Several months after Tate came home, Blake and I would comment to each other that we felt like we would wake up every morning, see many fires burning, and just jump in and put out the one that was burning the hottest and the highest.
Does that sound chaotic? And overwhelmingly busy? That is the picture I am trying to portray.
It was hard to feel like we were doing anything well, but instead we felt like we were just getting by.
I am not one to sit back and be okay with just getting by.
It was pretty obvious that some things needed to be simplified in order to be able to do things well that matter the most.
I had some big conversations with Jesus, asking Him to burden me with what this should look like.
Honestly, I was expecting one huge answer that would just fix everything and make our home run smoothly again.
Instead, the Lord showed me little things. Little things that are adding up to make a big change.
Like the brushing and bouncing therapy we do with Eliza. Small thing really, but a big change.
I was burdened to find a different time to get grocery every week, because we were going to town for grocery after Tate was in bed on a Friday night. It made for a super late night for an already exhausted Mama.
The Lord gave me the idea to ask Grant and Addie Mae to take over this huge job!
They were happy to, and have been doing that for me on Friday mornings now.
It is working SO much better this way!
Thanks, you two!
I was also burdened because meals were no longer getting planned like they should. When meals are not planned, I have to think on my feet to get them on the table. That does not work with our strict diet. But I just did not have a chunk of time every week to plan meals anymore.
So I spent a very worthwhile chunk of time making a rotating meal plan. It requires about five minutes of my time now each week to move the number of the meal choice to a spot on the meal plan sheet and make sure the ingredients get on the grocery list, unless there is a special occasion. I also planned that our breakfasts and lunches would be the same each week.
It is working very well! We have had a small diversion from the rotation for the holidays, and I am anxious to get back to this simple meal planning!
Something that I did years ago was to put our grocery list on a word document. I put everything on it that we buy, and even got crazy and put it in the order of the store that we shop in. This was pretty easy for me, because we literally shop the perimeter of the store (produce section, meat section, and freezer section) for the most part, except for two huge aisles that are the gluten-free aisles.
This is SUCH a time saver, especially in this season of life! I always know what is missing from the pantry, fridges, and freezers. I never have to think on my feet, and can keep our home well stocked easily. That is a huge plus when you live in the country and like to have your home full of people.
I just mark on the list a number by what we need to show how many to buy, and cross off the things we don’t need. Super simple.
Another burden I recently had from the Lord was to include Tate and Eliza on our schedule. This was tricky at first, because their needs were very unpredictable. I am glad I listened to the burden though. Scheduling our school day is something I learned my second year of homeschooling many, many years ago, and it is the key to being successful in this area for me.
I receive many e-mails because of this blog, and often a question I am asked is “how do you do it all?” Our daily schedule is the answer.
I learned about scheduling from a ministry called Titus2 here. (I cannot say enough about what I learned from this precious family’s ministry all those years ago, or enough about how everything they teach WORKS. Any size family, any personality type, any season of life. Please look into their ministry or their book on managing your home if you struggle in this area! If you would like, contact me through my e-mail link at the top side bar, and I will send you a copy of this book as a gift from me!)
There was a time when I used the chart from their book with different colors for each child, and I may go back to that when the littles need that visual, but for now I just use excel to print our schedule and hang it on the fridge.
Everyone, including me, knows what they are supposed to be doing and when. I pray heavily over this schedule before I make it each year, as I want the Lord to burden me with the most important things to be included on it. It allows our home to be so peaceful and productive. It gives us a goal for each day when we wake. It makes it easy to have an interruption and then pick back up where we should be.
Another burden I have, that I have not yet implemented, is to include Tate and Eliza on our chore chart. They LOVE to be helpers, and right now the big kiddos or I will pull them in to help with our chores when they show the desire. This has not been a very peaceful way to do this though, as there is great competition between Tate and Eliza in this area. So my plan is to rotate the chores again, giving Lane harder things that he can absolutely handle, and giving his easier things to Tate and Eliza. Then will come the big job of training Tate and Eliza how to accomplish their chores, and to keep them accountable for doing them well.
As a busy homeschool Mama, the time I have spent training the children how do to their chores and then keeping them accountable for them has been worth every single second I have spent times ten. We do different cleaning chores everyday, so we do not have to clean everything at once. We do the bigger cleaning chores on Fridays. Because we do bits of cleaning everyday, we can have anyone over at the last minute and feel confident that our home is company ready.
The Titus2 ministry also teaches about scheduling chores here.
We have used a more visual chart for this in the past too, which I may use again, but right now I just have a word document that I print and hang on the fridge. Lane is the only one I see look at it on a daily basis. The older kiddos have memorized their chore list. We rotate the chores every fall, but have a meeting first where the children can tell me which was their most favorite and which was their least favorite chores.
Dishes are mandatory, and we have a rotation for doing dishes each day.
I am excited to start this with Tate and Eliza, because I know they will love it. Giving children responsibilities reaps so many benefits, and it will also bring peace!
I am still praying over other burdens that I do not have clear answers to yet. The biggest three are where to fit school planning/grading, post-adoption/insurance/medical paperwork, and writing/returning e-mails. These three areas require a huge amount of quiet and focused time. They are getting done now, but not well. I know the Lord will show me a better way! He cares about the details!
This post started out as a desire to show you all (and to document for our family scrapbook) what the Lord has done these last months as we find our new normal with two little ones! Not sure how it got so long, ahem!!
Praising the Lord for this peaceful home due to peaceful routines!!