I’m a mom

Archive | I’m a mom RSS feed for this section

drowning in blessings

cassmiller – Just a happy little reminder left just for me on my sidewalk by one of my children. #tendermercy
If you are going through a stormy season, let me remind you that your rainbow is coming. God is with us in our trials and He never wastes a hurting heart. 💛

*********************

I have been dealing with a wave of depression over the last little while.  I know it’s depression, not only because depression has gotten so familiar to me, but when my life seems pretty smooth, everyone is doing well, things are busy and bustling and there’s nothing to be sad about, yet still I feel sad inside.  That is exactly what’s been going on here.

This morning, as I finished up my hour of gratitude, where I start my day noting all the things I am grateful for, I told Mr. Miller, “I feel like I’m drowning in blessings.” and that is exactly how I feel.  I am so grateful for this full and happy life, and sometimes it just feels like so much full and happy life.  I guess I’ll take that particular set of issues.

Depression isn’t something I chat about too much, even though it’s something I’ve dealt with my entire life.  Lately though, as I have been studying depression, post partum depression, depression in women, I have found some truths and statistics that troubled me.  Like, post partum depression being the highest complication after delivery, but only 7% of these women suffering get help.  I found this through my own research to find answers for my post partum depression, a very misunderstood and misdiagnosed form of depression.

I, of course, believe in living a healthy lifestyle.  I do all things possible to maintain a happy, healthy, and wholesome life.  These things include but are not limited to: eating habits, exercise, self care, therapy, good books, nights with friends, a good date night, resting, self love, down time, vacation, feeding creativity…  I believe everyone should be striving for these things on the regular.  IF MAMA AINT HAPPY AINT NOBODY HAPPY.  It is not bad mothering to enjoy life and prioritize taking care of your mind, body, and spirit.  That is actually great mothering.  You cannot fill anyone’s cup if yours is on empty.  Take time for yourself.

I (after exhausting all my options I could on my own) sought help from my OBGYN, because ya know, post-partum/women/childbirth…  but after they lead me kind of astray and I felt worse and more confused after their carelessness, I eventually found myself in the care of my primary care doctor, which is exactly where I should have been in the first place, I learned.  So, know that is where to go.  Depression you can chat to your primary care doctor about.  *And if you find one you like, keep them forever! (words from the wise here) His help might be lifestyle suggestions, different areas of therapy, hormone support, medication… there is a variety of different treatments, but just talking about it to someone safe might make the world of difference toward feeling better.

Do you know the signs of depression?  If you aren’t feeling yourself, if you can’t feel the joy that you can see all around you, if you have increasingly less energy that you typically have, or are finding yourself always feeling like you’re running on empty… these could all be signs of depression.  I have struggled with depression and post partum depression, and after each of my babies, my post partum depression has manifested itself differently.  Sometimes with anxiety and panic attacks, sometimes with all consuming, reason-less sadness, sometimes in extreme feelings of failure or never doing enough.  I muscled my way through it, and now that I have an entire family that depends on my emotional well being, I have had to prioritize myself and get the help and answers I needed to get better.

There is NO SHAME in self love, self care, self prioritization.  The more kids I have, the more I have to prioritize myself.  The weird thing is, the more kids I have, the less natural it feels for me to keep myself at top billing.  I have really kept to aligning my life with my relationships with God and myself as my priorities.  This is the only way I wont get swallowed up by the bits of life that can become consuming.

For me, this dance is not hardly ever graceful.  Or not ever.  I burn way out before I start asking for help, but I am learning that about myself, and looking for opportunities to be better.  Working on my own personal boundaries and figuring out what I can really fit on my plate.  And that’s it, just on my plate.  Not what is on her plate, or what the general area has on their plates in comparison to mine.  We all have a different place here, and it’s okay if I can only squeeze in one kid in a dance camp for the year and tell the rest Santa will only come if they sacrifice extra-curricular activities. (Just kidding, but really..) While other friends of mine seem to breeze through the web of organization it requires to maintain a bustling family schedule. (Looking to you here Liz, Jess, Amy…)  “Different” is not “less than”.  Run your race, let the others run theirs.

