Home mornings


by Shawni

Typical mornings around here:

Scriptures are at 6:30. The kids wander in one by one, bleary-eyed and in a daze, except for Max who is showered and ready for the day.

They curl into little balls with their scriptures and try their best to follow along.

Because Dave gets frustrated when they don’t know which verse they are on when it’s their turn to read.

We have family prayer. We kneel around our big ottoman. Claire says long prayers when it’s her turn. She remembers to bless everything from her cousin on a mission to some girl at school.

Dave usually has the sandwiches for lunches spread out on the counter.

I’m in charge of making the breakfast.

Max scrambles to eat and throw his lunch together. If we ask him to do something he huffs and exclaims he has one minute. He heads out the door at 6:55 in a hurry, backpack and volleyball bag in hand (which he has to carry around all day). He always leaves us with an “I love you.”

Most days Dave and I are either done with a work out or headed to one.

The kitchen is a disaster.

Grace and Claire dawdle like nobody’s business while Elle disappears to do her hair. Lucy prefers her Hello Kitty pajama shirt alone. No confining pj pants for her if she can possibly help it.

Her job is to empty the silverware from the dishwasher.

Grace and Claire talk about so-and-so at school. They tell me about a nice substitute they had. They talk about the new playground equipment they just got and how there are lines to use it every day. They dawdle some more.

I tell Grace 46 times to practice. I tell Claire 39 times to get her lunch packed.

Grace and Claire turn on music and make up a dance.

Lucy claims she needs Kix (cereal) even after she just ate pancakes.I remind the girls to get to their jobs: Grace does the dishes. Claire clears the counters.


Then they get distracted and file through papers in their backpacks for me to sign. We throw out papers after papers about after-school clubs and advertisements to Disneyland.

I sign Grace’s agenda.

I sign Claire’s reading log with another “0 minutes read” and kick myself that in the scramble we forgot to read last night.

For the hundredth time I wish I were more of a Tiger Mother. Sometimes I say it aloud. And Elle rolls her eyes from the piano bench and says, “Mom, you ARE a Tiger Mother!” as she plunks out her latest piano tune I’ve told her to do for the eighth time since she can’t seem to get that one part right.

That comment that I’m a Tiger Mother makes my morning, even though I know it’s not true. I’m a push-over if ever there was one.

Elle emerges, hair done and mascara applied. She pulls on her zebra backpack, fills a plastic cup with left-over smoothie and waves goodbye. Off to meet her friends on her long-board. I wonder again how she keeps up with the bike-riders on that thing.

Grace and Claire are half-way through their jobs. Lucy has spilled her milk. I pitch in and help them scramble to get ready since one friend has already showed up to grab them for school. The phone rings three different times from other friends, asking if they’re ready yet.

Claire is still not wearing shoes.

But they pull it together, like they always do, and I send them off with a kiss and a hug. I tell them all I love them (even their friends, cause I do).

And then the house is quiet. And the kitchen is clean. And Lu and I get ready for whatever is on the agenda next: swim class, exercise class, dance class…

I’m so grateful for typical mornings. As slow and messy and frustrating as they can be, I love to be in the middle of them. Because it means I am a mother. And although there are always things I kick myself to get better at, I am trying. And I’m ok with that.


thatonegirl April 5, 2012 - 4:28 pm

I LOVE this. You have my dream job…

Ingrid April 5, 2012 - 4:28 pm

Thanks for some good old fashioned honesty, Shawni. I am way too wrapped up in making it LOOK like I've got it all together. Thanks for being a breath of fresh air. 🙂

Jenn Nielsen April 5, 2012 - 4:40 pm

Oh that was so nice to read . . . thanks for your honesty. No, really, thanks.

Erica {let why lead} April 5, 2012 - 4:40 pm

I found this so touching! Your blog continually gives me hope that I will have a big family someday. I do want one, but the two little boys we have right now keep me hopping so much that I sometimes wonder if we'll make it. haha But your blog always helps!

AmyA. April 5, 2012 - 4:47 pm

You mentioned working out and it reminded me that a while ago you mentioned you had started doing Crossfit. Are you still doing it and do you love it? I hope to do it again someday!

Love Being A Nonny April 5, 2012 - 4:51 pm

Shawni, You will be so glad when you look back one day and read this. It's the little things…….

jcooper April 5, 2012 - 5:16 pm

Thank you! That was a nice a read! I was wondering where you got that big ottoman you pray around? I have been looking for one like that for awhile. Thanks.

The Circus April 5, 2012 - 5:20 pm

We have six at our house and I work. I get them started and then leave and can only hope it gets finished by the time I get home in the eveing ha ha.

Stephanie April 5, 2012 - 5:43 pm

I love that Dave does the sandwiches. It just makes me like him even more. It is so interesting to me to read about other families routines. We all develop our own routines as families and each one is a little bit different, but often they are very much the same.

Mom of 6 April 5, 2012 - 5:48 pm

Ok, I am SUCH a bad mom…I count them reading from the bible as their reading time….youth group night they get extra amounts of reading…your family is so lucky to have you!

