Tag Archives | on my heart

Tag Archives | on my heart

a word from the mother

I am finding myself in a whole new season lately.
I have FOUR children, a whole family all of my own.  My dreams came true, and it’s surreal to be living it.
I have passed many of the infant/baby stages with no real promise of more coming our way, so that is also really different for us.

Major, my baby, is gaining serious momentum toward full-blown toddler hood.
I don’t think it’s any secret that having a boy changed my heart (some may say it grew 3 sizes that day), but mercy me, I see very clearly why God sent me 3 little girls ahead of him.
This boy of mine is busy, busy, busy, busy.  I am turning around to clean one mess up, and he’s on the top shelf of something else.  I get him down and he’s running off to find the next bit of mischief he can find.  He is into my cupboards, drawers, pantry, baskets, bathrooms, any pile of anything.  I am on my toes and busy literally chasing him most of the day, besides his glorious glorious nap time – bless my heart.
He snuggles me, he adores me, he lights up when I walk into a room.  He will hang on the couch with me forever, never fights me (except when I’m changing his diaper!), and keeps me and his sisters swooning our days away.  I get it, guys.  Baby men.. nothing quite like ’em. He is talking more all the time, and is 100% boy in every single way.  His pudgy little feet stomp around, constantly snacking on something, car in one hand, ball in the other.  He loves me to sing to him and sings along with me to ‘twinkle-twinkle’, ‘you are my sunshine’, and giggles when I begin his night time lullabye.
Even if he does refuse to stay my forever-infant, I am still just as head over heels in love with that son of mine.

HOWEVER, don’t let that get you mistaken.  My girls are the girls of my dreams.

Harlo is just effortlessly cool (I felt her distinctly pass me up at age 8), she is stunningly beautiful and doesn’t even realize it.  She is tender and kind and gentle and good.  She is getting so mature and I’m loving this new layer to our relationship.  We often stay up way too late chatting in her bed, she’s my right hand planner, and she’s in charge of all the organization in our home and doesn’t get annoyed with me yet.  I love her! Harlo is also made up exactly like her father, and (almost) nothing  like me, so she keeps me busy working on how I communicate with her, paying close attention to whether she gets enough love from me, worrying over our relationship because of our differences, and appreciating so much how much she’s opened my soul and changed me, and how I look at people, forever and ever amen.
Because of our differences though, we find this deep understanding with one another.  I can clearly see when she’s at her limit, and she can see when I’m at mine.  We have a certain respect for one another, and we help calm each other rather than rise tension with one another.   We seem to balance each other.  She more than anyone else I can see the reason she came to my life.  Because she is the only one who could have changed everything for me, and keeps changing everything for me.  My love for this girl runs deep.

Stella is just the funnest.  Picture a skipping, twirling, giggling dress-wearing, baby doll-loving 7 year old, and you’ve got Stella.  Stella is the best server in the family.  She is always getting drinks or snacks for someone, assisting Harlo with this, or helping Grae with that.  She’ll keep Major entertained while I cook, and thinks up games for everyone to play.  We all often say “Stella’s the best!” because she’s always leveling up the love around here.  Stella marches to the beat of her own drum and is completely not bothered by what anyone else thinks – exactly what I adore in her father, I love this about her.  I find myself praying for protection over this about her.  I hope she always marches on and never bends to the pressure of the world.
Stella, like me in so so so many ways, is also like me in the sassy-mouthed, loud-mouthed, no-hard-time-expressing-her-feelings kind of way.  Because of this, she’s always the first one to stick up for one of her siblings against me, the one I’m reminding most to watch her mouth, and reigning her in from emotion-overload.  I cringe at myself inside when I have to get after Stella because I can feel the internal smirk of my parents.  Oh mercy.  When they said “I hope you get a daughter just like you!” (in both good and mad ways) I surely did in my Stella. :D It’s because of this though, that I don’t worry about our relationship (aside from her teen years! Bless.).  We speak the same love language and sort through things the same way.  I know this will be such a blessing for a life-long relationship, especially in her adult years.

