Tag Archives: messes

Completely Normal Chaos

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!  

When I was in fourth grade, I first heard the phrase “completely normal chaos”. I think it was the title of a book I should’ve read that I don’t remember actually reading. But the phrase, even then, resonated with me. I liked the sound, the feel of it. It brought fun, homey, and comfortable images to mind. I loved the concept of completely normal chaos, and I’ve thought about being a part of a “comfortable crazy” ever since hearing the phrase for that first time.

Well y’all, my day has arrived.

I could use that beloved phrase to describe my life at almost any given moment. If you were a fly on the wall of my home, you would witness a certain level of chaos. I don’t mean natural disaster chaos, or even high school pep rally chaos. I mean you would probably find a mess being made. You would probably find a pile of laundry or four. You would probably hear some crying and some laughter and maybe some shouting. You would see books scattered about, Legos in partial towers on the coffee table, and small bites of food littering the kitchen floor. You would find empty bottles and discarded socks, toy crumbs and puzzle pieces in almost every room. You would hear laughter, or shouting, or crying, or a combination of the three. You might hear music playing over the din, or even catch snippets of Frozen wafting up from the TV in our basement.

For non-parents, or for parents who have forgotten or don’t know what having three children under age four is like, this could be a special kind of torture. I myself took a while to get used to it, and some days if I dwell on it, I still feel my heart beating a little faster than it should. But this chaos, this din, this wonderful messy life is mine, and I am thankful for it.

The voices, be they crying or laughing or arguing or whispering sweet words… those voices are my precious gifts, little companions I brought into the world. The mess, toys, laundry and food crumbs… that mess means that we are abundantly blessed with more than enough food to eat, clothes to wear, and toys to play with. This splendid life I’ve been given is full of chaos, but it’s become my “normal”. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy and perfect, or even that it’s boring. It just means that it’s normal, typical, and familiar. Chaos is often something unusual, but not for us. Our lives are full of this wonderful, exciting, completely normal chaos.

Ways to Keep the House Clean

We started to clean the bathrooms a few days ago. This is what it looks like right now. I didn’t clean it up after taking this photo. I just closed the door to the bathroom.
Having kids – multiple kids especially – sometimes makes your home… well, a disaster zone. Depending on the number of kids and their ages, that could be a mild-to-massive understatement. Typically, Hubby and I are pretty clean. We like our dishes to be done soon after meals (partially because we’ve had ants in the past, and THAT, my friends, is a terrible thing to deal with). We like our laundry to mostly be clean and put away. We do not like to feel grit on the floor underneath our feet. These are just a few examples of a perfect world at the Hsu house.

However, we’ve found those goals to be basically unattainable. Dishes? As long as they’re soaking, they’re good for several more days hours. Laundry? If you’ve got clean underwear, you’re all set. Grit-free floor? Yeah, right. Vacuuming happens every other day or so, and I still feel the grit. And what have we not even mentioned? Handprints on windows and mirrors, rings in tubs and toilets, dusting (who has time for that?!) and all the rest. My kids are like dirt bombs. I bathe them every single day (really, I do!) and somehow, they’re tracking food, dirt, and something that makes spots on the floors (Their sippy cups? Drool? The world may never know.) in and out and around the house all day long. Everything I accomplish during naps or after they go to bed seems to be undone within a matter of minutes. We’re thinking of quitting the housekeeping thing altogether.

Current situation on our bedroom floor. We’re switching out furniture, and someone (rather, two someones) decided to pitch in.

Our normally lovely indoor garden, as redesigned by Joseph (with a measuring spoon and a small pitcher, I might add).

Recently, I’ve realized there are a few things help me stay motivated to keep things slightly nearer to under control:

1. Leave the vacuum out. If it’s already plugged in and out in the middle of the room, I’m likely to use it more often. (Not a suggestion. Merely an indicator of how often I need it.)

2. Put the laundry on the couch after taking it out of the dryer. If you put it in the place where you’re most likely to sit down, then you’ll have to fold at least some of it to be able to sit. (Not a suggestion. Simply an indicator of how much I dislike folding laundry.)

3. Order take out or eat at a restaurant instead of cooking. The more items you can throw away, the less dishes you have! (Not a suggestion. Just a dire straits situation.)

4. Eat outside. This helps with clean up after meals, especially if you’ve got a hose near your porch. Just brush everything onto the porch or the ground, and sweep/hose it off into the nearest grass or dirt. Done! (Not a suggestion. Unless you’re trying to enjoy the weather.)

5. Keep the kids in diapers as long as possible. Less people using toilets, toilet paper, and bathrooms in general means they must stay cleaner longer, right? (Not a suggestion. DEFINITELY NOT.)

6. Only bathe the kids once a week. Saves water, no ring on the bathtub, and less baby soap to buy. Makes even more sense when it’s summertime and the kids are swimming a lot. (Not a suggestion. But it would save water.)

7. Attach Swiffers to your kids’ feet whenever you’re at home. JUST KIDDING! Or am I?

What are your tips (real or not real) to stay ahead of the game and keep your house clean?

That Moment When…


That moment when my toddler plugs her headphones into the freshly painted wall.

That moment… you know the one… that moment when you can laugh, or you can cry.

That moment when you get home from work, and your adorable son is just waking up from his nap. You, still in your nice clothes, rush in to scoop him up for some snuggles. That moment when he’s giggling, glad to see his mama, nuzzling your neck a little bit. That moment that for some reason, you decide that instead of the normal post-nap diaper change, you just want to carry his sweet self around for a few minutes. (You can see where this is going.)

