A Day in the Life of...Kristen Kooistra!

on Monday, February 15, 2016
    It's Monday, again! Yay! That means it's time for another guest!  This one will be a bit different than the previous posts, because this is our first guest writer who has to balance writing with a family. This week's guest is *drumroll* Kristen Kooistra!



My day officially starts at about 8 am. But I’m usually up twice during the night to take care of my youngest (almost 3 months old). At 8:00, Elaina wakes up and we usually have a chat about how the morning is going to go. Today I’m lucky and she agrees to go back to sleep while I get her siblings.



I sneak out of bed before she changes her mind and grab my “mommy gear”. This consists of one fluffy purple bathrobe, one pair of fluffy red pajama pants, and a hair clip. There’s two things I can’t function without: my hairclip and my eyes (normal people call them contacts). Contact case in one pocket, two diapers in the other, and with that I sneak out of the room. I stop in the kitchen to put my eyes in (I can see!!!!). Now it’s time to go upstairs.

I stop and fill up a scoop with cat food on my way.

Luke is an early riser and I can usually hear him thumping around his room before I head up, but sometimes(like today) he’ll sleep in. Cheyenne on the other hand likes lounging around her bed. I use the term “bed” loosely as she’s an odd child and insists on sleeping on the floor.

Up the stairs and past Luke’s room.

I stop at the nursery first where the kittens (Smokey and Merlin) are in quarantine. (The nursery is unused until Elaina gets older) Getting into the room without them escaping is challenging, but I manage. (This involves cracking the door open and sliding the kitty food in as a peace offering. As they get distracted I open the door and slip inside.) I fill their food dish and make sure they’re healing well. Both are doing nicely and I sneak out while they eat, making sure to bring the scoop and empty wet food tin with me. (Both cats were fixed recently and need to be isolated for 2 weeks. They’re not happy about it but I’m sure they’d rather this than complications.)

Now to Cheyenne’s room. Open her door and she’s all tucked in her blankets, but clearly awake.

“Go away! I’m seeping!”

I laugh and say, “okay” and then walk back towards Luke’s room. I wait outside his door, knowing that despite her adamant statement … yep, there she is.

“I get Gookie?”

We’ve long given up hope that she’ll ever give up her nickname for Luke.

She opens his door and he’s instantly up and running to us … naked.

Cheyenne takes one look at him and says in her exasperated tone, “Oh hunny! Where’s your diaper?”

(This is why I like to get her up first)

I tell them it’s time for breakfast and we head downstairs. Behind me is this conversation.

“Gook, you naughty.”

“I naughty.”

“Yep, you’re naughty.”

“I naughty.”

I love my kids!

We get downstairs and go into the library where we start operation diaper change/dress the kids. Cheyenne informs me that she has a “yucky bum” and Luke dances around going “bum, bum, bum”. I’m still mystified as to why my children use that word and I’m sure they must’ve picked it up from me and I must’ve picked it up from one of my non-American friends. Yes, I’ll blame them!

Once dressed we head into the kitchen and I sit them down for breakfast. Oatmeal for Cheyenne. Luke shouts “omeal!” I tell him he’s getting cereal (silverware is a work in progress and oatmeal and hands …. It’s a mess) and he just as joyfully shouts “seal!!”


While they’re having breakfast I unload and reload the dishwasher. I waffle over whether breakfast fits into my diet and decide I’ll have a banana. Luke wants one too and I peel one for him.


I moan about all the snow we have.


My mom calls and we talk for awhile with Cheyenne getting excited and yelling, “It’s grandpa!” (Little foot has a grandpa and apparently that translated into her having one. After trying to correct her, we finally do what we always do with Cheyenne’s nicknames … adopt them.)

“Yes, mommy’s talking to grandpa.”

After breakfast I say goodbye to my mom and start herding the kids upstairs. Luke is upset because he dropped his plate with the little bit of cereal he didn’t eat on the floor. Despite me cleaning it up he’s still crying. I carry him and his juice up to his room and set him on his bed. “You’ll be fine.”

Cheyenne’s waiting in the playroom. “Watch cd? Watch cd?” (This is code for watch tv, which actually means watch a movie.)

“What do you want to watch?”

“Watch Wobin Hood.”

“Okay.”

“And bad guys.” (bad guys are 100% necessary in her movie choice. She doesn’t care too much what she watches as long as it has bad guys.)

“And bad guys.”

I look for the movie and can’t find it. So I ask her where it is. Now she has this eerie talent of knowing what each movie is … as in, she can tell which VHS is which movie even when it’s not in the case. Of course she knows where it’s at. She completely avoids the movie closet and runs down the hall and opens the hall closet and points. Sure enough, there’s an uncased VHS on the floor. And it’s Robin Hood. I get her set up with her juice and blanket and start her movie. By this point Luke’s gotten over the cereal catastrophe and is running around his room squealing.

I go downstairs and walk into the living room to see my sewing machine is on. That’s right, I’d turned it on sometime during breakfast and then never used it. That reminds me (luckily!) that I’d also plugged the iron in. I figure since it’s heated up I’ll quick iron the two pieces of fabric I needed pressed. With that done I can hear Elaina waking up. Turn off the iron and sewing machine, go to get her.

She’s happy to see me and I lay her next time and act ridiculous just to see her smile and coo. After a bit of that I set up my computer and begin my morning routine. Check social media. Nothing much has happened over night. It’s pay day so I pull up the budget and spend time putting money where it needs to go and paying bills while entertaining Elaina.

Cheyenne comes downstairs to go potty and then stays to play with Elaina (“Wanna talk to ister! Hi Na!”). She asks for her gummy (potty training reward) and I go to get that and pick up some chips and dip for me to snack on. Yes, I know! It’s not diet conscious but after 2 weeks of not losing a single pound and 2 days of the kids being hellions, I need to stress eat!

Elaina’s getting tired, so I send Cheyenne upstairs. (No, you already watched a movie. Just play!) I put a pillow on my lap and set Elaina on top of it and get back to the computer and writing notes on my day. Soon she falls asleep. Phew!

It’s about 20 minutes to lunch time and I’m waffling on what to do. My legs are falling asleep and I haven’t touched my snack yet. I don’t want to wake Elaina, but … I must risk it.

I move the pillow. Success! For now …

I decide to sneak out to make lunch for the kids while she’s sleeping. I linger for awhile and pm my husband. I whine about my diet and how if I’m going to be an overweight hippo I might as well be a happy hippo and eat. He takes the whining well and points out how well I’ve done and that I did in fact eat lots of salty snacks last night which slows down progress. I feel bad whining about my 2 weeks of no loss when he’s been on this diet for about 2 years and has had lots of no loss stints.

I go and put my chips and dip back untouched. Lunch for the kids is pizza and a cookie. The best way to get temptation out of the house is feed it to the kids! Cheyenne comes down to help me carry the plates upstairs. Today lunch is being served in the playroom as it’s been an exhausting week. The kids like this. They know it means a movie with their food. Halfway finished Sword in Stone for them.

Back downstairs I semi-cave to my depression and eat a slice of pizza and grab a can of Dr. Pepper (my drink of choice!).

I settle into the rocker by the computer and decide to change up my schedule. Lately the after lunch/Elaina nap period has been dedicated to sewing. Today I’m going to do writer stuff! Right now my manuscript is with my editor and my recent suggested cover changes sent to the artist. I sent the last of the info my husband needed for my website yesterday and overall it’s a slow time for me.

I can’t really write during the day (one of my quirks) so I settle on critiquing a fellow writer’s novel. Between that and the Dr. Pepper I’ll have time to myself. Fingers crossed that the kids don’t fight. (Luke is laughing so that’s a good sign.)

After awhile of that, Elaina wakes up. I put Avengers in and cuddle with her. Cheyenne comes down shortly after to go potty again and I decide its snack time. Animal crackers for her and Luke, chips and dip for me (yes I caved!). Cheyenne stays with me and Elaina while Luke plays in the playroom. Elaina falls asleep and I get up to get drinks for the kids and brush Cheyenne’s hair. She goes back upstairs to “play nice with Gookie!”


I get some wet cat food for the older two cats (Kota and Tali). I’m sure they know the kittens got some last night and in the interest of self-preservation … I figure I better give them some too.

I settle in to check social media. Still a slow day.

Then Cheyenne calls me. I go upstairs and she tells me, “Gookie yucky.” To which Luke agrees, “I yucky.”

“Gookie need shower.”

Sure enough, he’s yucky, but since I don’t want to wake Elaina up by using the shower he doesn’t get that lucky! A quick diaper change (while Cheyenne goes potty again) and new clothes since his old ones stink, then it’s back to the playroom.

After that things start going crazy and my day flies by. Elaina wakes up and I put her on her playmat. She’s okay for awhile but quickly gets fussy.


I remember I planned on letting Cheyenne play outside, so I call her down.

With Elaina on the table in her bouncy, I set Cheyenne next to her and begin Operation Snow Time.


When she’s sufficiently bundled, I hand her the sled and she’s out the door. Luke stares out the window at her and grabs his shovel.


It’s about 4:00 at this point and I need to start planning dinner. Boil water for noodles and then … I realize I was supposed to start dinner about 3 hours ago. Oops. Well the kids will have food at least. I start prepping the roast and figure we’ll just eat it tomorrow. Once that’s in the oven I hold Elaina (who’s really not a happy camper) and we all watch Cheyenne out the window.


Luke decides he wants to go out too. But mommy knows this trick! It’s called, “I want to go outside but I absolutely hate snow.”

I tell him no, but he rejects that answer. He brings me his shoes, hate, coat, and one mitten. I stand firm. “No, you hate going outside.”

He starts piling his stuff in my lap and goes, “Here. Shoes.”

Obviously mommy isn’t smart enough to figure out what he wants.

My husband gets home and stirs the noodles and then takes Elaina. “Do you see Cheyenne attacking the trees?” “Yep, she’s been yelling at the snow all day to ‘get down’. I guess she finally decided to do something about it.”


At this point I give in (partially) to Luke’s adorable efforts to go outside. I partially dress him in his snow clothes and he stumps around the house as happy as can be. I finish making the kids dinner and call Cheyenne inside. She doesn’t want to come in, but eventually she does. Luke tries to open the door for her, still bundled up.


While they eat, I do dishes and talk with my husband (still dealing with princess crabby pants). I do my cooking for the week after dishes and relieve my husband of Elaina so he can eat. He finishes cooking the bacon for my dinner and then takes Elaina back. BLT’s for me!

Kids are all cranky by now and after awhile of watching Scooby-Doo with daddy, they go upstairs. My husband watches Elaina so I can work some more on my blog post.

7:00 is bedtime!! Luke has a shower while Cheyenne has her hair brushed again. My husband gets Luke a drink and tucks him in and I settle Cheyenne (in the corner of the room near her nightlight).

Ready to enjoy my night, I pull up some tv shows and prep snacks. The night concludes with a shower, tv, and snacking. In general this is my relaxing time where I can wind down at the end of the day.

Tonight Elaina’s being a buttmunch and won’t fall asleep. She’s happy cuddling though and eventually does fall asleep (11:20).

After 11 is me time. With everyone sleeping I can read, write, sew, or simply enjoy the peace. Lately I’m so tired I end up just going to sleep more often than not. I get a text from my sister though about a possible wedding in her future and ideas. I decide to stay up for awhile and brainstorm with her and get some writing done.

1:00 and I’m too tired to write anymore. I stumble around, getting ready for bed and finally collapse (hoping to not wake Elaina).

My writing quirks!

  • I rarely write any time except after 11pm. I struggle to fully concentrate on a story if I know I can be interrupted at any time by kids needing something. Everyone, husband included, is asleep at 11 and provided I’m not exhausted, I’m free to sink fully into a story. 
  • I always write from my bed and often write lying down. 
  • I need complete quiet when I write, so no cats, no kids, no music, no tv, no nothing while I’m working. 
  • I’m a very slow writer and sometimes I have long enough gaps in between writing sessions that I forget where I was going and sometimes end up with silly mistakes. My favorite was my characters having breakfast in chapter 4 and then the same characters eating breakfast on the same day, the same place, in chapter 6. I’d forgotten they’d eaten already! The truly funny part was no one had noticed. I was the one to eventually realize my characters were having a second breakfast. 
  • I’m a die-hard pantser. I can’t plot to save my life because I get frustrated with my writing if I don’t stick to the plot and give up whatever I’m working on. So all my stories are made up as I go along and I often get to a point where I realize something I had earlier no longer makes sense.
    You can find Kristen on Facebook, Twitter, and on her blog!
    It is very possible to be a writer on the side. Not every writer's day is filled with writing. And that's exactly why I wanted to do this blog series. 
    Every writer is different. We all have different quirks and life circumstances. There is no one way to be a writer. All you have to do is write.
    Come back next week for another guest! Check out the other "A Day in the Life of..." posts here!
    ~Allie

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4 comments:

Heather Hayden said...

Another great post in this series! I have a hard enough time juggling work/friends/personal life/writing...can't imagine trying to do it all with kids on top of it. You're amazing!

Aderyn Wood said...

I really don't know how you parents do it! How do you have the time and energy to do writing at all? Your children are beautiful! I'm a little disappointed we didn't get any cat pics though :P

Kristen Kooistra said...

I definitely have less energy when they're really little. Most of it is about making the time to write. Like I mentioned, usually after 11 there's no more distractions and I can go until I crash(provided I'm in the writing mood). But overall it's slow going.

I did realize I forgot cat pictures!

https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtl1/v/t1.0-9/10626761_10153438434038961_4654113200052746525_n.jpg?oh=8bb688e5e562e7dcde9e6e6446de4236&oe=57644084

From top to bottom there's:
MERLIN!!!!
Not Now Kota
and
Smokey Move!

And then there's Tali You Idiot.
https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/t31.0-8/10257943_10152274752138961_8864781956950129119_o.jpg

Tali doesn't really like other cats, so she didn't join in on the cat cuddle.

Allie May said...

Love the cat pictures!

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