Noah's Teddy Bear Pajama Party!

One thing that I found so important in this life in being a mom is the importance of reading to my child. Or in this case, going to a pajama teddy bear party at Noah's school for some games, treats, and story time! Every kindergartner in our school district has this opportunity to attend, and because it all deals with literary you better believe we're going to be there. 

I remember when I went with Chelsea to her pajama party five years ago. Noah was a year old, and I remember that day so vividly. I remember how exhausted I was that day (and that whole year), and how I didn't feel like going, and because Jon was working in sales at the time for AT&T he couldn't make it. I was forced to put on my makeup to cover those dark circles under my eyes (which I still have because they're heredity), and put a smile on my face to make my little girl happy. The things we do for our children right? Well, this time I had all the energy in the world to attend Noah's party, and was smiling the whole night because Noah was having so much fun with his buddies. Then again, I don't have a baby to tend to all day anymore (insert frown face here.) 

All week long Noah kept asking me when his pajama party was, and it's so funny how I was counting the days too. It really helps having this stendig calendar on my wall so I can put sticky notes on the days we have plans, and it makes it easier for the kids to see what's going on, and whenever they ask what's on the agenda for the day, or when event is takin place I'll just say, "look on the calendar." So nice to have that! 
Anyways, back to our pajama party. There were game stations where they had puzzles, and tic tac toe, and one where they made necklaces out of fruit loops, and gummy life savors. He was so proud of his little necklace, and by the time story time began they were gone and all that was left was the string. 
I really enjoyed this evening. I love how the teachers emphasize on how reading is super important, and I can tell how much they love their job as a kindergarten teacher. Their actions when they were reading a story proved all too well that this was fun for them too. I really enjoyed listening to the Very Cranky Bear story. I snapchatted bits and pieces of this evening, and if it's still on my snapchat you can view it at r_jorgensen.
Ms. Mullen, (she's the one behind the camera in the background) was one of the teachers who read, and it was pretty haunting to see her from a distance, and to hear her read as she reminded me of Ms. Welsh who was the one who started this whole Pajama teddy bear party years ago. Shen went all out and would decorated the gym with teddy bears, and lots of books! Three years ago she took her own life due to mental illness, and till this day we are reminded of her vibrant spirit. Noah will never know her now, but luckily Chelsea had the opportunity to hear her stories while she was still living. 
It was such a wonderful evening, and even though the party lasted for half an hour that half an hour was worth spending it with my kid, and getting those treats in the end was a "treat" too! It was such a grand evening, and to see Noah interested in reading even more makes me super happy, and that is one reason why I love attending any event that deals with literacy. 
Have a wonderful weekend folks, and keep on reading! 

Noah Lately.

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The other day on my way to driving Jon to work I lamented how quickly this year is flying by, and how Noah is growing up. Growing up as in getting taller! I noticed his height after he got out of the bath last night, and asked me if I can clean his ears, and help him comb his hair. He was standing next to me while sitting in front of the computer. We were both at the same level, and could see eye to eye! I remember when he started school last fall that I could still look down at him while sitting on the chair, but now our eyes meet, and mentioned to him how he could possibly be tall just like his papa! His response was, "I'm going to be tall like my papa?" I said, "at the rate you're going you probably will be!" He began jumping up and down! 

With school coming close to an end (I can't believe we have 33 days of school left!) I have to say that mornings are my favorite, and I am making them count with this little guy because next year he'll be in full time first grade! What?? I absolutely am loving this time with him, and even though there are times when he entertains himself, I love it when he calls out to me, and says, "I want my mama to lay down with me some more. Come here mommy." Or, "mommy come color with me." I also love it when he gets creative with his legos, and his favorite thing lately has been drawing and painting. 
I just love it when he sits at the kitchen table with his art supplies strewn around the table pursing his lips because he wants that spider centered perfectly on his drawing of spiderman. Another favorite thing he's been using a lot of lately is scissors! His love for scissors is ridiculous! After he used up all his pages in his sketch pad, he moved on to Chelsea's sketch pad, and after he took out more pages than she wanted him to went into our cabinet where we have our copy paper, grabbed a few sheets, and began drawing transformer figures, ninjas, and yes...even spidermen. 
He will color, and cut them out, and then lay them on the floor, and have them save the world on the little town he created on the rug. Quite the imagination huh? His shooting noises, and the way he says, "save me, save me" are even louder, and he's just the sweetest little boy using all of his cut out paper dolls to be superheroes in saving his made up little world. 

