Thursday, December 30, 2010

best of '10

top ten in 2010

Enjoyed watching Leland go from teeny crying baby to a true & perfect member of the Miller fam.

Jude began Kindergarten - while I miss him - I'm so proud of the little man he is.

Joel's career as a designer reached a fantastic peak this year. 

I did a ton of makeup with a fantastic friend & so enjoyed the art form it has become in my life.

I cooked with more creativity this year. 

Homemade became something I could achieve this year.

I exercised more this year. 

I enjoyed running again. 
Let go of a lot of fears
I enlarged my heart for others - better yet, I watched my sons do the same. 

Hope you are proud of your 2010 & have a 2011 ahead of you that is brimming with hope.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

quiet Christmas

This Christmas was so lovely & one I will never forget.

Leland was really into it.  He peeled away the paper, said "oh oh OH!" at the sight of each toy he received.  Jude was my little responsible helper.  He assisted Leland in the proper opening of his gifts and then telling him what they were. 

I loved that we didn't host.
I loved that we didn't travel.
I will cherish time with family.
I will also cherish those moments when the kids were asleep and Joel and I were quietly reflecting on what our sons would think of their excited he and I were to exchange with one another.
It was quiet.  It was perfect.  It was necessary.

Silent Night.  Holy Night.  All is calm.  All is bright.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

can I just say...

how excited I am to have this man at home for the next 11 days straight?

Winter fun, family celebrations, enjoying fantastic cuisine, a Kajal Christmas Party and lots of date-nights with my man....seriously going to savor & enjoy this Christmas & NYE like no other.

From us to you: 
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Monday, December 20, 2010

big brothers

As an only child, I'm constantly fascinated in the relationship between my sons.

It's altogether beautiful & hysterical.

A few conversations between Jude & Leland have made it into my mind as a few I hope to remember so I must write them down.

Jude has been helping us out a ton (esp on Sunday mornings) when we're trying to just get out the door, boots & hats on, etc.  It's such a production.  Gone are the flips flops & tank tops and now it's like 45 minutes of 'gearing up'

We noticed that Leland will be fine as long as his brother is playing with him or alongside him.  Jude asked if he could 'babysit' him up in his room and I decided to give him a chance.  I would go up and quietly listen to ensure no harm was befalling my 13 month old.  All I heard was laughter...sounds of block towers falling down and rebuilding again. 

Just this morning, Jude 'babysat' and I prepared & brought breakfast up to them for a special 'Breakfast in Bed' morning.  Well, Jude decided to tell me that he was playing 'Pretend Trap' with Leland.  I asked how does that go?  He simply said this:

"I just take a blanket and trap Leland." Jude says with a proud smile.

"hmm...does Leland like that?"  I respond.

"He LOVES it, Mom. Well....he sometimes will cry & won't like it so then I untrap him and then he loves it. " 

I guess this is the world of a little brother.  ;-)

Friday, December 17, 2010

unforgettable gift

I have been meaning to write this blog for a while now.

I'm such a fickle gift-receiver.
I like too many things and then I feel like..."Geesh, the money could really go towards (Insert something practical & unfestive here) "

I like jewelry but feel like when I have little ones, I worry about it being tangled, lost or broken.
I love clothing but I'm so funny about how things fit - so I always prefer to pick it out myself.
I love perfume but that is just SUCH a hard one to pick out for someone else.

I got a gift over the Thanksgiving holiday from my sister.  (I should use the term 'inlaw' after but I choose not to as she is really truly more of a sister than an 'inlaw)

See, this little blog you're reading right now.  It's intention was not really much more than a record of the happenings of our little family.  Perhaps out of towners could catch up, have a laugh, or simply understand us better. 

My sister took this little blog to a new level and put together a gift I will forever cherish.

In fact, I've gotten notes & emails from dozens of people telling me..."You should publish that blog...I think people would buy it!"  Well, that is certainly not in my plans. 

But, my dear sister took it upon herself to have my blog published and put in a hard-back book form.

I opened the gift in the kitchen with her...pulled out this shiny blue book....saw our familys photo on the cover and then I saw..."The Miller family blog" - tears welled up in my eyes.  She gave me one of the few gifts that I loved so much that I couldn't contain the tears.

I flipped through the pages - she had cut/pasted each and every word onto the pages - included photos and all.  I read through some of the memories I had with my sons and I sat there 'remembering' - the tears didn't stop.

If I think of a gift and what its purpose is to have.  I think of this gift.  It made me remember, smile, be grateful and cry all at the same time.

Thanks sis.  I love you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

to write

Writing is so powerful. 
From Jude    Two Mommy

I've always felt something incredibly powerful happen once I allow my emotion and expression to come out in written form.  I sometimes understand my emotions and manage them better once I can read them.

Tonight, I saw something that truly touched me. 

