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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Abby Update: 16 Months Old

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Abby is 16 months old now and she’s learning new moves! During the past month Abby started pulling herself up on things and now she loves to stand every moment she gets. The race is on to see if Abby will beat Lydia in learning to walk. Lydia didn’t walk until 21 months, but Abby looks like she might just beat her. Only time will tell.

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Abby still army crawls using her one armed, one legged method of getting around, I guess because she knows it works. However, she can now push herself up on all fours back into a sitting up position. I’ve also caught her trying out crawling on all fours, but that hasn’t taken off just yet.

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Abby has also located the nose. If we ask her, “Abby, where’s my nose?”, she’ll happily point it out for us. She has yet to find her own nose though.

She still love to eat. It’s probably her favorite activity. She likes to eat as soon as she wakes up in the morning or after any naps, and if you put her in her high chair with food on the table, she will not tolerate waiting any length of time for her meal.

Abby still keeps us smiling and laughing. She is far less cautious than her older sister and may even be more independent than Lydia, if that’s possible. She’s happy to play by herself for any length of time as long as she isn’t hungry or tired. She’s as smiley as ever and is always adding joy to our days.

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Overwhelmingly Blessed

Growing up, I always thought it was weird when my classmates would celebrate Christmas on any day other than Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. But now that Dan and I live four and a half hours away from most of our family, we’ve joined the club. Dan’s parents came down the weekend before Christmas, in part, to celebrate Dan’s brother’s graduation, and in part, to celebrate Christmas as a family.

Lydia enjoyed new additions to her dress up closet, and Abby loved her new little piano. The gift opening was a lot of fun.

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Oh, and the food in Abby’s stocking was also a big hit.

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Just a couple of days later, my parents came down for another Christmas celebration. They made one of my favorite Christmas treats with Lydia and we enjoyed the afternoon together before opening presents. Abby got a little ball she loves to chase around and Lydia opened a new baby doll which she now carries with her everywhere.

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It was such a blessing to be able to see both sets of parents. We weren’t sure if they would be able to come this year, and we weren’t really able to travel at this point in my pregnancy. So it was exciting when things came together at the last minute and we got to do our family Christmases after all.

And then…Christmas Eve came, and we scrambled (ok, I scrambled) to get last minute preparations done. Between my overdoing it and Abby’s decision to almost choke on some plastic, things sort of fell apart at the end of the night. We threw some spaghetti in a pot and decided to keep things a little simpler next year.

But the girls were finally put to bed, the living room cleaned, and the presents wrapped. The advent calendar was filled. Lydia finally got to put on the sticker of Baby Jesus in the manger. The stockings were stuffed, and the food was prepared. Dan and I headed off to sleep before midnight.

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Then…Christmas morning.

I have an unwritten rule that I don’t take any pictures Christmas morning during the gift opening. We just enjoy our time together, technology set aside. Lydia got a toy doll stroller, perfect for her new baby doll. Abby got a toy train that we all love playing with. And, even though there’s no snow right now, the girls got a sled. It turned out that sleds do work(ish) on grass and carpet.

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After gift-opening, everyone enjoyed breakfast and got dressed. Dan read us the Christmas story. Then, we all played inside for a while, then the kids went outside with Dan to play on their new sled while I cleaned up from breakfast and worked on lunch. After a snacky sort of lunch, the Taylor girls got in some nice naps.

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Soon enough, it was dinner time. After dinner, we decided to give Lydia real treat and let her watch her very first video: A Charlie Brown Christmas. She also got to eat dessert in the living room. It was epic. Abby was unimpressed.

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And then it was time for bed. All day long Dan and I just felt overwhelmingly blessed. Our hearts were full. It was such a happy day. And then we got Dan home for three more days. Needless to day, it was a happy weekend. I hope you all enjoyed Christmases as happy as ours was, celebrating Jesus Birth with the ones you love the most.

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Abby Update: 15 Months Old

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As Christmas approaches, Abigail is as joyful a baby…er…toddler(?) as ever. She’s not toddling yet, but she’s not exactly a baby. So, while I’m not sure how she classifies title-wise, I do know she is the smiliest little person I’ve ever met.

Abby is always happy unless she is very hungry or very tired. She’s always smiling unless she’s very unhappy or sucking her thumb right after a nap. Those cuddly moments are sometimes my favorite.

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Abby’s crawling around pretty efficiently using her one-armed, one-legged army crawling technique. It gets her where she wants to go so she’s happy to keep using it for now. She can crawl up a step and is pretty fearless, so she keeps us busy chasing her around.

Though she hasn’t taken to sign language like Lydia did, Abby is starting to use a few words. She can say “daddy”, “uh-oh!”, and “buh-bye”. When she eats her food and wants some more she makes a certain little grunt. She tries to say “mama” but more often than not it comes out as “baba”.

Abby’s all-time favorite thing to do is eat.

