A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

(which was a regular work/school day during tax season – so apologies in advance for this being both the longest AND the least interesting post yet…)

5:55am – Wake up (no alarm – we don’t use alarms).  Bathroom trip. But then I crawl back into my warm bed. Usually, I’d just get up and start my day, but today the siren call of my duvet was too strong.

6:25am – Plum (age 5) visits. Good morning!  She actually climbs up onto our bed (a rarity!) for a cuddle.  We chat and wake up Dad.

Head downstairs.  I allow a TV show pre-breakfast and pre-getting dressed (never a good idea).  Pack three lunches because Pickle (age 6) has opted out of school lunch, because it is “Cook’s Choice”.  Lunches include some combo of yogurts, cucumbers, apples, Cheez-It, baby carrots, string cheese, and sandwiches.  The littles get a special treat – ½ of a leftover birthday cupcake each!

While I make lunches with Tyler (he was helping with lunches, making coffee, packing bags for the day and doing dishes) Pickle arrives downstairs.  A 6:30am wake up is late for him!  He wants to take a shower because his hair is unruly.  I agree, on both counts. I de-fat, de-bone, shred and sauce the pulled pork I had cooked in the crockpot overnight.  That will be dinner tonight.

7:08am – Upstairs to shower.  And brrrrrr, it is a cold one.  All thanks to the hair-obsessed 6-year-old who used 94% of the hot water.  Thanks a lot. Step out of the shower to hear Pistachio (age 3) bellowing for me.  Wet and half-dressed I go see him. “Is it wake up time?” he asks.  Indeed it is.  As I had suspected the night before, this guy was tired and/or growing because this is a very late wake-up time for him, too. He wanders downstairs, and I finish getting dressed.  I run a brush through my hair and yell down to Ty to let our neighbor in (we are giving her a ride to school today).

7:30am – Time to get Pickle and the neighbor to school.  I go downstairs to find Plum screaming and naked on the love seat (reminder to self to talk to her – and my husband? – about being naked in front of non-family members), Pistachio is eating an English muffin in his PJs and chirps happily, “Bye Mama, have a good day!”  I leave him and naked Plum in the competent and patient hands of their father.  He will get them dressed and off to school.  I have my usual argument with Pickle about the need for warm outerwear, which delays our exit, but eventually I get him out the door.

The thin fleece he believes is appropriate for 15 degree temps.

7:45am – Drop Pickle and his classmate/our neighbor at school.  Stop at the local corner store for an iced coffee and bagel – a treat, and only $3.50! Sit in my car for a second to update my Moment app and sign up for “Moment Boot Camp”.  Moment is an app that analyzes how much time you spend on your phone each day.  I’ve been using it for a few weeks and have determined that my numbers are too high (yikes) so I sign up for their Boot Camp, which sets daily goals for using your phone less.

Drive to work listening to CD 15 of 16 of Bruce Springsteen’s Autobiography “Born to Run”.  Bruce reads it, and I’m a fan, so I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having him read to me during my commute.  It is a fun history, and some of the writing is just fantastic. I’ll be sad when the last CD is done.

Park in the garage (I should park in the lot, but today I just don’t feel like it) and clock-in at my desk.

8:28am – Work. The regular stuff.  During breaks in the day I pack up and send a toy I sold on eBay, and fill out a kindergarten registration form.  We have our yearly benefits meeting at work (open enrollment – yippee) and I lament the brokenness of our health care system and its costs while simultaneously being thankful for pretty good insurance coverage.

Lunch – I had texted my husband that I was craving shrimp and he told me to go get some at lunch.  So I do.  And what a nice treat!  I go to the (fancy-ish) steak house next door, sit at the bar, have a lovely lunch including some shrimp, and read a little bit of my newest book – The Atomic Weight of Love.  It is a great break in the day, a delicious meal I didn’t have to cook, and some time alone with my own thoughts.  Awesome.

4:30pm – Work done.  Head out.  Call my mom on the way.  I call her most days during my commute home.

