Practicing her big sister skills for this summer.
She’ll be a pro.
~ Jac & Scott
Life is good.
Not perfect – but I have a feeling that if it were perfect we wouldn’t have any reminders to be thankful. Or even more importantly… to seek God.
I am almost done with photo shoots for the year! The last two months seemed slightly crazy at times. Like, what am I thinking, my house is a disaster, my kids just had cereal for dinner, when was the last time I bathed the baby, crazy… But I’ve had some seriously amazing sessions and I’m excited about some upcoming plans!
Scott kept taking pictures of me at a wedding we shot together this year.
We are also caught up on homeschooling! More than a quarter of the way through the year. It seems to be going more smoothly than some past years. Other than Keona and Algebra… but that’s another story. We may be ordering DVD’s for highschool math from now on. I know people think that I must have some super power amount of patience… but I don’t! Ha… If teaching Jed to read didn’t break me (or him), and we made it through teaching the triplets fractions and converting percents to decimals, surely we can make it through Algebra! Or not… time will tell.
Ella is one spicy little elf. (Her new nickname) She is incredibly smart. She could be done kindergarten and be reading books by now, but she has NO drive. She would rather go and play with Lily. Sometimes I just wait until naptime to do work with her because it’s so much quicker than when Lily is up. I kind of kill two birds with one stone that way too… Lily is happy with Ella, and they both let me get the work done with the bigger kids! Well, the other day the boys were done school early and Ella wanted to go play with them at naptime. When I told her, “No, we have to do your reading practice first.” She was not impressed. I asked her to give me a minute to finish checking the triplets’ work and she disappeared. Not 30 seconds later, I heard a big BANG! Then another. I’m trying to figure out where it’s coming from, when I hear another, and another… She slammed my bathroom door over and over again. Eight times to be exact. I counted… Now I was not impressed. I don’t even know where that came from. None of the other kids slam doors. Needless to say, she sat at the school table for a VERY long time after that.
On a happier note- we got our Christmas cards in the mail!
And just in case you were wondering… This is what Scott does while I’m trying to wrangle 8 kids together for a picture…
I forgave him because he saved the day by cheering Lily up when I thought she was toast.
Christmas is just around the corner. Scott and I are coming up with some fun events for the family in December. I have not even started my Christmas shopping. I take that back. I bought 2 very small gifts. I’m in trouble. I hate going to the mall in December. Every year I vow to be done before then, and every year I still end up running out for a few last minute things. The kids have started working on their memory verses for Christmas. I guess Lily felt left out, because she grabbed a blank piece of paper and lined up with them!
I’m sure I have other stories to tell, like how Eve and Prayer wanted the same haircut so they could “be like twins!” And how they tried to convince Charity to get the same haircut too, so they could be “like triplets”… And how they Eve and Charity plan to get the same glasses as Prayer so no one can tell them apart.
She actually got this style… but in brown. :)
Or how Scott and I drove around for an hour and went to 6 different stores looking for 3D glasses for the kids to use to watch a movie. After finding everything in 3D except for the ACTUAL glasses (how are people seeing all these things in 3D with no glasses!?!?) I found a YouTube tutorial on how to make your own. After making 7 pairs of them, I went upstairs and found the kids watching the movie on the normal setting, with the glasses all on the floor. Apparently they were too blurry… Or how Lily’s new favourite saying is, “Too bad!” (Actually it’s more like “Do bad!”) She still says, “Mo!” Instead of “no”. And she can now sing several songs perfectly in tune. It’s scary actually. You may not be able to make out the words, but the notes are there. My baby is turning 2 this month!
Speaking of my baby… she was rolling back and forth across the couch tonight just laughing her head off. I kept telling her to be careful, which was met by an, “Otay, Mom!” Every time. After about 20 minutes of it I pulled out my phone to record it and send to Scott at work. The very next roll, she completely misses the couch and somersaults on to the floor… I can’t bring myself to post it. The thud is… disturbing. She was fine. She cried for a minute and then watching the video on my phone actually cheered her up! She must have watched it twenty times while saying, “Punny! Again?!” Every time she rolled off the couch and hit the floor.
And to end… a rainbow. Just because it was the most beautiful rainbow I’ve ever seen. Prayer and I pulled the car over and ran out into a farm field to take the picture. Then I called Scott and told him to meet me outside. I got him to hop in the car and drove him over to see it too. Prayer (my little artist) and I agree that you cannot compete with God’s handiwork!
