Grae

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Grae is FOUR

Our sweet baby girl, (who would remind us she is NOT A BABY), turned four on March 26, 2018.
It seems as if time has doubled in speed since the day we welcomed our little Grae Golden.
She came into the world stubborn and ferocious, tiny as a pint, but larger than life in spirit.
Shortly after she was born and named, we noticed the repetition initial G.G.  We thought that was the perfect nickname for our teeny lady, and “Gigi” stuck.
Not a dull day has gone by in the Miller Manor since that fateful spring day she was born.
Grae tends to get the most attention in our family…. because she demands it the most.
Grae has stretched and grown my soul like nothing else.
Because of Grae I am more patient, less judgemental, more loving and tender, and definitely less tightly wound.
I can hold my side of any argument, but I have surely met my match in Grae Golden Miller.
Grae’s favorite things are: green, geckos, pj masks, super heroes, monster trucks, monsters, and small toy figures (which she calls “figguhs”).
Her favorite foods are soy-yogurt, oatmeal, quesadillas, chipotle, mac&pony (macaroni), ramen noodles at Grandi’s, and veggie straws.
She is a fan of ICED beverages – whether it’s water or apple juice or lemonade, she likes that sucker filled with ice and refuses to drink a sip if the ice has melted.
Sometimes she wakes me up at 2 or 3 in the morning to get her more ICE. :/
Grae climbs into my bed most nights, wraps her little arms around my neck and sleeps soundly until late morning.  She wakes up with ferocious bedhead, demanding breakfast just as sure as the sun rises.  From that moment on, we are on Grae’s time, man.
If Grae could spend her entire day making art, and she does mostly, she would be the happiest girl.
She is meticulous about coloring.  She switches hands back and forth and is neatly ambidextrous.
She is the master of “I spy with my little eye”.
Grae is the most dazzling big sister to her little “Maj-uh.”
Major only ever wants to be where ‘Gigi’ is, doing what Gigi is doing, sitting next to where Gigi is sitting.
She sweetly pats his head, or strokes his back here and there.  Sometimes offering him a reassuring “Oh, good boy, Maj.” or a “yeah Maj! You like that?”.
Grae has been a surprisingly sweet big sister to that baby boy.
Grae made up her mind that when she turned four, there would be no more screaming and crying for things.
For weeks leading up to turning four, she would tell me when she was four she wouldn’t scream or cry because she would be a big girl.
Not exactly sure where she got this in her head, but it stuck.  Now that she’s four, I will gladly report she has made an effort to throw less fits. :D
She often reminds me of Daniel Tiger’s songs like “When you’re feeling frustrated – take a deep breath – and ask for help!” Although when I remind her of the songs when the roles are reversed, they don’t have quite as calming of an effect. ;)
My sweet Gigi has tried hard to wrap her head around the news of our dear “Auntie G” passing.  She has tried to offer me words of encouragement and often reminds me that Auntie G is our angel.  (She was also bothered we didn’t see Auntie G’s “wings” at her viewing… she is an angel now, afterall!)
It has bothered her how upset my mom has been and she’s hardly let Gram out of her sight. She never let go of her hand through the entire service, and she’s asked to call gram every morning since.  She is such a bundle of light, I know she will help our family heal.  Of course, her heart isn’t weighed down by the sadness us adults feel, so at times she has seemed insensitive and even inappropriate, we know her intent is always in the right place, bless our hearts. ;)
Gigi is also quite famous for her one-liners.
Recently on a family trailor trip, she instructed me to shut the door to the bathroom with, “I don’t need an audience!”
Another time last week as I was talking to her, she disgustingly looked at me and said “That doesn’t even make sense!”
We often talk about all the spicy things Grae does because mercy, she does.. But Grae is also just as sweet and loving as she is spunky.  She is always offering a snuggle or love to someone, telling me she loves me hundreds of times a day, being tender with Major, and especially her dog Finn.  (Grae is a little dog whisperer!)
So all in all, life with Grae is a wonderful wild ride, and we’re so lucky we’re the ones that get to be enjoying it.
Grae Golden Miller, you sure own us.
Our life is infinitely better with you in it.
I’m so glad you are four, my darling girl.

