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Home Again

Let me tell you that nothing feels as good as coming home from nearly 6 days away.

I missed my babies like the desert misses the rain.  I even may have had Brady check to see if we could move our flights just a day or two earlier.

But in the end, I was brave, and so were they. (They actually had so much fun without me, Harlo admitted she didn’t even miss me that much!)

I DID talk Mr. Miller into driving the last leg of our layover to get home 3 hours earlier than we would otherwise – so I could kiss my four children and rock my baby to bed.

He agreed.

We rented him a convertible Camaro because it was Father’s Day, and we drove through the Arizona dessert to our cozy little home, where the hot terrain kisses the beautiful red mountains.

I loved every minute I had with Mr. Miller ALL TO MYSELF for more days that we’ve had together in ten years, but I’ve also loved every minute of being back at home in the life we’ve built together.

There is so much good sprinkled in to every bit of our lives when we sit back and really see it.  Time away always brings that perspective right to the surface. ♥

The girls thought it would be SO FUN to go to starbucks in a convertible, so early the next morning before we had to give it back, we made it happen! (It was pretty fun!)

Mercy me, it’s good to be back!

 

 

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Paradise

It’s true, I’m writing you today from Paradise.

Mr. Miller and I celebrate being married TEN YEARS TOMORROW!! Can you believe that?  I seriously can’t.  But I can, but I also can’t.

Sometimes me and Mr. Miller laugh about how our marriage started – so young, so clueless.  But we were certainly in love, and God bless us, that love has lasted us through thick and thin over the years.

No one, including us, would have guessed our lives would have ended up looking this way.  But God knew, and he placed us perfectly together with what he had to deal with.  I sometimes feel like I was created to be Brady’s wife, and he was made to be mine.

But seriously, I confessed to Mr. Miller recently that even I had my doubts about our start.  I mean, the cards did seem against us.  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that even though I have been dealt some tough hands in this life, I’ve somehow had all the right cards since Mr. Miller walked into my life.  So, who’s to judge what marriages and love stories will work out?

One thing I know for sure is that I’m glad we prioritized our anniversary this year to celebrate all we have accomplished this past ten years.

Ten beautiful, wonderful, full, colorful years with the one I love most in this life.

Cheers, baby.

 

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pink eye-yi-yi

The first week of summer was a success… if you consider 3/4 of my children having had pink eye is a success, then yes it was a success.

I honestly didn’t mind TOO MUCH having to stay home, cooped up inside (I’m also off the gram for this challenge – just what my soul needed, I think!).

We have had cousins staying that have had to brave the “pink eye apocalypse”, and that has kept our time busy.

Mr. Miller and my brother-in-law, Uncle Marv, have worked endlessly building an EPIC patio awning, and it looks so good I hardly even recognize my own backyard.

I have been snuggling babies, praying pink eye skips me, and making meals, and snacks, and serving popsicles around the clock.

So, like I said… it’s not TOO BAD.

Next week I might be on a certain beach, with a certain someone, celebrating a certain anniversary.

That’s all the motivation I need to get through this last bout of double pink-eye, double molars for my little Maj.  (He is a pooooor little pudge today.)

 

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one year anniversary

A year ago our sweet pup Finn joined our family.

He is the perfect fifth child.

He keeps me walking every day, per his persistent pawing at my workout clothes and bringing me my sneakers.

He always keeps an eye on the kids, a trusty little nanny dog.

He is especially fond of his twin-soul, Major.  The two are quite a pair, adding so much sweetness to my life.

He is so goofy and full of personality and is the most snuggly, affectionate dog I’ve ever had.

He sleeps at my feet, and just as the sun comes up he sneaks his way to my pillow for morning cuddles.  The kids find us, and pile in and I know he is the happiest dog in the world.

We love him dearly.

May you always know how loved you are, Finny Boy.  You’re forever a part of our family.

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grace

It’s 1:18pm.

My house is quiet and kidless (besides that napping baby) for the first time in nearly two weeks.  This may be the first time I’ve been by myself with my own thoughts for as long.

