23.3.16

a day in HER life - Dina

Hello! My name is Dina, a transplanted American who has somehow survived Ontario winters for the 15 years I have been married to my Canadian husband.


We have five children with one still kicking it inside my womb. Of the six, we planned exactly one of our babes' arrival and the rest just popped up - four in four years and one big ol' shocker eight years later.

The caboose to our family carnival was meant as a playmate for #5 so we expect him to be forever grateful! We have vowed to do right by the two littles in what we are tongue-in-cheek referring to as our second family. They will reap the wisdom gained from all the mistakes made with the biggles while no doubt enjoying extra privileges and opportunities once their older siblings are all off to university. The biggles do not find their parents humorous...!

In birth order, we have Eliana Grace, Eden Hope, Jacob Christian, Emmanuelle Joy, Josiah Courage, and baby girl E coming soon.


On a typical day, I'm the last one up in the household. I blame it on the pregnancy but in truth the morning routine runs perfectly without me. One of the kids will get the babe from his crib and bring him down to a breakfast supervised by my husband whose morning commute will later take him all the way downstairs to his office. He's the lunch packer and morning devotion leader and I saunter sleepily down once I am awake to fix hair and do final edits on homework.

Two and half years ago we went from being a homeschooled family to a trial-by-fire public school family when complications in my fifth pregnancy made it impossible to continue my vision for educating my children at home. At the start of this school year, I kept my son home to better prepare him for his leap into junior high next year but with a diagnosis this past fall of an auto immune disease for me and stage 4 colon cancer for my mom, even he is back at school full-time with the best of teachers (well, second best to mom, of course). We don't always walk to school, but when we do we make sure to document it.


The babe is almost two and thus fighting to drop down from two to one nap. Mornings are slow, the time I focus a little more on him by reading books or playing trains. Once he's down, I try to get some work done - laundry, cleaning, emails, registering kids for summer activities, planning birthday parties, finalizing guest list for our annual Easter brunch, renewing library books online, dinner prep, and research for ALL THE BIG IDEAS I HAVE FOR LIFE (currently including finding land for a modern homestead, learning about photography, becoming a better writer, how to live more intentionally for eternity, and food as medicine).


When he's not gone for work travel, my husband often comes up to make us lunch - his omelettes are food for the soul! We chat about our days, who's taking who to what practice later on that night, and often wax philisopical about the values and foundation we are laying for our family. It's like therapy and date night rolled into one!

This afternoon I'm working on finishing thank you notes to precious family and friends who supported us the last few weeks during visits home to say final goodbyes to my mom and to celebrate her life. After her diagnosis in the fall, she slipped away quickly and peacefully took her last breaths at home with my dad at her side. Her absence is a quiet vacuum - we talked almost daily on the phone and she was one of my greatest influencers. Mom wasn't wealthy in terms of earthly goods but she left others feeling treasured and loved. In leiu of family gems or financial portfolios, I took home her quilt that now serves as teepee for storybook time for her grandchildren who were the apple of her eye.


With an hour to spare before the kids arrive home from school, the babe and I head to the store to pick up some spring bulbs to liven up our home in preparation for Easter. For the last few years, we have hosted a neighborhood brunch following Easter service and working on the centerpiece and decor which is always a highlight for me. There will be food, there will be laughter, and there will be a community growing a little closer as we celebrate the joy and hope of new life!


Four o'clock is usually crazy time - the front door opens with squeals for the baby and a scramble for snacks and a junior high TMZ update. But today we headed off to drop my older son at a friends' house down by the river. Of course, we had to stay and explore.

Dinner is an easy fix for me (a mostly paleo diet follower) - a spinach salad with strawberries, feta, walnuts, chicken, and balsamic vinegar. The rest of the family, plus a few extra friends, eat homemade pizza and then we each find quiet corners for movie night, the kids downstairs and parents upstairs. We are celebrating the beginning of March Break and making plans - nine straight days of no school! As much as the kids want extra time with their friends, I like to keep our schedule simple so I can soak up time together as a family.

Motherhood has been the main emphasis of my days for fourteen years already and I can sincerely attest that nothing has ever challenged or matured me more. I am by nature a student of life - reading, researching, observing - and my children have been my greatest teachers. Whether through exposing the parts of me that still need growth, revealing beautiful paradoxes of life through everyday happenings, or proving by their lives that a parent's investment is immeasurable yet bears much fruit, they have been treasured gifts and I cannot wait to see what future days hold for us as we continue to love and learn together.

 Thank you so much for sharing, Dina!
Instagram - @shadrachs_joy
blog - A Worthy Life

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