Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas from the B’s!

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The highlight reel of our 2015 is unbelievable. Between the four of us, we’ve hit Europe, South America, Mexico, and the U.S.A. What a crazy year!

David and Joey embarked on a “rite of passage” trip to the United Kingdom in honor of Joey’s 16th birthday. He’s quite the young man: driving, taking college classes, and even teaching. Joey planned the entire UK trip, including Scotland, London, Dover, and sunrise at Stonehenge on the Solstice. It was the trip of a lifetime. We even ended up on Google Street View on Downing Street!

While the older boys were in Europe, Christy and Will took a cruise to Mexico. It was a laid-back trip full of sun, sea, sand, and scrumptious treats. Will planned the excursions and even convinced Christy to let him bring a friend. He’s smart, funny, handsome, persuasive, and compassionate.

David and Christy went to Brazil for the fifth ustime. This was their 5th chapel-build, with plans to return again in 2016. Each trip is a unique and beautiful experience full of miracles and adventure. These trips have been so incredible that in 2016 all four of us are planning to go! We have no idea how the $$$ will work out, but our generous friends, family, and God have always helped get us there.

 

There’s so much more to say… Joey is looking at colleges and dreaming about MIT. Will is falling in love with the art of writing. Christy loves impacting lives as a science teacher. David is attending seminary and was licensed by the church. He even performed a wedding. God continues to prove the depths of His love and His sense of humor!

Our holiday prayer is that your lives are rich with the fullness of life with God.

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A Christmas List

We all have things we’d like in our lives. Places to go, people to see, and adventures to have. A friend of mine calls these “bucket thoughts.” When we write them down, they transform into bucket lists. Once written, incredible things happen. As 2014 comes to a close, here is a peek at our lists.


Will’s List:

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  • Become a Piano wizard (check!)
  • Ride a bike everywhere (check!)
  • Catch a Harris’s Hawk on my arm (check!)
  • Watch classic Twilight Zone (check!)
  • Pull multiple all-nighters (check!)
  • Read Lots of books (check!)
  • Blow stuff up (check!)
  • Caribbean cruise (not yet!)

 

Joey’s List:IMG_4631

  • Become a guitar hero, join a band (check!)
  • Get Driving Permit (check!)
  • Mission trip to Belize (check!)
  • Invent stuff (check!)
  • Go to prom. Dance. (check! oh yeah!)
  • Washington D.C. (check!)
  • Read Sherlock Holmes (check!)
  • Go to England (#soon)

 

Christy’s List:IMG_7290

  • Visit the floor of the Grand Canyon (check!)
  • Fill young minds with science, math, and character (check!)
  • Help 2 kids get driving permits (check!)
  • Help a kiddo graduate high school (check!)
  • Drive a jet ski (check!)
  • Touch the ocean on a beach in Brazil (check!)
  • Go to Jamaica (next year!)

 

David’s List:

  • Take pictures, tell stories (check!)
  • Secure the interwebs (check! Ongoing…)
  • Brazil, Vegas, Branson, Houston, Dallas (check!)
  • Chaplain at the State Fair (check!)
  • Start Grad School (check!)
  • Publish a book (check!)
  • Ride in a helicopter (check!)
  • See Stonehenge (See you next solstice!)

 

It’s definitely been an awesome year! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Bouchards

 

Dog Year

20131226-214322.jpgThis year started out great. I got a bone. I chewed it up. Tiny got a bone, too. I chewed that one up also.

There wasn’t enough bacon this year. There was a lot, but not enough. You can never have enough bacon.

I will try and remember other things now and talk about them, too. Bacon and bones are the best, though.

My people left and went someplace in the spring. Me and Tiny and Snowy all had to stay at home. It wasn’t fun at home. The weather was nice, but we were outside and inside at the wrong times. And too much. When my people came back, I was excited. They talked about some kind of “awful tower” or something like that. People are weird.

My friend Snowy got real sick. It was sad. I’m not sure where she went, but she’s not with us any more. I looked and looked for her but could not find her. I still miss her. I almost wrote about it but it was too sad.

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Me and Tiny are still doing great. Tonight I accidentally peed on her head. I must point out, it was very dark outside and she is very black. It was cold and I was in a hurry. It could’ve happened to anyone.

