Behind-the-Scenes of 7 People in 7 Days (Part 1)

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This is the true story … of seven people … living in one house with one car … working together and having their lives blogged about … to find out what happens … when two adults, five kids and a dog start getting real.

I share this not only to offer you, dear reader, some helpful commentary on how you might better navigate a busy schedule, but to also provide a glimpse behind the scenes for folks who ask “How do you guys do it?” As you’ll see, it’s not always pretty, and it’s almost never easy. Of course, I couldn’t document every detail because, while they’d probably provide many more laughs, I was, in fact, doing other stuff. Go figure.

So, here it is – the good, the bad and the utterly ridiculous:

Sunday

7:07 a.m.: Ahhhhh…sleeping in is lovely. I tiptoe out to the kitchen to stealthily get breakfast started. My introvert self struggles with the morning assault of the breakfast hustle, bustle and nonsense noise so I’d love to get a few minutes of quiet time before I get ambushed. I’ll just stand here soaking in all of the peace.

7:08: Maddox busts open his bedroom door, stomps his way down the hallway and sidles up to me for a morning hug. It was a glorious 60 seconds of silence.

Must make coffee. Everyone else wakes up within minutes, and it’s a “hit-the-ground-running” start. We are toasting waffles, complaining that the eggs are too runny, asking for water cups, slicing bananas “all by myself” with a machete-like knife, spilling yogurt, asking what’s for dinner, asking if tooth fairies are real and if they like butter on their waffles, wondering how many days until the next birthday and so on and so on. For forever.

11:00: Arrive home from church and prepare for Family Meeting. Isaiah cues Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” and we all head to the table for our weekly sesh. The meeting intro song is a new addition that the kids think is hilarious so we roll with it. I have to admit it’s pretty funny.

Family Meeting was kind of a bust today. Bellamy was off the chain – trying to color on people’s faces and being overall disruptive and ridiculous. We pushed through the meat of the meeting, but we didn’t spend time on a big question. We DID play family football, during which Josh sustained day-long hearing loss due to a crushing blow from Isaiah’s knee. He’s fine now. No harm, no foul.

12:00: Lunch. Gah. Didn’t I JUST clean up from breakfast? Oh, wait. I didn’t clean up from breakfast yet. Josh takes over lunch so I can finalize our meal plan and shopping lists.

4:24: I start dinner prep while Josh takes all of the kids to the park to shoot hoops. The six crazy people dribbling all over the place yelling, “Ball don’t lie!” and “Buckets!”? Yep, those are my people.  

5:32: Dinner is over, and it’s only 5:30! We’ve been doing early Sunday dinners to set a more relaxed tone for the week. After dinner, it’s time for our family contributions, which consist of jobs the kids rotate through each week. The kids do have optional weekly jobs that they get paid for, but the contributions are daily chores we do simply because we live in this house together.

Chores - Family Organization

6:30: We take a look at the lunch menu, and behold: all of the older kids want to buy hot lunch tomorrow. Thank you, Nachos. Finally, it’s showers/baths, complete our evening checklists (brush teeth, wash face, tidy up rooms, pick out clothes for tomorrow, etc.) and read books.

7:45: Kids in bed early; cue Friday Night Lights. We are late to the game on this one, but we’re all “clear eyes, full hearts” now. Someone please tell me Tim and Lyla get together soon. Wait. Don’t tell me. What about Landry and Tyra? They get back together, right? Matt and Julie?! Someone tell me! (Just kidding. Don’t. Gah!)

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9:00: Bed! I know…so early. But, we are reading before bed so it’s not like we’re asleep yet. I am re-re-reading East of Eden and it’s JUST SO GOOD. Still. Josh is reading Love in the Time Cholera. We like to keep it light.

Monday

5:45: I’m up before my alarm and crawl out of bed. I obviously head straight for the coffee that my hubby brews before he leaves for FitWit at 5:30. He doesn’t even have time to drink any before he leaves, and this is how I know he loves me. This will be the only time all day that I have quiet time. I read from my daily devotional, check the weather, check emails. I’m ready for you, week.

Pancakes - Family Organization6:03 – 6:42: Make one million pancakes (we have a pancakes on M/W, eggs on T/TH and “free choice” Friday breakfast schedule that has helped tremendously with our mornings starting out more calm and orderly). Killer sweet potato pancake recipe here.

