Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Things a Wife Learns to Do While Her Husband is Away

Chad just got back from a 3 week training in CA. Needless to say, we missed the mess out of him. But we also had some unexpected moments that stretched me to tackle tasks Chad would normally handle. There was definitely some frustration at the time but we can look back & giggle now!

Things a Wife Learns to Do While Her Husband is Away...

10. Successfully selecting & using the correct power tool for a project in the back yard
9. Learning to manually shut the garage door from inside when it wouldn't automatically go down. (I wish I could claim to have fixed the problem myself but the inner workings of the garage door motor are far beyond me... a church friend saved the day!)
8. Program the sprinkler system
7. Start & use the lawn mower
6. Pick up & properly dispose of doggy landmines in the yard
5. Put gas in the mower after it putters out halfway through finishing the backyard
4. Conceal and carry a weapon (legally!)
3. Recruit an unsuspecting kind stranger in the Lowe's parking to catch a lizard in the back of my car
2. Deal with sick dogs. Big sick dogs. Sick from both ends. Both of them.
1. Chase a four foot snake out of the back yard

We survived on the homestead without Chad. Having him gone makes me so thankful for how hard he works when he's here. I am one spoiled wife!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Cherry Tomato: a Haiku

A volunteer plant
Survived the winter inside
'Maters as tall as the house

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Adelaide Grace

This is a post I've been thinking about for a long time now. Stuff I've wanted to have written down so that I'll always remember (I have an AWFUL memory!!) and be able to tell Addy the details one day. Since it's been almost a year - gasp! - since my last post, I'll do a quick recap of the last 11 months...this will probably be way to long...sorry!

We found out I was pregnant last May. The same weekend as Chad graduating from EOD school in Florida. What a weekend to celebrate! I also flew home that weekend for my grandmother's funeral. The pregnancy news was so new & we were so excited, but not ready to share with everyone just yet... Watching Pop take care of my grandmother over the last few years before her passing was such a picture of how Christ loves us - so selfless & unconditional & huge. Many times I was amazed at his patience and ability to care for someone who was difficult to be around. M2 always had a way with words and as her mind slipped, her words were often sharp & often directed at Pop. I didn't realize until seeing him at the funeral how much he loved her. I was heartbroken for him. I wanted to share our news with him that weekend - I wanted so badly to cheer him up. I stole Pop away from everyone else for a few minutes & told him our secret. I will never forget the look of joy on his face, the tears in his eyes & that he said "the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away." He is such a special man.

We got news that our next assignment would take us to Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport LA. I cried. Shreveport was not where we wanted to go. But Uncle Sam said so. Sweet Chad pretty much did the whole move on his own - I was at the end of my first trimester & really not feeling my best. We got to Shreveport early in July. The Lord definitely went ahead of us. Without boring you with all the details, we were able to move straight into our rental house & have been totally blessed with the neighbors we have here! I can't imagine living anywhere else right now.

Since I was getting into my second trimester, we wanted to find an OB quickly to continue my care. There was one OB whose name we kept hearing & decided to go with her. Chad & I had been talking about the idea of attempting a natural childbirth. I liked the idea, but wasn't sure if I could actually do it. The OB didn't give me the boost of confidence I was hoping for. She kept saying "we'll see what happens." Which in Shreveport LA means "we will induce you at 38 weeks." Definitely not what I wanted. We looked at our other options - there is a birthing center in Marshall, TX about 45 minutes away, but the idea of laboring in the car was not appealing. The hospital I was going to deliver at was less than 10 minutes away. We hired a doula to help us have the best chance for a natural delivery. The plan was to labor at home until I was at a 7 or so & then get to the hospital in time to push. Our doula encouraged us to be very thorough in our birth plan so that we could be ready to do battle for our natural birth, if necessary, when we got to the hospital. Also not appealing. I didn't want to have to argue with the nurses in throes of labor!

So fast forward to the third trimester. Around week 33 or 34 we trekked out to the birthing center in Marshall to take their childbirth class. One of the midwives, Jen, said something that really resounded with me - something to the effect of if you have a long list of things you don't want done, you are probably having your baby at the wrong place. I wanted to jump up and say "I'm having my baby at the wrong place!" As soon as Chad & I got in the car that evening I brought it up - I wanted to transfer to the birthing center. He was on board. I tried so hard not to get my hopes up. The next morning the class continued & I had a chance to talk to Jen & see if I could even transfer this late - if they had an opening for me around my due date mid-January.

