Monday, May 25, 2009

And So It Begins...

We (horraaaay!!!) closed on our new house at 3 PM on Wednesday, May 20 and have been feverishly working in it ever since. We have had WONDERFUL helpers come to help us out. My parents and brother were here till Saturday and we have had lots and lots of people from church come in to give us a hand or knock down a shed or PUT UP a shed or pull out a bathtub or slave away over kitchen cabinet doors. Thanks SO MUCH to everyone so far!!!

A whole TROOP of guys came in to knock down our shed and haul it away.
While they were there, they also helped steam off wallpaper, and pull out a 300+ pound blue cast iron bathtub that I waved a very very cheery goodbye to.
By the end of the evening I was gazing delightedly upon this glorious sight.
It did my heart good. Andy and Courtney came the next day to further disassemble the atrocity known as the hall bath and replace it with much better things.
Can you tell I harbored great hatred towards this bathroom? I'm pretty sure it was one of the ugliest I have seen. Old blue tub with matching blue toilet and blue sinks, wallpaper of grey weathered paneling (I mean, who WOULD'NT want that in their bathroom, pray tell?), a grey marbled tub surround stretching all the way to the ceiling, a red board at chair rail height to give it a nautical feel, a shuttered medicine cabinet, nasty old old gold and white lineoleum, and a ceiling with sponged blue paint. As our house inspector had put it - "there's a little of everything going on in here." My heart seriously smiles everytime I pass that bathroom and see how it looks nothing like it used to. Andy came by on Saturday and put in white tile for us. Sigh of happiness.

Anywho. One of the main jobs we are doing is painting EVERYTHING. Walls, ceilings, woodwork, cabinets. Anything formerly known as brown is now white. Or will soon be.
This is Marti Miller and Alan Peterson hard at work.

And Alan again and Tim.
Goodbye dark paneled walls. Goodbye red carpet. Goodbye the brownness of the door. Goodbye brown shutters. Goodbye brown toilet with mold in it. Goodbye brown trim. Goodbye brown window frame. Smile of bliss.

The boys are also, OF COURSE, VEEERRY helpful on the painting front, as you can well imagine.
Here is Painter Gabe. Incidentally, today someone asked him how old he was and he said he was four. They told him that they had a 14-year old grandson. Gabe responded by informing him that he (Gabe) is also a superhero.

We got a video from the church library the other day called BIBLEMAN. (I'm sure you all have seen it. How could anyone miss such a blockbuster?) Gabe's eyes were HUGE during the whole thing. He told me that Bibleman was his FAVORITE!!! :) :)

Today Tim overheard him telling one of his babysitters that he was a superhero, but then he asked her if she knew who the greatest superhero of all was, and she said, "No, who?" and he said "God!" :) That's right, buddy.

Here's another MASSIVE project.
Tom and Wanda and Ronnie Wisseman have singlehandly constructed this ridiculously confusing puzzle of a backyard shed over several days. It is now all finished and I am ridiculously happy about our new shed. :)

Dad and I pulled up from a lengthy, arduous, and very productive Lowes trip where I earned lots of money back on my 10% moving discount :) to find these cheery greeters on our front stoop.
The boys really are enjoying themselves. Lots of people to see and play with, boxes around to make into "cars" to drive on the couch,
storage boxes to take a bath in (cause, hey, why not?? :)),
calculators to lick,
(ok, so fine, that doesn't really relate, but I just had to get a picture of that silly little tongue. :)),
front stoops to watch the world from,
flowers to smell,
cuddles to receive, and giggles to giggle... all just makes a body tuckered out.
Zion has thankfully napped very well at the house. That is a huge help!

I just can't say thank you enough to everyone that has been so helpful. We have also had meals brought in, which are a HUGE help. (I'm pretty sure my husband is going to look at me askance in regards to all my capitalizations in this post, but I can't HELP IT!!! ;))

We have to be out of this house by next Monday. So...adios from my happy state of new house! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mess Mouses

"Someone" wandered out of our bedroom the other day, where he had been hard at work carving a niche in his hair-cutting history. His scissors were still raised to the task when his daddy caught sight of him.