Sometimes I think of the constant and endless strain on me as a mother, and sometimes that overwhelm nearly swallows me up.  I felt that way yesterday afternoon.  That I didn’t have one more ounce of myself to give, but still hours left in the day to do so.  I found myself finding patience the next time Grae asked for her 2,304th request of the day, I graciously gave to her what she asked even though I didn’t feel like I could.

 Grace.

I find this place in motherhood often, where God’s grace sustains me further than my imperfect human body can go.  When I feel like shouting at the kids to leave me alone, but instead sigh and say “What baby? Another snack?  You bet.” walking my tired body back to the pantry and delivering the smallest detail of the world to one of my children.

“I love you, mom. You’re the best.” Grae says back.

Grace.

Fills me up and readies me for the next task motherhood will toss my way.

Grace.

As a mother, I take my days in sections, the morning time, lunch and afternoon section, the bewitching hour (that seems to last the majority of the day even though it is only found between 4-6pm), and finally, dinner and bedtime.

In tougher circumstances, like when my babies are learning to sleep by themselves, or the post partum depression is raging, or the day took a turn for the crazy.. I even take them minute by minute to get me through.  So far I’ve had a 100% chance of making it.

Grace.

Motherhood for me has been the biggest example of God’s loving grace, motherhood is basically “God’s grace for dummies“.  I’ve always noticed His grace, and perhaps taken it for granted.  But it’s been on my mind, and I seem to have found a whole lot of it lately.

I am so grateful that the days or years or minutes I fall short, God is there to pull me through the rest.  I know this is true for every person willing to accept, and learn it.  People can be tricky, and thoughtless, and mean, and careless, and certainly imperfect.  But God never is.  God is constant, and good, and on my (and your) side.  Do you know that?  I mean really, really know it?

I do.

I hope you do, too.

 

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mothers day weekend 2018

On Saturday morning I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day weekend.

I couldn’t think of anything I’d love more than staying home, doing whatever the world I pleased, without having a single time obligation.

That is exactly what I needed and wanted for Mother’s Day, and that’s exactly what I got.

After staying in my house dress for most of the day, making food for my family, getting to have an extra boy in my house (nephew Tage) to feed and love, we moseyed out on the town for some dinner.  Because I again wanted to give ZERO energy… we drove through to get the kids McDonalds and called in my favorite (Mad Pita – which Grae calls “Mada-Pita” so naturally we all call it that, too) and ate it in the car.

Then we headed to the nursery to pick up some flowers.  I requested flowers for my porch instead of my table this year, so everyone picked out a favorite for my pot and we came home and planted them.  Summer is my very favorite, and days like this are exactly why.

 

And then Sunday was a whole other story.  You win some, you lose some.  The first holidays without my sweet sis will sting a bit more than the rest, I guess.  Ang always made a deal about doing something fun on Mother’s Day, it made me miss her terribly.  But like everything else, where there is darkness there is also light.  I made a yummy batch of chili for my own little family, we delivered flowers to Angie’s grave.  I held my babies extra long at bedtime and went to bed with a full, albeit aching, heart.

I am so grateful for this good life I live, and so grateful to be able to celebrate so many amazing women in my life on mother’s day, including our own dear mothers who are loving grandmothers to our sweet babes.  I have a team of mothers (and not-yet mothers who bless me my children with their mothering natures anyway) that rally behind me and make it possible to live my life at the capacity I do.

I am also especially grateful that when I started this blog at the tippy tippy top of my mothering journey, you sweet women have checked in with me along the way, have written me, connected with me over motherhood, miscarriages, longing for children, having lost children.  We have prayed for each other, and your love has carried me through more than you’ll ever realize, and has helped me to fully embrace my own motherhood.  Thank you for loving and supporting me, and letting me share my heart with you over the years.

Happy Mothers Day to you from us here at Miller & Co!

 

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simple joys | backyard

Whether we lived in our 900 sq foot condo and had only a backyard porch,

Our little 2 bedroom rental with just a little patch of grass,

Our old rental downtown with a big, old yard and room to roam,

Our first home we could really make ours, and poured our heart into a backyard that was ours,

And now dreaming up a new space for the next years of our lives to unfold….

watching our babies play in our backyard is one of the simplest joys of my life.  No matter what our backyard looks like.

