A day in our life

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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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better than you think

I am working on respecting my own personal boundaries.  This has been so hard for me to learn.  I’m really good at respecting other’s boundaries, but when it comes to myself I will say “yes” to everything, wear myself completely out, just to please those around me.  This is not healthy for me, my family, or my relationships.  I have learned that lesson the hard way this past year.

This week I’ve had to let a couple people down by saying “I can’t do that.  I do not have the time/resources/energy/priority available to assist with that.”  It’s hard for me to disappoint people.  It’s REALLY hard for me to disappoint people – especially people I love.

But here are a couple of people I did not let down this week….

 And they (along with their sisters and dad) are worth all the “no”s I’ll have to build up the courage to say.

I am feeling a bit anxious (#recoveringpeoplepleaser), but peaceful about the boundaries I’ve put in place this week.  I never want saying “yes” to something that’s not important to turn into saying “no” to something that is important.

I needed this reminder this week:

“Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are.” – Jeffrey R. Holland

See full talk HERE.

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oh hey monday!

Back to another week at Miller Manor.

Mondays are something I’ve actually (dare I say it?) come to love.  I love the freshness of Mondays – fridge is stocked, dinners are planned, washing machine humming all day.

After being gone for over half of March, my house is in an “overdue” state.  I am trying trying to get back on top of it – but as you know about me – housework isn’t my strong suit… it’s something I have to work HARD at to learn and maintain.  Wish me luck!  I am slipping on my apron (because I work better in a uniform – also, pockets), checking off my cleaning list (I’m looking at you, kitchen clutter!) and listening to my favorite book Heaven Is Here today while I clean –  nothing gives me a boost of self-confidence and faith more than that book.

(Major’s cute bottle is from Twistshake, get 20% off with cassmiller20 today!)

Also – thank you for all your writing suggestions last week! It helped so much, and has inspired a new project I’d like to work on for the blog.  I’m still brainstorming on that bit, but I loved hearing all the things you’d like to hear more of from me and I want to be able to share more of those things on a regular basis.  I’ve got a list of each suggestion and I’ll be checking them off one by one! Stay tuned.  If you missed it and would like to me to write about something, comment here and I’ll add it to the list! xoxo

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guess who’s back?

Me!

 

Last week, Mr. Miller and I took a 9-year-late honeymoon to the Caribbean.  I will be chatting more about that soon.. we had such an amazing time and I am excited to be writing for Today’s Mama (as I was doing on my trip).

But even more amazing than the Caribbean sea with my one true love, was getting home late last night, crawling into my own bed, and waking up to our children this morning.  You know your life is pretty happy when the crystal blue seas pale in comparison to the color and light your life is filled with.

Mr. Miller, I loved being your fellow honey-mooner, but I love even more being the mama to your babes and your day-to-day wife.  Let’s do that again (but not for a really long time, I missed the kids too much!)

I hope you’ve missed me like I’ve missed you!  If you’re here, leave me a comment with something you’d like me to write about in the coming weeks (ANYTHING!).  I need a little help to get back in the groove of daily writing and some requests would be most helpful!

Kiss Kiss!

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basket beds

There is a Miller Manor favorite that magically appears every single laundry day.

Basket Beds.

As I fold and empty laundry baskets that lay unoccupied on the floor of the living room, my little Millies find their way into them making up cozy little beds.  Each of the Millies have their own “mama boo’s” now.  (Mama boo’s are the cozy fleece blankets I love to snuggle under on the couch at any given time.  Except it’s hard for me now to find my “mama boos” since they are usually being snuggled with else-where by one of my little Millies… I finally got wise and got them their own “mama boo’s” to sleep with so mine could be freed up!)

Anyway, they place a couch pillow and a mama boo in the empty laundry basket and there they stay all cozy for hours.  The girls spent the whole afternoon cozied up in their basket beds yesterday and now as I sit writing this, Stella is cozied up in a basket bed right behind me.

It really is the simplest of things that brings joy and hours of entertainment.

 

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Get Out There, Gorgeous!

I have taken some much needed time off to regroup and recharge for the new year.  I’ve got some cool things planned for this year and I am so excited about this little blog of mine.  I really love this space and all of you who come to visit me here!

If you follow me on instagram, you know that I recently became an official Maskcara independent artist.  I am so thrilled to finally announce this!  I have been working on this for quite some time now.

If you’ve followed along for a long time, you also know that I’ve been with this company from the very beginning, using and loving their products and their mission.  I have chatted about them here, and have been helping you ladies figure out how to HAC via email and messages for years.  You have asked and asked for more videos, more info, more tutorials and I have been working hard to make that possible.  So it’s finally here!  I will be sharing video tutorials, answering questions, and building up a team of all of you who love it and want to share as well (because I know you already do!)

