Thursday, July 31, 2014

Day in the Life: Summer 2014

Today is Wednesday, July 30 2014.  Delaney is 7, Annie is 5, and Timmy just turned 3.

7:08 a.m. I come out of a deep sleep when Timmy appears next to the bed and asks me to make him breakfast.  I look at the clock and say, "Is your clock yellow yet?"  He grumbles something and I tell him to go back to his room until the clock turns yellow.  He leaves the room and I want to go back to sleep but I know I have a busy morning and I should get up.  I debate whether to get up or go back to sleep until about 7:15.  By then I'm awake enough and I know that I'd better not wait any longer.  Tim is nowhere in sight.  I don't remember him getting ready for work or leaving.  I was really out.  I make my bed and brush my teeth, and beeline to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee.

7:30 a.m. Timmy appears in the kitchen, his clock having finally turned yellow.  He looks so cute standing there with Wuddy in hand, his thumb in his mouth, and that bed head.  I try to take pictures of him just like that but then he lies down on the floor.  To be that drowsy still, he must have gone back to sleep after I sent him back to his room.  The girls are still sleeping, but I know they won't be for much longer.  Soon they appear, and everybody's picking their packet of oatmeal out of the Quaker variety box.
8:00 a.m. Once they're done with breakfast the girls start unloading the dishwasher.  Tim made this their job every morning about two or three weeks ago, I think.  It's been working out really well.  They're a good team.  We're trying to teach them to do more and more things on their own -- not just to help me out but also to have a little independence.  I have completely underestimated what my kids are capable of doing by themselves up to this point.
They're like twins with their matching haircuts by mom!
While that's going on, I head back to my room to get ready.  We have to leave at 8:45 for Timmy's doctor appointment.  The appointment is for 9:20 but we have to be 15 minutes early.  No time to do my hair -- I'll have to just put it in a ponytail again.  In this heat it's really better to have it off my neck anyway.
Clockwise from left: Ready for the day selfie (awkward); the earrings I wear most often that sit on the bathroom vanity; my makeup, deodorant and sundries are housed in an old-fashioned medicine cabinet.
8:40 a.m. I scramble to get everyone and everything together and out the door in a timely fashion.  I am so relieved when I look at the clock as I'm driving down the road and see that it's a little slow compared to the clocks I've been relying on in my house.  Yesterday we had a doctor appointment at the exact same time and it was 7:45 on my dashboard as I was driving there yesterday.  There is plenty of time.  We get there in about 10 minutes.  It's a nice change to get to be so close to our doctors.
9: 15 to 10:30 a.m.  After we check in and Timmy is weighed, measured, has his blood pressure taken, etc., there is a long wait for the doctor.  I didn't mind having to come back here today when I thought we'd be in and out as quickly or even more quickly as we were with the girls' appointments yesterday.  But now we're all getting restless.  I start to think regretfully about how this would be a good morning for the pool, and I remember that all I had for breakfast was a banana..  And then she knocks and steps in with a cheerful greeting -- the kids' new doctor who looks like Barbie in blue camouflage.  They stop bickering and stare up at her in admiration.

