Mama Miller Parenting

Passionate parenting and homemaking.

Friday Favorites: Pregnancy/Parenting Books




This has been a tough mommy week for me. Baby F is doing well and growing right on track, but has decided his new favorite place is super low in my pelvis. I’m having swelling in places I never dreamed would be able to swell, Braxton Hicks, and some killer back pain. On top of that I’m having a hard time keeping up with the kiddos- especially K.

We just don’t connect well this week. I’m tired and distracted. He is wild and loud and apparently deaf to pleas of his exhausted mama. His favorite activity has been egging sister on when she is doing something she ought not be doing.

Taking off the couch cushions? He’s there helping her.

Trying to stick her hands in the fish tank? He’s holding the lid up.

Dropping food on the dog? He is giggling and offering encouragement.

Putting my feet up to relieve some of the pressure and swelling has mostly been a pipe dream.

I admit I’ve cried a few tears of joy at bedtime the past few days. Love is choice. Some days it is easier than others. We’ve had a lot of other moments.

I was trying to think of another way to approach discipline with him (pleading and yelling are NOT what I really want to be doing) and I was reminded of one of my favorite parenting books that is currently gathering dust on my shelf. Why have I not been using all the tools I have?

You cannot fix every issue in your house with a hammer- why would you be able to solve every parenting issue with only one tool?

I love reading and research. I like finding new ways to do things and different strategies to try. I decided to make my Friday Favorites post about some of my favorite books. There are many more that my fried mom brain can’t remember right now, but here are a few:

1. Common Sense Parenting of Toddlers and Preschoolers


Once upon a time I was social worker. I was a family advocate for a non-profit agency. This was by far my favorite parenting book that we used. It has some absolutely great tools and ideas for discipline. There is also an older kid version. I seriously recommend this book to all parents. I love that it focuses on teaching life skills. Sharing, waiting your turn, and following directions are not concepts kids are born with!

2. Active Parenting


This is another great one we used at the family center. It is concise, straight forward, and easy to follow. There are also versions for parents of teens. You can even visit their website and find a parenting group in your area.

3. From the Hips: A Comprehensive, Open-Minded, Uncensored, Totally Honest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Becoming a Parent


This is seriously the best pregnancy book ever! It is hilarious and has little blurbs from real moms and dads on their experiences. Forget What to Expect and the Mayo Clinic Guide– this is it. I love how open they are and very non-judgmental on all different types of of birth and pregnancy issues.

These are just a small sampling all the amazing book that are out there. What books make you laugh? What books make you smile? What books make you cry? What books helped you get through a tough time?
Please drop a comment with some of your favorites!


Spawn of Shelob

Fridays are family breakfast/brunch date day. Usually we do something cheap like donuts on non-payday Fridays and something that involves actual plates on payday Fridays.

Today was a fancy Friday. We decided to go to Cracker Barrel. Yep… Extra fancy.

We’d ask K a billion several times to get his shoes from the play room. He kept telling us there was a spider. I finally took a break from trying to chase down E with Husband and went to investigate.

K is not the bravest kid. It took me a while to convince him he could hold a doodle bug without contracting a fatal disease. So, I expected to see a tiny run-of-the-mill house spider. We live in rural area in Texas… Spiders happen.

This is what I found:


Ok, so this is actually a picture of Aragog... But it is close!

Sweet nightmares! This thing was surely a descendant of Shelob, born from the depths of hell itself.


Husband: What’s wron… OH SWEET JESUS!

Me: Do not squish that thing in my house! Take it out and kill it!

Husband was temporarily stunned.



Husband the Brave battling the Shelob

Husband sprung into action, trapped it in a cup, and took it outside to vanquish.

K: I told you there was a spider…

Yes you did kid. Yes you did.

About that time something flung itself at me from behind the futon.


K: It’s a grasshopper mom.

I have become far wimpier during pregnancy…

We did eventually make it to Cracker Barrel. It was 11 when we got there. Husband and I pretended it was still breakfast time and soothed our frazzled spider battling nerves with pancakes. The kids chose macaroni.


Pictured: Why I wish E was clingier to daddy.

Mmm, slimy cheese covered toddler.

Happy Friday! I’ll have a Friday Favorites up later this evening, provided I’m not eaten by hell-spiders.


The Field Guide to Visiting a New Veteran Mom

As I approach the due date of my third little one I have been thinking a lot about the ins and outs of managing a house with a four year old, a two year old, and a newborn. I will gladly admit, I’m terrified. Part of me thinks, “I got this,” and part of me wants to run. Any number of kids is a lot of kids! All new parents (whether their first or second or fourteenth) have their hands full. Adjusting to new little person is hard.

