Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas with the Johnson's

This Christmas was a bit different than normal--we always go away for a week or so, but this year BOTH families had "destination Christmases", which meant, we were gone for almost two weeks!  We managed to squeeze in a few of our own traditions the day before we left:

Celebrating with our New Anthem Community Church family (the new church plant we are a part of) for their Christmas Party.  Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without ugly sweaters!  :-)
Our tree.  We were a bit unconventional this year, and instead of buying a real one, we just put up a small one that we had in the basement.  The kids decorated it (as evidenced by the fact that the decorations stop 4 feet up)...  And of course we took the picture of the kids in front of the tree!
Friday after school, we opened the gift the kids each got.  We had prepared them that they wouldn't be getting much, since our trip was our gift...they each got a game to bring along.  
(Brahm loved his gift, despite his reaction here...)

We also all got balaclavas for our cold trip up north.  Stockings were opened quickly Friday before school....a little unconventional, but hey, it worked.  

Another tradition we LOVE is caroling with friends at a local nursing home.  The kids brought instruments along and SANG their hearts out to people who were so eager to listen, and some who sang along with us!  What a sweet evening it was!!!

We were so fortunate to be able to go away for Christmas to the upper-peninsula of Michigan with my parents, grandma, and siblings/families.  We stayed at an amazing cabin and enjoyed snowmobiling for a few days....

We had BEAUTIFUL weather on the way up...and this second picture is of the mile-long driveway to the cabin.  We almost thought we wouldn't make it there!
This cabin was incredible!  There were 17 of us, and we all slept in beds and had plenty of room to play, eat and relax!!!
 Brahm was a trooper and kept THINKING he wanted to go outside to sled....but the highs were in the 20's and it snowed the whole time...once he got out, he was ready to come back in! Thank goodness for a warm fireplace, and a steady stream of coffee for us adults!

Two days we had snow mobiles.  We parked them on the lake behind the cabin--and there were miles and miles of trails close by!  It was so perfect--trails were so smooth, no other snowmobilers, and perfect weather.  I guess most people don't spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day snowmobiling?  :-)


The yearly cousins-in-pajamas picture:
The kids, with Tommy (my sis's hubby and Mark, Tommy's friend.  Brahm LOVED Mark!)
It was beautiful, relaxing, and SO MUCH FUN!!

Oh, and something else noteworthy happened up there, too--but you'll have to wait for another blog post to see what it was!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Festivities

Thanksgiving was wonderful and low-key and relaxing and most importantly, YUMMY.  And we were so glad that Tommy and Courtney were able to come down and hang out with us, too!

Lily loves to help out however she can...
Setting the table
Raking leaves...
Monitoring  the situation....
Dad had quite the pile of leaves--it helps to have a ditch running through the back--makes for awesome running and jumping!
Legos.  And seriously, I can't get a smile from him anymore.
It takes two to make a turkey--and boy was it delicious!
He was hungrily watching the process...
All I can say to this is, "Get a ROOM!"  :-)

And here is a video of Oliver DIVING into a pile of leaves.  AWESOME.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Brahm is TWO!!!

This week, my littlest one turned 2.  Oh what a sweet little boy he is!  

He is by far my cuddliest kid....and often asks me to hold him and sit on the couch.  He loves sucking his two fingers while rubbing his "bee-bo" (bellybutton).  

He adores his sister and brother--asking often, "Hey mom?  Owie doh?"  or "Hey mom, Wi-wee doh?"  (Ollie go?  Lily go?) ...(sometimes they're sitting at the table WITH us....)

He is a very happy, smiley little boy.  He wakes up happy usually, and is content most of the day.  He does have his clingy moods....but they don't last long.  

Brahm has been giving us a taste of the terrible two's that I don't quite remember with the other two!  He will get so upset at something and yell, "Hit Mommy!"  And then try to run over to me and hit me.  Usually, all I have to do is ask "what happens if you hit?"  and he'll answer "pack 'n play" and then calm down....but occasionally, he just goes for it.  :-)   I think it must be hard to be the youngest and have 4 parents...

(birthday donuts!)

Brahm is a talker.  He loves to hum and sing "Jesus Loves Me", he copies most of what he hears, and is asking questions all day long.  I love having "conversations" with him--it's hilarious to see what they understand!

