A day in the life
This post was first published on January 30, 2012, and even though my days are slightly different right now (we’re not homeschooling this year, for instance), the general vibe remains the same.
7:00 – My alarm goes off on my iPhone. We had a late night last night. I grab it, hit snooze, and tuck it under my pillow.
7:17 – I get up and grab my phone, journal, and Bible off the nightstand. I head to the bathroom, splash water on myself, brush my hair. I weigh myself. Down three pounds since January 1!
• 7:20 – As I walk out, I see that my boys’ door is open. Darn cat. I try to sneak by, but Finn sees me. He was quietly playing in his crib not two seconds before, but now there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. I sigh. I tiptoe in there and grab him so that Reed will stay asleep. Finn in my arms, I close the door as quietly as I can.
Not two seconds later, Reed calls, “Mom! Mom! Mom!” from his bunk bed. We’re working on him waiting more than one second to give me a chance to answer him, but he doesn’t remember this freshly awake.
Reed climbs down and follows us. Quiet morning alone is over.
• 7:40 – I start up the Chopin station on Pandora in the living room, Reed lays on the couch with his blanket, and Finn dawdles around, getting in to everything under the sun and handing me his treasures. I check email on the couch with Reed snuggled next to me. 412 unread. I read three; quickly answer one.
• 7:49 – I get up to stop Finn from tearing apart a puzzle box. Wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues. He’s our dramatic one right now; neither of our other two threw tantrums quite like he does.
• 7:55 – Finn has gotten in to the Take to Goodwill box. He’s removing all the latest goods I just recently parted with.
• 8:00 – Time to make breakfast. I head to the kitchen, start the kettle for the French press, give Finn a banana chunk, and start a load of cloth diapers in the washer. There are days when we have a hot breakfast. Today is not one of those days. I pull out the granola, blueberries, and milk.
Breakfast with the three boys. Tate, the one kid who needs to get up and at ’em, is still asleep.
• 8:30 – I go wake up Tate. She comes to the table and starts on breakfast, while Kyle heads to our room to get in a few minutes of work—he’s not feeling well this morning. Reed starts emptying the silverware from the dishwasher; I get Finn and myself ready for the day. School’s supposed to start at 9. Not sure it’s going to happen.
• 9:07 – Kyle starts teaching math with Tate. Huzzah! I get the boys settled with some toys, but it lasts about five minutes. Finn is content to play with the tongs from the kitchen, and Reed wants me to read him a book. I have about 20 minutes until a Skype meeting, so I snuggle on the couch and read him his choice: Who Pooped in the Park?
• 9:30 – Start a Skype meeting with Meagan Francis. We’re keeping each other accountable professionally, so we chat to discuss our blogging monthly goals and give each other a few ideas. Par for the course, the boys suddenly need to snuggle, so they cling to me while I sit on the couch with my laptop. I remind them every five minutes or so that I’m working, but that they can sit by me while I do. They’re up and down. The living room is destroyed while I chat.
• 10:20 – My Skype meeting ends, so I declare a 15 minute pick-up-the-living-room session while Kyle and Tate continue on with science. After we’re done, I put on a Super Why! episode from Netflix for Reed.
• 10:30 – I quickly check Facebook and see that Jen has already done day 1 of The Shred. Guess that means I’ll have to.
• 10:50 – Science ends, so Tate watches the last five minutes of Super Why! with Reed. Finn starts losing his marbles, so I slice a pear for the two of us to share.
• 11:00 – Tate and I start school. She works on her cursive while I gather the rest of her Language Arts materials. I put Finn in the highchair next to me and he snacks. Kyle works in the bedroom.
• 11:20 – We move on to narration and dictation (I read her a short passage, ask comprehension questions, and she tells me one thing she remembers from the passage—I write it down, and she copies it in her best handwriting). It doesn’t always happen, but today, she’s flying through school.
• 11:30 – Tate starts her spelling workbook, which is an independent study for her. I empty and load the dishwasher, take out the recycling, switch the laundry, and start on lunch.
