Monday, May 29, 2017

Preparing for Company

I'm going to have to write these "small glimpse into our life" posts more often because it allows me to share quick, short, mini-stories from our day to day life that I want to remember but don't always, in and of themselves, warrant a full-blown lengthy blog post.

On that note... more glimpses from our life as I prepared for company yesterday.

We are hosting a Memorial Day Cookout today with just a few families, all of whom have young children the same age of our kids.

So, I figured I would throw together an easy but delicious fruit salad... well, note to self.  The easy fruit salad takes about four times as long once you remember that you're cooking for families with toddlers, and toddlers need apple and pineapple pieces cut to a much smaller "bite size" than adults do.

Whenever I cook or bake something while the kids are awake, I've always sort of adopted the philosophy, "I am trying to be productive in the kitchen... so I surrender the rest of the main floor to the forces of my children."  It's not a perfect science, but it usually results in my cooking or baking a relatively successful dish that is not burnt beyond edibility.  Well, after spending about an hour (on and off) in the kitchen creating toddler-bite-sized fruit salad I surveyed the rest of the main floor... my kitchen philosophy does not work so well when we're having company the next day.  The fruit salad might be ready for company, but the rest of the floor looked like a tornado swept through.  I need a new system when I'm cooking for company.

Lastly, in an effort to recover some damage to the family room, I said to the kids,
"If we can get this room picked up a little, we can have some time in the bounce house before bath time."  
(Because the rule is that the bounce house cannot be inflated until all toys are put away and the floor is picked up.)
Tracey did not miss a beat and replied, "I'll sit right here and watch you guys."
Ummmm... excuse me?

Those were funny parts of our yesterday.

Happy happy Memorial Day to you, and please take some time today to remember those who have sacrificed so much to keep our country free for so many generations.

Just as I type that, I am so humbled to look back up on this post and realize how much freedom was wrapped into our yesterday.  I cannot even list every freedom we enjoyed yesterday from the activities we chose to do, to what we wore, to the fact we attended church, to the fact we live in our own home that we chose to buy, to the fact that my children played while I prepared for friends to come over tomorrow, to the fact that we're expecting our fourth child, to the fact that my husband was working all day in a job that he chose to take that he enjoys doing, to the fact that I make the rules in my house with my children, to that fact that my three year old was free to jump in with her opinion about cleaning... and I was free to correct her on who all was going to help clean the living room.

Trying to understand and quantify freedom to an American-born citizen is like trying to describe water to a fish.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Beep Beep

Yes... our twins are one boy and one girl... can you see their personalities emerging from these pictures?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Small Glimpse

Today's blog is brought to you by a small glimpse into our world:

Hubby:  What happened to Caroline's leg?

Me:  What do you mean?

Hubby:  That spot looks really bad.  Did she get bitten?  That has to be a bite... look at it.

Me:  Are you sure its not a big blueberry stain?

Hubby:  Oh... maybe.

Me:  If the spot comes off in the tub tonight, it was blueberries... if it doesn't, I'll figure out what happened to her leg and get back with you.

** Editor's note:  The spot came off in the tub.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Situations Like This

When your Daddy is the Athletic Director of a Middle School, you find yourself in situations like this...

Thursday, May 25, 2017


When people hear that Hubby and I are expecting our fourth child (and fourth in less than four years at that), we get a myriad of reactions.

Some people are shocked.
 Some people are happy for us... and even happier its not happening to them.
Some people think we're crazy.
Some people think we're stupid.
Some people are genuinely excited for us because they think we're good parents and we're the type of family that should have a lot of children.
Some people think we're superheros.
Some people think we must have a secret oil field somewhere to finance these kids.
Some people ask us if we "know how this happens..." a comment that seriously creeps me out because they are inquiring about our sex life.
Some people stop socializing with us because we've become "weird kid people."
Some people become closer friends with us because they too are "weird kid people" with big families.

It has actually been comical to witness different reactions.

All that to say, yesterday a friend of mine from college, who has one little girl about two-years old posted this picture on my way along with the below comment and I really took it as a huge compliment.  Not that I need to be seen any certain way to my peers, but I felt like this was viewing our decision to have a large family as something very unique and special as opposed to judging us in a negative light.