I recently read a guest blog authored by my friend at How to Ruin A Toddler’s Day on Modern Man of the Cloth‘s page. It was a wonderfully written post about what new dads can do to help their new moms. It got us thinking about collaborating on a guide for visitors. Everyone wants to see the new baby and everyone wants to help, but not everyone really knows what a new mom needs.

This is a two part post. You can find “The Field Guide for Visiting a New First Time Mom” here on How to Ruin a Toddler’s day. As a mom of one beautiful toddler, her perspective on being a first time mom is a little fresher than mine.

This post will address the special needs/requests of a veteran mom of a new baby. It is from personal experience and poling other veteran mamas.


1. Call first. When visiting a veteran mom in the hospital or at her home during those first few weeks, always always call. If you just drop by, you will probably find a frazzled bra-less mom in pajamas. If you stop by during one of the rare times she gets a nap, you will likely find a frazzled bra-less grumpy T-rex in pajamas.

2. When you call, ask if she needs anything. The answer is probably yes, and it probably involves food or toilet paper or extra absorbancy maxi pads.

3. Bring food. Single serving freezer meals, muffins, and healthy snacks/fruit are all pluses. Breastfeeding takes a lot of calories. Recovering from birth in general takes fuel. The other kids in the house require feeding too. (Most moms do not want the other little people in the house hopped up on sugary snacks… but you can sneak some chocolate or ice cream in there for mom.)

4. If you bring something for baby, do so discreetly or also bring something for the other kids. Adjusting to a new sibling can be difficult for older kids, especially those who were just ousted from the position of youngest. Constant attention and gifts for the new baby don’t help the older kiddos warm to the idea of being a big sibling. Small things to keep them busy (a new toy, book, or movie) are great. (Make sure the toys/activities don’t require a lot of extra help from mom and dad. Read- Batteries included, no assembly required…)

5. Play with the older children… or better yet- TAKE THEM! Spending time with older kids so mom can focus on baby is a huge help. Taking them away for a play date somewhere, anywhere, is even better. It will take a load off mom and give the kids some much needed extra attention.

6. Wash your hands. It may seem small, but even veteran moms are still concerned with germs. We already have little grimy hands in the house to worry about. Washing your hands before holding the baby (and helping the toddler wash their hands) is great. And if you are sick- fuggedaboutit. Just wait it out. Mom doesn’t need a small needy army of sickies along with a new baby. The baby will still be cute when you feel better. Possibly even cuter. (New babies may take a bit to shrug off the baby monkey look and settle into their cuteness.)

7. Be sensitive to a breastfeeding mom. If mom is nursing, pay attention to her cues and assume she wants privacy. It can be hard to get the hang of and she may need calm and quiet to get that milk going. Other times a veteran mom may have lost her sense of modesty when it comes to nursing. If you are uncomfortable- come back later, look away, or keep the older kids busy for a bit. (Personally, you can either come back, or deal with the fact that I’m feeding the baby. I had such a hard time with my first, that I will now put nursing above making others comfortable- especially in my own home.)

8. Help with basic chores! A house with more than one child will often look like ground zero of a major explosion. If mom feels comfortable with it, offer to help with basic chores. Running a load of dishes, sweeping, helping older kids pick up toys, etc. (I don’t personally like help with laundry. I want to keep my postpartum granny panties and the size of my yoga pants to myself. Tread carefully on that one.)

9. Keep visits short. You want to see the baby and hold the baby. We get that, but keep it brief. Unless you are staying to help with older kids, dinner, or cleaning- please keep it short and don’t expect to be entertained.

10. Keep opinions to yourself. Postpartum is a rough time for many all moms. Whether she is breast or bottle feeding, cloth diapering or using disposables, Baby Wising or Attachment Parenting, had an all natural water birth or her third c-section is none of your business. Yes, I said it. It just isn’t. Don’t go there. If she specifically asks you for advice, give concise non-judgmental answers. You don’t know if she is dealing with postpartum depression or if she has already heard it a million times. Unsolicited advice is overwhelming for a first time mom and often times annoying for a veteran mom.

11. Ask mom and dad how they are doing. Just because it isn’t their first rodeo doesn’t mean they don’t need or want help. Adjusting to number 2 is just as overwhelming as being a first timer. The baby may be cute, but it is still a lot of work. Showing you see them as more than “one who brings cute baby” is important.

12. Respect her spaces. Bedrooms and private bathrooms are off limits. Natural or c-section, she will have things for her personal care that you just don’t need to see. If someone is in the main bathroom, wait. Do not go seeking out her separate bathroom. If it is a one bathroom house, try to hold it until you leave or ask her if it is ok for you to use. She may want to go put a few things away before you go in there.

