A day in our life

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a heart of thanks

We had a very different, and very lovely Thanksgiving this year.  Our families were traveling, and since we were only in our home for a few days, we decided to sit this holiday out and spend it together in our new home.  I wrote this on  Thanksgiving morning:

“As I am writing, it is Thanksgiving morning.  I just love Thanksgiving.  I woke up early and walked down to my brand new kitchen in my brand new home.  I prepared my turkey(breast) and arranged my dishes.  I turned Christmas Music on and opened up my back door to let in the crisp morning air.  As my children gobbled up some yogurt, a hot air balloon flew just exactly over our backyard.  It all seems almost too perfect.

This year I am feeling so particularly grateful and full of thanks.  I am still in awe and wonder about the way my life has unfolded with my beautiful family I have been blessed with.  It feels so sweet to be newly nestled into the home my children will grow up in.  We are here!  This stage of life has arrived, and it’s so sweet it puts a lump in my throat.

We have been on the receiving end of so much loving service, and I feel unworthy of such blessings.  For us to be sitting in this house came after such an army of people offering us their time, skills, willingness to help us with so much.  I am just feeling especially loved and grateful for all the angels I have surrounding me.  I know that God uses us to bless each other, and I have felt so much of that in recent weeks.

I can’t wait to get my hands to work serving and giving back this holiday season, and today I am starting by making my family a home cooked meal in our new home!”

Of course we missed family, and our usual thanksgiving tradition of spending it at the family cabin with the Millers this year, but I must say that cooking 6 dishes alongside my two older girls in our newly unpacked kitchen had to make the list of my favorite Thankgivings to date.  I looooove everything about Thanksgiving.  The weather in St. George, the low-key vibe of the holiday, the cooking all day, the snacking all night.  It’s just the best.

This year it was 75 degrees outside, so naturally we opted to eat on our outdoor picnic table.  After dinner, we went and walked through our empty downtown cottage together as a family.  It was a sweet way to end the day.  We spent the rest of the holiday weekend getting settled into our new house.  I think we’ll be “settling” for quite some time here, but it just feel so good to be here at HOME.

Definitely a year to remember.

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gather here with grateful hearts

As you can imagine, life here has been bustling.

It is a stressful process of selling and buying, and we feel those growing pains for sure, but we are also so grateful to have this particular set of stressful happenings. ;)

Moving is often bittersweet, but I don’t think I’ve ever in my life experienced such deep meaning to the word.  On my walk yesterday, as I planted my heart in gratitude, I could hardly hold tears back as I expressed my gratitude for this sweet neighborhood I live.  It’s beauty, the stories and history it holds.  The wonderful people, businesses, happenings, and charm.  I am so lucky to have been able to walk these streets as my own each day, taking in each season in richness.  I have a feeling that my walks around these streets will be one of the things I’ll miss the most.

This neighborhood will be heartbreaking to leave, and our dear house, nearly impossible.  Our children doubled in number in this house, my last babies birthed right here under our roof.  We went around the dinner table last Sunday, perhaps our last Sunday dinner here at the house, and took turns telling some of our favorite memories.  We could hardly narrow the best days down, although we agreed that the births of our sweet babies were unanimously on the tippy top.  Birthdays, baby blessings, holidays, home school, first days, last days, hard days turned good days, and all the days in between have been overall happy here.  My favorite season of life to date, how about that?

A few weeks ago, before we knew any of this, we had an opportunity to be shot in our home by the always lovely Janae Allred, who shot our video for Maskcara a couple years ago.  I couldn’t have known at the time how much it would mean for us to have this regular Saturday at home documented for us to always treasure.  What a blessing this will be!

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halloweenin’ 2017

I stand by my convictions that Halloween is the busiest day of the year for any mother in america.

Holy mother.

Up at 6:30 curling hair, doing full makeup on my 7 and 8 year olds, head to-to-toe attire on the babies, getting myself festive and ready – all to be out the door by 8:45am for the school parade — and that makes perfect sense since we will be up hours past bedtime eating candy later… who thought of the halloween schedule?  Whoooo???

This year I got smart and did my traditional dinner the night before Halloween.  Because adding cooking to the crazy has got ta go.  Plus everyone we knew invited us over for their traditional Halloween supper, so it totally worked out.

