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Grae is THREE!

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

(dress Old Navy)

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Major Monthly – TEN

Major is just as sweet as they come.
Truly a little angel boy.
He is calm, mellow, completely laid back.
Wow, we really needed one like that in this family. ;)
He was nearly 22 lbs at his 9 month appointment, putting him just 2 lbs behind his big sister.
This boy is a little tank.  He is rolly and squishy and ever so delishy.
He has 6 teeth, and is working on 7 & 8 as we speak.  Poor guy got all 6 in the matter of about 2 weeks!
He loves to grind his top with his bottom and it sends a shiver down my soul every single time.
He is happy and goofy and always on the go.
He army crawls faster than anything you’ve ever seen.  A couple months ago we were at a friend’s who had been in the army.  They were so impressed with his form and speed. ha!
He can now crawl with his belly off the ground, but when he’s being quick he’ll resort to the army crawl, or “the slither” as I have named it.
I always love this age so much, their little personalities really start to blossom at this age.
Maj has turned into a little goof ball.  He loves anything silly.
He plays peek-a-boo with anything he can.
He waves on demand, melting the hearts of all the women in his life (sisters).
He says mama, dada, stella, hi, bye, uh-oh, mmmm, yeah, boo, baba.
He has started to mimick anything we do, and will try to say words we tell him to.
He is the latest of my early talkers, but it just fits right along with his laid back demeanor.
He growls and woofs like a little puppy.  He reminds me of a puppy in so many ways, we often call him “Pup”.
The other day I came around the kitchen island and he was right there and right when he saw me, he said “raw!” Definitely learned that from his sisters. ;)
He loves the school bus and waving his sisters off and home from school.
Major definitely loves his mama in a special way, but he honestly is a fan of our whole crew.
He plays with Grae, and pesters her like the little brother he is.
He takes to Harlo just like his second mama, and Stella is his favorite source of entertainment.
One thing that has been so fun for me to see, is the brother-sister dynamic come to life.  I have no brothers, so this is a very first for me.
I always say that Major is the little house boyfriend, and it’s so true.  He has us ladies completely smitten.  He can do no wrong (yet).
I can tell he and Brady have their own little guy-bond and my heart just about bursts right in two when I see them together.
My boys.  My goodness I’m glad we have a son.
Major is officially done nursing, as of 9 months.
Of course, that milestone has been a little bittersweet.
I wanted to chat about it more for my record so..
Struggling with milk supply is the name of the game for me.  I fight back hard, and have been able to make nursing work, which has been so wonderful.  Major is such an eater – he eats WAY more than my girls did.  When we started feeding him baby food, I realized this especially.  He was nursing non stop all day, and never seeming satisfied.  His sleeping at night was getting worse and worse.  He was up every two hours to eat, for sure.  I was making myself crazy taking supplements, counting calories (making sure I was getting enough), drinking water by the gallon and living on no sleep, I felt like my milk battle was winning me, not me winning it.
I also can’t pump after the first bit, because my milk wont let down with a pump.  This is all stuff I dealt with with my others too, but I still just pressed on.  Then when Major was about 7 months, I had a photo shoot take me away for longer than 2 hours, and as a desperate attempt, I had Brady go pick up a small can of formula at the store and see if he’d take it.  He gulped down a 6 ounce bottle then took a 3.5 hour nap.
And not that this was THE answer, and not that I couldn’t have still pushed on with nursing exclusively.. but I felt my heart change – how prayers are often answered for me.  I had been drowning and I couldn’t think of anything I could move from my plate to stay afloat, and on that day, I saw something that I could move off my plate.  I could have kept fighting, but I didn’t have to.  And it’s a lesson I hadn’t learned yet in mothering, and I’m grateful for.  We didn’t rush into anything, I kept nursing – and on days I felt nursing wasn’t enough, I’d feed him a bottle.  Then I started feeding him a bottle before bed, and that made all the difference in his sleeping.  We gradually, very slowly moved from nursing to bottles full time.  And instead of feeling terribly sad, or like defeat, I felt happier, and I could tell Major was happier.  I felt like I had done what was right for us, not what was right for me, or what I wanted to do the most, but what was right for us.  And that felt so good.
Major is happily taking 2-3 8 oz. bottles a day, sleeping through the night, and finally napping reguarly too.  It has also been such a sweet tender mercy to me because my oldest baby was a bottle-baby as well, and it’s brought back so many sweet memories from her babyhood.  It’s another testiment to there being a million ways to be a good mother, and no one way.  As a mama of four babies now, I haven’t found two that are exactly alike.  I have had to be four different mothers to my four different children.  And somehow, I am doing it, by the Grace (and loads of help) of God.
And that is the story of how Major went from a nursing baby, to a bottle-fed baby.  The end.
Major is truly the easiest.  We have schlepped that baby around on road trips, various adventures, camping, hotels, pack-n-plays in different places.  He sometimes has to take a carpool ride rather than take a nap, or not get to bed as early as he’d like because we’re still not through with dinner.  He is so go with the flow, and I am forever forever grateful he’s in our family.
Our happy little caboose.  What a dream.
He has shown me a whole new flavor of love.
I feel like the luckiest to get to be his mama.

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Grae Tidbits

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

My sweet Gigi, you own my heart.

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Stella Tidbits

Since I have so many kids now, it’s hard to get each of them in one tidbits post.  Now i’ll be taking turns spotlighting each one, hopefully once a week.

Stella has always been our Sunshine Girl.
She truly feels like the sunshine to our family – consistently bright, happy, and loving.
No matter what is going on in our lives, we can count on Stella to bring happiness to our day.
Stella is always thinking of others, truly.
At any given time, you can find her crafting up something for her teacher, friend, or family member.
She is constantly offering to do something for someone without being asked.
She is always the one Grae goes to for anything because she knows Stella will say yes.  Grabbing a snack, playing another round of hide-and-seek, turning on a show.
I really needed one like Stella.
Stella gives the most and asks for the least.
Which means I stay up at night wondering if she’s been given enough.
A couple months ago, Stella forgot her lunch at home and when I dropped her off I told her I’d bring it back to her.  And then I forgot.  So at about 2pm, lunch had well passed and I felt sick in my stomach thinking of her at school, expecting me any minute, and I hadn’t come.  I begged Brady to come home from work to sit with the babies so I could go make it up to her and check her out early.
When I got there, she wasn’t the least bothered – in fact she was elated to tell me she got to eat school lunch for the first time and “IT WAS AMAZING!”  I asked if she wanted to come with me to get a treat and she shrugged and said “sure.”  When we got in the car I told her she could pick ANY PLACE in the whole city to get a treat, and she thought for about 2 seconds and then said “A gas station.”  Sure thing.  We went to the gas station around the corner (after I asked several times if she was absolutely SURE that was the place she wanted to go – it was) she got herself a drink and picked a treat, and then she said “Mom, I’ll just get a drink so I can get a treat for Harlo.” (cue the heart burst and the fighting back tears).  I told her she could pick something for herself AND something for Harlo, and she quickly picked  Harlo’s favorite candy out – she knew just the thing!  On our way back to the school to pick up Harlo, Stella said “Mom, this was the best day I ever had.”
I tell this story because it is just SO Stella.  Easy going, grateful, thoughtful, and the sweetest soul you could ever imagine.
If she’s ever been mad at anyone it’s only lasted 5 seconds.
On the rare occasion we need to get after her, it’s tough because she’s so easy going, she really doesn’t mind being grounded from the ipad, tv, etc.  She’d be just as happy to curl up with a book and snuggle in on the couch.
She continues to soar in school.  Her last SEP, her teacher just sung her praises and got a little teary over how much she enjoys her in class.
The only thing Stella requires is snuggles.  Snuggling is this girl’s love language.  She will take it from whoever is willing to dish it out.
Stella has a special place in so many hearts, but especially her Papa Guitar’s.
Stella has such a sweet connection with my dad – they are total pals.  Stella asks often if Papa will pick her up and they go about the town on his errands, they stop by the park and he’ll push her in the swing for hours.   They’ll go on hikes, and to the pet store.  My dad adores this time with her, and says it’s just like having me back as a kid.  My heart bursts thinking of them out and about doing the same stuff my dad and I always did together.
Last week she came home from school and said “mom, I talked to my teacher today about Papa coming to play to my class.” She had arranged the whole thing. (my dad goes to her class to play Christmas songs for the kids each year – just like he did for mine).
Stella loves in the largest capacity and each of us who receive it are so so lucky.
Her favorite past time right now is browsing Target online looking for gifts for her siblings.  My goodness!  I couldn’t make this stuff up.
My family says she’s just like me, like I was at her age, and I love hearing that.
She is a treasure to us, and I am grateful every day for her place in our family.
We needed her like the earth needs the sun.

