Monday, September 14, 2015

First Day of Preschool!

Everett, Carter and Finley had their first day of preschool today! They did awesome! Mommy on the other hand was way more emotional than she expected! (More on that in a minute.)

This was kind of funny to me. So in my mind, I thought maybe the boys might wear cute, coordinated but not too matchy matchy outfits on their first day..... because wouldn't that be cute?? :-)

Small problem. You see, these are the same boys with whom we've been so mindful about always reminding them that they are each their own unique, special, person!! They are not just "the triplets", they are Carter, Finley, and Everett, each special, unique and different! So on their first day of school, it should probably be no surprise that they each had a clear, unique opinion about what they wanted to wear, and coordinating outfits was no part of it. Each choice was different and each choice was so fitting to their personality.

Carter wore his sports shorts with a funny (and orange- his current favorite color!) alligator shirt. Finley wore comfy pants (because comfort is everything) and a shirt depicting a shark fishing for pizza (because.... fishing!). Everett went for arguably the most sophisticated choice, a collared polo with corduroy pants.

So them.

After taking a few pictures on the front step, we start the drive to preschool. And I am so not even emotional about this. I mean, it's just preschool, it's just a few times a week for short periods of time, and they are SO READY!

And then I glance back at them in the rear view mirror as we sit at a stop light and for some reason all I can think about is the day we brought them home (same minivan, smaller carseats) from the NICU. 

That was just yesterday, wasn't it??

I remember when we got the okay to bring them home from the NICU, feeling like I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

This picture is blurry because I'm booking it with these babies!


That night, when they were finally home, under our roof, fully in our care, it was such a relief (not that they weren't getting amazing care in the NICU, because they were! But for obvious reasons, it feels good and comforting to have your babies home, under your own protection, love and care).

And since that day, they've been in our care. For awhile we were admittedly a little overprotective, worried about germs and the like. There are few people I've trusted to care for them when we can't.

But now we begin the process of nudging them out of the nest with the smallest of first steps. Preschool, just a few times a week, for a couple of hours. 

No big deal.

And yet, glancing at them in the rear view mirror and remembering how far they've suddenly feels like a big deal.

We are so proud of them! Already, they are even stronger than they know.

Be good to them world. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

First Day of School and What We've Been Up To This Summer

Well hello there! That summer sure went fast, did it not?

Yesterday was Colin's first day of school. He's in first grade this year!

Starting off on the right foot, I accidentally set the alarm for 7:30 P.M instead of A.M. Luckily Chris set his alarm too (for the right time) and our kids rarely all sleep past that time anyway. So.... mini crisis averted. Off to a good start!

We took a few obligatory pictures on the front step before send off:

I realized just now, that Colin wore the same shirt on the last day of kindergarten, as he's wearing in these pictures for the first day of first grade. He LOVES his solar system shirt! My little science guy :)

I'm happy to report that Colin had a great first day! And a great second day today! I'm hopeful and praying that this year will be another amazing year of growth for him!

The triplets start preschool next week. THE TRIPLETS START PRESCHOOL NEXT WEEK!!! I can't believe that! People keep saying, "How nice that you'll have a break now!" but really preschool is just two hours, a few times a week so it's not really much of a break (but who's counting, haha). Still! It's an exciting new step for them!

And as for where I've been this summer? Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that in June we bought a camper! And if you know me in real life too, I've probably already way over talked about this camper/ camping/ getting out of the house to travel finally...... so, sorry! Feel free to skip these next few (or twenty), paragraphs about camping. :)

But really, this summer was so great for our family! Mostly because (drum roll please)- we actually went on trips! Camping! Out of the house! A LOT! FREEDOM!!!!! Let's back up, for the past six or so years, it seems as though we've been stuck at home with babies (I'm being a little dramatic.... a little). Around here it's been baby, babies and more baby. And a part of me has longed for the day when we could more easily take trips again, have adventures, and basically leave the house without a small store of baby gear!

This was that summer folks! We have turned a corner, at least in one respect. And that is being able to more easily travel again.

Finding the right camper and then actually pulling the trigger to buy it was a huge step for our family, in part because we also had to find a towing vehicle (sadly our mini van would not tow the camper) and it was somewhat a leap of faith, hoping and praying that camping worked out for us and wasn't a disaster. We did try tent camping- for one night- and enjoyed that last summer.