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a word from the mother

I am finding myself in a whole new season lately.
I have FOUR children, a whole family all of my own.  My dreams came true, and it’s surreal to be living it.
I have passed many of the infant/baby stages with no real promise of more coming our way, so that is also really different for us.

Major, my baby, is gaining serious momentum toward full-blown toddler hood.
I don’t think it’s any secret that having a boy changed my heart (some may say it grew 3 sizes that day), but mercy me, I see very clearly why God sent me 3 little girls ahead of him.
This boy of mine is busy, busy, busy, busy.  I am turning around to clean one mess up, and he’s on the top shelf of something else.  I get him down and he’s running off to find the next bit of mischief he can find.  He is into my cupboards, drawers, pantry, baskets, bathrooms, any pile of anything.  I am on my toes and busy literally chasing him most of the day, besides his glorious glorious nap time – bless my heart.
He snuggles me, he adores me, he lights up when I walk into a room.  He will hang on the couch with me forever, never fights me (except when I’m changing his diaper!), and keeps me and his sisters swooning our days away.  I get it, guys.  Baby men.. nothing quite like ’em. He is talking more all the time, and is 100% boy in every single way.  His pudgy little feet stomp around, constantly snacking on something, car in one hand, ball in the other.  He loves me to sing to him and sings along with me to ‘twinkle-twinkle’, ‘you are my sunshine’, and giggles when I begin his night time lullabye.
Even if he does refuse to stay my forever-infant, I am still just as head over heels in love with that son of mine.

HOWEVER, don’t let that get you mistaken.  My girls are the girls of my dreams.

Harlo is just effortlessly cool (I felt her distinctly pass me up at age 8), she is stunningly beautiful and doesn’t even realize it.  She is tender and kind and gentle and good.  She is getting so mature and I’m loving this new layer to our relationship.  We often stay up way too late chatting in her bed, she’s my right hand planner, and she’s in charge of all the organization in our home and doesn’t get annoyed with me yet.  I love her! Harlo is also made up exactly like her father, and (almost) nothing  like me, so she keeps me busy working on how I communicate with her, paying close attention to whether she gets enough love from me, worrying over our relationship because of our differences, and appreciating so much how much she’s opened my soul and changed me, and how I look at people, forever and ever amen.
Because of our differences though, we find this deep understanding with one another.  I can clearly see when she’s at her limit, and she can see when I’m at mine.  We have a certain respect for one another, and we help calm each other rather than rise tension with one another.   We seem to balance each other.  She more than anyone else I can see the reason she came to my life.  Because she is the only one who could have changed everything for me, and keeps changing everything for me.  My love for this girl runs deep.

Stella is just the funnest.  Picture a skipping, twirling, giggling dress-wearing, baby doll-loving 7 year old, and you’ve got Stella.  Stella is the best server in the family.  She is always getting drinks or snacks for someone, assisting Harlo with this, or helping Grae with that.  She’ll keep Major entertained while I cook, and thinks up games for everyone to play.  We all often say “Stella’s the best!” because she’s always leveling up the love around here.  Stella marches to the beat of her own drum and is completely not bothered by what anyone else thinks – exactly what I adore in her father, I love this about her.  I find myself praying for protection over this about her.  I hope she always marches on and never bends to the pressure of the world.
Stella, like me in so so so many ways, is also like me in the sassy-mouthed, loud-mouthed, no-hard-time-expressing-her-feelings kind of way.  Because of this, she’s always the first one to stick up for one of her siblings against me, the one I’m reminding most to watch her mouth, and reigning her in from emotion-overload.  I cringe at myself inside when I have to get after Stella because I can feel the internal smirk of my parents.  Oh mercy.  When they said “I hope you get a daughter just like you!” (in both good and mad ways) I surely did in my Stella. :D It’s because of this though, that I don’t worry about our relationship (aside from her teen years! Bless.).  We speak the same love language and sort through things the same way.  I know this will be such a blessing for a life-long relationship, especially in her adult years.

