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Our Days, These Days: Spring 2012 Edition

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Our days, these days...

Every so often, I like to remember to document our days...The rhythms and routines of our life as it is this moment. It's interesting to see the subtle shifts in things, and I like to think it helps me remember a bit more of this fleeting time as a mama. 

So, since Noah's preschool is on the cusp of ending for the year and our routines are about to change, I thought it was a good time for this kind of post again. It's been largely the same for all of this first half of 2012, so it works out for this to be a pretty accurate glimpse into our days, these days. 

Mornings start about 7:35 am here. Joe has been awake since 6:30 and has had the house to himself, since our kiddos have been pretty consistent about sleeping til 7:30 or so. Joe leaves for work at 7:40, so I get awoken by him right before he goes and the kids slowly wake around the same time. It's a sleepy, gentle way to begin. 

There are elaborate "goodbye" rituals to send Dad off--- Noah usually has to go potty right as Joe is leaving, so he makes him wait so Noah can get done in time to watch Joe go to the car out our bedroom window. Joe asks Noah for "directions" before he leaves, and Noah says something close to this, every day:

"You pass by the Gooey Hole. Go IN the Gooey Hole. Pass Skinker. Take the MetroLink. Then you're there."

We wave goodbye to Dad out the window then make our way downstairs to start breakfast. Lucy goes in her high chair and gets some finger foods to keep her happy while I prepare food. Noah prefers toast and peanut butter, and sometimes applesauce, a "poached" egg (microwaved), or some cereal. I give Lucy some baby cereal mixed with apple juice and cinnamon, sometimes some toast, too. I'll have a Greek yogurt or cottage cheese (giving some to Lucy) and maybe a slice of peanut butter toast myself. 

Breakfast is a chattery time, since we've all woken about the same time. Noah dallies and messes with Lucy and wiggles and talks, a lot. Lucy still LOVES her baby cereal, and has taken to saying "mmmm!", imitating me, when she takes a bite. I try to stay off my iTouch and stay in the moment with the kiddos, but sometimes my itchy trigger finger goes to check Facebook or email... The temptation to multitask is ALWAYS there. 

PRESCHOOL DAYS MWF:
If it is a preschool day, we try to wrap up breakfast by 8:15am so I can get everybody dressed and ready to get out the door. Usually I have Noah dress himself while I dress Lucy, then I let them both play in the upstairs play area while I get myself ready. On preschool days, I try to get us out to the car by 8:30 am so we can park a mile from school and walk with the double stroller. If I manage that, it is an easy way to get a 2-mile walk in and not have it take much time from the rest of the day. We'll either park by the waterfall in Forest Park and walk west, or we'll park near the pretty houses on Wydown and walk east. 

On our walks, Noah will alternate between walking alongside me and riding in the double stroller. Lucy LOVES the stroller and just absorbs everything the whole time. She NEVER protests. I love the walk because not only is it so good for my body and mind, but it is a lovely neighborhood and a chance to be outside and talk with Noah. 

Noah's preschool is at 9:00 am, and his class starts outside on the playground. It's fun to drop him off, chat with a fellow parent or two or a teacher, let them flirt with Lucy a bit, then give Noah one more squeeze as we head back the second mile of our walk.

Lucy and I walk to the car and when we get home, around 9:30, I give her a bottle and snuggle her. When she finishes, I sing her a couple of songs and put a dab of baby lotion on her cheeks and lay her down for a nap. She'll either chatter for way too long before finally falling asleep, or sometimes I'll hit her sleepy window just right and she'll go to sleep almost right away. She is NEVER upset to be in her crib. She loves to use it as her playground and I swear it is where she's learned most of her physical tricks. she also likes to wait til morning naptime to take a big solid poop in her diaper, then happily fall asleep. Not MY cup of tea, but she does it almost daily--- stinky sleeper. 

After putting Lucy down, I spend most of these days on my computer working, blogging, catching up on emails, etc. I'll also putter around the house sometimes (not often enough. I miss puttering!) and pick up things, do the dishes, etc. Mostly, though, I'm at the computer. It seems to be the only really good time for business minutiae, and so I chain myself to it. 

Around 11:35, it's time to get Lucy up to go get Noah. I HATE waking Lucy. Once in a blue moon she'll wake up herself before 11:30, but usually I have to go in, turn her sound machine down slowly and lightly touch her back or cheek til her eyes open. She almost ALWAYS jolts to awake and then immediately smiles-- so it shouldn't be a miserable moment for me--- but it is. I wish I could let her sleep til she's ready to wake. 

