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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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makeup monday

I am back in the swing of things at home after our busy, bustling March… It only took me 10 days into April to recover. ;)

Today I am excited to share a sweet makeover.  Did you know I have done makeup on the side for about 13 years?? It’s true.  I started up a little side business in High School doing  hair and makeup for prom.. then as I grew up that meant sometimes for brides and photos.. It’s always been a fun, creative past time of mine.  I think often makeup gets a bad rap for women thinking they “need” it to look better, but I disagree.  I think makeup is a fun way to express yourself, enhance what is naturally yours, and feel good as we head out into the day.  Today’s makeover is a perfect example of enhancing natural beauty.

Meet Scotty…

Scotty is one of the sweetest girls I know, and I have been lucky enough to do her makeup on a few occasions.  She has the most gorgeously shaped piercing blue eyes, and such a natural sweetness in her smile.  Scotty is graduating in a couple of weeks and so we got her ready for senior pictures. I did her entire face with Maskcara Cosmetics.

Colors used:
Highlight – White peach + a touch of moonlit under her eyes
Contour – Stone
Blush – Desert Sunset on cheeks and lips
Illuminator – Honey

Eyes:
Oak to line her eyes, and also shade her brows.
Bright Eyes to contour the creases.
Sabrina on her eyelids and just under her brows.

Application:
30 second HAC brush
i shadow everything brush for liner, brows and eyes
B squared blush brush
Every single thing fit right into my mini double decker!  Man, I love this makeup.

I do love doing makeup, but I also want to really teach people how to do their makeup.  I’m working on putting a package together that would do just that, as well as working on tutorials here on the blog.  If you want to see certain looks or have ideas for videos here, please share!

As always, I’m here to help! If you want to get started with Maskcara, email me for a color match and I’ll get you all set up!
Already know what you need? Shop HERE.

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ten years

The VERY first trip Mr. Miller and I ever went on was when we had been dating just a couple of months and we went to San Diego.  On our trip, we went to the beautiful Balboa Park and took a picture of us near the pond.  So when we found ourselves venturing back to the beautiful Balboa Park while we were in San Diego, all these years later, we had to find the exact spot and take a photo.

Writing the story of our lives together will forever be my favorite thing about this life.  I can’t believe ten years has come and gone since our first date.  Our whole lives have been packed in those ten years, and my goodness, they have been the very best of my life.  I am so so so grateful to feel the way I do about my husband.  He is the best friend I’ve ever had, the funniest guy I know, the hardest, most honest worker.  He is a person I admire, and hope to be more like each day.  I am also very grateful he felt the same way about me – and still does.  How lucky we are.  Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful.

On instagram, when I wrote about our ten year dating anniversary, someone commented, “wow! What an accomplishment that is!” and I hadn’t really thought of it like that, but it’s true.  We have seen many friends split up over these ten years together, and I’m grateful that every fight we’ve worked through has brought us closer together, not farther apart.  If there is a “trick” to a lasting marriage, I think that might be it.  Seeing each trial (big or small) as an opportunity to bring you closer together.  Each fight for us is a merit badge – and our marriage is better after we’ve worked through each one.  We had a lot of merit badges earned early in our marriage, and now our “merit badges” are usually earned a bit easier – we can get to the resolve a little quicker, and a whole lot more gently.  We have learned that our intentions for each other are ALWAYS in the right place, and that has been a blessing to realize.

Mr. Miller and I have never stopped dating, setting time apart for each other, treating each other like boyfriend/girlfriends do in early relationships.  I still tickle his back and arms each night, and he stops to get me drinks without me even having to ask.  I love serving him – not because I have to, or because he can’t do things himself – but because serving is such a sweet act of love, and I love him.  I love making him dinner, or whipping up a snack that will dazzle him.  I love folding his underwear and stacking them neatly in his drawer, even though (and especially) because he doesn’t expect me to.  We love each other, and we work on that love every single day.  EVERY SINGLE DAY, we work on it.

A game changer for our marriage, and where we found a firm foundation, is when we came into faith together, absolutely.  Our church has such a strong belief in marriage and family.  That is emphasized each week as we attend church, and we are so blessed to have that support in today’s world.  But even more than that, is the work we do at home.  Several years ago, I read the idea to pray for my husband and for my marriage each day.  I think this has changed me – and us – forever.  Each day I ask God to bless my husband in all his efforts, that his heart will be guarded, that the love between us will be blessed.  When I am frustrated or angry with Brady, I take that to God, and immediately I feel myself cool.  Praying before reacting is something I am always working on, but it has changed how we “fight” and how I love my husband.  This is a personal bit to share, but I hope anyone who needs to read it will find it as helpful as I did.

