16 December 2014

As of late

  • In an effort to better get Mili involved in helping around the house, I made up this 'helping hands' chart.  When she fills it with hands that she's earned, she gets to pick out something from a little stash I have (mainly Play Doh and coloring books).  She filled it for the first time and was SO excited!  I can't believe it's actually working so well.

  • We bought warmer pjs for the hoodlums.  Mili picked out the space jammies and then was all for Noah matching.  They wore those pjs (with rain boots) to temple lights.  In our new shark stroller.
  • Mili reallly realllly realllly wants to push Noah anytime he's in the shark stroller.  I let her whenever possible.  We may walk pretty slow and very crooked, but naptime is always a breeze afterwards.
  • Noah has cut a big tooth, had a cold, and been going through a growth spurt, or in other words, we haven't slept.  On the upside, he is the cheeriest, sweetest sick and tired dude ever.
  • I am failing miserably at most everything Christmas-related.  The only real success is that Mili knows the story of Jesus' birth and I actually hung up stockings.  There is nothing else. Seriously.

03 December 2014


Today is gray, drizzly, damp, and, best of all, full of puddles.  We took a morning walk and puddle stomp through the neighborhood until we found a sufficiently large enough pool of water to stay and splash in for a good while.  Mili stomped, tromped, ran, leaped, and shuffled through a verrrrry large, 4-5 inch deep pool of only slightly murky water for at least 10 minutes or more.  Noah started to laugh every time she ran through it, so she ran back and forth again and again and again.  And Noah laughed again and again and again.  Some guy came out of his apartment (that we were camped out in front of) on his way to work and I saw my hoodlums' joy spread.  He went to work in a good mood today, it's impossible to not be cheered by baby laughter.  And eventually Mili tripped and landed totally in the water so we had a sopping wet walk home; I smiled as she protested having to leave her prize puddle behind.  Then I laughed as I dumped out at least a half cup of water out of her rain boots on our front doorway - I knew she was squishing, I didn't realize she had been sloshing home.

There are no pictures of these events because I am practicing experiencing the happy moments as they happen over trying to capturing every single one on camera.  "Sometimes the best moments in life don't photograph well."

26 November 2014

In my rocking chair

Sometimes, I just have to reread my own words to remember what it's all about.  Here's a snippet of my journal from a tired September night

Last night I was tired. Strike that. Yesterday (aka Saturday) I was tired. Friday night didn't go so well and the Noah/Mili sleep-depriving tag team struck again, waking me up 6 times in 5 hours or so. They've gotten considerably better, but there are still the occasional nights. That evening I was trying so hard to just not fall apart on poor Tyler. I was hot, achy, and exhausted.

Someone had given us a dresser and we moved it into the hoodlums' room. While Tyler heroically did bath time, I cleaned up the room and rehung a few pictures - one of the Savior, one of the Sacred Grove. We managed to get both hoodlums in bed and asleep. Tyler, again being the hero, began to wash dishes, while I sat and gently rocked in the rocking chair in the kids' bedroom.

The clean room, the quiet, the sleeping perfect babies, and the pictures of family and all things important on the walls - the only place that has ever felt like that room did that night was the temple. That room carried the holiness, the fulness, the peace of the celestial room. It was a celestial room. And my tired bones soaked it in. I rocked and thought and rocked until my mind finally cleared of all the clutter of my week. Until the few thoughts crossing my mind were all related directly to my Savior. I felt the Spirit so strongly. I realized that this was a home. When I say I am a homemaker, this is what I strive to achieve. It's so much more than matching bedspreads and sheets to paint colors, or vacuuming twice a week. It's having the conversations about Jesus during the day. It's hearing Mili tell me that she is going to be "murred" (married) in the temple. It's her pointing at the picture of Blake on his mission and saying "Blake!" and "Baptize!" Then telling me how Jesus was baptized: in water, dunked not sprinkled. It's prioritizing following the prophet's counsel and finding the joy in keeping the commandments. And all the while teaching my children to do the same. It's the most beautiful work I've ever done.

I'll probably never really fill a checklist of temporal achievements full again. But when Mili pulled out her 'church' book and started telling Noah all about the pictures of Jesus, when she pointed at a drawing of Jesus holding a baby and told Noah that Jesus was holding him, that the baby was Noah, in that picture, I realized that I won't ever need that checklist to feel like I'm doing a great work on the earth.

