How to Toddler (A Day in A Life Blog Train)

It has been over a year since I wrote about a typical Wednesday in the Owls Well household here in Singapore as part of the “A Day in A Life” Blog train hosted by Mum in the Making.

My schedule has, of course, changed greatly since the introduction of the littlest owlet #3, Thumper. Most of what I do right now involves supervising Thumper during his wake time, and then making sure that when Thumper is taking his naps, I divide my time between J and Little E so that they each get one-on-one time with me.

It’s very difficult to describe how I organise my day now, so I’m going to let Thumper tell you what we do on a typical Wednesday in this video:

I basically rinse and repeat the above twice more for lunch/afternoon nap and dinner/bedtime.

Getting Thumper into a flexible routine was key to my sanity this past year. As a result, Thumper is a predictable baby, and will take 2 hour nap times without fail. This frees me up to spend time with J and Little E, supervising their homework and free time, as well as complete whatever housework needs to be done, including meal preparation and laundry.

Efficiency is a key feature of my life right now!


14658357_120300000553820036_1005302683_nUp next on the ‘A Day in a Life’ Blog Train is our stationmaster, Jus from Mum in the Making.

She is a stay home mum to four, who relies on crafting and chocolate to keep her sane.

I myself am very curious to see how she manages a typical daily schedule where she has to care for her tiniest infant girl and three rambunctious boys, whilst homeschooling and running a most efficient household!

Get a glimpse into her day over at Mum in the Making!

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A week at Owls Well

When A Becky Lee and I started up Owls Well, our idea was to have a project that the two of us can work on together, despite being in different countries and leading different lifestyles. It is a way for us to grow together as sisters, and a way for us to have a shared experience.

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Although we do try to stick to a ‘three posts a week’ schedule, our responsibilities to our own families will take precedence over writing updates. For myself, I have some flexibility of time as a RAWK-mum with which to use for writing, which is why you quite often see me posting more than A Becky Lee.

Having a flexible schedule as a RAWK-mum doesn’t mean that I have a lot of ‘free’ time to do whatever I wish, as my children’s schedules are fixed. My own schedule flows around their fixed schedules.

During these precious pockets of time that I have, I don’t spend all of it working on my blog. I divide my time between running the household, volunteering at J and Little E’s school (often with Thumper in tow), and making sure that I stay in touch with my friends.

I have been very fortunate that maintaining a blog and having a reputation as a ‘mummy blogger’ has allowed me access to experiences that would otherwise not be open to us as a single-income family.

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However, I have to be selective in what I choose to accept, which does often mean that I will turn down many good blogging opportunities that require me to compromise on my duties as a mum. For example, I may turn down a weekday lunchtime or teatime event if it means I won’t be able to pick up J from school or send Little E to her ballet class.

As for finding the time to write, when the children are awake and with me, I have to make the effort to be fully present for them. This means the usual things that any other parent would do – help with homework, supervise them in their daily activities, make sure that they are healthy and well nourished in mind and body.

I can occasionally do a little bit of photo-editing when I am helping J with homework, or when Little E and Thumper are playing on their own, but I find that I write better when I can spend an hour or so just typing away at the keyboard. I’m not the kind of blogger who can post from a phone. My sausage fingers cannot manage the touchscreen keypad.

For me, this means that the two best times for me to write during the week are:

  1. During Thumper’s morning nap when J and Little E are at school
  2. In the evenings after the kids have gone to bed.

The former is heavily dependant on whether or not Thumper decides to have a morning nap at all. Sometimes if he doesn’t nap, I can occasionally still do a try quick blog-related activity like taking product photos, but really, Thumper needs my attention face-to-face, not through a camera lens.

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As for blogging after the kids have gone to bed, I have very limited brain power and energy by the end of the day. If I choose to use up all my remaining brainpower and energy in the night on my blog either writing or editing photos or videos, it means that I don’t use it on the Barn Owl.

So if I am writing, our evening will go something like this:

Barn Owl: So, something important happened to me today.

Debs G: *typing* uh-huh

Barn Owl: It was super-important.

Debs G: *clicking on things* uh-huh

Barn Owl: Blah blah blah blah blah

Debs G: *drag and drop* uh-huh

Barn Owl: And then, blah blah blah blah

Debs G: *proofreading* uh-huh

Barn Owl: So, what do you think?

Debs G: *clicks publish* YES!

Barn Owl: Yes, what?

Debs G: Huh, what?

Barn Owl: You said “Yes.”

Debs G: Oh, sorry, I wasn’t listening. *yawns* What were you saying?

Barn Owl: I was just saying that something super-important happened to me today.

Debs G: *no response because fallen asleep*

As you may imagine, this is frustrating for the Barn Owl as well as for myself, when I fail to remember super-important things that he’s apparently told me about at length. Marriage maintenance is also high on my list of Daily Things To Do!

