a day in HER life [Rachel]

My name is Rachel. I am a wife to Matt and mom of 2 adorable little kids, Hannah (2 and a half) and Owen (just about 5 months). My husband and I both work (although, I am currently on maternity leave) for a ministry called Power to Change Students (formally known as Campus Crusade for Christ) - a ministry that works on campus helping students change the world by discovering Jesus and helping others experience and discover the life changing power of Jesus. I first met Emily on a missions trip to Tanzania while we were both still in University and although she may not know it, she has been inspiring me ever since! 
My adorable kids
To be honest, this post in a lot of ways is a struggle to write, simply because I do not know how to communicate what a day in my life looks like because, no day is exactly the same. I am not a highly structured, schedule person and although I know kids do well in that environment, we live a more "predictable weekly routine" as opposed to hard and fast schedule and it works for us!

Each day includes meals, snacks, naps and bedtime at approximately the same time. If home my youngest goes from awake, eating, playing/outings for 1-2 hours and then nap, cycling through 3 times each day before bedtime. With Hannah extras in the day include; helping with a chore, special play time like a game, baking, or more intense craft while Owen sleeps, and personal quiet play (Hannah does not play on her own well for long so much of the day is myself doing activities with her, except when feeding and putting Owen down. I dream of the day they play together and don't need me as much).

That said, there are certain things I strive to include in our days throughout the week:

Music - Hearing encouraging worship music throughout the house lifts my soul, and creates the atmosphere I want for our home. I love sitting working on a craft with my daughter of changing my sons diaper singing along with my little one. Or sometimes it’s my daughter deciding to turn on her favourite kid’s cd, calling out "dance party" and together we dance and laugh. To some loud music and kids singing/dancing/screaming is chaos. To me it means joy, peace and fun! 

Matching cousin dance party!
 Other Weekly Stimulating Activities – This includes going to the library for a music and reading program, going to a kids ministry at our church (Cubbies for Hannah, nursery for Owen) while I get be a part of and lead a women's bible study, as well as other special events. In the winter Hannah will start dance lessons (her Christmas gift from us!) 

A special outing to Oaklawn Farm when the grandparents came to visit!
The great outdoors! - I crave getting outside and get seriously stir crazy when I can’t be. My daughter is the same way (probably both due to personality and my influence). If possible, every day includes the park, the beach, a walk, and/or playing in the backyard (we recently invested in a trampoline for the family instead of extra toys and clothes for our new baby and couldn't be happier with the decision). I am that mom, that will bundle their kids up in the cold of the winter, just to get out even for 15 minutes. Fresh air keeps our sanity!

Hannah testing the trampoline (don't worry we were right there and the net went up right after!)
Note: Hannah is still in pjs...truth be told this is not unusual in our home to be in them until lunch

Matt gearing Owen up for his first time in the ocean!
Quiet reading times - we read a lot! Could be alone, myself to one kid, to both, kids to each other, etc, but this is a reoccurring part of every day.

Creativity - Being creative, making something out of seemingly nothing and making it beautiful is something I love to instill in my kids and I have fun with too! This is also, a great activity where we can think of others by making cards, or gifts to encourage and thank people in our lives (another key quality I hope to instill in my kids).

For my day to go well, I personally need a couple of things throughout the day. First thing in the morning when I wake up I grab my phone, check the time and right after check the "verse of the day" on my bible app. If no child is screaming at the time, I also take that chance to scroll through and read a couple chapters of the bible. It’s quick. It’s easy. But it focuses my day and I love it! (I wish I had that when my first was young and I
struggled to fit in Bible reading.) At breakfast we go slow and I enjoy a great cup of coffee. During nap time I am usually guaranteed at least 30 minutes when both kids are asleep and get me time. This is my main recharging time, especially important if it’s been a rough morning. It doesn't always look the same, often devotional reading 
(currently pouring over this book for our Women’s study and I love it!), often food and/or hot drink, but sometimes I’m so tired it simply means putting on a show where I can lie down and turn my brain off and just relax. Whatever I choose, it’s something that will help me get through the rest of the day well with my kids.

Night time routine is the most regular in schedule. On a "normal" day (currently we are in an "off-normal" season as university ministry is in high gear, but we strive for at least a couple “normal” days a week), Matt is off work around 5, time for kids to play with Daddy and me to make some dinner. I am not a gourmet chef. I am a quick, easy, good meal, type of person, so dinner is on the table by 5:30 (sometimes with the help of my friend the Crockpot!).We eat, we talk, we share, and we enjoy time all together as a family. Then leaves a little play time, some nights bath time and then time to get ready for bed. 

I love bed time (and not just because it means I soon get me/couple time, although that is a perk at the end of the day)! It includes, potty, brush teeth, getting changed, (feeding baby) and then we all cuddle on Hannah’s bed for reading - sometimes if time allows lots of books, but always a new story in Hannah’s Bible. We read together, "talk about it”, share what we can thank God for, what we have learned (important to review when misbehaving has been happening) and then we pray. It’s a lovely, special family time that we strive to protect whenever possible! Then, we say goodnight to Hannah. She usually convinces Daddy to cuddle "for just one minute" (sometimes turns into me waking him up after an hour) and I put Owen down in his bed. 

And then I breathe! 

At night sometimes we do things together intentionally as a couple - games night, watch a movie or show, talk and rock on the swing outside, etc and sometimes we simply just unwind by each other, on our own. Of course, some nights we are out for fun, serving, meetings or our small group too!

Above all else, what I strive to have in each day is...
  • for myself to be in awe of God and depend on him
  • my kids and myself to
    have moments of awe of God's creation 
  • learn how special and unique they are 
  • laugh and enjoy life 
  • and care for others
That does not always all happen. Some days are just plain rough which is why grace is another big part of our days. Grace for the kids when they are over tired, feeling sick or just simply having a hard day - I need to realize that and be there for them instead of loosing it. Grace for me, when I make mistakes ore loose it, that my to do list may not get done, dishes may stay dirty all day and toys may be all over the floor and sometimes that's okay. (Housework always looses to quality time, helping out a friend or anything else really. It is my weak spot I need to improve on.)

Things change with each season. Our days change depending on life, but the themes and goals stay the same!

If you want to read more about my life, family and attempt to find balance in it all check out my blog Balance that Matters. (fair warning, busy season = a lack of posts lately)

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