Friday, February 27, 2015

20 Things To Let Your Children Know That You "Like Them."

The other day as we were tucking Chelsea into bed she asked Jon and I this question, 

"Ummm, mom, dad...do you like me, because it looks like you like Sierra, Lexie, and Noah more."

You can imagine the look on my face when she asked me that question. The look was called guilt, and I was not surprised. I wasn't surprise because I feel as if I have been somewhat focusing my attention more on the oldest, and the youngest. I looked at Jon with a sad look because we both know we haven't been doing enough for Chelsea lately. 

We've been putting our energy and focus more on our oldest daughter who is out west trying to figure out her goals in life. As parents we can't help but to worry, and so we both know that we can't coddle our almost 20 year old too much because she makes her own decisions now. We realize that we can only give her advice. That still doesn't mean she's going to listen, but we have a voice, and can still give it. And the attention that I always give to Noah is because he's the only boy, and because time is fleeting I tend to focus more on him during the day...well into the evening! And as far as Lexie goes she seems to have her life under control. She's a 15 year old with a good head on her shoulders, and so we don't meddle too much in her life. We meddle just enough to let her know we love her, asking about her day, and constantly reminding her to make wise choices in all that she does. 

But enough about those three. 

My focus right now is on Chelsea. 

She has definitely become the middle child, and don't middle children get the least attention? I would never know because I wasn't the middle child. After talking to my mom yesterday for what seemed like forever (and we could have been on the phone all day long) really got the two of us thinking. She was telling me all about the mistakes she made with me, and how ignorant she was when she found out about my molestation because she didn't do anything to stop it. Till this day she keeps apologizing to me that it happened. She didn't know how to handle it. Like she said she was ignorant and clueless as to how she could have handled that situation so it made me think that she didn't love, or care for me. Especially since she stayed with the man until the day he died. All has been forgiven, and I keep telling her that, and I'm sure there will come a point where she will stop apologizing for it. 

There's nothing like that going on in our home, but there has been a lot of stress lately. And when I focus more on that stress than our children there's an issue...especially when a child asks you if you still like them. 

Although it may seem that I do give enough attention to her through photos life isn't "all that" with me. Truth is I really haven't, and there is no excuse. And I think that is why she has been lashing out to get our attention. Constantly fighting with her brother, and picking on Lexie when she comes home from school. I am grateful that she leaves her sassiness, and drama at home and that she doesn't take it to school or church. Her teachers both at school, and church constantly praise at how well behaved she is, and how helpful she is to everyone. Sometimes those are the kids you have to watch out for. I would have never known what was bothering her had she not told us, and for that I am extremely grateful to have a daughter who is not vague. Who is bold enough to tell us to our face with respect how she feels, and what's bothering her. She loves to talk, and now I know why. She is her own personality, and because she's so bold it makes me pretty pleased. Knowing that she won't keep anything inside like I did when I was little gives me hope that she will always make the right choices in this life. Just as she did the day she was bullied at school for defending one of her friends. That's the kind of child I'm proud to be raising. But not too proud when a child tells me, and her father (out of all people) if we like her because we aren't being too attentive to her. 

Well...that is all going to change. Time is fleeting with all of our kids, and you would think because they are all five years apart that it would be easier. Well...surprise it's not. It doesn't matter how far or close apart we have kids in age. Everyone has it hard. Motherhood is hard period. It doesn't matter whether you're 20 or 40 having a child. We just have our own different way of showing it, and handling it. 

So after having my daughter ask me the "do you still like me" question, and having the long talk my mother and I had about all our sad experiences that turned into wonderful memories here are some attributes that we can develop  and things to do as parents (at least for me) that will help our children give them an assurance that we do in fact like them, and I mean truly "like" them. 

In other words LOVE them. 

