A Day in the Life {with 5 kids under 9!}

I love reading day-in-the-life posts. My friend Caitlin posted one the other week, and reading it, I realized that I have never written one! I thought my first day flying solo with 5 kids under 9 would be the perfect opportunity. We had a great 4th of July. We celebrated old school with a block party and firecrackers in the street. The next day, Brian was back to the grind after 8 fantastic (though not disaster-free) weeks of parental leave! (Major kudos to his incredible employers. In spite of a broken collarbone, this remains the easiest postpartum recovery I have ever had–in large part thanks to all that extra paid leave!)

So, without further adieu, here’s what last Monday looked like in our home. Warts and all.

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7:00 am – wake up, squeeeeeeeeeze into my running clothes to go for a jog on our neighborhood trail (I’ve just been able to start jogging again post-baby, and I am loving the endorphine boost!), shower, get dressed + put on makeup 

8:11 am – climb back into bed and read my phone while nursing Honey

8:57 am – Brian heads to work, I change a massive blowout for the baby then put her down for a nap, get breakfast for the other four kids and make a latte for myself (I have an unabashed devotion to my espresso machine)

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10:00 am – set Sugar up with some schoolwork (we don’t actually do school through the summer, but when someone is still really getting the hang of a new skill, I like continuing to practice that on a casual basis throughout the week just so they don’t lose ground), read stories to middle 3 kiddos nearby while she works

10:22 am – finally style my nearly-dry hair

10:30 am – get baby up from her nap for a feeding and yet another diaper change

10:40 am – I correct Sugar’s schoolwork while nursing the baby, then she corrects her mistakes and I spend a few minutes reading the book I left on the side table yesterday. Meanwhile, the little kids color.

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11:04 am – after 24 minutes the baby is still feasting

11:16 am – Honey is finally stuffed so I put her down for a nap and start putting away a load of laundry from yesterday. Pumpkin has a toddler tantrum, so I give him a diaper change and find him a snack (dried apricots)

11:27 am – Honey wakes up

11:35 am – I get Honey back to sleep (phew!), finish putting away that load of laundry, and then knuckle down and get the older kids to do their chores while I clean up the desk I share with my husband, as it’s gotten very cluttered over the long weekend.

11:53 am – chores complete, my big kids start the inevitable lunchtime whine fest, so I start preparing lunch a little early. Incidentally, as soon as Huckleberry sees what I’m making, he protests that he will not eat a single bite. Unfortunately for him, I am not a line chef. So in the end, he ate it all.

12:28 pm – Just as Honey wakes up and I sit down to nurse, the post-lunch insanity begins. Spice and Huckleberry start racing each other down our rather narrow hallway, playing some sort of game. Then they start to fight about the rules of this “game,” which I do not understand at all but which both of them seem to think the other is cheating at. I have to discipline them not to name call. During this time, Pumpkin touches pretty much anything and everything he can possibly get his hands on while I, of course, am glued to the couch with the baby helplessly watching the destruction. Huckleberry quits playing “the game” in the hallway and finds some Mardi gras beads from our Fourth of July party. He and Pumpkin start playing with them, at which point Spice sees them and steals Pumpkin’s beads. At least, she tries, but Pumpkin is a pretty spunky little guy, and he doesn’t let her have them. This results in a full on temper tantrum from Spice. She asks Sugar if she can have one of her bead necklaces instead, but Sugar understandably wants nothing to do with the whole mess, so Spice dissolves in a fresh bout of tears. That’s when I discover Pumpkin’s dried apricots from early–stuffed in the couch cushions! I hand them to Spice so she can trade them for the bead necklace. Pumpkin has his treat, Spice has her beads, and suddenly, everyone is happy.

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12:36 pm – a friend swings by with her daughters to drop off a meal for us (the meal train from Brian’s accident is still in effect, and I am doubly blessed that it overlapped with his first week back at work!)

12:56 pm – I put Pumpkin down for his nap and then begin the process of putting Spice down for her nap. This takes a full fifteen minutes after which time, I direct Sugar and Huckleberry to go have their “quiet times” and finally make myself some lunch.

1:16 pm – At last, I eat lunch! While I’m eating, I edit a blog post and then tidy up the kitchen and living room. I can never really relax until this part of the house is crumb-and-clutter-free.

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2:02 pm – Honey wakes up, so I feed her and watch an episode of “Fuller House” on Netflix. (Don’t judge.)

2:35 pm – quiet time is over, so I give the kids an afternoon snack (a.k.a. finish-the-lunch-you-didn’t-eat-at-lunchtime) while I read aloud and nurse the baby

3:41 pm – I grab the iPad and institute an outdoor dance party while I kick back on a lawn chair and read

4:04 pm – I get a text from Brian who reminds me that I need to water the vegetable garden, which I do with “help” from the kids, then I call the pediatrician to book Honey’s 2-month check-up. (She is 2 months old today, and I haven’t scheduled it yet. #kid5problems)

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5:30 pm – Brian is home early, so I heat up the dinner (that someone else made!!) and realize that very soon I’m going to be back to preparing dinners myself, which means we will be back to eating dinner much closer to 6:30 pm.

5:43 pm – Oh no! What have I done?!?! Dinner is finished, and I realize suddenly that the little kids won’t be going to bed for more than an hour! Big kids for 2 hours!! (Usually we transition right into bedtime from dinner.)

5:44 pm – I feed Honey again and then clean up the kitchen and dishes (Normally Brian would help with the clean-up, but having only one arm, tasks such as scraping plates and scrubbing dishes are pretty much beyond him at this point.)

6:46 pm – I read another chapter of our read aloud and then it’s time for prayers with the kids.

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7:00 pm – It’s the Littles’ bedtime, after which Sugar and I update our family calendar for the month of July and then I scroll Facebook and Instagram until…

8:00 pm – Big Kids’ bedtime!

or is it…?

8:11 pm – Huckleberry manages to bite through a glow stick. He panics because it stings his tongue and he is thoroughly convinced he has poisoned himself and is going to die. We assure him that he will not die and help him to rinse his mouth out with water.

8:15 pm – I throw out all remaining glow sticks.

8:16 pm – All the children are finally (mercifully) in bed. I make a batch of hot chocolate while doing a final clean-up of the house and then go downstairs to spend some quality time with my hubby and Honey before we finally collapse into bed around 10:30 pm.

*

All in all, it was a pretty low-key day. Things went a lot better than I expected, especially considering all the kids except Honey were recovering from a case of strep throat.

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I tried not to think about the fact that I was very tired by the end, despite the fact that we had no outings, no real schoolwork, minimal housework, and no dinner to make. I reminded myself that God often gives exactly enough grace to make it through this day, and no more. Tomorrow, I expected, He would provide just enough again. And, what do you know? He did.

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