Friday, May 22, 2015

IF IT'S MEANT TO BE.

Two months ago a dear friend of mine had her second child. You can imagine my excitement & surprise when I found out that she was having a baby (congratulations Lori!) I was so thrilled for her. I hadn't seen her since high school, but the desire to send her a gift was overwhelming. It was so fun putting it together, and I was informed last night with a sweet thank you video from her cute son that they received it. My brother in law who is also in his 40's will become a dad for the second time next week, and there are also two other friends from high school who are my age who also had babies in their 40's. I was almost 39 when I had Noah, and being pregnant at that age was pretty amazing! Sure I had my moments of exhaustion, but what pregnant woman doesn't. Aside from back pain due to how I carried him I've always had healthy pregnancies, and hearing these baby announcements, and seeing pictures of newborn babies makes me a bit jelly, but at that the same time so, so happy for them. 

And the truth is... 

I would like to have another baby. In about four months I'll be turning 44, and the desire to have a baby is still within me. I know what you're thinking (at least some of you may be). You already have four, and you're getting old why would you want more? 

Well, I wasn't close to my brother at all while growing up (we lived separately), and when I see my kids in harmony (at least 95% of the time) it brings me so much joy, and the desire to have just one more increases. It's as if I want to fill that void I had of not having grown up with my brother, and not experiencing the feeling of having a younger sibling. I would like for Noah to experience being a big brother, but then again I didn't experience being a big sister. I do, however,  have a wonderful sister whom I did grow up with. Despite the cat fights, and drama we had as sibs we are closer today now than we've ever been, and for that I am extremely grateful to have her in my life to look upon to. 

As far as my brother goes our relationship has progressed somewhat throughout the years, but the fact that we were raised separately made it kind of difficult. Living miles away from each other doesn't help either.  Nonetheless we keep in touch via text, and he just got a Facebook! He's almost 50 and is finally on Facebook! Huge step for me bro! But we are all old school, and I think my sis, and brother will always appreciate tangible cards, and photos! 

I never in my life thought I would have four kids because my childhood wasn't all rainbows and butterflies, but I did. I didn't plan them to be five years apart either it just happened that way. One of the greatest blessings was having girls first. Not one, but three! And even though they have their moments, they all love each other. One thing for sure is when their all old, and married they will all be each others best friend. Just as my sister, and I are. Looking out for each other, and having each other's back even though we are miles apart. There's is no greater feeling than having a sister, and I'm so happy that I have ONE! 

As much as Jon and I would want Noah to have a baby brother, or sister, it's just not happening. One thing I know for sure is that Heavenly Father knows what he's doing, and he truly is in charge of our life. No matter how much I beg, and plead to have another child it is His will. I don't want to bother going to any doctors, or specialists to help  me get pregnant, because I personally don't, nor should I have to do that...especially at my age. I have come to the realization that if it happens it will, and if it doesn't then that means that this body of mine has produced all it can in this life, and I'm at peace with that. 

Jon and I both have discussed this with our children, and I made a choice that if it doesn't happen within the next year then I know I was only meant to have four kids, and I'm seriously okay with that.  

Seriously OKAY! 

I am extremely grateful that the Lord blessed us with a son, and I know that Noah will be satisfied with being the baby of the family as I am, and that is something that he and I will have in common!

Having four children has been the greatest blessing in my life, and knowing that makes me look forward to being a grandma someday...not now, but someday! 

Our family of six will be good enough for me! 

Have a happy long memorial day weekend! 

**Photo is an oldie from the year 2010 taken in Cape Cod. Noah was seven months old. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

WHEN THE DAY TAKES YOU TO PHILLY.


