You Asked: A Day in the Life....

Well, you kinda asked...

Emily wrote:

Hi Jen,
Here’s a thought for a future post (which I’m sure you thought of already)…any suggestions for back to school/keeping things (kids) organized in the morning before school/making lunches, etc.  You’ve got a full house in the morning plus daycare kids coming in, I’m betting you have a great system for running things smoothly.
Thanks so much!

And when I started to think about it, so much of how my mornings run smoothly is due to things I do in the evening, so why not do a quick, "Day in the Life" vs. "Morning in the Life"...

** Fine Print:  Some of the photos were snapped over the series of a couple of days due to limited availability of a photographer {a.k.a. my man}.  Of course as anyone knows, not every day could go off without a hitch... as organized as we try to be, things come up, such is life!  The day I am about to outline is a typical weekday school day. **

The most important thing that get's us through our day?  It's not a calendar, mail bins or a "To Do" list... 

It's all about routine for this fam!  Each and every day our kiddos can know what to expect, because we do a really good job keeping a very typical routine from day to day.  This is especially true to our mornings, as evenings can always throw a curve ball when there are school events or other things that may come up.  

Here is a quick peek at what a typical day in the Jones' household looks like:

{click to enlarge}

The colors are for each of our family members... {I am pink, my main man Bryan is blue, P1 is green, P2 is yellow and P3 is orange}.  It shows us what's going on at which time by whom... 

Are you ready?  Here we go!

6:30 a.m. - Rise & Shine!  Time for Bryan and I to hop out of bed and take on a new day!

6:30 - 7:00 a.m. - Beautify {basically meaning time for a quick shower, some toothpaste, mascara and a ponytail holder}

7:00 a.m. - This is when the day really gets going.  Bryan and I tag team waking up our two oldest boys for school.  They then head straight to their clothes bins to get dressed for the day.

Once the boys are dressed, they go brush their teeth while I start making breakfast and Bryan goes to feed the pooch.

7:30 a.m. - By now daycare kiddos have started showing up {of course I can't disclose their info/pics for privacy reasons} and I am now serving all school aged kiddos their breakfast, or should I say "Round 1 of Breakfast".

While they are eating up their morning grub, I start packing up their backpacks with their lunches and folders and anything else they should need for their day.  Mr. Bryan heads off to work.

7:50 a.m. I take the kiddos out front where I send them off to the bus stop, watching from the porch.

Only 9 years old and already embarrassed by mom!

They head off to school for the day....

8:00 a.m. - I wake up my youngest, little Parker and get him dressed for the day {and maybe snuggle a little}.

8:15 a.m. - I enjoy some "Round 2" breakfast with my little man {and his daycare buddies}.

8:30 - 11:30 a.m. - This is the best part of the day.  I get to PLAY PLAY PLAY!  We do all sorts of fun things... like paint

And play Play-Doh

And work on writing

11:00 a.m. - I start making lunch and by 

11:30 a.m. - The kiddos are eating their lunch... and I try to also!

12:00 - 3:00 - More play time, but now we are probably reading stories

Taking a walk or playing outside

Or baking our afternoon snack

Oh yes!  Each and every Thursday we bake a treat together.  And it's usually something pretty delish and not so very healthy... like M&M cookies!

Of course my day can't be all play all day.  I make sure that I hand wash all dishes and vacuum the kitchen floor after each meal, maybe toss in and switch a load of laundry, and ensure the bathrooms are wiped up.  Other than following behind the kiddos and picking up some toys, this is the extent of my daily cleaning.

3:05 p.m. My big boys are home from school and we dig into our snack!

4:00 - 5:00 p.m. - All my daycare munchkins have headed back home for the day, and I am relieved of kid duties for a little while to get some blog indulgence in.  While I am chilling at my new desk space either reading, writing or responding, our family is being spoiled by my husbands great cooking talents.

I love when I get a little visitor!

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. We all sit in the kitchen and enjoy a meal together, chatting about our highs and lows of the day.  We also work together to get it cleaned up as soon as our bellies are filled!

6:00 p.m. - Homework time!

At this point we look through the boys papers and folders and review one on one with each of them, their schoolwork.  They also work on any take home assignments.  This is also the time when I write down all information into my daily planner, that they bring home from school {like spelling test days, library days, show and tell days... all based on what papers come home}

When it comes to school papers, I only keep papers that are informative and that need to be referenced later, and those become filed in the boys personal mail bin.  Once we go over their papers one on one, I recycle their daily work.  The "important to mom and dad" work they brought home {milestone tests, handwritten stories, etc...}, are also placed in their bins as well, to be filed into their personal school memory binders.

It melts my heart that the boys actually enjoy their homework time!