Go on more date nights.
Always kiss them goodnight. 
Read them a bedtime story. 
Hug them every chance you get. 
Ask them about their day when they come home from school. 
Compliment them not only on their accomplishments, but on the little things as well. 
Constantly tell them they are beautiful (or handsome!)
Splurge and take them out for ice cream (before dinner!) 
Let them know if there is something bothering them that you will always be there to LISTEN.
If they bring home a bad grade instead of reprimanding them, tell them "it's OK" & to do better.
Always believe them when they say they are being bullied, or mishandled in a way that is not appropriate.
Make them their favorite dinner & bake them their favorite dessert. 
Focus on their positive strengths more than their weaknesses. 
Help them with their weaknesses, and reassure them that they are strong.
Be a fun parent, and go outside and play with them at the park (or in the snow!)
Stop saying, "Just a minute" and tend to their needs (especially when they say PLEASE!)
Seriously listen to what they say whether it's a story they experienced at school instead of looking bored!
Give all your kids equal time so that they see no one is a favorite.
Pay attention, stop yelling, and always say I'm sorry.
Always tell them you love them. 

Yes...the past few months have been a little rough, and I am guilty of not accomplishing some of these things. Even though I feel as if I'm doing enough for my kids I know that as a parent, and mother of four I can do better. 

We can always do better. 

Giving each of my children equal time, and focusing on them at the same time can be tough, but finding balance is key. Not worrying too much is key. Yes...I believe that I am a good mother, and I know it'll all work out so that the question "do you like me" will never be uttered in our home again. 

"The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention."
~Richard Moss

Have a happy weekend! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Noah-isms.

Having children five years apart can be an advantage, but lately it has been a disadvantage when it comes to "parental discretion" or shall I say "sibling discretion" Some of the movies I watch with Chelsea, Noah shouldn't watch, and the ones I watch with Lexie (which is very rare unless it's Enders game, the Hobbit, Star Wars Complete Saga...you get the picture) Chelsea shouldn't really watch except the aforementioned ones. Well, lately Noah has been saying the word "disgusting" a little too much especially when Jon and I express affection towards each other. It's all rated G affection, but we do kiss peck each other on the mouth and give each other big hugs in front of the kids. I blame it on those love movies that we've been watching lately like Blended, and The Fault in Our Stars. The girls think it's sweet, but Noah will say, 

"Mommy...don't marry daddy. Mommy, don't kiss daddy on the mouth. That's disgusting!"

To tell you the truth I don't even think he completely understands what the word means. I had to explain it to him, and I believe he knows what it means now. When he told me to not marry daddy I said, "It's a little too late for that Noah. Like 20 years late!" He still didn't get it. When he told Jon not to kiss me, he kissed me even more, and Noah continued to say, "STOP daddy stop!" I'm sure he'll get over it. Then again...maybe he's being a little too protective of me. 

*****
Noah's hair grows like a weed, and I love it. I love it! I love his hair. He looks so cute with it short, or long. However, there comes a point when it just has to be cut or trimmed especially when it starts hanging over his face, and gets called a "cute little girl" in public places. I've begun to let it slide, and I really don't care anymore if anyone calls him a girl. I'll just simply correct them, and move on. 

It wasn't until the other day at church he said, "I need a haircut daddy, my hair is poking me in my eye." 
Yep...I think it's time for a trim. 

*****
So we found this really cool booster chair for Noah at IKEA last week, and because the color green doesn't coincide with our dining chairs I had put it against the wall. I guess it could blend in, but our table only has four chairs, and in my opinion looked a bit awkward. After we ate dinner Noah didn't move it back against the wall, he put it right next to one of the chairs, and said, 

"Moooooommmmm, I'm part of the family, please don't put my chair against the wall, leave it here." 
Having him saying that made me happy, and now I just leave it tucked under our table, and never move it...unless he says so. 

He is part of our family. A huge part, and the greatest blessing! 

Happy Wednesday! 

***You can read more Noah-isms here, here, and here.




Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter Finally Occurred This Year With A Blizzard!

I certainly was not anticipating this blizzard! It wasn't the biggest, but it certainly brought us more snow than what Juno did! As crazy as it sounds I have been anxiously awaiting for a good snowfall, and this one didn't disappoint. I am reminded of the very first time I experienced the snow while living in Utah. I was 21 when I first met "her", and immediately fell in love with it. I am so grateful that my kids have experienced it at such a young age, and that they actually love it too! 

