My days start at about 3:30-4am most mornings. I quickly get myself ready, microwaving a quick breakfast to eat in the car while I’m on my way to open the coffee shop I work at. I’m usually there until 10.
While I’m there, my husband gets the girls ready for their day. They make breakfast together, eat, and then do different activities depending on their moods. Sometimes, they hang out in the backyard, other times they’ll go for a walk in the neighborhood (the field next to the bayou is our favorite place to walk to), and then sometimes they just have lazy mornings where they watch TV or play on the laptops.
During the week, my husband won’t have work until 11:30, so I’ll head home where we get an hour’s worth of family time. Today, however, is a Saturday, so our routine is slightly different. He has work at 10:30, so they’ll come by the coffee shop as I’m getting off. We let the girls get a little treat (Ary usually gets salty chips and a “milkshake”, and Iris usually gets popcorn, a snack pouch, and a “milkshake”), and we’ll switch out with the kids.
While eating lunch, Ary (age 4) and I watched our favorite artist youtuber carve wood for the first time. We always enjoy watching his creative process, and it’s important that they see that everyone has struggles when they try something new. We even talked about potentially doing some simple wood carving at some point in the future. During all of this, Iris (almost 3) enjoyed playing dollhouse in their bedroom.
Once we let our food settle, Ary helped me pick up on, around, and under the kitchen table (without me even asking, I was so thankful!). I set up a little activity for them where they draw on little toy animals and then wash them. It only entertained Iris for about 20 minutes, but Ary was content for close to an hour. This gave me some time to work on my computer for a bit without too many interruptions (relatively speaking). I also let Iris play with a couple sensory boxes while Ary was still playing with her animals.
At one point I came up with a little game for Iris involving her sketchbook, some stickers, and a giant pen. She put the stickers in the sketchbook, and then I’d ask her questions about the stickers, and she’d circle the answers. (Questions involving what each is, where’s the black ones, which ones have two legs or three eyes, etc)
After some sit down play, they both went into the playroom where we have some music playing and either built with blocks, danced, pretended to be in a rock band, and just actively played with their toys while I finished up my work on the computer.
We then took out their favorite game. It’s a fairy tale game that encourages them to come up with stories. We kind of changed up the rules a bit though, and we made it a bit more DnDish. They get to pick their hero(s), their villain(s), setting, props, and they help decide where the story goes.
Today, I had the beginnings of an activity I had planned for us: terra cotta pot snowmen. I had seen it on a Christmas crafts post shared around facebook, and it looked like something cute that we would have fun with. As with most acrylic painting projects, we worked on the picnic table in the backyard. I brought out the pots, white paint, and paint brushes, and I explained the project to them. We discussed how it would probably be a project that we’d work on over the course of several days since the paint needed to dry in between steps.
We then spent several hours outside. We’d paint a bit, and then drift over to the various outdoors toys we have set up in the back before coming back to paint some more white on the pots. At one point while both girls were settled in some made up game, I went inside and got the supplies for a new hobby of my own that I wanted to try. They’d come over and occasionally watch or paint some more before getting tired of sitting down and run off to play some more. By the time we were ready to go inside, each pot was well covered in paint (I had gone in and smoothed out any clumps) and ready to dry overnight.
It was getting close to dinner time, so I set some meat defrosting while we watched a bit of TV together. The girls would alternate between cuddling up next to me and going play a bit with their toys. When I got up to go make dinner, the same thing would happen. They’d come over and help out with dinner if there was something I could find for them to do or (if there wasn’t at that point) they’d either sit and watch youtube kids on their laptops or play with toys.
Since Richie usually gets off rather late, we usually have dinner without him. Sometimes he’ll have his “lunch break” right around the time we eat dinner, and we can all eat together, but that’s a very rare occurrence. After dinner, we usually just cuddle up together as we wait for their dad to get home. Unfortunately, they do get a little hyper when he first gets home, so it’ll take a good 30 minutes to an hour to calm them down enough for bed. However, I know all three of them enjoy that last bit of time spent together before bed, so I don’t fight it too hard. On nights that I have work the next morning, I’ll sometimes go to bed not long after he gets home, and he puts the girls to bed by himself. Other times, we’ll do it together. It just depends on how tired I am by the end of the day.