October 30, 2013

a day in the life - jenny

This morning I have a very heavy heart.  It isn't my place to share details right now, just know there is a very sweet little five-year-old girl who could use lots of prayers for strength and healing.  I would very much appreciate you adding this precious little Kansas girl to your thoughts.


Hi!  I'm Jenny, a Montessori teacher turned stay at home mom.  I blog about life with my almost 18 month old daughter, Ruby, over at We G Three.  I'm excited to share our day with you again over here on Ashley's blog - the last time I did it was over a year ago, Ruby has grown up so much!

Here's a peek at a day in our life.  Our Mondays and Tuesdays are crazy and we're out of the house most of the day.  The rest of the week tends to either be just as busy, or we stay home all day, so I guess we don't have a "typical" everyday!  This day was a Thursday with a little bit of both.


6:38 - I wake up to Mr. G getting ready for work.  I'm a horrible sleeper, and know I won't be able to fall back to sleep, so I grab my phone and check on the internet for a bit.  After reading blogs, and checking facebook and instagram, I jump in the shower and then dress.  Ruby is still asleep, so I put on my makeup too.

8:00 - Ruby is still asleep, in spite of the fact that there seem to be landscapers with leaf blowers or hedge trimmers right outside her window!  I go downstairs to get coffee made, pour Ruby's sippy of milk, and defrost a zucchini muffin for her.  She's still sleeping, but we have a morning playdate, so I have to go wake her up.

8:15 - I go in and wake the little miss up.  She immediately asks for "Braids", our dog, and gets excited when Braidy makes her way in too.


I change Ruby's diaper and tell her that the sound she hears is guys outside landscaping.  She entertains herself saying, "guy, guy, guy, guy" over and over, then says, "leaves?".  Which blows my mind, because, how did she know they were blowing leaves?!?

We head down for breakfast.  She requests cheese, which she does for every meal and snack.  I compromise and make scrambled eggs with cheese, in addition to her muffin and banana.  She also requests to "dance dance", so I turn on Pandora on my phone.  Who doesn't love a breakfast dance party?

Ruby is taking forevvvvver with her breakfast, and we need to get a move on.  I'm about to cut her off, when she says, "all done!" and rips her bib off...  then proceeds to stuff her face with food.  Um, ok?  I tell her we are going to go see her buddy James, and she gets very excited and points at her chest (which is what she does when she really wants something).  I'd packed up her diaper bag while she was eating, so we hustle up the stairs for a diaper change and to get her dressed and dry my hair.

9:35 - Time to hit the road!  It is crazy foggy out this morning.  We pull out of our neighborhood, and I peep the Starbucks drive thru line.  It's stacked up 12 cars deep (!), so that's a no-go.  Maybe we'll take a walk down there later.  Hop on the freeway, and I'm glad for my carpool buddy, since traffic is still kind of heavy.

9:50 - We arrive at the Children's Museum for our playdate with Ruby's buddy James and his mama Jessie.

Still foggy out there!

The Children's Museum is in a mall, and I decide to let Ruby walk in there, which she loves.  She sees a workman up through the skylight cleaning it, and becomes obsessed.  Again with the saying, "guy, guy, guy, guy" over and over and pointing up.  Which means walking takes a long time, haha.  A woman sees her walking and tells her she's doing a great job.  She looks really familiar to me, and we quickly realize we know each other!  It's our neighbor, Sarah, whom we've met a few times before out on walks with our dogs and kids.  We chat a bit, then make our way to the museum.

Jessie and James arrive a few minutes later, and we head into the Children's Museum.  The kiddos first check out the 0-3 area, where Ruby rides a Roddy, they play with trains, in a play kitchen, and explore these little sensory houses that each focus on one of the senses.

James is way more high energy than Ruby, so we lose them for a while, but catch back up in the all-ages water area (where we pretty quickly lose him and Jessie again, lol).  Ruby has a blast throwing balls in.

Once she gets tired of the water area, we head over to "the garage".  We find James and Jessie inside a (real) Mack truck, and the kids take turns steering and turning the key.  Also in that area are a giant lite-brite, pneumatic things that shoot balls and scarves, toys for building, and chalk and crayons.  Ruby and James explore it all (and move so fast that I never get a picture of them together - sad!!!), and pretty soon Jessie and I can tell that they are tired and have had enough.

11:45 - We say our goodbyes and leave the Children's Museum.  I'm really pushing it with lunch/naptime, but we need to make a quick stop at Trader Joe's on the way home, and I know it will be better to do it now than later.  We also do a quick trunk-change of the diaper.