We drive to get Noah, who is done with school at 11:45 am. I am nearly always the LAST parent. Boo. It's because I procrastinate waking Lucy. Once Noah is in the car, I often have to fight the urge to go do something with the kids that involves money. The 12-2pm stretch is the best time for us to go play because both of them are awake, things are open for business... And I'm just restless enough from the morning to want to DO something. If I give into the temptation, we'll do something like:
1. go to the Magic House (eat lunch there)
2. pick up picnic food and go to a park
3. go to McDonald's Playplace (I know they're gross, but there's one here I can live with and Noah LOVES it)
4. go to My Daddy's Cheesecake for lunch
5. go to Forest Park (again, picnic food)

All involve eating, of course, since it's lunchtime... and it is FAR too rare that I manage to get my act together enough to pack a lunch for us. So it always ends up costing at LEAST $10 for lunch... So I try to keep from doing it all three days of the week. Such a temptation, though. Some days, we'll do errands as an alternate version of this "get out of the house and play" mentality: grocery shopping, a Walmart run, fabric store, etc. 

If we do happen to head home, the 2-hour span is filled with making lunch, cleaning up, and general floor time with the kiddos until naptime. 

NONPRESCHOOL DAYS T/TH:
On non-preschool days, we don't have anywhere to be at 8:30am, so we will often stay in our jammies a bit longer than the other days. We finish breakfast and spend the morning playing. Our two choice places to play are in the living room or on the second floor in the play area on the landing. Currently, Noah is OBSESSED with Transformers and will, more often than not, play with his various toy Transformers while having me act out the part of someone in one of his many "games"--- scripted playtime that he repeats again and again. Lucy loves just about anything you set in front of her, but is currently extra enamored with her shape sorter cube and the Fisher Price play house we brought up from the basement to the play area for her birthday. She also loves books and crawling.

We while away the 8:30-9:30 hour this way, then I put a cartoon on for Noah while I feed Lucy a bottle and put her down for her morning nap. While she is up in her room chattering/napping, Noah and I do one of two things--- we either watch a few cartoons (while I sew or read a Kindle book), or he plays with moon dough/play doh/moon sand/crayons/markers while I do dishes or work on photos/blogging/etc. If I need a shower, it happens during this time.

When Lucy wakes from her nap, we'll do lunch (it's easier to stay at home to do lunch on these days, partly because we're already home and comfy, I'm not probably dressed for the day anyway, and lately Lucy has been extending her morning nap and if I don't wake her she'll sleep through the lunch hour anyway). And then if I'm feeling the wanderlust, we might go for a walk then, or drive to a playground,  or just go in the yard to play. 

AFTERNOONS, EVERY DAY:

2:00 is naptime in our house. Though Lucy seems to be on the cusp of going from two naps to one, and Noah is on the cusp of going from one nap to none, we still treat naptime as sacred in this house. When 2:00 hits, I make a bottle for Lucy and gather her, Noah, and a handful of books and we settle onto my bed. Lucy is in my lap, feeding herself her bottle, and Noah is next to me. I stroke Lucy's hair while I read three books to Noah. I love that Lucy gets to be a part of "storytime", even peripherally, and I love having both of them next to me. This is my favorite time of day. It is my favorite for two opposite reasons: I am about to get a break from "mom-ness", for sure. But until that break, I also get to be the closest to both of my kids physically that I've been all day, for a slow, satisfying span of stories. 

After books, I give Noah a piggyback ride to his room with Lucy still in my arms and books in my hands. It's complicated. But it works. I deposit Noah on his bed and lay Lucy on his rug. I turn on his sound machine and come pick Lucy up again, plop her next to him on his bed, and sing his bedtime songs to him while she finishes up her bottle and snuggles with him. Once enough "goodnights" have been said, I take LuLu to her room and repeat her naptime rituals for her and lay her down. Noah requests that I come BACK and give him one more goodnight after I've put Lucy down, so I do that, then tiptoe away from their rooms and come downstairs and let go a big SIGH. ME time. Lucy often chatters for ages into the monitor, so it's not complete silence... and lately, Noah will only actually fall asleep about 50% of the time during this span... But nearly every day, from 2:30pm-4:30pm, I am off-duty. I'll spend it a number of ways, depending on the to-do list and my own energy levels... 
1. on the luckiest days, I read a book, then nap too.
2.  I will often edit photos while watching a movie on Netflix.
3. I'll mess around Facebook, blogging, email friends...
4. I'll sew and catch up on DVR shows. 
5. I'll clean up a little.
(never all of the above in one day.)

It is a really good time for me. I rejuvenate enough to get back into gear when the kids wake, and I am able to maintain a peace in my center that I truly believe makes me a better mama. What I DON'T do at this time, but should: think about dinner and maybe start prep for it. I am TERRIBLE at making dinner and thinking about dinner and pre-prepping for dinner. Bad bad bad. I'm pretty selfish with this afternoon span of time. 

Noah has gotten very good with digital clocks, so we've set his quiet time to end at 4:30pm if he's not asleep. Up until a few weeks ago, he'd call out for us to come get him-- still not really aware that he can get out of bed himself. But now that he is reading the clock and watching the time, he'll get himself out of bed and turn off his sound machine and come downstairs at 4:30. On the dot. If Lucy has finally fallen asleep, then he and I just have some snuggle/talk time until Dad comes home. If Lucy wakes, then the three of us will often go outside and sit on the front porch to wait for Dad's car to drive up. This is also a favorite time of day for me. 

