6:15ish-there's hollering from the crib next door earlier than normal, and it wakes me up out of a crazy dream. James always gets her in the morning, so I roll over and go back to sleep. The next thing I know, it's 7:05 and James is waking me up so he can go to work. We pray together, and then I trudge downstairs and scoop up my girl, who's sitting on the couch in her strawberry pajamas waiting for me.
7:10-Gracie nurses while I sip a mug of coffee James made for me. I check my email and play a game of Words With Friends. My dad and I have TEN GAMES going at once. I live for it. Gracie usually snuggles with me for a bit, but today she's dying to go play with her toys, so I put her on the floor and off she scoots. There's a local channel that plays a bunch of old shows in the morning, so I turn it on and we watch a few minutes of The Brady Bunch.
8:00-Gracie crawls over to me with an armful of books. We look at pictures of wild animals, and I read her Easter book three times. I finally declare it's time for breakfast. I put her in the highchair, give her a handful of cheerios, and turn The Avett Brothers' new album on to listen to while I scramble some eggs. I'm going to see them this weekend and I have concert prep to do! Gracie eats most of her cheerios, some whole milk apple cinnamon yogurt, and a bunch of blueberries. I have scrambled eggs and kale and whatever blueberries I can sneak away from Gracie. I try to give us mostly the same foods, but she hates eggs.
8:37-Gracie is covered in yogurt. Her face has a Santa Claus yogurt beard, she brushed her hair with her yogurty spoon, and she finger painted her highchair with yogurt spills. It's a disaster. She decided to ditch the spoon and drink her yogurt instead. I do my best to clean up and then more or less hose her down in the kitchen sink. I take her up to her crib for morning quiet time. She's mostly dropped her morning nap, but she occasionally still falls asleep. If she sleeps in the morning, she probably won't sleep in the afternoon, and that's just out of the question. It's a delicate balancing act, but sometimes she needs that extra nap. Regardless, she has a little quiet time each morning so I can get a few things done and take a shower. It's a beautiful system. I put her in the crib with toys and books and she plays while I clean up from breakfast, grab another cup of coffee, and do my Bible reading. I'm reading a one year New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs plan through the YouVersion app. Sometimes I back it up with my Matthew Henry commentary. After that, I take a quick shower which is usually when Gracie starts calling for me to come get her.
9:46-I get dressed and go in Gracie's room. She's usually in some state of undress. Today she had one arm out of her sleeve. I clean up the toys in her crib and she jumps and bounces and giggles. I change her diaper and get her dressed. Most days we leave the house around this time. We usually run errands, go to the library, the grocery store, or visit James at work. I don't have anywhere I need to go today and I'm not in the mood to leave, so we don't. We stay upstairs and play. I pull our spare summer sheets out of the linen closet to wash while Gracie puts her shoes on and takes them off. She grabs her pajamas and waves them around and tries to put the pants on. This keeps her occupied for a good 20 minutes. We sing songs and she rocks on her rocking horse. When she's occupied with something I make a move in one of my many games of WWF. She hears a crow out the window, so I try to teach her how to say "bird." She says it the best she can and I'm so excited. She seems to say a new word every day lately.
11:10-We come downstairs for a change of scenery. I get her lego blocks out and let her go to town. She finds some renegade golf balls and I roll them across the room while she giggles, chases after them, and brings them back me. We're essentially playing fetch and she loves it. After awhile, I plop her back in the highchair and make lunch. Before going to the kitchen, I play a record for some lunchtime ambiance. Today's choice: Jamie Cullum. I'm in the mood for some jazz. Gracie yells "MAMA! MAMA!" impatiently to remind me that she's starving to death. She didn't have her usual morning snack, but she thinks she's dying of hunger no matter how much she snacks.
11:53-Her majesty is served. Half a veggie burger with avocado on top, cheese, carrot sticks, and peaches. I have a turkey and cheddar sandwich with carrot sticks and the rest of the peach. James calls around noon, and I put him on speaker phone so he can hear Gracie chatting while she eats. She hardly makes a sound since she's devouring her food, but she grins every time James talks to her. Gracie eats about 75% of her lunch, so I give her a couple bites of a peanut butter cookie from the batch I made the other day.
12:37-I put Gracie on the floor, flip the record over, and she plays with my childhood barn while I undertake my least favorite thing ever: cleaning up after lunch. I have to shake out the highchair cover, wipe up all the spills, vacuum the crumbs off the floor, do the dishes, etc. The amount of crumbs she leaves behind in a day could feed an army, but Jamie's crooning British voice is helping. I clean up the kitchen and water the flowers. I try to do as many chores as I can while Gracie is up so I can relax during her nap, and I try to clean the house as I go so I'm not overwhelmed at the end of the day.
