Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Cards Are Officially Stacked

**I wrote this post last week. It has just taken me a couple weeks to get up the guts to post it.

Once again, it's time for my once-monthly blog update. I honestly didn't intend for my posts to become so infrequent, but it seems that I can only motivate myself to blog when I really have something to say these days. Sure, I have plenty to blog about lately, with all of the wonderful weddings and other events we have attended in the past month and a half or so. I have a few pictures too! And I fully intend to write a big long post about all of our wonderful trips to Kansas. But that's not REALLY what's been on my mind lately.
Matt and I have decided that it's time to open up about what's going on with us in the past couple months. A peek into a very personal issue that has taken a while for us to fully accept and be open about. Basically, we are at the beginning stages of infertility "investigation." About a year and a half ago, we decided to start unofficially trying to have a baby. We knew we might experience some difficulty with this, mostly because of the possibility of negative side effects from chemo and radiation Matt was given during his childhood fight with cancer. Both of us were not 100% positive that we were ready for a baby, but we figured if there was even a chance that we would have problems, it would be better to figure it out sooner rather than later while we have age on our side.
Fast forward to a few months ago. It had been over a year, and no sign of a baby. Not even close. So we went to see my OB/GYN and had a few tests run. A few days later, she calls and asks us to both come in to her office together. Not a good sign. She suspects that the side effects of the drugs are at least part of the reason we havent been able to conceive yet and refers us to a local reproductive specialist.


Have you ever felt like maybe you are in the right place at the right time? Even though we don't know much more at this point, I certainly feel like we are where we need to be right now. It turns out that the reproductive medicine clinic we were referred to is located approximately 10 miles south of our house. It also happens to have one of the highest success rates in the country. In fact, infertile couples come from all over the world to seek help from this office. Ironically, I was watching one of my favorite reality TV shows, "Giuliana and Bill" about two weeks after I booked our fist appointment with our specialist, Dr. Schoolcraft. Out of the blue, G & B (who are also struggling with infertility) started talking about travelling to "a clinic in Denver" and then ended the episode sitting face to face with our exact doctor! Maybe I am naive, but I took great hope and comfort away from that episode, even with all of the questions that we have yet to answer about our own unique case. I felt even better after own meeting with Dr. Schoolcraft. He ordered us both to have some more tests done and then suggested that we "re-group" when we know more. But he never ever made us feel like we didn't have hope. I know most doctors would never say anything so extreme right out off the bat, but it was nice just the same.

I went in for my tests a couple weeks ago. As it turns out, Matt and I both bring our own set of issues to the table. Nobody I spoke with really seems concerned about my particular case. But this afternoon I still couldn't help feeling that the cards are officially stacked against us. It is, after all, just one more thing to be concerned about.


So how do we feel at this point? Despite what we do and don't know right now, we are still optimistic that we can still have a baby between the two of us. And even if we can't, we still have many other options. We don't mind talking what we know so far (hence the blog post), so we won't be offended if you ask. And of course, we are still over-the-top excited about baby/kid news of any sort. New pregnancies, pregnancy stories, the birth of babies (see previous post), stories about infants and kids growing name it. Bring it on! The last thing we want is for anyone to feel like we can't deal with their happy news just because we are having our own struggle. Yes, we have baby fever. But that just makes us want to cuddle your kids MORE (and read any blog or Facebook status you happen to want to share as well. :) )

Thanks for stopping by the blog and listening to this difficult post! Love and *blog* hugs to you all!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's A Nephew!!

I just thought I would take a moment to share a few pictures of the newest addition to the Millard family.

This is our nephew Tate William Millard, born on Sept. 10, 2011. He is such a sweet and precious (and very happy) baby! He was not even 24 hours old in this photo.

Proud parents, Mark and Talicia. What a beautiful family!

Matt and I were thrilled to get to meet this little guy while we were in Kansas last weekend.

I could have held him forever!

