A Day With the Dekkers (January 2015 Edition)

posted by Andrea | 01/23/2015

a day with the dekkers

Last week, I shared an updated before/after tour of our office (it’s already been finished for over 3 years, but we’ve made some changes).

After running that post, I received many emails asking for another “day in the life” post sharing how I manage working from home, house work, family, etc.

It has been quite a while since my last “day in the life” post (Nora was only 1 and Simon was not even a thought!) so I suppose it is time for another update. However, I often hesitate to share these types of posts because writing down our daily schedule feels sort of like “lying” since there is NEVER two days that go exactly the same or exactly as planned.

We definitely do have a general rhythm to our daily life (at least on the weekdays), but saying “this is what a day in my life looks like” is a pretty big stretch if you ask me. So please keep that in mind as you read this!

This is ROUGHLY how our weekdays are laid out — however, please don’t come away from this post thinking I have everything scheduled down to the minute and am ultra productive every second of every day (only in my dreams!) We definitely have days when one or both kids are whiny and fussy ALL DAY LONG (usually on freezing cold or rainy days when we can’t go outside) — in which case, you can just throw my nice little daily schedule right out the window and replace it with:

Nora watches a boatload of TV while mom holds and bounces Simon around most of the day… until dad gets home and gives her a break. They pick up a Little Ceasers $5 pizza for dinner, put the kids in bed as soon as possible, and mom crashes on the couch while (maybe) doing a small amount of work from her laptop. 

No, that is not a fictitious bad-day scenario 🙂

Anyway… enough people have requested a day-in-the-life post, so without further adieu, here’s what a relatively normalish weekday looks like in our house.

MORNINGS:

5:20am — Dave’s alarm goes off and he’s out of bed, getting ready for school. He leaves around 6:40.

6:30am — I’m usually up by this time, sometimes a little earlier depending on how Simon and Nora slept the night before. I race against the clock to get dressed and ready, eat breakfast, clean out the dishwasher, check and respond to emails, schedule Facebook posts, and get breakfast stuff started for the kids BEFORE they wake up (I have 45-60 minutes on a good day!)

7:15-7:45ish — Nora and Simon both wake up around this time. Nora is usually very hungry right away so I get her going with breakfast while I change Simon’s diaper, get him dressed, and then feed him some baby food/oatmeal.

8:30am — I put breakfast food away but don’t do much other cleanup. We all go upstairs to get Nora dressed and play for a while. (NOTE: If we need to run an errand or get groceries, this is usually when we do that.)

10:00ish — Simon will often go down for a morning nap around this time. I let Nora watch Curious George on Netflix, do craft projects, or play with her Gak while I clean up the kitchen from breakfast, prepare dinner stuff in advance, maybe start or fold a load of laundry, and catch up on a few work-related things like email, social media, etc.

11:30am — LUNCH! Sometimes, if Simon is REALLY tired, he’ll sleep until noon. Other times, he’s awake by 11:00 and then eats lunch with us. Lunch can be a very long process for us because Nora is a VERY slow eater.

AFTERNOON:

12:30pm — if it’s nice out, we’ll go for a walk and/or play outside after lunch. However, during the frigid winter months, we hang out inside. It’s nice that we have our designated play area upstairs — but we also keep some toys in the living room — so we can play in either place.

I am starting to feel a little cooped-up since the last several weeks have been very cold and snowy around here (and Simon is still pretty young to be outside for too long in that kind of cold). I will most definitely be looking forward to spring when we can get outside again!

3:00pm — Simon will often go down for an afternoon nap around 2:30 or 3:00 (depending on when his morning nap was). Nora and I will usually read a few books and then “snuggle” on the couch for about 20 minutes. She has never been a napper, but that girl LOVES to snuggle 🙂 And since I’ve been extra tired lately (my main pregnancy side effect) I take every opportunity to rest my body and my eyes.

I’ll usually turn on a show for Nora or we listen to music while we lay there… and yes, I usually fall asleep for about 15 minutes!

3:30pm — Dave is home! When we first got married, it wasn’t abnormal for Dave to stay at school until 6:00pm, working on his lesson plans and grading. Then, after Nora was born, he started coming home around 5:00, then 4:30ish. After Simon was born, he bumped it up to 3:30 — and boy am I grateful!

Dave quickly puts his school stuff away, changes his clothes, and takes Nora upstairs (or outside) to play for a while. When Simon wakes up, I give him a little snack and then he goes upstairs with Dave and Nora.

This is my time to catch up on emails, get a little work done, and finish making dinner.

