Curious about a day in our lives at the Coppinger Castle? I’ll give you a peek!
Every day can look a little bit different, of course. But here’s what a typical day looks like for us, based on what happened this Wednesday:
A Day in Our Lives at the Coppinger Castle
5:25am I (Laura) rolled out of bed and headed downstairs to enjoy as much quiet time as I could get.
5:35 I made my way to the kitchen to drink water and make myself a cup of coffee. I always find something tasty (like a muffin) to eat with my coffee. Then I sit with my coffee in the living room and spend time talking to God as I wake up. I open my Bible and read wherever God leads me to read that day and journal with Him about what He’s teaching/telling me. Today I read in Deuteronomy and was reminded: Don’t let anything else become a god in my life. Be fully devoted to HIM, and He will bless my obedient heart.
6:20 Keith woke up extra early today and found me in the dark living room. I put my Bible and journal away for some snuggles. BabyBoy#11 woke up too and enjoyed a diaper change and ate some of his bottle. (He has some eating issues so he only eats a little bit of his bottle at a time, all day long). :) I settled him onto the floor to play with Keith.
6:35 I opened my computer to check email and upload/edit some photos for our next weekly Food and Fun post. I try to keep up with this each day so that I can have it ready to post on Sunday afternoons.
6:45 Keith was hungry so we headed into the kitchen to start getting breakfast ready. I poured three sippy cups full of milk for the three littlest girls. (Their milk is like my coffee: gotta have it first thing.)
I started making breakfast to keep kids from becoming hangry as they woke up. This particular day we had Warm Vanilla Soother and Bagels.
I used a dozen eggs to make it extra rich and full of protein.
While I was cooking the soother, I heated Tomato Soup to pack in the kids’ lunchboxes.
And I started a fresh pot of coffee.
7:00 I finished making breakfast and got the kids’ started on eating (all 7 littles were all up now). Usually, while the kids eat, I clean out dishwashers, load dishwashers, plan tonight’s dinner, and finish packing the kids’ lunches for school. Somewhere in there, I ran to the basement to start a load of laundry.
ALL MORNING LONG at least two of our kids have usually been tantruming off and on. We’ve tried everything to get ahead of these fits, but they struggle to regulate their emotions and mornings can be the hardest.
8:00 From now until 8:40 we are finishing breakfast, brushing teeth, dressing toddlers, finding shoes, settling more tantrums, and trying to get 7 kids out the door so that we can walk Brayden and Kiya to school. Our walk involves two double strollers for our four littlest, plus Keith on his bike. Brayden and Kiya power walk with Matt and me because the truth is, 9:00 is a wonderful late start time but it’s still hard to get all of us out the door every morning. So we are almost always running “just on time – if we hurry.”
8:55 We send them off to their classrooms with a hug and a daily message, “Let God’s light shine through you! Love you!” then Matt and I walk the littlest five home.
9:15 Usually we play outside for a while when we get home, feed everyone a little bit more, give BabyBoy#11 more of his bottle, and Matt finds time to finally eat.
This is often when I make our smoothies because I ate at 5:30 and I’m ready for “second breakfast” now.
Somewhere in there, I wash up some of the bigger pots, pans, and bowls.
10:00 We either have meetings at this time or take the kids on an outing if we don’t have anything scheduled. Meetings happen eight to twelve weekday mornings every month depending on the needs (IEPs, IFSPs, Case Worker visits, Foster Care Specialist visits, Early Development Team visits, and Speech Pathologist visits). This particular morning, I had an IEP meeting for Acacia.
11:30 While I finished my meeting (this one was at our house), Matt gave Keith and Anna something to eat and made sure they have their shoes on and backpacks ready. Their preschool bus comes at 12:00.
12:05 We are left at home with just three kids!! It’s soooo quiet now, haha! But for real. After we get Keith and Anna off to school it is typically much calmer. We play, eat lunch (usually leftovers), and try to sit and read with Acacia, Josie, and BabyBoy#11.
1:15 NAPTIME!!! We work hard to synch up BabyBoy#11’s nap with his sisters’ so that they will all sleep at the same time. Matt catches up on business paperwork, bill paying, or does work that the Castle needs. I get out my laptop and work on posts like these! ;)
2:30 Josie woke up already – BOOOO. This cuts my worktime short but more importantly, she hasn’t slept long enough and is therefore grumpy. I snuggle her a while to see if she’ll rest some more. Nope.
