Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflecting on 2013

This past week, I have allowed myself a blogging break.  We have been thousands of miles across the country, focusing on family, connecting with friends, celebrating a wedding, celebrating the birth of our Savior, and preparing for the arrival of our little nugget.  I will try to cover some of the highlights of our recent travels, but blogging during all of the aforementioned excitement just wasn't a priority.

That being said, Hubby and I JUST arrived home from our ten days of travels, and we are so grateful to be safely home with our critters, and the baby still in utero.  We now have almost a full week to soak up our fleeting time "just the two of us", unpack, and organize our house for the arrival of the baby (and the arrival of company that will happen soon after the arrival of the baby).

Before we get to all of that, however, I want to take a minute to reflect on 2013.  The crazy, unexpected, beautiful, challenging, rewarding, blessed year 2013 has been.  Throughout some of this year, I did monthly collages with significant pictures from each month of the year.  I think re-posting some of those is the perfect way to round out 2013.

I hope your year was as blessed as our has been:

January and February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013 -- and we learned we were expecting a baby

July and August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

What a year:
  • Graduate School
  • Degrees Earned
  • Internships
  • Travel
  • Time A Part
  • Weekend Getaways
  • Our Last Months Before Expecting a Baby
  • Learning We Were Expecting Our First Baby
  • Skiing
  • Lexie and Lloyd
  • Michigan and St. Louis
  • Football and Baseball
  • Schedules and Surprises
  • Family Weddings and Baby Showers
  • Our First Niece, and a New Sister-in-Law
  • A Shrinking (in the waist) Husband, and a Growing Wife
  • A Mother- and Father-To-Be
What a year we have had.
Thank You, Lord, for blessing us beyond measure.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Morning a Day Late

Merry Christmas... we're a day late with my family in Michigan, but this morning is our Christmas morning.

We wrote Santa Claus and explained how busy we have all been leading up to the 25th, and asked if he wouldn't mind coming by on the 26th instead.  He's such a benevolent guy that he was more than willing to skip us on Christmas Eve, but come by and deliver any presents we might get on the 26th.

So, from the Mountain Millers, in Michigan, Merry Christmas morning.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

One Solitary Life... Merry Christmas!

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village, where
He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty.
Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never had a family or owned a home.
He never set foot inside a big city.
He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born.
He never wrote a book, or held an office.
He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness.

When He was still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him.
His friends deserted Him
He was turned over to His enemies, and went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While He was dying,
His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had -- His coat.
When He was dead,
He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave.

Two thousand years have come and gone, and today
He is the central figure for much of the human race.

All the Armies that ever marched and
all the Navies that ever sailed and
all the Parliaments that ever sat and
all the Kings that ever reigned,
Put Together,
Have not affected the life of man upon this Earth as powerfully as this
"One Solitary Life."

