A Day in the Life | Winter 2017

During this season of life, Saturdays are for French press coffee, big breakfasts, sports practices, birthday parties, board games by the fire, and a bottle of wine after the kiddos go to bed.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Emily: 34 | Nick: 34 | Sam: 5 yrs | Nora: 3 yrs | Evelyn: 7 mos | Lucy: 4 yrs

3:18 am | Evelyn is whimpering in her crib on the other side of our bedroom. And so I scoop her up to nurse her and feel thankful that this is the first time I’ve been out of bed since I laid down at 10:30 last night. A vast improvement from the 4+ times I’d been waking for the past month. Our very lenient “sleep training” seems to be working. I lay her back down, and she immediately rolls onto her belly. I use the bathroom, gulp some water, and climb back into bed beside Nick.

5:46 am | Evelyn is moaning and groaning and grunting. I bet she has a dirty diaper. I am right. Her little digestive system is still adjusting to solids, and she usually has a very stinky diaper between 5 and 7 am. I change her and lay her back down and cross my fingers that she’ll give me at least another hour of sleep.

6:00 am | No such luck. She’s restless, so I bring her to bed with me to snuggle. She nurses for about two minutes, then falls right to sleep. I do, too.

7:08 am | I hear Nora’s bedroom door open. I nudge Nick to intercept before she bounds upstairs and wakes Evie. He begrudgingly gets out of bed and closes our door behind him. I let out an audible sigh of relief and snuggle back in with the littlest.

7:45 am | I hear Sam talking to Nora through his walkie-talkie, and Nora is yelling back in response. I’m ready to get up, but I still have a little sleeping beauty in my arms, so I lay still and enjoy the semi-quiet dark room. Soon I hear Nora crying, and Sam declares, “But she almost cracked open my head.” (I later learn that Nora lifted her blinds to look outside, and let the wooden slats fall onto Sam’s head. Then he hit her in retaliation.)

8:05 am | The big kids are still fighting, and I decide it’s time to get up and rescue Nick. I gently slide my arm out from under Evie, surprised that she has slept so soundly through all of the commotion. She stretches, slowly opens her eyes, and smiles at me. Oh, what a wonderful way to start my day.

8:15 am | I change Evie’s diaper and go downstairs to find that Sam and Nora have each cashed in three tokens for 30 minutes of screen time. We set up a new token reward system last week. The kids earn tokens for good behavior (picking up their toys, finishing their fruits and vegetables, remaining in their chairs during meal time), lose tokens for bad behavior (hitting, yelling, slamming doors, using potty words), and can use their tokens for rewards (an extra book at bedtime, screen time, a date with Mommy or Daddy). Nora immediately says, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to do it,” as soon as she does something that warrants losing a token. And Sam definitely understands the concept, though he’s still struggling to earn and save tokens for rewards more significant than screen time.

8:30 am | I nurse Evie while Nick makes coffee. Then we discuss the logistics of our busy day: basketball practice, a birthday party, and a necessary trip to the grocery store because our refrigerator is nearly empty. How does that always happen??

8:35 am | I put Evie on the floor to crawl around. Yes, she is officially crawling! She immediately goes for the play kitchen in the corner of the living room. Nora turns off the iPad and joins her. Sam asks for a bowl of cereal, even though I promise eggs and bacon.

8:45 am | I cook hash browns on the stove top, put bacon in the oven, poach eggs, and wash some blueberries. Sam asks for a pair of socks. Then a second bowl of cereal. Nick gets his socks, but I say “no” to his request for more cereal.

9:00 am | We all sit down to eat. And I appreciate that everyone eats what I put onto their plates. This is Evie’s second time eating eggs, and she is chowing down. Lucy is ready to pounce on any crumb that falls onto the floor.

9:10 am | The kids are finished and start playing with the beach balls that our friends brought over yesterday. Of course, this leads to kicking the balls across the room and throwing them at each other. And, after multiple requests to stop, the balls are confiscated.

9:15 am | I ask Nick to referee while I shower. I check the weather report. Chance of snow this afternoon, so I opt for jeans (pre-pregnancy jeans that officially fit again, woohoo!) and a flannel. I dry my hair and put on a little bit of make-up. Then go back downstairs to give Nick a chance to clean up.

10:00 am | I ask Sam, for the fifth time, to please put on his clothes for basketball practice. Change Evie, nurse her, lay her down to nap. Choose Nora’s clothes for the day while she rolls around on her bedroom floor. And pack my purse. It’s nice to travel without a diaper bag!

10:30 am | I give Nick instructions to dress Nora and help her to color a birthday card for her little friend. Then Sam and I are out the door. We stop by the toy store downtown to pick out a gift for Nora’s birthday party (talk about last minute … at least they wrap it for me!). Then I focus on conversation with Sam for the remainder of the drive. It’s so rare that it’s just the two of us in the car, and I know I need to take advantage of it. He asks, “How big will the basketball net be?” and “How many trophies do you have at Nini’s and Poppy’s house? Do you think I’ll get a basketball trophy?” And when he won’t stop coughing, I say I think he’s getting a cold. He says, “No, my head is hot. I’m not getting a cold.” Uh-oh.

