Day in the Life: Summer Edition

Hello again!

Thanks so much for your enthusiasm about my last blog post. ¬†I loved all your nice texts and comments, and I really enjoyed sitting down and writing, so here I go again! ūüôā

I used to write “day in the life” posts every three months when Zoe was little. ¬†I stopped writing them when Riley came along, because I couldn’t figure out how to take pictures without someone dying. ¬†Now that Zoe is no longer attempting to murder her sister every 20 minutes,¬†I thought it would be fun to capture a “day in the life” in our new context.

So without further ado, here’s a Thursday, 8 days into summer break (but who’s counting?! #me), with an almost-4-year old and a 5.5 year old, in a semi-rural suburb in North Carolina!

PS…I never got a chance to do my Bible study on this day, but I certainly reflected on scripture throughout the day, which I have included.

5:36: “Her children arise and call her blessed.” (Proverbs 31:28). Actually, they arise and immediately demand things, but some day…some day…

I make Zoe a bowl of oatmeal and myself a cup of tea, and begin reading the latest Kylie Jean book out loud.

Within 15 minutes, Riley is awake. ¬†We go through our daily ritual: she tells me that she peed in her Pullup, she asks to watch a show (denied every time, but points for persistence), and she reminds me that she doesn’t want milk in her cereal.

6:30: We have finished two chapters of Kylie Jean. ¬†Zoe and Riley have “finished” “eating” and scampered off to the playroom with their BFF, Daddy, for some Anna and Elsa play. ¬†I seize my moment and plate two hardboiled eggs, a piece of toast,¬†and some strawberries, reading a few pages of my book¬†as I eat. Then I clean up everyone’s food and sweep the kitchen.

7:15:¬†‚ÄúMeaningless! Meaningless…Utterly meaningless!¬†Everything is meaningless.¬†What do people gain from all their labors¬†at which they toil under the sun?¬†All things are wearisome,¬†more than one can say.” (from Ecclesiastes 1). It’s laundry time!

7:20: David begins running on the treadmill in the garage. I’m folding laundry. “Mom! You want to hear us play.” MORE THAN ANYTHING.

IMG_4068Zoe also insisted that I take a video of her performance, but mercifully I do not know how to insert it into this blog post.

I fold and put away laundry for about 25 minutes, strip the beds, make them with new sheets, put MORE laundry in the washer/dryer, then help Zoe and Riley clean their rooms.

8:30: I’m trying to preserve my sanity throughout the summer by exercising for some length of time most days. Today, I have time for a 30 minute, 2.6 mile walk through our neighborhood (which is hilly, beautiful, and safe. ¬†I LOVE walking here)!

IMG_4071.JPGI listen to a podcast on being multi passionate and enjoy BREATHING. (David has the kids.)

When I get back, Zoe wants to go for a bike ride. David is heading into the office later than usual today, so I take her for a ride.  Halfway through, she finds snails that she wants to take home as pets, so I end up walking a few blocks pushing two bicycles, while she skips ahead with three snails.

IMG_4072.JPGI take a lightning fast shower. When I get out of the shower, Zoe, Riley, and the snails are all in my bathroom. ¬†Everyone watches me get ready (David has left). Privacy at its finest.¬†While I get ready, I group text with some local friends about one of their bad haircuts and a possible playdate. I’m so thankful to HAVE local friends!

10:00: I’m taking¬†the kids into the city for the first time by myself today. ¬†I have really been missing the energy and diversity of a city, and want to get there every week this summer. This week, we’re going to a puppet show…and then we’ll see what else we find! I pack lunches (grocery day is tomorrow, so the content of the lunches is fairly questionable), shove an energy bite in my mouth, and get the kids ready to go. They insist on packing their own backpacks. Totally necessary.

10:25: OFF WE GO! The kids request Taylor Swift in the car, so we rock out for the next 30 minutes. Zoe eats a cheese stick and Riley eats peanut butter crackers from their backpacks.

11:00: We made it! The kids are pumped.

IMG_4075We meander over to the theater, climbing on benches and statues and making a bathroom stop along the way.  The theater has display cases full of props from past shows, so we enjoy looking at them and talking about the plots of those shows.

11:30: The mane event. (You’re welcome.)IMG_4078The puppet show is incredibly cute and interactive. The puppeteers act out three stories, and lead the kids in movement songs in between. Afterwards, the kids have a chance to play with puppets in the puppet theater. ¬†It’s a huge hit with both kids.

