A day in the “life”

Skating in riiiiiight under the wire, here’s today’s post! It’s a glimpse into my day yesterday — which is the perfect post for me because it counts as an update and also answers the question about why I’m flailing in my own blogging challenge.

BACKSTORY FOR NEW READERS: It will help you understand the chaos below to know the following:

  • I have six kids ages 9, 7, 6, 4, 2, and 10 months.
  • My husband is a lawyer/CPA. It is tax season.
  • I have a book coming out in April, published by Ignatius Press.

And now for more details than you ever wanted to know about what I was doing all day yesterday:

SEVEN O’CLOCK

7:40 AM: Alarm goes off. Notice that I feel even less inclined to get out of bed than usual. Remember that I stayed up reading until 1:45 AM.

7:41 AM: Ask myself why I do stupid things like that. Realize that I dodged a bullet since the baby slept through the night. Promise not to do that again. Know that I will anyway.

7:50 AM: Back asleep. Alarm goes off again. Browse iPhone to help wake up. My intent is to pull up the Divine Office app to pray Lauds, but I make the mistake of checking Twitter first and then it’s all over.

7:55 AM: Check email. See flight confirmation for Chicago trip. Remember that just yesterday we made the decision that I would go to a studio in Chicago to record the audiobook for the book. I’m also giving a talk while I’m there. Try not to think about the fact that I leave Sunday — as in, just a few days from today.

EIGHT O’CLOCK

8:00 AM: Get up, get dressed, go downstairs. All kids still asleep, including the baby.

8:05 AM: Pull up my computer and see a half-finished draft of a post. Recall with dread that this is one of those quicksand posts that has turned out to be a time-sucking mess, but I’m too far in to get out of it now.

8:06 AM: Recall with even more dread that I committed myself to writing seven posts in seven days. Hate myself for my lack of foresight and self-knowledge. Wonder what I did to anger the Schedule Fates that I found out about the Chicago trip only after I told the internet I would post every day.

8:10 AM: Make coffee. Wake up kids. Change baby’s diaper, get him dressed. Change two-year-old’s diaper, get her dressed. Wonder why two-year-old has to scream through the entire process.

day in life 3 A day in the life

“Let them learn life skills by pouring their own cereal! It’ll be fine!” I thought.

8:25 AM: Two-year-old still screaming, this time because a sibling looked at her blanket. Put on a Shaun the Sheep DVD and she’s instantly happy, as usual. Take a moment to thank God for Shaun the Sheep.

NINE O’CLOCK

9:00 AM: Joe takes the two preschoolers to Mother’s Day Out on his way to work. Remember that he’s working late again tonight. Wonder if tax season is going to kill us.

9:10 AM: Go into my home office to make homeschool copies. Put baby on floor. Notice he’s happily tearing up mail. Wonder if it’s a bill. Decide I don’t care.

9:50 AM: Still haven’t made homeschool copies because I’m distracted by my computer.

9:52 AM: See email from Fr. Jonathan Morris asking if I’d like to weigh in on “the Arizona situation” on his show tomorrow. Realize I’m not as up to speed on current events as I should be. Consider replying saying, “You mean the Grand Canyon? I’m for it!” but decide that that would probably end up forwarded to his producer with a note telling him to please never book bloggers again.

9:58 AM: Remember that the official pre-order announcement for the book is coming soon. Remember the promises I made about some important stuff I would have ready. Realize there is no way I can do it. Email the Ignatius folks to say in so many words, “You know that stuff that was entirely my idea that I assured you I’d have done by now? It’s not going to be done for a few more weeks because my life is crazy.” Thank the Lord that I have a very cool publisher who is completely understanding about that kind of thing.

TEN O’CLOCK

10:00 AM: Realize that the paper-mush that the baby is smearing on the wall was the electricity bill. Finally make homeschool copies.

10:15 AM: Make second cup of coffee. Homeschool three big kids.

ELEVEN O’CLOCK

11:15 AM: History lesson that veers into lively discussion about where our ancestors come from, with kids pointing at globe and eagerly asking questions about European geography, makes me feel like a homeschooling champion.

day in life 1 A day in the life

At a glance it might look like they’re working. Alas, they’re staging a wedding for their pencils.

11: 50 AM: Baby crying while I try to explain fractions and my daughter assuring me that “one-and-a-half is not a real number” makes me feel like a homeschooling failure.

NOON

12:30 PM: Baby finally naps. Finish homeschool lessons, set kids up with books and independent work. Have the daily discussion about whether Minecraft constitutes schoolwork.

ONE O’CLOCK

1:00 PM: Babysitter arrives. Congratulate myself for having the foresight to convey to her that she should be here every single moment that she is free for the next month, and I will happily pawn the TV to pay for it.

1:10 PM: Sit down to work on the Chicago talk, remember that I have to finish that post. Hate myself for announcing that I would post every day for a week. Consider throwing in the towel. Pridefully refuse to throw in the towel.

1:11 PM: Consider that my life would be simpler if I had never learned to read and write.

1:15 PM: Realize that I haven’t eaten yet — though the approximately 2,000 calories of half-and-half I added to my coffee kept me from noticing. Think that I should scrap my current post with weight loss tips and write one called: The Overbooked Fool Diet: How to Get Yourself So Ridiculously Maxed Out that You Don’t Have Time to Eat!

