Merry Christmas!

Considering how poor we are, we really had a wonderful holiday! For Christmas Eve dinner we went to Spencer's parents' house. We all had a great time spending the evening with family. Evelyn had so much fun playing with her grandpa Kevin, and we even got to open some presents early!

Evie with grandpa Kevin

Among the other gifts that Evie got, she got a rocking horse! It even whinnies and shakes it's head and tail! It's pretty cool. She also got a walker, which she started using today. She grabbed ahold of it, climbed up, and started walking!

This was our first Christmas with Evelyn and we're so glad to have her here. She really makes our family complete. It was a very merry christmas.


Winter Break

A couple Saturdays ago, Spencer, Evie and I went to the festival of trees. We didn't make it through the whole thing (it is huge after all) but we had a great time. Evie had fun seeing the trees while she was awake, though honestly she slept through most of it. We saw some really beautiful trees and heard lots of inspiring and touching stories while we were there. It made me think of time I spent at Primary children's when I was little and my experiences there. And even though Evie wasn't at Primary children's, it made me think of her time in the hospital too. I teared up a lot. I'd really like to decorate and donate a tree some year, when we have a little more money. By which I mean, when we have money period. Today I took my last final exam. I'm finished with my first semester! I'm so happy. This is really the first semester that I've been successful and I'm grateful for the support I received during this process. And while I'm excited for Christmas (as always) I'm REALLY looking forward to next semester. I'll be taking my first art history course, which should be interesting, and I'm thrilled that I'll be taking my first photography course as well! I want to say I can't wait to start this journey of discovering the artist in me, but that would be saying that this semester didn't play a part in that process, when really it did. This semester helped me realize what my passion is and what it is that I love. And that's an important role. So really, I'm thrilled to be continuing in the process of self-discovery.


Happy Thanksgiving

This year we spent Thanksgiving at Spencer's parents' house. We had a wonderful time.

Having Evelyn there just made all the difference to the family. We all played with her and she fell asleep in her high chair during dinner.

She even did some walking!

Having Evie here has changed my life in so many ways that I never could have imagined. She is such a miracle, and each day she brings such joy to my life. I'm thankful for so many things. For a loving husband, a caring family who has stepped in to help when I've struggled, but most of all I'm thankful for her.


Excited for the Future

Today is one of those days where I'm more excited for my future than terrified by it. Money problems are such a b*tch, but we're doing the best we can. But that's not what I wanted to talk about. I'm nearing the end of what I'm considering my first semester, and I'm doing great. I'm having a much easier time making connections in both history and math, and though chemistry is doing everything it can to kick my butt I'm working through. I'm all registered for next semester and I don't think I could be more excited. In the spring I'm going to be taking the next in the line of math classes, Intermediate Writing, Intro to Art History and my personal favorite: Digital Photography! I've decided once and for all to change my major. I'm no longer going to focus on something because I think it will make someone else happy or proud, or because I think it's what I "should" do. I'm going to focus on what I want to do, what my passion is, and what makes me happy. I'm going to major in photography and digital imaging. I plan on being a photographer professionally and focusing on maternity and newborn photography. I'll be getting some equipment in January and the first unofficial project I'm going to do is photos for Evie's first birthday! Then in March and April, respectively, I will be doing maternity and newborn shoots for a friend of mine. I'm working on getting props and a background setup together and I'm SO excited. I finally feel like I'm on the right track.


Evie's Newest Trick

So I'm sitting on the couch watching the news this morning and Evelyn is in her pack'n'play and I look over and she's standing! It was SO amazing! So I hurried and grabbed my camera...


Look At Her Go!

Evie Can Feed Herself! (Kind of...)

I'm just amazed at how much Evelyn is growing and learning all the time! I am so amazed at God's grace and the blessing He has given me in this child. Evie is learning how to feed herself cereal. And how to feed the dogs cereal too! It's so cute! This morning she was eating puffs and got one stuck on her chin. It was adorable!


Not Great News

Well Evelyn's 9 month checkup didn't go quite as well as we'd hoped for. She's actually lost weight and dropped back down into the 10th percentile for weight. I'm not happy about that. She's supposed to be gaining weight, not losing it! And the less fat she has on her body, the harder it is for her to keep her blood sugar up. Speaking of which we're not sure if her hypoglycemic episodes are just a fat stores issue or a hyperinsulinism issue, so we have to have some tests run. We have to take her to a lab and essentially induce a hypoglycemic episode and then they have to draw blood. I'm not looking forward to that. And what's more is we can't address the nighttime feedings until we get the results back from that, so it's more sleepless nights in our future. For all the reasons, I'm less than thrilled.


