Hey y’all I’m back! Well, we’ll see what that really means, but one of my 2017 goals is to at least blog 4 times this year, a Day-in-the-Life each season. That would be 3 more posts than 2016, so that’s a 300% improvement year-over-year. I’ll take that kind of progress!
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves… baby steps.
I’m documenting a random, boring, pretty routine Tuesday in January. I am 35 years old, Dan is 36, and the kids are 7 (Gus), 5 (Louie), and 22.5 (Olive). We are on the second week, rather first full week, of getting back into the swing of things after the holidays, over which I took a considerable amount of time off work while the kids were out of school and full on checked out of anything to do with work. It was glorious!
So to reiterate, first full week of routine, and packing lunches, and dragging children out of bed to go to school, and regular showering. That’s where we’re at. So let’s dive on in!
1:30 a.m. – Olive is standing in her crib crying. Wants milk and snuggles and mom, per usual. Eventually I put her back in her crib and she requests that I lay on the floor while she falls back asleep. This is a regular thing, which is why we have blankets and a pillow on her floor. Le sigh.
3:45 a.m. – I wake up with a stiff neck on Olive’s floor, the whole right side of my body is numb and my right hand is asleep. Good times. I quietly sneak out and down the stairs to our bedroom. It’s freezing (drafty as hell old house, frugal warm-bodied husband), so per usual I up the thermostat from 68 to like 73, thinking that will surely be the thing to keep her asleep peacefully the rest of the night. She was obviously cold, because I’m cold. (I do this every single night on my way back to bed after getting her back to sleep. It feels rebellious.)
I snuggle up to Dan to steal his cozy heat and rub my freezing cold feet up and down his legs to warm them up. I am a peach.
5:15 – My alarm goes off. Snooze.
I am the worst. I finally drag myself out of bed at 5:54. Dan has been up since 5:30 a.m. and is happily scurrying about the house getting himself ready, unloading the dishwasher, eating a healthy breakfast, watching the news, prepping winter clothes and pulling together clothes for the kids to wear. One guess as to which one of us is a morning person. He’s also a Virgo, folks.
I wake up looking like a princess, obviously.
I hop in the shower and take the quickest shower ever, made easier by the fact that I’m not washing my hair this morning. I’m out by 6:03 and trying to move fast before Dan goes upstairs to wake up the boys and the house turns into hectic crazy town.
I hit my hair with the curling iron for five minutes, and afterwards my 3 minute makeup routine commences: all drug store stuff, a little foundation, heavily under the eyes, blush, and mascara. That’s it. Pretty basic. People into makeup please teach me your ways, or just tell me what to buy and what to do and I’ll do it. I still feel very ill-equipped in that department.
I get dressed quickly and then Dan comes down with the boys, whom I got to hear protesting being woken up via the monitor on my bedside table. They’re both exhausted and moving very slow. I think Tuesdays and Wednesdays are definitely the most difficult mornings for everyone. On Mondays there is a little excitement in the air, it’s the start of something new, there are friends the boys haven’t seen for a few days, and outdoor recess to look forward to! But then Tuesday comes along and we all see the week stretching out and it feels forever long and like something to sludge through. This morning I even hear Gus whining to Dan, “Why do weekends have to go so fast!” I hear ya, bud.
We don’t have the option of moving slow on weekday mornings, school starts at 7:30 and we try to let the kids sleep as late as possible, so there’s a lot of helping and walking children through steps and nudging along what has to happen. Most of that is Dan’s job because I am supposed to be leaving the house sometime in the 6:00-6:30 range. This makes sense, my commute is longer and more dependent on traffic, and I work a shorter day, and pick up the boys from school at 2:20 in the afternoon. But when we set up this system the idea was for me to get out of bed MUCH earlier than I have been doing as of late, and basically be out of the house before the kids were even a part of the situation.
I help Dan a bit with getting the kids dressed (uniforms make things very simple, I will say) and their hair managed a bit, and then he shuffles them off to the kitchen to start breakfast.
I finish up and get dressed myself, and when Dan sees what I’m wearing he rolls his eyes and makes a comment about women having it easy… leggings as pants in the office?! Not fair according to him. I admit that I’m pushing the boundaries a little bit with this outfit but I was going for comfort and something quick since I woke up so late. His comments obviously make me question the decision but there’s just no time for an outfit crisis and I’m too old for that stuff.
