February 26, 2014

What 36 Looks Like

When I was a little girl dreaming about my future, I don't think I dreamed past the age of 21 or 23 years old.  I turned 36 today, but I feel more like 26.  I think I have fewer wrinkles now than I did when I turned 26!  I feel like my life really began when Joseph and I got married, and we've only been married for two and half years, hence the reverse aging process.
Most people my age are settled into a career, and raising their children, with an eye set toward goals of college funds and retirement.  Last year at this exact time, Joseph and I found ourselves in a different situation; we knew we needed to make serious career changes if we were going to get to those goals of college funds and retirement, and we needed to move to a place a we could succeed.  Staying in Utah would have meant staying because of familiar faces and places, not because it was the best place for us be.
I personally have truly been through a lot of tough stuff in the past 10 - 20 years; enough that I feel comfortable typing that.  A few years ago, I could feel myself beginning to feel completely worn out.  I remember telling Joseph when we were dating, that I was a tired soul.  While Joseph and I continue to make plans and changes for our new business, I've had the opportunity to take some much needed time for myself, (The best gift anyone has ever given me, thank you Joseph!).  I've taught myself several new creative skills from paper marbling, and eco printing, to knitting and crocheting.  I've had the opportunity to search my interests the way young 20 somethings should, but I didn't get to.
36 means starting over in more ways than just our career and family plans.  It's been so good for me, and I couldn't be more grateful!  This year I plan to keep working on my new interests with fiber arts, marbling paper, and eco printing.  I will continue to write my personal thoughts and experiences here on Millee Margaret and the fun stuff with Joseph about Eidolon House on The Joe and Jill Chronicles.  I don't dream about my future the way I once did as a little girl.  I've learned that life often has a different plan than what I could dream about, and I'm completely open to it, because I'm finding it's so much better than what I could dream up!   

 Happy Birthday to Me!


February 23, 2014

High/Low - A Sunday Ritual

Highs:  This past week has been great!  The weather as been sunny and warm, and we've been working hard in the studio.
I'm waiting to hear back about a possible interview for a 911 dispatcher job.  The application process its self has been long.  I went for my first test back in December, another test in January, and a 34 page background report listing every address I've lived at, every job I've had since the age of 17, and listing all of my immediate family and in-laws' addresses and birth dates.  Lucky for me I kept every W2 from every job I ever had!  Some jobs I had W2s for I didn't even remember working at.  The gentleman I met with to go over my background report was shocked that I had all of my W2s; what can I say, I like to file paperwork.  Here's the kicker, all of my tests and background report will now go to the hiring manager to decide if they want me for an interview!  You read that right!  I haven't even had a formal interview yet!
I've sold a couple of my fedora hat patterns on Etsy!  I was so excited when I saw the order confirmations!  Granted this doesn't mean I'm bank rolling now; it's just so exciting to know that perfect strangers are interested in something I created!  My next crochet goal is to make a hat out of twine or straw; hats made out of yarn are obviously warm, and with Summer on it's way, I'd like to make something wearable for those hot months!

Lows:  I have had zero, I mean zero desire to cook anything!

I wrote THIS fun blog about some fun memories of the first year of my amputation this week.
It was fun to relive those memories, and to think how much my life has changed in just six short years!

I'm excited to spend the next couple of weeks updating and making changes to our website!
We moved here so quickly, and I threw our website together so quickly, that I feel it needs some updating.

How was your week?
I hope your week to come is a great one!



February 22, 2014

My First Crochet Sell!

I sold my fedora crochet pattern on ETSY!
This is so exciting for me!!!

I typed up this pattern for a couple of fellow crocheting friends who wanted to know how I made these hats.  I thought, I have this pattern typed out step by step now, I might as well list on our Etsy shop.

Tonight, someone from Arkansas bought and downloaded my pattern!
I feel like an excited child on Christmas Eve!
See listing HERE!

I'm happy to make a custom hat for you too!
See Woman's Fedora listing HERE!
See Man's Fedora listing HERE!

Thank you all so much for your support!


February 18, 2014

Chapter Fourteen: The Funny Things People Say and Do...

My entire life I've walked funny and have had funny looking legs due to a birth defect.  I'm no stranger to being made fun of, called names, or just being stared at.  Once on a date, the "gentleman" I was with suggested I get calf implants so my legs wouldn't look so funny.  Since losing my leg I've found people still say the funniest things to me, but they're less mean about my handicap and more curious, I mean having a leg made out of carbon fiber is pretty cool.  

