Beautiful Chaos

Finding adventure in the everyday

the fight


I was re-reading some things in my journal and found this I needed to share. I know it’s been eons since I’ve written in here, but the words never stop flowing in one way or another.

A verse I’ve been leaning on a lot this season is Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.” And I need to remember that truth because I’m a fighter. And I think that can be a wonderful quality he put in me. But, it can also mean me fighting at times when I’m not meant to.

So I reflected on this stillness that invites us to let God fight.

Because it’s in the stillness we seek his face, not a solution. Its in the stillness we hear his voice whispering to us above the noise of all the other voices. In the stillness our wounded, bleeding hearts see the impossible hope he offers. Wholeness. Healing. Rest. Peace. Comfort. Protection. Love. Purpose.

Only when we unclench our bleeding, battered, bruised fists and sit down amidst the chaos and mess we’ve created by our adamant fighting; our willful defiance that we can do this life on our own. Only then, in the deafening stillness, the awkward un-striving, un-productive moments, God battles for us in a way we never expect. A way that seems at worst completely impossible and at best ridiculously foolish.

He meets us.
He fights.
He wins.

He always wins.

Birthday prep


All of my free time this week has gone towards party planning. Making puffs. Making giant flowers. Making little flowers. Making headbands. Planning games and music and treats.

And I am loving (almost) every second of it. The only hard part is that I don’t get much time to consistently work. It goes like this: I’m just starting to get into a project and someone needs me. So I go help them, then have to get my head back in the crafting zone only to get torn away again. That never feeling settled into something is really hard.

But I’m really excited about all the beauty! I can’t wait to show you all in a few days.

This is Layla’s 3rd friend party and by far the one I’ve planned the most. In the past 2 years I’ve been a part of some really thought out meals and retreats and I’ve seen how important beauty is. I’ve seen how special a table can be. How meaningful all the details are.

So, I’m paying attention to detail. I’m going all out. I’m making this party special. And I’m hoping that all my focus on the beauty doesn’t mean it will be boring! Ha!

I know we’ll all have a blast!

Here’s a sneak peak




Sawyer James11 new things at 11 months!


1 more month before my baby is a year old! How did that happen?? In an attempt to make this post as interesting to you all as it is to me and my dad, I’m trying a list format. But let’s be honest, you’ll never think my baby is as amazing as I do.

So, here is my list of 11 new things Sawyer is doing at 11 months old!


1. He is crawling! Yay! Annnnd frogging. This is what I call it when he moves both hands at the same time and then drags his sprawled legs behind him. He’s pretty affective at it! It’s like it takes too much brain power to crawl so he aborts that plan and just frogs it. He’s also taking a few more steps. Nothing much, but I’m seeing the confidence start to come out.


2. SIGNING! I’ve been signing to him for a few months now while he watched very intrigued. I kept waiting for him to bust out his moves. Nothing. Just this past week he signed more and all done! Yay Baby!

3. He started growling like a lion, trumpeting like an elephant. Must see. Totes adorbs (that’s for Amy).

4. He is into pinching me while he nurses. This is my least favorite of all the new things, BY FAR! He likes to roll my skin between his finger and thumb while he nurses. Usually he prefers my tummy and he’s pretty gentle. But occasionally he pinches really hard or pinches the back of my arm. I mean seriously, I have scratches all over my tummy. I like that he has a funny quirk, but not when it hurts!


5. He hates showers. Like, cries when the water hits him. Seeley would snuggle and zone out in the shower. This baby gets stressed and anxious. He is solely a bath man.

6. LOVES meat (I’d guess sausage to be his favorite) and blueberries. And kefir. And smoothies. Let’s face it, this boy really just loves to eat. Seeley was a breast milk man. Eating was overrated in his book, so it’s really strange to have such a big eater. Sawyer really only nurses at bedtime, which is kinda nice and also sad. I’m not even close to ready for him to be done with it yet.


