I read somewhere once that "God doesn't call the equipped, rather He equips the called." I'm certain this line was written specifically for me, because nowhere in my wildest imagination could I have ever felt equipped to handle life as it is now, some 10 odd years ago. At least daily I hear from a stranger "I don't know how you do it with 10 kids." Truth be told, I'm not sure some days either, but for the grace of God.
Today was just another ordinary day at our house, if I dare to call any day ordinary. Saturday: Cleaning Day. With John working the weekend shift, the kids and I try to get chores done around the house on Saturday, so we can have "fun" days when he's home. I've tried several ways to get the kids to help with cleaning, and most recently found the buddy system to be most effective here. There seems to be less yelling amongst the ranks, and better results. Each of the 3 oldest is paired with a younger sibling and given a specific room to handle with a list for that room of specific jobs to be done. (Example: Basement-pick up toys, vaccuum carpets, dust furniture.) Sounds simple to an adult, but can seem endless to an 8 yr olf and a 4 yr old.
Anyhow, on top of cleaning we were headed to a Liberty Days parade that was scheduled for noon. This meant out the door by 11:20 in order to get good parking/seating. The kids had all slept in past 9 today (which happens almost never..so I let them), so our schedule was tight.
It went something like this...
9:15 up and at 'em. Pouring cereal and milk like there's no tomorrow...except for Sam who tells me he thinks he ate 4 too many hot dogs at the reunion last night...just a pop-tart for him please.
9:30 older kids are scattering with the same instructions as every morning..."Get dressed, brush your teeth, make your bed."
9:40 I wash up the two year olds and send them off for help from the older ones to get dressed. I settle in on the couch to nurse baby Lucy.
9:45 lots of noise from the bedrooms, but nobody's dressed yet, and the phone is ringing. Nobody answers...let the machine get it.
9:55 doorbell's ringing, nobody can answer it 'cause nobody's dressed yet. (hmmm... how long has it been now?) Grandma lets herself in and pours us both a cup of coffee.
10:05 twin 2 year olds wander in with the smell of something foul in their diapers (and still not dressed) I'm still nursing, so grandma offers to change one. Meanwhile, stinky pants #2 finds a bowl of milky cereal left on the table, and in trying to help put it into the sink, dumps it all over himself. He wanders into find me with corn flakes and milk over both eyelids, and a trail from the sink to the living room behind him. Sorry Lucy, hope you're full. I lay her down on the floor to play and attend to the cereal-milk trail, then cereal-milk face/stinky pants.
10:20 Is anybody dressed yet???!!!!
10:25 T minus 55minutes till the van leaves..."Lets get this show on the road!" Kids are finally dressed, Grandma's headed off to her day. And now time to get some cleaning done.
Partners Sam (7) and John (4) are in the basement, Emma (8) and Mary (4) are cleaning bathrooms, and Alice (8) and Grace (5) are bumped to sorting laundry since I had already finished cleaning the living room yesterday. All seems to be rolling along nicely. Frank and Rose (nearly 2) and Charlie (nearly 3) are watching cartoons. Lucy starts to fuss now, realizing she never got to finish her breakfast, so it's off to the kitchen for some Rice cereal.
10:45 Lucy managed to stick both feet in her mouth full of rice, so it's off to the bath for her. Right after, Emma and Mary mop up the water they've "cleaned" the bathroom with.
10:55 I realize everyone's ready but me, so I quickly douse my bed-head with some water, smack on some fresh deoderant, clean clothes, and good to go.
11:10 T minus 10 minutes...need to pack a quick lunch and send Emma out to the garage for the wagon, a cooler, and to unload all the gear (scooters, toys, etc.) from last nights party.
Alice helps me to throw some peanut butter and jelly on bread, clean some grapes, and throw a few other snacks together. Lucy's getting fussy again...ready for her morning nap...will have to wait till we're in the van. Sorry Lucy Bird.
11:17 Kids are buckling up. 5 in carseats. Emma put Lucy in her seat, and she's snuggling in nicely. I load the wagon in to the back of the van, Sam' s got the lunch and cooler. I pour my cold coffee out, and fill a fresh to-go cup for the road.
11:21 I turn the key, check the rear-view...everyone's in. We're on the road! Wooohooo! Parade time.
All before noon....is it naptime yet?