Monday, January 16, 2017

Holly Trees & A Few Pics of Our Winter So Far.

Since it snowed quite a bit last week I wanted to capture some moments of the kids in our new place. This is our first winter in this area, and so far this week has been mild with a high of 65! I am lucky to have captured some shots even though it was bitter cold! I love the holly trees that are built along the property of our house. It definitely adds some color especially in the winter time. With the snowfall we just had seeing the trees covered in snow is really pretty, and because i love to take pictures of my kids decided to capture a few with them in it.

When the snow finally came Noah did something that he's never done before! I'd expect him to do this at a toddler age, but I guess seven year olds do it too! At least mine does! He ate snow from the trees. I captured a moment of him doing so on this short video, and I had to laugh instead of get mad. Luckily it was snow that has been untouched! His words, "mmm, mom this snow is good. try some!"
My long legged boy! I only look forward to his growth because I wonder how tall he'll be! 

Granted we don't own the house we moved to because we are here on a two year lease in hopes that we will stay and find a permanent home, but nonetheless we are enjoying our farm house that has no central air, no dishwasher, and no garbage disposal. I am grateful for simplicity, and the two full baths that make up for all that, and that the kids are happy being in this area, and living in a house that is surrounded by holly trees so that they can play and run around them in the winter time!  

Enjoy your week folks! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Chelsea's Winter Choir Concert.

Well, it looks like Chelsea is following in her sisters' footsteps with everything musical including choir. Her 6th grade winter choir concert was this past Tuesday, and I have to say that these kids rocked the house! I was extremely impressed with these particular group of kids, because at a young age they have a voice! 
In this area fifth grade is considered a part of middle school, I know "different" but they also had a 5th grade mini concert before the 6th graders performed, and they all did very well. I was taken back at all these kids on how well they sang, and want to share this video on my YouTube channel of Chelsea and her choir class singing "Lullaby on Broadway." It has become a favorite of mine, and even though she says "Mom!! Please stop singing that song!" I've been singing it since September!" I love it because I haven't been hearing it enough since September, but nonetheless it was a great evening! 
Special thanks to her wonderful teacher, and director Mr. Heckman, and his amazing accompanist Peter de Mets. 
So proud of Chelsea in furthering her love for the arts with music, and singing, and hope y'all have an amazing weekend!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Farewell To Elder Johnson.

First and foremost I'd like to say that all missionaries from our church serving all over the world are amazing, and that i've met some who are super awesome. It's very rare that I write about a missionary who served in our church, (unless your my husband, Sisters Barton, Ricks, Moeia, Nichols, Jensen, LeFevre, Nutting, and my fave...Stacie, but I'd be remiss if i didn't add Elder Johnson to my list.

After serving the Lord for two years here in Jersey Elder Johnson flies back home today to his hometown in Utah. He served in our church for two years, and was one of the most hardworking, caring, genuine, helpful, and thoughtful elder missionaries. Out of those two years we knew him for six months. We frequently had him over for dinner with three different companions. We never grew weary of his presence, heck, we never grow weary of missionaries presence period! Aside from dinner, we always looked forward to the messages he'd bring, and how he and his companion (particularly Elder Jordan) would both share their thoughts, and ask us questions in regards to the message. I always find it a strength when they do, and helps me to relearn anything I need strengthening in, or need to hear again. Ever video they share bonds us together in unity with my family, and after they leave we always have a discussion of what the missionaries had shared with us. I love that we are such a close family, and that we always find a way to get over the hard days that we sometimes have in the day to day. Especially with the kids, but knowing that we have the missionaries over our home helps not only me and Jon as parents to continue to teach our children the truthfulness that this gospel holds, but that our children also learn, and realize that what they are being taught at home is true, and something that will benefit them in their daily life. 
It is always such a joy when we have the missionaries over our home. It had been a long time since we had elder missionaries. We always had sister missionaries in the church back in south jersey, and that was great too, but having the elder missionaries helps Noah at a young age see how fun it is to be a missionary, and how important the messages they bring are to us. I love that Noah asks every sunday if the missionaries are coming over, and how he looks forward to seeing them in our home. He loves that they are "cool" and that they are into superheroes and transformers. Aside from eating, and playing, sharing a message in our home about the Savior, and life eternal is always the core of our visit. We will miss Elder Johnson dearly, and wish him the best, but are lucky to still have Elder Jordan in our congregation! 
Good luck Elder Johnson, and hope that all you will always carry your mission in your heart, and never forget it. Take it with you wherever you go especially at college, and use those experiences to help you in your future. We also hope that you will easily transition back into the world! 

For those of you who are interested in knowing who the missionaries are, and the message they share contact me via email, or you can contact them through this website! 

Have a great day folks! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Snow Day On A Saturday!

