A little after 7: J and O are in my room whispering and asking if they can get up. They’re not allowed up before 6:30 and both of their watches are broken. I check the time and say yes. This is actually impressive for J. He’s up almost every day at 6:30. They head downstairs and I roll over and snuggle A, who snuck into my bed sometime last night. We fall back asleep for a little bit.
When she wakes up, we talk and snuggle. Then I tickle her, and as I listen to that adorable giggle, I think about how much my husband must miss it, so I record a Voxer message her giggling and send it to him.
Then we get up and start some oatmeal. J comes in while I’m cooking to show me an elaborate drawing of his future home. Which, by the way, will be tunnels and caves inside a mountain. He’s been set on this for a while. He announced out of nowhere a day or so ago that if I ever come over and I do not see him in his kitchen or dining room, that I was NOT to go searching the rest of the house for him. I said okay, I’d be sure to remember that, then asked him why not. He said I would DEFINITELY get lost. Sure enough, his drawing today shows a complicated tunneling system inside a mountain, complete with lots of labels, and even a toilet drawn in the bathroom.
The boys empty the dishwasher and set the table. We eat, then everyone changes into running clothes, cleans up from breakfast, and I load the dishwasher while our food settles. (A’s running clothes include a hand-me-down dress that was worn in a wedding. Sure. Why not.) Also, she only has one shoe out of every pair of shoes she owns. I scowl at her and tell her I’m not finding her shoes.
9:15 We load into the car and head to a track on post close to our house. O and I race a mile (he beats me). The other two alternate walking and running for probably a full mile, since they do it during our warm-up and cool-down laps, too.
10:00 Back home. Showers for all. It was seriously hot today. We’ve had a few cooler days lately, and even ran in the rain twice, but today was broiling. Both O and my mile times were slower than usual today; that’s probably why. Kids ask for 15 minutes to play before we get started on chores and school. I think that’s a great idea. I love to get dressed and ready in peace. But J doesn’t make it the 15 minutes before lying to me about whether he did or did not throw grass in A’s hair, and loses the rest of his free time.
10:45 Skype the man of the house. It’s 6:45 pm his time. The kids all talk while I make some food. Actually, J and A talk while O works on his Extreme Dot to Dot book, his newest obsession. (If you’ve not heard of it, look it up. It’s pretty cool.) O comes in at one point and, after asking permission to go online by me, buys another Extreme Dot to Dot on Amazon Prime while I finish cooking.
11:00 My turn to Skype. Doesn’t last long, because the hard boiled eggs are done, and suddenly everyone is dying to peel their own eggs, so the kitchen is loud and crowded. We all have hard boiled eggs (well, 2 of us deviled ours!) and fruit and veggies.
11:23 Stir my sourdough starter. I just started a new one last Sunday after not doing it for a while and I cannot WAIT for it to be ready! It smells so good. It’s also too big. (Because I can’t handle throwing food in the garbage. So the discarding part doesn’t usually happen.) I found a recipe for sourdough crackers that are made using discarded starter. I want to try them so badly. But I’ve made crackers before, and while it is indeed easy, and fun, and delicious, it is by no means quick. So I pull off 1C (which is what the recipe calls for) and set it aside. I’ll decide later. See how the day goes.
11:29 I sweep the kitchen while the kids finish eating. A says, “Eeeeehhhhhh… What’s up, Doc?” after every single bite of carrot, until I tell her I need a break from the what’s-up-doc-ing, please. She eats 2 bites in silence, and then starts up again.
11:35 I move on to “sweep” the living room and dining room. It’s not really sweeping at this point, because the ground is covered in clothes (when/ why are they even stripping in common areas??), shoes, art projects, art supplies, games, toys, etc. So I “sweep” it (I push it, using a broom) into a giant pile. The kids come in, I put on some music, and they get started on Mount Everything-They-Played-With-In-The-Last-48-Hours, and I start putting away everything on the dining room table and craft table.
12:08 J emerges from going to the bathroom and I send him back in to flush and wash his hands. This happens approximately every time. He goes back in and I hear the water run for about 1.5 seconds, then he comes back out. I steer him back in by his shoulders and stand over him while he washes his hands for real, all the while insisting that this is “almost exactly” what he did last time.
12:15 We begin what we call an auction, although that really makes no sense: it’s a giant pile of creations on the table, and I hold each thing up one by one, and they each claim it or reject it.
12:20 Kids finished the pile a while ago and moved onto the tables with me. We have a little left on each table and we all work together to finish up.
