daily rhythms

Daily Rhythms: Mandy

One thing I loved about college is for just that short little four year period of my life, I was surrounded by people in the exact same bracket as myself. Age, denomination, schooling. There are times when variety is really nice (and greatly appreciated) but too much difference at times makes it harder to connect.

So at college I met all of these new friends, who were doing the exact same thing as me, who were just as busy as me, and who came from a background similar to mine (*I know some people disagree with me stating that Taylor is too similar and doesn’t have enough diversity and I can definitely see their point.  I’m more or less hyperbolizing to make mine :))

And then we  said our goodbyes at graduation and we were swept up into a cyclone that flung each of us out a different times while scattering us all into different places.  And though our lives are just beginning to resemble one another now (most of my college friends are now married and most of them are now moms), it is kind of nice there is a sense of common history but diverse presence about us.  That’s why I’ve done this daily rhythm series.  To highlight both of those things.

Mandy is another friend from Taylor.  She has always had a celebrity aura around her that attracts people to her.  She was a trendsetter back then and still is today and my go-to source for anything fashion related.  She is a mommy to three: Cohen, Kempton, and new baby Aniston and she married her college sweetheart (who I think was MY husband’s fashion muse as they were on the lacrosse team together :))

When Mandy told me she was going to share what a typical day looks like when she works (as a make up artist), I was all for it.  What mom doesn’t daydream of getting a few hours to herself every week to  leave a needy house in high heels and lipstick to go talk to her peers about the most feminine of pursuits (and she even gets paid for it!)?

But yet, she is still solidly mommy: worrying that the kids make it home from school, getting back in time to make dinner, ending the night with bath time and prayers.  Her daily life is so different yet so similar to my own.  That’s why I love reading these.

Enjoy:

Daily Rhythms {of a part time working mom}
When Kate asked me to be a part of her daily rhythms series it took me about 2 seconds to run through a typical day in my head and I thought I don’t know if I have a “rhythm” yet. I mean a lot of days I don’t even have dinner ready till 7 p.m. YIKES!! My days consist of nursing, playing with metal cars, and coffee, lots of coffee. So just repeat those three over and over till 5:00 p.m.,with a trip to the gym every now and then and you have my day in a nut shell. Hmm I should probably think about coming up with a schedule ASAP. You other ladies have inspired me.

However there is one area of my life that a daily rhythm is imperative or our family will just crash and burn. This is when I replace my mommy hat with high heels and bright lipstick to join the corporate world for the day. I have actually found that my day flows very smoothly through the chaos of working part time. I am more organized and more specific about the activities to take place in my day, thus I get more done even while working two jobs (mommy and makeup artist). So I decided to write out for you a typical working day in the Odle home.

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Alarm goes off at 7:15. However I’ve already been up nursing Aniston at about 6:00 a.m. and we are co-sleeping at this point. Daddy gets up, wakes Cohen up and I faintly hear them talking about where our elf Milton might be. Once he has been successfully spotted they hop in the shower. I put my quiet sleeping baby back in her bassinet and head downstairs to make the coffee and pack Cohen’s lunch. This is also when I get a little bit of quiet time on a good day when Kemp sleeps in.

7:55 Whoosh daddy and Cohen are out the door for work and school. By now I’m normally changing soggy diapers, getting a milk cup and gathering up all the “animals” (monkey Patch, baby Charlie, froggy, monkey George) and blankies for a little bit of snuggle quiet time before I have to get ready.

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By 8:30 I start the getting ready process. I say process because I am more than likely going to get interrupted about 540,893 times but that’s ok cause in less than 1.5 hours I will be kid free and in the land of adults. “Mommy can I have breakfast”, “bread chewocwoate”, “mommy can you get dis down”, “mommy wook at me”, “mommy did you seeeeee dat?” Aniston doesn’t normally wake up till about 9:30 when I am just finishing my makeup. Perfect timing. I get her changed and then nurse her. By this time grandma Becky is rolling in. She normally makes a comment like “you look so cute today”, cause NO I don’t wear makeup everyday. We quickly go over the day, I grab my pump, my wallet out of the diaper bag, give kisses to my babies, and I’m out the door.

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9:45 Ahhh I’m in the car alone. I’m ALONE! Sometimes I just sit in the running car for a minute and take it all in. I then make my 10 minute commute and bust through the doors of the beautifully crisp Saks Fifth Avenue. It’s 10 a.m. and the day is just beginning in the world of retail. We all have our hopes set high that this will be an awesome day. Today in particular is a special holiday event and fashion show. My job will be to quickly do the model’s makeup and then my appointments that start around 11. So I pick out a lip color for the day. That always sets the mood. Hmmm today it will be red, bright red. Chanel Pirate to be exact. I check the counter’s stock of this color before applying because what I wear I sell and will no doubt deplete their stock by the end of the day.

It’s noon and we are into the thick of it. I’ve already run through my whole education/daily routine multiple times now and I’m starting to think about lunch. I check my phone to make sure there aren’t any texts from home and sneak away to pump. At home daddy is on his lunch break helping grandma feed the kids. It’s a pumped bottle for Ani and “noodles” for Kemp. By 1:00 p.m. both kiddos are down for a nap and daddy is back to work.

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2:00 we are approaching our busiest time at work. Multiple appointments stacking up and getting ready for the midday show. I get do all types of girly things. You never know what you might have to do for a client. Today I’m fixing hair and painting nails for a “regular” of ours. She is comforting to see. A constant in this crazy, high paced world.

It’s now 2:30. Is it raining today? Snowing? Do I need to remind someone to pick up Cohen from the bus. Nope sunny. He will be fine walking home.

2:45 and he’s off the bus. 2:50 I get a text from grandma, everyone is here and we are eating a snack.

3:30 I finally take a break. Pump. Check in with the hubs. Make sure we are on the same track for this evening. Head over to the Gap to spend my Gap cash. Wait in a crazy long line (it’s the holidays after all). Now there is no time for food. Shoot. It’s a piece of See’s chocolate for lunch, Altoids, and the granola bar I stashed back at the counter. Fix my lipstick and I’m right back into the makeup grind for the next 2 hours.

