January's end

As I look back on the start of this new year it seems to me that some things never change. I have begun to realize that some things may never change...whether it's someone you care about, the people you associate with in your daily, and weekly life. I know that I'm doing my part in being the happiest person alive. I love that this month was full of blissful moments. I have the choice to make my days happy, and I choose to be happy, and I hope this makes you happy, because I want you to always be happy!

This month was full of blissful moments...

I had two daughters celebrate another year of living.

I had my middle daughter attend the temple 13 days after her 12th birthday.

It's been a mild winter which means less moisture, and brown grass. Maybe not blissful, but tolerable.

My better half's grandpa passed away, and it was more of a relief than sorrow since he had been     suffering with bone cancer for many years. He'll still be missed.

There are two young men that I know that are about to embark on a wonderful two-year journey.

Chelsea is more eager to play the piano, and wants to start cello lessons on her 8th birthday. Wait a minute...didn't she JUST turn seven!

I celebrated one year of blogging this past week!

My oldest is happy that this marking period is over which means less stress. She's halfway through her junior year!

We've also put out some of our valentine's decorations. Some of my ideas have been inspired by pinterest. I heart Valentine's day more than anything.

I've also watched Uncle Buck like three times on movieplex this whole month, and I have to say that it is one my favorite John Hughes movie of all time. Listening to this song (and please click on "this song"... I promise listening to it will make your day, and make you smile) really makes me feel like I can accomplish anything in this world as a parent, wife, mother, and friend!

I count my blessings each day for all the things we do as a family, and for ways in which we can help each other in times of stress, and major trials. Each day is a blessing, and no matter how I start out the day...I wish it to be a happy one. Whether I'm sick, or feeling stressed because of "life", I don't want that to get in my way of happiness. I'm thankful for January, and for all that has happened throughout this month. If people don't change...that's okay. What matters is how I react towards that, and my reaction will be bliss!

I can say goodbye to January 2012 now. 

Looking forward for tomorrow.

Inspirational thought

inside the tunnel on the way to D.C.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel...
Joseph Alsop (1910-1989)
We just need to be patient in getting there.

13 days later

"I love to see the temple. I'm going there someday to feel the holy spirit, to listen and to pray. For the temple is a house of God, a place of love and beauty. I'll prepare myself while I am young; this is my sacred duty."
Alexandra has been waiting for this day since we got sealed in the temple back in 2003 when she was three years old. She has always been wanting to see the temple, and to make it there one day. Well... she finally made it. 12 years of singing the primary song "I love to see the temple". She's at least able to enter in, and do baptisms for the dead.

 13 days after she turned 12 we all attended the temple. This was the only Saturday my better half had off all month so we took advantage, and made sure that we were attending the temple on this day. Thank goodness for one month advance work schedules! This day couldn't get any better. The weather was gorgeous, and everyone was in good spirits. My husband was grinning ear to ear because he now has two of our girls desiring to do temple work. Sierra was especially happy that her younger sister can go with her now. Alexandra really appreciated the work that she did inside for her kindred dead. It makes me feel so happy to see my daughters with their dad doing baptisms at the temple. There is nothing more important than for these three to serve in the Lord's house on any given day.

 Especially on a Saturday! 

Now all I need is for these two to make it to the temple also... 
Noah and Chelsea hand in hand walking towards the temple. 

One day...someday.

Happy 1st year bloggerversary

"Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite."
One year ago today we finally bought our first 'real' computer', and I immediately started a blog. Sometimes I wish I would have started it when we moved to North Carolina nearly five years ago, but had no interest in technology, and didn't even know what a blog was until I got a Facebook account. I knew that 2011 was the perfect year to begin. I don't resent all the years of scrapbooking my kids lives, but I am grateful for the technology that allows me to document every single moment in detail of what goes on in our daily lives.

Although I keep a private journal that is brutally honest, (and when I die my kids are more than welcome to read all of them) I LOVE to write and share the stories of our lives on the web for everyone to read. I wasn't even nervous, or hesitant to expose pictures of my kids because of the faith that I have. The faith that I have in not thinking anything negative about the web. The faith that I have hoping that if just one person is reading it, and is uplifting them's all worth it. Although there are pros and cons to blogging, I feel fortunate to have experienced more positive things than the negative.

Positive things.

