Tuesday, December 30, 2014

hold on to me as we go

Jake and I celebrated our six year anniversary on the 30th so hello! Welcome to gushfest 2014...you may leave at any time. ;)

I think it's probably pretty common for married couples to come to know and not love a few things about their spouses as they get to know each other in the early years of marriage. Right...or is that just us...?

Jake has learned that when I say, "can you help me with something real fast" what I realllllly mean is, "I have 4 quick projects/to-do items that I want to check of the list. It will only take 2 hours" and that I make Everest's out of ant hills and that my definition of "the! worst! day! ever!" involves things that really aren't that bad in the grand scheme of things. But Jake let's me vent and pretend that my life really is hard.

But I'm not here to talk all about me (or the boys) - for once. No! I'm here to tell you six of the things I've come to learn and really appreciate about Jake since we've been married. Maybe this is more of a birthday type of post, but I have no marital wisdom to impart on you today and well...this is what it is.

Jake is

The nicest guy. Really. He loves meeting people and has a very easy going and approachable demeanor. He is respectful and it's not uncommon for him to call me on his way home and say he needs to stop by someone's house and drop something off because he knows they have some sort of need. I remember being taken aback by how nice and considerate he was when we first started dating and I probably should stop and appreciate this more because, like many things, I take it for granted far too often.

A good father. I'll just say that Jake has always wanted more kids, I was the one that thought 2 was enough. I give full credit and admiration to any man who is willing and excited to take on more responsibility for little barnacles. Throughout the day he often texts or mentions how much he'd like to be home, hanging out with us. Blows my little SAHM mind when often I'm borderline desperate for an escape.

Lighthearted. I have a really hard time stopping and enjoying life. I am a slave to my to-do list. Jake is so good about making sure we play as a family and as a couple. He works hard, and he plays hard. He has a great laugh and finds simple things funny.

Faithful. I don't mean this in the "thou shall not commit adultery" kind of way (but he is that too!), but in the faith in God kind of way. I will be the first to say that between the two of us, he is the more righteous one and I owe much of the religious upbringing in the boys (and me) to him. He is wonderful at taking on the great responsibility to raise kids to know and (hopefully!) love their faith. Rhett equates decent church behavior with candy so I'd say we're doing a great job in that respect thus far.

He's curious. Oh I love to make fun of his little random fact list loving heart, but he is quickly becoming a vast fund of general knowledge. It's not uncommon for me to be on the verge of sleep and and have Jake pop over to my side of the bed and share some random tidbit he just learned. I always find the most interesting Google searches and tabs open on his phone and he is the King of apps-that-tell-you-random-facts. (My favorite is his astronomy app that sends a picture and tidbit every day)

He is selfless. No matter how tired he is when he gets home he lets me escape for whatever time I need. He is quick to put his wants aside and does it cheerfully.

And I could go on and on but I have to save some juicy stuff for the written card. ;)

So! To wrap up this love fest, I just want to share some random thoughts.

Six years isn't a short amount of time. Looking back over the years can sometimes be occasions for sadness or disappointment by serving as a reminder of dashed hopes or unrealized dreams.  But as I look back, I feel like for us, the opposite is true. Thinking back over our years together makes me realize that things are exactly as I would have wanted them. Not because they have always been perfect, but because they have been shared with the perfect person.

The last six years with Rhett, Rad and a soon to be here little boy, 4 moves, starting a commission based career from scratch, no more dates (jk), holidays, surgeries, family trips and lack of sleep have certainly shaped us and changed us as a couple.

Yet, despite all these changes and experiences, in many ways we are still those same people and that same couple from 12/30/2008.  Jake still manages to wow me with his quick wit and quiet thoughtfulness.  He is still loyal to a fault and an awesome partner.

Happy Anniversary, Jake! And cheers to a few more...

PS Jake suggested the title "Sexy Sixer's" this post. That quick wit of his...
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

the Christmas letter

We were slightly obnoxious and did a double sided card. 

Merry Christmas!

------- The State of the Millers -------

The title suggests a more serious tone than the Christmas card theme we’re about to throw your way. Sometimes Jake and I are hit with thoughts like “THE BOYS ARE SO BIG AND GROWN UP AND THE EMPTY NEST STAGE IS JUST AROUND THE RIVER BEND!” Then of course, we have to check ourselves, because, one of them technically hasn’t even been born yet. And despite our semi(?), often(?) social media updates we (Julia) thought it was worth it to document an end of 2014 recap for all of you dear friends. I (Julia) just wanted to freeze time for the hottest second while I jot down a detail or two about each of us.

AKA...this letter will only be mildly interesting to the grandparents. Probably. But since we have your address we thought that meant you might be interested too. Ho ho ho!

We’ll start from the tippy top with Jake...

Jake was an amazing husband and gave Julia the best, most selfless gift ever...15 more pounds of him to love. (Permission was given to include that!) But really, Jake has gone through the year up-ing his wit and humor level to a new high.

