Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Day In The Life

I haven't done a "day in the life" post in quite awhile, so I thought I would do one today. Yesterday would not have been a good day to do one, because yesterday was just awful. My kids drove me crazy. At one point I asked my oldest if perhaps they were coordinating their efforts to drive me crazy. As in, "Ok, I just bugged her about my cell phone, now you go make demands about wanting to eat junk food right before supper. With any luck she will be certifiable by nightfall." He looked at me blankly and I could tell he was thinking, "Why would we want to drive you crazy? Then who would cook dinner?" Sigh.

Suffice it to say that yesterday was just bad all the way around. I talked to my friend Gwen last night and she asked what was wrong. "You sound down," she said. "Down" was a much kinder, gentler word for what I was feeling. I let her believe it. I realize that I posted that nice, happy, faith-filled post about our house yesterday but you must understand-- that was written earlier, or else it most assuredly would not have been written yesterday. More likely I would have posted about how much I want to move to my own house without my family and included the lyrics to the old song, "All By Myself." So, I spared you from all that negativity and posted my happy thoughts instead.

But enough of all that. Today I am going to share my day as it unfolds. Enjoy!

6:30 am: My eyes pop open and I am awake. Curt is getting ready for work and I lay there and pretend to be asleep. He tells me goodbye and that he has made me coffee. This, I think, is a peace offering for how grumpy we were to each other the night before. I get up and break my own rule about not getting on the internet before I have had my quiet time because I simply must know whether my friend Dawn is having a boy or a girl and I remembered that she was going to post it on her blog. Congrats Dawn! (I am not telling you what she is having-- you have to go there to see-- and leave her a congrats comment while you are at it!) I make the huge mistake of going ahead and checking my email and of course thirty minutes go by and I have not had my quiet time. Hence the self-imposed rule about no internet before my quiet time.

7:00 am: I go upstairs and wake the children, something I hate to do and something they hate for me to do. So that is a daily bit of unpleasantness that can not, unfortunately, be avoided. At least not for 12 more days. The six year old, who does not go to school, gets up all on his own and comes downstairs. He and I have a conversation about why we cannot go to the garden today. I explain to him that it is too muddy to go mucking around out there and that I know he and his sister will simply get too covered in mud for me to deal with. He totally surprises me by saying, "I don't blame you." He is eating a Fruit Loops cereal straw-- something he talked me into in Walmart in a moment of weakness. Immediately after he eats, he runs to the bathroom to brush his teeth with his new Jack Sparrow spinning toothbrush we also got at Walmart yesterday. Yet another moment of weakness. He has brushed his teeth no less than five times since we bought it, though, so that was $6 well spent in my book.

7:30 am: I decide to go ahead and shower, as this is key to me feeling productive and ready to take on the day. I rarely shower in the morning if we have nowhere to be, but I am trying to make myself get up and do it right away. That way if we need to run out, I am ready and able to do so. Otherwise I wander the house in my pajamas all day and avoid answering the door. I have just enough time to shower before we have to leave to get everyone to school. I still have not had my quiet time. Shame on me!

7:50am: I get out of the shower, get dressed and go get the baby up so we can leave. I hand her a cereal straw and a glass of milk as we head out the door. Nutritious! As we are leaving I discover that my 11 yo son has lost one of his new shoes. How do you lose just one shoe? I lecture him (and everyone else by default as they are all trapped in the car with me) on the value of money and how hard we have to work to buy things like new shoes and how he will have to replace the shoes with his own money if he can't find them. About that time, the baby starts crying about how she wants her blankie in the car and she wants it right now. I tell her that I can't make the blankie-- which is back at home in her crib-- appear. "I am not a magician," I say. My six year old responds, "Yeah, she's a writer, not a magician." For some reason, this just cracks me up. Just as we are pulling into school, my son (the same one who has lost one shoe) suddenly remembers today was the deadline for his field trip money to be turned in. I resist the urge to lecture him and instead scribble out a check for $23 in the carpool line, hoping I don't hold everyone up while I do it. The kids get out of the car and I tell them goodbye and I love them and do good on the EOG's (end of grade testing the state requires).

