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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

My Average Day

First of all, a simple caveat: if you are easily bored or tire quickly, don’t read on. This could tucker you out for the rest of the week-!

My days are not average, not by design, but that’s how things ended up. Many a time I have made up a “Daily Schedule” for the kids, only to realize, it’s going to be different every. single. day. Personally, I don’t like this, but then I’d be in a position to not like my life, which is silly, because schedules are silly, but I happen to like schedules, and predictability, and lists. So there you have it.

Living in two different cities means travel by plane, train, or automobile. With gas prices and jet fuel and the economy the way they are, the six of us are often in the car: two boys, two girls, two dogs, two parents. If a stray spider or mosquito hops onboard, please don’t tell me about it, I have enough to handle….

So on two days out of seven, we travel. That changes things already.

Then Benedetto and I don’t work 9-5 jobs. We do a lot of speaking, writing, lecturing, TV filming and radio recording. There’s paperwork, and phone calls, and e-mails, and so forth. We might need to be in a foreign country, or out at conferences and meetings several nights in a row. You can see how this might complicate a normal schedule.

In order to keep us all sane, we do have some fairly certain routines. Usually, we get out of bed. That’s a given. None of the kids, and none of the adults will be found sleeping till 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning, much less noon, lol. If we have a late night, we might let them sleep an extra half an hour or hour, but I prefer late afternoon naps if anyone needs it. (Funny, they seem to prefer skipping school to skipping leisure time activities…. Suddenly, no nap is necessary.)

Generally, we will eat. With an Italian-American household, that means we will eat well. (Russians are known for their discipline, more than their food, so I will credit my side with the well-oiled machinery that makes this happen.) No microwave meals, no TV dinners, no pop-tarts, tempting as those may be. And both of us adults like to cook.

We have daily devotions, reading from the Bible and praying together as a family, whether we “have the time” or not. Non-negotiable. It’s going to happen one way or another.

We go to bed. It might be konking out in the car, hopefully not while driving, is could be tucking the kids in with stories and more prayer. Just depends. Usually there is a bed involved.

So let me give you a brief example of how tomorrow (Wed.) will probably shape up for me:

1:00 am Go to bed after packing and organizing and probably throwing a load of laundry in the washer.

3:00 am Get up and have personal devotions. Put clothes in dryer. Hop in shower, get dressed, do hair and makeup, etc. Husband brings me decaf.

3:30 am Wake up the kids. They shower, dress, have breakfast of oatmeal, yogurt, and hot chocolate made by Benedetto, they do Bible reading and prayer. I put the dogs outside, give one a pill on my finger with peanut butter. I send faxes or make phone calls abroad.

4:30 am I feed the dogs , put the laundry out for the kids to put away, they clean the bathroom and empty the trash, I water the plants, Benedetto starts to pack the car along with the kids.

5:00 am Blast off! Hit the highway. Kids konk out with their blankies and get some shut-eye. Benedetto and I chit-chat. We make meal plans for every lunch and dinner for the rest of the week—what we need to buy, etc.

6:00 am I start to fade, the chin drops, the dogs climb on top of me, and I drool with pleasant dreams. My husband listens to lectures on his i-Phone. He is a better person because of it. I am a more well-rested person. We get some gas (too expensive in the city).

7:30 am Time to get up. The troops start to rally. They comb their hair again and apply chapstick. They study their spelling words for the day.

8:00 am Rest stop—I take the children to the restroom, Benedetto walks the dogs. Then the boys take the dogs, girls go to the car, husband buys water for all. Back on the road. Start school and start work. I might drive for a while and give B. the opportunity to snooze.

9:00 am I may run into a store that starts with the letter W… (none of these in the city) for certain necessities of life. Kids keep doing school. B. makes phone calls while we’re parked. Fill the car with gas. Last week, we headed to an auto garage about now, and we’re hopeful that all will be well this time.

9:15 am Back on the road.

11:30 am We stop for restrooms. Dogs are walked and they eat lunch that we carry with us. Kids get sandwiches from cooler and more water, sometimes fast food, their once/week excitement. Too much gourmet food is too much for them to handle. Everyone stretches their legs for 5 min. After lunch, we might talk for a few minutes or listen to uplifting music. If you see an SUV rocking down the road, it’s probably all of us, singing. Back to school and work.

1:30 pm Estimated time of arrival at the dacha. Clothes are hung up from the suitcases, might vacuum black dog hair now blowing like tumbleweeds around the edges of rooms, or mop a sticky kitchen floor. Mind over matter—if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. We empty the cooler of food brought from one house to another. Everyone brushes their teeth and gets back to school. Dogs go for a walk.