5pm – Pick up grumpy oldest.  He often complains about pick-up time, being too late or too early.  Sigh.  Mostly he complains because he is hungry.  Thankfully he tucks in to his uneaten packed lunch because he had, indeed, opted for the “Cook’s Choice” which happened to be calzones. Blood sugar and mood improve.

Pick up the littles, who are just down the road. Our elementary school and preschool are really close to our house – like a mile.  What a win!  The littles were not required to wear snowpants on this day, which makes my life easier because there is far less schlepping of KID STUFF.

5:20pm – Home!  I pick up the mail, get all of the kids and all of their stuff in the house.  They are in good moods, and are happy to play for a bit.  I unpack lunch boxes, then convince Pistachio to take a quick bath. The big kids agree to straighten up the toy room with minimal whining.  After bath the kids continue to play while I empty the downstairs trash cans and take out the kitchen trash.  I open a package for me from a cool Instagram group called This Is My Fav.  Basically, there is a theme each month, and you are assigned a group member to send a $10+ gift to.  It is fun – and a little bit chain letter-ish.  This month’s theme is Spring Cleaning, and I’m thrilled to open a box of Scrub Daddies.  I laugh because I sent Scrub Daddies to my gift recipient this month, too. They are great.

6pm – Get dinner ready.  It comes together quickly since I prepped it this morning.  I mix up some coleslaw (for me and Ty).  And we have pulled pork sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls with sides of green grapes, carrots and cukes.  I typically insist on dinner at the table, but tonight, I allow dinner in front of our first pre-bed TV show.  The kids choose Johnny Test, which is really not my favorite.

After dinner and the show, the kids get into their “cozies” (our family word for pajamas).  This always takes longer than it should.  I put on their second and final show, and they get to pick their dessert/treat.  Usually they each have little bowls of ~20 chocolate chips.  Tonight, Plum and Pickle choose to have a leftover birthday cupcake each.  Pistachio sticks with the chocolate chips.  While the kids watch their show, I unload the dishwasher, reload with dinner dishes and straighten up the kitchen.  As show ends I realize that Pistachio has gotten a melted chocolate chip smeared on his cozies and the couch, so I do a quick clean up and rinse out the cozies so the chocolate won’t stain.

7:20pm – I declare it is time to head upstairs for our nightly routine and bed.  Major protests from all, but they know I mean business.  The big kids brush teeth (with help from me) and then state that they want to take showers (Pickle would shower 4 times a day if we let him).  It is pretty late to start showers now, but I relent.  While Pistachio uses the potty pre-bed, I wash Plum’s hair.  Pistachio walks off to his room to sit in the big brown chair and wait for me.  Plum finishes up, puts her cozies back on and climbs into my bed to look at a book.  Pickle takes his turn, and his time, in the shower.

Pistachio and I cuddle up in the big brown wing chair.  We brush teeth, which is still a bit of a battle, and then read some strange lift-the-flap book about two sisters, Madison and Ashley.  He loves lifting the flaps, but the story – mostly about girls playing dress up, gardening and cooking – is pretty awful.  I make a mental note to “lose” this book.  We chat a little bit about our days.  He declines a song.  He typically tells me “Mama, please put me in my bed,” when he feels he’s done enough chatting, but tonight he tells me he has to poop.  We truck off to the bathroom, and I find Plum and Pickle in my bed using the iPad, instead of reading books. Blargh.  I sit Pistachio on the potty, and take the iPad away (tears).  Pistachio decides he does not have to poop after all (poop is one of the most effective bedtime stalling techniques when you are newly potty-trained – he figured this out quickly, smart kid).  I plop him in his bed and go back to dealing with the big kids who are tired, and still complaining about iPad removal.

(Photo below is what they were supposed to be doing…)

8pm – I alert the big kids that it is now 8pm and since rules haven’t been followed, they have to get in bed without me reading books tonight.  Much sadness.  Many protests.  But they do get in their beds in their shared bedroom.  I leave them for a minute to attend to a hollering Pistachio who needs me to cover him up with his blanket. I do. And say a final goodnight to him.

