A Day in the Life: October 2011

5:25  I wake up.  I’m too cheap to turn on the heat in October, and our room is cold.  I roll over instead of getting up to write.

5:55 Still cold and awake.  I get up.  I go and look at the files on my computer.  There’s some serious inertia going on here– facing two hard re-writes, I find it easier not to do either.  I go downstairs and make tea and read After You Believe.

6:40 The first cup of tea is gone, and the darkness outside is just starting to change.  I pull out my St Nicholas Day knitting (have to do this in secret, right?).  I’m working on the Micro Tracy Triceratops, and when I bought it I had no idea the pattern was fourteen (FOURTEEN!) pages.  The rows are all short, and there’s going to be a TON of ends to weave in (as I feel like I’m always snipping off ends and attaching new tiny balls of yarn).  The good news is that no one can actually tell what it is as I knit each individual part, and it’s using up stash yarn.

7:30 O and Sam appear.  O asks what I’m making.  I ask what does he think it is.  He frowns and says, “A hat for an elephant?”  So I guess I’m safe. O pulls out his notebook and starts his work.  He adds decimals beautifully, practices guitar without waking anyone up, and writes in his journal.

8:10 Everyone else is up (after being up too late last night) and I run upstairs to dress while Sam is still here to fill all the random breakfast orders.  Seriously, I need to start making ONE breakfast for everyone.

8:30 The boys are doing their schoolwork, SweetP is begging me to play with her, and M is futzing around the kitchen, stalling on getting started.  I take a ticket when she ignores three gentle requests to load the dishwasher.

8:50 The dishwasher is finally loaded.  I pull out the vacuum, and both girls want to help.  SweetP “helps” by carrying the attachments around (we’ve lost one of them this way) and M actually does vacuum the living room.  Hooray!  Man, it was filthy in there.

9:05 I arrange for us to meet some friends in the park for exercise at 11.  This gives everyone a little added motivation to be efficient.  O is almost done with his work; M hasn’t begun and is looking for ways to get out of it… and seems willing to do anything except play with SweetP.

9:20 I read a book, ostensibly to SweetP, but after the first page, everyone is squashed onto the love seat to listen.  I love my job.

9:30 O is done with his work.  I let him and SweetP watch a little Sesame Street.  The other two aren’t so happy about this.  J does Latin exercises aloud, and M flips through her notebook.  She is NOT inspired today.

9:40 J says he doesn’t understand his math.  I look at it.  Division of polynomials.  Do I understand it?  I stall for time and say we’ll work on it later.

10:00 I make O try on his pants so I can hem them.  He keeps trying to pretend I’ve stuck a pin in his foot.  If he does it one more time, I just might.  I ask him to go upstairs to find the black thread for me.

10:02 He says he’s looked everywhere and it’s not there.  I send him up again with express instructions.

10:03 He returns empty-handed.  I explain again where it is.

10:03:15 He’s back.  No thread.

10:03:50 J returns with two spools of black thread.  In tears, O falls down on the floor saying J didn’t wait for him (O) to look for it.

10:04:30 I show O how to crochet. He loves finger-knitting so much I’m sure this will be a hit.  I’m wrong.

10:06 He’s done crocheting, but at least he asks if he can Rollerblade.  YES!!!  I spend some time standing over M to get her going.  She does two pages of music theory and a page of math in 7 and a half minutes.

10:14 M and SweetP go upstairs to change clothes.

10:55 We head to the park.  Our friends are there and we spend forty-five minutes with [almost] no whining.  Exercise? Check.  Vitamin D? Check.  Brief teacher conference for the purpose of encouragement? Check.

12:00 We’re home for lunch.  M sets the table while I make quesadillas.  SweetP has a tantrum over… actually, I’m not quite sure what it was about.  After three minutes of crying, she wails, “I’m hungry!!!”  Ah, that was the reason.

12:15 We’re at the table and I’ve eaten enough to begin reading.  We read Proverbs 3:5-6, and J gives an example from his reading to illustrate the idea of Trusting in the Lord and not on your own understanding.

12:17 A chapter of Foster’s The Life of Christopher Columbus and Sons.  Then a second chapter, by popular request.

12:30 Make more quesadillas.

12:32 The Long Winter, the chapter called “Wheat in the Wall”.  We had a lively discussion the other day on whether Almanzo would share his seed wheat or let the town starve.  Today we found out the answer.  I only cried twice.

12:45 I read a book (A Chair for My Mother) and tuck SweetP in for her rest time.  Everyone else heads upstairs.

1:02 M is screaming for me about how she needs more kleenex.  I’m so irritated I can’t help myself, and I throw the box into her room (but don’t hit her with it).  I don’t know why she is so able to push my buttons.  It’s uncanny, really.

