Sunday Routines

by Grace aka costofcollege

I enjoy reading the New York Times “Sunday Routine” series, where “prominent New Yorkers recount their weekend rituals”.  It fascinates me that so many stick to a consistent routine on weekends, but I must admit that I’m the same.  These days my Sundays are usually relaxed, often taken up by a leisurely family activity followed by a grilled steak dinner.  Pretty boring.

Make-up guru Bobbi Brown usually takes a walk and then does brunch with her son.  Tim Gunn of Project Runway always spends a few hours at the Metropolitan Museum, where he has a lunch of tea sandwiches with a glass or two or wine.  Yankees Executive Jane M. Rogers usually sees her grandson and cleans house while still checking in on job duties.

What’s your Sunday routine?


65 thoughts on “Sunday Routines

  1. If we’re home, church, lunch out, grocery shopping, laundry/HGTV. As the kids have gotten older and easier, we’ve gotten better at maybe squeezing in a bike ride or something like that. Maybe a trip to the pool. We’re not very consistent, though.

    Two weeks ago, on Sunday afternoon, my youngest was taking a nap, my older two were playing in the yard without bothering us, and DW and I spent two-and-a-half hours on the porch listening to music, talking, and playing Cribbage. That was nice.

  2. The only routine to Sunday is Sunday breakfast at 10:00 am. Anyone and everyone is invited though it is usually just my kids and husband.

    After breakfast the day is up for grabs. Sometimes it is just shopping, wash and making dinner. Sometimes we go out for the rest of the day and eat out. It is always relaxing and gets me in the mood for the new week.

  3. I still receive weekend delivery of the NYT because it is part of my former Sunday routine. I really miss just being able to sit down with the Times and read it before heading out to the gym or brunch.

    My Sundays still have a pattern, but they’re always different because it depends on sports and parties. We are up early because hebrew school starts early and we are part of a carpool.
    The exception to this is when DD has a sleepover, and she might miss hebrew school and we get a few free hours. She plays all of her soccer games in the fall and spring on Sunday afternoons. The time is different every week, so the rest of our day is generally based around that game. It still leaves us with a decent amount of free time, and she will usually have lunch or plans with some kids from hebrew school.

    We might meet grandparents for lunch or dinner on Sunday depending on the rest of our schedule.
    We don’t have a set routine for Sunday night dinners. It really depends on the time of year – whether we can BBQ, or just eat some leftovers because it is so cold and dark in the winter.

    The 7 weeks of camp provide a new pattern because we’ve been going for long bike rides or runs. I think I might convince DH to go into the city this Sunday because the weather guys are finally showing no rain.

    I was with my friends from CA yesterday as they are visiting NY. Their kids are 18 – 22, and they kept walking through lawn sprinklers because they couldn’t believe that water was just flowing so freely every where. It was their first visit out of a drought stricken CA in over a year. They did get drenched in a huge down pour later, but that is very typical in NY this summer.

  4. I remember the days when my kids participated in sports, and our weekends were dictated by practice and game schedules. I don’t miss that at all.

  5. I subscribe to print NYTimes 7 days a week, but as I age, I increasingly find myself reading online so I can make the font the size I want!

  6. “DW and I spent two-and-a-half hours on the porch listening to music, talking, and playing Cribbage” Sounds heavenly!

  7. I like to read the Sunday Seattle Times (paper copy) and then go for a run. And then fit in grocery shopping at some point (which is a must-do, not a like to do).

  8. Our Sunday routine varies depending on whether it is summer or not. Most of the year, on Sunday we get up somewhat early because the kids all have to be at Chinese school by 9. DH takes them, and I work on class prep or whatever administrivia needs to be done. I also wait for the Peapod delivery, which I always arrange for Sunday morning. In the afternoon, if it is soccer or lacrosse season, DD may have a game and needs to be taken. DH may do some chores around the house, or sometimes he gets a work call and needs to do something. I usually stop working around 5 or so. We do homework checks, which can get pretty involved with the older kids. We get everyone prepared for the week. I often make a more involved dinner than I would during the week, and while I am doing that, I often read some of the Sunday paper. Oh, and the kids fight over the Sunday comics. That is a ritual.

