Beans and sausage are simmering on the stove, and I've just taken a picture of Nature Angel who was so excited to tell me that she cut a tree branch herself with her left hand and that she counted the rings and found out the branch is her very same age!
Which is 9 years old.
Suddenly I remember that even though all of my posts are about our days I want to link a Day in the Life post at Simple Homeschool next week and that today is a good day to write about.
Most of the kids are outside right now. Sir Walter Scott is out clearing some brush to make room for some berry vines we're planning to buy and plant. The little boys are digging in the not-quite-a-sand-pit that we've been working on since last summer, and the little girls are helping their daddy, giggling over getting to share his tools.
Rose Red is at work.
Pixie is in my rocking chair reading The Diary of Anne Frank.
Super Star is reading and resting in bed after having minor surgery on her feet this afternoon.
Belle is half working with the little girls and half keeping an eye on Theo, her puppy. (He's attached to a staked lead to keep him from running off, but she has to untangle him fairly often.)
I need to go stir the beans and set the table, but I'm taking a breath after the fullness of the day. I'm learning to love longer, slower evenings, and I'm in no hurry to call everyone in and begin our evening routines.
So I'm reflecting on the beginning of our day . . .
A headache strikes in the night, so I spend the wee hours waking and dozing until Baymax comes from his bed to mine to nurse and warm up (he kicks off his covers as he sleeps). He and I curl up together until just after 5:00 am, when I am able to slip away and leave him to cuddle with Sir Walter Scott if he needs a warm body.
Personal devotional time for me.
Rose Red and Pixie putter about the kitchen fixing their pre-seminary breakfast before their ride arrives. I remind them once that squabbling is not a good way to start the day, but other than that, I am left to focus on gathering strength from the Lord and expressing my gratitude to Him for the blessings and work of the day.
|They do not chop and melt almond bark for breakfast, so this picture isn't actually accurate, but it is one of the two of them in the kitchen together, so I figured it was close enough. :)|
Then I set to work finishing up a review that was due.
Shortly after 6:00 am, Lola toddles out of the bedroom, sleepy and sweet in her jammies. She crawls into my lap for some loves while I write. When she gets wiggly, I get her a snack and a drink of water.
There are just a few finishing touches on the review, and I love the feeling of pressing "submit" on the final form and being done. I don't like the work hanging over my head, so I focus and am happy when everything on the checklist is complete.
Ladybug pops her head out of her bedroom to ask if it's time to get up.
"Not yet," I answer. "It will be time soon, so go rest until I call you."
She whines a bit but turns to her room without arguing.
I pray my gratitude for this new ability to obey instead of tantrum.
With minutes to go before 7:00 am I decide I am desperate for a shower, but I don't know what to do with Lola. Should I take her in the bathroom with me? No, she'll play in the trash. Is Sir Walter Scott up? No, he and Baymax are cuddled together and snoring. Take her to the big girls? No, they'll grump. Skip my shower? No, it's been at least 3 days since my last one.
I finally decide it's close enough to 7:00 that Nature Angel and Little Princess will be gracious about watching her, and I'm right. They sweetly wake up ahead of their alarm and welcome her to their room to play.
How wonderful they are!
Knowing I'm now cutting into the time I should be getting the remaining kids up, I hurry through my shower and dressing.
Then, blessed man that he is, I get out of the shower to find that Sir Walter Scott has gotten up and gotten the little boys up and dressed, too.
A kiss for his kindness!
While the littles play and the mediums and bigs get started on chores, I find Ladybug looking at a book in bed in the semi-dark. With a few words about needing light when we're reading, I get her up and going.
Sir Walter Scott heads into work for his part-time job of helping with payroll at his full-time job.
Story time for the littles!
We read The Shoemaker and the Elves for the first time this week. We'll read it every morning, and by the end of the week the kids will be able to catch "mistakes" I make as I read; they'll also start to ask intelligent questions about the plot and characters.
While I'm reading, the older girls get home from seminary and start on their chores. When the story is over, it's time for the littles to clean the family room while I make breakfast. Usually breakfast is oatmeal or cream of wheat, but today we have leftover sugar cookies from last night's family night treat. The cookies are whole grain, so I justify the sugar as being no worse than what we put on a bowl of oatmeal and serve them along with some sliced apples and cheese.
During chore time, Mister Man knocks over our camera and breaks the lens beyond repair. Shattered pieces of it fall out of it as we pick it up. Pixie and I fight back tears and fight to remember that people are more important than things. We resign ourselves to using the cameras on our phones for a long time.
Between my shower, how looooooong the littles took to clean the living room, and Little Brother's tantrum, breakfast is at least half an hour later than usual. I start to feel the stress of being "behind" creep into my shoulders and voice, so I repeat my mantra about time, "Time is not measured by clocks but by moments," to decompress.
But I still give the littles an earful about doing their work well.
We have Morning Meeting as we eat. We sing and pray and recite scripture and study The Book of Mormon. We're so impressed with Pahoran's humble response to Moroni's scathing epistle. We conclude with reviewing The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
After we preview the week and day ahead, the littles are excused to put on their outdoor gear and go out to play (it's still in the 30s in the morning, but will reach 62 in the afternoon) while I get Rose Red's math pages and economics assignments printed.
