Friday, 24 March 2017

Family: The Great Adventure

Family: The Great Adventure

"Family Life is the most "Engaged" life in the world.  There is only one adventurer in the world, as can be seen very clearly in the modern world, the father of a family.  Even the most desperate adventurers are nothing compared with him.  Everything in the modern world .... is organized against that fool, that imprudent, daring fool, ... against the unruly, audacious man who is daring enough to have a wife and family, against the man who dares to found a family.  Everything is against him. Savagely organized against him.  Everything turns and combines against him.  Man, events, the events of society, the automatic play of economic laws. And, in short, everything else." 

- French Poet, Charles Peguy

Family is a great adventure.  That is if we define adventure correctly.  GK Chesterton insists that adventure isn't something you plan and implement.  We can't say that we had an adventure if we went on a camping trip and all went as planned.  If there was a massive storm and we had to makeshift a canoe and then sleep on the open water for a night before getting home safely - then we can say we had an adventure.  Why? Because adventure is, in its essence, unexpected, "a thing that comes to us." Hence the greatest adventure is being born.  It happens to us and we've no choice.  Then when we're born, there are two parents ready to pounce on us, whom we didn't choose either.  Family, is this big adventure.  We don't get to choose our children.  If we let nature take its course, we don't get to choose how many children we have.  And life happens to us.  In this, family is the great adventure!  For only the daring man would choose to live a life of sacrifice and risk giving his heart to his children whom may choose to disavow his love.  Does man have to go outside the family to find adventure and the wildness of his heart?  No.  It is found in the drama of the family.  He may have to head off to the mountains to clear his head and think, but the great adventure he so desires is sitting at home in front of the hearth waiting for him.

Our life as a family continues to be an adventure.  Who knew we'd be living in Ontario, learning all new skills and being a family of 8 in 750sq/ft.  Here is a bit of our story from the last few months:

1.  Christmas

Christmas has past. It was joyous and meaningful and the younger children are still asking continually how many days till Christmas again!

It was our first Christmas on the farm.  We cut down our own tree, celebrated the 12 days of Christmas, hosted a total of 12 families at the farm during the farm vacations and left Christmas feeling fulfilled and at rest.

2.  Building a Skating Rink

One of my jobs was to get the skating rink up and going.  After many nights watering the pavement and smoothing down bumps and filling up holes - we had our own skating rink!  This meant many hockey games for us.  Something very Canadian that we severely missed whilst in Austria.

3.  Sleeping Outside

After a few days of complaints and whining, I decided we needed to get a bit uncomfortable.  So we all slept outside on the deck of the cabin.  It was the children's first time sleeping under the stars (clouds) in the winter.

Skating the Rideau Canal as a family!

Ottawa prepares 7.8 km of the canal for skating the winter.  We accomplished about 2 km this day.

Then we stopped at a cafe on the ice for the infamous 'Beaver Tails'!  Yummy!

On the way home we stopped to watch the ice carvers preparing for the Ottawa winter festival called 'Winterlude'.

Here is a great Canadian shot:  Mom sitting on a block of ice nursing her baby in the dead of winter!

 Momma and baby Thomas!

Winter with a nice cool ice chair to relax in with a warm cup of hot chocolate.

Rainstorm in January

Here is what happens to our lovely snow when it rains in January.  The entire property was a skating rink!


Winterlude lasts about two weeks.  We took in one of the free activities for the family in Gatineau.

Tavi boy enjoying the stroller ride.

They provided free ski lessons for Benedict and Kate.

It was the first time for both of them on skis.

St. Valentine's Day

Katie's Valentine date with dad: a skidoo ride and a winter forest picnic.

A picnic complete with doughnuts and a story.


To celebrate Candlemas we walk through the Scripture passage in the Gospel of Luke with food and burn our Christmas tree (which symbolizes the official end of the Christmas season).

Here, we also had a chicken die, so we burned her too!

Our fire had some issues, but we eventually got some of the tree burning.

 Valentine's Date with Winter

Winter and I headed downtown with the goal to learn the bus system, see the ice carving contest winners and skate the entire 7.8km.

Of course we enjoyed some good Canadian poutine on the way.

And we couldn't leave without a beaver tail to celebrate the 7.8km finish.

As we decided to take public transportation this day my goal was to walk from the Parkn' Ride home.  Well ... it was a longer walk than anticipated ... over 1.5hrs in the snow and the first half wasn't groomed but rather was knee deep.  It pretty much wiped us out

 Ice Fishing

We tried our hand at ice fishing at the Nepean Sailing Club ... fun ... kind of... no fish.  Alas.

Sacred Heart Enthronement Ceremony

This is something we've wanted to do since we purchased the Sacred Heart icon in Medjugorje.  Our priest from St. Clements came and did the enthronement ceremony and we officially made Christ the head of our home.

This is the end of photos for now.  Rebecca and I are loving our vocation of marriage and the fruit of it (our children).  We thank God for this wonderful adventure and trust Him that He is looking out for us and guiding us.

Many blessings to all of you.