The best part (for me at least) is that this camper has plenty of room for all of us and then some (hint hint, family and friends, come camping with us!!). Specifically, the back bunk room has a double slide out and can sleep 7 very comfortably! So that's the boys room and when I think of them growing up and laying in their bunks after a long day of hiking, fishing, swimming and exploring.... talking about the fish they caught or the camping adventures they've had, laughing and being silly, well, it seriously brings tears to my eyes.


Chris, on a few occasions, usually around the campfire, has caught me spacing off and tearing up and and wondered out loud, "Are you seriously crying about the camper?!". Yes, yes I am. I'm a sensitive mama and I am really happy about this camper! Not the camper per se, but the joy, closeness and adventure I hope that it brings the boys and our family for years to come.

So far, the best part of camping has been watching the boys excitement over everything from exploring a new area of Michigan, to finding a great fishing hole, to sitting around a fire enjoying s'mores and making memories together. HOWEVER, I must admit that camping with small children, even with the amenities of a good size camper, is A LOT OF WORK. More work than I imagined. Oh my goodness is it ever! I've come to the conclusion that camping as a kid is very different than camping as a parent! The kids have a blast, the parents work their butts off. I'm hoping that over time, as the kids get older, they can help more and it won't feel like so much effort. :)

Here are some pictures from camping this summer:

My view while prepping dinner. :)

My two blondies
I'm always in awe of how crystal clear "Up North" Lake Michigan water is. So beautiful!
Silver Lake

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Days are Long but the Years are Short.

On Colin's first day of Kindergarten my hope for him this year was simple. I prayed that he'd love going to school each day, that he'd feel a sense of belonging in the classroom, that he'd make friends and that he'd continue developing a curiosity about the world.

Don't get me wrong, we care about "academics" too, but ultimately we feel that one of the most important things you can gain from formal school is falling in love with the process of learning. Because if you love to learn, then you never stop. If you don't love to learn and are only striving for good grades or the finish line, then I think you miss out, really. Because with learning, there is no finish line.

In a town of many great schooling options, we ultimately chose our neighborhood school purposefully. We hope that our boys will get a great beginning to a lifetime of learning there. We also hope that they develop a sense of community and begin to understand what it means to be part of a community of people who care deeply about you and whom you care about too.

With the exception of a rough few days at the beginning of the year, Colin woke up every day excited to go to school. He was excited about everything he was learning/ experiencing and we'd hear all about it in great detail each night at the dinner table! He made great friends. He felt comfortable in the classroom and even referred to it as, "kind of like a family there".

At the end of the year school celebration, we brought our picnic blankets and sat in the field by the playground, surrounded by neighbors and friends. Our village.

(Photo credit: It's from the parent community group of our school)
On the last day of school, students and parents lined the hallways and clapped as the fifth graders walked out of there for the last time. It was really special to watch and quite a tear jerker even for this kindergarten mom! 

In short, we end this first year of school with such a grateful heart! Grateful for creative teachers that care so deeply and make learning fun, grateful for a child who loved school and fell more in love with the process of learning, grateful that there's an amazing school two minutes from our house, and for our community of neighbors and friends who make the experience all the more meaningful.

Last day pictures:

Owen was not impressed! He's all, "Ok I'll sit here, but I won't like it!"

Then I made them all sit in the same order as the first day of kindergarten picture.... because I'm crazy like that.

First Day

 Last Day

When I look at these pictures side by side I can't help but think of that saying, "The days are long but the years are short." 

So. True. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Owen Turns Two!

We celebrated Owen's second birthday over the weekend and it was so much fun! At first Owen was all shy about the attention being all on him..... until suddenly he wasn't! About half way through the party (somewhere around cupcakes), Owen started to really enjoy the attention and soaked it all in! It was fun to watch him enjoy soaking up all the love (and gifts! and sweets!) from our family.

It rained all day, but who cares! Owen sure didn't seem to care when he ran out into the rain to grab his balloons!

Colin provided the musical entertainment..... and by that I mean that he sang for HOURS, into our Frozen Karaoke machine. It was so beautiful ;) Occasionally his guitar and cousin Macy would make an appearance too. 

Aunt Katie and cousin Evelyn came from Chicago! It was Evelyn's first visit to our house and I'm sure she was all, "Where have you taken me and what is that beautiful music?!"

Goofball cousins:

Uncle Gavin and Coops!

When it came time to sing "Happy Birthday" Colin graciously moved his microphone and speaker into the kitchen area. He told me that he'd give me a thumbs up when he was ready. 

This is my FAVORITE picture of the whole day! 


He immediately started trying to blow the candle out. He knows the deal!

And then got just a little help.....


This was Owen's first taste of Sweet Mandy B's cupcakes brought all the way from Chicago, thanks to Uncle G!

And Colin keeps singing.....



Love a room full of family: 

Lastly, a Miller event wouldn't be complete without a little science, right?

One last picture before saying "Goodbye" to Macy and Reese:

Happy Birthday to my Baby! You're growing up so fast and we love you so so much!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Mystery Spots, a Mini-Vacation, and Time with a soon to be Two Year Old!

I feel as though I should share how the rest of our week went after my last posting (although I've really tried to block it out). The week didn't get less exciting, in fact, by Wednesday Finn woke up with spots all over his body. I was juuuussst a little freaked out. By Thursday, Carter also had the same strange spots. It was the weirdest thing. Very, very long story short, it was likely caused by a virus and by the weekend they were doing much better. However, it was a long week, in part because we couldn't really go anywhere. I mean, the boys looked horrible, even though they felt okay and since they felt okay, they had a lot of energy, which only increased the longer they were housebound.

This picture was taken after they were doing much better.... ahhhh these two birds. 
By the weekend though, we were assured that Finn and Carter were absolutely no longer contagious and were able to take an overnight trip with Carter and Colin, to my parent's house. They were all JUST a little excited about this trip! From what I hear, there was a lot of rock hunting (my boys are very into rocks lately... as a boy mom, I'm learning.....), treasure hunting, and a trip to the Farmer's market which resulted in balloon swords. They had a ball! And once again, I feel just so thankful that the boys are able to spend quality time like this with my parents.

Owen stayed back with Chris and I and let me just say it was a little strange and quite delightful to only have one kid to look after! Holy smokes, life was kind of a dream! I mean, it's a DREAM with five kids don't get me wrong ;-) but it's also dreamy to remember what it was like to have just one child to care for and spend time with.  Life when we had just Colin seems like a lifetime ago. And after five, caring for "just one" feels infinitely easier. We've never had this kind of one on one time with Owen and although I'm guilty of saying that Owen can be kind of a "pistol" I realized that actually he's NOT hard and he's REALLY super easy going, when one on one! He also seemed to relish having us all to himself because when we'd ask him if he missed his brothers he'd say, "NO" and shake his head. Ha!  (I must add, lest you think he hates having all these brothers, that when they were reunited, there were big hugs and tackles all around).

Eventually we picked up the brothers and found our way back home again. Which brings us to now. Two years ago right now, I was sitting in a hospital room getting to know our Owen. He was just one day old and today was the day he met his four older brothers (although Colin had met him just hours after he'd been born). Watching Colin, Carter, Everett and Finn all excitedly, yet timidly (is that possible?? That's how it felt) charge into the hospital room and then so gently hold their little brother, wearing their "I'm a big brother!" t-shirts, is obviously something I'll never, ever forget. They were so genuinely excited to welcome another.

Owen is such a special kid. I call him my "luvie" because he's like a little teddy bear and has always loved to cuddle. He's feisty. Seriously, don't mess with him. You push him, he WILL push you back. He goes with the flow..... and yet he also knows what he wants and will be very vocal about getting it if need be! He wants to do EVERYTHING that his brothers do, and is often successful at doing it! I seriously think this kid is going to take off on a bike with training wheels soon simply because the tricycle just isn't what his brothers are doing.

He just fits. Owen filled a place in our family and a spot in my heart that could only be filled by him.

Owen, we love watching you grow! You are unique and special and oh so loved by your brothers, your Dad and me. We couldn't love you more!

Here he is having breakfast over the weekend. Doesn't he look miserable being stuck with only mom and dad for two days?

Happy Birthday!!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Oh what a Monday!

Can I just take a minute to re-cap this day while I sip a glass of wine?

By 10:30 a.m. Owen and I were hanging out together in Urgent care, with his lip split open good and blood covering his pants and shirt. The cause was a freak playground accident involving a slide, a block and a brother. Poor kid! It's not always easy growing up with four older brothers who you want to keep up with!

Lovely huh?
I was hoping to just go to our pediatrician's office but because it was possible Owen would need stitches (nooooo, not again!), the pediatrician advised us to go to Urgent care. I was praying that Urgent care would somehow be empty on a Monday morning, but alas, it was packed. We waited and waited and waited some more. Then a lovely physician's assistant came in and I kid you not, this guy (who was nice as can be!) looked like he was 15 years old. Am I just getting old???

Anyway, as it turns out, Owen did not need stitches (YAY!!!) and his cut should heal just fine.

On our way to Urgent care, I got a message from our pediatrician confirming that Everett's strep test came back positive. Poor Everett (except not really bc they started him on medicine last Friday anyway and he's doing great now!)