A few weeks ago, Scott and I had a little argument. Actually, it wasn’t even an argument. It went something like this…
I was on the phone with a client in my living room (my first mistake- ha!) and he interrupted my conversation to tell me not to book anything on the date we were discussing. I hand-motioned for him to be quiet and he got louder… (turns out he had a surprise 30th birthday party planned for me that day- but I thought we were just going out for a few hours that afternoon) Anyhow, then my phone call got cut off and a kid walked in and started asking for food over and over again while I basically told Scott off for interrupting a business call like one of the kids. (Harsh and uncalled for, I know…) My phone rang again and I picked it up while he got his stuff ready and had to leave for work. I booked the session for another day, hung up the phone, and turned to see Ella sitting there beside me. She had been there the entire time. She smiled sweetly and asked to use my phone to play Temple Run. I took a moment and realized that Scott had left for work. I felt horrible for the way I had reacted and told Ella that I had to call Dad first to apologize for being mean to him. She very matter-of-factly looked at me and said, “But he was rude to you when you were on the phone first.” I explained to her that it didn’t matter if he was rude first, or if he was rude at all- but that it was wrong of me to talk to him like that and I owed him an apology. She patiently sat beside me while I called him and apologized (he was understanding and forgiving- as usual) and when I hung up she said, “Can I play on your phone now that you said sorry to Dad?”
We have a great marriage. One of the best. (I think!) But we aren’t perfect. We don’t always agree. We argue from time to time. Actually, we are both really good at it. Arguing that is… We get loud every once in a while – but we know how to forgive. I’ve heard people say that you shouldn’t argue in front of your kids, and I wonder how realistic that is.
I’ve realized how important it is for them to see grace. To see that mom and dad aren’t perfect, (like they didn’t already know that!) that we humble ourselves to apologize when we’re wrong, and that we show one another grace. One of their favourite “remember the time!” stories is when Scott and I had gotten into an argument about something, and he left the house and came back with flowers and a movie. “And we all had a fun night after that!”
They saw his works.
They were too young to comprehend why we were fighting, the need to apologize, or the concept of grace at the time – but they saw, and remember, his works. It was such a small event. Half an hour on a Friday night, that they still remember and smile about 6 years later. We don’t hold grudges. We don’t get bitter. We may be a little blunt sometimes. Ok… most of the time… but I wonder if the presence of grace isn’t what makes our marriage so strong.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard my kids argue or fight. (Today! Ha…) But seriously, I also can’t count the number of times I’ve sat back and watched one go up to another and say, “I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have…”
Met with a, “That’s OK. I shouldn’t have… either.”
Is that a natural response? It isn’t for me! I hate apologizing. Especially when I think I’m right! I’ve been known to say, “I’m sorry that YOU felt I was wrong…” To which Scott usually laughs and then I give in with a real apology. I don’t know if it comes naturally to anyone, but I do know that once you’ve experienced God’s grace in your own life- you have no right not to show it to others.
We were driving to church one day when the triplets were babies and I was really mad at someone. Scott asked me if I was going to do something for them (I can’t even remember what it was or why I was mad) and my response was, “No. She doesn’t deserve for me to give her anything.” He looked at me while we were at a stop light and said, “Wow. Good thing God doesn’t treat you like that.” I had no response. I had no excuse. I’ve never forgotten it.
What if God only extended as much grace to me as I was willing to show to others?
Having Ella ask me why I was apologizing when someone else had wronged me, gave me a chance to teach her a lesson. But I know that my example, my works, is what she’ll follow and what she’ll remember. So I’m not against our kids knowing that we have disagreements or that we occasionally argue. Would it be better if we never did? Sure. But in the mean time, hopefully they learn that when we fail (which we will), and when we’re willing to humble ourselves and make things right, God (and Mom and Dad) are always there waiting to show us grace.
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
-1 Peter 4:10
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
- Matthew 5:16
When we married back in 2000 we decided that rather than go into debt we would wait for 5 years or so and then have our honeymoon. Five years later we had 5 kids… So after 13 years and 8 kids, thanks to lots of help, gifts, and about 10,000 airmiles, we finally got our honeymoon in the Caribbean together. :)
(Scott) The Sunrise! We made time, and went to bed early enough so that we could see the sun come up together. It was also the best time to have a secluded spot on the beach.
(Jac) This was one of the highlights for me. Since we were teenagers, we’ve loved watching sunrises and sunsets together. On one of our first dates, we sat on my parents back porch under a big blanket and watched the sunset together. With Scott working nightshift, we don’t see many sunsets together and we aren’t awake for many sunrises. Having the time to watch the sunrise AND the sunset together for an entire week – was amazing.
