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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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major and his mama

There is a boy who I am spending quite a lot of time with these days.

As I scrolled through my photo albums from the weekend, I found various pictures the girls have taken of me over the last few days – all of which this handsome honey is in my arms.  (You could say we like hanging out together.)

Friday dinner making:

Saturday porch sitting:

Sunday after-churching:

Then this picture popped up from “This time last year”.  Remember when we looked like this together? :

I told Mr. Miller that maybe that last pregnancy wasn’t as hard as I thought it was?  He assured me, it was.

Maybe it was.

But it was sure worth it.

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a little bit fit | finding a workout plan for beginners

First, I’d like to thank you all for the kind words you shared on my body image post.  It took all the courage I could muster to post that – I had been sitting on that post for weeks.  I felt truly inspired to share it, and I hope that it touched anyone it needed to – at the very least, I hope it presented a new perspective in how we think and talk about our own bodies.

Following that post, I will talk a little more about my actual fitness journey.  For starters though, I want to chat a bit about finding the right workout plan for me – because I thumbed through quite a few until I found something that worked.  For me it didn’t look like starting one thing and sticking with it – it looked like experimenting several different things until I found something that stuck.

*** This post is long, but I always wanted to know how people GOT in shape, not just what they did to STAY in shape, so I’m going to write down all the details.***

Years ago, after my miscarriage with a bruised and broken body and spirit, I enrolled in a yoga studio that was just around the corner from my house.  Here is where I found complete bliss in working out.  I looked forward to that yoga practice every single day, and I practiced EVERY single day.  That daily yoga practice healed me in ways I didn’t realize I needed to be healed.  I thought for sure this would be my life practice.

And then I got pregnant.

The hot yoga, which I had been doing for months and had built up stamina to, made me terribly sick, throwing up after each session.  Some women find great success with practicing hot yoga during their pregnancies, however, I was not one of them.  It made me so sad to step back from that yoga practice, but the sicker I got in my pregnancy, it became apparent I would not be doing ANY kind of yoga, or anything else for that matter that required me getting out of bed.  Bless my heart, Grae’s pregnancy was hard.  By the time I was no longer pregnant, I was anxious to get back in the flow of yoga.  However, my beloved hot yoga studio just around the corner from my home had moved across town.  Try as I might, I could not get it back into my daily routine.  The class times were off, or I would be too late driving through traffic, or – oh yeah – I had a baby who wouldn’t go longer than 45 minutes without nursing, so that also put a damper on things.  Reluctantly, and depressingly, I let my yoga pass go.

Fast forward two years and I had myself another newborn.  I had a strong appreciation for my body and a desire to take good care of it – which my body needed as that fourth baby really wreaked havoc on my bod.  I developed diastasis recti during my pregnancy, which is when the stomach muscles are stretched so much that they actually separate.  So what used to be my abs were now a very jello-y feeling substance that didn’t work properly.  The first step in healing diastasis recti is to do absolutely nothing.  You want the muscles to come back together before you start building them up again – otherwise, they build up separately and stay that way.  So now, along with less time for working out, I had less capability of working out as well.  But still, I needed (and wanted) to do something.

Then one fateful day, I loaded up my two babies in a double jogger that I had purchased from a facebook yard sale page, and walked around the block.  That day changed the course of my fitness journey.  In each day that passed, as I pushed my two babies in the stroller, I felt grounded.  My baby took his first morning nap in that stroller, while my ever-busy two year old sat still and quiet for the only time of the day.  I didn’t multi-task.  I didn’t email, or tidy, or feel like I should be doing something else.  I just simply put one foot in front of the other, and those moments of stillness and simplicity fueled me for the rest of the day.  Just like my yoga practice those years before, I found love for exercising.  In fact, it didn’t feel much like exercise at all – which is what I loved the most about it.  I looked forward to it each day.

This is how I got “in shape”.  And by that, I mean walking is how I got my body out of that sluggish, out-of-breath state that happens when you haven’t been working out for a long while (or ever).  So that is all I focused on in that time.

Then winter hit and going for daily walks with two babies got a little tough to do consistently.   So back to dabbling I went.  I toyed around with youtube workout videos, did a free week trial at the gym near me, but didn’t find anything that made me feel that grounded-ness like my morning walks or yoga had done.

