December 30, 2016

7:55 I wake up to see Jayson walking out the bedroom door, on his way to eat some cereal, hug the kids, and leave for work a few towns away.  I check Facebook and e-mail while my brain is waking up, then get dressed.  I step on the scale on my way into my closet- up a pound from yesterday.  I never thought achieving obesity would be so easy, nor that I would look so much like myself when I got there.  I’m four pounds into the Obese Range, and I have been hovering around that mark for years.  Drives me mad, and I brainstorm new ways to build muscle mass without using my hands because the cyst in my wrist is the size of a grape right now, and my carpal tunnel and te-no-sy-no-vi-tis the doctor’s call DeQuervain’s is acting up.  (It means my thumb base joint really hurts.)

I get dressed into workout clothes, same as I do every morning: I earn an outfit and a shower after I’ve gone on the treadmill or done some heavy housework.  I make my bed and pull open the blinds on my way out the door.

8:30 I’m in the kitchen, and hungry.  So hungry.  I mix up my morning protein shake, dose out my daily meds, and…..load the dishwasher and wipe down the sink.  Cocoa has wrapped a loop of string around both shoulders and tells me “I’m your reindeer!  Drive me!”  I drive him over to the table and sit down with my breakfast.  I contemplate the crumbs under the table and wonder whether I will sweep today, or whether I will have the kids do that chore.  Do I want it done well, or do I want a teaching moment?

9:05 I’ve started this post, in a burning desire to find it what I actually accomplish in a day and why I am so tired at the end.  I call the kids for school- “We’re all together again, we’re here we’re here” we all bellow as our traditional start to the school day.  Madeline gives a prayer, we say the Pledge of Allegiance , and Ernie starts singing.  I don’t know why or remember when, but this song is now a rock solid part of our daily Morning Circle Time.

“There’s a right way to live and be happy, it is choosing the right every day. I am learning the teaching of Jesus, He will help me and show me the way.  Choose the right waaaaaaaaaay, and be happpyyyyyyy, I will always choose the riiiiiiight!

We say our weekly verse, and the kids break up.

Ernie heads to the couch and opens the lap top.  I pick up her manuals and ask her to open her history book.  She takes notes on the ancient history and trade of Egypt and Nubia.

Mimi opens Khan Academy on the desktop and works on earning enough points in her math studies to level up her monster avatar.  She finished her monthly work last week, and has earned a week off of her school curriculum, but I still insist on an hour of Learning. (Her choice of topics though.  The first few days she studied ancient mythology.)

Mimi drops a snail she made out of nano blocks on my desk.

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9:30 A package arrives.  Expecting it to be the crowder peas I ordered for New Years Day, I’m surprised at how light it is…but it’s my 10-foot-long dryer vent cleaning brush.  Yippee!  I am one cleaning instrument closer to being an Adult, and not Screwing Up.

10:00 I set Ernie to doing her spelling, and then looking at the revisions I gave her for her paper yesterday, and head upstairs to clean.  I pull the clothes out of the dryer from last night, and start jabbing that wonderful brush in the lint trap.  Truly impressive.  I love it.  I pull out handfuls of wadded up dryer lint, fold and put away the laundry, turn on the dryer, and head outside with a step stool and my new brush.

Perhaps scrubbing out the dryer vent from the outside, with the dryer running, and no eye protection is not the best way to approach this cleaning task.  But my GOSH is it effective and satisfying.  I scrub and scrape and pick at the vent, and soon my deck looks like it’s been raining volcanic ash.  (I’m a Seattle girl, Mt. St. Helens is part of our collective psyche.)  I trust the wind to carry it away, and let Ernie help me pick all the bits out of my hair and sweater.  I need to sweep the deck anyway, it’s been a while, but the wind here is strong and frequent so it’s not a pressing task.

11:00 Mimi finishes her time on Khan Academy, and Cocoa starts his after Ernie helps him log on.  I am so glad the girls like to help him with projects like this, because it drives me mad.  I start Ernie on her math and grab a bite to eat.  I’m not normally this hungry, but I feel like I might pop someone’s head off soon.  Glass of water and a bite of a protein bar, I’m good.  My FitBit says I’ve not even gone 1,500 steps today, and I slept 6 1/2 hours last night.  The treadmill is going to be rough this afternoon.