Ruby is a great shopping buddy, and is a trooper in the store - especially when we find they are handing out samples of cheese!  It's smoked mozzarella, and I wasn't sure Ruby'd go for it, but she eats my whole piece.  Guess she liked it!

12:45 - We are home, and I haul everything upstairs (our garage is the first floor - ask me how much fun that is with a baby!) and get lunch together.  Ruby pulls leftover pasta with veggies out of the fridge, so I take that as a sign and serve it up to her with some strawberries and a piece of turkey.  Meanwhile, I eat half of a falafel wrap from TJ's that I treated myself to.

Telling me she'd like some more strawberries.

After lunch, we rush upstairs since it's so late already, do a quick diaper change, and read stories.  Ruby chooses Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman and Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara.  We finish reading, she requests I sing Row Row Your Boat, then I give her a kiss and tuck her in with her blanket and dog stuffed animal.

1:30 - Ruby is asleep, so it's work time for this mama!  I go through and delete all the dud pictures from the morning, then try to fix our internet which has been non-working since we had a power outage yesterday.  I fail.  Argh.  I haven't made Ruby's Halloween costume yet, so I cut the tulle I need for her tutu so that it's ready once I've sewn the elastic.  Side note - glitter tulle = not worth it.  Serious PITA to work with, and my house now looks like a Ke$ha concert.

Once that's done, I text my husband about the internet, then I get down to the real business.  Ruby goes to an amazing parent co-op toddler school, and they are having a craft fair in a couple weeks.  I decided to bite the bullet and sign up to be a vendor!  Which means I pretty much spend all of my free time lately crocheting hats and hairbows.  I start by doing some finishing work on a couple of them; weaving ends, and sewing on pompoms.

2:39 - Ruby wakes up and cries out.  I stare at the monitor, hoping that she goes back to sleep.  She does.  Phew.

I get another hat started, and basically finish the whole base of it (I'll embellish it tomorrow - this one will have dino spikes).  Ruby is still asleep, so I start another one.   The entire time I'm working, an alarm is going off outside.  It's making me crazy!

Hats, hats, hats.

4:06 - I hear, "Mama?  Braids?" on the monitor.  Ruby is up.  Long nap!  The Children's Museum must have really worn her out!  I change her diaper, and Mr. G texts me to say that he had the fiberoptic company reboot our house (?) and that the internet should work now.  It does!  Yay!

Ruby and I head downstairs.  I ask her if she wants a snack, and of course, she says "cheese", so I oblige her.  It's too late now to walk to Starbucks, but we bundle up anyway (it is still crazy foggy) and head outside to blow bubbles.

Ruby remembers that the "guys" were out here earlier with the leaves.  She's excited to find "leafthsh!", but keeps asking about the guys.  Haha.

As it always does, bubble time turns into "pick up all the rocks I can find" time.  But we also take a little walk to look for the guys.  Spoiler alert - we don't find them.

"What?  No, I don't have any rocks..."

Just before we head in, our next door neighbor, Samantha, comes down the walk with her dog and 8 week old baby girl.  We chat for a little bit, and Ruby gets to pet their huge dog, which makes her day.

4:55 - Ruby and I head inside to start dinner.  I don't really feel like cooking, so I pull out some pumpkin and bat shaped ravioli that we got recently at Costco.  I start to question my sanity, because... the bats are black.  I'm not usually one to buy black food, so I check the ingredients.  It says the pasta is dyed with "natural black liquid".  Um... what???  Why did I even buy this (probably because I get like Mitchell from Modern Family when I enter a Costco...)?  I have no idea what "natural black liquid" is, but the water is boiling, so I just go with it.  

During this time, Ruby occupies herself for about a minute making impressive stacks with our Magic Bullet cups.

Of course, like she always does when I'm cooking dinner, she decides she'd rather me hold her.  Nothing makes this girl want me to pick her up like me cooking hot things!  I hold her when I safely can (not much), and get some veggies heated up for her, and salad out for the grown-ups.

5:20 - Mr. G walks in just as dinner is ready.  Ruby and the dog are equally excited to see him.  We all sit down with our food and tell each other about our days.  It turns out, the bats (and pumpkins) are pretty good.  It's Ruby's first time eating ravioli of any type, and she eats a ton.

Please note the dog licking her chops in the background - an every night occurrence.

6:00 - Dinner is over and the kitchen is cleaned.  Mr. G and Ruby are down in the living room playing.  I get out my sewing machine to work on Ruby's Halloween costume.  She's going as a black cat, and while I quickly get the elastic sewn for her tutu, it takes me way longer than I wanted/expected to figure out the tail.  It is not a bath night, so Ruby should be playing during this time, but of course, since I'm trying to get something done, she keeps coming back up to me.  