My sister does BBG (Sweat With Kayla workout program), but she’s an actual athlete (runner), so I was intimidated, but figured I would give it a free week trial anyway.  To my delight, going for walks is a part of the workout plan, so right off I felt good about it.

I have found that with little ones and tight schedules, home workouts work really well for me.  I also love that it was only 25 or so minutes long.  The workouts are tough – in fact I couldn’t even get through one entirely for a couple weeks, but I did my best and found a new groove.  I do resistance workouts in my living room 3 days a week, and go for walks 3 days a week (or more because my babies love walks!).

There are a few reasons I love BBG – First because I can do it at home (but it also works well with the gym if you’re a gym gal), with very little equipment.  That makes it so doable for me.  Another thing I love is that it’s all women based, and there is a HUGE #bbg community on instagram.  The girls are always so helpful and forthcoming about works for them – not to mention inspiring!  I love seeing the progress pictures people post and the tips and tricks they share.  I also SUPER love that it’s highly encouraged to not focus on a number on the scale.  Progress pictures are recommended, which I feel are so much more productive anyway.  I don’t do scales, so this worked really well for me.  It’s the type of positivity and encouragement I feel good about – there is no body shaming, everything is so positive.

And last, and very importantly, is that it has really worked.  I just finished week 11 and I have seen such a change in my body.  My legs, abs, and arms are more toned – I’ve slimmed down a bit, but mostly just tightened up which is exactly what I was after.  I can tell I’m getting stronger each week as I can do more and more all the time, which is rewarding.  I’ve taken things really slow.  I’m hoping to make a real lifestyle out of exercising – so I was careful not to “crash and burn”.  I have weeks where I kill it (this week), and weeks where I skip more workouts than I’d like (last week), but I take it all in stride.  I’ve got a looooong time to get it right, no rush.

Most importantly, I’m enjoying it.  I’m feeling good in my own skin, I’m feeling stronger, and I have more energy.  So for now, this is a great fit for me.

There is a lot more to share about this – so I’ll be popping on to chat about this type of stuff here and there.  If you have any questions or would like me to go more into detail about a certain thing, leave your comments here and I’ll round them up for another post.

Here’s to HAPPY and HEALTHY living!

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Mothers Day is just around the corner!

I’m sure you have noticed, Mother’s Day is right around the corner.  Funny story (not), last year my Mother’s Day didn’t go quite as I had anticipated.  I am a great wife (I like to believe), so I send Mr. Miller a wish list well in advance.  Except last year, he thought it would be a good idea to veer from that list, go rogue, and get me something that he thought I might like.

Back to the training center we go.

This year, I have sent a fool proof, itemized wishlist of things I actually want.  If it is helpful to you, feel free to copy and paste the email I sent to Mr. Miller this morning, and fill in your links in the necessary places.  I am hoping for a very successful Mother’s Day this year. ;)

**********************************

Hello my sweet husband,

I hope you are thinking of me today, at home with your children – loving them, caring for them, changing, feeding, clothing them.  I hope you are picturing me folding laundry and wondering what you would enjoy for supper after your hard day’s work.
WITH THAT BEING SAID….
Here is my Mother’s Day wish list for you. :)
Imagine how cute I would look walking into church on your arm in this dress
I would also thoroughly enjoy cooking you some delicious dinners in this here cast iron dutch oven

Please kindly let me know if there is any trouble with these recommendations.  Remember these are the things I actually want, I am not wishing for a surprise on this blessed holiday – unless of course that surprise is a darling puppy.. in any case, I would still very much like the new Sunday dress to go with my new puppy. ;)

Warm Reguards,
Your Beloved Wife
**********************************
I like to think Mr. Miller thoroughly enjoys being married to me… I thoroughly enjoy being married to him…. especially when he sticks to my Mother’s Day list. *wink!*
At least you always know where you stand with me, Darling. ♥
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Major Turns One | Birthday Fiesta

This year was officially the fastest year of my entire life.  The one year mark didn’t sneak up on me as much as it sped right to me like a semi on the freeway.  I couldn’t jump out of it’s way, and it was coming whether I wanted it to or not.

I love one year olds, but I also love 11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2, & 1 month olds.  I love every single drop of that first year of babyhood and it’s so bittersweet seeing my own little baby turn one.  I just want moooore time, is that so much to ask?  Just like double – or triple the time?  Anyway, his first birthday came and just like the rest of his life here with us, it was absolutely perfect.

