How I’m “Taking it Easy” with Littles

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A question that keeps popping up more and more is, “How exactly are you taking it easy. You have two little kids…”. So today I’ll share the little details of how exactly we’re keeping me off my feet (as much as possible). The short answer is: Dan does almost everything. The only way I know to answer the question in any real detail is to give a snapshot of our typical day.

Before I wake up…

Dan gets up early and does some work from home. Some days he exercises in the garage, and every morning he also empties the dishwasher and puts away clean dishes.

7:30 Bible Time

Nothing has changed here. Every morning Lydia joins me as I read, pray, and memorize to start the day.

8:00 Put away folded laundry, pick out girls’ clothes, get dressed, clean bathroom

So far it doesn’t sound like I’m taking it easy, does it? Every evening Dan carries up a laundry basket full of folded laundry. I put this away, and while I’m putting away the bathroom towels I also get dressed and clean the bathroom.

Now, there are a couple tricks here. First of all, I have a pretty efficient laundry folding method which I’ll share below. Secondly, I only clean one part of the bathroom a day (Monday – sink, Tuesday – shower, Wednesday – wash towels, Thursday – toilet, Friday – mirror, empty trash, refill soap as needed) and on days when it’s looking good or I’m not feeling particularly up for it, I just skip it.

8:15 First trip downstairs to make breakfast

I make a simple breakfast and get it on the table. Lydia goes potty and gets dressed in the clothes I just picked out for her. To simplify things, I let Lydia pick out her outfits (She requests what she wants the night before. This is something she started doing this on her own to make sure she only was wearing the clothes she wanted to wear.) and she typically rotates through the same two or three so they never even make it back to her dresser.

Dan brings down Abby, changes her diaper, and gets her dressed. Then he puts her in her high chair before praying for our day and heading off to work. (Except on Wednesdays, he stays home and works upstairs)

While Dan gets Abby ready, I throw some laundry in the washer from the hamper that Dan brings downstairs each morning.

8:30 Breakfast

Sit and eat.

9:00 Bible time with the girls

Just like before, we read from Lydia and Abby’s story Bibles, pray, and practice a Bible verse memory song.

9:15 Breakfast clean-up-ish, and computer time

I don’t really clean up from meals any more. I simply stack the dishes while I’m sitting at the table, then put them on or next to the sink. They pile up all day for Dan to take care of later. While I’m on my feet I put away any food from breakfast and switch the laundry clothes to the drier. We brush our teeth and the girls play while I do some work on the computer: budgeting, blogging, emailing, or meal-planning (still at the dining room table usually).

This is when Lydia often plays dress up or looks at library books. Abby crawls around to see what sort of messes she can make. Her favorites are to pull laundry out of hampers and to take all the shoes off of our shoe rack. When that’s done, she will spread toys all over the living room and pull books off shelves.

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10ish Move to couch

Next we’ll spend an hour or two just reading various library books. We’ll read some picture books but we’ve also been reading through the Little House on the Prairie series. If Lydia thinks of it and asks for a snack, I’ll take a break from sitting to get a quick snack for the girls (bread, crackers, or fruit). I don’t even bother to put Abby in her high chair anymore, she just eats on the floor. Less lifting.

Sometimes I’ll do a small “school” activity with Lydia. Then, it’s back to reading.

12:00 Lunch


1:00 Lunch Clean-up-ish and fold laundry

Sometimes I don’t even clean up from lunch, but I try to stack the dishes and put away leftover food.

I pull the laundry from the drier and sit on the floor while the girls play. Here’s that laundry technique I mentioned previously. First I sort all the laundry into piles based on where it belongs: bathroom, girls’ closet, Lydia’s dresser, Abby’s dresser etc. Then I fold room by room starting with the bathroom and working my way backwards toward our room. That way, when it’s time to put the laundry away I’m not running back and forth from room to room. It’s already piled by location starting in our bedroom and working its way to the bathroom, where I also get dressed.

It’s all about optimizing the time I spend on my feet and avoiding any running back-and-forth.

1:30 Naps

Now I take my first trip upstairs for the day, put Abby in her crib and warn Lydia not to get off her bed during nap time. They play for a long time before falling asleep, so naptime can easily stretch throughout most of the afternoon. I usually read for a while before napping myself.

Oh, and on days when Dan is home, I just stay downstairs all day and nap on the couch. Dan takes care of anything that requires a trip up or down.

