Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Now Previewing : "The Bun in the Oven"

Today we had another doctor appointment that involved lots of racing from hallway to hallway. Fortunately, those thoughtful health clinic designers put plenty of restrooms across from the Women's Health and Ultrasound Lab areas! We established several things:

1) Even though people are betting that I am having multiples or a giant, the baby's measurements are reading perfectly normal in size with regular heartbeat and plenty of movement.

2) "Mini-Miller" has moved away more from the exit, which is nice for Mr. & Mrs. Miller's sanities

3) It appears that I have been getting more previews of what labor feels like (even more than this stubborn person likes to acknowledge). Doc found me to be 70% effaced with 2 months to go, so off we went to the pharmacy for some meds to stall the bun from warming too fast. The weekend's state BBQ competition trip to Missoula for the office was officially banned, however appears to be well on track with my producer volunteers despite my lack of being there. While I am greatly relieved at the independence of the volunteers , I must confess that my little ego is sad that the disappearance of "Pig Lady" appears to have no ill affects on them. :)

In any case, Camp Miller is in good shape even with a few kinks thrown in. We still are expecting the best and aiming for October - all of you readers are expected to do the same (especially the moms :) !) For the first time in my life, I am actually having to do things like "prepare ahead," "plan" and above all...chill out significantly. Which for a non-planner, fly-by-seat of pants person has been quite interesting and amusing for those involved (just ask Mandy)!

Below are some awesome 3D pics that the tech got for us this am! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Where there's smoke....there's usually Eric

This past week, our fire department was asked to help burn off a field of cheat grass. The kicker of this request was the location...across the creek from our house! So, of course, we were two times interested. First, as members of the department. Second, as the residents of a house that would get the closest to the action. Since Anne has been officially put on light-duty (as in no drip torches allowed in her hands *sigh*), she had the emotionally challenging job of sitting on the deck with binoculars, the fire radio, camera and a Gourmet magazine she pretended to read. Two ice cream bars were consumed in desperation while waiting for the engines to start their job (so technically, if she got fatter this week, it is Fire God Ray's fault!)

In the pictures, you are watching an upper engine (Eric & co) and a lower engine (Ray) start burning strips to one another after laying down a good outer layer of "black." Cheat is considered a 12% moisture fuel, meaning that it only takes that percentage of moisture in the plant before it doesn't burn. However, once it starts burning, the consumption rate is right around 100%, meaning that it burns completely. Supposedly, flame length on this fuel averages roughly 12 ft...but if you look closely in the pictures and compare the height of people and engines to the flames, we were closer to 20 ft on the thicker parts of the field. Hopefully we can get the video portion to work for everyone. The video is showing the ridgeline across from the house. The radio traffic picks up in the last portion - so if you get bored, just fast forward midway through.

One Fish, Two Fish

Here is our most recent (and successful) attempt at filling the freezer from last evening after work. Yes, it was dark.....yes, we must be a little crazy but YES the fish were biting. Eric caught the above mentioned bass on the massive minnow (as in nearly a pan fryer!) he was trying to use on Great Northern Pike. Apparently, the lovely meal attracted multiple species. Meanwhile, Anne tried to hide her enthusiasm when she caught a 2.5 lb or so Walleye, which in her short little lifespan, might very well be the biggest fish she has ever caught. Hopefully not for long.......
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kid Projects

To fully prepare for oncoming parenthood, we borrowed two children this afternoon and attempted to keep them entertained for mutiple hours. We must confess this was much easier than borrowing two random children, being that those two young hooligans refer to us as Auntie Anne and Uncle Eric. For those of you that attended our wedding, Melissa was the young flower girl, while her older brother Nathan rooted her on from the aisle. First, we attempted to get quite muddy watching baby ducks down on the resevoir (pictures of the brood soon to come) and snagged some water and mud to sort through at the house. You'll see Nate with his waterbug catching equipment (spoons, jars, ice cube trays and straws in place of eyedroppers) We managed to find several very large and feisty dragonfly larvae along with water boatmen and a few snails. It is suspected that the lochness monster also lies at the bottom of the roughly 2 ft deep pond - however, Anne was not quite up to wading clear out to check.

