Monday, September 16, 2013


There are some big changes happening in the Miller family! We are...


Well, Orcutt to be exact. We are so excited! Matt took a job with an eCommerce company in San Luis Obispo, and we decided to move back where most of our family lives. He loves the company & I love the fact that I will be back where my family & best friend is! Ada keeps asking, "When are we going to live closer to Nonnie's house?" Soon, my dear, soon. That 3-hr. drive has worn on her the past 3 years :) We will miss our friends and ward here (come visit us please), and I am sure going to miss running on West Cliff!
It's crazy, because I received an opportunity a few months back to work a food truck event at Fresh & Easy in Lompoc. I thought, "Hey, why not. We have family there and can make a weekend out of it." Then I looked at Matt and said, "You're going to have a job interview that weekend." He hadn't applied anywhere down south yet, so he was like, "Okaaaaay." He applied with Shopatron in SLO, they interviewed him on the phone as we rode down to Lompoc (while I drove and fed the girls chocolate to keep them quiet), and then interviewed him in person on Tuesday morning!
The other change is that I am going to start posting everything over on Kara in the Kitchen. It's funny because I started the food blog to give the food its own space. But now I feel like I want to include more of me in the posts over there! The food and recipes will still be organized by category and searchable. I own the domain and I like blogging through WordPress more (even though it's a bit scary and I have to learn on my own through trial & error). I'll keep this blog up for the blogroll & memories, but I won't continue posting here.

We also sold our Volvo! It's the first car we bought & paid off together, and the car that we brought both of our babies home from the hospital in. A girl bought it for her mom to commute over the hill in. We thought that was really sweet :) Bye bye Volv!
Now, let the house hunting & packing begin!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bobba's 80th Surprise Birthday Party!

Over Memorial Day weekend, my grandpa turned 80 years old. He is the most wonderful man, and his sweet wife had been planning on getting our WHOLE family together to surprise him for years! 
It was tricky, with 20+ people who love to talk like we do, to keep it a secret.
We had a few slips...but luckily Bobba was none the wiser.
See his reaction in Sean's video below:
I love it! I love his hand out and the, "How did this all happen?!" at the end. He was completely surprised by the whole thing!

Devin & Liz were amazing and hosted every dinner and get-together in their beautiful home. We sat and ate, talked, laughed, and played games for hours.

We got to see our cousin Daniel, who had just returned home from his mission in Houston, TX. We were only missing two family members: Chris, who is serving a mission in Oklahoma and Jennie's husband, Phe who had to work. We missed them! Matt & KayLa's baby, Georgia Kay, was blessed on Sunday with all of the family there. It was so special! 

Lindsay was behind all of the decor. She and Nana would go out to lunch and plan every detail of the big bash. She had black and white pictures of Bobba printed out and attached to the back of our dinner plates. It was all just perfect! See for yourself:
We decided that Nana LOVES the secret surprise! She would say things that were so close to giving it away with Bobba around and we'd all try SO hard not to ruin it...Nana is so clever and we all had to try and catch up.

After the big surprise, delicious dinner, and decadent Madonna Inn cakes, all of us sat around the table and passed around a collection of memories about Bobba. We had each been asked to share a story about Bobba, then sent it to Lindsay who printed them out and compiled them into a book. We each took turns reading someone else's memory, and needless to say, many tears were shed. Almost every memory about Melvin John Drake involved his lifelong commitment to service, hard work, and testimony of Jesus Christ. It was fun to hear Bobba's side of the story after certain more humorous memories, too :)  

After that, all of the grandchildren sang Oh Susanna and Oh My Darling Clementine to Bobba. He had mentioned that those were his favorite old folk songs from growing up in Montana. Lindsay and I used to run away with our hands over our ears screaming, "Noooooo!" when he would sing to us as young children. He sang along with us, and we all realized what a depressing song Clementine is! Sean accompanied on guitar.

We later watched a slideshow of pictures of Bobba in his childhood, adulthood, early family years, as a grandpa, and great-grandpa. Mackenzie put it together and it was so fun to see! Bobba wanted to pause on every picture and give us all of the history behind it.

