Travel much?

I have recently been bitten by the travel bug. Now, I've done my fair share of business travel but I want to do some leisure travel. I found a great site that shows you were you've been. After looking at the states I've visited, I realized I really need to get off the East Coast.

Perhaps I'll convince my mountain man husband to whisk the family off to the southwest. I'd love to see the Grand Canyon or Yosemite. Of course, can we go when it's not too hot? Because I do not like to sweat!

What's more than likely is that we'll just drive on down to the beach like we always do. But, I'm not complaining - I love living in a state with the beach just a drive away.

I have no intention of visiting middle America. I mean, what's the point of going to Nebraska? And who really wants to visit Idaho? Besides, all those "family values" states are home to crazy sociopath pedophiles (as evidenced by numerous news stories, so don't blame me!).

Want to see where you've been? You can create your own map by going to World66.com.

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My announcements were shipped yesterday so I should have them in the mail by next weekend. Should being the operative word there. Yes, I fully admit to being a procrastinator. :) However, I spent a good two hours designing these announcements so I am ready to show them off.

Here's your sneak peak. The full glory will arrive by mail.

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Daisy the Destroyer

If you've spoken to me in the past few months then you know that I have a love/hate relationship with our dogs, Daphne and Daisy.

Daphne is a princess-sweetheart but she barks at everything like it's a madman coming to get her. When I say everything, that's exactly what I mean: leaves, squirrels, the wind, bolts of fabric, bird cages... you get the idea. The barking becomes a startling, ongoing howling when an actual person comes near our property (and, god forbid, comes near the actual house).

Daisy chews anything she can get her mouth around. This includes (but is not limited to): sheets, shoes, plastic cups or bottles, heating pads, pillows, trash, the understuffing of our box springs, etc. What burns me up most, though, is how she finds a way to get to the baby's stuff. She's chewed packs of diapers (which I salvaged) and at least 3 pacifiers. I've also found her running around the house with dirty diapers in her mouth and more than one burp cloth.

In the dogs' defense, they have never attempted to chew or even lick a person - including this bundle of wiggling arms and legs we call a baby. However, Daisy sealed her fate about an hour ago when I found her edging up to the laptop battery and licking her lips. I even caught her in the act (when she realized she was busted, she disappeared under the bed):

I already wanted to put her troublesome arse out for good and now I'm pricing dog houses. Yes, she's cute - but she's more than worn out her welcome in this house!

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Last night was the first night since we started formula feeding that I've been allowed to let Bella eat on demand.

When she was born, I was really determined to breastfeed; however, my milk never came in and the poor babe quickly dropped from 7 lbs 6 ozs to 6 lbs. Her peds had me supplement with 2 ozs of formula every 3 hours and continue to breastfeed. After about a week, both Bella and I were fed up with attempting breastfeeding so I began to exclusively formula feed - yet we still had to stick with the every-3-hours schedule. This included waking up every 3 hours during the night to feed her.

Well, at her check up yesterday, her peds gave us the A-OK because she shot up to 7 lbs 10 ozs. We were instructed to let her set the tone for when she eats and how much she eats. She slept a lot more yesterday thanks to me not jostling her awake for a bottle. I just knew this would spell trouble for me come night time.

While she was a little fussy and we didn't get her to sleep until almost midnight, she only woke up once last night! I fed her, changed her and she immediately went back to sleep. When Billy woke me up this morning at 7 am (to get Javi to the bus), the little nugget was STILL SLEEPING!

She finally roused around 8 am. I fed her, gave her a bath and a little lotion massage. Guess what happened next? More sleeping!

This is a good thing because we have a pretty long day ahead of us and she'll be happier if she's rested, but dude. If this is what on-demand feeding is like, we'll take it!

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Brotherly love

I spent most of the time I was pregnant wondering and worrying about how having a baby in the house would affect Javier. I was especially concerned about whether having a biological child would somehow influence Billy's or my feelings for Javi. I don't think I can adequately express just how in knots I was over this and how these types of concerns were one of my main reasons for not wanting to have another child period.

What I can say is that when I held Javier for the first time (all gray-skinned and screaming from his journey into the world), I promised him that he would never feel abandoned or unloved or second-best or like a burden to me. My fear was that somehow hatching a baby inside of me would instill more immediate love inside of me than Javier did. Equal to that fear was that Billy would treat this child more lovingly than he does Javi - that he would love this child in a way he doesn't Javi.

