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! 🙂
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: “Meaningless! 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.
Zoe 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)!
I 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.
I 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.
We 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.)The 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!
We 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.
Riley prefers to cuddle. After 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.)
I 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…
and in front of a wall with “neat texture” (Instagram husband, anyone?) Here are a few of her photos from our walk back.
I 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. 3:30: 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…I 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!
6:45: 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.” – 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!