February 18, 2014

A Week in the Life

Remember in elementary school when the days would absolutely d-r-a-g? When Christmas and summer break took an eternity to arrive? When lazy Saturdays were actually lazy?

Life isn't like that anymore, is it?!

I guess I need to be satisfied with some quick highlights here and there on my blog...it's better than nothing, and I'll be grateful later on when I do the 2014 digital scrapbook that I took the time to do at least this much. My last post was a "day in the life" episode; this will be a collection of musings about each day of the week.


The first day of the week is usually a good school day for us. We rarely ever leave the house on a Monday. These days are similar to the "Day in the Life" post--school and household activities keep us busy all day. I usually bake bread on Mondays as well, a double batch so we can have sandwiches for Tuesday Park Days and a quick lunch 1-2 other days of the week as well. Monday evenings I have to take time to write out homeschool assignments for the kids to take to their classroom during my PWOC time (more on that in Tuesday's paragraph). The kids get the appropriate worksheets and put in their folders, and we put all the items in the school bag (a great canvas Sonlight bag), since the older 3 kids share books for reading. Recently Tobin joined Boy Scouts, so either Ted or I make the trip with him to Support Site for the meeting. We have yet to get in our groove with this--we may be able to carpool a bit with another family nearby, but they are moving this spring. Once a month we will piggyback our chiropractor appointment with this trip...it's almost like a date night!

We get up and moving early on Tuesdays, leaving the house by 8:15 at the latest. We drive to Support Site for my ladies' Bible study (through PWOC, Protestant Women of the Chapel). Once we arrive, the older kids have duties: Charis takes Zaden to his classroom, Tobin drops off library books and takes Lucan to his classroom, Arden carries the school bag, and Kenna helps me with any random things I need help carrying. (Most of it fits in Seanin's stroller basket.) Once the kids are signed into class, I head to fellowship hall to enjoy breakfast (classes take turns bringing meals) and fellowship. We have a time of corporate worship, announcements, and often a testimony or devotional time, plus creative prayer activities. Then we break into our different classes. There are 6 classes offered this semester. I'm teaching a wonderful group of ladies, my second time going through The Hole in Our Gospel with a class. We wrap up by 11:30 so we can go pick up our kiddos from the amazing child care workers.

If weather is good, we have lunch at the park with other homeschool families--Tuesdays from 12:30-2:30 is Park Day. I dash over to pick up our raw milk, meat, and veggies--and now fresh eggs!!--from a co-op group that has been going on for a number of months now. We love it! Such a blessing. I pack the cooler and then enjoy hanging out at the park with other moms. We purposely cram school into the other days of the week so we can have this luxury. The kids adore spending time with their friends, and I need the mommy time! Tobin usually poops out on the crowd and goes to the Suburban to hide with his new stash of library books. For as talkative a guy as he is, he still really needs his alone time, and he loves the fact that he can go to the library during PWOC time to get new books. He has built quite a rapport with the Italian who works there as a librarian!

I try to get us home in time for Zaden to still get a nap. Usually he and Seanin are MORE than ready to sleep by this time. The kids help me unload the truck and clean up the breakfast mess that we left from our whirlwind departure in the morning, and then the kids scatter to do their own thing. (Today, with the amazingly beautiful weather we had, most of them ended up back outside playing on the trampoline.) Depending on my energy level, I work on dinner prep, catch up on messages, or sometimes just collapse in a heap for a short nap or rest time!

Tuesday evenings are baths for little ones, so Ted takes care of that duty while I help Charis with kitchen clean-up. Tuesdays are also sweeping nights...also Charis's duty...so if I'm not too fried I do help her out with her chores. But just as often she does all the dishes and sweeping on her own, especially if I have to nurse Seanin! I'm so thankful for her help! The boys shower and are supposed to clean the main floor with some help from Kenna. Tuesday evenings are also read-aloud nights (on non-Olympic nights, lol).

During the day, Wednesdays are pretty much like Mondays and Thursdays--school activities and regular household stuff. I try to get at least one big load of laundry done on Wednesdays. Evening is when things get different for us. Ted comes and goes very quickly, taking Charis and Kenna with him after he changes out of his uniform following work. They pick up Emily, a teen friend who lives close by, and drive to Support Site. Charis and Emily attend Club Beyond, the military youth group program led by a wonderful, godly man, Arturo, along with amazing volunteers. The teens get dinner (usually pizza) and have a lesson and small group time. Ted and Kenna hang out until 7:00, when Kenna joins the older girls and attends a worship dance team rehearsal. Ted then goes to the chapel to meet with the praise and worship team to prepare songs for the Sunday service. His involvement with the band has been such a blessing.