  9. I forgot to do the summer routine. In the summer, I do not work on weekends, and the kids do not have Chinese school. If we are in town, which we haven’t been the last couple of weekends, we often go to the town pool because on Sunday morning, they allow big floaties. There is a virtual arms race of floaties – multikid attack ships outfited with water guns, giant sea creatures, and last year, replicas of food items. We stay for a couple of hours, get lunch at the snackbar, and then come home to face chores.

  10. Our current Sundays are spent at the beach. This involves getting up at 7 to pack the cooler and load the car, shower, etc. and have everyone in the car no later than 8. If the weather is bad we get up later and usually head to brunch.

    Oh, and I do my laundry and pack that’s always consistent. If I’m working at home the upcoming week, I pace as I keep thinking I should be packing.

  11. Our Sundays are pretty relaxed- we usually sleep in, go for a walk, watch some baseball, and do some reading. We attend the evening Mass at church, and often go out for a casual dinner with friends afterward.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised- being from flyover country my norms are very different from those of New Yorkers- but none of the “Sunday routines” on the NYTimes I read even acknowledged that Sunday is a religious day for many people, much less involved attendance at any service. That’s probably a good thing- it wasn’t good for anybody when people felt pressured into being religious. Better to have smaller churches of people actually choosing to be there instead of it being a peer pressure thing.

  12. COC, that is one of my favorite columns in the Sunday Times!

    We’re going through a transition right now. This is the first summer that all three of my kids have jobs, and this past Sunday they were all working and none of them were home. It was very weird and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I tried to convince DH that we should take a ride and do something but he was very involved in a home project and didn’t want to stop. I went to church and then kind of puttered around doing laundry, de-cluttering, making a grocery list, but I felt like I should be doing more. This weekend we’re bringing the younger two to camp and they’ll be away for two weeks. I’m travelling for work one of those weeks, followed by a girls weekend away. I think I’ll appreciate the quiet more on a work day than on a weekend.

  13. Rio, when the kids were small, church was part of our Sunday routine. In those days, I worked PT so I had more time. Also, when they were small, they didn’t do Chinese school, and then later, they went on Saturdays. We had to switch to Sundays once we had multiple kids participating in sports. My oldest always has CC meets on Saturdays, and the others have Saturday practices. So we stopped going to church. My DH isn’t happy about it because he always went to church as a kid.

  14. On Sunday mornings we have a couple of hours of quiet time. When school is in session, it is the time to study for tests, complete projects etc. Then, it is off to church mid morning on Sundays. Lunch is usually some sort of fast casual take out. There are no sports or activities scheduled on Sundays normally. Sunday afternoons, I will usually undertake any shopping that requires more time. If my parents want to join me, I take them as well. If there are no errands, I will just walk around my neighborhood. I really don’t like make up games intruding on Sundays and I have declined Sunday morning games. Saturdays are the busier day – activities and sports take up a lot of the day. In the summer Saturdays are more relaxed.

  15. In flyover country we go to church, including Sunday School, which the wife or I usually teach. There is often a social lunch event with the church people following the service. Dinner at home, often with an in law or two. Our middle school and elementary aged children are a part of it all.

  16. I meant to add that we usually talk about something from the sermon at lunch or dinner on Sunday.

  17. Sunday is usually “big breakfast day” meaning whoever’s around makes their own egg-based creation to go with whatever else someone wanted to make (normally including a breakfast meat, a selection of cut fruit/berries, pancakes or waffles or French toast). Plenty of coffee. It’s a homemade Sunday brunch, so way less $$ than the buffet places would charge, better tasting, and if you come to the kitchen/table in your pjs, that’s socially acceptable. We don’t eat again until dinner, so having a “big breakfast” makes sense.

    Since we have the late afternoon church option, that’s what we tend to pick. Then whenever grilling is possible, usually only precluded by rain…cold and snow are not barriers, we have something from the grill for dinner.

    In between breakfast and church is about the only time DW and I have the time and are motivated enough to tackle all the mundanities that have come up during the week that we deferred…who’s going to what mandatory thing, which nights can we all have dinner together and what will we plan, etc. Maybe do some reading/yardwork, too.

  18. We have started attending a Unitarian Universalist church on Sundays. I like that it gives a bit of structure to our days. DH is less certain about the endeavor (he thinks they shouldn’t be able to call themselves a church if they don’t want to take a stand on the existence of a deity). . We usually get in a some NYT before, by sedating the kids with TV and pastries. I love to read the Social Q’s out loud and predict and argue about the answers.

