To the ladies who sent me that quilt

March 5, 2013 | 75 comments

A couple of weeks ago, a beautiful quilt arrived in the mail. And this wasn’t just any quilt: it was a prayer quilt, handmade by a group of ladies who specifically prayed for me while they were created it. Look at how beautiful it is:

The attached label said it was from the prayer quilt ministry at an Episcopal Church in Arizona. I wanted to assure the lady who sent it that I had received it and tell her how wonderful I thought it was, so I went to grab the card it came with to get her contact info. Only it wasn’t where I left it. I was sure I put it on the ledge by the back door. In fact, I had a hazy but firm memory of reading excerpts from the note to Joe, and remarking, “Oh, this just makes me want to — GET DOWN!” when I saw the baby standing in the middle of the kitchen table, holding a Rice Crispies box sideways. I am certain that I tossed the note onto the ledge in that blur of a moment when I lunged toward my child in an attempt to rescue both her and the soon-to-be-emptied cereal box (I succeeded in one of the two). Alas, the card has not been seen since then.

Anyway, in case any of the prayer quilt ladies check in on my blog, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank them for their kind gift. I also thought this would be as good of an opportunity as any to do one of those “day in the life” schedule posts that bloggers like Ana, Dwija, Elizabeth and Grace have have been doing lately.

I love these kinds of posts. LOVE. Maybe it’s the anthropologist in me, but I find that getting an hour-by-hour glimpse into someone else’s day reveals volumes about their lives (which is why I ask readers to talk about their schedules when they introduce themselves).

So I offer my own schedule below, as it may be interesting/revealing/helpful to fellow armchair anthropologists, other moms, people who must read inane blog posts as part of lost bets, criminals subject to punishment by extreme boredom, and anyone who, like the quilt ladies, may have tried to contact me and wondered why they didn’t hear back.

What follows is my best effort to recreate the events of the day that I received the quilt:


8:00 AM: Wake up. Realize I should have gotten up at 7:30. Remember that that occurred to me the night before, but that I simply could not bring myself to set my alarm for that hour.

8:01 AM: Calculate number of times I had to get up to go to the bathroom night before, stew about how much precious sleep time this cost me. Feel certain that some pregnant woman somewhere has put a stop to this nonsense with a large package of Depends. Think that I totally respect that decision.

8:02 AM: Check email on my tablet. In the middle of a snarky reply to a friend, remember that I promised myself I’d do morning prayer first. Discard email and speed read Lauds from the Divine Office app while still in bed. Recite the Canticle of Zechariah like it’s one three-hundred-syllable word. Remind God to look at what’s in my heart and not the quality of my prayers.

8:10 – 9:00 AM: Get the two preschoolers up; get them breakfast; try not to think of how very far away this food is from the food I would like to be serving my children for breakfast; wonder, in fact, if this processed substance even qualifies as “food”; marvel at how long it takes children to eat; throw together the two girls’ lunches (quesadillas, mildly wrinkly cherry tomatoes, and strawberry apple sauce, a.k.a. the Mommy Hasn’t Been to the Store in a While Special).

9:00 AM: My dad arrives to shuttle the two girls to the parish preschool. Thank God for having such an awesome dad. Remember that back before my health problems I always took the girls to school myself, which meant that I had to get all five kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door on time. Shiver at the horror of such memories.

9:01 AM: Make a cup of coffee. Add lots of heavy cream. Assure myself that today I SHALL treat myself to two cups.

9:10 AM: Go upstairs, get dressed, sit on bed to give myself my morning shot of Lovenox. Pick the box of needles up off the floor, realize it’s probably the most expensive thing I own.

9:11 AM: Spend a ridiculously long time trying to find a good injection spot — not the easiest task in the world when you’re eight months pregnant and giving yourself a shot in the stomach. Just when I’m finally about to do it, hear baby cry in next room. Set shot aside, go get baby.

9:15 AM: Holler at my two oldest (ages six and eight) to wake up. Try to put shirt on my insane spirited 20-month-old but she yanks it out of my hand and flings it across the room. I see that she is trying to engage me in a battle of wills. She wins. Take shirtless baby downstairs for breakfast.

9:20 AM: Gasp for a while after carrying baby down the stairs. Wonder if it’s because of pulmonary emboli, anemia, pregnancy, or generally being out of shape. Try to boost my energy with another cup of coffee. Have one sip, feel instantly nauseated. Realize that, once again, my body has shut off some sort of coffee intake valve. Calculate number of minutes until the end of this pregnancy.

9:50 AM: Supervise the kids’ foraging for breakfast food, tell the big kids to keep an eye on the baby, go upstairs to get this shot out of the way.

9:51 AM: Just as the needle approaches my skin, a knock at the door. Set shot aside again, run downstairs, see that it’s a package. Open package to see a beautiful prayer quilt. Open the enclosed note. Before I can read it, see the baby run into the living room with her bowl of cottage cheese. Wish that she had not just dropped it on the shag area rug. Wish that she had also not just stepped in it.

10:00 – 11:45 AM: After an “A for Effort” cleanup of the cottage cheese (which the carpet beetles undoubtedly appreciated), do homeschool lessons with the two older kids. Try not to mentally calculate how long it’s going to take us to clean up what the baby has destroyed during this time.

