I'm sure a lot of you have spent lots of time with family this summer, maybe even big family vacations or long visits. It is one of the best things about the slower pace of summer, being able to have a leisurely visit. My brother and his family have been here visiting for the past ten days, and will be here for a total of two weeks, which is an amazingly long visit. And even though it isn't really the best time for a vacation for me, due to the ever-looming pile of orders waiting for me in both studios, having them here has forced me to slow down a little bit and enjoy what summer in Vermont has to offer, for which I am grateful. My friends up here and I often lament the fact that we never do the lovely summer things we intend to do, like hike and swim and even just sit around on the porch drinking iced tea. So I am very glad I made myself take the time to go swimming at Buttermilk Falls, our friends' pond, the town pool, and today at Lake Rescue. We've also been to Bromley Mountain Adventure Park, cooked hot dogs and s'mores over an open fire, the little boys caught frogs and went fishing, and we've all done some good puzzling over mysterious pond creatures.
But with a large group of people always comes the problem of how to feed them all, and really, who is going to do all those dishes? How does your family deal with this challenge? I'd really love to hear, so please leave some of your ideas in the comments! Ever since I was very small my family has created a daily chart to try to evenly split up the work (and fun) of feeding a small hoard. My mom has always said that vacations for her when we were small children was "just a change of sinks." And so as soon as we were old enough we got drafted into service. The chart with a family of 4 was pretty simple. But now with a combined family of 9, look what we have come to:
I mean just creating the chart is a huge challenge in itself. Luckily I have an older brother who loves to sort things into columns. ;p So we have a childcare column (which right now is just taking care of Emmett, which is great for us), a table setting column, cooking, clearing the table and washing the dishes, and then "Riley" is for the people "leading the life of Riley," or in other words, just relaxing and doing nothing. And somehow I just realized this year that the only way this system works is to absolutely not feel guilty about being Riley when it is your turn, and really enjoy it, or otherwise you just feel like you are cooking and cleaning all the days long.
Of course Olivia does almost nothing except lick the occasional plate and generally be in the way. But she looks good doing it, doesn't she?
So that's how we do it. It's a lot of work feeding 9 people every lunch and dinner! I don't know how those big old farm families did it on a daily basis! There must be a trick to it, and you probably don't make lobster pasta much. But for 14 days we are going all out!