spilled milk {shakes}

Summer is near.

Yesterday, is what will be known as the great milkshake debacle of 2013.

We were celebrating award day at Aiden’s school, by stopping by Sonic on the way home. I decided to get all three kids small chocolate milkshakes with whipped cream. Only when I rolled up to the window, the lady handed us three larges, and said it was ‘on them’. So I thanked her, took them, and we started to drive. Only I’d made the mistake of handing the shakes to all three kids. For some crazy reason I’d momentarily lost all signs of sanity and decided they were old enough to hold on to, and enjoy said milkshakes whilst in a moving vehicle.

My three year old McButterfingers thoroughly enjoys spilling things. It’s like his talent was doled out to him on a silver platter in heaven before he was made into an embryo baby and sent to me, and God was all, have fun spilling things, son! It will really challenge your mother! And with a hardy laugh, off he was released into the galaxy to become my offspring.

He may burn the house down before he’s four.

It was happening in slow motion. Not in an over exaggerated writer-making-a-dramatic-point-way but in a literal, it was tilted on his belly and he just sat there screaming because it was cold, way. And milkshakes fall in gloops. And no one would help McButterfingers grab his icy cold beverage that was now dripping down into the small cervices of our car while I tried to pull into the parking lot of Target and avoid unnecessary traffic collisions. There, a woman with her shopping bags was able to witness me scurrying from one side to the other while throwing as many napkins as I could onto a now-forming ginormous chocolate puddle that extended for what felt like three feet, under the seats. I’m not perfect, and I apologized… But I yelled. Self-pity filled rants about not being able to have anything nice and why wouldn’t someone help him?!

I felt awful. And overreactive. And mean.

Two of the three Mills children were crying. Aiden kept asking me if he was in trouble. In that moment I knew that soon we would be laughing about it when the car stops smelling like fifty rotten milk cartons outside of an elementary school dumpster for the next decade. It was just a milkshake. Why was I yelling?

Spilled milk {shakes}.


It’s one of those weeks.

It’s the one where my three year old just isn’t really taking to this potty training thing. Like, poo-on-the-carpet-twice not taking to it at all. He may go to high school wearing diapers. Our house is an absolute wreck and I can’t seem to get my growing list cropped down… there’s always something more pending in a life with children. I’m covered in paint (and pee) and had this brillz idea to do a juice cleanse this week. I’m one day in so there’s no turning back. Except I just don’t care that much, and I’m to the I-would-cut-you-for-pemento-cheese-on-homemade-bread-this-is-the-worst-idea-ever-extra-cranky stage. Chloe {the dog} keeps vomiting on the floor. And if one more sibling screams like they’re being eaten alive by gigantic fire ants on roids because someone took someone’s legobarbiehotwheelsveggietales, I may burn said toys… and pull all my hair out. And dance around the bonfire with my bald head a-la Britney circa 2007. That would be oh so awkwardly awesome.

The savages know it’s summer.

I told Jamin the other day that it feels like I’m having a mid-life crisis. This mid life crisis is so severe, that it came seven years early, and I’m ready to move to Tahiti. So let’s just sell everything and move. Escaping my problems sounds like a viable solution, no?

When it comes down to it, the definition of a midlife crisis is the frightening reality that we’re just like everyone else. Or that we’re on the wrong path and have been for a while, and this is it. The adolescent frustrations realized, that we’re not really special.

It’s what the world tells us, anyway.

And what, may I ask, is so horribly wrong with that? Maybe we’re looking at it all in the wrong way, and thus the phrase, mid life crisis. We’re all freaking out over… our predisposed ideas… our expectations… and not accepting our blessings for what they are.

These little things seem so petty but they add up. We have ‘real’ problems, too. Problems that feel real, anyway. Sometimes I get so frustrated and impatient and then something actually real happens. Like the recent tragedies of Boston, or Oklahoma. A sobering reminder of what truly matters.

Jamin told me the other day that I’m so caught up in the frustrations with this present chapter in my life, that I forget about the rest of the masterpiece of a novel that’s waiting for me.

