A day in the life


A day is rarely the same in our busy little hive, but here is a glimpse at what it frequently looks like – family at the center, work fit in here and there, and plenty of good food to go around.

7:07 – I wake up next to Clara. For some reason it’s taken us until our third child to realize that co-sleeping is where it’s at. This morning, like every morning, I am awash with love for this perfect wee one and her peaches & cream complexion.

She continues to sleep as I creep past the boys’ room, down the stairs, and into the kitchen to brew a French Press of coffee. Danny has already left for an early breakfast meeting, or else he’d be joining us for breakfast.

7:18 – Coffee in hand, I crack open the computer and do a quick email check, answering a few urgent ones. I check that a new Best Bite feature is live, answer a handful of blog comments, and pop into my Skype group for a minute.

8:05 – Noah makes an appearance, heading past me to don his rain boots, and heads outside to let the chickens out. We mix up cornmeal pancakes when he returns, and Mateo wakes up just as the cast iron skillet is getting hot.

8:30 – I change an ever-smiling Clara while Noah (almost 7) cooks us pancakes in shapes like ghosts and monster trucks. We top them with blueberry syrup that I simmered and canned the evening before.

9:11 – With instructions from me for ‘normal clothes’, the boys dress themselves while I nurse Clara. We have errands to run this morning, and I don’t need them in PJ’s or dress-up clothes!

9:30 – Clara naps, the boys watch some Olympic coverage, and I answer more email and interact on Twitter a bit.

9:45 – It’s my window to shower – quickly. Followed by a fast house pick-up, then a dishwasher unload and reload.

10:20 – The boys collect 6 brown eggs and deliver them to the kitchen counter. Noah retires with a book, and Mateo hums around the playroom. I do a quick check of my Gussy bag – iPhone, sunglasses, chapstick, two diapers, wipes, and a wallet – before we get ready to head out.

10:45 – It’s time to leave, but Clara wakes up with a messy diaper and needs a quick bath. It makes us a little late for an appointment. That’s okay.

11:05 – We arrive at the school and register Mateo for pre-school. We get a little tour of the place, a lengthy overview of the school year, and do the paperwork. It takes an hour.

12:10 – I stop by a market for corn on the cob, tomatoes, and blueberries and then we speed home. I have another meeting in minutes.

12:20 – Clara has two fists rammed in her mouth, but doesn’t complain yet because she’s too sweet. The boys pull ingredients from the fridge and make their own wraps –mustard, ham, & lettuce – while I nurse Clara and open Skype.

12:29 – I scramble two eggs and nestle them in two tortillas along with a scoop of leftover grilled vegetables. It takes 3 minutes and that’s my lunch. I Instagram my plate, but don’t deem it interesting enough for Twitter.

12:36 – The boys are at the table, Clara’s in her swing, and I join my meeting a few minutes late. The SLM girls are already chatting; we editors meet once a month for work, but it often feels more like for fun.

My scrambled lunch is messy. Not ideal for eating one-handed at the keyboard. But it’s comfort food and I eat like a hungry wolf.

12:45 – Clara is fussy and rubbing her eyes. Soon she’s on my lap, and I’m typing one-handed. My lunch grows cold.

“That hit the spot!” Says Noah. They clear their plates and migrate to the sofa, where Noah pulls out a book and begins reading to his younger brother. I have a proud mama moment.

12:55 – Clara is asleep on my shoulder. I make the successful transfer to her swing, then type/read like mad to catch up with the fast moving Skype conversation. It fluctuates between brain-numbing tech talk to downright silliness. I love these girls. They are friends, peers, mentors, mothers, and completely brilliant.

1:15 – I put the kettle on for tea and set out a few cookies for the kids and I. They ask to watch Nexflix and, as it’s raining outside, I say yes. They settle in with an episode of The Cat in the Hat.

For a full half hour, the house is quiet and I’m able to fully focus on my meeting. Both a hot meal and tea have nourished me, recharging my batteries for the rest of the day. It’s pure bliss, even though I’m ‘working’.

1:45 – True to form, Clara wakes after a 45 minute snooze. The boys end their show, and transition into a game of Hide & Seek. From here on out, only a part of my brain is in my meeting. The convo is light, and the girls have me lol-ing over and over. This is work? You bet.

