I’ve always been fascinated by glimpses into other people’s lives. I don’t think I’m alone in this; it’s a human tendency to take interest in how other people’s daily experiences compare with our own—hence the popularity of social media, reality television, and YouTube channels revolving around ordinary family life. Some of my favorite things to read on the internet are Day-in-the-Life posts, yet I’ve always been wary of sharing one of my own. Part of this reticence is that I don’t think my life is very interesting or worthy of being shared. But if I’m being honest, a big hesitation was that I often worried I was somehow doing life “wrong” and that a play-by-play of my day would expose me as a fraud. (Though a fraudulent what I can’t exactly say . . . )
Over the past few months, I began to realize I had outgrown that insecurity and decided it might be fun to document a day in the life of our family. When setting up my editorial calendar for spring (<— that wording makes me feel so professional, ha!), I scheduled a Day in the Life post for late March. But then the country closed down and suddenly our life looked quite a bit different . . . and even less worthy of being documented for public consumption. However, I’ve heard many people talking about making a “Quarantine Capsule” and I thought that writing out the details of my family’s quarantine life might actually be a worthwhile endeavor.
All of that is my long-winded way of introducing A Day in the Life of the Jernejcic Family in the Time of COVID-19. Obviously, not every day looks exactly like this: our schedules are largely dependent on the babies’ nap times, which still aren’t entirely consistent. Some days are much less productive and much more stressful. We also have once-a-week happenings that alter things a bit (Monday is cleaning day, Wednesday mornings I grocery shop, community group meets via Zoom on Tuesday nights, Bible study Zooms are on Wednesday, on Fridays afternoons we watch a movie). But what follows is a fairly typical weekday for our family. It may not make for the most compelling read, but I have a feeling I will look back on this in a few years and be thankful for this little snapshot of our family life during this unusual time.
7:30 // I wake up to the sound of the babies stirring in the playpen where they sleep next to my bed. Most mornings they are crying, but today I just hear babbling—a nice change! (In our pre-coronavirus life, I would get up around 6:30 to get ready and spend time with God before the kids woke up. Now, with nowhere to be in the mornings, I ease into the day and have come to appreciate these later mornings. On days when the twins wake up before 7, I even bring them into bed with me to nurse so that I can doze for a while longer.) In the kitchen, I can hear Luke—who has been up since 5:00—preparing a bagel and some yogurt for Charleston, who always comes bounding out of his room when his clock turns to 7:20.
8:00 // I read blogs on my phone while nursing Kali and Sully in bed. Having finished his breakfast, Charleston comes in for some snuggles before I bring the twins into their room for diaper changes. Luke joins us in the nursery, holding one baby at a time while I get them dressed. Then, after taking their daily “Twin Pic”, I leave Charleston drawing at the kitchen table and the babies in their crib to play while I get ready, make my bed, and start a load of laundry. (The only way I’m able to stay on top of our laundry piles is to do a load at least every other day.) I have my headphones in and listen to the Bible Recap and two news podcasts (one liberal, one conservative) while I work.
8:30 // After making myself a cup of tea, I’m back in the nursery with the kids for our daily time with God. The twins play on the floor while I read my Bible (my reading plan currently has me in 2 Samuel) and the YouVersion reading plan we’re doing with our community group. Charleston looks at a picture Bible for a bit before “reading” a story through the Kids Bible app on my phone. Afterwards we talk about what we learned and then we pray together. It’s probably not an ideal Quiet Time (it’s far from quiet) but I like that I’m modeling this practice for my children, which wasn’t happening when I did my daily devotions before they all woke up.
9:15 // The twins are getting fussy, so I quickly nurse them, bundle them in their sleep sacks, close the blinds to their room, turn on some white noise, and put them down in their crib for a nap. We just transitioned them to napping in their room (instead of mine) this week, and it’s going well! Once they’re down, Charleston and I head into the living room for exercises. I’ve been alternating MUTU workouts with short exercise videos I find on YouTube. (As much as I’m a creature of habit, I have found that I get bored doing the same workout every day.) Today I’m doing this deceptively challenging video. Charleston does some of the exercises with me, but mostly he stands on our coffee table and “coaches” me—telling me what I’m doing wrong, and encouraging me to push myself. Arlo finds it hilarious that I’m bouncing around on “his” rug and tries to get in on the fun.
10:00 // While Luke takes a short break from work to play Superbounce with Charleston, I move laundry into the dryer before going back into the kitchen to unload the dishwasher, whip up some breakfast tacos for Luke, and prepare some oatmeal and scrambled eggs to feed the babies when they wake up.
10:30 // It’s time to do some school with Charleston. I supervise him while he does a few pages from his Language Arts and Math workbooks. We also read a book and I have him answer some comprehension questions and “retell” the story with pictures.
11:00 // The twins are awake, and they are hungry! I’ve learned the hard way that it’s impossible to keep up with spoon feeding two hungry babies simultaneously, so after quick diaper changes, I drop Sully off in the office so Luke can wear him while he works, then I get Kali settled into a high chair for her meal. Once she’s polished off her bowl of oatmeal, yogurt, and some scrambled eggs, she gets her time with Daddy and it’s Sully’s turn to eat. Charleston sits at the dining table with us and snacks on an almond butter banana while looking at a Where’s Waldo book.
