Happy 16th Birthday Zach! 

I can’t believe we have another 16 year old in the house!

I can’t believe that my baby is 16.Oh I said it. My baby.Because that’s what he will forever be, right?And my baby is getting ready to head to Ecuador all on his own on a humanitarian trip.That freaks me out a bit.But makes me darn proud at the same time.  Combining the passion of travel with the passion of service.The downfall with turning 16 in the middle of the summer is that no one in our family is really around to celebrate with you (other family schedules/vacations), and Zach is also pretty much out every night either with soccer practices/games or his job reffing (and of course heading out with friends after each one of those).The upfall is 16 is the “official” dating age in our home (I haven’t let him know yet that all dates have to be prearranged by me, though, haha), as well as his eligibility to get his driver’s license (learner’s) Woot woot!!So it certainly will be an exciting year ahead!There are many things I love about this boy, and the man that he is becoming. Let’s just focus on 16 of them:

1.I love that he is who is wherever he is and with whomever as well. Whether it’s with me, Rob, his Dad or his siblings, with his friends, or the girl he likes, his teachers or his coaches, he is Zach. Through and through. You get what you get. 2. He is a communicator. Not only is he willing to share, he is willing to listen. He also responds to texts right away, and is quick to let me know things (where he is, if he’s running late etc.) I really appreciate that! (In fact, as I write this, I just received a text from him letting me  know he is walking home now from a specific friend’s house!)3. He is a hard worker. He wants to do well and puts his mind to it. He puts a lot of effort into his studies; he will wake up early, go to bed late. He wants to succeed.4. He is hilarious. He makes us all laugh all the time! He can also be a little “edgy” and that comes out in his instagram meme account “edgymormon”. I often laugh outloud when I see a new post!5. He is a great brother. He can bug his little brothers like there is no tomorrow (I won’t mention the poor friend of Sam’s who slept over at our house and had to call his Dad at 1am to come pick him up as Sam’s older brother had scared him so much…) He cares about his siblings, likes to teach them, and will always have their backs.6. He is our fashionista! Except he now has way too many clothes….7. He is a great soccer player and captain of his team. He also won MVP this year for his school soccer team. He has put a lot of work into his game and over the years it has paid off.8. He is completely obsessed with tickles. Still. You can’t be anywhere near him without him asking you to scratch his back. And if you want information, you know what you need to do…9. He is quick. He’s responds quickly, acts quickly and even walks (too) quickly!10. He is passionate about travel. And when he travels, he takes pictures and always keeps a travel journal. I think I’m biased about why I love this so much about him…11. He is a very positive person. He is an optimist. He is cheery. He laughs a lot and  usually has a big smile on his face.12. He is a negotiator. I know it will serve him well in life; sometimes I wish he wouldn’t try to negotiate as much… but as he gets older, he is learning about limits and when to stop pushing them:)13. He is a good friend. He looks out for his friends and he is supportive.14. He is fiercely loyal and reliable . You can count on him. When he says he will be there, he is there. If he says he will do it, he will.15. He is ambitious. He sets goals. He makes plans on how to obtain them. Then he follows through. And these are HIS goals (but he is open to discussing them with you and open to suggestions too.)16. He has a very strong spirit that is developing every minute! He stands up for what he knows to be true and right and he is proud of his values and character.Who could not love this kid? Couldn’t be prouder to be his Mama.

Love you more and always!

(And now a few pics summarizing his day:)

I was the only one around when he woke up, so a little breakfast was in order: 

He has been taking a driving course and it ended early and my client conveniently cancelled so we got to head out for lunch! A little schnitzel in memory of his Germany 15 trip!!

We ran a few errands picking up stuff for his upcoming trip and started to pull together things for packing. We had a good chuckle at the 4 different medications I got for him “in case” he has stomach problems:)

We then did some gifts when we had a bit more of an audience (Josh):

He had a soccer game that Rob ended up joining us for (he had a huge work meeting so had been gone all day). Good thing he did because it was an awesome game with Zach scoring 3 of the 6 goals (they won 6-3)! Birthday hat trick!!!

And then we celebrated with some of Zach’s traditional homemade icecream cake:

(Note the driver’s manual… he’s been studying to go take his learners test!!) His birthday celebrations continue tomorrow with Canada’s wonderland with his friends! 


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