 Major smashing his cake was maybe the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.  He was HAMMING it up for all to enjoy.  We haven’t stopped talking about what a little charmer he is.

 We are in love with this boy like we never knew was possible.  After a year, we have found that being the baby of the family AND the only boy is a pretty sweet place to land in life.

 p.s.
Easiest party in the world to throw is a fiesta!
Double easy if your party is in the remote vicinity of Cinco De Mayo!
We may be having birthday fiestas as a new tradition. :D

p.p.s
Upon requesting for Mr. Miller to wear “anything colorful or that you’d wear in Mexico.” He came out wearing this shirt that was a hand-me-down Tommy Bahama shirt with a PEP IN HIS STEP. (Much to my dismay, and not-so-subtle suggestions to change several times.)
You may not know this about Mr. Miller, but he can’t wait to be an old man.
Tommy Bahama shirts, beige Cadillacs, and early bird buffet specials are what I have to look forward to with this husband of mine.
Hopefully I can hold him off at least until he turns 35. ;)

 

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the not-so-fitness post | healing my body image

I have shared a little bit about starting up Kayla Itsiness’ workout program.  I have gotten a lot of questions and I thought this would be the best place to share a bit about my experience.

I have been reluctant to put anything out there, because I am NOT a fitness queen.. but then I think that the “non fitness” type people are exactly the people I’d like to hear from with what they do to stay fit and healthy, so I’m going to share my story so far, instead of when I’m “on top” of it.  So take note that I myself am in the very beginning stages.

Before I post about my workouts, getting in shape, and the ever sought-after “how did I lose the baby weight?!” questions, I feel strong importance to tell you the whole story, and my story with body image begins before my fitness journey does.

I grew up having a lot of body-shaming talk around me, which probably had a lot to do with my poor body image all throughout my childhood and teen years.  I HATED my body, I was in a constant need to escape it.  I treated myself poorly, allowed others to treat me poorly, and I didn’t take care of my health what-so-ever.  As a teenager, I lived with my bachelor of a dad, so my idea of a “home cooked” meal was a can of Nally’s chili, or a frozen dinner warmed in the microwave… the only idea of “eating healthy” I knew of was crash-dieting, which I tried often, which looked more like harsh starvation of my body, and frustration when I didn’t look like Nicole Richie after my painful efforts.

Then, after years of sinking so deep into a darkness of not understanding my worth, and some devastating personal challenges, something miraculous happened when I got pregnant with my first baby.  I carried that baby to full-term, and without ever having done so before, successfully pushed her out of my body.  I did it! I gave birth to the most perfect baby girl.  Something happened to me as I sat in my living room rocking chair, that first time my milk came in – the milk that would sustain this angel baby girl of mine that my body just fully prepared for earthly life – I had a crashing wave of gratitude come over me for the healthy body I had, that I had treated so poorly, but had given me my life’s greatest joy anyway.  This is when I started viewing my body more as my friend rather than an inconvenient part of myself.

As Harlo grew, I wanted only what was best for her growing body.  I researched her nutrition diligently – how to make the healthiest possible baby food to feed her perfect little body.  One day as I was cooking for her, contentment filled my heart over nourishing her so well.  A whisper of a thought came to my mind, “Your body is just as perfect as hers, shouldn’t you be treating yours the same way?”  And that thought changed me.

I taught myself to cook.  I cut out preservatives and ate only real, from-scratch, fresh food.  I practiced gratitude for my body, and not only stopped talking negatively about my body (I strongly don’t want my children growing up in that environment), but I also stopped thinking negatively about my body.  When a negative thought came in, I would quickly catch it, and respond with a positive truth.  Rather than “I wish my thighs were skinnier.” I would replace it with, “I am so glad I have strong, capable legs that can chase after my little girls!”  At first I corrected myself a lot, and then after some time I didn’t have to correct my thinking as much, and even more time, not hardly ever.  A positive body image truly is something that can be learned, or perhaps it’s a bad body image that can be healed.  I am living proof.

