Wednesday, June 30, 2010

june's garden


this was the beginning of the month

able giggling in our fenced in strawberry patch

shiloh sitting with the sugar snap peas

nikao points to our purple beans

owen's beefsteak tomato plant
(notice his missing teeth - 2 front teeth on top and 2 i teeth on bottom :)

hogan and leannora among the herbs:
sage, chives, oregano

an overview of the fenced in garden

our compost pile
it's hogan's job to keep it turned and hot

the milligan bunch
through the grapevine

Sunday, June 27, 2010


happy birthday to me!
i turned 30 last week.
for my birthday, i requested we take the children to the theater to see toy story 3.
it came out on my birthday.
so we took a trip to iowa, to visit grandpa bill and grandma sara.
on the way, we stopped at the big M in platteville, wi.
we climbed all 266 steps to the top of the mound!
mark carried shiloh, the children raced ahead, while i walked with able.
(i did pretty good for being 26 weeks pregnant, but my legs reminded me soon after by turning to jello at our potty stop in platteville's walmart.)
able kept me laughing all the way up and down.
he chattered on and on.
" i can't climb these steps. i'm doing a good job. i just can't go up. yea, good job able! i didn't see the big M. where is the big M? i see our new tan van. i'm doing a good job. did we see the big M? we didn't go to the top of the big M? where is the big M? . . ."
oh how sweet is our little 2 year old able boy!so this is how we celebrated our 10th anniversary: a climb to the top of the world's largest M.
it was a good day!

mark's parents treated us to the theater trip to see toy story 3.
it was all of the children's first theater movie.
and the weekend became toy story themed with plates, napkins, cups, and toy story toys.
it was sooooo fun.
my husband gave me the sweetest gift.(mark is not a plan ahead gift giver, so this meant a lot to me.)
he cut out paper hearts and each one of my milligan bunch gave me a birthday message and their hearts.
mark quoted the verse "this is my beloved, and this is my friend".
he wrote something sweet about our friendship.
the children drew pictures and wrote some messages every momma would love.
i have them hanging by the mirror in our bedroom.

we had a wonderful weekend playing at grandpa and grandma's farm.
one day we took a trip to a little lake and enjoyed the beach and fishing on the boat.
we weathered some summer storms.
on sunday we celebrated father's day.
grandpa bill, mark, and hogan got in an extra (funny) fishing trip.
(they dropped 2 poles into the water off the pier!)
it was a wonderful, restful weekend of celebrations and fun.
now mark and kim milligan are moving on to a whole new decade of life together.
we are both loving being 30!
doesn't that sound crazy?
God has been showing us how wonderful it is to mellow out from our extreme reactions of the twenties.
and we can still have great passion for so many things, but that passion is directed with a bit more wisdom and experience.
so it's nice to be able to embrace this next adventure.
it has been fun and good to reflect on God's workings in our family.
how God has made us to compliment one another.
mark is my best friend and strengthens so many of my weaknesses.
then some of his weak areas are my strengths.
and there are certainly troubles, but we are seeing how even differences are used to complete us.
it totally helps to look at difficulties from the positive side, then they are not so frustrating.
our beautiful children are a piece of that completing picture.
and maybe God will bless us with another 1/2 dozen milligans in this next decade!

you've got a friend in me . . .

diapers, baby and good lessons

so here's some pictures of shiloh and able modeling our cloth diapers.
aren't they so cute!?!
well, both the diapers and the kiddos!
i have been using these best bottoms cloth diapers designed by nicki's diapers since feb.
i never thought i'd be able to do cloth diapers, though i've always been interested.
friends, val and kendra, have persisted over the years in encouraging me to give it a try.
they directed me to a cloth diapering class at nicki's newly opened location in madison.
in jan. we attended "diaper school" and found out these new diapers would be available soon.
we've tested them out, purchasing only a limited supply to begin.
they've been so popular, that nicki's couldn't keep up with the interest.
that meant we've been waiting till just recently to really have enough so that i'm not doing diaper laundry every night.
now we're finally stocked up as of last week!
who would have thought diapers would be so exciting!?
so now i'll have to put on my own little diaper class some time when the buddies get together again. haaa!
i have given a pretty good sales pitch for some family and friends and nicki's diaper customers.
my grandma is convinced that she should have been born later because she has missed out on these really amazing diapers!
i'm not sure that we'll use these right away when our baby arrives in september.
i think i'd be expecting way too much of myself to keep up with cloth diaper laundry and 7 little ones under the age of 9.
i'm hoping to give myself a month of rest before we delve into the realm of baby cloth diapers (as well as a vacation off homeschooling).
we'll see!