Along with being in love, and building a family, Mr. Miller and I really are dear friends.  I like to tell him things and hear his opinion on things.  I know he loves me enough to not just tell me what I want to hear, but sometimes what I need to hear.  He is gentle with me, he loves the quirks that make me me, and isn’t irritated by them.  He understands how I work after these ten years together, and that to me is invaluable.  The life we enjoy together today comes from ten years of working through life together, growing together, and getting to know one another more each day.  It comes from the hardest times, and the happiest times, and the every-day-joy that comes from the life and lives we’ve created together.  It comes from leaning on each other for support, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, being strong for one another, fighting for our family and for our marriage, and thousands of days of choosing to place each other first.

Each day is a new opportunity to choose to keep fighting for love, and I pray we can both keep choosing each other every day, always.

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life + style

Last week I was in a swimsuit and shorts, this week I have slipped back into my “momiform.”
Life this week has been so good.  I have loved every minute of getting back to our normal life as the mama of my bunch.
It may sound silly, and my vacation was so nice and relaxing (and I caught up on 8 years of rest!), but distance does make the heart grow fonder, and as I was sailing the beautiful caribbean seas, there was no other place I’d rather be than right here at home with my family. <3
So this week, I am folding clothes with a happier heart, grateful to be the one tucking my kids in for bed and making breakfast in the morning.
Stocking my fridge and making our meals feels a little extra special this week.
Doing hair and kissing home from school feels like a true honor.
I’m not sure how long this extra burst of gratefulness will last, but I’m going to make a choice to keep it around for as long as I can.
When we strip down all the worldy aspects of life, all the rushed schedules, and impossible expectations – just to the simplicity of family – life is so wonderful.
I have no plans of getting out of my momiform any time soon.

This weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year, General Conference.  I have planned some special brunches and snacks for my family, as well as some crafts and fun coloring books I picked up for my kids.  I love when my children have some things to do during conference to help keep the room quiet and filled with the spirit.  The church just released some new coloring books that I will be unveiling to my little Millies conference morning.  You can find them HERE or HERE for downloads, or at any deseret book store! They are perfect for what I was looking for.

For those who aren’t familiar with General Conference, it is where the leaders of our church prayerfully give talks with powerful messages that are always ALWAYS guaranteed to leave your spirit feeling renewed and refreshed.  I truly look forward to these messages twice yearly, and re-listen to them as I get ready each day.  They bring me such peace, and help me keep my life centered in the Gospel.  I am not the best at scripture-study (hoping to change that this year!), but I am sure an advocate and testament to listening to conference talks.  I hope all of you will join me! I’ll post about some of my favorites next week!

My most favorite jeans HERE
Living in these Target tee’s.

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Grae is THREE!

