Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In Memory of Selena: 20 Years Later.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of famous Tejano star Selena's death, and yet as I write this I'm sitting here in disbelief pretending that she is still alive, because in many ways she is.   

I remember so clearly laying in a hospital bed in Salt Lake City sick and pregnant with my first daughter. I had developed preeclampsia in the last trimester of my pregnancy, and had been forewarned that if I didn't get any bed rest I could go into early labor! I had been laying down bored out of my mind with a sonogram machine monitoring   my baby's heartbeat, and that's when Jon turned on the television, and there it was. Newsflash! "Selena Quintanilla, famous Tejano star gunned down, and shot!" I couldn't believe it, and I began to cry. Here I am laying in a hospital bed with swollen feet connected to a machine with needles in my veins, and all my focus was on Selena. Probably a good thing because it helped me to not worry too much about what was happening to me with the baby. I had only met Selena once in my life, and because I knew of all the good she did in her community, and how loyal she was to her fans I felt as if I knew her. I asked my husband, "Why am I crying so much? I mean...I know that I'm hormonal & very pregnant right now, but this is ridiculous!" That's when Jon told me that because we are the same age, and the same ethnicity, and listened to her music, as well as living an hour away from each other is why my heart was filled with so much love. The fact that she did so much in her community was impressive, and in spite of everything she faced with "life" finishing school by mail while touring, becoming a huge success, and having her own business she succeeded. I'm sure in the end she found balance, and marrying her sweetheart who was in her band seemed to have fulfilled her life even more. 
I wanted to write this post to remember. To remember all the fun times I had while attending her small concerts,  and "bailes" dancing to the beat of her music. That was so much fun, and in many ways I miss it. I miss the twirling around. The dips, and turns, and dancing all over the dance floor with old friends. Sure they have salsa here in Jersey, but it's not the same. I wish Jon knew how to Cumbia with me, and maybe someday I'll teach him! I want my girls to know who she was, and even though they weren't born while she was alive I want to keep her memory alive in my home by watching old videos of her on youtube, and listening to her music. 
I will always treasure the days we when we would drive 25 hours from Utah to Texas to visit my mom. One of the "must see, and do" things was to always visit her gravesite, and the memorials that were dedicated to her on Ocean Drive. Sierra was three when we took her for the first time, and even though she didn't know too much about her she seemed so melancholy when she stood by her statue for the first time. It was as if she knew she was someone special. That was the beginning of teaching my daughter to become more familiar with who Selena was, and what she was all about. 
Like I mentioned, every year we'd plan yearly trips to visit my mom until it was time for us to move to the east, and here is another picture of Sierra when she was almost four. She seemed so intrigued by Selena and her statue even more, and when I bought her the first edition of the Selena doll she immediately fell in love with her, and from then on she always wanted to take a picture next to her statue. Good thing I bought it then because they're high in price now!
When I heard about the boutique she had opened on Everhart I was giddy, and filled with excitement! Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to visit her shop while she was still alive, but when we finally visited I ended up buying a few accessories. One thing I'll always remember was the feeling I felt when I entered inside. It felt somewhat "off" for me. I think part of those "off" feelings was part of my perception in how I was taking this all in. As I look at this photo I feel as if I was in mourning, but really happy to be there visiting. Being that three years had gone by since her death was still shocking, and still hadn't processed it all in. I was also a bit overwhelmed, and couldn't believe that I was back in Corpus Christi finally visiting her shop, and seeing all the memorabilia inside. It felt so surreal to me.
 
It's been almost ten years since I visited Texas, and plan to visit again when time permits. Even though her boutiques have closed their doors for good there is a museum that was built in memory of her by her family in which one can view her belongings. Besides having my mom and sister living there, that's a good enough excuse to go back. It's still hard to believe that she is gone, but I will always keep her memory alive. Sometimes when I'm in a Tejano mood I'll put on some of her music, or watch the movie. My favorite album has always been Selena Live, and my all time favorite song is "Como la Flor". She certainly was, and will always be an icon, and an epic legend in Corpus Christi, Texas. A visionary with so much talent who died way too young, and yet made all her dreams come true! 

RIP  Selena. 

**All pictures taken by my awesome husband, and of course are oldies from the years 1997-1999! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Women's Conference: Being a Defender of My Family.

This will be the third year attending women's conference without my oldest daughter, but how lucky is she to be living in Salt Lake City where she was at the center of it all. Luckily I have two other daughters at home whom I have the privilege of attending with, and this past weekend we all watched it via satellite inside the chapel along with several sisters. The theme this year was on defending the family, and the sanctity of marriage. The family truly is of God, and He needs us to be covenant keeping daughters. Attending this event with my daughters builds up our testimony as well as our energy in faithfully keeping the covenants we made at baptism, and helps us to do better. You can watch the entire session here.

After introducing the session with a family ensemble singing, "A Family is of God", one of the questions that was asked was, "What does family mean to you?" And here is my answer...

My family is my world.  

