Surviving on Routines

Week two of back-to-work just ended for me. It has been non-stop since.   It feels good to just lie down and write, even though I have some planning and marking to do for next week. There’s no way I would’ve survived if it wasn’t for routines.  

So here’s my daily routine. 

6:45am Wake up. Brush teeth. Put on contact lens.  Change.  Hair and makeup. Dress W.   Head downstairs.  Grab lunch bags out of fridge, stuff them in respective backpacks.  Breakfast.  Jackets and boots for the girls. Out the door by 7:55 am.  

8:05 am. W at daycare.  8:20 am.  V at school for morning care.  8:35 am. Me at work. Go to office and grab attendance sheets.  Photocopying (if any), log into computer and check email.  Bell rings. School day starts.  

3:11 pm.  Bell rings. School day ends.  Tidy desk and pack bag.  Out the door by 3:25pm. Pickup V by 3:40pm latest. Head to W.  3:56 pm head home.  Home by 4:05 pm.  Jackets and shoes/boots off.  Backpacks on hook.  Lunch bags out on kitchen counter.  

Wash hands. Nurse W.  girls play while I empty lunch bags and dishwasher (if clean).  Prep dinner.  5:30 pm. Start dinner.  Cleanup. 6:00 pm. Homework for kids or free time. Pack lunches if not tied up with kids. 

6:45 pm. Head upstairs with W.  Bath, change, nurse and books. Lights out at 7pm.  Other kids come up and get ready for bedtime.  Books done and lights out by 7:45pm. 

Head downstairs.  Sweep and tidy kitchen. Pack lunches if not made yet. General tidy up if the house.  8:30 pm.  Ws first wakeup.  M goes to her while I try to get some school work done. 10:00 pm. W up again. I’m with her this time and stay in bed until the morning. (I don’t get to sleep through the rest of the night as she wakes several more times and fusses. )

And it starts all over again.  

What’s your typical day like?

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 It’s a Good Thing

I’ve been up since 4:45am.  W decided to wake up and roll around the bed, climbing on top of me to go over and call dada – even though he’s deaf to world as he’s asleep.  After about 30 min of nursing her back without much luck, I strap her onto the Tula.  She’s finally out.  Took 15 min to settle. 

But now I’m up for the day.  It’s a good thing I went to bed super early.  I think I was asleep by 9pm – haven’t done that in a while.  Reminds me of  how I felt at the end of the first day of teaching in my first year.  I literally was exhausted – mentally and physically.  Well, this time, it was just physical.  

Seeing I didn’t do any planning last night, I’m going to just have to wing it again today. I think I’ll do some more mental Math strategies They liked learning about percentages. I have to get clarification on how to move forward with each class anyway since I’m still unclear about what needs to be done still. 

So, I kind of liked being up early because I got a lot of things done. 

1. Emptied dishwasher 

2.  Prep breakfast 

M3. Made coffee for both of us

4.  Loaded the bags into the car

5.  Did my hair and makeup without anyone under my elbow

6.  Packed lunch bags into backpacks. 

But unfortunately, M didn’t sleep from 5:30 am and on.  So it may not happen again.  Besides, I won’t be able to go to sleep super early today because I have to tutor.  And lunches have to still be made.  And I’ve got some work to do to prep for the rest of the week. 

March Break

The other day, Z comes home with a phone number written on a small piece of paper torn from the corner of a larger piece.  He wanted me to call his friend, S, to set up a playdate this weekend.  It is so cute. In fact, I just got off the phone with S’s mom and she was under the impression that the kids have already set a playdate up.  So funny.  He’s going to be thrilled to hear that he’s going over to S’s house – apparently they might be playing Mario games.

That aside, things have been very hectic lately, despite being on March Break.  In my mind, I’m thinking, “It’s already Wednesday today.  I have to go back to work next week and W is still not completely healthy!” So, yeah, I am panicking a little bit inside.  I have not done any preparing, because I was told that my class lists are still not ready.  This was two days before the break began.  Yeah, talk about people being disorganized.  I’m just going to go in and have a super chill first day.  You know, get-to-know-each-other-kind-of-day.

