Monday, February 27, 2017

Beach Day In Staten Island.

This past weekend, like presidents day weekend was too beautiful, and way too warm to stay indoors so at the last minute we decided to go for a drive to Staten Island Beach, and even when the temps dropped to 55 degrees after 4pm we still managed to have fun without some of the sun. There were no fancy pictures of food, or the city, or the kids splashing in the water (too cold) only a few moments captured with my smart phone of randomness. I don't know what it is with men, and no jackets. Or in this case kids. They were all wearing a windbreaker, a hoodie, and a denim jacket. Because this was a spontaneous beach trip Jon didn't think to bring a coat (he's from Utah, I'm not cold) um, yeah right...he was freezing! It was super cold once we got on the beach, and all we had on were light jackets, and our footwear was flip flops, and Birkenstock (at least Jon is wearing socks with his!) LOL!
Nonetheless we always, always laugh through our unpreparedness of being irresponsible at times of planning, and of our spontaneity. Speaking of not wearing a jacket...I had Lexie wear mine. At least I was wearing long sleeve, and surprisingly my feet weren't cold! Here are a few photos from our Saturday! 
Noah and Chelsea are like two peas in a pod. The five year age gap doesn't stop them, and the fact that Chelsea can be a bit tomboyish makes these two have more fun together.

He can ride this thing all year long no matter what season we're in. He loves his scooter!
Some of these photos are a bit grainy, but they are blog worthy. I love this part of new york. The beaches here are amazing, and we look forward to summer. Venturing different beaches besides the jersey shore is fun, and we sure love exploring them. 
Overlooking the Verrazano bridge.
Our winter beach day was exquisite and we would do it again in a heartbeat, preferably with warmer jackets & decent winter footwear! I absolutely love my crew, and look forward to more of these outings no matter what season it is. But oh, we do look forward to more sunshine, waves crashing, getting more than our feet wet, and more of this...
Hope y'all have a happy monday, and an amazing week no matter how warm, or cold your temperatures are! 

Friday, February 24, 2017

From Sight Words To Story Books.

When we first moved here, and heard that the schools in our area were a "no child left behind" school, and that the curriculum was somewhat rigorous I have to admit I was a bit nervous for the girls. Well, truth is I wasn't having an issue with the girls academic potential. It was Noah's. 

First of all Noah never went to preschool, and only had half a day kindergarten, and so when the principal called to let me know how he was not at the reading level as all the other kids I wasn't too surprised. He's smart in his own way, and my way of teaching him in the home since he was three was taking him to museums, playgrounds, the beach, zoos, reading to him (not the other way around), and allowing him to be a kid! After all he was six when he started Kindergarten, and when you're in Kindergarten for three hours they basically teach you sight words such as and, is, the, we, it, adding two numbers, and learning good manners. We'd read to him every night, and he would always look at the pictures, and describe what was in them. 

I am extremely grateful that we are in a school district that has this reading recovery program because oh my is remarkable! Noah has become a pro at reading, and his progress in just five months is amazing! He always wants us to read to him, and will take over after turning the first page. He loves telling the story, and uses his own "noahisms" when it comes to the story. His imagination is wild, and free, and his teacher is so proud of his growth in reading. Mrs. Strobino is an amazing teacher, and the strategies that she taught him since school started is something that every reading teacher should teach to those kids who either struggling with reading, or doesn't like to read.

Now Noah is more confident when it comes to writing short stories, and his name. He writes complete sentences, and is so smart! I love him, I love how much effort he puts in his schoolwork, and that he enjoys school. He hated missing school when he was sick recently! And this is all because of a teacher who had the patience to teach him with strategies that are correct, and had faith in him that he would turn into an avid reader! 

Now that he's learned to read, he's learning how to read to learn. Hello Math!
Now that he's learned to read, he's reading to learn. Hello Math equations! 

Happy Friday! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

George Washington's Mount Vernon On President's Day.

