Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Party Animal

Steve and I went to the vet today for a cut on his ear.

The vet, excited about New Year's Eve, decided Steve needed a party hat. As you can see, Steve looks quite dashing.

Steve is a trooper, but something tells me he's not in a party mood. Poor kitty.

WW #8 - Now that's dedication to Hope!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Uncle Heath

Erin's favorite person, possibly even above and beyond Mom and Dad, seems to be Uncle Heath. 
From day one (yes, he was there along with all her grandparents) she took a liking to him and it's only grown stronger over these last 14 and a half months.  During this last visit to see Grammy, Grandpa (or Papa - it's still TBD) and Uncle Heath, Erin made it abundently clear she will seek demand Heath's lap for reading a book or arms for cuddling.

 It's interesting how little kids can pick up on things with a natural grace and instinct. Because Heath, adorned in all his metal and ink, is gentle and generous, knows no enemies, has a great sense of humor and a big heart. 

Monday, December 29, 2008


This Holiday season provided many opportunities to practice her present opening skills.
After the first few, she got the hang of it and went to town.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Does this count?

OK, OK, OK. So I'm trying to blog every day for the second consecutive month. I've been diligent getting the posts in by the midnight deadline except for today. So I'm backdating this one. It's probably cheating, but oh well.

On an slightly related note we drove back from our Christmas visits, leaving at 6:29 pm on 12/28 and getting into town at 5:24 AM 12/29. Phew. Luckily Lil' E slept nearly the entire time. Luckily at least one parent was up for the entirety of the trip. And luckily the mounds of snow P-town received last week are reduced to the occasional mere teeny, gritty piles by the side of the road.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mommy Brain Strikes Again

We took a trip to meet up with BFF#1 (for 29 years) and BFF#2 (for 24 years). Both have little twins. One set was born on Erin's 1st b-day this year. McMillerPDX arrived at precisely the correct time..... only one day late.

Sorry, S, H, B, J, K, I, D, and Z.  

Friday, December 26, 2008

Light dinner conversation

The conversation meandered, while savoring our red velvet cake and homemade fudge, to the topic of baby names. Although no babies were anticipated amongst the company it proved to be a lively subject. After exhausting the regular list (Kristen vs. Kirsten) and even wandering into the unlikely territories (Oona and Ea, anyone?) the conversation came to a pause.

Brian: You can always use one of our unused cat names. "Robot" was one.

Ms. A: "Ham Sandwich" was the other.

There were no takers.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Dear loyal McMillerPDX blog reader:
I got you the best present I could think of: 

We wish you all happiness, health, love, and hope.
Love, Ms. A, Brian and Erin.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Today's favorite cookbook

My current favorite cookbook is Firehouse Food: Cooking with San Francisco's Firefighters.  For those who didn't know, Ms. A's older brother is a firefighter for San Francisco. 

I've tried several recipes including crab cakes, chocolate chip cookies, "free" cake, Firehouse 11 Cioppino, Bob's oven-fried chicken, red gumbo and ceasar salad.  All were winners.  All were incredibly flavorful and very straightforward.  Take the chocolate chip cookie recipe: put everything but the chocolate chips into the bowl.  Mix well.  Add chocolate chips.  How much easier could it be? Plus since these recipes were intended to feed a crowd they are easily multiplied. 

Also the intro talks about life as a firefighter, especially the meals which appears to be a very important part. Plus, a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Surviving Families Fund of San Francisco Firefighters Local 798.  Tasty and heartwarming.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Eucalyptus Splendor

We took a stroll along a beautiful street by Ms. A's parent's house - Eucalyptus Street.  Much like Peacock Lane, houses seek to put on a fantastic show of lights, bright moving reindeer and even snow packed in from the Sierras to make a small sled run.  There was a Santa, so Erin took the opportunity to have a seat and ask for a few things, much like her friends, friend, and friend (and some more friends who do not choose to blog):

A few more houses down she saw another seat, amongst a gaggle of Grinches, so she next sat with them and tried to get them to smile. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Giddy up!

Erin is now savvy to piggyback rides.