It’s very snowy outside and the roads are going to be slippery. “Every second you waste getting out of the house is five minutes in the car!” Thanks husband. So helpful.
I grab my breakfast and lunch from the refrigerator on my way out, and brew a cup of coffee to go in the Keurig.
(Oh Olive is still asleep. She is the main child I try to avoid in the mornings only because if I’m still home when she gets up she throws fit after fit if I am not the one to dress her and I am not the one to change her diaper or do her hair. She is definitely a time-suck in the morning for her mother only and it is easier on everyone, especially Dan and Olive, if I’m not there when she wakes up.
It is 6:34 when I turn on my car, that is one of my fastest mornings in months! I’m thinking it must have been the leggings.
A little entertainment for my commute. I ALWAYS listen to podcasts when I'm alone in the car, it makes me so happy and feels productive and makes my commute feel like "me" time.
I arrive at work at exactly 7:18. I take this picture specifically for the photo timestamp. This was definitely a long commute, probably about 20 minutes longer than usual due to the weather.
Start my day! Lots of boring work stuff that I can’t really talk about, but I’m pretty productive today. They say Tuesdays are the most productive work days and that is almost always the case for me.
My planner (I'm most definitely a paper planner girl) is essentially with me at all times, it mostly houses personal/home stuff, my work lists are kept separate and work calendar/appointments are all in Outlook. But if there’s something to do with my job that is going to impact my personal life in some way, I make sure it’s in both places so I can coordinate with Dan for the kids.
Workplace bathroom selfie! My Instagram friends I’m sure miss these. This bathroom’s mirror and lighting is very flattering, hence it is my go-to.
After tackling my inbox and having a few conversations with colleagues I head to the refrigerator and pull together my breakfast. Also while in the kitchen my second cup of coffee of the day is acquired. The coffee in my office is actually really good, this fancy machine grinds the beans on the spot for each individual cup of coffee.
If I remember to make them Sunday night I essentially have the same breakfast every work day: 2 hardboiled eggs and whatever fruit I grab from home. Sometimes I’m hungry before lunch and I grab a Luna bar from my desk drawer.
Work, work, more work. Also it’s really coming down out there still, and super windy so it’s blowing everywhere and looks like a blizzard out my window.
I’ve been meaning to make Louie’s Kindergarten screening appointment forever, somehow over the last two years it's something that I completely forgot about. The district wants you to do it sometime between ages 3 and 5, but absolutely it must happen before Kindergarten. Kindergarten is starting to feel like something that is no longer in the distant future for Louie! Next year! Crazy.
So I make that call, worried that it’ll be months before they can get me in on a Friday when I’m off work, but they have one appointment this Friday in the afternoon! Perfect, will feel super good to get this item off my list.
I also take care of another personal “to do” item and RSVP for Gus to go to this Polar Cubs event in February through Cub Scouts, it’s an all-day thing, outside most of the day, tubing and sledding and other outdoor winter activities. He’s going to flip when he finds out, his two best friends from school will likely be there as well, super fun.
A coffee mishap happens at some point and I realize the little rubber ring thing on the inside of my lid has come free, which is the source of all the leakage. Wouldn’t be a Tuesday (or Wednesday or Thursday or Monday) if I didn’t spill coffee on myself. I’m a clutz for life.
Around noon I have lunch. I eat the rest of the raspberries I didn't eat at breakfast and make a tuna sandwich. I’m feeling nervous and self-conscious about eating tuna in cube land, I swear one day someone made something with sour kraut and it stunk up our whole wing of the office. Nuh uh. Gross. I hope I’m not that person today. (And I actually like sour kraut.)
While eating, I get an email about our school’s Spring Gala, which is at the end of April. Last year somehow I got roped into being on the very small committee that puts it together, and I think that means I’m on that committee for life now. It was a stressful and exhausting period of time last year helping with it, but Olive also had just turned one and was super demanding and constantly sick, so I hope I have more to give this year. (Also it would be awesome if she doesn’t get so sick this winter and spring. Just putting that out there, Universe.) The gala is an incredibly fun, boozy event that brings in a lot of money for the school, and I had so much fun getting to know the handful of parents that worked on it last year. It’s also a great way for me to get involved as a working parent, the planning and work all happens “off hours”, and volunteering in the school during the school day is very difficult for me. Can you tell I’m trying to pump myself up for the next few months of craziness?
