Friday, February 26, 2010

National Pig Day

Happy Pig Day!  Our school makes a big deal about National Pig Day.  There are piggy snacks, hotdogs for lunch, a "Cutest Pig Tail" contest, and mechanical toy pig races.  (Btw, Spencer's pig, Pickles, won his heat.  Seems there's a future for us in Pig Racing.  We're going to start on the circuit soon - just as soon as someone creates that circuit.)  The kids are also allowed to submit a pig picture.  Here are the Johnson submissions:

Nice.  Nice.  A traditional approach, with a baseball cap for some whimsy.  And "he's in a box because we're going to eat him."  Ummm.  Okay.  Some realism, too - because life ain't always cute, I guess.

More of an existential approach.  I cut out the pieces for her.  She glued and decorated.  I'm not quite sure why the pig has seven legs or an unattached tail; I'm sure there is some deep, genius-like meaning behind it.  And, the stars...  well, I'm sure it's something far more artistic than the fact that she liked to peel the paper off the stickers.  And, the bow.  That's because "she's a girl."  Duh.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pictures From Around the House

I'm torn in my feelings over this.  There's admiration for this gravity defying little Cheerio and disgust over the barnyard-like manners that allowed one of my children to get a Cheerio stuck under the counter upon which they were eating.

Slumber party in my room!
Kinda feel like I should have been invited, though.

Elizabeth wanted to wear her watch on her ankle.  I must believe she just thought it was clever, not that she in any way wanted to emulate Paris or Lindsay's house arrest ankle bracelets.  :-/

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When Good Maturity Goes Bad

Shawn's been out of town.  When this happens I try really hard to be mature.  I try to keep the children safe, clean, clothed and fed.  Most of the time I succeed.  Most of the times I'm pretty good at being the grown-up.  But, sometimes... not-so-much.  Like last night.

I was shutting the house down for the night, making sure the doors were locked, turning off the lights, and the cordless phone in my hand (I was taking it back to the charger) rings.  Well, it was late for the home phone to be ringing, so I instinctively looked at the caller id.  It said "10".  Nothing else. 

There were three levels of thought here.  My first mature thought was, "Weird.  I'll see if they leave a message."  My next semi-mature thought was, "This makes me think of the movie where the guy calls the babysitter and says, 'Have you checked the children?'"  And, finally, my completely twelve-year-old girl thought was, "OMG!  In that movie the call was coming from inside the house!"

And, thus, I scared the ever-living crap out of myself with a 1980s B-movie.

P.S.  They did leave a message.  It was a butt-dial.  I don't know who.  But, if I ever figure it out, I'm gonna smack 'em for having a caller id of "10".

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When Dress-up is Over

Spencer's violin teacher has a daughter Elizabeth Ann's age named Audrey.  Elizabeth gets more excited about going to violin than Spence does (go figure - learn to play violin or play with your friend...).  For the entire week leading up to a lesson, I have to answer the question, "Do we go to Audrey's house today?"

During one lesson, the girls were playing dress-up. Now these are Suzuki violin lessons and parent involvement is a requirement - so, I'm in the lesson with Spencer and his teacher for the entire 30 minutes.  Toward the end of the lesson, Audrey escorted EA into the room wearing nothing but panties, with her clothes under her arm and announced, "We're done playing now."

I feel pretty sure that's the 3-year old version of the "walk of shame".

(Chrissy posted this picture at Flickr.
Isn't it the cutest thing you've ever seen?)

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Pretty Nice Little [Weekend]"

I've made a new blogging decision.  I'm not going to blog on the weekends.  The weekends are when life takes off like a bullet around here.  It's when we make memories together - I don't want to miss any of it by hiding out at the computer.

But, here are some highlights from the weekend that was:

Spencer had group violin practice on Saturday morning.  The instructors followed the lesson with a cello performance, just for the kids' enrichment.  I sat there listening to the principal cellist for the symphony orchestra with piano accompaniment, thinking, "Most people have to pay money to hear a performance like this, and here I sit in a classroom at the university listening to one for free, just because I'm fortunate enough that my son takes lessons from amazingly talented people who know amazingly talented people."  Crazy.

Next, Spencer had an afternoon basketball game.  We actually had to have a conversation with our son that went something like, "Stop being polite.  We're really proud of you that you have such good manners.  But, you do not have to let the other team take their turn at making a shot.  You can try to stop them.  You don't have to share the ball, either.  You can try to take it.  Every.  Time.  We'll let you know if you ever get too rude, but for now, get aggressive, son!"

