Cold Weather! Baby News! It’s All So Exciting!

Here’s hoping everyone is staying warm. Our own weather is a bit chilly [we started off the day with 8 degree wind chills, to the chagrin of every Southerner], and I know it’s only worse the further north and west you head. Brr.

Here’s to coffee! And tea! And hot chocolate!

Really, anything warm that you can think of that will feel cozy in your belly. You go for it.

We are more than surviving. The schools called a two-hour-delay. While I rolled my eyes a bit [because I’m all Midwestern-tough AND judgmental], it was nice to be able to sleep in. We made waffles & bacon, and leisurely got ready for school. I won’t complain about an extra two hours sleep. Never, ever.

I had an appointment with the midwife this week …

[Full stop: For those who don’t/didn’t know, we’re meeting with midwives again for our delivery. We did with the previous two when we lived in KCMO, and really loved our experience. The ones we’ve delivered with have full hospital privileges, and therefore deliver there, in this instance at MUSC. We like that they’re a bit more focused on the natural side of pregnancy & labor, but can also keep my thyroid issue in check, do routine lab work, and if there’s an emergency, can call an ob/gyn in to do their thing. Too each her own, though, too each her own.]

… everything looks peachy. If you missed our big announcement last week, we had our big deal, 20 week Anatomy Scan. She looks perfect, down to her Mighty Milner button nose. The tech said she looked as perfect can get, that I looked good, and if you missed the focus of female pronouns, we’re definitely having a girl.

Sophia, Dr. M, and I all thought ‘girl’ from the very beginning. We had zero science to back up our claim, and all three pregnancies have included copious amounts of morning sickness, so there was nothing to distinguish it. Still … we all thought it. And the tech confirmed it. I waited until I got home to find out with them. I totally wanted to cheat & sneak a peek.

But I’m a grown up, and I didn’t. We opened the envelope together, and saw the note “Girl!” Sophia was definitely thrilled, and wants to share a room with her as soon as possible [that may change, once she arrives – who knows what type of personality she’ll have]. Gabe still just jabbers, points at my stomach, and occasionally says “baby, baby, baby”, which is wickedly sweet in its own way.

This means we can officially deviate away from “It” and “Baby” and “Li’l Bean”, as we know a pronoun. And as long as her sex doesn’t change before delivery [and based on the photo, I’m pretty sure it won’t], her name will be Pearl Noelle. Pearl was my grandmother’s real first name, even as she went by Leavern for most of her life. This is a wonderful, bonus baby and Dr. M & I thought it appropriate to recognize & honor our grandparents who won’t have a chance to meet her. And to be quite honest, we just love the name Noelle. We realize it means ‘Christmas’ and she’ll be a May baby, but we’re really okay with all of that.

We’re just excited all around over here, even with the plummeting temperatures. And now, to go walk in those freezing temperatures to get our blood pumping. We’ll see how much Gabe loves the cold, given that he shivers at 45 degrees. He’s from hardy stock, though, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he ended up loving it. Because he is one cray, cray, dude, to be sure.


He better be glad he’s so cute

Sometimes [and it is only sometimes] my kiddos exasperate the hell out of me. I mean, we have a two-year-old. It comes with the territory, so I try not to let my ire rise too far out of control.

Right now, our battles over bedtime have hit a new crazy high. We combined the kiddos together in what was Sophia’s old room back in December. For a week, it was a novelty. Gabe thought it was awesome to share space with the big kid, because he after all is a big kid himself. He napped, he went to bed, they didn’t fight [too much] – Dr. M and I high-fived each other and walked away with a smidge of gloat on our shoulders.

Then, Week Two. Now the entity that is my bonkers son refuses to nap easily, sometimes skipping days and making our evenings hellish. The messes he/they made were ridiculous. The fights over the shared items in the room could be heard from the street.

And the nights – oh goodness, the nights. I’ll give them some leniency regarding their behavior this week, considering we’re adjusting from awesome-times-it-was-amazing-to-stay-up-late-every-night-during-vacation to boring, old school [in the words of Sophia]. Still, we’re leaning into the ridiculous over here. Last night, they pushed bedtime back to 9 o’clock, in the name of extra bathroom runs, request for milk, and [specifically from the toddler] loud spurts of crying for … well, anything. Mama, Dada, milk, water, crackers, more books. You get the picture.

