*obvious disclaimer: when you have two small children, no two days are the same. Some days are less social; some days are more social. I also didn't record exciting things like diaper changes for E and toilet sessions with L. You're welcome. Also, this post is really long. Mostly so I can remember what our days were like in Autumn 2014 someday.
6:00am: Thomas' alarm starts going off. He snoozes for what feels like hours but is probably about 30 minutes. I burrow deeper into the down comforter since my current morning philosophy is to get up when the kids do. I should probably change this.
7:30am: For the second time in his 14.5 months of life, Elliott has slept through the night! This is obviously thrilling. He is cutting two bottom teeth (#7 and 8, so how and when he sleeps is anybody's guess). Both kids wake up in pretty good moods. Lillian immediately demands a dress and tights. I'm still not used to her WANTING to wear clothes so this request throws me for a loop. But I happily dress her, and we join T and E downstairs. E is, of course, bolting down some breakfast cereal.
7:45: L starts her morning hour of television, three Netflix episodes of "Harry and his Bucketful of Dinosaurs." While she does this, I feed her cereal and braid her hair. T and I are able to unload the dishwasher, tidy up the kitchen, drink coffee and discuss such varied topics as the Republican landslide in the US elections, the fact that it's Bonfire night, and what's on tap for both of us today, all while supervising E who wants to eat L's cereal, climb on ALL THE FURNITURE, pull our coffees off the table, etc. I text my friend Steph, who has invited us over for a coffee this morning, to tell her that E won't be napping this morning and we will head over around 9:30/10.
8:45: T heads out the door for his morning run to work, taking trash to the bin in the alley in the process (boy do we miss our backyard trashcan and boy am I thankful that T takes responsibility for this!). L is in mourning that the TV is off and Daddy is leaving, and I drag two slightly unhappy kids upstairs so I can get dressed. The forecast is in the 40s F, so I dress warmly. The kids partially destroy the upstairs playing some sort of chase and tackle game while I put on make-up and get myself and E dressed. E has a hard fall at some point (despite 90887987 reminds to be gentle, L has a hard time remembering to do this...) and I hold him for a while.
9:30: After throwing together a lunch/packing diapers/putting L's backpack for school together/fighting both kids into jackets, we head out. It is cold, clear and sunny. Hooray! We head for the lift, but in the process run into our "less than friendly" next-door neighbor who informs us that the lift is broken, while basically accusing us of breaking it. Not the case, but we press on and head down an alternate route. Our flat looks onto a car park and sits over a grocery store , so we head down and manage to make it all the way to the road without getting hit by any cars. #winning I am flustered at this point but nothing to do but keep moving forward! We spot our bus at a traffic light and run for the stop so we don't miss it. The kids are awesome bus riders today. L and I discuss things we see out the window and E hangs out in the stroller, munching on an apple and charming strangers. Not all bus rides are this smooth so I'm grateful for all the ones that are!
10:00: We get off the bus in an area of Glasgow called Anniesland, which is very near to where we live in the West End, so the bus ride wasn't all that long. We've never been to Steph's before, so I am clutching my phone with Google maps open as we navigate the 3/4 mile walk. Fortunately the weather continues to be beautiful and the kids are pleasant company.
10:20ish: We make it to Steph's (or, as L calls it, Baby Jessie's house)! I feel sweaty, victorious and grateful to have successfully made it. We spend several enjoyable hours visiting with Steph and her sweet baby girl who is 5 months younger than E, and another friend, Karen, whose younger son Lachlan is exactly L's age. We discuss things like Thanksgiving, Karen's brother's upcoming visit from Australia, how the "L's" are liking nursery, Steph's arrangements for Jessie when she returns to work in January, Christmas parties, our church, E's sweet dance moves, etc. I am so happy to have gotten to know these women through church, and am grateful that they are putting up with a particularly ornery L today. E sticks his fingers in two cups of tea and pulls a brownie off the kitchen table. Classic.
