One day each year, I keep my camera with me and document the day’s happenings. I do this because it’s not the big events, but the minutiae, the everyday, ordinary, workaday things that really make a life. It’s fun to look back on these posts and see how the children’s appearance and interests have changed. It’s also interesting to note that my routine seems to change very little from year to year.
After I had children, I realized that as long as there’s a baby in the house, an alarm clock isn’t really necessary. As did Bee and Cakes before him, DJ wakes up around 7:00 A.M. every day, without fail.
I’m very thankful that he doesn’t get up earlier, because I don’t function well before 7:00. I’m not a morning person but, judging by his enormous grin, DJ very clearly is.
I blame his father for this.
This morning, after I changed and dressed him for the day, I got DJ settled in his high chair with some milk and cereal, while I prepped breakfast.
Last night before I went to bed, I started a double batch of polenta in the slow cooker. Topped with a little milk, sugar, and some raspberry preserves, it’s a delicious, and very filling breakfast.
After I ate, and drank a cup of coffee (which my husband had already brewed. Woo hoo!) I got the girls up. While Bee was getting dressed and groomed, Cakes wandered out to the kitchen, still in her PJs. It takes a long time for her to wake up because, unlike her siblings, Cakes is not a morning person either.
She’s still adorable, even when she’s cranky.
While the girls were eating, my husband, who had been up since 4:45, came upstairs for coffee, and to see if I needed any help with the kids. And look at him!
If I had to get up at 4:45, no WAY would I be this cheerful.
After the girls finished eating, I helped Cakes pick out clothes, and then I got dressed myself. We all brushed our hair and teeth, and while the girls got their coats, shoes, and backpacks on, I took DJ down to my husband’s office. We keep our playpen, and an assortment of toys down there, so my husband can keep an eye on The Boy without him getting into everything.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, when Cakie has preschool, Bee does not ride the bus. I drop her off at school at 8:20,
and I take Cakes to preschool at 8:30.
After I dropped Cakes off, I made a quick stop at the local grocery store to buy 15 more pounds of $1.98/lb ground beef, because the sale ends today. I also picked up chocolate milk and graham crackers (on sale – yay!) for preschool on Thursday, because it’s Cakie’s turn to be snack helper.
When I got home, I retrieved DJ from his playpen, and we rocked and read his favorite book, The Good Bad Cat. I got him settled in his crib for his morning nap (doesn’t he look thrilled?)
A few months ago, he went through a no-nap phase, and I was fit to be tied, but in the last few weeks he’s returned to his 2-naps-a-day routine, and I really just could not be happier about it.
When DJ is settled, I get to work on the two chores that make our world go ’round; laundry,
and meal planning. I pressed the leftover breakfast polenta into a greased, 9×5 loaf pan, covered it, and put it in the fridge. I got a package of Italian turkey sausage out of the freezer, along with a package of chicken breasts for tomorrow night. Tonight, we’ll have cheesy fried polenta slices with sausage, tomato, and basil sauce, and a side of green beans.
With my supper plan in place, I divided the ground beef I purchased and packaged it for the freezer.
At 10:00, I called my husband and told him to listen for DJ, because I was heading out for my walk. Walking in our small town is fun because I occasionally come across sidewalks like this,
and some interesting and unusual lawn ornaments. I walk by this dinosaur every morning, and it always amuses me. DJ would love it.
While listening to my MP3 player, I walked briskly for 40 minutes. One of my favorite songs to walk to is Everlasting God by Lincoln Brewster. It really gets me pumped up and ready for the day! After my walk, I picked up Cakes at preschool.
As we drove up the driveway, we noticed that the tulips are coming up along the fence! Of course, we had to investigate.
When we got inside, DJ was awake and talking to himself in his crib, but before I set him free, I took a quick shower because I know what it’s like to attempt a shower with a toddler on the loose (see How a Mom Takes a Shower).
Yep. Not my first rodeo.
After my shower, I warmed up lunch. We had leftover spanish rice bake and salad from last night.
After lunch, I loaded the dishwasher and cleaned up the kitchen. As always, I had lots of “help” (those are Bee’s pajama pants over DJ’s arm. He likes to carry stuff like that around for some unknown reason. Doesn’t he look like a butler, or a waiter in training?)
I’m telling you, this boy is going to make a fantastic husband for some lucky woman. He’s very enthusiastic about housework.
When the kitchen was clean, I surveyed the disastrous living room. And now I’ll share a little secret with you; when the kids have junk scattered everywhere, I get a broom and literally sweep it all into a pile.
I sort it into these two baskets, which we keep on our fireplace hearth – one for the girls’ room, and one for DJ’s room. I put DJ’s stuff away, but I put the girls’ basket just inside their door, and they have to put their own stuff away.
Voila! Order is restored in 10 minutes or less.
It’s the Fed Ex method of housecleaning – put all the stuff in a central location and then disperse it to the appropriate destinations. It’s much faster and more efficient.
(You may have noticed that Cakes is back in her PJs. They’re new, and she’s obsessed with them. She would wear nothing else, ever, if I would let her).
