This is it. The final part of this series and my day. If you’ve missed the earlier parts, look to my sidebar under “Tags,” and click on A Day in the Life Series.
Around 7pm, my husband calls all the children to Rosary Time. Now I would love to paint a pretty picture of this. You know, with all the children gleefully running to pray as a peaceful, harmonious family, but that would be a Big Fat Lie.
No, I must be honest. Generally at least one child is grumbling about it all. “NO! I want to play legos!” Or, in a really whiny voice, “Aw, Daaaad, I just sat down to read this book.” Or, even better yet, utter disregard and aloofness–the children ignore us and go on wrestling.
Sigh. But we keep at it. After all, it’s worth it.
In any case, the five older children each lead a decade while I hold the baby and the toddler roams around the room, distracting everyone. (She is really cute and hard not to look at.) And we trust that Mary understands.
After the rosary, the children retire to the basement to pick up their toys and get ready for bed, and my husband and I pray the Office of Compline. (Click HERE for a look at what we use. It’s excellent.) When we’re finished with this, it’s usually around 8pm, and my husband ventures downstairs to give the children blessings.
Now I do not put the children to bed. I’ve been around them all day, and I’m done. When my husband gives them blessings, that’s it. We do not make this a great production. For we’re not about to waste our whole evening cajoling and persuading our children to be quiet and go to bed. Nope. No bedtime stories, no lying in bed with them, no nothing. They’ve been read to and sang to and attended to all day long.
So, they’ve taken it upon themselves to tell nighttime stories and sing songs and all the rest. It’s really quite sweet. And we don’t care if they’re all snuggled up on the Eldest’s bed, listening to her tell a Tall Tale, so long as they don’t come upstairs.
This may sound harsh to some, but it’s what works for us.
My husband and I enjoy this time from about 8pm to 10pm as a time for us to be together. Many nights we enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail and play a game of Gin Rummy or Cribbage. Sometimes we just talk. Sometimes we read aloud to one another. Sometimes we watch a movie.
Life is just too short to not enjoy your spouse. If you’ve been in the habit of staring at your technology and ignoring your spouse, quit it! And find time to be together.
For as the Venerable Fulton Sheen reminds us, “Life is worth living.”
As a homeschooling mother of seven little children, there are are just some things that I don’t need to buy anymore. In fact, I don’t even allow these things in my house, for one reason or another, and it’s not because I’m a Fun-Hater. It’s just because something has to give when one lives in a small house with a lot of children!
List of Banned Items
1. Markers. At the risk of offending Marker-Lovers…here I go. Now markers top this list because they are very destructive and bothersome. Not only do they generally make for bad art, but they ruin any coloring book that my toddler wishes to scribble in. And I’ve got some sweet coloring books. You know, the Dover ones. (Click HERE for the Eldest’s favorite.) And not only are markers destructive, but they are also the least economic form of color, as one must continually buy them because they’re forever losing their lids and going dry. No, I do not buy these anymore. And if any should happen to find their way into my house, I promptly donate them to a second-hand store.
2. Paper Napkins. I got rid of these years ago. I was tired of the extra garbage, so we went with cloth napkins. Color-coordinated too. Every person gets one napkin a day, and they must be color-coordinated because nobody wants to use the boys’ napkins. And lest you think I’m a bit off my rocker, please know that I do keep paper napkins on hand for certain events, like say the birth of a new baby, when I’m dreadfully behind on laundry.
3. Nice Vehicles. We gave up on this one long ago. In fact, we have never had a nice vehicle. But with the birth of Baby #6, we went all out and purchased a used 15-passenger van. We figure, why buy something nice when the children will only spit-up on, wet their pants in, and barf all over it? Well, and who wants a car payment anyway. Besides, we can really haul some stuff around with this big, bad machine. When I cruise around town with my posse in tow and a Catholic radio bumpersticker slapped on my rear, people better slide on over. Watch out Caribou drive-thru. No, this is not daycare. This is a family. (By the way, click HERE for a post on my sweet ride.)
4. Watercolor Paints. Now this one closely resembles Number One. For watercolors are just messy and annoying. Should I have a child that shows true artistic talent, then I will gladly purchase real watercolors, or other paints for that matter. Until then, nope. The children can “watercolor” away at Grandma’s House.