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Major Tidbits

Six(ish) Months

This little honey man.
He is pure deliciousness, I tell you what.
Major is such a happy, happy boy.
He rarely ever cries.
He travels in the car like a dream boat.
He is army crawling all over the place, sometimes now getting his belly off the floor.
He is by far my earliest crawler.  And he’s fast!
He officially has grown out of his boucer, swing, etc.
He still does like his johnny jump-up that hangs in the kitchen door, though.
He is the jump-jump-jumpinest babe.
He wont stand up and bear weight on his legs for too long, but he will jump for hours if you’ll let him.
He says “dada” “mama” and various “ba!” “guh!” sounds he calls through the house.
He’s really working on that wave!
He definitely knows his name and responds to it every single time it’s called.
He has the sisters all figured out.
He’ll rely on Harlo to soothe him, he laughs at Stella even if she glances his way, and he has started thinking Grae is just about the neatest pal a guy could ask for.
He has also already learned to pester those sisters of his, Grae being the easiest target.
He’ll grab at her or touch her things and the more she reacts to it, the more he wants to do it with a sly smile on his face.
Those two crack me up!
I can already see they will have such a neat relationship.
It’s been so fun for me to see the brother/sister dynamic, because I’ve never experienced that.
He is just the mini boyfriend of the house!  We are all so smitten.
I can tell this boy is going to be loooooved his whole life long.
People make comments all the time on “Brady getting his boy”, but honestly I feel more like Brady got his girls and now I get my boy. ;)
It sure is good to be loved like this.  It has been a precious tender mercy to my life!
Major is mini man, and that includes being a big ol’ eater!
The second we started solids (5-6 months old), he was a fan.
He is now eating solids 3 times a day and nursing a countless amount as well.  That boy can put it away!  He eats way way way more than my girls ever did.
Our pediatrician has been so great at preparing me for the stage ahead with a boy and eating, late talking, early mobility he was dead-on for.
He is as solid as a rock.  He’s got the best coosh all over, and the guy is heavy!
My back is really paying for it, but my mama heart couldn’t be more proud of this growing guy.
I cannot keep the boy in clothes – he grows in and out of sizes in a matter of weeks.  I can’t shop ahead in seasons, because once we get to them, he’s no where near the size I thought he’d be.
He’s currently growing into 12m clothes.  He’s in a size 3 shoe, and getting close to a 4.
He is in a size 4 diaper, the same size as Grae, and he fills them out way more than she does.
They are just the cutest ‘tiny big sister’, and ‘big baby brother’ you could ever imagine.
If Major had one single down-fall – and he does – it’s his sleep.  I’m not sure what happened there, because he started out as a pretty great sleeper, but he really never got any better than he did as a newborn.  He’s not my worst sleeper, but he still is wanting to eat 3 times a night and he barely naps for any amount of time.
We have really tried to work on his sleep habits, but as soon as we make some progress, it seems like a trip or a cold or something or another comes along and wrecks any progress we have made.  The best he’s ever done is makes it until 3am, so that’s the goal we shoot for.
Usually though, he’s wanting to wake up and eat at 12, then 2, then 5, then 7…
He naps from 10-11 and 2-3ish, and maybe another cat nap around dinner time.
He likes going to bed, he just doesn’t stay asleep for as long as we’d hope.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I raise babies who hate sleep.  Which is weird, because I’m really quite fond of sleeping.
At this age, it seems post partum depression starts creeping in for me.  I am aware and know more of how to handle it, but it’s just something I deal with in the post-partum phase.  I’ll chat more about depression in another post, but wanted to jot it down here for my records.
Major has made adjusting to four kids a serious breeze.  He has seemed to sneak right into our family dynamic and add to it happily and effortlessly.
Each of us is just as smitten with him as the next, we can’t imagine what life was ever like without him in it.
Our world is brighter and happier with this sweet boy.
I just feel like the absolute luckiest mama to have my three sweet girls, and this special boy to boot.
He has changed me and softened me in all the best ways only a son could.
He makes me love a little deeper, smile a little easier, and live a little fuller.
Our love is the eternal kind, and I am ever so grateful for our Heavenly Father for making that type of love possible in this life.
Major, my sweet son, thank you for choosing me.  For choosing us.  We are so happy you’re here.

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Monthly Major | ONE

It’s hard to believe this sweet son of mine is already a whole month old.
Major has been a dream of a baby this far.
I have truly enjoyed every last drop of time we’ve had with him.
From the minute he came into this world, he was cool, calm, collected.
Goodness, I needed this boy in my life.
From the first night he was born, he has slept so well.
I feed him at 11 or 12 before I go to bed, he wakes up around 4 to eat and then again at 8 and snoozes until the late morning.
During the day he nurses every couple of hours.
He has only made a few little cries since he was born.
Today he screamed in the car for the first time ever, and we had never seen him so upset. (only crying for the one block before we got home)
So far nothing has ruffled his feathers too much.
Although he does hate cold wipes!
I teased while I was pregnant that I didn’t care if I had a boy or a girl, that I just wanted an easy one like Stella.
Boy did I get what I wished for… He is nice as pie and almost a spitting image of our sweet Stella Bean.
Not at all that I don’t love my spice girls, we could just use a little more sweet to even things out around here!)
Major is a growing boy! Pushing 11 lbs by now.
He is my fastest growing child.
He has big long feet (like his dad) and giant little paws for hands.  He reminds me of a great dane puppy.
This boy came out of the womb looking for milk.  He latched perfectly and has been such a great nurser.  He sure loves to eat!
He also reeeeally loves to poop.  I think he poops even more than he eats, if that’s possible.
Times I’ve been peed on : 5  Times I’ve been pooped on : 2
His eyes are already starting to brown up… He’ll be my tall, dark, and handsome boy.
Major smiled his first real smile for Daddy last week, and has given one to me a couple times since then.
He absolutely has two distinct dimples at each corner of his mouth.
Being a dimpled lady myself, I think I could just keel over and die over that one.
Although he’s an easy boy, we are starting to tell he is turning into a little mama’s boy, to which I am very pleased.
He loves the tub, and especially the running water over his head.
He loves hand massages just like his older sister, and he loooooves when I sing to him.  He is mesmerized the minute he hears me.
The other night, Mr. Miller was watching us in our nightly routine and said “He’s like in-love with you, huh.”
I have watched our daughters love their daddy with that same kind of love, and it made me smile to hear Brady is witnessing the same thing.
Maj sure likes his sisters already.  As soon as he hears them come into the room he is looking all around trying to find them.
He barely flinches at Grae’s screeches during the day, ha!
And I am happy to say that Grae has not skipped a single beat since he was born.  She loves him fiercely as I knew she would.
He has sure gone easy on us with the transition to four kids.  I swear we’ve barely noticed the change.
One thing is for sure, this boy truly made all my wildest dreams come true.
He is everything I never knew I wanted and so much more.
He is gentle and calm and so easy to love.
We have so enjoyed this month falling in love with our sweet boy.

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Grae is TWO!

