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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!

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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)


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Mothers Day is just around the corner!

I’m sure you have noticed, Mother’s Day is right around the corner.  Funny story (not), last year my Mother’s Day didn’t go quite as I had anticipated.  I am a great wife (I like to believe), so I send Mr. Miller a wish list well in advance.  Except last year, he thought it would be a good idea to veer from that list, go rogue, and get me something that he thought I might like.

Back to the training center we go.

This year, I have sent a fool proof, itemized wishlist of things I actually want.  If it is helpful to you, feel free to copy and paste the email I sent to Mr. Miller this morning, and fill in your links in the necessary places.  I am hoping for a very successful Mother’s Day this year. ;)


Hello my sweet husband,

I hope you are thinking of me today, at home with your children – loving them, caring for them, changing, feeding, clothing them.  I hope you are picturing me folding laundry and wondering what you would enjoy for supper after your hard day’s work.
Here is my Mother’s Day wish list for you. :)
Imagine how cute I would look walking into church on your arm in this dress
I would also thoroughly enjoy cooking you some delicious dinners in this here cast iron dutch oven

Please kindly let me know if there is any trouble with these recommendations.  Remember these are the things I actually want, I am not wishing for a surprise on this blessed holiday – unless of course that surprise is a darling puppy.. in any case, I would still very much like the new Sunday dress to go with my new puppy. ;)

Warm Reguards,
Your Beloved Wife
I like to think Mr. Miller thoroughly enjoys being married to me… I thoroughly enjoy being married to him…. especially when he sticks to my Mother’s Day list. *wink!*
At least you always know where you stand with me, Darling. ♥
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ten years

The VERY first trip Mr. Miller and I ever went on was when we had been dating just a couple of months and we went to San Diego.  On our trip, we went to the beautiful Balboa Park and took a picture of us near the pond.  So when we found ourselves venturing back to the beautiful Balboa Park while we were in San Diego, all these years later, we had to find the exact spot and take a photo.

Writing the story of our lives together will forever be my favorite thing about this life.  I can’t believe ten years has come and gone since our first date.  Our whole lives have been packed in those ten years, and my goodness, they have been the very best of my life.  I am so so so grateful to feel the way I do about my husband.  He is the best friend I’ve ever had, the funniest guy I know, the hardest, most honest worker.  He is a person I admire, and hope to be more like each day.  I am also very grateful he felt the same way about me – and still does.  How lucky we are.  Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful.

On instagram, when I wrote about our ten year dating anniversary, someone commented, “wow! What an accomplishment that is!” and I hadn’t really thought of it like that, but it’s true.  We have seen many friends split up over these ten years together, and I’m grateful that every fight we’ve worked through has brought us closer together, not farther apart.  If there is a “trick” to a lasting marriage, I think that might be it.  Seeing each trial (big or small) as an opportunity to bring you closer together.  Each fight for us is a merit badge – and our marriage is better after we’ve worked through each one.  We had a lot of merit badges earned early in our marriage, and now our “merit badges” are usually earned a bit easier – we can get to the resolve a little quicker, and a whole lot more gently.  We have learned that our intentions for each other are ALWAYS in the right place, and that has been a blessing to realize.

Mr. Miller and I have never stopped dating, setting time apart for each other, treating each other like boyfriend/girlfriends do in early relationships.  I still tickle his back and arms each night, and he stops to get me drinks without me even having to ask.  I love serving him – not because I have to, or because he can’t do things himself – but because serving is such a sweet act of love, and I love him.  I love making him dinner, or whipping up a snack that will dazzle him.  I love folding his underwear and stacking them neatly in his drawer, even though (and especially) because he doesn’t expect me to.  We love each other, and we work on that love every single day.  EVERY SINGLE DAY, we work on it.