baby milligan #7 is 28 weeks along, so we just entered into the 3rd trimester.
i have a new midwife for this pregnancy.
she has been wonderful and i know God's hand has been in this transition.
i also fell down the back stairway memorial day weekend and reinjured my tailbone.
because of this fall, i've learned some really good things.
my midwife directed us to a fantastic chiropractor who has helped me incredibly.
i've had some health issues that have troubled me for much of my life and both of these ladies have been instrumental in the healing process.
i'm feeling back to "normal" now and our baby is doing fine.

i cannot help but praise God for his goodness and grace.
sometimes it takes troubles, trials, challenges, discipline, correction, etc. to overcome obstacles as val had mentioned in her recent blog.
(by the way, that was so encouraging to hear someone be so open about God's convicting lessons.)
and there are times when we have to "cease striving and know that He is God". psalm 46:10
i'm not quite sure how these seemingly opposite ideas come together, but they are harmonizing in my life and faith right now.
i have been reveling in resting in His sovereignty to direct me through both difficulties and blessings since my "great depression" days last fall.
and i rejoice in the hope (confident expectation) that HE IS working in me.
guilt and fear are being erased
peace is taking the place
of things that once were all i've known
to me His sovereignty is being shown
everything is turning me to a song these days.
one day i'll get around to share more fully on my 'great depression".
i have been waiting for God to give me the right words and timing, but He hasn't quite directed me in that yet.
so stay tuned if you'd like.
and i do hope that my ramblings encourage somebody out there! :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

tennessee ticks, spiders, snakes, floods, and other natural disasters

so we took a trip to tennessee at the beginning of last month. wow, it was that long ago already!?
anyways, we've been meaning to share a bit of our adventures and i guess, we're just now getting around to it.

mark's cousin, brian, got married on a cruise in april. he and his wife, sara, invited those who were not able to attend the wedding to a reception at natchez trace state park, tn. mark's parents invited us to join them on the trip and rented a couple of cabins for us to stay at the park. we packed ourselves in our very full minivan for a long drive and camped overnight in an undesirable state park in southern il. abundant with ticks. mark's parents met us in tn having brought their dog and fishing boat. we were hoping to make use of the lake and trails at the park since we would be there for 4 nights. but the weather forecast was not so optimistic.
our first day was fun. we toured the park a bit, met great grandpa and grandma milligan at the lodge for supper, and got settled in our cabins. that night it began to rain.

when we woke up the next morning, the lake had risen and it was reported that we had received 7 inches of rain already, just overnight! we attempted to go visit great grandpa and grandma milligan twice that 2nd day. we met many obstacles including flooding, trees down, water rushing across the roads, roads closed, detours, etc. we felt like we spent the day in the van all over again. but a rather interesting thing happened . . . in our first attempt out of the park we met a tree down in the road. our 2 vans were on one side of the tree. two trucks, one being a park ranger vehicle, were on the opposite side of the tree. the ranger began cutting up the tree with a chainsaw, so mark and bill and the driver of the 3rd vehicle helped move the tree off the road. it was pouring down rain. the other helper was none other than cousin brian! haa! he informed us that they had canceled the reception on account of the weather, but invited us to join them that evening at their rented villa at the state park.

the rain did not stop for 3 days. the boat, instead of getting to go out on the water, had to be drained of water. we were a bit disappointed about the turn of events, but that did not put an end to our adventures.
the rather large tennessee spiders thought our cabins were a good shelter from the storms. we found them taking refuge in our shoes and doorways - ahhhhh!

we did manage to make it to grandpa and grandma's on the third day. that was really nice!

