For my RR Ukraine chat folks... here's how I stay sane :)
Every weekend prepares for the week ahead...
Sunday I defrost babyfood for the week for Micah.
I pull out clothes for the school week for all 4 kids and put them in hanging-baskets in the guest room closet.
And I use lots of reusable containers
To make big packages of food items
into smaller servings.
Then I put together lunches for the kids in gallon-size (reusable) zipper baggies and store them in the fridge drawer
On school nights I go to the closet and pull out the kids' clothes and put them on the table in front of the TV... which happens to be next to the changing table :) I also round up shoes to make sure we're not hunting in the morning (the shoe basket is right there too). (Micah has 'helped' tonight... he loves to empty this table and I usually do it AFTER he's in bed!)
I pull out the zip baggies of lunches and put them into the kids' lunch boxes and make whatever still needs to be done- mixing a pediasure/milk cup for Brianna, making a sandwich for Kristopher... little things that need to be fresh. I leave the lunch boxes unzipped in the fridge overnight.
Then in the mornings we get the kids up, dressed (with shoes on), and they go right to the table. If I had time the night before I'll get breakfast drinks/bottle together... if not it just takes a minute :). When the kids are done eating they get medicine and their teeth brushed and by then it's been almost an hour and it's time to start out to the car. We grab ice packs and slide them into the lunch boxes, put those in the backpacks and head out the door.
After school, backpacks are emptied and hung on their pegs (under the pegs right now are Micah's school supplies waiting for his 1st day of school ;) ).
When the folders are emptied, I look at the kids' class papers and make sure their name and date is on it and they go into this vertical file. Folders go right back to the backpacks.
This was $1 at Target and it has 5 slots... 1 for each of the school-age kids and one in the back for paperwork that's general to the school or all the kids. Then I don't have a pile of papers to go through later on :) Eventually I'll go through and trash stuff and keep stuff... but for now it's at least all in one place! (yes, that's only the last few days of paperwork--- see how it becomes a paper MESS quickly??) And Mike can look back at the kids' papers if he wants to since he's not home at the end of school. I also can find the newsletter, school handbook, or IEP notice without too much trouble :)
After the backpacks are emptied, lunch boxes come to the table and I put the kids in their seats for a little snack and drink. Anything left from lunch goes first, and if they don't have anything left then I'll get a snack from the pantry. Kristopher empties his lunchbox, dirty containers in the sink, ice packs away, etc... and I do the other kids'. Kristopher puts all the lunch boxes back in the cubbies.
I bring the vertical file in to the kitchen and use this as a chance to talk to Brianna and Emma about their papers and their day at school. (Usually K tells me about his as we unpack the bags.) I also take all the kids' shoes off... there's something about bare feet that make the kids happy to be home :)
So... for about an hour after we get home, the time is spent unpacking, cleaning up from school, snacking, and talking about the day. I think this time is one I want to keep "built in" for as long as we can... it not only keeps school stuff organized, but it gives the kids something to expect and transitions them from "structured" time at school to "play" time at home. When homework is introduced to the picture I'm sure this is where it will be added in too. It keeps things from being a "run into the house for a free-for-all" LOL :)
There's a little about how we function now that school is in :) I'm sure things will change when Micah starts school (can't make him a week of bottles in advance LOL) and again when the baby is born, but hopefully having some set routines will help the kids make that transition both into school and with the new baby too! And hey... it keeps me sane :)