8:20 am: We arrive home and the 6 and 2 yo immediately run back to the bathroom to brush their teeth with their new toothbrushes. Who knew teeth brushing could be so much fun? I jump online while they are occupied to write this post. After they are finished, they turn on the tv to cartoons. I decide to use the time to do my quiet time-- though it is not very quiet in the house I must admit. My quiet time lasts exactly one minute. The 6yo marches in demanding Ritz cheese crackers shaped like soccer balls that we also bought yesterday at Walmart. (Again with the weakness.) I tell him it is too early for snacks and he must wait. He begins to stomp his feet and just generally act unlovable but then realizes there is a puzzle on the back of the box he can do and that distracts him long enough for me to read one more page in my Beth Moore book before the 2yo marches in and informs me she has stinkies. I put the book down and chastise myself for not getting my quiet time done earlier, as it is apparently not going to happen until naptime.

8:50 am: I dry and style my hair-- something I didn't have time to do before we left. The 2yo occupies herself by looking through the books we got at the library yesterday. I call my mom to tell her we are not going to attempt the garden today, as she was going to meet me out there. I swap the laundry from the washer to the dryer and put some chicken out to thaw for dinner. We are having chicken that I will marinate in Italian dressing and then broil, baked potatoes and baby peas.

9:00 am: The 6yo is still bugging me for food, so I make him some cinnamon raisin toast. Those cereal straws are a novelty but they certainly aren't filling! Of course, then the two yo wants some toast too. Luckily I foresaw that issue and made extra. I start a load of dishes in the dishwasher and tell the kids I will read some stories to them in a minute. I put on Super Why for them and sneak back to my room to write this and try to finish one chapter in my Beth Moore book. I also send an email to my husband telling him that our realtor is coming by tonight to go over our repair requests for the new house based on the inspection that was done Monday. Things are moving right along!

9:30 am: I finish my chapter in the Beth Moore book. Now that CBS is over for the year, I am doing my own personal wrap up by going through To Live Is Christ, about the life of Paul for my quiet time. (I am also still doing Streams In The Desert, but those are so short I felt I needed to do something more.) Today was about his friendship with Barnabas and how we should encourage each other. This chapter brought out some conflicting emotions. I want a friend like Barnabas and I want to be a friend like Barnabas. I will mull this over for the whole day most likely. Barnabas and Paul eventually parted ways over a simple difference of opinion. (To read this account, go to Acts 15:36-40.) It didn't make either of them any less godly-- it was just that they could not see eye to eye. Oddly, this fact comforted me that even our Biblical heroes struggled with relationships just like we do. They were not exempt any more than we are. While that is comforting, it is also sad. I want the ideal that a perfect, stress-free relationship is possible. To know that Paul-- who was a passionate follower of Christ-- struggled in his relationships too makes me want to just throw in the towel at times!

10:00 am: I help the 2yo dress her baby and make her a bed using a pillow and blanket on the floor. She then decides she would like to try using the potty. This is always an ordeal but a necessary one. I am glad to see her showing some interest as a few weeks ago she had none. I debate leaving the house to go mail some cd's out and stop by the grocery store. Curt and I are leaving tomorrow for a few days and I need to make sure the house is stocked with plenty of food before we leave the kids with the sitter.

10:15 am: My mom calls to say she will come by our house since we aren't going to the garden. She is bringing back a ring of mine she borrowed and is afraid she will lose it if she waits to give it back to me. I tell her I will just hang out at home and wait for her. I make myself get up from reading emails and surfing the internet to read out loud to my children. We can't go to the garden today, so we will read about gardens! We read The Sunflower House by Eve Bunting and The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle.

10:45 am: We are through reading and the 2yo informs me that her baby is awake and needs to get dressed to go to church. We dress her in a dress that is far too large for her and then she puts her baby in the Pampers box and pushes her while babbling about "going to church." I use the time that she is occupied with pushing the box around the house to update this post and answer a few emails. The 6yo asks for what seems like the hundredth time to eat. I tell him that we will have lunch in a few minutes. We seem to eat lunch at 11:00 a lot. That's early but that's when they want to eat!

11:15 am: My friend Shari calls and we chit chat for a bit. The kids are eating the Ritz Bits cheese crackers they wanted for lunch. I let them but make a mental note to convince them to eat a banana with it.

11:30 am: My stomach is growling so I take it that I need to eat! I make a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with sliced strawberries on top. Of course, my presence in the kitchen prompts the kids to say they are still hungry and need more to eat. I make them tortillas with melted cheese on top with taco sauce to dip. This is a favorite lunch. I peel a banana but no one eats it. The six year old turns over almost an entire cup of juice. I send him to change his clothes while I clean up the mess. Then I unload the dishwasher.

