Friday, January 18, 2013

Day In The Life: Winter 2013

This is my first Day In The Life chronicle as a stay-at-home-mom (point noted as it just occurred to me it's now January 2013. I mean, I knew it was but typing it out on the screen - whoa, where does the time go?)

After an unusually busy, under the weather, whiny toddler tantrum-throwing few weeks, things seem to be back to normal around here. I'm really enjoying being at home with Tory every day. We eat. We play. We change dirty diapers. REPEAT. Okay, there's more to our day than those three things. Here's a look at Thursday, January 17, 2013.

Andi and I wake to the sound of Tory fussing from her crib on the other side of the very thin wall that separates our bedrooms. (Future note: if we ever build a house, we will NOT put the kid's rooms directly next to the master bedroom). Anyway, lord knows why we've been blessed with the child who refuses to sleep through the night, even at 16 months of age. I realize it's a small issue on the scale of many bigger things we could encounter but dang, a full night's sleep once and a while would be nice. Usually we leave Tory alone to settle herself back to sleep, so I close my eyes and wait for the fussing to stop. Unfortunately my husband, who has been working long hours for an event he's producing in St. Paul next weekend, desperately needs some uninterrupted sleep. I feel guilty for letting her cry and keeping him from getting the rest he needs, so I contemplate whether or not to go in there and hold her in the rocking chair or let her fall back to sleep in her bed. Luckily, Tory makes the decision for me and goes back to sleep. Phew.

Andi wakes me up, kisses me good-bye and leaves for work.

I wake up and check the baby monitor to see Tory is still fast asleep. I'm a bit shocked she's "slept in" this late when she's usually up between 5:30am - 5:45am. Oh well! I reach over and grab my iPhone from the nightstand and check Facebook, Instagram and read a few blogs from my phone. Then comes the mental game of back and forth I play with myself: do I get up and risk stirring Tory or should I lay in bed, making no noise and hoping she sleeps a few minutes longer? I decide to get up.

Yesterday I made some of these make-ahead breakfast parfaits for Andi and I, so I bust one out of the fridge and give it a taste. I made the breakfast parfaits with Fage Greek 0% fat yogurt, frozen mixed berries and old-fashioned oats. The breakfast parfaits are just okay for me ... not a ton of flavor and I don't care for the mushy oats inside. I like the concept though, so I think I'll experiment with other ingredients and give them a go another time. Maybe more blended (smoothie like?) with a drizzle of honey on top. Now we're talking ...

Between bites, I watch the five-day weather forecast on the news and see the Twin Cities are in for a -1 degree high on Monday. Ugh. I also consult my notebook of this week's recipes and see eggs and toast are on the docket for Tory's breakfast.

Photo 1: Make-ahead breakfast parfait
Photo 2: Five day weather forecast for January 17-21, 2013
Photo 3: This week's menu plan

Holy bananas, Tory's still asleep. Anytime she wakes up multiple times in the night, Tory tends to sleep a bit later in the morning (she woke up at 10:00pm, Midnight and 3:00am last night). I think teething's to blame but honestly, I don't know with her. I've ruled out every other possibility so teething has to be it. I decide to throw in a load of laundry and wrap a baby gift for one of our friends in the meantime.

I hear Tory fussing in the other room, so I pick her up from her crib and change her 20 lb. overnight diaper. The smell of urine gags me. Diaper changes become more disgusting the older kids get. Yuck! Tory is particularly moody in the mornings and today's no different. I give her a few snuggles and try to shoo away her grumbles.

Holding Tory on my hip, I gather two eggs and butter from the fridge, and bread from the cupboard to make her breakfast. I decide to use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to hollow out the center of the bread and pour the scrambled egg mixture into the hole like the idea here. The heart shape turned out okay (you couldn't really tell it was a heart) but Tory scarfed down the eggs and toast. Eggs are hit or miss with her, so I loved this technique simply for the fact that she ate the entire meal. The syrup I drizzled over her toast and eggs could've had something to do with, too. Tory Bean will eat anything with syrup, Ranch dressing or ketchup to dip it in.

Thirsty girl

I clean up breakfast while Tory plays toys on the kitchen floor. I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cut up grapes for our today's lunch at the Children's Museum. I realize how easy this food stage is with Tory right now. Throwing some sandwiches and fruit in a Ziploc bag is so easy compared to past days of traveling with pureed baby food containers and all the mess.

I get Tory dressed, brush her teeth and comb her hair. She's very interested in brushing her teeth lately, so this is one of our day's highlights. I also get dressed, brush my hair and throw on some make-up. Tory climbs around on my bathroom toilet while I get ready. Our bathrooms are likely the cleanest they've ever been these days because there's always a little monkey crawling on the toilets.

