Sunday, December 30, 2007

The second child?

That's right - we had to adjust the settings on our TiVo so as to ensure the shows we actually watch are being recorded and not deleted.  What did we change? Did we add more educational shows that expand our minds?  Did we include extra news programming to increase our understanding of our world?  No.   We made certain we would not miss a single episode of Reno 911.  Darn you, Lieutenant Dangle and your cheetah-like short shorts!  
Mind you, we do not have fancy cable - limited basic is our choice - and thus do not get Comedy Central.  We rely on late-night reruns on some local channel.  Can you imagine the high-quality programming we would be recording if we did have expanded cable? 

Second most embarrassing confession of this blog post is Lil' E seems to really like watching TV.  Especially Reno 911.  It's going to be an early, high-quality education for this little one. 

Monday, December 24, 2007

What?! Don't Tell Me You're Still Checking For Updates Manually!

Gentle reader, are you still checking this site regularly for updates? That's obsessive compulsive behavior, friend! Why not get your lazy on and subscribe to the blog?

You've got a few choices:
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  • By using a web-based aggregator like Google Reader, so you can read your favorite blogs wherever you are, even when you're say, on Christmas vacation.
  • By using some other aggregator like your email client or browser. However, this choice is a little too high-tech for me to figure out.

Check the "Subscribe" sidebar on the right-hand side of this page for instructions.

Never worry about missing a hilarious and touching McMiller PDX post again!

A view from the couch.

"Coasters, family! Use your coasters!"

It only took two months.

Many, many, many thanks to those over at the condo for helping us to remember what it's like to be social creatures. Delicious lingering multi-course dinner, excellent conversation, fantastic ice wine.... all while having fun with two little cuddle monkeys (this refers to the babies, not the kitties, although they were fairly cuddly too). 

Erin and Henry got along famously and Lil' H was very generous in sharing his toys, changing table (used about 5 times in one evening) and spare clothing.  If you, gentle reader, are intending to reproduce I strongly recommend timing it so that you give birth within days of another couple.  That way when you want to get together for a dinner, you have someone else with a baby at nearly the same stage.  No more awkwardness as the critters cry for milk every half-hour or decide to explode in their trousers while the moms and dads are enjoying their appetizers.  It's all part of normal life! 

 For those who are interested in going go chocolate heaven, try these Chocolate Baby Cakes.  Note: when putting them in the oven directly from the fridge, add 3 min. or so to the baking time.  Although if you don't the resulting soup is still tasty as Mr. D can attest.  They go especially well with homemade vanilla ice cream (props to Ms. C!)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Miracle: 650 Miles in 13 Hours

Road Trip!
We've arrived!  We've traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area to see family for Christmas.  We packed up the car last night, awoke at 3am, fed Erin, put her in her carseat, and then headed south.  Ms. A and I had these nightmares that Erin would be extremely unhappy about being in the car for 12+ hours, but she was a total champ. She slept until almost the Oregon border, then slept for long stretches after that -- she probably slept for 9 of the 13 hours.  And she slept like a super-champ last night, too.  I'm sure fate will make us pay of this karma debt at some point, but for right now we're just enjoying our good fortune.

In-Flight Entertainment
We hadbeautiful weather -- clear skies, snow over the pass, and dry roads.  A very pretty day for a drive.  We loaded up the iPod that Ms. A got me for Christmas with all the NPR podcasts we could get our grubby hands on.  The special treat we had in the morning was listening to podcasts of Bob Edward's show from XM.  Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne, I'm sure you're nice people and all, but man, you sure are no Bob Edwards.  Especially you, Steve.  You're a stinker.  Just report the news.  Don't try to be clever.

Disco Party
When Erin was awake, we rocked out at Club Nano.  I think the White Stripes was Erin's favorite:

Miles: 654
Time: 12:34:22
Hours Erin spent sleeping: 9
Feedings: 4
Times Erin went pee: 5
Times Brian went pee: 7+ 

Monday, December 17, 2007


The time came for the dreaded 2-month Wellbaby doctor visit. Why is this so feared? It involves receiving 4, count them, 4 injections into a critter's chubby little legs. Ouch! My, my did Erin use her lungs. As a mother, one never wants to belittle her child's pain, but it was just a little funny how red she got - not just her normal red-face cry but the entire body.  Thankfully her misery only seemed to last a few minutes and she was soon soothed back to her happy, bubble-blowing-lip smiley self. She was a champ.

Some stats for those who are interested:
Weight: 12 lbs 8 ozs (75th percentile)
Height: 23" (75th percentile)
Head circumference: 41 cm. (90th percentile - no wonder she has a hard time "turtling" on her tummy!)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Unlikely friends

This seems like a cool lab to work in.  Who could ever be sad with these guys as research subjects?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

McMiller Technology Update

New Box!

So, around 8:30pm on Saturday, we decided that Erin was calm enough for... for bed? for having a story read to her? for cuddling? No. We decided that she was ready to head out into 30F weather and biting winds to go to the mall and replace our old Dell with an iMac.

It went something like this: after a restful evening, apropos of nothing:

Me: "Hey... want to go get a computer?"
Ash: "Hell, yeah!"

Feelin' Quite Unhip

The Apple story was hilarious. No employee there was over 17 years old. All were so hip I felt like I was back in high school the minute we walked in the door. Instead of saying "Hello! May I help you?" they said things like "Hey, what up? You got questions about that iPod?"

