How We Roll + My Must-Haves for Surviving Parenthood So Far

We had such a great weekend back home, seeing so much family, and celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday!  I finished the weekend playing in a fun tennis round robin at Wild Dunes yesterday evening, raising money for Meals on Wheels.  Can’t wait to share more pics with you on this week’s Wednesday Whereabouts!
Today, I’m answering a reader request today…my daily schedule.
I’m going to preface this by saying, this isn’t every single day.  Things change, schedules change, but this is usually how it goes…and this schedule is extremely different than before our move here last year.
Blog time.
Wheeler and Effie share a room.  Logan and Vaughn have their own rooms.  They each have one of these stop light clocks in their room.  When the light turns green (at 6:40), they can get up and get changed for school.  Sometimes they do get up a little early, but they know they still can’t come out of their room until the clock says 6:40.  Vaughn sometimes doesn’t quite get it yet, but usually he’ll come chill with me until the others get up.  All the kids pick out what they wear for school, then brush their teeth.  I make it pretty easy, especially for the boys to pick out their clothes.  For instance, in Logan’s room, I have a drawer for his underwear, one for his shirts, and one for his shorts.  Yes, sometimes they don’t exactly coordinate, but for the most part, they do.  After they change, they head downstairs for breakfast.  They pick out what they want to eat, usually a banana, Nutri-Grain bar, milk, muffins, etc.  As you can tell, they’re pretty independent.  If I finish up my post early, I’ll go for a run afterward, before the kids get up.  If I know I won’t have time in the morning, I usually run after the kids are in school.  When I finish up my post, I’ll head downstairs and finish helping the kids get ready for school, brush the girls hair, pack their snacks, lunches and folders.  Lanier usually comes downstairs around this time and makes everyone eggs and makes me coffee.
We HAVE to be out the door by this time, or the girls will be late for school.  Their school starts at 7:40.  The boys’ preschool doesn’t start until 8:45-9, but you’re allowed to drop them off as early as 8am, so that’s what I do.  We’re usually the first ones there, and the boys love it.  They love having time to play together for about an hour, before they’re split up into their classrooms for the morning.  I usually take my time when I drop them off in the morning, swinging with them, helping them put together a puzzle, getting them to go to the bathroom one last time, lots of hugs and kisses goodbye, etc.
All kids are in school at this time.  Vaughn still doesn’t go everyday, but if this is a Monday, like today, then they’re all in school.  I either run at this time, head to the grocery store, or head home to clean up, do laundry (there’s always laundry, all the time), respond to emails, prep blog posts, etc.  This time is precious (and it flies!), as I only have about three hours before I have to go and pick up the boys from school.  As for keeping my house clean, I have two cleaning ladies that come every other Monday and stay for about two hours and clean the house.  These two days each month are heavenly.  I love walking in and smelling a fresh clean house.  In our house, it doesn’t last long before it’s turned upside down again, but I’m still thankful I have them.
I pick up the boys from school.  Extended days are offered at their school, where they’re allowed to stay until 2:30 and have lunch at school, but I usually don’t do it.  They actually love getting to stay longer, but I’m big on their nap time still.  On days where I may go out to lunch or have a tennis match that runs over, I’ll let them stay longer, but never until 2:30 because that’s when I have to pick up the girls from school anyway.  So after I pick the boys up, we head home and I make them lunch.
The boys nap.  I eat my lunch and may catch up on a show, while folding some laundry.
Wake up the boys from their naps and head over to the girls’ school to walk up and pick them up.  We never do carpool.  It’s just always so much quicker to walk up and pick them up, than to wait in the carpool line.  
Depending on what day of the week it is, depends on what we’ll do in the afternoon.  If it’s Monday, Wheeler does all of her homework.  Her teacher gives her all of her homework for the entire week on Monday, so she can either choose do it a little of it each day, or do it all at once.  She always loves knocking it out all at once, so she doesn’t have to worry about it for the rest of the week.  Wheeler and Effie have reading folders, but they thankfully love reading, so this is always fun for them to read their new books for the week.
We eat dinner pretty early.  I try to keep their snacks after school to a minimum so they’re hungry for dinner earlier.  On days when Lanier may work late, I’ll go ahead and fix the kids their dinner and then Lanier and I will eat ours later, after the kids go to bed.  If Lanier knows he’ll be coming home sooner, we’ll wait a little longer to eat, so we can all eat together.
Start prepping for bedtime: baths, pajamas, brush teeth, etc.
Sometimes it’s so hard to initiate bedtime, especially if they’re watching a movie, playing together happily in the playroom, etc. but in the end, I know they need as much sleep as they can get.  And in all honesty, some nights they do go to bed as early as 6:30.  I always sing a few songs to the boys in Logan’s bed and we say our prayers, I tuck in Logan and then bring Vaughn to his bed.  The stage he’s in now, he always runs ahead of me and “hides” meaning he’ll stuff his head into his pillow and thinks I can’t see him.  When I come in, he’ll say “did you find me, mama?”  After the boys are in bed, I’ll go to the girls’ room and sing them songs and say prayers, as well.  They’re usually pretty good about staying in their beds, after we tuck them in.  Effie has been the only one of all the kids to get up more often than the others, requesting water, one more trip to the bathroom, etc.  I also moved her out of her crib the soonest (at 18 months) because she was crawling out, so that may have something to do with it.  Who knows.  But she’s much better about it, than she used to be.
What time Lanier and I go to bed honestly changes every single night.  It depends whether we’re watching a movie or catching up on shows, etc.  I’ve tried blogging at night, while we’re hanging out, but I never get that much accomplished and I always feel like I need a time at night to shut down from the day and relax with Lanier.
**When I mention that our schedule has changed so much since the move, it truly has.  I used to work at a gym desk almost every morning for a year, from 5-7:30am.  That obviously didn’t lend time for blogging during that time.  All of their schools didn’t start until 9 and I would pick up the three of them in preschool at that time at 1pm, and they would’ve already all had lunch.  Since Wheeler’s school started later in the morning, it went later in the afternoon.  I didn’t have to pick her up until 3:45, so the other kids napped around 1:15-3:30.  During that time, I’d have my lunch and that’s when I’d blog too.  I know it’s hard to believe, but on the weekends in the afternoon, if we don’t have major plans, all four will still nap for at least two hours, even Wheeler.  I’ve been asked before if I ever nap when the kids do, especially when my children were really young, but I honestly haven’t.  Maybe on occasion, but not regularly.
**Why not the bus?  I know it would make my life so much easier, but I guess you could say I’m a protective parent.  I also love the idea of getting to pick them up them from school as early as possible, rather than them riding a school bus, making it a longer afternoon for them until their bus drops them off.  But recently, Wheeler and Effie have been begging me to let them ride the bus home, so I think we’re going to try it soon.  I also didn’t realize that the bus driver could drop them off really close to our house, since we have a kindergartner.  I’m still anxious about it, but we’ll see how it goes soon!
**After I tuck them all in, I turn on their stop lights and sound machines (we have this kind in each of their rooms) and I’ve NEVER found another one that quite compares.  I swear by sound machines.  Obviously, when I had four kids under 5, I wanted your children to sleep.  But that may be tricky for babies and naps when there are so many others around that may not understand the “let’s be quiet, there’s a baby sleeping” rule, so the sound machines were life savers back then, and still are.  Keep in mind, our old house where we brought home all four of our babies, and lived there for 8 years before moving here, was only 1500sqft.  Close quarters, but I loved every minute living there.
A Few of My Must-Haves
How I’ve survived parenthood so far!
I cannot say it enough, books are the most important thing your child can have!  We have an abundance of them in our house.  I won’t part with any just yet, not even their board books.  It’s the best thing in the world when they’ll just read and read, and I honestly think it’s because they’ve been surrounded with them for such a long time.  Read to your children.  It’s the best thing you can do for them.  If anything, you’re giving them your undivided attention and showing them you’re taking special time to spend with them.  Honestly, even if you snuggle up with your kids and watch a movie together, they love that too.  Anything you can do together is so very important.
**Click on items to shop or links below.**