Congratulations to Mark and Talicia!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Advice For My Brother

A monumental event has occurred. My little brother is officially a college student! He moved in to the K-State dorms this weekend and ever since, I have been re-living MY Freshman year (via some MAJOR stalking of his Facebook page.) :)

The thing about having a brother who is 10 years my junior is that every time he does something momentous (like go to college), it reminds me of how long ago those events were in my own life. I know I say it over and over again, but time has seemingly FLOWN by since my own move in to this glorious building.

Ahh yes, Ellsworth Hall: my first of many homes away from home.

This is me ten years ago during move-in day at KU.

When I look at this picture, I am amazed how much has changed since then! And I wondered what advice to give to my brother to prepare him for such an amazing period of his life.

Sure, I have been handing Brennan bits and pieces of my infinite wealth of knowledge when I can. For example:

"Don't wait until after classes start to buy your books or you will get way behind on your reading."
"If you and your roommate both loft your beds, you will have WAY more space in your room."
"Don't buy the 21-meal plan unless you really think you will eat in the cafeteria for every single meal of every single day." (The KBSI refrigerator full of leftovers is ALWAYS an option if he gets hungry.)

But all that is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Now, I know Brennan and I are not going to have the exact same college experience. For one thing, he's a GUY. For another, he is at a completely different university. (One that is, well, really close to home).

But here's what freaks me out. Ten years ago at this time, I was:
-Realizing the amazing and scary feeling of being (almost) completely independent and on my own.
-Making awesome new friends and realizing how much my "old" friends meant to me at the same time.

-Unknowingly (at the time) meeting the love of my life.
-Finding out that studying in high school and studying in college were two entirely different concepts. (And subsequently emailing my high school English teacher to thank her for preparing me to write for college so well.)
-Realizing that my metabolism was no longer made of steel.
-Realizing that I still needed my mom and dad to take care of me when I got sick after spending a week at home with mono.

It is crazy to think that Brennan will be experiencing some of these things in the next few days, weeks and months! (Hopefully, he will avoid mono!)

After all of this reminiscing, I came to one conclusion. The best advice I think I can give right now, is for him to recognize that this is a momentous time of change in his life and embrace it!

I can't wait to see what lessons he takes away from college, and the person he is 10 years from now!

And now, I will leave you will a couple other 10 year old moving day photos. :) Thanks dad!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

June Recap in Photos

June was a busy month around here! I managed to snap a few photos here and there. That's better than I have been doing this month.

*I apologize in advance for the spacing of the photos as captions here. Does anyone have any tips for better photo settings in Blogger??
At the very end of May, we drove to Manhattan for my brother's high school graduation. I can't believe he is a college student now!! He will be attending K-State this fall. I guess you could consider us a house divided, except for the fact that I am the only one in my immediate family who ventured out down the road to KU! :)

The first weekend of June, Bill and Barbara came out for a visit on their way down to Santa Fe. We took them for a hike near Clear Creek.
There has been so much snowfall and rain this year and Clear Creek was gushing water. I had never seen it moving so fast.

My friend Liz has been bring out my inner artist. She discovered a place downtown called Sipping and Painting, where they literally walk you through a painting. My first one was "Colorado Wildflowers."

We went back a week later and did this one as well. I can't remember the title, but it turned out well except for the bench, which i goofed up pretty badly!

For Matt's birthday, we went up to Ft. Collins to see one of our favorite bands, Jack's Mannequin. Since Susie's birthday was so close as well, we all surprised her with the tickets. The four of us had been wanting to see them perform for a long time, so how perfect was is that they were in Ft. Collins for Matt and Susie's birthday?

At the concert. My head is cut of my more flattering pictures! :)

Later that week, I finished one of my stressful classes. I had to present my project to the class conference-style. Pongo was a fan of my presentation! :)

As you can see, June was a fantastic month, filled with many of our favorite people. It's hard to believe half of July is already gone as well! We have spent much of our nights and weekends bumming around, watching the seasons of Lost and just preparing for our busy busy fall. We had a fun 4th of July weekend, most of which was spent at Coors field watching the Royals take on the Rockies. We went to two of the three games, and ironically the Royals won the one game we DIDN'T see on Sunday. Last weekend, we finally made it up to the mountains for a camping trip with Nick, Carlene, Becky and Jim. Becky and Carlene were both roommates of mine in college. If Anne had been here, we would have had the whole group! I didn't get any pictures during camping because my camera battery was dead. But good times were had by all!

