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Family Pictures

We had family pictures taken today.  It's been a few years since we last had them done, and lots of changes have happened since then.  I wanted to get some updated ones because Griff is leaving on a mission, and our family probably won't ever be the same again.  Unfortunately, not everyone could make it to the session, but for those of us that did, we had a blast!

Brooke Ashley Photography did such an amazing job capturing us!  I just thought I'd share a few of my favorites...

Brooke told us to say "cheese."  Instead my grandma said the names of her dogs, "Pixi, Coco!"

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Van Gough

Since we've had our puppy Chael, we have all just fallen in love with him.  He is the spoiled little prince of our house, and no one seems to mind.  For a family full of people who would never in a million years classify ourselves as "dog people," we're quickly on our way to becoming them.  Yesterday, however, I got some news that broke my heart for our little buddy...

Here at only 15 weeks, Chael is getting too big for my lap!

Chael is going to be a big brother.

The breeders we purchased Chael from had a litter a few weeks after Chael was born.  While the mommy dog was cleaning the placenta off of one of her pups, she accidentally bit off his fragile little ear.  Because of his deformity, they can't find anyone who will buy him.  They've even discounted this pure breed (from a champion line) pup nearly 80%.  Now that he is old enough to be sold (10 weeks) and not yet claimed, they offered him to us, for free.

So we're taking him.  I'm picking him up from the airport tonight.  My heart broke a little for Chael baby because as with any new addition to a family, he would no longer be the sole receiver of the love and attention.  We're hoping, though that having a playmate will help relieve us of having to give Chael attention 24/7... It can be exhausting.  Having a dog is like having a baby who never grows up.

Last night, I went over the importance of being a big brother with Chael.  I told him that its his job to be nice to the new baby, and protect him from the other mean dogs, especially because he has a "very special ear," and he might get picked on.

I'm hoping it works out and they become best buddies... I'm also hoping that like Chael, Van Gough comes potty trained...


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Conference weekend

It's that time again, General Conference is here!  To be honest, I've never before been "excited" about Conference.  In fact, I've always dreaded the boring sit-and-be-quite-for-uber-long-periods-of-time sessions.  I never really paid attention to the talks, and never got much out of it.  When my parent's got divorced, I was really angry.  Angry at a lot of people and a lot of things, but most of all, I was mad at Heavenly Father.  By technical terms, I was pretty much inactive in church, and I didn't watch conference for close to four years.

I only recently became fully converted at the beginning of this year.  I knew that if my life was going to start progressing, I was going to need the help and blessings that only my Father in Heaven and big brother, Jesus could provide.  I remember this past April, I decided to watch Conference and it literally changed me.  I loved the talks given, and paid attention, and even took notes on all of them, studying them later, and completely dominating my ward's Conference Jeopardy FHE activity the following Monday!

I've been looking forward to Conference for months now.  I loved the General Relief Society mission, and especially President Uchtdorf's talk.  Since President James E. Faust, Dieter is definitely my favorite general authority.  His talk got me so excited to hear the other encouraging and uplifting words that will be spoken this weekend!

I have already taken the challenge to write down some questions that I have for my Heavenly Father, and will be anxiously awaiting my answer.

I also found a few great websites, with some of the cutest Conference Packets I've ever seen!

The Church website has lots of fun coloring and other activities to engage little ones while watching Conference


Sugardoodle has a ton of Conference Packets for all ages from Nursery to Adults.  I printed off one of them and am so excited to use it!


Print photos of the General Authorities to paste onto your notes, or to play Conference Bingo!

Saturday morning, I'm making a delicious bacon, egg and cheese breakfast ring.  Yum yum!

I'm also thinking of building a Conference Reverence Tent,  & watching Conference from inside.  Just like in Mosiah when the Nephites "pitched their tents," to listen to the Prophet, King Benjamin.

I hope everyone makes the choice to watch Conference this weekend, and receives lots of blessings for doing so!

