Friday, May 23, 2008

Learning to be spontaneous.

I am by nature a list maker and planner. I love to organize. When I was a preteen I used to take the catalogs and make lists of what I would buy when I got my own home. I would go through my wardrobe and try everything on to see how I could pair things together to make different outfits. I would write down all the combinations and see how long I could go without wearing the same thing twice. I am the weird one who loves to make budgets.

So, it is not by nature that I live with five kids. I can't plan and organize our days and expect everything to go accordingly. Kids just do not work on a plan and there is always things that were unplanned or forgotten that come up. I am learning to just go with the flow and be able to keep some sanity. You know how??? I plan for it! I stock my house with foods that I can pull out and quickly prepare. I have a tote where I can grab coupons to be cut and filed, magazines to read, and other projects and go. I have a pocket calendar that keeps up with our schedule and appointments. I try to keep snacks in the car. I also have learned to say no to outside commitments and only take on small things that do not require a lot of my time. Yes, for this season, I have given up some of me so that I am here most of the time and not busy with other things.

Yesterday, my 11 year old had a friend that spent the night. My graduate had 5 friends over, my 15 year old asked a friend over to spend the night. The 8&10 year old were in and out with neighborhood kids. I asked one of the girls what her mom was doing and told her to call her and tell her to come hang out with me. That led to her husband coming when he got off work. Then the intern for the summer working with the youth and another girl came by with a youth boy. We were in the middle of cooking hamburgers and hotdogs when all the others came. I just pulled out another package of hotdogs and have the box of premade angus burgers from Sams that I pulled out more burgers. I opened 3 cans of corn, some baked beans and chips. We made smores over the fire. Keeping food like the premade burgers and some can food helps to add to a meal to serve more. If I was making chili I would just add a can of beans and more sauce. If I had chicken I could have made noddles and a white sauce and just cut up the chicken that I had to serve more instead of giving each person a whole piece. While we were cooking in the kitchen one of the boys came in and was searching in my refrigerator. The lady here commented that he was pretty comfortable here. Then later when we were sitting at the table eating, one of the teens came in and got a bag of chips. He was hiding it behind his back and slowly easing outside with it pretending to steal it. I love that they are not scared to ask for what they want or just come get it.

I am learning to be more flexible. God has had to smush on me to make me more pliable and to be able to bend. Hopefully, by the time the 5th grows up I will be all smushy and easy going. I am becoming more comfortable in my own home. I remember when I wanted it all clean and everything put away before I would let anyone in. Now, I tell you to be careful not to trip over the shoes piled by the door and come on in. My bath vanity is still in the foyer. I still have no cabinet doors in the kitchen. We are a work in progress, both my house and me.


linda said...

I'm so right there with you on this one. I too had the house where all of the kids/teens hung out...and raided the pantry on a regular basis...and I loved it!


Then we started doing things around the house and projects are undone, unfinished, and it seems like my entertaining has been put on the back burner. I realized the other day that these undone things may or may not get done and in the meantime we're missing out on good times. Needless to say, we had company over for dinner last night and what a great time we all had. No one noticed any of my undone chores...they only noticed the good food and great memories we made! So good for you...and me!

Reva said...

Great picture of your lifestyle. Love it. I am Brenda's (Itsallgood), sister and decided to jump on over and check your site out. Growing up in our house was similar to yours since we were the 2 girls in a family of 9, counting 5 brothers and us. Mom babysat 2 more and we all had friends coming by at a moments notice. What a fun way to grow up.
I tried to duplicate it by doing foster care an adopting children. I had 2, a girl and boy, then my son died at 21 1/2 months. Later I did babysitting and started fostercare at the same time. Eventually I adopted 3 children and got gardianship of 2 more. Mixed in over time, I kept a cerebral palsy boy in a wheelchair for almost 4 years until he turned 18, and many other short timers.
I have never not had children at home until 2 years ago. Now I have 7 grandchildren, and life goes on.
Hope to keep in touch. Enjoy "your special time", you know, when you are all alone, by yourself, no one else around. My time was in my closet with the door closed and lights out so no one knew where I was at. : )
Enjoy the Memorial Weekend!

Marva said...

I'm sure I'll be there one day. i have started to relX MORE THOUGH. i AM LEARNING TO JUST GO WITH THE FLOW! tHANK YOU FOR THE PREspective!!!!

My computer is doing crazy things....please overlook it.


Dawn said...


I am also a list maker, organizer... and flying by the seat of my pants is not a naturally comfortable state for me. But, like you, I've learned that the benefits of being flexible and keeping my home open to friends and kids far out-weigh the need to "control" the calendar. And, yes, you can still "plan" to be flexible!!! ;-)

Mrs. Darling said...

It really is all about flexibility and going with the flow. Coming from a Mennonite community and aa family of 11 I know what you're saying.

Today my home is 2 miles from the church so its an open door for everyone going past. It's been years since I've worried about how the house looks. Nobody ever calls and nobody ever truly knocks. Its Grand Central and thats how I like it.

Sounds like youve got the gift of hospitality and thats a wonderful gift!

blessedwith5 said...

How AWESOME! The house where everyone hangs out! Keep up the great job and have a great weekend!

It's All Good! said...

I'm still working on having enough food on hand for spontaneous times without being afraid I won't have enough. But I'm getting better at it.
Good tips, thanks.

jennifer said...

Loved this! I love the way you opened you home and welcomed everyone, regardless of where you bathroom vanity was!!

Be blessed.


chelle's winks said...

I'm learning a lot of these things just to relax about the house and enjoy all the kids running in and out....not 100% there yet but I am getting does make life easier when you can "go with the flow"