Friday, October 13, 2006

a day in the life

OK, boys and girls, here it is,,,, a day in our life. It's not a perfect one, and I knew it wouldn't be. Jack has been sick all week, and I was feeling badly myself on Wednesday and Thursday, so things around here had kind of gone to pot. But I decided to include this day anyway. It shows that you can still homeschool when life is less than perfect...some days you just have to suck it up and prioritize! It's a long post...sorry about that. The day is long sometimes. :)

Sometime during the early morning hours- Kain comes in our bedroom to wake me up. I whisper to him to go lay on the couch. He wakes up almost every night and travels. Sometimes he wakes me up, sometimes not.

4am- I wake up, I'm not sure why, and see that Kain is asleep on the floor by my bed. I wake him up and tell him to go lay on the couch. He shuffles off. Jack wakes up to nurse. He's already in bed with us, so we just snuggle up and drift back off.

5am- My alarm goes off. I get up and attempt to turn it off. I'm not getting up this early today. I was feeling bad all day yesterday and the day before, presumably with a touch of what Jack has, so I decide to sleep in a little. I hit the wrong button on the alarm clock and the radio starts blaring. I pull the plug from the wall to shut it off quickly, get my watch and set that alarm so that I can wake John up.

5:15- I poke John and tell him to get up.

6:00- Jack is awake. It's early for him to be awake, and I don't want to get up yet. I nurse him and try to get him to settle back down, but he rolls around on the bed, kicking the wall, poking my eye sockets, babbling to himself. I should have just gotten up at 5. Now we are behind schedule and I didn't really get any more sleep anyway.

6:15- John comes in at 6:15-ish to kiss me goodbye,,,and also I know to make sure I don't oversleep too much. I go ahead and get up. Jack starts shrieking at me as soon as we enter the kitchen. I give him a cheese stick and some milk and make myself some coffee. He's on steroids this week for his asthma...they make him hungry. Maria comes staggering in and tells me her stomach hurts. Her stomach often hurts. I ask her the usual,"Did you pee? When did you poop last? Are you hungry?" Nothing seems to pinpoint the cause, but her forehead isn't warm and she doesn't seem to be hurting much, so I send her on her way. She sits down and flips on the tv. Yeah, we watch tv. Unapologetically. The kids generally watch PBS kids or assorted videos. They TiVO a whole mess of stuff from PBS,,,Arthur, Cyberchase, Fetch, Reading Rainbow, Bill Nye. We go through periods of limiting it, but mostly they are pretty good about doing other things too. She's been watching way too much since Jack has been sick all week....a battle to take on later. John and I don't watch that much of it. Jack grabs a loaf of bread off the counter. It hasn't been tied shut, so it dumps all over the floor. I feel myself getting irritated. I'm used to waking up by myself,,,not with the whole gang. I start a load of Kain's laundry.

6:30- I sit to quickly check my email and start this entry. My priority in life now is to get Kain out the door on time. I find him asleep on the floor in the hallway. It takes more effort than usual to wake him which makes me wonder how long he was awake last night.

6:45- I spend the 45 minutes fixing eggs for everyone, pass around the fruit bowl, pouring milk, nagging Kain to eat, get dressed, etc., while Jack follows me around fussing. The steroids also make him cranky. I finally gather him up and we go sit and snuggle on my bed for a minute. I change and dress him and put on his Raffi Bananaphone cd. I give him a little basket of crib toys and his sippy cup and he's happy to play quietly on my bed for a bit.

7:30- Maria and Kain are fighting over who gets to read the rice krispy treats box, an argument that ensued when I asked Kain to pick out something to take to school for snack time. He's also still not done eating, and we are supposed to be leaving now. I confiscate the box and tell Maria to come in my bedroom and leave Kain by himself so he will eat. I give Jack a much needed breathing treatment and force his steroid on him.

7:45- Kain is finally ready to go. His school starts at 8, so we need to run. I leave Jack with Maria while I drive him to school. Before you freak, you should know that 1. Maria is very responsable, very good with Jack, and knows how to dial 911, 2. It's only really about three mornings a week because John is sometimes home on weekday mornings, and 3. Kain's school is very close by. I timed us this morning and I was gone for a total of 13 minutes. I kind of fell into leaving Jack with her for this morning errand because Jack is sometimes still asleep or very newly awake at this time.

