November 29, 2009

30 ThankFULL days

It's hard to believe that we're at the end of November already! I haven't posted since Thanksgiving because 1) we're in the "after holiday lull" 2) these days have been really difficult days. The babies have been incredibly fussy since Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving day they were joyful angels - happy and perfect). So, I haven't wanted to post about these days because I would love for bloggy world to think we're perfect all the time. BUT, I know how helpful it is for me to hear from other moms their struggles to know I'm not alone (therefor, I should share mine to theoretically help someone else), and often other moms have helpful advice.

Neither one has really had any symptoms of sickness. They've felt a little warmer than usual, but their temperatures have hovered in their normal range (and I've been taking their temperatures fairly often...which adds to the grumpiness!). So I feel like I can rule that out. My 2 best theories right now are:

1) They are tired from all of the new things they are learning. They are in an incredible phase of development right now. Not only are they learning to crawl, but their understanding and communication is taking off (they respond to what I say by doing what I say or grunting...sometimes I even understand their grunts!), and they are becoming more aware of their control over their bodies and the things they can do that they see us do (such as manipulating and picking up a ball). I can tell they are getting exhausted after shorter periods. Today they took 3 naps!

2) They are teething. I have no strong evidence to support this except their gums look...different. A little swolen? The main reason I feel like it's teething is that they are suddenly constantly making faces where they show their gums (which they are constantly trying to bite together). They also are drooling like crazy, and calm down once they find something soothing to chew on (it's just that it isn't always the same thing that they find soothing and things often don't soothe for long).

On top of this...Allie has been waking up around 4:45 am every day. Once upon a time we had them on the most beautiful 7-7 schedule, but daylight savings combined with travel completely threw them off. Now, all of the books say not to go in and get them and they will start sleeping longer. The problem is that she wakes up LOUD. Not necessarily crying, it's just that her favorite noise to make right now is anything loud (singer? actress? public speaker? she has the projection for all three!). And, the last few mornings she has awakened the neighbors (1 morning I heard them grumbling...this morning they banged on their floor - our ceiling). So, I don't have much of a choice but to get her...and I'm afraid I'll be getting up before 5 forever!

The fussiness combined with my lack of sleep has been a rough combination and that has led to our rough days. However, the last few days I've been very thankful for:

Some great deals I found through a little black Friday shopping (VERY little. I hate black Friday shopping. People are mean), and craigslist. I've only spent half of our Christmas budget, but I have a lot to show for it!

The time Lucas has been home. Because of the holiday, he's been around a little more. It's been so helpful. I'm dreading returning to a regular week!

Funny moments amidst the chaos. Moments like:

Ryan hopping. He doesn't seem interested in normal crawling (he could do it...he just doesn't seem to want to). He either gets up on his hands and toes (which seems like a much more difficult position to crawl in) or he rocks on his hands and knees and launches himself forward. It looks like he's hopping like a frog. He's practiced enough that he's gotten really good at catching himself, and this seems to be his new favorite way of moving forward...

Allie shhh-ing me. She woke up early from a nap the other day. Ryan had taken a while to fall asleep, and I wanted him to get a decent nap which meant I needed her to go back to sleep to keep them synchronized. I went in to rock her and was ssshhhhh-ing as we rocked (which usually helps her fall asleep). She wasn't interested in sleeping, and she reached up and put her hand over my mouth! I was so surprised at the sudden halt of my shushing that I must have made a face because she started giggling...and then I started giggling!

Ryan giggling at the jungle animals on his sheets (this has been common the last few days after naptime - they are apparently great company!).

Allie leaning forward to kiss the baby in the mirror (she just loves that baby so much!)

That these days will be few. I am fairly certain, based on past experience, that these fussy days won't last. In fact, based on past experience, they probably won't last long. But it is amazing the eternity that they feel like when I'm in the middle of them! I pray that I will be able to see past the difficulties and enjoy the incredible moments (like watching them learn to crawl!).

