I wake for the day and get ready for the day. Despite my feeling of accomplishment at getting from my bed to the car in 12 minutes one morning this summer, I try to give myself a decent 30 minutes. I get ready for work, make some tea, and uncover the bird cage. It's earlier than they are used to getting up (although they are on the way to getting used to it), and I'm almost positive they glare at me. Mango at least is definitely still too sleepy to take his customary waking up stretch, lol. Daddy leaves at about the same time, but other than that, the house is very quiet.
I arrive at the school at 7 to help with early drop off. I worked allllll the younger grades as a sub last year, and I knew all the kids from preschool-3rd grade well, but working in just two set grades this year, and with all the new arrivals, has me a little lost on who's even attending this year. I'm enjoying this chance to be a little invested in some of the younger kids lives again, even if it's just to tell them hello each morning. The first and second graders remember me well from last spring, though, and I love their big hugs and little inside jokes!
When school opens, I quickly switch gears. I am working as a paraprofessional with the older brothers of the little girl I have taken care of, this year. It's been a major change, going from working as a sub in the younger grades to full time in the high school room. But I am enjoying it as well! And I still see Little Girl frequently, as I eat lunch at her table every day, and have her during an afternoon each week. We both missed each other the first couple weeks, being able to see each other in the halls but not actually spend the day together, so it's nice to have that time together :).
School gets out at 3, and today I head straight home. The "little" guys (who are actually getting quite big) are just going down for their afternoon rest, and so I sit down to read a chapter of our book together. We have been reading "The Mysterious Benedict Society" series for a longgggg time now, haha. But we are finally on the last book, and we've loved every minute of it! I sit down for a bit to answer some emails and clean out my inbox.
Daddy is able to come home early afternoon today; that almost never happens. His store is so understaffed, it's terrible. He's working open to close 6 or 7 days a week, and I have no idea how he is still going. He and Andrew work on fixing a mower, while Mama and I make dinner together, and I also pack work lunches for the next day. It's been a long time since we've been able to have a family meal, so that is a treat!
The rest of the evening is spent cleaning up the house, taking care of the pets, and doing my devotions. I was completely planning on reading a bit before I went to bed, but by 10 o'clock, I literally can't keep my eyes open any longer, and I take a nap before we do family devotions, haha. Then everyone is off to bed.
Up at 6:20 again, and I pull out just behind Daddy. Tori is subbing for the little girl I take care of, this year, since I can't, and she ends up getting a call to come in; so I help with early care until we get a few more teachers in, and then I duck out early to run home and pick Tori up before school starts. The school is only about eight minutes down the road. Living in the middle of nowhere is hard for Daddy, but because I rarely have to do anything that isn't also in the middle of nowhere out here, it's nice for me. If I have to drive these roads so frequently, at least they are pretty - I can't wait for the fall colors to come in! Plus, there is a cattle farm on our road that has calves right now, and they were chasing each other like little puppies the other day, it was so cute.
It's a busy day at school today. Our morning is fairly normal; testing, studying, lunch. One of the teachers and I finally set up my own office last week, and this is the first time the boys and I get to use it for our study hall; we enjoy it so much more then settling down in the "quietest corner" we can find, which has been anywhere from the cafeteria to a closet! This afternoon, I have Little Girl, so Tori takes over with the boys. The younger grades are going to the apple orchards tomorrow, so they do a unit study on apples for science, then I have to take Little Girl home early for her therapy appointment. Since Tori has the boys and I'm staying to take her home, I take this afternoon to get the high school English tests typed up for next week.
Tori and I head home and compare notes on our day, and I pick up Abbi and Emmi to go run some errands. I need another key to my van, but the process is going to take almost an hour, so I scheduled an appointment for next week, because I didn't get into town early enough for that, I wasn't expecting it to be such an operation. We do the weekly grocery shopping, and the girls pick out some sour patch kids as their outing treat, "in honor of Aunt Tessa", who introduced them to this candy a couple years ago, which we enjoy on the way home while listening to Andrew Peterson's "After All These Years", because apparently his music is what the girls look forward to being played in my car, haha.
Many hands make light work of putting the groceries away, and I hang some valances in my bedroom before dinner. Afterwards, everyone gets their evening chores done, and the little guys come sit on my bed to watch a show and drink some tea while we wait for Daddy to get home. I also do my devotions. I have learned that the "perfect devotions" - early in the morning, with unbroken focus, for an hour or more at a time - are impossible at this point in my life. If I were to get up at 5:30 in the morning, I would both barely be able to stay awake, and worry the whole time about watching the clock so I wouldn't be late for work. So I have decided to move my devotions to the evening while everyone gets their showers, when I can usually get 40 minutes where I can truly concentrate. I work on a writing project until family devotions, and then call it a day!
