Last week as I was making my bed, a ritual I perform everyday, it dawned on me. This is my life.
This is my real life.
I have this tendency to believe my life will start when ___.
When my kids are in elementary school.
When we have the perfect home.
When we have the kid’s college plans completely stocked.
When I’m in the most perfect shape and condition.
When we complete our to-do list.
When I finally get all the wash put away.
When I have my life completely figured out.
When, when, when.
I realized when has been my constant refrain, the chorus I sing to myself when I’m frustrated with the pace of life and don’t know what to do with myself. When, when, when.
But, the trouble with when is, it’s inherently futuristic. It’s that place I’ll never actually reach. And if you’re keeping track of all my “whens,” you’ll see that most of them are flat out impossible.
I’m pretty sure I’ll never actually catch up on the laundry at the rate at which my family continues to demand clean clothes.
When is my enemy.
Back in college, I decided that my life would begin, truly, really, begin when I had the perfect full time job. After college I had some jobs. Most of which were full time. But none of which I loved.
And then I got married. So, then, of course, my life could begin.
But we were living in a rented condo, so clearly that was faux life. Real life begins at ownership.
So then we bought a house. And got a dog!
Clearly, now my life can begin.
But, well, wait. My life can’t really begin until I have a child.
Or maybe it begins when I have another child.
Hmm…these small people take up a lot of time. Maybe my life can begin after they go to school for eight hours a day, so I can think my own thoughts.
And realizing that I had to wait until all my kids were in elementary school for my life to begin made me pretty darn sad as I pulled the sheets into place and arranged the pillows on our Queen sized bed (real life doesn’t begin until you have a King sized bed). It made me wonder what my time is all about now.
That’s when I realized that this moment, this exact moment as I made the bed and let Kate arrange the pillows was my real, actual life, unfolding before my unseeing eyes. That waiting for when is wrong. That it’s not so much about “living in the moment” as it’s about accepting that my life is happening now, regardless of my circumstance. And, sure, I can wait for when. But I’m beginning to think there is no when.
There’s just now.
As I put together my week in the life posts, I thought, man, my life is boring! I do all the same stuff. Drink my morning coffee, make the beds, clean up, make meals, laundry (seriously, family, stop making dirty clothes!), shopping, kissing, hugging, laughing, disciplining, errands, driving around, pumping gas, talking on the phone with my mom, texting with my sister, exercising, bathing babies, paying bills.
But, you know what? I start to tear up when I think about that list of things I do and when I flip through the pictures of Dan bathing Michael and Kate in her Snow White costume. Not because I feel I should cherish those moments before my kids grow older. Because raising this young family is hard work.
I tear up because I realized that when is now. That I don’t have to wait any more because my blessings are right here for the taking.
Alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. today. I set it early because I’m teaching at a new gym this morning for the first time, so I want to have enough time to set up my bike and figure out the sound system.
I get there at 5:30 a.m., plenty of time for me to get set up. I end up with a teeny tiny class of two people, which I expected since the gym opened less than a week ago. I take my tiny group through a good workout, trying out some new coaching techniques. I feel much less anxious since I’ve gotten this first time over with. I sign out and head home to begin the morning.
We move kind of slow this morning, sipping coffee and eventually taking Belle for a walk. We’re excited because the heat seems to have broken and it’s our first walk that isn’t all hot and sweaty.
At home I clean up the kitchen, make the beds, toss clothes in the laundry. The kids and I head to the library to pick up a book for me. Since we don’t have plans today, I let Kate linger through the kids section, picking out a stack of books for us to read. We read for a bit and then head home. I ignored the beginning of a headache and now I’m paying for it. We eat lunch, and I settle on the couch with Michael, nursing a diet Pepi and wishing I didn’t ignore that headache when I first felt it coming on.
Most of the afternoon Kate quite surprisingly mostly entertains herself while I doze on and off on the couch, feeling the effects of getting up early and a busy week. Dan finishes up work, and we head out for our evening walk. It’s a beautiful, cool evening, and I’m feeling better.
Dan grills us a dinner of steak and chicken sausage, our version of “mixed grill,” a dinner my Dad invented and we love. After dinner we divide and conquer – Dan gives Kate a bath, I clean up from dinner. Michael and I offload the pictures from my camera and iPhone while Dan puts Kate to bed. When she’s in bed, we give Michael a bath and get his bottle ready and then the three of us settle on the couch to watch Orange is the New Black.
I’m so glad the week is over. It felt long. I look forward to teaching BodyStep Saturday and Sunday and seeing girlfriends.
