Sunday, February 27, 2011


Between teaching, grading, his Master's class, homework, reading and studying, I haven't seen much of Mr. DeBoer lately. However, I know this schedule and stress level is temporary. I know this too shall pass. In the meantime, I'd like to publicly thank him for all he does, reiterate to the world what an amazing person he is, emphasize his true role at mentoring and molding young minds, tell him I love him and scare Cletus with this image of the future father-to-be. Lord help us all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I'm reinstating the poll. I need suggestions. I need more beverage options. I pretty much stick to water, milk, DDP (both caffeinated and noncaffeinated), grape/prune juice mixer and that's pretty much it. I need to spice it up. I need some variety. I need help obviously.

So, what is your favorite drink? What is your favorite alternative to pop? What quenches your thirst? What provides the healthiest benefits? What is your favorite nonalcoholic beer? Don't be stingy on this last one - I miss good beer.

To be clear, this is not a mom survey or for people who have only been pregnant. This is for all audiences, maybe especially those that have tried to limit pop or beer. I command you to respond! Okay… that's harsh. Please, please, pretty please help me.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Shout out to my love Sara who came across these adorable finds at Old Navy. Shawn and I thought they were so bad ass we officially made them our inaugural purchase for Cletus. I don't care what size they are, what season they coordinate with or what gender they'll look better on. Our baby/child will rock the Star Wars onesie and my personal favorite, the Ewok tee.

Ewoks and me go way back. Mandi and I each own an Ewok stuffed animal, courtesy of The Mother, and mine just so happens to be Wicket, the most famous, majestic and adorable of all the Ewoks. Mandi and I also owned every single Ewok movie ever made. We. Were. Cool. Now, so will Cletus be.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I didn't know if I could be one of those "free" women who posts belly pics, especially the bare belly. Truth be told, I still don't know if I am or not but I'm slapping on my brave face and stretchy pants and putting a pic up here anyway. Yes, just one. I haven't mustered the courage for any of the other, full body shots. I have 23 weeks to go. I'll get there. Cut me some slack.

Since there are zero family that live within 60 minutes of me, at the very least I can wrap my head around the excuse that I'm sharing this photo, and therefore the experience, with them. They can't feel the fluttering and kicks I'm beginning to detect, but at least now they have a mental photo of where the kicking is coming from.

Here's Cletus' humble abode, week 17 (last Wednesday). God help me… *cringe*

Now I'm off to find some food! I'm hungry for something… something good… and in a very, VERY large portion. Too bad Chipotle doesn't deliver!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Last Thursday, Shawn and I were sitting at my checkup, waiting for the doc. I was apparently complaining about something body related to which Shawn replied that I'm too cynical and he'd had enough of my whining. He instructed me to try and take a day to be completely positive. So I figured, what better day then a Hallmark-induced, fake, overpriced, lovey-dovey holiday like today? Shit… I did it again. This will be a challenge.

In all seriousness, I have a lot to love and a lot to be thankful for. It's just easier to be cynical. It's second nature. Plus, I truly don't believe in things like Valentine's Day. It's no secret who my Valentine is and he tells me he loves me every day, all day. I don't need expensive flowers, overpriced chocolate (hmmm… chocolate, well, maybe this year), a romantic meal or time set aside for us just because it says so on the calendar. We do that because we want to, not because someone tells us to. This is all besides the point. I'm getting off track and I'm tilting the negative scale again. Dammit! This is hard. Deep breaths…

Okay, to deter any more digression I'll get to the point. I've focused, I've thought and I've reflected. Here are positive things I LOVE lately.

1. Hearing Cletus's heartbeat for the first time.
2. The space heater under my desk at work.
3. Leo's wrinkled face when he crawls down stairs.
4. Norman's eye-linered eyes and the heart mark on his nose.
5. Lucky Charms.
6. St. Paul Bagelry bagels with cream cheese.
7. Movie theatre coupons.
8. New books to read (thanks Allie!)
9. Shawn's clothes, especially his sweatpants.
10. Gracious neighbors and their maternity hand-me-downs.
11. A sister's, experienced, calming words.
12. The melting snow and ice.
13. A blossoming bosom (hollar at my itty-bitty-t*tty-committee comrades!)
14. The miles accumulating on our credit card.
15. March Madness is approaching.
16. A tax refund should be in our future.
17. The Amazing Race starts Sunday!
18. I finished the basement floor plan!
19. Starting to feel Cletus "flutter".
20. Shawn, my other half.

There, whew. I did it!  I survived!

Now if only they would take those damn Kays Jewelers commercials off the air! They make me want to rip off my left arm and throw it at the TV. Hey I didn't say this positive, love talk would last forever!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I sat down to write this blog and found myself at a loss for words. I don't know how to describe how I feel anymore, I don't know where I am in the whole grieving process and I don't really know what to say about it anymore. Except… I miss Dad. It still isn't final for me. And, I don't know when it will be.

