Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in Idaho & El Paso

We were fortunate enough to see our families for Christmas this year. Before we left for Idaho, El Paso received some snow flurries for a few hours, but nothing stuck. Drew freaked with excitement and shrieked, "Is it Christmas, Mom?" The snowflakes are difficult to see, but they're there.

Compare that to our Christmas in Idaho!

The snow level was incredible. One day we couldn't even drive into the driveway, but I was happy my kids got their wish of a white Christmas.

Before we left for Idaho, we enjoyed our own Christmas. It was so fun to see the kids race down the stairs and run into the family room. Since they're older this year, they understood the holiday more and awaited everything with greater anticipation. The highlight was probably the new basketball hoop--an added bonus for Ryan because he had just as much fun as the boys (now I understand why he pushed for it). After lots of goodies and playing, the boys settled down and Ryan read them the books they received. Nothing beats those episodes of family time and togethernes. They are just invaluable to me, and I treasure those moments. The kids eventually migrated upstairs to play and Ryan fell asleep on the couch with the baby.

Running downstairs and opening stockings.

Score! Books and construction equipment.

Shooting hoops... nice follow-through, Matt!

Relaxing with Dad.

Then it was off to Idaho to see family. One highlight was the nativity and gingerbread house display at the Museum of Idaho. Upstairs was a hands-on area for kids where they dressed up in mountain-man garb, explored the wilderness and rode on "horses."

Before we knew it, Christmas Day had arrived. Can you believe their gigantic tree? You wouldn't know it from the pictures, but we were wrought with sickness (what trip would be complete w/o hardship?) One night Ryan and I cleaned up Matt & stripped his bed three times because he kept vomiting. Drew did his part by throwing up and having severe diarrhea along with Matt all the way home--33 hours on the road! It took what felt like forever to clean the car, luggage (spewed on), car seats (also soaked with biohazards), not to mention the mountains of laundry, all while attending sick kids, fussy baby, and new and exciting piles of vomit and diarrhea in the house (lovely).

Christmas Eve in front of the tree.

Opening presents... too much fun!

What a big day!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Brady is 2 Months Old

Time is already flying too fast.
He's getting close to smiling.
I could snuggle and kiss him all day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


While we were leaving the play area at the mall the other day, we spotted Santa in the Food Court sitting at a table. Kids were coming up to him and sitting on his lap, so we ventured over to see him. Drew was giddy and excited to talk to Santa. Matt, on the other hand, protested immediately and stubbornly refused to take part in the fun. After Drew took his turn, I tried yet again to convince Matt this was a fun thing, and that he should thank his lucky stars for a mom who shows him such a good time, darn it... j/k. But he just kept screaming, "I'm too scared! I'm too scared!" Apparently, Santa is only jolly when encased in a protective barrier; i.e. cardboard cutout, billboard, ornament, or TV screen. As a last resort, I tried aiming my camera at an angle that included both Matt and Santa to have some semblance of a photo op. And in the future if he ever accuses me of leaving him out of the photo, I can show him what my best efforts yielded--a scowling Matt at a good distance from his new enemy. Ironically, now he asks to see Santa every day. By the way, is this not the best mall-Santa you've ever seen?

Drew sharing his age... Posing happily...
Then there's Matt, "I refuse to give you the satisfaction of a smile."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Pajamas

The kids just couldn't wait to wear their new pajamas.
It didn't take much to get them to sit in front of the tree and smile.
I love to see their affection for the baby.
We wish you a Christmas filled with the best feelings of the season!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving & Black Friday

So this was the first Thanksgiving where we stayed home and I tackled the entire dinner alone. It was actually fun researching countless recipes and planning our perfect menu. The night before, I stayed up cooking as the kids slept, focusing on the reward of seeing my family happy & excited at the array of fabulous food on the table. Of course with just toddlers in the house I shouldn't have set my sights too high on receiving many oohs and aahs of culinary pleasure. Luckily I don't have picky eaters, and Ryan more than made up for any lack by pouring on the compliments.

Thanksgiving morning Ryan returned home after a 28-hour shift and I was expecting him to go right to bed to recover all day, but he surprised me and took the kids to the Sun Bowl Parade and gave me the chance to cook in peace. The enjoyment I was feeling began to wane as I started to prepare the turkey. This was my first turkey and I was a little intimidated, but I figured it would probably turn out OK (and even if it didn't, that was OK too). As I plunged the bird into a sink of warm water and watched it bob up and down, I was turned off at the sight of a this poor dead animal floating in my kitchen sink, grown only to be killed and feed us gluttons on Thanksgiving. A short time ago it was an innocent little animal running around, relatively happy (I imagined) and unaware of its inevitable doom. Now I'm sure this could sound something like the rant of a psychotic vegetarian who thinks of meat-eaters as murderers. However, although I don't plan on becoming a vegetarian after this experience, I would like to restrict my meat prep to "cutlets" rather than "beings" from now on. Fortunately, the meal turned out great with the roast turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, tarragon gravy, crescent rolls, homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest, herbed stuffing, yummy sweet potato casserole with praline topping, pumpkin pie and sparkling cranberry slushy drink.

