A Trunk Or Treat in Princeton.

This years trunk or treat in our new area, and church was a huge success! I couldn't believe how many kids, and people attended! Almost every car, and van was decorated, and it made me so happy, and grateful to be in a place where there were so many people, especially the youth having a ton of fun, laughing and having a grand time! It goes to show that we are never too old to dress up as there were a lot of older youth, and adults all decked out in elaborate costumes!

Bike Riding in Autumn.

Autumn feels like the perfect time to learn how to ride a bike without breaking into a massive sweat and so yesterday we took advantage of the autumn weather, and decided to go to the park to take Noah on a test drive in riding his bike.

Temple Day With Some of My Favorite People!

Several missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gathered today at the Philadelphia temple to bid farewell to a few missionaries who are departing home. I met up with one of my many dear friends from my old ward to attend the temple together along with other sister missionaries including Sister Jensen who will be going home next week! 

Leaf Peeping in the Catskill Mountains.

There is nothing more beautiful in the fall than going for a drive down the Hudson Valley with our family. The two and half hour drive to the Catskill mountains to take a train ride put a smile on our little boy's face. He was sick for almost four days, and the look on his face when he saw a red train was priceless. He had no idea what were going to do. All he knew was that we were all going to go for a drive to go leaf peeping by car, not by train. 

A Reflection Of Heaven.

Throughout my years of being a member of the LDS church, and turning over a new leaf in learning about Christ's life, and growing spiritually is that I think we often err when we plead to the Lord to take any kind of temptation, and trial away from us. But one thing I've seriously learned about living this life is that there must be opposition in all things.

Throwback of Sierra Playing Piano From Christmas '15.

When I'm feeling down, or can't sleep I tend to listen to good music. I'm so glad that I have kids who are talented not only with playing the piano, and various instruments, but to make music as well. My oldest daughter Sierra and her girlfriend created their own rendition of Capitol Cities "Safe and Sound" (which you can listen to on, and I can't even begin to tell you how that song was created at the time when I needed some solace.

Love My Team of Readers!

One of our favorite things to do when we move to a new area, and to relieve us from any type of boredom which seems to be rare these days because of school being in session along with piano lessons, and other extracurricular activities is going on the prowl to hunt for bookstores. This is one thing that we all absolutely love to do!

Witches Night Out at Gardner Village - Circa, 2005

Even though I've scrap booked my kids lives in their memory books since the day they were born there was no depiction or stories written behind the photos. And since I enjoy writing I've decided to do a few throwback posts on some of my fondest memories before we moved to Jersey, and before we became a family of six. They won't be in order, but i hope that you won't get bored with my short stories or snippets of my family behind these posts. This is being written for my posterity, and will be printed and added on to the tangible photos in their scrapbooks. I also hope that at the same time it'll make you smile, and have you leaving saying, "no wonder", "so that's what happened to her",  "cute kids", and "so glad she was safe all these years!" So enjoy! Note that all photos in this post were taken by wonderful husband with a Nikon N4004 back when people used to develop film in a dark room, and way before smartphones! 
There are days when I miss Halloweens in Utah. Back when the girls were little we always dressed up as witches to attend an event called witches night out at Gardner Village. I blame my mother-in-law for getting me hooked on this tradition, and every time I see my friends with their daughters going to this fun event via social media, I have to admit I get a tad bit jealous!

Pumpkin Picking At Castle Hill Farm.

It's funny how seasons can really change someones mood, and turn you into whole different person. When summer ended I was a little sad, but at the same time was looking forward to fall only because this past summer was scorching hot. I have to say that fall is definitely my favorite season, and only wish that it could last longer than the other seasons.

Noah-isms. End Of Summer Edition.

I meant to post this a couple of weeks ago way before fall began, but time slipped away from my little fingers. Now that we are two weeks into autumn I figured I'd post this anyway.

Hartford Connecticut Temple Open House.