After I had delivered Harlo and began my pregnancy with Stella, I knew my body could do this work.  I opted to deliver her naturally at home, because I knew my body was capable – and it was.  When my labor with Grae stalled, I knew my body could do this.  I trusted it fully, and again, it delivered.  The end of my pregnancy with Major, when my body had been stretched more than ever before, when I was at the end of labor pushing out the toughest baby I’d ever had to push out – I knew my body could do this.  Even during my miscarriage, when the doctors recommended a D&C and I opted out because I KNEW my body could do this.

As the years have gone on through my adult life, I have seen my body’s capabilities.  I have given birth on my bedroom floor THREE times, I have labored and stretched and been stronger than I would have ever imagined I could be.  I have withstood five sickening first trimesters, carried four babies to full term, my small frame feeling like it was busting at the seems, but still it pushed on cooking those babies well past “full term”.  As I suffered a miscarriage, I waited patiently while my body worked hard to hold onto the pregnancy it had created, even though the life inside of it hadn’t made it.  After that painful loss, I gifted my body with diligent yoga to help heal my mind, spirit, and my ever-capable body.  It was during that therapeutic yoga practice that I learned that my body was much more “athletic” than I had ever given it credit for, and how good I felt when I took care of it.

So you could say my body and I have been through a lot together, and it stands as the only thing that has stuck with me through every single life experience I’ve ever had.  This body of mine isn’t like my best friend, it is my best friend, and it’s a friend I care deeply for.  So after my body and I delivered this last baby, skin sagging, extra weight, muscles literally stretched to separation, 2 ribs permanently misplaced, and one tailbone that will never be the same from it’s time on the battlefield, it was an easy decision to take good care of the body that has taken such good care of me and my family.

And this is where my fitness story begins.

Suit : Target
Blanket : Wander Series
Photo : Sugar Rush Photo

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Easter weekend 2017

We doubled up on holidays this weekend celebrating our sweet Major’s birthday along with Easter, my favorite Holiday.  It was hectic and lovely and filled to the very brim with goodness and love. (I’ll post about Major’s birthday in another post)

On Saturday, we walked to the Art’s Festival which is my very favorite weekend in St. George.  Easter is wonderful everywhere, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s the best spent in our little Southern Utah town.  I have gone EVER single year my whole life and I love bringing my own children now.  I also love living downtown this time of year (and every other time of year, too, actually).  There’s just a happy bustling down the streets, trees blossoming into Spring, flowers blooming all over the colorful houses.  I love it down here and think I maybe never want to leave.

After the arts festival, our church ward had their annual Easter Egg hunt at the park.  Of course it was a hit:

After that, MY cousins were in town and they stopped by the Miller Manor for dinner Saturday night.  I was having too much fun to snap any pics, but I super loved having my cousins and aunt and uncle over for dinner.  It made me feel like a kid and a grown-up all at once, which is a pretty neat feeling.

******************

Easter Sunday, my honey spoke in another ward, so me and the little Millies (sans Stella who had woken up with strep!) headed to support our main guy.  Mr. Miller is a fantastic speaker in church, and with his new church calling in the high council, he is able to speak a whole lot!  I think it’s a perfect fit.

My Mr. Miller gave the neatest talk about that first Easter.  My favorite part of his talk is when he spoke about Mary and her broken mother heart, seeing her baby on the cross like that.  Jesus did the hardest thing anyone will do, but I think Mary had to do a big part of that too.  As I sat with my own precious baby son on my lap, my heart broke for Mary – someone I have grown to understand and deeply love since becoming a mother.  I love that my husband paid tribute to this sacred moment, and it’s been on my mind ever since.  The atonement and resurrection are so vast that most of the time I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it all, but when I can spend time pondering little aspects of it, I gain a testimony of the little pieces, and they weave together a testimony of hope, faith, truth, and love for my Savior and what He did for us.  

It’s amazing that the lives we enjoy today, the forgiveness we rely on, the happiness and hope we can feel is because of that sacred day when Jesus conquered death.  I have spent the last ten years of my Christianity learning to grasp this, and I’ve no where near mastered the enormity of this concept, but I’m learning, and I am awe-struck over the love our Heavenly Father has for us.

Easter is my very favorite holiday.  It’s one of simplicity and love and beauty, and I love it just as much now (more so, actually) as I did as a little girl.  Each Easter, as I line up my darling babies to photograph them in their Easter ensembles I am overcome with gratefulness.  Grateful that my life took such a wonderful turn back there somwhere, and that by turning my heart to Jesus Christ, I have created this beautiful life.  It never ceases to amaze me.  This year I had a bench full of MY own children, and nothing could make me happier.

