If you read some of my posts you might wonder how I can possibly manage to do all that I do and not just go absolutely insane.  After all, there’s no “me time”, right?

Well that’s not entirely true.

There is a process through which I am able to accomplish all that I do.  First is organization.

I have a to-do list set up on all my devices.  I use Wunderlist because it’s cross platform across Android and Windows so it doesn’t matter which of my devices I use.  No matter whether I pick up my phone, my android table, my windows tablet, or log on at work, I can see exactly what my to-do list for the day is.

In my to-do list I have a folder for Routines.  I have these split out into Personal routines and Shared routines.  I’ve invited Shane, Lilly, and Matthew into Wunderlist too so I can assign them tasks as need be.  For example, Matthew and Lilly each have a recurring task to clean their rooms each week.  And since I don’t trust them (lol) I have a recurring weekly task to nag them about it until they do!  Delegation, organization, and technology all wrapped up into one!  I also have my routines split in to Daily, Weekly, and Monthly.

So like on my Daily routine, I have things like making my bed, cleaning out the sink, reading the Bible for the day, making my lunch for the next day, exercising, etc.  Things that are just for me.  Weekly is my weekly cleaning tasks, and then monthly are things that need to be done but just don’t get messy or disorganized that often.

The important thing is that this list automatically recurs as necessary.  All of my monthly tasks recur on the first of the month, the weekly tasks all recur on Monday and then my daily tasks recur either daily or on weekdays or whatever as necessary for that task (for example I don’t need to make my lunch for work on Fridays.  That’s a Sunday task).

The second part of my process is multitasking.  The list helps me keep in mind what needs to be done and as the day progresses, I’ve planned out my next moves in my mind.  Sometimes they don’t work out exactly and on those things I’ve learned to have backup plans.  (Like when Luke isn’t cooperating and needs me downstairs instead of windexing the microwave!)

But multitasking is what helps me get the job done.  I’ll illustrate with some examples.

I get up in the morning to get dressed, but while I’m getting dressed, I’m cleaning out the sink, and doing my weekly bathroom tasks in the morning that I can knock out quickly.  When I need to change my sheets for the week, I do that as part of making my bed.  When I’m upstairs cooking dinner, instead of babysitting the pot of water to boil, I windex the fridge, or get some bread going in the breadmaker, or whatever task needs to get done.  I’ve cooked supper before and had Sierra upstairs on the computer with me working with her on her homeschool when I hadn’t finished with her yet.  I might pop outside and sweep off the deck in between stirring onions that I’m sauteing.

After dinner, now that Luke is more and more awake *FOR* dinner, he requires a bath, so I have finished eating my dinner while giving him a bath before (because he was screaming in his chair after a few minutes and everyone else was still eating).

After the kiddies are in bed, I pull out the crochet basket and I watch Netflix with Shane while working on whatever projects I have.

Sometimes I even multitask while I’m multitasking… Such as cooking dinner, and waiting for the boys to clean their room so I can vacuum, and I’m sitting at the sewing desk working on my 9 square for the week for the quilt I’m working on.

I have caught up on reading on my tablet or phone while putting kids to bed.  That’s also a good time for me to catch up on email and facebook.

I multitask for homeschooling.  In the mornings I put Mark in his high chair and give him a coloring sheet and a couple of markers for him to work on his fine motor skills while I go start breakfast for that morning and start making coffee.  I look up one child’s assignment while other children are working on different devices, or doing handwriting or what not.  I plan ahead using my lists knowing what’s coming to help me organize how to multitask.

There are all kinds of opportunities for multitasking.  Even at work there are opportunities.  As a programmer sometimes it takes a bit of time for programs to compile, or files to copy, and these are good times to catch up on a few at-home miscellaneous tasks, because otherwise I’d be staring at a screen and falling asleep while waiting for the processes to complete.

Life won’t always be this busy and I know it.  I know right now especially it’s a busy time because it’s gearing up to prep for the holidays.  It’s a busy time because I have little ones and they’re not so independent right now and still require lots of time and attention.  Even Lilly, at 11, requires time and attention so it’s just a having-lots-of-kids-in-the-house thing lol.

But eventually that will end and life won’t be so busy.  Of course knowing me, I’ll find something else to do to fill the time!

The point is though, that you can find time to do things if it’s important.  It’s important for me to spend time with my kids.  It’s important for me to homeschool them.  It’s also important, though, for me to keep a reasonably tidy house.  It’s not immaculate and a day or two after cleaning day paper begins to collect on the stairs, clothes on the landings and bathroom floors, and toys all over the place, but though it’s a daily struggle for me, it’s an important one.  I can’t stand clutter and mess and this is part of how I keep my sanity.  To other people maybe cleanliness isn’t so important and that’s fine.  Also cooking from scratch and creating items from scratch ala Little House on the Prairie is important to me.  Spending time with Shane is important to me…  So I make time.  Even if I’m multitasking a lot of the time I make time for what needs to be done.

And I always make sure to have a day of rest.  On Sundays I try to have nothing to do except perhaps crochet projects, to be done while watching Netflix.  But after this busy season, I won’t even have those to worry about.

Make time for what’s important and if it seems that there’s too much to do and not enough time, see where you can squeeze in a bit of multitasking.  You might be surprised at how much you can actually accomplish, and knowing you have a day off to do nothing helps the mental game too so you don’t feel overworked.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Funny how that happens.  The more life changes – the more curve balls it throws at you, the more things seem to just settle into a routine.  A couple of weeks ago, our life was upset when Emily, Shane’s second eldest daughter, decided what she wanted was more important than her family and left our house.  I’ll admit she did a lot around the house, but that was due to her volunteering – her putting on a face so we wouldn’t suspect her true feelings.  And honestly, who would turn down a child volunteering to help out with stuff?  Maybe a toddler but a teen?  Very few I bet.

So due to all that she helped with, one might think that life was suddenly horrendously upset and everyone was put upon to cover her work.  Surprisingly this just hasn’t been the case.  It’s run a lot smoother, less fighting, quieter, more productive, just in general, awesome.

A glimpse into our daily lives may help illustrate my point.

Mondays are chore day.  I really dislike having to do chores during the week so I try and get EVERYTHING done on Mondays.  At least as much as can humanly be expected.  I wake up at 6, same as every morning.  Knowing it’s Monday and I have a full schedule, I make myself pop out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off, no matter how much or little sleep I got the night before.

I go to the bathroom and do most of the bathroom clean up while I’m in there.  I get dressed, brush my hair, put on my makeup, then I windex the mirror, clean the counters, clean the toilet, and pop the towels and wash rags into the hamper.  All in all this takes me less than ten minutes.  Then I rouse Shane out of bed (usually Luke and/or Mark is helping me with this at this point as they often wake up while I’m getting ready in the morning).  Sometimes it takes a while but lately he’s been helping me out by rousing himself out of bed fairly soon.  This is a good thing because as soon as he gets up I strip the bedsheets off because I wash our sheets, and the crib sheets once a week.  I head out to the mudroom, get the second set of sheets and pillow cases and quickly make the bed.  Then I put the sheets, and all the items from my hamper into the laundry and start it if it’s full, or get the boys up and get them to bring me their clothes.  Sometimes the girls bring their hamper downstairs at night for me and sometimes Matthew sets his laundry bag in the laundry room for me to toss in.  When there’s room I put as many clothes and diapers in as possible.  Since I skip laundry on Sunday, and kids are really bad about bringing me laundry until their hampers and bags are overflowing, I’m usually caught up with my one-load-a-day laundry routine by Wednesday.  It works out though because they’re also really bad about folding up clothes and usually only do it once or twice a week even though they’re supposed to do it every day.  Ah well, not a fight I care to pick these days unless I’m actually out of clothes.

