It could be. Could be that we sort of like building campfires in the yard beside the creek.
Could be that we like whittling roasting sticks, too, until they're trimmed to a long, perfect point, the white wood pure and clean inside. Could be that Nellie must also have a stick, because she sees everyone else with one. (Sticks! We all have sticks! This is profoundly thrilling for a retriever.)
Could be that we laughed loud with our heads thrown back. Could be that it felt like happiness in waves.
Could be that we ate every single hot dog there was. Could be that we could have eaten more. (Boys, you know.)
Could be that those boys were filling moments with every story that had been saved up for when Daddy got home. Could be that Daddy was, too.
Could be that, in the middle of all that, a bird in the green-leafed tree overhead, sang, just for us, an evening song. A serenade.
It could be.
Here, following, is a re-post of a 'day in the life' that I published last fall. It fits well here, in this living less series. If you missed it on Friday, you may want to read the prelude to this post.
This is where it could be easy to imagine that our daily living flows ever-so-smoothly in an idyllic harmonious rhythm without any lumps and bumps. It does not. Real life is alive and well around here, spiking our moments with saucy challenges and unexpected surprises. Perfection isn’t our goal (I remind myself); a workable flow to our days is. I’ve found that having a general rhythm, with high points build in, gives enough structure to our days to ensure accomplishment, while at the same time leaving room for when life has a mind of it’s own.
Though each day of the week is slightly different, the general rhythm of our weekdays looks something like this:
My early morning writing begins at 3:00a.m., and goes until 5:00a.m., while the rest of the household still sleeps (you can read about that crazy early rising here). At around five o’clock, I try to switch gears and read for fifteen minutes or so, then I get dressed (depending on the day, this usually means getting dressed in my running/athletic clothes). There are plenty of times that the writing goes over, the reading doesn’t happen, and I get dressed in the odd spare moment.
At 5:45, I begin making breakfast, washing prep dishes as I go. On Mondays and Tuesdays, I make oven breakfasts large enough to have leftovers that can be re-heated for a second morning, which gives us hot breakfasts for Wednesday and Thursday without any work on my part except popping it into the oven to reheat. Fridays are our ‘Big Breakfast’ days, which in boy lingo means, ‘Pancakes and Bacon’, ‘Waffles and Bacon’ ‘Fried Eggs, Biscuits, and Bacon’ or, if they’re really lucky, an entire meal of nothing but ‘Luscious, Crispy, Bacon’. Okay, just kidding on that last one, but if I offered it, I’m sure I’d be crowned Mother of the Year right then and there.
At 6:15, with breakfast baking, I go upstairs, wake the boys, and read aloud stories from a chapter book as they lie in their beds and listen while the sleep wears off. This is one of our favorite parts of the day. (We’re currently reading Little Britches by Ralph Moody, the first book in one of our favorite series).
About fifteen minutes later, I head back downstairs to continue with the day’s food prep, and the boys get up, make their beds, tidy their loft, and come down to do their morning jobs before breakfast. A quick loft check by a spare adult often results in a boy or two going BACK (that’s the way they hear that word, in caps) up to tidy (for real) his loft, make his bed, and THEN (that word, too, caps) come down to do his morning job.*
In his morning work, each boy alternates between feeding and cleaning up after the animals (and cleaning up after the animals, and cleaning up after the animals, and cleaning up after the animals – do you ever find yourself repeating things in the presence of boys?), setting the table for breakfast, and sweeping the floors (loft landing, stairs, bathroom, hall, great room) and wiping down the toilet and surrounding floor. They also fold and put away their clean laundry. While the boys are doing their morning work, I’m in the kitchen, preparing lunch, and prepping dinner. Or, maybe I’m not in the kitchen at all. Maybe I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off, doing who knows what. Yeah, that.
Breakfast is at seven, eaten together as a family.
As each one finishes his meal, he washes his own dishes, and dries and puts them away while listening to Mozart. This has been a good way to teach dish washing skills without having one person loaded down with an entire meal’s worth of dishes to wash (we have no automatic dishwasher). Just kidding about the Mozart part up there. More often than not, it’s DubStep these days. I try not to associate it with the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.
If it’s Monday or Wednesday, I head out the door for a run as close to 7:15 as I can. I’ll take 30 minutes to an hour to run, so how far I go depends on how fast I go in the time I have. The boys have free time until they head for the loft to begin their assigned chapter book reading for school at 7:45. They’ll wrestle, flop (at least it sounds like flopping), throw things that (don’t) need throwing, become extremely thirsty and need water ASAP, read for 45 minutes at which time I fall in with them and we begin our learning day together.* *
Our morning recess is at ten o’clock and lasts for thirty minutes. In that thirty, I might take a shower, switch the laundry, make sure lunch is prepped, waste time on Instagram, or do any number of things that a mama has to do.
Lunch is at 12:30. In our dreams, lunch is at 12:30. Having it pre-made helps greatly in sitting right down and getting right to it, so naturally, I’m in total love with myself on the days when it actually IS pre-made. As soon as lunch is over, the boys and I head (push ourselves?) back upstairs to finish any corrections that they might have from that morning’s school work. They complete their school day with 30 minutes of chapter book reading from books of their choice. We shoot for finishing our school day at 2:00, which is sometimes shot all to pieces and we finally finish up around four.
After school is over, the boys are free for the rest of the day. This is when I have spare time, too, for email, reading blogs, or working on projects.
Because of having prepped dinner in the morning, the evening's meal finishing is easy and fast. I like to serve dinner around 5:30, so as to enjoy the long stretch of evening that still lies ahead. In the event that there was no dinner prep in the morning, the making of the evening’s meal is neither easy nor fast, and we (I) thump around the kitchen, wondering what to make, and somehow, we finally eat something of substance at 7:00. You know what I mean.
Our evenings are wound down between 8:00 and nine. There may be Monday night, or Thursdays night football on, in season, other than that, it’s rare for the television to be on during the weeknights. We may be watching a boy play his sport or we may be taking him to or from practice. We may play board games, or I may read aloud to everyone. The boys may do computer work, and I may work on a project, while my husband reads.
Lights go out at 9:00, but we already know that I’ve long been gone by then.
Note: The above rhythm is one that we follow most closely during the school year. The flow to our days is a bit more relaxed when school's out for the season. Also, when I have a deadline or a project that requires more of my attention, other things are compressed or eliminated to lend more time for that.
*There is, somehow, a boy who lives here who has within his bones this thing called Mostly Neat & Tidy, therefore, to loosely lump him under such a description would be terribly erroneous.
**This boy of which I’ve already spoken, who we’re quite certain got the wrong address when he arrived, also has this thing in his bones called Mostly Diligent. So, as you know, to loosely lump him under this wrestling, flopping, throwing, thirsty description would also be terribly, terribly erroneous. That's not all. This boy, could, at this stage in his life, also be known as The Incessant Younger Brother Pesterer.