You'd think that on your days off all you want to do is sleep, and relax, but I personally cannot just hang out in the house all day especially when the weather is too perfect. With Jon driving all day for eight hours delivering at least 250 packages I'm sure all he wants to do on his days off is sleep in, but I don't let him. Okay, maybe just for a little bit until like 9am. Unless you're working graveyard sleep in until late afternoon, but I don't like him sleeping in until noon like a teenager on saturdays! Oh wait...my kids don't even do that! Although the forecast called for a few showers we didn't care. Weather in Jersey or particularly in the east is so unpredictable. You never know if it's going to rain, or just be cloudy. Jon and I are spontaneous, and so we both decided to go to the city. We never really plan, and I think that's what makes our marriage unique, and fun because we are not anal when it comes to planning. It would be different if we were planning a trip out of the country like Europe, or Hawaii, but when you live 20 minutes away from Philly who cares. Just go with the flow. 

It's pretty amazing where the day can take you. Since I was craving a sandwich we decided to drive to Potbelly's. Unfortunately the location we normally go to on City ave. closed last October. Has it really been that long since we've eaten there?? Luckily the ones in Center City, and UPenn were still open because man was I was hungry!! 


We were lucky to find a meter to park, and walked around the University of Pennsylvania. To my surprise it was a pretty interesting area. I thought that this area was surrounded with hospitals, and universities, but if you walk around a bit you'll discover that there's the Penn Museum which we are going to check out next time we come, and a lot of old buildings. So yeah...there's quite a bit of history to explore in this part of Philly. I didn't have a lot of battery left on my phone because overtime my snapchat kills it, but I did manage to capture like one or two pictures! Here are a few, and I'll try to caption the photos as I try to write in prose. 

Walking around UPENN was beautiful. I love the architecture of some of the buildings such as the first photo with Noah on Jon's shoulders. I was too hungry to stop and take photos soooooooo this was the only pic i took! 
On our walk back we saw this Benjamin Franklin statue. Apparently it was a gift given to the college from the class of 1906! Wow that's an old gift! 
One cannot leave Philly without driving by, and getting down to walk around the temple site to see how it's coming. The exterior is still being worked on, but look at it!!! It is sooooo close to being completed. It is looking so beautiful, and it's such in a good location that it will definitely attract a lot of tourism. 

As I was walking taking pictures there was a man that stopped next to me, and said, "Wow, that's going to be one good-looking building" I then proceeded to say to him, "I know right, that sure is going to be one beautiful "temple", and right away he went straight to the missionaries that were standing outside the fence of the mini visitors center they have for those who want to know more about the church, and temple site. The sisters beat me to the punch in sharing the gospel with him, but I'm glad that he stopped and talked with them. 

And here's a couple more photos for good measure! 

I absolutely love living in this part of the world, and being so close to different cities, and seeing all kinds of people. When you pay attention to the positive things in life, and ignore any negativity when it comes to any city Philly truly is the city of brotherly love. We love venturing out here on a whim, and Noah just enjoys it. 

I have to note that we are pretty lucky to be living here in between New York, and Philly to continue to venture out into unknown territory. I honestly don't think I could move away from the east! 


  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

IT FEELS LIKE SUMMER!

I can't believe that my eldest daughter is now 20, that May is almost over, and that summer is just around the corner! Time sure is passing by this mama's life way too quickly, and while I find it exciting, I also find it a bit frightening! I know I've written in the past to live in the present, and not the future, but I can't help to picture what all my kids will be doing in about five years! One thing for sure is that I'll still have these kiddos in school, but I also wonder what I'll be up to at that time. 
The past couple of weeks have just flown, and as I look at the photos i posted on Instagram recently I'll ask myself, "Did this happen six days ago, two weeks ago, last month? I feel as if this happened yesterday!" Do any of you ask yourselves that? It's both amazing, and scary at the same time how time just slips through our fingers! I do enjoy it in some ways because I see my two youngest maturing, and can't wait until they will actually stop picking on each other! I picture Noah, and Chelsea at 11, and 15 talking about school, and Chelsea giving him advice about girls, and how middle school is going to be like. Encouraging him to be a strong, respectful person to girls, and his elders.
This weather we've been having has been a bit unbalanced. Hot, warm, cool, humid, breezy. It's as if spring is trying so hard to stay, yet the season is dying to transition into summer. Doesn't bother me at all. If anything it motivates my kids to be outdoors, and with the weather feeling like summer the kids decided to play some tennis. 

