Each year for the past few years, I’ve been doing a “day in the life” post once annually (usually in February). Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our days will “always look like this,” but even from year to year, I’m surprised by how much things change.
Last year at this time, I wasn’t even pregnant with our third yet, and I was dealing with a lot of health issues, most of which have since been resolved. While being the mom of small children is pretty much always exhausting, it’s also very rewarding, at least when I stop to take the time to count the numerous good among the chaos.
Here was how yesterday (2/11/2020) looked for us (with an almost-5-year-old, an almost-20-month-old, and a two-month-old):
Note: I’ve put in affiliate links where I mention the books that we read.
3:15 a.m. My husband comes in, his “night shift” with the baby over. (To save our sanity during these newborn days, we each take turns sleeping out on the couch with the baby by us in his bouncer so the other spouse can get at least one guaranteed uninterrupted stretch of sleep at night). I blearily stumble out of bed and start pumping a bottle. The baby’s a bit restless but not crying yet, thank goodness. I start pumping by the laptop, checking my email and social media sites to try and help keep myself awake. (FYI: I pump and then feed Hyrum because he never was great at nursing, having been born prematurely and then being in the NICU for the first couple days of life. I tried nursing him for the first two weeks and he wasn’t gaining weight, so we figured out that the only way for him to get enough was for me to pump and then feed him the bottle after.)
3:30 a.m. Hyrum is starting to cry, so I interrupt pumping and change his diaper, then feed him what I’ve already gotten out, which is fine because he can only eat about half of what I’m producing now anyway. After he’s finished, he gives me two nice big burps right after (good boy!), and I feel comfortable putting him back down to sleep.
3:55 a.m. I have to still finish pumping, but I’m more awake now, so I do a few tasks that need more attention online and then read a bit of a book I’ve downloaded on Overdrive.
4:20 a.m. I finish pumping, wash the bottles and pumping equipment, then collapse onto the couch to get some sleep.
6:30 a.m. Hyrum starts fussing over a 15-minute period at this point, but I just keep putting in the pacifier and rocking the bouncer for a minute. He finally goes back to sleep around 6:45, and I fall back to sleep myself.
7:30 a.m. I can hear Mathias loudly talking in his crib and the sound of our bedroom door opening as Matt heads to get him out. He runs out to come cuddle with me and read a book (Goodnight Moon), Raven not far behind. The baby is up at this point too, so Matt takes the chance to change his diaper before changing Mathias’s (who cries and tries to kick). Matt and I are both groggy and a bit snippy with each other and with the kids (Raven is trying to hug Mathias, which makes him scream), but within 15 minutes, we’re both fully awake and not so grouchy.
7:40 a.m. On autopilot, I quickly zap some water in the microwave for 68 seconds for my hot cocoa and put two pieces of bread in for my toast, which is my daily breakfast while I pump (and often the only thing I’ll eat for several hours). I sit back down to pump, reminding Raven to go get dressed for preschool before she sits down to eat breakfast.
8:00 a.m. Matt gets the two older kids breakfast (bananas and toast) while I feed the baby the bottle I just pumped. Raven complains about a miniscule sore on her finger and other sundry ailments, which Matt immediately turns into a ridiculous song to antagonize her. After going out to feed the chickens (we all shiver as the single-digit temps hit us when he opens the back door), Matt asks if I’m okay if he goes and showers and gets ready, so I take over with the kids. (I can hear Matt singing along with the iPod the kids rescued from the donation box as he showers.)
8:15 a.m. Mathias is done eating, so I take him into the bedroom to get dressed. He holds still while I pull on his jeans, but tries to run away before I can finish buttoning his shirt. I make it into a game by making slurping noises and “eating” the buttons with my hands, and he lets me finish the rest. He’s much easier to get socks and shoes on, since he loves both of those things (he loudly and excitedly keeps proclaiming, “Socks! Socks!” as I pull them on his feet). Raven trots in and says she’s still hungry, and I tell her to get her homework out while I get out some cold cereal.
8:30 a.m. I sit down with Raven to work on her homework (“name each picture and circle the ones that start with the same sound”), then leave her to eat her cereal. By this point, Matt is out of the shower, and I start getting ready for the day myself. As Matt tries to put on his shoes, Mathias immediately runs over, never wanting to miss out on anything.
