The Miller Haus 2020

2020 Tree Decorating

Welcome all to the Miller Family website. It has been quite a year and wanted to express how much we miss you all. We hope this website can serve to bridge the gap between us. Let me tell you a bit about what was good in our year.

Byron (He/Him)

Byron is no stranger to telecommuting. So the transition to working from home was not hard at all.

He plugged along at Homeaway/ Expedia, switching to an Expedia team that gave him some longevity with the company. Our family was grateful. Since this year was all about change, Byron had the opportunity to take a new role at Symphony. This job change went from the vacation industry to secure communications. We thought it was a smart move given the climate. He started his new position as Principal Architect with Symphony in October. Needless to say, Byron is doing well and thriving with all the new change this year. The rest of the Miller household is also sorry how loud we all are at times. We promise to quiet down more in 2021.

We lost our trees last year and had them removed. With death there comes life.

No trees in the backyard means an area open to the sky. Since childhood, Byron has been passionate about all things space. He was able to acquire a nice telescope and start his journey learning astrophotography. It didn’t take long to grasp what he needed to produce good images. He has shared some of his journey on his Rock Chuck Summit website. One thing led to another, and he became a member of the Austin Astronomical society. The society gave was the connection he needed to get an even better telescope. Later, he had opportunity to rent some very affordable space at an observatory in Throckmorton, Texas. It has been nice to see his passions bloom. As his wife, I love that he had something to keep him focused throughout this year.

This year was an opportunity for Byron to reconnect with things we enjoyed once when times were slower.

When the girls were little, we baked a lot of fresh bread, and learned many different methods of cooking food. Byron took a stab a fermenting our garden’s bounty of peppers to make hot sauce. He also started baking more bread. The stone firepit he helped make was a wonderful place to cook bread in our cast iron dutch oven. He truly enjoyed sitting outside a lot with his telescope and watching the stars move. This year really help slow things down to enjoy the simpler things.

Virginia (She/ Her)

Like everyone all over the globe experienced, change was fast, and not forgiving.

It took some getting use to not being busy all the time. Slowing down is not my a skill I possess. Nevertheless, I was able to help the kids shift from driving everywhere, to doing some of our homeschool online. It wasn’t a huge transition for us, but took time to adjust. We gave up a few things to open up some mental space for our family. If anything positive came from the pandemic, it forced us to slow down and focus on quality and not quantity.

I love to stay busy. Learning new art is a passion of mine. I am a maker, an artist, and love to do it myself. This year carving time to garden, continuing to knit, and draw more cards were top on the small list.

With more time on my hands, getting my hands in dirt was a real pleasure. I established a few gardens in the backyard. It has been a learning curve growing here in Texas. I learned a lot this spring and summer. After the first of the year I’ll be starting some plants, and getting the gardens ready for a second season. I am hoping to add a few more things to help me be more fruitful this coming spring.

I have, of course, been knitting. Not as much as I wanted, but still trying to create some nice things for my family and me. Yarn is also plenty and have vowed not to buy more until I use what I have. We’ll see if that actually happens.

I have been trying to keep drawing, learning to write script and other hand drawn lettering. I do enjoy drawing and want to get better over time.

Austin Humanists at Work
This has been a challenging year for many organizations and ours was not immune.

Austin Humanists at Work took a break between March and May to reorganize and make things safer returning in June. Our organization is a team member of the Eat Apart Together initiative. Every week since October our volunteers distribute bags of shelf-stable food along with gallon jugs of water. As needs change, I hope to change the organization to help people get off the streets and into housing.

Olive (They/ them)

Turning 16
This year was suppose to be a special one for Ollie. Turning 16 is every kids shift into becoming an adult. Getting your license, a first job, and being more of an independant human happened, just was slightly delayed.

Ollie’s Birthday happened as always, on May 22nd. Celebrated with a simple family dinner. This was followed by an outside breakfast and an organized a doggy parade. It was nice to see friends to stop by with their pups. We even had a snakes drop by. When life gives you lemons you make lemonade, right? Furthermore, a 16th birthday was celebrated and no pandemic could stop it.

