Friday, March 9, 2012

Our Day

I got this great idea to document an entire typical day with pictures…I had no idea how much work—and how much fun—it would be.  I took almost 500 pictures!  I love that I have pictures of Max throwing a tantrum, Katie’s bedhead, and the carpool kids, among 100 other things that we do in a typical day but that we would never normally take a picture of.  I don’t love how many shots I have of kids sitting in front of a screen; it’s shameful, really.  But I’m not going to apologize for it, because the parenting philosophy that has prevailed in my almost 9 years of motherhood is “whatever works.”  And sometimes that means distracting the monsters darlings with technology for 20 minutes here or there.  I say that with all the love in my heart.  Keep in mind that our routine is pretty flexible to a degree, and that it is always evolving, so it’s not always like this.  Some days we stay in our pajamas, some days we have activities, and we don’t always do creative things or get our chores done, etc.  But this is fairly typical.  Be warned, this is really, really long.  I didn’t put in all 500 pictures, I promise!  But, without further ado, here is our day….
March 6, 2012
Time to get up!  I actually didn’t sleep in today, amazing!
Shelli and I go walking.  We have been walking, usually 4 days a week, for 4 years this January, minus vacations, babies’ births, and illness.  Oh, and weather.  We used to walk rain or shine.  But we usually wimp out in the rain, snow, and wind these days! 

“Mama!!”  I get home and immediately Lily latches onto my legs, desperate for my attention.  We have a quick family prayer before Isaiah heads off with the carpool for choir practice and school. 

This is the time of day that Adam goes into his office to start responding to emails and get busy working for the day.  But last night he decided at 11:30 he wanted Winger’s wings, so he went to the store to buy ingredients to make a copycat recipe.  I’m pretty sure he was up later than his usual 2:00 am bedtime because after I got home from my walk this morning he disappeared back to bed. 

The kids are begging to watch a show, and usually I insist that they eat breakfast, get ready for the day, and do a chore before they use their morning screen time, but I give in so that I can eat my breakfast before the whining begins. 

Well, most of the whining, anyway…Lily’s always whining…

I get Lily started, then get my breakfast.   I have yogurt with granola and blueberries, and end up adding granola and yogurt to Lily’s blueberries because she’s jealous. 

Katie and Max’s show ends before I get more than a few bites (and less than half the comics read), so I get them some cereal.  Max and Katie fight over their bowls and spoons, but I let Max eat with a giant serving spoon and that appeases him. 

I sit back down to eat, but don’t finish before Lily cries to get out of her chair.  Once she’s free to wander, however, she’s making all kinds of trouble…

So I gulp down my last few bites and enlist Max and Lily in helping to put away dishes as Max’s “help Mom or Dad chore.”  Each of the kids is supposed to do a morning chore, the older kids have “ask Mom or Dad chores” (where they ask us what needs to be done), and Max helps us with a chore.  Lily is getting close to having her own “chores,” too. It’s usually sorting or putting away their own laundry, putting away dishes, emptying garbage cans, or picking up the playroom.  I love these chores because it greatly reduces the amount of little annoying chores I have to do throughout the day, and they never have a “get off free” day because their chore is always something that needs to be done. 

Max refuses when I ask him to get dressed, so I take the girls into their room to get dressed first while he plays in the playroom. 

Then I leave Lily in the playroom while I try to chase down Max to get dressed. 

Max is into hiding lately, and he hides behind Lily’s crib because he doesn’t want me to know he has pooped, and he doesn’t want to sit on the toilet (because he doesn’t need to go anymore!). 

I get him to come out (the camera seems to make him more compliant than usual), and when I give him a choice, he decides not to go potty. 

Then, while I’m cleaning him up, he decides that, just like Gerald in the book Elephants Cannot Dance, just because he can’t go potty doesn’t mean he cannot try.  So he tries. 

Meanwhile, Katie is trying to earn more screen time, and is busily finishing her chore emptying the little trash cans.  (That’s not how our screen time works, but I figure it’s not worth arguing about if it means we get morning stuff done.) 

I let the kids pick another 20 minute show to watch while I do hair (and in hopes that I can jump in the shower without a brawl happening while I’m occupied). 

Success!  I make it to the shower quickly, and Lily occupies herself dissembling my drawer while I turn the shower on.  (She’s in the emptying things out, filling them up, emptying them out again phase.) 

When I’m getting in, Adam comes in; the phone woke him.  Max’s friend has asked if he can play. I have plans to go to Anne’s, but I tell him that since Max is ready for the day he can go over for 30 minutes while I’m getting dressed if they want him to.  He packs up the kids to drop him off and I get to shower and dress in peace! 

Katie helps buckle Lily into her seat when I’m finally ready to go, and we head through the back way, a dirt road connecting two neighborhoods in our ward, to pick up Max. 

Max and his friend are digging in the dirt when I pull up, and although he’s having fun, he is excited to play with his cousin so I am able to coax him into the van without a tantrum. 

Anne, Porter, and their neighbor’s dog, Danny are waiting to greet us when we arrive at Anne’s. 

The kids are super excited to play with Danny…

Most of them, anyway.  (Lily is fascinated, saying, “woof, woof!”  But since he is as tall as her, she is intimidated every time he turns toward her.)  So we head to the backyard to play. 