My darling baby Grae is two years old.
Two years ago, she came into our life in the sweetest chapter we had ever experienced, and has been blessing us each day since.
She turned two on Easter weekend, which ended up being just perfect for a two year old.
Easter egg hunts, arts festival, beautiful park weather.. she was in heaven!
Grae is so full of spunk these days.
She is SO full of life and color and I really can’t imagine our life without her gigantic spirit.
I tease often how naughty Grae is – and she is, don’t get me wrong – but my goodness she has enough cute and sweet in her to balance every last bit of it, if you can imagine such a thing!
Grae loves.  She loves big and she loves hard, and she is pretty selective of who she gives her love to.
Grae loves her daddy especially.
Girls! I tell you.  I have watched each one of our girls fall head-over-heels for their father.  It will go down as one of my biggest blessings in this life – such a sweet type of love to see blossom.
Grae is by far the most demanding child I have ever had.
She needs my absolute, undivided attention almost every second of every day.
Being so pregnant, I find myself needing to sit and rest a lot more often, and I rarely can get a good 2 minutes down without Grae needing me for something or other – and insisting I get it now.
Oh mercy.  She has been one of the tougher aspects of this pregnancy, and I expect wont ease up much in newborn-hood.
Each time I find worry creep up inside me for how she’ll handle life with the new baby, I am immediately put at ease knowing how much she is going to enjoy that tiny human.
Grae was made to be a big sister, I just know it.  I felt the exact same way about Harlo.
Every time she wakes up for the day, or naptime she immediately asks for “brepast”.
She MUST eat “breakfast” after every nap.
Grae is very particular, and everything must be done just so.
She loves walking me through any process.  Getting her milk for the day, always goes like this:
“mom, come here.” I come. “drink?” she walks to the fridge. “Mik?” I get the milk out, pour the milk. “Chock-it mik?” as she points to the canister of ovaltine. I scoop the ovaltine into the milk. “shake it?” I shake it and hand it over. “thank you mama”. She scurries off.
Grae always scurries.  She never walks slowly anywhere, always in a little shuffled run, scurrying from one place to the next.  I can always hear her coming by her little shuffle.
She continues to nervously say “mom” over and over, all day long.  To get my attention, it’s never just one “mom” it’s always “mom-mom, mama, mom”.
She’ll say “mom” over and over until a thought comes into her mind to tell me.
“Mom-mom, mama,” “what Grae?” “mama, mom.” “what baby?” “…….mom.” “what?” “mom, I ceyals (cereal) in a cup?” Sometimes I count how many times she says “mom” before she tells me what she needs.  Last week one time it was 17 times.
It drives Brady crazy in the car when she does it, and he’s amazed by my ability to tune it out – or for the endless of amount of patience I show for having my name called 92,404 times in an hour sitting.
Some evenings, I am left feeling frazzled and needing some serious time to myself with a quiet minute where no one says the M-word…. but mostly I just smile because this precious chapter will surely not last forever.  She needs me all the time, she wants me all the time.  Our lives are absolutely wrapped up into each other’s and I’ve heartbreakingly learned that it doesn’t stay that way forever.  I will soak in every last drop of love she can give me, and I’m so lucky to be the one that gets her love all day long.
Grae is absolutely a little chatter-box.
She is talking SO well.  Carrying on full conversations, able to ask for anything she wants or needs (which is a lot), keep up with the big girls…
She will copy anything and everything you say.  Whatever you say to her, she’ll mimic the last word of the sentence.
She is also very observant.
I got my nails done two days ago, and the first thing she noticed when I went to get her out of her crib afterwards was my nails.  “Cute noles! I like your noles.” she said as she carefully observed them.  She’s told me at least 10 times since, every time they catch her attention.  I just die every single time.
Grae has her daddy absolutely wrapped around her little finger.
All day, she’ll do the cutest, most precious things and he’ll just look at me stunned saying “oh my hell.” and I just totally know.  Your mind can’t comprehend the level of cuteness.
I always say Grae is so cute, it almost hurts to look her straight in the face.  It’s so true.  I can’t tell you what her little face does to my insides.  Squeeeeee!
She has the face of a baby cartoon lamb.
Some days, when the toddler rage is to full capacity, that cute face saves her.
When I’m defeated and sigh “Grae…..” she always says “what mom?!”
Her big sisters are just as smitten as we are.
Grae is and will always be the most exciting thing that happened to our little family.
We are thrilled beyond measure she belongs to us – forever. 

Happiest Birthday, my precious Grae Golden.  May you always know how loved you are.


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Harlo being 7 years old now just blows my mind.  We are half way to 14, and 1/3 of the way to 21.  I mean…
No one could have possibly prepared me for how fast it would go by.
My dad sits on my couch and tells me the same thing, “It was like yesterday this was you and your sisters.”
Talk about heart break.
But the tender mercy God put in with His quickly passing time is making sure each and every stage comes with it’s own sense of magic and fulfillment.
I love having a 7 year old.  Just as I loved having a 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 year old.
Harlo is becoming so mature and aware of things.
Her questions and interests are much more complex.
Her body is lengthening out with these long legs and arms that are so strong and capable and coordinated.
She can help me with things – all things.
She can get her toddler sister out of her crib with ease.  She can even get her and feed her breakfast in a pinch.
She can watch over the littler girls while they play and alert me if anything is going awry.
She can clean her room, by herself, and do a great job.
She can get herself mostly ready for school in the morning.
Of course, the majority of these things I still insist on helping her with, but she can do it herself.  She really really can.
I meet her at the bus every day after school.  We jump up and down, scream, and wave “Harlo is here! Harlo is here!” with every bit of excitement we can muster.
When Harlo is home for the day, our home feels whole again.
Last week she asked me when she’ll be able to just come off the bus and walk home by herself because “I can mom.  I really could do that! It’s not far.” and I told her “I know you can, but that it is my right as a mother to greet my child off the bus and there will be so much time to do things by yourself later.  Please let me hold onto these things a little while longer, okay?” and she sweetly nodded like she understood just what I was feeling.
Harlo loves minecraft.  This makes her really popular among little 7 year old boys.
She can also school anyone with her minecraft creations.  For fun, Brady got into minecraft to take a peek at their “world”.  He couldn’t believe all the stuff she had created.  Houses and farms and fully functioning roller coasters and sky houses… Girl has her dad’s brain, through and through.  Brady and Harlo are wired just EXACTLY alike.
She will also sit on an electronic device alllll daaaaaay looooong if I let her.  We have to keep a close eye on that.
She is definitely a little book worm.  She has recently started reading chapter books.  She has been reading some Laura Ingalls that we had around, but we got her some Junie B. Jones for Christmas and she’s been loving those (and flying through them).  Reading has opened up a whole world to this little girl.  It’s been so fun to watch.
Harlo loves school.  Loooooves school.  Hates to miss it and can’t wait to go back after breaks.
She doesn’t mind math, but writing is her favorite. (She’s got a little of me in her too, I guess!)
She is my home body girl.  Would usually always rather be at home than anywhere else.  Oh I love her.
She has such a funny, quirky little sense of humor.
She has gotten way less picky about food and is finally starting to realize it doesn’t have to be your favorite thing to just have a few bites.  Hallelujah!
Harlo is just a sweet little angel.  She really is.  She has taught me so much about gentleness, and I really needed that.
I just love her so so so much.


Oh Stelly.
Where do I even begin?
Stella is probably the funnest kid you’ll ever meet.
She is 100% FULL OF IT.
She says more funny things in one day than I could possibly keep track of.
Stella is always willing to help.  I can ask her to do anything, and she’ll skip off to do it happily.
She is the second person Grae goes to when she needs anything, because she knows Stella will get it for her.
When it comes to cleaning their room, Harlo is really good about seeing what needs to be done and doing it.  Stella gets overwhelmed by things, but does really well with direction so I have started having Harlo tell Stella what she can do (pick up the dirty clothes off the floor, put the dress ups away..).  So far that is working and keeping Harlo from cleaning the entire room while Stella whines she’s tired or bored on the bed. Ha! (If you knew me and my sister Ali growing up, you know this is EXACTLY how we were.) I am raising us as sisters.
Stella is such a sensitive little thing.  Not a lot gets her down from her happy-go-lucky self, but recently we have found that she is quite emotional and sentimental.
I mentioned how she had cried during The Good Dinosaur which I thought was so sweet, and last week for family movie night we watched Father of the Bride (I’m trying to introduce my girls to some of my old favorites.) and during the last scene, Stella got all teary.  Oh my gosh, that precious girl!
She also can’t let anyone cry alone.  If Harlo gets hurt or in trouble, Stella is surely to to shed a tear for her as well.
On the flip side, if she does have a minute of moodiness or throws a little fit, you better believe in 2 minutes she is completely over it and back to herself.
I love this so much about Stella and try to be more like this myself every day!
Stella is currently obsessed with dolls.  And she is such a good little mama.
She changes her doll (Mayla’s) clothes every day, gets her ready for bed, feeds her, loves her, plays with her, puts her to bed at a decent hour.
I love that she’s like that, because I was just the same at her age.
I know she is going to be so excited when the new baby gets here (we all are) but Stella is going to be a great little helper/mama to this sweet baby.
She is also absolutely certain we’re having another girl.  (Harlo thinks we’re having a boy.)
But I’m absolutely certain that no matter what this baby is, Stella will love it with her whole entire heart. ♥
Stella continues to be a great little kindergartner.
She is one of the best readers and testers in her class.  We had gone back and forth a bit on if we should put Stella in this year or wait since she has a late birthday.  At our last SEP, her teacher said we had definitely made the right decision for this girl.  She said she usually always recommends waiting, but Stella was definitely ready on all levels.
Definitely good to hear!
Stella is always down to have a good time.  She loves it when we’re on the go and doing ANYTHING.
Last week Papa Guitar’s (my dad) stopped by to see if the girls wanted to go on a hike.  Harlo didn’t, she had just gotten home from school and was “too tired” so I figured Stella wouldn’t want to either.  Nope! She piped up immediately “well I do!” and ran for her shoes.  They had a great time and she was glad she went.  When she got home she said “Harlo you should have come, Papa Guitars was so hilarious!”
My dad loves taking her and says it’s just like jumping back in time with me.  I love hearing that. :)
During Stella’s blessing, Brady blessed her that she would let her little light shine always, and I must say, she does just that.