BUT, with all that said, I can’t hate Halloween.  I’m over it, sure.. but I have to love it every single year.  That minute I line my kids up on the bench to snap their photo.  Heart burst to the fullest.  I love planting seeds of magic into my children’s childhood, and Halloween is such a sure-fire way to do that.  It’s busy for mama, but worth it every minute seeing those smiling faces on a crisp and cozy fall night.

Like every other year, my kids needed no convincing for their costumes.  Harlo has wanted to be Evie since last Halloween when I sort of nudged her to be Taylor Swift. ;) Grae has been convinced about being “Super Gecko” for weeks now, and so that only left Stella to toss Major in with.  We considered Moana and Maui, but landed on a cheerleader and football player which seemed to fit oh-so-perfectly.  Not my most creative Halloween, but just as sweet as the rest!

Brady tossed on my old glasses and kept his work shirt on to complete the “computer nerd” look, and I quickly tossed on a witch hat to be a little festive.  Our costumes were an after-thought this year. ha! Next year!

Glad it happened, glad it’s over.  Cleaning up my house from Halloween decor feels SOOOO good, I’m not even tempted to bust out Christmas yet. :P Glad to have a few weeks.

Next up – my favorite holiday! Thanksgiiiiivvvviiiinnnngggg… Now that is a calm holiday I can get behind. ;)

Take a trip down Miller memory lane:

Halloween 2014
Halloween 2015
Halloween 2016

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Life Lately

Life lately is waking up to get kids off for school – oops! Late again… scolding myself on the way dropping off, “you should be more responsible!” “Being on time is mostly up to you!” “Set a freaking alarm, for crying out loud.  You are a 28 year old woman!” and then pep talking myself the whole way home, “You are doing the best you can.” “A few minutes late does not make you a terrible mother.” “We all have our strengths – your kids are not questioning your love for them today.” Woooo…  being a full time mama is an emotional roller coaster.

It’s coming home to freshly awake and groggy toddlers in my kitchen.  It’s snuggling while he drinks his “baba”, and tickling her back under her nightgown.  It’s changing diapers and changing clothes – SOOOO many clothes, I did not realize motherhood would basically be changing kids, finding shoes, and doing laundry.  That makes up the majority, bless my ever loving heart.

It’s being in the moment whenever possible.  How fleeting I see these days passing now.  Harlo is closer to being a teenager than a baby now, my goodness how quickly that passed.  I thrive on going for walks with my babies in the stroller, dog to my side.  I can take in my days and process my life in such a quiet, happy way.  My stroller has had a broken front tire for two weeks now and I am feeeeeling it physically, but mentally as well.  I have come to rely on those moments of groundedness in my day.  Time seems a little slower on my walks. Prioritizing those times for myself is necessary.

It’s taking a second for myself while the baby naps – the longer into this motherhood journey I venture, the less time for myself I find.  Balancing work, house work, relationships, downtime is becoming nearly impossible, but I’m embracing the way they crash all together at once, I guess.  Swirling around me in a beautiful string of life.  Realizing that life rolls in seasons, and what doesn’t make the cut this season can have some time in the next.

It’s sitting on the porch as the sun tucks behind our house, squealing with the babies when the bus rounds our corner.  Hearing all the things while I figure out supper, and sitting with a full heart at the dinner table with my entire family of six.  Finding more of myself as one of “the moms” and being completely content with whatever that means.  This is a good and bustling season.

Life lately has been relying completely on faith.  We have made some big decisions this year, and as we have prayerfully prepared for each one, we have felt guided and peaceful about the ones we’ve made, even when we’ve felt torn.  Grateful to be celebrating 10 years in faith this month.  What a decade it’s been.  My heart is overflowing recounting how my life has changed as I’ve built a relationship with God. Asking for grace, extending myself grace, and finding all the grace I can spread around the family, because the Good Lord knows we need it.  Where we fall short, there His Grace will be.

Good to be back, dear friends.  I love coming back here after some time away.  It’s like slipping on my favorite pair of jeans after being pregnant for 9 months. ;)

Feels good to be back!