Note: I wrote this post last night (Sunday) after a very difficult day. Today (Monday) has been different. Allie slept until 5:30 am (Hallelujah!), and both babies have been super happy all day...I'm not banking on the fussy days being over, but this has been a refreshing change!

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It does not seem like that long since I started the 30 days of Thankfulness...but somehow we've made it through 26 days, and THE Thankful day is here!

I have to say that I LOVE making the Thanksgiving meal. At one point I was singing along with the radio and cutting sweet potatoes, and paused and suddenly realized how extremely happy I was, and how much fun I was having. Part of the fun I had this year was making up a recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole. I couldn't find one (in cookbooks or online) that I liked, so I made it up myself. I really got a kick out of the experiment! I just really enjoy cooking (and having people over). I did get a little nervous after talking with a few other people though. They made the meal sound like it is difficult and something to be feared...and I started to wonder if I wasn't sufficiently afraid, and if my lack of fear would affect the quality of the meal. Thankfully, it didn't! I think you can't really be afraid of something you truly enojy... I also super enjoyed the wonderful smells of everything baking and watching the parade (yes, we let the babies watch. It is Thanksgiving! It's a tradition. They didn't seem much interested though...).

Every year since we've lived in Mass, our friends (Seth & Cari) from seminary have joined us for Thanksgiving. The tradition started at seminary with other seminary couples, but since we both stayed in the area, it has continued. They are basically our family out here. We definitely look forward to seeing them each year.

Since Lucas was busy (trying to rock Ryan back to sleep after a non-existent nap), and she is fearless, Cari carved the turkey this year! We tried to convince the guys it was a role reversal Thanksgiving (and that they had to do this dishes). It didn't work. We had a yummy meal (with Ry-guy nearby in the exersaucer because he refused to go back to sleep...his sister joined him shortly after). The sweet potato casserole was good (although, not great...I'll have to tweak the recipe for next year!).

After we ate, the babies had their first taste of turkey (mixed with Sweet Potato).

It went over better than chicken...

After we ate we participated in another time honored tradition - a walk to the park.

The guys toss around the football (and talk) while the girsl go the the playground to walk around the track (and talk).

When we got back we joined another couple from seminary (who used to join us for Thanksgiving) via skype! How fun it is to live in a time where modern technology can bring people together from hundreds of miles apart!

Ryan & Allie with Seth & Cari, wearing the "I'm Stuffed" bibs that Seth & Cari got for them.

After the babies were in bed, the dishes were done, and we were filled with pie we pulled out a new game that Lucas and I hadn't had a chance to play yet (Carcassonne). It is a really fun game (of the addictive variety of Settlers), and I could have seen us getting sucked into hours of playing if Seth and Cari hadn't had to drive home.

I am Thankful For:

Dear friends and friendships that span years, miles, and seasons of life

Family - immediate and extended. We are so blessed by the people God placed in our life as our family. We love you so much!

God's grace - given freely and covering all my imperfections

2 sweet babies

1 wonderful husband (who loves me despite all my idiosyncracies - especially those that are germaphobic in nature!)

God is good. Happy Thanksgiving!

More Catching Up

I would love to tell you all of the things we did in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Fun events attended, preparations made, or Thanksgiving themed projects. But we did nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, going for walks was the highlight of our days. I didn't even get cleaning done. I did get some random pictures of our latest "big" events. It was like the babies knew that I wanted to get things done, and they made that as difficult as possible! But...I am thankful for:


A l-o-n-g walk that helped all of us regain our sanity! It was a fussy day.


Lucas being home in the evening...even though we got nothing accomplished (I was a zombie by the time the twins were in bed).

A recent favorite activity: concerts from our dancing/singing toys

They get a little unsure when the snowman grows...

Ryan wanted it to sing, so I told him "press here," and pointed to the spot. He immediately pressed there (and then repeated the action as many times as I needed to get a good picture!).

