A Day At The American Museum Of Natural History.

It's new year's eve, and I'm catching up with some blogging. To be honest I haven't missed being on the computer. I love to write, and am on my last page in my one line a day journal, but even that has been a bit time consuming because let's be honest, you can't write just one line of what's happened in your day in a small journal. I'd rather just stick to one big handwritten journal where I can write, and write until my thoughts are done for what happened that day, and continue writing on a daily basis.

Merry Christmas From US !

I often feel as if I take certain things for granted, and have learned this past year that time is everything. Time spent with your family. Time spent talking with a loved one on the phone even if it's just for five minutes. Time spent with your kids because before you know it they are going to be as tall as you! Have one on one dates with them. time spent doing the things that are good, and that you love. time to travel because you never know when you won't be able to drive for 31 hours!

Santa At The Plaza & All Things Christmas-y!!

I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas! I mean, when did December decide to go from the first to the 24th? Crazy, but we are excited for it, and the kids are having way too much fun together. Since Lexie arrived we've been exploring, and in between our outings she's been chilling by the piano as well as catching up on some much needed sleep. Oh, the life of a college student, but for the most part we've been to the city a few times, and have ventured out some more because...Christmas lights! 

A Day Out In Midtown!

Living close to the city has its advantages, and I'm so grateful for the stamina that I have to be able to take the kids out for a day in the city. Christmas is definitely the time to take advantage and see all the magic that wafts over the city with their lights, and Christmas trees on display that make this entire city sparkle. 

Twenty-Four {24} Years!

December is the month where we are so sleep deprived, but we are still laughing, and no matter what daggers get thrown our way we always manage to never call it quits! We’ve jam-packed so much into these past 24 years with having four kids, living in four states, and about 12 apartments/houses that sometimes it feels like we’ve been married for 40, while other times it feels like it was just yesterday that I said yes to marrying you. Thank you for loving me through my good times and bad, and for always putting our family first. We have a lot to celebrate around these parts this month with your birthday next week, Christmas and New Year's so with all that being said I'm off to find myself a sweet treat before we really get this party started. Thanks for being my best friend Jon, and for taking me to the places you know make my heart sing! I do love you, even if you have to work this weekend! 

Happy 24 years!

It's The Most, Colorful Time Of The Year!

You never know what you're going to find when you go rogue, and take your youngest child with you on a little day date to go for a drive in the country where the air is clear, cold, and crisp. We heard about this farm that sold colored trees, and although I've seen different colored trees I've never seen any up close. We thought it would be a fun thing to do since Noah was out of school due to being sick, but luckily he had some energy on the third day of having rest so that we can have a little one on one time together, and it was the best colorful day ever! 

Over The Weekend...We Be Sick & Stuff!

Although we survived the weekend with sickness we still managed to go to the city to see Peter and The Wolf at the Guggenheim. Had I paid extra fees on the tickets due to illness, or an emergency I would have canceled, and gotten a refund, but because I didn't we sucked it up, put on a smiling face and went anyway. We passed the contagious phase so it was okay to go to the show. Luckily our seats were the last four in the front, and we didn't cough too much! 

A Few More Things To Do In NYC This Christmas!

We may not live in the city, but boy do we "live" for the city! Next to New England, New York has become our second home, and place to visit because we are always venturing out there. A few friends have even asked if we've moved there only because we frequent there so much. This city all year round is magical, and energetic. It doesn't matter what time of the year you come because it is so fun, and beautiful! Christmas time is one of our favorite times of the year to go, and Thanksgiving day is when we begin to celebrate the holidays! 

Ideas On How To "Light The World."

Gifts for us have been super simple lately as they have been for the past few years. Each year gift giving for us becomes less, and less, and service becomes more and more. Although gifts are nice to give to each other and family members I love to think of those who can really use some good cheer.

The Search For The Perfect Tree!

