Thursday, March 30, 2017

Good Brother

So... I'm pretty sure these two and Lloyd were just squeezing for space at the window and trying to knock on the window to wave at our neighbors... but I love that Howard's little arm is around his sister.  Howard really is such a good brother.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Larger Canvas

I love this picture because the other day, my sweet Tracey wanted to paint a picture.  Now, I am all for washable paint to create beautiful pictures when the weather is nice and they can paint outside wearing swimsuits.  For indoor painting, I resort to water paint where Tracey chooses a picture from her paint-with-water pad, and then she paints water across the page which creates the colors.

Well, the other day, I had to laugh because she painted all the water across the paper... and then the next thing I knew, she had crumpled up the (now very soggy paper) and was using her paint brush to paint a much larger surface area of the table in front of her.

As her mother, I had to correct her and remind her that she was just supposed to be painting on the paper... but what I really was thinking was that my wonderful child's imagination was just too large for that piece of paper, and she needed a larger canvas to express her inner artist.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

So True

These are both way too true to be funny...


Monday, March 27, 2017


This looked fun...

Everyone has six names...find out yours. 

Your real name: 
Brooke Miller

Your soap opera name (middle name and street you live on):
Sanden Firethorn
Your starTrek name (first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 of middle, last 2 of first):

Superhero name (color of your shirt and item to your right):
Baby Blue Salad

Goth name (black and name of one of your pets):
Black Lexington

Rapper name (Lil' + last thing you ate):
Lil Vitamin

Sunday, March 26, 2017

When Daddy's Home

My handsome Hubby is in his last month... (last 36 days to be exact) of his post graduate masters degree in educational administration.  It has been a long road to this point... and he's got a few loose ends to tie in these last five weeks.

All that being said, he is working A LOT these days.  We do not get many full days that he spends at home, even over this past week of spring break from school.

When my children's father does spend all day with them, however, the sight is absolute heaven.  There is rarely a moment that at least one is not in his arms or on his lap... and usually more than one.

Keep up the hard work, Daddy.  We can't wait until you're done and be home with us more often!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Peter Pan

I don't think I posted about it, but a few weeks ago, I took Tracey to see her first live performance play at our local high school.  It was the musical Annie, which was the first live musical I ever saw.  I played the movie for her before we went, and talked to her about the story, and really emphasized that this was a BIG GIRL outing that she got to take with Mama, so I felt pretty confident she would do well throughout the show, and she did.  She had some squirmy moments, but overall did very well.

So, last night, Hubby and I took her to another school performance of Peter Pan.  This was really special because she got to go out with both Mama and Daddy while the twins were home with baby-sitters.  We realized we haven't taken Tracey anywhere with both parents and Tracey by herself since before the twins were born.  We went out to dinner first, and then to the show.

In preparation for this very special big girl date, we curled her hair, painted her nails, and let her pick out her extra special princess dress to wear.  Also, I had purchased the DVD of Mary Martin's Peter Pan, which I watched growing up, and we played a few times leading up to the show so that she would be familiar with the music and plot.

 Tracey absolutely LOVED the show -- much more so than Annie, but the fact that actors were literally flying across the stage probably had something to do with that.  This show we attended last night is put on by an entire school near us, which is grades preschool to 12th, and was incredibly impressive.  It is half-Homeschool, half-Classical curriculum, and we may consider sending our children there in the future.  I'll tell you, watching this elaborate musical the created and watching children as young as 3 participating was very impressive.

I spend so much time with babies, and training toddlers/our preschooler, which I really do love... tedious though it sometimes becomes.  But last night it was so much fun to really see Tracey growing into a new more grown-up stage of life where we can take her to a grown up two-and-a-half hour musical, and she will sit still and enjoy it.  We still love babies, but it is reassuring to know that all children will grow up eventually (save Peter Pan, of course) and there are wonderful new stages to enjoy with them at that time.

Here are some pictures from our Big Girl night out:

Our big girl at dinner

Walking with Daddy... and her pink purse

Watching the show

Congratulating a friend from church on her great performance

Meeting Tiger Lily

A little leery of Captain Hook...

... she did give him a high five eventually.

Peter Pan was awesome, and she sprinkled Tracey with pixie dust

And we saw Wendy before we headed home.


Friday, March 24, 2017

If You Give Your Husband A Kiss...

I came upon this story last night from the blog "To Love Honor and Vacuum" and I just had to repost it.  It made me smile, made my eyes water, and I really felt like she was describing my life as I read it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

If you give your husband a kiss, he’ll probably want a hug to go with it.

You’ll nestle your head under his chin, and just breathe him in.
The smell will remind you of when you first started dating and you didn’t want to be anywhere else but nestled under his chin.
You’ll think back on some of your favorite first dates – ice cream, pancakes, holding hands in front of your friends.