Oh mercy, Grae has gotten so full of personality lately.
You really could just eat her right up.
She runs this prancey run everywhere she goes.  EVERYWHERE she goes.
She sings and hums all day every day.  At church during the songs, she is just singing right along – loud and proud!
She says “mom” at least 12,000 times a day.
I tease that it’s her nervous tick.  It’s never just once either to get my attention, it’s always “mom-mom, mom, mama, mom?”  (exactly like this)
She is still absolutely attached to me, but I feel like she’s getting just a LITTLE bit better.
She still gets unbelievably anxious if she can’t see me for one second.  She hates if a closed door is between us (privacy? what’s that?).
Last week I was cleaning the kitchen while she played at my feet.  I walked around my island to wipe down the side of it, and bent out of her view for maybe .5 seconds and she immediately was struck with panic “mom-mom! Are you?!” I mean, she would have absolutely seen me walk out of the room, she was RIGHT by me.
She also hates if I close my eyes for any reason.  If we’re sitting on the couch and I want to “rest my eyes” (which I always want to do because I’m 7 months pregnant) she will panic “mom-mom, mama, mom?” until I open, or she tries to pry them open herself with her little fingers.
Needless to say, mama can’t get a SECOND to herself through the day.  More days than not, by the time Brady gets home for dinner I am quite fried. (But I still miss her every night after she’s gone to bed…)
Even though she is still a stage 5 clinger, she has gotten SO so so much fun to be around all the time, so I don’t even mind.
Her little vocabulary is just exploding.  She asks “why?” about every. single. thing.
Yesterday at Target she kept dropping something so when I gave it to her I told her “no more, or you wont get it back.” and she said “Why mom? Are you kidding me?” :|
She has also started a few weeks ago saying “are you talking to me?” when you tell her not to do something.
She is a spunky thing, I tell you what!
She loves pushing the buttons on the alarm before bed, but she calls them “Tuppins”.
She loves Curious George right now and calls it Monkey Show, but pronounces it “Gumpy show”.
She loves all “gumpys” (monkeys).
I am just seriously happy she’s taken a break from watching Caillou.
Every night when I rock her to bed she makes me tell her all the people who love her, starting with Daddy and working our way down.. We say “Daddy loves you, mommy loves you, Harlo loves you…” and so on.  But she’ll tell me who she wants to hear and asks “auntie luh you?” “yes, Auntie loves you.” “Willow luh you?” “yeah, Willow loves you too.” This little nightly routine just makes my heart burst.
She still will have next to nothing to do with church nursery.  She did make it through about a half hour last week before she started crying and then just hammed it up for me and Brady in young men/young womens afterwords.
Home girl owns us.
Right when she opens her eyes in the morning, she asks for “brepast?” and when we make it to the kitchen she says “Ogurt?”
She loves bananas and crackers and cheese.  She’d live on that.
She’s in size 4 diapers now and has finally outgrown her 9 month clothing.  12-18 months fits her with plenty of room to grow.
People ask all the time how old she is when she’s walking and talking the way she is.  She looks like she’s barely a year old, and they’re shocked when I say she’ll be two soon.
Of course, if they hang out long enough, they’re not at all surprised to hear she’s almost 2 because she sure acts like a 2 year old. :D
As busy and sassy and spunky and attached she is, I wouldn’t trade this girl for the world.  I absolutely enjoy every last ounce of her.
As happy as she is to have me, I am double as happy to have her!



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My oldest child.
Does she get enough of me?
Does she get enough appreciation for how much she helps?
How much she holds this family together in her own magical way?
How smart and capable she is?
How I think she’s the strongest person I’ve ever met in my life?
Does she get that?
Oh, Heaven help me, I hope so.  I hope hope hope so.
Harlo is so good.  So good.
Harlo is also good in a very unconventional, and under-the-table sort of way.
Harlo’s goodness is not in your face, at all.
Harlo’s goodness is in the smallest details of the day, and in the easily ignored places where love and caring thrive.
My biggest fear for Harlo’s goodness everyday is that it will be overlooked.
But not to me, my dear girl.  Never by your mother.
I see that goodness in her.  It radiates all around her.
It’s in her wise, older-than-the-world eyes.
It’s in the way she naturally loves and cares for her sisters.
It’s in the way she is able to face and overcome tough things.
It’s in the way she constantly pushes through her comfort zone.
That goodness inside of her is the kind not a lot of us get in this life.
I’m not sure I did, and I’m glad I have her to help me.
When I think of Harlo, I know she is such a special person to our Father in Heaven and that she is meant for such a great purpose.
I am so honored to be her mother, I truly am.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of anything in my life than that.
Harlo’s favorite thing to eat is refried beans.  That child would eat refried beans for ever single meal – happily.
In fact, sometimes we talk about kids in other countries that don’t have very much food and all they have is some beans to eat during the day, day in and day out.
Harlo thinks that wouldn’t be half bad.  She would love to only eat one meal a day, and bonus if it was beans. (we’re working on empathy with her, lol.)
Harlo also loves cereal.  Kicks, Rice Krispies, and chex are among her favorites. (I hate buying sugary cereal in the worst way.)
Harlo likes apple juice, not orange juice.
Regular milk, not almond milk (or anything else).
She prefers ice cream over any single treat in the world.
For her school lunches she always wants crackers, cheese and pepperoni (wonder where she gets that, Grandma!) or an egg salad sandwich.
Harlo has recently started to recognize modesty.  She doesn’t like shirts or dresses with too thin of tank tops, and she doesn’t like watching Tarzan because she doesn’t think he’s dressed “repropriately”. (ha!)
This is all on her own, but I’ve found it fascinating how her desires and maturity changes over the years.  She is turning into a little lady.
Her heart still belongs to Hudson, a close friend of ours.
Last week the girls and I made a pact that they would grow up and be next door neighbors with me and I would babysit their kids while they go on double dates with their honeys.
It sounds like a fantastic plan to me!
Harlo is loving first grade.  She is such a good little reader and is a whiz at math, it seems.
Her only complaint, along with mine, is that she has too much homework.
Homework for first graders? I don’t love that.
What I do love is that first grader of mine.  She is a good one.


Stella continues to be the happiest child on the planet.
She is happy about everything almost all of the time.
She goes to school skipping, and comes home skipping.
It is really hard to have a rough day when Stella’s little rays of sunshine are all around.
I mean it.
Since about April, the first time she saw Maleficent, she knew that’s what she wanted to be for Halloween.
I wondered if it got closer if thing would change, but nope.  Not even the new Cinderella movie could sway her.
And not just any Maleficent, YOUNG Maleficent.  So I will be busy this week preparing that costume for her… it’s not one that can be purchased on Amazon.  Dang!
Brady and I laugh sometimes that if we’ve given our kids anything, it’s their own opinion.  Which I think is good… in the long run.
But Stella, even though she has her own opinions about everything, she is still so easy and go-with-the-flow.
All the time when I ask her what she wants, she’ll say “whatever, mom.”
I try not to take advantage of her easy-nature and make sure that sometimes we’re eating her favorite thing, or doing what she wants, because she’s so willing to give up what she wants for the best of the family.
Stella is such a good example to our whole family.  Often times we find ourselves following her example.  Especially me.
Stella’s favorite food is probably mac and cheese or ramen noodles (which she really only gets to eat once a week when Miss Ellie comes to babysit) ha!
She likes orange juice over apple juice.
Isn’t a big milk drinker.
Her favorite drink is lemonade, but she still asks for water most of the time, even when she has the option for a special drink.
Her favorite is horchata from Cafe Rio, but she calls it “cinnamon milk”.
I love their little quirks and preferences.
Stella’s favorite movie is Tarzan right now.  Or Maleficent.
She also can’t wait until she gets boobs and can wear a bra.
“When again mom? Like when I’m fourteen?” she’ll ask as I’m getting out of the shower.
Stella and I were cut from the same cloth in so many ways.
Brady once said to me “Now that we have Stella, I understand you so much better.” I  knew exactly what he meant. :)
Stella is a serious snuggle bug.
If anyone in the house is sitting with a blanket being cozy, it’s only a matter of time before Stella is coming in for a snug.
Sunday naps especially.
Stella would nap every day if we let her.  Except then she doesn’t go to bed until 11pm and I turn into a crazy person.
Stella is smart.  I knew she was smart, but I really had no idea.
At her pre-kindergarten testing she read higher than any other student.
She is reading just about where Harlo is, and Harlo is a good reader!
She also likes to help with Harlo’s math homework and can usually add faster than the rest of us.  It’s crazy.
She is just a bright little thing.
She has a late birthday for school, but I’m definitely glad we made the decision to put her in this year.
She was so ready.
Funny how having a big sister just above her really pushes her to learn and do more.
Stella was star of the week in kindergarten last week.  You bet she loved every single minute of it!
Stella is our star everyday though, and we love every minute of her!


