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 appearances and interests have changed. It’s also interesting to note that my routine seems to change very little from year to year.
Around here, the day usually begins between 7:00 and 7:30 A.M. I used to be able to rely on DJ to wake me up, because he seemed to have an internal alarm, which jolted him awake at 7:00 A.M. on the dot. He always called for me to come get him, but lately he’s been playing quietly in his crib after he wakes up, so now I’m back to setting my alarm clock.
After I get up, the first thing I do is wake the girls. While they’re getting dressed, I get DJ out of his crib, and change and dress him for the day.
By this time, Bee is usually dressed and groomed, but Cakes always needs some prodding. Sometimes I can’t even coax her out of bed, so I have to physically remove her from her cozy little nest. She either remains curled in a ball on the floor, or wanders out to the living room and flops down on the sofa. I feel sorry for her, because this is how I feel most mornings, too.
When Cakes is finally alert enough to get dressed, I go to the kitchen to start coffee and breakfast. On this particular day, my husband was already making poached eggs for himself, so he made a couple for me too,
while I toasted bagels, and cut up tangerines for the kids.
After breakfast, the girls brush teeth, and get their stuff together for school, and Bee usually remembers that she needs me to sign something.
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, one of us drives both girls to school, because Cakes has preschool from 8:30-11:00. Today, my husband handled the school run (as he most often does), and I got DJ started at the kitchen table with some homemade play dough,
and meal planning. Today, I decided on slow-cooker steaks with gravy, brown rice, and steamed broccoli, because I had a broccoli crown in the fridge that needed to be used up. I took round steak out of the basement freezer to defrost, and measured out 1 1/2 cups of brown rice, and got it soaking.
DJ was busy pushing his sister’s doll stroller around the living room, so I quickly checked emails, Facebook, and the headlines, while enjoying a second cup of coffee.
I got dressed and groomed, and then began supper prep, because round steak needs to cook for about 6 hours. I browned the steaks and put them in the slow cooker, and then deglazed the pan to make the rich oniony gravy.
I poured the gravy over the steaks, and set the temperature dial to medium. These will simmer all day, and fill the house with a mouth-watering, savory aroma.
After I finished supper prep, and got everything cleaned up, I stripped all the beds, and then it was time to get Cakes from preschool.
We went straight from preschool to the doctor’s office, because kindergarten round-up is in 2 weeks, and Cakes needed a check-up so I could get her physical form signed, and a copy of her current immunization records.
The diagnosis? Cakes is healthy as a horse, and DJ is a precocious little imp!
When we got home it was just after noon, and the kids stayed outside to play on the driveway, while I made lunch.
Pasta salad is one of our favorite warm weather lunches, and I have several delicious recipes that I rotate, depending on what I have on hand. Today, I made creamy tuna salad with garden rotini and sweet peas.
After lunch, I washed DJ up, changed his diaper, and got him settled down for his nap.
Our house rule is that until children go to kindergarten, they must have rest time for one hour after lunch. They can sleep or read, or do another quiet activity, like drawing or puzzles, but they must remain in their rooms because this is my time to rest and recharge. Also, because I’m usually too tired to read at bedtime, we read a book at rest time. Today, we read Barbie’s Fashion Show, because Cakes LOVES Barbie. She is very much a girly-girl.
When Cakes was settled in, I curled up on the sofa with my Bible, and worked on my study of the book of John. I like to have this quiet time with God while my children are having their quiet time.
Mondays are very busy days for me because I usually have to restore the house to order after the weekend, but even on my most hectic days, I always try to rest in the afternoon for about a half hour. This little cat nap energizes me for the second – and most difficult – half of my day, and makes me a much better mother and wife.
After rest time, Cakes and I went outside, because I wanted to take advantage of the warm, breezy weather, and hang some laundry on my outdoor clothesline.
We walked around the yard and admired all the flowers, which are in full bloom already, thanks to the unusually warm and early spring we’ve had this year. Cakes decided that the flowers needed water, so I filled the watering can for her. She loves to water stuff.
When we came in, I turned on an episode of Martha Speaks for Cakes, while I went to work. Between 2:00 and 3:30 is when I typically get the most accomplished, in terms of housework anyway. First, I remade the beds with clean sheets.
I also folded all the laundry that was sitting in baskets, and sorted it by bedroom to be put away.
Then I unloaded and reloaded my dishwasher,
and washed my pots and pans.
Just as I was finishing up, DJ woke up, all rosy-cheeked, tousle-haired, and smiley,
and Bee came up the hill from the bus stop. She had a snack, changed into play clothes, and started her homework right away (this is the rule in our house – no TV or playtime until homework is done).
Cakes and DJ ate some raisins, and played outside on the swing set until Bee was done with her homework, and then she went out to join them. I took advantage of this time when they were happily occupied, to get my rice cooking, and chop broccoli for supper.
I also picked up toys,
and gathered up laundry to go downstairs. My husband will carry it down to the laundry room for me, because my ankle is still pretty unstable, after being broken last fall.
At 5:15, everyone came in to wash hands, and we all sat down to eat.
On Monday nights, my husband attends Bible Study Fellowship, and is gone from 6:30 until 9:15, but he usually helps me get the dishwasher loaded, and the kitchen straightened up a bit before he goes. After he left, I played outside with my kids for awhile, because it was such a beautiful spring evening – much too nice to stay inside.
I pushed DJ on the swings, while the girls climbed the crabapple tree.
Cakes, adventurous little monkey that she is, demonstrated some of her crazy acrobatics, which give me cold sweats and heart palpitations.
Pumpkin, (who is part dog, I swear) never wants to be left out, so he sauntered out to join us. He chattered at birds, and tried to catch bugs, and ate some grass that he will most likely barf up on the basement rug later.
At 7:00, we came in for showers. The bathtub is still out of commission, so I took Cakes and DJ in the shower with me, and soaped and rinsed all three of us in an assembly line fashion. I got DJ into his pajamas, and gave him some milk. He watched a few minutes of Caillou (or “CRY-you,” as I call him, because he’s so freakin’ whiny), while I got the girls going on their room chores.
I brushed DJ’s teeth and tucked him into bed, and then poured Cakes a bowl of cereal, because she claimed to be “starving.” The kids often need bedtime snacks on days when they run around outside a lot. All that fresh air and exercise works up an appetite.
When Cakes finished her snack, I supervised tooth brushing, and tucked her into bed. Then I sent Bee to the shower, and cleaned up the kitchen one last time before closing it down for the night.
Bee went to bed at 9:00, and shortly after I tucked her in, my husband came home. As is our habit, we made a bedtime snack, and settled in front of the TV to watch an episode of The Wonder Years.
By 10:00, we’re usually pretty wiped out. My husband takes a shower, and we retire to our room, where I usually read a few pages in one of the 57 library books I always have checked out, unless I’m too tired to concentrate, which seems to be the case more and more lately.
If this seems like a long, tiring day, well…it is. And I’ll be honest – sometimes it’s hard for me to face doing it all, over and over again, day, after day, after day. But even on the most exhausting, frustrating, hectic days, I never forget how lucky I am to have this life. Because with the hard times come the funny times, the sweet moments, and the days when you wish you could take a mental picture and remember every single detail.
The days when you wish it would never end.
We make a real effort to keep our focus on our top 3 priorities – faith, family, and friends – but we don’t always succeed. I don’t think anyone does. But when we do, the rewards are immeasurable, and it’s all so worth it.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34
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