three months of grae

  My sweet little Grae Bell is 3 months old!
She weighs 11 lbs on the dot.
She is still in size 1 diapers.. size 2 drown her (even though I bought them thinking they would totally fit now – oops!)
She is wearing 0-3 still, but I’ve started to put her in 3-6.  She seems to be long so even though 3-6 is quite baggy, it fits her length wise.
She has turned into such a sweet, smiley little thing.
Her tummy sensitivity seems to be getting a little better.
I have eaten a cheeseburger with no complaints from her, but don’t dare try my beloved cafe rio salad. The sacrifices we make!
She rolls over right and left from her tummy.  Her big sisters think she should be an olympic athlete with that feat!
She is still just a scrawny little thing, but she is starting to work on a little chub roll on her thighs, along with a pretty delicious double chin. She will give open-mouth kisses (mostly to mama).
She is winning our hearts over more and more every single day.
She is sleeping pretty well.
She begs to go to bed at around 8:30 every night and sleeps in her cradle until about 1-3 and then gets in bed with me and nurses off and on til morning.
She has started taking naps in her crib and she is doing well.  I am almost ready to move her in there at night but every night rolls around and I decide she’s still too young. ;)
She is a busy little wiggle worm.
If she is awake (and even in her sleep) she is constantly moving and kicking. She has suddenly gotten so sweet and nice.
For quite some time she wouldn’t tolerate anyone holding her for more than 5 seconds but she has gotten much better the last week or two.
She is so super smiley and will reward you with a grin anytime you even look her way.
Her eyes are so so blue and SEEM like they’ll stay that way.
This is my first experience with a blue-eyed baby, but I really can’t imagine them changing with how piercing blue they are.
People comment on them every single time we leave the house. She has a little strawberry (hemangioma) on her right ring finger.
It is so cute and looks like a little ruby ring.  We say she brought her jewels from heaven.
People comment on it all the time, “what happened?!” they gasp.  It’s a little annoying to constantly be explaining to every single person, but what can we do?  I know at first glance it looks like a little scrape.
We love it though, it’s just one of her sweet little characteristics.
(Even though it will likely disappear on it’s own, unlike a birth mark.) Grae has acquired quite the slew of nick-names, Grae Bell, Gigi, G-Baby, Graby Baby, G, chicken nugget.
My favorite is when the girls call her one of them.
Stella calls her a different name everyday – usually a different disney princess. The first week we went back to church after she was born people came up to me saying “Her name is Elsa?” and I quickly corrected that no, her name was Grae.  A few minutes later I overheard someone asking Stella what her new baby sister’s name was and she said, “Elsa.” ha! Got all the sweet ladies in our ward a little confused.
I’m sure some people still think we have little Elsa Miller over here.
Yesterday Stella demanded we call her “Pascal” all day. (Rapunzel’s trusty chameleon side-kick) Every time I fed her, “Oh mom, are you’re feeding Pascal?” haha.
She is much better in the car, but some how knows if I am not driving and will cry and cry until I sit in the back with her.  It’s the weirdest thing because she rarely cries when I’m driving the kids around by myself.  She doesn’t even have to be touching me, as long as I’m in the back she is 100% fine.  Such a little mama’s girl!
She truly is such a mama’s girl.  By far my biggest mama’s babe out of the 3.
It’s so magical to be loved so much! :)
Grae is such a blessing to our home.
She brings such a sweet spirit with her.
We are all completely smitten.

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grae’s first trip | how we beach

Last month we took our first trip as a family of five and kicked off our miller’s summer bucket list.  It was such a relaxed trip and will go down as one of my favorite memories with my family.

I get asked a lot about where we stay and what we do in California.  My sister lives in Oceanside in North San Diego County.  It’s about 6 hours from where we live in Southern Utah and we make it out there as often as  possible.  We all love the beach, but it gives us a chance to catch up with family and get away.  We are so lucky to have family to stay with so we’re able to go down more often.  We have mastered doing a lot of fun things that don’t cost a lot of money.  So, if you are planning a Southern California getaway, this post is for you. ;) On this week’s vacation, we did almost all of our favorite things.

First thing first, I like to incorporation traditions wherever I can.  We all get a fancy starbucks drink when we leave early mornings.  This gets everyone out of the house a little easier and sets our trip off on the right foot.