 

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on doing hard things

I have felt reluctant to write, or talk much these past few weeks.  I am typically so focused on joy and all the many many good things life offers, and so it’s been strange and unsettling walking through such a dark time when joy and good feelings seem so far away.

But I am also learning and changing so quickly, I’m afraid if I don’t find the words now, they may escape me later when my heart is feeling lighter and more full of hope, and love, and goodness   .  My heart is still very much full of those things, but with the heaviness of grief poured over it.

This has been a time of deep reflection for me.  As much as I want to escape myself and what I’m feeling, the only way through that is to look deep down and be brave enough to feel all of the feelings, let them wash over me and let the light bring me back to my feet, time after time after time.  Get used to that pattern, and let it teach me and better me each passing time.

I am feeling lost and almost unrecognizable to myself as I walk through this grief, but I’ve also been able to extend myself love and grace to BE whatever I need to be in this time – easier than any other time.

A dear friend, who is farther down a similar path I’ve just started on, recently wrote me.  She said, “You will be met with darkness you couldn’t have ever imagined.. and the light will be equal in radiance to balance and overcome that darkness in every way.  I PROMISE YOU.”

Her words rang so true to me, because I have already experienced that.  This place of sorrow that must only closely resemble the feelings of hell; right there was God, also.  Literally holding me in His steady embrace.  Knowing the feelings I was having were too much to bear, and holding onto what I myself couldn’t.  I have felt the power of angels, on both sides of the veil, doing the Lord’s good and loving work in my  life.  I have been lifted — actually lifted by prayer, soothed by loving words, carried through by endless amounts of service – big and small.  I have seen how it works now, and that we all, at every single second, can be used for God’s greatest good.  What a beautiful new way I am seeing the world, through the shady glasses of my own despairing grief.  This world is beautiful, and our pain is used for our good and His glory.

I am writing to you from a place where I am unsure if I CAN DO HARD THINGS, but here I am being called to DO HARD THINGS anyway.  I pray that I can cling to faith, and pull through this gracefully.  Coming out the other side more whole and full of His love and light than ever before.

 

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grieving

So far grieving is just mostly really sad, and really weird.

The time frame my mind is in, and the time frame the rest of the world is in seems disconnected.

I am grateful that I have a good relationship of God, and have found so many tender mercies along the way that help me to know that I am not alone, that my sister is near in my heart, and that the turning time will continue to help and heal.

Those are all very important reminders, and I need them often.  Because if you have a sister, you can imagine the pain of losing her runs so deep sometimes it knocks the breath from my lungs.  We are not yet to the stage of it getting better each day, mostly it jumps around, or rather comes crashing over like a wave of indescribable agony in between moments that look and feel almost just like normal life.  I have found trouble sleeping, and also trouble doing anything other than sleeping.  I have experienced a whole set of physical symptoms I hadn’t expected, as well as the looming sadness and grief I had expected, even though it’s worse than I could have anticipated.  Mostly it’s hard to wrap my mind around it, because I hadn’t expected it.  Not her, not now.  Not ever, actually.

There are so many layers to grieving this loss.  The processing of what happened, accepting the loss, caring for what’s left, the memories intertwined in every single moment of my life, and the bleakness of looking forward without her physically here.  Plus juggling family dynamics, watching others I love mourn, feeling responsible, helpless, hopeless, peaceful, sad, full, empty.

It really is just a lot and that makes it really hard to talk about, or write about.. it’s a lot to process, it’s heavy, it’s sad, it’s something no one wants to hear about because it’s so awful.

But I also know this is an opportunity to use this trial to find deeper meaning in my own life,  let it allow me to love others more fully, and hopefully in time bless others with my offered wisdom as so many have blessed me with.

I have also experienced many sacred and special moments of understanding what it’s like to have a sister, who I am deeply connected to and love, in heaven.  It has put into perspective some things about my testimony, God, and heaven.  It has brought peace and understanding in ways I really appreciate and needed.  This has absolutely brought more compassion to my heart, and given me eyes for other’s good I don’t think I’d have any other way.

