Friday, October 16, 2015

New Family Schedule + Routine

Now that we've moved and had time to settle in here at home, I started noticing our family's schedule + routine had gotten a little crazy lately, and we had all been feeling it. Lunches were getting missed or packed haphazardly right before heading out the door in the morning. Kids were rushing through homework. Dinnertime was sometimes stressful and meals felt like they were thrown together. Kids were going to bed later.

Moving just a city away can do that to you.

We've had to find all of our new favorite places. Grocery stores. Doctors. Pharmacy. Post office. Library. Hair salon. Utilities. Trash convenience centers. While also checking items off our mental to-do lists like buying new bed pillows for Jake, new furniture for the kitchen, fall clothes for the 3 kids (including new winter coats + socks + underwear they've grown out of), a new drying rack for the kitchen...and the list goes on and on.

On top of that, our driving commute to and from the kids' school has increased from 5 minutes down the road to 15 miles, which combined with traffic + waiting in the carpool line, can be over an extra hour to my day. (Not to mention, Jake sometimes stays after school for tutoring or First Priority + Jr. Beta club meetings, so I have to stick around the area until he gets done.) Scot's commute to and from work has also increased, so he gets home at least 30 minutes later than he did before, if not more - which means a later dinner time + bed time too.

Needless to say, our days have gotten a little whack-o, and I'm ready for a change. More space. More margin. More rest + time together. 

This is what God has been pressing on my heart lately, so I've been revamping our schedule to make it all happen. Obviously, we don't have perfect days, but these are my every day goals:

5am - I wake up and upload pictures, work on my blog, spend quiet time with God.
Some days I'll shower and get ready for the day.

6am - Jake and Brooklyn wake up for school.
They get ready for the day, eat breakfast, take vitamins, write the Bible Verse of the Day in their best handwriting and spend any extra time making their bed and tidying up their rooms.

6:15am - Scot wakes up and gets ready for work.

6:45(ish)am - Scot and the kids leave for school/work.

6-7am - Connor wakes up.

7-9am - Eat breakfast + tidy up the house.
I make beds every morning, wipe down bathroom counters + mirrors, empty the dishwasher, do laundry, prep dinner, clean the house.

10am-1pm - Me + Connor time.
We go to story time at the library on Tuesdays, BSF Bible study on Wednesdays and we're starting the Mom's group at church two Thursdays a month. We also meet up for play dates with friends occasionally and run errands. I'd like to be better with getting all the errands done during this time, instead of running around after school.

2pm - Arrive in the carpool line at school (sometimes earlier).
I'm reserving this as my personal time to make phone calls, catch up with friends, read my SheReadsTruth devotional, work on my BSF Bible lesson and pray. Connor always falls asleep in the van on the way there, so it truly is my quiet time before the after-school craziness begins.

2:30-2:45pm - Jake and Brooklyn are dismissed from school.

3-8pm - New Phone Free Rule (emergencies only).
I have just started implementing this, and it has been awesome. Awesome, but hard too.

2:30-3:30pm - After school activities.
The kids go to the allergist or Jake stays after school for Spanish tutoring, band, First Priority or Jr. Beta club meetings.

4-6pm - Me + big kid time.
I used to dread the after-school grind because of all the craziness, but now I'm learning to enjoy that sacred time with my older kids at home. They have an after-school snack at the counter (usually cookies, muffins or popsicles - sometimes fruit). Connor goes to his room for quiet time. The kids do their homework, while I help tutor Jake on Spanish + handwriting and I help Brooklyn with her spelling words + telling time. Now I'm also going to start teaching the kids the books of the Bible and help them memorize them. For years, I've bathed both Connor and Brooklyn during this time (while prepping + making dinner, which can be so stressful), but I'm learning it's just too much so bath time is reserved now for after dinner.

6-6:30pm - Family Dinner.
Family dinners with three kids at different ages used to be a battle. (And some nights it still kind of is. That's real life for ya.) Connor moves around + talks incessantly. Brooklyn is super picky and needs her food reheated at least twice. And Jake always finishes his dinner when we're just a few bites in, so...he reads the family devotions each night and we talk about them while we eat dinner. We all take turns sharing about our day. Imperfect family dinners, that's what we have here.

6:30-7:30pm - Make lunches + get showers + get ready for bed.
Jake makes his own lunch each night, and Brooklyn lays everything out for her lunch the next day. All the kids get showers during the week (baths are reserved for the weekends), pick out their clothes for the next day, and read books before bed. We've encouraged the older kids to read a chapter in their Bibles each night or from their daily Bible reading plan, and it's been so neat to see them doing this each night.

7:30pm - Bed time for Brooklyn and Connor.

8-9pm - Kitchen clean-up/Prep for the next day.
Scot and I finish cleaning up the kitchen, wash dishes, bake + lay out breakfast items and pack Scot's lunch for the next day while talking about our day. I go through and sign school papers + agendas, write checks for any school events coming up. Scot also works on his eBay orders and gets them ready to mail out the next day.

9:00pm - Bed time for Jake.

9-10pm - Sacred time as a couple.
Scot and I love to DVR our favorite shows and watch them together. We watch our shows, eat a little snack and continue talking about our day. Some days are super busy and this time doesn't happen, but we treasure the nights when they do.

10pm - Our bed time.
Our goal is to go to bed at 10pm each night. Some nights we're in bed at 9:30 and other nights we don't go to bed until 11:30. 10pm is our goal. We've learned over the years that we need a lot of sleep, so we try to make sleep a priority.

And that is our new routine! The biggest new things that we're implementing + loving:

- 5am mornings (I am not a morning person whatsoever, but I do love that time alone)
- Verse of the Day each morning
- Arriving earlier for school pick-up
- 3-8pm Phone Free Rule
- Sacred time with the big kids in the afternoons (fewer errands + more focus on each child)
- Bible reading before bed

No schedule, no day is perfect. But, we're hoping this gives us more intentional time to get the important things done and more time for people. At least before soccer season begins. :)

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