I promised dinner to a gal who has the flu, and kind of planned on dropping that off during my hour lunch break, so I could get other stuff done in the two hours after school before dinner.  Guess treadmill will need to be later in the day.  I hope she likes my workout clothes.  I hope the grocery store likes my work out clothes- I’m heading there first to grab a salad and dessert.  Maybe I will change my clothes- what’s more important, my dignity or something that reminds me to work out?

11:30 Mimi and Coren are back outside.  They practically live outside these days- the sun is glorious here!

11:45 Ernie promises me that she will finish her math before lunch, and I head out the door to the grocery store to take dinner to the lady with the flu whose basement flooded yesterday.  Been there, done that, she deserves a pizza!  Grabbed two pizzas, two salads, and two boxes of cookies- might as well get dinner for us while I’m there!  I decided last minute that the meat loaf in my freezer wasn’t going to be nearly big enough for her two adult, one teen, two child house.

1:00 Round trip, the whole thing took a little over an hour- I’m home just in time to grab a glass of water and start Ernie on her next thing for school.  And yeah, I had a slice of panettone cake.  Because YUM.  It was my birthday present from Jays, we opened it last night.  (A buttery, egg-y, really tall yeasted Christmas bread/cake with citron and dates.) I send Mimi upstairs to start on her weekly chores- clean and vacuum her room and bathroom.

2:00 My stomach is trying to eat itself.  I grab another 32 oz. glass of water (I finished my first one), and heat up a tortilla with swiss and ham.  And then have a scoop of PB.  WHY AM I SO HUNGRY TODAY?  Ernie’s done with spelling and grammar now, and working on science.

3:00 Science is done, she knows all about esters and compounds and carbohydrates…and I cut her loose.  It’s 50 degrees outside, we have two hours of light left, a cold snap is coming, and she’s 11.  So close to getting her monthly work done, she literally has half a school day (a computer lesson and a math lesson) plus reviewing before her test.  I really don’t feel like getting on that treadmill, but I promised Jays a date night tonight and so I need to go earn that shower and outfit.  I think I’ll go around the neighborhood instead- the kids will be fine, right?

4:30 Yeah, that workout was rough.  I think my FitBit is acting up- there’s no way my heart rate was just over 90 if I was working that hard.  Or maybe…I’m just that big of a pansy.  Earned my shower though!  Kids are all still outside, the wind of awesome and the sun is just starting to dip.  It’s perfect.

5:00 Got my outfit, and Ernie made hot cocoa for everyone- they’re finally indoors.  Their hair looks amazing.  Trying to decide if I need to take a nap or practice piano more.

5:15 Jays is home, and we whisk out the door.  I’m saved!  Kids make plans for Netflix and corn dogs and have a great night at home.  Jays and I try a new sushi place.  Eh.  They have an all-you-can-eat option for $24 that we decline, but their smoked salmon, agedashi tofu, and crispy salmon skin are all fantastic.  We stock up at Costco on milk, soy sauce, and salads for the week and then swing by the grocery store for gum drops.  Ernie had a science activity come up today that looked really fun, but required gum drops.  I think all the kids are going to have fun making organic compound molecules tomorrow.

8:15 We’re home, Ernie is cleaning the kitchen.  I tuck the littles into bed, Jays unloads the groceries and gets ready for bed, and I sit down at the computer to deal with the new stack of insurance notices and bills that have rolled in.  It’s taking a remarkable amount of organization to pay the bills for Jays’ broken finger in October.  Over the twenty-two bills we’ve seen so far, insurance has paid out almost $5.5k, we’re in almost $3k, and I have a spreadsheet and a file folder system to track it all.

9:00 Ernie is working on school work (her choice, not mine) and bills are paid.  Trying to decide if I should start working on Christmas cards (New Years’ Cards…) or go see if there are groceries to put away.

9:30 Go to make myself a cup of orange peel tisane and found out the spoons are dirty.  Ernie unloaded the dishwasher (yay!) but didn’t run it (oops.)  She and I fetch all the dirty dishes out of the cupboards and load them into the pantry dishwasher, including all the spoons.  I use a paring knife to scoop my tea bag out of my mug, add some almond milk and splenda, and sit down to contemplate….something.  I’m sure there is something in my head.

Ernie sits with me to chat about tomorrow’s chores and the agony of finding out there are new My Little Pony episodes just as you’re turning off the TV for the night.  She’s finished her tech and math lessons, plans on doing her last poetry lesson tomorrow, and will get ready for her test.  Jays is downstairs watching Sports- we’re getting close to the Final Showdown for College Football Players and there are games to watch almost every night, tucked down at the end of his Google calendar.  My tea got too strong and too cold while I loaded up the dishwasher, so I enjoy some of it and leave the rest.

