Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I don't want to forget.......

Time to catch up. I don't want to forget anything from this season of life!! I also am finding it difficult to tear myself away from my little darlin' long enough to blog about her. So, I'll be backing up a bit and posting about what she's been up to for the last month.
She is now 4 1/2 months old. At her four month checkup she weighed 15 pounds and 7 ounces and was 25 inches long! Unfortunately, the week before then she had a virus that involved sniffling, runny nose, and a dry cough followed by a rash. At first I thought it was teething related, but no it was a virus. Then a week later after her well baby check it came back only this time with a moist, persistent cough that had me worried. I took her back in and sure enough she had bronchiolitis. Within twelve hours of starting antibiotics she was showing signs of improvement and better yet her smile was back!! :)
In actuality, her smile is never far away at all. She is the sweetest and smileyest (is that a word) baby I know. In the morning when she sees us standing above her, she pulls her chubby little fists to her chest and shrugs up her shoulders and just gives us this HUGE, open mouthed, toothless, excited grin and giggle. I LOVE it!! She also has a new hobby.... making silly faces. My parents, bless their little hearts, taught her how to make pffft!! noises, although it comes out more like bubbles and spitting. Thanks Mom and Dad!! :) She also has started sticking her tongue in and out very quickly and giggles like crazy when we do it back to her. This last week I was lying in bed in the morning half awake when I heard "smack smack" followed by giggles. She had learned how to smack her lips together and hasn't really stopped since then. She sucks in her upper lip and then "Smack" and "hee hee hee". At least she can amuse herself. Speaking of amusement, she has also found her toes. She loves them. She is constantly kicking her feet into the air to look at them and then grabbing her toes and pulling on them. It's SO cute!

Her other favorite thing is to grab our fingers and pull herself up into a sitting position. Then she tries and sometimes succeeds to pull herself into a standing position. At this point we say "Big girl!" and she giggles. We've really tried to get her onto the floor more, but I hate to do it when the dogs are in the house so I wait till they are outside. She is staying on her belly more now, but still not rolling over from her back to her belly. Grandma and Grandpa Ives bought her an exersaucer as an early Christmas gift and she likes to play with all the attachments. I've noticed her movements becoming more deliberate and her motor skills becoming more finite. I think she also likes the exersaucer because it puts her in a better place for doggie viewing. She watches Junie and Spanky walk by, sometimes gets a lick on the head or the face, and then watches their tails as they walk away.

She likes to play with her rattles and really loves books. We like Goodnight Moon, Dr. Suess' Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? and There's a Wocket In My Pocket, as well as her Baby's First Bible. I've realized we don't have as many books as I'd like and am asking for books for her Christmas gifts from family.

She has fallen into a new eating/napping routine and usually takes three-four naps a day. One short one in the morning, a long one in early afternoon and one or two short ones later in the afternoon. Sometimes she doesn't necessarily sleep but just spends some time in her pack and play talking to her toys or toes and listening to music.
Yesterday we tried cereal for the first time. She didn't act as though she didn't like it, just smiled and spit it out. Today went better and I was able to get her to take about half the recommended amount with only a small amount ending up on her face.
She had another first these last couple of weeks other than sickness and cereal. She went to her first harvest party at our church. Here she is all bundled up.

I can't believe how big she is getting. Everyone says "it goes by so fast" and so far it's true. I sometimes want to stop the clock and hold onto each of these stages a little longer. I don't want her to stop growing but if she could just slow down.... And here's one of her and her daddy..... she likes to lay on his chest and talk and play with his beard. These are my two favorite people ever and I love watching them together.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kitchen Adventures-Pumpkin Bread

With the cooler weather upon us and the fall parade of colors in full swing, I've begun my annual ritual of baking fall goodies. I don't know what it is about this time of year that makes me want to get in the kitchen and whip up cookies, pies, breads applesauce, etc. Maybe it's the rapidly approaching holiday season (yikes! lets not go there yet!) or maybe I'm trying to store up the extra poundage for hibernation, er, winter. I just don't think the Harvest time of year can be properly celebrated without a baked good or two full of pumpkin. Now my favorite pumpkin dessert of all time is my mother's pumpkin roll. Nothin' says lovin' like Momma's pumpkin rolls from the oven! Second would be just a classic pumpkin pie (I have a great no fail recipe that I use for Thanksgiving) and I also enjoy the seasonal delight Pumpkin Cheesecake from Olive Garden. Yum! Yum! Of course with a new baby we haven't been out much so I haven't had that guilty pleasure yet this season, but I found a similar recipe on All that I can't wait to try. I also found a recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls that I'm planning to try soon. I'll let you know how that goes.
So, I decided to make my own delish pumpkin delight here at home. Several weeks ago I had the most scrumptious piece of pumpkin bread while visiting my parents. My mom had just bought it at a bake sale that was being held at our old church back home, Firm Foundation Ministries. It turns out my friend Lynette had made the yummy bread so I emailed her on FB (where else?) and I learned the recipe came from the 2000 Lake Area Christian School cookbook. I got to looking deep in my cupboards and found that I actually had the cookbook from my alma mater and set out to make the moist, spice filled bread. Here is the recipe and some pics of the progress.

Pumpkin Bread

2 C. canned pumpkin 2 tsp. baking soda
3 C. sugar 2 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. water 1 tsp. salt
1 C. vegetable oil 1 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 1/3 C. all-purpose flour 3/4 tsp. ground cloves

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, water, vegetable oil, and eggs. Beat until well mixed. Measure the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and ground cloves into a separate bowl and stir until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, beating until smooth. Grease two 9x5 loaf pans and dust them with flour. Evenly divide the batter between them. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes then remove from pans onto cooling rack.

Love that golden color!

And how else should one enjoy a nice warm slice of pumpkin bread but with a warm cup of joe in my favorite mug (courtesy of the NBC store, thanks Michele and Paul)!!

