Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Day in the Life

Our apartment, our little haven (this spot is off limits to residents).  Down the hall is 3 bedrooms and a bathroom.
OK, I thought I would make a post up about this for all those family members of mine who live a ways a way and don't know all the nuts and bolts of what we do from day to day here at Gateway.  I have thought about doing a post about a typical day for awhile but always had the thought that it's going to come off a bit arrogant - who really wants to know what I do all day? 

But in the end, I am deciding to do it most of all for me to look back on some day.  Because someday this will all be past and I am going to think I was pretty crazy to be doing all this.  But blessed, oh so very, crazily blessed.

6:45AM  Wake up.  Roll out of bed.  Instant regret for not going to bed earlier. Get dressed and do about a 10 minute prayer and devotion time.  Paul heads out in the house to get breakfast for the residents and send them off to school.  I stay back in the apartment to get our own kids around for the day.

6:55AM Owen's up - I spend the next 30 minutes prodding him along to eat breakfast, do chores, get dressed, and head out the door for Kindergarten. 

7:35AM Hug and kiss Owen goodbye.  Thankfully, today my friend Stef is taking Owen to school, since her son Gavin and Owen are in the same class.

Spend the next 15 minutes getting breakfast for Maddie and Hannah, do a bit more reading, enjoy a few sips of coffee...

8 AM Hannah and Maddie hit the floor running.  So very thankful that they stay in bed til 8!

8-9AM  Breakfast, cleaning up dishes, getting little girls dressed, usher them through their chores

More of our apartment, it look this clean just about never (except for picture taking)
9:24 AM  A lady from Adult Services arrives to ask me questions about one of our residents.  This is only supposed to take 30 actually takes an hour and a half.  In the midst of the interview I run back to our apartment to referee a few mishaps between Hannah and Maddie and answer a few phone calls (these only take a few minutes combined, so that cannot be to blame for the extended interview...really).

11:05 As the "lady who takes longer for interviews than what she says" walks out the door, a Parole Officer walks up to the door with our newest (and 7th!) resident.

11:12AM  I realize this resident has come with exactly 1 dose of his medication so I hurriedly start making phone calls and try to track down a prescription so we have meds to give him.

11:27AM  Hop in the van with Hannah and Maddie and take off for CVS to see if they can help me with the medication issue.  An hour, and two squirrelly girls later, we have medication!

12:30 Lunch! Leftovers of whatever we can find in the fridge.  Paul and the new resident take a break from orientation to eat lunch as well.

1 PM-2PM  Spend the next hour cleaning up the kitchen, playing with the girls, trying to keep them quiet so as not to interrupt Paul's orientation with the new kid.  I finally just take the girls outside.

2PM Naptime for Maddie and quiet time for Hannah!  I get them settled in and manage to answer a few emails and make a few appointment phone calls before heading out the door to pick up Owen from Kindergarten.  Paul heads out with the new resident to go get him some clothes - he came with very little.

2:20-3:10PM On the road, picking up Owen and Gavin, dropping off Gavin, and coming back home.

One more shot of our apartment - the door in the middle of the picture leads to the rest of the house
3:15PM  Pull out snack for the residents, catch up with Maria our assistant, go through Owen's school folder and ask him about his day.  Chat with Paul and Maria about our plan for the rest of the day.

3:25PM  Residents arrive home from school - craziness as they wash out their lunch boxes, give us their homework assignments, get a snack, and head back to their rooms for 30 minutes of quiet time.

3:30-4 PM Spend the next 30 minutes trying to set up doctor's appointments and all that is required when a  new resident arrives.

4-5:30 PM The time is spent helping with homework, monitoring peer interaction (i.e. boy and girls in the same house!) spending bits of time with our Owen, Hannah, and Maddie, answering an unreal amount of phone calls, and checking email.  Occasionally a resident is pulled into the office so we can discuss something with them in private, usually about something that happened at school, or confronting them on breaking a house rule (talking about something inappropriate, standing a bit too close to the opposite gender, disrupting the house with their immature behavior, etc) or something wrong that they need to take responsibility for. 

5:30 PM Dinner.  A group therapy session in itself as 13 people sit around the table and discuss a wide range of topics (did you know that hot air balloons have fans that blow them where their need to go?  no?  yeah, neither did I...)  Occasionally  Often awkward and inappropriate things are said and one of us Houseparents step in to bring the conversation back on solid footing.

6-7:25PM  Dish jobs, hanging out, monitoring more resident peer interaction, and getting ready for Wednesday night church.

7:25-9 PM  Paul and our assistant, Maria, head to church with the residents, while I stay home with our 3 kiddos.  I spend the time giving the kids baths, brushing teeth, saying prayers, tucking the kids into bed, breathing a sigh, and completing the daily documentation that is required for this job.

9PM  The crew gets home from church.  The residents grab their medications and a snack and head back to their rooms for the night.  For the next hour Paul, Maria, and I sit in the office and discuss the day, grade the residents (part of the treatment program) and figure out what needs done for tomorrow.

10PM I FINALLY see Paul one on one without residents around.  We chat a bit, unwind with a funny sitcom on Netflix, and fall into bed around 11.

Now, this isn't what happens everyday, but it is a very rough estimate of what does. We don't get a new resident everyday (thankfully!) but just about everything else goes on.  Life feels like one big crazy right now with a full house, and I know it won't always be like this.  We are thankful for God's provision, and that He sustains us through each day.  Some days I want to be somewhere else, but most days I feel purpose in this work.  Showing these kids a stable family structure, one centered around Christ, is something that I know can have lasting positive results.  So, until God shows us differently, we'll keep plugging away here.

Oh, and prayers are always welcome.

1 comment:

  1. As I read, "Who really wants to know what I do all day?" I thought, "Me, me, me! I do!" :D

    Thanks for this post, Nichole! I really enjoyed reading about a day in your life...and I will pray for you more often! :) Love you guys!