Monday Evenings

Monday at the Miller Manor is family night.

Sometimes we cook dinner and bake a goodie and talk about life and love and family.  Sometimes we take an adventure to the food truck round up that happens in our ‘hood.  It doesn’t really matter what we do, as long as we’re together.  That’s the point of family night around here.

As our children get older, and our schedule gets busier, we place more importance on keeping this a family night.  Monday night is one of my very favorite nights of the week!

This Monday evening, we took the girls to eat at one of our favorite mexican restaurants (just wasn’t working out in the cooking department today!).  After that, we went to Home Depot to pick up some flowers to adorn our front porch with.  Mr. Miller  let me pick a big pot (I chose a whiskey barrel – I love the look!) and we each chose our favorite flower.  Harlo chose some bright fuchsia flowers that are supposed to attract butterflies.  Stella chose dainty, flowing pink flowers.  Brady chose some that look almost like feathers that have beautiful bright colors.  I chose marigolds because I love how happy and warm they feel.  We helped Grae choose some flowers too – we found these tiny little blossoms that together make these round, happy looking flowers.  They were perfect.

We got home and got to planting.  We ooh’d and aww’d over each other’s choices and pointed out how each flower is so unique and different with it’s own smell and beauty and purpose.  One-by-one we planted them into our barrel until they made a beautiful bouquet in our new pot.  We talked about how each flower is beautiful, and when planted together, firm in the soil, they are even more lovely – just like our family.

 

Grae graciously tested all of the soil for proper nutrition.  She gave her stamp of approval!

Chocolatey, ice creamy smiles showing off their picks (Grae physically assalting her purchase).

One thing I love about Stella – she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty!!  Atta girl, Stel!

(no flower is safe in Grae’s path…)

Hey Mr. Miller! Cute bum, where you from? ;)

This morning, my porch looks a whole lot happier!  Happy Spring!

 A successful family night, indeed!

(more on family home evening HERE)

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don’t cry over low milk supply

Recently  I hit a milestone with a full year of breastfeeding!  It feels like such a sweet success.  I have come a long way in nursing since my first baby.  I have learned patience with myself and have had a lot of trial and error to see what has worked for us.  I have a very particular milk supply.  I can start drying up after a morning of not drinking enough water.  With my first baby, this resulted in starting to supplement with formula which quickly led to a complete drying up.  My next two rounds of nursing, I have learned to put up a good fight.  I lasted just shy of 11 months nursing Stella before she self-weaned and I am still nursing Grae at 12 months.  I am so thrilled about this!  It has been a journey for me, but I have done it.  I often get asked questions about what I use, so today I am sharing the herbs I’ve used to up my milk supply to help me exclusively nurse for a year – even with a finicky milk supply.

Five Week Formula – These are herbs my midwife has me start taking at 35 weeks pregnant.  They are packed full of herbs to help through the delivery process, one of which is milk production.  I swear by the 5 week formula having taken it 2/3 pregnancies.  So many benefits which include very minimal post partum bleeding, quick and abundant milk coming in, strong uterus/contractions during labor, and just a much faster recovery overall – including my belly shrinking back at a rapid rate.  But, milk production is probably my favorite and most important perk to these herbs.

Fenugreek – Fenugreek is a magical pill for me.  I take 2 pills 3 times a day with lots of water.  By my second dose of the day, I can tell I’m filling up.  Nursing Stella, I took Fenugreek almost daily to keep my milk supply up.  I loved that it’s okay to take intermittently though.  On days I would wake up feeling nice and full, I didn’t need to take it those days.  Fenugreek also makes you smell like maple syrup, which may or may not be a perk for you.  Mr. Miller called me “short stack” the whole time I was nursing Stella.  :) Maple syrup smell doesn’t bother me, but if it bothers you, you have other options.  Also, sometimes Fenugreek doesn’t work as well for some people, which brings me to…

Blessed Thistle – My midwife says that Blessed Thistle works better for the majority of people.  If Fenugreek hasn’t worked as well for you (or if you’re not into smelling like iHop), Blessed thistle is a great option.  I have been using Blessed Thistle this time around and have had no complaints.  I have more experience with  Fenugreek, but I think Blessed Thistle works just as well.  I also take this 2 pills 3 times daily on the days I’m feeling less full and need a little pick me up.  Now I know my body enough and know if I didn’t eat as many calories that day, or drink as much, or have been feeling more depressed or very stressed, or have been super active.. all of these things affect my milk.  On the days I know I’ll need it, I start taking blessed thistle before I have signs of my milk dipping down.  I think this has really helped me stay on top of it.