P.S.- Since enjoying my first slice, I've also eaten this bread warmed with vanilla ice cream on top and sprinkled with a dusting of Pumpkin Pie Spice. I HIGHLY recommend it! Yum!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kitchen Adventures- in Pie Making

We visited Darian's great aunt Martha a few weekends ago for a Sunday evening supper and a visit with her and Darian's second cousin Nick and his family. It was great to see them all again and to introduce Melana. But one of the highlights of the evening was the DELISH Apple Cream Pie that Aunt Martha served. I was able to snag the recipe from her but somewhere between there and here I lost it. Boo! So I wrote down what I could remember of the recipe and then looked for similar recipes on one of my fave websites All So, being the smarty pants that I am, I thought that I had it figured out so I set out to make this oh-so-amazing pie. First I got these beautiful, organic Honeycrisp apples. Aren't they purty?
Then I broke out the trusty Pillsbury Pie Crust. (Love them!) I mixed the sugar and cinnamon and placed it in the bottom of the pie crust. Then I mixed more cinnamon and sugar along with some lemon juice and flour and folded the apples into the mixture and then arranged the apples in thin slices in the pie pan. I covered the apples with a mixture of cream and vanilla and topped the whole thing off with more cinnamon and sugar. It was the most beautiful uncooked pie I'd ever seen. sniff sniff
After baking it still looked just as wonderful, although I did notice that some of the apples on the top layer didn't look as though they had cooked through all the way. Well, a half baked apple with cinnamon and sugar is just as tasty as one that's cooked right? So I let the pie cool a bit and then cut into it with fingers crossed for my first slice of homemade goodness. The crust was perfect (thanks doughboy), the apples under the first layer were perfectly cooked but, wait a minute!

Oy, what a mess!
Unfortunately, I must have missed something or mixed the cream mixture wrong because the apple juices had mixed with the cream and had made a liquid mess where my pie should have been. Of course, I had to give it a taste because even messy foods can be good. Ex: sloppy joes, ribs, corn on the cob etc... But it didn't taste much better than it looked and I had to dispose of my mega pie fail. Ah well. Maybe next time. Guess I probably should have called up Aunt Martha to begin with.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Our Growing Girl-17weeks

Wow, I really need to catch up on here. Melana is growing and changing every day and I don't want to forget any of it. She's now going on 17 weeks but, in some ways, it seems like she has been a part of our little family forever and, in other ways, it seems like she was born just a few days ago. The teething seems to have gotten a little better. The drooling and finger gnawing continues, but she seems to be in less pain. Thank goodness. The teeth haven't come through yet, but at least she's getting a little break. She still smiles all the time. She is such a joy and can always put me in a good mood, even in the mornings, which is quite a feat! She sticks her tongue out all the time, as I so wisely taught her, and she loves it when we stick out tongue out at her, it makes her giddy. She gabs and jabbers all the time and LOVES when people talk to her and play with her. She is still playing with her floor gym and in her bouncy seat, but I think she is starting to get bored with these at times so I'm thinking of getting her an exersaucer. I think she wants to be upright more so she can see what's going on around here. I set her on the counter in her bouncy seat when I'm working in the kitchen and she likes to watch me. During those times we often listen to music. Either Lullabies or Children's songs for her or Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, Johnny Cash etc. I'm trying to introduce her to the "good" music. :) She likes to be read to. Our favorite book continues to be "Goodnight Moon" but she likes a new one I've been reading about farm babies. She still likes her baths and has started to be more "active" while bathing. She kicks her feet and splashes her hands in the water. She likes to look in the mirror and has started to look at herself and not just at me holding her. She turns her head when she hears me or Darian talking in the room and she gets excited to see us and kicks and waves her arms, even first thing in the morning. She has really started to watch the dogs too. When she is laying on the ottoman playing, I've noticed she turns her head all around to see where they are and to track them. They still pretty much ignore her. She attended her first and second bonfires the last few weeks and seemed to do well. We have been having a problem with her screaming when putting her down at night though and I'm not sure what that is about. We've always been able to put her to bed awake and then we can hear her on the monitor playing and cooing for a while before going to sleep. Now she screams as soon as we put her down and cries and screams on and off for about an hour. We've gone up to change her, burp her, rock her and even tried feeding her a little more and nothing seems to work until she tires herself out. I blame the teething thing. Last night was a little better and she fussed for a few minutes and then fell asleep. Hopefully that was just a short phase.

Melana continues to be our joy and we are so thankful and blessed to have her. We are still waiting for the adoption to be final. After speaking with our attorney this week, it looks like it might still be closer to the end of the year. I'm praying for before Christmas, but I guess it doesn't matter when as long as it's done. She is our beautiful angel or, as Darian likes to call her, our "Melana cookie". (for anyone who knows him, you know how much he likes cookies) :)

I took her monthly pic posing with her teddy bear that my dad bought her in the hospital. I take her pic every month with the bear so we can see how much she has grown in comparison to the bear. I love that smile!!! I think I need to enter her in a beautiful baby contest.

If that wasn't proof enough, check out this sweetie pie...

Look at those blueberry eyes! She's so sweet! Darian, of course, hates the bow. Mom and I found cute little bands and a cute hat and flowers to put on them at Hobby Lobby and when we got to the car and showed Darian and Dad, they both rolled their eyes in disgust. I think it's a guy thing.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

We have a rolling baby, people!!

That's right, she's a roller!! On Thursday night during her tummy time, Melana decided it was time to roll for the first time. I was videotaping just in case and was lucky enough to catch her.

