What I Did Today

1. Four loads of laundry.

2. Straightened bathroom and bedroom.

3. Cleaned out and re-packed church pleasebequiet bag.

4. Sewed patches on scout shirt. [1]

5. Cleaned out two kitchen cabinets so 8 containers of peanut butter would fit.

6. Gathered materials and snacks for scouts.

7. Taught the following lessons to 9 year old: spelling, Greek, grammar, memory work, math, handwriting, writing while fending off 2 year old.

8. Emptied and re-loaded dishwasher.

9. Taught the following lessons to 6 year old while 9 year old worked independently in his room and while fending off 2 year old: memory work, grammar, math, reading, and phonics.

10. Let 2 year old watch Magic School Bus while I read science and history books to 9 and 6 year old.

11. Read to 2 year old.

12. Changed several diapers.

13. Cleaned off kitchen counters–harder than it sounds because, um, they haven’t been cleaned in awhile.

14. Made lunch for four people. I wonder if it is really possible that Annie’s mac and cheese can have over 1000 calories in one box as I eat entire box. Miraculously, boys run upstairs to play after eating so I can read my book (Body of Work) in peace for a little while.

15. Drove to scouts while listening to animated discussion between 6 and 9 year olds about coprolite. Explained that I would not be sharing my gum with him to 2 year old.

16. Led activity for 5 Tiger cubs (involving paint) while praying 2 year old wouldn’t wander out of building and feeling guilty that I can’t help with Webelos this year because I have to be a Tiger partner.

17. Went to post office because some idiot sent me a package postage due. Nothing more fun than three tired boys in post office.

18. Went to Randall’s because they had cans of Progresso soup for 50 cents each. Due to shelving tag error, cans were free. I bought 20. That’s my kind of food storage.

19. Bought my brother a birthday gift on Amazon. I actually did this in the morning but I forget and if I put it in its proper place now, I’ll have to renumber everything. Also just remembered extremely panicked hunt for Tiger neckerchief and slide that took place this morning and much rejoicing when I found it.

20. Boys have snack and play outside. I hide in my bedroom and read The New Yorker. I get all excited about article about colic but then am amazed that it doesn’t mention the new study about the probiotic that was 95% effective. Huh.

21. Children are running laps in living room and yelling.

22. Husband comes home. I tell him that the boys are scaring me with their energy and they stink because they were outside playing. “Protect me from them, ” I plead. He offers to bathe them while I eat dinner in peace.

23. Eat dinner (Asian meatballs and jasmine rice, pears on the side) while typing this post.

24. Still to be done today: sweep downstairs, FHE, force children to do chores, work on talk I am giving to another ward’s Super Saturday this week, work on lesson for Institute this week, and do Prenatal Yoga.

[1] OK, OK, I used Badge Magic.

68 comments for “What I Did Today

  1. Julie M. Smith
    September 17, 2007 at 7:45 pm


    6yo: “What’s a bimbo?”

    Me: “An insult. So don’t use it.”

    2yo: “Bimbo bimbo bimbo.”

    Also: I wrote this post because I was thinking about how incredibly ordinary this day was, how I never write down anything about ordinary days and, thus, how the normal becomes lost. Which reminded me of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s new book, “Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History.”

  2. September 17, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    What I did today: Typed. And typed. Typed some more. Then typed. Afterwards, typing. Still to be done tonight: typing. I’m making history, but not quite in the way LTU had in mind.

  3. Wilfried
    September 17, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    You also were the first to comment on my Little Vendor thread today, Julie. Even more appreciation now for the time you took to do so.

  4. Jacob F
    September 17, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    Wow, my day working in public accounting pales in comparison. I’m going to give my stay-at-home wife a bigger hug / kiss than normal when I get home tonight. Thanks for the post.

  5. cyril
    September 17, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    Like the TV show 24, it is all in the parsing.

  6. September 17, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    I taught 3 classes, graded 40-odd quizzes, went to two meetings, rode 12 miles on my bike, put off once again writing the state-mandated educational assessment report for my program, read a few articles, thought about resuming my blog, but didn’t. In the meantime, I wished my wife a happy birthday. So should all of you, if you know what’s good for you.

  7. Keith
    September 17, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    Okay, okay. So you did a lot. But did you follow the manual?

  8. September 17, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    There’s a manual? Oh, crap. Y’know, I keep finding out stuff about this calling that nobody bothered to tell me in the first place.

  9. Keith
    September 17, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Russell, I meant my remarks to be for Julie, but it causes me great concern that you didn’t follow the manual either.

  10. Steve Evans
    September 17, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Russell, the finest women in the world are born on September 17th. Good on you.

