Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day in the Life: Winter 2014

Today is Tuesday, January 21.

5:45 a.m. My alarm goes off.  I turn it off and just lie there.  I agreed weeks earlier to Tim's suggestion that I try getting up at 5:45 every weekday morning for the month of January.  For about a week, I was really good about it, dragging myself out of bed AT 5:45, and having a good head start on the kids.  But after that first week, it has only gotten harder and harder.  This morning I do manage to rise at 6 or a few minutes after.  This is a vast improvement from waking up at 7 when Annie comes to get me, and all of them having to deal with a zombie for a mother.  I make the bed, get a cup of coffee, and just sit at the table while Tim gets ready to leave for work.  The four day weekend is over, back to the grind.  I sit there kind of uncomprehendingly, like 'Why am I here and not in bed?'  Tim laughs at me and takes this picture with my phone.  
Yup, this early wake up time is working out really well for me.
6:45 a.m. For what it's worth, I've had my time to drink my coffee, gather my thoughts, and check Facebook and email.  It's time to get the girls up.  Annie can't wait for breakfast, so she's happy to get up and get going.  Using one of our little red stools she scrambles up on top of the counter to choose her breakfast.  Dinosaur oatmeal today.  Delaney takes a few more minutes, but she appears in the kitchen soon afterward, dressed and wanting some oatmeal too.  As they begin eating, I hear Timmy call, "Mama, where are you?"  and I get him up at at a little after 7.  At 7:30 we take Delaney to school.  
7:50 a.m. Back at home I have Annie and Timmy get dressed.  We don't have much on the agenda today, just Piyo at 9:30 and a quick grocery store trip.  Annie tells me that laying the clothes on the floor helps her decide what goes with what.  I think she does a great job.  Timmy wants to take off his own pajamas.  I clean up the breakfast mess in the kitchen and we putz around the house for awhile longer.
9:07 a.m.  We go to the Y, and I drop the kids off in the babysitting room and go to my class.  Timmy -- ugh, sometimes that kid is just so difficult.  He wants to sprint out the door when it's time to leave, and I have to catch him by the back of his shirt.  He does not want to hold my hand crossing the parking lot.  Instead he wants to go inspect the puddles around the bases of the flagpoles.   I hand Annie my yoga mat and then my water bottle so I can lift him up over my shoulder and we can get out of there.  I know it's natural for him to want to explore, but I don't feel like spending even a couple extra seconds crossing the parking lot.  I want to get to the store and get home.  The random thought occurs to me that the sight of us -- a mom bearing a kicking and squirming toddler, with a preschooler walking alongside -- is such a normal part of the scenery in this parking lot that we are probably invisible any other people who happen to be around.   

11:00 a.m. We get to Harris Teeter and as we drive into the parking lot Timmy says, "I found Harris Teeter, Mama."  I say, "Oh look, here we are, Harris Teeter.  Timmy found it!"  It is crowded there as usual, but I only need to get two bunches of bananas, a pair of avocados, and a salad.  It is much easier leaving Harris Teeter than it was leaving they Y.  Being able to zoom through the parking lot with Timmy in a cart has a lot to do with that, I'm sure.  I'm really hungry after that, especially after seeing the kids chow down their free sugar cookies, so I eat a banana when we get back to the car.  I try to be sneaky about it since we have a rule about not eating in the car (that I do actually abide by most of the time), but Annie catches me.  
11:30 a.m. We get home, I throw something together that will pass for lunch, and then it's outside to play.  Tomorrow promises another arctic blast, possible snow and super-low temperatures, so I say let's soak up some vitamin D while we can.  Today is a beautiful day, sunny and 60.  Very windy, though.  The loblolly pines are swaying back and forth, and we give up trying to toss a bouncy ball after it keeps getting away and rolling toward the rocky hole.

Tim has removed the training wheels and pedals from the girls' bikes to help them learn how to ride, after showing them a YouTube video of some kids learning that way.  Progress is slow going for both of them, with lots of pushing and not a lot of gliding.  We don't have hills, and if we did that would be a little scary since they don't have brakes.  Tim thinks once spring comes and we have more nice days, they'll get more practice and catch on.  Timmy will never have training wheels.  I don't have any better ideas.  I didn't learn to ride a bike myself until I was 7, and as for having brakes I was too scared to use them.  I jumped off the bike while it was in motion to avoid having to stop and then, presumably, fall over.  Or run into a wall.  Annie has little patience for this process and today she practices for maybe five minutes before deciding that Timmy's Thomas the Train trike is more fun (and a lot less work).