Anyhow, about W, she’s still coughing – but significantly less.  She has missed five days of daycare so far.  This was not part of the plan.  Poor thing last night, she was coughing so much that she threw up twice.  Every time she catches her breath, she starts coughing again.  It was a rough night – lots of getting up and rocking her and even wearing her in the carrier.

We’ve been having a lot of just low-key activities since it’s been so cold out lately.  IKEA and mall visits and playing at home is the extent of our exciting times. V is also recovering from a cough.  The only people healthy are myself and Z really.  Even M has a cough.  

I still can’t believe that I’ve been home with W for 15 months. It really does not feel that long.   She has grown so much and is now a little person. Lately, she shakes her head no and nods for yes.  At night she points to her water bottle if she wants a drink.  She is able to take instructions and follow them.  My baby is growing up. In the above picture, she’s discovered she has eyelashes and was trying to pull at them. Funny.

PIn other areas, we’ve been making some changes to the house.  Nothing huge or costly, just tidying, organizing and decluttering.  Our most recent purchase is a kitchen island.  Yes, it does make the kitchen a little tighter but it also provides extra counter space that we are so short on in the first place. V love eating there as she did for breakfast. You can see she’s having her cup of tea, looking all serious. 

This march break feels different. I do miss Z.  When we’re all home during the day, Z is at school.  It seems unfair but somehow he’s learned to accept it. I know last year, when he was in grade one, he kept saying it was unfair that V was off and he wasn’t. Next year they will both be in school. 

 As for me next week, wish me luck. 

No News is Good News


My poor W has laryngitis.  It started on her first day at daycare. The crying definitely does not help and it’s unfortunate that she’s been sick for a good while now.  Wednesday, at pickup time, she looks so puffy from crying – a sad face. I kept her home yesterday and today since she had a fever. Turns out infant laryngitis is croup.  Nothing to do about it.  Doctor visit just confirmed it.  I’m hoping she’ll be healthy on Monday. We finally got a gate installed upstairs. It’s such a relief since we don’t have to worry about she falling off the stairs at all.  

Today, V and I got haircuts.  Mine was long overdue and it felt so good to have my hair trimmed and textured. Just befor I was about to get it cut, I asked the stylist how shirt my hair would be if I cut off  8″. So I went for a medium bob.  I kept the hair and am going to be donating it for a cancer cause.  I feel good.  Besides, it’s just hair and it will grow back. 

In other things, we’ve decided to bring the play kitchen back up so the kids can play with it more.  And I have to say, W loves it!  I have all these ideas of upgrading it- including building shelves out of cardboard for the food to go since the kitchen is tight in space. 

See, even daddy is having fun!

IKEA – solo

Today, I’m treating myself.  Earlier this morning I was grumbling about having to clean up the mess I made from moving furnitures around last night.  M suggested that I don’t do any chores and just enjoy myself.  So I thought about it and here I am.  
Breakfast and a leisurely stroll at IKEA is what I need right now. Wi-fi and a $3.14 breakfast (tax included), it can’t get any better than this. Ok, the eggs aren’t the creamiest but the potatoes and sausage are good.  And free coffee refills. Who can argue?  Gotta love IKEA!

I’m in a nesting mood this week – because there are no kids around during the day. No kids means more work done!  Lots of tidying and organizing. Last night, while doing some online reading on how to deal with toys in all areas of the house, I learned that having one playroom with all the toys is not conducive to play.  

One strategy is to rotate toys.  Intelligent Nest suggests sorting toys (not sets or puzzles) into categories and then taking one toy from each category and placing it in a clear in or displaying them in an inviting way.  This rotation would occur weekly and it claims to increase play time as well as promote higher order thinking.  This strategy is especially beneficial to younger children. I’m definitely going to try it this week.  

Another strategy, also suggested by Intelligent Nest is to scatter toys around the house.  Not in a messy way. But deliberate placement to encourage appropriate developmental play. A very good example is to place the play kitchen near or in the actual kitchen so children can mimic adults and learn in their own way. Come to think of it, we did this for Z when he was a toddler and he loved it!!!  The challenge for us is finding the space to do it.  It’ll involve some rearrangement. 

Breakfast done.  Time to shop!