5:00pm — dinner time. We all seem to be hungry by 5:00, so yes, we eat very early! However, it also means that we get our kids to bed earlier — so 5:00 dinner it is! Dinner usually involves lots of crazy stories from Nora, lots of laughs from Dave and I, and lots of food on the floor courtesy of Simon.

After dinner, Dave plays with the kids for a bit longer while I clean up the kitchen.

EVENING:

6:30pm — we start the getting the kids ready for bed. We aren’t doing baths/showers every night anymore — usually every 2 or 3 nights (or as needed). Once they are in their PJ’s, Nora “helps” Dave clean up the toys and books while I feed Simon his bottle and put him to bed. He is almost always sound asleep by 7:00 or earlier.

7:00pm — Nora gets a snack and reads a book with Dave. Then she brushes her teeth, goes to the bathroom, and heads upstairs with me. We read one more book… and then SHE GOES TO BED!!!!!!

Yes friends, you read that correctly. Nora is now going to bed all on her own, without me sitting in the room for HOURS, without tears, without tantrums… and she’s almost always sound asleep around 7:30pm! She is also sleeping through the night about 75% of the time — and other nights, only waking us up once and then going right back to bed (proof that miracles DO happen!)

7:30-10:30pm — These 3 hours are something I honestly didn’t know when (if ever) I’d get back after having Nora. There were SO many nights when we were dealing with her crying until 11:30 or later — which meant Dave and I had absolutely no “free time” and I got absolutely no work done at night.

Now, we both have 3 glorious hours to work. Dave grades and does his lesson planning, I catch up on my Virtual Assistant work and write blog posts (I’m writing this post just after putting Nora to bed).

Sometimes we both work from our laptops while watching a movie or a favorite TV show. Other times, we work in the office and chit chat back and forth. IT IS GLORIOUS!!!! 

10:30pm: We pack up our stuff and get ready for bed. I always shower at night — and I might also clean out the dishwasher (or get it ready to run) and clean up anything else that might be sitting out. I’ll also make my to-do list for tomorrow.

We try to be in bed by 11:00 every night.

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Like I said earlier, it’s literally impossible to accurately portray what a real day is like in our house — there are days we are gone a lot or nights when Dave stays late at school or I have a meeting. And there are days when we aren’t feeling well and just lounge around in our PJ’s all day.

I realize some of you might think I’m a crazy work-a-holic while others are probably thinking we have the most boring life ever because we just sit at home all day. I’ll be honest, both sides could potentially be true… depending on the day 🙂

But this is what seems to be working well for us right now, and I’m hoping it will continue to work well until baby #3 arrives this summer. Then we’ll start all over with a new schedule!

Believe it or not, I’m getting better at adapting to change (out of sheer necessity for survival!) — although it still takes me longer than most to accept when one schedule or plan just isn’t working anymore.

However, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing… maybe!

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29 comments

  1. Amrita Mukherjee

    01/26/2015

    Really looking forward to reading updates about your day when your another baby will be in cute pictures. Another request to you that please write a post each and every day. I really wait to read everything you write.

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  2. Meg

    01/24/2015

    I can feel the joy in your words “and then she goes to bed”!!!

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  3. Julie

    01/24/2015

    I am so glad Nora is sleeping for you. Sleep deprivation is terrible. A slow form of torture. My oldest son was also a terrible sleeper and would stay awake for hours and hours and also continuously wake through the night. He would only go to sleep, if I lay next to him. I can remember being on the floor of his bedroom, trying to pat him to sleep the night I went into labour with his sister! Thankfully he did grow out of it by about the age of three (having a sister who was an excellent sleeper, I am sure was key!). Now he is thirteen and he loves to sleep. How times have changed. My third child was the best sleeper of all, so hopefully, yours will be too.

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh my word… the night you were going into labor. That’s rough!

    We actually switched Nora to a regular “big girl” bed at 10 months old so we could lay with her. It sounds insane considering Simon is 10 months old and I can’t imagine putting him in a big boy bed but it was definitely life-saving for us! I slept with her EVERY night for about 15 months!

    here’s hoping our 3rd is the best sleeper yet too!

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  4. Organize 365

    01/23/2015

    Oh I am SOOOOO glad to hear Nora is sleeping through the night!!!!

    It took our son 4 years and I was SO amazed when it finally happened. I had given up thinking it would!

    What a blessing!!

    🙂
    Lisa

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  5. Lynn

    01/23/2015

    The picture of you and Nora with the matching headbands is so sweet! What a lovely family and life you have! Enjoy!

