The saga continues as we find out what happens from Wednesday to Saturday.)
5:44: Mostly regular morning, but today is laundry day so after the older kids are out the door, I sort the kids’ clothes, turn them all rightside out, pre-treat stains and stick a load in the washing machine before I take Bells and Dox to school.
9:50: On my way home, I stop at the elementary school for Tyler’s student-led conference. He presents a pretty amazing book about a Famis Raslr (Famous Wrestler) that makes me laugh.
11:00: Keep laundry going; write for an hour; prep work for my tutoring gig; clean out fridge; get crock-pot chicken curry started; pick all the kids up from school. Also, I have a new cold beverage obsession: iced matcha tea. I tried one at Kale Me Crazy a few weeks ago, but at $5.50 a pop, I set out to make my own more affordable version. Now I’m a matcha-making fool, and it’s my favorite afternoon pick-me up. Don’t worry, iced coffee…I’ll come back to you.
3:45: Get the kids started on homework and head to the library to tutor (I do some organizational coaching for families so I work with a few kids after school on organization, time management and stress management).
Before I leave, I find this in the kids’ bathroom: three baggies of water with bits of paper floating in them. I have no freaking clue, and I don’t even bother asking questions. Maybe someone has seen something they like on Pinterest?
5:00: Dinner has to be kind of early tonight because Josh coaches Ty and Cam’s soccer team at 6:30 so I’m super happy we planned for a crock pot meal. I make some quinoa to add to the curry, and we’re all fed and mostly happy. And 3/7 shirts are now stained with curry – a stain I haven’t figured out how to master – so that’s great. We all go to soccer practice so the little kids can wear themselves out on the playground and I get to chat with other moms. With four kids on three teams, soccer season is crazy hectic, but I love it because the kids love it and also because any reason to soak up more spring in Atlanta is a good one (unless it’s during our annual two week pollengeddon – amiright, Atlanta friends?).
7:45: Showers, baths, books and bedtime. 5 lunches. Dejavu. Fold laundry that I know I should just put it away, but I don’t. Josh flips through SportsCenter highlights while I go through emails and write. Wild and crazy Wednesday night.
5:42: Morning per the usual except that Maddox doesn’t get his preferred animal OR color of vitamin and howls so loudly that Bellamy wakes up way earlier than she should have. Bonus Bellamy. Sweet. Warm up coffee twice and pretend that if I put it in a travel mug, I’ll drink it on my way to the preschool.
11:10: Finish up on some room parent duties for the week; put the clean laundry away (definitely wishing I had done this yesterday); go through emails; work on Tyler’s birthday photo book (a compilation of the year in photos for each kid’s birthday); workout (run 3.2 miles to this playlist); make and drink/guzzle iced matcha.
5:15: Start dinner (grilled kielbasa with sauteed peppers and mac & cheese) and hand it over to Josh; take Isaiah to soccer practice where I fit in a tiny bit of writing.
7:10: Showers for some of the kids, baths for others; Isaiah and Camilla make their own lunches, which requires Hazmat level clean up of peanut butter from every crevice of the kitchen; practice spelling words one last time; read books.
After the first few months of school, the kids think it’s a great treat to make their own lunches so now I know that brainwashing is a real thing. They’ve seen enough lunches I’ve made to understand the formula: protein in some form (usually a sandwich), fruit, vegetable, “fun” side like pretzels, sunflower seeds or roasted chick peas (more evidence of brainwashing). There are usually some variations on the previously approved upon formula, but when they’re making their own lunches, you cut your losses and keep your mouth shut about cheese being the main course.
8:15: Kids in bed. Take the garbage out because there’s not much worse than sprinting in your pajamas after the garbage man on a Friday morning. Not that I’ve ever done that.
8:30: I look through my planner to get an idea of what the next day/week looks like and I have myself a moment. Sometimes this happens. Life gets to be too much. It piles up in my brain and I feel so overwhelmed that I don’t feel like any of the to-dos’ can actually ever get done. So, Josh has to hear about this because if he doesn’t, my brain might explode and things like HOW WILL I EVEN FIND TIME TO BRUSH MY TEETH become real thoughts in my head. And also, he married me knowing full well this happens. He’s a good man. So, we talk and I list out everything that’s stressing me: summer camp sign ups, never having time to write, too many commitments on my calendar, Spotify is out of good music (It’s not, by the way. I was kind of reaching.). Simply getting all of this stuff out of my brain is helpful and immediately helps me to rationalize and prioritize. Josh, however, sees this as an opportunity to FIX ALL OF THE THINGS. He creates solutions for each problem, which is a man thing, I think. We both feel better, but no time for FNL. Sad. As much as I would have liked to check out of reality for a bit, it’s just as important to hit the “refresh” button when I need to. Sometimes a girl just needs a meltdown.
6:00: wake up (I get a slower start on Fridays because it’s Free Choice breakfast), and you know what I’m thinking? THE GARBAGE IS ALREADY OUT! HALLELUJAH! I kid you not. Free Choice breakfast AND the garbage is out? It’s the little things. Drink coffee.
8:46: Clean rooms, wash sheets, dust and vacuum, which are all very easy tasks because I’m doing them with a four-year-old and a two-year-old. Every Friday, it’s the same thing: Oh, they’re playing together so well! Aw, they’re growing up – they’re actually helping me. Oh, wait. No. Hmmmm. Not at all. Oh…she’s clawing his face off. And now he’s cutting her pillow into pieces. I have no idea why I continue to push through and make this my “house cleaning” day, but I do. I hold on tight to routine. I also have no idea how Maddox continues to get his hands on scissors.
11:15: Josh comes home so I head to the gym for a quick workout:
- Tabata push ups
- Tabata squats
- TRX ab circuit to this playlist
Teach my noon TRX class that is SO MUCH FUN I’m sad when it’s over. My class people are probably NOT sad when it’s over.
4:00: Cocktail hour. 4:00 is the new 5:00. This is a Friday thing, right? Moscow Mule for the win. The kids are playing happily in the front yard, and aside from Maddox dropping a railroad tie on his toe, this is a delightful Friday afternoon.
5:25: Dinner is very fancy tonight so I preheat the oven and cut the frozen (but organic) pizzas from their plastic wrap. I cut up raw red peppers and arrange them on a plate with baby carrots. Voila.
8:26: Here’s something I’m NOT doing: MAKING LUNCHES! Hooray!
8:35: Tonight is Isaiah’s “Birthday Night,” which means he gets to stay up a little later than the other kids to spend alone time with me and Josh. Having so many kids is awesome in a lot of ways, but it does present a challenge for giving each kid quality individual time. A while ago, I found this article on Your Modern Family (which is one of my favorite family blogs), and we’ve been using the idea ever since. Essentially, the day of the month that your child was born becomes his/her birthday night for each month. Isaiah was born on July 11th so the 11th of every month is his night to stay up and choose an activity to do with us. The kids really look forward to it, and it has been hilarious to see their individuality come out with the activity choices.
9:55: Soccer Saturday. And also laundry day. After I get the laundry started, Josh drops me, Bellamy and Maddox off at Isaiah’s soccer game at the middle school field while he heads to another field to coach Cam and Ty.
11:00: I walk home with Isaiah, Maddox and Bellamy. It’s uphill both ways and yesterday’s dropping of the railroad tie on the toe means I’ve got two kids in a one-kid stroller. Who doesn’t love trying not to let the stroller tip over while answering 100 questions about “how heavy are bees?” “Do bees float?” “Do flowers taste like ice cream?” “Why are there cracks in the sidewalk?” “Will the street break too?” “Why does Bellamy smell like waffles”?
12:30: Everyone heads to the park for Maddox’s first game of the season. The toe issue does present a challenge here, and the whole family decides that Maddox gets two claps for persevering through his pain.
2:05: Keep the laundry going – change out loads, fold towels and pre-treat stains; write a bit; plan some workouts for my TRX class; squeeze in a quick hill sprint workout to this playlist. A sweet neighborhood boy joins me halfway up the hill on my last three sprints. I asked him to start at the bottom with me but he exclaimed, “Lady! There is no way I can make it from down there.” So, halfway it was. It was nice to have some company.
5:15: We head to our neighborhood Mexican restaurant for the 10-year anniversary celebration. The face painter was the real deal, and 29 hours later we had two very happy, scary looking little boys.
7:10: Head home for outdoor movie night at our neighbor’s house. Our neighbors set up an awesome outdoor screen and the kids plop down with snacks to watch Peabody and Mr. Sherman while the adults hang out in the back and drink alcohol. It’s the best, and I love our neighbors.
8:45: Everyone is pretty much exhausted from the Saturday festivities so there’s not much protest about bedtime, which is great because Josh and I struggle to make it through 30 minutes of a Shark Tank rerun before we’re out cold. Oh, Saturday night…I had such hopes for you.
All in all, it was a pretty good and typical week. As I look back, here are some of my takeaways:
- Planning on Sundays is key for our survival. We book meals, schedule appointments, note soccer practices and games. I also schedule my workouts and put them on the calendar so I’m far less likely to shrug them off or do something else during that time.
- We communicate often and about everything. Josh and I take a long-view look at the week each Sunday during family meeting, but we also touch base each morning. With one van and about one million places to be, it wouldn’t work any other way. And once every three months, we do a more thorough “check-in” with each other that follows an agenda and includes things like “Are you getting time for your hobbies? What is particularly soul-sucking right now for you? Where did all of our money go? What’s one specific thing you still love about me?”
- Something this diary couldn’t capture was the noise. Noise is a significant part of our lives and there’s just no way to fully capture the running, wrestling, yelling, dribbling, laughing, crying and Taylor Swift. I struggle with maintaining any kind of composure with that much noise at the dinnertime hour (or ever, really) so Josh has prescribed me “momphones” to wear while I’m making dinner. Sometimes they’re plugged into a device that plays music. Sometimes they’re not. Someday I’ll get some noise canceling Beats so at least I’ll look slightly cooler, but for now, it’s this.
4. Another thing I didn’t capture was all of the stuff I squeeze in during the “in-between times.” Like, I am ALWAYS AND FOREVER loading and unloading the dishwasher, but I think I missed noting it because it has become like breathing to me. But, really, I’m never sitting down to watch TV or sip a cup of tea. I’m on the phone making dentist appointments while cleaning the exploded pork chop remnants off the microwave ceiling and waiting for the matcha tea water to boil.
5. Laughter and levity are immeasurably important to our family happiness. I tend to freak out about things and Josh tends to not freak out. It’s a great balance and it’s taught me to freak out less. Even when my first reaction to finding Bellamy standing naked on the bathroom counter holding the mouthwash is to freak out, I usually come around with laughter. And that’s really the only way to make it through this absurdly crazy season.
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6. Something we don’t take for granted is Josh’s flexible schedule. Being able to work from home when we need him to provides us many freedoms for which we are thankful. If not for that, I most certainly wouldn’t be finding time to write or make bbq sauce from scratch. There are still challenges with scheduling and having made the choice to have him home more often means we can’t afford a newer van, expensive vacations or an addition to the house, but for now this is our season and we value that flexible schedule.
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7. Dang, I drink a lot of coffee.
I hope you enjoyed following along with us for a week, and I hope you found something helpful along the way. It was fun to jot it all down and take a look back. If you’d like to know about anything more specifically, ask away in the comments!
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