11:45 AM: Set the big kids up with their independent school work (worksheets, reading, etc.) Put baby down for nap. Try again to give myself shot. Half way through process, hear shouting that involves the word “BUTT!” coming from the supposed-to-be-working kids downstairs. Can’t yell threats at them because baby is trying to sleep in next room. Rush through shot, inject medicine too fast, feel like I’ve been bitten in the stomach by a snake.

11:50 AM – 12:00 PM: Grabbing stomach in pain, I get kids back on track, then go to read the note from the quilt ladies. Just as I reach for the card, the phone rings. It’s Yaya. She is furious, demanding to know why she can’t click on the box after she mashes the button where you type the word. After a few minutes of tech support she can open her email again, and we chat about neighborhood intrigue.

12:00 PM: Stomach still throbbing from shot. Calculate number of minutes until the end of this pregnancy.


12:30 PM: With the baby down for nap, the six-year-old and eight-year-old doing school work, and the toddlers at preschool for another hour, I have some time to get a few things done. Sit down in front of my computer in a confident and purposeful manner, some important thing I needed to do firmly in my mind. After the third time I have to yell out into the living room that “THAT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE SCHOOL WORK TO ME, ” I’ve forgotten what I sat down to do. End up listlessly replying to a few emails.

1:20 PM: With 10 minutes to go until the two girls are home from preschool, remember that I have a post due for NCR tomorrow. Thaaaat’s what I sat down to do. Frantically dash out a rough outline with my remaining time.

1:30 PM: Preschool kids home. Thank dad profusely for his chauffeur services. See note from quilt ladies on counter, but the toddlers are tired, and the big kids need me to look over their work before we can declare school over for the day. One of the little kids has begun scribbling over the six-year-old’s spelling worksheet; six-year-old reacts as if these scribbles had been placed upon an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. After trying to simultaneously break up that fight while grading worksheets, have forgotten about card again.

1:35 PM: Kids expressing desire for food. Rioting breaks out in pantry. Oh, that’s right, lunch! Somehow I always forget about this meal. The prospect of making real food that all five of the children will eat overwhelms me. Scatter some cheese sticks and crackers on the table, dump out the fruit basket, tell the kids to go crazy. Snicker that even though half of this stuff is processed and full of dyes and preservatives, I can count it as a “paleo” meal for the ambiance alone.

2:00 PM: Beginning to feel profoundly exhausted. Muscles ache with a weird, lack-of-oxygen kind of feeling. Daily bout of painful nausea coming on. Eat something. As always, food makes nausea worse. Wonder how I’m going to survive the day. Calculate number of minutes until the end of this pregnancy.

2:30 PM: Babysitter arrives, which reminds me that I have an appointment with my obstetrician. Startle older kids by telling them to get their shoes on NOW-NOW-NOW because we have to leave in three minutes. Run around frantically looking for my purse, a sweater, and my tablet as the kids ask in vain where we’re going.

2:33 PM: Drop two of the kids off at Yaya’s (since all five is way too much for any mortal babysitter to handle), rush to OB’s office.

2:45 – 3:45 PM: See OB (the high-risk specialist I’ve been seeing for years, not Dr. K whom you met in Minor Revisions). Visit is nice, though the contraception / NFP issue is becoming an increasing source of tension as this epic pregnancy nears the end. We’ve been dancing around the details, but I have the sneaking suspicion that at least one of my doctors’ heads may explode when the cards are all on the table. Once again, I boldly defend my principles by…making a few vague statements and asking if we can talk about it at the next appointment. Leave office feeling stressed.

4:00 PM: Pick up kids from Yaya’s. Go back to house. Walk in door, behold noise and chaos, wonder how I ever do this. Nausea and shot-in-gut feeling now getting severe. Tell babysitter through exhausted gasps to holler if she needs anything, drag myself upstairs, flop onto bed, and stare at the ceiling while thinking about what to write for my NCR post. Calculate number of minutes until the end of this pregnancy.

5:00 PM: Babysitter needs to go home. Lie on bed, unable to move. Am reminded of that Jerry Springer episode where the guy was so heavy that they had to tear down a wall and back an ambulance basically up to his bed to get him out. Think that might need to happen here. Realize I’m on the second floor. Try to imagine the extensive system of ropes and pulleys that would be required to hoist me downstairs.

5:00 – 6:00 PM: Eventually drag myself to the living room to say goodbye to babysitter, resist urge to stand in front of the door and forbid her to leave. Some kids go outside to play, some watch Netflix. I hope that this means that I can zone out and/or work on my NCR post. I am wrong. Every fives minutes I have to jump up and stop the baby from destroying something and/or pulling someone’s hair. Every time I feel a little closer to death.


6:00 – 6:30 PM: The kids do their evening checklist of chores, which includes picking up toys, sweeping, and vacuuming, with only minimal yelling involved. I clean the kitchen (read: finally put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher). House looks great. Think of how amazed Joe will be when he sees how tidy everything is.

6:30 – 6:45 PM: Start dinner (a frozen meal brought by a friend), rummage through the pantry for a side dish. Have to sit down three times to rest and catch my breath.