  11. Steve Evans
    September 17, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    p.s. Russell, why are you strangling your wife in that photo? And why does she appear to enjoy this strangling?

  12. Ray
    September 17, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Well-behaved women might not make history, but they often create amazing little worlds – as your post illustrates.

    Also, I have given up all hope of controlling my 5-year-old’s vocabulary. She is the youngest of six, and the minute she called her brother “heinous” about two years ago I threw my hands in the air and decided to accept the fact that I was going to spend my life explaining what she means to people twice her age.

  13. Julie M. Smith
    September 17, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    LOL, Keith, if only there were a manual for this job–I’d show it a lot more reverence than I do the ones for Institute!

  14. September 17, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    “Russell, the finest women in the world are born on September 17th. Good on you.”
    My mom, for instance.

  15. Ray
    September 17, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    There is a manual, Julie. It is in my wife’s head, and I have learned to follow it to the letter – without question – every time she opens it for me and tells me what it says.

  16. claire
    September 17, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    Your husband brought home the dinner, right ?:-)

  17. Julie M. Smith
    September 17, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Ha, claire. I made it yesterday–I always make enough for two meals.

  18. Sue
    September 17, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    Wow, Julie. That’s an ordinary day? That’s a lot of stuff. Greek? Whew. No time for squeezing in, say, solving the riddle of cold fusion?

    No way in heck would I post my day in response. The comparison would be way too depressing. My big accomplishment for the day was finding time for a shower.

  19. Kevin Barney
    September 17, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    Slacker. You are such a cliche, Julie, just sitting around eating bon bons and watching soaps all day.

    But you make up for your sloth by teaching the nine-year old Greek. Good on ya!

  20. Melanie2
    September 17, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    Prenatal Yoga? Is that an announcement?

  21. Julie M. Smith
    September 17, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Yes, Melanie2, it is!

  22. September 17, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    The finest women in the world are born on September 17th.

    That’s so true, Steve. Not that I feel sorry for men married to women born on other days; I know God loves them too.

    It causes me great concern that you didn’t follow the manual either.

    The tragedy, Keith, is that I do have a manual, and it has diagrams and everything. But I just checked, and it’s not a church publication. I had no idea there was another one I was supposed to be following. I suppose we’ll have to repent.

    Why are you strangling your wife in that photo? And why does she appear to enjoy this strangling?

    Goes back to the manual error I just mentioned, Steve. Rest assured, we’ll take care of this problem pronto. Like, tomorrow morning, maybe.

  23. September 17, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    Congratualtions, Julie! I hope all goes well.

  24. Sarah
    September 17, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    And here I thought trying to verify the life story of an apparently compulsive liar (who thinks my mom can get him out of jail on his own recognizances when she can’t even prove he lives where he says he does,) after escaping a terrifying black spider sitting above my pillow this morning, was a major achievement.

    Just think, Julie, your oldest will be able to go most lessons alone about the time your youngest starts needing those Greek lessons. At least, my mom left me to my own study habits (I did all of 10th grade biology in three weeks! The last three weeks of the year, but hey!) by the time I was twelve… ^_^

  25. Melanie2
    September 17, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Best wishes, Julie!

  26. Sue
    September 17, 2007 at 10:24 pm


  27. mmiles
    September 17, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Congratulations! No morning sickness?

  28. Julie M. Smith
    September 17, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Oh, mmiles, you have no idea! I had no problems with the other three, but this one just about killed me. Normally my first reaction to pregnancy is to pork out, but I was so sick I didn’t gain any weight the first two months. But I seem to be past that now. . . she writes as she licks the rest of the Hershey’s Special Dark off of her fingers.

  29. maria
    September 17, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    Congratulations, Julie!

  30. jen
    September 17, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    I love how busy and fulfilling and REAL your everyday life is….

  31. mmiles
    September 17, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    Is that while you were moving too? Yikes! I get really sick, I lost 12 pounds this last pregnancy in the first 4 months. But then I gain 11 pounds the first month I wasn’t sick. Making up for lost time.

  32. Amira
    September 18, 2007 at 12:12 am

    Congratulations Julie! Let\’s see, will this one fit neatly into your history schedule? And soon you\’ll get to fend off a four-year-old and a one-year-old at the same time. What fun.

  33. m&m
    September 18, 2007 at 12:32 am

    Julie, great day. And great news! Congratulations!

    (Can I be not stripped of envy just for a minute?)

  34. Kaimi Wenger
    September 18, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Congratulations, Julie.

    And dang — you get a lot done in a day.

  35. Ray
    September 18, 2007 at 12:42 am

    My congratulations, as well. Your children are blessed to be born into your family.