7. He loves to swim. The big kids started swim lessons this month and he gets to be in the pool at the same time. He reminds me of a wind up toy. I hold him on his tummy in the water and his arms and legs scoop and kick non stop. I’m so tempted to let him go because I think he’d make it to the other side of the pool at the rate his body is moving! Of course, I haven’t actually done it because I’m sure he’d sink straight to the bottom. And panic. Not good options.

8. Willingly gives me whatever is in his mouth that he shouldn’t have. “Sawyer can I have it?” And he pushes “it” to the front of his tongue and opens wide. His favorite thing to put in his mouth is toilet paper scraps that’s he’s thrown all over the floor. Yummy!


9. Opens really really wide for food. Like jaw extended fully open, saying “AHHHH!” Hilarious.

10. Naps on a cushion on the floor. Yes, like a dog. My only solace is that his bed is made out of blankets, not an actual dog cushion. Of course I’m sure people make dog beds out of blankets too. Oh well. It just makes the most sense for our current needs. He’s comfy and safe and sleeps well.


11. Has a pretty excellent little mullet working. His hair on top is really short, but in the back it’s thick and long. It’s not obviously a mullet all the time. I can usually hide the long parts by just plastering it to the back of his head (sounds cute, right?) I want to cut it and even him out, but I’m not sure how’d he’d handle the clippers. So, for now, he’s mini-mullet man.


So there you have it! 11 things you didn’t know about my baby as he enters his 12th month of life.

posted under Kid's antics | 1 Comment »



A few nights ago, in an attempt to keep the right side of my brain engaged in life, I belted the songs on the radio on the way to my group. As loud as I wanted.

I was fun for about 3 minutes until the song ended, and I realized it was one of the 5 popular songs I actually know. Then I kept waiting to hear another song I could jam to that wasn’t from one of my kid’s favorite movies. I never heard one.

But I think it still counts.


Getting back at it


I have been away from my blog for too long. I miss it. I miss the creative outlet I have. My right brain starts to shut down when I don’t use it. Come on Right Brain! I need YOU too! When I’m writing regularly I see topics for blogs everywhere. I see opportunities for pictures that would then make great blogs. Or just pictures that would make great pictures (not that I am awesome at capturing anything super artistic-but is definitely fills me up). Now, I only see lists and tasks and how to squeeze every last ounce of time out of my day to get those tasks done.


I’m so over tasks.

However, my life right now is kind of ruled by tasks, and so my goal is to figure out a balance. It seems impossible.

Even the things that could be fun, or should be fun, become tasks because I have a time limit to get them done. Or i have to squeeze them in: hurry and write that fun blog, hurry and make that beautiful flower for Layla’s birthday, hurry and finish that art project before….

baby wakes up

it’s time to cook lunch/dinner

it’s time to eat lunch/dinner

it’s time to clean up after lunch/dinner

it’s time to take boys to nap

it’s time to clean up the house for the evening

it’s time to plan meals/grocery shop

it’s time to do laundry

it’s time to leave for various fun activities

it’s time to be a mediator between children


You get the idea. So, I’m not sure how to get back at it and let it be a FUN thing. I have enough tasks in my life, I don’t want to add be creative to my list.

But maybe I’m looking at it wrong. Maybe it’s okay for this season of my life to schedule in creative time. Maybe it’s not only okay, it’s important. Because if I don’t plan for it, the tasks will overwhelm me and drive me crazy.  Even as I’m writing this I’m sighing big sighs of release. The words in me are dying to get out, but I shove them down because they get in my way. The creative in me needs to see the world with beauty in it, not just jobs to get done. And I find beauty when I let my right brain go. When I stop to take a picture of a flower or my food or me and my babies. I don’t necessarily have time to do elaborate pictures or think real hard about what I’m capturing, but even capturing anything helps fill that longing in me.


May we, as Moms, as women, as people, find ways to add creativity to our lives. Our brains may need it more than we know.

posted under Motherhood | No Comments »

Tribute to my favorite show of all time


Last night I watched the last episode of my all time favorite show, Psych. It was a great final episode, but I made 2 major mistakes that made the show harder for me than it needed to be.

