Day 6 – Evening post (September 2023 Time Tracking Challenge)

Welcome to everyone participating in the time tracking challenge! (And those just following along too.)

Weekends can be tricky to track. If you’ve got a spreadsheet on a laptop, well, you might not open your laptop. If you’ve got a notebook on a desk, well, you might not visit your desk. Much of life shifts from the normal routine — which is good! — but it can make tracking more complicated.

The good news is that it gets easier with time. Since I’ve been tracking my time for EIGHT YEARS I have learned a few tricks. I look at the clock on occasion just to set markers in my memory. And if you have a lot of stuff planned for a weekend — which tends to happen around here — then reconstructing is easier because you at least know what you intended to do at most times.

Anyway, I wound up working, mostly, until 4:00 yesterday. Then I was chatting with kids, and my husband who was back from his trip. I left with my 16-year-old at 4:15 for his 4:30 voice lesson. I sat on the couch in the studio and listened to him as he worked through an audition piece. We left around 5:40 and he drove us home, arriving around 6. (There was also a lot of scrolling and online NY Times reading in here. I started writing in my journal but didn’t get very far, maybe because this log feels so comprehensive…)

After arriving home, I started the oven for make-your-own-pizza night. We buy lots of frozen dough, tomato sauce, shredded cheese, and toppings, and then all our dietary peculiarities go on full display. Two children had cheese pizzas. My husband had a normal pizza with pepperoni, peppers, and onions. I had a cheese-less pizza with those same toppings. Two children had baked dough alone (it does make a good bread when cooked with a little olive oil and salt), though one ate pepperoni and cheese on the side, and one child did not want pizza and made himself a tomato salad instead.

Anyway, we ate around 6:40 and finished by 7:00 (my husband was doing the dishes by about 6:55) and then I helped the two little boys get ready so we could go in the pool.

It was cold. Not so much the water — which might have been about 80 with the heater — but the air outside was in the 60s by the time the sun went down. I only went in the attached hot tub because I cannot deal with cold, but my husband and the 8- and 3-year-old swam in the pool for a bit before joining me.

We went inside by 8, at which point I got the two little guys in the tub. They were there until 8:15 or so, at which point they went up to play video games with my husband. I made energy bites, then did my puzzle until 8:50, and then I went to retrieve the 3-year-old.

He was definitely tired, so after 3 stories (Snappy Farm, If I Built A House, and one other whose title escapes me) he went down pretty fast. I was out by 9:30 and worked on my puzzle until 10:20. I’m closing in on being done!

I then put the 8-year-old to bed, although he asked if his big brother could read him Harry Potter so he stayed up a little later for that. I went to my bedroom and read for about 15 minutes but I was really tired, and fell asleep, definitely by 11. It’s possible I got up to go to the bathroom at some point in the night but I don’t remember when.

I woke with my alarm at 7:30. Why an alarm? The 3-year-old was going to his Saturday sitter’s place today. This has been a really nice addition to our lives — she also has a 3-year-old so it’s like an all-day play date for him and we get to relax and do stuff with the big kids (without hauling the 3-year-old around everywhere). I had to wake him up, crazy enough (given that he’s been up at like 6:30 multiple mornings this week). She got him at 8, and I got ready by 8:15 and then went for a run.

Longtime readers know that this past summer I had attempted to do an excursion where I’d run to a local coffee shop, get a coffee, and then run home. I tried, but the day I planned to do it, the owners had closed the shop for their 2-week summer vacation, which ended just as I went on my 3-week beach + Norway jaunt. But they were open this morning! I ran 8:15-8:35, more or less, got my almond milk cappuccino (I feel so silly ordering that but oh well), drank it in the nearby park, and ran home. It was about 3.5 miles in total I think, and I was home at 9:15.

At this point I made myself breakfast while talking with various children, emptied the dishwasher, and then went up to shower (maybe around 9:45?). I got dressed, put away laundry, and got the 13-year-old, 11-year-old, and 8-year-old organized to be in the car at 10:45.

We then went on this week’s big adventure — a trip to Holland Ridge Farms for their Fall Flower Festival. We always go in April for the tulips, but they have fall flowers too, so we drove the hour out to Cream Ridge NJ and picked gladiolas, dahlias, and sunflowers. We then found a mac and cheese food truck that was also selling lemonade (perfect for the two younger kids!) and my 13-year-old and I had lobster rolls from the Cousins Maine Lobster truck. Indeed, I am pretty sure the truck’s confirmed appearance there is the lone reason this particular teenager was willing to come on this trip (though the farm did give us large clippers for the sunflowers, which was kind of an added adventure).

(Meanwhile, my husband and 16-year-old were taking a tennis class together…)

We left at 1:30 and were home by 2:30. I had a quick discussion with my husband about what we were doing as our mid-afternoon date (while the 3-year-old was still gone). Meanwhile, I was working out details of when the 11-year-old would go to a playdate. I wound up driving her over at 3 (it was very close) and was home by 3:10, and then in the car with my husband around 3:25 to drive to Morris Arboretum.

We got there 3:45 and walked around for half an hour (maybe 40 minutes?) together. It was a pleasant day and a pleasant stroll and we admired the various trees and flowers, and found an interesting “black pearl” ornamental pepper that I think would be fun for a garden. We made it home around 5 (the friend’s family had just dropped our daughter off).

I started working on this post, to be done by 6 when the 3-year-old returned, but the 11-year-old elected to start a baking project and then realized that we were out of flour. So, she came to find me in my office and I said I would take her to the grocery store. In a few weeks this will be like a 10-minute thing as a new store is opening 3 minutes away from us. But for now we have to drive 10 minutes to the nearest store. We bought flour and bread flour and sugar just to be safe.

