a grandfather clock built by . . . 
my grandfather
(is your mind blown?)

Okay, you asked for it. Here it is. You have no one to blame but yourselves.

My days start at about 11 pm, since that’s when I can usually put Lulu down for an hour or two and attempt to accomplish all the things . . . 

4/1/14 11:06pm. I nurse Lulu to sleep while reading blogs and checking Facebook and returning emails on the iPad, then slip her into the swing in our living room. I go visit with the husband for a bit before he goes to bed. Quality time. We got it.

11:23pm. Meal plan for Lent is to clear out the freezer. I fish a bag of chicken bones out and put them on the stove to make stock for soup for tomorrow’s dinner. I’m thinking chicken and dumplings. Or maybe Chicken Corn Chowder.

11:28pm. I sit down at the desktop computer to blog with two hands. But, first, I check my email and comments and feed reader (yay! Christine had her baby! Nothing from Colleen. Does that mean she’s had the baby or that she hasn’t?!) and Facebook timeline. I feel a great need to keep my unread emails at zero. I like to respond to comments and emails right away, before they get lost under a new batch. I’m pretty meticulous about the blogs I follow and almost always read every post. I always scroll down to the last thing I remember seeing on Facebook. I don’t want to miss anything.

4/2/14 12:10am. All caught up on that, now it’s time to write. I should have at least an hour before Lulu wakes up. Normally I’d start working on my seven quick takes. I have a few concepts I’ve been considering for future installments. But, I’ve been nominated for a Leibster award. It’s an AWARD! I don’t want to put that one off too long. So, I start writing.

12:34am. Lulu wakes up. Ugh. Okay. Switch off the computer monitor, turn the stock down to simmer, pick up the baby. Be greeted by her adoring, adoring smiles. Less mad. I put Lulu on my hip and go floss and brush (one handed).

12:40am. Lulu and I sneak into bed. I latch her on and finish a few things up on the iPad (including this). I say my evening prayers and do my examination of conscience.

1:06am. Despite having the whole internet in my hands, plus a book I’m enjoying AND an itty bitty booklight that wakes neither husbands nor babies, I decide to go to sleep.

4:23am. Roll over. Nurse.

6:27am. Roll over. Nurse.

7:24am. Roll over. Nurse. Wake up, say morning offering. It’s better for me to get out of bed for my 15 minutes of morning prayer. But Lulu is wiggly, so I stay put. I only fall back to sleep for just a second in the middle there.

7:45am. Grab iPad. Check comments. Last evening I published the post about why I’m letting my hair go gray. Folks seem to like it. Cool. Check emails.

8:00am. I should get up. Lulu’s still wiggly.
I check Facebook.

8:03am. Lulu seems asleep.
I’m not done with Facebook.
I want to read Bonnie’s review of Noah. What an enigma that movie is. I haven’t seen the Christian blogosphere this divided since . . . Well, since Frozen. So maybe it’s always divided. I wasn’t initially planning to see it, but it have to say, I’m intrigued.

8:04am. My guardian angel helps by making the internet painfully slow. The page won’t load. I close the iPad and roll stealthily out of bed, leaving a sleeping baby and the iPad with it’s white noise app behind. Not exactly a heroic moment, but I’m up. I get dressed: jeans, sweater, nursing tank stays on, scarf — note to self: find a scarf that matches. I slip on my new slip on running shoes.

8:10am. In the kitchen, six kids are up. The big kids set an alarm and get up at 7:30, so by now the chickens are fed and watered, eggs are brought in, dishwasher is emptied, little trash cans are brought to the big trash can, and that’s taken out, and the recycling is taken out and sorted. Two kids are dressed, most are eating breakfast. They’ve made scrambled eggs. Daddy made a pot of oatmeal and cut up some fruit for them before he left.

Our wonderful, amazing, super-terrific housekeeper is here and folding laundry.

I start reminding people what time it is.

I check the chicken stock and turn the heat up on it. I check for other ingredients and decide to make chicken and dumplings. Know what we’re having for dinner before 10am. Check.

I put an English muffin in the toaster.

8:14am. I check iCal. Need to return library books. We lost a library book
months ago. Our kind librarians keep renewing it for me, but I finally ordered one from Amazon to give them. Now I just need to remember where I put it.

Frankie has speech therapy, Betty has a voice lesson, both at our house. I need to write a check for her teacher.

I notice that it’s JPII’s death day. D’oh. We usually celebrate that as Jack’s name day, since he is named John Paul after Pope John Paul II.* That means Jack gets to pick what we have for dinner. I ask him. He does NOT want chicken and dumplings or any other chicken-stock-based dinner. Blerg.

He wants Indian curry and rice. Okay. I need I to check for ingredients.

Back to iCal. Betty has softball practice at 5, Jack has a baseball game, also at 5. So, soup was never going to work anyway. We need a to-go dinner. Curry burritos it is. And I have everything we need. All planned. Still before 10am.

I turn the stock off to cool down and take my English muffin out of the toaster. Frankie wants it. I remind him how we ask for things. He asks for it. I give it to him and put another in the toaster.

8:19am. I remind everyone what time it is.

Kids who aren’t dressed get sent to dress. Everyone gets sent to make beds.

Anita can’t find her school dress and asks for help. I find it hanging over the foot of her bed. How could she be expected to find that?

I go get clothes for Frankie and change his diaper and dress him. He wants to put on his own shoes. I wish him good luck.

8:22am. I remind everyone what time it is.

I remind everyone that we always have to put on shoes every morning.

I remind the girls to brush their hair.

I do my make up. Frankie does his.

8:30am. I remind everyone what time it is. School starts at 8:30, but so far it’s just me and Frankie in the entry way.

8:32am. We’re all out front for the Pledge of Allegiance and P.E. Gus beats us all running laps, as usual. I used to be pretty confident that I could beat him if I really tried, but now I’m not so sure.

8:45am. Back inside for prayers.

Morning Offering, Guardian Angel, Memorarae, Gus recites the Act of Contrition in preparation for his First Confession on Saturday.

8:51am. We light a candle and Betty reads aloud a story from our Children’s Bible
. Gus is surprised that Jesus was healing leopards. We have a discussion about lepers.

I do a quick two minute guided meditation with the kids, then we have two minutes of silent mental prayer. Even that is usually too long for us <cough — Frankie — cough> to stay silent. But we keep trying. Today goes pretty well. We each choose an intention and a resolution for the day. My resolution is to remember to go to the library. Must. Remember.

9:06am. We blow out the candle, put the Bible away and start our school day. Anita and Frankie go out back to play. Betty and Jack go to the kitchen table where Jack will do her math lesson with her and work on spelling on the iPad and editing in his workbook. Gus and Bobby sit on either side of me at the dining room table to do math.

My main job is to tap the table with a pencil every time Bobby spaces out. So, every 15 seconds or so. Math is supposed to be finished by 10am. I remind everyone what time it is.

I eat my breakfast.

9:27am. Wow. Baby’s still asleep. I sneak to the bathroom the back way, so Frankie doesn’t see me. When I open the door to come out, he’s standing there.

Frankie: Mama, are you all done? 

Me: Yes, Frankie, I’m all done. 

Frankie: No Mama! I lika go whichu!

10:00am. We’re supposed to be done with math, but we aren’t quite. I remind everyone what time it is.

10:12am: Math is finished and corrected for Betty, Bobby, and Gus. Lulu is still asleep! Normally we would all sit down at the kitchen counter to do All About Spelling
together, but this week is our homeschool group Spelling Bee, so we head out to the front yard to work on our spelling lists.

Betty quizzes Gus and Anita, I quiz Jack, Bobby climbs the apple tree.


10:19am
. Lulu wakes up. But she can wait a minute.

10:24am. Lulu doesn’t want to wait anymore.

I’m finished with Jack’s words, so I leave him to quiz Bobby (still in the tree) and go get Lulu. She wet the bed. And by “the,” I mean “MY” bed. Oh well. So many smiles. I will sleep on a pee spot for you, baby.

10:28am. Betty is done with quizzing the littles and comes to find me and Lulu. I quiz her on her words while I get Lulu changed. Anita arrives and insists that Lulu wear a fancy dress. Then she climbs up on the bed in her muddy cowgirl boots. The things I will sleep on for them . . .

