4:40 a.m. Garry nudges me awake; Lexi needs to eat. He has been monitoring the baby via speaker from the couch downstairs, where he fell asleep last night. He stubs his toe on the rocking chair ottoman when he retrieves Lexi from her crib and is still wincing and limping when he hands her to me.
4:55 a.m. Lexi is done eating, but not done being awake.
5:05 a.m. Lexi is asleep, but my brain is awake. Dang.
5:10 a.m. I brush my teeth. I'm thinking a solo walk sounds good, once it gets lighter. I go downstairs to check email.
5:15 a.m. As I browse the three personal emails, two shopping ads, and two blog comments in my Inbox, I wonder: Should I get more organ training? It is worth a trip to the mall for the Bath & Body Works sale? Am I awake enough to compose a response to Melanie? Why are blog comments so fun/satisfying? Why won't my Lexi girl sleep?
5:20 a.m. Time to retrieve the crying baby. I try a diaper change and getting her dressed for the day. It calms her, but she's very bright-eyed.
5:30 a.m. Lexi chills in the swing and I attend (like it's a chore - ha!) to emails and blogs and Facebook.
6:15 a.m. Lexi has fallen asleep. I want to fall asleep. My Facebook status is "Heidi Dixon Bartle hopes Tuesday is better than Monday." Optimistic, eh? My dad comments immediately: "It will be."
6:20 a.m. I crash in bed and fall asleep. (Yay!)
7:45 a.m. Lexi's tummy timer rings. I answer. Garry rolls out of bed and gets in the shower.
7:55 a.m. I hear Gavin through the bedroom wall. I get him out of bed half-way through nursing. He plays in Lexi's room while the girl and I finish her breakfast. I read him a book, he dumps out the hamper. He empties the diaper drawer and climbs in the crib. When Lexi is done, I change her diaper and clean up the room.
8:10 a.m. I get dressed for a morning walk. I make the bed, only because it's Zach's day to vacuum and I need to get the decorative pillows off the floor. Last week I just piled them on the bed without making it. I'm feeling accomplished.
8:20 a.m. Gavin has buckled himself in his booster seat, so I pour him some cereal and go downstairs to find Zach and Tyler. I am astonished they haven't been upstairs yet. I find them playing video games, which is expressly forbidden before chores are done. They insist I gave them permission from my bed. I suddenly have a foggy memory of this conversation. Wow.
8:25 a.m. I read some more email while they finish their game.
8:35 a.m. The family gathers for a morning prayer before Garry leaves. Lexi screams in protest.
8:40 a.m. Breakfast, interspersed with fighting boys. A chapter from Omni. Wait, Omni is one chapter. I read it aloud, Lexi in my lap. This is an exercise in obedience, rather than spirituality.
8:53 a.m. I search the freezer for dinner and extract Floating Tacos, ala Shaina's blog.
8:55 a.m. Lexi gets another diaper. So does Gavin, who also gets a change of clothes. He screams in protest. I feel like screaming in protest. As I note the time, I suddenly recall a conversation with Natalie, a Beaverton friend, which involved me being ready to conquer the world by nine o'clock. My, how life has changed.
9:05 a.m. I call the boys as I prepare for departure on our morning walk/run/ride. As I'm getting the stroller out of the van, Gavin makes himself at home in the driver's seat.
9:10 a.m. We are ready to hit the road. We head west on Contrails, south on Rangewood, then west again on Meadowridge. We jog north and west to pass Academy Endeavour Elementary on Hampton Park (pit stop/photo op), then north again on Union.
9:40 a.m. A large, ominous hill on Union prompts Tyler to utter a quotable: "I'm too tired to resist all this walking!" I impatiently reply, "Tyler, the only way to get home is to keep going." Suddenly I realize that I ought to extrapolate this nugget of wisdom to my life. I soften and try to validate Ty's fatigue. We walk and hydrate and rest in the shade. I feel grateful for the people who make my life journey easier.
10:05 a.m. We complete our three-mile walk/run/ride. We all hydrate and rest in the shade and compare sweat streams. The new neighbor kids come over to request my children as playmates, but my children have yet to complete their daily chores.
10:20 a.m. The children run amok while I nurse Lexi in front of the computer and update this.
10:35 a.m. Tyler reads me a scripture story about Samuel the Lamanite. Zach interrupts; he can't find his math book.
10:40 a.m. Tyler gives me a hug, just because.
10:50 a.m. With Lexi asleep in my lap, I send off a couple of emails and read last year's day-in-the-life chronicle. I marvel at the similarities and differences. And my mile time. I laugh at the comments.
11:30 a.m. I know it is time to emerge from the office. I can hear bedlam. I don't want to see the destruction that has occurred in my absence. But Zach needs me to move the van so he can vacuum it, and it's time for Gavin's nap.
11:35 a.m. I find crackers on the stairs and Gavin playing in a rice puddle in the kitchen. Things could be worse, and I know these messes are really my fault. I move the van and put Gavin down. He is not happy about it. I come out of the room to find that Tyler has peed his pants ("I couldn't unbutton them fast enough!"). I have mastered the non-reaction to this situation, and send him off to clean up. Today is laundry day, after all.