How incredibly blessed we are to have more temples in the east coast. It's not Utah, but having six temples in a proximity where you can drive anywhere form one, two, three, or even six hours to attend one is good enough for me! It most definitely has been a miraculous year of temple building here in the east as well as the west coast, and to have attended two open houses is indeed a miracle not only for me, but for my children as well.
This past weekend we attended the open house in Hartford, Connecticut and oh my goodness this temple is absolutely exquisite! It is beautiful, and totally reflects the New England culture. It is quaint, and old fashioned, and I love the lampposts that stand outside the temple as well as the one hanging in front as you enter in. Again, we are not allowed to take pictures inside, but being the avid art lover that I am observed every single painting that was hanging on the walls, and noticed that there were two that were duplicates as the ones being hung in the Philadelphia temple. Not sure which one has the original, but it was pretty neat to see similar pictures of Christ, and to have had a deja vu moment. 

I captured a few moments outside the temple of my sweet family, and only wish Sierra could have joined in on this moment. I'm grateful that she has had opportunities to attend a few open houses in Utah such as the Payson, and City Center. 

I love the mums that are planted outside the temple. My favorite plant and so New England! 

Jon's twin. I swear she's looking more, and more like him each day. She'll definitely be tall like him too!  

I'm so grateful to have made the time to come out and experience yet another temple open house. This is so important to me, and taking the kids for them to see how special temples are is important to us. I want them to know that this a special place where they can come to feel peace, and perform ordinances for their ancestors. To know that doing their work is the utmost important thing they can do for our loved ones who have passed on. To know that when they are old enough to go through that this is a place where they can escape from the world, reflect on the Lord's blessings, be strengthened, feel peace, and become hopeful again. 
Counting my blessings to know that this guy is mine for all eternity. We love the temple, and appreicate it. The temple truly is a reflection of heaven, and a place to go where I will always, always find peace. 
I love my family, and shutter to think of how life would be without them for eternity. Like Elder Holland said, "I don't know how to speak about heaven in the traditional, lovely, paradisiacal beauty that we speak of heaven. I wouldn't know how to speak of heaven without my wife, or children. That would not be heaven for me." 

And just like Elder Holland I cannot imagine heaven without Jon, or our children. No matter how much we may disagree, yell, and have spats I love my family, and cannot imagine eternity without them! 

**The open house is until October 22 so if you live in the east, or are planning a 'New England fall trip' please come. It is free, and such a beautiful place to be! You can reserve tickets here if interested! 

The Nursery.

As I entered into a room filled with colorful artwork on the walls, and opened up a closet filled with books, puzzles, playdough, and a basket full of toys brought back so many memories of the time I last had a calling in the nursery. That was 10 years ago! Chelsea was almost two when I was her nursery leader, and my how times have changed! One thing that I have realized since those days is that my patience with other peoples kids has definitely improved! In all honesty I didn't care about tending other peoples kids when my oldest was born. Maybe that's why I always had a calling in primary when I first joined the church!

Nostalgia on Garfield Avenue.

Looking back on the day we moved out of our home in Blackwood on Garfield avenue I couldn't help but to look back, and walk within the walls of what was once our home for eight years, and to see all the scribbles, dents, and writing on the walls that my two youngest children did at that time are fond memories. Fond memories that i will carry with me forever through pictures. I look back at all the times I'd walk into the kitchen or up the stairs only to see endless scribbles, and will laugh because of how upset I got when Chelsea first put pen, marker, and color to the walls. I was so disappointed in her. I really thought I would be one of those moms whose kids would never resort to that! Sierra, and Lexie never, never wrote on the walls so naturally I thought I had perfect kids when it came to giving them markers at the age of three. Not! Chelsea and Noah were a different story, but oh how grateful I am for those experiences because they sure taught me a lot of patience. The look on Chelsea's face when she got caught in the act was priceless. I just couldn't yell at this sweet three year old little girl. After Chelsea's experience of writing on the walls, I most definitely became less of a mean mom when Noah entered the clan, and saw no need to yell at him when he began coloring on the walls at the tender age of two! No matter how many times I'd tell the girls to put away their art kits, colors, and box of markers he'd always find a way to be sneaky and find them. That's when it dawned on me to me to tape plain white wrapping paper on the huge bare, kitchen wall so they could create a picture with every type of marker, pen, and crayon known to man! When we left I couldn't bare to paint over some of the walls. Especially the one where there was a stick figure with a smiling face! But hey, someone else has to live there, and that's when  I realized that walls can be washed, and repainted. Dents, and holes can be patched up, but those memories of hand drawn art created by two artistic children with a permanent marker can be etched in my mind forever. 

Oh...bittersweet memories for sure. 