When I saw this cool looking coloring book that read, "Color with Mom" I knew I had to buy it, and so lately we've been coloring a page every morning. When we are done with our coloring page, he'll then want to pull out the paint, or simple play with his toys which will also allow me to clean up the kitchen after feeding him breakfast, and doing a load of laundry because seriously...that laundry never ends!! Even with one child not living here I still have endless laundry! So having him occupied for at least 30 minutes of the morning helps me to tidy up a bit. Still...I'd rather do all that stuff while he's in school instead of wasting my extra time with him. He's so not a handful, and such an easy going kid which is probably why I have loved being at home with him all these years!

I really enjoy these moments, and watching him enjoying himself by using his imagination with being creative with legos as well as developing a talent in art, and that makes me so happy. Our television is on it's last leg, and in all honesty don't care if we ever own a tv again. It's so nice not having too much entertainment in the house that deals with technology. I love that all my kids would rather read, draw, go outside, play piano, and do art as opposed to watching television. I just want to cherish all the moments with them while they're still young and in the house, especially while Noah is still little. 

...and maybe every once in a while pop in a dvd on the mac and watch spiderman! 

The Renwick Gallery.

I know I've mentioned this before but one of the perks of living close to D.C. (yes, two and a half hours is close to me) is going to the museums for free! If I lived here I know we'd be checking out every museum, and historical site, and this past weekend we had the opportunity to go to the smithsonian's Renwick Gallery. It was under renovation for two years, and I'll tell ya, seeing the WONDER exhibit was worth the wait, not to mention the line we had to wait in to get in. Especially to see the second floor. Luckily lines flowed pretty quickly, and thank goodness for good traveling, and patient kids that didn't mind waiting in line for awhile. I'm glad their tummies were full, and that everyone went potty before we arrived so that there were no "mommy I'm hungry, or I need to go to the bathroom" sayings. The kids did well, and it only took us about three hours to see the entire exhibit (that's including waiting in line.)

We walked in and were amazed at all the exhibits. There sure are some pretty talented artists out there. I have to say that my favorite was Gabriel Dawe's plexus A1!
I felt as if I was walking towards an indoor rainbow. I was talking to one of the workers, and he said that the artist used 16 different shades of thread, and that it was about 60 miles of long! If you stare at it long enough you can get dizzy! I was enthralled with this one, and really didn't want to leave the room! I captured a few shots in a few different angles, and every time I looked at it I was just imagining. Imagining the patience, and will to create such a beautiful, unique piece of art hooked from floor to ceiling. Absolutely amazing! 
Noah felt as if he was walking in a winter wonderland with this exhibit. It's an untitled exhibit by Tara Donovan, but I call it "the college life." Probably because she used a ton of index cards! Noah was really interested as to how everything was put together, and when I told him there's also tooth picks, and straw inside he was like "awesome!" He was so good at keeping his hands to himself too.
Now this exhibit you can touch! I swear when we walked I felt as if I was on the set of "where the wild things are" which is one of the kids favorite movies. They are huge nests created by Patrick Dougherty called Shindig, and I swear they could have played in them all day long!
We finally made it to the second floor where they had more amazing exhibits including this one done by Chakaia Booker. An exhibit made entirely of tires! By massing slashing, and reworking these poor leftovers that were left in a melted pool of rubber due to car fires she just put all of this together! Absolutely genius! 
Jon and his little photo bombers in the background!

...and a marbled floor which Noah was so tempted to pick at. Luckily there was a string to prevent people from crossing over. 
Can you guess what this one is? It is a huge tree branch made entirely out of cedar trees, and once the exhibit is over they are going to toss it in the woods to decompose! Pretty awesome!
 This was such a beautiful room to walk into. A room full of insects glued to the wall! Noah and Chelsea were in awe with all the insects, and when we asked Noah which one was his favorite he pointed at a cicada. 
There were all kind of insects inside these drawers too. Noah was so curious in every single one of them. He's still waiting for me to buy him that magnifying glass, and now wants to collect bugs!
This net was hooked on the ceiling, and displayed in the ballroom on the second floor. Another interesting sight. 
We really enjoyed our time at this museum, and if you are an avid art goer I highly recommend checking this exhibit out. Hurry because the second floor exhibits closes on May 8th, and the first floor exhibits, which had the rainbow,  index cards, and nest exhibits will be open until July 10th.