It dawns on me why coming to see this doctor might mean having a longer wait sometimes.  She is in absolutely no hurry as she chats with the kids and with me, and exams Timmy.  At one point she asks why she didn't get to look at Timmy yesterday.  I tell her, "I asked a couple times but they said no, only two kids at a time."  (They being the person on the phone when I made the appointment, and the person who weighed and measured the girls yesterday.)  She explains that they had to limit how many they could see at once because some families were coming in with four or five; but she also thinks that they could be lenient about it sometimes.  Then she looks at me and says, "I'm sorry about that."  I appreciate that and tell her that it's only because we moved this summer that I attempted getting the three of them in at once.  Next year I would be taking Annie for her physical closer to her birthday in May, and then take the other two in July. 
The kids love having a grownup who wants to talk to them about kid stuff like their favorite toys and going swimming.  She has plenty to say to me as well.  She advises Windex and vinegar for ant bites.  Everyone has a remedy for ant bites around here.  If I thought North Carolina ants were bad, I had no idea..  At some point she remarks on how I have one kid with blue eyes, one with brown, and one with green.  I say that mine are green and my husband's are brown.  She then asked me about grandparents' eye colors and started talking about alleles and the chances for getting one color vs. another.  As soon as she says "alleles" I remember how fascinated I was in 7th grade science class when we talked about eye color and made the charts with B and b, and learned about dominant and recessive genes.  Then she muses, "I'd be interested to see if you guys had two more, what color of eyes they would end up with .."  I tell her about how my dad has brown eyes and my mom has green, but only one of the five of us kids has brown eyes.  "We beat the odds!"  This is a fun appointment.  
Anyone else remember these charts?  I'm such a dork.
Right before we leave she gives me a printout with Timmy's height and weight and percentiles.  42nd for weight and 65th for height -- "long and lean."  Then out of nowhere she tells me that if I want to know how tall he's going to be fully grown, I should take his height at age 2 and times it by 2.  My curiosity is piqued and I know that as soon as I get home I'm getting out growth charts and I'm calculating full grown heights for all the kids.  And I'll be getting out my own baby growth chart and seeing how tall I should be.  She says it's accurate to within an inch.

10:30 a.m. We leave and go to the commissary next for fruit and some things for tacos tonight.  Once we get home I tell the kids to play until I call them for lunch.

11:30 to 12:30: I feed the kids lunch and Tim come in to change over and go to the gym.  He tells me he's going to be late tonight so I shouldn't wait for him for dinner.  He tells me more about the major who he turned over with two weeks ago, who still hasn't left.  She's driving him crazy because she's sitting around the office doing her homework, and also talking to people and answering questions as if she still has the job.  Tim's job now.  Every day I hear about this person.  I make my own lunch and scarf it down quickly because I'm starving and also because I can't wait to see how tall the kids will be when they grow up.  Timmy wants the last few bites of my wrap, which I feed to him grudgingly.  If I made him one of his own he would never eat it.
I get out my growth charts and open the calculator app on my phone.  Results are as follows: For Timmy I get 5'10" which is probably right on the money because that's about how tall Tim is.  For Delaney I get a surprising 5'5", and I'm like no way is that kid going to be taller than me.  For Annie I get 5'8".  There are some tall genes on both sides of the family so there is a good chance of that.  Lastly, I calculate how tall I should be right now based on my height at 21 months.  My height is recorded at 21 months and 2.5 years, and there's a three-inch difference between the two so I choose 21 months.  5'7" -- four inches taller than I actually am.  Uh-oh.  I'll have to let the doctor know I'm the exception to the rule!  I wish I had Tim's height at age 2.
Well, that was a fun way to pass the time anyway.  Now I need to get the kitchen squared away.  It was a wreck even before we had lunch because I never cleaned up after breakfast.  Not enough time.  Oops. 

