my instagram life.

Instagram has become my very best friend within the past year and a half. It has given me a many opportunities to document the little happenings in my life. Happenings such as where we had lunch, what the kids are doing, a special occasion with family, an accomplishment, your favorite store, your favorite place to eat, the weather, visitors, the book you are currently reading (or trying to finish reading), great friends, holidays, a sport, recitals, and the little things that matter. 

At first I was like, "what is this?" Oh...It's an app with cool filters in which you can make your crappy iphone pictures look somewhat professional! 

I had noticed a friend who posted a picture of her new pocketbook a couple of years ago, and I thought it looked pretty cool. I wasn't too impressed at first because it was just... that a pocketbook, but then I decided to join, and I have been addicted ever since. 

Instagram also gives me opportunities to do whatever I want with the picture. Choosing a filter, making it black/white, or sepia. Adding a little text is fun too. It's like a digital scrapbook without the card stock & glue sticks! 

I have also fallen in love with the VSCO cam app as well. This app seems to make my photos look somewhat unique. I'm still playing around with it so forgive me if these pics don't look so nice.

I love to take pictures, and moments like this are fun for me. Everyday I find opportunities that are meaningful to me whether I'm outside, or in the home. Building memories is one of my ultimate goals in this life, and I try to capture the big things, and the not so big things.

Looking through these photos are my memories. Memories of everything that we are experiencing in this world. Memories of small intricate details that may seem of insignificance to one, but crucial to another. (such as  my son sleeping.)
My life, and my family are my number one. This is the gift of time for me. Time which is important to me, because as I'm clicking the button, I'm smiling. Smiling because these kids seem to have fun when I'm focusing on them.
Social media can be a good influence in this world when we use it for good. To share, uplift, and inspire one another.
How will we, or our posterity remember our life, their life, the temples we've been to, cities we've lived in, and traveled if we don't document them somehow. 

It's too important for me to let life pass us by without capturing the little things that matter most. I can never stop documenting. Whether online or by hand! 

I love life too much! 

**How about you? How do you record your daily life, and the life of your posterity?

my happy place.

Here I am in the year 2013 with four beautiful children, and I couldn't be happier. I know that sacrificing a career/job or what have you to be at home with my children is the right decision.

After writing this post yesterday I realized that there is so much that I could offer my children had I completed my education, and got a really great job. Truth is I did have quite a few good jobs while I lived in Utah between the years of 1994 and 2000, but the minute I had my second daughter who is now 13 I knew my place was in the home.

Although an education is important, and it really is- working outside the home at this point is not a priority to me. Unless Jon becomes jobless, and we're living on the streets then I will work. Otherwise, my happy place is being a stay at home mom living in simplicity.

Each day when I wake up I find myself doing the same thing with Noah. Making breakfast, cleaning up, reading time, playtime, sometimes nap time, and I'll even have him watch cartoons for a couple of hours while I deal with the daily mundane. Sometimes I'll sit with him, and sometimes I won't. 
There are also days that aren't repetitious, and Noah will surprise me by wanting to help me do the laundry, go to the library, a nearby park, or just help me clean up any messes he made in the kitchen. He will always want a little break, but I think he prefers sticking with  PBS for the first part of the morning. 

He is also super picky with shows on PBS, (he doesn't like Barney), but when Dinosaur train comes on he'll sit quietly on the couch, and will be glued to the tv. It doesn't matter to me that he can watch that show over and over again! There are quite a few other things that don't matter to me in the life of being a stay at home such as:

It doesn't matter to me that Noah confuses the wall for paper to color on. As long as I have my best friend Mr. Scotch eraser to help me clean it up I'm okay with that.