Grae.. Oh man, what can be summed up about that girl?  She is finally moving on from ferocious toddler moodiness that started around age 1 and we’re hoping now that 4 is around the corner, we’re seeing the end of it.  She is communicating so well and beginning to understand how to cope through her rather complex emotions. :D The very unexpected surprise of Grae is how much of a lovey girl she is.  She is very affectionate, so snuggly, always telling me she loves me, or Major, or anyone else, out of the blue.  That girl can take you from 0-60 and back in absolutely no time.  With my older two I was like “They’re darling, but in order for them to develop properly, we mustn’t give in to every whim..” with Grae I’m like “So sue me, I give in to every single whim.”
Grae has me wearing out the pages of “the strong-willed child” in The Child Whisperer, and boy does that fit her to a T.  One tip that has been so helpful in that book has been to read “Let them do what they want to do with your set boundaries, because they’ll likely find a way to do it anyway.” Switching that idea in my head has made a world of peace between Gigi and I.  She is an excellent little artist at her age, and now I see those years with the sharpies all over my (damn) house were just her inner creativity yearning to come out!
Grae girl is a total tom-boy.  Obviously this is not anything she picked up at home with me and her two very girly sisters.  She just likes what she likes, and what she does like is blue and green and cars and reptiles and superheros.  She looks like a real-live tinkerbell and is usually dressed in a gecko costume. Ha!  She is the best thing on the planet.  Seriously.

My life is completely full as a mother and wife, and I’ve had to be intentional about shaving a bit of time for me and my passions.  That is soooo okay with me though.  These are the years.  The full and fleeting family years.  Even though it can sometimes feel consuming and overwhelming, these are the years I’ve dreamed of, and I am going to soak them in every last drop.

Some things that are necessary for my sanity:

monthly cleaning lady, writing (making a priority after months of slacking), weekly date nights, church on Sundays to refill my cup, late night chats with friends after kids are in bed, boundaries from the world and outside pressures, Maskcara makeup, and my happy planner.

 

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Catch us Outside

If you follow us along on instagram (which I KNOW you do – right?!), you know that the Miller Manor welcomed a swing set to the backyard collection this past weekend.

I had dreamed of a swing set in our backyard since we moved in – our last rental house had one, and I loved looking out my kitchen window out back to see my kids playing on the swings.  The swings were my favorite as a young girl, and I always envied the friends I had with swings in their yards.

Swing sets can be pretttty pricey, and with all the work and projects we always have going on at this house, I didn’t want to fork out a few thousand dollars on a nice one.  So, I put the word out and kept my eye out for one that would suit our needs. (and pinned a bunch of DIY versions on my backyard board on pinterest!)

But on one fateful Friday night, the stars aligned with my mom found the PERFECT SWING SET on the local yard sale page.  I made an offer, they accepted, and we picked it up the next morning.

It’s an old schoolhouse swing set and it couldn’t be more perfect for us and our space.  We can swing as high as we want – and we do for the majority of our day!  (The best part of having your own swing set is being able to swing in your skivvies… just ask Grae.)

And just like that, this second-(or-third-or-fourth)-hand swing set became a staple part of the life we’re living here at the Miller Manor.

It really is the most SIMPLE things, y’all! ♥

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friday wrap up

Friday:

12:24 : Stella writes her teacher a letter, “You are the best teacher EVER! Stay cool this summer.” (we love you, Mrs. Boshard!)

12:31 : I think of the lucky teacher who gets her next year (we’re ready for you, Mrs. Bastian!).

