fun day.

At the end of each school year the kids at their elementary school have what you call "fun day". They have these bouncy houses and slides, and even though this event wasn't like your average carnival, you know... the ones with the fancy rides, cotton candy, and caramel corn. These kids had a blast! Just check Chelsea out here on vine trucking her way through this slide.
It was hotter than blazes yesterday, and the weather in Jersey already feels like summer! It was so hot that Chelsea kept drinking water every ten minutes! That was good because after all the bouncing she was doing I'd say she worked up a thirst! It's a good thing she kept hydrated, because I saw a few kids who seemed worn out from too much activity. I hope they were drinking lots of water! 
I don't know where these kids get their energy. They stop and rest sweating like little pigs, and then they stand in line again to recharge their batteries so they can release more energy! How exhausting that would be for me! I'd have to train myself to have the stamina like them as I once did when I was their age. 
As the hour was drawing to a close I have to admit I was a bit relieved. I blame myself because I didn't bring any hats for us, and Noah was getting hot & tired. Even though it was only for an hour I still should have remembered to bring a hat! 

Luckily there was a little shade underneath some trees where I managed to get some last minute pics of some of my favorite people. 

Chelsea's teacher this year has been a dream, and she is truly amazing.
Ms. Matz
Sometimes I wish the same teacher could teach my child every year throughout elementary school, but I think that would be extra work & education on the teacher not to mention boring for the little kids. Having different teachers each year is exciting to have, and our girls have been so blessed with great elementary teachers here in Jersey.
neighborhood friends-Mikey
two sweaty little girls-Isabella
with little brother underneath the hot sun 
Although Noah didn't get to play inside the bouncy slides with his sister (which is probably a good thing because those kids could easily squash him) he managed to go down the slide with papa, and boy did he LOVE it! It's official..we are going to have a bouncy slide for Noah's fourth b'day (that is if isn't too cold!)
Jon and I had a really nice time volunteering and helping out with the kids. I didn't care how hot it was going to be on this day. I always want to be a good sport in participating & volunteering at Chelsea's school.
And we had a blast! 

Stay cool, and happy weekend to you and yours! 


She began dancing when she was about one years old. Blame it on being a '90's baby, and the fact that I was born in the '70's hooked on '80's music had me teach her at a very young age to listen to the right kind of music.

Music is her world, and she finds many opportunities to surround herself with it.  

She began dance classes when she was five, playing piano when she was seven, and although she doesn't really dance anymore she still plays the piano, and discovered she had a voice about three years ago. 

We used to call her our hummingbird when she was little, and now she is our songbird. 

I was amazed when I began hearing her sing nonchalantly around the house. You know under her breath, while she's cleaning, or even in the shower. I said to myself, "this girl can yodel sing pretty good, and she's never even had voice lessons." 

I've never given it a thought in having her take voice lessons. I figured since she's been humming since she began playing piano, and singing in the choir since middle school that she doesn't need to take private voice lessons. 

Some of my friends say that even though she has a pretty voice that i should still get her into voice lessons for the mere fact that they wouldn't want her to strain her voice or damage her vocal chords. While that's excellent advice and a lot of truth to that I just couldn't find the time, or even give it a second thought in finding her the right teacher. It's not that easy finding music teachers let alone a voice one. She's graduating soon, and I'm pretty sure she'll have plenty of opportunities at college to learn how to improve in other areas when it comes to voice and music. Not that she needs more lessons in piano, but hey...the more you learn the better you get! 

Sierra, and her piano fingers never take a rest. I can't even imagine playing like her, especially when she played this piece when the choir sang Battle of Jericho. That can be a hard piece for others to play, but she was amazing being the pianist for that song.

Grouped with some amazing talent for the past three years in high school this choir has done amazingly well when it comes to singing ballads without any instruments. If any of y'all have ever watched the movie Stand by Me, you'll be reminded of the movie when you hear them sing this one.

Members of the chorale are now known as "Vocal Resolution", and that is what they will be called from now on. 