The snow began to fall pretty quickly early Saturday afternoon, and before we knew it there was a couple of inches on the ground. Just enough for the kids to do snow angels (which you could watch me here), and throw snowballs at each other. We stayed close to home this time, and the kids enjoyed playing in the backyard. Chelsea took out the sled, and dragged it around the snow with Noah in tow. I captured a few moments of their childhood in the snow. 

One of my favorites is Noah eating fresh snow (don't worry...it was untouched & very clean!) 
After a while I felt like going for a walk. I know it sounds crazy to go for a walk when it snows, but it wasn't coming down as much, and I was really craving that desire. There is something about the snow that just calms me down. I wasn't raised with it so I really appreciate this part of Mother Nature in the winter time. So while Lexie was finishing up her project Noah and Chelsea decided to tag along with me. We walked on part of the bike trail, and for a moment we stopped, stood, and listened. 
Listened to how peaceful it was when it was coming down. I began to tell them how quiet the world seems when it snows. I really wanted them to listen, and they thought it was pretty cool and "weird" at the same time that everything seemed so quiet. There were hardly any cars on the road so there's no humming of motors running. No sounds of dogs barking or any animal noises. It was nothing but peace and quiet for a few minutes until these two began running around. I decided to take in the moment of having fun with them because I don't know if we'll have another snowfall anytime soon. 

Then again we're still in February so who knows! 

Happy Monday! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Gray's Papaya & The Doughnut Plant.

There are two things we love in this family... hot dogs, and donuts. Well...I don't necessarily love hot dogs, but put a Nathan's or a hebrew national frank on my bun and I'm sold! Ever since we moved to the east we have grown to really enjoy hot dogs...especially when we go to New York. Noah is the king of hot dogs. He can eat those every day if he could. There are only two conditions. The bun has to be soft, and they have to be a good tasting frank. Lately he hasn't been eating too many of them, and in a way I don't blame him. Unless I buy the Nathan's or Hebrew National brand. Noah knows good food, and every time we plan a trip to the city he has to have a hot dog from the cart in the corner. It wasn't until we all had Gray's Papaya. Now those are delicious!! I'm no huge fan of the dog, but take me to Gray's or Nathan's in coney island, and I'm one happy camper!
When I was pregnant with Sierra there was a donut shop in Salt Lake City called Banbury cross. I swear I ate like 6 donuts on every visit, and we probably went there three times a week throughout my entire pregnancy!! I am really picky when it comes to donuts, or any kind of carbs. Then again as I grow older I trrrrryyyyyyy to stay away from sweets. Not to hard because I really don't have much of a sweet tooth, but then again when I moved to the east I discovered quite a few bakeries in my area that are pretty good. McMillans bakery has got to be my favorite in South Jersey, but when we finally tried the Doughnut plant in New York city forget it. They blow them away! They're delish! The doughnut plant is unique, and they have all kinds of  different flavored doughnuts! 
^^^ I love the donut pillows on the wall. Very artsy. ^^^
^^^ This kind man whose name is Dean didn't mind me taking his picture. He was all smiles, and in spite of the hustle, and bustle (there was a long line) everyone behind the counter was super friendly! ^^^ 
^^^ We got all kinds of flavors to try. Tres leche, banana and peanut butter donut, chocolate glaze, carrot cake, coconut creme (my personal favorite), and creme brule. They were all scrumptious! ^^^ 
^^^ Chelsea giving a thumbs up to her favorite...chocolate! ^^^

Yep...we will definitely be coming back for more, and if you ever come out to the big apple these places are a must to eat! 

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Our Snow Day.