A game changer for our marriage, and where we found a firm foundation, is when we came into faith together, absolutely.  Our church has such a strong belief in marriage and family.  That is emphasized each week as we attend church, and we are so blessed to have that support in today’s world.  But even more than that, is the work we do at home.  Several years ago, I read the idea to pray for my husband and for my marriage each day.  I think this has changed me – and us – forever.  Each day I ask God to bless my husband in all his efforts, that his heart will be guarded, that the love between us will be blessed.  When I am frustrated or angry with Brady, I take that to God, and immediately I feel myself cool.  Praying before reacting is something I am always working on, but it has changed how we “fight” and how I love my husband.  This is a personal bit to share, but I hope anyone who needs to read it will find it as helpful as I did.

Along with being in love, and building a family, Mr. Miller and I really are dear friends.  I like to tell him things and hear his opinion on things.  I know he loves me enough to not just tell me what I want to hear, but sometimes what I need to hear.  He is gentle with me, he loves the quirks that make me me, and isn’t irritated by them.  He understands how I work after these ten years together, and that to me is invaluable.  The life we enjoy together today comes from ten years of working through life together, growing together, and getting to know one another more each day.  It comes from the hardest times, and the happiest times, and the every-day-joy that comes from the life and lives we’ve created together.  It comes from leaning on each other for support, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, being strong for one another, fighting for our family and for our marriage, and thousands of days of choosing to place each other first.

Each day is a new opportunity to choose to keep fighting for love, and I pray we can both keep choosing each other every day, always.

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Anchoring to Happiness

Mr. Miller and I often talk about how we can do better, be happier, live fuller.  I love this part of our relationship.  I love feeling like Mr. Miller brings out the best in me.

Yesterday I was telling him that when I feel down or unhappy, I try to think of a time I was the very happiest.. I anchor myself to that time and try to recreate those feelings.  Was I feeling very spiritual in that time?  Was I feeling very domestic and peaceful at home?  Was I doing fun things with my family?  Then I try to bring those aspects into my current life and it always helps snap me out of a funk.

I was curious, “When is a time that you felt like we were the very happiest?  Our family was good, our marriage was good, our spirituality was good..” I asked my Mr. Miller.

“I think right now.” he answered.

As he said these words, I could so clearly see God’s hand in our lives.  This year has been SO FULL of highs and lows, and we really have found ourselves in such a happy time after a stormy season.  This happiness has been hard-won and very deserved.  I have learned so much about forgiveness this year – something I didn’t realize I needed to understand so well until I was brought face-to-face with it.  Forgiveness of others, forgiveness of my past, forgiveness of myself.  Mr. Miller has been my anchor as I have dealt with a lot this year, and now it seems that the things that weighed so heavy don’t weigh as heavy anymore.  I am lighter now, and I am better for my trials.

I am so grateful for the atonement.  This is what the atonement is –> forgiveness.  Through the atonement, we can forgive.  Through the atonement, we can be forgiven.  Through the atonement, we can live happy lives despite problems, or worry, or stress, or tough relationships.  I have really learned that this year and my testimony of God is better for it.

This year was a learning/growing year, and I am hoping that next year I can share the faith, knowledge, and lessons I’ve learned.

(photo credit : ashley flowers photography)

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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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Are we done now?

Another month has ticked by where I feel like I have somehow cheated the system because I was given the perfect baby.

It feels like I got home from the grocery store, after spending $15 to find out that I received $50 worth of groceries.  I call the store, and they say, “Our mistake! You keep the extra groceries, you lucky lady, you!”

I’m so happy and in love with this baby, I almost feel guilty.Does everyone love their baby as much as I do?  Did I love all my other babies this much?  And I’m reminded that yes, they do, and I did.

“So.. are you done now?” they ask, abruptly bursting my baby bliss bubble.

Am I done? I think.  Am I done loving a tiny human this much?  Am I done smelling heaven at the nape of his neck every time I feel like it?  Am I done squishing perfect human flesh, filled with soft, billowy, heavenly chub?  Am I done being so very loved for zero reason or performance?  Simply because I am me, and that is so extremely, terribly enough for this little baby angel/human.  Am I done?  The question feels insulting.