Family Fun 

It’s the third week of February.  The temperature was 12 degrees Celsius.  Maybe even higher with the sun.  It was a nice day out.  We decided to go for a walk after breakfast in our neighbourhood.  The kids were so excited to be out.  I was, too.  Truth be told, we’ve all been feeling under the weather, one way or another.  If it wasn’t Z or V, it was M or me.  Or W.   The day was too nice to miss being outside.

Fort LV

If you have boys or are with a LEGO fan, chances are, you can find LEGO in almost any room in the house.  Maybe not.  But I can.  After coming down from tucking the kids in for bedtime, I was confronted by these three minifigures.  I don’t even know where they came from. They were just lying on the kitchen counter so I decided to place them on the shelf in the kitchen cupboard so as to be able to spot them easily.

Anyhow, tonight, I am solo. With three kids.  M has PT interviews today until 8, then he has a meeting with a colleague.  So, if all goes well with W’s sleep, then I’m in for a relaxing 2 hours.  Otherwise, it’s early bedtime for me.

Let’s start with the great things that happened today.

I took W to the Parenting and Family Literacy Centre this morning for about 2 hours.  She had so much fun and was enjoying the social aspect of it a lot, saying ‘hi’ to every person she encounters.  She even gives things to random people.  We played with the sensory tables (a rice one and a yarn one), did an arts and craft with coloured glue, sequins and feathers, played with baby dolls and play food, had snacks, read some books, and discovered these letter bags filled with plastic beads and objects – kind of like an I Spy bag. We even went to gym time, where she got to just walk around, picking up and carrying balls in her arms.

The night before was not so great for sleep so I was happy that I was able to distract her and keep her occupied and stimulated for the morning.  We rushed home to have lunch and then by 12 noon, she was asleep.  I came downstairs, had lunch, watched a little Jane the Virgin and felt like solving math problems so I sat and did just that!  All this time, I had the monitor beside me and was keeping an eye on her, expecting her to wake up anytime soon.  But she slept – uninterrupted for 2 hours!  I was so relieved that this new schedule was working out so far.

Z had a PA Day at school but I sent him to Kids Club, where they played indoor sports and baked some cookies.  He enjoyed himself with his friends.  Instead of having him come home in the transportation van he usually takes, I went to go pick him up with W.  After, we swung by V’s school to pick her up and then M was last.  On the ride home, I asked the kids if they would be interested in having hotdogs for dinner.  Z had to one-up it and requested for corndogs instead.  Have you ever had corndogs?  Oh, wait till you try this recipe.  It is the easiest!

Corndog Recipe

  • 1/2 c corn meal
  • 1/2 flour (sub for Gluten-free Bisquick for a GF version)
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 6 hotdogs cut in half and skewered
  • canola oil for frying

Just mix all the ingredients and place in a tall glass. (I thinned out my batter a little by adding a tbsp or so of milk.  I don’t like a doughy batter.)  Dredge each hotdog in flour and dip into the batter. Fry in oil at 350F until golden brown.  I like to spin the skewer so that it cooks evenly and the batter puffs up.

Serve with ketchup or your favourite mustard.

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 8.25.52 PM.pngWhen W saw the corndogs, she got so excited!  I didn’t know she would love them so much.  Btw, we buy the hotdogs that are natural and free from nitrites.  It’s the PC Brand.  The best.  Hands down.  SO, dinner consisted of corndogs, potato chips and veggies with dip.  I made it so that it would be an easy and fun dinner if I was going to be alone with the kids – even though M ended up staying a little before going back to work.

After dinner, the two kids played for a bit.  I wanted to just sit with W and unwind, have some cantaloupe so we sat on the couch.  I turned on the tv and Odd Squad was on.  Z and V heard it and came and sat and watched.  They love that show.  Then after, Wild Kratts was on – another great show, so I let them watch.  I asked them to come up for a shower after the show was over while I got W ready for bedtime.