The oldest 6 scatter to their private places to work on their individual school assignments, but as she does so, Super Star reminds me that she needs new French lessons downloaded, so I do that immediately.
Almost before I can get Lola and Baymax into clean diapers, Nature Angel is at my side with her books, ready to narrate what she's read. (The cast on her right arm makes writing hard right now.) We sit on the couch together and I write what she tells me. With a gentle smile she says, "I really like these books, Mom."
For the next 2 hours, I cycle through one-on-one school time with Little Princess, Mister Man, Brother, and Ladybug. At the same time, Lola and Baymax crawl in and out of my lap, go outside with the others, get into kitchen cupboards, draw on kids' schoolwork, dance on the table, and refuse to play with the toys with which I try to entice them.
|Baymax thought it was hilarious to crawl into the puppy's crate and bed.|
At some point in the morning, Sir Walter Scott gets home from work, pays a couple of bills, and heads out the door again, this time with Pixie in tow because she's 15 now, and it's time for her to get her driver's permit.
Eventually our stomachs start growling, so I fix some bread and butter that Super Star hands out to the kids outside, and I organize a bit of Academy--group school time for the younger half of the family. We read Mama Built a Little Nest, listen to bird calls (downy woodpecker, cardinal, and house finch), and make plans to start a weaving project in the afternoon.
I dismiss the kids to play outside again while I fix lunch--tomato soup, cheesy breadsticks, and mixed veggies.
Pixie returns with her permit triumphantly in hand!
It's late enough (nearly 1 pm) that Lola and Baymax are begging for naps, and lunch must be served before Super Star has to leave with Sir Walter Scott for her surgery to remove her plantar warts. Fortunately, Belle finishes enough of her schoolwork to come upstairs and see what's for lunch, and she sweetly takes over preparation and serving of the meal while I get the babies down for naps.
Lola goes down first, and by the time I come out of Baymax's room, lunch is finished, and Super Star is gone.
Nature Angel and Little Princess have been chomping at the bit to play Barbies, so they head off to their room while the other littles settle in for half an hour of Signing Time and then an hour of quiet time.
|This picture has Little Princess watching Signing Time because it is an older picture. :)|
I gather the older girls (minus Super Star) for Symposium. Our teen book club meeting is this Friday, so we skip our usual Spanish, art appreciation, and history activities for a long read-aloud session. We're almost done with The Scarlet Letter.
When we call an end to Symposium, Pixie and Belle return to their individual schoolwork--English for Pixie, Latin for Belle. I sit down at the computer to finish submitting the review I worked on in the morning and breathe a sigh of relief when it is done.
It's time for me to drive Rose Red to work, quiet time is over, and the babies are awake from their naps, so I bundle half a dozen little kids into the van for the drive.
When we get home, I'm ready to prepare dinner, but Nature Angel meets me outside to remind me that we haven't worked on the weaving activity I promised in the morning. I leave the littles and mediums outside to play in the mild late afternoon and hustle about gathering dinner supplies before heading back outside to keep my promise.
|Nature Angel was trying to get the board perfectly balanced. She tried all kinds of kid configurations . . .|
|. . . Success!!!!|
Before I can get outside, though, Sir Walter Scott and Super Star return home from her surgery. Her feet are bandaged, but she's not in pain yet because the anesthetic hasn't worn off. I call down the stairs for her to tell me all about it, but she heads to her room to rest.
I ask about pain meds, but Sir Walter Scott says they didn't get a prescription. I ask him to check on that because very soon she's going to start hurting badly.
Outside it's still winter, so there's not much to choose from for weaving supplies, but Nature Angel finds a ton of dead leaves in our iris patch, and they are perfect. We spend a lovely hour together working on our nature weaving.
Not everyone gets a turn, but I promise to continue the activity tomorrow.
The kids groan when I go inside, but I remind them, "If you want to eat tonight, I have to go in and do my work. My work is to make dinner."
They let me go.
And suddenly we're back where I started this post, at the (today) peaceful moment before dinner and evening routines.
I check on Super Star and find her content but starting to hurt. The doctor recommended only ibuprofen, so I administer a prescription-level dose along with a snack and leave Super Star to rest.
With Rose Red at work and Super Star in bed, we are only 12 at table for dinner.
Little Princess happily takes a plate down to Super Star.
Baths, jammies, tooth-brushing, baby-rocking, evening read alouds, prayers, songs, and tucking-in follow.
It takes anywhere from 2-3 hours to get our darling dozen through their routines. Tonight the babies enjoy their Baby Lit board books, Little Brother revels in his favorite train book, the other littles listen to me start Sophie's Tom, and the older kids (Super Star joins us because she is lonely downstairs) and I enjoy a few more chapters of The Scarlet Letter--we are not impressed with Mr. Dimmesdale at all.
Sir Walter Scott and Rose Red arrive at home just as we close our book.
The older girls always get talkative at this point in the evening. Sir Walter Scott and I do our best to listen for a short while, but then we send them off to their domain to do their teen girl thing before going to bed.
Our day is done.
And the house is (mostly) quiet.