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The Garden Calendar

The use of BC and AD for numbering calendar years was invented by Dionysius Exiguus in 525 AD. His purpose was to determine the correct date for Easter under the direction of Pope St. John I. While most people recognize the terms B.C. and A.D. to mean, "Anno Domini" (or Year of our Lord referring to the year of Christ’s birth) and "BC" as Before Christ, I've devised a new system, specifically for my garden.

B.C. = Before Chael

A.D. = After Dog

Sweet little Chael discovered this week that he's big enough to climb into my raised bed.  One day after work, I noticed leafy plant limbs strewn all about our patio.  "We don't have anything leafy or green in our back yard." I thought.  And then, light bulb!

It was my broccoli!  Chael LOVES broccoli... and bell peppers... and lettuce, and green beans, and tomatoes!

I saw my poor little garden, and it was destroyed.  I couldn't get mad at little Chael, because at least he was eating his vegetables, right?  Since there was nothing I could do, I allowed him to finish up digging (his favorite part), and rolling in the sweet smelling soil.  And, rather than compost my now-vegetable-waste, I allowed him to eat all of it.

It's a darn good thing that fall planting for Las Vegas starts this week.  Note to self: purchase large quantities of chicken wire.

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ELDR2B was Evan's vanity licence plate before he went on his mission.  I've mentioned before that while I was attending my first year of college, my parent's sold my car since no one was driving it.  When I decided that I hated Reno, and came home, I drove Ev's car but my parent's wouldn't let me change the licence plate, "It's Evan's car, and if he wants the plates changed, he can do that when he gets home."

It was so embarrassing.  We lived right next to a retirement community, so people either knew the licence plate was referring to a future missionary, or a future old person.  Either way, the tires on that car got slashed almost every month.

But I digress.  The point of this post is to talk about another brother.  My little Gibber-Snibbs.

Griffin is going on a mission!  Anyone who knows Grif, knows that a mission was never a goal of his.  Growing up the kids in our ward chose Griffin as the odd man out, they never included him in activities or made him feel welcome, and all too often they were downright mean (a fact big sister didn't know until recently or you can bet I would have done something about). Because he didn't have a network of LDS friends, when he was never really "active" in the church. Once hit with our parents divorce he was lost. He became involved with alcohol and girls, and would not even claim to be Mormon.

Then, one Sunday Griffin decided to go to church.  This was during that still-difficult time for our family, and no one was really going every week.  But Griffin made it a point to go.  He started meeting with the bishop every week and hanging out with his Fraternity less.  He never said what he was up to, and when we'd ask he would assure us that he didn't know what we were talking about.  After awhile the cat was out of the bag, we knew he had chosen to turn his life around and serve a mission for our church!  

Tonight he got his mission call. 

We knew that Gibbs as well as the people of Kentucky will be eternally blessed because of his decision to sacrifice and serve.  We love you Gibbs, and we couldn't be more proud of our Louisville Slugger!

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Help Find David Miller

Last Sunday 9.4.11 one of our dear friends, David Miller went missing.  I am posting this and asking anyone in the areas of Southern Nevada, Southern Utah, Arizona and Southern California to help aid in the search.  We received a letter from David's family this past Saturday:
Dearest Friends,

Our hearts are grateful for all who are helping us in our search for our son, David. Our latest direction is that David could be somewhere between Las Vegas and Cedar City. We feel impressed that we need to find him right ...away.

We don't know for sure but feel the area between St George and Hurricane and perhaps as far north as Cedar City might be the most likely area to find him. His car is a light green Hyundai Elantra (see the attached photos below) and it will be the key to locating him. Most likely he will be off of the main highways and roads. We think he would seek a place of solitude away from any people. He would probably not hike much away from a car accessible road but could be in an area that is not readily visible.

There are several people planning to look for him and his car throughout Southern Utah tomorrow. We have been with limited phone access and bandwidth today so we are just responding to some of you who have offered to help. For those that are able, it would be helpful to have you travel to Southern Utah tomorrow to help with the search. If any of you have friends or relatives living between Las Vegas and Cedar City, will you please forward the attached photos below and ask them to use their own networking to get other people looking for David and his car.