After laundry is started I go back to my room and get my trashbag from my bathroom and toss it in the mud room bathroom.  Usually one of the boys likes to go get a new grocery sack for my trashcan so I task whoever is up and in my room with that job, to which they almost without fail, eagerly hop to.

So by this time it’s about 6:30, and all of my bedroom chores for the morning are done.  In fact, by this point, the only weekly cleaning left in my room is cleaning my bathtub, vacuuming my room, and vacuuming and mopping my bathroom.  Then the master bedroom and bathroom are both done.

Sometimes (more often than not), I change Luke and Mark’s diaper at this point and try to get them dressed.  Granted, on Mondays I don’t always do that.  This morning, I just changed Luke’s diaper because he was really wet but I didn’t put a cover on him and I didn’t get him dressed so that they would notice he was wet this morning after breakfast and change him with baby powder and the whole nine yards.  He has a bit of a rash going on this morning so I didn’t want to leave him wet but I didn’t have time to hunt down the baby powder either.  Compromise is the name of my game.

So with the master bedroom done, laundry going, and kids dressed and/or diapered, I grab up Luke, my windows tablet and mouse, my android tablet, my purse, and, depending on weather, my jacket, and call Mark up behind me to head upstairs to the kitchen.  I deposit Luke in his high chair and if I can find one nearby, give him a toy to play with.  I put Mark in his high chair and give him a coloring sheet and markers so he can get started on school.  I quickly scurry over to the girls’ rooms and flip their lights on and rouse them up.  Then I go into the kitchen, pop a bagel into the toaster (my breakfast of choice most mornings), and get the kids breakfast started.

On Monday mornings, I sometimes do a bit of my weekly chores.  For example this morning, I started the oven on its self clean cycle, I windexed the coffee maker down real quick and started to prep coffee (Shane got up there before I finished so he took over), and I windexed the trash can lid.  Why kids can’t seem to avoid throwing food and nastiness on the lid is beyond me but I clean it every week.  Then I sit down to work with kids on school.  I know the boys won’t take very long at all so I quickly scan OneNote and print off whatever worksheets they have that morning.

Usually at this point Sierra is up so I get her started with something independent – a handwriting sheet, an audio book she’s supposed to listen to, perhaps XtraMath, whatever works for that morning.  I get Jordan started on a handwriting sheet too and let David use the Windows tablet to do his math.  I alternate then to the boys Easy Peasy school which usually only takes 5-10 minutes or longer if there’s a craft like there was this morning.  Luckily it’s not stuff I have to hover for so I can work with the others while they’re doing crafts.

After a coloring sheet and Easy Peasy, Mark is done and he and Luke get breakfast at their high chairs.  When David finishes his math and Easy Peasy, he, too, gets breakfast because his only remaining subject is Bible which I read to Sierra, Jordan, and David while they eat breakfast.  Jordan finishes up his Xtra Math and math assignment if he didn’t get a chance to before and then he gets to eat and I read Bible to them.  By this time it’s pretty close to 7:30 and Shane has given me a cup of coffee which I drank while doing school with the kids, he’s gathered my lunch box (prepped the day before) and my breastmilk pump bag and finished putting cream cheese on my bagel and packing it for work and set it aside for me to grab.  I kiss all the kiddos and zoom off to work.  Takes me about ten minutes or so to get to work so I’m there between 7:30 and 7:45 most mornings depending on when I actually make it out the door and how weather and traffic are.

While I’m at work I make myself available to my kids for answering questions about their assignments (this is just Lilly and Matthew since Sierra doesn’t yet have social media rights and the boys are already done with school by this point).  I also am trying to get them caught up by pushing them with assignments because they got a bit behind when Emily was here and I wasn’t as directly running things (see another good thing about her not being here.  By me HAVING to run things I’m back where I want to be – in the know with what is being done and what the quality of the work is.  I felt like I was running blind when she was “helping” even if it did free up time for me.)

I get my “desk work” weekly chores done too on Mondays throughout the day, if I am able to.  Do a quick meal plan, prep the baking list, quickly get the kids school work planned for the next week, etc.  Having a cell phone really helps out in this regard because I can get my work done while on the go.  Anyways it doesn’t take me too long and then the best part is that while this may be a gray area, once it’s done I am totally focused to getting my work done and I really think I do more work this way because I’m not distracted by a seemingly endless to do list when I get home.  I justify it to myself by saying sometimes people take smoke breaks and people are ok with that.  Sometimes people converse at the coffee pot and people are ok with that.  So I work like a maniac and get my home stuff done on my “breaks”.  It eliminates the “I’m too exhausted to think” factor for me.  Perhaps this isn’t an option for everyone, but I really work more efficiently when I’m able to mark off a bunch of stuff from my to-do list.  And when there is literally nothing left to do except chores I must be there for, I am able to separate myself from that and focus on my actual work.

I work through lunch and assuming I have no appointments, I’m off work by 3:30-3:45 depending on my arrival time.  Sometimes if I’m in the middle of something I work a little later to try and finish my train of thought, but I try not to do this on Mondays so I can get my “cleaning frenzy” done after work and before dinner.

So I’m usually home by 4, 4:30 at the latest.  I walk in the door, and head upstairs.  I put up my bags, empty out the milk and my lunch dishes and get dinner started while simultaneously making lunch.  Sometimes on Mondays I also get started windexing the appliances upstairs, but this depends on whether or not Luke is awake and crying or not.  If he’s crying I really just try and get my lunch made but I’ve been known to delegate that if it sounds too desperate.  Ideally I get my lunch made for the next day, dinner started, and I am able to windex the fridge, cabinets, counters, microwave, and dishwasher.  I like to try and windex the stove too but I sometimes forget to get it done before I turn on the stove to get dinner made so sometimes I delegate that to Matthew, and while I know he doesn’t windex it I pretend he does so I can mark it off my list.  I do windex the parts that aren’t hot though.