The kids alternately run around and help make home made chia pets, a project Anne and I had picked out the day before. 

Jeremiah comes downstairs for his lunch break and we eat a delicious lunch of leftover enchiladas Anne made for a dinner party and/or pb&j. 

And the kids play a bit more,

while Katie and I sneak out to drive carpool to kindergarten. 

I pause and watch the kids get in the gate, just long enough to snap a picture and catch her with her new crush, Eli:

When I get back to Anne’s everyone is relaxing and playing and having a great time. 

It’s hard to pry them away, but I need to get Max and Lily home for a nap.  Max runs off and throws a tantrum, but with a bribe I’m able to finally get them into the van to go home.

I enlist Adam’s help in putting Max down to sleep while I get Lily changed and snuggled for a nap. 

And then I head back to the school to volunteer in Katie’s class, helping with stations.  I only go once a month because it’s during Max and Lily’s nap so I can’t just set up a babysitter or play date, and I can’t be certain they’ll both nap for Adam when he’s working. Today it goes especially fast and is particularly fun for me, maybe because I’ve finally learned the kids names (once a month is not often enough!).  I get some trouble from one girl in Katie’s group, and from another entire group, but it’s still quick and fun, and I get to use my long-ago acquired teacher skilz.  Ha! 

I get home with enough time to help Adam reconcile some bank statements to prepare for the accountant to do the business taxes before we expect the kids to wake up.  Max does startle the living daylights out of me when he sneaks up to the office door while my back is turned and shouts, “Boo!”  We quickly finish reconciling as Lily wakes up, too. 

Despite his delight in completely freaking me out, Max is out of sorts, and so is Lily.  So we settle on the couch to snuggle and watch a little show. 

Yeah, Lily’s comfort object is totally my hair.  I literally have to take it down if it’s up when she needs to fall asleep or calm down, or she’ll just yank at whatever wisps she can get a hold of.  I haven’t figured out anything that she’ll transfer to, so for now my hair works. 

A snack doesn’t hurt, either.  And pretty soon they are happy again, dancing along to the music.


Even with the music, I can hear the wind picking up outside, and I think about some clothes I laid out in the sun to dry yesterday that are probably blowing away.  I pick up a laundry basket and lead the kids outside to do a backyard pickup.  Lily hates the wind, so I send her back inside while Max and I race around picking up toys, clothes, shoes, and dishes left outside over the last while. 

We come in about the time Isaiah and Katie get home from the bus stop. 

They hang up their things…

and get a snack and play around for a bit.  I’m watching the cousins this evening, so they’ll have to start homework and chores early so they can play.  Speaking of the cousins coming…

it’s time to start dinner! 

Just as I get started I almost trip over Lily, who has been occupying herself in Daddy’s office.  Sigh. 

I get the kids started on their homework while I’m cooking. 

And finished.  (Well, Katie at least…)

I get Katie started on her evening chore of setting the table, and just before the cousins come and dinner is almost ready, I realize I forgot to turn on the burner with the water for the noodles, so now I don’t have dinner almost ready.  Now we have to wait for the noodles. 

That’s okay, more time to play before dinner!  Isaiah finally finishes his homework, but none of the kids accomplishes their evening chores.  Sometimes time with cousins is more important anyway.  They have the same chore all week, so they’ll just have to do more tomorrow. 

And then dinner is finally ready, and Adam takes over dishing everyone up while I walk away from the chaos for a minute to breathe. And then I remember that I have to take pictures and stop freaking out.

The wind is getting really crazy outside, and playing in the wind is one of our cousins’ favorite things, making them really sad to be at our house and not in their own neighborhood.  So after dinner I send them out to play in the wind! 

And Adam and I (but mostly Adam) do the dishes.

I have a headache and lay down on the couch for a minute while the kids are all playing.

Lily uses her super radar and realizes I am not doing 7 things at once and seizes the opportunity to have my attention.  While Adam and I are chilling in the living room each of the pairs of cousins has settled into doing what they do best. 

The girls are playing with jewelry and makeup…

the boys are playing video games…

and these two.  Oh, these two.  They are making an epic mess.  They are experts, this we know.  But this is just phenomenal, even by their standards.  Every. single. toy. dumped.  Every container overturned, tables toppled, closets emptied.  Adam discovers the mess and warns me not to go in and clean it up for them.  He sternly sets them to cleaning it up. 

The Wii overheats (Have you ever heard of that?  Ours does it all the time, it’s like a built in time limit!) and the boys switch to Beyblades while I get Lily in the bath. 

Around 7:30 it’s time for the cousins to go home but, although 45 minutes have passed, the partners in crime have barely made a dent on the playroom. The adults step in and spend the next half hour or so working with them to get it clean.

It’s finally bed time. Pajamas are put on, teeth are brushed.  Final doses of antibiotics from last week’s ear infection are administered. 

Time for prayer.  And then, time for bed.  Isaiah’s allowed to read in bed for a while, but he’s too tired to read long tonight.  Once the kids crash, I blog while Adam works and then reads, and then we crash, too.  Lots of nights we watch shows while we fold laundry, but there’s no clean laundry tonight. Which is just as well, because I’m too tired to fold it. 

All in all, a good day.  Here’s to more of those!