For some reason when I was awake at 1 AM with Naomi the thought went through my head that maybe today I should do one of those "day in the life" posts that I enjoy reading on the blogs I follow. Something about reading about everyone else's craziness, maybe makes ours feel a little more sane? I don't know what it is but I hope that a glimpse of our "crazy normal day" might make for enjoyable reading for someone out there. Just as a side note- yes, today is Sunday but here in Jordan that is the first day of the week so it's comparable to a US Monday. Also, Jason is traveling so this is more like "a day in the life while daddy's away"...
(and since a day does technically start at midnight, I'll start with the first thing I remember after that...)
1 AM- Naomi wakes me up whispering that she had a bad dream. In a half awake state I scoot over to let her in the bed (remember Daddy's out of town and it's oh so much easier that way). She tosses and turns for a while. I get up to go check on Anabelle who has had fever- yah, AB is sleeping soundly. Back to my bed. Naomi still struggling to sleep after her dream. I assure her that there are no robots dressed up like teachers who are actually monsters (not kidding) coming into our house and she goes to sleep. My 5:45 alarm rings on my phone. I hit snooze. (anybody else purposely set your alarm for a little bit early JUST so you can hit snooze? my husband does not understand this practice....). I drag myself out of bed at 6:15 (I think... more on that soon)- I know, that was a lot of snooze. Put in my contacts and open my computer. (I usually don't check email first thing before anything else except for when Jason is traveling I at least check to see if there is anything from him). No email but notice the time on my computer says 11:25 pm (weird, because it should only say 10:25 PM if it's 6:25 AM here in Jordan- I know, weird also that it's still set on US time but that was not my current thought...). Get up and head to the kitchen. Turn on the stove to make baked oatmeal for breakfast. Get the girls water bottles out and begin getting stuff out to make their 2 snacks for school. Glance at kitchen clock- WHY does it say 7:30 AM and not 6:30?!?!? Grab my cell phone- look at time- 6:30- what in the heck? Send a text to my dear friend who won't hate me for sending her a text at this hour and ask what time it is (poor friend whose kids do not have school on Sunday- sorry Molly!) Receive text back from Molly saying it's 7:30. Pick up phone and call Molly (who I woke up- again, sorry) yelling about how in the world is it 7:30 when my phone says 6:30 all the while realizing judging by the amount of light outside and the noise of the traffic that it probably is 7:30. Apologize to Molly for yelling and for not making any sense.
Hang up phone and run around the house from room to room waking up girls and yelling about having to leave the house in 10 minutes or we'll be late. Girls wander out in sleepy stupor, realize how late we are and start getting dressed and getting ready. Throw my clothes on, fill water bottles, find enough spare change for each girl to buy their snacks from the canteen so that I don't have to make them. Throw on my clothes. Fret for a minute because my plan had been to wake Anabelle up in time to nurse her before we left. She usually doesn't eat that early but since her only riding in a taxi option is strapped very tightly to me in her baby bjorn, I figured she might get fussy and want to eat and considering it had been about 12 hours since she'd last eaten and it was first thing in the morning, well, if you've nursed before you can guess what I was concerned about. Realize there's no way that's happening (nursing Anabelle), wake her up (such a shame to wake a sleeping baby!), change her diaper and strap her to me. Girls pause long enough going out the door to coo over how cute Anabelle is in her white pajamas, purple socks and purple mobi hat. Were we in the states, I would not consider it cool enough to put a hat on her, but since we are here in a foreign culture where all of my parenting skills will be questioned if I take a baby out of the house in October (no matter the temperature) without a hat on, I put on her hat...
...and she is pretty cute
Rush the girls out the front door, out the gate and onto the street to begin looking for a taxi. (side note- every other day of the week besides Sunday, we have a driver who picks up the girls and takes them to school- on Sundays only, we do the taxi thing...). Realize quickly that at this hour most taxis on our not so busy street are already full. Begin walking about 1/4 mile down to the main street where we are much more likely to catch a taxi. While walking talk "taxi strategy"- since we have big backpacks, AJ will have to get in the front and the rest of us will pile in the back. Normally I wouldn't put AJ in the front, but I'm not comfortable sitting in the front with Anabelle in the Baby Bjorn carrier.