I usually only spend about twenty minutes tops upstairs getting stuff done, less on days that aren’t Monday!  So I head downstairs, grab Luke if he’s made his way upstairs, or if he’s down in the den crying, and take him to the room with me.  I set him down (which he often cries when I do so but I know he’ll be ok shortly).  Then I quickly change out of my work clothes and set my clothes out for the next day.  I put my purse up and plug up my phone.  All in all this takes me less than five minutes.  Usually by 4:30-4:45 I’m able to spend a few minutes with Luke, nursing him, connecting with him, and comforting him with some much needed Mommy time.  A lot of times at this point, too, Mark, Jordan, and David, and sometimes Sierra and Lilly come in and hang out with me around this time.  On Mondays I usually send them out to go clean their rooms.  The boys are responsible for picking their room so I can vacuum as well as getting any sheets and pillowcases into the laundry hamper for washing.  The girls are responsible for their individual bedrooms, picking them up, sweeping or vacuuming (they have hardwood floors), and swiffer mopping their rooms.  Lilly is also responsible for cleaning the girls’ bathroom and Matthew is responsible for cleaning the boys’ bathroom.  They are also supposed to change out sheets and pillow cases.  We’re kind of low on those things in the household right now so a lot of that gets bypassed but it’s in the plan to get more sheets and such finances permitting.  I think it’s important.

After a few minutes, Luke will either pass out because he really needed a nap, or he’ll be in a good mood again and wanting to play.  At this point I get up and begin my downstairs cleaning frenzy.  “Boys clean up your room I’m almost there” is a mantra I repeat throughout the tasks.  I vacuum my room and bathroom, then the den and mudroom.  Usually the boys still aren’t done picking up their room by this point so with Shane threatening to spank them if they don’t stop playing, I take this time to swap laundry over to the dryer and windex the appliances and counters in the mudroom – the washer and dryer (changing the lint filter and emptying my lint bucket first), the deep freeze, the counter, and the trash can lid.  Then I mop my bathroom and the mudroom.

At this point it’s about fifty fifty.  Sometimes the boys are done cleaning sometimes not.  So I might check on dinner, and then vacuum their room, or the stairs, but usually I sew my nine squares for the week.  I’m slowly working on a king size quilt for our bed because ours is falling apart.  It’s my first quilt and I picked a monumental project for the first quilting project ever.  I have to sew an 8′ by 8′ square top and my squares are all 3″ x 3″… so it’s taking a bit of time.  I’ve done a lot already but I’ve probably been working on it for a year or close to it now.  I’ve got all the pieces cut out (I calculated I’d need 1024 squares!) and I’ve sewn up a lot of them.  Each week my pile of squares gets a little smaller.  I could probably find time to do more and get the quilt done faster but to me, slow and steady is good.  I like doing little tiny pieces of a project at a time, even if it means I’m working on ten projects at once.  Keeps me from getting bored.

After this the boys FINALLY have their room clean, often after a threat of not getting dinner until they finish picking it up.  Being very food-motivated boys, this tends to get the fire going under them.  I vacuum their room, and then up the stairs and the landing, up the second stairs (yay split level houses!) and then the top carpeted landing.  A quick vacuum over the dining room and kitchen and I’m done vacuuming.  It’s usually 5:30 or closer to 6 by now, just depending on interruptions and I’m starting to feel the anxiety of needing dinner on the table but not being done with my chores.  I get dinner on its last stages and straighten up the school shelves.  I finish any kitchen windexing I didn’t get done and I give the chairs and high chairs a good scrub down.  At this point the only job left is mopping the kitchen and dining room and often I delegate that though this week I think I shall have to do it because the floors have been getting kind of gross which tells me kiddies haven’t been doing a job up to snuff.  I could fight about it but I’d rather just do it myself this week so I don’t feel like stabbing myself in the eye when I walk on the floor (I have sensitivity issues related to touch lol…)

Dinner is on the table by 7 at the latest, usually between 6 and 6:30 though, sometimes earlier on non-Mondays.  So we eat dinner in our nicely cleaned house, and Lilly and Matthew are responsible for after-dinner cleanup.

Normally after work I help Sierra finish up her school, but on Mondays I do what I can after dinner and then catch up the rest on Tuesday (sometimes Wednesday if we were really having issues getting done).  By Friday she’s always caught up, and very rarely ever has any more work to do.

After dinner we get kids in the shower, one after the other, then teeth brushing, and kids in bed by 8.  Luke usually conks out between 6 and 8 for the night so he doesn’t always make it to the dinner table.  Just depends on the flow of the day.  I try and get him to stay up for dinner but it doesn’t always work out.  I kind of have to go with the flow on that one.

After kids are in bed (mostly after Luke is asleep), I get a quick bath, and then after all kids are in bed, Shane and I watch TV (or eventually we will be playing computer games together when we are able to get some gaming computers for ourselves!  It’s in the plan!), and I work on crafts.  Right now I’m working on making all the kids Christmas stockings.  I had a crocheted granny squares Christmas stocking growing up and I loved it.  I loved it much more than the store-bought “traditional” stockings so I’m making my kids a handmade stocking each so they, too, can have that feeling.  I have assigned myself one a week to do and they really don’t take too long.  Just sixteen granny squares put together.

And that is a look into my life during the week – mostly Mondays lol.  The rest of the week is very similar but minus the chores so there’s more time to work with Sierra on school, doctors appointments if necessary, being lazy lol…  More time for crafts and gaming and tv too!  I try to be in bed by 10 but sometimes I’m up until almost midnight.  While six hours of sleep isn’t enough, even eight isn’t enough but I just can’t get into bed by 9 and still get everything I need to get done finished so I muscle through sleep deprivation during the week and catch up on the weekends with sleeping late and napping.  It’s another one of those compromise areas.  I evaluated what was important to me (having a tidy house, homeschooling my kids, making them things etc) and I adjusted things and made sacrifices to make it happen.  I sacrifice “me time”, exercise time, and sleep in order to get all this done but I think it’s ok… this is just a phase of life.  It will eventually calm down and then I’ll have plenty of time to get these other things done.

The main theme of my week is to work like the busy ant and then have Sundays to rest.  I still do crafts on Sunday but not work-intensive.  And once I get a gaming laptop it will probably be goofing off playing games on Sunday instead lol.  It’s just I need something to do with my hands while watching tv…. lol.  It’s hard for me to JUST watch tv.  I very rarely do JUST watch.

It’s a busy life, but it’s a very very satisfying one.

Why a Humanistic Approach to Parenting is Flawed

This post will only make sense if you believe in the Bible.  Because otherwise you essentially have no choice but to view life through humanistic goggles.

I had a conversation with my brother this weekend which got me thinking.  He was telling me how discouraged he was about all the posts on his Facebook feed that were in essence bragging about spanking and such.  Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not something I would brag about.  I take no joy in disciplining my children than any parent should.  I view it as a necessary evil for reasons I shall detail shortly.

I tried to explain to him that spanking was not the same thing as beating.  His perspective was any hitting equaled a beating.  I tend to disagree.  After all, you can take a piece of dung, shape it into the shape of a rose, and spray paint it red, but it will still smell like poop, not a rose…  You can’t call something another thing and then magically it is so.  A spanking, when done properly, is NOT the same as a beating.  As to whether a spanking is “appropriate” or not, well that goes back to the humanistic perspective.