No matter how much we may disagree, no matter the little spats in between all the good times, and the hardships we face from time to time that will cause us to annoy one another, no matter what "life" throws at us, no matter all the bickering that my two youngest children cause my family is my world. The fact that we have put the Savior in the center of our home helps us to overcome all the mishaps and trials that come our way. Knowing that we have each other to lean on in any given situation whether good or bad assures us that we have a safe haven to come home to. The gospel of Jesus Christ is key in keeping my family together, and the example that I set for my children in striving to be a "defender of the family" helps them know that having the gospel  in my life is seriously a part of my life, and that I'm not just going through the motions. Regardless of my imperfections (and I have a lot of them) I strive to live the life that I want my children to exhibit. The time we take to pray, and read the gospel as a family strengthens us a whole, and helps us to withstand any darkness that comes our way. We build each other up with positive love, and energy. There are so many excerpts in every single talk that I loved, but one of my favorites is when President Henry B. Eyring said, "joy always comes after sorrow." How true that is especially when one has endured any kind of trial! 

Carole M. Stephens said, "We each belong to and are needed in the family of God. Earthly families all look different, and while we do the best we can to create strong traditional families, membership in the family of God is not contingent upon any kind of status. Marital status, parental status, financial status, social status, or even the kind of status we post on social media. Their hopes for us is perfect, their plan for us is perfect, and their promises are sure." As a mother it is my hope that I will continue to build the love of Christ so strong that my daughters (including my son) will be strong defenders of their future families just as I am with mine....only better! And that the seeds of perfection that we have inside our soul will one day be perfected! 

When Bonnie L. Oscarson spoke about the The Family: A Proclamation to the world, and how much we need that declaration now than we did 20 years ago when it was first published, I was nodding my head because that is such a true statement. We definitely need to teach our daughters to aim for the ideal, and plan for contingencies.


"Live it , share it, defend it!"
~Cheryl A. Esplin

*****

On another note my oldest daughter Sierra had the opportunity to sing a solo with the institute choir this past Sunday in Salt Lake City. The institute director of the college personally called me letting me know that she did a fabulous job, and that he is lucky to have her as part of their choir. Music brings her all kinds of happy, and I'm so glad she is a part of this organization. She loves it, and I'm so proud of her. I wish I was there to have seen her perform, but how grateful I am for technology where I can see and hear her sing with just a click of a button. Technology certainly is a miracle. 
It truly was a beautiful weekend attending womens conference with my daughters, and knowing that Sierra is building up her spirituality, and is surrounded by goodness in Utah brings me assurance that she is on the right path to living a good life. Especially where good friends, music, and singing are involved! 

Happy Monday! 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Princeton University Art Museum.

Going on trips that can be educational helps me not feel so bad for not enrolling Noah in preschool (it's not my fault he was on a waiting list!) Nonetheless, I have enjoyed every minute raising this boy of mine and being able to take him to places during the day. Now that we have a car that runs well I have been literally going to town, and venturing out of my comfort zone. 

Yesterday I decided to drive to Princeton to check out the art museum on campus. Luckily it's free because it looks like I'm going to have to make another trip back and bring the girls. My entire family are history buffs, and this is definitely a world of art at your fingertips! They have a collection history that extends back to the 1750's, and the exhibits were amazing. There was so much to see, and photograph but only captured the exhibits that intrigued us the most. Noah was really intrigued by the Egyptian gallery, and all the artifacts and relics that came with it. He was mostly mesmerized by the mummy coffin!
He was such a good little sport walking around quietly and taking every piece of art in. When we went to the MOMA last spring all he wanted to do was look at a painting for like two seconds, and run around to the next. I notice as he gets older he's beginning to understand more and more about why we come to museums, and what it's about. Teaching him that this is history, and even though he's five the questions he asks such as, "What's this, and what is it for?" and "Is there a mummy inside?"  tells me that he's interested, and curious. I can see that it stimulates his mind, and his questions become endless. 

When we stopped to look at this Chinese painting (which is in the style of Van Gogh) I couldn't help, but to chuckle a bit as to how he was standing there studying it. Who knows what he was thinking as he was just standing there looking at it. He could also just be looking at it as I do when I look at paintings. He's obviously learning a lot from me as I myself will stand, stare, read and study what every painting entails.
I'm so glad that I'm able to have this opportunity to take him to places that that are both fun and educational. 
It totally felt like fall, and although it was drizzling we managed to walk around all over campus, and take a picture with the Princeton tiger. 
We were lucky and managed to sit it on a free concert they offer every Thursday inside the Princeton chapel. I personally love how Catholic churches are designed, and love that old smell. Very nostalgic! 
This is probably one of my favorite campuses to explore, and museums to go to so far. I honestly think universities have some of the best museums. 
What a better way to end the day eating Belgian waffles for lunch at PJ's Pancake house. I swear this kid can eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! 
In spite of the rain it was definitely a fun day! 

Happy weekend! 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Springy Beach Day!