2:49 : The Miller ladies (me included) enjoy a cold popsicle on our 100 degree back porch (the misters were a nice touch, Mr. Miller).

3:17 : Stella dubs Grae “Sassy Frances”

That sounds about right to me!

5:05 : Offer of a SECOND date night this week comes in

5:06 : Decide to GO FOR IT after the day week I’ve had.

6:14 : Mr. Miller whisks me away to my favorite quiet country.

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stalling

Today I woke up to a swift blow to the mouth by Mr. Major Miller’s giant noggin.

Good thing that boy is cute, because after squishing his freshly diapered bod I wasn’t even mad.

After that, Mr. Miller climbed back in bed and fell to sleep.. because it is his day off.  I was sort of thinking it was my day off, too, but I guess not. ;)

I went to find my dog that is usually at my feet in the morning, but was missing.  Turns out he slept the entire night on the bottom bunk – bursting my heart right open.

Today I want to:

  • Hang Major’s mobile
  • Paint the laundry room
  • Find organizational bins for my pantry
  • Do the 12 loads of laundry from our cabin weekend
  • Finalize my plans for tomorrow’s “mom school” (more to come on that).

I have a big ol’ day in front of me?  Think I can do it all??

Right now I’m curled in bed besides a sleeping Mr. Miller and Finn (who came to find me after all) with my laptop.

I better get rollin’.

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Grae is THREE!

My darling baby girl, our sweet Grae Golden, turned three years old.
Truth be told, her birthday was the 26th, but with Mr. Miller and myself not getting home until that evening, we decided to celebrate her birthday on Monday when we could all be together as a family.  She never noticed and had a great birthday!
After a week away, I couldn’t have been happier to be home celebrating our special girl.
She was so happy to see us home, and so happy to be turning THREE.
All Grae wanted was a “pitnic” with her two best friends, Quinn and Sunny (who happen to be the little girls of my two best friends!)
We ate the traditional “birthday pizza” from pizza factory on the back lawn, all the spring flowers in bloom.  Our girls hopped on the tramp and ate cupcakes and giggled and filled my heart with all the love I could hold.  Gratitude for Grae, our happy home, and our wonderful friends.
Grae is a true star of our family – if you follow along here or on Instagram, you already know and love Grae, I’m sure.
Grae is our “spicy” child.
She is spunky and fierce and more adorable than you could imagine.
She is funny and quick-witted.
She can be so tender and sweet.
She is such a great big sister – she loves that baby brother of hers to pieces.
She has what I like to call “baby rage” which is when you see a baby and your thoughts are so overwhelming they go to a violent place.  She often has to hug major through clenched fists and teeth. ha! (see also: cute aggression)
She melts her daddy into an absolute puddle.
She tries my every last ounce of patience, but somehow fills me right back up a minute later.
Grae is smart as a whip – sometimes a wee too smart for my liking.
She loves having a cold drink in hand, just like her mama.
If her drinks dips anywhere below freezing cold, she’ll tell me “I can’t drink it! It’s old!”
If you ask her favorite color, she’ll say pink, but she always wants blue.
As she’s been approaching 3, I’ve been talking about potty training.  Every time I say “Should we go potty on the big girl potty today?” she’ll say “Maybe formorrow.” or “Maybe Thursday.” or “I can’t do that!” with an exasperated look.
She loves “Macapony and cheese” and “peanut butter and sandwich”.. which she requests daily.
Although she still likes Peppa Pig, the center stage lately is Poppy from Trolls and anything Dory related. (breaks my heart a little – Peppa will always have a special place in my heart!)
She gets the songs from Trolls stuck in her head all the time and it makes my life.  Hearing this tiny girl sing “Everybody! Shake your hair and move your body, whoa-whoooooa – sunshiny day!!” is pretty much the best thing ever.
She loves anything tiny – tiny toys are always a hit (and she got PLENTY of them for her birthday).  She shoves her small figurines into little purses and backpacks and packs them around and takes such great care of them.  I’m always amazed how she knows when one is missing and usually exactly where to find it.
After our week away, Grae was the most excited to see us home.  She keeps saying to me, “mommy you came back! I’m so happy for you!” and keeps giving me spontaneous eye-closed-tight squeezes.  I love her!
She never stops asking for things or eating as long as she’s awake.  I haven’t had a full, uninterrupted hour during the day since Grae was born. :D
Grae is such a special little girl – we are constantly in disbelief that she was able to come to our family.
She plays such an important role in our family, and we are so glad she is ours.
Happiest third birthday, my darling Grae Golden!

