The routine of modification

We've come again to a realization...not a new one, just another one regarding our busy schedule. This year since Jakob is in 6th grade, he gets to play basketball in school...through school. This is fun as it seems more "real" when he has a school jersey on and we pay admission to the game, there are concessions, we sit in the stands instead of on the floor of a tiny little gym for a YMCA game, etc. He played football in the early fall, again a true sign that our family is growing up. He didn't look like an 11 year old in those big pads, that's for sure. Football required practice twice a week and a game on Sunday. Basketball has two practices a week and a game or two games and a practice...they're not allowed more than a combination of three times in a week. In addition to these activities, he also had/has Conquest on Thursday night and Sunday evening, Mathcounts on Wednesday nights and homework. As a family, Jonathan is playing volleyball...on Sunday, Mathilda just finished volleyball on Sundays and Joshua has Conquest with Jakob on Sunday evening too. Benjamin had a soccer clinic on Saturdays for the month of September. Currently this means that on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday we have something going on with the kids. Tim has been cast in a play that rehearses on Friday nights, so I guess that means we are busy 7 nights a week right now!!

This schedule is not ideal and definitely not what we want life to be like for the next 18 years. It gets pretty hard to sit down for dinner together when activities start at 5 pm. We've talked about how crazy things could get when we have 5 kids doing things...or 7! This isn't a revelation for us, as we know that we'll be crazy busy, but we've decided that there is no need for it to start now. We definitely realize that it would be easier if we moved back to Lincoln...within walking distance of school!! This isn't an option right now, although it would be par for the course as we've lived in two houses before this one and moved from each after 5 years, so that mark is coming up in the spring. We did just finish a big remodel and feel like we're getting things closer to the way we want them, so again, that is probably an indicator that we're close to being done here!! That being said, we're still not wanting to leave any time soon, so we needed to come up with a different plan.

We think it is important for the kids to be involved in things outside of school, and while there are many things that would benefit them positively, there are only so many things that we can incorporate. I feel so fortunate that we have children that aren't needy when it comes to schoolwork, otherwise I'd really be overwhelmed! It seems like half the time we are pulling out books at the breakfast table because doing homework got lost in the shuffle of making dinner or not getting home until 7:00 and tending to the little kids and then it is bed time! It has taken three very busy weeks in a row (that followed six moderately busy weeks laced with normal activities plus the swine flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, remodeling projects and the abrupt onset of winter in the middle of fall) to reach a breaking point. The solution (for today anyway): No extra-cirricular activities until 6th grade. Baseball in the summer is fine, but 5 children playing sports in which they actually learn more in the back yard with their siblings than they do on the court with a bunch of strangers during the school year is becoming absurd. If we lived in Lincoln in might be different...there might be car pools, it might be 2 miles away, the day might lend itself to actually going home in between activities! This is not working right now given our dynamics.

This of course is not written in stone, and was of course (because this is how we tend to operate) decided hours after Joshua was signed up to play basketball this winter! I'm sure there will be times when this rule is broken, but for the time being, even though the the bigger kids have gotten to play in 1st grade, much will have to wait until 4th, 5th or 6th grade. I tend to think they'll have an advantage anyway just from playing in the driveway or the backyard with older siblings. There is no better practice...and it won't cost us a dime of gas or registrations or time to have a pick-up game outside. For now, having dinner together will trump a 2nd grade volleyball game...although now I need to get my shoes back on and put on my coaching hat so that by 6th grade they'll at least have a clue!

We keep thinking it will slow week, but in reality, we need to adjust and modify yet again so we can figure out how to keep this family strong, active, outgoing, but most importantly, together!