There are pros and cons to going to Mount Vernon which is the most popular historic home in America on President's day. Pro...admission is free. Con...everyone, and I mean the entire D.C. area including people from out of the country come!! It is always crowded, parking is always hard to find (unless you get there at 7 in the morning), and don't even get me started with the traffic! But luckily we are used to city driving, crowds, and that we don't mind driving into the city with three kids in tow to have some family time celebrating this wonderful day, and to meet up with old friends! 
I absolutely love this area, and this tourist site is perfect for all history geeks, and parents who want to educate their kids with history. I've said this before and I'll say it again, I love living in this part of the country. We are surrounded by a vast, extensive amount of history sites, and love that we take our kids to historical places to learn more about our forefathers. It's nice to have kids who are history buffs, and Lexie has become quite the revolutionary loving anglophile. 
Being that it was President's day, and George Washington's 285th birthday, there were quite a few festivities in between. If you follow me on my Instagram, there was a story on there about our day. Today was the busiest day of the year, and because of that we weren't able to tour the mansion because of time, but were able to enjoy the other areas of the estate. There are so many historic area outbuildings, and we even saw Washington's Tomb. You can totally spend the entire day here, and we pretty much saw all of Mount Vernon. 
It was pretty awesome spending the day here commemorating George Washington's birthday, and watching the 21-gun salute was amazing. Noah was so excited to be here, and even though there were moments where he was getting a bit ornery due to a hungry tummy he had fun (note the look on his face in this picture). We did a lot of walking, and even shared some cake with "George and Martha." 
Resting in between the sites. Such a huge estate!  
I can see why so many people come here on Presidents day. I'm sure half of the people don't come because of the free admission, but to remember. To remember a great man on this special day. It was really nice getting familiar with George Washington's surroundings and history, but to also see my dear friend Stacie as well. She is a special friend who helped me turn my life around for the better. 
I hadn't seen her in about 11 years, and we met up here in Mount Vernon. Totally last minute trip for us, but I loved it. I loved spending time with her, and to see her family again. Her daughter Baylie is leaving for a church mission to Portugal in March, and it was such a joy seeing her all grown up. 
What a perfect February day it was touring this wonderful site next to the Potomac river, with beautiful weather, and wonderful company in Mount Vernon! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Taylor Swift Experience!

When Chelsea was three years old I remember writing this status on my Facebook, "dancing with my baby girl to Love Story."  I love that song, and every time it tuned in on the radio I'd turn up the volume. Even though we haven't been to any of her concerts yet, we are still a fan, and we absolutely love Taylor. Reading the history about how she came to Nashville to audition, and how she got signed on at such a young age is remarkable. We love her story, and her music, and really appreciate how far she has come to get to where she's at. So since we never had a chance to go to any of her concerts I decided to do the next best thing, and surprise Chelsea by taking her to New York, and see The Taylor Swift Experience. Chelsea had no clue where I was taking her, and when she saw the huge photo of Taylor outside the building questioned it, and asked where we were going. I told her it's a little museum where a lot of her memorabilia sits, and we can just go inside and get to know her a little bit more. My other girls are not huge fans of Taylor, but they do approve of her music, but I'm so glad that I have a daughter who really, really loves her! 
And we had such a fun time experiencing the wonders of Taylor! 
 Her clothes that she wore to concerts, and awards shows were unreal! And check out that piano! Chelsea was so tempted to play it, but wasn't allowed! 
We had so much fun on this dance floor. They were constantly playing her songs in the background and all over the museum. At one point we had the whole dance floor to ourselves, and luckily we saw two other taylor swift fans who were nice enough to snap a picture, and "boomerang" us. You can see that short video here

What a fun day it was in the city with this girl. I love spending one on one time with each of my girls, and taking them to places that make them happy. I hope to have more fun days like this. 

If you're a fan and want to visit the the taylor swift experience this is the last weekend for it so have a good one folks! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I Love........

I love Valentine's day. It's a pretty big deal to me because it is all about LOVE. I mean...everyday should be all about love, but on this particular day is when I tend to express it the most. It is the day I get to express my love for my friends, my kids, and my husband. It's the next best thing to our anniversary. I love to write letters. I love to express my thoughts on paper to those who mean the most, and put it in an envelope in hopes it reaches to its destination safely. I love exchanging valentines cards, and that my kids enjoy doing that too. I love sending cards, and letters with words which I hope inspire, bring comfort, and joy to the receiver. Doing that helps me blossom into an even more compassionate, and loving person.
I love the beach. Ever since I was a little girl I've always loved the beach. Living in Texas I was only about an hour away from it, but we didn't go enough. Now that i live in jersey near the shore, we go more than enough! And I love it! This is the one place I love going to any time of the year. After enduring months of cold weather, and sickness we came here to celebrate valentines's day where we became reacquainted with the ocean. We enjoyed taking in the sounds of the waves, walking along the shore where we saw two gorgeous huskies playing in the sand, and took enough selfies to last us a lifetime. We even got a little wet. It's true what they say, "never turn your back on the ocean" because as we were taking pictures with the ocean behind us, waves crashed against our feet where we almost fell! But oh, it was so worth feeling that cold water against my feet. Thanks to the clogs I was wearing! 
I love the little bit of time I get to spend with my husband. Time slips away from us way too fast, and I don't get enough time spent with him. His days at work are long, and the only time we seem to have time to unwind together is late, late at night, and on the weekends. Because of that I want to make my time with him count. I don't want to take that little bit of time with him for granted. As much as we love spending time with our kids we also need time for ourself. And our efforts in doing that are getting better. 