12:15: “Again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat!'” (Numbers 11:4b). The kids are hungry, so we find a lovely picnic spot across the street. One of my favorite parts of being in a city is meandering and stumbling upon awesome places to hang out. I’m so thankful to be here!

IMG_4079We actually didn’t have enough bread for me to make myself a sandwich, so I brought peanut butter crackers along for myself and figured I’d eat the kids’ leftovers. The jokes’s on me because they both drop half of their sandwich and have no leftovers. Oh well!

The park has a large splash pad, and I happen to have extra clothes along, so I let Zoe go in the water after lunch. She quickly makes a friend and has a blast scampering all over the multi-level park.

IMG_4080Riley prefers to cuddle.¬†IMG_4081After almost an hour in the park (which has no shade), I’m beginning to feel sunburned and Riley is telling me she is “sweaty.” ¬†I tell Zoe it’s time to wrap it up and change her into the spare set of clothes.

We are having so much fun that I don’t want to leave the city, so I ask the girls if they want to walk to a coffee shop. ¬†I plug Starbucks into my phone and we take off on a 5 block walk.

1:35:¬†The Starbucks is located almost exactly in the “center” of downtown, which means prime people watching! We are across from a HUGE skyscraper, and there are people on scooters and bicycles, golf carts, and police cars. There are people of all kinds, doing all sorts of things. The girls have a grand time staring out the window and asking tons of questions while eating cake pops. ¬†(I have an iced soy latte.)

IMG_4083.JPGI love this time. ¬†I want the girls to be comfortable around all kinds of diversity–people of different ages, sex, ethnicity, races, professions, abilities, languages, and subcultures. ¬†I want them to feel comfortable in an urban setting, to understand city safety, and to be curious.

We have enjoyed about 25 minutes of people watching when¬†Riley suddenly screams out at top volume, “I have something in my private area.” ¬†I pretend not to notice the business people trying not to stare at us as we head to the bathroom, where Riley learns the word “wedgie,” Zoe screams in abject terror about the automatic dryer, and a construction worker tries to hit on me as I leave the bathroom with my two children. ¬†Maybe that’s enough of city life…

2:05:¬†Zoe loves photography, so I give her my phone to take some photos as we walk back. ¬†She asks Riley and I to pose on a bench…

IMG_4085.JPGand in front of a wall with “neat texture” (Instagram husband, anyone?) Here are a few of her photos from our walk back.




IMG_4126I love her eye.

On our way back, I take the girls into a neat historic church. ¬†They are very concerned that we will be arrested because it isn’t Sunday.

Riley’s legs also stop working, which I had expected, and I wind up carrying her the five blocks back.

2:45:¬†I drive to the gas station to fuel up for our trip back to the ‘burbs. Zoe is writing a story and Riley is drawing. I can tell they’re going to fall asleep, so I turn on a podcast on branding.¬†IMG_4130.JPG3:30: We arrive back at our house. ¬†Traffic wasn’t bad until I began following a school bus for the last two miles of our trek. The girls each enjoyed a 20 minute nap in the car. ¬†They are very cranky and hungry when I wake them up.

We usually do an afternoon quiet time followed by 1 hour of TV, but I can tell they just need to zone out, and I have a work phone call I need to make, so I make the kids a snack of strawberries, chips, and cheese and summon my favorite babysitter, Sofia the First.

3:40: I throw some laundry in AGAIN and chat with my Florida friend and colleague for about 20 minutes about her new branding and a project we are working on together.  She confesses that she is one week into summer and forgot how little she can get done with her children around, so can we push our timeline back? YES WE CAN.

It’s the last day of the month, so I do my monthly client reports and invoicing. ¬†I’m also hungry since I never ate lunch, so I make some tuna salad and have a few crackers. Here’s a glimpse into my office…IMG_4134I planned to take the kids outside and do the water table around 4:30, but it begins thundering, so I just let Sofia continue to work her magic, switch some laundry, start the spaghetti, and keep working on a foundation research project for a client. ¬†Sofia is the most reliable babysitter I have found in our new town, so¬†I’m not teaching this semester (just continuing with ongoing client work). ¬†I’m really glad I didn’t take on more.

I also briefly text with a friend to a) plan tomorrow night’s happy hour and b) congratulate her for showing up in¬†Joan Garry’s weekly email!

5:20: I serve the kids spaghetti, which Zoe complains is “too pasta-y.” ¬†I make myself a salad with craisins, feta cheese, and almonds because I ate so recently. ¬†During dinner, we FaceTime a family member who has had a rough week, and enjoy catching up.

6:10: Bath time! 15 minutes of water play and 5 minutes of cowashing/hair detangling!

