I told myself I wouldn’t do it again.  Last year I put off “A Day in the Life of the Hamiltons” until the end of December and I accidently did it again! The year goes pretty quickly but I have to say, though it’s a bit of an effort, I am always glad to have one day each year documented. They are so fun to look back on and such a great reminder of how blessed our lives really are, and how quickly things change!

So here we were at the end of the year, at a super dark time where daylight and natural light are the shortest.  I decided to try to capture what a Sunday in our home is like and though each day is always different, there are some constants to our Sundays. Waking up and the fray of trying to get all of us ready for church.  Being glad we made it to worship with our community of believers. Lunch. Playing outside to try to physically give everyone a run. Naps, glorious naps. Family time. Often movies. Family devotions which I forgot to have Ben take a picture of as I was doing the songs and stories on this night.  After years of burning the candle at both ends, we realized several years ago that the whole concept of a day of rest was more than a good idea that God had, but it is mandatory if we want to enjoy our lives and each other.

Waking up.  Jasper is usually the first one awake, though he prefers to lounge around and read over getting going.

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Theo, our last one, is currently a nomad and sleeping wherever it’s most convenient.  We now have him in a toddler bed in Ruby’s room as we figured there’d be more sleep there than with two big brothers.  When he sees me each morning, he says unfailingly, “Me cuddle wif ya?”  He’s always keen on some kisses and hugs.

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Jasper is an avid reader of his Highlights magazine and by the time I was done chatting with Ruby and cozying with Theo, he was still reading…and Tymen was still trying to sleep in.

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Ruby got contacts this year.  We decided to go with a half years’s supply of daily wear, partly because of our budget for them and partly to see how she’d do responsibility wise with them.  She’s done really well and is very meticulous about the routine.

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Ben usually does breakfast once I get everyone ready and shoo them downstairs after overseeing clothes, teeth, bed making and tidying up. There are always socks floating around….

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It never hurts to have parental caffeination for the ride to church, either.

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For some reason, I just love this picture of Theo’s chubby neck through my seat.  He insists, “Me a BIG BOY!”  However, I just kiss that chubby face and tell him he’ll always be my baby.

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Ruby registers all the kids and prints out stickers.

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One of the things I love, love about our church is that the kids are prayed for each week.  Each week I cry.

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I run the kids off to their classes and try to resist the urge to sit beside my dear friend and chat through service. 

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After service, Ruby heads off to her great friend, Kiana’s, house to pal around for the afternoon.

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I remember when I was growing up, that our van was almost always one of the very last to leave the church parking lot.  We often are still one of the later ones to leave from our service, especially when we get talking. There are some other talkers in the building Winking smile.

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Though we really do try to leave the lion’s share of shopping, errands and jobs for other days of the week, we sometimes make an exception.  Jasper and I dashed into Trader Joe’s to buy gingerbread cookies that he needed to bring to school the next day.

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I picked up a couple extra things, including some salami, which I fed to hungry boys as we made one last desperate stop to the Dollar Store.  I’d been searching ALL OVER (12 stores minimum) for an ugly angel to send to my friend, Mary, who’s been carrying this on with me for about eighteen years.  Though the angel I found was more depressed than ugly, I was throwing in the towel on the search.

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Often when I am making lunch on Sundays, we get the kids outside to bike, scoot, and do pogo sticks. I have learned that the worst behaviors come from boys who need to move so I make them move.

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Over lunch, Auntie Meghan shows us the spy cards that she and the boys have made on her phone.  She picks them up each Wednesday and they have “secret missions” that they do for her.  She is such a gem and a treasured part of our family.

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Rest time.  Theo and mummy sleep.  The big kids read.

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After rest time, I start rolling bitterballen, which are traditional Dutch food.  I have taken the recipe my Omas used and am in charge of making them for my family each Christmas.  I made enough for us to eat with dinner too.  Minced meat (roasted pork), spiced and rolled in a creamy roux, breaded and deep fried.  Eaten with mustard, it’s pretty delicious!

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While I was prepping food, Auntie Meghan was doing a little “catch up” with the days of advent activities with the kids.  Theo is here trying to wear his snowflake that she showed the boys how to cut.

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Jasper got to open the envelope of the day which declared that the girls got to do nails while the boys got to do bathtub shaving.  A huge cheer went up as they’ve been chomping at the bit to try the shaving kit that Auntie Kelly gave Theo on his birthday.

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“Shaving”, nails, family movie, devotions and it was time for the boys to head to bed after goodnight kisses.

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Then we rolled a few more croquettes.  I think we ended up with close to 200.

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Back to bed.  We relax and chat with Meghan and have another cup of coffee.  Before we go to sleep, I go from room to room to tuck and kiss and smell the warm softness of  these  little people that I love so much.  They are growing and changing and we are enjoying them.  Not to say our days are perfect and frankly, I love bedtime every single day, but there is a sweetness in these days of soft spirits and being together that I am deeply grateful for.

A day in the life of the Hamiltons 2013.  Next year I’ll get it done before December.

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