Unfortunately, Darian was outside and did not see it, but the neighbors probably all heard about it when I ran out to find him, screaming in excitement. :)
The teething continues and we have found a new friend in teething tablets. They dissolve under the tongue and seem to soothe her gnawing pretty quick. Her poor fingers are almost pruny from the saliva bath they've been soaking in inside her mouth. Yesterday I found heard her fussing while she was laying down to nap and found her in a struggle with her hands. She was trying to get her left hand thumb in her mouth to suck on at the same time her right hand was trying to get it's fingers in so she could chew on them. Each hand kept swatting the other away as they each tried to take a turn. She kept going back and forth and was getting so frustrated. I know I'm terrible for laughing at her frustration, but it was extremely comical.
Other firsts of this week: Last night she attended her first bonfire and today she went with my mom and I on her first trip to me and grandma's favorite store. Hobby Lobby! I'm sure she will be as frequent a customer as we are. :) She got to visit a little with Grandma and Grandpa I. today. During their visit they said how she has changed even from last weekend. I don't really notice other than her little legs seem to be getting chubbier and of course the extra chin she seems to have added.
Here she is with the hat grandma bought her at Hobby Lobby. Such a darling!
this one is for Auntie Rachael :)

Her feedings have become a little more regular now, so I'm hoping we're on a schedule again. Now she is eating every four hours instead of three and she is taking less frequent but longer naps during the day. Right now she is in the swing, since she didn't seem to want to go to sleep tonight, and we are listening to We love their lullaby selection and it seems to have done the trick as eyes are now closed and she is looking oh so peaceful.
She is just so stinkin' cute and oh-so-sweet. We praise God for her everyday and wonder what we did to be so blessed with such a sweetie. She is truly a blessing to us!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Melana is Three Months Old!!

Oh what a week this has been!!
For starters we still have not found a permanent baby sitter for Melana which leaves me still frustrated and teetering on the brink insanity. Argh!! Secondly, Melana turned three months old and has started teething. Good times in the Miller household....
On the 24th, Melana turned three months! It seems like time has flown by. I can't believe my baby is growing so fast. She gets bigger every day it seems and her long little body is filling out and her little face is getting rounder with chubbier cheeks. She is so stinkin' cute! :) She is going to roll over any day now. Every day I put her on her tummy for tummy play time and she rolls over about 3/4 of the way. I stopped putting her on her tummy during the day 'cause I was afraid she would roll over and Darian would miss it. So now, when he comes home, we put her on her tummy and watch, video camera on. If she could just get that one leg over.....

She had a busy weekend too. On Friday night we drove to my parents' house and stayed so Darian could get up early to go work for his dad again. She spent all day Saturday with Grandma and Grandpa while I caught up on some much needed sleep. (sleep is always much needed to a night shift worker). She gets so tickled when people talk to her, especially granny and grandpa, who enjoy it as much or more than she does. She laughed so much and was really cooing and talking up a storm. We couldn't believe how much she was trying to talk to us! She also had fun jumping up and down on Grandma's lap. Granny thinks she is ready for her Johnny Jump up. I'm not sure she is old enough, but we are planning to get her an exersaucer this week and we'll see how she does with that. On Saturday night we bundled her up and took her the fair again. She was so cute in her hat and in all her blankets.

She hadn't napped well throughout the day and once in the stroller she slept for nearly four hours straight. I was worried that she wouldn't sleep last night because she had slept so long and hadn't been eating much yesterday but the little doll still slept all night. She woke us up this morning with two sneezes followed by a loud burst of gas and a giggle. She cracks us up. While at the fair, we ran into Darian's cousin Abby and her family. I was telling Abby how Melana's feedings and naps had been off for the last couple days and how she was really sucking on her fingers and how my mom thought maybe she was teething. Just then Melana started crying and Abby looked down and pointed out two little buds inside Melana's mouth. Sure enough, there they were. Two little white bumps trying to push their way through the gums. My poor baby! Here she's been teething and I had no idea. No wonder she's been acting funny. At least she's still been in a good mood.... Well, that was until today. We drove home this morning from MI and headed to Darian's Aunt Martha's house in Hicksville, OH this afternoon for a visit. Darian's second cousin Nick, wife Jen and their boys Christian and Caleb joined us for pizza and a fun visit. Well, it was fun in between Melana's screaming fits followed by twenty minute naps followed by more screaming. Wow, that girl can scream! I felt so bad. It was the first time for them all to see her and here she was acting totally opposite of her usually sweet self. I've put teething rings in the fridge for tomorrow and broken out the Oragel. Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day.

On a happier note, we are loving this fall weather! Open house windows, golden colors of the fields against the periwinkle sky and the crisp air. I don't know what it is about fall that makes me want to bake, but I'm planning a trip this week sometime to an orchard just north of here. I got a great Apple Cream Pie recipe from Darian's Aunt Martha tonight that I just cannot wait to try out. And of course, I have to make my favorite, Apple Crisp. I also want to get some applesauce made and canned and maybe some pear sauce as well. I'm looking forward to picking up some pumpkins for the front porch and maybe a few materials to make a new harvest wreath. Here's a pic of a pie I made earlier this week. It's a Chicken pot pie! It was awesome. Not as good as Apple Cream, but so good just the same. My secret? Why, Pillsbury Pie Crust of course!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

As I previously posted, we interviewed the day care provider on Saturday and when I called tonight to see when she could start, she told me that she gave away the position on Sunday. Seriously??!!!! This is so very frustrating. I'd like to say that this is a sign from God that I should stay home, but I'm afraid the bills on the counter would beg to differ. So it's back to square one.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crabby Baby and Cotton Candy

As I write this, I'm sitting next to a sleeping baby in the swing who has been fighting sleep for about an hour. I don't know what her problem is, but the swing is the solution. We usually are able to just lay her down at night while she is still awake and she goes to sleep. Well, tonight she was having none of that. We tried rocking and pacing and even a pacifier, which she never takes, but she just kept fighting. After about the third time I tried to put her down and she started screaming, I decided to try the swing and Presto! it worked.
Her schedule has been really off these last couple of weeks and I don't know what is going on. She doesn't eat as much or as often as she used to then other times she does more. Her naps are sporadic, and she fights me sometimes while she is eating. She'll arch her back and scream almost like she's throwing a fit. I'm definitely seeing more of her personality. haha. So, what is going on? Not sure. So we keep trying to be flexible, but also keep the balance of a routine.
Developmentally, she is making leaps and bounds. We were positive she was going to roll over tonight. A few times throughout the day I kept the video camera on just waiting, not wanting Darian to miss seeing her big moment, but she didn't deliver. Tonight Darian tried to cheat by pushing her leg over, but I told him that it didn't count. :) She has finally loosened up her hands and instead of keeping them in a fist all the time she holds them open out in front of her face and looks at them or grasp things like her burp cloth or my shirt with them. Today I gave her a link toy to play with and she had a blast just touching it and trying to put it into her mouth. She has also found her thumb. When she is trying to go to sleep or soothe herself in the carseat she sucks her thumb with the rest of her hand over her face. It's so cute!!! She is still smiley as ever, especially in the morning or whenever someone is talking to her. She loves to be talked to!

