my life lately without the "social media guard"

Okay. So I saw this coke commercial the other day & I  personally think that anyone who doesn't have a smartphone clearly doesn't understand what it feels like to really have a smartphone, and if they do well then they really don't know how to put it to use like I do. I love my family, and the fact that I am a stay at home to one child at the moment (who is my only son) I really put that smartphone to use. Especially when it comes to capturing the moments. Notice that I wrote capturing moments instead of taking pictures. There's a reason why I "capture the moments" of the places we've been, the food we eat (or make), places we eat, the things we do with our kids, sleeping, and the way they eat a particular kind of food. It's called memories, and they are ours.

I mean...just look at my overused Instagram account

I personally think that the commercial is somewhat over least for me. Sure I think there are a lot of us out there particularly the "younger" crowd who are addicted in constantly taking photos of every little thing, but I'm not on my phone the entire time we are out on a date, family outing, or enjoying the comforts in my own home. Besides...I don't have any pets to take pictures of getting out of the box! LOL!

I have will power, & know when enough is enough. I have balance & there are times when I don't even "capture the moments." I'm too busy having fun living in the moment that I don't need a "social media guard" thingy around my neck to get off the phone and notice my surroundings including the people I'm with! 

While I got a good laugh over this video & the fact I am a coke drinker (it has to be the Mexican kind) made it better, and it's all good. And to prove to you that having a smartphone at that moment is an advantage so that you can post it right away for your loved ones to see, I've posted a few of those memories here. I am grateful for that instant gratification when it comes to technology in capturing these moments, and I'm not ashamed to say that I LOVE to take pictures...I mean capture the moments! 

After all...all of this is being written, and photographed for my posterity!

And now the iPhone photos...

no winter woes...just happy snow.

I have to admit after the warm weekend we just had the spring bug really got to me. I  literally began cleaning up the house & got a headstart on some spring cleaning & were not even in March yet. I got the girls to do their part in helping out. I even began to take out some of my spring clothes & folded all of my winter scarves up & tucked them away neatly in my hope chest. 

I did all of this knowing we were expecting more snow this week, but I didn't want to believe it. I was in complete denial. Jersey weather is beginning to feel a lot like Texas weather right about now. It freezes for three days straight & then it warms up. At least our winters last longer! And it looks like we're definitely going to be having consistent 30 degree weather for the next few days!  I realized that no matter how much I long for spring I WANT to enjoy the snow. Because when you have kids it's more least for me!

And isn't it pretty... 
Especially when you have a cute little boy who for once didn't make any frowning faces when you tell him to  to bundle up because we're going to go outside & explore. Noah didn't fuss, & I was in shock! What did I do different today that I should have done on this day when he absolutely didn't want to have nothing to do with the snow! Maybe it's because I gave him gummy savers before we went outside. He was smiling & happy to be in my arms (or in this case being thrown up in the air.)
It's times like this where I feel the most joy. Seriously I do. I love all my kids & when they're happy I'm happy. I've also learned that when I'm happy, they're happy too. 

Seeing the look on Noah's face knowing that next winter he's going to look much older motivated me to just get myself outside, live, & have the hubs capture this moment. Jon is such a good sport in taking pictures of us. He's my personal photographer & we have a lot of fun taking pics of ourselves with our children. 

Life is too short too waste these days indoors especially when you have one little boy. I'm a stay at home mom for a reason & giving my full attention to him right now is all that matters. 

The sun shined so bright all afternoon & it was beautiful. As long as the sun is shining I'm in pretty good spirits throughout the winter time, and today was one of those days where I was in a good mood! 

a warm weekend in the winter.

Having grown up in Texas summers were all year round except for this winter. It seems as if my fellow Texans had somewhat of a bitter cold winter, and some snow. By the way...35 degrees is bitter cold to them! haha! I have enjoyed reading all their posts on Facebook, and it's so fun to read the ones that add some humor in it. Especially since they know what bitter cold weather could possibly feel the ones we've been having on the east coast. It got as low as 9 degrees here. Can't get enough of them Nor'easters. 

