Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slants, loops and humps!

What an odd title! I know, but today is a big day at our house or I guess I should say at our school! Bean is learning how to write in cursive. While I fully understand that some people start this task earlier in a child's schooling or never at all, we have chosen to do this during third grade. Today was big for her. You should have seen her smiling from ear to ear. Even more precious to me was the fact that she did her best! I know that may not seem like a big deal to many, but for my Bean, who likes to rush through stuff just to be done, doing her best is such a gift. Today, she sat at the dining room table after we had practiced writing on the white board and she wrote rows of i's and t's as well as the word it. She was sure she could write her name. So I showed her on the white board, she practiced and added her name to her writing paper. Truly, seeing this initiative and desire to do well with this new venture makes this momma quite proud of her girl. :)

Decisions, Decisions!

Recently, Matt and I have realized we are just doing too many activities! Actually, that would be, our girls are in to many activities. While all the programs are great, too much of anything is not a good thing. Our hearts desire is to raise our girls to have a great passion for serving God through serving others. That is an impossible goal to reach if you are always on the go! So, we have a tough choice on the table right now.

At this point, Bible Study Fellowship is the main non-negotiable. We adore this programs ability to teach our girls not only to learn scripture but to dig into it daily as well as apply what you read. Second on the list of non-negotiables at this time...dance. We have already paid for this semester. So we feel we need to keep that going for a bit. It is also our oldest daughter's passion and appears to be a new passion for our youngest. That leaves Bible Bowl and children's choir which are both great programs and we love the people! I fear I know what is leaving and it is just so hard to make that final decision. I would covet your prayers as Matt and I try to do what is best for our family even if it is tough to do. Sometimes being the adult is not so fun. :(

Friday, September 18, 2009

Who's the Boss?

Recently, our pastor has had a series on Wednesday nights called: Raising Godly Kids in an Ungodly World. It has been an eye opening series with facts and statistics that caused my heart to weep. This week was on the parents. Ouch!

The one thing that really stood out to me that night was the fact that as parents, our kids need to know who is the boss in our home. When they do not know that for sure, they feel insecure when they are little but disrespect as they get older. That made me think of our home.

Do my girls both know who is in charge in our home? I was humbled by the answer. One of them does for sure. She does what is asked usually with no complaints. However, I must admit that I have dropped the ball with our other daughter in this area. Not sure how or when that happened, but there are times she is running the show with her drama or demands. So, since that is true, Daddy and I have made some changes and it has been a bit painful for all three of us. We are not caving to the attention getting schemes and we are demanding lovingly that she do what we asked when we asked. Typically, she would say," ok, but first let me do....." That seems harmless but when you look at it closer you see that she is controlling that moment and by the way, she never seems to get around to what we asked. So, we are really working on this area as well as others that I will share later. I must say that right now, it feels pretty good to be sitting back in the boss's seat. Now, if I can just remind myself to not step down again. So, who is the boss in your home? Do you have any ideas to help us reconfirm that role in our home? I would love to hear from you if you do!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Feeling the Pull

Do you ever have times in your life you feel tugged one way and another and yet another until finally you are sure you are going to be pulled apart?! Well, I know you have if you are a mom. :) Right now, I feel that pull and at times I allow myself to have a pity party about it or let it overtake me and give in to my emotions. But then I start thinking...if I am feeling the pull from all these different areas and I am giving in to them, where is the pull from God? Am I feeling that pull too? Isn't that the one thing I need to give in to when I feel pulled? I think lately, I feel so pulled to do all these things, be a certain way or whatever that I have managed to drown out that pull in my life. The pulls of this earth have taken over that awesome, quiet pull of God on my heart. I miss my time with my Jesus in times like this so much, yet, because He is a gentleman, He will not pull harder than the demands of this world or myself. He will wait, patiently, for me to realize until I feel that pull from him and spend time with him, the pulls of this world will continue to overwhelm me. I am a girl who needs down time. I need to spend time in the Word and prayer in order to be refreshed. I need silence from time to time to really think about all God is doing or has done in my life. I just do. Yet, I tend to wait for that to just magically appear instead of making it happen. So that has me thinking...time for a new plan. I need to pull off the worries of the world. I need to pull down the calendar and sit down with my husband to make a time for us to pray together everyday and not just hit and miss as we are right now. (hate to admit that!) I need to allow God to show me what He wants from me with our school for the day and how He sees my week flowing. Then I need to let the words or actions of others who don't like how I am choosing to spend God's week just roll off my back. If God wants it that way, they are just going to have to get over it. :) Know what I mean? Okay, off to pull out my Bible and sit in silence for a few while my gems are playing outside. Just thought I would take a minute to see if anyone else struggles with feeling that same pull. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mackinaw City Escape!

We enjoyed a wonderful Labor Day weekend camping trip with friends from church. We all headed up to Mackinaw City, Michigan to camp. We just set up as we arrived and hung out for the day as others arrived on Thursday. The girls really enjoyed helping set up our camp area this time. I think we talked enough about the need to be a helper prior to leaving that they just hopped up and helped with no asking. We were very proud parents. :)

The girls helping raise the top on the camper.

