what’s in a name?

Since we had Major, I have had lots of questions about where my children got their names.  They all have pretty unique names and each of them has a different story, so I wanted to get them all down today.

Harlo Elle :
Harlo was my only total total surprise baby.  I mean, complete and utter shocker.  For most of my teen years, I struggled with some medical issues that had to do with my uterus and ovaries.  I had a very large benign tumor in my right ovary and at one point had to have my entire ovary and right Fallopian tube removed.  A couple years after that, I started having symptoms of endometriosis.  This went on for years of switching medications around, and trying all sorts of things to figure my stuff out.  SO, on that fateful day in May that I realized I was late for my period, I actually wasn’t too worried about it.  I had surgery scheduled for a Laparoscopy the following month.  But I tested anyway just to “be sure”. 😉  That was also the year I found God in my life and was really trying to live my life according to HIS plan and not mine.  I was in the very beginning stages of faith and felt a little like I was walking blindly sometimes.

The minute that second line on the test turned blue, I felt time almost pause for a minute.  I had a feeling come over me.  It quickly and calmly reassured me that everything was going to be fine, that this was all part of the plan.  That I would deliver a daughter and I would name her Harlo.  It was so real and so specific and just as soon as it came, it went away.  — And then I had time to freak out that I was pregnant. 😉 I thought a lot about that in the following weeks.  Had I imagined it?  It was almost like a dream.  But when we found out our baby was indeed a girl, I knew it was all real.

We had a few other names on our list, and not a lot of people were crazy about “Harlo” being an option (her dad being one of them), but I kept that one close to my heart.  When I delivered that beautiful baby girl, I opened my mouth to talk to her and the name Harlo nearly fell out.  She absolutely was Harlo, there was no denying it.  “She has to be Harlo, Babe.” I said to Brady and he smiled and nodded.  He totally agreed.  As the years went by, we knew that Harlo was always meant to be her name, and I have realized that my revelation was nothing short of that.  Divine revelation.  It was all part of the plan.  Everything was fine.  The miracle girl that was sent here to change my life was always, Harlo.

Harlo’s middle name comes from the common initial of the three most important men in her life, her Dad and both of her grandfathers, “L”.  Harlo Elle.

Stella Johan:

Stella girl was our easiest to name.  Stella had been a name I loved when we had Harlo… it was just the icing on the cake to know it came from Brady’s great-grandma, who was a wonderful, fun woman, we are told.  When I was first pregnant with Stella, I was so so so certain she was a boy.  We hadn’t even thought much about girl names.  At our ultrasound, when the tech announced “looks pretty girly!” my jaw about hit the floor.  I was so so surprised, and SO SO excited.  We got back to our room and Brady and I just looked at each other and smiled.  Another girl!  “Stella?” I half-way giggled, “Yep.” he said.  And that was that.

When Stella was due to arrive, Mr. Miller and I were just celebrating our second wedding anniversary.  Two babies in less than two years – our first years together were a complete whirlwind.  But something special happened during my pregnancy with Stella.  My relationship with Brady solidified.  I went from feeling like his new bride, to his wife.  We were doing this totally together, we were making decisions now for our family and not just for ourselves.  I felt that Stella was coming into our life for a great purpose, the first being to bind us all together.  I wanted her name to reflect that.

My great-grandparents were The Johans.  I had always felt a special connection to that side of the family and their stories.  They were wonderfully talented people who did great things with their lives.  I asked Brady one morning, “how about Stella Johan?  After your great-grandma and my great-grandma.” and he agreed it felt just right.

During Stella’s birth, I really felt the help of Heaven guiding her into this world and I knew that our great-grandmas were right there with her.  Stella’s birth really changed everything for me as a woman, and gave our new little family the foundation it needed.  I knew from the minute I met her, she would be a special, strong woman herself.  Stella Johan was the perfect fit.

Grae Golden:

I was in a pretty raw place in life when I met a special man named Grey.  My family was being sealed in the LDS temple that day.  I had just suffered a miscarriage and had found myself surprisingly heartbroken.  In those weeks, I had had to lean into faith more than ever in my life.  In those weeks I had a lot of fears and sorrows and uncertainties that I poured out of my heart in prayer.  As I sat in the temple that morning for the first time, I felt a peace in my heart I hadn’t felt in a while.  A feeling came over me that we would be getting another daughter soon.

When Grey walked into the room, we had a second to chat for a while about our family.  Without having to ask him, he answered questions I had been having.  He said things that spoke directly to my heart.  Things that were specific to the prayers I needed answers to.  I knew God was listening and making sure I got my answers.  I was so grateful for Grey and for this gift that he gave me with his words.  It was a sweet moment of grace extended to me that I’ll never forget.