Alarm goes off at 5:15 a.m. today, so I can pump before the gym. Michael seems to be dropping his 3 a.m. feeding and getting up anywhere between 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. But that’s when I work out, so I pump milk for Dan and leave him a note that the milk is in the fridge. Head over to the gym for BodyPump. Chit chat with my workout buddies, we talk about how our kids are doing, our weekend plans, etc… Load up and my bar and get to it. I’m pleased that I’m able to lift more, mostly likely as a consequence of our small group HIIT.
Come back home to discover Michael in his swing and Dan setting Kate up with TV and breakfast (Cheez Its, of course, the breakfast of champions!). Michael woke up at 6:30 a.m. and took a bottle from Dan. I head into the shower, and race back upstairs to take over morning duties. Make Kate approximately 792 other breakfasts. Read blogs, flip through Twitter and Facebook. Pin some good recipes from Pinterest. Email and answer email. Dan gets up, I make the bed (I have a thing about making beds. I do it every single day. Can’t stand getting into an unmade bed.). Clean up the kitchen. We decide to go for a walk even though its a billion degrees and 100% humidity.
Kate and Michael take turns crying during the entire walk. Dan and I chat about the weekend.
Come home and plan my trip to Costco. I love, love, LOVE Costco. I’m psyched because I haven’t been to Costco in at least three weeks. Maybe even four. Who knows what awesome could await me?!
Of course, it takes about an hour to actually leave the house. I have to get myself at least halfway presentable. I roll my hair in my beloved hot rollers and slap on some Ponds BB Cream. I think about doing a video on this BB cream because I’m really into it. Decide to put on some eye make up because I’m working on perfecting my eye liner technique. I’ve tried lots and lots of products, but recently I’ve been using a liner brush and black eyeshadow to line my eyes. Some days I have better luck that others. Today is not a lucky day. One eye looks good. The other…not so much. But small people are crying, so I go with it.
I pack my diaper bag with snacks and a drink for Kate and off we go.
Oh, Costco. I love you so much. The only thing that would improve my experience would be eliminating all the other shoppers. But alas, every time I go to Costco, everyone else in Northern Virginia decided to shop that day, too.
But we forge ahead. I strapped Michael to me in the Ergo and let Kate walk next to me. Before we’ve made it 10 feet inside, I spy kid’s boots. Yes, it’s currently 98 degrees outside. But soon it will be cold. And then it will be too late. There will be nothing left in stores. I’ve learned this the hard way when I tried to buy Kate gloves last year in November and every last glove was gone.
So I lift Kate into the cart and have her try on various sizes. We settle on a size and color and forge ahead. To the clothing section! I love the clothes at Costco. I outfit my entire family in Costco goods. Ain’t no shame in my game. Sadly one particular clothing item I desired (a plum colored tunic) is not in my size. Feel bummed but decide I can ask my mother in law to look for it for me at the other Costco.
Move onto the kids section. Select a larger pair of pajamas and underwear for Kate. Stroll past the men’s shoes and…what’s this? The black Kenneth Cole ballet flats I’ve had my eye on were on instant rebate! Why, yes, I’d like a pair of marked down black flats. Wrestle my foot out of my sandal and comb through the millions of boxes to find my size. Success! Into the cart they go.
I turn back to the kid’s area, and I spot winter coats. Jack pot. I pick through and find a size 5/6 in pink. I pull Kate out of the cart to try it on. Fits great. Pop her and the coat back into the cart when I feel a woman put her hand on my arm and say “Sarah?”
It’s my supervisor from my old (pre-Kate job). I’m excited to see her and give her a big hug. I haven’t seen her in three years. She didn’t know I had another baby, so we chat about Michael, I ask about her little girls (She’s also selecting coats for her twins). It’s so good to see her; she was one of the people I missed the most when I left my job. She tells me I can contact her anytime to serve as a reference, and I tell her I will take her up on that.
Ah, Costco, bringing people together. Seriously, I’m always on my best behavior at Costco because I always run into somebody. It’s a fact.
We move deeper into the store and lo and behold, Costco has set up it’s Christmas section. Kate starts screaming CHRISTMAS TREE! CHRISTMAS TREE! MAMA LOOOOOOOOOK! And not only Christmas trees but toys. Two large aisles of toys. I tell Kate we’re not getting toys, but she can pick out what she’d like to ask Susie (a.k.a. her grandmother) for Christmas. This always works. She says, “I want that,” and I say, “Great! Let’s tell Susie!” Thanks, Susie!
After the toys I find a giant display of kids gloves. Wow. I’m declaring myself most-winter-prepared-mother as I gleefully toss a pair of pink XS gloves into my cart for $11.99. Ah, feels good to be set for winter in September. And now I’m sure it won’t snow or even get below 50 degrees.
