A Day in The Life of Rory and Grama
Earlier this year, I shared two posts chronicling my “Day in the Life”. This post showcased my “mom days” watching Rory and this post showcased my work days. I know you guys love when my mom, Jan, takes over the blog, so we thought it might be fun for her to share a day in the life of Grama and Rory! The duo spends three days a week together (MWF) and they have so much fun. Things will soon be changing with a newborn baby in the mix, so I figured now was our last chance to share their typical days.
So take it away, Jan!
A Day in the Life of Grama
I have been blessed to spend three days a week taking care of Rory, since the day she was born. (You can read more about our “nanny” setup here.) Over the last 16 months, Rory’s routine has changed a lot, so that means my routine has changed, as well. If I would have written this post a couple of months ago, it would have been completely different. But, the idea here is that I am giving you a snapshot, so this is what a typical day in the life of 16-month-old Rory and 65-year-old Grama looks like…
Casey has mentioned that Rory is a girl who thrives with a schedule, and it’s possible Rory gets that from me, and of course, her mom. All three of us like a regular routine and we’re at our best when we follow a schedule closely, so most of my days with Rory look pretty similar to this right now.
Rise and Shine
5:00 am: I am an early riser by choice. I know 5:00 am is pretty early for most people, but I love my morning quiet time and I feel like I have a lot to do before I walk out the door! But first things first – nothing much is going to happen until I have my coffee. I walk into the kitchen and push the “on” button for the coffee maker that I have loaded the night before. While the coffee is brewing, I water the plants on my balcony and unload the dishwasher.
With coffee in hand, I grab my computer and sit down to watch the morning news, usually NBC, and catch up on my emails. (When I was working part-time, this was vital to keeping up with the demands of my job, but now that I am retired, it’s more about answering personal emails and ridding my inbox of “junk”.)
The next thing I do is write my children, their partners, and my grandchildren a morning email. I actually started doing this five days a week, in August of 2000, when my oldest, Harry, went off to college. I missed him so much and I wanted him to be “in the loop” about what was going on with the family, so I started writing an email each day to stay in touch.
The next year, Elizabeth went to college, so I included her. A few years later, Ryan headed off to college, and finally, Casey, and those morning emails just kept rolling along. As my kids got married and had children, they all got included in the morning email. It’s been a great way for us to communicate and to keep each other informed about our lives. Most days, those emails are pretty boring, but I have asked many times if I should discontinue writing them and the answer is always “No”, so the tradition continues!
After the email is sent, I’ll spend a little bit of time figuring out my day and making a list of what needs to be done. (I’m just like my daughter in that way. I love the feeling of checking items off one by one!)
6:15 am: Usually at this time, I spend some time in prayer and reflection. I start with a catalyst, which might be the gospel reading of the day, and then I journal, based on that reading. Over the years, I have filled many different journals and it’s kind of interesting to look back and see what I was focusing on during the different seasons of my life. I find that this morning prayer grounds my day and helps me focus on gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for!
Time to Get Moving
6:45 am: I head into my bathroom and take a quick shower and put on some “Rory friendly” clothing for the day. I don’t spend much time worrying about my hair and/or makeup, because Rory never seems to mind how Grama looks, but I do put on a little foundation, blush, and mascara. Wearing a little makeup helps me feel a little more human! I make the bed, clean up the bathroom, and go out to the kitchen to prep for Rory.
Lately, I have been picking up Rory and bringing her back to my place for the day, so I have to make sure that the highchair is set up, the pack ‘n play is assembled, the diaper changing area is ready, and that the sound machine is accessible. I also do a quick look in the fridge to see what food I have for my girl for the day.
7:45 am: I jump in my car and head to Casey and Finn’s house. I only live four miles from their home, so my morning commute is usually pretty easy.
8:00 am: Rory is often waiting at the window when I arrive and she gives me the best greetings! I walk in the door and see that she and Dada have been playing on the floor with her toys. She grabs her brand new Lovevery puzzle and brings it over to me as I put my things away, so I can get in on the fun right away. While we play, Finn gives me a little recap of her sleep and her breakfast and any other important information that I might need to know. Casey joins us and we go over the plan for the day. Today, I will bring Rory back to my place and we will be swimming, so we need to pack a swimsuit, a change of clothes, her sleep sack, and her “gee gee” – that was Casey’s word for her blanket, that she still uses, by the way! Casey will also pack some of Rory’s favorite foods so that I have plenty to give her for lunch and snacks.
Back to Grama’s
8:15 am: With Rory in the car seat, we head out so Mama and Dada can get to work, and soon we are back at my condo. Rory has spent so much time at my place that she feels right at home. As soon as we walk in the door, Rory goes straight to the toybox and pulls out some of her favorite toys. Most of the toys I own are different than the ones she has at home, so she hasn’t gotten bored with them. She does have her favorites, though, like her Disney princesses, her cookies and baking sheet, and Minnie, Mickey, and all the gang!
Off to the Park
9:00 am: I live a block and a half from a big Chicago public park, with a swimming pool and a lovely playground. One of the reasons I like bringing Rory back to my place for the day is because the pool, the playground, and the park are always filled with children and there is so much for Rory to see and do.
This summer, we have spent many mornings at the pool, during family swim time. Today is a nice, warm day, so I change myself and Rory into our swimsuits, grab our towels, a change of clothes for Rory, some snacks, and some water and we head out in the stroller to the pool. Rory is still apprehensive about the water, but little by little she seems to be adjusting and she sure has fun watching all the kids jump in and splash all around.
The family swim lasts for an hour, so we spend part of the time bouncing around in the pool and part of the time sitting on a towel on the pool deck, eating Cheerios and a banana. (Today, I think she prefers the sitting time, eating her snack.)
10:00 am: The family swim is over, so after I change Rory into some dry clothes, I get her back in the stroller and we walk a short way to the playground. This is where the REAL fun is! My neighborhood is filled with young families, so the playground is always brimming with people. We see lots of nannies, along with moms and dads and their tots, and even many grandparents, who are enjoying playground time with their grandchildren. (I have met a number of lovely people whom I see regularly at the playground. It’s fun to get to know the adults and the kids, and even Rory seems to recognize and enjoy the kids she has played with before.)
When the weather is cooperating, we stay as long as possible at the park, because there is so much to see and do and so much space to do it in! Rory never seems to get bored swinging on the swings, going down the slide, playing in the splash area, and practicing her climbing skills. When she does get tired, I strap her back in the stroller and we walk a little bit so Grama can get some exercise and Rory can look for doggies, birdies, and kitty cats. After walking for a bit, we head back to my condo.
Back at Grama’s
11:15 am: We’re back at my condo and the toys are strewn all over the place from earlier today. Rory doesn’t seem to mind, although it does bother me a little. (It’s not that I mind that she makes a mess, but I realize that I just can’t keep up with this girl! When I was a young mom, somehow, I was able to keep my house pretty neat and clean with four children in the house. Now, even with just Rory, it turns into a huge mess before I know it. I’ve given up even trying to keep things neat and organized while she’s here. I let her pull out everything she wants and then I clean it all up when she naps or when she goes home! That keeps us both happy.)
Time For Lunch
11:45 am: While Rory plays with all her toys and pulls a bunch of bowls out the cupboard, I get lunch ready. Today she is having mac ‘n cheese, grapes, and broccoli. This girl is such a good eater. She loves all kinds of food and she eats a lot more than I remember my kids ever eating. Feeding Rory is a lot of fun because she is the complete opposite of a picky eater!
12:10 pm: After lunch, I try to clean up a little bit, and then Rory and I head out to my little balcony to blow bubbles. She loves catching and popping bubbles, and she can do this for a long time without getting bored. I also bring a couple of books out with us so we can wind down, read a couple of stories, and she can get relaxed and ready for her nap.
