Tag Archives | family trips

Tag Archives | family trips


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

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

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

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


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

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home on the mountain

Mr. Miller and I both come from a rich pioneer heritage.  I never really understood or appreciated this when I was growing up, but my goodness I am thankful for my ancestors today.  They traveled miles and miles, risking their lives and families to build a community in a beautiful land where they could have religious freedom.  This is a purpose I hold so close to my heart, and I’m so grateful to be living the life they fought so hard for me to live.  The mormon pioneers are some of the toughest people you’ll ever hear of.  Their blood runs through my veins and through the veins of my children.  We come from tough pioneer stock on both sides.  I hope to teach my kids to appreciate this much sooner than I ever did.

We celebrate this day, Pioneer Day, big in Utah and even though we had JUST made it home from our week at the beach, we couldn’t resist the urge to celebrate in our favorite little place in Utah, up at the Miller Cabin.  The Miller’s cabin is tucked away in the finest corner on top of Cedar Mountain.  There are trees, valleys, and beauty every place you lay your eyes.  It is quiet with basically no cell service.  It is a serious slice of Heaven.  Mr. Miller spent nearly every weekend of his life up on this Mountain, and during his childhood his family built the cabin themselves.  My in-laws (who are the most wonderful in-laws) still spend nearly every weekend there, and I admire that about them very much.  My father-in-law, Charlie (who I am just realizing I don’t talk about enough on this blog), has been traveling to this mountain since he was a little one and knows every single trail, every animal, everything about this beautiful country.  

The first time Brady took me to the Mountain, we had been dating a few months and I truly fell hard for him on that trip.  I imagined our life together, bringing our own children up there for quiet weekends, walking the trails and pushing them in the swings.  Mr. Miller can impress me at the cabin the way he can’t anywhere else.  By working hard on physical projects, driving four-wheelers, fixing things, and taking me for rides without ever getting lost.  He is such a burly man when we’re at the cabin and even thinking of it gives me butterflies.  I love hearing stories about this beautiful mountain and look forward to keeping it in our family for generations.  I also feel especially grateful that our children have it to grow up with quiet weekends, walking the trails, and swinging in the swings – just like I had dreamed.

We went for a ride one day, and even though it was bright noon-day sun, we had to stop and admire the beauty of the mountain.  These pictures have flaws, but I will hold them close to my heart forever.

Until next time!

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spring fever

My family has had a rough go of winter this year.  It seems at least one of us has been sick since Christmas!  We were supposed to spend our first weekend of Spring Break at the beach, but Grae, Stella, and Brady were all still down and out by the time our trip was planned to leave, so we missed our weekend plans in California.  By Tuesday, everyone seemed to be on the mend, so we decided to not waste a week of no school and head down to the beach after all!  It has been my experience that these little last minute trips are usually my favorite.

Instead of planning our whole itinerary or scheduling around other people, we made a little list of things we wanted to do while we were there and each day we crossed a few off.  This was the funnest way to travel!  Everyone made suggestions on the list and we had fun seeing what was next and having our options right in front of us.  Traveling can be stressful, especially with young kids.  We have learned a few tips along the way that has made life a little easier for us.  Enjoying the journey and not just the destination is crucial, I think.  What takes my sister 6 hours to drive by herself, takes my family of five 8 (sometimes 9) hours.  We stop often to keep everyone happy.  Being in a hurry and having high expectations are serious enjoyment killers on a trip, I will tell you what.  We have had trips where we had too much planned and we all ended up bickering most of the time. Here are a few of my own little tips for making life on the road a little easier with the little ones.


We tend to be on the road a lot as a family.  We get restless and thirst for adventure every so often.  I love being at home, but I also love experiencing that home is where we’re all together.  For us, home is also at the beach, it’s in the car on long drives, it’s experiencing new things together, eating our favorite foods together, living our lives together.  Sometimes hitting the road is just exactly what we need as a family to reconnect and reboot.  My girls are such good little travelers (Grae not so much) and I looooove seeing their little faces light up at that first peek of the beach.  On the ride home, I love my long chats with Brady about life and goals and who we are to ground me and to connect us as a couple.  I love watching Grae experience these family traditions for the first time and seeing how she adds to our family dynamic.  This trip was a sweet one, and I look forward to more adventures with this crew of mine.