1:03 I review Division of Polynomials.  Oh, yes.  Now I remember.

1:15 SweetP is asleep.  Thank goodness.  I check my some blogs, my email and log into the remote computer for my office to check labs.

1:45 (Where did that half hour go?)  J comes down so I can teach him polynomial division.

2:00 O and M come down.  O reads his two chapters to me.

2:10  O has his free computer time.  Everyone else whines that they want to watch, but their work isn’t done.  Oh, well.

2:20 O is done and doesn’t know what to do with himself.  He tries crocheting for another five minutes.  Finally he decides to read.  I sit down with M.  She does the rest of her notebook work; I mend the too-long pants.  We plod through the rest of J’s and M’s work (reading, writing in their journals, checking on their science experiments-in-progress, practicing the poems they’re memorizing.)

3:15 SweetP wakes up.  I vacuum the room where she was sleeping and the stairs.  She and Owen watch part of Wild Kratts.  Everyone else is still working (Rosetta Stone, Latin…)

3:55 Everyone finishes.  They all pour over the Rainbow Resources catalog, then build stuff out of recycling.  I find everyone’s swimming gear and get dinner started.

4:30 They sit down to spaghetti and meatballs.  I read Paddington to them.

5:00 We’re in the car to drive the swim team carpool.  Renee will keep SweetP until Sam can get home.

5:30 I drop the big kids off at the pool and plan to go to a coffee shop for an hour, but I pass the new yarn store… and double back to pop in.

5:55  $17.35 later and without being super impressed by this store (I think I’ll keep my Denver shop) I drive back to the pool and park.  I pull out my laptop and notecards to blast through the writing block I’ve been having.  (Editing block?)  Sometimes all we need is a change of scene, right?

7:20 The kids are out.  We drive home and have “swimming yogurts” (these aren’t yogurts with chlorine. they’re just the individual cups we save as a post-swimming treat) and leftover birthday cake.  By eight, everyone is in bed (although M is yelling for me again).

8:15 Cut Sam’s hair.

8:30 Search through Ambleside online’s original Charlotte Mason writings for our next CM group’s reading… I’m having a hard time narrowing it down to less than 70 pages.  Does that mean I’m feeling insecure, or just that she really had a lot of good things to say?  I’m hoping the latter.

9:15  Good night.


10 thoughts on “A Day in the Life: October 2011

  1. Annie,
    This post delighted me so much. Truly. I loved this– feeling like I was there with you through your day, and nodding and saying “me too!” a couple of times. Your “I love my job” thought when all the kids came to listen in to the book, too? Yes. And when O was pretending about the pin being stuck in his foot and you said you just might? Funny. 😉 And when O can’t find the thread- again and again? Oh, my… yes. And when he was sad b/c J found it and he hadn’t been there? Uh- YES. Those moments fill my days, too. What a good, full, day of life lived alongside your kids. Good job, mama. 🙂



  2. It’s 9:25 – my boys are still in their pajamas, playing with cars. Cora is asleep on the changing table. My hair is in a towel while I sit here reading blogs… Fridays are not our most productive day. 😉 LOL.

    Your Day in the Life was inspiring! You got so much done. And I love that you were thinking of poking O’s foot. 😉


  3. I love this. I am tempted to try it, but I’m afraid of what my day will look like. I think I’ll try it. 🙂

    I must know… What is a ticket?? I am very interested in discipline a la Sam and Anne.

    We’re going to try and book a flight today. We’ll call you.


    • Tonya, This summer we began a “ticket system” with J, O, and M. The goal was two-fold: 1) to help them change not only behavior, but bad attitudes, and 2) to eliminate the tongue-lashing that I give (and which undermines) any genuine remorse on their part(s). I have to say that the second goal was easier to meet (and SO NEEDED): I say, “You’ve lost a ticket. That was a bad choice.” And then I’m done. I’m not yabbering on about how what they did was awful. I’ve only ever taken a third ticket twice for anyone, but it seems to be giving them pause, and helping to identify problem behavior and attitudes without my over-the-top verbalization. Kendra posted about it here: http://www.preschoolersandpeace.com/pandpblog/2011/7/5/thats-the-ticket-discipline-for-the-middle-kids.html. Hope that works. Looking forward to seeing you.


  4. Oh, I love this idea. Owen has just recently “grown out of” some our our old methods, and I have really been at a loss lately. And, oh man, are they pros at knowing when we’re at a loss! Mine are, anyway.

    I am very aware of the fact that before I try this, I need to make myself ok with leaving him in his room ALL DAY……..


  5. Pingback: First week of school: a summary | Learning As We Go

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