here's to the chaos--in partnership with whirlwind

Don't let anyone fool you, life with multiple children is good. Like, so good. And it's also time consuming. And it's also magical. And it's also exhausting. Essentially, this lifestyle is a beautiful chaos of ups and downs, of breathtaking views and knee-scraping valleys. I need reminding on somedays but, this is what I signed up for. 

I wouldn't want anything less.

Ok, actually I maybe do want less. As in, less things in my life that add to the chaos of what it already needs to be. We're all about simplifying things over here. From our schedule, to the items we bring into our home. Simplicty is the overarching theme.

Enter the Whirlwind Backpack.

I initially reached out to Adina because I admired the 'look' of her backpacks but now, after using it for several weeks, I'm totally in love with how effortlessly it fits into our life. 

What we love about it:

  • The simply beauty.  I keep mentioning it but, since having kids, I get excited over products that we have to have anyway that are designed with beauty and functionality in mind. I love that we don't have to comprise on either with our Whirlwind Bag. 
  • The lightweight and compact design. Since we're already lugging two kids around, the last thing we need is a bulky diaper bag that's already heavy before we stuff it full of everything we need.
  • The primary zipper design that goes all the way down on both sides. It offers such easy access to everything inside. 
  • The two side pockets with elastic tops. They're both big enough to hold water bottles and sippy cups. But also secure enough at the top for me to slip my phone in if I need and know that it won't fall out.  
  • The capacity.  With how slim the profile is, I was pleasantly surprised to find how much we could fit in this bag. It holds everything we need for an outing with Scout and Behr with room to spare. 

We've taken our bag everywhere. From quick trips to run errands in town, to romping around in the mountains of Tennessee, to hiking in the park across from our house. It's held up through all that beautifully. At one point, it got stained up and I didn't get around to cleaning it for a week or too (because, but when I finally did clean it, the stain lifted without any issues at all. 

It's also a totally "family style" diaper bag that blends feminine and masculine styles in such a way that both Jonathan and I can enjoy wearing it. 

As any mom knows, having kids means having learn how to do everything one handed. It gets even trickier once you start adding more kids. I so wish I would have had this backpack style diaper bag when Behr was born. It's much more functional! And, of course, if you've been around here any amount of time, you know how much I wear my kids. This backpack is a perfect compliment to that as well. 

I can't say enough how grateful I am for well-thought out products that we can incorporate into our everyday. As parents of little ones, we crave necessary products that have the ability to enrich and simplify our beautifully messy lives with the way they blend into our days. The Whirlwind Bag is just such a product. 

So, here's to this intense, soul-growing season of life. I have to choose to embrace it as it comes (like every hour some days, ha!). Bring on the sleeplessness, the gummy smiles, the emotional outbursts, the milestones, the toddler snuggles and baby coos. Give me the weight of them in my arms and the joy of them in my heart. This is exactly as it should be.

What a beautiful thought. 


I didn't get to see the ginkgo trees this year. 

Every Fall, I keep a watchful eye out for my favorite fan-leafed trees to don their gold coats. There's a particularly glorious row of ginkgos--at our Wal-mart no less--that gets set ablaze in every shade of yellow during Autumn.  I look forward to seeing it unfold every late October. 

It was the middle of November before I realized, "Wait. We haven't drove by to see them!" My sentimental heart twinged a little with disappointment. Well, it's too late now.  

Life hasn't been easy lately. I wouldn't call it particularly hard (just like, everyday life sort of hard). I'm a bit...weary. I simply feel as though I've been so deep in the trenches of nursing every two hours and potty training and coaxing to sleep and cutting grapes in half and tending to diaper rash and three year old emotions and hormonal adjustments and the time change that I'm missing the flashes of joy God has lovingly placed in this intense season. 

This past Tuesday, we made the worthwhile drive to Newport for some Carabello Coffee; our favorite little corner coffee shop just across the river from Cincinnati. We stepped from the van onto the cold sidewalk and soon found ourselves shuffling through a confetti  explosion of gold completely covering the street. 

