Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Favorites

A mostly weekly photo post with few words, 
but a moment from the week to remember.
Have a good weekend!
 Panera people-watching.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Open house

We, at the Miller's household have become (cue suspenseful music) flexi-vegans.

(Can I get a) WHAT WHAT??!! Well folks, after watching King Corn and Forks over Knives, we've decided to make some intentional decisions about how we eat. We do still eat meat (gasp), just not nearly as often. And to be honest, we're feeling great, have more consistent energy, and are eating more than we usually do. We have been blessed with kids that have never fought us over eating their vegetables, in fact, if anything, the kids don't eat meat. We have always had a hard time getting them to eat their meat, so we decided to just roll with it.

The biggest change is that our kitchen now looks like this, especially right after Paul's been to the farmer's market:

These pictures were taken a few weeks ago, when blueberries were still at the farmer's market. Not so much anymore. :(

We've cleaned up our hand-me-down cast iron skillet and use it often.

We were really enjoying this new way of eating, then we started seeing these (for real? All in one place like this - oh gross!):

So we got out these:
and caught one big mouse. IT WAS DISGUSTING!!

We've had traps out for two more nights and haven't caught any more. He must've been a busy little big guy if he was acting alone. There were ...droppings... everywhere, except on one surface right under the shelving with all our daily-used plates and bowls - thank you Lord!!

Needless to say, the kids and I ate out the night of our discovery. We went to Panera Bread and they were so distracted people-watching that it was the quietest dinner I had had in a long time. Maybe we'll eat out more often.

Our vegan diet has been wavering lately. We've got to come up with some better storage options. If one got in, we know others will too, and the weather is starting to get cold up here, so everything's starting to come in. We found this little guy in our dining room one morning:

He's actually really small, I majorly zoomed in. I found him the next day in the living room corner. I think I'll let him stay. He's "nice" right? I'll let him stay until he gives me a reason to end his life. Hopefully he'll have a yummy winter and eat up all the other bugs that want to come into our "open house." Do you think he could kill mice too?

Happy autumn!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Favorites...where did this week go?!

A mostly weekly photo post with few words, 
but a moment from the week to remember.
Have a good weekend!
Brother, taken by sister

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My shoe obsession

They had been ordered.

And their future owner (yours truly) was apprehensively awaiting their arrival.

It finally happened, about a week ago.

And this momma could not be happier, well maybe it's her feet that could not be more thankful.

Truth be told, I have a slight obsession with Keens. They are my absolute favorite sandal. I know, some people have a very different kind of shoe obsession, but I shop for one kind of shoe: comfortable, and these are comfort to the max for me. I usually wear them every day well into the winter with wool socks. So, when my other pair was wearing down, it was time to order a new pair. I had the other ones for at least 2 years. I spent about an hour online lusting picking out which ONE pair I absolutely could not live without - I have to limit myself or I'd go crazy. In the end, I ended up picking out a pair that's exactly like my old, well-loved ones that I was replacing, just a new color. Why re-invent the wheel, huh?

So when they arrived, I was just about as excited as a toddler on Christmas morning.
 Ah, they even have "foot inserts" in them to keep their shape en route. What a thoughtful company. :)

Yes, my feet have been a lot happier this past week. Which makes for one happy momma too.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Favorites

A mostly weekly photo post with few words, but a moment from the week to remember.
Have a good weekend!
 First homemade cookie - oatmeal raisin.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

She's getting crafty again

What in the world am I doing?? ;)

Here was my train of thought (sometimes a dangerous train, I know):
I need to show Jesus to my kids more often.
I need to see it in front of my face, all the time, to be reminded of it constantly.
But I want to do it in a "fun, include Ilana" kind of way.
Jesus left us with the Spirit, why not do something with the fruits of the Spirit.
Yeah, that would be a good reminder to myself.

We're doing a "word of the day" study over here at the Miller's! Yesterday's word was LOVE. We talked most of the day about it. What it means, who we love, how we show love. It was super fun.
Then Ilana colored love - what she thought it looked like. Then I painted the word on the bottom, just so I wouldn't forget. And hung it in the kids bedroom:

I'm excited to continue my word study with Ilana...and be crafty again at the same time!
It's a win-win.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Two sides, two ways

Ilana is a pistol these days. One day is like this...

and the next...

In fact most days, these moments could be one after the next. Her mood swings are amazing. I'm hoping these are just "typical" 3-year old antics, but she requires all of my patience every day. And most days, by the time Paul comes home I am very ready for a break. Oohh. And sometimes I catch her just watching me, as if she's calculating when her next "need" meltdown will be based on when I am most distracted or consumed with something else. Multiple times a day I hear "All by myself! Mommy! Help me! No! All by myself!! Mo-oh-mmyyyyyy!!! HELP ME!!!" Oh. my. goodness.

Lord give me patience.

On a totally different note, I took the two bottom pictures right after the other and I couldn't decide which one I liked better, and I still can't (with or without flash). I absolutely love how Ilana eats raspberries - on her fingers, just like popsicles. Excellent!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Favorites

A (hopefully) weekly photo post with few words, but a moment from the week to remember.
Have a good weekend!

