This always seems to surprise people,but I NEED routine. I LOVE having a routine in place. Now, this is NOT the same as having a strict schedule or anything of that manner. I'm really not fond of especially strict schedules...I never have been. When I was pregnant with my Little Valkyrie, someone gave me a copy of Babywise. I read about 5 pages before I chucked it in the bin. If I couldn't strictly schedule MY meals, naps, thoughts, allergy attacks, bowel movements, etc., then how in the heck would I want to do that to a baby?! I will casually mention that we don't follow a schedule and they picture chaos. Some days, it is. However, is very organized chaos! :) I tried, for a brief season, to do a household schedule. However, as usual, life happens and I was left feeling defeated as I watched my 'perfect schedule' become a burr in everyone's bottom. It works for some families, and if it works for you, thats great. It just doesn't work for my family or I. However, routine, for me, is like a warm blanket, a nice cup of tea, and a good book(a REAL book, with pages and everything!)! Cranky Pirate works a very unpredicatable schedule, and Little Valkryie and Little Viking, being 8 and 3 respectively, LOVE to spend time with their dad when they can. I encourage this and love to see them having fun with their dad. So, saying they HAVE to be in bed by 8 when I know their Dad isn't going to be home until 9pm is torture to them. So, I just arrange things for a late nap, let them stay up to have some cuddle time with their Dad and then he will put them to bed. I'm blessed to be able to homeschool the kiddos, so if they don't go to bed until 10 so they could have time with their Dad, I don't have to get them up until 9 or 10 the next morning! Like I say, I get that its not the ideal for many people, but it works wonderfully for our life. Like I said, its all about a nice, general routine. Every day of the week has a task assigned to it. For example, Friday is grocery day, Saturday=Farmer's Market, Tuesday=story time, and so on. I have a list of resposibilies for each child to accomplish by bedtime,which includes things such as making their beds, putting away their toys, etc. I also have a list of chores for myself to help remind me of what I need to get accomplished in a day or any appointments that are coming up. Our routine is flexible. In general, everyone wakes up around 8 or 9. The kiddos come into the living room and I put on a cartoon for them to watch while I'm getting the coffee ready and preparing breakfast and vitamins/meds. We usually have breakfast within an hour of waking up, except for me. I have to wait at least an hour after taking my meds to eat. After breakfast, its time to clean up and get to work. Schoolwork, that is! :) I get Little Valkyrie settled into her lessons for the day, and try to keep Little Viking occupied with busy bags, water beads or, when all else fails, foam soap! I set up Little Valkyries lessons quite a bit ahead of time, and have them set out in folders by the week and day. So, she is able to work ahead if she likes. Some days the lessons take longer than others, but we're currently looking into some things that may be causing that. Its not a big rush though! We take a break for some outside play time about 2 hours after breakfast so everyone's tummy has a chance to settle. Then its back inside to more school work. We have lunch whenever the kiddos get hungry. Usually, its about 4 hours after breakfast. After lunch, regardless of whether schoolwork is finished or not,we have quiet time. Everyone helps to clean up, Little Viking goes for a nap, Little Valkyrie is allowed some reading or video game time and I usually try to do a load of laundry and then curl up on the couch with a book. Little Viking usually wakes up from his nap after about 2 hours, but likes to spend a bit of time 'waking up'. I can hear him from the living room, cooing and laughing and 'reading' a book or playing with a train. He will spend anywhere from 30-45 minutes doing this before he asks for me to come get him. While he is waking up, I sort out any work that Little Valkyrie may have left unfinished, but this usually isn't the case. We will then have a snack and its out the door for any errands we may need to run. I try to make sure they have PLENTY of playtime in the evenings, so they will be good and worn out for bedtime. Then I'll make dinner, and after that its bath, story time and bed! Sometimes bedtime comes at 8, sometimes it doesn't come until 11. It just depends on the day and the current circumstances. I try to stay as flexible as possible, especially since I'm having a baby soon. This gives the kids a sense of stability, without putting strict requirements on anything. For now, it works for us, and for me, the priority is keeping a happy house and running it to the glory of God. This is my calling and my mission, and I do things in accordance with what I have been convicted to do for my family and the plan God has for me. This is all I can do, so even though it may not look ideal from the outside, for now, its exactly how its supposed to be.