I am feeling better after a couple of tough weeks, and I pray that as I continue to learn about myself, I can heal faster, grow deeper in faith and love, care for myself better, and maintain a happier, healthier, more beautiful life.  At least, that’s the goal here.

If there is one thing that I have learned through this blog of mine, it is that we are not alone in our lives.  Not only is God with us, but He provides us angels all over in the world to connect with.  You all have been a blessing to me, and I care about us all too much to not sometimes talk about the important stuff.  If you are out there reading this, needing these reminders today, remember this: You are loved, you are thought about, you are prayed over.  You, my dear friend, are not alone.

 

Comments { 6 }

happy & healthy

After a little hiatus, I thought the best way to get back to bloggin’ is with a little SELF LOVE SEPTEMBER.  This week, I am dedicating this space to self love, happier living, and all that entails!

****************************************

Over the last couple of years, and also decade, and also my whole entire life, I have experienced some emotional trauma.  For various reasons, a thousand different circumstances, choices, relationships, and a lot of dealing with whichever cards you’re dealt in a certain season of life.  I have had no shortage of emotional baggage I  have had to navigate through, as well as carrying it with me through this life, while I wife, mother, friend, daughter, etc. etc. etc.

At 20, I had miraculously pulled myself through the hardest years of my entire life, but even though I had made it to finally see the light on the other side, I was no where near out of the woods.  That was the first time I really looked inside myself and realized that I wanted to change my life.  Change the things that weren’t working, work on things inside myself, negative tendancies, unhealthy relationships, I wanted to work hard on loving myself because after the specific set of trials I had faced in my young life, I had a really hard time believing I was worthy of anything, and that included love.

I found a therapist, Lord bless him.  He saw me every single week for years as I tried to make sense of all the pieces in my life and how they had lead me here, and how I could walk forward in light for my lovely, perfect, darling daughters.  This work took time.  It was hard, and emotional, and soul-stretching.  It was life changing, and I am grateful for every hour I spent in that therapist office in those years and the impact it has made on my life.

A couple of years ago, I found myself in a bit of a “funk”, as one does.  I knew that meant I had some work to do to clean up my life and some emotional stuff I had swirling around.  After praying and thinking on that, I got a clear mantra to follow; Happier and Healthier.  It was a guiding light for me as I navigated all aspects of my life.  My relationships should be happier and healthier,  I cannot be fully happy if I am not fully healthy.  Things can make me happy, but not necessarily healthy (junk food), and things can make me healthy, but not necessarily happy (kale).  The trick I saw was that making the decisions for health AND happiness had the real everlasting results.  They  may be the hardest to make stick sometimes, but they are worth striving for.  And so, this became my life mantra.

Create a HEALTHY, HAPPY, beautiful life.

If there is one thing I have learned on this road to a happier, healthier life, it is that you are never just THERE.  I mean, you are, but you always always have to work to maintain it.  I can’t stay happy and healthy if I always just stay exactly where I am, so I must always be moving forward.  I do not have a free pass to trials, struggles, tough relationships, everyday life problems, fears, insecurities, etc.  I have to work through those things in the healthiest way I can, so I can maintain my happiness.  A happy and healthy life takes work, but it is such good work.  And it is always worth it.

This week I’ll be touching more specifics of this mantra like facing depression, spiritual crisis, and good old fashioned self care, body image, all that entails.  This is a conversation I am starting here on the blog, and I hope we can keep the conversation rolling.  We can all use a little more love from ourselves.

latest favorite shirt from HERE.  Giveaway coming this week to the ‘gram!

Have faith, mama.  You are doing better than you think.