“Three girls and a boy, that sounds perfect, doesn’t it?” Mr. Miller more states than questions.  And I agree, it does seem perfect.  But is it?  Can I close this chapter and be okay with the perfectness now?  Will the perfectness and fulfillment of my family this size last?  What about the next stage?  Will they all love me this much forever?  Will my womb ever stop longing for another to grow?  Will my hip ever stop asking for the weight of my own growing baby to sit?  Will my breast ever stop expecting to give and give and give?  Will my arms ever stop reaching out to pull my baby into them?  Will my soul be okay with never receiving another life through it?  These babies of mine have been life, they have been answers, they have been God, and love, and truth, and purpose.  These babies have been sometimes my sole source of happiness.  If I stop having them, will I be able to continue life by myself?  What will that mean for me?   What will that mean for us?

As these thoughts swirl through my head in a ferocious emotional storm, the baby fusses.  He’s hungry, and he clings tightly to me as I feed him.  His paws kneed at my chest, his legs wiggle on my lap, his fingers tangle into my dangling hair.  In this moment, I am every single thing he needs, and he is every single thing I need.  And that is so extremely, terribly enough.

Maybe I can’t finalize this chapter because I don’t have to yet.  Certainly he, and the heavens above, don’t need that answer today.  So I’ll put those questions in a box and pull them out much, much later.  Because I am in a love affair with motherhood in this stage right now, and the question of “maybe one more?” can dangle around and keep the magic abreast for a little while longer. ♥


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stella’s american girl birthday

On August 3rd, my sweet, sunny, lively little Stella turned six years old!

Months and months ago (even before Christmas) Stella knew she wanted to spend her birthday at the American Girl store.  She has become more obsessed with American Girls as the days have ticked by.  We talked about how going to the American Girl store was a big deal, and very expensive.  She then opted to forgo a birthday party, any other birthday presents, “don’t get me presents! Just send money that I can spend at the American Girl store!”, she told us.

Luckily, Stella’s birthday lands in the summer and working our summer travels around her birthday wasn’t too hard.  We knew we wanted to get to Santa Monica at some point with the family this summer, so we hopped on board for the American Girl store birthday!

Stella researched every single detail of the American Girl store.  She knows about all the girls, all the collections, each and every outfit and option.  She knows which stores are where, and what they offer.  In all her spare time, she spends it on the American Girl website or on various American Girl youtube channels.  Stella is SERIOUS about American Girls, and I have to admit, as the days drew nearer I found myself getting butterflies of excitement as well.  Both for her, and for the little girl in myself who would have LOVED an American Girl store visit at her age.

One thing I have to note is how easy it was to manage Stella’s expectations.  I would tell her we probably wouldn’t have enough money for a certain thing, or discuss what our budget would be, and she was just as happy altering her plans to fit within that frame.  She even planned out exactly what Harlo would do (bring my old American Girl doll to the store, so she wouldn’t be empty handed).  She was just so gracious, so sweet, and so grateful for anything we would allow.  I love that about Stella and never ever want to forget how sweet she was in planning this birthday.

We also had a lot of comments about Harlo before our trip.  “Will that be hard for her not to get a doll too?” they’d ask, and other questions of the like.  But I have to say that my girls do really well at celebrating each other.  Harlo was so excited for Stella’s birthday, for her.  I don’t think she complained one time about not being able to get a new doll, or this or that.  We did give her a little summer allowance for helping so much during the summer that she spent on a sweet little outfit, and that was plenty.  She was such a gracious big sister on this trip, and I know it made the day even that much more special for Stella getting to share it with Harlo.  Man, I love these girls.

Needless to say, when the day finally came (we made sure to be there ON her birthday), we were all dying of anticipation and excitement! (Even Mr. Miller caught the American Girl fever!)

Shortly into our visit, Auntie showed up to surprise Stella at the American Girl store.  I can’t tell you how precious Stella was for that surprise.  She shrieked “Auntie!” and almost got a little emotional.  Auntie and I both will never forget it.