Happy Thanksgiving folks.

08 November 2014

Birthday of the Man of the House


this is Tyler.

today is the day he was born some twenty-odd years ago.

sure glad he was born.
and that he created the miller house rule #1: don't die.
no kicking the bucket babe.  at least not anytime soon.  i'm planning on you holding my hand here for at least another 60 years.

31 October 2014

Second Child

In this week alone:
  • Noah mastered the army crawl and is thiiiis close to full-on crawling
  • He moved into a new, bigger car seat
  • I put away the activity mat since he doesn't actually use it anymore
  • And also put away the baby swing
  • His face received its first bruise as he face-planted on the kitchen floor trying to walk without holding on to the bench he'd been using
  • 12 month clothes are now the norm (he's 7 months old)
  • Two first teeth finally cut and came through
I'm not one to feel much sentimental heartache over my babies growing up, the stage that they are entering is always so exciting - why cry over unavoidable change?  But even as the change- and growth-loving mama that I am, there's some shell-shock happening. Like, can we slow down just a tinge?  I haven't enjoyed this stage enough, how can you be moving on?!

Maybe that's part of the territory of the second child.  A little less parental attention, but a whole lot more sibling love.  The internet would probably tell me to feel guilty, but looking back at the thousands of families in history with plenty of siblings all smashed together who end up all being the best of friends, I'm gonna say I'm giving these hoodlums of mine a gift.  Someone to love, annoy, bicker, share, cause havoc, and learn lots of life's lessons with built right into the fabric of your life. 

So Noah boy, you keep on growing, changing, and becoming you.  Your infectious smile, irrepressible laugh, and most content and social little nature sure is amazing.  And while you're at it, enjoy Mili's company.  She loves you something fierce.

08 October 2014

Chit chat

Mili is really into friends right now. Everyone she sees, she asks, "My friend?" And the answer is always yes. Always always. But my favorite is when she is near a group of children and proclaims, "My friends! LOTS of friends!"

Oh Mili Kay. 

She loves to make Noah laugh. Then she will announce that she "Make happy!"

If you offer her fruit when she is really hungry, she makes a grumpy face and says, "No! Real food." 

After stuffing a Cheerio in his mouth, rolling him over, or torturing Noah in some other way, "I help."

Apparently her birthday will be on Wednesday no matter when you ask and she is very excited for her Uncle Anders to come at Christmas when Santa is coming as well. 

The other day she requested, as I told her to come in, "Outside for 5 minutes please."

She can't hardly leave a room without saying "Right back" and protests getting ready for bed " Not yet!"

01 October 2014


Recently I took a month-long fast from social media, aside from a few favorite personal blogs, almost entirely of people who are my real-life friends.  It became one of the healthiest, happiest choices I have ever made.  Ever. Here's why:

Somewhere along the invention of high-speed internet, social media, and the demon Pinterest (I'll write my feelings on that some other day) we started living and breathing at seriously unhealthy stress levels and thinking that this is totally normal.  And mothers, oh mothers, already susceptible to guilt and feelings of inadequacy simply due to the nature of the job, suddenly entered a state of Never Ever Being Enough.  Suddenly, as women, we had the capacity to be social mavens, small business owners, inspirational writers, advertisers, designers, decorators, bakers, chefs, fashionistas, trendy, and more, all while staying at home to raise our children.  So naturally, most of us unconsciously decided that we had to be ALL OF THAT, ALL AT ONCE, ALL THE TIME.  And we also needed to keep in contact with everyone we've ever met, responding to everyone else's major life events, and admire everyone else's accomplishments.

Fact: This is not possible.

As a result, you can find hundreds and thousands of heartbreaking posts, blogs, and other writings from mothers who find themselves completely depleted, depressed, and guilt-stricken all over the internet. It isn't hard.  Just search for anything related to mothers.  Anything at all.

But you won't find that here anymore.  Sure I have good days and not-so-good days, I don't live some perfect fantasy, and I'm not expecting that my life won't be without some undesirable moments.  I'm fairly certain that at some point in the future I will think, "Is this what hell is like?"  But I won't have guilt-tripped myself into it, it'll just be part of God's refining process for me.

I have decided, with God's help and personal inspiration.  My primary roles are limited to these three: wife, mother, friend.  And I am doing enough.