Oh my word, Grae is so cute.
She is so cute that sometimes it makes me crazy.
I constantly ask her “Where on earth did you come from?”
I say Grae is my hardest baby, and she definitely has been the most demanding child I’ve had.
But she’s also been my biggest mama’s girl, and that’s exactly what I wanted and prayed for.
She loves me so much and hates when I’m out of her sight.
All day long she asks me “hold jew!” and if I have to set her down, she is hanging on to my dress or apron so I wont get too far.
I cook with her on my hip, I do laundry with her hugging my legs, I pee with her on my lap.
She is an attached little baby.
Grae is also 19 months old! She is exactly the same age as Harlo was when I had Stella.
I gotta say, I’m glad we have a few months until our baby gets here.  I have no idea how that will all pan out.
I feel like God sent me Grae for such a distinct purpose.  I feel that way about all my girls, but I am right in the middle of God changing me right now with mothering her and I feel that.
I needed to be loved in this life the way Grae loves me.  And I needed to learn to put someone’s needs before mine ALL THE TIME like Grae requires of me.
I have a better perspective since Grae has joined our family and I am grateful for that.
Did I mention I tried to take Grae to church nursery once?  Yeah… that didn’t work out.  We’ll try again later.. much later.
So right now I usually skip the middle hour by walking the halls or running home for this or that, and then the third hour Mr. Miller and I shuffle her around through our young men and young women where we both are.
If she’s really lucky, she goes to relief society with Grandma, or does bishopric duties with Grandpa.  Ha.  Homegirl runs that place!
Grae is very much enjoying (demanding) feeding herself these days.
It’s hard to pin point her favorite thing, because some day she loves something and the next she will have nothing to do with it.
She is a little sugar baby though.  Definitely has had more sugar than either of my other two combined by this age.  Yikes!
The other morning I came home from dropping the girls off from school and Grae was eating a sucker.  I looked at Brady and he said “You try to tell her no.”
Yep.  That’s my Grae Girl.
We’ve basically created a darling monster.
Grae looooves Elmo and she also loves Caillou.
We have a Caillou DVD in the car, and she asks for it to be turned on as soon as I put her in to buckle.  “Caillou?  Caillou?”
Every morning after breakfast, I get her her juice (because she is painfully constipated without daily juice) and then she asks, “Elmo?”
She’s basically got life figured out.
She is talking better and better each day.  Not a word she won’t say if you ask her.
She misses the girls when they’re at school and asks for “Lelly? Ha-lo?” when they’re gone.
She LOVES when the bus pulls up.  It’s her highlight of the day.
She says “thank you!” if you hand her anything.
She says “Bless you!” if anyone sneezes. (cuting everyone to death on the daily)
If I come in from even the next room over, she’ll exclaim “MOMMY!” running to me with open arms.
As much as she loves her mama, she’s equally as obsessed with Daddy, if not more.
When we’re both around she says “mommy daddy!” over and over like the happiest little child.
Grae goes to bed like a dream, which is funny considering she didn’t sleep at all for her first 12-14 months of life.
She has also been our easiest baby to travel with as far as sleep goes.  She had a trial sleep over at Grammy’s the other night for when B and I are going out of town, and she did perfect.
We really really deserved some easiness in the sleep department.  :D
Her naps have finally fizzled from two to one a day.
Every once in a while I’ll get a good nap out of her, but mostly it’s just an hour.
I’ve embraced that about her though.  At least she doesn’t fight me at bedtime.
As spicy as she can be, she really is just as sweet.
There’s not a single doubt that she wasn’t made for our family.
She has sure carved out a nice little spot for herself.  Both in our family and my heart.
We are so blessed.

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Harlo is officially 6 and a half and is very excited about that fact.
She just started first grade and has done SO well.
Our year of kindergarten was a pretty tough one, and I have already seen a huge difference in this year from last.
She does her homework as soon as she gets home, and flies through it.
She has suddenly picked up addition like an old pro.
She barely has to think about it before she’s jotting the answers to the addition questions down.  It’s nuts!
She’s taken lunch to school each day.  I am very happy that she is way less picky than she used to be.
Her favorite lunch is an egg salad sandwich or when I pack meat, cheese and crackers.
I wrote a note the first day of school and put it in her lunch box and she asks me to write one each day now.
Last week as I was cleaning up her room, I saw a stash of the notes on her side table – she’s been saving them.
Melt my heart!!
Her favorite food is still beans and rice.
Her favorite treat is for sure still ice cream.
If she can pick a drink, it’s always sprite.
Harlo has grown up so much this last little bit.
She is so mature, and calm, and responsible.
I hate getting after her, because she is very sensitive.
I actually get comments on my calm nature with my girls sometimes (which is funny because I don’t feel like I’m calm all the time at all) but I have learned that Harlo has really made us that way.  She’s too tender hearted to be yelled at or scolded too harshly, and because of that, I have had to really work on my temper and think before I speak – especially when I’m upset.  I’m grateful for that.  I really needed that softening.
I think all the time how Heavenly Father knew just what he was doing when he sent me this sweet soul first.  She’s the one who was strong enough to train me to be a great mom.
A couple weeks ago we were talking about what the girls wanted to be when they grew up.  Harlo told me she wanted to be a doctor for animals and for people.  When I asked if she wanted to be a mom,  she said “yeah… but maybe my boyfriend can stay home with the kids while I’m at work.” haha!  Funny thing is she’s more maternal than any kid I’ve ever seen… I highly doubt that’s how it will all play out for her. ;) This girl was made to be a mama.
She says her favorite thing at recess are the “tricky bars” where she can loop her legs through and hang by her knees.  She wears shorts under her dresses everyday so she can do this!
On her first day of first grade, she came home and decided it was time to master bike riding and she did it! She is now riding all over the place.
She also had a super loose tooth and pulled it out herself that night.
It was a big day!
She took to swimming like a fish to water this summer.  What a neat milestone! (Especially neat since I can’t swim myself really well at all.)
She is 100% out of floaties.
Last weekend at the pool, she was swimming a little too far and I think came up for air and panicked a little bit.  She got quite emotional and didn’t want to swim anymore and wanted to go home.  This kind of episode could have been quite an ordeal for our sensitive girl, but I told her we weren’t leaving and she could sit there, or I would practice swimming with her in smaller sections.  It took her a few minutes, and then she was ready to try again.  Before long, she was swimming all over the pool again.
This seems small, but for our girl, this is a huge victory and it shows how far she’s come with her anxieties.  Harlo is BRAVE.  Constantly having to push herself out of her comfort zone – and succeeding.
She’s such a good example to me in my life.
Harlo is really just the best, sweetest little thing you ever did know.
She holds her sister’s hand on the playground and walks her to class.  Her least favorite part about school is missing her baby sister, Grae.  She helps Stella pick out her clothes each night before bed.  She gets Grae up from naps or in the mornings as often as she can.  She is just the best big sister in the world – truly.
I am so lucky she is mine, leading my children.  She’s so good at that job!
We feel so blessed to have Harlo in our home.