We had so much fun at the American Doll store.. Stella made out pretty well with grandparents sending her with money so she was able to buy a doll, and a couple accessories as well as get “Bella’s” ears pierced.
I planned ahead a bit and scheduled a personal shopper for Stella (the store offers them for free!) and that was a really special touch.  They took us back to a big pink room and let us set our stuff there and gave us a tour of the whole facility and told us a lot of interesting information.  Stella ate it right up.  It was just the amount of VIP status that girl can appreciate! ;)

After the American Girl store, we decided to head over to Santa Monica Pier to spend the rest of the day, which was even more fun to have Auntie tagging along with us for the day.

The girls opted not to ride any rides (Did you know I’m deathly afraid of farris wheels?), but Mr. Miller showed them around the arcade like the old pro he is.  We had ice cream and took it all in.
After the pier, we spent the rest of the day shopping and eating on the 3rd street Promenade.

The kids were mesmerized by the street acts.  For a Wednesday, I was so surprised and excited to see them out there.  We watched and watched the different dancers and performers.  Our favorite though was a magic show!

Mr. Miller and I came to Santa Monica on our babymoon in March, and we knew our girls would love it.  It was SO fun for us to bring them along.  I was so in love with Brady on that trip, carrying around our 4th baby in my big round belly.. and to enjoy the city with him again – this time with all four of our babes with us just seemed like a dream come true.  I fought the happy tears back all day.

Stella’s birthday was everything we hoped it would be and so much more.  She hasn’t stopped talking about it since.  As we drove home that night she took a big sigh and said “Wow.  Today was the best day ever.”

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last hoorah of summer

The week before school started, we loaded up our minivan for the umpteenth time to head on one last adventure of summer.

I have to admit I was dragging my feet about this trip because we had already been gone SOOO much of summer, and making another treturous drive through the hot dessert didn’t sound that appealing… but we had a birthday girl with big plans, and so I pressed on.

We ended up having such a great time.  The babies did well on the car rides (thank heavens!), the big girls got along so well the whole trip.  We stayed near Manhattan beach, which we hadn’t been to before, and traveled around different parts of LA while we were there.  (We usually stay further south, so this was new and exciting for us!) We showed the girls Santa Monica, downtown LA, and did so many fun fun things.  But on one certain morning, we headed out to grab some bagels and decided to stop by the beach.  Half of us were suited for the hotel pool, and the other half was still in PJ’s of some sort (me, Grae and Maj), but we decided to walk across the sand and let the water tickle our toes anyway.  It was probably my favorite moment of the trip.

In this moment, Brady looked at me like this and my stomach flipped.  This is the life we have always wanted, that we created together.  Our minivan full of our own children, experiencing and more importantly enjoying life together.  That’s what these trips are all about for us.  They are our love language as a family, and certainly in our marriage.  I love all my little darlings cozied up at home, but something about changing our scenery sheds new light (in this case, beach-y sunlight) on all sorts of blessings that may had gone unnoticed otherwise.  I love this season we’re in and I’m so proud we’re here.

Grae’s wild bedhead at the beach just about did me in.

I love this family of mine fiercely, and I hope they never ever forget it.

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Mr. Miller’s Splash Bash

This year Mr. Miller turned 32!  For a few years, I have had an idea for a 32 oz themed party for my soda-loving lover.  Also, rewind to his 30th birthday two years ago when our kitchen was stripped to the concrete, and our money was tied up in the remodel, so he did not get a proper 30th bash.  That has kept me up some nights.  A celebration-less birthday is not the kind of wife I am. ;)

This year I redeemed myself by throwing the most awesomely easy party ever.  A 32 oz splash bash!  I rented a local soda truck that pulled into my backyard, and there we drank and visited some of our favorite friends all evening long.  The Soda Pop Stop was so great to work with.  They even let me make my own little Mr. Miller-themed menu.  It was fantastic!  Our best Miller Manor party to date, I think.  Now I just can’t wait to turn 32 myself. ;)

After the party, we headed over to Springdale.  It’s our favorite little getaway.  This time we stayed at the Desert Pearl Inn and had the best time.  Seriously – probably the most fun we had all summer (and we had a ton of fun this summer).  We got a riverside room that walked out right down to the river, and the pool was around the other side of our room.  On Brady’s actual birthday, my dad and the Houstons came over to help us celebrate.  We had Oscar’s by the pool, and ate delicious dirt cups (Mr. Miller’s favorite dessert) on our back patio.