Sound Machine // Stop Light Alarm Clock // Puddle Jumpers // BabyBjorn Bib (The only bibs we ever used. They catch everything and you can rinse them down quickly after every wash, and are sturdy enough to toss them in the dishwasher.) // Bumbo Floor Seat (Loved being able to pop one of the kids in this, when they weren’t quite able to sit up on their own yet.) // Double BOB (One of the best and longest lasting purchases we ever made with young kids!  I got this when the girls were really young and used it up until last Fall.  I probably would still use it again, especially if I wanted to go on a run with the boys.  This one is on sale too! I recommend a bright color like orange over black because it stands out.  We brought it to Disney World a few years ago, and it was super easy to spot amongst all the other strollers.) // Baby Monitor // Froggy Potty (The cheapest one we found, at only $11) // Sophie the Giraffe (Best teething toy!) // Boogie Wipes (These are a new find for me, but I love using them on my runny-nosed kids!)
Hope y’all have a great start to your week!

9 thoughts on “How We Roll + My Must-Haves for Surviving Parenthood So Far

  1. Thanks for sharing this Ashley! I love how independent your kids all are! We don't have children yet, though it (hopefully) won't be too much longer so these must-haves are all good to keep in mind down the road! 🙂

    xo Heather
    Sweet Tea Jubilee

  2. Great post, I need to check out the noise machine you recommended. We used to play a white sounds CD in our kids rooms but both their CD players died. Love your comments on books. Not that you need convincing but the book The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease has great information on the importance of reading to your kids and also awesome book suggestions! Some of my kids' favorite books have come from his lists.

  3. Love this post! Would you mind sharing when your children started sleeping through the night and any schedule you used for doing so?? Even if you don't do an entire post on it, I'd love to hear. I'm a new mom to a 3 month old and am trying to make the transition. I know all babies are different, but I I like hearing advice from other experienced moms.

    1. All babies are different but they will usually start sleeping through the night around 6 months on their own when they are able to go longer without eating.

  4. LOVE the night light that turns green at the specified wake up time…bought that at your suggestion…but ours is the train 🙂 It works wonders and I was shocked that my 2 year old "gets it!"

  5. LOVE this post, Ashley. I've always wondered how to find time (specifically) to blog– I'm 6 months pregnant and work full time, and have the hardest time making time to blog. Between errands, cleaning, laundry, etc it just never seems to stop. You're such an inspiration how you manage it all and are such an involved mom, too. And the 'must-have' recommendations couldn't have come at a better time– we have that exact noise machine and teether on our registry, yay!

  6. I loved reading this! Sounds like you are a busy momma! I'm thinking about purchasing the stop light for my nephew, he would love it! Thanks for sharing!

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