:: HARLO ::

 Harlo is in such a special stage right now.
I am noticing her growing into a mature little girl, right out of her babyhood.
She notices things differently now, she gets humor more, she serves selflessly.
Harlo is such a blessing to our home, and very specifically, to me.
She is almost always willing to lend a helping hand.  There are not many tasks I do without Harlo coming in to say “Mom, can I help you?”
She loves helping me with chores like dishes and folding laundry.
She takes her roll as the big sister very seriously.
We have talks about her being the oldest sister, the one Heavenly Father sent to me first to be my helper and to help guide her sisters to make right choices.  I can tell that after we have these little chats, she is much more willing to help when I ask her to, or serve her younger sisters, or act sweetly toward them.  I can tell she views herself as the helper who needs to guide her sisters through these younger, tougher years.
Yesterday she asked me what my chores are and I went through the list of things I do on a daily basis, starting with Grae’s 3am feeding.  As I got to about 9:00am, her eyes grew bigger and bigger and she told me “wow mom, that’s a lot of chores!” I agreed and explained to her that is why I need help.  For the rest of the day, I noticed she was more readily available to help me in doing the things I asked of her.
Harlo really enjoys learning!  She has such a sweet thirst for knowledge that is so endearing to me.
Stella struggles sitting and listening to me, so to prepare her for her school starting I asked Harlo if she would help me teach Stella all her letters.
That was all I had to do.
Stella sits much more patiently with Harlo to learn and before I knew it, Stella recognized all her letters, the majority of the sounds, and she could write each of them.
Harlo has been teaching her in the bathtub with foam letters and then around the table helping her practice writing.
This has been so sweet for me to watch as their mother.
They have such a sweet relationship and I am so grateful they have each other.
Over the weekend, I was packing away Grae’s newborn clothes and getting out the winter baby clothes I’ve had stored away.
Harlo especially enjoyed this!
Every outfit I’d pull out of the box she would say “seriously?! Seriously!” or “Soooooo cute!” or “Stop!”
We giggled over every little outfit or darling thing.
I love how our relationship is changing and evolving right now.
She needs me in a different way than she did as a baby and toddler, we now have more of a friendship that both of us can enjoy.
We have little inside jokes and we’ve grown to really know and understand each other’s hearts.
I know the things she would like and she knows the things I like and she’s mindful of these things, always pointing them out to me.
I know this sweet relationship will serve us both so much in this life.
Harlo has really clicked with reading these past few weeks.
She has been able to sound out words for some time, but I find that now reading books she needs less and less help and she is able to flow sentences together more.
This has been a very exciting new chapter!
She is such a whiz with computers and anything technology-based.
I have to really pace the screen time – she would enjoy hours on end of time with the ipad!
Funny side note: We decided to ban youtube from our home.. Brady put a parental control on it and  that was that.  No more youtube for any of us ….except Harlo figured out how to get around the parental control.  So the parental control ended up being just for me because I could not for the life of me figure out how to get one of my videos to play, but she surely could anytime she felt like it.
Ha! At 5 years old I’m already being vastly outsmarted in that department.
We are rounding the corner to her birthday and we have started planning in full swing.
She is enjoying so much planning out the details of her party and has already started making decorations.
This Halloween costume season has been the easiest yet.  Both girls made up their mind and never looked back.  I was shocked! (although we still have 2 days left – knock on wood)
I keep almost expecting motherhood to turn the corner as my older girls get older.  I found that I loved mothering babies and toddlers so much and was unsure how well I would do with older children (as silly as that sounds) but I am finding the enjoyment just lasts and lasts.  I love Harlo in this stage and I feel now that I will enjoy her at each and every stage of her life.  It’s HER that I enjoy, not the age or stages she’s in. (Although the stages have been a joy in their own!)
I have said before how blessed I am to have Harlo as the leader of my children, and I will say it over and over again.
She is heaven-sent!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we welcomed new kitties to our home.  They have been such a sweet addition! We have enjoyed them so much.  So grateful to be able to provide this sweet time for my girls.  I love watching how they interact with their kitties.  Stella smothers her kitty (Cali) with love, totes her around everywhere she goes, carries her like a baby and Cali just takes it even though she is the spunkier of the two.  They are the perfect match for each other!
Harlo is very sweet and tender with her kitty, Edie.  Edie in turn is a mellow, loving little kitty.
They couldn’t have picked better kittens for their personalities.

 :: STELLA ::

Stella Johan Miller.
The light that shines in our home.
I have said this before, but Stella has got to be the easiest child I know.
She is spunky! I’ll give you that, but she is just so go with the flow and happy go lucky nearly all the time.
She has her days and moments, but they’re so easily steered away from.
She has been the best little sister to Harlo – always her trusty pal.
But I have so enjoyed watching her in the role of big sister now to Grae.
Each girl has a very different and special relationship with Grae.
Stella is silly with her and can now make Grae laugh easier than anyone else in the family.
She loves her baby sister ferociously!
Being on the receiving end of Stella’s love is one of the greatest gifts in this life, and it will surely bless her baby sister.
Stella has gotten SO funny.
She is so quick-witted and has me gut-laughing all the time.
She is my lovey-est child.
She just L-O-V-E-S.
I think I’ve mentioned before but when Stella gets excited, she will grab the person nearest her and squeeze them or give them a little smooch.
The other day we saw her little friend from preschool and she was so excited she just wrapped her arms around her and kissed her on the shoulder. ha!
She is sometimes so consumed with Grae she will just smother her in a great big lovin. (We call this baby-rage and it runs rampant in my side of the family)
I have to constantly remind her to be gentle with loving littler things (like Grae or the kittens.)
Makes me giggle even as I write.
Stella is notorious for getting on the counter.
If we’re ever doing something around the table, it’s painful for Stella to stay in her seat.. she is always climbing up on my counter.
I know I was the same way and remember my mom always telling me to get off the counters.
The other day she told me a little boy was mean at preschool because he told on her.
I said “what were you doing that he told on you?” and she said “He told miss Rin I was on the table so Miss Rin said ‘Stels! Get off the table, silly girl!’ she wasn’t even mad, but it was still rude to tell on me!”
ha! climbing on the table at preschool.  That’s Stella!
Stella is now in Miss Rin’s preschool class that Harlo was in last year.
Miss Rin has seriously blessed our life so much!
She somehow just gets us and celebrates my girls little spirits so much.
It is so nice sending them to school to someone who just understands them.
I didn’t quite realize how big of a deal this was until I sent Harlo to kindergarten this year.
Miss Rin is one of those ones I wish would move up with them in every grade, at every school.
Stella is the best at making me feel so special and loved.
Last week I was getting ready for church and she came in and said “mom, you’re cute! You’ve got a cute little face!”
Talk about putting a pep in my step.
Our new thing is saying how much we love each other and thinking of the biggest number possible.
She’ll say “I love you 30-80!” and I’ll say “I love you, 60-51-8!” and her eyes will get big and she’ll say “Wow.  That’s a lot!” then she’ll say “I love you 8-8-3-3.  That’s a lot huh!”
The other day she was “texting” on my phone and wrote “8E1” and said “that’s how you spell “eighty one!”
She has done so well with writing at school.
It’s always surprising to me with how quickly they pick things up.
Her only downfall is she is kind of a know-it-all which has made it hard to show her and teach her things.
I hope she does a little better for her teacher than she does for me. 😀
Stella is such a joy to be around and we are so so lucky she is in our family.
I hope she always knows how loved she is by each one of us.
I am a blessed, blessed mama!