1. I didn’t know it was the final show until about 15 minutes until the end. So, instead of savoring the final episode, preparing myself for this being the last time I get to watch anticipating the new antics the guys get in, I was caught off guard. I wasn’t prepared for losing these friends forever.

2. My hormones are crazy out of whack. My body is struggling a lot since having Sawyer, and my hormones seem extreme, sometimes up, sometimes down. I am in one of those places down places right now. The show ended and I started crying. Kinda hard. Perhaps a little out of proportion, but it was an amazing show, so maybe not.

It really was a brilliant show that had all of the elements I like best. It was silly and sweet and over the top and hilarious and had a character with a superpower (kinda) and a team working together and mystery that wasn’t too scary or gory so I didn’t have nightmares. They changed the theme song to fit the silliness of multiple episodes. They did a whole tribute episode to one of their favorite 80’s shows: Twin Peaks. Now I didn’t get hardly ANY of that episode, being born in the 80’s when people were into it, but I just loved that they would even do that…oh Psych. You had it all.

I had dreams, multiple times, of me being friends with Shawn and Gus. Solving crimes with them or being friends with the actors themselves (who were, of course, just like the characters they played). I really loved Shawn and Gus. They cheered me up once a week or just gave me a break from The Serious to enjoy something light-hearted. Oh guys.

And if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I fall pretty hard for my favorite characters. I read a book series with characters I love and when it ends I need a break from books for awhile while I mourn the loss of some new friends.

And Shawn and Gus? I’ve been friends with them for 8 years. When Trav and I first got married Psych started and Trav’s brother liked the show. I started watching with him, back when it was Monk and Psych Fridays, and eventually turned Travis into a follower as well. We watched at his parent’s house for awhile, watched DVDs of the seasons we missed (no cable or internet), then had cable for a bit and hosted a Psych show party once a week. And now we watch via Hulu on our laptop connected to the tv.



How do people have time for the things? I have NO TIME for any of the things!!

Apparently 3 babies is kicking my butt so much harder than 2 babies. And apparently I wasn’t expecting it.

Because I sure am fighting. I’m fighting to get laundry and dishes and general tidiness done. I’m fighting to stay in a place of peace and love instead of falling head first into panic and an out-of-control frenzy. I fighting to embrace my kids in all of their stages instead of be frustrated at their interruption of my attempt at order.

I’m fighting to let go.

And yet letting go can’t look like letting go. This kind of letting go doesn’t mean I let the dishes pile up or the dirty laundry flow out of the hamper onto the floor. It doesn’t mean not cooking for my family or not having park days and friend visits.

It’s this whole other letting go that I am down right terrible at. It’s living in the tension of chaos and order. Embracing them both and then embracing wherever my kids are even more.

I have no idea what I’m doing. But I’m just gonna keep going until I figure it out.


Doing dishes



The other night we had over some family for dinner and after everyone left I wanted to quick fill the dishwasher and get it running before bedtime, even though it was already late. I asked Layla to help me (Trav had the very cranky teething baby).

She jumped on board enthusiastically and we set to work. While we were working we chatted. She talked about what she played with her cousin. I asked her to estimate if we could fit all the glasses on our top shelf (unschooling). I taught her my dishwasher organization techniques to maximize productivity (important life lessons!).

And towards the end, she asked if I would help her do dishes when she got older. I told her I’d love to. She told me her plan to live next door to where I live so we can visit anytime we want. That way, she said, I’ll be close by when she’s going to have her babies and I can be there with her. That way I can come over and help with her kids.

It was a beautiful, sweet moment.

There are times as a mom when I think I’m doing pretty well at loving them the way God loves us. And times when I know I’m failing miserably. She even spoke about that in our conversation. About how it feels sad when I get frustrated. But even in the good times, it’s hard to see past the “right now”. It’s hard to see Layla as an adult when I’m asking her why she just made her brother cry. But it’s in those special moments of focused chatting where I get to see that God is leading me into this amazing relationship with my kids.