Oh, how I love Spring! It's indeed my favorite season of the year because it gives me the chance to start anew all over again. To be more patient in the morning with the kids, and making sure I kiss them on the cheek before leaving school. To appreciate every waking moment with them because in two and half months another school year will end, which means another year older each of my kids will turn. I don't want to forget those BIG important  details such as the hugging, and giving pecks on their cheeks. Time is fleeting with my kids especially with Noah. It has been really nice not working outside the home for the past 15 years, but once Noah starts kindergarten I wonder how I will manage my time. Luckily our school district has half a day kindergarten which means he'll only be gone for a few hours, but still. I've gotten so used to raising kids, and have always been pregnant each time each hild turned five (it just happened that way), and while I'd send a child off to kindergarten I'd be nesting all day. I hate to admit this, and I'll probably jinx it by writing it, but I strongly feel that Noah is my last child. He's lucky being the only boy in the family because he gets lots of attention. He probably gets the most hugs out of all us family members! I remember how time quickly passed with Sierra who has been Utah for the past year, and can't help but to focus on the future instead of the now. I want to give equal time to each of my kids, and devote my time to each child individually, and to seriously soak it all in. Seriously.

With spring arriving I am going to take advantage of my days with Noah and venture out to unknown territories. I want to show him what life is all about, and to take him out of his comfort zone. I want to show him the world inside and outside of Jersey no matter how far I have to drive. I want him to know that there's more to life outside our little backyard, and borough in Jersey. I want him to thrive, and be enthusiastic about the world no matter how hard it gets, and how much it changes. I want him to be polite, and say hello to strangers even when they give him a weird look in return.. I want him to know that there is more to entertain your mind than staying at home playing with cars, trains, playing games on the computer, and watching transformer, and star wars movies. I want him to realize that some of the books we have read to him are true stories, and to take him to those places we've read about. 
But....

I also want him to be a kid, to stay little, and slowly grow up. Therefore the days I spend with him are going to be super priceless, and because I myself am getting up there in age I want to learn, and grow with him. Even if it's for seven hours during the day i want us both to be super adventurous, and courageous! Going to the beach yesterday may not be too courageous (because we always go during the summer), but it was something i have been craving since about the second snowstorm. He was so excited knowing that we were going, and as soon as we arrived he ran straight to the waves. We also dug for seashells, and ran around chasing each other. Since the weather is still a bit nippy there was hardly anyone on the beach which made it perfect for us to run around freely, and yell without annoying anyone.


My favorite beach moment was Noah asking me if he can take a picture of me, and I obliged. He looked so cute standing there telling me, "I took it, I took it already!" He captured this one of me on snapchat.
Not too shabby for a five year old. I totally documented our story on snapchat, and I have to say it was sweet. Here is a snippet of that story along with a few selfies...
We had ourselves such a grand time at the beach. Next to my husband he's the perfect little date! We absolutely love it here, and although we are enjoying this wet, nippy, spring weather we are looking forward to summer! 
The end.



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Terrain.

When I told my husband how I've been longing to go to the Terrain in Pennsylvania since like 2008 he's like, "Why didn't we come here sooner?" My sentiments exactly I told him! I can't believe it took us seven years to finally visit this gem!
The Terrain is a perfect garden spot to shop, eat, and get ideas for when we have a decent yard to plant our family garden with vegetables and all! So since Jon was off this past Monday we decided to take a drive and venture out to this hidden treasure! Everything in the store was dreamy, and being that Easter is a week away they had all kinds of Easter decorations, and  sundries that will make for a perfect rustic wedding, and your backyard a dream garden.


The cafe inside the terrain was amazing! The bread was so delicious that we had to fork out another 2 bucks to get another one. The first serving is free. They serve it in a small planter pot, and it was so good. Noah is a major carb boy, and every single dish we had didn't disappoint! 
What a beauty this gem was, and we will definitely be back to buy this ashwood cutting board, as well as visit the terrain in Westport

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My View On "Hey Natalie Jean."

I'm not one to write a review about any books because I'm no professional book critic, but after reading Hey Natalie Jean, and all that it entails I have to say that it was insightful, and witty, but most of all real. I have been reading Natalie's blog for over two years now, and the fact that this woman is ten years younger than me has helped me broaden my horizons while living on the east coast in terms of being adventurous with my kid(s) I love how she portrays her life living in New York City, and how she spends her days with her son. I may be 10 plus years older than her, but this woman has inspired me over, and over again on how keeping it real is the way life ought to be. She has taught this 40 plus year old how to apply false eyelashes (not that I'll ever wear them, but you never know!), and how to choose the right color lipstick. She has shown me how her life with her husband Brandon is, and how I too, after 20 years of marriage can still have fun with my hubs, and ideas on how to make your home a fun place to live. Her sense of fashion, and interior design is amazing, and love how she brushes all the negativity aside in spite of what life throws at her with motherhood, infertility, and all. The fact that we both have sons close in age gives me hope that even though I'm older I can make life fun for my little boy. She exhibits how living life in New York is fun, and regardless of the huge age gap we have I feel that we have a lot in common. I never grow weary of her musings, and how she writes about her life in the real world. 
Hey Natalie Jean is definitely a good read, and if you are one who is in the market for a book with all kinds of inspiration from fashion to motherhood, and to look at the sweetest, and funnest photos pick up a copy of her book. She'll have you at "Hey" and you will want to read it over, and over again!