Grae.. Oh man, what can be summed up about that girl?  She is finally moving on from ferocious toddler moodiness that started around age 1 and we’re hoping now that 4 is around the corner, we’re seeing the end of it.  She is communicating so well and beginning to understand how to cope through her rather complex emotions. :D The very unexpected surprise of Grae is how much of a lovey girl she is.  She is very affectionate, so snuggly, always telling me she loves me, or Major, or anyone else, out of the blue.  That girl can take you from 0-60 and back in absolutely no time.  With my older two I was like “They’re darling, but in order for them to develop properly, we mustn’t give in to every whim..” with Grae I’m like “So sue me, I give in to every single whim.”
Grae has me wearing out the pages of “the strong-willed child” in The Child Whisperer, and boy does that fit her to a T.  One tip that has been so helpful in that book has been to read “Let them do what they want to do with your set boundaries, because they’ll likely find a way to do it anyway.” Switching that idea in my head has made a world of peace between Gigi and I.  She is an excellent little artist at her age, and now I see those years with the sharpies all over my (damn) house were just her inner creativity yearning to come out!
Grae girl is a total tom-boy.  Obviously this is not anything she picked up at home with me and her two very girly sisters.  She just likes what she likes, and what she does like is blue and green and cars and reptiles and superheros.  She looks like a real-live tinkerbell and is usually dressed in a gecko costume. Ha!  She is the best thing on the planet.  Seriously.

My life is completely full as a mother and wife, and I’ve had to be intentional about shaving a bit of time for me and my passions.  That is soooo okay with me though.  These are the years.  The full and fleeting family years.  Even though it can sometimes feel consuming and overwhelming, these are the years I’ve dreamed of, and I am going to soak them in every last drop.

Some things that are necessary for my sanity:

monthly cleaning lady, writing (making a priority after months of slacking), weekly date nights, church on Sundays to refill my cup, late night chats with friends after kids are in bed, boundaries from the world and outside pressures, Maskcara makeup, and my happy planner.


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lunchtime chats and priorities

Yesterday Mr. Miller took me to lunch, along with my younger, handsome boyfriend, Major, which was really nice.  I love that my two guys get along so well. ;)

While Major Miller was enjoying the novelty of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on an electronic device so his parents could get a moments peace, Mr. Miller and I discussed a few things.

We talked about how our family is our priority, our business.  We don’t need to busy our time with anything that takes away from our family unit (and i’m not talking about alone time or couple alone time here – both of which are essential to our family.) I’m talking about anything that might ruffle our feathers, or busy our time that isn’t necessary for our family to thrive.

I have had relationships, hobbies, and even jobs that have busied my time, consumed my thoughts, and taken my energy unnecesarily.  I work hard to keep my life now quite simple and free from unnecessary distraction.

I have relationships now that support me in my role as a mother and woman, not drag energy away from me.

More importantly, I have a husband who supports me in my role as a mother and a woman and for that, I feel very lucky and blessed.

I heard last weekend at a baptism that “life with a family can be paradise on earth.”  When we as husband and wife place our family above the world (ie: follow God’s plan for our lives), amazing things happen.

It’s really quite simple.

Thanks for the chat, hon.  I needed that reminder.

{photo by the lovely Ashley Flowers Photography}

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This week I turned twenty-nine!
I have been blogging about birthdays since my 20th!
This has been a fun birthday to come up on.  Like any birthday, I’m in a place of reflection, and my twenties have just been the best decade of my whole entire life.
My twenties and motherhood journey started at the same time, and I am grateful to be living a life full of so much happiness at this age.
I don’t regret a day of choices Mr. Miller and I have made together this decade of my life, the life we’ve built.
On my birthday, I woke up to presents delivered to bed and a kitchen with my own hand-made “celebrate” sign hung over the kitchen table.
I had the sweetest, regular Tuesday of a birthday.  We didn’t plan too much, but I had people I love stop by the house all day and endless calls and texts to help me feel loved and special.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt so loved on a birthday.  One thing is for sure, that after 29  years on this earth, I have sure found some wonderful people. ♥

Each year I like to break down my daily schedule as a glimpse into what my day-to-day is like at that certain age.  Here is my life at TWENTY-NINE:

My life now is full and busy.
The years I worked hard for (birthing babies) have paid off to a house full of my own growing children.
I love the way my life looks.
Each morning I wake up around 7-7:30.. always trying to beat my kids to the punch, inching earlier and earlier, but at 29 I am still not a morning person.
I climb out of a bed with 1 husband, 1 dog, and 1-2 children in it.
I change into my workout clothes (this is the only chance I’ll get… if I put on comfy clothes or regular clothes it’s over!)
I head down to the kitchen to make my morning drinks and start a big pot of oatmeal for my family.  Even though the morning came too early as always, I love making this pot of oatmeal.  I love everything it represents.  We’re currently at 3 heaping cups of oats which makes a giant bowl that will get scraped clean every time.
Mr. Miller works alongside me making the girls lunches for the day as they chat and chat and chat our ears off. (Always so many words after not enough hours of sleep.. not my finest.)
The girls eat, get dressed, and meet me in my bathroom to get their hair done.
Harlo prefers me to do hers, Stella prefers to do her own, but I tell her she has to let me do it sometimes so I know I’m still needed in her life. ;)
Of course sometimes this is pleasant, and sometimes I’m screeching and hollering for everyone to hurry up and I can’t believe we’re late AGAIN, and why am I THE ONLY ONE WHO CARES IF WE’RE LATE FOR SCHOOL… The former is always the goal, though.  When the latter happens, I always make it a point to apologize before they’re off to their days at school.  We reassure each other in the care that we’re doing our best and that’s what really matters.  And we always listen to the best girl-music you can sing loud to on the way to school. (The Greatest Showman soundtrack, Katy Perry, and Rihanna are current faves)
I get home and get the littlest ones settled for a few minutes with a snack and drink and play and squeeze in a BBG workout.  It starts nice and relaxing and ends with Major climbing on top of me and Grae asking me for snacks 12 times.  If it’s  not too cold, we’ll load up the stroller and take a long walk through our neighborhood.
After that I’m down to my office to check over my work day and get a few things taken care of before it’s time to think about lunch.
Honestly, right now this looks like me taking a business call and getting interrupted by crying kids and avoiding loud noises, trying to make a few sentences of an email before someone needs me, and working on those blog posts that have been sitting in draft for way too long now.
Eventually I give up, and serve my littles lunch.
Mr. Miller comes home for lunch most days to give me some adult conversation and a kiss to get me through the next few hours of the busy day at home.
My favorite time of the day remains rocking my baby down for a nap.  I have been doing this sweet, blessed chore for 9 years and 2 months now and I can’t even think about it ending.  This little ‘chore’ gives me so much life.  It’s a pause in the day that i can pour out my heart in gratitude and take a moment to soak in my blessings.
Major Miller likes his three songs (his lullaby, twinkle-twinkle, and you are my sunshine), all of which he sings along to between snuggles and drinking his baba.
He loves his bed and snuggles in for a long winter’s nap every day.
I must use these quiet hours wisely, or I’ll pay for it later. (Looking at you, This Is Us marathon day)
I switch laundry loads, run the dyson over my floors downstairs.  Pick up toys from the living room.. just a big sweep.  On my besssst days, I get dinner figured out.
Before I’ve reached the end of my to-do list, Major is awake and it’s time to pick up my big girls.
They rode the bus at our last house, and I loved waving them off the school bus each day from the porch, but it’s also been fun to go down and pick them up at school, see them walking with friends and getting to say hi to their school friends everyday, too.  Not better or worse, just different. I have to remind myself. :)
The girls have so much to talk about after school, so we usually continue our chat all the way home and into our after-school chores.  We play loud music, do a pickup and start homework and dinner.
As much as I love to cook, we seem to be on the go with obligations here or a date night there, or a school thing there.  If I get 1-2 nights a week in we call it a success.
Favorite dinners from my family right now include: chicken curry, my famous sweet chili and rolls, chicken almond pasta, meatloaf, and any kind of taco night.
Sometimes the girls run off to play with neighbor kids (fun perk of living in our new ‘hood.) and the littlest ones scamper off with our dog Finn into the backyard, and all at once dinner is about ready, the kids are all coming in, and Mr. Miller is just pulling up.
My favorite nights are our nights home with nothing going on outside our little hive.
We eat dinner and sprawl out and catch up and pick up again before getting ready for bed.
Once we round the troops, the downstairs shuts down and we’re all upstairs in our bedrooms (I love our floor plan for making  me still feel like I live in a cozy little home with all the living downstairs and all the bedrooms upstairs).
I rock my baby again for the night while Mr. Miller rounds up the ladies and gets them reading.
The big girls read to Grae on the bottom bunk, and then they get to listen to music – their own lullabies organized to a “bedtime” folder on my spotify account.
We take turns laying and snuggling each one (and fulfilling endless requests of ice water retrieval, forgotten tooth brushing, etc.) before it’s lights out for everyone.
It’s so helpful to have the older girls lead by example, because I remember when bedtime wasn’t so easy when they were the babies age!
After the kids are settled in, I usually finish up my work for the day in my big bathtub (perk to the new house that I promised myself in my old house not to take for granted!), Mr. Miller finishes his work up in the office and we meet up in bed sometime to watch shows and hang-out and chat before we’re forcing ourselves to get some sleep, always too late.
We turn lamps and TVs and phones off, hold hands and again I can pour my heart in gratitude for the very full life of very many blessings I am living each day.
I slip off to sleep with a dog I love and a husband I love at my sides.
I am living a real good life, the life of my dreams, in fact! ♥