8:45 a.m. Matt gives us all kisses and hugs and says goodbye, and I start gathering together everything and everyone into the car. Mathias is put in first, then Raven climbs in onto her booster and buckles herself in (“Did you forget your backpack? Go back and get your backpack!”). I head back inside to get Hyrum in his carseat and discover that he’s filled a diaper and spit up all over his outfit, so I quickly change both of those while I can hear the other two playing The Noise Game from the van (aka, seeing who can yell the loudest). When the baby is dry and happy, I put him in his carseat, tuck a blanket around him, grab a burpcloth, and get him in the van, putting a stop to all the noise going on (“We don’t want to scare the baby!”)
9:02 a.m. We are two minutes late dropping off Raven at preschool, which seems to happen about every third or fourth time. I try to get on her coat, and she says it’s taking too long and is warm inside the teacher’s house, so I give up and just let her carry it in her arms. I head back to the house with the kids (we only live about a block and a half away) to pick up the boxes of clothes I’m going to be dropping off at the donation center on our way to the doctor’s office and to make sure I have a spare diaper and wipes in my purse.
9:10 a.m. We head out to the doctor’s office, with me stopping at the McDonald’s just down the street from us to pick up a Diet Dr. Pepper to help me get through the morning ahead. The day is frigid but beautiful—ice crystals in the air, and everything feathery white with snow.
9:25 a.m. We get into town, and I make my first stop at the local kitchen supply store to get our knives sharpened. Uh oh—should have checked their hours, as they don’t open until 10. I continue on a couple blocks down to drop off our donations, glad to at least check one thing off my list.
9:35 a.m. I have an awkward amount of time left before Hyrum’s two-month appointment at the doctor’s office, and I don’t want to spend it wrangling both kids in the hospital waiting room while germs permeate the air all around us. So I decide to make a decision based on my stomach instead of my head, and we stop at a (different) McDonald’s and pick up a few $1 breakfast sandwiches.
9:45 a.m. We pull into the hospital parking lot, and I park the van and pull out the sandwiches, which Mathias and I eat while listening to Harry Potter on audiobook (which is always on constant repeat in our car). Mathias usually eats pretty much anything, but something in the sandwich must not be to his liking, as he throws the remainder over the side of his carseat.
9:55 a.m Sandwiches finished off, I get out of the car and realize that I forgot to bring the baby’s carrier, which makes things a bit trickier, though at least Thias can walk on his own now, which helps. I don’t want him walking across the parking lot, however, so I’m holding the car seat with Hyrum over one arm and have Mathias on my other hip, and thankfully a Good Samaritan offers to take one of the kids for me, which I gladly take him up on and hand over the infant car seat. He takes us to the elevator, and Mathias is good after that point to follow me on foot to the pediatric wing.
10:00 a.m. We get checked in, and Mathias eagerly runs over to the “fish” tank (digital fish tank, that is) and shouts, “Fish!” over and over again, then proudly climbs up by himself onto one of the little kid chairs at the table and looks around, smug.
10:05 a.m. We get called back to a room, where the baby gets weighed and measured and Mathias knows just where to go to pull out the books (though he thankfully does a good job listening and only takes out one at a time). The doctor and I are both happy to see that Hyrum is actually growing much better than he was before and is now up to the 25th percentile, at least when his age is adjusted (so, compared to one-month-olds rather than two-month-olds).
10:30 a.m. The nurse comes in to give Hyrum his shots, but discovers that she’s picked the wrong form of one based on what our insurance covers, so she has to go back and prepare a different version of it. While she is gone, the baby lets out a massive poop, and I’m super thankful I was with it enough this morning to pack that extra diaper and wipes in my purse before we left (since I often forget that small detail). I quickly change it while she’s gone so that he’s fresh and clean and ready when she gets back. It’s always hard to watch the vaccinations go down, but Hyrum only cries for about 30 seconds before calming down, and when I put him back in his clothes and then into his car seat, he almost immediately falls asleep. Mathias is concerned about the shots and Hyrum crying, so he keeps giving me his burpcloth and binky, trying to get him to feel better. Little sweetheart!
10:50 a.m. I leave the hospital (carrying a kid on each arm), strap everyone into the van, then go back to the kitchen supply place to drop off the knives since the store is open now.
11:10 a.m. We’re heading back home, and we have another awkward period before Raven will need to be picked up from preschool, so we stop by Matt’s work to quickly say hello and kill a few minutes.