About four months after my amputation I was visiting Yellowstone park with a friend, and a young boy ran up to me and yelled, "where is your skin?" referring to my prosthetic leg.   I didn't really know how to explain to a young child that my leg had been cut off.  Lucky for me his mother came along and whisked him away frantically.

I was sent home from the hospital only three days after losing my leg; I was shocked that I was going home that soon, but the recovery process is a freaking long one, so my therapists came to my home, and after about six months I went to them.  I'll never forget the first time my mom and I had to drive back to the University of Utah for a check up.  After visiting my surgeon, who really just admired how beautiful he stitched my leg, my mom and I went to Trolley Square for lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory, 'cause that's what you do when you're near Trolley Square, duh.  I was in a wheelchair at that time and the flooring in Trolley Square is cobble stone, need I say more?  Let's just say the bumpy ride, with a freshly cut off leg and crazed nerves was less than enjoyable.  But the funniest part of our visit wasn't the bumpy ride, it was our experience using the restroom!  I always have a fun time in public restrooms; I could write a whole book about public restrooms, and the things people say. . .  Anyway, the doorway to the restroom had a step, and we were novice wheelchair users, so my wheelchair kept getting stuck on this stupid step, not to mention the door was really heavy!  My mom and I were having the hardest time holding the heavy door open, and getting my wheelchair through the door into this rather small restroom, (my wheelchair wouldn't even fit in the stall, I can't even talk about it!).  I'm pretty sure this was the moment I decided I was going to get of that wheelchair as fast as I could, bring on the prosthetic leg!  Two older women saw us struggling and came up to us to offer help.  One of the ladies grabbed my chair, hoisted me backward and pushed me over the step like a champ, she then proceeded to teach us the proper way to maneuver a wheelchair over bumps and sharp turns.  This story sounds a little sad and pathetic, but honestly, my mom and I were laughing so hard, and we were very grateful to the two ladies willing to help us out. 

Several stranger children have referred to my leg as a "robot" leg.

My sweet niece Sharill asked me when my leg was going to grow back.

About two months after receiving my prosthetic leg I was in a grocery store picking up treats to take with a group of friends up the canyon; we were on our way to the gun range.  At the time I was using forearm crutches along with my prosthetic, all part of the learning how to walk again process. I was training my brain that while when taking a step my left foot hits the ground, my right foot - the prosthetic foot - hits the ground at my knee 'cause that's where the feeling begins.  So until my brain learned what was going on, I used crutches.  I turned the corner to head down an isle and a women stopped me, her eyes wide open, and her jaw literally dropped.  By the way she was looking at me, I thought maybe this woman knew me, but I didn't recognize her.  She started to tear up, I said, "I'm sorry do I know you"?  She asked, "How long ago did you lose your leg"?  I said, "about four months ago".  She then grabbed me with both arms and gave me the hugest hug, and said, "You're doing so well, I thought you needed to hear that, you're doing so well".  Before losing my leg, my sarcastic rude self would have thought, this lady is kind of crazy, but at that moment, she was right, I needed to hear that I was doing well, and the hug was nice too.

I've found when dealing with noticeable and even awkward looking life changes, it's best to have fun, and even tease people a bit....
Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008 was so much fun!  After scaring the kids going to my sisters house for candy, my friend Eric took me to meet his friend and his friend's wife, I forget their names now.  The man was a gentleman and came to my side of the truck to open the door for me.  I quickly turned towards him and gently kicked my plastic fake leg so it would fall out of the truck on the ground (see bloody fake leg in the picture above), and my stump was just hanging there, the man screamed and jumped back out of fright!  Poor guy, he was so confused and then he felt bad for reacting how he did, all I could do was laugh.  

People may say and do funny things about my leg, but once in a while I say and do funny things about my leg too, so we're even I guess. 

I hope everyone is having a good week so far!

February 12, 2014

Destruction of Self Doubt

Last week I was having the most horrible feelings of self doubt, fear, and depression.  I know everyone goes through this from time to time, but I sure wish we didn't have to.  These feelings are dangerous and I think they're rude; an unwelcome guest to anyone's mind. 

Honestly, these feelings are what drove me to crochet three hats in one weekend.  Projects I'd been working on earlier in the week were not going well, and I've felt other things in my life haven't been going in the direction I want them to; or I should say, other things in my life aren't going quickly in the direction I want them to.  When I tried THIS pattern, and the first hat didn't turn out as the picture, I thought to myself, this is stupid, I can make this hat, and I CAN make it how I want it to look, dammit!

