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.

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 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 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.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

a party for my Lebe

We call Leland all sorts of names:

Lee Lee
Le Ry
 but our favorite name for him is Lebe (Lee-Bee) - just cuz it's happy and he's happy and he makes us happy.

Today we celebrated his sweet & precious life with close friends & family.  I had fun with this party - especially after always wanting to celebrate a birthday in the fall.  Here are some photos of the event.  I know he will not remember....but we will never forget.
Homemade Italian wedding soup, Mac 'n' Cheese; decadent peanut butter bars, and pumpkin muffins
Cupcakes that capture the joy this child contagiously gives out
Cookie Decorating Station with take-home boxes
L-Decor - homemade picture garland utlizing the letter press birth announcements we sent out once he arrived.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Kajal Girls (Photo by Dan O'Keefe) aka "Kajal boy"

So those of you who know me.  I mean, really know me. 
You know I'm a passionate girl. 
I go hard or I go home.

Recently, I've been working on a project
that has been so exciting.
It's been a project that will help our city.
Help our economy.
Unify CLE.

It's honestly a very small metaphor
to the very big endeavor in this world today.
Pride about where we come from.
Acceptance of diversity.
Appreciation of truth, even if it's not on trend.
Desire for relationship with people who look/speak/act different than us.

Cleveland went through a hard time this year.  This basketball-player-guy left.
He was allowed to leave.  I wish him luck.
It's just the way in which he left.
 Cleveland is used to heartache, they say.
I think, however, it's GOT to be one of the most underrated towns around.

What I have learned recently is that this city is not JUST beautiful because of its:
  • Coast
  • Cleveland Metroparks
  • Skyline
  • Historical Districts
  • Nationally renown cuisine
  • Theatre districts
  • Fantastic & Affordable boutiques
  • Bridges
  • Rivers
  • Ballparks
  • Historical hotels
  • Century old homes & churches
  • Architecture and Charm
  • Affordability
  • World Class Healthcare
It's richness is in the kindess of the man who pulls over to make sure
the little stuffed animal he found on the road got home to a teary 2-year old.

It's in the phenomenal chefs who choose Cleveland to start their business
and transport us to all parts of the world through their cuisine.

It's in the small & large business owners who choose to
take risks each and everyday so that Cleveland can have more jobs.

It's in the authentic people who desire to see others succeed in what they do.

I love choosing to look at what is great - believing the best - choosing what is right over what is assumed.
I mean, if I were a city, that's what I'd want too.

Christine, Jonathan Sawyer (Chef/Owner of the Greenhouse Tavern), and me! Photo by Mike Jones

Friday, October 22, 2010

all in how you look at it.

It's been one of those weeks. 
Hectic. Busy. 
My housework didn't all get done. 
My laundry sits in baskets.

I had a talk with my husband last night about gratitude. 
I looked back.  I remembered. 
Times when life was tougher. 
When I felt like I was owed something. 
When I felt like I deserved better. 
Then I open my eyes to the reality of life. 
I am so grateful. 

At the start of 2010, Joel and I had a talk.
Surrounding contentment
Our prayer in 2010 was to live in the moment. 
Isn't it a shame when we anticipate the future 
and lose the joy of the present?

I find it hard to be anything but joyful 
when I live a life of thanksgiving. 
It's hard for me to throw myself a pity party
when no one is joining me in it.  
It's not a fun party to attend anyway.

In a meeting this week, the subject of 'what is cool" came up.
I have not forgotten what was this person told me. 
"I stopped caring if people think I'm cool" 
and I just thought...
'that is pretty cool." 

Off to love life and thank God for each bit of it. 
I love life just how Leland loves his blankie.
Hope you are too.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

the real Leland Ryan

Many of you know Leland via Facebook...see him here and there at social functions. 

I am here today to tell you about another VERY side of Leland.

He is into mischief.  Plain and simple.  He is a little mouse with how quietly he will find trouble to get into.  In fact, all within a 30 minute period of time today he managed to:

1-Crawl into the diswasher
2-Climb up half way the stairs
3-Unfold all the laundry (this one i noticed from the giggling)
4-Play with the modem
5-Remove all the tupperware from one entire cabinet
6-Empty out half of my makeup kit

L likes to get into the modem cables         

He looks innocent and sweet....but if he is awake....then he is up to something!  ;-)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I remember the thought of a first kiss.  It used to freak me out.  I've heard it said that a woman judges the future of a relationship based on a first kiss.  I've had some bad 'first kisses' but I remember when Joel and I started becoming friends...and then a little more than friends.  I remember him trying to nab that first peck.  I kept on refusing...


I really really liked him.

I was kind of afraid that, if the kiss was bad, it would spoil it. 

It was date after date and I could feel that impending energy...."Ahh....he's going to try and kiss me again!" and somehow, some way, I'd figure a way out of it.  ;-)  Little did I know that my avoidance of the inevitable kiss only made him try harder. 

As the years have gone by, I've enjoyed the simple meaning of a kiss and how it expresses such care.  I love when I give my mom a hug and kiss on her cheek - a special bond only she and I share.  I love when I see my husband kiss my Grandma upon greeting her.  I've enjoyed each and every kiss with my little lover, Jude.  While he tries to act all 'too cool for school' - he is a tender child with more love to give than I even realize.  Most recently, I've been amused at my little 11 month old, Leland and his attempts to kiss.  Most of those involve a wide open mouth, a great glob of slobber and a big ole smile afterward. 

Don't take those little kisses for granted.  They are magical.