Placenta Encapsulation – I had my placenta encapsulated after I delivered Grae.  I had heard so many good things about placenta encapsulation and how it has worked well for post partum depression, milk supply and hormone balance just to name a few.  Having suffered from PPD in the past, I knew it was worth a try.  I have been so thrilled with my experience taking my placenta pills.  I absolutely felt a difference in the “baby blues” days after delivering, which for me are usually pretty weepy.  My milk also came in abundance!  I took my pills religiously for the first 6 weeks and then have taken them intermittently throughout the year as needed for depression or milk supply.  I really think having my placenta encapsulated has made all the difference in a great supply this time.  I have found I need to take my herbs much less if I’ve taken my placenta pills.  There are SO MANY perks to encapsulating your placenta, you are crazy not to.  I would be happy to share more info on this, but for milk supply – it has my double stamp of approval.

Wait on the weight – Nothing will dry your milk up quicker than jumping the gun on losing the baby weight.  I KNOW it’s hard to be 20, 30, 40+ lbs more than you’d like to be, but let’s not forget that minor detail that our body just 1. created an entire human 2. birthed  that perfectly made human and 3. is now nourishing that rapidly growing little human.  I hate when those details get overlooked.  I don’t love to be in a size 8 or 10 when I’m used to being a size 2 as much as the next girl, but what I don’t like even more is losing my ability to breastfeed.  PLUS, I have found nursing working for me on the back end… I tend to keep my baby weight for that first six months or so for nursing (which makes sense because I’m nourishing two bodies at the same time that I need to keep some extra storage) and then in that last 6 months, I really feel like nursing helps it come off naturally when it’s supposed to.  I know lots of people who tend to keep the weight on the entire time they’re nursing, and I think it’s just what their body needs.  But when my weight starts to come off, my milk has a hard time.  Because I know my milk supply is sensitive, I have to prioritize that above other things.  Getting back into shape minutes after delivery is one of those things.  Sometimes having a positive body image doesn’t mean loving what your body looks like at any given time, but being patient with your body and extending love to it – and especially giving it a little credit for it’s current stage.  I will make it known that I didn’t lose a pound of my baby weight until Grae was over 5 months old.  It has slowly, slowly trickled off – the longest it’s taken with all three of my babes.  And wouldn’t you know it?  My best milk supply yet.

See a lactation consultant – This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but seriously – see a LC.  They are so well educated and can help with issues like this.  They can give so many suggestions.  I saw a lactation consultant twice this time around for two different reasons.  Sometimes a bad latch will cause a lagging supply, sometimes too many snack feedings, sometimes a baby who sleeps through the night too early will cause supply issues.  All of these things are something your midwife or lactation consultant can help with.  My lactation cost me $20 a visit and my goodness, what a bargain that was to get on the right track.  Especially if you don’t have a plethora of sisters or friends to talk to, a lactation consultant can be a true life saver!

I’ll close by saying breastfeeding isn’t always the easiest option – especially in that first 6-8 weeks, you feel like it’s a full time job – and some!  But once you get over that hump, things start flowing with ease.  Nursing my babies is absolutely at the top of my list for my most favorite thing in the world.  It is so worth trying to figure out if you can.

 

(beautiful photos of me nursing Grae c/o Ashley Flowers Photography)

 I’ll also say that I have no regret over opting to bottle-feed Harlo after some time and struggle.  It was best at the time for that situation.  I just wish I would have known I had a few more options to try out before making the switch, because once you switch over – there’s no going back. :)

Happy happy nursing my dear friends!  Wishing you all the very best.

xoxo

(I’ll be answering questions in the comments – also if you have any tips to add, please do!)