Again, the Lord provided for us & we were able to move my care to the birthing center! I love everything about the birthing center. It feels like your grandparent's house. Familiar. Comfy. Quiet. Cozy. There's a kitchen available to use. Comfy beds & tubs in the labor rooms. The exam room has a chaise lounge instead of an exam table. Jen would palpate my abdomen & talk to our sweet baby during check ups. The OB never touched my belly except to find baby's heartbeat. I loved the thought that our sweet girl would be delivered by someone who already loved her & was passionate about what she was doing.

Here's where it gets good :)
Fast forward again to Christmas break. Thursday night we packed to go home. I had a weird urge earlier that day to get mine & Addy's "go bag" packed. I also pulled out the car seat. I sat on the bed & cried - I told Chad I knew I was being irrational but I wanted to stay in Shreveport over Christmas & wait for the baby. He talked me down, but I convinced him to put our bags & car seat into the back of the car. Even though we wouldn't need them. Friday Dec 23. I was 36 weeks & 6 days. Chad and I stopped at the birthing center that morning for my Strep B test on the way home for the holidays. Jen did the swab & said something like - I didn't feel your cervix & didn't go looking for it. Meaning it wasn't dilating/moving yet, which was fine - it was still early. Most first time moms don't deliver until 41 weeks. We hopped back in the car & made the 2.5 hour drive to Ennis to spend Christmas Eve with Chad's family.

We had a nice dinner & played Farkle for a while after dinner. We were sitting around the coffee table on the floor & I just couldn't get comfy - I thought the baby had been lower lately and figured that was why I felt so much pressure on my pelvis. I was getting cranky & went to bed before everyone else. Around 1 in the morning, I got up to tinkle. Once I got back in bed I felt a gush. But it wasn't much & I dashed back to the bathroom. Weird. I thought if my water really broke it would be a waterfall. I woke Chad up anyways. We decided to wait and see what happened. I had been having Braxton Hicks since the second trimester & didn't think much of the contractions I was having that night. Some were more painful than others. But they were so inconsistent. I had a few more gushes. I counted contractions - they didn't seem to be building or getting closer together. I would have contractions for 30 minutes & then they would quit for an hour. Finally around 4 or 5 I called our doula. She told me to have a glass of wine & take a bath & relax. And to touch base with her in an hour. I think I called her back around 7. No real changes, but the contractions now felt in a different place than Braxton Hicks.

Around 9 I called our midwife Jen. We were on the phone while I had a contraction. She was confident that my water had broken, I was in labor & told me to go ahead & head back to Marshall. Better safe than sorry. Chad flew into action - packed the car & got me out the door around 10. We called to let our doula & midwife know we were on our way.

Once I got settled laying down in the car, I started praying & asking God to slow things down! We had a 2.5 hour drive ahead of us & I didn't want to have a baby in the car!! (and to think, I initially was dreading a 45 minute drive from our house in Shreveport to Marshall!) I didn't have any contractions for probably 10 or 15 minutes - I thought for sure I had misread everything that my body was doing. I felt stupid.

Then things picked up. I tried to keep track of the contractions but they were right on top of each other with very little break between. I couldn't believe it. Surely I was counting wrong. I started wondering if Chad could deliver our baby on the side of the road. We talked later & he said he was having the same thoughts! I kept yelling for him to pull over so I could push her out. He was speeding along & flashing his lights at people & refused to stop unless I could feel her head!

We actually beat Jen to the birthing center. Those were the longest 10 minutes of labor - waiting for her to get there. Once I saw her face though, I knew I was going to be OK. I kept asking if I was really in labor - I didn't believe it! She walked me into the birthing center & after a quick pee break for me, we got down to business.

I was so nervous at first - we hadn't talked about birthing positions or other options during labor. But it was like my brain shut off and this very primal part of my brain took over & my body started moving on its own. Leaning forward over the bed, squatting, all fours, and laying on my side. I rotated through these positions as my body guided me. I heard everything going on, but don't think I said much during labor. Jen did a fabulous job of helping me to learn what a good push should feel like. Chad was next to me the whole time. He snuggled close between contractions & whispered encouraging words during the waves that were washing over me. He supported my weight as I squatted to push & he held my dead weight between contractions. He brought me water, chapstick & cool wash rags. He was so strong and so encouraging. Such a good coach. Hearing the excitement in his voice as he could see Addy move down the birth canal made me more excited to work harder to push her out!