I think that's all for now!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hotel Del Millard Open For Business!

Yes yes, i have received so many people reminding me that my last post was EASTER! It is hard to believe that is so. But I have a good one for you today.

The guest room at Hotel Del Millard has been getting a face lift, and a rather major one at that. I was a little worried about taking this on myself (with plenty of Matt's help, of course). I would NOT label myself as a decorator. My tastes are, well, eclectic to say the least. But it was time for us to make a presentable space for our guests to stay. I was certain that I had taken some "before" pictures, but when I checked the cameras, they were nowhere to be found! Pre re-model, the walls and ceilings were all baby blue. One wall was checkerboard pink, orange, blue and green. The outlet and light covers were pink. And the extent of our furniture in there was a bed, a chair and a giant TV that wasn't even plugged in!

The first step in the remodel was to get rid of the TV. It was gone within a few hours of posting an ad under "free stuff" on Craig's list. Then we took the bed apart and took everything else out of the room, which wasn't hard since there was nothing in there to begin with! :)

We took a little hiatus to go to Manhattan for my brother's graduation. The following weekend, Matt had to work, so it was up to me to cover the floor, tape the baseboards, window, closet and door, and then get to work painting! We chose a neutral light gray for the walls and a bright white for the ceiling to make it stand out. I have to say that I really love the paint with primer. We only needed one gallon of each color to finish the whole room, and we have some left over! One coat of the gray and two of the white were all it took.Matt and I already knew the room would have a red/gray/black theme because we spotted a comforter set we both really liked at Kohls. I had a 30% off, plus some Kohl's cash from a previous purchase, so we got a really good deal on the bedding. In the past few weeks, I have slowly searched out and collected the rest of the pieces. My favorite part was putting it all together and watching everything match perfectly, to my surprise! Here is the finished product! I was torn between a red rug and a black rug. I chose red for two reasons: Black would show every. single. dog hair that manages to get in the room and the end tables and seat/storage unit were already black and I wanted them to stand out.

This is my favorite item we got for the room. It's a seat, but it also could be a luggage "rack" and it stores extra blankets and pillows in its belly for extra cold nights.

We also painted the outlet covers a deep red. They really stand out against the gray wall...I love it! We got the room done today, literally hours before our first guests will be staying in there. It was definitely the motivation we needed to finish the room. There are still a few things I would like to add, such as a couple pieces of art for the walls, and perhaps a small table with a little flat screen TV eventually.

Like I said before, I am so thrilled with how the room looks so far. I think I ALMOST have this decorating thing down. Almost.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Just The Two of Us

This is my official "Happy Easter" post. I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter, wherever you were and whatever you were doing. Matt and I had a very quiet weekend, which was much welcomed but somewhat strange at the same time.

Nevertheless, we did it up right. Our Easter activities inlcuded standing in the back of church for mass (despite arriving 20 minutes early), an Easter egg hunt in the house and yard, Easter dinner and even a visit from the Easter Bunny himself! :) Below is a picture of our dinner, which involved way more food than two people could possibly eat. (Hooray for leftovers!)

I was able to use and incorporate a lot of family heirlooms and traditions into this meal. I finally pulled out my Grandma Govert's Noratake salt and pepper shakers (hidden behind the bunny centerpiece). They match our china really well, and I love that they are an Irish heirloom from my grandma. I used the springy yellow serving dishes, which were a birthday gift from my dad. I ordered a Honey Baked ham and made cream cheese corn, which are typically found on the table at Matt's family dinners. All in all, it was a very pleasant day.

