Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Day in the Life 2016

Hi, everyone! It's time for one of my favorite posts of the year again . . . a post where I chronicle a typical day in our life! This is my fifth year to do a post like this, and I always choose a day in April. In many ways, it seems that life changes pretty drastically from year to year right now, so I love having a snapshot of what our life looks like at this moment in time. However, as I read back through previous A Day in the Life posts, it seems like I was doing pretty much the same things that I do now, just with fewer children :-).

You can read my other A Day in the Life posts here:


This year, I chose Tuesday, April 19th as my day to chronicle. I had decided that this would be the day about a week before, but I still had to write myself a note to remind me to take photos throughout the day. Sometimes, I wake up and start right into my day without thinking to take photos until several hours have gone by. I was glad that I had written myself a note because I woke up late this day - which caused me to be a bit frazzled - and I never would have remembered otherwise. 

Chris generally gets up and begins his day around 5:45am. He gets completely ready for the day, then I'll get up around 6:15am and take over the bathroom. At 6:30am, Chris gets Brianna out of bed and starts breakfast while I'm still getting ready. The other children usually wake on their own one by one, and by 7:00am everyone is up for the day. 

This day, however, I woke up and panicked a little when I looked at my phone and saw that it was 6:37am. Eeeeep! Running late already :-(. 

I took a super fast shower and got dressed, then came out to greet the family. It was about 7:00am, Brianna had eaten breakfast and gotten dressed, and Brooke was just waking up for the day. Brenson and Brecklyn were still asleep. It was raining and still dark, so I think this helped everyone sleep a little later.

Brooke likes to snuggle for a few minutes when she first gets out of bed, then she's generally all smiles!

Brianna also likes to snuggle for a few minutes when she first gets up in the mornings. She's always full of energy, but she can definitely be a little pokey in the morning sometimes. One thing that has helped our morning routine go smoothly is that at the beginning of each week, I pick out five outfits for Brianna to wear that week. I hang the outfits on a knob that is in her bedroom wall, and each morning all she has to do is choose one of the outfits. This eliminates any type of morning clothing battles (as she gets to pick out what she wants to wear that day from the outfits on the hook), and it saves me the trouble of picking out clothes in the morning. It's been a great help to us!

Brianna was unimpressed that I had the camera going at 7:00am, haha!

After Brianna eats and gets dressed for the day, I will usually fix her hair. Sometimes she will fix her own hair, but that is rare. While I fix her hair, Daddy is often getting Brenson's breakfast ready, helping him put on clothes for the day, or packing Brianna's lunch if she's not buying a school lunch that day. Earlier in the school year, I was still nursing the babies, so I was completely occupied with that during this time. I'm incredibly thankful for a husband who stepped up and helped me out so much then, and continues to work hard to help our mornings run smoothly. We are truly a team and it is a blessing!



By this time, it's about 7:10am, and Bren is up for the day. He always needs Mommy snuggles for just a few minutes before he's ready to get going.

While I was holding Bren, I heard Brecklyn waking in her bed. She's the type of child that is asleep one minute and wide awake the next. She's the only one of the kids that doesn't want to be held or loved on much when she first wakes. 

She also wakes with lots of smiles!

While I was getting Brecklyn out of bed and changing her diaper, Chris was unloading the dishwasher from the night before. This is a HUGE help to me, and of course he had two sweet little helpers aiding him in getting the job done :-). As soon as he finished unloading the dishwasher, Chris left for work. 

Even though I was running late, I still found a minute to make my bed. I didn't used to make my bed every morning, but I got into the habit several years ago and now I can't stand leaving my bed unmade!

It's now 7:27am, so I tell the big kids to start loading up to take Brianna to school. I take Brooke to the van, buckle her in, and come back into the house to get Brecklyn, only to find that she's grabbed Bren's breakfast plate off of the table and spilled his oranges. When Chris fixes Brianna's breakfast, he'll often fix Bren's as well to save me the time later. If Bren gets up a little later like he did this morning, he'll just eat his breakfast after we get home from taking Brianna to school. Apparently, Brecklyn wanted his breakfast this morning :-).

My goal is to be pulling out of our driveway at 7:30am. This leaves me a little flex time if we're running late or if something happens (like a spill). It was 7:33am when we left the house this morning. 

The drop-off line at Bri's school runs really smoothly most mornings, and we rarely wait for more than five minutes in line. School technically begins at 8:05am, but they have a program every morning called Rise and Shine that starts at 7:45am. We try to have Brianna dropped off in time for the beginning of Rise and Shine every day. 