A different time, this girl came to our house. She had suitcases and pillows and other people-like things, so I guess she’s staying awhile. She’s pretty nice but she gave me lots of hugs and kisses. I was trying to be all macho and stuff, but I decided that hugs and kisses are okay sometimes. She’s still here and still give me hugs and kisses.

Oh, and there was a different time when the alpha dog and the guy that gives me Pupperoni went on a trip together. Becky and Duke took care of me that week. I took care of the boys and our new girl. It was ruff! Duke and Becky are pretty easy to get along with, though. Once again, there was a distinct lack of bacon, but that’s kind of the story of my life.

20131226-214705.jpgOf course, there was also lots of regular doggie types of stuff that happened all year. Me and Bob had lots of dragony adventures. I built lots of things out of sticks and leaves and stuff. Some of it even almost worked. I spent lots of time romping, barking, and protecting things. I exchange my protection services for for head scratching and snuggles. I’ve pretty much given up on bacon.

We went on lots of long walks this year, too. That is fun. I get to see geese and sometimes other dogs. I never look them in the eye, though. That way I stay invisible. I get kind of tired on the longest walks, but it is a lot of fun anyway. I think my people would get lost if I didn’t pull them along.

Well, that’s the way things look from my perch on the top of the couch. It’s been a good year but they changed the password on the computer so I haven’t been sharing as many stories. It’s still a ruff life.

Pete

PS: Please send bacon.

Dream Year

New Year’s Eve 2012. The clock is well past midnight…technically it’s New Year’s Day. Everyone else is asleep but I’m enjoying one last cup of cocoa while watching the fire burn down. The scent of spent fireworks mingles with the smoke from the glowing coals in the fireplace. As I wonder what 2013 will hold, my eyelids grow heavy.

We’re all in Paris. Les Invalides. Louvre. Musee D’Orsay. The four of us wander every street, enjoying fresh pastries and chocolates along the way. We round a corner and there it is. The Eiffel Tower. Then Normandy: ParisPont du Hoc, Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, the beautiful French countryside. Another wild adventure and we’re in Villers St. Paul, the town where my grandpa’s plane went down. The entire town is commemorating VE Day, and we’re honored guests. Later, we spend time with Rodin, Michelangelo, Vincent, and Davinci. It’s incredible, but goes by so fast.

Now, back in the States…and there are the boys. But they’re hardly boys anymore, they are incredible young men. Joey’s in high school and is taller than all of us. He’s already an inventor, programmer, and chef. And there’s Will…those dimples, that smile, and that hair… he’s beyond handsome. He’s also incredibly tender hearted. Oh, and smart. Very smart.

The world spins again. Now I’m walking through the streets of a town in Brazil. Christy’s there with me. People with names like Fidellis, Ivan, Vivi, Jacques, Giselle, Douglas, Eliseu, Diego, Flavia, Giovanna, and Debra are as close to us as family. Our life journeys intersect and become forever tangled. Oh, and Jesus is there too. Every step of the way. It’s a beautiful time, but it passes too quickly. Just like the rest of the year.

One more spin…. back in the States again. It’s late in the year and we’re all back at home. We’re talking and laughing around a table, each with a bowl of fried wonton ice cream. But who’s that girl? Somehow, I just know. It’s just…right. It’s Kimmi. She’s part of our family now. Suddenly we’ve got senior pictures, prom, and graduation to look forward to. Amazing.

The Bs

The fire pops and I jump. My cocoa is gone and apparently so is 2013. What a remarkable and unbelievable dream!Oh, and there are Christy and I relaxing by the fire. We look into each other’s eyes…the years have made the roots of our love so deep. It fills the house. She gives me a kiss and heads to bed. I stay up a little longer to write. Books, letters, journals, thoughts, and blogs.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, from the Bouchard Bubble. May your years surpass your biggest dreams.

Tradition

I’ve always been subtly rebellious.

IMG_1520I lost all respect for tradition when I was a teen. From my perspective, most traditions were meaningless habits repeated out of some strange sense of obligation from one generation to the next. Maybe it was a search for comfort. Perhaps they were seeking significance by being a small part of something bigger than their own lives. Whatever the case, my goal was progress. I wanted to always be looking forward instead of back.

As I got older, something shifted. Even now I can’t really put my finger on it. Some would probably say that I matured. My mind widened. From my perspective, I feel like I’ve simply opened. Maybe “unfolded” is a better word. My heart, my worldview…something in me has more open spaces in it now.

