Tuesday, November 30, 2010

oh brie...

As winter approaches, I love experimenting with food in addition to finding ways to cut costs.  It seems things are always more expensive with Christmas...utility bills...unexpected misfortune like our $2500 furnace we had to get LAST year on December 23rd.  ;-( 

I did a little more research this week on our meals - have a plan for the week to keep us under $10/meal.  So excited so I thought I'd share...oh and where would I be without Trader Joe's!!! 

Tonight - grilled spinach & brie on tuscan toast with fresh garlic - this was surprisingly filling and was right around $9.00 (thanks to Trader Joe's carrying a new log of Brie instead of the traditional wedge)

We will definitely do this one again - perhaps as an appetizer with smaller bits of spinach/brie on top of whole wheat crackers.

Monday, November 29, 2010

joy: Part 2

Joel's side of the family came in from out of town.

My sister inlaw and I - months ago talked of doing something together to celebrate this holiday - something that would be untraditional for our family....pull us out of our comfort zones....show our kids the real meaning of gratitude, Christmas & life...

We decided to do some sort of outreach.  Originally, we had hoped to work with the City Mission - turns out they were bombarded with volunteers. (Which is sort of amazing) Looking back, I couldn't be happier at what we ended up doing.

A dear friend told me about an organization called The Malachi House - an organization funded by donations only - that cares for the terminally ill who would otherwise be living their final days homeless.  This organization turns a very difficult and sad transition into a loving & caring one. 

Personally, the thought of facing the idea of my death is one that sounds frightening...these patients have accepted the fact and this 'house' is one of love and compassion in their remaining time here. 

I called to see what a little singing/guitar-playing/creative family could do to help show love to the patients at the Malachi house...and lo & behold they were ALL ABOUT Von Trapp families like ours!

The night before heading to the Malachi House we had our kids draw pictures for each of the patients....I was impressed with the detail each one put forth.  Some drew pictures of homes filled with christmas decorations...presents...others drew a big christmas tree with bright lights...my nephew, Elijah, even wrote a beautiful Christmas card that would make Hallmark feel insecure. 

Friday afternoon, with Christmas carol lyrics & pictures in hand, we walked into the Malachi house.  An old fragile woman who had been volunteering that day showed us to the chapel.  They turned on the cameras so each of the patients could see us from their rooms...Joel strummed away and we sang & sang & sang.  We spoke with a patient named, "Sissy" and the kids loved on her....the babies smiled at her...

We visited the patients who were unable to come down to hear the LIVE performance....handed out the homemade pictures and heard their stories.

It's been a motto of mine to follow the scripture of refreshing others and watching how we will then be refreshed.  This is precisely what happened.  We were all tired...some of us cranky...some of us still in a turkey coma...but we left with smiles on our faces & so did the sweet residents of the Malachi House.

This is JOY. 

All photos courtesy of Kim Miller Photography

Saturday, November 27, 2010


We walked through pottery barn today.

I love that store and everything about it.

Some things I noticed was the monogrammed candles....the bright red wrapped boxes with canvas ribbon...and lots and lots of 'JOY' - meaning the word JOY written all over the store.

I have been in the Christmas spirit pretty much since the day after Halloween.  It's so obvious the retail market has been moving the timeframe of christmas decor/shopping incentives since the downturn of the economy.

It was interesting watching people in the store - all bundled up with their cute hats and boots...sweet babies in strollers with pacifiers and fuzzy hats....boyfriends & girlfriends holding hands and dreaming....

I thought, "Oh my gosh, people are so happy right now....I AM so happy right now...."  and then I realized something...

The internal 'joy' of a person is so severely lacking from December 26 - October 31 - we seem to somewhat depend on that commercialized joy....the written words telling us 'THIS IS HAPPINESS!" But in reality, we can have joy & tidings anytime.

What brings us joy?

Is it buying stuff?
Is it eating delicious food?
is it spending time with people?

This subject interests me - esp with the rise of the use of anti-depressants among all age groups.  I believe, with all my heart, we don't need Christmas music on 24/7 to have joy.  It's internal.  It's a decision.  It's something that is unwavering or moved by external circumstance. 

My next blog post will be part 2 to this - something we did together as a family...that will forever change the way I look at life...until then, enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend, dear ones...we sure did.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It's when my son grabs my hand as we walk out of the store to our car

It's when my husband surprises me with a bubble bath & candles 

It's when Leland gives me 14 hugs in a row and I try not to tear up as I want to savor each one

It's when I watch my Grandmother play with my boys
and it reminds me of the way she played with me.

It's in the recipe exchanging with my Mom as we become more like one another

It's when my husband grabs my hand and dances with me in the kitchen.

It's when my sons show love to one another simply because they are inspired to 

It's when my boys chase around their Dad knowing he is King of Fun in our home

It in the amazing moment when they go to sleep and I can sit alone with him over tea and vent.

