Friday, July 29, 2016

Visiting Maplewood & Maggie.

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and in all honesty I feel as if my heart moved away when my dearest and closest friend Maggie left, but then again I feel that way with half my friends that live all over the nation. Maggie and I both moved away within two weeks of each other, and we both feel that these moves were just what we needed. Now that I'm 50 minutes away from her instead of 15 minutes I feel as if I somewhat took our time for granted while living in south jersey because now that we live further away from each other we want to visit each other every weekend! It's a shame that we didn't see each other enough except at church, and we both know that we could have done more, but because family, jobs, and life can take up all our days leaving us with no time to make girl time can cause us to forget the little things that are important when it comes to friendshipping. Sure we spent our birthdays together at the temple, and certain holidays, but because we are like sisters seeing each other again after two months was as if I saw her yesterday. 

And those are the best friendships. 

A couple of days ago the kids and I got in our car and drove to Maplewood to visit Maggie, and boy was she a sight for sore eyes. I tell ya, absence really does make the heart grow fonder especially after everything we have both experienced living in south jersey. Change is good, and as long as we water the grass on our end, we both know that there are greener pastures ahead. 

We had so much fun visiting this part of north jersey, and we spent the whole day here. She's so lucky that she's just a 25 minute train ride into  New York City. Maplewood is a beautiful town, and it sort of reminded me of Mystic without the boats, and the water. There are a ton of cute shops, a library, and a park all within walking distance. 

This was the simplest day I ever spent, and we had sooooo much fun. I tell ya it's the simple things that make the day so meaningful. Window shopping, a walk in the park, and just taking in the july sun with my kids, and dear friend was the remedy I needed since moving to my new area! The kids had too much fun that Noah conked out on the way home around 6pm, and didn't wake up until the next morning! 

Here a few photos I shot around town. Not too many, but enough to make these memories last! 
 As we were walking I saw a store with my name on it, and I just had to take a picture of it! 
 The girls saw this mummy, and since they were standing still figured I'd capture them in the moment. They 
were obviously mimicking it. 
Cute kid with a carriage. 
 A lot of the walking called for some ice cream, and these kids were screaming for it! 
Getting our ice cream fix which we hardly eat! I swear I'm lactose intolerant now, because my tummy won't allow me to digest it properly, but a little bit won't hurt! 
that little tongue tho...
 I love bookstores, and this store called [words] is so quaint, and cozy. Maggie and the kids were going to town looking around, and I swear I could have left this store spending 100 dollars, but I didn't. I told Lexie to put any books she wanted on her wish list. Same with Chelsea.
And Noah. 
We could have stayed here all day reading books, relaxing just to get out of the heat. Noah loves it when I read to him, but really encourage him to read on his own. He'll be in first grade this year, and although I feel confident about his reading level,it's still good for him to read by himself, plus he's getting way too long to sit on my lap! I don't mind it though! 
We had such a wonderful time with "Aunt Maggie" and the kids look forward to seeing her again. Definitely taking advantage of seeing each other more now that we are both closer to the city. 

No excuses! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I Love Summer Even When It's Soooooo Hot!



I have never sweated so much in my entire life. Okay...except maybe when I lived in Texas, but I was younger then and could handle such humidity. Nowadays it seems to suck the life out of me, but luckily the kids keep me young at heart, and when you have your six year old telling you to get wet with him whether it's at a splash pad, the beach, or your own backyard you better believe I'm going to jump in, and have a little fun. Except lately I've been too hot, and so for the past few fun outings we've had the kids have pretty much been on their own! 
The days have been in the 90's, but man does it feel like it's 105 degrees! The past couple of days haven't been too humid, but it's still sooooooo hot! It also doesn't help that the house that we moved into (not bought) has no central air. We were totally spoiled in our old house, and past apartments that had central air. This is the first home we have ever been in that has no central air where we actually had to fork out some dough and buy window a/c units. That's fine by me, and as much as I adore this quaint, old 18th century home I'm still getting used to the fact that the upstairs is a lot bigger than the old house. I'm very simple when it comes to living, and I don't need so much space (getting used to a small kitchen again) because I don't believe in hoarding or hauling a lot of stuff (thanks to my momma). Although I like to have nice things for the home, I've long since realized that the bare necessities are all that we need in this life. In all honesty, I'd rather live in a modest home that doesn't require remodeling, and have my money spent on family vacations, road trips, and things that the kids need. 