As I was talking to my brother, who is not a Christian, I realized he saw the world of parenting through rose-colored goggles.  He wasn’t seeing the two-year old throwing a tantrum because you told them to put on a long sleeve shirt to go outside and play in the 40 degree weather (as opposed to the tank top the toddler WANTED to wear).  He didn’t see the eighteen month old repeatedly shoving discs into the playstation, running the risk of completely ruining the device.  He didn’t see the grade-school child lying about whether they ate the last of the cheese because they were afraid of getting in trouble.  He saw none of the actual CHALLENGES of parenting because he is, in fact, not a parent.  He instead saw how all the parents around him were doing it wrong because they dared strike their child.  Their poor, innocent, sweet little child.

I shall give an example that happened this very morning.

Luke is 8 months old (well almost).  He can crawl like a shot, pull himself up, climb up the stairs (repeatedly…), AND he can unplug things.  However this last “talent” is not quite so developed and his method of pulling things out involves leaning on them until they fall out.  As you can imagine this can pose several issues.  It could break the plug off inside of the socket, it could expose enough of the socket he could electrocute himself, or he could slobber on it and similar effect.

This morning Luke would NOT leave the plugs alone.  I moved him away from it about half a dozen times.  He was dead set on playing with the plugs and no matter how far away I moved him, he zoomed back like a shot with his army-style crawling and was right back at the plug again.  Finally I was flustered and I popped him lightly on the hand.  It didn’t hurt, it was truly very light.  He gave me a quick frown and guess what?  He left the plug alone after that.  He didn’t touch it again the entire time he was downstairs.  And you know what else?  Like ten second later he was laughing and giggling at me, so I rather doubt he hated me, or was permanently scarred from my actions.  However he learned a lesson.  When Mommy says no, Mommy means no and I better listen or there are consequences.

On the subject of consequences, just because a person CHOOSES to repeat a mistake does not mean they didn’t learn the lesson.  It could mean any number of other things.  It could mean they don’t care.  It could mean they think they can get away with it this time.  It COULD mean they didn’t learn the lesson but in school when you don’t learn a lesson you repeat it, possibly with other presentations, until you do – you don’t just shrug your shoulders and say well school doesn’t work at all because this one lesson wasn’t learned.

I believe it’s the same with spanking.  Just because it “doesn’t work” one time doesn’t mean the lesson wasn’t learned.  I see the lesson learned from my children.  I can see it when I warn them if they don’t obey they will receive a spanking.  They understand that’s serious business and they straighten up, even if just for a time.  Sometimes they don’t, and they get a spanking, THEN they straighten up.

Don’t get me wrong – spanking is never our first resort.  First we try to redirect “Stop being so loud – why don’t you go play in your room?”  Then we warn…. a LOT.  “If y’all don’t hush or go play in your room you’re going to be in trouble!”  Then we lay out exactly what’s going to happen.  “CHILDREN!  GO TO YOUR ROOM AND PLAY OR YOU’RE GETTING SPANKINGS, YOU ARE BEING TOO LOUD!”  FINALLY, when all else is ignored, we follow through.  We’re left with no choice.  Our children’s disobedience forced our hand.

There is a biblical example in this…

God tells His children what to do – the Law.  When they ignore it and continue to selfishly do as they please, He warns them through the prophets.  A LOT.  There are a LOT of warnings, a LOT of time to turn away from disobedience.  And when they don’t obey?  He disciplines them.  They fall into slavery, they go to war and their families die, they suffer from plagues like drought and famine.  There are CONSEQUENCES for their actions.

Now some people might argue that God doesn’t strike his children.  In the sense of he doesn’t come down and spank them on the butt that’s true.  But I dunno I think sending a famine where you die is probably the divine equivalent.  Call me silly.  The point is that there are consequences to continued disobedience.  Not to mention the fact that the Bible says that if you don’t discipline your children you hate them and that physical discipline won’t hurt them.  The key is discipline not child abuse.

I used to be where my brother is.  I thought I was going to raise my children with gentle parenting techniques, and that spanking was wrong.  Why did I think that?  Because what was modeled for me by my parents WAS wrong.  My parents spanked us in anger.  When they were pissed off and raging, that is when they spanked us.  Then they banished us to our rooms so there was no consolation.

When I met Shane, he described to me a whole other beast.  I would point out that when I met him, Lilly was four, and she still hit me and bit me when she didn’t get her way.  Once she started getting spankings for that behavior – it stopped.  Today she is a pretty obedient eleven year old.  She has her moments, and her challenges, but she is SO much better than she used to be.

If you look at children through a humanistic viewpoint, you can’t help be see cute innocent children, and of course through that lens it seems inconceivable to give them spankings.  After all they can’t possibly understand their behavior.

But if you see them through a Biblical lens you realize they’re born into sin.  They’re born selfish.  I don’t think they’re EVIL.  I think that is a learned trait.  But definitely selfish – and that is a trait I have witnesses first hand in my young young children who the world would see as “too young to understand the consequence of their actions”.  They understand.  They just want what they want more than they want what others want them to do.  They still care about each other and I have seen them being very tender towards their younger siblings.  But I’ve also seen them raging and throwing tantrums because they aren’t getting what they want.  And these are the actions we look to curb with the stamp of obedience.

My brother also used to argument of he wouldn’t hit his fiancee when she is “bad” so why should he hit his children?  That argument also perplexed me because you wouldn’t put a subordinate at work in time-out but there’s nothing morally wrong with doing so to your children when they’re disobedient.  It’s just a different relationship.  You might not spank your spouse for being disobedient but first (assuming you’re the husband and the Bible calls for the wife to be obedient to the husband, not the other way), there are other actions you would take.  And if you felt your husband were “being bad”, you might not hit him true, but there ARE other consequences involved.  Different relationships, different consequences.  It’s the nature of the beast.

When in doubt I fall back to what the bible says:

Proverbs 23:13-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

13 Don’t fail to discipline your children.
    The rod of punishment won’t kill them.
14 Physical discipline
    may well save them from death.[a]

I don’t spank them because I hate them or because I’m mad at them or anything ridiculous like that.  I spank them to save them from themselves.  Sometimes they really can’t control themselves but a swat on the butt helps them focus.  Maybe it sounds crazy.  Maybe people will disagree.  And to that I would say each child is different.  I happen to have EXTREMELY high energy children with whom other disciplinarian techniques just don’t work.  We’ve tried.  We continue to try in the hopes that they will work.  In the meantime we’ll try and lead them to the true path though they fight and buck to go the path that leads to death.

Halloween 2015 and a Birthday!

Well, as promised, I thought I’d post some pics of the final result of Halloween 2015.  Emily is missing, of course, because she moved out last week so she didn’t participate in trick or treating, even though I made her a costume.

I started making the costumes at the end of September.  I planned to do one or two a week so I knew I needed a while to work on them.  I gave myself 6 or 7 weeks and ended up finishing early because I’m just motivated like that!  I started with Lilly’s costume.  She wanted to be Mangle from Five Nights at Freddies, a horror game with which she is obsessed.  Mangle is an animatronic fox.  She looked up some cosplay videos for her costume so most of the ideas from her costume came from that plus a few she threw in.