Gabriel jumped about a mile and then scurried to his mama's side with a very abashed expression on his face. He popped two fingers in his mouth that remained while his hair was thoughtfully examined by his mommy and daddy. :)
Tim gave him a haircut with the shortest guard on his clippers, but Gabe's "artwork" is still visible. Gabe checked the box for this "every kid" activity. Goose.

The other week he went along with Tim while our friend Chuck worked on our minivan. Gabe had a SPLENDID time and kept very very very busy the entire time. This is what he looked like when he got back.
He was FILTHY!!! He looked like a little chimney-sweep.

Speaking of another mess mouse, there was one busily painting on the deck the other afternoon.
Painting himself, I mean.
Dude. This child right now... Place weary head in weary hands and utter weary sigh. After a wooonderful loooong break from any colds, this child is back to work hacking and coughing and snotting. And wailing and having VERY. LOUD. breakdowns. The kid is the loudest thing in the world. I hate colds.

And for the final mess mouse...
Dis wittle snoogum woogum is very busily growing right now. He is still cutting his two bottom teeth at the same time, which, along with his own cold, is wreaking havoc on our sleep schedules. Dooby.

His red Clifford ball is one of his gnawing objects of choice right now.
He is also, for the second day, rocking on his hands and knees.
I just cannot hardly believe he is old enough to crawl!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!!

I view motherhood as a refining fire. It is a constant marathon of testing, of trying, of options to lay down my own desires, of observation of my failings, of opportunity to find my strength in the power above and beyond me in Jesus who can give me strength, and to see his strength made perfect in my weakness. It it is a 24/7 opportunity to joyfully lay down my will. :)

Do not allow the above paragraph to lead you to believe that I am successful in all of those things. :) For I most assuredly am not. I struggle against speaking harshly and impatiently to my children, with not wanting to put down my activity of choice to get them a drink/find them some clothes/break up a squabble/read a book/etc., with keeping my house cleaner rather than messier, with prioritizing what I should rather than what I would prefer. I am inherently selfish, self-centered. Children are a constant opportunity to break that cycle. :)

So a part of me relishes the struggle. The same part that enjoyed seeing myself push myself in running - how fast, how hard I could go. Or watching myself make it through labor without pain meds. Sometimes when I am up at night for the billionth time, thinking in wonderment about how I will get up for good in a very few hours, I'm feeling the "burn" of the emotional endurance muscles, and seeing how much I can take. Or when I catch myself before I snap impatiently at a whining Gabriel, and I gentle my tone, it's a high five I can give myself as I run past.

"Running my race" is a pursuit of excellence that I am passionate about. I have a large pile of books that I am reading all at one time covering subjects of how to do the most that I can do to build a relationship with my kids that will most effectively (but still with no guarantees) communicate the truth of a life-changing, life-saving relationship with the One that life is all about, of how to make my house into a home, of how to mange my time and my resources to the maximum, of how to discipline my children in a redemptive way. I really enjoy the trying and the thinking and the implementing of new ideas. I am finding a lot of encouragement and affirmation in my spirit right now of truths that remind me that there is strength in God for the asking. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) Motherhood finds me so needy. I don't have enough resources, knowledge, patience, or character.

This Mother's Day (like the last, somewhat ironically) has been a thorough exercise in all of those things. Two fussy, feverish kids, with Israel coughing/hacking this dry, irritated, CONSTANT cough about 742,673,583 times in one day. Wide staring eyes of enduring. ARRRRGGGHHH. Then tonight, after he went to bed, he coughed hard enough that he puked, and then it was the whole mess of changing clothes and bedsheets and scrubbing the carpet and scolding Gabe for walking in the vomit. Sigh. And speaking of Gabe, dealing with his hyper, silly, giggling, chortling, in-the-baby's-face self that you get reeeeeaalll ready to have in bed by the end of the day. At least he wasn't sick too.

