normal days these days

IMG 1510 jpg IMG 1698 jpg

a normal day! holding it in my hand this one moment, i have come to see it as more than an ordinary rock. it is a gem, a jewel...normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart. let me not pass you by in a quest for some rare and perfect tomorrow. let me hold you while i may, for it will not always be so. one day i shall...want more than all the world your return. and then i will know what i now am guessing: that you are, indeed, a common rock, and not a jewel, but that a common rock made of the very mass substance of the earth in all its strength and plenty puts a gem to shame. 
-mary jean irion

i’ve been trying to savor my current normal days as i've been anticipating the total change in them coming up with baby’s arrival in april (and again a bit later when i go back to school and start working again part-time). i so want to remember keenly this one-child, stay-at-home-mom, living-in-and-loving-london chapter of my life. my normal days these days are pretty simple and may seem drab to some. to me they are beautiful - they are common rocks that put any gem to shame. spending all day caring for a toddler can be sometimes tedious, sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhausting. but for me, it is extremely rewarding, and i believe i am doing really important work. i am grateful for a husband that is dedicated to being in a partnership focused on equality and mutual growth and fulfillment, who is eager to support me and rebalance our sharing of childcare and homemaking responsibilities as needed. my life is wonderful. i truly love it. i’m excited for what’s ahead, but i’m also cherishing the present.

i decided to write down some generalities and details of what my current normal day looks like, to help me be aware of the treasure it is and to bless it before it departs. one day, i’ll miss this. 
(i meant to get pictures of a bunch more normal tidbits of our normal days, but just keep forgetting to snap a photo. maybe i’ll come back to this post soon and add in some more images…)
{and, note this disclaimer: certainly not all of this happens every day. sometimes it gets to 7pm and i haven’t showered or cooked or tidied up. i am trying to stick to my resolutions and routines, but i fail a lot. a lot of this is “ideal scenario” kind of stuff :) }

******************************

6:30am
recently, moses has been waking us up early. he used to wake between 7 and 7:30; now it’s more between 6 and 6:30 - wah wah. ian is the best and has been letting me rest a little longer over the past couple of weeks - he gets moses from his crib, changes his diaper, feeds him breakfast and empties the dishwasher. i try to get out of bed by 7 at the very latest so that i can exercise before ian leaves for work. i’ve been running a mile each morning - through the pretty streets of our neighborhood in the very first hint of daylight - and then doing some simple body weight exercises in our front room. i love getting out of the house and into the brisk air first thing and always enjoy my run, even though my pregnant belly and i can’t run too fast or long. the boys play while i work out and then i pack up a lunch for ian. 

7:45am
we read scriptures and say a prayer together before ian leaves for work. ian and i read from blue softcover books of mormon, and moses has his own small red softcover book of mormon. he opens it wide and babbles as we read (as if he was reading himself!). usually while we pray, moses runs around the front room — but about a quarter of the time he sits still and quiet with his arms folded :) we give lots of hugs and kisses before ian heads across the street to unlock his bike. moses and i always wave (and sign “i love you”) to him from the front window. 

IMG 1542 jpg IMG 1602 jpg

8:00am
i try to keep moses entertained and happy while i eat some breakfast, do a quick personal scripture study (i am working through reading and considering on all the references to jesus christ in the topical guide), shower (baby boy loves to pull everything out from under the sink in the bathroom while i do so…), get dressed and prepare anything needful for the day ahead. 

9:00am-ish - noon
we try to get out and about by around 9am (it’s often considerably later…). on many mornings, we meet up with mom and baby friends at a park or museum or just someone’s flat. on mondays we finalize meal planning and do a big grocery shop. on wednesdays we go to a workout with other moms and babies at the church building (so i don’t exercise as much in the early morning on those days). on thursdays we go to a “littles class” that a friend recently organized - one mom hosts each week and we have a little structured activity and then lots of unstructured play time. sometimes we just do our own thing and explore a new part of the city or run random errands or play in our communal garden or just around the flat. i try to get laundry / cooking / dishes / errands / church calling work / blogging / organizing / travel planning done here and there; if moses is happy to play independently i often listen to a podcast while cleaning or i respond to emails or edit photos. i’m working on not having my nose in my phone at any opportunity and being more present with my little mo. we usually eat lunch together around noon.

IMG 1502 jpg IMG 1577 jpg
IMG 1683 jpg
IMG 1619 jpg IMG 1626 jpg

1:00pm - 3:00pm
nap time! moses is normally very good at going right to sleep in the early afternoon and sleeping for around two hours. i always have high hopes to be super productive while he is sleeping, but lately i’ve had to nap with him sometimes (growing a human inside my body is exhausting!). if i’m really tired but not up for a cat nap, i occasionally just rest and read or watch an episode of something. when I am super productive during nap time, though, it feels so so good! ian and i share a google doc to-do list that i work my way through. recently i’ve been working on something i’m helping my sister create for her new website, doing some deeper research on my going-back-to-school plan, and working on decorating our flat (which feels like such an overwhelming task … one i’m determined to complete before baby is born!). 