My darling baby girl, our sweet Grae Golden, turned three years old.
Truth be told, her birthday was the 26th, but with Mr. Miller and myself not getting home until that evening, we decided to celebrate her birthday on Monday when we could all be together as a family.  She never noticed and had a great birthday!
After a week away, I couldn’t have been happier to be home celebrating our special girl.
She was so happy to see us home, and so happy to be turning THREE.
All Grae wanted was a “pitnic” with her two best friends, Quinn and Sunny (who happen to be the little girls of my two best friends!)
We ate the traditional “birthday pizza” from pizza factory on the back lawn, all the spring flowers in bloom.  Our girls hopped on the tramp and ate cupcakes and giggled and filled my heart with all the love I could hold.  Gratitude for Grae, our happy home, and our wonderful friends.
Grae is a true star of our family – if you follow along here or on Instagram, you already know and love Grae, I’m sure.
Grae is our “spicy” child.
She is spunky and fierce and more adorable than you could imagine.
She is funny and quick-witted.
She can be so tender and sweet.
She is such a great big sister – she loves that baby brother of hers to pieces.
She has what I like to call “baby rage” which is when you see a baby and your thoughts are so overwhelming they go to a violent place.  She often has to hug major through clenched fists and teeth. ha! (see also: cute aggression)
She melts her daddy into an absolute puddle.
She tries my every last ounce of patience, but somehow fills me right back up a minute later.
Grae is smart as a whip – sometimes a wee too smart for my liking.
She loves having a cold drink in hand, just like her mama.
If her drinks dips anywhere below freezing cold, she’ll tell me “I can’t drink it! It’s old!”
If you ask her favorite color, she’ll say pink, but she always wants blue.
As she’s been approaching 3, I’ve been talking about potty training.  Every time I say “Should we go potty on the big girl potty today?” she’ll say “Maybe formorrow.” or “Maybe Thursday.” or “I can’t do that!” with an exasperated look.
She loves “Macapony and cheese” and “peanut butter and sandwich”.. which she requests daily.
Although she still likes Peppa Pig, the center stage lately is Poppy from Trolls and anything Dory related. (breaks my heart a little – Peppa will always have a special place in my heart!)
She gets the songs from Trolls stuck in her head all the time and it makes my life.  Hearing this tiny girl sing “Everybody! Shake your hair and move your body, whoa-whoooooa – sunshiny day!!” is pretty much the best thing ever.
She loves anything tiny – tiny toys are always a hit (and she got PLENTY of them for her birthday).  She shoves her small figurines into little purses and backpacks and packs them around and takes such great care of them.  I’m always amazed how she knows when one is missing and usually exactly where to find it.
After our week away, Grae was the most excited to see us home.  She keeps saying to me, “mommy you came back! I’m so happy for you!” and keeps giving me spontaneous eye-closed-tight squeezes.  I love her!
She never stops asking for things or eating as long as she’s awake.  I haven’t had a full, uninterrupted hour during the day since Grae was born. :D
Grae is such a special little girl – we are constantly in disbelief that she was able to come to our family.
She plays such an important role in our family, and we are so glad she is ours.
Happiest third birthday, my darling Grae Golden!

(dress Old Navy)

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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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springtime

Watching my little Major discover his first Spring will go down as one of my favorite parts of our first year together.

Something in me lays dormant over the winter.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays as much as anyone, and there is definitely something to be said about cozying up in side around a fire while it’s cold outside.  But I am a summer girl in my soul, and each Spring I feel like “ah, there you are.  I have been lost without you.”

This week I have kept the schedule as light as possible and have spent the majority of the time (not folding laundry) playing outside, swinging on the porch, bouncing on the trampoline, taking a few extra walks, going for drives with the windows down.  This is the mom I hope my kids remember the most – springtime mom.  Not ornery, cooped-up winter-mom that hangs around in January.

It’s 70 degrees outside and I feel like… myself.

God bless spring!

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For the sake of writing

The winds of change have been blowing around this space.  I like to think of it less as change, and more as evolving.  I’ve taken some time away and have been praying for direction, and I really feel the inspiration is heading my way.

I don’t want to be a blogger for popularity, my goodness.  I have always wanted to share positivity here, share my own story and the miracles I have seen, and continue to see in my life.  I have wanted to share the joys of motherhood, and sing praise to the Lord, and promote creating a happy, wholesome, wonderful life.  And that is exactly what I will continue to do.  Back to the basics for me.

I am hoping to get back into writing more off the cuff, and up to date and not have everything too scheduled.  I feel like each baby I’ve had to tweak it a bit, but I love this space and I’m going to keep creating here.  I feel the urge to keep writing, and that’s exactly what I plan to do.

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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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Harlo’s baptism day

This weekend was a sweet one for our family as we celebrated Harlo’s baptism.

As Christians, we believe we are trying to follow Jesus Christ’s example.  It has been important to me to allow my children room to develop their own relationship with God.  I didn’t have a relationship with God until I was an adult, so I’m not exactly sure what that is supposed to look like for kids, but what I have found is that these children of mine are more of an example to me than I am to them.  Like praying when they need help with something, leaning into faith when they don’t have another answer, having forgiving hearts, loving unconditionally – like Jesus taught.  In areas that I over-think, my girls easily cling to truth.  Turning 8 in our church is special, because we believe it’s the time these children can clearly understand right from wrong, they can start to understand how the holy spirit guides us, they can see goodness and truth.  So a baptism at this age just feels so fitting.  It has been so sweet for me to watch Harlo mature in this way, and I am so excited for what is in store for this precious girl of mine.

For Mr. Miller to be able to baptize our girl was such a special milestone for us.  Harlo is our constant reminder of how far we’ve come in this life, and she was the perfect strong soul to push us to be better, do better, love better.  We truly are eternally grateful she came to us.

