Beautiful Chaos

Finding adventure in the everyday
Browsing Motherhood

Snapshot: a day

January26

I remember, when filling out Spunky’s baby book, a section for filling out what a typical day looked like. I also remember thinking that was an odd thing to write down since we were living it. But, alas, the writers of said baby book had done their market research and a section for remembering the every day does make sense. I did fill out that section, despite being unconvinced of its importance, however I didn’t fill it out in a way that makes much sense to me now. Bummer.

These days look a whole lot different than the days when it was just Spunky and me. I sure had a lot of free time those days, little did I know. And maybe, if God blesses us with more babies, I’ll look back at these days and think the same thing.

Our day starts between 6-7am when the big kids wake up. They then spend some time distracting chatting with Trav before he leaves for work. He turns on Wild Kratts for them before he leaves and I have until 8 to either catch up on lost sleep during the night, or wake up slowly and quietly. *this may be changing as I am realizing the power of a half hour out of bed: 1 basket of laundry, worship music and tea maybe?*

We do breakfast and occasionally (I’d like it to turn more regular) read Jesus calling for kids or Jesus story book Bible. Then I usually have to get baby down for first nap. The big kids play and go about their big kid business.

When I’m done with baby we play or craft or jump into whatever project they are into. This morning we cleaned the leftover playroom toys from yesterday and played cootie. Then we made covers for our art journals.

Baby wakes up sometime in there and plays with us or just near us. There tends to be lots of short bursts of nursing. I can’t keep him focused for long, but I’m okay with that too. He also likes to be moved around. Toys in one area only interest him for 10 minutes until he’s mad and wanting new scenery.

Then lunch and nap. I put baby to sleep first, then Monkey. I try to get the big brother asleep before 1. I have to lay with him to ensure napping. I’ve never tried the put-him-in-there-every-day-and-eventually-he’ll-nap method. It might work, but with touch being his love language, that half hour of snuggling while reading a book and falling asleep is worth it. If Big Baby wakes up while I’m with Monkey, then big sister comes in and takes care of him until I can get away. We have a system and it works for us!

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While I’m getting Monkey to sleep, Spunky is on her own. She sometimes plays games on the iPad, sometimes does crafts, sometimes does Legos.

Then when I come down, I’m all hers. We read Charlettes Web, do reading lessons, workbooks, puzzles, play Legos and craft. Whatever interests her that day. These days we’ve been drinking hot chocolate (almond milk and Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips warmed/melted on the stove, then made frothy in the vitamix!) while we work.

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Baby wakes up, Monkey wakes up and everyone needs fed. During all this, the baby goes from jumper to walker to kitchen floor to dining room floor to living room floor. He can’t move himself but sure gets tired of being in the same place for too long. He’ll be a happy guy when he can get around!

Monkey usually takes his turn on the iPad or computer while he wakes up.

We play and do whatever until 4 when we go into cleaning mode. Dishes, if I’ve gotten behind during the day, laundry and general tidying. Not much ACTUAL dirt cleaning takes place on a day to day basis. I won’t go into those details. You may not want to visit my house if I do.

 

Then dinner and Baby’s last nap. It’s such a bummer that those need to happen at the same time. The big kids are starving (they say) and if I keep baby awake then last nap creeps dangerously close to night and we have to party until midnight since his nap ended at 8. I’m still working that situation out. I’ve not nailed it yet.

We do bath, teeth, jammies, stories, favorite and least favorite parts of the day and prayer. Kids are in bed by 7/7:30. I try to write a bit, read a bit and spend some quality time with baby. We’re in bed by 9/9:30 if we can. And then, we start it all over!

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It’s easy for our days to feel simple and unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but even though my world feels small, these little people have a really safe and secure world and that’s what I’m going for.

*ive just recently figured out how to add a “follow” button on my blog, however it’s a bit hard to find. Waaayyyyy at the bottom under the comment box. If you want, it’ll send you an email every time I post so you don’t miss a bit of our antics over here. Also, I’m trying to figure out how to add a “subscribe” button so I could send out more health related info via email. If you can either teach me how to do that or would be interested if I figured it out, leave a comment and let me know. I was about to say, “I don’t want to spend time figuring it out if no one is interested” but that’s a lie. I’m going to figure it out regardless. Someone will want it someday :)

Letting go

January22

Follow my blog with Bloglovin  Quick side note: I have to put this link in my blog for me to be able to “claim my blog” on my bloglovin app. Anyways, if you follow multiple blogs, this is a great app that makes it really easy to follow your favorite ones. 

I’ve been realizing these past few weeks that I need to become more selfless with my days. Not that the way I’ve been mothering isn’t selfless. We go on library trips and play dates, I read them books and help them with crafts, I play games and mediate their many squabbles. But I’m realizing I am still holding on to a lot.

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I’m still trying to squeeze some “me” time into every day, still trying to ensure that I get what I need. I’m saying “no” more than I’d care to admit and not diving in to their grand ideas like I want to. I’m still holding on to me and my preference and what I want. Afraid of what it will mean if I don’t protect my space.

