Christmas at Miller Manor – The Tree

Excuse my absence last week, I have been having some computer issues that took some time to work out.  I should be back up and running now! I’m a little behind on some scheduled posts, so check back next week for some fun new stuff coming up!

As we start moving into the holidays, I’ll be sharing bits of what we do around here.  This weekend was the tree!

I have never decorated for Christmas before  Thanksgiving, but I think I’m converted.  It feel so cozy in our home and it’s made me even more excited for Thanksgiving this year.  I’m 100% sold on squishing these holidays together.

Our tree has never really had any rhyme or reason and I wanted to teach myself how to REALLY decorate a Christmas tree this year, but I still wanted it to feel like a family tree with all the ornaments my girls loved.  Every year, we let the girls each pick a new ornament for the tree and I want that tradition to go on forever! I love the memories they hold.

Today I’m sharing my tips for a family friendly tree, with a more uniform look.


Step One – Ribbon: One thing that was a game changer this year was RIBBON.  All the professional trees seemed to have that in common, so off to Michael’s I went.  Their ribbon and Christmas decor was 40% off over the weekend, so the ribbon cost me just a few dollars a piece. (I used about 15 yards of each) I can’t believe how big of a difference it made! I used a solid red in about 2 inch thick, and a 3.5 inch thick red and white striped.  I figured that color pallet wouldn’t be overwhelming and I could still add in the random colored ornaments without any issue.  (I used the tips for stringing ribbon from HERE. It was super helpful.)

*Another thing I did was string bigger bulb lights over our already pre-lit tree.  I love how the different size bulbs just sparkle at night.  I just threw one strand on and sort of zig-zagged it up the top when I did the ribbon.

(I did need the ribbon to be placed correctly, but I let the girls help by following me holding the ribbon and the other girl would loop a branch around it to hold it into place where I told her to. They were happy to help and even happier with how pretty it looked!)

Step Two – Large Ornaments: Playing with size and texture is an important part of tree decorating, so I added in my bigger ornaments and textured ornaments next.  I got my cute snowflake ornaments at Tai Pan a few years ago, but I saw several oversized snowflake options at Walmart and Dollar Tree! I think they make a big difference than just having standard bulbs.  I got a few over sized bulb ornaments in gold and silver at Walmart.  Once I got the bigger ornaments in place, it really started coming together.

*To add more sparkle, I strung a few of these garlands ($4 from Target) and love the way they look.

Step Three – Let The Kids: With the ribbon and larger ornaments in place, my tree already looked pretty good.  I wanted the kids to be able to hang their favorite ornaments with little input from me, so I let them go wild.  They loved that part, and I love the personality and color it adds to the tree.  It would have been too uniform without it.  I even love the imperfectly strung garlands Harlo added.  :)

 Step Four – Finishing Touches: The tree was missing a little something at the end, and I knew it needed some statement.  I picked up the big lolly-pops at Tai pan and they really pulled everything together.  It looked a little too chaotic before.  Once I got those in, the star at the top of the tree was looking a little sad, so I made a big bow with some leftover ribbon and added it behind our star.  It’s exactly what was missing.

Our girls were very happy that our little Christmas elves, Mimi and Donny, showed up the next morning.  That is always an exciting day at the Miller Manor!

I am still working with our mantle for the holidays, but I’m loving the tree so far!  I hope that helps someone with a Christmas tree obsession like mine this year. 😀

It’s the HAP-HAPIEST time of the year! 

Be sure to follow us along on instagram this holiday season!