12:52-I take Gracie upstairs and change her diaper. We play for a few minutes before her nap. She pulls books off her bookshelf for me to read. She brings me The Very Hungry Caterpillar and I read it. She pays attention for a record number of three pages before throwing another book at me about cats and bunnies. It's back to the Hungry Caterpillar before I can get through one page of the other book she's decided we have to read. We're working on listening to one book at a time. So far, not so good. We snuggle, I sing to her, and I lay her down for her nap. She goes right to sleep. I come downstairs, light my coffee candle, grab a couple peanut butter cookies, and start this blog post.
2:15-I make some coffee, throw a load of laundry in, and grab my book. I got only several pages in when I heard a little voice in the monitor. No. It can't be. She didn't. She did. It's only been an hour, but she's up. She's up for good. She spoiled me with 2+ hour naps last week and then gives me this with no warning? Unacceptable. My battery is not even halfway charged yet. I scoop her out of her crib and bring her downstairs. She still likes to nurse after her nap, and I'm down with that. We snuggle for a few minutes until she goes off to play with her toys. She comes back a little later like a boomerang with a book for me to read to her.
3:01-I let Gracie watch a few minutes of Pooh while I start making the spaghetti sauce for dinner so it can simmer a few hours. I check on her to find she pulled the bookmarks out my books. I whip up a strawberry banana smoothie to share with her for an afternoon snack. We devoured it in two seconds flat.
4:10-If James isn't working a long day, he usually comes home around 4:20 and takes over the general baby-wrangling so I can cook or rest, or on a bad day, lock myself in our room. He's working till 9:00 tonight, so I'm on my own for awhile. It's blazing lava hot outside, but we go for a long walk around the neighborhood. I put my earbuds in and listen to Low Tide Love on repeat. It's the perfect song. It's catchy, groovy, and I haven't been able to stop listening to it for weeks. I feel like I'm cruising down the highway in Malibu again every time I hear it. I start dancing behind the stroller before I can stop myself. A good song makes me feel like I can conquer the world. At the end of our walk, we swing by the park (hehe) and swing, then go get the mail.
5:15-We're home. I throw the spaghetti noodles in a pot on the stove and collapse from heat exhaustion while Gracie plays with her shoes. Once the noodles are done, I throw a heap of spaghetti and broccoli in the food processor for a couple seconds to chop it up and make it more manageable for Gracie to eat. I give her more than I think she'll want, but she cleans her plate and eats a bunch of watermelon too. I sit with her through most of her dinner, but I'm in the kitchen doing the dishes when I hear a curt little "MAMA!" coming from the highchair. I walk over to her and she hands me her empty plate and fork. It's adorable.
5:47- Gracie is covered in spaghetti sauce. I even found ground beef stuck to her back?? I wasn't planning to bathe her tonight but I have no option, plus there's still some yogurt stuck in her hair from breakfast. I plop her in the tub and we squirt each other with her bath toys. There is much giggling and squealing and splashing and overall rowdiness. I get her out of the tub, lotion her, and put her pajamas on. I put her on my bed with the laundry basket of the clothes I washed while she was napping. She finds her striped leggings and tries to put them on over her pajamas. We fold clothes and put them away. Correction: I fold clothes and put them away. She undoes everything I do.
7:00-The babe has been snuggled, prayed with, sung to, nursed, we've brushed her teeth, and she's tucked in her crib. She's been having trouble falling asleep lately, but she falls asleep immediately tonight. I lay down on my bed and crash. These long days when James works late are exhausting. I always crash a little when she goes to bed, but I crash a little harder than usual tonight. I let myself scroll through social media for a bit which is usually a fun distraction but only serves to make me grumpier at the moment. I rally and go downstairs to clean the spaghetti war zone that is the highchair. I pick up a few toys and books she plucked off the bookshelves, finish the dishes, and take a quick shower since I'm disgusting from our walk in the sauna formerly known as The Outdoors. There is something therapeutic about hot water and I start to feel a little better.
8:00-I grab myself some spaghetti, broccoli, and watermelon. I get annoyed that I didn't bake a loaf of bread to smear with garlic and butter to eat with dinner. I purposely didn't bake any because I don't need it, but I predictably regret it. The show I planned to watch is a rerun, so I wind up watching Hotel Hell which is surpassingly addictive. Usually I knit and/or blog, but I don't have the mental energy for it tonight. James walks in the door around 9:25 to find me half asleep on the couch watching Happy Days. We talk while he eats dinner and we share a small piece of the strawberry pie (I get to eat some because I didn't make bread #science), which was my giant 4th of July baking fail, but it still tastes kind of decent.
9:47-I get ready for bed, check on Gracie, plug my phone in on the other side of the room, and go to bed with My Life in France. I read for at least an hour because I can't put it down. I'm so close to finishing it, but I force myself to turn the light off. I fall asleep and dream of grocery shopping for pork and making my own sausages, just like Julia did in the last chapter I read.