I start some water to make iced tea. I never drink enough water unless I have iced tea. Then I head downstairs to switch a load of laundry. It sounds like the ceiling is going to come down on me. My kids were not made to live indoors. I come up after the mere 1-2 minutes it takes to switch loads and 66% of my children are missing and there are two chairs blocking the entrance to the kitchen, one tipped over. Why?? (I don’t bother asking.)
12:45 “Auction off” the last of the creations. Everyone puts their claimed creations in their creation bins and heads off to unload the dishwasher. I put away all the creations that were ruled as gifts to me and pack up some creation overstock to bring to A’s baby box in the basement.
12:55 All kids are sent to rest time. I take out recycling and get some things ready to take to the post office. My parents visited last week, and after they left, O voxed my dad and told him he left a little carving here and did he want us to mail it? Then A voxed him and said he left his water and did he want it? It was a to-go cup from McAllister’s. She was serious, because she’s 4. And adorable. My dad, because it’s his sense of humor, sent the kids a message back saying we could keep the carving, but he’d like his water, please. So we vacuum sealed it, and A wrote, “Here’s your water, Grampy” as her “school” for the day, and we’re sending it. 🙂
The other package is some cookies and a magazine to be shipped to the Middle East. This is a very happy package to be sending, because it will be our LAST.
Quiet is so good for my soul. I just can’t describe how wonderful it is to listen to the quiet.
I switch laundry loads, clean up the kitchen, load dishes, and hand wash whatever dishes didn’t fit. Then I make some breakfast sausage. This just entails mixing spices with ground turkey.
A is hooting. Like an owl. I realize this is harmless, but I REALLY want a little more quiet, so I ask her to stop. She stops for about 10 seconds and starts again. I ask her to close her door so it’s at least a little muffled.
J comes down and I mouth answers to his questions instead of speaking them. Because… the quiet…
1:53 A door slams. Made it darn close to the full hour with mostly-quiet.
1:55 Call kids down to set the table and make scrambled eggs. It’s breakfast burritos for a sort of late lunch.
2:09 J opens a jar of salsa and O drops the f-bomb. Oh, are you surprised? Yes, me too. I spin around, trying desperately to look as though I was turning casually around, and said, “What did you say?” And he promptly repeated it. Now, if we were back in Wheaton, I probably would’ve assumed I misheard something. But here, the kids hear it ALL the time. (Normally, when we hear a swear or other inappropriate word, I talk with them about it. But I haven’t covered this one yet. Even though they’ve heard it tons, I haven’t been able to bring myself to say, “Hey, guys… Did you catch how our next door neighbor just stuck her head out the back door and screamed at her son to pick up his @&$%ing toys…?”) So I asked him why he said that, like what had happened to make him say it, and then he just said it again. At this point I lost whatever sorry grip I had on nonchalant and shouted, “Stop saying it! Stop saying that word! What happened to make you say that??” He said, “J opened the salsa jar and it sounded like ffffff-uK!”
So that awkward conversation? The “Hey, did you hear how she said #%^?” Yeah, that’s in my near future. For now, I move on like salsa jars cussing at us is no problem, and we pray and eat.
The tortillas taste like cardboard. Every once in a while, I try using whole wheat again to make tortillas. Then they taste like cardboard. Then I go back to making them with white flour and they’re delicious.
Over lunch, O says he’s decided what he wants to eat all day on his birthday. Sounds like I’ll be in the kitchen all day. 🙂 I ask him if he wants to wait until his daddy-birthday-celebration, and maybe on his actual birthday we’ll do less-elaborate-but-still-fun foods? The calendar says his daddy will be back 10 days after his birthday. The kids don’t know this, but it will likely be a few days sooner, we just don’t know yet how many. Making it by O’s birthday is unlikely, but not out of the question yet.
I ask O to please stop whittling his carrots with a steak knife.
I really, really need a table manners chart for the kitchen like we have in the dining room. Every time they get up without asking, or burp without covering mouths or asking to be excused, or the like, they lose a token. They have 3 tokens, and if they lose them all, they’re done eating until the next meal. It actually quite effective.
2:40 Everyone is done and O starts challenging thumb wars. This is new. I pin his thumb a few times and we all clear the table. Then we head to the dining room for some school. We almost never start this late. The major cleanup this morn set us back. We’ve been out and about for several days and the house got away from us.
I like to build up slowly after a long break from school, so this week, they all pick one class a day (and we all do it), next week they pick 2 a day, then 3, then we go back to a full schedule. First chosen class today is a drawing lesson. (Left over from yesterday, actually.) We did a still life out of our drawing book yesterday, and today we’re supposed to set up our own. They don’t turn out nearly as well as yesterday’s.
3:16 O picks recitations for his one class. I added left and right to memory drills because they weren’t coming up with it quickly when I’d say it. So I say, “raise your right hand!” to O, and he spins around and bounces back facing a certain direction, then pops up his right hand. He did that last time, too! What is he facing… north? Mecca?? I need to get a compass and see if he bounces to the same direction every time he does that!
3:31 All 3 done with recitations. A still can’t say “proverbs” correctly; it’s so adorable. She kind of says, “prof-rebs.”
J picks poetry. I used to not like poetry at all, but now it’s probably my favorite class. I think mostly the change came when I gave myself permission to enjoy poems without understanding them. Or not understanding them all the way. Or being fine with the possibility that what I think I know may be all wrong. When we do poetry, they each pick an “old favorite,” which is just any poem we’ve previously read, and then they pick a new one from any of 3 books we have going. The boys both want Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll as their old favorite. I love that they choose a poem with words like brillig, wabe, and frumious! Shows they’re not growing up with my poetry flaw! This is one of so many reasons I adore homeschooling. I get to go back and pick up what I missed out on.
3:56 Done with poetry. Pack up and head out to the post office. It’s blazing outside. The chapel we passed said 104, but it feels hotter than that.
4:20 Back. I absolutely love how close everything is on post. (It only took as long as it did because we had to wait in line.) I have the commissary (grocery store), PX (think Walmart), PXtra (think department store), outdoor and indoor pool, spray park, post office, and library all within a few miles!
I talk A into choosing cooking class so I can make those crackers I’ve been thinking about all day. I give the boys a pass, since they won’t enjoy it so much (and while I want them to have basic cooking skills, homemade crackers is probably beyond “basic.”) However, the alternate activity chosen by the boys is playing in the sprinkler outside, so now crackers don’t sound so fun to A. I shoo all three of them off to put on suits and play in the sprinkler and I start on the crackers. I love this stuff. Maybe if I didn’t homeschool I could do a food blog. Or make and sell some kind of food. (I’d have to charge like $2 per cracker to make those worth my time, though, so I wouldn’t sell crackers.)
4:47 I remember that I have letter shaped cookie cutters and I think how adorable letter shaped crackers will be. Yes, I know that won’t streamline the process… I can’t stop myself.
5:00 Call the kids in to change into dry clothes. They want to help cut shapes, so I say anyone in dry clothes can help. I have 2 helpers in short order and O is back to his Extreme Dot to Dot (EDTD).
After obtaining permission to use some new cookie cutters, J asks if I want to keep the ribbon or if he should just cut it. I say to cut it and thanked him for asking. Immediately following my response, he says, “I was like, ‘Do you want to keep the ribbon or should I cut it?’ And you were like, ‘You can cut it. But thanks for asking.'” He does this ALL the time. Immediately plays back the conversation we just had. Sometimes more than once. He’s been at it a couple months now. Maybe longer.
5:18 Call the kids back from wherever they’ve gone to set the table.
5:20 J is holding his shirt up and licking it. I ask him what he’s doing. He continues, except it’s not regular licking and now he’s picking tiny pieces of salt off the table and eating them. I tell him to cut it out and he shouts, “IT WORKS!!” I ask him what is going on, and he says, “My experiment book says if you dry your tongue off really dry then you can’t taste tastes anymore! I tried it and I dried my tongue all the way off and I put salt on and it WORKED! I really couldn’t taste it!!”
5:30 We all sit to eat. The crackers are coming out in shifts. And they are really, really good.
(By the way, if you have never made crackers before, it does not always take an hour! I was multitasking, and making letters instead of cutting into squares, and my children were making gingerbread shaped crackers, etc. Do not let my cracker-a-thon evening discourage any interest that may be inside you. In fact, call me. We’ll do it together. I love making crackers. And anything else edible…)
During dinner, the boys brought up, for some reason, how A talks aloud when she’s alone in the bath doing pretend play. She kind of laughs, but looks like she might be embarrassed, so I say that I used to do the same thing, and that their Auntie did, too. Then I asked the boys if they remember what they sounded like in the tub at that age. They said no, so I let off a long string of sound effects including honking, crashing, sirens, squashing, splashing, etc. They were all belly-laughing and asking for repeats. That led to more “remember when” stories. It was a lovely dinner.
6:15 Clear table. O empties the dishwasher, everyone flosses and brushes teeth. A takes a bath, the boys wash faces, and everyone changes into jammies. This is almost always my least favorite part of the day. They’re all starting to get tired and either wound up, cranky, or both. And J is incapable of cooperating when I “check” his flossing and brushing. Checking, by the way, is flossing and brushing them after they do it themselves because all 3 of them still do a really poor job.
6:35 Both boys are in bed doing EDTD. I switch a load of laundry and take A out of the bath. I send her to her room with a pull-up and instructions to put it, and jammies, on.
Then I clean the toilet. A can’t reach the ground yet from sitting on the toilet, so she has to kind of slide off. Which necessitates a toilet cleaning in certain situations. TMI, I know. But I’m going to look back on this post and I want the reminder to be grateful when this season has passed.
Remind A that she’s putting on her pull-up and jammies, not performing at a dance recital.
When her jammas are on, I hand her her toothbrush with toothpaste on it and tell her to brush and come to me to check when she’s done.
I head into the boys’ room and get our read-alouds out. J asks if he can go get his oil pastels to bring into his bed to fill in one of the dot-to-dots he’s competed. Not a chance.
A comes in with her toothbrush and a nail file. She’s kind of brushing with one hand and holding the nail file out in front of her with the other, flashing smiles and pressing on it with one finger. She stops to inform me that her “other mom wants a screen shot” of her brushing her teeth. I ask if perhaps she means “selfie,” not “screen shot”, and she says, “ya” and takes a couple more nail-file-selfies. I ask if she’d like me to take a picture and she says yes, so she poses with her toothbrush and she reminds me to “say click.” Then she takes it back and starts shooting nail-file-selfies while jumping on a crib mattress on the floor and trying to tell me about another shot her other mom wanted. I called her over so I can check her teeth brushing, and after she’s climbed in my lap, O comes over and asks if she wants him to take that other shot for her other mom. He’d been listening while working on his EDTD, and apparently the other shot was supposed to be of me checking her. He’s such a great big brother. He’s so consistently sweet to her.
7:08 Read one chapter of Anne of Green Gables. They all laughed so hard when Anne was trying to convince the Cuthberts to call her “Cordelia.” At the end of the chapter, both boys shouted, “Another!” O had been sure he wasn’t going to like this one. I told him he had to give it 3 chapters, and if he still didn’t care for it, he could go read something else during the rest of the chapters. Tonight was the third chapter. 🙂
7:23 A’s picture book of choice this evening is Akiak by Robert J. Blake, one of our favorites from the post library.
7:32 One chapter of The Princess and Curdie.
7:49 Both boys shout, “Another!” when I finish the chapter. I’m tempted, but it’s already later than we usually go.
Prayers and snuggles with J. O holds A’s hand to help her wait. (Seriously. He’s awesome to her.)
8:04 O closes his bed-fort curtains and turns on his headlamp and goes back to his EDTD while I snuggle and pray with A. The bed-forts are 2X2s that I screwed onto 3 posts of the bed, then spanned up top with 2X2s, a few inches from the ceiling. Then I made curtains with thick-ish black on the inside and the fabric of their choice on the outside. Works absolutely perfectly in situations like these. So I rock A in the glider and sing while O does EDTD and J falls asleep.
8:29 I dump A on a crib mattress on the floor, tell O he needs to read at least one chapter of one of his chapter books, and read my bible.
8:50 When O and I are both done with our reading we pray together and snuggle. I stay a little longer than usual, because he asks me to, and he doesn’t do that as often these day, what with him being so grown up and all.
9:16 Load dishwasher. I try to talk myself into hand washing the rest of the dishes, but I’m not convincing at all, so I don’t. I’m exhausted.
I stir the sourdough starter. It probably doesn’t need to be stirred, but I like to stir my sourdough starter.
9:28 Make lists for tomorrow. Sometimes when I leave them out, the boys will even start them in the morning if I stay in bed with A.
At this point, on any other evening, I would argue with myself about whether to fold laundry or go to bed and read (lots of self talk in the evenings, apparently). Usually going to bed to read would be a quick win, but I have Voxer messages waiting from one of my best friends, who’s currently living in Scotland, so I’m dying to listen to them, and folding laundry would be the perfect time. But the argument never occurs, because tonight’s activity is to convert my scrawled notes from the day into a blog post! (Because, if I wait, I will totally forget what the notes mean. Already I have an entry from 11:55 that says “Broom Break.” What does that mean…?!) Then off to sleep to do it again tomorrow!
P.S. It’s a bit of a shame that I didn’t record a day in the life entry for the day after this, because I ended up cutting a plastic reusable drink bottle off J’s finger with a coping saw as it slowly turned more and more purple. Never a dull moment, folks. Never. :).