A day in our life

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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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a good day

I should have known yesterday was going to be a good day when I woke up to this:

As fore-mentioned, the eldest of our Millies graduated first and second grade yesterday – nothing brings nostalgia quite like the last day of school – or more so, the first day of summer break.  Was there any better feeling as a kid?  I think not.  So I invited a few of their pals over, bought two big bags of popsicles, attached the sprinkler to the hose and we had ourselves a grand ol’ first day of summer bash.

I swear – the simplest of things can make the best memories and I hope I’m helping to create those kinds of memories for my children.

After all our friends went home, it was just about time for Mr. Miller to whisk me away on our date.  It’s a charmed life, I tell you what.

We drove to the DI to unload all the “spring cleaning” I’ve been doing this week,  ran a couple errands, and ate my favorite Mad Pita.  I don’t really care what we do, as long as I’m with Mr. Miller and have his undivided attention to talk about things – like my romper I wore yesterday on date night.  “It’s cute, it just looks like something Grae has in her drawer.” I’ll take that as a compliment! Thankssamuch.

I have some ideas up my sleeve for Summer for my little Millies that I’ll be sharing more about next week… On Monday for family home evening we will make our annual Miller Summer Bucketlist and I can’t wait for the adventures this year is sure to bring!

Adventure or no adventure, I’m just glad to have all my loves all to myself for a while.

My cute “momper” is from HERE.

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Last Day!

Today is the girls’ last day of first and second grade!

At Harlo’s end of year program, as she beamed at me from the front row, standing up to accept her achievement award, I couldn’t keep the tears from falling.  She is such a good girl.  I am so grateful for her, and for the great example she is to the others.  She is truly golden.  The whole program melted my heart, and made it well worth the sore arm I had from lugging around my 30 lb baby for an hour (stroller wasn’t in the back of my car like I had thought!)… let’s not even talk about the wandering, fit-throwing threenager I was dealing with, too. Yikes!  I’m sure I looked like a real hot mess there without my husband to help, but alas, my heart was just as full as my hands.

It has been a fantastic year for both of our girls.  We are feeling all the bittersweet feelings as this year comes to a close.  I for one, love summer and having all my children at home during the days.  I feel like I can finally breathe!  But they have both had such good teachers, and we will miss them dearly!  Harlo has been dreading the last day for weeks now.  She has loved every single day of second grade and being in Mrs. Scott’s class.  For Harlo especially, we have seen her blossom this year.  It is amazing to me how impactful these teachers can be.

Stella also has made the sweetest connection with her teacher, Mrs. Boshard.  She especially loves Mrs. Boshard’s hair and is always asking me if I can curl her bangs the way Mrs. Boshard does. ha! I love that girl so much.  Each time I see Mrs. B, she is always telling me how much she adores having  Stella in her class.  As a mama, there is just really not much more you can hope for with kids in school.  Sending them off for hours of their precious days with teachers that love them as their own.  We have had that with Mrs. B and I am so grateful!  We feel like we hit the teacher lottery this year, and I’m hoping next year can live up!

 

 

Happy LAST DAY to my precious big girls.  Tomorrow you are ALL MINE for the summer and I couldn’t be happier!! :D

 

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mothers day 2017

Mother’s day has quickly become my favorite holiday.  I don’t even care.  Those haters who are like “but mothers day is a commercialized holiday – we should be appreciating out mothers everyday..” yeah, well we aren’t.  So we need a designated day in the yearly calendar to be made breakfast, drown in homemade gifts, and be told in writing how loved and wonderful we are.  But to each their own here!  You do you, and I’ll be over here eating sub-par breakfast and crying over my girls fill-in-the-blank cards that say things like “If my mom had more time she would: twirl around in her fancy dresses.” (You get me, Stella.)

In all seriousness though, I tease a lot about gifts and Mr. Miller stepping things up – but this year looked a lot like every single other Sunday.  Running late to church trying to get my girls hair done, shoes found, snack bags packed.  Walking a fussy baby through the halls of church, teaching my young women’s class, hurrying home to feed hungry bellies, rocking the baby to sleep, tidying up the house for the dinner we were hosting, and hitting my bed that night full-hearted, and exhausted.

Mother’s day was not, and never is, a day-off for me.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  This work I’m doing is work I wondered if I’d ever be able to do.  It doesn’t always seem magical in the moments, but as I have time to process it all and think about it, I see the everyday miracles of my life in every little moment raising these babies of mine.

I love Mother’s Day for what it represents to me; that I am a mother.  That my heart’s utmost wishes came true in the form of four darling children.

  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Harlo, Stella, Grae, and Major,

I love being your mother EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Don’t you ever forget it.

(P.S. Mr. Miller did get wise and ordered from my handy email.  I hope you had as much luck!)

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Because every family needs a dog

This week has been an exciting one here at the Miller Manor.  You see, Mr. Miller and I both grew up with dogs and firmly believe that no family is quite complete without a family dog.  And this past weekend, we brought our very own family dog home.

You can’t imagine how much time we took thinking and researching, preparing our home and our lives to be ready for this step – it feels like a big one!

I found our sweet guy looking online for dogs up for adoption.  When I clicked on his photo, I felt something special.  I showed Mr. Miller and he agreed, “yep. That’s our dog.”  He’s a 16 month old Llewellin Setter (I grew up with Irish setters!), he was still available, just waiting for the right family to love him well.  I assured them we were the right family, and two days later, he was on his way to our home.

He took about zero time to warm up to us completely.  He laid on the floor that night while I rocked Major, snuggled in with the girls while we read books, and slept on the side of my bed all night and hasn’t left my side since.  To say we are completely in love is an understatement.  It feels like he’s been ours all along.

As I went to pick up our new family pal, Mr. Miller worked hard finishing the backyard fence he built with his own two hands.  (Mr. Miller is not the romantic one in our relationship, but that romantic gesture of building a fence for our family was not lost on me – all the heart eyes over here!) As we sat on the back porch that night, it felt a whole lot like living our dream.  A cute little house, four kids, and a dog to run around the yard.

I am living my most favorite chapter yet – the dog is just the cherry on top!

Welcome to our family, Finn! ♥

 

 

 

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