Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Weekend highlights

The girls were have a great time at the Vandalia festival. We all had fun!
The big kids made a mudslide in our backyard. They must have slid down that thing for an hour. And spent two trying to get the mud off.
The kids had the camera for awhile. They took about 15 posed pictures. Interesting.
We got water guns and firemen hoses out to play to beat the heat. The kids were supposed to be out of the area where the adults were, but Nolan was enjoying spritzing us while we sat at the table.

Our Memorial Day weekend was great. Both of my brothers and their families were here and our friends Steve & Hannah were here also with their kids. There were nine adults to eleven children. We were outnumbered by little kids. There was one 11 year old (yo), one 8 yo, one 7 yo, two 4 yo, one 3 yo, two 2 yo, two 1 yo, and a 3 month old. Sounds crazy, but the kids did really well. Very few fights not a lot of major whining either. Lydia was in heaven to have a girl her age to play with. Unfortunately we got a lot of rain on Friday so things were a bit muddy all weekend. Even with temps in the 90's the mud still isn't completely dry. It was a busy weekend but also relaxing and fun.

Other highlights that I don't have pictures for -

The fawn- We took a good hike around the property. We went to the creek and looked at plants and animals. On our way back to the house Tim spotted a fawn. It must have only been a few weeks old. It was maybe 20 feet from the path nuzzled beside a rock. It didn't move. I had never been that close to any deer before. It was a sweet moment.

Instant bonfire - Saturday night we were all tired and we had decided not to put up a tent as planned b/c of the mud and going to church in the AM. So I asked Tim if he still wanted to do a fire in the backyard. I had never seen a grown man so excited for a camp fire. I knew he was up to something. So we get all the kids to bed and Steve and Tim are in the backyard. Hannah and I are wrapping up a few things. I see Tim walking around with a propane tank! He is very evasive when I ask what he is doing. Then we hear this woosh sound. Tim is starting the fire with a large propane torch that is used to heat roofing material. After a little more asking I realize he has been planning this all day and couldn't wait for the fire! Have a mentioned life is always an adventure here?

Friday, May 26, 2006


Yesterday I started (and almost had finished) a pretty good sized post. I didn't get to finish it yesterday, but was sure I saved it as a draft and now it is gone!!!! I don't have time now to rethink and type either! Maybe when Tim gets up he can help me find it, but if not it is gone forever! This weekend will be busy so I doubt I will have time to post again until Tuesday. Everyone have an enjoyable Memorial Day. Thank you to anyone out there who has served our country in the military!

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I love to be a stay at home mom/housewife. I wouldn't have it any other way, although on a bad day with the kids I do tease Tim that I am going back to work and he can stay home again! :) But sometimes the repetitive nature of my "job" gets me down. You know. . . wash dishes only to return a hour later to another counter of dishes. Mop the floor and voila soon there are small muddy footprints across it. Laundry is a never ending pile. Sometimes it is hard to get motivated to do the things I need to.

I do ok at the basics (laundry, dishes, toys picked up) usually. There is a lot of cleaning that should get done more regularly in my house. There are also a lot of organizing type projects that need done. (or redone) I told my mom the other day that I could tell how wiped out I was by the pregnancy when we moved. I am normally pretty organized but most of our cabinets and closets just got shoved with stuff when we moved in.

Well now V is almost 3 months old, the weather is nice and I find these some of these issues are starting to bother me. Yet still I am not getting them done. It would be easy to say that I don't have the time, and that is true to a point. But I am a firm believer that we all find the time and money for the things that are really important to us. So I how do I motivate myself.

Well one way is I have resorted to is a reward system. Yes just like a kid! :) "Now Steph, if you want to blog, check email, read blogs or your book you need to do this and that first!" And for those of you wondering, yes I started laundry, got N breakfast and cleaned up our dishes before sitting done to type this blog.

But my very best motivator is to invite company over. Suddenly there are bathrooms being cleaned and clutter being decluttered and long forgotten projects being finished. I don't feel like I have to clean to impress them. And most people have seen my house at its worse at some point anyhow. I think the motivation comes from having a deadline to reach. Company is coming on Friday so I have to get this clean and that done by then. When there is no deadline it is too easy to just think, "oh I will get to that later." I still don't ever get everything I would like done before company comes, but I do make a significant dent in it.

