I love reading about other people's daily lives, and I know someday I'll forget all this day-to-day stuff, and I'll love to remember what life was like when our kids were little. So here's a peek into what a normal day looks like around here:
3:05 - The alarm goes off for the first time. We set it a little early so we can doze for a couple more minutes before getting up.
3:15 - The alarm goes off again, so we get up. We do a quick 10-minute exercise routine first thing. (We have a subscription here. I know there are plenty of workout dvds or online videos out there, but this site focuses on diastasis, which I have, so this works well for me - and Seth likes it, too!) After that, Seth gets ready for work while I make him breakfast and gather his snacks together. I usually put away some clean dishes and start washing the ones in the sink as well (our dishwasher has been out of commission for the last 6 months or so, but I've discovered I don't really mind hand washing anymore. I just wash enough to load up my drying rack, which only takes 5-10 minutes, then I come back later and do more as needed.) I sit and eat with him for a few minutes before he leaves. We are so thankful he only has a 5 minute drive to work!
4:00 - After he leaves, I finish up washing dishes. Occasionally (maybe once a week), if I'm really tired, I'll go back to bed, but I've found that I often don't sleep well and my whole day seems off if I do, so I usually stay up. If it's a shower day (I usually take one every other day) I do that now and get dressed. If not, I try to get dressed sometime before the kids get up, but that's not quite as crucial as the shower. If I have sewing to do, this is when I do it. I stop sewing at 6, since after that time it can wake the kids up. If I don't have sewing to do, I'll often use this time to fold laundry or do other quiet projects. I love listening to podcasts or watching a movie while I fold laundry. My current favorite is to find old '90s true-life movies on YouTube to watch. =) This early morning time is also my computer time. I try not to use the computer much when the kids are up, so this is when I read blogs and check email, etc. If I'm really on top of it, I try to get breakfast going before the kids get up. I keep breakfast simple - oatmeal, yogurt and granola, toast, or scrambled eggs are the usual options I choose from. On Wednesday and Thursday, when Seth is home, I make something fun like coffee cake, waffles, or cinnamon rolls.
7:00 - The kids get up. We have a Tot Clock, so even if the kids wake up earlier, they have to stay in bed until 7 (except to go potty of course!). Usually a few minutes before 7 I start to hear kids fidgeting and whispering, then as soon as the clock changes I hear shouts of "Yellow!", then they all come thundering out. It's really kind of funny to hear them all scrambling to get out of their bedroom. Toby is stuck in his bed, and he waits, staring out the door for me. I love his smiles and happy squeaks when I go to get him. =) The older kids usually rush out and start playing with Legos, but Toby wants breakfast right away, so if I don't have it ready I give him milk and a snack while I finish it up. Once breakfast is ready, I set it out for everyone. Breakfast is the only meal that I don't require everyone to come sit down at the same time. Usually the boys are busy with their building and not quite ready for breakfast, so I let them play for a bit before I tell them to come eat. I usually sit down with the kids and eat breakfast, then while they're finishing I'll start whatever baking I'm doing that day. Most days I make something, whether it's bread, granola bars, tortillas, or something for snack later. I've been making more than usual lately in an effort to build up my freezer stash! When Toby is done with breakfast I'll change and dress him. Then I'll wash a rack of dishes and try to get the rest of the kitchen cleaned up. At this point, if there are kids who still haven't eaten, I'll tell them to eat before I take breakfast away. After breakfast the kids are supposed to take care of their morning jobs, which include clearing their dishes, getting dressed, taking care of any dirty or clean laundry, brushing teeth, and fixing their bed as best they can. Usually this requires a number of reminders. =) If I didn't get dressed earlier, I do so, then work on the rest of my morning jobs, such as picking up laundry off the floor, starting a load of laundry in the washer, opening curtains, breaking up arguments, feeding the chickens, reminding children who still aren't dressed to do so, helping someone take Legos apart, etc. I try to get most of this stuff done by the time Seth comes home for his lunch break.
9:00 - One of the perks of being close to work means that Seth gets to come home for his lunch break! It's so nice to see him during the day! Of course, it's still morning, so lunch food doesn't really sound good, so I usually make him a second breakfast! =) He always calls and lets me know he's on his way home, since his lunch time can vary; usually it's 9 or 9:30, but some days it can be as late as 10. I make him something quick so it's ready when he gets home, since he really only has time to eat and then go back. This is usually when the kids have their morning snack, as well. Our usual fare is granola bars, although sometimes I switch it up and give them something else instead.
9:30/10:00 - After Seth goes back to work and everyone has had snack, the kids return to their play. Occasionally they'll watch a movie, especially if we've just been to the library and have some new ones, but in general I try to wait on this until afternoon. I try to get the rest of my morning work done. I like to get most of my housework done in the morning so the afternoon is free for fun things. I'll continue working on any baking/cooking projects I have going on, take dry laundry off the rack and hang up another load, break up more arguments, help Toby with whatever he brings me (usually it's Legos he wants put together, or a hat put on his head), wash more dishes, and do whatever else needs to be done. I'm usually able to get most of this stuff done, though, of course, some days are better than others. =)
11:15 - Clean up time! This is nobody's favorite part of the day. But we trudge through it anyway, usually with lots of whining and complaining and arguing, and sometimes some discipline, too. On a good day, I get lunch started so it's ready for us when we finish morning time. On not so good days I'm helping clean up, too.
