Beautiful Chaos

Finding adventure in the everyday
Browsing Kid’s antics

What I want to be when I grow up


I was talking to a friend who said she asks her kids what they want to be when they grow up every once and awhile and then writes down their ages and their answers. I LOVED that idea. I remember the first time I asked Monkey this question, he told me he wanted to be a fire truck. Then it changed a few months later to a shark. The one I remember for Spunky was just last spring when I was pregnant with Big Baby and we were seeing my midwife often. She wanted to be a midwife and a pilot. I wish I had the dates or at least the ages for Monkey’s ideas but I’m starting now.

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I asked the kids a week ago and Monkey told me he wants to be a army guy when he grows up. I asked him if he knew any army guys and he said “yeah, remember the guys I have in the playroom?” He has the little army men like in the Toy Story movies, and he wants to be one of those when he grows up.


Spunky had a harder time answering the question this time around. She said she has so many things that she wants to do and is good at, it’s hard to pick one. She has been taking piano off and on for a few years with the goal of playing at church, and right now she’s super into crafting. She was thinking she had to pick only one thing as her job. We talked about how we could have hobbies along with our jobs and that helped her out. She said she will be a crafter for her job and play piano on Sundays.


When I think about it, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I think my ideas change just like the kid’s do. A blogger, a book writer, Spoken Word…person. For awhile I wanted to be a midwife, but it’s usually when I’m pregnant or privileged enough to be at a friend’s birth. The one constant job I’m interested in doing is being a mom. I suppose that’s good, since that is the one job I can’t really quit.

What do you and your kids want to be when you grow up? Let me know in the comments!

Big snow Adventure of 2014


We just had a giant snow. The last big snow we had (one that kept the grown ups home) was before I had any kids. We started getting so much snow that I had to go home from work early in the day and then it was cancelled for both Travis and me the next day. I don’t know that I remember correctly, but I keep thinking 8 inches. Either way, I remember being bored by the second day when we couldn’t go anywhere (remember when you had time to be bored?), so we got on all of our snow gear and walked to Travis’ parents house. It was quite the adventure and a tad longer than we thought at first (3.37 miles, I just looked it up), but I love that we are adventurous enough to set off into the somewhat-wild unknown.


And I love that we still do.

There were already at least 8 inches of snow and it was still coming down when we left our house to head over to a friend’s house Sunday evening. Our trip was a significantly shorter distance, only a half mile, but this time we were making the trek with 3 kids, one of them 6 months old. This took much more debate than the last majorly snowy walk we took, mostly unsure how the baby would do and if it would be super windy and icy cold when it was time to walk home from our friend’s house. But after looking at the hourly predictions on we decided we wanted the adventure and we’d be just fine.


It was the most beautiful walk. There was very little wind yet and so the trees were covered in snow. It was so quiet and peaceful out there. The big kids loved the sled ride, eating snow along the way, and the temperatures were great, about 30 degrees. The Baby, who had on Spunky’s old pink and fluffy full body snowsuit, panicked for a minute at the cold and snow on his face but finally let me get his face in a position where he was blocked from all wind and snow. He was in the wrap on my chest and Travis pulled the big kids behind him. The ride home was a bit of a debacle for the big kids, their feet must have gotten wet, so they were cold, but it was only a 20 minute walk and everyone survived and we all had fun.

Here are some other pictures from our Sunday snow adventure.


This was the first time this year the four of us got to go play outside in the snow. We had the monitor outside so we could hear if Baby woke up, but he slept and let us play.


This handsome fella had no face by the end of the day. We made him during Big Baby’s morning nap, early in the snow day and snow piled so high on his carrot nose that we couldn’t see him anymore.


Knocking snow out of the tree in the back.


We made snow ice cream (all the cool parents were doing it), and Big Baby had some plain snow. He thought it was pretty good. I had some snow for the first time since I don’t even know when and I was kind of grossed out. The texture is all wrong and it had a weird flavor. Isn’t it just water?


Since we were snowed in for awhile, Spunky got out her sewing kit and started learning (along with me) some basic stitches. She is so proud of these creations. I love watching her find things she loves and really press into them.



And Big Baby got his first solo bath. He was hesitant at first, as you can see, but he ended splashing like crazy and having a blast. I love this water baby.

Wild Kratts


Right now my big kids are into a show on PBS called Wild Kratts. They watch it first thing in the morning after Trav leaves for work. It is a cartoon about animals but full of facts. They walk away learning a lot about animals. More than I know. Here are a few of my favorite Wild Kratt moments.

A week or so ago we were reading a leftover Thanksgiving book about turkeys. The turkey in this book flew into the tree. Layla said, “Turkeys can’t fly. Only wild turkeys can fly.” Oh, okay. Good to know. Then a few days ago we were doing some workbook thing together and the question said, “Which animals fly?” She had a list of answers to choose from and she had birds and chickens left. She said, “American chickens can fly too!”

