Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

 Happy Thanksgiving to All! Here is our early am & pm :) We had a lovely day with friends that have adopted us as family over the years.

We attempted to crop out tired looking parents but I had too much turkey *cough* I mean, cupcakes for my brain to work at solving the current photo dilemma. Let's pretend it's a game of "What's Missing?" (Have I mentioned that I am not a morning photo-op type person?) 
(And yes, that is a swimsuit on Ari...nevermind...BUT she didn't wear it to the party) 

Our little house, warm and cozy.
Many blessings to all of you and may the holidays begin!

Monday, November 19, 2012

S is for Sprinkles

It is Monday, the day of the week that finds Gwen in preschool for the morning and then off to dance class. 90 miles away, in Miles City (yes, we're crazy but her pliĆ©s look awesome and the grins are worth it). We trade with another family on which mom grabs the kids at school and takes them for the long drive. Meanwhile (regardless of whether we are heading to the "city" or home), Mondays are Ari Days. 

Today, she wanted to make a special treat for the members of the other family: HER Baby Teagan, HER almost-sister Gracie, and Gracie's Mom and Dad. As you can see, the little lady is kinda defensive that someone else might get between her 3 yr old self and HER babies.

Here's some of the Ari Day Action:

Double dancers for her big sister, Gwen

 The 'cakes for T, G, B & C

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Suppressed Genetics of the Lysol Variety

So people, its been awhile. Like a really long while. Sorry about that...a lot has happened in the past few months including a whirlwind trip to my folks' house in Idaho for the first visit back to the ranch in a full year. Due to our work/travel schedules, family vacations for House of Miller have been few and far between unless sandwiched between board meetings, steer weighings and tradeshows. But that's beside the point. We're home post vacation and walked into our beloved house with one stark realization....our house is ridiculously messy. Especially compared to my mom's style of clean (as in "if it falls on the floor, you've got well over the 30 second rule but don't tell her that you actually ate it"  kind of clean). And she is insanely organized in a beautiful way that allows you to actually set down a coffee mug without first cleaning Forbes magazines, kidlet toys and puzzle pieces off the sidetable first.

I've spent the last two straight days cleaning out every kitchen cupboard, reorganizing, adding to piles headed to whichever poor college student I can find first,devising the perfect spice cupboard and making lists of Organizational Tools. That's code for "things Type A people can't live without and make a small fortune selling to Type Bs". Alas, I've suppressed Martha Stewart genetics as long as possible. Even the Martha after the Slammer variety, which is much more practical.

Over the years, I've developed 4 highly evolved coping skills in dealing with sudden company and the chaos:

The Panic Method: Car breaks field of entry on the driveway, as chirped by The Reporter. I have approximately 5-7 minutes (7-10 if we're talking family with babies) to decide which is scarier, me with spinach in my teeth and lacking lip gloss, or the overwhelming pile of morning dishes in the sink. Or perhaps THE BATHROOM. Because out here, no matter how polite the visitor, even a Jehovah's Witness needs to go sometime. That's roughly 7 minutes to prioritize, apply lip gloss, grab the toilet brush, swab the sink and make sure the toddlers haven't had an owie-repair session and left bandaids on the floor. And then come to the door like a modern day Lucille Ball (still haven't decided if this is a good thing or not but will get back to you on that one.)

The Confession Method: Company arrives. Panic Method left more than a few things undone. I decide that it is impossible to ignore the major flood of paint in the living room that resembles a Jackson Pollock masterpiece. And also wearing hard on me is the fast that I didn't get the fuzz out from under the fridge and that at any moment a very furry peeper frog may make his presence known. And that my laundry pile is hard to hide across from the bathroom. I don't like those odds so am sure to clear the air of the paint, laundry and unplanned amphibian appearances. Jokingly of course, but the stunned silence that follows makes me think this one needs a little more work.