I do not make any money on the side.  There's what, maybe 20 people, who read this blog.  I'm no decorator, chef, or business owner.  I am fairly lousy at keeping in touch with the hundreds of people I've been privileged to have as a friend at some level, but I'm beginning to be a good friend to those who really matter most to me.  If you try to get hold of me through Facebook, it's not a very good bet.  I may take an hour, a day, or, if you catch me at a bad moment, a week or so, to respond to a text, but anyone who matters knows that I'm usually doing more important things and I'll do my best.  I leave my phone on silent more so Mili won't run to get it while we're reading stories.  My laundry pile is fairly managed and we're eating pretty well.  My house is now clean and tidy maybe 80% of the time.  Noah laughs more and Mili hears less, "Not right now"s.  I'm behind on world news and my fashion is probably atrocious, but Tyler and I's relationship has never been better.  We've lived in our apartment 8 months, nothing really truly coordinates and nothing is Pinterest-worthy, but these walls are so full of love and toddler art that I think they might just burst.

It is all enough.

Turn off your phones, disconnect your internet, reconnect with God, find your enough.

22 September 2014

A day

*Inspired by Annie
Disclaimer: I've been working to reduce my need to 'get stuff done' all the time and be more present with my little hoodlums, so my days lately are slower paced and closer to home. We do get out of the house though and do socialize with friends! I'm learning how to let myself and my role as a mother be enough - this day at home is actually hard for me to share. It makes me feel a bit inadequate. Also, I know I didn't get it exactly right. But it's close enough to how my day was. 

5.30am: Tyler wakes me up like I asked him to. I make a pathetic attempt at waking up a few times in the next 30 minutes then give up entirely. He goes to work at 6.30.

6.45am: Noah is awake, chatting happily in his crib. I haul myself out of bed. He nurses, then plays on the floor while I eat first breakfast.

7.30am: Mili Kay wakes up and immediately insists on removing her pajamas. She is so excited for our run that she actually picks out and puts on clothes without a single hesitation!

7.50ish: I load up both hoodlums into the running stroller and I run. Slowly. For 26 minutes.
8.30am: We are home and inside. Noah goes down for his morning nap. I make Mili her breakfast and my second breakfast. We eat, then I resist the urge to let her watch Daniel Tiger and instead we read books for 20 minutes. Then we shower, get (re)dressed, and all ready for the day. 

10am: Noah is awake. He eats some carrots. We skype my parents. Then we go to the store to buy laundry hampers and some snacks. Mili wears her rain boots. 

11.30am: Home again. Noah is acting tired and so gets plunked down for a nap. Snack time. Some more books. More resisting Daniel Tiger. Mili asks to play outside on the balcony with the bowls and water, I let her have at it. I start some laundry, wash some dishes, pick up my room, keep refilling the watering can for MK, and repeat. 
1.30pm: Noah woke up sometime earlier and we've all been in the front room or kitchen - eating lunch, playing with toys, reading more books (Mili is very into books right now), wishing I could get something done, talking to Tyler on the phone. I avoid more dishes. I do sweep the kitchen floor. 

2.00pm: Mili goes down for her nap in her underwear since she soaked her clothes earlier. She always ends up in just her underwear.  I read some scriptures and put Noah down at 2.30ish. He isn't super tired but I'm falling over I'm so sleepy. I nap. 

3.15pm: Noah is awake and frustrated. It wasn't really his nap time so he is disoriented after his little cat nap. I get up in a fog, give him his pacifier. After 15 minutes I am feeling happy and human again. I clean the bathroom sink and even unclog the drain after watching a YouTube tutorial. I feel like Superwoman. Noah wakes up again. I accept that I wrecked his afternoon nap schedule. I go get him. 

4.20pm: MK is awake and all smiles! I decide to not broach the clothing topic. She can stay mostly naked. I start on the dishes again with her help. Noah plays in the laundry basket. 

4.45pm: Tyler is home!!!!! I wash more dishes while Noah fusses indignantly that Tyler is taking a shower instead of holding him. 

5.15pm: The fridge is completely bare. I give up and feed us mac and cheese. From the box. I don't even feel bad.

6.20pm: Bathtime, jammies, etc. 

7.15pm: Family Home Evening. A 4 minute lesson and a 10+ minute treat eating session. Noah then goes to bed. 

