:: HARLO ::

 You can almost always find Harlo with a sister.
She is always helping me with Grae, entertaining her, or toting her around the house.
She and Stella play pretend all the day long, and sometimes I still find them snuggled together here or there around the house.
I hope they never outgrow this tender love.
Harlo is reading so well! It’s been such a fun progression to watch.  At first it was sounding out words, then slowly putting 2 or more words together.  She is now at the point that she can open a book and make it through with minimal help.
We used the Bob Books all the way through (getting a sticker for each one she mastered) and by the end, I could tell a big difference.  Somewhere along the way, it really clicked for her.
She sounds out signs and magazines and all other things when we’re out and about.
Harlo is just growing up so much.  Her little sense of humor and personality are just maturing in such a fun way.
Watching her grow into a little young lady is so magical.
Harlo is such a technolgy junkie.  She would stay planted in front of the computer or tv or ipad alll day long if I let her.
It drives me nutty and I feel like I’m always saying “go outside, go play, no more screen time today!” but I have to remember who that girl’s daddy is. 😉 Technology runs in their veins.
Harlo just started hip-hop this week.  She was in a jazz/ballet combo class, but wanted to switch to hip-hop because “they dance more sassier!”  She rocked her first class.  I think it will be a good fit.
Harlo has a serious case of puppy-love going on.  She told me last week that She and Hudson are just friends right now, but when they are grown ups, like 16, they will go on dates and kiss.
Oh Mercy, my boy-crazy past is catching RIGHT up with  me.
Harlo has become a bit competitive.  She has a hard time not pouting when she’s losing.  We’re working on that..
Stella on the other hand isn’t really competitive at all and I think that’s now enabling Harlo. Ha!
“Bossy” has become somewhat of a 4-letter word in our home.  I don’t know why, but they think that’s the worst thing to call someone.  When they’re REALLY upset with each other, they’ll tell me the other one is “bossy” and the other falls apart.  If I ever mention “Hey, don’t be bossy.” in the real sense (when one is actually bossing the other around), whoever is doing the bossing get super offended.
Harlo has come out of her shell a LOT the last few years, but she still is quite shy, especially with new people.  I have to remind her often to say hello back or answer questions when she’s asked.  Hopefully she’ll grow out of it soon, because I think the older she gets the less it’s socially acceptable.  I tell the girls often “it’s okay to feel nervous, but it’s not okay to be disrespectful.”
Out of all of us, Harlo may enjoy having Grae in our home the most.  She just adores that baby.
And Grae loves her right back.
As soon as the bus rounds the corner to our house, Grae is kicking and squealing until Harlo hops off and comes running to her “HELLLLLLLOOOOOOO!” Harlo squeals in her highest pitch voice.  Heart burst every day!
Now that Grae is getting more and more silly, Harlo just thinks she is hilarious!
Harlo always mad-libs for Grae and the things she says (for Grae) kill me.  She’s such a funny and clever girl.
H is a picky, picky, picky eater.  I swear it gets worse by the years.
She started out as such a great eater, and slowly became worse and worse.
The only thing she likes to eat is chicken nuggets and refried beans, I swear.
The health-compulsive mother in me is having a nervous breakdown.
She is also incredibly stubborn.  Getting her to try new foods is next to impossible.
I have found that the bigger the deal I make of things, the more impossible it becomes.
When I simply say “You don’t have to eat it, but this is what we’re having for dinner.” I have much more success with her.
Raising kids is like sometimes funny like that.  I know the little streaks of rebellion and stubborn nature that makes our days a little harder now, will be the same qualities that serve her well and set her apart in this life.  It’s just a matter of channeling them in the most positive way.
This girl has got LEADERSHIP skills, I tell you what.
In the last 2 months, we’ve been through a lot with Harlo and school.  I have been reminded again why she came into our lives first.  Among having the skills it would take to lead her siblings, she also has this strong little spirit that is capable of bouncing back from lessons we both need to learn along the way.  I am not the world’s greatest mother, but I really try to be the mother that God intended me to be when he sent me these girls.  I really, really, really do.  In the course of Harlo’s life, sometimes that has meant going against everything I knew, sometimes that’s meant being braver than I thought I’d ever have to be, sometimes that’s meant making mistakes, dusting myself (and herself off) and trying again.  We’ve learned things that have worked well for us, and we’ve learned about things that don’t work as well.  I’m starting to feel like my life journey is uncovering the road less traveled, and Harlo is the little angel that was sent to lead me.  I am so grateful to her, so so grateful.  I feel like I will never be able to pay her back for the blessing she has been in my life.  She has been a true miracle to me.
I have learned more from this 6 year old than I have learned from anyone else in  my 26 years of life – ten fold!
We do not have it all together, but together, we truly do have it all.  That phrase has been held close to my heart this past year.
Harlo is just such a great role model.  She tries her best always, she makes an effort to choose the right, she thinks of others and how they feel.
The world would be a better place if we could all be a little more like Harlo.