I heard the worst part of the pain, the "ring of fire", would be right when the head crowned. I was so excited I didn't think it was bad. Addy's head was ear to shoulder instead of straight in line. I pushed for 2 long hours. Every push I thought "this one will get her out!" When her little noggin came out, she got tangled in the cord. Our midwife calmly & quickly stepped in & pulled Addy out & placed her on my chest. I was shocked! I knew her head was out but thought I would have a couple more pushes to get out her shoulders. It was around 4:30pm and there she was, bright eyed & beautiful! Cone head and all.

Her first moments on my chest were the sweetest. The surge of love I felt for her was completely overwhelming. Then to look over & see Chad in awe of what had just happened. I kept thinking I would cry I was so happy - but I was euphorically happy - beyond being able to be expressed with tears. I was so overwhelmed.

We had some time with just the three of us. Chad prayed. It was so special. Then my parents & Pop came in to meet our sweet Adelaide Grace. (Pop was on his way back from a cruise & stopped in Marshall when he heard I was in labor - I was so surprised & excited that he came!). We nursed & then Addy had a check up while I took a bath.

Since it was Christmas Eve, we wanted to hurry & get home. We wanted our midwife & doula to get time with their families too. We were home by 8 or 9 & got to spend the night in our own bed. Not that I slept a wink! I put our itty 6 lb sweet girl on my chest & spent the night snuggled in bed counting her breaths. I couldn't believe I was allowed to take her home - it was so surreal!

The last 3 months have been a whirl wind and are another story for next time.

We are so humbled & thankful for the sweet baby that the Lord has trusted us with. Every day I look at her & can't believe how much we have been given! The thought of raising her is overwhelming at times. I want so badly to do what is best for her. And have tortured myself many times trying to figure out what that is. However, I am learning to trust the instincts that God has given me & to give myself grace on days that are exceptionally difficult.

We are completely in love with our little Sweet Cheeks & look forward to what each day brings with her!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Running in Florida

Painful? Yes.
Humid? Constantly.
Enjoyable? Debatable.

I've had a really hard time adjusting to the heat/humidity combo. Probably because I go out for a run & my shins start hurting & I'm gulping for air like a fish out of water & since I'm a big baby, I back off. Don't get me wrong. I've had several runs with decent mileage (4-5 miles) but on average, I think I deserve a cookie if I survive a 1-2 miler.

Which is probably why I have been so excited about my new running shoes! I recently took the plunge & bought a pair of Merrell Pace Glove barefoot/minimalist kind of shoe with my REI dividends. The thing with barefoot running is you are supposed to cut back mileage & ease into them. Gladly! I've gone for 4 one half mile runs in these bad boys so far. And I really have no complaints. In the 5ish minutes it takes to run 1/2 a mile (which is not long enough to be overcome by the humidity), I have actually used the time to savor the running experience. No music. No Garmin. Just me & my shoes outside. And I can surely say that I am happier & feel more accomplished running my 1/2 a mile than I have felt after toughing it out through longer runs since moving to FL. I would have a little bit of dread in the pit of my tummy everytime I put on my tennis shoes to go for a run. I knew it was going to hurt. My legs would feel like lead & my shins would be out of control. But with my new shoes, I don't have those feelings. I am excited to go run! My legs feel lighter, my shins are rejoicing & my ankles & feet are getting stronger each time I run. I have definitely had some tremendous calf soreness, but from what I understand that is to be expected when you start running barefoot.

Nothing a little yoga & Biofreeze can't handle. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hogue Happenings

How in the world has it been almost a month since my last post?! Let me try to hit the high points for you!

