Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas {2010}

The Milles Christmas in pictures {with brief captions}.

Decorating Jesus's birthday cake {with a few sprinkles}

Presents {waiting to be opened}

Using the long-desired telescope {to spy on the neighbors}

Being absolutely adorable {while sporting an ear infection}

Riding in the Cozy Coup {& opening presents, drinking milk and resting in the Coup as well}

Riding her bike {not sure how she became big enough}

We had a blessed, amazing Christmas.
Praise God for giving us his Only Son, who of which we celebrate this great day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mary...

One of my favorite Christmas songs is Mark Lowry's "Mary, Did You Know?"

With all the anticipation of Christmas and our own hard work in making sure that Christmas is really about the celebration of Jesus's birthday---and not a generous, jolly ol' elf...Bethany wanted to dress up to be Mary.  

She's a pretty adorable Mary, if I do say so myself.


Anyway, back to my original point. Have you heard that song.  I think being a mother it brings a totally different perspective to the whole Jesus's birthday thing.  I now think about Christmas through the Mommy Lens.  Do you have a Mommy lens? If not...all you do is think through it from Mary's perspective. 

 Sure she knew she was blessed with Son of God.  But my heart breaks when I think about the end of Jesus's life. Did Mary know about THAT from the get-go?  Did she realize just how miraculous and significant of an event was taking place & that her whole life has completely changed directions.  I know that I, for one, tend to underplay events in life & not truly realize their significance until time has passed and I am an outsider looking back. 

Then I wonder, how much did she anticipate the end of Jesus's life. Was she dwelling on it (like, ahem, I know some people might).  Did she cry for him? Did she worry for him? Did she lose sleep at night knowing the inevitable?

For being such a joyous and emotional event....just how much did Mary consider when she as she was holding the brand new baby Messiah?
 
I am grateful for Mary.  What a super strong woman....having been so young & yet so instrumental in the salvation of billions of people.
(btw...I am sure the REAL Mary never dragged her baby brother around by his arms...ahem...we certainly would never let this Mary do it either...)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bethany There was a Lil' Baby

This weekend, Bethany and the whole Sunbeams choir at church treated the 9:30 service with an awesome performance of "There was a Little Baby". Bethany did fantastic, as usual. Here is a video of her performance.

If this doesn't plaster a freakishly large smile on your face...I am not sure if anything ever could.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

sibiling differences: play-doh style

 Who know getting out the play-doh tub could provide major insights to your children.  While both kids were entertained for a good 15 minutes with the arrival of the doh.

But there were some pretty significant differences between the two of the lil' goobers....

 As with all her work, Bethany took her play-doh business rather seriously.  Making sure to use the proper tool that would optimize her creation process.

She then proudly displayed her creation.


 Owen....on the other hand...loved the play-doh containers.

 He loved the play-doh tools...
I am pretty sure that he is the only kid in the world that couldn't stand playing with the play-doh itself.  This kid surely has me puzzled! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Simple Parenting Mistake Solved

Parenting Mistake # 2,423,424.667:
 We put up all the Christmas decorations, the Christmas tree and sat on Santa's lap all on the same day with the 1 year old and the 3 year old (who still struggles w/ the concept of time...as indicated by the fact that every day in the past is considered yesterday).  The result of these activities: Bethany thought the next day was Christmas & when it turned out NOT to be Christmas, she thought the next day was Christmas. This went on for a few days until.....

Solution to Mistake #  2,423,424.667:

 Along with the wooden nativity scene advent calendar, I made a large and colorful paper-chain to count down the days until Christmas.  We started with 24 days left & after bath time Bethany gets to tear one piece off at a time.  She knows once she gets to rip the last one, the next day will be Jesus's birthday.  She loves getting to rip one off each day & counting the remaining links.

And sometimes, while she does that, Owen "gets" to eat some non-edible candle decorations, sigh.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Push Over

 So...would you allow
 

your three-year-old to push the one-year-old
 
all over the house in a toy stroller?

Yeah...me neither...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Accepting Help

My two kids:

While they tend to often do the same exact things....especially at the exact same time. Whether it is to sit in the same chair, read books on the time-out step (voluntarily, mind you) or climb up the stairs taking "bites" out of the steps along the way (gross!)...they are certainly two-of-a-kind.

So, even though they are so similar at sometimes...there are times where these two goobers couldn't be any more different than night and day themselves. 

Bethany never had and rarely ever does question us when we suggest what is the best choice or what is the best situtation for her.  She typically always allows us to help her to get through her every-day-run-of-the-mill life happenings.  I think, she knows we have her best interests in heart and that we will not lead her astray.  Owen, however, that is a different story.

Couple of days ago, I took the two kiddos to the swimming pool by myself.  All is good. Bethany and Owen love playing in the kiddie section and they just eat up all the interactive spraying & dumping things.   After an hour in this section, we decided to venture off into the big, deep part of the pool.  Owen was donning his "backpack" (the rest of us call it a life jacket) which helps me feel 100% better in regards to his safety.  I carry them both into the deep section and lead them to this underwater bench-like-ledge where they can easily walk and still be above water.  Bethany is a master when it comes to this pool & knows to watch the blue lines on the edge of the ledge. She can see where the ledge ends and the water drops a good 3 more feet. 

Owen...well, he hasn't quite figured out how to navigate that treturous terrain.  I, being the great mother than I am, decided to just guide my son with a nice, loving hand gently holding on to the back of his life vest.  Owen hates this.  He hates the fact that I am ever-so-lightly holding on to him while he is navigating this foreign-to-him territory.  I am a good 3 feet taller than this lil' man. From my perspective, I can see the big picture.  I know where the ledge drops and where he will, for sure, lose his footing and drop into the deep end.  I understand the consequences of not having your head above water.   Owen, though, he doesn't.  He just knows that he is a big boy.  He sees his 3-year-old sister walking on the ledge unassisted and thinks he should be able to do that too.  Regardless of what is ultimately good for him, he squeals and fusses and swats away any of my attempts of assisting him.  He, after all, is a good 19 months old now.  He is a big boy and doesn't need any help from his ol' mama.

I can't help but see some parallels w/ Owen and the pool and Life in general.  Sometimes {all the time, actually} I ask God for help--help to get through something, help to decide something, help to comfort someone.  While I was helping my own son through a watery situation, I wondered to myself, "how often do I squawk and swat away the helping hand of God?"  Sure, I think I know what is best for me.  I, after all, have been here a good 30 years and I've seen a lot.  Perhaps, I do know what is best for me. Why would I need to stop and listen to what God is saying...

Silly isn't it?

Why do people do that? Why do we, being creatures of limited mind, swat away the help of someone all-knowing and all-loving.  Who only what is the best for us?  Who would give the world for us? Does that even make sense?  So while Owen is screaming, at this point, because I insisted on picking him up after he took those last two steps off the ledge and into the deep end; I quietly talked to God and made him a deal...

Not only will I continue to ask for his help...but now...now I will actually start listening and accepting what he has to say...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Did you know...

My kids are

SUPER HEROES!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas is Coming!


It is official!  Christmas is coming and the proof is all over the Milles house!
 
The decorations and tree are in place.

Little girls and lil boys have sat on Santa's lap and placed their final gift requests.  They even got their pictures taken with Santa. But you won't find those picture on this blog post as I am too lazy to get up and scan them in the computer.

 Another sign of Christmas---Homers donned in holiday garb are being played...

make that...overplayed...


Christmas is surely on its way.  What a refreshing feeling to know that we are on the eve of December. Now, if we can figure out how to clearly communicate to Bethany when Christmas is...then we are all set. Everyday she is asking if today is Christmas...poor thing doesn't quite get the concept of three weeks. But I have something up my sleeve to rectify that problem!

I hope you are having a relaxing start to the holiday season.  If you can...make sure you keep the reason for the season in the fore-front of you minds.  After all, without Jesus ... there wouldn't be much of this Christmas stuff, now would there?!?!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Parenting Games

{Happy 500th Blog Post}

I am at the point now where I am coming to terms with the fact that parenting is balancing act.  Sometimes we are playing the game of taking two steps forward while the lil' ones push you two steps back.

For instance, sometimes I clean up one room at the same exact time they are destroying another room.  The kiddos aren't too bad when it comes to helping out. But really...it feels like we are always cleaning up a 1,000 toys, a ka-billion puzzle pieces or a plethora of cookie crumbs.
 

Or you are walking a fine line to keep the little temper-tantrums at bay...whether it is by letting them wear what they wanna, monitoring their toy-snatching and minimize the antagonizing.  This isn't too hard of a line to walk.  By giving the kids choices between two parent-approved options, it really helps reduce many tantrums.  Either they can wear this jacket or this.  They can have this toy or that.  They can do this or go to time out.  It is all about choices & giving the bity babies some power.

The game I find the hardest to play is the balancing game.  Being that it is still in the middle of the school year...we are struggling to balance time between school work, housework and the babies. I feel the worst that Cory always gets cheated when it comes to spending time together.  I do believe our last date was sometime this summer {as I don't count conference nights as dates}.  We really aught to work on that.   We've talked about actually using a real babysitter sometime, to help us escape.  You know...the kind you have to pay for.   

But as some of our friends posted in their blog recently, it is all about being a parenting trade-off.  These kiddos are such blessing and a true gift from God.  It is amazing we have been chosen to take care and raise these two.   While we have less sleep, less time together and a just a few less dollars...these kids are worth every bit of it. It is, by far, the best trade I could ever think of making.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Camera

Christmas (and my birthday for the next 5 years) has come early to the Milles house.  This past week, my parents gave us an awesome Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS camera.  I'll tell you what....I need to add this camera to the forever growing list of things that are smarter than me.