After Nate fed his very hungry new pets, we decided to make chocolate chip cookies. Chef Melissa did a fine job and definitely felt the need to quality test the dough prior to baking. All members of the household (including the parental units of our abductees, who arrived in the early evening to check our progress) were appreciative of the generous cookie sizes. During a pizza session, we watched "Bee Movie," which was quite cute and entertaining. For those of you wondering about the dessert first, then dinner order......the cookie selection amounted to small taste-testing prior to the meat lovers and
supreme getting out of the oven. However, it was no holds barred after suppertime!
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Another beautiful day at the lake

As some of you may have guessed - the Miller couple has figured out that with these scenes less than 22 miles from the house, active fishing licenses and busy work weeks....life is good when you can go somewhere to get the heck out of dodge. Not that we mind "dodge" but after slaving away weekend after weekend on the house for the past 3 years, we feel that our time off is earned. The scene above is at the top of the breaks, looking across badlands type territory. The lake lies in the canyon bottom, below that main butte. The photo below is what the view is like at the lake elevation. Our fishing spot is bankside, down a winding grade of 20-30%. We once led the folks from Indiana that are building a vacation home on our road down the route and the reaction was priceless as they got out of their vehicle. The wide-eyed wife turned to Eric and said: "You mean you take your pregnant wife DOWN THIS?!" We couldn't help but grin. :)

Eric surveys the area, looking for the best Northern Pike hangouts. Again, we were skunked on pike but the group pulled out some good looking walleye and Anne's normal gathering of teeny weenie wallayes (thrown back) and goldeneye (cut bait).

Yes, this is a picture of "grass." However, it is also a test to see if our dear friend Mary has gotten the chance to read our blog lately. Inside joke that is sort of sad to explain, but the guist of it involves an herbicide ad we both find mysteriously funny...especially when we are on crop tours when we are supposed to be quiet and suddenly find ourselves snickering like little kids.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The $64 Tomato, By William Alexander

My good friend Mary (and Underground Bookclub partner in crime) handed me a good read this spring. I confess that it took hauling it around awhile on airplanes and in cars (just when I was passenger) before I actually took the time to crack it open. However, once I did, the husband was subjected to the person beside him in bed snickering to herself. At times, he was even required to read various passages and, when he politely declined, she went on a read them aloud anyway.

But seriously, who could blame me. The author opens each chapter with quotes like:
" There's only one sure way to tell the weeds from the vegetables. If you see anything growing, pull it up. If it grows again, it was a weed." - Corey Ford
"Advice to the Home Gardener" Look, September 2, 1954

At times you will wonder if William would have done better at simply burning his wallet than hiring a landscape architect to design a vegetable garden. However, from his practical challenges with going green (ie organic) in the fruit orchard to the "cereal killer" eating his corn stalks and battles with "Superchuck" the groundhog...the man certainly does entertain.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Attack of the Beach Ball!

We started our day off with shooting, specifically of the 7:30 am with coffee-in-hand variety. Our goal: to achieve the tightest possible groups on Anne's new left-handed Savage MKII .22 with cheap ammo. A group average of less than .500 inches at 25 yards earns us kudos in a game we are playing with others in an online shooting forum. The target shown just squeaked by, with an average of .462. (This would have been even better if Anne hadn't let her mind wander to candy bars on the final shot!)

Then we did the responsible thing, shutting off our cell phones and leaving for a day at Fort Peck Lk down on the Charlie Russell Preserve (better known here as the CMR). Our family of friends found plenty to do aside from just catching fish. Left to right: Eric selects his next bait move carefully, we set up the "line of attack," Wanda works to bring dinner onshore, Ty flexes some major muscles, Beach Ball gets saved in less than 2 ft of water, Pip & Brie think about getting back their ball, the guys start a professional stone skipping league, John & Marissa wonder how they got stuck with such weird friends & Anne offers fresh fish.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Doctors and Babies (Although we are ONLY having one, HONEST!)

Today was my "Welcome to the 3rd Trimester" doctor appointment, with just under 3 months until Mini-Miller shows up to meet us. Since there are a few concerned mothers out there (including those in time zones across the pond), I'll recap but without the crazy details (yes, mothers like details but for the sake of other readers, I'll recount those via phone if need be)!

The babe is still officially a "Low Rider", which means that it took forever for me to show much and for now all of the, ahem, expansion project is still occurring right around the pelvic bones. There definitely have been days that I would happily trade pants sizes up in exchange for A) not having to constantly run for the restroom and B) being able to sit down comfortably.

The past couple weeks have been made slightly more exciting with some unplanned previews of contractions. Especially when it happens 2 days before you are supposed to go to Boston for business, then on to Idaho! For the most part, things are back to normal with only one or two every couple of days but I am having to be careful (as in no going on more crop tours, no hefting 5 gallon water jugs out to the car, no wandering around in the baking hot sun, no logging - you know, the basics! ).

