Sunday, June 1

More Hours in my Day

To say the last four weeks have flown by would be a huge understatement. I feel like most days are sucked away so quickly with such little accomplishment to be shown on my part. We're still eating cold cereal for breakfast half of the time and, as un-gourmet as the frozen meals I put up before Chase's birth are, they have been a lifesaver.
Yesterday I stood beside the dryer with a pile of clean clothing up to my hips and just laughed. "How would this be for an interesting blog photo?" I asked Sean. But I'll spare you that.
The fact of the matter is that I am spending literally hours a day feeding Chase. He is the sweetest, slowest nurser that we've ever had and since he has been slow too at gaining weight, it is even more important that I feed him as much as possible.
I've been reading Emilie Barnes More Hours in My Day. Having read some of her writing before, I am extra-appreciating this book. In this sometimes overwhelming season of newborn and toddler and preschooler and having a household of children all under age eight, I am needing to squeeze every free minute out of my day.
In an attempt to be a better steward of my time, and beginning to understand my responsibility before God on the matter, I've been trying to be more conscious of how my time is spent.
Simplifying in every area has been a necessity for now. Meals are simpler and prepared earlier in the day or begun the night before. Laundry is being put on a diet as I begun clearing out dressers and closets and paring down the amount of clothing the kids have access to. I have a theory that if one certain blond boy around here will wear as many outfits as possible on any given day. He changes outfits as he plays; one moment a pirate, another a forest ranger, and the next a cowboy.
How many things can you do while sitting for the major part of an hour? I'm slowly remembering. Chase and I read with one small Eleanora snuggled beside us, I knit, type with one hand, make endless to-do lists, pray and read, think about paint colors, mentally view the contents of fridge and freezer, and find myself being content with sitting and resting and letting Chase grow and thrive.
My grandmother asked if I'd been to the grocery store with all five and when I told her how we get stopped and watched, she thought it was just great. We plan outings around feedings. It's pretty much guaranteed that just as we arrive at the library, Chase will be hungry, and so, he and I settle into a large comfy lounge chair as the other little lovelies play and look at books. We nurse before our weekly weigh in appointments at the pediatrician and then in the van again afterward before driving home.
The kids are all very compliant and tolerant of Chase's need to feed. We sing and be silly as he eats. Extra treats in the diaper bag for them make things a little sun-shinier too.
We are all adapting and adjusting to the new ways of family life plus five. Knitting has taken the place of sewing for now and a lot of everyday activities are orchestrated by a Mama sitting with a wee one or running around like a crazy lady in between feedings.
Annaliese is a wonderful help, happily corralling two year old Ella and putting lunches together in a pinch.Andrew helps Papa with the animals and Aiden is a pro at fetching a diaper or binkie or glass of water. We've been so blessed with friends who have brought meals. Sam's brave wife even took the older four one day so that I could blissfully nap. I'm sure that, in addition to their two boys, she was ready for a nap by the time we picked them up.

I (we) are so blessed. Forgive me as I blog less in this season. Give me all your tips for time management/busy house management and I'll be forever grateful!
Guten Nacht,

(First two photos are of a hand made garden fence we passed on a country drive. The others were taken this afternoon at my Dad and Stepmom's home. Every week they supply needy, much loved neighbors with homemade bread and soup. I'm reminded of a line from a Jan Karon novel which simply says, "You give people God.")


Andrea said...

Just keep doing what your doing, Hannah.
You're doing great. :)

Thirdtimemomma said...

I just have to tell you what an encouragement your honesty is. Being in the first trimester of pregnancy #5 myself, feeling sick and feeling aweful for the lack of accomplishment in my home, I can see where the Lord has been dealing with me in the area of simplicity as well. Bless your family and cherish the moments your in. They dont last. :)

Kim said...

I'm with thirdtimemomma on this one, and I'm also glad to see your post regarding this. I'm in the first trimester of #4 and have really been slacking. We've had one illness after the other as well. I will wind up in tears feeling like a failure.

I deciced yesteday to make a list. As easy and silly as it might sound...I decided that I needed to be reminded everyday of the things I HAD to do, and the things that could wait. If I do a few certain things the house will be clean "looking" even if it needs a lot more work.

With food, right now our meals are taking a hit as well. Cassarole's are becoming common, as well as a lot of fruit for snacking so I can make smaller dinners. lol

I don't have a lot of advice, but hang in there. Just wanted you to know you're not alone trying to juggle. :)

Trish said...

Oh man, I only have three and I could really use some simplicity and learning more about "using" my time. Off to be useful *hugs and thanks*

Btw, you are doing beautifully with your time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hannah!

First, congratulations on your new sweetie!

I have a 6 mo. old nursling who is a snacker and a slow nurser, even though he's a bit older than your little guy. I also struggle with trying to get things done, but I realize that these days with him are fleeting and are oh so short. Relax and enjoy these days. He'll be a year old in no time and then you'll be chasing him.

Karen in Ohio

P.S. Please forgive any typos. I'm typing one-handed while holding my little wiggle worm. *smile*

Me said...

Thanks, Andrea! Don't you wish we lived closer?

Third time Mama, I was so exhausted during the first trimester! Really exhausted. Sound asleep by 8pm exhausted! Take it easy on yourself!

Kim, that goes for you too! I'm big on lists too. I like that at the end of a busy day I can look at it and see that I DID accomplish something other than just keeping five kids alive and cared for. Honestly, seeing something as insignificant as "wiping down the counters" crossed off as done just makes my day. Whooppee! I cleaned something today!

Thanks, Trish, for the sweet words!

Karen I know that you are so right about the days flying and Chase running around! Cleaning in the attic the other day I came across a photo of our oldest sound asleep in her Papa's arms. Whew! These years have passed WAY too quickly!


Tonya said...

Funny, I just read this after posting some laundry tips. You may want to check them out. You may find something that could help out : ) I remember being where you are, with 5 children 7 and under. It can be difficult. Funny thing is, my 5th child would nurse forever too LOL A good 45 minutes to an hour each feeding.

Laura said...

I'm so happy you stopped by my blog so that I could turn around and visit you!!! What a lovely post and the photo of your daughter in her apron is PRECIOUS!

I'm constantly working on a simpler life for all of us. I now plan what we will have for breakfast each day and prepare what I can the night before. This has helped me so much. For example last night I got out the griddle, the "french toast bowl", cinnamon, and spatula. I was ready this morning to slice the bread and whisk the eggs. The day before I mixed all of the dry ingredients for baked oatmeal. I put a plate (in place of plastic or foil) on top of the bowl and then just add the wet ingredients in the morning.

Have a beautiful day!