it is always up to me.

Yesterday was a blah kind of day with grey skies, and rainy weather. Stumbling upon this quote in the wee hours of the morning was something that I needed to hear, and I am making this into a sign so that I can be reminded of it every day. 

Sarah was speaking to me as I was reading her post. I wish I would have seen this quote yesterday because I sure could of have used the inspiration. Noah and I were having an iphone kind of day, and wasn't on the computer at all. I actually let Noah play games on my iPhone because I don't want him to think that he can be on the mac all day long playing games. Although the games he plays are educational like learning shapes, and learning how to spell on the endless alphabet app I still don't want him to get hooked. So it's days like today where I just wanted to cuddle with him. I didn't get very good sleep this past weekend or last night, (i really need to lay off the caffeine) and don't want to be grump to my little boy.

Because there are days when I have been, and I don't want to take out any kind of negativity on any of my kids especially our little boy. He is sweet, and innocent and luckily he reminds me of that innocence when he is surrounded by his sisters. They all treat him with kindness, and give him so much love and support. They are mini moms to him, and I can't even begin to emphasize how grateful I am when they are there to help me with him.

I am so glad I read this quote because although it's poignant, it's so common. I am fueled with so much energy by my children, and time passes by so quickly that I don't want to take any of them for granted. Days I spend with them are precious and what little time I have left with Sierra is limited. I need to be a kinder, less stressed mom, and not allow hurtful words to come out of my mouth.
Alexandra's FHE lesson also helped me as well. It taught me to surround myself more with goodness. We all want goodness in our life whether it's friends, or things that are going to help me be a good example to others. Sometimes we are so blind that we don't see the goodness that is right underneath our nose. Our children. My kids are my goodness, and they are the fire that light up my world whether I'm grumpy, or happy. 

You know how some of us say, "at the end of the day what matters is......" Well, I never looked at this way, & although it does matter how we end our day I also realized the importance in how our day begins as well.  

It's up to me to make every day joyful with goodness, and love not only at the end of the day, but to start the day off with pure love in the beginning. 

all that jazz.

The jazz band for Sierra's high school held it's State championship jazz competition this past weekend, and Jon and I were so happy to have gone. We had never been able to go to any of their past performances because they usually fell on a school night where Jon was at work, and me being at home with her three younger siblings. 

Since this was the state championship Jon took a personal day off, and we headed towards Trenton to watch our daughter perform with the rest of the jazz band along with eight other bands from the state of New Jersey. 

They were all outstanding and I can tell that Mr. T who is their band director takes great pride in their extensive jazz ensemble. They always sound amazing, and their competition rocked the house as well. They all played so wonderfully each with their own unique touch in playing jazz. Sierra sure had a lot of fun making up her own sound.
It had been seven years since Highland made it to the state championship so they were all very excited to have made it in, and perform. They may not have taken home numerous awards like they did last year, but placing sixth out of nine bands in the entire state of New Jersey was awesome! That definitely has to account for something, and to me they are winners. 

Although I left with a headache it was one of our best Saturdays spent listening to other high school bands performing, and listening to our daughter play. That's what you get for sitting upfront! I think my ears are still ringing from that one drum solo, and trombone player! 
"When you see a jazz musician playing, you're looking at a pioneer, you're looking at an experimenter, you're looking at a scientist, you're looking at all those things because it's the creative process incarnate." ~Albert Murray

seek, ponder, & pray.

All day long I had been sitting at home trying to figure out some temporal things that have been on my mind lately. Now that Sierra has chosen her school, and all the deposits for tuition and housing are paid for I am pretty much relieved.

Yet, I felt as if something is still missing. I asked myself am I praying enough, am I reading God's word enough, am I serving enough? Why do I still feel out of sorts? And then the thought came to me about the temple. It's been a month since I haven't gone, and boy am I going through withdrawal. Since I don't have a temple nearby that I can drive to within five minutes like I used to it's really nice to live in a neighborhood where pretty much everyone works, and the street is pretty quiet hence being a perfect time to concentrate about 'life'. 

With Noah's allergies acting up he began to fall asleep, & instead of doing laundry, blogging, or reading I decided to take advantage of the glorious weather. I figured this was my opportunity to connect with the divine through prayer, and just relax by being outside.

I decided to grab a blanket, took Noah with me, and we both laid on it with the sun shining down on us. As I was laying down trying not to cry too much in front of my boy I couldn't help, but to think about my family's future, Sierra's graduation, the possibility of a job change for Jon, and all the things that were written in this talk that I'm going to teach about this Sunday.
I read it again while laying outside, and again so that I can be well prepared for my lesson this Sunday. There are a few things that connected with me in relating to this talk that brought back memories of my childhood. It was also a reminder to me to make the right choices in this life every single day.