• 12:00 – She finishes her work, and we take a lunch break. Finn’s about to pass out asleep in his highchair, and Reed and Tate playfully bicker. Loudly. I think a second cup of coffee is in order soon. I make them sandwiches while they watch some YouTube videos from Animaniacs (the ones about geography). I sit down with them over crackers and cheese, and I read aloud from Charlotte’s Web.
• 12:20 – I change Finn and put him down for a nap, then I go out to bring the garbage can back from the curb. On the way, I realized I forgot to take my vitamins this morning. I grab them as soon as I get back in, because I might forget again in 20 seconds.
• 12:25 – Older kids are getting punchy, so I send them outside to get some fresh air. And so it can be quiet for five minutes in the house. I hear Finn chatting and humming in his crib. I clean up from lunch. How does it get so messy after just one meal?
• 1:00 – The babysitter texts to say she’ll be 15 minutes late. Tate comes in and wants to blog. I pull up her blog on the school computer so she can write. Reed whines about wanting to start a movie, but I tell him he has to wait until Tate’s done. The boy is all about the TV lately.
While we have a few minutes, I grab Reed to help me take a photo for a post. The lighting is good.
• 1:15 – Natalie shows up, and Tate predictably loses interest in blogging. She declares that she’ll blog tonight. I pop in a movie Reed checked out from the library, and tell Natalie they can watch this, and then the TV goes off.
Kyle and I head out so that the kids can enjoy their time with their favorite person. (Natalie comes over three afternoons a week so the two of us can work, since we both work from home.)
• 1:30 – Kyle and I place our orders at the coffee shop. We often go out to our trailer to work—it’s a vintage refurbished aluminum cylinder with not much more than a table, chairs, and minuscule kitchen, yet it’s nice to have a cozy spot to work without leaving the land. But today we’re in the mood to get out, so away to the coffee shop we go.
I check email and see that my 2:00 Skype meeting with some book publicists has been rescheduled to tomorrow morning. This means I can do nothing but work on my book, which is good, because I have a meeting with my agent tomorrow, where I’m going to show her my first three chapters. (In a crazy, unheard-of coincidence, my agent lives an hour from me.)
I’ve got a loooooot of writing to do, so I’m happy to get several hours of uninterrupted time. Of course, I need to check Facebook and Twitter, and Lisa-Jo has found me on Skype, so we chat for just a bit. Half an hour whisked by without my blinking.
Time to close up Facebook and its henchmen. I open up Spotify and get to work.
• 3:00 – I pull up my Kindle to grab a quote for the book, and it’s a mess. Two-thirds of the top screen is plaid. Nuts. I instagram, Facebook, and tweet the hive mind, asking if it’s happened to anyone else. Turns out it has. A lot. I call customer service, as suggested, and they send a replacement, with almost no questions asked. Hooray, Amazon!
I guess my quote citation can wait until Monday. Moving on.
• 3:30 – I get back to my chapter, and after a bit of rereading and editing (what was I trying to say there?), I get to writing. And then finally, the words flow. Sometimes it takes awhile, and afternoons are admittedly not my best writing hours. But it’s all I got right now in this season, so I take it. I stare and write, delete and finagle, edit and write some more, and finally, it looks like I’ve finished chapter 3.
• 5:00 – It’s time to pack up shop and head home. We swing by the bank to get cash for the babysitter, and chat about the homeschool co-op meeting we have tonight.
• 5:15 – We walk in the door and are greeted with the waft of a nail salon. Two neighbor girls are over, and it’s apparent that Natalie has recently painted the nails of every female in the house. The kids have matted, damp hair, which means they went swimming in the hot tub, too.
Reed is curled up on a couch in Natalie’s lap, and his cheeks look flushed. He looks up and tells me his tummy hurts. Natalie says he’s warm. I check his temp—not bad, but he usually runs a low temperature, and I can tell he’s lethargic. Uh oh.
Natalie’s boyfriend picks her up (complete with flowers), and they head off to college group at their church, but not before giving the kids three cupcakes. Kyle grabs them before they can start arguing over who gets which one, and sneaks them off to the kitchen. Potential rewards for eating a good dinner.
• 5:45 – I make the executive decision to forego the co-op meeting, where we were going to have dinner, so now we need to come up with dinner on the fly. I pull out some sausage, get out the pans, and start chopping. Spaghetti and salad time.