    Weekend days are challenging with a bunch of littles. Going anywhere is hard – you either need to plan around nap time, or sacrifice the nap and tolerate a cranky kid the rest of the day. Ours have always been morning nappers (11-1), which makes it hard to plan much. In the new house with the unruly yard, we have been trying to entertain in the weekend afternoons – families with kids that are relatively close in age and with parents who like to drink.

  19. @Rhett – I haven’t been reading those regularly since they started charging to reading the NY Times online. I love those !

  20. Our Sunday’s are variable based on kid activities. However, laundry is typically going all day. Each person does their own. We usually have dinner about 6 pm. My routine is PBS starting at 7 pm.

  21. Our Sunday’s have no set pattern. I go grocery shopping on Saturdays. Laundry is done through the week. We will cook, do some catch up work, go to the gym, etc. Usually we try and have dinner with MIL.

    During football season, Sunday is NFL game day, so DH and the kids usually watch a game or two. I might watch a few minutes here and there, but I usually don’t sit through an entire game.

  22. Sundays are usually spent in pjs until mid morning (unless we go to Church for 10:30a), with leisurely breakfasts. Then we run errands, work in the yard, take a walk, whatever we want. DS sleeps horribly during the day (half hour here or there), so we really don’t plan around him. He falls asleep in the carrier, stroller, and car seat well, so errands are sometimes the best way to get him to nap. If we didn’t go to Church in the morning, we head for “last call” mass at 5pm. Dinner is usually easy – crock pot, grilled, or left overs.

    We have a party on Saturday and I’m hoping for lousy weather on Sunday so we can justify watching DVR all day. And nap for hours. Last Sunday was perfect for that – we had lunch with friends, and then slept during the afternoon. DS napped on me for the entire afternoon (which was great because he needed it) which I used as my justification for watching TV all afternoon. Then we went to Church, and had left overs for dinner.

  23. Rhett-
    Just got back from your area of the country. I am envious of how much more daylight you have then we do. I love how the sun is up so early, about forty minutes earlier than where I live. It would be great to have the sun come up at 5:20 every day, instead of my 6:00. You can get so much more outside work done before it gets too hot.

  24. You can get so much more outside work done before it gets too hot.

    If the sun came up 40 min earlier wouldn’t it get hot 40 min earlier?

  25. “am envious of how much more daylight you have then we do.”

    Try living there in December. Plus, when you’re that far east, it feels like it’s getting dark right about the time you’re finishing lunch.

  26. But I don’t mean to sound too negative. The summers and autumns there are incredible.

  27. You know, part of me wonders how much the people in the article just mentally converted “periodic events” into “routine,” because the series is about routines.

    Our routine changes depending on a number of factors. When it’s Hebrew School, the primary constant is that I’m up at 7 to make chocolate chip pancakes. Then in good weather, DH and I play golf while kids are in school; in bad weather, DH does drop off and I hit Wegman’s on the way to pickup. When Hebrew School isn’t in session, in good weather we get up even earlier and go play golf, and I find some other time to make the pancakes (brinner makes a frequent appearance).

    The afternoon during football season is very easy: I plan out the week’s meals and then cook a bunch of stuff while watching football. In the summer, with camps and various events and such, it is far less structured and can involve the pool and pool grill, puttering around the house, errands, or just flat flopping on the couch (more of the latter of late, as this summer has been guano-crazy so far).

    My normal favorite part of Sunday is the Sunday dinner that comes out of the cooking. My mom’s family always did the after-church Sunday dinner, and this feels like our version of that, which feels comfortable and nice to me. But I now have a new (if temporary) routine with DD: I got her started watching “Poldark” on Masterpiece, and she was hooked from Day 1, so now I let her stay up late with me on Sundays to watch that live — after all, it’s not a school night, so it feels like a nice mom-daughter summer treat. :-)

  28. “The summers and autumns there are incredible.” +1000. For 5-6 months out of the year, it’s great, it’s the other 6-7 months that sometimes make you question your choices (like why I didn’t make a bajillion dollars before the tech bubble burst and now spend my life living the “Endless Summer”).

