrating was done in California.
My Dad had to work the day of my Grandpa Brownie's birthday. He sent out an email to his children reminding us to remember him. Since we couldn't have a little party on his birthday, this last Saturday, we got together to go bowling.

We are not nearly as good as my Grandpa...okay, not even close. Most of us didn't score over 100.
My Dad had the best score of 149.

He reminds me of my Grandfather, quiet and hardworking.

Cody asked his mom to make a mohawk. Cody cracks me up. Such a funny little man.
After bowling, we all went to my parents for some of my Dad's chocolate cake and the best frosting ever. We sang Happy Birthday and Brinley and Cody blew out the candles.
To be honest, I didn't know my Grandpa all that well. We didn't grow up around them and moved closer to them when I was in high school. I do remember the vacations we took to go see them. We would always get there late at night and slept on their concrete kitchen floor in sleeping bags (NO WAY I could do that now).
They always had these pastries in their fridge that they would heat up and put butter on (like they weren't fattening enough). They sell these pastries at Costco and everytime I walk by them, the thought of my Grandparent's pop into my head.
My Grandpa always had a stash of mini 3 musketeers. Every afternoon, he would have one. If we were at his house, he would always share with us.
He would pull out his harmonica and play for us, it never seemed to be planned, just whenever he felt like it.
I think every one of my cousins remember his wet sloppy kisses. We still joke about these, and once in a while, we give one to my Dad.
My grandpa always had a nice garden and a huge cherry tree (my brother loved shooting birds out of that tree). He always took good care of his yard, I'm guessing that's where my Dad got his green thumb.
Happy 100th Birthday Grandpa!
We love and miss you!
And because I don't get pics of my little family all together that much (what a bad mom), here is one of my girls and my sweet hardworking husband, whom I hardly ever get to see much of.