We headed home Monday morning with the fullest of hearts.  So happy to be celebrating the man I love turning another year older with our four children.  This is the life I always dreamed of having, and I’m so glad I can do it along side my Mr. Miller.

I hope you had the most amazing birthday, my darling.  You so deserve it.

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Major’s Blessing Day

In the LDS faith, when a new baby comes into the world, they are surrounded by the important men in their lives and given a name and a blessing, typically done by their father.  (Grae’s blessing, Stella’s blessing, Harlo’s blessing)  Mr. Miller gave Major one of the sweetest blessings I have ever heard, (and I’m not just saying that, several people at the blessing told me the same thing!) He spoke right from his heart with such love for our son.  He blessed him with happiness, strength, and faith all through his life.  It’s everything I would want our son to be blessed with.  I am so grateful for Brady as the father of my children.  They are the luckiest, and so am I.

Each of my baby’s blessing days has been such a sweet day for my mama heart.  It’s so wonderful to surround ourselves with family and friends and celebrate the newest little life in our family.  Blessings are typically done in church during Sacrament hour, but because we’re rather non-traditional, we have blessed each of our babies at home.  I love this tradition and I’m so glad we’ve stuck with it.  It’s so sweet and personal and sacred.

Major’s blessing was one of the best days of my life.  I am in a time in my life that the friends and family I keep around is so intentional.  We have been blessed with such a wonderful group of friends the last couple years and I feel so thankful for each of them.  I have prayed for these relationships in my life and having them surrounding us with love on these special days in our lives just touches my heart in the best way.  I feel like we have finally settled into a real tribe of people to walk this life with and that is such a great feeling.  These friendships are eternal.

A lot of thought and preparation went into Major’s blessing day to make it perfect.  I love making big and small days in our life extra special with celebrations.  I truly felt like a queen, celebrating my little prince!  His special day was perfect from start to finish.

A few deatils:

We (Mr. Miller) worked hard to get our backyard finished in time for Major’s blessing.  It was the best way to break it in and we loved enjoying our friends and family in a place we had worked and thoughtfully prepared just for gatherings like this.
Thanks to Pinterest and my sweet friend Heather for helping with some extra touches for his special day.

On the menu were roast beef sliders and a plethora of yummy dishes brought by friends.  I wanted his day to have a calm, down to earth feel like my blessing way had and it was just perfect.

The dress I bought to wear for Major’s blessing arrived but didn’t quite fit, and at the last minute I pulled this dress out of the back of my closet.  I wore it the day we got sealed in the temple and that significance made my heart happy all day.  So much better than what I had originally planned to wear.

Major’s blessing outfit came with special thought and preparation (my only son! It had to be perfect.) and was gifted to him by his Nana.  His sweet trousers were found HERE. His shoes HERE.
My dear friend Sara is the owner of 24 Seven Designs and made Major this custom blanket with his name on it.

Most of all, Major’s blessing day showed us how loved and blessed we truly are.  Thank you to all our friends and family for making this day even that much more special!  For the ones who gathered around us, or loved our family from afar.  Each of you bless our lives!


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happy birthday miller family

In June, Mr. Miller and I celebrated our 8th anniversary.  We didn’t have much going on that week, and didn’t have big plans for the special day.  So last minute (my favorite minute), I packed up the whoooole family in one day and arranged a little vacation for us.  I called Brady’s work and made sure his schedule was taken care of and our anniversary night, surprised him.  He was shocked at first, but quickly got excited.  I pulled it off!  We left early the next morning!