John and Crystal Pinegar Family April 5, 2012 - 6:04 pm

Mornings at our house are crazy too! Thanks for showing us yours. I don't know how a mother with 5 kids who is busy as you are can be a tiger mother. I have 6 and I feel like my kids are left to push themselves a lot. It's just too much for me to ride every single one as much as I want. But I am trying my best.

Kathleen April 5, 2012 - 6:22 pm

This post is so great. What a great reminder at how much we accomplish when you go minute by minute like that. Sometimes it's hard to see because we're only looking at the "big" stuff. But it's all important.

Daisha April 5, 2012 - 6:25 pm

Loved your last sentence. Thank you for that!

Amy Louise April 5, 2012 - 9:19 pm

I have been trying for 14 years as a mother to improve our morning routine (which requires substantial discipline from ME!) and although I don't feel I'm where I want us to be yet, we are, like you and and many others, TRYING. Thank you for a "REAL" look at your life. So encouraging and genuinely interesting. I'm always interested in knowing how other moms start their day. Most moms that I really admire start their days VERY early.:)

Eyrealm April 5, 2012 - 11:07 pm

Awesome stuff. I'm not sure we ever got it right at our house but if trying counts, we're okay!

dresselfamily.blogspot.com April 5, 2012 - 11:18 pm

loved this post! I love to read other moms routines, it's great!!!

When do your kids shower, do they do it at night, in the mornings, we are still tryign to work whats best for us in our home!!!

what time do you get up and go to bed on an average day

Dandi April 6, 2012 - 12:11 am

I loved this so much! Thanks for sharing the nitty gritty of your life. It helped me to identify with you and not just idolize your amazing-ness. Thanks!

Kim April 6, 2012 - 4:01 am

…To me, this does sound perfect. 🙂 I hope our morning routines go something like this one day:)

Cath April 6, 2012 - 4:22 am

I love that your mornings aren't dreamy bliss, with everyone quick to respond to your requests. I feel like I have to tell my kids 39 times to do things too! This is a sweet post. I'm glad you wrote down your typical morning.

Sassy Sites! April 6, 2012 - 4:51 am

I know when you say you hate when people tell you how amazing you are… but you are amazing! 🙂

Sarah April 6, 2012 - 1:30 pm

Thank you for sharing this! It reminds me not to beat myself up about the things that are yet to run smoothly in our day but still inspires me to keep trying. At the end of the day I guess the important thing is that we're present in our kid's lives and trying our best.

Sarah April 6, 2012 - 1:31 pm

Thank you for sharing this! It reminds me not to beat myself up about the things that are yet to run smoothly in our day but still inspires me to keep trying. At the end of the day I guess the important thing is that we're present in our kid's lives and trying our best.

Anonymous April 6, 2012 - 3:27 pm

Loved this post! You should do "a day in the life" post or a "typical tuesday" post!!

Brooke April 6, 2012 - 5:37 pm

You are wonderful. I can't wait. Yes, yes I can. My daughter is only 20 months, and I am so excited for these mornings, but I can wait. I actually would love to stop time. Thank you!

AmyJo April 9, 2012 - 8:34 pm

Thank you for this real life post! I love the look into your life and it helps me feel better about my own crazy mornings!

Bindi April 10, 2012 - 4:28 am

It made me feel so much better about myself that you also need to tell your kids over and over again to do stuff. Telling my 6 year old to put on his sock ten times every morning drives me nuts!

Corinne April 11, 2012 - 5:26 am

I am always inspired by your posts, but this has to be one of my favorites. I often wish I could be a fly on the wall in other people's homes so I could get ideas and realize that maybe we're more alike than I think. Thank you.

Dana at StrawberryTart! April 12, 2012 - 5:32 pm

I love this post! Love Love Love it!

MeggyT May 16, 2012 - 3:16 am

Do you ever feel like bursting out in the Primary song "Quickly I'll Obey"? 🙂

Kat July 9, 2012 - 4:53 am

Can you please tell me what you do for your workouts? How you fit them in and what time you workout?
Just looking at your pic in your workout gear, you look amazingly good!!
I need inspiration as a Mum of four aged 10, 7.5, 5.5 and 3.5 to get fitter please?!!!
Ps My morning routine needs work lately, as I am super organised but we always seem to run late in the last 5 mins when someone has a meltdown or just doesn't get in the car in time. I loved reading yours, thanks.

andy and cami December 28, 2012 - 2:53 am

Hi! My name is Cami. I am a new follower to your blog and I love it. In fact my father served his mission in England and your parents were his mission president!! I noticed as i read about you thtat you were once terribly shy. I am a mother of two very shy kids. A six year old and a Four year old. I have been looking for ways to help them come out of their shyness. I know that being shy is not a bad thing. I just want to make sure that they can learn to be confident in themselves and also learn to speak up and be able to share there opinions etc.. any advice for me in helping them… also how didyour parents help you overcome being shy? Any advice would be great!


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