2:40 pm Change clothes and apply sunscreen. Kids get ready for sports. (Our kids do not play M-W-F or Tues-Thurs-Sat sports–just not enough time.)

3:00 pm Three go to sports, one goes grocery shopping with Benedetto. Just me and the dogs at home. Ahhh…. shhh… I might exercise with a DVD, or do more work on the computer.

5:00 pm By now, the troops should be home and showered. We discuss what they’ll be talking about with Dyedushka (grandpa – my dad) by Skype. Best not to let things go without being scripted…. Set the table and have dinner. Each child reads a paragraph in English and in Russian from their diary, using at least 2-3 spelling words in the entry. After dinner, I read a chapter from a motivational adventure book of some sort, always cliffhangers. I love the looks of torture, right when we get to the part… where….!

6:30 pm Talk with Dyedushka or watch ourselves on TV. Usually, we vote for Dyedushka. The dogs naturally have to appear, as well, and “talk”, too.

7:00 pm Finish homework, chores, work.

8:00 pm Maybe watch a brief movie or old TV program from Netflix, piling on the couch, on the floor, dogs on top of us. I am often working during these times of relaxation, hemming pants or sleeves, sowing the odd button, more computer work….

9:00 pm Kids get ready for bed. Clothes are laid out for the next day. Schoolwork is in its place for the morrow. Benedetto reads to them and prays with them. Oldest might be up till 10:00, maybe working out with weights for awhile.

9:30 pm Adult time! Woo-hoo. Connect, finish up work, walk the dogs. Make a list of what to do the next day.

11:00 pm This would be an early bedtime, but hope springs eternal…. Finish whatever needs finishing.

(This schedule does not factor in emergencies, evening meetings, or the other normal issues of life, whether birthdays or special events, or any of the hundreds of things we all need to do. But you get the idea.)

Does everyone else have fairly set schedules? Please, someone, tell me you’re living a normal life. (Then send me your shoe pictures, tee hee.)

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12 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Kathleen says:

    This was inspiring. I’m thinking that if you can do this, then so can I. Maybe?

  2. avatar Shelley says:

    Is that really you, Alexandra? (passed out?) Do you use photos of yourself or the family or are these all somebody else?

    • avatar admin says:

      Yes, ’tis moi. The question is: who’s snapping these photos??? And why does my hair look reddish? It’s blond….

      My girls were in the Passover photo of a few weeks back, etc. There have been some of the boys walking with their father, or all of the kids with him. They all pop up occasionally–should I label them? 🙂

  3. avatar Winnie says:

    Curiosity compels me to ask, does your work force all this traveling to and from different houses or what? I just can’t imagine doing all that travel on such a regular basis. I get that shlepping around from one abode to another is probably easier than a road trip to grandma’s (I’m thinking you have duplicates of hairdryers, asprin, and favorite pillows at each house) but I’d REALLY get tired of all that.

    • avatar admin says:

      Yes, Winnie, it’s pretty much work-related. Though a change of scenery is nice…. If you can swing it, you might want to pack a travel duffel of special necessities for grandma’s (duplicate stuff) to just grab and go and that could make it easier for you, too….

  4. avatar Ivanka says:

    I have got to hurry and get to bed before you get up for the day.
    No wonder I am unable to accomplish anything. I am sleeping entirely too much. How do you read books, magazines, the Bible, keep up with current events, exercise, homeschool, shop, dress, cook, eat, learn 5 languages, travel etc. You are wonder woman and you don’t waste time sleeping. I am inspired. Let me think, what time should I set my alarm to go off in the morrow? 3 hours sleep or 4…better not start off too sleep deprived. It is a big week.

    • avatar admin says:

      Ivanka, naps are good and sleep IS important–on those one or two days when I don’t get enough…. From what I understand, there will be plenty of time to sleep when you fly to Ukraine… IN JUST A FEW DAYS!!! Woo-hoo…. (Yes, children, do not copy this schedule, and do not try any new schedule on a “big week”…)

  5. avatar Kathleen says:

    As I was wishing I could linger in bed a couple more minutes on this rainy morning before getting my crew up and off to school, I thought of you. You probably already had a half day of work in by that time 🙂

  6. avatar SLB says:

    Looks like we now know who the US Marines got there slogan from…. “We do more before 6AM than most people do all day.”! I agree with Kathleen. This was inspiring.

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