Of course, Jesus isn’t the only man we were feeling extra grateful for this Easter.  Celebrating my only son’s first birthday on this special day felt a little like magic.  In his dapper little Easter outfit, my heart nearly burst right open.  I sure love my little prince!

As I mentioned, sweet Stella woke up in the night with a hot fever and felt miserable all day on Easter. (She was also sick for Valentines – what luck!) I brought her to the doctor Monday morning and she has strep!  Poor sister.  We had to skip on the cousin Easter-egg hunt at Nana and Papa’s house and my girls were SO bummed.  But you better believe Nana and Papa brought that Easter Egg hunt to them on Monday so they didn’t have to entirely miss out.  (Thank you Grandma for braving the sickness and letting us come to your house on Easter!  You saved the day!)

 It takes a village to raise a happy family, and I am so grateful for ours.  This Easter weekend was one of my very, very favorites.

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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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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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Major Monthly – TEN

Major is just as sweet as they come.
Truly a little angel boy.
He is calm, mellow, completely laid back.
Wow, we really needed one like that in this family. ;)
He was nearly 22 lbs at his 9 month appointment, putting him just 2 lbs behind his big sister.
This boy is a little tank.  He is rolly and squishy and ever so delishy.
He has 6 teeth, and is working on 7 & 8 as we speak.  Poor guy got all 6 in the matter of about 2 weeks!
He loves to grind his top with his bottom and it sends a shiver down my soul every single time.
He is happy and goofy and always on the go.
He army crawls faster than anything you’ve ever seen.  A couple months ago we were at a friend’s who had been in the army.  They were so impressed with his form and speed. ha!
He can now crawl with his belly off the ground, but when he’s being quick he’ll resort to the army crawl, or “the slither” as I have named it.
I always love this age so much, their little personalities really start to blossom at this age.
Maj has turned into a little goof ball.  He loves anything silly.
He plays peek-a-boo with anything he can.
He waves on demand, melting the hearts of all the women in his life (sisters).
He says mama, dada, stella, hi, bye, uh-oh, mmmm, yeah, boo, baba.
He has started to mimick anything we do, and will try to say words we tell him to.
He is the latest of my early talkers, but it just fits right along with his laid back demeanor.
He growls and woofs like a little puppy.  He reminds me of a puppy in so many ways, we often call him “Pup”.
The other day I came around the kitchen island and he was right there and right when he saw me, he said “raw!” Definitely learned that from his sisters. ;)
He loves the school bus and waving his sisters off and home from school.
Major definitely loves his mama in a special way, but he honestly is a fan of our whole crew.
He plays with Grae, and pesters her like the little brother he is.
He takes to Harlo just like his second mama, and Stella is his favorite source of entertainment.
One thing that has been so fun for me to see, is the brother-sister dynamic come to life.  I have no brothers, so this is a very first for me.
I always say that Major is the little house boyfriend, and it’s so true.  He has us ladies completely smitten.  He can do no wrong (yet).
I can tell he and Brady have their own little guy-bond and my heart just about bursts right in two when I see them together.
My boys.  My goodness I’m glad we have a son.
Major is officially done nursing, as of 9 months.
Of course, that milestone has been a little bittersweet.
I wanted to chat about it more for my record so..
Struggling with milk supply is the name of the game for me.  I fight back hard, and have been able to make nursing work, which has been so wonderful.  Major is such an eater – he eats WAY more than my girls did.  When we started feeding him baby food, I realized this especially.  He was nursing non stop all day, and never seeming satisfied.  His sleeping at night was getting worse and worse.  He was up every two hours to eat, for sure.  I was making myself crazy taking supplements, counting calories (making sure I was getting enough), drinking water by the gallon and living on no sleep, I felt like my milk battle was winning me, not me winning it.
I also can’t pump after the first bit, because my milk wont let down with a pump.  This is all stuff I dealt with with my others too, but I still just pressed on.  Then when Major was about 7 months, I had a photo shoot take me away for longer than 2 hours, and as a desperate attempt, I had Brady go pick up a small can of formula at the store and see if he’d take it.  He gulped down a 6 ounce bottle then took a 3.5 hour nap.
And not that this was THE answer, and not that I couldn’t have still pushed on with nursing exclusively.. but I felt my heart change – how prayers are often answered for me.  I had been drowning and I couldn’t think of anything I could move from my plate to stay afloat, and on that day, I saw something that I could move off my plate.  I could have kept fighting, but I didn’t have to.  And it’s a lesson I hadn’t learned yet in mothering, and I’m grateful for.  We didn’t rush into anything, I kept nursing – and on days I felt nursing wasn’t enough, I’d feed him a bottle.  Then I started feeding him a bottle before bed, and that made all the difference in his sleeping.  We gradually, very slowly moved from nursing to bottles full time.  And instead of feeling terribly sad, or like defeat, I felt happier, and I could tell Major was happier.  I felt like I had done what was right for us, not what was right for me, or what I wanted to do the most, but what was right for us.  And that felt so good.
Major is happily taking 2-3 8 oz. bottles a day, sleeping through the night, and finally napping reguarly too.  It has also been such a sweet tender mercy to me because my oldest baby was a bottle-baby as well, and it’s brought back so many sweet memories from her babyhood.  It’s another testiment to there being a million ways to be a good mother, and no one way.  As a mama of four babies now, I haven’t found two that are exactly alike.  I have had to be four different mothers to my four different children.  And somehow, I am doing it, by the Grace (and loads of help) of God.
And that is the story of how Major went from a nursing baby, to a bottle-fed baby.  The end.
Major is truly the easiest.  We have schlepped that baby around on road trips, various adventures, camping, hotels, pack-n-plays in different places.  He sometimes has to take a carpool ride rather than take a nap, or not get to bed as early as he’d like because we’re still not through with dinner.  He is so go with the flow, and I am forever forever grateful he’s in our family.
Our happy little caboose.  What a dream.
He has shown me a whole new flavor of love.
I feel like the luckiest to get to be his mama.

