Sunday, October 2, 2011


summer had been unbelievably busy.

my blog suffered.

I have a few minutes to update.
July: my sister and I shot alot of weddings this month and then headed down to Seaside, Oregon for a big family reunion for a few days. It was nice to see so much family and chat till the wee hours of the morning with cousins we hadn't seen it years.

August: we had more weddings to shoot along with some family sessions. Business has been good to us.

At the beginning of the summer, Brinley and I had made a list of all the things we wanted to do. We got the most of them done in August.

we decided to make one for fall and also for winter. It's a great idea for busy kids who think they have to have something to do every minute of the day.

we got our first egg from our chickens. it was egg-citing...ha, I couldn't help myself. We love our little chicken pets. Sarah calls them 'chicka babies'. They follow us around our yard and are really fun to watch.
we also celebrated my niece's birthday by riding horses and having a hotdog dinner at my sister's house.

September: a few more weddings to shoot.

Brinley started 3rd grade.

she loves it!

we had our first field trip this last week. It was the easiest field trip I have ever been on as a parent. We watched the kids and chatted about the school and parenting. We ate lunch with the kids and parents got to talk some more in the afternoon. I chatted with Brinley's teacher for most of the afternoon. I really like her and I think she will be great for Brinley.

October, it seems, is going to be a little less nuts. I love fall and am excited for the change of weather. I've started on Brinley's halloween costume. I hope it comes together as I imagined it. Sarah wants to be a surprise.

I hope to update more often now that our wedding season has ended. I miss taking pics of my kids and the things we have been doing. I'll get right on that :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

july 13

I ran errands today. While driving around the girls watched a movie and it gave me a few minutes to myself. Memories came back to me about when we went to Olivia's ultrasound...

I had remembered to grab a DVD to record the ultrasound. We were going to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. My mom came with Matt and I. I can't remember who was watching Brinley. We walked into the ultrasound room, I handed the disc over to the tech. We got settled in and she started scanning my belly. Things got quiet and we knew something wasn't right. We heard the words "I see cysts on the kidneys, I'm going to take a few more scans and then I'll bring the doctor back in."

I saw my babies heartbeat. I saw that my baby was moving. What did it mean to have cysts on the kidneys? We waited for what seemed like hours. The doctor came in and scanned some more. The diagnosis was polycystic kidney disease, but he wanted to be sure and we were to be sent to a specialist the next day when we would hear the words, "your baby is incompatible with life." I didn't cry at first. I think I was in shock. Then I looked at Matt and I broke down. I think I was reviewing the words in my head. over and over.

We started getting phone calls, poeple excited to know what we were having. I didn't want to talk to anybody. And how was I going to answer, "we are going to have a baby who will die"? Who wants to tell poeple that?

That was 4 years ago today...

It's strange how our minds remember those 'special' dates, way back in our minds, and bring them up when we conciously don't remember them. And the details we remember, when I can't even remember parts of yesterday.

As for the DVD, she gave it back to us. blank.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Today I received the Providence Health Care Exemplary Performance Award from Providence Sacred Heart Hospital where I volunteer. I had my picture taken with some pretty prestigious folks, like the vice President of Sacred Heart and the Head of the Board of Directors, along with a few others whom title's escape my memory (ahhhh!). It was quite an honor just to be nominated for this award (thank you Heather) and I truly can't tell you how very touched I was at what was said about me and about the work that I do. (for now, my award is posted just next to my computer until I get it framed. And they gave me a title of RNC... how very generous of them :) )

I have had thoughts of quitting and just letting some one else take it all on, and its funny how when I start to have these thoughts, there is a greater need. And it's then I realize that this was something I was meant to be doing and that Olivia taught me much more than I ever imagined.

I grew up wanting to be a doctor, working with children. In high school I found a love for photography. In a crazy beautiful way, I got to fulfill both dreams.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

summer list 2011

This year we sat down and made a list of all the things we want to do this summer. We have about 100 things written on the chalk board. We have kept busy marking off the things we want to do. One of those things was to watch the laser light show at Grand Coulee Dam. Julie and Merv decided to join us. We left after church on Sunday and stopped and had a picnic at the city park in Davenport. I think its some of the oldest playground equipment I've seen in a long time. Keeping Sarah and Lola off of it was a pain.