Over the weekend besides going to the temple, attending a birthday party, and going to the theatre to watch Instant Family (which is hilarious and beautiful) we went tree hunting in search for the perfect tree. A friend of mine told me about a tree farm they recently visited, and because the trees in their photos looked appealing in the background decided to go there in hopes of picking one, but to no avail. When we arrived it wasn't what we were expecting. All the trees looked picked over, and they were not from Canada. 

Lighting The World!

Two years ago the church began a campaign called Light the world where we can help share the light and joy though simple acts of service all through December. I love this campaign, and the kids loved getting involved as well. It seriously helps us forget our own issues when we focus on others. I love simple Christmases anyway.

For Sierra & Lexie.

"Give them wings to fly. Roots to come home. And reasons to stay." I love that saying. It is something I hope for every time I talk to my older daughters whenever they plan on visiting, or coming home for breaks from school. Hoping that they love coming home no matter what. Having two adult daughters is bittersweet. Bitter because I wish they were closer to home, and sweet because they are away from familiar territory where they are growing, and learning new things all while being challenged with the ways of the world. 

For Not Procrastinating.

There are so many things we procrastinate on, and when it comes to the holidays I know that some us feel rushed, and are so overwhelmed that we wait to do things until the last second! I personally have never been one to seriously procrastinate, especially when it comes to the holidays. My gifts, and cards are pretty much mailed the last week of November, or the first two weeks of December. I have never mailed cards or gifts after the holiday, and that makes me feel good! I have my list of who to send cards to already prepared, and they are ready to be mailed. I live for Christmas cards! I love receiving them, and putting them up on our card holder. 

For Journal Writing.

I know I've written so much about journaling in the past, and how much I love it. I have various journals in which I share my day to day. Of course I have this blog in which I share the most, but the one where I brutally write my heart out is handwritten in pen on a daily basis, and sometimes I'll skip a couple of days only because I've blogged about it, but it's nice to write it out in even bigger detail. I love how my life all comes together whether good or bad. Some days are bright, some moments are not. What's written online or in a handwritten journal are the snippets of my life, and as mundane as they may seem I know that one day all my kids will look back on these days and laugh, cry, and probably be in shock at some of the entries, but it's okay! I want them, and my future posterity to know how my life as a young adult before, and during marriage was lived. I also wistfully still pull out my old journals, and regardless of what was written inside am grateful that I wrote it all down! 

Visiting Santa & A Day Out In Union Square.

I can't believe how quickly the years go by with our kids. As I look at this post from two years ago it amazes me how fast children grow. I would love for time to stop, but looking at these sweet, happy faces gets me excited in watching them grow. Especially when they see their favorite Santa, and still believing in him! 

For Music Lessons.

Every week for the past 20 years ALL my kids have taken up music lessons. Whether it's been the guitar, piano, oboe, or violin. Music lessons are a luxury. A luxury so great that makes me especially grateful we can afford. My two adult daughters continue to play the violin, and piano, and sing on their own time, and my two younger children who are still at home play the piano. 

For Jon.

I've know Jon for more than 25 years and I'm so grateful to have met him! I am thankful that he served in my hometown as a missionary while I was investigating the church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints, and that we instantly became friends. So thankful that the church had our paths meet once again when he returned home from his mission, and after dating for a few months became his wife! He works so super hard to provide for our family, and to make sure we are taken care of. He has a great love for The Lord,  is compassionate, caring, a great cook, and an amazing father to our four children. He truly is my best friend! So thankful for you Jon!

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade '18.

In all our years of going to the Macy's parade on thanksgiving day have the temps ever been in the teens, and this past Thursday was the coldest day ever of fall! Tradition is tradition, and even though we heard that it would be brutal we put the warmest clothes we had on, and stocked up on hand and feet warmers in hopes that they would last all throughout the parade, and it did! 

For Education.

