It’s been a process. A loooong process of trial and error. And just when we got into a groove, another baby was born and our rhythm would change. And then we would find it again. And another baby. And another. And so it has been for the past 4 years or so. But ever since the beginning of this year I’ve been wanting to document the big and little changes we’ve made as parents, the head and the heart of our family, that have made our rhythm more peaceful, more productive, more fulfilling than ever before and more possible than ever to have 5 babies, homeschool, live on one income and still maintain some sort of order, some sort of peace, some sort of sanity, a marriage that is constantly improving and to see God’s irony and find humor in it all. Because our rhythm is about to change again and I want to document our current mode of operation as encouragement to press on and preserve what we’ve got.
Prayer. Both Dean and I have made a commitment to give more of our time to prayer, reading, study (personal and spiritual) and meditation. And exercise. And just more balance to our whole person. This means less sleep. This means waking a lot earlier than we are comfortable with. But it has made a world of difference and God blesses our day because of it and has given us both a deeper clarity and peace.
Thankfully, the kids awake in a sequential fashion. It’s much more manageable and enjoyable. I usually have a good 20-30 minutes of 1 on 1 time to snuggle and interact with Amelie (and make that much needed cup, or 2, or 4 of coffee) and then skips in my big girl. The interaction and dynamic of the special time together between big A and little A is precious!
After the last one awakes (which is almost always Sweet G), the kids and I do our morning prayers. Then comes breakfast and morning chores, and somewhere between 9:30 and 10:30, the little ones are eager to head outside, especially when it hits 80 before 9am. 😉
Alizea will take her morning lessons outside which consists of Bible Study and the Saint/Celebration of the Day – readings and questions. Which brings me to another change we’ve made. Dean took over assigning and sending the daily lessons, and adding the morning Bible/Religion questions which he comes up with and although it’s a small change, it has made SUCH. A. profound difference. There is something powerful in the authority of a father. I see it so clearly. More and more. Her attitude and seriousness and response to the schedule daddy emails to her is very different from that of when mommy was in charge of it all. I don’t take it personally. 😉 I don’t want to do it all. And I’d much rather facilitate and be the “aid”, learning alongside my kids while Daddy leads in the setting of expectations and discipline arena. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. Of course, I do my fair share of discipline but thanks to an amazing servant of God (another change and New Year priority), we are both learning to better support each other in every area of our marriage/parenting roles and embrace our roles as very different creatures with very different world views and temperaments but with our love for one another and obeying Jesus as the common denominator.
Anywho, here is the happy student and our version of a school picture 🙂
And this one. I can’t wait to do more documenting in a post dedicated to her. But she is amazing. And she just adores her siblings. PS. Um, why can’t the tummy/back roll look as cute on me? Not fair. 😉
After lunch, we come inside, I put the younger 2 down for naps (or at least that’s what is supposed to happen) and then the house is quiet for afternoon studies. Alizea will work on the CORE curriculum (Arithmetic, Grammar and Catechism)
I was just telling Dean that very recently I’ve noticed a big shift in Alizea’s study habits. She has been more focused than ever and doing so much more independently. I’m sure it will come in phases depending on the material but it is so very rewarding to (finally) experience 1st hand the fruits of some hard (2+ years) labor! Although, the more she does on her own, the more behind and lost I get! 😉 After school work is finished, we take another “recess” break.
And I have to brag about my $10 Goodwill chair find and $7 stool that still had the $24 Target price tag on it. I hung a few $3.99 IKEA spice racks and Vwoila, a new reading corner came about which the kids LOVE!
Another small but BIG change has been the ability (& effort on his part) to get into work by 7am and leave by 3:30-4. That extra (earlier) hour that he is home has made a HUGE difference to us all! The kids get more daddy time which fulfills them and him alike. They get much more worn out & I get some “me” time to “decompress”, make a phone call, make dinner in peace, sit and kick up my feet, etc. which brings me more peace Everyone is happier. Win. Win. 😉This girl loves her dance parties
**There is plenty of room for spontaneity but with more responsibility and seriousness to Alizea’s academics, we are home a lot more. At least 3 days a week with the exception of a quick trip to the grocery store and for classes for the girls. Monday’s and Friday’s are more flexible with a lighter school load (since we study year round, we enjoy the flexibility throughout the year) and time for Dr’s appointments, outings to meet friends, bigger shopping trips or just a day to “hang out” at Mimi and Bapa’s house.**
I’m loving our rhythm so please join me in praying it’s a smooth transition in the coming months to a family of 7!