Last but not least in the Ronne structure series is the bedtime routine. Bedtime is pretty strictly adhered to in our household. Honestly, it began as a coping mechanism. Ryan and I dated for 2 months before we were engaged to be married. This is probably not something I’d advocate as a wise decision for most people but we felt very strongly that God was in the midst of our relationship, God had ordained our coming together, we were two grown adults having gone through some pretty horrendous life events, and we felt innately and spiritually that we were meant to spend our lives together regardless of whether or not the butterflies stuck around. We were in it for the long haul and in all reality, we had proven ourselves to be faithful in the most extreme circumstances; the deaths of our spouses. However I want to try and justify it, it is probably not something we would look upon very favorably if one of our children wanted to pursue the same path someday; especially as a youngerish being. The old saying of “do as I say, not as I do” just might have to apply if this sort of a situation ever thought it was going to occur.
When we first got married Ryan and I made a conscious decision that we needed to carve out time to get to know each other because our dating was pretty pathetic. We would fly to and from each others homelands every 2 weeks or so but usually one set of kids was involved. We wrote each other like crazy and talked on the phone as much as possible but even through all of that, our blinders were admittedly on. We were in the early stages of love and for all intents and purposes, we just didn’t see each others faults all that clearly initially. We would excuse any annoying habits as “cute” or “introverted” and the laziness that we both could sink into as “love struck.”
Early on in our marriage the days primarily consisted of tending to the needs of a large family. Because of this we decided that the best way to carve out some alone time would be during our evenings together. Therefore, a strict bedtime routine was established. Two years later I still believe that it is a very good idea for us to have an hour or two together at the end of the day without the kids to talk, cuddle, pray, and share the worries, stresses, and joys of the day without the kids interrupting or invading on our precious couple time. They say the best gift you can give your children is that of a good marriage, and I’d have to agree wholeheartedly.
Our bedtime routine is pretty simple during the school year. Kids play until around 7:00 p.m. and then they stumble inside, full of mud, sticks, and stones to pick up the basement while our three year olds pick up the main floor. Mya, Mabel, Jada, and Josh go upstairs to bathe, together, rub a dub dub, four kids in a tub, and the boys go downstairs to shower. Mya and Mabel help the little ones wash their hair and then assist them in putting on their jammies. We have very self sufficient kids, (I think you have to with so many of them) but I’m not super particular about perfection either. As I detailed in the post, Not That Mom, I’m ok with a few bubbles left in their hair at the end of the day. Luke is bathed and jammied right after dinner and around 7:25 he gets a night time cocktail of chocolate milk and melatonin to help soothe his little soul into sleepy land.
The babies are put to bed straight out of the tub, and the big kids all meet in the family room at 7:30 for devotions. If they are not in the family room at 7:30 they forfeit devotions and go to bed. Otherwise, while I read stories to Josh and Jada and tuck them in for the night, Ryan is reading the Bible to the older kids. When I arrive downstairs we each pick a prayer head, which is just a Popsicle stick with friends and family’s heads cut out of that year’s Christmas cards and then glued to the top. This is your prayer person for the evening.
We go around in a circle, clock wise, each taking turns to thank God for one thing that occurred during the day and to pray for our prayer head. The kid’s prayers are pretty generic in nature and go exactly like this, (all of them) “Dear God thank you for so and so, please help them to stay healthy and strong and to get a good nights sleep, Amen.” If you sent us a Christmas card, you can rest assured that you get prayed for often in the Ronne household. By now, it’s about ten minutes to 8:00, everyone gives and gets hugs and kisses, and off to bed. Ryan has one last descent to the basement where he puts Luke down. Daddy brushes his teeth, sings him a song, and hands him his special green blankie. When that job is complete, mommy and daddy find our special corner on the couch together, look each other in the eyes and scream
William Wallace style (aka Braveheart)
Not really, that might disturb the sleepy brood and we certainly are not willing to risk that occurring.
The kids are allowed to read in bed until 9:00. Josh and Jada also have books in their bedroom that they look at until they fall asleep. I’m not a huge fan of music or cd’s in the rooms. I’m sure it can be soothing, but I’d rather encourage real reading. This seems to be boding well for our family because all of our older kids (not Luke) read above average, three of them far above average, not to toot their horns or anything…..That’s it, pretty simple and effective until next time!
Just keep livin!!