Family · Summer

Summer Adventures in a Family of Seven

Sometimes I really get a kick out of people’s reaction to how many kids we have. When I tell people that we have five kids, first I’m asked if I’m Catholic, which I am not.

The next question on the list is if I homeschool, which I do. And the look of sheer amazement that follows is amusing to me… as if I should be runner up for the next “Duggar Family TV series” or as if they expect us to break out into a Von Trapp family singsong.

Which I am thrilled about. (The Von Trapp family part). And believe me, we do break out into many songs but more often than not it is the latest trending YouTube kids music artist singing, “It’s a cat flushing the toilet” or “Hamster on a piano”…Not quite standing ovation worthy, although now that I’m picturing it, I can see us doing a twisted remake of the songs and filming our cat on the piano, or flushing a hamster down the toilet (Gasp! Did I actually dare type that?? Yes, yes I did. Hamsters are just the WORST and should not be considered pets. Shudder.)

Moving on.

We are not that picture perfect family. My boys will often leave the house with stained T-shirts and ripped jeans, if I can get them into their jeans that is… More often than not it’s sweatpants again (I hate that this has become a “trendy” teen thing! REALLY?!? SWEATPANTS of all things?!?)

My kids can also be crazy and loud but they are also sometimes really well behaved. They say inappropriate things at the dinner table, but they also can be remarkably mature. They fight like cats and dogs, yet, unlike a lot of siblings these days, really do enjoy being together.

This summer is a unique one for me. Until now every autumn that follows has really been no different from the summer. My kids stay home for schooling and other than my mornings being much busier while teaching, my life doesn’t really change in the fall. However, this year my children will all be in public school come fall. And knowing this, has changed summer for me.

My mind is on the fact that summers will be the only full days that I have with all my children from now on. And I only have five more summers until Isaiah, my oldest, hits 18. That brings me to a place where I want to make the most of these days: Slowing down, being with them, doing the things we love. With this being our goal for the summer, we bought a larger above ground pool. Here I’ve found we have been able to spend many hours being together and enjoying our time together. Everyone likes swimming! Suddenly our five-year-old and 13-year-old have something in common! Put a trampoline next to it (safety first over here 😁) and it becomes a hit for teenagers to hang out.

Next we planned a couple of camping trips. We just finished the first one and now I’m dreading the second! Really. It wasn’t a great experience. That’s an understatement. It was quite literally the worst camping weekend of my life. And I’ve had a lot of bad camping experiences!!

The Storm of the century came through and we ended up spending WAAAY to much time in a little camper, which was cute for sleeping space, but for hanging out was just a little much for me…

Soooo ten hours of Bingo and watching spongebob square pants later:

Not to mention we lost our seven-year-old on the beach for nearly 10 minutes in one of the most terrifying moments of my life. Suddenly I had looked up to count my kids for the fiftieth time and noticed he was missing from where I had seen him last. Scanning the beach, I didn’t see his bright yellow shirt that we dressed him in and so I ran to the bathrooms by the beach thinking that for sure he had gone there and forgotten to tell me. I checked every stall, calling his name, before I started to panic. One lady noticed me and also started calling his name. My husband ran back to the campsite to check there and I began asking people on the beach if they had seen my boy.

No one had seen him.

At this point I was nearly hysterical. His bike was still at the beach as were his sandals so I figured he wouldn’t have gone anywhere else and I already had a group of people on the beach looking for him/calling his name. He was nowhere to be found. I finally began searching the water where I had last seen him, before my friend found him in the washrooms way back at our campsite 😱

He had simply forgotten that there were bathrooms closer to the beach and figured that he wouldn’t make it to the bathroom if he stopped to tell us where he was going. Why he left his shoes and bike behind is still a mystery to me, as it would’ve taken him for longer to run barefoot all the way…

So in all, I have decided that I’m possibly never going camping again unless all my kids have built in tracking devices that beep when they get too far away from me.

Speaking of which we also have swimming lessons coming up in a couple weeks… Drowning is one of those things that absolutely terrifies me, and I think it is so important that kids learn to swim well!

Another thing I’ve also decided to venture in this summer is to try new things when it comes to baking. There are certain things that I avoid making because the’ve never turned out for me. Pastries are one of those things…mainly pies. In the past when I’ve tried making pies it’s always been a disaster. The crust is crumbly and ugly and the pie ends up being too runny. Finally this week I perfected the pie (Made with hand picked berries from when we went camping).

The Perfected Pie:

(Don’t worry, I will be baking the other two as well, but they look so much prettier before coming out of the oven.) They were SO good! I will definitely be making more!

