Saturday, July 13, 2013

Happy Ending, New Direction

If you don't want to read this whole post, I'll just summarize here. Soon (hopefully tomorrow), I'll write about the emotional battle we had to fight through this ordeal.

What Was Wrong?
After a billion diagnostic tests (okay, there were only 3 big ones, but it FELT like a billion), we couldn't find anything wrong with Brynn's implants. And since the left and right ears were both having the same trouble, I felt like a common cause must be at the root. I was worried it might even be her nerve or something that we simply couldn't fix.  Suddenly, I realized what it may be:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Surgery Cancelled...or Postponed?

Well, Brynn's surgery was postponed for the second time due to a random fever and rash.  But I am still feeling like it's a blessing in disguise.  I still keep hoping that we can somehow escape surgery.  Especially when she had an episode with her left ear that was just like the problem she was having with the right ear.

Come on.  What are the odds that both ears would fail in the same few months time span?

I've done more research about that very question. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Darla Isackson

I found this to be a very informative series, originally published through Meridan Magazine, and republished here by permission from Darla Isackson.

Article 1: Education as the Early Prophets Saw It
Article 2: The Rise and Demise of Church Academies
Article 3, P1: Role of Religion in the Education According to the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, Part 1
Article 3, P2: Role of Religion in the Education According to the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, Part 2
Article 4: Public Schools vs. the Fundamental Purposes of Education
Article 5: Can Parents Counterbalance the Negative Influences in Public Schools?

Article 6: Back to School: Readers Open Talk about Public Education and Tough Choices
Article 7: Charter Schools
Article 8: Creative Combining of Options: Could Dual Enrollment Be Your Solution?
Article 9: Education Reform from the Bottom Up
Article 10: Saints Seek Solutions to the Education Dilemma
Article 11: Mom Schools and Co-ops

Article 12: To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool?

Article 13: Education Series, Part 13
ABCs of Homeschooling
Article 14: Joyce Kinmont, Homeschooling Pioneer

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mr. Paul's Photo Shoot

He sure is a happy guy. The nurses tell me he even smiles in his sleep at midnight in the nursery:  

I love the little lip tricks babies do in their sleep. I imagine this one is because I keep calling him "princess" (sorry, little buddy, after 3.5 years of girls-only around here, it just slips off the tongue):

Soft kisses from a big sister:

Brynn LOVES to hold her little brother and will softly stroke him--pretty much forever--until you tell her it's someone else's turn.  Her attention span for babies never ceases to amaze me:

Heidi's attention span, on the other hand, only lasts about 15 seconds (14 of which are spent reminding her that we can touch HAIR but not EYES). After that, she's off to look around for any good hospital food that I haven't finished eating:

And this face is because I wouldn't let her hold the camera. Although I have a feeling we'll see a lot more of this face when my Momma's Girl realizes that Paul is here to stay:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Announcing Paul Matthew Hunsaker!

My best pregnancy ever has ended today, July 18th, with the arrival of Little Man Paul at 1:10 AM.  He weighed in at 5 lbs 14 oz and was 18 inches long.  We were 38 weeks and 6 days along with no troubles, hiccups, or scary moments!  What a great pregnancy and what a great little baby.  He nurses like a CHAMP and is super sweet and mellow--even after the inevitable pokes and disturbances.  He's also so much fun to cuddle, I fear I'm going to spoil him early!  

Labor was fantastic and super fast.  It started shortly after my water broke around midnight and ended after a mad dash to the hospital, some hard contractions, and only three hard pushes.  It's a good thing I'm not a fan of medicated deliveries because I don't think I would have had time to be drugged, anyway.  Just at the moment when the contractions were really starting to making me wonder if I could do this, I began to feel the urge to push and thought to myself, "Surely we aren't this close yet!"  But we were...and the on-call doc was wonderful.  He let me stay on all fours, unlike the OB with Heidi, even though it made it difficult for him to catch the baby.  It was much more comfortable and I felt like I could push a lot better.  Although the pain was intense for the short amount of time I was in labor, I don't think it could have gone more smoothly.

