Mama Miller Parenting

Passionate parenting and homemaking.

Texas: Please take your meds

Dearest Texas,

I love you. I really do. Please know that. I love your spring flowers. I love the big blue skies. You have the best food and the best people. Dr. Pepper and Texas sweet tea are nectar from heaven. You contain some of the most beautiful places on earth.

You are great. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

That being said, we have a few things to discuss, dearest state of mine…

Please get some medication for your bipolar disorder. Your weather related mood swings are hurting those that love you. Your children are getting sick because we go from shorts and air conditioning to sweaters and heaters about five times in the course of a week.

This is not ok. The only predictable season is summer, when we know to expect hot or hotter. During Fall, Winter, and Spring we are at the mercy of your ever-changing whims.

Please get help. I love you, but I can’t afford any more doctor’s visits for ear infections and sinus infections.

With all the love for my Lone Star State,
Cori

Please excuse my tired ramblings… E has another double ear infection and I have a cough that is not helping my pregnancy nausea. We really have gone between running the air and heat several times in the past few weeks.

20130215-224336.jpgE and K in the lovely bluebonnets.

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Valentine Play

The kids are finally asleep, Andy is still at work, and I’m force-feeding myself a few pretzels in hopes of lessening the nausea.

Because Andy had to work tonight, we did our date night yesterday. My in-laws graciously agreed to babysit and we got to enjoy amazing Thai food, a bubble tea slush, and adult conversation.

I wanted to make today special for the kids. When they were napping I whipped up some homemade Playdoh. (This is my favorite recipe.) I made blue for K and pink for E. I added a splash of vanilla to make it smell yummy. I set up their little table with small cups of glass stones and beads.

Here is E playing and squishing beads into her dough:

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Her “art”:

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K finally woke up and joined us:

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This entertained them for almost an hour and a half! They loved it. They squished in beads and dug them out. They filled E’s little tea cups with “dough tea” and K made “smoovies”. We rolled balls, made roads, and even mixed a little pink and blue together to make purple.

I also filled our cute little heart ice trays (Target $1) with water and added one drop of neon food coloring to each heart. I used blue, pink, and purple.

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For bath time I dumped all of our frozen hearts into a bin…

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I set the bin in the bath with them. They had fun dunking them in the water and watching them disappear and color the bath. We eventually had a purple bath. The ice hearts only lasted a few minutes but they really enjoyed it.

No pictures of my ice hearts in action. My kids splash and move too much for bath pictures.

We worked on E recognizing the color purple and the shape of a heart. K and I talked more about color mixing and the states of matter with our ice play.

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Juice Box Robots- A Guest Blog

I am super excited to be hosting my first guest blog! Ciara is a dear friend from college and couponing guru. I hope you enjoy her adorable Valentine creation!

*Juice Box Robots*

As the mom of a 5 year old boy, I am constantly looking for creative ways to show him that I care. Since his first Christmas at daycare, I have been making special gifts and goody bags for his classmates. I work full time and I go to college full time, so finding time to craft is a challenge. Many moms ask me why I put myself through the added work of making these things for his friends at school and my answer has always been “it’s worth it”.

This was solidified this past Christmas when I walked into the class with my normal box of party bags and a little girl in his class ran up to me and said “Miss Ciara, are those the bags like what you made us last year?” and when I said yes she began jumping up and down and squealing with delight. He starts school in the fall and everyone in his class will be at a different school, so I decided to make this Valentine’s Day special for them. Hence, Juice Box Robots. Below are the directions and a photo of the steps! I found this originally on Pinterest but without the foil. I decided the foil would make them look more like robots J.

What you will need for this project to make 20 robots (I list the brands because of the quantity they are sold in):

2 Minute Maid 10 packs of juice boxes

20 Musselman’s organic applesauce cups

3 bags of Sunmaid mini raisin boxes

1lb bag of smarties

Foil (I don’t know the exact amount, I have a giant roll of it, but I used a lot)

White paper

Red construction paper

Black marker

Scissors

Transparent tape

Kraft Permanent glue spots (or hot glue if you would prefer). I used the Kraft spots because although they are “permanent” they can easily be pulled apart. Doing so will rip the foil, but this way the food and drink are protected from damage. When they are pulled apart the packaging of the products will not be affected.