As I was watching Noah, and Lexie practicing tennis the past couple of weeks I was thinking of when Lexie had her first game, and how the season just ended for her. Practice will be starting soon, and Lexie is giving herself a head start in working better on her serve, and backhand swings. Her form is pretty good, but I know that in order for someone to get better you need to practice, practice, practice! She is very competitive (you can tell by the look on her face as she plays), and has a strong love for the sport. I hope she makes the team again, and is paired with a partner that is just as hardworking, and determined as she is. 
My sister insists on us getting a private coach for her, but I'll have to see how much that will cost! Music, and sports are not cheap around here, but you know us parents, we'll do anything for our kids, and when it comes to music, and sports I'll try my very best to accomplish that!
Noah continues to learn, and have fun going to tennis lessons. He is so darn cute! The way he positions himself waiting to have the ball thrown at him, and how he stands waiting to hit the ball is too pro looking. So far he loves it, and I hope he'll continue to stick with it because I believe that tennis is one of the best sports there is in the whole world. You can start learning it at three, and play until your 80 years old!! 
Chelsea is such a good sport. She loves coming with us to watch Noah, and being the "ball girl" on the court when Lexie practices. I could tell that she was feeling a bit left out so we decided to enroll for summer lessons, and she is looking forward to that. 

As much as I enjoy being in my own home, I am loving the warm weather. Being outdoors with the kids is invigorating, and fun, and believe it or not I don't mind a little bit of sweat (growing up in Texas helped with that adjustment!) That's part of spring turning into summer, and being a mom. Running around with the kids trying to keep up with them, and just having a grand time. 

It already feels like summer, and also feel that this summer is going to keep me on my toes. 


Yep...it's going to be a good one! 


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

SPRING ART SHOW '14.

Attending the art shows at the elementary school is something i've always looked forward to ever since we moved to Jersey. This is my seventh art show I've attended, and it just gets better and better with each passing year. Maybe I'm just saying that because I'm bias, and my kids have a knack for the arts, or maybe it's because I see the talent that all these kids have with their imaginations in drawing, and creating pictures. It's pretty cool to see different types of character when it comes to art among the students, and makes me happy that the teacher(s) who help put on this show each year never grows weary of their job. They make the time to carefully organize and display such a beautiful work of art all over the school. Truly takes a lot of effort, patience, and lots of love!! 

Ms. Czbas who is going on her fifth year of teaching art to elementary students is an amazing teacher. She is so gifted in her talents. She was my oldest daughter's eighth grade drama teacher when we first moved here! Crazy how time flies and now she's teaching my younger kids art! 

This year each student had two works of art on display with over 1000 pieces covering the walls of the hallways. We most definitely took the time to see each piece of art. We laughed, smiled, "oohed, and awed" as we were looking at the paintings. 

Really interesting minds, and pretty cool art that these kids portrayed. 

Here a few pieces that were among my favorites...

All the fourth graders (including mine) created their collage by using cut-paper to create their own look of Pablo Picasso's abstract painting...The Three Musicians. 
This was the work of third graders. I captured a photo of Chelsea as she was passing the "The Tree of Life." I thought it was so springy and pretty with the different colored butterflies. It's adapted by Gustav Klimt's tree of life.

And some of these were just too cool not to photograph.  
^^^ Music makes her happy. ^^^
 Some of these were just the coolest such as the 'Listerine' drawing done by Gabriel, the 'McDonald's' french fries, and jolly rancher drawings. 
These paintings, and drawings all put a smile on my face. I see Chelsea's reaction when she was showing us her artwork, and can tell that it helps her escape from reality. She loves the arts, and anything to do with coloring, and drawing. I always find joy, and comfort whenever I attend an art show. Whether the work is done by a professional or by elementary kids it is worth the time to go. 

There is no boredom when it comes to art! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

HAPPY 20TH SIERRA!

