Archive for August, 2011

Family Reunions

Summer just seems to be the time for getting together with family. One of my favourite summer memories as a kid was the family reunions that we had on my dad’s side of the family. My dad came from a family of twelve kids, and then added to the mix were his aunts and uncles and their families. We had so much fun playing together, swimming, tag…

I especially remember the crazy merry-go-round at the playground, where all the kids jump on as it’s moving and hang on for dear life, while a couple of kids run along the outside trying to make it go as fast as possible. I actually don’t remember anyone getting hurt on that one either; a miracle in itself!

With so many cousins around there was always someone to play with. I loved the fun and laughter when everyone got together. None of my aunts or uncles were especially quiet, and once everyone started talking and laughing, it would just get louder and louder. We had so much fun all together that I was sure one day I would have twelve kids of my own. People get a little quiet when I tell them I have five kids – I wonder what reaction my grandma got with twelve!

Anyway, this summer we’ve had a chance to enjoy a few family reunions. And when I look at my kids playing with their cousins, I hope when they grow up they have the same great memories that I have of time with spent with family.

This weekend we had a camp out with John’s family. Not everyone could make it  – but 63 of us did! Because it was a regular work weekend, our family wasn’t able to arrive on the Friday, since the reunion was six hours away. So we did the next best thing. We woke up all of the kids at 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning, and arrived by 8:00. A bit crazy, but fun.

Once we woke up, and  had our morning cup of coffee, the road trip was really nice. There was hardly any traffic, and some of the most beautiful scenery around. By about 5:00 the sky was getting light, and mist was rising from all of the fields. It made me realize what I’m missing all those mornings as I sleep in.

The last six miles of the trip were through the bush, on an old logging road. Our trailer bounced and squeaked along behind us, but we made it in once piece. We even arrived before some of the people were up!

We met another vehicle on the single lane road coming out at 7:30 in the morning – who would have thought? They ended up having to back up until the last turn off – with our trailer, there was no backing up or going around.

John’s uncle has a beautiful property on a lake, so peaceful and relaxing. There was so many fun things for everyone to do.

Ready to go tubing


The boys getting brave

Enjoying the sun and water

Kayaking in the sunset

Preparing for fireworks

Fireworks... somehow pictures can never quite capture them...

Moose pancakes for breakfast

What a great way to spend a weekend. It was so much fun to connect with family we hadn’t seen for a while. The two days were over far too quickly, and we were heading back home.

Sleepy, but content


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Simplicity… I’ve been thinking a lot about living simply, in the past year or so. It seems to me that we have too many things… things that have to be taken care of, cleaned, organized, and stored. And so, I’ve been using some of my free time this summer to go through our things, organizing closets, and (trying!) to be ruthless in getting rid of stuff. I’ve never really been a collector, and yet, with five kids, collections just seem to happen.

As I’ve watched world news over the past few weeks, worrying about what is happening in Somalia, it really hit home to me again that many people in the world don’t have the luxury of thinking about living simply. There are so many people whose only goal right now is simply living. I think about the refugees who are literally starving and needing clean water, and I wonder what we can do. We can send money, but really, it’s just a drop in the bucket.

And so, I am simplifying, but with the realization that our our life still would seem the ultimate in luxury to so many people around the world. We just returned from camping, and even the trailer that we use for weekends away is far more luxurious than some of the homes that people live in.

I’m trying to teach my kids that simpler is better. That giving is better than getting. That we need far less than we want. But at the same time… I’m realizing that it really is a luxury to even have to teach our kids to differentiate between needs and wants.











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