We were at the end of our rope, not to mention it was my own dang bedtime. [Yes, pregnant women who have to get up at 5:30 go to bed at 9. No judging.] Finally, they were officially settled, they slept and I headed off to bed.

I went in this morning to get their day started, and this, sweet friends, is what I see. Oh goodness …


What you may not initially see is Sophia’s head at the top, mostly buried under her pillow. According to her, he snuck over there after she had gone to bed, curled up with the duck quilt, and put himself to bed. Whatever works, friend, what works.

Some amazing [and utterly surprising] news!

The last time I checked in on this lovely site, the Mighty Milners, we were flying high. We had the school system down, I was knocking out school projects, dinner was made mostly on time. Things were looking good for the family, with the four [count ’em, FOUR] Milners currently inhabiting Charleston.

And then … it all somewhat dramatically, came crashing down. Cue the famous two blue lines on the famous white pee stick. You could also cue a panic attack, the huge feelings of being overwhelmed, and utter, utter surprise. To be quite honest, it was not one of my finer moments. And I’m okay with that – to reiterate, a third bundle of joy was not on my radar.

For as shocking as all of it was, I told a whole lot of no one. And that includes Ryan, for about three days. I did tell finally tell him, over a dinner of tacos. We view seafood tacos as a balm for our soul. The spicy bam sauce did put us in better spirits, and we were able to grin, in spite of the unexpected news.

We held onto that little nugget of news, though, for over a month. In retrospect, I’m not sure HOW great we were at keeping it a secret, but we made no loud pronouncement to anyone. It was easy to hide from the family, within reason, because they didn’t see my ever expanding belly. As for the folks in town, well, I did what I could with stretchy leggings and sweatshirts. I essentially went into hiding. It was all I could do to get up on time to get Sophia to school, with homework done & a lunch in hand. Most of the time, I just rolled out of bed, wore a ponytail, and called it good.

After our visit with the new midwife I had to find rather quickly, the heartbeat was confirmed, the due date set, and it really became real [though, the morning sickness definitely was proving its own point]. Once I had a sonogram in hand, I felt comfortable telling immediate family. No one believed us, not right away. It took the proof in hand to really make the point to our family that this was not an elaborate October prank where we were teasing everyone.

We’re really having a baby.

In May.

The same month as our other two.

[You do the math.]

And, now, here we are – I’m almost 16 weeks along, with a May 2015 due date and only getting more and more excited for what having 5 Mighty Milners can mean for the world. It’s going to be amazing!

Ready? Reset!

And here we go – Monday. Everyone gearing up? We are too, with plenty of coffee in hand.

To be quite honest, I’m looking forward to a fresh week. I kind of lost my bearings late last week, some things didn’t get finished, groceries weren’t bought. Well, some groceries were bought. They just didn’t last very long. And all of the sudden, Costco is still calling my name, and I really don’t want to go on a holiday. So maybe, I just won’t.

We’ve been at the school gig for two weeks now. We’re a bit sleepy. We’re grateful for Labor Day. My kiddos and I will honor previous unionists & dedicated American workers, while sleeping in and staying in our pajamas all day long. And yes, I fully understand the layered ironies here.

The kiddo starts art classes this week. We found a new location, and I’m eager for her to get started with some actual art instructors. We had her signed up last year, and she came home brimming with eagerness, new ideas, and the desire to decorate her room with amazing pieces.

And then they moved. We were sad. Very, very sad.

The old place moved across town, and as much as she loves art, I couldn’t justify an hour & half drive for 45 min of instruction. Then, I used the good ole internet, and found a new place close to her school.


I’m sure we’ll have photos of her amazing work.

The toddler continues on in his crazy antics. Bonkers, this kid, bonkers. I have yet to meet a more tactile, extroverted kid. He’s a lover, that’s for sure. He’s still bonkers. He still clears my kitchen cabinets out, my pantry out, flushes the toilets nine times a day [for no reason, other than he can], opens the dishwasher [for no reason, other than he can], and is just in general, chaotic nonsense.

But then …


I mean … come on. This. Kid. Meltin’ hearts, daily.

