Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

As told in pictures. It was great. We had good food too, but we were too busy eating to take pictures of that.

Get the flash player here:

P.S. These events occurred over three days.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Robin June 10 months

Mohawk baby

Robin is a fabulous, energetic 10 months! She crawls, she signs, she pulls herself to standing. She tells jokes, in her baby way. She is our little wiggles and giggles.

21 lbs - 75%
29" - 75%
46 cm head - 90%

I have a lot of catch up to do with Robin's weekly photos... and apparently I got off one week so I missed her half-in/half-out day. But so it goes.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Might as well JUMP!

Here's some fun from Thanksgiving night.

Photos courtesy of Uncle Dave.
No children were injured in the making of these photos.

Get the flash player here:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Robin - 40 weeks and adenoids!

Today Robin is 40 weeks old. This is the "standard" time it takes to grow a baby from one diploid cell to a breathing person. So, it was only fitting that we celebrate by another trip to the hospital.

 Robin has always been a snorty, snoring baby. She snores louder than anyone else in the family, and often will pause in her breathing during sleep only to cry. She does this every 40 minutes to an hour. All night. Nearly every night. Often, I have her sleep on my chest, with me propped in an upright position. Many nights, Brian will take her in the early morning hours in the Ergo so I can get some sleep. I know babies sleep, well, like babies, but we thought this was a bit extreme. A quick trip to the ENT confirmed our suspicions: the kid has enlarged adenoids. Well, really I should say "had" because this morning the nice doctor took them out.  As she was coming out of her sleepy anesthesia, we immediately noticed her little snorty breathing sound now sounds clear.  We're hoping to all get much more sleep.  And Brian is looking forward to resuming his title as "loudest snorer in the house".

Get the flash player here:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Helping Dad kill ants in the crawlspace

Helping Dad with the crawlspace

Lyrics by Erin

Puff the magic dragon
lived by the sea
and frolicked in the octopus
in electric in a sea.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Blogging Completed

And thus concludes a full month of blogging.

I'll leave you this month with one silly picture of Robin in an adorable outfit that really didn't fit at all. But I couldn't help but squeeze her into it for a photo op.  Then I had fun with iPhoto:

RJ 36 weeks

Oh, and Robin is officially crawling.  But she still doesn't have to most of the time, because Erin just brings her the toys she wants.  Siblings are cool that way.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday commerce

Thanks to glorious free shipping offered by most online vendors today, we have most of our holiday shopping completed.  However, since a good chunk of our gifts this year will be handmade, we still have a looooooooong way to go.  I wish I could share with you what we're making, but it'll have to wait till after Christmas.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer

We all got some chocolate See's turkeys from Grandma and Great-Grandma for Thanksgiving.  After the kids went to bed tonight, the following exchange occurred:

Dr. A: You want some chocolate?
Me: Naw.
Dr. A: I'm going to have Robin's [chocolate turkey].
Me: You're going to steal a baby's chocolate?!
Dr. A [leading]: Well, she's, you know, going to get some chocolate milk.
Me: [...moronically long pause...]
Me: Ohhhhhhh! Yeah.  Nice.  Clever.
Dr. A: [Patronizing sigh] Yeah.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cousins in Jammies

The neat thing about our Thanksgiving trip to San Diego was that the girls got to see some of their cousins, one brand new, one just far away.  In order of ascending height: Megan, Robin, Liam, Erin.  Matching PJ's courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa.  It was so neat to see them all interact in their age-appropriate ways.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Just a bit more on San Diego Thanksgiving

The turkey was amazing, all the sides were wonderful.  Uncle Matt and Aunt Sharon, with a 2 month old Megan, were very brave and generous to host so many people in their lovely house.  But two more things I have to share about San Diego and why it's such an awesome place:

1. The beach. Even though a cold spell had temperatures at an unseasonable low of mid-60's, it was perfect beach weather.

