It's been awhile since I have had my own new baby in the house - four years or so. I forget about all the interruptions that come when you least expect it, and never have I ever had an eight month old and a 7 week old at the same time. Yikes!!!! What was I thinking???!!!
A co-worker where I used to work called me "The Crazy Lady with Seven Kids". Now I am that plus 3, and soon it will be plus 4. Double Yikes!!!! Thankfully, I have the whole summer to get the Little Miss settled before Junior arrives.
Life is crazy around here, but I am so thankful to stay at home and be with my kids. Next year I will just have 7 at home during school, but think of that! Just seven. To me that is bliss and freedom -- to most of you that is AAAAAGGGHHHH! :)
For us the thing that helps us keep going through our constant stream of activity, chatter, school etc. is schedules.
Hubby and I get up at 5:30. There is always the desire to curl up for a few more minutes (hours) of sleep, but we are working on discipline. His job affords the choice of when to go to work, but they do like him to be consistent. So he's up at 5:30 to eat at 6:00 and be off to work before 6:30. He likes to be at work by 7 and it's a half-hour drive.
My phone is my alarm, so when I get up I put my phone in the boys' room so they will have an alarm. It's set for about 10 till 6. Consequences for not getting up are going to bed a half hour earlier. Let me tell you this works, even for the one who loves to sleep. He was up as soon as it went off this a.m. Due to the fact that he missed half of one of his favorite shows.
Breakfast is together, per Daddy's request. If they don't get up when we do, they won't be ready for bed when we are - we have older kids whose bedtime is the same as ours now.
6:30 till 7 is dishes; then it's up to the bedrooms for some cleaning time. It's easier to greet parents if my kids are in their rooms. The first baby (Baby A) shows up around 7:30, sometimes even earlier. He's with us until 5:15 or so. The four-year old shows up as close to 8 as possible and stays as long as Baby A. Little Miss shows up just after 8 and stays till 4.
I've been letting the older children start school in their "spots" when their chores are done and when they've done some cleaning in their rooms. My goal is to start after Little Miss' mom leaves. By then we are the middle of Math and correcting that, while they move on to Language/English. More instruction on wrong answers in their assignment books etc. I teach Kindergarten (well, not really), 1st grade, 3rd grade, 5th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade. Plus I have 2 four-year olds, 1 eight month old, and 1 seven week old. It's pretty busy.
We've tried to assign spots for the older ones to do their work. My 8th grader likes the piano room. For an hour and a half, he listens to others practice piano, but other than that it's a fairly quiet room. My 7th grader uses the garage. Daddy has a big desk for his business out there. Actually it's the best desk we own. If he wouldn't get so distracted he would do well out there. Aside from that it's the kitchen table which is super busy, which is why my Kindergartner may be doing Kindergarten again. She reads - sort of, she knows her numbers - sort of. Adding is what she's good at. But she's just gotten missed this year a lot.
At noon is lunch, dishes and then everyone goes to their quiet time spot for some reading or napping, sometimes coloring or even puzzles, but usually reading books. The boys get wiggly and that's fine as long as they are quiet. It's amazing how well this works, though I don't look for a perfectly quiet house. Generally someone asks me something at least once or twice. But it's my way of getting my quiet time with the Lord in.
3:00 school is out and per Daddy's request again (and I love this idea btw), we put all our stuff where it goes and if someone has homework they work on that subject, but there aren't books strewn everywhere. We do clean-up during this hour. If your schoolwork is not finished by 3 - no Wii. This tends to be an incentive for most. We vacuum, and sweep and mop (with a crawler in the house we kind of need to do quick mops on a regular basis). Laundry is kept up during the day by the one who is assigned that for the day.
4 to 5 kids are getting picked up, supper started and general chaos continues to reign.
Supper has been 6:30 or 7:00 because of soccer practice, but we're done with that so we can go back to normal, which means whenever Daddy gets home. :)
8:00 is bedtime for the little ones and 9:00 is ours. Baths and stories are all done in their too, if I'm on track and not behind.
So because of all this craziness, Colossians 3:1-3 has been quite special to me lately. When I'm seeking the things above, I have a calmness and a peace. When I'm focused on how long it's been since I've gone with a minute of noone talking, I'm pulling my hair out - and I'm definitely the Crazy Lady.