7:00 - I've finally got the tail figured out, so I try it on Ruby.  It doesn't stand up like I intended, but it still looks pretty cute, and she walks around meowing with a big smile on her face, so I'll call that success.  We goof around for a bit, then I grab her a sippy of water and we head upstairs.

7:15 - Ruby and I get our jams on, and I take her into my bathroom so that we can brush our teeth (she's way better about it if we brush together).  Ruby finds some faux pearls on my counter, so she puts on her finery while I wash my face.

Once we're all ready, Mr. G comes up to say goodnight.  Ruby chooses her stories for the night - Night-Night, Forest Friends by Annie Bach and Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex.  We snuggle up on my bed and read them together.

7:45 - Lights out.  I snuggle with Ruby until she falls asleep, then carry her down the hall, put her in her crib, and cover her with a blanket.  After I close Ruby's door, I head back to my room, turn the light back on, and the tv, and pick up the hat I started earlier.  I do several more rows before I realize I'm pretty darn tired!  Mr. G comes back up, and we watch Covert Affairs, which we're not really sure we're into, then switch to the news.  I set the timer on the tv and am pretty much out like a light after that!

Now, for Ashley's questions:

1.)  What is the most surprising thing for you about being a mom?
My answer to this question changes from time to time, but right now, it's how much I love toddlerhood!  I was terrified by the word "toddler".  But so far, it is totally awesome.  I know that Ruby has plenty of time to make me eat my words, but I am loving this stage so much.  She understands everything I say, and can respond now!  She walks!  She's inquisitive, but she doesn't go looking for trouble.  She loves to help me around the house.  She's generally pretty compliant, and it takes a lot to ruffle her feathers.  I know that my excitement for this age has a lot to do with who Ruby is personality-wise, but I am pretty happy that so far toddlerhood isn't the scary, screaming mess I thought it would be.

2.)  What advice would you give to new or soon-to-be mamas?
It's ok to say never.  You're going to hear "never say never" a lot.  Which is actually pretty good advice, too, since flexibility in parenting is important.  But if you feel strongly about something, it IS ok to stick to your guns!  I know I often feel like I follow the parenting road less travelled, but when I look back on Ruby's life so far, and who she is right now, I feel the most at peace with the decisions we made that others might have said "don't say you'll never do that!".

3.)  What are your top three baby products?
*Cloth diapers.  We've been using cloth since the day Ruby came home from the hospital, and we're still going strong 18 months later!  They're easy to use, cute, and we've never had the dreaded "poosplosion", even back in the newborn days.  Plus, not having to buy diapers means more money in our pockets!  Our favorite brands/styles are Bum Genius 4.0s and old-style Elementals, and Swaddlebees Simplex all in ones for day time, and Sustainablebabyish and Bububebe fitteds for nighttime.

*Rain or Shine Kids pouch.  This is probably the one piece of baby gear I have that random strangers ask me about more than any other.  Probably because it's awesome!  I tie it to the stroller to keep Ruby warm and DRY (in Washington, dry is a hot commodity).  She can't kick it off, and the pouch style ensures that her feet stay covered the whole time (it also helped contain her socks that she did kick off when she was smaller).  I mostly do back-carries with out Beco now that she's heavier, but when I did/do wear her on the front, the pouch can tie to the carrier, too!  And it has a pocket for your hands when using it with a carrier.  Bonus!  This thing has been worth every penny.

*Hip Peas hair balm.  This is a recent add to my baby must haves, but I'm pretty excited to have found it, so I'm spreading the word.  Ruby has ca-raaaaaazy hair.  Like, a billion cowlicks (thanks, Mr. G).  It can be really hard to try to tame.  This stuff does a pretty good job.  It also smells really good, and I feel like her hair clips stay in better when she has some in her hair.  It's kind of pricey, but a very little goes a long way.  We have the Hip Peas shampoo, too, and we actually love that a lot more than the Burt's Bees we'd been using in the past, too!


Thanks so much for reading about our day, and thanks for having us, Ashley!


Thank you for sharing your day Jenny!

October 24, 2013

that's what she said

Me:  "Why do you ask so many 'why' questions?"
Ryann:  "I'm built for doing that!"

Ryann:  "The boys are not very big bosses.  Just little bosses.  The girls are the big bosses."

Ryann:  while watching Elsie pull toys out of her basket
"Whoa!  Look at the variety of things she is pulling out!"