Now I am posting this a little after 6 as my husband has the 3-year-old. I think there will be some sort of buffalo chicken and nachos thing happening tonight and maybe another (cold) pool visit. We shall see. I hope your Saturday went well! Here’s my log in table form.

3:30  work (not efficiently)
4:00  dealing w/kids, drive J
4:30  J voice
5:00  J voice
5:30  J voice, he drives home
6:00  make pizza, cook pizza
6:30  cook, eat family dinner
7:00  kids, ready, pool/hot tub
7:30  hot tub, out
8:00  H+A bath, make energy bites
8:30  puzzle, get H
9:00  H story, feed/down
9:30  puzzle
10:00  puzzle, A down
10:30  ready bed/read
11:00 sleep

7:30  up (alarm) coffee, H
8:00  G, ready, run
8:30  run, coffee shop coffee
9:00  park, run home (3.5)
9:30  breakfast, shower
10:00  shower, dress, ready
10:30  kids, pack up, drive (S, R, A)
11:00  drive (w/S R A)
11:30   drive, park, Holland Ridge
12:00  Holland Ridge flowers
12:30  food trucks – lobster, etc.
1:00   flowers, to car
1:30  drive
2:00  drive
2:30  vases, chat M, log
3:00  R drive, wait, M drives
3:30  to Morris, walk at Morris
4:00  walk at Morris
4:30  M drives, home
5:00  work
5:30  drive R grocery, home




9 thoughts on “Day 6 – Evening post (September 2023 Time Tracking Challenge)

  1. Laura, I’m not doing the time loggin this time because I did it (your spreadsheet) recently and it was extremely informative and right now I don’t have the energy. But I get so much out of reading these blogs for what you did. It just isn’t boring. It’s fascinating: how people fit the pieces of the puzzle together. And it’s warm and affirming as well. This is just getting on with ordinary life, trying to do it in a good way.

    So – just that. That these are fascinating to read.

    It all becomes part of the life. I feel I know you so well, and that’s great too. So big thanks! and hugs.


    1. @Lucy – thanks! I’m glad it’s not boring to read about my life. There is a lot going on and a lot of going back and forth, but that’s life here..

    1. @Maggie – so I do 1/2 cup peanut butter, a little bit of honey, some vanilla, some cinnamon, and about a cup of oats (more or less). Then I mix in my vegan chocolate chips until it looks about right. Form into balls, and put in the fridge until hard!

  2. We just finished Harry Potter! I have Tales of Beedle the Bard on hold at the library (I love that you can request books online!) my 7 year old has always tried to add things to bed time routine to make them longer, but one that I’m letting stick is he reads to me now as we “cuddle” in bed. Right now it’s Amulet, but Noodleheads is another favorite. We went up to visit my husband’s mother and help her with chores (washing curtains and grocery shopping) and has really good Nepali food. She gave us a box of sparklers that we used at night. Today we tried to teach the boy how to bike ride… kinda wish I could out source this like swim lessons…

  3. Hi Laura! This is my second attempt at the challenge and I’m excited to be wrapping up the week! I had tried 6 years ago almost and made it one day. I had asked a few friends this time if they were interested in joining me but I hadn’t thought of asking them until last minute and they felt like their weeks were too full to add something else to do. I was a little disappointed but Monday night remembered you were blogging about your days so I hopped on to read your post. I was totally shocked that I too had boiled three different sets of pasta for dinner that night😂 !?! How ironic. Immediately I felt like I had found comradery. Thank you. In all seriousness it was one of my take aways from tracking Monday that I otherwise may have overlooked. We have a lot of dietary issues in our family of 8 (all kids gf, one kiddo with type one so low carb, and myself grain free). Monday night was different because we were trying Alfredo (some of my kids had never tried it) and that also involved two different sauces (one vegan and one not). I usually try and keep dinners pretty simple for all involved, and truly I still was thinking I was keeping this as simple as possible. However my 11year old was chatty and trying to drain the different pastas all at the same time while engaging with her was a juggling act. As I was draining the water from the low carb pot for our type one kiddo some of the pasta slipped in the sink. Not once but twice which was a problem because I needed to weight the whole batch in order to give him an accurate carb count. Though lower carb no pasta out there is low enough to compare to spaghetti squash which is our go to but that takes a little more prep on my part and I didn’t have the time. I thought I was making things more simple. Because his sugars were on the higher side, and he was very hungry, he basically had to just eat the chicken with the sauce (which there wasn’t a ton of to split between the 8 of us). I felt bad and defeated for a meal that was being looked forward to. After reviewing the day/night and log I was able to see it more objectively. I was trying to handle a tricky situation as best as I could and though it didn’t go as planned it’s okay-there was grace and understanding. My kids are forgiving. I might add too. Certain gf/grain free pastas are not very forgiving for an extra 60 seconds in the pot turning to gummy goo. Since we have one child that is gracious to eat pasta at all a few times a month but has intense texture issues this was also a “problem “. He too was gracious with me. Who would have thought pasta night could ever be so complicated.Thanks for helping me not feel alone. If you ever get that hack about pasta boiling pass along 😉.

    Truly though, tracking time this week has been a blessing. It was a full week but I think pausing to note how the time was being spent has had big dividends! I’m actually giving it a go again this week. Who knows maybe this is the beginning of something long term like you! Thanks again!

    1. @Ashley – who knew pasta night could be so complicated! Glad everyone was mostly OK with it but yep, that is a lot of different pastas to deal with. Thanks for reading – and thanks for trying the tracking. I’m glad it’s been useful.

  4. As the owner of a coffee shop I can assure you that there is no need to feel silly about ordering an almond milk cappuccino! People order all kinds of drinks for all kinds of reasons and the baristas/other customers truly don’t care!

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