Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Day In The Life

We had a very pleasant fourth of July: lots of sun, yummy grilled foods eaten out on our deck, and hours of kiddie pool games. It was the perfect way to celebrate our country's independence.

Today, things are back to normal. (sigh!) And because I have no photos of fireworks to share with all of you, I thought I'd record the activities from a typical day in our household. This is strictly for posterity, so please forgive me in advance if my post seems a bit tedious or long-winded. It is, after all, just an ordinary day in my life.


6:10 a.m. -- The boys awaken us from our slumber. Kurt rouses first and encourages them to come downstairs so he can "show them something".

7:00 a.m. -- I awaken to the sound of cabinets opening and cereal boxes shuffling. Owen shouts "Good Morning Mom!" and volunteers that Daddy is going to make them some breakfast.

7:30 a.m. -- I'm now showered and dressed, the kids are downstairs watching Toy Story for the umpteenth time on a larger-size television (thanks Ellen!), and Kurt is preparing to make his exit for the day. I pull out his lunch (leftovers from last night's BBQ) and give him a run-down of my day as I pack a morning snack, water bottles, and a picnic lunch for the rest of us.

8:30 a.m. -- I help the kids get dressed, assist Ellen with directions to our local cable office over the phone, brush teeth/wash faces/comb hair, and herd the kids into the van.

9:10 a.m. -- I workout at the YMCA while the kids enjoy some time playing at the KidsCare facility there. Today was a good, complete workout -- 30 minutes of elliptical, 20 minutes of rowing, and 10 minutes of upper body strength training -- minus a couple minutes I was summoned back to KidsCare to help Alex put his diaper back on (he claimed he wanted to use the potty).

10:25 a.m. -- I pick the kids up and we head to the van. On the way, Annika and Owen inform me of the dramatic events that unfolded while I was busy working out. In breathy, excited voices, they told me about a boy who chased Owen and threw him on the mat in the gym, which made him cry, until Annika ran over to the boy and shouted "Hey, that's my brother and you can't do that!" Alex, hopping along beside me while we make our way to the parking lot, keeps repeating that a boy chased Owen. I tell them that it's good that they all stick together, and I then file away this information for further analysis. I'm not so sure KidsCare is a good fit for my children anymore, but I vow not to overreact, buckle all of the children and pass out snacks (Chex Mix and My Little Pony fruit snacks).

11:00 a.m. -- We arrive at Oxbow, a county park that houses a small zoo and has lots of picnic areas and trails (our summer fun activity for the day). It's sunny and warm, and I lament the fact that I was unable to locate any sunscreen this morning. Luckily, we mainly stay in the shade to observe the wildlife. Annika gets her Butterscotch fill, and the boys enjoy watching a Black Bear concentrating on eating an apple.

11:45 a.m. -- We decide it's time for lunch so we quickly make a restroom stop to wash all of the "wildlife" off our hands and head back to the car. We drive a very short distance to a lovely picnic area and enjoy our PB&Js, Baked Lays, plums, and juice boxes. Nobody eats much, and all three refuse to touch the chips (I know, I know, my kids are weird!) but I can't blame them. It's hard to have much of an appetite when it's so hot.

12:30 p.m. -- We arrive home. Although both Alex and Owen fell asleep in the van, they make no objections as I carry them to their room for a nap. It was Alex's turn to sleep in the tent, and Owen opts to curl up in Alex's bed. I promptly get online and notice an email from a friend asking me to bring the kids' swimsuits to a playdate she'd arranged at her home this afternoon. I gasp -- I had completely forgotten. I breathe a sigh of relief that I had taken the time to check my mail, then quickly throw a load of towels and suits into the washing machine and head upstairs.

1:15 p.m. -- I clean my kitchen while I make a couple of phone calls (one to inquire about vacation Bible school at our neighborhood church, the other to my friend Kate). I offer to pay Annika a quarter to sweep the leaves off the deck, and she agrees. Fifteen minutes later, I hand her a coin and tell her she can open the crystal kit she had purchased at the dollar store a few days ago (another summer fun activity). She proceeds to spend a large chunk of time experimenting with all of the different color combinations.