Devin had the genius idea to attach a tent to their sliding glass door that leads into their backyard. Since all of the furniture was moved for the tables, they put the sofas and chairs in the tent and it was our favorite hangout spot! Can you tell that Ada is in heaven with all of the attention from my cousins? :)
Over the weekend we did things like walk the Bob Jones Trail, play at Avila Beach, go shooting at VAFB, and play games and eat more food and dessert and candy :) It was the perfect weekend! Devin & Liz even have bingo cards & a little basket to spin with balls in it (That helped in getting Ada to warm up to Devin more)! They had some pretty sweet prizes for the winners...check out Morgan's eye-patch & David's cowboy pistol!
Beach day:
Treats & snoozin' for Uncle Dana! We have a lot in common...chattiness, left-handedness, two a's in our names, love of Dr. Pepper & fun to see him. Also he made me pee my pants when I was seven years old.
 Sitting on the beach while my kids are entertained and loved by my awesome cousins?!
 Tired little girl!
Ada loves her Uncle Sean :)
 Lola was infatuated with baby Georgia! "A baby smaller than me?" she says!
It was a perfect weekend. I only wish that it could have lasted longer. I am so grateful that I was born into such a loving family, thanks to Mel & Alice Drake. Because of them we are all best friends, and when we get together - it is like no time has passed at all. This man just went through a quintuple bypass this year and has recovered incredibly. I've watched him fix plates of food to bring dinner to widows that he Home Teaches. I think he has been there to help at every move in the Santa Maria 3rd Ward, and has fixed countless cars of the family & things around our houses. All in his quiet, happy way. Love you Bobba!
Also, this happened. David vs. Matt.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Favorite Running Gear Giveaway Winners!

So apparently if your last name starts with the letter C, you are a lucky person with giveaways! Our winners are Michelle & Katey, two awesome girls that I know will put these items to good use.
Congratulations ladies!! Hope you enjoy the Yurbuds & Pro Compression socks as much as I do! You should have received an email from me, contact me if you didn't :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Epic Summer Playdates

We have lived in Santa Cruz for almost three years now, and we just barely found out about a little gem called Loch Lomond Reservoir. It's about 25 minutes from the city, up in the mountains, and feels worlds away from the busy weekend beaches that are Santa Cruz's reality in the summertime. It was so peaceful up there! Loch Lomond is where Santa Cruz gets its drinking water from (so you can't go swimming in it) but you can rent boats, fish, and paddle around in the glassy water.
Our girls had never been in a row boat, so it was exciting and new to them! Lola wasn't a fan of the required life jacket for children, but with some coaxing from big sis - she kept it on the whole time.
I was amazed by their willingness to help row! It's a great upper body workout.
Ada took her rowing duties very seriously. They look so cute in those life jackets all squished up under their necks! 
Lola was obsessed with splashing in the water! Matt's holding her little dress to keep her from falling in. Little daredevil.
The trees come all the way down to the water. Just gorgeous! 
 Always the sign of an epic day:
Sweet Maggie from Mighty Girl posted here about her son, Henry's, 6th birthday party on her sister's farm! How fun would that be? Here is the video Hyundai made of the shindy. (We watched Lincoln last night, so parties are now shindies.) I want my sister to have a barn too, but Lindsay isn't quite the farm girl type. Maybe my little brother will have one someday, I could definitely see him with lots of dogs, goats, and chickens running around.

Here's to many more Epic Playdates to come this summer!!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Favorite Running Gear Giveaway!

I am SO excited about this giveaway!! Today I am giving away two of my favorite things and must-haves for running.

#1. Yurbuds!

I have ALWAYS had a problem with earbuds while running. They've always fallen out or hurt my ears. I've tried the ones that came with my iPhone, they hurt by the end of my run. I've bought those tiny ones with different sized rubber pieces that were supposed to never fall out. They fell out and hurt. Yurbuds are genius! The silicone doesn't hurt my ear, and they twist into your ears to lock.
These incredible earbuds will not fall out. I tested them during my half marathon and I was so sweaty. I thought for sure that I would have to adjust them at some point during the 13.1 miles, but I didn't! These bad boys stay put.

