Beautiful Chaos

Finding adventure in the everyday
Browsing Family

Why we do what we do: series intro


In my little family, we do most things different. What we eat, how we parent, how we school, how we treat sickness, how we birth. It’s all outside of mainstream culture.



            I never set out to be different. In fact, I used to have a lot of unfair judgement on all the people who did what I now do. I thought about how absurd they were and how unnecessary the harder choice was.  A few of the topics I just didn’t know the other option existed. At any rate, I was ignorant and responded as such.
            Until, I had a health crisis when I was 22 or 23 that sent me from doctor to doctor, from test to test trying to figure out why I felt so crappy all the time. For 2 years I did this and discovered nothing.
            Well, that’s not true. We discovered that my gallbladder was fine, my bloodwork was fine, I didn’t have an ulcer and after drinking really thick nasty stuff, the X-rays of my abdomen were normal. Oh and one doctor wanted to prescribe antidepressants over the phone after I told them my symptoms and that I wanted to come in. Ah!
             It wasn’t until after my daughter was born  and I started pursuing health again when I was 26 that I found a doctor who diagnosed me. I was nervous to see him. I thought he might be crazy. He was much more holistic and natural. He looked at my test results from 3 or 4 years prior and said, “you have celiac disease.” He changed my life forever.
              I went from totally checked out of life, tired and freezing all the time, stomach bloated and uncomfortable every day, no/random periods that were extremely painful when they came (gradually as I healed) to normal. It took time to heal and to learn some of my other intestinal triggers, but cutting out gluten from my diet gave me my life back.
              From then on, I started questioning everything. If mainstream couldn’t diagnose me with the results in front of them, maybe mainstream had some other things that could be improved on.
               It was a slow ripple effect from there that has made me become a researcher. Who says? Why? and What’s the alternative? have become my go to questions at every new decision. I’ve also learned to listen to what my heart says and start from that point. I felt so sad at the thought of sending Layla to school. But instead of plowing through because mainstream says that’s what you do, I looked into options as I asked God to lead.
               So, I want to share with you in this little series why we do what we do. Information, circumstances and research that led me to each point of decision and then what it looks like once we’re here.
               Maybe you are like I was, partially oblivious and partially judgmental and this will serve as new ideas into a world you didn’t know existed. Or maybe you’re where I am and this will encourage you in your weird-living. Or maybe this will simply give you insight into who I am and how I got here. Whatever this series speaks to you, I’m excited about sharing the journey of such a significant part of our story.
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6 months old!


My Big Baby is officially 6 months old. Since this is where I’ll most likely be keeping track of most of his milestones, I’d like to write a little update about where he is these days.

Side note: I never wanted to be one of those moms who says they did more for their first born than they did for the rest of their kids. I am. It is unavoidable. I had hours and hours to spend with that Spunky girl and the house stayed clean when she was 6 months old so I didn’t have to clean it. There were only my dishes to take care of and I don’t mind eating of the same plate 3 times a day. I could literally devote 90% of my waking hours to her and things relating to her. That just isn’t the case now. So, while things will look different for Big Baby, I want to do my best to still record his life. To still mark moments and milestones and celebrate  him. He is well worth celebrating.

So, currently he weighs 19lbs and is 9-month-old-clothing long. He is just starting to sit up but definitely not alone. There are times he is steady and times he topples immediately and repeatedly. He LOVES to be in his jumper. He jumps like crazy in there. But only if there are things going on around him. I think he feels like he is a part of the chaos, and because there is so much chaos, he prefers it. If it’s quiet, he doesn’t like to be in there.

He is a great sleeper. Although at the moment I’m writing this, we are awake after him being down for the night (3 hours into bedtime), but our day was pretty crazy with naps, so it’s not totally unwarranted. He is shockingly good at eating and drinking. We’ve only ever played with food (meaning, it’s not a regular thing we do for sustenance) but he rarely spits food out. It’s kind of strange.

