Beautiful Chaos

Finding adventure in the everyday
Browsing Motherhood

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




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.

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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.



Yesterday Seeley listened to everything I asked. He wasn’t out of control hitting his brother or sister. He wasn’t screaming all day or running circles in the living room.

He was calm and quiet. He took a nap with NO battle, without me laying with him.

What is happening??

My first theory that lasted until 2pm was that he was sick. I kept waiting for him to throw up right in the middle of whatever he was doing. I kept asking him if his stomach felt ok. And I kept pressing my cheek up to his forehead to see if I could notice a fever.

I could not figure out what was happening to my wild and mostly out of control little boy.

And then it hit me. We played outside for about 3 hours Monday and played in a gym for 2 hours yesterday morning.

So my new theory? He had so much pent up energy it was constantly exploding out of his body in aggressive chaotic ways, and once he was given an outlet for all of that testosterone he became my sweet boy again.

True? False? That still remains to be seen. But if it is true? How terrible to be walking around with so much crazy inside of you just dying for a way to get it out. I will be doing my best to provide him with some physical activity every day.


I love that crazy boy.

Panic in the quiet


Sometimes in the rare hour that I’m alone, I mean completely alone-everyone sleeping or gone or a combination of those, I panic. My mind races with the ten thousand things I could do with this rare time. Be productive? Nap? Read? Write? Exercise? A little of each just crammed into a short time frame?

And sometimes the shear volume of possibilities and the fact that these moments are so rare paralyzes me. I freeze. The pressure of maximizing every last drop of this sweet precious time consumes me and I can’t do any of them. I feel all jittery inside and I can’t find my way out. One time I called my mom and she distracted me from the stress (stress of freedom?) enough that I could just do something while we chatted and then the pressure was gone for the rest of my time.

Well, I had a totally surprising piece of that time just the other day. The day somehow worked out where ALL of the kids were napping at the same time. Usually Spunky doesn’t nap, but this was a day she needed it and she fell asleep with no problems. I found myself with an undetermined amount of time TOTALLY ALONE!

I didn’t panic about the options this time. I knew what I wanted to do: write.  But, I also had to get the chicken in the crockpot for dinner, switch laundry, and I made some hot chocolate to drink while I typed away. I was working like crazy trying to get those things done before the baby woke up (he was the first asleep by a half hour), when I realized something. I was frantically trying to make things perfect so I could relax and enjoy my alone time. But I already WAS alone. I took a deep breath and decided to enjoy the moments getting a few things done in the quiet.

I got them done, sat down at the computer and Big Baby woke up. I was so grateful for a different perspective while I was getting a few things done so that I would not stumble over the lost time but instead be grateful for the 15 minutes I did have. I’m hopeful to be able to respond the same way in the future.


What do you do with YOUR precious alone time? How do you handle unmet expectations with it?

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When you grow up…


You know that thing parents say sometimes when they’re angry? “I hope you have a daughter just like you when you grow up!!” When they say it, they aren’t looking to be kind and loving, as if they are truly blessed by you and want you to have the same blessing, rather, they are frustrated, exasperated and unfortunately, hoping you experience the same hell they’re feeling as a sort of revenge.

Well, I’m here to change the curse into a blessing.

Moms and Dads, I hope you all have kids just like you. Kids that help you understand yourself and how you are innately wired. Kids that make you realize the amount of grace you have for them, is the same amount you should have for yourself.

I hope you have kids just like you so you can speak directly to their fears and broken places. Those places you wish someone knew how to lovingly come alongside you and speak love/courage/hope/faith right when you most need it. And as you whisper those words to their growing hearts, I hope you hear those words being whispered right back to you.

This is my mini-me, through and through

This is my mini-me, through and through

I hope seeing how similar you are gives you a confidence about things you once deemed “ugly” “imperfect” or “not enough”. These legs that I was given, I’ve always thought of as too fat, chubby and ugly. They never looked like a lot of my friends legs. People always said I had strong legs. I assumed that was code for “those are some chubby legs! There must be some muscle in there somewhere!” And now that I have Spunky and have seen her little legs next to her friends? She really does have STRONG legs. She has muscle that not all the girls do. People saw in me what I see in her. And I’m learning to see myself clearly because of her. I hope that for you too.

As you speak into your child’s life, that child who sins the same as you, I hope you are able to hear your own wise advice, your own grace filled words. I hope you are able to connect those tendencies and learn right alongside your child how to respond differently.

I hope their questions to you make you find answers for yourself. As they seek to understand their world, I hope you understand yours better too, because you’ve asked the same questions yourself.

And I hope that they challenge you in ways that only they can. I hope they send you running to your Father to lean more on him for each moment. I hope they teach you what forgiveness looks like. Because you will hurt them, as similar personalities rub against each other, and when you ask a child for forgiveness, they give it so freely.

I hope they give you a lifelong friend to enjoy shared hobbies and pastimes with. Someone who loves puzzles or movies or hiking or golfing just as much as you do, someone you can swim in the cold water with when everyone else thinks you’re both crazy.

And I hope you have a child that helps you understand what your parents may have felt when they were doing the best they knew how. That you could then give them the grace you need at how hard this whole parenting thing is.