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And she eats a lot! She’s not too picky as long as she has food when she wants it in a nearly unending supply. If you interrupt her during a meal for any reason, she’s give you a harsh rebuke. If someone else is eating something different from her and she thinks it looks tasty, she’ll give you a few grunts until she gets a sample. Once she’s done eating she wants immediately out of her high chair so she can play or, more often, take a nap. After all of our struggles trying to get Lydia to gain weight, it’s nice to have an eager eater.

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Abby is a joy to the whole family. If find it so entertaining to hear the girls (who share a room now) chattering back and forth after we tuck them in for bed or naps. I find it just as heart-warming to hear their synchronized thumb-sucking once they do fall asleep. Lydia loves her little sister and we all have fun playing with her, tickling her, and getting her to laugh and smile in any way we can.

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Life Lately…

We’re back! Since I last posted the story of Dan’s new job, life has been a whirlwind. And, while things are still crazy, they are slowing at least enough for me to update you all on the past month and a half.

On September 24 we closed on our new house. Even though we had to wait for wood floors to be put in upstairs, we decided to move in anyway and camp out in the living room until they were done. Dan slept on an air mattress and the girls got a kick out of it every morning when it was time to deflate Daddy’s bed.

That Saturday we got a U-haul and moved all of our stuff into the garage, where it stayed for the next month before we could finally start unpacking.

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Every morning we enjoy the sunshine while we breakfast in our new breakfast nook. And Abby has been practicing her crawling skills by exploring every inch of the house (and eating anything she can find on the floor too).

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In October, we celebrated the wedding of our friends, Aric and Hannah. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful wedding. They are certainly a beautiful couple and we will miss them as Aric serves in the military out in California.

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We have certainly been enjoying the fall weather, and having a yard of our very own. On Saturday we all spent a large chunk of the afternoon raking and playing outside.

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And while Abby has been crawling all over the place, Lydia has been working on her memory verses, including the books of the Old Testament and Psalm 23:


Mostly we are just trying to get unpacked and settled so we can spend this winter together keeping cozy in our new home. We are so thankful for this house, for the changes in our lives lately, and for the way God brings everything together to create such a beautiful story.

Munchkin Update: 3 Years, 2 Months

Lydia is in to collecting things. She collects rocks, leaves, and flowers from outside. Sometime she keeps them in her pocket and sometimes she pretends one of the rocks is her cell phone. She also tends to collect purses. And tutus. Right now the tutu count is up to four.

A few days ago Lydia pulled the blanket off of her bed and rigged a “swim suit” out of a couple of tutus. One of her favorite games now is to put on that “swimsuit” and go “swimming” in her bedroom. If anyone is friendly enough to join her she really likes to get in and out of the “water” and dry off with a blanket each time before jumping back in.

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She is all go, all the time. And if you ask her, she will tell you that she is never tired. For the past few months now she has been in a “why” phase. Her response to almost everything is “why”. Often she genuinely wants to know, sometimes she does it to be silly, and sometimes it’s just out of habit. This morning I was folding laundry and Lydia asked me if I would go “swimming” with her. I told her I could after I finished folding laundry and washing dishes.

“Why?”

“So we have clean clothes to wear and clean dishes to eat off of.”

Her answer was insightful: “So they will get dirty again?”

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Lately Lydia has memorized the books of the New Testament and a large portion of scripture put to song for our Church’s Vacation Bible School. Dan and I also realized that we were emphasizing a lot of numbers and shapes with her, so I decided to start teaching her the alphabet.

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Every morning I pull out some magnet letters and we play with them. Big A and Little A are on our fridge right now along with Big B and Little B. They tell Lydia what sounds they make and sing the ABC song. It’s sort of like a little puppet show every day and she loves it.

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Lydia is always my big helper. If I let her help me make dinner or wash dishes, she’s thrilled. She’s happy go get a clean diaper for Abby or throw away anything we say can go in the trash. She’s also as sweet as can be and frequently asks us to hold her or sing with her. Sometimes she spontaneously comes up and says, “I love you Mom”. We love her spunk and her energy and her silliness, but more than that we love the sweet hearted helper that she is and her precious sensitive heart.

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We’re Off Again!

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Yesterday we packed up some clothes, some food, and our girls and made the four-hour drive up North. This time we brought Dan with us too. For the next few days we’re planning on being “Traverse City tourists”. We’ll go to the beach, walk downtown, and spend some quality time with our families. Even as I write this, Lydia is having a blast with Grandma mixing colored sand and playing outside. Saturday is a big family reunion, so check back with us next week for lots of pictures of our trip. Happy weekend everybody, see you when we come back down!

A Lesson from Almond Butter

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A couple of weeks ago Dan and I started buying almond butter. Our peanut butter consumption is at an all-time high, and almond butter is healthier than peanut butter, so we finally made the switch despite the price difference. Now we alternate between almond butter and peanut butter.