Comments { 3 }

SELF LOVE SEPTEMBER

Each passing summer gets a little busier here at the Miller Manor.  With four growing children all at home under my feet, our precious time together is filled to the brim.  I cling to it and every single year.  This little blog of mine gets neglected, but something always draws me back once our routine settles in a bit.  I gave myself a breather from work and that felt nice for a couple of weeks, but I am a creative person, and if I don’t write, or shoot, or create in some way or another, I get stuck.

I think recently I’ve been so stuck on what this blog needs to be for everyone else, or maybe aiming to please or not offend, that I haven’t thought enough about what this blog was always intended for; me.  I needed this blog, I have clung to this blog and the clarity, connection, perspective it provides.  It has brought joy to my life, and peace to my heart.  It has become a treasure of journals for my family.  It has become a creative outlet for my sanity.  I love this space, and I pray it continues forward, onward.  Whatever that means.

I have taken some time for some real true soul searching.  I have felt a pivot in my life, but just in the way that I need to grow and step up to whatever my life calling is.  The first week back, I am going to be talking about some self love as we walk into September.  We made it through the summer, we got our kids miraculously back to school in August, and September – before the holiday hustle and bustle starts – we are going to take some time for ourselves, damnit!  We need it, and more importantly – OUR FAMILIES need it.  A happy mother makes a happy home!

So hang with me this week as I kick off SELF LOVE SEPTEMBER as I share some ways that I have learned to love myself to better myself as a mother, wife, and all around woman!

**************

Also!  This fall, I will be speaking at the SALT lds womens conference.  My friends and I are making a girls trip out of it, and I would love to see some of my readers and squeeze you in person!  INFO HERE.

So bare with me as I get back into the swing of daily writing, and unload a bit of my “crazy” with y’all this week.  As always, feel free to message me if there is something you’d like me to weigh in on here.  I love hearing what you have to say!

Comments { 0 }

building our tribe

Last week, for the fourth of July, we had our second annual holiday bash at the Miller Manor.

I had posted about the night on instagram, and someone messaged me and told me how she envied the group of friends I had, and how lucky I was to be raising my children alongside my best friends.

This touched my heart, and I’ll tell you why.  Because I had a season in early motherhood with little to no friends in the same season I was in.  I felt loneliness and craved something more.  I felt an answer to my prayer was to be patient, focus on my family and not worry about friendships – they would make their way into my life later.  And they did.

A couple years later, by divine placement, I had some precious friends in my life.  These women were strong, and wonderful, and real, and loving wives and mothers and friends.  The only problem was, most of them didn’t know each other.  In this season I had a strong impression that I was to bring this group of women together.  So I started a book club.  I invited a few friends, they invited a few friends, and before we knew it we had a big ol’ group of awesome ladies discussing books and life and all that entailed.  Best friendships formed, we learned from each other, grew with each other, showed up for each other, and felt our loads lighten by the friendships we had formed.

This very inspired idea of bringing this group together may be one of my most treasured blessings in life.  I genuinely have the greatest group of women surrounding me.  REAL women.  Women who aren’t interested in gossip, and materialistic accomplishments, but that are coming and putting it all out there, and accepting every one else doing the same.  These types of friendships are rare, I know this from experience, and I am so grateful to have these women in my corner for life.

Upon our purchase of the Miller Manor, one of the main things for me was to have a place for our tribe to gather.  We kept this in mind with every renovation we did.  We don’t have a ton of space in our 1900 sqauare foot home, but we have created places for our community to come in and feel loved.

The 4th of July is just a reminder of all we have built with this community.  I love that my yard is big enough to hold alllll our kids, and that our families continue to grow.  I love that our kids are raised more like cousins, and that through our friendships have become a sisterhood unlike anything else.  Each of us have built this community up, and I am forever grateful. (only the friends in town on the 4th pictured — but you know who I’m talking about even if you weren’t here!)