Step 1. Gather all of your products, and prepare your foil. I had to eyeball how much foil to use, I used about 10”-12” of foil to wrap each set of items.

Step 2. Wrap each item (I wrapped them in the foil like I do a present, with the seam on the back).

Step 3. Place the kraft spots (or hot glue) on the inside edge of the top of the raisin box, and put the juice box on. Next, put more kraft spots/glue on the top of the juice box and attach the applesauce cup. Press firmly (but not too hard) to secure the pieces. Tape the exposed end of the smarties to the sides of the juice box for the arms. Attach the heart with clever saying on the front using kraft spots/glue. Draw eyes on white paper with the black marker, draw a mouth, and tape them on. If you use the invisible tape you can just put it over the eyes and mouth and it won’t show.

Step 4. Enjoy your majestic creation! Also, take a nap, it’s exhausting 😉

So very cute!

So very cute!

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Oops We Did It Again

I have been dying to share this video with you!

This was our pregnancy announcement on FaceBook. I am not comfortable linking my blog with my personal accounts, but I decided to create a Google+ e-mail and YouTube account for Mama Miller Parenting.

I really hope you enjoy the video. I wrote the lyrics and Andy was an incredibly good sport. You’ll also notice K singing along because he helped Daddy memorize it!

Please excuse the fact that this was taken with my phone. 🙂

And the fact that you can hear me being a mouth breather because Texas allergies decided to completely close off my poor pregnant nose.

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Throwback Pic: Joy

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I got sentimental today and started looking through last year’s pictures of the kids. (Probably not the brightest move for a hormonal pregnant woman that cries at everything.)

I came across this one and I absolutely love it. It was taken just shy of a year ago on a trip to visit our friends in Texas Hill Country. K was about 2 1/2.

For those that don’t know, Spring in Texas is amazing. For a few weeks everything comes alive with wildflowers. Parents frantically dress their little ones up in Easter clothes and seek out fields of Bluebonnets for family photo ops.

Our friends live in one of the prettiest areas in our great state. While visiting we decided that we also had to take advantage of the gorgeous backdrop. This is one of the pictures.

I love his look of joy and contentment. He is a little boy visiting one of his best friends who also gets to roll around on the ground. Pure childlike joy.

I have to slow down and get me some of that…

Also, he has gotten so stinking big in the course of a year! *tear*

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Oh the tears…

It is amazing how much you forget about being pregnant until you go through it again.

Sudden desire to sleep on back even though you aren’t supposed to when pregnant.

Lacking ability to hold in urine and sneeze at the same time.

Crying over everything.

Oh my, the crying. It shouldn’t surprise me by #3, but man it did. The lovely emotional roller coaster hit hard this morning.

Things that had me tearing up or crying today:
•A friend’s son had a seizure yesterday.
•I was up all night with K.
•The toilet paper roll was empty.
•We were out of Dr. Pepper.
•Thinking about how beautiful my kids are.
•E putting her hand in the toilet.
•K drinking out of my water.
•My mom bought me maternity jeans.
•I saw someone cry on a TV show.
•I couldn’t find my other shoe.
•I wanted cereal but all the bowls were in the running dishwasher.
•There was a picture of a kitty on FaceBook.
•I thought about Downton Abbey.
•I breathed.
•Sitting there.
•Having 5 minutes alone.
•My phone buzzing during my 5 minutes alone.
•Realizing it is ridiculous to cry over half the things that I cried about today.
•Making this list.

It has been a ridiculous day.

Don’t get me wrong, it really wasn’t a bad day. I just want to throw this out there for the pregnant moms.

Yes, crying over having to find tp is silly, but it is ok. Soldier on and don’t let it disparage you. Growing a human is hard, emotional work.

I absolutely love the pregnancy meltdown scene in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It is so funny and true.

I also love how they refer to the perfect pregnant lady as a “magical pregnancy unicorn”. Don’t let the unicorn moms get you down. You are normal- cankles, hemorrhoids, and all.

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The Evolving Mom

I was sitting, watching my kids gleefully run off energy at the play area in our local mall. Earlier that morning we had reached the breaking point of cabin fever. I made the executive decision that getting everyone dressed and loaded in the car was a better option that watching K and E ping pong off all the walls of our house.

