Dear Web Log,
You know those dreams where you are kinda confused and then all of a sudden you are falling, falling before you jerk yourself awake?
You know that feeling when you are rushing three little kids to the car, late of course, one who has no shoes, one with dirty finger nails, one you just spilled coffee on (not your precious coffee!!) and you sit in the driver's seat and know without a doubt you have forgotten something but can. not. remember. what?
You know that feeling when everything is undone, and there is so much to plan for and what in the world is everyone going to eat for dinner, but the kids are laughing outside and the breeze and the sunshine are mingling just so and you put everything down and just walk out the door and soak in that perfect moment for just a little bit: Isaac's smile, Momo's singing, Joseph's antics, God's joy?
I've been living a deadly cocktail of the three since we moved to the Beach House five months ago. Five months. Of this.
Every morning I wake up hoping for the warm close feel of familiarity to set in, or just the centrifugal force to sloooow down so that I know exactly where I am and what I am doing.
It takes a toll on one, to be perfectly melodramatic.
Little bits of routine work their way into our lives, despite my undeniably magnificent ability to avoid obligation or accomplishment.
Here is how our days are generally panning out these days, ever and constant variations of this theme, which sounds like this: fun or chaos?
5:20 my alarm goes off and I pry my limbs out of bed and stumble to wake up Peter, who always always always gets up as soon as he is called.
He showers, gets Jude up, or starts the 20 minute long process of waking up Jude. Usually either Obi or I have to physically remove him from his bed, so much fun.
|Jude not first thing in the morning|
They generally take care of themselves in the morning after that, I make lunches, iron Obi's clothes, make coffee, and the boys leave at 6:30, and I call the little ones. And all that goes with that, you know.
By 7:30 we are all out the door, except for unschooled Joseph who is still asleep, dreaming of better things.
I drop the girls off at their school...
|Florida school dress code, rough|
...and normally these days, Isaac and I drive another half an hour to his "school," which is actually the Y so that I can exercise while he goes to the babysitting room. This has been an enormously positive development for me: to get out of the house, to be around breathing humans who aren't dependent on me, to physically push myself reeeely hard for just one tiny, long hour. I have purposely been doing group fitness classes, which I have never in my life participated in. I have also never regularly done strength training, only cardio. I do not enjoy strength training, and it feels the same about me. We are coming to terms with one another through Pilates, Boot Camp and the extremely fun (absolutely no sarcasm, you're reading that wrong) Body Pump. Amazing. Isaac meanwhile loves playing with the so nice ladies who love him to pieces, their toys, and at a very distant third place the other children.
We are home generally by 10 and I find Joseph lazing about on the couch with his computer doing German. He is taking an on-line high school German class (for credit!) and it is hard. Very hard. He generally works on this from the time he wakes up until lunch time.
|Joseph found this book on the beach, it's Catching Fire,|
and now it's part of our scenery
After lunch Isaac naps, I help (force-feed)Joseph with his other subjects, do housework (laundrylaundrylaundry), do my computer thing, do housework (laundrylaundrylaundry) until 2:15 when Isaac and I pick the girls up at their bus stop. Their stop is right at a hotel that caters to trendy, cute Europeans, and it is almost part of our daily routine to walk back from the bus stop with a couple of Euros trailing us on their way to the beach exclaiming over my cute kids' cuteness. The kids smile and nod and I smile and nod, part of our day. Weird.
Jude is generally home by this point as well as and all five of them watch a couple of TV shows. This has never, ever, ever been a part of our lives, TV after school, but it is completely indicative of not having myself pulled together enough to parent everybody properly alllll of the time. SO...they get that hour of TV and snacks and it is a pretty peaceful time.
Meanwhile I do laundry.
After the magical TV hour when I go in with the fierceness and determination of a gladiator prepared to die and turn off the devil's box, we go out to play! We go down to the beach, we play on the seawall, we go to the backyard with the treehouse, and it is good. I purposely did not put any of the little kids in after school activities this fall because I wanted this time so badly for us. This time is so fleeting, breathe a little.
We are generally in before the sun sets, they do homework, argue, mess up the house, find fault with one another, and cuddle and read with each other on the couch. This and that.
One of the major things I am working on in my mothering is getting dinner on the table earlier. We have historically been late dinner eaters, 7, 7:30 even: to eat with Peter and Obi who are rarely ever home by that time. But this is hard on all of us, we all end up snacking too much and dinner clean-up runs too close to bed time. Obi and Peter walk in when we are clearing the table, and so shameful to admit but they often sit there eating leftovers at a filthy table, gross. Sorry fellas.
|Obi's travel shot, when he flies I like him|
to take a pic of himself when he arrives and
send it to me, cause I'm cute like that,
If it is early enough, I try to head out for a run while Obi plays with them, but this plan goes awry far more often than it is accomplished.
|Revisiting the sand city they built the night before|
and seeing the destruction the tide wrought.
|Everybody's a developer in Florida|
Table gets cleared, kids get in the bath, teeth brushed, and we try astronomically hard to sit down, all eight of us, for prayer time. I read the Bible, or Youcat, or a story of a saint, conversation ensues, Isaac seizes the opportunity to jump repeatedly WWF style on every single one of us, and we pray a decade of the rosary. Just a decade, shameful, but guess how much more prayer a decade is than no prayer?
A monumental difference.
By 8:30 AnneMarie, Momo, Isaac and I head into their bedroom where AnneMarie reads to herself, I read to the little ones, sing to them, and we all slowly drift off. Usually by 9:30 Obi wakes me up, or I wake up on my own to find the big boys goofing around and Obi asleep on the couch.
Very tired, I usually enter into some philosophical discussion the boys are having (recent discussions have included "why is it logistically improbable for a teenager to live on his own in a hotel?;" "what are the defining characteristics of a psychopath?;" "why is it that Peter and Jude own a combined three single socks?" good stuff.)
All the while Obi and I clean up the kitchen, Peter homeworks away, Joseph schemes, Jude teases all of us, on and on.
And then we collapse. I don't know what time it is, between 9:30 and midnight, right about there. I read in bed, Obi works more on his computer in the chair in our bedroom (seriously) and somehow sleep finds us.
And then my alarm goes off at 5:20.
Dear Web Log, are you still listening? I'm done now, laundry awaits.