3:00pm-ish - 6:00pm
after mo’s nap, we try to get back outside for at least a little bit before it gets dark (i’m so glad the days of dark-at-3:30pm are behind us for the year now!). occasionally we will have something planned with friends or some errand to run, but usually we play in the garden or just take a walk. once outdoor activities are over (now the sun sets at 4:45…), we love to facetime family and friends back in the states. a few days ago we did a little art project with paint and crayons, and most days moses loooooves to read book after book after book with mama. he also usually goes through the rounds of giving hugs and kisses to all his stuffed animals, flushes the toilet a few times, asks for music and dancing or a snack, and/or sneaks his binkie and hippo (little comfort blankie) from his crib. we work on not throwing things, not whining, and following directions, try to learn some new things together, and most days we have fun in the bath with bubbles. around 6:00 we start making dinner. usually moses sits on the floor in our teeny tiny kitchen and pulls everything he can out of cupboards and drawers while i tiptoe over it all trying to cook :) i love to try new recipes and prepare healthy food. little mo and i also usually try to clean up toys and all the little messes that have piled up throughout the day before dinner. 

IMG 1573 jpg IMG 1574 jpg
IMG 1713 jpg IMG 1718 jpg
IMG 1506 jpg
IMG 1690 jpg IMG 1504 jpg
IMG 1591 jpg IMG 1695 jpg

between 7:00 and 7:30pm
dada comes home!!!! the most exciting part of the day :) i track ian’s location on the find friends app and when he gets close on his bike, moses and i sit right in the middle of the bay window and watch for him. we see people and dogs and cars go by and then get pretty excited when dad shows up. hugs and kisses at the door, and then it’s dad and moses play time while i finish up dinner prep. mo sits in his high chair and usually folds his arms for a prayer over the food - well at least for the first five seconds of the prayer...

about 8:00pm
we start our bedtime routine with a dance party in our front room. seriously, moses has awesome moves. he gets so into it every day. we usually dance for just one song but sometimes can’t resist doing two. ian tosses moses in the air and we chase each other around and giggle. then, diaper change and pajamas followed by brushing teeth (which is 95% of the time a father-son activity). moses sits on my lap in the big green chair in the nursery and all together we read from one of the scripture story books (our church makes them for the old testament, new testament, book of mormon and church history … we are doing new testament right now!). we help moses say a prayer and then he gets to look at his animal encyclopedia with dad. ian puts moses to sleep the vast majority of the time. i get a kiss and a wave and then go start cleaning up from dinner (hearing laughter coming from the nursery) until ian comes to the kitchen after a few minutes and says, “man i love that kid.” 

8:15pm - 9:00ish
ian and i cuddle in our bed and talk. we have tried to be really deliberate about making this happen almost every night. sometimes we chat casually about our days or laugh about something together; often we just smile about how awesome moses is; sometimes we take turns having one person talk about deeper personal stuff and the other person 100% listen. on most tuesdays lately, i go to a yoga class from 8-9, but we still try to get in some cuddling/talking time when i get home :) 

9:00pm - 10:00pm
ian studies for the cfa (he has just started up regular studying again - this is the last year of the exam, hurrah!) and i finish up random things and get ready for bed. sometimes we have logistical stuff we need or want to do together. i feel like the two and a half hours between moses going to bed and me going to bed go by soooo quickly! i try to put my phone in my nightstand at 10pm and then plan out the next day in my planner. i’m just finding that i need significantly more sleep than usual lately, with chasing moses around + being pregnant - so i usually am asleep by 10:30. ian and i always have a final prayer together kneeling on our bed and often ian stays up later to study or get things done. most nights i play a guided meditation (usually pregnancy-related) on my phone as i fall asleep. 

most weeks, we invite some guests over for dinner at out home on one weekday evening. 
every week we have a date - a lot of times it is on the weekend, but sometimes it’s during the work week! at least once a month we make sure to get a babysitter so that our date is out of the house and without moses - the rest of the time we either bring little mo along or we have an at-home date after he goes to sleep. 
we occasionally go out to dinner with friends, or i have a girls night out, or there’s some event going on around london that we go to as a family. some nights ian has to work late, and some days he is traveling for work. 
on saturdays we do chores around the house, have adventures around our city together, or are traveling. 
on sundays, we have family home evening (we should probably call it family home morning, as we do it first thing!), go to church and work on our church responsibilities, do weekly planning and a budget review together, and try to catch family on facetime. ian always makes dinner on sundays, and i am trying to start a sunday tradition of hot breakfast (since we just switched church times to 11am!). when we are traveling on a sunday, we love going to church in different places all around the globe. 