9:50  It’s nearly 10.  Why am I just sitting here?  Downloaded my photos for the day and did some light editing.  Loaded a few to Facebook, I think it’s time to change my hard-earned outfit for some pajamas.  I need 800 steps to hit my 10k goal….the power of three grocery trips plus a spin on the treadmill!

10:00 Found pajamas and joined Jays in the basement to watch the football game of the night- Michigan and Florida.  Michigan played an awful game, almost caught Florida at the very end, and lost by one point.  They complained bitterly about the final calls, but I’m thinking they should have stepped it up way before then.

11:00 Heading up to bed.  Never did reach that 10k step goal though.  We’ve been  getting news of a serious medical emergency in the family, piece-meal, through out the day.  I read through what we know while I brush my teeth.

11:30 Jays turns on the audio for where we’re studying in the scriptures together and we listen, under mounds of blankets.

11:45 I hear Cocoa thump in his room- that’s my cue to go pile him back into bed because most of his body is on the floor.

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12:00 Lights out, and prayers for Jays’ family and my children.

A Normal Day

I blogged about a…SPECTACULAR day (read: not awesome day) a while back over at my other blog.  Today, I want to write about a normal day, that actually worked!

5:00 am, I opened my eyes to find the toddler in my room.  I tucked her back in, and MIRACLES, she stayed in bed till 6:30!

6:30, toddler and big girl are up for the morning.  They watch one cartoon while I get my wits about me.

6:45, baby boy gets up and eats- ANOTHER night sleeping all the way through!  Way to go, baby boy!  I think it’s been a week since he started this delightful trend, I seriously hope he keeps it up.  Out of my three kids, he’s the first who doesn’t use nursing as a comforter.  He regularly falls asleep on a blanket on the floor, or in his bouncy chair.  I almost never nurse him to sleep.

blender pancakes

7:00 I make blender pancakes for breakfast, with wheat berries, oats, fresh eggs, and soy milk.  So very, very good!  (The splash of vanilla and a few Tbsp of sugar helped, haha)

Old Vitamix

8:00 Baby boy goes back down for a nap.

8:30, I teach my first piano lesson of the day.  He absolutely nailed both recital pieces, hooray!

9:00, I take my shower

9:30, baby boy is up again.  I teach Ernie’s piano lesson for the week- we review forte and piano, and practice keeping a steady rhythm with no breaks in between verses or lines.  She’s doing great!

10:00 Set the girls down with workbooks at their desks, and start grinding wheat for bread.  I clean the kitchen and make a batch of all-wheat dough.  It’s my favorite recipe- just water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt, and wheat flour.

rod and cube math

10:30, work on 10’s and 1’s with Ernie, showing her how to group her rods and cubes into double-digit numbers.  SO glad she grasps this quickly this morning- we tried a few months ago, and she had no clue what I was asking her to do.  Once she gets the hang of making her numbers, I show her how to add double-digit numbers with her rods and cubes, and write a list of problems on the white board for her to work out.  (And make double-sure there’s no carrying needed in the addition!!)

double digit addition

11:00 Roll the dough into loaves and set in the pans to rise.

The next hour is spent changing diapers, keeping Ernie on task, and supervising kids when the toddler keeps trying to commandeer all the rods and cubes for her game.  The girls eat the last of our last batch of bread, sliced apple, and chocolate mochi for lunch.  YUM!

12:15, girls are in bed for naps (after we put away all the clothes and shells they put on the floor this morning.  WHY do I have to walk them through cleaning up their clothes before every  nap and bed time?  Reminds me of my own childhood…*blush*)  I spend nap time feeding  and playing with the baby, and messing around on the computer.

2:00 Ernie finishes reading and comes out to join me.

2:15 Mimi comes out demanding her older sister answer the indignant question “Why you go all gone!!?”

2:30 The girls are freaking out over…something.  The sun is shining for the moment, so we head out for a walk, and a quick stop at the park.  Yay!

3:30 Start my afternoon lessons.

4:30 End my afternoon lessons, and feed a FRANTIC baby.  Timing wasn’t great today- we didn’t get home from our walk early enough to feed him, and he was asleep until 20 minutes into my first lesson.  He has a cold, because otherwise two hours between snacks isn’t enough to make him mad!

