Thursday, December 17, 2009

Life is Good......

Crazy hair mornings must be genetic

Ari in extreme alert mode with her proud Daddy

Gwen striking fearsome pose after convincing Mom she needed her coat on, inside.

Life is good when you are allowed to combine camo, rhinestones and a very pink coat. (We never thought we'd see this kind of combo either - she picked her clothing out this am)

Hello from the coat closet...which is by far the most quiet place in the entire Miller household these days. Okay, maybe we are fudging here a little...but only a little. Today was just a typical day: Gwen falling off the ottoman twice and tearing into chamomile teabags (piling their contents nicely onto the rug while her mom wondered why things got so quiet). In case you are wondering, we don't typically leave teabags just lying around for this very reason, but Gwennie has the uncanny ability to find things you never knew you had. Meanwhile Ari (or Sharky) fed about every 1hr or so in the early morn and then was extremely alert the rest of the day. Which is good when your big sister is giving you kisses and rocking your baby seat when you cry. Maybe we're a little bit partial, but we tend to think that the kids under this roof do pretty darned well together. Parental units are tired but wouldn't trade it for the world (and have even figured out how to answer a work-line sounding very professional despite the 1 yr old running around half-naked holding goldfish crackers) For the sake of family and friends wanting visual proof that we still exist, here are a few quick pics with more to come!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Visiting the Hutterite Colony

This Saturday, the Millers made good on a promise to visit and show off the new baby to our friends at the Hutterite Colony near Wolf Point. The House of Miller had been invited to celebrate Thanksgiving with them but had to decline due to the meal being at 6pm, which put us on bad roads at night for the 2 hour drive home. We haven't mentioned our connection to the colonies much in this blog both because of privacy for them and also because Anne's connection with them is primary through her work with pork producers. However, considering that over 85% of the hogs raised in Montana come through colony has been impossible not to have a strong friendship with some of these producers.

A good background on the lifestyle, which is one of a communal Annabaptist religious group most comparable to Amish or Mennonite, is here in the National Geographic article. Bill Allard, the photographer in the link, had just finished one of his personal/nonwork treks to visit Prairie Elk Colony several weeks before we came. The Walter family, many of whom were photographed in the article, had us to dinner (which is usually served in the dinning hall/kitchen..but because of the cold and young baby was served at their house). David is both the hog boss for the isowean unit located on the colony (with 2,400 sows) as well as the colony minister. His wife is Susanna and they have several children, including Abby. Abby, her brothers and their cousins have really helped Anne understand the ways of colony life and have answered her many,many questions over the past five years. When Gwen was born, Abby made her a beautiful, tiny version of the traditional dresses like the women in her family wear. Each colony's sewing patterns and styles vary according to which of the 3 religious sects of the group they belong.

Miss Gwennie and Ari both loved their visit. Gwen managed to sample more goldfish cracker in one sitting than in recent memory and thoroughly enjoyed her way through most of Eric's kielbasa sausage made the week before by the families. Ari was held and rocked by Abby, Susanna and cousins Barbara and Julie along with the boys..who investigated her from the couch. We didn't get as many pics as we hoped due to the nature of having two children under 2 for a visit somewhere. Hard to run a camera while you are kid wrangling! In any case, we thought you'd like the sneak peek into the weekend visit.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

B-A-T-H Time

One of Gwen's absolute favorite things is her bathtime, especially when she gets to play with her ducks from Aunt Cin and Uncle Ray. The pufferfish floating around in the tub with her is also a favorite, mostly because it shoots water roughly a foot into the face of unsuspecting adults. If we "forget" to bathe her, she will still bang on the bathroom door and attempt to remove her clothing...all the while pointing at herself and gesturing to her parents that they have missed an essential task.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Daddy's Are Good Stuff

Anne's mom left early this am to head back to Idaho and spirits here were dampened with the realization that now the only Mom in the house is Mrs. Miller. However, realizing that a one to one ratio of parents to children is still not bad, we've found forms of amusement to keep busy (not that busy has ever been a problem here when children - and Daddys- fall in the 9-10 Apgar scale)......

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

House of Miller Status Update

The picture above of Ari is how we like to see things here between the hours of 9pm and 5am-ish. :) This has not yet happened for any big chunks of time, but House of Miller residents are gaining on the sleep deprivation game. This has a lot to do with extra assistance from Anne's mom, Sally.We will warn you, dear readers, not to call or email Sally concerning her cameo appearance on the blog until she heads home this coming week. We are risking life and limb to post the photos, so would appreciate not alarming her to broken promises until she is safety on the road! In brief (okay, not really), here are some of the recent developments here:

* Ari returned to Miles City for pediatric/jaundice checkups this past week on Sunday, then again on Tuesday. Typically, babies don't gain back their full weight until 2 weeks have passed, not one. On Sunday, Ari weighed 5lbs, 10.6oz, then weighed 5lbs, 14oz by the following Tuesday. Needless to say, the pediatrician was so pleased that we don't return until the 2 month checkup in January. No wonder Anne isn't sleeping much due to "Sharkie," as we now call her, demanding her feeding frenzies.

