July Long Weekend – Part 1

Before I let summer completely pass us by, I need to back track and talk about our July long weekend. I’ll do it in 2 parts so it’s not too overwhelming!

Josh has very specific, and limited time off from soccer in summer. He pretty much has a game every weekend. Between that, and having to share time with his Dad, he is pretty crunched for any time away.

However, the past couple of years YM camp has been on the long weekend, when there are no games scheduled. Hurray! He was especially excited as this year he was old enough to go to service corps.

Service corps is a camp for our regional boys 14-18 that is pretty much run by them, with very little leader support. It’s a camp and where they have fun, but spend most of their day providing service. In the past years the service entailed building up the Thomas S Monson Camp (building docks, trails, pavilions etc), but last year they decided to add another project: run all the activities in a camp for the younger guys aged 11-14 (christened “Camp Lehi” last year).

Service Corps has the reputation as being phenomenal. The boys work hard (and get their volunteer hours), play hard, and then bond and grow spiritually in incredible ways. Gabe went one year and it was an incredible experience (and lets just say camping is probably his least favourite thing to do and he hated us for forcing him to go (and I’m not exaggerating, I think in his mind we scarred him for life by making him go). But he had an incredible experience nonetheless. That’s how good service corps is! And we don’t regret forcing him one bit because that boy changed after service corps. Just sayin’).


Josh was super excited to go. Then he was additionally happy when the stars aligned and Zach could go with him. I was hoping for them to have a great bonding brother experience.

Sam was also going to Camp Lehi (and was so excited to go!!), and Rob being YM president and having all his boys at some part of the camp, went as a leader with another friend from our ward.

Which meant Zandra and I could plan a little girls trip! We decided to head on over to Montreal to spend some time with my Mom/Gran and Auntie Di, as well as our bestie Tarina and Emma.

We were all excited for the weekend!

But logistics are never easy and with the boys having graduations so close to the end of school and Zach working, it ended up that the older boys missed the bus to take them up to camp. Not wanting them to miss too much of camp, we decided it would be best if I drove them up early the next morning (the Thursday).

We threw all their gear in the truck and took off for the 2 hour trek. My reward came early, when as we were pulling out, Josh said to me, “Wait. Are you driving up for 2 hours, dropping us off and then turning around and driving home for 2 hours?”


Then in the most sincere voice (and I am not being sarcastic!), he simply said, “Thank you, Mom”). Kids – that’s all it takes. A thank you and a little appreciation. Love you forever.

We had a great drive up with lots of laughs and discussions. I love holding my kids prisoners on car rides. It is the BEST quality time ever!

We arrived to pouring rain, and of course the boys had carefully watched Rob show them how to set up their tent so were able to do it no sweat. NOT.

Those rats didn’t pay one bit of attention to Rob about what they had to do!

Zach finally figured the instructions out (thank goodness they were there) and some nice camper offered to help (thank goodness he was there).

I left them a bit muddy, and unsure if they wanted to stay (given the weather)….oh well. We do hard things. Ha!

I headed back to the city, and arrived home only to have to turn around and drive another 2 hours in the opposite direction for another special adventure in Niagara Falls.

My beautiful friend, Joumana, who I had not seen in 13 years, was visiting with her family from Lebanon and we had made plans to meet up weeks ago.

I picked Rob up (who was super busy with work and had to work the whole time in the car) and we headed out.

It was so worth every moment in that traffic.

Joumana and I were  very close friends back in my Montreal days. We met while working at the bank and lived through some pretty turbulent and life altering times together. But, we also having amazing memories of the fun we had, and the special years we shared. Our bond is a forever one and when we saw each other, there were tears of joy (literally) and then we picked up exactly where we left off; the sure sign of a forever friend.

We had a great dinner (who knows what I ate, we just could not stop talking and laughing) and I met her wonderful family (one beautiful daughter, named Leah(!!), and her two spunky sons). Her husband was there too, as well as one of his cousins and nephews and Rob spent the evening talking to them as Joumana and I were joined at the hip for the several hours together.

Unfortunately, we had to part, with promises not to let it be so long again….

We headed home, and I texted the boys who informed me that camp was “really, really good”. Phew. I was constantly checking the weather too – and it seemed to have cleared up after I had left.

All was right in the CDF clan and we headed off to bed, ready to start the next part of our adventurous weekend!



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