IMG_41406:45: David walks in the door carrying a hummingbird feeder and homemade muffins from a congregation member (totally normal) and helps me read, sing, find transitional objects, and coax girls to sleep.

7:00-7:20: I run¬†upstairs several times to fix various emergencies like “my blanket fell off,” “you forgot to say my words” (I said them), “I’m not tired,” and “I’m scared.” ¬†I finally issue the trump card: “if I have to come up here again, you won’t get a muffin in the morning.”

7:30¬†“…She found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left” (Mark 7:20). The girls are asleep.

I plate David’s dinner, clean up the girls’ ¬†plates and places, do the dishes, switch the laundry once again, pour a glass of wine for each of us, and talk briefly with David. Then I work for 45 more minutes. ¬†I also get an email from a friend who is running for the Florida House of Representatives, and marvel at how awesome and accomplished my friends are!

8:40: Connect and hang with David.  Keeping it real, we get into an argument slash relationship growth opportunity.  I also eat a muffin.

10:00:¬†“I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Psalm 3:5 Bedtime! I think I fell asleep in less than 5 minutes.

I’m realizing that this summer, I will really need to pray for “daily bread” in the form of energy and patience to keep up with my kids’ energy level. ¬†I am also remembering that last summer I began a “two shots of espresso at 1 pm” habit…

But still…I know that I am very blessed to be able to direct the fun and coach the girls through their daily emotions and experiences. ¬†I’m excited for the rest of summer!

Unrushed Moments

Two days ago, I was driving home from the grocery store with both girls. The sun was shining and the girls were singing and dancing in their carseats as we told Selena Gomez to go love herself.  We were having so much fun that I decided we could chance a few more minutes in the car to hit up the Starbucks drive through.

After ten minutes of sitting in the line,¬†I expressed impatience with how slowly it was moving. ¬†Zoe said “mom, it’s okay. Want to play a game while we wait? We can find some letters!” and identified an A and a B in the Starbucks sign.

Riley shouted “B!!!”

Both girls erupted into a fit of giggles.

And I thought:¬†I’m so glad I didn’t miss this.¬†

In our area, there is a lot of pressure to put kids in preschool early. ¬†I was an outlier when I didn’t start Zoe at 1.5. ¬†I felt¬†countercultural when I didn’t put her in this fall at 2.5.

But I didn’t think Zoe was ready for it at¬†1.5, and I didn’t think she needed it at 2.5. ¬†While I knew it wouldn’t be detrimental, I also knew that I would be putting her in preschool so I could get a break from her—not¬†to meet a particular need of hers.

I had also just spent a year trying to teach her to be kind to Riley–and she was finally getting it! I wanted to give her a chance to ENJOY being with her sister, and for Riley to have the chance to¬†enjoy playing with¬†a nurturing, caring sister.

Also, after spending a year in survival mode simply meeting the constant barrage of needs, I wanted to give myself a chance to enjoy my girls as they entered less-needy stages and were finally on the same schedule.

On paper, it made sense to send Zoe to preschool—all of my friends were doing it, and I was tired! But whenever I thought about sending her¬†to school, I felt a pit in my stomach. ¬†When I thought about keeping her home, I felt peace.¬†I decided to¬†trust that¬†if God was leading me to spend another year at home with both of them, He would give me energy to keep going.

I knew there would be some mundane moments (exhibit A: this¬†particular¬†morning in which we went to¬†Jazzercise, the grocery store, and Starbucks—the SAHM trifecta) but I believed that I was being called to share those¬†mundane moments with both girls this year. ¬†Even if no one else in playgroup was doing it. ūüôā

It turns out that these mundane moments have been some of the best moments of my life.


Playing in the yard…checking books out of the library…choosing strawberry jelly for Daddy at the grocery store…painting…reading…cuddling and sharing a¬†blanket on the couch…driving in the car together…giggling over Riley’s latest trick…waiting in the Starbucks line together,¬†deciding together to be patient and have fun while we wait…

The smallest moments of the smallest time of my life have brought me immense joy. ¬†And I could have missed these unrushed moments¬†because I was too tired and didn’t trust God to give me energy¬†or because I felt pressured by what my peers were doing.

This definitely isn’t an anti-preschool or anti-peer rant…it’s just me sharing how grateful I am that I was obedient to what God called me to do, and hopefully encouraging you to run YOUR race, whatever that looks like for you! There are great rewards along the way. ¬†IMG_4978

(Postscript: a large deposit from my bank account says that¬†I am¬†putting both girls in preschool two mornings a week next year. ¬†Although part of me will be so¬†ready for a break after 3.5 years of full-time loving and nurturing and educating and cruise directing,¬†I am already sad about the reduction of our time together and the fact that Zoe will be starting on a school pipeline that she won’t get off of until she is an adult! How did this happen already?!)