    Like LfB, my family used to do Sunday Dinner, then it got moved to Saturday. With mom here we are starting to bring something like that back. DS is getting more interested in hanging out at the dinner table, and I do want him to know what DH and I had growing up. I think this weekend I’ll start planning family dinners like that.

  29. I am an atheist but I do miss the Sundays of my youth. We’d go to church (didn’t like that) but then we would get donuts from the grocery and then spend the whole rest of the day around the house with the family. My dad would do a project or work on the car and my brother and I would assist or we’d make something with our mom. But everything was closed, there were no activities and it was a real family day for everyone we knew.

    Now it seems nearly impossible to carve out a family day with any regularity.

    We sleep in, if its not hot we’ll do a family hike and then generally fool around at the house; take care of things, I’ll go to the grocery, kids enjoy relaxing and watching tv and then a nice dinner – usually grilled.

  30. Rhode–I am catching up and just got to your post yesterday. I am in Chicago and would love to get together! Is there an email at which to contact you?

  31. We don’t have a single routine, and sometimes Sunday is focused around a swim meet or performance or similar kid activity, or we’re at the beach, but there are some regularly recurring things. The mundane — Sunday is a big laundry / housework / Costco day. It’s the best sleep-in day since no one needs to be anywhere bright and early. After I’m up and the tea is made, I’ll put on classical music and leave that playing all morning. Saturday is more of the big breakfast day (it’s my husband’s trick for getting the kids up and ready for chorus) so Sunday is pastries or something simple. I read the paper if I can and the kids read at least the comics. It’s the day I can spend the most time cooking dinner, and can do things that need me around to tend them, so having a nice family dinner with all the sides is common. However if I instead spend the day doing yardwork dinner will not be fancy.

    Dang, now I’m thinking about home stuff instead of work and it’s not even 9 am yet on a Thursday.

  32. “However, laundry is typically going all day. Each person does their own.”

    You’ve managed to organize this well. I’ve taken over all laundry responsibilities in our home because otherwise it’s too chaotic, with people usually leaving their clothes in the washer and dryer and not putting it away. I’d rather just do it myself.

    As far as TV watching, I try to catch some of the morning news talk shows, but usually only manage to watch about 20-30 minutes if at all. My H has his evening shows that he hates to miss, Game of Thrones &/or Empire or others that I don’t keep track of. We rarely go out at night, which seems to be common among folks we know.

  33. I see it — meetings this morning so I’ll get back to you later.

  34. @Meme — Just caught up on the updates and wanted to express my relief/happiness that things are back under control. “Congrats” seems too strong but am very happy for you.

  35. Ada– We attend a UU church as well. My dh grew up in a church and I did not, so finding something that met what we both wanted for ourselves and our kids was hard at first.

    Sunday routines? We usually do what my kids call “special breakfast” on Sunday mornings, and then church. After that we return so the youngest can nap. Usually a library visit is in there, and some cooking ahead for the week. Sometimes it’s gardening or outdoor play time for the kids, or we break out their bicycles. We don’t get too far afield yet because of our napper, but I think those days are on the decline so we might find ourselves out more often. We’ve started going out to lunch after church every few weeks or so just to try to get our kids (and us) more used to going out to a restaurant and acting vaguely civilized.

  36. “However, laundry is typically going all day. Each person does their own.”

    It occurs to me that this is good practice for college. Besides the mechanics of doing laundry, they also need to learn how to deal with not having washing machine availability align with their schedules, and the courtesy of emptying the machine promptly.

  37. Especially during the school year, Sundays are usually our decompress days; Saturdays are filled with sports, music, speech, debate, and we also usually do our weekly Costco shopping on Saturdays (I love when they go to their holiday hours), and I try to get most of the laundry done then.

    On Sundays, we sleep late, and generally laze around most of the morning, reading, catching up on stuff on the DVR, and eating when we get hungry. In the afternoons, I usually try and get stuff done on my todo list, or regular chores and yardwork.

    Sunday evenings are often our movie night, if the kids have done all their homework, chores, and practicing before dinner. I’ll also often cook a lot of something on Sunday afternoon that will provide several meals for the upcoming week.