As if that weren't a full enough Saturday, we donned our finery and headed out to the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts Gala fundraiser.  Shawn has this neat little party trick (that paid his bills through college).  He knows how to auctioneer.  So, whenever one of our friends chairs a charity event, guess who gets the call for the live auction?  It's starting to get funny, though, the more people he meets as "Shawn Johnson, business man".  They have a slight look of confusion when he steps up on stage.  And, then their reactions are priceless as he starts calling with, "What'll you bid for it?  A thousand where?"  But, honestly, he's very good at it and has just the right je ne sais quoi that allows him to know just who to pick on for a little bit more bidding and when to let it go.  He's gotten unbelievable results for some very worthy charities in town.  It's definitely a gift and he definitely uses it for good.  And, I'm definitely proud.

My brilliantly funny and talented friend, Christy was the MC for the night, too (just a little break from helping her husband run for 137th District Court judge, 'cause I'm sure she had some time on her hands...  And, btw, if you live here, her husband is John "Trey" McClendon.  Early voting has started.  So get out and vote for him!).  It was such a well-put together, well-thought out evening.  Kudos to Britt, Susan and everyone who worked so hard for such a worthy cause.

A couple funny side notes from the night:  You know that lie that we all, as brides, have told our nearest and dearest friends and family?  You know the one.  "I know this dress costs [fill in the blank with any amount that you, as a twenty-something, couldn't afford], but you'll definitely be able to wear it again!"  LIE.  Raise your hand if you EVER wore a bridesmaid's dress after the wedding.  Well, 11 1/2 years after the fact, I wore the skirt that I wore at my sister's wedding.  I "Sharon Stone'd" it up a bit with a button-up shirt instead of the corset top she put us in in '98.  But, nevertheless, it was worn again.

Two things about this picture:
It was taken at 6:21 - clearly.
Why is my hand in that most unnatural claw position?

The other side note is the nice thing my friend Kendra said.  It went something like this, "I read your blog.  You are one funny b*tch.  You're like the Chelsea Lately of the block."  Only to me would this be the best compliment EVER.  But, it is.  Thanks, Kendra.  You can call me a b*tch any time you please.  You made my night.

We awoke to head to church on Sunday, where Elizabeth got a big gulp of communion wine and declared, "That's good milk." (Ahhh.  That's my girl.)  We ate our weight in thin crust Domino's pizza for dinner (so much for making my family nutritious - oh well, so you fall off the wagon every now and then), went to bed...

And, another week has begun.  Happy Monday to you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

True Confession

I'm fully aware it's a common name.  But, I still felt like a superstar when I saw this in the store the other day:

No autographs, please.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Field Trip

Yesterday I helped shuttle the Kindergartners to the children's science museum for a presentation on "critters" (there was a much more formal name, but this is how I sum up tarantulas, lizards, snakes and tortoises).  The chaperon experience was exactly what you would expect...  :-/

However, something extraordinary did happen.  Through some kind of sixth-sense about how to make adults uncomfortable, the children asked these questions in quick succession:  "How do you know she's a girl?"  "How does she lay eggs?"  "How come she's never laid eggs?"  The skillful presenter somehow managed to answer all of the questions, and move the conversation on to other topics, without ever once uttering the word "vagina" or giving the kids an impromptu sex-ed course.

I stand in awe of his brilliance.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


We've been skiing!  Have you missed me?  There was a laptop in Breckenridge with us, but there were two things that kept me from blogging.  First, should I really hide behind a laptop and blog when I have the ability to have face-to-face conversations with the very people I blog to keep in touch with?  And, secondly, I'm pretty convinced that blogging about skiing while you're away skiing is the very best way to get your house burglarized.  Yeah, I've watched too much Criminal Minds.  Who wants to say it?  It's very complicated in my head.

But, as I said, we went to Breckenridge over the kids' Winter Break with Shawn's mom (Marie/Toodie); his Aunt Reda & Uncle Bill; their kids Amy & David; and David's wife Anna & baby Cora.  We had a fabulous time.  Anna found us an unbelievable house to rent.  And, except for some exhausting travel on the part of the Arlington family (did you hear about the 11 inches of snow in the Metroplex?!), and some altitude sickness for sweet baby Cora (complete with oxygen treatment), and altitude headaches for the rest of us (complete with whining ;), it could not have been more perfect.