7.30pm: Bedtime routine. Books upon books with scriptures and prayers sandwiched in between

8.00pm: Both hoodlums are in bed! I look at Instagram for 10 minutes. Tyler and I read scriptures. He does business work, I meal plan then blog instead of going to bed like I was supposed to. 

10pm: Bed. Maybe I'll actually get up tomorrow. 

09 September 2014

Wuv, Twue Wuv

Tyler returned from his mission in Brazil in January of 2007 (if you have no idea what I'm talking about with the word mission or why on earth Tyler was in Brazil from 2005-2007, go here).  The first Sunday of February he bore his testimony during the worship services of my local church congregation.

My first thoughts were this or probably something close:
Good looking
Sounds intelligent
Incredible testimony
Returned missionary
Loves the Savior
Good looking
Very good looking

Needless to say, I made sure we met.  After two years and a friendship that was awesome, awkward, and sometimes angst-filled (for me, not for him), we started dating.

Fast forward.
In August we celebrated FIVE years of marriage!  Whoa.  I think I blinked somewhere in there.  And had a couple kids.  We moved a few eight times.  You know.  Stuff.

I had a dreams of a big, romantical, wonderful anniversary post.  But I think it's enough that our life together is big, romantical, and wonderful.  This marriage stuff, it's the best.

04 September 2014

A Good Day

Wednesday started off with this:
MK's first dance class.  Tapping and sashaying and as many pizza dance arms as you could ever want.

After naptime, it then progressed to this:
Afternoon (balance) bike ride to the park, with Noah, me, and the stroller following behind.  Alllllll the way to the park.  Where she played and played and played.  Then she ran alllllll the way home.

A quick dinner and bath then she was out the door in her PJs to go on a visit with her dad.  To finally come home and eat a 'snack' that was bigger than her usual dinnertime intake, brush her teeth, and fall asleep in about 30 seconds flat.

The end.

21 August 2014


In July we went on a almost 3 week retrieve the car/family reunion/drive to Utah and back shindig.  We got home and two or three days later went and house sat for a family in our ward for over a week.  Officially we have been home now for about 2 weeks.

I have just recovered.

The war against laundry has finally come to a cease-fire.  The kitchen minefield has been downgraded to a plain old slightly messy area.  And my exhaustion level is now manageable (aka my children are no longer switching off to wake me up every hour on the hour) and I am not attempting to doze on the floor while they are still awake.

Remind me never to take a vacation again.  Actually, remind me to never take a vacation then commit to a big thing (like housesitting) without at least 5 days in between the two obligations.  Because it was really the back-to-back punches that got me.

In really exciting news, Tyler found me a great double running stroller and both kids think it is the best when Mama goes on runs, so I'm finally regularly running again!  This has caused my sleeping needs to vault up dramatically, but it's enough that I'm finally getting good at putting myself to bed.  Tyler is ecstatic over that. Also related, I'm eating us out of house and home because nursing and running with a double stroller equals one starving girl.

That, my friends, is my life.  If you think my life is terribly boring, insignificant, or pathetic - don't tell me. And if you want to make fun of the fact that I dream about having a dishwasher, come wash my dishes and then make fun of me.

11 August 2014

To My 2 Year Old

Nobody told me I'd like you this much.
 Nobody told me I'd laugh this hard.
Nobody told me you at two was this much fun.
      Thanks for being my girl.

31 July 2014

A gentle reminder

Bedtime. Bath, teeth brushing, potty, pajamas, book(s), verse of scripture, prayer. 

That is our routine. Every night, with usually only small variations. In my everyone-is-tired-and-cranky survival mode I just railroad us through and get 'er done. But tonight was different. 

We were on the verse of scripture and I was attempting to tell Mili that Lehi had seen a tree with desirable fruit. She was trying to talk to me about anything else. And right before I, yet again, rolled my train over her little conversation in an attempt to get bedtime over with, a small, loving voice whispered in my head. "You want to be a mom who listens."

I do. More than almost anything else.

I shut up. I listened. And then we talked. We talked about jumping on trampolines, eating plums, and that one night the fire alarm went off at 2am scaring us all so much Mili can't stop telling me about it. She told me that she wants her soccer ball that I'm getting her to be blue. She told me about her plate falling off the table at dinner and her chicken going on the floor. 

She had so much to say! So much more than at any other time of the day! And for once. For once! I listened. 

May there be many, many more bedtime chats. May my heart never forget that I want to be a mother who listens - to her children and to the sweet voice of God through the Holy Ghost. 

06 July 2014

I am a Mormon Woman

I am a Mormon woman and I feel the need to speak for myself.
There’s been a big to-do lately about the status of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Things concerning who has the opportunity to be ordained to the priesthood.  Gender equality.  Wearing pants to church.
I am a Mormon woman and I have never felt more empowered, equal, and valued than as a member of my Church and within the tenets of my faith.  I do not feel it necessary for me to have the opportunity to receive the priesthood.  I am happy to wear a skirt to church.
There are Mormon women who do not have these same feelings.  I am grateful for these women who are asking questions.  I am grateful for women who are searching and making sure that cultural expectations are not taught as the gospel of Jesus Christ.  These women are valuable; they are needed.  They help me treasure the pure word of God.  Many have deep reasons underlying their questions or concerns.  So many times these are women who have faced massive amounts of prejudice and unfair treatment because of their gender.  Women who live in a world with pervasive objectification and demeaning of the female sex.  Women who fight daily against glass ceilings, push boundaries, and open doors.  These women deserve my love and acceptance.
The answers to their questions or hopes is not always what they had hoped.  It has been reaffirmed by our living prophet and apostles that the ordination of the priesthood in our Church is a role set aside for the men; that this order of things is not a cultural relic but doctrine.  I am saddened when these women find their faith significantly challenged by this or other related answers.  I mourn when they struggle and perhaps fall away from the Church or feel they cannot accept and follow the guidance given by their spiritual leaders.  Today when gender differences are renounced or used as excuses and reasons for gender inequality, it is a hard place to understand what it means to be a woman and what a woman should do.  A woman scrutinizing her role and place is not a lesser individual.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is full of imperfect people.  That’s why we treasure, preach, and try to utilize the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  This means there are imperfect men as well as women.  I do not try to excuse or ignore actions of men who have made major mistakes or offenses against women and denied any wrongdoing; attempting to use the words ‘priesthood authority’ as a shield.  Such action should be condemned and is not consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ.  But I cannot allow the mistakes of the members to cloud my view of the perfection of Christ and His way.  
I am a Mormon woman and I believe.
“ It is precisely because the daughters of Zion are so uncommon that the adversary will not leave them alone.”
Elder Neal A Maxwell, “The Women of God”
April 1978 General Conference

25 June 2014

Personal Vortex

The next time I suggest a trip to Arizona without my husband, please, someone stop me. 

Arizona has apparently become a personal vortex. There is some magnetic pull which causes my well-laid plans to go up in smoke and I find myself stranded at (very loving and patient) parental homes. First was a two and a half week trip turned into a 6 week waiting game. Government paperwork is the worst. Now is a 4 night camping trip with an overnight stay at my in-laws that evolved into an unintentional 5 nights added on out here in Gold Canyon. And a very, very expensive car repair that I'm not sticking around any longer for. Rental car here we come. We need to go home and we'll collect our original car later. 

As much as I realllllly want to whine about it all, I'm going to grudingly admit that, both times, these unintentional extensions have been very personally beneficial. I get to see people I haven't seen in forever. And snuggle babies I've been dying to meet!  But most of all, I get a lot of quiet, unfilled, uninterrupted night time to ponder and think. I come away with some really profound personal lessons and spiritually more refined. 

So, the next time I suggest a trip to Arizona without my husband, remind me to plan on more days than I think. 

05 May 2014

Sista sista!

Whenever I realize I'm in a conversation with a one-upper (you know, they always have to one up your story, adventure, anything you talk about) I always hope we'll get on the topic of siblings.  Specifically sisters. Because no one can one up my sister.  For reals though, she is the coolest.
Her and J
Let's get just a taste of her noteworthy cool points:
  • She's a back-up African dancer in a music video for K-Bass.  Look for the dancing white girl.  I mean, this is probably enough alone.  But, I'll list some more.
  • She's lived in Tanzania (that's in Africa for all you people who don't know your geography) and spent 2 years in the jungles of Suriname (South America).
  • She speaks a language that isn't even written.
  • She's related to me!  Ha. Sorry. Couldn't resist.
Anywho. She's awesome for a lot more reasons than those too and I could get really sappy, but I'll save that for another day.  The whole point of this is to let you know that she is doing yet another really grand adventure.