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    Andrea Reply:

    thanks Lynn — my sister made those headbands for us 🙂

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  6. Ann

    01/23/2015

    Oh yes, this gives me hope that the 3+ hours it takes to put our 3 year old to bed might get reduced some day!

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    Andrea Reply:

    everyone who I’ve talked to says the kids usually grow out of it by age 5. Obviously, that sounds like an eternity for you (it did for me too because Nora was only 9-10 months old when people were telling me this). I’m very happy it didn’t take until she was 5, but I also wish I knew if there was something specific we did to help her sleep better. As far as I can tell, she just made up her stubborn little mind that she was going to finally sleep!

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  7. Chris k in Wisconsin

    01/23/2015

    Andrea, has your husband cut back on some after school activities? I think he used to coach basketball if I remember correctly. That can be long days both for him and for you. My husband was a middle school teacher for 30+ years and did many many after school activities. Glad Nora has become a better sleeper for you. It certainly makes the evenings a bit more peaceful.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, majorly! He used to coach THREE sports and now he doesn’t do any coaching. I’m guessing he’ll probably go back to coaching once our kids are in school (or maybe not, who knows) but right now, we need him home more than he needs to coach!

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  8. Kim

    01/23/2015

    PRAISE GOD that Nora goes to sleep well now. Bless your sweet heart, you had it ROUGH for so long……………..wow! My grandmother used to say, “This too, shall pass.” But, I kinda thought that didn’t include Nora’s sleeplessness.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Amen, Kim!! I can not tell you how many HUNDREDS of times people told me “this too, shall pass” and I literally wanted to punch them in the face! That is something I hope I never, ever say to anyone.

    In my head, I KNEW that it would eventually pass (even if it was when she was 18 and going off to college so I didn’t have to deal with her sleeplessness) but I still hated it SO much when anyone said that to me about her sleeplessness.

    And yes, there were MANY months when I thought that phrase might not include Nora’s sleeplessness 🙂

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  9. Erin

    01/23/2015

    Your days sound very similar to mine!

    On average, how many hours of work are you able to squeeze into a week? I began freelancing last fall, but I often end up cramming that into every moment that the kids are either napping or sleeping in the evening–leaving little time to connect with my husband or read for enjoyment.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Erin,
    Well… not to sound like a total work-a-holic, but Dave and I both work pretty much every single moment our kids are sleeping — either on house projects, yard projects, school work, or blogging work. He has SO much grading and lesson planning to do, and those are the the main “focused” hours I get for writing or other highly-focused work. So we probably don’t “connect” as much as some people do — and I never read for enjoyment (I’m not a reader).

    At this point in our lives, Dave and I are both very content to spend our 3 “free” hours at night working — and yes, that usually means Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night as well. We don’t feel deprived or cheated or “unconnected” — it just seems to work for us. We’re together a lot and always chatting while we work, we also email back and forth a lot during the day to stay “in the loop” since Dave can’t really talk on the phone at school.

    To answer your question about how much work I squeeze in a week. Believe it or not, I actually get a good 40 hours in. I figure I get about 5 hours of focused work a day (1 hours before the wake up, 1 hour while Nora watches TV or plays by herself and Simon is napping, and 3 hours at night). I can also work on a few odds and ends for 10-15 minutes here and there throughout the day. So that’s at least 25 hours on the weekdays, and then I do at least another 10-15 hours on the weekend when Dave is home more.

    There are also times when family members will come play with Nora for an hour or so while Simon is sleeping — or take both kids for an hour or two so I can work during the day. Obviously, these occasional and unexpected free hours are a real treat for me!

    Anyway, hope this helps!

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    Erin Reply:

    Thanks so much for responding. I used to work 40 hours a week (20 at home and 20 at an office) before deciding to stay home full-time, and I was getting up early, staying up late, and working on the weekends to reach 40 hours/week. 🙂 I always wondered how you packed so much in, so thanks for sharing!

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  10. Stephanie

    01/23/2015

    So so jealous that your husband is home at 3:30! What a gift to you! I’m lucky if my hubby is home by 5:45. Ever tried to make dinner while 3 kids under 4 have low blood sugar and are practically pulling your pants off?! Fun times!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I know — it’s fabulous! And yes, I’ve definitely made dinner with 2 kids crawling around at my feet (not 3 yet!). I actually make dinner in the morning (or at least prep as much as I can) however, I’d say that at least 80% of the time, Dave is home by the time I actually need to be setting the table pulling things out of the oven and serving up the food. That is extremely helpful!