6:45 PM: Go back to the living room, see that the baby has dumped out a box of toys, removed most of the books from the kids’ bookshelf and thrown them around the room, and scattered the carefully-organized shoes from the shoe rack. Before all-consuming rage takes over, have a brief flicker of awe that she could undo half an hour’s worth of work in just a few minutes. Call Joe, leave an impassioned voicemail that begins with “I DON’T KNOW WHY I EVEN TRY, ” and ends with a solemn promise that I am “never, ever even attempting to clean this house again” and a suggestion that maybe I should legally change my name to Sisyphus.

7:00 PM: Joe home. After I’m done seething, show him the beautiful blanket. Remember the card, go to read it. The kind words bless me so much, and I say to Joe, “Oh, this just makes me want to — GET DOWN!” Baby is standing in center of kitchen table with a box of Rice Crispies. Throw card in the general direction of the ledge, grab baby, but not before she dumps the contents of the box onto the table. Look from the pile of cereal to Joe, confident that this vindicates my dramatic voicemail.

7:00 – 8:30 PM: Clean up mess on table. Eat dinner mostly standing up, as Joe and I have to play waiter since someone seems to need something every two minutes. Send big kids to shower, give little kids bath. Getting to pick the bath water color with these dye tablets is the highlight of the evening for the three-year-old…though it’s a little weird when she picks yellow.

8:45 PM: Three little kids in bed. Big kids want to watch a show, but house is so small that they’ll wake the little ones if they watch it on the main TV. Send them to the pantry/laundry room with my tablet to watch Netflix on it, since that’s the only downstairs room that’s away from the bedrooms and has a door they can shut. Realize that the pantry has become a sort of rec room. Wonder if that’s a sad statement of the overcrowding in our house or a Pinterest-worthy example of efficient use of space.

9:00 – 10:00 PM: Joe cleans kitchen by himself while I give myself my evening Lovenox shot, then we head to the living room to hang out. When we realize that we’re both watching an episode of Barney that was left on from earlier, we give up the charade of having quality time together and call the night a loss. Joe goes to bed and I get back to my NCR post.


10:00 PM: Send the big kids to bed. Finally get to work on post. As usual, being able to write effects me like Valium or a good glass of wine. Am so, so, so thankful for blogging, as blog posts are the one thing in my life that I can create that will not subsequently be destroyed by the kids five minutes later.

10:10 – 11:00 PM: Big kids come downstairs approximately 9, 887 times while I’m trying to finish my post. At some point they remind me that we never did night prayers. I close my laptop and do my best impression of a spiritually mature mother who is delighted to have her long-awaited and desperately-needed down time interrupted so that she can send up prayers to the Lord with her precious children.

11:00 PM – 12:00 AM: [Fall into a time warp where this hour mysteriously disappears.]

12:00 AM: Schedule NCR post to run. Look at the clock and am shocked to see that it’s midnight. Admonish myself to get to bed immediately. Remind myself that this is serious: I really need as much sleep as I can get. No joke. Really. I must get in bed and turn out the lights this instant.

12:00 – 1:15 AM: Read blogs on my tablet.

1:20 AM: Just before I drift off, think of those wonderful ladies who took the time to make the prayer quilt for me. Remind myself to thank them. Realize with an ominous feeling that, just before I went to bed, I did not recall seeing their card on the ledge where I thought I left it.

* * *

There you have it! For those of you who have not fallen asleep or committed seppuku, you now have all the details into a typical day around here.

So thank you to the ladies who made that beautiful quilt for me, as well as all the others who have sent me kind emails, letters, and gifts. It blesses me more than you know, even if I am often so overwhelmed by the craziness of daily life that I’m terrible at expressing it.


  1. Lisa

    Oh, Jen. I’m exhausted just from reading this. Makes me want to hire you a live-in nanny or housekeeper or both. And build on a room for said nanny/housekeeper to live in. I don’t know how you do it. Prayers for your last month of pregnancy and for your sanity!

  2. Judy

    I’m with Lisa – sending you cyber hugs and absolutely realtime prayers!

  3. Martina

    Awesome post. 🙂

  4. Colleen Martin

    I wrote about our crazy morning a while back and it still remains a popular post. We are all fascinated by what another person’s “normal” day is. Yours looks really hard for a problematic pregnant momma who should be on bed rest (right?) So how many more hours of this pregnancy do you have, anyways??? Praying for you, Jen!

  5. Elizabeth

    Loved this. I actually laughed out loud as I pictured kids hiding in the pantry watching shows on your tablet. I always figured you’d be the one hiding in there… 😉

    Prayers for good health and moments of peace.

  6. Leila

    Oh, so much sounds familiar (but it’s much funnier at your house!), and the part about having to get to bed immediately and then continuing to read blogs for another hour and a half rings too true….

    What a treat! I adore you!!

  7. Becky

    I can totally sympathize with the missing hour, due to a time warp. I will meet you some time in that warp.

    I did not realize that you have to take the shots TWICE a day. Ouch! I will send lots more sympathy prayers.