Another running morning; early care at school, home for Tori, back to school to assist in the high school. I might have eaten a couple cookies for breakfast as I ran out the door, haha. Little Girl's field trip was today, and Tori took her; she was SO excited to show me her apples before she went home. There's a big test today, a zoom class that we had issues working through because technology is not all it's cracked up to be, and some catch up work to do during the afternoon, but all in all, it's a good day for everyone!
The "little girls" (literally the age Tori and I were when we became "the big girls" of the family, so weird to think of) made some brownies this morning, and we older ones sit down to watch a movie with brownie sundaes when Tori and I get home, but I've been really bad at watching movies the past few weeks. I worked on this blog post a bit, and made a birthday card for my friend's little boy while I listened rather than watched. The rest of the afternoon was spent doing little to-dos that I didn't want to put off and forget; adding addresses to my address book that I'm constantly having to look up, watering the porch plants, depositing a check, and things like that, then getting most of my evening chores done ahead of time, because after dinner I was planning a phone call.
I also sat down to do my devotions a bit earlier than usual. Most of my family is taking part in the Christ Church Bible Reading Challenge again this year, and I'm grateful for the encouragement to keep reading the Word. I almost didn't join this year, thinking I'd do a slower plan that I'd be "less likely to fall behind" in, but I knew without the accountability, it would be too easy to go days without sitting down and dwelling on truth, and I know I need that, especially when I am busy! I read the day's chapters, and a few pages from "Piercing Heaven", a prayer book that I have greatly enjoyed so far! I also read a chapter in the book that the kids are reading in english class at the school, because I missed a chapter when I switched with Tori yesterday, and it's kind of hard to direct assignments when I don't even know what's going on, lol. Philip speeds around the bedroom terrorizing everything in his path while I read, but then he has to be so ridiculously cute when I scold him, that it makes for quite a bit of distraction ;).
My aunt and I chatted for almost an hour, and it was so nice! Since I'm working early care now, our schedules have not been matching up like they used to, and so it's been harder to plan to talk. A couple last minute to-dos + family read aloud/devotions time, and then I tuck the younger kiddos in bed.
I'll be honest, I think I was on auto-pilot getting ready for work this morning. I slept to my last alarm, somehow got out the door without being terribly rushed, but I wasn't awake enough to make time-saving decisions, so I'm not sure how. I made it out of the house with tea, remember to mail a card, and only forget one item, in my van, not at the house. so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. The mornings are just starting to get chilly, and the afternoons are definitely not - when even I can't wear a jacket the *whole* day, and so I have to make the decision whether to freeze for a couple hours, or carry a useless jacket half the day, lol. I'm kind of glad that I don't have to pick up Tori today, not because it's hard, but just because I'm fairly certain that I would have forgotten to watch the clock this morning. Instead, when my door duty is taken over, I run down to the preschool room and hang out with the kiddos for a bit, my favorite part of this bonus job.
It's an easy day today. No tests, and only a half day. One of the boys has a zoom appointment, and the other has a self-directed assignment to work on, so I use that time to make a biology terms vocab sheet. This afternoon, we take a field trip to the apple orchard. It was a nice little place, a family-like business run by believers, and I think it would be fun to go as a family at some point if we get the chance! I've heard Carter's Mountain is good, too... we'll have to see what we can do - if we ever all have a day off at once, lol. I bring home some apples for the fun of it, including a tiny one just for the fun of seeing what Isaac will do when I hand it to him.
I grab a snack and read a chapter to the boys, and then I try to get some things done that I've been meaning to get to for weeks. I call my Granny, and we have a quick chat, and then I try to start the work of getting back into my employment account. I fix one issue and discover another, so I'll have to call again next week. They updated the website a couple months ago, and nobody is happy with the bugs the update has resulted in...
I usually clean the animal habitats on Thursday, but I spent a little too much time with the birds today, and will have to help Abbi with her frog tank later in the week. It's been a year to the day since I brought Mango home, so I wanted to spoil them a bit, ya know? But after cleaning the cage, rearranging/swapping out some of the toys, and taking way longer than expected to put together a puzzle treat feeder I bought them that ended up being much bigger than expected - they were terrified of the puzzle feeder. They got the treat irregardless, because thankfully I had a cheap, boring treat holder on hand, too, but I was mildly disgusted with how worthless that turned out to be.
Dinner, clean up, and showers are in order for everyone. The littlest guys and I snuggle in my bed for a little bit and read some board books, and then devotions end out the day!
Rejoicing in Christ,