Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Precious Moments

We've moved!!! With baby #3 on the way, I am finally making the transition into one blog for the entire McFamily! Keep up with all things McMillen at www.allofthepreciousmoments.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Change is good. Well, that's what I keep telling myself!

I am in the long, tedious process of going through all of our crap and deciding which pile to put it in: Garage Sale, Storage, Apartment. Yep. We are moving in the next couple of weeks! A bit of the story if you haven't yet heard it....

We started off our marriage in Clearwater, the town my husband grew up in. In fact, Clearwater is kind of The McMillen's town. His Grandad, Parents, and all of his Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins grew up and went through school in Clearwater. It's also no secret that I hated living there. I am from a small town myself, but this was just extreme. Total Mayberry run by a bunch of Barney Fifes. People would stop me in the grocery store to talk to me and I would have NO idea who they were, yet they knew me because I was a McMillen. *cue Twilight Zone theme song*

So, what has changed that makes me willing to go back? Several things. For starters, I am now a Mommy and suddenly Mayberry sounds kind of nice. I have grand visions of being super involved and active in the community, making friendships that have certainly escaped me in my current town (possibly the most un-friendly town I've ever been a part of and I'm sooo excited to make my exit!), and being an advocate for my kids and what I expect for their education. Oh, and then there's also the whole part that my in-laws are giving us 5 acres to build a house on. Across the street from them. *cue Everybody Loves Raymond theme song*

The land was first offered to us years ago, and at that time it was 10 acres. Our answer was immediately HELL NO. But thanks for asking. Neither of us wanted to move back there, and we certainly weren't interested in living so close to the parental units. His parent's sectioned off 5 acres and sold half of the land to some of their friends and Ryan's brother had plans to build on the remaining 5 acres. About 6 months ago, his brother decided not to build there afterall and the land was again offered to us, this time as a last chance offer as they were going to sell it if we didn't want it.

We had been looking for land for quite a while in various small towns in the area and were not finding exactly what we wanted. We were getting frustrated. Our initial reaction to their offer was again, HELL NO. But then we stood back and looked at it a bit more logically. First, the land is FREE. Hello? Second, it is beautiful! One of the problems with the land we had been looking at elsewhere was that it was ugly, or next to a busy highway, or with terrible views, etc. It wasn't until I actually walked back onto the property that I knew that it was Home. Totally gorgeous!

So, here's the plan: Ryan's parents also happen to own a six-plex in Clearwater and they rarely have a vacancy because the rent is so affordable. We were stressing about having our house on the market and keeping it "show ready" at a moment's notice with having two kids and two big dogs. When the in-laws had a two bedroom apartment become available, we jumped at the opportunity! We will be moving out over the next couple of weeks, leaving our house for the most part "staged" with our belongings, taking the essentials with us and storing or selling the rest.

We are hoping to have our house listed by August 1st. There are a lot of good selling points to our house (4 bedroom, 3 bath, backyard backs up to a pasture, nice neighborhood, small town, etc.) so we are really hoping it moves fast because paying rent and a mortgage won't exactly be fun. After the sale of our house, the plan is to remain in the apartment until next summer or fall and then begin building our home. We have been following Dave Ramsey and will be following his advice of saving, saving, saving and being able to close on the house with only a 15 year mortgage.

Is it going to suck to have two toddlers and a newborn in an apartment? YES. Am I crapping my pants that there is no dishwasher? HELL YES. Will it be worth it when it's all over? YES. Short term pain for a long term payoff.

Monday, June 20, 2011


We like to give our kids names in utero. We never revealed their actual names until they were here and famly came in the room and through tear filled eyes, I got to say, "this is Tucker Shay" or "this is Chloe Noelle." I loved that part of it, even if it drove eager friends and family crazy. It's special to me.

Tucker's name in utero was Hanky, named after South Park's Hanky the Christmas Poo. I don't even know how it came about, but it stuck so well, we accidentally called him Hanky a few times after he was born, too.