Finally hail an empty taxi after about 10 minutes. Pile in. Make sure he resets meter so he can't rip me off... He doesn't know where the school is. Explain best I can in Arabic and off we go. Youngish taxi driver man is pretty nice- notice that he has a no- smoking sign on the window so his taxi doesn't stink. Thank the Lord for the little things. Also notice that he likes his music VERY loud. It's some sort of techno something or other repeating over and over "I just wanna make you sweat" along with other not so great lyrics. Say a silent prayer that the girls won't notice the lyrics. (continuing to give directions in Arabic to the school). Naomi taps my arm, "Mommy?" "Yes, dear?" "This taxi has music that I understand!" Oof. So much for the hoping they won't notice the nasty lyrics. Say another silent prayer that Naomi won't ask what "I just wanna make you sweat" etc means... Drop big girls off at middle school entrance and drive Naomi down to kindergarten entrance. Notice that the big kids at the middle school entrance are mostly wearing their sweat suit uniform pants and jackets. My kids are wearing their t-shirts and shorts. The high is 85 today,however it's October so we must dress warm! Make a mental note to ask the girls what most of their friends have on at school and if comments were made about them still wearing shorts. Youngish nice taxi man waits two minutes while I walk Naomi to gate. Anabelle and I collapse back into taxi- it's 8:05- we got them there (almost) on time! Give him directions back to the house and hold on to Anabelle for dear life. He changes the radio station- no more techno but still very loud. He pulls in front of the house. I notice the meter says 2.50 JD (Jordanian dinar), I hand him 3 dinar.
(Keep in mind that the following conversation is in Arabic...) At this point nice youngish taxi man becomes mean, trying to rip me off taxi man.. He looks at the 3 dinar, rolls his eyes and says, "you must give me 4 dinar". I say, "No, I see the meter and what it says"
Taxi man, "The meter only counts for one way journey, I give you 2 way journey and I had to wait."
Me: "you waited 2 minutes at the most, I've made this trip many times and the meter has always counted for a two way journey"
Him: "You must give me another dinar"
Me: "I don't have another dinar and even if I did, I see what the meter says" (truth, I did not have a 1 dinar bill, I did have a 5 but I was not about to show him that)
Him: "You can give me change"
Me: "I don't have change"-open wallet and show him the equivalent of a dime and a penny. "I don't know what you expect me to do" (looking around for another person who I coudl use to shame him because he is clearly trying to rip me off....
Him: "Fine 3 dinar, just get out of my taxi"
Me: knowing better than to try and get my change, I get out...
End of frustrating taxi journey...
Take a beginning to get very fussy Anabelle inside and collapse in huge oversized armchair. It's 8:15 and my day has begun!!! Good grief. Change into more comfortable clothes. Nurse Anabelle. Pump enough milk for Anabelle's rice cereal for the day. Feed Anabelle her rice cereal. It's 9:00- Leave her in her bouncy seat and remember to strap her in so she won't do this...
Clean up the hurricane that hurled through our house this morning when we all realized we had 10 minutes to get dressed and out the door to school. (find my favorite 4 colored Bic pen on my bathroom shelf that I accused Maddie of losing- oops- mental note to apologize to Maddie)
It's 9:30. Put nasal spray in Anabelle's nose and use the nose raper (my brother's term- otherwise known as a nasal aspirator) to suck it out. Bless her sweet heart, she has a nasty cold but is still so happy. Get Anabelle dressed and put her in my favorite light blue outfit. It's so pretty with her eyes and she has yet to wear it longer than one hour because every time I have put it on her she pees or poos outside the diaper. Mental note that I am asking for a mess...
(but again, she's so cute...)
9:35 Put little miss happy down for her morning nap. She immediately puts her thumb in her mouth when I start to lay her down. Remember how so very thankful I am for the baby wise program for getting babies on a good schedule!!
Check computer again to see if Jason's online- nope. Fix myself whole wheat toast with peanut butter and English breakfast tea with cream and sugar (ok with coffee mate creamer and splenda but still good...). Sit down to read my Bible and pray through my day (this was supposed to happen at 6:30 when I thought I got up...
10:00 Realize that since my whole morning got shifted I might not have time to work out if I want to get financial reports done before the girls get home. Then realize that I forgot to turn on the hot water tank in the bathroom. Turn it on and decide to exercise since I can't take a shower yet. Get my ipod out of the girls room for music- notice the mess in their room and make a mental note to remind them about leaving clothes all over tarnation. Remember that it's my fault (actually my phone's fault) that they were in such a hurry this morning so decide not to fuss too much... Do exercise DVD
10:50 Decide to shower even though Anabelle's probably about to wake up. Hope she stays asleep. She does. Remember to turn off hot water after shower. Take extra long shower since Jason is traveling- figure I can use some of his water portion (we only have a certain amount of water we can use each week here so we have to be careful...)