1:16 PM: Microwave frozen Thai food for lunch.

1:45 PM: Just as I get back to the blog post, the two preschoolers return home from Mother’s Day Out and the baby wakes up from his nap.

1:46 PM: Thank my dad profusely for giving the preschoolers a ride home. Know that the crazed look in my eyes tells him I mean it when I say I couldn’t do it without his help. He offers to take my nine-year-old son to get a haircut. I almost weep with gratitude.

1:50 PM: Help babysitter manage chaos. Try conceal laughter when I reprimand tired two-year-old because she was walking through the house, picking up various objects and disdainfully tossing them aside, saying, “HATE dat book, HATE dees shoes, HATE Care Bear…”

day in life 2 A day in the life

Half way through a 45-minute hand washing session.

1:52 PM: Consider trying to clean off kitchen table, which is littered with school papers mixed with snack wrappers and a disgusting juice-milk concoction one of the kids made, but decide that I need to pretend that it doesn’t exist for a while.

1:55 PM: Two-year-old playing happily. Baby crying now. Wonder if I will ever know a life when we can go 10 minutes without someone screaming.

TWO O’CLOCK

2:45 PM: Put two-year-old down for nap. Am vaguely reminded of a crocodile wrestling video I once saw on Youtube. Except the crocodiles weren’t shouting, “HATE NAAAAP!!!”

THREE O’CLOCK

3:30 PM: Work on post. Wonder if I should see psychiatric specialist about this decision to blog every day this week.

3:35 PM: Babysitter has her hands full with fussy baby. In process of working on post, am interrupted once every few minutes to referee arguments involving the byzantine rule system of my daughters’ pretend pets game. Declare in exasperation that the next person who refuses to be the owner after getting ten minutes to be Princess Kitty Cuddles will go to time out.

FOUR O’CLOCK

4:00 PM: Overhear kids asking why baby has poop on his neck. Realize we have an epic diaper situation. Offer to change it to avoid traumatizing the babysitter.

4:15 PM: After washing my hands for about ten minutes, go back to writing post.

FIVE O’CLOCK

5:00 PM: Make the official call that it’s too late to try to get baby to take a second nap, which means he’s going to be loud and angry for the rest of the evening. Try not to throw myself on the floor and cling to the babysitter’s ankles when it’s time for her to go.

5:30 PM: Get an email from my publisher’s PR agent asking me to review some marketing material. Dash off a reply sounding more desperate than I meant to saying that my life is insane and I can’t get to it until tomorrow.

5:50 PM: Tell kids to “do whatever they want” while I finish my blog post. They decide to eat marshmallows while finger painting. I let them.

SIX O’CLOCK

6:05 PM: Publish post. Feel like I need to frantically work on the next post or prepare for tomorrow’s interview with Fr. Morris or go over the Chicago talk, but decide to let it all go. Shut my laptop. Tell God he’ll have to help me find time for that other stuff because I need to turn my attention back to the house.

day in life 6 A day in the life

6:06 PM: Tell big kids to straighten up. Feel very thankful that this is not a source of conflict — Joe, who was raised by a single mother, trained them early on that they need to help around the house with good attitudes.

6:30 PM: Joe texts to say he’ll be home at 11 PM — earlier than I expected him.

6:31 PM: Four big kids have picked up the living room, swept, vacuumed, unloaded the dishwasher, and cleaned the kitchen table. Time for dinner. Realize that my dinner plan for tonight was a slow-cooker stew…which I never started. Announce to kids that we’re going to the McDonald’s drive-thru.

6:32 PM: Go out to driveway to start car so that it can be warming up because it’s SO COLD, wonder who can live in such extreme conditions. (It was 45° F.)

6:33 PM: Seven-year-old daughter goes to get jacket. Suddenly stops, frozen, shrieking and holding her foot.

6:34 PM: Put the overtired baby down, he starts screaming. Two-year-old starts screaming because she doesn’t like it that the baby’s screaming. Seven-year-old is screaming because there’s something in her foot.

6:35 PM: Examine seven-year-old’s foot. Almost pass out when I see that a sewing needle is lodged deep into the flesh, having entered between her toes, parallel to the plane of the foot. I try to pull it out but it’s stuck. In between bouts of visceral terror, I notice that this needle is from me teaching the girls sewing the past weekend. I note bitterly that evidently we can’t do fun things in this house without it ending up in a stabbing.

6:36 PM: Tell seven-year-old we’re going to ER. Call mom and tell her to come over. Mom can’t hear me because of all the noise — step away and scream over the screaming to say I need her to get in her car and start driving NOW.

6:37 PM: My daughter begs me to get it out now because it’s causing her so much pain. Tell son to grab pliers. With the little ones yelling their heads off in the background and my daughter about to shatter the windows from her own crying, with great effort I manage to pull the needle out. Feel certain that the neighbors wonder what on earth is going on in the Fulwiler House of Horrors this time.

6:42 PM: My mom walks in. I’m about to pass out from my foray into home surgery, though my daughter is fine now. All I want to do is retire to my fainting couch, but I realize that I have six hungry children who need to eat.

