January 30, 2013

a day in the life - elisabeth

Yesterday I was really lacking energy.  So I'm crossing my fingers for a little more today.  Need to be productive!  Today you get a little peek at Elisabeth's day.  Enjoy!


Hi. I'm Elisabeth with an "s". A little bit quirky (I put salt on my watermelon), a touch wonky (I smell every book I read), and borderline "un-domestic"(I iron once every six months, and can't sew a button to save my life). I'm also a self-proclaimed pessimist (comes from my father). Thankfully, I have a loving, patient husband, and adorably spunky daughter.

Both my husband and I work from home; it's a unique dynamic and comes with its share of challenges, but we wouldn't trade it for the world. It can be stressful to juggle laundry and diaper changes and spilled milk (literally) AND deadlines (I'm a biologist with an environmental-tech consulting company) and conference calls and never-ending e-mails (I also work part-time for a local university) all at the same time. But we make it work.

I've gone ahead and described an "average" day in our house. It was tempting to pick our busiest, most exciting day to share - you know, the rare one where I actually manage to slap some makeup on my face, and we sit around tables with other little girls sipping make-believe tea. But that would give you the wrong idea. See, most of the time, toys are scattered everywhere, I haven't showered in a couple of days, and something is in the process of boiling over on the stove. And, in the time since I received Ashley's e-mail, I've neglected to take my camera along for "the ride" every. single. day. I plead Mommy brain...


6:00-7:00 At some point, we'll hear the familiar "Mama, snuggle...Daddy, kisses" that quashes any lingering hopes of sleeping in. Little A stays in her bed, with or without whining, until 6:30 and then based on her mood (and my own), we'll get up.

6:45-7:15 A handful of Cheerios (I place them in a ice cube tray like this - she adores it), milk, and toys - she's good to go. I check e-mails, sip tea, and play with her on the couch. Aside from hating mornings, this is my favourite time of the day.


7:15-7:45 Breakfast. Cereal (Raisin Bran, without the raisins...she's on a raisin strike), yogurt, parfaits, applesauce, toast, or scrambled eggs.

8:00 By now, it's time to get dressed for the day; then we play some more. Building blocks, colouring, hide-and-seek, and reading books are tried-and-true fav's. These activities have just changed in complexity as she gets older (like now we name the colours of every block, and count how many we've stacked).


8:30-9:00 Independent playtime. I have followed (loosely), a number of the general principles of Babywise/the Baby Whisperer. I take everything with a grain of salt, and tailor techniques to fit our lifestyle and inclinations. But this independent playtime - it's a winner. For 30 minutes Little A plays contentedly in her room, surrounded by toys, listening to music. We'll hear maraca's one minute and her jabbering on her playphone talking to "Grampie" the next. I shower, do dishes, make phones calls... We set a timer (which she insists on watching us set), and when it goes off, playtime is over...and she gets to play with the timer. It's priceless.


9:00-9:45 More play. Occasionally we watch a short YouTube video (especially these vidzforkidz videos). We're pretty adamant about no (extended) TV viewing, but since we have a three monitor setup in our office, this allows her to enjoy a few minutes of "screen time" while I use another monitor to answer e-mails, get started on my work for the day etc., all the while being able to hold and snuggle her.


9:45-11:30 Outings. Some days this just means walking outside to get the mail. It could also be church (Sunday), Bible Study (Tuesday), Library Story Time (Thursday), or Farmers Market (Saturday). In the summer, we went on family walks (10-14km/day), but Canadian winters are pretty harsh, so outside time has been more limited of late.


11:45-12:15 Lunch time. I dread this every day. I am so unimaginative when it comes to lunch ideas. Hummus and crackers. Cheese. Grilled cheese. Spinach fritters. Baked beans. Banana Bread. Occasionally leftovers (but usually these get reused for supper).

12:30-1:00 Nap prep. Finish lunch, change diaper, pick up toys, and wind down for a nap. We have this down to a science. Again, Babywise principles have played a huge part in how well naps/bedtime goes. I'm absolutely convinced of this. We recently dropped the soother, which seems to have made falling asleep even easier. We read a few books, sing a few songs, and then she lays down. After kisses from Daddy...we're good to go.


1:00-3:00 Mommy time. I generally spend the first 30 minutes relaxing. I do my daily Bible reading, catch up on blogs, respond to personal e-mails. Relax. Then it's full-on work mode. I send e-mails, contact clients, manage spreadsheets, and make any calls that are too important to handle with a little chatty sidekick chiming in. There is never enough time to accomplish all my tasks. I'll try to squeeze in some meal prep if we aren't having leftovers. Once every few weeks, I'll give in to the urge and take a nap.


