Toddler Routines #5: A Couple of Last Ones

Monday, May 31, 2010

Two last participants in my routines contest. These two cute gals emailed me more free-writing thoughts than structured lists… But both are chock full of ideas, so I wanted to share them with you guys as the last segment of my Toddler Routines offerings.
Lauren is Joe’s cousin, an INCREDIBLE mama of four babies—the oldest is 7-8ish?? (So sorry Lauren!) and the youngest is a teensy little baby about 3 months old. Her last little one was a beautiful, powerful HOME BIRTH, and she rocked it!! She inspires me with her poise and her strength. And she still manages to have a great sense of HUMOR!
Routine Ideas From Lauren:
Hey Emily! You are so fun and creative! I just love you! This is going to be just more of a list of ideas than a routine, 'cause that's just how I roll! :)

When Julia started 1st grade, Liliana wasn't even in preschool yet, but definitely ready for it! So, I made up what we called "mommy school." We still affectionately call it that. We would pick our "letter of the week" (as they do in preschool) and plan some activities around it (coloring sheets printed from the Internet, practicing writing it), "scavenger hunts" (well, just looking around for them, anyway) for things that start with the letter (can do this at home, or outside...say, on the way to a park or something).
Also, I like to find things in the community to go to. (Such as, story time at the library.)
Another favorite for us is making our own play dough. The fun of this is trying several different recipes. We have a couple of favorite ones.
Also, cooking together is fun (a children's cookbook can be fun to look through and pick ones you want to try).
I think it's fun to mix in some of these activities with "school-like" ones.

I hope this helps!
My other submission is from a dear friend named Chelsey, mama to a 4 year old (or 5?) and a 2 year old, as well as a bun in the oven. She is one of the most tender, spiritual mamas I’ve met. I love her heart and her spirit, and love her verve for life.
Routine Ideas From Chelsey:
I am interested in the replies so please let us know some of the ideas. I think I missed the contest itself but I'll just say some things that have helped us.
We've been waking up earlier and it feels great-ironically:) I get up around 6:30, exercise, get home, hubs leaves for work, we have breakfast, kids have quiet play while mom gets a few things done around the house, then we all get ready and get out so much earlier and with less frustration due to early start. this has been great because i have always NOT LOVED this part of the day b/c i end up screaming for everyone to HURRY! or even if we have nowhere to be I'm stressed b/c it's 11:30 b4 anything gets accomplished and I'm frustrated. no fun.
My peter is just like me and needs to get out and burn some energy or he's just ornery. so we head to a park, the beach, the library, our backyard, some bigger adventure like the zoo, wish it was still close and free:), we also have Jill's school to incorporate so we sometimes run errands while she's there or we just go to the park or mall or library if it's raining so he can run around. He loves playing in the dirt and is just content with his little pail and shovel for a long time and Mom gets to visit with friends, read a book, relax in the great outdoors, etc.
Then we pick up Jill if it's a school day and head home for lunch and naps. this is the time where i can hurry and get a few of my own things done while Pete sleeps. i also try to do some learning time with Jill if she's feeling up to it. as Noah's naps fade out you could do a quiet time for him while you get things done. i haven't attempted this with my boy yet but it worked with Jill:) I just explained mom needed some rest and she was going to rest or play quietly too. she'd read or play dolls, whatever.
With the joy school curriculum we've been doing they have an awesome idea for mellowing kids down. just lay on the floor with them with soothing music playing and imagine something with them, ask them what they're thinking about, imagine you're fish or blades of grass and move accordingly, it's really fun and has helped me calm them and me when we're all hyped up and mom's about to start screaming:)
Then when Pete wakes up we go outside and ride bikes or do chalk because we need the outside:) but you could do your art or music time here with Noah. then the witching hour, before dinner and dad gets home and you want to kill someone:) Kevin is way better than me at letting the kids help cook but this seems to help them mellow out and not whine so much while they are waiting. i tend to use this time as their TV time for a half hour, or so:), while i finish a few last minute things and then make dinner. then clean up, bubble bath, books and bed.
Then Kev and I have our time together. This is what has been working for us LATELY. it seems forever shifting but i am learning the wisdom in early to bed early to rise. i have always been such a night owl, staying up til one and two and then feeling exhausted! in the morning. now my "early" bedtime tends more toward 11 or 12 and it feels great. some of my me time i still haven't figured out where to squeeze in, except when Kevin works nights and then i still stay up super late, but i feel like such a happier Momma otherwise b/c i have so much more patience with my babes!
Oh, also i don't know if the Y there has some little music classes or gymnastics, whatever, that Noah might enjoy. that breaks up the day, gives a little outlet, helps you meet neat people in the community, etc. you could even think about teaching one yourself since you're so musically talented! in your spare time:)
SUCH fun thoughts, both of you! Thank you for contributing to my contest and for both inspiring me to be a better mom in areas I feel weak. I love you both!
As for me… I am ALMOST home from my May wanderings… I get home tomorrow and probably will just COLLAPSE for a few days, trying to find my center again. And then I will get to work editing all the Oregon sessions. And then shooting all my June sessions. It will be a full month yet again, but at least in June, I will be at home.
Just kidding. I actually fly to Rhode Island/Connecticut/New Hampshire/Massachusetts in the middle of the moth for another set of sessions. So… Well. basically, it never ends.
But honestly? All this ADVENTURING? It reminds me I AM NOT DEAD YET. Life is mean to to be full and rich, and if that brings with it some craziness and frenzy, well… so BE it. I am NOT dead yet. Bring it on.
See ya soon, STL. I am SO ready for my own bed.


  1. You're gonna be on the East Coast?? Maybe we can get together... =)

  2. Aww, shucks. Love you too! I feel all famous-y and stuff. ;) It's funny...I re-read what I sent to you and thought I sounded like I was in a hurry...which, I probably was. So, sorry about that. I hope our paths will cross this summer! Maybe you could come to Texas sometime and do a photo shoot for our family. That would be so fun! Love ya!

  3. It was so great having you in Oregon Emily! Glad you made it home safely, and hope you are getting some much needed rest!

  4. You're coming to Connecticut?! I'm sure you're totally booked up BUT IF NOT we would love to hire you to take just a few family shots of us at the beach. I don't even know where you'll be but, anyhow, let me know if you think you'd be able to squeeze us in. And you're not going to be in NC in, oh, october, are you:)

  5. When I eventually receive my little one, I want to hire you to take our photos. Your work is incredible. Free flight to NYC?


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