8 months

Evie is 35 weeks now. She's hit the mark where she's spent as long outside me as she spent inside me. If I may say, it seems like the "outside" process has taken a lot longer, and has been a lot louder! We're constantly amazed at her growth. She has two teeth already, can almost crawl, and can stand if she's holding onto something. She's such a miracle. Today she got more photos taken (we're always having her photo taken) and here are some of our favorites.


Learning to crawl

Here's some more videos of Evelyn's adventures in learning to crawl. I just have too much fun with this!


Happy Anniversary

Last Thursday was our 4th anniversary. I can't believe how much time has passed. We've been together for 8 years now, and we've known each other for a decade. It's just amazing. Spencer is my rock and I'm so grateful to have him. We weren't able to do anything super amazingly special this year, what with all out money going towards NICU bills and diapers, so we decided to just go out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, MacCool's, an Irish Pub in Foothill. On the way home we had to drive down the hill and the sunset was so incredible, it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. It was like God's own gift to us.

Last Saturday was the last Holy War we'll have for a few years. For those of you who don't know, the Holy War is the football game between the Utes and BYU. We bleed red in this household of course. And since it was Evie's first game (and last for awhile) wee had to celebrate. Mama's little ute!

We had a visit from grandma and grandpa Miller the other day. Not that we don't have a lot of visits from them, but this time they brought toys! So of course Evie went nuts, and I went nuts with the camera.


It's not technically crawling, but...

it's a start! I'm so proud of Evie, she's trying so hard! She was going after my mom's shoes and then she came after me!


You Learn Something New Every Day

Well we've had a major breakthrough in the Miller household: Evie has teeth! She got her two bottom front teeth almost at the same time, about two days apart. Teething was a horrible experience but she was a little champ and after a couple days of feeling awful she was back to her cheerful self. It's so cute to watch her chew on everything she can get her grubby little mitts on.

School is going really well. I know I'm only four weeks in, but I'm really enjoying it. I feel like this was the right time for me. History is actually going very well, and that's where I anticipated having the most problems. Names and dates tend to bounce off me, but I've gotten As on my first two quizzes in that class and I'm understanding the concepts well enough, so I'm quite happy. Chemistry is doing it's best to kick my butt, especially since they're trying to teach us physics concepts and I'm a biology major...

A photon of ultraviolet (UV) light possess enough energy to mutate a strand of human DNA. What is is the energy of a single UV photon and 1 mole of UV photons having a wavelength of 25 nm?

...damn overlapping sciences. I guess I DO have to know this stuff.


My Mother and The Wizard of Oz

My mother is much more well-equipped to deal with life than she thinks she is. And she likes to tell me that I am too. She likes to tell me this a lot now that I'm back in school, and now that I'm back in school, I kind of need to hear it. I'm technically a transfer student at the late sophomore level, considering I have 58 credits that transferred from Westminster to the U. But all of those credits are either for music or are specialized for a degree I'm no longer getting. The short of it: I'm an entering freshman again. Or rather, I'm a late sophomore with 4 more years to go. I've seen 6 academic advisors and they all seem to have a bit of trouble with me; my wheels don't seem to fit the tracks quite right. Gonna need to stretch a little bit to make this one work. My mom said this morning that she could never figure out which character from the wizard of oz she was. She knew she wasn't the tin man, cause she always had a heart. And she wasn't the lion, because she definitely had courage. But she didn't think she was the scarecrow either, because she thought she didn't have a brain until she needed to know something, and then she realized that if she didn't know, she sure as hell knew how to find out. (Turns out my mom is one smart cookie) All of a sudden, inspiration struck me. I looked at her and said, "duh mom, you're Dorothy. You've got everything you need, you just don't know it." We had a great laugh at that one, because it's absolutely true. Then we tried to figure out who I am. My mom insists I'm Dorothy too.

But I don't feel like it.

I really don't feel like I have exactly what I need at my disposal when I need it. I'm not unintelligent, just out of practice. It's been 8 years since my last chemistry class and 10 since my last math class. I'm just a little rusty. I can be brave if I really need to be (YOU? Bold?!) and I have a heart. But I'm sitting here trying to do my chemistry homework and the conversation from this morning is running through my head and for some reason it seems important that I figure it out.

A sample of chloroform is found to contain 12.0 g of carbon, 106.4 g of chlorine, and 1.01 g of hydrogen. If a second sample of chloroform is found to contain 30.0 g of carbon, what is the total mass of chloform in the second sample?

I feel like a flying monkey.


The Next Step

After I lost my job (and yes, I was fired, I didn't quit. It's a long story; email me if you want it) Spencer and I talked a lot about what my next step would be. I'm not able to work right now because of my health, so we decided that now would be a good time for me to go back to school. I spent the spring and summer home with Evelyn, and on Monday I start classes up at the University of Utah! I'm so excited to be going back to school and working on improving myself and taking that next step in my life. Evelyn will be in good hands during the day with my mom and I'll only be in class in the mornings this semester. I'll be able to ease back in and maybe this time I can actually get my degree and do something better with my life than just working for the State. I can do better for myself and for my husband and for my daughter and I can show her that it's ok to respect yourself and want better for yourself. I can't wait.


