Friday, July 29, 2011

our little family

I have always intended this blog to be for my own personal use as well as to share our life with our family that is spread across this country.  This one's for the family, sorry if it's boring to any (most welcome) onlookers!  If it seems like mommy-brag, it's not; we're a mess!  But a very thankful, happy mess.

He's talking so much more now, I was a little concerned for awhile.  It's like it finally clicked and he just started repeating everything anyone said.  His grammar is horrid and he loves to speak in this really low voice, which makes for a very amusing combination; you can imagine.
He's strong-willed and says "no" to everything but doesn't usually mean it.  If you tell him to do something, instead of asking him if he wants to, he will usually obey without much of a problem.  Usually.  Sometimes he needs a little convincing.

He loves to swim but has no idea how, and he loves to go under water.  We had a close call at a neighbor's pool a few months ago.  I was watering some plants and letting him put his feet in on the side.  I turned around and he jumped in.  I looked over and he was in the middle of the pool under water.  He was only under briefly, but it was still scary.  I jumped in with my clothes on and pulled him out.  He coughed a minute and then smiled and said "Me went under."  Like he was proud?!  And it didn't scare him in the least.  I guess they both need swimming lessons.  Sigh.
He's totally potty trained. After a complete poop disaster on my birthday at June's house (almost included picture but had second thoughts) and a few other set backs, and there's the time when I gave up completely.  But just like the talking, something just clicked.  Now he goes on his own, whenever he needs to.  Yeah!  He's still in a pull-up at night.  If anyone knows any reusable, waterproof training pants that aren't those loud plastic ones, I'd love an alternative!

He's got a big appetite and occasionally breaks out in song or dance if he really likes something.  I have a video of a recent muffin song and dance that I'll try to post sometime.  I have no idea how big he is or how much he weighs, but he is about the same size as Acacia.
He loves to play the drums or the guitar, or the air drums or air guitar.  When we have our Friday night youth group he hangs out on the stage singing into the mic and playing the air guitar or sitting at the djembe.  I wonder if anything will become of it... whether I should encourage it or just let it go and see what happens.

Acacia Joy.  Her name means guileless.  Guileless and joyful.. a beautiful combination and it totally fits her.  She places a very high importance on telling the truth and usually sees things as either black or white.  Her mom, um hum, has been known to be somewhat prone to hyperbole.  In situations with something that is unknown, she chooses to believe something positive.  She thinks Spiderman spins webs for disabled spiders and florist delivery trucks bring flowers to people who are unable to grow their own. 
She spends a tremendous amount of time writing cards and lists of all sorts, her grocery lists are my favorite, and sometimes I do actually use them.  She especially likes writing long, difficult words and sentences.  I haven't taught her how to read or write yet, so it's all phonetically spelled and her sentences rarely go only from left to right.  She also likes to draw and has very recently been drawing detailed pictures of specific things like her sitting in my bed reading a book.  I love watching her inner artist emerge.

She's been really into sign language lately, I've always loved sign language and I think it's so cool that she's enjoying it.  She loves to teach Braj signs she knows when he comes home from work.   She's also devouring the Little House on the Prairie chapter books and thinks if we have a baby girl, we should name her Laura... or perhaps Whipped cream.  If it's a boy she wants to name him Yikes.  Scary, huh?

She loves to build and she asks Braj everyday what he built at work that day.  She'll listen while he explains all about digging footers and all sorts of other engineering things.  Then later I'll catch her explaining it to Jackson over some legos.  They get along so well and it delights me to watch them play together.

She's still having the vomiting spells every other month; in fact, we had one today.  It always starts first thing in the morning and she vomits every 30 minutes until I give her Ondastron orally or take her to the ER.  I know it's not viral because of the consistency and Jackson never gets it, but that's what the pediatrician always said.  So I took her in to see him today while she was still puny.  He called her "frail and gaunt"  not the two words anyone wants to hear their daughter described as; he seemed genuinely concerned and wants to do some testing to find out what is causing this. He seems to think it is something called Cyclic Vomiting or Abdominal Migraines.  I think that is a likely possibility but I'd really like to figure out what the trigger is.  There is no cure or solution to cyclic vomiting and our pediatrician says there are no triggers, but I think there must be.  She's a little on the small side to begin with, only 30 pounds at age 4.5.  I'd like to see her put on some weight and maybe get a little bit stronger.  She's very active and eats well; I just think that if maybe she had a little extra meat on her bones the vomiting spells wouldn't make her quite so "frail and gaunt".  I don't know. 

Well, all this and it's only a small fraction of what's actually going on, but at least it's a snippet.

