2013 in one photo

2013 was quite the adventure for the Hunt family. We had a lot of struggles and a lot of joy.


It's All in Attitude

I'm really not a good blogger. Between a full-time job and a two year old. There really isn't a lot of time to write down stories from my life...because it's pretty boring.
Since my recent job change in July of this year, some inspirational and hopeful stories touch my life pretty regularly. I work for a company that performs genetic hereditary breast and ovarian cancer screenings. My position is less lab-like and more patient oriented. In short: I do the ugly insurance coordinating for these tests.
Someone has to do the ugly work and give news to patient's about how much the test will cost. The magical thing about this company is our promise to call with the cost of the test so the patient can decide the value of the test for them.
A while ago I contacted a very cheerful woman with breast cancer and a family history of breast and ovarian cancer. I had to provide her a higher than usual expected out of pocket for the test based on her insurance.
I loathe these calls because I would love to give the test to everyone I talk to for free, but insurance companies don't agree and my job wouldn't likely remain permanent for people like me.
Anyway, I call this woman and drop the number. I expect my usual routine of quoting her percentage off if paid in full or the 25 month payment option. Instead she keeps this cheerful voice and tells me how thankful she is for her insurance company to pick up some of the cost of the test (even if it was miniscule).
She agreed to the high cost of the test and says, "You know either way this is a blessing. If this test comes back negative, I have hope and if the test comes back positive, I have action."
I could write this on a bumper sticker. Her attitude about such a hard and challenging thing in her life is fantastic.  How great it would be if I approached things in my life like that.  If there's a crap ton of traffic on my way to work, at least someone is driving slowly and safely.  If my two-year-old is screaming at me, she is still trying to communicate with me...very desperately.
This great woman I talked to for a total of three minutes left a lot on my mind. Stuff that changes my life. I think about those three minutes a lot.  It's really all in your attitude; even diagnosed with breast cancer and several deceased family member. Cheryl, or whatever her name was, could look ahead; even with a positive test result for a genetic link.
I'm going to tape it to my fridge.



Dave & Cam, my dad & me (fuzzy), Dad Hunt and Cam

I haven't blogged in forever and I promise this won't get all crazy emotional. I'm sitting at work on Father's Day thinking how lucky and blessed I am to have such amazing fathers in my life. There are so many experiences and stories surrounding these men that illustrate their greatness in my life and the lives of their children.
1. Dave: I love him so much! He's a great husband, sure, but an even better father. Cami was a huge surprise to both of us, but Dave really took fatherhood seriously from day one.  I could think of a thousand ways of his fantastic fathering abilities. I'll only share one to save space for the others. 
When Cami was a baby, she was HARD. She cried all the time, except about an hour and when she was sleeping. It was so hard for everyone. Dave worked as a call-center rep at the time.  I took the full 12 weeks of Maternity Leave (even though some of it was unpaid), mostly because I didn't want anyone to have to handle the crying more than they should. Anyway, I spent a lot of the days emotionally exhausted with Cami. Both of us took turns crying, sobbing and yelling as I tried to adjust and she just was a baby.  Dave HATED being a call center rep and as soon as he came home, he would take Cami in his arms and take her to the bedroom. He would shut the door and let me have a minute without her, even though he was struggling just as much with the situation as I was. He never stopped loving her. He's the overly-cautious parent in the relationship and worries about her all the time. Dave is such a great dad. I am so lucky to have him as my husband and baby-daddy. Cami doesn't understand yet, but she love daddy. It was her first word and she looks for him every morning when she wakes up. 

2. My Dad: Of course I have to include him. This weekend I've bombarded Instagram and Facebook with my love for him. So I'll keep it brief here. My dad has always been my hero. He's tall, smart and pretty hilarious sometimes.  He's so full of useless information and I'm sure he could talk out even the most patient listener. 
My favorite part of my dad was his stories.  He could make up stories right on the spot.  When I was a little girl, I almost looked forward to bedtimes. I couldn't wait to hear about Tarzan and the Little People or the toys that came to life in the moonlight.  My dad was incredibly creative and he kept my imagination alive for longer than most people.  In some ways I feel as though his stories created my love for books and writing.  We shared the same dream and I hope that I can achieve that for/with him someday.  He deserves it.

3. Daddy Hunt/Bruce:  I'm pretty lucky to marry into Dave's family too. It's true that Dave's dad has a back story that irritates some family members, but he's a pretty great man too.  He met me only once before he found out I was pregnant.  When Dave told him that we were expecting, he immediately suggested that we get married.  I like to think it was because he liked me.
Dave and I have put a lot of work into our relationship with Bruce. He's that type. You have to put in a lot of effort, but you get a lot more back than what you put in with him.  From the very beginning, he has been so supportive of us and our family.  He has helped out on the the countless house projects that have popped up since we purchased our house.
I can't say that I have a ton of memories with him but a lot of small ones stand out.  Although he is very "wary" of church things, he was there in the church for my dad's funeral and constantly praised what a great man my dad was.  Or when we got married.  If there was a boring lull at the reception, he would come over to me quickly saying, "Someone hasn't hugged the bride recently." That night there was a lot of hugs. It didn't take me long to call him "dad".  In my mind he's my second father, one to step up where mine can't right now-especially in house stuff.

I'm so lucky/blessed to have such amazing, strong fathers in my life. There are hundreds of other fathers in my life I could include. Isn't this world amazing to have the word "father" spoken every day.  This is the first Father's Day that I really notice how important fathers are in my life.  I wouldn't be much without them.  I love you guys!


The Ender's Game

I am proud to say my dad was more than a dreamer.  He was also a very avid reader and writer. One of his biggest dreams was publication of one of his stories.
When I was a little girl, my dad and I had a bedtime routine. My favorite part was the stories.  Often he made them up on the spot, but other times he recycled material from his favorite books.  Tarzan and the Little People were fond favorites. I used to close my eyes and imagine my hands swinging through the vines with my dad.
Among those stories was Orson Scott Card's sci-fi tale, Ender's Game. He dumbed it down for my much younger, innocent mind; but I remember my attentive captivation in the story about a genius boy and his battles both external and internal.
Today I  watched the teaser-trailer and everything came back. This movie is perfect for my dad. It looks fun and includes one of my dad's favorite action heroes, Harrison Ford.  This movie occasion is something my dad would never miss.  He didn't see a lot of movies in theaters, but this would be an exception to his frugality.  I know I'll see it without him and that hurts my heart a lot.  I'll probably cry through the whole movie like a baby. I still cry once a week, usually driving, about him.  I still miss my dad. 


Coach kid

I'm not a very good blogger and funny stories don't happen to me like they used to. I have a few recent good stories that might warrant a chuckle or two.
I've started training for a half marathon. Once a week I try to work on my "speed".  Last week I took Cameron up to my old stomping grounds at the high school track for some speed and circuit training. The speed portions was only four sets of one loop and 50 squats between runs.
One loop around the track is pretty short, so I took advantage of the runs, speeding through the loops as fast as the stroller would let me (it gets wobbly and off balance if you run too fast).  Anyway, Cami totally loves going fast. I could see her cute, chubby little feet twirling in circles as I ran the loop.
As soon as I stopped for my squats; it was game over.  She is the meanest running coach I've ever head. She errupted in hysterical, angry screams until I started running with her again.  Her extreme methods were effective, but still made my running fueled with irritation instead of the soft buzz of runner's high. 
My daughter has a future in sports coaching.


Life Goal Plan

You know what I hate? Working out.  Why can't I just have a good looking body?  It really bugs me that so many people around me just have a good natural build--and they whine to me about how they need to go to the gym. If I looked like them, I would never go to the gym.  I'm not built like that. I have to work really hard to be a decent weight and appropriate build.  But you know what I love more than my hatred for working out? Feeling good about myself.
I've been doing Shawn T's Insanity for about a year and it's been super effective. I lost more than 40 lbs; the skinniest I've ever been (including that time I had a personal trainer).  I also gained a lot of endurance and muscle--and the best part was I didn't have to lift any weights or run on a treadmill.
Although Insanity is fantastic in almost every way, I've been doing it way too long.  I really need to spice up my workout routine. I've taken a nice, long three week break from doing anything active.  I can't keep being like this though, I know where it takes me. So I googled different workout programs and some articles suggested jumping into Insanity's Asylum, but their workouts are like 101 minutes long...that's insane when you're a working mom. I barely have an hour most days-let alone more than an hour and a half (which is also why I don't want to do insanity).
So I started thinking about running. I used to love running so much when I was younger. Right out of high school I ran between 3-10 miles every day and I miss it a lot. That brought me around to life goals--running a marathon was a goal I had right out of high school but I screwed up my knee pretty bad. I changed that goal to a 10k. 6.2 miles still seems kind of weak. I want a challenging workout schedule.
Runnersworld.com has a sweet, free coaching plan when you sing up for their website. You can create your own race training plan from 5k-marathons.  I start my plan on Monday for my first half marathon. Race Date is July 13th for he South Jordan Half Marathon.
I also downloaded a new app for my phone (Runkeeper) so I can run outside of a gym at the programs suggested pace. I'm nervous. The last time I started training, I really injured myself.  Here we go on a new adventure and goal.  Maybe I'll even feel ready to do a full marathon after the half marathon is over.
WEEK 1: 17 Mi
Mon Apr 22 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @10:28
Wed Apr 24 Tempo Run Dist: 5 Mi, inc Warm; 3 Mi @ 8:53; Cool
Thu Apr 25 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @10:28
Sat Apr 27 Long Run Dist: 8 Mi @10:28

WEEK 2: 17 Mi
Mon Apr 29 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:26
Wed May 1 Speedwork Dist: 4 Mi, inc Warm; 2x1600 in 8:22 w/800 jogs; Cool
Thu May 2 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @10:26
Sat May 4 Long Run Dist: 8 Mi @10:26

WEEK 3: 18 Mi
Mon May 6 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @10:25
Wed May 8 Tempo Run Dist: 5 Mi, inc Warm; 3 Mi @ 8:50; Cool
Thu May 9 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @10:25
Sat May 11 Long Run Dist: 9 Mi @10:25

WEEK 4: 15 Mi
Mon May 13 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @10:23
Wed May 15 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @10:23
Thu May 16 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:23
Sat May 18 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @10:23

WEEK 5: 19 Mi
Mon May 20 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @10:23
Wed May 22 Tempo Run Dist: 5 Mi, inc Warm; 3 Mi @ 8:48; Cool
Thu May 23 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @10:23
Sat May 25 Long Run Dist: 10 Mi @10:23

WEEK 6: 20 Mi
Mon May 27 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:21
Wed May 29 Speedwork Dist: 4 Mi, inc Warm; 2x1600 in 8:17 w/800 jogs; Cool
Thu May 30 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:21
Sat Jun 1 Long Run Dist: 10 Mi @10:21

WEEK 7: 21 Mi
Mon Jun 3 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:19
Wed Jun 5 Tempo Run Dist: 5 Mi, inc Warm; 3 Mi @ 8:45; Cool
Thu Jun 6 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:19
Sat Jun 8 Long Run Dist: 10 Mi @10:19

WEEK 8: 17 Mi
Mon Jun 10 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @10:18
Wed Jun 12 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @10:18
Thu Jun 13 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @10:18
Sat Jun 15 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @10:18