Anyway, the email is basically asking all of us core committee members if we’re in again this year… because they can’t do it without us. Ha. First meeting is next Tuesday!
After lunch, work, work, and more work. No meetings today! That means I’m super productive, which feels great.
I have to leave the office at the latest by 2:00 PM to get the boys, but with how it’s looking out there, I figure I should leave some extra time. So at 1:45 I get packed up.
It is bitterly cold and horrendous and windy.
I have to actually scrape my car for the first time this year. Sad.
Also these awesome little gloves my brother gave me for Christmas are great for being able to use your phone and take pictures while wearing them, but not so great for scraping your car. The little tips of my fingers feel like they’re going to fall off.
I make the drive, taking my time in the snow, while listening to the NPR politics podcast. (I loved listening to this podcast during the election, but now it’s all just so depressing. Seriously. I still am in shock. Trump. I’m kind of terrified about what’s to come, but I’m feeling like now more than ever it’s super important to stay informed and there is so much happening during the presidential transition that I want to keep up with. I would rather put my head in the sand, but I’m being an adult about this.)
I pull up to school at 2:19 with a minute to spare! Instead of waiting in the car line I have to physically go in the school this year, because Louie is in Pre-K and needs to be signed out by an approved person. So I walk up through the preschool doors and get buzzed in. Gus is waiting for me on the bench outside his 1st grade classroom, right across the hall from Louie’s classroom. It is so great having them both at the same place this year, and I expect Louie’s transition to Kindergarten to be very smooth on account of the fact that he’s been there all day, four days a week this entire year, eating lunch in the cafeteria like the big kids, going to music class and phy-ed and Spanish every week. Kindergarten is just a few doors down the hall!
We head back out to the car, which I left running, so it is nice and toasty.
This girl heard us coming and is the first thing I see when we open the back door.
The boys take off their coats and winter clothes, hang them up, throw their mittens and hats in the basket, and run right to the couch with their tablets. Dorks. After school means screen-time and snacks and really whatever they want, while mom works or gets something done around the house. I’m still technically on the clock, my job and hours are super flexible and as long as I get 30 hours in each week, all is good. So I log in after pick-up every day, but one or two days a week, if things are quiet on the work-front, I don’t actually have to work, and I can use that time to run on the treadmill in the basement or start prepping dinner. 2:45-4:20 in the afternoon is essentially my favorite time of the day, the kids usually do their own thing and have downtime after being on at school all day, and the house is just so quiet and clean and picked up and cozy. It’s a stark difference from the rest of the evening after we pick up Olive from daycare and things get CRAAAAAAZY.
Two boys with hat hair on their screens:
It is SO COLD in the house. Dan has the thermostat set to go down to 68 during the day, but it doesn’t start getting warmer until like 3:00. I change it to the “Home” setting of 72 but it’s going to be a bit before it’s actually that warm. (It still never feels warm these days, even at 72.) I also put a stocking cap on. It’s so cold, guys.
I go through the kids’ backpacks and throw the containers from Gus’s lunch in the sink, put their water bottles in the refrigerator, check to see what kind of homework Gus has, and marvel over the weirdness of Gus’s school library choices from today. That huge Robot book looks terrifying.
I finally log in and get some work done. There are a few emails that I need to answer and take care of, and a colleague IM’s me as soon as he sees me online to see if I can help him with something tomorrow when I’m back in the office. He sets up something on my calendar.
My toes are feeling numb from the cold, my socks got a little wet when I was traipsing through snow earlier, scraping my car, so I throw on another pair of socks.
Working a bit more. I’m still cold. (Sense a theme?) So I make some hot cinnamon spice tea. This stuff is our favorite in the winter, highly recommend.
How many times can I take photos of hot beverage dispensers today?