Here they are singing their own rendition of "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon. I was very impressed and these kids just keep getting better and better with their talent as they continue to prosper. 
Sierra sang exceptionally well. She kind of reminds of the Latina singer Selena with her moves and everything. Having such a beautiful personality with a beautiful voice, who is kind to everyone and has rhythm when she dances! Bittersweet...
When all the girls from chorale get together they really sing loud, and even though I didn't understand what language this song originates from I really enjoyed it. It's called "Voice Dance.
The spring concert for Highland high school last night was just awesome, excellent, and it was especially nice to see Sierra & Alexandra side by side singing this song together along with the rest of the choir. 

I'm so glad that Alexandra (along with other middle school choir members) had a small cameo in singing with the Highland choir. 
Sierra's last concert of her high school career ended epically, and I'm very pleased that she came here five years ago in 2009 to join the future class of 2013 because I'll tell you something...this class truly is the cream of the crop, and from my eyes I don't think there will ever be another class like them. (unless it's the class of 2018, 2023, or 2027.) 

Those are the years my other kids graduate! 


memorial day on the shore.

I love Memorial day. It is the intro to my summer, and another renewal to my soul. It gets me in the mood to put all our summer wear, beach wear, and gear in a place that is easy to get to. Even though we didn't put our swimsuits on this Memorial day it was fun to have ventured out to one of my favorite places, and see my kids having a pretty good time. 

Just see for yourself. :-)

After Sierra came home from the parade in Philly we spontaneously drove to Belmar to go to the beach. Jon had to work so it was just the five of us. He hadn't worked in past Memorial Days, but he wasn't lucky this year. That's what happens when you work retail sales. Sometimes you just have to work on those holidays.

I have to say that Spring Lake is one of my favorite beaches on the Jersey shore. Call me sentimental, but ever since hurricane Sandy demolished this area I've grown to love this part of the shore even more. The 75 minute drive is worth it, and I will come here every week if I can this summer.

These girls must love me because they hung out with me all day. What teenagers hang out with their moms all day? I'm sure there are some out there that do, but I feel so blessed knowing that they wanted to hang with me, and their two younger siblings all day.
Then again we were going to the beach.

The beach wasn't as packed as I thought it would be. The weather was a bit chilly, but not chilly enough to walk on the boardwalk, and have a little fun in the sun.
These two are seriously best friends, and I love that. I mean they both have their own friends at school & church, but if you were living with us 24/7 they are beautiful to look at. How they treat each other, and how they look up to one another. They are five years apart, yet act as if they're twins. 

They were having too much fun trying to give each other piggy back rides walking on the sand. Didn't look like an easy task. Too bad i didn't vine it! 

They tease each other yet don't get into any fights...ever! It's funny because Sierra looks up to Alexandra a lot. You'd think it be the other way around because Sierra is the oldest. Nonetheless I love having two teenagers in the home who are not catty with one another, and truly strive to live a cheerful, and honest life. 

This one is a different story...
Just joshing. She's sassy, but a joy to have. She's teaching me more on being patient, and on calming my nerves. Yep...she's a child of work, and I don't mind. She's strengthens me by not giving up on mothering. She makes me grateful for the passage of time because I 'kind of' do look forward to her growing up...kind of.

It'll be interesting how well she'll succeed in life with her spunky personality, and who she is to become in ten years. With this one...I'm trying not to mourn too much on her growth. She sure knows how to make a day at the beach fun!

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited Noah was when he saw the playground with a pirate ship. They restored it, and Noah and Chelsea were going a little too crazy here. Noah can go down the slides, and be here all day long. His favorite part was being barefoot, and landing in sand as he slid down. I wish I could freeze frame this moment. 

With this little guy...I don't want him to grow up! Ever!
I really didn't want to go home, but Jon was getting off soon, and we needed to get going. It was such a beautiful day out, and had Jon been with us we probably would have been home pretty one in the morning late.  

Oh the life on the doesn't get any better than this. Eating fried oreos is our favorite part of coming here. It's a good thing we only eat them during the summer because our hips would be in trouble if we ate them all the time! 
I loved every minute of today. Spending it with these great kids of mine was so much fun. I love them to death, and I can give Noah kisses all day long. 
No matter how tough life can get for me...Life is pretty darn good. 

And it was pretty darn good today. 

