Our Spring Break So Far...

Spring really motivates us to explore the outdoors more, and since we're big on travel, and finding places to go to that are worth the drive we decided to venture out to Central Jersey, and found this wonderful hidden gem of a town called Cranbury. It's not too far from the main highway where you'll find your shopping plazas with a trader joes, marshalls, and whole foods, and it's only about 20 minutes away from the shopping malls. 

I can't even begin to tell you how friendly, quaint, patient, did I mention friendly, this town is. The town was established in 1872. Very old, nostalgic, quaint little village, and we love it. We loved it so much that we came back again three days later! I have to brag about some of the shops, and places to eat here because the owners were so friendly, and welcoming to out of towners. And the food at some of these places is absolutely delicious!! They even let me take pictures of their porches, and inside their restaurants without any complaint! 
// The fact that this door was yellow, and had an owl on the wreath made Noah more interested in taking a  photo in front of a door. //
// Another favorite. All of the homes in this village have the same historic look, and blend in very well with each other. //
If you want some good ol' home cooking food come to Teddy's. Everything here is homemade, and cooked to taste!! I am very picky with food, and I don't mean to boast, but as long as I have taste buds I know what good food tastes like! Especially since I'm from Texas, and having lived in various states eating at various restaurants has really helped me distinguish what's good food, and what's bland food. The nachos here are done right, and without the cheese whiz!! I'm sorry, but when I first moved to Jersey and saw that every place puts cheese whiz on their fries, and nachos I'm like...nope, sorry. That should be illegal, and is not the way to do it! Thank you, but I'll pass! 

These nachos were super tasty, and you can tell by the smile on Lexie's face that she couldn't wait to devour them the second time around! 
// chicken cilantro soup was the soup of the day, and it was delicious! // 
// I love this shot I took of Chelsea. It kind of reminds me of one of the black and white photos in the opening theme song of Felicity. // 
// and here's my goofy kid doing his super hero pose before eating his cookies and cream ice cream topped with whipped cream which is very rare for him to eat!/He doesn't have too much of a sweet tooth, and has to be in the mood to crave ice cream! // 
Everything here is within walking distance. After eating lunch we walked around the village where they have a cool consignment shop, and found a short cut to a nearby park where they have tennis courts where the kids decided to play for a bit. (you know their true tennis players when they each have a spare racket in the car.) They didn't mind that spring was a bit nippy, because once they were on that court they took their jackets off, and played like it was the US open.  //
 // this boy has good posture. Those piano lessons are really helping him with his form. Love it! //
// I had to add another black and white photo in here! And he has a pretty good back hand too! //

Some of these photos were taken the first time we explored this place with Jon. We all had such a fun time together as a family, and told Jon that I would definitely be back with the kids, and what do you know...we did come back! 

I almost forgot to mention this yummy pizza place where we grabbed a couple of slices of pizza for Jon on our way home, and this is good pizza y'all! Seriously...really good! They even gave the kids a lollipop! 
As the years pass me by I feel that Spring, and Summer are my two favorite seasons, but Autumn will always top winter. When I see trees blooming, and the sun shining it brings so much peace within me. I'm so grateful for the renewal that spring brings not only to earth, but to my soul as well.

Seeing this just gets me more excited for summer!

A Few Photos From Our Easter Weekend!

Sometimes I surprise myself at all the things i pack into my days especially when it comes to holidays, and celebrations. The Easter season has made it to the top of the list as one of my favorite holidays, and because we tend for it to be more focused on Christ I don't go overboard with giving too much to the kids except my time, and a simple little Easter egg hunt.

And taking lots of pictures too!

And this little video I made from all my snapchats!  

This past Saturday we had ourselves a little Easter egg hunt right before women's conference, and I have to say it was a success! One thing I give myself a ton of pats on the back is for the fact that I'm pretty good at being organized, and to not rush something that is special for the kids. We drove to a nearby park, and I kept an eye on the kiddos while Jon and Lexie hid the eggs. We had 29 eggs and 11 of them had pieces of paper inside with the story of Christ. 