Ryann:  "When Grammy is here she gets all the love.  You don't get any."
ouch, but fair enough.

are you kidding me with that face kid?  we are so screwed.

October 23, 2013

a day in the life - tara

Good morning!  Hope you enjoy today's installment of 'a day in the life!'


hi! i'm tara, and i blog over at the brody chronicles.  
i am a mama of a sweet, three year old little boy named brody, i'm a full time pediatric icu nurse, and a runner. my hubby and i work crazy hours and alternate schedules, so my little man goes to school four days a week.  i try to make the one day that we are home together during the week a fun day.  
i choose to document one of our days home together, specifically october 3rd, 2013. 
{b is just a week shy of turning 3}


5:30 am
hubby's alarm goes off... i say good morning and roll back over.  he leaves for work right before 6:00.

6:37 am
b is awake, crying that he wet his bed.  he has been potty trained for almost a year, but we still have a few occasional nighttime accidents.  if there is an upside to an early morning bed wetting, its that once he goes back to sleep, i usually get a few extra hours in myself.  
8:25 am
b is awake, asking for milk and some snuggles in momma's bed.  he watched a little bit of brother bear on the iPad.  i put his wet sheets into the washing machine. 
9:10 am
we had a little mini meltdown over getting out of bed, which resulted in a few minutes in time out.  he is pretty good at letting me know when he is done crying.  
9:15 am
breakfast time. todays request was for cream of wheat soup. b isn't a great eater, so when he requests something, i try to make it work. my breakfast was peanut butter pumpkin oatmeal. it tastes better than it looks.  

9:55 am
making my bed.  i had such a great helper.  i am trying to instill the habit of making my (and brody's) bed each day.  its not going so well, so far :)  move sheets into the dryer. 
10:05 am-11:45 am
we get dressed and head out to the park. we have a great park close to our house with a nature classroom, a lake and a playground. we play on the playground, check out the nature classroom and walk around the lake, then we head back to the car.

12:05-12:30 pm
home from the park, i set brody up with his crayons and some coloring books while i start prepping lunch.  today was grilled cheese, yogurt, grapes and milk. today i am pretty satisfied with how much he eats.  and i didn't have to try to convince him to eat.    

12:50pm-1:00 pm
i put clean sheets on brody's bed, and get him down for his nap. he is starting to fight nap time so i never know if we will actually sleep or have about an hour of quiet time.  while i was waiting to see if he would actually fall sleep, i put on some new jamberry nail wraps (insert shameless plug here, check out my website), did a little yoga and took a shower.  

2:30 pm
b hadn't napped and was in his bed playing with toys.  right when i go to get him up, i realize he's finally asleep.  i took advantage of the extra time and do some laundry and dishes.
3:30 pm
i hear a little voice calling for momma.  he says "momma, i had a good dream... is it time to get up yet?!"

3:35 pm- we settle into the couch for some post nap snuggles.  b requests a movie, and picks wreck it ralph. we  have a snack and spend the next hour and a half watching ralph and felix for the zillionth time. 
5:08 pm
we head out for our night out. b is having a playdate with his little friend trenten, and i am going out to dinner with the girls.  this doesn't happen very often, hooray!

5:20 pm
it starts pouring on us, but we see a pretty rainbow, so that makes it tolerable. 

5:33 pm
the boys run off to play without a second glance. we head out for our girls night. 

5:45 pm
there is a new{isn} natural beauty product store in town, so we stop in for a visit.  the owner Tammy, makes all her products using essential oils and all natural products.  i am trying hard to limit the chemicals in the hair and beauty products i use so i am excited to meet her and ask lots of questions.  unfortunately, she is out tonight, but i was able to check out some great products and promised that i would make another trip in to the store.

we finally make it to dinner at fort hills golf course.  this is a local golf course with a very casual vibe. the cardinals game was on, so we watched the game, chatted and had a nice dinner. 
i had salad, lasagna and we split a piece of chocolate cake. 
7:30 pm
i head back to pick up b from trenten's house and find them having a ball.  trenten's dad said all he heard was giggling and squealing all night long.
we are finally home, now it is bath time, lotion, jammies and bedtime stories. daddy makes it home just about the same time we do.  he eats my leftovers from dinner, and meets us for story time.  

9:00 pm
he is finally out for the night.  we are about an hour past our usual bedtime, but we don't do it often so i don't feel too bad when we are out doing something fun. i spend the next 30 minutes getting my clothes ready for work the next day, washing my face, brushing my teeth, putting my work bag by the door. oh, and finding my keys. 

9:45 pm
hubby and i settle onto the couch for an episode or two of how i met your mother on netflix. i love it, but can't wait to get to the end of this season! 