Not that those things are bad. I don’t have to disappear as a person or totally neglect myself. I count as a valuable part of this little crew we have here, and my wants are right and worthy of attention.

But this. This staying home and allowing my kids to explore and learn means I need to be present. And not just present meaning I hear what they have to say, but that I set aside my agenda to help them build a fort. To read them a book. To watch YouTube videos on how crayons are made.

And I have to let go.

I have to let go of clean floors and vacuumed rugs and empty counters and spotless dishes. I have to let go of getting all the laundry clean and put away. I have to let go of house-wide tidiness and organization. I have to let go of solid chunks of writing time, text conversations with friends at any moment and fiction books that remind me the world is big and my story is bigger than these 4 walls. I have to trust God to provide the space he created me to need.

I have to embrace the chaos.

And my inner self is cringing and fighting and trying to rationalize having it my way. But I’ve been doing it my way, and there’s not enough time. There’s not enough time for all the cleaning, let alone cleaning AND playing. Cleaning, crafting, playing, napping, nursing, eating and learning (not that learning is a separate entity, but I’ll write more about that another day).

So, I’m hoping to do different. I know there will be moments during the day where my kids are off on their own adventure, sailing the seas on their bunk bed pirate ship, and I’ll get time for me. And maybe we’ll fall into a rhythm of 4:00 clean the house together time, before I go start dinner. But my priorities in our day have to change. And hopefully I can embrace the way we bumble through figuring out what it looks like for us. Because it will look different for us than others, so there really is no blueprint.

Warriors

November24

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.

Mornings

November20

I realized this morning how thankful I am for the slowness of our days. There are days where we have to go go go in the morning, but those are much more rare.

This year, Layla would have been in full day kindergarten. Our mornings would be more scheduled, more rushed and much more stressful for a mama of 3. My stress in the morning was not what made us decide to school the way we do, but man am I’m glad for the added benefit.
This morning I woke up at 7:30 to a tiny man poking me in the cheek with his thumb. As soon as he saw my eyes, a smile lit up his whole face. 10 minutes later, Spunky came over to join us, and Big Baby started exploring her face as well. 5 minutes after that, the final piece to our stay-at-home puzzle joined in the cuddling, face-poking start to our day.

We giggled, chatted and enjoyed each other’s company. We had time to love on each other and prepare our hearts for the coming day. 

This perfect picture of a morning certainly isn’t how it always goes. In fact, 7:30 is sleeping in for the older 2, who usually come in and wake me and the baby up after their Papa leaves, fighting about who’s turn it is on the iPad. But despite the rough mornings, I am thankful for the space that allows the sweet ones.

Holiday mode

November18

Every year when a major holiday rolls around I go into planning/organizing/coordinating mode. The mom in me wants to make it all perfect. I want the house, the food, the activities to all run like clockwork. Smooth. Seamless. So there are memories and not laundry. Memories and not dishes. Memories and not chaos.

Of course it’s the chaos that makes some of the best memories, and the kids won’t notice laundry, but I think the mess takes away my focus. I think I can be more present when everything else is taken care of and off my mind. So, that means these days I start thinking about thanksgiving way in advance. This year, 10 days before it actually gets here. I’ve been planning food to share at various get togethers, food for me to eat (since I have to be so careful about anything touching gluten and then touching anything I’m eating), food for the long weekend, grocery trips, coop trips, and Christmas gift scheming.
We’ve got some pretty ambitious gifts planned from various family members this year and they involve some serious leg work up front. Chalk board painting a wall for their artistic/learning pleasure (however they will just thinking we’re painting a random wall until Christmas when they open up the chalk!), and building bunk beds behind the locked door of our “Christmas Present Room”. Anyhow, those things plus Christmas shopping for our gifts to them will take up our Saturdays from now until the main event.
Hey, I’m not complaining. I totally get into the planning thing. If I can get all of the nessecary info out of my head and onto a daily planner, I’m set. No panic, just following the plan that leads to a carefree long weekend with my family.

 

That being said, I’d like to learn to be present in the moments when the house is a disaster and my brain is even more jumbled. I’d like to learn to not let the mess and unplanned events cause turmoil within me.
But maybe there is a balance. A good friend always talks about holding both things in your hand. Meaning, it doesn’t have to be one or the other but can be both. I am a planner. It’s just my nature and planning an amazing weekend for my family is really fun for me. But if I can’t get there? If I can’t get everything just the way I want it, then I can still choose to ignore the piles of laundry strewn all over my house. I can choose to overlook the crumbs from a weeks worth of meals all over my kitchen floors. I can choose to be in the moments with my family and let that be where my focus is, regardless of the rest.
Honestly, just writing that is stressing me out. Soooo, we’ll call that plan B.
Do you do major planning before the holidays?

is it worth it?

November13

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

November13

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

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