I want to express my gratitude to live in a country where education is provided for all of its children. Noah has a classmate in his class who is disabled, and has become good friends with him. When I've volunteered in his class I see how happy that little boy is, and how sweet all the kids are with him. Noah has learned not to complain about something being too hard because he has seen Luis commit to the tasks that are harder for him to do while being in a wheelchair.  I love that Noah is learning from his example, and that at the same time is teaching him to do work that is 10 times harder! I admire the teachers that work so hard on his behalf because...third graders! Seriously though, I have loved participating in both Noah, and Chelsea's classes, and look forward to continuing to help out until they finish school. We certainly are fortunate to get the education we receive here not only for us, but for our kids as well! 

For Tradition & Happy Thanksgiving!

This time of year is filled with traditions, and I love that we have created some of our own with our family. In our third year of living in Jersey we decided to "not cook" on Thanksgiving, and to go to the parade in NYC instead. I honestly don't know how long we will continue to go to the annual Macy's Thanksgiving day parade, but we've been going for the past five years or so, and it never gets old! 

For Volunteering.

These are the days I will miss once Noah graduates from elementary school! I have always volunteered at all my girls schools, but in all honesty I have spoiled myself with constant volunteering at Noah's school. This time I brought Chelsea with me to do a Thanksgiving craft with the kids, and she had such a great time experiencing working with 20 third graders for an hour. I have so much gratitude for being a room parent, and for the opportunity I have to volunteer at the school when it comes to holiday parties, craft days, picture day, book fair, back to school picnic, and various activities. It brings me such joy knowing that I am doing some good by relieving extra duties from the teachers. 

For Manhattan - FAO Schwarz.

There are many places, and cities in which I am grateful for, but there is a unique, palpable energy in Manhattan that no other city has. A million cultures rolled into one amazing city, and a ton of different things to do, and see. Maybe I'm being bias because I live an hour away from here, but the times we go we never want to leave. It's energetic, and I feel like the energizer bunny from all the walking we do when we come here. 

For Chelsea.

Chelsea...she's the only girl left in the house, and as much as we butt heads we have loads of laughs, and lots of fun. She is my new movie buddy, and is happy to now be the only child who comes home early from school so we can eat at Chick-Fil-A alone together. Our mother and daughter dates have increased, and I am truly grateful to have her in my life, and to have another female in the house for at least another five years to pick on, laugh with, eat out with, shop with, go to concerts with, go to the city with, and just have good ol' fun! So thankful for Chelsea! 

For Miracles.

I know I'm continuing to go backwards here with my blogging, and I certainly hope y'all don't grow weary of my temple posts, but this one is super special because in all honesty, on our way home from Utah, we were not supposed to have driven down the road that led to the temple in Star Valley, Wyoming. Miracles happen, and were waiting for us, and I can't express how grateful I am when they happen! 

For Our Home.

No matter where we have lived we have always managed to make our home a loving, cozy, and safe environment for our kids. We've lived in four different states, and lived in about 14 different apartments  and houses in almost 24 years! Don't ask how or why we do it, but jobs change, and transfers come, landlords sell, and some apartments just got too small for our family. 

For Play - Snowvember.

There are many things in life we take for granted especially when it comes to our kids, but playtime with them is not one. Even at my age I find the will, and strength to go outside with them to play on a hot summer day, or in this case...a snow day.

For Road Trips- Woodstock, Vermont.

Celebrating Noah's birthday all over New England was the icing on the cake, and in all honesty wish we could have spent another week there. America is a road trip, and the east coast has so much for us to do and explore. Noah has developed a penchant for history, and wanted to explore all over New England...again!

For The Scouting Program.

We are now in our second year of scouting and Noah is now a "bear." I will always remember the first time he started as a wolf, and in the past year have seen so much growth and change in him. His relationships with people are so unique. He is the sweetest, most helpful little boy you will ever meet. He loves going to scouts to learn new things as well as meeting up with his friends in working together as a den and pack. I am so thankful for the scouting program, and for what it teaches our kids. It truly shapes our children for them to become better people, and truly brings a special bond in our family as well as in our community. You can see a snippet of his recent activity with scouts learning all about forensics on my Insta stories here. 

For Veterans.

