Daily Schedule

I have never been good at maintaining a daily schedule. Terrible in fact. They highly recommend schedules, or at least routines, for foster kids. So we knew that was going to have to be a thing we needed to do. Of course then we got infants so schedules weren’t so important. And then we got the toddlers.

In order to not go insane with four babies, because let’s be honest, 1 and 2 are still babies, I have had to form a daily schedule. One of the first things we have to turn in with a new placement is a daily schedule. I pulled that one out of my butt. I had no clue even what time these boys would regularly nap after only a week with them.

After almost four months with all four boys, I wouldn’t say I’ve got a schedule so much as a relatively strict routine. Sometimes things like, say, a dozen poopy diapers in one day or a baby hitting a developmental leap super hard totally throw things off, but for the most part our days are very predictable.

I get up at 6:30. My hope is that I’ll then have a half hour or so to do some things without kids around but inevitably at least one wakes up when I do. Luckily they are all good at playing on their own so I can still get things done even with one or two awake (it gets a bit harder when three or four are up and needing my attention.

We do our morning assembly line and then it’s play time (nap time for the babies – they go to sleep whenever they are read which turns out to be some time between 9 and 10 usually and they sleep one to one and a half hours) until about 11:30. Then it’s lunch time.

I’ve discovered the toddlers eat way better and are more cooperative about taking bites if they are watching TV. So for now they eat breakfast and lunch in front of the TV. While they eat I feed another four ounces of baby food to each baby. We’re slowly transitioning to table foods, but for now their solids are mostly from jars. The babies are fed bottles on demand. They usually want one every 4-6 hours. When they are hungry, we feed them. That is one thing we definitely do not schedule.

After they eat lunch, the toddler get their diapers changed and we head up to their room. N goes in the crib and A gets in his toddler bed and I put on a Moshi. Usually they are out within 20-30 minutes.

The babies often play together for a little while after the toddlers are asleep, usually showing they are ready for a nap about 1pm. We change them (it’s always nice to start a nap with a clean diaper) and rock them and once they are asleep, they go in their cribs (which are in our bedroom).

The babies usually sleep an hour and a half and the toddlers usually wake up about 3. N has been having some nightmares lately so those sometimes cut his nap short (and sometimes his crying from them wakes A as well). Since A is in a toddler bed, he gets up on his own and almost always heads straight to Jamie’s office for a few cuddles before coming downstairs (A is able to open doors and operate the baby gates – actually just recently N learned to do those things as well).

The boys play from the time they wake up until dinner. If it’s not too hot they’ll play outside a bit (both in the morning and afternoon). They all love anything with wheels – cars, trucks, airplanes, etc. – so we have a whole lot of those. The babies like stuffed toys. Baby B is a big fan of puzzles. The toddlers love Duplos and they all like playing with Magna-Tiles.

Dinner is about 5:30. We always eat together as a family. We’re working on keeping A at the table with us. The babies get another 4 ounces of baby food plus whatever from the table they can eat with the few teeth they have. N has an excellent appetite and is pretty willing to try things he isn’t familiar with. It’s a little harder with A. Usually if we can get him to try something he does like it.

After dinner we go for a walk. We started that for our sanity with the lockdown. Sometimes you’ve just got to get out of the house. Honestly, I’ve never seen so many people outside in our neighborhood in the almost seven years we’ve lived here as in the last month or so. It’s nice.

After our walk, Jamie takes the toddlers up for their bath. We’ve discovered that N’s eczema gets worse from pollen so he sleeps way better if he gets a bath and then lotioned and gelled at night. The babies play while the toddlers have their bath.

And then it is bedtime. If all goes well, they will all be in the cribs or toddler bed asleep by 9 or 9:30. All does not usually go well, at least where the babies are concerned. Once again the toddlers get in their crib/toddler bed and we play a Moshi. They are usually asleep within 10-15 minutes.
The babies are more difficult than the toddlers to get down at night. There’s always one twin who would rather play. We’re working on it.

And then it all starts over the next morning. I try to go to sleep by 10:30, but rarely do. Jamie usually works on his college classes after the toddlers are asleep until 10:30 or 11.