8:00- I'm back, and I'm fried. Jack is still cranky, we are all over the place schedule-wise. We usually have a very specific schedule we try to follow (see and it is out the window this morning. I take some time to sit, have a cup of coffee, and contemplate the schedule for today..where we are, what needs to happen today so that we can catch up after our string of sick days....the house is an absolute mess. Housekeeping is, um, not my strong point, and being on schedule is the only thing that keeps the chores happening like they should. I decide that anything not essential to life needs to go out the window today so that I can have extra chore time and get caught up. So that's what I'm doing...contemplating the schedule and seeing what can change for today. That and having a cup of coffee and holding Jack. Jack and I read one of his Winnie the Pooh books. Twice. He *loves* to be read to and brings me books several times a day. I also kick Maria into action and tell her to start her morning chorepack (also on

9:00- We sit down to say our morning offering and rosary. Maria takes a moment to whine about it and asks if we can say "half a rosary"...then she "forgets" how some of the prayers start. Jack sits with us, sweetly holding a rosary and yelling "Amen! Amen!" for the first few Hail Mary's, then he brings me picture books and whines at me to read to him. He finally wanders off and plays with his cars, lining them up across the living room floor. When we're done, Jack gets a diaper change and then....

9:30- Upstairs to start school, only half an hour late. I tell Maria to pee now if she is going to. It has been an issue lately that she will desperately need to pee 5 minutes into starting school. I call, "Upstairs!" and Jack comes running. He loves to go up there...that' s where all the toys are! I don't let him go up there without supervision yet, so the rest of the time he's limited to one box of toys at a time that I rotate downstairs. I turn Jack loose to play and give Maria a timed addition fact drill to start on. While she does this, I correct her papers from yesterday and make her a list of assignments she can do on her own today. I wouldn't recommend grading papers this way. Last year I went upstairs early each morning to prepare for the upcoming school day. But having to get Kain off to school has taken that time out of my morning. So, we are doing it this way for this school year. Maria finishes her fact drill in 5 minutes and 20 seconds. Not her best time, but respectable. I get onto her a little bit because of the sloppy state of one of her assignments. We have to have this conversation every so often. I put yesterday's math lesson back into her inbox. Later, she'll correct the problems I marked wrong and give it back to me. We go over corrections on her Latin quiz and history questions. We still have 8 minutes left in the 30 minutes allotted to our first "together" school time, so I have her recite the first three stanzas of the poem she is memorizing (America for Me) and start working with her on the 4th stanza. Then we work on our state and capital flashcards, reviewing ones she is still memorizing and adding 5 new cards.

10:00- I leave Maria to start on her independent work. She decides to start with her science quiz, then goes downstairs to do her saxon math lesson with the cd-rom. I sit with Jack and we play with the little "workbook" that came in his brighter vision kit ( . These are just fun little kits. Maria used to get them when she was little. The workbooks include hand rhymes, songs to sing, poems to read, sticker pages, etc. When he tires of this, we read "Rock-a-bye Farm". This takes a while since he has to point out every star on every page, "Tar! Tar!".

10:30- We come downstairs and make tea/snack. Maria is done with her cd-rom and wants to know what we are going to do about recess. We are still 30 minutes behind schedule. Usually we would be done with snack and heading outside now. I tell her we are just going to skip it today. It's still awfully cold and damp out and Jack is still wheezing and coughing. She says since we are skipping recess, can she watch a tv show (DVR'd) while she has her snack. "Deal," I tell her. We usually do a read aloud from our history reading list during tea time, but we are in flex mode today. I sit down with my tea and some peanut butter toast I am sharing with Jack to write in my blog. Jack is playing with his cars at my feet. We have no dining table right now. I *still* have not finished putting everything back together in the kitchen/laundry room after our remodel, and it's all piled on the table. It's an issue. I vow to resolve it this weekend.

11:00- I call "Time to go upstairs!" again and we all head back up, though not without some griping. I was in the bathroom when Maria's show ended and she took advantage of this fact and jumped onto a computer game. Now she's griping about having to stop. Well, hello, I told you you had 30 minutes, you watched a 30 minute show, what do you think I'm going to say?When we get settled upstairs, Jack starts pitching toys over the baby gate and down the stairs and gets a talking to. He plays relatively nicely the rest of the hour, dumping math manipulatives onto the floor. Maria and I go over her mental math problems for the day. I have her work a few of the new problems she learned on her cd-rom so I can make sure she understood the lesson. We discuss the section in her science book that she read yesterday on insects, something we should have done before she took her quiz this morning! We go over vocabulary/declensions for a new Latin lesson, review phonograms for spelling, and drill two chapters of catechism Q and A's. I find myself harping at Maria quite a bit. She keeps fooling around with toys and things and zoning out when I'm talking to her. While doing all this, Jack blows us both away by coming up to the table and counting to ten! What?! I didn't know he knew how to even begin to do that! This how he operates, just quietly taking everything in and then boom, out it comes. He did it so well too, only skipping we had to stop and call Meme and tell her of course. We can't wait to show Daddy tonight.