the bump – 19 weeks

Dress: Downeast

I can’t believe that I’m almost to the half way point.
Now that I’m feeling better, this pregnancy has started to go by so quickly.
I have been feeling much better pregnancy-wise, but I had a head cold that turned into a sinus infection that I am still trying to recover from.
Sinus infections are not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure! Yesterday was the first day I felt almost back to normal after 12 long days.
I am looking forward to being better from that, AND not so nauseous anymore.
I have been cooking like normal again which feels so good.
My house is slowly getting caught up from the weeks of laying on the couch constantly.
Soda still doesn’t taste very good to me, and I miss it.  It used to be my little cup of happy and it just doesn’t have that same affect now.
I still can’t eat lettuce.  I tried the other night to have a small salad with my dinner and I was sick with an upset stomach all night. (but I’m not throwing it up anymore, so that’s good.)
My obsession with deli sandwiches is still very  much real.  Brady is sure getting sick of eating at port of subs, firehouse, or toms deli every day for lunch.
I’ve started to think more about my birth plan.
Planning a natural home birth takes a lot of thought and preparation.
I’ve whipped out some of my favorite birth books: Ina May’s guide to childbirth (my personal favorite), Birthing from Within, Your Best Birth, and the Bradley Method.  I am also going to be ordering a book on hypnobirthing to see what I can pull from that.
I attended the sweetest birth a few weeks ago and it made me so excited for my own birth.  Birthing is so special and I can’t wait for the opportunity to do it again.
I have started obsessing over getting my bedroom together – our new bed gets delivered today! So exciting.
I’m feeling a lot more baby nudges lately.
You can now feel from the outside, but no one in my family has been patient enough to feel it yet. 😉
I’ve pretty much outgrown all of my non-maternity wear, except for a few dresses that have some stretch to them (seen here).
I just ordered some staples from h&m maternity that I’m hoping will ease my “what to wear dilemma” each day.
I’ll post more about that soon.
I have officially whipped out “The Snoogle” and mercy! I am sleeping like a dream.
I promise you, a snoogle is worth it’s weight in GOLD.  If you are pregnant, you HAVE to have one.
(and even if you’re not pregnant – I think I sold my sister on one because they’re so dang comfortable.)
I’m really looking forward to being in my second half of pregnancy.  It’s my favorite half. :)
We are still stoked on not finding out the gender, even though I’ve had a few moments of panic of how I can’t get prepared.
I’ll chat more about how to prepare for a surprise gender baby as time goes on, but for right now I’m just stocking up on white newborn things, black and whites, and not worrying about being prepared for months after the baby is born.  There really is SO little you need right at first. (but I’ve already started harassing friends for boy hand-me-downs if needed!)
I’m also saving boy/girl things in a special folder on my computer so when I have this baby it’ll be easy to shop for. 😉
I’ve gone back and forth for what I think I’m having.  Some weeks I get more boy vibes, and other times I feel like it’s another girl.
Right now we’re pretty set on names for each, although we don’t have them totally set in stone.
My favorite girl names were shot-down early: Poppy, Bowie, Gemma and Talulah.  (even though I still toss them out there for good measure, we’ll see if the Mr. comes around)
Brady’s pretty firm that we’re naming a baby and not a golden retriever, he says. :/
We’ll see!
Sometimes I feel so excited to have this forth little baby of ours, and other times I’m in panic mode that I won’t have enough time to give.
That’s par for the course though, I’ve learned.
It’s pretty much magic the way each new baby comes in and has it’s own perfect little place in the family.
This baby already has a pretty special piece of my heart.



Today the oldest Miller ladies ran out of the house to catch the bus and forgot their coats behind them.  I realized just as the bus drove away.  I am sort of neurotic about wearing coats (thanks for that, Dad!), so I put on my pants and a sweater and headed to the school to drop them off.

Stella is goofy and was making kids laugh when I got there.  She was excited and surprised to see me. “How did you get here so fast?!” she wondered, “I’m freezing! I’m glad you brought my coat!” Harlo was admiring the icicles that had formed on the grass in the field by herself.  When she noticed me, she said “Mom! There is ice on the grass! Some of the blades are stuck together!” This is just the kind of thing she’d be stoked about.  I love these little girls of mine.

We chatted about their friends and they pointed certain people out to me.  I loved seeing the girls in this element.  It reminds me that they’re growing up and becoming so independent.  And even though that stings the mama heart, I’m so happy and proud.

I stood on the playground, not being able to tear myself away from their little world.  I felt worry bubble up of the busy world around them that I can’t control.  Mean kids, rough play, hurt feelings.  These precious girls of mine have taught me to be gentle and loving because that’s how they are, and I wish I could help teach the rest of the world to be gentle and loving with them.  I quietly said a silent prayer for just that.  Please please let the world be gentle with them.

Please let the world be gentle with all of us, and help us to be gentle with each other.  Help us to remember that we are precious sisters and brothers in this world.  Help us to love each other better.

The bell rang and they scurried off yelling “I love you mom! Bye!” and I yelled back “I love you too!” and I felt glad that even when the world fails them, they’ll always have my gentle love here at home. And that is something.


Super Powers + Sinus Infections

Today I am recovering from my very first sinus infection.

Have you ever had a sinus infection?

I told Mr. Miller yesterday that I felt like I had been hit in the face with a bat.  He thought that was weird and shrugged it off.

Then I called my dad and whined to him “Dad, I feel like my whole face is bruised.  Like I was hit in the face with a bat.” “That’s a sinus infection.” He said, “Do yourself a favor and get on an antibiotic today before you get any more miserable.” When my dad says “Go to the doctor,” I know he means business.  So off to the doc I went.

The doctor told me, “Drink lots of water and get PLENTY of rest.  You don’t want this getting any worse.” “Oh dang, I forgot to mention I’m not a dad.” I teased.  “Motherhood” and “rest” don’t exactly work well together.  It’s basically like oil and vinegar.  “You moms seem to be able to handle more than anyone else on the planet,” he said seriously, “I don’t know how you do it.”

I started on my antibiotic and then wondered seriously how I made it through the day yesterday.  I had even volunteered at Kindergarten with my sore face, and wanted to cry every single time I bent over to pick up Grae (bending over makes it hurt worse for some reason).  Even laying down hurt my sore cheeks.  But I did.  I made it through the whole day.

And at 9:43 when I was finally crawling into bed for the night I thought to myself how right my doctor was.  We moms can handle this kind of stuff.  I don’t know how we do it either.