Six Glorious Months

Evelyn Murdock Miller is six months old now. And oh what months they have been. I have never worked so hard in my life, and I have never been so richly rewarded. Evie is such a joy to our family. I love her smile. I love watching her learn and grow. I even love it when she cries because I'm able to make it stop. Not that she cries that often. She never cries unless there's something wrong.

To commemorate the occasion we had some family photos taken, just at kiddie kandids. I think they turned out ok. I never like pictures of me but Evelyn looked stunning, of course. She's such a beautiful child, inside and out. I am so blessed to be her mother. She truly is a gift from God.

She loves us so much and she's so expressive. She loves to play and she especially loves playing with her daddy. He brings her so much joy. And she laughs at the funniest things. The other day he was trying to swat a fly and she just started cracking up, so I hurried to grab my camera and he just kept swatting. The closer he got to her, the more she laughed. I guess she likes violence. Go figure.


No Funerals and A Wedding

Yesterday Spencer and I went to his Cousin's Wedding up near Morgan, Utah. It stopped raining and the sun came out so that they could have a lovely outdoor ceremony and reception. The reason I say "no funerals" is because the groom's father was given two days to live-ten days ago. Everyone was just praising God that he could hold on long enough to see his son get married. Of course he had the will to live and that's probably why he stuck around, but it was just such a miracle. He just bounced back and really had the energy; he was even able to get out of his wheelchair and walk down some stairs to where the ceremony was being held. It was really amazing.

The reception immediately followed the ceremony. There was good music, good wine, hawaiian food, and lots of fun people. Probably the funniest thing that happened was when they cut the cake. After the groom had a bite he said, "I don't like this at all. What IS this?" and the bride said, "Then you should have been there when we picked it out!" It was absolutely hilarious! It was a beautiful drive up and back and the weather wasn't too bad so even though the roads were wet they weren't dangerous, thank God.

All in all we had a lovely time and we wish Cathy and Craig the best in their new adventure together.


Baby Food

Even though organic baby food is easy to come by, I decided to make my own, and since a little bit goes a long way, it's very easy to make a big batch of baby food to freeze for later. It only takes an hour to make several dozen meals. I bought a couple dozen jars of baby food and then saved the jars to store my food in, along with using ice cube trays and small tupperware. I suppose it's not entirely necessary to go organic, but when the meals are this small the cost difference is negligible and I want my child to have the best. Plus I love shopping at whole foods. :) Today I made carrots, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, pears, avocado, squash, bananas and beets. I LOVE making baby food. And luckily for me, Evie loves eating it.


July Fourth and Other Stuff

As the fourth of July grew closer, I insisted to Spencer that we have our own celebration at our house (and not go to his parents'). He didn't have any problem with that, so I got to plan a whole day with just my family! A bit of a wrench was thrown in things Saturday night cause Bowser disappeared, but long story short, praise God we got him back on Tuesday. We were feeling much more up to celebrating since he came home! The morning of the fourth was nice and quiet and a pretty normal morning. Around 1 in the afternoon we had a BBQ with steaks and hot dogs. I had marinaded the steaks overnight and they grilled up beautifully.

I went all out for today. We had potato salad, grilled corn, grilled pineapple, baked beans, and veggies with ranch to go with the steaks and hot dogs. After we ate we played a game of Dominion, which was a lot of fun. Then we had dessert: pound cake with strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream (red, white and blue!).

Evie was quite festive today. She wore one of my favorite outfits for her. It happens to be red, white and blue but it has a crab on the butt. I absolutely love it.

Of course being a baby she decided to spit up on that outfit so we had to change her into another one, which was a little more appropriate I guess cause it had a flag on it. She looked so precious.

After Evie had her dinner and went to bed, Spence and I went out on the deck to enjoy the evening and make smores. They're so rich we can't eat more than a couple at a time, but that's ok cause they're delicious.

When it got dark Spence and I cuddled up to watch the Sugarhouse fireworks, which we can see pretty clearly from our back deck. It was a nice, long, slow day and I loved it.


Art and Nostalgia

Today our whole little family went on a trip to the Utah Arts Festival! Evie's first art festival. And yes, I'm doing that whole "firsts" thing again. Any it was that time of year again so on we went. We lucked out; it wasn't that crowded today (being a Sunday) and I'm pretty sure it didn't actually hit 100 degrees like they said it would. There were a lot of new artists this year and many of them were very good. Spence and I saw a lot of wonderful art that we really wanted to take home with us, but on our income, not quite so much luck. Oh well. Someday! We had a nice lunch and a lovely walk and a great time.

