Tag Archives | mom life

Tag Archives | mom life

Grae is FOUR

Our sweet baby girl, (who would remind us she is NOT A BABY), turned four on March 26, 2018.
It seems as if time has doubled in speed since the day we welcomed our little Grae Golden.
She came into the world stubborn and ferocious, tiny as a pint, but larger than life in spirit.
Shortly after she was born and named, we noticed the repetition initial G.G.  We thought that was the perfect nickname for our teeny lady, and “Gigi” stuck.
Not a dull day has gone by in the Miller Manor since that fateful spring day she was born.
Grae tends to get the most attention in our family…. because she demands it the most.
Grae has stretched and grown my soul like nothing else.
Because of Grae I am more patient, less judgemental, more loving and tender, and definitely less tightly wound.
I can hold my side of any argument, but I have surely met my match in Grae Golden Miller.
Grae’s favorite things are: green, geckos, pj masks, super heroes, monster trucks, monsters, and small toy figures (which she calls “figguhs”).
Her favorite foods are soy-yogurt, oatmeal, quesadillas, chipotle, mac&pony (macaroni), ramen noodles at Grandi’s, and veggie straws.
She is a fan of ICED beverages – whether it’s water or apple juice or lemonade, she likes that sucker filled with ice and refuses to drink a sip if the ice has melted.
Sometimes she wakes me up at 2 or 3 in the morning to get her more ICE. :/
Grae climbs into my bed most nights, wraps her little arms around my neck and sleeps soundly until late morning.  She wakes up with ferocious bedhead, demanding breakfast just as sure as the sun rises.  From that moment on, we are on Grae’s time, man.
If Grae could spend her entire day making art, and she does mostly, she would be the happiest girl.
She is meticulous about coloring.  She switches hands back and forth and is neatly ambidextrous.
She is the master of “I spy with my little eye”.
Grae is the most dazzling big sister to her little “Maj-uh.”
Major only ever wants to be where ‘Gigi’ is, doing what Gigi is doing, sitting next to where Gigi is sitting.
She sweetly pats his head, or strokes his back here and there.  Sometimes offering him a reassuring “Oh, good boy, Maj.” or a “yeah Maj! You like that?”.
Grae has been a surprisingly sweet big sister to that baby boy.
Grae made up her mind that when she turned four, there would be no more screaming and crying for things.
For weeks leading up to turning four, she would tell me when she was four she wouldn’t scream or cry because she would be a big girl.
Not exactly sure where she got this in her head, but it stuck.  Now that she’s four, I will gladly report she has made an effort to throw less fits. :D
She often reminds me of Daniel Tiger’s songs like “When you’re feeling frustrated – take a deep breath – and ask for help!” Although when I remind her of the songs when the roles are reversed, they don’t have quite as calming of an effect. ;)
My sweet Gigi has tried hard to wrap her head around the news of our dear “Auntie G” passing.  She has tried to offer me words of encouragement and often reminds me that Auntie G is our angel.  (She was also bothered we didn’t see Auntie G’s “wings” at her viewing… she is an angel now, afterall!)
It has bothered her how upset my mom has been and she’s hardly let Gram out of her sight. She never let go of her hand through the entire service, and she’s asked to call gram every morning since.  She is such a bundle of light, I know she will help our family heal.  Of course, her heart isn’t weighed down by the sadness us adults feel, so at times she has seemed insensitive and even inappropriate, we know her intent is always in the right place, bless our hearts. ;)
Gigi is also quite famous for her one-liners.
Recently on a family trailor trip, she instructed me to shut the door to the bathroom with, “I don’t need an audience!”
Another time last week as I was talking to her, she disgustingly looked at me and said “That doesn’t even make sense!”
We often talk about all the spicy things Grae does because mercy, she does.. But Grae is also just as sweet and loving as she is spunky.  She is always offering a snuggle or love to someone, telling me she loves me hundreds of times a day, being tender with Major, and especially her dog Finn.  (Grae is a little dog whisperer!)
So all in all, life with Grae is a wonderful wild ride, and we’re so lucky we’re the ones that get to be enjoying it.
Grae Golden Miller, you sure own us.
Our life is infinitely better with you in it.
I’m so glad you are four, my darling girl.

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Family Vacation | Casa Beleza, San Clemente, CA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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weekend projects | carving out a family office

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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a word from the mother

I am finding myself in a whole new season lately.
I have FOUR children, a whole family all of my own.  My dreams came true, and it’s surreal to be living it.
I have passed many of the infant/baby stages with no real promise of more coming our way, so that is also really different for us.