This is the closest I felt to God today. An afternoon of laying out in the sun in my little backyard while Noah was sleeping. What I felt on this day was amazing. The feelings, and thoughts that came into my head as I focused on the things that are paramount. I may not have been at the temple or in a sacrament meeting at church, but I sure did feel God's love for me today. I never want to lose sight of recognizing those feelings. I love Him too much to let go, and give up on the things that are eternally important.

This is a blessing of motherhood, and instead of taking Noah to the park, and running afternoon errands, I am so grateful that all I did today was focus on receiving some inspiration from above. I wish I could have these moments everyday (minus the allergies...poor Noah). The difference is that I was seeking it, and instead of me waiting to receive guidance from Him...I came to Him first.

And that was a great feeling!

sierra's choice.

Life lately with Sierra has been pretty busy. She was recently the pianist for the choir in the All South Jersey Jazz band which took up a lot of rehearsal time, and endless carpooling with a dear friend, and they all played exceptionally well. 

The high school jazz band has been having rehearsals after school preparing for the state championship competition which will be held this Saturday. So far they have won twice for best rhythm section, and best piano soloist. I hope they will bring home some more recognition. She sure is a busy girl, and now that she has a job as a receptionist she'll be even busier. One thing I am so relieved in is the fact that she finally made a decision on the college of her choice.

After months of endless fasting, praying, venting, and crying, she finally made a decision about which university she wants to attend. So without further ado I am pleased to announce that she will be attending the University of the Arts in Philly. I can't even begin to tell you how stressful the past four months have been for all of us. I honestly don't think anyone can understand her feelings of what she went through emotionally trying to decide which direction to take to further her education. 

Not even me. 

Especially since I've never, ever been in her shoes. Why? Because I only applied to ONE college. I didn't have the talent that she possesses. I also didn't have a lot of support in my personal life, or any spiritual foundation to guide me through this important chapter in her life. I also didn't apply myself as much as she did while I was in high school. 

Fortunately she did, and no matter how much we both wanted to hurt people in nice way (well, you know what I mean) whenever they would constantly say or ask, "go here, go there, BYU has the same standards as you, why do you want to go to Rowan (that was me, and I'm sure she probably wanted to slap me silly as well), the University of Utah is no different than BYU, you're not going to BYU?, what?, have you decided on a college yet?" Oh, the endless questions.

I guess those are the cons of applying more to one college, and we sure weren't prepared for all those questions. Especially when you're a Mormon

See, as a member of the LDS church we tend to lean towards Brigham Young University, and sometimes it's expected of us to send our children to attend there. Thankfully Sierra is one of those girls who values her standards in keeping them true no matter what without having to go to a Mormon college. To be honest, even if she went to any college in the Salt Lake Valley everyone is going to have their struggles, drama, and issues. Mormon or not. It's in every state, and we can't escape that. None of us are perfect, and I'm very proud of the way she has handled these matters in response to all the chatter that we received. 

I did however appreciate every one's thoughts and concerns, suggestions, and advice in regards to my daughter, and we love y'all for it, but in the end it was Sierra that was going to have the final answer as to which university to choose. 

As a mother you want what's best for your child, and I have always trusted Sierra to make the right choices. Since we moved here to New Jersey, she has grown so much spiritually, and I know that her faith has been tested many times. She is an amazing person to others, and has proven herself all too well this past year that she can truly handle any adversity that comes her herself.

See, something I have learned as a parent in sending your firstborn to college is that when you keep your mouth shut, and let your child govern themselves they will realize on their own through the pondering and praying that they should be doing as individuals that their answer will be clear as to which direction they need to go when it comes to college.

Sure, they see that you care because of the advice, and lecturing that you're giving them, but I realized that I also needed to give her space, and time. Time to think about her life, her ambitions, but most of all  her feelings. It's all about what she wants, not about what we as parents want for her. 

Another thing I learned throughout this whole situation is that you don't want to smother them with too much lecturing, because they might end up making decisions that will not be satisfying to our needs, but when you smother them with support in their decision they will appreciate that, and that is the best thing that a parent can do.

Can you imagine being in her shoes with everything she has accomplished throughout her senior year that she's involved in? Not only in school, but at home, and in the church? I sure couldn't! I can tell that being the oldest, and the first one to apply for college isn't easy. I just pray it'll be easier with the next child, and the next, etc. 

I personally didn't really have a school that I wanted her to attend to. Okay so maybe I wanted her to choose a school in New York only because I love that city, but in the end the choice was all hers. 

