appreciating distance & time when it comes to our children.

Nothing matters to me most than finding quality time to spend with each of these kids individually. It's kind of impossible to do that when Sierra is out west going to school, but thank goodness for technology, and instant communication such as texting, and FaceTime. I am realizing the reality of life when it comes to a child going away for school. It doesn't matter if she's in good hands living with her grandparents I still wonder about her well-being. As much as I trust her in the hands of my in-laws I can't help but to find myself worrying just a bit. I've also come to terms that worrying is not good for the soul physically as well as mentally. Alleviating the worry by thinking happy thoughts and having faith in seeing the positive side of things really helps. I guess you can say that these past four months of being without her has been quite an adjustment, and amazingly have gotten accustomed to it. That doesn't mean that I'm not going to stop calling her, writing her, or sending her "thinking about you" texts every now and then. We are a very close family, and as far as her sibs go...they miss her too. Every now and then I'll ask them if they miss Sierra, and of course they all say to me, "mom, that's a dumb question." Hearing that kind of a response made me feel good knowing that in spite of all the sisterly disagreements, and little brother annoying moments they've had (which is very rare) they all love each other. 

I find it comforting as well when Sierra calls or texts me first. Waking up in the morning to see that she tried calling me at midnight (which is 10pm her time), and a text that she left me way early in the morning makes me feel confident in knowing that she is seriously growing up, and beginning to realize that there are times when she really needs me. It gives me assurance that she trusts my advice when it comes to school, work, boys, major trials, or your basic everyday drama. As a mother I want my children to be able to trust, and tell me anything. I don't ever want them to feel like they can't come to me when there's a problem, or when they need help. My solution may not be a perfect one, but it's gratifying to know that they have enough trust to tell me what's going on in their lives. I know that on occasion they'll go to their dad for advice, but I firmly believe that a child no matter how old they get will always need their mother. (I know this because there are times when I need my mother as well.)

Appreciating my kids is something I hold extremely solid in my life, and I never want to take them for granted. Distance truly does make the heart grown fonder. Again, I know this because at times I feel it being away from my sister, mother, and girlfriends. Fortunately for our family whether we're distant or not our hearts have always leaned towards love, and time. Time for us to spend together whether it's one on one dates with our kids, or family time. Sierra has been missed a lot lately when we've gone on our recent road trip to D.C. and New York. Especially when we go to the temple. I am very grateful for distance, and time because without those two things we'd never be able to appreciate family, and sometimes families need that. I personally can't fathom when the time comes for my girls, and Noah to get married. One thing for sure I'm definitely going to appreciate the whole distance thing even more. 
Being the mother of these four kids is the greatest thing on earth, and I can't imagine my life any other way. I'm hoping and praying that Sierra will find time off of work to come visit us this summer so she can bring her bubbliness, and act goofy again in person with her sibs.

three years of middle school drama productions.

Seeing my children's accomplishments brings me great joy. Especially when it's doing something they love. I was never involved in any drama productions in middle school & my attempt to be in a drama class my throughout high school was a joke...on my part. I believe I was a better dancer than an actress, hence being a part of the drill team the following year. Nonetheless those experiences taught me quite a bit. It helped me build more confidence within myself & helped me carry myself through all the hardships that I was experiencing at that time in my life.

This past weekend was Lexie's third & final drama production of her middle school career. She played Goldilocks in "Princess Who?" It was a cute play & everyone did such a great job. 
As each year goes by I am amazed at her level of maturity because when I saw her in her very first play "Frog & Toad" as a second grader, I swear her level of maturity was that of a fifth grader. We had been living in North Carolina & she was the only second grader in her class who had a singing part. She even had more lines than any of her classmates. She has always been so mature for her age & that is something that I've always been impressed by. 
^^^ Lexie in Frog & Toad, circa- 2007 ^^^
^^^ Lexie as a mole in frog & toad, circa-2007 ^^^
And now she's an eighth grade student who has the maturity of a "mature" 18 year old! 
^^^ Goldilocks ^^^
The entire cast gave a stellar performance this past weekend & I can't believe she has six more weeks of middle school left. She has enjoyed being a part of the drama productions for the past three years. You can view the past drama productions here (A walk in the Woods), and here (Spell of Sleeping Beauty).