I became a bit obsessive I guess; I felt that it was important for something to go right, and I wasn't going to let those horrible feelings of self doubt win!  I have a few too many hats now (anyone want a cute crochet hat?), but this project was about more than a hat.  It was about me putting my mind to something and changing the outcome.  The pattern wasn't giving me the end product I wanted, so I changed it.

The Great Hat Challenge of 2014!
Hat No. 1 - Following the Pattern.

Hat No. 2 - Changing the pattern a little. Cute but not quite what I had in mind.

Hat No. 3 - Changed the pattern and the stitches altogether.
I'm so happy with how the third hat turned out that I even made my husband one.
Plus, he looks really cute in a fedora!  I'll make him several more I'm sure!

There is so much in the media, our great American culture, and in our own heads telling us we have to keep working, keep moving, stay motivated, focus more, be better, change, keep progressing, and all of this pressure is enough to give anyone a heart attack!  Ultimately I am in control of my life regardless of outside pressures, and I'm definitely in control of my own negative self talk.  Sometimes I have to  remind myself of this, and if all this reminding means I make a few too many hats, than so be it.


February 9, 2014

High/Low - A Sunday Ritual

I had such a great week, I'm going to find it hard to think of a low this week.  Here goes nothing:  I made spaghetti and meatballs last Sunday, and we've pretty much been eating off of the left-overs all week; this kind of cooking makes me happy!  I wrote THIS post Monday, sharing my friend's adoption story.  If you haven't had a chance to check it out, take a look, if only to see cute pictures of their family.

My husband finished a knit scarf he's been working on and gave it to me!  

Thursday we woke up to what I call "snow globe snow", I was so happy to see actual real snow, not just frozen rain or frost.  The snow falling from the sky was just slowly floating to the ground, hence my calling it, "snow globe snow".  This was the perfect snow storm in my book; we had enough to cover the ground, but it was all melted by the next day.  I love the first day of snow storms, but the dirty muddy snow that hangs around days after isn't so pretty.  

On Friday I woke up trying to remember the last time Joseph has had a real live weekend to himself to do whatever he felt like, even if he felt like doing nothing.  I couldn't recall, so I asked him to take a real weekend and just chill with me, and that is exactly what we did!  Having an at-home business is totally awesome, other than you never really leave your work and you spend every free moment working on orders or other studio related projects.  Having a creative business is fun, but sometimes the studio needs to close; even if its just for a few days.  I do miss a regular job working Monday-Friday.  I remember feeling so excited as soon as I clocked out Friday evening and thinking I have the whole weekend to myself and my family!  I'm sure as our business grows and stabilizes we'll get back to those regular working days and hours.    

Joseph and I have been watching movies and working on crochet projects we've been wanting to try.  Joseph has been making a hat for a friend of his, and I made two hats!  I'm going to make a third:  I'm determined to get it exactly how I want it.  The pattern I found is made for women with small heads; I have a big head.  Also I don't care for the double stranded crochet because I want the hat to be thin, so I can wear it during the spring time too.  I've found I've had to alter the pattern which isn't easy as a novice crocheter; third time is a charm as they say!

First hat!
Second Hat
Last but certainly not least, Joseph and I spent some time at our favorite state park 30 minutes away from our home.  The park is called Ray Roberts, and the side of the park we go to is in a small town called Pilot Point.  I love the park and I love Pilot Point!  We drive past the most beautiful horse ranches on our way to the park.   I absolutely love seeing all the animals and beautiful green pastures!  Today was a cold and gloomy day, but there is a certain beauty and stillness to days like this that I love. 

There you have it!  A rather thorough report of our week, and all of it was good!
How was your week?


Lets stay connected on Instagram HERE!

February 3, 2014

Completing a Family through Adoption.

I have several friends that have adopted children or who are in the process of adopting, and in the blogging network there are many who share their amazing stories about their adoption journey:  It's crazy how many different routes to adoption there are.
As a stepmother I can relate to the feeling of "adopting" children that I didn't physically give birth to; it doesn't mean I love them any less.  In my opinion all children are amazing and deserve loving homes to feel safe, loved, and nurtured in.  I've noticed all adoption journeys have one thing in common; its the extraordinary amount of love the families have for their children and the amount of loving support they have from their friends and family.