I also want to be more hospitable and so I’m trying to have one family down each week for a meal. This is one thing our generation is losing, the art of hosting and I feel like it’s such an important thing to keep doing! What better way to get to know people (and for them to get to know me) than to I have them in your home where they can see the real you? We like to meet places these days, to keep the mess out of our homes and make things “easier” but I really do feel like we are missing out on so much by doing things this way!

Finally I’ve been trying to keep up with my running a couple times a week and also my Spanish. There’s a little three-year-old girl at church that I talk to in Spanish occasionally. Last week I tried to comment on something and she giggled and said, “Dora??” I had to laugh so hard because I totally picked up that phrase from the show and she caught me 😂😂

Yes I speak Dora Spanish.

I’ve also been really enjoying the view from my front veranda. The farmer across the field decided to plant canola this year and every morning I get to look out on a beautiful sea of yellow. The view is just breathtaking! There’s nowhere else I would rather be than here right now.

So that’s where I’m at! Enjoying life, taking it slow and one day at a time. And trying to keep five kiddos alive…

Let me know what your summer plans are!

Justice · Uncategorized

Fury Like A Woman Scorned

“Heav’n has no rage like love to hatred turn’d, nor hell a fury like a woman scorn’d”

-William Congreve 1697

Some words just seem to stick on us long after we’ve heard them and this quote often dances in my mind.

Of course, this one in particular has usually been misquoted and attributed to William Shakespeare.

The first time I heard it (in its misquoted form of course) I was in grade 9. Someone had hurt my friend and I blasted this particular person with all the pent up rage and defensiveness my tongue could muster without getting me sent to the principal’s office, only to have the boy smirk at me and say, “Hell hath no fury like a woman, that’s for sure!”

His careless attitude got me even more upset and I responded that he hadn’t even seen the beginning of my rage (that much was probably true). But despite being bothered by his amusement of my anger, deep down, I took it as a compliment. The act of defending someone in a “righteous” rage, made me feel a sense of control. Like I had a special kind of anger no man could ever experience: The anger of a woman.

It’s no secret, women in particular are known for their protectiveness and their intense emotions leading to even more intense interactions and conflicts.

It’s why girl fights are often much longer lasting and emotionally damaging then guy fights.

It’s why women in particular are known to have far more friend conflicts than their male counterparts. Women are relational. But when they are hurt they can leave a nasty trial of destruction behind. They don’t call her Mama Bear for nothing.

I’ve been the brunt of some pretty hurtful words, emails, texts and notes in the past…and for the most part, I’ve been able to calm myself down, reacting rationally and even kindly.

But I gotta tell you, nothing, literally nothing gets me as mad as when you hurt someone I love or someone who is unable to defend themselves. It’s as if the protector in me jumps out of my usually passive nature and says:

“Hold on, they may NOT do THAT!!! They won’t get away with it!!”

I am a defender. A brewing storm. An earthquake about to happen. A wild cat, defending it’s territory. A fighter at heart.

The very thing that causes me the most anger is when those in a position of power or authority get away with abuse. The fire within me burns.

How dare they!!

My anger, my rage, longs to see them brought to justice, to see them suffer for all the pain that they’ve brought on innocent, unsuspecting people, those weaker than themselves like the true bullies they are.

I want to see them admit to the wrongs they’ve caused, to see them work to make it right! And until then, no, I do not wish good things for them!

Does one wish the best for the heartless?

For those who reap havoc everywhere they go?

For those in authority who abuse their power by cutting down the weak and the needy and deceive their followers into thinking its for the greater good?

In the end, isn’t the best wish one can have for them is for them to be caught and punished for their crimes? To be brought to justice?

Anger comes over me trying to control that which I have no control over.

After all, isn’t that what anger is? A false sense of control?

How can I say that I trust in God’s judgements if I insist on taking it into my own hands? This lack of restraint is dangerous and in my personal journey, led to me believing a lie that my unchecked rage was somehow a good thing and that lashing out at people was some form of justice.

My heart yearns to rest in a Father who knows and sees all.

He sees my tears.

He knows their injustice.

And he will one day make everything right.

But my mind cries: Will it be enough? Will it be soon enough?

Trust in Him, O my Soul. Trust in the God alone. He will avenge. He will repay. He will reveal the wrongs, even the hidden ones that no one sees.

He is coming to judge the earth.

Sometimes I wonder what he’s waiting for. Isn’t there enough pain? Isn’t there enough unrestrained evil going on?

There’s answers to these questions, this I know, but in the moment of pain and frustration none of the even comes close to comfort.

When will it be enough?

Have you experienced injustice? How do you handle it?