**God bless the troops that continue to serve our country, and how thankful I am to those who have lost their lives in fighting for our freedom. 

Happy Memorial Day!

For many Memorial Day is the first day of summer...a time to go the beach, a time for family picnics, kite-flying, playground outings, parades, and lots of water ice. It's also a time to remember. 

To remember those who have died on our behalf. To pay tribute to those who have fought for our freedoms, and continue to do so in this great nation.

All in the name of service. 

We hope everyone has a memorable, happy memorial day, and spend it with the ones you love.

Happy Memorial Day! 

a great home teacher & friend.

Every now and then we meet a family that really makes an impact in our life. People come and go in the church we attend, and sometimes the greatest friendships come from those who are the ones who just stay for a short period of time.

Three years ago we met the Morin's, and throughout those three years Davey was our home teacher for two. An outstanding one I might add. His faithfulness in coming over without hesitation was impressive, and the spirit that he held carried through his countenance, and spread throughout our home every time he came over. 

Relationships between a home teacher and a family are very special only if we have the fulfillment and desire to invite them in, and I'll tell you, we are so grateful to have had such a strong man come into our home once a month not only to share a spiritual message, but to engage in our lives as to how we were doing. 

Even though he is 11 years younger than Jon and I we sure grew from his visits, and he gave us reminders that would strengthen our life as parents in raising our four children. 

Our friendship as a family/home teacher was very unique and special and we will never forget him. Living in New Jersey and having him as our home teacher was the type of spirit that we needed as a family at that time. 

Having a home teacher coming to our home is an important part of our life as a family, and now that we have a new home teacher I pray that we too will develop a strong relationship, and not look at him as a home teacher, but a friend as well. 

It's important to me to love our home teacher, and for my children to know that the influence of a home teacher can really strengthen the core of the home. Davey coming over for those two years was a blessing, and a given especially in times of struggle. He was our monthly rescue, and our special treat.
His wonderful wife Tracy is something else. She reminded me of me when I was her age. Strong willed, forgiving, caring, has a big heart, always serving, and fellowshipping others. Our age difference didn't stop us from developing a unique friendship, and I will always remember some of the heart to heart talks we had when she first moved here. 

She was a counselor in the Young women for a while, and had the opportunity to serve Sierra. She counseled & looked after her, and loved her just as she loved all the young women. 
I am happy that she was part of that organization, and that she shared some of her spiritual experiences with them, as well as her testimony in giving these girls words of encouragement in building up their testimony & spirituality.

Now they are both off to live out west, and pass on all that they learned here to befriend & teach other families. They were both part of our family for those three years (and always will be), and touched our hearts in ways which we hadn't felt long since before moving to New Jersey. 
not pictured are their darling boys who were both sleeping in the car as we took these photos.
and that is something we will never forget! 

Good luck Davey & Tracey on your future endeavors & congratulations on graduating from law school! Take care of those adorable little boys!!


hendrickson park in woodbury.

History has always interested me ever since I took a trip to Goliad in the 7th grade. I still remember that trip as if it was yesterday. Riding on a crowded, bumpy bus full of noisy kids (i wasn't one of them) waiting to arrive to see everything that I had read in the history books in person. 

When I got into high school my love for history kind of went down hill. That is until I joined the LDS church in 1992. Genealogy caught my curiosity, and when I moved to the east coast I developed a major love for reading all about the civil war, and don't even get me started on D.C., Philly, and Boston. 

Those states truly exhibit their love for the red, white, and blue, and it shows when you drive into their city. There is show much history to learn, and read on how the pioneers lived on this side of the country. 

So in South Jersey there are a lot of old, old towns that were founded in the 1800's. Woodbury is one of them, and on this day I found out a little bit of history about this city. 

Last week we spontaneously took Noah to Hendrickson Park which is a park dedicated to Robert C. Hendrickson, and there are memorials of deceased policemen who were killed in the line of duty as well as veterans. 

We've always passed through this park back and forth from Blackwood to Woodbury, but have never gotten down to see what it's all about. I love parks like this where dedication is given to those who fought for country and died in doing so.