Since we only live an hour away I'll drive back through the old neighborhood to visit a few of my neighbors, and friends. I swear that area brings back major memories, and sometimes its hard to let go. We've only been gone for three months, but when I've gone back I feel as if I should be pulling into the driveway only to go back "home." It's surreal sometimes that we don't live there anymore, but the fact that Chelsea was two when we moved here, and Noah being born in Jersey makes me feel that this is our permanent home. Texas, and Utah are the longest places we've lived in, but Jersey has been the state where all of my children learned to grow up, face challenges, conquer some of them, and learn from them, and to spiritually grow. 
Here is a picture of the girls when they were nine, 14, and four! I can't believe how quickly time flies, and now they are 21, 16, and 11! 

Garfield avenue is the place where I was given my first mum from a sister in my church. I never knew there was such a beautiful plant! It was the place where I hosted my first book club, my first baby shower, and thanksgiving dinner with like ten people! It was the place where there were lots of family dinners, entertainment with friends, and pool parties in our little back yard. The place where we had many a BBQ dinners, and where Lexie first learned to mow the lawn. It is the place where for eight years my children walked to the same bus stop, library, Wawa, and bike trail. The place where the kids first discovered fireflies, and had our own sidewalk to chalk on. It is the place where the girls developed their cooking, and baking skills. The place where Sierra had her first date pick her up, and all her prom, and homecoming pictures taken on that infamous little porch of ours. 

This is the place where Noah learned to roll over, take his first steps, lose his first tooth, and play his first keys on the piano. Let's not forget the time I did that photo shoot of Noah's Dreamland! Oh my gosh! Remember those pictures? Such fun, and sweet memories! 

Looking back I thank my Heavenly Father for leading us to this cape cod house on Garfield. The home we created here, although far from perfect, was where we needed to be at that time. Even on the days where I yelled, cursed, and got upset somehow were washed away with the choices I made into being a better mom. Having Noah totally helped me in that department, and living in Blackwood with all that we went through as a family, and attending church helped us in profound ways. The Lord definitely is in charge, and because of Him I was able to endure, and withstand every bitter, and enjoy every blissful moment I had in those eight years of living in south Jersey. 

And I will always look back on them with the fondest of memories.


Mum Picking!

Fall is definitely shaping up to be the best season ever! I absolutely love this time of year, and it seems that we have an indian summer going on which i don't mind in the least. Going on drives with the windows rolled down giving it the perfect breeze means you no longer need to turn the a/c on. It has been quite an adventure exploring more of the garden state in our area, and believe me when I say garden because in my neck of the woods that's all I see! Miles and miles of farmland, corn stalks, and fields of green. The fall season is so colorful, and because it doesn't last very long are going to take full advantage of venturing out, and enjoying the colors of fall as they quickly change. 

Because my porch is looking a bit bare these days we decided to give it a little color, and decided to go mum picking. There are so many nursery gardens in the country, and we decided to stop by the prettiest. All mums look the same and because the prices were equal decided to stop at this particular nursery, and the kids picked out the perfect mums, and I have to say... I was very pleased. 
We hung around for a while and even though I told them they can choose I was still a bit selective with the mums they were picking. The kids decided on tricolored mums which at first weren't pleasing to my eye, but then grew on me within minutes. I mean...just look at all the colors! Absolutely stunning!
Noah noticed a few wagons, and wanted to grab one to carry the mums in. He was so happy to be pulling it. Poor kid...I deprived him of one when he was a toddler! 
And how about these warted pumpkins! I asked Noah if he wanted to grab a few to take home, and he gave me an emphatic no! he said they were ugly! Also...I can't believe how grown he looks in this photo compared to this one I posted years ago! My baby is getting big y'all! Just like these pumpkins! 
I literally wanted to buy every flower known to man in this nursery, but had to control myself. We came here specifically for mums, and that's all that I left with. MUMS!
Alex, who owns this nursery with his wife kindly took this photo. He truly is the nicest guy, and this nursery is absolutely worth going to. I can tell it has a woman's touch because of how the gift shop inside the barn is decorated! We had so much fun mum picking, and as always wish that Jon and Sierra could join us in our outings. 

Happy fall y'all, and enjoy it while it lasts! 