It doesn't matter to me that he will color on Lexie's school projects after it's been graded. (She doesn't mind either) It keeps him busy from coloring on said walls. (keep working on those projects Lexie!)
It doesn't matter to me that Noah constantly uses the end of my bed post as a train track, and seeing the chipped paint on it will be a memory of him. (does he really need Thomas the train track?)
It doesn't matter to me that he will throw tantrums in the middle of the day because I allowed him to be on the computer too long. Thank goodness I have the patience, and the will to tell him "no"
Being home when the girls come home is like Disney World for them, well not really because I'm no Snow White, but you know what I mean. They are happy to see me at home when they arrive, and their face says it all. Their facial expression says, "mom cares"

Being a stay at home is my happy place, and even though some may think it's tedious it isn't like that for me. Sure there are days when I become weary, but isn't that what being a mom is all about. Even mothers who have full time jobs I'm sure get exhausted. There is no way that I would want to run around rapid, stressed, and worrying if I'm going to be home in time to pick up my eight year old at the bus stop. Or in finding the perfect day care that will tend to my sons needs without giving them my whole paycheck, and worrying if he's eating right, and that the caregivers are doing just that...caring. 

Been there done that. 

I experienced that with Sierra for the first five years of her life, and I remember how hard it was to find the time to seriously spend with her when she was little. I enjoyed working, and loved working in the line of clerical work, but it wasn't complete happiness for me. I longed to be at home with Sierra, and wondered if she was okay while I was away. Luckily we were blessed in finding a good caregiver for her, but even so...I thought that if both my husband and I would be working all will be well. Truth is it really wasn't.

And can I tell you how relieved my husband was when I put my foot down to let him know that I didn't want to go back to work when Lexie was born? He had an ear to ear smile. I'll tell you though going through the temple a couple years after her birth, and putting all my faith in The Lord really changed my whole perspective as a mother. I said to myself "I'm the one that wants to raise our children, not someone else."

I learned a lot from my mother, and I saw how hard she had to work as a single mom for awhile. She struggled, and did her best in providing for my sister and I. She tells me today how fortunate I am to be able to stay at home to raise Noah. 

And you know something...I am. 

And I thank God for that.

my very short college life.

circa, 1996
Here we are at the beginning of another week, and after the weekend I've had writing about the "happenings" in my life gives me so much relief. 

Right now I am going through many emotions. Emotions that pertain to our firstborn in having her choose the right college for her. 

For those of you who have already sent a kid(s) to college you know what I mean. If your child only applied to one, and got accepted God Bless you! If you have a child who applied to more than one God Bless you even more because they only have two to choose from, but if your child applied to more than three...Good luck!

That's my issue at this point. Even though Sierra knows exactly what she wants to do with her life she still applied to numerous universities. So far she has been accepted to three, and is really pleased. I personally have no idea what she is going through because I only went to ONE college. My educational status could have been a lot better, but i chose to go a different route. 

My kids know that I didn't graduate with my high school class, and after letting them know the whys, I told them that I want them to do better than me, and my golly they are! 

My short college life consisted of attending CBM technical school in which they are no longer around so don't even bother googling it. That is where I learned the "old school" Lotus 123, Dos, and Wordperfect 5.0. It was a year of learning all about computers for me, and thankfully I passed with A's and left with a certificate of completion in Computer office technology. 

I then enrolled in Del Mar College, and majored in Public Relations which I loved so much. Majoring in that field taught me to be fearless in public speaking, and gave me the motivation in continuing my education once I moved out west to Utah.

Not...I got married instead (that story to come later.)

I had two wonderful roommates named Maria & Marivel whom I hardly saw because they were always busy with school, and played with the infamous Mariachi Cascabel. I remember moments spent with them that were priceless, and memorable, and living with them also prepared me in how it would be to live with future roommates.  

Having grown up in Texas my whole life up until the age of 20, I always thought that I would go to the school that everyone was applying to which was Texas A&M, but I didn't. Even though Del Mar wasn't on my list of schools I didn't even try to apply at other colleges such as the University of Texas, SMU, University of Houston, or any other schools outside of my 'comfort zone'. I guess I thought that I wasn't good enough. Darn low self esteem! 

Well, I am extremely grateful that my oldest had the courage to apply to various schools, and not just one. If I could go back and rewind my college life I would have definitely applied to more schools. 

That was then, and this is now, and as much as I would love to change the past that deals with my education I'm grateful for some of the education that I have today. Even though I don't have a "BA, MBA, or PHD" I still managed to learn from those two short years at Del Mar college, and grew from the different occupations I've had in my life.

