A Day in the Life of…

I try and stick to a schedule, I really do. I made a simple one for this year. One that allowed for chores worked in and daily habits set up. One that allowed for lots of leeway for daily life interruptions and one that is stripped back to essentials that I want covered. And by essentials I am including art and nature study because even though they are the fun subjects, they often get pushed aside for more academic work. So I have this completely workable, flexible, well-rounded plan for the year. We’ve been at it for 2 weeks, this week is our third. I was glad for the leeway time because we used up every bit of it working out kinks the first couple of weeks. We, and by we I mean I, are starting to get into a routine, at least for the morning part. But there is just this part of me, this hippie-idealistic-spontaneous part of me, that just can’t stick to it…no matter how simple. Life just doesn’t work that way. I had promised myself that I wouldn’t change anything for at least three weeks…no tweaking, no diverting, no extra plans, no changed plans. And while this schedule is much more realistic for our lifestyle of a large family, I can’t say I’ve totally stuck to that promise.

So I thought I would record here, for posterity purposes, what my schedule was suppose to look like versus the actual of what happened. A note of caution ~ I am not belittling our day or beating myself up or feeling guilty. I see how much we accomplished and moved forward and learned even if we didn’t follow the schedule to a T. This is just more of  a reminder to myself that the best laid plans are still my plans. I still deal with 5 very independent wills each day with a sixth kicking me as a reminder that his, too, will be reshaping my plans. And I daily learn to trust that God’s will is the only essential for the day, which may look completely different from my own!

My purposed schedule:

8:30 AM ~ Breakfast

9:30 AM ~ Morning Chores

10:00 AM ~ School Time

  • Bible ~ Scripture memory verse, Bible story, Song, Prayer
  • Math ~ Gabe works independently while I work with Lily
  • Literature ~ Mom reads aloud (my choice)
  • Poetry Memorization (their choice)
  • Grammar through Dictation

12:00 PM ~ I prep for lunch while they have 5-minute tidy then a bit of free time.

12:30 PM ~ Lunch

1:00 PM ~ Afternoon Chores

1:30 PM ~ Break (They watch Fetch on PBS and I set up for afternoon activities or nurse baby to sleep.)

2:00 PM ~ School Time

  • Science ~ Read from Exploratopia and do corresponding experiments
  • Art ~ Go over a new technique, practice time to play with technique

4:00 PM ~ Free Time (for them, chores or dinner prep for me)

Sounds simple enough, right?

Here was my actual day:

6:15 AM ~ Adam leaves for work.  I sit nursing baby wishing desperately that she would go to sleep so I could get at least one more hour before having to be up. (She was up from 2-3:30 AM and from 5-5:30 AM already and I am extremely exhausted.)

6:45 AM ~ Tried laying baby down, didn’t work, still trying to rock, nurse, and console over two molars trying to come in. Gabe has gotten up and gone downstairs for his allotted video game time. Luc is up and begging me to find his Green Lantern mask so he can be a superhero as I am trying desperately to ssshhhh him so I can lay the baby down. He finally relents and goes downstairs with Gabe.

7:15 AM ~ Baby is NOT sleeping and decides to join the boys downstairs (She can now maneuver herself up and down the stairs and up and down the bunk beds…15 months old…incredible!!!) and I collapse on my bed, letting the morning breeze wash over me as I bury my face in a pillow and lay there dozing.

7:20 AM ~ Luc comes to ask for cheese crackers for breakfast. No, we are NOT having cheese crackers for breakfast! I encourage cereal (was going to bake muffins but who has the energy?). I hear him rummaging through pantry, pull out bowls and try to open the cereal box, which is a new one, and know he will be back shortly.

7:30 AM ~ Trying to ingnore Ivy by my bed babbling for mommy to get up. Think she wants cereal too. Trying like crazy to force myself to get up.

7:40ish ~ Luc brings me the cereal box and I open it for him. Lilah brings me a different cereal box and I open it for her.

7:47 AM ~ Ivy babble-yells at me and I finally drag myself from the bed. We get for-real cereal on the table, I pour milk, Luc prays, I yell for Gabe to come upstairs.

8:15 AM ~ Luc and Lilah have run off to play. I bring my bowl to sink and put on water for coffee. Gabe and Lil sit at table talking and pull out their Fire Fighter Safety booklets (free from a neighborhood park get-together). I stumble to the back to get dressed and make my bed. I also pull sheets of Ivy’s crib to be washed for the day and gather laundry together.

8:30 AM ~ Put hot coffee in carafe to stay hot. Gather diapers downstairs for a day of stripping (to remove detergent buildup from cloth diapers and give them a bleach – only do a couple of times a year when needed in order to refresh and keep cloth in good working order). Pull Lilah upstairs with me to get changed for the day.