******************************

i am grateful for my normal days these days. 

23 comments:

  1. I love that you go through your day seeing the "normal" as a treasure. I will have to say it sounds like a full day of finding joy!. One quick questions, when does the Christmas season with all the decorations start in London? Your posts have inspired me to put that on my bucket list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi debbie! decorations go up beginning in october! i think you’d be safe to have pretty much everything up by mid november (the only exception is the trafalgar square tree which is lit on the first thursday in december).

      Delete
  2. What pregnancy meditation app(s) do you use? I need to channel some of your mojo - you are so incredibly organized and productive! I consider it a win if I make a proper dinner, never mind cleaning up afterwards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. whoops, i meant to add a disclaimer that i'm not always organized or productive at all, ha! i added one in.

      i just started using the app "expectful." i like it so far! i also just google pregnancy guided meditations and get some pretty good ones on youtube.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the recommendation - downloading it now! :) And I think you *are* a very organized and productive person (though of course no one is 100% of the time)! But you obviously work hard at it and I think you should be proud of it!

      Delete
  3. This is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    I'm surprised you wrote ״i am grateful for a husband that is dedicated to being in a partnership focused on equality ...," since your dad just used a photo of you and your husband on instagram with words over the image about equality not being the goal of marriage. He used your photo to make his point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha, i actually thought about that post as i was writing this. just didn't want to into the nuance of equality vs. oneness in this post :) i hope(d) that readers would get the gist of what i was trying to say without going too deep :)

      Delete
  4. yes! I think I get your gist and appreciate it. But I feel like the gist of your dad's post was something very different. This might not be something you want to address here in your lovely post about everyday life (totally understandable) but I do think it's a super important topic that would interest your readers some other day. I do appreciate that you value equality in your marriage even if it's not the #1 goal of the relationship.

    ReplyDelete
  5. i just started getting into podcasts again and i would love to hear some of your favorites. i know you mentioned oprah in a recent post but any others?

    i'm a SAHM to a 24 month old boy and can relate to a lot of your posts! i'm also starting a class this week to help me transition back into work at some point and will be expanding our family hopefully this year or next year. it's all so hard balancing motherhood (and mom guilt!) and the timing/desire to go back to work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i am obsessed with oprah’s!! i also love listening to this american life and wait wait don’t tell me (npr programs).

      Delete
    2. Oh and I love "bold new mom" Charity I think you'd love it too! It's been changing my life for the better you have to check it out! :)

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is my favorite kind of post! I love reading about people's morning/daily/weekend/summer/etc. routines. There's an Emily Dickinson line of poetry -- "Forever -- / is composed of Nows" -- that I often think of when contemplating the sacredness of "normal days." Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I also really enjoy reading other people's day-to-day routines.
    Enjoy these wonderful normal days before the new normal starts.
    Will you share what you will be going back to school for?
    -Jasmin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. there’s just still so much up in the air about it so i don’t want to jump the gun ... or jinx it! but i am pretty sure it will work out and i will share asap ;)

      Delete
  9. What does date night in look like?

    Also, when my (now 3 yo) son was Moses age he started waking up early. We started putting him down earlier and he slept longer. Counterintuitive, but it worked!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. at-home dates are usually some kind of fun dinner (take out or just make something special), a movie night with treats, or playing a board game. when i plan, i have been trying to work through those “36 questions that will make you fall in love” that the nyt published a while ago. there are tons of fun ideas out there for stay-home dates ... i want to try more of them, especially after baby #2 comes.

      i have heard that about earlier to bed = sleep longer in the morning! we’ve tried that a bit on weekends, but since ian gets home at 7 at the earliest, we just can’t bear to put moses down before 8!

      Delete
  10. Charity, I love love love following your blog! You really help me to choose to live a life more "on purpose." Thank you for sharing! I am sure it isn't always easy. One question for you, I am coming with a group to London this Summer (9 adults and 2 kiddos under 2) and we are on the hunt for a good airbnb, or something similar. I know you've had a lot of visitors. Do you have any suggestions off hand of good places to stay? Thank you in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i get asked this question a lot and always feel bad to not have a good answer. 98% of our visitors stay with us, so we just don’t know much about accommodation in our city! when my sisters brought their whole families they used airbnb, one in seven dials and one in pimlico. sorry that’s not much help!

      Delete
  11. As beautiful as this post is, the one thing that struck me is the picture of the rose. I live in Northern Maine, so no roses for a few months. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love this post and knowing more about what you are doing day by day! The pics as always, are spectacular! The quote at the first reminds me of a speech given by a beautiful 90 year old woman who lived through the holocaust. She said the things she dreamed about having, even more than food, was a quiet evening at home! We should never take those for granted, even though we do!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love the detailed appreciation for your husband! That little act of acknowledged appreciation is so important in a marriage.

    ReplyDelete