6:00 peace out primp and perfume world, hello sticky and snotty world. I’m on my way home. If it’s a crockpot dinner night I usually try and run a couple errands kid free, but tonight is burger night. It happens to be a night with no sport practices or small groups so dinner will be a little more extensive than usual. I have the meat thawed in the fridge and veggies prepped. I call my husband and tell him to fire up the grill. He starts on the burgers and I begin chopping the salad. We’re a good team. We actually prefer to cook together. Every single person (and animal) in our family is now in the kitchen while we cook. The kids just gravitate to any room that I’m in, but right now I don’t care. I have missed them today and I want to hear all about their day. We turn on Christmas music and sing along. Kemp is a funny dancer and it makes us all laugh. Daddy then proceeds to make up funny lyrics to the tune of Jingle Bells and we all play along. We wonder is everyone this weird or just us?!

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8:00 I give the little ones baths while daddy and Cohen finish homework. I then put Kemp to bed which he drags out as long as he can, “mommy my finger hurts”, “no not that book”, “I don’t wike these jammies”, “mommy I don’t wike this pilwoh”, “mommy get that stuffed animal waaay up there”. By the time I nurse Ani and put her down it’s pushing 9 p.m. Cohen and Brooks have been snuggled up in the basement watching the IU game or a Christmas movie I don’t know. I thinking flipping back and forth between both, but when I get down there they are both squished together on one end of our extra large sectional. It’s really cute actually. But it’s time for Cohen to head upstairs to bed. We both go up and do devotions and then daddy says a prayer and he’s out in the blink of an eye.

9:30 It’s finally mommy and daddy time! We look around the house. Should we pick up? Nah let’s eat some dessert and watch a Christmas movie. It seems this time of year brings out all our bad habits. Cookies, milkshakes, large diet sodas ugh, they make the cuddle time so much more fun. We turn off all the lights in the house and snuggle under the glow of our Christmas tree till entirely too late because the Hallmark channel gets us every time.

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I pump once more to store some milk for our “date night” bank then it’s time to sneak up to our bed. I like to go into all the kids’ rooms and give them kisses or say a quick prayer over them. We crawl into bed, check the alarm, make a comment about how much we love our Tempurpedic pillows, and drift off to sleep only to do it all again the next day. But hey I don’t work tomorrow. Turn that alarm off. Tomorrow will be a whole different animal and I am ready and excited for a day without a rhythm. A spontaneous, I’ll take whatever you throw at me, kind of day with my little family of five.

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Thanks, Mandy.  Sometimes we DO pursue more of a rhythm on the days that require it from us.  It’s nice to have a small mixture of both, no?

-smk

 

Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Tricia

This post is written by a dear friend and nearly-next-door neighbor whom I terribly miss. Tricia and I met when MG was just Bea’s age and she had two girls at the time (now three, Emaline joined last year around Christmas).  The oldest (Liesel) is MG’s senior by 6 months and the youngest (Moira) was just a little over a year younger.  What a blessing it was to meet her at this exact time in my life!

Tricia is one of those people that you just can’t help but love.  She is the kind of neighbor you definitely want in your proximity because she will do ANYTHING for you (including go to the drugstore for you to fill an Rx  for Zofran because you are keeling under morning sickness…or take your daughter to the library for story time so you can go to the doctor solo, etc. etc..).

She is also a very inspiring hands-on mama.  She creates these elaborate “Liesel school” lesson plans that are so wonderful and so much fun.  I have totally stolen some of her ideas before (you can find quite a few on her blog, like this fun “germs” one)

On top of that, she is very, very talented in the kitchen.  All of her food has that homemade quality to it that you just can’t make without putting lots of time, energy and love into.  She writes a wonderful blog called Going Homemade where she catalogs some of her tried and true recipes. I’ve never had one fail me…go check it out!

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My day decided to begin at 5:45 am when I heard Moira yell, “Momma, Mommy!”  Racing in to see what was wrong she sleepily said, ” I have to go potty.”  I realized, at that moment, my day was starting.  We have a strict rule of not going downstairs until 7.  Usually if the girls wake before then, we let them play or talk in their room. This morning, because of the time, and the fact that Liesel was still asleep, I decided to bring MJ in bed with us.  Amazingly, she fell back to sleep.  I, however, did not.  I laid there thinking of the day ahead-my do to list- until Eric got up to get ready.  It was then I heard Emaline stirring and I went to nurse and change her.  Eric had to leave early so he quietly came and kissed me goodbye. At 7:30 Moira woke for good and the three of us made our way downstairs.  Liesel joined us around 8 and the day officially began!

For breakfast the girls requested ” The Grandpa Special” a staple these days: oatmeal with berries, almonds, cashews, applesauce and cinnamon.  While they ate, I unloaded the dishwasher and began the espresso machine.  Today was a caffeine morning.

The girls went upstairs to pick out outfits and play.  Emaline stayed down with me, enjoying some Cheerios and I wiped the counters and vacuumed the floor.

Although not a dyson, this little vacuum is amazing for life with littles!

Emaline and I then make our way upstairs.  After teeth are brushed and clothes are on, we have our devotional time.  I love the days we can fit this in!

Em soon begins rubbing her eyes, signaling morning naptime. While she is napping Liesel and Moira are busy playing in their room.  This is my time to complete morning tasks.  Sometimes they play nicely for 10 minutes other mornings it can be for over an hour!  I just do as much as I can until I am needed.  Today the girls played wonderfully.  Here is Moira singing Liesel to sleep 🙂 and apparently we are undressed-again.

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I throw a load in the laundry, make beds,  get myself ready and even have time to start on the ironing I am extremely behind on-

 

sorry hubs

After about the 10th time the girls ask, if it is snack yet?? I decide “alone playtime” is over. Only three shirts were completed. It is 10:05 and an adequate time for a snack.  Since we have been learning about spiders this week, the girls make their own spiders out of apples and marshmallows.

Emaline wakes around 10:30 and after a quick feeding we head out for a few errands.  This morning we have three: post office (actually needing to go in), library and a TJ Maxx return.  I am doubtful we will accomplish all since it is 11 when we actually pull out of the house. Darn you jacket season for lengthening our getting out of the house time.

The girls are rock stars at the post office, smiling and staying near, even though the line is somewhat long.  Once back in the car and on our way to stop #2 Moira points, “look Hobby Lobby!” Tempted to stop, I know this cannot be on the to do list today.

Walking hand in hand the girls and I make our way in to the library

This stop takes longer as we run into some old storytime friends.  The girls enjoy playing and looking at books while I catch up with a friend. I glance at the time and it’s past noon!  We quickly checkout our  books and DVDs (paying one small fine) then head out.  I realize three stops was a stretch and I put TJ Maxx on hold for another day.

For lunch we have egg salad- so glad my girls love this as much as I do!