I’m still not a fan of anything mindless. I love intentionality. I find actions to be much more meaningful when they are deliberate, not habitual. Still, there’s something special that can only be found in annually gathering with loved ones around a big juicy turkey and then devouring it. The “young me” missed how meaningful ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, homemade rolls, and pecan pie all shared among friends and family can be. Somehow that silly ritual binds us together. It strengthens the connection we have with each other and reminds us of how important we are. It’s a reminder of how grateful we are to be included in each others’ lives.

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Now that I have a family of my own, I have the opportunity to crush all those old, antiquated traditions that I disliked all my life. Instead, I find myself embracing them. More than that, I’m adding to them. Our traditions do connect us after all. In a way, they are almost like a secret handshake. They are like little thing that we do that mean the world to us but don’t make sense outside our little family bubble. We are saying “we all belong together. Whatever life throws our way, we’re in it together.” It’s a way of saying “I believe in you” through our actions instead of our words. It’s a way of confirming the connectivity that we have in our family or community. It also is an opportunity to welcome in (or initiate) new “members” as well.

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One of my favorite family traditions in our house is also one of our silliest. For years and years we’ve been making our boys pose with our Christmas tree skirt around their neck as we put up the tree. They’ve gotten old enough that it borders on ridiculous. Seriously…what 14 year old wants to put a tree skirt around his neck and pose for pictures? Once upon a time it was really cute and sweet. The kiddos are still cute, and the fact that they still play along is pretty sweet. But it’s what we do. It’s us. If you’re one of our kiddos, you get to wear the tree skirt at Christmas. As silly as it sounds, a simple snapshot of a tree skirt around your neck is confirmation of your standing in our family. You matter.

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These kiddos make me proud every day. Way more than they could possibly know. Way more than I could ever tell them. And this silly tradition reminds me of that. Simple? Yes. Habit? Maybe. Meaningful? Definitely. Thanks for playing along with a silly old man who is clinging to his old fashion traditions.

Christmas 2012


Hello everybody. Merry Christmas, my name is Pete. I’m a dog. 2012 has been a crazy and exciting year!
 
First I have to tell you about my boys! Will is one of my favorite boys ever. When Ma and Pa want to put me out at night, I run and snuggle on his bed. Then they don’t put me out. Joey is my other favorite boy. He feeds me. He puts me out sometimes, which I DO NOT LIKE!!! But he feeds me, too. I appreciate that.

Ma lets me sit on her lap at the table in the morning while she drinks coffee. That is nice. Then she puts me outside, which is not nice. Pa is really good at scratching behind my ears. Sometimes he sneaks me some bacon, but he likes it a lot too so it doesn’t happen much.
Oh, I just remembered the time of the days of lots of outside time. It happened TWICE! My boys and Ma and Pa went some castle that is owned by a mouse or something. I had to stay outside A LOT!!! They say they had fun, but I saw a picture and I think they are crazy.  Do they look normal? When they got home I had to do eight happy spins and then lick them each on the face.
A different time, I had to stay outside a lot again. Ma and Pa went someplace called Brazil. They probably have bacon there or something because they went last year too and think it’s a pretty special place. They called it a mission trip. I go on missions to find bacon or cheese and to save the world from being enslaved by geese of doom, but I think what they did might have been different. I found a picture of that too.
 
Some people think I am a goofy dog. I guess it is because I have a pet dragon named Bob and spend a lot of time battling the geese of doom down by the lake. But my life is full of love, laughter, and imagination. These things make a house a home, make a Christmas happy, and can make life worth living for this little puppy. 
On behalf of my people, I want to wish you a merry Christmas and happy holidays. May it be filled with love, laughter, and a little imagination too. And bacon.
Love,
Pete (and David, Christy, Joey, and Will too)

Little dog, big grudge

I am not a very big dog. I have a big heart and I am very brave. My feelings do get hurt some times, and this time is one of those times. I will tell you about it.

This was just Christmas here where I am. You may have had Christmas, too. My people were not being very good at writing a letter to send to all of their friends for Christmas. Most years they do that, because they like to keep in touch with everyone. This year they were being slow. So, I swooped in. I love to save the day and I am very good at it. So I wrote a Christmas letter for them.

And they didn’t send it. They didn’t send it to anyone at all. So I am mad. I may post it here since they didn’t send it out.  They did give me a few chewy bones for Christmas, so I think I will forgive them.