Are you in a season of loneliness?  Perhaps your tribe is just on the other side of inviting a friend or two over for a BBQ, organizing a book club with a few women you think would hit it off, arranging a weekly playdate with other moms, whatever you like to do.  Sometimes it’s just about gathering up your people with food and love to fill your soul.

In my experience, my willingness to invite and host has given back to my family 100 times.  Who can  you love into your tribe?  Who can you cook a meal for?  Who can you invite to a park and pick up pizza on the way?  Build up a community you love being a part of.  I promise it will be worth it.

Comments { 3 }

priorities

I’ve been away from this space for over a week.  This always makes me a  little anxious (see also, crazy).

We had a busy week last week with holidays, family in town, and half of us millers out of town.  I was being pulled in too many different directions.

I want to write here every single day, but in this season of life I’m in right now, that’s not always possible.  I think it will be one day, but that day might not be today and that’s okay.

I have recently been in a season where opportunity was bubbling up every which way, and I had to decide which opportunities to say “yes” to and which ones to painfully say “no” to.

I had to make the decision, YET AGAIN, how to align my priorities.  In this season, my young children take much of my time, and that is my priority.  For me to do more work than I am doing now would require me to bring in help, and for now that is not what I want to do.  Because this season is so short, and I want to choose THEM in this season.  A few years will look so different for my young family, I will have a lot more time to do work when they’re all in school in just a few short years, so I am embracing this season now with little ones in my home.  I’ll keep my passions on the side, and let my work as a mother inspire my passions.  When the time comes to soar, I’ll know.

Until then, I’ll be right here, tidying up my kitchen table, finding dory all day every day, cooking dinners, baking treats, rocking babies, smooching my husband.  Because this season is the one I’ve always dreamed of, and I am going to embrace it with everything I have.

Comments { 3 }

swinging

You wake from your nap, arms reaching for me as I walk through your door.

I lift up all 28 lbs of you and bury my face in the nape of your neck – the place I can always smell a bit of heaven.

I slip out the back door, you on my hip, completely content.

I sit on the swing, with you in my lap.

For the first time today, we have a quiet moment to ourselves.

The mild breeze from swinging sways your baby hair back and forth.

The weight of you head on my chest, your chubby legs fall on my lap.

The contentment of a beautiful life washes over me, and I think over you as well.

These moments are brief, but their effects are long-lasting.

My arms and legs are getting tired, but I’d sway here with you forever if you let me.

I soak in as much of your baby-ness in this moment as I can.

In all my life I’ve never been as happy as I am in this season right now, and much of that is because of you.

We sway back and forth, just the rustling of the leaves to be heard.

Then, they spot us.

The door swings open, and the other three head out our way, squealing with delight that you’re awake.

They run to the swings, asking for a turn, squishing your legs, asking if we can have tacos for dinner.

Our quiet moment is over, back to real life.

But this real life of ours is good.

It is very, very good.

Comments { 0 }

lemons to lemonade

Here’s how it went:

Tuesday

12:04am – Realize we bought the wrong counter top from Ikea

12:00pm – Mr. Miller decides he’ll run down to Vegas to swap it

12:04pm – Mr. Miller asks if everyone wants to come for a day trip to Vegas?

1:02pm – Entire family en route to Las Vegas

3:00 – 5:00 – IKEA 

5:12pm – decide where we should get dinner before we head home

5:19pm – decide to stay the night instead

5: 42 – Stop by Target to get some swimsuits and extra diapers

6:23pm – poolside at the hotel

Wednesday

9:12am – poolside

12:00pm – check out and head home after (maybe) our most spontaneous adventure yet. (PS – I reeeeeally need a pedicure!)

Mr. Miller and I are opposites in so many ways, and alike in all the best ways.  One of my favorite things about him is that he is ALWAYS DOWN FOR AN ADVENTURE, just like me.  We’ve had so much fun in our life together.  This trip was NOT without hiccups, and we decided that being prepared makes things run a lot more smoothly, but I hope we are building fun memories for our kids.  We are, after all, living their childhoods right here, right now.  I hope we never forget that.