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messy beautiful life

When I get quiet on this space, it is usually always because I am dealing with some real life stuff.  I don’t mean to not write in these times, but for me, I have to process internally before I’m ready to process externally.  Both of which are necessary parts of my growth  .

I am someone who has a natural gift to be happy and optimistic about most things.  I understood it was a unique gift I had when I realized my sweet bubbly, bouncing Stella had it, too.  I am easily excited and a total romantic.  I can usually find something charming and swoon-worthy just about anywhere.  I get giddy over nothing, and the things that normal people get excited for, I nearly hyperventilate.  This is my voice.  It’s part of what makes me, me. 

I am also someone who has fought a life long battle with depression, off and on.  That is a really quirky side of my personality compared to my usual bouncing self, but I have come to really just adore quirky people, and loving this part of myself is hard, but I am really trying to do it anyway.

I think it’s also strange to talk about depression, because you would rather that just go away.  Depression doesn’t own my joy, so where I choose to be happy, my depression can’t reach.  These pages I have written here have been the happy moments I have wanted to keep in my mind forever.  But I also know how important it is for us to share our hearts, especially those tender parts, to heal ourselves and help heal the world around us.

Depression for me picks and chooses it’s years or months to invade, and I have learned how to fight this internal battle in different seasons in different ways.  I have also learned that love is the greatest healer, and nothing heals me quite like loving myself does.

Having a healthy relationship with myself, loving who I am as a person, accepting the way my body looks and my life looks, doesn’t just mean I just do all the time.  It means I have to consciously each day to choose that, over the alternative.  Which is giving into the idea that I’m not doing enough, that I need to be different, or look different, whatever the case may be.  Some days I feel on top of things and it’s easy to love me, other days I fight with myself and have to choose to love me.  This is a journey I’ll likely always be on as a woman, and I’m grateful the years ahead (I hear) come with more self-acceptance and less care of pettiness, especially as we continue to practice self-love.

I live with four young children who sometimes, actually all times, demand and ask of me way more than they give back.  My husband is also living a life keeping his head above water just like me, and our lives definitely pull us away from each other more than we would like sometimes.  I can’t always rely on my “love tank” being filled from them, and when I can extend grace and love to myself, I am less needy of attention from them.  I can also give more when my tank is full.

Loving myself is a daily practice of prayer.  Each day I walk through the areas of my head and heart with God and ask for guidance, comfort, love, patience, direction in whichever areas are weighing on me.  This is the first thing I started doing as I began to build a relationship with God, and it’s the single most thing that has changed my life the most. I am grateful to know that there is this source of Love I can tap into when I’m feeling low, and the good  Lord knows I can feel low on love from time to time.  I can imagine every mother can feel drained of love and patience now and again.

I choose happy every day, I really try even when it seems so impossible.  As someone who fights depression and anxiety, I fight the feelings of restlessness, hopelessness, never-enough-ness, discontent, grief, sadness, past trauma, work through the healing of old wounds.  This is not work for the weak, this is work for the warrior.

I may not be showing up everyday in social media or even here on the blog, but you can bet I’ll be working hard to show up every day in my actual real life.  The life only I can live, the children only I can mother, the husband I get to wife, the struggles I’ve been conditioned to walk through.  This is me.

Every evening, low on patience, messy kitchen, dinner on the stove, and a baby or two wanting up in my arms.  It is the beautiful chaos that to me, creates the most beautiful life.  The pain, the joy, and every last emotion in between.  It’s all just color, and color is beautiful.

Writing this close to my heart feels vulnerable and scary at times, but I think what we don’t share hurts us more than what we do.  We are better together, and I’m so glad you’re showing up for me here and living life along side me.

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