6:50 PM: My mom graciously offers to stay with big kids while I get food. Go out to the car to see that it’s still running. Head to McDonald’s, drifting through the drive thru with the vacant-eyed stare of someone escaping a war zone.

day in life 4 A day in the life

My mom visiting a few weeks ago, under less horrifying circumstances.

SEVEN O’CLOCK

7:15 PM: Mom leaves. Dinner finished. Give baby bath, put in jammies.

7:45 PM: Give four-year-old and two-year-old a bath. Wrestle two-year-old into jammies. Watch her act like these jammies are eating away at her skin with the agony their terribleness is causing her. Give her new jammies, which meet with her approval. Don’t care that she puts them on backwards.

EIGHT O’CLOCK

8:10 PM: Go to my room to put baby down (his crib is in our room — a downside of having a three-bedroom house). Am interrupted twice by downstairs chaos.

8:30 PM: Hang out with kids. Tell voices in my head that say that I should be writing or cleaning or preparing talks to shut up. Admonish myself to be more like that blogger who says she has the courage to rest. Remember that that was me.

NINE O’CLOCK

9:20 PM: Joe home early because of the whole needle-embedded-deeply-into-muscle-tissue-of-foot thing. Try to chat with him, but two-year-old needs a diaper change and the big kids are fighting upstairs.

9:30 PM: Joe changes two-year-old’s diaper. While I put her to bed, he cleans the kitchen.

9:50 PM: Tell big girls to go to bed. Collapse onto the couch. Wish I could do the Star Wars Princess Leia hologram thing to tell them bedtime stories, because I really do not want to move from this couch.

9:55 PM: Talk about some new NeverWinter game with my nine-year-old son, who is alert and cheerful and not headed to bed right now because he’s a bionic child who doesn’t need sleep.

TEN O’CLOCK

10:00 PM: Tell big girls stories. Force my exhausted self to appreciate precious moments. Try mostly unsuccessfully to squelch overwhelming desire to flee downstairs to soak in silence.

10:20 PM: Try again to chat with Joe, but we’re both too tired. He goes to bed.

10:40 PM: Hang out with my non-sleeping son.

ELEVEN O’CLOCK

11:00 PM: Reply to as many personal emails, blog emails, blog comments, tweets, and Instagram replies as possible. Prep for tomorrow’s interview. Surf the web in a stupor.

11:50 PM: Feed cat, straighten kitchen, check on each kid to make sure they’re all tucked in.

MIDNIGHT

12:00 AM: Get in bed. Consider trying to sleep, but baby starts making noise like he might be waking. Decide that since I don’t know if I’m about to have to get up with him or not, the most prudent course of action would be to surf the web on my iPhone.

12:20 AM: Re-read today’s post. Enjoy sense of accomplishment that it’s done.

12:30 AM: Baby quiet now. Time to go to sleep.

12:31 AM: Read a few posts by fellow bloggers who are also in the trenches of writing every day this week, laugh and nod and smile through each of them. Silently thank them for being a highlight in my day. Feel kind of glad that I signed us all up for this crazy seven-posts-in-seven-days thing. Look forward to writing another one tomorrow.

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I’m writing seven posts in seven days this week (or trying to, anyway). To check out other bloggers who are doing the same, see the list here.

New here? Take a moment to introduce yourself, or say hi on Twitter at @conversiondiary.

Enter the Conversation...

83 Responses to “A day in the “life””
  1. jen says:

    I’m of the opinion that sanity is HIGHLY overrated.
    jen recently posted..7 Posts in 7 Days: Pick Jen’s Lenten Discipline!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Did i really spy a glass table inyour pics?! A glass table would not last 7 seconds in my home. I can’t even imagine the various ways in which my children would destroy it. On any day when you’re feeling overwhelmed and/or underachieved, please know what an astounding accomplishment that is.

  3. Kate says:

    I’m a lurker, usually. But, I had to come out of the wood work to tell you WOW. I seriously don’t know how you do it everyday! Especially as I am an introvert too. And need like alone time from my family DAILY! Otherwise … things are not good, to say the least, lol. You’re like superwoman, though. My husband and I, together, plus my mom (she lives with us) could not do what you do alone. I’m seriously amazed. And we have like 1/6 of the children that you do! We’re all only children: me, my mom, my husband, our daughter. Maybe it’s the only children in us … but, man, we are so fantastically amazed at how you get it all done. Superwoman, seriously. In your shoes, I’d fail so hard. I think I’d turn the TV on for 24/7 for the kids and then stay under the covers in bed, rocking myself for comfort. But, you wrote a book on top of everything else!

  4. Maia says:

    As a REAL lazy person, I am demanding that you revoke your lazy card. This makes me tired just READING it.
    Maia recently posted..from little things…comes great love: How and Why to Make Friends at Church

  5. Eva says:

    One and a half is totally not a real number.
    Your child is wise.
    Eva recently posted..When is ‘proof’ actually proof?

  6. Jen says:

    Jen, you are soo real and honest. I wondered how you found time to a write, blog, homeschool 6 kids, give talks, be a wife, be a mom, plan conferences, and sleep. Thanks for helping me see its never easy but if you want it just do it even if chaos surrounds it, cause likely it will just be chaotic anyway. Right?
    Jen recently posted..I am looking forward to… {List 1}

  7. Monica says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard while nauseated before… but the needle story managed to make that little feat possible.