WEEK 9: 22 Mi
Mon Jun 17 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:18
Wed Jun 19 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 8:48; Cool
Thu Jun 20 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @10:18
Sat Jun 22 Long Run Dist: 11 Mi @10:18

WEEK 10: 23 Mi
Mon Jun 24 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:16
Wed Jun 26 Speedwork Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 3x1600 in 8:12 w/800 jogs; Cool
Thu Jun 27 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:16
Sat Jun 29 Long Run Dist: 11 Mi @10:16

WEEK 11: 24 Mi
Mon Jul 1 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:14
Wed Jul 3 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 8:45; Cool
Thu Jul 4 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:14
Sat Jul 6 Long Run Dist: 12 Mi @10:14

WEEK 12: 23 Mi
Mon Jul 8 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:13
Tue Jul 9 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @10:13
Wed Jul 10 Speedwork Dist: 4 Mi, inc Warm; 2x1600 in 8:09 w/800 jogs; Cool
Sat Jul 13 Half Marathon Race Day 13.1 Mi @8:52 Time: 1:56:17



Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while. I'm a crappy blogger, I know.
Things are a little rough in Michelle-land these days. Each day kind of presents it's own awful challenge. A lot of days lately I want to curl up in the bathroom and cry my eyes out.  Doesn't that sound magical.
Motherhood is hard.
I was perusing my stats today seeing that beautful line drop dramatically from 33 views to four. I flipped over to some other random stats and you know what's funny, I have more views from Germany than the United States. So I dedicate this post to Germany.  I know very little about Germany besides Octoberfest or whatever. I looks pretty in pictures and I've read about the old fashioned towns that are preserved there. It would be cool to see.
Even this post is boring, sorry. Thanks, Germany, for staying with me. I hope my life has some more funny stories so it's not this awful every day.


Nephrotic Children

The only real April Fool's joke I encountered today. Oh, Netflix. Thanks for the laugh...Chasing the Kidney Stone looks so tempting. 


Wrong Easter Egg

Holding on to mommy and daddy-I didn't even use a filter. The colors are so bright!
As Cami gets older, Dave and I become more excited to share our holiday traditions. This year we decided to share a small Easter Egg hunt with Grandpa Bruce and Grandma Jean.
Dave filled some Easter eggs with cocoa puffs and put them around the yard. Cami is still learning to walk so we helped her toddle over to the plastic colored eggs and one of use would hand the egg to her. She picked them up and put them in the basket pretty good. Overall, it was a good time until we stepped inside.
This horrible smell filled the kitchen with serious, pungent power. We check our shoes and we're all clean except Dave and Cameron. Their shoes were covered in some really nasty, gooey pet poop from the grass. So while Cami happily devoured her cocoa puffs, Dave sprayed down their shoes and his feet outside (it's a good thing it was so warm).  It still makes me laugh how excited he was...only to step in poop. Good thing Cami is young and oblivious to all things gross.


Little Things

Although things can be very hard, there are reminders of good things in this world. I'm lucky to have such great family close by; the kind of family that people dream of. My sister-in-law delivered me a bag of these treasures on Wednesday. She must have saved them from Christmas! The package was perfectly timed. The milky white chocolate spliced with candy cane chunks can chase away any bad feelings. It reminds me of Christmas. In the back of my mind I can see clean, white snow blanketing the world. Downtown Salt Lake is sparkling with colored lights and the world is embracing each other with real love and compassion. How appropriate, the reminder of Christmas the day before Easter and not an egg or cross in sight. Cheers.


Free Weekend

Dave left us for Vegas last weekend for his friend's bachelor party. Paul gets two weekends with just Dave this year; his bachelor party in Vegas and his wedding in New Jersey (because we can't afford to send both of us).
His friend's wife stayed with me so I wasn't totally alone and we had a lot of fun, but I don't even have pictures of our time together. Ha! I have pictures from Saturday when I spent time with family and my extended family's Easter Egg Hunt in Springville. There were some pretty sweet moments I captured.
Cami Roo
Like Cami Roo's happy face during breakfast. I took this picture to send to Dave because I knew he was missing her like crazy. They have such a special relationship and all of those whiny moments over the weekend was because she missed Daddy.
At the Easter Egg hunt Cameron was so fascinated by the plastic eggs. My aunt collected them in a laundry basket after the hunt so she can use them for the hunt next year. Cameron sat in front of that giant egg collection, taking the eggs out one at a time. It was so cute; too bad I left my phone in the car.


This moment was on the drive home after the Easter Egg Hunt. Despite being two years older, Cameron's cousin Lydia, loves her so much. They held hands for a lot of the drive home. It was so cute and uncharacteristic of Cameron to let someone touch her for so long.


This moment was a highlight for sure. I'm sure this picture seems so depressing to everyone else. It's been such a snowy, cold winter that we haven't had a chance to see my dad's headstone since it was put up(sometime in the last three months). Even though the grave-site was empty and I didn't feel him near or whatever, it was good to see a physical representation of him. I miss him every day. Especially lately as my life seems to hit another extremely challenging hill. I'll sit in the driver's seat of my car, sobbing behind my sunglasses and I imagine him answering his cell phone like old times. I try to imagine what he would say to me: probably some mixture of self-learned examples, stories from the scriptures and offer me a virtual hug. While he was here, everything was always going to be okay. He didn't say it just to make me feel better; his positive confidences held me steady. Bah, I miss him so much. I still need my daddy, I wish he could answer me.