6:30 p.m. - FAMILY TIME!  We do all sorts of things to fill this time, like play games, take a walk, play outside, or maybe even indulge in a quick family show.  All that matters is that we are doing something together.

7:00 p.m. - Back to business!  Time for the boys to take their showers and brush their teeth.  While they are doing that, mom and dad are putting away laundry and picking out their clothes for the next day.  

7:30 p.m. - Read!

Each kid gets to read a story with mom.  Or sometimes we have Preston {P1} read to all of us.  Then, it's lights out!

7:45 p.m.  Kiddos are officially in bed, after going potty and snagging a quick sip of water... 

7:45 - 8:00 p.m. - The hubs and I scramble through the house to do our full house "pick up", just tidying things up for the next day.  Making sure counters are wiped up, picking up any stray toys, folding blankets...

8:00 p.m.  - We make lunches and check our meal plan.

We definitely find our mornings go a lot smoother when we take a couple of minutes the night before for some lunch making.  We also check our meal plan to determine what foods need to be taken out for breakfast, lunch or dinner....

How else would I ensure that my frozen raspberries were thawed in time for morning breakfast?

8:15 - 9:30 p.m. - Back to the biz.  I have boatloads of work to get done to move forward with launching up my second business.  And I am lucky enough that my hubs agrees to give me time to myself.  Probably because that means he also gets some time to himself too.  I am beyond fortunate to be with my kiddos all day, however, these spurts of alone time are extremely appreciated and crucial for me to keep my sanity in check.  It's my way of taking a moment to unwind and escape.  Something everyone should take time to do in their own ways...

While I hang out and blog or work on the "biz"... my guy is probably watching the tube, fixing a computer or playing a video game.  And good for him for getting his time too!

9:30 - 10:30 p.m. - Time for some Bryan and Jen time.  Computer off.... it's time to bond.  This could mean a heated game of Sequence or laughing at some DVR'd Chelsea Lately episodes.

10:30 p.m.  - Time to "de-beautify", wash the face, brush the teeth and get ready for some much needed rest.

11:00 p.m. - Lights out for ma and pa.

You still with me or did you nod off?

After that quick example of our day, you may be wondering some of the following questions:

1.  What are the most essential things that keep us on track? 
  • Again, routine is by far the most important.  Kids are creatures of routine!
  • My daily planner.  Everything goes in there.  Every event.  Every school need.  Every appointment.  Everything that comes in the mail.  It all get's written down in there.  I would be lost without it and I check it multiple times a day.
  • Our memo station is the hub of all our documents.  It's always the first place I look for everything, and usually the last place I have to look as well, since it's all always there!
  • Our meal plan.  We eat at least 4 meals in this home each day, and having them all planned for us on Sunday for the whole week, makes preparing each meal so much easier and saves us boatloads on eating out.
  • And lastly, the clothes bins.  Having our kiddos clothes placed out in a specific bin for them always assists in an easier morning for everyone!
2.  When do you work on projects?  Sometimes we do our house projects during "Bryan and Jen" time.  Nothing says "relationship building" more than building something together.  Otherwise, they get tackled on the weekends in any free time....

3.  When do you organize?  This kind of goes hand in hand with the house projects thing.  I may snag up some of my blog time to organize... or conquer bigger organizing tasks and projects over the weekend.  Or sometimes throughout the day, I am organizing without even realizing it, just by putting things away and purging out unnecessary items.  I try to slot 15 minutes total in any day for some type of organizing or cleaning task.

4.  When do you get all that cleaning on your cleaning checklist done?  Throughout the week as needed.  One day we might wipe down the glass to rid it of fingers and dog nose marks, the next we might snag the duster...  I am a big fan of doing my chores sporadically and as time permits vs. spending hours in a cleaning rage {although that has happened} right before guests come for a weekend dinner.

5.   Any final advice?  Whenever possible, we try to divide and conquer.  We really crutch on one another to get in our personal time and make the most of our time with the kids.  We tag team bath time, making lunches, taking care of the pooch, and cleaning.  Also, putting down our schedule on paper and looking at it really made it make a lot more sense and allowed us to see what all we wanted to accomplish in any given day.  Again, we can't have this perfect day every day, but we can do our best to accomplish and prioritize the things that matter most.  Lastly, it's all about flexibility and learning from day to day.  If something isn't working, it's always easy to make a change to drive to a happier, more fulfilling lifestyle!

Thanks for the great question and blog post idea Emily! 

Now it's your turn {my favorite part!}  What are your secrets for a successful routine/day?  What are your essentials to set you up for smooth sailing?  What are your biggest daily hiccups that could use a glass of saltwater to be washed away? 

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