My story isn’t over yet, and it’s written by the greatest author of all.

Therefore it is a masterpiece.

All of our stories are.

And they’re not over yet.

These little things like spilled milkshakes and screaming children… aren’t they the undercurrents of the real blessings in my life? The side stories and details that make a life rich and interesting.


I have fights to break up because we have a house full of blessings.

Milkshakes to clean because we were able to purchase them frivolously, and a car to detail and hope it doesn’t smell like a dumpster in a few days, because we actually have a car. Most people in third world countries would kill for a mini van, and I’m busy planning a mid life crisis move to Tahiti. Woe. Is. Me.

There are so many sobering reminders that we really need to stop and notice.

I have impatience towards the little things because I have a very full and blessed life.

Here’s to not getting stuck on those current chapters. Or the paragraphs. Or the run on sentences that sometimes feel like someone forgot to edit.

Here’s to embracing the spilled milkshakes and praying that I have a little more grace than my usual amount, in the meantime moments of my life.

Here’s to embracing it with grace, patience… and joy.

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Responses to spilled milk {shakes}

  1. angie says:

    I love this sentence, “I have impatience towards the little things because I have a very full and blessed life.” That was beautiful stated. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Alli says:

    I love this. Thank you.

  3. Betsy C says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this right now! We move all the time for my husband’s job and we’re coming to the end of a very, very difficult couple of years in Madrid, Spain. I know. It sounds awesome, but it has been horrid and I can’t wait to get back to the States. I am so caught up in the here and now that I can’t see anything beyond today. Anyway, I needed a reminder to embrace my three kiddos and be grateful for the many experiences we’ve had, because one day living in Spain will be a wonderful memory.

  4. Jackie says:

    Yes, yes. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

  5. Aimee says:

    Haha! I love your daughters face in that picture, like she doesn’t have a care in the world. I had a similar incident about a month ago with my kids. I absolutely lost it, so glad I’m not the only one. Thankfully everything cleaned up with out smelling. I hope yours does too. Thanks for the post and reminding me I’m normal.

  6. Maria says:

    You have no idea how badly I needed to hear that today. Today is one of those “end-of-the-school-year-everyone-has-a-spring-program-and-i’m-pregnant-with-a-filthy-house” days. And I need a reminder sometime that those are in fact undercurrents of greatness and joy. Thank you so much.

  7. Mindi says:

    Can not tell you how much this resonates with me right now. As always, loved the post!

  8. Tania Luna says:

    Thank you for this- I had a bad morning while trying to get kids ready for school, make lunches, find son’s shoes that ended up having dog poop all over them, realizing that he’s outgrown all his shoes except that pair, trying to convince Daughter she needs her hair combed, sink full of dishes from last nights dinner, etc etc. etc. I was having a pity party but then I read your post… And then realized that this morning will also be a subject we will laugh about one day… I am blessed in so many ways, thank you for helping remember this!

  9. Beth M says:

    Needed this today! Thank you!

  10. Megan Oaks says:


  11. Elizabeth says:

    Ah,mothering. It is soooo hard somedays. Hang in there, you’ll make it yet!

  12. Maryann C says:

    Oh my! I’m laughing and crying for you. We have all had this day or will have it in the future. The sisterhood of motherhood. If I could vote for queen, I’d vote for you! Cuz you do it all PLUS write a blog read by thousands of people. Um, thousands. Nationwide. You go, Rockstar Mama! So no worries! (Oh, except for the dairy stink that will colonize your car. It took us nearly 2 years to get the smell 100% gone from our minivan. A humid southern summer will help it become An Entity to possess your van. Our 2 year odyssey with the rotten milk stink was after soap and water, carpet cleaner, and professional cleaning. My advice: think antibacterial cleaning product and spray from the get go. Stock up on antibacterial Febreze, Lysol, and car fresheners now.)

  13. Molly says:

    great post! i am with ya!