You can also now order online directly from me so I can help you and make sure you’re getting the support you need.  I’m SO excited about this – I know it’s going to be great.


(little known fact – this video was shot when I was 5 weeks pregnant with baby Maj!)

To shop, or to get info about joining our team, click HERE.
or simply visit maskcarabeauty.com/cassmiller

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today

This morning I woke up (mostly) rested.

My children were happily smooched off to school.

My husband was happily smooched off to work.

My babies have done 294 darling things.

The grocery shopping is done.

Some house chores will be performed with Christmas Music in the air.

There will be snuggling on the couch this afternoon (just as I finish this post!).

The darling neighbor girl will come for dinner.

The big girls and I will watch a Christmas movie before bed.

Just a very regular happy day that I didn’t want to forget.

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a day in our life

I am loving how we spend our days right now, so I wanted to do a little photo project to document each little bit of this season we’re in.

……………………………………………

After the big girls are off to school, we start our mornings with a long walk in our neighborhood.  I love this time in our day.  It’s the only time both the babies are quiet, still, and happy.  I set my intention for the day and love pushing the stroller as my feet hit the pavement in the neighborhood I have grown to love so much.  I usually listen to audio books or scriptures on our walks and I love the tone it sets for my day.  My body feels strong and healthy, my mind is sound, my spirituality is set for the day, and my babies are happy taking in scenery.

 Grae’s favorite part is the snacks. ;)

After our walk, if he didn’t snooze during the walk, he takes a good nap when we get home.  This is when I get the bulk of my work done for the day, whether it’s blog posting (like now) or house chores.  I switch off days of the week to create a balance to get things done.  After our walk, I’m usually inspired to write my message to the world for the day – or get home and get my hands busy with the most important kind – being the heart of my home.

This particular day was an early-out from school, so after lunch we took to the front yard.  We wait out front for them each day.  Sometimes we swing on the porch swing, sometimes we sit on the grass, some days we kick a ball around.  Every day I love this happy time when the girls get home.

I kiss the girls off the bus, let them love on their baby siblings for a while, and listen all about their days before we head inside.

Sometimes (these days more often not) Grae naps in the afternoons with the baby.  When we get this rare baby-free time, we do some big girl things.  My big girls lately have taken to planning.  In addition to playing with my kids with things they like, I like to invite them to do things that I like to do.  This has changed the way we spend time together, and I love it.  The girls love doing things I like – imagine that.  Once a week I ready my planner for the week, and the girls get theirs out.  They do mostly some journaling and they embellish it with stickers and cute pages.  I love seeing what they come up with.  I also love that as they grow up, we find more and more things to do, keeping us close and our relationship strong.  This is so important to me and I treasure my time with just them.

Before we know it… Grae is up from her snooze.

 

We make a little afternoon snack – popcorn is always the favorite.

And then it’s usually time for me to start dinner.  This time is usually busy with the babies up, homework needs to be worked on, the cooking needs to be attended to, so everyone has a job to pitch in.  If someone is bugging someone else, it’s because they’re not busy enough, so they get an extra job. ;) The girls take turns doing homework and watching Grae, Grae’s job is to play with Major, when that gets restless it’s time to set the table, etc.  For some reason I just genuinely like cooking dinner.  It can be stressful, but it just reminds me how full our lives are and it marks this season I’m in in motherhood.  There are a lot of layers to life right now, and it feels like such an accomplishment.  Sometimes I catch myself juggling several things and I can’t believe I’m capable of it.  But I am.  So I lean in to that when the stress level starts raising.

And this moment right here makes all the hard work I do as a mama for the day just completely and utterly worth it.

(I love when my girls set the table – they always take it to another level with little touches of fanciness!)

I’m sure our days look like millions of other mothers in the world, and I love that.  I think about that often – the sisterhood of motherhood.  We are so connected in this.  As we work from sun up to sun down, doing the Lord’s work to guide our family, love our family, working hard and putting so many others before ourselves.  What a special calling we have.  And just like anything God asks us to do, he blesses us 100x over for our sacrifices.  I’m so glad to spend my day serving in this capacity.  What a blessing it’s been to my life.

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Thanksgiving Day 2016

First you should know that Thanksgiving and Easter are my favorite holidays.  They are both #1 because it’s impossible for me to choose which I love more.  But Thanksgiving, folks.  My goodness, I love this holiday.