The Hide It Behind Something Method: I'm sorting laundry. In the living room, the biggest space I have. This includes underwear. Reporter announces incoming people.  Quickly, my Littles are pressed into making the most awesome fort ever...cleverly disguising our mass dry cleaning injustice with a sheet to become Mt. McKinnley, surrounded by base camp. Provided that the "flag" on the top is not a particular clothing item. This method is statistically least-successful.

The It's SO Nice Outside Method: Earlier tactics are deemed unusable, so I saunter out on the front porch to water my dead flowers and shake out the doormat. It is usually far less than 50 degrees by default and I have no jacket (it would look far worse to bundle in Mt. McKinnley ascension gear, right?)  Attempt making small talk in friendly fashion while working on the I'd-be-happy-to-let-you-use-the-bathroom-but-I'm-sure-you've-already-used-it-and-polite-people-don't-talk-about-such-delicate-subjects-to-anyone vibe.

And there you go. I'll pause a moment to let you collect your thoughts and decide never to visit me on whim.

While we wait, I'll list off the next few cleaning tasks this Memorial Day weekend that I still hope to survive:

1) Researching proper size and shape of spice jars, including active use of Pinterest and freely canvasing friends on Facebook for suggestions.

2) Buying larger sheets, Tibetan flags and Organizational Tools

3) Blogging about it.

Actually, I do plan to continue cleaning but prefer to go for the surprise effect with incoming visitors this coming week. Just give me a call first wouldya?

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Caffeine Experiementation

Recently, I had an interesting conversation with my Doctor. While discussing chest pain, our chat went something like this:

Anne: Could caffeine contribute to this a little? I know people that had to actually GIVE UP coffee....

Doc: Well, tell me much coffee do you drink in a normal day?

--patient shifts uncomfortably--

Anne: You don't really want to know that badly do you?

Doc: Actually, it would be useful to know.....

Anne: Um, about 6-8 cups, well sometimes. Depends on the day. Sometimes 8-10 I guess. Did I mention I work from home with a 2 & 3 yr old?

--stunned silence--

Doc: Well. That is a LOT especially for someone of your size and stature.

Anne: What about all YOUR Diet Coke..surely that is a lot of caffeine?

Doc: Actually, YOUR habit would equal about 14 Diet cokes a day

Anne: oh

The appointment continued and, during his brief departure while I changed again, I snagged a magazine off the shelf ripe with those self-issue articles that can actually make a person sick just by reading them. Aha! Success! An article about how memory IMPROVES with caffeine intake...documented proof. Such luck.

Doc returned and I happily pointed out the it-must-be-medically-published-somewhere snippet of text.

Anne: Hey, I was just casually reading this If-You-Think-You-Have-Problems-Look-At-These-People magazine you conveniently left me to read and found THIS It actually says caffeine is beneficial and boosts memory. 

Doc: Yes, but in small doses. SMALL DOSES.

Anne: Come to think of it, my memory is about that of a goldfish......

Doc: Look, you need to give up the coffee.

Anne: Okay, fine. Well, I can still have beverages like teas and hot chocolate. It won't be that bad.

Doc: Hot chocolate and some teas still have caffeine too.


Thankfully, we came to a gradual understanding. I step down the caffeine intake for two weeks and go from making a pot every morning and crying if the RO (Reverse Osmosis for those of you living in places the water is drinkable without socially unacceptable side effects) had an issue to sweetly and serenely making a SINGLE cup of coffee (or at least letting Eric have the rest). So far, so good. I can even remember where I parked the car....although when you live in Jordan, MT and park at the post office, you darn well better be able to find your car or there are bigger issues. And I'm only slightly cranky in the mornings. Only slightly.

Except I am almost out of Valentine's Day candy. Sees Chocolate to be more specific. And the local coffee shop is open all day tomorrow. ALL DAY. So if/when you see me in there enjoying a triple shot mocha sans children, let me live a little...or at least stall Doc for me until I can clear the evidence........