  8. Maia

    Love in the chaos. The only area I can possibly offer any words is regarding the shot. Thighs. I pinch the fat in my thigh and inject there. Got that okay’d by my doctor, but (obviously) you’d want to get the approval of yours. My thighs are full of scar tissue, but I much preferred that to injecting in my stomach. From one Lovenox momma to another. You have been in my frequent prayers.

    • Morag

      I second using the thigh site – belly gets too tight by late pregnancy

  9. Anne

    Whew! Thanks for sharing the laughs and the overwhelmed parts. God bless ya, Jen.

  10. Ana Hahn

    I SO love these posts, at first I felt like kind of a creep for enjoying reading about others’ days so much, but I am glad to know I am not the only one.

    I think this one tops the charts too, loved it all and it served as a good reminder to stop complaining so damn much, seriously, if I had to give myself shots daily I think I would die. You are my hero and in my prayers!

  11. Nikita

    You have my prayers. Your day is filled, but even though it is stressful and filled with no rest, it is filled with joy and God’s endless love and grace. The quilt is beautiful by the way, it makes me think of the quilt my grandmother had.

    Many Prayers,

  12. TJ Burdick

    Jen, sounds like you won’t need your Divine Office App for night prayer. Well, at least part of it- your examination of conscience is complete.

  13. elizabethe

    OMGoodness JEN!!!!!! Get that baby in a PLAYPEN!! Or in her room or something! For the sake of your other children if nothing else.

    You know, I remember vividly playing in a playpen as a child and I LOVED it. I don’t know why they have fallen out of favor. Surely it is some nefarious force that convinced mothers en masse that babies and young children would be stunted for LIFE if they couldn’t be free at all times to express themselves by destroying furniture, dumping food all over the house, and pulling on their siblings’ hair.

    You are me with 3 more kids (you have 6 now right? or five?) I have 3. This is exactly what my day is like, thoughts and all. I LOL’d. My favorite is the thought about how you don’t want to be feeding them what you are feeding them. I hate what they eat, but I have no energy to fight them about it.

    My second favorite is the heated fight about people coloring on other people’s papers. I swear, I’m ready to negotiate some treaties between S. Korea, Iraq, and the U.S. after talking my oldest out of the revenge plans for his brother for coloring on his Transformers coloring book.

    8:45!!!!!! 10 O’CLOCK!!!! Are you kidding me? My kids are in bed at 7:30. You need adult time at night.

    • Julie

      I just want to point out that not all babies love playpens. Mine absolutely hate ours. The only way I could keep my first in it was to sit it in front of the tv. Even then, he didn’t last long. My second won’t tolerate it at all. And I don’t mean that they just look all sad, so I take them out. I mean, they scream and throw themselves on the floor of the thing and otherwise go nuts. As difficult as it can be for me to keep track of my two toddlers as they run throughout the house, it’s still way preferable to the screaming/sobbing/thrashing that would result from me imprisoning them in the playpen. Especially since my boys tend to throw up when they get worked up.

      • Meika

        Ew, the throwing up might be a deal-breaker for me! I don’t handle that well. (Read: I either throw up myself or faint. Really.) I don’t think kids usually instantly like playpens, but found that they can be kind of “trained” to them and learn to like them. NOT that you have to use a playpen, of course, it’s obviously completely fine if it’s just not your style – but I think it can be done, gently, if you decided it’s something you needed to do.

      • elizabethe

        Well sure, of course not. And who wants to hear their child scream and freak out. That’s tough. One of my sons was just like that.

        But let me ask you this. Would you say the same thing about a carseat? Many children hate carseats, too, but we all make them sit in them and eventually they learn. My son wouldn’t tolerate his carseat the first 50 times I put him in it, but I still made him sit in it in the car. A playpen/playyard/babygate that keeps them in a safe place when you can’t pay attention to them (or frankly, even if you just need to sit and close your eyes for 5 minutes) is just as much of a necessity — for a modern mom — as a car seat.

        I’m not saying all day. Just a strategic 10 or 15 minutes here and there works wonders.

        • Nadine

          Not having ever owned one, or lived in a place large enough for one, my favorite use of a playpen is the mom who used to climb in it herself when she needed time out. She’d sit in the playpen with her apron over her face and quietly say her prayers. Nobody could reach her to harass her. After her kids outgrew the playpen, she’d just sit on the couch with the apron over her face, but by that time the kids had learned that Apron Over Face = Leave Mom Alone.

        • Catherine

          The adult must be convinced, within herself, that she has a right to take breaks & rest even for a few minutes, & keep her sanity; AND that the child NEEDS to have the security of boundaries set for them, kindly but firmly, by the adult. Children sense when the parent is firm and “means it”. It’s the adult’s job to structure & to teach, and the child’s job to get used to the secure feeling that he or she shall not run the household!! Win-win.

    • Catherine

      I SO AGREE with you!! ABSOLUTELY bedtime at 7:30 (latest) for children; and put your baby in a playpen!!!

      Yesterday, if possible!!

      Love you, Jen! 😉

      • Becky Miller

        Kids who go to bed earlier wake up earlier. And who wants babies who wake up at 6? Shudder. For a night owl, it makes sense to put the kids to bed later and let them sleep later.