Chris Jensen and Bill Karren are already in Southern Utah and others are on their way tomorrow by car, plane and helicopter. If you are able to travel and help with the search tomorrow, please contact Chris (702-499-5320) and Bill (702-372-3378) and we will ask them to organize the ground search efforts.

We thank you for anything you can do to help with this search. David is a wonderful man who is blessed to have your support.

Michelle and I are making our way back to Las Vegas and then Southern Utah. We may not have phone access for some of the day tomorrow but please leave us a message when needed.

Words are inadequate to express our love and thanks,

Kevin Miller 702-580-4251
Michelle 702-301-3456
As of today, I have the following updates:

  • David suffers from severe clinical depression.  He is without his phone, wallet or medication.  His parents are unsure if his going missing has to do with foul play, or is the result of a depressive episode, but have assured the police that he has never "just taken off" before without telling anyone, and that this occurrence is extremely unlike him.
  • The Henderson, NV police department found David's car in the parking lot of Jared's Jewelers on Saturday 9.10.11 at 1071 West Sunset  Rd.  However, upon further investigation the store owner stated that the car had been there since Monday, 9.5.11.  David was nowhere to be found.
  • Large scale searches have been occurring all weekend in Southern Utah, as far north as Fillmore, UT.  Two of David's best friends moved there a few years ago, and he visited them often.  His parents felt as though maybe he went to see them, and was familiar enough with the drive to make it in one of his depressive episodes.
  • While this information is being updated frequently and spread across Facebook (we created a page for him this past weekend: Help Find David Miller), there is not a lot of news coverage, and other than word spreading through the Latter Day Saint (Mormon) community, it is not getting much publicity.
  • Because there are a few news anchors in my home ward (David's parent's ward), they were able to get out two news broadcasts this weekend on Las Vegas NBC news and Las Vegas ABC news- watch here.
  • Saturday, my family contacted all 20 Stake Presidents in the Las Vegas valley, as well as few bishops in Mesquite, Laughlin, and Pahrump.
 I am asking you, my bloggy readers, to please help keep an eye out for our friend.  If you have any information, please contact myself or the following:

Kevin Miller 702-580-4251
Michelle 702-301-3456

Thanks again!
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I didn't sleep a wink last night

Seriously, I feel like a kid on Christmas eve.

My bags are packed (overly so)

My tank is full, my oil is changed, my tires are new

And now I'm just sitting here

Counting down the hours until I embark on my very first solo road tip

I'm a little nervous

But mostly excited

Wish me luck!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

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Mid-Year Goals Check-up

Back on July 1st, I wrote out a list of some mid-year goals.  Because of my Spending Fast, I learned the importance of setting both short and long term goals, and putting them down on paper.  It's important to be able to get them out of your heard so that they become real.  Plus the satisfaction of putting a check mark next to each one is overwhelming!  Here is a recap of the goals I set, and how they're going.

1.  Read my scriptures every day and finish reading the Old Testament
I began a Book of Mormon Reading Challenge that started on August 1.  I have kept up with the schedule and been "listening" (to the audio version) every day, so that is deterring my Old Testament reading.  I love it!  I do it first thing in the morning, and I feel like it just sets the tone for my whole day. 

2.  Go back to school, full time, even if my boss won't let me go to class
Holla!  I am back and in 13 credits!  I have worked out with my boss that while she won't let me go to all of my classes (except to take exams), she will let me go to the one where attendance counts! 
3.  Stop regretting/living in/wishing I could change the past; move on and progress
Done & done.  I am surprised how much happier I am when I started doing this.

4.  Pray.  The real get-down-on-your-knees-bow-your-head-and-fold-your-arms kind not the quick-utter-one-in-traffic-kind, at least once everyday
Yes.  I had a friend who made a comment in Institute (similar to a bible study class) last week that every morning before "[his] feet hit the floor, [his] knees hit the floor."  I have literally done this every day.  Plus its fun to slither out of bed without letting my feet touch before my knees!  You know, like when you were a kid and the floor was lava...  Awesome.