  36. September 18, 2007 at 1:21 am

    Whew! All that and growing a placenta too . . . time for a nap!

  37. meems
    September 18, 2007 at 7:47 am

    Three things.
    1. Congratulations!
    2. What magical drug are you taking that allows you to accomplish so much in a day?
    3. Can you give me some?

  38. Geoff B
    September 18, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Julie, congrats on the pregnancy. I come from a family of seven boys and one girl, and my sister had five boys and one girl. I’ve got two boys and two girls.

    So, are you ready for another boy to add to the chaos, or are you hoping for a sweet little girl who will play quietly by herself? (yes, I know you’ll take whatever you get).

    (and by the way, you and my wife are definitely super-women).

  39. Michelle
    September 18, 2007 at 9:35 am

    First, how do you get all these household chores done? And in the first (end of first, beginning of second?) trimester on top of that? I’m amazed.

    Second, I swoon every time I hear of another Mormon woman who reads the New Yorker. I was daydreaming just a few days ago about cross-tabbing MIS records with the New Yorker subscription list so I could find some more potential friends outside of my rather normal suburban ward.

    Third, congratulations on the pregnancy. I am personally rooting for a girl.

  40. Kevin Barney
    September 18, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Congratulations, Julie! Having babies is the big thing in Hollywood right now; very stylish. I caught a little Access Hollywood on the red carpet at the Emmies and all anyone could talk about was their respective pregnancies/new babies.

    So I think you should change your handle to “Julie M. Smith, Trend Compass.”

  41. Edje
    September 18, 2007 at 10:58 am


  42. Mark B.
    September 18, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Better be careful teaching that child grammar. How will he fit in with the rest of America?

  43. Frank McIntyre
    September 18, 2007 at 11:49 am


  44. Randy B.
    September 18, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    What exciting news! Congratulations, and take it easy!

  45. Julie M. Smith
    September 18, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks for the well wishes, all. To answer a few questions:

    Yes, mmiles, that’s why we moved. We figured four kids in one small bedroom might be a tad much. In this house, every kid gets his (her?) own room, assuming we can find a new home for all of the junk that has accumulated in the future nursery in the 6 months that we have lived here. . .

    Amira, don’t make me look uptight! I’ll tell the WTM board that I plan my pregnancies so that my kids will be the right age to start the 4-year history cycle, but I don’t think I should say that here!

    “What magical drug are you taking that allows you to accomplish so much in a day?”

    It doesn’t seem like that much to me. I think it just looks like a lot when written down. All of our school lessons are super-short. My main motivator is that I can enjoy my evenings free of guilt and/or housework if it all gets done during the day.

    “So, are you ready for another boy to add to the chaos, or are you hoping for a sweet little girl who will play quietly by herself?”

    Being the proud owner of two boys who are night and day temperment-wise, I don’t know if I am as big of a believer in gender essentialism as you are. In any case, I’d like a quiet, content, Buddah-like child of either flavor. Perhaps a boy is preferred if only because it seems to late in the game (this is our last ride on the merry-go-round) to start a new clothing and toy collection.

    “First, how do you get all these household chores done?”

    I don’t know how to answer that except that my standards are really low and I really don’t do that much. (Did you see the part about how hard the counters were to clean because they hadn’t been degunked in so long?)

    “I was daydreaming just a few days ago about cross-tabbing MIS records with the New Yorker subscription list so I could find some more potential friends outside of my rather normal suburban ward.”


  46. makakona
    September 18, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    i don’t know how you do it! i must just be ultra disorganized, or something. we managed to fit in joy school, a lunch date with the husband (during joy school, so sans the 4yo and 2yo), a trip to costco, piano lessons, a trip to the music store, and soup and sandwiches for dinner… but the house didn’t get touched (wait! i did wash one load of dishes, no dishwasher!) and it shows. we’re moving soon and i dream that a dishwasher and microwave will give me hours of free time.


  47. Janet
    September 18, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    1. I will never homeschool because my head would fall off from exhaustion and commotion.

    2. I rejected the Annie’s Mac&Cheese calorie count eons ago and happily welcome you to do the same! Anyhow, it’s organic so they’re *healthy* calories, right?

    3. Congratulations on your pregnancy! It also, of course, seriously mitigates that calorie count mentioned above. Happiness abounds, and I’m glad some more has found you.

  48. Julie M. Smith
    September 18, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Janet, there’s definitely a lot of commotion. When I really think about the fact that it could be just me and the 2yo all day, my jaw drops at how amazingly simple my life would be. (But I wouldn’t enjoy it.) I can say that homeschooling has taught me lots about patience and flexibility and calmness over the last five years.