4ish Dan is home

I leave the girls in their room, awake or not, until Dan comes home early from work around 4. When he gets home, I make my second trip downstairs. Dan carries Abby downstairs and helps get Lyda and Abby a snack (this time putting Abby in her high chair).


Listen to Adventures on Odyssey with Lydia while lounging in the living room again.

5ish Prepare main course for dinner

Often while sitting on a stool, I’ll cook up a simple dish for dinner. Then I go back to the living room and read while Dan comes down and does everything else…

6 or 6:30ish Dinner

Dan sets the table (clears it from lunch if necessary), prepares a salad, changes any necessary diapers, and gets everyone to the table to eat. We eat and have Bible time.

7:30 Get ready for Bed

Now I move to the couch for the rest of the night while Dan does everything yet again. He changes Abby’s diaper, gets the girls into pajamas and brushes their teeth and tucks them in. Then he clears the table, cleans the high chair and floor, loads the dishwasher, and washes any other dishes. Every other night he washes diapers. Two or three times a week he bakes bread (in our breadmaker). As needed he washes counters and our stove, and takes out the trash. Some nights he changes the sheets or cleans the floors. After all that, he works until late into the night because his work has been demanding more from him lately.

Yes, Dan does a lot. He really deserves an award.


I move upstairs (my second time up those steps in a day) and get ready for bed. Usually I stay up reading until I’m tired enough to fall asleep.

Whew, and there’s a typical day.


Dan gets up early and does all the grocery shopping. On Sundays and Wednesday nights he takes care of the girls single-handedly while I sit and listen to Bible study or church. On those occasions Dan drops me off and I find my chair and sit there until we leave several hours later (with potty breaks occasionally, I am pregnant after all!).


Lydia is a big helper in all of this. She plays independently, puts away bibs after I fold laundry, and is constantly running on errands for me to find out what Abby’s doing or getting into. She picks things up for me and puts things away, and goes potty all by herself even though she hates to do it.

There is also a young lady from church who has volunteered to come over once a week. On Monday afternoons she’ll take the girls outside for some much-needed fresh air. She also sweeps, mops, and vacuums our floors downstairs, saving Dan from yet another weekly chore.

It’s not perfect, but it works.

So many things are far from ideal. The clutter is unbelievable. Our living room is almost always trashed. If I was able to get up and move around freely, I could clean it in about 5 minutes. Last night I asked Lydia to clean it (one object at a time) and it took her 45 minutes. So we don’t do that very often, only when I really can’t take it anymore.

Sometimes I need something that would be so easy to get but would require me to go upstairs or get up on my feet. I try to just suffer through until a convenient moment comes along to ask Dan for help. One day I left my fleece upstairs during my nap time and forgot to bring it downstairs. I was cold all evening but was avoiding another trip up on my feet and Dan was so busy I didn’t want to ask him to get it for me. On many occasions I run out of water during dinner and wait until Dan is on his feet before asking for a refill. It only takes a few seconds, but those with “littles” know how meal times go. With one person taking care of everything by himself…it’s often quite a long time after we pray before Dan even gets to take a bite. Taking care of the two is enough without me adding in extra requests!

So, while it’s a struggle at times, it’s working for now, and I’m able to be off my feet a surprising amount of the time. I will certainly be grateful when I can be fully active again, cleaning the living room and getting my own water! The days go by slowly for me, but each morning is another celebration that Baby isn’t here yet. If we can just make it a couple more weeks…

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Our Much-Loved Routine

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I’ve tried a lot of different routines over the past few years. They keep me productive, help the day pass more quickly, and add a happy and welcome structure to each day. Often, I have stumbled through my routines getting stuck on the fun activities and putting off the boring ones until I was rushing around trying to finish everything at the end of the day. However, the girls and I figured out a routine that was working just beautifully for us until last Friday when we rearranged things so I could be off my feet more. We’ve adapted our routine, and it isn’t as ideal now, but I wanted to document this favorite routine of ours while the memories were still fresh.

A Day In Our Lives

7:30 Quiet Time

At 7:30 my alarm goes off. I usually take a while to wake up, then sit up in bed and turn on my handy lamp, pull out my Bible, journal and pen, and start my quiet time. I like to start with about 10 minutes of memorizing or reviewing memorized verses (I’m working through Psalm 37 right now), then have 10 minutes of Bible reading (I’m reading through the Bible now, at least a chapter a day, and recording observations about the characteristics of godly women in the Bible), and end with 10 minutes of prayer (praying through a regular list of needs and people along with whatever else is going on in our lives that day or week).

