Tag Archives | on my heart

Tag Archives | on my heart

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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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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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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