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  11. Heather

    01/23/2015

    I loved reading this – my girls are now 13 and almost 17, but I vividly remember their younger days and I always had my girls in bed at 7. My friends thought I was crazy, some of whom kept their kids up until 11! But, my girls bedtime at 7 allowed some sanity for me at the end of the day and time to catch up with their dad after his day at work.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    thanks Heather 🙂
    And for the record, Nora went to bed around 11:00pm (or later) EVERY single night of her life until about 2 months ago! There were many nights when she was WIDE awake until 1:00an and there was nothing we could do about it.

    We honestly have no idea what changed and why she’s going to be SO much earlier, but we’re also not complaining. Simon has always gone to bed around 6:30pm since he was 3 or 4 months old. We’ve tried desperately to keep him awake longer, but 6:30 is pretty much his limit for the day. Who knows, maybe Nora just decided that it wasn’t worth being awake after Simon went to bed so that’s why we’re able to get her sleeping by 7:30 every night.

    I’m guessing we’ll never actually find out why she all-of-a-sudden started sleeping better — but we’ll just enjoy it for now!

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  12. Bethany

    01/23/2015

    How did you get Nora to go to bed on her own? Did you use a sleep therapist or some other method? Very interested as I have a 2.5 year old with a lot of sleep hang ups like Nora used to have and it takes us anywhere from 1-3 hours to get her to sleep at night, even when she skips naps or when we set a wake up time from naps.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Oh how I wish I could give you a magic tip of exactly what “we” did to get her to sleep — but the honest truth is that we did nothing.

    We tried HUNDREDS of different doctors, medicines, natural remedies, therapists, special blankets, essentials oils, vitamins, herbs, special diets, changing sheets, different pillows, night lights, noise-makers, music, special rewards, etc. etc. etc. etc. but nothing worked.

    Then, about 2 months ago, she just started sleeping through the night — and we have no idea why. Once she started sleeping through the night, we decided that we were going to try taking it one step further and not sitting in her room for hours and hours every night until she fell asleep. She REALLY did not like this, but after about a week, she was used to it and we’ve never looked back.

    I’m not trying to be dramatic, but our lives are literally changed. We have 1-3 extra hours every night — and we’re actually sleeping several hours in a row at night.

    I will say that Nora has really never ever taken naps. There was about a 4 months window around 1.5 years old when she started taking about a 45 minute afternoon nap (only if I would sleep with her) but other than that, she has never napped (seriously). So she is really tired when she goes to bed… but that’s nothing new in the last 2 months.

    I wish I could give you our secret, but so far, we don’t even know what “our secret is” 🙂
    Sleep deprivation is so awful… and I’m sorry you are still dealing with it. It totally sucks — I know!

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  13. Siobhan

    01/23/2015

    That’s great Nora is sleeping through the night! My schedule is pretty similar…still working on being more productive in the evenings…your post yesterday was helpful. I definitely relate to the rough days when the kiddos are fussy and whiny..thanks for being so down to earth 🙂

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  14. Verity@homemakerspectrum

    01/23/2015

    Love this post!!! It’s fun and helpful as a fellow mom of small children to see how you lay out your day.

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  15. Rebecca

    01/23/2015

    I love the time aft the little kids go to bed because that is the best time for us to communicate with the our teenager. He runs weird teenager hours so late at night I seem to get the most info from him.

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    Debby Reply:

    I can relate Rebecca. My oldest daughter used to come home her senior year. Her curfew was 12:30. Thats when she wanted to talk and would tell me so much stuff. So I started taking a power nap on Friday and Saturdays around 7 so I could stay awake and listen. I cherished that. Now my youngest who is 17 is starting to do the same thing. Her curfew is midnight so at least its a half hour earlier! LOL

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    Andrea Reply:

    I LOVE that you take a cat nap after dinner so you can stay up for your daughter. I’m positive she appreciates it and you are creative valuable memories and ‘bonding time’. Maybe that’s what Nora and I were doing all these years when she was up all night — creating valuable memories and bonding 🙂

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  16. Jane

    01/23/2015

    I’m so glad that Nora is going to bed and you have your evenings. That was important time when my kids were younger. Time to catch up, regroup, craft, watch a movie on a Friday night. And then it all disappeared when they became teens…. 🙁 You have a while before you have to go through that change….

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, we have a while before the teen year so I’m not going to worry about that just yet. However, I “think” I will enjoy staying up with teens more than staying up with crying fussy babies… but who knows 🙂

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