A day in the life

Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall?  To just sit back and observe without being noticed?  Based on questions we often are asked, there seems to be a great fascination and interest in being a fly on our wall to see what a typical day looks like at our house.  So I’ve jotted down a few highlights from throughout today to give you a little sneak peak in a day in the life of the Marbles…

6:00 AM – Not normally a morning person, I’m awake before the alarm goes off and begin the day with prayer, Bible reading, some planning and seminary homework.

8 AM – “Good morning,” I say as I greet the kids (and in some cases, wake them up).  They get dressed, clean their rooms and closets, and do their morning chores.  The chores completed this morning included: kitchen cleaned up, upstairs picked up, school area cleaned/organized, upstairs bathroom cleaned, steps swept, dishwasher unloaded, entryway organized/cleaned, garbage collected and taken out, cats fed and litter boxes cleaned, and microwave cleaned.  As the kids finish their chores, they clamor to have a turn at making breakfast.  Two girls are given the go-ahead to do so, and excitedly plan to make chocolate chip heart pancakes.  They soon find out we’re out of eggs, so they decide to make homemade granola (with chocolate chips!) instead.  As the kids enjoy breakfast, they open Valentine’s Day cards and trail mix from their Granny and Pops.

9 AM – School time begins.  As the kids gather together in the living room, several finish up their daily devotional life journals, drawing of the Proverbs, and practice Awana verses.  We spend several minutes talking about the schedule for the next several days while I’m in Portland for seminary.  As we begin our history lesson on India and Hinduism (lesson 40 in Mystery of History), a delivery truck pulls up outside.  Our new washer & dryer are being delivered!

We take a quick school break to watch the delivery, excitedly chatting and ooohing & aaahing over the HUGE red appliances.  The little boys are rather captivated by the lift gate on the truck.  As the truck pulls away, Kia questions whether I’ll be doing laundry outside since my new washer and dryer have been left sitting outside at the bottom of our steps.  Content to let them sit there until John gets home, I’m persuaded instead by the kids to carry them inside.  With a lot of muscle power and great enthusiasm, we manage to carry both appliances up the stairs and inside (where they still sit tonight).

We return to our school lessons, engaging in a huge discussion about India and the caste system.  The kids struggle to understand it, comparing it to the segregated south in the US, and declaring its profound unfairness.  I’m thrilled when the discussion shifts to “how can we change it?”, and we talk about how change happens.  And since no conversation is ever complete at our house without also talking about missions work, the kids discuss which caste missionaries would best serve.  They conclude the Sudras caste, made up of unskilled laborers, would definitely need missionaries because of their great poverty.  And, the highest caste, the Brahmans, would also benefit from hearing about Jesus, because they were in the best position to change the unfair caste system.

As the kids complete their other schoolwork, they gather together in groups of two to finish planning their own teaching they’ll be doing over the next two weeks.  They’ve chosen their own topics and will be teaching on everything ranging from trees, to turn-of-the-century prairie-style school, to character development.  Meanwhile, the little boys have built an amazing fort of blankets, couch cushions, and barstools using the huge washer and dryer as walls for their playhouse.

12:30 PM – With schoolwork finishing up, two more kids volunteer to heat up lunch (leftovers from the weekend), while other kids head outside.  With temperatures in the upper 30s, the sun shining, and the snow and ice clearing off sidewalks, the kids eagerly pull out their bikes and bike helmets.  The air pump is located, and they work together to fill a few flat bike tires.  John has invited me to a special Valentine’s Day lunch, so we head out as the kids finish schoolwork, play and prepare lunch.  On the way to lunch, we drop Anabella off at speech therapy, and Aleks at the local tire store where he works part-time.

2:00 PM – With kids settled on their beds for daily rest/homework/reading/devotional time, I run out to the thrift store to find an umbrella for my trip to Portland tomorrow.  The quick trip takes longer than normal because I run into several people to chat with.

4:30 PM – With kids reading, playing games, riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, doing homework and learning Awana verses, I find a few minutes to clean out my desk, chat with my cardiologist office, and check Facebook.  Lillia calls the pastor of the church she spoke at yesterday to thank him for allowing her to speak about her fundraiser to build houses in Haiti.  She is excited to report that she is just $55 away from raising $5000, which is enough to build a triplex for 3 families!  My desk cleaning is interrupted by Kia telling me to come downstairs to look at their bedroom window.  Upon inspection I see that the inside pane has been broken, and Josiah tells me he “accidentally banged it with his butt”.  I correct him that we don’t say “butt”, and so he explains that he “accidentally banged it with his bottom.”  Although I’m pretty annoyed at the latest house-casualty, I’m even more humored, and have to walk away before the little boys see the smirk on my face.  I tell them they’ll have to talk to Dad about it when he gets home…

6:00 PM – As a family we head out to enjoy dinner at the local community supper.  The dinner is a great way to meet and minister to local people.  There are many familiar faces of people who attend The Bridge each Wednesday night, and some new faces.  I chat for awhile with one set of parents who are struggling with their 2-year-old and are asking for parenting advice and help.  We tentatively set up a time to meet when I return from seminary.  Another man asks about me “becoming a minister” by going to seminary, wondering if I have a halo or not!  I laugh that idea off, saying I hopefully don’t have any horns, but am corrected by an older man saying every mom needs a little set of horns!

After dinner John and I surprise the kids with a trip to Dairy Queen to get blizzards.  On the way they repeatedly ask where we’re going, and we answer, “over the mountain.”  Our quick-witted 9 yo (home from Haiti only one year) quickly asks if we’re also going “everywhere”, and they all burst into song singing, “Go tell it on the mountain, over the river and everywhere…”  As we walk into Dairy Queen, I have five girls holding my fingers (because I don’t have enough hands).  There’s lots of laughter and chatting as we enjoy the ice cream treats.  One discussion centers on my silver hair (which causes lots of giggles), and the girls all weigh in on their hair color choices for me.  The top color picks are silver, red, blue or blonde.  If that isn’t enough proof as to why you don’t take hair coloring advice from children, I’m not sure what is!

On the way home, we stop by K-Mart to buy an umbrella, leaving the kids in the van.  As we come out, Olesya is standing in the Sprinter, directing a choir of voices singing:

We wish you a happy Valentines
We wish you a happy Valentines
We wish you a happy Valentines
We love you so much – kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss
(sung to the tune of “We wish you a Merry Christmas”)

8:00 PM – Upon arriving home, the kids get into PJ’s, do a quick pick-up upstairs, and gather in the living room for devotions.  After devotions, we talk about the plan for tomorrow.  Mariyana has her two college classes, and Aleks and Ivan are headed to hang out with John at the college.  The rest of the kids will be driving with Nana and I to Billings to drop me off at the airport.  Kia wants to know if he too is going on the airplane.  Josiah wonders if they’ll all wait at the airport until I come home again (on the 26th!).  After hugs and kisses, kids are tucked into bed for the night.

Now that kids are in bed, it’s time to start accomplishing the many tasks ahead of me.  Packing, homework, organizing last minute details for being gone, and spending time with John.  Whew!

So, there you have it – a typical day in the life of the Marbles!