Luckily we experienced some warmth and sunshine over the weekend, and I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled the kids were to finally soak it up in the sun! All winter long Noah's been constantly telling me to take him to the park. No matter where we drive in South Jersey he knows all the streets that connect to all the different parks we've gone to...and there are a lot here! He wouldn't care less if there is snow on the ground. I explained to him that it's still too cold to play outside, and once the snow is all melted then we can go. At one point I even went to one of the parks, and got out to show him that it was muddy, and slushy, and that the slides were super wet! I don't have that many towels to wipe them down (although I have done that before), but it was too cold to do that this time around. 

This past Saturday was absolutely beautiful! The skies were blue, and the weather was perfect! We went to a nearby park to let the kiddos release some energy. It didn't bother me that there was a lot of people Nahhhh...i'm already used to that. It's crowded like this every year whenever it's the first day of spring, or when the "first real sun" comes out after weeks of having snow. The kids were cavorting as if it was a big party! Running, (not skipping) toward the swings. You can tell some of these kids were cooped up a bit! For once, I didn't really notice any ill-mannered children, and it was nice seeing other kids play nice. 

Noah's favorite, (and I didn't even have to wipe it down) was the sliding down the slide...
And climbing to the top to get to the slide...
^^^ this is some weird contraption. I don't know what to call it, but the kids seem to love getting on it! ^^^
I saw Jon get on the "weird contraption" all by himself, and saw him turning around and around, but didn't get to vine, or record it. I was too busy laughing, and watching him act like a big kid. I then had Chelsea take some photos of us on it together. Don't think we fit, but who cares. Good thing I'm petite, and have small feet, because if I was any taller....I don't know.
^^^ my goofy hubby ^^^
^^^ and i love him! ^^^
This warm weekend really got me pumped up for spring. I am so grateful to live in a place where I can see, and feel the change of seasons. I do love the snow, and it looks like we're expecting some this week, but if it does...let's hope it melts by the end of this week!
Because Spring...we're all ready for you! 

Happy Monday y'all! 

The teepee is a happy place.

Growing up in a house the size of a small trailer with literally three rooms where the shower was outside you learned to just accept your living conditions, be grateful, humble, and make do with what you have. 

My mother, sister and I all shared one room with two beds until I was about ten. I didn't see anything wrong with it until I got older & realized that privacy was an issue. 

When my stepfather moved in it became extra crowded, but we all managed to make the sleeping arrangements work. Without adding any sadness to this story in regards to my stepdad the purpose of this post is to let y'all know that no matter how small or big your house is everyone can be happy with the little things (even sleeping inside a teepee.) 

Ever since Jon & I got married we've always lived in apartments. We started out living in a studio apartment down on south temple in Salt Lake City & the most interesting part of that studio was the Murphy bed that came out of the wall & the cutest little stove. I felt as if I was living in a small loft in NYC. We were pregnant at the time with our firstborn, & eventually knew that we'd need a bigger place once Sierra was born.

We then upgraded to a one bedroom & when Sierra became a toddler we had the privilege of living in a nice two bedroom basement apartment just a few blocks away from the home that President Monson grew up in (we were in his ward for almost two years.) 

Then the moving from state to state began & then we became a family of four in San Antonio where Lexie was born. The girls managed to share a room for almost five years, & because of it they are extremely close & get along so well. 

We transferred yet again this time to North  Carolina where we managed to score a really nice three bedroom apartment (which is very rare near Pinehurst.) That is when Sierra finally got her own bedroom. Not that she wanted it, but it was nice for her being a tween & all to have her own privacy. 

That's when Lexie & Chelsea began sharing a room & they have been pretty good roommates since then. 

After all those years of apartment living we managed to find a house in New Jersey, and have been living here now for almost six years. It was quite an adjustment having our own home, with no neighbors stomping above us, or having late night parties. We got so used to apartment living, sharing bedrooms, & neighbors just being neighbors. While our house isn't very big, it's quaint and cozy.   

