Showing posts with label schedule. Show all posts
Showing posts with label schedule. Show all posts

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Peace or war....

Having 6 kids, 4 within 16 months of each other, can be both a blessing and a challenge.

They always have someone to play with. But they also always have somene to fight with. ;)

We homeschool so we are together ALL THE TIME! This is great for building relationship and learning how to resolve conflict, but it can be a challenge too.

A friend gave me this wonderful suggestion that has helped with relationship.

It has become an important part of our evening routine.

Evenings are a bit chaotic here. But we seem to be settling into a bit of a routine.

Kids radio drama is from 6 to 7. By 7:15 only the 4 big kids are awake. (ideally) They usually get nighties on, etc.. while I put the littles to bed. If they have to wait for me, they pull up an audio book on youtube.

When the littles are asleep and the house cleaned up, I gather the 4 big kids for bedtime prayers and our pow wow time.

Pow wow time has changed our lives...

We gather together, sometimes after fun days, sometimes the days have been just barely survivable... But we are family, we need to work through conflicts and celebrate proud moments.

For pow wow, we ask 3 questions.

1. Was I fun to be around today?
2. Was I respectful to myself and others?
3. Was I responsible?

Each child takes a turn, asking themselves, then their siblings this question. If there were any conflicts, we resolve them and apologies are made. This helps a child learn to confront the other one, rather then letting it simmer inside. It also allows the child to make things right if they wronged another child. This has proved to be very freeing for some of my children. It also opened my eyes to some conflicts that I wasn't aware of and some good things I had been missing.

After each child has answered each question and things have been made right, we go to step 2.

Each child takes a turn to say something good about each sibling. It has to be something specific they noticed on that particular day. It affirms those who struggle.

I can not tell you what a difference this has brought to sibling relationships in my home. It is also teaching them crucial relationship/conflict management skills that are so important in a big family.
I dare you to try it with your child!

After pow wow, we have prayer time. We choose one specific thing to pray for each evening. Everyone takes a turn to pray! My children are truly little prayer warriors.

Bedtime hugs are my favorite time of day. Sometimes after prayers we get into deep discussions, sometimes it gets a little wild but there is nothing like that end of day camaraderie.

Friday, February 21, 2014

schedule?!?!?! What Schedule?!

Even the best laid plans are subject to weather and illness... I am OCD. I do not like my schedule disrupted, especially after I have put a lot of effort into making it all come together.

disclaimer; whining, TMI post... Read at your own risk!

Yesterday was a caseworker visit and a specialist appointment... I had planned on taking all my kiddoes along. Two kids ended up puking, one in the car, on the first trip we took to take Nesiah to school.

So I quickly called an emergency sitter, a teen who is great with the kids, but it is the first time I left her alone with them. Three kiddoes with me, two at home and last minute it all came together. But it left me feeling frazzled...

I sat down and pulled together all my details for today. 5 appointments, grocery shopping, a trip to the market for produce and a hair cut for me.
I had a new mother's helper coming to stay with the kiddoes. I also planned on her making lunch and dinner for today and tomorrow! 4 big meals, in addition to helping them with school. I was looking forward to some "alone" time and getting my hair cut!

This morning, Miss J texts, she is sick. Do I still want her to come?

Taking a minute to drink some coffee and mentally rearrange my day... I decided I would rather she not come. Taking care of 4 kids and making meals is not an easy task, especially when one is not feeling well.

I dropped Fayth off to help a neighbor with her toddler and to lighten my load.  First stop, lab.. I HATE watching the kids have blood drawn. Thankfully it  went really well.

However I was now late, and dragging 4 anxiety filled kids everywhere, on a tightly scheduled day!

I heard this song twice today....

Appointment #2  was a situation that I had been praying about and had really no clue what I was to do with the kids. It all worked out... despite the pouring rain, walking through snow drifts in flip flops and having a caseworker walk up behind me as I was rather ungracefully scolding  a child who was struggling to function through his anxiety.

Now off to Central Market for produce... the kids were sure the homeless guys were going to murder us. So add more anxiety, plus mom's freaking out because of prices! Its been a long time since I was in there!

We grabbed some lunch... dashed back to make a meeting time.

Off to appointment #3. Traffic, I am sure I hit every red light in the city!!

Now I was late for appointment #4, which was my hair cut! So I canceled that.

Made a quick stop at walmart, picked up formula and groceries for Mrs. R, my neighbor. But I forgot my phone and couldn't remember everything she needed. So back to the car, a quick call and a stop at Amelia's for the forgotten items.

