Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bicep Alert

Today Tim informed me, with surprise in his voice, that I had visible biceps. I then asked him where, exactly, he has been the last four months. Of course I have biceps. And triceps. And rippling forearm muscles. I am a sheer hoss. Unfortunately, all of these things seem to elude the curious eye in the above picture, but...I'm just letting you know they are there.

My buddies.

Gabe has a current new game that is sort of like the "Why?" game that he's not quite old enough for. It's called "Whazzat?"

"It's a cup, Gabe."
"It's another cup, Gabe."
"It's a window, Gabe."
Ad infinitum.

Gabe has another game that he thoroughly enjoys called "Like A Baby". That's where he gets to do all the "fun" stuff that the baby gets to do. Like rock and cuddle and get raspberries on his tummy, and lay on his back to get his bath. He holds really still for all of this stuff, with a sort of wonderous smile on his face, just experiencing it. This is a picture of him getting tickle kisses to the neck like the baby beside him was getting.

He also thinks that he should probably be able to "feed" (nurse) like the baby, and doesn't seem to think the fact that baby has no teeth and can only drink milk and he has teeth and can eat big boy food is that relevant of an issue. He also, on the flip side, thinks that he should be able to feed the baby himself. He will run over and start pulling his shirt up and saying "I feed baby!" :) Again, the explanation that only mommies can feed babies is of little relevance to him.

This is said baby in his Jumping Thing. :) Note the adorable rolls of leg fat. :) His legs are so squeezy and kissable!! Anyways, he really enjoys jumping in this. He just bounces away happily.

Slice of Life For Today: Gabriel, tearing around naked as a jaybird, screeching the ABC Song, and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star at the very TOP of his lungs and giggling wildly while Israel looks on interestedly and coos appreciatively.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sleep Deprivation

So I'm sitting in the office, listening to Israel screaming in the next room. Today is not the day for sleep. I simply feel at my wits end, and don't really know quite what to do. Last night, Israel woke up at least every 45 minutes, often 10 minutes after I laid him down again. All night. Then this morning he napped for about 25 minutes, and was up until I laid him down about 1:45 PM, and then he was up again in 25 minutes. I nursed him back to sleep, and when I laid him down he woke right back up. Gabe has not been napping well recently either, and was yelling in his bed across the hall, and I marched right over there with steel in my voice and a glint in my eye, and let Israel cry. I let him cry earlier today, when I knew he was tired, and it seemed to upset him so much that it took a while to calm him down - he only calmed down when I gave him formula out of a bottle (nice, child, nice), and then carried him around over my shoulder. But. It is now 2:18, and Israel is asleep, after only about 5 minutes of crying. Praise You, Jesus!!!! And Gabe is still awake, and crabby, with purple shadows under his eyes, despite stories before bed, despite pacifiers, despite warm milk, despite warnings of impending spanks.

It really leaves you feeling as if you are teetering on the fragile edge of sanity, your arms literally shaky and weak from frustration, after 20 minutes of exhausted pre-nap screaming from your 4 month old, and continued refusals to sleep from Gabe. Yesterday, he was in his crib - happily, mind you - for two hours without sleeping, whilst I lay semi-comatose on the couch. I got him up eventually, and then he fell asleep on the couch.
It's not that he's ready to go without a nap, because he will sleep for 3 hours still when he does fall asleep. It's just that he won't go to sleep! Between exhaustion and frustration, I could easily burst into tears. Or simply go huddle in the nearest corner and rock back and forth while talking happily to my imaginary friend.

So, therefore, it seems we may have to go the crying route for this wee one. I didn't have to do it with Gabe, but this ABSOLUTELY cannot continue, or I will age at the approximate speed of 1 year per day.
On the nice husband, side, however, Tim let me sleep until 11. Blessed husband.
This is Israel's favorite toy right now. It was a gift from his Aunt Melody, and has inspired many prolonged minutes of big-eyed, O-mouthed, huffy breathed arm waving.
All frustrations aside, what cutie-pies these babies are! Yesterday, when I was taking bread out of the toaster, Gabriel said "Mommy! That bread is cute!" :) He also wanted to go to the store to find Granddaddy. His favorite activities: going to church, going to the store, and going to get a cheeseboga'.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My lips are numb. I've been sitting here for about 10 minutes making "Bbbbbbbbbb" rolly-lip noises while humming tunes and bouncing Israel in the bouncer with my right foot. But the unthinkable has happened and he has actually fallen asleep with minimal effort, numb lips aside. Bbbbbbb.