12:30 pm: Rory has been up since 7:00 am and we have been busy all morning, so putting her down for a nap is relatively easy. I have my pack ’n play set up in my guest room and she has slept there so many times that it’s like her second bedroom, so she never gives me a hard time. I zip her up in her sleep sack and she grabs on to her tag. (For some reason, the manufacturer’s tag sewn on the side of the sleep sack is soothing to her. She reaches for it right away and rubs it on her nose. When she’s feeling extra generous, she’ll even rub it on my nose!) I pop in her binky, give her her gee-gee, turn on the sound machine, say good night, and close the door. About ten minutes later, I peek in and Rory is sleeping soundly. Whew!
This is when I spend a few minutes cleaning up the kitchen and putting most of the toys back in the toybox and the cabinet. That way, once Rory is up, we can start all over again.
Time for a Little Work
12:45 pm: Now that Rory is down, I have a couple of hours to do a little work myself. I edit Casey’s blog posts before she publishes them, so I always have some work to do during nap time. If I happen to be all caught up, I might spend a little time paying bills, doing a load of laundry, or reading.
2:45 pm: Rory has been napping very well this summer and she always wakes up happy and ready to go again. I pick her up, change her diaper and we head back out to the kitchen for a snack. Today we are having those little oranges, called Cuties, and mozzarella cheese. She eats two whole Cuties and two slices of mozzarella! Where does that girl put it all?
3:00 pm: We spend another fifteen minutes playing with all the toys. Rory gets out a few things that she hasn’t yet pulled out of the toy box, and we sit on the floor and play together. Since it’s still a beautiful day, and my small condo gets boring quickly, I pack us up again and we’re off in the stroller for another playground adventure. In the afternoons, we often see a whole new group of people who aren’t there in the morning.
Over the last few months, I have gotten to know a lovely couple, Gayle and Paul, who often bring their grandson, Conrad, to the playground in the afternoons. Rory and Conrad enjoy rolling and kicking a ball around while sharing their Cheerios, and Gayle, Paul, and I enjoy talking about how special our grandkids are and re-living their most current milestones. And the time goes by so quickly! Before I know it, it’s 4:30, and time to head back to my condo and pack up to take Rory back home.
Heading to The Finn House
4:40 pm: I load Rory into the car and we head back to Casey and Finn’s house. Our afternoon commute is always so much worse than the morning commute, but I try my best to get Rory home by 5:00 so that her dinner, bath, and bedtime stay on schedule. Rory isn’t a huge fan of car rides, so I usually make up songs to sing to her all the way home. When that gets old, we spend time going over all the words she knows. “Say Mama” – “Mama”. “Say Dada” – “Dada”. “Say Baby” – Baybeee”. We practice lots of words and it’s so darn cute. For some of her words, like “milk”, she signs; for some of her words like “cow”, she makes the noise (“moo”); and for some of the words, like “nose”, she points to the correct body part. That little brain of hers figures out so many ways to communicate!
5:00 pm: Casey rushes out to meet us as soon as we pull up in the car and Rory is excited to see her too! Casey takes Rory and I gather all of her things and we head into the house. As soon as Casey sets Rory down, she heads to the tv console and pulls out her favorite toys, while I give Casey a recap of the day. Soon it will be time for Rory’s dinner, bath, and bedtime routine, so after about fifteen minutes, I leave them and head back home.
5:40 pm: I’m home again after a long, busy day with Rory and my place is looking like we had a lot of fun, which we certainly did. I take a few minutes to pick everything up and put it away, grab some leftovers, a glass of wine, and get out my computer.
6:00 pm: I have been looking forward to this evening all day because it’s our “Every Other Friday Night Zoom Call” with my childhood friends! Since the beginning of the pandemic, this group of women – whom I grew up with in a little town in western Kansas, called Norton, and who are now scattered all over the country – have been getting together on Zoom to catch up. We have a group of about 14 friends and usually, between four and eight will join us on any given Friday. It has been one of the best things that I have experienced during the pandemic, and I have never felt closer to any of these ladies! In fact, in November, we are planning a big get-together in person!
8:30 pm: My Zoom call is over and I am smiling, after catching up with my oldest friends, but now it’s time to get ready for bed. I think back over the day and spend some time in gratitude for this beautiful life I am blessed with. I’m in bed by 9:00 because tomorrow will be here before I know it!
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.