12:00- I leave Maria to work away at her list. I'm done with her work for today, the rest is up to her. Included in her list is for her to read a new chapter in the catechism, a grammar lesson, do her math practice problems from today's lesson, correct a couple of problems from yesterday's math,,,and I tell her to take another look at her science quiz and see if she needs to change any of her answers after our review. I put on Teletubbies for Jack, reboot laundry, and make grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. We get a surprise visitor- UPS with a smoked turkey! Wow! A surprise gift to say "thank you" from some homeschooling friends of ours. We watched their children while she was in the hospital having baby #8. Very sweet, and haggle over whether to put it in the freezer for Thanksgiving or have it on Sunday. We decide on Sunday and call Meme back to invite them for dinner. Even we can't take down a whole turkey by ourselves!

12:30- Time for lunch. Maria watches Reading Rainbow. We don't usually do TV during lunch, but again, no table and the temptation is great. Jack won't eat...a casualty of eating on the run. Jack doesn't eat well when he's not at the table. He has taken to grazing all day instead. I have given up this battle until we have the table back. I give him a cheese stick and some grapes instead.

1:00- Time for a break, praise God. We all lay down...Maria goes off to read- she's reading Sarah, Plain and Tall for her homeschool co-op literature class. I change Jack and lay down on my bed to nurse him. I doze myself, and it is good. :)

1:30- I'm reluctantly up. I pick up sleeping Jack and lay him down in his crib. I send Maria upstairs to finish her work, and this time she goes without complaint. She's in the final stretch and feeling no pain. I sort the mountain of clean laundry- I fill one hamper with Maria's stuff and plop it outside her bedroom for her to fold and put away later. I fill another with Kain's and go sit in his room to fold and put it away. The rest stays together to be folded in my room this evening.

1:50- Maria's done and wants to zone in front of the tv some more. I suggest she go for a bike ride or on the trampoline while I look up some new computer games for her online.

2:00- Maria is on the computer,,,or tv, I'm not sure which. My quick search for games was not very fruitful. John called to see if I was all right with him volunteering to work tomorrow. He needs the overtime. I say I don't have anything spectacular planned, and I also tell him about Jack's genius behavior. His reaction is underwhelming. Maybe he's distracted. He'll just have to see for himself. I go and try to make my world right again by tackling the kitchen/living room piles. After a quick email check. :)

2:40- Jack wakes up crying. I let him fuss a little because I am in a groove picking up the living room.

3:00- time to pick up Kain. Still not done picking up (yeah, it's that bad), but I've got to stop. I grab Jack. He's very irritated by his stint in the crib. Maria wants to stay home, so I ask her to finish picking up the board games Jack dumped on the floor while I'm gone. She is, of course, thrilled to do so.

3:20- Back with Kain. Flurry of activity as I change Jack, fuss at Kain to put his things away and get the snack bowl and fruit bowl to pass around. The snack bowl- I keep a big green mixing bowl full of assorted slightly-junky snack packs. The current mix includes rice krispy treats, granola bars, teddy grahams, fruit by the foot....Kain picks one to take to school for morning snack, and all the kids can pick one snack from the green bowl and one piece of fruit to have after school. Kain almost always refuses the fruit. Today, they both refused it. Ah well,,,I try. Jack and I have grapes. Kain and Maria have a rice krispy treat. Kain is highly irritated that the "good ones" are gone (the ones with chocolate in them). Well, he's been eating two a day since I bought the box, so who do you think got the good ones? Once upon a time I used to make all the snacks from scratch....but this has brought a small measure of sanity. There's just so many hours in the day. We have standards for the snack chips, no snack cakes...nothing too horribly junky. I keep a similar bowl in the car to stave off emergency rations from the gas station/drive-thru.

3:30- The kids are outside with neighborhood kids on the trampoling while Jack and I linger over our snack.

4:00- I am debating whether to take Jack outside this afternoon. I usually take him out for an hour or so in the afternoons, but he still has a cough and snotty nose,,,but it's pretty mild out right now. He's also getting cranky again. I'm chalking it up to the steroids, but he's also been in the house since Monday and it would do him some good to get out. I decide to update this entry and take him out for 30 minutes. In the meantime, he is watching Caillou.