9ish AM ~ Change Ivy and Lilah, putting both in disposables since cloth is out of order (which also means Lilah’s potty training is interrupted for the day – she won’t potty train in disposables). Put cereal away in pantry and remind the kids, who are busily working at the table, that the table still hasn’t been cleared or cleaned and it is a school day.

9:30 AM ~ Kids have done chores and still want to work on fire safety books. Littles are downstairs playing blocks and Yoshi. Lily comes to show me a story she has written (i.e. drawn and told to me orally) this morning about a ghost who goes to school, has craft supplies, makes two posters and a craft paper, drives home on the school bus. I praise and am amazed she already had time to squeeze that in. I check to make sure her bed is really made and think about starting school a half hour early. Then I remember my promise not to change. The kids are expecting 10 AM and relish having this extra time for their stuff. I grab a cup of coffee, sit in my chair and go over World War II living books.

10:00 AM ~ We actually start school on time. Verses are said from memory. A story about Joseph and his coat is read from an over 100-year-old catechism book. We talk about still trusting God even when things don’t seem to be going your way and Him having a purpose for your life, even when it doesn’t seem like it. We sing “Trust and Obey” with Lily assuring me she doesn’t need the lyric sheet anymore and me wondering why I still do when we’ve been singing it for over two weeks and it is a familiar song to me anyway. I discipline Lilah several times mid-song to stop sitting on Ivy. Despite the correction, she is still merrily singing away with us.

10:20 AM ~ I read aloud chapter one from Addy story (American Girl History series) and we talk more about slavery, which leads to an Underground Railroad discussion and Harriet Tubman. I ask Gabe to pull a book from shelf. We quickly read that as well. Meanwhile, Lily is flipping through the Addy’s World book and exclaiming on all the projects she could do.  She notices American Girl dolls in back which reminds her of her birthday wishlist and decides, for today, that Addy is the doll she wants, then decides on Molly who I remember I just checked out a book on because Molly is from WWII period and I am in the middle of reviewing for that. Lily is ecstatic and wants to read now. I remind of her of math and tell her she can look at it later.

10:40 AM ~ Gabe and Lily go to kitchen table to work on math. I turn on “Follow the Drinking Gourd” for them to hear while they are working. I am sitting here realizing I have picked no dictation for them to do. Should I just pull something together? Adam’s new job kept me from my normal planning day. I’m winging it this week. And do I pull them over to do poetry recitation? Gabe already has his memorized and Lily still hasn’t picked. And what about Grammar? No dictation means no grammar. Just skip for today?

10:45 AM ~ Work with Lily on her math, mainly checking. She is doing well with subtraction book. Remind Gabe…again…to stop talking with Lily and concentrate on his own work. Go down to restart diapers and check on littles. Sit on couch with Luc and Lilah (who are watching Word World) and discuss how apple starts with ‘a’ and pie starts with ‘p’. Lilah requests that I sit with her downstairs. I go up, grab a cup of coffee and snuggle with her and Luc on the couch and nurse the baby.

11ish AM ~ Put Ivy down for a nap. Forget that I pulled off her sheets and replace them quick. She cries but I know she needs sleep. Get out Lily’s phonics workbook for her to work on. That counts as grammar, right? Tell Gabe to practice his Latin flashcards twice in his room then come review with me. I count that as grammar too – vocab roots. Sit down on the floor with Lily and let her cut recycle paper and practice taping to construction paper. Luc soon joins us and both are excited to be working with me and talk about how much they love projects. I like that they are learning cutting and taping skills without using an expensive preschool curriculum. Simple is the key.

11:30ish AM ~ I juggle going over Lily’s phonics work (making a sentence) and reviewing Latin with Gabe while still getting tape for Lilah and Luc and keeping their fighting to a minimum. I then have to get the baby who awakes because of the Air Show practice. Lily, inspired by the littles, decides to cut from old magazines and make a grocery list. She soon runs out of tape and we switch to glue sticks. Gabe soon joins in and a project is going on.

12:00 PM ~ I realize I should be making lunch but no one seems to notice, no one wants to stop, and the table is a wreck.

What to do? It’s still nice out. Back porch for lunch it is.  But before I can start prep, Luc asks me to read to him. It’s the Santa book and in it he is kissed by Mrs. Claus and Luc wants to know why the kiss is on his cheek. So we divert into a discussion on painted lips and I model with my lipstick. The kids are fascinated and running around with lips on their cheeks. Lily puts some on and kisses her grocery list. I finally shoo them outside and get lunch ready.

1:00 PM ~ Lunch. A half hour behind. Are we even going to get to science today?

1:30 PM ~ I finally sit down to my lunch while kids run outside, completley ignoring the dishes that need brought in. Suddenly Gabe runs in with a cardinal feather he found, ecstatic. He goes to clean it and wants to draw it. Well, I think, that solves what we’ll do for nature study tomorrow.