Fusser has been mite fussy recently for some reason. Yesterday when I worked, he didn't sleep much at all, but today he slept this afternoon for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. I was very glad for him. My beloved husband let me sleep, too, for about 2 hours, and took over the all-important Sustaining the Baby's Sleep activities. Two blessed hours. This is how I know he loves me. Actually, that was my day before Valentine's Day gift too, even though it wasn't meant for that purpose. Honestly, it made me feel more cared for than about anything else could have.

I've just gotten so tired again. The other night Israel woke about 6-7 times due to congestion and an unbeknownst wet shirt, and then the night after that I had to work, and he woke up for the second time at about 5 and kept waking up so that I couldn't go back to sleep until I had to get up at 6, and then I worked a 12 hour shift that can somehow EXHAUST me. I fell asleep in my chair last night, I was so tired.

Today in church the worship team sang "I Need Thee Every Hour", and in the chorus "I need Thee, oh I need Thee, EVERY HOUR I need Thee," that phrase was my amen-and-amen-and-amen. We are so in survival mode.

On a lighter note - so my 4 month old and my 2 1/2 year old are now one diaper size apart. Oh, yes. Israel is in a size 4 diaper, and Gabe is in 5's. :) Someone around here is a mite tubby. Actually, Gabe is pretty lean, so that is one reason.

And now I'm going to go check on the Oscar's....Toodles.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Sometimes I have to wonder a mite dubiously at my intelligence quotient. For example. I constantly shake my head at how astonished I am after I spent a morning working in the kitchen, cleaning it up, after which I make lunch, wander out of the kitchen, wander back in and am absolutely stupified at how in the world it got messy again. This seems to be a lesson I have a very hard time learning. Keeping a house clean requires MAINTENANCE, and there is this little part of my brain that files my housework away under the title of "Projects", signaling to me that when I am done doing the dishes, there will be no more to do for a significant period of time. Project complete. Except 20 minutes later I all of a sudden have a new sinkful. This is most distressing. Where, exactly, am I supposed to find the energy for cleaning the kitchen up all over again right after I just cleaned it? Most people seem to have this down pat and accept this as a fact of life. I seem to be the exception to the rule.

*Today Gabriel woke up and snuggled in the covers with me, rousing himself to say sleepily but certainly "Gamma and Gandaddy comin' tommowo." Can't disappoint the Grandchild, now, folks, can we.....? :) Tonight Tim was talking to Gabriel in the bathtub, and after he would say something there would be a slight pause, and then Gabriel would nod his head knowingly and say “’Zactly. ‘Zactly.”

This is Gabriel's "football helmet" that he likes to wear when he is playing "football".

*Tim and I have moved up in housing accomodations. We have transferred from the living room floor to the pull-out couch. A little foretaste of heaven, that mattress. Like I was telling Mom, even though a large portion of the world sleeps on the ground, it remains decidedly hard and unyielding. A large portion of the world also wipes with their hand after using the bathroom, and as I have no desire to sympathetically experience that, I think I'm done with my cultural experiences for the month.

*Israel has also moved up to the crib mattress. The cradle was starting to be a bit snug. He has also been talking loudly the past two days. “AAAHHHHHH. EHHHHH.” And the whole decision to stop with the people food? Seems we have a mutiny in the troops, and so tonight he worked eagerly and insistently on some squash, and then screamed bloody murder when Mom decided he was done.

He's just starting to almost raise himself on his arms. He will tuck his arms underneath him.

Smiley the Elf

*Gabe has been singing entire verses to songs. Cute as a button. One of my personal favorites is "Chicken po, Chicken po" (Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells). He is currently greatly enjoying my old Bullfrogs and Butterflies cassette tape, especially the "Sunshine" song.

*I am having a highly irritating time finding diapers that don't leak for Israel. When we ran out of our size 3 Costco diapers and transferred to the Walmart ones, the wetting through began, and has continued. Large scowl. I got some size 4 Huggies to try tonight.

*Today I got my eyes examined at Walmart, then wandered blindly through the store, driving home in a perma-squint. (I scorned the coolest-ever sunglasses they sent home with me.) He gave me gentle scoldings because I have been wearing my contacts for EXCESSIVELY longer than I am supposed to, resulting in increased blood vessels in my eyes. Paying for contacts is like paying for tires. Necessary, and so annoying, and so expensive. Just think of all the enjoyable medical bills I could pay off with that money. :) Oh, wait. They're not fun either. Why do I have to spend all my hard-earned money on such things? Where's my vacation in Hawaii, for example. Or my domestic help?