In 5-10 years I won’t be following them around breaking up fights, getting them food and cleaning up 95% of their messes. They will become self-sufficient little people (eventually), and then…then our roles will change a little. I’ll always get to be their moms, but I’ll also get to be more of a friend.

I can’t wait.

And yet, I’m not ready for them to grow up either.

Arizona vacation


We were only in AZ for 8 days, but it sure felt a lot longer. We really packed those 8 days full of adventure and wedding prep/celebrations. There were very few still moments.

I’m not gonna lie, traveling with 3 little ones had me really stressed out. For months before the trip. And how’d it go? Totally fine. They all did amazing. No crying, no whining “are we there yet?” And even though both the trip there and back started around bedtime, no one fell apart 3 hrs later as we got off the plane, grabbed bags and found cars.

Our adventures included: picnic and playing at Prospector Park, climbing Silly Mountain (twice), going to this Wildlife Zoo thing (I apparently never caught the name) and horseback riding. It was all so fun to watch the kids discover and play and explore. There is a great fenced in back yard at Trav’s parent’s house out there so the kids spent every other moment running and playing in the dirt.

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It was 80 every day. Blue skies. Perfect. It was so nice to wear short sleeves and run around barefoot.

My 5 slept in the same room all together. We were in bed by 9 and up at 6. We were a tired bunch but we filled our days full of sunshine and movement.

Then we got into wedding mode. Painting signs, getting wedding favor jars ready, clothes shopping, putting up lights…And then the wedding. I unfortunately didn’t get many pictures of that. My bad. I’m sure I’ll get some and then I’ll post them and show them off. Highlights: The wedding was beautiful. Layla was a flower girl. We danced and danced at the reception. I got to wear a pretty new dress. It was a great day.

And now it’s great to be home.

Sawyer 10 months


This has been a big month for my little guy. He went on 2 plane rides, climbed mountains in Arizona and got 4 new teeth. He is also finally on the move! Ok, one thing at a time.

We went on a 3.5 hour flight to and from Arizona for Trav’s brother’s wedding. Sawyer was the wildcard. I knew the big kids would do fine but I wasn’t sure about the baby having to be in one spot for that long. He got restless on the way there but overall did great. On the way home he was on day 2 of his 3 day fever so he slept the whole way home. I was sad for his sick little self but it made for a very smooth flight.

He got his fever on the day of Jared and Joey’s wedding and after the third day of fever it broke and his whole body broke out in a rash. I had a moment of panic. Rashes are not my forte, but after some googling I was confident it was a common childhood virus-Roseola. After a few days the rash disappeared and he started feeling like his usual, busy self.


During this month he had 4 new teeth break through! There’s not been much in the way of a full nights sleep around here. All 4 are on the top of his mouth. I’m excited for when they’re in all the way. He’s going to look SO big with 4 top teeth!


Something I’ve been meaning to write about so I don’t forget is this baby’s love for the Frozen soundtrack. After we saw the movie in December, I got 6 of the songs on our iDevices and the kids listened over and over and over. Then one night we were driving home from Indy and Sawyer was a wreck. Unhappy about the state of his existence so after exhausting every other idea I had I turned on Frozen music on a whim. And he stopped crying. Specifically he liked Let it Go. He didn’t sleep any more on the ride but he listened contently to Elsa sing her heart out about setting herself free from hiding who she was made to be (I totally get that girl).

Since then, if nursing him isn’t calming him down enough to sleep, I turn on the frozen songs and he stops his fidgeting and fussing and chills right out. I’m pretty pleased to have that tool at my disposal.

AND HE’S FINALLY ON THE MOVE! Still no crawling but he can scoot with the best of ‘em and cruise around the furniture like nobody’s business. He could walk no problem but he has no confidence in his abilities. I can stand him up 2 feet in front of me and he’ll let go and balance and flail his arms but if I ask him to take a step-he just reaches out his arms and falls into my hands. I’m curious if he’s going to get the crawling thing or go straight to walking. I think I’ll be able to let you know in a month the answer to that question.

Happy Good Friday to you all!

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