2:00 – Clara plays on her mats, while I watch from the kitchen table. The boys set up two puzzles at the table. They don’t always play so nicely together, so I’m grateful for the peace that surrounds today.

2:12 – The phone rings and I let it go to the answering machine. It’s a PR agency, calling about an upcoming International press trip this fall. I’ll have to call her back, but doubt I’ll go. Or maybe I will. Who knows.

2:3o – My meeting wraps but I hang around for 10 minutes more to bounce some creative ideas off my mentor, boss, and friend, Tsh. She’s encouraging, and very wise.

2:45 – I’m cross-eyed. Just want to nap. I force myself to be energized – if I get past this slump, I can coast until Danny gets home. I dash upstairs and throw a load of cloth diapers into the machine, then we hit the kitchen.

The boys take turns working with me and entertaining Clara on a quilt, near the kitchen. We pick over and wash blueberries for a batch of slow-cooker butter I’ve had it in mind to make. Using a slow cooker for summer preserving (like this ketchup) is practical with little kids around. Today’s recipe is inspired from Marisa’s cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round.

I don’t have quite enough berries, so I toss in three plums into the food processor along with the berries. My Magimix makes short work of the berries, and into the slow-cooker they go.

3:15 – The boys fix them selves a snack of cold pancakes and peanut butter while I take Clara upstairs to nurse in a quiet corner. I try to make a move on Words with Friends but I’m stuck with two ‘o’s and one ‘u’ and my brain is feeling fried. I skim Instagram instead.

Shrieks of laughter from downstairs turn into howls of pain. I quickly change another diaper and head down to investigate. I get incomprehensible answers from both boys, so I drop it and suggest we play a game.

It’s still raining outside, or else we’d be in the garden, on a walk, or splashing in the kiddie pool. Today, we’re housebound.

3:21 – I put Clara in the Moby because I know she’ll fall asleep quickly, but mostly because I want to cuddle her. She’s likely to be my last baby and she growing just so darn fast. And I mean, look at her.

3:47 – Clara’s out cold and the boys and I play Tonga Island . (We’re getting them ready for a favorite of ours, Puerto Rico.)

4:35 – Clara opens her eyes, then opts to sleep for another cycle. Interest in the board game fades as we watch the Olympic men’s 200 meter race, followed by javelin-throwing. I switch the diapers to the dryer, then check social media feeds on my iPhone, loosing myself for a bit in Aran’s photos.

4:50 – Danny calls to say he’s leaving work soon. The heavens part and angels sing. Not really, but I can’t stop smiling.

5:05 – I should start supper, but I’m glued to the sofa, watching our women’s soccer team receiving their bronze medals. I’m teary, so, so proud.

5:20 – Clara wakes and I place her in her swing. With flushed cheeks and bright eyes, she watches me move about the kitchen, and flashes me a smile every time I glance in her direction. She is such an angel.

5:30 – Danny arrives home and the boys throw themselves on him and drop him to the floor. He thumps them, kisses me, and scoops up the baby to go change her diaper.

For dinner, I sear off  a half a pound of organic Merguez sausages that we bought from a local lamb farm. After about 7 minutes, I set them aside and add the kernels from two cobs of corn and a chopped red pepper to the pan. This sautés for a bit, then I add a cup of boiling water, a cup of whole wheat cous-cous, and a generous pinch of salt. I nestle the sausages back in the pan, cover it and remove from heat.

5:45 – A simple tomato salad comes together while the boys set the table, then we sit down to supper as a family. Noah picks at his dinner and complains of a head-ache. Sure enough, he has a fever, and is excused from the table to burrow deep into our bed, the most comforting, safe, place in the house (according to him).

6:20 – Clara is watching me like a hawk from her daddy’s arms. It’s now her dinnertime. She’s been so patient, so, so good. I scoop her up and we leave for some girl time. For the first time today, she has me to herself, and we laugh and blow raspberries on the bed.

7:05 – The boys wrap their arm around me and whisper good night. They climb into their bunk beds amidst at least a dozen stuffed ‘friends’ and Danny tucks them in. Five minutes later, all is quiet. Upstairs, that is. In the kitchen, Danny grinds coffee, pulls espresso shots and makes us two kicking lattes.