Before and…Um, After?

I mentioned about a month ago that I had recently ordered some “powerful” undereye cream. ¬†It was expensive and I usually don’t do expensive, but the haggard look was starting to get old. ¬†I faithfully applied it twice per day and had hoped to post some really dramatic results, but let’s be real: I have two kids under two and a half. ¬†Thus, here is my before:

photo 1-11

and here is my after:

photo 5-6

(Did things get worse?!! Don’t answer that.)

I will continue putting it on every morning and night,¬†because it smells good and something on me should smell good. ¬†But I might retire my hopes that a .5 mL bottle can overpower 46 pounds of 24/7 crazy…

Life Lately

I’ve been writing a lot lately, but almost none of it has made its way¬†onto this blog because when I proofread it the next day, I sound¬†about as articulate as Chris Soules.

In related news, Riley’s in¬†sleep¬†boot camp. ¬†Mama cannot function like this any more. ¬†I mean,¬†I love¬†a good early morning party after not sleeping through the night as much as the next guy, but 6 months of it?!!

Photo on 1-12-15 at 6.18 AM

Not sure why ZOE is the tired looking one in this photo,
as she’s the only one who slept through the night.
Drink that coffee, girl.  

The¬†training needs to actually, you know, WORK before I can think (much less say)¬†something profound again, but since I have the itch to write, I’ll settle for sharing a few fun tidbits from our family life these days.


-Zoe: Hilarious

My sweet Zoe cracks me up every single day.  Some of her recent gems:

“I need a ponytail. ¬†I have a busy day.”

Scene: Me, trying to put R to sleep in her darkened, sound-machined-up room.
R, screaming hysterically.
Z bursts into the room and says to me,¬†as if to say come on, you’re missing an obvious cue here: “Riley no like dark.” ¬†To Riley: ¬†“Light, Riley?”
Duh‚Ķwhy didn’t I think of that?

photo 1-10

She has also started going¬†behind her kitchen set in the morning and¬†saying “soy latte please” while¬†passing me¬†a pretend cup (she says “medium mocha!” for David). ¬†She also likes to pay for “soy latte please” with her pretend credit card at her toy cash register. ¬†I have no idea where she picked that one up. ¬† No idea…

She got to meet Elmo at a recent toy store grand opening.  She was transfixed.  She now prays for Elmo at night.

photo-77¬† ¬†Don’t mind David’s wardrobe choice.
He looks like he just got back from a funeral because…he had.

At least once a day, she likes to pretend to be Mr. Frank, the oddly charismatic man who leads our local library’s story time. ¬†She switches into her Mr. Frank persona by putting glasses on, putting a ball under her shirt to simulate his “bump bump” (her word for belly), telling us “I’m Mista Frank,” and leading us in a series of songs.

I really hope Mr. Frank does not read this blog.


-Riley: She doesn’t sleep. ¬†But she does¬†other things well, like be cute.

Photo on 1-28-15 at 2.31 PM #3

I soak up every sweet cuddle and giggle from this precious little gift.

In addition to snuggling nonstop, she is also rolling everywhere, banging toys with determination, nearly toppling over with excitement when¬†I read her books, and eating purees (well, spitting them out‚Ķtongue thrust is a bit of a challenge for her. ¬†I had¬†an informal¬†consult at the playground¬†with a feeding therapist¬†and got some new ideas to try, and am ready to get more help if things don’t turn around in the next week or two). ¬†¬†


These girls make me the happiest mama around.


-Bestie time

My best friend/old roommate/basically sister Becky came to visit for 5 days this last week. She brought her husband and 1 year old daughter along for the ride and we had a blast watching our girls play together!

10959381_783643375825_4633402131181552879_nWe also had a blast leaving our children and getting pedicures.  Amen.


My life as a hermit

Becky arrived at the perfect time. ¬†Not only had I not had a pedicure since July 2012 (a disgusting realization I arrived at¬†mid-pedicure‚Ķdon’t worry, I left a large tip), but our 3 weeks of sleep training have made me a near-hermit in desperate need of social contact.

With our new schedule, R takes two naps and Z takes one. ¬†Typically, they aren’t at the same time, which means I have about 45-60 minutes during the “work day”¬†to go anywhere, if I’m lucky. ¬†Good times.