Dan points out all the time that I am constantly leaving cupboard doors open. It’s one of his pet peeves and one of my bad habits that I claim not to do, but… well exhibit A:
Bella (12 years old just last week) is making it known that she’s hungry, so I feed her and fill up her water dish.
I go back to my computer with my tea and am just annoyed and bored with work and feeling restless, so I decide that today is going to be the day. I still have an hour before we have to leave to go get Olive from daycare, and I haven’t run since the beginning of December before things got crazy with the holidays. I’m going to bitethe bullet and do this. Getting back to running after taking time off is so hard!
I get changed into the workout clothes that have been sitting on the floor for a few days in our bedroom. (I’ve been planning on running every day since Sunday but other things came up... yeah.) It’s highly possible that the fact that I’m documenting this day for DITL is part of my motivation to get on that treadmill today, we all get our encouragement from somewhere, so I have no shame in admitting that. ( I am definitely an Obliger.)
I am annoyed to find out that because I finally updated my iOS, it appears the Chrome Cast is no longer working, so I’m not able to watch something on Hulu while I run. Instead I turn on a mid-day local talk show (Twin Cities Live), put it on mute, and blast my beloved Pandora Running station on our portable blue-tooth speaker.
I run 3 miles exactly, and pretty slowly. This was my goal today and it was DIFFICULT, but I know it'll just get better and more enjoyable if I keep at it and get back in the habit. I was doing so well just a month ago!
I check in with work again really quickly, because it’s 4:05 and we have to be walking out the door to get Olive in about 15 minutes. It always takes a few minutes to get the boys corralled and off their screens. There is no time to shower, unfortunately, but the good news is, I’m not cold anymore!
I also make a quick note that it’s “Taco Tuesday!” according to my planner so I take out some ground beef from the freezer.
Louie has been so into what he’s doing that he hasn’t had a snack since we got home, usually he’s eating us out of house and home during these few hours, so when I say it’s time to go he starts melting down begging for a snack and acting like a complete crazy person. I get him a snack to take with him in the car and he’s still crying, I don’t even think he knows why he’s crying. He’s hangry crying and I admit it’s very difficult to be nice to him. Gus feels the same way and just incredulously keeps screaming, “Why are you crying, stop whining Louie!”
Louie sobs and stomps and flails his way out to the car and finally stops when we’re on the road. (Also note, YOU ARE EATING THE SNACK YOU WERE SO DEVASTATED ABOUT, WHY ARE YOU STILL CRYING CHILD!?)
I grab a banana on the way out because I’m feeling weak and hungry after my run.
Olive’s daycare is literally a block from Gus and Louie’s school, so I drive the familiar 6 minute drive for what feels like the billionth time.
We pull up at 4:30 exactly and the boys stay in the car in the driveway while I grab miss O.
She’s soooooo cute and so happy to see me and insistent, per usual, on getting her own shoes on. Her daycare provider Joan and I chit chat for a minute or two while she does this. Joan obviously did her hair today because those pigtails are too perfect to have been done by Dad.
I wrestle Olive into her car seat between the boys (we’re making the CRV work with three kids!) and head home. She’s in a fantastic mood, giggly and so excited to see her brothers, all of which bodes well for our evening.
We get home at 4:45 and Olive runs into the living room immediately and pulls out a puzzle, Gus sees his library book and excitedly tells me he asked the librarian where the Mo Willems books were today, and he checked one out! On the spot he pulls it out and bounces around reading it aloud and laughing dramatically.
Louie helps Olive with the puzzle she’s messing with, which is way too abstract and complicated for her.
Homework time. I pull out Gus’s homework, there’s always a practice math sheet they did in class and on side B is homework. Gus is sooo proud of this little note from his teacher… handwriting and neatness is NOT his strong suit. In fact sometimes it looks like he’s attempting to be as sloppy as humanly possible. Positive reinforcement! Ha.
While I’m trying to get the crew settled down so Gus can get his homework done (SO HARD with his two distracting siblings), there is some incident with Louie holding a stuffed animal and Gus trying to punt it from his arms, accidentally kicking his arm and hand and injuring him greatly. Louie is screaming like a crazy person (every injury is treated as the worst thing that’s ever happened to him) and Gus is on the other side of the room with tears in his eyes saying it was an accident. A lot of managing of emotions, telling Gus that even though it was an accident he should still say he’s sorry and see if his brother is okay, he has a hard time with this kind of thing, hates to feel like the bad guy and hates to say he is wrong.