Meanwhile, at home, Tobin and Arden help me clean up, motivated by the opportunity to have some Wii or computer game time after Lucan and Zaden are in bed. Once all the little boys are taken care of, I let the older boys turn their brains to mush while I have some "veg" time, too--reading or browsing online or whatever until Ted and the girls return home. Some or all of them are usually hungry, so we feed them leftovers and hear about their evening before we all crash.

This is usually a day much like Monday. However, starting in March, we are going to add an afternoon activity: a drama class! My plan is to take the older kids to the class at my friend Becki's house (she's the one teaching the class) and then go next door to our Italian friends' home to work with Salvatore and possibly his younger cousin on their English. Salvatore hasn't been able to come to our house for English practice the way he did last year since his mother is expecting twins in the next month or so! And so since our kids will be out his way, I figure I can just hang out and enjoy visiting Emilia and help her son and nephew with their English. Salvatore's grandmother Stella has been so gracious to help us with our housecleaning in exchange for English lessons, so I am happy that we can start the lessons up again soon! Thursday evenings are a welcome quiet night with the whole family at home. Bath night again for the little ones and time to read out loud together.

We squeeze in a bit of school Friday mornings, and then at 10:30 Mimmo, our Italian music teacher, arrives to give Tobin, Arden, and Charis piano lessons and violin lessons to Charis as well. We are currently borrowing one of his keyboards, since our electronic piano has apparently died. Sigh. We really do need to investigate our options and just get a new one, but that has been on the back burner for awhile. Anyway, lessons go until 12:30 or a bit later. I try to keep the little ones out from under foot. This usually involves all of us going to the 3rd floor so they can play while I do laundry. Fun, fun! Ironically, even though the play room is on that floor, Zaden doesn't want to be there unless I am! So doing laundry seems like a great way to keep him playing up there...except more often than not I get stuck up there sorting and spraying and he decides he really wants to be DOWNstairs...so then I dash downstairs to extricate him from Mimmo's leg/keyboard/whatever. So at that point it's all of a sudden BAKING TIME! And then EVERYONE wants to be in the kitchen with Mom! Oh, yay!

So we make banana bread. Or cookies. Or hot dogs or quesadillas or sandwiches. ANYTHING. Anything that involves standing on a chair and making a mess getting to taste food pre-lunch. And I feed the younger ones, too, so that their lunch is done by the time lessons are over and the older ones (who are of course STARVING by this point). We try to finish most of our schoolwork before this point, but there usually is something to finish up. Still, Friday afternoons are pretty low-key, which is nice.

Friday evenings are homemade pizza and movie nights. Twice a month I attend the Mission of Light outreach, a local ministry dedicated to helping spread Jesus's love to the women who are trafficked in the Naples area. (I really, REALLY need to blog about this, don't I?! OK. I will, I promise!) At this time the teams go out from 4-6pm, so I'm still able to come home and enjoy some movie time with the kiddos. And our current "movie" choices are actually the week's new episodes of Duck Dynasty and Mythbusters! By the time we finish watching those, we are DONE. I'm sure the kids could stay up later, but Ted and I are too fried. Daily wake times of 5:00 or 5:30am will do that to a couple of bodies, especially if those people are parents!!

Whew. There just is not really a typical Saturday around here! Saturdays often involve laundry catch-up and deep cleaning. Trips to the local market for produce and our favorite Italian food products. Birthday parties or friend events for kids. Naps. Day trips to see something in the area. We do try to get to bed at a reasonable time so we can get up and make it to church early!

We used to always make pancakes on Sunday mornings, but since we have to leave the house around 8:15ish, and since we have way more bodies to get ready to leave the house than we've ever had before, we don't do this anymore! Sometimes we do pancakes on Saturdays, and sometimes for dinner on Sunday evenings! But Sunday breakfasts vary nowadays, and we tag team to make sure we've got everyone loaded up at a reasonable time. Ted has to arrive early to set up with the praise team. I usually begin the service in the cry room nursing Seanin and then make my way to "our" pew before the end of the singing.

Church ends at 10:30. Because Ted and the kids do AWANA in the afternoons, we have chosen not to be involved in Sunday school at this time, leaving us more time to go home after a time of visiting (and usually a dash into the commissary--we may try to avoid it, but with a 34-mile round-trip, you do what you have to). We have lunch together and try to hear from everyone what he/she learned at church or in class, and then it's nap time for me, Seanin, and Zaden. Ted and the older 5 kids do AWANA and I enjoy an afternoon of peace and quiet!

Sometimes we also watch the live video feed of the service from Canyon Ridge Christian Church, our church in Las Vegas, which begins at 6pm our time. But not always--it depends on the rest of our day.

And then we're ready to start all over again on Monday!

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