This weekend we were finally able to interview a daycare provider. We both felt pretty confident that Melana will be safe and well taken care of with this lady. I have to call her tomorrow to tell her we decided to go with her and see when she can start. It's been really stressful trying to find sitters for two days a week and we're glad to finally have someone steady.
On Saturday, Melana and I went to Michigan for a wedding and then afterwards she got to spend some time with G-ma and G-pa Ives. After the first wedding, I drove, like a crazy person, back to FW for another wedding and Darian did some work for his dad. Sunday afternoon we drove back up to MI for the start of the St. Joseph County fair opening. It's a tradition back home and we wouldn't miss it. We were especially excited to take Melana to her first fair and to show her off. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see a lot of old friends, but we saw a few and ate enough to keep our cholesterol up for weeks. Ha! We also met up with our good friends Adrian and Kristie and little, er, I mean, big Gavin there. They had been in MI for a family wedding and, of course, couldn't leave without seeing us and going to the fair. They came home with us last night and stayed here only to get up and leave to drive home to Philly early this morning. :( We love their visits even if they are never long enough.

Melana's first fair!!

Tonight Darian and I are both sick with some sort of head cold/sinus junk so we just vegged. This was Darian and Melana chillin' and watching TV after dinner. She loves her daddy. We are hoping she does not get sick. It's hard to keep from kissing that cutie little face!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

We've been so busy with me being back to work and desperately searching for a sitter etc., that I haven't even had time to update the events of last few weeks. It may not be of interest to any of my readers, but I'm using this blog of sort of a journal of Melana's developement. I'm hoping I can print it later for her to read and keep.

She is actually 11 weeks now as of yesterday. She is getting so big! I swear she changes everyday. At ten weeks, she had found her hands. She was putting her fists in front of her face and just staring with wide eyes at them. I imagined her thinking "what are these? and where did they come from?" And you could see her trying to intentionally move them but she's not quite coordinated enough to flex her elbow and move her arm at the same time, at least not when she's trying to concentrate. It's funny. Her whole arm just waves around in the arm and then her eyes fly wide open and she gets startled all over again. She cracks us up. She is so much fun to just sit and watch. She has also been drooling a lot. I don't know why or what that means, but I'm just praying it doesn't mean teething already. Poor thing already has chapped cheeks from the drool. She is also "talking" more. She coos and make "ahh" and "aye" noises that I swear is her saying "hi". Darian thinks I'm crazy. :) She is still all smiles in the morning and when you talk to her, but now she has started actually laughing. Not every time she tries, often it's a silent mouth open wide laugh, but she is trying so hard. It makes us laugh every time and I think she likes the response she gets. :) Her smiles always start on one side of her face and then it's like that side of her face pulls the rest of her face and head with it and she turns to that side until the other side catches up and she just grins wide. I call it the "drunken sailor smile". Too cute.

She is almost completely in 3 month clothing now, mostly because her legs are sooo long. She is one tall girl. She doesn't want to snuggle as much either, but wants to look out at the world. Instead of snuggling on my shoulder now she likes to sit on my lap and look out and watch the dogs, out the window or at the TV. She's like her mama. :) She is addicted to her Baby Mozart DVD. We only play it maybe once a day, but she is glued to it the entire time and kicks her little legs in excitement. She even knows when she is at the end. She starts fussing right before the credits roll. We also enjoy reading time and we especially enjoy Dr. Suess' "Mr Brown Can Moo Can You?" and "Goodnight Moon".

She's so fun. Oh the changes and joy of a growing baby. We're loving every minute of it, but both agree it's going by way too fast!!!

She's SO beautiful!

In sitter news, we finally got some leads and were actually going to meet with a lady today that a fellow nurse recommended. She had used this lady for her kids and so had one of the docs that I work with. Unfortunately, I got called in at 3 am this morning and worked on call till 4 pm so we had to cancel. Hoping to reschedule for later this week. I still don't like the idea of leaving her with someone, but it's only two days a week while I sleep, so I guess it could be worse. Our niece, Emilee, was here for two days watching her last week and this week one of Darian's co-workers' wife watched her yesterday and my mother in law came down last night and stayed to watch her while I slept today. I'm so thankful for the help and so glad she got some good grandma time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Welcome To the World, Juliette!

In other fabulous news, I just received pics from my sister of my newest niece born today. My brother Jason and his wife Rachael along with my nieces Jordyn, 7 and Jenna, 3, welcomed Juliette Alexandra born today via c-section. And good thing too, seeing as how she weighed a whopping 9, count em NINE pounds and 6 ounces. For anyone that's a big baby, but my sister in law is barely five foot tall and is probably a size zero when not pregnant so I can't imagine how that little chubster fit in there! Wish I was there to kiss those chubby cheeks! Luckily my sister was able to go to my brother's house for a few days to help with my older nieces while Rachael is in the hospital. Needless to say, I'm jealous!! Can't wait to see her cutie face. Maybe at Christmas....