*WHOOO-HOOO!!! It finally snowed around here!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bits and Tids

*I'm having quite a quandry this afternoon - both buddies are finally down, and there is so much I can/should be doing right now, but I feel like I never have time to blog anymore, and it's cathartic! So, here I am.

*We have had quite a time with naps recently, and are finally seeming to get a handle on things. Israel likes to do the 45-minute nap snack thing, which is simply not long enough. Tim has discovered the fine tuned art of patting (The No Cry Sleep Solution - forget who wrote it)- you pat his bottom hard enough that his head bounces gently up towards the top of the cradle, and he will go back to sleep, to nap for about two hours. I, however, unfortunate as it may be, cannot seem to master this technique when I am home alone. Scowl. Ah well, I guess I'll give it another go later.

Now, Gabe's naps are a whole different issue. His problem has been that when he feels himself start to get a little sleepy, he will work himself to a fevered pitch by starting to tear around the house yelling at the top of his lungs, until he skids back to a stop in front of you, panting, eyes feverishly bright and a huge and hyper grin on his face. This generally occurs while I'm nursing Israel, and is highly frustrating. So, borrowing from Dr. Weissbluth's methods (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child - or something like that), I popped him in bed the other day right after he asked for his pacifier, which means he is starting to get tired. Then I marched in there sternly everytime he kept cranking himself back awake. Seriously, he will be yelling and banging the crib with his foot - he has to lay there quietly before he gets tired. So, that worked better. It only took him an hour to go to sleep. And that was not an hour of full quietness, mind you, but of "learning to be quiet". I had just had it. When neither of these boys are napping, not only is it not good for them, it's really bad for your mental well-being! You can't ever recharge!

*I got Gabe these two cute little books out of the library called "Sam Eats A Cookie" and "Sam Goes To The Potty". They have one sentence on one little page, and a picture on the other one. In the "Potty" one, Sam is grouchy about going to the potty, and he is looking at the potty and shaking his finger and saying "Dumb ol' potty!" Tim said yesterday that when he was reading to Gabe and got to that page, Gabe laughed and laughed and laughed, and then later he saw him sitting on the couch with the book open to that one page for the longest time, saying "Dumb ol' potty" and laughing and laughing so hard he fell over backwards. :)

*I brought the 12 month clothes out of the attic last night to get some more PJ's for Israel, and they fit just fine! :) A little extra room, but not a lot.

*When Israel is fussy as I'm getting him dressed after his bath, I found a trick that works everytime. I sing

"Hush little baby, don't say a word;
Mama's going to buy you a Geee-geee-geee.

"If that Geee-geee-gee don't Geeee,
Mama's going to buy you a Bbbbbb-bbbbb-bbbbb" (rolling lips).

"If that bbbbb-bbbb-bbbb don't bbbbb,
Mama's going to buy you a dddhh-ddhhhh-dddhhh" (rolling tongue on roof of mouth).

"If that dddhh-dddhh-dddhhh don't dddhhh,
Mama's going to buy you a Geeeee-Bbbbb-Ddddhhh."

Nothing like an intelligent conversation with your child. :) See, people, THIS is what my world has been reduced to! :) But it's all worth it to hear the happy geeeee's coming out of his mouth. That is his happy talking noise that he's been doing from two months on. I keep being surprised to see him do something developmentally new. You get so used to this lump of person staring at you, and all of a sudden they start talking and grinning and trying to sit up, and you're like - oh yes! There's a little person in there!

*So I tried some cereal with Israel. He was very excited. So excited, in fact, that he got TOTALLY worked up again, yelling angrily at the top of his lungs when it wasn't coming RIGHTNOWRIGHTNOWRIGHTNOW!!!!!!! Good-ness. I decided he can wait a little longer. It's just too much work and screaming for something he doesn't even actually NEED yet.

*Huh! I do believe I successfully patted Israel back to sleep! I'm going to go strut my stuff out to the kitchen now and make supper...

Monday, February 12, 2007


It's understandable, but still a bit disconcerting the day you catch yourself riding the elevator at work, humming:

"I like trucks, I always will;
Big or small, I like them still!
I like trucks, I always will;