10:45 pm
i fall into bed and am asleep within minutes!
we don't have what i consider a normal routine, with my crazy day/night rotating schedule, my 12 hour shifts and our hour long commute to work, but we do the best we can and always try to fit some fun into our days.   

ashley asked us to answer three questions... 
while i am a little out of the baby world, i'll do my best to answer them. 

1. what is the most surprising thing to you about being a mom?
i think the biggest thing for me was how much my priorities would change.  when b was born, i was in grad school, with sky high ambitions of becoming a hospital administrator.  in the years since, i have come to learn that i am happy with my job as a nurse, and enjoying the time we have together with my little family.  there will be time to go back to school when b is a little older if i decide that, but right now? i don't want to miss a thing.

2. what advice would you give to new or soon-to-be mamas?
the biggest piece of advice i would like to share is to make time for yourself.  it is really easy to lose your identity when you become a mom.  i can't stress the importance or taking some time for yourself.  go on a run, go to a yoga class, take a bath, just sit and read a book.  go on dates with your hubby.  and don't feel guilty about it.  it has done wonders for me.  i had a rough time with postpartum depression, and looking back, i feel like if i would have asked for help and taken some time just for me, i would have come through a lot more quickly.  even now, as a mother of a toddler, i find that 'me time' is what helps keep me sane!

3. what are your top three baby products?
1)  a video monitor.  we are actually on our second one, the first one was used so much it was worn out.  it is such a relief to just peek at the monitor and see what your little one is doing.  it saved my nerves at the beginning, and now, is easy to see when little man is out of bed playing with toys instead of going to bed. 

2)  the summer infant swaddle wraps.  my hubby couldn't figure out a swaddle to save his life, but that swaddle wrap was just the trick.  it was easy to use, and it let b know when we were getting close to bedtime, plus he was never successful in getting out of it! he slept in it until he was a little over 6 months old.  

3) a sound machine.  something to help block out the noises around the house. we always played the same lullaby, and it helped b fall asleep when we were in a different environment, by having something always the same.  plus, now he still asks me for it sometimes if he is having trouble falling asleep. 

thanks ashley for having me.   i hope you all enjoyed my day in the life post!


Thanks for sharing your day Tara!

October 21, 2013

trust the training

Friday night I had a horrible dream.  When I looked up my race results online it had a big ol' DNF.  Did not finish.  Not really something you want floating in the back of your mind when you're feeling undertrained for a race.  No worries, I won't leave you in suspense.  I finished.  But it wasn't pretty.

I had plans to go to bed early on Friday.  I had everything ready for the morning, brushed my teeth and crawled in to bed at 9:02pm.  Of course then my brain would not shut off.  Why is it that most nights I can barely keep my eyes open after 8pm, but when I actually NEED to go to sleep I'm all hyped up?  Rude life, rude.  I begged Elsie to sleep really good for me.  She didn't listen of course.  She was up at 12:30am.  The good news is after that she slept until I woke her at 5:15am so I could feed her before I left.  So in reality, it is much better than her waking up at 2:30 or 3 or something.  I was able to get a solid chunk of sleep.  But I was still tired.

Christopher was working in the medical tent and had to be there at 6am.  We left at 5:30am.  It was a whopping 32 degrees outside.  Say WHAT?  Definitely the coldest it has been for this race when I've done it.  On the way downtown I ate a granola bar.  When we got there I used the porta potty (blech) and by that point it was only 6:15am or so?  I had a little while to go to the 7am start.  I just kind of walked around and tried to stay warm.  With about ten minutes to go I ate a few honey stingers and decided to worm my way in to the middle of a pace group.  And that is when I made the stupidest decision of the day.  I opted to situate myself with the two hour pacer.

You guys, I hadn't run a two hour pace during any of my training.  Why oh why did I think I could do it today?  Stupid, just plain freaking stupid.  The girl was nice and seemed really peppy.  The people lined up around me were also chatty and nice.  It was great since I was there alone.  I chatted with a girl who was running her first half and assured her she'd be just fine.  When we started the pace felt great.  A nice warm up pace, the pacer was incredibly encouraging, etc.  Talked a little bit with the people around me, and just enjoyed listening to everyone converse to keep my mind off the miles.  As soon as we hit the first hill though, I knew I was in trouble.

terrible picture of me, but whatever.  i'm blaming it on the fact that I had run 13 miles.