One thing for sure that 'saved' me, and helped build up my confidence in knowing that I can better myself in accomplishing anything in this world was by converting to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
circa, 1996 (a picture for my posterity at the age of 23) 
By being a member of this church, and learning from its teachings, it has taught me to better my life in doing more good towards all humanity. Mostly towards my own life, and my fellow man. It has taught me true principles that I can pass down to my posterity. It has taught me the value of friendship in sisterhood, and how we should always strive to be a good citizen throughout this mortal life. 

Most of all it has taught me to teach my children to strive their best to live happily, and to be focused on the important things in life such as getting an education, and to treat others as they would want to be treated. Basically to be a good example, and strive to live righteously. 

These are some of the things that I didn't have as a youth, and because I made the choice to change my life at the age of 20, my kids have the chance to have it better. They may not always make the choices we want them to, but through constant guidance and encouragement without lecturing...their choices will be just.

My very short college life was filled with energy and I actually had a really good experience. It strengthened me in relationships, got me out of my comfort zone, I made a lot of friends from all walks of life,  and it also tested me in ways that I never thought it would. Luckily I had the foundation of Christ in my life to guide me through any trial whether good or bad.

This advice I will pass on to my future posterity. No matter which college Sierra decides to attend, I'll know it's because she prayed about it, and saw all the possibilities, pros and cons that it entails. I'll know that it'll be the right decision for her, just as mine was. 

Remembering my college days are bittersweet. I think I did my best in being good enough at that point in my life, and I have no regrets in the choices I made thus far.

Maybe someday the time will come for me to complete my college education. 

Not yet. 

Not yet. 

utes or the cougars.

Back in early January a dear friend surprised us with a lovely gift for Noah. He felt that he was being deprived of the Utes so he sent him a swoop pillow pet

My husband bleeds red, and I personally don't bleed either color. For those of you who are not familiar with the universities in Salt Lake City, and Provo, University of Utah, and BYU are big time rivals! I am not a BYU or University of Utah alumni so I wouldn't care less which pillow pet Noah likes the best. I'll watch the football games, and I'll cheer for whoever is having a good year, but other than that fighting over teams is silly, and too fanatic! 

Well, last Christmas my in laws bought Noah a cougar pillow pet, and when he opened it up he seemed pretty content with it, but when he saw the bright red colored animal with a yellow beak that looks like an angry bird out of the box he squealed with delight. Jon, and I then held each of the pillow pets, and asked Noah which one he preferred. 

Guess which one he chose? 

Jon was like, "YES!", and I was like, "please dude", and Noah just snuggled with it, and wouldn't let it go. Every time we'd give him the cougar one he would toss it to Sierra. 

Is that a sign? Is her little brother telling her she can have it to take with her when, and if she decides to attend BYU? 

Last night, we found out via email that she has been accepted to BYU in Provo.
We were all thrilled (still are) and are so excited for her. The look on her face was priceless. I can't imagine how she must be feeling right now caught in between numerous colleges that she has applied to and has already been accepted. Not sure which one she will choose, but wherever she goes I will try my best to support her decision. It is all up to her as to what university she chooses that has a good music program. 

BYU, SVU, and Rowan are all very good schools. She is still waiting to here back from at least five other colleges including the University of Utah to see if she has been accepted. She'll then have until May to make a decision.

I didn't have too many decisions to choose from back when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I attended a two year college, and that was it! Someday I'll write about my short college life, but right now it's all about Sierra, and I definitely wouldn't want to be in her shoes! 

All i know is that she'll have a lot of praying to do. 

One thing for sure is that if she decides to attend BYU she'll have cougar the pillow pet to make her feel at home. Oh wait...she's a Utah native, and was born there. 

We lived there for 10 years so it is familiar territory for her.  

for the love of music-senior edition

When my daughter decided in her junior year of high school to change her decision from studying criminal law to music education I have to admit I was a little bit relieved. Not because she would be dealing with criminals, but because her talent in music is beyond amazing. I mean, who doesn't want their kid to become some hot shot lawyer. We do need good and honest ones in the future, but she no longer saw herself as such. She sees herself as an educator in hopes that she will teach others to be passionate in their music. 