There are a few things I may take for granted when it comes to family such as not calling, or visiting enough (it's expensive when you fly three kids plus two adults!), but when it comes to my little family one thing I have always done as a mom especially in the winter is take advantage of the snow (when it snows!) Ever since the girls were little I've always ventured out into the snowy weather whether it was for a walk, a drive up the canyons, or sledding. This year has been the coldest we have ever felt since moving here in 2008. The coldest, and luckily we weren't majorly affected by it with loss of work, or power outages. One thing for sure, and even though the kids wouldn't have minded having a two hour delay for school the other day, they took it back after a day of sledding! 

We started off the morning with some snow shoveling. Ever since we got Noah this shovel he always wants to put it to use. He was so excited when he saw the snow on the ground that morning. He immediately got dressed, and put himself to work. 
We ventured out to a high school across town where they have a pretty good hill, and we all took turns on the sled. On his own motive Noah decided to stop, drop, and do a snow angel. He's so sweet, and had a much funner time on this day than the last time we went sledding. 
Probably because we finally found him some decent gloves! 
 
This video proves all too well that we had soooooooo much fun! 

Yep...this day off from school was totally worth spending it with my kids! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

First Baby Tooth...Gone!

For the past few days every time we would eat Noah would always say, mommy my teeth hurts, or my mouth hurts,  I can't eat anymore, or my tummy not feeling me well. I wondered why because he loves food and it was beginning to freak me out a bit because my girls never went through anything like this! Then it got me thinking...he does drink a lot of chocolate milk, and chews quite a bit of gum. He's like a prince with his chocolate milk meaning there are days when I will cater to him in the morning, and at night by giving him a cup of chocolate milk before bed. I try to ration it whenever I buy it, but when you have sisters it doesn't last very long. I have spoiled him with chocolate milk, and at this point I was thinking his teeth are hurting because he's developed a cavity, and has a toothache. 

Wrong diagnosis. 

When we woke up the next morning he came up to me and said, "mommy my tooth still hurts" and he was hanging on to one of his bottom teeth. That's when I noticed it was loose!! Oh my heart broke for just a second! I was in denial that my little boy was about to lose a tooth!! It never occurred to me that he'd have a loose tooth and that's what was bothering him every time he'd eat. His tooth was still in tact all throughout the day, and he did manage to eat some. 
Then the next morning he woke up, ran down the stairs, jumped on our bed, and showed off his tooth in his little hand! You'd think this rite of passage would have made him scared, but he was fearless, and a pretty good sport about it. I still couldn't believe it fell out that fast! There was no long term whining, pulling of the tooth by tying some thread to a doorknob, and no twisting it to get it to come out. It literally fell out overnight. After he showed it to us he seemed just as sad as I did. He was trying to put it back in his mouth. He kept saying (with a frown), "I can't put it back together mommy, i can't put it back in my mouth." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry because he's growing up!! I kept telling Jon "No, no, no I don't want my baby boy to grow up!!" And all Jon kept saying to me was, "It's  inevitable babe, he's going to grow older whether we want him to or not!"
^^^ This was taken the day before he lost his tooth, and had to include it on this post. Still can't believe how quickly it fell off! ^^^ 

But look how cute he looks without his tooth! It amazes me that the other tooth is already growing in!! You can't really see it, but it's there. I think telling him about the tooth fairy eased his mind especially when Chelsea told him about the money she gets. He got excited about it when she mentioned money! Not sure if that's a good thing, or a bad thing, but he is looking forward to "him" coming for a visit while he's asleep. He is calling his tooth fairy a "he"...not a "she."
^^^ Grateful that he has a beautiful smile and that he can hide the missing link! ^^^
I think he's accepted the fact that he's in the beginning stage of losing his teeth, and growing up...and so am I (tears!)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's Day In New York City.



This past weekend we braved the cold temperatures and went to New York to meet up with a dear friend of ours. When I got the text to let me know she was coming I squealed with delight. This friend was a former missionary who served for or our church in our area back in 2010. I will always remember the day she came into our ward, and because I love the missionaries so much I immediately greeted her. My youngest daughter Chelsea was almost six when she met her, and Noah was just a baby. I remember the huge smile on her face when she turned around and noticed a little girl tapping her arm wanting to say hello. 
That's when I knew that this was going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship not only between us, but between her and my daughter as well. They have a special bond, and I love it! 