12:00 // I get Kali and Sully situated on their play mat in the living room and Charleston and I finish up schoolwork with some letter flashcards and games. Then we play a round of Guess Who? and a few card games and read a couple of board books with the twins before Charleston goes to play on his own in the playroom and I bring the babies into my room to nurse.
1:30 // The twins are down for their second nap and Charleston and I head into the backyard to play on his playground for fifteen minutes before it’s time for me to make lunch (grilled cheese sandwiches for the boys, a salad for me). While I get our food together, Luke takes a work break to play Legos with Charleston in his room.
2:15 // Luke eats his lunch at his desk, and Charleston and I take advantage of the nice weather and eat our lunch outside on the front porch. We play “I Spy” while we eat, and since Charleston is a slower eater, I finish first and read him a chapter of our latest Boxcar Children book while he finishes his food.
3:00 // We come in from lunch to find that the twins are awake and Luke is hanging out with them on the floor of the office. Charleston asks me to print out some mazes for him to do at the desk next to Luke, and I change the babies and bring into my room for yet another nursing session. When they’ve finished nursing, I set them in their Bumbos on the floor of my room while I fold laundry and also supervise Charleston while he “reads” some Scholastic books on my computer.
4:00 // It’s time for us to get outside. Luke wrapped up work a little early today, so he and Charleston scooter ahead of me while I push the babies in the stroller. The twins doze and I listen to podcasts while we walk the perimeter of the neighborhood. I wave to a few other families who pass us at a safe distance, but I’m surprised by how few people we see, given that it’s such a nice day.
5:00 // Back at home, Luke and Charleston spend some time in the yard playing nerf guns and tossing the ball for Arlo. I put the babies in the play mat on the floor of my bathroom so that I can shower. When the boys come back in, the twins are both fussing quite a bit, so Luke and I get our carriers on and each wear a baby. Luke supervises Charleston’s shower while I prep a fruit salad and heat up leftover quinoa casserole for the boys’ dinner. I generally cook just a few nights per week so it’s easy to rely on leftovers on the remaining nights.
6:00 // I had hoped that meal times would get easier for us once the twins started solids, but the opposite has proven true: now that they understand food, Kali and Sully refuse to simply watch while we eat; and because they aren’t to the point of being able to feed themselves, I spend the meal feeding them banana, watermelon, and a baby-friendly version of tonight’s casserole while Luke and Charleston eat. My own dinner will have to wait for a calmer moment.
6:30 // Charleston is still finishing his dinner, but Luke and the twins are done eating. Luke puts Kali in the carrier, clears the table, and gets Arlo his food while I give Sully his nightly bottle of pumped breast milk mixed with powdered formula (prescribed by the pediatrician to help get Sully’s weight up.) Then we give the twins quick baths in the sink while Charleston brushes his teeth and cleans up any of his messes from the day.
7:00 // I nurse the babies for a few minutes, though they are more tired than hungry at this point. I love seeing them in this content, drowsy state. I sing them a few nighttime songs before zipping them into their sleep sacks, kissing them goodnight, and putting them down in the playpen in my room. I turn on their white noise, turn off the lights, and go back into the kitchen to clean up dinner.
7:30 // Luke and Charleston are in Charleston’s room having a nerf sword fight. I break up the fun so we can do our nightly prayer time and blessing, then Luke goes to shower while Charleston and I read. After three picture books, a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible, and a chapter of our Boxcar Children book, we turn off the lights and turn on the nighttime music (which will play until 7:20 the next morning), and I rub Charleston’s back until he falls asleep.
8:15 // I’m back in the kitchen to heat up my dinner, which I eat while listening to my current audiobook. Then Luke and I spend some time talking over our day before he winds down for the night.
9:30 // With the kids asleep and Luke reading on the couch (where he’s been sleeping since the twins took up residence in our room), I move into the office to get some work done. I journal in Day One, fill in my bullet journal and Q&A a Day journal, sort through the day’s pictures, and work on a blog post.
10:45 // I wrap up my work for the night and go into the nursery to pump. I strongly dislike pumping, but my nightly session with the breast pump provides milk for Sully’s daily bottle with plenty left over to mix into the twins’ cereals and other solids. I’m putting away my pumping supplies when I hear Charleston crying in his room. He frequently wakes up during the night, but he’s not very coherent. I pray with him and rub his back for a few minutes until he falls back to sleep.
11:15 // This is my favorite hour of the day. I fix myself a late-night snack (popcorn, yogurt, and hot chocolate) and settle in for an hour of reading before bed. It’s not lost on me that I do this in the glider in the nursery while the twins sleep in my room; thankfully it’s a cozy spot! I read several chapters of I Miss You When I Blink on my Kindle before I hear the babies starting to stir—my cue to head to bed. I brush my teeth and bring the babies into bed with me for their first nursing session of the night.
12:30 // The babies are done nursing and back in their playpen. I turn off my phone and snuggle into bed, hoping to get a solid stretch of sleep (usually four hours) before the next feeding. I pray as I drift off to sleep, thanking God that even in the midst of a global pandemic, I am able to enjoy such a beautiful and fulfilling life.