(dress Old Navy)

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basket beds

There is a Miller Manor favorite that magically appears every single laundry day.

Basket Beds.

As I fold and empty laundry baskets that lay unoccupied on the floor of the living room, my little Millies find their way into them making up cozy little beds.  Each of the Millies have their own “mama boo’s” now.  (Mama boo’s are the cozy fleece blankets I love to snuggle under on the couch at any given time.  Except it’s hard for me now to find my “mama boos” since they are usually being snuggled with else-where by one of my little Millies… I finally got wise and got them their own “mama boo’s” to sleep with so mine could be freed up!)

Anyway, they place a couch pillow and a mama boo in the empty laundry basket and there they stay all cozy for hours.  The girls spent the whole afternoon cozied up in their basket beds yesterday and now as I sit writing this, Stella is cozied up in a basket bed right behind me.

It really is the simplest of things that brings joy and hours of entertainment.

 

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Grae Tidbits


Grae has got to be one of the most entertaining kids I’ve ever met.
She is such a fun combination of cute + spice + personality + humor.
When people spend any time with her, they ask me how I even handle my life, and I tell them I have no idea.  She’s too dang much!
She is smart as a whip!
She can count to 16 without getting mixed up, sometimes she makes it to 20.  She memorizes words to songs like I’ve never seen.
She can outsmart the best of us around here.
She is still a teensy thing at 24 lbs, just a tad bigger than her baby brother.
She has taken well to the family skill of negotiation/manipulation.
The other day she was playing a little rough and I said “Okay no more, that’s not funny.” and she shrugs with “It’s a little bit funny.” :/
Her facial expressions are just the icing on the cake.  Everything she says is with so much expression.
She literally kills people everywhere we go.
A couple weeks ago we had a heart check-up for her, the doctors and nurses on the floor kept coming into say hi because they heard the cutest little girl was on the floor.  While we were waiting in a waiting room, they were doing construction out our window.  Grae was excitedly watching the men on all equipment, and especially the welders.  After a couple minutes, she had gotten the attention of nearly the whole crew from the window and they were waving to her, making sparks with their welding machines for her, etc.  Ha! I couldn’t make this stuff up.  She of course, was just eating up all the attention.  Waving, squealing, jumping up and down.  I tell you, the girl is a show-stopper.
Her heart visit went really well! Her valve has shown improvement, which means we don’t have to see them again until she’s doubled in size, so about 5 years.  We were thrilled about this!
One thing I love about being the mama of multiple kids is that the first time around, toddlerhood completely stressed me out.  The second time, I white knuckled my way through knowing it would end, the third time around I can (mostly) sit back and laugh and eat up the funny things this stage brings.
Grae has by-far been my most demanding? Button-pushing? Can’t-take-my-eye-off-her type of kid, but somehow it doesn’t ruffle my feathers as much as I would think. ha!
Grae is sure a sucker for her daddy, and my goodness, he is a sucker for her right back.
Those two are so in love.
Grae always likes to be where the excitement is happening.  She is NOT one to go off and play by herself and keep herself entertained.  She is at my side 24/7 asking for this or that, has a patience scale of about 0%, and panics if a door is between us.  She has ALWAYS been this way, and as much as it drains me by the end of the day, I sure love her for it.
I never have to worry about her getting enough attention, because she demands it. ;)
Her coloring all over everything streak has seemed to mellow, although I am nervous even typing it out that it will soon return.
She has taken such a liking to Major these past few months.  She is so funny with him, and is really such a great big sister… different than my other girls, but great in her own way.
She knows the difference between boys/girls, but her pronouns are still a little mixed up.  She is constantly telling me to “get her!” or “She’s getting me!” about Major.  I’m so bad and just keep the bit up because I think it’s too funny.  “Major is gonna fall! Get her!” she’ll tell me. :D
Most days she wont answer to anything other than “peppa pig” and I must answer to “mommy pig” and we all must call Major “george pig”. She is very strict about this arrangement. :P
I’m sure there are plenty of people in the world who think Major’s name is George, because she usually introduces him as “My little brother, George.”
So yes, the Peppa obsession is still going strong.
Because she watches so much Peppa, I’ll find her using words like “postman” for mailman and “parcel” for package. ha!
Everything is also “right now” or “for a minute”.
“I don’t want to do that right now, I want to play for a minute.” “I want to play right now, I’ll go in a minute.”  “Right now” and “in/for a minute” are her only gauges of time.”
I have yet to meet anyone as persistent and determined as my Grae Girl.  She has a gift!  Sure it can get frustrating for me now, but I know those traits will serve her in this life.
She keeps us all on our toes, keeps us all rolling with laughter, and keeps our world so very colorful.
I am thankful every single day she’s mine.  I don’t know how I got so lucky.