And my friend wrote on my wall:
 "If anyone is a magical unicorn, it's you. "

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lost and Found

Last weekend Caroline came with me to Michigan for a family wedding and Howard and Tracey stayed in Colorado with Hubby.  It was the first time we have split up the twins for any length of time, and it did not go as smoothly as I expected.

Howard moves a mile a minute and always wants to keep up with Tracey, while Caroline does a lot of observing and then chooses her own activity.  Sometimes she'll play with her siblings while other times she's simply curl up in my lap or be content to do her own thing -- reading a book, playing in her little kitchen, or trying to find Lexie.

The difference between Caroline and Howard are why Hubby and I thought Caroline would do better on this trip with me because she is less rambunctious than Howard and often is content to cuddle in our laps.

What we did not factor into the genius travel plans is how lost Caroline would be without Howard or Tracey.

Granted, the trip to Michigan was a grueling trip -- two flights Friday, 6 hours in the car to a wedding Saturday, two flights Sunday -- it would have been hard on any child, but I felt like Caroline -- my Caroline, my daughter who I thought I was bringing with me, was missing the whole weekend.  She was incredibly clingy to me and would scream if I was out of her sight.  She didn't eat very much the entire weekend and just wasn't her usual happy self.

It wasn't until we arrived home -- and specifically she greeted Tracey and Howard that I saw my Caroline return.

She was completely lost without her brother and sister.  This is a concept of which I have no understanding because I've functioned as an only child my entire life.  Caroline, on the other hand, never even had the womb to herself, and then was born into a family of three children.  Add to that, she adores Tracey and Howard -- sure they take her toys sometimes and knock her over occasionally, but she is happiest when she is playing with one or both of her siblings.

Hubby and I still need to keep creating activities where one child goes with one parent so the children gain confidence a part from his or her siblings... but maybe not an entire weekend a part for awhile.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Childbirth on TV

Last night I started teaching a new session of Natural Childbirth for Couples, which is something I love to do.  I so enjoy teaching couples about childbirth and helping them connect and work as a team as they head into a huge event like childbirth and parenting.

All that to say, there is a video I love to show in the first class to help couples laugh... but also realize how many of their assumptions about childbirth might be a little off.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Really Cute

Caroline certainly recognized Hubby and me in a picture from our honeymoon at my parent's house.


Friday, May 19, 2017

With Daddy

This weekend is a first for our family -- we are dividing up the children for the weekend and I will have Caroline and Hubby will have Tracey and Howard.

Now, we have divided up the little ones before -- Hubby took Tracey to St. Louis last February for a funeral, but we have never split up the twins, and I have never had only one child.

Last night, as I was getting everything in order for the trip, Hubby asked me if there was anything he could do to help me (a question that makes me fall more in love with him every time he asks me), and my response surprised me a little.  

I told him he would help me a great deal if he could just be in charge of anything Tracey and Howard will need for tomorrow.  I know that Tracey has to go to school, and Hubby will be spending the morning with Howard, and it will be a logistical challenge to get both children and proper clothing, backpacks, snacks, shoes, coats, and more out the door on time... when I take Tracey to school, I always do a lot of preparations the night before.  If anyone else were watching Howard and Caroline Friday morning, I would have EVERYTHING in order and clothes laid out and backup clothes laid out and detailed notes written in a notebook.  To be able to just ask Hubby to handle it, and have him say, "Sure.  No problem," took such a weight off my shoulders.

Will things run they way I run things Friday morning?
No they will not.
Will the kids get out of the house with everything I would bring on the Friday outing?
No they will not.
Will the crew get out to the door on time Friday morning?
Possible... but not very likely.
Will Hubby and Tracey and Howard be just fine for their Friday?
Without a doubt.

I have left several or all children or over night or longer more in the past three weeks than I had in the previous two years.  For each of my absences, I left a notebook full of information, copies of my notes with different parts highlighted for different caretakers, tupperware full of meals for the kids in the fridge, various full outfit pairings in labeled ziplock bags, and more.