And, coincidentally, Breckenridge is where my sister's kids learned to ski so she was able to give us the name of an unbelievable ski instructor to give lessons to Spencer and Elizabeth.  Honestly, I can not say enough about this beautiful soul.  Her name is Marian Brown (that's Miss Monkey to you), and she has a gift!  If you are in Breckenridge with small kids, you must, must, must get her to teach them - it is worth every penny.  Spencer skied down the mountain six times on the last day we were there, three times during his morning lesson with Miss Monkey and three times with G'Ma, Aunt Reda and me.

Spencer has a very real fear of heights.  He even buckles on steep staircases.  This did not leave us optimistic about the ski lift.  But, Marian had him jumping on and off of that thing like it was a ride at Disney Land.  Did you know that when the ski lift stops it's just because they need to feed peanuts to the elephants that run it?  I did not know that either!

If I could have folded Marian up and taken her home in my pocket, I would have.  (David's classic response to that was, "Remember that when you tip her." :D )

Even Elizabeth skied down the mountain.  But, our sweet wool gatherer was just as interested in playing with her Mardi Gras beads as she was at paying attention to where she was going, so it might be another season or two before she's ready to tackle more than one slope a day...

Beautiful memories.  Beautiful family.  Beautiful blessings.

Spence, Miss Monkey & Lulu

Chairlift - ain't no thang.

A little lift down the mountain

Princess Wave


David, Anna, Toodie, Amy & Reda
aka Fun, Awesome, Amazing Family

Friday, February 12, 2010

Public Restroom Ranking

Let a couple of human beings come out of your body and tell me you've retained the luxury of only using private "facilities".  I'll call you a liar.  Or, try to potty train a toddler and avoid public restrooms.  Impossible.

This has caused me to develop an informal ranking system among the establishments I frequent:

Doctors' offices/hospitals
Restaurants (that I still eat at)
Movie Theaters (before a movie)
Walmart (new one)
Movie Theater (after a movie)
Bed, Bath and Beyond
Walmart (old one)
Hobby Lobby
Restaurants (that I don't eat at anymore)

This has been a public service message.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Making my Family Nutritious

My friend from high school, Brandy (seriously - I have A LOT of Brandys in my life.  I'm going to need one of you to choose a new name), is a nutritionist.  She has started a blog called My Take On Nutrition.  She has no idea what a blessing she is to my family.  Thanks to her my kids have started having protein in the mornings for breakfast, and Shawn has started joining us to have breakfast himself.  My children are also being "tricked" into eating all sorts of healthy things that, for lack of inspiration, I had just given up trying to feed them.  We are certainly far, far, far from doing this perfectly, but now it's a much less daunting task and I feel empowered to at least try.  Baby steps to a healthier family.

Brandy, from the bottom of this mother's heart - thank you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Super Duper Easy Recipe

Pulled Pork 
  • 2 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 36 oz. Head Country Bar-B-Q sauce (This hails from Ponca City, Oklahoma - where Shawn and I lived when we were first married.  But, hallelujah! It's carried in United grocery stores and even Wal-mart now.)
  • 1/2 c. water (my friend Elise uses a can of root beer and says that's awesome, too...)
  • Hamburger buns
  • pickle chips (optional)
  • onions (optional)

Combine sauce and water in crockpot.  Add tenderloin, making sure to cover as much as possible with sauce.  My crockpot seems to cook with thermonuclear fusion, so it only takes 4 - 5 hours on Low.  If you have a more traditional slowcooker, you may need to cook it on High, or 7 - 8 hours on Low.  Just before serving, tear the tenderloin apart with forks, leaving it in the sauce.  Serve on hamburger buns (toasted, if you're feeling gourmet) with pickles and onions, if desired.

My kids even liked this - and that's a hard-to-come-by vote of approval!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Meeting Assistant

Elizabeth came with me to the Parent Board meeting at school this morning.

Location:  Under the conference table.

Those are the meeting minutes...  and, the headmaster's foot.

I love our school!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Betty White

I stinkin' adore Betty White.  Did you see her Super Bowl commercial yesterday?  From the Golden Girls to Bob Hope "Specials" to Boston Legal to Snickers commercials, she was and is a riot.

When she was presented the SAG Lifetime Achievement award, she said during her sweet acceptance speech that she had "had" some of the men in the room.  Seriously.  How do you not love this woman?