A few weeks before he turned 2, we started talking about his birthday with him.  We talked about having a "train party", with a cake, blowing out candles, and who he wanted to come over.  He kept saying, "Gavin come?"  'Yes, he can come', we'd tell him.  Then we'd continue:  "Can Taylor come?"  No.  "Can Mason come?"  No.  "Can Dave come?"  No.  "Can Amanda come?"  No.  "Can Gavin come?"  Yes.  He was very specific and didn't change his story at all!  We have yet to have Gavin over for a party...but here is a super-cute picture of the two boys with their bling:

Here is a little "interview" we did with him the night before his birthday:
Favorite drink?  "Milk"
Favorite food?  "Pizza-food!"
Favorite book?  "Sam I am"  (Green Eggs and Ham)
Favorite TV show?  "Football!"
What do you like to play with Oliver?  "Football!"
What do you like to play with daddy?  "Football!"  
What do you like to do with Lily?  "Football!" 
....Okay, I think he got sidetracked by this point, but it was accurate until the last couple! :-)


We celebrated his birthday last weekend with my family, and it was so fun to see him opening gifts-he actually was able to do that this year!  He loved opening trains, trucks, and a pirate suit!  

He even smiled when we sang "happy birthday" to him, which is a huge improvement over his first birthday.  :-)  

We are so thankful for Brahm!  He brings lots of smiles and laughs to ALL of us every day, and we look forward to another year together!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

September 2013 (originally titled "every month that goes by I know less and less about this parenting thing")

(I think calling this post "September 2013" was a much less intimidating title, don't you?)  But really, I feel like that is a caption behind everything I do lately.  I think we must be moving into that phase of parenting (at least with Lily and Oliver) where it is less physically demanding (usually they aren't hanging off our legs anymore, we're not chasing them out of the street, we're not carrying them around, etc.) and heading into that stage where it's more mentally draining.  We have good kids.  GREAT kids even.  They are at such a fun stage where we can just really enjoy them, laugh with them, and marvel at some of the things they say and do.  And by "marvel", I mean, "freak-out-and-assume-they'll-become-psychopaths".  Actually, I should remove Joel from's mainly just me.  

I love that Oliver and Lily are in great schools and are THRIVING.  Really.  Maybe I should, but I really don't worry about them while they're gone.  They LOVE school.  But every once in a while, I get freaked out when I think how quickly those first years went by--no longer are they "safe" under my loving control all the time.  (okay, I realize that was only a false impression too, I had the illusion of control at best!) 
I tend to get wrapped up in planning and controlling and worrying....and that can be all-consuming.  I can miss out on the really fun things that are going on, and the really great people they are becoming.  There are so many things I want to remember:

*How Brahm says, "thank you!" all the time.  Even when I change his diaper, or help him off the chair.
*How loving Lily is with Brahm, and how, when I'm not there, Brahm cries for her--he wants HER to hold him.
*How Oliver spends hours creating:  writing songs, stories, books, building a wooden sled to carry his adventure gear, building weapons, drawing pictures of a beer-drinking man.....(hence the worrying...)

There is a lot I could be worrying about.  And some days, I'm not very good at resisting that.  But I recently read this in a book, and have found that I frequently go back to it.  It reminds me that ultimately, God is the one at work in their lives--and my biggest contribution will be to love them (albeit imperfectly!) and pray for them. 

"The sooner we realize that it is not about what we do but about what God does, the sooner we will stop focusing on ourselves and our shortcomings, and begin focusing on God and his power.  Likewise, the sooner we quit worrying about doing our part, the sooner we can start rejoicing in the fact that God is doing his part.  And the sooner we recognize that God is at work, the sooner we can jump in and join him."

(from Praying the Scriptures for your Children, by Jodie Berndt)

It's a lot easier to see how God is working in and through my children when I'm not worrying and fretting and harping and trying to control every waking moment.  Good reminders for me, for sure.  

Here is a more light-hearted look at our September:
Joel celebrated a birthday!  The kids gave him a bead, a quarter, and a paper knife they made.  :-)

Brahm coloring with his bear and monkey.  This kid LOVES to color!
And here he is sitting on his favorite chair with Ernie, monkey and bear.  

One evening, we celebrated our animal's birthdays with cupcakes.  We got this idea from my sister-in-law, Erin--and we had to do it, too!  The kids had fun decorating hats for their animals, and then eating the cupcakes for them! 

Here they are, from left to right:  Lily and Cupcake, Brahm and Bear-y, Oliver and Fluff.  (Except that he insists the name is spelled 'Flufe'.  Okay, fine.)

Another picture of Brahm coloring.  Often times, he'll pretend to write letters while saying his whole name.  It sounds like, "Baum....ah-uh (arthur)".  SO cute!

We added an art table in our kitchen, and we spend a LOT of time there.  It is so fun.  

One Saturday morning, we brought our photobooth to the ALS Walk in Wichita.  The kids came with since they had bounce houses, games, food, and a clown there for entertainment.  Brahm spent much of his time hiding under my table....

While Lily and Oliver got tats.  (Okay, it's face paint.  But "tats" sounds cooler.)

 And one more birthday picture. 

Oh, and this one.  I recently read in a book about the youngest children, "prepare to be manipulated".  :-)  Yeah, I could see how that could happen...I'm pretty tight with this little guy!

September is over.  So here's to worrying less, praying for my kids more, and trusting God to work in their lives in much more powerful ways than I ever could!