        • Jessica

          Oh, my goodness – this could not be further from the truth for me! 🙂 If my two year-old son goes to bed at 10 PM, he wakes up screaming by 6 AM, without a doubt. When he goes to bed at 7:45 PM, he sleeps until past 8 AM, and wakes up smiling and happy. (This is not to be construed as criticism of Becky, Jen, or ANY mother – it’s just what works well for us!)

  14. Kathryn

    It’s so humbling when you document your day and look back on it, isn’t it? Life with five is crazy, but I have a hard time remembering what I did with all that free time when we had zero. I feel your pain, in many ways, but I also appreciate your humor 🙂 Several months back (October, I think) I documented a week in my life. Talk about an eye-opener!

    Your quilt is lovely. What an incredibly thoughtful gift!

  15. Josee Turner

    God Bless you. I wish you the Peace of Christ which is beyond all understanding.

  16. Tracie

    You have a very busy day.

    I love the quilt. It is beautiful.

  17. TheresaEH

    ok, I am exhausted now!! 😉 I also had to give myself blood thinner shots everyday for 2 weeks in the tummy after knee replacement surgery in dec. It was almost WORSE than the darn surgery and the bruises from the shots didnot completely heal until the end of January. Sending cyber sympathy to you….that quilt is just LOVELY!!! and so thoughtful.

  18. Nancy DeMaria

    Jen! You’re day is insane. I am sorry it’s been so stressful, and especially that you have to take those shots. Yikes.

    Nearly every night I do the same thing — think to myself, I MUST go to bed now. Then 1-2 hours later, after many blog posts cleaned off my reader queue, I actually go to sleep. 🙂

  19. Barbara MacLellan

    You are a very special person.May God bless you abundantly!
    The ladies who made the quilt are certainly special too.I will keep praying for you and your family and for a safe delivery.

  20. Lora

    Dear Jen,

    Your story is so heartwarming and so real…so full of true love and joy and humor. God bless you and your family!

  21. Ashley Anderson @ The Narrative Heiress


    Finding out recently that I’m carrying twins, I’m now preparing [after 6 years as a teacher and 3 years doing so as a mommy] for at home motherhood. Your post was relief with a touch of horror considering the honest picture you painted. It was wonderful to read!


  22. Kitty Cleveland

    You are a ROCK STAR!!!! I just love your candor and your sense of humor. Remember: this, too, shall pass. In the meantime, I’m going to pray a rosary for you–right now! Hang in there. The best is yet to be.

  23. Christine

    My Dear Jen ( If I can be so casual), This is my second time reading your blog (I stumbled on your ‘from under the veil’ post the other day) and I only just read that I was supposed to introduce myself. My apologies ..not sure where I am supposed to do this so here is a brief about me and please feel free to move or delete it if it should not be here:
    I am English but have been married to my American soldier for 23 years this September and have lived in the US for much of that time. I am also half German- I it speak nearly fluently and I think of Benedict XVI as the German Grandfather I never met because he was lost in WWII . In Germany Grandfathers are called Opa so I considers him my Popa- in loving reverence. I am 10 years older than you, left home at 19 for college, got tired of being a poor student and took my place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to become a female Officer in one of THE most chauvinistic institutions in the world – I was one of those forging that path in the man’s world. I got stationed in Germany where I planned out my life ; first I would have an 18 year Army career, marry some British Army major probably and retire as a major myself AFTER which I would have children when I could afford a nanny and be able to send them away for private boarding school at the appropriate time. Then God laughed ……I fell in love, with the one God had planned for me which meant I had not only to leave my promising career but also my beloved England, my mother (I am her only child) and move across the pond. We are still moving with the military on average every 2 years. I remember distinctly in the first year or 2 of marriage, the man I married was not the one I had dated in Germany all of a sudden- he was now a hunter. I remember one day while at home with baby #1 (about 17 years before MY plan) and my new husband was always gone, thinking “what have I done?” I was a believer (Officially Church of England) he was Cradle Catholic – conversion came about 18 years later 2008.
    My day- I am in a different season of my life than you since my ‘baby’ just left for college last summer and my 1st turns 21 – trust me it really does fly by and you WILL wish you had savored those moments more when they were little. I only had 2 , t one point I was Sooooo done but then I started to pray for more when my husband was in Iraq…..I gave up praying for more last year at 45. Now I have 4 horses (was 5) all of which are like toddlers and hurt themselves, eachother or destroy a fence or something I have to fix in a snow storm on my own because my husband only comes home on weekends. Then there are the teenagers….at college yes but on the phone and keeping me on my knees praying they do not do like most and loose their faith there.

