Small House Living, Standardized Testing, and Belly Banishers (7QT}

Friday, May 11, 2018

 We live in a 3-bedroom house. With 6 kids. It should probably feel tighter than it is, and it actually *does* start to feel pretty tight during the winter when I can't get the kids outside as often as I'd like. But people have asked how we make it work, so here's how!


Our bedrooms are all upstairs (+ one bathroom + storage room), so I mostly don't have to worry about kids thundering past the door when the baby's napping.

Edith naps in our room in a pack n play and we just moved her into the boys' room at night (which was amazing because now she's sleeping through the night! Only took 17 months...). The boys have an IKEA bunk bed and Edith has a mattress on the floor. Then the other three girls share a room, and eventually (when they're not so ridiculously loud when going to sleep at night) Edith will be moved into their room, so we'll have two sets of bunk beds in there.


The kids spend a LOT of time outside.

I mean, a LOT. It's pretty contingent on good weather, because I still haven't figured out how to get them to stay out for hours when it's sub-freezing or raining or anything. But during spring? They're out there before breakfast a lot of the time, always outside after breakfast, (school goes in here but we're almost done for the year) mandatory "outside time" goes from about 12-1:30 (when the baby's napping and I sit inside eating chocolate and drinking Aldi sparkling water), and then I'm usually out there with them until 4 or so.

At 4 pm we do a clean sweep of the entire downstairs (living room, dining room, Grandma washes dishes in the kitchen and I try to get that floor swept also), and the kids go to Grandma's while I make dinner. Then after dinner they're outside again until bedtime, and bedtime gets moved later and later during the summer because... If they're out there leaving us alone, we let them stay up a lot later.


"Outside time" really does seem like a lovely thing for me, doesn't it? Unfortunately we're still working on the whole "you must stay outside for all of outside time or else I'll lock the doors" and I spend a lot of time refereeing fights, helping Peter with the inevitable potty emergency, refereeing more fights, and dealing with children who want to come inside early (because it's where I am). Generally wherever I am, they want to be. But I do much better with a little bit of a break from the constant neediness so... They'll learn eventually, but it always takes a while to get them back into good habits with the changing seasons and changing routines.


Speaking of Edith sleeping through the night, a lot of people have asked how we did it. Which always makes me chuckle because guys, she's 17 months old, it's not like she's 6 weeks old and sleeping through the night! Normally we move kids out of our room around 15 months (twins moved earlier) because I'm usually pregnant at that point, although this time I'm not. Then within a few nights of being in their own room, they're usually sleeping through the night on their own because Andrew goes to them if they wake up, and once they realize they're not getting milk, they decide it's not worth the trouble of waking up.

SO! Mattress on the floor. Dad's in charge. And we waited way too long. It's not exactly a parenting book's worth of advice... But I will say one thing, we always psych ourselves out and think it'll be horrible and that it's way easier just to keep the baby in our room and not risk waking the other kids up. But the fact is, the other kids sleep like the dead and nothing could wake them up. And it's always SO MUCH BETTER to have our own bedroom back.

So if you're on the fence? Just move that baby out of your room!


I mentioned above that we're almost done with school - we have four books to finish up, and John Paul and Cecilia both want to read multiple chapters a day so that we don't have to drag things out any longer.

Actually I just realized we're about to start Ponder for Kids (affiliate link!) but it doesn't feel very school-ish so I won't worry about that...

I'm SO ready to be done! A few days ago they both happened to take tests for their math chapters that they had just finished, and I asked if they'd like to begin a new chapter or just be done with math for the year. You'll be SHOCKED to hear that they both voted to be done with math for the year.

Then yesterday John Paul found the portable DVD player and they all sat like zombies in front of the tiny screen, watching the next math lesson for John Paul's book. This is what happens when you don't give your kids much screen time.

Anyway, I decided I should probably give John Paul a standardized test to cap off his year, so I let him do the CAT test, knowing that he's weird like Andrew and me and would probably LOVE it (everybody in my family and Andrew's family loves standardized tests. It's just how our brains work).

And he adored it. He didn't want to take ANY breaks, but I finally convinced him to stop for lunch. So even with a lunch break, he blew through the whole thing in an hour (I think it's supposed to take 2? But I've always been a fast test taker, so that seems reasonable to me), then danced around waiting for his scores, saying, "I hope I pass, I really hope I pass!!!"

You'll be shocked to hear that he passed. We have plenty of parenting challenges with these crazy (CRAZY) kids, but at least standardized tests will probably not be something we ever struggle with?


Content removed for irrelevancy.


I'm headed to see Jennifer Fulwiler speak tonight! She's the one who originated this linkup, so it feels appropriate to post a 7 Quick Takes post on the day that I meet someone I've been internet friends with for years!

Linking up with Kelly! I won't be wearing an awesome top hat like her, unfortunately.

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