On Mondays and Wednesdays, Joe has had a class that runs late, so on those days, I drag my feet about dinner even longer. Yesterday, for example, we went to the grocery store right at 5:00pm, then the thought of making dinner overwhelmed me and sucked away my joy.... so we drove through McDonald's and went on an impromptu visit to the City Garden downtown and I let the kids get wet in the ground fountains. MUCH better than home to put away groceries and make a sad little meal. 

On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, we all LOVE having Dad home. I thank my God DAILY that he loves coming home to us as much as we love seeing him arrive. He is an amazing family man--- he sacrifices any kind of downtime/decompression time when he gets home and often gets right down to the business of playing with/holding his kiddos. He says he loves it. I believe him. I cherish this about him. 

If I'm being good and making dinner at this point, I like to have Pandora playing bluegrass while I put on a favorite apron and get things done. When I'm IN the moment of prepping dinner, I actually enjoy it--- especially if Joe is there to play with the kids in the next room. I wish I could remember that I ENJOY the prepping, so I'd get down to it sooner. More often. 

Dinner is never fancy--- we don't have a tablecloth and never start with a green salad or anything... But it works, and we ALWAYS have it together as a family around our table. Noah says the blessing. Lucy is coming to love table food and is nearly done with purees. Joe and I trade off doing dishes and Noah is getting good at clearing the table. 

If we have time from the end of dinner til 7:30 or so, we might go on a walk together, or go sit outside. If it's closer to 7-7:30 when we finish dinner, then Joe takes Lucy upstairs right away for her bath and bedtime routines. Noah and I will putter and play downstairs, or Noah will join Lucy for her bath and I'll try to remember to be available to help out instead of settling in front of the computer to decompress from my own duties. Lucy gets a bottle and snuggles and is in bed by 7:30-7:45pm every night. Noah gets to stay up until 8:30, so he'll try to get as much playtime as possible in there. Joe is the main bath giver and pj-dresser. He's the one who snuggles Lucy for her bedtime and reads Noah his stories and brushes his teeth. I'll make Lucy's bottle and help Noah finish his bath if he's not done in time for Joe to help out. And I'm the one Noah requests for bedtime songs. Joe reads scriptures with Noah and we say a family prayer before I take Noah upstairs for songs and tucking him in. Noah procrastinates my leaving as long as he can--- asking questions, asking to go to the bathroom, another drink--- but by 8:45-9:00pm, I have said my final goodnight and am back downstairs. 

Joe settles in to watch Netflix shows, and I often take my place back at my computer, separate from him, sadly. The 9-midnight stretch is when I do most of my photo culling/editing. The daytime serves me for business details like ordering and emailing, but the nighttime hours serve me for the creative work. But if I'm lucky, I can keep the computer off for the night and sit with Joe to watch a movie or a show... Sometimes I'll sit near him and just BE, other times I'll sew at my table behind the couch. Joe's bedtime is 10:00pm, and he is precise about adhering to it. Mine should be midnight, but I will stay up an extra hour or go to bed an hour early as the whim takes me. I don't have any good bedtimes rituals, though I sometimes think I'd do well to have one... I try to read before I go to bed, but I barely get a page read before it crashes me out and I am asleep. 

That's it, really. That's our life. Sometimes something different thrown in... but that is mostly it. A good, simple little life. Routine. Rhythmic. Lots of intuitive working together. Working near each other. All of us. Lots of family time. It's good. 

I'm not sure what summer will bring. I mentioned I think both kids are about to shift their nap needs... I am getting busier with photography again... Joe will not have class... So things will shift. But most always they are good shifts, and the adapting is just part of life. 

Thanks for indulging me writing the details. This is my journal, for the most part, and I know I'll want to remember the moments that seem so basic and unmemorable now.

And a little visual reward for anyone who stuck out that whole long post... Here's Noah and Lucy on Easter Sunday, with their bunnies and actual eye contact and smiles from both. These guys ARE my days. Every day.

4 comments:

  1. I loved reading about your routine- I am trying to do better to establish more of a routine. It is challenging with a schedule that changes both daily and weekly. Still, I try to have certain things I do on certain days, and I'm trying to get better at sticking with a bedtime ritual- writing from 10:30-11, reading only until 11:30, when I *should* turn the lights out (though sometimes I read later than 11:30, especially if I don't start it until after 11...).

    Routines are good, even if/when they have to be adjusted for new things. I know you'll find a way to keep the rhythm and flow this summer.

    (And I absolutely LOVE that Easter photo- I can hardly wait to see these adorable kiddos this summer! Thanks for sharing!)

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  2. Lovely kids, cool pictures and awesome photography. :)

    Preschool Games

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  3. That was great to read! I totally need to do something similar -- funny how quickly we forget how things were and it is actually interesting to read later!

    Oh man, your kidlets are GORGEOUS!

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  4. I loved reading this post! It made me think about mine and Ryan's routine and how I love the simple moments that make each day. I should do something like this on my blog...

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