Chloe's name in utero was Tater. I had a hard time coming up with her nickname and Tater was suggested by my sister, Jill. We didn't refer to her as Tater nearly as much as we did Hanky, but it was still fun to have a little nickname.

So, when I got a positive pregnancy test in May (surprise!), I started to think of nickname possibilities for this baby. As silly as it sounds, I'm gonna go with Gravy. I kind of figure, I have my sweet boy, I have my sweet girl so this baby is just, well, Gravy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Heaven is for Real

by Todd Burpo.

This is the book I read for May, even though I actually read it in April...or was it March??? Doesn't matter....

I first heard about this book from one of my online friends and then one of my clients talked about it during her massage. She had recently lost her dog and it impacted her greatly and I could tell how much this book had helped her. I decided to go to Barnes and Noble after work to buy it.

I walked around Barnes and Noble looking for the book, having no idea what it looked like. I am so not the type to ask for help in a store and I was about to give up. But then I said a little prayer of, "God, if I am meant to read this book right now, show me where it is." I kid you not, I literally lifted up my face and it was right there. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I tend to think it was a little bigger that that. :)

This book was written by a father, who also happens to be a preacher. His son had a near-death experience and this book is about what the little boy revealed to his family about visiting Heaven. (I just got goosebumps when I typed that!).

I am not going to give any specifics here, because my client pretty much revealed the whole book to me during her massage. It didn't ruin the book for me by any means, but I definitely would have preferred not knowing all about it beforehand.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wherein I Make a Decision

So, as you know, I have wanted to be a doula for a long, long time. I have been debating for years now whether or not I should actually take the steps to become a certified doula (which is not required, by the way).

I have rolled this idea around in my head for so long that I almost couldn't distinguish between an actual desire to doula or just wanting to check something off of my list.

Although I am extremely passionate about natural pregnancy, labor and birth, at this time in my life I am not going to pursue a career as a doula (I am on a different path that is even more exciting!). I have many factors that helped me reach my decision, none of which are particularly insightful or interesting so I will spare the details.

That being said, I am opening my door to accept a handful of clients each year. I have the knowledge and practical skills and experience to help guide me, but I will also be extremely choosey in the people I will support because I have decided to provide this service free of charge. Yes, you read that right. Free.

Most doulas in this area charge $400-500 whether they hold a certification or not. Many women cannot afford that. There is no way I would have been able to hire a doula for Chloe's birth had she not been willing to do a partial trade with me. Because I am so passionate about unmedicated birth, I want to reach out to those women who want to do it, but need that extra support they may not be able to afford.

So, there you have it. If you (or someone you know!) has the desire to experience the power of birth, send me an email! katy526@gmail.com

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Prayer Request

We received some very heartbreaking news this weekend. Ryan's Aunt Becky, who had been in remission from breast cancer for a year and a half, has found out she has Stage 4 liver, rib and lung cancer. Her bloodtests in January were fine so this is obviously an aggressive, fast moving cancer. Her biopsy is tomorrow but the prognosis is poor, regardless of type of cancer. Depending on type of cancer, they will either treat in an effort to prolong her life or treat to keep her as pain-free as possible.

This family is the same who lost Grandpa suddenly in November from a ruptured aneurysm, which is also the last time we saw Aunt Becky, as she lives in North Carolina. Rather than talk about how this will affect the family, I'd much rather tell you little bit about Becky and ask for your prayers for her and her family as they face the news.

First of all, Aunt Becky is probably my favorite in-law. I say that here because I know that no family members on that side of the family read this blog. She is such a genuinely nice person who is honestly interested in every single word you have to say. She is a very special person, who happens to give the tightest, longest hugs in the history of mankind. And to watch her love on my children, oh, there's just nothing better. She's the one who introduced me to "getting their sugar" by feasting on their little necks, which is one of our favorite things to do. I had never heard that term until Aunt Becky came to town.

Aunt Becky is in her forties with three children, Brandon, Lindsey and Nicholas. Lindsey had a birth injury which resulted in Cerebral Palsy. Lindsey is in her twenties now, is non-functioning and requires 24 hour care. Becky is the perfect mother for Lindsey and her challenges and needs. She has devoted her life to her family and has taken a backseat to everybody without complaint. She only started working outside of the home about five years ago.

Aunt Becky, Grandma, and now my Mother-in-Law (Terry) are going on a cruise the first week of May. Originally, it was just going to be Grandma and Becky to celebrate Becky's remission but with the recent development, Terry will be joining them. Becky's oncologist advised Becky to go on the cruise, which to me was very telling of the prognosis.

I am heartbroken for the entire family, in many ways Becky is the breath of fresh air that everyone on that side of the family needs. She's the one who always thinks positively, whereas everyone else can have Doom & Gloom personalities. I am heartbroken for Becky, as a mom I just don't know how you prepare to say goodbye to your children who are so young still. I am heartbroken for Grandma and Terry who have suffered so much since Grandpa died. I'm not sure Grandma will be able to function with this stress as she has many health issues herself.

I would ask you to cover this family in prayers, they all need strength and comfort in the following days, weeks, or months. Please also pray for all of us who will have to make the horribly painful goodbye phone call. Pray that we will find the words we need to say and that they will bring Becky comfort and peace.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Can I Get An AMEN?

April's book (that I actually read in March) was Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It is half nutritional information/half cookbook. It has so much information, in fact, that I am having to re-read it because the first time around I went on brain overload.

This book completely sums up why America is fat and sick, why our grocery store food is so unhealthy (even our fruits and vegetables!), and how scary our basic survival is becoming given the poor state of the foods made available to us. Our food is soaked with pesticides, has been genetically engineered, is injected with antibiotics or given hormones (and really, this list could go on and on) and we all need to be made aware of what is happening. Just look at cancer statistics from 100 years ago, compared to now. Our food is killing us, people, and unless we force change to happen it's only going to get worse!

As a (basically) single income household, we simply cannot afford to eat 100% organic. I wish that we could, but it's just not possible right now. We do have plans in the next few years to have a 3 acre organic farm, but for the right here, right now, I just cannot shop 100% organic. But I do the best I can and I do a fairly good job of it.

For anyone local, here are some great resources for local and sustainable farming, as well as reasonable packaged goods:

Faye Farms, Udall, KS. This is where I buy our raw milk, local honey, farm fresh eggs and some fabulous smelling handmade soaps. She also offers frozen pork, chickens and ground beef. You may call her to set up a farm tour where she will show you around and show you her sales room, which is an "on your honor" system. You can find her on Facebook under Faye Farms or you can just call her at (620)782-3840.

Schenker Family Farms, McCune, KS. Although this is definitely not super local, they do deliver to the area. They offer all kinds of meat products and jams/jellies! You can find them on Facebook under Schenker Family Farms or visit www.schenkerfarms.com. They do provide grass fed ground beef at Kountry Kupboard (see next listing).

Kountry Kupboard, Rose Hill, KS.A small shop just outside of Rose Hill, Bonnie stocks everything from vitamins, gluten-free products, bulk grains, skincare, green cleaning products...you name it, she either has it or can get it for you. And her prices ROCK! Think Green Acres, but much smaller and much less expensive! She's a little off the beaten path, but so worth it! She only accepts cash or check, so be aware of that when you go. She is not on Facebook but you can visit her website at www.kountrykupboard.net or call at (316)733-2544.

Back to the book....
This book can be a great resource for anyone wanting to take baby steps to boost their family's nutrition. You will also learn a lot about things you may be feeding your family that are unhealthy and perhaps even dangerous. I know a lot about nutrition (remember, I am the nerd who reads for information, not pleasure), probably more than the average person and I learned so much from reading this book! Highly recommended if you want to change some things in your life!