11/29/2004

Tune in for all the breaking news from the front lines of parenthood!

Hello! I just wanted to welcome all of our new family and friends to our blog. If you're reading this, chances are that I sent you an email with our Big News. The original point of this blog was to keep everyone up to date on Baby Millar, but since at least right now things aren't exactly developing at breakneck speed, you will occasionally have to put up with other non-baby related news. But I promise that anytime we've got something worth sharing, we'll post it here.

I thought I'd also take this opportunity to give you a brief tour of our blog, so you can find your way around, and catch up on all the entries we've been filing since we found out Alissa was pregnant. A blog (short for weblog, in case you're interested) is a diary, and the entries are shown from most newest to oldest. On the left, under my profile, you'll see a list of links that will take you directly to some of my recent posts. Beneath that, in the Archives section, you'll find a link to all the entries for a particular month. If you're just tuning in, this would be a good place to go to catch up on all the entries I made before we shared our Big News with the world. Lastly, you'll notice that at the end of each posting there is a link called "comments." We'd love it if you'd leave comments on any of the posts we've created that you enjoy. And that's really about it. We hope you'll bookmark our blog, and come back often. With a little luck, Alissa and I will soon be mommy and daddy. And with lots of help from folks like you, we might even be good at it.



11/26/2004

Happy Turkey Day!

Hope everyone's having a great Thanksgiving. Alissa and I are in Green Valley, AZ for the weekend, celebrating the holiday with my parents, my brother Kerry and his girlfriend Kristen, my cousin Laura and my Uncle Joe and Aunt Linda. We arrived yesterday and didn't waste any time surprising my folks with the news that Alissa is pregnant. They were thrilled and also maybe a little surprised that we'd worked so quickly. We showed them the sonogram and the great Anne Geddes 'Miracle' book that Sheila bought for us. Then we made the requisite phone calls to the in-laws and the grandparents. Sheila was especially excited to hear that she finally has someone to share her excitement with, and I'm sure she'll find a willing partner in my mom.

Last night we had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner, and afterwards all sat around the fire on the deck and had 'smores. A few of us managed a few late night rounds of Mexican Train, but it was a pretty early evening for everyone else.

This morning Kerry and I got up to ride together and mom took Linda and the girls down to Tubac, which is a very cool artists' community down the road. Right now everyone is having a nap before another round of eating and drinking commences.

It's great to be here, and to finally be able to share the baby news with my mom and dad. It feels like we've been keeping this secret forever! I know that they're both thrilled and that they're going to make fantastic grandparents. Just as long as they don't talk politics with out child. (Just kidding dad.) Seriously though, this is the good stuff in life. Being home with family, sharing our lives and enjoying eachother's company. Plus all the pumpkin pie you'd ever care to eat!

11/23/2004

Baby Names

Ever since Bean came around, Alissa and I have been talking about baby names. It hasn't been quite a tumultuous as you might expect, and aside from the fact that she steadfastly refuses to entertain the idea of giving a baby girl a boy's name (like Taylor or Michael, for instance) we've pretty much been on the same page. Since we've both agreed that we don't particularly care about the baby's sex, as long as it's got all its fingers and toes, we've come up with a short list of boys and girls names, just to be safe. All that's left to do now is wait the required 5 months until the doctor can determine the Bean's sex. In the meantime, I've been entertaining myself by reading this. It's provided me with hours of entertainment and in the end, reassured me that as far as baby names go, we could do much, much worse.

And now I'm off to meet my new dentist, who will inevitably be lecturing me about my flossing, or lack thereof. I can't wait!


11/22/2004

Monday Morning Quarterback - Week 2

Good morning sports fans! I'm happy to report that my Sooners are still on track to play USC in the National Championship, after a 35 - 0 drubbing of Baylor on Saturday. And after the BCS rankings came out this morning, it doesn't look like Auburn will leapfog OU, as long of the Sooners win the Big 12 Championship. Possibly inspired by my football team's success, I went out and won my team time trial this morning, breaking the 20 minute mark on Mandeville and setting a personal best. It felt great to finally have something tangible to show for all the hard work I've done this off-season. I definitely didn't expect to improve so much so quickly, but couldn't be happier with the results. When I wasn't cheering for my football team or grinding out training miles, I was enjoying a restful weekend, free from unpacking boxes.