Finn wants my attention because I’m in the kitchen doing something other than paying attention to him, so I pull up a chair next to me and let him play in the sink for a bit. “A bit” quickly turns to 30 minutes; happy as a clam but soaked to the gills. The other kids are doing… something. I can’t quite tell what. But no one’s getting hurt, and no one is accused of being unfair, so I assume all is well. Don’t rock the boat, I say. I’m sure it helps that Reed doesn’t feel well; he’s usually the instigator of mayhem.
• 6:30 – The natives are restless and starving, and dinner’s finally ready. Kyle pours the wine and we eat. Over dinner, we do our nightly ritual—ask each other the best parts of our day. Tate’s and Reed’s was the hot tub, mine was teaching Tate (because she was cooperative, which doesn’t happen often), and Kyle says his was the first 15 minutes of the coffee shop, when he spaced out.
• 7:00 – The boys need baths. Tate does, too, but she’ll shower in the morning, so her hair can dry tangle-free and not collect into a rat’s nest, as it does when she sleeps with wet hair. I get them in the tub while Kyle cleans the kitchen. I pull out the iPhone and sit with them in the bathroom—the boys are big fans of bath time, so a half hour flies by before they’re clean and ready to emerge. Only minimal water on the floor—a miracle.
• 7:50 – Jammies are on, teeth are brushed. Kyle puts Finn to bed; it’s my turn for story time with the older two. We snuggle up on our bed and read two books, one choice per kid. Not sure it was the best choice to do story time on the bed, because I start slurring the last half of the second book. By the time we pray (each kid prays for a friend), sing (Doxology and, per Tate’s request, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing), and let Dad know we’re done (they like to call out “Ca-caw! Ca-caw!” a la The Three Amigos), there’s a fork in me. I’m done.
Kids get piggy-back rides to bed, and after numerous callings from beds for super important, last minute thoughts (“Hey Mom? Did you know whale sharks can grow to 40 feet long?”), I muster the strength to help Kyle finish the kitchen. I could go to bed right now.
• 8:30 – Kitchen’s clean, so I debate doing a quick 30-Day Shred session, just so I can say I did it. It’s tempting, to cross it off the list. I decide to think it over while I fold a load of laundry.
Somehow, that load of laundry takes 30 minutes. Oh well.
• 9:00 – I pull up Skype, barely keeping my eyes open. Time for my monthly meeting with Kat. She holds me accountable to my health goals, while I do the same for her blog goals. I tell her the latest news from my naturopath, and how it’s been going with my trainer. I tell her my goals for next month.
Kat shares some really fun ideas for her blog, and we chat over the practicals. She tells me what specific goals she’d like accomplished by the time we chat next, in February. I like talking with Kat… She makes me happy. And also, our 30 minute chat turns into an hour.
• 10:00 – I check email one last time. For some reason, the unread messages haven’t all miraculously disappeared. I read and answer five more… the rest will just have to wait. Again.
• 10:20 – I brush my teeth, move the next laundry pile from the bed to the basket, to be folded tomorrow. I pull out my workout clothes for tomorrow morning. I’ve got an appointment with Jillian at 6:30.
I read a bit in bed (I normally switch between five books at a time; tonight’s choice was Familyhood by Paul Reiser, checked out last week at the library). Kyle’s eyes are closed as he still holds his iPhone up to his face. We’re toast.
I click off my nightstand lamp and set my iPhone alarm for 6 a.m.
Every day is different, but this was last Thursday. On Mondays, I teach co-op in the mornings, and we head to the library in the afternoons. I do almost zero writing or blog work then. On Tuesday mornings, I record a podcast. The first Thursday morning of every month, I have a Skype meeting with all my editors. And on Sundays, I do my best to open my laptop as little as possible.
And in the midst of all that, we live life as a family. I type with a baby in my lap; my preschooler often stands next to me and helps me choose photos for my posts. Tate is fascinated with blogging. I share my work with them, and Kyle and I till the soil alongside each other. It’s a family affair.
Do you have a typical day, or is every day different, like mine?
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