With four small children, making it out the door with everyone fully clothed, clean, and on time is not fun or easy.
Some mornings, the 6 o’ clock alarm buzzes too early. Today was one of those. After a long night with many baby wake-ups, I decided an extra thirty minutes was needed. Fast forward to 6:30. The alarm went off, and I heard kids downstairs. They were up at least thirty minutes before I expected; I enjoy waking up for my children, not to them.
Three boisterous children were roaming the house. Danny had already given them each an apple and had started water boiling for their tea. He left for work as I cracked eggs into a bowl and reminded Bella for the second time to do her “before breakfast” chores.
Nikolai’s morning chatter came over the monitor. I ran upstairs to do a quick diaper change and placed Declan in charge of retrieving worms to feed our toads and snake. Charlie was given the chore of picking up dirty clothes.
Nikolai helped me scramble eggs, gurgling as I splashed them onto the stove and floor. Mommy’s so funny.
Declan came to show me how many worms he had found and dropped one on my foot. I took a long swallow of my tea and moved the food to the table.
We read our Proverbs then reviewed the names of God that he had learned. We talked about Christian’s journey this far, and what we thought might happen next. They listened attentively and ten minutes later, tummies were full. Bella volunteered to read a book to Charlie and Declan so that I could wash dishes.
If every morning went smoothly, I would not appreciate these quiet moments as much. I’m thankful for my family, crazy mornings and all.
And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
Yesterday, I wrote of my desire to de-family my family closet. It has been accomplished, and I feel relieved.
Last October, I turned my decent sized closet into a closet for myself and my three littles, then 5, 3, and 1. It worked great for a while! All clothes (except Danny’s) went to the closet.
This made laundry day super easy for me. It was also easier to keep tabs on what the children were doing with their clothes. Bella was a clothes hider; I would send her to fold and put away her clothes and she would promptly stuff them all behind the hanging clothes in her closet. Frustrating, to say the least.
One year and another baby later, this is what the closet looks like:
(See? I’m a real person with real problems.)
This is not soothing to walk into. The problems were small, but several:
- Three little children trying to put away clothes in a small space = fighting, tears, and mess
- Three little children + two adults trying to dress in a small bedroom = frustration
- Three growing children = larger clothes in the same space
- Walking by Mommy’s clothes to get theirs makes it tempting to play dress up
- Sleeping baby in the room means no children are getting dressed until he wakes up
After falling two weeks behind on everyone’s laundry (except for Danny’s; he shouldn’t have to deal with my craziness), I am taking this week as a life-skills homeschool week. The life skills we are learning? Organization, home making, and doing without extras.
We are going to
- reduce our wardrobes to what we need.
- move the children’s clothes back to the closet in their room.
- unpack the last three boxes of who-knows-what from our move two years ago. (Real person, remember?)
- re-organize hanging clothes.
- re-organize the gift wrap section of the closet.
I expect this to take me a good two days, as I have food to cook, dishes to wash, laundry to wash and hang out, and kids to cuddle. I am definitely re-visiting the family closet in the future, although it will be a well-planned part of a remodel or building project. I still see it as the ultimate way to save time and energy.
Lego bricks are messy. It is impossible for our 7, 4, and 2 year olds to not dump every. single. one. on the floor to make their creation that takes only 20 or so bricks. If those Legos were in their play room on a day like this…
…well, I think the Legos would be going away from a long, long time. Fortunately for these Lego-loving children, I found a solution that works for us: Legos can only be used in the living room. They are not the classiest of toys; I did NOT want them displayed in clear containers. I try to keep our living room somewhat tidy and nice; it’s my “ahhhh” spot when I feel crazy. The toys that stay in the room have been careful chosen by me to maintain a relaxed feel even when being actively used.
With the nasty plastic look in mind, I didn’t spend money on the crazy Lego organizers. In fact, I didn’t spend any money at all- I re-purposed something already in my living room. Continue reading
It has been chilly and raining since yesterday morning and I have three stir-crazy kiddos! Thankfully, I had a nearly full roll of painter’s tape.
This stuff is magical. It sticks while you need it to, but comes up cleanly and easily when you are finished with it. And it comes in more than blue; there are many colors now. Go buy some for your children and grand children. They will thank you for it.
What does it have to do with Legos, you ask? Only this: (and note the dreariness of the house with the outdoor blah.) Continue reading
Whether you are looking for a way to add more vegetables to your lasagna or you are trying to avoid wheat or gluten, Zucchini Lasagna is a delicious solution.
Bella’s attitude is this: “if it can be done with Nikolai, it should be done with Nikolai.”
She sits with him to allow me time to wash dishes or hang laundry, as not every chore is easily done with a baby in a sling. Continue reading
One of our favorite meals is taco salad. It’s also one of the fastest to fix, which makes me happy! We eat leftovers cold or re-heated; leftover meat can be used in soups. With the price of grassfed beef (it is 7.49/lb here), there needs to be a way to cut the cost of the meal. The solution is simple: beans and vegetables.
I have no real recipe, so I will give approximations and directions.
Some days are crazy. On Monday, I wage war with the laundry. (Who am I kidding? Sometimes this war lasts all week!) We get only our school basics done, and the children have a lot of free play and exploration time. With three happy little children off playing (arguing, bossing, getting dirty, etc), I have time to learn. My Monday Learning happens though podcasts.
Have you discovered podcasts? They’re bundles of fun and education for active times in my day. I listen during hanging laundry on the line, washing dishes, folding clothes, knitting… any time my children are otherwise occupied, I take a few minutes to learn through listening. My current favorite podcast is 101 Homeschool Ideas. The episode that hit home this morning was Episode 58: Stressed by Standards. In a earlier post, I mentioned that our home education is what works for me and my family… but sometimes I get stressed. Continue reading