The first order of business when we arrive home (after saying hello to the girls, of course) is to quickly change out of our work clothes. This can't come soon enough for me. I always feel so uncomfortable. We then have about 15 minutes or so to catch up the girls on their day before we begin The Bedtime Routine.
We bathe the girls every other night and we are pretty strict about sticking to that schedule for a variety of reasons. Have we skipped bath nights? Sure, it happens. In the summer, baths are often necessary on a non-bath night. Especially when someone dumps a shovel of sand over her head.
Rich usually caths Anna downstairs while I round up Allie, Em and buddies. The girls brush their teeth one at a time because they need to stand on a step stool in order to spit out toothpaste (big kid toothpaste.) The girls will brush by themselves to start and then an adult will finish. One girl is usually brushed before Rich and Anna arrive upstairs. Rich then takes over the teeth while I begin baths. We now bathe the girls one at a time.
Bath nights leave me with a back ache. One day the girls won't mind having a shower but, for now, I reach and bend with a sore back.
Teeth are brushed before tubs (side note - we sometimes call baths 'tubs') for a reason. We had too many incidents of spit water and toothpaste dumped on clean pajamas. Save the laundry!
Rich and Grammy (if she is here) will make sure the girls get dressed after their baths. They usually have the pleasant task of combing out the girls tangled hair. I use really good conditioner in it - the only kind that I can use. They have my hair and it is so long. I can't/won't wear my hair that long because of the tangles. It is nice how independent all three are now in terms of dressing themselves.
The girls are allowed to choose one book each for story time. It has taken a very long time for us to reach this point. There used to be a lot of tears when one (ahem, Emily) would plop down four books and insist that I had to read all of them (and sometimes I would.) We will read with them whenever they want during the day but at night, there simply isn't time for story hour. They need sleep.
And lately, someone has been picking Barbie Princess Charm School almost every night. That is the longest book EVER.
If I'm home, I am the one who reads while Rich either starts dinner or picks up the downstairs. The four of us read on one of their beds and then they all go to their separate rooms to be tucked in. I'd say that 50% of the time, I don't hear a peep out of them once I am back downstairs. 25% of the time, I do have to return for a "valid reason" - someone wants their hair up, someone has to go to the bathroom, someone needs more water, someone is done with their water, someone is missing a buddy. The other 25% of the returns are related to "Mommy, sleep in my bed with me."
On average, the girls are usually asleep around 7:15.