a day in the life of rachel

 you are invited to spend a day in the life of her.

the gal who you might think has it all together.  the mama who seems to do it all. 
guess what?  she doesn't.

let's fight those lies.  this new series is an effort to dispel the superwoman myth.  it is a time to be encouraged and a place to be challenged. 

i have invited some wonderful women who want to be real with y'all.  they want to share their struggles and triumphs.  they want to give you a true glimpse into their everyday.  it might not be glamorous, but it is real and beautiful.

each thursday this summer, come walk a bit in the shoes of another.

I'm Rachel Denbow from Smile and Wave and I claim a good-looking husband, two kids ages five and 21 months, and an ornery puppy. We haven't had a consistent daily routine all summer but that's all about to change next week when Sebastian, my oldest, starts Kindergarten and my husband starts subbing. At the moment the four of us are at home sharing responsibilities and enjoying our time together after having Brett gone for a month with the ARMY R.O.T.C. We are currently awaiting my husband's orders and enjoying every bit of the present moment that we can in Springfield, MO.


Life with two little ones at home all day can feel both fantastic and challenging in the same five minute stretch. I know you know what I mean. We have set morning and night routines and construct our day around Ruby's afternoon nap but are pretty flexible about the in between parts. Here is a little sampling of what normally happens around here. Ready, set, go.

7:00 a.m.
Why bother setting an alarm clock when your son is so consistent. Sebastian pitter patters into our bedroom every morning to tell us he's awake and then I roll over and Brett and I rock-paper-scissor it so see who gets to sleep in another hour. Just kidding. Not really. We do take turns getting up to get him breakfast, get him situated with some books, and then let our dog, Sunday, out to do her quick business. We've trained her to pee on command. Who is more awesome, us or her?

Ruby and the lucky parent who got to sleep in are both ready to join the party. It's more breakfast and coffee. Lately Ruby's only been interested in eggs or strawberries. After we're done it's usually time to find clean clothes that match, brush teeth, and get back to the business of reading books. Sometimes Ruby can occupy herself for awhile and I can pick up the living room and kitchen but I tend to have a shadow.

9:00ish - 10:15ish
Brett checks the news online while I skim e-mails and twitter replies. We like to take it slow in the mornings but we only have about a week left of that! Our new rule with the kids is 10 minutes of screen time (Netflix, PBSkids, or phone app games) for every book read. Neither child can read yet but Sebastian loves to retell a story to himself out loud and they both love flipping through pictures. Our coffee table is currently covered in this week's library haul of superhero stories. This is the most usual time slot for books and then screen time.

10:30 - 12:30ish
If I have a lot of work to do that day he'll usually take the kids to the library or grocery store so I can get to it. I give myself about fifteen minutes to indulge in my favorite blogs before I start editing photos, blogging, returning e-mails, or packing orders. I listen to Pandora or iTunes while I work.

Brett and the kids are home. Time to fix a quick lunch and get Ruby down for her afternoon nap. Brett helps out a lot with domestic chores. He's usually loading his second load of dishes by lunch time in our tiny, portable dishwasher. It takes up a good chunk of space in our tiny kitchen but it's better than the alternative.

1:00 - 3:30p.m.
Ruby is down for her nap. I get back to work online or spend it in my studio depending on the day. I finished up a simple skirt tutorial during nap time earlier this weekend but today I'm using it to write this guest post! Sebastian occupies himself by chasing Sunday through the house, playing with Transformers, or helping Brett run errands.

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Ruby's usually up by now and it's time to switch gears from work time to mom time until they're in bed. We play in their room when it's blazing hot outside but they love to play with the neighbors outside when it's not. This is the hardest time of the day for me and it's usually due to going to bed late the night before.

Time to think about dinner. I don't love to cook but I love to enjoy what I've cooked. We keep it simple with chicken and vegetables, chili, turkey burgers, stir fry, and the occasional pasta. We've cut way back on processed foods and are hoping to teach our kids a healthful way of eating but we do enjoy frozen yogurt and chocolate in moderation!

This summer has been all about helping our picky eater, Sebastian, to try every new food that we've let him pass on before. He's not found a lot of favorites but it's much less of a battle and I can tell he's wearing down! The alternative is to go to bed hungry or eat it for lunch the next day. Ruby...well, she'll eat almost anything but likes to put it in her water glass first. We try to wait until everyone has their plate and has shared what they are thankful for before we start eating.

6:30 - 7:30
Usually the dishes get brought to the sink, laundry gets piled on the bed, and Brett wrestles with the kids. This is my favorite time of day. We all relax a bit and enjoy the last hour together before bedtime. We do bath time every other night unless it's been a particularly sweaty day and then start the bedtime routine of teeth brushing, bladder emptying, and storytime. Ruby goes down first and then Sebastian quietly follows. They share a room but we keep a fan on for white noise and they usually don't wake each other up.

8:00 p.m.
If we've done well the kids are in bed and we both sigh and decide what to do with our 'free time'. If I haven't worked out at the YMCA (hello, childcare!) that day I think really hard  about fitting it in this time slot. Sometimes it's me and Jillian's 30 Day shred and sometimes it's a long walk with Sunday. Brett likes to use his evenings to catch up on reading.

9:30 p.m.
One of us talks the other into watching at least one episode of MadMen, Treme, or some other show on Netflix. Brett no longer minds if I edit photos or blog while I sit next to him because we really just like being on the couch together.

11:30 p.m.
Brett used to have to get up for P.T. with the Army every other morning at 5:45 a.m. but this summer we've been night owls together. Brett takes the dog out to do her quick business before putting her in her crate while I get ready for bed. I have a bad habit of wanting to talk about plans for the following day once we're both tucked in. Sometimes Brett has a better idea. ;)

Some days I feel like Supermom and other days I hope I can just hang on until bedtime. Then there's that little voice in my head that wants to compare my habits, my priorities, or my resources to other moms, real or fictitious. I have to regularly recognize those thoughts and then remind myself that we each have our own set of unique challenges and responsibilities and that as long as I'm focused on what is important and lasting, I can feel proud of my role as a mother and wife.
I'm also so thankful for moms who are not only confident enough to be transparent about the day-to-day but can encourage and support others through these hard, fantastic early years of motherhood. It's not as glamorous as it may sometimes look, but it's still pretty beautiful.

i love that reminder that we are each living with a unique set of challenges and responsibilities.  thank you, rachel, for sharing this beautiful and real peek into your day!


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