Chelsea & Lexie had been sharing a room up until Sierra left for college. Now that Sierra is attending college out west both Noah & Chelsea have taken over her room. Lexie has her own space now upstairs, & I think deep down she enjoys her privacy (except when Sierra used to come home on weekends.)

We are grateful & humble for the experiences that our kids have learned all these years with all the moving around & living in different places which brings me to my favorite part of this story. 

Chelsea & Noah...although they bicker constantly were so excited when I assembled this teepee this teepee for them. It was a late "valentine" gift (due to the stupid snowstorm.) They wanted it to stay in the living room so that they could sit in it while watching cartoons, but I then moved it into their bedroom right next to Chelsea's bed.

This is Noah's happy place & I can see why. It looks so cozy & fun. A little piece of heaven where he can nap, read, & play their guitar. 
Noah slept in it last night & look how comfortable he looks. Makes me want to be tiny enough to climb in & sleep in it too. 
I have taught my kids that you don't need your own room, or a big bed to be fulfilled. I grew up in a small house where four of us slept in the same room with only two beds . I mean...back then my mom did what she had to do. I dealt with my upbringing & living conditions as a child, learned from them, & changed them a bit with how I married & raised my kids. 

I'm just so thankful that we have managed to keep a roof over our head where the kids are happy & resilient as to where they're going to sleep every night.
Having a boy has been so much fun, and I'm sure glad I invested in getting this teepee for him. So glad I did because he is loving it! 

Happy Friday everyone! 

Why i feel marrying within the same religion is so much easier.

One of the best parts of being a wife and parent is having a companion who shares the same beliefs as you, loves everything about you, doesn't disrespect, belittle, or controls you in any way. Punishes your children in any way except when strictness is necessary. Someone who equals you out in the best way possible. When your weak he's strong and vice versa. Someone who knows how to turn down the volume when the "mean mom" comes out. Someone with a heart so big, and forgiving that he's willing to do anything for you, or anyone without hesitation. 
Someone who listens. 

Someone who knew you way before your life was changed, and accepted everything about you even after you told him all about your dark secrets. Someone who has faith to entrust you in having his children no matter how rough your childhood was. Someone who's like a little kid himself who will drop everything to spend time with his own. Someone so spiritually strong who has the patience like Jobe to explain a certain verse, or chapter in the scriptures to the younger children that usually goes on for an extra 20 minutes! 
Someone who knows, and has a relationship with God. Someone who grew up with values you wish you had. And even though they made mistakes at some point...they know what repentance is & that it's there. Not to do it again, but that it's there to help rebuild your life. 

Someone who has the best attitude especially when times get rough. Who has so much faith & believes that good things happen not just to good people, but to everybody. Someone who is just simply the best in all that he does. 

Someone who picks the perfect family home evening lesson that is needed for your family (especially for that week!) Someone with a faith so strong that no matter what lows come your way he always manages to bring them up to an all time high. 
That someone is my eternal companion whom I've shared my life with for nearly 20 years, & he is the ultimate hero in our life. 


Which brings to pass the purpose of this post, and reasons why I would like all my daughters to marry someone with their fathers attributes. Not everyone will be exactly like their father because there's only one of him. But they can find somebody who shares the same values, standards, and beliefs, as he does.

Some of you may think I'm being close minded & judgmental because I only want them to marry within the church, but if you were in my shoes having converted your life to Christ & a religion where they teach true'd want them to have those same exact values & marry someone within the same faith. 

I have heard stories on how hard it can be to be married to someone with a different religious background or nooooo religious background. And although their love is real, there may be times where deep down life can be such a stressor for them. The "active mormon" verses the "non-member spouse." Sure we may feel that we can be the "key" & example to help them convert, but think about it.....

Do you really want to wait five, 10, 20, 30, or 50 years for them to convert to christianity? And what if they never join the church in your lifetime...who's to say that they'll even accept Christ & the gospel in the hereafter. 

