Us Lately

I didn't post last week. And I'm not sure why. Maybe it was the baby. Maybe it was the dog. Maybe it was my husband. Or maybe it was me. Either way the blog didn't get opened up and the words didn't make it on a page. So what's been going on?

We had a night out a couple weeks ago to get family pictures and to enjoy some weird pizza. Think fig butter sauce, pistachios, bacon, and spinach. Told ya it was odd. But-deliciously odd.

The pictures turned out incredible. Now I cannot wait to get them on my wall. I just have to decide what, where, and when.

We just love Emily Davidson, her personality, her photography style, and her convictions. It's a wonderful fit. Millie loves her too.

I've also had some job offers in the last few weeks. A couple babysitting while at home and one I just turned down that was harder than I thought it would be. It involved teaching. 

Something I miss mildly-it gets in your blood. Plus the opportunity for my own classroom and space was enticing. And then, there was the every alluring temptation of more money and some of my own money. This part of being a full-time parent has been one of the most difficult things for me. My monetary earning power since being married has basically went to zero. Sometimes I feel like I'm dead weight, or spending the cash without a way to replenish-which I am.

Not working outside the home started out as a choice, then school started and it was necessary, then Millie came and again it was a choice but a necessary choice in our family view. 

God bless my delightful husband who assures me this lifestyle was his dream for his family too. 

And I love it I really do. But the prospect of going out, doing something I'm good at, trained to do, and earning a dollar or two was enticing. But then I realized that I can't make that choice. Nor should I right now. 

I have the option to stay home with our girl-just us. Right now it's a choice I can make. We live intentionally so the way we live is feasible and enjoyable. Not everyone makes the choices we make or is able to. Babies aren't babies for long and frankly I'm not willing to give up or divide that time with any other child that's not mine right now. I believe Millie needs me and that no one can do as good of job as me. I know things about her that no one else does. 

Even her spectacular Daddy. Ask him. He'll agree and hand her to me. It's just part of the job description as Momma.

So I said no to the jobs, the teaching one being the hardest. When I looked around though, and then under the table of my little girl toddling around the chairs, I realized the classroom I already have. The real life, real world classroom we live in. And the pay? The pay is even greater even if it doesn't always feel that way. I am so grateful for this opportunity.

I did however, jump at the chance of one opportunity. A writing opportunity. Before Millie was born the desire to write for more than just my blog was laid on my heart. So I started praying. And a few weeks ago someone from our local paper was expressing a need for a writer. 

I mentioned that I would love to try to do that for them. And so my first tip was given, the story was written and published and I enjoyed it. So much.

So now I've got a little gig for our small-town newspaper as a freelancer. I'd like to find more and I'm exploring a few different avenues. So that could also be why the writing here has slowed a bit. My writing energy has been elsewhere. But the more you write the more you write so I'm working on putting more time into both to hone my craft. 

Thus far I've had a couple of really fun stories. I love interviewing the people and learning about the topic.

It works great for our family. Which I'm happy about because if it doesn't fit-it's out. I've got to keep my priorities straight. I write while Millie is content or while she's sleeping. Or while her and Jerrel are training Chester. Or when she's not trying to chew on electrical cords. 

It's all about balance. And those big blue eyes.

Oh those eyes. 

We've slowed on the preserving season finally and have a nice stash of goods in our basement. It's so gratifying to go down there and see the fruits of our labor lined up in pretty glass jars. 

And I use the word "our" loosely. Jerrel did much more in the garden this season and basically all the canning. Thankful for him!

I also celebrated a birthday. 24. That one seems so much older than 23. Next year is 25-in case you didn't know what comes next. I celebrated with the day before junkin' at The Funky Junk Market. Then on the day of my birth I stayed home on a dreary day-my favorite. Decorated for fall with my finds and cleaned my craft closet. I girl. But do you know how gratifying it is to do get something accomplished when your baby isn't fussing for attention? She and Jerrel spent the day following me around while I was getting something done. Everyone was happy, happy, happy.