At any rate, I didn't have much time to scout out new talent for the week ahead, but here's what I've got;

TV Show of the Week - I haven't done much TV watching this week, so I'm going to recommend an old stand-by. You really can't beat The West Wing for great acting week in and week out. Even if you don't agree with the politics of the show, it's 100 times better than 99% of all the other stuff out there these days. And this week, my boy Jimmy Smits joins the cast!

Movie of the Week - I gave rave reviews to The Incredibles a few days ago, so I'm going to break out of my animated movie rut and recommend The Hard Road It's a gritty look at a professional cycling team over the course of one season. I liked it because it really explained in detail what the life of a professional cyclist at that level is like. It's also a movie that someone with no knowledge of cycling can enjoy, which was great since I watched it with my wife. She, by the way, liked it too.

Album of the Week - Tomorrow is the premiere of How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, which is the latest effort from the greatest rock band of my generation, U2. I listened to the album online last week, and I can say without a doubt that it is incredible. This band is the voice and conscience of a generation, and they've never been better. While you wait for the album to go on sale, check out the review in Rolling Stone.

And I think that's about it. I've got to get back to work, so have a great week and I'll look for more tomorrow.



11/19/2004

Revenge of the Sith

We went to see The Incredibles last night, which was fantastic. However, I think the highlight of the evening for me was watching the trailer for the new Star Wars movie, Episode III: Return of the Sith. Ever since my brother and I dressed up for Halloween in matching homemade Darth Vader costumes, I've been a HUGE fan. Star Wars was definitely my first childhood obsession, and if you'd asked me to choose a hero when I was nine, Hans Solo would have had a slight edge over JFK. My wife and I recently bought the DVD box set of the Trilogy, and spent a week watching every episode and behind the scenes documentary. So it goes without saying that anticipation for the final chapter of this incredible saga is running high at the Millar house. It also goes without saying that I am a huge dork, but that's probably obvious to anyone who knows me or is reading this blog right now. At any rate, mark you calendars for May 19th, 2005. And may the Force be with you....

11/18/2004

Secret Mission

Kerry and I have decided to give my dad a bike as an early Christmas present. Not a new bike mind you, but a quite good combination of parts from each of us. Actually, Kerry is kicking in all the important bits. I'm providing the pedals, the wheels and a helmet. Still, I think it's a really fun little project. Since we're both bringing bikes to AZ for Thanksgiving, we're going put it together then, and give it to him at the end of the weekend. Kerry's got an old Eddie Merckx frameset that he needs to get rid of, so he'll bring it out and ride it for the weekend, then we'll convert it to a bike for dad. My uncle Joe has taken up cycling, and since he and his wife Linda are going to move out to AZ full-time this year, we're secretly hoping we can get my dad into it as well. If nothing else, he'll have a really great bike that he can ride whenever he wants and he won't have to spend a dime on it. In other bike-related news, my workouts with the racing team are continuing and I feel stronger every day. It's been so good to have a group of guys to do these workouts with. It really makes a big difference and adds an element of challenge to it that I'd never get by doing it all on my own. I can't wait for the season to start!

My mother-in-law Sheila is leaving tomorrow, so we're taking her out for dinner tonight and then we're going to see The Incredibles. She's been cooking up a storm for us all week, so it's the least we can do to show our appreciation. It's also been great having a spare bedroom for her to use, and the extra space makes having guests stay over MUCH more bearable for everyone. Yet another reason to love our new home!

We had another good meeting with our financial advisor yesterday and set some good goals for ourselves. I really feel like we're getting some traction and moving forward, which was the reason we did this in the first place. He also hooked us up with a CPA, who I made an appointment with today. And speaking of appointments, I actually made one with a dentist yesterday! I haven't been in for a cleaning since my now legendary four-cavity-fillings-in-a-day incident almost TWO years ago. Needless to say, I am long overdue. So it's been a flurry of all kinds of adultlike activity around here; getting our finances in shape, getting our taxes sorted, making dental appointments... Next thing you know we'll be getting married and having babies! Wait....


11/17/2004

The Bean is out of the bag

First of all, I had to attach this photo from our wedding reception. Years from now, when my little cousin Cody's parents are desperately trying to figure out where their son went astray, all they have to do is look at this picture. Captured for an eternity, the exact second when Cody fell from grace. It's a chilling image.