Photo 1: Tory's closet
Photo 2: Brushing Tory's teeth
Photo 3: Tory the Monkey climbing on the toilet

I start the truck to warm it up and load up my purse and our lunch bag. Meanwhile, Tory speeds around the living room carrying a big container of animal crackers. I ask her to get her purple sparkly shoes from the closet, she finds them and brings them to me. We get dressed in socks, shoes, hats and coats and then I buckle into the car seat.

Tory and I arrive at the Minnesota Children's Museum for a play date with my girlfriend Val and her kiddos Kasen and Linden. It's our first time to the museum so I ended up circling the block a few times before I figured out exactly where to park. Have I mentioned how much I hate driving in downtown areas? Tory and I make our way through the St. Paul skyways to the museum. It's cold today and starting to snow, so I'm thankful for the walk indoors. Tory and I stop in the skyway and watch the cars driving below us for a few minutes before arriving at the museum.

Photo 1: Reminder of where we parked
Photo 2: Checking out the cars passing in the skyway

Val, Kasen and Linden arrive at the museum. We pay for our admission and spend the next fifteen minutes unloading our coats and bags in the coat room and making trips to the bathroom for diaper changes.

Play time at the museum! As I said, Tory and I have never been to the museum before so we had fun exploring the various play areas. We start in the "Habitat" room which is limited to kids two years and younger. Tory acts cautious, but excited to discover all the areas. She walks around on the ramps and stairs for a while and accidentally pushes one little boy over as she tried to hug him. Oops! My little Tory Bean loves to hug and sometimes other kids aren't ready for it. We apologize to his mommy and we're on to the next activity.

Next, we played in the "Our World" room which has various areas of real-life play. There's a grocery store, a house, a metro bus, a post office and doctor's office to explore. Tory liked climbing on the chairs and tables in this room and wearing all the dress-up clothes. This area was fairly packed with older kids, so it was a little challenging to let her explore and play on her own without getting knocked over. I'm excited to come to visit again on a day when there's not so many tour groups.

Photo 1: Mail lady
Photo 2: Playing in the Children's Museum
Museum friends
Tory (1 year), Kasen (2 years) and Linden (9 months)

It's nearing lunchtime, so Val and I takef the kids downstairs to the eating area for lunch. Tory and I ate our sandwiches and fruit quickly and then we said good-bye to Val so we could head home before nap time.

On the drive home, I bust out our new Music Together CD and sing songs with Tory to keep her from falling asleep in the car. Her favorite song is Five In The Bed and it melts my heart the way she tries to hold up her fingers as we count down to one.

By the time we arrive home, Tory is nearing a meltdown. As I'm putting away our coats and shoes, she begins to throw herself on the kitchen floor and cry, so I quickly warm up some milk and take her into her room to rock-a-bye before a nap. Before I lay her down, I change her diaper and clothes to rid of any kiddo germs we picked up at our morning outing.

Tory's asleep, so I tip-toe downstairs to throw in another load of laundry. While I'm in the laundry room, I hear Tory cry from her bedroom. Rats! Normally I'd leave her in there to settle back to sleep, but she's crying fairly hard so something must be wrong. I check on Tory to discover she's pooped her pants. DANG. The dreaded Poop Nap Ruiner.

I change Tory's pants and now she's wide awake. I attempt to lay her back down again, but she wants nothing to do with the idea. After battling her for several minutes, I take her into our bedroom and curl up on the bed to watch some PBS until she calms down.

I get Tory some more milk and try to lay her down for a nap again. No dice.

Fine then, no nap it is. A 20 minute break for mama - of which I spent the entire time doing laundry - is cool, right? GAH. I get Tory a snack of string cheese, orange slices and yogurt melts. She eats them quietly in her highchair while I wash some bottles. At least if she's awake, she isn't crabbing at me so I'll allow nap time to be over.

I break out the sensory noodle tub for play time. Tory quietly sits on the kitchen floor and scoops up the dry noodles into cups and dumps them out again. I stand there in amazement because for the first time ever I see her actually interacting with the sensory tub like a grown up girl. Usually she wants to dump the entire Tupperware container out or loses interest in the activity quickly, but today she GETS IT. I'm so proud of her!

Next, I break out a Valentine's Day banner I bought in the Target Dollar Spot section. I give Tory some foam stickers and a red marker to decorate the banner. She has just discovered the fabulous world of stickers and has a ball sticking each one onto the hearts. This keeps her busy for a good 15 minutes.

On to the next activity! We clean up our mess in the kitchen, then move to the play room for more toys and reading books. While she plays, I put away some laundry in the bedrooms.

Photo 1: Sensory tub time
Photo 2: Playing barn animals
Photo 3: Making a Valentine's Day craft

It's nearing dinner time, so I throw a made-ahead hamburger macaroni casserole in the oven. I'm planning to make Sweet and Sour Chicken for Andi and I to eat later tonight.

