A (Good) Day in the Life

A few weeks ago there was a social media project where people were invited to post a picture every hour in order to document (and, ostensibly, celebrate) everyday living. As it turned out, that exact day was not really one that I’d want to preserve for all posterity anyway– it’s a kindness to everyone involved to let some days kind of fade away, don’t you agree?

But I do love the idea of capturing a day like a snapshot. And as it turned out, this ended up being a perfect day to document: a normal enough day to be representative of our stage of life, but a good day, a day of sweetness and productivity and togetherness. This is the kind of day I’ll be glad to remember and savor from the vantage point of another life stage.

So…let’s go!

(I actually have this post ready to publish exactly a month from the day I documented. That should tell you something about how long it takes me to get anything done online, these days!)

Friday, November 4, 2016

6:45- Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast. Stephen is around on Friday mornings, which always makes things run more smoothly. The kids and I are on a cereal kick, but Stephen makes a hot breakfast for himself.

Getting dressed

21 weeks pregnant, and I don’t know why my bumps always look pointy in pictures. This is a “pretending that it’s fall” outfit– shorts because it’s actually hot, long sleeves to help me imagine that it’s getting cooler.

It’s raining today for the first time in forever, which figures because I’d planned to lay all the couch cushions in the sunshine to air them out today. They’re clean, but a little musty smelling after an unfortunate throw-up incident earlier in the week. Oh well, another day! I’m loving the rain because it make it feel fallish, despite the lingering warm temperatures.

8:15- Here’s my secret to homeschooling with a toddler underfoot: I don’t. Stephen takes Leah and Jem to run errands (haircut for Jem, walk around Target to kill time) while Abby and I settle in at the dining table and start on math. One characteristic of a good day: math is finished before the little kids get home.

We get detailed lesson plans from the school to guide us on our home days. I LOVE being told what to do.

While Abby works at the table, I sneak away to start what is the first of many loads of laundry that needs to be done today.

Laundry, Part I

Laundry hack: the orange “SPECIAL” magnet is my reminder that there’s something in the wash that can’t go into the dryer.

9:30- Little kids come home and bring me a special treat: Starbucks! (Did I mention that this was a GOOD day?) Jem and Leah are happy to join us at the table with some crayons and coloring books for a while. I can’t count on this lasting for a super-long time, but we keep working as long as we can.  Stephen leaves to teach his class and go to a lunch meeting.

Coloring

10:00- Coloring gets old, and Jem and Leah move into the living room and begin to play one of their favorite games, Ant Bed. This means that they pull all the cushions off of the couch and jump around on them. This buys Abby still more time to keep working–woohoo! Ant Bed is not my favorite activity because it’s not a game that the kids can clean up by themselves. BUT, the cost/benefit payoff of independent play and bonus homeschool time is worth it.

Ant hill

11:00- Somewhere along the way I’ve released Abby to take a break and join the game with her siblings. Today’s lunch theme is “leftovers.” That pitcher with the yellow stuff in it contains the last of my butternut squash soup– I made some last weekend and have been eating it for lunch all week. Guilt-free and yum-o.

Leftover lunch

After lunch, the stars align and all three children play harmoniously, which gives me the opportunity to clean up the kitchen. It doesn’t always time out this way, but I do love it when I have a chance to clean up lunch promptly.

Here is my second hack of the day: I don’t try to load the dishwasher if Leah is nearby (she can unload faster than I can load, and I HATE doing dreaded chores more than once). I rinse all of our dishes but keep them in the sink. When the counters are clear and wiped down, the kitchen still looks clean, and it’s easy-peasy to throw theoe rinsed dishes into the dishwasher when I’m in the kitchen later working on dinner.Lunch dishes

The kids are still playing sweetly and Abby is even picking up some kid clutter as they go, so I postpone the afternoon agenda in order to knock out a few more house chores and keep the laundry going. The house looks pretty tidy, all things considered, which is a major morale boost for me.

 

Laundry, Part II

1:00- Leah goes down for a nap, which means we begin School, Round II. We’ve gotten the hard brain work done in the morning so we finish up what’s left: handwriting, history, reading. Bless him, Jem is great at entertaining himself while Abby and I work at the table.

Especially in the afternoons, Abby needs me close to keep her on task, but she doesn’t require my full attention. So this is a nice time for me to chip away at some mindless work of my own (catching up on my question-a-day journal and Bullet Journal calendar-updating).

School

Bookworm

He tied up his own ankles, for reasons that I never totally understood.

2:15- Leah wakes up, and so Abby finishes up at the table on her own. I sit on the (partly reassembled) couch and read to the littles. Sometimes we do read quality literature, but not always; today’s picks are unremarkable . It’s all about balance, right?

Read-aloud

3:00- I get out the glue gun and we attach googly eyeballs to some gourds that we painted yesterday. Stephen is home now and has decided that the break in the rain is his perfect opportunity to build a fire in the back yard. Eventually this entices all the children outside, leaving me alone. It’s perfect timing, because I’ve just remembered that I’m scheduled to teach at Bible study next week and I need to start working on a talk. I sit down at the table and start brainstorming.

The smoky smell from the back yard drifts in through the open door and windows, further contributing to my happy fall mood. I’m making slow progress on my work, because I keep getting up: Move the clothes over! Print that recipe while I’m thinking about it! Take artsy picture of workspace! Turn on some relaxing music!

study prep

4:00- The fire is still burning but the kids are in and out. However, they’re still playing really nicely together, so I’m able to keep working. Also I’m still doing laundry.

They painted these gourds yesterday and today they're pretending the gourds are a little family.

Playing with their homemade gourd family like good little pioneer children.

Laundry, Part III

5:00- Time to get started on dinner. I actually had some plans underway, thanks to {a successful but short-lived experiment with} PrepDish, but late in the afternoon I’d gotten a call from my mom asking if we wanted to share some soup with them so she could use up some chicken out of her fridge. I’m contributing a bag of salad and cornbread, so dinner is even easier than I’d planned.

If you're not cooking cornbread from the Jiffy mix, you're doing it wrong.

If you’re not cooking cornbread from the Jiffy mix, you’re doing it wrong.

6:00- Mom and Dad come over with chicken soup, and we eat together. My folks stick around through dinner cleanup, kid baths, and family worship time.

Dinner

8:30- The kids have been in bed and quiet for a while, so we’re well into “date time.” We’ve had a bowl of ice cream and some quiet working time, and we are ready to tackle our chores: Stephen folds the mountains of laundry I’ve created during the day, and I settle in at the ironing board. I NEVER iron, but earlier in the week I had thought it would be a good idea to wash my living room curtains. (I can’t explain this mysterious impulse, unless it’s related to some early-onset nesting?) Anyway, it was a big mistake: the curtains are now wrinkled, too short, and the stitch tape hems have come out. So I’m trying to get them presentable enough to hang back up.

Fortunately, The Office makes boring chores fun.

Date night

10:00- The day is done, and there’s nothing left but to go to bed.

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