So on this Mother's Day, I find myself thoroughly grateful for my husband. For the Daddy. Who scrubs the puke off the carpet so I don't have to, who holds the baby so I can get something done, who distracts the kids WHEN I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!!! When I want a break from refinement and want to go read a book in the bathtub. :) I just think that a woman who has to raise her children by herself, and do ALL of the work alone, and come out ahead has to be the STRONGEST woman on earth.

AND, I am also thoroughly grateful for two women who I'm pretty sure both have most of all of "it" down, whatever "it" is. :) Mom, you have been a great mom, and are one of my very best friends. I am constantly referencing back in my head to "how Mom did it". And calling you for maybe a third time in the day if I can't remember. :) Carol, you raised a great son, and I can't thank you enough. You are a great mother-in-law, and so supportive of me and easy to talk to. We all love you both soooooo much!! :) :) :)

At Least...

What would totally make it fine to be up with the baby at 4:46 AM was if I were getting paid for it. By, like, the minute. Which I totally think I am, from my understanding. I mean, I haven't gotten my check in the mail from the last time yet, but I'm pretty sure...

What would also make it fine was if I knew I was getting a sizeable nap in a silent house later. Which I'm not so sure is going to happen, but, hey, that's why I get paid, right??

Another thing that would justify this whole bit were if I got to change a poopy diaper while I was awake. Which I did, so, that totally rocks.

And it would be equally cool if this were, like, the sixth or seventh time I was up anyways this night with two feverish boys and a little guy who WANTS A DRINK!!!!

That's three for four!! Stellar.

At least this little pooper is a cutie patootie.
And at least I never have to worry about insomnia at this point in my life.

Friday, May 08, 2009


It is 2:28 AM. Do you know where your children are??

That would be an affirmative, yes, over and out from the Miller residence. Mine two eldest are sleeping all snug in their beds while visions of sugary doughnuts dance in their heads, while mine youngest has just completed a merry solo game of Whack A Mole and is now cheerfully playing with an empty container and my hairband. Kerchiefs and nightcaps notwithstanding, I am a yawning heap of tiredness that yearns to settle down for my long spring nap.

With nary a herald of snot, drool, or fever, my child is cutting his first tooth - the bottom left one. It seems to grow mainly in the dead of night. Two nights ago we rose and shone, the two of us, at 4 AM. Then we went back to bed and slept like logs, as I am hoping to do after a bit tonight once the Tylenol kicks in.

This would, unfortunately, have HAD to be the week that I have decided to cram my retainers back into my tooth-shifted mouth after wearing them only sporadically over the past 8 years. My plan had been to wear them during the night so I could sleep through the ridiculous discomfort I had caused myself. Hah. Instead I have enjoyed a good portion of my tooth rearrangement in all it's fairly miserable glory. Maybe I should take my own swig from that dropper of acetominophen.

It was just this evening, though, that I carted the warm little weight of this little dude down the hall in his soft stripey PJ's, as he laid his soft head in my neck and sucked his thumb sleepily, and I thought, oh, this babyness goes so fast. So fast. So tonight, we will smile at each other, and I will kiss some chubby cheeks, and squeeze some soft, chubby, squeezy-fold legs, and rub some soft smooth belly skin, and pat that little diapered bottom, and love the goodness of a little baby. And I'll get some sleep later. I hope.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


We made a short, two-night trip to VA last week. It was so gorgeous and springy and green there.
Hear the cows. Smell the flowers. Breathe the warm Virginia air. See the lush green grass. Pat the Maddie dog. Wonder at five people crammed into the ol' Saturn for a return journey. Ahhhh.
We had just enough time to cram in a tasty meal at Great Grandma Lou's house, for the boys to go on an adventure trip to the store for farm boys,
and for some cuddles from one of Israel's beloved "Gamma"'s.
He sure does love his "Gamma"'s. He is a sweet, physically affectionate, little cuddle-boy. Here he is blowing kisses and joyfully clutching his hollow chocolate Easter bunny as we pulled away from the farewell goody-dispenser Gamma.
The boys dug into their Grandma-goodie-gift-bags with a rabid frenzy known only to starving animals and children who have not just completed a tasty breakfast of warm blueberry muffins, eggs, cantelope, rhubarb, OJ, and warm tea. Makes one clutch one's front-seat chocolate a little protectively.