She and her boyfriend have just set off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail aka walking from Mexico to Canada along the mountains and lots of other wilderness.  That's over 2000 miles.  On foot.  And she's blogging it! You should all read it.  Because don't YOU want to know what on earth that's like?  G and J started this last week at the Southern Terminus of the trail and I got to drop them off myself.  It is literally at the Mexican/American border.  You could touch the fence if you wanted.

So go!  Here: One of Many Circles.  Why are you still reading this?  Make sure you leave her some comment love to cheer them on.  You can thank me for introducing you to her later.

28 April 2014

Poetry. Not just for English class.

April is National Poetry Month.  I had no idea there was such a thing.  But! I think it's marvelous.

I love poetry thanks to my Mamacita.  I did not love it so much when she made me memorize it as a kid... Yet now I find myself plunking down sometimes to just get a good poetry fix and find the words that say what I need to be said that I couldn't find before.  And sometimes I memorize them so I have those words and feelings instantly available, ready to feed my soul whenever I need them.  So Mom, you win.  I admit that memorizing those poems did actually benefit me.

Back on point.  Poetry Month.  Many, many thanks to Rebecca (a friend from high school and total inspiration to me in her promotion of literacy and good teaching) for letting me know.  P.S. Her blog makes me want her to teach wherever my kids go to school, please?  In honor of this stupendous occasion, I offer you three poems.  One to make you laugh.  One personal favorite, favorite, favorite.  And one I wrote, because bravery is a good thing.

To make you laugh: A favorite haiku of my sister, incredibly fitting if you know her. I've no idea if credit belongs to an actual author.
Getting Out of Bed 
No no no no no
No no no no no no no
No no no no no

A favorite: Honestly, picking one is crazy hard.  But this one carries me through hard times and pops into my head so quickly.
"Hope" is the thing with feathers-
"Hope" is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I've heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

One I wrote: I submitted this to an annually published writing collection at Arizona State University; it was accepted and published!  Unfortunately, the collection has more than its fair share of sketchy, graphic, or rather disturbing writing so I ended up not really telling anyone and definitely not sharing it with people.

the necessity of running late on a summer night

heated blues of the evening
deepen into charcoal gray
of wool, wrapping in
thick texture the later hours,
smothering - until
the inky black oozes
slowly from the sky.
dripping its art
upon my pale pink exposure
of flesh, writing a story
as i run.

24 April 2014


Nobody told me that I was missing a few pre-reqs to becoming a mom.  Where was the helpful counselor to inform me that I still needed a few classes?  Who admitted me into this shin-dig when I was clearly not qualified?!

A few classes that I am now taking a crash course in, seeing as how all my college education never really even touched on these topics:
  • Play-Doh 101: Basic elements of Play-Doh sculpture, with a strong focus on animals and people. Additional topics include Play-Doh friendly surfaces and convincing toddlers to keep Play-Doh off of the carpet. 
  • Figure Drawing: How to draw favorite family and friends along with every kind of animal, especially lions, bears, and frogs. Heavy focus on the medium of crayon.
  • Getting Dressed Pathophysiology: Examining symptoms, causes, and treatments of basic child dressing diseases such as Toddlers-Against-Pantsitis and Recurring Outfit Change syndrome.
What about you other people out there?  What classes did your formal education skimp on?

18 April 2014

Who Built the Ark?


I should probably get around to writing his birth story.  Let's be honest though, compared to Mili Kay's, it's pretty tame.  Almost any one compared to that is a bit underwhelming; it's hard to beat one that seems like it belongs in a movie.

Here it goes, in timeline fashion:

Week preceding the due date: Starting to get a bit concerned.  With only spots of false labor here and there, nothing real organized or serious, I'm walking around at a 4 and 80% effaced (for non-pregnancy educated individuals, just look slightly astonished and say "Wow...").  Due to a rather boring backstory that I'm not going to go into, my delivery hospital was in Encinitas and we live in La Mesa. Without traffic, this is 35 minutes.  With?  Easily an hour or more.  I have very fast labors.  I was pretty progressed.  I did not want a freeway delivery.

March 13 (due date!)
1.10 am: First contraction slams home.  It was a brutal one.  They start thick and fast.  Every 4-5 minutes, 30 seconds-1 minute long, and strong.

1.15am: Mili is unceremoniously dumped at my visiting teacher's home.  She looks very bleary and confused.

