Beautiful Chaos

Finding adventure in the everyday
Browsing Parenting

Time

April9

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.

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When you grow up…

January31

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.

Forgotten

January30

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.

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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.

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Almost lost my oldest 2

January27

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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.

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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.

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.

Personalities

November26

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?

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.

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?

A letter to Spunky’s husband

November15

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,
Holly

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.