Here are a few photos of our little easter egg hunt...
// she found one! //
// so did he!  //
Having those extra 11 eggs with the pieces of paper of the Story of Christ inside is tradition and every year as the kids get older they become more interested and understanding in appreciating the Saviors sacrifice, and knowing more about who He is and why we are here. Noah had so many questions when we were done after putting all the pieces of paper in order to read the story of Christ. Jon was explaining to Noah how He healed the sick, and fed the poor, and that He had a perfect body after he was resurrected. Noah's response was, "I like Jesus." And asked questions such as, "Am I clean? I'm going to have a perfect body too!" I couldn't help, but to laugh at his little Noahisms, but you think about how children have such a vivid imagination, and a mind of their own. It's interesting to hear their own interpretation of why they are here, and the silly questions they may ask, but it's only because they are curious, and want to learn more. I love that Noah has such a big imagination, and that his mind has room for so many unanswered questions. He loves the fact that every video he's seen of Jesus is filled with light, and little kids, and how "clean" Jesus looks in every picture we show him. I love teaching our children about the Savior and the true meaning as to why we celebrate Easter.
 // assembling all the pieces of paper of the story of Christ in order. //
// along with his favorite candy...jellybeans! //
//Easter egg hunt accomplished! //

I also have to add in that I'm relieved that my kids never really believed in the Easter bunny. My two oldest realized that when they were about four years old. I'd take them to get their photos taken with the Easter bunny at the mall and when Sierra saw that there was a person inside the costume she knew it was fake, and that was fine with me! Saved me about 25 bucks every year for the next 17 years in taking pictures with a person wearing a bunny suit. 

I have to say that our Easter holiday is more beautiful and meaningful when we don't involve all the worldly stuff. Sure we have an egg hunt, confetti eggs, and candy in the making, but making it Christ centered brings more peace, less bickering when it comes to who got the most eggs, light, love, and smiles that last all spring long. 

Spending our Easter Sunday with dear friends was the icing on the cake. Since we don't have immediate family close by, having my dear friend Maggie whom I've known for almost 25 years, and her son over for dinner was very much needed! It sure was long overdue!!
Noah had so much fun having Nate over. "It's like having a big brother" said Noah, and the kids all had fun playing games. Just like they did when they were all younger! 
These two have been friends since birth. They are only six months apart. Can't believe how grown everyone looks int these photos, and of course there's Noah photo bombing the picture with his light saber. 
Kids also enjoyed making confetti eggs. This is also tradition, and no matter how tired I may get in remembering to save the egg shells six months before it's so worth it, and the outcome is fun as heck! We tricked Maggie and Nate about not making any this year, and were sneaky when we cracked them on their heads! It was so fun. Didn't capture any moments of that, but snapped a bunch of moments of it on my snapchat. If it's still there you can view it @ r_jorgensen
 // Noah's task was putting the confetti inside the egg shells. He broke one on accident while trying to decorate it, and would rather deal with the confetti. //
// Jon and Lexie were the ones who prepared Easter dinner, and I'm just so lucky to have these two who are always willing to help out, and contribute. Especially when it comes to cooking! /Then again...Jon always does the cooking! //
// and this sour cream chocolate chip cake that Maggie made! Mouth watering! //
// I apologize for the blurry photo of my dark eyed little boy, but had to share. The smile on his face with a look that says, "feeling accomplished" was so sweet to see. He could have had easter egg hunts all year long! //

I'm so grateful for the Savior, and for teaching my kids all about Him, and for them to know that there's so much more to learning, and appreciating the Lord's gospel than all the candy they get that's filled inside their easter eggs. 
And for a husband who is such a great role model for my boy, and girls in teaching them all about the Savior. 

Hope y'all had an amazing Easter weekend! 

Be Still, Listen, & Never Take Anything For Granted.

I find myself to be more in tune with the spirit of the Lord, and spiritually focused when I'm by myself in the house, or when the kids are asleep. It has been a very long time since I've actually had a couple of hours to myself, & I'm beginning to really appreciate that time when I'm alone. No work to be done in the house, no job to have to rush to. No tv on for background noise, nothing. Just pure silence. I've never felt extremely needy for the Lord until now. it's amazing to me that I don't even have a desire to turn the TV on or log onto the computer to scroll through social media after the kids are gone. My priorities are seriously changing more now than ever before. Maybe it's my age, and the fact that all of my kids are getting older, and that they are, even at a young age, are beginning to find what the meaning of life is. Yeah...that's it. I know that when times get tough I tend to turn towards god more. It shouldn't be that way, but I have been praying a lot lately. Praying that i will continue to study the Scriptures every day and not just read them through quickly, but to sit down, think, and I mean really think, wonder, imagine, hope, and pray that even though the days can sometimes be bleak, that the sun will eventually shine after a long storm, and that there are better days ahead. That when one of my kids are having hard times that they will know to always turn to the Lord in prayer for answers, and healing. That my faith will never falter knowing that the decisions my children make especially when it comes to a spiritual one is correct, true, and inspired by God. I know that I have taken the Gospel for granted at times and even though I read with my family in the evenings on a daily basis, and pray with my family, my guilt of not reading the scriptures on my own as much as I'd like has been getting to me, and I don't want to do that anymore. I love my family. I love my heavenly father, and I'm so thankful for all the things that He has put me through in this life to learn so that I can grow spiritually. So that I can appreciate what's around me more, and not even care about the drama that goes on in my surroundings, or social media or how many likes i get on my pictures or the comments that are going to be left on my posts. What matters to me is the time that I have with my family, my friends, and to appreciate the life that I have been given. To pay more attention to the tiniest things that at times I've felt may be unnecessary to pay attention to. 

