It's been five years or so since I've written one of these, but this morning I got up thinking it was time for another. I'm going to be outing myself here in many ways. It will be too much for some of you, but the way I see it--I'm raising kids here. I've got to be at the top of my game. As always these can run long and boring. Feel free to skip :).

5:50 am -- Alarm goes off. I rub my eyes, shine the light of my phone in my face for a few moments, then read the Book of Mormon (Alma 42-44) and pray.

2 -- Climb out of bed, get out weights, lift, put weights away.

3 -- Call Ruby, Herbie, Moses and Linus down to read scriptures (by themselves, in the same room). I started this last year when I noticed it helped our before-school routine go much smoother.

4 -- Everyone finally settles enough for Linus to offer a prayer and the rest of us to start reading. I read Alma 45-47, Linus looks at a Friend magazine or illustrated scriptures, since he can't actually read. I have no idea where Ruby, Herbie and Moses are reading until Herbie asks me who Northrup Sweet is, then Ezra Thayre (Doctrine and Covenants). Ruby wants to know who "was made a little lower than the angels... ?" But she knows; she just wants to say something.

5 -- Kids run upstairs to clean rooms, make beds and change clothes. I start some toast and unload the dishwasher. Archie and Penelope come down. Who knows where this started, but:
Penelope: I'm going on my mission to Arianna! 
Archie: I'm going to the boy states!
I made the mistake(??) of showing the kids some of Studio C's Captain Literally clips over the weekend since Ruby's recently added "literally" to her vocabulary. Linus comes down dressed as the Nuclear Ninja.

While kids eat and pack lunches, I load the dishwasher and start a load of laundry. Then kids do chores or work on homework or bounce around the living room shouting, "Balance restored!" Moses' "Balance restored!" is proclaimed the most authentic and I have to say I agree.

I sweep the floor and keep kids on task.

6 -- Kids get ready to leave and meet in the living room.

7 -- We repeat the scripture we're memorizing, except this week we're not actually doing a scripture. Instead we're doing a poem I found in an old conference talk of Elder Nelson's.
Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place and praise
Will always come to the one who stays. 
Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life's victories, after awhile.
8 -- Woo joins us for family prayer and a song. It's Ruby's turn to do both (Monday). She picks "Hot Cross Buns," which has inexplicably become a favorite of the kids since Tyson introduced them to it a few years ago. We go through periods of banning it because it's mind-numbingly boring for us parents. But it's been awhile since we last sang it and let it slide.

9 -- Ruby, Herbie, Moses and Linus leave for school. Monday is my heavy cleaning day after the disaster the house always ends up in after Sunday. I start in. Penelope and Archie make beds for dolls in the living room.

10 -- Quick break to drink olive oil (with my nose plugged and a glass of water handy to swish it down) and eat a bit of breakfast (a roll and some cottage cheese).

11 -- I buzz around the house, checking off tasks in my HomeRoutines app as I do them. Penelope and Archie follow me around doing the odd chores I request: throwing something away, fetching a vacuum attachment, carrying dirty clothes down to the laundry, then they run their own toy vacuums at my heels.

12 -- Change laundry.

13 -- Penelope and Archie leave me to play outside.

14 -- Empty, reload dishwasher (Always a back-up of dishes after Sunday too.)

15 -- Done! 12 tasks completed!

The house is still not as clean as I would like, but we're definitely turning a corner here into "cleaner" as the kids get older and I have more energy to get tasks done quicker. But I'm not going to spend all my time on it. I'm content to leave well enough alone.

So now??? In the last two weeks, since school started and I'm not dealing with broken appliances or mouse disasters, I've found I have a big hole in my day with nothing in it. I'm not quite sure what to do here, as I'd like to have something productive I can fall back on without having to figure out something new every day. I find it's too easy to get bored or waste time when I do that (and I'm only a fan of wasting time later on in the week.) The plan can always be discarded if something better comes up or a change of pace is needed. Some things I've tried so far: teaching Penelope to write her name, having kids color cards to deliver to neighbors, walks, working on my story ...   I could do repairs around the house ... I'm not committed to anything yet. Today I sit down and type this email.