Major, my baby, is gaining serious momentum toward full-blown toddler hood.
I don’t think it’s any secret that having a boy changed my heart (some may say it grew 3 sizes that day), but mercy me, I see very clearly why God sent me 3 little girls ahead of him.
This boy of mine is busy, busy, busy, busy.  I am turning around to clean one mess up, and he’s on the top shelf of something else.  I get him down and he’s running off to find the next bit of mischief he can find.  He is into my cupboards, drawers, pantry, baskets, bathrooms, any pile of anything.  I am on my toes and busy literally chasing him most of the day, besides his glorious glorious nap time – bless my heart.
He snuggles me, he adores me, he lights up when I walk into a room.  He will hang on the couch with me forever, never fights me (except when I’m changing his diaper!), and keeps me and his sisters swooning our days away.  I get it, guys.  Baby men.. nothing quite like ’em. He is talking more all the time, and is 100% boy in every single way.  His pudgy little feet stomp around, constantly snacking on something, car in one hand, ball in the other.  He loves me to sing to him and sings along with me to ‘twinkle-twinkle’, ‘you are my sunshine’, and giggles when I begin his night time lullabye.
Even if he does refuse to stay my forever-infant, I am still just as head over heels in love with that son of mine.

HOWEVER, don’t let that get you mistaken.  My girls are the girls of my dreams.

Harlo is just effortlessly cool (I felt her distinctly pass me up at age 8), she is stunningly beautiful and doesn’t even realize it.  She is tender and kind and gentle and good.  She is getting so mature and I’m loving this new layer to our relationship.  We often stay up way too late chatting in her bed, she’s my right hand planner, and she’s in charge of all the organization in our home and doesn’t get annoyed with me yet.  I love her! Harlo is also made up exactly like her father, and (almost) nothing  like me, so she keeps me busy working on how I communicate with her, paying close attention to whether she gets enough love from me, worrying over our relationship because of our differences, and appreciating so much how much she’s opened my soul and changed me, and how I look at people, forever and ever amen.
Because of our differences though, we find this deep understanding with one another.  I can clearly see when she’s at her limit, and she can see when I’m at mine.  We have a certain respect for one another, and we help calm each other rather than rise tension with one another.   We seem to balance each other.  She more than anyone else I can see the reason she came to my life.  Because she is the only one who could have changed everything for me, and keeps changing everything for me.  My love for this girl runs deep.

Stella is just the funnest.  Picture a skipping, twirling, giggling dress-wearing, baby doll-loving 7 year old, and you’ve got Stella.  Stella is the best server in the family.  She is always getting drinks or snacks for someone, assisting Harlo with this, or helping Grae with that.  She’ll keep Major entertained while I cook, and thinks up games for everyone to play.  We all often say “Stella’s the best!” because she’s always leveling up the love around here.  Stella marches to the beat of her own drum and is completely not bothered by what anyone else thinks – exactly what I adore in her father, I love this about her.  I find myself praying for protection over this about her.  I hope she always marches on and never bends to the pressure of the world.
Stella, like me in so so so many ways, is also like me in the sassy-mouthed, loud-mouthed, no-hard-time-expressing-her-feelings kind of way.  Because of this, she’s always the first one to stick up for one of her siblings against me, the one I’m reminding most to watch her mouth, and reigning her in from emotion-overload.  I cringe at myself inside when I have to get after Stella because I can feel the internal smirk of my parents.  Oh mercy.  When they said “I hope you get a daughter just like you!” (in both good and mad ways) I surely did in my Stella. :D It’s because of this though, that I don’t worry about our relationship (aside from her teen years! Bless.).  We speak the same love language and sort through things the same way.  I know this will be such a blessing for a life-long relationship, especially in her adult years.

Grae.. Oh man, what can be summed up about that girl?  She is finally moving on from ferocious toddler moodiness that started around age 1 and we’re hoping now that 4 is around the corner, we’re seeing the end of it.  She is communicating so well and beginning to understand how to cope through her rather complex emotions. :D The very unexpected surprise of Grae is how much of a lovey girl she is.  She is very affectionate, so snuggly, always telling me she loves me, or Major, or anyone else, out of the blue.  That girl can take you from 0-60 and back in absolutely no time.  With my older two I was like “They’re darling, but in order for them to develop properly, we mustn’t give in to every whim..” with Grae I’m like “So sue me, I give in to every single whim.”
Grae has me wearing out the pages of “the strong-willed child” in The Child Whisperer, and boy does that fit her to a T.  One tip that has been so helpful in that book has been to read “Let them do what they want to do with your set boundaries, because they’ll likely find a way to do it anyway.” Switching that idea in my head has made a world of peace between Gigi and I.  She is an excellent little artist at her age, and now I see those years with the sharpies all over my (damn) house were just her inner creativity yearning to come out!
Grae girl is a total tom-boy.  Obviously this is not anything she picked up at home with me and her two very girly sisters.  She just likes what she likes, and what she does like is blue and green and cars and reptiles and superheros.  She looks like a real-live tinkerbell and is usually dressed in a gecko costume. Ha!  She is the best thing on the planet.  Seriously.

My life is completely full as a mother and wife, and I’ve had to be intentional about shaving a bit of time for me and my passions.  That is soooo okay with me though.  These are the years.  The full and fleeting family years.  Even though it can sometimes feel consuming and overwhelming, these are the years I’ve dreamed of, and I am going to soak them in every last drop.

Some things that are necessary for my sanity:

monthly cleaning lady, writing (making a priority after months of slacking), weekly date nights, church on Sundays to refill my cup, late night chats with friends after kids are in bed, boundaries from the world and outside pressures, Maskcara makeup, and my happy planner.

 

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