As soon as we parked and got out of the car I had a bit of a flashback. This place reminded me of our trip to Litchfield

There were a few benches to sit on, and a wide open space in which Noah can run around. 
This park is not really "a park." It is, but without the swings, and slide. There's also a beautiful memorial with names of World War II veterans.
It was so peaceful here, and I could tell Jon really needed some relaxation time with all the standing around he does at work. It was nice of him to have just laid down, and relaxed...that is until Noah got on top of him and began to jump on his back. Not sure if that was a good idea, but then again...Jon said his back felt a little bit better after Noah got off. 

Thank goodness for little feet that can heal any kind of aches his back may have been carrying. 
Oh...that thing he is holding is a paper towel roll in which I wrapped around with duck tape. I don't know what it is with little kids. They want you to keep the things that should be tossed straight into the recycling bin, and make some gadget out of it. The look on his face when I was about to throw it in the bin was too hard for me to handle. I couldn't recycle it. So I got some penguin looking duck tape, taped that sucker up, and when I was done I handed it to him. 

I told him it was a telescope.
And he treated it like one too! I spy....a flag! He loved it, and was sooooo happy!!
It was so nice for the three of us to relax with a picnic, and have Noah all to ourselves. He's such a sweet little boy who is so simple, and not picky as to where we take him when we venture outdoors.

Days like this when the sun is shining, eating a rice krispie treat, and seeing my little boy happy makes me happy. I pray for days like this every night so that I can wake up with a heart full of gratitude, and be selfless in the choices I make on a daily basis. 
I am so grateful to have had this day breathing, living, and in spending time with my two favorite boys.

With Memorial Day coming up it's nice to remember those who fought for our country, and to give thanks for all that they did. I am so glad we stopped by this park to become familiar with it.
We should be so lucky to continue to see our flags waving from beneath the sky.
So lucky.

What a lovely day it was in this part of Woodbury. 

40th annual academic awards banquet.


Do you remember when I wrote this post? 

Well, as I was sitting at the awards banquet dinner last night listening to all the names that were being called out for scholarships I couldn't help but to think about the time that I was worrying about how we were going to pay for your college. Dad kept telling me not to worry, that it'll all work out. Now that the time has come for you to start college in the fall I'm not all that worried. And you know something?

Dad was did work out.

After all the anticipation of deciding which college your were going to attend we were very pleased with the choice of school, and the scholarship that you received from UARTS as well as all the "extra" scholarships that you received last night. I can't even begin to tell you how happy we are for you. You have worked so hard to get to this point, and it shows in your academics. You sure have come a long way in your education, and I guarantee you it won't stop there!
When Ms. Petite got up there to introduce the Class of 2013 she said y'all are the cream of the crop. It was her first year being your new principal and she said that your class was the only one that made her feel welcomed and loved. 

Your generation rocks girl!  

I absolutely believe it, and are a part of that crop! There are so many friends of yours who received various scholarships, and can I just say how excited I was when you and the valedictorian of your class Michael were awarded the same scholarship. Where have you been hiding him? I had never seen him before until that night, and he's too cute. Smart too with a 4.75 GPA!! Wow!! 
Oh yeah, remember when you used to complain about writing research papers, and how I would tell you that you should love it because of your love for writing, and you said that it wasn't the same thing. In a way you were right because as much as I love to write I don't think I'll be writing any research papers any time soon unless it's something that interests me, and that I'm getting paid for it!  

Well, all those semi-daily complaints of staying up late doing homework, and studying for all those tests certainly paid off. 

And can you believe that you have done all this and more with waking up every morning at 5:00am for four years to attend early morning seminary?

I can! The Lord certainly has carried you through this for the past four years of your high school career! 

You go girl! 

I am so glad that I gave you a push every now and then to work harder. We are so proud of all the accomplishments you have made thus far, and the choices that you've made for the past four years in being who are... especially when it comes to friendships!
Dad and I are so excited for you, and you have so much to look forward too. You are nearing graduation and it looks like we have one more banquet left to go!
I will try not to worry anymore about finances because I have a very strong feeling that you are going to be taken care of, and with your knowledge, and beautiful personality you are going to succeed very well in this life.

We love you!