Another school year has started and I already feel like I am running in a marathon race. Which is wild because if you ever saw me you would surely know that I have never "run" anything a day in my life!
We have just finished the second week and it isn't the schoolwork that has us all tired out, it is all the extra-curricular activities that for some reason have to start the same time as the school year. We start school the 2nd week of August here. It still seems strange to me, as I am from California originally and we didn't start school out there until after Labor day. It has something to do with having extra time to add snow days, or something Midwestern like that.
The good thing about that is that the girls get to start school in their summer clothes, and I can wait for the fall clothes to go on sale! I do a lot of clothes shopping in my basement. I have it all divided and all of the girls clothes go into plastic tubs that are labeled first with the size and season of the clothes (ie; 2T - Summer) and then under that I have a label with the child's name and year it was last worn, repeating this every time one of my girls wears the clothes in this particular tub. (ie; Madyson - 2006) I also let my friend Lorraine "shop" with us as her daughter Olivia is wearing the same clothes as Madyson wore and seems to be following the same seasonal "track" that Madyson did. This works out great for both of us as she returns the clothes in beautiful condition, often adding some new things that were gifts to Olivia. My little Ava Marie is next in line for these. And then Lorraine is expecting another baby girl so she will be next after Ava. As will our new baby Olivia Grace.
I spend the bulk of my clothing budget on shoes and jackets in the winter time. It is pretty cold here for about 8 months, off and on, and Katy is always cold, even in the summer. So I tend to buy new jackets, and I like to get each girl a nice big winter jacket, 2 - 3 lighter weight polar fleece and zip up jackets, and for Katy a quilted vest. Shoes are really hard to hand down. Katy's feet are long and narrow, she is already wearing a size 4 womans. Mackenzie is only wearing a 12 childrens and Madyson is wearing an 11 1/2 childrens. I think Madyson will pass Mackenzie in the next year.
So, back to our schedule and all of the extra-curricular activities. Here is a pretty typical day in the life of ....
5am - I am up pretty early so I can get in a quick shower and get dressed. Then I go downstairs, flip on my computer and make a cup of coffee while I am waiting for the computer to pop on. I sit down to open my emails and try to answer as many as I can. I usually have about an hour of this which also includes pouring the girls orange juice, setting out some fresh fruit and making the baby a bottle. Sometime between and 6 and 6:30 the baby will wake up and I will have to head back upstairs to get her.
6:30am - I get the baby up, bring her into my room to change her and give her the first bottle. This is our snuggle time. Sometimes I let her lay on my bed with pillows behind her and her legs draped over mine while I fold laundry. Most of the time I hold her and snuggle her neck. She always smells so good. Then we put on her clothes for the day, let the cats out of their room (they sleep in the laundry room that is next to my room. Oh yes, I have the best designed house in the world! My laundry room has a door to the hallway right next to the door to my bedroom. You can enter from the hallway, or you can go into my room, make a left into my master bathroom, keep on walking into my master closet, then turn left again and walk from the closet into my laundry room! It makes a perfect circle! Oh yeah! I love this house!!) move clothes from washer to dryer, put another load of laundry in to wash.
7am - We wake up the other girls, get them dressed in clothes that we pick the night before. I have little baskets on their dressers that have their clothes in them. In the morning there is no arguing about clothes, it is already decided the night before! And then their pajamas go into the baskets for the day. I have all their hair stuff in the linen closet, so I get that done upstairs before they go down to breakfast.
7:20am - Downstairs for breakfast, I make weekly menus that I put on the refrigerator, so again it is already decided what we are having and the girls don't whine about it (too much). I like them to have something different every day, so we always have OJ and a fresh fruit, then toast, cold cereal, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, pancakes or waffles. I have a couple of other items I add sometimes, but usually we stick to these. Since I always make pancakes on Saturdays, I double or triple the recipe and freeze leftovers for during the week, same with the waffles.
7:40am - Brush teeth, pack the babies things in her diaper bag, another bottle for the road, and into the van by 8am.
8am - I drive over to the school to drop off Katy and Mackenzie. Then we stop at the bank to do a deposit, Madyson loves to go through the drive-thru here and watch as the little yellow cylinder with my deposit whooshes up in the clear pipe to the lady inside the bank. Then we drive to Madyson's school to drop her off. She attends Kids-R-Kids and really loves this place. In fact, Ava will be starting there this Tuesday, up until now I have been driving her to another care center that is run by a friend of mine, but it adds another 20 minutes to my drop-off and pick-up routine, so I decided to move her.
8:30am - Drop Ava Marie off at Kids Town Academy and drive to post office.
9am - Return home. Make second cup of coffee, take dry clothes out of dryer, move clothes from washer to dryer and put in yet another load of clothes into the washer.
