(Some cute pictures I just found of Claire and Maggie helping plant flowers this past spring. Every once in a while we get a glimpse of how awesome it will be to have actually helpful big kids in a few years!)
I think we're in a pretty good routine now that preschool has started and Betsy is napping predictably. After many months of feeling like I was behind on everything, it's amazing to be able to make a chore schedule and regularly keep up with it.
Monday: Vacuum and mop main areas (girls' bath night)
Tuesday: Clean kitchen
Wednesday: Clean bathrooms
Thursday: Vacuum entire house (girls' bath night)
I clean the kitchen and bathrooms during Betsy's morning nap. If Claire and Maggie offer to help, I summon my reserves of patience and agree. They actually do make the chore go a smidge quicker. I clean the floors in the evening while Adam is bathing the girls. On Monday mornings I make a grocery list and try to finish the rest of my computer chores - updating our milk order and Mint budget, paying any bills, putting library books on hold, and sending postagrams to our grandparents. On Thursday morning Claire is at catechesis and I spend some one-on-one time with Maggie.
Sunday: Wash diapers
Monday: Stuff diapers, sort clothes
Tuesday: Fold clothes
Wednesday: Clothes away, Wash diapers
Thursday: Stuff diapers, sort clothes
Friday: Fold clothes
Fri/Sat/Sun: Clothes away
We're finally using our cloth diapers again! Laundry happens during little pockets of time throughout the day (it's easy to sit on the floor and fold clothes while the girls play around me) or at night (like spraying the cloth diapers).
As far as a dinner routine goes, we always have spaghetti on Tuesdays, since Adam stays late at work that evening because it's his preschool volunteer day. We always have pizza on Fridays. I always get a rotisserie chicken when I'm grocery shopping at Costco. We have chicken for dinner that night and then use the leftovers in a variety of ways - chicken salad or pasta salad in the summer and soup or chicken pot pie in the winter (with stock made from the carcass, of course).
I'm always scrambling on weekday afternoons because I want to have a little time to relax while Betsy naps and the big girls do quiet time or watch a show. Then I'm frantically trying to get them to help me pick up the toys and also make something for dinner. So, we usually eat really simple things like spinach quiche, tacos, or crock pot favorites (pulled pork, brisket, pot roast).
Depending on the weekend, sometimes I have time to make something fancier and sometimes I have even less time than during the week. In that case, the girls usually have hot dogs or boxed macaroni. After they're in bed, we'll have pot stickers or pre-marinated fish from Costco. Probably pot stickers because, man, those little things are addictive.
We are very far from on top of everything at our house. Our grass really needs to be cut but first we need to rake the leaves covering the entire yard. (The fact that it's rained every weekend this month certainly doesn't help matters.) So many things could use a deep cleaning - the fridge, oven, and van for starters. We have lots of projects that we'd love to get to eventually. Top of the list is planting some tulip and daffodil bulbs, which needs to happen soon or we'll be too late for this year.
I don't think the average couple with three little kids is ever going to accomplish everything they'd like. But it feels great to know that we can cover all the basics without stress. I can keep our house decently clean and provide reasonably healthy meals. Everyone has regular baths and clean clothes. Someday we'll finish those window treatments!