I sat and enjoyed the fact that the squishy floors and structures meant they could dive off everything in the enclosure without a trip to the ER. I then noticed a mom with her little boy. She struck up a conversation with me. E and her son are the same age. She held his hand as he climbed up the two steps to the top of the tiny slide. He landed at the bottom with a slight bump.

His mom quickly picked him up and exclaimed, “They really need to put something softer at the bottom!”

About that time E came shooting down the slide and skidded about 3 feet. She giggled, picked herself up, and ran off to explore the other things from which to hurl herself. The other mom looked on in horror and stopped talking to me.

I will not for a second claim that all first time moms are scared or this uppity- many many are not. However, I get the whole “wait until you have another” mantra by which moms of two or more swear.

I get it.

You just don’t fret the “padding” as much the second time around. You don’t have the time or energy. You no longer rush to sanitize everything that hits the ground. (She played in the toilet this morning- drinking out of a sippy cup that hit the freshly vacuumed floor can’t be that bad.)

It isn’t that moms with multiple children don’t care about their kids… They just choose their battles. When you have one, they become everything. You can really focus on all the tiny things. I did it with K too.

I don’t yet know how different three will be from two. I’ve been told that I will be outnumbered. I’ve been told that anything past two kiddos is more of the same. My older sister, a mom of four, said that some days she hits a point of not caring what her brood is up to, short of getting blood on the carpet or burning down the house.

Who knows. We are on an adventure. We will grow and evolve and see where this takes us.

I can hope that this adventure will eventually lead to more sleep, but I’m pretty sure that would be a pipe dream.

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Those Pesky Storks

I have a confession: I am a snarky sarcastic person. I come by it naturally. My family is full of sarcastic southern women. In Texas “bless your heart” is the southern lady way of calling you dumb. The poor men in our lives never stood a chance.

My dad is notoriously bad about forgetting to signal and after being teased one day by my mom and little sister about this, he decided to announce that he had actually used his turn signal. Without skipping a beat my sister replied, “Do you want a sticker?”

In an effort to not be a jerk and live up to my goal of choosing love, I try to reign in my remarks. They still jump into my head but I really do try to use my filter on what escapes my lips…

Pregnancy hormones are not helping my desire to be a nice person. Pregnancy hormones and the fact that my jeans are already too tight to button are contributing to a fast growing hole in the filter between my brain and mouth.

We’ve had several (well-meaning perfectly nice) people tell us we need to “figure out what causes that” in reference to our third pregnancy. I know they think they are being sweet or funny but my snarky pregnant brain comes up with three possible responses:

We have this pesky stork infestation. I think we need to spray.

You know, we’ve been married for five years but I’m still fuzzy on the details. Could you explain it to me?

I’m told, barring turkey basters, medical intervention, or immaculate conception, that it is usually sex. Sexy baby making sex.

So far none of those responses have made it past my filter but it is becoming very tempting!

In other Miller news:
E has enough hair for tiny pigtails now!

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And my kids have discovered the joys of playing dress-up.

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K got his Captain America outfit for Christmas and has worn it so much that it is getting runs and holes. E got several dresses for Christmas as well. K has decided that she is “Princess Thor”.

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Our DIY Christmas

Now that the Christmas tree is packed away and Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, I guess it is safe to share some of our crafty Christmas projects.

This year I made bows for all my nieces and my cousins’ and friends’ girls… So many bows.

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This is probably only about half the bows we made this year. My nieces requested Angry Bird bows but I could not find the ribbon for it anywhere. Of course I found a whole stinking display of it at Jo-Ann’s the week after Christmas!

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I only had a few little boys to make presents for and decided to go with t-shirt capes and masks. You just cut an old t-shirt into a cape shape, leaving the neckline. Then you can embellish with felt or material or t-shirt paint. You can use some of the leftover fabric to make a mask. They were easy, no-sew, and a big hit.

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I made some original art for my parents and in-laws…

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I painted my base color on the canvas with acrylic paint. The petals are done with craft paper. I arranged them before using mod podge glue to attach them. After adding a top coat over the entire thing, I added the little gemstones in the middle.

I also did a picture for my little sister.

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For hers I spray painted a base coat of silver paint on my canvas. When it was dry I used crisscrossing rubber bands to create my power lines. I spray painted blue over the rubber bands and cut them off when it was dry. I attached my craft paper bird silhouettes with mod podge.