When I received a snapchat from Sierra to let me know she received our packages this past Saturday I called, and asked her if she wanted to open them now, or on her official birthday which is today. We both decided since Monday was going to be a busy day for her working, and having a family bbq with friends that she should open them now. We face timed the "mini-birthday" party,  and as she was opening the package the first thing she grabbed was the card we sent. She opened it, sat still for a minute while reading it, and then said, "Can y'all believe you have a 20 year old!!" While I was sitting there in total denial,  Jon's answer was, "yes I do,  I feel old!" LOL! 

Although I embrace my age there are days when I feel young, and energized (having a five year old in your 40's will do that to you). I look forward to Sierra's future, and all that she wants to accomplish. She has some awesome goals, and is very ambitious. She wants to raise the bar with her passion for music, and for her love for God to not just be stagnant, and mediocre, but to increase to the highest of honorable love. And although she wants to be a mom someday she has dreams of being a musician, and inspiring others through her words whether it's through music, or teaching. 

One thing for sure is that this daughter of mine is the greatest. Throughout all the decisions she has made up until now with her schooling, and all that she has endured in the first two years after graduating high school, she has done just that...ENDURED. No matter what life has thrown at her she has managed to overcome all opposition, and stand strong in her beliefs. Knowing that she had to make decisions on her own, and even though some may not have been the greatest she ended up learning from them, and growing into a much stronger spiritual daughter of God. Reading this sweet story also helped my perspective on mothering an adult from long distance, and toddler at the same time!

And because of her example, and standing strong in her faith tells me that I did something right. That all the things she was taught in the church were not just words, but the truth. And she knows that now more than ever.

She knows she's of great worth, and knows why she is living her life in this dispensation. Whatever she decides to do in the next two years we will support her all the way. 

Her "future will truly be as bright as her faith" if she continues to be the way she is. Bubbly, cheerful, forgiving, kind, and loving.  I am so grateful that the words "have courage and be kind" never left my daughter's mind, and I pray that she will continue to teach that to her future posterity when the time comes. 

Happy birthday mamas, and have a fabulous day! You deserve every good deed that comes your way!

xoxo

momma bear




Friday, May 15, 2015

HAVE COURAGE & BE KIND.

I
When I took Chelsea on a date to see Cinderella when it first opened I couldn't help, but to turn away from the movie and take a glance at her, especially when the scene of her mother dying came on. Her eyes were glued to the screen and watching her reaction made me tear up a bit. 

"Have courage and be kind" was something that Cinderella was taught by her mother, and it made me think of my girls. Hoping I did my very best in raising them to fend for themselves, to have compassion, and most of all kindness. I know that I have taught them well, and even though they may not be perfect I have seen them express acts of bravery, and extreme kindness. 

Through all the hard work, and sacrifices when it comes to our kids being a full time mom is worth it. We learn from our own experiences, and in turn teach our children to do better in hopes that they will never be faced with adversity, but it's inevitable, and regardless they will have their own trials. 

I feel my Heavenly Father's love every time I pray for my children, and let me tell you, prayer becomes constant when you have a child living 2100 miles away. Regardless if their surroundings are safe, and their influences are good it doesn't matter. There will always be opposition in all things. Luckily we have the tools that can guard us from any opposition. Prayer, and reading the scriptures. Adversity will always be there, but applying the scriptures, and praying for guidance in making wise choices can help us handle any "real-life" bad situations when they happen. 

I wasn't raised in the church so I know how it feels to not have had those tools in my life. And as much as I had a mother who did her very best in raising me, having that firm foundation built upon a rock was not in our home. One thing my mom did teach me though is manners. In spite of the trials I had throughout my childhood I was taught to always be kind to others. I also had to be brave in the things that I was faced with on a daily basis. Although the rock in my home wasn't as solid I still managed to survive, and have courage. In the end I had developed thick skin as well as a defensive attitude because of the things I endured as a child, but the act of being kind never left my demeanor. 