2. Mexican food.  Delicious, nontraditional Mexican food.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

San Diego Zoo!

Over Thanksgiving weekend, we hit up the San Diego zoo.  We caught a glimpse of these rare, wild animals:

It was really a cool zoo.  Really, really big.  The meerkats, polar bears, elephants, and orangutans were a huge hit, but we missed seeing the bonobos.  Gotta leave something for the next visit, right?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Robin June 38 weeks/9 months!

Our little busy bee keeps getting busier.  There seems to have been a huge shift in the last few weeks where her awareness and engagement with the world has really taken off.  Someone was telling me about a huge developmental burst right around the 9 month mark.  Anyone who has more info on that can send it my way.

She's started talking.  Well, in sign language at any rate. Her favorite word is "dog" and is excited to share her newfound knowledge. She is still working on crawling properly, but can get around just fine by rolling, scooting, and wriggling.  She can go from her tummy to sitting.  This is all to Erin's dismay as Robin now presents new competition for the choice toys. And she can pull herself to a stand, as shown in the video above.  This is not her most graceful attempt here but it was the one caught on video.  In the past three days she's become much more proficient.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's a very San Diego Thanksgiving

Carne asada burritos, here we come! 

Wish us luck on our overnight drive.  Trust me, sleeping awkwardly in the car in shifts is significantly preferable to two cranky little kids cooped up in five-point-harnesses for nearly a day. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Random thought of the day: weights & measurements

In 2002, Brian and I set out to do a big hike.  The story of that, for those who haven't been bored by it already, is for another day.  But in preparation for this sojourn, we carefully pared our equipment to maximize functionality while minimizing weight.  This meant making a lot of our own gear.  It was a great exercise, and we got our packs down to about 15 lbs per person, without food or water.

I recalled this earlier today when I was carrying not only my 21 lb baby, but my 33 lb toddler.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pre-Turkey day Weekend

What a busy weekend!  We didn't get photos of everything, but here were the things the McMillers did:

* cut/laid pavers for a path to the water meeter for the nice meter reader
* cleaned up ivy in the yard
* LOTS of laundry
* general house cleaning
* watched a movie start to finish, with few interruptions
* played board games with Grandma and Grandpa

Ladybug Game

(this ladybug game is harder than it looks!)
* Cooked and ate a delicious dinner of slowcooker pork with cider and prunes

Pork dinner

* watched an awesome thunder/lightning show followed by hail
* made 2 runs to the dump
* hit the farmer's market
* more laundry
* paid bills
* ate an awesome pre-Thanksgiving dinner at Grammy and Papa's house, followed by ice cream sundaes

Grammy Kisses I

* took a bubble bath (the kids, not everyone)

* battled renegade ants
* snuggled and read new books

Phew!!!  Now it's time for bed. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stealing candy from a baby.

Erin got lots of See's lollipops for halloween from Grammy and Papa. She gets one "treat" per day after school, and she usually chooses one of these.  On this day, she abandoned the chocolate confection for a packet of Pez she found.  Her sister, practicing her newly found mobility, took advantage of the situation.....

Lollypop I

Lollypop II

.... and Mommy learned not to try to put her down for a nap shortly after she'd been sucking on a mondo chocolate lollipop for the first time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A real weenie shrinker!

A direct quote from a local weatherperson on tonight's news:

"It's cold out there!  Many of you know it.  Had to get a jacket.  Had to even find some gloves in some cases. Up in the north bay, 47 right now.  Temperatures in the mid-50s in the south bay."

It's the middle of November, people!

Reminds me exactly of the following.  Yes, we have officially arrived in California.