So, long story short - the doc has decided he wants to see me every 3 weeks now for a full exam and we have another ultrasound with the next visit too (July 29th). I also have the routine gestational diabetes test at that point too (pray for me, I like my candy bars!!!!) Since I have endometriosis as well as the low babe, we figure that the more I come in - the better. Which is fine by me as long as I have dates with the husband as often (or hopefully more often) than my delivery doc!!! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

T Rex vs T Rex (An only slightly unusual day in Jordan)

David Brezinski , Albert Kollar, Anne and Bill Clemmons in the yard

As promised in the comment section last night, here are some current pictures of me looking like a "beachball that has been stepped on." You can thank my adoring brothers for that comparision last week, upon seeing their sister step off the plane in Lewiston. I must confess though that the two of them also offered me the front seat on the way home, carried my luggage for me and were insanely fun to spend time with, despite the sibling-type commentary.
Although I certainly do feel shorter, somehow, and larger - people still have volunteered to be photographed with me! This morning was a red-letter day, as my neighbor Jane (in her beautiful garden below) had her friend Bill Clemons, otherwise known as William Clemons - the well known paleontologist from Berkley visit during his two week trip to Jordan doing dino work. Jane and her husband Bob have been hosting Bill and other notable "bone-diggers" off and on for decades. We heard all about the Carnegie Museum of History's expansion of the dinosaur exhibits and the opening of "T-Rex vs T-Rex."In 1902, one of the first T-Rex's was found on the family ranch and, after a brief stop at a museum in New York during WW2, it has called Philly and Carnegie home ever since. Carnegie Museum's Invertebrate Geologist and Collection Managers Albert Kollar and Adjunct Assoc. Curator David Brezinski were visiting with Bill today while on their way to other areas of the state, along with some time at the kitchen table with glasses of iced tea and lots of good stories.

Above: Jane in the garden, Anne hoping not to step into the Yucca with minimal footwear, the view between our house and Jane & Bob's house (which is 8 miles northwest up our road).

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Garden This Year

Fortunately, our spring spent hauling manure, wood chips and straw around in the yard has finally paid off. Those of you familiar with the "gumbo" type soil we have here at the house can appreciate just how MUCH hauling of soil amendments was necessary. This is where having a county extension agent as a member of the household really is a godsend! We now have Jackson Perkins roses growing off the porch (I buried the medallions with their names, but will track them down), more spinach and lettuce greens than we know what to do with, onions, radishes, carrots, peas, tomatoes, squash, cranky cucumber plants and a personal fav....the pumpkin started carefully inside when it was still snowing. We will both cry if something happens to it before it decides to produce anything aside from leaves. The dogs (Brie on left, Pip on right) are usually very interested in our activities but have a tendency to make the best poses on the tallest of weed patches not hit yet by Roundup!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

4th of July

One perk to being a volunteer firefighter in our part of the country is the ability to make ourselves nearly deaf, create mutiple fires and get perpertually honked at by enthused moterists/spectators during the Fourth of July Fireworks Show. The ritual begins with sorting through each individual firework and boxing it according to the official lineup list (Top Row). Then we haul the assortment to the highest point visable in Jordan, complete with engines and HP escort. Department members take great pride in making sure the fuses are exposed, pointed in the "correct" direction and fuse line run "in the appropriate length." Take note that "correct" and "appropriate" measures have varied with experimentation over the years! (Middle Row) Finally, the same brave one among us each year is handed a propane torch, headlight and plenty of "Remember Daddy - Stop, Drop and Roll"s from his concerned children. As he speeds from line to line, we watch the show from the engines parked nearby and rush to stop out any spot fires. Fortunantly, this year we received enough moisture to stop 99% of the sparks from flying (the other 1% keeps it interesting). A lightning storm heavily competed with the action, with our group huddled around the vehicles prior to start time...hoping not to disappoint our audience but drawing the line at turning ourselves into roman candles. Right at the usual start time, the first storm passed and gave us just enough time to fit in the 1/2 hr show before the next storm hit.
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Welcome to Our Crazy Postings!

Well folks - 2 years ago we quietly started a blog involving the building of our house. However, like so many great business plans gone awry, we forgot one key component: telling anyone that it existed. That, coupled with a lack of employee dedication (I, ahem, sort of forgot about it too) meant the demise of the Miller duo in the online blogosphere. UNTIL NOW! :)

Brace yourselves and get ready to drop in on us as we tread the dangerous waters of having kids, surviving the last phase of completion on our house (AC anyone?) and enjoying other adrenaline-type sports (not including those already listed).