I've also noticed I seem to find him everywhere these days. He's in the car I drive, the work ethic I practice, the budget I formulate, the groceries I buy, the recipes I cook, the songs I listen to, the home projects I envision and the dreams I have at night. I may not have been able to tell him in person he was going to be a Grandpa again, but it's comforting knowing… he really was the first to know.

While metaphorical representations of a lost parent are consoling, they can't replace the tangibles we can take with us. In this case, I received a couple irreplaceable tangibles this Christmas, thanks to Tammy. The first, a quilt.

I know the photo doesn't do it justice but it does give a good representation of who my Dad was, at a glance. You would almost always find him in camo (the color and pattern depended on the season), flannel, Nascar, Cabelas attire or the infamous, eternal, zubaz. This quilt is my Dad. I now have something that was his, that he wore. I can touch, smell and curl up in him. When I look at it, it's almost hard to know whether I want to cry or grin. I'm just thankful I have a tangible part of a person I'm a part of. It's indispensable.

I have to highlight some of my favorites nestled within the camo. Now pieces of a quilt are never any greater then the quilt as a whole, but some caught my eye immediately. In case you can't read my cryptic numbers in the photo below, they are one through five starting clockwise from the top.

1: The zubaz. Anyone who knew my Dad knew he wore the zubaz. I think this pair made it through the eighties, nineties and into 2K. I recall seeing a photo of him in these pants, with tennies and a black leather jacket. Mmm-hmm. My friends used to comment on them all the time. While I may have rolled my eyes before, they well up with tears now. In Dad's defense, these really weren't the crazy, stereotypical zubaz. They had some different imagery, contrast and depth to them. A little artistic. A little, unique.

2. The Rusty Wallace blue tee shirt. I bought this shirt for him for Christmas one year while I was working at Scheels. Everyone knows parents are impossible to buy Christmas presents for so I was just proud to find something, find it in his very specific size and see him wear it as much as he did. I have a photo of him dawning this tee as well. In fact, it was the day after Mandi's wedding. He had fallen asleep on the floor while they were opening presents. Which was just about what you'd expect from Dad.

3. The Hooters shirt. What can you say about this, really, except it was a rare occurrence seeing Dad in a long sleeve tee. If I remember right, this one seemed about it. I guess he just really liked the shirt. Or the restaurant. Or…

4. The red flannel. This one is tough because it's most current. This was the first thing I saw the night we came home from the hospital. We walked into the house and straight ahead of me in my line of sight was the coat rack. On it, hung Dad's flannel. I walked straight over, stuck my arm in the sleeve, pulled the flannel to my face and lost it. We had just said goodbye and it was like he had never really left.

5. The Trojans sweatshirt. Number one, since Allison-Bristow joined schools with neighboring Greene, there is no longer such a thing as a Trojan. So really, it's a classic. Number two, it's a sweatshirt. Back in the day, Dad used to tuck in his sweatshirts. I think he might have even thrown a belt on too, not for sure. It's what he did. It's what made him Dad. If you look super close at this piece, I believe there's even a stain on it. Authenticity at it's best.

All these are surrounded by Cabela's and camo. Dad's favorite past time. I'm sure it's hunting season year round for him now, up in God's real country.

The second, a bracelet. I had never heard of such an idea until Tammy mentioned it immediately following the funeral. Apparently people started making bracelets from the funeral programs as a way to remember a loved one. It was so fitting in this case because it came out damn near camo. I can't really explain how it's done, because I'm not sure, but I believe it involves cutting triangle pieces from the program, rolling them up and then rubbing an adhesive/hardening substance over them when complete. I think. One thing's for sure, it takes patience, attention to detail and tedious, tedious handwork. The end result though… is… indescribable. It's embellished with some accenting beads but bottom line, it too, is Dad. It's another tangible to take with me. It can sit by my green Iowa Donor Network bracelet on my wrist and can go with me everywhere, everyday. It's a warming, constant reminder that I really do get to take him with me.

I have a terrible, point-and-shoot camera but if you can't tell, there are actually two bracelets. The simplest of the two belongs to Shawn and the thicker belongs to me. It's hard to see from the photo but squares with Dad's initials hold space in the middle ring: M.V.M. for his given name, Mark Vernon Miller. To me, he's just Dad.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


It's still winter and it still continues to snow. Nothing is melting and nothing is getting greener.

There is still limited sunshine, limited warmth and limited width to get up my driveway.

To top things off, we have to watch the Packers in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Uh. I can see how people get seasonal depression.

At least there's still sleeping, fireplaces... and chocolate. And the Steelers.


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