A typical day around here is chaotic from beginning to end. Shocked? No, it’s not for the reasons you are thinking. Ok, well maybe a little bit.
It is said that the trials you are going through today, God uses to prepare you for later endeavors.
I’m not sure it could be truer in our case.
The day starts with mama racing the children on who’s going to wake up first. I’ll nurse Baby Girl – if its “kinda cold” taking her, run out and start the truck – if its “really cold”, I’ll leave her bundled under the blankets, start the truck and come back for a few minutes. On a good day, I will have 30 minutes to an hour that I can sit in the relative quiet, laptop plugged into the inverter and blog offline while BabyGirl talks and plays in her carseat behind me.
On a not so good day, mama doesn’t get the much needed quiet time and one by one the children will come running out no sooner than I get to the truck and start changing the baby (when its cold it just doesn’t seem right to change her in the house – sap, I know). Then the waiting begins. Usually one or more will argue over who gets the front seat, resolve that and they will play on the tablets until everyone gets up. Bou has become my “generator starterer”, he’ll start it up, we will do breakfast, eating in the almost-hot-by-now truck.
Much depends on the temperature – if it’s too cold, we will chill for a little while longer before everyone runs inside to get dressed, brush hair, brush teeth (with bottled water on the deck), ect. Then we either start a small project, clean up or go on to the grocery store. At the grocery, we will get lunch, dinner and breakfast for the next morning. We shop daily. Having the toaster oven and electric skillet have really opened up what we can cook. I still don’t cook “real” food that involves a lot of prep/dishes to dirty, but the frozen food section is now included in our menus. Which to be honest is new for us – the only thing we have ever gotten in the frozen foods were fries and mozzarella sticks. We haven’t found many frozen meals we like as much as what we normally make at home.
Back to the house in time for lunch usually. Run generator again if needed. Lunch is served in the truck again (by now temps might be in the 40’s/low 50’s). Then its up to the children (well except Bou, I usually need him). Swap off helping the baby or mama. Depends on the day’s project if they willingly help or if they are voluntold to help. While Bou and mama are working on the project, said project must be stopped at least every 10 minutes for any variety of crises – someone said something ugly, took something, fell, baby’s hungry or dirty, distribute afternoon snacks, ect. You know normal mama things.
By 4pm, I face quite the quandary – begging for quiet knowing if I encourage a nap at this point it will be super late before they go to bed. Some days I choose the quiet in the short term, come what may later. Again, depending on temps, either the littles go upstairs and bigs are downstairs or they spread out in the truck, being sorta quiet under the threat of going inside the house (where it’s cold). It will last, at max, 20 minutes if we are in the truck. This is the time I start thinking we need Netflix again!
Between 5 and 5:30, it’s time to start dinner, Mr. usually shows up soon after. Dinner is served, Mr. usually plays a movie or YouTube videos for everyone. By then its dark and cold again, Bou starts the generator, we all run upstairs and snuggle into our beds/sleeping bags and watch TV for an hour or so. Everyone falls asleep by 9pm. Rinse, lather, repeat.
We spend a lot of time talking or listening to music. Now before you think the children are sitting nicely in the truck, let me assure you – they are not. The truck becomes a little (warm) jungle gym at times. Bouncing around, climbing over seats, everyone piling into one seat to watch a tablet or to play. And this is where the problem comes in. For a year and a half, none of the children have had any personal space – in Texas we had 400 square feet, all of us in the same room – when we first started camp building, everyone in the same tent – living in the house, everyone in the same room. Granted they have gone from keeping their stuff in a backpack (Texas) to having their own totes (now). But it still hasn’t solved the problem of never being more than 5 feet from everyone. We have learned to live in very close quarters with each other, yet being so close all the time creates its own problems.
Add in that the bathroom is mostly contained into one “weekend bag” to be toted wherever it’s needed (like going to the front porch to brush teeth). The clothes are somewhat organized, out in the open. The kitchen is a table and an Elfa unit. In other words – for a year, things in our day-to-day life have been at varying stages of disarray. And from a somewhat organized, maybe, perhaps, possibly, a little on the OCD side… this has been a real challenge that I believe I have learned to deal with rather well.
It is beginning to really get to me. Something’s got to change.
This is where the current mental conflict comes in to play – we know the next step is the bathroom – everyone has voted that as most important. There isn’t much to make it usable besides time and a few odds and ends. After that we could focus on finishing the upstairs – creating bed”rooms” for the children – separate, personal spaces for everyone to retreat to – which, in theory, would help the children’s interactions with each other. Or do we do part of downstairs – wardrobe, living room – which would benefit the family as a whole – imagine a seat for everyone, a place to eat comfortably – for the first time in 18 months!!