The kids want to play a game at the kitchen table.  They've been really into their board games these past couple days.  Delaney is sad because the seashell of her handmade seashell necklace has broken and fallen off.  I tell her that she can find a new one and make another necklace.  But she's still sad.  Oh, Delaney, what will we do with you?  The girls have changed into their Easter dresses just because.  They like to make up dance routines and perform for us sometimes after dinner.
I sit down at the computer and make the rounds of email, Facebook, Feedly and Craigslist.  I stalk Craigslist twice a day hoping to find furniture for this house.  This house is a few hundred square feet bigger than our last house, and we are spreading our furniture out to try to fill it.  Far be it from me to complain about having more space, but I just can't wait for the day when I don't look around and see walls, walls, walls, and carpet, carpet, carpet.  I know, that's complaining.  And it's only been a four weeks since our household goods arrived.  Four weeks is not a long time to make a house into a home but it's too long for me, too long.  Look at this list that sits on my kitchen counter.
If we were to go out and get everything that's on this list right now, there'd be no money for Christmas.  I can only do one or two things per month.  This house is like our Quantico base house, only bigger.  But in the Quantico house there wasn't as much pressure to do anything with it since we were staying just a year.  We're here three years and I'm impatient to get it looking the way it ought to look.  We should be pros at this!  But we've never lived in a house this big before.  It's about 2600 square feet and it has a LOT of windows.  Allow me to show you the entry and living area.
To the left just out of view is a mantel, and our big old flat screen TV is mounted above it with a riot of wires sticking out.  Tim has ordered yet more equipment from Amazon to take care of that, but it has been an arduous process and that's a whole other story.  The area where I stood to take the picture is meant to be a formal dining area.  We've never had a formal dining room, but we've been wanting to upgrade to a bigger table for awhile now so we have more room for guests.  We pondered ordering a new table and putting it here, but we don't think that a dining room table in a carpeted area fits our lifestyle.  One day hopefully we'll have a nicer (but not too nice -- we like the "distressed" tabletops!), bigger and newer table in the eat-in kitchen to serve all purposes.  So then, what do we do with all that space?  Tim wanted to leave it empty while we decided but I had a different idea.  Behold the reading nook.
Isn't it cute and cozy?  I stole the Lazyboy, table and lamp from the living room and it doesn't even miss them.  This is exactly what I mean by spreading the furniture out.  It is a lovely little corner to curl up with a book, but it looks so lost and alone over there.  I don't know what to do with all the space in the middle and I have no clue how to make it look pulled together with the other side of the room.  I would welcome any and all suggestions.  Help!

I get a text from Tim asking me to find something on the computer for him.  I go to open the folder on the external hard drive and I keep getting a message telling me that Windows Explorer is not working.  Since we've moved here our electronics have either broken or are perilously close to it.  I don't know what it is.  First it was the desktop, the same one that broke while Tim was deployed three years ago.  Now it is done for good.  My iPhone that I just got last year keeps acting up and it hasn't been updated in forever because I'm scared of what will happen.  (I also dropped it in the ocean last summer so I'm lucky it works at all.  I accept the blame for my phone's problems.)  Tim's iPad is still going strong so I'll cross my fingers that doesn't change.  We keep the laptop limping along because there is no room in the budget for new computers right now.  Things keep not working, I keep asking Tim for help, and he keeps being annoyed that I can't troubleshoot issues by myself.  Why can't things just work the way they're supposed to?