1.20am: We are on the freeway.  Tyler does not drive the speed limit.

1.50am: Check-in at the hospital.  Nurses are trying to ask lots of questions, hook me up to an IV and monitors, and have me sign paperwork between contractions.  Ha!  Right.

2.14am: Two pushes and one good-sized pair of shoulders later (oof), a healthy 8lb 6oz boy is born!

And that, my friends, is it.  The timing couldn't have been better, thanks to a very loving Heavenly Father who didn't think I needed another epic birth story either.  On a side note, I have to say that I really enjoyed not finding out the gender until the birth, even if it was only for the total excitement of all my nurses that it was a surprise.

08 April 2014

On fattening up babies and other useless information.

According to our bathroom scale, Noah was just shy of 12 pounds a day or two ago.  Which means he's almost certainly there now.  That puts this guy on track for gaining a pound a week since he left the hospital. Do you realize what that means?  He eats like you would not believe.  Or I make cream, not milk. You pick.  I'm not one of those people who loooooves breastfeeding.  I mean, I don't hate it either, it's not some horrible experience for me - I'm pretty spoiled that it all comes so easily.  But, my babies eat and eat and eat.  And eat.  It leaves me feeling so... drained.
I mean, do you see those cheeks?!
On a somewhat related tangent, England killed my ability to grocery shop, therefore we keep running out of food except the Nutella that cruelly sits on my shelf.  (Noah pukes if I eat chocolate.  How unfair is that?) Yesterday there was nothing that seemed even plausible for lunch.  So I didn't really eat lunch - one of the dumbest things I can do right now.  And then my first ever real experience with the baby blues smacked me in the face.  This is all to say I'm really grateful for new days and a husband who upon hearing I didn't eat lunch scooped up both kids and trekked it to the grocery store without me even though he had just gotten home from a hot day on the roofs.
I'm realizing that two kids is a whole different ball game.  My house is a disaster 98% of the time, the dishes are perpetually unwashed, and the laundry, oh man, it's going to eat me.  But! I'm focusing on the fact that both of Noah and Mili are still alive.  And thriving!  Here's to new challenges, a delightfully chunky baby, and cold cereal!
P.S. Noah's birth story is coming soon.

05 March 2014

Oh Germs.

I've been really excited to write about how much we are liking the San Diego area and getting into our groove here, but this past week some nasty, lingering cold germ hit our family (Tyler is still suffering).  It's a miracle no one has died, though mostly from the cabin fever and lack of sleep more than anything else.  Mili must think I've turned into the most awful Mom and after only a single watching of 'Lilo and Stitch,' she began to request it by name so much that if you say "Lilo" in my house, I just may kick you out.  On happier notes, my mom sent the most incredible package and it did manage to get here on the third UPS truck driving by at 6.30pm - I wasn't watching compulsively or anything all day.  My sister sent me a beautiful necklace she made with crazy cool freshwater pearls, just because.  And I'm learning that patience is sometimes built in spurts, when your poor 20 month old revolts against being in the house yet another day. It's not like you can even blame her.

So, what I'm saying is, life was just life this week.  Making me grateful for all those rather nondescript, pretty good kinda days.

19 February 2014

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

So, hey!  We moved to California!  Sha-bam!  How about that.  And, of all places, we have landed in San Diego.  Fact: Of all the places I thought we might end up, San Diego was... not even on the list.  But, let me tell you, we are SO HAPPY to be here.

People have asked lots of questions before/during/after/allthetime about our plans, this move, why San Diego, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  You know, there are a lot of answers I can and sometimes do give, but a lot of times, I do my best to awkward sidestep and move the conversation along to different avenues*. Let me now give the only answer that is really of any significance and is as close to full disclosure as I will give: We are doing our best to follow God's will for us.

I believe in God.  I believe in a God who hears and answers prayers.  I believe in revelation, as in communication direct from heaven meant directly for me (and my family).  And I believe that God, who is literally my very loving Father in Heaven, has a plan for us and work for us to do.

Right now San Diego is a part of that plan.  Of this I have no doubt.  Since moving here, there have been so many, many, many blessings that I cannot help but see the hand of God clearing every imaginable roadblock in our way.  That doesn't mean it has been easy.  In fact, most of these last 6 months have been very, very hard.  Full of blessings.  And hard.