She also asked me the other day at breakfast if people had natural predators. Um…. It took me a minute but I got to the answer she was looking for.

I love seeing all of the different ways they learn. Even from a TV show.

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.



I’ve been thinking about my Monkey a lot these days. He is stretching me in one million different ways. Some days I feel like he hears nothing I say ever. Some days I feel like he doesn’t want to hear what I have to say. And some days we have so many sweet moments I’m sure I must’ve been the cause of all the crazy ones.

But it’s in those hard days that I’m trying to figure out how to love HIM well. Being a mom to him is going to look so different than being a mom to Spunky. She thinks like me, reasons like me, views her world through the same lens. We get each other. But that boy? I can’t figure out how he thinks or reasons or views the world. All I know is that it’s so different from me. And I don’t want to squish it.
I don’t want to overlook his bent, the way God made him and try to fit him into this mold he was never made for. I don’t want to take away his fire and energy and life because I don’t understand it and it seems unruly and sometime ridiculous to me.
But what does that look like?
He would happily spend bedtime jumping off of the bed, throwing pillows and blankets and growling like a monster. If he got to choose, wrestling would be what he does with Big Baby all day long. And shopping at the store would mean having to use the intercom to find him. Every. Single. Time. So, obviously I can’t just let him do his own thing either.
Somehow in this all there is a balance. This mindful awareness of each situation and where it falls in 1) keeping him and others safe and 2) keeping his heart joyfilled and alive. And I’m not always sure what that balance looks like.
Maybe it looks like a family picture where his arms are blurry because he can’t stop moving. Maybe it looks like an abundance of patience when he continuously has bathroom accidents because he is oblivious to what he’s feeling in his body. Maybe it looks like letting him walk with me at the store with a gentle reminder that if he gets too far, he has to ride in the cart. Maybe I’m already doing it but it will never feel comfortable or like I’ve “arrived” because I am clueless as to where we are going. And just because I don’t get it, doesn’t mean I can’t encourage him to fly.
Update: I started writing this post last weekend and wouldn’t you know it, God has been giving me insight since then. A friend found this chart that made my brain spin. This is the information to help me understand my fun-loving boy so much better and be able to relate to him as such. (It also helps me understand why I get in a tizzy sometimes too!) Then, another friend was talking about her Myers Briggs personality, and I’m totally into that stuff. I took the test for me, and while reading through the different types, realized other ways that my little Monkey could be relating to the world. This has made me feel much less random in my relating and so much more conscious of what is happening in all of my kid’s heads.If you’re into this stuff like me, you should also take this survey which is more ministry related.

Oh, and if you’re interested I am a Determined, INFJ Apostle/Prophet. What are you?

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.

mission impossible


Today, we attempted the impossible. I dared to dream it could be achieved. I thought, “we can totally make this happen.” I believed in us.

What amazing, exciting thing did we do today?

We left the house.

This was the first attempt of a few that ended with a sobbing mama.

Leaving the house with 3 is not for the faint of heart. Before Big Baby came along it was tough. But then, I could focus all of my energy on the weakest link (aka the youngest: Monkey). Once Big Baby came along, there were 2 I had to get completely ready.

Our thing we had this morning started at 9:30. Not an unreasonable time by any means when the big kids get up at 7. No problem I thought. We can do it I thought. HA!

Let me paint you a little picture. The hard part starts when the getting ready starts. Right after we eat breakfast the baby is ready for his nap, about 8:30. If I let him sleep right then, we’ll be an hour and a half late to our 3 hour get together. Seems silly to me to still go at that point. I’m sure that speaks to my thoughts on promptness, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. So, instead I decide to just get there as soon as we can. This is a close friend and I know she wouldn’t be offended by my unannounced earliness.

So I’m holding a fussy baby while I get clothes out for Monkey, calling him to come get dressed. He yells back, “COME WIPE ME!!” *sigh* Okay, so Big Baby and I go wipe him. Then back to get Monkey dressed while he is trying to play with anything within his reach. While I’m doing that I’m trying to keep Spunky on task. “No, don’t get out the dollhouse. Wait, don’t forget your socks. Please go brush your teeth.” And trying to keep the baby from losing it completely.

Next comes the hard part. Shoes, coats and all the millions of things we have to take. Spunky likes to pack one of various bags with whatever she’s into that day with her wherever we go. Luckily this time we had things we needed to take for her to focus her packing efforts on. And Right now Monkey thinks everything I put in front of him to eat (that he asks for) is not fit for consumption. He takes 2 bites and declares in a sweeping comment, “I don’t like [insert various food items here: eggs, chicken, soup] anymore!” In light of that, he’s hungry all the time. I don’t feel right about going to a friends house with a starving child and expect them to feed them. So I pack an assortment of things so he has choices when he asks for food. Choices help him when he has a one track mind focused on chips/pretzel/cracker type foods.