Some positive things about blogging is how much I have fun with it. I LOVE being able to share my faith with others. I love posting things that are spiritually uplifting, and accentuating the positive, more than the negative.  I love sharing my deepest thoughts, concerns, and even some of my childhood experiences that I survived & endured in which has made me the woman I am today. I am not afraid to share my life with the world, and I will continue to do so as long as I can.

I always do my best in updating my blog as much as possible. I don't want to be a seasonal blogger, and only blog when something important happens in my life. Each day is a miracle, and important to me. Every day I wake up looking forward to something that will give my life meaning that allows me to write about. There is always something to write about. Whether it's about my family, my faith, or just a streak of words with a picture that gives meaning.

No matter how busy I get, I never want to feel overwhelmed when it comes to blogging, and give up. Like my faith in the Lord...I don't ever want to give up on something that I have a passion for. I may not be a professional writer that pays me good money, but I give thanks to our Heavenly Father for giving me the courage, and for the talent that I have to be able to form thoughts in my head, immediately type them on my iPhone, or write them down on a piece of paper or my hand (if my phone & paper are not nearby), and start writing my heart out, hence documenting them on my blog.

After all...this is all being written mostly for my posterity, and you!
My main motivator for blogging are my children. It's also intended for all of my readers, plus it's great therapy for me! It always feels good to write. I look at the stats and see how many of you have visited from all over the world, and it makes me feel good to know that y'all are reading it. I wish I could do shout outs to every single one of you, and see how one particular reader from Colonia, NJ constantly visits my blog more than my family, and friends.

So whoever your are Mr. or Ms. Colonia....keep reading. I hope it's somehow uplifting your spirits and helping you get through your day. This statement goes out to the one who is reading this right now as well. Yes you...I hope that you will find comfort in my words, and through pictures. I hope that they will uplift you or make you laugh somehow. Even chuckle a bit.

Another thing...don't be afraid or shy to comment. I have been through so much in life that I really try not to let anything offend me. I think of the old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will NEVER hurt me." So please don't be afraid to comment.

I not only write for my sanity, but for you as well. This is what I am going to leave behind to my children, and eventually their posterity will read it, and so forth, and so on. 

Thank you for reading my blog!

"I'm sexy & and I know it"

"Tonight I realized losing by one point is way worse than being blown away in the competition. But you know what else I learned? Sometimes life isn't always about winning, it's about having fun, letting loose, and being yourself."
~Jordan Jones (2nd place winner in Mr. Highland)
Here they are. These are the boys that represent their high school in which my daughter stood in as an escort for. These young men hold the keys to the future. Are we safe? long as they don't wear those bootie shorts in public...I think it's safe to say that our future is in pretty good hands.

 After all...this was all done for a good cause, and all in the name of fun.

The second annual Mr. Highland contest this year was a riot. By the theme of the contest, "I'm Sexy and I know it", I was a little nervous in the whole set up being somewhat a little risqué, but it really wasn't. It was a full house, and the response from the audience was well received.

Their opening number was this song, and I have to say... some of these boys have got some moves. They definitely showed off their legs, muscles, and yes...their bootie by shaking it. Hey...if you got it, flaunt it. (I wouldn't recommend that to any young women though.)

 They all showed off their talents with singing, tap dancing, playing the saxophone, doing an impersonation of Cher,
 an acting segment of the broadway show "Wicked", in which this contestant is singing "Popular" with one of the high school staff. (Love that show!)
this contestant is singing the song "A Whole New World" from Aladdin in which he is portraying both Jasmine and Aladdin. It was funny, but he did a good job. 
While the judges were deliberating on the winner, Mr. Moustakas performed a musical number singing "Express Yourself". He did so well, and I was singing the song, and dancing from the seat of my chair in the audience. It brought back memories of when I was in high school. I can't believe that song is twenty years old!!
My favorite talent was when one of the contestants rode onto the stage on a unicycle, and then proceeded to juggle with three neon the dark.
Pretty impressive.  
Now that's talent, and the gentleman with that talent was Jordan Jones who asked my daughter to be his escort in which they got second place. Had he received ONE more vote, he would have won the coveted crown of Mr. Highland.

Oh well...there is always next year. 
It was a fun-filled evening which brought back memories for me of the songs in which most of these young men played, and sang. They are actually from my era, and sometimes I wish that songs from the 80's and 90's were still being played more in high school dances than the music they play today. 