Excited, I tested it with Allie who also pressed exactly where I told her. Will they always listen this well?


A great day of naps!

Our friends who were willing to come and monitor sit while I went out to get groceries in the evening. Too bad Ryan woke up just before they came over and it took me 2 hours to get him back to sleep (he loves our friend, and would be so busy flirting that he would never sleep!).


Getting a few things accomplished

Sippy cups are a new big thing.

Most of the time they chew...but sometimes they actually drink...


Going to the grocery store in the morning and scoring some AMAZING deals (I got our 12 lb. turkey for under $6 because it was on sale from the sale price!). I saved $33!! What a great way to start the day.

Great nap day for twins

LOTS accomplished

No more chocolate (I seriously overloaded. Thank goodness Thanksgiving isn't really a chocolate holiday!)

That the babies are at a point where they can entertain themselves so I can actually get things accomplished during awake times.

Decreased fussiness (I am convinced that the problem days were because of the flu shot :( I watched the steady increase of fussiness. Monday was the peak, and then it slowly decreased. Wednesday I almost had my normal joyful babies back).

Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Ryan worked hard to place this book so it was standing up...

...and then Allie took it from him!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

November 22, 2009

Our Wonderful Weekend

As you know, we are serious about college football in our house. Game day is for wearing your team's colors, and watching your team (hopefully) win.
This Saturday was a big game for us - Allie & Ryan's first Michigan vs. Ohio State game. Ryan and Allie donned their Maize & Blue, cheered for their team, and played with the football to get in the spirit...

(fought over the football is more like it - if Allie had the football, Ryan cried...

...and if Ryan had the football, Allie tried to take it away from him).

Unfortunately, Michigan was not the victor in this year's game (a crushing blow for daddy). However, Nebraska also played, and they played well. The Huskers were victorious in their game (and we were thankful that 1 of our teams won).

I also discovered the ONE thing that Ryan refuses to eat (Allie is not a fan either, but she's always been a little pickier). Please, remember, hand sanitizer - while potentially dangerous and seriously yucky - is something he happily sucks down...earrings are apparently a delicacy...anything that looks like food is promptly placed in his mouth. However,
chicken is a no go.

To their credit, ground/pureed chicken does lose some of the appeal. However, I have tried serving it several different ways - mixed w veggies, mixed with peas and a dash of garlic (please note: I tried this concoction and thought it was yummy), and mixed with applesauce and some cinnamon.

They will eat the applesauce/cinnamon mixture...but they make their opinion clear with immediate protests, and they stubbornly refuse to make their usual yummy noises. At least they have, on a consistent basis, willingly eaten all veggies. I'm thankful that they don't resist this usually difficult food category.

Sunday we went to church and for the first time stayed in the sanctuary for most of the service! We have always gone in for the music, but we felt emboldened by our experience last week (the church we visited was having their first service in a new location - a theatre - and didn't really have their nursery up and running, so we took the babies into the service!), and stayed in the sanctuary for the first half of the service. They did really well. In fact, a few people commented on how well they did. Yay!

Sunday was an AWFUL nap day. It is usually a rough day as far as naps go, but today was especially bad. And after crying for roughly 45 minutes (I was home alone and could not successfully soothe 2 babies, so I had to let them cry) they fell asleep! And then our upstairs neighbor started vacuuming...I don't know if you know what a vacuum sounds like on hardwood floors above your head, but, needless to say, the nap didn't last long. So daddy decided to take them for a walk (he was home by this point). It was cold so we got to use our Bundle Me's! They kept the babies super cozy during their walk, and everyone was happier when they got home!

I'm thankful for:


Our play yard, which we put them in for the first time. They loved it!

But I think we're going to have to break out the extensions, because when they try crawling they fill it up pretty well...

My wonderful husband, who plays so naturally with his children, helps out with the housework without fail, and is my encouragement and support when I feel like I'm failing.