Fashion Friday - Preview of Teenage Erin

Erin practices the disaffected look

This outfit was 100% Erin. She chose the dress basically because it's one that she can put on all by herself.  She asked me to draw the kitty cat face.  She wanted to wear the bird necklace (it's tucked into the dress).  And then she found the kid sunglasses.  And she asked me to take the picture.  But what I think really makes this outfit is the pose: pouted mouth, slightly hunched shoulders, barely upturned chin, slight nod of the head. Yes, folks, this is the disaffected, cooler-than-you Erin we might see in about 10 years.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scott Horsley Bakes You a Pie

Blast from the past here.  For those of you who don't know, the guy in the photo was once a San Diego NPR reporter before he went to Washington.  This is from 2002.

We were living in this tiny 500 square foot apartment in Ocean Beach.   The local NPR station had an online fundraising auction and we bid on item that I swear was entitled "Scott Horsley Bakes You a Pie": a homemade pie from Scott Horsley that included hand delivery.

This cherry pie, made by the man in the apron, set us back $40.  Total bargain.  Unfortunately for him, we goofed on the date and he knocked on our door a week before we had expected.  B and I had just finished a rare argument and I was just out of the shower when he knocked on the door.  B and I were still pissed at each other, so undoubtedly it was rather awkward for Scott (Sorry, Scott!).  The pie was delicious. I still have the tin.

Scott Horsley, if you're reading this, my husband and I have felt terrible about this incident for the last eight years.  

P.S. you're awesome.  We cheer for you every time we hear you on the radio.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Erin Finds Mom's Makeup...

... and makes herself into a "kitty cat".  Without use of mirrors.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Erin and Dad go Camping II

Erin and Brian went up to Upper Orinda Cousin's house for a backyard camping trip last week.  Erin learned about headlamps:

Sorry for the static-y sound: the camera is behaving strange.

This reminds me of every single developmental stage she (and now Robin) went through as a baby.  As soon as she caught onto something neato she wanted to practice and experiment and master it, night or day.  Someone wise once likened it to if we, as adults, suddenly learned how to fly wouldn't we be so jazzed about it we'd spend a few days and nights zooming around the skies, just because we could?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Surely I can't be the only one.

This morning Brian slept in.  And by sleeping in, I mean it was nearly 7:30, the girls and I had already woken up, breakfasted, watched George the Monkey, drank cocoa, contemplated getting dressed, and read the same book 15 times over. And then it was nearing 7:45.  I should have been happy for him.  I mean, if one of us can sleep in and get a full, good night's rest, it's good for everyone all around, right?

That's not what I was thinking.

I was sure he was no longer breathing.

I was sure he was gone. I didn't panic, nor did I check in on him.  I just thought about what I needed to do next.  Who should I call first?  Well, first some medical personnel.  Then probably Upper Orinda McFeely's, since they're about 5 minutes away from here.  Then what?  Well, then this week I'd plan on getting help with the girls, planning a service, cleaning out the freezer to accommodate the meals people would likely bring.  Then, claiming the life insurance, paying off all debts, setting up college funds, calculating when I'd have to go back to work....


I had these thoughts a LOT when I was pregnant with Erin. Every time Brian went on a run, I was certain that was it - when he left it was the last time I'd see him.  I'd panic a bit, then be sad, then plan.  It was a quick progression. Maybe because now we both have life insurance I skip the panic part of the sequence, but most of the inner monologue stays the same.  The irrational, superstitious part of me says because I have these thoughts I'll never have to *really* think them.  I hope.

Well, happily 8:00 rolled around and Brian rolled out of bed.  We had some cereal and started our day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fashion Friday

 Erin asked for an umbrella for about as long as she could say the word.  She finally got one on our trip to PDX.  She picked it out, calling it the rhinoceros one.  Add in the polka-dot rain booth and trim rain jacket, and she is ready for the dreary California winter.

And I'm adding this picture just because it's cute. 


Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Weeknights, 6 P.M.: The McMiller NewsHour

Here's what you can often see after dinner at our place: our eldest daughter, literally waving a pom-pom, shouting:

"Go Hari, Go Hari, Go Hari!!!!"