    Anyway to my comment:

    Sure writing about a crazy Mummy stressed day with funny kids antics makes for fun reading BUT honestly I really just wanted to say I have had many friends with large families in the military, most home-schooled, went through deployments in 3 bedroom 1000 sq’ homes, so I have seen and lived part of your life vicariously through them. I also have had serious health problems which is when God really taught me to realize one needs to learn to say NO or you will kill yourself and that is not very loving to one’s children or husband. I am with Elizabeth , get that child in a play pen or bouncy seat for her/his own safety! Older kids need some consequences for not doing school work (like no movie in the closet night) and need to learn to be on Mommy’s team. You can do all you are doing AND have order, at least a semblance of it- I have seen it done. Finally aside from the fact that your husband and your children need you to be as rested as possible – so does your baby in your womb for IT’s mental health. SO if the NCR is keeping up or your blog or book is taking you away from those priorities PLEASE I beg you, learn to say “NO I CAN NOT”- trust me the world will not stop turning if you do, the sky will not fall, but your family will appreciate the moment of peace. Finally, and I hope you take all this with the love and concern of a sister in Christ, the day WILL come when the kids are all gone and it is just you and hubby left , if you have not nurtured that relationship through out the marriage , if you have not made him #1 (after God) there may come a time when all of a sudden the nest is empty and you are looking across the table at a stranger. Go to bed when your husband does!!! Seriously. I wish I could tell you so much more that I have learn’t in the last 10 years because the first 10 were so so but since discovering the right order of things as God intended, the last 13 years well they just keep getting better- there is hope 🙂

    • April

      AMEN to above. Seriously, do you enjoy the level of stress you have? I don’t know if this is a daily schedule or a cry for help.

  24. Anna

    Who is this wimpy sitter who can’t handle all five at once? I’m the oldest of five and babysat all five of us many times! 🙂 Seriously though… love reading your posts like this because it brings back fond memories of growing up with all those kids in a small house. Hope you’ll be feeling better soon!

  25. Eva

    I can relate to your frantic pace, but my day starts at 5am and ends at 9pm when the last child is NEARLY asleep. I would literally die if I stayed up so late! No, literally. Like Christmas in Parks and Recreation…

    The joy of having a popular blog is the ability to thank people and be pretty sure that it will get back to them. If I thank someone on my blog, I’m pretty much talking to some guy in Uzbekistan and my cat.

  26. Laura

    Jen, This sounds awful. I am praying for you. And I will never EVER complain about my own life again.

  27. Monika

    you seem to have the homeschooling under control, but if you are looking for another path, have you heard of the Robinson Curriculum? I have been obsessed with it since I read about it a year ago, and we are working our way there with my 7 and 5yo. I also have a 2, and are hoping for another soon. The goal is 2 hours math, 1 hour writing, 2 hours reading. I knew from the beginning I would not be able to handle regular homeschooling with more than one kid.

  28. Connie Rossini

    Beautiful quilt! Love that peacock color.

    I’m one of those people who really dislikes lists and schedules, but has learned the importance of having them anyway. (Especially since my husband loves them! He always asks, “What are your plans for the evening?” To which my natural reply is, “Plans?” I rarely see beyond dinner/his homecoming for the day.)

  29. Marie

    Thank you for this post. It makes me feel human! Although maybe not intentionally, it is encouraging to me.

  30. Abigail Benjamin


    LOL at the line “Once again, I boldly defend my principles by…making a few vague statements and asking if we can talk about it at the next appointment. Leave office feeling stressed.”

    Can so relate!

  31. Alexiz

    Please get more sleep. Really…lots of love…

  32. Kathy

    “…legally change my name to Sisyphus.” This is the best phrase I have read all day.

  33. Amelia

    Wow, I really loved reading about your day! You have my prayers as you face the rest of your pregnancy. I have to admit, I felt a bit on the edge there..I was “Oh gosh, is she going to get that shot in or not?”

    So glad you did! Prayers!

  34. shwell

    Whew Jen!

    I am thinking about the ending of Bear in the Big Blue House, when he says good bye to the day but also mentions that we “will do it all again tomorrow”

    I had to LOL about lunch, no matter how well I plan the weeks menu, and the breakfast and dinner are going along great, I always forget about the lunch….

    You have been in my thoughts and prayers a lot lately, I wish I were closer and could offer practical help, but sadly I can’t so I am sending you a laugh instead.
    My husband loves your blog, the first post he read was when you had thrown the dirty underwear in the yard and then a friend came over.
    Well, this time you get to laugh at him

  35. Lindsey

    Hahaha! My husband’s great-grandmother “mashes” buttons on the remote control. Did Yaya grow up in the Piney Woods?

  36. Barbara

    Oh dear, I can relate, though I try to get up at 5. I do go to bed earlier, thus forcing myself to be a morning person.

    Good thing you are a classic overachiever!

  37. Meika

    Jen! How I love your posts. But your life would kill me. Really, two toddlers put me on anti-anxiety meds and as much fun as I had with the insanity of life at the time on Facebook, it was really miserable. Based on the internetz alone, I think that we’re temperamentally similar, so as much fun as this is to read I think it must be very difficult to live.

    So. Toddlers. Elizabethe is dead right: PLAYPEN. I bought the Graco TotBloc Pack ‘n’ Play a couple months ago when I had a day similar to yours (but MINUS three kids!), and it has saved my sanity. I’m putting on my bossypants: go over to Amazon and buy one RIGHT NOW, before you read another word. Our wrecking ball is 17 months old, a serious climber, and in the 90th percentile for height; I think it’ll work for yours. And I already read all the reviews; this is the winner. Crazy still crawls up on the table and dumps out cereal (or, yesterday, half-empty sticky cereal bowls and a jug or orange juice), but she does it ONCE. One mess, and then she’s contained, period. The thing about playpens is that kids have to be trained to them. My daughter shrieked at first, too; we introduced it in small doses and just kept at it. It didn’t really take that long. She doesn’t have the right to destroy the house. Now she seems relieved when I put her in there. She seems to know that she’s out of control and appreciate having her options limited to the toys in there.