5:00 Start cooking rice for dinner- we had a fabulous sushi night last night, and I’m looking forward to a repeat tonight (although, we’ll probably do it “chirashizushi” style, with toppings on top of our rice bowls!)

6:00 Head out the door with the family for a picnic in the park!  Chirashizushi is very portable.

7:30 Back home, get ready for bed.

8:00 Girls are in bed, baby boy is dressed and diapered.  Fingers crossed his bedtime is soon, haha

9:30 Baby is in bed!

A Day In the Life

day lily

Our lovely neighbor over at Sustainable Eats put up a “day in the slow life” journal entry of sorts this week, and invited everyone to document a day and link up to her weekly party.  I know I’ll look back on these days at some point in my life in amazement- whether I’ll be amazed at everything I tried to get done, or whether I’ll be amazed that I ever thought that THIS was busy remains to be seen!!

Yesterday I spent most of the day on the couch, it seems.  I was up by 6:30 so I could shower and get breakfast ready before my 7:30 piano student came, and then I taught straight from 7:30 to 9:00.  Everyone is picking out their Christmas recital music this week, so the lessons are really fun!  The kids always love taking home new books, especially books with familiar and favorite songs.  The rest of the day was taken up with starting chores that never got finished, the kids’ nap time, 2 more hours of lessons, and then a surprise invitation to my sister’s house for dinner.  Dad picked up a load of hamburger fixings and was able to round up all five of his kids and all 4 1/2 of his grand kids, plus significant others (for the most part)!  My kids were able to stay and play with their cousins while my husband and I went to youth group at the church, hoooraaay!

But, all this meant that I didn’t get home till after 9:00, and all our bedding was still in various stages of drying and washing.  We pilfered blankets from around the house, and found our second-warmest pair of sheets, and I spent the first half of the night soothing a stuffy-nosed toddler back to sleep.  (And THAT was the longest preamble ever written.)  What I’m trying to say is that we all have head colds, I made a mess of the ENTIRE house yesterday starting projects I didn’t have the energy to finish, and today I better get my act together (with sleep or without!)


2:00 am Fall asleep

6:00 am wake up with Toddler, and bring her to sleep in the arm chair

6:45 am pull Kindergartener into bed with me when she wakes up crying that she never got to read Sunday’s comics (they were recycled yesterday)

7:00 Make scrambled eggs and toast for the family, and runny-yolked fried eggs for myself.  My husband notices that we’ve switched types of wheat- the new white wheat I ground yesterday to make our bread makes a noticeably paler and softer loaf.

7:30 Kiss the hubby good bye- he has a client meeting about 2 hours away.  He assures me that the project is big enough, YES this client is definitely covering travel expenses!

8:00 am Shower and dress, then do some chores.  I make my bed, put away the dry dishes from the drain board, wash the dirty dishes from yesterday, load then run the dishwasher, vacuum the rooms that areen’t covered in toys, and vacuum up the crumbs under the kitchen table.  I heart my crumb vacuum.

9:00 am Call the kids in for school- we start with our song, “I Am A Child of God,” and then Ernie gives the prayer, and thanks Heavenly Father that we can have school every day….except Sunday….and Saturday….amen.  We read 3 or 4 autumn books, then talk about our plans for an upcoming “Autumn Event” we are hosting.  Three families are invited, for a total of TWELVE children and 4 moms.  We brainstorm ideas for games, crafts, and our lunch meal.  I show Ernie the invitation on the computer, and we’re excited to see that one family has already RSVP’ed.

bringing in the trash can

10:00 am An increasingly rare sunny morning, I send the kids outside to play- they gather leaves for a project we want to do, ride their bikes, and bring the garbage can in.  Ernie tips Mimi out of the stroller, and I call everyone in for lunch time.

11:00 am An early lunch, but Mimi has been asking for various foods for half an hour.  When I wasn’t getting her “pee-buttah-choc”  (a spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips pressed in the top) she started asking for “sammich.”  Since when does my two-year-old ask for sandwiches?  Ernie has ham and cheese, and Mimi has peanut butter and honey, both on our wheat bread from yesterday.  Both have apple slices (the last of a box of galas we bought from a local farmer), and some very old bbq chips I found in the cupboard.  I think it’s terrible that my kids won’t eat most of what I cook, but will devour anything that comes in a package.  (The other day Mimi begged me for yeast- she figured if it came in a package, it must be good!  No, I didn’t give her any.)  During lunch, Ernie started sobbing- she BIT her finger while eating her sandwich.  This is the same finger she burned while reaching for a 400 degree cookie sheet, wanting to carry it to the table the other night.  (She forgot it was hot.)  She bit her cheek while eating her burger last night. Girlfriend needs sleep!

