Mama Miller Parenting

Passionate parenting and homemaking.

Making Peace and Preserving Your Heart

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I saw this quote the other day and fell in love with it.

I’m going to get real and personal. I believe in transparency. Our faults, pains, failures, triumphs, successes, and strengths make us who we are. If I only wrote about the good, happy, shiny moments, I would be short changing my readers and myself. Life is messy.

I am a child of divorce. Many of our friends and church family would not even realize this fact. I was lucky in many ways. I never saw my parents fight. I was an infant when things ended. My mom married my step dad when I was still young.

It is not easy to blend a family. I have two older brother’s and a sister from my step dad’s first marriage. When I was 8 my little sister came along. My mom has always said that being a step parent is a special calling.

I was blessed to have a step dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that have never treated me as step family. I was thoroughly loved.

Things with my biological father and grandmother have not been as easy. There were many years that we did not have contact. Many missed birthdays, school functions, and concerts. We reconnected when I was in college. He attended my college graduation. They even made it to my wedding, though my step dad gave me away and took the first father/daughter dance.

He earned it. He is the one who saw me every day and came to every half time show and band concert. He is the one my kids call Papaw.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking for pity and I do love my biological father. But I have mourned the loss of a real relationship many times over. We reach out but get excuses, unreturned phone calls, and a general lack of participation. I have fought my own pride, hurt, and sinful grudges time and time again. I know God forgives fully, but my human heart goes in stages.

I held the place in my heart for him for far too long. Every broken promise reopened old wounds. I had a dad, but I always longed for what could have been. My dad has never even met E.

I will not hold places for anyone in my children’s lives. They have two grandpas that do participate. The are happy. They are truly and fiercely loved. They are beautiful and amazing. I will not force anyone to be a part of their lives.

I felt compelled to share my story because I know that grieving someone who is still alive can be excruciating and difficult. Some people will stick like glue to us for the long haul but others will be transient. Some just don’t stay. Some will die, move away, or grow apart.

Don’t live with a hole in your heart for what may never come back. Live. Live fully. Choose love and love fully those who you have now. If you waste time with hate or anger, it will take away from your ability to love. Choose forgiveness.

Remember that family is not defined by biology. Your family will be what you make of it. We are born into a family and God sometimes places family in our path along the way. Treasure them all. Make an effort to stay.

With love,

Mama Miller

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Soap Snow and New Friends

Yesterday afternoon was gorgeous! We had to play outside. Texas is rarely in the 50s or 60s in the middle of the afternoon.

The kids ran and kicked a ball around in the field by our apartment. I went in and filled our red tub with toys, scoops, old jars, and two big soap clouds.

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Pretty soon our soap clouds had been pulverized to snow.

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E lost interest after a bit and went back to chasing her ball and rolling in the grass. K asked if we could invite the little boy from a couple houses down to play.

He always says hi to everyone, but this was the first time he has gotten to play with neighbor kids. I was excited for him to make a new friend. Pretty soon we had two new friends (both 5) playing with us. I had to make two more soap clouds and get more scoops.

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I promise I’m not a crazy hoarder, but I do tend to hang on to glass jars. K loves playing with them and filling them with things. The kids had the most fun scooping “snow” into jars.

I let each of our new friends take home a jar of snow. I wrote their mom’s a note explaining that it was Ivory soap and how to make it. I figured I would probably want an explanation if my kid went to play and came back with a jar of white powdery stuff!

Eventually the kids ran home. K, E, and all the tools/toys went into the bath. We sprinkled “snow” over them. They were extra clean. Their clothes and blanket washed fine, but I did set an extra rinse cycle.

It can easily be an inside play activity if you vacuum afterwards. It makes the house smell great!

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Mama’s Big Girl Panties

I’ve mentioned K’s bathroom hijinks and habits in previous posts. That kid is convinced that I don’t need to go to the bathroom by myself ever. We do have locks but they sometimes don’t work well.