Our Stella is FIVE.  Goodness gracious!
Stella is one that seems like our little baby forever, and I can’t believe that she is now five years old.
She has been so elated to start Kindergarten.  She takes it very seriously.
I’ve said it before, but this year seems to be going ONE HUNDRED TIMES smoother than last year did.  I have really clicked with Stella’s teacher and I think she is going to be a great fit for our family.
Our sweet babysitter, Miss Ellie, had both the girl’s teachers before, so that is really special for the girls.
Stella is the light of our home.
She is hilarious and is always full of tricks or jokes or games or anything of the like.
When she grows up she wants to be a “photographer and artist, and a mom, just like my mom”. Swoon!
Stella by far thinks I’m the coolest.  She wants to be just like me.
She asks me on a weekly basis if I’ll save a certain outfit for her when she grows up.  It kills me!
Stella is as sweet and bubbly as they come.
She is constantly melting our hearts – especially Daddy’s.
Whenever Stella does something, I’ll look at Brady and know his heart is just melting over her.
Being married to a dad to girls is the best thing ever.
Stella has already made friends at school and has loved going back every day.
She especially loves riding the bus with her sister.
I love that she still just goes to half-day kindergarten.  I would miss her terribly all day.
Stella is my sleeper and still likes to nap a couple times a week, if I’ll let her.
This always makes bedtime a little later, but sometimes I can’t resist.  Especially after school when I can tell she’s pooped.
She loves having homework and all the big girl stuff like Harlo.
She can’t wait until she can eat lunch at school.
She also mastered swimming over the summer.  Little fishy, this one!
She is THIS close to being able to pedal her big girl bike.  She gets a few pedals in, and she is swerving form nerves.  She’ll get it soon though, I know it!
Stella’s favorite treat is a snow cone or slush.
Her favorite food right now is probably mac and cheese.
Her drink of choice is lemonade.
She still talks about her birthday and how it was the best day ever.
Stella still has her boo, even though she’s not allowed to take it out of the house.
She is still very obsessed.
She also still sucks her fingers.
Stella can’t wait to lose a tooth and asks me everyday to check to see if her tooth is loose yet.
Hopefully soon!
She has become a little whiz on the computer.  I have to constantly be limiting time from screens form both the big girls.
Bedtime has suddenly finally gotten to be less of a circus.
I prepped her for Kindergarten and told her that we had to be more responsible now, and that means getting to bed and STAYING IN BED.
We “practiced” this for a couple of weeks before school started, and I’m happy to say that now she rarely comes out.
Occasionally she’ll come out for another kiss or to tell me she loves me (lol), but it’s to a minimum now.
She has started giving us a little sass here and there now that she’s turned five.
If she has a certain way she wants something to go, she has no trouble letting us know about it.
We’ve had to check that attitude a bit the last couple weeks.
Other than that though, Stella is almost always smiling and laughing and skipping around.
She is the sweetest, brightest little soul.
We are the luckiest to call her ours.

Oh our little Grae Girl.
Grae has turned into quite the big girl over the summer.
I swear it happened over night.
She is officially 17 months!
She is finally walking all over the place as her primary form of transportation.
A whole new world has opened up to her!
Now that she can get down at church, restaurants and the like, there is no stopping her!
Grae getting into things is at an all time high.
My makeup drawers are usually always the culprit.  Oy vey!
I have to watch her like a hawk now that she’s on the move.
She is a little copy-cat all the time.
She is constantly trying to say what we say, or do what we do.
So funny to watch all the things she observes.
She doesn’t miss a beat, I tell you what.
Grae has taken a serious liking to Elmo recently.
Reminds me so much of Harlo at this age, I love it.
In the last couple of months, her vocabulary has exploded.
There is nothing she won’t mimic, and she can usually ask for exactly what she needs.
I hear “cracker? cracker? drink?” all the day long.
She is a little bottomless pit.  She eats non-stop all day long.
Although she is way more picky than my other girls were at this age.
She loves sandwiches and will ask “sammich?” when she wakes up from her nap.
She also loves mac & cheese and any noodle.
She has a tough time with fruit though, especially mandarin oranges or anything mushy like that.
I’m sure it’s the texture, but I’ve never had a baby hate peaches, oranges or anything like them.
She has DEFINITELY been my most spirited child.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I started going grey only since she’s been born…
Grae makes her presence known wherever she goes.
Whether it is charming everyone to death, or her shrill shrieking piercing their soul. ;)
We are constantly stopped to be told how beautiful she is.
She is a little beauty, I still can’t believe she came from me.
Never in my life did I think I’d have a baby with big blue eyes like hers.
She’s too cute for her own good.
Grae is also a little smartie!
She knows exactly how to get into the phone to look at pictures.
I find her copying the girls all the time.
Her latest favorite thing to do is get a paper and crayon and lay on her belly, kicking her feet up behind her coloring.
She thinks she is a total big girl.
If Stella brought the light into our home, Grae definitely brings the COLOR.
She is a colorful little thing.  And I love every single shade.
And even though it’s sometimes hard to see past her naughtiness, she loves – loves – loves her mama and her snuggles erase all the tantrums away. (almost)
We are pretty down right obsessed with our Golden girl.





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11 months of grae

My Grae Girl is just growing growing growing.
She has gotten B-U-S-Y this month.
Crawling everywhere, into everything, busy little hands always in my way.
always in my way.
She has the cutest cutest scrunch-nose, toothy grin.  It is enough to stop your heart, I swear.
She got another tooth this week.
New tooth always equals up all night for us.
After a few days of no sleeping, I got desperate and asked for sleeping advice on instagram.
I got some great tips and started putting them to the test right away.. I’ll share what we’ve done:
The first night I put her to bed at 8 or so, and she woke up at 11:30 like she normally does.  Instead of going right in to nurse her back to sleep, I decided to give her 5 minutes.  She kind of fussed and whined and after 3 minutes she rolled over and went back to sleep.  I was shocked!  That night she slept through the night until 8:30am! She’s had a couple of all-night flukes before, so I was skeptical.  The next night she woke at 2 and we just brought her in bed with us which was another long night.  I finally went and put her in her own bed at 5:30, she let out one big cry and then was silent and slept until 9.  So, the third night I did the same thing as the first.  When she woke up at midnight, I let her fuss and just a few minutes and she slept through the night again.  Night number 4 she didn’t wake up at all.
I have no idea if this will be the end of night wakings – I’m sure not entirely, but I feel like we are making massive progress!  I am not a fan of crying it out after trying to “sleep train” my first baby and harboring a lot of guilt, but I have now come to terms (and inner peace) that each baby truly does need different things.  Harlo didn’t respond well to that method, Stella never ever needed to be sleep trained, and Grae seems to be a text-book case of CIO working.  I am so grateful to be humbled as a mother with each new baby and each new problem.  My opinions are constantly changing and evolving and I think that is wonderful practice as a human being.  As soon as I think I’m set in my ways, something happens to move me into a new perspective.
She has started transitioning more to one nap.  Still sometimes two.
She got soooo sick with a nasty virus this month.  It was absolutely miserable seeing her so sick.  She ran a 103 fever for 6 days.  After 2 trips to the doctor, and a croup-y cough, they finally treated her for croup and that day she got so much better.  Thank heavens! I’ve never had a baby that sick before.
It took her about 2 weeks to get her appetite back eating solids again.
Like she can afford to lose those calories!
She weighs 15 lbs 4 oz.  The older she gets, the tinier she is in comparison to other babies her age.
The only size clothes she’s grown out of is NB, and only for length.  She still wears 0-3 month dresses!  Her legs are long, so I buy her 12 month leggings, but they fit her more like palazzo pants than leggings.  She is just long and skinny – nothing like her mama.
She gets an upset tummy quite easily.  Bananas and mangos make her unbelievably constipated.  Beans make her have diarrhea and a gassy tummy.  We have to give her prunes almost daily to keep her comfortable and regular – poor little goosey.
She is rather high maintenance.
This month her hair has gotten so much fuller and longer.  She sported her first case of pigtails and her first clip-in bow.  Very exciting firsts. :)
She has definitely started talking more.  She will try to mimic most everything.
She says Harlo, Gigi, Stel, Auntie, Nana, Papa, Kitty, hair-do… along with the other basics like mama and dada and tons of jibber jabber.
The big girls are having so much fun with this new trick.
She pulls up to everything, and sometimes will walk along the coffee table or couch.
She also pulls up in her crib, especially when the big girls come to greet her after naps. :)
She has gotten so silly, we are starting to see bits of her sense of humor.
She will mimic facial experessions like raised eyebrows and scowly faces.
She can’t contain herself when music is on – she will stop whatever she is doing to dance.
Often in the car, I’ll look back to her carseat to see her legs bouncing up and down dancing to the music.  Ha!
She has gotten to be a slightly better traveler than she was a few months ago.
Now that we can hand her crackers and snacks and drinks seems to help.
She has also started SCREAMING this month.  If she wants something, if she doesn’t like something, if she’s bored, etc. she’ll let out this earth-shattering shriek.
Remember Stella being the worst screamer??  Apparently it runs in the family.
Never the less, it is shortening years off my life, I swear.
Grae has definitely relaxed down into a happier, more easy-going baby these last few weeks.
I have been reminded yet again how much I dearly love this stage of baby-hood.
Everyday is fun and magic and heartbursting love all day long.
She suddenly hates her changing table, but will be fine if I move her to change her anywhere else in the house.  No idea why.
I haven’t updated her diaper rash in a while, but after months of almost on going diaper rash, we seem to have ended that streak.
We have to be very very particular about which wipes and diapers we use (only luv’s and only up&up unscented, sensitive skin wipes).  She is absolutely allergic to huggies diapers and wipes and will come out in a burn anywhere it touches her.  So stressful getting to the bottom of it, but after a lot of trial and error and probably her growing out of some sensitivity, we have been clear for a while now (knock on wood)!
Grae has brought so much happiness and light into our lives.  She has been such an important part of my human experience on this earth, I know it.  She has changed me and taught me since the day she came into our lives.  She is a warrior of a soul and I am so so so blessed to call her my own.  We have loved every day of having her as part of our family.
I can’t believe her first birthday is just right around the corner!

