We started the day with a new read aloud that’s filled with math and led to drawing turkeys and circles. There were circumferences, and diameters and pi. It was a good morning followed by chores and play and baby. In the early afternoon I announced we were going to the library and it was time to…find books. We needed to find about 60 books. Ben was acting ‘book czar’, sitting at the computer with the list of books we needed to find, checking off books as people brought them to him and dumped them in the rocking chair next to him.

keyboard-65042_640I was on ‘getting people ready, and motivated to still find books’. Today this involved hunting down the children who are old enough to keep track of their books and inspiring them to help those who aren’t, to find the books we need. It also involved a quick shower for the 5 year old and 2 year old who were playing in the clay outside. 5 yo kept the clay mostly localized to her arms, while 2 year old had a hair full. It’s more difficult to make clay “snow angels” than she thought.

We had found most of the books and were down to the dross. Our library doesn’t recognize a whole class of books individually. So we had 15 books left to find that were only identified on the online list as “paperback”. Which led to the book czar saying, “Hurry, just bring me any random book”.

The twins decide to stay home so they can have uninterrupted “twin time” while we go to the library. They have given the 12 year old and 13 year old specific instructions on books they “need”. We get a last minute call from the 17 year old, who is making foam swords with a friend. She needs to be picked up. I leave my phone with the twins, figuring once I pick up 17 year old, we will have a phone and the twins will have a phone. Perfect.

Amazingly we get out the door, but because the 2 year old’s shoes are in the car, I have to wipe her feet off a couple times AFTER she stepped all over my seat getting into the van.

We stop to get gas. I make faces through the window partially because I’m that cool, and mostly because if I don’t the 2 year old will lovingly terrorize the baby.

After getting gas the van won’t start. Nothing. No radio or lights…must be battery? But how did I get here? Alternator?  Wouldn’t it be nice if I had my phone? I pray. I pray again. I ask to borrow a phone, and I’m not sure if he was in a rush or afraid that the crazy lady with six kids would steal it, but all I got was one phone call and that was a bust. My twins aren’t fabulous phone number finders and gave me a home phone instead of the cell phone number I needed. My 13 yo asks to pray.

I go inside, they don’t have a pay phone, they don’t want long distance calls and isn’t that a shame that my husband’s phone is long distance and I know that’s just a comfort call anyway because he has a tournament today and I won’t see him until 9pm. Their phone is fritzy and won’t work for local calls anyway (yes I’m a totally negligent parent and my 6 children are in the car with a 13 yo instead of walking all over the parking lot of this busy gas station and begging for junk food while I call). I walk out to a now almost empty parking lot and ask another person for a phone. It was a darling couple and they don’t have phones. Or the internet. I say a prayer for their grown children.

Back in the van we discuss why mommy can’t just start the van already and 13 yo says “Now I know what I can say in my talk for Sunday at church mom. Thanks” Just here to serve.

children-582728_640We decide to walk down the busy sidewalk-less street to the library. It’s not far. 13 year old and 12 year old get their ‘responsible helpfulness’ on while the 5 year old skips around saying “We get to go on a WALK!!”  Very independent 2yo holds my hand, because she loves me and also because of the short distance between the road and the deep drainage ditches. Considering the 3 inches of rain we got earlier this week, and the 40 degree weather this morning, we are thrilled with a lovely afternoon.

We get to our library. Not the library we have most of our books from, but our small local library. We had carried the 8 or so items we needed to return to them, because van trouble or not, we need to try to avoid fines as best we can (a fun home-school get to know you game is to play ‘who has the worst library fine’). I feel such relief coming into the library. The librarians all offer up their phones and try to help in whatever way possible. I’m on one phone, the other librarian is texting my husband, the kids are settling in to read and the 2 year old alternates between bringing me stacks of Dora DVDs and whipping people with the toy fishing pole they have suction cupped to the library door.

My friend comes to save us, taking all of the children home while I walk back to meet AAA. I strongly suggest having great friends and AAA- in that order. I feel a great weight off my shoulders as the little people drive away. It’s just me and Little Bit now. We walk back to the van. Same friend drops off my phone and chats with me for a while as we wait.

I call Vocal Point and discover there’s been a slight mix up and I have a 2 hour wait. My 17yo calls, and I update her on why she’s still where she is and not being picked up.

children-1048307_640I get a drink and try to find a place in a busy gas station to nurse my baby, because van nursing turns into…LOOK at all the gears and buttons and the steering wheel! This is all for me. I change my mind. I’m not that hungry.- Let’s just say it doesn’t work well for this particular child.

I get a call saying they are here, there was a change of plans. I rush outside. He cleans up the battery and roughs up the connection so there’s more surface area and a better connection. The van starts. I tell him I love him.

I rush home to find a very messy house, near naked 2 year old, and food brought by the same friend. 13 year old was making brownies. So what I thought would be a rushed crazy dinner, was instead, wonderful.

I nurse the baby and head off to my second library to tutor. I find myself in the position of not teaching anything, but instead motivating the kid through 20 problems when he well understood the concept with the very first problem. This has been a recurrent theme. He sometimes doesn’t finish or turn in his homework because it was too stupid. The second page of homework involved things like, 1+1=2. Literally. Although this isn’t our normal library, they are connected with our system, so I walk in all of my books (which takes two trips when it’s just me). The books are one day late. The librarian gets a kick of watching my fine bump up by the second as the mystical library fairies behind the drop box check things in.

To read all of Britt Kelly's articles, please click here.

To read all of Britt Kelly’s articles, please click here.

My 17 year old is dropped off at the library and we debrief and laugh at the crazy day all the way home. We get home to an advanced messy house, a 12 year old boy pacing around with the  baby, brownies made by the 13 year old,  and happy, very awake children at 8:30. Chris finally gets home and everyone is put to bed and I fall asleep nursing the baby and watching college volleyball on the computer.

About Britt Kelly
Britt grew up in a family of six brothers and one sister and gained a bonus sister later. She camped in the High Sierras, canoed down the Colorado, and played volleyball at Brigham Young University. She then served a mission to South Africa. With all of her time in the gym and the mountains and South Africa, she was totally prepared to become the mother of 2 sons and soon to be 9 daughters. By totally prepared she means willing to love them and muddle through everything else in a partially sleepless state. She is mostly successful at figuring out how to keep the baby clothed, or at least diapered, though her current toddler is challenging this skill. She feels children naturally love to learn and didn’t want to disrupt childhood curiosity with worksheets and school bells. She loves to play in the dirt, read books, go on adventures, watch her children discover new things, and mentor her children. Her oldest child is currently at a community college and her oldest son is going to high school at a public school. She loves to follow her children in their unique paths and interests. She loves to write because, unlike the laundry and the dishes, writing stays done. Whenever someone asks her how she does it all she wonders what in the world they think she’s doing.

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