I saw my son write.  I read what his little heart intended to communicate.  I understood him a bit better. 

Joel & I just joined a gym.  We have been going somewhat frequently.  The kids go to a play room divided into ages.  Both my boys love it and look forward to going. 

On our way there tonight, Jude told me he was excited because they have movies there.  I encouraged him to move his body and be active while he had a kid-size bball court and tons of other kids to play with.  He nodded.  

I worked out.  

I got my stuff from my locker.  

I got my kids and bundled them up. 

Jude had made something while he was at play land.  He had made 'Christmas Presents' for us all to put beneath the tree.  He made me swear not to peek.  On the way home, he kept asking me, "Mommy, how do you spell Leland again?"  "L-E-L-A-N-D, bud" I would reply over and over. 

He got home, raced to the crayons and markers and began to write each of our names on his little handmade gifts.  He may not have written much besides who the gift was for and who it was from but it was the most important thing to my son at the time.  I watched his lips purse as he carefully spelled out "TWO DADDY" and "FORM JUDE" and just smiled at his tenacity to communicate his love to us. I asked him why he was so excited to give them to us.  He simply said, "It's so fun to make stuff and then watch you open it, Mommy."  

He totally gets it.

I know what gift I'm most excited to open.
Two Daddy    From Jude

Two Leland    From Jude

Monday, December 13, 2010


They say when you have another child you will be amazed at how different they are. 
All we heard from the moment Leland was born was how much he looked JUST LIKE Jude. 

Lately, however, not only do we see his physical differences but his personality is night/day from his brother. 

Jude has always been my sweet/tender child. 
Leland is too but he is, in reality, a wildman
He's like a caveman in a baby suit.

Joel and I laugh constantly at this child who tries to fit in the smallest spaces, 
rip wood apart, or bust through doors with the strength he thinks he has.

Up until we put up our Christmas tree, Leland has been obsessed with the dishwasher. 
He liked to pull the silverware out and bang on a pot. 
He also enjoyed attempting to get into the dishwasher like it was a ride at Cedar Point. 

Lately, all you hear at our house is..."Leland NO NO!!!  Leland NO NO NO"  
"Leland, don't touch the Christmas touch NO TOUCH!" 

Today, I didn't say those words loud enough. 
My little Leland went after the ornament that always captures his attention. 
The ornament I've been moving UP on the tree so that it wouldn't be a temptation to him anymore.
It was the little 'acoustic guitar' ornament.
He went after it today. 
He put it in his little hand and when I said, "NO LELAND!" 
He PULLED that ornament and the entire tree toppled over onto him. 

I felt bad for him as his little cries coming from under the tree were so very sad & pitiful.
Then, once he stopped crying and held onto me. 
I looked at him and said, "Leland, that was NAUGHTY!" 
His little lip quivered and he buried his head into my arm. I think he felt really bad. 

The tree is back up. 
The needles have been swept.
I re-watered. 
All is well. 
I will always be reminded of my sweet & mischievous Leland whenever I see that little guitar ornament.

Friday, December 10, 2010

something I learned from my Mama

Christmas was so special in our home.  My mom has become an amazing baker over the years.  Her skills reach from breads to holiday cookies to cakes and intricate cake-decorating.

A moment during Christmas I always loved was when she did a weekend of baking just for those who lived near us.  She would put together little trays of fun and festive cookies or breads and hand-deliver them with a smile.  I remember bundling up alongside her and giving the shy 'hi' wave that my boys do now. each day passes, I become more and more like her. (and I loooooooooooooove that) so off I go to deliver fresh pumpkin loaves, Christmas greetings, and a smile....along with the grin of my Leland.  

In the wise words of DC Talk, Luv is a verb.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

monsters in the closet

my little 5 yr old monster, Jude London
I remember being very protective of Jude's little eyes when it came to anything scary on TV.  He was especially sensitive (as are we all) of things seen before bedtime.  One time he watched River Monsters with Joel and the following night, he was up 7-9 times SURE there were snakes all over his bed and in the 'water' in his room.

It took so much energy to console him.  His little mind was certain of what he saw. It took turning on the lights & showing him that there really was nothing to fear.

I find myself no different.  I believe something (for whatever reason) in my mind...allow it to take root & grow....and then all of a sudden, it's taken a form of its own, whether it's truth or not.  It's grown into a monster whose closet is my mind.

I guess we all do that - insecure about our work, our relationships, our abilities, etc.  Then, you have that moment when you wake up, turn on the lights, and see what is real and what is not.  I think it's always important to remember that our minds will play tricks on us.  We will go through periods where we can easily foster thoughts that are unhealthy.  Like a Mom tries to protect her son from seeing 'River Monsters' we must also protect ourselves from seeing the 'Life Monsters' that want to eat us up.