This is exactly why my passion in having my daughters marry within their faith which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is so strong, and to meet someone who will understand why they believe in what they believe. If I don't feel connected with a boy that my daughters are dating it's not because I dislike them. It's because I just don't agree. Call me old fashioned, but in my eyes that doesn't make me a hypocrite, or a sinner. It makes me a strong, loving, & caring mother whose job in this life is to protect & look out for my girls...& eventually my son. 

Boy is he going to be a hard one to let go! 
Thankfully I have learned over, and over again that all children need to govern themselves. And I'm especially grateful that my firstborn has "seen the light" in knowing that getting serious with a nonmember can have some serious consequences. Their beliefs won't be yours, and yours won't be theirs. You can either go their way in jeopardizing everything you were taught to learn for yourself, or stand firm in what you believe in to have that special someone take you all the way to the eternities. 

Marriage requires a hell of a lot of work to begin with & when you two don't see eye to eye due to different beliefs that will cause problems which again will add more problems, and stress to your life.

I can never imagine how it is to be married to a nonmember, but I'll tell you this. I know how it feels to date someone who didn't understand why I no longer wanted to drink, smoke, or have sex. Clean fun was, and will always be my goal, and I want that goal for all of our children. I'm not perfect, never was, and never will be. I know what temptation feels like even after joining the church, but I thank God that there is repentance, and the chance to do it right. 

If my kids do end up marrying outside of their religion I want them to know that I will love them, and their spouse unconditionally. I will accept them because they are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. 

And if you happen to be married with someone who is not of your faith, and things are just  a-okay with them then that's awesome! Everyone is different. 

I count my blessings for the choice I made in marrying someone in my faith. We may have our ups, and downs but because we share the same beliefs it's easier for us to talk openly about our faith, and any problems we may have pertaining to "life." Communication is key to a great relationship, and because of that we always manage to lift each other up, and find a common ground to stand firm in our faith.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.

our "winter" Valentine's day weekend.

Is Valentines day a weekend for lovers? Yes and no. Some of us may be single with many friends to share it with, and some of us may have a significant other to celebrate it with. Fortunately I have a love in my life along with four children to make this holiday very special. Valentines day is one of my favorite holidays specifically because of the kids. Exchanging valentines with other kids at school was one of my favorite things to do when I was their age. I love teaching them about loving their fellow man no matter what, & that giving out valentines day cards to their friends at school (even to the kids that are mean) is teaching them unconditional love. 

Valentines day is not just for adults. It's also for the little people & these two had a grand time making valentines. Noah's art may not be mastered but he has the right concept when he draws a picture. We mailed cards, dropped off treats, and after a day of thinking of others it was our turn to have a date night. 
The day we saw The Saratov Approach movie we saw the trailer for Winter's Tale, and the fact that Jessica Brown Finlay (who played Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey) stars in it along with Colin Farrell made my heart swell, and I was sold! I had been counting the days till valentine's day for this magical looking movie to open. 

First of all I had no idea that this movie was going to be about angels & demons. Without giving too much of the movie away it was beautiful & absolutely stunning. There is a lot of love, hope, magic, and miracles in this film. It's an unabashedly love story with an ending that makes you realize what could possibly happen to us when we die, and in my opinion was an interesting rendition of good verses evil.

If you liked the movie "Ghost"'ll definitely love Winter's Tale! 


Attending the temple the day after was perfect! It was Valentine's Day weekend, we had just seen the perfect movie the night before, and we had our cute kids with us. We made it a priority to just take off and "run" to the temple! I felt so emotional this day. Winter can bring out the "blues" for some of us, but when you're at the temple no matter how busy, tired, or stressed your week, life is/was going to the temple takes all of that away. I know I write a lot about our trips to the temple, and that is because I have such a strong passion for it. The seasons pass us by way too quickly, and knowing that I made it to the temple this winter makes me extremely grateful that I made the time to go. 

