I am LOVING this phase of childhood right now. It is such a sweet spot! Liam is 4 years and 4 months old while Vera is 23 months old.
The kids are becoming so independent; there is so much they can do! And this affords me more time each day to complete tasks around the house and even occasionally spend time on developing myself. :)
Since some of you have asked for it and since I would love to remember it for posterity, here's a sample day in my life! Of course, this is the Winter Version, since we don't get outside much in this bitter cold January weather. When the Spring is here, I will have to give you an updated version! We usually get outside 2-3 times per day in the nice weather. :)
While Liam is in school, Vera and I will either attend story time at the library (where we literally bring home a rolling cart of new books), run errands (like grocery shopping), or temporarily separate for 2 hours so that I can attend a mom's group Bible study and she can enjoy socializing with her fellow under-two-year-olds in the nursery (which she loves).
At the conclusion of preschool, we head back home for lunch and our daily faith lesson. I have been having immense fun planning a simple lesson each day for the kids which corresponds to the liturgical calendar. On most days, we focus on an attribute of God or His Mother, and then we look for that attribute in the saint of the day. At other times, we focus on a particular sacrament, miracle of Jesus, or parable that He told. But we always connect the lesson to something on the liturgical calendar, even if it be one of the readings at daily mass. After I teach the lesson, Liam summarizes the lesson and "teaches" it back to me so that I can check for his understanding of the most important points. It is fun to discover what parts of the lesson stand out to him most! And it is beautiful to see the development of his heart! The practical application questions are probably my favorite. :) His ideas challenge me to be a better person!
Next is Liam's piano practice, unless the day calls for a new lesson from the piano teacher herself. During this time, Vera will paint with brushes, color with crayons, design with sand art, or play with a sticker book. Words cannot express how much I enjoy teaching piano to Liam, for I am learning just as he is! Just before we start, I usually throw into the washing machine a load of laundry and bring up a basket of newly dried items.
After piano, it's bath time. Often I will get into my bathing suit and jump into the tub with them! Relaxing in the hot water while my children play around me is peace beyond comparison! There's no rushing and no need to worry about getting clothes wet while washing the kids. We're all just fully immersed, both in the water and in the moment. :)
After fresh towels, fuzzy house coats, and getting in pajamas for the night (even though it's only 3 PM) it's time to nurse Vera and put her down for her nap, and thus begins Liam's Independent Time. Depending on his choice, I will set up in his room the painting easel, a stereo with light classical music playing at low volume, or plop a nice pile of new library books on his bed. The rules are simply that he cannot play with toys and he must remain quiet. Often, I will challenge him to create something new that didn't exist before. He does a great job with it!
This, then, gives me 45 minutes to an hour to myself! First, I make the bed for Michael because this is usually the first time I've looked at our bed since I exited it. Then I try to immerse myself in reading Scripture, and I open my prayer book of intentions. The view out our bedroom window is of evergreen tree tops and endless blue sky, the perfect backdrop for a time of reflection. Sometimes I will then blog about life or jot down inspirational notes for my hopeful Fall 2017 YouTube channel. Or I might catch up on reading and replying to texts and emails. This personal time is something I've truly waited 3.5 to 4 years for! And I thank God for it!
Liam and I meet up again about an hour later for dinner preparation. He has the heart to help but is usually too distracted, so he typically just keeps me company or plays in the living room while I make dinner. Wafting aromas usually wake Vera, and before long, the kids are helping me to set the table and prepare for Daddy's arrival.
At dinner time, Liam then teaches the day's faith lesson to Daddy while we all eat. A fun, intersting factoid about our family is that we are constantly sitting down in different places around the table. The "assigned seats" that we used to have for 4 years disappeared completely somewhere in the last 4 months. And I love it. :)
After dinner, I try to pull myself away and force myself to do the dishes because, if I don't, they won't get done. During this time, Michael will fold and put away all the baskets of laundry that I washed that day. If, for some reason, the kids didn't have a bath or aren't in their jammies, Michael will do this with the kids at this time. Then I brush their teeth, we all give our hugs and kisses goodnight, and then Michael and Liam retire to his room for books and night prayer, while Vera and I retire to hers for the same thing.
After the kids are asleep (which is typically at 9 PM), I'll spend the next hour or two finishing the dishes, packing Michael's lunch, starting another load of laundry, and planning tomorrow's faith lesson. Meal planning (which includes making a grocery list) takes an incredible amount of my time, but I'm excited to unveil in a subsequent blog posting a new strategy I've just come up with (just yesterday!) to streamline the process and save me HOURS of time each week. Stay tuned for that!
Meanwhile, Michael will head to his office, open mail, and pay bills. My guilty pleasure before bed is watching YouTube videos on fashion and lifestyle. But I'm working to limit those so that I can go to sleep when my husband does! While laying in bed, we try to read some sort of faith-based book together, and right now we are renewing our consecration to Mary by reading Thirty-three Days to Morning Glory.
Thanks for listening! This was a fun post to write and share with you. :)