on the fourth day the rain stopped. we decided to brave the rather flooded park and take some of the children on a hike. mark's parents watched the 3 littles so we could take hogan, owen and leannora on a 4 mile trail around the lake. this turned out to be a bigger adventure than we had imagined. it took us a while to get to the trail head from our cabin, but we knew the trail ended back near the cabins. then the trail was washed out in many places. thankfully, there were orange markers all along the way. we loved crossing the first few stream where the bridges had been destroyed because we felt like such bold adventurers. but then we met all sorts of swampy areas along the trail and had a difficult time strategizing how to keep our feet dry. we got pretty exhausted after a while of that. we didn't bring a map or our phones (which weren't working at the park anyway), so we didn't know how far we had gone or what time it was. we did think to bring water, that was good.

it was enjoyable looking for little lizards and snakes along the way until we met a rather large one coiled up just inches from our path. i suggested we go around to the left. it was owen who noticed the second large snake coiled up just inches from our alternate route around the first snake. i asked why it looked dead with it's eyes closed and mouth hanging open and mark said "i think it was about to strike". that was the point that i freaked out. a very tired pregnant momma out in the middle of snake infested swampland feeling very vulnerable with 3 young worn out children and still an unknown end to this journey. mark wisely did not mention to me that he thought the snakes were poisonous. (later we added up that we saw 4 copperheads.)

at some point after the snake scenario we lost the trail markers. we had given up being strategic about foot placement on flooded trails. it seemed the rain had preferred washing down the path. and because we were following a path around the lake which had risen in feet from 3 days of rain, much of the low areas had become saturated. along the way we guessed that most of the trail had been under water just the day before. i did not want to walk in water anymore and asked if we could take a fork in the trail heading up. mark suggested going around the low area, but i refused to go separately with snakes flooded out of their usual homes. so we got lost a few times trying to get around the water logged land. that was a pretty hopeless feeling.

we did finally make it to the end of the trail with very soaked and tired feet. mark had run ahead of us near the end so that he could pick us up with the van. but it was mark's dad, bill, who picked us up instead. bill and sara had been worried because we had been out for about 4 hours. they had started looking for us. we got razzed about our foolishness and i was put on probation for the rest of the day. (everybody was concerned about the baby, but really i was fine, just tired.) it was a funny thing once we had been "rescued" and were safely back at the cabin. suddenly, instead of being exhausted, we felt like we had conquered some crazy challenge and won.

anyways, communication was very poor in our area of the park. we were cut off from the current news and our verizon connection was totally down in that part of tn. later we found out that the area had been declared a natural disaster. tornadoes, extreme flooding, etc. in spite of this, we were able to visit with some of the family at various times. and the evening of our great hike adventure we hosted a hot dog and marshmallow roast with a bit of the milligan family. that was a really good time.our return home was not so crazily eventful. we camped at turkey run state park, in. it has some really great hiking!!! there we met a homeschool family and maybe made a neat future friendship. it turns out that most of the campers around us were homeschooling families.
the children were amazing throughout everything, especially the driving. we learned that books on tape/cd are a new must on long travels. daddy's keepsake box of super hero action figures came in handy too. we rarely eat out at fast food restaurants, so a couple of last minute treat stops was a great pick us up.
we have decided that we LOVE living in wisconsin. once arriving in our state we couldn't stop sighing the contented oohs and aahhhs of being home. but tennessee travels make good memories (and lots of laundry).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


God has blessed us with a change in our church recently. For the last year, we've met with the Robertstad family and whomever else would join us. We've had a few people come and stay and go. It's been very nice, but lately we're just back to our two families, which is nice, but.... So, now we have been invited to join this other group of Christians who have been meeting together for about three years. They have been very willing to yield to our preferences, which has made the whole combining thing very beautiful. So far, it's just really cool to have tripled our size, and have richer, more varied fellowship. We've only met together twice, so we're still on something like a 'honeymoon' time probably. Please pray for us. I imagine that God has a trial and opportunity to grow coming soon. Anywho, for now, we simply rejoice in God our savior.

On a different note, Shiloh is beginning to amble. She skipped the crawling phase (that's baby stuff). Now, she's experimenting with walking all over - though, she is pretty unstable. She gets a lot of encouragement from the other little people treading around the house. Lots of fun!