16 -- Penelope comes in to change dresses.

17 -- Penelope leaves.

18 -- Penelope: Archie's stuck on the trampoline. I rescue Archie and kids play with toys in the house. I dispense hugs and discipline as necessary.

19 -- Penelope and Archie clean up and search for shoes.

20 -- Woo breaks from work to eat breakfast. He eats a salami sandwich, a stale granola bar I pulled out of the old 72 hr kits (don't ask me why) and a giant carrot.

21 -- We all walk to the bus stop to pick up Linus.

Woo: Did anyone say, "Nice haircut, Linus?"
Linus (laughing): They all did!
And someone on the bus said I'm not Linus!!
22 -- Lunch. PBJ and apples for the kids. Ham sandwich for me. Back to work for Woo.

23 -- Story Time. Linus picks his new library book: Courageous Captain America. Penelope picks Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy and Archie picks Curious George takes a Job. There are a few short interruptions to watch the garbage truck go by, look at some graffiti art on Woo's laptop, and debate over who called the ambulance to come pick up George.

24 -- Nap/Quiet Time. Linus works on his kindergarten homework and makes a card for his teacher. Penelope looks at stories and Archie naps (with the aid of a blindfold and me napping right next to him). Just before we settle down, Linus comes to me bawling.
Me: What's wrong? 
Linus: I did my homework wrong!!!
He'd written a two in the wrong place.

25 -- Archie and I wake up. Then Penelope shares some of her stories with Archie while I check my emails and texts, then read Titus 2-3 and Philemon. We're studying the New Testament in Sunday School, but I don't read the corresponding chapters each week. I just read the whole New Testament, a few chapters a day, over and over again, all year long.

26 -- Kids clean up their Quiet Time messes and run downstairs. The kids snack on pineapple. I snack on walnuts, dried tomatoes and cottage cheese, then walk out to the mail box. There's ads, the water bill and a notice that the Mercedes has been removed from our insurance.

27 -- I decide to make chicken pepper jack enchiladas for dinner. All three kids form a procession behind me into the basement to grab ingredients from the freezer.

28 -- Linus, Penelope and Archie run outside to play in the leaves. I change the laundry and unload the dishwasher. Then I start folding clothes. Except what I do is not really "folding." It's more separating into piles for each child. I leave it up to them how they want their clothes in their drawers, which 90% of the time is a giant mess, but they do occasionally fold them. I fold and put away mine and Woo's clothes.

29 -- I go outside to see the "sign" Linus and Penelope are constructing in the pasture and wait on the front porch for Ruby, Herbie and Moses to get home.

Ruby gets off the bus singing "Wayside School is Falling Down" at the top of her lungs and bouncing a soccer ball. Herbie and Moses shuffle home. Herbie says he's mad because PT conferences are coming up--where teachers say you're being bad (which has never happened to him).

Ruby makes a ham and cheese sandwich, Moses PBJ, and Herbie eats cottage cheese, then they run outside and play!

30 -- I start dinner.

31 -- Woo needs a hug. He can't get the files from our hard drive restored.

32 -- Ruby, Archie and Moses come in complaining that Herbie's being mean. I suggest playing in another part of the yard.

33 -- Ruby comes in to grab something and complain about Herbie again.
Me: I have a secret mission for you, Ruby. See what you can do to be Herbie's friend. 
Ruby (the tone of her voice immediately changes): I was thinking about that! 
Me: Great! See if you can be his best friend. 
Ruby: Well, Liney's already that... 
Me: Ok, shoot for second best. 
Ruby (running out the door): Ok!
34 -- Change the laundry (again) and call kids in for dinner chores. They've been having a "Halloween party" (brilliant, Ruby!).

35 -- Herbie blows bubbles from his soapy hands.

36 -- Kids are all seated, we're just waiting for Woo, when Archie hits Penelope over the head with his plate (plastic). That seems to be contained until I hear Archie bawling.
Me: Did you hit Archie now, Penelope? 
Penelope: No. 
Linus: I hit him cuz Penelope's in my club!