We get temporarily trapped in the Halloween costume display, but once I see the costumes are $14.99, I let Kate pick a Snow White dress, figuring it can serve as dress up and Halloween. We move on to pick up new wiper blades for my car, a deep dish pizza for dinner that night, bread, cheese, lunch meat, coffee, coffee creamer, snacks, these new rice chips on coupon that I hope are good, natural peanut butter (whining because I can’t find my almond butter), and shaving cream.
Seriously. I love Costco.
And now I’m exhausted and it’s nearly 1 p.m.
We pull into the driveway and Dan meets us. I show him the bounty and brag about how prepared I am for winter. Kate puts on her new Snow White outfit and winter boots. We eat lunch, I try the new rice chips (Verdict? DELICIOUS!).
The rest of the afternoon I do some room parent stuff, flip through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest. We play with Michael on his playmat. Then a storm rolls in, so we can’t walk. Put the pizza on. I’m exhausted. Dan takes some pictures for me. We eat, chat, get Kate in the tub and Michael into his pajamas. After Kate’s in bed, Dan and I watch Orange is the New Black (We’re crazy about this show! Anyone else a fan?), and after one episode I crash into bed because I’ve got an early start tomorrow.
Alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. I stumble down the stairs to practice RPM again. I’m nervous about making sure I get the choreography 100% correct. I do great, making minor corrections for mistakes I made Tuesday morning. Remind myself I’m not launching rockets. We’re sitting on stationary bikes pedaling to nowhere. If I make a tiny mistake, no one is going to crash their bike and burst into flames.
Jump into the shower, realizing I’m out of my beloved Trader Joes lavender body scrub. Sad face. Jump out of the shower and dash upstairs to make breakfast, attend to the dog, attend to Kate. Read through Facebook and Twitter, pin cool stuff on Pinterest while drinking coffee and eating almond bread. Dan got home late last night, so I know I have a few more moments to myself since he can help get Kate ready for school. Blow dry my hair while Kate sits on the toilet and uses my makeup brushes to apply eyeshadow all over her face. I tell her she looks beautiful.
I toss on something I can wear to preschool drop off (meaning not my pajamas but close to it). Realize that if Michael doesn’t get up, my chest is going to burst. With 10 minutes before I have to take Kate to school, I decide to pump so Dan can give him a bottle when he wakes up. That stinker wakes up right as I’m done pumping, so Dan tends to him while I leave the milk on the counter. Kate finishes drawing a picture of a sun and a spider on the anniversary card I bought for my parents (because nothing says Happy Anniversary like a spider and a sun! I think there’s a parable in there somewhere) and hurry Kate off to school.
On the way to school, Kate tells me she’s so excited to see her friends, particularly her friend, Allie. This is sweet because Kate has actually known Allie since she was a four-week-old infant. Allie’s mom and I met at a breastfeeding support group when the girls were newborns. We’ve been in and out of touch, but now the girls are in the same class at the preschool, and I look forward to getting together for playdates.
I drop Kate off at school, chit chat with mom friends, hop back in the car where Dan and Michael are ready to take Belle for a walk. It’s hot, sticky, and humid. Dan and I talk about weekend plans; I’ve got a lot of fun social things on the agenda.
Back at home I clean up the kitchen, make the beds, toss Michael back into his carseat and off we go to pick up Kate.
When I get to school, her teacher asks me if I could wait a few more minutes until Kate finishes her job for the day, which is sweeping. I’m all about this. Sweeping? Sure thing. Please, take your time. Maybe she’ll want to sweep at home! She can be my employee of the day!
Kate finishes her job and asks if we can go “mommy’s new gym” so she can play at the kids club. This works out because I have more paperwork to complete. So off we go to the gym. Kate happily plays in the deluxe kid’s club while I spend 90 minutes completing my employee stuff. Michael things this gym is super entertaining and spends a good portion sitting on my lap gazing at the trainers and front desk staff while I complete my online trainings.
I’m finally done, so I load the kids up and head back home. While I’m stuck in traffic I riffle through Kate’s preschool bag and see the note with the warning that a case of strep throat has been reported in Kate’s classroom. At least it’s not lice!
We pull into the driveway and I lug in the baby, my bag, Kate’s bag, Kate’s shoes (which she loves to take off in the car), and let Kate be the “line leader” which means that the walk from the car to the house takes approximately 564,164 minutes. Dan’s waiting at the door to help me in and asks if I’m ready for lunch.
One of the best parts about having Dan work at home is lunch time. More often than not, we can have lunch together. This is great for me because Dan makes the best sandwiches. He makes lunch while I attend to our needy children. We read the paper, chat, he goes back down to work, and I decide on the action plan for the rest of the day.