11:20 a.m. We leave Matt’s work and make the 15-minute drive back home, going straight to pick up Raven. While we wait for her to come out, I check my phone for the first time since waking up (I’m so bad at checking it) and discover I’ve missed a text from a friend who was wanting to arrange to visit us that day. While I waited too long to make today work, we plan to have her come and visit us later in the week.
11:40 a.m. Raven comes out of preschool with a paper parrot on her shoulder and full of smiles, as today was one of the days she got to pick a prize for good behavior.
11:45 a.m. We get back home, and I immediately want to start pumping a bottle, as I figure the baby will be quite hungry. Mathias comes in distraught though, and keeps saying, “Sock! Sock!” and pointing outside. It takes me awhile to put two and two together, but he only has one shoe on, so I go out to the van to look for it. No shoe. I call Matt to see if it fell off outside of his work by chance. No such luck. I make a mental note to check the van later to see if we can find it before we count it as lost forever in the hospital parking lot, then I send the older kids into the front room to play, Mathias with toys, and Raven playing make believe, and I take the baby out of his car seat and put him into his bouncer.
12:10 p.m. I attempt to feed the baby a bottle after I pump, but he’s having none of it–he just wants to sleep. After trying for 15 minutes with only about a half ounce being taken in, I give up and swaddle the baby and put him down for a nap.
12:30 p.m. Lunch for the kiddos–quesadillas and applesauce. I’m not hungry, thanks to the breakfast sandwiches, so I unload the dishwasher, clear off the drying pad, and load all the breakfast dishes in.
12:50 p.m. Raven wants more to eat, but Mathias really needs to go down for a nap. I put some oatmeal in the microwave to cook and then go read a book to Mathias (Little Blue Truck). I change his diaper and wrap him in his toddler sleep bag, then take him in to bed. He cries for about ten seconds, but then immediately zonks out.
1:00 p.m. “Mom, my oatmeal exploded everywhere! You should have been watching it!” Whoops. Luckily, enough of it is still in the bowl to feed to her. While she finishes eating, I clean up the microwave.
1:15 p.m. I start prepping dinner, as I’m doing a slow cooker dish that needs to get started 4 hours before we eat. I quickly spoon out some cookie dough from the fridge to bake while I prep (because, #priorities), and I start making the sauce for the sticky chicken dish I’m making for dinner.
1:30 p.m. Cookies are done, and the sauce for the chicken is done too. I dump it into the pot with the chicken, eat two freshly warm cookies, and then I pull up Raven’s online preschool program that she does every weekday.
1:50 p.m. I’m exhausted and I know both of the boys are (probably) down for the long haul and Raven is busy, so I take the opportunity to go lay down for a nap myself.
2:25 p.m. Oof, the baby is fussing–maybe he’s not down for the long haul. I wake up out of my own nap and sleepily see if he’ll nurse a bit so I don’t have to bother with the pump. He seems to get enough to put him back to sleep, so I put him back down and fall asleep again myself.
3:40 p.m. The baby is awake and hungry in earnest now, but I feel pretty well-rested and get up quickly to pump him a full bottle, which I feed him when I’m finished.
4:25 p.m. I have my first chance all day to try and write this post, and about four minutes in, Mathias wakes up with a very full, very stinky diaper. I change that right away, but he’s not wanting to play and Raven is wanting attention after all that time to herself while I slept. So I’m trying to type this up while holding Mathias (who’s upset because there’s no pictures in this post, at least not yet), and Raven is combing my hair to make it “soft and silky” and scolds me when I move too much. I’d also made myself a couple pieces of toast because I was all of a sudden starving just before all this, but the kids weren’t going to let me enjoy those alone. Needless to say, I didn’t get much done.
4:45 p.m. I start the rice for dinner and clear the lunch dishes off the table and put everything in the dishwasher that hasn’t already made it in. I return to the computer to keep on trying to blog, while Raven and Mathias attempt to play together in the next room. Most days they get along quite well, but today is not one of those days. I start losing track of how many times I say, “Hey, what’s going on in there?” and “Raven, he doesn’t like whatever you’re doing to him.” Luckily, the baby has been happily sleeping away the afternoon, rather than being super fussy from his vaccinations.