2:40 I head to the kitchen with Josie to get ahead on dinner. She watches with great interest. ;)
2:45 Acacia heard Josie crying so she woke up too. She joined us in the kitchen. I had an abundance of milk – given to us the day before when we were volunteering at the Food Distribution – so I decided to surprise everyone with Pudding Parfaits after dinner so that I could use up some milk.
These little stinkers sure are cute.
3:00 I turned on the smoker to cook the chicken I’d marinated earlier that day. I needed to make dinner early because I had to leave at 3:45 for Parent Teacher Conferences and wouldn’t get back until almost time to eat.
The food we receive at the Food Distribution is typically close to its “sell-by” date so I usually plan our meals based on what we brought home the day before so that it won’t go bad. Thus the Pudding Parfaits I described above. We’d also received some pizza crusts so I spread on olive oil, sprinkled on garlic powder, then topped with mozzarella cheese to make Cheesy Breadsticks to go with our dinner that night. I slid them into the oven to bake right before meal time.
3:30 Matt left to pick up the kids from school and since the two girls were up, he took them with him in a stroller so I could finish kitchen work and head out to conferences.
3:45 Malachi and Elias listened for BabyBoy#11 (who was still napping) and I headed out for Brayden and Kiya’s parent teacher conferences.
4:00 Matt arrived back home with his crew. Keith and Anna got dropped off by the school bus. Kiya had homework (which she can mostly work through on her own). The baby could wake up at any time. Everyone is hungry. Basically – this is just time to survive as we transition into the evening.
4:45 I made it back home from the kids’ school and finished up dinner.
5:15 Everyone was ready to eat. I fixed plates and took them outside since the weather was nice – and so that the mess would fall to the ground instead of onto our dining room floor.
Every night, we can count on there being lots of people around at dinnertime. But we never quite know how many people there will be to feed. Some of our housemates are almost always around to join us. Often, friends of Elias and Malachi are over. We make enough to feed plenty, loving it when it all gets eaten! If fewer are around to eat, then we benefit from having leftovers. Either way, it’s a win! (This particular night, two of our housemates were out and Elias and Malachi had gone to a concert. So there were “only” 12 at home for dinner that night.)
6:00 Everyone who ate a good dinner enjoyed a Pudding Parfait. We played outside the rest of the evening because it was a beautiful night. I stopped taking pictures at this point because keeping everyone alive and safe outside is a bit hectic.
7:10 We headed inside and started the process of getting the kids ready for bed. Of course, Brayden and Kiya do this lovely life hack because it’s the best “get ready for school” trick and I love it.
7:30 We try to gather everyone in the living room for our nightly Singing and Prayer time. But with this many littles, it doesn’t always work and the youngest four can be pretty squirrely. Eventually this will turn back into a precious time. Right now, it’s nuts – with singing and prayer on top.
We managed to make it happen tonight, and ended our time in the living room together by saying all of Psalm 23 together. Brayden, Kiya, and Keith all have it memorized now. Anna knows some of it and our guess is that Acacia and Josie know more than they let on – they just aren’t talking much yet.
—> Since I wasn’t able to get a current picture of our Singing and Prayer Time, here’s an older, precious photo taken at our York house one evening when several college students were hanging out and joined us. Oh look, it’s Baby Keith. And dating couple Justus and Kelsey. This picture brings me joy. <—
8:00 BEDTIME. Acacia wears a brace to bed because she was born with a club foot and needs a brace to help with her ongoing needs. Matt does some very simple ankle manipulation with her before putting on her brace while I brush some toddler teeth, answer my 400millionth question of the day, and as sweetly as I can, beg everyone to go right to sleep without getting up all night. :) Ha. But seriously.
8:30 BabyBoy#11 finishes as much milk as we can give him to help him sleep as long as possible through the night (he usually lasts until 3am, but the past couple of nights have been longer!). We settle him into bed. Matt and I finally have some quiet, uninterrupted conversation time before I PASS OUT.
And that’s a Day in our Lives at the Coppinger Castle. Maybe I’ll write another one of these posts a different day so that we can compare what might be the same or different from day to day!