2:00 p.m. -- As I read an excerpt from Steinbeck's The Red Pony to Annika, Kurt comes home. He needs to return some large tables we had borrowed for the birthday party, so he puts the boosters into the Camry and loads up the van. A few minutes later, he was on his way to the post office to mail a birthday package and pick up a carpet cleaner (our downstairs carpet is in serious need of some steam cleaning).

2:55 p.m. -- While I fold the towels and gather swimsuits together, Annika attempts to wake the boys up from their nap. I quickly make a phone call to my buddy Heather to see if she has an extra swim diaper that I can use, grab some fruit for the kids, and hustle them into the car for our playdate. In my haste, I neglect to bring swim trunks for the boys (sigh!).

3:15 p.m. -- We arrive at our Heather's, and the kids hop out of the car and immediately start playing with their friends. The boys spend most of the time running around the cool beach ball sprinkler and begging for snacks, while Annika and her friends explored the wonders of Heather's beautiful forest backyard. They manage to catch a moth, discover a small frog, and get a good start on a fort.

4:41 p.m. -- We head home, chatting about the many things we did at Heather's and gushing over the "woods" where she lives.

4:55 p.m. -- I start dinner while the children sit at the table and enjoy their frozen pops (yesterday's summer fun activity). As I begin scrambling eggs for my fried rice, they ask if they can finish watching Over the Hedge. For both time and sanity's sake, I oblige.

5:13 p.m. -- Kurt returns home from work carrying in a steam cleaner, grumbling about the price to rent it. He kisses me and heads downstairs to see the kids.

5:30 p.m. -- We eat our supper of pork fried rice, egg drop soup, peaches, peas, and a frozen strawberry dessert left over from yesterday. Again, the kids eat next to nothing. I eye their untouched plates and contemplate how they can survive on so little food.

5:45 p.m. -- Kurt takes the boys out with him to run some errands (he volunteered to water some houseplants for a friend on vacation and he had to return a set of keys someone gave him by mistake when he rented the cleaner). Annika decides to stay home. She briefly complains of a stomach ache and lounges on the sofa with her blanket. As I clear the table, she pleads with me to read to her a little. I stack the dishes on the counter and sit down to read an chapter from The Wizard of Oz. Heather stops by to collect a coupon I'd clipped for her. We discuss her kids' upcoming birthday party, and I marvel at the number of kids that are planning to attend.

6:10 p.m. -- I run Annika a bath and attempt to wash dishes (our dishwasher is not working properly) while she frolicks in the tub. I eventually return to Annika to wash her hair and help her ready for bed.

6:40 p.m. -- Kurt and the boys come home after an unsuccessful attempt to water the plants (keys didn't fit in the lock). He takes over bathing duties for the boys while I revisit the dishes. Dressed in pajamas, the kids all wait patiently to choose tomorrow's summer fun activity. Alex draws "Visit Oxbow." Hmm...since we visited that very park today, I make the executive decision that he should draw again. "Swimming tomorrow". I smile. I've been waiting to take them swimming at the new waterpark at our "Y." Tomorrow it is.

7:25 p.m. -- Almost bedtime, but Kurt first decides to run the carpet cleaner through the kids' rooms before they call it a night. Annika composes a song on the piano, and the boys chase each other around and wrestle.

7:50 p.m. -- It's bedtime for everyone under the age of 6, which means my night is just beginning! Let the party begin -- Woo Hoo!

7:51 p.m. -- I finish typing this post and head upstairs to peruse the newspaper. While Kurt begins to clean the carpets, I debate whether I should assist him (Nah!) . As I settle down for the evening, childless, I begin to think about what tomorrow will bring and begin to prepare myself for another day in the life.