 

6:45: Wake up the three oldest kids and pray with every ounce of my being that the younger two sleep until 8:15. It won’t likely happen, but I get the big kids moving through breakfast and getting ready for school; pack backpacks; do Cam’s hair; dole out vitamins making sure Cam gets a purple one and Ty gets a lion; wave from the porch as my kids join the neighborhood walking school bus – or scooting school bus as we would have it this week.

Back inside for breakfast #2 with the two littlest.

 

7:42: Clean up from breakfast; cut 14 pieces of string for Maddox (no idea what he’s doing); get Bellamy dressed and change her shirt twice because heaven forbid it has one droplet of water on it; explain that it’s not snack time yet three times; explain our plan for the day twice; give Bellamy a wipe for her “kicky hands”; give Bellamy a wipe for her baby; cut two windows in a cardboard box house; put on Ready, Jet, Go! for the kids so I can wash my face AND brush my teeth in one fell swoop. HOW IS IT NOT EVEN 8AM?

10:12: Costco and Farmer’s Market with Bellamy and Maddox for all of the food; get a text from a friend that she has a ticket to see one of my favorite bloggers/authors speak tonight; work through anxiety over “last minute” plans and decide to go. I’m totally living on the edge right now. Might as well get a tattoo before school pick up. Instead, I warm up my coffee and put the groceries away. – sad trombone –

Costco
(Pay no attention to toddler-sized bags of Pirate Booty. When we veer from our mostly clean diet, we like to think a little Booty can’t hurt).

 

1:45: Josh comes home and I go for a run and pick up kids from school; they’re on scooters today and they are way faster than I expected so I look extra awesome fast walking with backpacks and water bottles, yelling “don’t forget to stop at the intersection!”. Arrive at home where my my cold coffee is just the right temperature because dang, it got hot outside.

School - Family Organization

3:42: Deep into the homework hour here at Guerrieri Study Tables.

Homework - Family Organization

Josh is working from home, so he checks Isaiah’s homework and listens to Ty read his just-right book. I’m trying to keep it quiet for timed multiplication facts and spelling practice, which is not an easy task. Bellamy is all up in everyone’s business, and Maddox is continuously dribbling the basketball. Tyler finishes his handwriting practice and reading and is also now dribbling. Two people dribbling. Bellamy has said the word, “mama” 539 times today. At least. She’s also eaten just as many snacks.

I hit a fatigue wall that I just have to sadly climb up and slump over because Cam has to make a weather vane using only things she can’t reach or cut herself. No rest for the weary, I tell you.

5:00: Dinner prep. Ah, my favorite part of the day. SAID NO MOM EVER. The weather is amazing so I’ve sent the kids outside, but this just means our back door becomes a revolving door. With five kids, someone is always in need of a water bottle, a band aid, the bicycle pump, duct tape, binoculars, one shoe, a baby carrot, hand washing, etc. So, they’re in and out a lot, which is driving me bonkers. Reminder to self to start locking the door.

Tonight’s dinner is pulled barbecue chicken from the Against All Grain cookbook, french fries and roasted broccoli. I have an irrational fear of the grill – like it’s only a matter of time before I burn my face off so once I’ve got the bbq sauce made, I throw it on some chicken thighs and hand over all grilling responsibility to Josh.

We’ve been rocking a new broccoli recipe which actually has the kids eating it. Seriously, Cam eats her weight in this stuff. And it’s SO easy. I just toss florets with grapeseed oil, garlic, salt and lemon juice and roast it in the oven at the same time the fries are baking.

6:30: Venture off to see Glennon Doyle Melton speak; leave feeling ready to conquer the world. She obviously loved me so much, she invited me to hang out with her on the way to the parking lot.

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See? We definitely connected.

9:47: Debrief Josh on every single word Glennon said, which he loves. Go to bed. (Josh and the kids have made all 5 lunches for the next day. Dare I ask what’s in there? Nope.)

Tuesday

5:43: Time to make the donuts. I mean eggs.