I'm grateful she broadened her horizons when it came to applying for schools, and that she chose one close to home. So happy she's staying on the east coast. 

I know she made the right choice, and she does too. 


Looking at this picture I see a mother who has come a long way in understanding what it means to sacrifice. Now, the boy in the picture..he's the icing on the cake. It sure is amazing how you start off as a young girl thinking of yourself, and not quite understanding what the word "sacrifice" really entails. Especially when it comes to our children.

Then your married expecting your first child at the age of 23, and as soon as you have kid number one you question the word sacrifice. 

When kid number two joins the world, you recognize the sacrifices, and slowly you begin to understand what the word really means, and with kid number three you don't question the just sacrifice. 

After three kids I hope that I have mastered the term sacrifice because if I haven't then clearly there is something wrong with me. It is then when we need to seriously start maturing and recognizing what it means to sacrifice, and work on it. 

Well, I think I have pretty much mastered it, and feel as if both Jon & I have sacrificed a whole lot for our children (still do)...especially since our son was born. 

Noah has been a huge blessing in our lives while living in Jersey, and because of him I have been able to withstand any spout of depression, drama or trial that has occurred in my life within the past three years. 

He has helped me learn. 
He has helped me grow. 
He has helped me develop patience. 
He has helped me feel a deeper love for others than ever before. 

Sometimes I feel as if our children make sacrifices for us only to help us. Not necessarily with the things of the world, but with the things that they give up in order for us to stay sane as parents. 

Things such as no sleepovers, playdates during the school week, going out with friends over the weekend, asking if it's okay to have the last of the cereal because they want to make sure we have eaten some. 

My oldest daughter will be graduating this year, and I am both nervous & excited for her. Nervous because I want to make sure she's taken care of while in college. I know that the college she has chosen will have most of the tuition covered. Still, I want to make sure that she'll get plenty enough to eat, and be able to get the necessities that she'll need while in college. I do have faith that she'll be in good hands, because she has a good head on her shoulders. She has learned a lot from my example as well as the stories I have shared with her in regards to my upbringing, and college life when it came to surviving.

One quality about her that I love is the fact that she is pretty good at saving money. We as parents are very proud at the way we have taught her when it comes to money. Although she loves to shop she's not a big spender. One good thing she learned from me is that she is a thrift shopper. Although we love clothes, we know how to shop. There are moments where I feel I can retake lessons from her. 

When I was growing up I remember how hard my mom worked and how much she would sacrifice to make ends meet. I remember wearing the same clothes year after year, and when your little it doesn't matter. Even when I was in high school I wasn't wearing all the designer clothes my friends were wearing. Sometimes I would even be a little jealous because my friend had the first pair of Guess jeans, and Liz Claiborne purse. As I look back I think to myself,  how could I have been jealous of those worldly things? Oh yeah...I was in high school.

Nonetheless I survived high school with the clothes I had (and with the clothes that I would seldom borrow from close friends) Today I continue to teach my girls that looks are not important, and what matters is what's inside your heart. I found the LDS church while in my college years, and I learned that real quick. It didn't matter what I wore as long as I looked clean in hygiene, and that my heart was in the right place with The Lord, and myself. 

It's amazing to see the change in your children as they grow up. I see it in all my kids. Especially Sierra, and Alexandra. They know when I'm sacrificing for them. Sometimes they'll even scold me, and say, "mom, I don't need it right need to get yourself some new running shoes, or a new coat first." Not that I run a lot (or at all), but I've had the same shoes for a couple of years and that's okay. As far as a winter coat...I can't let go of my nine year old black Banana Republic peacoat just yet. 

When I'm feeling down, and their dad is working his tail off so that he can provide for us instead of venting to them about my hoopla I want to listen to their sorrows, or any issues they may have before my own. 

That's what mothers do. We sacrifice for our children, and for those we love. I saw how my mother sacrificed for us, and I learned what sacrifice is by doing it. I have no guilt, no regrets of putting my families needs before my own. I know that I should splurge a little on myself, but right now I'm thinking of my college girl, and the needs of the rest of our children. They are what matter now, and always.

Maybe our turn will come when our kids are grown & married with children, but even then I think we will always be sacrificing for our children no matter how old they are especially when it comes to our future posterity.
I don't think sacrificing for those I love will ever stop! It's embedded in my heart. 

johnny rockets & the zoo.

When Jon is off of work all I want to do is venture out more around south Jersey, because when you have an active little three year old you just can't stay cooped up in the house playing legos, cars, and Ole million faces for too long.