We are normally tent campers but this time we rented a pop up since we were headed up to Michigan. We feared really cold nights and did not know what to expect. So we found a deal and grabbed it. The girls loved sleeping and playing in the camper.

Cuddled up for the night.

On Friday, we all headed over to the island. Some took their own bikes and took off on a ride as they got there. Others walked through the center of the island. We chose to take a horse drawn carriage ride around the island. The tour gave us a brief history of the island. We really enjoyed it. Of course, Doodle adored that fact that horses were everywhere.

The Grand Hotel

The Miller Girls upon arrival on Mackinac Island

The carriages lined up on the street looked so pretty!

Arch Rock~ a stop on the carriage tour as well as a sight to see on the bike tour.

After the carriage ride, we stopped at Fort Mackinac and enjoyed walking through history there. It was so cool! The girls just loved it. Of course, I loved that they loved it! :)

Fort Mackinac

We ended our visit with walking around the shops and then renting bikes to ride around the island. We rented a tandem bike and two singles. Very fun! I loved watching the girls take turns on the tandem with Daddy. I managed to get a couple fun shots of them.
Look ma...no hands!

The Ferry ride back gave us this beautiful sunset to enjoy! :)
After a full day Friday, you would think we would have a slow day on Saturday but not us. We were all on the move! We went to Mill Creek which has a working sawmill.

Very cool! We also went on the Adventure Tour at Mill Creek which takes you across a "rope" bridge and down a zip line. There was also a climbing wall. So, we all, yes, WE ALL went across the bridge and down the zip line! I was in shock, but I did it. The kids and most of the adults climbed the wall and we all enjoyed learning about the sawmill from the 1800's. Very neat.

Doodle climbing the rock wall.
Matt climbing away
and Bean climbing away on that wall! Way to go Miller's!

After heading back to the campsite for a bit, we then went to the Old Mackinac Lighthouse. That was very interesting as well. I loved the view of the bridge from there.

Old Mackinac Lighthouse

Doodle and Bean in "front" of the bridge

On Sunday, some people headed up to see the locks work in hopes of viewing a large ship. We chose to have a calmer day. So we stuck around the camp until lunch. After lunch, we went to the beach for a couple hours. Then we went on a Vesper cruise as a group. The cruise was cool in that it allowed us to go right under the bridge and really get a good view of it. We did see two very large freight ships while on the cruise. It was a beautiful sunset as well. That night Matt and I took the girls over the bridge when it was lit up so they could see it at night. It is so pretty.

Monday morning came and everyone was up early for the big bridge walk.

Girls walking the bridge....even the grates! AAHHHH!

All done!
It only took them two hours to walk the bridge and back to camp. I was very proud of them all. We had a great time and I am so glad we went. We really only knew one of the couples very well and another somewhat. The other couples we enjoyed getting to know better. What a joy! Can't wait to go back and explore more!

Do you think we wore them out on this trip or what? Love it!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Packed up and on the road!

By the time this entry is posted, we will be well on our way to our next adventure...camping at Mackinaw City, Michigan with a group of families from church. We have been planning this since May of this year and now here it is upon us. We have been busily making lists and being sure not to forget a thing. (I'll let you know what we forgot later!:) In the midst of the crazy pursuit of having the clean house to return to, the homemade snacks to munch, homemade soup to enjoy, bills paid, groceries purchased, laundry done and put away, clothes packed, educating our children and so much more, I think I lost my focus. It happens to the mommas from time to time, or so I have heard and possibly witnessed in my lifetime. Why is that?

I started to get worried about not getting it all done yesterday. I felt as if I could not breathe! Have you ever felt that way? That is when it hit me! Here I am sending the message that the way things look or how they are made or when it is finished is more important to me than showing my girls how to do these things with a joyful heart! A cheerful servant is what I desire to be. God says a cheerful heart brings joy! That is what I desire to be in this home. If that is true, then why do I flip out every time things get a bit hectic or do not go the way "I" planned them. Oh, boy! There it is! "I". You see, as long as I am focusing on what I want in the time frame I want it done with the finished product looking the way I want it to, well, I am going to fail and feel overwhelmed. It is never going to be peaceful before any big trip or due to a change in schedule.

However, if I will lay my desires at the foot of Jesus and ask Him to show me what He views as important each day than He will lead me in the tasks that He wants me to do. There will be peace and there will be joy. So today, I stopped checking off my list and just let it go. I did what God wanted me to do today. I spent time with my husband and girls. I talked to our parents. I did make some treats but not the ones I thought of first. I also had the blessing of having Doodle make brownies for me too. What joy! They will be better than anything I thought of before as well. We had fun packing the boxes and putting it all in the camper. Now, I sit here looking around and notice that my house will not be perfectly neat upon my arrival and you know what? "I" don't care. I really don't. Even if it were the way I like it, as soon as we unpack the camper it would be a disaster anyway. I'm glad to say that we are leaving with things the way that will give our girls a glimpse of a cheerful mom instead of that gargoyle that sometimes appears before we leave on big trips. I am so grateful God spoke to me before I ruined another moment fretting over the small stuff. He is so good in meeting us right where we are....I just didn't know He cared so much about my dust! :) hee hee!