Friday, February 09, 2007

Miller Happenings

Long time, no write. So I have a bunch to get caught up on. Currently, I am recovering from, oh yes, the flu. Just what I needed. Ah well. So here's all my miscellaneous happenings. Last Friday night when I was putting Israel to sleep, I noticed that he had a faintly croupy sounding cough. We had to take Gabe to the ER when he was 3 months old with croup, so I thought it could be indications of something we needed to watch. At 2 AM, he woke up crying, and with severe stridor - the crowing noise that you get when the airway is blocked. We rushed him into the bathroom and turned on the hot shower for steam, but it didn't do anything, and it was absolutely terrifying to listen to him struggle to breathe. It only took me a few seconds to decide to call 911, and while we were waiting, we stood out on the porch in the the absolutely freezing air to try to see some improvement, with Israel in his PJ's and a blanket, and me in my bathrobe. The cold air didn't do much either, and he still hadn't quit crying, and his voice seemed so weak and he seemed to really be struggling for about non-stop praying. It seemed to take the ambulance forever to get here, and I rode with him to the hospital. He improved somewhat on the ride, and quit crying at least. At the hospital they gave him a racemic epinepherine nebulizer treatment and a steroid shot, and he went home with a prescription for 3 days of steroids. The nebulizer worked almost right away, just as it had done with Gabe, but when he got back home he still sounded pretty bad, so we made his room really cold and bundled him up nice and warm with a hat and put him to bed, and he slept well. We had a woman who went to our church who had a niece who actually died from croup, so we have been all the more wary because of that.

You will notice in the above paragraph I referred to "his" room. That would be Israel's room, ie. our room. We are both currently sleeping on the living room floor, just for the sake of everyone involved. Our bed is so creaky that it creaks when you lift up a pillow or lift up blankets. Then, when you add two tossing and turning people and one flappy-eared dog...ain't nobody getting any sleep. Before, Israel would wake up, and I would feed him and lay him back down, and then wake him back up by climbing into bed. Maddening is not even the word. We can't put him in with Gabe, because he often goes to sleep before Gabe and Gabe often talks loudly and at length after he goes to bed, and we don't have any other rooms to put him in where we wouldn't be. So. Hello floor.


These are the new pictures of my chillin's. Are they precious or what?

When we went to get them taken, there was a woman there by herself with three young children, one of them a baby, and of course they were having pre-lunch meltdowns, and as I struggled with my own pre-lunch meltdown child, I wished so bad I could help her out. I can't imagine taking two children by myself to get pictures, let alone three. It just takes so long to get through pictures and then picture selection.

Now on to life updates:

Tim - Tim has started his last semester of seminary. He is taking an overload so that he can finish, plus watching the kids while I work, plus still leading worship at church, plus looking for a job. I am pretty sure that this will probably be one of the most stressful periods ever of life for us. He is looking for a pastoring job - we think - probably ideally a teaching pastor job, but probably doesn't exist for him right now. Most of those jobs want to to have "at least 10 years experience with church of 10,000 or greater". Or something like that. :) So pray for him when you think about him, because life is so crazy busy right now.

Carrie - I am just recovered from a 102.1 degree, 24 hour flu that was highly untimely and highly uncomfortable. But praise the Lord that it wasn't a repeat of last year's week-long flu. I am back at work part-time, while trying to keep the house spit-shiny clean on my days off just in case we have a showing. We've only had one so far. I'm not really doing hardly any Mary Kay right now simply because I am so busy from everything else. The thing is, when I go back to work, I have the same amount of things left to get done at home, but 18-24 hours less a week to get them done in. But life is still good. Just really really really busy.

Gabriel - Gabe is a little chatterbox. He talks in complete sentences now, and has been doing so for a month or two. It is so fun and funny to hear what is in his head - when you can understand him. He still requires a lot of deciphering. The other day when we were leaving church he cried and cried, and finally I figured out that he was saying "But I was having a good time! I was having fun!" :) Poor guy! I was surprised that he could articulate all that.

He's also into singing. "Jesus Loves Me", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "Are You Sleeping?", "Mommy Loves Her Baby", and one by Sting and the Police "I Can't Stand Losing You". :) He sings "I can't I can't I can't I can't I can't".

He has started to say "Thank You" on his own - "Cank Yoo, Mommy!" - and it is so sweet. We end up thanking him for saying thank you, just because it makes us so happy to hear it! He also likes to "help". Help cook, help put things in the trash...he actually can be helpful at this stage, which is nice. He also likes to agree - "Dat's wite!" Or, "Yeah, soor (sure)!" He also precedes decisions by "mmmms". "Gabe, do you want an orange?" "Mmmmmmmmmm....OK!" One of the cutest new things is how he asks if he can have something: "Do I want a ____?" :)

Just a week or so ago, he started to pretend. "I'm a monkey! Ooh-ooh! Eee-Eee! I'm a lion! Raow!" One of the more annoying things that he pretends is that he is the Cookie Monster, who he saw on Sesame Street, who "eats" his cookies, when they are actually just falling out the sides of his puppet mouth. So Gabe likes to TRY to be Cookie Monster with all sorts of items: cookies, pretzels, apples...which involves him growling and shoveling items into his mouth to chew a few times and then let them fall out the sides. Lovely. After the first few times of this experience, however, we all learned together that Gabe is not a Cookie Monster. Gabe is Gabe, Gabe is a Big Boy, and Gabriel will eat his current goodies as such.