#2. Pro Compression Socks!

If you've seen my pics of me running, then you've probably noticed my favorite hot pink compression socks :) I originally ordered the calf sleeves, but they accidentally sent me the marathon sock. I was so bummed because my long Saturday run was coming up and I really wanted to wear them. I contacted Pro Compression and they said they'd send my original order out immediately, and to go ahead and keep the marathon socks. How cool is that?! And guess what? I ended up liking the socks more than the sleeves! So thank you, Pro Compression, for sending me them in the first place. And for being such an awesome company!
Compression socks help with circulation and recovery. I notice such a difference when I put them on. My high arches feel like they're getting a hug & my calves aren't as sore the next day. Love love love compression socks! Now I need to get the orange Ragnar ones for Napa in September :)
Giveaway time! Thank you to Yurbuds & Pro Compression for supplying these awesome products for my readers! Good luck :)

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013


The latest things that I've heard come out of my favorite 3 1/2-year-old's mouth! 
I tucked her in for bed and said, "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!" She looked at me and said, "Bed bug? Does he have a pillow on his back?!"

Aquabats = Unclebats

Dentist = Toothbrush Man
Asking all of her favorite things before bedtime, I stopped because her eyes were getting heavy (and I was running out of ideas). She was an inch from my face and said, "Say more words."

She swallowed a candy whole at a Thai restaurant months ago and it got stuck in her throat. We went there again and she said, "I ate a candy here and I had a sickness."

While driving in the car, "I wish we could live by my boyfriend. My girlfriend is named Signie and my boyfriend is Kenno."

"Cap'n Walt has a plane and a car. Uncle Sean has a plane and a bus." 

"Mommy, my teddy bear's not real. And I really want to sleep with real people."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Lola is 22 Months Old!

My baby is almost two years old! She is still our little snuggle-love. So sweet and loving! She just said the word happy for the first time today, which is fitting for our happy girl.

Fun things about Lola at 22 months:

Everything has "eeeee" on the end. If something is hot: "Hottie!"

While handing you something, "Hee-ya-go!"

When I explain something to her, "Ohhhh!"

When she does something well, "YAY!" (with arms in the air)

Gah-go = gotta go

Cah-co = Costco

Favorite words: No & Mine (Myyyyyy!)

Has to have her favorite blanket and a stuffed animal to sleep with, "Elmo!" or her bunny from Auntie Linds. I lay her down, tuck her in, then she looks up and says, "Bye." This girl loves her sleep!
On Dora the Explorer, there is a mean fox named Swiper. You have to say, "Swiper no swiping!" Then he can't take whatever he was going to steal and says, "Aww man!" and runs away. This is Lola imitating him:

Has the cheekiest little smile I've ever seen on a toddler! So happy, cute little dimples, just the sweetest. Loves to be a monkey or owl, depending on which bath towel she gets:

Her favorite color is, "LELLOW!"

Loves her sister, "Dayda!"

Loves to chant her name, "LO-LA! LO-LA!"

Happy 22 months sweet girl! xoxo

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Happy National Running Day!