After a long weekend in New England I failed to blog and give thanks on this little corner of the net, but today I want to express my gratitude for all the veterans who have served, and are currently serving. Who put their lives in harms way in order for us to have the freedoms we desire. Who sacrifice all that they have by leaving their families and comforts of home behind. Who go out in unfamiliar territory not knowing what to expect, and how their day is going to end. To each and every one of you, I say thank you! I am so grateful for my citizenship in this land, and for your sacrifice. We pray for you daily, and your service is appreciated!

For Noah.

This past weekend flew by like a leer jet, and I can't believe that my baby boy is NINE! I never thought that I'd have four kids let alone a boy! Three girls was a charm, but this boy is a dream! When this boy came into my world he gave me more than I expected.....

For Cousins.

I didn't take too many photos of the family while I was in Utah which I'm pretty bummed about, but that's okay. The kids were too busy playing and getting to know one another as it should be without a camera shoved in their face! I did manage to capture this photo of one of the cousins with Noah. She kept Noah entertained when she would come over, and I'm so glad they met. Yes, this is the first time that Chelsea and Noah have met their cousins, and uncles, and aunts in real life! Crazy sad, but grateful at the same time!

For Prayer.

What a blessing it is to be able to pray to a loving Heavenly Father who hears and has never failed to answer my prayers. I haven't been the best at saying my individual prayers lately, but when I do I feel and see a huge difference in my days. Taking a few minutes to kneel down against my bed to pray to God is profound. At times I'll even shed a tear or two because I haven't been so diligent at praying in the morning, and when I did today really softened my heart. And I felt peaceful. Renewed. Ready to start my day with an even bigger smile. When I pray I notice that I am not as impatient with my kids, or get quick to anger with drivers on the road, or with people while waiting in long lines at the store. Prayer really makes a difference in our lives, and as I get older realize that it is indeed needed in my day to day. I don't want to take that simple act for granted. I am extremely thankful for the privilege of prayer. 

For Election Day.

I am so thankful for Election Day and for the opportunity I have to vote. I literally couldn't sleep last night because of this day. I woke up and saw the kids off to school, and quickly got ready to hit the polls. Before heading off Noah  asked who I was going to vote for and I told him that I was going to vote for people who have kindness, and compassion. Who care about health care. My heart grew big when he asked that question.

For Memories.

I will always remember the years we lived at 1720. Our little basement apartment in Utah was perfect for our three girls. Lexie, Sierra (not pictured) and Chelsea were such a joy to have while living there. Chelsea was 18 months old when we moved to the east coast so she doesn't remember anything about the fact that she once lived in Utah! I'm so grateful for the memories we made there, and that we were able to walk down memory lane to show Chelsea where she was born, and lived.

For The Temple.

Today after church I was inspired to go to the temple to take in the beauty of this wonderful building. The weather was colorful, and with autumn in the air made it a perfect afternoon to spend the day. Although the temples are closed on Sundays it's so nice to go, and walk on the grounds with my family, and express to one another how grateful we are to have one so close to us. I am thankful for the temples because through the covenants I've made inside with Heavenly Father I can be with my family forever. 

For The Weekend.

After a long week of work, and school for the kids weekends are our favorite, and I'm so thankful for the weekend when it comes. Those two days are pretty major for us as a whole because it is when we spend time as a family. Unless there is a church activity or scout outing that requires being outdoors then we make that a priority, and if we attend the temple we make sure we go in the morning that way we have the entire day to ourselves to go out and "play."

For Friends.

I want to start out this post by introducing you to some great people, and to express how thankful I am to have them in my life! In some shape or form they have uplifted me, fed me, taught me, and loved me in the most unconditional way. These are the friends I have in Utah, and even though I'm writing about my west coast peeps want all of y'all to know that I appreciate all the friends I have from all over the world!

For The Change Of Season.

There is nothing better to brighten the spirit and bring joy than focusing on gratitude, November is the perfect month for that. I love this time of year where I get to remember all the great things, and people that I'm thankful for, and because it's November 1st want to start out by expressing my gratitude for the change of season! I love that I live in the east where the foliage is vibrant in the fall, and where we have the change of every! 

