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February 27, 2005

A day in the life of...

... parents with three kids.

I haven't blogged for a while - this effort to get back on track should, at least in part, serve as explanation. I've been busy - mostly I've been focused on family, work at Return Path, and a struggling a bit with seasonal illness as of late.

This day - Saturday, February 27th, is nearly over, and I thought I might itemize it here - with some details - to give an idea about what an average weekend day is like in our household of five. That would be Joie and myself, and our three kids, AJ (7), Max (5) and Jesse(3).

Setting the table a bit - I've been sick, since Tuesday. Same with Max and AJ - Jesse too for that matter, going back a few weeks. We all have variations of Flu, Sinusitis, and common colds.

This choronology starts the 24 hours or so since last evening, Friday night to Saturday night.

• 8:30 PM: AJ and Max who are recovering from colds etc... are "camping" in Mom and Dad's room. In sleeping bags, on the floor. this is a common occurrence when on or the other is sick. Of course even if one is ill, the other has to camp as well - equal rights and all. Jesse, thankfully, is somewhat healthy, and in her own bed.

• 9:30 PM - 12:00 AM: Various coughing fits can be heard emanating from our room on a sporadic basis, but nothing overly concerning - and spaced out enough that no one wakes. Joie turns in around 10:15 PM - I crash on the sofa attempting to watch some Saturday Night Live, but to no avail. Around 12:25 I wake and stumble to bed.

• 1:00 AM: AJ wakes from coughing and whines a bit - we think his throat hurts, but he mostly is in a half waken and freaked out state. He asks for a kleenex, snorts into it, and settles back in - now in our bed, between Joie and I.

• 2:00 AM: AJ wakes again - has a much more serious cough and freak out session, resulting in a nebulizing treatment there in our bed, 15 minutes or so after we calm him down. We've been to the emergency room before, mind you, and this really doesn't qualify. This is just parenthood.

• 4:00 AM: My own sickness has had me generally miserable, but now my eyes are itchy. I wake, cough up a bunch of phlegm and put some moisture drops in my eyes. My sinusitis is intensified and I now lay back down with a severe head ache. Joy.

• 6:30 AM: I wake up and trudge downstairs and turn on the TV. Cough up a bunch of phlegm and wait for the full days rays outside to emerge. Thank goodness for Tivo. No "57 channels and nothing on" for me. I watch an episode of "CSI: NY" and nod off.

• 7:00 AM: Not much solace - Jesse, the healthy one, is up, clambering about hollering for anyone. I hustle up, as the boys and Joie are enjoying some much deserved rest, as to not have her wake them. I get her some juice and we make Caramel Rolls - the Pillsbury kind, from a tube.

• 7:20 AM: The Caramel Rolls are cooked. Jesse loves hers. I eat one too. They look great. I can't taste mine.

• 8:30 AM: I'm back on the couch resting, and the rest of the crew emerges.

• 9:30 AM: I'm vacuuming the entire house. It is part of the 5% or so of official "house work" I do. That's Joie's number. I suppose it's right. I have no idea how "housework" is defined. Still, this feels contributory, so away I go. Meanwhile, AJ and Max are doing puzzles, and Joie is cranking away in the kitchen upstairs (and some of the other 95% of the house work - I should go take notes).

• 10:30 AM: I'm out for errands. Most importantly, I have a prescription for anti-biotics for my fluid filled noggin. I drop that off. Meanwhile, I head to Home Depot and return a large waste basket I purchased two weeks ago for the kitchen. Joie couldn't stand it. Then to Office Max or Office Depot (they are the same thing, right?) to get some home office supplies. Back to Walgreens and I get my pills. Yippee!

• 11:15ish AM: Back to the house - Jesse is getting herself dressed, all in pink, and doing a fantastic job. She's begged to go over to Uncle Mark and Aunt Laurie's house. Mark and Laurie have recently moved into the neighborhood, about 3 minute drive down our street and another. Max decides to go, so I haul them over.

• 11:30 AM: Leave the two kids and head back to our place. Find Joie and AJ on the front stoop playing with a new toy tractor that we won in the raffle at last Saturday's pancake supper out at the Hygiene Firehouse. It's a nice day, so we decide to finally hang the birdhouse. I "swappedfor/stole" this at the Return Path holiday party in December during the "Yankee Swap" party. It is a fine and sturdy house, provided by Joe Carvalho who may have built it himself for all I know (I don't think so, but he could have - he can do anything). First we pound a shephards hook into the ground, but it is only 6 feet tall or so, and the house ends up only 4 feet off the ground. Seems somewhat suscept to squirrels and such, if not cats and kids under 4 feet tall. We move it to a tree and are happy with the outcome.

• 1ish PM: AJ takes to his go-kart. We have probably an acre or so of land that is just dirt and prairie grasses of too the side of our house and landscaped yard. We had dirt delivered all last week in an effort to level it off so we can fence it. 58 dump trucks worth so far. Looks good but need maybe 20 more. AJ is in heaven as we've just created the greatest go-kart track a kid could ever imagine. I eat a sandwich while we watch him bounce around and around the "track" having a ball.