2:12 PM ~ I shooed the kids downstairs to pick up while I vaccuum upstairs. I can’t stand stepping on another scrap of paper (found three stuck to my feet as I started laundry again). Well, maybe we won’t be too far behind today. The phone rings. It is Pop and he wants to take the older two out to hit golf balls. We must finish science first I insist and quickly scramble to put an experiment in place. Only, because I didn’t get my planning time, I realize I need 24 hours for it to set up. So I vow to set it up tonight to do tomorrow as I let Gabe call Pop back and they go out for some physical education.

2:30ish PM ~ I start this blog entry while the littles are playing and happily chewing the gum Pop gave them. I try not to feel guilty that we missed science. I figure their earlier project covered art.

3:15 PM ~ Luc and Lilah come up for a snuggle. Ivy sits on my lap and scribbles on paper. I break from blogging. As I put Ivy down I realize that Lilah is on my kitchen counter and has spread green food coloring everywhere.  I redirect and Luc wants the Curious George Audio CD.

3:30 PM ~ I sit down to finish my post and the older two come home. I chat with Father-in-law about rusty golf games and the tournament this Saturday.

3:51 PM ~ Gabe comes to me with Explorotopia book and finds an experiment about cleaning with vinegar and salt. I break again and get him his supplies. Lily comes to help. I guess we did science after all.

Our Favorite Science Book!!!

4:00 PM ~ Start my posting again.

4:09 PM ~ Lily wants to finish reading the Molly’s World book. We have discussions on WWII and American Girl Dolls. She wants to know if Molly or Addy is real. We discuss fiction versus non-fiction and fiction using historical facts. She gets out her American Doll magazine and pours over her birthday decision. Break and talk with her while reading a Bob book to Lilah two times.

4:22 PM ~ Start rice in rice cooker for casserole. Nurse baby while finishing this post.

5:00 PM ~ Baby finally asleep and I head off to make dinner and switch over laundry.

And, of course, that doesn’t even begin to count all the interruptions for diaper changes, disciplining, bathroom breaks, and the zillion questions that interrupt our activities. At least I know tomorrow is a new day!

Feeding the Soul

holy experience

Whenever I am in the middle of making tough life decisions, it is easy to get bogged down in my own thoughts and have no clear direction on where the Lord wants to take me. I find during these moments that I tend to plead in prayer for anything to soothe that anxious spirit I have. That has been my life this week. And the Lord answered faithfully yesterday. Not with a solution to my problem, but with a soothing of my soula breaka rest in Him. And oh how I rested and breathed deep and drank Him in.

It came not in a verse from His word, nor from an encouraging word from friend or article, but merely from a change in weather. Hot and humid is the calling card for weather in August for Nebraska. But yesterday a cold front moved through and, even though I knew it was coming, I was not prepared for the overwhelming wash of refreshment it gave me.

Here I was cooking dinner (a rotisserie chicken) and decided to open the windows as the kids were finally done picking up the basement and wanted to go outside to play as promised. As my house opened up this wave of clean air came rolling through. It is a smell I can’t even begin to describe in words because there are none that would do it justice. But as it rolled through the house mingling with the smell of roasting chicken, my anxiousness dissipated. My heart rejoiced and all I could do was mutter, “Thank you, thank you, thank you…” over and over under my breath as I peeled potatoes.

I could hear the children outside playing with their daddy.

Imaginations churning as nature flourished all around.

I looked around to a picked up house with no dishes in the sink.

With a fresh pile of living books from the library just begging to be poured over.

I smelled dinner being prepared for a table where we could break bread together.

I walked outside to look over the garden (sorely underattended due to the hot weather and I not wanting to partake in it) and found broccoli finally sprouting despite this little moth’s  propensity on destroying it.

We found an extra pumpkin hidden among the leaves.

Apples are hanging heavy on the branches beckoning thoughts of apple butter and applesauce to come.

Ivy had discovered the neighbor girl and the first inklings on how to comunicate and make friends.

I felt a kick and looked down to realize that new life is almost here…and that I couldn’t see my feet anymore!

I walked to the house seeing the first real spider web built as an ode to fall coming soon sang out through the sun’s reflection, which also reminded me to feel blessed that we had the money to spray the inside of our house this fall.

And I walked back in the kitchen through a mud-covered patio door knowing the kids would need a quick dunk before dinner and not even minding.

After our delicious meal we were able to walk together to the park and come home to daddy making popcorn balls (oh man, what a treat!) and shakes.

We slept with the windows opened and I fell asleep inspired to wash the sheets the next day.

I awoke to a cool house, littles wanting to snuggle.

We watched the school bus come take the other kids away as we snuggled in P.J.’s, Lily still asleep, me slowly contemplating what to make for breakfast and feeling so blessed to lead the life we do.