Heading off this weekend with Caroline, I did manage to run the dishwasher so Hubby will start with clean dishes... but other than that, Daddy is in charge, and things will be fine.  It is such a relief to be leaving two of my three little ones with someone who might not do things my way... but lives every day in the same house as I do and knows where (most) everything is, and knows the kids' routines (even if he chooses to deviate from it).

I am sure Howard and Tracey are going to have a blast with Hubby this weekend, and I am really excited for my one-on-one time with my Sweet Caroline.

Please pray for safe travels for Caroline and me, and smooth sailing for Hubby with Tracey and Howard.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Simple Joy

Yesterday was Mother's Day and it was such a beautiful day.  I saw many posts on facebook and blogs about how Mother's Day can be very painful for women... women who have lost their mother, women who have lost their children, women who want to be mothers... the list went on about women hurt on Mother's Day.

I don't mean to discredit any of what those sweet woman are feeling, and I do understand how certain days and holidays can stir certain feelings... but I have to admit, I have always felt great joy on Mother's Day.  Mother's Day is a day that thus far with which, I feel incredibly grateful, I have not struggled.

I love being my mother's daughter and have always enjoyed surprising her and spoiling her as much as possible, usually from a distance, on Mother's Day.  I am so fortunate that she is still walking the earth and my best friend.

Then, Hubby and I have never struggled with infertility.  I did spend years wishing I was a mother... but they were years before I met my husband.  They were the years that I wondered if I would ever meet a man I could love and would love me back and that we would want to raise a family together.  Those years were harder for me than any others -- wondering if my dream of being a wife and mother would ever come true.

Once Hubby and I were married, we happily enjoyed some Mother's Days celebrating our own mothers, and enjoying our animal-babies.

Then, before we knew it, we were expecting our first baby.

As I said, we have been so fortunate not to struggle with infertility, and we do not take that for granted at all because we have innumerable friends who we know have spent years and tens of thousands of dollars dealing with infertility issues.  If anything, we have had the challenge of more children a little more quickly than we anticipated -- truly a wonderful challenge to have.

But I digress... yesterday's Mother's Day was full of such joy.

I will admit, sometimes I struggle with Mother's Day because I have an idea in my head of how I would like to feel appreciated or celebrated... and the day did start a little rocky when I was up making our daughter breakfast in bed (that's right... no bnb for this mama this Mother's Day) and I had been up for several hours before anyone mentioned Mother's Day.

But, as we hustled out the door for church, I realized that I like getting the kids ready and I wouldn't want Hubby to take that task from me.  I loved choosing what they would wear on a special Mother's Day Sunday.

We worked in the nursery at church, which meant I got to bless other mothers by watching their babies and giving them a little time to worship with their husbands without the distraction of children.  Plus, I got to play with my own twins during that time.

The church was so sweet to hand out flowers to women for Mother's Day, and it was so sweet that the ushers came and found me in the nursery to deliver my rose.  I shouldn't, but I know would have felt left out if I had come out of the nursery to see all the other mothers with flowers, and then I would sort of have to go search for my own.  That wasn't the case at all.  Several ushers made sure I had my rose. 

It was very sweet that Tracey was given a rose in her classroom, and Hubby prompted her at one point to give it to me.  I questioned Tracey if she was supposed to have the rose, because I wanted to make sure she hadn't accidentally taken it from someone, and then Hubby said, "Well, I think she is supposed to give it to someone.  Tracey, are you supposed to give that rose to anyone."  Tracey very frankly said, "No.  It's my flower."

Which, I have to admit, I think is adorable.  Tracey LOVES flowers, and it doesn't at all surprise me that felt so incredibly special, grown up, and feminine to receive a flower at church, and there was no way she would be giving it to anyone else.  Also, I do hope she eventually desires to be a mother herself, and so it was a beautiful representation of the circle of life -- flowers to mothers, flowers to future mothers.

Then, we came home for some lunch, some playtime, and Mama opening a few cards and a gift Tracey made at school (her thumb print on a keychain).