After lunch it’s time to pick up and take naps.  The two little ones go in around 1:30 and Liesel sets up camp in our room for quiet time.  She spends this time looking at books and working on her workbook while I finish up a few chores.   Around 2:45 I allow Liesel some iPad time and I lay down next to her. This is my time to rest.  I complete my bible study homework for a woman’s study at church. Currently doing Beth Moore’s study on 1&2 Thessolonians, my first woman’s bible study since kids! I then give myself time to mindlessly scroll through FB and Instagram.

A little after 3pm, Liesel and I head downstairs for reading time.  This time is precious.  Time alone with my big 4 year old is rare especially since L goes to preschool three days a week. We get through one book and Em wakes.  She joins us for our second book.  Liesel loves reading to her sisters and sometimes Emaline is her best audience!

It’s now 3:30 and MJ is still asleep!  Liesel helps me get our afternoon smoothie together: Spinach, banana, frozen berries, homemade yogurt and almond milk. Bonus points for days our smoothie turns out PINK

The blender wakes Moira (success) and we all head up to get sister!   While the girls are having their smoothies, I set up our afternoon activity.  I make a web for the girls to work on balance and also letter sounds, f for “fly”.

 

Eric calls to check in and says he’ll be home for dinner tonight by 6.  Looking outside, it’s gorgeous.  So the girls and I head to our neighborhood park.

I’m starting to get sad thinking about how our days where walks and parks are included are fading.  Trying to enjoy every beautiful day!  The girls have the park to themselves.  They spend most of the time at the swings (makes it much easier on me)!

 

At 5:05 we head home.  Dinner is going to be leftovers and we still have time before Eric gets home, so I decide it’s a bath before dinner night!  The girls love the idea. Bath nights are crazy, since all three go in together.  In the midst of giggling, the girls get a surprise when daddy walks in! Squeals and hugs abound! And kisses for me! Then it’s cuddles with a towel baby, while the bigs go crazy behind the curtain.

Eric stays up with L and MJ.  Emaline and I head down to heat up dinner.  Chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans for all! I call up to the bigs and we eat dinner a little after 6. I glance at the clock and its 6:20.  The girls help me clear the table and I clean up the best I can.  Tonight I have a meeting at Starbucks about Sunday School at our church.  I give Emaline a good nursing session and then hand her off.  Quick kisses for the girls and I am out the door!

Once in the car, I exhale.  A quiet car, is there anything more enjoyable to a parent? I drive for about 10 minutes in silence.  I don’t think I was even really thinking of anything in particular, just enjoying my time alone.  After a great meeting with some fabulous people (and a complimentary PSL to boot), I make the trek home. It’s a little after 8. Eric and I chat on the drive.  Girls went in perfectly, slight cry from emaline, but not a peep from the older two. We talk briefly about my meeting and within minutes I’m home.

Before allowing myself to completely  unwind, I always clean downstairs.  It’s the way I keep sane.  Floors are cleaned, counters wiped, dishwasher on, toys and books out of sight.  It is then, and only then that I can relax.  This is my favorite time of day.  Tonight is especially great because it is Thursday.  Which means Eric went to Trader Joes!  Wine, a baguette and their, to die for, harvarti cheese!  Need I say more? Oh and Eric decided to make one of our first fires of the season.  This, friends, is my slice of heaven on earth.

Snuggling we watch two Madmen episodes and head upstairs. It’s 11.  We climb into bed and talk until one or both of us drifts, who knows which. It’s late and I’m next to the man I love.  This is real life, this is my life, and I love it!

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Thank you so much, Tricia, for sharing your day with us!  Reading this definitely makes me excited for what life will look like in just a few short months with MG & Bea…morning play time, reading alone time, girls getting dressed all by themselves, and going for walks without chasing someone down-haha!

Reading this also makes me a little sad that we aren’t neighbors anymore–but–it does inspire me to be a better neighbor to those around me right now.  Thanks, Tricia!

-smk

Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Nicole

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Today I have another guest post for you in our Daily Rhythms series.  This one comes from Nicole who harkens back to my Taylor days.  She just had an adorable baby boy a few months ago and I was anxious to hear what it was like.  I find it so interesting that each mom’s experience and remembrance of the early days is so different from mom to mom.  Enjoy!

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Hi everyone! I want to thank Kate for inviting me to share on her Thursday series. Kate and I know each other from Taylor where we lived together with 10 other women our senior year – yes we are still all friends and it actually worked out pretty greatJ I have loved getting to read Kate’s blog and feel a bit inadequate to share during this series as I am a first time mom but here goes.

My husband and I live in Portland, Oregon and moved here from the Midwest over 4 years ago. We had our son, Cameron, in July and it has been an adventure. Lets just say we were prepared but not prepared and this kid has rocked our world in an amazingly awesome way. The day I am going to share will change soon as I go back to work as a high school teacher in a couple of weeks but we won’t dwell on that sad news.

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I would love to tell you that as a 4 month old that Cameron had slept through the night and that our wake –up at 7am was the first time he was up but that is not the truth. For some reason Cameron got up 3 times which is very unusual. Babies.  Every time I try and predict them my type A self is gently reminded. We get up, he greets me with a smile, we change his diaper, and we are off to take my husband to work. We live in the city so having 1 car and good public transit is awesome. We rush back home to do another one of our favorite activities – pumping.

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Cameron was a bottle refuser but due to two of my best friends having the same problem I was able to figure out he likes them warm and he has a bottle preference. Of course it’s not my glass Dr. Browns – kids they keep you guessing. We pump and he takes the bottle and we are off for a jog. Running is hands down one of my favorite activities and while it looks a lot different than before I had a kid, gone are my marathon runs, I am still getting out there which is awesome.

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We get back and Cameron goes down for a nap while I finally eat breakfast and sit down after a crazy busy morning.

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Amazingly I am able to eat breakfast and then get ready while Cameron chills in his bouncer seat. Yes it’s pink – that’s all they had at the children’s consignment shop. You will notice his cute outfit and then this is where our day goes a little haywire.

Shower Time

Oh and this is also in my bathroom because while I have started showering before 3, some days, I never get to shower alone or go to the bathroom or do anything…what they don’t tell you when you have a kid. This is also the time that Cameron decided to not only have a blowout on his cute outfit but also all over me while I was feeding him and after I had showered. On to outfit number two for both of us. I quickly eat lunch and we go off to the doctors. We stop for a few errands and Cameron decides that he needs to eat now – while we are driving.

cam crying before eating

Why is it that when the baby is crying and you finally know why that nothing is quick enough i.e. I can’t find a parking spot and then I can’t check in quickly. Thankfully he finally got his food and the appointment goes mostly smooth aside from me having to change him during the appointment. BabiesJ We come home and I enjoy a nice cup of chai tea while I think Cameron is sleeping but he’s not.