Love, Kenton, Rebecca, Winter, Tristan, Benedict, Kate, Tavi, and Thomas

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Advent: Waiting for Christmas

Advent: waiting and preparing for Christmas

Autumn has passed.  Advent is almost ended and we are preparing to celebrate the Christ Mass. All the beautiful coloured maple leaves have long fallen to the ground and we now we running in snow and spending many minutes a day dressing and undressing the young ones as they head outside to play.

This Advent has seen increased prayer among our children. We are preparing, with a couple other families, to stage the production of 'Our Lady of Fatima.'  My whole family has come away inspired by the story to pray more.  Our Lady asked the three children, (Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco) to pray the rosary every day and to sacrifice for three specific intentions:
a.  for the love of God
b.  for the conversion of sinners
c.  for reparation for the offences made agains the Immaculate Heart.

We have made these our daily intentions and are praying the rosary every day and trying to do small sacrifices daily.  I'm moved by my own children's desire to do so.  God is good!

Here is our family story in photos since the Fall:

Kate turns 5!

A Bright Night on the Farm:

In our homeschooling, we are just starting to learn Astronomy.  So, on clear nights we head out and try to find the various star constellations.  

 Christ the King Feast Day:

For this last Feast Day of the year we have a formal dinner.  Our children arrive at the door, knock, and are invited in.  They are served a drink and appetizers and we engage in dialogue.  Then we sit down to a King's feast.

 It is amazing how a simple idea, like a formal dinner, increases the manners of the children.  I was quite impressed with their ability to carry on quality conversation around the table and showcase manners.

Preparing for Winter:

It takes a lot to prepare the farm for winter.  This includes raking tons of leaves!

 We had too many roosters.  So a couple became our dinner.  Here is how to prepare a chicken:

1.  Catch the chicken

 2.  Put him upside-down in a bucket.  This will prevent him from jerking all over the place and spraying blood when the head is cut off.

3.  Cut off the head.

 4.  Swish around the dead chicken in hot water.  This will make easy for the all the feathers to come off.

5.  Pluck. Pluck. Pluck.

6.  Gut and clean.

Burning the rubble!

Last bike ride before the snow:

We have an old train trail running beside our house.  We keep trying to reach it's end point.  This day we rode about 16 total, but alas, still didn't reach the end.

 and Benedict was exhausted at the end ...

 Friday afternoon excursion:

We've trying to head out to see some different parts of Ottawa.  This day we headed down to Nepean to the Andrew Hayden Park right on the Ottawa river.

The children practiced their 'wave boarding' and loved it!


Maybe we are a bit too excited to have snow, but after living in Austria where our region only received 2 days of snow per year - this is quite exciting!

 My Boys are Getting Big! 

 Field Trip to the National Agriculture Museum:

Here in Ottawa, the libraries have passes to the National Museums.  If you can get one, it is a great field trip for the children.

 Crafts with Momma!

 Friday afternoon excursion to Brewer Park:

 Daddy turns 42:

Another year closer to retirement!  Which, I plan on never doing.

 Ladies and Knights of St. Jean de Bereuf

 Our parish runs a scouts type program, which I have found to be excellent.  They are passionate, authentic Catholics running the program.  There is much memorization they have to do regarding the precepts of the Church, and every promise is made before and to a priest.  The process in the Mass on major feasts as well and are exemplary of examples of reverence and respect.  We are definitely blessed to be able to have our children in such a rich program.

 Homeschooling: Tracking Animals

As part of our homeschooling journey, we are learning about the environment we are living in, namely, what types of trees, insects, amphibians, mammals, wild flowers, mushrooms and so forth. We had a great snow day and headed out to track animals.  We tracked mice to their holes, squirrels to their burrows, a coyote and a deer for long time.

St. Nicholas' Feast Day: Dec. 6th

St. Nick found us with our boots waiting and much snow!

Katie's Baptism Day: Dec. 11th

Celebrating the day of my daughter's rebirth!

Here she is lighting her baptism candle and then we prayed a special blessing over her.

St. Lucy's Feast Day: Dec. 13th

As per the tradition: Winter made the family breakfast and Kate and Winter made cookies and delivered them to friends and family.

Christmas Baking:

Becca has been making Christmas goodies all Advent and we all can hardly wait to try them out on Christmas Eve!

Here are the 12 rum and port Christmas cakes she made: she over purchased ingredients so we get more Christmas cake!

Gaudet Sunday and the Rorate Mass:

 We drove the three oldest to the Rorate Mass for 5:45am for the Knights and Ladies (Catholic scouts program) were processing in with the priest.  The entire sanctuary was lit with candles, our Bishop joined us and there was about 200 parishioners!  Beautiful.

Advent Ember Days:

To celebrate Ember days we went outside and discussed how the winter season represents our faith journey.  Then we made a crib to place baby Jesus and made snow forts!

Cutting down the Christmas Tree with Papa and Nanna!

Now we await the coming of our King!

and baby Thomas is excited too!

We wish all of you, at the end of this Advent Season, a blessed Christmas with much mirth, largess, and frivolity.

God bless.


The Bifferts:  Kenton, Rebecca, Winter, Tristan, Benedict, Kate, Tavi, Thomas