I know there are no words to offer, but truly, people reaching out and offering their love and prayers or whatever they have to offer has truly gotten us through so far.  I have felt lifted, and comforted by the prayers and fasting on my behalf, and I am so so grateful for that sincere kindness.  It means something, right now it means everything.

At the current moment,  I am doing my best.  At continuing to do things I love, like taking my dog for walks and mothering my children.  I am doing my best at allowing myself to feel sad, allowing myself to need space and quiet, trying to allow myself to ask for help when I need it (always working on that).  I am leaning into the love my family has endlessly offered me, and I am pouring out love as quickly as I can to those around me hurting as well.  It has been a beautiful, heartbreaking, bonding time for all of us, and I pray that we can lean into love as we continue to heal.

Thank you sincerely for the prayers, donations, meals, flowers, words, messages, drinks, thoughts, and time.

I truly have the best friends in the whole wide world, and I’ll never be able to repay what has been given to me these past weeks.

My heart keeps taking me to our family’s theme for this school year,

Keep loving. Keep tryingKeep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.” 

(Full talk HERE)

 

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Major | My baby is two!

Oh my word, by the time you are reading this, my baby will be two whole years old.
Everyday Major has been in my life, he truly has been my little “sun-shine”.
Major has loved his mama so well, and is now loving me through some of my harder days.
He, without a doubt, has picked up on the need to give me some extra love these past few weeks.
Major is such a smart boy.  I had anticipated a boy learning differently than my girls have, and in some ways that’s been true, but he really keeps up with them!
He knows his ABC’s, twinkle-twinkle, you are my sunshine, popcorn popping.
He is a good little singer, he loves to sing, and he honestly started talking that way.
As we would sing together, and he’d sing along, he just started being able to talk the more he’d sing.
He talks like such a growly old man, which is the best thing ever.  You can hardly understand, but there are words there. :D
Major has definitely become attached to one blanket, lovingly referred to as “boos” around the Miller Manor.  Even though he only has one, he calls it his “boosssss” always with a drawn-out, lispy “s”. That’s 4/4 blanky babes!
He definitely loves his ba-ba or “jink” as he calls it.  I know it’s time to switch to sippies, but this kid just may be my last babe so I am going to saaaaaavor him and ignore any sideways glances I get over it. :P He drinks out of sippies or regular cups, but prefers a bottle for bed and in the morning.


Maj is such a precious, sweet, tender, loving boy.  He lives with four ladies who ADORE him.  Genuinely just die for him on the daily.
We are always talking about how we cannot get enough of this baby man of ours, so Heaven guide him to be humble, because he surely will not be getting that at home.
But you can’t blame us, he is so happy to see any single one of us, no matter if it’s just been five minutes we’ve been out of the room.
He hands us out kisses on demand, never leaving one of us out.
He has us all knowing we are his favorite… and honestly I don’t know who it is.. He likes us all so much.
And just when we think he’s just a ladies man, he’s out pallin’ around with Mr. Miller which just makes our hearts burst all the more.  We can’t.  I can’t..
Major is an instinctive little man cub, in that he is basically a wild animal… he loves every single thing our dog Finn loves.  They browse around outside, dig up things they’re not supposed to, mosey around with each other, pick up scraps to eat off the floor of the kitchen.  They eat around the same time, poop around the same time.  They beg for long walks around the neighborhood, and always want to climb into my lap.  We call them the twins (they are just a couple weeks apart!) because they act just alike.
A boy and his dog really is just a thing.
Major is one of my pickier eaters, but he does love yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast, loves the staples like “mac-and-pony”, quesadillas from cafe rio, and peanut butter sandwiches.  His faaaavorite treat is a spoonful of peanut butter and often brings me a spoon begging for some. :)
Sometimes I wonder if he gets enough to eat, because I swear he hardly touches the food I put in front of him, but each week it seems he’s grown another couple inches and another few pounds.
Keeping him in shoes and clothes is a part time job in and of itself.
He is wearing a size 6 diaper, size 8 shoe, 3T clothes.
He definitely weighs more than Grae, which is perfect for her because she makes him push her around in strollers, bikes, etc. and he’s just happy to be her muscle!
Major is sweet, and happy, and easy-going.
He is fun, and silly, and just enough wild.
He is snugly, and tender, and makes our heart burst when he flashes us those big brown eyes, and that million dollar grin.
We needed this baby boy like the earth needs the sun, and I am so glad he’s ours forever and ever.
I am a lucky mama to call you mine, Major my boy.
Don’t you ever forget how loved you are.
Happy birthday my baby, I am so happy to be the one to watch you grow up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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under control