Then my aforementioned spectacular husband prepared me a meal of Pioneer Woman's Best Grilled Cheese Ever (she ain't kidding!) and Tomato Soup and we enjoyed supper with my family. It was bliss. 23 treated me pretty dang well. Let's see what 24 has got in store. 

Our girl is almost 7 months old. That's just not possible. I'm sorry but does it get any more darling? That dress? It was my Moms. Circa...1960somethingish.

So us lately? We are good. We are great. We are busy. We are silly. And we are happy. 

Happy Fall from Jess, Jerrel, Millie, and Chester. 

Drink some cider, eat some punkin', jump in some leaves. 



Meet Chester!

Millie has an announcement to make. No...don't get your hopes up. 
Not another baby yet. 

She got a puppy! 

And she's pretty excited about the all the new toys. For the dog of course.

Or maybe for her. We will work on sharing.

Meet Chester! He's about 4 months old and comes from a wonderful family. Complete with their own little girl to get this happy guy ready for our little girl. 

He is totally adorable, very smart, and wonderfully patient with Millie. 

We are pleased as punch to have him! Isn't he handsome!? We went and got him all the was hard to not buy him every cool toy on the market. He's got some yummy treats and a nice blanket to lay on until I get his bed finished.  

I put the treats in a blue mason jar on the kitchen counter. Does that make me THAT dog owner? It was purely for accessibility reasons. 

Millie is still feeling Chester out. She loves him when Momma and Daddy are close. Other wise, he's better behind glass. Give us a couple days. I think we will have best friends in no time! 

Throughout my life and times I have had 2 Golden Retrievers and I am so thrilled for Millie to get to grow up with one of these wonderful dogs. Jerrel wasn't so sure about a retriever...something about their hair. But let me tell took one meeting and these two where made for each other. 

Yeah, I think we have a new source of hours of entertainment. Welcome to the family Chester!



The Time I Almost Nursed Where I Was "Supposed" To

I shared with you all our wonderful family trip to the State Fair. The food, the 4-H, the fun it. was a blast and a wonderfully relaxing day with just us. Well, us and the rest of the state. But thats ok!

There was however an "incident." And I'm only calling it that for dramatic effect and also because it was something big enough for me to feel like I should write about it so surely it was an "incident." Right? I'm also fully aware that some of you may end up thinking that I'm making something out of nothing. That I should stop being such a lactivist, a whiner, or whatever but I've got a point to make so here it goes.

The Nebraska State Fair is in it's new location-in case you hadn't heard. The facilities are all but new and they are fabulous. The emphasis is on family and agriculture- it's wonderful. There is one building called the Welcome Center. You can get educational info, first aid services, and use an ATM. Three years ago when I went to the fair in the new location I saw the "Nursing Lounge" sign, and I thought to myself, "Wow, that's a pretty awesome gesture." Fast forward to a two weeks ago and I'm at the fair with my nursling and it's time to eat. It was hot out so I thought we should go check out the Nursing Lounge for a comfy place to cool off.

Let me paint a picture of what I was envisioning. A decent sized room bathed in cool and calming colors, pretty, with comfortable couches and chairs. Soft music playing. I have a pretty good imagination. And apparently high expectations.

We walk to the Welcome Center. The sign says First Aid/Nursing Lounge ---> We walk around the corner. Meanwhile, I'm trying to ignore the windows that were covered with window coverings that looked like shower curtains. Plastic rings included. I walk to the side door. Assuming to glide in for a relaxing nursing session with Millie and what do I see? The first aid center. An attendant talking to this grody(sorry, but true) looking couple with their hands all over each other. There were also a couple other people there sitting waiting for treatment. I promptly turned around and told the man coming out of that door that I must have had the wrong door. I walked around the corner of the building searching for the entrance to my nursing oasis. Only to find nothing.