    Also, bedtime? All of our children are in bed by 7:00 (younger than yours by a bit, though – 6, 4, and 1), again for my sanity. Can you task Joe with making this happen? I think you’re underestimating the extent of your disability right now, and because I computer-love you I hate to see that happen. In my opinion, you are Queen of the House right now. Peace to you, Jen!

  38. Wendy from Zoom

    I didn’t do a regular play pen, but I got a play yard fence and fenced in most of one room with a king sized sheet under it. You might be able to do the same thing with a baby gated room. I then rotated the toys that were in that space. I actually spent a fair bit of time in there with them, playing with them, so that it was play space rather than a time out place. It’s worth having a pack and play as a time out space. I put the baby there for the length of time it took to clean up the mess they had made.

    Also, I do think an earlier bed time for your kids might make a huge difference in your quality of life. My own experience was that when I didn’t get enough decompression time at the end of the day, I would tend to try to get it during the day when the kids were around, and it always resulted in more chaos, me feeling more tired and put upon, and more kid fights (which would make me want to retreat more).

    Praying for you!

  39. Nolan

    I still wonder how my parents survived us triplets when we were young. I’m starting to understand why they never listened to my request for “real” baby brother. Just wait until they’re teens, and everyone has to be in a different place at the same time!

  40. Lauren K

    Oh, I can relate to the madness! What I relate to the most, though, was the counting of the minutes until the end of the pregnancy. I’m right there with you. My 5th is due in 20 days. I think I can. I think I can… God bless you in these last few weeks of uncomfortable exhaustion.

    • Lauren K

      Of course, I should clarify that I neither have PEs nor anemia. I’m not in the same situation, at all. Really only trying to say that I am ready for this baby to come! Xoxo

  41. Patty

    Thanks so much for this glimpse into your life. As a stay at home mom I often wonder what other families are doing during the day.
    I also applaud you for being so open. I imagine one of the downsides of being such a popular blogger ( and having a reality show!) is opening yourself up to criticism. When I was pregnant, even the slightest hint of a kind offer of advice would have we weeping in the closet.

  42. mommy

    Jen- Sorry you have such a heavy load to carry right now. During one of my pregnancies, I was on bedrest and had a four year old and two year old at home care for. My husband would make all the kids lunches the night before and then my four year old would serve the lunches to everyone. WOuld your husband or YaYa be able to make lunches for your kids the night before? We would also have a high school student come over to help every afternoon from 3 to 5 ( my husband got home from work at 5). Eventually, things got to the point where I needed an adult with me all day to help me. It was a stressful time and we did need to spend a lot on child care and housekeepers, also my mom had to come live with us for a few weeks. But we got through it, and when it was all over we had a beautiful healthy little boy. i can still remember lookign at him thinking I;d happily do it all over again for him. Youa re in my prayers and don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and ask for more help.

  43. Jenna@CaIllHerHappy

    I love play-by-plays way too much. My questions to everyone always are: what time do you shower? And how do you motivate yourself to get out of bed. I can’t do it! I just drag my one and only in there and let her play on the ipad while I snooze longer. Fail.

  44. Sarah Webber

    Talk about perspective, for me. Christ’s mercy for all of you.

  45. priest's wife (@byzcathwife)

    by the way- with babies 3 and 4, I did heparin twice a day….the big girls called my stomach the “rainbow of hurting” 😉

    • Eva

      ‘Rainbow of hurting’- that’s so descriptive!

  46. Rosie

    Hehe I tried outlining my day in a blog post a while back and gave up by the time 8:30 AM hit because things had gotten so crazy! ( if you’re curious). I’m with the others, it’s nice to read about others’ lives being just as crazy as ours, if not more so!

  47. Ramona

    I am 55 and I thought my two kids would make me crazy. I wish we had blogsites when I was a young mother at 23. I know you probably hear this a lot but appreciate these days because they too will pass. Believe me it gets better. In the end I feel like I raised my two best friends. My son can tell by the sound of my voice if I am sad. My daughter gets my mental messages to call me every time I am thinking I should give her a call but don’t want to bother her time with her kids. Thank you God for the children you bring into our lives.

  48. Carolyn@4life4life

    thank you for making me slap my knee in laughter this morning. it’s important for other moms to be given an honest glimpse into a day in the life of their fellow parents.