Interview #2

Hi, my name is Michelle and I really suck at interviews. Let me tell you why.
I'm fairly confident in my ability to do any job. I'm not being cocky or tooting my own horn. With a little guidance, I'm capable of doing any job. Seriously, I can do anything.
I think that interviews are comparable to tests in elementary school and they don't indicate anything except how a person responds under pressure.
You know what I do? I freak out, freeze and stutter out responses. At the end of the interview, I calmly walk out to my car and cry my guts out. It's so frustrating to interview like this so many times. I just want to scream at them, "Just hire me. I'm going to be awesome, just disregard anything I say in this interview because I'm crazy nervous and there's too much pressure."
There's one question I am asked consistently, "I see that this job is very different from your current job. What made you apply to this job?" 
"Because I want a completely different career." (If there was a future for me in television, I wouldn't have applied to this job.)
So world, I'm probably not going to get this job. It would have changed my life for the better. I could have a "real" relationship or even "date nights". I'm not exaggerating when I say that I can't remember the last time Dave and I had time together with each other. It's ridiculous and super lonely. With this job, our finances would have been fine, regardless of the drop in hours. 3/4 weekends off and the future looked bright.
With my sucky interview skills, it's looking pretty bleak. It's hard not to blame myself for our shortcomings. It's also hard to look ahead with hope for something better. It looks so far away and impossible.
I believe in dreams, but things aren't changing. It's going to be another very hard year for me.


S is for Snake

Cami can be so silly sometimes.Her expressions are so amusing. 
Yesterday we took her to the aquarium for the first time (with family).
She was mesmerized by the giant fish for a while, but playtime between aquarium and lunch time is classic.  The pictures almost tell a story.

This is so fun. I love the snakes!
Stop! I'm laughing too hard!
And....I'm over it.


Time changes everything

Out of the 204 books I've read in my adult life, there are only three books that have been strong enough to inspire change in my life. I just finished the third, Stephen King's epic novel, "11/22/63" 
It's a novel that should not be ignored and I believe that everyone should read it. On my preferred book web site, I posted a review that I wanted to share:

11/22/63 is a beautiful work and I dare say it's Stephen King's finest that I have read. I'm not ready to be finished with this book.To write a review about this would be unholy and none of my words about this book can do Stephen King justice.
11/22/63 is an epic story about time travel, changing the future and truth.
Stephen King really knocked this one out of the park. The whole book pulled together so well. It can't be duplicated the way the themes and plot points return and harmonize with all of the parts.
His characters in this book are forever. Jake Epping/George Amberson is more than a character I remember while reading a fantastic plot. After spending the past two months-he's more like my best friend, sharing his secrets with me. I'm going to miss Sadie Dunhill and Al Templeton in ways that I miss my dearest family members.
I wish I knew Stephen personally so I could hug him and really thank him for sharing this story with me. It felt so personal and close to my heart. It changed me. Everyone should read 11/22/63.
"The butterfly spreads its wings"


Read Me Forever

During the past couple of months my mom has been doing some major house cleaning.  She's been emptying shelves and clearing out closets full of my dad's stuff.  He was a secret hoarder.
Today Dave and I did a little house cleaning too, preparing a spare bedroom for office space.  A stack of my dad's forgotten books caught my attention mid-clean.
His copy of of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "John Carter of Mars" (now a major motion picture) and a worn out copy of J.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" caught my attention.
My parents have instilled in me a love of literature. I remember my mom and and my dad reading to me at night or during the day.
At night my dad used to tell stories, some were true but most of them were fiction--stories he read and condensed for my child ears. It was a big shocker when I was in high school and learned that the story he told me about a boy playing a video game that destroyed an alien race and saved the world was actually "Ender's Game". My favorite stories were about the Little People, Tarzan or Toy Stories.
Since I could read, I considered books to be fond treasures but my dad's books are especially priceless. When I pick up those old books from my childhood, I feel as though I have a physical manifestations of my childhood.  As Cameron gets older, I'll read them again so she can have moments like that to carry with her forever. It's as though some books live on forever.