Recovery is also less painful so far than it was for either Brynn or Heidi so all in all, I may be the only recently delivered woman you ever meet who would say, "I could do this again!"  Great pregnancy.  Great delivery.  Great recovery.  What more could a Momma want?  Thanks for being such a good little man, Paul.  You were a trooper.

I still can't believe the miracle of a healthy baby.  Even here, with my second healthy delivery, it's such a pleasant surprise when the nurses let you hold the baby as long as you want before whisking him away.  It's so nice when the atmosphere in the room is accommodating to mom and dad instead of worried about the urgent needs of a sick baby.  It's such a miracle to see the slower pace in the nurses' steps and the careful consideration of the doctors.  It's so amazing when the lungs work properly, the body fills in with healthy color, and the eyes start looking around at all the new sights and sounds.  What a miracle.  What a miracle.

I also have to express gratitude for the chance to get so much of what I wanted with this pregnancy, too.  Although I didn't make my ambiguous goal of 40 weeks and 8 lbs, I got to have a fully natural birth without needing to be induced and I got to enjoy a healthy, long pregnancy with zero complications.  I got a sweet, healthy baby boy who makes me smile no matter how exhausted I am.

I love his smell, his little grunts, and his tiny lips.  I love his hairy ears.  I love his little round face and perfect nose.  I love his long, wrinkly Grandpa fingers.  I love his chicken legs and can't wait to fatten him up with some of Momma's homemade goodness.  What a miracle.

Love to all and thanks again for all of your support.  I'll post photos as soon as I get a chance.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Doomsday Milestones

Pregnancy One:
Everything going as usual.
24 weeks, 0 days: water broke with Brynn.  Matt was out of town on business when I called him with the news. 
Delivered at 25 weeks after 1 wk of hospitalization. 

Pregnancy Two:
Everything going as usual.  Planning a move to Utah.
24 weeks, 3 days: high-risk clinic caught my dilating/thinning cervix and admitted me for 2 months of hospital bed rest right away.  Matt was out of town on business when I called him with the news.  Move to Utah postponed.
Delivered at 37 weeks--which is full term--after roughly 2 months of hospital bed rest and 1 month of at-home bed rest.
After the move, we closed on our house.

Pregnancy Three:
12 weeks: Cerclage placed.
Everything going as usual.  Planning a move to another city.
24 weeks: Cervix measuring at 4 cm, which is .6 cm LONGER than last handful of visits (anything over three 3 cm long is good--it is the opposite of being "effaced," which means "short" or "thin" cervix).  It looked so good, in fact, that the high risk clinic graduated me and I only need to be watched by my regular OB from that point on.
24 weeks and 3 days: No surprises.
26 weeks and 3 days: Matt headed out of town on business.  We both held our breath.
27 weeks and 0 days: Matt returned from his business trip without surprises.

Which brings me to TODAY, where Pregnancy Three is still going strong:
At 27 weeks and 1 day, we just closed on our new house.  We are starting to move (gradually and as stress-free as possible); but so far, we still have no surprises.

So now, we've passed ALL of our doomsday anniversaries and I'm still going strong.  I credit it, in part of course, to the cerclage.  But mostly, I thank and her 12-Steps to Whole Foods recommendations.  I have been more energetic and happy than I have ever been--even compared to when I am not pregnant; my insomnia has almost disappeared; my regular migraines are completely gone; AND I have made it through two rounds of family sickness without becoming sick myself (which is a first for me for the last 8 years).

Now, I'm just concentrating on hitting 28 weeks ... then 32 ...

Anyone want to raise your bets for a full 40 weeks and a healthy 8 lb baby boy?  I am!  Hooray!

Friday, March 16, 2012

BIG Catch Up

I have some more exciting news in gigantic blob-like fashion since updates are few and far between for me these days. For those of you who are still hanging in here with me and have sent emails wondering what is going on at our house:

1) Brynn is doing well post surgery. Since the procedure, she still had a lot of puking but she didn't need her meds for constipation. A few months later, we were able to wean her off amitriptyline (a big whew!). Afterwards, we started her on a new smoothie diet via the G-tube (courtesy of and we are pleased to report that she is going on 4 weeks of being completely puke free! Double yay for good health as a result of good nutrition! Due to this upturn, we've also been weaning her off of her Zantac (she's been on this since shortly after coming home from the NICU) and in a couple weeks we expect her to be completely med free for the first time ever! HOORAY!