Hungry Running Girl posted this quiz for us to do in honor of National Running Day! Do it yourself in the comments or on your own blog. 
Also, tweet or instagram why you run and Timex will donate $5 to the One Fund Boston to help those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing. 60 people will win a Timex Ironman watch!
1.  On average how many races do you run a year? 2...I'd love to do more than that!
2.  Head accessories, things you have to run with: Hat, sunglasses, lipgloss, ponytail/bun.
3.  Where do your workouts come from?  A training plan. I used one from Ragnar first, then from, now on one from Double Your Endurance.
4.  How many miles on average do you put on a pair of shoes? 300? I just run in them until they start to feel lame. I guess I should be more scientific about it! 
5.  Cell phone -  do you bring it with you on your run or leave it at home? Bring it! Always! I feel naked without my phone, plus it tracks my mileage through RunKeeper. 
6.  What was your last running related injury or have you been an injury free runner? Stress fracture on the top of my right foot last year. Booooooooooooo!
7.  Is your current running goal about running a farther distance (adding more mileage) or getting faster or BOTH?!? BOTH! I am so proud that I completed 13.1 miles, but next year my goal is to do it faster.
8.  Speedwork—->  at the track, on the treadmill, on the roads or never do it? On the roads. But I would like to try the track to make it more official-feeling! 
9.  Stretching after a run:  hit the ground after a run and get stretching, stretch in the shower, stretch once you get to work/school, skip the stretching? Ohhhh stretching. I wish I had more time for you. After last night's run, I ran straight upstairs and made dinner, scarfed it down, and went to a meeting. So no stretching happened. I need to be better about it!
10.  What was your reason for starting to run? I've run ever since I can remember. I was one of the fastest girls in elementary school, and beat boys in a dress! I always loved the Jog-a-thons and Turkey Trots and winning movie tickets :) Things have changed of course (I'm not so fast anymore), but I keep running for my health, sanity, and family's happiness. Matt says, "I like you when you run." I definitely am a more patient person when I do! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Half Marathon Playlist

Here is my playlist from the 13.1:
I know, I know...I have crazy random music taste. It's all over the place.

California Love - 2Pac
Waiting Game - Yellowcard
Shiny Toy Guns - Le Disko
White Lights - Rufio
Let Me Entertain You - Robbie Williams (wondered what this guy has been up to since '99 and turns out he's still at it.)
Life Is a Highway - Rascal Flatts (WAY better than the original!)
Maxwell Murder - Rancid
Our House - Madness
Here it Goes Again - OK GO
Fat Bottomed Girls - Queen
Where the Blacktop Ends - Keith Urban
You Are Loved (Don't Give Up) - Josh Groban (pushed me up Corkscrew Hill! Surprisingly motivating)
Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' - Journey
California Girls - Katy Perry
Body Count - Justin Timberlake
Rusty Cage - Johnny Cash
I Want You Back - Jackson 5
I Wish You Were Here - Incubus
Sweet Child of Mine - Guns N Roses
You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
You May Be Right - Billy Joel
Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Scream - Michael Jackson
Living on A Prayer - Bon Jovi
Jump - Van Halen
Say Anything - Bouncing Souls
Freefallin' - John Mayer
Drink & Fight - Lagwagon
Back in Black - AC/DC

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My First Half Marathon!

