Friday, April 3, 2015

A few years ago I posted a sample daytime itinerary, living with three kids.

I looked it up recently, curious to see how my days differ from back then.
And, just to satiate your curiosity, here is a rough sample timeline of  our current daily schedule for comparison.

*Times are very roughly estimated due to the fact that I didn't really actually have any time to look at the clock.*

7:30 a.m. Get up an hour later than my daily ideal, thanks to staying up waayy too late the night before working on installing flooring in the downstairs bedrooms. And then trying to squeeze in some relaxing time with the husband and a Dr. Who episode.

Kids are sleeping in, due to having getting to stay up while we worked on their floors. Not to mention the fact that one child (who shall remain nameless) stayed up equally late with her book-light and a copy of Billy Whiskers.

7:45 a.m. Somehow manage to stumble into some jeans and boots and saddle up the Haflinger for a morning training session. Clouds are looking ominous but we still squeeze in a 30-45 minute ride. No better way to start a spring morning.

8:30 a.m. Get caught in a torrential downpour. Strip the tack off the horse in record speed and race inside utterly and completely sopping wet.

Kids are groggily emerging from their bedrooms and seem impressed at how bedraggled and dripping their mother appears....

8:45 a.m. Appease the starving troops with some warm milk and promise more forthwith. Run upstairs to change into non-dripping clothes. Pop off a couple emails I have been meaning to get to for a few weeks.

9:00  a.m. Get Margaret started on piano while I whip up some scrambled eggs and muffins. Cooking process takes 5x longer than necessary in order to accommodate having two (adorable) "helpers". 

Try to ignore the state of the kitchen as we sit down to eat and have prayer and Bible time. Littlest one makes it known that she would like to have breakfast, too. Interrupt my eating to get her up. Return to the table as everyone else is finished and my coffee is cold. Drink it anyway.

9:30 a.m. School time is officially started with Margaret on cello and William on math. During the cold winter months our school days were a bit more structured and orderly. We had a set routine that seemed to work and we stuck with it, for the most part. Since the spring weather started calling us out of doors at every free moment, and Clay and I started working on bedroom floors, and with Easter preparations...things have become a bit more....flexible... The work still gets done, but there is not much of a set schedule left.

Today, for example, I got it into my head that we could get Easter eggs prepped. So.... Amelia colors at the table and talks to Hattie, who happily observes everything from her Bumbo throne, and Susannah tottles around leaving a wake of strewn toys behind her. Margaret and William move from one subject to the next as I teach while scrubbing eggs in the kitchen sink.

10:30 a.m. Realize that almost everyone is still in pajamas. Send them into their bedrooms to change while I shovel pureed baby food into Hattie. Susannah requests to change, again. Obviously not happy with the previous three outfit changes she had already tried this morning. (Okay, so she only changed twice.) Resume school while heating a pot of water to hard boil the eggs.

11:30 a.m. Prepare to lay baby down for nap #1. Immediately get overwhelmed with clamoring siblings desperate to hold her before she goes to sleep. Pass her from one child to the next for the desired 2.3 minutes of baby holding time.

12:00 p.m. Gather children around to watch my first attempts at blowing out some goose eggs in preparation for painting them later. After only two failed attempts learn how to tap out the perfect sized hole and blow out the huge yolks with an infant nasal aspirator. Kids are impressed. Success.

12:30 p.m. Release the kids outside to enjoy some playground time in between thunderstorms/rain showers. Frantically attempt to take advantage of the quiet house to throw some laundry in the wash, tidy up the kitchen, and lay down hardwood flooring in the girls' room in preparation for Clay nailing it down at night.

1:15 p.m. Concoct a lunch spread for the kids and call them in to eat. Push aside the paper scraps and tape, scissors, crayons and other miscellanea from the kids' paper clock project left on the table. Feel pleased with the appealingly yummy and healthy food options I present them with. Spend the next half hour convincing them that the food is yummy.

1:45 p.m. Get the toddler settled down for nap time after soothing her screaming over scraped toes from pulling the trundle bed over her feet twice in the space of 3 minutes.  Run outside to lock the horses out of the hay and check the mail. Revel in the breath of fresh spring air.

2:00 p.m. Dictate spelling sentences to Margaret while folding laundry in the living room.

