By now, if you’ve read the blog for more than a week, you’ve no doubt picked up on the fact that I like to throw numbers around in my titles. Part of it is because I’m not that creative, but the other part is so that, when I go back and look at our experiences, I can be reminded of the things we did (and hopefully accomplished).
On Friday, we took in two more children. These were familiar faces as they were two of the four children that I found sleeping in a car in the back alley last August. This means that TJ has been reunited (if only temporarily) with two of his older siblings, ‘L’ and ‘K’. This also means that it puts us up to eight children in the house. We’re definitely outnumbered!
It’s been fun to see how they’ve changed over the last few months. ‘L’ is still willful but more respectful than she was when we first met her and looks to help in any way she can. ‘K’ is using more words and has grown about 3 feet taller (slight exaggeration). Jessica had lots of plants to put out over the weekend, so I got to spend most of my weekend hanging out with TJ and the Gang. I’m not gonna lie when I tell you. . . It. Was. Tiring. Exhausting is more like it. But, we made it through to Monday, which brought on a whole different set of challenges; namely, how to get eight kids to five different places on time.
We get asked how we do it all the time. How do we manage to deal with so many kids, have full time jobs, and keep our sanity? I could go into great detail, but I think that what I’ll do instead is refer to a blog post that my friend Michelle Schulp wrote about how she does all the things she does. This quote, to me, sums it up fairly nicely (but I highly recommend you read the rest of the post. It’s a great post!):
“The busy lives we live seem so absurd and unsustainable from the outside, and the people who continue to keep doing more appear superhuman. When I was younger I always assumed that was actually the case – that these people were just different than I, better, more dedicated, more efficient, and I could never measure up – until people regularly started asking me the same thing, and suddenly I was the superhuman.
Really, we all have so many things driving us, yet all anyone ever sees is the end result.”
That pretty much sums it up. To the outside world, it seems crazy that we handle all this without going nuts. I suppose that if I step outside of my body for a moment and take a look, I can see why one would think that. But, I think humans are amazing creatures and what some think is “super human” is, in reality, just human. And, what looks on the surface to be a ridiculous amount of chaos, once further analyzed, doesn’t seem so bad.
So, with that all said, let’s go back to getting eight kids to five schools (on time) and break it down:
6:00 am: Jessica and I are up (ok – I admit, I didn’t get out of bed until 6:30, but Jessica was up at 6:00)
6:30 am: I wake TJ up, get him out of bed and get him clothed. Jessica gets ‘L’ and ‘K’ up and dressed
6:45 am: Jessica has them in the kitchen, feeding them breakfast. Meanwhile, I get the two car seats out of our storage room and install them into the Armada
7:10 am: I take TJ, ‘L’, ‘K’, and ‘W’, dropping off ‘W’ (14 years old) at his school (20 minutes away – must have him there no later than 7:45), then ‘L’ and ‘K’ to their daycare (they do not have to be there by a certain time). After that, I drop TJ off at his daycare (also no set drop-off time).
7:20 am: Jessica takes ‘C’ (age 10) and ‘S’ (age 9) to their school (10 minutes away) and drops them off. She is back around 7:45.
7:45 am: Jessica makes lunches for Eli and Brenna and feeds them breakfast.
8:10 am: Jessica takes Eli and Brenna to their school (5 minutes away) for an 8:30 start.
8:15 am: I arrive home, make my breakfast (a smoothie) and a cup of coffee.
8:30 am: At my desk ready for work.
8:45 am: Jessica at her desk ready for work
With the exception of the two additions, this has been the daily routine this whole school year. All of the older kids (6 and up) know where they should be and when and have done a very respectable job of staying on schedule all year.
This evening, the routine will change as far as pickups go, but we’ll keep a schedule very similar to our morning. And while, on the surface, it seems chaotic, when you look at the schedule, you realize it’s not all that bad.
So, when you look at us and wonder how it’s all possible, now you have a glimpse into it. Can it be hectic? Yes. Chaotic? At times. Impossible? Hardly. Super human? Not at all.
What it is, however, is rewarding; beyond your wildest imagination!