Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Day In The Life - Summer 2016

The day I selected to document is Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Andi and I are both 35 years old (I just typed 25 and boy, does that seem like a lifetime ago?)
Tory is 4 years, 10 months
Aden is 2 years, 7 months

The day after a holiday weekend was an unusual day to pick for a Day In The Life post; it definitely wasn't a "normal" day for us. I selected it though, because the kids and I spent the day at the lake as we're aiming to do for most of the month of July. I thought it'd be fun to document how similar / different our life is at the lake.


4:57am: I wake up to the sound of birds chirping outside our open bedroom window at the cabin. The sun is rising on this beautiful post-holiday day at the lake, and I'm feeling happy and content. I check my Fitbit for the time -- 4:57am -- two minutes before it's alarm is set to go off. Andi stirs in bed, groans and rolls out of bed. Unfortunately, he's heading to work this morning for a on-location photo shoot in Wyoming, Minnesota. Tory, Aden and I luckily get to stay at the lake.

5:01am: I hear the shower turn on in the bathroom and Andi getting ready for work. I get up, too, as is my daily routine. I wake up before the kids in the morning to workout, blog (ha! haven't made time for much of that lately), write my meal plan, eat breakfast by myself, watch the morning news on television -- whatever! It's worth it to beat the sun out of bed in order to carve out a few kid-free minutes to myself.

5:15am: I change into the workout clothes I laid out the night before and quietly tip-toe outside, carrying my hand weights and my laptop computer. This is shaping up to be one of my favorite things about the lake this summer -- exercising outdoors by the lake, with a cool breeze blowing around me and the animals sounding. Paradise! Meanwhile, Andi sneaks out the door for work without saying good-bye; he must be in a rush to get on the road.

It's after 5:30am by the time I push the play. Today's workout is Upper Fix Extreme and my arms are toast by the end. Arms! Are! Shaking! I carry my equipment back inside and put it away as quietly as I can without waking Tory and Aden.

6:20am: I pour myself a cup of coffee, post a photo on Instagram and type a few notes for this post. My brain is scattered as I bounce from activity to activity, anything and everything is a distraction: scrolling through my Instagram feed, Facebook, drafting notes for this post and staring at the clock with panic as I realize how soon Tory and Aden will be awake.

6:45am: Brrr! A sudden gust of wind blows through the open sliding glass doors. I check the weather app on my iPhone (side-tracked - again!), and a chance of rain is in the forecast. It doesn't look like it's going to be very warm today, either -- not for the middle of summer. I pull on a sweatshirt and lounge pants over my workout clothes, then try to re-focus. A shower should happen since I just worked out, but I'll get to that later...

7:00am: I spend some time posting and commenting in my online Facebook fitness challenge group. It's the day after a long holiday weekend and we could all use some extra encouragement as we stumble through the fog. It's fun seeing so many familiar faces pop up with their #sweatyselfies and know we're all working out "together" this morning. Love this positive network of ladies!

7:15am: Okay, focus: maybe breakfast will help. We are desperately low on groceries I see, as I cook up the last remaining vegetable we have in the cabin. A trip into town is definitely needed today. I make myself scrambled eggs and sauteed kale, and enjoy my coffee while I draft a grocery list.

7:30am: My breakfast tastes like vacation on a plate this morning since I used unrefined coconut oil to saute my kale. It has a hint of coconut flavor, and I'm digging it. (This is where Andi would be rolling his eyes as I proclaim my love for kale once again. Seriously, obsessed!)

7:45am: I hear Aden making noises from his room on the lower level of the cabin. He cracks his door open and starts asking for Tory, so I scoot down the stairs to retrieve him before he wakes her. Aden is always such a happy boy in the morning. As I carry him upstairs, he chats in my ear as he seems to remember his surroundings. "Go b-ishing (fishing)? Go Ranger ride? I drive?"

8:00am: Then, he notices the patch-wearing octopus on the shirt of his pajamas as I lay him on the bed to change his diaper. "I a pirate! Arghh!" he says, over and again. I love the way his imagination is kicking into gear the last few weeks. Tory is so literal, so it's a fun change to have a child who dreams up and acts out new characters and mini-adventures.