5.  Read 5 non-school books
So far I've read four, and I'll start my 5th one probably over Thanksgiving break.  There's just too much going on with school right now!

6. Start the Spending Fast, and stick to it. 
Check!  Follow my other blog, Morgan Makes Cents to read all about it.

7.  Listen to more church music and learn the harmonies
8.  Exercise at least 3 times a week
Not so much.  I've still been doing a mixture of Insanity, P90X and Cardio Barre, but I've totally been slacking.  I'm lucky if I manage once a week.  The past two weeks I've felt overly tired, and really sluggish, I need to get back on this ASAP.

9.  Start studying for the DAT's
Nope.  I think I might put this off until next semester.

10.  Choose to be happy
YES!  I love being happy!  I have learned that happiness really is a conscious choice, not just a state of being.

11.  Make at least 1 new friend every month
Yes, 100 times over.  I have made an effort (and it's awkward and hard) to really reach out to people and schedule face time with them.  But I have been blessed with tons of new friends!

12.  Spend 5 minutes everyday "quick cleaning" my house, and deep clean every Saturday
Nope, look haven't I made enough progress already?  Some things just aren't meant to change.
13.  Do more service.
Sadly, no
14.  Always be kind
Yes.  what a difference this has made in my attitude!
15.  Figure out how much school/books/parking, etc. is actually going to cost.
Yes!  $125, bought and paid for!

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Name them one by one

A few weeks ago, I bore my testimony at church.  Everyone thought it was hilarious when I said, "if anyone is in need of blessings, come to my house, because it's raining over there!"  I didn't say it to brag, I said it because it was true. 

After years and years of heartbreak, trials, and bad luck, I think I'm at a point in life where I am able to easily recognize a blessing, because for so long it felt like I didn't get any.  Every time I notice one, I stop and give thanks; this routine has really made me see just how blessed my life is.  Sometimes it's hard to remember that blessings don't always come in the form of an answered prayer.  Most of mine don't.  In fact it's usually the opposite of what I want, or what I think I need that turns out to be the best blessings.

Sometimes, when I need something, really need something, and want it, and when I am living my life in accordance with the commandments of the Lord, and I'm doing everything in my power to make it happen, and then I pray, I dont' get what I'm asking for.  Times like these stink, but I have to remember that I am on the Lord's time and he'll provide in His own way and at His own time.

"Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."
~Garth Brooks

But other times, when I need something, really need something, and want it, and when I am living my life in accordance with the commandments of the Lord, and I'm doing everything in my power to make it happen, and then I pray, and my prayers are answered, that is the best!

I had a prayer answered this morning, and now a $3,000.00 weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. *Sigh*

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Weekend To-Do List

Holy smokes!  It's already the last weekend of August!  I always get so excited for the weekends!  I've been working full-time for just over a year now, and I'm still not used to it.  All of the required overtime does help either, it basically translates to working 11 hours every day.  Those are long days!  I feel like my weekend to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer because I am accomplishing nothing during the week. 
  • Clean my room
  • Clean my car
  • Wash my car
  • 100,000 mile tune up on my car
  • Sit by the pool & tan
  • Plant my fall-winter garden
  • Work overtime
  • Do some yoga or Cardio Barre
  • Play with baby Chael
  • Make this skirt... for real this time
  • Work on my talk for church
  • Enjoy my last weekend before school starts!
What are you doing this weekend?
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We've had a new addition to our family. 

I'd like to introduce Chael .

{Pronounced Ch-ale.  Sort of like Che-rries and Ginger-ale}

He is a Rhodesian Ridgeback.  Notice the strip of hair on his back?  It grows in the opposite direction, so it stands up and looks like a little ridge.

I like to call it his mohawk.

He was born in Michigan and today he turned 8 weeks old, finally old enough to leave his mommy and make the long flight here to Las Vegas! 

It's amazing how much we all already love him!

So that's my good news!

Suddenly I'm craving a 7-Up.


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