Paying for half of their new car, with the help of her Byron and I, we bought Ollie’s 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid. Since about the age of 14 Ollie had been saving their pet sitting money. Ollie went for their license June 16th, and has been rolling ever since. They have enjoyed the more independance being able to take themselves to meet with friends for backyard picnics, and urban hikes.

Since COVID was in full force, we were picky about places Ollie applied to. They applied to three different places. As a result, Ollie has also been working at Chipotle since June 20th. It is a hard job, with another level of complexity that came with the pandemic. Ollie has learned two areas at their location, and is enjoying making some cash.

No matter the obstacle, Ollie worked through them and accomplished much. Byron and I are proud parents indeed.

School & Vounteering
Just like every child in Austin, school stopped in person classes, and after Spring Break, it all continued online. As always, Ollie has been helping with Austin Humanists at Work through the year.

Ollie’s teachers did the best they could to adjust to change. They have wrapped up the Fall semester recently having taken all the free credit dual enrollment offers. I wanted to share one of her speeches from her public speaking class. Her subject was pretty epic. Recently we had to start paying for classes which is a bitter sweet. Byron and I can’t believe Ollie will be a senior next year. Time has flown by.

The family has been a big help to me with the organization. There are many times I need them to help me with specific things, and am always grateful.

Just like their dear old mom and dad, hobbies are never in short supply. Millers love to try new things and keep busy.

While Ollie wasn’t doing school or working, they wrote to penpals all over the U.S. and the globe. They started a wonderful Instagram for all their penpalling, mailbyolive. Ollie has an artful flair to their letters, and take much time and care in their preparation.

Sewing is something Ollie also has enjoyed this year. They have made masks for friends and people who need them. Being able to alter clothing to fit them has been a great advantage of learning to sew. Ollie has sewed stuffed animals, bags, and many gifts for friends. This past halloween they sewed a Draculara costume.

Music lessons continued online with The Wilson’s School of Strings. Ollie also did a few Bedroom Bops YouTube contests for original songs and won one with by popular vote with the their song, Mushroom Love. Our neighbor Brianna reached out to Ollie for a gift of music to her husband. Ollie brought to musical life a little song Brianna and her husband sing their little girl. Needless to say, music has still flowed this year.

Art continued with Abraham later in the year. Ollie and him tried to continue online but then shifted to in person classes. We waited for a time and then they reached out to him to start them again. Luckily Abraham cares very much about his students wellbeing and is very good about keeping people safe. It for sure has been a wonderful thing having Abraham in a one-on-one environment. They have accomplished so much more together have enjoyed seeing their accomplishments.

Amelia (They/ them)

School & Volunteering
Amelia also shifted from in person classes to online. They have been a huge help to me with Austin Humanists at Work and has been my main squeeze picking up EAT bags each week.

It took a bit of doing to transition to online, but as homeschoolers do, we are use to change. Amelia’s teachers did all they could to make things happen. It was a scramble but they did their best to finish out the semester. Of course, Fall semester had a bit more planning behind it. Everyone was figuring out what worked and what didn’t. Amelia did a great job working with their teachers to navigate each semester. They also have done well in all their classes. Amelia is ready for a nice winter break and enjoy the holidays with the family.

Amelia has been a huge help to me with picking up EAT bags each week. It is not an exciting task, but I and very grateful for their help. It takes a village as they say, and I’m proud to have Amelia in my village.

Drawing, Roblox, Roblox commissions, music, Roblox, Roblox.

Did I say Amelia plays Roblox. This kid lives and breaths Roblox. This year they have used their skills of drawing to support playing the game through commissions. heir art is blooming this year. Amelia’s entrepreneurial genes have kicked in making 200K to almost 600K Robux per week to help support her game habit. Byron and I haven’t bought many Robux. Amelia gets paid Robux for their commissions they digitally draw. Amelia creates skins for Roblox players, and has learned new skills, customer service, and business savvy.

When Amelia is not on Roblox, they love to draw. Byron and I truly enjoy watching their skills grow over time. We are hoping to start them in some lessons with Abraham in 2021.

Amelia has stay with The Wilson’s also for piano lessons. Hearing them sing all over the house is nothing new either. We hope that 2021 will bring some more performing opportunities. We’re hoping she can slowly get back into doing things like performing in public.

2021 and entering teenagedom
Along with a new year, Amelia will start Birthday season all over.