So, we walk in, we're sort of in a hurry to get back home. I just want to pick up our box and go. So, I look for someone to talk to. Ah! I spy a counter. People behind counters can help, right? Wrong. That's the tech support desk. "Oh, this is the help desk. You'll want to talk to people out on the floor." OK, sure. So, I go to someone in an Apple shirt who looks available, "Hi, I'm looking to by an iMac.". "Oh, sorry, I'm the iPod guy, I can't help you with the computer that's 4 feet away. I'll get someone to come help you."

iPod guy: "Why don't you go post up by the Mac you want, and I'll get someone to come help."
Me, not understanding "post up": "Excuse me?"
iPod guy: "Go post up by the Mac."
Me: "Yeah, I'll just go post up by the Mac I want."

Sadly, and very unhiply, I scurried home to go look up "post up" on Urban Dictionary. Oh, the shame of it all!!

Want to Talk to Erin?

The pic above is a snapshot from our first video chat with Grandma and Grandpa McFeely. Anyone who wants to see live video coverage of the most beautiful baby in the world, just send me an email and we'll hook you up.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ms. A's Christmas Surprise

Ms. A, while reading a bill she just received for the labor and delivery: "Yeesh, I guess my Christmas present this year is going to be an epidural."

Hands are for Grabbing

A short video of Erin and a favorite toy. After reaching, trying to grasp for a few minutes, she successfully got hold of the duck. As you can see, she was very pleased with the results. (disclaimer: this video is probably only of interest to the Grandparents or child development researchers.) Let's hear it for motor skill development!

Back to School

Week 1 for Erin in daycare, and she handled it like a champ. She looked at all the other babies, heard some riveting storytelling, napped quite a bit, and learned to eat well from someone other than Mom.

The end of each day we received documentation of all her biological functions for that day. This morning Ms. A put together a flow-chart to see if any patterns are emerging. None so far but that prompted a cry of "NERD!" from Mr. B.

An unexpected side effect from this experience is her newfound desire to go to bed early, sleep alone in her crib for most of the night, and to be exceedingly happy and cuddly when awake. (Pictured here: a good morning nap in the crib.) Three cheers for Daycare! If anyone is in the market, we can now recommend YMCA. They rock.

Turkey Day 2007

Thanksgiving came and went, the first the McMillers have hosted. Ms. A's parents and brother Heath made a sojourn to P-town for the occasion. Also in attendance were some folks from A's lab and the neighbors/best friends D & C. Ms. A and "Grammie" put together a feast and amazingly nothing went amiss - the turkey was moist, the stuffing delicious, and was topped off with a decadent chocolate mocha cake brought by N & M. A crackling fire warmed the room and much delicious wine warmed the guests. Hopefully a good time was had by all.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Life At The Zoo

Pretty cute, yeah? So, we've gone through a few critical transitions since our last serious talk here at McMiller PDX:

Angry Badger
For the first month, this was about all we got. Typical activity here was that Erin would be asleep, with a don't-f-with-me wrinkle in her brow, and it would be time to take her to bed, or to move her, or whatever. Ms. A and I would both look at each other and wordlessly think the same thing: no way am I going to disturb the Angry Badger, you do it. You see, for me at least, after many years in the Boy Scouts and as a weekend woodsman, I have learned that you never, ever approach a wild animal, or awaken a sleeping one. This could result in grave bodily harm, or, in Erin's case, damaged parental eardrums, lost sleep, and sore feet from walking her around for hours.

Well, that particular side of Erin changed over the period of a week. Suddenly, a few weeks ago, we had a new animal on our hands:

Growly Bear
I love the Growly Bear. Growly Bear is still a wild animal, but an adorable one. Unlike the unpredictable and ferocious Angry Badger, the Growly Bear will cry in an endearing fashion only when she needs something. In this mode, she's got the kind of toothless growl that you want to humor, "Oh, yes, you're very ferocious, I know. Now let's get you out of these poopy diapers." You see? Nothing to fear.

Then, our little lady metamorphosed yet again in the past week:

Cuddle Monkey
This is a unique animal. She interacts with you. She'll smile when you smile. About once a day we even have real conversations. Seriously. Well, the kind of conversation where the sounds you make don't generally involve the lips or the tongue. She's got "ah-goo" and "ah-poo" down pretty pat, and can coo like no one's business. She'll respond when we talk, just like we respond when she talks. She enjoys hearing books being read, hearing songs sung, or just having someone play with her, usually by having her toys give her smooches, "Mmmm-wah!"

We generally see the Cuddle Monkey in the morning, and mostly Growly Bear in the afternoons. Angry Badger, not to be forgotten, makes a semi-regular appearance but usually doesn't stay too long. It's a nice little zoo we have here.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sage Advice

After what seemed like Erin's twentieth feeding of the day, after which she was still not sated, I busted out my first gem o' wisdom in her young life.

"Sweetie, there's no more boob for you. No more boob! Life is not a series of boobs, Erin!"

Get ready, Erin, poppa's got tons of these little nuggets of wisdom ready to drop!

Another Track From Our Forthcoming CD Of Inappropriate Children's Songs

Sung to the tune of that "Good Night Ladies" song:

Someone's got a dirty butthole,
someone's got a dirty butthole,
someone's got a dirty butthollllllle,
and that person is Erin.

I'm not sure why Ash and I are always singing during diaper changes, but it sure makes it, um, fun.