Mama Miller Parenting

Passionate parenting and homemaking.

Reconnecting with a 3 year old cyclone

“I’m so angry with you this morning.”
“Oh, I’m sorry mommy. I’m so happy at you!”

I had reached the end of my patience reserves with K this morning.

My husband had to work early and I had to get both the kids to church on my own. It usually takes me all of 15 minutes to get myself ready but this morning it took almost 3 times that.

I begged K, I pleaded with him to please please please stay in the living room and play with sister. Instead he was getting into everything, knocking the baby gate down, and encouraging E to join in the havoc. I would straighten one strand of hair and then have to chase kids back to the living room before the next. We barely made it out the door.

I feel bad for K. As the oldest, his antics are often not appreciated. Baby E still takes a lot of my time and attention. I can’t always handle the 3 year old messes, the demands, and the battles of wills. I am just one woman with a million hats.

This afternoon I got to reconnect with my little tornado. After church he and his cousin, KT came with me to see Aunt Kristen’s new apartment. Daddy took Baby E with him to visit Nana and Poppy. KT went home with her parents and I got a few hours with K all to myself.

We didn’t do anything really. No crafts or activities. We snuggled and talked. We practiced his AWANA verse and sang songs.

I got the chance to look at him and really see him. I saw my beautiful little boy. I marveled at how much he looks like his daddy. I held him and stole his kisses.

Sometimes all we see is the tornado. We see the mess, but not the child.

I have to have dates, even just stay-at-home-after-the-kids-are-asleep dates, with my husband. We need that time to reconnect and realize we are on the same team…

I think we have to do the same with out children. I needed that time with K today.

What are some of your favorite kid date ideas?

My little tornado.



Where does the time go?

We’ve had a very emotional weekend.

Andy finally finished his week of overnight shifts. We are still trying to get our sleep schedules back to normal.

We had someone steal my debit card info and have been dealing with the bank and various police departments in Texas and California. Seriously, if you are smart enough to hack bank accounts- get a job.

We found out someone dear to us has cancer. They found it early and should be able to get it all with surgery, but it is still scary. We love this person deeply and hope they have a clean bill of health soon.

I spent the day wading through the rain and helping my baby sister move into her first apartment. She is the youngest of five. I swear yesterday she was 3 and playing dress-up. Or maybe she was 7 and talking our little boy cousin into playing Barbies…

I’m so proud of her. She works two jobs, goes to college, and is the “mom” figure in her apartment of friends. I watched her rally her troops and lead them into moving battle today.

On top of all this, E suddenly looks like a toddler! Her little baby chub is disappearing. She talks more and runs everywhere. She loves her babies and combs my hair. She is getting little curls around the base of her neck.

Too soon.

It has indeed been emotional. Good and bad. Either way, I am a crier.

Praying for recovery of our money and sanity, healing, wisdom for my sister and her friends on their first leap into adulthood, and for me to take the time to savor the precious moments in life.

It all goes by so fast… Except for the ones when you are covered in gross. Those slow down.

E reading her book in her pjs with one tutu on her waist and another on her head.

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If you abuse it, you lose it…

We love books in our house. My husband and I are avid readers. I worked in the university music library and the local library in college.

K (3 years) doesn’t read yet but memorizes everything. He can recite every word of Goodnight Moon and tell you what specific type of construction equipment something is. (How many 3 year olds know a front end loader from a backhoe?!)

Considering the reverence I have for books, I am growing increasing frustrated with K knocking every single book off his bookshelf several times a week. It inevitably leads to a power struggle of epic proportions. I make him pick all the books back up. He refuses. It becomes the focus of the entire day.

Today I was told that I am the “meanest mommy in the world ebber ebber!


Here he is in his giant pile of books:


I know kids make messes. I know he won’t stack the books perfectly straight, but there is seriously no reason for this. It is just making a mess for the sake of making a mess.

I finally decided to evoke one of our house rules- If you abuse abuse it, you loose it.

This rule gets used a lot with toys. If he is rough with a toy or leaves it out after being asked to put it away several times, it goes away for a while. I hate the idea of taking away books but I also don’t like finding books with broken spines and torn pages.