  8. Michelle says:

    Yes, Minecraft is school!! It’s like geography or geometry. Sounds real intelligent, I know, but I am not a scholar. I am trying to be a saint though, and that is ultimately what we want for our children. Have you considered giving up formal home school for lent? :)

  9. Cari says:

    Minecraft can ALWAYS count as school. Always.

  10. Bonnie says:

    God bless you, Jen.

  11. julie says:

    Jen, Sometimes in the midst of my day I wonder if people would believe the chaos that happens homeschooling, having a toddler and a husband who has a a pretty stressful (late nights periodically)job. I am with ya sister…I don’t have six kids (four) but I do have two dogs (one who is 14 years old and poops occasionally on the floor) and four cats (don’t ask.) We’ve been held captive up here in Michigan for three months. You add all that plus the dinner aspect and I wonder why I collapse in bed at night. We CAN do it. God put this calling in our heart and he will provide. My mom had seven kids and she’s now 80. She takes naps during the day and is so “not” busy, but I occasionally think about how chaotic her life was 40 years ago when I was a baby (I’m the youngest.) I wonder if I’ll miss it all when I’m 80..probably and we just keep trekking on. Thanks for your effort on getting this post published. It helped me start my day with a laugh!

  12. Amy says:

    Oh my. You are a superhero :) Even with all that ^^ you still can write about it and make it funny. I love that.
    I had to chuckle that you warm up your car when it’s 45 degrees. And “Alas, they’re staging a wedding for their pencils.” LOL! It’s like you stepped into my house. Yesterday my girls acted out a very elaborate story with paper letter Xs my eldest cut out…
    Amy recently posted..Getting Ready for Lent

  13. sara mcd says:

    I was going to stop reading at 3pm but then realized it’s wrong to comment after only having read half a post. Oh my gosh, I’m glad I kept reading. You are very brave to pull that needle out by yourself.

    And I notice that the best part of your day, including spending time enjoying the children (and more cooperation from them) happens after six o’clock. I’m mostly dead by that time. I think I thought I was a night owl once before having children, but after getting to know you through your blog, I understand what that description really means and it ain’t me. :)
    sara mcd recently posted..Running a Household, Excuses, and an App

  14. Kelly M. says:

    Can we just all agree to never, ever blog this much again?? At least not until our kids are all out of the house?????
    My biggest fear is that people will want me to keep up this schedule, where as it’s really just making me want to give up blogging for Lent.
    You’re a superstar and an inspiration to us all. HANG IN THERE JEN! ONLY 3 days to go.
    Kelly M. recently posted..Third Person Thursday: The Dawn of a New Era

  15. Laura says:

    Sweet baby Jesus! I would have collapsed in exhaustion and overwhelm after hour one. You are surely going straight to heaven. No purgatory for you!
    Laura recently posted..Home Is Wherever I’m With You Embroidery Hoop Art (7I7 Day 4)

  16. elizabethe says:

    Your post really hits all the hot buttons of what I struggle with. I recognize the cry underneath it all of “I JUST NEED 20 MINUTES ALONE!” And struggling with trying to get away from all of the noise for just a minute. I always tell the kids “do whatever you want just leave me alone.”

    I really respect how little TV time you have in your day. My kids watch way too much TV just so I can have some peace and quiet what with homeschooling and all the indoor wrestling that breaks out every nine seconds.

    So, Jen, because I’m a giver (and because my brain is insane), while in the shower I developed a 10 step/12 week plan for reducing the chaos in your life by 50%. Email me if you want it.

    Anyway, Praying for you.

  17. Kayla says:

    What a supermom! And thank goodness for all of those around to help when needed. What a crazy day!!!
    Kayla recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday #1

  18. Anna says:

    Jen, my baby sister (13 years younger than I) was a holy terror when she was 2…and 3. Your toddler reminds me so much of her. My sister used to do things like use candle holders to scoop water out of the fish tank to drink it. She was also naked quite often.

    Now, she is a beautiful, soft spoken 12 year old. You would never know in just meeting her what she put us through when she was small. She’s never known anything but homeschooling, and she has more real friends than all her siblings combined. She treats everyone with astounding kindness.

    I tell you all this to let you know there is hope! This ends. We older siblings used to have to set the microwave timer to give us a definite end to our shifts of watching her. She was that insane. Your exhausted efforts to pour love into her matter. This season shall pass, but the care you give her will stay with her. Stay the course, fellow soldier!!

    Prayers for you in this ridiculous time :)

  19. Steve says:

    10:20 PM: Try again to chat with Joe, but we’re both too tired. He goes to bed.

    He goes to bed? HE GOES TO BED?! That’s just unacceptable. I can’t imagine myself going to bed before my wife after a day like that, and when there is still so much to get done. I’m not trying to say I’m a better guy than Joe. I just think in this case that him going to bed at that time shouldn’t have been an option.

    • I think I might have mis-conveyed his end of the bargain, because he does a ton of work. If anything, I think Joe works harder than I do around the house. It always feels perfectly fair when he goes to bed. :)

  20. Julie H. says:

    Are you SURE you want to come to Chicago right now?! I’m a lifelong Chicagoan and I’m here to tell you…even the lifers are miserable. Bring your warmest of warm stuff, and even then you might up buying more when you’re here. Currently, it’s 5 degrees, but feels like -16. By Sunday it will be a tad warmer…

    That said, A TALK IN CHICAGO? Is this a public thing??! If so I would love to come and hear you!