Another milestone for the Millers, bring on two teenagers. Amelia will be 13 February 14, 2021. We know from experience how fast kids grow once they become teenagers. In February, we hope to give them a special birthday to ring in another teenager. In the fall of next year they’ll be in their final grade of middle school. It has been a hard, and awkward year, but Amelia is still trucking along and learning something new every day.

I know some would like to forget 2020 ever happened. We have much more to share about our year. From our pets, home improvement project, holidays and the election, there is so much to tell.

Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!
We love the furry and scaly part of our family. Lottie, Mabel, Frannie, JJ and fishies deserve a mention

This year we got to enjoy seeing Frannie, the rescue we adopted December of 2019, grow into a cuddly pup. Amelia has deemed Fran theirs. Our menagerie is doing well. This year we realized Lottie is a senior cat. Time sure does fly by. It feels like yesterday she came home with us. Mabel now has a ball thrower, which took some much needed pressure off the humans. JJ (aka Jack Rabbit Slims) is a plump happen bun boy, enjoying all his greens, and loves face rubs. We also had two batches of new fish spawn in our pond this year. So the pond is teaming with life.

We love your home.
It was a busy year of home improvement projects.

Just like many others in the US, we got the home improvement bug. Adding a big garden, put up outside lights again with a sun sail for shade. Installed a fire pit in the back in the backyard. We are loving all the smores, warmth, and bread it helps provides. We updated the girls bathroom with new paint, new tile floor, stained cabinets and a new mirror. The lighting in the kitchen and dining room have been updated to match the kitchen we installed in 2015- 2016. Lastly, the Miller Haus got a facelift. The crew literally finished up today, and the house is nice and warm. It was very important for us to get the house buttoned up so we weren’t heating and cooling the outdoors. Mission accomplished and the house looks pretty as a bonus.

The Ministry of Silly Walks at The Miller Haus
Everyone was doing their best to stay in good spirits as we power through this pandemic. The Millers became a location to let your silliness fly and the neighborhood responded in a big way.

After the beginning of the pandemic steam rolled in, everyone all over the globe did all they could to stay connected. People put up Christmas lights, chalk drawings popped up all over the neighborhood. Some had graduation parades, some connected on Zoom. The Miller Haus became one of many locations all over the US, and abroad, a Ministry of Silly Walks. Upon seeing the originator do this, there was no doubt our home had to help spread the calling of this ministry. We made signs, created an Instagram and Facebook, and even shared video of folks who dropped by to represent and add their silly walk to the list of others. After the holidays, I am remaking the signs and getting the word about this important ministry once again.

Election 2020
The Millers did all we could to help out this election season.

It was election year, and our family did all we could to be active roles in our community. Byron and I did our VDR training at the beginning of the year. Not only did Byron and I vote every opportunity we got, Ollie and I worked a poll in Andice, Tx on November 4th. Our family wrote postcards for the Sunrise Project. Ollie created flyers to help those not registered. I was proud to see our family be a part of the process to help everyone have access to rightfully vote.

Halloween 2020
Everyday is Halloween for this Miller Haus.

I would say one of our favorite holidays this year was Halloween. Starting September 1st, I began to decorate and create more to bring some fun into our house. We did participate in Trick-or-Treat night. It was wonderful to start a new tradition of a candy ghoul delivery system for the kids that came out. It was not only a safe feature of Trick-or-Treat night, but it was very fun to make. The whole family did it up with their costume. Amelia was Monokuma, and Ollie was Draculara. They went together to Trick-or-Treat. Byron was Sriracha to my Ramen Noodles and stayed at the house to pass out candy.It was a very fun night and can’t wait to do it again in 2021.

All in all…

2020 Tree Decorating

The Miller family feels fortunate for all we have.. Our family didn’t see much from COVID other than minor inconveniences every other person in the country experienced. I consider this year a success! We all are doing things we never would have if it weren’t for the pandemic. Our family was exposed to the virus several times. Ollie and I had the pleasure of getting tested for COVID. We all have not gotten the virus and feel fortunate for this. It is our hope that everyone reading this has a wonderful 2021, we miss you, and we’ll see you soon.

Happy Holidays, and a healthy 2021.