A long Day

Here is where I attempt to show you what a "typical" day is like for us here, as houseparents. Stop laughing, I did use the words "attempt" and "typical." So I've wanted to do this post for a long time- partly because I want to save this as a scrapbook page. However, as I struggle with setting our own family a schedule, it's because we only have about TWO days a week that are the same! But at least you can see what a day might be like. Some evenings have chapel or we are on a day off.

And be warned, this crazy long . . . as my day is also crazy long!

*As you may or may not remember or know, Jeremiah & I work as houseparents, at a children's home. We have eight (or as many as 10) boys who live in a home with us. They come here to work on discipline issues, anger issues, etc. Our job is to be full-time parents to them- teach them life skills, how to deal with anger, teach them about God, manners, chores, play with them, read to them, etc. *

6:00- Alarm goes off- Jer showers while I start the hot water for tea and then lay in bed for 15 more minutes (I am NOT a morning person. I've tried before but it just doesn't work).

6:15 -Hop out of bed, throw on clothes, comb hair and wash face.

6:20 - Wake up boys- start a load of laundry. Each morning I wash the bedsheets for two boys plus any who wet their bed that night. Supervise the boys getting dressed & making their beds.

6:35 - Boys go out the door with Jeremiah to do morning exercises. I go make my tea and usually do a quick check on the computer to see if there are any urgent things that need to be dealt with, important emails, etc.

6:45- I then head out the door, tea & baby monitor in hand, to the cafeteria. I pour milk for the boys and then help supervise breakfast, help with manners, etc. Each cottage sits at their own table together.


6:55 (ish) - Back to the cottage with the boys that are done eating. Boys then brush teeth, do chores, room inspection and then read quietly until 8am. During this hour I vacuum the cottage bedroom & living room (every other day), supervise chores, pick up or move things around in the cottage. All those little "house keeping" chores. At some point my children wake up- preferably around 7:30 but sometimes much earlier.




7:45- Start breakfast (oatmeal with peanut butter & honey) for Shan & Forest, fill juice (60% water) cups, put away dishes. Feed the kids, sometimes we watch Dora, sometimes we talk, sometimes we read a Bible story.

8:00 - Dash back in to give the boys medicine, check to make sure cottage is neat and clean. Have "discussions" with boys who have left their closets a mess or not folded clothes the right way. Then I run back to get my kids dressed . . . . sometimes. Other days we stay in jammies for a while, depending on how "needy" the cottage is or how tired/stressed mom is feeling.

8:15 - All of us, including Shannon & Forest out the door with shoes on.

8:25- Flag ceremony- whole Ranch gathers to raise & salute the flag. We then walk (in a line because we can't handle ourselves!) to the school building. This is Florida, so kids line up outside, teachers walk outside to greet us- we give them an update on behavior, attitudes, other important tag-team stuff.

This is where we do flag ceremony- the cottages line up around the garden.

Boys lined up, waiting for their teacher.

8:30 - Jer and I are now "off duty" and walk back to main office, sign boys in, check mailbox.

8:30-4 - This is our "off" time . . . time to do all the things that normal SAHMs (and dads) do during the day/evening. More on that later. Mornings aren't very consistent (a source of frustration to me)- Monday is staff meeting, Tuesday meeting with Case worker, Thursday is our morning off. Essentially Wed & Fri are the only "normal" mornings. Afternoons are a bit more routine for us. A normal morning might be:

* playtime inside while mom does quick chores (wash up dishes, start more laundry, check what's for lunch)
* back outside for playing in sand, bubbles, chalk, spraying with the hose, bike rides, rolling in dirt, gardening and sometimes playing with Ranch staff-baby-friends.
* back inside for cleaning up, a snack (cheese & fruit usually). Forest then often heads into his basket of cars & trains, while Shannon "does school," projects or goes to her room to sing & dance
* lunch is around 11:30 or 12, then I clean up the dishes and attempt to "finish" in the kitchen since I may not have a chance to "be back" until after 8pm, when I DON'T want to do cleaning!

1:30- Forest in bed for nap. Shannon in bed to read herself a "big book pile." The girl isn't happy if she doesn't have at least 10 books to read to herself. While she's reading I usually sit down on the computer to read my blog reader or do a post like this.

2:00- I read Shannon ONE book and tuck her in for nap. Then I either nap, clean up, exercise, talk with Jer, computer time, etc.

3:30- Forest is up.

3:45- Wake up Shannon (and F if sleeping). Get clothes on the sleepy kids, change F's diaper. Get sippy cups and snacks ready. Deal with post-nap emotions while trying to get ready to be "back to work." Check boy's rooms again for neatness.

4:00- Boys home from school. Chat with teacher as we "hand off the baton," while Jer gets them changed for work detail. We then go out and do an hour of work- weeding, raking, hauling tree branches, etc. We always go out as a family (meaning Forest & Shannon are included even though this often means everyone is filthy dirty by 5pm!).






5:00- Inside for showers and laundry. Each boy showers for 3 minutes, folds & puts away their laundry. After timing showers, I get cups & bibs ready for dinner while everyone (boys & my kids) plays in the living room.

5:30- We all head back out the door for flag ceremony and then dinner at 5:45. Dinner . . . a huge source of stress in my life. Pour drinks for everyone while keeping Forest quiet. Go through the cafeteria line while trying to guess what my kids might eat. I don't make an issue of eating dinner, since most of the foods are NOT what I would ever make them eat . . . green beans that in reality are brown and mushy (seriously, have you ever had a REAL green bean? They are BRIGHT green and crunchy. ). Or mushy casseroles, spicy meat, etc. Not terrible food, just cafeteria food and not usually healthy. I try to keep Forest quiet and not throwing things on my left side, while trying to get Shannon to pay attention (in a room with 80+ people) to eat a little food on my right side. With my third eye, keep an eye on manners to try to help Jeremiah out. With a third hand, attempt to shovel a little food into my own mouth.

6:00- Dash the kids out the door (back home), get the boys changed for free-time. Depending on what was for dinner, make them a pb&j or get some Greek yoghurt ( a major staple for protein needs in our house) to eat on the way to free-time. Which consists of swimming or running around the yard, swimming in dirt!


7:00- Take the kids inside for baths, books, jammies & bed!

7:30- Forest in bed, Shannon reading.

7:40- Boys inside- get them changed for bed, start laundry, pass out meds. Sometimes I have time to read a fiction story to them.

7:50- Back in Shannon's room to say good-night & read a book.

8:00- Good night to boys, turn on a radio drama for them to listen to. Turn on baby monitors & hope they are behaving and Forest has finished yacking and gone to sleep! Spend time with Jer, catch up on the computer, clean up the kitchen for the night, etc.

Questions? Ask away!


Janet said…
1. I don't miss this...AT ALL
2. I can't believe Shannon takes almost a two hour nap and you can still get her to bed at a decent hour. My kids don't possess that gene :)
Tara said…
where do you schedule me in? don't I get a time slot? And to Janet's comment, I miss it a little. At least home weekends :)

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