1 to 3 p.m. It's naptime for Timmy and quiet time for everyone else.  I'm going to take just a little nap myself.
I doze off and the next thing I know is the bedroom door is loudly opening.  It's Tim coming in to change back into his cammies and head back to work.  I love that his office is only a block away from home EXCEPT when he enters the room noisily while I'm trying to take a nap.  He apologizes and then he takes this picture because he knows it's a DITL.  He leaves and I make myself some green tea.
3 to 4:30 p.m.  Timmy's up from his nap and quiet time is over.  I debate what to do with the afternoon.  I'm thinking I could take them to the pool since we didn't go this morning, but they are already getting out the board games and they're so content.  It's looking very overcast now too.  If we go to the pool we're going to just get hungry there and need to go home.  No snacks are allowed at the pool (and with good reason -- we don't need to give the bugs any more reason to bother us!).  I've got plenty to do around here and since Tim's going to be late I decide the kids and I will have an early dinner.  This is turning out to be a pretty boring day.
I made myself a little cleaning schedule because I haven't hired any cleaning help since we've moved here and  I don't plan to.  In NC I had someone come twice a month to clean, and it made a huge difference to me, especially when I was on my own with three little kids and Tim deployed twice.  While I miss the experience of having the whole house sparkling clean at one time, I know it is no longer necessary for me in this season of life.  The kids are bigger and less needy, and I get a full night's rest on a regular basis.  I am so grateful to have been able to get the help when I needed it.  The weekly schedule allows me to do just a chunk at a time, and no one area is ever too disgusting on any given day.  The kids' bathroom does get pretty gnarly by Monday night, though.  Today's task is to vacuum and dust all the living areas and office.  I've been putting a lot of miles on the vacuum in this house.  
This is a free printable from, the same place I get my monthly menus.  You can use her own schedule or fill it out with your own.  I made my own using hers to help.  So many good things on this website.  
While I'm browning the meat for tacos I hear a noise at the front door, go to look and what do we have here?  Special delivery for Timmy from Grandma!  Few things cause as much excitement in our house as a package full of presents.  The girls are eager to help him and within seconds there is a flurry of boxes and wrapping paper.  The first thing he unwraps is a new outfit and new pajamas.  He says nothing about those and he's on to the next present.  When he opens it up he says, "Woah!  Woah!"  It's a big carrying case with 45 Hot Wheels inside.  He has no words.  He's never seen so many shiny new cars at once.  He starts pulling them out one at a time and lining them up.  The last present is a remote control truck.  What a lucky boy!
4:30 p.m. Dinner is served.  Everybody gets to make their own tacos.  I like the concept because it means everyone gets to pick and choose and everyone gets what they want.  The problem is it's chaos with many little hands grabbing for different things, the little food bits flying everywhere, and it makes a terrific mess.  It also makes for a lot of dirty dishes so it is not my favorite weeknight meal by far, but it's a crowd pleaser so I'll keep it.  It is harder than ever to get Timmy to sit down for dinner when there are so many new toys to play with.  I coax him into eating a couple little helpings of rice, beans and cheese before I give up and let him go play.
5 p.m. Once all the kids are done I spray them with bugspray and send them outside where they run around the playground for a little while and presumably send some of Timmy's new cars down the slide.  Tim texts me asking what time dinner is.  I text back, "Already ate.  Sorry.  Thought you would be late and we were really hungry."
5:30 to 6 p.m. They are done playing outside and they all three can't wait to get their hands on that big box of cars again.  They call me to Timmy's room so I can see the longest line of cars ever.  They want me to take a picture.  Tim shows up right then and he says, "What's this?"
6 to 8 p.m. Tim reheats some dinner and eats it in a hurry.  An Amazon package has also arrived and inside it are the new earrings I got for the girls.  I've told them already that as soon as those earrings arrive they are changing theirs.  We have only changed their earrings a handful of times since we got them pierced in April.  I honestly wish we had never done it because this is what happens every. single. time.
It's awful every time.  They act like we're trying to put a new hole in their earlobes.  They were so brave when the actual piercing occurred, when some guy with pierced, hairy nostrils took a piercing gun to their ears!  They act like we, their own parents, are trying to kill them.  I have no patience for this anymore.  I tell them, "We're taking these earrings out one way or another, and you need never put another pair in.  We'll let the holes close up and at some point later YOU can get them re-pierced when YOU are old enough to take care of it all yourself."

Once Tim takes out the earrings they've been wearing, he cleans the holes with peroxide.  Here's another things I didn't anticipate: these piercings are still scabbing up and bleeding regularly.  Just a couple days ago while they were horsing around in the living room and one of Annie's ear holes started bleeding.  I didn't even know about it until she sat down at the table a while afterward and I happened to notice the blood behind her ear, under it, and on her shoulder.  Neither of them ever complain about pain, but it makes me uncomfortable that every time the piercings are disturbed in any way they usually bleed.

If it were up to me we'd just let the piercings close up, but Tim has a lot more patience than me, and he is willing to do this again and again just like this.