We usually end up with A climbing in our bed at some point during the night. Sometimes he wakes up fully and then we’re up a couple hours trying to get him back to sleep. Occasionally we’ll have to go in and settle N back down during the night, but he doesn’t get out of his crib, but rather just needs his bear, his blankie, and a little pat and he settles right back down. The babies wake once or twice a night and always have at least one bottle each at some point. So our sleep is definitely broken at this point.

I’m really glad we’ve been able to settle into such a good schedule/routine with these boys. It makes things much easier with all these little kids. Too bad I was so resistant to having one when my bio kids were small!

Baby A the Scientist

Ever since he first came to us at 2 1/2 months, Baby A has been our little scientist. He is very careful with inspecting things and figuring things out. The other day he spent a really long time proving just what a scientist he is.

He’s been intrigued by the doggy door. He watches Lola and even his brothers go in and out. Once his twin even made it through. But clearly he wasn’t quite satisfied that going through the doggy door was actually safe.

First he put a toy car through the door. He left it there a bit and then pulled it back inside and studied it very carefully. For what, I am not sure, but he obviously seemed to think it might not be quite the same after its trip. He did this several times.

Then he put his pacifier through the door. After inspecting it carefully, he popped it in his mouth and sucked for a little while. Satisfied that it was still the same as always, he repeated the process several more times, always with the same results.

So then he started testing his own body. First he put his hand through. After several tries proved his hand was unchanged from its trip through the doggy door, he put his arm out up to his forearm, then elbow, then halfway between his elbow and shoulder, and, finally, his entire arm up to his shoulder.

Satisfied that going through the doggy door would not harm him in any way, he attempted to get his head through. He’s not quite coordinated yet to do that, so that is where his experiment ended. It was so fascinating to watch. He was so methodical, focused, and determined. He’s a smart one, that Baby A.

Babies Learning

It is so fascinating watching the twins learn. They were pretty much developing at the same rate with Baby A a couple days ahead of Baby B. Then Baby A got sick with one thing after another for about three months and he fell a bit behind. He’s pretty much caught up to Baby B now.

They are both fascinated by sunbeams lighting up the floor through a window. They play with the shadows and move their bodies to see what it does with the light. They touch the light and the dark next to it to see if it feels different.

They are learning that they can make different sounds depending on what they hit and whether they use their hands or some toy or other object. They are delighted when they can repeat a simple pattern we tap out for them.

They are learning all about cause and effect. Pushing on a ball means it rolls away from them. Shaking some toys makes them make noise, but shaking others doesn’t do anything. They can push on a toy vehicle and it moves easily, but pushing on a block gives some resistance.

They have discovered object permanence. Peek-a-Boo is hilarious because they know we are there the whole time, even when their eyes are covered. Dropping something over the side of their high chairs is exciting because even if they wait a little while when they look it’ll be there on the floor next to them (unless it’s food in which case Lola will likely have eaten it up already).

There’s just so much learning going on in our house these days. Having two 9-month-olds is pretty great!

Home Church

For over a month now we’ve had church at home. All of our churches worldwide are shut down until further notice. I’m really not sure when we’ll go back to regular meetings. Sometimes I wonder if it won’t be until there’s a vaccine or reliable treatment.

Anyway, I rather like having church at home. We have our little Sacrament service. My father and Jamie bless the bread and water and Fritz and Adrian pass it. We sing the First Article of Faith song a lot. We’ll go on to the second one once the toddlers know the first one. We take turns giving a little talk/spiritual message. Now our ward has Sunday School via Zoom twice a month as well. And then we have our Come, Follow Me lesson that we’ve been doing weekly for over a year.

It’s really interesting, though, that we’ve pretty much been training for this home church thing. We were already totally used to doing Come, Follow Me at home as a family. Now we just have a little more church at home, but we already had a good groove going. There’s no need to actually go into a church building to maintain religious studies.

But I suspect our first week back meeting all together will be pretty noisy as we greet old friends and get caught up post-social distancing.


We’ve been using an app called Moshi to help relax the kids at naptime and bedtime. The songs/stories are really weird, but they work! They really do help them fall asleep. I had my doubts, but figured it was worth a try and at the end of the one week trial I was more than happy to pay $40 to have it for a year.