Prime example...

Noah showed me a picture the other day. He drew a picture of a heart with two stick figures inside, and one was colored red and the other blue. Blue because that's Noah's favorite color, and red because that's Jons. He then asked me to write, "to daddy, this is a heart for you. love noah" and you know what, I stopped what I was doing. I was in the middle of blogging , and immediately got off the computer. I paid attention to him & asked him about the picture and told him how beautiful it was. that his heart was perfect, and that he is perfect, and that his daddy is an awesome daddy, and for that moment I didn't even care about the computer, or anything else. That time was all about him. I have about 4 hours to spare with him in the morning before he goes to school and the moments that i don't pay attention to him will never return. I will never get back those moments. 

Another example...

One morning I came out of my room and saw Noah in the kitchen. I stood behind the small bookshelf near the staircase for a minute without him noticing that I was watching him. I saw him take the milk out of the fridge, grabbing the cereal from the cupboard and attempting to pour it on his own even when the gallon was full. I have seen him attempt that effort at least twice now. That should be a proud mama moment for me because that's telling me that he's independent, but at the same time it was a bit bitter. I know now that he does that on his own, because he probably didn't want to bother me. The fact that he didn't ask, "mommy I'm hungry, can I have some cereal?" made me realize that maybe he feels I'm too busy to help him. Yes, it's great that he's becoming independent, but at the same time probably didn't want to bother me because "mommy's on the computer again." I'm not on the computer for all hours of the day, but to be honest even when I'm on it for even five minutes to google something tells him that I'm too busy, and I don't want him growing up thinking that his mommy was too busy to spend time with him before school.  

Motherhood is the greatest blessing of all, and I don't want to take that for granted either. I don't want to take any of my children for granted no matter how old they get. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is the key to my happiness. That is what keeps me holding on. My family is the glue that holds me together, and The Lord is the bright light that covers any pocket of darkness. 

When I read the scriptures on my own in a still, quiet place those are the times when I truly feel His presence, and my time is all focused on Him. And what a feeling, and a blessing it is to actually hear His answer! Having my daughter Sierra learning all that she was taught in the MTC can really change your perspective towards many things in life, and I can see that it has for her, and when I don't skip a day of reading the scriptures, and praying my day runs a lot smoother. That works for me, and I see the proof of joy when I do it. 

Because in the end, all that's going to matter to the Lord is what I've done in this life that deals with family, & what I did for others. Nothings gonna matter more to him than that. Sure The Lord may be pleased with how much knowledge one has with the scriptures, but to me what matters is what I did with that knowledge. Not how many scriptures I memorized, but if I'm actually living the gospel, and following those scriptures in a Christlike manner. I'd like to think that I am, and trying my very best to live accordingly. 

I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to listen in on the general women's session which will be held tomorrow evening. The inspiration I receive from our women leaders is so inspiring, and I always leave with my heart cemented to the words that were given, and sometimes it's what I needed to hear. I'm extremely grateful for the gospel, and for my family that I'm so bonded to and love so much because they are the only ones that I'm gonna take home with me when this life comes to an end.

Have a lovely Easter weekend everyone! 

Why Father & Daughter Dates Are Important.

I will always remember the days of working at Bank One back in Utah when Sierra was two years old. Jon had one day off a week, and on that day instead of dropping her off at a day care center to do his own thing he would spend the entire day with her, and do whatever her little heart desired. Their "date day" consisted  of eating cheese donuts at Banbury Cross, the playground, and the planetarium. And that was the beginning of what was to come next. 

Father/daughter dates. 

When Sierra first entered the faith in God program back in Utah her leader of the program held a daddy/daughter dinner, and when she came home her eyes sparkled, and lit up like a christmas tree. As soon as they walked in the door they were laughing and giggling talking about what had just happened and all the games they played. When I saw them communicating with happiness something sparked in my brain, and that's when I realized that he had to do this more often. 