Since this is their last year, the eighth graders had the opportunity to give a little 'speech of gratitude' at the end of the play. 
Everything that she does never disappoints & my proud mama moments just keep piling up. I look forward to many more of her accomplishments in the near future. Not sure where the time goes, but it sure flies super fast, and it's hard to believe that in just four years we're going to have another high school graduate in the house. Yikes! 

Books we own, read, and are currently reading.

When all is quiet in the house such as Noah taking a nap (which is becoming more rare) or entertaining himself with his trucks & legos I find myself reading more & more books rather than spending my "free time" on social media or popping in a DVD. 

I'd like to share a few books that I have read & am currently reading at this moment. In the past two weeks I have read four books so far. That's a record for me folks because the last time I read that many was last summer! I tend to read more in the spring & summer months as opposed to fall & winter. I don't know why but there's something about sitting outside your back yard or on the beach reading a really good book that you just can't put down. And this week I have read quite a few.  
^^^ my lovely son took this pic...can you tell? ^^^
I'm such a hoarder when it comes to books and my daughters are the same way. We find ourselves at the library every week to see what the new arrivals are. If I could fill up my house with books I would, and I do! It would be nice to find a house with extra space to build a bookshelves, and have ourselves our own little library. I refuse to buy a kindle because I love the tangible feeling & the smell of books. For now some of our books are neatly stacked on bookshelves & some are piled neatly against the wall, and on the girls desks.The only thing we've accumulated since moving into this house are books. 

Here a few books that are great for teens & adults to read:

Eragon Series, Sword of Shannara Trilogy, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Harry Potter Series, Hunger Games Series, Hourglass Door series, Candy Shop War series, Levin Thump series, Divergent series, 13th Reality series. Notice we dont' have the Twilight Series...not interested. Sorry Stephenie Meyer, but The Host was an interesting read. 
^^^ See what I mean? We seriously need just a little bit more room in this house to build a library! ^^^

^^^ I love these cloth style penguin classic books. ^^^
^^^ on top of Lexie's desk. ^^^
^^^ Chelsea's stash. ^^^
^^^ my domain, but the girls are welcome to 'check' out any book! haha! ^^^
^^ my current stash of books I've read, and want to read. ^^^
I watched the movie Heaven is for Real over Easter weekend & it was so good. I was so excited to watch it knowing that I had read the book. There have been times when I watch the movie & then read the book, but it's all good to me. The Fault of our Stars doesn't open in theatres until June & I  look forward to watching that movie as well. Such a sweet romantic love story. I'll probably read the book again for a quick recap before I do. They are both simple reads, and I literally read those books in one day! 

Glitter and Glue is another book I just read & it took me about a week to finish it. I love anything by Kelly Corrigan and the book just came out earlier this year. Her stories about her upbringing, her mother, & all that she went through & experienced as a young adult all the way into marriage, and her battle with breast cancer has inspired me to someday write my own story about all of my experiences.  She's written three books so far, and they have all been very inspiring. 

With Noah growing up & possibly starting preschool (we'll find out in June if he gets chosen) this fall will give me more "free time" to myself to seriously dig into all my journals & utilize them carefully into one (hopefully) great memoir. There are sooooooo many writers out there & books that are being written about interesting lives & meaningful stories with a purpose. I would love to be among those great writers who write their story as candid as possible.  I know it won't be an easy thing to do, but I feel that it's time & that is my resolution. 
^^^ This is it when Noah just goes into his little space & picks out a book. ^^^
I know I have my blog & a ton of journals to leave behind for my posterity, but how wonderful it would be to put it all of that into one story. That way each of my children (and their future posterity) can have a copy instead of having them to decide which one keeps the journal mom wrote about her boyfriends, the one about her first years as a convert to the LDS church, the one about dating, the one about the rants, hardships, friendships, & the one about survival. 

Time will tell, but for now I'll keep reading good books to keep myself motivated & inspired in hopes that I make all those blog posts & brutally honest written journal entries into something that will make a story worth reading!