Spring is coming pretty soon, and I look forward to the flowerbeds filled with different colored tulips, but on this day seeing the temple grounds covered with snow was a sight to see. It's amazing how looking at this timeless building in the winter brings me a different, but "fresh" perspective at my life right now.
This picture makes me so happy. Seeing these two hugging while the cold air is blowing with smiles on their faces gives me a surety that no matter how much they bicker they truly do love each other. Noah was too cold to stand outside for a long period of time, and so I quickly managed to capture this photo of him while cuddling on papas shoulder. Stubborn little boy wouldn't put his coat on. I asked him if he wanted his hat, and he said "I am wearing my hat's my hoodie!" Silly boy.
Our lives seem so much calmer, peaceful when we leave the House of The Lord. Our feelings don't get hurt, and any offense made by another person whether it's family, a friend, neighbor, or even a member of our own congregation just passes us by. Nothing matters to us, but the love we share for others, by being a good example to those we meet, and come in contact with. Whether they feel our love for them is real is their choice. But I know that my love for each and every human being that I meet on this earth is real.
And brothers and sisters is what the temple brings. Love, joy, & fulfillment. It truly makes us a better disciple of Christ, mother to my children, wife to my hubby, and friend to others.

Now two things you need to tryyyyyy to do this week..go watch Winter's Tale and attend the temple if you can! There's over 100 of them, and there's bound to be one where you live! If not...I don't think you'll have to wait much longer.

Happy Monday! 

Reflections of winter then & now.

^^^ a house off the road on Lambs Canyon in Utah ^^^
After last nights snow storm I am reminded of my days living in Utah when winters there lingered on forever. Because I didn't grow up with 'real winters' (Texas didn't have any snow in the first 19 years of my life) my first reaction to seeing snow for the first time in Utah back in 1994 was satisfactory. I was grateful, felt fortunate, & was in awe of Gods beautiful creation. 
^^^ Lexie (1) Sierra (5)- Salt Lake City, circa 2001 ^^^
I remember going on long drives up Little Cottonwood Canyon, Lambs Canyon, Immigration Canyon (so many canyons), Alpine loop, & Park City because when your cooped up in the house with two small girls during wintertime...all you want to do is take them out and see the world through their eyes! 

Oh the memories! 
13 years later I find that history is repeating itself. Except my two older daughters are now teenagers & I've added a nine year old, & a toddler boy to the mix (minus the mountains & canyons).

The last time we had a snow day we stayed indoors & kept ourselves busy with various activities. This time I nonchalantly asked everyone, "I'm going out to play in the snow who wants to come with me?" 

Being that we were in a 'state of emergency' we had planned on staying in. Once Jon finished shoveling the driveway we waited for a couple of hours before we went out on the roads. I have to say that I was very impressed with Jersey being proactive in preparing for this storm. So prepared in fact that all the roads were clear with hardly any traffic. It was so weird seeing so many stores closed too. When it snows like this in Utah, schools are not cancelled & everything is open! It's so different here, & living in Jersey for the past six years has helped me understand how things are done around here. 

As I was reflecting back on the memories of the pictures above (& there are so many others glued inside the scrapbooks of my kids), gratitude begins to fill my heart. 

Gratitude because had I not left Texas at a young age to live in Utah for all those years I would have never have learned to drive in the snow, or know how to deal with the winters anywhere...especially here. 

I said to myself the other day how I crave Spring, and I do, but I blink twice, look back at the first time I witnessed this part of Gods wonderful creation, & look at my children's faces when the snow begins to fall, and it is priceless.

Then the snow & everything that comes with winter doesn't matter to me anymore. My craving for spring diminishes, & my focus is on living in that moment. 

And that's exactly what I did today with my family. 

I lived in that moment. 
^^^ ready to go sledding ^^^
^^^ you can't tell, but Lexie has a snowball in her hand waiting to throw it at her dad ^^^
^^^ Noah was so cold that he demanded me to give him my scarf ^^^

We count our blessings on this day & for the roads to be safe enough to head out to do the one thing these kids have been doing since 'birth' (having fun in snowy conditions), and for having the time of their life...again! 