The NewsHour starts with Brian and Erin singing together: "Baa bum bum buh bum BUUUUMMMMMMM, Bum bum BUMP"

After Jim Lehrer introduces himself, we say: "Hi, Jim!"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Boring backpost

So I'm trying to blog every day this month and this week was busier than I thought.  So it's Saturday, and I'm backposting to Tuesday, which I missed this week, with some "filler".

Here's a little story about me and our cable provider.
August: I took the girls to the store in Concord to upgrade from regular to HD cable.  They told me since I had a Tivo, I'd probably need a special card.  Could I get that card now?  No, try and see.

Fast forward to when I finally get motivated this week.

I do the 24 hour online chat to request the special card.  After some banter, yes, the card will be shipped, for a fee.

They ship a switcher, not the card.

I call customer service. "Hey, you guys sent me this switcher adapter instead of the card I requested.  Can I get the card? No?  You don't have it in stock. Oh.  I'm calling the main HQ and you don't have this conversion card the FCC requires you to provide. OK.  I have to go in-person to the store.  OK.  Well, thanks, I guess."

The next day I take Robin to give back the switcher and get the card.  I merely state, "I am here to get my M-Card." The lady is friendly, then looks up my account.  Then she's fairly curt.  In fact, she says nothing else.  She hands me the requested card.  I try to be witty, "boy, these cards seem hard to come by."  She looks at me icily.  "Yes.  Yes, they are."

Who cares.  Now I have 300 more channels of basic HD cable.  Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Heart Bruce

Just downloaded this from Amazon.  I'm so excited to watch it.  However, the girls took a long time tonight to settle to sleep..... we only have 24 hours to watch the entire thing. It will have to wait.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday conversation from the McMiller intelligentsia



DR. A is sitting in a chair with ROBIN.  BRIAN walks in.

Robin's farting up a storm

Brrrt. ....  brrt brrrrt.    Brrt...  brrrrt.  brt.

(after pause)
She sounds like a Geiger counter.

(to Robin)
Is your butt radioactive?

All this, sadly, is going on the blog.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Big Bike Ride

For her birthday, Erin received a new bike, complete with training wheels.  Today she took it out for a full spin on the open road, a lovely trail meandering through Livermore wineries.  Erin rode 1.5 miles. 1 and 1/2 miles, people.  She's 3.

Videos and pictures:
Speed racer

Lil' Biker and grandparents

Biking from Ms. A on Vimeo.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fashion Friday

Because the world needs more muscled Princess Firefighters.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Unlawful entropy

Difficult to believe that this:

can turn into this:

in about 3 minutes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Robin June, 8 months!

OK, so really her 8 month post should have gone up last week and this should be her 36 week post (look for that tomorrow) but we were traveling the past two weeks so I'm playing catch-up here.

This has been a really busy month for our little one.  She grew two teeth.  She's scooting everywhere, can roll like it's nothing, and can pull herself to standing.  She loves to stand and we have to coerce her to sit at times.  She's just a hair shy of crawling.  It's fascinating to watch understanding light her face when she's on her hands and knees... she knows if she can just get that last bit of coordination together, she'll be off and running!

She's babbling and chatters all the time.  Sometimes it does sound like words, like her responses to my questions are spot on. And sometimes she just likes to get into screaming contests with her sister, which, as hard as it is on the ears, it's a pleasure to see them positively interacting and cracking each other up.  But then there's the opposite of that where Robin wants whatever Erin is playing with and vice versa.  Ahhhh sisters!

She's having fun with solids and so far she prefers flavored things.  No avocado for this one, it's guacamole.  Hummus.  Stew. Garlic green beans.  Stir fry tofu with sauce. Butternut squash with sage brown butter.  I can only hope her adventurous culinary nature lasts through the white pasta world of toddlerhood. 

She is a smily, giggly, happy baby.  She's learned to wave "hello" and "goodbye" and gregariously shows her skills to all passersby.  She can sign "more" and can clap.  She's so familiar with "if you're happy and you know it..." she squeals and claps at the right cues. 