37 -- Woo joins us at the table and calls on Archie to pray. Archie mumbles something we can't hear, then doesn't want to pray again. Woo asks Ruby and Archie throws a giant tantrum because now he does want to pray. He won't go up to bed to calm down; he wants a hug. I hug him to the stairs and up to his bed. He comes down, gets another hug and is fine for the rest of the evening.
Woo (looking at his plate): Do you know what this meal reminds me of? 
Me: What? 
Woo: Having a baby.
Immediately after having Penelope, several kind neighbors brought over meals and I think every single one of them brought a giant batch of chicken enchiladas. We haven't eaten them much since.

38 -- Kids finish eating and put dishes in the sink. I put leftovers in the fridge.

39 -- Family Home Evening. We recently switched FHE to Sunday evenings, but after 4 sessions of conference we figured the kids were ready to get outside for a bike ride. We make up for it today with a General Conference quiz. The kids are not good at knowing who said what, but if we start a story someone told and ask where it's going, the oldest three all know and sometimes Linus.

40 -- We all go outside. Woo plays monster, swings kids around and plays soccer shootout. I sit on the porch with either Penelope or Moses or Archie depending on who's scared or hurt (feelings or otherwise).

41 -- Family scripture time.

We start with a hymn. We used to go through the hymn book in order and sing every hymn we knew, but Woo recently put his foot down. He made a list of the "good" hymns. It leaves all those painful and tuneless ones off, and for the most part I agree with the ones he's chosen. "Now Let Us Rejoice" is the only one we've disagreed on so far. (I love it.)

Woo gives Archie a second chance at a prayer and he does a better job.

We read ten verses. I supervise three kids (Herbie, Moses and Linus) in the reading (or repeating) of the first five, Woo takes the second five with Ruby, Penelope and Archie. We briefly discuss what we've read.

Then we all pray. Each of us says a prayer. Woo started this back when we only had two little kids who both wanted to pray every single chance they got, and it's just grown from there.

Recently, my family prayers have included a short section on each kid and Woo where I'm thankful for one or two good things they did that day. The kids love it and it helps grouchy kids head up to bed feeling better about themselves and their day.

We sing another song. It's Penelope's turn to pick and she picks "I'm a Child of God"-- her favorite.

42 -- Hugs, then kids leave to brush teeth and get ready for bed. I brush Penelope and Archie's teeth and put a diaper on Archie.

43 -- Woo and I go upstairs to settle everyone down and give hugs and kisses good night. Five days a week I also have a story night here (Archie doesn't start until he's 4), but tonight I'm off.

44 -- I take a few moments to write down blessings from the day in my notes. I check my email.

45 -- I read random scriptures or conference talks to wind down. (Yes, I read a lot of scriptures, but I'll tell you what ... I receive guidance and answers to my questions every day.)

46 -- My time. This rotates for me depending on the day of the week. Sunday I write my email and hang out with Woo. Tuesday-Thursday I work on my story. Friday night is date night (with Woo, duh), and Saturday I go to the temple or work on my lesson for Young Womens. On Mondays I do family history work.

Woo and I lie on the bed with our laptops. There's a few interruptions where he frees up my hard drive or I log him into the kids' 529 accounts, but mostly I decipher the Czech and old-fashioned Kurrent script of a register written by an 18th century priest in Citov, Bohemia. Isn't the internet wonderful?

Last month, I took my first four names to the temple and tonight I find the birthdate and father (haven't confirmed the mother's name yet) of Rosalie Profousov. I reserve all her temple work except sealings.

47 -- Shower.

48 -- I watch Woo thread a cord from his office, through the bathroom, into the bedroom, hang it over the bedroom door and plug it into a laptop. Hopefully, I don't clothes line myself on that in the morning.

10:30 pm -- Bed.

Looking back, I'd say this was a very typical day for me at this point in my life. Where will I be in the next five? Substituting laundry for shuttling? Hope you all had a great week!