That moment when you think you’re a little damp. That moment when you realize damp isn’t covering it. That moment when you realize it isn’t just pee. That moment when it’s a whole lot of everything, including breakfast and last night’s dinner, on your arms. And your dress. That moment when you peek back into the crib, and it’s all up in there, too. That moment you realize you’ve gotta do some serious laundry, but you and your adorable, sweet, snuggly, smelly son need a shower, NOW.

I’ve written posts before about how my son can go from adorable to covered in some sort of bodily fluid in less than two seconds. Zero to sixty in no time flat. But what is more indicative of motherhood than that? Like when your toddler is being so cute, having a little pretend tea party, but throws a tantrum when her request to switch to real tea is denied. Or when the switch goes off in your kid’s brain, from “I’m having a great time at dinner with my grandparents!” to “I’m really tired. Get me out of this high chair, let me run out the door to where the car must be, and home into my bed, and I MEAN NOW!” Those moments are bound to happen, and of course at the least convenient time.  It’s just a passing moment. It seems like a serious situation when you’re in it, but it’s gone and forgotten as soon as it came.

If it wasn’t for moments like these, I wouldn’t have hilarious things to write about, or to post on Instagram or Twitter. I wouldn’t have anything to compare the cleaner moments to. I’ve got a messy, keep-me-on-my-toes sort of motherhood I’m working with, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m Officially 29!

Folks, this is the last year of my 20s. And you know what? I’m not even sad.

On Saturday, I had a fantastic day. We went out to breakfast, were successful in packing up more of the basement and catching up (a little anyway) on some laundry, and then in the evening our babysitter came over to let us go out to dinner and to see Mockingjay Part 1 (which, by the way, was totally awesome).

The only hitch in the day happened first thing in the morning. When I woke up, it was to the sound of my toddler, running around upstairs. This isn’t unusual. She sometimes stays in bed to read for a while, and sometimes comes out to play with her toys. This morning, she decided she was going to get started with breakfast. Much to my dismay, she began with eggs. And of COURSE, because toddlers are clumsy, she broke a couple. One in the kitchen, right in front of the refrigerator, which she stepped in, and tracked all the way back to my bedroom, where she broke the other one. Of course, right? Happy birthday to me. The first thing Hubby and I did when we got up was strip her of her egg-covered clothes, bleach the floor from kitchen to bedroom, and put everyone in the shower. Sheesh. Then, when we finally were all clean and dressed, there was no way I was cooking breakfast, so I got some Waffle House out of the deal! That was good.

Needless to say, we are now locking the fridge. It sounds ridiculous, but I am NOT cleaning up that mess again!


Parenting Fail #87621: The Public Poopers

Yep, it’s that time again. Time for another parenting fail. Although it may not be as much of a fail as a “Oh my gosh did that actually happen?!”

I’ll set up the week for you – normally, my kids have (for months) pooped once a day, right when they get up in the morning. One morning this week, they had BOTH, within sheer minutes of each other, had the sort of poop where you throw away the pajamas and put them straight into the bathtub. Yes, I literally threw away both sets of pajamas that same morning because it was easier than cleaning it out. But after that day, it seemed that they were pooping – imagine me saying this out loud in my best accent – ALL. DAY. E’RY. DAY. My best friend suggested maybe they’re eating too much fruit and getting too much fiber. I say, eh, they’ve always eaten a ton of fruit. Who knows.

So anyway, both kids are basically to the point in their lives that I don’t keep extra changes of clothes for them. When they’re newborns and spitting up and pooping that liquid poop, you sorta have to. But at this point, EK isn’t wearing panties yet, still in Pull-Ups, so no worries there, and J’s biggest problem is his knees are always dirty. Who cares about that, right? So that being said, by some freak (beautiful) accident, I had an extra pair of pants in the diaper bag when we went out to dinner last night with a couple of friends.


Blurry and devious J and Lauren. He’s thinking about what’s gonna happen in a minute…


Blurry but adorable EK and Aida! This was pre-potty problems.


What a yummy – and needed – margarita!

The kids, y’all, were angels. This place is pretty casual (it’s called The Porch Kitchen and Cantina… Tex-Mex, order at the counter, loud and bustling. We love it.) so the kids could make a little noise and no one was bothered. They ate really well, and were patient while we ate (which rarely happens, am I right?) so I’m thinking we’ve just had the perfect evening. Well, EK asks to go potty, so my friend Aida volunteers to take her. A few minutes after they left, J is squirming pretty awfully so I pull him out of the highchair and notice that he is stinky. So naturally I grab a diaper and wipes, and head to the bathroom. When I get there, Aida says, “Oh thank you! I didn’t know how to get help!” EK is on the changing table, no diaper, with poop on her legs. (Let’s all say a nice, “Poor Aida!”) Apparently, she had pooped a little in the potty – accidentally, of course – and it startled her, so she asked to get off the potty, and then did the rest in her Pull-Up. Then Aida didn’t have a new diaper or wipes to clean her up with. So I hand J to A, clean EK up and put her in the new diaper (the only diaper I had brought).

I take off J’s pants and realize the amount of poop he had was no joke. It’s on his clothes, shirt and pants. I send Aida for new clothes and a fresh diaper, and try to attack his mess. I literally think that I used most of the wipes cleaning up either J or the diaper station. (Yes I cleaned it up. No, you don’t have to worry about there being poop all over and it getting on your kid the next time you eat lunch there.) Aida comes back with the pants that were magically still in my bag, and his coat. Sorry, J, no shirt.

So he’s clean. EK is clean. I get back to the table, and the Hubby of the year looks at me and says, “Do you want me to take the kids home, and you girls can stay out and have a drink?”

Yes, Hubby. A thousand times yes.