It certainly has been a hectic month for our family, so many new things have been going on this past month. Gavin is in his first year of high school, the girls have returned to another elementary school year, and I have started another two year program at College. Our school year schedule is hectic to say the least!
Sort Of Ready
I am the worse person when it comes to starting off anything with a well organized game plan, I will full on admit that I am a chaotic crazy lady when it comes to starting a new school year. I always have great plans to be well-prepared and organized, I begin planning a month in advance, but the week school begins it feels like all of my planning flies out the window and we find ourselves in a chaotic, and disorganized mess!
After being in College myself for the past two years, one would think I would be well-prepared and organized by now right?! I would love to tell you that this year was a successful well executed beginning, however it was not. Although I will say it was MUCH smoother than in years past! I mean we all got out the door on time, and survived our first day back to school. I did manage to plan ahead, have lunch menus prepped, clothing laid out, camera ready for pics, and have everyone on time for bus pick up. My home and sanity took a beating though, as did my work schedule.
Getting On Track
After the first week back to school and figuring out every ones schedules, routines, needs and destinations we have managed to slowly get back on track. It has been no easy task, setting a few nightly routines, planning ahead, and the help of a whiteboard have made things much easier.
The first think we did was to clear off the whiteboard, we tend to doodle and leave notes for each other all day long. Over the summer the whiteboard seen it’s fair share of art work, love notes, and reminders. It was time to wipe it clean and get every ones chore list and reminders back up. Every member of the household has chores listed beside their names, and the chores can not be erased until the job has been completed and in some cases inspected for accuracy of completion. The girls like to half attempt their chores, and run off to play or watch some TV before dinner. With everyone having a chore to complete it helps ensure our home stays a little bit more organized and tidy.
Having a whiteboard like this one hung up in a very visible and high traffic area helps our family stay on track.
The next big challenge for our family is having meals that are quick, healthy, and easily prepared in a short amount of time. Especially with me being in school, most days I am coming home and working on projects that are due, working, or cleaning the home, I try to keep it from looking like a haunted Halloween house. Seriously you guys, spider webs and dust everywhere!
Breakfast is usually quick meals that the kids can prepare for themselves while I attempt to look alive and have a cup of coffee. I am so not a morning person! I need at least fifteen minutes to realize that the sun is in fact up, and that I am somehow awake and not curled up in a warm bed.
Easy breakfast for my kids, who are aged 14, 9, and 8 are things like cereal, toast, home made instant oatmeal and sometimes yogurt with fruit.
Lunches must be packed pretty quickly and easily as well, we keep a lot of snacks food stocked up so that it’s a simple case of going down to the storage shelf and collecting the days snacks. I always toss in fresh fruit, granola bars, goldfish crackers, motts gummies, cheese, juice box, water bottle and often times pepperoni sticks or rolled up lunch meat. We keep a variety of snacks stocked up and ready to go, shopping at places like Costco and The Super Center ensure we have plenty for a reasonable price.
Next up is dinner, which can be a big challenge if we don’t plan ahead, Kevan is the king of dinner prep! He loves to make big batches of food that can easily be stored in the fridge and freezer. Often times all we need to do is defrost, and reheat meals. Having an instant pot has been a huge help, I never thought I would enjoy owning or using one, but this think has proved me wrong countless times.
Every Sunday we make a meal plan, get the groceries we need, cook the meals in advance if possible and take stock of what we have left for school lunches.
Summer often means no routines and a free for all when it comes to getting ready for bed. We don’t plan our bedtime on the clock in the summer, it depends on what we are up to on any given day. Some nights we are out enjoying a fire, or other times we stay out late and visit with friends and family.
Come back to school we try to have the girls showered, clothing laid out, and in bed for story by 8:30pm.
This year the girls have been given the task of ensuring they have their outfits picked out for the next day, as well as have their dirty laundry in a hamper ready to be washed. They also must have their backpacks ready to go, which means all homework and notes to teachers are pack and ready to go.
Once the girls are in bed Kevan and I usually do a quick kitchen tidy up and a load or two of laundry before we settle in and unwind. I can not express how annoying it is to attempt to get everyone ready in the morning when last nights dishes are still sitting in the sink, or the laundry has not been washed and folded yet.
A little bit of extra prep work the night before can seem like yet another exhausting task to complete when you are already tired and just want to crawl into bed. Trust me I know! I would much rather be sitting down knitting, painting or reading a book as soon as the kids are asleep. However waking up and having everything run smoothly in our morning rush is far more enjoyable and relaxing than attempting to complete extra jobs before heading out the door.
It Takes Time
The best tip I can offer anyone hoping to get organized and into a routine is to realize and accept that it is not going to happen overnight. Give your self some time to absorb the shock of new schedules, routines, needs and wants of your family and do not fret over the chaos. The dust and spider webs will wait, and be back again as soon as you clean them, so quit stressing out over it.
It has taken our family just a little over two weeks to get back on track and find our routine, and we are still working out kinks and tweaking things to suit our needs. It’s a journey, enjoy it, take some much-needed down time as well, nothing will ever get done if you are stressed out, overwhelmed and feeling exhausted.
Enjoy this phase of your life with your kids, before you know it they will be off to College or University, or in my case High School! I still can not get over the fact that Gavin is 14 and in his first year of High School, I remember his very first day of school like it was just yesterday.
If your house looks like someone let loose a pack of wild boars, don’t sweat it, you’re not alone, also don’t be afraid to ask or expect help from the family. They helped make the mess, they certainly can help clean it. What ever you do, be sure to have fun and enjoy these times, our babies are growing way too fast.
If you have any suggestions and tips I would love to hear about them, drop a comment in the comment section!