Daddy moved his book shelf into our room today and instead of stacking them, K brought them to mommy. The books will be living with Mommy and Daddy for a while. He may borrow one book at a time.

I explained again that books don’t like to be on the floor because it hurts them. They want to sleep on their shelf where they can be safe. I explained that he has to earn his bookshelf back by showing me he can treat his books nicely.

Hopefully he’ll get it. For now Llama Llama, Skippy John Jones, Clifford, The Hungry Caterpillar, Bear in Underwear, Star Wars ABCs, and all the other favorites will be keeping me company.

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Crying Baby Freeze Tag

Baby E is still trying to cut a new tooth. She is waking up occasionally in the night to voice her displeasure with her gums.

We’ve been playing nighttime freeze tag a lot lately.

E’s cries drift in over the monitor. I start to get up and check on her, but as soon as I put my glasses on she stops. I sit frozen for a few minutes to make sure she is really back asleep. As soon as I take my glasses off, she cries again. I freeze and she stops. I carefully slide back into bed and she cries but stops. I lay there in a state of tense hyper-awareness because I know she will cry as soon as I sink back into comfortable slumber.

I’m sure all the moms have lived this out many times.

After a few rounds I gave up, changed her diaper, and brought her to bed with me.

Andy working overnights has made me soft. I’m just lonely enough to break my own rule about always putting them back in their own beds.

Here is my little girly girl in her cousin’s sunglasses…

I’m glad she is so cute and chipper despite keeping mommy up part of the night.

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Mama Miller’s Rules of the Road

I don’t know what is going on with K lately. He hasn’t had an accident in months, but in the past two days he has peed all over the bathroom and all over his carseat.

I’m not sure if K is acting out because of our weird schedule change this week or if he has just lost his mind. My mom’s theory is that boys, especially three year old boys, are gross. I’m just going to go with that.

Boys are gross.

Anyway, our car fiasco reminded me of our car rules.

Mama Miller’s Rules of the Road

1. If you start the car to cool it down or warm it up (depending on your location) while you load the kids, always always roll the driver’s window down.

This rule came about this summer. One particularly hot and blustery day I started the car, left the door open, and loaded K. I walked around to load E and found the doors had locked. At that moment a gust of wind blew the door shut. K, my keys, and my phone were all locked inside the car. I was able to shout through the glass and talked K through unbuckling himself, climbing in the front, and hitting the window button.

2. Keep two towels in the car.

Kids are gross. Barf, pee, and poop can will happen. If you have two old towels, you can use one to clean up any unfortunate accidents and use the other as a drop cloth over a gross carseat.

3. There is no screaming in the car… ever.

I’ve explained to K many times that being loud in the car isn’t safe. It makes it hard for mommy and daddy to drive.

4. If you drop it while I’m driving, it is gone until we get there.

I’ve explained this safety issue many times. “I know you really want your car/juice/book, but mommy can’t reach it while she is driving.”

5. Don’t give sleepy kids drinks.

One red Sonic slush is all it takes… Oh the horror.

6. If you don’t like the song, don’t listen.

We listen to kid music a lot in the car but sometimes a song will come on that K doesn’t like. I will not try to change songs while driving. If he complains I tell him not to listen and that it will pass.

7. Make kids pee before leaving.

Even a shot trip. Every time. If they say they don’t have to go, they’re lying. As soon as you get a half mile from home they will need to pee.

8. Try really hard to watch what you say while driving.

Kids are parrots. I realized this one day when K yelled at another car, “Are you kidding me?! You make us wreck you idiot!!”

Anyone else have any road rules to add?

K was an early driver…

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Holy cow… Two nights in a row of minimal sleep. My neurons are fried. I know that I survived having a newborn twice, but you eventually get used to sleep again.

K, the three year old, fought sleep last night. Our usual early sleeper was still peaking his head out of his room and trying to stay awake until about 10:30.

Andy left for his second overnight shift at 11. I snuggled down into the covers and drifted off to dream land- a place filled with spas, coffee, and chocolate chip cookie dough.

My dream-cation with the worlds biggest salted caramel latte was short lived. I was jarred from my imaginary massage by the classic battle cry of, “MOM!”

