Last week, I had a rare day with absolutely nothing on our schedule. However, in a crazy turn of events, it evolved into a day where, with the exception of 45 minutes, our house was filled with people from 9:00 am-9:00 pm. Make no mistake, our house is still very much in the thick of “happy chaos,” but it was so fun and life-giving to be able to spend the day with people I love, inviting them into the “happy chaos” that is our life.
The day began at 9:00 am when my sister showed up with her two-year old after dropping her four-year-old off at school. I LOVE living near my sister–I made her coffee and she watched all three kids while I showered and got dressed for the day.
At 10:00 am, I got a text from a friend with twin two-year-olds wondering if we were free to play. “Come on over!” I said.
From 10:45 am-1:00 pm, we had four two-year-olds and Sweet Virginia running around. They all played together and we cheesed out on grilled cheese AND macaroni and cheese for lunch–talk about indulgent! On days when I’m not working and I’m home with my people, I think lunch can be a lonely meal, so it was a treat to eat it with friends.
We said goodbye to our friends and I put my two down for naps. When our house was quiet, I realized there was a friend in town I had been meaning to connect with, so I quickly texted her to see if she was free, while I began to tidy up our house.
Still on a high from our morning play date, I then proceeded to text some other mom friends for a post-nap play date.
Forty-five minutes later, my friend was at my door, which had given me just enough time to put the toys away, fill up the dishwasher, and scrape the macaroni and cheese off the floor.
For a little over an hour, we sat in a quiet house and had an adult conversation about life, ministry, and calling. It was one of those times when you meet with someone and you just KNOW that God had put it all together–she left and I was left feeling SO encouraged and excited about life and God.
As I closed the door and she drove away, the house was quiet for about one more minute before my people were up from their naps and calling my name. We got out of our cribs and prepared for play date number 2. Three of my friends came over with their four little people and the playing continued. When you’re in the thick of raising young children, there is something SO refreshing about having other moms bring their kids over to play–it’s nice to know you’re not alone in the craziness and exhaustion that is raising toddlers. See below for our attempt at a picture with four of the six:
The kids ran around with trucks, drums, and balls, while the we stuffed our faces with velveeta and rotel–is there anything more delicious on a Friday afternoon?!
The one part of the day that I had planned on was having friends over for Whole Foods Pizza and UVA football, so two of the families stayed while B went to pick up some pizza on his way home from work.
(Note: we LOVE the 2 for $20 deal from Whole Foods. There is no greater deal to be had. For $20, you get 2 HUGE pizzas with up to four, fresh, delicious toppings. All those times you walk out of Whole Foods looking at your receipt, feeling like you’ve just been robbed, this is the ONLY time where you feel like you’re robbing them. I’m telling you, this pizza will feed you for days.)
Though we consider ourselves pizza pros and had the foresight to call ahead to order our pizza, we had never ordered on a Friday night–apparently, a LOT of other people like to rob Whole Foods for their $20 pizzas, ESPECIALLY on Friday nights. Instead of the usual ten minute wait, they said it would be about 45 minutes.
This little unforeseen circumstance put a dent in my attempt at a fun, easy dinner with kids–45 minutes when you’re dealing with toddlers and dinner can feel like an eternity.
However, in spite of the setback, the playing continued, the other dad’s arrived, and at long last, after what seemed like F-O-R-E-V-E-R, at long last, B finally arrived with delicious pizza in hand.
We fed the kids, and attempted to put Daniel Tiger on TV while the adults ate dinner, which worked for approximately two minutes before they were running around again. It was past bedtime and the natives were tired and restless.
We said goodbye to our friends and transitioned into bedtime routine, while B and a friend stayed to watch our precious UVA Cavaliers get demolished by Boise State. And in typical Elizabeth fashion, I proceeded to fall into a deep sleep in my precious swivel rocker. The day had been rich, fun, life-giving, and worthy of a good night’s sleep.
So what’s my point in giving you such a detailed play-by-play of a random Friday in September?
Most days, we do not have a revolving door of people from sunup to sundown, but this particular day, I had a small taste of the joy and life that can come when we’re flexible, spontaneous, and ready and willing to invite people into our homes and our lives at any time of day.
Make no mistake: our house and our lives are far from perfect, but both our house and our lives feel so much fuller when they’re filled with people we love, imperfections and all.
Gracious hospitality is something I struggle with and aspire to improve upon. Even in the midst of the “happy chaos” that comes from raising little people, I want our home to be one where the door is always open, ready and willing to bring people in at any hour of the day.
Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
1 Peter 4:9
Want to read more? Click below for a few related posts. (Clearly, this is an ongoing struggle for me)