But of course housework never ends so by the time we have company again we are back to the same mess. I think I just need to plan to have company at least every other week in order to keep myself motivated!

Well if you read my AAAH post this is the blog I was referring to. It has been found. It wasn't where I usually find my drafts but I did find it so . . .here it is. Ok Steph if you need to go fold that basket of laundry if you want anymore computer time!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


(Isn't Vivian too cute!) This is classic Kellen. Nose always in a book! This kid loves to read! He reads fiction and non fiction, books, magazines, newspapers. He reads his books 3 or 4 times. Here he is reading one of the Narnia books. He didn't go to the library with me last week or he would be reading Hardy Boys. He gets 5 every week.

He reads in the car. Yes even on these hilly curvey roads. He reads in bed, on the couch, the floor, where ever. He often reads outside because mom says, "Kellen it is too nice of a day to sit inside the whole time." So he takes his book outside.

Classic book worm? Well yes . . . well no not really. Not if you are thinking quiet, and reserved. Oh no not Tim's son. He has his dad's gift of gab, and a loud voice to go with it. When he isn't reading he is talking. He tells you all about the facts he has learned from his books and magazines. He reads my parenting magazines then lets me know what I should be doing! :)

He wants in on every conversation. If he doesn't know anything about the subject he will make something up. He will talk to kids and adults, family or not. He is a little quiet around new people, but once he gets to know you look out, the conversation begins!

Kellen is very smart. When he was little I used to feel uncomfortable saying that. I guess it felt like bragging or like being the parent who thinks their kid is the best at everything. But he is really smart. Nest year will be his first year to take a standardized test. I am very curious to see how he ranks.

I am thankful fir the gifts Kellen has but there are down sides. This combination of intelligence and talking can be very annoying. He knows so many facts. There is a lot of pride and self reliance that comes with it. Humbleness and wisdom will need to be learned. But for now we nurture and guide the best we know how and trust the Lord for the rest! Oh and make lots of trips to the library!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Don't Touch that Dial!

I like music. I like lots of different kinds of music, but I have never really been "in to" music. Meaning I rarely know the names of groups or any info about them. Music is also very much background to me. I will turn on a station in the morning and rarely change it all day.

I live with a musician. Needless to say he is very "into" music. He also likes to listen to a variety of music. We have XM in the house so there is lots to listen to. He wants to change the station frequently. You know how guys are with a TV remote? Tim can be like that with XM too! And regardless of what I have on Tim seems to change it within the first 30 minutes he is home and often turns it up.

Usually what he changes it to is something I don't mind listening to. The only time I really mind is if it has been a loud (kid) day, I can't handle rock. I do mind the volume increase regardless of the day. My senses are usually already overloaded. Please do not increase the volume so we all have yell or speak loudly to hear each other. Isn't there enough yelling already? :)

I also do mind that he doesn't ask! Usually it doesn't matter, but what if I was really enjoying what I was listening to?

Then the thing that drives me nuts! He will spend 5 minutes "surfing," pick something, be in the house another five minutes and go outside to do some work! Or if he is staying inside I might ask him to help me a do a job that just takes a couple minutes like changing a diaper. He will spend five minutes picking the right music for the job before doing it.

It just shows the differences in our personalities. I am very efficient and practical. Tim is not! Yes, we have talked about this and he knows I am posting about it. I just think it is funny and thought I would share!

Friday, May 12, 2006

short & funny update

Today I thought I'd blog about some of the funny things the kids are up to . . .

Kellen -He continues with Holler Climbing (prev post) this weekend's project is to make holler climbing ids! In addition he is building a drum set from 5 gallon buckets.

Lydia - She was going to run errands with Papaw. She says to him, "I will pick out your clothes. I do it for Nolan." Funny, I don't remember this. He politely declines. When he is dressed she says, "Papaw you are so handsome." Hmmm. They are not even out the drive when she says, "Papaw can you poil (spoil) me?" Of course Papaw stops for ice cream after they run errands.