He loves lights. Our tree, toys that light up, the tv…not all things I prefer/allow him to do, but he is definitely drawn to them. He is still toothless although I can feel his gums all swollen and ready to pop with teeth at any minute. He’s starting to scoot around on his tummy. Not far at all, but he has The Circle, Scoot Backwards and Inches Forward under his belt. He whispers. It’s hilarious. He also growl talks. Also really silly. He is so easy going and chill. If he has something that he pretty regularly dislikes it’s being in the van. Especially when he’s tired, although recently, he’s started falling asleep in there which is brilliant.

He used to not nurse to sleep very much, now he does. It’s his preferred method of going to sleep, which is nice because it’s also mine. That bouncing thing is seriously overrated.

This baby still LOVES the bath. At least I’m assuming that’s what the non-stop kicking feet and splashing arms are all about. His feet and arms really get going, but his face is pretty dead pan (what the heck is up with THAT saying?). It used to be Monkey’s favorite thing to nurse in the bath so I offered it to Big Baby…not even a bit of interest. Too much fun to stop and nurse!
He is wearing, and filling out 9 month clothes. He is by far my tallest baby. The other 2 were always behind (clothing wise, but without any concern) and here he is growing like crazy. I sometimes forget that he is only 6 months old because he looks so much bigger.
He still touches faces gently but also has moments of ripping my skin off. I have multiple scratches on my neck, chest and face from him trying to grab bits of me. He also gives these loooong kisses. He just puts his mouth on yours and sits there. It’s really sweet. And I usually don’t get them. They are mostly reserved for my mom. And then sometimes Travis. It’s usually when he’s really tired.

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Family pictures!!!!


I am a blessed blessed lady. An uber talented friend took pictures of me and my babies last month and OH. MY. GOSH. They are amazing! I feel so grateful to have some fabulous pictures, that feel like us, that fit our budget for that sort of extra expense, and are BEAUTIFUL. Sorry about all of the exclamation points and all-caps words. I’m preeetty excited. I’ll show you just a few, because I don’t want to make you too jealous of our good looks.

Seriously!! SOOOOOOOOO excited. I have looked at these (no exaggeration) at least 3 times a day since I’ve gotten them. *sigh*

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My protector


My Monkey has this built in desire to take care of and protect the women in his life. Well, maybe not Layla as much, but that’s a whole other story. I love this in him. I love to see his heart and belief in his position in life come out. I love that no one taught him these things but that he thought them up all on his own. I’m sure he’s gotten some of it from his Papa, but I’d also guess it is how he is wired. How the Creator planned it to be.

Recently, he and I went on a “date” running a few errands just the two of us. With Big Baby being so little, this is a first time occurrence in 5 months at least. Needless to say, he was SO pleased to be doing something with just me, even if it was errands. He told me so. Repeatedly. 

After one of our errands, he said, “Mama, I want to open your door for you!” Back in the day, Travis used to open my door for me. Back when he had free hands and wasn’t chasing one kid down the sidewalk while trying to buckle in another. These days, I only get that special treatment on dates, which the kids aren’t on, so Monkey has probably never seen it. And yet, he still wants to take care of me in that way. Made my heart smile.
I’ve also noticed at times when Travis is “getting me” (aka: tickling, chasing, playing), Monkey will jump in front of me, in between me and my “attacker”, and fight Trav in my place. With his legs spread wide, fists clenched and voice as deep and menacing as he can muster, he stands in my place for the battle. He is wired to protect and fight for. Not because he thinks I can’t handle it, but because he doesn’t want me to have to.
And then the funniest incident happened just the other day. His best friend in the whole world, a girl, was over playing during a school group we were hosting. She was trying to jump on this little trampoline we have and another boy was trying to climb on with her. She was yelling “No! No! It’s my turn!” Monkey went up behind this punk dude 3 year old little boy, yanked him by the shirt collar and told him to get off! HA! It reminds me of the movies where a guy is getting a little too friendly with an uninterested girl and the hero comes and saves the day. Monkey wants to be that hero.
It was hard to talk him down from that one. One part of me was like, “High five Buddy! Way to take care of your girlfriend friend!” And then the other part of me, the smaller, less enthusiastic part was like, “use your words. Let the mamas handle it.” Just writing that makes me think: “Boo! Protect your lady! Fight for her!” So, what did I really say? Not much. I basically just pulled him back and helped restore peace on the trampoline. 
Because in all honesty, I want him to stand up for those he loves, and even those he doesn’t. I want him to protect and care for and stand in the gap for. I don’t want him picking fights or causing problems, but I don’t want him cowering either. I don’t want to civilize this caveman of a boy. I want him free to love, protect and care for those in his life.