Three months later, on the eve of her Daddy’s birthday, I found out I was pregnant again.  I knew this was my girl, the one I had been promised.  I knew that this was her time.  I thought for a long while of how good God had been to me, and how grateful I was that my faith had grown in this way.  “How about Grae for a girl?” I asked Brady later that night.  It felt right in my heart.  To me, her name will always represent that sweet day in the temple and my faith in a loving Father who hears and listens to our prayers.

Golden is a family name my mother wanted to name me, which I loved.  They also say that having a baby after a loss is your “rainbow” baby, representing the rainbow after the storm.  Finally getting Grae felt exactly like finding our little pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  And so she was, Grae Golden.

Major Harris:

Years ago, I had heard the name Major and loved it, but assumed Brady wouldn’t (he always takes a little lot more coaxing on names).  One night, 6-7 years ago, while we were out on a date I asked Brady “What about the name Major for a boy?” and Brady quickly exclaimed, “I love it.  Major Miller? That’s awesome.” It was the FIRST name we had ever both liked right from the get-go… now all we needed was a boy.

During this last pregnancy, we talked seriously about our boy/girl options.  We didn’t know for sure what to use for a middle name for Major, and had just decided we wouldn’t do one.  Brady’s first and middle names just didn’t flow quite right, and nothing else seemed to either.  Major Miller was such a strong name, we decided it could just be left alone…. Until one morning I woke up knowing I had to name our baby after Grandma or Grandpa Harris.

Brady’s mom (Nana around here) was a Harris.  I have often teased that the best part of being married to Mr. Miller is being a part of his family.  The Harris’s have this special way about them.  Each one of them is unconditional and warm.  They serve from their hearts.  They love deeply and treat everyone who comes around like family.  Each one is just as wonderful as the last – and there are a lot of them.  Grandma and Grandpa raised their 7 children right, and they have each gone on to raise a wonderful posterity.  I love these people, and love that their blood runs through my children.  When I talk to my girls about being loving or serving others, I always mention the Harris side of our family.  Grandma and Grandpa Harris are the grandparents I never had growing up, and always longed for.  Being a part of their family has blessed my life in a million ways.

When we delivered our surprise baby boy, the first thing Harlo said when she saw him was “Mom, he looks like a Major.” and he did.  He was tall, dark and handsome just as I imagined a Major to be, but I knew he had that something special.  He had that gentle and loving nature about him (and gorgeous dark eyes), and that was all Harris.  Major Harris Miller?  It was perfect.

(thank you Ashley Flowers Photography for these sweet pictures!)

Do you have stories about how your kids got their names?  I’d love to hear it in the comments!


miss me?

Do you miss me?  I miss having as much to write as I want.. posts are coming! Birth story is being written (as we type)! More birth stories are being featured! All the things I’m using and loving are coming!  Major’s cheeks are getting kissed enough! (The latter is to blame for all the lack of posting..)

Hopefully next week we’ll be back to a semi-normal status. (catch us on instagram more! @cassmiller)



Monthly Major | ONE

It’s hard to believe this sweet son of mine is already a whole month old.
Major has been a dream of a baby this far.
I have truly enjoyed every last drop of time we’ve had with him.
From the minute he came into this world, he was cool, calm, collected.
Goodness, I needed this boy in my life.
From the first night he was born, he has slept so well.
I feed him at 11 or 12 before I go to bed, he wakes up around 4 to eat and then again at 8 and snoozes until the late morning.
During the day he nurses every couple of hours.
He has only made a few little cries since he was born.
Today he screamed in the car for the first time ever, and we had never seen him so upset. (only crying for the one block before we got home)
So far nothing has ruffled his feathers too much.
Although he does hate cold wipes!
I teased while I was pregnant that I didn’t care if I had a boy or a girl, that I just wanted an easy one like Stella.
Boy did I get what I wished for… He is nice as pie and almost a spitting image of our sweet Stella Bean.
Not at all that I don’t love my spice girls, we could just use a little more sweet to even things out around here!)
Major is a growing boy! Pushing 11 lbs by now.
He is my fastest growing child.
He has big long feet (like his dad) and giant little paws for hands.  He reminds me of a great dane puppy.
This boy came out of the womb looking for milk.  He latched perfectly and has been such a great nurser.  He sure loves to eat!
He also reeeeally loves to poop.  I think he poops even more than he eats, if that’s possible.
Times I’ve been peed on : 5  Times I’ve been pooped on : 2
His eyes are already starting to brown up… He’ll be my tall, dark, and handsome boy.
Major smiled his first real smile for Daddy last week, and has given one to me a couple times since then.
He absolutely has two distinct dimples at each corner of his mouth.
Being a dimpled lady myself, I think I could just keel over and die over that one.
Although he’s an easy boy, we are starting to tell he is turning into a little mama’s boy, to which I am very pleased.
He loves the tub, and especially the running water over his head.
He loves hand massages just like his older sister, and he loooooves when I sing to him.  He is mesmerized the minute he hears me.
The other night, Mr. Miller was watching us in our nightly routine and said “He’s like in-love with you, huh.”
I have watched our daughters love their daddy with that same kind of love, and it made me smile to hear Brady is witnessing the same thing.
Maj sure likes his sisters already.  As soon as he hears them come into the room he is looking all around trying to find them.
He barely flinches at Grae’s screeches during the day, ha!
And I am happy to say that Grae has not skipped a single beat since he was born.  She loves him fiercely as I knew she would.
He has sure gone easy on us with the transition to four kids.  I swear we’ve barely noticed the change.
One thing is for sure, this boy truly made all my wildest dreams come true.
He is everything I never knew I wanted and so much more.
He is gentle and calm and so easy to love.
We have so enjoyed this month falling in love with our sweet boy.