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saying goodbye to summer

On our last day of summer here at our little Manor.  We really snuggled into this place of ours this summer.  The seeds we planted over the last few years have come to life here in a lot of ways.  This is the longest we’ve lived anywhere since our family started, and it feels like such a sweet corner to be nestled into in this season of life.

We are very much entering our “middle” phase, as we’ve seen the hard work from our “early” stages start to pay off over the decade, we still aren’t necessarily coasting.  Our life is so so so so so full, in every sense of the word, and sometimes it feels like we’re tredging through stressful seasons, but at the same time breezing by in the scope of life.

I asked Harlo recently if she ever thinks about moving out of here and she said, “Never.  I love this house.” and it pierced my heart to the core.  We have made a happy little home here.

It is not perfect, the office needs to be tweaked again, I’d like to freshen up some paint, and we have just that little bit to go to finish up the original remodel.  We are our best with projects, creative juices flowing, and hands busy in service for our home and family.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity of service this little home provides.

When we bought this house, we really loved the idea of living this season of our lives intentionally simple.  We hope to plant seeds for our future while we live here, but rest here in this happy place we’ve worked so hard for.  We have learned so much, and taught our kids along the way.  I have grown up a lot in this house as I have progressed to my “late twenties”, and have birthed two more children while we’ve lived here.  We have continued and started businesses in this home, and every day as I walk our streets I feel inspired to do and live better.

I know we are always growing and shifting and always on the look for more, but this season has been one of letting go and just being still for a time, and that has gifted me such joy and happiness for choosing this path.  Business, success, independence, space, time, and uninterrupted sleep will be in the seasons to come.  I can only pray they are just as full of beauty as this season we’re in right now. ♥

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swinging

You wake from your nap, arms reaching for me as I walk through your door.

I lift up all 28 lbs of you and bury my face in the nape of your neck – the place I can always smell a bit of heaven.

I slip out the back door, you on my hip, completely content.

I sit on the swing, with you in my lap.

For the first time today, we have a quiet moment to ourselves.

The mild breeze from swinging sways your baby hair back and forth.

The weight of you head on my chest, your chubby legs fall on my lap.

The contentment of a beautiful life washes over me, and I think over you as well.

These moments are brief, but their effects are long-lasting.

My arms and legs are getting tired, but I’d sway here with you forever if you let me.

I soak in as much of your baby-ness in this moment as I can.

In all my life I’ve never been as happy as I am in this season right now, and much of that is because of you.

We sway back and forth, just the rustling of the leaves to be heard.

Then, they spot us.

The door swings open, and the other three head out our way, squealing with delight that you’re awake.

They run to the swings, asking for a turn, squishing your legs, asking if we can have tacos for dinner.

Our quiet moment is over, back to real life.

But this real life of ours is good.

It is very, very good.

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lemons to lemonade

Here’s how it went:

Tuesday

12:04am – Realize we bought the wrong counter top from Ikea

12:00pm – Mr. Miller decides he’ll run down to Vegas to swap it

12:04pm – Mr. Miller asks if everyone wants to come for a day trip to Vegas?

1:02pm – Entire family en route to Las Vegas

3:00 – 5:00 – IKEA 

5:12pm – decide where we should get dinner before we head home

5:19pm – decide to stay the night instead

5: 42 – Stop by Target to get some swimsuits and extra diapers

6:23pm – poolside at the hotel

Wednesday

9:12am – poolside

12:00pm – check out and head home after (maybe) our most spontaneous adventure yet. (PS – I reeeeeally need a pedicure!)

Mr. Miller and I are opposites in so many ways, and alike in all the best ways.  One of my favorite things about him is that he is ALWAYS DOWN FOR AN ADVENTURE, just like me.  We’ve had so much fun in our life together.  This trip was NOT without hiccups, and we decided that being prepared makes things run a lot more smoothly, but I hope we are building fun memories for our kids.  We are, after all, living their childhoods right here, right now.  I hope we never forget that.

 

PS – we loved the Westin Lake Las Vegas! So family-friendly.  Hoping to get back there for a longer stay soon!

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my baby boyfriend – a love story

Major Miller,

You are sure winning my heart over these days with your big brown eyes, creamy tanned skin, and juicy red lips.  I especially love the way you say “yeah” to every question.  That’s why I ask you all the time “Major, do you love your mama?” and when you say “yeah” it sends my heart soaring.