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twenty-eight

On Monday, I celebrated turning twenty-eight years old!

I love my birthday, and the older my kids get, the more I love it.  My girls always try to make everything extra special for me, and my heart just bursts at their love and thoughtfulness.  I woke up to breakfast in bed, a family chorus singing happy birthday, hand-picked and hand-made gifts from the girls, and a birthday surprise trip from Brady to visit our besties in Dallas.  I thought my heart would explode from all the love.  After that, Mr. Miller whisked me off to the spa for a little time to relax and unplug.  I will definitely be making that a birthday tradition. ;)

As I had some time to think, I reflected on my twenties.  Brady and I laughed remembering how when we were engaged, we decided that 28 would be a great age to start having kids.  We wanted to travel and work a while before we “settled down”.  The plans we made for ourselves always make us laugh because they pale in comparison to what the plan was for us.  At 28, mama of four beautiful children, and a husband who I love even more than the day I married him, I am so not bummed about how my life has turned out.  It’s been such a great ride.

In my twenties, as I came into motherhood, I was really pushed to come into myself.  Motherhood settled on me instantly and easily, but getting comfortable in my own skin is something I really worked on.  I’ve spent hours in therapy, read countless helpful books, and changed my thought process and decision making to better my relationship with myself, and in turn, my relationship with others.  I know this is a life work, and one I am committed to.  Working on myself, loving myself, building a relationship with God, and my family.  At 28, I am in the happiest place of my life this far.

For my birthday I had a little spa and lunch time with my Mr. Miller, followed by a quiet family dinner at my favorite place (Mad Pita).  We have stretched my birthday celebrations out a bit, because the stomach flu went through our entire family last week and no one was really feeling up for cake on my actual birthday.  No problem for me though, any excuse to milk extra days from my birthday, I’ll take! ;)  We are headed on a quick birthday trip this weekend and I’m feeling all sorts of loved as this week ticks by.  I have the best friends and family and I am so grateful to be part of such a fantastic tribe.

 

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9 months in, 9 months out

My sweet Major has officially been in my arms as long as he was in my belly.
I remember when this original picture was taken, on my due date, 9 months ago.
My tail bone was sore, my ribs were wrecked, my stomach was stretched so far.
I told Brady that night, “I wonder if this is your big strapping son in here and that’s why I’m so uncomfortable.” (it was)
I remember so clearly the feelings of anticipation as I was about to give birth and see what that sweet little bundle would be – boy or girl.
I had visions of what our family dynamic would look like, and change, and all the bittersweet-ness that comes in those last days of pregnancy.
But nothing at all could have prepared me for the love that was headed our way.
These 9 months have been some of my very happiest.
Major brought contentment to our family.
And maybe he wont be the last, and maybe he will.
One thing is for sure though, he’d be a great note to end on.