Everyone woke up earlier than usual this past saturday. We had music lessons, and planned on visiting a friend in south jersey afterwards. But all that changed as soon as it starred to snow. Lessons got canceled, we didn't get to visit our friend, and Jon got called off of work. You can imagine the kids faces when he called to let us know that he wasn't driving, and by the sound of his voice...he was relieved. It's not a perk for being a UPS city driver driving in the snow! The fact that it was also snowing got the kids even more excited that he was off because that meant snow day that included dad! We figured the snow would taper off during the day, but boy were we wrong! It ended up snowing until darkness fell. We did however drive to Cherry hill where we ended up eating at the Bistro for lunch, and then headed back home on the freeway where traffic was slow. Luckily there were no accidents, and we made it home in time for the kids to play in the snow! 
Lexie had some energy in the beginning to play, but after eating lunch 45 minutes away from home conked out as soon as she saw her bed. Chelsea and Noah are like the energizer bunny, and had enough stamina to venture out in our yard next to the holly trees where they found themselves improvising, and discovering ways in how to maneuver their way around on a saucer in the snow. 
They went on playing until about 6pm. Basically until my fingers were numb to the bone, hence the blurry photos! I had to constantly go in and out of the house to warm up, and luckily Jon captured a few shots of us, and these crazy kids doing some funky stunts in front our house on the steps. 
Luckily I'm a cool mom, and I didn't yell too much when they were doing that! After awhile their feet, face, and hands became like ice, and wanted to go inside! I was surprised that they lasted as long as they did being that it was 11 degrees! 

Yep...winter has definitely arrived! Happy January guys! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

On The First Week of January...

We made it to the temple! Yay! 

So far this new year has been off to a great start. With Jon's busy work schedule we finally made it to the temple! The holiday season always gets super uber busy for Jon that it literally gets impossible for him to make time for the temple! I feel so bad that he hadn't gone because I know how much it means to him, and although he's happy that i attend on my own, he wishes he could come with, and every time I go without him I always think of him, and those I love. Regardless of going on my own I love it, and I'm a much better person when I leave that beautiful building! Attending the temple in our church is something is so important to me. I attend because it helps strengthens me, and gives me clarity, and peace. I love the person I am when I leave the temple. The temple sure has a lot of benefits, and I'm so grateful to have one close by where I can attend more frequently. 

While serving in the nursery at church yesterday I began talking to another sister, and somehow we go on topic on how important it is to go the temple. I was super passionate in sharing my feelings about it, and past temple trips that Jon and I did when the girls were little. She was impressed at all trips we took, and who early we'd go! Those are some the sweetest moments that will always be treasured in my heart, and it so nice to reflect back on them. It took me a while in preparing to get to the temple after my conversion, but that's okay. I have been making up for lost time by constantly going. Sometimes finding the time to go can be hard, but I know this. If we really want to go, and know how important it is, we can find the time. It's a choice, and can be an easy one if we just put our foot down, and spend a couple of hours at the temple as opposed to watching tv all day, or going to a movie. It's a new year, and because we have one so super close where we only pay a toll that's under five bucks you better believe that I'm not going to complain, but just go! 
I love our dates when we go to the temple. The love I feel for jon just deepens, and we always end up talking even more seriously inside the temple about life. It's wonderful, and it certainly puts all the happenings in our life into a more peaceful state. The Lord is amazing, and He knows us so well, and i know that He hears our prayers, and sees all that we are going through. I love how we also have fun afterwards. Sure we strive to stay in that spiritual mode, but tonight we had a little bit of fun on the grounds. For the longest time we have been waiting for snow, and when we walked out there was a small blanket of snow on the ground. We didn't get too much, but boy did we get hammered the next day. It was so beautiful to see the snow falling and shining off the lights, and to see the nativity covered with snow. 
 I captured a few shots including a few blurry selfies of us. I have to tell ya that we took at least 30 selfies, and only three made it onto this post! I know selfies are overrated, but because it was so cold couldn't find anyone outside to take a pic of us. People that were driving by probably thought we were crazy for standing outside trying to capture that perfect take. 

And in all honesty I don't even care how they look. Blurry or not it's not how the picture looks, but how happy Jon is that he is taking a pic of us! How joyful we both are afterwards. He's such a good sport in being my personal photographer, and the one holding the phone sometimes (thanks to his long arm.) He's not one for social media, and posting on there (have you ever seen his Facebook), but boy does he like to take pictures. 
The first week of 2017 was definitely a good one! 

Friday, January 6, 2017

A New Year, The Same Me, But Better.

Resolutions in my opinion are overrated and so instead of writing down the things I'd like to change I've decided to go on living each day as I've been, but better. Pressing forward through all the challenges that face us. 2016 was no different from any other year I've had, but one thing I do have to say is that when it comes to relocating to a new area a lot can change. 