So basically I tore myself up - quietly except for the talks with Billy he quickly grew tired of because he didn't at all share my concerns - for a long, long time. And then Bella was born and my love for her was tremendous. But it was no more dazzling and powerful than those moments and days when my son was first born.

What's more, Bella's presence in our family has brought out more lovey-dovey madness between Billy and Javi than I've ever seen. This includes Javi demanding that we change his name to Miller to match Billy and Bella, and it includes Billy pushing us forward in our plans for him to officially adopt Javi.

It's really amazing and I finally feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Now that it's gone, I realize I've been carrying that weight for six long years. As you can see, Javi and Bella feel happy, loved and secure - and I'm confident they'll stay that way.

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Birth Announcement

I'm devoting time this afternoon to making Bella's birth announcement. I spent a roll of film on her Monday just for this purpose. The end result will be a collage of pictures, but I thought I'd share some of our favorites. Enjoy!

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We have a Terrific Kid

Despite wanting to be the class clown, writing love notes to his female classmates and spending his fair share of time jumping, running, talking and doing other little boy stuff at inappropriate times, my little boy was awarded a ribbon for being a Terrific Kid in a school assembly last week. He's the one in red and yellow stripes.

He got a certificate, a ribbon, a bumper sticker and a gift certificate for a free Burger King meal. Needless to say, he thinks he's royalty now. This honor comes on top of earning a #1 Reader necklace for being able to read 168 words now. In fact, the little monster is reading at Level 3 these days thanks to his very determined Kindergarten teacher.

What's really great about this is Javi really wants Billy to put that bumper sticker on the jeep. He asks him about it every single day. Billy keeps coming up with excuses but eventually he's going to have to slap that thing on the back of the jeep and wear it with pride, no matter how dorky it is!

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Easter Sunday

Luckily Mama and baby were home and ready for the Easter bunny to make his appearance on Easter Sunday. I honestly don't know if Javi would've forgiven me otherwise!

Funniest moment: I spent an hour the weekend before Bella was born picking out little treats and toys that I thought Javi would enjoy getting in his basket. This included flower seeds, a flower pot and a spray bottle because he has been fascinated with growing things since his Kindergarten class planted a bean seed a few weeks ago.

So, Sunday morning he rushes for his basket and is amazed that Easter bunny did, in fact, come. However - stop the presses! The bunny brought Bella a basket too ... and it came with FUN DIP. How could the Easter bunny give Bella FUN DIP and not Javi??? Yes, we had to immediately tear into her store-bought-for-$5 basket to let Javi get his hands on the FUN DIP. All that stuff I searched for? Chopped liver.

Anyway, our families all came over so that the boys could have an Easter egg hunt. This was Javi's shining moment because he and Billy spent a couple hours Easter weekend boiling and coloring the eggs. I think Javi really enjoyed having Dad all to himself after the excitement of Bella joining the family.

At the end of the hunt, Ethan had gathered more eggs than anyone else, and I don't think either Matt or Javi knew what to make of that. Of course, Ethan could care less and just enjoyed running around with his brothers and eating lots of sweets!

We finished the day with a bucket of chicken and lots of passing around of a very sleepy baby girl. That was after my sisters fought over who got to hold her and who got to feed her. It's sweet that everyone is so in love with the newest addition already!

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Baby Bella

After 21 hours of labor, Isabella Emory Miller was born at 5:56 am on April 3, 2007. She weighed 7 lbs 6 ozs and was 20.5 inches long.

Thanks to an amazing epidural, both Billy and I slept through much of the labor so we were both wired when she finally arrived after a short 45 minutes of pushing. Daddy videotaped baby getting her first bath and getting checked out. Surprisingly, she was quiet and observant through most of it.

Erin brought Javi to the hospital later that morning. He immediately fell in love with his baby sister and has been her #1 fan ever since. He really makes a great big brother - except, of course, when she's wailing over SpongeBob or Jimmy Neutron. He has a hard time liking her then. :)

Because I tested GBS+ and because my midwife lost a small piece of my placenta in my uterus, Bella and I spent two long days in the hospital. We were both soooooooooooo ready to come home and get started on life as it will be for the next few months!

Happy birthday Bella!

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