Dad is getting a lot more exercise.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

McMiller Christmas 2008

Due to upcoming travel plans, Christmas came early to the McMiller household. A hearty dinner of pasta carbonara, spinach salad and wine was followed by an orgy of presents.

I secretly just wanted to teach Erin how to properly open presents before the "big day".

Friday, December 19, 2008



Sparks-aritas will never be the same.

Who does no. 2 work for?

It's that time already.... Erin is using the potty! She expressed an interest in it a few weeks ago so in the morning, after a quick snack, off come the jammies and she gets to sit down for a short spell. Most of the time nothing happens. But the last 3 mornings - (3 in a row!*) - she did the big stuff in the bowl! We're so proud.

* now I know I've jinxed it, and she probably won't do it again for another year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Christina!

Love, your #1 fan, Erin.

Top-notch science of 2008

Well, maybe not top-notch, but noteworthy nonetheless. 

This years 2008 IgNoble awards came and went with out much fanfare.  Lest these groundbreaking experiments go unnoticed I bring you a few highlights:

Medicine prize: high-priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine. 

Economics prize: ovulating professional lap dancers earn higher tips than when not ovulating. 

and my personal favorite....

Chemistry Prize: Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide. Now what made them wanna try that?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

...perchance to dream?

Well, bottom molars are working their way through (tooth #10 and 11 for those keeping track - only 9 to go!). This translates to lots of missed sleep at Casa de McMiller. Sigh. I think back to the first month or so with Lil' E and her Angry Badger persona. At least now when she cries for two hours in the middle of the night we know what is bothering her and we can try to ameliorate the discomfort. Somehow it makes the loss of sleep a little easier.

When I am in charge of The Way Things Work I will make all teething happen in 1 week, and put all babies on morphine. I'm just glad she'll have no memory of it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Lucy Charlotte

Your colorful style brightens this world.
 Happy Birthday!! (plus 2 days).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow Day Recap

Brian and Erin in Snow

David and Anneke in Snow

On Dealing With Growing Toddlers

Brian to Erin: "Quit looking at me with those all-comprehending eyes. You're too young. It's creeping me out."

Erin in front of Tree

Recipe corner: Gingerbread cupcakes

Snow days require gingerbread cupcakes. Recipe here.

Actually, these are for a cake walk at the Christmas Party at Erin's school today. Considering the snow and road closures, we may have to have a mini cake walk here. Mmmmm.... cupcakes.

Update: These cupcakes pack a serious ginger bite. 1/4c fresh grated ginger along with lots of dried spices makes them deliciously pungent.

Traffic Update

Chains are currently required on all highways in the Portland metro area. I-5 southbound and Highway 26 westbound are closed due to accidents and stranded cars.

We have new next-door neighbors who just moved from Colorado. They must be laughing their socks off.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Snow day!!

Snow on the valley floor is a once-every-few-years occurrence, so this is pretty exciting.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Zoolights 2008

Thursday night we went with Mary, Matt, Lucy and Alex to the zoo to behold the spectacular that is Zoo Lights.  

Erin was entranced by the sea of lights floating in the darkness.

We went on a train ride, we drank hot chocolate, we saw the new baby elephant, and we had a wonderful time.  

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ooey Gooey Good

Indoor S'mores:

Serves 1:
put two halves of a graham cracker on a cookie sheet.
Put a piece of chocolate on each graham cracker
Put a marshmallow on top.
Put under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes (depending on how brown/burnt you like your marshmallow.


Optional: put second half of a graham cracker on top, smooshing everything down to a totally goopirific sweet sticky mess.
So good.

Time for a nice cold one.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up....

... to be cowgirls*!
Just kidding.  Erin can be a cowgirl.  As long as she goes to college.

*Shannon, this one is for you.  Just wanted to show we're raising her right. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

iKid in 2 acts

Just how long does it take to initiate a toddler into the iPod crowd? 


Here's where it clicks.  Erin is good at sharing. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

New contender for most disgusting research

I'll never complain about the nature of  my lab work again. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

She picks out her own clothes

Just gotta get this drawer open....

Fish out what's inside....