I start flipping through my email and end up becoming the room parent for Kate’s preschool class. It’s times like theses that I still can’t wrap my head around the fact I’m 29 with two kids. I’m a room parent? Am I old enough for that job? Didn’t I just graduate from college? Anyway, I’m crazy about Kate’s teachers and the parents are awesome so I know this will be a fun job.
I continue doing some email work, catch up on Facebook, Twitter, blogs while Kate makes a crazy mess of her toys. So, this kid picks up toys and sweeps the floor at school, but apparently her “arms are tired” and she doesn’t know how to clean up at home. This is a mystery to me. But I insist she try to pick up her toys. This is met with a mix of whining, tantrums, and throwing oneself on the ground, but she manages to complete the task. I do household drudgery, mess around on the iPad, nurse Michael, let Kate fool around with the camera on my iPhone.
Dan comes up around 5:30 p.m. and we head out for our evening walk. We see our neighbor and chat with her about her insurance claim for the tree branch that fell against her house last week that Dan and I know was caused by the power company’s tree trimmers. We chat with her about the brouhaha that comes with fighting the power company, working with the insurance, etc… High drama on our street!
We get home and Dan makes dinner and helps with Kate so I can tend to Michael so no one has to scream as much tonight. Dan grills burgers for us and a hot dog for Kate. On this night, Michael is happy to watch us and doesn’t require holding. This means I can eat with TWO HANDS. This is a major victory for me. After dinner Dan puts Kate in the tub and sneaks in some Michael cuddles. I remember to snap a picture of them so when whoever looks back on these pictures and posts doesn’t think I’m a single mom. Dan gets Kate to bed while I bounce Michael on my lap and edit pictures. When Kate’s in bed we watch and Arrested Development and feed Michael his last bottle. Then Dan heads out for a hockey game, and I settle into bed to read more Orange is the New Black before hitting the lights at 9:15 p.m.
This is a good week for week in the life because Kate started her second year of preschool Monday, and we’re back to our school-year routine that I’ve been craving for the past couple of weeks. And Dan surprised me a 35 mm lens for my birthday, so I can test out this new lens shooting pictures for this week.
Monday started off with some high intensity interval training, my new favorite workout. And by workout I mean incredibly challenging 30 minutes of torturous bar work, push ups, plyo moves, etc… But even though I know it’s going to be a painful 30 minutes, I find this type of workout completely addicting. It’s intense and then it’s over. And I’m working out with a group of girls I love, so we push each other to do our best.
After our training session I scramble home to get myself and Kate ready for her first day at preschool. I make cinnamon sugar toast for her and scramble some eggs (with a side of sweet potato pancakes) for me. And of course, coffee.
We took the required first day of school picture, and then I hustled Kate to school for drop off. Since this is her second year (and she’s been asking me if it’s a school day since the last day of school in May), I didn’t stick around. Instead I ran home to take Belle for a walk with Dan and Michael before hustling back to school to pick Kate up (the kids only go 90 minutes the first week).
After school the kids and I headed over to the new 24 Hour Fitness in Tyson’s Corner where I will be teaching a RPM class (RPM is Les Mills for indoor cycling). The gym just opened, so I wanted to get the lay of the land before my 6 a.m. Friday class. Holy cow. This place is fancy pants. I can’t wait to teach there.
The troops and I headed back home to have lunch with Dan, sort and fold wash, and then drop Dan off at the Metro for a quick work trip. We spent the afternoon making some almond bread, watching Hercules (while I attempted to read Orange is the New Black with only 57 interruptions), and taking pictures with the 35 mm. Around 5:30 p.m. I loaded everyone up into the Double BOB and we took Belle for her evening walk.
The next hour contains no pictures because it’s what’s known as Fussy Hour here at Casa Bagley. Michael screamed, Kate screamed. I attempted to clean up the debris from the day, making Kate’s dinner, supervise the dinner eating (lest Belle help herself), toss Kate in the bath, continue cleaning up while Michael wailed from his rock n’ play, get Kate dried off and into pajamas while Michael is still crying, and gather everyone into Kate’s bed for stories. I get her off to bed, make Michael’s bottle, plop myself on the couch and cruise through Netflix while Michael happily eats. I place a sleeping Michael in his bed at 8:15 p.m. and realize I haven’t eaten since lunch and I’m starving. Make a random dinner of almond butter pancakes, which I inhale and barely chew, watch the first episode of Hart of Dixie, and crawl into bed to read more Orange is the New Black before falling asleep at 9:30 p.m.