2:30 p.m. Run a bath for the older kids who have not yet had their yearly weekly bath. (Don't worry, we spot clean in between. When I think of it.)
We used to do baths twice a week. Then we had five kids. (Four of which still need some form of assistance in washing.) Bath time started taking 14 hours. Now we do baths once a week.

3:00 p.m. Realize that the baby is oversleeping and run to wake her up. (Such a nice problem....but a constant struggle to keep days and nights from becoming reversed...) Hold her while eating some reheated stir fry leftovers.

3:15 p.m. Take a breather from running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (Pardon the mental image.) Consider it from a humorous perspective and decide recording it may provide some therapeutic perspective. Jiggle the baby on my lap while other children are happily occupied in their various activities of quiet time play, sleep and bath.

3:45 p.m. Get distracted by how cute the baby is and how much she likes being talked to and tickled. Susannah wakes up and joins her siblings in building legos (aka...for her.... strewing legos all over the floor).

4:30 p.m. Lay baby down for nap #2. 1.5 hours of awake time was just too much all at once. Realize we will probably not get to dyeing Easter eggs today. Good thing we have two more days to try before the big day. The anticipation will help the kids appreciate it better.

5:00 p.m. We are in desperate need of some outside time. Especially since the storms have passed (for the moment) and there is life-giving sunshine pouring down. Give permission to Margaret and William to bike / jog (respectively) down the dirt road to visit Grandma & Papa. William jogs barefoot and in his hooded shark towel. (He is a wizard.)

Throw a new load of dishes into the dishwasher and do a few other much needed house chores before my "free time" outside. 

5:30 p.m.The smaller girls and I devote our attention to the backyard - I mulch the garden,  they play.

5:45 p.m. Hattie wakes up from her nap and joins us in the backyard, watching us with waving arms, big eyes and a constant stream of drool.

6:00 p.m. Amelia fashions a crown for Hattie out of grapevine trimmings and convinces her that she is a queen.

6:10 p.m. Hattie tires of being a queen and begins to launch a revolt. Satiate her with baby food, sitting in the grass (can't face going inside yet), and watching the girls "play croquet" (aka wildly swinging mallets around and occasionally coming into contact with the ball). Soaking in the evening light and laughing at their antics....high point in my day.

6:30 p.m. Get one more wheelbarrow load of mulch spread before Hattie voices discontentment again. It's that time of night. Load her into the Snugli and attempt to keep mulching. Shoveling wood chips into a wheelbarrow isn't quite so easy while wearing a 14 lb baby on the front. Her wide eyes and happy chortles make it worth it.

6:45 p.m. Clay arrives home after his 27th stop at Lowes this week. Share some time comparing our days while the girls resume their croquet game to show Daddy how skilled they are. The eldest two arrive home accompanied by their grandparents on 4-wheelers, who bear gifts of fruit chewies for all. (William hitches a ride in the carseat attached to the back of the 4-wheeler. Still wearing his shark towel.) Exchange hellos.

7:00 p.m. Move inside to prep supper and nail down flooring. Older kids remain outside, enjoying life as happy farm kids. Susannah begins raiding the refrigerator and bringing me her empty sippy cup. I take the hint and begin some spaghetti.

7:30 p.m. Clay is still trying to fix the air compressor and no floors have gotten nailed down. The joys of home repairs. Lay Hattie down for the night.

7:45 p.m. The regulator valve on the air compressor decides to officially break. Clay researches replacement parts. The kids appear with wild hair and muddy hands. Extremely happy. Send them to wash up. Supper is finally served.

8:00 p.m. Enjoying our late dinner. The kids fill us in on the hapless baby grasshopper they discovered and the cage sanctuary they rigged up for it. High point of their day.

8:15 p.m. Begin bed time routine while I trim Clay's hair. Susannah grabs my broom and effectively spreads the cut hair all over the dining room floor. She is such a cheerful helper.

8:55 p.m. Kids in bed. Late again.

9:38 p.m. Collapse into our bed, listening to the arrival of another thunderstorm as we relax with a movie. Another wonderful day, for which we are thankful.

Looking back at my 2011 rendition I notice that there seems to be a lot more time spent vacuuming and observing how my childrens' clothes didn't match. At this stage in my life I tend to think in a grander scale: Have we swept the floors at some point this week? Do my children have clothes on? Yes? Awesome.

Finding comfort in the encouragement of this article. We are busy living life, and loving it.


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