  14. dj says:

    Thank you for your post. I remember these days oh too well. Before you blink though they’ll be grown up. I have a junior and freshman in high school and have enjoyed the teenager years more I ever imagined (who would have thought?). Hang in there. So glad you can laugh at it now. Good luck cleaning out the van.

  15. Jen says:

    Your story made me laugh/cry because it’s all the same here and the empathy of that feeling just overwhelmed! God indeed uses these moments to make us to let go of the details and practice showing mercy to our kids. I must need extra work in this area because we deal with wailing and whining and spilling on a daily basis … some that needs to be disciplined and some that requires the parents to be more patient. But it’s a great learning experiment that passes all too quickly in the grand scheme. Blessings on your efforts this week!

  16. Joy says:

    Loved your post today. I live just a few miles south of the destruction in Moore, and feel like I have a whole in my heart. As you mentioned, these events give us new perspective, and I’m thankful for my two little ones who are making messes all over the house today. My mess is a blessing. Your posts are always so poignant, and this one was no different. Thanks for making me laugh out loud reading about the milkshakes…that was totally us just a few weeks ago but with chocolate milk instead. :)

    • Praying for Oklahoma, Joy!

      • Joy says:

        Thank you, Ashley!
        P.S. Hole….not whole…how embarrassing.
        P.P.S. My 2 yr. old threw up all over me in the middle of the mall food court today. I was covered in “chunks” (gross!), so was he, and so was the floor. Should I call that a blessing, too? :) That might be a stretch. :)

  17. Oh my goodness this sounds exactly like my week! EXACTLY. Isn’t it great knowing we’re not alone in this universe? Thanks for sharing and helping me smile!

  18. Amy R. says:

    I love this post! I am in the middle of adjusting to summertime as well and have had a few rants and pity parties myself! This is a great perspective. BTW….just reading about your milkshake story gave me nervous chills. I don’t handle that stuff well either…

  19. danielle says:

    thank you so much for being honest with the www right now. I am so there and have given up trying to maintain the sanity or even apologize for not appearing like I have it all together. The past few weeks in my family’s life have been some of the most stressful to date…. thank goodness we have a God who doesn’t wait around to “see if we can handle it” but who holds our hand as we walk through it. And now i need a nap or a really strong dose of coffee!

  20. Carol Ann says:

    I had a day like yours not too long ago. My son placed a penny in the slot of my seat belt and it jammed with me in it. I think I remember yelling at him. I think I remember screaming at him. I think I remember having to drive to an auto-repair shop to get cut out of the seat belt. I’m pretty sure this story gets told today with doubled-over belly laughs. Yep. It’s funny NOW.

    • I’m sorry. But this is absolutely hysterical. HAHAHAHAHAHA! IT sounds SO like something that would happen to me! Glad I’m not alone. And that you weren’t trapped forever in your car. ;}

  21. Toni says:

    Strawberry Frapachino on the carpet, in the van, in Los Angeles, in the summer…..: )

  22. Erin says:

    I needed to read this today. Thank you so much for sharing, for putting it all in perspective, and for doing so with humor. I teared up…then I laughed out loud. =) Hope the rest of your week goes much more smoothly.

  23. Erin Billups says:

    Sometimes I wish I hadn’t already faced sobering real life problems. It makes hearing about others so much harder. It’s crazy how easy it is to forget and not be thankful. We had sixteen amazing days of shared life together with our first daughter before she passed away. God has given us the gift of a second daughter and when I hit the really bad days and get the grumps I remember Lily. I remember to be thankful. I remember to rejoice in life no matter how messy. Even with our loss though we often forget. Really we are all like kids and never change. I wonder how God puts up with us all in our silliness.

  24. Monica says:

    Needed that reminder today!

  25. Trisha M says:

    Thanks for sharing this! Have you ever read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom? This post reminds me of her book and perspective on life.

  26. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this post! This has been my week. Sans the great milkshake spill of 2013. Today I had enough whine from the kids to start a winery! Thanks for the reminder to embrace the joy. Always love reading your blog. Thanks for making me laugh.