*Gwen received a bath in the Big Tub while staying with our friend Beth's girls while Ari was about to be born. She REALLY REALLY liked it, so now the Millers are required to spell out B-A-T-H to prevent an almost-walking kiddo from running headlong into the closed bathroom door, pointing to herself and trying to remove her clothing. Needless to say, things are "Squeaky Clean" around here (yes, that was terrible, but worth it).

* Coffee is a godsend for everyone over the age of 2 here. More has been consumed in the past week than nearly an entire "normal" year.

* Mothers are a even bigger godsend here - with childcare, cooking, cleaning, and you-name-it-help. We are pretty sure that without her, we would have well-fed babies but be starving, in dirty clothes without showers, with bathrooms desperately needing cleaned...if only we could find paper towels and/or a mop.

*At 2 am, when one is really tired, a Size 4 diaper grabbed quickly will cause a person to wonder if their almost preemie infant shrunk further in the night or if they accidentally grabbed a small sized toga.

Send prayers our way.....we need all the help we can get :)

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bringing the New Sister Home

Greetings from the fog of newborn parenting....we arrived home late midday Friday after getting positive health status for both Anne, for whom this labor had gone considerably better than the last despite anemic-related issues, and Ari, who was considered a 9 of 10 on the apgar scale and happy to deprive household residents of sleep. Short post for now to show the pictures from the first time Gwen got to see her new sister (she also got a stuffed monkey as a present....we think she liked that one just as much perhaps).

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Thursday, November 12, 2009


....and now with her eyes open for the photo op....


How about some pics..........................????


AKA: Ari ("ARE-E") or squawk
The A is soft

5# 14 oz
19 inches
dark hair

11.51 11/11/2009

Has already nursed from mom!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Now a 9...
Should be any time now...
See ya later...
Other things to do....


Not crowning, but 7cm's and head making its way to the correct spot...
cervex is thinned.
Here we go
short time..


So, now that the drugs are in place, the mothers (grand mother types) are situated for the time being and Anne is no longer worried about being nailed to a chair...she wanted me to post what she was doing on Friday... She said she hurt and HAD to get out and do Something...She coundn't sit in the house any longer.

The drugs are working....

Back to Friday/Saturday....285 yards, 25 mph wind...1 shot....


Epidural has been administered...
Contractions are close and significant...
Mom to be is resting as best as she can...
She is remembering to Breath...!!!


Might be the last comment for a bit..
Anne said, "post it is getting very ouchy". Epidural time is now upon us!!
She isn't sure if her Julia Child book will survive the ordeal...I thought I heard pages rip with the last sucking of air, then she exclaimed that reading about the latest recipe was not doing what she wanted...take her mind away from reality...
Very regular rate < 3 minutes and getting stronger...

5.30 update

2.0 is getting busy. Contractions are getting stronger and closer...Anne was breathing rather hard for a few moments...

More to come

Update 2.0

Now almost 4.30...
Anne still is doing well, no migraine which is very important.
Squeek is doing well with Grand Mother Sally...Or should it be GM Sally is doing well with Squeek?!
Anne is sorta comfy but waiting for things to go into full swing. The contractions are coming and 2.0 is still very active...
More Later...

Back where we started...Here we go Round Again

And so round 2 has begun...Anne is starting labor, hooked up to machine and feeling well all things considered...
Anne is settling in and expects a long day...At this point there are not any migraines nor any early indications of any! We will keep our fingers crossed the trend continues.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Need Anything From Walmart?

Quick update - back again today (Tuesday) after starting back labor and close contractions. We didn't speed on the way down due to Anne wanting to get there in one piece, pulled into the hospital lot and checked in. Presented with two options after determination that there is early labor going on...A) Stay in hospital, look at boring art on walls that repeats in every hallway, chat with lively nurses and go in ever smaller circles OR B) Leave and roam the aisles of Walmart for hours on end to return either when contractions get ever more intense or tomorrow morning, whichever comes first. With a residency in Jordan, Gwen in safe hands and Anne's mom on the way....Dr's determination is that she can "help things along" first thing in the morning if labor continues as it is now. So far, we have memorized multiple serial numbers in the hunting and baby aisles at Walmart and are working to wear out the hall carpeting at the hotel. Unfortunately, the treadmills at Walmart were on elevated platforms not accessible to the pregnant lady, otherwise we would still be there. At least there was no major cleanup on Aisle 2.. :) Last meds were taken today, so cross fingers for rapid-fire action by tomorrow am at the least.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Watch and Wait.......