  38. I think of good weather in eastern New England as three season, not two, although it is debatable if the period from Easter to Memorial Day merits the name “spring”. I only need the air conditioning at night two weeks during a normal summer, and maybe four weeks during the day. But we are east and north in the time zone. Milo is right that for the four plus months we are on standard time it gets dark so early that it is depressing.

    For the past 15 years around here, Sundays from Labor Day until the Superbowl pass quickly with NFL games. This year there will be four on many Sundays – the London games start it off in the morning. I tend to do all the laundry (adjacent to the media room), ironing and mending. I also cook up the stews and soups and other multi meal items for the week – NFL Red Zone on a device or the TV sound through the Sonos system keeps me going while in the kitchen. April to Sept we go to Red Sox games a couple of times a month on Sundays. Sunday nights there are cable and PBS multi episode shows. Sunday was the day for our one sit down hot breakfast of the week at noon, although that may be over with low salt on top of diabetic regime.

    February and March are the hardest months for weather and except for a couple of good years also the worst months for professional sports in Boston since the 70s for hockey and the 80s for basketball.

    Of course, we are together all the time and for us the weekend days are mainly distinguished from weekday by traffic during the week and crowded shopping and entertainment venues Saturday and Sunday.

  39. During the school year, our whole weekend is decompression time. It’s sad how much work and pressure the kids have. Friday nights are my favorite. For us, Sunday and Saturday are pretty much the same.

  40. When I was a teen, I felt that the one hour of church on Sunday and the services especially at Easter that fell during exam season were very unproductive. I felt that all my peers didn’t have to attend services, so they must be getting ahead. Now, I know that somehow families adjust to make certain things a priority and it all works out.

  41. “February and March are the hardest months for weather”

    Agree! If and when my schedule permits, I’d like to travel to warm weather locations during this time. One of my elderly neighbors, who would probably never move away from NY, spend 2-3 weeks in the Caribbean every February.

  42. See, I always thought April and May were the worst. February and March, you expect it to be cold, and you’re not disappointed. Plus you can get a lot of sunny, if short days, and some real snow.

    But come April and May, everyone on Facebook who lives anywhere else is enjoying all these great days hiking or playing tennis or eating at sidewalk restaurants, and all you get is just 40 degrees and gray. Forever.

  43. Milo – It’s not as cold and bleak in April as you think, at least in RI. Mid April is when I break out my patio furniture and hammock. By then, weekends get nice enough to spend some time outside. I take them down in mid/end of October when the winds get crazy. February is hard because that’s when we get most of our snow. March has brought at least one ice storm. By March I’m done and love those sneak peaks of spring.

  44. Ditto Milo. I am good with winter; you know it, you’re prepared for it, there’s a real beauty to the cold and crispness and snow (yeah, ok, I’m weird), and there’s a ton of stuff you can do in the snow. It’s March and early April around here that suck — they tease you with warmth and then blast back to nasty; you get more rain/freezing rain/ice, so just as you’re getting eager to get back outside and get moving again, you’re shunted back indoors; and then when it does warm up it’s just nasty and muddy, so you still can’t really enjoy outdoor things.

  45. “Milo – It’s not as cold and bleak in April as you think, at least in RI”

    lol. Yes it is! I was in biking distance to Rhode Island. We left on our deployment in the middle of May–MAY!!!–and DW was wearing the baby blue toggle overcoat that she bought in the big Macy’s in Manhattan. It was cold and bleak and gray and foggy, and nobody thought that was atypical. I was wearing a full orange parka on the bridge, as a cold, damp wind was relentlessly blowing in from Long Island Sound.

  46. . I was wearing a full orange parka on the bridge, as a cold, damp wind was relentlessly blowing in from Long Island Sound.

    That reads like the first line of a Tom Clancy novel.

  47. Milo,

    For RI, keep in mind the weather can be much warmer just a short distance inland. Were were in RI in June and it was in the 60s at the beach but drive a mile inland and it was in the 80s.

  48. “That reads like the first line of a Tom Clancy novel.”

    Perhaps, but just about everything for the next six months was so mind-numbingly boring, it would be a pretty short novel.

  49. “Were were in RI in June and it was in the 60s at the beach but drive a mile inland and it was in the 80s.”

    Yeah, that’s true of the water anywhere. In Newport, specifically, there’s a big difference between hiking the cliff walk and strolling around Thames St.

