Saturday, December 31, 2011

We Survived 2011

2011 was the most CRAZY year we've had yet.  Let's hope 2012 calms down a little bit!  Many UNEXPECTED things happened...leaving us floundering at times...but we are so thankful that we always had what we needed, when we needed it.  God again and again proves his faithfulness.  

Just so WE don't ever forget, here's a brief recap of SOME of the craziness of 2011:

*Jan:  My Grandpa Epp passed away.  My family made the 1500-mile trek into the polar ice caps (otherwise known as Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) in January through snow, ice, and -25 degree temperatures...but it was a wonderful time of remembering and seeing family again.

*Beginning of February:  We got our new house AND basically sold our old house all in the same day!

* End of February:  We closed on our new (FORECLOSED) house, and lost the contract on our old house.  (We ended up finding renters--hooray!)

*Late-February - Mid-April:  We worked furiously on our new house (all new paint, all new flooring, new electrical lines to the house, new exterior doors, new banister, pulled out shrubs and trees...) AND found out we were expecting #3.  You can imagine how well that went, as Joel was putting in LONG hours at the new house and I was cooped up on the couch at the old house with 2 kids.  EXHAUSTING.  (And I am not the most gracious and loving person in those situations, I found out.)

*April 15:  Move in Day!!!  We moved into the liveable new house...and the next day...our truck died.  It needed a new $2000 transmission.   So....that sat in the shop for a month before we were ready to do that.  Down to one car...

*Beginning of May:  Our Subaru overheats while Joel was heading to a photobooth in Wichita...and so begins the gradual breakdown of our last remaining vehicle.  Turns out, it needed a $1500 head gasket.  SO...we borrowed vehicles to head anywhere out of town, and drove the Subaru JUST close to home for a while, prolonging the obvious...we needed a new vehicle.  

*End of May:  Bought a Honda Odyssey, fixed the truck, sold the Subaru.  Hooray!

*Relatively uneventful summer, thankfully...except the part about fleeing the tornado with two kids while Joel pulled our photobooth into the basement of Century II.  
*The fall brought preparations for baby, a new roof, getting the basement pinned, and lots of little projects on the house, not to mention a FULL line-up of photobooths each weekend.  (We had 17 in the two months leading up to Brahm's birth...)

*November:  Brahm is born!  (And finally, things slow down and we REST.)

The last two months have been wonderful, seeing lots of our family, resting at home and enjoying our 3 kids, and settling down for a slow-er winter photobooth season.  Although we weren't laughing at the time, it really is crazy to look back and see all the things that happened this year.  My mom suggested we write it all down so we don't ever we've done that.  

One thing this year really emphasized for us is the importance of NOT trusting in ourselves: our capabilities, our resources, our finances EVEN when we think we're prepared...and instead making sure that our ultimate trust is in the Lord.  
Goodbye 2011, ...Welcome 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

December {The WHOLE Johnson Clan}

The day after Christmas we officially celebrated with my brother and his family, my sister and my parents.  It was a fun-filled day!  We got there in time for lunch and naps (for the kids)...and then Tyler's family arrived mid-afternoon.  We had lots of presents and eating to cram into a short time--so we got right at it!

 Grandpa J., Asher and Lily (in their new pj's)

 Brief explanation here:  I had the idea to take a picture of our 3 kids together:  Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.  This will be the ONLY time that would work, right?  Well, Oliver insisted he was a wiseman, Lily didn't want to dress up, and Brahm did a mighty fine job of acting the part.  So this was the finished product...

 Getting the kids in one spot for our annual "kids in PJ's in front of the Christmas tree" picture...


 Lily giving Grandpa a BIG hug for her new pj's.  She was THRILLED!  I suppose there will come a time when the grandkids will have to stop stripping and immediately putting on their new pj's in front of us all...but for's still okay.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day {with Grandma and Grandpa J.}

We spent Christmas Day with Grandma & Grandpa J.  We went to church with them, then spent a relaxing day at their house.  That evening, we opened stocking gifts with them:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

 We have started the tradition of going to eat donuts and see Santa each Christmas Eve.  This year, Oliver was brave enough to sit on his lap, but Lily was still very nervous!

After Druber's, we went home to open gifts!     

 That evening, we attended a Christmas Eve service at Grace...and ate supper at Arby's.  Festive, right?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December {Christmas Party}

 We've been with our small group now for almost two years...and they are SO MUCH FUN!!  This year we repeated the ever-popular "ugly-sweater-and-white-elephant-gift-exchange" idea...and, well, the pictures say enough!

 okay...I should explain these two...somehow the dog collar/taser thing made it's way inside...and a good 20 minutes was spent shocking each other.