Blurry pictures. Good blueberries. Happy kids.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chicago Botanic Gardens

Yesterday we had the blessing of going to the Chicago Botanic Gardens for FREE! We have a close friend who has a membership. So Emmalee and her sweet boys, along with me and my crazies toddled our way around outside for a good 4 hours.

It was pure nourishment for my soul. They have a huge fruit and vegetable garden, where we spent most of our time. We saw a lot of things growing.

One of the walkways was covered with grapevine upon grapevine overhead. I can only imagine what they must've looked like covered in clusters of grapes. There were only a few left, but still beautiful.

Gray-man was fascinated with these flowers. We stayed here for a good 10 minutes at least. Maybe he'll be a gardener when he grows up.

He's growing up before my eyes.

Ilana insisted on using her magnifying glass as a camera all day and took pictures of everything, just like her Momma. :) Maybe she'll be a photographer when she grows up.

A couple of sweet ladies (grade school teachers, we found out later) passed us and asked if we wanted a group picture. I think this is the best one. Yeah, it was a bit like herding cats, and we were thankful for the eyes in the back of our heads because both little men decided the rotten apples on the ground were good to eat.

In high school I was in a singing ensemble whose signature piece was "Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree." The whole time we were in the apple orchard (which was a good 45 minutes), I couldn't get this song out of my mind. I was getting all nostalgic remembering seemingly simpler days of study, uniforms, singing, friends, Jesus and structure (I'm a sucker for structure).

Then the older ones started acting up, so I was jolted back to my "today" reality of having two little ones at home, and I found myself thankful for my past and the foundation it gave to me. Who could be mad at these little ones too long, anyways:

On our way out, I found my favorite flowers.

Hope you're enjoying your today reality, whatever it may be! I've got to go change a poopy diaper have a wrestling match with my son. :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

From her point of view

I just registered for a "Turkey Trot" on Thanksgiving morning - a 10K. I have to give up my life-long tradition of the Thanksgiving Day Parade with cinnamon buns. Oh well, hopefully this'll get me moving.

In other news, somehow Ilana got the camera the other night and here are the little photographer's pictures:
Daddy cleaning up from dinner, reminding her to move her finger.

I've been looking for that shoe! Thanks, Ilana.

Yes, I need to move the tree that is now behind the dresser, thanks for the reminder.

And yes, it's time to get rid of the air conditioner, and its cord, so that Gray won't try to "play" with it.

Her recent favorite: purple poodle purse!!

And here she is today at the Chicago Botanic Gardens (more on that tomorrow), using her magnifying glass "camera" to take pictures.

Life sure looks big from her point of view. It's been a long time since I was her size. She is small, but loved with a big love. I hope I can show her just how much she is loved as the years go by and life becomes smaller.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dear long-neglected blog readers

In spite of my best wishes, my "I'll blog when the kids are asleep" hopes became "I need some 'sanity' time for myself."

...I'm sorry...

To spare you the details, let's just say that the year has been intense. I am so thankful our first year here is in the past and I'm looking forward to a great year on the North Shore of Chicago.

Here are some of the highlights...

Christmas was quiet. We let family come to us and it was wonderful.

February came and we got 18" of snow in 24 hours. Loyola, as well as the rest of Chicago, actually closed everything down for a whole day - something that hasn't happened in a LONG time!

At 6 months old, Gray was the happiest, chubbiest little baby you've ever seen.

March came and we traveled! It was still freezing cold in Chicago, so we needed to get away. First the kids and I went to the east coast to see family while Paul went on his spring break trip. Then we all flew to Florida to be with Paul's parents for a week in Orlando. It was the perfect time to get away from Chicago.

Standing proud with Daddy after touching the sting rays at Sea World.

This was the only picture that we got of all of us, right before the amazing dolphin show. Of course Gray was asleep through the whole thing.

In April, Ilana turned 3! She threw up the whole night before her birthday, and there were 2" of snow on the ground (yes, in mid-APRIL!! I live in the arctic tundra now, you know.), so we just laid low all day, while she held tight to her purple butterfly balloon...all day.

In May Paul and I celebrated 8 years of marriage with our first date since Gray had been born. We went kayaking on the Skokie Lagoons. It was a blast!

Yes, my kids are wild.

June hit and we could finally wear shorts every day again and do things like this...

The summer was a blast!

In August we celebrated Gray's first birthday. We had a quiet celebration with a couple other families on our block. We figured we'd celebrate with those people who have carried me through this past year, our neighbors. I couldn't have done it without them. We have the best neighbors.

This pretty much sums up the cake.

Yeah, he's a sweet little boy, most of the time. (Yeah, he's spoiled and he knows it.)

And she's the sweetest little girl...when she wants to be. (Completely spoiled too!)

I'm finally feeling like I'm back into "my groove" again. I actually have the time and motivation to make bread again.

And although the house looks like this by 9:00 every morning, it's still a blessing to be here, loving on my crazy family (and our sweet, big puppy).

I am actually hoping and planning on blogging more often. But you know how that goes... :)