I sing songs to the big kids, This Land is Your Land and some others I’ve made up.  And I agree to let Pickle read for 10 minutes.  He is reading Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit, a great book, with fun big words, and he’s feeling very proud of himself.  I spray Sweet Dream Spray (some sort of linen/room spray that I have repurposed) and give kisses.  I retreat to my bed for a few minutes while I make notes about my day for this post and text a bit with Tyler, who is still at work.

Randy is terrible at baseball, but really good at other stuff. The guy with the brains saves the day!

8:20pm – I’ve given them extra time, and still hear them chatting a bit, so I tell them it is truly bedtime, no more chats or books.  I give more kisses and sing their lullaby.  I close the door behind me and head downstairs.  I fire up my computer and organize photos on Shutterfly until 10pm.  I make albums for each month and for every big event or holiday, and put these on a Sharesite for friends and family.  It takes forever, and I’m behind.  I finish up November and December, and start on Christmas.  My husband’s phone and my phone update to Shutterfly automatically, and I upload the photos taken with my “real” camera there, too.  While I do my photo stuff, I “watch” This Is Us and blackish and drink seltzer with a splash of lemonade.

10pm – I close out of Shutterfly and check Facebook for a bit while I wait for Tyler to get home.  I always wait up for him.

10:20pm – Tyler gets home.  He’s tired. I am too.  I leave him on his own to make pulled pork sandwiches and wind down and I head up to bed.  I decide to read a few pages before bed and end up staying up too late reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I’m considering reading the series to the kids, and wanted to read the whole series myself first (I had only read the first 4 books previously).  I’m finally on book 7.

11:28pm – Whoops.  It is definitely time to turn off the light and go to bed.

1:11am – Up. Too much seltzer.

2:40am – Up.  Way too much seltzer.

6:09am – Plum appears by my side of the bed, ready to start her day.

 

 

 

 

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All the Things

Things I Know For Sure:

  • When they say that wrap-style dresses flatter every figure, they are lying.
  • Tea and toast can cure any number of problems.
  • These are a terrible idea.

cham

Things I Am Good At:

  • Reading aloud to my kids.
  • Keeping my calendar up to date.
  • Buying good/cool presents.
  • Being silly.

bfg

Things I’m Not Good At:

  • Owning plants.
  • Caring about/for my eyebrows.
  • Writing lunch box notes.
  • Decorating for holidays.
  • Meal planning.
  • Knowing military rank hierarchy.

Things That Make Me Cry:

wonderful

Things I Should Admit:

  • I try not to judge, but I might feel a little bit sad for you if you don’t vote, eat steak well done, or don’t read actual books.
  • I like the smell of skunk (from a distance of 15 feet or more).
  • I have never watched Titanic, or Casablanca.
  • I currently have 6,404 photos on my phone.  And 558 videos.
  • I have a love/hate relationship with all of those beautiful photos of kitchen renovations that don’t include upper cabinets.
  • I’m really tempted to dress my youngest in knee socks like Prince George.
Image from the adorable website "What Kate's Kids Wore" - click on the photo to go there.

Image from the adorable website “What Kate’s Kids Wore” – click on the photo to go there.

Pistachio Turned Two

A few weeks late my dearest little.
You turned two.  TWO!
And cried when we sang to you.
And passed on the cake, too.
Because now it’s time to do things your way.
Because you’re two.

Our puzzle doer, our book reader, who loves to show us and tell us that you get it, that you’ve got things figured out. You ask for what you want. Your demands are most often reasonable, a banana, a book, a binkie, a blanket, and bed.

Our blonde, dimple-cheeked boy, with the adorable almost-buck-toothed grin and throaty giggle.  I worry about that mischievous glint in your eye, but I don’t worry much.