Before you can get too carried away, a toddler will probably squeeeeeeze his way in between your legs, breaking apart your hug.
You’ll open your eyes to see breakfast dishes that need cleaned up, kids who need noses or bottoms wiped, and the million other tiny and enormous things you do every day.
You’ll see the little babies running around and the messes and pile of bills and the work shirts.
You’ll see the rogue marker marks and mountain of laundry and the inch thick dust bunnies.
You might be so overwhelmed, you won’t know where to start.

You’ll see all the ways your life is different now than it was when it was late-night pancake dates and ice cream runs.
So you’ll take a deep breath, whisper a prayer, take a drink of coffee, and just start on something.
You’ll get so caught up in what’s going on around you, you’ll miss talking to your husband before he leaves for work.

You’ll start to say goodbye as he leaves, when you notice the baby has had a blow out.
After you change the diaper, you’ll wash your hands, and notice your wedding ring.

Your wedding ring will remind you of your wedding, and the man that you married.
You’ll think again of all the ways life is different now than it was when he slipped that ring on your finger.
And then you’ll think of all the ways it’s still the same, just like when you nestled your head under his chin.

You’ll hear the door to the garage shut and realize your husband’s leaving for work.
You’ll realize you don’t want to miss giving him one more hug before he leaves this morning.
So you’ll run out into the driveway looking like a hot mess.
He’ll smile because he thinks you’re beautiful, and you’ll still not understand how much he means it.

You’ll probably smile back, trying to pick one out of a million things you could say.
Instead, you’ll decide to give him a hug.
And chances are, if you give you’re husband a hug, YOU’LL want a kiss to go with it.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is a very popular game at our house these days.

I find it most amusing when I hide from Tracey and she's the one seeking, and the twins find me before she does.

Here are some pictures of the fun:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


So as I just yesterday posted about our sweet Caroline's fashion sense, she did something yesterday to expand her stylish nature -- she decided she loved hats.

The kid's sunhats were scattered around the family room, and Caroline systematically gathered one hat at a time, brought them to me for me to put it on her head, then went off to find another, and bring me the next one to stack on her head.  At one point, I think she was wearing four hats and beaming like she was wearing a princess crown.

Hats and shoes and necklaces and counting... what a little fashionista she is becoming.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fashion and Friends

It was called to my attention a few weeks back that I had several posts in a row that focused on our little man, Howard, and the source was afraid our sweet Caroline would develop an inferiority complex.
*** Thank you, Mother, as if I didn't already have enough insecurities about my ability to raise three children equally and fairly. ***

So, let's talk about our adorable little Caroline.

First of all, she is quite the little walker now.  She took her first steps weeks after Howard did... but once she started walking, she walked everywhere, and as a result, I think she became a better walker in less time than it took Howard.

She has always been our social butterfly, and she still is.  She loves to play with her brother and sister.  Sometimes I am concerned because I can tell she is the type of child that will start to be uncomfortably squished by her big sister's hugs, but she loves that her big sister is hugging her, so she won't say anything.

That being said, she is not afraid to play independently throughout the day.  Often, it involves shoes or clothes... and sometimes cooking in the toy kitchen.  I had a post a few days about about how our socks go missing and how it is quite a team efforts in how they go missing.  Our shoes on the other hand all go missing at the hands of Caroline.  She will sort them, organize them, hand them out to various family members, and carry them around to store in alternative locations.  Interestingly enough, for as much as she loves playing with shoes, whenever I put shoes on her, she almost immediately tries to take them off.

And, like a true little lady, her interest in fashion is not limited to shoes.  She loves putting clothes and accessories around her neck.  The other day, she and Howard got one of my dresser drawers open, and then next thing I know, Caroline has a pair of my nylons draped around her neck like an over-sized boa.  She also loves the beads that a restaurant gave the kids for St. Patrick's Day.

She is such a sweetheart, and always incredibly happy... until she's not.  And when she's not happy, she is NOT happy.  Maybe this fits in with the social butterfly and fashion-loving personality, but when she gets upset, she can be a little bit of a drama queen.

We absolutely love our sweet Caroline, all her unique and individual personality traits, and watching her grow into the person she is destined to become.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Break

There is absolutely no question that almost everything in life is better with children.  Hubby and I love being parents, we love having several children, we love their ages... our children make our life immeasurably better and more joyful.

Christmas is better with children, Halloween is better with children, Summer vacation is better with children... almost everything in life is better with children.  
All that being said, so far, in our journey of parenthood, I have found one definitely exception to things being better with children... Spring Break.

I am sure that, in time, Spring Break with our kids will be a blast -- vacations, camping, or staying home and having family activities.  In time, Spring Break will be better with children.  At present, however, I don't think Spring Break is better with children.