Hope your weekend was as just "wondrous" as ours! 

Chelsea's Last Stake Primary Activity.

I count my blessings for my current church callingbecause I get to work with this amazing girl. Not only do I strive to teach her true principles in the home, but at church it's a totally different story. I want her to make sure that she is willing to serve, and do kind things because she wants to, and not because I'm her "mom leader." I'm pleased to say that she really does her best in doing so, and that she is always excited to attend faith in god for girls activities, and to get involved in any way that she can to help herself, and others. She truly is an amazing girl with a lot of potential, and goals to achieve in her future. Especially when it comes to preparing for young women. 

Which she already is. 

Last week we had our yearly stake primary activity, and boy did we have a good turnout. It made me so happy to see a bunch of girls attend. I believe we had over 50! There were stations where they made crowns to put on their head throughout the whole activity. They wrote cards to someone who could use a kind word. It was a perfect theme, and I'm so happy to see that Chelsea sees herself as a "princess" but what I want most of all for her to know is that she is indeed, a beautiful daughter of God. 

She was given a bag of goodies with a mirror, and a manicure set. So simple, and sweet, and there was a quote on the bag which read...

"I have amazing potential
I can make good choices
I can do hard things
I am beautiful 
Inside and out. 
I am of great worth
He has a plan for me
I know who I am.
I am a Daughter of God. "

How true those words are for every young girl in the universe. Every girl is a daughter of God. I, am a daughter of God, and to finally come to the realization that it's true makes me feel that I can handle any hard thing that comes my way because I know. I know who I am, and where I stand with God, and it is my prayer that not only do my children know that, but that every girl in the world knows that. 

It was a bittersweet moment knowing that this would be Chelsea's last stake primary activity to attend, and I'm so grateful that we participated and that I in turn am getting to know the girls that I'm teaching a bit more. 

I can't believe my baby girl is growing up. She sure has a lot to learn, but I think she's a had a pretty good head start seeing that she has had two older sisters who have gone through this program, and it is my hope that she will take every thing that she was taught in faith in god for girls into young women. 

Because young women is going to be a whole other dimension!  

The Day Chelsea Got Braces.

Remember when I took this picture back in November? I never thought that any of my children would ever need braces, but there's a first time for everything, and even though I have good teeth, and feel as if they are in good shape, and never needed braces to have the smile that I have I never thought that my youngest daughter would be needing them. When Chelsea went in for a consultation for braces the look on her face was petrifying. She didn't know what to expect, and neither did I! Luckily we've had one person in our family whose experienced having braces, and Jon put her at ease letting her know all the pro's and cons of having them. She felt a little better, and seemed ready to have them on. 

Well, time passed, and so did Christmas. A new year came, her 11th birthday rushed us by, valentines day, and then finally Easter. I'm grateful that I waited a little longer for her to have them on so that she could enjoy the holidays where she can veg out on some sweets. This girl has a major sweet tooth, and if she has to does have some control. It looks like she's going to be doing a lot of that for the next two years now that she finally has them on! 
She was such a good sport, was so agreeable, and sat calmly with her hands overlapping together while the orthodontist put them on. I didn't realize how time consuming it would be to put those suckers on, but I'm so glad that we picked the right practice and doctor to do the job, and that they took their time in putting them on without hurting her. I was a little nervous about that, but then again I have a strong willed child, and she's a tough cookie. Sweet, but tough. 
When I saw how brave, and unafraid Chelsea was I too became more at ease, and after all the braces were glued on to her teeth she was so excited to pick colors for her rubber bands. Can you guess which colors she chose? The orthodontist looked at me, and said that I was a "good mom" for having her choose her own colors. It took me a while to learn how important it is for our kids to "govern themselves"  but with Chelsea being the third youngest daughter, I feel as if I've "got it down", and that it's important to have our children choose for themselves as to what they want in this life, and when it comes to rubber bands on braces I don't care what color you choose! Fluorescent pink if you will! LOL! 
I ended up leaving Chelsea for about 15 minutes to pick up Noah from school, and when I returned she was done, and was patiently waiting for me in the waiting room. Noah also wanted to take a picture of his "new sister" so I captured a quick pic of them two. We went back to where the doctors were to discuss all the do's and what not to do about braces, and although it sounds pretty easy, it might be a bit of a challenge for Chelsea especially since she loves apples, and carrots! Applesauce, and steamed carrots all the way now baby! And perhaps a lot of ice cream???
My love and appreciation for these ladies was automatic. One thing I noticed about this practice is that it's a personal atmosphere, and these two women are genuinely great with kids. I observed how well the staff was unified, and every time a patient walked in they were just so accommodating. 