We enjoyed hot sweet biscuits with homemade strawberry jam and eggs and leisurely started school at 10 AM with time for a play-outside break for the kids before lunch and a little time to actually write here (precious of late) to spread my joy and enjoy my first cup of coffee for the day.

And enjoyed our first picnic lunch outside in over three months!

And, again, all I could utter was, “thank you, thank you, thank you…” over and over to my Lord and Saviour who knew exactly, to the uttermost detail what the longing of my heart was and, as my loving Father, took care of that need.

So today I urge you all, rest in Him. Let Him find your joy spot.  It may not answer a problem you are going through but it will surely bring you peace and a light yoke for the day!

Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Matthew 7: 9, 11

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Matthew 11: 28-30

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Awarding Versatility

I wanted to take the time this morning to acknowledge a blog award given to me by Heather at Cultivated Lives. It is such an honor to have others recognize value in your work. Thank you, Heather!!!

And, with this award come a few rules.

Rule Number 1: Thank the one’s who gave you the gift.  Thank you, Heather! You have blessed me with your blog as much as I have blessed you! Keep up the fantastic sharing!

Rule Number 2: Share seven random things about yourself.

  • My favorite coffee (and the only I ever buy) is Starbuck’s Cafe Verona…mmm…velvety smoothness!
  • Being seventh months pregnant has got my stomach itching like crazy but I still marvel at the life I can literally feel moving inside me.
  • I enjoy sitting for hours reading kids books (fiction and non-fiction) as part of research.
  • I always have to sleep with socks on, even in the middle of summer!
  • I am the oldest of six girls and tend to be the bossiest.
  • I am dual-natured – a control freak who tends towards chaos and spontaneity, a planner who can never stick to a plan and likes to unschool. You see the paradox? Oh…and I like to organize bookshelves.
  • My walls are a soft yellow buttercream and they make me extremely happy.

Rule Number 3: Pass the award to 15 bloggers. (Wish I could award you again, Heather!)

  1. Ann over at A Holy Experience, whose wise words often convict me as well as bring peace and soothing to my soul.
  2. Angela at Three Plus Two who I feel a huge camaraderie with on balancing daily life of lots of kids with the vocation to homeschool and share a faith.
  3. Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight whose organizational and planning details are always beautiful and inspiring.
  4. Elizabeth at In the Heart of My Home who is always honest and kind and has much wisdom to pass down from being blessed with nine children!
  5. And to her Real Learning the Charlotte Mason way blog: Serendipity, full of amazing ideas and booklists.
  6. I don’t know if this is allowed since Heather already nominated, but I still have to nod off to Lori at Camp Creek Blog whose words have made me really think about how I want to educate my children.
  7. To Jen’s Wildflowers and Marbles who is always offering encouragement at the 4RealLearning Forum and inspiring me with her educational plans.
  8. Linda Fay’s blog on how-to Charlotte Mason style.
  9. My Montessori Journey for great plans to engage the little ones.
  10. Tracey’s blog on slow reading and deep thinking.
  11. Barb’s Harmony Art Mom for incorporating CM style art into your life and…
  12. Barb’s Handbook of Nature Study for practical use in using Anna Comstock’s book, Handbook of Nature Study.
  13. The LAF blog for promoting beautiful values of Christian womanhood.
  14. Mathwire blog for a treasure trove of hands-on ideas.
  15. Heart of the Matter for a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Thank you ladies for sharing your passions, vocations, and knowledge with the rest of us!

Now, to the rest of you out there, grab a cup of coffee or tea and sit down this afternoon for some cozy browsing of other’s work. Let it inspire you anew this weekend.

Celebrating 15 Years!!!

Oh how the time has flown. Fifteen years ago today we tied the knot, promised each other forever and embarked on our life adventure. To celebrate, let’s take a walk down memory lane!

A little mood music, if you please…


1993 – 1994

Heading off to college.

Making friends.

Dorm Room Dating

Love Fest

Dorm phone calls before the invention of cell phones.

The infamous "Cats" date.

Engaged at last!

A Secret Spring Break!


August 19, 1995

Getting ready.


Our Ceremony

The Best Friend and the Toast


Started 1999 and still going strong.

Sutter Home Winery Contest

Reading recipes together.

My Executive Chef!

Building from scratch.

Sharing the Passion

Future Chef Luc


December 5, 2001 – ???? (only God knows!!!)

Gabriel Alexander Payson

Becoming a Father!

Lilith Rhiannon Payson

Reassuring the first child.

Like Father, Like Daughter

Lucius Malachi Payson

A Growing Family

Delilah Jane Payson

Playing with Dad.

Playing with Mom.


Ivy Abigail Payson

A Doting Daddy

Our Growing Brood!

Baby #6 in utero.


My heart still beats for you!