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grae’s first trip | how we beach

Last month we took our first trip as a family of five and kicked off our miller’s summer bucket list.  It was such a relaxed trip and will go down as one of my favorite memories with my family.

I get asked a lot about where we stay and what we do in California.  My sister lives in Oceanside in North San Diego County.  It’s about 6 hours from where we live in Southern Utah and we make it out there as often as  possible.  We all love the beach, but it gives us a chance to catch up with family and get away.  We are so lucky to have family to stay with so we’re able to go down more often.  We have mastered doing a lot of fun things that don’t cost a lot of money.  So, if you are planning a Southern California getaway, this post is for you. ;) On this week’s vacation, we did almost all of our favorite things.

First thing first, I like to incorporation traditions wherever I can.  We all get a fancy starbucks drink when we leave early mornings.  This gets everyone out of the house a little easier and sets our trip off on the right foot.

When we get to California, the first thing we do is drive by the ocean with our windows down.  No matter if it’s midnight or noon, we drive by the ocean with no exception.  Auntie has her own little tradition with having a surprise for the girls as soon as we get there.  They have to close their eyes and hold out their hands (their favorite form of surprise).  Sometimes it’s a little tricker for them to play with while they’re there or sometimes a treat, but it’s always a highlight for them.

These are all simple things that we do that I know will lace together so many rich family memories for my children.

My number one suggestions of fun and FREE thing to do?  The beach, obviously.  This is likely what the kids will want to do everyday anyway and did I mention it’s FREE?? It’s fun for everyone! Don’t fill up your days with the zoo and seal world and legoland and disney.. choose one expensive thing to do (if you really want to) and the rest of the days?  Plant yourself in the sand, feel the breeze on your face and let the sounds of giggles and splashing take you to your happy place.  I was surprised this year by how easy it was to take a newborn to the beach.  I just wore her the whole time and kept her covered by our favorite aden and anais blankies.  A nursing friendly suit makes for a happy mama and happy baby.
*new mom tip* for a hot beach day with a baby, simply wet a swaddle blanket for a perfect way to shade and cool your babe.


 Everyone loves the beach!

One of our other favorite things to do in Oceanside is the Thursday night market.  Booths and booths of delicious food, treats and all other forms of goodies.  We load the kids in the wagon and go enjoy our evening.  This is also where I get our world famous caricatures.

 This year we crossed riding the train off our summer bucket list.  We always talk about doing it and this time we made it happen.  WORTH IT! It really was so fun.  The kids loved being able to ride the train (no car seats!) and they ride for free which makes this little endeavor super budget-friendly.  We took the train 40 minutes or so to Old Town in San Diego which has cute little shops (perfect souvenirs for your trip) and THE BEST mexican food I’ve ever had in my life at Barra Barra.  Oh, and the kids eat for free there as well. WIN-WIN.  We have decided that will be a staple on our trips from here on out.

Of course, fill in the gaps of your trip with lots and lots of beach time.
*beach tips*
We seem to have mastered taking kids down to the ocean, so here is what we never go without…
Sunscreen! Everyone needs it.
Food – the more food, the happier your little beachlings will be.
(we love red and white market’s deli for sandwiches and we can get snacks and drinks there which makes it easy)
water – water- water
Shade – a canopy or an umbrella is a great investment if you’re planning on spending more than an hour at the beach.
dry set of clothes for the kids to walk home in (a sweatshirt over a swimsuit will work)
Baby powder! Splash some powder on those sandy feet and the sand will dust right off.  So much easier than showering off and trying to avoid sand on the way out.
A wagon to load things (and tired kids) to and from is an excellent bonus.  We use a wagon way more than a stroller on our beach trips.

 Another favorite place to eat is Yellow Deli.  It’s all fresh, organic, homemade ingredients and such a beautiful location.  If you’ve never been to yellow deli, you need to try it!  It’s quite an experience.

But mostly importantly, our trips are about family.  Don’t get so caught up in the itinerary you’re missing enjoying your vacation.  Sometimes taking a day to lounge around the beach house is important to reset.  Getting exhausted on vacation is so not the point, in my opinion.

This trip was a special one, welcoming little Grae into our adventurous family.


If it’s possible, we fell even more in love with her this week at the beach.

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