The first hill of this half is a bitch.  There is no other way to put it.  Starts out relatively steep, and just keeps going up.  The pacer said we'd take a relaxed pace, and I could tell that she was definitely relaxed, but I was struggling.  But I'm stubborn.  So I kept pushing.  Eventually we made it to the top, and in previous years at that point I was able to really let loose for a few miles.  But I was already spent.  The two hour pacer got in front of me, but I was able to keep her in my sights until halfway through the fifth mile.  But after the aid station at the sixth mile I just couldn't hang, and she was gone.  Suddenly the runners around me were much more sparse and not as chatty.  I wanted to give up.  Nobody gives up on the downhill though, right?  A little before mile 8 I stopped to walk.  As much as it killed me I was physically and mentally done already.  I popped a few more honey stingers.  Walked a bit more, drank some water at the aid station, and tried to keep running.  Of course that is when the next set of hills starts.

I walked a lot on and off between miles 8-10.  I wanted to give up so badly, just stop at an aid station and get someone to take me home.  Wouldn't you know it my phone died.  And my bestie told me she'd meet me at the finish line.  I couldn't flake out on her.  Shortly before the 10th mile I think, there was a woman cheering people on, and she shouted out, "Keep going!  You're doing great!  Trust the training!"  And in that moment, I knew I was going to finish.  She was right, I had to trust my training.  My training was never great, I was never super fast, and I often stopped to walk.  So why was I thinking I could speed through 13 miles without a break?  Just because I've done better before, doesn't mean I could do it today.  And that is ok.


I was still tired and feeling a little defeated as more and more runners passed me.  But I was going to finish.  At the 12th mile the 2:05 pacer came up on my tail.  With only a mile to go I figured if I could stay with them I would come in pretty close to 2:05.  Let me tell you, staying with them was HARD.  My lungs were bursting as I rounded the corner to the finish line.  There was a heavy breathing spitting man to my right, and I convinced myself to push just a little bit harder to get away from him.  I was so close.  SO CLOSE.  And then I saw Meg.  It didn't necessarily give me a burst of energy, but I was happy.  Exhausted and in pain, but happy as I crossed that finish line. With a time of 2:06:32.

Because I didn't give up.  I may not be the fastest runner.  Or even running my best.  But I did it.  I have run four half marathons now.  Each one of them an amazing accomplishment in their own right.  Had I started with the 2:05 pacer I might have had a slightly easier race and been able to stay with the pace group.  I'll never know.  But bam.  First post baby half, over.  Check.

Don't be stupid.  Don't freak out.  Trust your training.


Link up your health and fitness related posts below!

October 16, 2013

a day in the life - amber

I was all proud of myself for scheduling this to publish, except then I never actually hit publish... FAIL.

Hello hump day.  Today is a 'no plans' day as Ryann likes to call them.  So hopefully we'll come up with something good to keep us entertained.  Or at least accomplish some of the errands on my to-do list...

Today I've got a familiar face for you.  Just reading Amber's day exhausts me.  But I hope you enjoy reading about it!  Oh, if some of the spacing looks weird, it isn't Amber's fault.  I have no idea what is going on, I fought with the post for a little while, but ultimately it looked better than where it started so I called it good :o).  Have a good one!


Hi everyone! My name is Amber and I’ve done a day in the life for Ashley before. To look back at that one, click here, life was pretty different then!

Back in June my family left our home of 9 years to be closer to my husband’s job and my upcoming Internship for graduate school. Together we have two kids, Riley is 8 and Aiden is 6.5. They’re in 2nd and 1st grade respectively and though it’s been a long time since I had babies underfoot like most of you, I can still remember life with two under two!

Life right now is SO busy. I am finishing my last semester as a graduate student in Marriage and Family Therapy, which takes up a lot of time. A few months ago I returned to work full time and I balance that with part-time volunteering as a Court Advocate for Foster kids. This basically means that for the next 18 months every single moment of my life is carefully regimented. 

4:50: The alarm goes off. On days when I make it to bed around 9:30 this isn’t so bad because I function pretty well on little sleep. I’m also an early riser and can’t sleep past 6AM even if I wanted to, so I jump right out of bed. I don’t want the alarm to wake the Husband and I usually sleep in my running shorts and tank (motivation people!). 

5:00: I head downstairs and hop on the treadmill. Back when I didn’t work I had time to go to the gym during the day. Those days are lonnngggg gone. Now I would have to be home by 6:15AM for the husband to go to work or my workout would have to wait until 9PM when I finally make it home. And HA! No. 


6:00:  After an hour and about 6.5 miles I’m ready to make my decaffeinated green tea (hello super food!) while I assemble lunches. We have the kids help make them at night so it’s just getting out all the containers, sliding in an ice pack and zipping them up!