Mangle, the animatronic fox

Mangle, the animatronic fox

We started at the thrift store.  We went looking for a black long sleeve shirt, black leggings, and a white shirt.  When we got there we were pleasantly surprised because the thrift store was having a deal where you could fill up a grocery sack with as many clothes as you wanted for $7.  So in addition to her costume, we got the boys and Sierra some much needed extra clothes, all for only $7.  In addition to the thrift store purchases, we bought silver spray paint, some cheapy craft paint and paint brushes, an inexpensive wig, and some pink Halloween hair spray.  To make her pants, we just taped up sections and spray painted them silver, then removed the paint.  She painted on black “bolts” to the sides of the pants to look like a robot.


According to the cosplay, Mangle has a bloody shirt so we cut up the white shirt and splatter painted it with red.  Additionally we painted the bottom to look blood stained and then added some “blood smudges”.  She was pretty happy with how it turned out.


In addition to her outfit, I crocheted her a fox tail, a fox ears hat/headband thing, and some white fingerless gloves.  I already had the yarn and the fuzz (I had saved the filling from a sleeping bag that had torn all to pieces and so I had a GIANT bag of fiberfill fuzz for crafts this year!)


Next I worked on Jordan and David.  They wanted to be Batman and Superman respectively.  For Jordan’s costume, I went back to the thrift store and got another $7 bag of clothes.  Among the clothes was a long sleeve gray shirt.  Jordan already had some grey pants AND some batman underwear so that part worked out nicely.  I used one of Shane’s old black shirts to make him a cape and I used some black and yellow yarn I already had to crochet him a batman mask, his batman logo for his shirt, some fingerless gloves, his belt, and some knee-high black boots.


For David’s costume I scavenged some red shorts from Mark’s clothes drawer.  Since they were technically too small for David, they worked well as his leotard bottom since they were a bit tight.  I had to buy some red and blue fabric from Walmart for his costume, and some red yarn, but it wasn’t too bad.  I got the yarn for something like $3 a yard, and some elastic for like 40 cents a yard.  It was ridiculously cheap.  I used the elastic to cheat on the pants because I really hate making pants with buttons.  So I jut made them nice and roomy and used the elastic to fit them to his waist.  The shirt was a little snug but I did this without a real pattern so I was just happy it fit!  I crocheted his superman logo, his belt, and some red boots to complete his costume.  I used the red fabric to sew up his cape.  I swear when I was doing that logo it looked like a bunch of nothing, but I can’t help but admire how nice it looks in the pictures.  It actually looks like an S!

12108166_10156112760945534_4250142916981349738_n Superman

After the boys, I did Sierra and Mark’s costumes.  Sierra wanted to be Toy Chica, another character from Five Nights at Freddie’s.  She wasn’t as obsessed as Lilly is so I didn’t have a bunch of cosplay videos waiting for me to figure out how to do her costume.  So I googled the character, and how other people had dressed as her, and then adjusted for my own abilities.

Toy Chica

Toy Chica

I tried the thrift store for her costume but I could never find yellow pants and a shirt that worked so I ended up buying some more fleece from Walmart for cheap.  For her bib, I found some white fabric in my fabric box, and then cut out little colored triangles from the fleece scraps that I’d used on the other costumes.  I used a stencil and a sharpie to write out “Let’s Party” on her bib.  I crocheted her some fingerless gloves and sewed her a pink skirt from the fabric I used a few years ago for her princess dress Halloween costume.


Sierra’s princess dress costume

For the hair we found another inexpensive wig at walmart and some yellow spray paint.  We cut the hair short and put three pony tail holders in for the three feather tufts up top.  Then we spray painted it.  I would have used the yellow Halloween spray but we couldn’t find any and in the long run the spray paint worked better because it made the wig super stiff so it stuck up in a crazy mop of a hair style more like feathers than hair.  I crocheted her a beak too to finish off her costume.


The week after that I did Matthew and Emily’s costumes.  Matthew wanted to be Robin and Emily wanted to be Raven.  Their costumes were pretty simple.  We found most of Matthew’s costume from the thrift store in a $7 bag.  We got the red overshirt, the black long sleeve shirt, and the red shorts there.  The red shorts were actually a red pair of pants in Sierra’s size but I was going for super hero clothes so after I cut them and hemmed them they worked great!  He got the black tights from Emily.  I crocheted the Robin logo – just a yellow R on a black circle, his yellow belt, red fingerless gloves, the domino mask, and black boots.  I also sewed his cape double sided, yellow on the inside, black on the outside.  For his stick he found a mop outside in the shed and took the head off.


Emily already had most of her outfit.  She had the white tights and a black pair of shorts.  I sewed them up to be more like a leotard bottom, and we took a shirt she had but didn’t like and turned it inside out, and I cut off the sleeves and hemmed them to make a leotard top.  I sewed her a hooded cape and broke my pinky toe while doing so! (Bruce had snuck in the room behind me while I was sewing and I tripped over him when I got up… it’s still recovering!)  Finally I crocheted her long fingerless cloves and knee high boots.  I added an extra point to her boots because that’s the way it was in the picture.


Finally I made Luke a costume.  I didn’t expect he’d be able to Trick or Treat but I had made everyone else a costume so I figured why not.  For Luke I decided he could be a pumpkin.  I sewed him an orange shirt and pants and I crocheted him a pumpkin hat, orange gloves, and green booties.  His was pretty easy but everyone thought it was super cute.


Anyways I had fun seeing them all dress up on Halloween.  Putting on their makeup, and getting everyone all ready was super fun.  It was a shame it was raining on Halloween but they still managed to have some Trick or Treat fun, plus since we didn’t have any Trick or Treaters because of the rain we had a lot of leftover candy for them.


As I suspected, though, the littlest Beardlet couldn’t stay awake for Trick or Treating, but we stayed home together and listened to the rain.


After Halloween is Sierra’s birthday – November 1.  I started working on her cake Friday actually so that I could decorate it Saturday and have nothing to do Sunday.  My blender broke a few weeks ago so I haven’t been able to buy powdered sugar and I refuse to buy overpriced powdered sugar, so I had to figure out something else to do for her cake.  I knew from past experience that I couldn’t just substitute granular sugar for powdered sugar in my normal icing recipe.  So instead I looked up a recipe that used granulated sugar.  It didn’t use nearly as much sugar as my regular recipe.  It was mostly butter (I did 2/3 shortening because I didn’t have enough butter softened and I was impatient), but it actually turned out pretty good.  It was tasty and it held its shape fairly well.


I had to pipe Garfield’s face because I didn’t have the plastic piece that is an insert for his face, but I think it turned out pretty good.  I changed up the colors a bit because I got a bit impatient and didn’t feel like making a batch of pink JUST for his nose lol.

For once we were finally able to afford a decent birthday budget – $30.  I have decided that is what the birthday budget will be for each child from here on out because that’s a good amount.  It’s a bit more than they get from relatives and I think that’s good because we’re the parents and we should provide the bulk of the birthday.  Or maybe I’m just weird.


Anyways we got her a LeapReader for her birthday.  It’s a pretty nifty little pen that will read her books to her – the specialized LeapReader books that is.  It can do letters, letter sounds, words, or the entire page.  Plus it can play music, audio books, and even let her practice her writing on special paper.  She used her birthday money to get an extra activity pack for the LeapReader pen and last verdict was she loves it!  She was playing the songs all this morning and I had to tell her to turn it off so we could do school lol.