I love that my time, and money are spent doing things that the kids love. I have discovered a few splash pads in our area that are free, and some that are 5 bucks to get in. Belmar beach is a nice beach and as long as the kids stay under the age of 17 they are free to get in, and I don't mind the 8 bucks that I spend to go. I feel so lucky to live in a place where places for the most part are pretty convenient. When you've lived in places where you had to drive, 16, 10, or even three hours to a beach you better believe that driving 45 minutes to the shore is nothing! The 45 minute drive to NYC compared to a flying across the country is a piece of cake. I think that's why we love that city so much because we always used to fly in the past. Now we can take the express train into grand central, or just drive. 

I love summer even when it's super hot. I think that if you have enough water when you go out, and a cool house (thank goodness for window units) to come home to the heat can somewhat be tolerable. I know that the heat waves are worse in other states, and I count my blessings for the  little things that keep us cool such as simple splash pads, and slurpees from 7-11! 
This photo was taken on the 11th of July, and you can see how sweaty Noah is. This kid sweats way too much. He's a jersey boy through and through and only knows what the july sun feels like in the northeast, and not in the south! 

Can't believe July is almost over, and that it'll be one month of living in our "old" new place. I'm not one to boast about my house, or take pictures on how I decorate my home, or whatever, and maybe someday I will. We only plan on staying in this house until Lexie graduates high school which is in two years! Yikes! We love this area, and who knows what Jon's job at UPS has in store for us in the next two years, but we always manage to make the best of our life wherever we live. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Scenes From Inside The N.K. Whitney Home.

One of my favorite "heavenly moments" was when we went to Kirtland, Ohio to visit a lot of the church sites, but most particularly entering inside the N.K. Whiney store. I know I'm a little late in sharing some photos of what it looks like from inside the N.K. Whiney store, but felt the need to share such a wonderful experience through pictures, and because there is so much significance behind the story of this great bishop couldn't help but to share a little bit of church history. 

This historic church site was one of my favorites, and when you see the pictures you'll see why. This store is amazing, and although 90 percent of the things inside the store is replicated they all seemed authentic. I've written a snippet underneath a few photos as to what it is, and did my best to remember what it's purpose was. The first few photos represent the goods that the store sold, and on the counter had a catalog of all the prices. Everything was from 5 cents to 30 dollars. Pretty amazing.  
  This is the bed where the prophet Joseph Smith and Emma slept on. They stayed with the Whitneys for a while, and look how cute is the bed underneath where they laid their twins on. 
This bed was an extra for any of the workers who needed a place to stay. Can you imagine sleeping in such an uncomfortable, narrow looking bed?
Herbs...
 This flooring is the original flooring inside the house, and those are my feet with black tennis shoes on. 
Can you believe that the Bishops storehouse started out in this house inside this small room? Absolutely amazing! Now we have storehouses that look like grocery stores all over the nation for those families who are in need. 
The story behind N.K. Whitney is so inspiring, and to be inside this place where the prophet once stood is very special. Especially since he felt the prompting to come here because Bishop Whitney had prayed for him to come through prayer. 

There is so much church history here in Kirtland, and when you come visit all the sites you'll leave with so much appreciation for all the men and women who each had a role in the life here. Such stalwart members of the church, and a great example to me! Really enjoyed our time here, and we look forward to returning again...especially since we didn't take pictures of the headstones of Jon's ancestors! 

A little late in wishing everyone a Happy Pioneer Day, but i hope that everyone out west, and all over the nation celebrated with joy in remembrance of what our pioneers went through for us to have the gospel today! 