Like most families, we switch off every other year.. so one year we go with Mr. Miller’s family to the cabin for Thanksgiving, and on my year, I cook at home and host my own Thanksgiving.  We have had this arrangement since we were married, so this was my fourth time cooking the  traditional feast.  For Thanksgiving hosting, I’d say 4th time’s the charm.  I had zero calls to my mom, and I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed my day from start to finish without feeling overwhelmed or stressed out.

My sister came with her crew from California, my dad was here and my family of six.  We hung out and cooked and snacked all day together, listening to good music and having great conversation.  Because half of our guests were vegan, I saved myself some work by just cooking a turkey breast in stead of a full turkey.  This has been my little trick when we don’t have a ton of turkey eaters.  I just toss it in the crockpot with a half cup of orange juice, a can of cranberry sauce, and a packet of lipton onion soup mix and it’s the most deliciously moist turkey you’ll ever taste.  I made my family’s favorite sweet potato casserole with a pecan crumble on top, my favorite green bean casserole (add a little Worcestershire and rosemary to make it pop!), Grandma Jorgensen’s stuffing recipe, of course Harlo’s favorite mashed potatoes (cream cheese is the secret ingredient there), and some fresh white rolls.  My sister made hors d’oeuvres which included the most delicious veggie dip that I could’t get enough of (I’ll get the recipe!), roasted brussel sprouts, and our family’s traditional cheesecake.  It was a “feast fit for a king” as Mr. Miller would say.

Because we Miller ladies love some decor; I put up an easy chalkboard banner from Target which I also made the place settings with, along with some festive pinwheels I’ve used for every holiday one way or another.  I had some green garland from Major’s blessing that I knew would come in handy for more events.  We busted out my pretty white dishes that I have collected over the years, as well as mason jar mugs.  The buffalo check napkins were a recent score from the target $3 bins.  Our table cloth was handmade by a dear family friend who recently passed, and some craft paper laid over top brought it all together.  It was festive and simple – just the way I like it.

We truly had the happiest holiday and I am feeling so very thankful.  As I laid in bed that night, I recounted all the other years I’ve cooked and how our family has grown in size and in love.  My heart was filled to the tippy top as I counted each of my blessings that night.  I’m so glad this life is mine.

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growing pains

This weekend has been a busy one for our little Miller Manor.  Since Major was born, we have been trying to figure out the best bedroom arrangement to fit four kids in a three bedroom house.  Our house is a little cottage and I love it.  It’s small and cozy and makes me think outside the box sometimes, and I appreciate that challenge in a home.  I believe in siblings sharing bedrooms and I’m glad my babies have that sweet opportunity.

We have had Mr. Major in our room in a little corner nursery for his whole life, but we aren’t getting a lot of sleep anymore and it was time to switch things up.  After laying out all of our options, we ultimately decided that Grae (now that she’s done napping.. WHAAAA!) could bunk up with the girls for a while until we get Maj on a better sleeping schedule.  So Sunday after church (and alllll day long on Monday) my motherly duties included cleaning up, organizing, arranging, and nesting new little nooks for my precious ones.

bunk beds HERE.

I pretty much wanted to cry the whole day cleaning out drawers and packing away clothes that were too small, moving Grae out of the baby nursery that I painted the day before I had her – which seems like yesterday!  Moving Major out of my room, because my teensy newborn isn’t one anymore.  He is a big huge (almost) 7 month old who scoots around my house and says “dada”!  Time is moving at such a fast pace, and my heart aches as it realizes the quickly passing time.

I also know that each new year brings it’s own magic and blessings and happiness.  As our angels cozied up that night, fresh excitement, snuggled into their beds, I realized that the time is passing and my babies wont be babies forever.. but that they have each other forever.   These changes and new memories are making their childhood together and I’m so grateful.  They are happy kids, we are a happy family, and honestly we can’t ask for a whole lot more than that, can we?

Today Mr. Miller and I are divided on who we are voting for, and that’s okay.  Because no matter who we vote for, we will come home and love our family together.  

“The most important work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.” -Harold B. Lee

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HaLLoWeeN

Like every other mother in America, my weekend was completely consumed with Halloween festivities.  I have decided that Halloween is the longest, busiest holiday for mothers – bar none.  I was feeling quite overwhelmed on Wednesday, as my festivities began, but my sister (Auntie) came to town to help me through the weekend.  I couldn’t have done it without the extra set of hands.

All my kids this year had their Halloween plans set in stone earlier than usual.  For months, Harlo waned to be Mal (from Disney Descendants) and Stella wanted to be Rapunzel… But then one night Harlo asked if she could maybe be Taylor Swift and it took about no time for Stella to get on board and be Katy Perry.  Grae, of course, wants all things Peppa all the time, and since Peppa has a baby brother, George, well… you know how this story ends.

