Quote of the week 

Traveling makes one modest. One sees what a tiny place one occupies in the world”

Gustave Flaubert 

Any excuse to travel. I travel so that my kids can become more modest. And if you know my kids, you’ll know that they need  to become more modest! Haha.

Seriously, I love going to places and my eyes have been so opened when I see different cultures, landscapes, socioeconomic status, religion, climates, lifestyle etc. I’m grateful that we are privileged to be able to expose our kids to these differences too and hope it inspires them to do good in the world; to serve, to love, to give, to share, to learn, to lead, to follow.

Church 

So we go to church, as you probably know by now.

For us, church is a very important part of our lives.  People often wonder how we get our kids/teens to go. I must say, they go quite willingly. And are always super interested, like today in their YM (Young Men class for boys 12-18):


Rob took these and they made me laugh so hard!

Brotherly love.

Last few days

After we headed home from Idaho, we just had one day left, so we headed to Provo to tour BYU there. I didn’t get any photos really except while we were waiting:


My two nieces gave us a personal tour too, we bumped into our friend from Toronto who has just moved back (crazy small world), and enjoyed lunch at Cafe Rio. We also spent a few hours shopping (BYU bookstore).

Later that night the adults headed to the temple:


Then we all went to Tanner’s basketball game (I really need to get on my picture taking game!)

We packed up and were sad to part with our family. It is always so much fun to spend time with them. I just wish they lived closer. But for now, we’l take whatever time we get with them!

The final goodbye 

Gabe had a full orientation day scheduled, so in the morning, we headed to his res to say goodbyes:


He seemed pretty confident and happy, which made leaving much easier.

We decided to stop at some temples on our way home. Rexburg:


Then Idaho Falls:

The roads were pretty bad too so it was slow moving (yes, those are all cars in the ditch):

We finally made it home and enjoyed some down time.

Byu-I 

Monday was a run around errand day where we made some purchases for Gabe’s new life. Some people thought we needed a massage chair with foot spa to bring home:


It’s amazing how much stuff you need to get set up from scratch in residence!

We had our good friends Roland and Chandra and their two cute kids come over for dinner. They have moved to Texas, so we were so happy to have a day overlap to catch up with them (they were back visiting family for  the holidays.) Roland saved Gabe’s behind too due to some complications with the phone plan Gabe wanted. Thank you Roland! Wish I got a pic of everyone, but we had a nice quick visit and can’t wait to visit them in Houston some time!

The next morning we headed out for the 4 hour drive to Rexburg, Idaho. Everyone warned us about the possibility of poor road conditions, lots of snow, and freezing cold temps.

They weren’t exaggerating.


Took us about 6 hours. There was tons of snow, poor visibility and it was freezing! (And I’m a Montreal girl so know the cold and snow and this was pretty much the same)!

But it was pretty:


And we did make it:


We managed to find Gabe’s gorgeous residence (after a little peeping Tom incident) , and started to unpack him before the orientation started.


We thought it was pretty cool that his wing is called the “Vietnam” wing considering that is where the rest of us are heading in March. So technically, he’ll be in Vietnam too:)


He had a nice little welcome home gift


…then met a couple of his roommates (there are 3 bedroom/bathroom combos, so 6 boys all together). The ones we met were from Las Vegas, California and Utah.

It’s a pretty sweet place:


We had a quick lunch at the food court:


Took the kids back to the hotel while Gabe met up with his orientation team.

We then went to the parent orientation where we were reassured he was in very good hands.


We had a ton of shopping left to do, and did that along with the thousand other parent/students moving in (thank goodness we had shopped the day before back in Utah too!) We got a little stuck in the snow:


Gabe raced back to connect with his new friends, we finished unpacking and headed back to our hotel.

Long day, but good transition.

New Years Day 

We got to sleep in a bit and then were spoiled by Judy making us all some crepes.

We then went to church, and the kids loved having so many youth around!

Late afternoon we headed to Salt Lake to go to temple square and go to the visitor’s center.


I really was excited to see all the beautiful lights:




Lots of cousin love:


Unfortunately the conference center was closed.

We headed home and were all zonked (at least the adults) !

Zach and Ellen continued on in their shenanigans :


It was a pretty nice way to start the New Year!

Cousin time 

We headed off to fly to Salt Lake City on the 30th where we got to spend some good cousin time before taking Gabe up to BYU-I in Rexburg, Idaho.

We just hung out the first night and had some yummy paninis Aunt Judy made us, and caught up.

Judy had switched up the guest room and beautifully decorated one upstairs for us so that we didn’t have to be in the “heart attack room” as we so affectionately call it (it’s the room where I found Rob having  his heart attack almost 3 years ago!) My nieces, who were staying in the room (home from BYU for the holidays) weren’t so crazy about the room’s nickname!

The next day, we headed up to Midvale where we had lunch (at the same restaurant we had been to with our good friends Roland and Chandra almost three years ago! ). We then went to Ice Castles and had some cold winter fun!






We had a gorgeous ride home:

New Years Eve was pretty low key with lots of talking, eating and then watching some tv and playing some games.


So nice to spend it with my brother and family after so many years!

Christmas Round up

Better quickly sum up Christmas before I hit the New Year celebrations!

On Christmas Eve day we decided to do some bowling. It’s hard to find a bowling alley around here anymore! My mom and Auntie Di were in town so came with us. We found an alley in the west end and had a good time, although my wrist was aching for the rest of the night (wimp).


Christmas Eve we enjoyed our traditional nativity play and Christmas program.