May you be blessed with a child who is just like you.



These days it’s easy to feel swallowed up by the busyness and constant of 3 little ones. It’s easy to feel like I’m drowning in household maintenance and teaching little people how to be humans. I earn no awards, no recognition, no promotions or raises. My world is very small.In the constant taking care of others, I realize that sometimes I feel forgotten.

I’m guessing there are days you feel it too. Well my friends, we are not forgotten. There is Someone who sees. And until we can ultimately rest in that truth, let me tell you what I see.

I see you.

I see you bouncing that tired stubborn babe until your legs are tired and sore from bouncing. I see you rocking in that chair until your backside places are numb. I see you getting up for countless late night feedings and bad dream fighting and fixing the covers so they’re just right.


I see you taking temperatures, holding back hair and making special beds on couches for the child who has the flu. I see you giving extra cuddles, lots of forehead kisses and those tried and true remedies to provide comfort until the bug passes. I see you continuing to provide that comfort even when you have the exact same bug.

I see you doing your best to keep it together at times when the tantrums start, the naps battles are extreme and the reasoning is out the window. I see you with eyes closed and big sighs at the library when all you wanted was a fun trip for the kids and they knock over shelves of books, pee on the floor and run away multiple times.

I see you preparing meal after meal, grocery shopping week after week, and washing pot after pot, dish after dish. I see you doing load after dirty load, sweeping, vacuuming, and toilet bowl cleaning. I see you tidying, organizing and putting away time and time again.

I see you reading books you know by heart, watching movies you no longer need to see to know what’s happening and listening to music that haunts your dreams. And continuing to say yes to these things because of the joy it brings your little people.

I see you setting aside your wants, your preference, your rights for those little charges you’ve been given. I see you hide in the closet with your bowl of ice cream for just a few minutes of something special for you when you’ve been setting aside preferences all day.

I see you having conversation after conversation about being kind and sharing and honesty and using your words over and over again with perseverance and hope that something will stick one of these times.

I see you striving to be the parent you want to be. I see you falling short and losing heart in those harsh words, that rash decision, that way you wish you didn’t react. And then I see you pick yourself up and try again because you want to love them SO well. I see you not settling and fighting for more in you for your family.

I see you. And I’m proud to say, I’m right there with you.




How did I not know how much fun legos are? I’ve always loved puzzles and putting furniture together when we get something new, but I never knew about legos. When we were growing up, my brother always played with them, but it wasn’t something I ever got into. Well, now I think they’re pretty great and Spunky does too.

She got a log cabin lego kit for Christmas and she has been serious about getting them done


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Aside from the tiny pieces that tend to end up everywhere and the choking hazard that said pieces pose to my baby, legos are a great toy.  Seeley is even getting into them since he realized he doesn’t have to follow the directions. He’s my outside the box kid. I don’t get him, but I’m glad for him in my life challenging my one way thinking.

I’m excited to see how her lego collection changes over the years and all she discovers she can do with little pieces that fit together to make something big.

Almost lost my oldest 2



This past week, Spunky got in her head that she was going to walk to one of her friend’s house. Just her and her 3 year old brother. I thought they were playing a game at first, packing their bags, planning strategy, but when they started getting shoes and coats on I asked a question I didn’t think I’d need to ask, “You know you can’t for REAL go to Ari’s house, right?” Turns out, they were not aware of it. Spunky was planning on making Monkey push the pedals while she steered the van. She gave in to the fact that they couldn’t really pull it off and then played pretend “going to Ari’s house” for a few days after that.


They played outside on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday. While they were outside in the front yard on Wednesday, sledding down the hill, I continuously peeked out at them while going about my business. I looked out one time to see them doing whatever it is they were doing, then sat down on the couch by the big windows overlooking the front yard. A few minutes later I peeked out again and didn’t see them. No problem, they like to go to the backyard and slide down the snow-covered slide. I checked back there and they weren’t there either. So I went back to the front with a tad more purpose to my step and went out onto the porch. I saw them crossing onto the next block of our street. AHHHHH!!!!

When I got them back, I found out that indeed they were going to Ari’s house. If they couldn’t drive there, then obviously they could just walk. WOW. I was scared, angry, scared, frustrated and scared. They knew our rule about where their boundaries are, and Spunky chose to go her own way and take the Monkey along with her. Of course there were some consequences based on her decision and we had LOTS of conversations about why that isn’t a good idea and what would happen if I couldn’t find her, but something a friend said has stuck with me.

I called this friend whose parenting I trust so much and told her I just needed to talk because the frustration I had over that incident was not making me a very good Mama at the moment. I shared my story and she was amazed at Spunky’s confidence. “How cool that she feels like she can do that all on her own!” Um, yeah… I guess. I was able to see that, eventually. And once I did, I agreed. Yes, it’s not a good idea for her little 5.5 year old self to take off on her own to walk to a friends house, crossing 2 pretty busy streets, taking along her flighty little brother (I feel my blood pressure rising just writing that sentence out), but how amazing that she has so much confidence in her abilities.

I am excited to see what she will be able to do with confidence like that. Within age appropriate boundaries and my full knowledge of course.

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