Counting my blessings for my dentist of eight years to recommend these doctors because they definitely have the gentle touch at making a child comfortable, and cared for. 
Here's to 12 future orthodontist visits, and two years of wearing metal so that at the end of those years Chelsea's smile will be even more beautiful! 

Batsto Village.

When a friend of mine at church told me about a quaint place where you can go for long walks, and experience life in the 1800's I knew we had to go. Batsto Village is a historical site whose roots trace all the way back to 1766! My family and I are always amazed when we learn more about the history of certain areas in Jersey, and amazed at all the things that were done here. Sometimes I feel as if I was born in the wrong century, because little villages like this kind of make me want to live in that era. I first got a taste of this century when we went to Sturbridge Village in New England. I truly have developed a love for life in this era, and loved it when we went to Howell History farm as well as Palmyra in upstate NewYork where there is a lot of church history. I think that's why we frequent there every summer because the appreciation I have for that time is firm, and gratifying. 
It's hard to believe that this quaint little village was once thriving with shops. Lexie and I were talking about how life for us would be if we lived in this era. One thing for sure life would be simple, and there are times I wish we would live like the pioneers, and times when I wish I didn't. The feeling is all the same, and I just love learning, and exposing my kids to historical places like this so they can continue to appreciate how life was lived back then. 
Even though some of the shops in the villages were closed we managed to go inside one little shop, and so we quickly and quietly checked things out. Lexie is a sucker for antiques, and when she saw this huge teapot it made her smile. I snapped a quick pic after she quickly placed it down, and then Chelsea found this old looking toolbox. Thanks to her brother she can be a little tomboyish at times, and just liked the fact that it looked like a smaller version of grandpas. Most of the shops were locked so we couldn't go inside, but it was very interesting to see through the windows, and to just "imagine."
We walked all around the village, and took in the sounds of bees swarming around this tree which smelled so good! We took a little break underneath this tree, and just had to capture this moment. 
One of the kids favorite spots was the water Gristmill. I think the big wheel caught the kids attention, and the fact that it was used to grind wheat, corn, and other grains was so interesting to imagine. 
// and this water well that Lexie was having too much fun with. //
// Love this box garden. So perfect and quaint. Seriously need to do this in my little backyard! //
We then continued to walk near the lake where the sounds of rustling water were surrounding us. All Noah wanted to do was look for slugs, fish, play with rocks and sticks, and is now requesting me to buy him a magnifying glass, and fishing vest like his daddy's. I think that can be arranged. 
// Don't ask...Noah called this a wooden teepee. //

We continued to walk around, and as usual I'm trying to capture the beauty of it all through my iPhone camera! My family, the village, and this lake was such a serene moment for us. 
Jon was skipping stones with the kids, and I thought it was super cool when Jon made the stone skip in the water eight times. I've skipped stones before, but have never mastered even skipping a stone once! It was so nice to see the kids away from the world, technology, and to see them enjoying the outdoors. I love that Noah not once ever asked me if he could play on my phone, ever or complain about why we are here at this place where there is no playground. 
...and then they rested.
Noah really enjoyed walking running around the village, and to see him ask Jon to lift him up so he can see the inside of one of the shops where they used to repair wheels for carriages, and shoed horses made me extremely grateful. Grateful that by taking out our kids to historical sites, and get them interested about life in the 1800's has made them excited to go, and visit more places like this. His curiosity for "life", and of all the places we take him to grows deeper, and deeper as he gets older that once this place opens in May we are coming back so we can enter inside some of the shops to see people in action live as if it was 1766.
// Same for the girls...every shop, and mill we went to the girls were curious as to see what's inside. //
This day was too perfect for us, and as parents I'm so thankful for the opportunities to have places like this to go to in our neck of the woods so that we can continue to teach our kids all about how life was lived back in the good 'ol 1800's.