November 21, 2017

My Whirlwind of a Summer Update


devotionals on the beach

I started this post nearly two months ago. Summer is supposed to be a time of wonder, merriment and lazy living, yet for us, it was filled with a whirlwind of huge life moments. So many emotions have been swirling in my heart and mind. Some I’ve been briefly sharing on instagram, (jenschmidt _beautyandbedlam), but I’ve wanted to go deeper, capture each stage and then process it with you all. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will.

This update is for all my faithful readers who’ve been with me forever and may have given up wondering where Jen has gone. I’m coming back. 🙂 And welcome to all my new readers. This is a safe place and I can’t wait to get to know you better as we enjoy experiencing beauty and bedlam together.

So here’s my recap without all the deep life lessons I’m learning along the way. Within a period of six weeks, our eldest son graduated from college (remember the “I can’t make this stuff up series with the snake in the hedge fund office and the crazy Craiglist, druggie apartment? Yes, him), our second son turned 21, our third son graduated from high school, our daughter turned 17 (which was the only non “big event of the summer)  and our BABY, yes, our BABY became a teenager -13.

Amidst all that was our extended family beach trip (daily family devotions on the beach), a fun bridal shower to host, a huge family wedding which allowed us to enjoy my most favorite people sleeping everywhere around our house and another family reunion up the east coast. I could barely catch a breath.

taylor graduation family picWe took #3 son to college yesterday and our daughter had all four wisdom teeth out this morning. There is no rest for the weary.

When I started this post, I first shared on IG about all the “lasts” I was about to experience.

“When your older children all just want to come home, it’s the greatest gift for a mother. Yet as I took this picture, it’s filled with varying emotions because it’s the “last” of so many things. Last Easter break before our eldest graduates from college; last high school spring break before our middle heads to college, and last Easter picture before our youngest officially becomes a teenager. It’s hard to believe that this next season will be filled with so many firsts. Not sure this momma heart is ready for them yet, but I’m gearing up. 💕 Exciting, life changing, life giving years ahead and it’s a privilege to journey with them.

taylor and mom at GCC

After having a few months with this college graduate, he moved to downtown Chicago. Yes, downtown, as in one block off the lake and doesn’t even need a car. Growing up in Milwaukee, we warned him about the lake effect that is going to hit them hard in a few months, but again, life lessons.

wedding shower table ideas

I have a fun 15 Minute Party Planning post coming up soon, which stems from the shower I hosted. Honestly, I have quick hosting ideas down to a science, including how to decorate for them on a dime.

incourage table decorI need to hit “post” because I’ve overthought doing a series on all these monumental “life stages” that I have been going through and with that NOTHING got posted.  I have a lot of “raising teen” posts coming though (or at least the drafts of them.) My life has been in the thick of it and I don’t mind being the one to share the good, bad and ugly (And then, the beautiful.) 🙂

Now I’m off to help cater a wedding. While it’s incredibly hard physical work, I take in all the creative ideas for my “hope to be” dream, party barn. While I first shared that post a few years ago with hopes of having it built by now, money does stand in the way. We’re still taking steps to make it a reality though and continue to dream big.

Can’t wait to share it all with you, as we dream together.


  1. Yay, glad you’re back, looking forward to hearing more! I so enjoy your writing style and your heart for family. Your kids are a couple of years ahead of mine, so I appreciate the heads-up.. Can’t wait for your teen posts and also hoping with you for your celebration barn!


    Jen Reply:

    Thank you so much. Yes, I’m pondering those teen posts now. It’s always a fine line to share vulnerably and yet protect any details that need protecting. 🙂 I had to wait a few years to get past some of those. 🙂


  2. Welcome back! Yeah, youngest daughter is leaving for college in a couple of weeks. Oldest just told me that her boyfriend is borrowing his dad’s truck to help her move back to school, so no need to help. Yikes, we are so in the same season! But isn’t it a relief to have kids who know their own minds and who can sort things out on their own? The best thing is being able to *not* worry about how they will get along. Have fun.


    Jen Reply:

    Oh yes, Kristina, we sure are. Isn’t it crazy? Where are those babies of ours? I still have a few more years with our youngest at 13, but so far, she’s my easiest and I made her promise she would stay that way. hahaha


  3. So glad you are back & I look forward to your new posts!! Your son will love living in Chicago! I moved there from NC not long after I graduated from NCSU (well, I spent a few months in TN, but then was relocated to Chicago.) It was the best experience for us! (I got married a month after moving up there!) We loved living in the city & the “couple of years” that we thought we would be there turned into 9 years & our first 2 babies! That city will always hold a special place in our hearts!!


    Jen Reply:

    AWW! Thanks for sharing that. It’s the perfect place for him right now with being single (and able to handle that lake effect in the winter. He’s one block of the lake and has no idea what he is in for ;)).

    I’m hoping it doesn’t turn into 9 years with two babies only because this momma’s heart sure would miss him that far away. 🙂


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