Then the day seemed to last longer than usual because we found out at the last minute that Dad had a semi-annual stake audit of tithing funds to deal with. The kids and I came home from church, made dinner, helped A7 make her monster cookie ice cream sandwiches, prepared a Family Night lesson about personal mission statements and then waited.
Dad sent texts a couple of times letting us know about his progress, but it was far later than any of us wanted it to be when we sat down to the table. I2 and H5 were collapsing from exhaustion, so we ate and then changed our (much longer to implement) Family Night lesson to a quick discussion of the value of education. We ate what we could of our huge treats (They were too much for most of us! I wish I had a picture of them!) and got ready for our first week of school.
My alarm went off at 5:10 am. I checked on E14, but she was already up, showered, dressed, and doing her hair in preparation for her first day of seminary. (I think her alarm went off at 4:30 or so!) We're carpooling with another family because the seminary class meets 15 miles from our home. The other family took the first shift. I settled into a chair in our music room to study my scriptures while I watched for E14's ride to arrive. She was off at 5:35 am, and thus began a pattern that we will follow for the rest of the school year.
Slowly, but surely the family woke up and got started. Chores were done; E14 came home; we ate cinnamon pull-apart sweet bread for breakfast; and then we gathered for first day of school pictures!
|I2--just learning all he can!|
|The slide was bowing under their weight. Between smiles they were screaming and laughing, "We have to get off! It's going to break!"|
The first batch of pictures wasn't my favorite, so I tried for better lighting on the swing set. It was too inconsistent for everyone, but here are two treasures that I got quite by accident:
When we declared ourselves officially fed up with taking pictures (a photographer, I'm not), we headed indoors to hand out school supplies. We spent a happy hour decorating composition books and workbooks with stickers and colored sharpies.
|Not a good picture of H5, but it is the only one I took of these three happy kids with their stickers and journals.|
Then, with very little further ceremony, the big kids scattered to get started, and the littles and I had our first session of Kidschool. Here they are with their scripture journals (they draw while I read aloud).
From Kidschool we moved into one-on-one time with each of the three littles. A7 is absolutely in love with math, and H5 is so happy to be practicing reading again. Then it was suddenly lunchtime. We gathered around the table and assessed our accomplishments: the big kids were barely halfway through, so they'd need to get back to work after lunch, but I had an appointment for my mid-pregnancy ultrasound, so while S12 elected to go straight back to work, the others offered to take a break and watch the littles while Dad and I were gone. They watched Muzzy: German.
The ultrasound was perfect, and so is Baby. :)
After we oohed and aahed over the ultrasound pictures, kids who had schoolwork left got back to work, and I started checking what had been turned in. Everyone and everything was finished at 5:10 pm, at which point I made dinner.
We stumbled our way through bedtime routines (we're reading Tom Sawyer right now) and collapsed, grateful for our first day and grateful for rest.
The rest of the week passed with little variation other than that we didn't take pictures and put stickers on journals each day. Schoolwork routines got a little bit easier, and by the end of the week, M12, S12, and J10 had their assigned school done by lunchtime. E14 is still struggling--at 7:45 pm on Friday we were working our way through a grammar assignment that nearly killed us both.
|J10 likes penmanship and is good at it. The other kids tell me that it is torture.|
|This is M12's favorite school spot--the couch in the "library."|
|On Wednesday afternoon I actually had time to sit down and play Monopoly Jr with my little guys for a while. I2 won.|
|I don't know who took this picture or why, but she's sure a cute girl. ;)|
|When E14 finishes her schoolwork, she gets 10 minutes on Facebook. She's good about setting a timer, and I watch every move she makes when she's on that site.|
|The little ones and I are studying oceans. When I sat down to read a Magic School Bus book to them, some of the older ones appeared to listen in.|
|I2 did some "extra reading" on his own.|
|I never, ever get tired of small siblings reading together.|
|Yet another laundry folding session--I guess I don't need to keep taking pictures of kids folding it.|
|M12 in her spot again--math was a terrible challenge for her after a summer break. But she's got her rhythm again and is thriving now.|
|One of H5's drawings.|
|Even I2 got in on the action--pulling out colors that made him happy. He gave the sea creatures names like "Olive Guy" and "Hat Guy."|
|Puppets aren't just for hands! A7 ran around the house telling us all, "My feet are bugging me!"|
|E14 took a quiet moment to practice a fancy up-do on M12.|
We were so grateful for Saturday morning! We didn't have breakfast until 9:00 am, and we ate leisurely and well (pancakes!). But then we decided who would and wouldn't be attending the baptism of two new children at church (E14 stayed home to watch I2). We each did one chore off the Saturday Chore Board, got ready, attended the baptism (it was lovely), came home, ate bagels and cream cheese, and went to work finishing off the rest of the chores on the board.
It was 2 pm before we all stopped.
(The kids stopped. I still had stuff to do.)
The week makes me think of one of my favorite quotes from the Mitford books by Jan Karon--"There ain't no rest for the weary, and the righteous don't need none!"
(But then again, I'm not even sure if I'm quoting correctly . . . it's close enough, though.)