Nolan - He is so into trucks. Tim posted about his new T-shirt. I think he was in it about a day and a half before we could get it off. He also "parks" cars in his bed to sleep with him at night. Not just matchbox size either. He parks Kellens R/C Jeeps which are rather large.

Vivian - well she really isn't doing anything funny yet. She is still smiling and looks like she wants to laugh but can't get the noise out. She still is high maintenance, but she is getting better and easier to calm.

That is some snippets from our days. It is crazy around here. I am not sure what date this post will show. I started it Friday, it is now Sunday evening.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Driving on Two Wheels

Taking the hint from Tim and Jake I will tell you how I almost killed the whole family (including our dog Lady) when I was 16. I am a little fuzzy on some details so please fill in the blanks or make corrections! It is funny I do not remember much from that trip. I think because I was a rebellious teenager who had her mind elsewhere and really did not want to spend time with the family! Sorry family but it was true. I like to spend time with you now! :) Anyway I digress. . .

We took a family vacation to Colorado the summer I was 16. I had my license for maybe 3 months. I thought I was a good driver, but don't all teenagers! On this trip I had my first (I think it was the first) of many accidents. I had just spent a week at volleyball camp and was exhausted. We had our 86 Toyota MiniVan. In case you are not familiar this was the first Toyota minivan and it looked like a space ship or a modern hippie van. We were pulling a small trailer.

I slept the first part of the trip. I guess we all must have had more confidence in my driving and the rest I had then we should have. Sometime late in the night (2 or 3 maybe?) it was my turn to drive. I believe we were in Indiana somewhere. I think we had left in the evening. Now I look back and I am sure my parents do also and wonder what the heck we were thinking having and inexperienced, physically tired driver drive in the late night hours, but . . . I am not sure how long I drove. The whole family fell asleep, including Lady.

I had the cruise set, movin' down the high way. I am sure I was very proud of myself. It didn't last long. Soon I was struggling to keep my eyes open. It sounds dumb now, but I really didn't know to open the window, turn the radio up, turn the cruise off or just stop. I set myself a goal to drive until such and such a time.

We all woke up with cattails and tall grasses whipping around the van. Some were screaming, some barking, some in shock. When the vehicle stopped the grasses were head high, we were looking at a field and couldn't see the road.

We were beside the highway at an overpass. I think it was an overpass to a swampy area or small creek. It was near dawn. We hiked up to the road. There was no traffic and of course this was before everyone had a cell phone. I forget how long we waited or exactly what happened. I think a trucker called a tow truck for us.

It was truly a miracle that so little damage was done. None of us were hurt. The van had minimal damage. I think all it needed was an alignment. But we were so far down into this marshy area it took hours to get us out.

When I fell asleep the cruise was set at 65 mph. We missed a guard rail by a few feet when we went down the bank of the overpass. The speed and slope caused us to be on two wheels at least for awhile. We were able to tell this because near where we went off the road there was a shallow concrete drain ditch. There were fresh skid marks, but only on one side.

I did have several accidents after that, but none of them because I fell asleep. To this day I never use the cruise if I am tired. I insist that the copilot stays awake if the driver is even slightly tired. When I am not driving I have a very hard time sleeping. Only in the last few years have I been able to sleep at all in a vehicle. When I do sleep I wake up for every bump or slow down. Lessons I wish I would have learned before the accident, but then that is not the Miller way! :)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Relax, Reflect, Connect

I (and Vivian) spent Friday and Saturday at a womens retreat with the ladies from our old church. It was so good to have some time of quiet and to reconnect with friends in "real" conversations about life and God. I took my relationships with these ladies for granted when we lived there. I knew I would miss them, but didn't really realize how much I needed them until we had left. I told Tim that it is bittersweet everytime we get together with them. It is so good to be together and conversations flow like we have never left. Sometimes conversations seem even more meaningful b/c the time together is valued highly. Then there is the bitter reminder of how much we left and of course the time comes to an end and we leave again.

The weekend was very laid back. Vivian did fairly well. She spent most of the time in the sling, but she slept so I was not complaining! The retreat was at a beautiful state park. The food was yummy! There was lots of down time to enjoy the scenery, connect with each other or spend time alone with the Lord. Even in the "structured time" there was quiet and the "activities" were conversational. Just what I needed and what everyone else seemed to need to. There is never enough time to spend with all the people I wanted to, but I did reconnect with some that I was really missing!