  21. Diane says:

    oh dear lord, I need a NAP lol!

  22. Wow, that was EPIC! I think I remember you saying something about how you like reading epic novels, right? You could clearly write your own!
    Catholic Lawyer Mama recently posted..Emotional Mish-Mash, Parental Angst, Encouragement Theory, and Satan to Boot!

  23. Christa says:

    Among many amusing and creative events in your day, I received great consolation from the descriptions of your 2 year old. My 2 year old constantly yells, “Wike it …” Fill in the blank. He means, “I hate this…” He adores his Gramma, but when she was going to put him to bed instead of me, he yells, “Wike it, Gwamma!” So I am consoled that other 2 year olds hate everything too. Thanks, and have another fun day tomorrow!

  24. DJ says:

    Good Lord woman. I need to lay down. That post gave me heart palpitations.
    At the risk of being snarky I must ask the obvious question: “How’s that NFP working out for ya?”
    Sorry. Couldn’t resist. ;)

  25. Jane Hartman says:

    When I was 9, my mother gave birth to her 7th child. Two more children came after that. There was a time when I envied my friends who had only a few siblings. Oh the chaos – I called it pandelerium! But God knew in his wisdom that being the oldest of 9 children would be one of the greatest joys of my life. Today, many years later, we are our own best friends and confidantes. My mom, now 82, delights in our lives, the grandchildren, the quarterly birthdays parties (way too many to do one at a time) and the blessedness that God in his great mercy has given us! We are overwhelmed in His love! It overfills the heart! God bless you for following his “prescription of love!”

  26. Ellen says:

    Well I now appreciate the weight loss post so much more, knowing what it took to write. I am starting the three month push to get my health under control and found your ideas very helpful. Sorry you had such a stressful day.

  27. Laura says:

    I love this post!
    I laughed so much when I read the 6:34 pm.
    By the way I heard you in the Catholic Channel 129 talking to Father Jonathan Morris and you did an excellent job, as always.
    Thank you for sharing so much with us.

  28. Karen Bell says:

    Your two year old is so funny!!

  29. Allison H. says:

    Half and Half is my breakfast as well!

  30. Becky C says:

    I adore this post. You just made me feel human again. My day was not this crazy yesterday. But, boy! these days can be long!

  31. Cristina says:

    If I wasn’t exhausted before, I am positively wiped now (or I was after I read up to your Two o’clock…almost there!

    Just
    three

    more
    days
    Cristina recently posted..SuperFriends Lent Power Packet: Growing Up Catholic

  32. The needle in the foot! I had to take my daughter to the E.R. this past year for getting a large FISH HOOK stuck in her foot. Ironically, this happened because she came inside to get her shoes on because she went outside without shoes and we told her to go get her shoes before she stepped on something. She was a trooper and got stickers and a happy meal out of the whole ordeal. Your day looks very familiar, especially the 2 year old screaming fits.
    Amy @ Consecrated Housewife recently posted..Soccer Boy’s 12th Birthday

  33. Natalie says:

    WOW! God bless you and your family. Thanks for the picture of your kitchen sink which resembles mine every day!

  34. Christy says:

    I always love reading your day in the life posts, because they always surprise me because in my head your life is glamorous. As in you are spending your time thinking deep thoughts and writing great thoughts in the lap of silence. But then I read these posts and your day looks just like mine! Well, give or take a kid and publisher.

    And thanks for the link the other day! I had to do a double take because I didn’t think you were talking about my post…
    Christy recently posted..Turning Towards Lent

    • As in you are spending your time thinking deep thoughts and writing great thoughts in the lap of silence.

      I read this to Joe over the phone, and we both just about laughed until we cried. Oh my gosh.

      When you’re here in Austin for the conference I really need to have you come over to my house. :)

  35. vicki says:

    just reading that gave me a slight anxiety attack. :) i read your blog occasionally and i love your conversion story jennifer. i understand how busy you are but i do have a question, maybe some other blog readers could help? i am in rcia right now and will be baptized this year at easter. i’m so happy with my decision and actually have only considered myself a christian for about 5 yrs now. my kids and hubs are not doing this catholic thing with me, nor do i want them to if they are not willing. my boys are 14.5 and 10.5 yrs old. hubs was raised united methodist but does not “get” the catholic view. my 14 yr old says he is an agnostic, my 10 yr old says he believes in God but has no idea why! anyhow, i understand that my biggest mission/ministry will be to train my children in my faith/and perhaps hubs too. church (not catholic church but others i have gone to and made my kids go to also) has been a prob with us in the past- you know the very fundamentalist view- which i nor my kids do not get or agree with. i want them to learn about my new faith, not to get them to convert, but to understand my/our point of view which is so very different from any other churches i have tried to go to and that they have gone to. they are old enough to make their decision to convert by now, i just don’t feel i can force them to do this. they aren’t babies anymore, you know? has anyone else been in this situation? are there any books you recommend? i can for sure get my youngest to listen to me teach him, but how about my teenager? none of them will go to mass with me at this point, though hubs is supportive and they just know this is what mom does now etc. thanks so much! oh and i read a father morris book a while back- i think it was called God Wants You To Be Happy. one of my favorites and i found it not long after i first became a christian. it helped me so much…

    • Vicki – Congratulations! And that’s such an important question, I’m afraid I can’t address it all in the comments. The short version is that I think that the foundation of reaching out to loved-ones is simply love and prayer. Pray, get close to Christ yourself, and show your family Christ’s love. When they experience that, they may just become curious about this new faith that has led to such a transformation of your own life!