In other news: Perdi has been on a diet for about 4 months now. As of last week, she has lost over 3 lbs! Only 3 more to go, and she will be at her target weight. I am so proud of her, although the poor dog is HUNGRY. Last night, she finally figured out how to open the "dog proof" dog food containers. I figured it was only a matter of time. They were promptly moved to the pantry. Don't worry, we are not starving our poor dog! She gets carrots to supplement her diet, which she seems to really enjoy. Although she would have MUCH rather have had a piece or two (or 20) of the Easter ham. :)

Only 5 days until the big marathon. I am getting nervous and am starting to ask myself what I got myself into! It will feel so good to have this milestone behind us. However, we fully intend to keep running after the marathon, just maybe not such crazy distances every week.

My next blog should be a "before" post of our guest room project. We will be giving that room a face lift in the next couple weeks. I am picking out paint samples this afternoon...EEK!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Half Marathon #2

This weekend was a busy one. We were lucky to have our good friends Jake and Meredith come out to visit us. They flew in on Friday night and we stayed out way too late catching up! The main reason for their visit was to participate in the Platte River Half Marathon relay on Sunday. So on Saturday, we decided to help them prepare for running in the altitude by going on a hike near Golden. The first trail we picked was a little too trecherous. But we did find a second trail which turned out to be a really nice hike, although a little windy. We were so lucky to have great weather the entire weekend for all of the outdoor activities we participated in. Sunday was race day. We prepared by eating a big pasta dinner at Olive Garden on Saturday night. Then we went home and had a quiet evening watching a movie and falling asleep shortly after. All through the week, the forecasts were calling for rain/snow on Sunday, but when we woke up, it was a typical bright and sunny Colorado day. Perfect running weather, except for the gusty wind that persisted all weekend. The race went really well. It was almost entirely downhill, except for the last mile, which required us to run up and over a bridge/overpass. My mentality was to run faster to get it over with or give up and walk. We ended up running faster and finished the half marathon with a personal best of 2:03:06. That's three minutes shaved off of the half marathon we ran last fall! Jake, Mere and their friend Heather ran the relay, which consisted of two people running 5 miles and the third person finishing the last 3.1 miles of the race. Jake ran first. He took off pretty fast, but I managed to catch up to him eventually. (Matt had to stop to use the restroom at the very beginning, but he eventually caught back up to me.) When Jake finished his 5 miles and Mere started running, I couldn't keep pace with her very long at all! It was a fun race, made even better by having so many friends to run with. Here are a couple finish line pictures for you!

The countdown is on for our full marathon: less than three weeks!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Short Run

My photo blog had a good run. We made it through January and February. Two months! However, as you can see, it has gone downhill since then. I was thinking I would compensate for the month of March by posting 31 (of the 700+ ) pictures from our trip to Ireland. But then I realized I haven't really been taking photos from April either. The thought of getting caught up at this point seems unrealistic. But I still plan to post our favorite Ireland photos at some point!

I have really been enjoying the past two weeks. I finished my 6th Master's class on the 23rd of March. The next one starts next week, but it is SO nice not to have to think about school for a while. I have been working on lots of sewing projects and getting caught up on marathon training. My list of sewing projects keeps getting longer and longer, but I am equally excited about each one. It is so fun to be able to make things exactly as I want them, even if I still need quite a bit of practice with my technique.

Last night, I made this pillow for the living room.

It looks really nice with our living room rug and couches. I was browsing the remnant fabrics at JoAnn and I spotted this pattern. I picked it up, even though I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with it. As soon as I got home, I knew what i wanted to do with it, and finished it in about an hour.

Did I mention that Matt is in Wisconsin on business this week? With him being gone and my break between classes, my boredom has turned into productivity!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Where Has February Gone??

With the exception of last week, this month has flown by so fast! Before I know it, I'm 11 days behind on photos again! Last week was just a stress overload for so many reasons, but mostly school. My lab was due on Wednesday, and while I worked on it every night for hours, i didn't get it figured out and turned in until Thursday afternoon. My professor this semester is something else! I am thankful that Penn State only recommends taking one course at a time. I think they are spot on with this one!