Back To Work

Well I survived my first week back at work. I worked twelve hours Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Many of my coworkers have been telling me how quiet it's been on the unit for the last month or so and how nice it's been. I told Darian and my friend/co-worker Jill to just wait till I get back. There is a reason I have the nickname, (for the sake of maintaining my "G" rating) "Crap Magnet". Oh yes, it seems if the you-know-what is gonna hit the fan, it's gonna be on my shift. So I was already having anxiety about leaving Melana to go back to work, and to make matters worse she would not nap, which of course meant, neither did I. :( Well, the evening started out just fine and it felt nice to be slowly easing back into my routine. I had a wonderful patient and was enjoying the calmness of the evening. And THEN, at break time no less, we had a patient come in and ended up scrambling to deal with an emergent situation. The three nurses that were on labor ended up being five after we had to call in the reinforcements. While I was glad for the distraction of not having to think of Melana (all tucked away in her bassinet without Mama nearby to check on her), I did resent the fact that my coworkers asked me to take a permanent leave of absence. Just kidding! :) Last night was a much quieter and pleasant night so I guess I'll return next week.... A big thanks to Emilee who watched Melana while I slept both days and even stayed overnight with her last night as Darian was in Indy on business. Talk about a nervous mama. lol

Grandpa update- seems my grandpa did not have a stroke but instead got a Staph infection in the shunt used for his dialysis, which led to encephalitis (infection in the brain). Last I heard he is doing as well as can be expected and was responsive and knew my dad and aunt. Whew. He still has quite a road ahead of him. The dialysis is really taking it's toll on his body, especially his heart, and the doctors aren't sure how much longer his body will take such rigorous treatments. Only time will tell.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Family Health Segment.... and now here's Healthy Mc Healtherson

Melana had her two month check up today and was found to be perfectly healthy. She even shared several smiles with the Dr. and nurses. She is now officially 11 pounds 8 ounces and 25 inches long!! Completely off the charts for height and in the 50th percentile for weight and head circumference. I even was able to make it out of there with only a small lecture from the doctor after I refused the scheduled vaccinations. I told her I wasn't comfortable consenting to the 3 shots and one oral vaccines that are given at two months until I have done more research. She gave me several pamphlets and told me to go to the CDC website. "It's the only website you should go to". I laughed and told her "yeah, cause I'm gonna trust the government". Funny, I don't think she thought I was serious. Ha!

We are waiting for news on my grandpa. My dad and aunt headed to Florida last night after receiving news that he had suffered some sort of stroke or something on Saturday night. He has been getting dialysis three times a week and his body is just giving out, I think. Now they don't know if he has had stroke or has some sort of infection that went to his brain. We are awaiting results of several tests. We will hopefully know more after they are able to speak to the doctor. At least he is conscious and knows who they are, even though he doesn't remember how he got there. We hope to have more answers tomorrow, so we'll keep praying.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

Today was a long, boring day. Darian was working up in MI and didn't get home till after 6pm. As soon as he was showered, I handed Melana over to him for her feeding and headed up to take my own shower. I don't think I've had a shower, where I wasn't listening for her cry or fussing, since she's been born. It was good to just soak in the hot water and relax. Afterwards I headed downstairs to see what Darian had planned for the evening. We're short on funds right now so I knew we couldn't "go out", but I thought maybe he would've thought up something creative, especially since my birthday was yesterday. No such luck. So we discussed it and decided to go to Barnes and Noble for a bit and then walk around the outdoor mall where B&N is located and maybe even splurge on some ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. BUT..... Then we looked at the clock. Oops! It was already almost 8pm and that meant that Little Miss Cutie Pie was going to be eating again soon and going to bed. Big reality check! LOL. So our big, er, not so big weekend plans became even smaller and ended up being leftovers and an Everybody Loves Raymond marathon. Ah, good times.

Life wasn't all that exciting before Melana and it's gotten so much better since then, that I wouldn't trade it for everything, however, it would've been nice to get out of the house. Ah well.
I think I'm just ready for some adult interaction. Unfortunately, even before Melana was born my social life consisted of co-workers and our Bible study group who only meets every two weeks. Other than that, I don't ever see or talk to anyone except my mother, of course. I'm not a huge social bug and it's always been hard for me to make friends because I can be so shy. I know, totally unbelievable you say! But it's true. I hate crowds, I don't like new people and I have a pretty good case of social anxiety. Also, where do you find friends as an adult? It's not like when you're babies and your parents choose them for you, or when you're a kid and they are your schoolmates. It's a lot harder as an adult. My only close friends are those from my childhood or from high school or as in the case of my friend Kristie, from our jobs right after high school. Now one lives in Michigan, one lives in China, and one lives in Philly. Not very convenient when you need a shoulder to cry, a place to hang out or someone to bounce ideas off of. Sigh. I miss these girls. I feel at home with them. I'm comfortable, I can be myself and share my ideas and views without fear of judgment. Besides, I know they like me as well. I think. Well, they must if they've been my friends for this long! :) How I long to have them all living around me (or in the same country at least!). How I wish I could drive over to see them and pour myself a glass of iced tea and settle in for a nice long chat about old times or sit around doing crafts and scheming up new ideas. I guess maybe this is what they call growing up? If it is, I gotta say I'm not a fan.

Melana is Nine Weeks!!

I'm a little late in posting, so Melana is nine weeks and two days, but we snapped some cute pics this morning that I thought I'd share. Right now she is doing one of her favorite activities and that is swinging in her swing watching the fishies on her mobile. So cute. Every day she smiles more and more. She now likes to lay on the floor under her floor gym and play. She lays under there and kicks every time she hits the little octopus mirror and sea horse rattle. For some reason many of our baby items seem to be ocean/fish related. :)
I bought her Baby Einstein's Baby Mozart video and put her in her bouncy seat in front of the TV. That's right, I'm that awesome of a parent. :) I didn't know if she would be interested or even if she would be able to see it as the recommended age is 3+ months, but I got it anyway and and she LOVES it! She kicks and waves her little arms around and smiles and coos. Her big blue eyes got even bigger and she was staring at the TV. When the music hits a crescendo she gets really excited. We had a blast just watching her.