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easter weekend

We had a wonderful Easter weekend!  Easter is my all time favorite holiday, and this year didn’t disappoint.  My sister, Ali was in town so that is always some good quality girl time – big and little.  I love watching my girls enjoy their auntie.

General Conference was this weekend – my favorite.  We had lots of things going on with Easter and backyard projects starting, but we tried to snag in the live sessions wherever we could.  I had such a sweet moment at home while our girls colored their conference packets and Brady and I listened to the words of our church leaders.  My heart was so full, I thought it would burst right out of my chest.  God has done so much good work in my life, and I am so grateful.  

On Sunday, the girls woke up and searched for their hidden Easter baskets (sans candy this year, bad mom moment!).  After our Easter breakfast, Stella came to sit with me on the couch while I nursed Grae.  She said, “Mom, I know that Jesus died for us.” I got chills as she continued, “He died on the cross, and his mom, Mary, said the sweetest thing! She said ‘Don’t kill him! He’s my son!’ Sad, huh.” I agreed that was very sad and I thought about that moment in a way I hadn’t ever before.  She said, “3 days later, he rose again and said to his mom, ‘don’t touch me, I haven’t seen my dad yet.'” We then talked about how that’s when Jesus made it possible for us to live with God again.  Jesus unlocked the gates of Heaven, we were told during our conference sessions.  I was so surprised by how much she knew about it, since I wasn’t the one to teach her.  In fact, I didn’t even know all of those details.  There have been so many moments that I have learned from my girls about Our Savior, and I am so grateful for their loving example.  The true meaning of Easter was all around us.

After the morning session of conference, we headed up to Pine Valley where our sweet friends were blessing their new little baby.  What a special day!  Tears fell down my cheeks as Seth blessed his darling girl and the spirit filled the room all around us.  What a neat experience, and one I’m so glad we were able to share.  Pine Valley chapel is so neat!  You enter the doors and can feel you’re in a sacred place.

The perfect ending to our Easter Sunday was a family bbq full of cousins.  Two out of my three sisters were here and it was so nice to let the girls enjoy some of their Salt Lake cousins.  We can never see to get all four sisters together at once, but I try to soak up the time we have no matter what.  This Easter was a beautiful one, and possibly my most favorite yet.  Our day was just light and easy and filled with so much goodness.  I sure know that Our Savior lives and loves!

General Conference is something I look forward to every time!  There were some great messages this weekend.  You can catch up here!

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trying days

Yesterday was a doozy.  It was jam packed and filled with stressful things (like shots for two out of three of the Miller ladies).  I cried 3 different times.  Which for me is basically my year’s worth of crying.  I cried when Grae got shots (I always do) and I cried the whole way home from the doctor.  I cried as I sat with a very inspired man from my church as we had a wonderful and deep conversation.  Then at night time, I cried myself to sleep.  Some nights are like that as a mom.

I woke up this morning and felt better already.  I love that about mornings – clean slate.  I love me a clean slate.

Today was so much better.  It was still busy.  I registered my darling Stella for kindergarten, and took Grae to the doctor (for the third time this week – long story).  I almost felt like crying out of relief at this doctor’s appointment and all day long I offered up prayers of thanks for our darling pediatrician and the love he extends to my precious girls.  On the way to dance class with the girls, I apologized for being so ornery and snappy the last couple of days.  Harlo said “It’s okay mom, I don’t even really care.” and Stella piped in “Yeah, mom.  We love you anyway all the time.” I love my girls so much.  We all made a promise to do better and talk sweeter and have a happier heart.

After that was date night.  I put on fancy shoes (date night seems better in fancy shoes) and I talked and talked and talked the whole entire time.  Mr. Miller is always so sweet to let me do 98% of the talking.

Right now Mr. Miller is snoring away in the girl’s bed (he does this sometimes) and it’s so precious going in there and seeing them all snuggled close on their full size bed that I can’t even bare wake him.

Some weeks are so trying, but if I look very closely I see so many blessings.  So much light to chase out the dark.  I am so grateful for that!

 

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