Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Sometimes when I think that Malakai isn't listening, he totally is! He has picked up on friends and family who have asked us what we are doing for Memorial Day. So of course, being the inquisitive three year old that he is, he asked me what Memorial Day was. Where do you begin explaining this special, yet usually forgotten, holiday to a three year old?

Obviously Memorial Day means a lot of things to different people. It is a day of remembering those loved ones in our lives we have lost. It is a time to remember those who have lost their lives during the course of the many wars our nation has endured. There are so many who have died to maintain our freedoms we have today. We don't know all of the names, or the faces of those we have lost to war, but they were someones father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, son, daughter, and they have given the ultimate sacrifice of their own life for the pursuit of American Liberty.

Malakai, as bright as he may be, does not need as detailed of a description. So, I proceeded to tell him that it is a day that we remember all the people we love who have left us to be with Jesus. Then the conversation went a little like this:

Kai: I have Jesus in my heart

Mommy: Yes you do

K: Is Thomas the Crab in my heart? He's with Jesus.

M: Yes he is

K: Is the Dr. going to cut him out like he did Leila?

M: No sweetie

K: Is Jesus hungry in my heart?

M: No, but you have to make sure you eat your vegetables so he doesn't get hungry

K: Who else is with Jesus?

M: Oh, well lets see. Great-Great Grandma Rader, Great Grandpa Miller, Baby Jacob. (Just to name a few, I could have went on all night!)

K: Oh..Pa Pa Miller flies planes like at the science center (for those who don't know, pa pa Miller flew in WWII)

M: Yes sweetie, he does.

By this time I am trying not to totally lose it and you can just see the wheels turning in his head.

K: Is his airplane with Jesus?

M: Uhhh, I don't think so.

K: I will take it to him when I go see Jesus.

M: He will like that

Totally changing his mood he proceeds to say with a huge grin:

K: Jesus can be the BLACK power ranger, cuz I'm blue!

I love that kid! Anyway, We need to remember those men and women that have served our country and respect what they have done for our nation, and everyone of us, this Memorial Day.

So what did we do this evening? We spent the evening having dinner with Uncle Toro and Miss Danielle. Malakai just adores Slugger and can't understand why Oscar isn't as big as he is!


Saturday, May 24, 2008

I know it's long

but it's totally worth reading! So if you can take the time to do so, please do. I have had some time to think about a lot of things lately and when I came across this, I knew I had to post it. I found it over at Post Picket, she is such an amazing writer!


This is what I have learned so far about the world from children: it is tiny and enormous. There are bugs more interesting than great books, and questions about bugs and eyelashes and sadness and electricity are never-ending. It’s all or nothing, and also all and nothing. It changes daily. You learn to go with it.

This is what I have learned about motherhood, stay-at-home motherhood: it’s a jungle in here.

As it was in the office, so it is behind the picket fence. The geography has changed but the scene is the same. The playground has become the office cooler, the PTO meeting has become the company picnic, and there is jockeying and one-upmanship all over the place. I never knew that when I left the career I built to stay at home with my kids that I would have to contend with another world of professionals. My greatest nemesis is no longer The Man, but The Mom: the Professional Mother.

The Professional Mother has a lot of company. She is one of the millions of women who benefited from every wave of Feminism. She picked a job she wanted, or thought she wanted, and she succeeded. When they told her as a little girl that she could be an astronaut, she believed them. She never got a free pass. She worked her ass off every step of the way and she became whatever her heart desired: a marketing director, a teacher, a filmmaker, a lawyer, a business owner, a nurse, a doctor, a banker, and even sometimes, an astronaut.

Maybe because she could do it all, or because she wanted so badly to do it, she became a mom. Who knows what happened next? Either she couldn’t or didn’t want to keep doing what she was being paid to do, or maybe it was hormones or finances or love or who knows what, but she decided to quit. She gave it all up for the kid, the brood, the life. As it turns out, the everyday life with kids is a sneaky life. It is mostly boring and rarely rewarding. For the most part, it’s spit up, crapped diapers, Legos all over the place and getting dinner not only made but also eaten. It is not like the magazine pictures or parenting books, or art: it is getting through one long endless day without going crazy.

