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A Tuesday in the Life of Shannon Daniels

Shannon Daniels has been active-duty Navy for 15 years and counting. She is currently stationed in Fort Worth, where she’s an aviation ordnanceman— storing, issuing and receiving bombs, missiles and other arms. She’s also mom to 7-year-old Jessiana and two somewhat feral toddlers, Poppy, 3, and Maddox, 2. In her free time, Daniels loves to paint, and she and her husband Key, a full-time student and stay-at-home dad, enjoy a good cup of coffee.
6AM My alarm goes off. I have physical training (PT) today so I have to be at the gym by 0700. I wake up our 7-year-old, Jessiana. She’s slow as molasses when she starts her morning routine—she spends at least 15 minutes sitting on the potty, staring into space.
6:05AM My gym bag is already packed and my workout attire is laid out, so as soon as I finish brushing my teeth, I toss on my clothes and hit the road.
6:20AM I pull through Dunkin’ Donuts for my daily 99-cent hot coffee refill. With the military discount, it ends up being 97 cents. Score. I call in my breakfast order to Lulu’s Tacos on Las Vegas Trail. They have the most bomb breakfast tacos in the city—and only a buck each! I’ll save them and likely most of my coffee until after the gym.
6:50AM At the gym, my co-workers and I go through a series of warmups and calisthenics before being released to PT on our own today. I decide to take spin class. It sounds so innocent, but it will leave you sweaty, lightheaded and thoroughly worked out. On a good day I vomit in the trash can. I hate cardio.
8AM In the locker room, I message my husband, Key, to ask if Jessiana got off to school OK and see how the toddlers are doing. We use Marco Polo, a video app, so I can see their beautiful faces—curly hair all askew, jammies breakfast-stained. Poppy, my 3-year-old, babbles on about potty songs and pleas for candy.
8:15AM I hit the shower, put on my uniform and pull my hair up into a sad little bun, securing the flyaways with bobby pins. Then I grab my bag and head to my building.
9AM Our morning meeting goes off without a hitch. We have a couple of arms issues and turn-ins today. A few people have meetings or appointments. Easy day.
10AM I head out to where the guys already have an arms issue well in hand to make sure everything is in compliance. These guys rarely need any correction.
11AM We break for lunch. Things are slow today, so we’ll take two hours because some of the guys want to hit the gym again.
11:15AM I check Marco Polo. The toddlers are in the backyard. Maddox (my 2-year-old) has disrobed as usual and would remove his diaper too except that we now duct-tape it on. Yes, you read that correctly—we stretch the side bands so he has plenty of wiggle room and put a long strip of duct tape around his waist ending on his lower bum. Many well-meaning moms tell me to let him take the diaper off and roam naked, but with back-to-back babies and a dog with a sensitive stomach, I’ve cleaned up enough poo that I refuse to willingly invite more.
12PM I break out a small painting kit I have in my bag and paint at my desk until my guys get back. All else fades away. It’s delicious.
1:30PM Marines arrive to turn in their ammo. Their paperwork is messed up, so we turn them away until they fix it.
3:15PM I’m out of my uniform and headed to the commissary (base grocery store) to pick up what we need.
5PM Home, where I’m sacked by toddlers. I give hugs and kisses to curly, earth-smelling heads and kiss the aloof 7-year-old who is secretly brimming with a million things to tell me. My husband briefs me on the kids and what’s going on in the world today. We discuss the rise and fall of humanity as the kids interject and bounce off the walls. He’s already started dinner—I’ll just have to finish up while he’s at the gym.
5:45PM I put away the groceries and Jessiana briefs me on her new best friend (though she can’t remember her name). Throughout this exchange, the toddlers are destroying the house and climbing on me like I’m a jungle gym. I stop Maddox from riding the dog, tell Poppy to stop climbing on the counters and scream “Share!” no less than nine times.
6:15PM I finish up dinner. Key’s made chicken breast, broccoli and mac and cheese. The girls eat the chicken drowned in ketchup, throw the broccoli and devour the mac and cheese. Maddox doesn’t eat much; he’s going through a weird stage.
7:15PM After I bathe the toddlers and Jessiana showers, we all head to the living room to watch The Octonauts for wind-down time.
8PM Key gets home from the gym. We give hugs and kisses to the babies and begin putting them down. Key takes Maddox to his room, and I carry Poppy to the girls’ bedroom where we both climb up on Jessiana’s bed and say night-time prayers. Then I put Poppy in bed. She immediately tells me she’ll be my “bess fwiend” if she can stay up for a little longer. I tell her no, kiss her head and tell her I love her. As I leave the room I tell both girls they are “black and full of stars.” They say, “We know.” I reply, “Love you, sleep well,” and close the door.
8:30PM Key and I meet up in the living room for some much-needed “us” time. We get in two episodes of Sense8 before calling it a night.
10:30PM We head to the bedroom, do evening routines and are on our way to sleep by 2300. In a few hours we’ll hit the repeat button and do it all over again.

Diaries are penned by moms (and dads) in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The authors volunteer to share a day of their choosing and are not paid or endorsed by DFWChild. Send your diary to editorial@dfwchild.com. All submissions are subject to editing and may be cut for space.