Parenting Battles: Conflict No. 1

When I say that my daughter was a surprise; it's and understatement. As the biggest surprise of my life, Dave and I took a lot of time to decide our futures from that point on.  We decided to embrace this surprising change. We both wanted to be parents one day and we really did belong together.
It's been two years since we learned about Cameron and I've been thinking a lot about parenthood and the lies that I told myself and wishes that I had for our family moments. I want to share those lessons learned. Not because I'm bitter or because I want to vent emotional stress. I'm sharing this because parenthood isn't the same for everyone and each child will be different.
1. First Six Weeks could have killed me. I'm not even joking at that.  It was so challenging to get Cameron into a routine. She didn't sleep unless she was cuddled tight. It took a lot of trial and error to establish a sleeping routine. Dave could only take two weeks off from work to help out. On the third week, it was just me and Cameron and it was awful. She screamed more than 80% of the time when she was awake. Her diaper was clean, she was freshly fed and all I could do was hold her close and pray for the screaming to stop. It only stopped when she was exhausted. Oh and let's not forget that super awesome blood clot I had in the second trimester. The day after I took Cameron home, I had to get a blood test at the hospital.  Blood tests are whatever, but lets just say I was a mess and it hurt so bad to get up. It was retarded.
2. Cameron's personality is always a big challenge. There was the constant crying and screaming that has changed me as a parent and as a person. As she got older, she became more mobile and a lot happier. Independence brings her a lot of joy.  She has also been behind from the beginning. She didn't start crawling until a few weeks before her first birthday and she still doesn't walk. It's getting very difficult to carry her places (she's a big, tall baby). It doesn't matter how many exercises and development games we engage with her, she refuses to engage. It's a matter of personality. She's stubborn and independent.
3. Relationships matter. This is a constant struggle. Dave and I rushed into marriage to build our family and establish stability for Cameron before she came. This left us very little time for each other--beforehand focusing on a home and our wedding--and after CAMERON. Our lives literally revolve around her. We work our schedules to accommodate her; which is right. Then our babysitters are used up and when we actually have a day off together, I feel guilty for asking for more help. It's impossible to have "alone" time with a small budget and relying on family/friends already so much.This battle always seems to be going on in the background. Always fighting for time together. I miss the days before; when it was the two of us whenever we wanted and whenever we could.
4. The financial battle is always bigger than you anticipate. I'm still paying for the blood-clot, which happened as a result of genetics and pregnancy. Then there's car-seats, cribs, bedding, etc. When Cameron was really young, her pediatrician wondered about a milk allergy. We had to buy some seriously expensive formula because I didn't produce enough milk for her. Pretty soon it was just that formula. At $30 a can and about 3 cans a week; that can seriously add up. Then there's diapers, bottles, clothing and there goes the savings and hello, credit card. It's less expensive now, yay for teeth and "real food".
5. Babysitting Battle. I already wrote about the struggle to find babysitters. When my older siblings had children, my mom didn't work and was a great babysitter for them. She enjoyed watching my nieces and nephews and it worked great. My sister-in-law watched Cameron for a while, bless her heart for joining in the fight to keep Cameron happy. Soon she gained paying babysitting jobs and we couldn't afford to pay our babysitters.  My friend from a long time ago stepped up and has been watching her until 5:30 and then our family members watch her until Dave gets off work. (We both work not so awesome shifts).
6.  Working Mom.  This is the hardest faze of Parenting Battles. Lately it's been particularly hard. Cameron is a difficult child in a toddlers body but what I feel like is a 9 month old brain. It's hard to juggle Cameron, fitness and cleaning as best as I can before we head out on the road to work full time at a job with such crappy hours and management that really makes it hard to find joy in my job. It makes for a very long, difficult day. Right now it's not rewarding or fulfilling in any sense of those words.
It was right to keep Cameron. Dave, Cameron and I are a happy family when we are together. Those rare occurrences are what I live for. Life is a lot more challenging with Cameron. There are different parenting battles everyday. I have no doubt that she grows and learns a little everyday. I'm proud of who she is becoming. Today is a challenge


Real Valentine's Day

Pictures of flower batches and loving couples are all over Facebook today. I can't help but laugh.
This year Valentine's Day is changed forever for my family.
Tonight we're not going to elbow our way through crowds or wait for two hours at a restaurant for an over priced meal. We're not going to find a babysitter for our demanding but loveable 16 month old girl.
This year Valentine's Day is more than an overpriced holiday glorifying merchandise. You don't need to buy anything to proclaim your love.
I love Dave a lot and I know he loves me a lot. We think about each other all the time. This day shouldn't be for us. I wanted to focus on other people I love, not just my spouse.Tonight Dave, Cameron and I are having dinner and desert with my mom. It's her first year without my dad and it's sure to be a doozy.
Whether you are in a couple or married, I think this day should be about other people. I wish the world stepped out of traditional commercialism and took a look around instead. Everywhere you look there are people who need to feel loved.  They don't need expensive gestures or lengthy dates. There are people are lonely or in serious need of comfort.
Next year we start the real tradition of sharing love where it's needed. That's a true Valentine's Day well spent.


Is My Child Autistic?

Is this the face of an autistic child? I hope not.
This blog post is severely premature, but I feel the need to post something about this issue.
Austism is all over the news right now. Some groups are really pushing for new Utah laws about insurance funding for autistic treatments. It's been on the news for three days in a row. Their methods of getting the attention of Utah government leaders are unique. Today's story included a ball pit in the shape of Utah. 
Autism scares the crap out of me. In elementary school, there was a girl in my class with autism. She was a really sweet girl, but it was very hard to communicate with Kim. I wasn't a bully and tried to talk and play with her sometimes, but she was developmentally very different from my classmates and me.
Developmental delays are pretty common among infants and when I started noticing some delays in my daughter Cameron, I tried not to think of the "a" word.
It was hard not to be a little nervous. Our pediatrician would ask the developmental questions and sometimes suggest "early intervention testing" and I would freak out for the next 48 hours; looking up all the information I could about autism. Not every sign applied to Cameron, but some of the signs are becoming more prevalent.
At sixteen months old, Cameron does not say any words and mostly babbles. She only crawls and stands up with the couch. She doesn't really interact with the objects of the world with a purpose (i.e. stacking things or putting things into boxes or whatever). The list of signs she applies to seem to get longer every appointment.
This last appointment, doctor recommended an evaluation. The appointment is on February 12 and a doctor's appointment on the 13th. I'm freaking out. 
I'm so nervous about my ability to care for her appropriately. It will make mother duties a lot more challenging and require a lot more patience and understanding than other children. 
Despite my fears, there's no question about my love for Cameron. She's my daughter and contains a big piece of my heart. Autism will not change my love for her.


Random Funny Picture

It's so cold lately, I've been missing places from our October trip. Especially Belize. I loveeee Belize.
Anyways, this picture is funny looking, but the back story makes it funnier to me.
We're on the cruise, this is the first or second night and we're laying on the deck at like 11 p.m. or something. It's so dark in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Dave decides it's a good time to take a picture of us laying on the deck, he forgot about the flash.
So the leftover picture is of us squinting through the flash. Brad & Jaycie took one too because ours looked so funny. They tried too hard to keep their eyes open.