This past weekend we decided to drive to Cape May to take Noah to the zoo. The best thing about this zoo is that it is free! Donations are appreciated and whenever we go we donate a few dollars (at least a dollar per person.) Noah is crazy about the animals. He loves being outdoors, and is so cute when he mistakes certain animals for another animal.

Before we left we wanted to make sure we had some food in our belly before driving to the zoo so we decided to grab a bite to eat at a place we've never been...Johnny Rockets.
It was pretty good food, and I highly recommend it. The cheese fries, and hamburgers were delicious! Very family friendly and the staff even did a little dance for us too. It was great entertainment while we ate! 

It was an overcast kind of day at the zoo with a little breeze. Luckily this zoo is free because most of the animals weren't out. I guess it still feels like winter to them so the only animals we saw were some bison, zebras, and a cute little kangaroo.  
Afterwards we played at the park which is right next to the zoo. Jon & Noah had such a great time. I think Jon had a good workout with this kid. They kept going at it over, and over again even after I stopped recording them! 
The girls and I came here when Noah was two, and they also enjoyed it here. This day was just the three of us, and it was nice. Sometimes we have to do outings without the girls because they are are still in school. Hopefully Jon will have some Saturdays off where we can all hang out together as a family. Especially before Sierra leaves for college! 
Bye for now and I hope that everyone has a great week! 

spring concert with a lot of musical talent.

So last night was the Spring concert for Alexandra's middle school. It's unfortunate that they don't have an orchestra because Alex has a stronger love for the violin, but nonetheless she is grateful to have the opportunity to be the pianist for the band, and to be a part of the jazz band. 
Alexandra playing 'Blue Moon' on the piano.
I can tell that the rest of the middle school jazz band worked very hard because they all sounded phenomenal. It killed me to see a little kid playing the drums. I guess I've always had a stereotype of one playing the drums. You know, the kind that look tall, dark, and well...tall!

Nowadays I feel as if I'm more focused, and paying more attention to their natural musical talent. Especially since Sierra is graduating soon. I certainly don't take any of that for granted, and if you lived with them you can see that they work their tush off practicing their songs. They both play exceptionally well, and I'm so proud of the both of them. They have such a strong love for music, and it shows. I'm so glad to have that in my home.
the lovely Sierra.
You certainly get more involved as a parent when they grow older, and seeing them practicing on their own motive is the icing on the cake. Saves me stress from telling them or even 'forcing them' to practice, practice, practice. I never really had to do that with Sierra. So far I don't have to with Alex, and their little sister is on the right track as well. 

Now if we can figure out what Noah's musical talent will be will help me to be more prepared. After seeing him grinning ear to ear while the high school students were prepping their drum sets made me think that he may not mind playing those. Especially when I caught him drumming on them.

All I have to say is, "Oh boy!" 
Even though I may not be musically inclined I sure know what good music sounds like, and I am one lucky mama to have some pretty talented kids! 

Just listen to Alex play here, the middle school jazz band play here, and Sierra kill it with the keyboard here, and here! She sure scares me with that natural musical talent of hers! 

You will not be disappointed. 

If you are...just leave a comment!

Happy Weekend!

never cease the opportunity in sharing your beliefs...never.

Since Jon didn't have to go into work until noon today we decided to run a few errands, and as we were driving around town that gave us a lot of time to reflect on the things that have been occurring around the world. 

After hearing about the attack in Boston yesterday my heart ached, and I literally felt like throwing up. I didn't feel like eating, and I was somewhat in shock. I decided I wasn't going to watch too much footage because it's like seeing 9/11 all over again. So once again, just like I do every day I hugged, kissed my kids and told them that we must always be prepared, and to continue to pray not only for the families who had loved ones killed, but for the perpetrators as well. 

As a family we focus on being positive because these days negativity gets us nowhere. As a family we strive hard to hold on to that iron rod, and live each day to the fullest by being kind. 

I took Jon to work, and as always Noah requested a lot of kisses from him before he got out of the car. I knew that Noah would then say to me, "mom, I want to go the park." Sure enough he did, but instead of going to a park we went to a nearby lake where there are ducks and geese. I quickly drove back home to grab some bread so we could feed them. We didn't see any signs that read 'don't feed the waterfowl' as we did when we went to this lake last week, and so Noah was excited to feed them. 
He was also excited to throw rocks into the lake as well. 
I have lived in this area for five years now, and this was the first time actually going to this small part of the lake to feed the waterfowl. I drive by this everyday going to Jon's work, and usually see people fishing on the side of the pier. Because there is only one bench, I figured it's a place where hardly anyone goes to stop just to feed the waterfowl.