Louie is practically inconsolable and says he hates his brother. Oof.
Things perk up when Olive comes over with one of her blankies and babies for Louie, along with baby sister hugs, and I get him some water. Gus finally admits he shouldn’t have done that and actually says, “I’m sorry Louie.” We get through it, but homework is a distant memory at this point, and the boys are off playing dinosaurs and Star Wars. My give-a-damn is busted and homework getting done before dinner is just not going to happen.
While I pee (never alone):
I get Olive some raisins because she’s ready for dinner and I have no dinner for her yet. Joan says she eats really well at lunch for her, and that’s my ultimate goal for a toddler, one good meal a day. So snacks before dinner it is.
She’s screaming at me, “PUSH, PUSH!” to get me to push her chair up to the table.
I check my email one last time and then log off.
4:58 - Snacks for the toddler and two boys that are in the basement playing Star Wars together soooooo nicely allow me to pull together dinner. I put on the Dixie Chicks Pandora station and every single song that comes on brings me back about 15 years. Not a huge country fan really, but I love this stuff. Makes me miss my girls.
Taco Tuesday fixings:
5:25 – Dinner is mostly pulled together, but I’m holding off on getting everyone to the table and getting plates ready until Dan is home.
5:40 – Dad walks in the back door. “DADDYYYYYY!!!!!” All the children come running and yelling through the kitchen, he gets quite the welcome-home party every day. We sit down to eat almost immediately (after Dan checks the mail, of course, his ritual upon entering the house).
Three different versions of the same meal for my three children...
So, a lovely family dinner commences.
Louie has his typical meltdown about what we’re eating, “TACOS! I hate tacos, ugh ahhhhh!!! No I don’t want this!” and then halfway through the meal, “I love tacos, mom look at how much I’m eating, I love tacos so much.” Lord, give me strength.
Olive is being a crazypants and we end up switching seats, because, well I don’t remember why. This is a common occurrence. She is getting up and down from her chair, running around the room, bothering Louie, climbing on Louie’s chair, yelling and giggling and smacking at Louie’s plate. She is out of control and eventually she gets her VERY FIRST TIME OUT EVER. This is a monumental Day in the Life. Memories are being made, people. Her timeout is kind of hilarious but I’m not a complete monster so I hold in my giggles. She is on the couch, tiny bottom in the air, her head in a pillow, sobbing and sobbing, every once in a while she sits up with a completely straight face, looks over at us and makes eye contact, and then throws herself down and starts sobbing again. She is so ridiculously cute, even in time out. We let her just have her tantrum on the couch and when she’s calmed down she comes back to the table, climbs up, and actually starts eating her dinner. Wow. That like… worked.
Gus has his head in a book and is completely silent (and also not eating) for the first 10 minutes of the meal, all the way through Olive’s shenanigans, until we tell him to put his Pokemon book away.
Dan reads from one of the dinnertime cards we got randomly from a Chick-fil-A kid’s meal a few weeks ago, “Name as many foods as possible that are red (green, yellow, etc.)” and we all go around the table participating. These cards are kind of amazing and help pull the kids back during a meal when we’ve lost them to hyper laughing and naughtiness.
6:30 - After dinner, while I start on dishes, Dan pulls Gus into the kitchen to discuss designing his Pinewood Derby car. The Pinewood Derby is only about two and a half weeks away and we have barely looked at the little box it came in, let alone discussed it or read the rules. So those two start looking at this block of wood that is supposed to become a car and Dan wants Gus to describe how he wants it to look, specifically he wants him to draw it for him. There’s a lot of arguing, and it’s clear Gus is not really understanding how this block of wood could ever be a car, or how he’s supposed to draw something on the little blueprint sketch Dan has started. I of course insert myself and show Gus some pictures from Pinterest of Pinewood Derby cars and this just completely distracts him and makes things worse, especially after he sees one that looks like Pikachu. Then we get the box of matchbox cars and start talking about different shapes and spoilers and showing very specific examples of the choices he has. He starts coming around and understanding, but his enthusiasm is not really there. Yay for kid activities that just involve a ton of work for the parents!