Ever since that daddy/daughter dinner occurred I knew that Jon had to do that with Lexie as well. No matter how old she was. I didn't care that she was three at the time, even if he took her out to the playground, or for a walk to feed the duckies at Sugarhouse park was a good enough daddy/daughter date to me. 

I was not raised by my biological father, but by a single mom for the first nine years of my life until my stepfather entered the picture, but even he was not the greatest example. Thing is I didn't let my childhood trials affect me. I changed that the minute I saw the adoration in Jon's eyes when he took care of Sierra on the days I had to work on his day off. I believe there are reasons why I had three daughters first, and that is for their dad to take them out, and show them how a young lady should be treated. To show them that they are their only focus of that evening. To make them feel loved, and important. But most of all, to show them that they are to be respected, and treated like a princess. 

For the past 15 years he's been taking all of our girls out on dates, and even though it's not every month, he tries to take them out as much as he can. In all honesty, I'd rather have him take them more on dates than me! One significant date he takes them on as soon as they turn 12 is taking them to the temple to do baptisms. I have loved that idea ever since. And no, it doesn't just stop there. On the days we go to the temple, I'll sacrifice my time inside the temple to hang out with my son, while Jon and Lexie do some baptisms. He did that with Sierra often until she moved away for college. Even at 20 years old when Sierra comes home to visit, he has always managed to take her on a date too. And he will take advantage of that opportunity whenever she comes home until the day she's hitched! 
Father and daughter dates are the most important thing in a young girl's life. It will definitely benefit them in their future when it comes to making decisions on who they date, in seeing how a guy should treat them, and for when it finally comes to someone popping that big question to them, "will you marry me?" Marriage....Yikes!!   

I'm so grateful for those simple days that Jon took Sierra out in her toddler years, but most especially for that spark that punctured my brain when laughter and happiness entered the door the day Sierra, and Jon came home from their first official daddy/daughter date. 

My hope is that my girls will never forget the times their pa took them out on dates, and how well he treated them. Because when they grow up, and see how well their father treated them, they will want to date someone with their father's attributes, who respects them, and marry someone just like him. 

I hope. I hope. 

***Other dates we've had with our kids that I've documented can be read here, here, here, here, and here.

Scottish, Not Irish...A Be-Lated St. Patrick's Day Post.

I'm not one to celebrate big on St. Patrick's Day for the mere fact that we are not Irish. I thought that my husband had some Irish in him but after looking at his long line of ancestry they all descend from Scotland,  Denmark, and Hungary. Which makes him Scottish, and Hungarian. I thought that was pretty cool, and even more cool finding out that my ancestors come from Madrid Spain, but that's a whole other blog post. 

Regardless of having no Irish decent in us, I do have a soft spot for St. Paddy's day, and did make it a fun, simple day for the kids. Thanks to Pinterest I got the idea from this blog of  buying some Lucky Charms cereal, and printing out a little printable tag letting my children know that this cereal is magically delicious! 
It was really fun for the kids, and they were so pleased with the minimal decorations that we had including this cute little leprechaun that I've had for like 15 years since Lexie was a baby. I told them a little bit about what St. Patrick's is all about, and why we wear green, and why the clovers, and why leprechauns are not real. When I put our little green man up, Noah asked if he could touch him, and I told him that he could, and that he's not like Miles (our elf on the shelf), and mentioned that our leprechaun is good, and that he's in our house to bring us good luck That's all! 
Regardless of what teachers say to our kids in school about leprechauns making messes in the home I certainly wasn't going to start any tradition where our leprechaun moves about in our house. No thank you. I only do that once a year with our little Elf Miles.  However, I was satisfied with Noah finishing his project making this leprechaun at home. I'm grateful that my kids "got it", and that they enjoyed this simple holiday of eating lucky charms, and having simple fun by being all goofy. I had fun capturing these candid photos of them eating their cereal, and then tossing gold coins on them pretending it was real money. 
As you can see Lexie isn't in any of these photos. She was at school while all this was happening, and failed to be in the picture due to going to school early forgetting that her breakfast was on the counter ready for her to eat! Then again she's not one to eat early in the morning, and as usual stayed after school for her extra curricular activities! Luckily there's more holidays like Easter for her to be in more pictures with us! 
Since St. Patrick's Day, and Easter are back to back holidays, I focus more on the Easter holiday. It's so hard to put up two sets of decorations especially when they fall in the same month. One thing for sure is that as soon as st. Paddy's day was over I put more of my Easter decorations up. And no, it's not a lot of bunnies, plastic eggs, but more Christ centered. I always look forward to the Easter holiday in hopes that my children will remember the true meaning of Easter. 

Hope y'all had a nice St. paddy's day, and a wonderful week as well!