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10 months of grae

My sweet, sweet , SWEET Grae Girl.
Oh my word, this baby is the most scrumptious thing I think I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
Grae is getting so much personality – she is so silly all the time!
She is constantly giving us these scrunch-nosed smiles that are sweet enough to kill.
She has gotten so much easier these last couple months.  She’s not as demanding and is much more laid back.
She is now crawling, crawling, crawling all over the place.
She is also pulling up to whatever she can.. the side of the highchair, the toy baskets in the living room, my legs…
Yesterday I set her down to do my makeup and turned around and she was gone.  I looked around my room, then in the hall, then started getting a little stressed when I heard some rustling in the girl’s room.  She had made her way clear down the hall and into their closet. Ha!
No matter what she’s doing, if I say “rawr!” she will turn and try to run away from me, giggling all the while.
She thinks her sisters are an absolute blast.
They can get her giggling and smiling and shrieking quicker than anyone else.
She’ll let Harlo tote her all around, get her out of her high chair, get her up from her crib.  It’s amazing how patient she is with Harlo.
Stella… is another story.  She loves Stella and can tell she’s the silly sister, but as soon as Stella gets too close, she’s whining to get away.
Stella is a lover, what can I say.  And for a baby, Stella might be just a little too much of a lover. ;)
Grae has recently taken such a liking to her dad.
Oh my word, melt my heart.
Each baby I swear my love for Brady grows times a thousand.
Watching him with our girls, and especially our tender little baby just melts me into a puddle.
As soon as she hears Brady walk in the door, she is all eyes for Daddy – always trying to get his attention.
I have noticed when he used to sit the high chair by me, now he’s sitting it over by him.
Oh my heart, that Daddy.
A little update on her (lack of) sleeping.. After weeks of no sleep and utter desperation, I took her to the chiropractor.  She was constipated, teething, tugging at her ears and not sleeping at alllll.
He took a look at her, felt around her neck and said “Is she constipated?” Yes. “Does she sleep on her tummy?” Yes. “Has she been pulling at her ears at all?” Yes.  He did a small little adjustment in her neck and said “that should fix that.”  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  He explained how this place in her neck was obviously out of place, it was probably hurting her when she would try to move her neck at night since she’s a tummy sleeper and that’s what was causing her to wake up every 30 minutes.  He also explained that that part of the neck is directly intact with the intestines and that when the neck is cramped up, the intestines usually follow suit.  Also, when the neck is out like that, sometimes it causes fluids to build up in the ears.  Having it adjusted drains the ears immediately.  It all made perfect sense and I was hopeful, albeit skeptical about how this magical adjustment would solve all of our issues.
That night, I put her to bed at 7:30… she slept til 6am.  And the next night, and the next.  Oh my stars, I tell you – I am a believer.  She has also been pooping without any issue.  It’s like magic.
HUGE shout out to Dr. Sorenson at Advanced Care Chiropractic.
Now that Grae is back to (better than) normal, I am having him work his magic on my poor shifted sacrum that was assaulted during my first child birth. ;)
Grae has become a great little eater.  She can pretty much eat whatever we are eating.  She eats meals with us and has packets of organic fruits and veggies in between.
She loves her teeth and anything you hand her, she will gingerly bite into it with her front teeth.  Puffs, crackers, you name it.  The tiny little teeth marks in everything is enough to do me in!
She won’t watch TV for long, but she loves Doc McStuffins.  Whenever she hears the opening song she will stop dead in her tracks and start dancing.
She has really been noticing music lately.  She loves when we all dance in the kitchen – which is our daily dinner-making routine.
She’ll squeal and laugh and dance along with us in her high chair.
She always does well for the babysitter, but as soon as I walk in she’ll burst into tears as to say “You left meeeee!”
Such a little drama girl. :)
I just finished hanging up all of her stuff in her bedroom.  She has taken a quick liking to the birdie mobile that used to hang in Stella’s nursery.
It melts my heart with memories from Stella at this age.  Every day she waves and waves to her birdies and wants to gently touch them.
My favorite part of the day is getting her up from her naps.  Every time, she lays her head on my shoulder and pat-pat-pats my back.
Oh my heart, this baby.
She is just too dang sweet.
I am the luckiest.

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:: HARLO ::

 You can almost always find Harlo with a sister.
She is always helping me with Grae, entertaining her, or toting her around the house.
She and Stella play pretend all the day long, and sometimes I still find them snuggled together here or there around the house.
I hope they never outgrow this tender love.
Harlo is reading so well! It’s been such a fun progression to watch.  At first it was sounding out words, then slowly putting 2 or more words together.  She is now at the point that she can open a book and make it through with minimal help.
We used the Bob Books all the way through (getting a sticker for each one she mastered) and by the end, I could tell a big difference.  Somewhere along the way, it really clicked for her.
She sounds out signs and magazines and all other things when we’re out and about.
Harlo is just growing up so much.  Her little sense of humor and personality are just maturing in such a fun way.
Watching her grow into a little young lady is so magical.
Harlo is such a technolgy junkie.  She would stay planted in front of the computer or tv or ipad alll day long if I let her.
It drives me nutty and I feel like I’m always saying “go outside, go play, no more screen time today!” but I have to remember who that girl’s daddy is. ;) Technology runs in their veins.
Harlo just started hip-hop this week.  She was in a jazz/ballet combo class, but wanted to switch to hip-hop because “they dance more sassier!”  She rocked her first class.  I think it will be a good fit.
Harlo has a serious case of puppy-love going on.  She told me last week that She and Hudson are just friends right now, but when they are grown ups, like 16, they will go on dates and kiss.
Oh Mercy, my boy-crazy past is catching RIGHT up with  me.
Harlo has become a bit competitive.  She has a hard time not pouting when she’s losing.  We’re working on that..
Stella on the other hand isn’t really competitive at all and I think that’s now enabling Harlo. Ha!
“Bossy” has become somewhat of a 4-letter word in our home.  I don’t know why, but they think that’s the worst thing to call someone.  When they’re REALLY upset with each other, they’ll tell me the other one is “bossy” and the other falls apart.  If I ever mention “Hey, don’t be bossy.” in the real sense (when one is actually bossing the other around), whoever is doing the bossing get super offended.
Harlo has come out of her shell a LOT the last few years, but she still is quite shy, especially with new people.  I have to remind her often to say hello back or answer questions when she’s asked.  Hopefully she’ll grow out of it soon, because I think the older she gets the less it’s socially acceptable.  I tell the girls often “it’s okay to feel nervous, but it’s not okay to be disrespectful.”
Out of all of us, Harlo may enjoy having Grae in our home the most.  She just adores that baby.
And Grae loves her right back.
As soon as the bus rounds the corner to our house, Grae is kicking and squealing until Harlo hops off and comes running to her “HELLLLLLLOOOOOOO!” Harlo squeals in her highest pitch voice.  Heart burst every day!
Now that Grae is getting more and more silly, Harlo just thinks she is hilarious!
Harlo always mad-libs for Grae and the things she says (for Grae) kill me.  She’s such a funny and clever girl.
H is a picky, picky, picky eater.  I swear it gets worse by the years.
She started out as such a great eater, and slowly became worse and worse.
The only thing she likes to eat is chicken nuggets and refried beans, I swear.
The health-compulsive mother in me is having a nervous breakdown.
She is also incredibly stubborn.  Getting her to try new foods is next to impossible.
I have found that the bigger the deal I make of things, the more impossible it becomes.
When I simply say “You don’t have to eat it, but this is what we’re having for dinner.” I have much more success with her.
Raising kids is like sometimes funny like that.  I know the little streaks of rebellion and stubborn nature that makes our days a little harder now, will be the same qualities that serve her well and set her apart in this life.  It’s just a matter of channeling them in the most positive way.
This girl has got LEADERSHIP skills, I tell you what.
In the last 2 months, we’ve been through a lot with Harlo and school.  I have been reminded again why she came into our lives first.  Among having the skills it would take to lead her siblings, she also has this strong little spirit that is capable of bouncing back from lessons we both need to learn along the way.  I am not the world’s greatest mother, but I really try to be the mother that God intended me to be when he sent me these girls.  I really, really, really do.  In the course of Harlo’s life, sometimes that has meant going against everything I knew, sometimes that’s meant being braver than I thought I’d ever have to be, sometimes that’s meant making mistakes, dusting myself (and herself off) and trying again.  We’ve learned things that have worked well for us, and we’ve learned about things that don’t work as well.  I’m starting to feel like my life journey is uncovering the road less traveled, and Harlo is the little angel that was sent to lead me.  I am so grateful to her, so so grateful.  I feel like I will never be able to pay her back for the blessing she has been in my life.  She has been a true miracle to me.
I have learned more from this 6 year old than I have learned from anyone else in  my 26 years of life – ten fold!
We do not have it all together, but together, we truly do have it all.  That phrase has been held close to my heart this past year.
Harlo is just such a great role model.  She tries her best always, she makes an effort to choose the right, she thinks of others and how they feel.
The world would be a better place if we could all be a little more like Harlo.