2) Heidi is 16.5 months old and has a vocabulary of somewhere around 150 words including "bakugan ball" and "basketball" as clear as a bell. I imagine she's not far from speaking in true sentences, but I'm still hesitant to accept, "It's a BABY!" as a real sentence since I don't think she really knows she's saying three separate words. Either way, she's a chatter box. But for wherever she may be "ahead" in language, she is surely "behind" in walking. Our little squirt is more than capable, but is absolutely too cautious to want to walk indepedently. She prefers knee walking (which she knows isn't as fast as crawling, but her thumb is free for sucking, you see). Silly girl...if I ever get the motivation, I'll upload the video of her first independent walk--some 2 minutes of walking all over the upstairs bedrooms, turning corners, stopping, starting, etc., with no balance problems whatsoever. But would she do it again the next day (or anytime since for that matter)? Nope.

3) My pregnancy is going well; but it always does until 24 weeks so I'm not getting my hopes up just yet. I'm currently 21 weeks and counting down until April 5th when I reach that nail-biting milestone. However, I'm doing everything I can to do better this time--including doing myself. I'm optimistic it's helping my pregnancy because after adjusting to the better nutrition, I started sleeping like a log (I'm an especially bad insomniac when pregnant), had WAY more energy (used to need a nap every day with the girls, but now I never need one), completely stopped getting migraines (also a pregnancy gift for me), and--best of all--noticed far fewer contractions. Maybe, just maybe, I can help my body do what my body needs to do by feeding it really, really well. Combining the diet changes with the weekly shots in the rear, the cerclage, and making sure I don't overdo it, really gives me hope that I can have a "normal" pregnancy. Oh yes...did I mention? IT'S A BOY! The Hunsaker name WILL GO ON (for those of you who don't know, Matt is the only boy with 7 sisters)!

4) My first Isaiah painting got accepted into the LDS Church's 9th International Art Show--one of under 200 accepted with over 1100 entries. I was delighted to see my own piece hanging in a real live gallery (who would have thought?). I was doubly delighted to see it right next to Walter Rane's piece. I love Walter Rane. So I officially feel like a Big Whig, even though by every measure of the word, I am still a total no-name! Ha! Yay for my first glimpse of real exposure.

More coming later. Some day. No promises on a timeline here. We are in the process of buying a house, managing a bunch of new diet routines, raising two great little hoodlums, planning the next painting, staying pregnant, and getting ready to move. I still have really high intentions of doing some sort of political rant, but the more I write and try to hunt down my sources, the more I realize I know very little and am only parroting other people. I am mostly investing a great deal of time educating myself before I open my fat mouth via the computer keyboard for the whole world to read. Or maybe I'm just being a chicken and stalling...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Three Big Announcements from a Slacker

Blog slacker? I suppose. I'm about 1/2 way done with the promised political articles. I'm being very thorough. In the meantime, I have some big announcements to make.

1) We just bought one of these:

2) Because we found out we're having one of these:

3) Which is why I'm going into surgery tomorrow (yay for cerclages) at one of these:

WHAAAAAAAAAAAO. I know. I was shocked, too. I didn't figure it out until I was 8 weeks (I'm 12 weeks tomorrow). But I'm just plain excited now. Well, and scared, too. I really hope this pregnancy goes well.

2011Res: Technically, it's not 2011 anymore, but I'll do one last one for old time sakes. To Matt: I LOVE that you are amazingly detail oriented for all the little to-dos of buying a new van. To my girls: today I savored Heidi doing all in her power to reach light switches and say "OFF!"--even when I'm trying to do my make up. And Brynn got me good when her new bedtime stalling tactic was to scratch Daddy's back (he didn't mind AT ALL). Dear Mr H: today I finished sorting the laundry AND delivering it to our rooms even though I was exhausted because I love you (and because I know you're out of underwear).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Dear Reader, I will tell you the results of the quiz; but I've decided that in an effort to avoid some of the mistakes I made the first time I did a series of sensitive articles, I will make sure I have everything outlined and completed before I post the first one. So far, the outline is about 20 short articles and I want them all written (and edited by a series of people I trust) before I go public--just to make sure I have really said what I want to say in the most effective way possible and don't get sidetracked by emotional debates.