4:30- I go to hunt up Jack's shoes, reboot the laundry, and head out. I don't usually do all the laundry in one day, but it is behind like everything else. I am *tired* all of a sudden...

4:35- I can't find one of Jack's sneakers. Anywhere. The house is a mess (still) and he hasn't worn his sneakers in a week. There's no telling where it might be. My first pass through likely looking piles hasn't turned it up, so I give up. We sit on the couch and read books, sing songs....

5:00- I get Jack started playing with his bricks and head for the bedroom. Fish for dinner tonight. It doesn't take long, so I have some time to start sorting through the rest of the laundry. I pull out all the stuff that needs to hang in the closet, and armful of hangers, and get going.

5:45- Yikes! I'm just now starting dinner. I got going on the laundry and lost track of time. Only 15 minutes until dinner time...I forego the baked potatoes for frozen fries and get the fish in the oven. Now I need a vegetable. ...

6:15- The evening is deteriorating fast. The fish was still partly frozen and so it just now done. I call the kids in to wash up and start slinging plates. I hate dinner in the living room! The kids also usually have mealtime chores, but that is difficult to do with no real table to set/clear...

6:45- The fish was...disappointing. I've made this recipe before, but I usually fry it in a skillet. This time I tried to make it lower-maintenance by baking it. Well, maybe it was because it started off partly frozen, I don't know, but it was kind of...mushy. Anyway, a quick dinner, and now for Kain's bath. He is shrieking mad because he wants to play on the computer. This is a common problem for him. He wants to play outside for hours *and* have time to watch TV, play on the computer...only so many hours in a day!

7:00- I give Maria her clean clothes to fold and put away. I also ask her to go through her closet and drawers and pull out summer clothes/outgrown things. She is less than thrilled. I remind her that it's Friday and she gets to stay up until 10, so she'll still have plenty of free time. This alleviates her anguish somewhat. Kain is hollering, "AUNT MEL! I'M REEEEAAADDDYYY!" over and over again. This is my cue that he is ready to have his hair washed and to be walked through washing his body.

7:30- Kain is out of the tub, in PJ's and eating a bowl of cereal...standard bedtime snack here...reasonably healthy and quick and easy. Kain would have you fix him a whole other meal if he could...especially when he's had fish for dinner. I change Jack into PJ's and wrestle another dose of medication into him. I also make him half a peanut butter sandwich since he didn't eat a thing for dinner. I break out our current read-aloud book, a Vision books biography about St. Bernadette. Before this, we had been reading through Treasure Box series for Kain, but I decided to start something on Maria's level this time. I don't read for long...attention spans are short at this point. We read for about 15 minutes and then have prayers. Maria lights the two votives on the altar, Kain hits th e lights, and we all kneel (more or less). We say an Act of Contrition, Prayer to St. Michael, Guardian Angel Prayer, and short litany to everyone's patron saints. We pass around holy water and bless everyone. Maria and Kain each blow out a candle, and then we're done. Sounds long, but it only takes maybe 10 minutes.

7:50- Boys into the bathroom for teeth-brushing. I send Kain to his room and ask Maria if she will read to him tonight so I can give Jack a long overdue breathing treatment. She does, and Jack and I put on Raffi and do the treatment. He's very sleepy. I give him a drink of water, read a quick story, and lay him down. Usually he nurses, but he didn't even make a move for it tonight so I just put him to bed.

8:15- I stop by Kain's room and tuck him in. He also looks like he's fading fast. Speaking of fading fast...I am so done here. I clean up the dinner mess...there's a plate stashed for John when he gets home. I'm pooped. I reboot the laundry again, and then just sit.

9:15- John calls and says he's on his way home. I realize I've been vegging for an hour in front of Everybody Loves Raymond re-runs. He wants to stop to pick up his dinner...I guess reheating the soggy fish isn't so appealing. He offers to bring me a milkshake. Good man- all is forgiven.

11:45- OK, yes, I'm still awake. John brought milkshakes and we've been hanging out for a bit. I am *so, so* tired now, so off I go to bed.

So that's today. Like I said, far from perfect! But we got school done, I caught up a bit on housework and plan to continue catching up over the weekend. Meals were served, laundry caught up, books were read, prayers were said, kiddos were tucked in and all is right in our world. Thanks for playing along!

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