Timmy pushes his "cozy coot" as fast as he can from one end of the driveway to the other.  I think to myself, 'Get all your energy out because naptime is coming.'
12:45 p.m. Annie is protesting having to take a nap.  Over the long weekend we let her skip it a couple of times, but I still think she needs it most of the time.  I tell her that I'll set Mr. Clock to wake up early, and then she can come out and have some craft time by herself before Delaney gets home and Timmy gets up.  She brightens at that and watches while I set her naptime on the My Tot Clock for an hour-and-a-half instead of two hours.  She reads us a BOB book for storytime and then they both go down for a nap.  

Each and every day for as long as we've had one well-established naptime in this family (since Delaney was 6 or 8 months old?), that time of the day comes and I have this moment of glee like, 'I can do anything!  What do I do first?'  Every time, it never gets old.  I upload the photos I've taken with my camera and I'm glad I did.  The lens is obviously filthy and there's a visible smudge in almost every photo.  I Google the best way to clean the lens of my camera, a Canon S100, and I get, among other things, breathe on it and use a microfiber cloth.  Good, that's what I wanted to do.  The lens is tiny so I put the cloth over the end of a pencil and do it that way.  I lie down for a little while and then get up and make some coffee.  All in all, naptime is usually wasted time for me.  I have friends who could take over the world if only they had two free hours in a day, but that's not me.
2:30 p.m. Annie tiptoes out of her room and as promised, I get down some crafty stuff for her.  This kit was a Christmas gift and it has an instruction book and glitter glue in every color of the rainbow.  Annie wants me to help her make a dragonfly, so I do that.  I grumble a little when she wants me to help her make the crown next, because I kind of wish these were activities she could do by herself.  I do not find these activities to be as much fun as she does.  But it makes her so happy and what do I have better to do?

3:10 p.m. Annie has to put everything away because Delaney will be home in a few minutes and she'll need the kitchen table for homework.  When Delaney gets off the bus she tells me she almost missed her stop because she was reading a book.  I chuckle at this.  She tells me she wants to stay outside, and I tell her to play outside while she can because tomorrow is going to be freezing cold.  "Yeah, and there's going to be a two-hour delay," she says.  Another one, that's just great.  Annie only goes to school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 to 12.  A two-hour delay for Delaney automatically means no school for Annie -- that's their policy.  Between holidays and inclement weather, poor Annie has maybe gone to school twice this month and I know she misses it.  I give Delaney until 4 to run around outside, and Annie joins her.  Then I go in and get Timmy out of bed.  His naps have been only two hours in the last couple of weeks instead of the three that I've been accustomed to.  Oh well, I'll take two hours.

They are obsessed with that stupid moat around our house.  I tell them, "Please don't get your shoes wet."  I can't keep them away from that.  I have high hopes for the next house not being surrounded by a moat and not having a rocky hole in front.  
4:10 p.m. I call Delaney in and tell her to get started on her homework.  She's really hungry too so I let her have a snack.  I think she's doing more munching than homework, which is why I have to allow at least an hour-and-a-half for this whole process.  I puree the beans and chop the veggies for the black bean soup I'm making.  She needs a lot of assistance from me tonight.  It's almost like her teacher is frantically trying to comply with Common Core standards because there are extra worksheets and changes to the reading and journaling assignment.  There's a worksheet that is kind of social studies, reading, and math all at the same time.  She has to read it and then answer math questions, and then answer a "higher level critical thinking question" pertaining to it in her reading log.  It makes my head spin.  When I was her age I was in my second year of kindergarten, and I don't even think I heard the term "critical thinking" until high school.  I am dismayed to see that she now has to write in her reading log four times a week instead of two.  I sigh because homework already takes up such a huge chunk of the night for her.  My brain is fried by the end of the day, I wonder how she feels.

Annie and Timmy have been awfully quiet upstairs for awhile, and I know they're just staring at the TV.  All I can do is be glad they are not fighting and needing my attention, and I hope their noses aren't pressed against the screen.  Delaney gets done and puts everything away around 5:30.
5:45 p.m.  I thought that grilled cheese and black bean soup would be an easy dinner, but I find myself aggravated at all the steps to making grilled cheese.  I have to slice the bread, for one.  It's honey wheat bread, fresh from the breadmaker.  I'm in a hurry and it shows.  Then I find out that unevenly sliced bread is hard to "grill" evenly.   I'm all for homemade bread except when I'm hungry and impatient and don't have time for it.  Perhaps next time I should slice the bread at a time when I'm not so hungry.
Tim texts me that he'll be home in 15 minutes -- yay!  I am starvin' like Marvin.  I will never, ever get used to eating dinner at 6.  And by this time I've had another banana and a chocolate oatmeal bar to get through the afternoon. 