• 1:30: PM Grandpa, Grandma, and Uncle Mark show up, from around the way, in the Golf Cart, to check out AJ in the go-kart. AJ is showing off doing donuts and such and on his next big lap, cranks the wheel, and digs out a nice turtle sized rock with his rear left tire. The resulting impact blows the bead and the air in the tire is gone. The Golf Cart Pit Crew heads out and pushes him in.

• 2:00 PM We need to go get Jesse and Max, who by Joie's plan, were to only stay at Mark and Laurie's for an hour. AJ heads off in the go-kart, followed by Grandpa, Grandma and Mark in the Golf cart. Joie and I follow thereafter in our Jeep. Don't you just wish we were your neighbors?

• 2:30 PM: At Marks, we watch Grandpa Neil chainsaw some stumps off to ground level. We throw them into the smoldering burn pit from last nights bon fire. Meanwhile, Jesse and Max are inside throwing a fit because they don't want to leave. Finally we get AJ (driver) and Max (passenger) into the go-kart (it's a two-seater) and Joie, Jesse and I follow them back to our house. It's not quite the Clampetts, but I think the neighbors are used to us by now. Yesterday I had AJ tow our christmas tree that's been on the side of our house since January 1st down to Mark's with the Golf Cart from our house and we threw it on the bon fire.

• 4:00 PM: Home! Joie and the kids take "quiet time" in our room - they watch a new DVD - "Imax Antartica" in our bed with the new electric blanket cranked up. Meanwhile, I take care of some work related issues and other personal business, bill paying, tax preparation etc... on the computer.

• 3:30 PM: AJ and Max emerge from the bedroom. Joie and Jesse are crashed. Imax is over. They proceed to play cars.

• 4:00 PM: AJ and I start another Cub Scout project that is due Monday - earning the "Heritage" belt loop. So, we talk about family history in general, paternal surname lineage, our particular families, and then we sketch a family tree with him writing in his relatives. Then we make a poster with markers. Fun - but I find that sometimes working with first graders and keeping them on task is like "herding cats".

• 4:30 PM: Joie and Jesse emerge. Joie takes to the computer and scavenges a recipe for Chicken Marsala, which she soon initiates in the kitchen. Meanwhile, Aunt Laurie stops by because she forgot to return some things to us when we were there. The kids all play and are pretty well behaved. They are rested, but you can't let the food level get to low or that gets them cranky too.

• 5:30 PM: We sit down to eat. AJ leads us in a new grace prayer: "Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub, yea God!". Short and sweet. The food is good. Max and Jesse eat their chicken with ketchup. AJ needs soy sauce for his. Mine is fabulous as prepared.

• 6:00 PM: Dinner is done, and as I'm doing dishes, Max shows us his new "silly dance". He's naked and wiggling around crazily. So I crank some "silly" music off the computer. I start with "Weapon of Choice" by Fat Boy Slim. Followed by Gene Autry - Home on the Range. I don't really have a "silly" music category with my digital music. It's the best I could do on very short notice. All the kids dance for a while. Good, maybe they'll sleep.

• 6:45 PM: Bathtime for Jesse and/or Max, and/or AJ. I can't remember - Joie did it. Following tha, AJ and Joie do some of his nightly reading, at least a few chapters of "Kung Fu Pigs" (which is optional, non-school assigned if you didn't guess). Don't laugh, he already owns the "Captain Underpants Collection".

• 8:00 PM: Herd the kids into bed. Again, don't laugh. Herding is an apt descriptor. We just don't actually use rope - though tempted at times. AJ and Max "camp" on the floor in our bedroom again in their sleeping bags as they still qualify as sick. Joie gives AJ a nebulizer treatment just prior to ensure he's okay through the night.

• 8:30 PM: Jesse is tucked away, storied told, books read. I've only made three trips to her room after the final "Goodnight", so we're doing okay.

• 9:00 PM: Joie and I manage to actually sit down, together, in the same room, with no kids around. So, we do what comes natural to parents at such an occacsion - we watch TV. We watch The Oscars for a bit. Sadly we note that among all the nominations, the only movie we've seen is "The Incredibles".

• 10:00 PM: Joie turns in. I again attempt to stay up to watch some news, but alas fall asleep, probably within 15 minutes. Sometime around midnight I sleepwalk to bed.

And, a new day starts again. That my friends is 24 hours or so, in the life of the Bartel's. Family of five. All joy, all happiness, all love. Lot's going on, but not much sleep. Keep in mind, this example is from a day where we did not have anything planned! You can imagine what the rest of the week is like.

And people wonder why I can't remember the day before yesterday. We also wonder when Joie and every other stay-at-home Mom will be canonized.

No sympathy needed or desired, we planned this family and signed up for it, and technically I guess you could say we love every minute of it. Okay, not every minute. But we love it. And I just wanted to share that snapshot of our lives with you. Don't ask Joie though, I'm sure I got it all wrong.

That's it for the family update. More "geeky" entries to come as I pick back up on the blog. Thanks for listening. :)

Posted by gcrgcr at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)