Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: Bibs and Baby

In January . . .

We went to Orlando for our honeymoon.  It's true, Disneyworld is the happiest place on earth.

And we met up with rest of the Steruds in DC to welcome our new president.

In February . . .

We travelled to Boston for the NeMLA.  Both Alex and I chaired panels and presented papers.

And we ate tons of seafood.

In March . . .

We began homebrewing our Screaming Beagle Brew.  Little did I know that I would not get a chance to drink any of it for another eight months.

In April . . .

We got to see Audrey at 10 weeks.

In May . . .

we went back home to the Pacific Northwest.  Notice my glow!

And we ate more seafood.

In June . . . we apparently took no pictures.

In July . . .

We had a 4th of July party.

and we went to Maine.

In August . . .

We went to Delaware to witness the wedding of Shaun and Beth.

And we ate even more seafood.

In September . . . Alex began his new job, which kept us from taking any pictures this month.

In October . . .

Madeleine came for a visit,


I got bigger.

In November . . .

We got a baby.

And in December . . .

We were tired.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Daily Audrey: Bigger Version

I know I've been a little absent lately, dear readers, but what with the holidays and Alex being on vacation, I've been busy doing things more fun than blogging.

While mom and dad have been spending their time watching movies and eating, Audrey has been spending her time growing.  At five weeks, she is officially out of her newborn clothes.  I present the evidence below:

She's also slowly learning to enjoy the wonders of the pacifier . . .

I don't know where she gets those cheeks . . .

Growing is hard work . . .

She must sleep on mom all day in order to rest up from so much growing!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chins and Nipples

Danica claims that she has little new to add, so the task of keeping you abreast of the latest Miller-family news has been left to me (again). 

For those of you keeping score at home, Audrey has already outgrown most of her newborn gear, which means that we’ll soon be spending some serious coin at Babies R Us.  It’s hard to believe that I’d spent nearly 30 years without having entered this retailer, as it now seems like I’m there daily. 

Ironically, there are some recently outgrown items that Audrey never got around to wearing, largely due to the fact that they had to go over Audrey’s head (a feat neither I nor Danica seem very comfortable performing).  Is there anything more mutually unsettling than pulling a onesie over a howling baby’s comically disproportioned head?  Consequently, we’ve both leaned toward jimmies that snap up. 

Though I’ve impressed myself with how well I’ve adapted to handling a baby, I’m still a little paranoid when it comes to managing Audrey’s head, which, at times, seems to have its own agenda.  Her neck is beginning to strengthen, but she still makes a pretty convincing bobblehead doll.  Occasionally, she’ll face plant on my chest when I scoop her up, which is as funny as it is terrifying.  Fortunately, she’s developed a Churchhill-esque double chin that works like a cervical collar. 

Perhaps this is a sign of future greatness...

Other than that, parenting hasn’t been the anxiety tour-de-force I’d expected.  Perhaps I’m doing something wrong (or maybe Danica is just doing everything right).  Either way, I’m happy. 

Here’s a little baby porn!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Very Merry Guest Blog

As promised, I am back for another, Christmas-edition, guest blog.  Thank you all so much for the positive feedback.  This has been a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. 

So, as (hopefully) all of you know, 'twas the season (yesterday, officially), and, as those of you who have been tuning in with some frequency know, the Millers tend to overdo the holidays.  Consequently, despite the fact that we’ve recently expanded to a threesome, we never thought twice about decking the halls as per usual (both inside and out). 

I’m not totally clear on how the photos I’ve selected to represent the past few days are going to upload, so I will apologize in advance for some formatting issues that may seem comparatively sophomoric.  For instance, the photo above, which I've included because I think it looks like Audrey is attempting to cast a sleeping spell (which appears to have backfired), was actually supposed to conclude this posting...sorry.

The next photo might best be introduced in a Jeff Foxworthy-esque, "You know you've married Danica when...

...your daughter's Christmas dress is faux cheetah."

Yes, that's right, Audrey's christmas dress looked like it had been cut from the same swatch of fabric as Danica's favorite pumps.  I suppose that the real surprise is the fact that I was actually surprised when I saw this get up.

On Christmas morning, I managed to convince Danica to dress Audrey in something a little less...ummm... feral.  Audrey was planning on grabbing a quick jog in the afternoon, so she asked for her gunmetal gray mesh pants.  I think I've already established my role in the house when it comes to dressing the child, so I'll leave it at that.  Needless to say, her socks didn't take (she must know her dad is from West Virginia).  

Sailor refused to get involved in the Christmas morning merriment, which was fortunate because she didn't have any gifts this year anyhow.  She did, however, manage to slurp down an entire bowl of salsa later that afternoon, so I guess I'm the one who really loses here.  