That said, I'll step back a while to further prepare; and in the meantime, I'll take some time to post about the things I'm Thankful for, as well as some fun photos (outtakes of our Christmas Card shoot).

I'm grateful for Brynn and the miracle of her birth and survival. Although she's still vomiting regularly, it seems as though it's less painful for her than the retching was. And I am more than willing to clean carpets and do some extra laundry for a while if it saves her pain. Almost every time we undress her, she looks at her scar and says, "It's getting better and better!" She's also eating some things a little better--especially the past few days--but overall my goals are low for tube weaning any time soon. When she decides to eat, she'll eat, and I'm not going to frustrate both of us by pushing the issue. I am so grateful for the peace God has granted--genuine, lasting peace--where I finally feel like I've come to terms with her quirks. I no longer feel the need to sob when I don't know the future or when I see her suffer. The Lord loves her far more than I do--and although I don't know what HER reason is for her suffering, I most certainly do know that there is a reason. I also personally believe Brynn knew about and fully accepted the challenges she would be called to bear in this life. I am grateful for that belief. I'm grateful for mortality.

Medical issues aside, I'm grateful for Brynn herself. She makes some naughty choices (that girl can throw a tantrum and SCREAM with the best of them), but she also makes many, many good choices. She loves to make Heidi laugh and figures out new ways to do it as often as she can. She treats her little sister like her dearest friend. Brynn is even starting to choose--with no prompting from me--to share her toys, to give hugs, to pat Heidi's back and say, "It's okay, Heidi" when Heidi is upset. Brynn also loves to talk and sing--and especially loves to educate Heidi on new vocabulary (even the things she's heard no more than once herself). I can't believe how fast she's growing up (which is saying a lot since her "growing up" has been considerably slower than an average child). The sweet personality that she is developing just melts me every day. I am so proud of my big girl! I'm grateful for life.

I'm grateful for Heidi. Sometimes I feel like I'm a simple observer as she grows up without any "work" or "intervention." Her understanding of language is shocking to me--and the words she's saying are adding up faster and faster. She is following her sister's footsteps in that she cares little about moving around: she still prefers the butt scoot even though she can crawl much faster, and she acts like a beached whale any time I leave her on her back (she tries in vain to do a sit up instead of a roll over). Well, she's a beached whale UNLESS I'm changing her diaper, in which case she suddenly remembers how it's done and she darts away--naked bum and all--as fast as she can. She can pull herself up on furniture but refuses to try walking along the edge or any other walking unless an adult is holding both of her hands. Even though she's a little timid about trying new physical feats, it's still amazing to me how much more agile she is than Brynn ever was. She crawls around the bath tub in ways Brynn only recently started doing. Amazing. I'm grateful for not having to worry. I'm grateful for individuality.

Heidi's also a Momma's girl--something that Brynn has been only recently (when your first 4 months is primarily with nurses and you never breastfeed, how do you have the same bond with Momma?). Although it's inconvenient at times, Heidi's clear and unwavering preference for me makes me grateful and happy in ways I will never have the capacity to express. Heidi's also learned (already!) that Brynn gets to eat whatever she wants and that life's not fair if she doesn't get Cheetos, too. She will refuse to eat anything else if Brynn has better food. I groan that I'm the mom who lets her kids eat junk food...but keep telling myself it's not over until it's over. Maybe when they're 16, they'll like vegetables! I'm grateful for Heidi's developing personality, too, and her sweet temperament. I'm convinced there has never been a child that smiles more! I'm grateful for motherhood.

I'm grateful for my dear, dear husband. Not only is he a great provider (so many women wish they could stay home with their kids and I'm one of the lucky ones!), a great Daddy, a man who loves a true education, and a man of strong moral character; but also he's a good husband. He's recently stepped up in that last particular role in ways I've never seen him step up before. I'm falling in love all over again only this time it's even better because I know he's choosing to love all of me--not just the googly-eyed, imaginary perfect me he saw when we were dating. Marriage can be the most wonderful thing on earth, can't it? I'm grateful that I get to be with him forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. Isn't it great that it's not really "until death do you part?" I'm grateful for immortality.