  27. Sam says:

    This came at the perfect time! We all have those weeks where nothing seems to go our way…..our bosses are unappreciative, our significant others can’t read our minds, our pets won’t stop knocking things off of all of the surfaces in our homes….but it’s a beautiful life we live, and I’m extremely thankful.

    Thanks for posting this :)

  28. Beth says:

    Hey Ashley, I’ve read your blog for a while now and I love what you do. I watched you do the sunroom and was amazed. Anyway, I had to tell you , DON”T worry about the spilled milk. Even if it stinks for a while, you will get use to it. I am a 57 year old grandma now, but I was a oldest girl, people pleaser too. It took me a lot longer to get where you are now, so be grateful that you got it together sooner, rather than later.
    Although I know you have heard this before, you will look back one day and say, where did the time go? How did they grow up so fast? They want to go to college where? You met who? When are you getting married? Where are you going to live? When is the baby due? Why do they have to live so far away? It happens so fast you think, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY LIFE? Where did it go? So, go try to get as much of the milkshake out of the van as you can and get the kids to go with you. Yeah, I know ,they will moan and complain, but do it anyway! Maybe, just maybe ya’ll will find something to laugh about and they will forget that you yelled and hopefully, they will only remember that their mama was with them after school and got them a milkshake. Blessings to you and your precious family. Beth

  29. Katie says:

    Oh, I have been there. Many times. There have been several days when my kids were younger (they are now 9,7, and 5) when my mom would call and ask me how I was and I would tell her I felt like going outside and lighting myself on fire. Now when my kids scream like they’re being eaten by mutant fire ants I tell them the only time they get to scream like that is if someone has cut off a limb.
    I still need to be able to remember in the moment of frustration that it’s going to be okay. I haven’t really gotten there yet. I can see it later, even just a few minutes later, but I still struggle with it in the moment.

  30. Val says:

    Are you sure you’re not writing about my life?I am right there with ya sister! I knew the story before I even read it. I had the same kind of day! LOL Just replace my 13 yr old “Messy Marvin” daughter spilling her smoothie in her room with your 3 yr old. Thank you for sharing, makes me feel like I’m not the only one!! YES to embracing it with grace, patience and joy!

  31. Amy says:

    I do not comment often on my favorite blogs. This post just hit so close to home. Your writing is just plain awesome, and at this point in my life makes me appreciate the stupid things that stress me out. You’re so right…I needed this reminder. Thank you.

  32. Love this post…but mostly? I love that you took a picture of your kid covered in milkshake. High five, mama.

  33. Jeanne says:

    Ashley, AMEN sister! With two girls who are soon-to-be 6 and soon-to-be 3 and another blessing on the way in two short months, sometimes I feel like my life is spinning out of control. But then I stop and think, what would my life be like WITHOUT all of this? And it gives me pause. Like you, I am blessed to have the children I have (maddening though they may be at times), a minivan to drive around in, a job to pay the bills with and some “fun” money left over to play with. I truly enjoy reading your blog because I feel as though I can relate to a lot of the situations you talk about each day, that, and you made me laugh so hard with the beginning of this post, if I’d been drinking a milkshake at the time, it would have come out my nose!!! Thank you.

  34. Julie says:

    Ditto everything that Beth said below.
    With four kids & a traveling husband, my sanity was in question alot of the time. Now I wish we had do- overs in this life because I wouldn’t have sweated the small stuff. I would have complained less & been silly more. I used to pray for silence, just for a moment-be careful what you wish for. What I would give for the sounds of kids filling the house every day! That longed-for silence is deafening when they’re gone. It’s just way too quiet.