In light of what I said earlier about my formatting issues, I will conclude this entry with a picture of the Miller family moccasins.  Rest assured that our toes will remain toasty throughout the new decade.

Happy Holidays, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My True Love Gave to Me . . .

2006 Bronx, NY

Alex gave me Sailor.  (He also milked this present into a birthday/Valentine's day present, as well).

2007 Bronx, NY

The first year we decided to stay "home" in the Bronx for the holidays.

We hosted a Christmas Eve dinner for all of our Bx friends.  Alex cooked the first of what is now his annual enormous roast beast.

Christmas gift 2006 still in attendance . . .

For a Christmas gift this year, Alex took me to Quebec for a week.  New Year's Day, he spontaneously (drunkenly) proposed.

Reader, I married him.

2008 New Haven, CT

Last year, we had celebrated our first Christmas in New Haven.

2009 New Haven, CT

And this year, we got the greatest gift of all . . .

Happy Birthday, Grandma Sterud!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  Today is not just Christmas Eve, but today is Grandma Sterud's birthday!

Love you to the moon!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Audrey Lou Who

Does Life imitate Art?

or does Art imitate Life?

Ist Die Hard Ein Weihnachtsklassiker?

Love Actually mysteriously went missing last night.  Alex blames this on me because since I moved in (after our first date, more or less) I have (rightly) disallowed any sort of display/organization of DVDs.  Sweetie, this isn't 1986 where we put our DVDs in a monstrous metal tower of tackiness to display to the world our taste and intellect.  (We use our vast collection of books and bookshelves for that).  If, Alex posits, he still had the organizational system of his swinging single life, Love Actually would never have been lost.  Whatever the cause, last night, instead of watching the previously-scheduled Love Actually, Alex innocently suggested we watch Die Hard, a movie he claims to be a Christmas classic.

I'm not suggesting, so much as I am pointing out, that it is an amazing coincidence that Love Actually went missing within 48 hours of Alex discovering that Die Hard is available from Netflix instant download and that I had never seen this cinematic masterpiece.  (I have, however, seen Die Hard 3 and the last in this epic series, Live Free or Die Hard).

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?  Let's look at the Christmas Movie Criteria:

  1. Does the movie occur during the holiday season?  Yes, the nail-biting adventure does take place on Christmas Eve.
  2. Is some sort of hope that had been lost restored?  Yes, Bruce Willis realizes that his marriage can be saved.
  3. Is overt capitalism shunned in favor of a more egalitarian ethic?  Yes, evil Germans who want to steal American stocks/bonds are destroyed so the common everyday man can enjoy the simple pleasures of family.
From the above, I can reluctantly conclude that Die Hard is, indeed, a Christmas movie.  

Also, does anyone else notice an evil German trope among Christmas movies?  For example:  Rudolph, where the North Pole is a fascist utopia, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, where Bergermeister Meisterberger will steal your toys and your wiener schnitzel, and now Die Hard, where evil German Hans wants to destroy American values as represented by Christmas.  I have no real conclusions to make from this startling evidence, but I find it note-worthy especially considering that the area now known as Germany is where most of the traditions we now associate with Christmas originated.  Hmmm.  

Warum, dear Readers, warum?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Daily Audrey: Pumped!

Yesterday was Audrey's one month birthday.  This momentous occasion was marked by my first attempt at pumping.  Pumping was super-successful and today Alex attempted to bottle-feed Audrey.  Unfortunately, this was not so successful.  No worries, though.  Alex is off for the next two weeks, so we have plenty of time to get her used to a little daddy/daughter bottle time.  And then Momma Miller will be able to have a little pedicure/mall time.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Movies

The Millers watch a lot of movies, though I would describe neither of us as film people. In fact, I rarely ever saw a movie before The Great Wooing of 2005. Our interest in movies, I think, stems from a lack of interest in other things. While we both do some pleasure reading, our quest for PhDs in lit has really zapped a lot of fire from that particular loin. I just don't want to read David Sedaris' latest witticisms after a long day of reading post-colonial literary theory. Movies offer us the escape of literature without the effort. Granted, some movies will send the viewer into an intellectual minefield, but we don't watch those movies. We like our movies with healthy dose of action, preferrably in the form of Nicolas Cage or, perhaps, with a comic mix of romantic adventures, preferrably in the form of Hugh Grant. I will even pay $8 to see a Judd Apatow movie in the theater. Throw together our uncritical love of movies with our great love of all things Christmas and you have the Annual Miller Christmas Festival on your hands.