One other thing that I do during the week, is get A Becky Lee to proofread and critique each post as it becomes ready[1], and then I make changes. I do the same for her as well. This way, the both of us act as each other’s editor, and it forces us to make an effort to talk on the phone or through Skype, or send messages to each other on Facebook or via WhatsApp.

In general, if I am putting out a post, I spend one to two blocks of time choosing and editing photos, two blocks of time writing the text and one block of time proofreading and perfecting it. That is essentially a week’s worth of ‘free’ time!

12512437_10153456388318589_1791272993974019435_nThis post is part of a blog train hosted by Singapore Parent Bloggers! Click on the photo above to check out how other blogger moms and dads use their time throughout the week.

Shub from Rainbow Diaries

It’s Shub!

Tomorrow, the blog train continues with Shub from Rainbow Diaries. Shub is a mom to 2 wonderful kids, wife to a very supportive hubby, an IT professional and a multitasker. This multi-tasking ability makes her write RainbowDiaries, which is Parenting, Lifestyle and Food blog site created to explore the whole new and enchanting world of social media. Click here to read her post!


[1]A Becky Lee’s Note: Also, I do things like fixing up the formatting and cutting out extra code so that our blog has a consistent feel. And I make these jump links for footnotes!

You know what day it is? It’s Wednesday! (A Day In A Life Blog Train)

6 o’clock in the morning and I’m just in a middle of a dream, when my phone alarm reminds me that it’s time to get up for another school day.

The Barn Owl is already up and I can hear him clanking around making his sandwiches in the kitchen. I waddle down the corridor, stopping to open the door to the children’s room and turn on their room light.

The Morning Routine

The Morning Routine

In the kitchen, the Barn Owl has already put the kettle on the boil, so I tip some hot water out into two mugs, just enough to dissolve a packet of 3-in-1 Milo powder. I top the rest of the mugs up with cold fresh milk, give them a quick stir and deliver the drinks to the two zombies who are making moaning sounds in their bedroom.

I used to try to convince them to worry down some breakfast as well, but it seems that their little tummies aren’t awake at this ungodly hour of the morning and they would rather have a few more minutes sleeping instead of blinking uncomprehendingly at their bowls of soggy cereal.

Whilst the kids are getting themselves ready, I quickly get washed and dressed for the day, then I prepare their water bottles and school snacks before dumping a load of laundry in the washing machine.

Now, I get a few moments to have a quick breakfast and check my email. This is usually a glass of juice, taken in front of the computer.

The kids are now dressed and whilst J brushes his teeth, I do Little E’s hair. Today, Little E wants to wear a special hair bow that was given to her by one of the little boys in school to show him how much she likes it. When her hair is done, she flounces off to clean her teeth.

By now it is around 6:30am and everybody bundles into the car.

First, I drop J off at school just before 7am, and then the Barn Owl gets off at the nearby MRT station. It’s still too early for Little E to go to school, so I stop by the Aged Ps house for breakfast.

Little E takes her breakfast at school, so during this time, she sits next to me as I eat and either looks at a book or does some art-related activity. This week, she is working on a personal project – to weave a blanket for one of her stuffed animals.

I send Little E off to school at 8am, then head home to do some light housework – laundry, cleaning floors, general tidying and doing whatever washing up is leftover from the morning. I do miss the days before Little E started nursery school, but I cherish the time I have to myself. In any case with Baby #3 on the way, I have some extra tasks to complete which I can get done much quicker without the older kids around to distract me. Today, it’s time to get the infant carseats out of storage and get them cleaned up.

I try to finish all my chores by 10am, so that I have an hour to myself. I’ve been getting very tired lately and if I want to be in a good mood this afternoon, I have to make sure that I rest for a short while in the morning. I’m going to read an old book by the pool downstairs.

Little E's after-school personal project

Little E’s after-school personal project

At 11:30, I pick Little E up from school and head to the Aged P’s house. Little E changes out of her school clothes and washes her hands before sitting down for lunch.

After lunch, she does a little bit more of her weaving, then practices her penmanship – at the moment, I write out sight words for her and she copies them. I have to leave around 1pm to collect J from school, so I pick out a few books for her to read together with the Aged P.

When J and I get back to the Aged Ps house, Little E has successfully put the Aged P to sleep and is playing with Duplos on the floor. J washes his hands and sits down to lunch. He usually takes his time over lunch because he chats with Little E at the same time, so by the time he is done it is nearly 2:30pm and we need to rush home for violin lessons.

At home, Little E goes straight to her room for her afternoon nap, and J gets his violin out and runs through his music before the violin tutor comes. Whilst J is having his lesson, I start preparing the ingredients for dinner.

Once J is done with his violin lesson, he takes a short break and then sits down to complete any homework assigned by his schoolteachers. I try not to hover around him, but I’m nearby in case he needs help. When he’s done, it’s time to wake Little E up from her nap.

The two of them have a cup of milk (or Milo, depending on their mood) each, and then they play together until dinnertime. Before dinner, J has a shower and changes into PJs. I bathe Little E and whilst she is changing into her PJs, it’s my turn in the shower.