When both Hubby and I were married with no children and working as full time educators... the first 24 hours of Spring Break were the absolute best 24 hours of the year.  Hubby and I would always be exhausted... but we had MADE IT.  We were exhausted, but we would always stay up late because of the shear JOY that we had made it to Spring Break!  We would go to dinner, or order dinner in, and go to a movie, or rent a movie... we would stay up later than ever because WE COULD SLEEP THE NEXT DAY!  We could sleep forever the next day.

The first hours of Spring Break always meant supreme exhaustion with supreme payoff.

Well, now that we have children... we still have the supreme exhaustion... but the children don't seem to realize that the first day of Spring Break is for Mama and Daddy to sleep.  They just don't get it.

They still expect to be fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the normal times... for us to get up out of bed to change their diapers, change their clothes, and... remain awake enough to keep them from danger.  Our oldest is usually awake before sunrise ready to start our day... I love our daughter, but the first day of our Spring Break should NEVER start before sunrise!

We love our children, but this particular aspect of Spring Break has lost its charm.  Its a good thing our little ones are cute, and lovable, and giggly, and fill our Spring Break with joy... because we no longer fill our Spring Break with sleep.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

First Lessons

We just finished having our first foster child stay with us for a few days, and I really want to share some thoughts and lesson from the time, without compromising this child's privacy and anonymity... so I will be as vague as possible, while still expressing the lessons from my perspective.

I'm sure I learned more in the past three days from this child than he ever will have learned from us.

For one, adolescent children are exhausting.  
We had to feed him a well-balanced meal -- EVERY NIGHT.  
Sure, we can throw meals together for our three picky toddlers (hot dogs, oranges and mac and cheese are often crowd-pleasers), and then Hubby and I frequently collapse into bed exhausted with half a dinner or food left over from the kids... but having an adolescent male was completely different.  We actually had a family well-balanced meal on the table around 7pm every night -- and it was exhausting.  The dishes we went through in the past three days were easily three times the dishes I usually go through with the kids.  I thought babies were tiring... and they are, but wow, middle-schoolers are tiring too.

I realized that my children are so incredibly trusting and full of love for anyone and everyone they meet. This child had not been here two hours and Tracey had already decided that he was her new best friend.  It took about 24 hours, about both Howard and Caroline came to love him and often competed for chances to be held by him.  I will share, hesitantly that I was nervous about how loving and accepting my children were in such a short period of time.  While I hope it helped him to feel welcome, we might need to work on a little Stranger Danger for the future.

While this child was with us, I began to have an sligth understanding for how little control he has over his life.  He has no choice over with whom he lives, what his room is like, what his meals are like, what his routine is like, what a family's expectations are of him, or... in the case of our house, how many children are vying for his attention... I have no idea what it is like to have so little control in life.

Then, there was the very unexpected emotion of saying goodbye.  He was only with us three days.  Three very stressful and exhausting days... but then he was gone -- off to another family, to see how well that placement works.  And I want to cry watching him leave -- telling my children that he's going home, when I know he has not had a true HOME for years.  What must that be like for a child?

Please keep praying for this sweet, sweet young man... and so many other like him  Thank you so much to the dear friends who surrounded us in prayer the past three days.  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


I just want to take a minute to talk about socks.

I don't know where the dryer got such a bad reputation for eating socks.  Easily when I do laundry several times each week, I have over 50 socks for all shapes sizes and colors without mates... but this is by no means the fault of the dryer.  I would never dream of blaming our dryer.  I know who's to blame for all our missing socks... my children, and my husband.

My children seem to almost make a game out of trying to take their socks off anywhere and everywhere possible.  I saying "trying to" take their socks off because they are not always successful, which almost makes it worse because rarely do two matching socks come off in the same location.

My three children are notorious for removing their socks in the hardest-to-find locations -- their cribs, their beds, their stroller while we're on a walk, the car, the kitchen table, the family room amongst a pile of their toys, the guest room when we didn't even play in the guest room this week, the basement when I didn't even know they had been in the basement, outside, the church nursery... you name it, chances are at least one sock has been removed by my children in that location.

Then, let's not forget my husband.  Now, to his credit, his socks are often found in pairs... but he removes his socks wherever he first relaxes at the end of the day.  So, his socks are often found in the family room near the couch... but sometimes in our bedroom, in Tracey's room, or randomly tucked in with the children's toys because one of the babies found the dirty sock and thought it would make a great blanket for a baby doll.

Our socks are terminally mis-matched because otherwise we would be buying new socks every time I did laundry.

I do not mean to avoid all blame... my socks have become inexplicably unmatched since the twins were born... but I actually can explain what happens to our baby socks, toddler socks, and husband socks... and it has nothing to do with our dryer.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017