A Memorable Vacation

This week's topic for So We Don't Forget is on a favorite vacation memory. Wow! I am very blessed to say that I have a lot to choose from in this category. However, one of my favorites would have to be the time the four of us went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a long weekend. We did meet up with some dear friends for certain activities but most of the time, it was just the four of us. That is why this is my favorite memory for the day. We often take family vacations with one side or the other which is just great. However, this time was the first trip we took alone with just the four of us. Can you believe that?! Truly, not complaining at all about the group vacations because I ADORE them. I just thought this one stuck out because it was just the four of us doing so many fun things together.

We rented a cabin named "Beary Cozy" and it was!
The girls posing in our cozy cabin.
They loved that they had their own whirlpool tub!

Matt enjoyed the cabin as well.

We packed school up with us and did that with Doodle before we headed out for the day. I was amazed at how easy it was to do that while on vacation. Naturally, we did more "travel" themed ideas such as : using bear manipulatives for math since we were in the Smokey's! I tried to make it more fun. We also learned how to find Tennessee on the map. We learned about some of the cool facts about Dolly Parton as we visited Dollywood.
Upon entering Dollywood, Doodle started dancing to the music. I think she has some blue grass genes going! :) Loved it!

The posed shot...not the smiles I wanted but still sweet!

The girls loved riding rides.

They loved watching the different craftsmen at work.

Doodle riding a roller coaster with her Daddy!!
...that goes upside down!!!! Did I mention UPSIDE DOWN!!!

We also learned about the Civil War as we visited the Dixie Stampede one evening. That was a night to remember! The food was amazing but the girls eyes were priceless when they saw the horses show up right in front of them! We had so much fun stomping for our side to win. That was well worth the money. Lastly, we took the time to drive back to visit Cade's Cove. We did enjoy walking through history in that way.

Looking sweet on our way to Cade's Cove

At the Cade's Cove church

I have many memories of very cool vacations truly. I am thankful for that gift. I am also thankful we can enjoy times when we are with extended family. But truly, those moments when it is just the four of us are so peaceful and memorable in a way I can not put words to aptly beyond priceless. :) Love it!

Running off steam

Lately, my girls have struggled with bickering a bit. I know, I know! You are shocked to hear such a thing could be happening at our house, yet it is. So I have worked out a little system. I decided if they had enough energy to fight and bicker than maybe they needed to run some steam off before they said something that was hurtful or got themselves in trouble by doing something that was not acceptable. So, with that, Bean went to running one day. What I thought would be a deterrent ended up being something she loved. She went back out and ran around the fence line 4 different times each time taking our dog with her. The last time, I grabbed the camera to snap a picture of them together. These kids crack me up!
Bean running the fence line with Rocky.
Her goal was to beat him around the fence...
and she did! That girl can run!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Doodle's Birthday Bash!

Saturday was the big day for Doodle's 12th birthday party for the family. We had both sides over to the lake house and it was so much fun. The kids went tubing, fished and rode the sea-doo until they dropped!
All the cousins with Doodle and Bean. Love it when the group gets together.

The older girls tubing...Doodle in middle.

The middle girls tubing: Bean on right.

The three boys tubing.

Matt with one of the nieces on the sea doo.

Grandpa helping some of the kids out of the paddle boat.

After all that water fun, the kids needed to relax a bit.

Even the big kids had fun. My brother fishing off the dock.
Doesn't he look like a little boy sitting there?!

The adults wave as the boat full of kids goes by once more.

We had a lot of excitement with that as well as in the kitchen. Poor Grandma was making her marvelous macaroni and cheese when she heard a loud explosion.


Luckily, she was at the sink at the time. She had accidentally turned the back burners on instead of the front burners. Doodle's cakes sat on the back burners, one of which was in a Pyrex glass dish. It truly exploded! I have never seen so much glass cover one area in my life! So, Aunt Tammy, Ennie and I went to work cleaning it up with the help of Grandma. She took off shortly after to purchase a cake and another side dish since we were all a bit gun shy to eat anything that was even close to that dish after we saw how far the glass flew. Nonetheless, Doodle's party went off well and the cake Grandma bought was a hit.

Nana and Poppy were not able to join us for the party on Saturday so they came over on Doodle's actual birthday Tuesday. We had a lovely time celebrating her big day both times. She is so blessed to have so many people who love her and want to spend their day or evening celebrating her day.
Doodle on Tuesday with her cake.

Nana and Poppy with Doodle.

Doodle acting out the card Nana and Poppy gave her about the cool things about being 12! Cracked us up!

Doodle and me...can't believe it has been 12 years! Where has all the time gone? I still remember the first time I was blessed to see this little face that I got to call my own daughter. Now I am looking her almost eye to eye and she is this beautiful, young lady in the making. I thank God for the special gift of being her mom.
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