Today I'm sharing an interview I had with my friend Amy Sperandeo about her adoption journey; a journey of hope and love that her whole family took to add two handsome boys to their family.
Q:  How did you come to the decision to adopt?
A:  It's hard to explain.  I just had a feeling that our family wasn't complete.  When I brought it up with my husband he agreed.  Neither one of us is able to have children of our own so adoption seemed the obvious solution.

Q:  How did you know adoption was right for your family?
A:  I knew our family has been so blessed and we have so much love for one another.  Family is so important and we all agreed that we wanted to share what we have with another child.  Seems God's plan was for us to share it with two more.
Q:  You chose to adopt through the foster care program; why this route over international or domestic open/closed adoption, etc.?
A:  I watched a video posted by the Dave Thomas Foundation, it touched my heart and broke my heart to see so many children suffering and longing for a family.  Everyone wants a new, perfect baby, we wanted the "unwanted".
Q:  How did you prepare your family for new and older children?
A:  A LOT of talking. A Lot.  Cody and I took classes through the Utah Foster Care Foundation and we would come home and discuss what we learned with the kids.  We didn't sugar coat anything.  We let the kids know about the horrible experiences foster kids have been through, how they would have behaviors that we weren't used to, and how they needed our unconditional love, etc.

Q:  How has the transition been for your children?
A:  We have good days and we have bad days.  Mostly good.  I am actually amazed by how fast they have all bonded.  They love each other.  It's incredible to see how similar children are, despite completely different backgrounds.  At the same time, it's devastating to see the impact of neglect and abuse and know how different things could have been.
Q:  Were you worried personalities would clash between your children?
A:  I wasn't as worried about personalities clashing as I was behaviors rubbing off on other siblings.  I knew our boys had seen and heard things that most children their age haven't, and I was very worried about them teaching the other kids bad things.
Q:  Is adoption expensive or is this common belief a myth?
A:  Adopting from foster care is FREE.  All expenses are reimbursed at the time of finalization.  Also, most children who are adopted from foster care will receive a subsidy after finalization. 

Q:  What is the biggest lesson you've learned through your adoption process?
A:  I've learned so many lessons.  Hard to say which is the biggest.  I've learned that I can do hard things.  I've learned that life isn't about what is easy and convenient.  What exactly is the point of living a comfy life anyway?  Things get super tough around here, but man when we make it through it sure feels good.  When my son cries in my arms because he's having a bad memory, it straight up kills me...but when he looks up at me and tells me he feels better, there is no feeling like it in the world.

Thank you Amy for sharing your adoption story with us!

If you're thinking about adoption and have more questions feel free to contact Amy at



February 2, 2014

High/Low - A Sunday Ritual

High of the Week:
It finally rained today and it has been cold!  
It feels like Christmas to me!
I've been on a weird crochet high this week!  It's like I can't get enough!
I don't want to cook or clean, I just want to crochet!
I crocheted three rather large cowls in four days!
I think they may be infinity scarfs, rather than proper cowls actually.
My husband bought me pretty, soft, and chunky yarn last week and it was so much fun to use!
I think the secret to crochet is in the yarn!
I'm sure you master crocheters already know this, but I'm still learning.

Low of the Week:

I made THIS recipe this week and it was not good at all!
Cooking oatmeal overnight is only meant for old fashion oatmeal, not the Quaker quick cook kind and not even the Quaker branded "Old Fashion Oats", I mean real live old fashion oats.  
Also the recipe called for too much water and not enough cinnamon.  

Here is my revised recipe:  Slow Cooker Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Breakfast. 
2 apples, diced
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt (good salt, not the iodine stuff.)
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups milk
1 cup water

in a mixing bowl mix together diced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Make sure all apple pieces are coated well.  Put apple mixture in your slow cooker.  Next, pour oatmeal over the top of the apples, evenly, but don't stir.  Next pour water over oatmeal and then pour the milk over the oatmeal, evenly.  Put lid on slow cooker and let cook.

Cooking times and temperature: 
If you're using quick cook oatmeal, cook on med/high for about an hour.  Check to make sure the apples are soft before serving.  Just use a fork to test the apple.
If you're using real old fashioned oatmeal, cook the apples with oatmeal over night on low for about 6 to 8 hours. 

Drizzle with a bit of maple syrup and serve!

How was your week?
I hope your week to come is a good one!