(And by “good times” I mean FREE ME FROM MY PRISON).

I have always said “I’m a stay at home mom who doesn’t like to stay at home.” ¬†But as the cruelties of fate¬†would have it, home is where you’ll find me¬†now, all day, every day (unless I decide I’d rather endure a ragefest/meltdown/car nap that negates an actual nap and results in psychotically cranky child/etc.¬†in favor of some contact with the outside world). ¬†¬†

I realized that my home detention was getting to me the other day when I was THRILLED when some JROTC kids who were collecting donations for their program came to the door.  I happily handed them dollar bills in exchange for conversation.

This is my life now…


-On the upside: 

I am loving the 1-on-1 time with each girl that their non-synchronized nap schedule provides. ¬†I’m a great mom of¬†two when one of them is sleeping.

Fun with the girls


-Learning vs. doing:

For a few months this fall, I had a¬†difficult time feeling engaged in my faith. ¬†Historically, I’ve felt most engaged in my faith¬†when I’m learning through reading, journaling, attending church, listening to sermons, etc., but with two kids, lots of distractions, and little brain power thanks to sleeplessness, I felt frustrated and¬†told my friend Jeanette, “I just feel like I’m not learning anything new.”

Her response was awesome and has helped me so much.  She said,

“I don’t think God’s always teaching us something new every moment of our faith walk. ¬†I think there are times¬†for learning, and times where He just wants us to put into practice what we’ve learned.”

This is definitely a time for me to take the three minutes, five minutes, whatever I wind up having and yes, try to learn about faith and God‚Ķbut it’s also the time for me to just practice DOING those foundational things that I already know He calls me to.

This morning, R and Z’s sleep schedule¬†meant I would miss all of our church services, so I made pancakes with the girls, danced to worship music with them, and cleaned the dishes and wiped the noses and sat on the floor and played with the dollhouse figurines, remembering we can do everything for¬†the glory of the Lord and that He can use anything¬†we give Him. ¬†And it was just as great and edifying as church.


Valentine’s Day:

Is this week.  I realized yesterday that I had V-Day plans with my toddler, but not my husband.  This situation has since been rectified (holllllla to my youth group babysitters).  

I really don’t write much about my biggest and first love—but I thought this post¬†summed up everything I would say. ¬†In the beginning stages of two under two, I wondered if we would lose something special in the insanity of our daily tasks…but as the storm settles and¬†the tasks and kids¬†get a bit easier, I realize how much we gained. ¬†I love him more than I ever did. ¬†I feel so blessed to have him as my best friend, love, and partner in all of this.

Now: important question! What are your V-Day plans?!! 

Loving God in the Midst of Mess

This¬†post is going to be short and simple, but it’s what I have today.

A few weeks ago, I was having a bit of a bummer day. ¬†David had left early that morning for a meeting, I was drowning in to-dos, and Riley napped poorly and just wanted to be held.¬† I¬†felt guilty¬†for overlooking Zoe’s needs to tend to Riley, for having a house that was so messy, for having uncompleted tasks all over the house, and for¬†the fact that I was struggling to be joyful and patient¬†through it all.

Why is this so hard? I asked God. ¬†Why¬†don’t I have this DOWN by now?¬†

In response, He brought this series of pictures to mind.

IMG_1552Thanksgiving beach trip 2012


Thanksgiving beach trip 2013

photo 4-6

Thanksgiving beach trip 2014

Oh. ¬†That’s why ūüôā¬†Life is constantly changing,¬†and¬†my goal shouldn’t be mastery of a life stage. ¬†(That¬†stage¬†will inevitably change anyway!)

Better goals:¬†seeking the Lord’s presence and will,¬†pursuing¬†contentment and joy, and loving others, myself, and the Lord no matter where I’m at.

So—the girls stagger their naps so that I have¬†no time to myself between the hours of 5:20 am–7:30 pm? (This happens to be today’s scenario).¬†Thank the Lord for the gift of my girls and for the¬†opportunity to serve Him well through loving them, and seek His energy and patience to help me make it through.

Work deadlines that feel out of reach? Seek God’s guidance in how to structure my time, and pray for His help in working efficiently and effectively in the time that I know He will provide.

House is disastrous? Thank God as I clean for the possessions we have, for the house that keeps me warm, for the gift of my health that allows me to bend up and down as I pick up the toys.

Feeling frustrated with myself because this is hard? Remind myself¬†that it IS, but that I can do all things through Him—and that He¬†loves me¬†for me, not for¬†my efforts, outcomes, or the ease with which I do this all. ¬†Give myself some grace. (And maybe a latte from time to time‚Ķhave you seen this “Blank Space” parody video? HILARIOUS).