When we get to California, the first thing we do is drive by the ocean with our windows down.  No matter if it’s midnight or noon, we drive by the ocean with no exception.  Auntie has her own little tradition with having a surprise for the girls as soon as we get there.  They have to close their eyes and hold out their hands (their favorite form of surprise).  Sometimes it’s a little tricker for them to play with while they’re there or sometimes a treat, but it’s always a highlight for them.

These are all simple things that we do that I know will lace together so many rich family memories for my children.

My number one suggestions of fun and FREE thing to do?  The beach, obviously.  This is likely what the kids will want to do everyday anyway and did I mention it’s FREE?? It’s fun for everyone! Don’t fill up your days with the zoo and seal world and legoland and disney.. choose one expensive thing to do (if you really want to) and the rest of the days?  Plant yourself in the sand, feel the breeze on your face and let the sounds of giggles and splashing take you to your happy place.  I was surprised this year by how easy it was to take a newborn to the beach.  I just wore her the whole time and kept her covered by our favorite aden and anais blankies.  A nursing friendly suit makes for a happy mama and happy baby.
*new mom tip* for a hot beach day with a baby, simply wet a swaddle blanket for a perfect way to shade and cool your babe.


 Everyone loves the beach!

One of our other favorite things to do in Oceanside is the Thursday night market.  Booths and booths of delicious food, treats and all other forms of goodies.  We load the kids in the wagon and go enjoy our evening.  This is also where I get our world famous caricatures.

 This year we crossed riding the train off our summer bucket list.  We always talk about doing it and this time we made it happen.  WORTH IT! It really was so fun.  The kids loved being able to ride the train (no car seats!) and they ride for free which makes this little endeavor super budget-friendly.  We took the train 40 minutes or so to Old Town in San Diego which has cute little shops (perfect souvenirs for your trip) and THE BEST mexican food I’ve ever had in my life at Barra Barra.  Oh, and the kids eat for free there as well. WIN-WIN.  We have decided that will be a staple on our trips from here on out.

Of course, fill in the gaps of your trip with lots and lots of beach time.
*beach tips*
We seem to have mastered taking kids down to the ocean, so here is what we never go without…
Sunscreen! Everyone needs it.
Food – the more food, the happier your little beachlings will be.
(we love red and white market’s deli for sandwiches and we can get snacks and drinks there which makes it easy)
water – water- water
Shade – a canopy or an umbrella is a great investment if you’re planning on spending more than an hour at the beach.
dry set of clothes for the kids to walk home in (a sweatshirt over a swimsuit will work)
Baby powder! Splash some powder on those sandy feet and the sand will dust right off.  So much easier than showering off and trying to avoid sand on the way out.
A wagon to load things (and tired kids) to and from is an excellent bonus.  We use a wagon way more than a stroller on our beach trips.

 Another favorite place to eat is Yellow Deli.  It’s all fresh, organic, homemade ingredients and such a beautiful location.  If you’ve never been to yellow deli, you need to try it!  It’s quite an experience.

But mostly importantly, our trips are about family.  Don’t get so caught up in the itinerary you’re missing enjoying your vacation.  Sometimes taking a day to lounge around the beach house is important to reset.  Getting exhausted on vacation is so not the point, in my opinion.

This trip was a special one, welcoming little Grae into our adventurous family.


If it’s possible, we fell even more in love with her this week at the beach.

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I get comments and emails every once in a while by sweet mothers and women who have been inspired by something I’ve written about on my blog.  For some reason, this always makes me feel like some sort of poser.  Like my life should be perfect for someone to be inspired by me and my life is faaaaar from perfect.  I always want to excuse these comments with “Oh, you should see the dishes that have been sitting in my sink for 3 days,” or “girlfriend, I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet today and it’s after 1pm!” or “Really?  Because I just lost my patients and yelled at my kids for not cleaning their room the first (second, third) time I asked.” Somehow, the nice comments have become a source of internal guilt for me.  But why?  Why do I feel like I should be perfect in order for someone to pay me a compliment?  I think this rings true in other areas of my life, as well.

