I would like to read about how you manage the everyday things with 5 kids. Like just going to the store or even driving. I am in complete awe, as I can barely manage the 2 that I have. How did you do it in the airport? On the plane? In a restaurant?
Here is one example of managing with the kids. Cam was doing his triathlon and I had the kids in downtown Portland. The street was busy with bikes flying down the road. I had my "nanny"...the double stroller (life saver) but the kids were yelling (screaming and crying) and wanted out. I found a ledge seat for them to sit and watch. I told them they could be in the stroller or on the ledge. It worked for a bit and then when they got down I buckled them back in the stroller.
I hear this comment a lot, "Wow, I don't know how you do it". I think it's usually meant as a compliment. It's rare that families have so many kids these days. We are considered a big family. Check out some of the blogs on my sidebar list to really see what a big family is. The moms of these truly big families can read along here and just chuckle. ;) Not only do we have a somewhat big family but our kids are REALLY close in age. Well, the last 3 are close in age. We added 3 kids in two years. Baby George and Sis are 6 mos. apart and Busy Guy is 21 mos. older than Sis. Sometimes after I hear "I don't know how you do it", I see a bewildered look in the person's eye. I sense they are thinking something more like, "I'm glad it's not me"....or "You are nuts lady". Ha!
Often what I'm thinking as a reply is "I do it well some days and not so well other days!". That's the truth. Yes, we chose this big close in age family but some days are hard and some days I don't do it so well. But, I do love it and I do work to make it fun and manageable.
Okay, here goes...
How do I manage with 5 kids? Well, I just covered some of that. It's busy and it's stressful and mostly it's loud and chaotic....and fun too. I don't really like chaos. Actually I had a therapist (yes, I've been to therapy and highly recommend it) tell me that I don't really hate chaos or I never would have become a teacher or a mother to 5 children. ;) So, I guess I don't hate chaos but I definitely function better in an orderly environment. I make order of the chaos well. I'm super structured. I don't like change and especially don't like anyone messing with my calendar. Seriously! Don't change anything that I will have to re-do on my calendar....And DO NOT write on my calendar!! I know, not very flexible. Well, I'm working on it...go with the flow...bend like grass in the wind.
Speaking of calendar. That is one way I keep organized. I have this fabulous calendar. I have cork board on both sides so I can pin up other things having to do with our schedule. Each month I put up the new calendar. I have red marks where Cam is working. The kids love this.....they can look and see when he will be gone. I put in all the school things, soccer games, doctor visits, b-days, anything and everything. It's my life line. It hangs in my kitchen and I spend much of the day glancing at it. I think after 16 years Cam finally knows to check the calendar before committing to something...I think.
I spend a lot of time planning the upcoming schedule. I spend the year thinking and planning so the following school year will work. From school schedules (pre-school/grade school/high school) to sports/activities I have to make sure it all flows. I spend a lot of time driving my kids to school and picking up and it has to work for me...so I plan it out. I like to know on a regular basis what hours or times I'm available for appointments. This year is going great and I've already starting thinking what next year will look like....morning or afternoon pre-school for the wee ones?...morning or afternoon K for Busy Guy?...in combination with the other two boys school schedules and the gym, errands, appointments and Cam's schedule too.
One of the things that has changed the most since adding our last two kids is doing things spur of the moment. I used to run to the store on a whim to make some dinner that I was craving. Not any more. Now, I do my shopping online at Safeway.com. Life saver!!!! There is NO WAY I can take the tribe to the store. Not fun!! I do shop also at Costco but I try to go when Cam is home or when I have just a couple kids with me. I go in with my list, kids buckled in the seats and/walking along side me, and I get in and get out quick....with a few snack samples to keep everyone happy. :) If it's not in the house it's not for dinner. I try to take meat out to defrost early in the day...or the day before. But, sometimes my dinner planning runs late and I have to go with what I've got. Same goes for shopping for other things. I plan WAY ahead, shop online or go out when Cam is home. I do occasionally take all the kids shopping. I can handle Target. I get one of those huge carts, buckle two into the seats facing the cart and one into the cart seat. The other two have to walk alongside the cart. I buy popcorn and a lemonade as incentive to be good. This has back fired on me a few times....spilled food, hitting/crying kids (crying mom), and a regretful drive home. Sometimes it goes well....but I don't do it often.
I love any place with a drive-thru! Cam thinks they are so wasteful (gas and laziness) but he's not the one with all the kids all day. I say God Bless Walgreen's drive-thru, Starbucks drive-thru, and PLEASE could the post office get one too!! Actually, I weigh my packages at home, pay the postage online and have the mailman pick them up for me. God Bless the Internet!!
Well, aren't I long winded?! I'll do more later....I have lots to say about the car. Oooooh!