11:45 a.m. With Gavin screaming and Lexi asleep, I shower. It's been a long time since I've showered without small people in or near the bathroom. I capitalize on the solitude and shave my legs. (Aren't you so glad to know this?)
12:20 p.m. I emerge from my bedroom, dressed, refreshed, and reasonably put together. I took my sweet time. Ahhhh....
12:21 p.m. Gavin is still screaming. I get him out of bed. Maybe a full tummy will help him sleep. Since I have not yet cleaned up the rice, I put on sandals, crunch through the rice, and strap Gavin in his booster. I give him applesauce to eat while I sweep. He drops the applesauce cup on the floor three times as I sweep. I think the first two times were accidental. The third clearly wasn't. Another mess.
12:30 p.m. I lose my cool as a fight breaks out between Zachary and Tyler over the number of apple slices that are appropriate for lunch.
12:35 p.m. Now Tyler is copying everything Zach says, and Zach doesn't appreciate the sincerest form of flattery.
12:48 p.m. I demand silence for the duration of the meal. I am eating apples and a crescent roll as I begin to tidy the table and kitchen around the fighting boys.
12:50 p.m. Perhaps it's the cacophony of lunch that's bothering me, but the fan in the kitchen seems So Very Loud today. Still, I am grateful for the cool air it circulates.
12:55 p.m. Gavin lets out a blood-curdling scream. Clearly, lunch is over. I have the thought that I should track down my cell phone. I haven't seen it for a couple of hours. (It is also our home phone; I still only get about three calls a week.) Tyler heads outside to play with friends.
12:57 p.m. Gavin takes a nap. This time he complies without complaint.
1:05 p.m. I am sorting the laundry to be washed when Zachary asks if he can listen to Skippy Jon Jones on CD instead of reading for 30 minutes. I decline his offer. He screams, "It's not fair! You never let me do anything!" Much to our mutual surprise, I burst out laughing. I recall moments in my childhood when I yelled the same thing at my own mother, and for some reason, it seems funny that I'm the mom/brunt of all fury now. I literally collapse on the floor and laugh hysterically for five full minutes. It feels amazing to laugh so vigorously. Zach laughs with me until I stop, and then jumps back into full tantrum mode.
1:11 p.m. Zachary loses two hours of friend play time.
1:12 p.m. I have the thought to look in Lexi's room for my phone. Bingo! It rings almost immediately. I enjoy a 25-minute conversation with Melanie, who reminds me that this phase of life is survivable. I force myself to face a nasty sink full of dishes while I have such a nice distraction.
1:45 p.m. Feeling refreshed by the conversation (and my newly scrubbed sink), I walk down the hall and run into Tyler, who has just pooped his pants. Not a good day for Tyler. Zach turns on the TV, now that I'm off the phone and can properly grant permission.
1:55 p.m. I finish sorting laundry and start the dark load. The kids' sheets all need to be washed, in addition to the four other loads in baskets, but I'm thinking that sheets will have to wait for another day.
2:10 p.m. I fritter away a few more minutes on the computer, update this, and debate a nap. But I need to check on the girl. She's been asleep for a long time, so of course I'm concerned.
2:35 p.m. Lexi is breathing just fine, Gavin still sleeps, and the big boys are watching TV. I instruct them not to leave the house without telling me. And I climb into bed. Even 15 minutes of sleep would be helpful.
2:36 p.m. My neighbor comes to the door. She wants to borrow a bowl. No problem.
2:37 p.m. I am settling into my pillow again when Gavin wakes up. Humph.
2:45 p.m. Lexi is awake. I am sure she is ravenous. Zach sets up a Baby Einstein DVD for Gavin while I nurse the babe. We learn about shapes as they dance across the screen. Gavin dances across the room.
2:55 p.m. Gavin snatches Lexi's binky from my lap. I snatch it back. He screams shrilly, breaking Lexi's concentration and my ear drums. I have another burst of manic laughter. Maybe this is my new reaction to ridiculous situations.
3:20 p.m. The Littles and I are back upstairs. The Bigs have gone out to play. In quick succession, Lexi and Gavin both poop. I hear Lexi's production, as she is in my arms. Gavin grabs his diaper and says, "Too! Too!" That means one of two diaper-filling actions has taken place. Gavin is very aware of his bodily functions. The pediatrician thinks it's time to potty train. I think not.
3:25 p.m. After diaper changes (and washed hands), I eat the last of the no-bake cookies in the fridge. I know I will have unhappy children when they discover my treachery. I try to convince Gavin to go downstairs and retrieve his pants, which he took off during the movie.
3:26 p.m. Lo and behold -- pants! Gavin gets a high-five. After I help him with the pants, he puts on one Zachary flip-flop and one Tyler flip-flop and clomps around the kitchen, quite pleased with his new ensemble.