Dinner time for Tory. She picks out a plate and sippy cup while I pull dinner from the oven. Recently, I moved Tory's plates, bowls and cups to a lower cabinet so she can access them on her own and she's loving the responsibility of choosing her own meal accessories. I think it develops independence and her own participation in meal time. I'm also hoping it gives her more freedom to make her own choices resulting in less tantrums when something isn't exactly the way she wants it. So far, so good.

As I'm dishing up Tory's meal, Andi calls and says he'll be working even later than expected. Don't wait to eat dinner, he says. I serve myself a helping of Tory's macaroni casserole and a glass of wine. Not the fanciest dinner, but it'll do. No need to make an entire dinner for myself to eat solo.

Photo 1: Picking out a plate and cup from the cabinet
Photo 2: Tory eating dinner of macaroni, cottage cheese and oranges
Photo 3: My dinner of macaroni, wine and water (seems balanced, right?)

I clean up dinner while Tory plays toys in the kitchen. Next, we walk to Tory's bedroom and pick out pajamas for bedtime. I let Tory pick out her own pajamas (another toddler freedom / responsibility I'm giving her lately) and she selects her blue and pink elephant pjs.

Bath time. Tory loves to take a bath and I'm running out of steam at this point, so I let her play and splash until her heart's content. Specifically, we sing Humpty Dumpty (as we push her toys off the bathtub edge), blow bubbles and pretend to take drinks of the water. When I wash Tory's head, I'm amazed how much her hair has grown in the last month. When it's wet, Tory's hair almost reaches to her shoulder blades. While I towel her off after bathtime, she brushes her teeth.

Photo 1: Soap head
Photo 2: Tory's long hair

It's Tory's bedtime and almost mama's relaxation time. I warm up some milk and rock Tory to sleep in her nursery. She is overly tired from not sleeping much today and tries to wiggle out of my arms while I'm holding her in the rocking chair. Finally, I stand up and cradle my screaming toddler in my arms like a newborn baby until she gives up the fight, closes her eyes and falls asleep. Sometimes it's the only way to calm her. Why with the sleep fighting?

Once Tory's asleep, I do one last sweep of toy pickup in the kitchen and living room, then hit the lights and crawl into bed. I'm ready for a little mama down time after a busy day. I buy another episode of Revenge on iTunes (my latest guilty pleasure) and veg out for a while.

Someone knocks at the door and a quick glance out the window reveals its a door-to-door salesperson for CenturyLink. For reals? At this hour? Rude. I shush the dog, freeze in place and pray Tory doesn't wake up. The salesperson leaves after a few minutes.

Andi calls and says he's just left work.

Andi's home so we catch up on each other's day. He's exhausted and turns in after a few minutes of chatting, while I read my Kindle in bed (half way through Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner).

Lights out. Andi is fast asleep and I'm headed there soon. We're lame and we don't care. Good-night!


  1. I really need to do one of these sometime. It's so detailed. I'm sure it will be great to look back on!

  2. What a fun day! I can't even wrap my head around how organized and planned your day/activities are. We do lots of crafts, but they are usually on a whim or I come up with something from whatever stuff I have lying around. Even T's breakfast was preplanned! how do you do it?!?! Do you plan your days the night before or do weekly meal/activity plans? I'm so impressed!

  3. I am also impressed by your level of meal planning. While I definitely plan dinners, breakfast and lunch are more on the fly and consist of whatever I can wrangle up in the 5 minutes my kids will be patient while I "cook" it for them :) Love that the new norm for you for day in the life is one from the stay at home mom perspective :)

  4. I love how long Tory's hair is getting!!!!

  5. Love the Children's Museum, but agree that it's best to go when there aren't groups. We often go as soon as they open and leave around 11.

    And I totally get the sleeping stuff. Our kid was at least 15 months before she slept through the night... and trying to avoid the car nap... oh, and the awful poop nap ruiner (we almost had that one today). Hope the sleep gets better soon!

  6. Ooh, I hate it when there are tons of groups at the Children's Museum (or the zoo) - it's just so chaotic then! I do love that place though, but then again it's only a few miles from our house so it's a lot easier to go for a super quick trip since we have a membership. The older Annie gets, the more she loves it!

  7. I love how early you are in bed! I loathe the days when my children don't nap, or do rest time quietly.

  8. I love your technique with the scrambled eggs and toast. I should try that with my kids who are so picky and who get tired of having the same things all the time (but I don't have the imagination to come up with new things.)

  9. Maybe you can build the parfaits & keep some granola to add in last minute? I know a certain commissary who uses something like that... :)

    You do so much with Tory! So impressive. Glad you are enjoying the SAHM life.

  10. OMG, you are the dream SAHM. These days, I feel like a day I can manage to get the paint out for craft time is a good one, I can't imagine actually planning a craft in advance. But I may be trying the egg-in-the-heart tomorrow for breakfast...