6:45 - Pinewood derby car put away, homework battles commence. (We should never wait until after dinner to have him do homework.)
Olive and Louie are super focused on stickers at the table. I continue to plug away at the dishes, but we forgot to run the dishwasher this morning and it’s practically full, so it’s a futile effort.
Olive is just entrenched in this sticker thing, she loves those Melissa and Doug reusable sticker sheets, and has been sitting there working quietly since we finished dinner. Louie loses interest quicker than his sister, and finds some activity in his Highlights High Five magazine that he wants me to help him make. I quickly finish cleaning up in the kitchen what I can, run the dishwasher and I’m going to have to come back to this after the kids are in bed.
Louie gets the scissors and we sit on the floor in the living room and cut out and put together this dog that he was so excited about. He’s pretty disappointed with how it turns out, it’s much more abstract how it comes together than it looks on the directions.
7:10 - She’s been at this quietly for at least a forty minutes, that’s hours in toddler time. Right on cue, the hyper meltdowns from the older boys begin and tired parental yelling follows. Everyone’s just exhausted, obviously, but I had promised ice cream as a bedtime snack after homework, so that’s a whole production, of course.
7:20 - ice cream has been consumed and we head upstairs to start the bedtime process.
The kids all go to Olive’s room and start playing so nicely with the dollhouse, and Dan and I are just so beat, so we allow the bedtime stalling tactic (playing with something they’re almost never interested in during the day), as it gives us a chance to sit.
Also we clean up this disaster so we can actually walk in the boys' room.
Gus takes our picture.
7:40 – Ok seriously we have to get this going. Bathroom. Pajamas. Teeth. Wash hands and face.
Dan reads to the boys in the bottom bunk while I sit on the floor with Olive, and ask her to pick out a book to read. She makes a mess pulling books off the shelf and eventually I just grab a few of her favorites.
Books are finished so we say prayers and I give the boys hugs and kisses. Olive and I go to her room and I turn on the sound machine before we settle into the big orange chair with her milk and blankie. She implores to me, “My hair, my hair! My hair down! Mom!” which despite what it sounds like means she wants me to take my hair out of the messy bun so she can hold it while we rock and snuggle. Ridiculous. ALL my children have done this, so I’m assuming it’s something I’ve created, but I don’t know how.
I fall asleep in the chair, despite the fact that I was playing around with my phone, and it is 8:40 before I get out of there, after placing a sleeping almost 2 year old in her crib and covering her up.Dan is outside shoveling. I listen to a podcast (NPR Politics again) and finish up dishes. I unload the dishwasher and load it back up. It’s full again so I run it, again. I also pack Gus’s lunch and snack for the next day. (We look at what’s for lunch the next day and Louie almost always chooses hot lunch, tomorrow it’s spaghetti with meat sauce.)
I notice the cantaloupes on the counter. Dan bought them at Costco on Sunday and 2 out of 3 look rough, I decide to cut them before they get too gross, hoping they’re not already rotting inside.
They look totally fine on the inside, perfectly ripe and delicious. Yay!
Dan comes in from shoveling and we talk a bit, then he goes downstairs to take a shower.
I pack my own lunch and breakfast for the next day. More tuna (we made it for lunch on Sunday and I don’t want it to go to waste), fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and a cheese stick.
Oh and I had a refreshing LaCroix whilst doing these tasks. I prefer to go through life with a beverage at all times.
9:40 – Like almost every night, I fill a bowl full of my favorite bedtime snack (Skinny Pop), change into jams, and finally sit down (on my bed), and waste time on social media. Mostly catching up on Instagram stories because I can’t watch videos around my children or they will commandeer my phone. Dan joins in bed soon after.
I want to watch The Bachelor from last night on Hulu, or an episode of Felicity, which I have started watching from the beginning, but turn on The Office instead because I know Dan REALLY does not want either of those shows forced upon him, even if he’s just in the room not watching them.
10:29 – Well past when I should be sleeping. Goodnight!
She didn’t slip it in the same day but it must be noted that Olive is awake again just after midnight. Awesome!