Thursday, August 14, 2008

HOW DO YOU DO THIS????????????????

Most people are very complimentary of what we do here. I get the following comments all the time-

"You are surely doing God's work." (Well if I was a missionary I'd be CLOSER to doing God's work, but this is where He put me for right now and I do talk about God with almost everyone I talk to so it is God's work.)

"I am in awe and amazed at what you do."

"How do you do this? I can't keep up with one dog."

"Thank God you and Jon do this."

"How do you do this, it's unbelievable"

"I am so proud of the work you do."

So for the most part, I get positive marks for my work. Occasionally I get some angry and bitter person who thinks I am a nut, or that I am wasting my life. That doesn't bother me, though. I am really in touch with what is right, good and what God wants me to do. We don't live in filth, our kids are well taken care of, and the animals have the best care available. So, it's our work and we are happy doing it. The only job I remember loving more than this one was taking care of my infant and toddler girls and working with crack babies. ( I know, that sounds horrid, but taking care of innocent babies of all kinds has always been WHAT I DO BEST.) I loved holding those tiny black (most of them) babies and helping soothe them through withdrawals, feeding them, changing them- all of it. I LOVED IT. I would love to do that again one day. The work is the same - you are loving, nurturing, calming, stroking, feeding, murmuring to, and holding a tiny defenseless creature- whether human or animal. It's exactly the same work. It's gentle and loving work. (Of course, there is a larger responsibility when raising human babies, of course, but the actual motions are identical.).

Now as for the actual, " HOW DO YOU DO THIS?", I think people want to know- how do you schedule all of it and how do you have time for your kids or yourself. That's easy most of the time, with the only difficulty being when new animals arrive - and then that takes about 48 hours to find the "new rythym". So I thought I would let you see the schedule here- now granted, it changes if a child is sick, a dog is sick, or if we have a brand new zoo member who requires extra TLC. Surgery throws everything to heck and back. (Pica's surgery threw us off for a good three weeks.)

5-6:00 am- I awake or Jon awakes- whoever wakes up first does the morning shift or one of us wakes the other if we are running behind or not feeling well or just plain tired. The greyhounds get let out first, then let back in and given two dog biscuits. Then the porch dogs are let out and let back in. Porch dogs are fed breakfast. Greyhounds and inside dogs are fed breakfast. Then someone takes Pica out on a leash to do her business, as she is still on restriction. The cats are fed. The baby squirrel is fed. (Somewhere in here, for me is a piece of Ezekiel toast and coffee and my ADD meds- the sooner I have that, the better I feel to do all of this.) The girls wake at any given time and I make their breakfast or they make it themselves, depending on what they want- we do stress independence in our kids and we think that it is a GOOD AND HEALTHY thing for them not to think they have a waitress, maid and butler working for them. The kitchen looks like holy you know what in the mornings- it just does and I know that once the girls are at school it will all get cleaned up. So I just ignore it until the girls are gone.

7:30-9- roughly, the girls are taken to school and I uncover all the birds' cages and take out all the bowls and give fresh food and water. The girls are required to take care of their own personal birds before they leave for school. No tv in the morning unless you are ready to leave and your animals are fed and watered.

9:00- all dogs who are on meds get their meds, all dogs go out if it is sunny- they run and play and have a great time. I vacuum every day and clean the kitchen, start a load of laundry. From 9:00- 12:00 is when I am inside, doing my wifely and motherly duties.

12:00-3:00-Dogs are crated on porch with AC if it is hot. If weather is nice, they may stay outside. On rainy days, obviously this schedule is a joke- I am constantly running back and forth putting dogs out and letting them in, to avoid 13 wet dogs. It's no big deal- a pain in the tush, but we're all used to it. During this time I catch up on phone calls, laundry, scheduling, or nap (rare, but it happens).

2:00- 3:00- varies by day but I always try to feed all the zoo BEFORE MY KIDS GET HOME. That way I am open to JUST MY KIDS from 3-5 or 6. When the kids get home, I am mom, not zookeeper. I make a snack, they sit and tell me about their day and I ask questions, help with homework, etc. When the kids are done with homework, they have afternoon chores and then they can play or get on the computer etc. Their afternoon chores are easy like "feed the cats" or walking the greyhounds, or taking out the trash. Nothing too stressful. Dogs are out from 3-6 pm.

5:00- this is when I always feel like exploding or losing my mind. I don't know WHAT IT IS about 5:00 but I am tired, hungry, and it seems that EVERYONE WANTS TO CALL OR COME OVER. I HATE IT. I take the phone off the hook, I tell people not to come over between 5-7 and I am much calmer that way. There is some frantic energy in the air between 5-7 if I don't take the phone off the hook and allow people to come over. So I have learned to work with that. I have also learned to snack with the girls at 3:00 so I don't get low blood sugar at 5:00. The birds are vocalizing- they get some special treat to shut them up- like a piece of fruit or a small cracker- that solves THAT problem. I fix dinner and wait for Daddy to get home, or if Daddy is working late, we have easy suppers. I long ago quit beating myself up for my kids not getting five fruits and veggies a day- I don't, Jon doesn't, they don't, it's ok. IT"S OK. :) The do get fruit at least twice a day so if veggies are 3 times a week, that's fine.

6:00- zoo is closed. Birds are covered, dogs are porched for night and lights in house go off. (Encourages birds to rest.) This is a nice time of day here- the girls watch TV quietly or read or get on the computer or sometimes we play a family game. It's peaceful. On rough days, I may go to sleep at 7, or stay up until 9. Everyone is in bed by 9:30.

10-12:30 pm- Jon comes home if he has worked late, lets all animals out for final rest stop and then all are back in crates or house for the night. Jon is a night owl, so he doesn't mind doing the last let out and let back in of the day. Thank God for that. I am still asleep unless a squirrel needs to be fed or someone gets sick- then I am up feeding or cleaning up. Then the next day we start all over. As Kate says in Jon and Kate plus 8 (I hate her attitude and I don't endorse the show) "It's a crazy life, but it's OUR life!!!"


Rachelle said...

Kate really does have a bad attitude on that show.

Donna said...

I wish I could get up that early without dying in the afternoon. I'm up these days by 7:30, but working toward 7am. Don't laugh.

I'll remember to steer clear of you 5pm++! I remember not to call you past say 7pm, in case you're headed to bed way early.

I love Jon and Kate, it's DVR'd on my TV so I can watch them. Yes, there are things about them both I don't like. But, I like that they're real, not "everything is always wonderful with these 8 kids" kind of people. As a fellow mom of higher-order multiples, I enjoy watching how they handle it all and it reminds me of "those days" :) So, there.