 

PS – we loved the Westin Lake Las Vegas! So family-friendly.  Hoping to get back there for a longer stay soon!

Comments { 0 }

my baby boyfriend – a love story

Major Miller,

You are sure winning my heart over these days with your big brown eyes, creamy tanned skin, and juicy red lips.  I especially love the way you say “yeah” to every question.  That’s why I ask you all the time “Major, do you love your mama?” and when you say “yeah” it sends my heart soaring.

(You’re even cute with a crusty nose #molars)

You are a mama’s boy, and I have never been happier about anything.

You are happiest up in my arms – all 28 lbs of you.

If I sit down, you make a mad dash over to me and lay on me, smooch me, stroke my hair…

You are the best boyfriend I’ve ever had (besides daddy).

You are handsome, and sweet, and snugly.

 

 What more could a girl ask for??

 

 

Comments { 0 }

Mr. Miller – an interview

With the recent Father’s day, I thought it would be fun to interview Mr. Miller about fatherhood:

Me: Mr. Miller, you have four kids at the tender age of 32.  How does that make you feel?

Mr. Miller: Blessed.

Me: What would you say is the best part about being a father?

Mr. Miller: When I get home from work and my kids come screaming “daddy!” to the front door.

Me: Yeah, that really is the best.  Do you think you’re the favorite parent?

Mr. Miller: …. (laughs uncomfortably) Yes.

Me: That’s okay, someone has to be. (rolls eyes) *cough* I think Major loves me the most *cough* What advice would you give a new dad?

Mr. Miller: Be supportive of your wife. Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Be patient.

Me: Those are good, Mill.  Especially the “be supportive of your wife part”.  You’re good at that one.  Did you always hope to have a house full of children?

Mr. Miller: Yes.

Me: You did? Do you want one more?

Mr. Miller: Mill, come on!

Me: Okay, okay.  I think you’re good dad.  The best, in fact.

Mr. Miller: Thanks!

Me: You take your kids to church each Sunday, why do you think that’s important?

Mr. Miller: Because it’s essential in raising spiritually strong children – I want them to know God and recognize their blessings.  Without the power of God in their lives, life is much more difficult.

Me: Well said, honey!  Well said.  One thing you’ve always supported is me staying at home with our children.  Can you explain why that’s important to you?

Mr. Miller: I just think it’s important that my children learn from their mother, and learn from love.  I mean, if someone is going to raise my children day in and day out – who better than their own mother when that’s possible?

Me: Right!  I get that.  I’d even have another if you wanted one. ;)

Mr. Miller: I’m super uncomfortable.  Let’s move to the next question.

Me: Okay, deal.  What is the most important thing to teach your kids?

Mr. Miller: Probably how to be nice, how to start a fire with sticks and no matches…

Me:  Mr. Miller, you’re such a funny guy. :P Did you have a good father’s day?

Mr. Miller: Yes.  Very good!

Me: Well good.  We think you are the very best.  I love you, honey!

Comments { 0 }

this week

This week my little Millies have swimming lessons EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Let me tell you what swimming lessons looks like for Grae : A lot of kicking and screaming and gnashing of teeth.

It is the opposite of a relaxing day at the pool. :|

Yesterday she actually did REALLY well and only cried for about half of the lesson.  Praying today is even better.  (she better grow up to be an Olympic swimmer.)

So if you’re wondering why I don’t blog anymore hardly – it’s because swim lessons took over my life/mornings and we need the full rest of the day to recover from the anxiety.  (pray for me)

Oh, also it will be 117 degrees today at swimming lessons so that will be refreshing.

This is what I wish I was doing today:

(from our anniversary getaway over the weekend)

I’ll be back soon to write about fathers day and our anniversary!

kiss! kiss! (That’s for my sister who is in Amsterdam today!!)