My sweet Gigi, you own my heart.

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today

This morning I woke up (mostly) rested.

My children were happily smooched off to school.

My husband was happily smooched off to work.

My babies have done 294 darling things.

The grocery shopping is done.

Some house chores will be performed with Christmas Music in the air.

There will be snuggling on the couch this afternoon (just as I finish this post!).

The darling neighbor girl will come for dinner.

The big girls and I will watch a Christmas movie before bed.

Just a very regular happy day that I didn’t want to forget.

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To my girls

What will I say to my girls?

This is a question I have been asking myself over the last week as our country goes through a confusing transition.  There have been issues brought to light for me that I haven’t seen before, and I think it’s important to clarify some things.  So, to my sweet girls:

I realize that now more than ever, I must show you how I value myself as a woman.  Even (and especially) when the world doesn’t value me the same way.  I will teach you that the standard of respect I expect is far far more than the standard this country, and this world has set.  I will show you how I expect to be treated by my husband, my equal partner, and I’m grateful that he is able to show you that he values me and my worth over anything else in this world.  I will also show you that I do not feel “less than” in my marriage, in my position in our family, in my life.  Ever.  I am the lucky one, my precious girls.  You’ll see.

I will show you the value I place on motherhood.  That I believe with every ounce of my being that the greatest work I will ever, ever do is my work as a mother.  That choosing motherhood is not the lesser choice – ever.  That the value of what I do is not based on a dollar sign.  That at the end of the day (listen closely), it’s an overflowing heart that matters, not an overflowing bank account.  As I show you my love for motherhood and the purpose I feel in the everyday tasks, I will also show you that I am still a girl inside here, with big dreams.  I will follow them.  I will stumble sometimes, I will succeed sometimes, I will be shocked and surprised and frustrated and thrilled at times, and I will roll with those punches, my daughters, because life is as colorful as it is wonderful and I will not be afraid to feel all the feelings as I do what I love.  I will lead you to follow your dreams, to chase after that pull in your hearts, no matter what it is. Did you hear that, my girls?  NO MATTER WHAT IT IS.  You do not have to love all the same things I love, you do not have to feel the same things I feel.  That is the trick, sisters.  To chase after that thing that pulls you, that thing inside that God created that is only yours.  That is your purpose, and if you can still feel that, you are doing it right.