This has gotten me thinking of ladies I am inspired by – so many! And what makes them inspirational to me?  Is it because they seem perfect?  I have found that it’s actually the opposite.  They seem real.  They inspire me because their life is beautifully flawed and they are doing it – every day!  I am inspired by my sister-in-law who takes pride in her keeping her home organized while she hustles and bustles 4 children around everyday.  I am inspired by mothers who choose joy in their day when it would be so easy to let the overwhelming tasks of motherhood take over.  I am inspired by my best friend who is on a tight budget and is so creative with her lifestyle.  I am inspired by people of my faith who are real about their struggles but continue to press forward with love in their heart and light in their paths. I want to be more like that.  It’s in the flaws that I find inspiration, people working with what they have, people choosing happiness especially when it’s not the easiest thing to choose.  It’s the realness that inspires me and to me, real does not equal perfect.  I am inspired more by people showing their truths than hiding them.

So maybe I can be inspirational to someone, too.  Maybe I can write about our life, some of the bad but mostly the good, because it really is so so good.  Because I choose to see the goodness in my life.  I choose to celebrate every day.  I choose to love and be loved and share love in any way I can.

I have recently taken some time away from the outside world and really focus in on my little family here that I have.  It’s been good for me to get a different perspective of things.  Since I delivered Grae, I am learning so much about myself.  I am really learning to love myself in a new way as I love and care for her.  I say that every birth changes you and I am in the process of being changed right now, and I feel that.  I have struggled sometimes finding the balance of life again, but I have really enjoyed that struggle too.  I think that’s mostly what this blog is about, ya know?  Enjoying the struggles and seeing past them, creating beauty in the every day, seeing moments as a mother as small miracles happening right before my eyes.

Maybe that is inspirational, and I’m learning to be okay with that.


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the story of Grae’s birth | part 3 | meeting her sisters

The door opened slowly and my little Harlo came wandering in, already half-dressed for school.  The birth tub had been packed up and moved out, the room was completely clean, not a single thing looked different from when she had gone to bed the night before.  “Harlo,” I said as a few tears slipped down my cheeks, “I have a surprise for you.” She stopped at the foot of my bed.  “What, mom?” I pulled down my blanket to reveal this tiny sleeping baby in my arms.

“Is that baby Grae?” she asked accusingly.  “Yep, Harlo.  It’s Baby Grae.  She came out of my belly!” I could tell she was trying to conceal her excitement.  My girl, always playing it cool.  I asked if she wanted to hold her, but she was just a little bit timid and peeked at her from the side of my bed.  She suddenly had a lot on her mind. “Mom, did she just come out while you were sleeping?” “Mom, can we get her a tiny Elsa dress for Halloween?” “Mom, look at her ears.” “Mom, can she sleep in my bed sometimes?” and with each answer she got a little more comfortable, until she had climbed up and sat right beside us, reaching ever so gently to touch her new baby sister. “Mom, is she going to wake up soon?”  “Mom, look at her fingers.” “Mom, can we surprise Stella?”

I had such a sweet moment with my first born child meeting my newborn baby.  I thought of a time just not so long ago when she was the tiny one swaddled in my arms and I don’t think I had ever considered her being this old.  Being a big sister of now two little sisters made her seem so grown.  We talked quietly while Brady slept beside us, I answered all of her questions and she just kept them coming with tiny giggles in between every time Grae would so much as flinch.  After a good half hour, we heard more foot steps coming down the hall.

Harlo gasped, “Stella!” and jumped off my bed to greet her at the door.  “Stel! Mom has a surprise for you!” she squealed as Stella entered the room.  “What mom? What surprise you got for me?” “Come here, Stelly.” I said as I tilted Grae up for her to see. “Baby Grae?!” she shrieked with wide eyes as she hurried to climb up on my bed.  She crawled right over to us and held out her arms, “I want to hold her.”  Stella stared at this tiny girl in her arms in complete awe.  “How does it feel to be a big sister, Stel?” I asked, a smile spread across her face as she nodded, without ever taking her eyes away from her new little sister.

We spent the rest of the morning snuggling in bed, taking turns holding the newest addition to our family.  Baby Grae was finally here and we couldn’t have been more thrilled.  Watching my girls fall in love with their new sister was even more magical than I could have dreamed of.

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