After that drama is over the kids go back to playing with the cars.  Tim hopes to get some work done here, and that's why he came home earlier than he told me before.  But that is not to be.  I want to hang a picture gallery on the enormous wall across from the kitchen, so I hang up the template repeatedly and try to get it level.  Tim has been against me hanging this gallery for some reason.  He thinks I should buy some big piece of art to put there instead and I'm baffled as to why.  I thought he liked this gallery as much as I did, and we already have it in our possession.  It's free!  He complains that I think every empty wall needs something (it does), and he disagrees.  I've decided to do it myself but I'm having trouble with it.  He sighs.  "You're going to make me get up, aren't you?"  He helps me with the rest of it and when it's finally up and every frame is hanging straight I know he knows this looks better than any wall art we could find.  Another wall conquered, an item on the long list checked off.  Tim has none of the burning desire that I have to fully furnish and decorate this house.
The sun has come out for the last couple hours of the day, and I love the way the light glows through the moss in the trees.  I snap a couple pictures from our back deck and then we tell the kids it's time to get ready for bed.  They get in their pajamas and brush their teeth.  I read them their religion lesson, we say prayers and then it's lights out for three little kids.  We don't hear anything from the girls but Timmy comes out a couple times.  At one point I go in there and put my face real close to his and ask him if he remembers how his door was locked from the outside when we were in NC.  He nods.  I tell him he'd better not come back out or else ..  Then he squishes my cheeks together with his hands and starts giggling at my mushed up face as I try to give him the rest of the warning.  I give up.  That kid is so lucky he's cute.  But seriously, he needs to stay in his room.
8 to 10:30 p.m.  I get a glass of wine and I upload pictures and start working on this post.  I get a Facebook message inviting me to a playgroup in the neighborhood the next morning.  At first I'm inclined to think I'd rather take them to the pool tomorrow since they haven't gotten to go the last two mornings.  Besides, Delaney and Annie will be bored because it will probably be babies and toddlers there.. But by morning I will have changed my mind and I will go because it is a chance to meet people and I can't pass that up.  Making friends has been a slow process because I haven't learned anything from my last experience of moving to a new place.  I'm a fish out of water again, I don't like driving places because I hate the feeling of not knowing where I am and being completely dependent on my GPS.  I can't stand that I have yet to connect all the dots of the places I've been to form a picture of where I am in relation to everywhere else.  I still feel like a stranger in a strange land much of the time.  I just want to feel like I'm part of a community again, and I want things to be familiar and comfortable again.  I'm hoping that once school starts it will be easier to because I will be out more and there will be more opportunities to form friendships.  Or I will just become too busy to care either way.  I know it will get better just like it did the other times but I'm ready for it to happen now!  

And that's our day.  

Reading back through this post I think I can definitely say this was my whiniest DITL post of all time.  Sorry about that!  Hopefully the next one will be more upbeat.  I'm trying to work on gratitude.


  1. That's really interesting about the heights. I'm going to look up my kids and see how tall they will (potentially) be!
    I always love reading your DITL posts because I feel like I'm reading my life a couple years from now. And if my girls are unloading the dishwasher, I'll be one happy mama!
    Looks like you are settling into the new house well. I'm not great at decorating big spaces, but I'm totally envious of that large, open living space! Also, for the record, I loooove that gallery wall!

    1. Oh no, you're reading your life a couple years from now and I'm being so whiney! But thanks!

  2. Our doctor said the same thing about the heights, but that it only applies to boys. We checked for Jake and he would be 6 ft which I think is accurate because Andy is 6'2. I did check for Allie and she would also be 6 ft so, I'm really hoping he's right about it only being the boys because I have a feeling allie would hate being 6 ft tall! Love that photo of the kids together with the lined up cars, Timmy just looks soooo old!

  3. There was so much that fascinated me and intrigued me about this post. First up the height thing: I didn't have Oliver's 2 year old stats, but I entered his 3 year old stuff into a baby center calculator since I have that handy. Says he will be 6'2" which seems accurate if not a little shorter than I think he might be (I'm 5'8", my brother is 6'4", Oliver is 95th and above for height and has been since birth).

    I also love your organization stuff - will spend some more time on that website!

    Looks like a really pretty area and I'm glad you are settling in but I understand having weird empty rooms after moving in (our townhome was 1/3 the size). Unlike you I'm the slowest about filling it/decorating so I need you to prod me along by posting about your progress :)

    I wish so much we could have Oliver and Timmy meet up for a playdate. Oh, the fun they would have.