Now, on with the show.

Last night my buddy David Manpearl come by to drop off my surfboard, which he'd been borrowing for a few weeks. We invited him in for some dessert and as we were all chatting he noticed one of the many "how-to" parenting books we've got laying around. Alissa and I both froze for a second and without hesitating I told him about baby Bean. It kind of bums me out that a handful of non-family members know before I've had a chance to tell my folks, but in this case at least, it really couldn't he helped. And David is one of the greatest parents I know. He and his wife Nancy have a 12 year old boy and a 10 year old girl, and they're two of the greatest kids I know. In fact I know that I'm going to be asking him for a lot of advice over the next year or two, so letting him in on our little secret isn't really such a big deal. Now I really can't wait to tell my mom and dad! We're planning on breaking the news next week when we're back in AZ for Thanksgiving, and it should be pretty awesome to see their reactions. Plus, it will really be nice to be able to start telling everyone else, and stop worrying about accidentally letting the Bean out of the bag.

Anyway, that's about it for now. I'm off to visit the Financial Advisor in a few hours, so we can start trying to figure out how to pay for Bean's college education. Though personally, I'm counting on him/her getting a cycling, swimming, football and acting scholarship.



Triple Trouble at the Wedding Reception Posted by Hello

11/16/2004


La Grange Men's Cat 4/5 Racing Team.  Posted by Hello

Family, Photos and Panty Hose

My absolutely Grade A, super-fantastic mother-in-law Sheila Branch is visting us this week. I think mother-in-laws get a bad rap in our society. But I for one have to say that there aren't many things in this world better than coming home to a home cooked meal at the end of a long day. And Sheila can cook up a storm! So last night we sat down to an awesome dinner, caught up on family and friends, and generally had a very pleasant time.

I also had the honor of piloting the S.S. Maytag on it's maiden voyage. However, thanks to the conspicous absence of a dryer vent in our laundry room, we were forced to use a borrowed piece of pantyhose to keep this modern marvel of efficency from syraying lint all over the room. Not exactly the sexiest solution, but it did the trick. We're keeping our fingers crossed for a more permanent fix by the end of the week.

Speaking of malfunctioning home applicances, I think it warrants mentioning that our lovely little outdoor fountain has somehow gone from gentle, trickling stream to Old Faithful. It's no longer very relaxing to listen to, but I have to say that a six foot geyser in the courtyard is a pretty impressive site. We also hope to get this fixed in the near future.

And last but not least, I got my team picture today! I have to say that there's something remarkably satisfying about team pictures. Throughout my childhood I took dozens of them for soccer, t-ball, baseball, basketball, swimming and water polo. Then I grew up, got a job, and forgot all about them, and the sports I played when they were taken. As an adult, I've never gotten into the ubiquitous softball or bowling league. If fact, most adult sports are pretty solitary, not counting the countless pool games at various dive bars, or the fantasy baseball team I managed a few years back. But since I've gotten into cycling on a team, I've rediscovered the thrill of having teammates. The motivation that comes from knowing that there are other people counting on you to drag your butt out of bed at 5AM and meet them on the corner for a ride. The esprit de corps that can only be found in a group of like-minded, lycra-clad Type A cycling freaks! I know, it's silly. But getting this picture in my email today made me smile. It somehow justified all those early mornings, all the ugly clothes, and all the long hard rides. It said I was part of a team again, and that made me feel pretty good.

11/15/2004

Monday Morning Quarterback

Happy Monday everyone. Since I'm having an exceptionally good Monday Morning, I've decided to start what I hope will be a regular installment here at the Millar Family Blog. I'm going to call it Monday Morning Quarterback, for lack of a more creative and original name. Anyway, what follows is a list of my recent favorites, from movie, books, tv shows and websites. Check them out if you have some time.

But before we go there, I have to take just one minute to give props to my Sooners, who are sitting pretty in the #2 spot in the BCS. We're in Week 5, and barring any embarrassing losses to Baylor (yeah, right) or in the Big 12 Championship (um, I don't think so) the Sooners should be playing for the National Championship in the Orange Bowl this year. Boomer Sooner!!!!

Now, on to the recommendations...