Our wedding anniversary always feels more like a birthday for our family, so it made sense to celebrate all together.  Each baby, we take a little trip to welcome them into the family, and this was Major’s.  It was such a sweet way to settle in together as a family of 6.  He was a perfect angel the whole trip.  We had so much fun.

We had friends in Oceanside the same time as us, so we hung out with them on the beach and just had the best time.  It was 5 days of doing whatever the heck we wanted – my favorite kind!  We hung with our best friends, we played with Auntie and Pat, we had a free day for me to help decorate my sister’s cute beach condo… On father’s day, we watched the NBA finals, ordered pizza, and snagged the sunset on the beach.  It was perfect.

Our trip was not short of a few hiccups – a 24 hour stomach bug went through each girl – but even with that craziness, we shifted and adjusted as needed and it made me realize that we are really doing it.  We are surviving – even thriving – with our very full family.  I’m so glad we still do these things, even though it’s more work.  It is more work, but it’s also so much more fun.  It’s worth it in every way.

Mr. Miller, thank you for being mine. Thank you for enjoying our children right along side me.  Thank you for loving me always always.  You are hands down, without a doubt, the best thing that happened to me.  I will never forget it.



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Life At The Miller Manor

I haven’t found a groove to write as much as I’d like since having major. There is always someone to help, a mouth to feed, a list to make, a chore to do.  In the quiet moments I do get to myself, I feel like I’m saying the same thing over and over again. I can’t believe this is my life. I’m so happy. My heart is so full with the work that keeps me so busy.

I am currently writing from my back porch. Mr Miller has been working day and night in his free time on our backyard. When we bought this house we had big dreams for it. And two years later, those dreams are really starting to take shape.

A few months ago we put our house on the market, willing to chase an opportunity. But as our baby was nearing arrival, we decided to take it off the market. Once we had a minute to think, we agreed we felt this season was being rushed, and that we weren’t quite ready to quit our little dream here. We wanted to see our vision come to life and enjoy our little home a lot longer.  Having our house on the market those few weeks gave us a fresh new perspective. Since then, each project we cross off our list feels a little more intentional and sweet.

Right now I’m sitting under our covered patio, nursing Major while the cool mist blows down on us. Just last year this area was a pile of dirt. Grae is playing in the playhouse that was just a twinkle in our eye last year. Harlo is practicing handstands on the tramp Mr Miller dug the hole for last summer. Mr Miller and Stella are harvesting the radishes they planted a few weeks ago. It smells like fresh cut grass and summertime.

This life is one we’ve built together, and I can see touches of that everywhere I look. One day I’m sure we’ll live in a bigger home, with a wrap around porch like we’ve always dreamed, but for now we are completely content right where we are.  In life we have had to learn to grow and chase dreams, and recently we’ve learned when it’s time to say “nope. We’re good.” And thats okay too.

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what’s in a name?

Since we had Major, I have had lots of questions about where my children got their names.  They all have pretty unique names and each of them has a different story, so I wanted to get them all down today.

Harlo Elle :
Harlo was my only total total surprise baby.  I mean, complete and utter shocker.  For most of my teen years, I struggled with some medical issues that had to do with my uterus and ovaries.  I had a very large benign tumor in my right ovary and at one point had to have my entire ovary and right Fallopian tube removed.  A couple years after that, I started having symptoms of endometriosis.  This went on for years of switching medications around, and trying all sorts of things to figure my stuff out.  SO, on that fateful day in May that I realized I was late for my period, I actually wasn’t too worried about it.  I had surgery scheduled for a Laparoscopy the following month.  But I tested anyway just to “be sure”. ;)  That was also the year I found God in my life and was really trying to live my life according to HIS plan and not mine.  I was in the very beginning stages of faith and felt a little like I was walking blindly sometimes.