No one is perfect especially when it comes to being a christian, and we will always have our slip ups...always. Whether you lash out in frustration because of dumb things people do, not approving of something your child does, hence cursing under your breath. One thing I've learned is that I realized that the best thing to do when we have those meltdowns is to immediately apologize to that person in real time. Not months later. As a mother still raising three children at home and keeping tabs on another one who is across the country can be tough. Just because kids get older doesn't mean life with them gets any easier. It becomes more challenging. Unless you have very obedient children, then yes, life can be pretty simple, but it never is. Ever seen Father of the Bride? I'm with Steve Martin in many aspects when it comes to our children wishing for that special event to happen, but one thing I've learned when it comes to adult children is that they have to learn on their own, and live with the choices they make. Every child is different so they are not all going to like the same things, think the same way, have the same goals, eat the same foods, play the same instrument the same way, or behave the same way. Personalities, attitudes, talents, but most of all the choices they each make are going to be different.

But knowing that they are learning from their experiences and learning for themselves brings some relief, and that these stressful moments will come to pass. And then...there's the light of Christ. When I'm not strong enough to handle any drama on my own, I turn my life over to Him, and it works. That voice that speaks to me telling me what's right or wrong is something I will forever hold dear to my heart, because without the gift of the Holy Ghost my conscious wouldn't be so clear. 

Seasons change our mood, and brings a certain renewal to our mind. Since the new year began it's been a pretty wet, and dreary week with lots of rain, and I'll tell ya...the weather doesn't help my mood especially when I'm thinking about those I love who are making rash decisions. Gloomy weather can get us in a slum and awful mood if we don't how to have fun with it! And it's okay to let out some frustration too, but to be better at keeping it on the down low especially when my kids are around. That's not my forte, and I have allowed a lot of my actions be revealed in front of them, but at the end of the day they know what's up because as a family we try to keep it together. 
My kids know how I am and I've had a lot to deal with in previous years especially as the kids get older, but I know that with hope and peace in my life I can be better, and learn to accept the things I cannot change, and learn to let things go. Little by little I can work on those things I'd like to improve, and by so doing can be a little bit more patient like Heavenly Father.

One thing I find different in myself when it comes to a new year is that instead of dwelling on things that have happened in the past to find a resolve, and move on. To grow from any challenges, learn from mistakes that were made, and believe me I make a lot of them, to love more, and just let petty things go. Bringing more love, and compassion in accepting others I hardly even know is something I strive to do more this year too.

Unplugging from what goes on in the world also helps relieve any stress, and as much as I love catching up, and seeing what my friends are up to on social media it can really take away time that's important. Technology breaks are good, and going online from time to time is great and all, but if you have the phone number of that lifelong friend, or family member give them a call every once in a while or send them a simple text. Also, what's more important is what's present right in front of me. Spending quality time with my kids because dang it they are growing up way too fast! 

Life changes with a blink of an eye, and as I get older I don't want to miss the little things that are sweet. I don't want to have to deal with too much chaos in my life, but sometimes that's inevitable. No one has that perfect of a life, but when I do have those chaotic moments I will just sigh, and smile, and look at the brighter things in life because when you seriously take a good look around, and all the good people in your is oh, so good! 
That's the big picture and this year I plan to be a little bit better than before! 

Hope your first week of the year was great folks!  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

City Center D.C. & Arlington Cemetery in December.

Spending our last day of the new year in D.C. was the absolute best! It didn't matter that we rang in the new year in our car on our way home from D.C. listening to U2's new years day on the radio. Having good conversation with Lexie made it a pretty fun drive being that it was midnight! Teens have a lot to say when they're wired, and it was pretty sweet! 

Since we left early in the day to D.C. we decided to venture out to city center again to see what art installations they had up. Last spring they had pink lanterns hung up, and it's interesting to see how they decorate each season. Even though Christmas was over I decided to capture a few photos decorations! I love Christmas, and wish it would last forever, but holidays end, seasons change, and life goes on. 

Walking around the city makes you hungry and were debating on a few restaurants for lunch. There are so many places to eat in this city, and we always want to eat something that they don't have in Jersey so we decided to grab some grub over at Willards in Virgina where they have some of the best bbq! Noah loves carbs, and his favorite has become cornbread! 

Arlington cemetery was the most humbling places to go during the holidays. Even in the dead of winter with bare trees seeing the wreaths laid gently against the stones brought a beauty that made it bright. So thankful for all the soldiers who fought, and passed on protecting our freedoms. And for those who continue to do so now too.

Ending our evening by going to the temple to see the lights, and take in the spirit that was there was what we needed. Christmas break for my kids, although joyful was a bit melancholy due to their sister Sierra leaving so suddenly. I'm grateful for forever families, and for the role I have as a mother. Though far from perfect I love my children, and pray many blessings upon them this new year. May they choose joy over sadness, goals over struggle, and love and respect, over contention, and negativity. 

That is my hope for me too!