    1. I have thought about posting my progress room by room, but I keep being intimidated by all the blogs I follow whose houses look like they ought to be in a magazine. I could post them anyway with the disclaimer that a) This is a military base house and there is only so much that can be done; and b) I am no good at decorating and it has always been a struggle for me every step of the way. It might be fun to look back at years later.

      (sigh) I wish Minnesota and South Carolina didn't have to be SO far apart.:)

  4. I love those trees, they seem so romantic! I also love a good taco night but agree that it makes so many dishes and every time I say I am not going to do it again and then bam it happens!

  5. I think selfies are awkward too, but you look great! I love your OOTD!

  6. ooh I forgot about the 2x and 2 height bit! I think mine was way off, but it will still be neat to check out Aria's when she turns two. And then wait until she is all grown up to see if it was right or not! haha, isn't taco night the messiest? It is so easy upfront and then leaves a big mess with 400 bowls. Good thing it is so tasty.

    1. Indeed. I am always in favor of the one-dish meal where you dump it all together, put it in the oven and ta-da! An entire dinner. The only problem is my kids tend to hate those dinners. :(

  7. I enjoyed reading your post. My children are similarly-spaced in age, two girls and a boy, but they are now 20, 18, and 15. I couldn't resist checking out the heights predictions and learned that it was exactly right for my oldest, but my middle daughter is 1.5 inches shorter than predicted, and my son who is definitely still growing has passed the prediction by three inches already. So, in our case the formula had mixed results.

  8. We've lived in our house for 8 years and I have a list like yours of things I'd like to buy/update. It just goes with the territory I guess - you never run out of things to spend money on!

  9. Clicking over from the DITL link-up ...

    Ha to the way your day started (although, really, it's not very funny in the moment) :) My daughter who's Timmy's age often wakes me up by standing over my face and touching me or talking or tossing her lovey in my face. Scares the crap out of me every time!

    I echo everyone else's sentiments about the height thing ... very interesting! Sounds like your doctor is a nice one. I'd take a few minutes of waiting for an attentive and friendly doctor over a rude and rushed one any day.

    1. Me too! Too bad she leaves next summer.:(

  10. I have been so annoyed with my lack of housekeeping this summer and then at the same time grossed out by the constant mess. Its so overwhelming but we are just never in the house when its nice out. So, I've been thinking I need to come up with some sort of cleaning schedule. Hopefully I will be motivated enough to follow it. And yeah, my boys "should be" 5'10" which I think could be close. My hubbby is a little shorter than that but my brothers & my mom's brothers are all very tall!

    1. I don't blame you for neglecting the house while the weather's so nice. You've got to get out while you can! Down here we spend the whole middle part of the day hiding from the heat and humidity and that makes for plenty of time to finish chores. Once fall gets here and it cools off a little, it will take some real discipline to stick to the schedule.

  11. Coming over from the link up here, too! Hi, adorable family!
    We have the Tot Clock too, swear by it, but it is funny because we have the clock set to 6:30am and not 7:30. It might be time to adjust that but we started in the 4 o'clock hour with wake ups from my first born, which forced me to buy the clock. Love it!!

  12. Loves those charts! Ahh, memories! Really though, genetics are so freaking cool and it's so awesome to look at my kids and see parts of both of us (as well as our parents and grandparents, even!) in them.

    Very interesting about the heights. I will have to do that and see if it's accurate!

    My husband and I have similar disagreements when it comes to hanging pictures. He never wants to put anything up and I want to cover every empty wall with photos (I do often need his help, which he grudgingly provides). Your gallery wall looks awesome, so I'm glad you just did it!

  13. Clicking over from the DITL link-up....

    Cute kids! I will have to pay attention to my daughter's height when she turns 2! I have always heard something about subtract the mother's height from the father's height and add X inches if it is a girl and Y inches if it is a boy.