I begrudgingly rush down the hall to discover that K had peed all over the bathroom. I’m pretty certain that no square inch of the floor was spared from this shower. It was even on the carpet outside the door.

This kid hasn’t had a nighttime accident in months! He never even gets up to pee in the middle of the night.

Why? Why dear child? Why are you and sister determined to keep mommy up when daddy is working nights? You usually sleep so soundly.

The only scenario I can fathom goes like this:
K: Ok sister, we will not stand for this “daddy works at night and we have to let him sleep during the day” nonsense. We must protest!
E: *excited squeal and clapping*
K: Good job with the “cough” last night. I’ll take over tonight with the classic pee gag. They will soon know the might of tiny wills. *maniacal laugh while twirling his pretend mustache*
E: *giggles*

Ok, maybe I am starting to loose it.


Quiet Day Activities

My husband got a promotion this week. We are definitely thrilled with the pay increase. I am, however, less than thrilled with the weird hours that come with it.

He went in at 6 am yesterday morning, got off at noon, and had to be back at midnight. He’ll be working midnight to 8 am for the next two weeks.

I understand that some families have schedules like this all the time. My heart and sympathy especially goes out to military families and single parents.

I am just not used to it.

I have never lived alone- ever. I went from my family to college dorm life to roommates to being married.

I know with the kids, I wasn’t technically alone… but still kind of creepy. Naturally, every noise was an intruder. Every creak meant our pipes would burst or the AC would spontaneously combust.

Anyway, the kids must have sensed my loneliness because E started coughing really badly and joined me at 2 am. I usually would try to get her back to her own bed, but I was tired from defending my home from imaginary goblins. By 6 am, she was in the very middle of the bed and I was sandwiched between her and K, who had to be next to me too.

Not much sleep over here.

E has the banshee whine of an overtired one year old. She fidgets and cries in my lap but cries harder when she gets down. I’m not sure what she is going for at this point. She is usually my late sleeper. 6 am is not her favorite time to be woken up, especially by brother whining loudly about wanting to be where she was sleeping at that moment.

Andy survived his first overnight and is now trying to sleep. We have to come up with some good quiet activities to accommodate daddy’s schedule for the next two weeks.

Some ideas I’ve entertained:

•Movie time- The ones that mesmerize, not the raucous laughter kind.
•Dance Party- Put on Pandora and tell them to dance and wiggle but no talking.
•Puzzles and Books
•Craft Time- Bust out the markers and let K go wild. Adding glue increases quiet awe but increases mess factor too.
•Divide and Conquer- My kids are exponentially louder together. If I get K playing in his room and E playing in the living room… Hmmm.
•Pack it up- Leaving for the park, mall play place, or Nonna’s may be the ticket.
•Ear Plugs- Maybe we’ll buy daddy ear plugs.
•Sleeping Pills- For Andy and/or the kids. (I didn’t say they were all good ideas.)
•Alternative Sleep Locations- By the end of two weeks, Andy may decide anywhere (his car, a park bench, an airport terminal, a rock concert) is more conducive to sleep than here.
•Sound Proof Wall- Building a soundproof wall between our bedroom and the rest of the house.
•Coffee IV- Maybe we can just hook Andy up to a constant supply of espresso. He won’t even need sleep!
•Reverse Psychology- I’ll tell the kids I really want them to be loud.

Ok, what are your quiet day ideas?

In other news, K earned his AWANA vest last night! He was so excited.


He is actually wearing his vest this morning. I’m glad it is washable, because E is trying to paint everything with banana.


Neon Noodle Activity


Sorry for the lapse for the past few days.

Friday we did E’s 1 year old photos, shopping, E’s 12 month check-up, E’s 12 month blood work, grocery shopping, and Family Game Night at church. Poor baby girl was pretty chipper for a kid without enough naps, 4 shots, and having blood drawn.

Yesterday was my cleaning and my brother’s birthday party.

We’ve had a busy busy weekend.

We started this activity on Saturday morning. K has had a great time with it.

Neon Noodle Activity:

You will need a bag of Italian Trio Pasta, food coloring, and white vinegar. (We try to do natural foods and whole wheat pastas, but we made an exception for this activity.)