Here are a few more books on my list to read that are really good. Some of them I've already read (that's how I know they're really good!) Pretty much every book you see in these photos are really good. Want a thorough review...ask my daughter Lexie. She's the only one in the family who has read all of those series more than twice! 
  • The Namesake (never saw the movie, but don't feel that I need to.)
  • Hollow City (this is the second novel to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children so read that one first!)
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (very interesting book that'll keep you smiling all the way through!)
  • The Freedom Writer's Diary (saw the movie first, and now reading the book...again. It's that good.)
Have a great weekend!

Our Easter Sunday, and a very special video.

I feel like I'm still in Easter mode. Like Christmas I don't want to put away my decorations. The colors of spring are so beautiful. I love pastels, and anything with light in color. Our Easter Sunday was absolutely perfect. I am so grateful for the friends that I have made in Jersey since moving here, and especially for this girl whom I've known for over 20 years. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't have known where to find the good schools, housing, etc. when I first moved here. So Maggie, I thank you once more for your help in that department. 
^^^ old school, traditional deviled eggs! ^^
Dinner was prepared by my husband, and it was delicious! We stuffed ourselves, and went for a walk afterwards. I know I mentioned wanting to keep this day reverent, but we had a few cascarones leftover from the egg hunt the day before, and the girls wanted to pop Maggie, and Maryann one. I ended up getting Maggie as soon as she arrived. She was excited, and shouted out, "cascarones!" Thank goodness I have someone I know (besides my family) what cascarones are, and has fun with them! We had a blast cracking them on each others heads. Maryann thought confetti eggs were different, yet so cool. 
 Lexie secretly walked up to Maggie, and...
Popped one on on her head! I can tell she had so much fun with us. We love her, and I hope that we can spend more occasions like this together. Friends are the best thing to make & keep! 
We have so much to be grateful for. All week long I had been posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram about all the things that make this specific 'holy' day extremely special, and possible. The church put out this powerful video, and if you have two minutes to watch it please do because it is so true. 

As a matter of fact here it is...

Life on this mortal earth is too short to spend alone, to be angry, bitter, or sad. So, so thankful for Resurrection day, and to continue every tradition I have thought of through family members, & ensign magazines on down to my children. This is such a beautiful season of renewal, and second chances, and I want to cherish every beauty that comes from it. 

Because of Him I have I have the opportunity to live with Him again with my entire family, and friends....and you do too. Because of Him death has no sting. There is life after death, and eternal happiness. That is what I strive to live like on this earth now. Because of the gift of the atonement I can use that to better myself, and improve on my imperfections. To live happily, and to share with others that this is what makes me a better human being. I make the choice to be happy in this life, and it's all because of Him...our savior Jesus Christ.

Now...time to prepare for Mother's day which is in two weeks! 

an eggstravaganza in nyc.

Every now & then we take trips to New York City because let's face it...there is always something to do and see. Whether it's new exhibits at the MoMa or different art insulations at Madison Square park. This time the city had a big a big easter egg hunt that consisted of at least 270 faberge eggs. They were spread out all around the five boroughs of Manhattan & for this week only they'll have them displayed at the Rockefeller Center.

When I told Chelsea that we were going on an easter egg hunt in Manhattan she couldn't quite understand why we were driving to New York just for that. She doesn't mind because she loves the city, and as we were halfway there she says, "mom...we forgot our baskets!" I then said, "we don't need baskets for these eggs." She asked why, and that's when I told her it's a surprise.

She was surprised all right! She couldn't believe how huge these eggs were! She loved every single egg, and was excited to be "cracking" them from my iPhone. Apparently there was an app where you could download, and hunt the eggs, and when you find it you crack it. There's a barcode you can scan where each egg is displayed, and you can either save it, or crack it. It also records every egg you collected. It was pretty cool, and the girls had fun with that.

Art really inspires me, and I was very impressed with all the different compositions, ideas, and designs each faberge egg had. They were all designed by various artists, and there were so many that I loved. If I had a ton of money I would have walked away with one that day. Then again I'd have to figure out where to display it in the house! The girls were amazed at all the different ways the eggs were designed.
^^^ "love me"^^^
 ^^^ Humpty dumpty... ^^^
^^^ because I'm a 70's baby! The disco egg was my favorite!" ^^^
 ^^^ This was the most famous cracked egg. The Ralph Lauren egg. ^^^

This is awesome...New York skyline.