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He does though surprise me and sleeps the whole time we are gone when we pick up my husband and stop at the grocery store, which is a rarity because everything is amazing to look at for him.

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We come home and Cameron plays with his dad while I rush to make parsnip and leek soup while all is calm. Some nights dinner goes great other nights, well you know.

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Cameron starts to get sleepy and we read a book together. We make it through one page in our children’s bible and he eats and goes to sleep. Thankfully this night was much better with only two quick wake ups.

I will say our days have some predictability but other days they are not which is something I am slowly embracing. Overall being a mom is one of the most challenging yet most amazing thing I have ever done. It has also stretched me to depend on God more than I ever have which to be honest I wasn’t really expecting. I also knew I would be filled with joy with having him but never to the amount I am experiencing. He literally is one of the most incredible things that has ever happened to my husband and myself.

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

Nickie

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Thanks so much for sharing your day with us, Nickie! Oh how I remember those early newborn days.  It is so hard to be type A when you have a…well…Baby :). So glad you are finding some normalcy throughout it all 🙂

-smk

Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Abby

In case you’re new here, I’m doing a series called Daily Rhythms where I showcase snippets of both myself and others’ lives. You can catch up here.
This Daily Rhythms post comes from a suburban mom, living in a Victorian style mansion (it’s dreamy), in the Midwest.  Abby is another friend I met at Taylor and I have been following closely to her story since then.  She is a gifted writer and curates a blog filled with delicious recipes, artistic snippets, and daily musings.   She is a mom of four, with ages spanning from 1mo to seven years old. Yes, she is well-rounded and inspiring in all the right ways
Abby’s artistic vision extends beyond her blog and she has created many beautiful things with her hands. This fall I purchased one of her handmade cowls and have been so pleased with it;  (Check out her Etsy shop here) These cowls are so affordable and less fussy than a scarf (which I love!).
I was especially interested to hear what Abby’s days entail with 4 little ones, especially with the youngest being a newborn.  It’s rare to find someone that still faithfully blogs after having four children and for her insights I am extremely grateful 🙂
Follow her story along with me:
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(P.S. When I asked people to participate in this little exchange, I gave them very little boundaries or rules.  I just told them to make it their own.  It’s been fun to see how people took that charge and each added to it their own writing style)
5:30 am finish the last round of night nursing my 3 week old baby girl and fall back asleep with her on my chest.
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7:20 am-Greeted by Isabelle and Vera as they climb into my bed to say good morning. Vera plays with her current collection of “toys”, today they are a baby bottle, red potatoes and a coffee carafe. Isabelle snuggles under the covers next to me to chat while I nurse Eliza.
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8:00am-I roll out of bed and leave the girls talking with Eliza while I get ready. First, I run to the kitchen downstairs and pour myself a cup of coffee. Most nights I prep it all so when Nate gets up for work he brews it and fills up his thermos and leaves the rest for me to enjoy when I wake up. It is a great system! Then upstairs I go to the bathroom to check if my hair needs tweaking (read: spray with water bottle and re-dry) or if I can get away with it as is. I put on some makeup. (yes I do this every day and yes I do have four children one of which is a newborn…it can be done ladies

Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Erica

This summer I started a blog series called Daily Rhythms (you can catch up here).  One of these Daily Rhythms posts chronicled 24 hours with me.  A few weeks later I received an invitation to “swap” 24 hours stories and I shared with you my friend Kacey’s account.  The readers loved it.  So I decided I would ask a few ladies (that also blog) if they would be willing to contribute an entire day’s post to my blog.  How interesting is it to read how other people (especially those with different circumstances…ie number of kids, location, life circumstances, etc.) live?  So here is a day in the life of Erica, as seen on The View From Africa Erica

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Erica and I met quite a few years ago at our alma mater, Taylor University.  I met her through some mutual friends and have enjoyed watching her family grow over the past few years.  She is married to Dr. Matt and has two little boys:  Bo who is 3, Max who is 13 months.  (notice that her boys are almost the exact same ages/spreads of my girls)

At the time of her 24 hour writing, Max, who was adopted from Ethiopia, had been home only 5 weeks.  FIVE WEEKS and her life already seems so….normal 🙂  I followed their journey of first announcing their plans to adopt and then what felt like forever months later they were headed to Africa to first meet him (and pass court) and then a few weeks later a second time (to bring him HOME)

Erica works from home for her husband Matt’s dental anesthesia practice. They live in the south in a beautifully restored older home (holla!).  You have to check out her blog and read about them acquiring it!

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Daily Rhythms – Thursday, October 16, 2014

Today I struggle awake to the sounds of my husband getting ready for his day.  I’m thankful that he’s up first and I can stay snuggled in darkness for ten more minutes.  As he gets ready to walk out the door, we discuss a decision that is looming. 5:55 AM isn’t an ideal time for these conversations but Matt is a morning person so he humors me, and in this stage of life we have to grab the moments when we can.  He’s out the door, I shower and then I unload the dishwasher as my coffee brews.

 

I take my spot on the couch in the pool of lamplight and pick up the book I’m reading for Bible study. I haven’t always made it a point to wake up early but with two kiddos I need the time more than ever!  As the sky brightens I hear the kids stirring – the baby first, then Bo.  They have started to play a bit in the morning but I never know how long I have. I get breakfast ready for us – a bowl of oatmeal, today with raisins and pumpkin and cinnamon. I dish the kids’ bowls and put them in the fridge to cool.

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When it sounds like Max might need rescuing from his big brother, I enter. Today Bo is actually IN his brother’s crib . . . oh, well, moving on.  I’m grateful that breakfast today is mostly drama-free.  Max eagerly finishes a bowl of oatmeal and then feeds himself for a while and I pause to acknowledge his accomplishments – trying new textures and using a spoon! I make Bo’s lunch, pack it in his Star Wars lunchbox, and get the kids dressed.  Max has done a great job playing on the floor today and letting me get ready. So many times I focus only on the hurdles and I want to practice gratitude and celebrate our achievements!

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We’re out the door around 8:30 to walk Bo to school.  My neighbor-friend is leaving her house at the same time and she does half of the walk with us.  I’m thrilled to have her company. Bo is wearing his rainboots and we stop at every puddle and all the spookiest houses to admire their Halloween decorations.