9:15am - Sit down to work in my office. I won't go into my work day, except to say that I work in my office, surrounded by pictures of my children, steps away from my wonderful kitchen if I should need a snack, with a wall of windows that looks west over my backyard. Our swingset is right out my window, because during Tax Season, when I have to work all of the time, weekends included, I like to be able to watch the children outside playing and having fun. While I would like to be out there with them, it also serves to remind me of why I work so hard and even during Tax Season it lifts my spirits to see them swinging away in full joy! My children are my inspiration. I also love having this big wall of windows because I worked for more than 10 years in offices without any windows at all, which I think is actually a very cruel thing to do to a person. We are living organisms, just like trees and flowers, and we need to breathe fresh air and feel the sun and have lots of light!
3:30pm - Drive to pick up Katy and Mackenzie. They get out at 3:40pm, most of the parents line up in front of the school around 3:15, but I get a little repreive here. I purchased one of our schools 2 front row parking spaces at our little fundraiser auction last year. I have my own parking space...right in the front...with my name on it! It is quite the luxury! It affords me at least 15 minutes of extra work time each day, which works out to 1 hour and 15 minutes every week, which equals 45 hours each school year. Not to mention the wild perk of not having to fight the crowds at open house, kindergarten round up, Sneak-A Peek back to school night, Kindergarten Musical, 3rd Grade Musical, etc, etc. Of course this does not always work out, sometimes...just a few, people who are not me have parked in my space!! This makes me very angry and since I have waited until the last minute to arrive, causes us to be late and stressed from trying to find another parking space. BUT...I have rectified this recently. If I arrive and someone has parked in MY space, I simply park right behind them, right up behind the back of their car, so there is no way for them to get out until I come back to my car, which is often way after the event has ended!! Sometimes, like on the first day of school, I just park my own self on a bench in the front of the school and watch the person as they try to figure out where I am and how they are going to get out of there. They are usually mortified that they have been caught, but you know...I paid good money, quite a bit of good money for that spot...and they should be ashamed of themselves. Oh well, it doesn't happen too often.
4pm - Home to have a snack and get ready for the next activity. If we have time, the girls start homework right away. If not, then we change, jump back into the car and off to soccer practice, Ballet class, or whatever. Katy has Soccer on Mondays, Ballet on Tuesdays & Thursdays. We don't have anything on Wednesdays right now, but soon will have Brownies and Daisies every other week and Fridays we often have something to attend like a concert or movie or dinner with friends. Typically, during the week we are done by 5:30pm.
5:30pm - Pick up Ava Marie.
6pm - Pick up Madyson.
6:30pm - Home to cook supper or serve it if I was smart and made something in the crock pot. We are slow eaters, I talk a lot and so do my girls. I like to relax at dinner, talk about our day, ask them questions about their friends and what was the best thing that happened to them. My daughters are also very good eaters, though you wouldn't know it to look at their skinny selves! So there is a lot of eating going on between talking.
7:30pm - I take Madyson and Mackenzie up to take their baths in my big bath. The baby likes to play on the floor with their pajamas and towels. I wash Mackenzie's hair most every night. Madyson's only needs to be done every 2 - 3 weeks. Katy reads at the table for 30 minutes.
8pm - Katy comes up to take her bath and I do a bath for the baby in her little pink baby bathtub.
8:15pm - Settle down on Mom's bed for reading. I like to read to the girls, we are reading Little House on the Prairie right now, we just finished Little House in the Big Woods. The girls listen and relax. Madyson sometimes walks around a little, maybe going through a book of her own, she isn't really ready to sit quietly and listen that long. Ava is actually a great listener, she will stare at the book, even if there are no pictures. I think she will become a wonderful reader some day.
8:45pm - Tuck the kids in bed and lights out. Katy and Mackenzie share a room, they have a bunk bed. Madyson has a bed in the room next door along with Ava's crib. But Madyson doesn't ever like to sleep there. She sleeps most every night on the floor in her sister's room. I have ordered a trundle to go under the bottom bunk for her, I hate that she always sleeps on the floor, but she absolutely won't sleep in her own room! Oh well, I am going to take her bed out of there and put in another crib for Olivia Grace.
9pm - I am back to work in my office until around 12 midnight - 1am. Depending how much I have to get done and whether or not Top Chef or Jon & Kate Plus Eight is on!
It's not the actual activites we do each day that makes me so tired, because Lord knows I am not kicking any of those soccer balls! I think it is all of the driving around I do. I spend at least 3 hours a day in the car! And the weekends aren't much better as that is when the little girls have their ballet and Katy has her actual soccer games, and then on Sunday we have church and then Childrens Choir. Oh well, years ago I tried to cut back on all of the extra-curricular stuff, but I just started to fill the days back up again with new activities. I think we are just one of those go-go families!