With each and every milestone that passes, I can see so clearly why Harlo was sent here first, as the head of our children.  She was naturally born with the unique gifts she would need for this role in our family.  I loved watching her younger siblings so eager and excited to watch her.  Grae and Stella have been talking about their own baptisms and how they too want to be baptized just like Harlo.  Harlo has been excitedly telling them all the inside details, how she feels, and how excited she is to see them be baptized some day, too.  As their mother, there is nothing better in the whole world than seeing them love and support each other in their own little ways.

At the end of the night, as I tucked the girls in for bed, I asked Harlo, “What was your favorite part of the day?” (between wearing a fancy dress, having a baptism, a special after-party with her favorite things, and being the guest of honor) she sighed and said, “Just being baptized.” and Stella chimed right in, “That was my favorite part too, Harlo.”

Bless their little hearts.

 

♥ ♥ ♥

(photos: cher houston photography)

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twenty one pounds

Mr. Major Miller had his 9 month well check recently.

He was 21 lbs, that strapping son of mine.
Though my heart is full of pride for this quickly growing man-cub, my heart stings the bigger he gets.
It seems he is growing faster than the rest of my babies have, and they sped by too quickly, too.
So I will hold him in my arms just a little longer.
Take 1,340 pictures of him a day in an effort to freeze time in my memory.
I want to remember him just exactly like this,

Milk mustache, draped in my arms, dimpled fingers, chubby feet.  Being rocked in his quiet, calm nursery.

Man, I love having a baby.

 

 

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in my skin

Recently I had a sweet friend pay me a compliment.  She told me that she felt comfortable in her own skin around me, because I seemed to feel comfortable in my own skin.

There was a time that I wasn’t this way at all, there was a time I couldn’t stand my own skin.  I was riddled with insecurity, full of shame, and tried so hard to cover it all up with a pretty smile and perfect exterior.  That was a tough place to be.  But the thing that struck me the most, is even though I remember that time and feeling so well, I’m not sure when I grew past it.  But I did.  And it’s true: As I have learned to love myself better, I have learned to love other people better, too.

Sometime over the last ten years of adulthood, I have grown into myself.  I have settled into myself as a mother, and that has helped me settle into myself as a woman.  I appreciate myself.  I love myself.  I love the life I’ve made, and I’m so proud of myself for it, because even I had doubted me.  And I don’t say this in a boastful way, because I’m not boastful.  But I have been on this ride of life with myself and it hasn’t always been easy.  I have steered myself out of some tough times, and I have made the best of each decision I’ve made.  My life is very different now that it was those years ago, and I’m happy for me for that.

I have learned that it’s okay for my opinions to change from time to time, that it’s a sign of growth.  I know better now that I don’t want to be ignorant, or intolerant of something I can’t understand, because one day I just might understand it.  I can choose compassion over judgement when I can’t relate.  I can look at my own different hardships when I see someone else’s.  I can choose to love people over opinions.  

I’ve learned that it’s okay to be where I’m at spiritually.  Because it’s really not about the destination to get to a wonderful place with God, it’s about being in a relationship with God, and learning and growing along him each day.  Some days that looks good and peaceful, other days that looks resentful and weary, but each day brings with it learning, and a new day does dawn.

I have seen and felt the capabilities of my body.  I have seen it run, and dance, and serve, and carry, and mourn, and labor, and give, and grow, and shrink, and grow, and shrink, and soften, and age, and feel.  This body amazes me.  This body is healthy, and strong, and capable and I am so grateful.

I am glad I have been able to experience the woman in me being as loved as I have.  I have seen myself grow, and open up, and become as I have been safely and deeply loved by the man I love.  It has been astounding to me what that love has done for my life.  I don’t take it for granted.

I have learned that I am in charge of my own happiness.  I am in charge of pushing past hard times, making changes that are necessary, prioritizing myself and my own well being.  I have seen in difficult times that happiness is a choice, even when it seems just out of reach.  If you start walking toward happiness, you will find it.  I have prioritized happiness in my life, and that has proven to be a really great choice.

I don’t by any means have it all figured out, but I’ve lived a lot of life in my nearly 28 years, and I am grateful for the journey.  Because from where I’m standing now, I can love people in a much better way.  I can feel comfortable in my own skin, and love them just as they are, in their own skin.

 

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