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At school I kiss my big guy goodbye, and head back home, faster and quieter without my little sidekick, but a bit lonelier.  I love this walk and never tire of the beautiful homes on these streets. Soon we are home and Max is snuggled up with a bottle before his morning nap. I read him a story and place him on his tummy and walk out. He chatters but doesn’t cry – another moment to celebrate! I sit down in our home office to crank out an hour of phone calls and paperwork before I have to wake Max up . . . I hate to do it but he won’t nap well in the afternoon if I don’t. He pops up cheerfully and I encourage him to following me around the house with the walker while I get ready to head out the door.

 

As soon as he sees the car seat, Max starts to cry . . . and keeps at it.  We postpone errands for Barnes and Noble so he can get some time at the train table and a good lunch in.  We go from there to Target to grab diapers and baby food and then to the post office before landing back at home. Max goes down for his nap again and I take my lunch in to the office to deal with the calls I missed while we were out.  When Matt’s case goes long, I ask my sister-in-law to pick up Bo from school for me and I get a double bonus when she takes him to her house for an hour.  I use the time to start dinner and enjoy the quiet as I listen to music and chop veggies for chicken soup. Matt comes home and heads out to the backyard to work on the treehouse he spontaneously started two days before.  At 3:00 my sister-in-law brings Bo home and her three boys. They tumble out of the car and head for the tree fort as the baby wakes up.  I chat with  Courtney and Matt for the next hour as we watch our stairstep boys – ages 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 – climb and slide and swing down the zipline. Soon they are perfect muddy messes from head to toe.

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Bo’s school has reserved the local pumpkin patch for the evening so we head out and bring Bo’s closest-in-age cousin along.  They enjoy the mini maze and Max parks at the corn troughs for some sensory play.  I’m thankful Matt can be there with us, and even though my messy children mean it isn’t a picture perfect pumpkin patch experience, the kids have fun and we enjoy the fall afternoon together.

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We drop my nephew off at his house and race home as the dinnertime hour means meltdowns are on the horizon.  Bo is too dirty to eat so I give him a quick shower and set him down for chicken soup, which is not well received.  Matt heads out for the night to a concert so I keep the baby’s dinner simple and get him bathed while Bo realizes he does like chicken soup after all.  A couple books, a bottle for the baby, and a dozen kisses later, my little men are tucked into their shared room and I coast through our quiet house, picking up toys, unloading Bo’s backpack and admiring the day’s artwork.

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I take my soup to the couch to enjoy with my feet propped up and Hulu cued up on our TV.  I soak up the alone time. I’m dead tired, but content, thankful for the victories and head off for bed.

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It all sounds so deeply familiar, doesn’t it mamas?  Even though…even though it’s boys vs. girls, some biological, some adopted, her south, us north, …. we all share some of our rhythms in common.

Thanks for sharing, Erica!

-smk

Daily Rhythms: A Guest Post/London Calling

I’ve been writing a series called Daily Rhythms.  You can catch up here.

A few weeks ago, I chronicled an entire day in the life of Sweet Mama K.  Today, I am happy to share with you a slice of life from all the way across the world.

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Kacey (you may remember her as the founder and chief editor of inspowoman) lives in London, England with her family of 5 and I was so happy when she decided to share with us what a typical day looks like for them.  I think you will find her life, with all its similarities and differences to ours, so interesting.   There are two things I especially enjoy about this narrative : 1) the names of their English friends (okay, alright, I am a self-admitted baby name enthusiast…I guess this even translates to other countries).  and 2) Her pictures.  The one of her eldest in the eye exam chair looks like something straight out of a turn of the century movie.  So dreamy. Enjoy.

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The day starts at 5:30 am when my alarm goes off. But let’s be honest, I’m incoherent thru snoozes until closer to 6. I make my way down from the 3rd floor master suite in our London flat, stopping on the 2nd floor where my daughters (5, 3) and my son (2) are sleeping soundly in their respective girls and boy rooms. Slowly (& ridiculously quietly) I push the girls’ door open and hang a scarf on the inside doorknob- their signal that they can come join me downstairs once they wake up. Down another flight of stairs to the main living room, down another flight of stairs to our “basement” dining room/kitchen. I grab my cozy corner of our little couch and pull out the current bible study I am working thru with an incredible group of women that I’ve met over the last year and a half.

A few pages in and I am joined by my eldest daughter. Who promptly curls up next to me on the couch and begins flipping thru her own book, knowing that this is sacred quiet time. By 6:45, the littlest guy begins stirring and I begin the climb again to get him out of his crib before he climbs out on his own. (a skill he has mastered during play time but thankfully has yet to do during bed/nap time….) my middle daughter joins us and we head down for breakfast. Today? We had Natural Greek Yoghurt and Gail’s granola. As well as strawberry banana puree smoothies for the kids. We finish up together and head upstairs to get dressed for the day, I make sure this is by 7:45 to keep us on track.
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The girls dress themselves and I dress my son and the 3 of them play in their rooms together while I get myself ready. On this particular morning, they are playing quite nicely. My husband joins each of us for awhile before he goes- he’s headed to Germany for the night. Kisses good-bye and big “I’ll miss you!s” and he’s out the door. The kids and I end up down in the main living room and pick out shoes and jackets for the day and pack 3 bananas in 3 mini backpacks for the communal fruit bowls at school. We prepare for our commute- which means, the little guy is strapped into the seat of the stroller, my middle daughter stands on a board on the back of the stroller, and my eldest daughter straps on her helmet to scoot. All armed with muffins for the long trek. It’s 8:45 am.
We walk 1 mile along the Kings Road, a very busy and very popular shopping road in Chelsea. We left in enough time this day to stop at the fire station and stare at the fire trucks and wave at the firemen for a few minutes and to pack a lunch for a homeless neighbor that we surely will bump into along the way. Thankfully, it is beautiful day so our commute is greeted with sunshine and comfortable temperatures.