...OK, Mom. Ready to go Christmas shopping! 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Good bird, bad bird

DATE NIGHT!  Last night B and I went on a bona-fide date, thanks to the folks at Big Dutch Baby who watched Erin ate dinner and drank egg nog while Erin slept.  

We started by feeling ultra hip at the Doug Fir then off to a fancy smanchy dinner at a new-ish hot place in town, Le Pigeon.  I'd seen mixed reviews. but we gave it a 9/10 on all counts.  Service was amazing, our meals were delicious and best of all we didn't have to do the dishes. I appreciate this more and more these days. All this and we were in bed by 10:30.

But then 1 am came around.  And so did both of our dinners.  We're now on the 24-hour pre-holiday weight loss plan. Ugh. 

Friday, December 5, 2008

Speaking of Dāna

This time of year is always ripe with opportunities for generosity, kindness and love.  So howza bout a little metta for this guy too as he begins his road towards healing? 

Thursday, December 4, 2008


In the latest attempt to get in shape, Ms. A is recording Adrienne Reed's Power Yoga and doing a session a couple nights a week.  Tonight we did "airplanes".  I've done Yoga at different points in my life, mostly Vinyasa full of long sun salutation series, breathing and balance poses.  Ms. Reed's yoga is like Vinyasa after 8 cups of coffee. I totally recommend it. 

The highlight from "airplanes" was a warrior II pose, bent at waist, arms stretched forwards.  B and I had positioned ourselves so I got a good goose in.

To reward our efforts we are now enjoying a gin-infused beverage and watching Bear Grylls.  Talk about fast times at McMillerPDX. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First kiss

It had to happen sometime.  But I never thought it would happen in the ladybug tent.  Sigh.  They grow up so fast. 

Monday, December 1, 2008

Upside-down plug

Grammy, remind you of anyone?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Food Review: TJ's Sea Salt Caramels

The good folks at Life at the Condo introduced Ms. A to the concept of salted caramels.  Seeing a box of these at Trader Joe's she decided to try some (note: the packaging is different this year, as is the price).  The dark chocolate exterior gave way to ooey gooey caramel in the center.  On top was a generous sprinkle of large-grain salt, apparently all the way from the dead sea.  They seemed quite tasty, although Ms. A is by no means a connoisseur of these things.  But for whatever it's worth, there are only two left.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nighttime routine addition

Our pre-bedtime routine now includes reading.  Lots of reading. We must go through the entire stack of books. Luckily they're baby books and thus contain an average of 15 words/book.  And we don't typically make it all the way to the end of each story.  I'm just happy we have a reader. 
p.s. The cool thing Erin and Brian are sitting on is a blow-up sea turtle cushion from IKEA, one of the many items purchased during this trip.
p.p.s. Ms. A is participating in NaBloPoMo, hence the copious postings.  We will return to a more normal rate of a few posts a week in December.  I've made it this far - can't stop now!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Word of the Day

poopagenic (püp'-ə-je'-nik): adj.
1: Causing frequent stools. "Erin just at a bunch of raisins. We're going to have to watch out, because those things are, uh, poopagenic."

Adventures in eating

This year, Ms. A's dad decided to make Ma Stambergs Cranberry Relish for Thanksgiving. The results were interesting. Here are the reviews:

Brian: Outstanding
Grammy: Barf
Pop pop: 2.4
Heath: OK
Caroline: Tastes like coleslaw
Ms. A: *cough* *gasp* That's food?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Amusing Child

Feeding time at the zoo

OK, OK, just one more video for today:


Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Morning Paperwork

We no longer dread Monday mornings.

Expert videography by Brian.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Auntie Tina observed on Friday that Erin is a fancy girl. Yes, she is. Not only does she enjoy purses, shoes and hats, she now knows all about jewelry.

Here she is modeling her beads and pearl bracelet. Yes, a real pearl bracelet. (Thank you, Laurel and family)

And here she is wearing her favorite piece, a plastic ring she slips on and off her wrist. She wore it tonight for 3 hours and protested when we tried to take it off.

She is her mother's Grammy's granddaughter for sure!