So what else have we been up to lately?

February 11:

My guys relaxing at home on a quiet Friday night. The top of the couch is Pongo's favorite spot to sleep, no matter what couch he is on.
February 12: We went up to Copper to ski with our friends Nick and Carlene. This picture was taken during our lunch break a the car.

The snow wasn't that great, so after lunch, we decided to spend the afternoon tubing instead. It was our first time to try tubing, and it was so much fun!! Here are Matt and Nick going down the "fast track" together.

February 13: A photo of the mountains at Copper. I will never ever get used to the beauty of these mountains!

February 14: Valentines Day!! I came home to find all of this "love" waiting on the doorstep and in the mailbox.

February 15: This is the cake I made for dessert on Valentine's day. We ate it all week, so I figured I could post this as today's picture. It's ingredients include: german chocolate cake mix, condensed milk/caramel topping melted together, crushed Heath bars and Cool Whip on top. I added the raspberries for decoration.

February 16: We went out to dinner for Liz's birthday up in Westminster. Liz and I have ONLY known each other since I was born (I'm 2 months younger), so I couldn't possibly miss another birthday. :)

February 17: I took the puppies for a walk as I normally do after work. Perdi was so impatient for me to throw the ball that she didn't want to take the time to pose for a picture! She just kept jumping for her squeaker tennis ball instead.

February 18: We headed up to Ft. Collins for a little getaway. We went to the Rio for their infamous margaritas. Matt ordered a "mini" margarita. Look how cute it is!!

February 19: Susie and I worked on our quilts some more. And guess what? We finished them!! Granted it was Saturday night at 2 am. But we were determined to get them done and we did!

February 20
I rest my case that Pongo's favorite spot is on the top of any couch. Here he is, on top ofTed and Susie's couch. Perdi opted for the fuzzy blanket, probably because she was guarding some bones that she buried in it.

February 21: Matt and I ran the furthest distance either of us have ever gone to date. 19.1 miles!! It's hard to believe that to complete a marathon, we will have to run 7 more miles on top of that. We ran an "out-and-back" course, meaning we ran out 9.5 miles and then turned around and ran the same route back. By the time we turned around, we were almost to downtown Denver! This picture is of the socks that save my life on every long run. They keep my feet really dry somehow, and do a great job at preventing blisters. I like how they are marked with an "L" and "R" to mark which sock goes on which foot. I have never had socks where that matters before!

February 22:
This is a random picture I found on Matt's camera from our Janurary trip back to Kansas, but I realized I haven't mentioned this cute little guy on my blog yet! This is my new puppy "nephew" George. He is Alissa's newly adopted puppy, a very cute and sorta shy Lhasa Apso. He enjoys shredding paper and walking in circles. George is very quiet and well behaved. I have to admit that I wish our beagles would take on a few of George's behaviors sometimes! :)

February 23: This is the strawberry freezer jam that I made myself. I never knew that making jam was so easy! If you come visit us, rest assured that at the very least, we will have lots of fresh jelly for your toast! :)

February 24: Matt and Pongo sleeping are taking full advantage of my finished t-shirt quilt! I love how big it is. It covers me from head to toe. I hate bankets where my feet stick out the bottom when I pull it over my head. A quilt this big was a challenge to sew, but it turned out great, for my first real sewing project! I have a couple more projects in the works already. I will post them as I go!
February 25: I know, so many pictures of the dogs on this post! I rarely ever catch these two snuggling together, so I thought this was absolutely adorable!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Early February Photos

The first week of February was pretty uneventful. I apologize in advance for the lack of creative photos here today.

February 2: Bananas are the one food I eat every single day. However, last week i didn't gt to the store and so we didn't have any around. My body didn't like that much. I will make sure we have bananas from now on!

February 3: I have blogged about my love of doing laundry before. It's so weird and I can't explain it. It's just something that kind of relaxes me somehow. Maybe because it's so mindless.

