RSS Feed

Category Archives: Thanksgivings

Thankful Thursday #113: brown paper packages & the happy

Posted on

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve gotten into a semi-habit of posting every weekday except Tuesday, sharing two recipes in addition to my pregnancy updates and Thankful Thursdays (when I do them).  This is another busy week, however, with six dozen cupcakes to make, so this will likely be my only other post this week.  I do have some great recipes to share and hopefully can do that next week!

But I do have a Thankful Thursday this week.  Joshua has been getting some mail lately, and we’ve been having a lot of fun opening it since he is still in womb jail for another three months and his scissors privileges won’t be awarded for another five years or so. I think we’re enjoying his gifts even more than he will, though! :)

Joshua got this adorable outfit from his Grandma Miller.  She sent it after she found out we were having a boy and wrote a short note that said, “I couldn’t resist!”  Aww!

Monkey butt! hehe

If you’ve been reading a while, you might recall me referring to my “foodie mama.”  Marina is my foodie mama because she has been an inspiration to me ever since we met online back in 2008, and she is the reason I started entering my baked goods into the fair. She’s won hundreds of ribbons! (Check out some of her recipes, many ribbon-winners, that I’ve shared here.)  Anyway, she’s going to be a foodie Grandma now, and she sent this package to her newest grandson:

Included in the many gifts for Joshua was some foodie stuff for me, including a   signed copy of her cookbook (yayyyy!), homemade vanilla, lemon sugar, and vanilla sugar.  I’ve already used the vanilla and it’s so good – I’ll be sharing one of the recipes I used it in soon.  The package also contained a “Family” picture frame, a book of positive quotes (I need this on the days when I’m feeling particularly fat or worried about the future), ADORABLE dinosaur baby slippers (look at them! Couldn’t you DIE?), onesies with matching hats, a pack of bibs, baby washcloths, and pacifiers!

Our friends Jack and Santana sent us what is sure to be a lifesaver.  Getting gifts from parents is great because honestly, I never would have thought to buy or ask for a toy bar that attaches to a car seat/carrier, but when I saw it I was like “Duh! Of course we need that!”  Also, every kid needs a set of plastic keys, and I love that they sent a beautiful book to add to our son’s library since I plan to read to him every day.

Then I got the surprise of my life when I was leaving for work last Friday and found this waiting on the porch:

Someone had fun shopping our baby registry!  Two big things we needed are now in our grubby little hands – a stroller and a pack of these fabulous user-friendly reusable cloth diapers with snaps that expand to fit your baby from 7-35 lbs:

Thank you so much, Jenna!!  Sometimes I just can’t believe God loves me enough to give me people like you. <3

I have to say that being pregnant is so much fun, because people get more happy for you than almost for anything else.  Especially when it was a long time coming!  It’s been a while since I graduated or was engaged, but unless my memory is worse than I imagine, people weren’t as excited about that as they are about this baby.  I have never seen so many smiles as when I announced I was pregnant. Something about new life…it gets you happy.

I’m so happy, you’re so happy, and then people buy stuff because they want to help, and it makes the happy even bigger.  It’s just a really happy thing all around.  And I’m thankful.  Not just for the stuff, but for the happy that Joshua is bringing to everyone.  Thanks for being happy for us. :)


Thankful Thursday #112: my husband becoming a father

Posted on

Though it’s not a secret, I’ve not shared before that Dennis took a long time to decide he was ready to become a Dad.  Yes, we were trying for ten years, but it wasn’t until we were seven years in that he confessed he didn’t feel ready to be a Dad.  My happiness (and he knew becoming a Mom was what I wanted more than anything) was more important to him than his own comfort level, so he just went along with it for that long, wanting me to be a Mom more than he didn’t want to be a Dad.  He even prayed for it, just for me!  And he never would have confessed if I hadn’t forced it – finally realizing that his going along didn’t necessarily mean he was with me 100%, I asked, and he didn’t lie.  This was both upsetting (we share everything! I couldn’t believe he didn’t tell me, and how could I have never asked?) and touching.  On the plus side, learning this did dampen my own desire for a child (for a couple years, anyway) so that I wasn’t even disappointed any more when it didn’t happen.