We have one side of the family that does a white elephant gift exchange with homemade gifts instead of store bought presents. It has become an incredibly fun tradition. We have some awesomely talented people in our family!

My grandma always paints a picture. My mom usually crochets something. We have seen hand-carved items, cookies, sewn items, lawn decorations, and everything in between. This year my hubby made Oreo truffles. So good! I made a tin of letter magnets.

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These are simple. You just need clear stones (the little round ones that are flat on the bottom), tacky glue, paint brushes, scissors, small round magnets, and a stack of old magazines.

You cut letters or small pictures out in circles to fit your stones. Glue the picture on the flat side of the stone so that the picture shows through the raised side. Then glue the magnet on the back of the picture. Keep them flat and give them a day to dry fully. I made 48 magnets with letters and few pictures and put them in a Christmas tin.

As a bonus:
Oreo Truffles

1 package Oreos
1 package cream cheese (softened)
Chocolate or Almond Bark
A glass bowl
Spoons
Cookie scoops
Cookie sheets
Parchment paper or nonstick foil
Food processor or good blender
Sprinkles (optional)

1. Crush entire package of Oreos in food processor and add the block of cream cheese. Blend until it forms a thick chocolate paste.

2. Use a cookie scoop to scoop balls of Oreo paste and place on parchment paper or foil on a pan. Place pan of balls in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes- 1 hour to firm up.

3. Melt chocolate or almond bark in your glass bowl according to the package directions. (Make sure the bowl is super dry to prevent the chocolate/bark from seizing!)

4. Take the balls out of the freezer and drop one into the chocolate/bark to coat. I usually use two spoons to pass the truffles back and forth to get off excess chocolate. Set the truffle on the parchment paper to harden. If sprinkles are desired, sprinkle them on immediately after dipping in chocolate. Dip and sprinkle all your truffles, let them harden, and cut off any excess chocolate with a sharp knife. Keep refrigerated.

These are so stinking good! They put cake balls to shame and you don’t have to bake anything!

Happy crafting/truffle making!

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Miller Family 2013- Big News

I have missed blogging deeply over the past month. With all the holiday rush, (seemingly) endless colds/illness/pneumonia, working on the house remodel, and the general business of life, my me time has gotten pushed to the back burner.

When I did finally have time, I would stare at the blank screen and wonder how to begin. It would stretch before me full of unanswered questions- much like the new year.

What is in store for our family this year?

How will we grow and move forward?

What are our goals this year?

Early in the new year I decided that my personal mottos would be Choose Love and Choose Joy.

Love is not a feeling. It is not warm fuzzies and candy hearts. It is not lust or sex. It is not an instant thing.

Love is a choice. It is dirty diapers, chores, and family dinners that you are too tired to cook. It is staying together when you want to punch your spouse in the face. It is saying sorry. It is putting others first.

Joy is also a choice. Happiness comes from our circumstances. Joy comes from God.

I will choose love for myself, my family, and all around me. I will also choose joy, even on the days where happiness is no longer an option. I have many goals but these are the dearest to me.

This year has already brought some surprises…

I went to the doctor this week thinking I was ill. The doctor decided to run a few tests. A while later the nurse popped in and told me, “Well, you don’t have a UTI but you are pregnant! Congratulations! I just wanted to let that sink in before the doctor comes in.”

It was definitely a total shock! Nothing had prepared me for that. I had just finished (what I thought was) a cycle. I had been up on ladders painting the house. We really had no idea that it was even a possibility.

We’ve had a few days to adjust to the idea now.

So 2013 has already become a lot of things. We are moving into a house. Moving forward in our relationship with God. We will be celebrating K’s 4th Birthday in June, E’s 2nd in September, and the birth of Miller #3 later in September!

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***As an afterthought I decided that some background might be helpful. I only have one ovary. I lost one to a cystic tumor they found when I had K. I wondered if I would ever be able to conceive again without one of my ovaries. In 2011, we were blessed with E. She was planned and we definitely thought she would be our last natural birth! To go from learning about a condition that has left many women infertile to being pregnant with #3 is an amazing gift. I am definitely thankful to God- despite sometimes wondering about his timing!

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