She is 88 and she is AWESOME.  I hope I grow old just as gracefully sassy as she has.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

True Confession

I probably think this is funnier than I should:

I especially liked Elizabeth's pronouncement of, "Mommy.  Cinderella's head just fell off."

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Public Service Message

If the temperature in your "beer refrigerator" gets turned to the lowest setting, this will happen:

Notice the bottom of the Diet Coke can that shot off and landed near the Gatorade?  And, fyi, Diet Coke and beer do not smell good when mixed together.

Friday, February 05, 2010


Here's a little secret for you.  I think I'm a bit psychic.  But, it's the most worthless psychic ability ever.

Case in point:
My sister Brandy and I were looking for a store in the Galleria in San Antonio.  We had no idea where the store was located in the mall, so we stopped at one of the entrances to look at the directory.  She waited in the car while I ran in and figured out we needed to enter through Nordstrom's.  As I was walking back to the car, armed with the information, the lyrics "Papa don't preach.  I'm in trouble deep," started running through my head.  I even thought to myself, "Weird.  I haven't thought of that song in a million years."  We drove over to Nordstrom's, went in the store, and the piano player was playing... "PAPA DON'T PREACH"!  I know!  Crazy!  (and, I mean crazy he was playing the song that I had only just thought of for the first time in ten plus years - not crazy that he was playing the piano musical version of "Papa Don't Preach" which was, well... yes... crazy, as well.)

Random occurrences like this happen to me quite a bit.  But, I have absolutely no ability to harness this "talent".  And, anyway, I don't think there's a big market for elevator music predictions or the likes...

P.S.  Lately, the only unexplainable thought I've been having is the number "67".  Anyone know of a hot game of "Pick-A-Number" going on somewhere?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

*Gasp* I might start exercising...

I accidentally exercised today.  If you'll remember from my previous post, I seriously need to exercise - just to be healthy.  Well, my friend Hillary was teaching a Zumba class (think Latin/hip hop dancing simplified for the uncoordinated).  I only went so I could support her.  I could not have been more under-enthused about it.  And, although it involved sweating and jiggling my booty and thighs (two activities I spend a great deal of effort trying to prevent), I had a great time.

They have classes that fit perfectly into my schedule.  I knew a ton of people that were taking the class (always a bonus when you need to laugh at yourself with someone).  There's no contract...

I think I actually might start exercising.  But, next time I think I'm going to wear Spanx.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

My ride home yesterday

What's that black stuff?  (asphalt to fill a pothole.)
What's a pothole?  (a hole in the road.)
Will they have to spray something on it?  (no.  the cars driving over it should smash it down.)
Why are there holes in the road?  (roads just wear out after lots of cars drive on them.)
Will your tire pop?  (old, worn out tires might.)
Are our tires old?  (no.)
Do you have new tires?  (yes.)
Do tires last forever?  (no.)
Do wheels last forever?  (yes. :-/ )
What's that grey thing on wheels?  (hubcaps.)
What's a hubcap do?  (don't know.  it might help hold the tire on.  you'll have to ask daddy.)
What came first, roads or cars?  (cars.  they built roads like this for cars to drive on.  before it was trails for horses and buggies.)
What's a buggy?  (like a stagecoach.  like at the bank building.)
Are those cactuses real?  (yes.)
Is that stagecoach real?  (it's a replica.) 
What's a replica?  (something new that someone built to look like something old.)
What's that?  (scuba diving sticker.)
Why's it on their car?  (guess they want people to know they're a scuba diver.)
What's scuba diving?  (swimming with an air tank so you can breathe through a hose hooked to it and not have to come up for air for a long time.)
Are there fish in that pond?  (don't know.)
Well there are ducks in that pond.  (yes.  there are.)
There's Nanny's car.  (yep.)
Where's Pop's car?  (not here.)
Is Lulu awake?  (don't know.  go find out.)

I felt like I was on a game show.  I was really nervous that at any point he might yell, "You are the weakest link!"  It was exhausting.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

You know you live in a house with children...

... when you go into the guest bath to get a tissue and find it's become a helicopter landing pad.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Greatest Babysitter In The World

As we were driving home from El Paso on Saturday, weary and emotionally drained, this picture came through to us:

three little monkeys...
see you soon!

We love you, Miss 'Cilla.  You make us smile.


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