11:00 am | We arrive at Sam’s first basketball practice. And I’m excited for him to try a new sport. He runs onto the court to warm up with a few of his buddies, and I enjoy conversation with the parents. While the coach sets up drills for dribbling and shooting, I talk to my friends about a spring carnival at the elementary school, open skating practice at the local ice arena, our new token reward system, and baby boy #4 that is due any day for the S family. Nick texts a picture of Nora playing with her doll house, and I send him a video of Sam. Sam occasionally looks to me for approval and gives a big thumbs up when he gets the ball through the hoop. My favorite part is the relay they run at the end of practice. Presbyterian Church Nursery School boys win it for their team!

12:00 pm | We rush home. And I’m grateful to find that Evelyn is awake so I can nurse her before I have to leave again. Nora is dressed, but still needs to brush her teeth and brush her hair. Sam is excited to tell Nick about practice. I suggest lunch options for Nick, Sam, and Evie. Then I use the bathroom, refill my water bottle, and grab an apple and a fig bar for the car.

12:20 pm | Back out the door. This time with Nora. As soon as I strap her in, she asks for my fig bar. But only one. Because she’s holding onto a token with her other hand. Apparently, she was a good listener and a big helper with Daddy, so she got a token. A red one, of course.

12:35 pm | A little late to the party. But we only had one minor meltdown in the car when Nora realized that she forgot to bring Rexy. She thought she needed to bring her beloved dinosaur because we’re going to a museum. But I assured her that there are no dinosaurs at this museum.

12:40 pm | We join the fun at Imagine That: bead mazes, a gigantic lite brite, a grocery store, a doctor’s office, a dance studio, and a pirate ship with a slide. While Nora plays, I chat with other moms about preschool registration, kindergarten orientation, and what life is like with three kids under age five.

1:00 pm | Kids are asked to join the birthday girl in the party room for lunch and ice cream sundaes. Nora eats two bites of her chicken nuggets, a big pile of grapes, and two servings of potato chips. I eat a piece of the party sub and a cup of fruit while continuing to chat with friends. Nick sends a picture of Evie crawling through the tunnel. And I’m immediately reminded of the exact same photo of Sam at her age. Though her looks are starting to change, she still really favors her big brother.

1:45 pm | Kids are back to playing/running around like monkeys until they’re invited into the puppet theatre for a short show. It’s really cute, and Nora is captivated … until she has to go potty. Unfortunately, we miss the end of the show, but we return to the party room just in time for goodie bag distribution. And she’s pretty pumped about her pink balloon.

2:30 pm | It’s snowing! We race to the car, crank up the heat, and drive to Trader Joe’s. Nora really wants to bring her balloon into the store, but I convince her that it will be safe locked in our car.

2:44 pm | Nora is a big helper. Until she’s not. Then she starts crying. She doesn’t want to ride in the cart, and she doesn’t want to walk. It’s so crowded, and I just want to get through my list and get out of there. I bribe her with her favorite “letter cookies” and allow her to have a lollipop at check-out. $187 later … why is it so easy to spend money on groceries for the week? The clerk asks if I need help to my car. Because it never fails, I pile way too many things in my cart and almost always require a second one once everything is bagged. But I manage to balance the bags in the cart and push/slide it across the snow-covered parking lot.

3:30 pm | Finally home. And I am exhausted. I’m not used to so much adult socialization! Nick brings the grocery bags inside. I immediately change into sweatpants, make a cup of tea, and crash on the couch by the fire. Not surprisingly, the kids beg to go outside in the snow. They just do not understand the concept of relaxation. Despite Sam’s cough that seems to have gotten worse since I left him at lunchtime, I oblige. Lucy happily follows. They spend 20 minutes in the backyard, shoveling snow off the deck, making snow angels, and sledding down the hill.

4:00 pm | Nora is banging on the back door. “I’m freezing!” She has snowflakes in her hair, and her pants are wet. I change her, wrap her in a blanket, and cuddle with her on the couch. Nick and Sam sit beside us with hand warmers. And we enjoy just a tiny bit of down time until Evie wakes up from her nap.

4:30 pm | We get a picture text from my brother-in-law, who had lunch today with Nick’s brother’s family while in Phoenix for work. I say, “Sam, this is going to blow your mind.” And he says, “It’s not fair. Why does Uncle Steepie get to see Sean and Jackson?” (his cousins) Then he says, “This is breaking my mind!”

4:45 pm | I suggest to Nick that we make dinner for the kids, try to get them to bed early, then enjoy our dinner while watching a movie. And finishing the bottle of red wine that we opened the night before. “Yes!”

