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the extraordinary ordinary

There's often a brief moment -- right after someone finds out that we will have three kids under age 2.5 as of June -- when the conversation takes a horribly awkward turn.

"Oh. Wow."

"You guys are going to have your hands full."

"On purpose?"

So, and let this go on the record, WE ARE NOT CRAZY.

Having small children . . . and a life . . . and a wonderful marriage is do-able. 

We follow a parent-directed feeding/eating/sleeping way of life around here, so we have a pretty ordered day. It's not (usually) total chaos, which means that we got our kiddos in a routine when they were little and we're sticking with it.

After Dad goes to work, the kiddos eat breakfast and then play. When little brother takes a nap, sis and I do the laundry or read books or go outside. When he wakes up, we get ready for lunch and watch out the window of the front door for Dad to return. (Feel free to not look closely for nose and tiny hand smudges on the glass when you're at our house. Well, honestly, you won't need to. They're everywhere. Always.)

After lunch, the kids both lay down for a nap from about 1:00-3:30. After snacks, we play some more and then work on dinner. After dinner, Daddy tosses the kids around, tickles tummies, builds towers, reads outloud, and tickles some more. Then it's time to pick up toys, put on jammies, do our devotions, brush our teeth and climb in bed.

Since my friend Katie at Good and Lovely recently posted what her day looks like, and since she and I have talked a fair amount about this, and because I always appreciate seeing what other mamas' days are made of, here's what a normal day at our house looks like:

7:00-8:00 a.m.

Me: Kids, let's get your clothes on so we can go have breakfast.
Them: Just 42,912 more books, Mom, and then we'll be ready!

8:00-9:00 a.m.

When we don't FaceTime with grandparents or aunts and cousins during breakfast, we have extended breakfast conversations about skunks, coyotes, Blackjack the dog, and whether or not panthers live in the bathtub drain.

Cereal with marshmallows and bananas earn this mom some serious morning bonus points.

After breakfast, I attempt to restore order to the kitchen. Translation: Vacuum up roughly 27 cheerios and a blob of mushed banana from the floor. 

Yes, she picked out that shirt because it reminded her of a puppy. And the necklaces? A must. A girl needs her pearls. 

If we need groceries, this is the time to make our Aldi run. Other days we ransack the library and check out all the books we can cram in a bag.

9:00-10:00 a.m.

The girl reads, plays with Little People, talks non-stop and hollers when little brother tosses anything he can get his hands on in the potty. Then he lays down for a nap at 9:30 and is out like a light until 10:30.


10:00-11:00 a.m.

While little brother naps, Sis and I do the laundry, work in the kitchen, read some books, get some Vitamin D, make pancakes in her Ikea kitchen, do some baking, or dust and mop.  Strangely, she, like me, doesn't love the last two options.

Brother is awake again by 10:30, raring to get back in the action (read: potty diving). 

11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Lunchtime! Both for imaginary food and for real food, apparently. Chants of "DaDDY! DaDDY!" can be heard at the table whenever Dad drives in the lane.

12:00-1:00 p.m.

Mom attempts to restore order to the kitchen after lunch. Wait. Didn't this just happen?

1:00-2:00 p.m.

Everyone waves hello to the mailman and the heifer feeder after bidding a sad goodbye to Dad.  Then Sis lays down for a nap in the kids' room, Brother lays down for a nap in the guest room, and Mom does ALL THE THINGS WHILE IT IS QUIET. 

2:00-3:00 p.m.

That involves cleaning, fishing toys out from under the couch, and making a grocery list because five cousins are coming to visit this week! 

3:00-4:00 p.m.

Then, because Alexa is just plain rude, I do another load of laundry. Yes, I do 1-2 loads a day around here. Have you ever seen how many clothes a farmer and two small children can go through in a 24-hour period?

The kids get up around 3:30, have a snack, and play me some tunes, usually in the key of low, low C.

(Change of clothes attributed to Mom forgetting to keep taking pictures one day and scrambling to remember to make up for it the next day. #pregnancybrain)

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Brother grows increasingly crabby because he's a growing boy who loves to eat, so he follows me around the kitchen while I make supper, and Sis sits up at the table to play with Legos or MagnaTiles or paint.  Or basically to do anything that will keep her little brother from getting into her stuff.

