Family Time & “Hecticity”

Family Time & “Hecticity”

Have you ever heard that word before?

I’m not sure that it actually is a word (if you ask the official dictionary folks), but a google search quickly reveals that I’m not the first to come up with it or use it. It can be loosely defined as the following:

– The state of being surrounded with hectic-ness (another admittedly dubious word)
– The state of barely manageable craziness.

How’s that? Better?

Let’s dive in & you’ll see what I mean…

A Continuation of August

To sum it up in a nutshell… the first three weeks of September have been a continuation of August. Remember August? Three weeks of morning until night work at the church plus one week away from home at Bible School & Italy for Liz, Soph & Timo. It really was a blur and because downtime was largely lacking, we landed in September already in a downtime-deficit.

September means Back-to-School (normally busy enough on its own) but it somehow felt even busier because over the last school-year and a 1/2, the majority of teaching & learning was done remotely, meaning we no commuting time & traffic. We got hit with a double-whammy.

The Kids

Lemme give you an update on where they’re at & what they’re doing:

  • Sophie is in year 2 of a 3-year language degree at the University of Poitiers. Her major is English (understandably), but she’s also continuing Spanish and Italian, and will spend several months in Romania, as a semester abroad, beginning in February Lord willing.
  • Dominic is in year 2 of a 2-year diploma in International Business & Sales, in Poitiers. He’s not 100% sure that he loves it, but he’s doing well and will finish it out. He’s learning some good skills & it’s affording him some great opportunities.
  • Timo is in grade 11, in a vocational program, here in Châtellerault, where he’s training to be an optician (building eyeglasses frames, cutting lenses, sales & marketing). It’s a great profession, with a sure future and he continues to vie with one other person for the top-of-the-class.


September has also been about learning to drive.

Of course, when you see that Liz is in the first picture, you’ve got to wonder what I mean, but our new car is a standard transmission and with only one or two exceptions, it had been roughly 25 years since Liz had been in the habit of driving a standard. She was a little nervous, but of course, she did fine.

The real learning to drive dossier is Dominic.

He already had his Driver’s Theory test, but now comes the hard part… putting it into practice. We went out and did a bit of practice with a standard and he had an initial driver’s assessment, where the driving school determines roughly how many driving lessons you’ll need to pass the license.

Here we go!

He’s also in the process of buying a small car from someone that we know who regularly deals in used cars. He’s been diligent about saving money from his various scholarships and internships and is able to buy it without our help.

Good for him!!

A Family Day Away

Given all of our various activities over the summer, astonishingly, there wasn’t a singly opportunity for us to get away from the house and do something together. So we planted a stake in the ground and on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 2nd, we got in the car and drove north.

I was the only one who knew where we were going… it was a surprise for the others.

We would spend that night in an AirBnB and, the following day, visit the UNESCO World Heritage site Le Mont Saint Michel, a small fortified town and abbey built on a tidal island on the coast of Normandy.

It had been 30 years since I’d visited there (I was doing a solo bike trip around Normandy, while living in Belgium) and we’d talked a number of times about going… so we took the plunge.

The AirBnB where we stayed was located right across the salt marshes from the Mont and each day, some 1,200 sheep are led out to graze there. The cool part was… they passed right in front of our door morning and night.

Absolutely outstanding sight.

What’s more… while the sheep come in at night in one giant herd, there are sheep belonging to multiple different farmers. Those farmers simply stand at the entrance to their farms and the sheep break away from the main herd and go with their master.

“The sheep know their shepherd.”

‘Long’ Overdue

We’re not big restaurant people generally speaking, but for these two days we treated ourselves. It had likely been roughly 2 years since all five of us had eaten out together for anything but the odd fast-food.

(that seems hard to imagine)

I didn’t photograph everything we ate, but here are a couple of highlights:

  • Sophie had a feed of muscles (wait… what!? since when does she like muscles? 🙂 ).
  • It was nice to have scallops again (a staple back home)
  • Dominic had a “burger pizza” (complete with ground beef, fries and ketchup… who’d’ve thought?!).
  • We also tried agneaux des prés salés (lamb that grazed on the salt marshes)… oops… maybe we saw it’s momma. 🙂 It was delicious and is a local specialty.

Good Time not a Long Time

It was a lightning fast trip… roughly 36hrs in total, but my goodness it was nice to get away and just re-connect with ourselves as a family before the hecticity of September went into full swing. It allowed us to deposit a little bit of downtime ‘into the bank’ as it were, lessening the deficit just a little.

Thanks for stopping by today.
God bless you & yours.

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