Letting go

There are two things I don't do very well: cleaning out my car and letting go of people.
Over the past couple of years people have left my life; a few because I wanted to get them and their habits out of my life, most left though the passing of time and of course my dad because he had to. I miss ALL of these people immensely, but some things are hard to let go then others.
My dad passed away on August 7th and his funeral was within a few days of his passing. It's now January 25th and I still have the program on the floor of my car.  Five months later it's still creased perfectly in half alongside the funeral home standard tissue package I received at the funeral.
Even if I did clean out my car, I don't think I could take it out.
For the same reason my Facebook picture is still a picture of the two of us. I can't let go. I need him to still be around, even if it's only through glare tinged glasses from a photocopy. I can still see his gray blue eyes from the floor of the passenger seat and it's always reassuring.
He may not be physically sitting with me in the car, but I can still see his face when I need to and pretend I can hear his voice and his words. My dad was more than my father and mentor, he was a very close friend. I can't let go.


Don't Learn Like I Do

I love to blog, but sometimes I don't have anything good or interesting to say. So I steal ideas from the internet. Including a random blog post with 10 Things I Learned the Hard Way.

1. Little wrong choices lead to big wrong choices. Right after I got my A.A. from BYU-Idaho. I was super desperate to make friends and connections. I'm not making excuses. Some friends were not good and I started drinking with them once in a while. Nothing bad, just to pass the time. That one choice spiraled into more and I couldn't let go of behaviors because I'd rather have friends and mess up my life than do what really made me happy and be lonely. Fast forward five years and I ended up having a child before I was ready.
2. It Matters How Men Treat You. I was kind of late on the "dating train". I had my first date when I was 19 and my first kiss around then too. Before Dave I went through a slough of stupid men. I'm a relationship driven person (see #1) and I didn't really care about what the guys did or said as long as they stayed with me.  The give & take in relationships are big points that none of those men understood. I remember for one serious boyfriend I drove almost an hour in a white-out snow storm to spend the weekend with him. Other weekends the same boyfriend would say he "didn't want to drive down" even when there wasn't snow. Lots of men I dated were extremely selfish in dating and being together. Dave was the first one who put my needs first. I put him first and he put me first and that's freaking important. More men need to realize how important it is to give...not just take from women. We aren't something you can just pick up when you want. We should always be wanted and never tossed around. This is something I could write a lot about.
3. Everything Changes. Seriously, I can't believe I wasted so many years of my life hating things about it--only to learn as I got older. Everything is flexible, if you don't like it...you can change it. After I gave birth to Cameron, I had a really hard time with myself. My body worked different, I looked different, stress was my life and I never felt up for anything.. It was pretty difficult and I let go of myself. After six months I had an awakening. I can still be someone. I can rebuild who I am. I'm not stuck the way I am.
4. Sometimes Ask for Help. I have a super hard time asking for help. Too many times in life, you ask for help and people resent you for asking because they don't want to do it....or whatever. After childbirth (again I know), I learned pretty fast that all kids aren't the same....and some kids are very challenging. Dave and I both learned pretty quick, that we couldn't raise Cameron ourselves. It literally is taking a village to raise her and that's okay. I can't do everything that I'm asked to without losing myself completely. It's okay for me to ask people to help so I don't kill myself...or whatever.
5. Family Matters. This wasn't really learned the hard way, but I still have to share how drastic this could be.  Like I mentioned in #1, I spent 2 years messing up my life and I'll tell you a secret. I didn't really want to be with my family then. My life was a disaster and I knew they were judging me...and I was tired of it. Last year, my dad got really sick and eventually he passed away. I'm so glad that I was given the chance to fix that anti-family philosophy before he got sick. So I have no regrets. I spent many of my days off with Cameron and my dad. We spent a lot of time talking and just being in the same room (when he wasn't sleeping). It's not just about regrets either. At the end of the day, all of those boyfriends and friends I had left. My job changed and I graduated. Everything has changed drastically since those messed up days, but the only thing that remained constant was my family and their love. At my darkest and hardest days, my family was always there to support me and remind me of who I was and where I come from. I wish I hadn't spent those two years kind of drifting from them. Two years that I could have spent building relationships that matter (I mean I didn't even end up with the guy I dated around that time).
6. Money. It's okay to spend it, but it's better to save it. I didn't ever want to be in debt. In fact I remained debt free until I graduated from BYU-Idaho. Then I got student loans and car loans. I know that's not significant amounts of money, but it's okay to be in debt a little. I'm almost done with both now and a little debt never hurt anyone as long as it's not bringing me down disastrously.
7. Trust Yourself. I cannot say this enough. Twice in the past two years I've gone out on a limb because I just didn't feel right and both times quality of life were improved because of these hunches. A little after my father passed away I started noticing some SERIOUS depression and I felt craziness inside my brain. I went and saw a counselor and blah blah blah. He told me to check my hormone levels because having a baby can seriously make your body go wacky. Hormone imbalance! I believe in blood tests, but I wouldn't have gone if I didn't feel something was wrong inside. I should have checked it sooner.
8. Good Friends Never Leave. This one is for you Brandy-Poo and Christin even though I'm pretty sure they don't read this blog. Brandon and Christin were my friends at different points. I've known Brandon since I was like 19 and I used to have a major crush on him. We used to spend a lot of time together, I feel like maybe weekly for a long time. Dating and marriage and we don't hang out like we used to. Single guy and a married woman doesn't usually work out (unless it's in a crowd or double). Christin was a roommate of mine up in Idaho. I graduated and left. She got married and I got married. I had a kid.  I invited them over and they still came over (separate times) and it was still amazing. I wish Brandon was a girl and I wish Christin's baby was Cameron's age so we could all connect again for real.
9. Facebook Break. I compare myself constantly. It's a woman's curse, I guess. I can't turn it off. Facebook is the devil for this type of person. It was destroying my life....literally.  I took two weeks off from Facebook and it changed my world. I started seeing my own blessings instead of reading about others. You know all those super annoying pictures of families, kids or vacations....I don't care. I have a beautiful little girl and a super great husband. I don't need to see what everyone else has. Stop Comparing! Recognizing your own life great points improves your view on life. It's great. I still compare myself....just not on Facebook. In real life I'm better at making up horrible back stories.   (She looks beautiful because of all that makeup. She has on all that makeup because she got a black eye from her little brother because she stole his car in a drug fueled rage.)
10. Do the Happy Things. I spent a lot of my life making other people happy. I rolled with the punches and "didn't care" what I did. I still don't care about a lot of stuff. Really, I don't care where we go to lunch...I like all food. What's really important though is making choices that make you happy and not just in the I get to enjoy this lollipop for 20 minutes kind of happy. Do the stuff that makes you remember moments forever. For me it's family stuff, like going to see the creche' exhibit around Christmas with the family or singing songs with Cameron at bedtime. Screw work or shopping. Those things will fade and you'll forget what that cute shirt looked like on the rack or how irritating your coworkers are. I will remember the way Cameron answers my songs in hums and I'll remember the way my mom's eyes twinkle when she sees her family. So do what makes you happy.


Best Pasta Ever

Today's blog entry is a little different. First of all, I'm not a good food photographer. I love food a lot and I'm very good at eating it. Who cares what it looks like?! Anyways...That said. I wanted to share my favorite recipe of all time over the blog-verse.

 Baked Cheese & Sausage Penne
1 lb. Penne Pasta
1 Onion diced
1 lb. Sweet or Mild Italian Sausage
15 oz. Ricotta Cheese
2 c. shredded mozzarella (divided 1 1/2 c. & 1/2 c.)
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese (divided in half)
1/3 c. Parsley
1 T. Olive Oil
1 T. Garlic
1 Pint (2 cups) spaghetti sauce
1/2 c. milk
salt & pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to directions. Drain & set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Brown sausage, drain and set aside.Saute onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes, add garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and stir in spaghetti sauce.
Place ricotta cheese, 1/2 of parmesan cheese, 1 /12 c. of mozzarella and milk in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
Add the sauce, cheese mixture, sausage and parsley to the pasta and toss well to combine.
Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Spoon the pasta mixture into the dish.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
About 30 min prep. About one hour total meal time.

It will rock your world. This recipe is so yummy. I love pasta and cheese. Delicious and worth it.
If your in the market for a delicious, new recipe. Give it a shot. Yummmmyyy.


Snow Storm Gandolf

I survived Snow Storm Gandolf. Recently the weather channel started naming winter storms for a bunch of reasons that I don't really care about. I love it. I think the name game will increase awareness and hopefully encourage people to stay out of it.
Anyway, downtown Salt Lake always gets hit a little harder than my south west located home. My coworker thinks he's being funny when he sends me this text message.

It's not funny. I hate driving in the snow. Especially at night when I get off work...at 11 p.m. I'll tell you a secret, they don't really plow the roads around then because there aren't a lot of cars on the road...not really a demand.
The text is a joke..but I'm considering it.



For the first time since I was sixteen I made my bed and it won't be the last time.Hello, adulthood and motherhood.


Lucky Number 13

With the awful taste of 2012 still lingering in my mouth, I like to look forward to the future with optimism. It's only day six of 2013 and it's hard to really anticipate or know what the year has in store. One can never predict the future. 2012 was far both busier and harder than I expected. I have high hopes for the future though. When I see 2013, I see a rebuild for Michelle Hunt--a recreation of who I'm supposed to be with some key events of course.
I love lists and I love pictures. So here's my second picture list of 2013.
Leah and Paul
1.  Jersey Wedding: It's the last wedding on our long list of weddings starting in 2012. One of Dave's best friends, Paul, is finally getting married to his beautiful, awesome girlfriend/fiance', Leah. They live way over on the East Coast in New Jersey. Although we will likely have a full-ish schedule of wedding stuff, it will be a lot of fun to check out some sites while we are there.

This morning's Einstein hair
2. Cameron: I know it's not especially interesting to list my child as an event for 2013, but she will be a big part of my life every year for the rest of my life. To not include her would be a lie!  Anyways, this year she will walk and maybe even start talking. I'm so excited to finally be able to understand all of her gibberish and know exactly what she wants. This year will be a pretty epic step into her childhood.

Random picture of a heart. 
3. Grandparents & Great-grandparents: Dave and I are making a trek to Reno, Nevada this year to visit his grandparents. They couldn't make it to our wedding due to their age and his grandpa is wheelchair-bound. We're excited to go on a trip with Dave's dad and Momma Jean. It's going to be a really exciting event to introduce Cameron to her great grandparents; I really hope she isn't completely crazy on the long drive...

4. Job: The luckiest part of 2013 would be my exit from KSL. The job was great when I was single; late nights and weekends were not a problem. I usually stayed up pretty late anyways. Now the late nights, weekends and holidays are causing a big strain on me and my family. In October I prayed that I would be able to move on in my career by April. I still have four months to make a big life change.

5. Repairs: This is the year of the house. I've got big plans for this year. I want to get the house painted, put up pictures and finally make it our house. In the spring we will have to replace our sprinklers, watering them by hand last year was freaking awful. Maybe we'll finally put up a fence to drown out some of our neighbor's ridiculous, late antics. Or put up some darker drapes so their back porch light doesn't blare into our room all night long.

6. Dave: My husband of course. We'll be there together in 2013, rocking the married life and working out shnizz like the awesome couple that we are. We'll finally finish Borderlands 2 and maybe even finish Resident Evil 6 (because we're nerdy like that). We'll work on our puzzles and watch our shows. I'd like to hope 2013 brings some more date nights. They are sure hard to come by since our days off never line up and both our work schedules end later than most date nights even start. Babysitters are equally hard to come by when you need to use them during the week...multiple times. Lucky 13 could bring us closer so we're more than co-single parenting. That's my hope, anyways.