Although I wasn't feeling that well earlier in the day, I'm glad that my better half and I went to support this event. It is always a beautiful sight to see a friendly, wholesome couple portray a good example of modesty, happiness, maturity, and clean fun. 

Congratulations on participating in this are all winners!

Watching the tube with clifford

 I am not feeling so hot at the moment, and so for the rest of the afternoon I am allowing Noah to watch cartoons until the girls get home. I normally don't let him sit around for no more that two hours to watch television in one sitting, but I am feeling a little weak at the moment. Right now, I don't care. Luckily Noah shows compassion, and he can sense when I'm not feeling well, hence doing his own thing. He is so smart that he can turn on the television with the remote all by himself. He knows exactly which buttons to push, and can eat a bowl of mac 'n' cheese, and oatmeal all by himself.

 He's beginning to become very independent. 
 I hope to feel better by the late afternoon. I have my visiting teachers coming over, and I need to make myself well, and also get ready to attend the second annual Mr. Highland contest in which my daughter will once again be an escort to a contestant, and friend. 

Yes, I get to see twelve boys dancing again, showing off their talents, and basically just acting goofy. It should be an interesting evening. Last year's Mr. Highland was pretty tasteful, and decent. I'm a little nervous in what they are bringing tonight. I'm sure it's all in good fun, and that it'll be a fun event to attend. 
But for now...I'll let Noah continue to watch television while I lay down on the couch in hopes that he doesn't make too much of a mess with rearranging the pillows, and throwing all of his toys down the stairs. Luckily he's a good climber, and I have this house overly childproof.

He's just waiting for me to fall asleep.

New beginnings

"Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations."
With each new year comes a new beginning for several young women in our church who turn 12, and we have quite a few this year. This is a stepping stone of growth in the church for them as well as their spirituality in finding their own testimony. This is their time to progress within the gospel, and find out for themselves who they really are. This is their time to have fun, and serve each other with maturity, and without any level of contention. With diligence, and heartfelt prayer these young women have the potential to do a great many things in the church as well as in the world. One of these young women is my middle daughter Alexandra. It's her turn now to let her light shine, to be an example to all the youth in choosing the right, and to serve others as she has been served. 

She is so thrilled to be a part of the 'group' now (notice I didn't write the word 'clique' because there shouldn't be any), and ready to fulfill her duties to serve with her older sister as well as the rest of the young women. They were all welcomed and presented with candy grams. 
Sierra welcomed her with this cute candy gram that she made for her and it reads...

Welcome Lexie...our little Starburst, (aww, so sweet!)

Come stride on in to YW! We are so nuts about you! If you hit a sour patch we'll be your three musketeers. This is york time to be a smartie, but don't forget the almond joy of all the snickers you'll share.
 We love you! 
You adorable junior mint
Love the goobers, a.k.a. the Young Women

Such a cute idea, and I know Lexie will enjoy all that candy!

What can I say about these girls except that I am so proud of who they are becoming. They don't cause me any stress, and bring nothing but joy into my life. Sierra will be 17 in a few months, and I have to say for a teenager, she has never caused any trouble for anyone, and is doing magnificently well in her academics as well as in her social life. Alexandra is following in her footsteps with her own individual personality, and is so mature for her age. Sometimes I feel as if she's older than 12!
 Heavenly Father has blessed me with such wonderful children. They are not perfect, but through all their  imperfections they can certainly work on them, and grow from them. I know it is because of Him, and all the praying that I do for my family, that He has given me the life of having precious daughters who strive to do their very best to live up to the highest of standards. Being involved in the young women program is a blessing to all the young women. Although all the young women have differences with age, hobbies, and interests, they will always have one thing in common...the true gospel of Jesus Christ. They all have the choice in appreciating it, and to find out what it can do for them. It is their guide to happiness in this life, and can be an answer to any prayer. With faith, constant prayer, and having the will to be strong with any adversity they face, they can conquer anything in this world. They are the future generation of what is to come, and right now we need as many stalwart youth as we can get.

As parents, leaders, and teachers it is our job to encourage, and help them along the way.
What a beautiful world it would be if we all did just that!

To a new beginning for Alexandra, and all the other tweens out there!
Enjoy your youthul life!