I fill up my canning pot with water, load 8 jars into it and get it simmering. I stir the fruit butter with a wooden spoon; it smells like warm blueberry pie.

With a yawning Clara on my knee, I sit down and skim my Twitter streams. We talked about using Google+ in our meeting, so I read this most excellent post from Irvin on the subject.

7:20 – It’s a working night. Tomorrow, I’ll have a glass of wine instead of coffee. I’ll spend time with Danny instead of my MacBook, but three or four evenings a week, I put in ‘office hours’.

Danny waltzes around the living room with Clara and she is asleep in two minutes.

I sit down with my coffee, and head to my WordPress back end. The temptations of Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter have to be shut down for I can focus. It’s my only chance in the day to write, and my brain, inexcusably, tends to shut down around 9. If I’m going to get any writing done, it has to be now.

8:30 – An alarm goes on my phone, reminding me to put the chickens to bed. Danny’s bathing Clara, so I go, taking the compost bucket with me. On warm summer nights, the fireflies flit in the forest, and it’s my favorite time to take a pause in a hectic day.

Tonight, though, it’s still raining, and the drops cool my face, refreshing my mind. I’m barefoot, and the mud squishes between my toes. I’m in love with summer.

9:17 – I hold Clara and she feeds while I check Instagram, and bang out that pesky WWF word- finally! Then, back to writing this post, this time, with Olympic recaps on the TV in the background.

9:46 – Danny reads to Clara and takes her up to bed. I head to the kitchen and prep to can the blueberry butter that has been reducing in the slow-cooker for the last 6 or so hours. An evening canning project is not uncommon during the summer as I have to fit it in whenever possible

I listen to Tsh’s podcast with Darren of ProBlogger on Homefries while I work. I only intended to jar and process the butter, but the podcast is so interesting, I scrub my kitchen from top to bottom while I laugh and exclaim.

10:35 – In three motions, I turn on the dishwasher, drape my apron over a chair, and turn off the kitchen lights. As I leave, I hear the first of the jams jars !pop! and I smile to myself.

With my feet up (ahhh!) I do a quick edit of the day’s photos on my iPhone, upload them to my laptop and insert them into this post. It takes longer than it should because I am tired.

11:37 – Danny and I watch Olympic recaps. I’m starving and we share some Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia straight from the container. (Is there any other way?)

12:05 –  I schedule this post and head up to bed. I check in on the feverish boy and am relieved he’s sleeping well. On my nightstand are two books, Blood, Bones & Butter and An Everlasting Meal, but I can’t keep my eyes open and morning will come far too fast.

12:21 – The rain is still pattering on the roof and that is the last sound I hear before I fall asleep.

There you have it! I’d be happy to take any questions in the comments below.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. I am with you on the co-sleeping. We hadn’t planned it, but that’s where we wound up–and while it means that we often don’t get enough sleep (due to a restless toddler), we do love the closeness.

    • I’m not sure how it changes for the toddler years, but I’m the most rested with this baby than with my others. She’s been sleeping nights since 2 months and we’re all getting enough rest (most of the time. 🙂 )

      • Aimee, mine has been the same. It’s so funny to because we co-sleep as well. Something I never thought to do with my boys. Maybe it’s a girl thing, I don’t know. I just know I love the bonding it’s creating between us. What a lovely post. I enjoyed reading every minute of your day 🙂

  2. It sounds like so many small moments made up a busy, but happy, day! I have both those books on my nightstand as well, and just picked up The Blueberry Years, which I think you would also like.

  3. oh my goodness, how do you do this day after day? I am beyond impressed. Your day sounds like so much fun, but so exhausting! 🙂

  4. I love glimpses into other people’s days – especially when their kids are a little older than mine. I’m amazed (with my two-year old running around) reading about Noah’s independence.

  5. Loved this post – thank you for the glimpse into your day 🙂

  6. Such a cool post. Your husband sounds like such a good dad 🙂

  7. Clara is such a beauty! And your eggs are gorgeous. We are down to 2 chickens now that a sneaky bobcat knows where we live and comes earlier and earlier…

  8. Oh my goodness. What a full and beautiful day!

  9. Aimee, you are so darn cool. Cool Mom alert! I wish I could say my typical day was as exciting and productive as yours, but often it’s just me staring at the computer or laying prone on the kitchen floor in frustration.