- Adapted from an essay by Dr. James Allan Francis

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From Our Family To Yours

From Our Family To Yours,
We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas Letter (sans typo):
Merry Christmas from our (growing) family to yours!  This year, we broke our record for all that we could accomplish in one year – AND did this while expecting our first baby!!! J  What a blessed year we have had.
While continuing with our same jobs (Chris 6th grade literacy, and me teaching students who are blind and visually impaired across 5 school districts), we both jumped back into the world of graduate school last January.  Chris began a two-year online Masters degree in Educational Technology from Boise State University, while I began a whirlwind Certification in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) from the University of Northern Colorado.  By tackling both of these programs, we knew our year was going to be different – more work and less play.
Chris has taken 2-3 online classes every term of 2013, loves all that he is learning, and enjoys incorporating his new skills in his classroom.  This Christmas marks his halfway point through the program.
In addition to Chris’ graduate school endeavors, we decided 2013 was the year I should earn my Orientation and Mobility (O&M) certification.  O&M is the component of teaching the blind that involves traveling with a white cane, learning how to safely travel around a school, in a neighborhood, crossing a street, getting to work, etc.  Chris and I knew that my earning this degree would involve commitment and sacrifice from both of us… but we did not know, when I began the degree, that we would be expecting a baby while I completed the requirements.  Luckily, our little Nugget is quite a trooper and I was able to successfully complete the certification program during my first two trimesters of pregnancy.
Among other things, the degree involved my spending a month in Greeley, CO, and three-weeks in each of Tucson, AZ, Kalamazoo, MI, and Austin, TX… all without Chris.  We were so blessed by friends and family in each location that generously provided housing, and community for me while away from Chris and in my early months of pregnancy.  What a celebration we had when all the travel and degree requirements had been completed, in November.
Amidst our hard work, we did manage to have a little fun this year with a few getaways.  We were in St. Louis, MO to welcome our first niece, Zivah Rodriguez, (daughter of Chris’ sister and brother-in-law) into the world on July 1; we stole romantic weekends in Nashville, TN, Northern Michigan, and Austin, TX; and each had a “Boys Getaway” and “Girls Getaway” this fall.  I celebrated completing my O&M degree by meeting my mom, aunt, and cousin in Nashville, TN to attend the CMA Country Music Awards. Meanwhile, Chris and the Miller Men had a very successful hunting trip in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the five hunters killed five elk to the tune of 750 pounds of meat!
All of this, of course, pales in comparison to the excitement, and change, that is on the horizon for us in 2014 – OUR FIRST CHILD!  Our little blessing is due February 2, 2014 (Superbowl Sunday), but we’ve been advised not to buy a birthstone yet, because, realizing what sports fans we are, our baby will probably want to already be here for the Superbowl party.  We have decided to be surprised by our baby’s sex, and have loved these months of guessing and predicting whether we’re having a boy or a girl.  We know we will hear The Christmas Story with new meaning this year as we hear the story of a young couple, expecting their first child, in a dangerous and uncertain world, but trusting in God’s goodness, faithfulness, and perfect timing.
Our love and prayers are with you this Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We hope the love of God is renewed in your daily life through the power of the Holy Spirit as you prepare for the blessings of another year.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Preggers I: 34 Weeks

How far along?  34 weeks

How I am feeling?  Relieved that this week is over, and trying to focus on a joyful and relaxing Christmas.
How big is baby?  The size of a cantaloupe or butternut squash...17.2-18.7 inches, and 4.2-5.8 pounds.

Sleep:  I sleep really well, Praise God!  I've also needed sleep like crazy with all of our running around, and traveling, and visiting family.
Boy/Girl Prediction:  No prediction.
Baby Nicknames:  Pretty much Baby, Jitterbug, Nugget, or Little One

Best moment this week:  Not going into labor during Nick and Mandy's wedding.  Also, being able to have a great time with them, ALL Day, without being too tired or having aches and pains.  I really wanted to be able to enjoy this wedding and celebration, and God was so faithful.  I needed to make a point to get off my feet when I could, but I was able to do everything I wanted to, and be there for Mandy and Nick at this wedding.
Food cravings:  Caesar salad, and Fairytale Brownies

Missing:   Regular coffee
Movements:  The best parts of my day are feeling these movements!  Also, I was at dinner this week with our Aunts Sharon and Nancy and the baby was moving like crazy, so Aunt Sharon felt the baby move.  Soon after her hand was on there and she was feeling the baby, I sort of moved, and groaned, and she jumped a mile.  It was hilarious.

Labor Signs:  No.  Thank goodness!

General Attitude:  Taking each day as it comes, and enjoying our time with family and vacation from work.

What I am looking forward to this week:  Relaxing, Christmas, and a baby shower in Michigan.

Milestones:  My mom had me at 34 weeks... and this week, I am 34 weeks along.  If I make it to next Sunday, to 35 weeks, I will have carried longer than my mom did.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mandy and Nick!

Today, we will be celebrating the marriage of Mandy and Nick!

Chris and I are getting a new sister, and all the family (including my parents) are here to celebrate.  It will be an exhausting and wonderful day.  Chris is the best man, and I am a bridesmaid, and we are going to have SO much fun!