1. Miller Family Vacation: My parents, brother & sister in law & sister & brother in law all came down to FL for a week. We had a rental house down on beautiful Cape San Blas (about 3 hours from where Chad & I live). The beaches are pet friendly, which was awesome because there are not many around here where we can let the dogs play. They had a blast splashing in the ocean & chasing birds. Then Basil ate a jellyfish. So Chad had to gag her and then she threw it up. And now she's fine. (That's the short version of the story). Dad fished all week, but only caught 1 fish...on the very last day. This was also the day we rented a pontoon boat and subsequently ran a-ground in the middle of St Joseph Bay. We literally had to get out & push! We saw lots of wildlife during the week: a bald eagle, dolphins, sand dollars, sponges, crabs, sea snails, sand flies (well, didn't see those but felt them biting!!), and even a shark! The weather wasn't the best, but it was really good to spend time with family. It made me realize how much I miss them! In true Miller form, not many pictures were taken - but here are a couple my awesome brother in law took:

2. Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University: We didn't get to start at the very beginning, but jumped in about half way through the course at our church. I wouldn't say that Chad & I have been awful with our finances over the last year & a half, but we haven't been that great with them either! Going through this course together is really the best thing that could have happened! We are so much more organized/on the same page now. And I still get giddy to be able to say that we have paid off our debt & are going to switch off our credit cards at the beginning of next month!! We have been blessed beyond what we deserve (lets be honest...we don't deserve anything good!) by our parents - thanks to their wisdom & planning for our futures, so much of what our finances look like today is completely owed to them - thank you Hogues & Millers!!

3. Moving: yup, we are still planning on doing that this June. Shreveport here we come. Still not over the moon about the idea, but we are working on that! We are learning that each assignment is only as good as you make it. We are definitely looking forward to being somewhere longer than 6 months & feeling a little more settled. Florida is really starting to grow on us, so we will definitely miss Eglin too!

4. The Morrows are coming: YAY!!! I seriously can't be more exited! Even though we were only in CA for about 6 months, I will always think of it as home. It is where Chad & I started our lives together. And we were blessed by the best church family I could have ever hoped for. Marina & Greg are very sweet friends. Marina has become an accountability partner since we moved away & I can always count on her to speak the truth in love & to speak the Word to me when I need it. I am SO excited for our Florida adventures!!

5. EOD School: Chad is at the end of the Nukes course & starts Weapons of Mass Destruction soon (which will be the last section). I can't believe we are so close to graduation - May 6th!! When we started school last summer, this day seemed SO far way - but now it's almost here! I am so proud of my hard-working husband! Some of Chad's family is coming down to celebrate with us at graduation and we are really looking forward to spend time with them!

Well, those are the big things happening with us right now. We are making the most of the end of our time in FL & trying not to be overcome by the humidity!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


If you know me at all, you know I love food.

I love to smell food. Think about food. Cook food. Taste food. Day dream about food. Analyze food. Touch food. Grow food. Take pictures of food. Read about food. Chop food. Share food. Try new food. Talk about food. Does the word "food" look funny to you, too, now? Food Food Food.

I like to think that I have broadened Chad's food horizons & refined his palate a bit. Poor guy was eating oatmeal for most dinners before we got married. And I also found a can of spaghetti in his pantry...I guess that's not saying much then. Almost anything is a step up from oatmeal & canned spaghetti.

All this to say: I am so excited for warmer weather! The abundance of fresh produce is good for my heart (figuratively & literally!).

This past summer/fall we had our first attempt at a garden. Some successes & some failures (mostly failures) but learned a lot & am looking forward to gardening again with my new knowledge. Right now the garden is a little...unkempt. There are broccoli & carrots & lettuce & cilantro that somehow survived the winter. Plus two strawberry plants are also going crazy.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be time for another garden this summer. We just got orders that we will be moving to Barksdale AFB mid June. So I'm thinking that by the time we get a house, it may be too late for much of a summer garden! I am very interested to see what the culture is like there. If there are any other foodies, farmer's markets or homesteaders in the area.

Anywho, random post, but it seemed like time to update! Must drive hubby to PT on base so he can bring his car home later (we parked it there last night on the way to church).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Learning to Fight Back

1 Peter 5:8 says that the devil "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."

Satan knows just what to do so he can gobble me up. Lie. Nothing fancy or elaborate. And the same exact lie works pretty much every time.

Well, I'm finally getting wise to his ways.

And I am learning to defend myself against the "angel of light". Because he is not full of truth - he is full of darkness. And I am promised victory by the Lion of Judah!

Satan may try a new version of the lie or a whole new tactic, but I know that when I am armed with the Sword of the Spirit, I can "extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one" (Eph 6:16). The Gospel of Truth is more powerful than the words of the serpent.

Without over-sharing, one verse that I am clinging to as truth against the particular lie Satan is using this time: "but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love." Psalm 147:11

Truth wins, Jesus wins!!