But today.  Today God moved an immovable mountain for me.  Today I remembered that miracles are real. He looked down from heaven and saw that I was scared, tired, and trying so very hard to trust in Him and He didn't just help me, He picked me up Himself and gave me a gift that I had already come to accept wasn't mine to receive.  But He let me have it.  And I cried in disbelief and gratitude.  Today this promise came true:

We acknowledge that your path will at times be difficult. But I give you this promise in the name of the Lord: rise up and follow in the footsteps of our Redeemer and Savior, and one day you will look back and be filled with eternal gratitude that you chose to trust the Atonement and its power to lift you up and give you strength.
President Uchtdorf (here)

*The questions we have asked God, the financial details of our life, all the nitty gritty details are something we feel are too personal to share with most people.  In trying to find the balance of how much to share, we prefer to err on the side of keeping it to ourselves too much.

19 January 2014

Little Life Happenstances - Episode 1

1. Tyler got a remote controlled helicopter.  It's a tough call to decide who loves it more, Tyler or Mili Kay.  She is now fascinated with all things flying in the sky and asks for the helicopter to be flown 3+ times a day.

2. There are two good things about Apache Junction. 1) The library.  2) Leanne's house!!!  Anilee and Mili helped us make cookies.  And flour did indeed fly everywhere.  It was awesome.

3. Though we may have an unhealthy number of 3am parties (not my choice), at least we get a good afternoon nap everyday in this house.  And yes, I do mean we.

4. There was a recent lake trip to do some invention testing.  Aaaaand here is what MK thought of her dad going in the water.  Totally unexpected.  And hilarious.

5. There was this awesome Sunday walk around the new Gilbert temple.  Please take note of Mili's impressive accessorizing and inability to smile with sunglasses on  because the sun never sets on a... well, you know.

08 January 2014

So glad you made it 2014.

Keeping with what seems to have become my tradition, my New Year's Eve was not so hot.  Suffice it to say I dissolved into tears at around 9.30pm and carted my sorry self off to bed.  In all honesty, the tears were mostly the result of exhaustion and pregnancy, nothing impressive.  But still.  It had been a really long day.  It felt as if 2013 were reminding me of just how draining, humbling, and hard the last 6 months have been.  Part of me wants to be really bitter about that reminder.

But 2014 dawned beautifully.  New Years Day was a big fat slice of heaven.  Again, not for any spectacular reason.  A day full of small little bits of down-to-earth goodness.  And though maybe it seems crazy, I believe that God gave both of those days to me, in that way, on purpose.  December 31, 2013 was my reminder of what has recently passed: trials, heartache, exhaustion, the bitter.  January 1, 2014 was my promise of what is now soon to come: hope, blessings, happiness, the sweet.

There were days this past year that I thought I couldn't hold on.  Heaven was silent no matter what I did.  The only thing that kept me moving wasn't even hope some days, it was the desire to have hope.  I struggled to keep up with my scripture study and prayer not because I had faith, but because I wanted faith so badly.  And just as I believe that a loving Father in Heaven would intentionally allow me to have an absolutely miserable December 31st, I believe that He allowed me to experience a spiritual silence.

I didn't know how much I really believed in or wanted faith until it seemed that my faith was worthless.  That prayer was speaking to ceilings.  That scriptures were simply old worn-out words.  In those moments, over those months, I hung on.  I refused to listen to the whispers of doubt.  I refused to give up on what I had known before to be true, even as I kept finding nothing, nothing, nothing.  I trusted in a God I couldn't see, hear, feel, or understand.

But I'm at the beginning of a beautiful dawn.  There has been no mighty miracle or spiritual event, simply a very quiet whisper filling my heart.  On the surface and in my circumstances, very little seems to have changed.  But I can hear Heaven again!  And in a way I have never before, I am embracing my faith.  Prayer has become a blessing, not a burden.  The scriptures are leaping to life and I am feeling, thinking, being in those stories and words.  There is hope.  This is only the start.

A new year has always been exciting to me, but my embrace of what 2014 has to bring has no comparison.  Bring it on.  All of it.  I'm ready.

06 January 2014

A little prayer of hope

Let's run away together.
Somewhere far far away,
where the sights do not haunt me
and I see a new day.

Let's run away together.
Let my tired heart rest.
Sing happy songs
and hold onto the best.

Let's run away together.
Just you and just me.
We're meant to be there dear,
running wild and free.