So it was a busy weekend.  But I totally think it was worth it.  The kids had a lot of fun and now I’m on to Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations!  I finished the first homemade stocking I’m doing last night, along with some more Christmas presents.  This week should be a pretty relaxed week for all that because I have two sewn Christmas presents which won’t take long at all (crocheting takes longer), and one Christmas stocking to work on.  It’s a good thing too because it’s the first of the month which means… dun dun daaaaa – monthly chore time!!!  Ah well it should go fast!  Hopefully I’ll have time this Sunday for “Minecraft Sunday” with Lilly!

The root of all evil is… selfishness

I heard a sermon on that not too long ago.  Today psychiatrists and such talk about a lack of self-esteem, and that’s why people turn to crime, etc.  But truly if you examine the individuals involved, the root of all problems is selfishness – aka too MUCH self esteem.

Take our most recent problem as an example…

Shane’s second eldest daughter, Emily, lived with her mother since she and Shane got divorced almost ten years ago.  In 2014, she came to us during visitation practically in tears, begging us to rescue her from the evil that was her mother.  She told a very convincing sob story about the horrible things her mother was doing, how controlling she was, how she was never allowed any freedom, and how she was on probation, etc.  That story was backed up by Dixie and Matthew, her siblings.  Plus I’d seen enough of how their mother acted first hand to believe it to be true.

As a direct result, Shane decided to pursue custody.  We spent a good amount of money on a lawyer and went after his kids… and won.

Fast forward to this past weekend.  Previously Emily had been dating a boy with whom she’d been having sex without our knowing.  As a result of that, the lying involved with the whole mess, the sneaking around, and the fact that we were moving a hundred miles away, Shane insisted she end the relationship.  The idea was that she could heal and find someone who wouldn’t manipulate her and verbally abuse her, which this guy was doing to her and which she couldn’t see because someone paid her a compliment and that was all she cared about (sounds like low self esteem right?  Keep reading…)

So they broke up, we moved, Shane confiscated her devices for several months.  Finally he decided he thought he could trust her.  He gave her her devices back but told me to lock them down with ScreenTime so I did.

We find out this past weekend that right when she got them back she started “cheating the system” to talk to the boy.  She would reboot her phone and then she’d have a few minutes to text him before the screen control kicked in and prevented her from using it.  To us, she did her chores obediently, joined in on family events, and seemed a pleasant person.

Then on her birthday, Shane thought she deserved more privilege, so she was given a SIM card with service for her phone so she could call her mom, text her friends, etc. 

We found out yesterday that’s when she started calling and texting the boy.  We also find out that the times she offered to go to the store, she was buying stamps, sending letters out to the boy, etc.  She always rushed to get the mail (seemed helpful at the time, now we know she was pre-screening it). 

She had a little shrine set up in her closet with things he’d given her, and she would spend her evenings hiding in her closet with a flashlight.

She wrote journal entries about us, about how she hated it at our house, how controlling Shane was (that is a laughable thing because he is totally not controlling, if anyone is, it’s me), and how we “forced” her to do school with my kids and watch them as free babysitters, etc.  Nevermind the fact that I never once told her to do school with my kids and that she offered.  Never mind that I was told she thought it was fun to do school with them, and as such, didn’t deprive her of the “fun”.  Nevermind the fact that she never once told us she felt imposed upon, but rather always complained that her siblilngs didn’t do their jobs well enough.

It was always my plan to homeschool my own kids.  Before work and after work.  That was the plan from the beginning.  She volunteered to help.  I didn’t say no because if people offer to help it’s kind of silly to decline.  She offered to help with dinner.  She offered to help with other things.  All the while she was apparently building up a tremendous resentment because we were “forcing” her to do all these extra chores.  About the only thing that was forced on them was homeschooling and that wasn’t forced so much as begged for by Shane.  He felt he needed help around the house because he wasn’t sure how his medication was going to affect him since he was just going onto disability and all of the fun things associated with that.  He didn’t want to be passed out with a baby needing food, for example.

If you read between the lines, the only thing she was unhappy about is that she was denied the freedom to talk to a boy we felt was a horrendous influence on her, a boy who convinced her to give up all she claimed to hold precious within a week of dating her.  A boy who, in front of me, constantly insulted her intelligence, and then played it off as just a joke.  A boy who was always manipulating her to get what he wanted from her. 

And this is who she chose to break the rules for.

When Shane found out, the world exploded.  I think he felt extremely betrayed because he couldn’t understand how she could act one way and then behind the scenes be completely dishonest and sneaky.  She was the ultimate liar, and when confronted about it, she didn’t show any remorse.  Instead she got angry, as though a right were being taken away from her.  A right to the devices we provided.  A right to break the rules in a house we proved for her.  What really pissed me off was she spent some of her money on materials to write him letters… then begged us for money to buy shoes and pants she needed for work.  However, had she not spent that money being deceitful, she’d have had it to buy what she needed for work.

Since we “rescued” her from her mother, we allowed her to get her driver’s license, go out with friends over night, have a boyfriend (both privileges she immediately abused), drive alone to the store, have a phone, and get a job.  We’re so controlling we’re evil, can’t you see it?  How dare we try and keep a bad influence away from her, when it’s her right to throw her life down the toilet.

And that’s exactly what we’ve allowed her to do.

When confronted with her crimes, and when she showed no remorse, there was an argument where Shane told her she was homeless – his intent being that she would have to find another place to live because she obviously hated it with us and we were afraid she would run away.  Before he could say another word, she did exactly that.  She ran out the door and he sent Matthew after her (the AC guy was at the house at the time so he couldn’t leave), but he couldn’t find her.  I left work early and we spent the next couple of hours looking for her.  We finally found her at Walmart.  She had called a friend from near where the boy lives and asked her mom to drive an hour to come get her, which apparently the mom was doing.  The thing I noticed was her makeup was flawless.  No evidence of tears at all.  I later confronted her about it and she swore up and down she’d already cried and had gone to the bathroom to reapply makeup.  But no…. no puffy eyes, no red eyes, nothing.  Her face was absolutely flawless.  Just another lie.  I’ve cried and covered it up before.  People notice.  You can’t cry and hide it.  She couldn’t even have the decency to tell us the truth about that.

We talked about the options, Shane and I did.  We asked his parents if they’d be willing to take her in and they said yes.  We also asked her mom if she would be willing and she said yes, depending on what Emily said.  Remember, Emily had claimed her mother was so evil that Shane had to rescue her from her because life was miserable there…

We offered her a choice.  We told her that neither of us were going back to court to change custody, so she would remain in Shane’s legal custody.  Which meant if she chose to move she would either need to continue homeschooling or drop out of high school, because she would be unable to register in another school district since she legally lived with us.  We offered her the choice of living with her grandparents (same distance from the boy as we are currently), or with her mom (probably about ten minutes from the boy).  Guess who she chose?