  49. glenda
    September 18, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    I remember those years in my own life, having 4 babies in 5 years and running a family child care in my home. Then the babies grew up and left for families of their own. We moved across county to support the needs of elderly family members. The quiet from lack of children is deafening. The empty nest is real and very hard.

    May you enjoy each and everyday with your babies. Don’t forget your journal as an important part, somewhere, to include in your schedule. Be sure to always tell them you love them and make sure they swear they will never move out!

  50. September 18, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Congratulations! That is great news.

    So, have you picked names yet that adhere to your baby-naming paradigm? I think you should start a thread and let us all contribute.

  51. Mi
    September 18, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Julie, I don’t know whether to feel impressed by everything you did in one day or be depressed because I can’t seem to accomplish that much.


  52. Julie M. Smith
    September 18, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Idahospud, we’re waiting to find out gender before we start thinking about names. And after being the unfortunate recepient of baby name advice from over 50 dear relatives at a wedding three weeks before Truman was born (“How about Martin?” is a hard question to answer when your interrogator’s husband is named Martin . . .), I don’t think I have the stomach for an open thread.

  53. Matt W.
    September 18, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    WEll I don’t think anyone’s gonna say “How about Idahospud?”

  54. Lupita
    September 18, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    Congratulations. We’re on round four, expecting our fourth boy. It’s surprising how many people think I should be walking around in a funk because it’s not a girl. Funny.
    Do you really like Annie’s mac and cheese? My omnivorous kids won’t touch it. They like the crackers, though.
    Wishing you more of the Special Dark and stolen New Yorker moments…

  55. makakona
    September 19, 2007 at 12:24 am

    julie, are you open to accepting an email from someone who thinks they would like to hs, but doesn’t know where to start and is terrified of failing? if so, i, uh, have a friend who would like to email you, ha!

  56. ECS
    September 19, 2007 at 8:47 am

    Yay, Julie! I read this thread yesterday and did a double take at the mention of prenatal yoga. What a fun way to announce your pregnancy! Congratulations! Glad to hear you’re doing well.

  57. Julie M. Smith
    September 19, 2007 at 9:29 am

    makakona, I’d love to talk with you. Contact info in the sidebar.

    ECS–Funny thing is that I had no intention of announcing my pregnancy just yet but had already written this out and wanted to be honest and, well, that’s the title of the DVD. So there you go. This wasn’t meant to be a clever announcement–I really was just thinking about the incompatibility of history and normal-ness.

  58. September 19, 2007 at 9:33 am

    I really was just thinking about the incompatibility of history and normal-ness.

    My daily meditation.

  59. WillF
    September 19, 2007 at 9:49 am

    Tiger cubs? Not an LDS den I take it?

  60. Julie M. Smith
    September 19, 2007 at 10:07 am

    WillF–Nope, a den of homeschooled boys. We love it because it is a multi-age den (i.e., all cub scout ranks), meets during the day, and does lots of fun stuff you can’t do in an LDS unit).

  61. ECS
    September 19, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Julie – well, that, and the fact that you ate the entire package of Annie’s Mac and Cheese :) Congrats, again!

  62. Ben H
    September 19, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    I love how the most remarkable part slips in only by implication! That how life really works. Congratulations Julie!

  63. k l h
    September 19, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Julie, you are an amazing person.

  64. SH
    September 20, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Julie: Do you have a reference for the probiotic/colic thing?

  65. Julie M. Smith
    September 21, 2007 at 2:51 pm
  66. Julie M. Smith
    September 21, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Also: one sad thing I found when trying to google that study is that there was recently a recall of Lactobacillus reuteri intended as a colic treatment for infants because it had criptosporidium (sp?) in it. Ewww.

  67. janeannechovy
    September 24, 2007 at 12:07 am

    Julie, I read that same New Yorker article (obviously not as promptly as you did!), and I thought it seemed quite biased toward the behavioral explanation for colic, which to me really smacks of more of that awful let’s-blame-the-mothers! crap. I have never had a colicky child, and hope never to (guess we’ll find out when Caboose, aka Surprise Baby, arrives in a few weeks), but I’ve spent time with a few (and had my own child who had reflux but not colic), and that didn’t ring true to me at all.

    And extra-sick when you weren’t really before sounds like you might be having a girl to me. My experience (expecting a girl after two boys, who are also night and day personality-wise) has been that a different package of hormones = quite different pregnancy symptoms. I have been sicker, gained more weight, had worse skin, had less-great hair, had more skin tags, etc. etc. etc.

  68. Julie M. Smith
    September 24, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Janeannechovy, I agree completely with your reading of The New Yorker article and suspect you might be right about the pregnancy symptoms!

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