(Scott) This hat saved my life… The sun is very mean. We saw some much uglier hats which made me feel better wearing it.
(Jac) I was in awe of the pink in the sand. I’ve been to white sand beaches in Jamaica and in Florida, but I’ve never seen sand like this.
(Scott) Outside of our room was a garden?? Do gardens have Palm trees? It was more like a private jungle with plenty of wildlife every day.
(Scott) The best part about these lizards everywhere was watching Jac fail trying to catch them all week…
(Jac) I did try to catch a lizard. They are way too fast! I honestly just wanted a picture of me holding one to send to Jeddy. I managed to get one in my hand, but it slipped through my fingers before I could get a good grip. I blame my failure on Scott making me laugh so hard every time I was trying to sneak up on one.
(Scott) Do Beach security get paid? We saw police patrolling this path quite a bit too. This is our view from our table everyday at breakfast and lunch.
(Jac) The table where we sat was at the opposite end of the restaurant from the buffet. We wanted the view and the breeze. Apparently everyone else was there for the food, because we were all by ourselves over here with the beach view.
(Jac) I never did take a picture of these seashell chandeliers at night. They were easily the size of a vehicle, and absolutely beautiful when lit.
(Scott) A light snack in the middle of the day.
(Jac) They call it lunch… :P
(Jac) This was the train that drove around to all the different places. There were two of them and they were supposed to come by every 10 minutes. Our tour guide warned us that it was ‘island time’… and 10 minutes could mean 15 or 20. Haha.
(Scott) If this place didn’t burn my head and my feet I would have spent some time here. It was completely empty and completely amazing.
(Jac) This was the view from the lounge. It was a rooftop patio that was completely surrounded by a river/waterfall. You can see the edge of it in this picture.
(View From The Room)
(Scott) When we arrived on Friday night, it was pitch black and pouring rain. We couldn’t see anything out the window. When we got up the next morning, I couldn’t help but video the view we started off with. We couldn’t quite see the sunrise from our 3rd floor porch, so we went down and grabbed a chair on the beach 10 mins after this.
(Jac) “Pouring” is an understatement. Everyone looked like they had gone for a swim in their clothes. Leaving a building was like walking through a waterfall. The tires were almost submerged in water… Very thankful that we didn’t see rain like that again during our stay!
(Scott) The poor girl looked like she was going to cry when I was up 358 to 74… but as usual she got her hate on and came back. We had some fun games without interruptions. It was usually our way of getting a break in the air conditioning for an hour or so in the afternoon.
(Jac) Umm… Cry? Really? I won’t mention all of the ping pong games I beat Scott at. Or our last three games of pool…
(Scott) I opened my eyes from a nap and saw this, snapped, and then went back to sleep.
(Scott) I personally feel like my landscape pics were superior. She is jealous of my skills with my 4s.
(Jac) I am pretty impressed with some of Scott’s pictures. There were times when I was relaxing and didn’t feel like or think to take a picture, and he’d pull out his iPhone and my Olloclip lenses and start snapping away. I brought my real camera but it spent the majority of the week in our room staying safe from sand and water.
(Scott) Another of my shots… mhmm. The darker part of the sky is a shaded area behind a big cloud blocking part of the sunset. The sun set behind us, so the sky was amazing over the east sky as it dropped below the horizon. Also another time when the beach was empty. :)
(Jac) Had to do a few pans of the beach.
(Scott) The market scared me a little at first, because I am very white, and had never been out of Canada/America before. But once I started to get to know some of the people I began to get a strong burden for them, and realized how desperate they really were to make a sale.
(Jac) I kinda knew what to expect walking into the market from being in Jamaica. I was less nervous here. At least no one was trying to hand me voodoo dolls. I was quickly reminded why you don’t stop to shake hands though- as the very first guy tried to pull me into his shop. We heard over and over again, “Ohhh! Canada! Very friendly people. Always smiles!”
(Scott) Eddy #5! Go here and buy paintings from him! He directed us over to “Mamalady”, his neighbour, for our need of bandanas for our excursion.
(Jac) After over an hour of bargaining, we finally came to a deal with Eddy when he added on one more stipulation… “And a coke.” So we brought him a cold Coke along with the money for our paintings.
(Scott) The detail in some of the artwork at Eddy’s shop was breathtaking to me. I would have bought a couple more paintings if we hadn’t been near out of money from the first set!