To read more about the N.K. Whitney store you can read all about it here.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Girls Camp '16

Girls camp is over, and my girl is back. Although Lexie is exhausted she had a ton of fun. She always makes the best out of girls camp, and the friendships she builds with the girls grows stronger every year. 

Especially since it was her last year attending girls camp in the Cherry Hill Stake.  

This years theme was "There's No Place Like Home." 

When I asked her what exactly the theme entailed she tried to explain it the best way she can to me as to how the theme connected to the gospel, but she said the leaders did a great job, and she had an amazing week. 

One of her favorite parts was when they went on a hike, and how in the beginning of the hike each spot they passed represented a burden. Burdens such as sexual sin, eating disorders, family issues, betrayal, self esteem issues, porn issues, drugs. There were so many burdens, and as they passed each one more rocks were being put inside their backpack which caused it to be heavier. There even came a point where leaders had to somewhat help the girls carry it, and at the end the girls carried it themselves all the way to the finish line. Lexie said it was a very spiritual hike because of what it represented, and how there were so many tears being shed. The point of that whole experience is that it is indeed hard to carry all those burdens, and even though there are people there to help you along the way, the ultimate key in relieving those burdens is relying on The Lord at all times so He can ease off those pressures. 

Girls camp is an amazing program, and I will forever be grateful for having been a part of it last year. My time spent at girls camp last year was interesting, and I had a nice time. My favorite part was seeing the girls having a great time, smiling, being themselves, and building their testimony. 
// Selfie by Ashley. //

It sure helps when you have amazing leaders like Sister Jensen. Lexie rode up to camp with her, and her daughter Ashley. Love this family with all my heart! 

With all the negativity, and horrible things that are going on in the world today it's so important to remind our girls the goodness there is in this world. Just as Dorothy had a happy ending in the wizard of oz, and meeting friends along the way like the lion, tin man, and scarecrow, that we can all learn and grow, and choose the right path in this life. 
 // The girls had a color run, and they all had a blast. //  

So grateful for girls camp, and we're excited to see what our new ward brings to the plate next year when Lexie attends a whole new camp with a whole new different group of friends! 

I also love this video that the church put out when it comes to the values of the young women. Such a sweet video! 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Noah-isms.

Two words for this kid, "Stop Growing!" 

No seriously. 

As much as i love his independence, and getting older looking more, and more like he's 12 I can't help, but to want to slow time down because the next thing you know he'll be towering over me. I love his catch phrases, and all the silly things he says and here are a few that Lexie, and I have remembered him saying. 

Noah checked out a book the other day on sharks, and as he was reading it asked that since we go fishing, if "we can go sharking."

I have to say that Noah is the most affectionate boy! I'm not sure if I should be worried because, you know...girls, but then again he is half-mexican so my affectionate attributes will rub off on him. He's been expressing a lot of love lately by giving hugs, and giving a peck on my hand, and whenever I say "i love you more" to him, he'll say, "I love you better."

After watching spider-man for the fiftieth time Noah will grab the strings from the blinds in our living room, and say, "look Lexie, I'm swinging on my webs." 

Jon is so talented that not only can he do the mechanical labor on our own car, but he can cut his own hair too (what's left of it!) So Noah decided to sit in and watch him trim it. In the middle of trimming it he said, "daddy, your taking off the brown, and putting on the grey."

For those of you who have seen the movie The Age of Adeline there is a part in the movie (and I hope I don't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it) where her dog dies. Noah said, "she could always get some feathers, and put another dog together since they are full of fir." 

The other day Noah asked me a random question. He asked if he was ever covered in blood. I told him no. He then said, "yes i have." I said to him, "really, when? He said, "when I was born." Apparently he was looking through his scrapbook with his sisters, and saw a picture of him when he first came out of my belly...literally (i had a c-section with him). 

There's more where all that came from, but I'm not going to wrack my brain to remember the funniest thing he said just last night! Why can't I remember!! Oh well, it'll come. 

I hope these noahisms puts a smile to your Friday! 

Happy weekend folks! 