This past week has been great, sleep wise. She has been going to bed around 8:30-9:30pm and sleeping until 5am when Darian gets up for work. He feeds her before leaving then she usually goes back to sleep until 8-9am. It's awesome!! She has been a little fussy the last 3-4 days though, and seems to want to be held and snuggled. She's also been a little red around the eyes, so I was wondering if she was getting sick, but today she seems better. Her naps during the day seem to be getting shorter, except for her late afternoon one, but I don't mind since she is sleeping so great at night. She goes for her 2 month check up on Monday but when I was at work the other day for a meeting I took her with me so and weighed her on the baby scale. She was 11 lbs. 11 oz. and 24 inches long. Yep, she's a porky!! I'm still doing some research on which vaccines we do and don't want her to get. I'm hoping the doctor will respect our wishes and not give me too much trouble and the whole lecture that I'm sure she has stored away for such fanatics like ourselves. LOL.
In other news, I was supposed to start back to work this week, but was canceled both nights so I was able to get a little more snuggle time with my sweet Melana. Yesterday was my birthday but we didn't do anything special. After 30 does it really matter? lol I spent the day cleaning and cooking as it was our turn to host our Bible study group last night. It was fun to hang out with our great friends and their families.
We also had a court date this week in regards to the adoption. Everything went well, Melana's biological parents terminated their parental rights. So now we are just waiting on more paperwork to go between the two states and hopefully they will set another court date soon to make the adoption final. I'm hoping by Christmas or at least by New Years. I can't wait till she is fully and legally ours, but a nice tax exemption would be nice as well. LOL Just kidding we are just excited to make her "official".
We are also getting excited to hear the news of our new niece who is expected to make her arrival this week. My brother Jason and his wife, Rachael are having their third girl by c-section on Thursday. She will be joining our other two beautiful and sweet nieces, Jordyn, 7 and Jenna, 3. Wish we could be in Texas to greet her, but are still excited to hear the news.
I snapped a couple of pics of Melana to mark her two months. The first one is with a teddy bear that my dad bought her at the hospital when she was born. We had professional pics taken of her at 12 days old and have one of her and the teddy. The photographer suggested that we should take a pic of her and the teddy every month till she is a year just to see how big she is getting compared to the bear. It's an awesome concept, but I forgot to do it at her first month so I hope to starting now. ( if I remember)

I can't believe how big her grin is!

I like this one too and I'm going to try to keep up with the monthly pics. Can I also just say I LOVE this blanket? Thanks to Darian's Aunt Alma and Angie and Carla!

PS- I just wanted to give an update on the homemade cleaning solutions. I was able to make some dusting solution out of 1 cup of water and 1 TBS of fabric softner. I mixed it in a spray bottle and used it yesterday and it worked great!! Plus, my house smelled like lavender. I have to say it really left the surfaces shiny and clean looking and not at all greasy. I'm a fan.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Going Green and Saving Green

Since Melana has come along I've been very conscious of all the chemicals we use in and around the house. The week before last we started getting ants again. Well, instead of running right for the bug spray, I insisted that Darian wait until we were leaving for the weekend and to do it right before we left the house with windows cracked. Who knows if it saved us any unwanted chemical exposure, but at least it made me feel better. Now I'm not going to rant and rave about the harmful ingredients of cleaning solutions or household cleaners and I'm not going to get on a soapbox about how they are bad for the environment, because frankly I don't have the time or the facts. I am, however going to share my new plan for keeping our house a little safer from harmful chemicals and saving a little money along the way.
I've been reading up on recipes for making my own cleaners and have found quite a few ideas. It actually seems to come down to a few household products.

Baking soda, water and vinegar seem to be the mainstays in every recipe I've found. Other ingredients recommended are Borax, liquid castile soap such as Dr. Bronners, lemon juice, amonia and rubbing alcohol. One tip I found is using microfiber cloths for dusting and cleaning. I already use Swifter cloths to dust followed by dusting spray on a cloth. I'm going to try to find some microfiber cloths online or keep using my new favorite cleaning tool, the plain white cloth diaper/burp cloths. LOVE them. I'm pretty sure I'll be using these babies well after we have any burpable kids in this house. I found a tip that says to use 1 TBS liquid fabric softner diluted in water as a dusting solution that is even safe for the TV and doesn't leave streaks. I'm excited to use this idea and since I am expecting a houseful of guests for our Bible study group tonight, I will get to find out if it works. I'll let you know.
Here are a couple of websites I've used to do my research and get ideas.

Another thing I'm trying to do around here is continue to get organized. This is a feat I've been undertaking since we moved in and continue to improve on especially since sweet baby girl has arrived. I love my home and have worked endlessly to make it a stylish, homey retreat. While it is still a work in progress (as we continue to paint etc), I am very conscious to keep this a place where people of all ages are welcome to come in, relax and refresh and not a place that looks like it's been taken over by the baby. :) I don't want my living room looking like a day care center. And while the swing has it's own little corner in the living room and the bouncy seat has found a place in the dining room, the rest of baby's things are tucked away in cute little baskets until they are needed. Can I just say I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the $1 aisle in Target?! I have found cute little colored baskets there for Melana's closet and for her little toys and blankets. I even am using one as a bath caddy on the counter as we are still using the kitchen sink to place her bathtub for bath time.

So that's a few of the projects I'm working on right now. Next on my list: I want to print up all my household cleaning recipes and tip along with my food recipes and place them in binders after they are laminated. Yes, I really am this anal retentive, uh, organized.