Be real.    See real.    Speak real.   I'm really learning this right now.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Joel and I have had many many many discussions about facebook.  Does it really serve a purpose.  Is it purely for narcissistic people?  Is it a tool for arrogance?

My argument is and will always be that facebook can be different things for different people.  To some, its a way to promote a band/business/relationship/charity and the list goes on and on.  To me, it's a community and a way to unveil who I am while hoping to know who you are.  I feel like the strongest purpose we have on earth is to be known and loved and then to also know others and love others.

While Joel may never be on facebook, as it is clearly not something he values, I appreciate the many FB friends who contribute to the inspiration that is everywhere.  In fact, I decided to dedicate this post to the top 5 most entertaining FB friends.  If you didn't make the top 5, don't be offended.  There is always next year.  haha (Like I'm any kind of judge....)

Here is to you starting at ....

#5:  Christa Hladky - Girl, your posts both make me laugh til I wet my pants and make me cry until I'm motivated to change.  Your humility and honesty about the struggles and triumphs you face make me want to read more.  Keep Writing, friend....keep writing.

#4: Christine Wisnieski - Lady -  your posts always inspire me to want to demonstrate creativity through gestures, culinary love and style.  Oh and your blog - divine!

#3: Lauren Hummel - Honey - you just plain ole crack me up - your wit, your sarcasm, it hits the spot!  I kinda can't wait to know you better my friend....and then we can say your status updates helped build a friendship.  haha!

#2: Rachel Lindgren - oh girl, I can't count the # of times I have had to simply close the lid of my laptop and just laugh and laugh.  Your posts are fabulous and you have also been SO instrumental in our lives through advice....first, when we bought our new car and you were working at a dealership and gave us all the INSIDER SCOOP....and then when we refi'd our house and you happened to be working at a mortgage company - thanks for helping us to save $200/month! 


The spot for #1 goes to a friend from long long long ago....a friend who was my little partner in crime as a wee one in children's church....congratulations to....

#1 - Gala Copez-Reaves - So, basically, I read your posts to my husband and we sit and keep on scrolling because you are the most sassy, hilarious, but at the same time 'down to earth' girl we know!  I love all the posts on the funny things in parenting we all face....(i.e. Phineas & Ferb watching whether your kids are there or not - woot woot!) 

Congrats peeps - hope this made ya smile - thanks for making ME smile all the time!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Enjoyed time with friends tonight down in University Circle...our first time to the Lantern festival.  Dozens of dancers & beautiful lanterns parading around the circle.  The kids were mesmerized and I enjoyed getting outside in the cold....scarves, gloves, hats...
I loved squeezing Leland's cheek against mine to share his warmth.  I layered him in 4 sweaters like a maniac mother.  At least he was warm.

It ended a really beautiful weekend.  Hope yours was great!  Here is a to a happy happy Monday!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


the word that takes sympathy into actually doing something about it.   a friend of mine put it as the difference between pity & action.  boy was he right.

I've been noticing it in my son, Jude.  He has always been a very tender child.  Sensitive.  Loving.  Observant.  It was honestly his little 2-yr old pudgy arms around my neck that got me through my first miscarriage....and his sweet words to me: "Mama no more cry!"

Tonight, I saw this beautiful gift in him come alive.  I found out Joel was working late again so I decided to organize.  Leland was in a fantastic "I'll just play while you get stuff done, Mom..." kinda mood.  It was perfect.

With Christmas coming, I wanted to go through Jude's massively embarrassing heap of toys in various toy boxes and purge and purge and purge.

I gave Jude a box to go through and decide which toys to donate.

Little did I know....he was separating the toys he wanted to give away by how much each of his friends might appreciate them.  This was the dialogue:

Me: Jude, why you making all those piles, bud?  

Jude: Well, Liam LOVES Star Wars so I'm going to give him a bunch of my Star Wars stuff....and Ethan loves Batman so I'm going to give him this cool Batman guy....and Bebo loves Spiderman so I'm going to give him this cool rocket...and Matheo will SO love this firetruck, I can't wait to see him when I give it to him...

The explanation of each toy/guy/figurine lasted for a nearly 20 minutes until we had 3 bags full of toys for friends and 5 garbage bags full of toys for those in need.

Just a year ago when I did this...Jude barely could give me 3 broken toys to give up.  He wanted to keep everything and not let anything go.  In just a year, he grew up and he learned something that takes many years to learn: It truly is better to give than it is to receive. 
Jude, Ethan and Liam (2008)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

an update on Mr. Sneaky pants

Leland Ryan
13 months old
Loves to laugh, climb stairs & eat crackers

Do not be fooled by his charm, he will sneak into your purse and take everything out....he will quietly make his way to the bathroom only to pull out every piece of embarrassing feminine product that exists and spread them all over the bathtub...he will sneak by when you think he's playing with toys and start un-hanging ornaments from the tree.

Leland...we're on to you, mister.