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A Day in the Life of Vanessa Mesta

Vanessa Mesta is self-employed and in the process of opening a Once Upon A Child store in Denton. She has been married to Jose Zepeda for 11 years. They have two boys, Joseph, 6, and Baltazar, 2.

6AM The alarm goes off; getting out of bed is the hardest part. Once I'm up there's no time to waste. It takes me 15 minutes tops to get ready; no time for the hair straightener nowadays.

6:15AM I work from home, so I head to my computer and respond to the most urgent emails.

6:30AM Time to make breakfast for 6-year-old Joseph. The usual: hash browns, a cookie and a cup of milk. We’re going on three years now with the same menu, but he refuses anything else. I'm a pro; it only takes me five minutes to whip up a fresh order of hash browns. I simultaneously pack him lunch. Today calls for a PB&J sandwich, Limon chips, sliced apples and a fruit roll-up.

7AM I carry Joseph from his bedroom to the living room, where I turn on the television and tune in to Pokémon to get him to wake up. He eats his breakfast while I prepare his clothes for the day. I help him get dressed, brush his teeth and, if there's time, put gel in his hair. That's only about 20 percent of the time.

7:30AM If 2-year-old Baltazar hasn't woken up already – although he usually has – I get him out of bed and head to the minivan. We're off to school.

7:45AM Run errands around town. With Baltazar in tow, the errands take a lot longer than they used to. But he's a good baby and looks forward to the balloon he knows he'll receive from our friendly bank teller.

8:45AM Arrive back home. All those errands made Baltazar hungry. I prepare breakfast for him. He's a big eater; sometimes I think he eats more than Joseph. Today it's ham and eggs, potatoes, a Nutri-Grain bar and a cup of milk. For me it's coffee, coffee, coffee. By now my body is starting to go through withdrawal.

9:30AM By this time the emails and voice messages have piled up. So time to hit it hard. I try to get a good hour's worth of work while Baltazar plays with his toys. I respond to as many emails and voice messages as I can, answer new incoming calls, work on the scheduling for my husband's trim carpentry business and the never-ending preparations for the grand opening of Once Upon A Child. Today I'm setting up the website. This is a first for me. I'm not the savviest with technology, so this is definitely a challenge. The excitement of the store keeps me going.

10:30AM I haven't gotten far when Baltazar makes it clear he will no longer be ignored. He's starting preschool in the fall, and he's definitely ready. So snack time it is. I serve him some Goldfish and a cup of milk.

11AM Back to work. I continue to work on the Once Upon A Child website. After an hour and a half, it seems to be coming together … I think.

12:30PM Lunchtime. I prepare lunch for Baltazar and myself. Something quick: a ham and cheese sandwich for me, the same for my son. Add some veggie chips to our plate, a cup of milk for him and water for me.

1PM Baltazar is ready for his nap. No complaints from him; he willingly complies. Five minutes tops and he's out.

1:15PM Time to get back to my computer; that website isn't going to finish itself. The phone is pretty quiet today, so I am able to get quite a bit done.

2:45PM Baltazar wakes up. He's always in a good mood because he knows it's time to pick up big brother from school – the highlight of his day.

3:15PM We pick up Joseph from school and head to the school playground.

4:15PM We arrive home and immediately give them an afternoon snack so they can make it to dinner without any junk food.

4:30PM I head back to my computer to respond to some final emails before the boys start fighting. What happened to “When is brother coming home?”

5PM Time to get dinner started. Today is enchiladas, rice and beans – a family favorite. Even Joseph, the picky eater, has no complaints.

6PM Daddy's home just in time for dinner. He heads straight to the bathroom to wash his hands, and the boys eagerly follow suit. They haven't seen him all day.

6:15PM Dinnertime.

6:45PM Joseph heads to the computer to complete his daily required 15 minutes of IXL Math, while Daddy plays with Baltazar and Mommy cleans up the kitchen or vice versa.  Daddy doesn't mind helping around the house. That's one of the things we love about him.

7PM The kids usually need to get out of the house by now, so if the day is nice we'll go for a walk around the neighborhood, kick the soccer ball around, anything – as long as it's outside.

8PM Start the bedtime routine: take the boys to shower, get them in their PJs, brush their teeth, read a story and off to sleep.

9PM Mommy's time to shower. I don't like waking up 15 minutes earlier in the morning to do it then. I'm definitely not a morning person.

9:20PM Pick up any toys the boys left lying around and throw a load of laundry in the washer.

9:30PM Sit down and watch something from the DVR. If I forward through the commercials, I can watch a whole episode of The Mentalist in 30 minutes.

10:15PM Prayer time. Thankful for all of the blessings in my life. I wouldn't trade places with anybody else.