I’m not the craftiest mother you’ve ever met, but I do believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way.  So we got our heads together to brainstorm some costumes and we made it happen.  I must say, they turned out way cuter than I had imagined.  The girls helped so much (Stella basically made her whole costume) and it came together so cute.  I was cussing Halloween on Wednesday when I was looking at four total days to dress up for different events, but I have to say that by the actual Holiday, my heart could barely handle all the cuteness.

 I always like to buy things for Halloween that they can wear again.  Grae’s peppa costume is just a little red dress from Old Navy and Hunters boots that I knew would become a quick favorite and get plenty of wear.  Harlo’s gold dress is from Target and will be a good staple for the holiday season.  We crafted the pig ears, Stella’s Katy Perry top, and guitar ourselves for cheap, so we spent pretty wisely this Halloween.  Costumes for a family of six can add up quick!

 Of course the school parade is a favorite tradition.  It’s always surreal to me that I am a mom of elementary aged kids when I go to help with parties and such.  I don’t feel old enough yet! ha.

 Loved having my sister here for my literal partner in crime.  As much as we love going to visit in California, it’s always fun to have our favorite part of California right here at home with us.


Can’t say I’m sad it’s over!  We took the day off today of everything to rest and recoup and we’re feeling ready to ring in November and all the magic of the holiday season!

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miller family video

I have been working on so many fun creative projects lately, but our family video has got to be my very favorite.  I can’t thank McKay from Legacy One Films enough for this gem!  I have had this idea for years, and he made it come to life in such a beautiful way.  This made our family pictures all the more sweet to capture us in this season.  I’ll be posting more beautiful pictures from this session with Ashley Flowers Photography next week! Basically, we have a dream team!  Can’t thank these talented creatives enough.

Miller Family Lifestyle Shoot – Fall 2016 from Legacy One Films on Vimeo.

McKay is offering $50 for my followers who book before December 15th!  I can’t recommend a family lifestyle video enough.  Check out legacyonefilms.com to book and mention Cass Miller! xo

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better tomorrow

Our week got a rocky start with Grae catching the bug that has been swirling around over the weekend.  In usual Grae fashion, it got her a bit worse than it did the others, poor sis.  Instead of spending the day grocery shopping, doing laundry, and preparing for my week… I spent the day switching off holding two whiney babies, snuggling on the couch, and cleaning out throw-up bowls on repeat.  

By dinner time (that was brought in by a sweet neighbor – thanks Andi!), I was feeling low on patience, high on stress, and ready to escape.  This was coming after a long, draining weekend and I felt like waving my white flag in the realest way.  I got a little snippy with my kids as their endless requests came pouring in for the evening and felt immediate regret for letting my stress get the better of me.

As the evening settled down, and the kids got tucked into bed.. I crept back into Harlo and Stella’s room to apologize for my behavior.  “I’m sorry, sisters.  I wasn’t ever mad at you.. I was just feeling stressed and ornery today.” Harlo reassured me, “It’s okay mom.  I’m not mad at you.  You can do better tomorrow.”  (A line I have told her on her own tough days.)

I got thinking about that little piece of advice, and it’s true.  I can do better tomorrow, and how wonderful that gift is.

I may not have it all together today, but I can surely do better tomorrow.

 

 

 

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finding happy

What I write mostly about here on this blog, are the things that make me happy.  I want to remember those things, so they get top billing on the pages of my documented life.

What has been such a blessing in this blog of mine – for myself – is that in trying seasons, it has forced me to scrape the bottom of the barrel sometimes to find the joy.  As I have written about happy things in tough times, I have seen those miracles in my own life.  Those tender mercies, that joy always, always, always can be found.

In the recent general conference, this talk was my favorite.  It spoke directly to me.

This past year, my heart has weighed heavy with issues that were beyond my control.  But as I prayed for my perspective to shift, and we started adjusting the focus of our lives, we were able to clearly see the happiness all around us again.  This is a lesson I will take with me for the rest of my life.  It’s so true that you can’t always adjust your circumstances, but you can ALWAYS adjust your focus.  And if God is at the center of your lives, and you listen and seek him, you will see His blessings all around.

Our issues haven’t magically disappeared, but the heaviness in my heart surely has, and I am so grateful.

I believe that happiness can always be found.  Maybe with that trip you’ve been dying to take.  That goal you’ve worked hard to reach.  The fulfillment you have from a job you love.  For me, happiness is always found in the form of a freshly tubbed baby.

I testify to you: As long as freshly tubbed babies exist, so then does happiness.

my cute glasses HERE
(If I could link you to a freshly tubbed baby, you know I would!)

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