My alarm clock is the sound of Ellie's feet running down the hallway towards our bedroom. With one of her baby animals in tow, she presses her sleepy face up to mine and makes the same request nearly every day, "Mommy, will you cuddle with me on the couch?" How can I say no (even if it is 4:30 a.m.)? Within minutes, Brendan senses that he is missing out on something and squawks at us from his crib.
My big eaters then demand their big breakfast. Usually blueberry pancakes with bacon. Sometimes scrambled eggs with english muffins and fruit. No bowls of cereal or frozen waffles for these guys. With full bellies (and about half a pot of coffee in my belly), we head into our playroom to take out the ten thousand toys that it I just picked up hours earlier. And we sit on the floor in our pajamas and play. I know that our schedules will not allow for this indulgence much longer with Ellie starting school in the fall, making this lazy time all the sweeter. I should make the beds or empty the dishwasher now, but I generally don't.
Brendan takes his morning nap while Ellie and I spend a little alone time together. Then we head out together (yesterday a walk to the library, today our local park). A little lunch together on our porch. God willing, naps that occur at the same time for a little reprieve. Followed by afternoon errands, or an art project, a swim, baking, or more playing on our floor.
After working absurdly long hours, Daddy appears at the door sometime in the evening. Ellie and Brendan wait at the front stairs, clamoring for his attention as though I have had them both locked in a closet without food or water for the whole day (he is the clear favorite). On a really great day, Daddy whips up an amazing dinner (short ribs braised in red wine with caramelized shallots and a horseradish potato puree on a recent Saturday night). Delicious. And the kids thought so too.
Then it is bath time, which is one of my favorite parts of the day. The chicks contentedly play with each other in a confined space while I am able to actually sit down on the step stool next to the tub and be lazy for twenty minutes. Then pjs and lights out for an exhausted baby Brendan. We begin a very prolonged bedtime routine with Miss Ellie. Bathroom. Snack. A little juice. Two books. Two songs. Bathroom again. Endless peeking out from her door. And on and on.
After the chicks are tucked in, I again think about cleaning up our continually messy house. This project rarely gets beyond the planning stage.
Bleary-eyed, I climb into bed every night with my husband, the ultimate creator of all of my happiness (going on eight years now). But I am too tired to ever tell him that and he gets whatever I have left to give at the end of the day (which is very little at that point). But it feels good to be there with him.
This is a wonderful, exhausting, joyous life. Happy birthday to me.