The Professional Mother takes it all very seriously. Turning down a lucrative career, earned and fought for, is ridiculously hard for anyone. Why not make a career out of the life chosen at home? Why not up the ante on what you do, so that it’s easier to answer the question of old friends and colleagues: what do you do?

So, the Pro Mom engages her newborn in sign language, music classes (I did this once: it was mostly toddlers, always mine, running into padded gymnasium walls), and potty training before they can sit up. She considers co-sleeping, attachment parenting, and nursing on demand not an option but a requisite. She relishes an entire Baby Bjorn culture that literally glues the baby to the bod. The Professional Mother of a pre-schooler or grade-schooler engages in activities so numerous that there are children less than six years old who have tried more hobbies in one week than I have tried in my whole life. There’s Spanish, team gymnastics, travel soccer, tennis, baseball, painting, ice hockey and lacrosse all weekend. And it’s not just one of these things – it’s all of them, at once. Her multi-tasking is without limit.

It wasn’t long after I became a full-time mom in the suburbs that I realized there was a pace out there that I couldn’t keep. As much as I desired, needed, craved to be busy, expressing that through my kids and with my kids was a disaster – for them and for me. Don’t get me wrong, pre-school is a life saver and we’ve dabbled in soccer and ballet and the dreaded music class, but never more than one of those things a week. Truth be told, it was way too much work for me to drag a baby and a pre-schooler to stand outside a 45-minute “class” for a 1st grader. Instead, I just blare the IPod at home: dance, gymnastics, music class. There you go. Did I nurse each child for fewer months than the one before? Yes. Do I consider crayons and construction paper and pretty much no guidance about what to do with those things (‘cause Mommy’s on the phone) a good, learning day? Yes. Do I make cereal and cereal bowls accessible to my tiny kids and expect them to make due some mornings? Yes, I do. Do I feel bad about all of that? No, I don’t. I think.

My soapbox is wobbly I admit, and the doubts creep in. I doubt my exhaustion after a day of homework and housecleaning. I wonder since I didn’t drive to five activities is my tiredness, well, less than? Will Harvard reject my child because she didn’t speak French fluently by 9? And now that I don’t have a nursing baby to lean on (literally), is it my convictions that still make me pass on more than one activity per week? Or my laziness?

The Pro Mom exacerbates my undoing. Even on the days when I’ve whipped up homemade play dough or read the same book six times in a row – at dinnertime! -- she is out there. She is out there tapping endlessly into her Blackberry the schedules of her accelerated children to remind me that no matter what I do, or don’t do, I am not doing enough.

The Professional Mother doesn’t aim to be mean spirited. Maybe we brought this culture of competition onto ourselves. When I was in college, we good, smart feminist girls waged a minor rebellion – one of many that stood to pit us against old-school feminism. It was okay to be sexy, we said, to like men and wear mascara and short skirts. We were confident in our sexuality as a tool, not a limitation, and we took advantage. Marriage was okay and motherhood too. We would indeed have it all: respect and hot pants, babies and promotions. It would be different for us. And it is.

We forced ourselves over the line in a lot of ways. We supported each other, hired each other, built businesses, built networks, made changes and money together. But when we made the biggest decision of our lives, to trade the cash and achievement of our former selves for a colicky, bundle of ridiculously cute panic, we forgot in the process where we came from. Maybe it was the distance from the shackles of our past or the cool comfort of our modern success, but somewhere along the way we forgot what essentially gave us the idea that we could be superwomen in the first place: each other.

Our mothers before us? They shoved us outdoors, they handed out hot dogs like vitamins, and they never attended or arranged a single pre-school graduation. The lucky ones schemed a life for themselves in between the wife-being and the child-rearing so that when the chance came, unexpected or anticipated, they seized it. If there was a bad guy or a naysayer, he lived in the house or on the TV. For her, the girl next door was a partner and confidante. A lot times, she was the one whispering, “Go, girl, go.” For me, the girl next door is confused a lot of the time. Her degree on the wall and a gaggle of kids in her hallway, a husband late to dinner, a house half done, a host of parties to attend, she is never quite sure if she lives in world of content or discontent. She is never quite sure that any of the rhetoric is true: that she is indeed doing the most important job in the world. The Pro Mom implodes her doubt and confusion. She creates a coping mechanism that is a schedule so mercilessly rigorous, so chock full of child work that her billable hours far outnumber any corporate power player. She doesn’t so much swallow her resentment and isolation, she creates it—and passes it along like some grown-up girl game of Telephone.

The Pro Mom creates a culture of perfection, a stratum of achievement, that is impossible to maintain. Mostly, it’s not a lot of fun.Where did our girl network go? Why does it only seem to exist in dinners dropped at the door when a new baby arrives? Why does it evaporate when the real work begins? Why has the camaraderie of our earlier feminist experiences backfired in the moment of our most feminine experience?

Maybe feminism has failed. There are those among us who still don’t truly value the role of Mother, plain old just getting the job done Mother. And most of them are mothers.

If I “missed” the registration date for a camp I can’t afford anyway, then I apologize to my children in advance. If I avoided the countless other activities that might make my kids smarter or nicer or better, than I apologize for that as well. But if the proof is in the pudding -- my daughter does a perfect cartwheel, self-taught in the grass, the other not only marches to her own beat, but bangs the drum herself, and my son, he can make friends with anyone -- then the pudding is all right with me. I know I am qualified and educated: I have no need to prove that through my kids. They are not, never were, never will be, My Job.There will never be a moment when I see the world as unwritten upon as I used to when I was a kidless kid. But when I find the calm in the middle of my amateur mom day, in between the heart attacks and heart aches and volunteer work and laundry and the guilt about never quite doing enough for any body at anytime that is so much a part of that day, I don’t use up the peace and quiet on my kids. I do the best that I can do – for me. With Kidz Bop in the background and a plastic golf club in the gut, there are not a lot of thoughtful silences anymore.

Most of the poetry I write is cheap haiku – but write, I do. I make business plans after midnight all the time. I try to have reasonable conversations about politics when I find something newsworthy on the ‘net. I gripe to my sisters and my friends about the drudgery of everyday doing and I hope against hope that I will find one open ear who will honestly gripe back to me. I am grateful that I made my new girl network, all the ones who tell their truths, who cry sometimes, who whine even, who make plans like me, schemes like me, and the ones who have come to believe that this life, after all, is good enough. I am grateful for those who give me who they are and take me as I am. But I regret that this loose knit web of secret holders, who for the most part don’t even know each other, is such a small part of my life. I regret that this is who we seem to be now, a disparate coffee klatch endlessly seeking a home. Still, I have a great suspicion that secrets like mine are being shared all over the place, on streets like mine, in towns like mine, with friends like mine, even by Professional Moms.

In the end, the world remains tiny and enormous. Children ask a million questions because there are that many. There is more than one answer. You don’t need to be a Pro to know that.

Just something to think about :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Road to Recovery

Well, I am home from the hospital and hopefully on my way to recovery. Let me just start by saying that I can take the pain from my last c-section and quadruple it and that is about the level of pain I am in right now! I can't believe how much worse this is. I may not have been totally sure that I was done having kids before, but after this, I am DONE! I would never recommend two abdominal surgeries in a period of 10 weeks to ANYONE!

The surgery went pretty smooth. He was going through my original incision but he didn't think he was going to have to use all of it. Well, the tumor was larger than he thought (about the size of a large orange) and he ended up using my entire incision. About 17 staples in all. He removed the tumor, along with my left tube and ovary. There is about a 15% chance that my right ovary could develop one also, but he looked it over really well and didn't see any signs. I asked for pictures of the dermoid and he said he will get them for me once pathology is done. Everything so far has come back benign which is great!

I just don't understand why I get 4 nights in the hospital with a c-section and one night with this surgery. Isn't it pretty much the same thing?! I think that has been the hardest part, because all of you mothers out there know that there is NO break when you are home. As much as you would like for there to be, it is much easier to recover in the hospital. Josh was great and Leila adjusted well to the bottle. I was able to have enough breast milk frozen so she wasn't in total shock. When I talked to him on Wednesday night he had both kids in bathed, in bed, and asleep by 8:30 and was enjoying a nice vodka/cranberry. LOL!

Sorry, there will be no pictures of me posted. I didn't have my make-up done at Mac before hand, so I wasn't really feeling the camera :)

On another note, Leila attended her first bridal shower and she was an absolute joy. She was such an angel and a little social butterfly.

Last Saturday we took Malakai and Leila to Creve Coeur Days which is just like a little fair here in STL. I hate these kind of places, but I knew Malakai would have a ball, which he did. We didn't stay very long, but he got to ride a couple of the rides and play a few games. Leila enjoyed watching all the lights.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mommy Cards

I don't know about you, but I am constantly meeting new people. Whether it be at Malakai's school, Little Gym, Gold's Gym, or the Grocery Store for that matter, I can strike up a conversation ANYWHERE! I have gotten to the point though where I don't even exchange a number because I don't want to bother digging for a piece of paper and pen when I have two wild children with me. So, I finally ordered me some "Mommy Cards." No more searching through a never ending diaper bag or purse. I can just whip out one of these babies and the job is donezo. You can find these all over the web, I ended up getting mine at I'll keep you posted on all the new interesting people these bring into my life. LOL!

Friday, May 16, 2008

You Tube Debut

My little sister has made her "You Tube" debut. Check out her Montessori class at their patriotic concert. She is in the front row, with the denim skirt and white shirt. The song that starts at about minute 3 is the same one that she serenaded everyone at the hospital with when I was having Leila. So cute! She is quite the performer. Wonder where she gets that from?!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mother's Day!

In case you haven't noticed, I run a few days behind on this thing. Sorry bout that :)

Mother's Day has come and gone. I swear it should be like Mother's Week or better yet, Year! The weather was awful here in the STL. Like 40 degrees and raining. I tried so hard not to let it put me in a bad mood, but it was pretty hard.

We did brunch at Harry's Downtown which was really good. It has been a tradition the last few years to go to Harry's West but when I called (yes, I make my own Mother's Day reservations) to make the reservations I was told they closed but the downtown location was doing one. It turned out to be really good! The food was excellent and I even enjoyed a couple mimosas and as you can see, Malakai enjoyed the cupcakes!

It was my first attempt at coordinated family outfits. Not a total failure, but pretty close :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

2 Months Already!!

I can't believe that my little Leila girl is already 2 months! I can't believe how fast the time has gone! I feel like so quickly she has gotten out of that "newborn" look and is starting to get her own unique look.

She has been a little colicky (whatever that is exactly, know one seems to know) the past few weeks. She had been screaming EVERY night from 7-9! It stopped last week when I finally broke out my "Happiest Baby on The Block" and put the 5 S's to work. What a freaking miracle!

She loves to eat and I can't wait to see what she weighs when we go to her checkup on Thursday. I haven't really established a day time routine yet. She is still just feeding on demand which seems to be ALL THE TIME! It makes me a little nervous when it comes to my surgery because I won't be able to nurse her for 48 hrs and she has only had a bottle a handful of times. Have fun with that one Josh! I know she will take it when she gets hungry enough. It's just going to be the initial struggle.

It is so sweet to see her smiling and cooing at us. She really becomes alert when she hears Malakai's voice. Probably because it's about 5 octaves louder than everyone elses. LOL! They play a cute little game of sticking their tongues out at each other. He is starting to acknowledge her existence a little more. At least he has stopped telling her that her mommy is at work :) She does seem to be taking on his sleep patterns though, which is excellent! She is sleeping GREAT! Goes down between 9:30 and 10 and sleeps till 7 or 7:30. I can not complain about that.

As you can see from the picture on the right she has an outrageous hair line. Some say she takes ofter her Papi (my dad).

It's amazing how different she is from Malakai. She is such a cuddler and wants to be held all the time. He NEVER wanted to be held or cuddled, even to this day. I love holding her and smelling her and I try to take in every moment seeing as how it goes by SO fast! She is like a handful of happiness and a heartful of love.

So, here's to you being 2 months Leila Jane! I look forward to seeing you grow and change and become the sweet, precious, girl I know you will.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It's Not A Tuma!

Oh wait! Yeah it is!