Usually during this time Lydia comes pitter-pattering into my room to snuggle with me under the covers. She especially likes to hold my Bible case and journal, suck her thumb, and hold my hair. If she doesn’t wake up on her own, I wake her up before I pray, because she’ll be sorely disappointed if she misses out on our Bible time together.

8:00 Morning Routine

Throw laundry in the washing machine, empty the dishwasher, and prepare breakfast. Then get Abby up and get both girls dressed for the day. Say goodbye and send Dan off to work.

8:30 Breakfast and Bible Time, switch laundry to dryer

After breakfast, I read to Abby out of a little Bible story book and to Lydia out of a bigger story Bible. We’re currently reading through this book, which I recommend for little girls. We also pray for something specific (currently for Baby to “not be born today” and for Dan to get into a phd program), and sing a Bible memory song (reviewing Romans 3:23-24 this week).

9:15 Shower, play with Abby, do gymnastics with Lydia

9:45 Cleaning Chore

Monday: Tidy up, put things in their proper places
Tuesday: Change sheets
Wednesday: give baths and clean bathrooms
Thursday: Clean floors
Friday: Do something extra (clean fridge, floors upstairs, dust etc.)

10:15 Read to girls, Put Abby down for a nap

10:45 Computer chores

Write blog posts, update budget, pay bills, plan meals and make grocery lists, put pictures on Facebook.

11:15 School with Lydia

We’re working through this book. It’s just a little every day and we really enjoy it.

11:30 Get Abby up, Correspondance

This is when I try to stay on top of things as far as emailing, writing, and calling family and friends.

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Fold and put away laundry

I used to have the hardest time with laundry. I could get it washed and dried easily enough, but I waited to fold it until the end of the day and then, more often than not, I never got to it. But when I changed things around and started folding laundry after lunch, suddenly it got done every day.

1:30 Rest, read, and naps

This used to be straight up nap time, but the girls would play and giggle for so long that they didn’t fall asleep for at least half an hour (sometimes an hour and a half!). So I started bringing up some tea and spent that first half hour reading with my cup of tea while the girls played in their room. As the half hour ended, the girls would quiet down and when all was quiet I would nap too.

3:30 Project

I don’t feel too bad admitting that I take an hour and a half nap because I’m supposed to be taking it easy. (Right?) I’ve read that you should either nap for 15-20 minutes or for a full hour and a half to wake up energized and not groggy. So I take the whole hour and a half, but it is usually interrupted by Lydia needing to go potty. Ah well. After my nap the girls are often still asleep so I take half an hour to work on a project around the house.

4:00 Snacks and Adventures in Odyssey

The girls need a snack after their nap and then Lydia is usually still sleepy enough to want to snuggle. So we snuggle and listen to the day’s episode of Adventure in Odyssey online.

4:30 Make Dinner

6-ish Dinner and Bible Time as a Family

The schedule kind of falls apart from here on. Dan’s not as big into routines as I am, so I let the evening go with his leading. Sometimes we read a book together after dinner. Sometimes the girls need baths. Sometimes we just play.

8ish Bedtime for the girls

You know, the usual bedtime routine, brush teeth, change diaper(s), put on pajamas, wrap up in warm blankets and tell stories and sing songs. Most nights Lydia asks for a “Billy story” (stories that Dan makes up about a fictional boy named Billy who is obsessed with playing baseball) or a “Melissa story” (stories that I tell about a fictional girl named Melissa, but the stories are actually 95% straight out of my own life). On good nights she’ll get both. Then she asks me to sing a certain song (“The Bunny Song” is a favorite but lately she has also enjoyed “Away in a Manger” even though Christmas has passed). While I sing, she insists I lay down with her so she can hold my hair. Afterward she asks me to “Stay and rest for a while”. Then we turn on a music cd, turn off the lights, and head downstairs.

Sadly, now that I’m avoiding the stairs as much as possible, I no longer get to take part in the bedtime routine. Only for a season…

The Rest of the Night

The rest of the night is just for Dan and I. Sometimes we play the game: Go, or read a book together. Sometimes he works on projects and I read.

And so our happy day comes to a close. I miss our routine already, but know it’s for a season and will be worth it if Baby waits longer to be born. I also know this routine won’t be back for a long time. First there will likely be a season in the NICU. Then we’ll have a newborn at home with the usual sleepless nights, fussy times, and adjusting to having another little one. I’m sure there will be other seasons with happy routines, and someday I’ll probably look back on this and laugh at how easy we had it while the kids were so little and our lives so simple!

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