Tag Archives | live happy

Tag Archives | live happy

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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living with intention | when enough is enough

I am entering a season of serious intentional living.

I have found that intentional living sometimes comes in waves.  I get in the ebb of life’s grooves, and have to redirect myself to the flow.

I am coming out of a growing season, where I was looking outward at what was ahead in our lives as we made choices and navigated some difficult situations.  The answer to my prayers in this season though, was to instead look inward to determine our future.  It was not the opportunities that may or may not lay ahead for our family that was the answer to this certain question, but rather the contentment that was already enveloping us in this current season.

For the first time in our lives, we aren’t chasing the next dream.  We are living the dream we chased and caught.  I don’t mean that we aren’t dreaming anymore, or that we “have arrived”, but specifically, we worked long and hard for years upon years to purchase the house we currently live in.  We are now presented with a good amount of equity that would secure us a larger home, a home we could comfortably “grow into”, a home that could possibly be our “forever home”.  Yet, this particular opportunity of moving from our beloved little cottage came rather quickly for my liking.  We are always willing to do what is best for our family, but as we looked seriously into that, we realized that a bigger “more comfortable” home was just simply not what was best.  Or perhaps a more clear way to phrase it, is that a bigger home would not be “better”.

This answer became clear to us each day as we contemplated selling our beloved cottage – our three bedroom house surrounding now six people.  It became clear in the way we felt as we pulled into our driveway, admiring the jasmine we planted crawling up our columns.  The happy welcome our blue front door presents – the door I painted with a 6 week old baby Grae strapped to my body.  It became clear in the way we feel when our family crowds around the island for breakfast as we read scripture, discuss important family matters, or giggle as I dance around Mr. Miller, making him blush.  It became clear in the way we feel with all three of our girls snuggled into bed for the night – in their shared bedroom, as our precious son sleeps soundly in the room right next door.  It became clear in the way we perfectly fill up our living room – a spot that seems just exactly the right size for our family of six.  It became clear in the perfectness of me making dinner, babies coloring and snacking on the counter right beside me, and the sound of the big girls practicing piano filling our entire home.

We live in a little cottage – a little cottage we have worked hard on making our very own.  A little cottage that has our stamp in every single corner.  This little cottage may someday feel too small for  us, but happily, today is not that day.  And we don’t have to move into a bigger home because we can, or because that’s “what you do”, or because it’s expected to keep growing materialistically.

I think there is something to be said for chasing after a dream to accomplishment, but there is also something to be said when recognizing that enough really is enough for now.

It became apparent that happiness may await us in the next chapter of our lives, but one thing we know for sure, is that happiness is right here where we are already.  And for now, that is exactly enough. 

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