In the middle of my c-section with Leila, my doctor starts talking about a cyst that he saw on my ovary. Mind you, I am pretty much out of it at this point and I'm not really understanding what he is talking about. The next day, I asked him to please explain some more. Apparently he saw a cyst on my left ovary. He said that he thought it was pregnancy induced and once my body went back to normal that it would go away.

Well, I went for my ultrasound yesterday and it hasn't gone away. In fact, it has grown. I don't think the sonographer was supposed to give me any information, but I knew her pretty well since she did all of my ultrasounds with Malakai and Leila. She told me that there was an abnormally large tumor on my left ovary and that he is probably going to want to remove it. I said, "The tumor, or the ovary?" She let me know that the tumor was pretty much over-taking the ovary and it would all have to come out.
So, I met with my AMAZING Obgyn this morning and we are definitely taking out my left tube and ovary. We are scheduled for May 21st. He went on to explain that he isn't for sure, but he thinks it is what they call a dermoid. Now if you already know what a dermoid is, you are probably saying....Gross! Because once he explained it to Josh and I, I think we both wanted to vomit. Apparently a dermoid is "A bizarre tumor, usually benign, in the ovary that typically contains a diversity of tissues including hair, teeth, bone, thyroid, etc." That's right ladies and gentlemen! I said hair, teeth, and bone!! BLAHHH!!!! Like I said, they are usually benign but they have to take them out because they can start to twist or they can rupture.

I have attached a picture for you viewing pleasure :)

Josh and I were laughing our asses off in the car on the way home because he brought up the South Park episode with the Conjoined Fetus Lady. Apparently back in the day people used to think that a dermoid was your undeveloped twin. WILD!

We remain in good spirits. I love my doctor and I trust him 100%! We are very positive that this will return benign and all will be good. We are pretty sure we are done having children, and if we weren't it is still definitely possible to conceive with only one tube and ovary. It's just amazing how God works in so many ways. Had I not gotten pregnant at 23 on the pill with Malakai we may not even have had kids by now. I mean, there was no hurry. Now I have two amazing, beautiful children and I am so lucky and blessed for that.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Yes!! He said "Chillen"

Please pardon the snot in his nose! Poor Malakai and Josh have the WORST allergies and apparently they are terrible right now. It is so hard for me to relate because I have never had them, but the poor guys seem miserable!

Weekend Update!

Here it is Tuesday and I'm just now doing a weekend update. Hey! Better late than never, right?

Let me start by saying thank you for those that have called and wondered about our well being with the earthquake the other morning which apparently Fenton was the epicenter of. I would like to say that I felt it dramatically but I would be lying. I can't believe I didn't feel it, I had just layed back down after getting up with Leila, but I guess that just goes to show how tired I really was.

It was a pretty typical weekend here at the Miller household. Josh was off on Friday so we spent the day together as a family. We went to the park and had our first attempt at flying a kite. As you can see, Leila was totally thrilled :)

Malakai, on the other hand, had a ball!

Josh worked all day on Saturday so Malakai, Leila, and I hit the local Whittle Shortline Railroad. For those of you who haven't heard me talk about this amazing place, I hyperlinked it so you could check it out. If you live locally and have never been, I highly recommend it.

Saturday night Josh and I hit the town for a little socialization with other adults. It was definitely good times had by all. Leila is on an evening schedule, so we put Kai down at his normal 7:30 and gave her her last feeding at 9 and we were out the door. No! We didn't leave them by themselves :) My mom is very happy to sit on the couch and watch tv while they both sleep soundly. Leila is consistently giving us a 9:30 to 6 sleep at night so it is very nice.

Sunday, Malakai got to witness me play softball for the first time and he was very confused by it. He is so used to watching his daddy that he didn't know girls could play also. I had a great time and it felt really good to get back on the field again. Josh got a little taste of what I go through since he had both kids to watch over while I played. Thank goodness Aunt Autumn was there to make sure Kai didn't go running onto the field :)
All in all, it was a great weekend! We are still adjusting to being a family of four, but it seems to be going rather well. Malakai is as crazy, wild, and too smart for his own good as ever! I think that just goes along with being 3. Till next time...Miller....Out!