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Once we arrive at school, the children are each in charge of their backpacks and we travel down the flight of concrete steps outside leading to school. I fold up the stroller and carry that and my purse and barely hold my son’s hand. I am sweating like it’s my job. I run up and grab the scooter and we finally make it in the front door. We shake the teacher’s hand as a greeting and the girls go into their classroom while I take my son to his. It is his FIRST day staying at school today and we are a mix of unsure, excited, ready and not ready. He has been doing this drop-off with the girls for a year and a half, so naturally he thinks he owns the place and walks in in such a way. Upon my departure, I have 3 very happy children ready to do a half-day of school and I leave, thanking the Lord for the way He has provided for us with our move from the US to the UK- providing an intimate school that has been such a blessing to our family.
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I have nothing in my hands and no stroller to push. Um, the first time in 5 years, really… And it is an odd and invigorating feeling. I’m really excited for the season of life where I get to run them around from hobby to hobby, help them channel their passions and strengths and talk thru things. I’ve loved babies, but I find myself eager for this next season. Anyways, I set off on a run (all by myself) and I get a quick 4 miles in at Battersea Park before heading back to the house to shower (all by myself) and prepare lunch for the kids (all by myself) and walk back to school to pick them up (all by myself…). All by myself? Yeah, for the first time in 5 years.

After repeating the commute steps in reverse- schlepping the stroller and scooter back up the steps, gathering the children, strapping 1 in, standing 1 up, and preparing the last to scoot; we head home. They are too hungry to make it home before they break into their egg & mayo sandwiches, ice waters, and dried mango. We eat & chat while we walk our mile back to the house with many complaints of hot/cold, tired and needing the toilet along the way and many funny stories about how Miss Anita forgot her crackers so she had to run to the store before lunch so she would have something to eat. Can you imagine?! Home at last, I scoop up my big school boy and bring him right to his crib for a nap. Us girls play in the main living room for a bit before the world’s best nanny arrives in our door. Another one of God’s incredible blessings to our whole family. I grab my laptop to get an hour’s worth of work in for Inspo- the website that I edit. I settle in at Café Nero and my fingers get to moving as quickly as possible for the hour that’s mine.

After that, I boogie back to the house (2:30 pm) and grab my eldest daughter for an eye exam and ballet. An eye exam for a 5 year old is kind of hilarious- can you read those letters? No. Now can you? Yes. Which was better? The first one. Um, but you couldn’t read them with the first one… Yes. Once we are done and we establish that she could probably benefit from reading glasses, but would she actually wear them? We head off to ballet at Chelsea Ballet School. It’s about a mile in the other direction of school. So my big girl scoots and this time I pull her most of the way. This is one of my favorite times with my girl because it’s just us and she really gets to chatting when she’s in the middle of things. Like scooting. We talk about schools and new schools and friends and missing friends. We talk about who would win in a race between a bike and a scooter. We talk about what we will have for dinner and what she likes about ballet and whether or not her sister would like the Bounce ball that she is snacking on. She tells me about visiting her brother in his classroom at school because she wanted to check on him (which she asked to do about 30 times in the 3 hours that they were there..) and I marvel at her big and kind heart and remember that this will be her “proud moment” on the day.

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We make it to ballet and see our good, good friends, Slavyana and Vasilisa. The girls run into class together in their matching uniforms- hyacinth blue leotards, white skirt, white tights/sock, pink shoes, hair in buns- and Slavyana and I sit on the concrete steps outside and have 40 minutes to just chat. They are newer friends who moved to London recently from the Ukraine by means of Los Angeles- London. We talk about schools and a project she is working on. She seems to accept my invitation to join our Alpha group this term and once again I’m humbled to our Father for the way He works. We gather the girls and scoot together for awhile on the walk back home.

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Once home, our nanny leaves and it is time for the triple threat- dinner/bath/bed. My wild child (middle daughter..) decides she’d rather bathe first and before I know it, she is naked and climbing in the tub. I decide this is not a battle we need and declare bath/dinner/bed instead. All 3 kids in 1 little tub and I spray them with the removable showerhead like an assembly line. “Heads back, eyes closed!” “No, mommy, no!!” And just like that they’re clean… While they splash and spray each other with squirt guns, I run down the 2 flights of stairs and pound some chicken to throw in the oven and boil some water on the stovetop for pasta. Somehow we all end up downstairs and we brush hair and put on pajamas and “help” add the pasta to the boiling water. Once it’s all ready, we sit at the table to eat. Dinner can be hit or miss with a 2, 3, and 5 year old but tonight seems to be well-received. They all actually sit in their seats and we consume our food together, wrapping up the day. It’s about 6:30 at this point. Ahhh…. We clear our spots and the kids play while I clean up the dishes. We live in quite a small space, so rooms are very multi-purpose. The dining room/kitchen/quiet time space also serves as another playroom- with doll houses, pretend food, and lots of books. As well as our arts & crafts room, laundry prep room, ironing room. Oh yeah, and a treadmill,-exercise room. Naturally.

Finally, we are ready to head up to bed. Teeth are brushed, hands and faces are washed with pink soap and more stairs are climbed. My son goes down right then, at 7:15 and the girls crawl into their beds for a bible story. We read thru the Jesus Storybook Bible on the iPad each night, a great habit that started about a year ago when we did it for Advent before Christmas. It usually seems like they aren’t listening until they ask ridiculously intelligent or involved questions. I bend over each girl and share a moment that I was proud of them during the day, kiss their heads about 100 times and get 1 more snuggle. I close their door and head back downstairs. A bit more tidying up and I finally sit down. Tonight? They don’t call me upstairs for at all- which is not the norm. So I enjoy sitting all the more.

I fold laundry and watch Ted Talks. And then head up to bed and crawl in with a murder book that I’ve been enjoying. I reflect on the day: 3 healthy children, a good connection with my traveling husband, overall joy thru some of the current challenges of life right now, 9.4 miles on foot, and topped off with a phone call to my mom and a good night call from my lover. It is 11 and I drift off to sleep…

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-smk

Daily Rhythms: A Day in the Life

I thought it would be fun to take an entire day’s worth of occurrences and record them both in picture and written form.  On a whim last week I chose Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

Although a summer Wednesday looks very different from a school year Wednesday, this Wednesday was a very common one for us.

6:40am: Begin to hear rumblings from Bea.  N graciously gets up with her around 6:50am to let me sleep in a little after a late night.

7:08am:  I am up for good and can’t afford to sleep in much more anyway as I have a full day ahead and I remember N has to leave soon.

Breakfast: for me it’s a fried egg, rice chex & pb.  I have a serious debate with myself over whether or not to have coffee (just the decaf as I don’t do caffeine anymore but I still wonder if I will be able to enjoy and drink it all before it turns cold).

Bea is miserable.  Teeth?

7:34am: empty dishwasher, hear scuffle and simultaneous screams from next room.  Bea has bitten MG.  MG claims it’s because she was trying to keep Bea from destroying one of my artworks that is on the floor (waiting to be hung).  I half believe her, half don’t.  The only time Bea has bitten her has been when she has deserved it.