13. Did I mention bringing food and taking kids for a while? Seriously, more food and less kids. So very very helpful. (Also good for a mom pregnant with her second or any subsequent baby. Just saying…)

I hope this helps as you navigate the ins and outs of visiting new veteran moms. If you are expecting, you can subtly forward this to your family and friends. 😉

***Again, make sure you check out The Field Guide to Visiting a New First Time Mom on How to Ruin a Toddler’s Day! She has a hilariously awesome take on visiting a first time mom!


Wordless Wednesday- Total eclipse of my toes


It is official. My toes are gone! When I sit in my chair I can tell they are still there, but I stand up and they disappear.

Thanks again to those who have given me fun awards this week. I have a draft going, but my little womb squatter isn’t cooperating. He is on my nerves (literally) and I’m supposed to be resting with my feet up.

I’ll wait while the other moms of more than one take a minute to catch their breath from laughing at the thought of trying to rest while chasing your older children. Done? No? I’ll give it a bit more.


Wicked Braxton Hicks + baby sitting on my nerves + 4 year old Jedi child + almost 2 year old tornado child = one very behind mommy blogger

***On a moderately related topic, this is probably the first bare belly pregnant picture I’ve ever taken of myself. I was inspired by the Mom in Front movement and the lovely ladies of Plus Size Birth to stop hiding behind the camera and take more photos with my kids.

This belly of mine has housed three babies. It has some scars and plenty of stretch marks, but it has done its job. It has also functioned as a pillow, a jungle gym, and drum. That’ll do belly… That’ll do.


A Quiet Love Story


Ok Hollywood, you can keep your big flashy love stories.

I don’t need running through a crowded airport.

I don’t need kissing in the rain.

I don’t need a dramatic fight scene.

Or a love triangle.

You can keep it all.

I like my quiet love story.

Sometimes love just looks like a husband of six years hanging diapers out to sun so you can rest your pregnant feet.


Mom Tourette’s

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Mom Times 4’s post on motherhood and phone calls. It inspired today’s post…

Nicole over at Shephardology is one of my dear friends. We met in college and actually grew up in the same area, but at different schools. I have my two kids, K and E, and she has her son, J.

This is what a typical phone conversation between the two of us would look like:

Me: So, the doctor said STOP CHASING SISTER that baby F is looking DO NOT LICK YOUR BROTHER good.

Nicole: That is good. J, LEAVE THE CAT ALONE. Do you want to meet for a play date one day?

Me: That would be great. NO, I WILL NOT OPEN A CHEESE STICK. GO PUT IT BACK. How about Tuesday?

Nicole: Great. GO ASK DADDY. Let’s meet at the GET OFF MY FOOT mall.

Only a mom can appreciate the weird broken language of another mom. I have come to call this phenomenon Mom Tourette’s. I’m sure it drives non parents crazy. I don’t even realize I’m doing it anymore.

On a totally unrelated topic, I wanted to show you something awesomely nerdy…

I mentioned my friend’s at Houchin’s House of Wizarding Wares on my last Friday Favorites post. Well, a month or so back I won a gift certificate giveaway from them. I asked if they would be willing to make a custom wand as a gift for my husband’s birthday. I was actually able to keep it a secret from him. (Those that know me can stop gasping now.)

This is the awesomeness that we received yesterday:


Yes, that is a handmade Dr. Who wand. How fun is that?! Now we have the coolest conversation starter ever on our shelf. It is nerdy and beautifully made.

**For those that have given me awards this week, I am planning to play catch-up later today. 🙂

****Also, not making lite of a serious condition. It is just what I imagine outsiders would think hearing me on the phone. 🙂


Toasted Kibble for Breakfast?

Yes folks, the Dog Food in the the Oven Bandit (aka Mommy Insanity Maker) strikes again…

My pregnant, motherhood fried brain is just not capable of remembering to check the dumb oven every time I turn it on. I don’t think about it until I smell the awful, telltale smoke of burning kibble. I especially don’t remember to check at 7am while trying to make banana bread (a la Bundt Cake of Adversity) for a friend at church recovering from surgery.

(Yes, we bought an oven lock… It was a miserable failure. We are searching out a different kind. Preferably the kind that actually locks the oven.)

What is more maddening is that I have never caught the culprit in the act. I’m pretty sure it has to be E… but K, Miri the big red dog, or aliens have also crossed my mind. The Kibble Fairy maybe?


Yep, I definitely need more sleep... And art classes.

I have thoroughly lectured K on the danger of putting things in the oven. He swears it is sister. I have now convinced him that it is his knightly duty to to protect the kingdom and tell mommy and daddy if he sees sister putting things in the oven.

I even grilled E.

Me: Did you put Miri’s food in that oven?

E: Uh-huh. (While hugging me.)