February 4: Ok, there is one caveot to the whole laundry thing. I hate socks. I would prefer to leave them in a giant pile and never deal with them.

February 5: I went to Ft. Collins for a couple of days of sewing with Susie. The pups came along since Matt had to work. Pongo, again thinking he is human, decided he wanted to do some sewing as well.

February 6: I got quite a bit done with Susie's help. I finished sewing the top 4 blocks on. We went shopping for the rest of the materials and I got some black fabric for the edges, batting for the middle, and some soft gray fleece for the back. I still have to sew the layers together and then cover everything with a bias strip (some quilting lingo I learned). But the darn thing is looking great and it's so big I could barely get it all in one picture!

February 7: Matt made his secret recipe! It was soooo good! He ended up making Shepherd's Pie with Andouille and Italian sausage as the meat layer. It also had another secret ingredient that made the whole thing extra amazing. I think I will keep that a secret for now.

February 8: We got a ton of snow. Some of the snow in this picture is from the previous two or three storms that haven't melted yet. But seriously, our little house might be buried soon if this keeps up!

February 9: We officially planned to head up to Copper this weekend so i thought I would post a picture from the last time we were there, just a few weeks ago!

February 10: Today, I drove all over Denver to sell a couple of tickets to the KSU-CU game on Saturday. We had a bunch of extra tickets to this game and the Nebraska-CU game on March 5 because CU makes the KU fans buy two other games in addition to the KU game. It drives me nuts! But at least I was able to sell these. $45 bucks...yeah!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Some More Catch-Up

Let's see...where did I leave off?

Jan 27:

I'm not sure why I keep blogging about Christmas presents, but one of Matt's presents was two tickets to the KU-K-State basketball game in Lawrence. We flew to KC for a three day weekend with family, friends and KU Basketball.

January 28: I guess I didn't do a good job of taking pictures because all of the ones I found were from gameday on the 29th. Before the game, we went to eat at El Mezcal in Lawrence, which was one of our favorite restaurants in college. This picture of unhealthy food pretty much sums up our weekend. For lunch on the 28th, we had Oklahoma Joes BBQ after a 12.5 mile morning run. That evening for dinner, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings with Alissa and Anne. Jake and Meredith also met us there, and they are newly engaged! We have a lot of weddings to attend this fall, but that is another post. Then of course on the 29th, we had El Mez. This is a picture of the best cheese dip on the planet. Not kidding.

January 29: GAME DAY!! After a wonderful breakfast and a couple hours of Super Mario for Wii with Alissa, we headed to Lawrence for lunch and the game. We also picked up a few goodies at the Jayhawk Bookstore. KU stuff is hard to come by out here in Colorado! Here is Matt in front of a mural in Allen Fieldhouse.

January 30: We flew back to Denver in the afternoon. Then it was time for me to hit the books! I had a huge work load of homework due the following Wednesday. Speaking of books, this is my huge textbook for this term. Can you believe I lugged it to Kansas and didn't even so much as open it while I was there?!?

January 31: More frantic studying on my part. Perdi tried to help, but she got the same results that I usually do when I stare at the computer too long.
February 1st: More studying. But on another note, we have been getting a little frustrated lately with the lack of running opportunities with all the snow we have been getting lately. It seems like just as soon as it warms up and the snow melts off the paths, the next storm moves in. Sometimes the snow doesn't even get chance to melt before more comes down! We found a decent solution for the short weekday runs, (**Unless the high temperature is -2 degrees, as was the case most of last week). We got these shoe attachments called Yaktrax. They go around your normal running shoe and give you more traction in the snow. They work well for traction, but it takes a lot more energy to run in them!

Well there...I got a little more caught up and finished my first month of daily photo blogging! I have to admit that it is really hard to remember to take my camera everywhere and more importantly, to take pictures! Its especially hard when I get behind...I have got some good photos yet to post of this past week. I will get those up tomorrow. I really like reading your comments, so please add them if you are enjoying following this project!