Typically, we would spend today at our weekly Dr. appt but we managed to somewhat get that out of the way last evening, after a trip to Miles City for monitoring. Anne has been having contractions for awhile now, but they had picked up a notch to the point that she felt like she might just break in half with the baby so low...and it wasn't from all the chocolate ice cream she had stuffed herself with either. So we were off for the 90 mile trip after some fast repacking and a quick once-over on the house to ensure that Gwennie hadn't dragged anyone's unmentionables on to the living room floor and that the toilet bowls and counters were clean (okay, only somewhat exaggerating here) ...

Apparently, Baby 2.0 is somewhat interested in appearing but refuses to buy the one-way ticket thus far. After several hours at the hospital, we know the following things:
** The nurses (that remember us somewhat vividly from last year) are still awesome

** Since last Monday, Baby 2.0 has worked to go from 60% effaced to 80-90%. We are somewhere around 2cm. Quote from one nurse: "Things are paper thin down there and she is right at the canal....I'm not exactly sure why she isn't here yet" If that doesn't make you feel like a time bomb, we don't know what will!

** Head appears to be down and 2.0 is so active that the monitors had to be muted for a time due to all the static from movement.

**Blood pressure was very high but leveled to 123/68 by the time we left. Anne started to get a migraine a la last time with having Gwen, but we managed to cut it short.

**Contractions and lots of lovely normal medical things are definitely happening,but still don't have enough pattern to be considered active (let us tell you - Anne definitely doesn't care if they are considered active or not....that's like telling someone they have an imaginary friend when you are pretty sure they are sending you emails and have visited your house)

So, given the option to stay the night in Miles in hopes of something happening in the next 24 hrs, or several days, or weeks, we went with the option of going home and waiting. Heck, why stay at Motel 6 camped out for what could become eons, when you have a cute kid, fully stocked fridge of ice cream, and wood to stack at home? We will keep you all posted - Anne's mom will be here on Wednesday, although she will forgive House of Miller if we happen to be indisposed in Miles for her arrival. Got to go.....there are more toilet bowls to inspect and counters to be washed.....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Baby Status Update

Yesterday again found us in Miles City for what is now the weekly trek to the doctor's office. Last week, Anne found herself waddling much more than usual and having more contractions & she hurriedly threw a hospital bag into the car (if a 9 mo pregnant lady can really hurry lugging nearly everything she owns) and ran in to Doc Dan, our local healthcare provider for a quick check. After drinking copious amounts of water and promising (again) not to try and stack wood, drag antelope, etc, she was sent back out of the Clinic to wait until yesterday's update with her regular OB in Miles.

The stats:
Blood pressure - Elevated, although not dangerously so. Bottom number was 80 but hey, at least we remembered half the info

Baby position - Head down, waaaay down. In fact, all doctors thus far have been rather shocked at how well a 5ft 5 petite person can manage to hide a baby this far along. Next time, she'll attempt to hide an entire cruise ship. Apparently, the measurements (fundal length, etc) read more for someone only 28-30 weeks along. As in sneeze and maybe........

Cervical dilation - 1 cm and holding from this past several weeks

Effacement - 60%

For the past week, House of Miller has been suffering from a cold/flu bug and Anne was prescribed some antibiotics to get rid of any issues in her lungs with the cough. We think that having a baby without coughing/sneezing/wheezing through the process is a tall enough order, especially considering that we had a migraine for the ride last time. The "plan" is to wait out the next week, then revisit the OB next Monday. On Tuesday, the 10th, Anne takes her last dose of the anti-go-into-labor-and-have-baby-along-road-with-AAA-phone-support and we will wait and see what happens. Sally, Anne's mom, is hurriedly packing away in Idaho and plans to appear sometime after the 10th as well.

We DO plan to again lose all dignity and post pictures of the pregnant lady of the house for all to see....along with a picture of the swimsuit she ordered on discount from Land's End in a size that might fit in the next ten years. (Take a breath, dear reader, we did say photo of alongside.....not photo of Anne wearing) It was supposed to be the "reward" for hopping back into "normal" clothes....but after viewing, the modest one-piece instead appears to have exactly 1/4 of the total fabric currently involved in the prego lady's single pair of underwear. *Sigh*