On that¬†musical note, I’m¬†off to practice what I just preached¬†with 3 foot¬†naptime rebel‚Ķwish me luck!

Life with Two So Far

I thought I’d write a little post about life with two kids. ¬†This is a good illustration of what my day to day life looks like now:¬†

Photo on 8-17-14 at 11.06 AMIf you detect a slight hint of fear in my eyes, you’re right on! It’s a little overwhelming to have two under two, especially when one is a strong-willed and energetic toddler and one is a completely helpless baby. ¬†Throw in a move and starting a new semester as an adjunct instructor,¬†and wow, it’s been a¬†crazy month.¬†¬†¬†¬†

I’ve been SO blessed to have lots of family help over the last few weeks, as David’s mom and my mom¬†both visited for about 9 days each. ¬†This, along with David’s paternity leave, provided me with about 3.5 weeks of a 2:2 adult-to-child¬†ratio. ¬†Without this, I think someone might be dead (and the odds are fairly even for all of us–Zoe from self-inflicted daredevil-style injury, Riley from Zoe-inflicted injury, and me from fatigue and/or despair! LOL.)¬†

I start every day sitting in the bathroom for a minute and¬†telling God, “I need you!!! I can’t do this alone! You gave me these girls. ¬†Now please give me what I need today to be the best mom to them!” After that, I take a deep breath, force myself to leave the bathroom, and try to take it hour by hour because I don’t know how long my day will be, what sorts of toddler challenges await me, whether Zoe will be nice to her sister or will spend the entire day trying to¬†pinch and hit her, whether I will get to take a shower or not, whether I will get a break at all in the form of simultaneous naps or if I will just spend the entire day caring for babies (my “workday” now can easily be 4:45-5 am until 9-10 pm, so if they don’t nap at the same time, it is a long¬†day.)¬†

One thing that I DO know is that my day will be purposeful…because although it may be difficult sometimes, I believe wholeheartedly that I am right where I am supposed to be with the children I am supposed to have, and that God will give ME what I need to give THEM what THEY need.  

Every day I have to admit my inability, put my¬†faith in something beyond my own abilities and energy, and trust in Him for what I need. ¬†It’s humbling, and honestly, “humbled” is not my favorite feeling.¬†

But every day He has been faithful to provide what I need—whether that is patience, insight into their needs, energy that belies my sleep deprivation, a positive daughter/daughter moment…

IMG_3128(Zoe loves to play “patty cake” with Riley)

…a friend who is miraculously able to come over when I need an energy outlet for Zoe, dinner delivery, a break in the extreme heat that lets us get outside, a fun hour where Zoe does not challenge me once, or a positive text when I need the extra encouragement.  Also, the God who invented the coffee plant is a good God.  Amen.  

Here are a few things I LOVE about being a mom of two: 

  • I’ve been trying to take Zoe for some special “mommy/daughter trips” that are just me and her. ¬†She REMEMBERS them and talks¬†about them later. ¬†It’s so sweet and makes me feel really good about the time that I invest into making it happen.¬†
  • Seeing Zoe and Riley interact. ¬†Zoe is very¬†sweet with Riley about 85% of the time. ¬†She says¬†“hi Riley!” every time she passes Riley’s bassinet, whether Riley is in it or not, and in the mornings she usually wants me to put Riley into her bed so that they can cuddle for a few minutes. ¬†Zoe sleeps with a blanket and an Elmo doll, and she will tuck Riley in with her blanket and will¬†make her Elmo doll dance for Riley. ¬†Riley is very¬†interested in Zoe‚Ķunless she’s sleeping. ¬†Even then, Zoe will often find a way to involve her in an activity! ¬†
  • Having Riley around has brought out a¬†nurturing side in Zoe.¬† She really loves playing with her baby dolls now, and thanks to Grandma, we have expanded our collection of toy baby accessories to include a toy bottle, a toy bouncy seat, and a toy Pack N Play. ¬†In between these and the real baby accessories littering my house, there is NO mistaking the presence of two under two in this household.
  • One day when Zoe had been particularly unkind to Riley, I was feeling very discouraged‚Ķuntil¬†I saw Zoe pick up her baby doll, sweetly cuddle with it, and sing “Jesus Loves Me” to it. ¬†It made me feel like everything I have been doing to try to help Zoe learn about kind¬†and nurturing behavior will eventually pay off. ¬†Learning at this age is a lot of scaffolding,¬†but eventually,¬†she will act kindly¬†without¬†me having to constantly instruct her. ¬†Plus, when she does get it,¬†Riley will have another role¬†model. ¬†
  • Zoe is OBSESSED with riding with Riley in the double stroller. ¬†
    When we go for walks outside, Riley tends to open her eyes REALLY big.¬† Zoe¬†thinks that Riley is being intentionally¬†funny, and giggles hysterically at her. ¬†It’s hilarious. ¬†
  • I finally bit the bullet and hired a sitter to come for a few hours a week to help me get my consulting/teaching work done. ¬†I felt too guilty to do this with one child and tried to just work during nap times, but with two, I know that their naps won’t always coincide and so I felt very confident in the decision to hire a sitter. ¬†God provided a great and energetic sitter—an alum of our youth program who is currently home for a¬†“gap time” between college and graduate school. I’m scary excited for 9-1 on Mondays!¬†
  • With two kids, there isn’t a lot of time to¬†spend sitting around holding Riley, so I sometimes worry about our bond. ¬†However, when she does get fussy, she seems to relax the best with me over any other adult in our home. ¬†I love this!¬†
    photo-72I may not feel the slightest sense of mastery yet, but I’m excited to keep improving as a parent of two and¬†I am so thankful for the chance to parent these girls with my amazing husband by my side! ¬†¬†