Today I woke up early enough to greet my kids up to get ready for school.  I let Mr. Miller sleep in as he has let me do so so many days these past couple of weeks.
The babies slept in with their dad, and I took the girls to school, sipped on my morning drink, and listened to my  audio book.
Not unlike I do every single morning.
But these mornings have been filled with immense grief, reflection, prayer, hope, and sadness these past couple weeks.
I am reminded again that God has us, He holds us in his tender care.
Everything is under control” my book reminds, a tender mercy from heaven.
After Mr. Miller reluctantly leaves for work, I get my hands busy tidying my house.
Boy does it need it’s normal,  functioning mother to run it.
It feels good to bless my family by getting my hands busy.
My heart is full of love and sadness, but the love helps hold the weight of grief from crashing down.
The grief rolls in in waves, in the little details and memories that come in so easily, and crash down so hard.
Everything is under control, I’m reminded.
I rock my baby extra long, just like I have been doing these past weeks.
My heart is healed by each session of singing lullabies together, snuggling, laughing, tickling, touching.
In the afternoon, Grae makes art while I plan out some outside landscape.
The spring air rolls in through the windows, the hope of summer tickling our noses.
Light fills the house, love swells, and the weight lessens.
Everything is under control.

 

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cuckoo

Once upon a time, Mr. Miller’s sister and mother went to Switzerland, Germany, France, and the like.
Mr. Miller begged for them to track down the perfect cuckoo clock for his adoring wife (who had sadly just lost her sister).
Mr. Miller is a very good son and brother.
This I know for sure, because a l l  t h e  w a y  home from the Swiss Alps, through 24 hours of travel, arrived a box at my doorstep with
none other than
the perfect cuckoo clock.
I didn’t think that anything could make my heart feel happy this week.
But now every hour, on the hour, I hear that little cuckoo! cuckoo! cuckoo! 
And you know what my heart feels?
Happy.

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Family Vacation | Casa Beleza, San Clemente, CA

Vacationing in Southern California this year? If you have been around here for a while, you know that we travel to southern California a lot.  We just got back from a little pre-spring vacation.  After moving over the holidays, we needed some time to run away and forget the world for a week, and that’s exactly what we did!

We have done some digging to try to find some of the best family-friendly places on the southern California coast, and my goodness, we found a good one on our last trip.  We stayed in San Clemente, CA at the gorgeous Casa Beleza. This has been our family’s favorite place we’ve stayed.  So if you have a trip to Southern California with your family this year, here is what-in-the-world vacation with our family of 6 looks like!

We have a strong motto that the vacation starts as soon as we pull out of the driveway.  This reminder (as many times as you need it) will make the drive with children much more enjoyable.  We are not racing to our vacation, as we are already on it.  So we loosen up, and eat treats and snacks and pull out movies a plenty.  And we stop.  A lot.  Whenever necessary.. We might stop for a snack in Vegas then again in Primm to go potty.. again.  You can either love or hate this process, so you decide.  But because car-travel makes up a LOT of time on vacation, I recommend learning to love it!  Prepare with music, audiobooks, ear plugs.. hey, whatever you need.  But making the car as enjoyable as possible will require lowering your stress levels a bit. That’s just my pro-tip.

We pulled in to San Clemente by late afternoon to our lovely beach house and I thought I was in a dream.  Cutest street, surrounded by the best food and cutest shops, and it was so darling inside.  We stayed in the two-bedroom unit upstairs and our friends stayed in the unit downstairs.  This was SO fun to be so close, and have our own space for putting babies down, etc.  We hope to make this a yearly tradition with a group of us.  We rarely had to leave the house (except to walk down to the beach, or brunch, or dinner..), and we hardly wanted to.