General Conference in D.C.- Fall '16

Is it me or was General conference mega-inspiring this year. Maybe i found it inspiring because I have kids who are growing older by the minute which means I'm getting up there in age. 45 isn't old but my goodness when you reach a certain age, and you have an adult daughter on her own striving to live a good life it doesn't get any easier. However, as a parent life without Sierra living close to me becomes easier when I leave it up to God. When I kneel down in prayer asking Him to guide her in doing the very best she can in all she does, and how she lives I know that is all I can do. And that goes for the rest of my children. 

There were so many wonderful talks given during these sessions, and so much to write about, and because we have our church magazine and the internet to read all about conference I won't share too much about what was said, but I will share my testimony, and some thoughts on conference. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is an amazing tool, and key to helping us navigate our day to day in the most righteous way possible, but it is not a guarantee to a life without trials, and heartache. But I know this...when I read the scriptures faithfully, and I mean faithfully without missing a day it truly does bring me peace. I see a difference in me when I don't read them, or when I have read them in a manner that seemed too quick because I was rushing out the door to start my day. Like I said, when i find myself seriously delving in heartfelt prayer and scripture study my actions for that day will be easy peasy. It will help me fight road rage, not yell at my kids, and be super kind to even the most rudest person. Knowing that I have that tool to welcome me every day assures me that I have the choice to make it better. I just have to make a choice in making it a priority. It gives me hope that my future can be a lot brighter than my faith if i just endure to the end, and believe that no matter how hard life can get all will be well. 

I love general conference. I look forward to it every six months, and hope that in between those six months that I will carry with me everything that was said. That I won't forget, but remember the words that were shared with love and concern for us. 

I love my family. I love the gospel, and the nourishment that feeds my soul when I seriously take in what I read that day. It strengthens my testimony, and gives me confidence to know that i can do hard things. That I can handle every dead end, detour, and snags that I run into. I love the excitement I feel when I attend my church meetings. I never want to feel "dead" or feel that I'm "past feeling" when it comes to the gospel, and attending church. I never want to grow weary of fellowshipping, and learning the teachings of the doctrine. I love attending church not only to fellowship, but to grow spiritually in Christ. And that is what conference does to my heart. It helps me look at all my imperfections to better them. 

All the talks super amazing, but this one really spoke to me... 
Elder Nattress shared an experience as a boy about how he and his brother would have their mother reading the scriptures to them at breakfast, and how he honestly said to her that he wasn't listening. His voice shook up as he was telling us his story which showed me that he was grateful for that experience, and because of his mother telling him "she's never going to lose him by reading the scriptures to him every day" warmed my heart, and gave me hope that if I do the same thing I will be blessed. I loved his story, and he spoke about teaching our children the gospel. I sure hope I 'm doing my best in teaching all my kids correctly. Especially Noah. He'll be seven in a month, and this is the time where things are really beginning to stick with him where he will begin to develop a lot of knowledge. Although he tells me that he loves Jesus, the book of mormon, and the temples he can become a bit weary at times when it comes to sitting at conference (thank goodness for those conference packets, colored pencils, and plain paper!) I know six is still a young age to develop a testimony of the gospel on his own, but I know that if i continue to teach him correctly to read the scriptures that in his own time, at an older age that he will know for a surety that the gospel is true. And same goes for the rest of my crew. 

And last, but not least President Thomas S. Monson's talk warmed my heart. Even though he spoke for a brief moment his words were simple, and filled with kindness, caring, and love. He wants us to be happy, and have joy in this life. He admonished us in having a strong love for the Lord, to believe in Him, and his gospel, and to just improve ourselves into being better. To keep our bodies clean in obeying the word of wisdom. Although these things sound simple require a great deal of commitment to conquer, but the blessings that come from doing so are unimaginable! What a loving prophet we have, and I'm so grateful for his guidance and direction.  

So much insight in eight hours for two days, and I simply didn't want it to end. I see a light in my family before, during, and after we attend conference. Granted there are some hiccups in the beginning because I know that Satan doesn't want us to be happy, but we never let him win. In the end, we just leave even more stronger, happier, and joyful than we were before. 

We are so grateful for the temples that are built upon this earth for us to go to, and watching it at the visitors center in D.C. is always a fun experience! 
Here's to keeping the "heavenly moment" we just had during conference to last us until next spring! To listen to the all of conference you can log onto!

Hope y'all had a wonderful weekend!