Day in the Life: Six Months

I did this when Zoe was three months old and thought it would be fun to do an update!

June 4, 2012

5:30 Zoe wakes up and starts chattering happily.  She had been asleep since about 8:00 pm the night before.  Thank you, Zoe!  I get out of bed; David keeps sleeping.  I make a bottle and go in to her room to get her.  She gives me a HUGE smile, an excited shriek, and a hug.  My heart melts.  I change her and begin feeding her.  I sometimes pray during her morning bottle; today, we watch an episode of Sex and the City.  Pretty much the same thing, right?

5:50 We play while David gets up, showers, and gets ready for the day. ¬†He’s commuting back and forth to seminary this week (it’s about 1.5 hour away) and he’s not feeling well so he decides to stay up there tonight instead of coming back home. ¬†He packs his clothes while I pack him some snacks and medicine, and Zoe plays happily on a blanket on the floor.

6:25 David leaves. ¬†Zoe and I play for the next hour, rotating through tummy time, Bumbo time, singing, and pretty much every toy she owns while I drink a cup of coffee. ¬†At some point, I eat a bowl of cereal with blueberries. ¬†This photo isn’t from today (I hadn’t had enough coffee yet to realize I should be taking photos,) but it shows her cute playful side. ¬†Could I be any luckier?!


7:05  Bath time! As soon as I get a clean Zoe out of the bathtub and onto her changing table, she projectile vomits all over me and herself.  I clean her again (plus her changing table and myself!)

7:25 I fold some laundry while Zoe “helps.” ¬†She LOVES it when I fling laundry on her and let her shake it. ¬†We also play peek-a-boo with her clean PJs. ¬†So cute. ¬†At one point, I have to go put some laundry away into the hall closet. ¬†As soon as I leave her room, she starts screaming. ¬†This is probably a good place to note that she is developing separation anxiety!

7:40 Zoe goes down for a nap. ¬†I change into some gym clothes because I’m hoping to go to the gym when she wakes up, make our bed, do some dishes, respond to some work emails, and give some feedback to my mom and her friend on the rough draft of their nonprofit’s newsletter. ¬†I’m just about to start folding some laundry when…

8:25 Zoe begins squealing. ¬†Bottle time! However, once I make her bottle and go into her room…she is asleep. ¬†WEIRD. ¬†I back out slowly and fold laundry while listening to Andy Stanley’s “Breathing Room: Choosing to Cheat” sermon. ¬†After hearing it, I send it to my parents and some close friends. ¬†It’s a doozy. ¬†Then I put laundry away.

9:15 Zoe’s up again! Bottle time for real.

9:35 We’ve missed our window to go to the gym this morning and the childcare hours won’t allow us to go this afternoon. ¬†Bummer. ¬†I shower while Zoe kicks on her playmat. ¬†Once I’m out of the shower, she watches me get dressed while she lays on the bed playing with my towel.


Selfie time!


10:05 We head out the door to our Tuesday morning playgroup.  This week, playgroup is a few blocks away, so we walk! Zoe has a blast playing with new toys and staring at her friends.  Usually, I love playgroup too, but I feel like my brain is moving slowly today.  I drink a few sips of coffee and still feel dead.  I try to talk as little as possible to the other moms (and just listen) because forming sentences feels really challenging.