In short, it's been a busy, busy month. Brian and I look at her baby body and see the little girl trying to emerge.

8 month stats: 
Weight: 19 lbs, 6 oz (75%)
Height: 27 1/2 inches (75%)
Head circumference: 46 cm (97%)

*Picture credits: Christie Glynn.  Many thanks!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

PDX dancing

While visiting PDX last week, Erin had the opportunity to go to a dance class with three of her friends.  She took full advantage of it.  The neat part about this class was the set up: right after preschool and lunch.  The class is 1 hour of running/moving/jumping.  It was so active that most of the kids were flopped on the floor by 45 minutes.  What a great set-up for naps!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

Cat and Bat

My brother, wife and cutiepie son Cole came over for dinner and Trick-or-Treating.  Brian made a gorgeous crockpot stew and Garreth brought Guinness. Perfect!  After filling our bellies, the kids got suited up and we headed out!


Erin was a total pro! Not a hint of shyness, she just went right up to doors, confidently knocked and demanded, "Trick or Treat".  Thankfully, she did not repeat the rhyme about smelling feet thatMom taught her and she found so funny.  Cole was more cautious and was quite interested in the rocks in people's yards.  I can't blame him.

Bat and Clown

A short while later, we caught up with Upper Orinda McFeely cousins.  This cheerful clown took Erin up and down another neighborhood where the candy flowed copiously. And much sampling was had by all.  What a great Halloween.  Oh, and it's this clown's birthday today!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

McMillers rock PDX

It was high time the McMillers visited the old homestead, so we packed it up and took a long weekend trip up.  We had a fantastic time with all the old gang, celebrated a big birthday of a dear friend, got to meet one handsome new little guy, introduced our newest little lady, were treated to amazing stick-to-yer-ribs food, visited old stomping grounds, enjoyed the rain, the food, and most of all the friends.

Sadly, we did not get enough pictures.  But you can see some here.  And here.  And there will be movies soon, I promise.

Here's the few good picts we did manage to get:

Get the flash player here:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Erin is 3!

Dear Erin,

If there is one phrase that sums up this past year in your life it is "All By My Self". You've gone from being a sweet spunky toddler into a rambunctious, thoughtful preschooler.  And you have flown through this year with independence, curiosity, determination, love, and empathy.

This year has brought for you many changes.  You became a potty expert.  You welcomed a little sister.  You learned a lot of numbers and a few letters.  You went from talking in two or three word sentences to full paragraph stories. You learned how to tell jokes.  You took your first trip to the ER.  You went from walking to running.  You got a couple of haircuts.  You saw your first play. You learned about candy.  And doughnuts.  And popsicles. And lollypops.  And jellybeans.  And a little bit about broccoli.  You began to understand loss as both of your kitties left your world this year. You decided naps were optional.  You saw fireworks and went camping, both without a hint of fear.  You learned how to use the camera.  And the remote.  And scissors. You expanded your love of cooking and hiking and dancing and painting and reading.  You overcame fears: hair-washing, big potties, monsters.  Some still linger: going to bed and waking by yourself, most Disney movies, foods that are not ingredients. Still, your growth this year has been astounding, and your Dad and I are continually amazed by your feats.

Little Pumpkin Pie, you continue to amaze us with your humor, your agile mind, your loving and enthusiastic spirit.  It is such a joy to see you grow into the kid you are.  You light up our lives every day, Kiddo.  We can't wait to see what year 4 brings for you.

Mom and Dad.

A year in pictures:
Get the flash player here:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's all physics, people!