So far this season, we have watched:

Christmas Vacation. We watched it and then immediately re-watched it with the commentary. Worth listening to mainly because Beverly D'Angelo is so clearly intoxicated.

Bad Santa. We actually watched the "Badder" version, which I think just has more topless shots than the "Bad" version.

Twelve Dogs of Christmas. I realized about ten minutes into this horrendous film that we had meant to Netflix Santa Buddies, a different, and, I'm sure, a totally new take on the dog-saves-Christmas-story.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Where the North Pole is figured as some sort of fascist utopia, red noses are verbotten and misfit toys are exiled.

The rest of the movie Christmas calendar is as follows:
(What? You don't make a calendar of your Christmas movie schedule? Weird.)

Elf. "The best way to spend Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.".

Love Actually. A romantic comedy and a Christmas movie! Swoon! Though I always feel a little put out by the inhumane treatment of comrade Emma Thompson's character . . .

Miracle of 34th Street
A Christmas Carol. The Mickey Mouse version.
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The animated version. Obvs.

Christmas Eve:
A Charlie Brown Christmas. We realized last night that we actually don't own this classic! Thank god Audrey is too young to understand this huge lapse we've made in our parenting.

It's a Wonderful Life. We watch this every year after we eat our roast beast.

A Christmas Story. "Except I didn't say fudge."

Christmas Vacation. All the Miller children, future and present, will be named after characters in this film.

The Daily Audrey: Goo Goo Gaga

Today is Audrey's 4-week birthday!!

In the last week or so, Audrey has been hitting a few major developmental milestones out of the park:

Holding her head up: She loves to lay against my chest, raise her head up, and look out the window behind me. Her head sorta bops around to some internal song (I assume to Lady Gaga or Mariah Carey, her in utero faves) and I can feel her control strengthening daily. Today I'm unearthing from the closet the floor gym thing and we're going to work on some real tummy time. Update: I just opened up the activity play gym center thing and it sucks! We were totally taken by some garage sale scammers. It looks like a play gym for kids who don't like to play! I guess we'll be making a trip to Babys R Us sooner than later . . . Further Update: I hung some extra toys onto the play gym and its crystal clear what Audrey thinks of this makeshift shit.

Cooing: So cute! She rather spontanously started chatting last week and hasn't stopped since. Considering Momma Miller used to get paid to NOT talk by Grandma Sterud, ($1 for 30 minutes, I think) I can see where this chat train is headed.

Smiling: The best developmental milestone yet. I've suspected for the last week or so that she wasn't just smiling in response to gas (mainly because she farts more than she smiles), and this weekend my suspicions graduated to stone cold conclusions: the baby smiles 'cause she's happy. Usually this princely gift is directed at one of my nipples, but both mom and dad have been lucky recipients, as well. And as you can see, Sailor got a smile, too.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Twelve Dogs of Christmas

Tonight we're watching Twelve Dogs of Christmas. We're five minutes in and Alex think it looks like an American Girl movie, but I think its more closely related to The Adventures of Natty Gan (who remembers that heartbreaker?).

The previews before the movie look equally heartfelt. One of the previews, for a movie called Smile, involves the whitest girl on earth going to China to help poor Chinese girls overcome their facial deformities, co-starring Sean Austin. This inspires Alex so much that he has stopped watching Twelve Dogs of Christmas in order to show me highlights from Rudy on youtube.

The Daily Audrey: Let it snow!

We here in the Northeast are supposed to be hit with one of the worst snowstorms on record. To prepare our family, I headed over to the local bodega and stocked up on brownie mix, egg nog, and diet coke. The liquor store was closed, but before panicking, I realized that the blizzard conditions promised later in the day wouldn't stop my beloved from procuring some holiday cheer.

By afternoon, however, the snow still had not hit, so we decided to trek over to our local watering hole, Archie Moore's, baby and all. We dusted off the stroller for its inaugural ride and dressed Audrey in pretty much the cutest snowsuit ever. The patrons at Archie's were suitably impressed by our little bundle, which I found both gratifying (admire my baby!) and terrifying (don't touch my baby!).

It now early evening and still no snow. The internet reports still warn of the snow's imminent arrival. Alex has procured a little something something to mix with the egg nog and I am snuggling with Audrey. A perfectly cozy day.

Friday, December 18, 2009


This is what the Miller family is watching at the moment. We just took a momentary break so Alex could change Audrey and I could regain my composure. The first ten minutes might be the most heartbreaking, heartwarming ten minutes in all of cinema. Momma Miller's post-pregnancy hormones took a mighty beating . . .

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Daily Audrey: 12.17.09

I know you're all reading this blog for the pictures and I can't say I blame you. Just look at this cute baby!