We got to Grand Coulee Dam around 4pm. The show didn't start until 10pm. We had 6 hours of keeping the kids busy. We bought some of the worst snow cones ever! We played with our snacks.

The kids made faces at the camera.We walked throught the 10 booths that were set up for the 'Festival of America' about 5 times.

Sarah was cranky about 1/2 the time.

We tried to pull the babies arms out of their sockets by swinging them around (not really).

Matt hung out under a tree and enjoyed not being at work and tried to take a nap.

By the time the laser show started, the babies were exhausted and fell asleep. Cody and Brinley had their eyes glued to the show and the rest of us made comments about how really out of date it was. However, we learned some really intersting history about the dam.

I can now say that after living in Spokane for 15 years, I have finally seen the laser light show at Grand Coulee.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

not meant to be

I'm not sure how to begin this post.

Today has been the kind of day where I didn't want to get up out of bed. I didn't want to face what I knew was real. I woke up today knowing I had, once again, miscarried...

We are done. We are done trying and not trying. I'm done torturing myself, my emotions and my body. We will never have the boy I have always wanted. It's no longer worth the risk anymore. We had made the decision long before I found out I was pregnant that one more time and thats it. Whatever comes of it, we are done.

I am getting older. I am happy with the children I have. There are so many things that we have going on with my photograhy business, with Matt's business, with our life, with volunteering. However, it's not fair to have your body make the decision for you. We will never have the big family we have always wanted, all because my body doesn't work right.

No matter how much faith I have or doctor's I see, it's just not meant to be.

"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light." -Albus Dumbledore

"If it wasn't for the pain I felt yesterday, I would not be the person I am today"-anonymous

These quotes have gotten me through today.

I know that I must make the best of what I am given. It is not like me to pull the covers over my head and ignore my responsibilites... not saying I didn't want to... but I know that because of my pain and my trials, I can help others to lift their heads and to face the day. I do not look to pat my myself on the back for the work I do, I simply want others to know that they are not alone.

A couple weeks ago an article came out in the local newspaper about Forget Me Not and the local MISS Foundation support group. The same week, we got some awesome news that one of our local hospitals is giving us a room to decorate and let parents use when their baby dies, so they can be more comfortable. This is a huge deal. We are so very excited about it and are hoping to have it ready this fall as long as we can get enough donations.

It's amazing the things we can do with what we are given. Our life is what we make it...right?


Our sweet Brinley girl got baptized on Saturday, June 4th. She has been so very excited ever since she turned 8 in April. She was able to be baptized with two boys from our ward and a girl from another ward. First thing she did as she came up from the water was giggle and give her dad a hug. It was sweet. As I helped her get dressed afterward and she told me "Mom, I feel clean and pure. I never want to sin again."
(Please don't be disgusted by my hair. I should have at least curled it)

I teach her age group at church and on Sunday our lesson happened to be on the Holy Ghost. During the lesson she told me that she felt warm and fuzzy after her baptism and knew she had made the right decision.
I am proud of my girl and how much she has grown. She is such a sweetheart and a huge help around the house and with Sarah, who follows her around like a shadow.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I am pretty's been 2 months since I've updated. Life has been busy.

During spring break my sister, Julie, and I took our kids to the Redwood National Forest in Northern California. We met up with my sister-in-law and her girls there. It was amazing. We all loved it and my sister and I didn't get into any brawls this time :)

First thing we did when we got to Crescent City was go to the beach and let the kids run. The week or so before they had Tsunami warnings from the Japan earthquake, so we kept a close ear out for the sirens the entire time we were there. The next day we drove down to the Avenue of the Giants. This place was just south of Crescent City and we had to get out get a few pictures of Paul and his ox. Glad we did it on the way down, we were to tired on the way back up.

The Avenue of the Giants was pretty cool, but nothing like Jedediah Smith Redwoods and found it was literally behind the hotel we were staying at...6 miles of the most amazingly huge and beautiful trees. You could touch them as you drove through. We must have stopped ten times to get out an take pictures in about a 2 mile stretch. We also got out and hiked a bit. After driving through the redwoods, we checked out the lighthouse in Crescent City.Holy Crap was it windy but pretty amazing. Wish we had gotten there a little earlier so that we could have gone inside it.