Last Saturday, I ran my first half marathon ever! It was amazing. It was a gorgeous course running from Santa Ynez to Solvang (30 min. from my hometown). I ran with my cousin & friend, and we stuck together the whole time! I keep thinking that when my children look back on this picture, it will be neat to see the gas prices waaaaay back in 2013!
Rach forgot her bib in her mom's car, so she got a random bib 2 minutes before start time! It was so funny to hear people at the aid stations give us water and say, "Great job, Kara! Go Roxanna!" It's her sexy running alter-ego :) 
Before the race & scenery along the way:
We got stuck in the porta potty cube of death before the race! There was a big square lined with potties on three sides. People were lined up in all directions, it was madness. We ended up in a line that was actually 4 lines merging into two. There were probably 200 runners waiting, and we all were saying there was no way the race would start on time because there were so many of us still waiting. WRONG. They started anyway. And we still had to check our bags because we didn't want to lose our spot in line! So here I am crossing the start line, running while putting my phone in my armband and hooking up headphones! 
The residents along the course were AMAZING! We saw a woman walking a turkey, people sitting in lawn chairs cheering us on, but the best were these people:
Sitting at the end of their property, in the back of their pickup truck with their dogs, waving an American flag. They said, "God Bless America!" as we ran by and I was so happy to be home. You just don't see or hear that sort of thing in Santa Cruz! 
Lindsay, Matt, & the girls met us at about the halfway point in Los Olivos. I could see the big flagpole for about a half mile, and it really gave me a burst of energy knowing that they were there waiting for us! 
I ran up and saw Ada cheering, "Go Mommy, you can do it Mommy!" And Lola didn't know what was going on until I kissed her cheek :) 
I didn't think I was going to be in the picture below...
I was feeling pretty amazing after scaling Corkscrew Hill to Josh Groban's Awake. I felt like I was in a movie! The golden rolling hills, the oak trees, the green lines of was so beautiful. I absolutely loved running with Jessica and Rachel. It was so good to know that when one of us was weak, another would be strong and lift the others up!
So there was this bison, a very protective mama! She charged Rach when she went in for a picture, and it was the funniest thing I've ever seen! She moved SO fast and everyone running was cracking up. I wish I had a video! 
I LOVED miles 4-9. I was in my groove and my calves had loosened up. By mile 10, I needed a potty break and so did Rach. We stopped and then continued on, my hips and pelvis hurting more with each step. I've worked so hard since having Lola to get my shifty hips tight again, and I feel like all of my hard work held up until mile 10. My body was exhausted, and I had eaten all of my Skittles & Shot Bloks. It felt like all of my ligaments just relaxed and I could feel my bones moving and rubbing against each other. 
At the 11.5 mile mark, I saw a sign with a hot pink shirt on it. I thought, "Hey, I have a shirt like that." Then I realized that Rachel's pic was on the poster next to it! It was my awesome sister-in-law, Kandie! She made a poster and came at the point where I wanted to quit. If it weren't for her at the bottom of that hill, I probably would've walked up it instead of run! Sorry for the big sweaty hug, but I was so happy that you came out and surprised us...we needed it at that point!
I wasn't mentally prepared for the hills at the end. I looked at the elevation map and thought once I made it past Corkscrew Hill, I was home free. Do not discount those rolling hills those last 3 miles! They may look small but they are no joke. I was getting goosebumps and felt like my legs were going to give out at the tops.
I kept saying to myself, "You run 2 miles in your sleep. You run 2 miles in your sleep."
When I finally rounded the last half-mile (worst of my life), I could hear people cheering and knew the finish line was close. I first saw my Nana & Bobba, which was a surprise because they were driving up from a long week of serving at the Los Angeles Temple! I know they were tired and it meant so much to see them there! I almost burst into tears. Then Matt lifted Ada over the railing and she ran across the finish line with me. 
What a perfect way to end a race. See Bobba in the background? :)
She was smiling and waving at everyone cheering us on. I have a future race buddy on my hands!
She loved wearing my medal & almost snatched one of her own!
The three of us, after completing our first half marathon together! My hot pink compression socks saved my calves...and made me stick out in a crowd. Matt said he was looking for my socks! They are miracle workers.
Afterward, Rach & I took advantage of the free massage booth. That should be a part of every feeling ever! I walked (slowly) away with a bruise on the top of my left foot, and my right pinky toe is still numb. My knees and ankles are starting to feel back to normal.  
Ada wanted to ice her feet along with Rach :)
Then we headed to Kay's Country Kitchen in Old Orcutt for the best breakfast food in the West. Seriously. Matt and I split the BAGS Omelette and Texas French Toast. I ate my full halves of everything. Matt says he doesn't like me running half marathons because I eat all of the food he was planning on finishing for me! 
I finally got my big Dr. Pepper that I was dreaming of the whole run.
Our gun time was off because of the porta potty debacle, but my official chip time was 2:57:27.5. I am happy with that because I wasn't out to set a record, I was out to push myself to finish and never stop. Not bad for having surgery 44 days previous! I feel so empowered and strong after finishing this race. I am so grateful for a strong body and for a will to push forward and work hard. I am so grateful for a Father in Heaven who gave me this body, this beautiful Earth to enjoy, and these wonderful people I get to call family to support me in all of my endeavors along the way. 
We decided that this needs to be a Mother's Day Weekend tradition, so I am excited to run it again next year with more friends and with this experience under my belt! Thanks for a wonderful time Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon!
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