After our big day of feasting and family time, and after the kids were in bed, I prepared to participate in the annual Black Friday shopping day after never having done it before. But the thought of fighting the cold and the crowds for limited items (not to mention the uncertainty of whether I could return home in time to nurse the baby) led me to do my shopping online. After the 1am feeding I got on the computer and started shopping. The downside was that not all deals were available online, but for me the payoff of staying at home and avoiding the chaos was worth foregoing them... I just ended up experiencing a different kind of chaos. At a certain store website where I took quite a while browsing and making final decisions, I proceeded to checkout but an item had sold out since it was added to my cart. I tried to remain calm and went back to shop. After finally deciding on a replacement and proceeding to checkout yet again, my computer froze up. I eventually had no choice but to reboot, and by the time I logged back in and added everything back to my cart, more items had sold out! Now I'd had it and just wanted to grab my stuff and sprint to checkout, much like I would've felt in the stores. After three hours and several stores visited, I finally collapsed into bed, only to be roused within seconds to feed the baby again. And so it goes!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

One week before Brady was born we went to a corn maze and picked out pumpkins. The kids had a great time sliding down a slide made of huge piping large enough for them to stand in. We pet the goats, explored the corn maze, and then took a hayride to the huge pumpkin patch. The weather was hot and I was hoping to find smaller pumpkins for the kids to carry, but all of the pumpkins were very large and difficult to handle. I did my best to grip one in each hand and a third under my arm (not to mention the pumpkin in my belly), but the weight soon got the best of me and I couldn't prevent them from dropping to the ground. To complicate matters, Matt became wary of the uneven ground and eventually refused to walk without my help (see picture). Luckily several people helped me lug the kids and our three pumpkins back to the hayride so we could make it home with our Halloween goods. I'm planning on making some pretty sweet pies with these pumpkins. I've heard that the taste of fresh (vs. canned) pumpkin can't be beat!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Gridiron Greenies

Matt and Drew enjoying a costume dress rehearsal. We wish everyone a fun Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Introducing: "Uh-Oh!" Brady Thomas Miller

Over the past week Brenda and I have engaged in several heartfelt conversations regarding the naming of the baby. It almost felt like we were in the courtroom, each of us pleading our case to the other. Then something happened, something that made me defenseless. She pulled out the ultimate secret weapon--a weapon that only women seem to possess--a weapon more powerful than logic--a weapon no man has an answer for. She cried... OK, so she cried after I gave the green light on Brady, but just the same it was all over for me--case closed, nail in the coffin, final buzzer, end of story, checkered flag, game over, gavel down, judgment to Brenda. "Ryan, you are hereby sentenced to consume SpaghettiOs for the rest of your life."

Okay, so it's not a bad name. Brady is already growing on me. And above all, we are blessed to have a healthy, "spirited" baby.

Thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers, and naming guidance.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Everything is going well! Brenda returned home Saturday night and is feeling much better. The baby is doing well; he has been upgraded from the NICU to the Intermediate Nursery. He is no longer on any oxygen supplementation, and he no longer has a feeding tube. The only deficiency he has is the absence of a first name. She wants Thomas as his middle name after the Prophet, who has been her "favorite" apostle since childhood. But he lacks a first name! Brenda and I are at a standstill, and we cannot seem to arrive at a mutually satisfying name.

She brought one name to the table with no alternatives: Brady. To her, his name has been Brady the entire pregnancy. Brady means "spirited," an adjective he has demonstrated since early in the pregnancy when we were surprised that he hung in there. It's the first time in any of her three pregnancies that she has known what name she wanted. However, she has brought no alternatives to the table.

I have brought three names to the table, my favorite being Zach. The other two I like are Cole and Trent. She is not crazy about any of them. That being said, the only reason she doesn't like Zach is because it shares the same vowel sound as Matt. That's it. That's the hold-up, a single vowel sound. It's not like I suggested his name be Zatt or Max or Nat--names that actually sound similar to Matt. I just love the idea of Zach Miller. It follows our "one-syllable" trend. Zach is common but not over-used. And it has a great meaning: "the Lord hath remembered," which also seems to beautifully describe the early course of this pregnancy. Plus, you can call him "Z" or "Little Z." How cool is that?

I like to think of this whole scenario as a group of us getting together at a restaurant to order an entree. The only catch is that we can only place one order because we all have to eat the same dish. I have suggested at least three things from the menu that would be enjoyable--Filet Mignon, Alaskan King Crab, and Lemon Rosemary Chicken, but they have all been vetoed. The only thing my dearest treasure of a wife has selected from the menu happens to be an undesirable dish to me: Spaghettios. Certainly it can't be unreasonable to expect that she at least provide a few menu options to choose from... None of this "there's only one thing I like on the menu" nonsense. On the other hand, I could follow my Mom's advice to be more flexible and let her order her SpaghettiOs since it is, in a sense, our last meal. (Seriously, nobody can actually think SpaghettiOs are edible.)

Now we're at the point where we've been sitting around the restaurant table for five days, and nothing has been ordered. The tension at the table is thickening. We are all hungry. The waiters/waitresses are rightfully getting frustrated checking back at our table only to continually be turned away with no order to process. I am now more interested in just getting an entree on the table than to have my selected dish served. I told her to order what she wanted; it's time to end this five-day fast. Just get something on the table, and I will learn to like SpaghettiOs.

By writing this account I am making our marriage into somewhat of an open book involving readers. Maybe it's not maritally-intelligent to do so. That being said, does he look more like a Brady or a Zach?

Monster Mash

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