When he gets home at 6, I am impatient to eat dinner and trying to get everything on the table.  He starts horsing around with them, and there's laughing and shrieking and feet pounding all over.  I say something like, "It's not play time, it's time to eat.  Everybody sit down!"  Tim says, "OK, OK, everybody sit down, let's eat."  Mama's hangry.
The kids are almost too hyper to sit at the table, talking nonstop, and Timmy has to be told repeatedly to sit down.  Tim wolfs down his dinner, and I keep waiting for him to comment on the soup since he's never had it before.  But he doesn't say anything, and it always drives me nuts when I make something new and he doesn't say anything about it.  When he makes me something he doesn't even let me finish the first bite before saying, "Well?"  To make matters worse, I don't even know if I want to hear what he has to say because I don't even like the soup myself.  It didn't turn out the way it did last time and I don't know why.  All I taste is the bean juice, none of the other stuff I added for flavor.  I notice he cleans his bowl, though.  Later he does tell me that he liked it, and thought the only thing it was missing was "those multicolored tortilla strips."

Tim mentions that he thinks the reason he was in a funk yesterday and had a hard time running today is he might be coming down with something.  I say, "Please don't be coming down with something."  Then I tell him, "Take a zinc.  If it's a virus it will take care of it quick."  He doesn't want to, and I chide him for being "as stubborn as the kids."  He finally takes it (probably just to get me to leave him alone) and says, "What happens if I wake up sick tomorrow?"  I tell him, "Then I'll give you another one!"  He insists on doing the doing the dishes even though he's not feeling 100%.  I feel bad and try to do them myself, but he says he'll do them, it's no problem.  Doing the dishes is a nice thing he does for me, and I appreciate it.
7:15 p.m. The night is starting to get away from us.  It's time to get the kids to bed.  They clean the playroom and have their little treat.  I give them each a teaspoon of raw honey (as I do every night -- my way of trying to keep them healthy)  We're skipping bath/shower tonight.  They brush their teeth and I read them their religion lesson and they say prayers.  Around 7:45 it's lights out.  They go to sleep pretty quickly tonight.

Again the feeling of glee -- freedom!  I get in my jammies and pour a glass of wine.  I start a load of wash and sit on the couch.  Tim browses Militarybyowner, and jots down addresses of houses we should look at when we take a short trip to Parris Island at the end of this month.  I read a magazine.  I tell Tim to take a picture of me reading this magazine because I have fallen short in the selfies department for this day in the life.  I've avoided the selfies the same way I've avoided putting on real clothes and fixing my hair.  I say, "Take a picture of me doing what I do."  He says, "Go get your wine."  Too late, it's all gone.
We are both in bed by 10.  And that's another great day in our life.  It's a lot of work for me to get these posts done, but I am always so happy to have them done.  One day this will all make a great coffee table book that our kids and grandkids will enjoy for a long time to come.  Thanks to Laura of Navigating the Mothership for hosting.


  1. Oh man…this does not have me excited for when my oldest starts real school next year :/ That is a crazy amount of homework!
    I fell short on selfies this DITL too. "Go get your wine" Too late, it's all gone." Hahaha!

  2. That early wake-up! Good for you, hope it gets easier! Can you force your husband to go to sleep an hour or two earlier every night so he can see how hard it is to go opposite your natural schedule? :)

    I'm also sad by all that homework and the thought that our kids will be so bogged down with it :(

    Thanks for sharing your day - I'm always extra interested in families with 3 kids.

  3. LOL at the early wake up photo---that is real life, right there!

    LOVE our Tot Clock so much, seems like it's awesome for you guys, too. Really enjoy reading about families with 3, like Laura said---and I always find myself annoyed at my choice to make 'easy' grilled cheeses for dinner. That was me tonight, in fact. So many steps!!

  4. Haha that first picture is great. I have been waking up before the girls lately and it really does make a difference (but I'm also dozing off soon after their bedtime...impressive that you made it until 10). I would LOVE to have synchronized nap time. They only way we can achieve that is to take the girls on a long car ride, and then they always look so uncomfortable I feel guilty. It beats grumpy no-nap kids though. I also had to laugh at the wanting the hubs to comment on the soup even though you didn't like it yourself. Real marriage :)

  5. Hi fellow North Carolinian! I found you from Laura's DITL round-up. Love that first picture so much! Haha

  6. I love that your son and mine both wore that shirt for the DITL posts!

    You = me on the whole learning to ride a bike. I didn't learn until I was 7, also, and always jumped off before it stopped. I may or may not still fall off my bike on occasion. :)

  7. I love the idea of getting up before my kid to get things done (and love your morning picture), but I have the kid that wakes as soon as anyone else is up. I've spent many a morning really needing to pee, but not wanting to wake her up too early so I suffer in bed until a more appropriate wake up time.

  8. I commend you for even attempting to get up so early. I much prefer to stay in bed until the last possible second. Also I feel your pain on toddler boys trying to run wild in parking lots. My oldest was always very compliant but the little one likes to do what he wants, when he wants. Oh & poor Delaney, that's a lot of homework for a day!