  10. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says

    Aimee, can I be you when I grow up? I know you don’t have a perfect life – none of us do. But so many of your little moments sound like my version of perfect. Thank you for sharing with us. Love ya x

  11. Funny I have Tsh’s podcast just wrapping up while I read this post. I’m guessing that’s partly where the Google + conversation came from!
    Love seeing how your day unfolds. Maybe another one in winter?

  12. I’m so jealous that your kids sleep past 7 and go to sleep before 8…

    • Megan, they’ve always been 12/night sleepers! During school months, we have to have Noah in bed by 6:30 and he’s up (reluctantly) at 6:45 am.
      Why, what’s your little man’s routine?

      • Me too! My kids go to bed at 7:30 and are up between 6 and 6:30. I would love a quiet hour in the morning before they got up!

  13. I love this .. it’s the life I hope to have someday and so lovely- all of it- from the chickens to the boys sweetly playing to a husband who comes home and changes diapers!

    • Aw, thank you, Laura! It’s crazy-times, but I do love it. I know the kids are young and that adds to the busyness, but it also makes for a lot of precious moments.

      I’d say you are well on your way!!

  14. Love this and that screenshot totally has me cracking up! We did get a little work done during that meeting, right?! 😉

    xo

  15. That photo of Clara sleeping in the moby is beyond adorable. Is there a mom out there whose heart doesn’t melt when they see their baby like that?
    These posts are so fun – almost like you let us compare notes with this peek into your home life and how we can incorporate it into ours. Thanks!

  16. LOVE that you wrote this, Aimee! Such a fun glimpse. (And our meetings are fun, aren’t they?)

  17. I loved this!
    And now I am convinced. My almost 8 yr old daughter needs to make her own lunch and snack!

  18. I love posts like this–refreshing and encouraging!

  19. Just love your Day in the Life Post and your darling daughter picture!!! Everyone should do one from time to time so we can see what real bloggers get up to rather than imagining the high life they are living!!!

  20. i was most struck by your seeming-endless attitude of thankfulness. i often feel that way at the end of the day, but need to work on living the thankfilness in the moment (make sense?)! and i’m TOTALLY drawn to this canning in small batches idea. thanks for a beautiful post to wake up to this morning.

  21. Didn’t really know what co-sleeping was until I had babies! 🙂 Now we always co-sleep with the littles. I love Day in The Life posts, it’s nice to see other families’ schedules, interesting. Very much similar to mine. I try to get some work in whenever possible!

  22. Loved this Day in the Life-so calming to read (though I know days aren’t always like that). I also have three young children, and though they are my kitchen helpers, I need to teach the older ones, or at least my 6-year-old more about fixing his own snacks and part of his meal.

  23. Aimee–could you write a post (if you haven’t already) in the steps you took (by age) to have your kids capable of being so independent in the kitchen by age 7? To be making pancakes and lunch! How awesome!

    S’il-vous plait?
    Merci mille fois,
    Sarah

  24. I so love this post. It is my dream to be able to work from home, while taking care of my children. Love hearing about your schedule. We don’t co-sleep (I wish we did, but our bed is NOT big enough for three of us!), but there is just something about waking up and watching a peacefully sleeping baby. And yes, they do grow up way too fast.

  25. !!! That screen shot just cracks me up!! 😀

    I can’t believe how much you squeeze in a day, but then, we all do, don’t we? I guess that’s why I like these posts. I was also impressed by your boys’ independence with food! I think I need to start giving Gigi a little more responsibility in the kitchen!

  26. Kaitlin Jenkins says

    This was so fun, thank you! You guys are adorable!!

  27. Thanks for sharing your wonderful everyday life. I wake up 5 a.m to prepare early breakfast for my kids.

  28. Your cous cous and sausage dish looks delicious. How long do you let it sit covered before it’s ready?

    Thanks!
    Rachel

  29. Love the pics of Clara. I was exhausted at your morning dishwasher unload and reload. I don’t know how you do it, but you do it so well!

  30. This sounds like my life (minus the lovely chickens and rain!). I can\’t do it without coffee and yoga! Love the pics.

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