11:45 am: My mom drops by and we talk for a bit. The kids take turns chasing each other through the house and screaming while we try to hear each other talk. I think the noise gets to her, as she very quickly mumbles something about other errands and bolts. Can't say as I blame her. I tell the kids that very soon we are headed to bed. They continue chasing each other through the house with a sheet on their heads, trying to scare each other. Good times.

12:30 pm: Naptime! Glorious naptime! God's gift to mothers everywhere! Good night! Good night! Good night! I get the six yo set up with his schoolwork-- math, phonics and handwriting. We are doing bare bones schooling as we wrap up the year. He can whiz through it in thirty minutes if he has a good attitude-- longer if he is fighting me every step of the way. Tears and whining take much longer.

12:45 pm: I make a note on my to-do list to clean the kids' room this afternoon after nap. It is a pit. With the sitter coming, I feel compelled not to leave her with that mess. I use the moments of peace to sort through the pile of papers that seems to stack up overnight. I have been avoiding it for several days, which means it has grown exponentially.

1:20 pm: I am done with the pile of papers. Some got filed, lots got thrown out, and some got dealt with. As in, I had quite a few permission slips I had to fill out. Lots of end of the year events going on at the kids' school! I spend some time updating this post and debate trying to get a little writing done while she is napping and the six yo is glued to Suite Life of Zach and Cody-- a show that grates on my nerves. Just being honest. Of course, my kids love it!

1:25 pm: I should be ironing. Or folding clothes.

1:30 pm: I put the thawed chicken in Italian dressing to marinate. The 6yo and I work on a bit of his school together. Once I am satisfied that he has done everything, I let him turn on the tv again. This time he chooses Spongebob, yet another show that absolutely grates on my nerves. The afternoons are his time to watch tv quietly while she naps. I read a few pages from a book I am working my way through. (Ie, not a fun fiction novel!)

2:15 pm: I fold the clothes and then write down a schedule and some notes for the sitter for tomorrow. I also jot down some personal reminders of things I need to get done this evening before I leave. It is good to think through all of these things ahead of time. In addition to leaving for a getaway with my husband for the weekend, I am also meeting with my agent tomorrow for lunch and speaking at a women's group tomorrow night before we leave town. So, there is a lot to remember and think through! Most importantly of course: what in the world am I going to wear?

2:30 pm: I wash, prick and wrap the potatoes so that I can just stick them in the oven after we get home from school pickup. I will bake the chicken for one hour at 350 and the potatoes in the lower rack for two hours. Then all I have left to do is heat up the peas and dinner is served! In the morning, I am going to cut up some chicken into strips, cook them in some olive oil for a few minutes, put them in the crockpot, and then pour a couple of bottles of pasta sauce over top of them and cook the whole thing all day. I will have the sitter make spaghetti noodles to serve it over and call that dinner! I have no idea if it will be good-- but I hope it will be. It actually sounds pretty good. I am calling it Chicken Spaghetti for lack of a better word for this concoction!

2:45 pm: While fixing the potatoes, I become painfully aware that the area of the kitchen where the kids fix their lunches is very, very dirty. There is an assortment of crumbs and stray chips on the floor. I get the small vacuum out and suck it all up. Then I move to under the table, which is equally as awful. I put the vacuum up and answer a few emails and write some more of this post. My oldest comes home from school and goes to take a shower. I hear the baby waking up and go get her so we can get her a snack and then leave to get the kids from school. We are entering the hardest two hours of my day-- from four to six pm.

3:15 pm: We leave for school. The ride is pretty uneventful except when the two year old pinches the six year old. Then much screaming ensues.

3:50 pm: We arrive back home and everyone eats snacks. The two boys head outside to play and the girls talk to me. The 8yo has a play on Friday afternoon that she has colored an invitation to. I will be out of town so of course I feel like The Worst Mom In The World. I reason that the whole reason we are going is for the homeschool conference-- an investment in her. So then I feel better-- and liberated from guilt.

4:00 pm: I spend this time packing and ironing for my trip. Then I start the peas and put the chicken in the oven. I spend a lot of time going in and out of the house, checking on the baby, who is playing outside with her older sister and brother who are supposedly watching her-- but you can never be too sure. Somewhere in there, my father in law stops by and he and I talk for a bit. He is having a heart procedure on Friday and so we talk about that.

