This is such a timely post, since my current baby is approaching her second birthday. It's the first time ever that I have not had another baby either in my arms, or very close to entering the world. In fact for now there are no new babies in the near future for us, and while I am enjoying a new stage in our family life, it doesn't come without longing for the precious days that belong to new babyhood. I spent the day with friends who have a three-month-old baby yesterday and actually got to hold their sleeping baby for a long time, and it brought back a flood of memories of what that life is like.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Every year just before summer begins, I have grand ambitions about the school work we're going to do over the summer. Nothing extraordinary of course, just "bridge" work, or little daily things to "keep them fresh". This year the goal was to finish off a few books my kids had not finished in the school year, because way back as a new homeschooling parent I made the mistake of being over-zealous to start a new book in April or May if a child had finished a subject, which means that each of my kids find themselves partway through at least one subject (to be clear, they are partway ahead, but still the idea of not finishing neatly at the end of the school year stresses me out!) And of course, as has happened since the beginning of my homeschool, those plans take a hike somewhere around the second week of summer when I realize one simple thing - we all need a break!
Monday, July 21, 2014
It is a great paradox in my life that while I have never cleaned more often in my life, my house has never looked messier. If you had walked into my home ten years ago, you might look around and say that it was well-kept and clean, when in all actuality the floors had probably not been vacuumed in a week and a mop was something that collected dust in my closet, the toilets were probably deceivingly white despite the many weeks without a good scrubbing, and the pile of dirty dishes was just tucked neatly beneath a cutting board in the sink, keeping them out of sight, out of mind. Today if you walk in, you will likely leave your shoes on because the floor is sticky despite yesterday's vacuum and mopping, the tower of dishes that looms in the sink is likely too large to be hidden beneath anything (and is in fact, just today's dishes, which will be washed in the afternoon as yesterday's were), the bathroom will smell of urine from a little boy who can't get his aim right, and despite the fact that the toilets are sprayed and wiped down nearly every day. I have never cleaned more in my life, and my house has never looked as messy. Appearances can be deceiving.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
One week ago today we undertook our first camping trip with our three oldest boys to attend East 2 West, Canada's biggest Christian Music Festival. Our journey began back in the fall when a friend posted on facebook, "Who wants to go to this with me?" I had never heard of it before, but three of my favorite bands were the main acts each of the nights - Jeremy Camp, The Newsboys, and Third Day. We were given tickets to a Newsboys concert in our hometown a few years ago which we took the boys to, and it was our first shared concert experience with them. It was such a powerful experience to share with them, because contemporary music and worship was such a big part of my conversion, and something I don't often have an opportunity to engage in anymore. Being with the kids at a live event and seeing the way it really resonated with them as it did with us made us eager to attend East 2 West, since it was so close. And so in January, in order to get the early bird prices, we locked in our adventure and bought tickets.
It's so funny to me to look back and see that even when I only had three children, people were contstantly saying, "Wow, you must have your hands full!" And I did, I suppose. But now that the number of children has doubled and that life is so far removed from me, I can't even imagine what it was like now . Those days were so hard and yet, there was grace. I lived one day at a time because I didn't know anything else, and God blessed me richly. We just returned home from a vacation with just our three big boys, and it was such a gift to spend time with each of them without the little ones around. I love the little ones, but life can be consumed with them - which isn't a bad thing, but a little break every now and then helps you to realize that life won't always be this crazy. One day, there will be time to listen to a quiet middle child's story in its entirety, or to toss a frisbee at a beach because you don't need to be stuck to a toddler who might disappear in an instant in a busy crowd. One day there will be time to just be with older children and hear their thoughts, or watch their faces light up at the things that bring them joy. And as a friend whose youngest starts high school in the fall shared with me yesterday, one day too there will be loneliness. One day children will grow up, with go their seperate ways and begin their new lives, and I will find myself longing for the chaos and busyness, the joy that fills these crazy days. As I continue on this path, my prayer is that God sustains me through the trials, and helps me not to take for granted all the goodness that is in the midst of it all - all my children together, under one roof, growing together with me. Such blessed days, and I am truly grateful to be here with them.