The next day it POURED rain and was extremely windy. We headed up the Oregon coast and found another lighthouse to tour. I somehow didn't get a picture of the outside of it, but it reminded me of Shutter Island and Dolores Claiborne.
We learned a TON about lighthouses and how they work. The light bulb is the size of an adults thumb, but the lenses shoot the light out some 26 miles. Amazing. This was a definite highlight of the trip for everyone. I can't believe people lived here. We drove up to Newport the next day and went to the Aquarium. It was pretty cool. I think the jellyfish were the best part, right next to the shark tunnel.
You can't go to a town by the sea without going to a candy store for saltwater taffy...
and we, of course, spent way too much money there.

As many times as we had been to the Oregon coast, my sister, Julie, had never been to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, so we stopped by there on the way back to Portland. Did you there is a tiny little place called Idiotville in Oregon? It was on the map, but we couldn't find it. We really wanted to take a picture of the sign.

We drove up to my cousin Jordan's house that night and said hello then headed up to my brother's house in Duvall. I drove home the next morning with my girls and my sister stayed to run a half marathon. she's nuts! I was tired, I can't imagine how tired she must have been... I'm not sure how we are going to beat this trip next year. Any ideas?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I'm not sure where to begin. This month has been utter chaos it seems. Between helping at the school, meetings, volunteering at the hospital, photography sessions, shooting a wedding, Sarah's teeth surgery, a fundraiser and being a 24/7 wife and mother, my life seems to fly by. This little stink is exactly that! A STINK! She is a busy little bee and exhausts me. She is always doing something naughty... cleaning out the fridge, climbing the furniture, painting with her poop, having a tantrum or hopping in the shower with me fully clothed. It never ends. I am usually done with her and ready to send her to 2 year old land before Brinley gets home from school. She has also decided that she would rather take a nap at 4pm rather than 1pm and it makes for a looooonnnnnggggg night for me.

However.... this little child of mine is an angel...with food constantly stuck on her face. always. She is such a sweetheart and a huge help to me. Sarah adores her and they play for hours after school. I don't know how I could get through my afternoons without her help. She always wants to be outside jumping on the trampoline, hula hooping (the girl is amazing at the hoop), running, kicking a ball around. She doesn't sit still for very long. has to keep moving. Sometimes it drives me crazy. We don't have a lot of mom-approved kids in the neighborhood.

My sister and I are taking the kids to the redwoods this next week. I think I am as excited as Brinley is. I need a change of scenery and how can you beat seeing something so magnificent as the redwoods! I am planning to take a bajillion pictures of the whole trip. I finally feel like my new camera isn't as scary as it looks. Just a lot of technical stuff that my older camera always just did...but I'm learning and getting things down. Still a few quirks to figure out and I am so glad I have my old camera as a backup :)

We have a b.u.s.y. summer ahead. My sister and I calculated about 10 weddings. we are excited to work with such awesome clients, their wedding locations are all different and we like having the variety. We also have engagement sessions, family sessions and senior sessions all mixed in there too.

I'm hoping April is a little nicer to me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Yesterday morning my little Sarah woke up with a swollen jaw after a night of having a fever and crying. An emergency trip to the dentist and 5 hours later...she had 2 teeth pulled, 2 more teeth crowned and 4 more teeth with cavities filled and spent some time with IV antibiotics. YIKES! Poor baby. She has been doing a lot of this... I'm not sure we will be returning to our regular dentist, who's office is CLOSED on Fridays. They saw how bad her teeth were on Tuesday when I took Brinley (who has great teeth) in to get her teeth cleaned. They had tried to fix these teeth 6 months ago but Sarah didn't take to the concious sedation. I called them a month ago telling them about her teeth and they said they couldn't schedule her till after some specific date...a week too late.
I really really like the dentist I ended up taking her to. She was AMAZING! and we will be visiting her office instead.
My poor Sarah has my horrible teeth. I had the same oral surgery when I was 3 except that I had all my teeth capped. Sarah will be getting spacers put in where the teeth were pulled in the next 2-3 years, before her 6 year molar make their appearance. I really hope that this is the last of the major dental work that we will have to do. Neither Matt or I had braces and we are crossing our fingers that the girls won't either. Besides, I don't know if we could afford anymore dental SUCKS not having dental insurance.