 ^^^ a chalked egg in which we wrote our names on. ^^^
 ^^^ where's waldo? ^^^

 ^^^ "It's a lego egg daddy! ^^^

^^^We went for a walk afterwards throughout the city, and what a gorgeous day it was! The weather was perfect, and some of the trees are in full bloom! ^^^

We had so much fun exploring the streets of new york looking at fabulous art, and skyscrapers. I have moments where I wonder how it would feel like to live in this concrete jungle of a city, and after living in Jersey for almost six years....I'm more than sure that I could handle it!
Left with some Joe's Pizza on the ride home! Best pizza in the village if you're in a hurry!

It truly was good day!

Our Easter Egg Hunt.

One of the reasons I look forward to spring is because of change. A change in season comes with renewing our lives which reminds me of the resurrected Christ. Easter is one of our favorite times of the year, and today we decided to have a simple egg hunt in the outskirts of Jersey. 

We usually have our egg hunts on Sunday after dinner, but decided as a family that from now on we would do it the day before Easter. I really want to keep the sabbath day reverent...especially on Easter sunday. Chelsea and Noah are our two youngest children ones who enjoy easter egg hunts, and the rest of us "older" folk enjoy preparing it & making the day fun for them. Now I don't go out of my way with buying every thing under the sun when it comes to "gifts". Can you believe I only bought two small bags of candy this year, and no toys? I've also been reusing the same plastic eggs for over two years now. I'm pretty proud of myself that I'm not buying cheap toys that'll break within an hour, and loads of candy that'll keep my kids high on sugar till all hours of the night. Go me! 

Like Christmas, Easter gets more simpler. One thing I am most pleased with about my girls is that they know that Easter is not about the bunny, or candy. Although those things are fun to "believe in" and yummy to eat they know the purpose of why we really celebrate this day. Noah is beginning to see the "light" as to the purpose of our Easter egg hunts. We fill up the plastic eggs with candy, spare change, and slips of paper that tell "The Story of Jesus". We have been doing this tradition since the girls were elementary age, and I'm so, so grateful that I continue to do this each year so that we can remember all that He did for us, and never forget His sacrifice.

This year Noah found the empty egg which represents the "empty tomb." It truly makes a difference in our kids lives when we teach them proper principles of the gospel, and about the resurrected Christ.

I'm also a mom that thrives on fun, and love seeing my kids happy. We dig Easter egg hunts, and here are some scenes of how we spent this beautiful Saturday afternoon.
^^^ Another tradition that has been carried down from my family is making cascarones (confetti eggs). The girls made these, and they all had fun "giving each other cascarones." You have to be mexican in order to understand what I just wrote, and if you're a different nationality other that mexican then I'm very impressed!) ^^^
^^^ nailed her! haha!~ Chelsea ^^^
^^^ Lexie tried to be all sneaky trying to give me a cascarone, but I got to her first! haha! A mother knows... ^^^
^^^ Poor Noah...he looked like he was getting tired of us giving him cascarones. It's easy to take advantage of the little ones and give them cascarones because they don't quite get the concept of what they actually are! Especially in this vine when Chelsea popped him one. ^^^
^^^ Noah's look on his face is like, "yeah she can reach it." ^^^
^^^ "I found it!" ^^^
^^^ she was determined ^^^
^^^ as was Noah with a little help from big sister ^^^
^^^ mission accomplished! ^^^
^^^ this is perfection ^^^
^^^ opening up their eggs, and telling the story of Jesus. ^^^
Words can't describe how I was feeling at this moment. I just love my family so much! Seeing the kids happy & playing in the park afterwards. I think Jumping on dad was their way of thanking him for a fun day. I'm just really, really grateful that we all enjoyed this day without any bickering (okay...there was a little between the kids, but it wasn't too bad.) It was so peaceful, and fun at the same time. It's so nice to spend our Saturdays without worrying about laundry, errands, or chores. I'm lucky that throughout the week we can work together as a family to get those things out of the way so that we can all enjoy our weekend, and concentrate preparing for the sabbath. Especially on this day knowing that as we lay ourselves down for bed tonight we know that this beautiful day took place all because of Him.

Have a blessed Easter everyone!