Everyone got a nap at the same time (which was a Mother's Day gift in and of itself).  Everyone played together after the nap.
Then, we went out for a very early (perfect time for the kids) family dinner buffet.
Despite lots of food choices, everyone seemed to like the crab legs best of all, and Hubby and I had a full-time dinner job just cracking crab legs as fast as our kids could eat them.

At dinner Hubby gave me another Mother's Day card from the kids and him, and then he confessed that he bought it that morning while we were at church.  He had slipped away from the nursery for a few minutes and apparently run to the supermarket next door to buy a very last minute Mother's Day card.  He said it was slim pickins, but I would have never known because he chose a card that was perfect from our kids.

I have to admit, it means so much to me that he took the time to run and buy a Mother's Day card even though it was the eleventh hour.  It would have been so easy for him to think... well, I missed this year... but he didn't and it was the sweetest thing.

After dinner... normal bedtime routine -- baths, bed, clean up the kitchen.

But the truth is, our usual routine, when Hubby is home, is wonderful -- the perfect way to end the day.  When Hubby is not home, it's a little crazier, but having him home at bedtime (still feeling the wake of graduate school absences, and end of the year craziness at his work) also feels like a Mother's Day gift.

Honestly, it wasn't an earth-shattering Mother's Day where I was pampered... but it was such a wonderful day.

I really hope I can hang on to this simple joy.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

There is doubt in my mind that these are definitely some of the craziest years my life will ever see... but I also know with complete certainty, they are some of the best years of my life as well.

Tracey age 3
Howard and Caroline age 1
About 4 months expectant with Baby Number 4

Tracey age 2
Twins age 4 months

Tracey age 1
We didn't know it at the time, but we were expecting the twins

Tracey age 3 months

In St. Louis celebrating our new niece on the way...
and we didn't know it at the time, but by the end of that weekend,
we were expecting Tracey

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day Videos

Both of these videos appeared on my facebook home page yesterday in preparation for Mother's Day Weekend... and one made me laugh, and one made me cry.  
Both, I feel incredibly appropriate and sweet to share.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mother's Day Pictures

This year for a Mother's Day Gift, Hubby and my kiddos took advantage of a great coupon from a talented photographer we know from church who was running a Mother's Day Special.

I got to have pictures taken with just the kiddos and myself, and my mother was in town, so Grammie was in some pictures too.  It was so special because I take the pictures so often, and am not always in the shots.

Here are the pictures we chose from the photo shoot:


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Out Loud

Hubby and I were just in Denver last weekend for a getaway together and on the way home, we saw something on the interstate that made both of us laugh out loud... suddenly and heartily, we both laughed so hard.
I had to snap a few pictures...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Baby Number 4

We are so excited to announce that we are expecting Mountain Miller Baby Number 4.  She is a baby girl coming in October.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Our Getaway

Hubby and I have had such a wonderful getaway together the past few days in Denver.

We saw a Rockies game, ate meals out, ate meals in... none of which required bibs or bribery, we ran errands, slept in, I read a book, and ... we saw TWO movies in a movie theater!

Hubby and I haven't seen a movie together in a theater in years, and during this trip, we saw two... I guess we're set for almost a decade.  The theater where we saw the movies had recliners... unheard of in our local Rifle movie theater, and it was so much fun and really comfortable.

Just the simple act of Hubby and my having one another's undivided attention for several days on end was amazing.  It was a reminder to how our marriage used to be, before our sweet babies were born.

Now, with three young children, we still make a great team, but there is much less time spent focused on each other... because our children require much of our attention most of the time.  This was just so nice to recharge together and rest at the same time.

That being said, I really miss our little ones and both Hubby and I are excited to get back to them.  I know they have had a blast with Grammie and Papa... and although my parents sound tired, I think they have run the show very well in our absence.

I think it will be quite some time before Hubby and I will get to enjoy this kind of extended getaway again, so hopefully this one really will recharge us for a while.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Rockies Game Without Children

These are the seats we get when we get to attend a baseball game without children...

And this is what a ballpark looks like when everyone has been evacuated due to inclement weather... except my husband who thinks the rain is refreshing and wants to watch the grounds crew battle the wind...