5:07 am: The dog nudges me awake, wanting to go outside. I unwillingly get out of bed. When I open the door, my bleary eyes see that the rain from last night has now turned to a wall of white wind, and snow covers the ground. I go back upstairs to bed, and check my phone for any indication that school will be canceled. There is none. I am antsy, and wish for that call just like I did when I was ten.
5:35 am: The phone still hasn’t rung, and I drift off to sleep.
5:47 am: Finally, the phone rings, waking me up again. I listen to the message that “school is canceled. Be safe today, everyone.” I turn my alarm off and go back to sleep.
6:45 am: My husband calls from his out of state hotel room to make sure that I got the call, and to see if school was indeed canceled. I tell him it was and yes, he did wake me up (I think), and we hang up.
7:58 am: I hear the toddler in the next room start to talk, and the oldest comes in to my room, asking to lay with me because he’s cold. Followed quickly by the youngest girl, who tries to lay on top of us both and is rejected by us both. Some (slow) flurry of activity happens around me, until finally the oldest girl wakes up as well. I slowly get up, grab the toddler and head downstairs to feed the diabetic dog and make breakfast. I see the two lunch boxes in the refrigerator and the school clothes on the counter and am thankful that I won’t have to get new ones ready again that night.
8:35 am: A lazy breakfast in the dining room while I use my only good chance (before 2 pm) to take a shower. I try not to yell at the kids to eat their breakfast, since we’re not in a hurry this morning, but it’s too much of a habit and I find myself doing it anyway.
9:28 am: Everyone has finally finished their food, and I’m no longer stewing in my own stink. The girls head upstairs for a “tea party” and dress up time, while the oldest gets on daddy’s computer to play Minecraft and the toddler hangs out with me in the living room, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and playing with his race cars.
11:45 am: The mail comes and I begrudgingly put my rain boots and coat on to go to the driveway and get packages from the mail carrier’s truck. He thanks me for coming outside, which I appreciate. I come back inside, leaving my boots by the door and check out the big, padded envelopes. The boys both got valentines packages from their grandparents that include coloring books and coloring utensils. I put the toddler back into his highchair and he goes at it, “coloring” his dinosaur page.
12:11 pm: Lunch time. I call the girls downstairs and we all sit down to eat. It doesn’t take long this time, since everyone would rather be doing something else.
12:32 pm: After some more coloring/scribbling with his new colored pencils, I take the toddler upstairs to bed for his nap and head back downstairs to bundle up the big three for some time in the snow.
12:47 pm: FINALLY everyone is dressed and ready. No wait, the biggest girl doesn’t have any gloves on! “Where are your gloves?! Put them on! Do you want to go outside or do you want to go upstairs and take a nap with your little brother? Then PUT THEM ON.”
12:55 pm: I send them out and take their picture, of course. Keeping the big door open so I can watch and hear from the dining room, I sit down at my computer to catch up on things. The toddler continues to talk for a while from upstairs, and unnatural (but happy) screaming is heard from outside.
1:40 pm: Upstairs is quiet, and the big three yell through the door that they’re ready to come in. I meet them in the garage, where they strip to their underwear and ask for hot chocolate and popcorn. They go in the living room and find their blankets, trying to agree on a movie to watch, while I get to work making their snack.
3:00 pm: Two bags of popcorn and two mugs of hot chocolate (the oldest is not a fan) later, the first movie is over. It’s still quiet time, so we choose another movie and I sit down in a living room chair to try to read. Incessant whining about MORE snacks begins. The oldest gets tired of the movies and goes upstairs to play Legos after I tell him he won’t be playing any video games.
4:25 pm: The whining FINALLY ends when, despite my exclamations otherwise, the youngest girl falls asleep in her chair. I give up trying to wake her up, so close to supper time, and talk to my husband when he calls. It’s still another full day of solo parenting, and I’m not looking forward to us all going back to the regularly scheduled school the next day. I get the toddler from his bed and he hangs out with us until it’s time to eat.
5:45 pm: We eat the kid-friendly nacho and fruit supper, then I start a bath for the boys while the girls play in the living room.
7:30 pm: Sweet, heavenly bedtime for the kids. The toddler goes back to his bed and I tuck in the big three in their room. There are a few tears as a Very Important Lovey is nowhere to be found, but the worries don’t outweigh the exhaustion and the room is quiet in almost no time.
8:12 pm: I’ve finished making the milk and sausage for tomorrow’s breakfast, feed the diabetic dog and give her a shot. I get on the treadmill and start running, while the wannabe contestants sing their poor hearts out on American Idol.
8:45 pm: I hear the sound of a three year old making her way downstairs to look for a book that is lost and has been asked for every night for a week. I’m still running, and annoyed, and tell her to go look.
8:50 pm: Three year old goes back upstairs, sans book, and finally goes to sleep.
8:55 pm: I step off of the treadmill and fold it up, updating my Facebook status with a new running total and sinking into the chair to finish watching the good, the bad, and the ugly on American Idol.
10:30 pm: My head hits the pillow, and tries desperately to free itself from this surge of treadmill-induced energy. I finally crash, hard.