:: STELLA ::

 Stella Johan Miller.
Stella is such a little lovey.
I am so happy to think she’ll never grow out of it.
She’s so much like me in this way. I would snuggle someone all the day long if I could, and she has the same love pulsing through her veins.
Stella is still such a mama’s girl.
Not so much in the way she was before when she was constantly on my hip or by my side.. she has grown from that, but she still just loves me in a special kind of way.
While I’m working at my desk or all throughout the day, she’ll still come curl up on my lap and hum with me while she snuggles me, just like she always has.
She stills wraps her little body around mind when she climbs into my bed in the night, just like she always has.
She has grown a lot more independent, but some parts of our relationship are still so much the same.
It is a real tender mercy.
Stella is such an easy kid.  She’s easy to love, she’s easy-going, she’s easy to talk out of a bad mood.. she’s just plain EASY.
I really needed one like that.
She is such a sasser!  Oh my word, she has more personality in her 4 year old body than in any person I know.
Everything she says is complete with hand motions, head movements and tons of voice animation.
Her latest favorite phrases is “Oh, come on!” She tells it to us about everything.
“Stella, did you get your boo?” “Oh come on! Yes!” “Stelly will you pick up the living room?” “OH come on! Fine!”
Her word of the week is “Hilarious!”  Everything is hilarious!
The other day Harlo got her feelings hurt and Stella came running behind her saying “Oh come on! I was just being hilarious!”
There is no possible way I could keep track of all the funny one-liners that come out of Stella’s mouth.
A couple weeks ago she said to me, “Mom, remember when you were pregnant and your bum and your belly were so big?” Ha! Yes.. thank you, Stella.  I do recall. ;)
Her baby talk to Grae is the best.
Last week Grae was eating dinner in her high chair and Stella was playing with her and kept saying in the highest baby talk voice “How did Jesus make such a silly baby?! How did Jesus make such a silly baby?!”j
Speaking of Jesus, Stella has a lot of questions about Him lately.
She asks me all sorts of details about Jesus.  We read a quick bible story of Jesus on the cross.  She wanted to know how they hung him on the cross, if it hurt, if he was bleeding, what he was doing and saying.  Talk about tough questions!
Then later that week I heard her playing with her barbies reenacting the scene.
(Oh Dear Jesus, I’m sorry if that seems sacrilegious.)
She also told me after church last week “Did you know Jesus Christ went all over to find the right church?” I said “No, did he find it?” and she said “I don’t know, I wasn’t listening at the end.” haha!
We have a little Jesus statue that is a little bigger than a barbie.  The girls constantly include this in their barbie games.  The barbies will go meet Jesus, Jesus will scold the barbies when they’ve been bad and teach them how to treat their sister nicely.  It kills me, and I think it’s healthy but I’m sure some wonder how appropriate it is.
I believe that children learn when they play, so playing is not off limits to anything – even and especially Jesus. :)
Stel is loving preschool this year, just like I knew she would.
It’s amazing to me to see how quickly she’s learned writing words and now she’s learning sight words and sounding things out.
I know it’s been a help to hear Harlo learn all this time and I know she’s dying to be able to read like Harlo.
She is also quite the boy-crazy one.
Preschool for her has been all about the boy drama.  She loved Palmer, but Palmer kissed Cicilee and that hurt her feelings, but now Jett wants to marry Stella, so Stella is over Palmer and is going to marry Jett instead… Everyday I have an update on this saga.
Stella is such a good example to us all.  She is 100% who she is.  She is kind and funny and loyal to the end.
She is so comfortable in her own skin and this is something I hope she will never, ever lose.  She is such a beauty, inside and out.
I am so so lucky to be her mama.

 :: GRAE ::

 My sweet Gigi.
This has been such a fun stage for the Geej.
She has gotten so silly and interactive.
She has also gotten a lot more friendly and less clingy to mama (but not completely over me).
She is nursing about 5 times a day still, sometimes more.
And usually most of the night, sometimes more. ;)
Pictured above is she and I in the church restroom near the mother’s lounge… it’s where we spend nearly all of our church day.
She has been my first church baby and now I realize why I almost never see  the moms with babies in class.
She used to just snooze in my sling really well during church, but gone are those days.
I have a feeling it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
We usually make it half way through the second hour before I give up and go home.
I pray a lot, if that makes anyone feel better. ;)
I love seeing her personality flourish and really seeing the dynamic our family is taking on.
I can see each girl’s special relationship with each other, and then as a whole sisterhood.
It’s such a sweet blessing in my life.
Grae had been sleeping a little bit better, but I think she’s getting another tooth this week.  I’m not kidding you, for 7 days straight I have not gotten more than 1 hour of consecutive sleep.  I am feeling so fried.
I have no idea what to do about this non-sleeper of mine, but simply embrace the stage and power through.
What’s that saying? I’ll sleep when I’m dead.  Yeah, no truer words were spoken for this mama.
She has become a great little eater.  We finally introduced her to the squeeze pouches and she’s doing really well with them, surprisingly.  She wont for the life of her eat baby food off of a spoon, but will suck it through a pouch.
(reminds me of a certain mother who refuses to drink out of a cup without a straw…Hmmm…)
A few favorites of hers are graham crackers, avocados (chopped up, not smashed), hard-boiled eggs and quinoa cups. (quinoa + eggs + any and all veggies, baked.) She mows these things down!
As she has started eating more, I can feel my milk supply dwindling.
Nursing is a constant job for me.  I do not just simply show up.
I’ve been trying to keep hydrated, eat lots of snacks, take herbs and left over placenta pills. :)
We’ll see how long we can go.
This week marks the longest I’ve nursed one of my girls!
Feels like such an accomplishment – and it is.
Grae has turned into a real heart-melter to her daddy lately.
She is way more interested in him and will finally reach for him from me more often than not.
He loves this stage, and I so love him loving this stage.
Even with the lack of sleep, even with the church woes, even with not being able to be by myself (ever)…
The baby stage is the stage my mama heart was made for, I tell you what.
Nothing feels more peaceful, more empowering, more fulfillment, more divine to me than being a mama to a baby.
This work is the best work, friends.
I am utterly exhausted with duties and blessings and wouldn’t change a thing if I could.


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