Monday, February 21, 2011


To lose your mother and give birth to your first child in the same heart aches for this family.
Her last wish was to see her first born grandchild and the hospital is doing everything they can to grant her that wish. I get to be a small part of that and I don't know if I can hold it together. It's always hardest to see families feel the sorrow and heart ache. Knowing your mother is just down the hall just waiting to let go while you prepare to give birth to a perfectly healthy child.
There are times where I pray that my camera captures every little thing correctly and that I don't have technical issues to deal with. I am hoping today is one of those days where it all flows smoothly.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

life goes on

This past Friday, I got to share Olivia's story with a small group of nurses at Sacred Heart. Twice a year, a class is held for nurses, doctors, and chaplains on neonatal/infant death. It teaches them what to expect, what there role should be and how to handle it. As part of a panel of parents,who all have a child(ren) who has died, we get to share our story in detail with these people in hopes that they will learn from mistakes made and in general, just know what to do and say. I don't think I have ever gotten through a class without tears. It usually starts with whatever parent speaks first. I've heard their stories numerous times, but it still doesn't make it easier. I've met some amazing families through Olivia's death. We have met friends who Matt had gone to high school with, friends from all backgrounds and religions, friends who have had more that one infant die. People who get it, who know that grief doesn't ever leave. Even years and decades later, we will still have bad days. Even when you have more children, there is still that child missing.
At the end of November, I had my 6th miscarriage. I kept it quiet because my little sister, Kami, had just gone through her first miscarriage only a few weeks earlier. It was a surprise to me that I was even pregnant, but we didn't catch it in time for me to start taking prometrium (which is outrageously expensive when your insurance doesn't cover it). I'm pretty used to the disappointment. In fact, I expect it.
I know that there is always something good that comes from the worst situations. We don't always see it at the time of the trial, but down the road, months and years later, we can find something good came of it. Olivia's life is more than the 2 short hours she was with us, it's the years later when I am still able to talk to parents, photograph their children and share her story with students, nurses, doctors and so many more people. I have met with families who share the same disappointments I have, who aren't sure they will ever have a child that will survive. Parents who just want to be a parent to a living child or wonder if they will ever get to have a child of their own. I think you would be surprised at the number of parents out there who have had to bury their children. It's not been that long ago that no one would talk about it. And even now, some families feel jealous toward other families who had gotten so much more than they did, but they have a place to release their anger and we get it. We understand it. We are trying to change the way things used to be, but it takes time.


I turned 33 in January. I'm not huge on celebrating my birthday, but it was nice to see all the comments left on my facebook page. Matt took me to lunch that day to Chaps. It was delicious as always. My mom had me and my sisters over the next day for lunch and to let out little stinks run around while we chatted. It was nice and way easier than trying to keep three 2 year olds from escaping a booth at a restaurant.
I won't post a picture of me on my birthday. I look like a cow. It's horrible. I do not like being in front of the camera. Typical answer.

life with a 2 year old

I didn't realize until today that I hadn't posted anything since December ...that is sad. It's because of her... My little 2 year old.
busy as a bee
Things like this are a daily occurence. If it's not climbing on top of our stove to get the hot cocoa mix (which has now been moved, again)so she can eat it by the handfulls (gross), she is taking every DVD out of its case or pulling out the drawers to her dresser (not that she ever wears clothes for more than 5 minutes) or bringing her daddy a 25 lb bag of potatoes one by one.
This girl keeps me on my toes. If it's too quiet, something is going on. Her name lately has been 'little stink'. It fits her well.
I have sat down to the computer to blog many times in the past few weeks, I've had things I have wanted to say, but as soon as it's nap time and Sarah is down, my mind goes blank or it wanders to other things I need to get done. I actually keep a notebook by my bed about the things I want to blog about. One of these days, I'll get it some of it written on here :)