5. Bap Soap. Who wants to scrub soap scum off of anything? Not me.
6. Orange Juice. (Or any other juice.) I just don’t have room in my refrigerator for this one because I have to buy five gallons of milk a week. (Click HERE for a post on my refrigerator problem.) And lest you think we’re milk hogs, I only allow one small glass of milk at breakfast and another at supper, and that’s it. Well, once a week, on Sundays, the children do get cold cereal, and that does drain away a good gallon or more at one sitting. Furthermore, orange juice is expensive, and I’ve got a grocery budget that doesn’t allow for it, because I prefer to have other important things on hand, like Asiago cheese. And wine.
I have one refrigerator. Now this is a problem with a family of 8, almost 9, for I am always running out of room.
The easy solution would be to purchase another refrigerator. But if we did that, we’d have to put the thing in the middle of the living room, because that’s the only space available, and that’s not going to happen.
The only alternative is to be creative. If you find yourself in this same predicament, check out my five tips below.
Five Tips For Saving Space in Your Refrigerator
Pop or Beer?
Now many people enjoy drinking pop. Some like beer. Some do both. We, however, have had to make a choice, for there is only room for one. Priorities must be set, so beer it is. Check out the top shelf in the photo. It’s for beer. And the parmesan cheese. (Ok, ok, occasionally cans of pop make an appearance up there too. A girl’s gotta be able to make Moscow Mules in the summer in order to play pinochle* properly.)
2. Who needs condiments?
While we do have some condiments, as you can see in the photo, we have had to cut back and keep only the essentials. You know, like pickles for the children, jalapeños for the husband, sauerkraut because we’re German, and Greek yogurt and kalamata olives because we’re Greek. (Just kidding. We’re not Greek.)
3. Orange Juice or Milk?
I grew up drinking orange juice every morning, but I really don’t have room for this one because we buy 5 gallons of milk a week. And lest you think we’re Milk Hogs, we only allow one small glass of milk at breakfast and another at supper, and that’s it. Well, once a week, on Sundays, the children do get cold cereal, and that does drain away a good gallon or more at one sitting. Furthermore, orange juice is expensive, and I’ve got a grocery budget that doesn’t allow for it, because we have priorities. Like Wine. And Date Night. (More on those in a future post.)
4. Just eat the leftovers.
Eating the leftovers is a virtuous and sacrificial act, as most leftovers are not appetizing. Who wants to eat yesterday’s scalloped potatoes and hamburger that Mom slopped into a frying pan mixed with gravy and whatever leftover vegetables that might be lingering about? Well, we do. I hate wasting. Unless there’s visible mold, we eat it. (And even then, I just cut the mold off.)
5. Finally, finish that wine off.
When one pops open a bottle of wine, just finish it. There’s no room to be storing such things in the refrigerator. Life’s too short anyway to not enjoy a whole bottle with your husband. And yes, when I’m pregnant, I have no problems drinking a glass, and our children have mostly turned out undamaged and normal. Mostly.
*Pinochle requires alcoholic drinks to play. Why? Because playing pinochle is stressful for it requires a lot of math and complicated bidding. So, in order to make it more tolerable, one must have a drink. Like a Moscow Mule.
My Book Club is reading one of Michael O’Brien’s novels for January – Strangers and Sojourners. It’s excellent, and you should read it too.
Just check out this dialogue below, which happens between a woman named Turid and her husband, Camille. Turid is helping her friend, Anne, give birth, while Camille tramps in and drags off Anne’s husband, to spare him the whole birthing experience.
“Birthin’s fer wimmen!” called back Camille.
“Birthin’s not fer cowards, that’s fer damsure!” she yelled at the back of their heads.
All I can say is, that’s insightful. But why should you read it?
Because it’s a love story. Anne Ashton, an Englishwoman, is teaching in the Bush in Canada and stumbles upon Steve Delaney, an Irishman lying fatally ill in his cabin. She must care for him, or he’ll die. And he hates the English.
This book is about pain and suffering, which we can all relate to. And it’s beautiful because beauty comes from pain and suffering. We need only to look at a crucifix to realize this.
And we can all relate to Turid L. O’Raison too. (She’s the speaker of that above quotation.) Well she might be a hard, crude woman, but she’s capable of making the most profound statements. And she’s funny, and she gets it. Giving birth is certainly not for cowards, as most of us know.
This novel is mostly set in twentieth-century Canada, where it’s even colder and darker than here. Man, do I feel sorry for those Northerners. Just reading about them makes winter here seem like a Tropical Paradise.
And finally, you should read it because it’s edifying. Every time I read one of O’Brien’s novels, I am more human.
Therefore, my suggestion is to get this book, pour yourself a big glass of wine, and if your house is anything like mine, lock yourself in the bathroom, so that you may read away undisturbed by the children. You won’t regret it.