(Scott) No I did not wear this shirt all week long, it just happened to make a lot of pictures… lesson learned. :P
(Jac) I gave up on straight hair and makeup after the first day of the waves splashing salt water and mascara into my eyes…
(Scott) “Hey! Get out of my shot!” These guys kindly moved 50 metres up the beach for me so I could get some pics of what was the most amazing horizons in the history of horizons.
(Scott) This was the spot where a school of thousands of fish swam right up to the shore to escape the clutches of a pelican. I grabbed my snorkel and followed them for a few minutes until all 10,000 of them turned at once and looked at me… then I swam away…
(Jac) I was reading a book when I hear Scott yell at me, “Bring me my snorkel! Hurry!” And he was off… We had gone snorkeling the day before as well. I panicked the first time I went out with it and gasped for air. Big mistake… I sucked in water through the nose part and was choking on salt water while treading water and trying to readjust the snorkel. I was OK after that… I found a huge starfish while we were out and pointed to it to show Scott under the water. I motioned that I was going to swim down and get it and he just kept shaking his head ‘no’. It was probably a good thing, cause I would have gone after it- but had a big fish come while I was down there… I may have passed out. I had to swim above one the size of a throw pillow and I was pretty creeped out by it. It was amazing to sit in waist deep water and watch the little ones swim all around us though.
(Scott) We decided to go to one of the shows that was a family of magicians… interesting. However, the nice waitresses kept bringing me Sprite and Cappuccinos. It made it more tolerable.
(Jac) I am glad that I brought tea bags from home…
(Jac) Another favourite part… Driving the dune buggies around we passed by so many homes. Just shacks, but homes. Little kids standing out front waving as we drove by. We passed by a hut where there were 4 kids out front and a little girl, maybe 4, was bathing her baby sister in a bucket on the front lawn. A young mom was holding a toddler while she hung laundry on branches. It was good for my heart to be reminded of the reality of the place.
(Scott) Psychotic undertow… I’m not going in!
(Jac) He exaggerates. Chicken… :P This was the most beautiful beach that I’ve ever seen in person.
(Jac) It was here that I got a picture with a lizard finally. A guy handed me his Iguana and Scott took a picture. Then he tried to put it on my head and I felt it instantly gripping my curls with its claws. I politely declined having it put on my head. Then the guy says to Scott, “Two dollars a picture.” Right… We gave him a dollar and he was happy. We gave out some gum to the local kids who were selling handmade hats and saved the rest of our cash for a cheesy souvenir mug with our picture on it. :)
(Jac) One of the many homes we passed.
(Jac) Path down to the beach at sunrise. It was down two flights of stairs and then a 20ft walk to the beach from our room.
(Jac) It really was beautiful at night.
(Scott) You can see in the background the pool and ping pong tables. While we were playing, being that we were the only people there, we kept getting brought Cokes.
(Jac) We were sitting in the lobby one day and noticed that everyone who came in to the resort took a picture standing in the middle of the giant chess board. (We did that too our first day there!) But no one played! We were the only people that we saw play the game all week.
(Scott) Without Skype there would have been some very sad parents in the Dominican. However, we were able to use the WIFI at the hotel to chat with the kids every day.
(Jac) This made it all so much easier. Technology is amazing.
(Brighten your day Sunrise)
(Scott) I know lots of places have great sunrises and beaches and seclusion, but during this week I was actually up and had time to watch it! There are a couple of others on my YouTube Channel for those who need a break from the concrete jungle for a couple of minutes.
(Scott) I’m so romantic. :P
(Jac) It was our honeymoon and all… He’s usually not the romantic type but he brought home a freezer ziploc of sand and we have it sitting out in a big flat dish to dry and he keeps drawing hearts in the sand at home for me too.
(Scott) The Ikea was the size of a Payless. This is a pic from the bus as we headed back to the airport.
(Scott) I got the window on the way home. We were facing east. The sun was setting in the windows on the other side. My phone could barely pic up the sky but I was amazed with how the grey sky was so blue in this pic.
(Scott) Toronto. Burden and fervour renewed. Endless rows of people.
(Scott) I hate you, baggage claim. I hate your 30 minute wait after we stampeded through customs like a boss and then had to wait like cows in a stall forever. It was a strange feeling as we drove away from the airport and I realized our trip was done.
(Jac) I really should have taken a picture of the lime green suitcase my mom bought me for my birthday. It was great. You could see the glow before it came out from behind the curtains!
(Jac) It was worth the 13 year wait for a honeymoon.
(Scott) God blessed so many little details of our trip. I wouldn’t change a thing looking back. Thank you to those who prayed for us and made it possible for us to fulfil one of our dreams as a couple.