I am planning on taking a class to learn how to operate this thing and to get the biggest bang for my buck.  The good news about this camera is that I also have a super nice Canon EOS film camera.  I have lots of lenses and whatnots for that camera & from my understanding those two cameras can share parts! That is fun!!!

Well, here are a few shot I took while fiddling with the different settings.

I used two of most favorite subjects to practice using this camera. 
I've learned a lot while shooting away at these lil' guys.

 I learned that sometimes your subject might be a tad bit blurry & in the dark.

And when your subject is screaming and your shutter time is too long...he'll be a fuzzy mess. 

Sometimes your subject is just gorgeous!

While at other times he rolls out of the shot!

Or manages to make a mess while you get distracted w/ the shiny buttons on the camera.

Typically your subject may have a sibling that is also a good person to shoot. 
Even if she insists on eatting odd things... 

Or sleeps on the job.

But occassionally...if you try hard enough, you may get some good shots...
even some w/out pants on!

Hopefully, in the next few months you'll notice some pretty awesome pictures of these kiddos and our crazy family happenings! :o)

Monday, November 15, 2010

C. David Milles

Man...another 11 days have slid by and I didn't post anything.  I apologize to all of my adoring, non-commenting readers and stalkers out there.  My goal is to blog at least twice a week, if not more often; but as life gets busy, blogging is one of the first things to be sacrificed (along w/ quality time w/hubby--don't even ask me the last time we actually had a date...).    I tell ya, balancing life as a working mama is tough. Working, spending quality time w/ the 2 kiddos, planning decent lessons, grading papers, keeping up w/ a clean house...that is all tough stuff. 

Plus, it is November.  You know what means, right? It is NaNoWrMo (National Novel Writing Month). 

Here is Cory's progress on this novel as of today:

This is Cory's second time partaking in NaNoWrMo.  Last year he wrote the book, "Redemption."  It is a cult classic at the building where we teach.  Cory only printed 4 or 5 copies of the book. These kids are having a blast reading it and passing it on to their friends, moms, cousins, etc.   Then, they get so excited to share that feedback with Cory.   I've had a couple people tell me that "Redemption" is their favorite book they've ever read.

As Cory is writing his 4th novel (yes, 4th), he is being the most elusive yet.  I didn't know Cory when he wrote his first nonfiction book on Christianity.  But with "Chupacabra" and "Redemption" Cory shared with me the basic premise of the story.  This time, I had to keep on badgering him for the names of the main characters. He is being VERY Lemony-Snicket-like!

I am proud of his progress on this book. He is nearly half-way done with this novel and while he is trying to maintain his progress on this goal, Cory is also a kick-butt dad, teacher and husband.  Cory still does 99% of the dishes, 85% of the laundry and 100% of dinner-Owen-induced-disaster-clean-ups.

Now...like I said he is a kick-butt dad. Look at them in their matching t-shirts.  
When the lil' stinkers are fussy, tired or just plain ol' crabby...he can get them chipper in no time at all. I tend to cuddle and love on them, but he is able to turn their mood around completely.  You really need to see them playing "Tigers" where two of them chase the third one around. They get crazy loud.  But is awesome not only to see how much the kids adore him...but he is an active dad.  He knows what makes these kids happy, mad, sad, etc.  He knows their favorite foods, shows, toys.  I see so many other dads out there that really don't know who their children are and what makes them run. 

Owen, Bethany and I are so blessed to have Cory in our lives. He is such a spectacular dad and husband.  I've always told my own father, "Anyone can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy."  I am so glad that my children have this man to call "Daddy!"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

God is Bigger than Big!

That is right!  God is bigger than big.
He's stronger than strong.
He's mightier than mighty;
LOUDER THAN THIS SONG!!!!!

Man, reading that is something.
But want to know what is better than just reading those words on a blog?
Well, you need to listen to a good 2 dozen kids singing/yelling those words during worship service. 

Bethany joined the Sunbeams choir at church this fall. She is loving it!
It is so exciting to see her learning about God and loving God!

While I don't know how much she understand about God, Jesus, Adam/Eve, Jonah, etc.  She does know that God is Large and in charge.  Throughout our conversations she knows that God is the reason for everything. If I try to scientifically explain something to her, like, why people get bigger as they get older...she often corrects me and says, "We get bigger because God wants us to." 

Now...sometimes God comes up in a conversation in non-conventional ways.  
See the example:

Me: Bethany! Stop drinking the bath water! That is disgusting! Why are you doing that?
Bethany: Because God told me.

It is super cute, though, when she does something "naughty".  For example sometimes she says silly things like, "I'm going to hit you."  She then says "sorry" to me and God.  Now that...that is pretty cute. I don't know where she got that idea from. But isn't it sweet?