Me to Erin, while she watches me wipe between Robin's shoulder blades, changing a particularly spectacular diaper:

"E, let me tell you a little bit about hydraulics."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Erin the photographer part I

Erin has mastered the little camera.  Here are some of her recent shots:


I love that we live in a place that finds it necessary to post such a warning.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pronunciation II

Some more Erin words I'm gonna miss when they're gone:


Flosso (dental floss)

Incher (ruler)




Incadinca gas (Incandescent gas)

Peanuts (we'll let the reader translate this one)


take my privacy/doing my privacy (as in, when she's using the big potty)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Robin June 7 months

This month has been very busy for our littlest.  Last week she popped out her first tooth, and the second one is working its way through as we speak.  While we're excited about the new chompers, we're more excited about getting back to normal sleep.  Why, oh why, are little babies put through teething?

Other than the dental advances, Robin is very active in her babbling.  Sometimes it sounds like she really is saying words already.  Today she did her very first sign, "More" as in "mama, I really want more pancake, please."  That's the other big advance: food.  The kid is a champion eater.  She doesn't eat a ton, but she does well with most things we've presented to her.  And she's already past the purees, and rather prefers to gnaw at the hunks herself.  She's independent like that.  She continues to be incredibly engaged in play, and eagerly tries to figure things out, and figure out how to get her hands on whatever Erin is playing with.  Which is only fair since Erin is constantly trying to take whatever Robin is playing with.  Ahhhhh siblings.

Still no back-to-belly rolling, but the girl is darned close.  She's also scooting around and can do 360s on her belly and scoot backwards.  Then typically comes a high pitched screech as she expresses frustration at her body not getting her to where her mind wants her to go.

She's got an infectious laugh, a heart stopping smile, and has learned to give awesome, slobbery baby kisses.  We're totally smitten.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Busy Saturday by Erin

First we drove a long, long way.  We went over a bridge.  I saw my Great Grandpa and Great Grandma.  They gave me jellybeans and read me Peter Rabbit. 
(Mom's note: Erin and Robin have 3 Great Granparents.  2 are 90 years old, 1 is turning 90 in a few weeks!)

Then I went to Grammy and Papa's house.  We ate sandwiches.  We went swimming.  The pool was warm but the wind was c-c-c-cold. 

Papa is teaching me how to swim.  He catches me when I jump. 

Then we went to a party.  It was fun. I was tired.  It was a busy day. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hello Big Girl Seat

It occurred to me that we often mark the "firsts" in our, and our children's, lives.  Rarely do we mark the "lasts".

Today was the last day we used an infant car seat.  Robin has moved up to a "big girl" seat.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fashion Friday - Pajama Time!

Robin's PJ's: Carters (a lovingly passed-down from These Lovely Folk.)
Erin's PJ's: Baby Lulu

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ribbon Dancers

Here's a video of Erin's second dance class (Mommy forgot the camera for the first). I love how the kids all get a deer-in-the-headlight look from time to time.  This teacher must have lots of patience.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fashion Friday - Fuzzy Buns

And our youngest of models is showing the latest in cute cloth diapers, adjustable and adorable in lime green.

Oh, and we're trying to get her to be the youngest McMiller walker ever. She's got the will, but the coordination she's still working on.

An aside: the cute "shirt" Erin is wearing is really one of Robins dresses. Guess we'll get a few years of wear out of that one!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Robin June 28 weeks

This was going to be a wordless wednesday post, but there are just too many things going on for RJ right now, and since this is the closest thing she'll have to a baby book, gotta document it here.

If there's one word that describes Robin right now it's BUSY.  She's curious, energetic, happy, intrigued, and busy.  She reaches for everything, and wants to constantly explore her surroundings.  She is not appeased with baby toys, but instead wants to explore anything but toys.  She will happily sit and play with new objects for long stretches of time so long as the objects are new to her.  Her fine motor skills are developing well and she is working on the big stuff too - she's less interested in rolling and more interested in figuring out locomotion.  She can wiggle around in circles, but no forward or backward momentum. Yet.  She is eating solids.  After playing with food as toys for a few weeks, she has firmly grasped the bite-chew-swallow so well she's already onto soft chunks, preferably put into her mouth by her own hand.