They came up on their own, got showered on their own and got dressed on their own.  They did an amazing job.  (Here are the parts I left out.  While in the shower together, V got shampoo in her eyes and was screaming like a banshee while Z stands under the water just oblivious to the fact that V needs water!!! So I had to go into the bathroom and rectify the situation.  Then, a few minutes later, V shouts, “stop! stop! Stop! – her classic one liner, lol, and it turns out, Z was splashing her with water.  Of course, he denies it, so at this point, I don’t even know who to believe. I just needed the screaming to stop and for them to finish showering so the water could also stop running down the drain.)

While they got ready for the night, I go downstairs to get the iPads.  One is completely dead so I had to find a charger and bring it up.  The other one appears to have a new password – a 6-digit one!   What?!?  No one informed me of this change.  So I text M, who, apparently, was in a meeting with a parent. No response for about 5 min so I call (like it’s an emergency. Uhm, yeah, it IS an emergency, coz I’ve got to put the baby to bed. And this password situation is holding us up!) M answers.  Yes, a new password.  Solved!

Z gets ready first and is done before V.  Normally, he prefers one iPad over the other, because the apps are not entirely the same. But tonight, he decided to just play on the one, even though he really prefers the other one. V is still getting dressed at this time.  I leave Z to his device and proceed to turn off the lights and nurse W to sleep.  Then I hear our door open and Z walks in in tears.  Great!  V won’t let him have the other iPad and it has all his ‘favourite games’.  What?!?  So I had to bring the baby with me, scold them (well, I raised my voice out of frustration, really.  I know, shame on me.  But I’m planning to apologize to them later.)  about disrupting W’s bedtime routine, and asked them solve the problem.

I left and W finally falls asleep at 7:05, after much fussing in my arms and in her crib – not really crying but just trying to find a comfortable position.  I sneak out, go to the kids and ask them to surrender the devices.  Z does it immediately, while V wanted to show me something before she gave it to me.

Exhale.

I started by apologizing to the kids for raising my voice. All is back to calm.  We read stories.  Z loves the series of books I found in the library by Jane Yolen. So we read from the Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts.  Now, the reading level is certainly not for kids under 7 because V confirmed the fact that she often does not follow the story due to the writing style.  So I made it an effort to retell using plain language that she would understand.  Book time is really one of my favourite times with them because I get to snuggle up with both of them and read.

The rest is history.  They were both out by 7:45pm.  And  I made a decision NOT to take a shower in case W wakes up.  Instead, I came downstairs to write this post.  And guess what?  W is still sleeping, so this means I have some ME time.  Woohoo!!!!

Oh, wait. I still need to make V a lunch since she has school tomorrow.  Damn.  Ok, that shouldn’t be too difficult.  Z has no school and M is only working half day and will be taking Z with him to school.

 

 

Back to the Grind

Today is the first day I feel almost normal.  No headaches.  Just dry throat and some coughs.  I drove M and V to school today.  But we left a little earlier so M could get to school earlier to do some work.  We had time to spare so I took the girls to Shoppers Drug Mart to return two boxes of flu medicine that we didn’t end up needing.

I let W loose since the store just opened and was fairly quiet.  It is so entertaining to watch her touch, admire and ogle over everything colourful.  At one point, she picked up a box of Smarties and wouldn’t let go at all.  I didn’t try to force it out of her because I didn’t want her to get upset.  So I just let her hold on to it. (I think secretly she knows it’s chocolate inside somehow.)

W walked by herself going in and out of the elevator.  Of course, V and I had to remind her which way we were going since she kept going the opposite direction.  All of a sudden, she spotted a bag of bagels.  That was it!  She dropped the bag of Smarties in exchange for the bagels, turning to me and grunting – indicating that she would like to have some.  And so she did.

By the time we got into the car and were all buckled up, it was 8:43 am.  Perfect timing.  I didn’t want to be waiting too long to drop V off since I wasn’t sure if W would tolerate sitting in the car for long.  It turns out, she stayed awake for the rest of the ride and we had a nap at home.

Her morning nap wasn’t too bad – an hour on her own, and another hour with me holding her.  I got to relax and watch an episode of Jane the Virgin and have a cup of tea.  As usual, when she’s had a great sleep, she always wakes up in a great mood.  Picture this…

I’m holding W in my arms and she is asleep.  She then slowly stirs and opens her eyes.  Sitting up, she leans in close to my face with her mouth open, giving me a kiss, after saying ‘hi’ to me with a smile.  