Back to pick up...

Now on the way home. Tired, grumpy kids in the backseat. Mom, incredibly irritable right now. Oldest son, mirroring mom. There is nothing quite like seeing your impatient, frustrated and snappy self mirrored in your child!

Stop #5, CVS .... The original meds I needed are on back order, insurance won't pay for the alternative... frustrated! I wasted a good 30 mins driving over there!

Home... Finally.

I gave the kids 15 mins to unwind before chores and moving towards evening routines. I locked myself in my room, with orders to not interrupt me, unless there is blood! Sat down, took a deep breath... ahhhh THE BUS IS  HERE! NESIAH IS HOME!

Let's try again... Nesiah is home and comfortable.  10 mins guys, 10 mins of peace I need it! NOW!
Sat down on my bed, took a deep breath, ahhhh... phone rings! Its the specialist. She and I discuss the meds. I spent the next 15 mins on the phone trying to find another pharmacy to fill the script.

Pharmacy calls... they can fill the script, but they are based in center city. My heart sinks, that will mean 3 trips to the city next week. But wait, she is asking for my address... THEY DELIVER! tears of joy!

But I will need to be home between 6-9 pm tonight and Nesiah still needs to be taken to respite, 30 mins one way...

Turn off the oven, pack up the littles, load up whining, grumping, but helpful kiddoes... we are now on 7 hrs of running after being home only 45 mins.

The sun breaks through the clouds, the air is warm... Its time to count my blessings.

Spring is coming...

The sun is shining..

I have willing babysitters...

I have a working vehicle and money for gas...


my kiddoes are good and willing helpers....

my big kid sitters tomorrow are coming to MY HOUSE and watching the kids ALL day and making two meals for them. That is almost as good as winning the lottery!

All kids are sound asleep in bed, house is clean and ready for sitters tomorrow...

We were able to enjoy the most beautiful setting sun, pink glow, fog, shimmery snow, fiery sunset and God's holy presence as we drove that hour at dusk.

Add in some loud music and relieved kids and it became a fun evening!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weekly Homeschooling Routine...

Routine is incredibly important for my kiddoes. They need to know what is coming next, what will happen tomorrow. What to expect etc... Some of my kids even benefit from having me walk them through different steps of coping skills to deal with unexpected and unwanted interruptions so that they don't erupt.

The benefit of routine has been huge since our last family addition...

We have morning routines, meal time routines, school routines, afternoon routines, evening routines. Meals are always served between 7-9 am, 11-1 pm and 5-6 pm.

I write out routines and schedules. The daily routines, like getting up, meals, clean up and school work are posted on the fridge. The weekly routine for appointments and social activities are made up every Saturday, then the daily activities are adjusted as needed to fit those.

Some weeks, we double up on school, other weeks we do the bare minimum. I do my best to schedule all appointments between 1 and 2 pm. This allows me to finish school, do all my morning routines, get to appointments and be back home in time to get Nesiah off the bus and dinner on the table.

I just revamped our schedule to adjust  to the kids activities and our new helpers.

We have choir  practice and running club on Mondays. Miss D, our mother's helper comes to the house and cleans for me, while I take the kids to their activities. (this is the ideal, which has not happened in 3 weeks and I am fighting tooth and nail to get back on track!) We do math and count the choir (music) and running club (P.E) hours for school.

We babysit on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 2 lil boys, delightful, but energetic. They do really well at adapting to our "big" school days. It also motivates my kiddoes to hurry along so they can play.

Thursdays has become the day for random appointments. As a foster parent we have lots of therapists, caseworkers, and therapists, in addition to Dr appointments, regular and specialists.

Friday has become my CYS day. Miss J, my new helper will be watching the big kids. I hope to run to market for fresh produce on Fridays, taking one kiddoe each week, as a "momma date".  Miss J will help the kiddoes  with school and make  weekly freezer meals for us.

Saturday is kickback day... we like to sleep in, eat pancakes, listen to Ranger Bill and Odyssey.
Saturday is also hair day... 3 african american girls = lots of tears and sweat! #lovemygirlsdreadcombingthem

Sunday is church, we love our little church. The kids are motivated to get moving on Sunday mornings and it is rarely a time we are late. They hate being late! Sundays are a day of rest, literally. I need my Sunday afternoon nap, like an addict needs his next fix.

Coming up next... more schedules and routines. I am OCD. I make no apologies.