  36. Kristen N says:

    Absolutely hilarious. Believe it or not, you ARE growing into Saint Jennifer. (Maybe patron saint of mommy bloggers?)

    Oh, do you know about Great Artist Mom? My kids LOVE watching her videos which inspire them to spend hours drawing. Might be a good thing for your kids to do while you write your next post!

    http://greatartistmom.com/
    Kristen N recently posted..5 Reasons to Show your Toddler & Preschooler Great Works of Art

  37. Elizabeth says:

    I can’t describe how much I enjoy these posts that give us a window into “how you do it.” Your proprietary blend of humor and humility always leaves me with a feeling of relief (yes, life is this crazy for all of us) and simultaneously a feeling that I can do better (look at how much she’s accomplishing and she has three times as many kids as you!!)…but not in a shame-y kind of way. It makes me see the challenges of my own day in a more realistic light and makes me feel like “I can do this!” God bless you and give you strength and joy on that roller coaster!

  38. Jess says:

    Jen,
    I “discovered” you online two two years ago. Since then your blog has brought me joy and encouragement often. I have never commented to tell you this, but you are a role model to me. I pray my life looks like yours in a few years, though I kind of doubt I will be as successful. I am a 20 something convert with an almost 4 year old, a two year old and a 9 month old. I love to write and I plan to homeschool.
    Thank you for this honest break-down of yesterday. My day was like that…. But with half the kids, and none of the outside responsibilities! I am impressed by your strength, and your transparency shows us all how we can get through days like that, and even perhaps years like that! You are doing a great job. It sort of scares me though that even after reading this post I still want lots of kids and homeschooling and to write…. :)

  39. Lindy says:

    I hereby release you from your blogging challenge.

  40. Julie says:

    Oh my gosh – the needle thing. Everything else was a LOT, but the needle thing was just too much. I would have been screaming and crying right along with the kids.

    But is it awful of me to admit that I feel so much better, having read your post? Because I often wonder how you do “it all” and it’s nice to be reminded that doing “it all” inherently makes for a life of crazy. Crazy wonderful/joyful/stressful/messy — all of it. We, all of us, live very real, imperfect, sometimes hard lives. Thanks for the reminder.
    Julie recently posted..The Best Possible Mugging

  41. Tiffany says:

    Did you forget to mention that you’re pregnant? :) that makes me smile, since I know with my first baby, managing, recording and rebelling in “my condition” was like a full time job. It’s neat to see how seamlessly (really!) the new life hums along with standard terror and thrills of daily life.
    Tiffany recently posted..Ten Things I’ve Learned in the Past Month

  42. Elizabeth says:

    I’m so glad it’s not my only my sink that looks like yours does at that point in the day!
    Elizabeth recently posted..Team Clean & Mementos of Writing

  43. Katy says:

    Jen, practical question. You said your husband taught the kids early on how to help around the house with good attitudes. Um, you’re seriously not going to pass on that wisdom to the rest of us? Post step-by-step instructions, stat. I’m dead serious, you must share with the world how to do that.

    • Sonya says:

      Yes yes yes! Please! The good attitudes here around work do not always (or even sometimes) come to play. Pointers please!

    • Alinea says:

      I was thinking the same thing! If you ever need something to blog about, teach us how to get our kids to clean up with good attitudes! (Although, now that I think about it, maybe it would help if I had a good attitude about cleaning too.)

    • Thanks for the topic idea!! I’ll hit that one in Quick Takes tomorrow.

  44. TheresaEH says:

    send cyber sympathy from Canada in my very quiet office :)

  45. See, Shaun is doing the work I sent him for. Pop it in. Quiet the toddler. Write this post. Bingo Bango.
    Jenna@CallHerHappy recently posted..My Dirty Little Content Secrets

  46. Laura M says:

    So, 2 things really stood out for me…
    1st. Your children (the oldest being 9) vacuum and unload the dishwasher succesfully? How did you get them to do that?
    2nd. Tha cat only eats once a day at 11.50 pm?

  47. Ellen says:

    Day in the life posts fascinate me because of how different everyone’s family time frames are. I can’t fathom my kiddo going to bed at 9 or 10 because I go to bed by 10 because she’s up at 6am! It all balances out in the end, I know, but the differences are staggering to me. My favorite part was when you decided that the kitchen table mess didn’t exist for a while. Story of my homemaking career!

  48. Amanda says:

    What I notice is the percentage of your verbs that are in your head. Obviously you DO lots of stuff in your busy household, but so much of it was “notice,” “realize,” “think,” “wonder,” “consider,” etc. You really do wish you could be a brain in a jar :)

    Also, I’m still not over the foot incident, and I wasn’t even there. Seriously. My foot’s all tensed up (and I started this comment a few hours ago.)

