Happy 14th Josh 

It’s hard to believe that 14 years ago this little guy entered into the world.

He quickly grew into this:


And then this: 


I guess he’s not so little anymore! 

He went to his first regional dance the other night with his brother and friends:


I think he’d still rather play soccer than go to a dance!

I love that he is still in the “in between” stage where he would rather play soccer than hang out with girls:) But I can tell it’s all changing  pretty quick….

So much to love about Josh:

1)  His single minded soccer brain.

2)His need to sleep and ability to just get up in the middle of whatever to say he’s heading to bed. He knows himself well. 

3)His big brother training to Sam. He feels a responsibility to “train” him hard! 

4) His little brother stubbornness; not going to let the big brothers push him around.

5) His laugh; when he gets completely ridiculous and laughs and laughs. 

6) His love of sweets and desserts (and puddings cups that we find…when he can’t control himself). 

7) How he introduces himself and shakes the person’s hand. 

8) How he still gives great hugs (when you force him). 

9) When that sensitive side comes out… 

10) His hard work and commitment to what he wants. 

11) His ability to play any sport and his passion for them all.

12) His  love of watching the same shows over and over. I also love watching him sing along to his fave songs! 

13) His  own sense of style; he loves his ties and housecoat and wears what he wants to wear (and looks good!) 

14) His strong sense of self. He’s confident, and he is the same wherever he goes. 

He is growing into being a great man. He makes us all laugh and there’s always a funny story that he’s involved in. He keeps us on our toes, keeps us all honest, and is a strong advocate of justice. He’s the first to share his blankets and pillow with me, will always help me bake, loves a good challenge and competition, and is comfortable doing things with others or alone. 

Here’s how we celebrated:


Then headed out for his traditional dinner at Mandarin:


Then a cake on the weekend:


^^^ and he was done… 

He will forever be my baby barbaloot.


Love you more and always

Mom 

 

Quote of the Week 

In the movie, “One Week”, the lead actor (Joshua Jackson) bumps into the beloved Gord Downie outside a motel on his trek across Canada. The two share a very short conversation. Jackson asks Downie if he is still in love after being married for 25 years and counting. When Downie replies  that  he is still in love, Jackson asks the million dollar question, “how do you know it’s the real thing? ”

I remember sitting and watching that movie, hearing Downie’s  response, and thinking, “that’s the advice I want to give my children.”:

“If you have to ask the question… you’re not.” 

Plain and simple.

As my kids get older and I see their hearts start to turn to others, I can only hope that they find the kind of love that they don’t even have to wonder if this is the right person. But I thought this was great advice too: 

 “My mother once said that if you meet a girl in whose presence you feel a desire to achieve, who inspires you to do your best, and to make the most of yourself, such a young woman is worthy of your love and is awakening love in your heart.” David O MacKay

“One good yardstick as to whether a person might be the right one for you is this: in her/his presence, do you think your noblest thoughts, do you aspire to your finest deeds, do you wish you were better than you are?”  Ezra Taft Benson

Wise words. 

Quote of the Week

“Do you know of a cure for me?

“Why yes,’ he said, ‘I know of a cure for everything:

SALT WATER

“Salt water?”, I ask him.

“Yes’, he said, ‘in one way or the other. SWEAT or TEARS or THE SALT SEA.”

If I had to rank the kind of salt water I want, it’s definitely the salt sea!

There’s nothing like the ocean.

Although there is something very satisfying about work hard, and my family will attest my favourite kind of movie is one that makes me cry… I still would take the ocean any day!

 

Be Grateful 

The past few years, I have picked “themes” for the year and tried to work on them personally. They have hung on our kitchen board, but we didn’t really pay much attention to them. 

This year I selected a theme, and we introduced it at FHE last week. I’m hoping to really focus on it this year. 

Be Grateful.

As I wrote a few posts ago, I have been feeling like my kids are lacking gratitude. Which might mean I have not been demonstrating gratitude enough as an example. 

So, this year, we are going to “intentionally” work on gratitude. Every week, during FHE, we will all share something we are grateful for (according to a weekly theme). 

Today, we each shared what we are grateful for for a person in our family (the person immediately below you in birth order). 

Instantaneously you could feel the whole spirit in the room change to a kind, more loving one. 

Even though Gabe was missing (this week has really sunk in that he’s not here and we have all commented on how we miss him), he ended up sending me the most beautiful text, expressing gratitude, so I’m glad he’s on the same wavelength as all of us CDFs! 

I hope that focusing on gratitude will help us all develop a more grateful spirit and carryover into everything we do. 

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.