(our gorgeously designed condo, Casa Beleza – booking info HERE)

Our kids loved the DOUBLE set of double bunk beds.  The layout and use of space was so efficient! We loved putting the kids to bed, then taking to the deck every night.  I could seriously get used to that kind of livin’. ;) 

Taking the train to another city for a day is always a favorite with the kids.  We love going down to Old Town San Diego and eating yummy mexican food and visiting the little Mexican shops for treasures.

But mostly we just hung out at the house or at the beach nearby.  That’s always our favorite thing to do anyway. ;)

We did sneak in a Disney day, too! Of course I’ll keep that overload of photos to another post.  We loved being close enough to drive to Disney just for one day, and keeping the rest of the days relaxed and go with the flow.  We also ate at so many YUMMY places in San Clemente, thanks to the help of our sweet instagram followers. :D

Ali and Marriott who own Casa Beleza really went above and beyond to make sure our stay was amazing, took all the guess work out of what to do with kids, and made us feel so welcome with their gorgeous family-friendly condo.  The closets were stocked with pack-n-plays and games and books, so we were completely set up.  These little details go such a long way when you’re on a vacation with little kids.  We will be back every year!

If you book a stay with Casa Beleza, they’re offering my followers a discounted rate when you mention CASS MILLER. ♥

Can’t wait to make it back.  Where is your family’s favorite place to run away to together?

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weekend projects | carving out a family office

Today I’m sharing our family office space (progress)!

We always seem to have  weekend project going on over here when we are home for the weekends.  Sometimes that project is laundry, other times that project is DIY built ins, other weekends it’s cleaning up the yard.  Owning a home sure is a lifestyle.  It is weird to live in a newer house (newer than 85 years old) and not have much we HAVE to renovate, but we have a lot to work to do settling in and making this house perfect for us.  Over spring break week we finally unpacked the last of the boxes from our move (cough.. 3 months later) and got our office space carved out.

When we bought this house, it had this big room open to the formal living space, likely used for a formal dining.. but since we don’t use either of those things in a house, we decided to make it a nice family office/work space/studio.  I had dreamed of a family office space when we bought the house.  Finally figuring out this big open, rectangle room and using it well for our family is so exciting! We’ve just had it set up this way for a couple of days and already it’s been used non-stop.

(showing progress pics today.. crisp morning bedhead and jammies and all. )

One of our first DIY projects here at the house were those floating shelves/desk.  They were relatively easy to do and they totally transformed the room.  We used this tutorial, which was such an easy way to do floating shelves!! I also ordered that cute green couch the first week we moved in.  Everything else we had scattered throughout our old house.

We are used to living in smaller quarters and getting as much use out of our space as we can.  This house is roomier, but not a whole lot more square footage than our last. With this space being about half of our entire downstairs, I wanted it to work well for my family, and get some good use.

Mr. Miller and I both work from home a lot, so having an office with enough space for the two of us is imperative.  And what happens when both parents work from home?  The children love working from home right along with us.  I don’t know about yours, but my children are just basically always at my feet, always with me no matter what I’m doing in the house.  With that in mind, I knew I wanted to set up a place for them to work too.  My girls are always crafting, Grae is always coloring,  and they always want to do so right where I am, so why not carve them out some space right here close (but not too close) to mama.

 

I am still working on my side of the office to create a good little command center.  A place to keep track of our family schedule and the girls school papers, my daily checklists, sort mail, and of course have space for my daily doses of the girls’ precious artwork I can display… I’ve been pinning lots of inspiration, but now I’ve got to think of how to make one that works for us specifically that I can actually use!  Organization isn’t my strong suit, but once I get a system in place, I can keep it rolling.

Finally unpacking my books is making my heart happy. A rainbow book stack has been a dream since #pinterest.

I have already rearranged this room already at least 5 times since we moved in.  But finally moving that table in here for the kids, and the dresser to hold all our art supplies made this room make sense for everyone.  Part of my process is just tweaking and tweaking until it works.  And it’s even pretty enough to still have people come in and sit and use it for extra entertaining as well! :D

How’s that for getting some use out of those formal rooms in your house that don’t get enough use? What do you use that space for in your home?

 

You can always see which projects I’m planning on Pinterest, follow me HERE.

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