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mercer Park & My Way of Adjusting To a New Place.

The other day I received a text from a friend that read, "sometimes you gotta move to a bigger pot so your roots can stretch out and nestle in deeper where it's going to become stronger." 

Thanks friend for that because I'll tell ya...it's already stretching. 

Although we've moved many times before I have to admit that this particular move has somewhat been a bit different, and it's probably because we were getting too comfortable in the place we were in. Even though I was excited for this move, I had a mixture of nervousness, and fearlessness. Nerves because we never know what to except, and fearlessness because I am an extrovert, and love meeting new people. There were a few bad habits that I chose to rub off on me while living there, and in the beginning of this year I decided to throw them to the curb. I won't go into detail as to what bad habits they were, but I'll tell you this...in those eight years of living in south jersey, and going to church I learned what to do, and what not to do

And I've learned sooooo dang much! 

With moving comes adjustment, and I find that in order for me to adjust to my new surroundings is to venture outside. To not be afraid of what's out there. To not be afraid of letting people know who you are especially when it comes to the church I belong to. There's no use in wallowing in pity because I'm further away from all the good people I met at church and in my community, or because my kitchen is much smaller, or because I no longer have a bike trail or library that I can easily walk to (man were we spoiled), but I know this....because of the love I easily build towards people, and to know that I have a church no matter where we move I can make new friends, I can appreciate having a bigger dining room, two full baths, and be more grateful for a smaller kitchen (miss that counter space though, but it's okay) and knowing that I can walk to the post office is a blessing because I love to write letters. And the fact that I don't mind driving, because boy have I done quite a bit of that so far! And when you like driving, you love traveling to unknown territories. 

Where I live now is pretty rural, and although I miss having everything so close, I have  realized even more that simplicity is best. 
So as I was driving around my area we discovered this park. Not just any park, but a big one. Not as big as Central Park, but for my area it's pretty huge. It is amazing and probably one of the best ones I've ever seen so far in Jersey. There is so much to do here. There are various sections of the park where one can play tennis, volleyball, frisbee golf, soccer, and they even have a huge skating rink. There is also a huge pavilion with a good size lawn where you can watch shows, and concerts. 
There's also an awesome boathouse where you can launch your own boat from, and rent paddle boats, and kayaks. We've been to this playground twice, but never really explored all around the park, or ventured further into the woods near the lake. 

We also saw people fishing, sunbathing reading a book, couples snuggling (miss you during the day Jon!), families having picnics, and people just chilling all over the place. It was pretty cool. 
We then went on the other side of the boathouse where there's a gazebo with benches along the water where people can just sit and take in the sounds of the water crashing into the rocks while watching the sun go down, and boats passing by.
Absolutely breathtaking. I am calling this my mini central park!
With Lexie and Sierra being gone all the time my crew of kids is getting smaller. It's bittersweet because I get to hang around more with these two goofs, and they sure are a joy, and interesting to hang around with! 
After walking around, and having the kids play in the playground we decided to be adventurous and walk along the trail into the woods. The next thing you know we found ourselves near the lake, getting our feet wet (too bad no swimming is allowed), and skipping rocks. After watching superman Noah was in search for a meteorite, and he actually found one similar to it! Cracked me up! 
And when did this girl get so tall?? Stop!! 
and this boy...what a cutie. 

 I'm telling ya! Too much fun in one afternoon! 
And what a beautiful day it was! 
I always want to be able to have the energy and stamina to drive whether they're long or short distances, and to continue to explore my surroundings no matter where I live. This is how I've learned to adjust whenever we've moved, and I'm so grateful for a tolerant family that deals with having a crazy momma, and for the helping hand of a loving Father in Heaven who lends me His guiding hand, and gives me the strength to make the adjustment when it comes to moving so much easier.
Because it will never happen overnight! 

Happy Wednesday folks, and here's to adjusting and to bloom even more now that I've been planted here, and to grow in hopes that my new area will help me build an even deeper, and stronger appreciation for life, the gospel, different cultures, and all that comes my way!