Last year, my desire for a child started to burn in earnest again, and thank God, it was also at this time Dennis finally told me that he was ready to become a Dad.  And how funny is it that only a year later, he’s becoming one?  Have you ever heard someone say that God’s timing is perfect?  Well…there you go.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

For a man who spent 44 years not sure if he was cut out for children, he’s adapting well to the imminent prospect of one.  Everyone keeps asking, “Is Dennis excited?”  That’s hard to answer because although he doesn’t fit my female definition of excited (jumping up and down and squealing), I do believe he is excited in his Dennis way.

Dennis and Owen standing in Big Brutus’ shovel (he’s the biggest electric shovel in the world!)

After the first sonogram when our baby still looked like a sea creature, at bedtime Dennis kissed me and said, “I love you.  And I love the baby too.”  That melted my heart.

After the third sonogram (he missed the second), later that night while walking Jessie, he said, “Cool, we’re all having a baby and stuff,” with a big smile, and did this forward swooping movement with his arms, bending his legs, that he does when he’s really happy and excited (it kind of looks like he’s doing a “I’m so cool in my leather jacket” movement, pushing his arms out to straighten the sleeves.  All that’s missing is him swooping a comb through his hair-lol).  This is about as close to my female definition of excited as Dennis gets and it really made me happy to hear and see it.

Then the clincher.  He out-parented me earlier this week when he was talking about going to the gun range on Saturday.  I’ve never been, but I’ve shot two guns since pregnant, once at his parents house and once at my Uncle’s (both in my first trimester), so I thought maybe I would go with him.  He said, “What about the baby?  Didn’t you say he can hear now?  How will the gun shots affect him?”  I replied automatically, processing my own answer only during and after I was saying it.  “They would surprise and possibly scare him,” I said, thinking of the many articles I’ve read saying that loud noises will surprise our baby now, and he will react to them.  I was stunned I hadn’t thought of this myself, as I tend to be the one that over-thinks things.  Dennis’ first concern had been for Joshua, and this was both startling and completely wonderful.  He’s already a great Dad. :)

As a side note, I decided not to go with him to the range.  I know I can’t protect Joshua from every surprise and scare, but realizing beforehand how the gunshots might affect him would make me really ill at ease, and I know I’d interpret his every movement as proof that he was freaking out in utero.  I’ll just feel better keeping him away from firing bullets until he’s a little older-lol.

Watching the evolution of my husband becoming a father is so wonderful and miraculous after so many years of him not feeling he was Dad material.  (I always knew he was Dad material, of course.  His nephews adored him as kiddos and he was the life of the party when his whole family got together, teaching the little ones how to juggle.)  I’m just so grateful that God has given us this blessing at the perfect time, and that Dennis is transitioning so well.  Pretty sure that seeing him hold his son for the first time is going to completely melt my heart.  <3

Thankful Thursday #111: forget envy

Posted on

Earlier this week a Mom expecting her second child ordered beehive cupcakes for her gender reveal party.  Yes, just like the ones I pictured in my own gender reveal.  I told her that her timing was uncanny, that I had planned the exact same thing, with the “What will it bee?” theme, except I wasn’t having a party, and was revealing through my blog.  It was so neat to have the extra motivation to perfect the honey cake recipe I’ll be submitting to the fair this year!

She wanted the cupcakes delivered and told me their property was gated, so I was semi-prepared when I pulled up to it.  It turns out the property was so expansive, you couldn’t even see the home from the gate!  I called her to be let in and the gates slowly opened for me.

As I followed the path she indicted, turning left at a lake, I was in awe and a little bit of shock.  There are people this rich in my area?

She was very nice, gave me a tip on top of the extra she paid for delivery, and we chatted for a bit.  She told me they planned to eventually build their “real” home behind the one they were currently living in.  The one they were living in had to be the size of at least ten of mine.

After dropping the cupcakes off, I thought about her baby on the way, and how much easier it was for her than me to be having a child.  Lots of space, money to buy whatever they might need, and more.  I thought about how Jessie would love running around so much acreage. And how we could never give either of our children (yes, Jessie’s the older sister-lol) what that family could give theirs.

Feeling some envy was pretty tempting, but this quote came to mind: “We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” ~ Charles Kingsley.

I have so much to be enthusiastic about, praise God.  I have everything I need, and a lot of things I want.  I have a gift (baking) that hopefully will allow me to work from home once the baby comes since my job is going away, and it is pretty neat to be able to make money doing something you truly enjoy.  Best of all, God has given me the ultimate desire of my heart, a child.  I’m growing a baby, people.  Incredible.

