There was an old woman who lived in a shoe a young mother who lived out of a suitcase...

Whew. What a whirlwind these past few weeks have been! Exhausting. Overwhelming. Exceedingly frustrating. (Just to name a few more adjectives that come to mind...) The holidays passed far too quickly for me this year. Autumn is my favorite time of year: football, brisk weather, gorgeous colors, falling leaves, and it all culminates in Christmas, my favorite holiday. But this year was different. It was all just too...frantic.

And now, I feel like I'm in a tailspin, desperately trying to recover and regain some semblance of order out of all of this chaos. I haven't blogged in what seems like ages, and my head is spinning, dizzy from all of the unwritten pieces bouncing around in there.

So, I stayed up late to write. It's 1:23am. Do you know where your children are? I do. I can hear them, awake, playing with stuff in their rooms. Rooms, because we had to separate them again. It sounded like UFC in there. You know, if I watched UFC. They are totally wound up. We're at my in-laws...again. 

Don't get me wrong. I love my in-laws. Seriously. I almost always hear people referring to their in-laws with that tone in their voice. You know the one. The one that says, "I only put up with you because I have to." The tone you hear in my voice when I mention my in-laws is, "what on Earth would I do without these  people?!" Really. If you know them, you know they are just that fantastic. Gracious, hospitable, caring and giving, I am beyond blessed to call them family and have them nearby.

It's just...I feel like I have been living here lately, and I feel like we are in the way when we stay. I know we are welcome, but my mother-in-law works from home, and I feel terrible when the boys are running willy-nilly through her house, leaving a rather large swath of toys, sippy cups, and other debris in their wake. Three small boys are not quiet or tidy, no matter how you shake it. Boys just aren't wired that way, especially not our sons.

It's taking us awhile to adjust to having three kids. Longer than I thought it would, I'll admit. The first couple months were tough, with Callan's colic and undiagnosed reflux, and looking back, I'm fairly certain I had some pretty significant postpartum depression issues going on as I tried to juggle it all. Now it's not so much the everything-takes-fourteen-times-longer-than-I think-is-even-remotely-possible, or even the it's-amazing-how-my-kid-manages-to-have-a-massive-diaper-blowout-mere-seconds-before-we-walk-out-the-door. No, we've pretty much got those covered, surprisingly. It's more the not realizing just how much stress and chaos having an inconsolable baby creates, particularly when we have two other (relatively young) children to care for. And especially not realizing just how much of that stress I, in particular, hold on to, even when I get a short respite from it all while Kyler takes the boys or when Callan has a good day.

This all came to a head a few days ago. We were finally home after all of the craziness leading up to Christmas, and then the "holiday" itself, and then after only 1-1/2 days at home, heading back to his parents for the new year and several more days while his aunt, uncle, and cousins from out of state were here visiting. Home. Finally. And there is stuff everywhere. Seriously. I don't delude myself with aspirations of a spotless, beautiful home where laundry is always done and the floors are clean enough to eat off of....ummmm, well, I guess that happens anyway.

I know things will not be as ordered, organized, planned, or perfect as I wish. This I have come to accept. But the living out of suitcases is not helping matters. I need to be home, so I can begin to recover from all of the traveling. And yes, I know it's so much more than that, and it's so much more about me feeling in control than I'm willing to admit. Ministry is hard. Sometimes I feel like my family lives at church (heck, we could, what with the quilts, pull-out sofa and pack-n-play in my husband's office...) I suppose there are about a jillion other factors coming into play here too - trying to do college ministry when you live 25 minutes away from the college (and your in-laws live 5 minutes from the college), for one - all factors that affect why I feel all of the above, but many that I don't have the time or energy to share just now. And it's about time I wrapped this one up.

If you've made it this far, and you're not my mom, thanks for reading and sticking with me. I recognize this post has been a bunch of incoherent ramblings, none of them tied together or wrapped up. Guess that just mimics how I feel right about now, definitely not like a cute little package all wrapped up neatly and tied with a bow.

Well, I suppose living out of a suitcase isn't all that bad. It could be worse...

I could live in a shoe.

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