(You’re even cute with a crusty nose #molars)

You are a mama’s boy, and I have never been happier about anything.

You are happiest up in my arms – all 28 lbs of you.

If I sit down, you make a mad dash over to me and lay on me, smooch me, stroke my hair…

You are the best boyfriend I’ve ever had (besides daddy).

You are handsome, and sweet, and snugly.

 

 What more could a girl ask for??

 

 

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this week

This week my little Millies have swimming lessons EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Let me tell you what swimming lessons looks like for Grae : A lot of kicking and screaming and gnashing of teeth.

It is the opposite of a relaxing day at the pool. :|

Yesterday she actually did REALLY well and only cried for about half of the lesson.  Praying today is even better.  (she better grow up to be an Olympic swimmer.)

So if you’re wondering why I don’t blog anymore hardly – it’s because swim lessons took over my life/mornings and we need the full rest of the day to recover from the anxiety.  (pray for me)

Oh, also it will be 117 degrees today at swimming lessons so that will be refreshing.

This is what I wish I was doing today:

(from our anniversary getaway over the weekend)

I’ll be back soon to write about fathers day and our anniversary!

kiss! kiss! (That’s for my sister who is in Amsterdam today!!)

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to market to market

Last weekend, after visiting Great-Grandma & Grandpa Harris, we took a stroll through our favorite little town – Mr. Miller’s home town – the town his ancestors settled.  We have been talking about our ancestors a lot lately while we’ve been reading the Little House series, so it was fun to give them a visual of what our ancestors achieved here.  We went to the famous Frei’s market and enjoyed a quiet Saturday afternoon.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get over how much I love having a family of my own.  Four gorgeous children, and a husband I adore, who loves our children, me, and God fiercely.  Sometimes the overwhelming blessings I have show up in the most simple and mundane of times.  Just like on this warm, sunny Saturday at the market.

 Not sure what I did to get so lucky.

(girls darling dresses handmade by Melon Monkeys)

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Catch us Outside

If you follow us along on instagram (which I KNOW you do – right?!), you know that the Miller Manor welcomed a swing set to the backyard collection this past weekend.

I had dreamed of a swing set in our backyard since we moved in – our last rental house had one, and I loved looking out my kitchen window out back to see my kids playing on the swings.  The swings were my favorite as a young girl, and I always envied the friends I had with swings in their yards.

Swing sets can be pretttty pricey, and with all the work and projects we always have going on at this house, I didn’t want to fork out a few thousand dollars on a nice one.  So, I put the word out and kept my eye out for one that would suit our needs. (and pinned a bunch of DIY versions on my backyard board on pinterest!)

But on one fateful Friday night, the stars aligned with my mom found the PERFECT SWING SET on the local yard sale page.  I made an offer, they accepted, and we picked it up the next morning.

It’s an old schoolhouse swing set and it couldn’t be more perfect for us and our space.  We can swing as high as we want – and we do for the majority of our day!  (The best part of having your own swing set is being able to swing in your skivvies… just ask Grae.)

And just like that, this second-(or-third-or-fourth)-hand swing set became a staple part of the life we’re living here at the Miller Manor.

It really is the most SIMPLE things, y’all! ♥

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friday wrap up

Friday:

12:24 : Stella writes her teacher a letter, “You are the best teacher EVER! Stay cool this summer.” (we love you, Mrs. Boshard!)

12:31 : I think of the lucky teacher who gets her next year (we’re ready for you, Mrs. Bastian!).

2:49 : The Miller ladies (me included) enjoy a cold popsicle on our 100 degree back porch (the misters were a nice touch, Mr. Miller).

3:17 : Stella dubs Grae “Sassy Frances”

That sounds about right to me!

5:05 : Offer of a SECOND date night this week comes in

5:06 : Decide to GO FOR IT after the day week I’ve had.

6:14 : Mr. Miller whisks me away to my favorite quiet country.

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Mom School

A few years ago, I found myself heavily researching home school.  We even home schooled for a short time, and I genuinely loved every second of it.  We made some sweet memories in our home schooling endeavor, and I found that it changed a whole lot about the way I mothered my children.  It was the mothering style that had drawn me into the home schooling lifestyle.