***Once again...we missed you Sierra! FaceTime is a miracle, and it's always nice to see your lovely face...and smile!

because sometimes parents aren't enough.

I've written about this wonderful lady a couple of times on my blog, but had to add another post about her because of all the love that she has shown to my family...especially to my nine year old. She is one who exhibits the pure love of Christ, and in many ways is a great example to me.

Maryann was Chelsea's kindergarten teacher three years ago, and till this day continues to spend quality time with her. I honestly believe that God put her in my path specifically for Chelsea. Chelsea is my youngest daughter and the one who can use a lot of attention. She's a good kid with a heart so full. She has so much room in her heart for her friends, but sometimes I feel as if she needs more in return. It's hard when both of her grandmas live across the country, and this is one kid that definitely yearns for a "grandmother role" in her life. She writes both her grandmas, but it's not the same. Maryann fits the role pretty close, and there have been many days where she saves me from taking my child out on adventures whether it's to see a ballet, lunch, or a movie. She saves me from the simplicity of just spending quality time with her as a grandmother, aunt, older sibling, and mother would. 

Don't get me wrong...Jon & I love spending time with this child, but sometimes she needs another adult besides us folk to break the monotony of always hanging around with someone that doesn't let them get away with anything. 

Maryann is as awesome as they come. She's hip, fun and loves children. She was an educator for 30 years, and from my perspective was great at it! The way that she looks at Chelsea puts a smile on my face. It's as if she longs for a grandchild of her own. I see the way they are together when they talk, or play a simple game on her iPhone. The way she'll sometimes stop by on a whim while Chelsea's doing her homework to help her with any questions she may have concerning it. After all...she was her teacher once before. The way she sounds when she leaves voice mails on my phone letting me know how excited she is to attend any school/church activity that pertains to any of my children...especially for Chelsea. The thrill in her voice when I invite her over to have dinner, or just simply spend time with us.

In the early part of January we "attempted" to go ice skating at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, but to no avail. Time was cut short when we arrived and saw that the line was about an hour long! Chelsea & Noah had open call auditions to be a kids model for American Apparel in Hoboken, and couldn't afford to be late. Maryann was more patient than I was when it came to standing out in freezing temperatures walking around prospect park to find the nearest exit. This was our first time venturing out to this park not knowing our way around. Luckily they have signs, and that Maryann was around to save me from insanity with two freezing kids in tow. 

Sometimes we need another adult in the lives of our children to show them a different kind of love that is different from the parent. I strongly believe that's why the Lord put this lovely woman in my path to help me in that department. 
I still haven't heard back as to whether or not the kids have been chosen, but even if they weren't selected as models, spending the day & ending the evening with great company whom I call family, and eating delicious pizza from Grimaldi's was the icing on the cake!

Grateful for Maryann's friendship & all that she does for my family! 

mini youth conference.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the mini youth conference for our church. Being in the Young Women Stake Presidency sure has it's privileges. I get to hear the youth bear their testimonies & not only "observe" but participate in the youth dances that are held afterwards. 

Mini youth conference was held all day Saturday & consisted of classes that taught the youth on the atonement and ways we can return back to our heavenly Father. "The classes were interesting & I  really learned a lot from them."said my daughter who is now 14. This was our first MYC together & we both enjoyed it very much. 

Testimony meeting is by far my favorite part of any youth activity. The youth are given the opportunity to bear testimony on their thoughts, feelings, & beliefs of the Savior. I love that their testimonies are simple, touching, & to the point. There are times when some of us adults take too much time when sharing our testimony. Because there are quite a bit of youth the meeting goes on for about two hours. Sitting in the chapel listening to their testimonies strengthened me in so many ways. They are young, and have a whole life ahead of them. They each carry a special spirit with them, and whether they realize it or not the Lord is there for them...always willing and waiting to listen. 