I will lead by love, and that does not exclude loving myself.  I will prioritize myself.  I will honor my body, my values, my talents, my mind.  I will take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  No one will do that for me, my sweeties.  We must figure out how to do that ourselves.  “Life loves the liver of it”, my darlings, have you heard that?  I will live and I will love and I will serve and I will be happy.  The world is very confused about what it means to be happy, but I’m not.  It is possible, and I will show you each day as I make that choice, so you know.  Most of all, my precious girls, I will follow God – and I don’t mean that “mystical being” there are so many questions and arguments about – I mean the real God, The One who created us, The One who has an infinite amount of time for our thoughts, worries, needs.  The One who knows our hearts and fears and hopes.  The One who will walk us through every single trial and make us better for it.  If you never lose sight of God, my darling daughters, you will be okay.  Actually, so much more than okay.

I am not whatever the world wants me to be.  It’s important that you know that, my sweet girls.  Neither are you.  That’s not the way you came, and that’s not what you’re supposed to be.  So do the hard thing, ask the tough questions, stand up for what you believe in, trust yourself.  I trust you.  I am on your side, always.  Did you hear me?  That part is important.  I am on your side today, tomorrow, and every single day after that, too.

Be confident, my lovies.  You are already greater than you could ever know.  Don’t you forget that.

xoxo,

Mama ♥

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family pictures 2016

This will be the first year with our family of six on our holiday cards, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get sick of seeing my whole (big) family squished into one frame.  Going through these, I was so amazed that we have built this life together, that we have created all these wonderful people together.  We are all doing life together, and loving, and learning, and living.  There is no greater blessing in this world than family, and I am eternally grateful for mine.

 

Thank you always to Ashley Flowers Photography
See our family video HERE.

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Life + Style

It’s been a while since I have posted in my life and style series, and I have had a serious case of the post-partum frumps, so I will be making the extra effort to take care of myself, and touch base with myself once a week in this series!

Life :

We are feeling the slowness of fall wrap around us like a big cozy blanket.  I am a summer girl, so saying goodbye to summer is a bit bittersweet, but I do love these cozier days at home with my little ones.  I have gotten used to our new routine with school, homework, piano, chores.  I was dreading the girls going to school full day, but I seem to have found a rhythm to our day that works for us, and I have really enjoyed the mornings with my two littlest ones.

The weather has been so beautiful and I have been taking the babies for a long walk in the morning.  Major sleeps in the stroller, Grae is content and still for the first only time of the day, I listen to uplifting books or scriptures as I walk, and take in the beauty all around.  I have really grown fond of these morning walks.  They set my intention for the day and give my brain time to reset.

In the afternoons, when the babies wake from naps, we take to the porch and wait for the bus.  This is the happiest time of my whole day.  I love seeing my children miss each other and be reunited happily day after day.  We chat for a bit on the porch, then come in and as I start readying the kitchen for dinner prep, the girls do their homework, chores (tidy their room and living room), and practice piano.  After that, their time is free to play and rest to their little hearts content (ie: screen privilages…;) ).

We have crossed off the last bit of our summer bucket list, and will be creating a new holidays bucket list for the upcoming season.  First thing was dressing up our porch with pumpkins and mums.  We were lucky to have my best girl Ashley Flowers join us to snap a few pictures as we prepare for a new season.  When I see these pictures of myself out and about with my four little ones, teaching them to embrace the new season and to stop and smell the roses (or mums in this case), I feel such a sense of pride.  I never knew I would be capable of being a mom to four, but here I am.  Life is full and happy.

Style :

I get lots of questions of where we shop, so I’m trying something new to make it easier to shop our looks (or similar) when I post.  Let me know if you find it helpful!