I love dating my husband. I love the simple things he does for me. I love how hard he works to provide for us. I love that he's real. That he is always being himself. That he is never quick too anger. You have to really do something huge to make him mad! I love how he has never, ever felt the need to live, be, or act a certain way. I love how he allows me to have my freedom. Time away with my friends. I love his personality. I love his spirituality. I love how he interacts with our kids, makes them laugh, and eases their hardships when they have them. I love how he treats others. He may be having an off day, or be in a midst of a trial or struggle, and yet...he's the most jovial person on the planet! Even when he's writhing in pain. He's simply amazing. His coworkers say so. His boss says so. His clients say so. His doctors say so. I love how he doesn't speak ill of anyone, and that he doesn't retaliate when others may do that towards him. I love his patience. I love the respect he has for others, especially his elders. I love the adoration, and love that he has for me, and our children. I love how he loves me. I love his embrace. His kisses. I love how simple his dates are, and how this one particular date on the beach was the most simplest, and funnest date ever! 

I love my tall drink of water. I love being his wife.
And I love us! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

100th Day Of School On Valentine's Day.

For the past couple of weeks I had been wondering how Noah can decorate his t-shirt for the 1ooth day of school. Well, instead of telling him how to decorate it I asked him what he'd like on his shirt. I am really glad that I have come to let my kids be independent in making their own decisions. This is obviously an easy one because it's about a t-shirt, and not about something serious! I remember when Chelsea was in first grade, and decorated her t-shirt with heart stickers. Sure it was my idea, but she really liked it. I feel as if I am getting better with my kids when it comes to making their own choices. First Noah wanted 100 transformers, and because I figured that would take way too much time told Noah that was a no go. Then he said spider-man heads. As soon as he said spiderman heads something clicked, and I thought of our dear friend Curt from church who is one talented young man. He is amazing at art, and is a great artist. I'm sure I could have done this myself, with the help of the girls, but really wanted Curt to do it, and he obliged. He was so happy to have done it, and did a great job. On top of school, and being busy he completed the shirt in three days! 100 little spiderman heads in three days, and a big one on the back! 
Such a blessing to have youth in my church who are super talented, and are so willing to serve, and help out a sister! Noah was so happy when he saw the shirt, and couldn't believe how many "spidey heads" there were.

It was the perfect Valentine gift, and kind gesture for Noah from such an awesome young fella! 

Thanks Curt for making a little boy super happy!

Here's hoping everyone is having a nice Valentine's Day too! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

An Evening With Stephanie Nielsen.

Last night the girls and I had the opportunity to hear New York Times best selling author, and global blogger Stephanie Nielsen at the chapel in Manhattan. I  have been following Stephanie Nielsen's blog since I started blogging back in 2011. I never knew about her tragedy until then which is shocking because having lived in Utah for so long you'd think I'd hear the news, but I was living in North Carolina at that time, and had no idea. Her story has inspired so many people worldwide, and I am one of them. When I saw she was coming to speak in New York I gathered my girls to let them know, and said, "We are going!" There was not a dry eye in the room. I noticed Lexie crying throughout most of her talk which made me see that she has so much compassion for those who face major adversity. Both Stephanie, and her husband shared their story in a way that helped motivate our spiritual potential in looking at the big picture when one goes through such a trial. The way they hold their faith is beautiful, and the way she tells her story is hopeful for anyone who may be going through some kind of struggle. Her relentless faith, and passion for life has given me a different perspective in life, and inspired this 45 year old mother of four to be better...espeically when one faces adversity. 

Her husband Christian gave a talk on spiritual reserves, and how to have "deep reserves" when it comes to the scriptures, and how the source and strength that comes from the Savior is true. I love how he, and Stephanie have build their home around Christ, and how they are so devout in the faith, and how much they express their love for their children. I have to agree with Stephanie when she mentioned that without them having the gospel in their life, and having firm faith that they could have given up on themselves, their life, and their marriage. And that handling this situation would have been harder to endure. What an amazing story of survival, bravery, hope, and faith. 
After the talk was over my girls and I patiently waited in line to greet, and hug Stephanie, and to let her know what an inspiration she is to us! I love how she shares the gospel online, and is fearless when it comes to letting everyone know how much she loves the gospel. Her faith in the atonement, and relying faith in God's healing power of God is phenomenal, and she has so much appreciation for life. Her beauty radiates both inside and out, and she is absolutely amazing! She has come such a long way in the past nine years, and I'm so grateful for her testimony, an story that inspires, and will strengthen others. I am so happy that all of my girls have met her, and heard her story in person. My oldest daughter had the opportunity to see, and chat with her, and even take a photo with her and her family while she was in the MTC. Sierra was so happy for that opportunity! 

And we are super happy that we had that opportunity too!