Lydia loves it. She calls it just “butter” and asks for it every day when we’re eating breakfast. Yesterday morning we were having some oatmeal when she asked me for “butter in a circle”, which means she wants me to draw a circle on her oatmeal with the almond butter. Circle drawing is easy with things like honey or ketchup, but not almond butter. So, she got an almond butter “glob” instead.

She strategically spooned the glob into her mouth without getting any oatmeal in the process and asked for another “glob”. I told her no.

She had a minor breakdown before I explained she could have more almond butter after she ate some oatmeal. Almond butter is, after all, much more expensive than oatmeal and we’re not going to eat straight almond butter for breakfast. Lydia shoved one spoonful of oatmeal into her mouth, threw her spoon into her bowl, and demanded more “butter”.

Again I told her that she had to eat more oatmeal, and the scene repeated itself. She was, as I had instructed, eating more oatmeal, but this wasn’t at all the attitude I was hoping for, so I started to explain,

“Mommy will tell you when you can have more. I just want you to eat your oatmeal until Mommy decides you should have some more almond butter.”

But even as I was talking, God was taking my words, turning them around, and directing them back at myself. (again)

How many times have I been waiting for something that I really want? And I pray to God and ask Him for it.

And God tells me, “Not yet.”

So one day goes by and I ask again.

“Not yet. Just wait.”

And another day, another breakdown. “God, I can’t wait any longer, I need it now.”

“Not yet. I’ll give it to you when you should have it.”

And the scene repeats itself.

Then this moment happened and God said, “I will tell you when you can have more almond butter what you’re waiting for. I just want you to eat your oatmeal wait until I decide you should have it.”

How many times have I waited impatiently like Lydia and even demanded what I want? A baby. An apartment. A job for Dan. A baby to come home from the NICU. Or sleep through the night…the list could go on.

God opened my eyes this morning to see in a new way that I need to always, no matter what the issue, wait until He decides the timing is right. It was such an easy lesson to recognize, but, oh, so hard to do.

One thing I do know. Most of the reason I denied Lydia almond butter was because of its price and our budget. God is not denying me anything because of its price or His lack of funds. His timing is for the best.

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:25-26

Munchkin Update: 3 Years, 1 Month

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This month Lydia has been as cute, fun, and helpful as ever. A couple of nights ago she helped me peel cucumbers and spin salad. The only problem is teaching her not to get into my spices! On multiple occasions I have glanced over at her toy kitchen to catch her pouring garlic or mustard powder all over the floor and kitchen, getting a little bit into a toy pot or pan.

We’ve come to a bit of a stand-still when it comes to memorizing Bible verses. I tried to tackle all of Psalm 23 and, while I’m sure Lydia knows it all, her attention span isn’t long enough to sing it all at once. (Same with the books of the New Testament. She gets about halfway through and then sees something more interesting and forgets where she was).

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Every morning, the first thing I hear is Lydia calling for Daddy. Daddy is always at work when Lydia gets up, but that doesn’t stop her from calling for him every single day. Once she’s up, and getting dressed, she asks me if she can wear shorts, or as she has frequently called them, “the short pants”. Nana got her some flip flops during our trip North and she almost never takes them off. She’s learning her “left and right” right now and usually puts them on the wrong feet once before having to switch them.

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I started running again this week and Lydia loves to “share” the double stroller with Abby. It’s pretty adorable to look down while I’m jogging and see Lydia holding Abby’s hand. Once I finish my run, I let Lydia get out to jog a lap with me around our cul-de-sac. Between the running and learning to ride a tricycle this month, Lydia is becoming quite the active little toddler.

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She’s getting to the age where she often says cute and funny “Lydi-isms”. Last night we were sitting at dinner talking about boys and girls. Lydia pointed out that she and Mommy are girls, but Daddy is a boy. She told us that Abby is a “little girl”. Then I asked her, “Lydia, do you know what a grown up boy is called.” She confidently answered, “A pig.” We decided to stick with “boy” and “girl” for now.

Later, on the way home from Bible study Lydia started negotiating with Dan. She likes to watch a little baseball before she goes to bed at night. She also likes to snack on dates and crackers. So the conversation went something like this:

Lydia: When I get home, I want a date and two crackers and maybe some baseball.
Dan: Hm…how about one date and some baseball?
Lydia: One date, one cracker, and maybe some baseball. How ’bout that?
Dan: One date, baseball, and some water.
Lydia: One date, one cracker, water, and maybe some baseball. How ’bout that?

In the end, she got everything but the cracker.

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She sure is a sweet little helper, but very independent too. She is very particular and I never cease to be thankful that I get to be the one with her all day, learning how she thinks and works. At the same time, I get a lot of joy out of watching her play with others too. A few weeks ago marked a big milestone when we started letting Lydia go with the “big kids” during our Bible study. If it wasn’t a highlight of the week before, it sure is now. She comes home full of stories about Mr. Daniel, Daniella, and her little friend, Addy. And still, I’m happy that I get to be the one to snuggle up with her in the morning, talk about the day ahead, and read to her from her story Bible.

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