I don’t have a lot, but I have more than enough.  I’m sure people in needier countries would marvel at my small home, income, full shoe rack, and clean water the same way I marveled at the expansive estate I visited.  Once the baby comes there will be many trials and hardships, but I trust that God will provide and I know we’ll always have enough.  We may not be wealthy, but we can give Joshua the most important things, namely love, and in abundance.

Life is good, and I am happy.  Forget envy, I have too much to be enthusiastic about. :)

Thankful Thursday #110: Becky’s back!

Posted on

Just a quick Thankful Thursday today.  So remember how I wrecked my car and got two tickets for expired tags and all the drama of it not being in my name so we couldn’t get it legal until we got the duplicate car title in the mail since the original was nowhere to be found? Well I’m happy to report that Becky was NOT totaled, the insurance paid for the repairs, she’s now fixed, we got the title in the mail and my Dad signed her over to me since I paid for it months ago, we paid the taxes and got a new tag, and I am just so relieved and happy to be driving a car that starts and has air conditioning again!  I was driving Baby until we could get all this done and wow, I do love that crazy messed up car but she has become even more unreliable (I know, how is that even possible, right?) and she stranded both me and Dennis on several occasions since we reclaimed her from Danielle, who had borrowed her until she could save enough to buy a new car.  I am totally OK with giving her back to Dani now – lol!

So a big YAY for a legal, working car!  Yaaaaay!!!!

Thankful Thursdays #109: the people God gave me

Posted on

Remember when I did a thumbs up & down Thankful Thursday?  This is going to be another one of those because I’ve had some drama in my life lately!  I was going to skip Thankful Thursday this week but decided to just tell you how much I suck lately instead of acting like my life is always perfect.  :)

Thumbs down: I was in a car accident last Tuesday and it was my fault. First time ever!  Still can’t believe I didn’t check my blind spot before changing lanes. :(

Thumbs up: No one was injured. I scuffed the guy’s truck a little and dented my passenger’s side door as I side-swiped him.

Thumbs down: Found out my car tags are expired (the car is still in my Mom’s name since we haven’t been able to find the title and I never even thought about the tags with all this baby stuff going on) and got a ticket for not only inattentive driving, but for the expired tags.

Thumbs up: At least we kept the insurance current, even if it’s in Mom and Dad’s name.

Thumbs down: I kept driving the car to work and got another ticket for the expired tag two days later.

Thumbs up & down: Baby is still my car and I stole her back, so at least I have something to drive legally until the duplicate title for Becky arrives and I can register the car in my name, although it does put my poor sister in a bind.

Thumbs down: Baby has developed more issues (how is this even possible? lol) and stranded me yesterday, making me late for work as I had to get a ride from a kind neighbor.

Thumbs up: My supervisor cancelled the red mark I would have gotten for being late since it was car related. After being sick three days, the last thing I need is another red mark.  I need this job right now!

Thumbs down: My Dad called me to tell me that his best friend passed away.  This is my Dad’s third loss this year, and all of them have been his closest friends (the first one was Gramps).

Thumbs up: Even while crying, he was laughing with me about how much joy our baby has given him, especially with all his losses.  *tears*

Thumbs down: We are short on money because we both took off for three days when I was very ill with a stomach virus.  Dennis was such a champ for taking care of me, but our paychecks suffered for it.

Thumbs up: God sent a very unexpected answer to prayer and friends from church who knew of our situation offered to pay my tickets.  Wow.  Just wow.  :’)

Thumbs down: The insurance company says my car is totaled (they’re still waiting for pictures from the body shop who did the estimate to finalize this determination) so I may be without a good car again.  (You can tell how much the car is worth if a dented door totaled it-lol.)  Unless I want to drive a totaled car.  But apparently you have to pay some sort of fee if you do this.  Blah.  We’ll figure it out.

Donna with Jessie (back when she still had a waist-lol!) and Doc (Donna’s dog and Jessie’s best friend).

Thumbs up: A friend who used to run the doggie day care we took Jessie to (Jessie’s still best friends with her dog and they have sleep overs to this day–so cute!) has turned into my second mother and is excited about our pregnancy the way my Mom should be but isn’t.  She’s been buying me maternity clothes and got me some belly oil to help the skin stretch and these gestures mean so much more to me than the physical gifts themselves.  It’s nice to have a woman excited like a Mom for me, especially without my own showing much interest. I’m now calling her my “Momma Donna.” :)

Thumbs up: Everyone I love is happy and healthy and that’s what matters most!