I even enjoyed the drive. It was about 4 1/2 hours to the retreat. Vivian is very good in the car. She sleeps. I only had to stop once the whole trip for her. So basically I had nine hours completely to myself to think or listen to music. I loved it! I guess I was desperate for some quiet! :)

As good as it was though it was good to be back home. And regardless of how much I miss the people there, this feels like home. As soon as I turned off the main road onto the crazy hilly road that brings us to our ridge, I thought "This is home." I love the woods and the life we live and raising the kids here. A friend told me this weekend she wishes that we could have found all we have here without leaving there. We have often said that we wish we could have brought all the people there down here with us. Neither of us will get our wish, but I can cherish and maintain the old relationships while remembering to do the same for the new ones.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

She Smiles!

It has been eight weeks of a fussy, grumpy and screaming baby! Vivian has been high maintence. (per previous post) Ask my parents they watched her for 3 hours and were more than ready to give her back! :) But she has been a different baby this week. She has been easier to get to sleep and sleeping better during the day. She has slept some in the bassinet at night. She has been more content when awake and will even sit in her swing or bouncy seat for awhile. I am afraid to say she has turned a corner, she may wake up grumpy tomorrow, but we have been enjoying these contented days!

I need to get some new pictures up. Tim tells me it is easy, but I haven't tried yet. Maybe I will get that done later this afternoon.

Today she started really smiling! She had given me some half smiles before, but today she was giving me full happy smiles. It is so cute! Vivian is happy and smiling . . . so is mom!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Starting the day off right

I am a functional morning person. Meaning I don't jump out of bed smiling saying, "hello world", but I am usually able to get up and moving fairly easily. I have noticed lately that how the day starts sets the tone for the rest of the day. It is hard to recover from a frustrating morning.

About half the time Nolan wakes up before we do and he is grumpy. The best we can figure is he really isn't done sleeping, but wakes up because he is hungry. (what else this is Nolan we are talking about!) He is just impossible. He wants everything in the kitchen but isn't satisfied with it. You give him a bowl of cereal; he wants more milk in it. You give him a cup of milk; he wants juice. You give him a bannana; he takes one bite and wants mandarin oranges. And of course these wants are not expressed quietly they are stated with kicking and screaming. Fortunetly, for me, Tim deals with most of these early morning fits, but it does wake me up and I listen to the whole thing. Occaisonaly, I have to go out to "relieve" Tim as he also likes his quiet morning time and has lost all patience with Nolan. This is not starting off the day right!

I found there are two keys for me to start the day off right. First, I have to get up before the kids. (even on Nolans good days!) If Kellen gets up first it isn't too bad. He can get his own breakfast and will sit and read until I force him to get moving, but the other three "NEED" me. I need 1/2 an hour to be alone. There is no set thing I want to do then, sometimes read, check emails, make coffee, pray, start laundry, or whatever. I just want a bit of time to wake up and do what I want or need to do to get the day started.

The other thing I need is to have the house be decent. Now I have pretty low standards for what that means. I don't think our whole house has been clean since we moved. It has been company clean! :) Which means presentable except for our bedroom/bath, somehow I never quite get to that when getting ready for company. But to start the morning off right I need to be able to walk through the house without tripping on toys. The dishes need to be done. There is nothing more depressing to me than starting the day off with a counter of dishes to do! Having the kitchen floor swept is pretty high up there too, but if that doesn't happen slippers help!

Sounds like a simple plan to start the day off right. It rarely happens, especially the getting up first part. But today was one of those days and it has been a great day. I was up before all the kids. Not because I got up early mind you, but because they slept late. The house was decent. I was able to unload the dishwasher, start laundry and check email before any kids were up! Nolan woke up happy and cuddly. Vivian slept until 9:30. (probably b/c Nolan didn't go in there and bug her.) School went easily, we all spent time outside and Vivian was the most content she has been in weeks! No, it wasn't a perfect day as always there was bickering, mouthing, spills, yelling, prodding and the usual stuff, but it was not as frustrating as it sometimes is. Now how do I get the kids to sleep in tomorrow?!