Me: You can’t put dog food in the oven. It is not nice. No more dog food in the oven.

E: Oh… (Kisses my leg and runs off.)

Interrogating a 22 month old is not a very fruitful task.


Sometimes in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to put a reminder on your oven to check for dog food.

Good morning by the way… Where is my coffee?

**I think I should be worried! This is what she put in the church nursery oven…


The Cuteness Factor

Another short post. My kids are protesting sleep this week. They are up early, power nap (if they nap), and then fight sleep for hours.

I officially hate summer. It is bright for way too long… And hot… And sweaty… And it means I’m still pregnant. So very pregnant. Waddling pregnant. Afraid-to-stand-up-for-fear-of-peeing-myself pregnant.

Stores are evil, by the way. They already have out long sleeved things and Fall scented candles! Long sleeves! In August! In Texas! Why?!

I digress though.

My son used the eyelash flutter on me today. He asked me if he could spend the night with Nana and Poppy and then fluttered his eyelashes at me. It wasn’t an accident. He was purposely trying to be cute.

When did he learn that?

I did not fall for it…

In other cuteness related news, E had her first ever pedicure with Nana and I today. She sat in my lap and stuck her toes in the water with me. They even agreed to paint a squirmy not-yet 2 year old’s toes. K and Poppy did manly things together while all this girliness went down.



Her little toes match my swollen pregnant toes.

Have a great night everyone! May you have cute kids, pretty toes, and not pee yourself (pregnant or otherwise).


Friday Favorites: Nerdy Edition

So, it is no secret that my husband and I are nerds. We were both in band from sixth grade through college and bonded over our mutual love of geek culture. My 4 year old is in love with all things Star Wars and can quote the intro to Star Trek TNG. My little sister even brought back a Storm Trooper bow for E from Wizard World (similar to comic con).


K the Ewok…

We pretty much like anything Marvel, Dr. Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, Warehouse 13, Mario, Zelda, and Harry Potter. How can you go wrong with amazing story lines that embrace imagination?

In honor of Friday Favorites: Nerdy Edition, I wanted to share a few of my favorite geektastic businesses and sites…

  • Think Geek. You can find almost anything here. You need a Soft Kitty shirt? Done. Light up Star Trek bib with Enterprise spoon? Done. Dr. Who sonic screwdriver lamp? Done.
  • Houchin’s House of Wizarding Wares. I went to school with this awesome family! They sell hand carved wands, crocheted bows, “potion” necklaces, and other cute Pottereque goods. They even make crochet hook wands. How cool is that?! (Keri also is a local blogger for frugal family fun in the DFW area, recipes, and other frugal homemaking tips. Check her out at One Mama’s Daily Drama.)
  • MommySoup. We recently switched our toddler over to cloth diapers. What won my hubby over to this choice? The prints. Pampers don’t come in Dr. Who prints. This is a WAHM (Work at Home Mom) with some talent for diapering kids in style. Her covers would even be cute over those Pampers.
  • Shirt Diapers. Yes, more cloth cuteness. I love that this mama has an eye for cute geekiness and she upcycles! All her diapers are made from old t-shirts she finds. She’ll even discount your custom order if you send her in one of your own shirts! We sent in a thrift store Yoda shirt that K wore as a baby. E also wore it as a nightshirt, but it was getting stretched out. We sent it to her and it became the cutest diaper ever for Baby F.
  • Seams Geeky. One last bit of diaper cuteness… I haven’t had a chance to order one of these beauties yet, but I am in love with her amazing embroidery! They are gorgeous.

Those are my favorite geeky shops. Do you have any? What is your favorite nerdy indulgence?


E modeling the Yoda diaper and her Storm Trooper bow.


Firefly Diaper cover and bib from MommySoup!


Pink Star Wars Kids diaper cover, also MommySoup.

Why have kids if you can’t put them in cute geeky bows, diapers, and clothes?

Don’t forget to stop by my facebook page and tell me about your favorite geeky show, movie, game, or book series! I will be continuing Friday Favorites on different topics each week.


Throwback Thursday or Toddler Tantrum Thursday

Today I have had a very bossy little dictator toddler in my house. In honor of this momentous occasion (not being able to get kids to sleep so I can blog), I decided to do a throwback.


This is my husband and I on our way to TBS/KKY banquet my senior year at Howard Payne University. We were newly engaged, childless, and stressing over graduation and wedding plans. Sweet memories.

I know today is a little bit lame, but make sure to come back tomorrow. I will be starting a Friday Favorites series. Our first topic will be Nerdy Favorites. If you have a nerdy favorite (website, show, video, blog) be sure to visit my Facebook page or Tweet me and tell me about it! Let’s geek out together. 🙂