Being almost finished with the laundry. We made a big push. We thought we would finish. And then we hit a wall...

A fun pizza (from Papa Johns which now delivers to our area!!!) and game night with good friends - even if Lucas won both games of Settlers...

Did I mention that the Huskers won?


A wonderful time of coorporate worship

Allie crawling forward and Ryan clapping!

My friend's blog ( where I linked to a few other blogs ( & that inspired and re-energized me.

The dark chocolate and magazine the babies (via daddy) brought me. My 2 favorite indulgences to help me unwind from a somewhat stressful day.

Play-time with the babies before bed. They wanted to practice crawling and we seriously had so much fun! It was a great end to a tear-filled day!

Ryan's favorite "bear crawl" position.

Allie loves practicing her crawling form!

November 21, 2009

Catching Up

OK, my goal is to get us caught back up the the present, and so I'm only going to do the thankfuls...but because I've done Tuesday & Wednesday, I'm going to jump aroud. Be patient, once caught up to the present I will jump around a LOT less!


The chance to go to a church in the Lansing area that was started by one of Lucas' former pastors. It was a wonderful time of worship, and a great opportunity to see old friends (another of Lucas' close friends from high school and his wife joined us for church). It was fun for me to meet a man that Lucas credits having a large impact on his spiritual formation (and his ministry). The only bummer was Ryan's blowout before the service...and me forgetting a change of clothes...

Quick goodbyes. I was dreading the goodbyes, but every single goodbye was almost a surprise. Loralee & Grant decided to leave when we left for church, so that was quick. Logan had to run errands and we needed to leave before he would be back - surprise. Dan & Denise hadn't decided if they were going to travel partway with us or not, and the babies were loaded up before the decision was made, so surprise. I never had the opportunity to truly anticipate and dread the goodbye, and they were super quick. It made them a tiny bit easier.

On the way home Lucas and I took a trip down memory lane and visited a place that is very near and dear to our hearts - and was a cornerstone in the foundation of our relationship. It was heartwarming to see familiar landmarks, and fun to tell the babies that this was, in a way, where they began.


Not having to go through Canada. We went down and around on the way home, and it was great not to have to do the border crossing. In the lines, waiting, was always where the babies lost it the most. It was nice not to have those meltdowns.

Great music while I was driving. Sounds silly, but it helped the time go by so much faster! The first time I drove I found a great radio station that played not only contemporary gems, but classic songs from when I was in college, high school, and jr. high! It was so fun to take a trip down musical memory lane. There wasn't a single song that I didn't want to sing along with (but I didn't because everyone was sleeping). The second time I drove I revived my love of Brandi Carlisle and Carbon Leaf. Now that I don't drive 1 1/2 hrs. every day, my cd collection has long been neglected, and it was fun to pull out some of my favorites.

A safe trip home. We made it, safely! Hooray! And now it's time to put the car seats out of sight and just stay home for a while!


A beautiful day and time outside with the babies. They are getting so inqusitive and interactive. This is such a fun stage! This is also where all of the pictures came from. My favorites are: neither of them looking, Allie giggling, and Ryan flashing the peace sign!

A productive day (slowly chipping away at the overwhelming mountain of laundry and finally getting groceries so we have grown up food in the house - which is good because the frozen cubes of pureed peas were starting to look enticing!)

An evening watching funny tv with my husband. It's so good to have something to laugh at and someone to laugh with!

Lucas home in the morning so I could get some things accomplished - although not laundry because we accidentally got fabric softener instead of detergent!

Flu shots for the twins. Yes, I broke down and got the flu shots. Partly because the 3 weeks of sick babies after we returned from MI the first time was hard. I was seriously near a breakdown when they finally started getting better. I felt the need for some sort of reinforcement. Also, hearing someone say, "I was in the hospital this past week for H1N1," after they had been holding Ryan for 5 or so minutes made me realize that, for some reason, common sense and rational thinking goes out the window with babies. It's too hard for 1 mama to protect 2 babies. People always want to help and hold them, and they will do it even if they probably shouldn't. So, I decided that a flu shot was really the best option to have in my arsenal to protect them. It was not an easy decision (I cried in the parking lot after afraid that I gave in too easily and gave them something they didn't really need), but they took the flu shots well (it even sounded like Ryan told the Pedi "thank you" just before we left!), and while they've been mildly fussy, they haven't had any real reaction to it.