Too bad I can't come up with seven more things to make it super duper lucky...or unlucky.  I'm thinking optimistically today. 2012 was an obstacle we had to overcome to get to the beauty of 2013. Lucky number 13, I'm wishing on you. :)



At a family gathering a while ago we discovered Cameron has some serious love for trains. We started up my dad's old trainset and Dave held her while we watched. It cracks me up every time. She waves her arms and kicks her legs so hard while she squeals happily. I've been wanting to share this for a while...so here it is...finally.


2012 Review

I want to join with all the other blogger's this year in recapping 2012. New years blog posts are my always my favorite to write. This year was more eventful than 2011 and extremely emotional for me. To narrow it down to 10 things was extremely hard and some of the events and moments in 2012 will linger through 2013.

Dad and me back in like 2010 at the car show
1. My dad: It's funny how there are some words you just can't say. Even after four months, I still can't say some words when paired with my dad.  The events of this year are shadowed with by these enormous words.  He passed away in August after a year long fight with esophageal cancer. It was faster and sooner than anyone expected. August was a roller coaster of emotions. When he first started getting really sick, I put a picture up as my profile picture of my dad and me. I still can't take it down. My dad was my rock and his passing has shaken my whole life. Grieving is a long, hard process when you know and love someone for a long time. 25 years I called him dad and now that huge presence is a deep hole. That hole is still there and I know I'll always miss him.

Cameron a little after her first birthday
2. Cameron:  It's been a little over one year since we had cute, little Cameroo. With each milestone, she gains more independence and smiles a little bit more. She crawls faster than I can walk and loves to stand using the couch, but just don't help her. Like mom, she hates people helping her.

First day of braces
I had no idea the pain I was in for.
 3. Braces:  It's about time right? I've had pretty crooked teeth most of my life. It's not detrimental to my health. According to my dentist, my teeth are in perfect shape underneath the surface look. Just like anyone, my teeth have been pretty hard to get over. I know it sounds like a sob story but whenever I talked to new people, I knew they were staring at my teeth. Bah. So this year, I decided it was time to get them fixed. I'm almost half way done and they already look perfect to me.

Dave and I.
4. Honeymoon: It may be a year and a half later, but Dave and I finally took our honeymoon and I knocked off an item from my bucket list. We went on a cruise with Dave's newlywed friends Brad and Jaycie.  The cruise ported in Belize, Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Mexico. The cruise was NOT that fun. Carnival is a sucky cruise ship venue, but it was cheap and ported at all the destinations I wanted to. The highlight was visiting the Xunanatunich ruins in Belize. It was a two hour bus ride there and back and a pretty intense hike in 90% humidity, but when we saw them it was breathtaking!  One of those moments I will take with me forever. It was the highlight of the year for sure.

5. House:  We moved into our house!  It's the perfect dream house for me.  It's a lived-in house so we gained a lot of "homeowner experiences" like turning off the outside water at 10 p.m. because one of the copper pipes burst or setting mouse poison out in odd places so Cameron wouldn't eat any of it. (We haven't seen the mouse in a few months. I'm still not 100% sure if it's dead or not). Oh and our electrical layout in the basement is all wrong...so we got really good at flipping the power on and off. Despite the adventures, owning a home is totally worth it.

Random unrelated picture,
because I don't want to show you blood.
6. Hyperthyroidism: I had some major depression this year. I'm not afraid to say that I went for help. Sometimes talking to your spouse isn't enough. When I saw someone, he recommended I get my blood checked and they found that I have high thyroid levels. I've been on a it for a little over two months and I've noticed a huge improvement and quality of life. I gotta say how important it is to get your levels checked every now and again. So important! Especially after having a baby, because that stuff messes with your whole makeup.

 7. Dave: November marked our two year dating anniversary. Dave is great. This year marked big changed in his job. He moved over to the business center portion of his job and got a promotion. He's a great dad to Cameron and fantastic husband. Marrying him was the best decision I've ever made (right alongside my decision to keep Cameron). We've had a lot of big challenges in the last two years; more than most couples have in ten years. Through it all we made it together. I think if we can make it through 2011 and 2012; Dave and I can make it to forever.

We're standing in line for
The Dark Knight Rises.
8. Batman: My other man. Any other blogger mentioning this would be considered really weird and maybe I am really weird. The Dark Knight Rises was a big part of 2012 for me. The Dark Knight films made me respect Christopher Nolan so much. He brought a different kind of Batman to the big screen. We related to the hero. The Dark Knight Rises was a big letdown for me. There were some massive plot holes and the ending was silly. No one wants Batman to live more than I do, but the ending was so hollow. Big let down.

9. Church: Progress.  I want to make the same disclaimer as I did last year. I know that some people don't value religion and don't believe in God. My recap of 2012 wouldn't be complete without the church. This year marked big progress for me.  I reached a point in fellowship that I haven't been a part of in almost five years. In some ways I feel like an old friend has finally returned after a long trip abroad. Now if only I could change my job. My ward starts at 1 p.m. this year. I leave for work at 2:30 p.m.In order to further my own growth, I need a new job that doesn't make me work on Sundays.

Our tree-topper at work
10. Job: Speaking of job. I'm still here at KSL. This new C.A.L.M. act is making my job very busy and more complicated than ever. I work 3-11 p.m. every weekend and three days a week. I work most holidays and spend most of my job watching commercials and television programming. I've applied to more than 30 jobs since October. I'm getting kind of desperate to leave KSL behind me. Television has a lot of bureaucratic garbage. 

2012 was eventful. It was busy and very hard for me. I hope to leave most of the events from 2012 where it belongs: in 2012. I'm realistic about 2013. It will be similar to other years. The new year will probably bring new challenges, but I hope it brings more joy than pain.