Rhythms and Routines

Station Square Pirate

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When you have six children, finding one on one time can be tricky. Some weeks it seems like the best we can do are car rides when taking the children from one activity to another. This is one reason why I have tried to be very intentional about planning “dates” with my children each month.

I used to be very fastidious about going from oldest to youngest. Sometimes it’s a big date– a trip to a movie, a fancy dinner– and other times, it’s much less planned– running errands together or going for a walk in the park or grabbing at fifty cent ice cream cone at McDonalds.

Woke up, nursed a twin.

Came downstairs, threw in some laundry, made sure Oldest Child did his trash duties since it’s garbage day—he did! and he even remembered the recycling!—and then started the oatmeal.

Nursed a second twin,started some bread.

Supervised the morning chores.

And after a breakfast of oatmeal and raisins, followed by breakfast clean-up, we had morning meeting, consisting of prayer, Proverbs, poetry (I wasn’t even going for a P theme, honest!) and role-playing our character trait of the month, gentleness. We went over our memory verse (A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.) and then adjourned to the table for science.

A Month of TUESDAYS!

Tuesday

Hmmm… so, a month of Mondays was both a success and a—well, I won’t say failure. Let’s just say I didn’t accomplish all my goals.

I’m going to try something different this month and actually write out and publish my goals here, and hopefully that will help me meet them.

In our home, Tuesdays are

  • paperwork day
  • personal care day
  • bedroom cleaning day
  • oats day
  • red day
  • coloring day
  • piano lesson day
  • trash and recycling day

And so, what I am hoping to share with you this month is

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Ever since I read about the three-day main lesson block over at Parenting Passageway, I’ve been hooked. It works especially well for us since we have co-op on Friday and Daddy’s day off is on Thursday. As Carrie writes, Waldorf is the only methodology that uses sleep as a teaching tool! So technically, our three-day main lesson block starts the night before, on Sunday, when I tell the story of the week at bedtime.


Daniel, playing with purple gnomes by our makeshift purple centerpiece

Kara over at Rockin’ Granola did an awesome job explaining the colors of the day and how she implements them in her home. She does a far better job with this than I ever could. Truth be told, this is one of those Waldorf traditions that I would like to keep but just somehow don’t find the time for.

Some ideas I do try include

  • Smoothies in the color of the day. I totally ripped this off from Kara, I admit. Our current favorite purple smoothie? Blueberries and strawberries and some Greek yogurt, a banana and a splash of honey. Yummy.

I recently read a post on Our Front Porch View called “11 Things to Accomplish Every Day” and was inspired to create my own list of daily intentions. The visual list I made only has 10. There’s actually one more, but it’s personal. I tried to include health goals, spiritual goals, personal goals, and goals that would help my family.

My list includes:

  • Wake up early enough to start the day right. For me, this means early enough to beat everyone else downstairs so I have time to pray, read my Bible, and do a devotional.

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When extolling the virtues of creating rhythm in your home, you might feel that you are being promised many things: peace, tranquility, predictability, happiness. But can having a rhythm make you healthier? Yes, I think it can.

Yesterday, I wrote about scheduling spiritual practices. I do the same with healthy habits and exercise.

Since I was diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy when the twins were born, I have been on several medications that make weight loss very difficult. Instead of relying on exercises that raise the heart rate (something that’s difficult to do while taking ace inhibitors and beta blockers!) I instead have had to find exercises that isolate and tone specific muscles and muscle groups. Unfortunately, these exercises only work if I actually do them, and I don’t do them if I don’t schedule for them.

OK, I know I said we’d do evening routines next, and we still will, eventually. But as I’ve been working out my days, I wanted to share a little of how I go about making my daily plan.

There are certain events that happen every single day in generally the same way at generally the same time. Meals and snacks are one example– usually we eat breakfast around 7:30, snack at 10, lunch at noon, snack again at 3, and dinner at 5:30. Waking up and going to sleep in another example. I like to think of these as “targets.” Other activities I can be a little fuzzy about if and when they happen, but targets are something I aim for.

A few more words on morning routines and then we’ll move onto evening routines… although really, perhaps I should have done evenings first, because I’ve found that a great morning rhythm usually starts the night before!

And not a few words… a few pictures actually.

I find that making little signs to remind us what is expected help the day to roll along more smoothly. Here is a sign that lists our after-breakfast chores and hangs in the kitchen.

And here is a sign that hangs in the boys’ room to walk them through their morning routine.

Pictures help pre-readers stay on task as well.

Oh good grief. Has it really been a month? I suppose it has.

I thought things were kind of under control from the move and I was ready to begin blogging again and then– BAM!– 6 cases of Fifth Disease (only one of which presented typically), three stitches, a minor car accident, a house closing, an installation of a new pastor, and a mini-vacation later, and we’re back.

I think.

I hope.

So… we’ll carry on with morning routines and then move onto bedtime routines. To be honest, the two work hand-in-hand to bookend your day and keep everything from toppling down, so I probably should have presented them together, but we’ll just keep going as we were.