Best case scenario is that the lock holds and I have a 3 year old and 1 year old banging drum solos, singing to me, and sticking their fingers under the door while I try to relieve myself.

It actually reminds me of almost every horror movie I’ve ever seen. Although, instead of a blood thirsty monster breaking in on a hapless heroine, it is milk thirsty little cookie monsters trying to reach their bedraggled mother with demands. K always decides that when mom goes potty is the exact moment he must have a drink. (Has someone been doing weird Pavlovian experiments on my son?!)

A few weeks ago I was trying to be productive catch my breath while the kids were napping. I went to the bathroom with the expectation of actually having five minutes to myself. (Oh hindsight…)

Did I mention K has ninja abilities?

“Mom, I’m firsty! Hey, are you wearing a diaper in your big girl panties? What is that? Did you poop yourself? That’s yucky!”

No words.

I’d like to say that I calmly explained some version of “the story” to my inquisitive ninja 3 year old. I’d love to tell you that I was mature and serene and intelligent. That I knew exactly what to say. I’d really like to, but I can’t…

“I will give you a piece of your Halloween candy and some juice when I get done if you will go to the living room and stay there.”

Someday mama will put on her big girl panties and explain lady things to her son. This was not that day. He knows babies grow in their mama’s tummies and that boys and girls have different parts. He knows what a bra is. But I’m not explaining mommy diapers for a while.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Well friends, we survived the Great Stomach Virus of ’12.

Turkey tasted so good today after 24 hours of nothing. We had to take it easy but we did get to see family. Poor K still has an allergy cough and didn’t eat much but played well. I was very happy to get my baby E back today.

She enjoyed her food too…

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Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

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Snapshots of Thanksgiving- Day 21

Day 21:

I know this is called Snapshots of Thanks, but trust me when I say, you do not want a picture of anything going on in my house today…

The stomach virus that E had Sunday night finally made its rounds to the rest of us. It hit K at 10pm last night and woke Andy up at 3am. Not much sleep over here.

My mother-in-law agreed to some quality time with E so I could take care of the guys. My father-in-law noticed that someone had stollen our license plates. I had to file a police report (in case our plates are used in a crime) and go to the courthouse to get news ones. We also went to Home Depot to get new screws…

Yes, they even stole the bleeping screws!

It was at Home Depot that the stomach bug finally caught up to me. Not pleasant.

For a while I felt sorry for myself and wondered what I had to be thankful for today. God gave me the answer… Everything!

We are ill on Thanksgiving but we have enough food (when we can eat it), two working bathrooms, AC, Sprite, saltine crackers, DVDs to keep the sick 3 year old entertained, family that cares about us, and a God who has promised to never leave us.

Yes, I would probably trade today for another, but I can’t truly complain. The new tags were only $7. E is spending the night with Nana and Poppy. K is sleeping peacefully. And I have kept a few crackers and a banana down for about an hour now. Woo!

I guess I will leave you with a picture my father-in-law just sent us to cheer us up:

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I miss her little face but I am glad she is healthy, safe, and not climbing on me tonight.

Travel safely and have a great holiday tomorrow!

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For the Moms and Dads

For all the moms and dads:

Go watch this. I laughed so so much.

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Snapshots of Thanksgiving- Day 20

Day 20:

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I am so thankful for my sweet nieces and nephews- both those from family and my friends’ kids that have become honoraries. My children are so blessed to have amazing aunts, uncles, and cousins! Blood ties aren’t the only things that make a family.

As a bonus, her are my nephew kitties:

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While I do think my little sister will make beautiful babies, I am glad she is going to school first. I am pretty fond of my rotten nephew kitties too!

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Snapshots of Thanksgiving- Days 18 & 19

E got sickly last night I ended up washing many loads of yucky laundry. She is stuffy but doing much better today. I’m catching up on my SOT posts.

Day 18:

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The pic isn’t that great but this is K and J chowing down on our church Thanksgiving meal. I seriously have the best church ever. I am so thankful that my kids are learning about and being shown love by a truly amazing group of individuals.