Fortunately I've changed that environment in my life today by building a firm foundation of Christlike love in our home in hopes to never have that foundation broken. 

I love the scriptures, and as a mother I know firsthand that when I make the time to read them it helps me through any rocky situations, and prevents me from being an "evil person." As much as we read the scriptures as a family, I hope that I have enlivened my kids to never take them for granted. 

All children are innocent to a point just as Cinderella was, and once they are faced with adversity it can go either way. You can choose to become weak, and bitter. Or it can strengthen you, and make you into the best person you can possibly become. I am grateful to have children whom so far have faced adversity with courage, and beat it with a tremendous amount of faith.

For some life can be like a spiritual roller coaster. Up, and down, all around. Regardless of what life throws at them I pray that they will grow from their struggles, always have the courage to face adversity with bravery, and no matter what to always be kind to others. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY "GRANDPA JOE."

The month of may has, and will always be a special month for me for a number of reasons. It is the month I converted my life to the Lord, and joined this church, but an even more special month having my first daughter being born. It's also special because it's the birthday month of this great man who passed on way too soon. A man who was like a father to me. 

His name was Joe.

Today would have been his 66th birthday. And today I want to celebrate him by remembering all the good that he brought into our family. He was one of the greatest father figures I've ever known, and an amazing "grandpa" to my girls. The way he treated my mom was something out of a love/comedy film because he always made her laugh .and even though they had their ups and down like all couples do they always ended with a laugh. I think that's why I found their relationship so ideal & somewhat comical...in a good way!
Memories of him will always stay with me, and till this day I know he's watching us from above. Helping us out through someone else. Looking down at our girls praying that they continue to live a good life, and probably wishing that he met Noah. 

I believe that there no coincidences in this life, and since his death I've had amazing experiences where someone has helped us out whether physically, or by simply doing a good deed, and i want to share a couple of those experiences today. 

About a month after Joe passed on Jon and I were trying to decide whether to have lunch at Sonic or Chick-fi-le. We decided to have Chick-fi-le. We continued to wait in the drive thru, and when it was our turn to pull up the lady at the window told us to not worry about paying that our meal has been paid for. I was in awe because that just doesn't happen very often. So when she gave us the food she also gave us a business card of the person who paid for our meal.  His name was "Joe" and he was a pastor from a church. You can imagine me reaction. My husband said to me, "that was not a coincidence, he's watching out for you from above."

This past winter I was helping out a friend by taking her out an important errand. My van began to overheat, and I had to pull onto the side of the road to let it cool down. Now mind you I'm in Jersey, it's freezing cold outside, and it's 8:oo in the morning! My girlfriend and I wondered who the heck is going to stop, and help us at this ungodly hour in a borough where everyone is asleep. Well what do you know here comes a car pulling behind mine, and this older man probably in his 50's steps out of his vehicle offering to help. He looked underneath our hood, and noticed that the pipe which allows the water and antifreeze to flow through is frozen and is blocking the fluids to flow through. Amazingly he had some antifreeze, and water in his trunk. He waited with us long enough to make sure that the needle went down to the middle of th gauge, and that it was not staying on "H". I was so grateful to him, and still couldn't believe that he stopped for us. I had a few dollars, and wanted to give it to him for helping us, but he refused to take it. I thanked him, and while shaking his hand asked him what his name was. He said "I'm Joe." My eyes got watery, and continued to express my gratitude to him. He went on his merry way. As i got back in the car my girlfriend asked what's wrong because the tears began to stream down. I explained to her that every time I'm in need of something the person having to help us have been named Joe. She thought that was pretty cool. 

I know that Joe is watching over us, and his loved ones. He truly is an angel behind the curtain helping us out in times of need. With the help of Heavenly Father those blessings continue to come down. While living on this earth Joe was a compassionate, giving kind of man with an amazing heart. 

And I firmly believe that it's even bigger up in the heavens. 

Happy Birthday Joe.

Go on...continue to celebrate with the angels. 
And God continue to be with you until we meet again. 

xo