Jerrel kindly guided me back to the aforementioned door. The man was still there and I said, well I'm looking for the Nursing Lounge. He politely said "Oh you have the right door, you have to walk through the first aid." I hesitantly started to walk in with Millie, my bag, a stroller, and my husband. Then a lady sitting by the door, like she owned the joint, stood up and said. "You can't bring the stroller in there. We are trying to keep strollers out." Then I gave her a look I'm sure not too friendly, and really turned my hiney around and got the heck out of Dodge, with my husband following behind wondering if I have finally lost the rest of my mind. It wasn't until after I explained my feelings that he put the pieces together and agreed with me.

I wanted to sit on a bench and nurse in front of here.

This is where they milk the Dairy Cows for show. I think they should move or rename the Nursing Lounge 
I thought that would have been hysterical and a wonderful photo op. The benches were all full though. Maybe next time.

We then decided to watch a hog show in the hog building, I sat at the top of the bleachers and nursed my baby. It wasn't exactly the oasis I desired, it was a bit smelly, fairly crowded, and not quite as comfy. It was however, air conditioned and entertaining with the hog show.

So here's my deal, granted I don't even know what the place looked like on the inside but here's a few things that made me not want to find out.

*The windows completely covered. I get that privacy was the idea but from the outside it felt more like they were trying to hide something. I like a little natural light!'s called the Nursing Lounge...we all know what's going on...

* The entrance was through the First Aid area. This is gross and odd. Also no matter how you feed your baby it's really not a medical issue. Why should I have to walk through the injured, sweaty, dirty people to feed my child? When I opened the door I felt like I was interrupting something. And I was. Someone's medical care. It shouldn't be awkward, uncomfortable, or a hassle to get to the nursing lounge. Period.

*I wasn't allowed to take my belongings (stroller) in. I also understand that strollers are bulky and can take up space. But in my estimation the room should be big enough so that I don't have to leave my stroller out of my view. What if I was alone and didn't have a husband willing to sit with it? Plus this made more of a hassle for me and other moms. We then have to lug our diaper bag, purse, baby, and whatever else we don't want unattended into the Nursing Lounge. When a simpler solution would be to roll the stroller in and get the job done.

In essence I felt like I was supposed to nurse in this area closed off from the rest of mankind yet they could tell me what I could bring. I felt a bit like I was answering the question, "If you were on a deserted island and you could only bring one thing..." Expectations, rules, or guidelines like this don't sit pretty with me.

The Nursing Lounge at the State Fair is a fabulous idea. I commend whomever thought it was necessary. I didn't want to use it because I felt I needed the privacy (obviously, I moved to the hog show) I wanted to use it because I thought it sounded nice...but it ended up feeling like a very uncomfortable situation. My main beef is that we can do better. Our moms and babies deserve better. They deserve the area I imagined. And they need to know they deserve more.

I plan on contacting the fair board with my concerns. I'm not sure what they can do about it, since the building is new and the arrangement seems fairly permanent. But I can try.

So thats my incident. And I'm grateful for Jerrel who is so very supportive of me, my ideals, and my passion for nourishing our child in the way God intended.

Here's to expecting a little bit more.

Did you check out the Nursing Lounge? Am I totally off on my quick judgment? Have you checked out other "Nursing Areas" in public places?



Six Months of Millie

Another month has come and gone. But this one, this 6th one? It feels a bit different. 6 months. Half a year. How does it happen? Everyone said it would go so fast. Everyone said that before you knew it she'd be a year. And here we are half way there. Today was filled with reminiscing. I kept glancing at the clock thinking "6 months ago I was..." I woke to nurse at 5 this morning-about the time she was born. I saw the clock at 7:00 am the time I called my parents. Then again at 11:30 the time we left the birth center. 

How does it feel like yesterday and forever all at the same time? 

Enough with the sappy stuff. This month has been BIG. 

Five days after her fifth month Millie sat up on her own. We had been sitting with her helping her balance but it was literally one day she couldn't and the next day she could. It was incredible. By day 2 you would have thought she was born doing it. About a week later she was officially crawling. No more splats or belly flops. Unless she was super impatient or excited. Now she pretty much understands the effectiveness of the crawl. 

This is one of my nightgowns from one of my Great Grandmas. The "gown" slows her down a bit. 