I get Monkey wrangled to the van, crying the whole time about Rice Cakes. When we get there, the van doors are frozen shut. Baby is in his car seat crying pretty good by this point. I think, “if we can just get there, I can nurse him to sleep.” I get the front doors open, and we all climb through. I jam the sliding doors open from the inside and bring in a hysterical baby. Well, I can’t exactly drive 25 minutes with him like that so I lean over his car seat and nurse him. Yup, that happened. I wish some could have (discretely) taken my picture. I had to look hilarious with one leg basically on the opposite door propping me up horizontally.  And brilliantly, it worked. He nursed, all the while Monkey is yelling in the back seat “DRIVE Mama!” And then as I started driving Big Baby fell asleep.

Our get together was good. Pretty smooth until, yup you guess it, leaving. Same ordeal ensues, minus the frozen doors and nudity in the van. The boys (and me) are ready for nap as soon as we get home. Monkey falls asleep in the van. HALLELUJAH!! Nap time battle avoided!

The hope of a quiet nap time with my computer or some time with Layla settling deep inside my heart was the second major downfall in my day. I got Monkey upstairs, boots off and laid him down. He was still asleep. I tried to take off his bulky winter coat so he could be comfortable and he woke up hitting me and pushing me. I tried for another hour to get him back to sleep. It ended with an inadvertent head butt to the nose and the aforementioned sobbing.

I cried because my nose was hurting and I was already at the edge with my emotions. I cried for the time lost. I cried for the afternoon of a tired Monkey that I was in store for. I cried for the fears that I was failing as a mom in the midst of all of that chaos.

And then there was light. In the midst of my messy, snotty weeping at the kitchen table, Spunky came in very concerned and asked, “Oh Mama, what’s wrong?” I told her I was frustrated and she held me. She put her arms around my neck and let me cry on her shoulder for a bit. She asked what happened, I explained a bit to her and she said, “I would be upset too if that happened.” Oh Lord, thank you for showing me how my compassion for my children is teaching them how to love others. Thank you that even in the midst of this trial filled time (mostly with my Monkey), you show me how what I’m doing matters. You show me the little people I’m growing and encourage me to keep going. And thank you for an outlet like this that gives me a place to vent and paint pictures of my mess, while you wait patiently to give me perspective at the end



There are things I want to remember about this phase of our life. Things that would be easy to forget because they change so fast. Those sweet little daily moments that add up to make life. I decided that to capture these times I’d write “snapshots” every once and awhile. Word pictures of where the kids are. An exercise in loving each moment, finding the sweet things in times even when it feels like there’s more hard than not.

Big Baby
Right now, Big Baby immediately rolls from his back to his tummy when I lay him down. Even if he was just on his tummy and was mad about it. It’s like a reflex he can’t control. He puts his hands in his mouth when he laughs. He jumps like crazy in his jumper.
He laughs at Spunky. I love how he watches her, wants her, plays with her. She engages him, sings to him and delights in him and he knows it. He will look up to her and have an amazing connection with her forever if they stay like this. 
He loves to touch faces. And right now it’s this gentle stroking. He opens his palm and runs it along my cheek like I’m the greatest person in the world. He hasn’t yet learned how to try to pull your lips off or scratch your eyes out so it’s still super sweet and makes me feel cherished. 
He is wild and crazy. Yesterday he squatted in the playroom and peed on the floor. He said he forgot he had to go. The other day he jumped off the couch onto his sister’s stomach. I’m sure this craziness is not only for now, but I’m assuming hoping that he will mature and some of this will die down. This is part of his story and I want to look back on it and smile while I tell him about his crazy antics. 

He is so excited to do our thankful jar. I’m pretty sure his favorite part is dropping marbles into the glass Izze bottle, but he thinks of something to be thankful for every time. It also makes me smile that I’m every third one. 
His favorite thing to do is play The Knocking Over Game (aka: wrestling with Papa). He throws everything and jumps off everything he can’t throw. There are times I tell him about what we’re doing in detail and five minutes later he says, “what are we doing??” 
Recently she lost her first tooth. I looked over at her and her tooth was sticking out horizontally without her tongue doing anything. She twisted it right out. She said it felt like a magnet. She also told me that it wasn’t as fun in her mouth anymore now that her tooth wasn’t there to wiggle.

There are so many moments of her getting big. The tooth, reading words, understanding concepts, asking deep questions. And things like taking a bath all alone the other day. She’s done it before, but this time I turned it on and walked away. She turned the water off, took care of her business and got out when she was done. That’s real person stuff. 
And she wants to be like me. She wants her hair like mine and her clothes like mine. She wants to eat healthy like me. She said she was thankful recently that I make them healthy things to eat. And she asked if everything I make is healthy. She was wondering if she had to even think about that sort of thing at home. I love that she gets my mission and is on my side. 
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