"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fiscal Year

September really feels like the beginning of my fiscal year.  The kids have been back to school for a couple of weeks.  We've struggled with backing off the summer unscheduled schedule and getting back to a routine schedule that has us scheduled and not over scheduled ... understand?

I do so love the start of school and it's not just because I live in perfect harmony with myself from 9 to 4 every day.

It's the newness.  New pencils, new paper, new backpacks and a clean slate with newness written all over it.

And since I feel like a breath of fresh air, I've been slowly but surely introducing a routine that will help us run smoothly.  I've felt the need for some goal making as well and no better place to put those than here.

Stuff I'd like to see happen around here:

Maintain organization.
Be on time ... lofty, I know.
Retain limits on activities that are not family centered.
Make family time more meaningful.

Stuff that's working:

I spent the first two weeks of school decluttering and putting the summer hodge podge back together again.  I really do feel freedom from mind clutter.  Now if we can just put things back where they go as time goes on.  That's the trick.

On time ... so far so good..ish.  I'm not a morning person.  My kids know to talk minimally to me before 7.   But, I think after two weeks I've got my body trained to wake up at 5:30 am ... ouch.  It's really cramping my weekend sleep-a-little-bit-longer style.  But ... it sure makes for a better morning if I'm on time and we just plow through the routine.  Which is:

5:30 — Lunches made, real deal breakfast ... cereal is for Sunday church morning rush.
6:15 — Seminary girl out the door
6:30 — Middle schoolers to bus stop
7:00 — Elementary kids get ready
              Grant homework
              Give Janie piano lesson (play a song or two myself if I can, to sharpen long lost skills)
8:30 — Bus
8:45 — Settle Eliza and get myself ready for day.  That's late but I hit the floor running and I've got no pride.  I drive to the bus in my pj's cuz there's not much hot water left in the tank for a mom showering on the tail end.

Retaining limits on family activities is so hard but I got so spoiled last year and turned really selfish about my time and really loved every minute of it and got all entitled about having my kids home without late homework assignments and dinner every night and reasonable bed times. Whew!! I ain't about to give in this year.  

And I've already been approached with long faces over school plays.  I had a momentary stab to the chest and then season ski passes went on sale.  It'll be okay.  They'll see.

Making family time more meaningful.  In my book quantity is not necessarily quality.  When we just fly by the seat of our pants at night, there's tears, and grumpadumps and maybe some yelling in there too.  Ya gotta go to bed.

Hence, here is our evening schedule which we are doing our darnedest to stick to.  When it works, it works well.  Last night, Newel was out on church visits and by golly, these kids reminded me of the routine every step of the way and it was the pleasantest of evenings.

3:30 — begin dinner prep
3:45 — Big kids off bus: Start homework so Mom can help unhindered
4:30 — Little kids off bus:  Homework
6:00 — Dinner
6:30 — Dinner clean up and back to homework if need be. 
7:00 — Younger kids ready for bed
7:30 — Family devotional — in an effort to make this more meaningful, we gather for scripture reading, an assigned spiritual thought by a child, and family prayer and we do this nightly
8:00 — Younger kids bed
8:30 — Mom and Dad retire — that means we close the bedroom door. In a perfect world, I'd like for big kids to be finished with projects requiring the computer, finishing up their stuff, music practicing etc, and heading to bed.  Reality is, big kids will still work on all that until 9:00 while I piddle around prepping for the day ahead.  

But trust me ... if we can't get the party to shut down ... Dad will remove his pants at 9 sending the masses scrambling cuz that's just what dads do at that time of night.

10:00 — Mom and Dad lights out.

And seminary comes early again tomorrow.  And Wednesdays are a little bit off with our church activities.

I look back and have no idea where we used to fit extracurriculars.  And T.V?  Where do people have the time??

So far, it's golden.

Stuff I'd like to do to make things run even smoother:

  • Make a dinner schedule of all our favorite meals.
  • Go back to the days when I actually had a grocery shopping day rather than snagging the one or two things I need on the fly.
  • Squeeze in some exercise somewhere in the morning without waking up just in time to see myself go to bed.
  • Fit in a laundry rotation so these kids are not relying so much on my daily lackadaisical laundry skills.

If only I were that good.


  1. Wow. What a schedule you keep. Let me know if you figure out the grocery shopping thing. That one drives me crazy too... if I really work at it, I can do it - for one week - then it all goes to hell.

  2. My hat is off to you for getting up at 5:30. If I got up at 5:30 I'd have to go to bed before dinner. Thank goodness Russ can do it.

    My kids (triplets included) do their own laundry. I find I have to be a bit more organized in order to make sure they have time to use the washer & dryer, but I like them being independent in this. Every now and then I fold someone's laundry as an act of love, and boy do they appreciate it!