By 3:00, Carter had spiked a fever of 102. Poor Carter, I did not see that coming! So now Carter and I have a date at the pediatrician's office tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. (bc he's already on antibiotics so it's confusing why he would spike a fever).

Between Owen's lip, Everett's test results, and Carter's fever, I talked with "Sheila, the advice line nurse" (that's how she answers the phone), at our pediatrician's office, four times today! We're buds now. "Oh hey Sheila, it's Jess again...."

So then at 4:00, Chris got his wisdom tooth pulled.

Boy were we all a sight to see around the dinner table. Chris in his post tooth pull state, Carter laying on a couch pulled up by the table, and Owen, trying to eat with his lip still split open.

I hate when my guys aren't feeling well and/or get hurt! Not fun. But of course, it could always be worse. Also, I'm really hoping that the rest of the week is less "exciting"!

Cheers to that!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Evelyn's Baptism and Mother's Day

Gah! I meant to post pictures from our weekend on Monday and then our house got hit with Strep. Oh how fun that has been.....

So although it's Friday, and Strep is still setting up camp here, I really wanted to post some pictures from the weekend, because it was a good one!

On Saturday we traveled down to Notre Dame for the Baptism of my niece Evelyn. She was baptized in the Log Chapel at Notre Dame, and it was really special. Chris's cousin's Fr. Josh and Fr. Justin baptized her.

Here are a few pictures from the day:

Evelyn's baptism gown is a family heirloom that has been worn by many including her mom Katie, as well as her uncles, her grandmother and many cousins. How cool is that? Colin also wore it when he was baptized.

We tried to get a picture of all the cousins, but Owen was having no part of it!

I love how gently Gabe and Colin are holding little Evelyn. :)


Owen fought taking a nap for as long as he could. Finally it caught up to him and at 4 pm he crashed. Right there in the middle of where six other boys were playing hard! But hey, when you need a nap, you need a nap!!
It was such a great day and we were blessed to be a part of it!


That then brings us to Mother's Day! :) So on Sunday morning, Chris brought me coffee in bed, which was awesome, except that I didn't even have time to drink more than a sip. Carter came flying in the room asking if he could use glitter glue. Mind you, it was 8:45 a.m, church starts at 9:00 and from what I could see, everyone was still in their pjs.

"Sweetie, how about you wait until after Church to use glitter glue?" I say, still half asleep.

"You POOPY MOMMY!!!!!!!" he screams and runs out the door.

Even now, I can't stop laughing about that one. Ahhhh, Mother's Day..... so glorious, so perfect, right from the start.

We were 30 minutes late for Church, but we made it! And Carter eventually recovered from the crushing disappointment of no glitter glue at 8:45 a.m.

After Church we made a gut decision to drive to my parents house, about two hours east. I'd been on the fence about making the trip, especially after such a wonderful, yet busy day of travel the day before. Ultimately though, I really wanted to see my mom and my grandmother. And I knew that my grandmother, who is 94 and just moved to Michigan, would really appreciate the visit.

Boy am I glad we went!

Grandmother beamed seeing the boys again and it seemed to really make her day.

One cute thing that happened during this visit is that Everett held her hand almost the whole time! It was the sweetest thing and I'm not sure at all what prompted it. My kids haven't had the opportunity to spend much time with her since she lived out of state until about a month ago. Yet Everett and she were like two longtime friends. Holding hands, laughing, sharing bracelets and cuddling close.

It was such a blessing to spend the day with the boys, Chris, my parents and my grandmother. I feel so honored to be called "Mommy" by these five incredible kids. I love being their mom and feel thankful to be able to spend my days mothering them. Still it's not all sunshine and roses, right?!..... not by a long shot. I mean, heck, I was called "Poopy Mommy" (said with A LOT of emphasis I might add) right out of the gate, on Mother's Day no less!

One of the biggest lessons I've learned as a mother is that you have to somehow roll with the punches. You gotta be able laugh, let go of unrealistic expectations and be willing to simply begin again, over and over and over. The art of beginning again is something we talk about a lot in our house. Because some days are just rough. Some mornings are hard. Things don't always ever go quite as planned. Meltdowns happen and yes, even Mommy looses her patience sometimes. But we can always begin again.

After Church on Mother's Day, Carter, bless his little heart, threw his arms around me and said, "Sorry Mommy. 'Bout this morning. Me think me was crabby." 

"Soooooo forgiven little one. A thousand times over. Let's just begin again."