Sidenote: I have more pictures from our North Carolina beach trip that I will post next.  Sorry it's taken me so long.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

june in texas

Hey, look!  I'm almost current!  Almost!

The kid's and I took a short trip to Texas in June to see my parents and to attend the Fredricksburg wedding of a good friend.  Here's a few favorites:

Acacia's new favorite.  Douglas the armadillo.  Not road kill.

Are these not beautiful?  Total boot envy.  Too bad they were like $800 or something!
I thought all the crazy people dancing on the side of the highway 
lived in Miami and worked for the Gold Buyers??

 Fantastic.  Just perfect.  Lawnmower turned mailbox.

Shoepf's BBQ.  
This incredible pit somewhere a few hours from Waco, I think.  
You bet I brought my camera, this place was a gold mine!

 Just throw the meat on my tray, please.  No plate necessary.

 Sign of Texas: A cooler full of Shiner Bock

 Best brisket sandwich ever.  
And if my family wouldn't have stopped me, I would have finished off that cup of barbeque sauce.

In case you forget where you are, there's a sign above the register.

For my brother's birthday we all went to see Stomp.  The kid's LOVED it!

Just part of the family.  Mom and Dad, both brothers, and my kids. 

 Such a special time together!!  Thanks Mom and Dad!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

sanity restored!

I couldn't have picked a better blog post to go out on then "on staying sane".  Little did I know I'd be diving into my first trimester right after that post.

I've replaced my computer time with nap time for the last three months and it has been so good.  This pregnancy has been awesome and strange.  I've been nauseous but with very specific cravings.  I went from Chick-fil-a ploynesian sauce... to mini bagels with cream cheese and imitation bacon bits... to just the bacon bits, please... to sucking on limes... to mass quantities of salsa... and it continues.  I still throw up some, but it's usually just when I bend over, drink water on an empty stomach, or clear my throat.  Seriously.  Strange, right?  Weirdest part... I have not been able to stomach dark chocolate. And that has been a serious problem.  Until today.  Which may be why I decided to jump back into the blog-o-sphere; ahhhhh, chocolate high!

Well, enough pregnancy ramblings.  Although I should mention that baby #3 (let's call him/her "tres") is due Christmas Eve and we have decided to wait to find out the gender and let God surprise us on that special day.  We may or may not name the baby Jesús de Maria Emmanuel Mills.  ;) 

I am celebrating a year with my camera!  I got my gently-loved Canon 20D for my birthday last year and I have had so much fun with it.  I've even been second shooting/assisting with my good friend and awesome photographer, Heather Funk, on some weddings.  That has been an awesome experience and I have learned a ton from her.  I'm processing my wedding photos so I can put them on a website.  I'll keep you posted.

On that note, here is a few pictures of life the last three months.  

Acacia making herself and Jackson a goldfish sandwich for lunch on a day that I was feeling super sick:

Dressed up and on our way to a wedding:

 A very good daily reminder:

Building class at Home Depot.  The first Saturday of each month.  The kid's have loved it!  Best to bring your own hammer and wood glue as there are never enough to go around.

Another Home Depot class creation.  I let Jackson plant some Rye grain and it did wonderful.  Acacia planted some beautiful velvet flower seeds that didn't quite make it.

How we've been spending alot of our time lately.  The playhouse remains unfinished, but the kids don't seem to mind and I certainly don't either.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

on staying sane

I had my favorite 14 year old come over this morning so I could escape to my go-to smoothie place and have an hour, uninterrupted, to review Titus 2 (see re-post from yesterday). She is such a blessing.

After sipping my smoothie, I came away with this main thought:
"Thank you, God, that you value my sanity."

I think God put that in Titus 2 because He knew we, as moms of littles, are prone to run ourselves into the ground.

Call it the martyr complex, or some twisted religious idea, but sometimes I think that I am supposed to be totally exhausted and overwhelmed- and so I am.   Just. so. intense. all. the. time.  My dad told me once, "Make sure you pace yourself, honey.  Motherhood is not a sprint."  There are no emergencies.  Take a deep breath, Shannon.

How do I do that?  How do I stay sane?  With a traveling husband, and two small children, and potty training disasters, and a house that is never as clean or organized as I want it to be, and a nosy neighbor, and never ending dishes in the sink????  How?

I don't know the answer; I'm asking the question. 

I'm hoping that by prioritizing prayer time, regular exercise, occasional planning dates with Braj, and embracing proper perspective/ gratitude... I may begin to claim some amount of sanity.  But I'm welcome to suggestions.

To assist my sanity, the last couple of days I've decided to grab my camera when I normally might have started screaming.  This is what I see.  Daily.

1.  Jackson is always sticking his dirty hands in my buckets of grain.  I finally took a container of rye (which I never use) and let him take it outside.  It didn't make it all the way outside.  And now we have rye growing all over our back yard.

2.  Making pizza last night.  LOTS of help.  Jackson threw the flour all over the floor and then started zooming his cars in it.  Acacia joined in and brought the legos in a grocery bag.  Jackson emptied the bag.  Result: flour, legos, cars, mini pizzas, 2 small children, one mom all in the smallest room in the house.  Fresh flour and the smell of homemade pizza covering us all.  And flour footprints showing where children trying to sneak off without helping to clean up went.

3.  Braj travels for work which is hard.  But it makes the nights he is home so much sweeter.

4. I love this shot.  In our favorite bedtime book, the Big Picture Story Bible, there's a part where the "gospel is spreading throughout the land".  So, this is Jackson "spreading the gospel".  Then they like to stand up and "spread the gospel" all over their map.     

Monday, April 11, 2011

a dwelling curator

*This is a repost from April 2009.  I'm back in Titus today, trying to remember the goal and the priorities... so I thought I'd give everyone the opportunity. ;o)

a dwelling curator

I woke up before the kids this morning and God greeted me with the most beautiful sunrise and refreshing ocean breeze. I sat on our front patio and sipped some decaf hazelnut latte and dove into Titus 2. I've been craving some wisdom/ direction as a stay-at-home mom of two little ones and I knew Titus would lend a hand. This is what I gleaned (in the order given from verses 3-5):

Verse 3 says, "teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live." The Greek word used here is hieroprepes. It is the only use in the entire Bible. This is the definition:
Appropriate for sacred persons, venerable, fitting for one involved in hallowed work. To conduct oneself in a manner appropriate for one who lives in the realm of the Divine, walking in the presence of God.
Does that blow your mind or what?! Being a mom is a sacred service to God.

We (young, stay-at-home moms) sometimes have to be reminded/ encouraged to:

1. Be sane. Sleep deprived and up to your ears in diapers with spit up all over your shirt can cause irrational behavior. God knew that.
2. Love our husbands and children. Not always as easy as one would think ;o)
3. Voluntarily place limits on our own freedom. Gulp. This has nothing to do with Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate, by the way. Ice cream helps me achieve goal #1.
4. Be pure (modest). This doesn't mean we have to dress frumpy. See #2.
5. My favorite. Be a dwelling curator. My Bible actually says "be busy at home" but I looked it up in Greek and a dwelling curator is a closer translation... with a Shannon spin.
6. Be kindhearted.
7. Adapt to our husbands. This is a very good way to act out #2.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

photo contest to win a stroller

If you have a minute, please vote for Acacia and Jackson's photo in a contest from   They are awarding one 2011 BOB revolution stroller, a super tough, off-roading, jogging type stroller.

The contest was to take a picture that would "win BOB's (the stroller's) heart."  I think my kid's capture everyone's heart, but I'm a little biased.  ;o)

Vote here, contest ends Saturday.  Thanks!

consider the lilies...

Look at the lilies and how they grow.  
They don't work or make their clothing, 
yet Solomon in all his glory 
was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  
And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, 
He will certainly care for you.  
Why do you have so little faith?  
Luke 12:27-29 NLT
In our barren rental-house yard two beautiful lily stalks appeared in the most unlikely, unnoticeable part of the side yard; next to peeling peach colored paint and some stray wires that look like they used to be attached to something.  Obviously, it got me thinking.  
Beautiful yet totally unaware of it's surroundings.  It didn't refuse to bloom because of it's hideous location.  It didn't demand to be replanted in a neighbors yard.  It just bloomed.  I think it bloomed just to remind me that if God cares enough to make flowers, He will certainly care for me.

“What is your name, little flower, for I never saw one like you before."

The tiny plant answered at once in a tone as golden as itself,
“Behold me! My name is Acceptance-with-Joy.”

“He has brought me here... I, too, will look up into His face and say,
‘Behold me! I am thy little handmaiden Acceptance-with-Joy.’”
--Hannah Hurnard, Hind's Feet in High Places  
::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: :::

My discovery of the lilies got me looking around for other signs of fruitfulness and beauty.  I found mangoes and loquats that hang into our yard from the neighbors.  The loquats are delicious and we are all eagerly awaiting the mangoes to be ready, looks like its gonna be a bumper crop!

I wanted to introduce the newest member of the Mills crew, but unfortunately Miss Nessly is no longer with us.  She went back into the ocean via the commode.  But for about a week, we did have a pet.  And it was fun.  We may try that again sometime.


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