I see them as the "lucky ones". Lucky because they each carry a uniqueness in them in which one youth can learn from another. Lucky because they are given the "tools" (such as prayer & scriptures) that are necessary in which will help them grow spiritually as well as finding out if this church is true. Lucky because I didn't grow up in this church with standards & going to youth conferences, or any activity. Lucky because they belong to a church that teaches them important values in which can help keep them clean & pure. Lucky because this is one way where they can "find themselves" knowing that they indeed are sons and daughters of God. Lucky because they have the scriptures which is the "creator's perspective" in which will help them understand "why the world doesn't make sense." 

Lucky because this is one place where they can nurture & build their testimony.

The testimonies that were said were so heartfelt. These kids are awesome & even though some of them may not fully understand or "get" the purpose of the youth program, why they're here, & why we have testimony meeting...the main point is that they came, they participated & gave the conference a chance as to how it's going to benefit their life in a spiritual aspect. 

And then...there's the dance afterwards. Now that's what makes any mini youth conference even more fun!
For four hours I had the pleasure of hanging around a bunch of crazy youth dancing their tushes off. I myself did a little bit of dancing among the youth, but have to admit grew a bit weary after about an hour (yes, I'm a wimp...I don't think I'd be a right candidate for Zumba either) & came home with a bit of a headache! 

I love that the kids are not dancing too close, and when the girls don't have a boy to dance with (which is their loss because they're missing out on some awesome cuties) get with their girlfriends and goof around by dancing with each other. 

Here's a perfect example...
^^ a blurry black & white photo of  how members of the opposite sex should be dancing to a slow song ^^
It's been about two years since I've been to a concert where extremely loud music is played & this was pretty close. It could be a sign of old age, but I have a young heart & did enjoy myself. Getting better acquainted with some of the youth instead of just hanging around and observing them to make sure there's no funny business going on was the highlight of my evening.  

Knowing that these kids are in a safe environment where clean fun is taking place without any booze, unclean acts, or crazy shenanigans really puts me at ease. Like I said...they truly are the lucky ones. I've never been to any church dances before (even though I have an older daughter in college now who once participated in these youth activities for the past five years), and I have never seen a "cleaner" more fun dance with a group of great kids dancing the night away to clean music that won't hurt you, or put thoughts in your mind that are not good. 

The dances I attended while growing up throughout my middle & high school years consisted of inappropriate music that was never approved before being played, couples making out in dark corners of the room, and kids dancing a little too close for comfort. Teachers would let us get away with murder, and the example that set for me was not good. Luckily I survived any unclean act that came into my life throughout my days as a youth, and that I am teaching my children true principles of the gospel that has a purpose. 

It makes me extremely grateful to be raising my kids in the church where they are taught morals, and values that will help them make wise choices. 

Lexie willingly went to said activity on her own motive, unafraid, and willing to learn what the Lord has for her. Her first mini youth conference was a great experience, and even though it took her an hour to bear her testimony...she did it, and it was simply beautiful. She enjoyed the dance, and the fact that everyone was having clean fun. 

She sees a lot of "unclean" acts in the middle of the day during school, and personally has no desire to go to any of the dances. However, she is willing to go to her eighth grade dance only because it'll be her last year in middle school. I'm sure they'll be shenanigans going on throughout the dance, but luckily she has the talent to block out anything unclean, and that she has the capacity to build her own kind of fun that is clean & pure.  

And when you give your heart to The Lord, He will help you lose the desire to make poor choices, and strengthen you to make the right ones. 

ways to keep my toddler active indoors during winter.

The past couple of weeks we have had school cancellations, and two hour delays. Delays I don't mind, but the cancellations I do. Unless there is an extreme Polar Vortex, or major ice storm happening then by all means cancel school. Otherwise if it's raining lightly without snow...c'mon, let's not make a big deal out of it. Although I do enjoy sleeping in these days, and the two hour delays I didn't mind.

This past Monday mother nature stood out and had the snow come tumbling down. Her snowflakes were huge, and looked so beautiful. School was canceled that day, and everyone was home. I had asked the kids if they wanted to go outside and play, and everyone was okay with it except Noah. He responded with a stern look on his face with an emphatic "No!" When the Polar Vortex hit our neck of the woods last month with 9 degree weather we braved the cold temps & attempted to go sledding. Noah was not pleased. He lasted about what...20 minutes out in the cold. I don't blame him...that day was freezing!! Chelsea was the only one on that day who braved the cold temps & was determined to go sledding as you can see on this vine.  

