The overture of joy experienced when you combine the right amount of structure with the right amount of spontaneity in your life.

And I think I’ve found it! 

The structure is made up of broad strokes and flexible details:

  • Get up
  • Eat
  • Get out of the house
  • Eat 
  • Nap/Learn
  • Eat 
  • Outside/Games
  • Bedtime Routine

I figured out each day naturally follows a rhythm and our day has THIS cadence. 

I could have added in time out as there are a few specific times of day when the whining exceeds the laughing. But maybe I’ll tackle discipline next month….

The Bears List Goals

One thing that has stood out to me is this category “learn.” This time is in the general 1-3 pm time frame, and historically it’s been naptime (and still is for Quinn and Anni–when she listens to me–so far she’s a free spirit too). 

But a couple times last week we glided through the afternoon without fixed naps for the 4 and 5 year old and instead we did quiet learning activities and reading skills. 

Didn’t school just end you ask. Yes, but I have only just discovered how much fun the kids have practicing letters and reading and more. Maybe because Anni is growing up??? 

At the beginning of the week I asked each kid what their goals were for the summer. Here are some: 

Alex listed off: 

  • Ride his bike 🚴🏼 CHECK!
  • Tie his shoes
  • Float 
  • Spell long words 
  • Add double digits 

Audi announced:

  • Finish Lego set alone
  • Read sight words
  • Blow bubbles underwater CHECK!
  • Count to 100

Lucas listed:

  • Add numbers
  • Read big and small letters 
  • Swim underwater 
  • Count to 50

Quinny’ quips: 

  • Watch TD (TV)
  • Put on own shoes CHECK!!
  • Build Legos 
  • Go potty

Anni’s easy:

  • Sleep more
  • Eat more
  • Play more
  • Grow more 

So I took all these goals (mostly made up by the kids, but I helped them brainstorm too!) and typed in their goals onto a freebie chart I found online.


It turns out the Bears like putting stickers on their goals! And having these big goals helps me remember what each kid is working toward, which means I can encourage them to earn those stickers. 

The Big Surprise 

Now the most surprising piece of my month of discovery into our daily lives is the helpfulness of bath time! 

We joke about the fact the kids get a bath once every two weeks. The truth is that’s about right, but it’s mostly because giving five kids a bath every night seems impossible! 

One mom and five kids? Too tough! But as it turns out, I realized I don’t have to do bath time alone now and more, the routine actually helps! And now that Anni is eating solids (aka covering herself in vegetables) it really makes sense to dunk her daily. 

So as it turns out I do enjoy a fair mix of structure in our lives as long as it combines with a decent amount of flexibility in the details. 

Like this afternoon two kids took quiet learning time upstairs (writing sight words on whiteboards) while yesterday they read books on the couch. And tonight three kids got baths while last night all five took the plunge. 

My joyture: tomorrow can be totally different, completely the same, or everything in between but there will be eating, coming, going, learning, eating…and bath time for at least one Bear! 

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