Ginkgo leaves. 

A mosaic of Jesus' loving placed details spread thick right there at our feet. 

He made sure I got to see them after all

Inside Carabello, we sat at a square table with the bright afternoon sun leaking light through the windowpanes. Scout wobbled on Jonathan's lap while Behr played a game on a phone so we could sip our coffee in peace. I exhaled a little. The view from where I sat: our little family, the ones I get to love the most. All of us will never be this young together again. What a beautiful thing to partake in. 

She's got cheeks as round and fluffy-soft as cumulus clouds. We can't help but leave ten kisses on each one every hour. His inquisitive, connective spirit has rocketed in intensity since he turned three. I'm simultaneously playing an exhausting game of catch up and and in awe of the person he's becoming. 

Then Jonathan and I, we're tired. So tired. Have you ever tried to keep two beautifully needy humans alive, clean, fed and happy while also working demanding jobs while also trying to make sure your marriage doesn't shrivel up from neglect? It's hard, you guys. But I can't think of more worthwhile work. 

After a hot maple spice latte for me , an iced mocha for Jonathan, and a tiny cup of  "coffee" (almond milk) for Behr we walked back out into the crisp air. 

Behr threw a small tantrum when we took the phone away but quickly recovered when he got to hold Jonathan's hand to cross the street instead of being carried. We stopped where the ginkgo leaves had fallen for a few pictures. I knelt down to Behr's level to find him holding a single leaf in his ever growing but still baby-dimpled hands. "Is that for me, buddy? Oh, this is my favorite!" He nodded, a bit bashful that I was making such a fuss. 

I've got news for him: I'll always make a fuss over Jesus using other's to shout His love right when we need it most.

Ok, so maybe life currently isn't what I thought it would be. Maybe we're still figuring it all out as we go (I have a growing, relieving sort of suspicion that we're all still figuring out as we go).

Maybe I'm learning to stop holding onto my expectations and instead live expectant for whatever goodness God chooses to bring our way. 

my grandmother's coconut cake

This is the dessert I bring to gatherings when I want to impress people without much effort. So basically this is the dessert I bring every time, ha! It's near impossible to get wrong. And turns out so light, fluffy and decadent that no will suspect how easy it was for you to throw together.

The recipe is from my Mamaw Muncy. I don't know if she made it up or got it from someone else but it was a such a treat at our family get togethers. I always think of her when I make it and still remember baking with her in that tiny, old wallpaper-ed kitchen.

You will need:

  • 3 white cake box mixes

  • 1 16 oz container of Cool Whip

  • 2-3 8 oz containers of sour cream

  • sweetened coconut shavings

Make the cake mixes as instructed on the box. I divided all the cake batter into three separated bowls and baked them in a nine inch round pan. There will be leftover batter. Do whatever you want with it, I made a mini cake for Behr with ours.

In a large bowl mix the Cool whip and sour cream together. This is kind of a tricky part as I don't have exact measurements. I just add the sour cream in a bit at a time and taste as I go. It should last like tangy whipped cream. Not too sour or two sweet. But I'll leave it up to you to decide how "sour" you want it to be. I usually end up using around 1 and 1/2 of the 8 ounce containers of sour cream

Next, stack the three layers of the cake, making sure to spread icing and sprinkle coconut in between each layer. This is the hardest part as you have to super careful when moving the cake layers around. They're usually pretty fragile. It also helps to shave the top of each layer as you go to make sure it will all be level in the end (feel free to snack on the shavings).

Once they're all stacked, spread the remainder of the icing until the cake is covered. Then generously sprinkle coconut all over. Gently press the coconut into the sides to get it all covered. This part is a complete mess but also lots of fun!

And that's it, you're done! Make sure you store the leftovers in the fridge and don't mention how easy it was to make so you look even more awesome ;)

Hope you enjoy friends!