Comments { 2 }

to market to market

Last weekend, after visiting Great-Grandma & Grandpa Harris, we took a stroll through our favorite little town – Mr. Miller’s home town – the town his ancestors settled.  We have been talking about our ancestors a lot lately while we’ve been reading the Little House series, so it was fun to give them a visual of what our ancestors achieved here.  We went to the famous Frei’s market and enjoyed a quiet Saturday afternoon.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get over how much I love having a family of my own.  Four gorgeous children, and a husband I adore, who loves our children, me, and God fiercely.  Sometimes the overwhelming blessings I have show up in the most simple and mundane of times.  Just like on this warm, sunny Saturday at the market.

 Not sure what I did to get so lucky.

(girls darling dresses handmade by Melon Monkeys)

Comments { 1 }

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! ♥

Comments { 1 }

Building a Life

“She shaped her own world exactly to her liking when nobody was looking.”
– Author Unknown

A profound truth hit me when my oldest baby girl was just a few months old.  We had just moved into a cute little rental house, we didn’t have a lot of anything at the time, but happiness and contentment seemed to fill every room.

After a whirlwind romance, and an unexpected pregnancy, life had moved quickly for me in the last year and a half.  In fact, right before I met Mr. Miller, I was walking out of the darkest 4-year season of my life.

The light my life radiated now was a blinding contrast from that of the season I had recently left behind.  Only a couple of good choices had landed me here.  To take a chance on love, to say YES, to jump in with both feet into something that felt to be right in my heart.  On that one afternoon, as I swayed my baby to sleep in my kitchen, I realized that life truly can be whatever you make of it. 

From that day on, I have delved deep into the details of my life, filling them with things that make me happy.  I learned that following spiritual promptings is always a good idea, no matter how wild they may seem.  I learned that any amount of beauty can fill up a space, and make my heart happier.  I learned that a shortage of money only meant an abundance of creativity – and that often where you find simplicity, there too you will find happiness.  There was simply no excuse to not create a happy life.  And that’s exactly what I planned -and still plan- to do.

If I could share the one secret to a happy life, it would be this.  I’m so thankful that the Lord brought this knowledge to my life, and that I have a partner who trusts the inspiration I receive for our home and family.

Mr. Miller said to me recently as we drove home from our weekend trip to our trailer on the mountain, “Most of the inspiration for our family comes to you, I’m just here to help make your vision come to life.” and my heart filled right to the tippy top – because I know that the Lord is guiding us, and me as a mother to this family.  He knows my deepest desire to create a good, happy, beautiful life for my family and He is so faithful.  Always there helping guide me.  As the years tick by, we are doing just what we set out to do. Our life doesn’t come without the stresses and obligations everyone’s life has – but we chase after that light, we chase after the things that will make us happy – big or small.  We have come to learn the things that bring forth the fruit of a good life, and we go for those things.

“We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” – LDS Article of Faith 13 (my favorite AOF)

 

Comments { 0 }

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.

Comments { 0 }

Honest Abe

This year, Harlo got the “Honest Abe” award at school.

This did not surprise me one bit.  Did I ever tell you about that time I walked in to wake the girls up from school, but they were already awake and looked like a deer in the headlights?  I asked calmly, “Are you guys eating candy?” and Harlo immediately burst into tears, admitting that she had given her sisters candy.  I could hardly console her through my giggles.

Or the time I took the baby to the doctor, and she text me from home saying “I’m sorry mom but… I made a bad choice.  I used your makeup.  I know it was wrong and I am sorry.”  Precious girl couldn’t even wait the 5 minutes until I was home to break the news.

Harlo is the epitome of “painfully honest”.  I love this about her so much – she has the purest little soul.  I can always count on her for getting a straight story – even when she must tattle on herself to give it to me.

I’m sure lucky to have this little “honest abe”. <3

Comments { 0 }