Home is where your books are

As much as I LOVE books, I have to admit...I am not a voracious reader!! There are a stack of books on my dresser right now that I want to read, and some that I am halfway through reading. There are some that I'm reading, and then life happens which interrupts my reading. How is it that my two oldest daughters can read Inheritance within three days!! It would probably take me a month to finish that! I love books...I really do! I just wish I could somehow discipline myself into finishing a book. It all depends on my mood really.

Somehow it seems easier for me to read during the summer than in the winter. It seems that during the school year my life is running around in four different directions with all of the kids being five years apart. I devote my time into making sure all of my kids, especially my tween and teenager are on top of their game with school. I give them my full attention and focus on their needs, and I am more involved with their lives as they grow older.

I'm sure we all have different phases in our life when a specific book is introduced to us, and we are so enthralled in it that we can't put it down. There are three favorite books that I own in which I absolutely love, and they didn't take me too long to finish. I can read these over and over again.

I love skimming through Mommy Mantras to find a certain mantra, or passage that is suitable for the kind of day or week I am having when dealing with crazy family life. It also helps me restore my balance, and helps me look at the life of my kids in a different perspective.  I love that book!
I also have a rule when it comes to books and movies. Any book they make into a movie, I will not watch it until I have finished reading the books.

I am excited for the Hunger Games movie to come out in March, and for Enders Game to be out sometime next year. Yes... there are movies in which I had already seen only because I didn't know they had already made it into a movie. Like the Twilight and Harry Potter series. The books are totally different, but I did see the movies way before reading the books!

I really beat myself up when it comes to reading. I have many friends with multiple children under the age of ten, and somehow they can finish these thick, oversized books really quickly. Maybe they are voracious readers, maybe it's because they have the time to read,  and don't have kids in middle school or high school yet which will require 95% of their attention in the future. Maybe it's the choice they make in disciplining themselves to sit down and just read, read, read.

We are currently reading this book for our book club this month, and we are meeting tomorrow evening to discuss it. I haven't even started! I've seen the movie only because it's a classic. Oh well. I'll eventually read it, but I would rather read Unbroken, and Ellis Island first. Those books are due soon!

The birthday girls

It's been a little over a week since the girls celebrated their birthdays, and I am just now blogging about it! Better late than never I suppose. I feel that if I post pictures on my Facebooktwitter, or even on Instagram that it will be satisfying enough for me. Well it isn't. After all...I am documenting this for them, and I want them to eventually look back in their book (when I eventually turn all these post into a book), and say, "Hey... that's the day our birthday fell on a Sunday, and I was asked to play the violin at sister's so and so baptism." 

I'm also not one to brag or post about all the gifts they received.  Sure they get excited each year as their birthday comes up, but I think it's mostly all about the cake. They do appreciate the presents, and all the 'Happy Birthdays' that were said to them though. 

I guess I'll go ahead, and post a few of their favorite gifts that they received...for the record.

With this birthday came special gifts. Since Lexie turned 12, she is officially considered a young woman and is now able to attend the young women class at church. She is so thrilled to be a part of the YW and be in it with Sierra. Grandma from Utah gave her this book, and a plaque that has the Young women theme for this year. 

Other gifts included:
Inheritance- the fourth book, jewelry, this CD from Jenny Oaks Baker, the cutest little photo album, an initial bag, and "how to make a silhouette kit'.
I have to say that Chelsea was super excited for her gifts. She had asked for a new sketchbook, and she ended up getting a bonus...a Crayola colored pencils and sketch set. She also got a cute petticoat skirt from Mini Boden, an initial journal with an initial bag, and lots of necklaces, and bracelets from her favorite store...J. Crew.
 I still think it's all about the cake, and the chance they have to make a wish!
Baby brother just had to help both his sisters blow out their candles!! OOOps!
and they didn't mind! 

I relit Chelsea's candles a second time just so I could snap this photo of him! 
Too cute!!
What a beautiful smile!

 Chelsea with her Lucky Seven cupcakes.
It was a very sweet, and simple day filled with wonderful surprises, yummy cake, cupcakes, and great company. 


Inspirational thought

saying goodbye to her abuela after a long visit-circa, 1997
I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
where everyone hugs 
instead of tugs,
where everyone giggles
and rolls on the rug,
where everyone kisses,
and everyone grins,
and everyone cuddles,
and everyone wins.