The kids then went to their rooms and waited to hear the bell before they came running down to open the gifts from us.


We had our traditional feast:


The three kids went to their Mom’s for an overnight and we just hung out with the boys.


Santa arrived in the morning, and then the boys headed off to their Dad’s.

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Rob’s mom came for the afternoon and overnight and we all had another Christmas dinner. The kids came back to visit with Grammie and opened Santa’s gifts:

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The next day my Mom, sister and Grammie all headed home and Rob and I headed to a movie.

In between the chaos of trying to get Gabe ready for university, we watched a few good movies and did some work.

Then we were off….

Quote of the week 

Just a simple one to start the new year:


So really, gratitude is really the secret. 

I was reading another article on neuroscience and happiness. One of the top things that they have found that profoundly impacts a person’s happiness? 

Gratitude.

Gratitude for the big, for the little, and everything else in between. 

This year I want to put a big focus on gratitude in my home.

I find my children are showing less and less gratitude and more and more entitlement. 

Sometimes it shocks me. 

Is it that hard to say thank you? Or text it? Or write a note? Provide a hug, a pat on the back, an acknowledgment of gratitude? A head tilt, eye blink, nose twitch? Something?!?

I used to spend a lot more time expressing gratitude more overtly in my house – especially  by leaving little notes, or big hugs, or words or texts. As the kids have gotten older, and pushed back and away, I have expressed less gratitude to them. 

But if I want to see more gratitude from them, I will have to pave the way by showing more gratitude to them and to others around me.

Hopefully it will rub off.

If not, then I know they read this so: yes, I’m talking directly to you. Have you really expressed gratitude for the abundance of blessings and help you have received not just from us, but from others, and from above? Do they/we know you are grateful not just because you think it in your head but because you have communicated it? 

And gratitude is not really for the people who receive it (although I always tell my kids when they are grateful, it makes people want to do more and give more and builds a stronger, happier relationship). Gratitude is for the person who gives it. Gratitude does bring joy and happiness, but it also brings humility, which in turn brings more joy, more happiness, and allows you to grow, develop and learn. A simple thank you really helps build your character.

How have you shown your gratitude today? 

Let’s spend the year focusing on how grateful we are for each other and for the blessings in our lives. Let’s try to show that gratitude on a regular basis. 

Flying the nest

It’s a bittersweet day.

We are heading out to take this guy to start the adventure of his life:


We leave today to head out to my brother and sister-in-law’s in Utah to spend New Year’s with their awesome family (something we have never done, so we are truly excited).

But then the next big adventure comes: we take Gabe off to BYU- Idaho!

Rob spent the day with Gabe yesterday doing some guy stuff, but didn’t get any pics:( I guess he will have them in his heart. I guess Rob has a lot of pics in his heavy heart as I know I do and I only became involved in Gabe’s life when he was 9. 

What a blessing it has been ever since.

I look at so many people now who have young kids and are in the midst of chaos. Having teenagers brings its own kind of chaos, but I know one day I’ll look back on today and think “where did time go?”

Where does it actually go?

I was looking back on pictures and it really feels like yesterday. 

I decided to pull out a bunch of pics to reminisce and share all the things we will miss about Gabe around here. 

I don’t have any of when he was wee, and I know Rob has been taking a trip down memory lane in his mind. Seeing your kids grow and become adults is hard; beautiful and exciting, but scary and hard.

How is this little boy going to university? 


First four pics are of the NYE and day we spent together in 2007; the first time we really merged our kids’ lives.

It turned out to be quite a success, I would say:


But this boy:


Has become this man:


What will we miss most? In no particular order:

I will miss these boys sharing a room, hearing them talk late into the night, acting like fools together, sharing secrets and jokes:


Gabe has been at his Mom’s since Christmas, but came home last night so he could spend one more night with Zach in their bachelor pad. These boys have shared a lot together, and although Zach is thrilled at getting more space, he’s gonna miss these moments:


Not to say we aren’t going to see Gabe, but it’s the everyday little stuff we will miss him for. 

He’s an awesome big brother and as  I looked through the pics, I saw so much love with his siblings:

With the big kids:




And the littles:


Setting all the right examples:


But mainly just being the best of friends with his siblings: around the dinner table, in the family room, in the car, and especially on vacations when it’s the only time we really get uninterrupted family time:


Gabe is an adrenaline junky and enjoys the fun stuff we do:




But he’ll engage in the littler things too, like flashlight tag:


Or walks through sacred groves:


Or walking many miles:


Beach time is always a favourite:


And he likes to also do his own thing:



While capturing many of our moments:


He’s a sport at doing things he’s not always crazy about (like going on a cruise, or sleeping with his bro’s):

He’s a good sport at indulging me with taking his pic: 

And he clearly loves his Dadio:


I have fond memories of our 15/16 trip, as that was truly a special time:


Yes, he will be missed around here! But, with technology, and his proficient ability to use it, I’m sure he will be face timing us daily, texting us hourly, and even documenting his adventures on a blog with daily pictures, right?

Of course. 

I truly am excited for him. Excited for the independence he is gaining. How he will get to know himself. How he will build lasting friendships and relationships. How he will educate his mind, build his spirit and fine tune his cooking and laundry abilities.

 At times he will likely be homesick, and miss us and all the things familiar to him. But I know he will persevere. He will simply live on:


And know that he is never really far, and we are always there for him. The stars will always unite us.

We are so proud of him and the man he has become and will continue becoming. Love you so much Gabe. I will always love you more.

Xo