Mama Miller Parenting

Passionate parenting and homemaking.

Happy Holidays!

A few fun nuggets from the past week…

E tripped (shocking right?) and got a big knot on her head. K overheard me telling Nana that she had a “goose egg”. When he woke up the next morning he told her to show Daddy her “goose brains”.

E has developed a massive love of rubbing Baby F’s head. She also wants to make him dance with her. He just gives her wide eyed stares of startled wonder.

K’s conversation with one of Nana’s coworkers today:
“Are you a good big brother?”

“Well, I don’t change diapers. Mommy and Daddy have to change those.”

“I bet you are still a good big brother. Do you show them the ropes?”

“Um, actually I don’t know how to jump rope very good yet.”

Anyway friends: Merry Christmas!

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Domestically Impared

I absolutely adore being a stay at home mom. It is by far the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’m good with wiping noses and bottoms. Tantrums suck, but they happen.

Am I a good mom? Eh, overall I do ok.

A good wife? I try.

But a domestic goddess I am not.

My perfect housekeeping gene is broken. I’m domestically impaired. I keep a decently clean house, but I will never have my home on the cover of Good Housekeeping.

It is okay. I have other talents. I’ve made peace with the toys on the floor. (One day my children will call when their foot is impaled by a Lego one of their kids left out… And I’ll smile.) I’m not going to fret over my bookshelf being jumbled. (It will just get jumbled again.)

If you are a domestic goddess, I applaud you. I’m glad you are using your talent. Keep on scrubbing and changing decorations to fit the seasons and creating elaborate lunch box dioramas for your kids’ lunches. (That is what you do, right?)

This post is for the rest of us. For those who don’t care about “Tablescapes” or “Perfect Parsnip Soup”.

I submit for approval from my domestically challenged sisters my idea for a new magazine: Mediocre Housekeeping.
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Article ideas:

How to Avoid Your Home Looking Like an Episode of Hoarders

Best Deodorants: When you haven’t had a shower in three days and may be harboring cereal fugitives in your hair

Strategies for Peeing Alone: A guide to getting 5 minutes a day to urinate in peace

How to Have Adequate “Adult Time” When the Baby Will Wake Any Minute: It won’t knock his socks off, but it’ll do.

I am covered in sleeping kids and I have to pee. What now?

Surviving the Tantrum: When your child collapses in the bread aisle.

How many days can I wear these yoga pants before I need to wash them?

Where are Max and Ruby’s parents? An investigation.

A Guide to Period Panties

Breastfeeding Etiquette: Just deal with it or look away.

Getting three kids and a dog into the car

Where do all the socks go?

Yep… I’d read that magazine.

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The ‘Good’ Baby

It happens so often. In grocery stores and malls and parks everywhere. People asking the question that brings prickly stress and annoyance to my soul.

“Is he/she a good baby?”

What does that even mean?!

Please stop asking new moms this question. Just don’t.

Every baby is a good baby.

A baby who sleeps through the night from 4 weeks does not possess more ‘goodness’ than a baby with colic who barely sleeps for the first year.

They are babies. Innocent. Perfect. Beautiful.

There is no such thing as a bad baby.

Some babies are, however, easier than others. It doesn’t make them good.

Some are clingy or have high needs. Being difficult doesn’t make them bad.

Please, I beg you, don’t ask it. It is inappropriate and can make new moms feel awkward. A mom with a high needs baby already has seeds of insecurity about their abilities. Questions like this only help that insecurity grow.

Don’t ask if they’re sleeping through the night yet. Or if they are on an eating schedule.

Ask them how they’re doing.

Ask them if you can do anything to help them out.

Ask if you can pray for them or with them about anything.

Or just tell them what a great job they’re doing.

New moms are incredibly strong and incredibly fragile. They are precious like their sweet babes. Let’s build them up. Growing healthy moms benefits us all. Their weary, beautiful hands are shaping the next generation.

With love,
Mama Miller

P.S.  Baby F is doing well. He eats when he eats. He sleeps when he sleeps. He smiles and he cries. He gives great snuggles. He, like all babies, is a good baby.

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Baby F’s Birth Story

Disclaimer: This is a birth story, and birth stories often contain information that some may find icky. There is nothing too traumatic in this story, but still…

My sweet husband and I had thought our little family was complete. We had one boy and one girl. I just felt incredibly lucky to have children at all.

With the birth of K I found out that I had an ovarian condition. One of my ovaries had been taken over by a large cystic tumor and had to be removed. I had a 30-50% chance of developing one on the other side. I was told not to wait too long if I wanted another baby.

E was born 2 years and 3 months after K. Her birth had been a much easier c-section than my first. Although I am totally supportive of VBACs, I knew it was safer with my ovarian condition to continue with cesarean births.

When E was about 15 months old our little world was turned upside down. I went to the doctor thinking I had an UTI and found out instead that we were pregnant! I had just been up on a ladder painting in our renovation house. We really had no clue.