At 1:15, I rocked and nursed DJ, and put him down for his afternoon nap. Then I read a story to Cakes, to settle her down for quiet time. Disney Tangled is her current favorite, and I’ve read it approximately 547 times.
The rule in our house is that children must have “quiet time” for one hour after lunch, until they go to kindergarten. They don’t have to sleep, and Cakes usually doesn’t, but today she fell asleep right away, just as I knew she would. She was yawning all through lunch.
At this time of day, my energy starts to wane. I’ve been going non-stop for 6 hours, and I’m usually pretty tired. Today, I took advantage of a quiet, peaceful house, and read my Bible for awhile. I’ve been following a daily Lenten devotional book from our church.
Pumpkin came in and sprawled out next to me, and we both dozed off for about 20 minutes. Naps are even better with a warm, purring cat curled up next to you.
When I woke from my “cat nap,” the kids were still sawing logs. I switched laundry to the dryer, started another load, and folded and put away two more loads.
Tuesday is my free day, (well, I say “free”) which means that I do only my daily tasks, but no extra cleaning, yard work, or desk work. It’s the closest I typically get to a day off. I do try to spend at least 15 minutes in my current cleaning zone which, for April, is Zone 4 – the master bedroom and bathroom. Today, I picked a task from my cleaning list that didn’t take very long, but really needed to be done. I cleaned the ceiling fan over our bed.
Now I won’t have to lay in bed and stare up at dust bunnies!
DJ was the first to wake up. He’s always hungry and thirsty after his nap, so I gave him some chocolate milk and a graham cracker, which he ate while gazing longingly out the window. The Boy LOVES to be outside.
After his snack, we played for awhile. We pushed his toy cars around the rug, and I attempted to make satisfying “vroom, vroom” noises. We also made a block tower, which DJ happily toppled, and then looked expectantly at me until I built another one. Which he also toppled.
While DJ and I were playing, Cakes was rudely awakened by our town’s extremely loud fire whistle. She came running out of her room in tears, but after some cuddles and cookies, she was back to her smiley self.
While Cakes had her snack, and DJ bustled around, opening all the cabinets and drawers, and generally causing mayhem, I ate a piece of celery with peanut butter, and made a second pot of coffee. Without it, I’m not sure I could get through this last leg of my day.
At 4:15, I got everyone dressed and into the van,
and we drove to the school to pick up Bee from her Good News Club meeting.
Good News Club is a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship, and once a week they meet in the library at Bee’s school. They have a Bible story, songs, snacks, and activities, and the children win little awards for memorizing Scripture. Bee really enjoys it.
Bee has no homework this week because of basic skills testing, so when we got home the girls took their brother out to the backyard to play. I checked my blog comments and e-mails, while keeping one eye on the sliding door to make sure that the kids were playing safely. Bee is very protective of DJ, but Cakes can be a little…rough.
At 5:00, I started dinner,
and my husband came home from an afternoon of appointments. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see him walk through that door! I turn into a Chatty Cathy doll, twittering on and on, while he smiles and nods indulgently.
At 5:30, we called the kids inside to wash hands for supper,
and Cakes got back into her PJs. I’m going to have to sneak them out of her room to wash them, just as I used to do with Bee’s Snow White dress.
After supper, I cleared the table and loaded the dishwasher (again), while my husband gave a very messy DJ his bath. I’ve never met a baby who loves water as much as he does (see Water Boy). If he smiled any wider his face would surely crack.
After his bath, my husband brought DJ out to the kitchen for the smell test, which has been our nightly bath time ritual since Cakes was a baby.
My husband got DJ ready for bed, and while I rocked and nursed him, the girls went back outside to play a game called “Sharks and Minnows.” Apparently, Bee learned this in Good News Club, and was eager to teach Cakes how to play.
At 7:15, DJ was in bed, and I called Cakes in for her bath. Bee did her room chores and then, inspired by a comment on her blog, she decided to write her first blog post in nearly a year. It takes her a very long time because she only knows the hunt and peck method of typing.
After her bath, Cakes did her room chores (cheerfully, even!)
and I finished cleaning the kitchen for the last time today. My husband, bless his heart, offered to mop the floor for me,
while I tucked Cakes into bed.
At 8:15, I sent Bee to the shower. When she was all scrubbed and shampooed, she got into her PJs and brushed her teeth, but before she went to bed she demonstrated how to make a very long necklace out of a piece of paper. Her teacher taught the class how to do this, as a way of testing their listening skills.
Bee was in bed by 9:00, and my husband and I settled on the sofa to watch Chopped, one of our favorite shows. This is our best-loved part of the day because the house is quiet, and we have time alone. I mean really, have you ever seen two people look happier to be together?
By the time Chopped was over, my husband was already snoring, and my eyelids were getting heavy, so we shut off all the lights, locked up the house, and retired to our room for hot showers, and a couple episodes of Friends on DVD (well, I watched them. My husband was asleep before his head hit the pillow). At 11:00. it was lights out for me.
Tomorrow, I have to get up and do it all over again. No, scratch that. I get to get up and do it all over again. It may not always feel like it, but honestly, it’s a pretty charmed life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
For more of the riveting drama that is our life, please see: