Normally, I love Fall! It's really my favorite time of year. (See past blog posts: October Fun 2012, Fall is the Best Time of Year 2009) I love the crisp air, the leaves turning colors, kids back in school......and my favorite thing: pumpkin spice lattes! And even though I detest football, Bryan is a very happy boy during Fall football season, especially when the Beavers are on.
And normally one of the things that's attractive about Fall is getting back into a normal routine and a regular family schedule.
Oh but not this year.
This year we are making the leap to middle school (gasp), which means a whole different schedule. In our school district, middle school starts/ends a full hour and fifteen minutes before elementary school. This is not fun for parents of multiple ages. So we're dealing with the dilemma of do we have Kaela ride the bus (less driving for us, but a full 30 minutes earlier for her) or do we drive her (doesn't have to get up at the crack of dawn, but that makes FOUR trips to the school every day.) We only live 2.5 miles from the school, so it's not actually a big deal--but it's just the zig zag factor of driving back and forth. Four times. And the interrupted/staggered breakfast....how will that work exactly?
Then there's the after-school activities: Kaela has play practice four days a week. Graeson has taekwondo twice a week, plus football practice twice a week, and football games once a week. Maezie has gymnastics once a week. Bryan and Kaela have youth group once a week. Graeson and Maezie have swim lessons once a week. (My head is swimming, that's for sure....)
So the morning routine will look something like this: Bryan takes Kaela to school, Jill gets Graeson and Maezie out of bed and five minutes of morning cuddles, Bryan-Graeson-Maezie take Jill to work, go back home and get ready for school, Bryan takes Graeson-Maezie to school.
Trip count: 3 trips, 13 miles, 45 total minutes driving.
Then there's mid-day: Bryan picks up Jill for lunch at home, back to work an hour later. Consideration has gone into is it necessary to come home for lunch, but--it's only 1.5 miles so why not? Besides, who wants to eat lunch at work?!
Trip count: 2 trips, 6 miles, 15 total minutes driving.
And then (deep breath) there's the afternoons. Get your roller skates on. Mondays: Pick up Kaela from school, pick up Graeson-Maezie from school, football practice....but at the same time Jill needs to get off work (which I might add, is highly unpredictable)--uh oh, schedule conflict number one. So I either have to get off work an hour early (not something that can be counted on) or I have to stay two hours late until 7pm (not fond of that idea.)
Trip count: 4 trips, 15 miles, not sure how this is going to work....
Tuesdays: Maezie gymnastics, Graeson taekwondo (mercifully they are both at the same place AND the same time), Kaela play practice (a different location), back to pick up Maezie, pick up Jill from work, Jill-Maezie eat dinner, Bryan goes back to pick up Kaela then Graeson, Bryan-Kaela-Graeson eat dinner. This we can actually manage without a schedule conflict!
Trip count: 6 trips, 20 miles, 70 total minutes driving.
Wednesdays: Kaela play practice, Graeson football practice.....uh oh, again at the same time Jill is getting off work--another schedule conflict, what to do? Kaela gets done with play practice, but Bryan-Graeson are still at football practice and no one has come to pick up Jill.....Kaela is stranded, Jill is stranded, who knows where Maezie is..... Even if the magic genie got us all where we needed to be, as soon as we get home Bryan-Kaela leave for youth group. Dinner? What dinner?
Trip count: does anyone have a calculator?
Let's not EVEN go there for the remainder of the week.....I assure you it's more of the same! But just for fun, let's fast-forward to Sundays. We had (had!) a nice little plan of attending church as a family, then helping in kids ministry second service, then having a lunch-time Bible study at our house after church. Bend Parks and Rec apparently did not get this memo: all football games are scheduled on Sundays, ranging in schedules from 10:30 to 3:00. So this means either Kaela-Maezie-Mom have to stay at church, stranded, long after everyone else has left.....or some of us don't go....or none of us go.....and did I mention the football games are CLEAR ACROSS TOWN!? And this really messes up our lunch group plans too......
For 7 years now, we have been a one-car-family, and we have intentionally made sacrifices and inconveniences to maintain this commitment. We've always known this day will come when kid schedules collide with the overall family schedule.....but honestly I didn't really think that time would come until high school. But--WHAM! that time is now: we have come to the reality that it is physically impossible to continue the one-car-family plan. We've looked at the schedule forwards-backwards-inwards-outwards.....it. ain't. gonna. happen.
We'll be car shopping in a hurry. And we're praying we find a good one (translation: cheap, reliable, gas-saver) in the next 11 days before the Chaos of Conflicting Schedules begins.
Ready, set, go.....!