The minute that second line on the test turned blue, I felt time almost pause for a minute.  I had a feeling come over me.  It quickly and calmly reassured me that everything was going to be fine, that this was all part of the plan.  That I would deliver a daughter and I would name her Harlo.  It was so real and so specific and just as soon as it came, it went away.  — And then I had time to freak out that I was pregnant. ;) I thought a lot about that in the following weeks.  Had I imagined it?  It was almost like a dream.  But when we found out our baby was indeed a girl, I knew it was all real.

We had a few other names on our list, and not a lot of people were crazy about “Harlo” being an option (her dad being one of them), but I kept that one close to my heart.  When I delivered that beautiful baby girl, I opened my mouth to talk to her and the name Harlo nearly fell out.  She absolutely was Harlo, there was no denying it.  “She has to be Harlo, Babe.” I said to Brady and he smiled and nodded.  He totally agreed.  As the years went by, we knew that Harlo was always meant to be her name, and I have realized that my revelation was nothing short of that.  Divine revelation.  It was all part of the plan.  Everything was fine.  The miracle girl that was sent here to change my life was always, Harlo.

Harlo’s middle name comes from the common initial of the three most important men in her life, her Dad and both of her grandfathers, “L”.  Harlo Elle.

Stella Johan:

Stella girl was our easiest to name.  Stella had been a name I loved when we had Harlo… it was just the icing on the cake to know it came from Brady’s great-grandma, who was a wonderful, fun woman, we are told.  When I was first pregnant with Stella, I was so so so certain she was a boy.  We hadn’t even thought much about girl names.  At our ultrasound, when the tech announced “looks pretty girly!” my jaw about hit the floor.  I was so so surprised, and SO SO excited.  We got back to our room and Brady and I just looked at each other and smiled.  Another girl!  “Stella?” I half-way giggled, “Yep.” he said.  And that was that.

When Stella was due to arrive, Mr. Miller and I were just celebrating our second wedding anniversary.  Two babies in less than two years – our first years together were a complete whirlwind.  But something special happened during my pregnancy with Stella.  My relationship with Brady solidified.  I went from feeling like his new bride, to his wife.  We were doing this totally together, we were making decisions now for our family and not just for ourselves.  I felt that Stella was coming into our life for a great purpose, the first being to bind us all together.  I wanted her name to reflect that.

My great-grandparents were The Johans.  I had always felt a special connection to that side of the family and their stories.  They were wonderfully talented people who did great things with their lives.  I asked Brady one morning, “how about Stella Johan?  After your great-grandma and my great-grandma.” and he agreed it felt just right.

During Stella’s birth, I really felt the help of Heaven guiding her into this world and I knew that our great-grandmas were right there with her.  Stella’s birth really changed everything for me as a woman, and gave our new little family the foundation it needed.  I knew from the minute I met her, she would be a special, strong woman herself.  Stella Johan was the perfect fit.

Grae Golden:

I was in a pretty raw place in life when I met a special man named Grey.  My family was being sealed in the LDS temple that day.  I had just suffered a miscarriage and had found myself surprisingly heartbroken.  In those weeks, I had had to lean into faith more than ever in my life.  In those weeks I had a lot of fears and sorrows and uncertainties that I poured out of my heart in prayer.  As I sat in the temple that morning for the first time, I felt a peace in my heart I hadn’t felt in a while.  A feeling came over me that we would be getting another daughter soon.

When Grey walked into the room, we had a second to chat for a while about our family.  Without having to ask him, he answered questions I had been having.  He said things that spoke directly to my heart.  Things that were specific to the prayers I needed answers to.  I knew God was listening and making sure I got my answers.  I was so grateful for Grey and for this gift that he gave me with his words.  It was a sweet moment of grace extended to me that I’ll never forget.

Three months later, on the eve of her Daddy’s birthday, I found out I was pregnant again.  I knew this was my girl, the one I had been promised.  I knew that this was her time.  I thought for a long while of how good God had been to me, and how grateful I was that my faith had grown in this way.  “How about Grae for a girl?” I asked Brady later that night.  It felt right in my heart.  To me, her name will always represent that sweet day in the temple and my faith in a loving Father who hears and listens to our prayers.