I had a moment of panic this day when I remembered that it was Brianna's day to bring snacks for her class. I had set the snacks out the night before, and luckily Brianna remembered to grab them and put them in her backpack. Whew!

Brianna got out of the van and walked into school at 7:44am. Success!

I always begin my day drinking lots of water. This day, I also drank a Spark (Advocare energy drink) on the way to school to help wake me up a bit. 

We got back home at 7:55am, and the babies were ready to be out of the car and back in the house (always).

I usually have all of the kids dressed for the day when we leave to take Brianna to school, but waking up late meant that Bren and the babies had to do drop-off in their pjs!

Of course, as soon as we walk back in the door, everyone is ready for breakfast. Bren ate what I could save of his orange, as well as some cereal. The babies each had a half of a banana and a bowl of oatmeal (that I feed them). This is a very typical breakfast for them.

While they were all eating, I jotted down a quick list of things I needed to accomplish that day. Walgreens was an actual errand, while the other two things were phone calls to schedule appointments (Stephanie is my hair lady). It is kind of ridiculous that I need a list for three simple tasks, but I just have too many things going on these days to rely on my memory like I used to!

Having two one years old means that mealtimes are always messy. I took this photo to show that their highchair trays, the floor, their bibs, their faces, and their hands were all covered in banana.

After I feed the babies their oatmeal every morning, I clean up their trays and bibs so they will be ready for lunch. I also load dirty dishes in the dishwasher. If I get behind on kitchen clean-up, it makes lunchtime more difficult. It's much easier to just keep up with it!

Bren is great to clear his dishes and wipe down his area after breakfast.

Bren's other morning chores include getting dressed (which he did while I finished feeding the babies but before he helped clean up the kitchen), brushing his teeth, making his bed, 

and taking his clothes to the dirty clothes hamper. Notice that the living room is already littered with toys . . . It doesn't take long!

The babies played a bit while I cleaned up the kitchen and did a few other things. At around 9:00am, I took them to their room to get dressed for the day.

I adore my sweet baby girls!

After I got them dressed, I fixed their hair and brushed their teeth. Brecklyn HATES having her teeth brushed, and it's an ordeal every day. Because of the massive fit she throws while I brush her teeth, I hate it, too :-(.

Brooke is much calmer about the teeth brushing thing. 

Being a family of six means that we have A LOT of laundry. I don't do laundry every day, but on days that we mostly stay home, I try to have the washer going. At 9:30am, I started the first load for the day.

For the next 30 minutes or so, Bren and the babies played while I made a few phone calls (to set up the appointments on my list), checked my e-mail, replied to a few text messages, etc. Sometimes I take this time to pay some bills or take care of other business. It just depends on what needs to be done that day. 

At 10:00am, I sat down with the babies to read them a few books. Bren LOVES to read, so he always joins us even though sometimes he acts a little stinky about reading "baby" books, ha!


We read a pretty decent stack of books this day!

After reading, I decided to load everyone up and run to Walgreens to get that errand out of the way. If I have an errand, I generally try to do it a little earlier in the morning, and I'm not sure why I didn't this day? We left the house at 10:20am, and it was still raining. On days like this, I'm always so grateful that we park our van in the garage!

I'm also thankful for drive-thrus! It would be SUCH a pain to drag all the kids out in the rain if it weren't for drive-thrus!

The main highway that leads to our neighborhood is currently under construction, so I avoid driving that way right now. This means that we drive the "back" way when going to and from town, which includes passing several fields and pastures. At this time, one of the pastures was in full bloom with the wildflower we know as Indian Paintbrushes, and it was gorgeous! Bren and I had to talk about it each time we drove by.

The main reason I try to run errands a little earlier in the morning is because the babies will sometimes fall asleep in the car if I wait too late. Sure enough, this day they fell asleep at about 11:05am . . . just five minutes before we got back to the house. I really wanted them to take a good nap after lunch, so I decided to wake them up when we got home at 11:10am. 

As soon as we got home, I fixed lunch for the kids. I try to have them down for naps no later than noon, so that means we generally eat lunch around 11:30am. 

This day, Bren ate half of a bean and cheese burrito in a whole wheat tortilla, half of a cheese stick, a few strawberries, and a scoop of hummus with carrots (carrots not pictured). The babies had some strawberries, a quarter of a cheese stick, a scoop of hummus, some pieces of a whole wheat tortilla, and some green beans. 

All of my kids are GREAT eaters!


I'm not sure what I ate this day? I generally eat standing up while serving and helping the kids, and I try to keep it pretty light for lunch. I eat a lot of my meals on the go or very quickly, but I still try to make decent food choices.