  50. That’s why I like to take our big vacation in April. As much as I enjoy skiing in the winter, I’m looking forward to spring by the time April comes around. DS went skiing in VT the first weekend in May. He wore shorts and a tropical print/luau type shirt. From the photos he took and what others were wearing, it almost looked like a beach, except that the “sand” was white.

  51. That’s why I like to take our big vacation in April.

    To someplace warm? For me, we do our big warm weather trip in February because much of the perceived value is in the temperature delta between where you’re coming from and where you’re going. I think our best ever was leaving for the Bahamas in February during a record cold snap we got into the car and it started with the slow chug of a very cold engine and the temp was showing as -4.

    If you go in April if could be 70 in Boston and 80 in the Bahamas.

  52. My perspective is from someone who doesn’t like winter weather, but is willing to bear with it during a couple of months, particularly with the distraction of the holidays. By February (actually by January!) I am tired of the relentlessly cold days, and consider the intervals during March when the highs break 50 as welcome relief and harbingers of better days to come.

  53. I guess you and I are different. Or the climate has changed. I’ve been here nearly a decade and the difference in spring is astounding. This spring was much more like northern NJ than when i moved here. Or I just came to expect it and actually liked it. It’s fun to think you’re living in a mystery novel. My favorite days were the ones during my dissertation research when I’d be out on the bay in clear skies and calm wind and hear a small craft advisory for RI Sound or BI Sound because of high winds, rain, fog, and waves. I never got it. My least favorite days were in Jan/Feb when I would help a colleague get her sediment cores. Cold metal coring equipment, near-freezing water, and sometimes frozen mud. I appreciated my water samples that were taken through a pump.

  54. Yet last time I was in the Bahamas during February it was really too cold to go in the water, and it was not really beach weather. Further south is less risky for February vacations. One of my best antidotes to winter is my outdoor hot tub. Sitting out there in 30 degree weather enables me to enjoy the crisp winter air but remain nice and toasty.

  55. I’m fine going somewhere with temps in the 60’s-70’s where I can wear a light sweater or jacket. It doesn’t have to be tropical, although we did the Keys this past April. I try to avoid big trips during the peak summer months and I prefer April-May. Moderate temps, less crowds, off-peak prices but you still get longer days due to daylight savings time. I love summers in the Northeast. Lake Winnipesaukee, the Cape, the Jersey shore, Shelter Island. I will hit all four at some point this summer.

  56. For those who like April/May trips, I recommend the National parks in the southwest in that timeframe if you’re ever interested. The hiking is much more pleasant than in the summer.

  57. When I was a teen, I felt that the one hour of church on Sunday and the services especially at Easter that fell during exam season were very unproductive. I felt that all my peers didn’t have to attend services, so they must be getting ahead. Now, I know that somehow families adjust to make certain things a priority and it all works out.

    The totebag teen perspective. The last thing on a non-totebag teen’s mind about being forced to go to church is that they are falling behind on school work. The non-totebagger is more concerned about missing recreational activities or goofing off time.

  58. ” I’d be out on the bay in clear skies and calm wind and hear a small craft advisory for RI Sound or BI Sound because of high winds, rain, fog, and waves. I never got it.”

    One final story, I promise. I have this very clear memory of driving [the boat] “home” late one morning. And it was about as thick a fog as you could get; really, there was little point in even being up on the bridge, because you couldn’t even see your own rudder behind you. I was just staring at the radar screen.

    And then right about in the area where you round Montauk to enter Block Island Sound, we came out of it so suddenly, just like you often see when flying on an airliner. It was bright and sunny and a really nice day, and we looked back and it looked exactly like this thick blanket of white cotton had been laid across the ocean (because it wasn’t even very tall, maybe 50 or 100 feet), and its distinctly defined edge was as straight as a line extending as far as you could see. I’ve never seen anything like it since.

  59. “February and March are the hardest months for weather”

    Once I’m no longer constrained by school schedules, that’s when I plan to go skiing.

  60. “it was in the 60s at the beach but drive a mile inland and it was in the 80s.”

    “Yeah, that’s true of the water anywhere. ”

    I beg to differ.

  61. “For those who like April/May trips”

    It’s also a good time to go to Disneyland.

    In general, it’s a good time to travel in the continental US. Not too hot, not too cold, and not too crowded.

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