It's in the beautiful relationships that give me reason to give, receive and be more than I am.

I am thankful for the beauty of this life. 

Happy Thanksgiving my friends!

Friday, November 19, 2010


I remember falling in love with Joel while watching him play guitar.
I loved being his 'back-up' singer
So cliche.

He introduced me to Over the Rhine
as well as hundreds of other musicians I've come to know & love

He has always gotten aggression out differently
Some men play sports
Some men drink
Some men start fight clubs
Joel plays electric guitar

His 'day job' is graphic design
He does it day & night, it seems
However, music is his passion.

You know as a Mom, you always think your kids are the best:

I truly feel that my husband is one of the most talented singer/song writers
of his day.  (and not in a 'mom' sorta way)
It's just the truth.

I love you baby  -  thanks for filling our home with music.
Thanks for being OK with our kids throwing your picks inside your guitar.
Thanks for gently allowing Leland to strum like a caveman.

We love you baby.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

my christmas list

I'm normally the one that tells Joel....'Honey, really don't get me anything this year....just a card or something sweet and simple is fine..."

THIS YEAR....I've got a little list brewing and I'm not afraid to admit.  ;-)
This little apron makes me want to sing as I roll out pie dough....Anthropologie - why do you never fail to surprise me?

This little lover needs to be my partner in the kitchen...oh the things we could do together!

How pretty would this beauty look in my living room alongside the new coffee table...thanks for the affordableness, World Market...

I cannot stop thinking about this hat - it just makes me happy. I heart Yellowcake!  Perhaps NEXT year, I'll add a custom coat...don't get me started on outerwear...

Monday, November 15, 2010

fear not

So, I've been intimidated for quite some time about something.

Something a lot of my friends do on a weekly basis.

Something that seemed so ordinary and unspecial to lots of people, but to me seemed really kind of difficult and scary.

Something that I knew would make my husband proud of me...

You guessed it....making a homemade pie crust.

I would google info on it and read about how important it was to do it quickly, keeping the butter cold...working quickly and it just stressed me out.

But, I faced my little crusty fear and so glad I did....I kinda loved it and I kinda can't wait to try another pie.

This pumpkin pie was my first attempt....isn't it pretty for a first timer?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

dreamy saturday

With the exception of both our boys being wide-eyed and bushy-tailed by 6:15am...this morning has been what I've been desiring for a while. 

A day with no demands upon us.  (Can't think of the last time we had one of those...)

A morning where I played and giggled with my sons so Joel could sleep in...and then we hurried to prepare granola pancakes before he woke up.  Good thing he woke up a little before I was done as I realized a little late in the breakfast prep that we were fresh out of syrup.  Joel made a syrup & newspaper run.  Coffee Brewed. Pancakes devoured.  Dishes cleaned.

Leland played and played with every piece of tupperware I have.  Now all the lids are not with their corresponding container but he had fun! 

Joel went downstairs with the boys to play his new guitar...the kids love being around the speakers/pedals/microphone....had to take a few pictures of the sweet time I know my boys will always talk about when they are grown up....

Friday, November 12, 2010

3 things I love

Love Leland's obsession with dishwashers.  For his 1st birthday we just let him have at it. 

There is something magical about watching them play together - I find I have a hard time looking away...
Of course, the bathtime fun is hilarious.  You know what else is hilarious whenever I try to get a shot of them smiling...someone always ends up crying in the picture.  ;-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I have felt like the biggest sloth these days.

I was seriously busier than I had been in years as of late  - when I got the call regarding surgery, my Mom flew across town to be here.  She stayed with Leland at our house until Jude hopped off the bus and off to Grandma's they went.

You know, I get how hard it can be to handle 2 kids under 5.  It's my life.  I get flustered.  Tired.  Irritable.  The whole time in recovery, I kept feeling SO guilty that my poor Mom had both our kids especially while my Dad was out of the country. 

Funny thing is, all I would receive from time to time would be picture messages like the one above.  Photos of my kids playing....having fun...being silly...

It brought such peace to know that not only were my kids having fun, but my Mom was too.

I left a little facebook note for my Mom.  It was just a thank you for her time and attention to my sons.  She sent me a text later on THANKING ME for how precious my sons were to her.  She was grateful, despite the unfortunate circumstance, to just have this extra time with them.

As a little girl, I spent a lot of time with my Grandma.  I had a TON of time with her.  I loved it.  It was so special and something I truly treasure to this day.  I can't put into words how special it is that my boys will have something similar to what I had with my Grandma.

It also speaks volumes to me about the kind of Grandma I would like to one day be....with so many letting the days & months go by without seeing their grandchildren intimately...I cannot wait to invest in the marriage(s) of my sons & daughter inlaws one day....and take those grandkids and spoil them to bits and pieces.  I really do have the perfect example!

Monday, November 8, 2010

words = life

It's been a nutty couple of days.  Not in a busy sort of way. 