11:00 Dry hair and hope Anabelle stays asleep. She does. Check for Jason on skype again, look at a few things on facebook hoping he'll appear. Remember that he's gone to church probably. Send Jason text about my morning debaucle with the weird phone time. He is appropriately sympathetic but wonders why I didn't just keep the girls home. I explained to him that they had all been home for the last 2 days and they NEEDED to go to school today. (side note: in Beirut when I homeschooled all the girls were home with me all the time and this was a good thing. Fun even. We had our routine, we went places. We are new in this city. We don't have a car. We don't have our stuff. We have a newborn. We don't really go places when we are all at home and he travels. Again, they NEEDED to go to school today...)
11:30 Check on Anabelle. She's awake and sucking her thumb and smiles so big when I walk in. Precious girl. Pick her up and miracle of miracles the sweet little light blue outfit is clean. Set her down on the quilt for two minutes while I get my boppy people, my book and a burp cloth (she spits up A LOT) to get ready to nurse her. Go back to quilt to pick her up. She had a blow out and pooed all over her shorts- stupid, cursed light blue outfit! Take shorts off and put them in dirty clothes.
11:40 Sit down in big, comfy oversized chair to nurse Anabelle. (We don't have a chair like this and I'm enjoying it while we stay here... we're at a colleagues house who is in the states until out stuff arrives...). Remember that the gardener is watering the lawn today. (this is a ground floor apt and our friends that live here have a gardener who comes twice a week to take care of their little patch of grass). He's very nice but likes to talk and knocks on the door a lot to ask for things. It's good Arabic practice for me though because he doesn't speak English. Nurse Anabelle for 3 minutes, gardener knocks on door. Put myself back together and go to door. He needs a bag for the leaves he's raking and weeds he's picked up. Give him bag and go back to nurse Anabelle. Nurse for 5 more minutes. Gardener knocks on door. He asks for something- I think it's the squeegy mop thingy, take him that. Nope, realize he wants a broom. Have a little mini Arabic lesson with the gardener- he points to things outside and says the word. I repeat. He is proud and tells me how wonderful my Arabic is. He then shows me how he can say door, window and something else he tried to say in English that I never could figure out. He coos and smiles at Anabelle. She spits up all over my feet. He gasps and jumps back and says it's because of the wind and he shoos me inside and closes the door. (I don't bother telling him that she spits up 84 times a day and there is rarely wind involved...). I finish nursing Anabelle. And put her in her bouncy seat for her rice cereal. I start feeding her rice cereal. Gardener knocks on door again. He returns the broom, we go over how to say it in Arabic (I didn't write it down so I've already forgotten). More Arabic lesson, more telling me what a wonderful speaker I am. Go back to Anabelle and very thankful she is still in the bouncy seat since I didn't strap her in. However, since I was feeding her rice cereal when he knocked and I didn't take the time to wipe her face she now has rice cereal on both hands and both feet since she can now get her feet in her mouth...
She's very proud...
(and very active...loves to kick!)
Finish feeding her the rice cereal and move her to the quilt to play. It's somehow already noon and I have not yet started the stupid financial reports that I hoped to finish today. Good grief. I don't like to work on them once the big girls get home because I really need to concentrate and I get grumpy with them for talking which they can't help... girls need to talk after all. All that to say, my goal is to get the financial budget stuff done while they're at school... Begin organizing my computer, receipts, everything I will need. Eat tuna salad and carrot sticks while I work. Anabelle is fussy on the quilt. Put her in the bumbo on the table to watch me work.
Along with her friends Rosie (the doll) and Sophie (the giraffe)
She's happy again.
Realize it's 1:00 and Naomi's bus will be arriving any minute. Strap Anabelle into baby bjorn carrier to go out and wait for the bus. She likes watching the traffic go by.
Wait for what seems like forever for Naomi's bus. She's the last one dropped off and I wasn't entirely sure how they would feel about me taking a picture so I sneaked it (sort of). Here she comes...
Talk to Naomi about her day at school. She doesn't tell me much because she always seems to "forget" what she did...