Saturday, January 28, 2012

24 Hrs

Yesterday, I turned around and was greeted by two small children, both with bags of frozen corn on their heads. Apparently, our wood stove had made things a little too warm and they needed to "cool off." Nevermind that the other reason they were warm had something to do with dumping all the sheets/blankets off a toddler mattress and propping it up into a slide position against the bedframe...slick side up. After chatting it up a bit, we were able to convince them that frozen corn is for owies but not necessarily to regulate body temperature. All was good again and I let the fire die out.

You haven't really lived until, on the way to the washer with a load of laundry and thinking about your work email, that you step on one of the many blankets lining the living room. Except this time, you get the feeling that you just stepped on something that was once the family goldfish and isn't anymore. Yes siree, corn thawed on the heads of small children really adapts a texture and temp of something once alive but now needing a rapid burial.

After I picked up all the dirty clothes, we continued on with our day. Eric was leaving for a predator hunt weekend (aka coyote calling competition) for the majority of Friday afternoon through Sunday and we needed something to keep ourselves busy and "out of trouble." So Gwen, Ari and myself got ourselves ready for a Family Fun Night at a local church offering the service to keep Moms that have stepped on "goldfish" in the last 24 sane.

We had an absolute blast with one exception. Many of the kids, including ours, play away hard in the basement with toys, bigger kids, littler kids, cartoons and fun couches and chairs. About the time I could hear an Ari crying like she split a lip coming around the corner, Gwen The Reporter was hot on the case. Surprisingly, there was no blood but all Ari could repeat was "VaKum" over and over. Reporter stated that Ari had had a little mishap that involved a normal cleaning implement. I kissed both children and explained to a disbelieving Ari that the vacuum wouldn't hurt her. Ten minutes later, the scene with still the same - Ari crying over the VaKum and Gwen desperately wanting me to go "check out the basement." So I went.

Framed at the bottom of the stairs against the far wall was Vacuum One, upright and in storage mode. But, by following the plugged in cord to the left, I also saw Vacuum Two. There was evidence of a whopper of a joy ride...with V2 used sideways as a horse and dragged as far as the cord would reach. That is, until her "stirrups" must have kicked the horse into full gear. The steed had been hastily abandoned nearly upside down and Reporter must have managed to shut it back off before skating back upstairs to tell us all about it. Needless to say we made our exit after both V1 and V2 were shoved into the back room. Ari wouldn't even look up and cried the entire time on the sofa about the episode, despite her sister loudly saying, "It's okay Ari. Mommy is putting it away."

So we left and drove home to a Daddy now home. Gwen usually decides she doesn't need to use the bathroom until we get exactly equal in distance from the Cenex gas station and the house. She LOVES the Cenex. The potty just her size, the cool sink and, you get the picture. Anyway, the Announcement was made just as we passed the Fairgrounds: "Mom, Mom, MOM...I have to go to the bathroom." I keep driving, ready for our usual banter. "I need to go to the gas station...can you go back?" I reply with," Gwen, we're almost home and the gas station is too far. Can you wait until home or do I need to pull over?"  Reporter mulled over the question..."Go pee outside?" (Note to Anne's family: we apologize for the vocab but this word has stuck despite trying to use more catchy and polite terms like "Tinkle" and "Number One." For the sake of communication with a 3yr old, we're using what works but will politely sub wording in this post from here on out). "Why yes," I replied, "You can get out and tinkle on a rock." Her Highness was quite offended. Not only was she NOT interested in creating any kind of new micro-climate, the thought of not using an actual "facility" was more than she could fathom. Not happening. Not even kind of. (Preface-a-little-late to city dwellers: Garfield County does not suffer from an abundance of people and has many pullouts well known and used as potty stops for small children. ) So, Highness sat extremely cross legged in her seat while Mommy drove as fast as safety handled for home, whereupon Highness totally forgot the need to go when she saw her Daddy.  Meanwhile Mommy stayed outside, trying to blow the flames out on the tires. (Note to Frank the Sheriff: We're sorry for breaking the law. We promise to always stop at Cenex first before attempting a trip home from town. For the record, we do obey all traffic signals and signs.)

And that my friends, is a partial sketch of the last day. Because if I told you everything, you'd wonder.