Day 19:

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On Friday we were getting things for our Family Night at church. I picked up a box of mini candy canes to go with our hot coco bar. At check-out K told me he wanted to share his candy canes. He gave out candy canes to all the cashiers.

I am so thankful for small kindnesses and humbled by my son’s thoughtfulness. I’ve read a few stories from friends about strangers paying for their groceries and other charitable acts. If everyone did at least one kind, unexpected act this holiday season it would be amazing.

I hope everyone participating in Black Friday shopping remembers to be kind. Retail workers are people. They have families and lives and feelings. Getting a good deal on “stuff” is not worth losing your temper or integrity over. A super deluxe iPad 5000 or Barbie Dream House with Jacuzzi aren’t worth being a jerk to other people. (People being the key word here.)

Be kind. Choose love.

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Snapshots of Thanksgiving- Day 17

Day 17:

After trying to keep E from climbing things all day I started to go stir crazy. Daddy worked a short shift but went to work on the “Old House”. I love staying with my kids but I was beginning to feel isolated and was getting truly tired of vacuuming constant messes. I finally decided we had to get away for a bit.

I took the kids to the park I used to go to as a kid. It was a little farther than our usual parks but worth it. The old rickety wooden play ground has been replaced with a newer metal/plastic play ground but the bike trails were still there. I have many fond memories of riding my bike, wading in the creek, and hiding secret notes for friends in that park.

*taking a moment to marinate in nostalgia*

I am so thankful for public parks and play areas. I am glad that kids can have a place to go be kids.

Here is E riding a chicken:

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E has no fear. She gladly climbed to the very tallest slide by herself. She makes me nervous and proud at the same time.

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K is much more cautious than E. I was surprised and excited when he decided to climb the rock wall. He fell once, but tried again.

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He also sat on a hanging tree branch.

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He collected “treasures” while we walked. He gathered leaves, acorns, and rocks in his fireman hat. He poured them out in his bin to show Daddy when we got home.

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My stellar parenting move of the day was leaving E’s shoes in the truck, which Daddy was driving. I decided E would be fine in socks on the play ground and could ride in the car wagon while we walked. When we got back to the car I realized she had been dragging her feet in the wagon and her socks looked like this:

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We are tough on socks.

I’m just glad that my kids are able to get dirty, run, fall, climb, try again, slide, swing, collect treasures, enjoy nature, and just be kids!

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To-Do Lists

As a mom I always have a mental to-do list. I rarely write it down, but most days it would look something like this:

1. Laundry (Folding?)- in progress
2. Pull out things for dinner
3. Keep children alive
4. Vacuum the living room
5. Lunch
6. Vacuum again
7. Get both kids to nap
8. Clean while kids nap
9. Shower?
10. Pee alone
11. Give up on 6-10 and spend 2 hours getting K to nap. E will pop up when K goes to sleep.
12. Count the minutes until Daddy gets home.

I started wondering today what my kids’ to-do lists would look like. So far this morning I would guess something like this:

E’s to-do list:
1. Climb on every piece of furniture.
2. Hide from mommy and poop.
3. Crawl between the chair and the wall despite mommy’s protest.
4. Cry when I get stuck behind the chair.
5. Try to rip the blinds down. (Thwarted by mommy)
6. Make brother scream by Sitting on him and kissing him.
7. Watch mommy pull her hair out and giggle- in progress

K’s to-do list:
1. Rise before the sun.
2. Wake everyone up.
3. Beg for cereal.
4. Cry because I really wanted waffles.
5. Follow mommy to the bathroom and sing to her. Ignore her pleas for me to leave.
6. Avoid getting tackled by sister.
7. Whine because sister tackled me and licked me.
8. Pull every blanket out of my room and the blanket basket in the living room.
9. Try to use the one blanket mommy is using.
10. Talk loudly while mommy tries to get sister to nap.

E kissing/licking brother:

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It has been a long morning. Only an hour until Daddy gets home from work. (It is his short day.)

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