She's learning young.


5:00-6:00 p.m.

Daddy comes home for dinner to shouts of great excitement from all of us. And sometimes he brings Mama flowers because although he's busy and got a million things on his mind, he still insists on putting everybody else in his family first, which Mama is forever grateful for. 

6:00-7:00 p.m.

Dad rough houses the kids while Mom does the dishes to the sounds of giggles, chortles, panther growls, horses whinnying, and a little brother grumbling because he can't quite keep up. Crawling, you know. 


7:00-8:00 p.m. 

Bedtime! After jammies, drinks of water, devotions, prayers, teeth brushing, book reading, roughly 87 "good nights" and "I love you"s, we turn out the light, shut the door, and listen to the two of them chat for the next 20 minutes until the squeaks and giggles get quieter and then eventually stop. 

Now it's time for Dad to do some bookwork, Mom to clean up the kitchen (are you sensing a theme here?), and Mom and Dad to read the newspaper or a good book, chat about what tomorrow looks like schedule-wise and talk about how their days went.



Is it busy? Yes. 

Is it sometimes difficult to get everybody loaded into the car and buckled into car seats and back out of the car seats and out of the car? Yes. 

Do we go through a lot of diapers? Let's not even talk about that.

Do I say, "Please be gentle with your brother" and "We don't say 'no.' We say, 'Yes, Mom.'" at least 20, nope, make that 45 times a day? Yes. 

Would I change any of it -- from my husband to my our children to our very ordinary and yet extraordinarily wonderful days, even the ones where the toddler melts down because she is firm in her belief that butterflies live in her milk and refuses to be convinced otherwise? 


Not a bit.


  1. I love looking into your day. So fun and exhausting and totally worth it. :) I miss the organized chaos when my kids were really little. Every stage is fun to watch as our kids grow. While you’re changing diapers, I’m watching my kids play chess with Gregg! Life is good.

    1. It's so nice to hear that other moms enjoy all the stages. So often you hear people wish their kids were little again, or even babies, and it's so refreshing that you too enjoy all the stages. I mean, when they can buckle themselves in and put themselves to bed it's glorious.
      Also, butterflies in her milk. Don't ever let her forget that. :)

    2. Let us not forget the dreaded panther in the bathtub drain!

  2. Replies
    1. Additionally, letting toddlers play with cups and water. :)

  3. Thank you for sharing a peek into your day with your children. It's fun to see how your day mirrors the fun we have with our toddler. Books on books on books and lots of Little People at our house too. Thank goodness for dads who help get the last wiggles out before bedtime. Surprisingly, we've not had a panther in the bathtub (with all The Jungle Book talk at our house) but we have had to calm fears about rats thanks to Lady and the Tramp. This is a fun stage.

    1. We can trade panthers for rats! Or maybe panthers eat rats? Hmm. We'll have to work on this!

  4. I do miss the stage of all littles. Don't get me wrong. It was hard. Really hard. Sleep deprivation is awful. But, I do long for the days when our days revolved around meal times, naptimes and reading books. My older kids are delightful, but they're a new level of hard. Adult decisions! Adult schedules! Can't we all just be home again, cuddled up on the couch reading "Little House"? Life changes and every stage of parenting is hard & wonderfulat the same time. It's just I wish I would have realized how truly beautiful the little years were when I was going through them. You're on the right track, Adiane. Soak it all up. Melissa

    1. Thank you so much! I imagine each stage has its challenges, and that's ok.

  5. I feel like I was just doing this schedule but I'm now already down to just one out of my four kids taking naps! Now my schedule includes school and bus times, Clover Kid meetings, LEGO league and t-ball practice will be starting up again soon. It is a lot of fun!

  6. In each of these segments of your day you are actually TRAINING your child how to behave: THAT is key! What meal time is supposed to look like, toys out also means toys have to go back IN, and that these beautiful children do not have to be entertained by you 24/7.
    So much can be taught at such an early age if you are willing to give up what YOU want to do. And it is so necessary and good and right and salutary and unselfish to do so at this tender age. You will never regret loving your babies well through a disciplined life.

    1. We are trying! That, of course, means 9,000 calls to you to see what you did with us when we were little. :)

  7. But would you please have G and F's dad get the panther out of the drain?


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