Christmas season reminders


When I was growing up, the countdown to Christmas was one of my favorite times of year. I LOVED the anticipation of gifts, tradition, family and parties. I loved driving around looking at the lights. It was ALL so fun.

Now that I’m a mama, my role has shifted. Now I get to facilitate all of the fun, help create traditions and watch my kids delight in this season. But, I am paving the way a bit and am not quite sure what I’m doing. When we were growing up, none of us knew God yet so Christmas wasn’t about Him or His son. I’m trying to figure out what it looks like, what I want it to shift our focus to Him. 
This is what we’re trying this year to remind us the reason for the season. 
25 Christmas books from the library wrapped under the tree. Some will be light and silly fiction, some will be more meaningful fiction and some will be the story of Jesus’ birth. The kids will get to open one every day for us to read together. It will point us back to Jesus (most days) and serve as a fun count down complete with “present” opening. 

Advent wreath/calendar. This is intimidating to me, but I figure I’ll never know what I’m doing if I don’t just jump in. So, I’m jumping. I ordered an advent plan thing and we went out a bought a wreath to make. I didn’t know what I was looking for, super involved, more laid back and open, so I just got one and I’ll see what I think as we get going. 

There are daily readings for us to do together to keep pointing us back to the Reason. And lighting candles is always fun so our wreath has those as well. I’ll have to let you know what we think after we get going. 
Countdown calendar. We did this when I was little and it was my favorite thing. I looked forward to moving the mouse every time it was my turn. I figure it also teaches numbers, counting backwards and animosity between siblings when everyone wants it to be their turn :)
Christmas Jar. All year long we’ve been saving our coins and putting them in a jar. The plan is to use that money to help/bless someone this Christmas season. I’m just hoping we have have enough to do something with since we hardly ever use cash so we hardly ever get coins. I’m excited about this new tradition that will help them get in the mindset of giving and blessing, not only getting. 
That’s all we have this year. What things does your family do this time of year?

Dry Skin: need to know


I have a series I’m working on (pretty excited) that includes a lot of our health practices over here at the Hemsoth house, but I couldn’t wait on this bit of information.

A few weeks ago, Monkey started getting dry skin. He usually does in the winter and a little coconut oil helps him get through this dry season. This time, however, the coconut oil wasn’t doing the trick and he was itching to the point of scabs on his shins and sides. Being that it was only the end of November, I knew we needed to look into something to ease his suffering. The itching was keeping him up at night and taking him close to tears at his frustration of it.

I’ve learned over the years (more details to come in my series), that a lot of health issues begin on the inside of us. So, I asked my most knowledgeable friend what nutrient my Monkey could be lacking. She first asked about possible food allergy, if it was a rash or hives, but we came to it probably just being a dry skin issue. She told me Vitamin C and E are good for that. I figured out what I needed to order from Shaklee (more info on this, my most favorite company, in my series as well), and planned to order it but I needed something right away since I knew it would take some time to make a difference in his body (so I thought). I remembered a soft gel I’m taking from Shaklee called GLA, amazing for balancing a woman out hormonally, but also contains vitamin E. And there are no hormones in it, the nutrients are just some that women can lack and when we fill in the gaps it stabilizes us. ANYhow, I gave one to Monkey, he popped it open with his teeth (his favorite) and that night, the itching was SIGNIFICANTLY better. And now, 5 days later, he isn’t itching AT ALL! WHAT!?!? His skin is no longer dry. It feels totally normal!