8:00am: Dress both girls and put Bea down for a nap.  MG immediately puts on her dress up clothes on top of what I have picked out for her.

Turn on a show for MG (veggie tales) and begin to clean up the kitchen.  Wipe counters, sweep floors.  Prefer this

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because of the way it smells, although I have been known to use something much less frou frou (like vinegar and water).

Decide to do the coffee after all, check email, make packing list, scroll through IG and Pinterest.  Read up on decorating trends for 2014.  Decided I really, really need some macrame in my life.

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9:30am: Wake Bea up, change her, bring the girls downstairs.  Put MG to work prepping snack cups, half-heartedly watch Bea rip into a clean cabinet, make plans to meet up with some friends at Taylor Lake in about an hour, gather sand/water toys

 

Try this technique for cutting grapes in Bea’s snack cup.  Works like a charm

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10am: Load up stroller, toys, and girls, and drive to the indoor track.

After much debate, MG has decided to bring her stroller (vs. bike) and circles the track while I run.

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11:15am: Drive down to the lakefront.  It is a breezy 70 degrees so we didn’t bring swim gear.  We are the first ones to arrive and MG plops down and begins to dig.  Bea just wants to explore.

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11:30am: Friends begin to arrive and MG is regretting not having her swimsuit.  I am able to mostly convince her that it is too cold.  Bea just wants to explore

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12pm: Bea sits for 20 seconds to eat SOMEONElse’s lunch.  I decide it is probably time to leave

12:15pm: Come home, wash feet and hands, make lunch.  Cashews, gf pretzels, cherries, cheese sticks, and garden fresh zucchni for the girls.  I get a half-hamburger (leftovers), apple, and grapes added to my plate.

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We keep the windows open and give the AC a break

 

N lets me know he is on the way home.  I send him this MG lunch snippet:

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1:00pm: I put MG to work cleaning up.  She sweeps, I vacuum.  Then she wants to vacuum too.

 

1:12pm: The doorbell rings.  It is the fireplace guy, coming to give us an estimate for a fireplace makeover.

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1:17pm: The doorbell rings again, it is a bike seat and helmets (amazon delivery) for our bikes!  (too bad we found all these things two days later at Essex/Bargain Hunt for much cheaper)

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1:20pm: After showing the fireplace guy around, I excuse myself and put the girls down for a nap.

1:24pm: N arrives home (he had spent the day with an old friend building us a chicken coop!!!!)

….and we listen to the fireplace estimate.  Dang, more than we thought.  Curse home renos everywhere.

1:33pm: MG comes down in her “dress-ups” and is very happy to see Daddy.  She asks him to read her a story.  He promises her he will come up when he is done with the estimate.

2:05pm: The guy leaves and N goes upstairs, as promised.  I type out this blogpost, do some calisthenics like planks and sit-ups (while watching a reality show).

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3:57pm: All is quiet upstairs and I find MG asleep in her nap room, dressed like this.  I begin the process of waking her up.  One of her high heels falls on the stairs as I carry her down to my bed.  I shower, hoping the noise will keep her awake.

 

It doesn’t.

4:20pm: I lay down next to her on the bed and rub her back while finishing this book.  As I am turning the final pages I realize it’s going to be a while before I read a book this satisfyingly good.

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4:40pm: N comes up to see about the girls.  MG is finally awake and Bea is beginning to stir.  He takes over while I wrap this present for baby Grey (Baby Grey Delphine Powell was born very prematurely to some dear friends of ours from college).  She is a miracle and so far, doing amazingly well!  The original shower was planned to be in MI but after Grey made her early arrival they changed it to Louisville to be near her parents.  We made plans to attend on our way back from a visit to my grandparents but while we were down there, MG picked up a bug that was making the rounds and we scurried back home before infecting anyone else)

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4:47pm: N takes the girls over to visit with the neighbors while I heat up dinner (burgers again)

He calls me to ask if I care if they ride the horses.

 

6:00pm: They come back and we sit down to eat.  MG spies her new helmet and insists on wearing it until bedtime

 

6:40pm: We drive over to the library to pick up a book on hold (me) and drop off some books before we leave for our trip.  MG still has her helmet on.

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7:15pm: We are back home to bathe and jammy the girls.  N reads stories to MG while I nurse and cuddle Bea. I try to rock her to sleep.  She isn’t having it.

7:30pm: I put the day’s diapers in the wash

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7:37pm: I begin working my way through the packing list, including a bag of toys and a bag of snacks for the car.

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9:45pm: We both collapse into bed and I start this novel.

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…and that’s a wrap.

-smk

 

Daily Rhythms: Morning Routine

Having two toddling little ones, I have found most mornings it is actually easier to get out and stay out of the house until about lunch time.  This serves several purposes: 1) it keeps the house relatively picked up and clean, 2) it keeps the girls and I from going stir crazy and 3) it helps wear them out so they want to rest and relax when we come home.  We average about 3-4 mornings out a week, with at least one of the days in being my cleaning day.  Not every mom is wired this way and I totally get that.  Especially you that have older children (that play with each other!!) and more children (how do you do it?!).  I’m sure our morning routine will slow down a bit as the girls age and begin to self-entertain a bit more…but for now, this feels necessary.

On an IDEAL morning (meaning everything goes smoothly and according to plan), I am able to wake up, work out, shower, and dress before the girls.  We eat breakfast together, I look over my calendar for the day and prep dinner if need be.  The girls get dressed and then, depending on the day we either leave shortly after or if we have time, Bea takes a short hour nap while MG watches a show or does a school activity with me.

 

Here are some of the ways we spend our mornings out:

(asterisk marks the ones that are free)

grocery store* This definitely eats up an entire morning but I like that it is an anchor in our week

mops / Bible studies Mops only runs through the school year but it is a nice outing on winter days when we’ve been cooped up for far too long

-playground* Even in our little rural community there are several area play grounds.  Bonus: these are a great place to meet other moms

-splash park* Sadly, no splash parks exist out here…yet.  For the ages of the girls, splash parks are a bit more manageable than pools when I’m single parenting, and I do miss their accessibility.  But there are a few within an hour’s drive if we are desperate

-field trips* In talking to a few other moms, we discovered a FREE field trip program that runs through the summer.  So far we’ve done the fire station, car wash, and airport…upcoming are the recycling center and zoo!

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-library* Ah, I can’t say enough good things about the library.  Isn’t it a wonderful resource?  Even out here we have three pretty good ones to pool from and we could find a free activity there just about every day of the week if we wanted to.  Story time, crafts, movies, science experiments, summer reading programs, all for FREE.