12:00: After Karen and Lachlan roll out so they can get to his school on time, I realize that L needs to be at school in about 45 minutes so and start rushing the kids into coats, getting out lunch to eat on the go, etc. Steph is very helpful and we manage to get out the door quickly. She generously lends me 1.95 since buses don't make change and I completely forgot about grabbing coins for our return journey. doh! We head for a different (and much closer!) bus stop that I noticed on the way.
|Repost from IG, waiting for the bus and singing "Let It Go" loudly|
12:26: The #19 bus inexplicably never arrived, but the 4 does, and only 3 minutes late! I have noticed a 4 stop very close to L's school and I am hopeful that this bus is headed there. Mostly the buses are predictable and easy to navigate, but every once in a while...E falls asleep in the stroller about two minutes into the drive, no doubt exhausted since he didn't get a morning nap. L and I sit a few rows back and she tells the old man behind us all about going to baby Jessie's house this morning. Then she eats a little of the peanut butter sandwich I made her and lots of raisins. Plus, milk OF COURSE, given the predilections of our dairy fiend. We pass through an area of Glasgow I haven't been in before (Kelvindale and Cleveden, for anyone who cares) and then turn onto Hyndland road. I start paying attention since we are nearing our destination and it takes some tricky maneuvering to get all of us and our stuff off the bus.
12:48: The bus stops directly across from L's school and I mentally high five myself and thank God that it worked out as smoothly as it did. We walk to her school and we are actually a few minutes early! E wakes up so I let him out of the stroller to walk around. He loves to watch the big, NOISY kids at the primary school that adjoins the nursery.
|Selfie before school|
|An essential component of any Scottish school: the Wellie station|
|Repost from IG, but I love how he is watching the big boys.|
12:55 L is successfully dropped off. There is a new little boy in her group from Greece who is not screaming his head off at dropoff today. Progress! I walk out with my friend Ruth who was dropping her son off and has also headed out with her younger child. We often walk together and have really enjoyed getting to know them. We part ways on Byres Road since she is headed to Kelvingrove Park and I am going the other way to pick up T's anniversary present.
1:05: Somehow I wrestle the stroller into the hardware shop and pick up the present, a plaque with our flat number and name. It looks great and I text him to let him know we can finally exchange gifts. Then E and I hoof it all the way to the top of Byres Road to where we stay (side note: this is one "Britishism" that I cannot get used to, saying "stay" instead of "live.") E munches on peanut butter sandwich and waves to people as we walk in the cold sunshine.
1:25: The lift is fixed, hooray! We make it home and I let E down to play. Given his bus nap, I have no idea what to expect for his afternoon sleep. After a few minutes, though, it seems clear that he is exhausted and just wants to sleep.
1:35: E is down for the count after one round of "Jesus Loves Me," all snuggly under a soft, warm blanket. He is the sweetest and I am super psyched about some time to myself!
1:45: I consider sauteeing spinach for some extra vitamin C like I did yesterday but deem it to be too much effort today. I warm up some leftover pesto pasta, cut up a pear, and boil water for coffee in my favorite appliance, the electric kettle. I check Facebook while I eat and Instagram a few pictures from the morning. Deleting FB from my phone has cut down on my idle browsing quite a bit, so sitting down at the computer feels like a treat.
2:00: I grab a few minutes to read my Bible and journal. Given E's unpredictable sleep schedule, my time to myself this week has been very limited so this is especially nice. I have some parenting concerns with L so it is nice to pray about them rather than just fret and stew.
2:30: This is the easiest time of day for me to start dinner, so I put the BBC Pride and Prejudice on the TV and start cooking lentils. For once, I actually meal planned so I know exactly what to do. I make lentils and cook some basmati rice. I also work on some laundry and the various little things around the house that always need doing. It's wonderful to do this sans children.
3:20: I start gathering up some food for E to snack on since we need to leave in 10 minutes for school. I hate waking him up, but obviously I can't leave him alone. He was sleeping really hard, so it takes a few minutes of watching the horses on P&P (seriously, there are tons!) to really wake him up.
|Pitiful. Come on, teeth!|
3:35: We get out the door and start our 0 .6mile walk to school. Ruth and Eleanor (2) meet up with us immediately (they live around the corner) and E and E spend the walk messing with each other. Pretty cute. We discuss her uni class, living in the city, kid antics, what it means that a health visitor is coming to my house, etc. She's one of my go-to people for asking about Scottish things.