Despite all the trash talking she did to her mom, she chose to drop out of high school and live with her mom… all to be with a boy who is 16 and could no support her for a few years anyways.

The stupidity of the decision still baffles me.

I get that teenagers are passionate. I was a teenager once.  But to be so wrapped up in yourself – to care only about the here and now and not give a crap about the future AT ALL, is mind boggling.

She chose to do the SAME THING that she criticized her sister Dixie for doing when she turned her back on family for a guy.  And now Emily has done the same.

Shane is really hurt over the whole thing.  He truly did not expect this from her.  I had a suspicion but Emily’s compliance threw me.  However it has also prevented me from ever trusting her again.  I will never allow her to get close to me again because as far as I’m concerned she is either a pathological liar or a sociopath or extremely selfish like my sister, and I just don’t need that kind of crap in my life.  I told her after she made her decision that I would never allow my children to see her and since they are still young, by the time they grow up they won’t even remember her.  She didn’t care at all.  It was in part a test, and the emptiness in her eyes was extremely disconcerting.  There was absolutely nothing there.  She truly didn’t care that the siblings she’d spent the past two years with wouldn’t even know her name in a few years.  I used my eldest as an example.  She rarely thinks of her biological dad, not because I prevented her from seeing him but because out of sight out of mind…  It’s the same thing I’ve experienced myself.  I rarely think of my family because they live their lives without me.  I do call time to time but it’s nothing like it was growing up.  I hope to change that when my kids move out but that’s beside the point.

There is anger here.  My anger is at the betrayal. I have a VERY hard time forgiving betrayal.  When asked why she did this all, her answer was because she didn’t care about the rules, she wanted to talk to the boy.  She wanted what she wanted.  Pure.  Unadulterated.  Selfishness.  The root of the wrong in our society.  Her friends from our previous city cheered her own, saying that it was her right, and that she shouldn’t be prevented from doing whatever she felt like.  Think about that statement and then apply it to what is happening in the world today.  If less people felt like they should be able to do whatever makes them happy, the world would probably not be as screwed up a place.

Changing diapers doesn’t make me happy.  Staying up until midnight because I’m working on stuff doesn’t make me happy.  Disappointing Lilly because I’m too busy to play Minecraft with her on Minecraft Sunday doesn’t make me happy.  However….

A smiling baby who isn’t unhappy because he has a rash makes me happy.  Seeing the look on my children’s faces on Christmas morning when they see everything “Mrs. Claus” has made for them makes me happy.  Knowing that in the long run my children will have a much happier quality of life thanks to the efforts I’m making makes me happy.

Selfishness produces a happiness only for ones self, and only in the immediate time.  In five years, when Emily can’t get a better job than McDonald’s she isn’t going to be happy.  Even the three days she worked at Burger King made her unhappy because they kept sending her home early.  She was actually angry that they would dare do that to her (again selfishness.  It boggles the mind).

I will say one thing.

The house is a lot more peaceful.  Since Emily left we realized she was the center of all the fighting.  She was always pushing people to get stuff done so she could “go to bed because she was tired” (aka go to her closet and call and text the boy).  She was getting farther and farther behind in school which was hilarious because she asked me to plan out two weeks of her school at a time so she could graduate by December.  I was finished through day 160 of her school and she was on Day 36.  So less work for me there.  School planning this week maybe took thirty minutes, not the usual two hours it took doing her plans. 

She said she felt put upon doing my children’s school but now I had the joy of doing school with them.  In fact this morning I finished 2/3 of the boys all the way and Jordan was finishing up his math when I walked out the door.  When I get home I will just have Sierra to work with.  And on top of that, I STILL got my morning weekly cleaning done plus all of the laundry.

More money for Christmas now because Santa no longer needs to visit Emily.  So Shane gets a windows tablet he’d been eying for a while. 

Matthew has stopped hiding out in his room.  Apparently he could sense the anger and drama dripping off of Emily and that’s why he’d been so anti-social since they moved in.  He’s a lot happier in just the three days since she left.  I’m just happy the household is at peace.

There a few things we will have to adjust, such as me taking off of work when Shane has his injections for his back, but you know what?  Considering all the benefits it’s worth a bit of mild inconvenience.

I would pray that God be with Emily as she will undoubtedly struggle, but truth be told I’m not to that point yet.  I’m at the point where I need to pray that God help me get over my extreme anger at her betrayal.  I will never be close to her again.  I will never let her into my life again, but I would like to get to a point where I can forgive her.  The Bible instructs me to forgive her.  It will take time – I am just starting to reach a point where I can find it in myself to forgive her mother.  I will never trust her either, but I need not harbor anger and resentment.  God can do all things.  I seriously doubt this was what he wanted for Emily but as he always does in his infinite mercy he will use it for good, somehow.  That somehow is not yet clear but one day it will become clear.  So I am not worried about it.  She has chosen her path.  All I can do now is instruct the children remaining in our home how to rely on God and not on self in order to make them happy.

Boys Are Messy

That is undoubtedly the understatement of the century. 

Jordan and David share a room and they can NEVER  seem to find clean clothes.  Yet I wash clothes every day.  How is this possible you may ask?  Mostly because they’re boys.

For some reason beyond my ken, their play involves pulling everything they own out all over the floor.  Toys, clothes, pillows, blankets, garbage… doesn’t matter what it is.  If it’s in their room it gets pulled out all over the floor.

Multiple times a week we have to threaten that they don’t get to eat until they clean up their room because they just WON’T do it…  We send them in to clean and they play in the mess…  It’s insane.  The only way we can get things remotely cleaned up is to deny them FOOD until they comply.  Seems crazy but it works… Soon as I say something like “If you don’t clean that room, you’re not going to be able to eat hot dog casserole!” their eyes light up and they hurry off in a flurry of motion trying to clean as quickly as possible.

Now, while this does yield floors that can again be vacuumed and walked upon, it presents one small problem… They won’t put their clean clothes back in their drawers.  Instead ALL the clothes go into the hamper.

And to be honest I can’t exactly fault them for that because of this:  time to time David (and rarely Jordan) will pee their pants over night.  It’s not often, but when they do, they just throw their clothes on the floor instead of the hamper so when they play… their clean clothes get mixed in and you can’t tell what’s clean and what’s dirty.  So all into the laundry it goes.

I keep telling myself there has GOT to be a way to resolve this problem but thus far I haven’t discovered it.  We bought them a plastic set of drawers because we knew they would tear stuff up and it seemed financially silly to spend money on wooden furniture they’d just destroy.  Sure enough they’ve destroyed their plastic drawers so again their clothes essentially have no home.  They can still use the drawers for now, but it’s not a good system.  I really need to figure out what kind of storage solution to use for destructive boys because I have not found it yet.  I rest comforted in the fact that should I fail to find the solution, eventually they will grow up and it will cease to be a problem, at least for me, and hopefully for good. 