And ever since we have been in touch! 

The day went by way too quickly, and even thought the temps dropped to the teens, we still managed to take a walk on the Brooklyn bridge, and catch up. Time certainly does pass when you're in good company, and the cold didn't even matter. Well...almost! It was so nice also catching up with her brother, and meeting some of her other family members. We all had a grand time chatting, and eating Thai food. 

Here are a few photos I took while on the bridge. Didn't take very many because you know...it was cold, and my fingers were freezing, and I wanted to give my full attention to Becky, but nonetheless here you go:
This was something that never caught my eye as we were walking. Becky pointed it out to her niece, and I was like, "How cool is that!" It's interesting to see a bunch of locks on a bridge as opposed to the love lock bridge in Paris (which I would love to see someday!) 

And the skyline never disappoints...
Grainy selfie of Lexie, and I on the bridge, and a few random photos I took of us and the kids while on our way to the bridge. This whole "celebrating Valentines Day with kids, and friends" was awesome! I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat. 
Even in cold temps, and especially in New York City!

Hope you're Valentine's Day was awesome, and that you have a Happy President's Day! 

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Heart Attack!

Making gifts for my kids and sending cards to friends, and family has always been a priority in my life. Especially when I know it will benefit them both spiritually, and emotionally. I am extremely grateful to all of you who participated in being a part of Sierra's heart attack. It was all worth the effort. The calling, sending texts, and messages via Facebook. The printing, and scurrying around to find photos of Sierra together with the friends that responded to my messages. Reminding them time, and time again to please send a message as quick as possible because I need to mail it soon was all worth it! Even with a toddler by my side! I even delayed mailing it for a couple of days, because there were about three awesome friends who have known her since middle school, and they wanted to make sure it was written perfectly. I also wanted to make sure she received a note from them. In my eyes the outcome was perfect, and I couldn't be more pleased. (See photo above :-)

She received it just in time for valentine's day and called to let me know she received it. Well, first she sent a text to let me know how speechless she was when she opened it up,  and then called me a few minutes after. She asked how long it took for me to do all that. I said about a week. Luckily I enjoy scrapbooking, calling, typing and writing otherwise I'm not sure if I would have had the heart (or the time) to do something like this. She felt really special and loved, and it felt sooooooo good to do that for her too. The fact that there were notes inside the box from friends she hasn't talked to in two years (or more) made her entire year!

Because Valentine's Day is my second favorite holiday next to Christmas I love sending out cards, and the kids enjoy making Valentine's cards for their friends. Sierra's heart attack took precedence over handmade valentines this year so I ended up buying some love note flat cards. 
How wonderful it is for someone to send a love note, or a message to let them know that they are being thought of. It truly is a great feeling to acknowledge someone in love...especially on Valentine's Day. 

I now end this post with this message I wrote four years ago, and have a Happy Valentine's Day weekend! (insert heart emojis here!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Baptism.

A few weeks ago my husband had the opportunity to baptize a youth at our church, and I'll tell you...when he was asked to perform this ordinance his was grinning ear-to-ear! The last time he baptized someone in the church was our 10 year old daughter. At the time she had just turned eight so it had been about two years. He loves it when he has the opportunity to baptize someone int the church whether it's an investigator or his own flesh and blood. It's times like these when he is reminded of his mission, and it never fails that every time I attend a baptism at my church I am always reminded of my own. The thoughts and feelings that come with nervousness were all too real, and somewhat familiar to me as I've witnessed some of the past baptisms we've had in the past. 

Let me tell you something. 

Those thoughts and feelings of nervousness are not feelings of "should I do this", or negativity  but come from happiness, and all that is good knowing that even though you are joining a church that is unfamiliar territory to you the end result of "belonging" is a blessing, and a feeling that only we can comprehend. The tears of joy, the tingling in our fingers, and that big smile we put on our face is not a facade, but real in all its glory. Because we have just given our life to the Savior, and have vowed to strive to live just like Him. Cleansing ourselves from any sins we have committed in hopes that we will never repeat the "big" (and even the small ones) again!