  49. Heidi says:

    I am pausing in the middle of reading to say that I had just gotten to the 2yo “Hate dis book, hate dees shoes…etc.” when I started laughing (quietly!) out loud. Very quietly – like I didn’t notice I was doing it until I heard & processed a stern: “Stop aff-ing! [stop laughing!]” from my *own* two-year-old, seated a yard away. After which he returned to absorbed commentary on his Batman board book. Guess these two-year-olds stick together!

  50. Lisa-Jo says:

    There. Are. No. Words.

  51. Stephanie says:

    You are my favorite blogger because of posts exactly like this one (mixed in with ones like The Courage to Rest). I read this and feel like a more normal human being. This is so similar to my life – with fewer big kids (my oldest is 7) and a house full of early risers. Our time table is different (the first kid up is my toddler, who starts her day on a good day at 5:30, on a bad day at 4 a.m.), but our lives are so much like this one.

    Peace friend. Someone is always crying in this house too. ALWAYS.

  52. MK says:

    “with the vacant-eyed stare of someone escaping a war zone”

    Yes. I am not alone. So, so glad to hear that. :D
    MK recently posted..Linkety Links for February 2014

  53. Lynne says:

    “The photos and captions alone are worth the price of the book!” –from the back jacket of the new book you’ll write, which will be nothing more than 365 days-in-the-life and which will be a runaway best-seller. You will be called “The New Erma Bombeck”. With the money, you will hire a nanny, a personal assistant, a housekeeper and a masseuse/trainer. *fist pump*

  54. Elizabeth says:

    Love it! Thank you!! :o)
    Elizabeth recently posted..The Waiting Game

  55. Chantal says:

    Really? You tell your kids to clean up and they clean everything up in 30 min or so? Wow! My kids only clean up if I tell them there is a film after, even then they ignore me. My son can clean the washroom, almost right away, my daughter… well she still likes me to go upstairs and help her choose her clothes. Trying to convince myself it is a precious time to savour. I usually get annoyed and say, “You are 7 years old and very independent, you can choose your own clothes and get dress.”

  56. Gina says:

    Your waking-up thoughts sound exactly like my waking-up thoughts (minus the part about the baby!). How do books keep doing that to us??

    Also, you’re my hero for pulling out that needle. If I had to do that, I would die, faint, and throw up, not necessarily in that order.
    Gina recently posted..The Drood Inquiry conference

  57. Even though my life is a much milder version of what you describe (I only have two kids so far), I can certainly appreciate how hard it can be somedays to accomplish even a simple task. Perfect example: today I’ve been trying to comment on this post since 6am Pacific Time, and now at 5pm Pacific Time I’m finally getting around to it.

    I have to say I was amazed that you have to wake your kids at 8:00 in the morning. I am surrounded by morning people around here, and I am sooo not a morning person. I took your advice though and started trying to get up before them in the morning. Shockingly I now set my alarm for 5:00 in the morning to try to beat the rush that begins around here by 6:00. Some days, like today, that personal quiet time gets interrupted (today my 11 month old wanted to nurse around 5:15), but I actually have to admit it has been helping my sanity to get up earlier.

    Just reading about your upcoming business trip stressed me out. I have to travel occasionally for business, and it is so much work to prepare for the trip and so hard to leave my family, that I go a little crazy just at the thought of it. I hope your trip goes well for you. The thing that always amazed me about Chicago (used to travel there a lot 6-7 years ago) was that even when it was freezing, people were still out and about. I hope you don’t freeze to death and get to do something fun while you’re there.

    When you feel like you’re drowning in the craziness of your life, just remember how many lives you’ve touched with your words (as I’ve said before, you truly have a gift), and look at your beautiful family who loves you so much. Hang in there, and I hope you find a more sane schedule soon.
    Jennifer @ Little Silly Goose recently posted..My unplanned home birth (Austin’s birth story), Part 1

  58. I laughed so hard I cried several times in this post. Mostly over the apt, matter-of-fact descriptions of kids and their flat unreasonableness, which they are ever passing off as reasonable (because of course to them, they are). I only have 4, ages 2, 4, 6, and 8, but I can so relate to every incident you posted. And the photos.

  59. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Jen! I’m Elizabeth. Long-time reader, first-time commenter. I am so grateful that you rallied all the troops to post seven days in a row! Like you, I barely finished a post yesterday. Muffled exasperation escaped my mouth just a few times, begging for mercy–maybe I could skip a day? I finished the post then enjoyed my reward of reading the other blogs. Yours today. Just perfect. Exactly what I needed! This week has been a fun way to discover new blogs as we drudge through the trenches together. So THANK YOU!
    Elizabeth recently posted..Veto-ed Arizona Bill…Not so Bad

  60. Little Wife says:

    Oh my.

    Don’t even look at my “Day in the Life” post. There’s no poop, no screaming, and no Princess Kitty Cuddles.
    Little Wife recently posted..{Theme Thursday} Fences

  61. ley says:

    Thank you for writing this! I’m up reading this at 5am, couldn’t sleep after feeding the 8 month old. I’m a mom of 4 kids. And this post has been delightful. You rock. Thanks again.

  62. GAAAAAAH! I got a needle in my foot like that when I was about 12. It broke off in my foot. I had to go to the doctor to get the piece removed. And a tetanus shot.