I’m somewhat of the mind of getting them a trunk to put their personal belongings in, but then again, they throw trash in with everything too…. Even if I provide proper receptacles for everything, they just throw it however they want.  I think this is a thing that will require more research, but in the meantime I must sigh and say that boys are messy, and so long as I can get them to clean up at a bare minimum once a week for me to vacuum, then I can live with it for now…


It is impossible to do everything that needs to be done because that is a hole with no bottom.  There is always something that needs to be done.  The house needs cleaning, the clothes need washing, you need to take a bath, need a nap, baby needs changing, need to finish this book, need to get these Christmas presents bought, need to make dinner, etc so on and so forth.  It just never ends.

Sometimes I visualize myself outside of my body, looking down at myself and I look like an ant… a busy busy worker ant scurrying to and fro over creation trying to get everything done that I think needs to get done. 

It’s basically impossible.

I can get to points where it seems like I’ve finished everything I need to do, but then Monday rolls around and it all starts again.  Or the beginning of the month, or even a new day.  It’s a constant cycle. 

But that’s ok.  It’s ok to be busy and to never really finish.

But only if you can prioritize. 

A lot of people get SO busy and they can never reach the bottom of their to-do list but it’s not necessarily because they’re more or less busy than me.  It’s because I prioritize in a certain way so as to get my hardest jobs out of the way first.  If you think about it, that’s the way they did it in the old days…  From Little House on the Prairie you read:

Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday.”

Because washing was the hardest job.  The most exhausting job.  And you’d just gotten done resting on Sunday so you had the energy to go to it on Monday. 

That’s sort of how I frame my day.  In the beginning of my homemaking days I tried to do it exactly like this rhyme.  I felt like it was done this way because it was the best way.  But there were some flaws with this approach.  Number one, washing clothes today is trivial.  Even for my large family, it involves throwing a load of clothes in the washer every day, walking away, then putting it in the dryer, walking away, and then folding and putting away.  There’s basically no effort involved.

Secondly, I don’t iron.  Not because I refuse to.  I have an iron and ironing board.  Today’s fabrics just don’t require it for the most part – at least not the type of clothes I buy.  They come out of the dryer wrinkle free already.  My iron is pretty much only used for ironing quilting pieces time to time.  Same with mending.  I do mend clothes but usually on a weekly or monthly basis.  It’s technically a monthly assignment for me, but since I’m working on a quilt every week, if someone has tossed some clothes on my sewing machine to be mended, I’ll knock them out while I’m working on my quilt.  Still it only takes a few minutes.

I don’t churn…. and cleaning is the most activity intensive thing I do… as is baking.

Instead I prioritize like this – on Monday I try to get all my physical housework done.  In the morning before work I clean my bathroom down – windex the mirror, clean the counter, toss all the towels and wash rags in the hamper, clean the toilet, and empty the trash.  I do my daily load of laundry, and I change my sheets on the crib matterss and my kingsize bed and make up both beds.  All of this takes me less than 20 minutes.  Then I meander upstairs and pull breakfast I prepped over the weekend out and get it started.  Today it was pancakes I’d made and frozen.  So while they were microwaving I put the oven on self-clean, windexed it, and then windexed the counters, refrigerator, dishwasher, and trashcan lid.  I microwaved pancaked for 5 minutes so you can see this didn’t take too much time.  I also made juice for breakfast while waiting.  After they were out the only thing left to do in the kitchen (besides sweeping and mopping which I do after work) was to windex the microwave so I did that real quick and served up breakfast.

After work I come home and do my normal daily routine – make lunch, change clothes, set out my clothes for tomorrow, and nurse Luke if he wants it.  Then I begin my “cleaning frenzy”.  I start in my room because by this point it’s almost done, plus it gives the kids time to pick up the other rooms before I get there.  I vacuum my room and bathroom and pick stuff off the floor in my bathroom so I can mop.  Then I vacuum the den if it’s picked up, otherwise I get onto the kids Laughing out loud and I work on my weekly 9 square for the quilt I’m working on at the sewing machine.  Nine squares isn’t a lot but it’s an example of priorities – I don’t have time to knock out a quilt in a week so I do it bit by bit and I’ve assigned myself 9 squares a week until they’re all done (I finally got done cutting them all out!).

Vacuum the den, vacuum the mud room and laundry room and windex appliances while I’m there.  I usually still have to get onto the boys to pick up their room at this point and if so I mop my bathroom and mudroom but otherwise I vacuum their room.  Then I vacuum the stairs and landing and I’m upstairs.  Check on dinner, vacuum the upstairs landing, dining room and kitchen.  I finish any kitchen windexing I didn’t finish in the morning (this week I’m already done yay!), organize the school shelves because my kids are super slobs, and wipe down the chairs and table.  On a good week all of this takes me anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.  I’ve been working on Halloween costumes while I’m sewing too so the past couple of weeks sometimes it takes me longer, or I have to delegate to teens as part of dinner cleanup (like the cleaning of the floors and the the chairs and such… priorities means sometimes you have to delegate).  I also sweep the front porch and steps, back porch, and back deck as I pass them (or I delegate if I’m running behind schedule for some reason).

Dinner is on the table no later than 7 on Mondays and I really aim for 6 but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.  We’ll see how it goes tonight.

Anyways I try to get *ALL THAT* done on Monday.  Plus I assign myself a personal programming task to work on every week and I try to get that done on Mondays too.  Not to mention getting the school schedule put in and writing my weekly blog entry Smile

It sounds like a lot but I have it moving so that it goes really fast, and I delegate if I have to.  There’s only so much time in a day and if I run out I have to delegate.  If I have to work later than 3:30 for some reason, or if a Halloween costume takes later than expected, or if the vacuum is misbehaving and then I have to get dinner on the table before I can finish – I delegate.  I try my hardest to do my chores myself but I’ve learned it’s OK to delegate… that was a hard lesson.  But it saves my sanity so many times.

The beauty of this is that Tuesday through Friday I’m basically working on “sit on my butt” projects.  Currently that’s Halloween costumes and Christmas presents.  It’s still work, and I’m still busy but it’s not as crazy.

I would do baking day during the week but there just isn’t time.  So I decided that Saturday is dedicated to checking school work for the older guys (I do the little guys on Friday because I really don’t need them around to do it – it’s either done or it’s not lol), and prepping food for the next week.  I try and have something easy for dinner on Saturdays because I will be busy and super tired by the end of the day.  But then I’m done.  If I’ve had enough time I’m even done with crocheting projects for the week but like this week I wasn’t done with the one I’m working on.  But that’s ok because I can keep working on it until I finish. In my defense it is a pretty involved project so although I did a LOT there is just a lot to it.  Plus I did three Halloween costumes last week.  I have two on the schedule this week but I might try and knock out all three this week, I’m not sure yet.  It depends on how things go.  If I get all three done then yay!  There’s still like two more weeks until Halloween and I can relax a bit (haha yeah right!)

If I didn’t prioritize the way I do then there is no WAY I would get done with everything I have to do in a week.  I would either get nothing done and that would be bad, or I’d feel like I was constantly working and burn myself out.  As it is, I work extremely hard two days a week, and moderately the other four days, and rest on Sundays.

And the beauty of this prioritizing is it lets me spend time with my kids so I don’t feel like I never see them.  That’s the best part.  I’m not missing out on the best part of life.

Till next time!