Though it may be tough for some of us to endure to the end it's so important to continue to remember the things, and promises of commitment we made at baptism. To remember to be strong, and live the gospel. To continue to attend all the meetings at church so that we can seize all the words that are coming out of every lesson taught to us during those three hours of church. To soak it all in so that it can strengthen us, and pray your heart out that we will never forget. Listening comes with strength, and unforgetfulness with out the listening comes with consequences. Consequences that can be avoided  if we put God first.

What an amazing experience and fresh start for anyone who comes unto Christ to change their life, and start anew.  The missionaries who serve throughout the world in finding those to seek what we're all about, and learning about Heavenly Father's plan have so much to share with all of us. I know this to be true because I felt it the moment two sisters came knocking on my door to deliver this video. That was it, and I was in. 

The ending to all the bitterness I harbored ended. Along with massive prayer, professional counseling, endless brutal writing in my journal, and being tested along my way to progressing in the gospel has helped me to become who I am today. It was the beginning of a beautiful life, and even though there are struggles in between it doesn't have to be the end. That's when I realized that we have a choice. A choice to look back at the promises we made to our Father in Heaven when we got baptized. My life will never be perfect, but knowing that I have made the choice to serve God with all my heart brings me a feeling of joy that only I can feel, and know for myself.

I pray this for anyone out there who wants a changer of heart.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Philly with Noah.

It's so cliche to say that time is fleeting with our children, but that sentiment is so true. Every winter seems to be flying by especially when my days are spent with Noah. Even on the gloomiest of days he makes winter so much fun. He amazes me in the conversations we've been having lately. He'll ask me questions about his sisters all going to school, and when it'll be his turn so he can finally use his backpack. He gets so excited when he sees both Lexie, and Chelsea doing homework. He'll immediately put pen to paper, and pretend that he's writing a story, or an essay. I explained to him that had to wait another nine months. He's like, "another nine months...why!" I continued to explain to him that he'll be almost six when he starts, and that he'll be the luckiest kid, and probably the smartest because he'll already know how to write his full name, and know his 1,2,3's and a,b,c's. I also mentioned that he'll be starting school in the fall when the weather is cooler, and that he can walk to the bus stop with Chelsea. That made him even more excited. Excited, but not patient! I then told him that we have four more months to do fun things together whether it's local, in the house, or in the city like taking the train in to venture out into places where his tummy, and brain will be fed. That's when he said, "So your taking advantage of me cause you want to go places with me right mommy?" I looked at him and thought to myself...did he really just say the word advantage, because there's so many times when I have talked out loud on the phone, or to Jon as to what I've done today, and my answers usually are, "Yeah...we went here, and we did this, we went to the park, and I took him out because I'm taking advantage of my days with him because before we know it summer will be here, and then he'll be in school, and mommy will be childless during the day!" I swear his mind is a total sponge! 


My goal for the next few months is to make my one on one time with this little dude fun in the most simplest way when it'll just be us (except when Jon has one day off during the week.) There were a couple of days last week when we ventured out to the city to go window shopping, and walk the streets of Chinatown. 
Noah grows tired pretty easily being that it has been super cold lately, but he's a good sport and will tough it out. I think all those times of taking him out to the park since birth has helped him accustom quite well to the cold. I mostly took a few photos of Noah, and food! Here he is in a candy store called Sweet Tooth where there is waayyyyy tooooooo much candy too choose from. His choices...swedish fish, and lego candy!
We had lunch at Reading Terminal Market where they have a variety of places to eat. It doesn't seem that long since we last ate here with the family but on this day we chose to eat some pork sandwiches at Tommy Dinic's...
It was a pretty delicious day with lots of walking. Although I don't mind the quietness in my community, sometimes the city is a perfect remedy for whenever I'm feeling confined in Jersey.
And lots of candy is another remedy for Noah...especially since Valentine's day is just around the corner!

Happy Monday!