I’m just incredibly thankful for the people God has put in our lives.  They really made this last week so much better than it would have been without them.

Thankful Thursdays #108: Grandpa’s Pineapple

Posted on

{image source}

A couple weeks ago I told you about Becky and how Grandpa had stuffed her full of food that we had to pull out before taking the car home.  Mostly canned food, but there were a few fresh items that we took back with us.  The lemons, the blueberries, and the fresh pineapple.  There was so much going on at the time that upon returning home, the pineapple sat in a sack on the floor, forgotten, for two weeks.

Grandpa ran everywhere until his last two years, and it got him in the local paper in 2009!

We picked up Becky on March 2nd, Grandpa’s funeral was March 9th and a week later, on March 16, I ovulated.  Yeah, when you’re a woman who really wants kids and has spent years and years waiting for one, you keep track of stuff like that, and more.  :)  So there I was, another month, another day of ovulation, another two weeks of restless hopefulness awaiting me, even despite my stressful month and grief, and I had this supremely ripe pineapple from my Grandpa that I’d almost forgotten about.  But ovulation triggered my memory and I dug it out of its sack and sliced into it.

Mom, Grandpa, and Grandma in 1996. This hat has a blog of its own coming soon. :)

It is fairly well known among the baby-desperate (as are many tricks and aids for conceiving) that pineapple can help a fetus implant in the uterus, as it softens the lining.  Have you ever eaten so much fresh pineapple that your tongue bleeds?  Dennis loves pineapple so much that he has developed his own rule for when to stop eating it–when you start to see blood on the pineapple you’re biting into (lol).  That’s an enzyme in the pineapple called bromelain, which essentially softens up tissues, which also happens to help prepare the uterus for a baby if there was one created that month.

Grandpa holding me as a baby, 1980.

(As a side note, pineapple juice works great in a marinade because it tenderizes the meat! This one is my favoritest favorite marinade for steak to date.)

Grandma and Grandpa in love, circa 1950.

The highest concentration of bromelain is in the pineapple core and you’re supposed to eat a slice a day, including the core, for the first five days after ovulation.  It had been a long time since I tried this trick and forgot about the five day rule and continued eating it for seven days.  On day eight, while we were at our evening church service, I experienced mild uterine cramping, similar to what I usually feel at that time of my cycle as my body begins to prepare to shed the lining because there is no baby.  As I sat in church with that feeling, it was strange, but while I did feel a little disappointed, I felt more hopeful than anything else.  Well I guess it isn’t strange, I always had such incredible hope that surpassed any realistic expectations I should have had after thirteen years.  But I had this cautiously happy feeling in my heart, wondering if maybe, just maybe, there was a baby settling in and that’s what I was feeling.

Baby Grandpa, 1930

Turned out, that’s exactly what I was feeling!  Isn’t it beautiful how this child sprang to life so soon after Grandpa’s death, and with his help?  If I hadn’t gotten this pineapple from him in this sad and strange way, there might not be a baby now.  It tempers the sadness for me and turns it into something radiant.  It makes the baby feel so connected to him, and it just really touches my heart to know that Grandpa helped us conceive this child, like he was working directly with God to help our little cupcake come into being.  Even though our baby won’t know him, I have this picture of him framed, which I blew up and had printed from his newspaper article, and I will have lots of stories, including the pineapple story, for our child. I think Cupcake Miller is going to love their Great-Grandpa Millner and repeat these stories to our future grand children. Or at least, I hope so. :)

The circle of life.  Pain.  Grief.  Beauty.  Incredible joy.

Thankful Thursday #107: I’m pregnant :)

Posted on

I know, I can’t believe it either!  Praise the Lord, who remembers our prayers even after many years.  We are so thankful and it has been so hard not to share this on every Thankful Thursday since we found out!  I’m now 13 weeks along and baby is due December 9, 2013 (that’s Dennis’ birthday-lol).  We just celebrated our 13th anniversary on June 4th and I’m starting to think 13 isn’t such an unlucky number after all. :)

Thankful Thursdays #106: Becky

Posted on

As you may know, my Grandfather passed away at the end of February.  He had been gearing up to make a trip to Wichita so that he could deliver a car that he’d fixed up for me, and also to visit.  It was my sister’s old car, a ’96 Camry, which she sold to Dad because she couldn’t afford an expensive repair, which I was buying from Dad, and which Grandpa had said he would fix in exchange for Baby.  I thought he was off his rocker, because Baby is more of a liability than an asset, but I agreed.  He loves to fix cars and he probably was going to use her for parts, so maybe it was a good deal, or maybe he was just being ultra-generous.  Probably a combination of both, as he really lived to help others out…and to fix cars.  He consistently had about ten of them, or more, on his property.