The Barn Owl usually gets home around 7pm, and we have dinner together at the dining table. If it’s a particularly hot day, we’ll eat dinner together in the study which is the smallest room in the house (and therefore is the most efficient when it comes to using the air conditioner).

If the kids have been behaving well that day, they get a special treat before bedtime – usually this is in the form of an episode of Batman: The Animated Series or My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic…or maybe even a couple of minutes playing puzzle games on the Barn Owl’s phone.

phone-games

Taking turns to solve puzzles on the Barn Owl’s phone before bed

The Barn Owl is usually in charge of the bedtime routine as I do the washing up before stretching out to rest on the study couch (although this week, he’s taken over doing the washing up as well, since my arms are now not long enough to reach across the bump into the sink – or so I claim).

He inspects the children’s teeth after brushing, makes sure they have water bottles topped up in their room, and then says prayers with them before bed. As usual, they come out of their room to give me a kiss and cuddle before going back to their beds to be tucked in.

Now it is around 8:30pm and this the time that the Barn Owl and I have together. Sometimes we play games on the Playstation 4 console, or watch shows together. I usually fall asleep on the couch after a while and then we both stagger to bed.

You know what day it is? It’s Thursday. And it’ll soon be time to get up for another day.


Tomorrow, the ‘A Day in a Life’ blog train continues with Vera! family picVera is a don’t-stay-at-home Mum of two who loves exploring new places with her kids in tow, cooking up a storm and planning theme parties. During her downtime, she writes at Life is in the Small Things sharing little adventures, parenting misadventures and everything in between. 

The Daily Playlist (Debs Edition)

Hey Meimei,

So, I too rely on music to get me through the day.

However, my playlist of songs exists only in my head, as the sound system in my house (and the one in the car) is generally used to play music for the children. The kids are currently listening to a mix of Psalty, DisneyColin Buchanan and the Star Wars Episode IV Soundtrack, but my mental radio is playing rather a different mix of tunes altogether.

The endless internal soundtrack is not anything new, by the way. My housemates at University have all observed at one point or another that I will sing or hum tunes to myself as I go through my day, and that the songs are usually related to what I’m doing at the time. I have thousands of songs on my playlist, but most of them have lyrics, and I do realise that I return to some songs more than others. By the way, although I enjoy listening to classical and jazz, I don’t seem to have purely instrumental music in my head when I go through the day.

(Here’s a link to my complete playlist so you can follow along if you like. or scroll down to the bottom for the embedded playlist)

Getting up in the morning: To the Sky by Owl City

This is a lovely, upbeat song which never fails to get me going in the morning. Each day is an adventure, and it doesn’t matter where you are or what circumstances you are in, it’s time to wake up and BE AWESOME!

Getting up in the morning (grumpy version): This Year by The Mountain Goats

I do have days where I just feel tired and uninspired, and I need an extra boost to get me going. I don’t have the luxury of calling in sick from work – so I just have to push through my own natural desire to hide in a dark place and just get on with it.

Getting the kids ready for school: In Your Arms by Kina Grannis or Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac

I like happy, hopeful songs for the morning which keep my mood and energy up. These songs have a great positive vibe and make me feel happy about being with my family.

Getting the kids ready for school (and we’re late)The History of Everything by Barenaked Ladies or Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen

These are pretty self-explanatory but really, when we’re late, we need to keep going at the speed of light and I find myself in conveyor belt mode, pushing the kids along and out of the door.

Running the morning household errands:

– On a Rainy Day: Carolina on my Mind by James Taylor or Fields Of Gold by Sting or Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell

I often feel more dreamy and thoughtful on rainy days. This is the time where I am the most introspective. These are sedate and quiet songs which tend to fill my mind when I’m busy with housework and general errands.

– On a Sunny Day: Peaches by The Presidents of the United States of America or Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

Sunny days are good days for planning ahead with positivity and getting things organised!

– When I’m Stuck in Traffic: Going Down To Liverpool by The Bangles or Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash

This is one of the worst things that can happen to me during the day, because it seriously screws up my momentum. In this situation, I tend towards songs with a steady rhythm which takes me away from the monotony of crawling along the motorway. (Small digression: The Bangles music video is hilarious and you may recognise a Significant Actor who exactly mirrors my feelings of being in a traffic jam, with a small arch of his eyebrow.)

Wrangling the kidsI Know (A Song in Ten Words) by Hank Green or Closer To Fine by Indigo Girls or True Colours by Cyndi Lauper

These songs kinda summarise what goes through my head when I’m talking to J and Little E and handling their various moods. I am a rather quick-tempered person and keeping these songs running in my head helps me to remember the bigger picture, so that I can deal with my children with wisdom, good humour and sensitivity.

Winding down at the end of the day: Vanilla Twilight by Owl City

Well, it only stands to reason that Owl City both starts and ends my day. I always find his music makes me feel hopeful about things to come. This song is one of my favourites.

P.S. Have embedded the whole playlist below the cut!
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