To my surprise we weren't the only ones there when we arrived. As we were walking towards the water we saw another mother and son doing the same thing. It's a very small area, and it's not like a huge lake or park with a walking path where there are a lot of attractions, benches, chairs, where more than ten parents can hover and sit around. This day was perfect because it was just the four of us, and if you really know me, you'll know that I love making friends, and that meeting people is my forte. (Oh, and that I love sharing my faith!)
It was so nice getting acquainted with her, and she didn't mind me taking their picture. She also didn't mind when I began talking to her about my outlook on life as a mother to four children with a daughter graduating in two months. I also brought up my my religion as to who I am, this book, and we were both exchanging stories of our life experiences. It was great. 

Our conversation was based on family, love, and then I got more into depth about my conversion to the church. I also invited her to church, and she seemed to be interested. We talked about life, struggles that everyone seems to be facing nowadays, and just how harsh the world is getting. She wants happiness, and longs for peace in her life with her son as he grows up. I want that too! She was so sweet, and having her tell me that I didn't look my age really made my day. 
I made a new friend today, and so did Noah. The purpose of my life is to be kind to others no matter who they are, and to not let any opportunity pass me by without somehow bringing up God's plan. There is a way for all of us to be happy, and in building a unique peace within us. 

We can be resilient as adults, and do our best to look at the beautiful things in this life when terrible things happen in this world. 

Today was one of those days where I found beauty in this world in sharing the gospel, and it was so nice to have spent two wonderful hours at a serene, and beautiful place with a lovely young lady on this beautiful day.

family...isn't it about time.

There are moments when I wake up and feel really yucky because the weather is gloomy, and not consistent with its season. Fortunately the weather has been quite cooperative lately, and I think spring is here to stay. Who cares if it rains every few days, the sun shining after a day of rain makes it all better. Besides, April showers brings May flowers, and lots of sunshine come May! 

Days when Jon is off is the cream of the crop. He has so much fun with them, and sometimes I feel as if he's gone through withdrawal after a few days of working until 9:30pm without seeing them off to bed. So taking the kids out was on the top of our list this weekend.

We spent the afternoon at a quaint park out in the boonies in Medford. These kids get so excited every time we find a new playground because you know me...I just can't keep going to the same one. We practically live at the playground, and I have to say I don't mind it one bit. Even if I had a huge backyard I'd probably still be going to various parks.

Noah, and Chelsea are full of energy that they can be here all day. I thank my lucky stars for Alexandra who still has a love for the park. She's very maternal, and loves helping baby brother in all that he does (or tries to do).

Capturing these moments brings me great joy. I can just hear their squeals, and giggles in these photos.
Noah feels as if he's a superhero with his shoe wings on, and he's determined to play at every single thing on the playground no matter how hard it looks.
Weekends like this make our life whole. We may pack a lot in our weekend with shopping, laundry, driving our daughter to Valley Forge for a church youth activity, and then spending the evening in Philly just to eat dinner at Shake Shack. (If you want to see pics from those moments you need to follow me on Instagram at rjorgensen.)
Yep, I'd say we are taking advantage of that one quote,  "family, isn't it about time." 

a week to remember.

Happy weekend! 

What a wonderful week it has been with the sunshine, and birds singing. Except for the fact that it rained yesterday. At least it didn't snow, and that all we got was pure mositure. I didn't mind it really. I thought I could bear this chilly weather wearing a light jacket, but after being outside for a few minutes it got cold, and I put a thicker jacket on.

If I can only freeze frame all of these moments that have been captured by yours truly I would. 

I have loved every minute spent this week with Noah. This is the time of year where kids tend to renew themselves by being outdoors. They are a year older, and therefore their minds are learning new things, and they are getting a better understanding of what this big universe has to offer. Especially for Noah. 

It's kind of hard sometimes when you have four kids that are five years apart...sometimes.

Hard because Noah is usually alone with me most of the time. I think that's why I take him out to various parks so that I can interact with other moms, and have him play with other kids. 

I have to say his best friends are his sisters. When they come home he is jumping with joy, and literally gives them a huge hug! 
I love his smile, and the way he runs, and squeals when he faces any kind of animal. I know it's inevitable, and hard to believe that in six months he will be four.
**be still my little heart**
I love looking at old blog posts, and photos of him when he had no hair! Now he has such cute curls that I dare not cut them entirely off!

He has truly been a blessing in my life. In all the years of living in different states with the girls, having Noah three 1/2 years ago in New Jersey came into my life at the right time. He is in our life for so many reasons. 

I would say that the five year gap has, and always will be a blessing. He is a best friend to all of us, and we love him so, so much! 
Because when you somewhat live life in the fast lane taking Noah out to explore unknown places, keeps me, (and him) active, and helps me to get even more familiar with this place that I call home.