So very glad that big ol’ belly brought me my sweet little honey man.
Worth every single popped-out rib, ten fold!

 

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Grae Tidbits


Grae has got to be one of the most entertaining kids I’ve ever met.
She is such a fun combination of cute + spice + personality + humor.
When people spend any time with her, they ask me how I even handle my life, and I tell them I have no idea.  She’s too dang much!
She is smart as a whip!
She can count to 16 without getting mixed up, sometimes she makes it to 20.  She memorizes words to songs like I’ve never seen.
She can outsmart the best of us around here.
She is still a teensy thing at 24 lbs, just a tad bigger than her baby brother.
She has taken well to the family skill of negotiation/manipulation.
The other day she was playing a little rough and I said “Okay no more, that’s not funny.” and she shrugs with “It’s a little bit funny.” :/
Her facial expressions are just the icing on the cake.  Everything she says is with so much expression.
She literally kills people everywhere we go.
A couple weeks ago we had a heart check-up for her, the doctors and nurses on the floor kept coming into say hi because they heard the cutest little girl was on the floor.  While we were waiting in a waiting room, they were doing construction out our window.  Grae was excitedly watching the men on all equipment, and especially the welders.  After a couple minutes, she had gotten the attention of nearly the whole crew from the window and they were waving to her, making sparks with their welding machines for her, etc.  Ha! I couldn’t make this stuff up.  She of course, was just eating up all the attention.  Waving, squealing, jumping up and down.  I tell you, the girl is a show-stopper.
Her heart visit went really well! Her valve has shown improvement, which means we don’t have to see them again until she’s doubled in size, so about 5 years.  We were thrilled about this!
One thing I love about being the mama of multiple kids is that the first time around, toddlerhood completely stressed me out.  The second time, I white knuckled my way through knowing it would end, the third time around I can (mostly) sit back and laugh and eat up the funny things this stage brings.
Grae has by-far been my most demanding? Button-pushing? Can’t-take-my-eye-off-her type of kid, but somehow it doesn’t ruffle my feathers as much as I would think. ha!
Grae is sure a sucker for her daddy, and my goodness, he is a sucker for her right back.
Those two are so in love.
Grae always likes to be where the excitement is happening.  She is NOT one to go off and play by herself and keep herself entertained.  She is at my side 24/7 asking for this or that, has a patience scale of about 0%, and panics if a door is between us.  She has ALWAYS been this way, and as much as it drains me by the end of the day, I sure love her for it.
I never have to worry about her getting enough attention, because she demands it. ;)
Her coloring all over everything streak has seemed to mellow, although I am nervous even typing it out that it will soon return.
She has taken such a liking to Major these past few months.  She is so funny with him, and is really such a great big sister… different than my other girls, but great in her own way.
She knows the difference between boys/girls, but her pronouns are still a little mixed up.  She is constantly telling me to “get her!” or “She’s getting me!” about Major.  I’m so bad and just keep the bit up because I think it’s too funny.  “Major is gonna fall! Get her!” she’ll tell me. :D
Most days she wont answer to anything other than “peppa pig” and I must answer to “mommy pig” and we all must call Major “george pig”. She is very strict about this arrangement. :P
I’m sure there are plenty of people in the world who think Major’s name is George, because she usually introduces him as “My little brother, George.”
So yes, the Peppa obsession is still going strong.
Because she watches so much Peppa, I’ll find her using words like “postman” for mailman and “parcel” for package. ha!
Everything is also “right now” or “for a minute”.
“I don’t want to do that right now, I want to play for a minute.” “I want to play right now, I’ll go in a minute.”  “Right now” and “in/for a minute” are her only gauges of time.”
I have yet to meet anyone as persistent and determined as my Grae Girl.  She has a gift!  Sure it can get frustrating for me now, but I know those traits will serve her in this life.
She keeps us all on our toes, keeps us all rolling with laughter, and keeps our world so very colorful.
I am thankful every single day she’s mine.  I don’t know how I got so lucky.

My sweet Gigi, you own my heart.

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