A VERY Productive evening. Our home is starting to look like our home again and less like a place where our suitcases threw up!

And now we're all caught up!

November 19, 2009

Logan & Mindy's Wedding: Part 4 "The Main Event!"

I'm going to start this post with a confession. I was on baby duty, so I didn't get many pictures. But I really wanted to have some good pictures for the I "borrowed" some from facebook. I hope this is ok with all involved...

Mindy with her bridesmaids and her mom.

Logan & his groomsmen.
Does it look like there are more men than women? There were! 2 groomsmen to every bridesmaid. Sounds like good odds for the groomsmen, but the bridesmaids were almost all married! Sorry, fellas.
The morning of the wedding, while the twins were napping, I helped Dan cut 2 bags of limes. This was really nothing because the day before he had single-handedly cut 15 lbs. of colby jack cheese into cubes- doing his best to make sure that the cubes were all similarly sized! I believe this wins him the Father-in-Law of the Month title for November, and makes him the front-runner for Father-in-Law of the Year! Anyways, my hands smelled like limes the rest of the day!
The November Father-in-Law of the Month at work!

Our family just before we left for the wedding. Allie is wearing a flower band that her new aunt Mindy made for her to wear (Harper had a matching one for her outfit).

Feeding the twins before the wedding. I thought it would calm them down, but it didn't!

The wedding was beautiful - as I knew it would be. You may know that my new Sister-friend (in-law sounds awful, so I call them my sister-friends), Mindy, is artistic and she has an eye for putting things together that I would never see, but look fabulous. Her wedding was a beautiful example. The dresses were gorgeous, and the flower arrangements were fantastic (Ryan agreed - he tried to eat Loralee's!). It was lovely (which is why I wanted to have pictures to show!).

As for the actual wedding. I can't really tell you anything firsthand because I was out in the hallway with fussy babies. I did get to see Lucas pronounce them husband & wife and the kiss. I also overheard a couple conversations afterwards about the time Logan got a hole-in-one...which I thought was curious. Until Lucas filled me in later. See, in Lucas' talk he asked Logan how much a golf ball was worth (a couple bucks?). Then he asked how much it was worth to him if he knew it was THE golf ball that he got a hole in one with (priceless). He went on to explain that husbands and wives are called to honor each other, and honor is placing value. Mindy (like the golf ball) is priceless to him. He then talked about having an honor bank - you can make deposits or withdrawals. He encouraged them to make deposits. Now, I might not be getting this perfect (because I wasn't there), but this is the main idea...and the mere mention of the hole-in-one golf ball is what made it a topic of conversation after the wedding (aha!).

The sticky-fingered bandit struck again after the wedding. The babies were fussy, and Lucas' grandma was holding Ryan while I was holding Allie (Lucas was sitting on the other side of his grandma sometimes talking to Ryan, sometimes jumping in the pictures that were being taken). All of the sudden I felt like Ryan needed me. I called to Lucas to take Allie so I could take Ryan. Being closer to Ryan he asked why he didn't just leave Allie with me and take Ryan and I responded, "Because he needs his mama right now." Lucas shrugged and took Allie and I reached for Ryan and noticed something sparkling in his mouth...Ryan had pulled Grandma's earring out and had it in his mouth! We have no clue how long he had it, but if I hadn't suddenly felt that he needed me he might have swallowed it and the evening could have been capped off with a trip to the emergency room. I think God was watching out for my wily (and hungry?) little man!