I saw a lot of babies at the festival. Lots of newborns. Made me kinda nostalgic. Don't know if you can technically be nostalgic for something that was only 5 months ago, but it SEEMS like a lot longer. Especially when I look at how much she's grown. I mean, she's still so tiny; she's a 22-week-old the size of a 12-week-old, but she's (slightly) more than doubled her birthweight and that's made quite a difference. Here she is in the NICU, about 3 days old. You can see how tiny she is compared to Spencer's hand:

And here's a picture I took of her today:

I'm amazed at both how quickly and how slowly she's growing. I mean, all things considered, she's growing and developing at an amazing pace. Yet compared to other babies, she still lags behind a little bit. Not that I mind really. Developmentally she's exactly where she's supposed to be, so she's on track, and I like that she's staying on the small side longer. Gives me more time to appreciate it. She even got a new toy the other day. We went to Kid to Kid and traded in her bouncer (which she was bored with) for an activity center. It says it's good for babies as young as 4 months (as long as they can hold their head up) but she's SO SMALL compared to it! It's almost ridiculous! She can barely reach anything, and prefers to just chew on the side of the seat. But she's starting to get the hang of it.

She also has a new teething toy; an elephant we've named Radagast. Most of her things have names. Which I will admit is not for her sake so much as it is for our amusement. She has two pacifiers, Nicolai and Vashdi; the crib is Alfheim (Norse for "Fairyland"; and now Radagast the Elephant. Which she is attached to at the hip, if I might add.

Being with her every day is such a joy. She smiles when I get her out of her crib in the morning. She laughs when I give her kisses. She loves to play and she learns quickly. She loves eating her solid food and trying new things. She loves to splash in the bathtub. She loves it when the dog licks the side of her head. She smiles when you ask her how she's doing. She's just the easiest baby, and such a joy. SUCH a joy. I thank God every day for the opportunity to be and the blessing of being her mother. And I have to admit. If I could have a guarantee they'd be just like her I'd have a dozen more.


Father's Day Weekend

What a busy weekend we had! Saturday we went to the chalk art festival at Gateway, and it was officially Evie's first art festival. And yes, I'm going to be dumb and count Evie's first everything. It was amazing to see so many young artists come together to create such great work. The first thing I had to do was go to the food court because for some reason even though I'd eaten breakfast, I was starving. Well I got there and saw a little mechanical horse and thought ok, Evie can hold her head up, time for her first horse ride!

After I got something to eat we went down and started looking at art and there were some really amazing pieces there. The sad part is that the art is so temporary, which really makes you appreciate it.

Sunday morning Spencer woke to coffee and bed in breakfast (of course) and then we had planned to meet my dad for a hike. So Spence, Evie and I met my dad at Red Butte Gardens, planning to go up one of the trails that leads off the gardens. Well, we literally get 100 yards up the trail, which is one of the least inclined in the area, and my whole body is on fire. I had WAY overestimated what I was capable of doing. Between the arthritis and the fibro, I just couldn't take it. I was in so much pain I just started crying. I apologized to both Spencer and my dad and told them we'd have to limit our walk to the gardens. It ended up working out; it turns out Spencer didn't feel like hiking either, my dad was on call and the gardens were beautiful, but I felt bad anyway. When we got home we had a nice relaxing afternoon, then went to Spencer's parents' house for dinner. I personally think we need to stop doing that because we've been married for almost four years and it's time we started having holiday dinners at our own house. But it was nice to see Spencer's family. I got to spend some time with his brothers and Evie got to see her grandpa Kevin on his first father's day as her Grandfather. All-in-all it was a lovely weekend and a lovely celebration of the wonderful men in my life.


Evie's First Veggies

After a couple weeks of feeding Evie rice and oatmeal, we had the go-ahead from her doctor to start feeding her vegetables. So tonight for dinner she had organic pureed carrots! And she LOVED them! She kept grabbing my hand and shoving the spoon into her mouth. And she ate about twice as much as she normally does. Maybe now she'll actually start growing!

I'm so proud of her. She made me so happy, acting like such a big girl and eating big girl food. She's growing so fast!


Bat's Birthday

Today is my dad's birthday. Now let me explain where "Bat" comes from. My dad decided when Evie was born that he didn't want to be called "Grandpa." So I asked him what he wanted to be called, and he wanted to be Evie's first word, so he wanted to be called "Bat." It stuck. So my father is now referred to as Bat. And today was Bat's birthday. He and I went out to lunch at the Fiddler's Elbow, and it was nice to spend time with him.

He said that the only thing he wanted for his birthday was a chocolate cake, so I decided I would make him a chocolate cake to shame all other chocolate cakes. It was three layers, with chocolate ganache filling, covered in chocolate chips, with chocolate mousse on top.

I even impressed myself with this cake! I'm really proud of myself for the work I put into it (it took ALL day) and I really enjoyed spending the time with my dad!