I often think of ways that we can incorporate home school into our daily lives – because that really is what home school is about.  It’s a shift in a lifestyle that is simple and lovely, full of imagination and learning in a big, beautiful world.  At least this is what I found in each home schooling family I researched.

As the summer drew closer, I realized I was going to have to get a bit more structured to entertain all the ages of my children each day, and that’s when the light bulb went off.  Summer would be the perfect time for me to incorporate those principles I found to love so much in home schooling homes.  It was the weight, and organization into subjects that didn’t pull to me as much, but with summer school, I can fill in the gaps wherever I choose.

I pulled out my old home schooling schedules and notes and pulled from that a summer schedule that will suit us.  This may be tweaked a bit here and there to establish what best fits, but here is what our schedule is like so far:

8am Breakfast and scriptures (I’ve been surprised by how well my older girls are reading along and understanding the scriptures!)
8:30 Light reading (poems), bible verses (Harlo had the great idea to try to memorize an article of faith each week)
9:00 Journaling (I’ll be setting writing prompts for the girls to journal each day)
9:30 Piano (we use a kitchen timer and set practice goals each week)
10:00 Life Skill (house chores first, followed by things like learning laundry, baking, meal prepping, grocery shopping.. whatever else we might be doing that day)
We will break for some exercise, lunch, and some play time, and then resume with reading in the afternoons.

I am hoping to establish a little book club with my older girls over the summer.  Perhaps we can each read the same book, or read one book together, and discuss it each week.  The girls are on similar reading levels now and both into chapter books.  We are loosely following Charlotte Mason’s reading list.  I love the Charlotte Mason method and have been so inspired by her teachings and have tried hard to incorporate her lifestyle methods into our home.  This will give us that little boost we needed. :)

I sit the littlest ones at the table with us to listen to our reading and discussions each morning, Grae has her own summer journal for doodling, practicing her shapes, name, etc.  They eat and play right along with us at the table as we discuss.

When Major naps, we’ll do our reading time and Grae can enjoy that as well.  This is also when we’ll do crafts or an activity that requires no one-year-olds ;).  The perk about “mom school” is that its really no pressure.  Anything is good enough.  The goal is to occupy my children’s day with wholesome structure, learning, and lots of time together.  Anything we want to learn about this summer, I’ll add  it to our “mom school” list.

The rest of our days will be filled with exploring and playing and looking for opportunities to learn wherever we are.  – And even if some days land us in front of screens, at least we did something with our days, dang it!

What things are you doing with your kids this summer?  I’d love some more ideas!

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stalling

Today I woke up to a swift blow to the mouth by Mr. Major Miller’s giant noggin.

Good thing that boy is cute, because after squishing his freshly diapered bod I wasn’t even mad.

After that, Mr. Miller climbed back in bed and fell to sleep.. because it is his day off.  I was sort of thinking it was my day off, too, but I guess not. ;)

I went to find my dog that is usually at my feet in the morning, but was missing.  Turns out he slept the entire night on the bottom bunk – bursting my heart right open.

Today I want to:

  • Hang Major’s mobile
  • Paint the laundry room
  • Find organizational bins for my pantry
  • Do the 12 loads of laundry from our cabin weekend
  • Finalize my plans for tomorrow’s “mom school” (more to come on that).

I have a big ol’ day in front of me?  Think I can do it all??

Right now I’m curled in bed besides a sleeping Mr. Miller and Finn (who came to find me after all) with my laptop.

I better get rollin’.

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from the mountain

I am blogging from the mountain today.

Life (and rules) slow waaaaay down at the mountain.

Exhibit A:

Admiring a strawberry-filled sink that my children will devour today alone if I let them.

Exhibit B:

Doing hair is an activity, not a means to something else.

Exhibit C:

The only question you’re asked is

“How

do

you

like

your

hot dog?”

Harlo likes hers with “mustard and ketchup on the side.”

Grae likes hers with “yellow ketchup” (mustard) only. (not confusing or anything)

Stella likes hers with “extra extra mustard, and a line of ketchup.”

 

I like my hot dog to be an organic chicken-dog, served with dijon mustard and coleslaw, thanks for asking.

See why we like it here so much?

 

 

 

Follow our #millermanormini adventures on instagram!

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