 

-pool  Ours isn’t free but only cost $2 for all of us to get in, and thankfully our generous neighbors have had us over to swim a few times too.

indoor track* Probably only a resource we will have available in our current location, but it is AMAZING…especially in the dead of winter.  Having it as an outlet seriously got me through some dark days last winter

 

-play dates* Always a nice way to spend a morning and a win for both parents and children.  There are tons of resources on FB to help connect you to a local group or you can start by asking around at your church or library

 

-zoo/museums/local attractions

It’s amazing to me that even living out here in the rural cornfields there are still plenty of opportunities to get out and explore, mostly for free!   Anything I’m missing?  Let me know!

-smk

Daily Rhythms: Laundry

There’s always something intriguing about how others complete the same tasks as you, right?  For something seemingly mundane, there are a hundred different variations. (note: this is a continuation on a series started last week)

For me, laundry is a pretty regimented activity (not surprising if you know me) worked into our weekly well-oiled routine.  I know some people who do laundry every single day, others only when the basket is full, but as for us we do it once a week, every week.  (We also cloth diaper, and that accounts for extra loads  that I do at least two times a week as well.)  But when it comes to our clothes, I wash them nearly every Friday, almost without fail.

Friday has been our chosen day for awhile now for several reasons: 1) it is the end of the work week which feels like a natural time to tackle it 2) our Friday mornings usually aren’t very busy allowing me to tend to the washing machine and 3) it allows for our Friday night ritual (as explained further down)

We only have two laundry hampers in our house and each serves a purpose.  One is for light/white clothes, the other for colored.  As dirty clothes are tossed in, they are being sorted, eliminating one more step for laundry day.

When Friday morning arrives, I try to start the wash as early as possible.  Now that we have four members of our family, our loads sometimes stretch to 4-5.  Also, we need to reconfigure our dryer vent because of its location.  It is extra long and sometimes takes two cycles to dry each load, adding unnecessary time to the process.

Ever since the girls were born (or even before), I have switched to scentless/dyeless/perfumeless detergent for all of our clothes.  MG is especially sensitive to perfumes and this helps prevent her skin from becoming red and blotchy.  I do add in some essential oils to the wash, which is a newer step to my routine but something I have come to enjoy.  My favorite is Melaleuca because it does double duty, also acting as a germ fighter.

Oh, another thing I should mention is we still use the old school washing machines.  The same ones we’ve been using for seven years that were a hand-me-down wedding gift. The ones that aren’t very pretty, don’t have a sparkling, clear glass door to watch the clothes spin, and still make a decent amount of noise (no pretty chimes to let you know when the cycle is up, just a loud bullhorn).  I won’t give them up though because they are great for cloth diapers (you can control the amount of water you want & the agitator helps scrub them clean).  We’ve only had to have the washer repaired once and even the repairman said to hold onto it for as long as possible.  “They don’t make ’em like this anymore.”

We dry nearly everything in the dryer (except for diapers), but N has just finished a bona-fide clothes line for the yard.  All it lacks is to be anchored it in the ground!  And no dryer sheets or softeners for us (free, already soft water thanks to our well :)), but two tennis balls help speed up the drying process a bit.

Friday nights after the girls are in bed, we usually unwind from the work week by watching a show and folding the laundry together.  Such a small, mundane task, that somehow feels much lighter sharing it with someone else.

If I’m going to be doing a chore, I’d definitely prefer to be doing it side by side with my best friend 🙂

-smk

Daily Rhythms: Grocery Shopping

Every once in a while, social media gives a glimpse into other people’s daily routine.  I always find it interesting to see how people live and then compare notes with how I do things.  Sometimes I pick up on things I would like to add to my routine, other times I just enjoy noting the differences.

I thought it might be fun to do a series on some of the weekly routines I find myself doing around here.  If nothing else, it may be fun for the the girls and me to look back on one day.

The girls and I go the grocery store on the same day of the week practically every week.  Planning, arriving, shopping, and driving back home takes almost an hour and a half in total.  Therefore, we don’t have the leisure (nor desire) to go more than once a week.  Fortunately if I forget something (which is more often than not these days), N is usually able to stop for me on his way home.

The night before I go, I always sit down with my weekly calendar, Pinterest (all of my recipe books are still packed away :(), and my pen & paper.  N and I have a shared calendar and I take this time to carefully fill in a meal for each night’s dinner.   Often I review the calendar right after breakfast to know if I need to pull something out of the freezer, turn on the crock pot, prep early, or anything along those lines.

After making my list, I go through and put the items in order by how the store is laid out.  It is a tedious extra step but I have found with having two kids along (and more importantly a TALKER) it is worth its weight in the time it takes.

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(Isn’t my handwriting atrocious?  I always assume I will be the only one reading the list so I write extra fast and use all sorts of abbreviations.  Heaven help N if he ever needs to go in my stead)

Mid-morning the following day the girls and I head out to the store.  MG is a great helper and Bea will sit in the child part for most of it but usually starts to get antsy towards the end (sidenote: isn’t it funny how two children can be so different.  I NEVER buckled MG into the child seat and Bea gets buckled in every single time and also knows how to get out of the restraint!)

Also, because Bea is eye level with me through most of the store, I find myself talking and cooing to her quite a bit.  Instead of getting jealous, MG always follows up my coos with coos of her own.  If I kiss Bea on the head, she stands up and kisses Bea on the head.  Double the love.

MG talks and talks and talks the entire time at the store.  She is quick to spot her favorite items, flavors, and all of the child-geared marketing items placed so kindly around the store (I never knew there were so many princess-geared items in the grocery store.  Those Disney princesses are everywhere).  She also asks me about everything I place in the cart.  “What’s this?  Is this for Bea?  Can we have this for dinner tonight?”  This week she placed all of the items in a line and called it a “train”.

 

Meanwhile, Bea chums it up with all of the old ladies in the store.  If someone stops to chat with the girls, MG turns her head down in embarrassment while Bea turns her smile up a few notches and reaches out to be picked up.

MG has only two demands in the store: 1) that we visit the lobsters…who she finds creepy but intriguing.  And 2) that when we are done she be allowed to ride Sandy the penny pony. With those I can easily comply.

At the checkout line, MG helps me by placing the items on the belt.  She also likes to help the cashier bag and then load the groceries in the cart.  This is also about the point where Bea asks to be removed.  MG helps me distract her while I am paying and finishing up.  She is a saint.

I hope my girls always enjoy the grocery store with me as much as I do with them.

-smk