I was very eager to get the Camry back, but Grandpa isn’t known for his timeliness.  Mom got her lateness factor from him, and multiplied it by a million, but he still is pretty hard to keep on a schedule.  He had fixed the car after a few months, but instead of bringing it back or letting us come and pick it up, he kept telling us he really wanted to make the trip himself because he lived to visit us and delivering the car gave him a good reason to come.  Nine months later, he was ready to bring it! A snow storm (the one that almost killed me) delayed him by a week and before the weather cleared…he was gone.

We aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow, but most of us take it for granted, not only for ourselves but for our loved ones.  As we witness the heartbreaking devastation and loss from the Oklahoma tornadoes, it is a good reminder to appreciate what we have today, especially the people, because we never know if we’ll have them tomorrow.  I’m just so glad we got to have one last good visit with Grandpa before he passed.

Grandpa always made sure to feed us something nutritious while he was visiting!

Dennis and I traveled with Mom and Dad to Joplin, MO, the weekend after Grandpa’s death so that we could pick up the car, and they were going to stay behind to help Uncle David care for Grandma, who has advanced Alzheimer’s.   The funeral wasn’t until the following weekend.  When we arrived, we found the car stuffed to the gills with food.

As we emptied it out, saving a bit for ourselves since Uncle David said we could keep what we wanted, I thought about Grandpa and how he had probably bought all this food to give to those he loved.  I thought about all the times he’d come to Wichita, car loaded to the brim with boxes full of apples, or peaches, or yogurt, or whatever, to give to us.  He lived to help people, especially their diets. :)

I wish I would have taken a picture of the back seat that showed how high the stuff was piled.  On top was a crate of blueberries, a flat of nectarines, a flat of lemons, and a pineapple.  Remember when I mentioned inheriting blueberries and lemons from Grandpa?  This is how–they came with the car. :)

Through the window you can see how high he’d piled food stuffs! This trunk had SO much in it, including a 50 lb. bag of shelled peanuts and a folding table that he bought for Dad.

I wasn’t able to thank Grandpa for his work on the car while he was here, or for the lemons and blueberries that he inadvertently gifted to me, but I’m so very thankful.  I now have a solid, reliable car that starts without any tricks, and doesn’t have any “Service” or “Check Engine” lights lit up on the dash.

And I’ve named her Becky because Becky seems like a solid, reliable kind of name to me.  :)

As for Baby, she is still alive and kicking.  Dennis turned her into his project car for a couple months and did some very inexpensive fixes on her appearance, and then my sister ended up needing a car (the same one who I inadvertently got mine from) so we gifted her with Baby.  I’m glad to have her still in the family and not consigned to a junk yard just yet.  I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Baby and all her troublesome ways, but I’m beyond thankful for Becky and all Grandpa did to fix her up for me, including the groovy gray primer on her nose that we just need to cover with some white. :)

Though I have to say, part of me enjoys the reminder of how much work he put into the car I’m now driving.  Thank you Grandpa, I love and miss you!!!!

Your turn!

Posted on

Once again the things in my day have overfilled the hours that remain and I have to skip the Thankful Thursday post I had planned.  Instead of having radio blog silence, however, I decided to ask you what you’re thankful for.  I opened this question up for comments on my Facebook page so head over there to add your thanksgiving(s).  I really hope to see at least 25 comments by the time I get home from work so surprise me with more, OK? :D

Thankful Thursday #105: girls’ night in

Posted on

So I was all geared up to finally dedicate this Thursday to Grandpa. Alas, I’ve been up for 17 hours on four hours sleep (doctor appointment early in the  morning, then had cupcakes to make, my oil to change, and an 8-hour shift to work…life) and don’t have the energy to do his post justice.  Until next week, I’ll leave you with this…

Me and the little sisters all had a night in and cooked dinner together, which I don’t think we’ve done since we all lived in the same house…fifteen years ago!  I’m thankful for the wonderful evening, but mostly I’m just thankful for my awesome sisters.

%d bloggers like this: