4:45 The hubby gets up for work. I kiss him and go straight back to sleep. When he got up at 5:30, I could manage getting up with him most days, but not 4:45. That’s ridiculous.
6:02 A’s up. I pull her in bed with me to snuggle and she falls back asleep.
6:20 J’s up. I snuggle him for a bit, too, but he never falls back asleep. He’s not allowed up till 6:30, so he lays there for 10 minutes, wiggling and flopping around.
6:30 Kick Wiggles out of bed and ease out of bed myself, hoping A will sleep longer. She’s happier when she does. During my attempt at a stealthy escape, O pops in the room and tells me he’s up, then disappears somewhere.
I head downstairs and start breakfast for everyone. I’m out of eggs and that’s pretty much all I serve for break fast, so I feel lost. I go “do” my hair, which, for long curly hair that’s been slept on, means braiding it and pinning back the remaining crazy. Back to the fridge, where I decide I really can’t create breakfast from what I have. I forgot I was going to go the the commissary yesterday. I hate when this happens. Hubby’s new schedule (which changed dramatically about 2 weeks ago) means he’s often home for breakfast. I might be able to get to the commissary while he’s home.
7:00 Hubby home, earlier than expected! I assault him with my commissary needs and he says go. I make myself a weird breakfast of dinner leftovers (because unlike the rest of my family, I cannot function if I don’t eat within an hour of getting up) while I throw together a shopping list. It has to be under 30 items, since it’s early-bird hours until 9:30.
7:20 Leave for the commissary. I really wish I could find a time to go regularly.
7:55 Back. A’s still out, and since she fell back asleep in my bed, I’m starting to get nervous. She just stopped wearing pull-ups at night and has a far-from-perfect record. I go move her back to her bed. It’s late enough that I don’t care if she wakes now.
Back downstairs to put away groceries and make breakfast. The man of the house and O are building a rocket he bought over the weekend and J is unloading the dishwasher.
A comes down and I take a break to sit and snuggle her. She wants me to go read to her on the couch and I’m so tempted to ignore everything and do it, but I send her to Daddy to do it instead.
Print the kids lists, which are their chores and independent school for the day. Independent work today is math, Bible, Explode the Code, copywork, and Latin; and chores are putting away all the common folded laundry, one bathroom, taking out garbage and recycling, and cutting nails.
Serve a disorganized breakfast.
One of my children has a complete and total meltdown about oatmeal (and, of course, not about oatmeal at all…).
8:18 Meltdown resolution is less than satisfying, but can’t be taken any further right now. I expend a considerable amount of energy convincing myself not to write off the day. Too often, days that start like this continue like this…
Prep school stuff.
8:26 Tell everyone to start breakfast jobs (which are the jobs everyone has to do right after breakfast: teeth, hair, vitamins, clean up breakfast, etc.). They all ask if they can have eggs. This is funny, because I know they got their egg obsession from me. It’s just not breakfast until someone’s had some eggs!
After eggs and breakfast jobs, the hubby reads to A, the boys quiz each other on recitations, and I clean and chop all the veggies I just bought. I’ve only had the boys quiz each other once before (as opposed to me quizzing them), but it went really well. I think this is going to be happening a lot more!
8:46 Hubby leaves. A needs to finish some breakfast job stuff.
8:50 I ask O to please stop banging on the table. This might not seem worth noting, but it’s this new habit he’s developed of banging on things right in the midst of people attempting to interact.
8:54 Ask O to stop banging on the table.
9:10 Boys are done with recitations and head off to their 15-minute break that always follows breakfast jobs.
A emerges from the bathroom and, because I assume, I tell her to go back and flush and wash her hands. She says, “I did,” and I said, “So I can go look?” and she says, “no,” and walks back in.
Brush A’s hair. While I’m doing so, I notice she has green all around her mouth.
Me: “Why is there green all around your mouth?”
A: “I don’t know.”
Me: “Well, you can’t play until you figure it out.”
A: (no hesitation) “Playdough.”
Me: “So you ate playdough?”
A: “NO-WUH!… I just pressed it around my mouth!”
I can’t get the brush through her hair, she needs a bath anyway, and apparently she’s been “pressing” herself with playdough, so I tie her hair up and tell her she’s scheduled for a bath later. She heads off to play with her brothers.
9:18 I notice the boys clean laundry unfolded on the couch and add it to their lists, then finish prepping for school and make myself some more food before we start.
9:25 Break timer’s up. J comes down when he hears it, and while I finish making food, he spits on his hands and starts rubbing them together. I make a face and he says, “What?! Lots of people do it!” (I’m not sure what gross people he’s talking about.) “You spit and rub till they’re really sticky, then you have more tension for flips and handstands. Wanna see mine??” I wonder what word he was going for with “tension”. Traction, maybe…? So he attempts a handstand (on our hardwood floors), goes over too far, and crashes on his hip. He immediately pops up and says, “Yes!”, like that was really fun and/or he meant to do it. Then, to definitely convince me it was on purpose, he says. “Now do you want to see my just-regular handstand??”
A comes down and presents to me, with great pride, what she tells me is a “tin bag.” It is the metal top that peels off a can of peanuts. And she has shaped it into a bowl.
9:35 As soon as the kids see that I have food, they all realize they are dying from starvation and must get more food before we begin.
9:40 Start family worship time. They argue over who gets to light the candle, and who got to light it last time, and who always get to light it. I tell them I’ll light it, and if anyone would like the privilege of ever lighting it again, they may make a chart to show whose turn it is. This is pretty much how I handle arguments like these. Because if they don’t care enough to create some sort of tracking system, I sure don’t care who lights the candle. (Or shakes out the tablecloth. Or picks out which pool we go to next. Or, or, or…) But if they truly care enough to put something together, then we have a handy reference sheet that took none of my precious time to create! (NOTE: the candle was not important enough to anyone to expend the energy. However, a few days ago, the tablecloth was. Fascinating.)
J is leading worship time today. A couple weeks ago, O asked if he could be “the pastor” at our next family worship time. It went great, and the kids have been rotating in ever since.
When we’re done with what we usually do, which is prayers and a section of a devotion book we’re working through right now, J says he wants to read a Psalm he loves to us. I really want to start school, because it’s almost 10, but how do I say no to that? I ask him if he knows exactly where it is, and he says, “Yes… [long pause] …I just need to find it.” After a few moments of shuffling, he says, “Mama, how many Psalms are there?” Against all odds, he finds it quickly and reads it out. Sure enough, he’s highlighted a line he likes in there.
10:03 We’re done with family worship time, and the boys announce they’re hungry. I say they may eat only if it can happen while doing math and copywork. I do a reading lesson with A. When she’s done, I read her Jesus Storybook Bible and then she narrates the story back to me. The boys are still completely captivated when I read this one, so none of their work gets done while I’m reading.
Recitations with A. The girl cannot remember her birthday for the life of her. (It’s the new memory fact she’s working on.) She got my phone number down a while ago: a senseless string of 7 numbers; but somehow she’s not getting this one. It’s literally been weeks working on it! I think it’s because her birthday happens to be October 31st, so all her life, when people ask when her birthday is, she says “Halloween”. Apparently now the date is completely new information.
Short lessons for A in writing, Explode the Code, and math (she’s making swirls off various points of every single number); and 2 rows of a knitting project she started in co-op that I’m making her finish. At 2 rows a day, she should have the headband done well before she graduates high school.
Last for A is illustrating a Jesus Storybook Bible narration (I record them when she narrates and type them up later, so she’s illustrating a previously narrated one.)
This is basically all her school. She does some group stuff with us, but little of it is mandatory at her age.
11:20 Record all the food I’ve eaten so far today. Because apparently weight management is never going to come easily again. (Did the bitterness come through on that? If not, go back and re-read it bitterly.)
11:27 A decides she wants to learn piano like brothers, so I take her upstairs and show her what I’ve gleaned from sitting in on her brothers’ lessons so far. I absolutely cannot pay for a third child in piano lessons, so I hope this will satisfy her and she won’t be devastated by the number of years she will have to wait to get “real” lessons.
11:37 Tell A to go play. She stays at the keyboard and works on perfecting her new skills.
O is on his second math problem. I think (hope?!?) that’s he’s done some of his other work in this last hour and a half. I need to be better about tracking what they’re working on. What he has shouldn’t take him anywhere near this long!
Spelling and dictation with J.
11:48 Tell O to take a break from the math and go have “special time” with A. This basically means they can do anything they want as long as they’re playing with her. It (usually) keeps her out of trouble, and I like to think it strengthens her relationship with her brothers.
11:49 Hubby’s home for lunch.
J’s done with spelling and dictation and plays a game with Daddy.
I go scrub out the tub for A’s bath. (I left cleanser on it overnight.)
12:04 Tell O to pick one of his readings. He picks Robinson Crusoe, and he and I head upstairs to his room. We started this one as a family, because I’d never read it and thought it was going to be like The Swiss Family Robinson, which we read together and all loved. It is, of course, similar to Swiss Family in many ways, but with the addition of cannibalism and other such mature content. We kept reading together when it was mentioned that cannibals may be populating the land closest to where Crusoe is stranded, but I finally took the time to read ahead and decided it should probably wait for the younger two; so we picked a good stopping point, and O and I are finishing it alone.
12:50 Done, and he narrated it well. I’m glad he’s following, because I don’t always feel like I read this one well. Some books are just hard to read aloud.
The hubby took off to go back to work right about when we finished reading.
J chooses his reading, which is one he reads by himself, so I get some food for myself while he reads, and then he comes and narrates it to me. It was a science reading about how water creeps up a straw. We try it ourselves, but none of my straws are transparent enough to tell if it’s working.
J reads me a poem by William Blake, and then we practice his piano together. We just started a few months ago, so I still sit with them often during practice. I’m not sure how long before they do it all on their own. To be honest, I like doing it with them for now. I never learned piano and I love learning along with them.
1:32 Additional meltdown from the fragile child of the day.
We all learn the difference between to, too, and two. Then we play hominictiony. This is an invented game (and an invented word, made up of the words homophone and Pictionary). We have a running list of homophones that we add to whenever any one of us comes across one, and during homonictionary, we draw two or three squares on our page, and have to draw a representation of each of the words. When the guessers guess which homophone-set is being drawn, they have to spell each word that corresponds to each picture. We each do one when we play. Today’s word sets were steel/steel, knead/need/kneed, and bawl/ball. Then A just draws whatever she wants and we all guess. As A is drawing for her turn, I notice that while we were playing, she has grown kitten whiskers on one side of her face. The whiskers are the same color as the marker she’s drawing with.
J and A special time. O spelling and dictation. Then we co-read his William Wordsworth poem, because it’s a long one.
While he’s writing out his dictation, I fix the to/too/two worksheet I found online, because the one I found, instead of having blanks for them to fill in, has all the wrong ones and they have to correct them. I can’t stand stuff like this, so I take a screen shot and replace all the incorrect to/too/twos with blank spaces. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t just look up a different worksheet. Surely there are others with spaces…
2:28 Piano practice with O.
Set O and J back to their lists. I hate it when the lists go this late. They usually don’t.
2:43 I find a piece of drawing paper in the bathroom, with a smaller piece of construction paper “painted” onto it with hand-soap. The paintbrush that was used to create this work of art is lying on top of it. I remember asking A at some point earlier in the day what she was doing, and she said painting. I knew the paints weren’t out, but didn’t have the good sense to follow up on what she may have meant by that.
A and I pick up school stuff and then set up blob maps. She’s very thirsty from the more-than-one minutes of work, so she asks if she can go get a seltzer. I release her and keep picking up.
Upon checking on her, I find that she has poured the seltzer into one of my nice wine-glasses (that she would have had to stand on a chair and get from the top shelf of the china cabinet). I pour it back into the can while I tell her what will happen to her if she ever touches those glasses again without asking.
2:57 Head upstairs to help A put away her laundry. We each take a pile of laundry from the laundry-folding table in O’s room and head to hers. Now I see why she said she can’t put away her laundry. Special time was spent on making forts, and from her dresser drawers are sprouting several of the walls of this multi-room fort. I do my best to lean around it and stuff clothes in anyway, and she has a panic attack and tells me the fort is “delicate”.
3:05 Dump A in the bath, go downstairs, and try to think about dinner for the first time today. Before I figure anything out, though, O is asking for game-math. When he feels really overwhelmed, we play a short game (chess, mancala, etc.) and he alternates doing one problem and taking one turn. I’m not sure how long ago we came up with this, but it seems really effective for the days he’s overwhelmed. If it happened a lot, I’m not sure I’d have the patience for it (or that it would be healthy for him), but he seems to be able to gauge when he needs it and doesn’t overuse it.
3:29 J’s done with his list and is begging to go outside. He makes sure I know that no one has even been outside today other than to take the garbage out. I actually do feel bad about that. O asked to do outside school this morning, which we do often, but I said no, because we have a shortened school day tomorrow, so I was being really ambitious for today; and outside school just takes longer, what with all the shuffling of stuff in and out, and the inevitable bird-watching. I tell J he can go out as soon as O can go out with him. I tell him he can help with O’s chores if he wants him to be ready sooner. He decides it’s not worth it and heads to the couch to read.
3:35 Back to A’s bath. She’s upset because she fell off her bike yesterday and has some decent scrapes on her hand. She tells me it’s the worst bath ever. She dresses, I comb her hair, cut her nails, and make a fuss about “taking care” of her scrapes. She reminds me that it was the worst bath ever.
3:51 O’s done. Both boys head outside.
4:02 A’s done and heads out, too. Now… to think about dinner.
4:03 J’s back in because it’s too hot. It’s about 100 degrees out, so it’s legitimate; it’s just funny given how hard he argued to go out. It’s 100 or more every day around now, so he knew.
4:20 O’s back in and says it’s too hot. A isn’t allowed outside alone, so she comes in, too. Someone suggests fort building (the delicate one, I presume) and all 3 of them clamor upstairs.
I make dinner, as well as make ahead some things I’ll need for the next 2 nights’ dinners. I make myself a latte while I cook and enjoy the mostly-quiet.
Last Valentine’s Day, the kids and I bought a bunch of eye screws, some string, a hinge, and a tension rod. We sanded a board we had laying around (maybe 7” X 5”) and painted it and stuck decorative stickers on it that said, “Service, Please”. The hinge outsmarted me, so I made a makeshift hinge out of packing tape and attached it to the wall in the kitchen next to the table. Then we made a path of eye screws from the board in the kitchen up along walls and over cabinets to the wall in the dining room. We strung the string from the “Service, Please” sign into the dining room beside the table, so that when the string is pulled from the dining room, the sign flips up in the kitchen and shows “Service, Please.” Then we put the tension rod in the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room and hung old curtains on it, and the kids made a “Welcome to Date Night” sign to pin on it. On Valentine’s night, we surprised the man of the house with a dinner date with his wife. The kids took orders, served food, and cleaned up. It went so well, we decided to make it a regular thing. We rotate through each parent and child, with two Mommy/ Daddy dates in there. We’ve always tried to be good about one-on-one time with the kids, but time and money constraints have always made it a challenge. This way, there’s no extra time or money needed. We all eat the same thing; the non-daters just eat in the kitchen (and take turns serving the daters when summoned by the sign), and it’s time we would all spend eating dinner anyway. After dinner, the daters either read a book together, play a game, or go for a short walk; while the non-daters clean up. We shoot for about once a week, but with the hubby’s irregular schedule, it’s never worked to set a day, so we just work it in whenever we can. Daddy and J are up in the rotation, and the hubby mentioned at lunch that we should shoot for a date night tonight, so I set up the date-night curtain and sign while I’m cooking.
4:40 Hubby’s home early! This is the most I’ve seen him in 2 weeks! He changes (out of the inhumane uniform the army has their soldiers wear in 100+ degree weather) and comes down to talk with me while I finish cooking. I send J to take a shower.
4:51 Hubby heads upstairs to investigate the source of some screaming. Not sure what happened, but A is sent to come help me and O is sent to the shower. J is done with his shower and dressed, so I send him to the dining room table where his date awaits.
5:02 Send A out to take drink orders. She uses a combination of drawing and newly-learned phonics to record the orders, and comes back to the kitchen and prepares them. She tells me that J has requested a “fancy glass” and wants permission to go get one. Never mind the fact that she probably prompted him for that since she had to give the glass back earlier today.
5:18 O’s down from his shower. 27 minutes is a lot longer than it should take for a 9-year-old with a buzzed head to shower, but I was busy and didn’t remind him every couple minutes to keep progressing forward.
I finish arranging two plates of salmon and biscuits and hand them off to two short servers. When they return, I ask who doesn’t like salmon. Everyone says they do. This is a problem… because I could’ve sworn one of my kids didn’t like salmon and I only made 4. And the leftovers I was going to allow my non-salmon-fan child to have is not compatible with my diet. I serve both kids and try to figure out something for myself. This is going to make it a lot harder to resist the fresh biscuits brushed in butter that I made.
I remind the kids to watch for the “Service, Please” sign, and A says she’ll watch carefully and suggests that when she sees it go up, how about she makes a loud “NEE-NOE-NEE-NOE” sound like a siren?
After I figure a way to dress up a plain chicken breast passably, O says he has decided what he would like to do, month by month, when he grows up; and would I like to hear about it? Sounds like it might be some sort of yearly cycle? He’s been planning his future business, Sugar Cane Airlines, for quite a while now, and is near constantly making additions and improvements to his business model. As he discusses some policies he’s settled on for his employees, A asks what food he plans on giving them “for them to survive.”
We start the oven for cookies. Date night also means dessert.
I tell O that he needs to stop talking now and eat some food. I can tell he’s still talking in his head, because he’s acting out flying while he eats.
A announces that she’s going to live in a mountain when she grows up. And that her husband will live in the mountain right next to hers.
6:15 Clear dishes, put away leftovers, clean stove, and do dishes. This is the first time I’ve loaded the dishwasher today. My husband does it a lot. It hasn’t always been so, and I’m very, very grateful.
The daters did teeth and jammas and faces while we cleaned up and are headed out for a walk.
Non-daters do teeth, brush hair, jammas, and face washing. A doesn’t like to go upstairs by herself, but we’ve recently come up with the plan where I sing to her while she goes, and then it’s not so bad. I’m not sure if it sounds any good when I sing at a regular volume, but Twinkle Twinkle Little Star sung at the top of my lungs is not lovely.
6:28 A’s ready for bed, so I tell her to get a book and bring it into the kitchen right by me and read. She’s most especially mischievous when she’s getting tired.
Daters are back.
J lets me know that some of my hair is gray. I tell him yes, I had noticed that.
6:46 Head upstairs for reading. Generally, we do a read-aloud as a family, but I bought Geronimo’s autobiography and we started it as a family, but a few chapters in, we decided we might want to wait until A is a bit older for some of what’s in there. Especially if we’re going to read it last thing before falling asleep. (Not sure how I didn’t see that one coming. I know in general how the Indians were treated…) There’s really no other good time for the hubby to regularly read to them, and the boys wanted to finish it, so we’ve been splitting up for reading time. I’ve just been reading picture books to A at night. I’m really anxious to get back to a good family read-aloud, though. I think I ask my husband every single night how many chapters are left. (And I’ll need to pay a lot more attention to which book I pick next, because Robinson Crusoe was the one I picked right before Geronimo!) Plus, I do my mending when I’m the listener, and my pile is stacking up.
7:16 The Hubby and I trade off every night doing prayers and snuggles with different kids; one of us has A and the other has both boys. I have A tonight, and I usually stay in there until she falls asleep, which is sometimes fast, and sometimes not so fast. Tonight is not so fast, but I use the time to do the day’s Bible reading along with snuggling and praying with her.
7:22 I ask A what she’s chewing on. It’s a rock. Awesome.
8:20 I stayed in after she was out to finish my reading, but now I head into my room and write a few things in my new bullet journal, which I am absolutely loving. I’m tempted to add a thousand word essay on my bullet journal here, but I’ll abstain.
8:23 A comes in my room and asks me to snuggle. I know I should probably be grumpy about “having” to stay with her until she falls asleep, but she’s my baby, so I’m just cherishing it while it lasts. I already have two that are much too old for all of that, so I know how quickly it goes. I take my journal to the glider beside her bed and finish it there.
8:43 Now she’s for-real out. This is pretty late for her, and I fear grumpiness tomorrow. I am a super-grumpy person when I’m tired, and I seem to have passed that gene on to my children. I wonder if that gene is dominant or recessive. (Why, yes… we are studying Gregor Mendel…)
Head downstairs and talk with the hubby about our days. He was too busy/ tired the first couple weeks of his job switch to do this, and I really missed it.
9:39 I really want to go to sleep, but there are dishes undone, I have 10 unread text messages, and there is grading to do. And I just realized that I was supposed to call the doctor and dentist today to reschedule those appointments. You know… some days it’s really hard to have faith that I spent all my time in the right places. It suddenly seems like I spent too much time on school and not enough on the rest of life. But I know (from experience!) that entertaining these thoughts just leads to a bunch of self-doubt and discontentment, which is really just a way of spending my time being self-absorbed, so I remind myself that God can use all my (far-)less-than-perfect efforts to bring about his purposes, and that my time is better spent making my list for tomorrow, prioritizing as I think is best, and releasing everything about everything into God’s hands. (If this sounds a little dramatic, I’ll pretend it’s because it’s late and I’m tired, and not because I’m always this neurotic…)
Upon making my list, I decide returning texts and grading ought to be done tonight. I do it in bed, so that I’m kind of going to bed with my husband, and because if I bring only what I intend to do into bed with me, then I’m less likely to get “on a roll” and stay up till 1 A.M. “getting stuff done”. I fall prey to this especially on nights he goes to bed before me (or nights I’m struggling with obsessing about all I didn’t do), so this is my defense. He’s twitching next to me within a few minutes.
In the grading box is a letter to my mom from A. I stuck it in there so I could make a key to go along with it, so my mom can read it. I think I’m smiling the whole time I’m writing the key. I love the way new phonics learners take off with writing. “Gramu” is “Gramma”, “tralr” is “trailer”, and “1fngrspac” is “one finger space,” which she knows is supposed to go between words. She’s forgotten to space out two of her words, so she wrote “1fngrspac” (with no spaces… :)) and drew an arrow to where that space should have gone. If mom my thinks this letter is half as cute as I do, she’ll keep it forever!
Grade until I can’t keep my eyes open, fall asleep, and wake up tomorrow to another day in paradise!