5:15 pm | The big kids are racing around like maniacs and fighting over the pink balloon from the birthday party. Evie is playing with her B. blocks on the floor. Nick is making dinner. And I sneak upstairs to get the rooms ready for bedtime: pull up the bed sheets, fluff the pillows, drop lavender oil into the diffusers, get towels and washcloths from the closet, lay out pajamas.

5:25 pm | Back downstairs to sit with the kids while they eat spaghetti and Italian chicken sausage. Evie is having roasted sweet potato, strawberries, and strips of red pepper. They eat enough of their dinners to warrant “letter cookies,” and I take advantage of some ABCs practice. Before long, they are chasing each other around the kitchen island, and Evie is screaming at the top of her little lungs.

6:15 pm | I ask which kid is ready for a bath, and they both refuse. Until I whisper to Nora that she can take a bath with Evie. I know she will happily agree to her first dual bath with her baby sister. I fill the tub for Nora, quickly wash her, then put the baby tub inside for Evie. Sam joins us (outside the tub because I’m not that crazy!), and they all play with the tea kettle and tea cups until they start to shiver and shrivel up.

6:30 pm | Nick dresses Nora while I dress Evie. Then he starts the shower for Sam. Nora asks for a bagel and cream cheese. And, as expected, when Sam is finished in the shower, he asks for one, too. So we all head back downstairs for a snack. But not before Sam spends a few minutes styling his hair. This is a new thing because, apparently, he turned into a teenager overnight.

6:50 pm | Evie is yawning and rubbing her eyes. So I take her back upstairs. Put her in her sleep sack, turn on the sound machine, nurse her for less than five minutes before she pulls off and just wants to lay her head on my shoulder. One of my very favorite parts of the day. I rock her for a few minutes, then lay her down, and she doesn’t make a peep as I close the door behind me.

7:10 pm | Big kids are back upstairs, and Nick is helping them to brush their teeth. Then he suggests he start our dinner while I finish bedtime. I agree because I know I’ll be more successful with getting the kids to sleep. He gives hugs and kisses goodnight and heads downstairs while the kids follow me into Nora’s room. I don’t even have to ask what book Nora wants to read — we’re on day 5 of Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow. I actually don’t mind the Ladybug Girl series. I appreciate the more mature language. And Nora doesn’t miss a thing. If I try to rush through (which I don’t tonight), she says, “Mommy, you didn’t say ‘the trees were creaking in the wind’ or ‘the sun glistening off the snow.'”

7:15 pm | We finish the book. And I ask Sam to go to his room to wait for me. Nora asks for her butterfly buddy light and flashlight. Then says, “Goodnight. Happy dreams. I love you.” Gosh, I am so grateful that bedtime has gotten easier with this one.

7:20 pm | I join Sam in his room, and he asks for one more book. I offer to do two pages from his Bedtime Math book. He chooses one about spaghetti and one about elephants. He’s still coughing a lot, but I don’t have any medicine to give him, so I cross my fingers that he’ll sleep through the night.

7:27 pm | I close Sam’s door and head down to the kitchen. Our goal was 7:00, but this is still really impressive for us. Dinner is ready: gnocci (thank you, Trader Joe’s freezer section) and Italian chicken sausage. We should probably add spinach or broccoli. But we don’t. We pour big glasses of wine instead.

7:30 pm | We decide to eat in the basement while watching a movie and agree on Bad Mom because we’re both in the mood for a comedy. We are laughing hysterically between bites and sips of wine.

8:30 pm | We pause the movie for ice cream sundaes. Because it’s Saturday night.

8:45 pm | We pause it again so I can run upstairs for a glass of water. But before I can fill my glass, I hear Sam screaming. I race up to his room to find him and his bed covered in vomit. Just. Great. I call for Nick for assistance. Nick puts him in the tub while I remove his sheets. Fortunately, nothing got onto the floor. But Sam is really, really upset. He says his belly doesn’t hurt, and I suspect he was just coughing so hard that he made himself sick. Nick takes care of the laundry while I lay with Sam for a few minutes. Never a dull moment.

9:05 pm | Finally ready to finish our movie. Definitely recommend it if you’re a mom, don’t mind some vulgarity, and want a few good laughs!

10:00 pm | Nick is ready for bed, but I decide to do a bit of bullet journaling before I call it a night. I’m a newbie to this trend, but am really enjoying it so far. I love the opportunity to get creative, to let go of my perfectionist tendencies, to write and draw and make lists. Hopefully I can keep up with it!

10:45 pm | Upstairs to brush my teeth and wash my face. I check on Sam, and he looks peaceful. Then I tip-toe into the bedroom where Evie and Nick and Lucy are already fast asleep. I follow suit as soon as my head hits the pillow.

12:30 am | Evie is crying. I get up to rub her back and make sure that her pacifiers are within reach. She settles back down and sleeps until just before 4am. And, fortunately, no more surprises from Sam.



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