I have seen filling in missing nutrients make substantial differences in me and my kids in the past, but I’m still always so excited when I see it in a new way. 5 years ago, I NEVER would have thought about giving Monkey a vitamin to help him with a skin issue. It seems illogical, at first, that some cream wouldn’t be the only answer. But when I stop and think about it, of course our skin is a reflection of our body on the inside. The inside is what makes the outside! And if you’ve ever looked at those creepy before and after pictures of heroin addicts, you know that what we put in reflects what we see out.

So, before you run to the dermatologist to get expensive creams that may only cover up a lacking nutrient in you or your child, think about, talk to me about, what options you have to try and do it on your own. I’d love to give you any info I have or point you to someone smarter than me.

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This season brings out the wonder in us all. Whether or not we do the Santa thing, there is a magical feeling around Christmas time. I see it in my kids already this year.

Counting down to the Christmas lights is a tradition we’ve done for as long as I can remember. When people ask me if I’m going downtown to watch them light the Santa Claus, I feel like saying, “Of course I’m going. I invented this thing. I’m practically hosting it!” I know, I know. It began long before I came around. My Mom says she’s been going to it for as long as she can remember too. (So maybe SHE is hosting it!)

But each time we gather around a giant tree or wall full of lights, something happens. This wonder at all that is and all that could be. This childlike whimsy is unleashed on us all and we all participate. We slow down from the rush of to do lists and work and errands and we delight in the fanciful. We count down the seconds until someone lights up the sky.

And then…


we bring it in our homes and the excitement spills over into our everyday lives. But it’s not just our everyday lives anymore, this season transforms our whole lives into a world of wonder. From driving around marveling at lights on houses to sleeping under the lights of the Christmas tree, there is no ordinary about this season.
Let us be swept away by the magic of it all.



Sometimes when I’m awake with a baby in the wee hours of the morning, or you know…10:45, I imagine I’m earning some sort of award for staying up late.

Maybe it’s the adventure seeker in me using whatever it can to construct an exciting incident to report about. Maybe it’s the optimist in me who refuses to see something as a negative. Or maybe it’s just the mama in me never wanting to think badly of my baby. Whatever it is, I think it keeps me sane on nights like this night.


I’m currently sitting in my nursing chair (aka Laz E Boy), nursing a teething babe who I’ve already gotten to sleep 4 times. In the past hour. This is the 3rd or 4th night in a row of this and my body is growing weary. If you asked me what time it is (and I wasn’t staring at my phone) I’d say 1, maybe 1:30. Reality? It’s 10:29. Yeah, I’m that kinda tired.
My family is all tucked in bed, under warm blankets and on squishy pillows. They are blissfully sleeping away, re-energizing their bodies for another day. And me? I’m earning a badge of honor. I’m fighting for first teeth.
We are warriors, us moms. We fight with our babies for teeth and sweet dreams. We fight against colds and ear infections. We fight for peace in our house and patience to achieve it. We fight for clean laundry and healthy meals. We fight for our kid’s hearts. Everyday.
And if we are fighting that hard and that often, we can ONLY be classified as warriors. So, as I sit here tonight, instead of being sad about the glorious sleep I’m missing, I will choose to fight with this little man and earn another badge of honor.

A letter to Spunky’s husband


Dear future husband of my daughter,

I have been praying for you since Spunky was born. Not the actual day she was born, I had other things on my mind that day like eating, sleeping and figuring out what to do with this tiny new being I was suddenly responsible for. But, nevertheless, I have been and will be praying for you your whole life. 
Sure I don’t know who you are yet, although I’ve got my eyes on a few prospects. Nothing serious, although I have mentioned to their parents that their son has my approval, but whatever. I’m not really into arranged marriages, however it is fun to play matchmaker even if only in my head. 