First I opened the bag of pasta for K and set up three bowls and a pair of tongs. I had him sort the different types into the bowls. He made up a story about the seashells noodles (shells), wiggly noodles (rigatoni), and stick noodles (penne) going to school together. They went to school but it was time to go home to their families.



After sorting we put them in separate baggies and K added several drops of neon food coloring and a splash of white vinegar (about 1 tbsp). He shook it up and we let them soak for about an hour.




We spread them out on foil covered in paper towel for a couple hours to dry. At bed time I folded them up in the foil and put them in the fridge until this afternoon.


This afternoon I boiled the noodles. I wanted to make sure the colors came out really vibrant, so I did each one separately and added a few drops of color to the water. After draining them, I tossed them together in a bit of olive oil. K was really proud of his noodles.


We served our neon noodles with Alfredo sauce, pork roast, and salad. It was a big hit.



No free passes


I saw this quote and fell in love. It perfectly sums up what we are dealing with today.

We are on day two of a plague ridden household. K feels just well enough to run circles but is still in a sickly, grumpy state of mind. It has not been a pleasant combination.

I feel bad that he is sick. I really do…

However, I will not tolerate total disobedience and disregard for others. Feeling bad doesn’t mean it becomes ok to push sister, yell “no”, or whine incessantly.

It is so important for parents to teach children to separate their feelings from their actions. You must acknowledge their feelings as valid while correcting their behavior.

It is not always easy.

If you child is throwing a fit over losing a toy you can start by telling them, “I understand that you are sad and angry over losing your toy, but we do not scream or hit. Please take a breath and calm down.”

Kids have to know this because they will be the next generation of adults.


When my husband is having a bad day he does not get to yell at his boss, treat customers badly, or act like a horrible human being. Yes, we all have emotions that sometimes show through but we cannot take it out on our fellow man.

I have rough mom days but I still have to function as a mom. I don’t have the option of refusing to do my job.

It all comes back to life skills. Calming yourself down and separating emotions from actions are skills you need as an adult.

Our house is getting a big dose of life skills today. We all feel bad but still have to treat each other with respect.

Hopeful E will learn that teething doesn’t mean she gets to bite mommy…

Here is our little teether with some of her birthday presents.


Just look at that little stinker with all her goodies!


When the plague strikes

We had big plans for today.

Yesterday I went on a cleaning/laundry spree when my husband was at work. I washed ever item in a growing avalanche of dirty clothes. My bed was covered in piles and piles of folded clothes.

After our birthday festivities this weekend, the plan was to get the house in order on Monday and enjoy my husband’s day off on Tuesday. We dreamed of finally having a relaxing day at home.

Plans are funny things…

It started with E. Our sweet baby girl decided to celebrate her new one year old status with a bout of wicked teething. It was like having a newborn all over again. I could not get that girl to sleep more than a few minutes at a time for anything.

I finally resigned myself to a night on the couch holding the flopping space heater that was my little teether.

Then at 1am I heard a heaving from my sons room. My husband came running and discovered that K, our 3 year old, was barfing all over his bed.

After a wash cloth bath, a change of clothes and sheets, and a dose of tummy meds he was back asleep… For all of 30 minutes.

More barfing, bathing, and changing ensued. K ended up in our bed with Andy. I dozed and comforted E in the living room.

By day break my empty laundry room was again filled with clothes and bedding.


So much for plans. By lunchtime I too was having issues.

Illness stinks for anyone, but it is especially hard on parents. There are no sick days for moms.

A few things we’ve discovered that make yucky days smoother:

•Keep crackers, pedialyte, or other sick day snacks on hand.
•Sick days are good movie days. We don’t do much TV, but today was a movie day.
•Bust out the puzzles, books, color books, and other quiet play activities.
•Keep it simple. Don’t over-stretch yourself, or you won’t be good for anyone.
•Drop cloths! In the event of stomach issues, we throw a blanket or sheet over the furniture the kids will be on. A 3 year old won’t always make it to the toilet.
•Even if you can’t fold it, keep the laundry going. You don’t want to run out of clean sheets, blankets, or towels.

Any other tips for dealing with a sickly family?



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