She did eat lunch at school but today she is "starving" still. Put Anabelle down for her second nap (around 1:20) and fix Naomi her second lunch. We've still not really figured out meal times- with the kids eating "snacks" at school they come home starving but since the older two don't get home until 3 it makes meal time interesting. Naomi asks to watch a movie while she eats. I let her because I still have receipts spread out all over the kitchen table and I'm not anywhere near finished with the reports. Fix Naomi cucumbers, sliced turkey and cheese and finally oreos and milk. She's happy. I work on financial reports while she watches a movie. Wow- it's 3:00 and Naomi tells me she hears Anabelle awake and I start watching for AJ and Maddie to get home from school. Naomi and I go in to get Anabelle up. Again, she's so happy to see us...
I have Naomi play with Anabelle- I'm so close to a stopping point on these stupid reports so I want to finish them before the big girls get home. Oops- they're home. Greet them at the door, give them big hugs and tell them to please not talk to me or even come in the kitchen for 5 minutes so that I can reach my stopping point (notice I didn't say finish- boo!) and then they can have all my attention. They all agree and play with Anabelle although Maddie forgets at least 4 times and walks in the kitchen in full story mode. She sees me frantically adding numbers, remembers not to talk and walks back out. I finish in 5 minutes and put up all of my work stuff ready to be picked back up tomorrow while they're gone. The girls are STARVING. (their neglectful mom sent them to school without breakfast or a snack...). (I did give them money to buy a snack). Anabelle is crying. It's time for everybody to eat! Decide that we'll have our big meal now. (well, after I feed Anabelle). Take potato soup out of the frig and promise the girls grilled cheese and soup as soon as I feed Anabelle. They ask to go to the dikan (mini mart type place down the street). I agree and give them money. Big girls leave to go get chips and drinks, Naomi plays outside and I sit down to nurse Anabelle. I try to read while nursing but Anabelle sees my book and keeps trying to grab it and therefore is not nursing. I try putting the book in a different place. It doesn't work. I give up reading and finish nursing her. Girls are back from the store and are STARVING. Maddie takes Anabelle outside to play on the quilt under the tree while she does her homework. Anabelle LOVES to be outside. I heat up the potato soup and make grilled cheese sandwiches. I realize that I'm not hungry and the girls don't want the soup so I don't know why I'm planning on us all eating a big meal now. Uggh, but it's 4:00 (almost) and now meal times are going to be all messed up. OH well. AJ and Maddie come in to eat grilled cheese, apples and chips. (not soup for all of us since Naomi and I have already eaten and aren't hungry). Naomi, Maddie and I play Farkle (a dice game that Naomi loves) while the big girls eat. Naomi starts to get bored and wander around the kitchen when it's not her turn. Ask her if she really wants to play- of course.. She sits back down.
My parents skype and we all talk while the girls are eating. They usually call on Saturday but were busy yesterday so they called this morning before church. Anabelle says hi and then goes down for her third and final nap of the day at 4:30. Big girls talk to my parents on the computer but are more concerned with watching themselves in the video camera than actually talking (I haven't figured out how to turn off the camera where they can see themselves...) Naomi is obsessed with showing them how she can blow bubbles and keeps sticking her entire head in front of the webcam so they can see her bubbles. Convince Naomi that her head doesn't have to be that close to the computer screen for them to see her. She understands. Maybe. Finish conversation with Mom and Dad (Annie and Da) since they have to go to leave for church.
5:00- girls go outside to play. I sit down at kitchen table and realize I'm exhausted and shouldn't have sat down! Fix myself a diet coke and a peanut butter cookie. Start typing a little on this post. Look at a few pictures on facebook. Listen to the girls fighting outside over the rules of their made up soccer game. Realize that they are running down the side of the house and YELLING right by Anabelle's open window. I storm outside and tell them (after quite a bit of yelling and fussing on their part) that whoever wakes up Anabelle by yelling outside her window will have to hold her from then until she goes to bed. I whirl around and go back inside. I realize that was probably a really dumb thing to threaten and hope I don't have to follow through with that threat. I don't. They stop yelling. They play some more of their made up game. Naomi eats the sucker the big girls bought her at the store.
5:30 they all come inside and want to play Settlers of Catan (a board game- family favorite). Naomi still wants to play outside so AJ, Maddie and I sit down to play.
(our actual game is in our crate but we have this little bitty travel version...)