  49. Dania

    Dear Jen,
    God bless your gentle soul and your extraordinary good humor, given the circumstances . But something just popped in my head when you mentioned your principles about NFP. It was that passage in the Gospel when Jesus is criticized for curing a person on a Saturday and replies that the Saturday was made for the man, and not the man for the Saturday.
    All my Love,

  50. Bonnie

    Jen, the thing that really freaked me out about your post is you missing your shot—twice! And it’s almost noon before you get it, then too fast so it makes you sick! Oh man! I hope it was a bit of hyperbole in your humor. But please know, this is not to scold, only that, man, I’d be thinking, “got to take time for the shot.” Could you get it in before Joe leaves, and can you go back to sleep after? I mean, this is life or death. Anyway, I know what chaos ensues once the kids awake–forget about well intended plans! I hope you will change your routine even a little, setting the alarm to take the shot, because everyone at your house is dependent on it. O.K., enough “mothering” talk! I’m praying for you and your health. God has picked you for a great mission to those who do not know Him, so I’m rooting for you 110%. God bless.

  51. Erika@stethoscopes,style,&grace

    Lots of prayers for you, what an exhausting schedule on top of being pregnant and your health issues! And your comment on your OB/GYN and the NFP issues is exactly one of the things that is motivating me to want to go into OB (even though I’m of being an NFP-only OB/GYN in our culture). I’m actually very interested in Maternal Fetal Medicine/being a high-risk specialist so I’m glad that you shared the need for this! Blessings.

  52. Kristin

    Jen, I hope everything goes well – praying for you! 🙂 – but I have to admit, your humor is amazing. Not many people are able to do humor in writing, but you nail it and you just make everything so relatable!

  53. Jen Raiche

    Thanks so much for sharing! I am on pregnancy #6 and am only 4 months along. Many of my days are like what you’ve just described. Although, I have to keep myself from calculating how many more minutes of my pregnancy, or I may never leave the bed again… 😉

    Peace to you,

  54. Becky

    I’m late on reading this, but I loved this post and your crazy day, though I did kind of get stuck at the part where you said you have yourself a shot in the stomach. From there, I don’t really remember much more….

    why are people debating about playpens???

    Great post, I need to catch up on your blog. It’s been a busy Lent!

  55. Jen

    Wow…that’s a hectic day. I’m having my sixth next month, so I enjoyed the comments of counting the minutes until the pregnancy ends. I get up super early. 530am or 6am. Mainly because my 3 year old gets up early too, but I get up before her because I cannot face my day without drinking coffee in peace. And I do my morning prayers then as well (funny how those are usually the only prayers to get done). I have a special needs child that has to be seen off to school too so that’s part of my morning. You do need your rest though. It’s great you have sitters. I can’t imagine how much more hectic it would be for you!

  56. Melissa

    Here’s my two cents, as a pregnant mom of 9 children under the age of 15, who does not & has never utilized a playpen, I say keep doing what works for your family. Continued prayers for your health & keep the reality checks coming! I can relate so much to your toddler stories. Beautiful quilt, BTW.

  57. TolkienLover

    This post had me in tears from laughing so hard, though of course I’m sure it’s because I’m the one reading the post instead of living it! 🙂

    May God bless all of your hard labors throughout the day, and always provide you the necessary down-time once they are through!

  58. Rosemary

    I don’t think this is funny.

    This whole situation is appalling and frightening — refusal of birth control, endless back-to-back babies, pulmonary emboli and all. It’s like watching a train wreck happen.

    Is the risk of losing the love of your church community, the attention and adulation of your blog readers, more important to you than the risk of leaving your children motherless?

    You are aware, aren’t you, of the primacy of individual conscience, affirmed by the very Church that sealed you in this conundrum? How does your own conscience deal with the strong possibility of making your children orphans?

    As one whose own mother experienced this orphaning, I assure you, God does NOT step in and soothe over the trauma. If you jump off that cliff, God probably won’t step in and break your fall. Indeed, that Bible verse upbraids putting God to such a test.

    Orthodox Jews are not required to stand by and watch their children drown if it’s the Sabbath; they are expected to dive in and rescue their child. For them, extremely rule-bound as they are, the rules are not the most important thing.

    Indeed, as Dania said, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.

    Yes, I’ve read about the Theology of the Body. But because a valid argument can be made, a compelling idea constructed (spun?), does that mean that the value espoused stands alone and is necessarily primary in importance? Is it reasonable for that one value to become the de facto core of the faith?

    I understand where you are coming from. I was an adult convert and tried very hard to believe everything the church teaches, even though it had irreparably harmed my mother. Not understanding, I obeyed. I was lucky; for me, NFP worked. Eventually, however, I had to admit that it didn’t make sense in situations like yours.

  59. Cristina

    I know you know this – but your day was hilarious! Going through it yourself, probably not so much!

    Beautiful quilt. Maybe the card is in my safe place? It’s where things go that I want to be sure I find, but can never remember where that safe place is when I need it. When I find it, I’ll send it to you 🙂

  60. MyFemnineMind

    Pinterest-worthy efficient use of space. Definitely.

  61. Michelle

    You are so funny. But seriously, have you read The Little Way of Homeschooling? God Bless

  62. Lynne

    Ohhhhhhhhh, Jennifer! How wonderful and funny and completely reassuring your day is to me! I laugh and cringe and identify, all in a warm-fuzzy way. I can never laugh at my own life when I’m in the middle of a day like that, but it makes me feel pathetically reassured to see the humor in yours. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself here on a regular basis, since you [somewhat involuntarily] share so much of yourself round the clock with your family. Haha–being “pecked to death by ducks” suddenly popped into mind.

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