My parents even are getting to practice for their new grandbaby with our niece, Zivah.

Congratulations to Nick and Mandy!
We love you!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Family Rehearsal Dinner

Hubby and I got on the road at 10:30pm MST Wednesday night and arrived at his parents home in St. Louis at 5:00pm CST Thursday afternoon.

We were due at his brother's wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner at 6:30pm.

I'd say we clean up pretty well, in a hurry, when need be:

Here are some other pictures of the fun night:

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

4 and 3 Amazing Years

4 years ago today, the most wonderful man in the world (although I didn't know he was the most wonderful man in the world at the time... I just knew he was pretty interesting, and worth getting to know) asked me out on our first date.

3 years ago today, the most wonderful man in the world offered me the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever seen (in a snowstorm, with 12 new inches of snow beneath us) asked me to be his wife.

Today is a very special day to us... and both memories feel like yesterday -- and ages ago.  These have been 4 and 3 amazing years, and I am more in love with my husband today than ever before.

I cannot put the last 3 or 4 years into words except to say I love being married to this man.  We grow closer together every day, every week, every year.  There is no challenge we cannot face together, and we become better at loving each other with every challenge that comes our way.  I see God's love in this man every day, and he challenges me to be more like Jesus every day.  I love every day with him, and I can't imagine forever being enough time with him.  I am so grateful and humbled that God chose him for me.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Treasuring the Present: Predictability

I struggled a little in deciding on what I could treasure in the present today.  I found myself making a sarcastic list about treasuring how tired I am... but at least I can sleep through the night at the moment -- things like that.

 We have so much on the horizon right now that is either exciting or overwhelming depending on the moment you ask me.

After thinking about all that is ahead of us, I realized that today, I am grateful for predictability.  There are two more days to this week before Hubby and I head to St. Louis for his brother's wedding... and I am grateful for the predictability of life together.

We have a few busy days coming up, but Hubby and I have our routine, we have learned how to work together and support each other during busy weeks, and we will eventually get out of town, with both animals, and loaded down like Santa's sleigh, to travel to St. Louis.

Our life is about to change in a HUGE way... but for today, it is still just the two of us, with two animals... and I am very grateful for how predictable, dependable, and beautiful our "just the two of us" life is.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Preggers I: 33 Weeks

33 Weeks

Playing with our kitty baby, while she's still the only baby.

How far along?  33 weeks

How I am feeling?  Well, emotional.  Physically I'm feeling well, but I do notice myself getting overwhelmed, whiny, and emotional suddenly and without warning.
How big is baby?  The size of a durian fruit...17.2-18.7 inches, and 4.2-5.8 pounds.

Sleep:  Sleep is my best friend these days, which is sad because there are so many other things I'd rather be doing this time of year BESIDES sleeping.
Boy/Girl Prediction:  No prediction.
Baby Nicknames:  Pretty much Baby, Jitterbug, Nugget, or Little One

Best moment this week:  This week has been very productive as we've done the following: baby laundry, baby clothes organization, set up our hospital tour, and began packing our hospital bag.  It feels really good to check things off major TO-DO list.
Food cravings:  Coconut shrimp, food that is spicy, and cheerios... but I've been trying to eat more hard-boiled eggs for protein rather than my cravings.

Missing:   My usual energy during this time of year, and time to relax and soak in the Christmas season.
Movements:  I feel like I write the same thing every week, but I LOVE these baby movements!  Feeling our little one move and kick is my favorite thing in the world.  My favorite times are when I'm stretched out in bed, so the baby has a little more room, and can kick to its heart's content without making me uncomfortable.

Labor Signs:  No.  Thank goodness!

General Attitude:  Focusing on saving as much energy as possible so I can be a great bridesmaid, and wife on Saturday at Chris' brother's wedding in St. Louis.  It's going to be a LOOOONG day, and I'm a bridesmaid, and Hubby is best man.  I'm so excited to be a part of this wedding, so I'm doing everything I can to gear myself up to have all the energy necessary to make it a wonderful day.