I'm grateful for talents. I feel a sense of purpose and a flame of passion I've never felt before as I've embarked on this Isaiah journey. I feel like I've got something to accomplish and only time will tell exactly what it is. I want to fulfill everything God wants me to do and feeling like I'm on that path gives me an energy like nothing else. I'm grateful for missions.

I'm grateful for Truth. I'm grateful for a Father in Heaven who loves me, a Savior who lives for me, and a Spirit who teaches me. I'm grateful I know the answers--at least in an overarching sense if not a specific sense--to: "Where did I come from? Why am I here? And Where am I going?" I'm grateful for a God who allows suffering. I'm grateful for the knowledge that suffering has a purpose. I hear people say, "Prematurity isn't supposed to happen," but I disagree. It was supposed to happen for us and I'm glad it did, because I'm glad for The Plan. I'm glad I can trust His Plan. I'm grateful for eternal perspective, eternal purpose, and eternal potential.

2011Res: To Matt: I love that you find books like Mein Kampf interesting. To my girls: today I savored the first time Brynn didn't scream bloody murder when we left her with a sitter. I also savored Heidi's "fake out" when she tried to feed me her toast and then jerked it away and ate it herself. Dear Mr H: today I handled the AT&T bill because I love you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

First, A Quiz

This quiz was written by a Business Law Professor at a major conservative University (I know. I just used "conservative" and "university" in the same sentence). I will tell you more details about the author, the University, and the results of this quiz in the next post; but for now I don't want to bias your answers. Do not tell me your answers--I do not care to know--but please take a moment to see where you stand on these issues.

1. Have you read the Constitution within the last four years?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
2. Have you ever read the Communist Manifesto?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]

Do you favor—
1. Graduated tax rates on income?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
2. An unrestricted power in government to tax inheritances?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ]
3. A return to the gold and silver standard of the Constitution?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
4. Federal regulation of transportation and communication businesses?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ]
5. A system of free public education?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]

1. For the purpose of providing for the less fortunate, do you feel government should have the power to completely equalize all incomes?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ]
2. If not, do you believe the poor have some claim on government for their subsistence needs?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]

1. Should government have the power to prohibit child labor?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
2. Should government have the power to set minimum wages?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
3. Should government have the power to license every economic activity?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
4. Should government be completely without such licensing power?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
5. If you believe in some, but not complete licensing power, indicate three trades, professions, businesses, etc. which should be licensed:
a) ______________________________________________
b) ______________________________________________
c) ______________________________________________
List three which should not be licensed:
a) ______________________________________________
b) ______________________________________________
c) ______________________________________________

1. Government should have the power to regulate the operation of all economic activities.
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
2. Government should not have the power to regulate any legitimate economic activity.
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
3. If you believe in some, but not complete government regulation, do you feel you could draw a precise line between those activities which should and should not be regulated?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
4. Government should have the power to set minimum standards for all goods and services.
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
5. If you favor a partial, but not complete set of government standards, name three products or services for which standards should be set by government:
a) ______________________________________________
b) ______________________________________________
c) ______________________________________________
Name three products or services for which standards should not be set:
a) ______________________________________________
b) ______________________________________________
c) ______________________________________________

1. Should government have the power to bring waste lands into production and engage in soil conservation programs?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
2. Should government have the power to control natural resources such as rivers, lakes, forests and mineral deposits?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
3. Should governments sell to private individuals all the land they now own except that which is necessary for defense and protection of rights?
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]

1. I believe that there is a distinct line between those circumstances under which the government should compel people against their will and those where it should not.
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]
2. I believe that the scriptures provide accurate guidance regarding the distinction between good and bad laws.
Yes/Agree [ ] No/Disagree [ ] No response [ ]

2011Res: To Matt: I love the text you sent me today about your memory of one of your friends who thought we made "a good couple." To my girls: today I savored Brynn's puke-free day. I also savored Heidi's giggles as Brynn tickled her feet. Such good sisters! Dear Mr H: today I could tell you needed time in your "man cave" the second you walked in the door. I gave that time to you without complaint because I love you.