Now, that’s a wakeup I would enjoy every morning!  Who wouldn’t?

I can’t believe it’s Feb. 6!  While nursing her at bedtime, I was getting sad at the thought of missing her when I go back to work after March Break.  I may not be the first to see some of her milestones anymore as she will be at daycare.  I worry about her nap time since no one will be nursing, rocking, or singing to her there.  I know she will cry and she will be ok.  But maybe I am not going to be ok. Sigh.

 

Back from the Dead (almost)

After the flu hit me on Thursday night, I was unable to resume to normal activities until yesterday.  I even had M drive V to school on Friday just to be safe.  My head was constantly throbbing (as it is now) and my body was all achy.  

Yesterday was the first time I left the house after being sick.  Theee nights in a row of going to bed right after putting the kids to bed, and medicating with Tylenol Cold and Flu, I can say I’m almost at 60%.  But that’s not enough. 

I just finished mopping the kitchen floors as my head throbbed the entire time.  I also broke out into a sweat doing that simple chore. As I nurse W to prepare her for her morning nap, my head continues to throb, but a little less this time. 

I’m thankful that Z and V are amusing themselves in the basement and playing together/side by side, whatever the case is. Although I have to admit that M overheard Z saying to V that he didn’t want to play with her. I just need them to play on their own for another hour. I need time to myself so I’m going to slip out to get groceries after W goes to sleep.  

I look down and see her eyes closed while her nursing slows down. She’s falling asleep. Last night was a exhausting one – she was up for a good while.  I’d say from midnight to about four something. She was wakeful during those times for some strange reason. 

(Ow. My head hurts every time I cough.)

I don’t like being sick as it prevents me from being productive.  The only part I really enjoy (if you want to call it that) is I get to watch my favourite tv series – Jane the Virgin. I accidentally stumbled across this a month ago, looking for a new series to watch. And I’m hooked!

Pinteresting

I remember when Pinterest first came out.  You needed to have a special invitation to join.  I was one of the few amongst my friends that signed on to it.  Night after night, I would lie in bed, browsing and pinning.  It was the best thing that ever came along – for me at least.  To this day, Pinterest is my go-to for everything.  From recipes to inspiration for home organization, it has it all.  (I’ll let you in on a secret.  You know how everyone has their thing they do while on the toilet?  Some people play games – AheM, aheM.  Some people read a book, some just surf the web.  Well, I browse Pinterest!)

Okay, now that I’ve made a confessional that may or may not have been TMI, let’s move on.

I love wearing makeup because it makes me feel better.  Honestly, I look tired every morning – and why wouldn’t I?  I’m up all hours of the night going to W.  Being Asian, eye makeup is a huge challenge.  Our lids are not shaped the same way, and eyeshadows don’t stay on like they normally do for most women.  At the end of the day, I usually look like a racoon.  So, I turn to Pinterest for some makeup tips – from brushes to techniques.

My makeup brush collection is a bit of hodge podge.  My very first one was from Bodyshop – a face brush.  I also have a set of eye makeup brushes from EcoTools I bought online from Well. Then there’s the single brushes from Shoppers Drug Mart – Anabelle, Quo and Revlon.  Honestly, I still have trouble telling which brushes are used for what.  So again, I turn to Pinterest because there, you can find tons of visual guides that identify the plethora of makeup brushes. So, I’ve decided to label my brushes using M’s Brother Label Printer.  It makes everything look so much better!

And then there’s also the cleaning part.  I’m lazy when it comes to cleaning the brushes.  Why?  I don’t use them daily so I feel that they’re not that dirty.  But I know I’m wrong because I just cleaned my brushes today, and they were dirty. I had to just do with cleaning using a Dawn/vinegar/water solution and rinsing in water in the meantime.  Since I couldn’t locate any hot glue guns, I have to wait until M comes home to make the makeup brush cleaning pad.  This one is actually pretty clever, I have to say.  So I can’t wait to make it.

I found this clear plastic box from a box of Ferrero Rocher  chocolates that I was going to throw out.  Then I had an idea to use it instead for my cleaning pad.

 

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