I make myself a post-work out snack of peanut butter banana toast, take my vitamins and make coffee for the Hubs. Once he’s out the door I settle down with some grad school work. Today I only have about 45 minutes and it’ll have to do. 

7:00: I wake our kids, who thankfully can fend for themselves now.  My daughter is easy to rise, so I wake my son first and encourage him gently to get up. After I wake my daughter, I go back to him and give a firmer reminder before I hop in the shower. This might sound skeevy but with my thick hair I cannot wash my hair daily or it gets so oily. This morning I don’t and I opt for some dry shampoo instead after I’ve thrown on some make up and gotten dressed. 

7:30: I’m just about ready to go, except shoes and my bag. I work in Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services. This program is basically school/home/community therapy for kids with behavioral issues. I work the same cases week to week so even though I’m always on the move it’s a set schedule and that helps me plan my day.

7:45: I walk the kiddos to the bus stop. School doesn't start for another hour but they have a 45-minute ride to school since we live in a rural area. Man they look big here - and no my son doesn't usually smile for pictures. Ha.


I kiss them goodbye and rush back to the house to get through some housework. I can usually get a surprising amount done in just ten minutes, so you Mama's out there that are struggling with little ones, I promise one day when they aren't underfoot you can achieve Superhuman feats in that quiet time. See below: 

First, I fold and switch the laundry, 

Then I run back upstairs to load and start the dishwasher.


I also set out dinner to slow cook, which for a household with two parents that work outside the home is a TIMESAVER.

8:10: I’m out the door and it’s a 30-minute drive to my first client. I keep track of the miles I drive since I’m an independent contractor, which is tax talk of saying I have to save everything and keep crazy good notes for tax write offs. Sometimes I think I live my life by notebooks. I have about ten of them. 

Here’s a few more I carry with me every day

(and there are more in this bag)

12:45: I am ready to leave my first case. Don't worry, I ate lunch. I just did it walking around a noisy cafeteria. I find my years at home with the kids prepared me well for keeping on the move. I don't even blink if I have to eat with one hand and reprimand/redirect with the other. Piece.of.cake.

I would love to write all the details of my day so I can look back on it years from now. But I can’t talk about most of what I do. I can say that I do it wearing Khakis. 

I love that I can dress casually because it means FLATS since I’m in a school setting with kids and I'm up and down off the ground, on the playground, wherever my clients are I need to be. I learned pretty quick I don't want to do that in fancy dress slacks and heels. I just mistyped heels as "hells" and YEP.

12:47: I'm back in the car and on my way to my next client. Today I need to make a call to set up a new allergist for our daughter. Moving means moving all the aspects of your life and after four months I've finally had a chance to do this. Thank goodness for Bluetooth that's all I've got to say.  I arrive at 1:20. 

3:30: I'm done with my second client of the day which is half the amount of time as the first but twice as much energy. I’m tirrreeeddd as I leave his school but thankfully this time I’ve got an hour break (and only a half hour drive) before my 4:30 client.  Because I’m still finishing up my last term of traditional coursework in graduate school this means I still have plenty I could be doing. Some days, I won’t lie, I just sit in the car, set an alarm and shut my eyes for a minute.

But today I cannot rest because I have to teleconference in to a monthly meeting for one of my CASA cases (I'm a volunteer child advocate). Thankfully this meeting doesn’t really require I do much more than listen and I can do this in the car. Thanks again, Bluetooth.

4:15 I drive by about six McDonalds in my treks during the day. I love McDonalds because I can get a super cheap salad, free WiFi and a bathroom all in one. Today I finish up my call using my earbuds (which I've just realized I didn't clean after my workout. Ew sweaty). I give in and grab some caffeine with my order. There are days where I ignore the pull of that mid-afternoon crash and there are days where I have a major paper due and need to work anyway. I also ate a salad (and forgot to take a picture of it) because I won't get a chance to eat until 9PM tonight and I'm too old now to be eating that late at night anymore. I don't even feel bad about the apple pie today because I ran 6 miles before the sun was up. 

4:25:  I outline my paper and make a mental note of what needs to be done later tonight. When I realize the time I quickly clean up, button up my grad school bag I’ve brought along with me and end my call. Thankfully the meeting was just finishing up anyway so there’s nothing much lost in my ducking out. I make the short drive to my third and last client of the day.