What I am looking forward to this week:  It will feel so nice to welcome in Christmas break.  We are going to have a CRAZY busy Christmas vacation, but I'm excited to have a break from work and have a few weeks to focus on family, Hubby and Baby.

Milestones:  Well, I'm not happy about this milestone, but, at the instruction of my husband, I have removed my rings for the duration of my pregnancy.  I have 4 rings I wear every day (my wedding ring, engagement ring, and two small rings that were my sister's), and every day I take off 3 rings and leave my wedding band on all the time.  Well, after church, Hubby saw me struggling to get my 3 rings off, and told me, the time had come to surrender all four of the rings until after the baby arrives.  I'm so bummed about it, because I LOVE my rings... they are each very sentimental to me, and I wear them daily for a reason.  Also, I DID NOT want to be 8 and 9 months pregnant without a wedding band.  So, Hubby and I went to Wal-Mart, and I now have a larger, very simple pregnancy wedding band that will suffice until I can put my beautiful engagement and wedding rings back on.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

1000 Words

1000 Words

**Note:  These clothes are SO tiny!  I experiencing the exact opposite phenomenon I experienced when Hubby and I were first married.  His clothes seemed so BIG when we were first married -- all those loads of laundry compared to my clothes.  Now, these baby clothes seem SO TINY!  So many little baby clothes fit into one load.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Worth 7 Minutes

If you have 7 minutes, this is worth your time.  Hubby and I were laughing really hard.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Letters: FRIDAY!!!

  • Dear Friday, OH FRIDAY!!!  WELCOME!!!  I have been needing you since Monday.  This has been a LOOOONG, hard week.
  • Dear Christmas Cards,  This weekend, it's you and me!  You are getting finished and mailed!!!
  • Dear Today, I am absolutely savoring today, and this weekend.  One week from today, Hubby and I will be on Christmas break (yay!)... but we will be in St. Louis, running around like crazy for Chris' brother's wedding, up to our ears in family, and probably a little tired.  Not that we are not looking forward to the wedding in St. Louis -- its going to be beautiful... but I am SAVORING TODAY!!!  This is a Friday before a weekend with my hubby.  We get to spend time together, keep preparing our home for baby, enjoy our beautifully decorated Christmas house, and relax!!!
  •  Dear Beautifully Decorated Christmas House, I have not bragged about you on my blog yet... time to fix that!
I love our beautiful Christmas tree -- it's real -- chopped down by us in the rocky mountains

I absolutely LOVE this nativity scene -- I keep it up all year long, but I add lights at Christmas

LOOK AT OUR STOCKINGS!!!  We're really going to be a Mama and Daddy!
  • Dear Little Baby,  I LOVE feeling you move in my belly!!!  It is the craziest, AWESOMEST thing EVER!  Hubby and I can actually see my belly moving when you move how, and it is crazy -- and awesome!!!  I am going to miss this so much when you're born.
  • Dear Tears,  You were really necessary this week.  A few days, things were really hard, until I burst into tears and bawled on my husband's shoulders... then things seemed manageable again. 
  • Dear Friday-the-13th, I LOVE THIS DATE!!!
  • Dear Lexie, I'm glad that you're liking our little pack-n-play for the baby.  You will have to give this up when the baby arrives.
I covered the pack-n-play and bassinet with a quilt, and Lexie loves the new nest.
  • Dear Lloydey, I'm glad you're feeling better after your week of allergic reactions.
  • Dear Lord, Thank you for your protection and provision.
  • Dear Newest Ornament On Our Tree, You are hard to photograph... but I absolutely love you!  What a wonderful addition to our tree -- Hubby and me with our sports teams, and our teacher's books... and our animals, anticipating our little baby.  I love the life changes that are depicted in our ornaments each year!  :-D
I LOVE this ornament.
Check out LissaLou Designs on Etsy.

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