7:50: Ride my bike to the gym where I teach a TRX class. Josh has taken Maddox and Bellamy to preschool so I stay at the gym to squeeze in this great, quick, full-body workout:

  • Eight burpees every minute on the minute for 10 minutes
  • Full (8) Tabata rounds of TRX single-leg suspended lunges for each leg
  • TRX Tabata abs circuit: plank, crunch, side hip touches, plank, crunch, side hip touches, plank crunch
  • Handstand practice
  • Listen to this playlist

TRX - Family Organization

My TRX class peeps are the JAM.

10:05: After my workout, I head home to wash sheets and towels. I go through my Tuesday email folder and also get a little writing done.

12:00: One of the perks of owning a gym is that you get to try out cool stuff on a random Tuesday, and today Josh and I got to give Cryotherapy and Recovery Boots a spin. I’m still so cold I can’t formulate thoughts. The cryo chamber speeds up muscle recovery time, but I’m not sure I get can get down with three minutes in a -110* chamber on a regular basis. I’m sure people cooler than me will be all about this. (See what I did there?)

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-110 degrees? Piece of c-c-c-c-a-a-a-a-k-k-k-k-e.

 

can for sure get down with the Recovery Boots. Thirty minutes of compression on a soft chaise lounge = heaven. These snazzy boots are now on my Amazon wish list now and I fully expect them for mother’s day. You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy recovery boots and that’s the same. Thanks Athletes’ Potential!

 

1:08: Pick up Maddox and Bellamy from preschool and commence the “rules for chewing gum” speech with Bellamy; sing raucous rounds of “wheels on the bus”; pick up the elementary kids; remind children that snacks are not meant to be full meals.

Snacks have been a little tricky this year because Isaiah eats lunch at 10:50, which leaves him ravenous by 3:00 p.m. I try for snacks that include healthy fats and proteins that will satiate until dinner. When I’m having a great week, some of my favorite snack recipes come from the Super Paleo Snacks cookbook, but sometimes it’s Pirate Booty for all. It’s called “balance.”

3:30: Homework starts early today because the older kids have FitWit Kids at 4:30 and I have a meeting at the school.

This is such a hard part of the day for me. I’m always exhausted by 3:00, and looking ahead through homework, dinner and bedtime doesn’t give me much hope. I wish I had a secret for powering through – like a healthy smoothie or shot of lemon juice and cayenne – but nothing has worked for me. Today, I snap at Maddox because he’s asked what’s for dinner 100 times and has cut all of our existing copy paper into millions of tiny shreds; and I tell Isaiah that if he continues to sing the “burrito” song from Spanish class, I may ask him to move out. I’ve also said the word “no” to Bellamy so often that I’m even sick of it. Not exactly the positive parent I want to be. 

Some afternoons are better than others. Today, not so great. I kind of hurry everyone through finishing the tasks on hand so we can get out the door and restart. 

6:55: Josh is drinking scotch while reading “Chronicles of Narnia” to Isaiah, I read “Pout Pout Fish” and “Dear Zoo” to Bellamy, and Cam, Ty and Maddox are reading to each other. I think. I hope. I don’t know…it’s quiet and everyone seems happy.

8:15: Commence bed-time routine. 

Our bedtime routine is pretty uniform every night. We have evening checklists that help the kids move through the things they need to do to get ready for bed and for the next day. After a nice, calm activity like dancing or wrestling, the kids get on their way with individual checklists. The older kids are assigned a younger kid to help so things actually are getting done. Sometimes, this actually works. 🙂 

The final pre-bed check is to make sure everyone has gone to the bathroom and has gotten one last sip of water. Everyone but Bellamy seems to understand (and value) that once you’re in bed, you’re in bed. For the night. Until the morning. Bellamy is enjoying the exploration of boundaries by coming out of her room every four to six minutes. Mostly, we limit our engagement and walk her back to her bed (DO NOT look her in the eye).

8:28: Make lunches. Five of them. FIVE LUNCHES. 

Lunches - Family Organization
Including homemade gummies with protein-rich gelatin. (Recipe in the Super Paleo Snacks cookbook.)

 

Check back tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion. Can we make it to Saturday without sustaining any injuries? How many more lunches will we make? Is it possible for the house to ever be clean again? (Ha. Good one.), How early do Friday cocktails commence? All answers will be revealed . . .

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