As my husband and I sit here chatting, I'm realizing that it is now 10:05pm and this is truly the first time today that I have had down time to do as I please. I just finished ordering our groceries (yes, with a 10-week-old baby and a five-year-old son who must come with me, I choose to grocery shop online!) after figuring our our extensive meal plan for the week. I must admit that I wish I could contain all of my grocery shopping to online only, but alas with a family of seven people, we go through food much too quickly for me to make a once-a-week online order. It's not uncommon for me to also stop by the grocery store several times a week amidst picking up my daughter from her after-school activity.
Maybe I should rewind a little bit and let you know what a typical day in our house now looks like. I wake up anywhere between 4:00am and 4:30am when Ethan first wakes for his bottle. I feed him and do my best to stay awake myself during this time, as he usually doesn't appreciate it when my hand slips and the bottle falls on his face! :) After this early morning feeding, I am now trying to get in breakfast and a workout before he wakes up for his next bottle, which is usually about an hour to an hour and a half later. I feed him again and lay him in his swing as I head for the shower and spend some time getting ready. I see the two older kids (Claire and Iain) off to the bus shortly after 7:00am. Around 7:30am Colin is waking up and ready for his oatmeal! I remind him to go potty and make him his breakfast. While he is eating, I feed Ethan yet another bottle. After this feeding, I get both Ethan and Colin ready for the day, bath time included when necessary. At 8:20am I see Ellis off to the bus. If Ethan, Colin and I are lucky enough that we get to stay home for the day, we end up back in the living room where I can rock Ethan in our rocking chair while enjoying some morning cartoons with Colin (yes, I am a mother who allows my child to watch a little TV every day *insert big GASP here!* tehehe!). If we have somewhere to go, we're packing everything up and heading out the door to run errands, drop Colin off at preschool, go to MOPs or, on an especially wonderful day, go to visit a friend (usually my sister).
If we spend our day running errands, Ethan usually tends to sleep through most of it, as he does really well being in the car or in his stroller ... or riding in his car seat in the cart at Target! If we're home, however, he seems to be needing my attention at least every 20 minutes. Amidst his many bottles, I do try to sit him in his swing, his bouncer, his bumbo seat or his crib for awhile so I can try to do some laundry (of which right now I have three clean loads in baskets needing to be folded, a clean load in the dryer, a wet load in the washer and two more loads waiting to be washed on the floor ... and that's just Monte, Colin, Ethan and my laundry as my older kids wash and dry their own laundry!). It's not uncommon that I do let my sweet little baby cry for awhile (and by awhile I do only mean a handful of minutes) so that I can get little tasks done around the house, as I feel like if I don't allow him some crying time, everything else will fall apart.
I make sure that Colin gets lunch (almost everyday having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, per his request) and try to make sure that I eat lunch as well. Now that I'm working to lose some of that baby weight, I'm far more conscious about what I'm eating, but I'm also more aware of when I'm eating, which is a good thing because I don't allow myself to get so busy that I miss eating lunch; though that doesn't mean that lunch isn't accompanied by a crying baby!
After lunch is usually Ethan's nap time; he might just lay down for more than an hour and truly sleep for that time. While he's sleeping, I really do make it my priority to devote 100% of that time to being with Colin, whether it be playing a game of Candy Land or Banana Express, or drawing in his drawing book, or reading stories to him, or playing with his Legos, or sometimes even playing army or hunting with him - that time is his time with me and I do make it a very important part of every day.
An hour later it's very likely that Ethan has already woken up, as somehow his nap doesn't last long if he's not being held or not in his car seat! So it's another bottle for him and some more snuggle time (which I definitely am not complaining about!), amidst Colin telling me stories and goofy jokes (which usually make no sense whatsoever!). Around 3:00pm, Claire and Iain come home from school bringing the mail in the house with them (though lately it has been only Iain, as Claire has been staying after school for the extra curricular activity that she's involved in). I spend some time chatting with them about their day and going through the mail, often with the baby attached to me in his sling. At times (like now), I don't get the chance to go through the mail and it piles up for a few days on our desk before I get to look at it.
Right around 4:00pm, Ellis comes home and often brings with him a lot of excitement, energy and chaos! I spend a few minutes chatting with him if it's possible, though he often jets right by me, grabs a snack and puts on his outside gear to go and play in the snow! Oh, also add another bottle feeding for Ethan right around this time!
At 4:30pm I'm usually packing up the baby and Colin to go with me to pick up Claire from school. If I have any groceries that I need for dinner that night, or that I need in general, I plan on making a stop by the local grocery store to pick them up on our way home. Once we arrive back home I usually am making another bottle for Ethan, oftentimes passing him off to Claire to let her feed him this bottle so that I can either start dinner or help Monte make the dinner that he has already started (and lately, it's been much more of Monte completely taking care of dinner while I take care of Ethan!).
We eat dinner around 6:30pm, clean up, feed Ethan another bottle and then have some kid down time. We chat with the kids, we take care of random tasks (like tonight, setting up Claire's cell phone, which the company screwed up several times), if I have the energy I might do some cleaning, or we might have the kids help out with some of the jobs around the house (above and beyond their regular chores).
8:00pm comes time to get Colin and Ethan ready for bed. Colin is changed into pajamas, gets his teeth brushed and a Bible story read to him before he gets tucked in and prayers said at 8:30pm. We end the night with hugs, kisses and "I love you's" before closing his door for the night. Then Ethan gets his diaper changed, gets his pajamas on and is getting ready to have his final bottle of the evening. At 8:30pm, Iain and Ellis are given hugs, kisses and "I love you's" and they retreat to their bedroom to read for awhile before bed. At 9:00pm, Ethan is wrapped up in his swaddling blanket, given a final bottle and tucked into bed around 9:30pm. At that time, Claire is told to turn off her lights, and we give hugs, kisses and "I love you's" and she heads off to sleep.
Find time in here to do a few more tasks (like make a grocery order online!) and I find that it's after 10:00pm and I'm finally receiving the first truly free moment of my day. So, while Monte may be completely right in the fact that my blog is "screaming for an apology" for me having been absent for so long, I am yet discovering my schedule and trying to figure out the best way to fit everything in and make everything work, and my blog has fallen by the wayside in the process. I have many topics to blog about (like the bulletin board in my office, the belly dancing classes I'm taking with Trish twice a week, my sweet Colin's fifth birthday, our holidays and much much more) and hope to find time to squeeze it all in, but I'm not promising anything.
For now, I will just let you know, from me and my blog we're both screaming: I'M SORRY I'VE BEEN GONE FOR SO LONG!!! :)