As a side note, it was the best advertising ever that made me download it. We were up at 2 in the morning with A and N and I went on Instagram and Moshi was being advertised. Honestly at that point I would’ve tried anything. And so I downloaded it and it worked putting both toddlers to sleep in minutes!

Assembly Line Parenting

We have a lot of little kids living in our house. Mornings can be absolutely nuts. Most days, though, I’ve got the whole assembly line parenting thing down.

First, I try to get up before any kids do. This can be tricky. Some mornings one or more wake up before 6am. Some mornings I’m just plain tired from being up late or often during the night (it’s not just the babies who wake at night). If I get up first the morning definitely goes smoother, especially if I can get some cleaning out of the way before children are around.

The toddlers need to eat pretty much as soon as they wake up so I try to have something quick or already ready for them. The babies eat 4 ounces of baby food for breakfast. I feed one and then the other.

All four need diaper changes and to be dressed for the day. I do them either as they wake up or one after the other if they are already up or get up at the same time. I always have clothes (mine and theirs) picked out and ready the night before. N takes the longest to get ready for the day. He has eczema so he needs to be rubbed with Aveeno lotion every morning (and night) and have his prescriptions applied to flare spots Monday through Friday. The other three get lotioned in the morning as needed.

Then there’s hair. Sometimes I sit on the couch and do their hair one after another. Other times I do their hair while they are sitting in high chairs, the babies after they’ve been fed, the toddlers while they are eating breakfast. That involves spraying their hair with water mixed with jojoba oil to dampen it and then putting leave in conditioner in their hair to moisturize it. All of their hair gets really dry without that cream. We have a special brush to get tangles out and get the conditioner all through it. Sometimes I put N or Baby B’s hair up (N is SO cute with a toddler bun) since their hair is long enough to do up.

All that takes until 9:30 or 10 and by then at least one more diaper change is needed (we go through SO MANY diapers) and I’m already thinking about lunch!

To Obtain Food

One of the things we are allowed to do according to our stay at home order is obtain food. I like how that’s phrased. It makes me feel at one with my hunter-gatherer ancestors.

But obtaining food, especially if you’d rather not actually go into the grocery store, is not so easy. Walmart is only opening spots once a day and only scheduling pickup two days out. HEB is scheduling a week out for pickup. So we’ve gotten creative.

I made a list of meals that will last us 2-3 weeks. The grocery list was, of course, very long. Then I went to work finding the things on my list. It’s been an interesting combination.

We got as much of the foster kids’ WIC stuff as we could at the local WIC store (lots of social distancing and only three customers allowed in at a time in there). They were out of a lot of stuff, but we did get all the formula (which is about 2/3 of the month worth) which would have taken 4 trips to HEB because of their limits.

We went to Costco where social distancing was iffy thanks to their idiotic idea of putting plants down the center of two refrigerator aisles making it impossible to not get very close to other customers in those aisles. We got quite a bit of stuff including several loaves of bread and a case of baby wipes there.

We got a food package from a small local grocery store. It was full of super high quality meat, produce, beans, rice, tortillas, eggs, and even a few rolls of toilet paper.


I was able to get a good size order placed at Walmart. I had to switch to a further away one and got a terrible time for pickup (7-8pm), but only 4 things were substituted and only 4 things were out of stock so I’m very happy.

We’ve gotten two small orders from Amazon Fresh and a big order from Amazon Pantry. We’ve got another Amazon Pantry order scheduled for delivery on the 22nd. We have done Subscribe and Save for a long time and that’s how we get diapers (6 cases in three sizes a month) and some other things. Those will be arriving over the next week.

We have an HEB order set for pickup later today. Walmart isn’t doing chicken right now and they were out of a few items I needed when I placed my order so figured the week wait would be fine for the last few things. We also had Cameron pick us up a few things at HEB when he did his shopping last week. There were nine things I couldn’t find any other way to get (and he still couldn’t get us leeks because they were out in the store).

So obtaining food for our household of eleven has been a challenge just as I imagine it was for those hunter-gatherer ancestors. In a way the challenge has been fun. In a way it’s been frustrating. What matters now is our cupboards, refrigerators and freezer are full and we are set for a few weeks when we’ll start the process all over again.