The most frustrating aspect of taking care of him continues to be the whole physical interaction with Israel. Gabe likes him so much, and wants to express affection in so many ways, but so many of them are not appropriate yet, but he just doesn't understand. Yesterday, while standing at the couch with Israel in his bouncer, Gabe leaned down to give him a "loving" head-bump with his own head - and it was way too hard. He is so physically boisterous, that we have lots of rules around here. No jumping on the couch. No somersaulting on the couch. No somersaulting from the couch to the floor. No jumping off the arm of the couch to land in a somersault on the couch and wind up on the floor. Same for the bed. Man, we're strict. :)

Israel - Israel has turned into the happiest little sweetest smiler you may ever find. He is so precious! He is also a big boy! When they weighed him at the hospital last Saturday, at 3 months and 2 1/2 weeks, he was 17.5 pounds. And I have the muscles to prove it! :) He was wearing a twelve-month outfit the other day, and it fit just fine!

The past two weeks he has really been looking at things, and last week he started the partial sit-up, where he really tries to crank himself upwards so he can see better. He also is really batting at things, and checking them out. This is a picture of him focusing on something while Tim was holding him. He was mostly cross-eyed!

For about two weeks, Israel has insisted on being held while we are eating, by fussing and fussing in the bouncer, and quieting immediately and sitting contentedly when I held him in my lap while we ate. Well, last week, after Tim gave him a few licks of ice cream, he became very adamant that he needed tastes of what we were eating. I just touch it to his tongue or give him a little sauce and he laps his little tongue. It is so funny. Gabe was like him, too - showing interest in food really early on. Today, when we were eating, he got so worked up that I finally let him suck on a piece of bread, and then it was all over from there. He just SCREAMED in anger when I took it away from him. He cried and cried and cried. Same thing this afternoon when I was eating an orange. He got all worked up, agitated, fussing, arms whirling, legs kicking watching me eat my orange. When I squeezed just a little juice in his mouth, he's then crying like his little heart is going to break unless I give him more. A bit more, and he's happy. And then he sees me eat more, and he is screaming. Not fussy. Yelling at the top of his lungs. Until I give him more. Repeat scenario multiple times. So today we're going to go buy some baby cereal. Better for baby tummies.

He's been sleeping pretty good usually. He falls asleep around 9:30 and sleeps until around 2 or 3 or 4. He really is such a cuddle-munchkin. He smiles with his whole body.

So. I think that I have written a long enough book that now I am going to go make lunch. Toodles!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

One of those days

Ok. It’s 1:45 and Gabe just went down for a nap, so I’m going to take Israel and run to town to do some shopping while Tim runs on the treadmill and then works here on job stuff…except Gabe isn’t quite asleep yet, so I will wait until he goes to sleep until I leave…and now Israel is falling asleep, so I guess I won’t go to town, but Tim can leave and go get the books that he needs at school when he is done running…but now Gabe is still awake and it is 2:40, so Tim is getting him back up and he is tearing out into the living room at full speed as I sneak past with a sleeping Israel, who I lay gently down in his cradle…and back out to the living room where I decide that Gabe and I should go downstairs to do some laundry…except the creak of the dryer door and the noise of the chair in the office where Tim is sitting wake up Israel…so back up the steps we go to get the baby up…so I decide to sweep the hardwood floor which works fine until I’m halfway done and decide that it is 3:20 and Gabe absolutely needs to go down for his nap, so back down he goes…and then it’s me and Israel again, who I vainly bounce in his bouncer for a while in an attempt to get him back to sleep, and finally decide we will go and make supper and wash up some dishes, as it is 4:00, until I am done with the dishes and Israel is not happy, so I pick him up and wonder if it would be possible to make supper while I am carrying him…I really wanted to make some ham and cheese quiche, so maybe I’ll get all the ingredients in one place and then sit him back in his bouncer so I can bounce him while I work…except I don’t have salad dressing or eggs…so no quiche tonight…now what do I make?...oh, yes, apple crisp...but I only have one apple...and now Israel is asleep and it is 4:30, so I go lay him down. Now, what was I doing?...and now it's 1/2 hour later and Israel is awake again, and Gabe is yelling across the hall...if you need me, I'll be across the way, methodically and thoughtfully pulling the remaining three hairs out of my head.