I see the love, and dedication she has whenever she sings or plays. She comes home right after school, and instead of eating she'll immediately go to the piano. There are days I can tell when she has had it rough, or when some sort of drama has occured because she'll play her heart out. I have seen proof how losing yourself through music can help one deal with the stresses of life. Writing my heart out in a journal is my way of dealing with any kind of stress, and playing the piano works for her. 

I also have my moments as a mother to let her know that she needs to sleep, and eat. She is a 'full-time' senior with a lot of extracurricular activities, and needs her rest. What do I know. I didn't go through anything that she is going through right now because I didn't have a lot on my plate in my days of high school. She seems to handle, and somewhat balance her schedule, but I still can't help to remind her in a stern voice that she needs a break too. 

And then I hear her lovely voice which is a natural gift because she has never taken any voice lessons, and I myself forget about food. Noah and I will then sit on the couch to hear her. 

Yesterday as I was in my room cleaning up I began hearing her play a tune that was all too familiar. I love Les Miserables, and the song she was singing was so beautiful. I immediately sneaked up behind her and did some vine activity. She knew I was recording her, and that's when I asked if I could record her singing. I knew she'd say yes because she always does.

Hearing her sing this song for the first time brought me to tears. I was in awe, and couldn't believe her voice. Mind you she is a little under the weather right now, but she still obliged to record her singing.    

And she sounded amazing! 
Oh yes...I think taking 10 years of lessons has been worth it, and no matter the struggles we have faced financially with three daughters taking violin and piano lessons we know that in the end it'll all be worth it. All of our girls seem so focused when it comes to music. 

Some may wonder why music education?

Well, there aren't enough music educators in the world, and we need them. Whether our children want to become doctors, lawyers, or a teacher-it doesn't matter. What matters is for them to do something with their life that they will love, and wake up each day looking forward to their 'happy' job.

Not everyone has that chance. I didn't, but I know that music is Sierra's happy place. It never gets old hearing her play, and she never tires out of playing piano. She has too much love for it! 

I am especially grateful that Sierra has this guide in her life that has helped her come to terms with her decision to major in music education, and that also helps her throughout the days of her life. 

Not all kids know what they want out of life, or what they want to become in four years. One thing I know for sure is that this girl will jump at every opportunity when it comes to singing or playing. 

And I believe that she will have many opportunities in her future. 

I didn't grow up with any kind of music in the home, and never thought that I would have musical children today. I am so very grateful to have bought this big piece of wood 10 years ago so that our children can learn, and love music. Music truly is a gift when one has that in their life, and it soothes the soul in many ways.

That to me is a beautiful thing.

three generations.

I'm not sure how often my father in law reads my blog, but I am hoping that if he happens to read this post in it's entirety that he won't take it too personal, and that he will laugh. I honestly don't think he will because for the past 22 years he never seemed to take anything personal, and I think that is a good thing. 

Marrying his son was the best thing that ever happened to me, and after living with him for 20+ years I have to say that he and his dad are like two peas in a pod. They are goofy, and love to talk a lot. They are very personable, helpful to others, have a lot of knowledge with the scriptures, and have compassion for others. 

It makes happy knowing that with these two wonderful examples Noah will be just like them. It also makes me wonder how what kind of attributes he'll inherit! Goofy ones? I think Noah is on the right track, and that's a compliment! 

Pictures like these are priceless, and bring me a lot of joy. Simply because I didn't have any pictures taken with my father, and there is a reason for that. He was never around, and I think that is why I want to remember this day with these three wonderful faces. 

When I texted this picture to Jay he mentioned how he wished he would have taken a picture with his dad when Jon was little. Even Jon mentioned that they never took one when he was little with his dad, and grandpa.

Sometimes we don't think to take advantage of the time spent with family members, and in taking a simple photo that can be passed down to our posterity. I don't have any pictures of different generations on my side of the family, and I guarantee that this picture taking of different generations will continue. 

It's so important, and a beautiful moment when one sees a picture of different generations. These days it doesn't happen very often.

Looking forward for more pics of three generations on their next visit!

scenes of our presidents day.