** I want to outline here what’s going on back at my house. Just so no one thinks I’m superhuman. **

3:30 – 5:30: We bring in a local woman to act as a part time nanny/housekeeper (and by part time I mean vverrrryyy part time, think 10 hours a week). She spends about thirty minutes cleaning the things that I just can’t get to like sweeping, vaccumming, wiping counters, watering plants. Then she has ninety minutes with the kids before my husband gets home. She usually keeps them occupied, helps them with homework and chores and makes sure they aren’t at each other throats at the end of the day. Occasionally she will start dinner but today since I’ve got the crockpot going that’s not necessary.

** Now back to me ** 

4:30 – 7:30: My third and final client is in a home setting and when I leave there it's dark.

I check my email to see I’ve missed something blowing up on the CASA end of things. This hardly ever happens, as I’ve been on my cases long enough that I can usually see things coming from awhile off and try to get ahead of them. But this was unexpected and I spend my entire 25 minute drive home talking to a foster parent.

Here's another thing I wouldn't make it without. Siri. I dictate my visit notes, text messages and emails. I tell Siri to look things up on the Internet, make appointments, play songs, all sorts of things. I no longer underestimate the power of HANDS free. Just before I make it home I have dictated notes from my conference call, added an appointment to my calendar and returned three texts.

8:00: I have about seven seconds to breathe before I’m parked in our parking spot in our community. It's time for my weekly supervision meeting and I breeze passed the kids and my husband with kisses before I sink into my desk chair to dial in. Thank goodness this is another mostly listening (until my turn to share anyway) and I can mute my end and continue my grad school outline. 

9:00  Unfortunately my kids are already in bed. The Husband is downstairs playing Call of Duty while I continue my work on my outline for my paper. At 9:15 I force myself to find a stopping place and write out Thursday’s To Do List. On it go all the things I didn’t have time to do today like return a call about my school schedule, catch up with a friend I’ve now rescheduled with twice or call my Mom to chat. I feel pretty bummed about that but the weekend is half way here! 

9:30: I could go to bed right now, with the kids down for the night and the house tidied up. My Hubs does a great job getting them dinner, cleaning up and doing anything with them that needs done in the evenings. Some nights we collapse on the couch together to watch a television show we have recorded. What would we do without Hulu? We wouldn’t watch at all. Because being home when the show is on? Staying up that late to watch? No thanks.

But tonight I just don’t have the energy, even to do something mindless. I also have a 8 miler on for tomorrow morning – boo. So I wash my face, brush my teeth, throw clothes together for the morning along with all the blank progress note sheets I’ll need for Thursday’s cases.

10:00ish? Then I dart under the blankets. I don’t even know what time it is when I do that because I try not to look at the clock. Believe it or not, it’s actually hard to fall asleep as my mind runs in circles. I practice meditation and this usually helps me relax.


1. How do I do all of this? I get asked that a lot. That's the main reason I signed up to track my day at all. I want to make it clear that you CAN be this productive. It's a matter of planning and focus. Trust me, there are enough hours in the day - you just have to prioritize.

There are days when I do my weekly supervision meeting on the drive home from my bi-monthly Tuesday CASA night (I do three hours worth of CASA visits in my one night off a week from work). Sometimes I do supervision or dictate notes or catch up on TV while I'm running on the treadmill. Sometimes I cheat and turn on the reader feature so the computer reads me my assigned readings for graduate school so I can fold laundry or do dishes while I listen (and learn). There are days when I eat breakfast while quizzing my kids on their spelling or answering emails for work/school/CASA.  Every day I pretty much squeeze every single ounce out of every moment.

2. But I want to be transparent about something. This is just a season. I don't want anyone to think that life is like this all the time. It totally isn't. I was a stay-at-home Mom for three years before I went back to college. I was a SAHM for six years before I started graduate school (which is totally no joke in the work department!). I added in a volunteer position only after six months of grad school when I was SURE I could handle it even if I chose one that is pretty intense. It was eight years before I went back to work and yes, I did it FT while doing all those other things. However, it was to get the most out of work I could before Internship starts in January.

Right now I work 65 hours a week between my job, CASA and grad school work. Our weekends are usually a mix of errands and family gatherings and I get to "sleep in" until 7.  Life will change again in 2014 (it will get worse). But then at the end of 2014 I will graduate, go down to a SINGLE job and leave higher education behind. This is just a season.

Whatever you're dealing with right now, no matter how exhausting and stressful and challenging - is just a season. I don't want to tell you about baby gear or Mom tips. I want to tell you to hang tough and hold on, because there is another side. You'll be standing there sooner than you think so appreciate the positives and embrace the negatives. I promise you years from now you will remember both and each will shape you in important ways. And no matter what, there will be another challenge and another blessing on the horizon.

Love each day.


Thanks for sharing your day again Amber.  And even if you aren't superhuman, you must be pretty darn close :o).