As soon as the babies finished eating, I cleaned them up, changed their diapers, and put them down for nap. Most days, I will leave the kitchen a mess and spend some time with Brenson before he goes down for his nap/quiet time.

Bren and I will generally practice sight words or something similar during this time. He loves sight words, worksheets, workbooks, etc, so it's fun for him to do these kinds of activities. 

Before he goes to bed, we try to read a few of his library books every day. The boy loves to read and will get really upset if it doesn't work out for us to read that day for some reason. I cherish this one-on-one time with him!

After Bren goes down for nap, I generally take about 15 minutes to get the kitchen cleaned up from lunch. This includes wiping down high chairs, sweeping food up from the floor, loading the dishwasher, etc. However, this day the babies were not sleeping (due to the ridiculous five minute nap they had in the car), so at around 12:30pm I got Brooke out of bed and rocked her. It took her about 10 minutes to fall asleep in my arms.


I laid Brooke in bed and got Brecklyn up to rock her. Brecklyn has a harder time falling asleep while being rocked, so it was a little after 1:00pm before she was finally sleeping in my arms. I spent a few extra minutes holding her before I laid her back in her bed. I so rarely get to just hold and spend time with the babies one-on-one that I really try to cherish the time we have together. Cleaning the kitchen can wait!

I took a few minutes to use the bathroom, get a drink, and let my brain rest, then I decided to do my Bible study for the day. I could have chosen to clean up the kitchen, but by this time it was about 1:30pm, and I only had about an hour before I had to wake everyone to go pick up Brianna from school. My bible study is a priority to me, so I decided the kitchen could keep waiting.

At 2:25pm, an alarm goes off on my phone to start getting everyone ready to go pick up Brianna from school. I absolutely HATE waking my sleeping children to go get their sister. It's painful for all of us!

After I woke Bren, I remembered that the laundry needed switched. Again. So, I did that before waking the babies.

The babies' nap was very short this day compared to normal, so Brecklyn was not ready to wake up!

Brooke wasn't either, but at least she had a little bit of a smile for me.

It takes about 30 minutes to pick up Brianna and make it back home. It was still raining!

We got home from getting Brianna at about 3:00pm. Bri misses her baby sisters during the day and is always SO happy to see them. As you can see, they are happy to see her, too!

{Brecklyn and Brianna}

{Brooke and Brianna}

During this time of day I generally do a few chores while all the kiddos play. The Big Kids love to play outside and will often do that right after we get home from picking Brianna up. However, since it was raining this day, I let them watch TV. We rarely watch TV (it only comes on a few days a week), so they really enjoy it when I let them watch a few shows. 

I spent this time picking up around the house a bit. When I went to put something away in the big kids' closet, I saw this: 
Bren always makes me laugh with the creative ways he plays :-).

I also worked on getting the kitchen cleaned up from lunch FINALLY. The babies pretty much follow me around the house "helping" me with the chores, although they do play on their own some. Mostly while I work in the kitchen, they make more messes for me to clean up :-). 

I LOVE having a clean sink! It never lasts long, but I always enjoy it while it's clean!

At 3:30pm, I decided I had better go tackle the laundry. I was already behind on folding loads, and they were really beginning to pile up on my bed.

I also had a load that needed to be put away from the day before . . .

I no sooner started folding the laundry and I realized that Brooke wasn't smelling too fresh. So, we had to pause the chores for a diaper change.

As soon as I got Brooke changed, I went back to folding laundry. I was making good progress when Brecklyn walked into my bedroom not smelling fresh herself. 

Pause again for another diaper change!

At this point, it was about 4:00pm, so I needed to get started on homework with Brianna. One thing that gets a little frustrating for me is that I am rarely able to complete a task from start to finish in one sitting. Just while trying to get a few loads of laundry folded, I had to stop multiple times to do something else. I still didn't have the laundry put away, but at least it was folded. 

Every evening, Brianna has one page of homework and her Reading Folder to complete. This doesn't usually take long, but sometimes it's hard to focus. 

The reason it's hard to focus? Because the babies are often very needy during this time of day! They will pull at me, pull at Brianna, try to take her papers, cry, fuss, etc. It is generally better for the babies if we do homework as soon as Brianna gets home from school, but she has a hard time concentrating without a break and it can turn into a battle. Sometimes we do it immediately . . . sometimes we wait. Either way, it's not the most pleasant time of day.

Brianna is doing great in school and can zip through her homework very quickly if she'll put her mind to it. 

She is becoming quite the little reader, and we are very proud of her!