What’s going on in your lovely weeks? Vacation time? Work time? Everything in between? Leave a comment below!

Looks like we made it [a new iPad cover, that is]

You know those weeks where you have wonderful, great intentions and silly life gets in the way of you accomplishing a million, gazillion things?

That was this week.

In the win column, Sophia started school, had a wonderful week with her new teacher, and I got her to school on time. Yea!

In the “meh” column, Gabe is [still] working on two big, fat molars, we think he’s sick with something else a big more dramatic, and due to both of the previously mentioned issues, decided to pull a handful of midnight wake up calls.

I am a horrible, rotten person without a full nights sleep. Add that sound reason to the ever growing, why we are not having anymore children list. *Full nights of wonderful, glorious sleep* Done.

So, the house has gone to rot. Thankfully, Dr. M loves a clean house so he steps up and does dishes and picks up and all the wonderful things that pile up quick with four humans. I decided to knit anyway my frustration and tiredness, and make a couple of things for myself.

They don’t mention when you start a new hobby that people will really, really want them to knit you things. So you make blankets and hats and scarfs and everything else for everyone else, and months go by and other people have things that you made, and you have none.

It’s all good. I just wanted something for me.

I decided I wanted a new iPad sleeve. The one currently in use is fine. It’s black, it holds the iPad up when needed, it’s utilitarian. Did I mention, it’s … fine?

Mine might be a bit less ‘useful’, but it looks nice. I also learned how to Seed Stitch appropriately; I had learned the basics of the stitch a while ago, but not the little things that make it looks seamless and nice and cozy. Also, glass cover – protected. That’s all that really matters.

I started with this basic pattern, literally called Simple iPad Cover []. It’s stockinette, it has no flap, and is easy to knit up.

Unless you try to do it late at night, mess up a row, not realize it, and then keep moving on. So, then you’re frogging and you’re frustrated and you give up.

The next morning brings wonderful things, though, like the idea of making it with the Seed Stitch. So bumpy, so stretchy. So adorable.

You’re going to work the front of it first, but not know how to change colors, so you’ll have bumps in color change rows. And that’s … okay. But as you go further along, you’re not satisfied. Not frogging unsatisfied, but unsatisfied. So then you’ll google around, and find a way to do it better. [See this lovely video:

So you’ll go along, and realize you also don’t know how to appropriately bind off when knitting in Seed Stitch. So, you’ll google things again, and find the best way [See also, this:

You already know how to knock out buttonholes, but you’ll watch the video over and over to make sure you really know how to cable cast on. And you do. Yea! [See this, if you’d like:

And after a couple of days, you’ll get this …


See what I mean, about the bumps? I’m not super worried about it, but I knew there could be better. And I was right!

I’m mostly impressed with myself. Considering I’d severely adjusted a pattern, kind of winged it, and you know … novice knitter and all.


And there it is … knitting one row before beginning the seed stitch pattern worked. Perfect!

And so, there it is. A new iPad cover, a happy first grader, and an almost better toddler who is in love with modern medicine & ibuprofen. Anything creative going on out there? Anything you’d suggest on knitting? Throw it at me, and feel free to comment below!

Fresh Starts

‘Beginnings could happen more than once or in different ways.’

– Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry


It’s been a bit quiet over here for a while. For a long time, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say in this space, to be quite honest. Even now, I’m still wrestling with what my voice will sound like, look like – I’m finding I’m more comfortable with the thought of that, and accepting that it’s totally okay to not have all the answers for how the blog should look. I tend to not do something [okay, a lot of things] because of my ever present fear of failure, rejection and potential humiliation. I also absorb styles, voices, templates, and other blogs m.o.’s, to the point that I’m not sure what is my voice as opposed to a parroting of someone else. So these are baby steps, to restart something creative in my life and do it just because I want to, to see what’s really in my soul and thoughts.

I feel like one reason why the blog stumbled a bit last time was due super specific kiddo posts. That is, after all, where the idea for this space started, due to our major move. But one kiddo is old enough to be aware that social media exists, and rather consistently will only grant permission for a photo with the caveat of “But don’t post it! Wherever you post it to, don’t do it!” [Even that, she probably wouldn’t love that I just shared]. I do respect social media autonomy. And her autonomy, just in general.