Just these emotions.  A year ago almost to the day I was bringing home my little Leland.  I was nursing him every 45 minutes.  I was tired.  I was weepy.  I was overjoyed.

Now, I'm tired but filled with a gratitude for my life and for the gracious wisdom of the doctors who handled my case last Thursday.

One of the physicians assistants remembered us from last year.  She was this stoic woman with glasses and dark hair.  She kind of had that 'cool' nerd sort of look.  Her smile was kind and it so surprised me to hear that she remembered Joel and I. 

I was emotional before surgery.  Many things flying through my mind.

She came to me with kindness in her eyes and told me, "I've been pregnant 7 times in the last 7 years....and only have 2 kids at home....I understand where you're at and it sucks."

I looked in her face and tears streamed down.  Hers and mine.  She got it.  She understood me.  Her words were the last I remembered before the medicine put me to sleep.  Her hands on mine reassuring me were the last I felt before waking up. 

Yesterday, I got a call from my OB.  He had been out of town during this ordeal.  He wanted to assure me the decisions made over my case were the exact ones he would have made.  He also told me not to worry about future conceiving and simply told me, 'Your going to get that next baby if you should so desire...please don't fret over it." 

I was filled with peace.  Funny thing is we weren't even trying for a baby.  I just wasn't ready for the 'choice' of ever having a baby again to be taken from me. 

I'm doing better today.  I'm reminded of how powerful words really are...

Thanks for all your kind words and prayers.  We have felt such love these last few days.  It means more than I can articulate.

I'm also pretty grateful for this guy - who has not let me lift a finger but has gotten every sip of water....snack...meal...before I could even ask for it.  He has fluffed my pillow....picked out ANOTHER netflix movie...wiped a whole lot of tears...snuggled me close...and been my best friend.  Love you baby...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In just 24 hours

 Everything changed.

From 80 miles per hour to an instant hault.

I had been preparing for a big event.  A really fun event with a very close friend and working and plugging away at the details...It was a fun week in so many ways.

I came home late Tuesday night.  I got in bed with Joel, he turned over to see how I was.  I snuggled in and not even 2 minutes later, the pain began.  It was a pain I had never had before.  It was sharp, stabbing and I started to lose control.  I couldn't mask it or even change positions to get it to stop.  Joel got up, trying to help, I begged him for help.  He went to run a bath for me.  I got out of bed only to pass out.  Joel held me until I came to.  I got into the bathtub writhing in pain.  45 minutes later...I finally felt some relief.  I fell to sleep.

The next morning, Joel urged me to see the doctor.  I was feeling better so I felt sheepish but made the appointment anyway.  An ultrasound gave little insight as to what I was dealing with.  I went to the lab with a blood sample and home I went. 

Thursday morning arrived (the day of our big event)  -  I was feeling better and excited about getting my hair done, makeup done and wearing a shiny black dress with heels. 

Then the phonecall from my OB's office came.  An urgent voice told me I needed to be at Hillcrest right away for emergency surgery.  What for?

#1: I was pregnant
#2: It was ectopic
#3: I was internally bleeding

Feeling like my normal self, I just didn't understand the rush.  Once I got there, Joel and I waited through the registration...additional blood tests...ultrasounds....

Turns out, the night of writhing pain was a cyst that burst on my ovary.  That cyst led me to get medical attention that further prevented me from having my tube rupture from the ectopic pregnancy.  If both had been untreated, I was told that a blood transfusion would have been required to save my life.

I'm home now.  I'm sore.  I'm healing.

I'm sad but grateful.
I was unaware I was pregnant, which I think was probably for the best.

Not sure why I lost a 2nd baby.  My heart gets very sad when I think of that.  I'm staying strong as I can. 

To the family and friends who have called/texted/come over/sent food/sent flowers....I just cannot express how much it has meant to us.  We have felt your love each moment during this time....

More to come...but just to fill you in on what is happening with us.  All our love...the Millers

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Precious Leland:

A year ago today you joined our family.
After just a few hours of waiting, we held you.
Cuddled you. Cried over you.

I will never forget the first thing I told you.
Seeing your little baby skin.
Hearing your intense cry.
I simply said to you:
"I prayed for you baby....for so long." 
Then, I just said, "Hi." 

As humans, it's so easy to look at what we need
or what others have that we do not. 
You, Leland, have taught me that 
God does answer prayers. 
You are the reason I will never doubt God's love for me. 

Your life has been so blessed already. 
You nursed like a champ from the get-go
You were healthy as could be during one of the worst flu seasons in history
You grew so fast and have been so content through each milestone

I enjoy the present time with you as you explore.
I love to watch you get into trouble.  
You're a curious little cat.

More than anything, I am elated in the love you have for your big bro
The two of you share something that I can already see is special. 
I love that he cannot wait to see you after school.
You feel the same way too.

Happy Birthday to my sweet little Leland. 
I love you more than I can blog about.