Our curious boy, who tries to stump us, by suggesting random animals and items during our nightly singing of “Old MacDonald.”  I never knew that Old MacDonald’s farm contained a bear, an ear and a blanket.  And I do not know what sound an ear makes.

THS unfiltered. I'll eat you up I love you so.

A post shared by Cate Simms (@sarkytartlet) on

Celebrating his Scandinavian heritage.

A post shared by Cate Simms (@sarkytartlet) on

Our cuddly guy, the one most likely to climb into my lap, and cuddle into my side. Always willing to snuggle in the low light before bed.  Longer legs dangle now, but your head still fits perfectly between my ear and my shoulder.

I love how you love your siblings, and how they love you.  The three of you are so joyful in the mornings, when you greet each other in your room, tickled that you’re all together another day, making that laughing, glorious noise that can only be created by gaggles of small delighted children. You are gifts to one another.  You are gifts to us.

I love you so much my dear littlest one. Happy birthday to you.

Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part 6

1. I bought more personalized stationery.  I couldn’t help it.  It has rainbow unicorns on it.  (Yes, I am aware that I am 37 years old.) It also has woodland creatures.  And apparently I have a thing for woodland creatures.
Unicorny.  This is the Animal Tale stationery from Tiny Prints.

Unicorny! Animal Tale stationery from Tiny Prints.

2. Those big crystals of sugar they put on the top of muffins? I HATE THEM. Stop wrecking my muffins!
muffin

 

3. I wrote a list of things that I really should do to make my life feel more comfortable, well-rounded and full.
  • Read – really read – a poem every day (or heck, at least once a week).
  • Have fresh flowers around.
  • Grow something (not just children).
  • Have a nice bed.
  • Eat more fish and more green things.
  • Go to the theatre – and not just musicals.
A pretty good list.  And while my mattress IS of legal drinking age and needs to be put out of its misery, my list also offered me some lovely perspective. It doesn’t contain items like survive, heal, or feel respected and loved so maybe I’m doing alright.

 

4. I’m pretty sure most people drink too much water, or think they need more water than they do. Really.

 

5. My mom was right about a lot of things:
  • As you get older, your hair gets less greasy. Thankfully, true! 
  • You should keep track of the Christmas presents you give, so you can keep things even and avoid giving the same gifts 2 years in a row. Yes. You think you will remember, but you won’t.
  • There is value to comfy undies. Duh. I have no idea why my sister and I fought her on this one.
  • Sometimes you will forget which baby is in the baby picture. I didn’t think it was possible to be unable to recognize your own children in photos, but sometimes I’m baffled even though I birthed them!
A Pickle, a Plum and a Pistachio.  Who is who?!  I have no idea!  (Actually I do, because I assembled the collage, but you get my point...)

A Pickle, a Plum and a Pistachio. Who is who?! I have no idea! (Actually I do, because I assembled the collage, but you get my point…)

Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part Five

1. My kids wear their shoes on the wrong feet ALL OF THE TIME.  I always tell them, but I don’t usually make them switch them if they don’t want to.

2. I dislike the word “cray” (meaning crazy).  The Brits and Aussies (Kiwis, too) are really good at slang. “Bro, this Chrimbo, I’m going to slap some shrimp on the barbie for brekkie before we open prezzies, s’truth!” (Okay, I probably butchered that a bit, but a basic translation would be “This Christmas I’m going to grill shrimp for breakfast before we open gifts.”) Cockney slang takes things to a whole amazing other level.  Americans?  We’re just not as good at slang.

3. I could eat Russell Stover pectin jellybeans until my tongue bled.  I’m not proud of this.

Nom nom nom.  Image from Russell Stover.

Nom nom nom. Image from Russell Stover.

4. I thought my brie and Juicy Juice dinner was awful.  Then I got sick, for quite some time. I lost my appetite and most of my sense of taste. So dinner a few weeks ago was croutons.  Out of the bag.  Because I couldn’t taste much.  We needed to go food shopping.  And they were crunchy.  And there. And I was tired. And I wanted to go to sleep, but I was supposed to eat something with my meds, and stay upright for at least 10 minutes (weird, instruction, right?).