The pregnancy went by very quickly this time. We moved into our house. We adopted Miri the big red dog. We found out we were having another boy.

I had some blood pressure issues toward the end of both my previous pregnancies, but not this time. We scheduled my c-section for September 26th- exactly ten days after E’s second birthday.

The day before I was still driving and getting things ready.

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Oh so very pregnant...

The big kids went to spend the night with my in-laws and we got up super bright and early to head to the hospital.

I had heard from a laction consultant friend that my hospital was now offering more family centered c-sections. I had discussed with my doctor being able to have skin to skin with the baby while still in the OR. He was fine with it but said to remind the nurses when we got there.

I was very worried when the first nurse I talked to wasn’t sure about the new policy. She said she would ask our ‘baby catcher’ nurse. Luckily, we had the best baby catcher ever. She was very excited and willing to adhere to our wishes.

At about 7:30am I left my parents, in-laws, and big kids in the recovery room to go back. I had a fairly smooth spinal block and epidural. Soon I was ready to go and had Andy by my side.

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My mom and dad waiting with the kids.

At 8:08am we heard him cry for the first time. Our amazing baby catcher, Monika, quickly wiped him down, suctioned his nose and mouth, and promptly placed him on my chest.

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She really was the best nurse ever. She helped us hold him on my chest and eventually worked all the blankets down enough to help him latch. I got to nurse in the OR!

It was the best cesarean experience I could have asked for. Everything went by so quickly with him to focus on. It was much more personal than the swaddled kiss I had with my other births.

He stayed with me until right before they moved me to the transport bed. She took him to measure and weigh while I was moved.

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8lbs 8oz and 20 inches long

He rode on my chest to the recovery room for more nursing and meeting his family.

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I had supply issues with both K and E. I desperately wanted to make it work better this time around. I think our early skin to skin definitely helped. We had some serious cluster feeding marathons while in the hospital. He lost over a pound, but was wetting, pooping, and feeding well. He wasn’t overly jaundice. I had some great lactation consultants visit with me and show me how to use a supplemental nursing system if needed.

(It is a canister that attaches to a thin tube. The tube is slipped into the corner of baby’s mouth while nursing. They get the expressed milk or formula while still nursing. No bottles or nipple confusion. I highly recommend looking into one instead of bottle supplements.)

My hospital stay was tiring, but fairly uneventful. I was walking to the restroom later that night. I took a shower the next morning and was able to slowly walk to the nurses station and back. We got the ok to head home Sunday morning.

He is nursing well and slowly gaining weight back. He isn’t quite up to birth weight, but because he is so healthy our pediatrician isn’t worried. I offer formula in the supplemental nursing system a few times a day after feedings, but he rarely takes any.

I couldn’t have made it through the first couple of weeks without my parents and in-laws. They helped us so much with the kids and transportation. We also had some amazing church family send us meals.

I’m still sore, but I’m driving now and I’ve even made a couple of outings with all the kids. I even got to go to my 10 year high school reunion this weekend (with the baby).

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Baby F is here!

I know it has been a while dear friends. Baby F did, in fact, make a safe healthy debut. I’ve had a hard time blogging during this pregnancy.

In many ways this pregnancy was the easiest. I knew what to expect. I had no weight gain (lost 25+lbs and gained back about 15-20lbs). I never had high blood pressure…

It was also the hardest in many ways. Chasing two kids while pregnant is not easy. We also renovated a house and moved. I also made the choice (along with my OB) to go through this pregnancy without my anxiety medicine.

After E was born, postpartum depression and anxiety hit fairly hard and I had been on a low dose mild medication since she was five months old.

There are so many wrong assumptions about what depression looks like. I never laid in bed and cried all day. I didn’t look like a little cartoon with a storm cloud over my head. I just didn’t feel right. Little things would make the stress resonate in my shoulder blades. I was moody and didn’t cope with things as well. I would want to write or visit friends or do something, but a weirdness would wash over me and I’d hold back.

I was still me. I still got up every day and made breakfast for my kids. I could still joke and visit family. Please remember that if a friend or family member ever approaches you about depression. They may not look depressed or anxious. It can be a silent affliction that lurks in the shadows.

I made a plan with my doctor and pediatrician to start a new breastfeeding safe medication while in the hospital. I don’t regret waiting out my pregnancy, but I feel much more like myself now. Adjusting to three kids is much easier when you don’t feel like you are drowning in stress.

Baby F is almost 4 weeks old now. E and K are over the moon for their baby brother. They both like to hold him and both help grab things for mama. We are well. I’m hopefully back.. As much as a newborn will let me be.

Stay tuned for his birth story with more pictures!

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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:

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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.

Me: HUSBAND!

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.

Me: GET A CUUUUP! KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!

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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.

Me: AHHH! SPIDER ATTACK!

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.

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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.

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A Quiet Love Story

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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.

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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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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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