3:50: The school receptionist buzzes us in. I find L in the normal classroom and spend a couple of minutes watching her singing and dancing. They are playing a game, something about sleeping rabbits and jumping rabbits, two of L's favorite things. She is having tons of fun but is happy to see E and me.
|School hallway--old bricks from the original 19th c. bldg on left, new walls on the right.|
|The "rabbits" are on their way to jumping|
|Incredible clouds on the way home|
4:30: L gets to unwind from school with an hour of TV (Team UmiZoomi on Netflix today) and her favorite treat, a hollipop (a word of her own creation that indicates popsicle or lollipop depending on the context). Despite the fact that it's 40 degrees F outside, she and E both want the frozen variety. I help them since this is almost always a messy endeavor. While she is occupied with this strange yet educational show, I try to entertain E and finish cooking dinner. Tonight it's easy--ginger, lime and chili chicken breasts from Waitrose, the grocery store below us--plus rice and lentil salad. I toss the already cooked lentils with lemon and olive oil and add a little salt. Not exactly Food Network material, but it's pretty darn tasty. I flip the hot water switch on the water heater upstairs so that we'll have hot water for bath time later.
|Entertaining himself by pulling a chair over to the big table and playing with something illicit.|
5:30: Now comes the weirdest part of the day: the kids are bored and starving, but I try to hold them off another half hour til T comes home at 6. Some days this is more successful than others...At 5:45 I cave and put E in his high chair, where he proceeds to throw everything I make or bring him onto the floor. Frustrating. But in a strange role reversal, L makes up for his lack of eating by chowing down on six fish fingers (we call them chicken sticks, ha), rice and sliced pear.
5:58: T walks in the door and the angels break into song. At least in my head they do. The kids take turn dancing and jumping with him while I get plates of food ready for the two of us. Then one of two things happens: Option A: the kids play quietly and nicely together in the play area while we share a meaningful conversation about our days and enjoy our food. Option B: we shovel dinner down while holding and entertaining various combinations of children and sortof hold together a thread of conversation about the happenings of the day. I'll let you decide which one is correct. ;)
6:25: We head up for bath time. The kids enjoy a few minutes of running around buck naked playing chase and giggling uproariously while we run bath water. They love playing in the bath together and T skillfully bathes them as they do so. I gather up milk cups, jammies and E's pacis (at least 3 go into his crib since he prefers to snuggle with those instead of the nice plush toys also in there...). I turn on so many sound machines that it sounds like we're living in a waterfall. I give E some paracetemol for his teeth and he gulps it gratefully.
6:45: T grabs E and I get L out of the bath and we dress them. Then it's a sweet but harried story time with the Jesus Storybook Bible and the Goodnight Gecko, a recent purchase in Hawaii. Thomas and I share what we are thankful for from the day and prompt L to do the same. It has taken several months, but she is finally responding to this in a non-obnoxious way. Baby steps! Then we pray as a family and do goodnight kisses. Thomas takes E to his room next door, sings to him and lays him down for the night. I sing with L and answer questions like "how will All-The-Christmas (Father Christmas) come into our house" and "can I have a hollipop in the morning." She eventually settles and is asleep before I finish my second rendition of Amazing Grace. (always twice through the six verses I know).
7:05: T and I discuss what to do with our evening. I noticed earlier that our power was low--we pay as we go by topping-up at a paypoint down the street--so we agree that he will run out to do that and pick up a few groceries while I take a shower. We clean up first. The unfortunate side effect of delicious meals is that they usually entail lots of dishes, and the unfortunate side effect of small children is that they spend their days making huge messes. The nice thing about a small space is that it doesn't take long to clean up.
8:15: Everything is tidy and clean, including me, and T has returned from Tesco. We work out some logistics for our trip to Arran this weekend before settling in for tea and Doctor Who, which we are behind on from our trip to the States. I love hanging out with T and tonight is no exception.
10:30: Lights out! A not-so-great night of cold-induced insomnia and wakeful children is ahead, but at least I don't know that at the time!