10:39am. I get Betty, Bobby, and Gus going on the self-directed part of their school days. Bobby has copy work to redo. His handwriting has lately taken a turn from “lovely” to “Did you do this with your feet?” Hopefully the 4th time is the charm on “The Ostrich.”

I realize that Jack is missing. I find him still out front, hitting tennis balls with a baseball bat. Erg.

I don’t yell.

I don’t yell.

I don’t yell.

I yell.

I make a new resolution not to yell and steer Jack back to his school work.


10:50am
. Despite my best efforts to put her off until next year, Anita keeps asking to learn to read. She follows me around with the book.

So, I read to Gus the directions on his new phonics workbook pages, then do one of the Hundred Easy Lessons
with Anita.

11:06am. Anita would like to do another lesson, but Frankie’s speech therapist will be here soon and I need to get the sand off of him. Bobby says he’s done writing the essay, but I don’t have time to check it now, so I tell him to do his geography page.

I pull some leftovers out of the fridge for lunch. Betty seems to be the farthest along on her school day, so she gets to make lunch. Other kids are disappointed. They should’ve thought of that before they . . .

11:14am. Miss Hannah (speech therapist) arrives. Betty is the one to let her in. This is very, very upsetting to Frankie. I tell him to knock it off. He does.

Jack is missing again. Betty thinks he’s at Dad’s desk doing his Latin. He better hope he is.

Miss Hannah, Frankie, Lulu, and I go into the playroom. Anita, Frankie, and Gus are reading and coloring at the dining room table, which is visible through the playroom doors. But mostly they are just wishing they could do speech therapy.

I nurse the baby and feverishly try to keep up with this note-taking.

11:38am. There’s Jack. I hear Bobby asking for him help on his geography page. Jack helps him, albeit rather sarcastically. It sounds like Betty is working on lunch. I see the housekeeper leaving, which means the house is at its daily peak of cleanliness. It’s all downhill from here. It’s almost time for the Angelus. I need to remember to do the Angelus.


12:04pm. Speech therapy is over. The therapist is going to recommend that services for Frankie be terminated in the next few weeks. That’s fine with me. Frankie will miss his sessions, but I was never really convinced he needed them, and he’s made a great deal of progress. 


12:12pm. We head out to the front yard for lunch. The kids eat while I read aloud from James and the Giant Peach. I do voices.

12:56pm. I eat what’s left over while the kids bring the dishes inside and load and start the dishwasher.

Time for naps, the bestest time of the whole day.

Jack has a job bringing in trash cans on trash day for seven houses in our neighborhood. Since the trucks have all been by, he heads out on his bike to do that. Gus tags along with him. Frankie wants Betty to put him down for his nap, so Bobby will put Anita down today, and I get Lulu. (I always get Lulu!)

1:04pm. Anita pinches her finger in the door. The world might possibly end. But somehow, with the help of a ducky-shaped frozen teether, it looks like she might pull through. Stories for Frankie and Anita recommence.


1:15pm
. Betty’s voice instructor, Mr. Kaviani (or, as Frankie calls him, Kani Kani) arrives, so I take over with Frankie. He wants ALL the songs. He only gets three.

1:20pm. The chicken stock is cooled down, so I move it to the fridge for tomorrow, and start the rice for tonight.

Jack gets home. He has accomplished very little of his school day so far. (I heroically do not yell.) I have him write out a list of everything he still needs to do for the day and tell him that he needs to complete each item or no baseball game and NO FEAST DAY FOR HIM. I resolve again not to yell. He says he can get it all done.

Betty is on track.

A quick review of his poetry and catechism means Gus is finished.

I check Bobby’s essay. Nope.

Frankie is shouting. I tell Frankie to stop shouting.

1:30pm. I’m off to nap. Lulu has fallen asleep in the crook of my arm. Hopefully I can lie down without waking her.

1:32pm. I cannot lie down without waking her. This is a great disaster.

I try to nurse her back to sleep. I think she will, then I think she won’t, then I think she might again, then I’m pretty sure she’s not going to, which is THE WORST. I don’t take a full night’s sleep at night, because of being able to do stuff uninterrupted in the middle of the night, so I count on a nap during the day to get enough sleep. Otherwise I get grumpy.

1:45pm. I turn on the ceiling fan for Lulu to look at, skootch her to the middle of the husband’s side of the bed, and let her kick for a bit.

I hear a bedroom door opening and closing. This is not allowed. I get up to investigate.

Anita is up and out of bed. She knows she’s caught, and bursts preemptively into tears. She wanted to put the teether back into the freezer, despite a hard-line Tierney Family policy against getting out of bed at nap time unless the house is on fire. And even then, you better be sure it’s good and on fire. Anita gets put back. The teether does not.

At least Lulu was already up, or I might have forgotten to not yell.

Frankie is quiet.

1:49pm. Lulu is tired of kicking already. She can wait a minute.

I kind of want her to get a bit upset so she’s more likely to fall back to sleep when I nurse her on the other side — my last best chance for a nap.

1:55pm. The internet is being SO SLOW. Will I never get to read Bonnie’s review?! Lulu is sufficiently mad. I change her diaper. Oh, no wonder she was mad. Oops. Trying nap again.

2:00pm. Forgot to say Angelus. Say it now.

2:07pm. Nap time isn’t working. I try letting her kick again.

Me: Lulu, you have a full tummy, and a clean diaper, and a fun ceiling fan to look at, and a delicious dress on which to chew. If you don’t want to sleep, fine. But why don’t you want ME to sleep? It’s very like the fable The Dog in the Manger. Do you remember that one? We may have read it before you were born. But this is very like that. 

Lulu: Wuh-AHH! 

Me: Whatever. Let’s try this again.

2:10pm. Nursing again. I’m pretty sure it won’t work and my whole day will be ruined and we’ll all be miserable. And probably this is what will happen every day from now on.

3:10pm. Oh. Good.

Lulu is still asleep so I check my email, lots of comments, yay! and try to check Facebook and blogs, but it does not please The Lord today to have my iPad get the internet.

3:30pm. I carefully slide away from Lulu and head out to see if any disasters have befallen us during nap time.

All is well.

Jack has left on his bike to go to the 4pm baseball practice before his 5pm game. His note says he finished his school day.

Anita is still sleeping. Frankie is up and he, Bobby, and Gus are having our favorite afternoon snack. I don’t mind if I do.

3:44pm. I work on Bible History and grammar with Betty and Bobby. They’re almost done for the day. This time I don’t make it past Frankie without being spotted, “You remembered Mama!” so I have some company in the bathroom.

4:10pm. I start making dinner.

4:15pm. Lulu wakes up. I’m not done.

Lulu supervises from the bumbo. Yay for already cut-up veggies.

We need to leave in 30 minutes. I remind everyone what time it is, and start them looking for shoes.

4:20pm. I coordinate with the husband via text message since we’ve got concurring sporting events this evening. He is going to come by and pick up one van with Anita and the boys to go to Jack’s game. Lulu and I will take Betty to practice in the other.


4:33pm
. Twelve Indian curry with veggies and rice burritos are wrapped in foil and in the oven to stay warm. Shoes are on feet. People are dressed appropriately for the day and activity. Schoolwork is finished, though I never did see that ostrich essay again. We do a flash-tidy of the house. I change the laundry.

I check my make-up and put on big girl shoes for going out and seeing the people.

4:41pm. Gus says it’s starting to rain. While that may not be a problem in some parts of the country, here in LA, if it rains, everything is cancelled.

There is texting.

It looks like just a passing shower. Everything is still on. Betty and I get everyone buckled into the appropriate vehicle.

4:55pm. The husband arrives home. We kiss hello and good bye, then jump into two different vans and are off.

5:01pm. I drop Betty off at practice. Lulu and I head for the library. WITH the book I need to return AND the book I need to replace both in the car. Pat self on back.

I’m hoping we’ll be able to say a family rosary tonight after the baseball game, but you never know, so I start saying a rosary in the car. I accomplish the library, get some new books.

5:46pm. Back in the car to pick up Betty, I finish the rosary.

5:52pm. At the park, I get Lulu out of her seat and nurse her under my scarf (most useful accessory ever) as I walk over to Betty’s practice field. They finish practice, and vote on their team name.

6:08pm. Back to the car with a full baby and a Northridge “Rebel.” We head to the other park. This is the first year we’ve done sports at two different parks. I miss NOT doing sports at two different parks.

6:16pm. Arrive at Little League field. I greet the husband and the other kids, who react as if I’ve returned from a polar expedition rather than the library and another park. It’s nice to see them too. We say grace and count to forty and eat dinner and watch the game.

7:04pm. The game’s over, we lose. It wasn’t our day. The husband loads Jack’s bike into one van and stays with him for his team meeting. I take the other six kids home. It’s getting late, so we say one decade of the rosary in the car on the way home in case we don’t get to it tonight.

7:11pm. At home, we unload the car of people and stuff.

Betty brings in the dinner bag and unloads it.

Bobby hangs up all the raincoats we didn’t end up needing.

Gus cleans up all the sports equipment in the car and all over the front yard.

7:14pm. The kids are awfully dusty from the park, so I draw a bath and put the first shift of three littles in.

I ask to see completed schoolwork and there is remembering of things that they thought for sure were done but maybe might not actually be completely done. So they go check.

7:25pm. First shift out of the tub and into jammies. Next kid in.

Daddy plays the “smash ’em, steamroll ’em, tickle ’em, poke ’em” game with the boys while I dry Anita’s hair. Teeth are brushed, prayers are prayed. Daddy puts Frankie to bed.

7:40pm. Last two kids take shifts in the tub while I read stories to Anita and Gus. They’ve chosen to sleep in the guest room bed together tonight. They are threatened with relocation if there is talking.

8:00pm. Lights out for them. Lulu has fallen asleep in my arm.

I check the kids’ schoolwork. I find some things Jack has missed. I am assured that it was an oversight and that he’ll have it done in a jiffy.

“The Ostrich” is not getting better. Bobby gets sent to bed early. He’s sleeping in the boys’ room with Frankie tonight, so that he can get up with him in the morning. The big four take turns with him.

8:34pm. I start trying to tidy the kitchen one handed, then regret it, because I wake up the baby.

8:38pm. Jack is done. For realsies this time. He heads to bed (actually, a sleeping bag on the floor of the guest room) to read until 9pm.

Betty holds Lulu so I can finish the dishes, which are not one of the things I can do one handed. I take a quick look at Facebook. Yay! Colleen had her baby! WHY is the internet so slow today?

I cut up a cantaloupe for the kids to have in the morning.

8:49pm. The dishwasher is running and the counters are wiped down. That will have to do for tonight.

I take Lulu and send Betty to bed. There’s an empty bed on either side of her in the girls’ room tonight.

I go get changed into my jammies, even though I won’t be heading to bed any time soon. If I don’t get to it before she falls asleep on me, I end up sleeping in my clothes — in the boot-mud (and whatnot) that’s in my bed. But not tonight. Tonight, it’s jammies all the way.

9:00pm. I remind the big kids what time it is.

I turn the iPad off and back on again. The internet now works fine.

I read Bonnie’s review of Noah. Now, it’s a well-known fact that Bonnie and I don’t always agree about movies, but I like what she has to say. I’m tempted to see it. But I don’t much care for epics. And I require good guys. And it’s Lent. So, probably I won’t.

9:14pm. Lulu gets wiggly, so I sit down at the desktop computer to nurse her and while away the next couple of hours catching up on emails and comments and Facebook and my blog and other people’s blogs while the husband works on our taxes and provides for our family by doing stuff on his laptop.

And sometimes I ask him stuff and he answers. And sometimes he gets me a snack.

11:04pm. I attempt to put Lulu into the swing . . . 

And that’s it. That was my day. In twelve pages of handwritten notes that I have now typed up and blasted into the internets.

Seriously, I can’t imagine anyone just read this whole thing. There’s no way anyone read this whole thing.

I could say anything I want down here. No one could possibly still be reading. Ummm . . . here, how about this:

*It turns out JPII DOES already have a Feast Day. It’s October 22. Don’t tell Jack.