I wasn't able to stay for the reception because I went home with the babies (all three - Lucas helped me get them down though). But I hear it was a wonderful reception and Logan & Mindy told me they had a great time (which is all that matters).

The table I would have been at, had I been able to stay. Picture the twins and me here!

And with this wonderful event, all that is left to be added to the Miller family are more grandbabies!

Congratulations Logan & Mindy!!!

At home and Abroad

I know that my chronicling of Logan & Mindy's wedding is getting long. Please, bear with me. It's just that the twins did some incredible/adorable things while we were there, and since a big part of the reason I blog is to have a virtual baby book, I want to include these things.

Almost there:
While we were there Allie put one knee in front of the other! She didn't move her hands at all, and she ended up moving the knee back because otherwise she would have faceplanted (again). But she's getting there. She's really figuring it out. Ryan prefers to get up on his hands and toes...I think he will bear crawl before the traditional hands and knees crawl!

The Big Screen:
Logan and Mindy have a giant tv in their basement (giant compared to ours for sure). One afternoon I needed to clip the babies nails, and we were home alone, so I put on Baby Mozart (because they stay still long enough for me to clip the nails). They have never seen their favorite movie on such a large screen before and Ryan kept reaching out to try to grab his favorite characters (like you would see someone do at a 3D movie). It was stinkin' cute!

Twice the Giggles:
I'm standing in the kitchen when Lucas comes to me and says, "Babies are awake from their nap." I pause and listen and realize that I don't hear the usual babbling - I hear giggles. Peals of giggles. "What on earth is making them giggle like that?" I ask. We go down and peek in. They were sleeping in pack n plays that were side by side with about 2 feet in between. They had both turned sideways (facing each other) and were making each other giggle. Ryan would scratch on the mesh and she would giggle. She would make a squelaing noise and he would giggle. It was one of those moments that I really wished I had our video camera (but we left it at home).

Playing outside today. They just crack each other up!

Since I've been taking so much time to chronicle the wedding, I wanted to also throw in some things since we've been I don't forget!

The babies love teething biscuits. But they take very different approaches to eating them. Allie gingerly nibbles on a corner at a time. Occassionally chewing on a little more, but for the most part she eats hers slowly and methodically. Ryan shoves as much as he can in his mouth (usually about half before he chokes) and sucks until it falls apart and then he can shove the rest in. I often have to pull it out and break up pieces to keep him from choking. In fact last night I broke up a chunk into 2 pieces, and looked over to make sure Allie was doing ok (she was - so dainty!). When I looked back there was Ryan with the rest of the teething biscuit shoved in his mouth (about a 3rd of it was hanging out) and a piece in each fist (trying to figure out how to get them in too)!

So much mess, but so much fun!

Yesterday Ryan sang (yes sang) "dada" all day. He played on the floor singing "dada, dada,", he woke up from his nap singing "dada,dada," in between bites he sang "dada, dada." I was starting to feel a little left out until Allie chimed in. Every time he sang "dada, dada" she would yell "mama, mama!"

I'm thankful for (skipping Saturday, Sunday & Monday as I will fill you in on those with future posts...sorry to jump all around):

Getting all of our bags completely unpacked within 24 hours of getting home! Now to start the mountains of laundry...

A husband who cleans up the pumpkins I forgot to throw out before we left (and which are now completely caved in and leaking rivers of rotting pumpkin juice) without grumbling.

That I can watch programs, that were recorded on the dvr, while I unpack, delete them, and have the feeling that I'm "cleaning out" something!

The dryer is still going (despite the unending loads of laundry I keep feeding into it). In fact, the vacation seemed to do it some good!

That Lucas was home in the evening (when he thought he would be gone) so we could do an impromptu bath night after giving the twins teething biscuits (see the teething biscuit photos above to know why a bath night was desperately needed!).

Going to bed early. I have NOT been getting enough sleep, and I was starting to drag. I would have happily gone to bed at 7:30...but 9:30 was good enough!