    The needle was on the ground because my younger brother had been stringing up paper mache asteroids for his model solar system. Yay, homeschooling!
    Becky Castle Miller recently posted..(Blog) Dear Friend, As You Attend AA

  63. I am a mama of five boys (7, 4, 3, and 23-month-old twins), and I can completely identify with your day. My boys are frighteningly brave, and there is no way I can possibly predict everything their little brains that they could think to get into or do or destroy. They are inventive and wild and maddening and yet wonderful and brilliant and beautiful all in the same day. Sometimes it’s good just to know we’re not alone in these trenches.
    Rachel Toalson recently posted..Does ‘religious freedom’ excuse us from love?

  64. Valerie says:

    I’ve done one of these day in the life posts every three months since my now three year olds were born. I call them Typical Day posts. I actually happened to do mine on Wednesday and post about it today. I like them because not only do they explain why I’m so tired, but I can actually see small improvements. When I read what my life was like with three kids under the age of 2 running around it makes me appreciate how “easy” three year olds by comparison.

    So here’s to hoping you can do one of these in a year and you’ll see that live is easier. (Or just do one after tax time.)

    Oh and I laughed at that pencil wedding picture. That kind of thing goes on all the time at my house.
    Valerie recently posted..A typical Day: February 2014

  65. I’m exhausted reading this!

    I’m wondering if the pattern of reading at night is typical of introverts, especially if life is crazy like this. Sleep is overrated when you have had no time to process and be alone with your thoughts!!! I do this all the time.

    I’m tired the next day, so I don’t know what is best..grumpy for lack of sleep but sane In my thoughts or grumpy and going crazy because of no down time!

    Your description of morning prayer is exactly what I do. Check Email and I’m completely distracted.
    Jennifer G Miller recently posted..7 Quick Takes — What a Week! Edition

  66. Jo Joyce says:

    My 25 year old daughter sent this to me, because she too stepped on a needle and all she could do was scream, and it was very hard to pull out. Fortunately she was older, late teens maybe? I can’t remember. I only have four, and the last (14 years) is now home alone, being homeschooled and things are not quite so chaotic. but unlike many who comment that they are glad they are singles, or onlies, or whatever, I am glad there are people like you who are doing what is good and right and natural, and I pray for you and those like you. There are many families in my homeschool co-op who have 8-11 kids, some adopted, fostered, and some all natural. God Bless them and their helpers and God Bless you! CONTINUTE TO PEOPLE THE WORLD WITH MORE GOOD PEOPLE.

  67. Erika Marie says:

    Wow, this is CrAzY! I bet you don’t want to repeat that day ever. It sounds like a mental breakdown waiting to happen. (which maybe already has?)

    Some friends and I were discussing this post – yes, you are THAT popular – in between helping pick up our friend’s basement that our kids had helped demolish and we all agreed that it’s hard not knowing you in real life because all we have to go off is posts like these so we kind of wondered if your life is like this all the time? If so, it seems like maybe you might be trying to do too much and might need to scale back a little? (said in a concerned friend way not in a judgmental stranger sort of way.)

    We were also curious about what motivates you to blog to the point of going crazy like this and needing a sitter to come? We determined it was either because:
    A)You earn enough extra income from the ads/blogher affiliation on the blog to make it worth it,
    B) You enjoy it that much and use that time for your own little “escape” in the day (totally understandable!)
    or
    C) You’re past the point of insanity and figure, what the heck, no turning back now!

    Either way, we all agreed we enjoy your blog and think it would be fun to know you in “real life” too.
    Erika Marie recently posted..Silence, Ambition & Motherhood, “Blessed” {A Food for Thought Round-Up}

  68. Lea says:

    You sound frazzled by your everyday life, which seems to be teetering on the edge of chaos, while also exhilarated and energized by your success as a blogger/personality.

    A few months ago I sounded similar. I had started a blog and was giving it a lot of my attention, and an online publication had just agreed to take me on as a regular contributor. I was loving it, but found it so hard to balance out these new activities with my life as a homeschooling mom of small children. My sleep was the biggest casualty, and finally my doctor ordered me to slow down. I knew he was right, and I had no choice. With deep regret I cancelled my gig with the online publication and put the brakes on my blogging.

    I have to say, the results for my family’s happiness have been quite amazing. The children are more calm and content, and there is a lot more order, routine and peace in our home. Aside from getting the home into better shape, I’ve also been able to put more thought and prep time into homeschooling, and that has made it far more enjoyable and productive for everyone.

    Still, it continues to be a struggle for me to resist the urge to get over-involved outside the home. Like you, I really do love it (I am a former lawyer and overachiever). I was nowhere near your level of success, which must make it that much more invigorating and harder to scale back. Blogging and all that jazz really is a second career, and those daily frazzles are the pangs of the working mom, albeit working from home.

    You are in a tough spot and there are no easy solutions. In case you are mulling over how to improve things, one option is of course to get a nanny, at least part-time. This might well give you a huge relief, and provide more daily structure for your children. Or, how about sending your older ones to school instead of homeschooling? That might help, but the nanny would probably still help because another pair of hands is just irreplaceable in a home where so many things need to get done.

    From one mom to another, I know what you are going through, and I wish you all the best.
    Lea recently posted..How We Homeschool: Handwriting