11:20 Zoe is having a meltdown, so we begin our 8 minute walk home.  She falls asleep on the way home, so I transfer her to her bed while I make some lunch: a spring mix salad with almonds, goat cheese, craisins, and poppy seed dressing and a multigrain roll.

11:45 I sit down to eat with “The Week.” ¬†Zoe is screaming. ¬†Maybe she’ll drift back to sleep?


11:50 Nope. ¬†She is distraught. ¬†I get her out of bed, hold her for a few minutes, and let her cries of desperation die down. ¬†I put her in her chair while I finish eating. ¬†She really wants attention, so I read her sections of “The Week” out loud in between bites. ¬†Zoe is now well versed in last week’s world events.

12:25 Bottle time.

12:40 Zoe falls asleep with 0.5 oz left. ¬†I seize my moment to check a few blogs, finish filling out some pre-employment paperwork (I’m going to sub some Friday mornings next year at our church preschool,) write a letter to my friend Erin because we’re both trying to write more snail mail, get “caught up” on our morning on this blog post, and research a few purchases for starting solid foods. ¬†I tentatively put three things in our Amazon cart.

1:15 Zoe wakes up.

1:20-1:40 I finish my research while holding Zoe and singing all of her “standards.” ¬†Multitasking! ¬†I pull out all of our baby utensils/serving dishes to see what we already have, and decide to go to Whole Foods and Target to price and buy a few supplies to get us ready for The Great Solid Food Experiment of 2013 (happening Saturday!)

2:00 At Target, ¬†I return something, open a Target Red Card, buy 4 containers of pureed prunes and pears, and price a Fisher Price booster seat (cheaper on Amazon, so I don’t buy it.) ¬†I also get a tall soy latte at the in-house Starbucks. At¬†Whole Foods, I buy frozen organic peas and butternut squash to puree for Zoe. ¬†For the adults, I buy some on-sale wine and blueberry scone mix. ¬†I finish my latte and marvel at the clarity I feel. ¬†Hurray!¬†

3:15 Home.  I unload everything in the rain and make a bottle.

3:40 I listen to music on my computer.  Zoe falls asleep eating her bottle.

Photo on 6-4-13 at 3.43 PM

I enjoy the preciousness for a second, then put her in bed and buy the booster seat and my other items on Amazon, email David, clean two bathrooms, dust a few rooms, and wash all of her utensils/serving dishes while listening to this playlist of worship music.¬† My solids stuff, including today’s store purchases, so far:¬†(the cookbooks are on loan from the library…I’m planning to do a mix of making my own food + purchasing some food)¬†


4:15 Zoe is up! I leave her in bed for a few extra minutes I finish getting Clorox out of my sinks.  Sorry, Zo.

4:30 A handyman is here to fix our broken bedroom fan. ¬†Zoe and I play and stay out of his way. ¬†She slowly melts down. ¬†I wind up just holding her and singing to her. ¬†Hope the handyman liked his soundtrack…

5:00 I make a snack plate—a few carrots, a few cherry tomatoes, and some hummus. ¬†Zoe screams.

5:15 I put her in her PJs.

5:20 The fan is fixed! The handyman leaves and we call David and talk to him for 20 minutes about his day until Zoe starts screaming.

5:45 Someone is EXHAUSTED.  I feed her and she falls asleep 3 oz in.  Uh oh.

6:00 I make a tuna wrap from The Organic Family Cookbook¬†by Anni Daulter (that cookbook is my new obsession—every recipe I’ve tried has been great!) I eat it with some of the potato salad I made last night and some raspberries.

6:30 I log in remotely and begin working. ¬†I respond to emails and then work on compiling a report on our spring programming for our Board of Directors. ¬†I’m interrupted at 6:50 when Zoe wakes up wanting the rest of her bottle. ¬†Luckily, she gulps it down in 5 minutes and falls back asleep. ¬†I work for 1.5 hours.

8:00 Done with work!

8:10 Zoe wakes up screaming. I soothe her back to sleep.

8:35 Zoe is asleep again. ¬†I’m pretty beat, so I decide to write this blog post, wash some bottles, put a check in the mail, and look for some plane tickets for an upcoming trip to my parents’ house. ¬†Wild night!

9:00 I decide to have a glass of wine.  This happens.


9:20 After Googling the situation and trying a few suggestions, I still haven’t been able to get into that bottle. ¬†I give up, talk with my mom for about 30 minutes on the phone, buy my plane ticket, eat some cherries and a square of dark chocolate, and get ready for bed.

10:10 Go to bed.