6:00 and Maddie wins our first game of settlers. They want to play again and I tell them maybe depending on how our evening goes. Oh, I forgot, I made popcorn on the stove in the middle of our settlers game and told them that could be dinner. Naomi came in to be my partner and got the applesauce out of the frig. Popcorn and applesauce for dinner? Why not. I realize at this point I've completely messed up our meal schedule for the day... 6:15 and I realize Anabelle must still be asleep- send Abbey to check, yes she's still asleep. Clean up settlers game and popcorn mess. Naomi comes in and asks to go for a walk.
Sidenote on the walk: Last week sometime when Jason was sick he decided to go for a walk around dusk just to get out of the house and see if it helped him feel any better. He took Naomi with him and they walked around the neighborhood and picked olives (yes there are olive trees here lining the sidewalk) and flowers. Next day Naomi comes up around 5 or 6 in the evening and asks to go for a walk. I said no as we had guests coming for dinner. She asked again the next night but Jason was leaving to go out of town the next day so I put her off again and we played a game instead. Long story short she has asked almost daily to go for a walk and for whatever reason it hasn't worked. I made a mental note this morning that if she asked to go for a walk today, I really should try and take her. Oh, and about half way through her attempts at asking to go for a walk she changed her strategy... She came in and said, "Mom, can we go for a prayer walk?". I said, "Well, Naomi- what will we do on our prayer walk?" She says, "You know, pray... pick flowers..." Sweet girl.
So anyway, I told Naomi that after I fed Anabelle, we would go for a walk. 6:30 Anabelle is awake and ready to eat. I nurse Anabelle. In the meantime, Maddie asks to make scrambled eggs- why not?!
Maddie makes scrambled eggs for she and Abbey. I feed Anabelle her rice cereal. Abbey gets her shower and checks her email...
Naomi, Anabelle and I head out for our walk...
Naomi carries her pail to gather "treasures". We have such a precious time. Naomi chatters the whole time and says at least 4 times how much fun she is having. We walk down the street for about 25 minutes or so and she talks the whole time- about school, about flowers, about everything. It was precious. I realize that this is something I need to do more. Thankful that I was able to have quality time with all of my girls today! Oh, half way through our walk, Naomi says, "Mom, I'm prayering in my head"- HA! In case I had forgotten that she at one point called it a prayer walk. Anabelle is happy as can be to be outside with us.
We get home and I pass Anabelle off to Maddie so I can bathe Naomi. While I'm bathing Naomi, Maddie watches Anabelle and Abbey cleans up the living room for me. It's now 7:30- whew- this has been quite a day! Naomi gets out of the bath and gets ready for bed. We read her Bible story in her Princess Bible. It's about the crucifixion. She's very talkative tonight. We talk about how much Jesus loves us. Even "bad people and stealers". She wants to snuggle. How can I resist! We see night-night prayers and she wants to sing. We sing "Jesus Loves the Little Children" inserting the names of all of our family AND all of our LEbanon family. We then sing Jesus Loves Me and Happy Birthday Jesus. WHen she starts in with "What did the cow in the manger say?" , I realize this may be unending. I tuck her in and tell her she can keep singing all she wants. She's asleep in 10 minutes.
The big girls have cleaned up so we play one more game of settlers as promised. I nurse Anabelle one last time while we play but she's really not too interested. Much more interested in what Abbey and Maddie are talking about. I realize she's about ready to drop from 5 to 4 feedings. Growing up too fast! Remember again how much I love the Baby Wise feeding schedule- such a life saver for me! It's 8:30 and the game is over. I put Anabelle to bed. She's ready and starts sucking her thumb right away. Abbey and Maddie get their Bibles and we read a devotion from "Jesus Calling". They look up the scriptures and read them out loud. We're experimenting with different evening devotion times. I kiss them good night and go to finish cleaning the kitchen. Clean dishes, sweep floor, water bottles and snack stuff out and ready for the morning. It's 9:00 and I collapse in big comfy chair to finish writing this post (that was an hour and a half ago...) While writing Abbey wanders out talking in her sleep about something that I'm supposed to sign and put on my head. I tell her she's asleep and to go back to bed. She looks at me but actually stares through me with creepy I'm asleep but don't know it eyes- she gets this weird sleep walking/talking stuff from her daddy. She goes back to bed.
Now the house is quiet, the day is done and I should go to bed. Wonder for a minute if I should go ahead and mix up the baked oatmeal for breakfast- decide against it- too tired. Jason gets home tomorrow night and that makes me happy. It also makes me happy that we dont' have to taxi to school in the morning. It was a good day. Long day but good. Quality time in some form or fashion with all four girls. Oh how I love them.