We braved the cold yesterday and ventured out to D.C. with five kids. We had a wonderful time walking along Capitol Hill eating the best pizza, and best homemade sodas. This was our first time eating at We, the pizza, and it was delish! We are definitely coming back to this place again. 
Eating gelato from Pitango...scrumptious! Oh my gosh it is the best! These three girls could have had more! 
There are so many museums, and places to go to, and not enough time. We went to the National Museum of American History, and saw a lot of memorabilia. My favorite was seeing Dorothy's ruby slippers. Noah liked the trains, and Jon appreciated the Star spangled banner exhibit. Everything was interesting to see. 
Washington D.C. is one of our favorite cities, and always go when time permits. Next time we will try to go to the temple before it closes! I should have realized they closed early due to Presidents Day!

a day at the U of arts.

What do yo do in the city of brotherly love while your daughter is auditioning at the University of the Arts. a) Sit around & do nothing, b) read the last six chapters of Miss Peregrine's home for Peculiar Children, or c) walk around campus alongside other parents discovering more about what this school has to offer our kids.  

I'll choose the latter, and I did just that. 

This past weekend I had a lovely time meeting & getting acquainted with numerous parents. Particularly these two wonderful ladies. 
They both have children who auditioned wih Sierra this past Saturday, and like myself they both seemed to be calm and collected. I know we should all be nervous mothers, but I really didn't feel that way. I think it's because of the fact that I know Sierra has great potential to be a great musician, and teacher. 

I'll tell you though sitting & waiting for our children to finish auditions can be a good sign, and lead into a conversation of talking about my religion & end with "if our girls make it in maybe they can all be roommates."

These ladies kept me sane, and I really enjoyed getting to know them. 

As the months go by it's hard to believe that my firstborn will possibly be attending this university in less than six months! I'm not sure which one she will choose as she continues to go to other auditions at different schools in hopes that one will pick her. 

The University of the Arts is at the top of her list, and being there for five hours on Saturday was a good sign. I kind of felt like one of those parents you see in movies where their kids are trying out for dance, acting, and music. reminded me of Fame, or Center Stage!
Funny how I really wasn't nervous for her. I guess I have too much confidence in her. When I received the text that she was done I felt a little relieved. She met me in the lobby where we originally registered at, and she walked up the steps a little too excited. She mentioned how the judge was really impressed with her audition, and how she tested really well when they played keys on the piano asking her if it was scales, what are intervals, a harmony, and all that piano jargon. She seems to have perfect pitch because they also tested her ear placement. Apparently they really enjoyed interviewing her & playing because her audition was 45 minutes long! 

Does that sound like a good sign? Should I be worried? 

I think the part she mentioned in how she and the judges were all laughing comfortably & talking in the end was a good sign for her!  

This was another day in which I didn't want to end. As much as I love all my children equally, and miss them, and Jon when we are all separated I really enjoyed this one on one time with Sierra. I warned her that I would be taking advantage of spending more alone time with her since she'll soon be gone soon.

We had a lovely time walking down Broad st. looking at the architecture of old buildings, and taking in the feeling of center city. We toured the campus some more, and went to the different halls where she would possibly be performing if she were to go here. 

It's so nice seeing my daughter smiling ear to ear, and showing such interest when it comes to her future with music.  

Her goal is to major in music education to teach others, but we never know. We could be looking at the next Alicia Keys.
another dream thought i suppose! 

a day & an evening with my valentines.

My valentines day started out perfect. Waking up to the bright shining sun after spending sick days vegging out on the couch was heaven! While the girls were at school, and hubby at work I took Noah out to a nearby park, and we had a blast. 
He loves this little park with the merry go round. You don't find too many of these nowadays, and even though it was surrounded by snow and mud that didn't stop him from having a good time. 

He's the boss of the playground! 

It's kind of hard to choose which was the best part of my valentines day when you have two adorable men loving you all the time. I had such a blast with my little man, and as soon as Jon got off work we went straight to The Pop Shop for some grub. 
It kind of helps recovering from the flu because I really wasn't hungry until about 7pm. I saved my appetite waiting to eat this delicious food. My favorite was the dessert! You can never go wrong with a classic banana split. 
It was simple. 

It was quiet. 

It. Was. Perfect! 
I have to say that this was one of my best days ever!