Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Large Family Organization...The Sunday Morning Rush

 The Sunday Morning Rush...

Even if you don't have a large family, you know what I am talking about...haha.  The rush around like a chicken with it's head cut off, letting careless words slip, wounding spirits, and then putting on a big smile for those at church.  Well...maybe you don't know what I'm talking about and it's just our family that struggles.  In any event, I though I would share about how I have put the head back on the chicken and slowed things down a bit for Sunday mornings.

When we have to get out the door by a particular time and have everyone presentable, it is a challenge! I found that Sunday mornings were not peaceful in our home and that was frustrating...and my fault.  It doesn't exactly put us in the state of mind to worship when we have been fussing all morning.  So, I started finding little things to assist with a smooth Sunday morning.  Over time, I have compiled a very specific list of things that I need to get done on Saturday evenings to make Sunday mornings work.  If I stick to the list, we can have a peaceful morning, get out the door, and be presentable...most of the time:)  But, when we are running behind, I just have to decide in my heart that it's more important to have a peaceful morning and maintain a good relationship with my family than be on time.  So, sometimes we run on "large family time"...haha!

Here are the things that I do to make Sundays a "Day of Delight".

Music: This might seem like an odd beginning, but hear me out.  Over the years, I have found that some worship or classical music can bring a real peace to the home.  So, during the times that I most want peace in the home, I turn on peaceful music.  I often forget until things start getting crazy but on Sunday mornings, it's great to create an attitude of worship in our hearts. 

Breakfast:  I usually do a "self-serve" breakfast and the older four kids just help themselves to cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, toast, bagels, boiled eggs, etc.. And, we don't worry too much about the clean up.  Right now, we are going through Paul Tripp's marriage class "What Did You Expect" before worship service so we have to be ready even earlier,  However, the kids eat breakfast in their class so that helps out with the morning rush for the earlier departure time. When we are not doing a study before the worship service, the kids eat breakfast before getting dressed to preserve the Sunday clothes and keep us from having to change anyone (again...and again) before leaving.

Clothes:  I make sure that clothes are laid out for everyone in our family...even Peter and I.  This includes socks, shoes, hair bows, diapers, etc.  Anything that each child (and adults too...haha) will need to be completely ready is laid out Saturday night before bed.  Here is a picture of how I lay out the littles' clothes on the changing table.

Church Bag:  Because we have our children sit with us in church, we bring a church bag.  This is a bag that we keep full of things to help them sit still and pay attention.  For the older three (10, 9, and 7), we have notebooks and pencils.  We encourage them to take notes and have created special notebooks to help them get started.  For the littles we bring a sippy cup/bottle, snack, and several "quiet things" like felt books or small toys/games.  I check that all of these things are in the church bag and fill all sippy cups/bottles the night before.  The next morning I can just grab drinks from the refrigerator and the bag is complete.

Diaper Bag:  I check and refill the diaper bag on Saturday evenings to make sure that I have at least two diapers for each baby, plenty of wipes, and a change of clothes for all three of the littles.  I place the diaper bag and the church bag together by the "goodbye couch".

Goodbye Couch:  The goodbye couch is the place where the kids park themselves when they are ready to go...all the way down to hair and shoes.  They sit on the "goodbye couch" with a book or pen and paper.  When everyone is on the couch, we know we are ready to go.  It doesn't always work that smoothly but it does help us to know who is ready and who needs a little help.  And, it's amazing how quickly the littles follow the lead of the older kids and just go sit on (or sometimes by) the couch.

Lunch:  Lunch was a problem for so many years.  Having something ready to eat when you get home with a hungry family is really challenging.  If we know that there is nothing at home, we are tempted to go out to eat and that usually isn't in the budget...haha.  I have started using my crockpot almost exclusively for Sunday lunch.  Last Sunday we made "Chipotle style" burritos.  I have a triple crockpot and so I was able to put roast in one, black beans in another, and corn in the third.  I had the toppings and tortillas ready and made some rice when we got home.  We were ready to eat in 10-15 minutes. 

 If you are looking for ways to make Sundays a day of delight, check out "A Day of Delight" by Doorposts.  This has been one of the most influential books for me in helping our family to enjoy and look forward to Sundays.  I highly recommend it...and they are not paying me to say so...haha.


  1. Excellent tips, Alison. We do mostly all of the above, except for the goodbye couch. We drive 45 miles each way on Sunday morning, so organization is a must! :)
    Hope you're having a wonderful week.
    ~ Lisa

  2. I want a triple crockpot! I thought 4 kids was hard to get ready, lol. ;-)