My little bully, beating up her uncle. Kenzie seems pleased with it though too. Millie is so rambunctious. She climbs everyone, she pulls hair, she's on to the next thing or the next person within seconds of arriving at the current distraction. She can kinda be a pill actually. 

We celebrated Uncle Evan's birthday and Mom's birthday this month with a trip to Cunningham's each. We are getting to be regulars there. 

Baby girl fell asleep during dinner...

But woke up in time to take a peek at the cake. She wanted to tear into it so badly. She could tell it would make a mess. 

Sliding glass doors are fun and provide a good two minutes of entertainment. 

Hi! I'm Millie. May I pull your hair? 

Our house is becoming one big jungle gym. Everything can and will be used as a toy. Especially the laundry basket. 

She is also getting a bit destructive. If there is a thread to pull she will pull it. If there is paper to tear she will demolish it. It's entertaining to see the damage she can do generally.

I love watching her be tactile. Using her sense of touch to learn about things. I think I can see the wheels turning sometimes. It's so much fun to watch them learn and explore. 

Millie my puppy. 

So after mastering the sitting up thing in about a 4 day span, then the crawling thing, we decided to climb. It started with just lifting our self to our hands and knees at the fireplace. It has since evolved to pulling up on furniture and crawling all the way up on the fireplace. 

At 5 and 6 months they don't understand "no." They just smile back because every interaction before has been fun. Babies also have very little depth perception at this age. She lets go and reaches for things much farther and they are in actuality. This is a challenge we are dealing with.   

Huh? You just said this wasn't for me? What does that even mean Momma? I'll just smile and act like I know what you are saying. 

 I found this tunnel at the thrift store for $3. I figured between Millie and Jerrel I'd definitely get my money's worth. It took a little coaxing to get Millie to climb through be she did and now the tunnel is good fun for us all! This is her "I'm going to get you and your little dog too." face.

I still do little baby photo shoots because I'm the Momma. 

They are fun. We giggle.

We coo. 

We smile pretty.

We move our arms like a crazy person.

We suck our finger.

And we get the camera.

Then we move on and we pull ourselves up to the ottoman. If you notice here her leggies are bit far from the ottoman. Don't worry now she has figured out how to "walk" herself closer. Any bets on first step dates? Girlfriend is on the move! 

Then there is Dad. Pops. The old man. Millie still adores him and when he gets up on his days off they have "Daddy-Daughter time while watering plants and picking produce. Then they come in cook supper and finish the evening with rough housing-quite the pair.

We have affectionately nicknamed Millie, "Skeeter" because she is EVERYWHERE always busy, always pestering something. And she works so hard at it. She huffs and puffs, grunts and groans while climbing, rolling, or even sitting. She means business, all the time.

Did you say my name? 

All that climbing is tough work.  

Here she was trying to touch Gramacita's flowers from the inside. Still working on that whole "glass" thing. 

Jerrel's Grandma gave us one of these obnoxious bouncers. It's crazy big and it can be noisy but we avoid that feature. Millie sits in it when she will tolerate it while we cook. But the second we leave her sight she's cranking her neck and turning to see where we went. It works great for camping and doing things in the flower beds outside.

Left the room for a minute. Find her under the table. Soon she will be too tall for this. Funny little girl.

Again with the "I'll get you look." 

Help! Get me out of here! 

Look Mom, One hand! One! Such a happy morning girl! 

I have caught her on more than one occasion using an empty box or the laundry basket has walker. Slowly making her way across the room until she is tired then she cries and it's my duty to rescue here.

I don't mind.

Blue Eyes helping Daddy cook!

Making biscuits is so much fun!

From 5 months to 6 months.

Love our girl. Her chubby arms. Her blonde fuzz. Her friendly smile and her kind blue eyes.

Now to really freak everyone out-myself included here's 1 month to 6 month. Not sure I can handle it.

Holy guacamole! My baby!

She's my favorite.

6 months. How did that happen? I'm not sure but I'm thanking Him it did.