Oh how excited we are around the Markmiller homestead.

We have two very special visitors coming tomorrow.

We are busy baking, shopping, cleaning and obsessing about how many more hours till they get here.

To understand this photo, you need to see the inspiration,

and then this sweet girl….

Can they please stay forever?



Menu Plan Monday

Well folks, it is the time of year again where my Menu Planning kicks into gear.


Summer, I tend to be a little freer with menus.  What didn’t help this year was the theater production Katie and Sammy were a part of.  That meant pretty much zero dinners at home for what seemed like FOREVER.  I am such a homebody, such a craver of family dinner times- this was tough!

So, here ya go.  For all my 3 readers.  Our menu for the week.


B: Granola bars, leftover rice and veggies

L: Out

D: Leftover Pei Wei



B: Smoothies or Cereal

L: Quesedillas, fruit

D: Balsamic Pork Tenderloin, roasted potatoes, green beans



B: Pancakes and bacon

L: BLT’s




B: Oatmeal, Cereal

L: Out

D: Carnitas, rice, beans, tortillas Guacamole



B: Waffles, strawberries

L: Sandwiches

D: Homemade Pizza or out to dinner



B: Bagels with Cream Cheese

L: Leftovers

D: Out

And that my friends, is that. 🙂

A different kind of Sunday

I am used to a typical Sunday morning.

Breakfast, showers, church.

We went to church last night instead of this morning, and I have to admit I am kinda thrown off.  I know so many of our friends LOVE going on Saturday night, and I can see the allure.  And perhaps we could get used to it.  But I was at Target this morning at 10 am and I just felt, well, off.

Guess I am a creature of habit.

Today we are having FLOCK (what our church calls small group) at our home.  We meet every Sunday night- but we have missed a few over the past few weeks due to Carousel.  It is a small group of families.  We get together and basically “do life” together. We celebrate victories or milestones.  We pray for one another.  We discuss scripture, we worship, we question, we spur one another on.  And, we also hold each other up when life gets complicated.  Our kids stay with us while we study, and worship and pray.

That is a change for Michael and I.  We used to go to a small group in California and the kids were at home.  Since we moved here we have been taking part in a family small group.  It has been really amazing.  While I know that sometimes the kids get restless, I love having them in there while we study God’s word.

There are 3 other families that come join us weekly.  Today is a little different kind of FLOCK.  We are walking with a family right now through a pretty tough road.  We are not certain of the outcome, but we are certain of the God who holds the outcome in His hands.  And their faith, their steadfastness in His love and provision are a buoy for all of us.  We are prayerfully standing with them, in the uncertainty that lies ahead.  But knowing that whatever the outcome is, we will be able to praise with them.

Sorry.  I know not a very fun, jovial post, but something that is on my heart.


Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:6,8)

We love you, Colby, Emily and Jireh.


It brings a sinking feeling in my stomach.

It is a 5 letter word that makes me dread fall.

And why is that?

Because, I have to come up with lunches for 4 children.  4 CHILDREN.

So, what do you make?

These are normally on my rotation:

Turkey Sandwich, PB&J, PB&B.
Sometimes Soup, sometimes pasta.

Something crunchy like chips or pretzles

fruit or veggies



And often, I got “Turkey again?”

Or, “I don’t like crusts”

Here is my biggest dilemma.

See when I was little, and used the amazingly awesome Charlie’s Angels lunch box, no one made my lunch for me.  Well, I can’t say never.  Sometimes my sisters did, but usually it was left up to me.  And often, I didn’t bother to make it.

I NEVER wanted my kids to deal with that.  So I make their lunches.  Guess it is one of those issues that make me remember how I felt as a kid and I am not willing to bend on it.  Now laundry, that is another issue- I am ready for my kids to do their own.  But lunches? no.

I try so hard to figure out new and interesting ideas for lunches.  Healthy and yummy all at the same time.  So today, I came up with the idea that I would make up some little menus for the kids to check off each night before bed, so that I could make them a lunch that they wanted.  And then wouldn’t complain.

My question- what would you include???  I know the normal things.  Any other thoughts?

Thank you.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, the Charlie’s Angels Lunchbox.

Goodbye Angels.

A little girls heart

This little boy has my little girls heart.  This is Lauren’s foster brother.  His name, given by Love Without Boundaries was Eoin.  His name according to Lauren is Lian Lian.

It must have rocked her world a little to welcome this little brother into her home.  But she ADORES that baby boy.  Every baby we see is “Mama, that like my Lian Lian”.  Every day she asks if we can go to China to see Lian Lian and Nai Nai.  She isn’t sad about it, she just wants to see this little one.

We know that Lian Lian has been adopted to the US.  But, the family has yet to contact LWB for any information.  And I have been searching to no avail online to see if I could use my China connections.  HARUMPH.  I would love to find him.  We are praying sweet girl to find your didi.




Dinosaur shirts






This summer has brought a number of changes.  Schedules always change.  There are more late nights, staying up swimming, catching fireflies and gettning snow cones.  Mornings are spent sleeping in and lolligagging in jammies and watching old TV shows. The weather changes.  This year has been different.  Over 100 degrees for the entire month of July with no relief in sight.

There also have been changes in what we do as a family.  Used to be that we could just bring out a big bin of building blocks or play doh and that would entertain for hours.  Now, play doh brings some entertainment for little girls, but not so much for my growing boys.  Sure, they will play with it but they would much rather be out swimming, playing basketball, video games or having buddies over.

Gone are the days of Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder and playing power rangers.  Gone are the days of feety jammies and waiting by the window for the train to go by.  Gone are the fire trucks and dinosaur shirts.  In are the athletic shorts, nike shoes and deoderant.

I miss those dinosaur shirts.  I miss the smell of Johnson’s Baby shampoo and sippy cups.  I miss the paci’s and the desitin.  I miss the hours of building train tracks and looking in the rearview mirror at a sleepy thumb sucker.

The view has changed.  I now look in the back and see a boy texting his friends or asking me to turn up the song he loves.  I listen to my girls playing together, but older games with their dolls.  I watch my kids perform onstage like they are adults. I watch my oldest son kick field goals like he is a pro.  We have survived our first break up and broken heart.

Parenting, I have found is not a straight road.  Nor does it have one set speed limit.  When the kids were babies, I remember feeling that the speed limit was a snails pace.  The nights seemed forever.  The sleeplessness and diaper changed seemed endless.  All of a sudden though, it feels as if I am on the autobahn going a gazillion miles an hour.

While I miss dinosaur shirts and the smell of Dreft, I have to be honest in saying I am enjoying this phase of parenting in a much deeper way.  I feel as though I know my kids better.  I see their hearts and I am excited to see where they are headed.  And while looking at the sleeping baby in the carseat in the rearview mirror is a memory, I am enjoying the ride in a much more profound way.  Even if we are barreling towards adulthood.