My cute top is local from Scout & Cloth, the girls dresses aren’t new, but I’ve linked similar below…
Shop Similar –


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better tomorrow

Our week got a rocky start with Grae catching the bug that has been swirling around over the weekend.  In usual Grae fashion, it got her a bit worse than it did the others, poor sis.  Instead of spending the day grocery shopping, doing laundry, and preparing for my week… I spent the day switching off holding two whiney babies, snuggling on the couch, and cleaning out throw-up bowls on repeat.  

By dinner time (that was brought in by a sweet neighbor – thanks Andi!), I was feeling low on patience, high on stress, and ready to escape.  This was coming after a long, draining weekend and I felt like waving my white flag in the realest way.  I got a little snippy with my kids as their endless requests came pouring in for the evening and felt immediate regret for letting my stress get the better of me.

As the evening settled down, and the kids got tucked into bed.. I crept back into Harlo and Stella’s room to apologize for my behavior.  “I’m sorry, sisters.  I wasn’t ever mad at you.. I was just feeling stressed and ornery today.” Harlo reassured me, “It’s okay mom.  I’m not mad at you.  You can do better tomorrow.”  (A line I have told her on her own tough days.)

I got thinking about that little piece of advice, and it’s true.  I can do better tomorrow, and how wonderful that gift is.

I may not have it all together today, but I can surely do better tomorrow.

 

 

 

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utah, nature journaling, and adventures

We Millers can’t stay still for too long.  On our weekends home, we still like to come up with little adventures.  Road tripping is our family’s favorite thing to do, so a few Saturdays ago, we took a little road trip up to Enterprise Utah to take in the beautiful changing of seasons in one of Utah’s most beautiful areas.

We stopped to pick up some corn from a road-side stand and then stopped again for a little nature journaling.  We broke out into a little family shoot as the girls played and took pictures.  They are getting more interested in my big camera and their little hands are now big enough to reach the buttons.  This has been so fun for us to enjoy together.  These pictures were mostly taken by my sweet big girls, and because of that, may be some of my favorites.

One of the girls snapped this pic of Mr. Miller and I think it might be my favorite photo of him ever taken.  This is the man I love, adventuring with his family, mini van overflowing (literally) with children, happy eyes and full of love.

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back to school feast

The Monday before school starts, we dedicate our weekly family night to the Back to School Feast.  It’s one of my favorite traditions that roots us in such deep meaning and intention for our year, and I encourage everyone to do some version of it.

Our theme this year came to me after some serious prayerful consideration.  Each family theme has been just perfect for our year, and I knew I needed that inspiration especially for this year.  After a chat with the bishop, a few conversations between Brady and I, and lots of prayer I kept getting back to “Be Steadfast in Christ” as our family theme for the year.  When I looked up the scripture, 2 Nephi 31:20 – “Press Forward with a steadfastness in Christ” jumped right out at me, and I knew it’s the theme our family needed (and I needed) to focus on this year.

My favorite thing about the family theme is that we really do focus on it each year.  In the last week, we have already had a handful of conversations about what it means to be Steadfast in Christ.  We looked up the word Steadfast, which reads “firm and unwaivering”.  Pressing forward with an unwavering faith in Jesus and God, I told the girls.  We have already been finding many examples of being “Steadfast in Christ”.  It’s been a sweet way for my family to learn God’s will for each of us, and I think it has blessed the girls watching Brady and I use our family themes in our own lives as well.  I know it has blessed mine sharing this with my family.

This year, I took requests from the family on what to eat.. our menu consisted of our family’s favorite meatloaf, mashed potatoes from scratch, fresh baked white rolls, and sautéed brussel sprouts.  We finished it off with a simple vanilla pudding with sprinkles for dessert (because mama can’t cook like that AND bake in the same day!).  We got out our fanciest dishes, and the girls were adorned with flower crowns for their special evening.  We ate and talked and laughed and then took our party (and our pudding) out back to enjoy one of the last evenings of summer.  Man, I love being the mama of this crew.

We are ready for another great year!

 

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