The actual trip itself was....well, it was...long enough, lets put it that way. The boys did ok, though. We had the "Mommy, can I hold the DVD player?" guy,
the guy who cranks and pulls at his seat belt and squirms and demands to get out of his seat...and finally falls blissfully fast asleep (phew),
and then the little mostly bald guy with the bobbing, craning, curious head and the cute feet. Who actually did really well with a distracting brother on either side of him.
Tim gets lost in MP3 land.
And then there is me.
On trips, I am the toy getter, the DVD player mediator, the snack finding, the toll retriever, the direction reminder, the shirt-taker-off-er (not my own) after spilled juice, the book reader, the singer, the shusher, the squabble buster, the baby soother, the foot whacker when random feet are noted to be located about .76 mm from the baby's head, the nose wiper, the Cheezit hander-outer, the slightly nauseated/headached one from all the spinning around in my seat, and one of two marveling at how looooong four hours in a car can be. Phew.

We took one of our breaks at a BEAUTIFUL Catholic church that we pass in DE.
We strolled around and enjoyed the sunshine. Gabe went for a run midst the tombstones. :)
He's my little running buddy. As in, he runs while I watch and smile. And reminisce on the days whence I also had leg muscles.

We made it back safe and sound and hoping we don't have to drive anywhere too far very soon. :)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Shiny New Toys

Something arrived in the mail today that I was eagerly anticipating. My brand new blue-with-embroidery Ergo Baby Carrier!!! I just love it to pieces.
Zion has been extra fussy lately, and I had tried using the front carriers that I have on my back, but neither of them were comfortable, and felt too precarious. I had tried the Ergo when Israel was a baby but had returned it when it was not the answer to his colicky self. However, it is an awesome back carrier, and is amazingly comfortable and Zion thinks it is just GREAT!! :) I think having two arms free while still having a happy baby is GREAT!!!
I do believe that I am turning into a very Crunchy Granola mom. Attachment parenting baby carrier - check. Long wavy-ish frizzy-ish hair that really needs to be cut since it's been a year next month since my last haircut hello what in the world?? - check. :) Buying organic foods when I can/eating a largely vegan diet - check. (Never thought I'd be saying that one in my life!!) Cloth diapers...oh yes, my friends, that is now officially a check. They are my second featured shiny new toy of the day.
After crabbily shelling out money month after month to pay for Israel's diapers, towards the very end of my pregnancy with Zion, I had an idea. Maybe I ( Mom) could MAKE those cool all-in-one cloth diapers way cheaper than I could buy them! So I bought all the necessities, and my beloved mother has been sewing busily away ever since while I used up aaallll of my gift diapers that have lasted me up to this point. THANK YOU SO MUCH MOM!!! I picked the completed project up last week when we were in VA and I am soooooo thrilled. The main plus for me is the money saving one. "We" ;) used the Bum Genius All-In-One diapers as a model, so that "we" wouldn't have to keeping making new ones, but would have ones that lasted the whole time. I am still using disposables at night, since they will go all night without leaks, and I don't think these will, but I am just loving them so far!!! Mom made about 20-ish?? I think, with microfiber inserts. They are just so cute...

And my last shiny new toy that I have for show and tell is....
a new house!! :) Yippee!! :) We are closing on May 20. This house is in Seaford, DE, and has 1783 square feet, 3-4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a nice sized kitchen, a big master bedroom with a nice walk in closet, a big master bath, a fenced in back-yard, a screened porch, and it is within walking distance of two playgrounds, the community pool, and lots of other fun things. I am very happy and excited about it. We will move sometime between May 20 and June 1.

And, to leave you with, a little somethin' that is sweet as sugar and still kind of new himself...