8:10am: I turn "Super Why" on the television and get Aden a sippy cup of soy milk and an applesauce packet. I hear Tory coming up the stairs and, as per usual, she's rocking awesome bed head. This girl! She goes to the bathroom while I get her a sippy cup of chocolate almond milk and a tube of yogurt. Tory crawls into our bed with Aden, and the two of them wake up together with a cartoon.

8:15am: I get the kids' breakfasts going because I know they'll soon demand food. A busy holiday weekend with lots of treats = they'll be searching for routine this morning, just as much as I am. Aden joins me in the kitchen and helps me make breakfast by digging in the cupboard, saying "I want that ... I want that ... I want that." He hands me a can of peaches and the jar of peanut butter with the request: "Please, I have some!"

While I finish preparing breakfast in the kitchen, Aden slips out the open patio door onto the backyard deck. This kid is my little escape artist! I'm this-close to sewing a bell on his clothes so I'll be able to hear him better. "Aden, you can't go outside without a life jacket!" I scold him. "Why?" he asks, like it's the first time I've told him that. Gah. What am I going to do with him?

8:45am: At the table now eating breakfast, Aden starts singing "muffin man! muffin man!" while he eats his food. This morning, he's having a frozen waffle, half a muffin (hence, the song), a bowl of Cheerios and canned peaches. Not the most balanced breakfast, but we're low on groceries so it's what I cobbled together.

Tory is having a toaster strudel for breakfast with 1/2 banana and the other half of Aden's blueberry muffin. "I wanted donuts!" she protests. Wow, are we coming off a holiday weekend full of indulgences!

9:00am: Aden summons Tory to the living room to jump in the "pillow pit" he's made on the living room floor. "Tory! Come 'mere, I show you!" he begs and she responds, annoyed "Aden, I'm watching and you asked me that, like, 12 times!" Eventually, she joins him in the living room to jump in the pillows leaving her half-eaten breakfast on the table.

Chloe's watching all this unfold, thinking "these kids are crazy!"

I ask Tory and Aden to return to the table to finish their breakfasts, bu they never do. So, I clean up the spilled milk and crumbs strewn over the table, seating bench and the floor.

9:40am: Panic sets in as I realize it's mid-morning already, and we're all still in our pajamas. I want to go to Walmart in Rice Lake, WI this morning to get groceries, diapers, the high-maintenance wet dog food Chloe eats now and a few other things I know aren't available in the local grocery store by the cabin. I toss the dirty breakfast dishes in the sink which bothers me to no end, and work on getting the kids and I dressed for the day.

10:00am: Kids are strapped into their car seats and we're out the door to Rice Lake. I'm starving all of a sudden, so I eat an O Yeah protein bar as I turn on a personal development podcast to listen to in the car. Tory notifies me almost immediately that her iPad is dead and she'd like to play a game on my phone. Nope, sorry kid, I'm using it. "But what will I do nooooow?" she whines.

10:45am: We arrive at Walmart in Rice Lake, and I'm excited as ever to spend my morning here. I'm not; that was a joke. Grocery shopping with my kids in tow is just about my least favorite thing ever. I grab the Beco Gemini carrier and promise treats to Tory and Aden if they're well behaved in the store. "I walk!" Aden screams as I fasten him into the carrier on my hip. He is the real trouble-maker during grocery store outings because he climbs out of the cart and can't be trusted to walk on his own without running away.

Shopping in Walmart is about as fun as you'd imagine. Aden tries to throw himself backwards out of the carrier attached to me and whines for me to let him walk the entire time we're there. Tory is very well behaved though, so I let her pick out a treat and she chooses powdered donuts. We're in and out of the store with $200 worth of groceries in an hour's time.

12:00pm: I load the groceries into the back of my SUV and realize it's lunchtime. The typically prepared Heather would've packed lunches for everyone to eat on the drive back to the lake cabin, but I wasn't that person today. "Can we have lunch at a restaurant?" Tory asks. "Yeah! Chicken nuggets!" Aden shouts in agreement. Okay, fine. I decide to swing through the McDonalds drive-thru on our way out of town because a) it's lunchtime, and b) I don't feel like listening to the kids cry over hunger during our 30-minute drive back to the lake.

12:15pm: Tory requests a cheeseburger Happy Meal and pouts when I won't let her order it herself through her open car window. "But why can't I just say it?" she asks. Aden gets a chicken nugget Happy Meal. Both kids are over the moon about the little stuffed toy dogs that come with their meals. No fast food lunch for me -- I'm hungry, but I'll wait to eat my planned lunch back at the cabin.

12:30pm: For the next 30 minutes, all is quiet. Tory and Aden happily eat their lunches in the backseat and I listen to the remainder of my podcast episode. I sometimes wonder what it'd be like to live at our northwestern Wisconsin lake cabin full-time, but this morning I'm reminded of the reality of "country living." A trip to the nearest big box store in the area has taken us three hours this morning, all said and done.    

1:00pm: Since everyone's content in the car, I decide to stop at the strawberry patch near the lake on our way back to the cabin. I can't get enough of their fresh berries and there's only a day or two left before the season is over. Andi, the kids and I just picked 3 pails of strawberries here on Saturday but those were cut up and frozen. Today, I buy a quart of fresh strawberries to eat over the next day or two.

1:30pm: Back at the cabin, I unload groceries from the car and put them away while Aden runs around the living room chasing Chloe.

1:45pm: I change Aden's diaper, wash his hands and face and carry him downstairs to his bedroom. Together, we read The Little Engine That Could and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site before nap time.

2:00pm: Lunch! I am so hungry by this point as it's two hours past my normal lunchtime. I make some tuna salad with yellow bell pepper, and eat it with berries and sliced cucumber. Meanwhile, Tory is quietly playing with her Doc McStuffins magnet dolls in the living room. Goodness, I'm thankful for that girl and her newfound ability to find something to do independently.

2:30pm: I clean up my lunch mess and the breakfast dishes from this morning. Tory asks if she can help me, so I tell her to start by unloading the dishwasher. She can't reach many of the cabinets, of course, and ends up piling most of the dishes on the counter for me to put away ... but she's offering to help, and that's all that matters.

"I'm bored of this," she eventually says (yes, chores aren't typically the most exciting activity) and makes her way to the dining room table to draw a picture. After a while, she comes back to the kitchen to show me her artwork. It's Anna, Elsa and Olaf, she tells me. I see the snow, Elsa's winter cape and her name perfectly printed on the bottom of the page -- I love it. Great work, girl!

3:00pm: I want to assemble the pineapple salsa I'm having for dinner so it has time to marinade in the refrigerator, so I ask Tory if she'd like to help me make it. "Sure, I'll just cut the fruit because I don't like that green stuff," she tells me of the cilantro laying on the counter. Once she's into the preparation though, she does help me by pulling the cilantro leaves off the stems. "This green stuff is making me choke!" she says. There's something about the color green and this girl -- she won't eat a green vegetable to save her life, and apparently the mere smell of green herbs are out of the question, too.

3:30pm: I go downstairs and open Aden's door to slowly wake him from his afternoon nap. If he sleeps too long, he won't go to bed tonight and that's definitely not something I want to happen on a solo-parenting night. Aden is still sleeping soundly, so I raise the window shade a bit to let in some light and snap a quick photograph of my sleeping baby boy. So sweet and innocent (at the moment - ha!).

4:00pm: Aden is awake now, so I put on a cartoon in our bedroom so he can wake up a bit. I retrieve him a cup of soy milk and an applesauce to eat for a snack. Tory joins Aden in the bedroom to watch a show, and I finish making my pineapple salsa in the kitchen.

While I'm washing dishes, I notice three deer (a mama and two baby fawns) in the neighbor's garden. Quick! I rush to the bedroom to grab Aden and Tory, and plop them both on the kitchen counter to watch the deer. Our woodland friends seem to be enjoying the neighbor's beautiful garden, just standing there amongst the flowers. This is exactly what makes cabin life so magical; I love it here.

4:30pm: I tell Aden and Tory to get their swimming suits on, so we can go outside to play in the lake. We slip into them quickly, and Tory asks if they can each have a Popsicle. Sure, why not? It's summer! The weather is strange today; it's super cloudy, and sticky-humid outdoors. I can tell it's going to rain soon.

While the kids enjoy their Bomb Pops, I cut apart a pool noodle I bought at the store today and fashion it around a cheap cutting board. First-world problem, I know, but I wanted some sort of "floating tray" to get snacks and drinks to/from our floating dock in the water. Last week, Tory and I balanced bowls of yogurt with berries and bottles of water on the paddle board while we swam it out to the platform. Hoping my floating tray idea will be the solution to our big lake-life problem.

Hey, it works!

5:00pm: I take the kids for a jet ski ride around the lake, then we fish from the dock until it starts to rain. Aden is the only one to catch a fish tonight, and he proudly holds it up for us to see. The kids like to keep the fish they catch in a bucket on the dock so they can watch them swim around before we dump them back into the water.

6:00pm: It's starting to rain harder now, so I shuffle the kids up to the cabin and collect all the beach toys and hammocks hanging from the trees. Andi calls the cabin phone to check on us, and says it's really storming in the Twin Cities. He asks if I'd like him to drive to the lake in case the weather turns bad here tonight, but I assure him we're fine. I saw the neighbor out on his dock earlier, so worse case -- I know someone nearby if I need anything.

Meanwhile, Aden is running around the patio singing, "It's raining! It's pouring!" Tory is standing in the doorway crying because she's wet and cold. This couldn't be more telling of their personalities.

6:30pm: Inside the cabin, I dry all of us off and change the kids into their pajamas. Tory wants to help, and tells me not to look -- she's got a surprise waiting for me at the table. "Will you open this yogurt for me," she asks as I making dinner for everyone. I slice up some avocado and add it to my pineapple salsa -- the final touch for this perfect summer side dish.

7:00pm: The three of us sit down at the table for dinner. Aden and I are having leftover grilled chicken and pineapple avocado salsa for dinner, and I'm eating a side salad too; Tory is having an English muffin "pizza" and raspberries. Tory reveals her dinner "surprise" to me when I finally sit down to eat, and presents my water bottle and a Fage yogurt hiding beneath a kitchen towel. "I didn't realize you were eating chicken for dinner," Tory says half-annoyed, so I reassure her I'll eat the yogurt for my bedtime snack tonight.

7:45pm: I let the kids watch 15 more minutes of Strawberry Shortcake on TV while I clean up dinner. It's raining harder now, and the lights are flickering. Sure hope we don't lose power tonight!

8:00pm: I walk into the master bedroom to tell Tory it's time for bed and find her fast asleep. Oh, sweet girl! I let her rest while I carry Aden to his bedroom for books. "So dark! Moon come out, fun day ends?" he says, which is a line from one of our much-loved Little People: Let's Go to the Zoo board books.

8:20pm: Once Aden's in bed, I set out my workout clothes for the morning and turn off all the lights in the living room. I'm exhausted after the long holiday weekend, so I'm looking forward to curling up in bed with my computer. I would turn on something to watch on TV, but Tory's still asleep in my bed.

9:00pm: I respond to emails from my 21 Day Fix fitness group challengers, correspond with a gal interested in joining my July group and do a few other Beachbody Coach tasks. I pull photos from the day off my camera -- all 198 of them! -- and edit them for this Day In The Life blog post. I also eat that Greek yogurt Tory "made" me for dinner earlier.

10:30pm: So much more I'd like to do in my "free" time tonight, but I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. I turn out the light and snuggle up to Tory asleep soundly beside me.

"The sun goes down, a fun day ends" ... at the lake. 


  1. Are you a beachbody coach? I am interested in joining the group.

    1. Sure! Comment below with your email address, or message me at so I can send you more info.

  2. Exercising outside by a lake sounds like heaven... and cleaver idea for the beverage float!

  3. I agree with Jo- exercising outside does sound like heaven! Although I would want to make sure that neighbors didn't see me huffing and puffing through workouts. :-) Sounds like a busy and productive solo-parenting day!

    1. Agreed! Fortunately, I exercise early enough in the morning that I haven't seen but a fisherman or two on the lake. :)

  4. Wow, you certainly had a busy day at the lake. The shopping trip sounds exhausting even without children, but I am sure spending time your children made it all fun. I applaud you for being able to start your day at 5 a.m. But I bet working out on a lovely deck with such a great view is worth it!