~Shel Silverstein
(author of a A Light in the Attic)

Spiritual insulation

Some of the most rewarding times of our lives are those 'extra mile' hours given in service when the body says it wants to relax, but our better self emerges and says, 'Here am I; send me."
~James E. Faust (1920-2007)
Sierra and Lexie with the missionaries-2002, San Antonio, TX
Every Sunday in the church I attend I learn something new every time, and each week I feel renewed ready to tackle anything that comes my way whether it's good or bad. That's the power of the holy spirit. We all leave the Lord's house feeling different, and much happier. One of the most happy moments in my life is when I have the LDS missionaries over for dinner.

Although we lived in Utah off and on for 10 years prior to moving to Texas, we never had them over in our home. You'd think we would have had them over for dinner more since we lived in Utah for so long, but because there are so many members you had to be quick in grabbing the missionary calendar otherwise you won't ever have them over for dinner. Then again we lived in a few wards where we didn't have missionaries.

I remember the first time we ever had LDS missionaries over for dinner was when we lived in Texas. When we moved to San Antonio 8th ward, and was given a missionary calendar of meals during a Relief Society meeting I was excited! I always tried to be the first sister to snag the calendar so I can sign my name on it. I really wanted to have them over our home. I wanted to bring back that feeling of peace when I was being taught the discussions by two wonderful sisters in my home. I wanted to once again have them bring their knowledge, and testimony with them, and have my family be a part of it. My two oldest daughters at that time were two, and seven. They loved the spirit that they carried, and really enjoyed their presence during sacrament meeting (we always sat next to them).

This experience of having them in my home was different compared to when I was single and being taught the gospel. This time I was married and had a family of my own. Every time I have them in my home sure brings back memories of when I was a single adult, and had F.H.E. with the missionaries. My husband will always tell stories of his mission to them as well. I think I have heard his missionary experiences at least a thousand times! I never want to forget those memories because they are a strength that help build spiritual insulation in our home. We try to have them over for dinner once a month now, and when they do come they always leave behind a euphoric feeling.

There is more to having the spirit in our home, and living a Christ like life than having the missionaries over. There is so much that we can do spiritually to insulate our home with the positive things than allowing the worldly negative things to enter in. Listening to clean music, studying our scriptures as a family, involving ourselves deep in thought with prayer, and individual scripture study, writing our heart out in our journal about how we can make a difference in this world, serving our family, friends, neighbors, and fellowshipping those in our congregation. All of these things can be hard to do on a daily basis when we are surrounded with so much adversity, but having faith is one sure way to be able to accomplish these things.

When I look back in my journal, and see pictures of all those missionaries that we've had in our home since 2002 it reminds me to do the Lord's work. We are very lucky to have them in our area. I don't want to ever take them for granted. Missionaries come and go, and new ones come out to serve. I love what they do, and what they stand for. They are doing the Lord's work in bringing others to come unto Christ, and share with them this book that will change their lives. If we constantly read it, and open our mouth to share it, Heavenly Father will bless us, and what will change our lives forever can become something eternal.

What will change our lives forever can become something eternal. 

I give thanks to the Lord each day for the strength, and courage that I had at 20 years of age to call an 800 # on the television screen to request this video. Although it took me six months to convert, I am thankful for the time that I had before officially becoming a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It really gave me a different perspective in life, and helped me become a much stronger person. By attending all three meetings helped me grow spiritually, and helped me gain knowledge of what I was learning along the way.

I've had my ups, and downs (still do), but at 40 years of age with mothering four children, and being a wife to one, makes we want to work even harder, and make each day count as if it were my last. I want to share with the world the one thing that keeps me spiritually uplifted.

Beside my family, I am thankful for the gospel, and for our Savior. 
When we invite Him into our lives...all things are possible.

Mild snowfall

So it finally snowed in the Garden state. The kids woke up this morning to snow, and they were all super excited to go outside to play, and go sledding. We got the sled out, and then it started to rain! We walked right back in the house, and put it away. I've been pretty blessed this winter in not having any of the kids get sick, and I didn't allow them to play outside too much. 

We still managed to go outside, and just take in the little bit of snow we received.
No snow boots, or jumpsuits were needed for this snowfall.

 And yes... I said a little bit. 
To some it may be a lot, 
but to me this was nothing compared to how much snow we received in January of 2010. 

This is a lot of snow...
Winter 2010
So there.
You can even see the grass is sticking out of the snow!

We are expecting more throughout the week, but we'll see what Mother nature will continue to bring this mild winter.