Anyone else have any helpful household hints to share? Please leave a comment.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Family and Feminists

We just got home from a busy weekend spent with our family in Plain City, Ohio. My mother-in-law is one of ten children and all but one live in Ohio. She decided to throw us a baby shower/meet Melana party for our family there. Darian, Wilma (my mom in law), Melana and I headed to Plain City on Friday night. We arrived late and stayed with Aunt Alma and Uncle Sherm. Thanks guys! Early Saturday we headed to Aunt Susan and Uncle Jim's house and were treated like royalty to a scrumptious breakfast with Susan, Jim, Alma and cousin Andreas. Then we headed over to a cabin that Wilma had rented for us to stay at and to host the baby shower. The place was way back in the woods and was a beautiful setting for our family get together. Darian's sister Sheryl and our niece Emilee and his brother Loren and his wife Trudy and their kids Taylor and Robbie arrived to share the cabin with us. A few hours later, aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins started to arrive to meet Melana and share a great night of visiting, food and gift giving.
Darian and I were so excited just to see the family and catch up with everyone so the wonderful gifts they brought for Melana was just icing on the cake. We are so blessed to have such a large and wonderful family. We had a little over 70 people there to celebrate. Two of those people are just shy of two weeks younger than Melana, and were born to Darian's cousin Rod and wife Liz.

Here is a pic of Melana between twins Iain and Brendan. So cute!!!

and here Melana is showing off her self defense moves, apparently. Too funny.

We got home this evening and went right to work putting things away and getting our house in order. I hate to start the week with a messy house! Besides, we are also interviewing a nanny/housekeeper tomorrow so I really want to impress her with my mad cleaning skills. Ha! Just kidding. I am a bit nervous about this interview though as I've never interviewed help before and I want to be sure that Melana is left in the best of care. I'm supposed to be returning to work on Wednesday night and am already having anxiety about it. I don't want to leave her!! No one can care and love her like her mama, I'm sure, and I don't want her to think I'm abandoning her. :( I really resent the feminist movement right now. They didn't do us any favors by demanding a equal place in the work place. What was wrong with staying home? If their fight was truly about women's rights and choice why don't I have a choice right now? Maybe someday. Can't I just be a 1950s stay at home wife living with modern conveniences? Picture Doris Day in a minivan. Sweet!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Melana is Eight Weeks!!

First things first, I want to wish my brother, Jason, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today! Love you!

My sweet doll is eight weeks old today. She is developing more and more of a steady schedule and showing bits of her personality. She is definitely a morning girl and is quick to smile when you get her out of her crib, well as long as you have her bottle on hand, that is. :)
She is now smiling, cooing, and waving her little fists around trying to touch her toys and the dogs and my face. She loves to lay on her blankie on the ottoman and play with her favorite toys.

Yesterday Junie was standing over the ottoman trying to get my attention (of course) and Melana reached up and grabbed a chunk of Junie's fur and wouldn't let go. She just kept looking up at June with wide eyes and then started smiling. Her little grip is too weak and small for June to notice, but she was loving it and we thought it was hilarious.
We try to introduce different fabrics and textures to her and different sounds and sights. We are trying to stimulate and encourage the developmental skills that are expected of a baby her age and more. I never thought about this part of parenting when I was growing up. Then I became a nanny of twin boys when I was in college. Their mother was a psychologist and we did a lot of purposeful and developmental play. I learned so much from her. (Thanks Sue!) Since then I've been determined to be that kind of parent. Not pushing my babies/kids beyond their years or never allowing fun, but parenting them with the purpose of helping them to reach their highest potential.

In other news. Well, there really isn't any other news. It's been a pretty boring week here. Darian was out of town on Wednesday and Thursday for a farm show in Illinois. Melana and I hung out with the puppies and did really not much of anything. Tomorrow is pay day though, so look out. LOL. Gas, groceries and diaper shopping are on the oh so exciting list. :) And speaking of diapers, Melana finally fits her cute cloth ones from Fuzzi Bunz . They are a bit bulkier than the disposable but she seems comfortable. We will still use disposable when traveling etc., but are trying to stay a little green and save money by using these cute cloths. And now speaking of traveling, we are excited to be going to visit Darian's mother's family in Plain City, Ohio for the weekend. My oh so sweet Mother in law is throwing a baby shower for us out there and we can't wait to visit with and introduce Melana to the Hostetler family. Love them!!

Here a couple pics of Junie and Melana getting close during floor play time. I'm still picking dog hair off Melana's shirt. LOL

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Parties Continue For The Millers

Another busy weekend is over for the Miller family. We left Friday night and headed to MI to my parent's house where my sister Michele and her new husband Paul had just arrived for a visit on the last leg of their honeymoon. They've been to Jamaica and New York and were ending their trip at home because Michele's best friend Courtney got married on Saturday. Mom and Dad, Darian and I stayed busy Saturday and Sunday morning preparing for the hometown wedding reception that we held at my parent's house on Sunday evening for Michele and Paul.

We set up a large white tent with round tables and white linens with sunflower centerpieces and we used my grandmother's white milk glass serving ware. It was a beautiful setting and a beautiful, although windy, day on the lake. We had lots of food, WAY too many cupcakes (someone misjudged the count and I made three times as many as were needed), lots of visiting with friends and family and of course lots of loving on Melana. She was passed from grandma to grandma to aunts to friends and slept through it all. She looked so cute in her little sundress and bonnet and was the belle of the ball, well except the bride and groom. To me though, she is always the belle of the ball. :)

Melana snuggling with my Aunt Karen who she met for the first time.

Melana with Auntie Michele who wanted to smuggle her home in her suitcase. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Melana is Seven Weeks!!

Miss Melana is SEVEN weeks today!

Isn't she stunning in her first pair of blue jeans? So sweet. She is getting so big everyday. I'm sure she's over 10 pounds now. I've even had to tearfully put away two newborn outfits that she can't fit into anymore. I'm sure there is more, but I'm not ready to try them on to find out.
Development wise she is looking around, following faces and toys with her face and eyes and SMILING!! She
started to give half a smile about two weeks ago so we started acting like idiots to get her to smile more. Picture two grown people standing over you making noises and sticking their tongues in and out trying to get just a hint of a smile and then going berserk when you do. Poor thing probably thinks she's in the nut house! She is now smiling when she wants to, like when you pick her up. She did it first to Darian on Sunday when he got her up to feed her. She just gave him a big ole toothless grin. It's the cutest thing ever. And if any of you other moms out there are reading this, you are wrong, MY baby is the cutest!! :) In other news she is lifting her head very well and even looks around during tummy time.