So, while I don’t actually have any clue who you’ll be, I know that when I say, “God, bless the boy who will be my son in law, make sure he knows how loved he is. Give him a passion for You and a heart to love and serve others. Teach him how to be a man who loves passionately, gives generously and has abundant compassion. Get him ready to be the teammate and leader my Spunky needs. Grow him into a man that exudes life in everything he does.” God knows I’m talking about you. 


Spunky was sick this past week. She had “wobbly legs” and an upset stomach. She spent the day resting on the couch, watching her new Monsters University movie and excitedly awaiting flowers from the current man in her life. And that got me thinking about you, the future man in her life.
You see, you have some pretty big shoes to fill. Whenever Spunky gets sick, she gets flowers. It started a year or two ago (time is a very fluid thing around here these days) when she was very sick and sad and her Papa wanted to find something to cheer her up. It worked. She has expected those flowers every time since. And he has delivered, with special help from me on the times we both forget and she reminds me with her excitedness.
This is just one of the many examples of things her current man does, that will lead her to you, her future man. Because that means when you come along, she won’t have settled for less than what she knows she is worth. She will pick you because you love her well, like she is accustomed to being loved. She will pick you because you delight in her and cherish her for who she is, not who you hope for her to be. She will pick you because you are intentional in your love and sacrifice. She will pick you because you give her a voice as you gently lead her. And she will pick you because you challenge her as you live life alongside her.

I’m so thankful for her current man, and I’m sure you are too. Because without him and how he loves her, she wouldn’t be looking for the kind of love that you have to offer. A love that flows straight from the Father himself.

Until We Meet In Person,

is it worth it?


Spunky and I were talking one night and I told her we would be friends forever, even when she grows up and moves out.

She started crying.
Apparently she doesn’t ever want to leave me. My heart started melting. I reassured her that she will never be forced to leave our house. She will always get to choose. I explained that when I grew up I wanted my own house, my own family, my own kids.
She said, “it’s gonna be hard work to be a mom. You have to do all the dishes and clean all the time.” That is true, I told her, but it’s the greatest job in the whole world. She said, “even though it’s so hard?”
And my heart completed it’s melting into a soupy puddle.
Yes. This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. There are days I cry in frustration and exhaustion. Days my anger boils over and my heart breaks at words their tiny lips scream at me. Days I feel like I’m drowning in dishes and laundry and debris around the house on every surface. And days when I wish I could lay it all down and walk away, just for a few hours.
But then I get to watch them all explore their world and learn new things. The whole world opens up to them as they discover all of the how to’s. And it’s amazing to witness that alongside them.
And I get to cuddle with a nursing babe for hours every day. I get to make him laugh and smile. I get to watch him stumble through crawling and walking and potty training, celebrating each victory along the way.
I get to be the one to witness every first. From crawling to reading to tooth losing, I get to be there. I get to celebrate with and encourage every step of the journey.
I get to be the one they come to when days are hard and tears are flowing. When hearts are hurting and frustration is debilitating. I get to hold them in my safe mom arms with my gentle mom sway and comfort them. And in that embrace alone remind them that they are never on their own in this world. I get to help them carry pieces of the weight they are burdened by.
And I even get to be the one to discipline. Because in all honesty, no one (except their dad) will do it like me. No one else has accepted the responsibility of raising them like we have. No one else has a vision for their lives like we do. And no one else can help steer them towards that vision as well as we’ve been equipped to do. God chose us for these 3, so I WANT to be the one leading the charge.
So, is it worth it? My answer is: Yes. Absolutely. Every day. Even the hard ones that make we want to throw in the towel. My 3, they are worth it.
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