11:30 - Morning time...we usually do our calendar, read stories, sing songs, and read a poem. Sometimes we'll work on something we're memorizing (like our address).
12:00 - Lunch! The kids wash their hands and head to the table and I finish up making lunch - usually simple sandwiches and a fruit and veggie. I usually put it on the table so they can help themselves and I'm not having to refill plates every few minutes. While the kids eat, I read a chapter of whatever book we're currently reading. When the kids have finished eating, they clear their dishes, get washed up, go potty, and gather whatever they want for rest time. The three older kids just have a quiet time, each in different places. Ezra is in the dining room, so he just plays Legos at the table. Joanna is in our bedroom, so she brings a few toys and books with her in there. Benjamin is in the living room, and he'll bring a puzzle or Legos to play with, or he'll look at books. I wash up Toby, change his diaper, and put him down for his nap.
12:30 - Rest time. The kids are required to stay in their spot and play quietly. I make myself some lunch and will usually read some blogs while I eat it. I try to not do work during rest time, but sometimes I do work on dishes or laundry. Usually I try to do something more fun and restful, like work on sewing/craft projects, read, or even occasionally take a nap. Seth gets home around 1:15 most days (at which point all the kids come out from their spots to say hi to Dad!), so I hang out with him for a bit usually, as well. I also spend about 10 minutes during rest time working on reading with Benjamin. This works really well for us because I can have focused time with him, and he has a hard time being quiet at rest time, so it gives him an excuse to talk! =) Sometimes if I have an errand to run, I'll go during rest time, after Seth gets home.
2:00 - Rest time is over for the big kids. They clean up their things while I try to keep them quiet so Toby can keep sleeping, but that usually doesn't work, so he's usually up now, too. He wakes up grumpy, so he gets a bottle and I cuddle with him for a few minutes until he's ready to go. We have snack and then we may or may not head outside for a few minutes. The afternoons are fairly relaxed. Most of my work is done, so I'm a bit more free to read, work on a bit of sewing, or play a game with the kids. The kids either play or watch a movie. Once a week or so we like to do something fun with the kids, like go to the children's museum or have what they call a "Lego party", where we dump out all the Legos in the living room (we normally only keep out a small amount on a tray on the table).
4:00/4:30 - Start dinner. My goal is to have dinner at 5, which means I need to start it around 4, but that doesn't always happen. The kids continue to play or watch a movie, and Seth is usually trying to do some writing. I make dinner and wash dishes.
5:00 - Clean up time! Most days we start cleaning up around 5, and end up eating at 5:30 or so. Seth usually helps me oversee clean up while I finish up dinner.
5:30 - Dinner time! Towards the end of dinner, while the kids are finishing up their food, I read a story from a children's Bible, and we'll talk about it for a few minutes. We also work on our Scripture Memory. When we're done, everyone clears dishes and washes up.
6:00 - Sometimes the kids just play for a bit after dinner (they're not allowed to make much mess), so I'll wash a load of dishes, wipe counters, and sweep the floor. Other times, we'll watch a movie as a family, in which case I'll just put dishes in the sink and call it good. Right now we're introducing the kids to some classics - we just watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and now we're working on Pollyanna. Sometimes we can finish a movie in one evening; other times we'll spread it out a bit.
7:00 - Time to get ready for bed! Another not especially favorite time of the day. The kids get jammies on and gather a stuffed animal to sleep with and a book to read. Seth brushes teeth while I get Toby ready for bed. Then everyone gathers on our bed to read stories. Usually everyone picks a books so we read three books. Occasionally, if we're running late, I'll just choose one book to read, or, on a night we stayed up late to do something fun, we'll skip the books. After stories, everyone goes potty and gets into bed. We tuck everyone in and pray together before turning out the lights.
7:30 - Once we get the kids to bed, Seth and I are exhausted, so we don't usually do much in the evening. One of us will head out to close up the chickens, and sometimes I'll wash up a few dishes, but usually I just leave them for the morning. We'll spend an hour or so reading, watching a show, or talking for a bit before getting ready for bed around 8:30 or 9. By 9 or 9:30 we collapse (literally!!) into bed.
This is what happens most days around here. Seth is off Wednesday and Thursday, but those days generally look the same, except breakfast is later (since I make something more special) and I don't usually do quite as much work in the morning. We also skip morning time those days. Sunday mornings we have church, so Seth is off work at 9, and I have the kids ready to go when he gets home. Every other Friday we have MOPS, so pretty much after breakfast we start getting ready to go, and then we're gone all morning and don't get home until lunch time. But most days are pretty much the same - simple but full and lovely! =)