I'm telling you she is so smart!! The cure for cancer is on the way folks!! :)

In other news, I'm loving the look of my clothesline this year. All that pink!! Makes me happy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wanted: Good Friend, must love Chocolate, Coffee and Me!

Today I was able to have lunch with my friend Gina at Carlos O'Kelley's. Gina and I work together and I miss seeing her a couple times a week. I've enjoyed my time off with my sweet Melana and am not looking forward to going back to work, but being off has made me realize, more than ever, how lonely I really am. Since my best friend, Kristie, moved away, I have yet to find a very close friend. You know, the kind who just stops over for a cup of coffee or whatever at anytime and helps themselves 'cause they know you don't mind. Or the one who you know you can call anytime to cry or laugh with. I still do that with Kristie, but it's not the same when I can't just run over to her house with chocolate and we can drown our sorrows together. It may be healthier on the waist line, but not on the heart.
I'm very glad we left MI and settled in Fort Wayne, but sometimes I crave the more familiar. I miss the fact that friends could stop in any minute or call you up to go garage saleing or for ice cream. I miss the feeling of having a past with someone. Someone who knows you and your family and with whom you can share memories of years past. Someone who knew me before I was Mrs. Miller.
Most of the people who I am closest to here in town are coworkers and that's because that's the only people I spend most of my time with outside of Darian. I also have good friends in our Bible study group, but most have families of their own and are busy so I hate to bother them. I love my co workers and church friends and enjoy my time with them, but I know they have lives of their own and don't want me stalking them all the time.
So how do you ask someone to be your friend? How do you find a friend? I'm not an overly outgoing person, at least not until I get to know someone. I also suffer from a pretty moderate case of social anxiety, so I'm not likely to walk up to someone and ask them to hang out with me. I guess I need to find a place to make friends. But how? Maybe I need to find an adoption group or a craft group or a mommy and me group or a I-miss-my-bff-who-moved-away group. Maybe the yellow pages.....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Texas Wedding

Last weekend we went to Austin, Texas for my sister Michele's wedding. We left Friday morning early to drive to Midway airport in Chicago accompanied by my dad, my niece Emilee aka "the nanny", and our friends Tracey and Courtney along with Tracey's two nieces. Melana did awesome and slept the whole flights there and back. Amazing baby! When we landed we were greeted by my sister Michele aka "the bride" and my mom who had flown down the week before. It was Melana's first time meeting her Aunt Michele.

We quickly headed for the hotel to change and then to the rehearsal at the wedding site. This place is AMAZING!! It was so beautiful and a great setting for a wedding.

We then hurried to the rehearsal dinner at a country club with an amazing view. We had a great dinner, were able to catch up a little with Michele and her fiance Paul and meet his family and then were treated to the best cupcakes I've ever had made by a friend. They were Red Velvet Chocolate Chip cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting. Honestly, my diet has been blown and the workouts lacking since Melana was born, but that night I really didn't care. I'm pretty sure those little cupcakes are what heaven is made of. :) But I digress....

After the rehearsal dinner we all headed back to the hotel to change for our girl's night out for Michele's bachelorette party at a place called Rebels in downtown Austin. Michele, Tracey, Courtney and I were joined by our cousin Christy, another bridesmaid and Michele's old friends Jill and Stephanie who traveled from AZ and South Bend for the wedding. The dress was western, the music was country and the bull was bucking. That's right I said bull. I wanted to ride the mechanical bull so bad but Darian and my mom made me promise that I wouldn't ride. What?! It's not like I'm accident prone or anything.... Tracey and Michele braved the bull though and we all had a good time watching them and cheering them on. We also checked out the insane night life down on Austin's 6th St. Crazy!

Saturday we all slept in and then headed to a big western wear store while my parents and Michele had lunch with Paul and his parents. I finally found the cowboy boots I've been wanting at Cavender's. Yeehaw! Just wished I would've had those the night before. We headed back to the hotel when we heard that my brother Jason and his two girls Jordyn, 7 and Jenna, 3 had arrived from their home NW of Austin. It was so good to see them!! Later that night we joined other family and friends from out of town for a great BBQ dinner at the famous Saltlick. It was a great time and great dinner had by all and we almost had to be rolled out of there by the staff.

Sunday morning dawned and we headed to the ranch right away to help with some setup and then to the Spa for hair and makeup. Then back to the ranch to ready for the big moment.
The old church was decorated with burlap pew covers with sepia colored pics of Paul, Michele or both on them. An old rustic wooden cross was fastened over the alter and the initial "P" and "M" were fastened out of twigs and hung on the front door of the chapel.

The candles were glowing in the reception hall with beautiful flowers on the tables and personalized booklets at each seat telling Michele and Paul's story and explaining how family and Taiwanese traditions had been incorporated into the wedding.

Instead of cake, we dined on an amazing ice cream sundae bar and instead of alcohol we sipped Izze sparkling sodas with our toasts. Which there were many of. It was all beautiful and personal. Later, we slipped into our cowboy boots and boot scooted boogie on the porch of the reception hall followed by a rousing rendition of "Strawberry Wine" sung by Courtney and I to Michele. Years ago us three girls had recorded that song in a karaoke booth at Cedar Point. They gave a copy of the recording and it brought years of laughter and tears as we'd listen to how bad it was. Good times... Michele and Tracey quickly joined us in our embarrassing show of love for Michele.

After a fun filled day and night the newlyweds departed, by the light of sparklers and glow sticks, into the Texas night in a 1972 Texas orange Chevelle that Michele had booked as a surprise to Paul.

They are a beautiful couple and I wish them the best of God's blessings. Love you guys!!
Here are a few favorite pics from the weekend.

Darian, Melana and I at rehearsal dinner

Darian, Melana and my nieces Jordyn and Jenna

Michele, Courtney, Christy and I

My Family