Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's Up? Summer is Here!

Beza Highlights
  • Our little one-year-old weighs in at 19lbs and is in the 50th percentile for weight and height (she has grown 2 inches in the past 3 months).
  • She is still sporting just one tooth.
  • She has just started to take 3-4 steps at a time.
  • She can sign "more," "all done," "eat," and "bird"  (the most useful one of all ;).
  • She can point to her nose, pretty hair and tum-tum (belly).
  • We're down from 5 bottles a day to 3--and just started drinking whole milk.
  • She wakes up sitting up 1-2 times a night and after tucking her back in, sometimes with a bottle of water and a little orajel--she goes right back to sleep.  (Yay for sleep!)
She cruises the neighborhood pushing this car.

In other news, Climby, the tent caterpillar emerged from his cacoon and is living life as a free moth.

We celebrated the first day of summer last week with new beach towels.

and water tubes for the "big" pool. ;)

We had a fun neighborhood movie night in our backyard under threatening skies that held off until the last few minutes of Gnomeo & Juliet. (BTW, Did you know that they make microwave caramel popcorn?!)

And last week we took the whole gang to a real art museum and then after smoothies we even had a successful time window shopping.

Really, they are growing up SO fast...

Looking forward to these "lazy" days of summer. :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A List Worth Keeping

A blog/adoption friend shared this blog post the other day--what a fantastic list to help us keep our lives in perspective.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Made It: Vintage Milk Crates

During the summer we have a ton of water toys, sand buckets and watering cans outside.  I wanted to find a practical, yet "decorative" way to keep them all organized.

I found these vintage milk crates on ebay for $5 a piece (shipping was a bit more).

I sprayed them with a clear coat to keep them from rusting.  Love the blueish green hints of color. :)

And I really love them, because not only do they hold all of the summer goodies, but they also don't collect water or scary bugs. :)


Sunday Funnies: Royal Attire

We decided to get in touch with our artistic side yesterday, and we took the crew to a giant art museum.  We wondered if we were crazy.  Turns out, our kids like art and even more remarkable, they managed to keep their hands to themselves.  Brilliant! :)

But I digress.  Because we were going to a "real" museum, it seemed like a good idea to get the little people a little more dressed up.  I picked out their clothes, and J helped me to get them all ready. 

Mid-ponytail, I looked down and J was getting Beza all ready to go.  And something about what she was wearing was vaguely familiar. 


Oh-my-goodness---No. Way.

Beza was wearing M's 5T hot pink knit shorts and her little arms were just about to be pulled through a 5T t-shirt.  The very same clothes that M had worn to bed.

Laughing, "Um, what are you doing?"

J: "Getting Beza dressed."

Me: :)  "Those look a little big maybe?  Actually they're M's.  The dress is for Beza."

J: "Oh, I thought it was a little odd.  But these were right beside the dress.  I thought you wanted them under the dress."

Oh, man.  So dissappointed that I interrupted--that layered look would have been priceless! :)

We love this little dress (thank you JS!)--we think it looks a little bit like royal-wear.  We call it her "Queen of England" dress.  It is utterly adorable.  :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy First Birthday! :)

Today, our little Beza turned ONE!

We have lived 3 months of her precious life with her here at home. :)

Tonight we celebrated simply with cupcakes,

homemade cards,

and with balloons (secured in a torrential storm :) and a fun purple ball.

She was so excited when we sang "Happy Birthday!"

And equally excited for the cupcakes. :)

(M and T wanted to turn off the light to take a turn at blowing out candles, too. :)

Dear Little Beza, we love you so much and we are so thankful that we get to live our lives as your Mommy and Daddy.  Happy First Birthday, Beza!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Story of Meeting Alle

I met Becca a little over 4 years ago.  And over these past few years she has become one of my closest friends.

When we were just getting to know each other, we had two things in common--we were both in the trying-to-have-a-baby phase and both of our families had the desire to open our hearts to adoption someday.

Today, T and Hannah are 3-year-old best buds.  And on Saturday Becca and Eric brought home their fourth child--little Alle--from Ethiopia. 

It has been beyond my dreams that our family would be able to walk this journey of adoption literally right alongside some of the people who mean so much to us.  And while our stories are each our own, the intersection of our paths could have only been orchestrated by God.

On Monday, I got to see little Alle in the arms of her mommy for the first time.  But I met her in person 4 months ago...

Short Rewind
Becca and I mailed in our dossiers together in the middle of a snow storm.  We were just two numbers apart on the waiting list (When we were Number 1--waiting for the phone to ring with a referral--Becca and Eric were Number 3.).

We saw little Beza's picture for the first time in early December, and when we left for our first trip in February, Becca and Eric were still waiting for the phone to ring.

Meeting Alle
When J and I were at Hannah's Hope in February, we spent most of our time holding and getting to know Beza.  One afternoon, when Beza wasn't with us, one of the special mothers handed me a baby so that she could pick up a crying little one.  Besides Beza, she was the only other baby that I got to hold on that trip. 

She had the biggest, most expressive eyes and a smile that lit up her whole face.  I had no idea who she was or who her family might be.  She was so tiny and I wondered if she was new at Hannah's Hope.

I knew how much it meant to me to have families there send pictures or tell me little bits about Beza when we weren't there.  And I know how much mommies long to have their little ones with them.  I whispered in her ear, "Jesus loves you.  And your Mommy loves you."

We took a few pictures so that we could pass them on to her family--if we could find out who they were.

That night back at the hotel, Becca skyped to say that they had FINALLY gotten their referral!!!  Ahhhh!!!!  Whoo-hoo!!!  We asked her to send pictures and then we had dinner.

After eating, we checked our email for photos...and there was the little girl that I had been holding that afternoon...wearing the same outfit and little black socks...

I am truly humbled by the privilege of that experience.  It is not a story that I could have written or made to be...

Beza and Alle together at Hannah's Hope in March.

A new chapter for both of our families is beginning and what a blessing that two little girls from across the world will get to grow in it together...

Beza and Alle together at our house...
Alle, we are so excited and thankful that you are HOME!  We have been praying for you and can not wait to get to know you more and more!  (You can welcome little Alle home by popping over to

(Off to finish cupcakes for a certain little someone's First Birthday tomorrow!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Made-It: Simple Pasta Dinner

We have been thoroughly enjoying this super-easy pasta recipe from the June issue of Real Simple.  Pop over here to check it out. :)

Can't wait to make it with our own tomatoes. :)

Sunday Funnies: The Candy Garden?

We were in PA over the weekend for a few family events--a beautiful wedding and J's Dad's retirement party. :)

My Dad's garden is usually bursting with yummy treats--peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, blueberries or raspberries.  M couldn't wait to check it out!

But it's still just a little too early in the season--so there were just plants.

My Dad felt a little bad that there wasn't anything for them to eat, so he came up with a fun my-Dad kind-of idea.

He put candy bars in the plants.

Candy is just like a vegetable, right? ;)

Apparently his garden is great place to go for KitKats and Milky Ways.  Who knew?

And we got to wish our dads "Happy Father's Day!" in person.  

Grandpa reading Toy Story for the second or third time. :)

Pop--opening a present of cleaning supplies (?) at his party.

J--from Easter. 

Happy Father's Day, J, Dad, Pop and Grandpa T!

Love you! :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Camp Week

Last week was Camp Week.  Fun times here at Camp Miller!

We set the mood with these lanterns

Decorating with signs and a table "campfire,"
Singing along to these tunes (T has been listening to these in his room on repeat all night long for the past week--seriously.)

And making Camp flags.
We used iron-on transfers for white T-shirts and one of J's old work shirts.

Oh, yeah, and I think that it would be good to point out that my own personal camp experience is limited.  Once a year my three younger sisters and I "camped" outside in our backyard with my Dad--those are sweet memories.  And I did work at a residential camp for children with physical disabilities one summer during college (awesome experience)--but I would never call myself a camp expert. :)

 Woah--this one is from the archives.  Yeah, that's me there in the lovely coral shirt.  Simply fetching. :)  Too bad the dark of night is hiding my most lovely poodle-permed coif.

With my lack of major camp experiences, we kind-of just made up our own version of camp.  We actually started a few mornings by waking up to "Colors" and saying the Pledge of Allegiance, a family prayer for a good day, and team cheer ("Go Team Miller!"). ;)   (Oh, man.  Can you picture it?  Pretty funny.)  

The week culminated in a Friday camp-out on the deck.  

There were deconstructed s'mores,
Perfectly paired with the Marshmallow Song.

A movie on the "big screen,"
Veggies Tales: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything

And some sleeping on the soft, cozy deck.  

J went in after a short while to keep an eye on Beza--the rest of us slept under the bat-filled, bug-infested, slight drizzle off-and-on sky. :)  M and T were sleeping champs--a slightly heavier drizzle woke them up at 7:00a--not too bad!  I should say that we covered ourselves with bugspray.  I even wore a well-sprayed hat.  We also set up a fan--somewhere I read that bugs don't like the wind or something like that. :)  (Doesn't a fan sound so outdoorsy?;) 

And they can't wait to do it again! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Laughing AND First Steps!

Finding Her Laugh
Beza has an easy smile, but her laugh is scarce. :)  She has great squeals when she is swinging or being tickled, but no real giggles.  But this week she had a laugh-fest in the backseat at M's antics.  Completely contagious! :)

There's one other thing that brings her absolute glee--walking--with help.  She "laughs" the whole time!

An attempt at trying to capture it...

One Foot and Then The Other
And last night she took her FIRST STEPS!  Just one or two at a time--but who knows, maybe she'll be walking before her First Birthday?!

Camera Take ~15 :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sweet and Simple

Today J and a few of his bosses and co-workers were a part of making and serving lunch at a local soup kitchen.  We stopped by to meet some of them.

On the way I was trying to explain where we were going to M and T.  I told them that it was a place for people who didn't have enough money to buy food and that some of the people who came there didn't have a home.

M: "I guess that Daddy and his friends aren't construction workers."

Me: "Hmm...?  Why did you say that M?"

M: "Because if they were construction workers then they would build those people houses."

...if only life were that simple...

It was a car ride with a lot of chatter--some of it really good stuff.  Out of the blue, M again, said:

"I think I know the reasons why you adopted Beza and brother."

(Sidenote: I can't remember if we've mentioned this before, but we would love to adopt a little guy someday.  We don't know the details--the when or where.  We've been praying about "brother" almost as long as we've been praying for little Beza.  And M and T can not wait--they talk about him a lot--but for right now we're just enjoying life as a family of 5. :)

"The first reason is so that I could have a sister and T could have a brother.

The second reason is that you and Daddy wanted there to be two less children who need a family.

And the third reason is because when Daddy and you die then we will have each other."

Love this girl's mind...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Made-It: "Cottage Style"

I sometimes find that in the realm of being a mom, it's hard to feel productive.  The tasks of laundry, cleaning and making meals are pretty much...constant.

From time to time it feels good to actually complete something.:)  And that is why I like DIY projects (and mowing the lawn--it lasts a WHOLE week!;).

Anyway, I was recently perusing a Pottery Barn catalog and totally loved the vibe of this room.

And, by George, we happen to have a ship photo just like that.  Only in a really old (from J's childhood) honey-colored frame.

During naptime, one afternoon, I whipped out a can of white paint and went to work.
(Move your cursor over the photo below to see the result.)

I made these "summery" white pillows, too.

Oh, yeah, and I've also been finding that I need some good encouragement with things like, oh, patience, for example.   :)

Inspired by this Pottery Barn room, 

I used some scrap wood to make these reminders.

The room...

And because it fits in with the over-all "beachy-cottagey" look, here is our "summerized" mantel. ;)
(I call that a  "pear cage." ;)

Love airy summer colors! :)

Sunday Funnies: Let Her Eat Cake

While I took a mini-mental health break this afternoon (with a little retail therapy), after naps, J took everyone for a very long walk.

They ended up at a pizzeria where they ordered...cake.

We have the hardest time getting Beza to eat "people" food.  She usually only takes a few bites.

Apparently we need to feed her cake. :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ode to Bugs

Theme Weeks are BACK!  (The original Theme Week.)  And better than ever! :)

We just finished up 2 weeks of bug madness.  It started with this book...

We caught a lot of spiders (a bit of screaming may have been involved--but we did in none the less. :)

We even found spittle bugs hiding in spittle.

In PA, over Memorial Day, we had a lot of fun with moths and butterflies.  

This Eight-Spotted Forester Moth started on Beza.

Then was successfully transferred to M.

Who passed it on to T.

And it happened again the next day.

We also caught A LOT of tent caterpillars.

Several of these even made it to nap-time in containers.  M and T were such proud caterpillar pet parents.  

But there is the unfortunate story of Climby--the caterpillar that made the long trip back from PA with M.  She showed him her room and then took him for a bike ride.  In a tragic twist of fate, poor M had a minor bike accident that resulted in the loss of Climby.  :(  She was SO sad--we felt really bad (all over a caterpillar).  

The good news is that a few days later she found another Climby who promptly spun a cocoon overnight in a jar in her room.  We're just waiting for the new Climby-moth to emerge. :)

We also did bug puzzles,
(Funny thing about learning about bugs--it completely makes me feel like I'm covered in them.)

created bug origami,
(No small task, I tell you!  Origami requires some serious skills!)

and built bug traps.
(We caught a spider--surprise, surprise--and a few ants.)

Now--if we could only keep the bugs outside.  The ants and all of their friends and family seem to have clued in that with children they have hit the jackpot here at Crumb Central.  And last night a wasp fell into my shower--just a little too revitalizing, if you ask me! :)

But, admittedly, bugs are fascinating!
(Well, as long as they're not on me!) :)