About half way through Brianna's homework, I took the babies into their room to play. They stayed in there and played until Bri and I finished. Yay for a small win!

Bren is great to entertain himself during homework time. Sometimes, he likes to sit and listen to Brianna read, and other times he'll just go play on his own. This day, I found him playing in his room when homework time was over. He said he was selling boxes of popcorn for the concert :-).

It took about 30 minutes to do homework with Brianna, including the time it took to calm the babies and get them occupied so we could focus on what we were doing. We finished at about 4:45pm, and I went to prep dinner. I had marinated pork chops the day before, so I just had to pull those out of the fridge and stick them in the oven. 

Brooke really has a hard time during this time of day, and so she was crying at my feet as I was trying to get dinner prepped. 

Brecklyn was not too far away either, but she was contentedly entertaining herself. 

After putting the pork chops in the oven, I sliced and seasoned some fresh squash to bake in the oven. 

This meal is a quick and easy one to make, but a crying child pulling at your legs makes it much more difficult. I finally put Brooke in the pack-n-play to fuss while I quickly finished dinner prep. She is just inconsolable during this time of day, so she might as well be crying in the pack-n-play as opposed to my feet where I'm tripping over her, using a knife, and opening the oven. 

At about 5:00pm every day, the kids and I pick up the house so that Daddy doesn't have to dodge an obstacle course of toys when he gets home. They are generally great to help me get everything picked up. 

Bren was trying to pick up the babies' room which was quite a mess since they had been playing in there alone during homework time. 

At 5:15pm, the house was mostly picked up, so I sent Brianna to take a shower. I did my best to console Brooke and keep her from crying. Notice I have something {probably gross} on my shirt? WHY is it so difficult to keep my clothes clean??? Lol. 

While dinner baked, Brianna showered, and Brooke fussed, I worked on getting the laundry put away. 

My little man helped me which made things move along much faster. 

One last load to put away . . . 

. . . and I shut down laundry for the day. Whew.

The babies loooooove to play in the big kids' room, so I let them do that while Bren and I got the laundry done. They were happy and not crying, so it was a win in my book!

At 5:40pm, I went back into the kitchen to set the table (Brianna helped), pull dinner out of the oven, and get it cut up for everyone. Daddy generally gets home between 5:45 and 6:00pm, but he texted me a little earlier to let me know he would be late. We sat down to eat at 6:00pm, without Daddy :-(.

This was a new marinade recipe for the pork chops, and it was a big hit! Yummy dinner!

We are blessed with four great eaters who aren't too picky. It makes mealtimes a {mostly} pleasant thing!

{Brenson}

{Brianna}

{Brecklyn}

{Brooke}

Daddy got home at 6:15pm, so he was able to join us for part of dinner. I'm always so relieved to see my back-up walk through the door, ha! I truly LOVE being a stay-at-home mom, but I'm always ready for a little relief by this time of day!

At 6:30pm, everyone is finished eating, and it's time to clean the kitchen one last time for the day. Brianna helped me clean up dinner while Brenson got in the shower. 

Chris is so good to help me clean up dinner, too. Of course, the babies are so happy to see Daddy and don't leave his side much in the evenings.

After spending just a little time playing with Daddy, we gathered around as a family to say our night time prayers at about 7:00pm. As soon as we all sat down, Brooke randomly threw up. Because of course :-). It wasn't much, but it was pretty stinky! I LOVE Bren in the background of this photo . . . haha!

We got Brooke all cleaned up and continued on with our bedtime prayers. We passed out hugs and kisses, and sent Brianna to bed at about 7:15pm. 

Just a few minutes after Brianna went to bed, Chris gave the babies quick baths and put them in their pjs. Then, my neice FaceTimed us, and we talked to her for a bit. 

At 7:45pm, Chris gave the babies each a sippy cup of milk. They snuggled Daddy and drank their milk for about 15 minutes, then we put them to bed.

After all the other kids are in bed, we try to spend some time with Brenson. It's generally just about 15 minutes, but it's time that we all cherish. This night, he wanted Daddy to read him a few library books. 

At 8:20pm, all the kids are in bed, and this Momma is worn out from the day! Chris and I spent some time visiting about our day, then I went to take a shower. Often, I will take some time to prep some things for the next day, catch up on text messages, read, or just browse social media.

We headed to bed at about 10;00pm this night. I would say this is pretty normal for us, although we'll often not go to sleep until closer to 11:00pm. Our days can certainly be long and tiring right now, but they are really good, too. We don't take for granted the blessing it is to have a houseful of littles that keep us laughing, loving, and exhausted!