TV Show of the Week - Law & Order Criminal Intent
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not exactly a regular TV viewer. I spent my days producing television shows, so I'm less than inclined to spend my nights parked in front of the tube. It's a weird thing, I know. But it's the truth. At any rate, Alissa and I checked out this show last night and I really enjoyed it. I've been a fan of Law & Order for a long time. What I love most about the show is its consistency. They're always telling great stories, and you don't have to be a regular watcher to tune in and enjoy it. It's not "appointment" tv, which I love because I refuse to schedule my life around a tv show. Unless it's the Sopranos, but that's a different story. Anyway, 'Criminal Intent' stars Vincent D'Onofrio who some of you may remember from Full Metal Jacket, among other things. His character is this great sort of detective-savant, and his performance really sucks you in. It's worth tuning in just to check him out, and it doesn't hurt that the story lines are great as well.

Movie of the Week - The Polar Express
I was really excited for this movie, since I've owned the book for many years and loved the story. And I have to say that the movie is fantastic, which is often not the case, and can be heartbreaking when you really love the book the movie is based on. Tom Hanks is really the heart and soul of this story, so if you like him, you'll love the film. The animation is amazing and the music, the storyline and the characters are equally great. It's definitely one of those great holiday feel-good pictures, the kind that you just know you're going to wind up buying on DVD. Which reminds me... hasn't that really become the new test of the greatness of a movie? The DVD test? What I mean is that every time I see a film these days, as I'm walking out of the theatre I know almost immediately whether I'll someday own the movie on DVD. If I plan on buying it, more than likely that means that I loved it. Seems like common sense, I just think it's interesting that somehow enjoying a film has become linked with the desire to add it to my collection (i.e., spend money). But I digress... go see Polar Express. You won't be sorry.

Album of the Week - Genius Loves Company, Ray Charles
After seeing Ray a few weeks ago, I can't get enough of Ray Charles' music. Here's a man whose music we've all grown up with yet most of us don't truly appreciate. It's become such a part of the fabric of our lives that it's almost background music. We rarely take the time to listen and hear the greatness. See the film and then buy this, and many more of his albums. On 'Genius Loves Company,' Charles teams up artists as diverse as Diana Krall and Willie Nelson. Every single track is a classic, and you'll find yourself listening to it over and over again.

Website of the Week - The Black Table
Since this is the initial installment of MMQ, I finally get a chance to plug my favorite website. It's filled with fantastic humor from my old stomping grounds, NYC. The writing is always witty and biting, and guaranteed to lighten up your Monday. Enjoy!

And this concludes the Premier Issue of Monday Morning Quarterback. Tune in just about every Monday for more fresh and totally unsolicited recommendations from yours truly. Now get back to work.






11/14/2004

The Millar Boys


IMG_2437
Originally uploaded by kylemillar.
We're just happy to be here.

The Kitchen


IMG_2452
Originally uploaded by kylemillar.
This is where the magic happens.

Office


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Originally uploaded by kylemillar.
Our oh-so-spacious home office! (We can launch rockets from here)

Bedroom


IMG_2446
Originally uploaded by kylemillar.
Our fabulous bedroom!

Living Room


IMG_2443
Originally uploaded by kylemillar.
Here's our new living room!

Casa Sherbourne

If my Apple photo uploading skills are as keen as I think they are, there should be some new pics of our beloved Casa Sherbourne attached here. Otherwise, I've failed to master yet another technological marvel, which isn't at all suprising, considering recent events around here. So far the wireless network has crashed three times, and we've lost one cable box. I've come close to losing my sanity several times, but Alissa always manages to bring some perspective to the situation, usually by reminding me that the more "toys" I aquire, the more stressed out I get. True enough, but I'd like to think that's it's just my Type A personality and the fact that I can't leave well enough alone.

At any rate, I hope you enjoy the pics of the new place. We're enjoying all the new space, but I think the fireplace is still the favorite feature. (With no disrespect to the dishwasher or washer/dryer) Last night we had our friends Steve & Nicole over for BBQ, followed by a screening of Star Wars and S'mores. I have to say that I don't think I'm ever going to get tired of roasting marsmellows in my living room. Ah, the joys of urban living!

In other news, I attended my first La Grange club photo and banquet today. It was a lot of fun to see everyone come out, and we had a great group ride up to Trancas and back. The banquet (at Chaya Venice) was also fantastic. But the highlight of the day for me was definitely getting a chance to hang onto Tony Cruz's wheel on the ride home. Tony is a rider for the US Postal Service team, and close buddy of Mr. Armstrong himself. He's a fantastic rider in his own right though, and it was an honor to ride with him. I hope to have some pics of the club and of the men's Cat 4/5 team up here soon, so check back for that.