  35. Lori says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts this way – it truly hit home with me right now. We have just sold our home after it being listed for 8 months, have bought a new house and are in the middle of packing. Add to that we have recently cleared out the estates of my mom and my mother-in-law (both of who have passed away) and a lot of their things are scattered around our home. My sister, my great-nephew and an old family friend all died recently (along with my mother-in-law) in a span of 3 weeks. And just last month we had to have our 14 year old German Shepherd put down – she had been with us since she was 7 weeks old. AND, my husband and I own an antique store in cottage country that is now open 7 days a week. Talk about not having enough hours in the day!!! I normally handle stress well but I have to admit that lately, at times, it gets the better of me. I happened upon your post today and it really hit home – brought me back down to earth and made me reflect on the important things in my life. Thank you soooo much! I’m finished my coffee and have to get back to packing now, but want to thank you – I’ve got a little bit extra bounce in my step now. :-)

  36. This post is complete and total hilarious perfection! You are an amazing writer! Don’t ever stop!

  37. Jenifer says:

    Awww…I love this post! So very true. We live a crazy ratt-race life (like everyone else) and I would regulary have “many-o-pitty-party”. I’d wonder WHY I had to work full time? WHY are we so busy? Why can’t I get anything done? Why does my house look like Sanford and Son’s garage? Why does our laundry get so backed up that I have to BUY new underwear to have clean ones? Why don’t I have time to cook a healthy meal for my family? Why am I so tired? WHY WHY WHY? Well, if you haven’t been invited to one of my pitty parties…please don’t feel left out. And I don’t plan to have any more. That’s right, PARTY’S OVER Y’ALL!!! Even though I’ve always KNOWN I am blessed and have always been greatful for these things..something has changed “in” me (we all know WHO that is 😉 that has turned my weariness into THANKFULNESS!!! I am just so darn thankful to have a life, a family, my children, a job, my car, a house to mess up, clothese to get dirty…all of those things…that I literally found myself smiling as I was putting away clean towels last night. As my son was screaming “MOM” at the top of his lungs in a long and drawn out fashion…I giggled to myself. I love that sound. I love that I have two littles to call me MOM and a hubby that calls me honey. Most days. Unless it was last Wednesday. 😉 Ok, so I’m done with rambling. All this to say DITTO THAT Ashley! And if it is any comfort…I totally lost it with Maddie this week and made her cry. I felt awful. I apologized. But it will happen again. And I will apologize again. Thank goodness for forgiveness! Have a blessed week!!! :)

  38. Naomi W. says:

    Aren’t we thankful that God does get us thru day/weeks/months like what you have been having. Thanks for reminding me that I need to get the right perspective on the challenges of my life right now. Thanks for being honest!

  39. Blair says:

    I can so relate to this!! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed but I am so thankful to have messy fingerprints to clean off everything, and I do mean everything :)

  40. Christina says:

    It always happens that when I’ve had a freak out day, instead of sleeping I stay up late catching up on work/blog reading/e-mails/whatever while my husband and two month old snooze away. And then I end up on your blog. And I read something that you’re going through that is eerily relevant to my freak out day. Today I went into a tailspin of crazy on the way home this evening while my baby screamed for an entire 25 minutes in the backseat (I have the one baby in the world that hates car rides). 15 minutes in I screamed back. Loudly. Which scared her quiet…for about 30 seconds. And then I felt awful. It IS one of those weeks. Thanks for being real. Thanks for reminding me…grace, patience, and joy. Got it. Now I’m going to go watch my baby sleep (especially because she did none of it last night).

  41. Kyla F says:

    I love this Ashley: “My story isn’t over yet, and it’s written by the greatest author of all.” I often grow impatient when things don’t go the way my semi-control-freak-self has planned. Then I stop and remember that He already knows what tomorrow will hold and I that I need to trust and enjoy the present moment because I will otherwise miss out on the blessings in front of me.

  42. Tiffany says:

    This was so encouraging and offered such wonderful perspective! It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day. Thank you for sharing. :-)

  43. Sandra says:

    Thank you so much for this post. As I was reading it, I felt
    I could have written it. This mom gig is no joke but I do need see the humor in it more often. Thanks for reminding me how lucky I am to have what I now call ‘luxury problems’.