Inspiring Mommy Picture

I stumbled across this picture today while reading a blog post.

kayapo-brazil
Let me just say that I LOVE this picture.  It’s of a Kayapó mother and child in Brazil.  To me this picture represents all mothers, all women really.  This picture speaks of the strength of women and how we can be fiercely determined to tackle any job life throws at us.  It also speaks of the gentleness and nurturing instincts of women.   I wish I were more eloquent in expressing how this picture inspires me.  But suffice it to say, I think it’s beautiful.

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A Shy Extrovert?

I’ve wondered for quite a while if I am an introvert or an extrovert.  For some people it’s easy to tell.  There is some confusion about the actual definitions of introverts and extroverts.  So let me clear the air on that.  The short answer is that extroverts get energized by being around people and introverts get energized by being alone.  Typically extroverts are outgoing and sociable while introverts prefer to observe quietly. But that’s not the case for everyone. For some reason I thought that being an introvert or an extrovert was very black or white.  You were either one or the other.  I never thought it was possible to have some of both qualities.   I’m learning that some introverts can be very social and some extroverts feel shy or reserved.  That that pretty much describes me.  I fall into the extrovert category because I really enjoy being around people.  When I’m at a party or with a group of friends, I feel happy and energized.   And when I come home after those types of activities, I usually feel full of energy instead of exhausted. I do not like being alone for long periods of time.  But I very much identify with some of the typical character traits of introverts.   Here’s a short list of introvert traits that I can identify with:

  • Don’t like small talk
  • Likes to listen
  • Likes to observe or people watch
  • Quiet
  • Don’t want to be the center of attention

Then there’s the dreaded “S” word.  Shy.  I have been called shy many times in my life and it has always bothered me.  Sometimes I would even get angry at people for calling me that.  To me, being shy means something totally negative.   The definition of the word shy is being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people.  I’m fine with being called reserved, but I hate to admit that I feel nervous or timid around people.  But it’s oh so true for me.   I am very much a shy extrovert.  I like to be around people, but don’t make me talk to people I don’t know.  I want to attend parties, but I’m totally fine with watching the group or talking with someone that I already know well.  Please, oh please don’t make me have small talk with someone I just met.  That makes me feel very awkward and uncomfortable.  That’s when I tend to stumble over my words or act all weird.  You can see why I was very confused whether I was an introvert or an extrovert!

If I was given a whole day to be alone to do whatever I wanted, I’d probably be fine for the first few hours, but then I’d start to go batty.  I get lonely when I’m alone for too long!  I start to feel lost, like I can’t find any meaningful direction.  Sure, I love curling up with a favorite book and reading for a while, but that would not work for me for hours on end.  I’d get so bored!   So yes, I am an extrovert because I get my energy from being around other people.  It’s a strange thing being a shy extrovert.  People sometimes think that I’m snobby because I don’t talk much.  I honestly just don’t know what to say sometimes.  I’ve actually gotten somewhat better about this through the years, learning to ask people questions to steer the conversation away from myself and get the other person talking.  It doesn’t come naturally, but it’s helped me cope.  I’m also self conscious and insecure.  I fear rejection and I hate being embarrassed.  You can see why making new friends is especially hard for me.  I love people, but fear being rejected by them.  I don’t want to be embarrassed by saying or doing something stupid so I tend to be quiet.  It can be a conundrum!

When I’m with a small group of people that I know well and feel comfortable with, then I open up!  I laugh, joke, chat easily and really enjoy being in those social situations.  It makes me feel alive being around the people that I know well.  But oh boy, when I have to go to a new place and meet new people…yikes!!!  Don’t make me talk to strangers please!!   Unless perhaps I’ll never have to see them again, then maybe.  :)   So if you know me and if you’ve ever thought that I was stuck up, shy, awkward, or just plain weird, now you know that I’m a shy extrovert.  I probably want to be around you, but you’ll need to approach me and start up a conversation.  If you help me feel welcome and comfortable then I’ll  happily open up.  I promise, I’m nice and I don’t bite.  :)

Now I’m curious, are you an introvert, an extrovert or a little bit of both?

Category: friends, Me  Tags: ,  5 Comments
Friendships Don’t Just Happen

bookMed

Occasionally I stumble across great books in the library that end up being just want I needed at the time.  I found one such book recently called Friendships Don’t Just Happen by Shasta Nelson.  I admit, as I started reading it, I felt pretty lame reading a book about how to make friends.  That just screams, “Loser!”  Certainly not the sort of book you want to be caught reading in public lest people judge you.  :-/   At any rate, this book has really opened up my mind to a new way of thinking and I’ve been wanting to get my thoughts down about it.  Please pardon the randomness of my thought process.

First off, let me say that I do have lots of people that I call friends.  I’ve got friends near and far.  People that I can ask for advice or help.  I’m certainly not completely friendless.  But what I do lack in are close friends, that I share history with, that also live nearby.  Over the years I have had the pleasure of getting so know several ladies and gotten to spend enough time with them to develop close bonds.  But life is ever changing and every single one of those friends have moved away. (And some have moved again and again and again!)  I always thought that with enough effort, that long distance friendships could remain strong.  But through reading this book, I’m learning that friendships go through stages and evolution and that’s OK.  I think it’s certainly possible to stay close with far away friends and when you visit with them it can be easy to pick right up where you left off.   And that’s great, it really is.  But people need close friends that also live near by.  *I* need close friends that live nearby.

I’ve discovering that as I get older it’s becoming a lot harder to make those sorts of deep, meaningful friendships.  Close friendships require A LOT of time and effort to attain that special bond.  If you don’t make the time and effort to spend with friends then you’ll always remain at a casual friend status.  For example, when you’re young and in school, you spend about 7 hours a day with people the same age as you and close bonds more naturally form.  Fast forward to when I first became a mom, I spent a lot of time with other moms on play dates.  I had the time to invest in friendships.  Now that I have 6 children and limited time, it is a lot harder for me to carve out the time to invest in forming those close bonds of friendship.

I just read a chapter in Friendships Don’t Just Happen discussing how we have to make friendships a priority in our lives.  Here’s part of what the author says in this chapter:

“Priority means choosing something over something else.  That means it will always involve a “no” to something else, be it sleep, tucking your children in that night, productivity on a project, or a TV show.  It’s impossible to prioritize a friendship and not sacrifice something else.

Accordingly, every Tuesday night that I’m in town, I go to Girls Night, where five of us gather in rotating homes for supper.  I don’t ever ask myself on Tuesday afternoons if I want to go.  Some nights, I fear, I’d vote against attending if I raised the question.  I find when I’m sad or stressed that I am more prone to want to cancel plans, withdraw, be alone, or simply vegetate in front of the TV.  Typically when we feel depressed or have low energy, our desire to interact wanes.  Sometimes all I want to do is spend an evening curled up on the couch with my  husband, a man who easily wins my title for best friend.

So I choose to set a rule with myself that I don’t connect with people based on my moods, but rather based on my values.

Anyone who has had any success with regular exercise knows the need for that rule!  If I only went running when I was looking forward to it then I probably wouldn’t make it out there all too often!

Consequently, for the sake of my health, my happiness, the things I value, and the life I want, I will connect.  I just go.  It’s scheduled into my life the same way I wake up and go to work, brush my teeth, meditate and pray, watch Private Practice on Thursday nights, eat pizza on Saturday nights, show up in spiritual community every weekend, and check my email.  We routinize those things that are significant to us, those things that matter.  And friendships is one of them for me.”

I absolutely loved this part of the book!  It made me realize that I can’t just sit around and say that I want close friends or that I wish I had close friends and then put forth no action to it.  There are many times when there are activities scheduled into my calendar and when the day comes I just don’t feel like going.  I make excuses.  But more often than not, I drag myself out there because in the end, I usually have fun and I’m working on making those connections that I want and that are a priority to me.

I’m still really struggling to find the time that is needed to form very close bonds.  You can’t just hang out with some people for 2 hours once a month and expect to become the best of friends that way.  Sure, you’ll make friends, but not close friends.  Those sorts of friendships require a lot more time.  I’ve got to find that time and make it a priority in my life.

Friendships Don’t Just Happen is a great book for any person to read, though it does only focus on female friendships.  The author of the book also is the founder of GirlFriendCircles.com which is sort of like a dating site but it’s for women who are looking to make friends in their area.  I do think it’s kind of funny how the author occasionally plugs her own website.  But I guess it probably is a great resource for meeting new people because the people that sign up for the service also want to find friends.  At any rate, I’m still learning a lot from this book and remembering how important friendships are.  Now I’m realizing what I need to do to foster the sort of relationships I want in my life.

Category: friends  Tags:  6 Comments
15 years!

I can’t believe I got married to Dan Miller 15 years ago today.  What a great adventure we’ve had so far!  I love you Dan!
Wedding Reception

Cut the cake

Category: family  Tags:  One Comment
Greek Yogurt

I’ve got a new tasty food obsession.  Homemade Greek yogurt.  Yum!  It’s so good that I don’t know if I could ever go back to regular store yogurt.  It’s not difficult to make at all.  Thing is, it does take a long time.  It takes a long time to heat the milk.  Then it takes a long time to let it curdle.  Then it take a long time to cool the yogurt.  Then it take even more time to drain off the whey.  But, oh boy, when all that is done, you’ve got yourself some delicious Greek yogurt.

Below is a picture of a bottle of whey and the yogurt getting strained through some cheesecloth.   Apparently whey has some health benefits so don’t throw it out! 

Whey and yogurt

 

 

Greek Yogurt

 

I use this recipe that I found on One Good Thing by Jillee.  I only use 1/2 cup of honey.  Also I use half whole milk and half skim milk, just because that’s what we have in the house.  It makes a perfectly thick and not too sweet yogurt.  I’m sure it would be plenty good with no sweetener, but I usually add a little honey on my yogurt anyway, so by adding it directly to the yogurt I just save myself a step. :)  I know you’ll enjoy this recipe!

Category: food  Tags:  One Comment
Where did my baby go?

Gwen looking up

Gwen turned 14 months old yesterday.  Even though I’ve been avoiding admitting this, it seems she is really a toddler now.  Where did my baby go!?  As she was sitting in her highchair this morning having breakfast, I noticed how her face has changed.  She looks older, her hair is longer, she’s interacting with us more and the biggest sign of all…she’s walking!

Seeing Gwen grow up is so bittersweet.  I can’t believe how fast her first year of life has gone by!  Gwen is such a sweet kid.  She has always had a really sweet disposition, usually smiling and easy going.  We’re so happy to have her in our family.

The jury is still out on Gwen’s hair color.  We think it might be red like Joel’s hair.  But it was difficult to tell Joel’s hair color as well until he was older.  Guess we’ll wait and see!

Here’s some Gwen stats:

Gwen is 27 pounds.  (Remember she started off at 10 pounds 13 oz!)

Gwen has been really walking for the past 2 weeks.

She can:

Wave bye-bye

Play peek-a-boo

Look at books

Dance

Do ring-around-the-rosie

Do the motions to If You’re Happy and You Know It

She can sign water and more

Put her hands up in the air (When you ask her,”How big is Gwen?”)

Pretend to talk on the phone

She can say:

Yay!

Whee!

Hat

Hot

Uh oh

Dada

Hi

She tries to say (Mostly by saying Buh):

Baby

Bath

Book

Ball

Gwen can even whistle!  (She sucks in air and she has total control of how to do it.)

I’m amazed at how much she understands.  She’s such a smarty.  I’m very happy to see her learning and growing.  It’s especially fun to see her interacting more with her older siblings.  We’re very blessed to have her in our family!

Gwen Goggles

 

Gwen Stroller

Category: baby, kids  Tags: ,  One Comment
Happy Birthday Gwen

Gwen

Gwen had her 1 year birthday back on March 19, 2013.  Time is going by so fast and I’ve been so busy.  I feel bad that I haven’t gotten around to making this post sooner.

Also recently our home computer broke and we haven’t fixed it yet, so I’ve been using Scott’s school computer.  Annoying. Then to make matters worse, our external hard drive broke.  You know, the one with all our family pictures and other important things on it.  Ack!  We paid big bucks for a professional to see if they could extract the files from it.  But no.  It was totally hosed and we lost all our pictures.  So, so sad.  Thankfully I have over 4000 pictures saved on Face Book.  Not quite the same, but it’s better than nothing.  So that’s part of the reason I’ve had so many delays.

Back to Gwen!  She is such a sweet little goose!  She continues to be a big girl at around 25 pounds.  She started taking her first steps a few weeks ago, but still prefers crawling around.  Here’s a list of some of the cute things she can do and say:

Things she can do:

-Wave bye-bye

-Clap

-Play peek-a-boo

She can say:

-Uh oh!  (Her first words)

-Dada

-Boo

-Baby

-Sssss (When asked what does a snake say.)

 

She loves to “read” books and copy her brothers and sisters.  The thing I love most about Gwen is that she’s almost always in good spirits.  She’s pretty relaxed and happy.  We just love having little Gwen in our family.

Big Girl Gwen

 

Family Update

I know it’s been a long time since my last post.  I will catch up up with the Millers mostly by pictures!  We had a nice Christmas and we have had lots of snow on and off since then.  Scott earned his Arrow of Light award in Cub Scouts.  Scott and Joel did the Pinewood Derby.   And Dan is Joel’s Den Leader.  The new year is treating us well so far too!  The kids celebrated the 100th day of school recently and Scott is half way done with his first year of home school.  Kennedy is doing gymnastics at the YMCA. We are keeping very busy all the time (Which  might explain why I don’t post much!)  But we think about our family and friends often and know that we love you! Now on to the pictures!

Christmas Day Pictures:

First big now of the season:

Arrow of Light award:

Kennedy at gymnastics:

Joel’s 2nd grade math night at school:

Watching the Superbowl:

I hope you’ve enjoyed the various pictures!  Love,  The Millers

Polar Express Party

We’re going to try our hand at a Polar Express party this year.  I found this great PDF from Houghton Mifflin Books with all the ideas you need to make your own Polar Express party!  (Including printable tickets!)

http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/features/thepolarexpress/pdf/polarpartykit.pdf 

The Amazing Gwen!

Gwen has learned a lot of exciting new skills over the past two weeks!  Just after Thanksgiving, Gwen suddenly learned how to sit up by herself.  One day while I was working on the computer, I looked over and she was laying on her belly.  Then when I looked again a few minutes later, she was sitting up all by herself!  I was so shocked that I did a double take!  That was an exciting milestone for sure!

Then she really started working on moving her body around.  She has been very good at rolling over in both directions for a while now.  But recently she has been getting up on her knees and rocking back and forth.  We knew that it wouldn’t be much longer before she’d be crawling!  And we were right!  Yesterday she made her first real attempts at crawling and boy is it fun to watch her go.  She hasn’t quite figured out how far she can go yet, but that’s OK.  Once she really gets going, we’ll have to watch her that much closer!

Also these past few days, Gwen has been putting her hands together more.  We have caught her clapping once or twice before and she seems to be just as surprised by it as we are.  Today she has been clapping a lot more.  It’s super adorable!

I think she’ll be getting her first tooth fairly soon as well.  At least I’ve noticed a lump in her lower gum that wasn’t there before.  So  many changes for our big girl.  Gwen is such a sweet little baby.  I wish we could freeze time and enjoy her at 8 months old a while longer.  We’re so glad she’s part of our family!

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    My name is Carolyn. I'm a stay at home mom with six beautiful children and one awesome husband. Life can't get better than this!
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