2:30-3:00 Up from a nap. I used to leave her for a predetermined amount of time, but now that she wakes up wanting "Mama" immediately or sooner, after letting her fuss a few minutes (she often does this in between sleep cycles and falls back to sleep) to make sure she's actually not going to go back asleep, I get her up. Life's too short to cry over short naps. Though I still do sometimes...

3:00-3:30 Snuggle time, milk.

3:30-5:00 Play/outing. A walk, playing outside. Occasionally a playdate, errands, a pre-planned activity (making cookies together, playing with sensory bins, playdough, or colouring).


5:00-5:30 Final prep for supper. This can be rough. Usually we're all starting to get weary, and there are lots of requests for "Snuggle, Mama" which is infinitely more difficult when trying to stir pots and chop veggies and set tables.

5:30-6:15 Supper. We always, always, always sit down for this meal together. We start with prayer - we all hold hands (she insists), and she is starting to close her eyes which is adorable. Amen is her favourite part. She'll often request "Grace" multiple times during a meal, just so she can say "Amen" and see our response. Mealtimes are pretty smooth sailing. If she's teething, she basically refuses to eat. If she's not teething, she'll eat until we pull the plug. I always try to include things she likes in each meal but, ultimately, what is served is what's available. I don't make two different meals. The result - a broad palate, including an appreciation for, get this, wasabi! She has inherited a love for desserts too, so most evenings we top it off with some applesauce and a small cookie.

6:15-6:45 Bath time. We usually bath/shower every other night. If she's particularly tired/had a bad nap, she can go to bed as early as 6:30. Most nights it's about 7:00.

7:00 She LOVES the time leading up to bedtime. She had a small sippy of milk, "reads" her books, and is just so happy and cheerful. She'll hide in her room and then run out waiting for us to scare her (the kid LOVES to be scared). We brush teeth (not a favourite activity, and she voices her dissatisfaction LOUDLY), and then I tell her it's bedtime. She runs, literally, to her bedroom. We sing more songs (Only You, Edelweiss and Twinkle, Twinkle are favourites; after each song, she always, always says "again"...). Then a quick prayer, and another plea for "Kisses, Daddy" as she slinks into her bed and hides, giggling the whole while.

One of our favourite bed-time reads.  via

7:00 - Peace...

7:00-7:30 I relax. Browse the internet/check e-mail, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa or a special dessert.


7:30-9:00 Work. I continue on paid work tasks, like filtering through my inbox and any lingering issues that need sorting. I do house tasks too like dishes, cleaning, making grocery lists, phone calls. If we haven't been out for a walk, I might try to squeeze in an exercise video.

9:00-10:00 More me time. I'll read a book, take a shower, maybe watch a short TV show.


10:00-11:00 Watch TV with the hubby. We love old sitcoms and just finished Frasier; we'll watch an episode or two every night, talk about our day, make sure we're up-to-date on the following days schedule, etc.,

11:00-11:15 More reading/TV/final kitchen cleanup/lights out.


What is the most surprising thing to you about being a mom?

Wow - this is a loaded question because it was sooo different from what I imagined. If I had to summarize motherhood in one word - intense. Intense feelings ranging from fear, excitement, frustration, guilt. Ah, the guilt. I never anticipated so much guilt. You feel guilty for sleeping arrangements, feeding habits, soother use...every.single.thing elicits guilt, both self-induced and from outside pressure. And then, of course, there is the intense love. A love like you've never experienced before, because it is reserved only for the special relationship between a mother and child. You feel like you would, very literally, do anything for your child.

What advice would you give to new or soon-to-be mamas?

Whoa. Again, I feel like I could write for days on this topic. Here are a few things to come to mind.

Take care of yourself. The first six months I felt like a zombie. Looked like one too. Get a facial, try to get back into an exercise routine. Shower and put on makeup whenever possible. Hire a babysitter even if you can't afford one. Talk about your feelings: good (I'm so in love with my perfect baby) and bad (how can I possibly be crying so much; why do I feel sad all the time). FREEZE LOTS OF MEALS ahead of time. I was amazed how difficult even getting around to eating a bowl of cereal would be. Some babies cry all the time. It's not your fault, and sometimes there is absolutely nothing wrong. It does not reflect your worth as a mother.

What are your top three baby products?

MAM pacifiers (the only kind my daughter would take, and I always joke they are the brand I would want to use...you know...if I ever needed a pacifier for some reason!).

Zippered pajamas - you can never have enough. I personally detest the snap kind, and never liked the nightgowns (although I'm sure lots of moms would include those on a must-have list). I like the footed jammies from the Children's Place the best.

Formula mixing containers - Although I pumped for four months, I had major issues with BF; and I despised making up formula. That is until I started mixing it in a BPA-free Rubbermaid container. Worked like a charm. No muss, no fuss. Easy pouring feature too.


Thank you for sharing your day with us Elisabeth!

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