happier at home

This week, as I’m still adjusting to our new normal here at the Miller Manor, I have been trying to make very intentional choices toward happiness.  My family sacrifices a lot for me to be pregnant and I am so excited to be feeling back to my normal self again so I can continue to be the mama these children deserve.  I tend to be susceptible to depression, especially in these hormonal seasons of life and I have found that throwing myself into motherhood really does my soul good, and having a happy home equals a truly happy heart.  Sometimes I feel I need a little boost toward a happier home and today I’m jotting down some tricks I use in case you need a boost too!

  1. Imagine the kind of mom you’d like to be, then be that.
    When I doubt myself as a mom (which is waaaay too often, let me tell you), I like to imagine the type of mother I’ve always wanted to be.  For me, this is a mother who does things like happily keeps a tidy home, one who talks and plays with her children, and bakes an after school snack on the regular.  (Remember the feeling of coming home from school to baked goods?  I want my kids to have that!) This week I set a goal to happily get caught up on laundry because I knew that would make me feel like a good mom.  I also really wanted to connect with my older girls since I have been so busy with the babies.  So one day after school this week while the little ones were napping, we made an easy treat.  They beamed at that surprise and had happy moods the rest of the evening.  
  2. Try something new.
    We are not defined by the things we do or do not do – we can change things up at any time.  Just because I’m not the kind of mom that takes my kids to the library every week doesn’t mean I can’t change that whenever I want.  So go on an adventure with the family, do that pinterest project that’s out of the comfort zone, make that new recipe… If it works out great, you might have found your new “thing”, if it is a disaster, you have taught your kids a valuable lesson on trying something new and extending yourselves grace when it falls apart.  It’s a win-win.  Last weekend, we went to the gas station and let our kids all pick out whatever treat they wanted and took a long drive.  They thought they won the lottery!
  3. Get help! 
    Hire Help: Have you ever heard “Do what you do best, hire out the rest?” Of course that’s not always possible, but I think this is a great principle even at home.  I am a good cook and I enjoy cooking and meal planning.  I am not such a naturally good housekeeper.  So, I hire a cleaning lady that deep cleans my house once a month.  That is the perfect way for me to feel
    like I can stay on top of it and not get buried.  But hiring isn’t always necessary.  My sister-in-law is an amazing organizer, and I have a good eye for design.  Sometimes I help her with a room in her house, or a wall collage, etc. and she helps me organize my pantry (which she’ll be helping me with soon and I will document her genius process!).  Trade services you’re good at with someone who’s good at something you’re not.
    Ask Advice: When I have an area I’m struggling with, I love to find someone who doesn’t struggle with that area and ask them how they do it.  Like how my cousin loves laundry (which I haaated) and she told me her laundry routine.  I tried it, and found it works great for me too!
    I have friends that are good at so many things.  I could sit back and feel bad about myself that I’m not as good at those things, or I could ask one of my friends to teach me how to be better.  My friend Heather is an amazing hostess.  Hosting is something I’d like to be better at, so at an upcoming event she’s agreed to help me and teach me how she does things.  I have also found that when people are good at things, they are usually flattered when you ask for their help and are happy to assist.  

     (this is our amazing “cinco de mayo book club” hosted by Heather last week)

     These 3 things have helped me be happier at home this week, and I hope they get you started with some ideas to make you happier at home, too.  Because we could all use a little more happiness, right??