- In the middle of one of Rhett’s epic, rapid fire question sessions Jake asked, “do you think you could turn your personality down to like 50% for a few minutes?”

- After a long night of co-sleeping with sick Rad, Jake noted, “at one point last night I only had the edge of the bed so I had to turn on my side and balance on my love handle.”

- After finding Jake wearing a t-shirt and basket ball shorts just prior to having dinner guests over, Jake said, “Don’t give me that look. These are a man’s yoga pants.”

I think with our upcoming 6th wedding anniversary he’s hit is stride with managing his two full-time jobs, one still rocking it with Edward Jones and the other with the family circus. Jake spends a lot of his free time coaching Rhett in baseball, bouncing Rad too high on the trampoline (Rad “loves” it) and often takes boys on power walks to get their “wiggles’ out.

On to Julia...

The biggest successes of Julia’s year were overcoming self medicating with diet soda, reading a total of 4 books in a year which was a 400% increase than previous years, teaching the boys almost all the words to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, and having two projects featured on Buzzfeed. She hit her stride at faking the ease of raising Rhett and Rad and decided to throw a curve ball by becoming pregnant with baby number 3. She is enjoying this pregnancy and the discovery of gummy prenatals.

You know what we don’t FB, Instagram, blog and talk enough about? OUR BOYS. Not enough. Never enough. Nothing is more interesting to anyone than someone else’s offspring. Nothing.

So on to the kids...

Rhett is a four-year-old teenager. If the average person uses 10,000 words a day, Rhett usually triples that quota. Most mornings he wakes up and tiptoes within an inch of Julia’s face and whispers, “Where are we going to- day??” He looks more and more like Jake’s doppelganger every day and doesn’t lack for confidence. We have caught him wearing sunglasses, staring at himself in the mirror and saying “well helloooo handsome...” He loves baseball and has gotten actually really good at it. He’s enthusiastically tone deaf, but this year has developed the worthwhile talent of remembering song lyrics. He’s taken to narrating life via song 24/7 (when he’s not chatting) and even has a large repertoire of his own written, produced and even choreographed jams. Performers gonna perform. Audience or not.

Rad is going through some sort of 21.8 month old crisis in which he just can’t decide if he enjoys life or not. He’s leaning towards not. He loves to make a big production of belting “hi!” and “bye!” on repeat, makes sure we know he is headed out and then goes to the front door and waits to be let out like a dog. Like we’re just going to say, “Adios! Have a blast out on the street!” No. He almost outweighs his older brother, and loves to get into everything-EVERYTHING he shouldn’t. He requires lots of positive affirmation and a scary amount of Chicken- in-a -Biskit crackers to thrive. He can throw a genuine larger-than-life temper tantrum, and intentionally and unintentionally ruins Rhett’s life on a daily basis. But he loves to give unsolicited kisses (to the vacuum, Rhett’s friends, ketchup, his shoes and us) and it’s pretty adorable.

We hope you have a very blessed Christmas and that you find comfort and good cheer in 2015!

The Millers

And last years card and letter if you're a glutton for our narcissism. ;)

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Friday, December 19, 2014

tis the best season

The Miller's Christmas countdown...where all is mostly calm and all is usually bright.

Up to this year we've all ways been holiday barnacles, tagging along on the traditions of whichever side of the family we were with. But this year we're venturing out into the unchartered territory of being the creators of traditions. And I'm not going to lie, I feel like a close runner up to Ms. Claus because I am keeping the holidaze in check and we are actually enjoying the season. (Plus my belly is getting bigger and I may have found a gray hair or two so watch out Ms. Claus.)

I give major props to anyone who can do 25 days of Christmas fun and cheer...we do 12.  

My mother picked these little wool stockings a few years ago at J.Crew (the were part of their holiday decor) and now we use them as our advent calendar. Our list of activities includes:

1. Pick out the Christmas tree
2. Decorate the Christmas tree
3. Deliver Christmas treats
4.  Make reindeer food and ornaments 
5. Watch Charlie Brown christmas
6. Make fake snow
7. Christmas shopping
8. Secret Santa (ring and run with treats)
9. Symbols of Christmas Family Home Evening
10. Gingerbread houses
12. Act out the Christmas story 

Rhett knows two Christmas songs, Jingle Bells and the repetition of the word "Alleluia" from Handle's Messiah. Always the loudest soloist, he belts "alleluia" over and over in the most nasally voice and it sounds more like "All-weee-oo-ahhh. " He also confuses it with the beginning of the Lion King so we often get a combo of "Alleluia" and African chanting at the beginning of the Circle of Life.   

It might bring out a little ba-humbug in Jake and I when he sings it for the 30,000 time.

Rad has died and gone to ball ornament heaven. 

Thankfully the ball ornaments we own are plastic and surprisingly super durable.  Dented? Yes. Broken? Never say never. He is also preparing for the great chapped lip apocalypse of 2015 by applying layer after layer after layer after layer after layer of a rouge tube of Chapstick he found somewhere. I keep taking it away and then keep finding it tucked somewhere in the Christmas tree or tree skirt. 

Next year will me the totally be the year we take the boys to see Santa...but until then we won't tell them that's a usual Christmas activity. We can only do so much. Rad can just fill that role this year since he's becoming quite good at yelling "ho!" (X 3 of course.)

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rockstars (with videos!)

What do the word musical and the Miller's have in common?

Well for starters they both start with the letter M...and then the similarities take a deep plunge into not much.

Let's rank our musicality.


- Can play one song on the guitar. The classic Erin Clapton Tears in Heaven.
- Has a really nice singing voice and a great quick wit with changing lyrics. Shower time is his inspiration.
- And at the last 3 wedding we've attended Jake has thrown his back out with his dance moves. Maybe it's time to start calling them "epic" dance moves.


- Expert at singing any sort of woe-is-me songs.
- Has learned the louder she ups the volume in the mini van the more she sounds just like Taylor Swift.


- Has a pastime of singing and dancing with himself in the mirror singing songs about Jesus' muscles (no, no - we don't wonder what we've done wrong)
- Sings "Shake it off, shake it off off" complete with some WIDE hip swings.
- Is enthusiastically tone deaf


- Loves "grooving" (one word for dancing, my word for seizing)
- Although he can't really talk, he can contribute to singing "You are my Sunshine" and "Let it Go"

^^^I call this video "No one puts Rad in a corner" and it's possibly one of my favorites of him.

^^^And in case you ever wondered why we call them rockstars...Rhett enlightens us.

Forrest Gump and a box of chocolates around here --- always.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

coastal life

Behold! Pictures from Coos Bay Oregon! Land of Thanksgiving 2014, the best clam chowder, and home of Jake's childhood.

I feel it necessary to briefly document the flights because if I don't I know I'll forget how...interesting...it is flying with chimpanzees and we'll repeat the experience all too soon.

Let's bullet point it. 

1. No one puked. Yay.
2. Rad tightened up the apron strings real nice and refused to be put down or go to anyone else. 
3. He did kiss the bald head of the man in front of us. Progress toward independence. 
4. Rhett astutely observed that my pants were unzipped in the line waiting to board the plane. 
5. Jake and I realized that when the pilot says "We'll be touching down in a quick hour and ten minutes folks, enjoy the remainder of your flight." what parents actually hear is "We'll be touching down never. Enjoy the remainder of your life of this true treasure of a flight." 

^^^But wait what...?! Shut the duck up!! We made it! 

Chugging along. Let's move beyond the flight, Speedy Gonzmiller.

^^^We went crabbing and Rhett and Rad proved that the apple falls MILES from the tree by approaching and touching a little crustacean that looked like a great candidate for the first Miller pet (according to Rhett). FAR from their mother tree.

The little boy pictured above who was one of our "instructors" told Rhett that he liked to eat the crabs. Rhett looked at him like he was Kanye crazy. If I could read Rhett's thoughts I think we would have been thinking "The only seafood I'll eat is Goldfish crackers. My palate is that refined."

^^^Rhett screamed "It's a killer whale!" while we were crabbing but it turned out to be a very friendly sea lion. Whew. Free Willy part whatever averted. 

^^^Pine Cone Wars sounds like a great new series for TLC.

^^^Because reality TV needs more cheese-heads. 

^^^These city slickers have never had such close proximity to chickens. But that didn't stop Rhett from passionately declaring he had never loved a chicken so much and Rad was DESPERATE to kisss one. Running full speed with lips puckered.  

^^^Jake's family lives pretty much right on the water, so it's always great when the weather cooperates and we can frolic there.  These aren't swim club friendly beaches so there won't be any pictures of us sausaged into wetsuits. Feel free to scroll down angst free.  

^^^Well OK don't mind the mushy moment. I promise it was merited! We got to go back to the beach that Jake proposed at and it's been 7 years since that moment. So we snagged a smooching selfie while our children peeterd probably too close to the water. 

^^^My mother in law is super skilled at bird feeding which the boys absolutely hated...

And lastly worth noting...

^^^Favorite papa moment of the trip...mowing the lawn.

^^^We made the discovery of the best clam chowder in the world. And not like the "best (insert item) in the world" dinky signs you see at gas stations that seem questionably sketchy. But like FOR REAL the best.  

^^^Favorite cat. Rad's new true love. Wuv. True wuv.

PS Thanksgiving did happen and it was awesome being in the pregnant stage of being able to eat and eat and eat. Hello deviled eggs!

Plus there's something so special about being with family when it's cold and rainy outside. That cozy Parenthood moment when everyone tries to get a warm roll at once. We have a lot to be grateful for this year especially, and despite Rad's look of terror in the only pic I managed that day, we are very grateful for being a family.

Thank you Oregon!

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