Beyond that, my life is more than just the kids.

Ha! Ehh … sometimes, anyway. I like to try and convince myself of that.

As I continue, they’ll be around, too, but I am going to free up space for what’s going on with all four of us and not feel like I have to box myself in. Do I want to write about knitting? Cool – that’s what I’ll do. Do I want to talk about the thousands of books I read this year? Awesome – there will probably be some really bad Instagramed photos of their titles. Will I make you totally jealous of my new-ish location with beach photos? Definitely. Do I want to throw up a dozen photos of the kids, while I’m at it? Totally [with permission, of course].

Will I also talk about world topics, national & local drama, or whatever else I’ve been mulling over in my mind? Probably. Potentially yes, anyway. Will I talk about things that I’m interested in, but maybe don’t know a ton on? Yes – hopefully with humility, tons of questions, and a smidge of wisdom, with the hope that the wisdom will only grow.

Whatever this space ends up looking like, I’m hoping you enjoy the journey! Also, pictures of the kiddos. Because let’s be honest, they’re cute stuff that I can reel y’all back in with! [And yes, she approved of the photos this morning, knowing they’d be widely dispersed!]

Also, come on? How do you not share this one? A mischievous pair, these two.

fabulous, restful weekends

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”

– Sir John Lubbuck

Happy mid-week, folks! I certainly hope this post finds all of you doing well this week, feeling well this week, and not merely surviving the week. Though, if that’s where you are, it is Thursday. [Say it with me: One more day, one more day, one more day … ]

One more day until the rushing and the bustling and the coming and going pauses. Allow yourself some time to rest; to sleep in [as late as your kids allow you to]; to go to that Farmer’s Market; to drink a cup of coffee as slowly and deliciously as possible; to read, and rest, and find some peace.

We had that kind of weekend just a handful of days ago. It began with our awesome, fantastic #FridayNightMovieNight. Sophia chose Hugo, the Scorsese film about wonder and adventure and secrets and good friends. It was a delight to watch again.

Dr. M had an intense work week; among his normal duties, they had two job candidates in that required research & teaching presentations; plus extra research; plus everything else. When it rains, it deluges, am I right? Needless to say, he was burnt out. So, we decided to intentionally go slow about Saturday, and not rush about anything. Typically he works through the weekend. Not so, this past one. We watched, and introduced, Sophia to Napoleon Dynamite. It was a bit over her head; she giggled when we giggled, clearly following our promptings, and she decidedly loved the dancing sequence at the end. We loved the opportunity to just sit, and giggle, and quote lines that we’ve now known for close to 10 years.

We lounged, we read good books, we decided to go to the park at some point, we stayed in our pajamas way past the point of typical social acceptance.

In short, it was awesome.

Sunday was great, as well. Sophia and I went to church, while Dr. M stepped back into work and hung out with Gabe. That li’l guy doesn’t always do well at church, so it was a win/win. We ate bad-for-you macaroni and cheese, and sleepily watched football until we just caved into drowsy naps.

Normally, I’m very excited for Mondays. I tend to get bored over the weekends; I feel especially pent up with the kids over the weekend, and I don’t like the lack of structure. Not this weekend.

This weekend, I mildly dreaded the grind of the upcoming week. I wanted the loose scheduled we had created over the past two days. It was lovely.

That being said, it was just the refreshment I, and I think all of us, needed. I woke up on Monday, on time and ready to workout [gasp!]; Sophia was well rested and ready for school to kick off; Gabe was in a fine mood all day. We had been so busy recently, running around with the folks and then the next week struggling in survival mode through my stomach bug. This Saturday and Sunday helped rejuvenate us in an amazing way.

We’re in the midst of another normal, typical week, but I’ll say my attitude is significantly different. I am beginning to see the value of rest; not just for its own sake, but also as a catalyst to be a more proficient worker, a better mom with a smile on my face, a more agreeable wife who helps to carry the stressful load that is being a junior professor.

I hope this upcoming weekend, even as it sets up a busy holiday week for many of us, is one of joy and rest and comfort. Even if it’s just one day of this weekend, find a spot to be still and calm and allow that rest to restore you. I’ll probably be greedy, and hope for both!