:: STELLA ::

 Stella Johan Miller.
Stella is such a little lovey.
I am so happy to think she’ll never grow out of it.
She’s so much like me in this way. I would snuggle someone all the day long if I could, and she has the same love pulsing through her veins.
Stella is still such a mama’s girl.
Not so much in the way she was before when she was constantly on my hip or by my side.. she has grown from that, but she still just loves me in a special kind of way.
While I’m working at my desk or all throughout the day, she’ll still come curl up on my lap and hum with me while she snuggles me, just like she always has.
She stills wraps her little body around mind when she climbs into my bed in the night, just like she always has.
She has grown a lot more independent, but some parts of our relationship are still so much the same.
It is a real tender mercy.
Stella is such an easy kid.  She’s easy to love, she’s easy-going, she’s easy to talk out of a bad mood.. she’s just plain EASY.
I really needed one like that.
She is such a sasser!  Oh my word, she has more personality in her 4 year old body than in any person I know.
Everything she says is complete with hand motions, head movements and tons of voice animation.
Her latest favorite phrases is “Oh, come on!” She tells it to us about everything.
“Stella, did you get your boo?” “Oh come on! Yes!” “Stelly will you pick up the living room?” “OH come on! Fine!”
Her word of the week is “Hilarious!”  Everything is hilarious!
The other day Harlo got her feelings hurt and Stella came running behind her saying “Oh come on! I was just being hilarious!”
There is no possible way I could keep track of all the funny one-liners that come out of Stella’s mouth.
A couple weeks ago she said to me, “Mom, remember when you were pregnant and your bum and your belly were so big?” Ha! Yes.. thank you, Stella.  I do recall. 😉
Her baby talk to Grae is the best.
Last week Grae was eating dinner in her high chair and Stella was playing with her and kept saying in the highest baby talk voice “How did Jesus make such a silly baby?! How did Jesus make such a silly baby?!”j
Speaking of Jesus, Stella has a lot of questions about Him lately.
She asks me all sorts of details about Jesus.  We read a quick bible story of Jesus on the cross.  She wanted to know how they hung him on the cross, if it hurt, if he was bleeding, what he was doing and saying.  Talk about tough questions!
Then later that week I heard her playing with her barbies reenacting the scene.
(Oh Dear Jesus, I’m sorry if that seems sacrilegious.)
She also told me after church last week “Did you know Jesus Christ went all over to find the right church?” I said “No, did he find it?” and she said “I don’t know, I wasn’t listening at the end.” haha!
We have a little Jesus statue that is a little bigger than a barbie.  The girls constantly include this in their barbie games.  The barbies will go meet Jesus, Jesus will scold the barbies when they’ve been bad and teach them how to treat their sister nicely.  It kills me, and I think it’s healthy but I’m sure some wonder how appropriate it is.
I believe that children learn when they play, so playing is not off limits to anything – even and especially Jesus. 🙂
Stel is loving preschool this year, just like I knew she would.
It’s amazing to me to see how quickly she’s learned writing words and now she’s learning sight words and sounding things out.
I know it’s been a help to hear Harlo learn all this time and I know she’s dying to be able to read like Harlo.
She is also quite the boy-crazy one.
Preschool for her has been all about the boy drama.  She loved Palmer, but Palmer kissed Cicilee and that hurt her feelings, but now Jett wants to marry Stella, so Stella is over Palmer and is going to marry Jett instead… Everyday I have an update on this saga.
Stella is such a good example to us all.  She is 100% who she is.  She is kind and funny and loyal to the end.
She is so comfortable in her own skin and this is something I hope she will never, ever lose.  She is such a beauty, inside and out.
I am so so lucky to be her mama.

 :: GRAE ::

 My sweet Gigi.
This has been such a fun stage for the Geej.
She has gotten so silly and interactive.
She has also gotten a lot more friendly and less clingy to mama (but not completely over me).
She is nursing about 5 times a day still, sometimes more.
And usually most of the night, sometimes more. 😉
Pictured above is she and I in the church restroom near the mother’s lounge… it’s where we spend nearly all of our church day.
She has been my first church baby and now I realize why I almost never see  the moms with babies in class.
She used to just snooze in my sling really well during church, but gone are those days.
I have a feeling it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
We usually make it half way through the second hour before I give up and go home.
I pray a lot, if that makes anyone feel better. 😉
I love seeing her personality flourish and really seeing the dynamic our family is taking on.
I can see each girl’s special relationship with each other, and then as a whole sisterhood.
It’s such a sweet blessing in my life.
Grae had been sleeping a little bit better, but I think she’s getting another tooth this week.  I’m not kidding you, for 7 days straight I have not gotten more than 1 hour of consecutive sleep.  I am feeling so fried.
I have no idea what to do about this non-sleeper of mine, but simply embrace the stage and power through.
What’s that saying? I’ll sleep when I’m dead.  Yeah, no truer words were spoken for this mama.
She has become a great little eater.  We finally introduced her to the squeeze pouches and she’s doing really well with them, surprisingly.  She wont for the life of her eat baby food off of a spoon, but will suck it through a pouch.
(reminds me of a certain mother who refuses to drink out of a cup without a straw…Hmmm…)
A few favorites of hers are graham crackers, avocados (chopped up, not smashed), hard-boiled eggs and quinoa cups. (quinoa + eggs + any and all veggies, baked.) She mows these things down!
As she has started eating more, I can feel my milk supply dwindling.
Nursing is a constant job for me.  I do not just simply show up.
I’ve been trying to keep hydrated, eat lots of snacks, take herbs and left over placenta pills. 🙂
We’ll see how long we can go.
This week marks the longest I’ve nursed one of my girls!
Feels like such an accomplishment – and it is.
Grae has turned into a real heart-melter to her daddy lately.
She is way more interested in him and will finally reach for him from me more often than not.
He loves this stage, and I so love him loving this stage.
Even with the lack of sleep, even with the church woes, even with not being able to be by myself (ever)…
The baby stage is the stage my mama heart was made for, I tell you what.
Nothing feels more peaceful, more empowering, more fulfillment, more divine to me than being a mama to a baby.
This work is the best work, friends.
I am utterly exhausted with duties and blessings and wouldn’t change a thing if I could.