5:15 p.m. Matt gets home, which is always a relief. He scoops up Mathias (who’s been extra clingy since his nap) and listens to Raven talk about our day. Meanwhile, I start steaming the vegetables for dinner, finishing off the sauce/chicken in the slow cooker, and setting the table. Mathias wanders in and cries for me to pick him up, then imploringly asks, “Cookie?” while pointing at the batch on the stove. More tears follow when he doesn’t get one. He sees the three pacifiers though on the drying pad, so he happily accepts one of those (though he tries to get me to give him multiple).
5:40 p.m. Dinner! (Sticky chicken with rice and veggies.) Mathias happily foregoes the use of his spork and shoves handfuls of rice in his mouth and gets mad when we won’t give him more broccoli until he finishes everything else (that kid LOVES his broccoli). Raven says the chicken “does weird things to her throat.” Since she’s wanting to eat a treat that a friend brought her for Valentine’s Day earlier, she knows she’ll have to finish her dinner, so she plows through (grudgingly) and then asks to be excused for her treat.
6:10 p.m. Matt starts washing the big dishes by hand, but Mathias is still wanting to be held, so Matt puts him up on the counter so he can watch him wash dishes, so of course Raven wants to get up there too. I start pumping again.
6:30 p.m. While I feed the baby, Matt takes Raven and Mathias downstairs to play “Monster,” and after doing the “scary” version of Monster for as long as she can stand it, Raven requests the “nice” version, which is where she and Mathias are the baby monsters and Matt needs to try and put them down for naps (rather than try to chase them and eat them).
6:55 p.m. Raven keeps begging me to join them, so I go down for ten minutes and we resume one of the “scary” versions of the monster game, where Matt is a dragon and we have to try and steal his dragon eggs without getting caught. Mathias is fearless and thinks it’s hilarious to get caught, and no matter what plan we come up with, Raven goes and hides without executing her part out of fear. (She still whines when we say it’s time to be done.)
7:10 p.m Bedtime routine—the kids clean up their toys and books, we read them each two books apiece, and they take their fluoride and get their teeth brushed. Lately, we’ve been letting Raven earn stickers for various things, and one of them is listening better at bedtime and not having us repeat instructions any more than twice (which is saving us soooo much time/stalling lately). We read scriptures with the kids (Esther from the Old Testament tonight), and Raven says our family prayer. Then a last drink, last kisses, and lights out for the kids.
7:35 p.m. Hyrum is a bit fussy, so I take him out of his bouncer where he’s been sleeping, and I rock him while I start my scripture reading. When Matt comes in from finishing up with washing the big dishes by hand, I hand the baby off to him and finish my scripture reading.
8:00 p.m. I pump quickly (just 10 minutes total), then get dressed for my exercise class.
8:15 p.m. I leave for my exercise class, listening to Harry Potter the whole way (naturally).
8:30 p.m. I arrive at my hip hop class just as it’s starting, and I’m pleased to find my energy levels and body are actually feeling up to pushing myself a bit in the class. After I had to take a year off from exercising, it’s been a bit of a challenge to get back into it, but tonight felt much closer to old times—I didn’t have to modify hardly any of the moves, and I kept up pretty well. Victory!
9:30 p.m Class is over, and I head home. I finish up doing all the dishes and wipe down all the kitchen countertops and table. Then I sit down to write up the rest of this blog post.
10:30 p.m. I pump the last bottle of the night (for today, anyway) while eating some oatmeal (since I’ve been waking up ravenous around 3:30 a.m. and not always making the best food choices at that crazy hour). I hand the bottle off to Matt, who’s taking the first shift with the baby. We catch up a bit with each other on our day/thoughts.
10:50 p.m. I get ready for bed–wash face, brush teeth. go to the bathroom.
11:00 p.m. Matt and I say a prayer together and kiss each other good night. He stays out in the front room with the baby, and I go back to our room. I say my own personal prayers, read a bit from two of my books (Anna Quindlen’s How Reading Changed My Life and Katrina Kenison’s Moments of Seeing, and then turn in.
11:30 p.m. Lights out!
Even though the days are a bit of a marathon, I’m (usually) present enough to appreciate that these are truly some of the days I’m going to look back on with the most longing—the days when I know where all my kids are at any moment, where I still basically have all the say in what is going on in their lives and where I am the one they want around all the time, and when their sweetness is pretty much untainted by any outside influences.
It’s a busy life here lately, but it’s a wonderful one! Love this family of mine.