Golden is a family name my mother wanted to name me, which I loved.  They also say that having a baby after a loss is your “rainbow” baby, representing the rainbow after the storm.  Finally getting Grae felt exactly like finding our little pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  And so she was, Grae Golden.

Major Harris:

Years ago, I had heard the name Major and loved it, but assumed Brady wouldn’t (he always takes a little lot more coaxing on names).  One night, 6-7 years ago, while we were out on a date I asked Brady “What about the name Major for a boy?” and Brady quickly exclaimed, “I love it.  Major Miller? That’s awesome.” It was the FIRST name we had ever both liked right from the get-go… now all we needed was a boy.

During this last pregnancy, we talked seriously about our boy/girl options.  We didn’t know for sure what to use for a middle name for Major, and had just decided we wouldn’t do one.  Brady’s first and middle names just didn’t flow quite right, and nothing else seemed to either.  Major Miller was such a strong name, we decided it could just be left alone…. Until one morning I woke up knowing I had to name our baby after Grandma or Grandpa Harris.

Brady’s mom (Nana around here) was a Harris.  I have often teased that the best part of being married to Mr. Miller is being a part of his family.  The Harris’s have this special way about them.  Each one of them is unconditional and warm.  They serve from their hearts.  They love deeply and treat everyone who comes around like family.  Each one is just as wonderful as the last – and there are a lot of them.  Grandma and Grandpa raised their 7 children right, and they have each gone on to raise a wonderful posterity.  I love these people, and love that their blood runs through my children.  When I talk to my girls about being loving or serving others, I always mention the Harris side of our family.  Grandma and Grandpa Harris are the grandparents I never had growing up, and always longed for.  Being a part of their family has blessed my life in a million ways.

When we delivered our surprise baby boy, the first thing Harlo said when she saw him was “Mom, he looks like a Major.” and he did.  He was tall, dark and handsome just as I imagined a Major to be, but I knew he had that something special.  He had that gentle and loving nature about him (and gorgeous dark eyes), and that was all Harris.  Major Harris Miller?  It was perfect.

(thank you Ashley Flowers Photography for these sweet pictures!)

Do you have stories about how your kids got their names?  I’d love to hear it in the comments!

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We had such a wonderful time on our little lovers getaway to Santa Monica last weekend.  We stayed in the lovely Shangri-La hotel, which was the perfect location.  We didn’t need to rent a car or anything, we just strolled around third street promenade a street over from our hotel where EVERYTHING was located.  We shopped at the best stores, ate the most delicious food, soaked up the pool time, napped everyday with open windows and the ocean breeze blowing in.  It was absolutely heavenly.

It’s hard to pick a favorite part, but I just loved spending some alone time with that Mr. Miller of mine.  We have so much fun together and I love that.  I loved waking up and walking to brunch (Mr. Miller’s favorite type of meal), I loved how he delights in me getting excited about strolling through anthropologie, I love how he let me take naps everyday and didn’t make me feel guilty about it, I love that he picked our hotel because it reminded him of me.  When we called to talk to the girls the first day, they asked about where we were staying.  Brady said “You would love our hotel – it’s fancy like mom.” I realized that my outfit for the day matched perfectly with the decor.  Ha! I love that Mr. Miller loves my fanciness.  I love that he insisted we get room service because I had never done it before. :)

I got pretty homesick for our babies.  I think 4 days (3 nights) away is my limit.  The girls did so well though!  Grae surprised us all by napping perfectly and being a good girl the whole time we were gone.  Stella was the least concerned about when we were coming home.  Harlo texted me from her ipad quite a bit and missed me, which was surprising!  The night before we were headed home I texted her and said “I’ll see you tomorrow!” and she said “Okay! I’m ready!”

We just had a great time.  Nine years later and he is still my favorite person to hang out with.  Whether we are out adventuring, or lounging around doing nothing.  I love that Mr. Miller of mine and I’m so glad he loves me right back.


If you are looking for a weekend getaway, try Santa Monica.  It really was SO much fun.

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