3:40 p.m. Gavin convinces me to go outside. I have no energy to chase him, so he and Lexi get back in the stroller. We pick up the mail in this manner. I check in with Christina, the mom of the boy Zach and Ty are playing with, and take the Littles on a walk around the neighborhood. It is hot. My legs are tired from the morning jaunt, and I am wearing flip-flops. But the babies are happy, and that is what I need right now. On our journey I pass a house on Candleflower that we looked at a year ago. It had many quirks and six bedrooms. We were slightly tempted.
4:15 p.m. We are home again. I check back in with Christina. I chat with Lisa in her driveway. It is hot. I take the kids inside. Gavin and I enjoy popsicles. Lexi is very sad. I put my feet up and try to bounce her on the couch while moving as little as possible. Gavin plays with cars.
4:33 p.m. I begin eyeing the clock. How many minutes until Daddy gets home? I'm hoping 45.
4:40 p.m. Gavin tells me he has pooped again. I don't want to move. He brings me a diaper and wipes and lays down on the couch. OK, OK....he gets a new diaper.
4:45 p.m. I go downstairs to change the laundry, but the machines have ten more minutes. Lexi and I bounce to the computer to wait. Gavin plays with blocks in the hallway. I answer a friendly email.
5:20 p.m. I head out of the office (guess I got distracted) to change laundry and find Tyler in his bedroom, naked. He has peed his pants AGAIN. And there is a big poop smear on the carpet. I send Tyler to the shower. He'll be going to bed after dinner. He seems perplexed about the reason. I remind him of his age.
5:25 p.m. Zach's baseball pants and the light load go in the dryer. He'll need the pants in 45 minutes. Will we make it?
5:36 p.m. Gavin is screaming. Lexi is screaming. Floating Taco meat is heating up on the stove. I am tripping over Shake-n-Go cars and R/C cars and a beloved stuffed bear. I burn my finger on the pan. Where is Garry?
5:40 p.m. Everyone (but Garry) sits down for dinner. Lexi screams. Zachary prays. I fix everyone a plate, including myself. Zach rescues Lexi from her bouncy chair while I finish. Once everyone has food, I nurse Lexi at the table and eat with my left hand. Calm.
5:55 p.m. Garry walks in. Gavin cheers. Garry dishes up dinner. The family conversation revolves around the negative aspects of the boys' play date this afternoon as Zach tattles on Tyler and Tyler tries to justify his actions. Welcome home, Dad! Garry relates a few particulars of his own frustrating day.
6:00 p.m. Zach goes downstairs to get ready for pictures, and can't find his pants. He eventually rescues his clean clothes from the laundry baskets.
6:25 p.m. Zach and Garry pull out five minutes before picture time with only a general notion of their destination. I lack the presence of mind to take a picture before they leave. Tyler is sent to bed. Lexi screams. Gavin chatters in his chair, apparently content after a good meal. I hold Lexi in one arm and attempt to clean up. I pull out the bowl of leftover homemade ice cream from Saturday's BBQ. It will need to thaw a bit before I can scoop up a serving. I am ready for it now.
6:30 p.m. I am sweeping one-handed. The skills a mother develops....
6:32 p.m. Gavin dumps a cup of water from the table onto himself and his chair.
6:33 p.m. Gavin empties a package of diaper wipes, one by one.
6:35 p.m. I finish sweeping. It has only been 24 hours since my last pass on this floor, and the pile is astonishing.
6:45 p.m. While Lexi screams, I get Gavin ready for bed. (I use two hands; Lexi is relegated to the carpet.) He very sweetly tries to calm his sister with a binky, a "sh-sh-sh," and a "ho?" (holding attempt). Then he not-so-sweetly objects to being put in bed. I admit that I'm past feeling. I tuck him in with the usual songs and hugs, and close the door on his cries. He seems to know he's going to bed absurdly early.
6:50 p.m. With two kids down and one reasonably content in my arm, I return to the kitchen. The ice cream is softening. I take the bowl to the couch, flip on the TV, and eat straight from the bowl while flipping channels. I land on a TLC special about a woman who delivered twin babies, both breech, at home and without assistance. And she didn't know she was having twins. I guess my day could have been worse.
7:00 p.m. I go downstairs for something and get sidetracked on the computer again. I am clearly obsessed.
7:15 p.m. I am updating this when Garry and Zach come home. Garry consoles his screaming third child. Zach goes to bed with relative ease while Garry and I chat about the picture experience and my day. It feels good to talk to a Real Live Adult Human at the end of this day.
8:00 p.m. I pass Lexi to Garry. We both get into pajamas. I switch the laundry again (and Zach's baseball pants go back in...he acquired a large grass stain during his picture-taking adventure.) Garry retires to the couch and I update this some more and edit pictures. Peace and quiet have settled on the household. The only sound I hear comes from the washer and dryer. While I know that means more work for me, I am confident that it won't involve bodily fluids.
8:30 p.m. I am stunned to realize that almost three hours have passed since Lexi ate. But she is snugly sleeping in Garry's arms. I can wait if she can.
9:15 p.m. I get the photos all situated in this here post, and decide I'm done for the day. There will be no additional record-keeping or picture-taking. I will nurse my baby and go to bed, directly to bed, without passing go and without collecting $200.