5:30 pm: I dish out everyone's dinner and eat some dinner myself. We talk around the table for a bit and enjoy time together even though all of us are not together. We have to eat early now that swim team has started so daddy arrives home after dinner is over these days.

6:00 pm: Dinner is over and I am scraping plates and beginning clean up when Curt comes in. Boy am I glad to see him! He helps me clean up the extensive mess the kids made with the peas. I am thankful for that.

6:15 pm: Our realtor arrives to go over the inspection on our new house and make recommendations of what we need to ask for. Things are so loud and crazy as the kids are all getting ready for swim team and play practice that we end up deciding she will just leave the paperwork with us and we will talk after we have had time to go over everything. Curt leaves to take kids to swim team, play practice, and run to the grocery store for me. He even takes the baby. I agree to pick up the kids from swim so he doesn't have to rush back, as he has a pair of pants he needs to return while he is out.

6:45 pm: The house is blissfully silent. I have about forty minutes before I have to go get the kids from practice. Ahhhh. I use the time to clean up from dinner, which never got done with the realtor here. She is a good sport to deal with us and all our craziness the way she does! Then I fold some clothes. I live a glamorous life, no doubt about it.

7:20 pm: I leave to get kids from swim team, then it will be home again for showers, jammies and the American Idol finale. We have not watched it this season, but they all want to watch the finale. That's like not watching football all season but watching the Superbowl. The rest of the night will be spent watching that and getting as much ready for tomorrow's busy day ahead of time as I can.

And so I will close another (long) day in my life. For those of you who are still reading, you made it further than I might have. Thanks for sticking with it!
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Shannon said...

Sounds like a day in my life! Its those days you feel defeated, run down and not being productive. But, whew, that was a lot of work. You are a terrific mother!
Wish I was going to the conference this year, I'd love to bump into you and chat a bit. But, this year it doesn't look like we'll make it. Enjoy the get away with your husband and come back ready to conquer the world (or the snack attacks!)

Alyce said...

shewww..I'm tired reading that! Actually, sounds pretty similar to some of my days with just one kid at home and one at school.

Sonya said...

I laughed out loud when your mom was visiting and the kids were running through the house screaming! That happens over here. I have all 6 of mine at home so when my Mom comes to visit we sometimes wonder if we actually finished any conversations!! :) Have a wonderful time away! Be blessed.

Billie said...

It's acutally a blessing to me to read about other people's day. It makes me feel not so alone in that my house is not the only crazy house on the planet..and that I am not the only "bad" person that falls into emails and surfing before quiet time;)

Thanks for sharing!

Wrinkled Shirt Ministries said...

Marybeth, I always love reading about your days.

We are big Italian dressing chicken people too. Sometimes I add a couple of dashes of soy sauce (only a couple, it can be really strong) to the dressing then marinate in it. I love dicing the chicken then marinating it in the dressing and soy, then throw it all in a skillet and cook it until all of the dressing dissolves. It takes awhile but my husband loves the strong flavor it gives the chicken. The dressing kind of carmalizes and chars the chicken a bit. It's yum. It's great on a salad too.

Have a great "peaceful" day!
Paula G. <><

Jerralea said...

LOL, I feel validated as a mother! My days back when I could stay at home went just like that!

Believe it or not, I miss it ...

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...



that's the beauty of it all.

God bathing our (my?) chaotic mess in grace.

Keep singing praise in the whirl of it all...

I appreciate you...

JenB said...

I saw you today at the homeschool conference! I felt like an idiot to go up and say Hey I read your blog! It took me a few minutes to figure out how I "knew" you, so if you saw some lady staring at you, sorry!! haha! Hope you had a good time!

Jess said...

i loved hearing about your day. it feels like i haven't seen you in forever so this post was nice!!


Rachel said...

Sounds so very, very familiar!!I am bemoaning the demise of my hoover. The house looks like a tip and yet there is something quite freeing about knowing I cannot vacuum til the new one arrives!
The kids are fighting and everyone is constantly hungry. O the joy of family life... and yet, in fact there are so many joys> It's just not always easy to see them!!! Thanks for sharing your day.

Rachel. said...

Why is it the days I do a day in the life entry.. the day is not one of my best? Glad that goes for others as well! (Of course, maybe it would discourage someone if I posted one of my top notch days... they'd think I was perfect and had it all together since they weren't able to read the other 364 days of the year!)

Btw... love the new 'do. Forgot to tell you that the other day!