Lastly, (but definitely not leastly) I noticed that I completely neglected to say anything about our visit to the OB/GYN last week for Alissa's first ultrasound. A. found her though United Healthcare's online directory, and this was her first appointment, even though she'd talked to her on the phone and had a pretty good feeling about her. Anyway, Dr. Cohen's office is right around the corner on Olympic, in a little house that dosen't look anything like a big, scary doctor's office. Alissa filled out the requisite reems of paperwork and went in for a few woman-tests while I waited patiently in the lobby catching up on my Entertainment Weekly. Eventually they called me in to watch the ultrasound. When I got to the exam room, Alissa and the doc were waiting, and the doc got to work right away. She zoomed right in on a packing peanut-sixed white blob on the monitor, and pronounced Baby Bean Millar healthy and happy right away. With a few more clicks of her mouse, she took a size measurement, then zoomed in and let us listen to the heart. We heart our baby's heart beating for the first time!!! My heart skipped a few beats, and we both had smiles from ear to ear. When I asked why his/her heart was beating so fast, the doctor explained that babys' hearts beat at about 125 bpm, which means that baby Millar is currently holding a nice Zone 2 pace, which is pretty impressive considering that he/she has to keep that up for the next 7 months! (Note: I somehow just managed to cram a cycling refrence into my wide-eyed discussion of my unborn child. Be afraid.) At any rate, after snapping a few pics, which I'll post here soon, we talked to the doc for a little while and then said goodbye. We'll go back in a month to check Bean's progress. Hopefully it'll be smooth sailing between now and then. Oh, and before I forget, we found out Friday night that our friends Shane and Sandra are pregnant! We are SO excited because not only are they two of our best friends in LA, but they're going to be doing all this new parent stuff at the same time we will, which is just awesome. So YAY for Shane and Sandra!

And now I've got to go. My fingers are getting tired and I need some ice cream.

11/12/2004

Belated news of Baby Bean

For those of you who are visiting this blog for the first time, you've probably just heard about the Big News. Yes, Alissa is pregnant! We're fairly overjoyed about this entire development, and in truth, the blog was created in part just to keep you all up to date on the day-to-day events of our latest big adventure.

Last weekend, we took the first big step (other than actually conceiving) of future parenthood. Namely, moving to a bigger place. Our beloved apartment on Blackburn was getting awfully small, and suddenly the thought of sharing that tiny space with a tiny person motivated us to act fast. Thanks to some stellar tag-team researching on westsiderentals.com, Alissa and I were fortunate enough to find a fantastic duplex about a mile and a half away. The building itself is a two-story Spanish-style duplex, with us on the ground floor and our wonderful new landlord Suzanne on the upper floor. Suzanne has taken fantastic care of the place and we loved it the minute we stepped in the door. Aside form being about 3 times larger than our old home, it's got tons of charm. My favorite feature is the working fireplace in the living room, followed closely by the DISHWASHER!!!, the central heat & a/c, and as of today, our brand-new WASHER/DRYER!!! Boy, you really know you've been domesticated when you get this excited about large household appliances. But I've got to say that after 10 years of living in NYC and LA, having the extra space and all these modern marvels of convenience under one roof is enough to make me tear up.

Anyway, the Big Move happened last weekend after several days of frantic packing. Alissa made hearty contributions despite her recently delicate condition, and with the help of our crack team of movers/friends, we did it all in a flash. We celebrated Saturday night with a fire in our new fireplace and some celebratory wine for daddy, and ginger ale for mommy. Ah, parenthood!

Pictures of the new place will be coming soon, so watch out for those. In the meantime, I'm off to wash some clothes and make carpet angels in the new deep pile!

Hello!

Hi everybody, and welcome to our Blog! I've decided to jump into this as a way to keep the whole family up to date on the "LA Millars." I hope you enjoy reading it, and I also hope you'll contribute by creating posts of your own. It's a brave new world, and hopefully this technology will help us all keep in touch and share our lives. So without any further hesitation... off we go!



Alissa and I on our Wedding Day Posted by Hello

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