Crunch.  Image from Pepperidge Farm.

Crunch. Image from Pepperidge Farm.

5. Rare moment of parenting genius? Buying my 4-year-old son a DUSTBUSTER for Christmas.  He and his sister love it.  They can carry it, it is noisy, and exciting.  They cruise around the house, dustbuster at the ready, looking for “yuckies” to suck up into its whirling vortex.  And when they suck up something they shouldn’t (there was a dollar bill on the floor?) we can simply open the DB up, and retrieve the item. And I never have to yell “Shut that thing off already!” because it is rechargeable, and needs to be plugged back in after 30 minutes of hunting yuckies. $40 very well spent.  Thanks, Santa.

Vrooooom.  Image from Amazon.

Vrooooom. Image from Amazon.

Happy Friday, and happy Spring!  Bring on the mud and daffodils!

PS – Not affiliate links, just for your convenience.

Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part Four

1. I rearranged the living room while the rest of my family was napping. Bad: I am way too old to do this alone. Good: my son thinks I might be directly related to Superman.

2. The other night, after a particularly hectic evening, I settled down for a decadent dinner of crackers, triple cream brie and a perfectly ripe pear. And my beverage pairing? Cherry Juicy Juice. For real. Who the hell have I become?!

cherry-juicy-juice

3. I’m pretty much over bacon, and I just can’t get on board with the weird trend of putting mustaches on everything. Baby onesies with mustaches on them? Why? Am I missing something? I must(ache) be missing something.

Carter's Mustache Print Bodysuit

Carter’s Mustache Print Bodysuit

4. When Pistachio was born, we removed a big-kid car seat and replaced it with his baby carrier seat. The big-kid car seat went into the garage with plans to put it back into service when Pistachio got big enough. Well, he got big enough. So I cleaned the seat cover and went to clean the rest of it when I noticed that an animal – who had probably discovered a yummy little food stash of goldfish and other crumbs – had chewed up the foam seat and the straps. Yuck.

On a related note: I received lovely and thoughtful Christmas gifts, but my favorite was probably the gift certificate to get the minivan interior detailed.

5. Sometimes, I have to look hard and think for a second before I can identify whose baby picture it is. And I have already forgotten what time each child was born. In my defense, I do know the general times of their births (Pickle was early morning, Plum was evening and Pistachio was midday). Just more evidence that I pushed out a bit of my brain each time I pushed out a baby.

Question Mark Clock from CafePress

Question Mark Clock from CafePress

Onward and upward! Stay warm and be happy!

Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part Three

1. First of all, don’t serve kids rice.  Or couscous.  You’re just asking for trouble.  But if you do, and if (when) they dump it on the rug, don’t clean it up immediately.  Let it dry.  It is so much easier to clean up once it is dry.  If I was going to add a hashtag to this post it would be #WENEEDADOG.

 

2. My kids don’t have dedicated rain gear.  I’m just not going to spend $40 on a raincoat they’ll wear twice and outgrow.  Sorry kids, you’ll dry out quickly enough. 

 

3. It is wasteful and silly, but I throw out bread heels. I know I should freeze them, compost them or make bread crumbs or something, but I just don’t.  

 

4. In the middle of hanging photos I couldn’t find our tape measures. Anywhere.  Even in Pickle’s room.  So I used this:
Measuring the Marigolds

Images from Amazon. Not affiliate links.

Why?  Because the back of the toy looks like this: 
Marigolds

Inchworm indeed!

 

5. I am suspect of juice cleanses, multi-level marketing and artificial sweeteners.

 

6. One of my least favorite things about being a mom (besides the worry, guilt, fear, sleepless nights, etc.) is that I am FOREVER PACKING AND UNPACKING BAGS FULL OF KID STUFF.  I am hopeful the day they can do this for themselves is fast approaching (yeah right).