Little Red Riding Hood & The Big Bad Wolf!

Happy Halloween everybody! I can't believe we are at the end of October, and that another Halloween is happening! I still remember last years halloween and feel as if we all celebrated it yesterday. It's such a fun holiday, and since we've moved have really gotten into the halloween spirit. Maybe it's because our street is decked out with spooks, and neighbors who actually know how to do halloween! 

Salem In October!

Going to Salem village in October was pretty crazy with all the crowds, carnivals, and festivals that were going on. I didn't realize how crowded, and crazy it gets up this time of year, but that's what happens when Salem is infamous for the witch trials, Hocus Pocus, and Stephen King. 

Walden Pond in The Fall.

Waldon Pond is just as beautiful in the fall as it is during the summer, and love all the history behind this place. I am so glad I got to bring the kids here so they can see what they look forward to in the summer months. They had so much fun walking halfway around the pond, but because it was 45 degrees didn't make it all around, but it's a good little hike! Next time we want to do the hike that leads to Thoreaus's home, but for now all these kids did was run around, and walk along the trail. As usual I captured them in action through my little camera lens...

Boo At The Bronx Zoo!

There are days when I need an energy boost, and long for the city where there are a million and one things to do, and there are days when I just want to stay home, and relax. Thankfully we live close to the city where we can venture out for a few hours, and yesterday I literally felt time slipping through my hands with this kid because like the hustle that New York City brings-so is his birthday.

While In Boston...

Acorn street is the most visited, most photographed street in Beacon Hill in Boston. It is so photogenic, and we were lucky to have been able to walk through it. I captured a few shots of the kids, but being that it's fall in the middle of the day with perfect weather had so many people doing the same thing, and it's understandable. After is Acorn Street! 

Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House.

One of my favorite books growing up was Little Women. I remember wanting a copy of it, but because we didn't have a lot of money never owned it, but when I got older bought a copy of my own, as well as buying the dvd. There are so many renditions of that movie, but my favorite 'dreamy' version is the one with Christian Bale, and Wynona Rider. I absolutley fell in love with that movie, and pretended I'd live in that time simply because of how Louisa was raised, who she was, and how she became someone well known through her writing. 

Clearview Farm in Sterling, Massachusetts.

Fall is the BEST time to go to New England so we are taking full advantage of this season by venturing out to familiar places we've been, and exploring unknown places we've never been. There was so much we did this past weekend so I may write about it in a few posts. 

Pumpkin Picking From The Vine!

There's something about picking pumpkins straight from the vine that makes all the fun as opposed to buying a pre-cut one. When we went to this pumpkin patch in Bucks county all we did was walk around to look at all the beautifully precut orange, and white pumpkins, but it wasn't the same as actually picking one from the vine. So we all ended up going back to one of our favorite farms in Connecticut to pick pumpkins straight from the vine, and it was the best! 

New York in October!

I have to tell ya each year for us Halloween just gets better and better. Even though these kids are getting up there in age they still make this holiday fun! I love that Chelsea is 13.5 years old and still likes to go trick or treating with us. All of my girls were like that until they left for college. I am hoping that these two will continue to celebrate Halloween every day in many different ways. Whether it's going on simple walks to see Halloween decorations, pumpkin picking, or going to sleepy hollow

Attending Some Of The Newest Temples In Utah.

Writing about the temple, and sharing some of my experiences is one of my favorite things to do on here. I write about it as a reminder as to why I attend, and how it helps me as a person. I write it for anyone who may wonder what temples are all about, and also for my posterity. 

Inspirational Thought.

"Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. 
Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. 
That is influence; that is power.
Julie B. Beck
(Draper Temple, Utah)

Nostalgia At The Salt Lake Temple.

Going back to the temple where Jon and I were sealed gave me butterflies. Walking through the temple grounds and looking up at that tall beautiful building had me feeling all the feels. I felt so much love for my family, and appreciation for God, and the faith I had for making it my goal to be sealed to my family forever.