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?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baby Arrival

We had a 5lb 4oz baby boy today at 1:53 in the afternoon born at 33+ weeks. No name yet. Baby is in the NICU but doing well and should come home within three weeks. Brenda, too, is in the ICU. She is doing well after a significant (4 L) blood loss due to her placenta accreta, which required a hysterectomy immediately after the C-section. She was mentally prepared for the high likelihood of a hysterectomy, but it is still a bit of a letdown. Given the circumstances, everything has gone very well. Sorry, no pictures yet. More to come!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Where's My Head?

I had an experience yesterday that made me wonder where my mind has gone... (with pregnancy it goes bye-bye, right?) Lately whenever we drive by the mountains or any large hill, Drew will ask (more like beg) if we can climb it. Now I'm not feeling my best at the moment, but I didn't want to deny him an adventure just because of my condition. So yesterday we ventured off to a nearby park that is known to have lots of mountain trails behind it. Consequently we pulled up and two police officers were talking outside their vehicles, apparently taking a break. I asked where they would recommend hiking. They looked slightly puzzled, no doubt due to my big belly and two toddlers in tow... (not exactly your typical mountain excursion group). So they suggested I drive a short distance where the trail is flat and paved. I explained that we were specifically looking to "climb a mountain" to fulfill Drew's wish. They understood and pointed to a trail, but warned me to watch for wild animals (rattlesnakes mostly). Feeling a little uncertain, we started out toward the trail hand-in-hand. The kids were loving it and chatted excitedly whenever the terrain changed (dirt to gravel to large rocks, etc), and whether the incline of the path was heading up or down. I was feeling optimistic about their good mood when the path suddenly turned muddy. I looked ahead to gauge whether we could still cross, but it looked too soft. The sides of the path were overgrown with thistles and thick brush. I contemplated walking on the side. But a few steps into it, the aggressive grasshoppers jumping up and attacking me put an end to that notion. I told the kids we'd better turn around and head back. Drew immediately protested, and like a sap I gave in. Where the heck was my head? We trudged on and the ground started swallowing up our shoes. Mud seeped into our toes and finally engulfed the tops of our feet. I was experiencing strong suction as I tried to get my back foot out of the mud and take each step forward. Drew didn't seem to care and just commented quietly that his feet were muddy. Matt was screaming at the top of his lungs, "TOO MUDDY! TOO MUDDY!" I noticed people navigating the trails above us, and I must have looked like the biggest fool, pulling these kids forward, repeatedly jerking my back leg with every step like a dumb animal trying to get unstuck. Finally I just started laughing at my stupidity and turned the kids around. We actually made it back to the car, albeit with the equivalent of Frankenstein's boots on our feet from the high platforms of mud. Luckily the two officers were gone so I didn't have to experience the humiliation of them witnessing the consequences of my poor decision-making. What a sight we were. And all because mom's head went AWOL.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Free Weights a Great Purchase

Instead of obtaining a gym membership after moving to El Paso, it seemed like purchasing a weight set would eventually pay for itself and allow me to spend more time at home. Furthermore, the daunting idea of driving to the gym--albeit a short distance--is often enough to dissuade me from working out that day altogether. It's a much less demanding challenge to simply walk upstairs and begin a workout. Having the weight bench has definitely increased my workout frequency. As the picture below demonstrates, I think you will agree with me that the decision has proven successful.

Here's to Joseph.

Monster Mash

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