Even though I have a "young heart"  I'm beginning to feel my age. Not that I'm old, but after a while I do get a bit tired (then again maybe it's just this weather). Especially since Noah is becoming more active, and older. Being stuck indoors hasn't been helping, and when we're not venturing outside he constantly wants me to watch a movie with him, read books to him, play a game with him, lay down with him to nap (when I'm not tired), eat with him (when I'm not hungry), & do yoga with him. 

In other words...he wants me to stop what I'm doing and just spend quality time with him. And I do. No matter how tired I become I somehow snap out of my exhaustion and somehow my energy is refueled in order to accommodate my sons needs & endure these rainy, winter indoor days with an active four year old boy!

It's amazing you know. The love that I have for him. The willingness to set whatever it is I'm doing in that moment to just do what he'd like for me to do. Is he being bossy? No. Is he telling me what to do? No. He asks me in a polite manner which makes me want to give in even more to whatever his little heart desires. 

So with the weather continuing to be cold & unable to go to the park because of leftover snow & wet monkey bars we have found ways to keep us occupied without getting on each other's nerves! Luckily the girls have school now & that they are productively learning for about seven hours (five hours if they have a delay.) But when they're not they have a piano to play on, and Lexie has her violin to practice & oh do many books to read!! 

Board games. What a better way to break the monotony of being a couch potato and watch movies or cartoons to educate their young minds. The kids especially love it when dad plays with board games with them. There are only a few games we have for Noah to join in with them so they played a few rounds of Trouble along with a few memory card games. 
Reading books! Had to add in that exclamation point. I get so pumped up when noah would rather read than play with an electronic device. He immediately goes upstairs to his small library shelf to grab books. He has gotten into the Dr. Seuss genre & loves Eric Carle picture books. He enjoys it when Chelsea reads to him too. 
Prepping with play food.  I have had this play food set since Lexie was about four. Chelsea loved playing "Diner" with Lexie and now Noah loves to "Chef." Here he is cutting up bread and putting mustard on his sandwich. 
Crafts & coloring.  Valentines day is just around the corner and even though he's a boy he loves to cut, color, hole punch, mode/podge & glue anything that's a paper product. We made a few decorations out of doily's and some cards the other day. 
Educational iPhone apps. Yes..there are times when I give in to technology with this little guy. After a while his small dose of ADD will kick in and he'll ask if he can play games on my phone, iPad, or computer. I give him about an hour to play and that's about it. There are a lot of mind games for toddlers but lately he's had a fixation on playing "the guitar' on the iPad mini. Although I think it's time to buy him a guitar.
Unwinding with DVDS. I'm an old school movie freak that owns a ton of Dvds & sometimes we need to unwind with a fun movie. I love it when Noah snuggles with me on the couch. He still does that with me & hasn't grown out of it. There are also times when he'll hog up the couch and keep it all to himself! 
Those who don't bake, buy. I seriously need to start baking more for my kids, and for you mothers that have the patience and the talent well kudos to you! My two teenage daughters have spoiled me with their baking skills, & even though Sierra is gone I still have Lexie to bake for me! Every time I ask her to bake cupcakes, cookies, or make milkshakes her face lights up! But when it's mid morning & you have a craving running to your closest bakery or donut shop in my opinion is the way to go! 
^^ yummy heart cookies that were devoured in seconds...not minutes. thanks McMillan's! ^^'s been pretty cold, but not too cold to venture out for some sweets. This week so far has been  pretty great, and I don't mind the snow we've been having. There are days when I'm grateful for school cancellations because it gives the kids time to spend with their daddy. Delays are even better because I'm beginning to like this sleeping in bit. Spring is pretty much around the corner, and that is something we're all looking forward to!