11:20 I go to the garage to clean the furnace filters.  Eww.  Ick.  YES, I know I should clean them more than once a year!  I’m a little scatter-brained, and I wonder why there’s a piece of tissue paper and a red boa feather from the play room stuck in the filter.  My water-borax-castile soap cleaning solution, plus a hose, makes short work of the electric filters, and my vacuum cleaner does a good job on the regular filters.  (Good thing there are FOUR filters, two of each, in our air system.  I figure it gives me a little leeway in cleaning them, although I’ll try and be good about doing it every month this autumn and winter.)

11:40 Girls are finished with lunch, I declare I’m not getting up from the couch until nap time.  Ernie plays with puzzles in the back room, Mimi crawls into my lap to cuddle.

12:00 pm Girls are both in bed, with songs sung.  I sit down on the couch to upload pictures from the camera, write a few blog posts, catch up on e-mails, and make a bowl of oatmeal for my (over-due) lunch.

2:20 Mimi wakes up bellowing “MOOOMMMMY!  MOMMY!   MOOOOOMMMY!”  This child is a bass.  Ernie pops out of her room, and conspiratorially whispers “I’ll do the vacuum for you.”  Meaning the vacuum cleaner is still out from this morning, and Ernie is going to wrap the cord up and put the machine away before I get Mimi out of her crib, so Mimi has zero chance of taking the task from her.  Why are other people’s jobs so much more appealing than her own?  I love the help…but would love it if she could finish the tasks SHE’S in charge of, too!

2:30 Grind wheat to make more bread- the kids bring in chairs and want to help!

2:45 Daddy gets home, finds girls still “helping” me, but really they’re fighting over the crumbs in the chip bag.  Chips ought to be a controlled substance…well, I guess they ARE controlled in this house, hence the hysteria…

2:50  Ernie calls Nana.  Nana has to go to visit a cemetery, but first is required to explain what a cemetery is, confirm that it is full of people who will be resurrected at the second coming, and answer the question “Will they be dirty when they’re resurrected?”  Go Nana, Go!

3:00 Story time on the  couch.  Mimi and I will read The Ticky Tacky Doll, by Cynthia Rylant, 6 times, followed by a four-season story about Nutbrown Hare.  Husband comes home early from work to mow the lawn, since this is probably our last non-rain day for a while!

4:00 A friend stops by with a baby to play with.

4:30 Start water boiling for dinner, put bread in the oven.

5:00 Pull bread out, and werve dinner (pasta with napa cabbage, in oyster-sauce etc. sauce.)  Not nutritious, but I thought the kids would like it since they ate BOWLS of this stuff at my sister’s house.  Nope, not tonight!

5:45 pm More reading time, husband leaves for a work event.  And know that reading time is also a euphemism for Mimi sitting as close as humanly possible, holding on tight to my arm.  She throws tantrums if I put a sweater on, apparently my forearm is her comfort object.  Good thing I’m pregnant, and too hot to wear long sleeves!

6:30 pm Put kids in bath tub together, for the first time in a little while.  We figured separate baths was a good consequence for the big kid getting carried away in the “I’m going to eat your _____” game.  The teeth marks have mostly faded from the toddler.  First time we’ve had a biting in our home, it was a surprise!!

7:30 Kids are out of the bath, and in pajamas….and have declared they are Hungry.  Since neither one ate their dinner, both have head colds, and nobody slept well last night, I let them have a snack: 5 spoonfuls of peanut butter with a few chocolate chips pressed on top, a glass of milk, and a slice of bread.  Each.  I read scriptures out loud while they eat, then go and clean the kitchen.

8:00 Lights out.  I settle in with the computer for a bit of down time, check to make sure the budget is up to date, blog reading, e-mail catch up, etc.   Humidifiers are on in their rooms, and a heater in the little one’s room.  Fingers crossed they sleep off some of the crazies tonight!

So that’s my Thursday….go check out other’s daily stories, plus plenty of “simple life” information at the Simple Lives blog hop! I promise others’ stories are less toddler-intensive…hmmm….