Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Moving Update: The Kids Like It

I took the kids up to see their new school today. The headmaster took them to the kitchen to raid for warm cookies and he keeps Jelly Bellies on his desk. Ummm... He had them at "cookies."

I'm not sure they even remember the teachers or classmates that they met. Did you not hear the "cookies and Jelly Bellies" part? But, there were classrooms, cafeterias, libraries, gyms, science rooms, computer rooms, orchestra rooms, music rooms, art rooms. They were even given a school t-shirt and shopping bag with the school logo on it!

They are definitely excited. But, of course, the majority of their interactions with people at the school consisted of mumbled "hi's" and an occasional revelation of their name, age or grade or a [prompted-from-Mom] "thank-you" for a compliment or a welcome. (We've done such a fine job with our children's social graces.)

We went to lunch and we saw the new house, too. And, so far, the only conclusions I've heard Spencer draw are these:
  • This new school and house are cool because they both have upstairs and his at home are both just "flat."
  • The queso at Abuelo's is better in the new city.

Now. More about me. I've pinpointed the only point of angst I have with this move.
  • I have an issue. (I know. I know. I shouldn't tee it up so easily. But, focus for a minute, please. I'm trying to make a point.) I like everything to have a place and everything to be in its place. Moving to a new town just throws everything up in the air and you have to wait for it to land in its new "place." And by "it" I mean the four of us, too.
This isn't anything that a little time can't solve. I've always needed to work on my patience anyway.

It is also going to be weird (in a good way!) to have our manic lives slow down. We won't have as many social events because we won't know as many people with whom to socialize! We won't have the kids enrolled in a million extra-curricular activities - because I'm pretty sure we're missing every Spring deadline there is as we speak. And, we won't have regular date nights because we won't have Priscilla. Oh, Priscilla. (Forcing her to move with us is not the right thing to do. Right? Right?!) Ok. I don't want to talk about it anymore.

So, that's where we are. I don't know what more to do than continue on in my present state of denial and wait for the end of the kids' semester to get here. But, Shawn keeps sending me confirmation emails from the movers that our move is "on the books" to begin on Friday, December 17th. He's making it really hard to maintain my theoretical view about this whole thing.

Why didn't anyone tell me I was moving?!

P.S. On a positive note, I did find the Wal-Mart closest to our new house today and a feeling of peace descended upon me... Geez. I can hear you shrieking through the computer. Hush, already. Let me cope in my own ways.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm Thankful for...

... a houseful of family. A houseful of family that you like so much, you're not dying for them to leave by the time they pull out of your driveway. As a matter of fact, you're a little sad to see them go (not just because they're awesome and fun, but because they cook and do dishes, too). *sigh* I miss them already. Even though they are so entertaining, they make it impossible to find the time to blog.

And, are you ready to hate me? These are my in-laws. I have good in-laws.

Here's the break-down:
  • There were seventeen of us.
  • Two under two.
  • Three between the ages of four and seven.
  • One teen.
  • Seven of us that are older than twenty, but don't think we are. (There should have been eight; but, Shawn's cousin was called away to Beijing at the last minute. Wha?! Do they not know Thanksgiving was the day the pilgrims and Indians feasted in the new world?!)
  • And, four matriarchs/patriarchs (That's so much more politically correct than calling them "the old people." They don't like that.)

That batch was comprised of Shawn's brother's family, Shawn's parents, Shawn's aunt and uncle (his mom's sister), their son's family (Their son was the one in Beijing. Did I already say, "Wha?! Come on, Beijing! It's Thanksgiving!"?), their daughter and her boyfriend. 

Shew! That hurt my brain.

Are you ready for more?

My step-sisters and their families - two husbands and five children (Did I just make them sound like an episode of Sister Wives? They're not. They're two separate families. I promise.), came to town to visit my mom and step-dad for the holiday. So they all came to our house for Thanksgiving, too.

That brought the grand total, sitting and eating at our house to....

Drum roll, please...


And, it was fun! And, no one threw pie. Or hid in the bathroom and cried. Or shanked anyone. Seriously.

Although, my brother-in-law did send a couple of kids off to the playroom with their pie... on Wedgwood china. I might have almost shanked him...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random Acts of Culture

I must be emotional, but there were tears streaming down my face by the end of this. And, I really don't know why. Because, really, it's just awesome.

To quote the Creative Minority Report: "Shoppers at the the Macy's in Philadelphia... were surprised when over 600 choristers who were there mingling with regular shoppers suddenly burst into Handel's 'Hallelujah Chorus'... Accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ - the world's largest pipe organ - the singers burst into song at exactly noon."

I don't know if it's the awe on the onlookers' faces. I don't know if it's the fact that such seemingly everyday-looking people can make such a glorious sound. I don't know if it's the dad helping his baby dance in the air to it all. You watch. And, tell me if you get choked up.

(Thanks, Lindl. I needed this.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'd Like a Side of Cardboard with that, Please

I opened the frozen vegetables. I dumped them out. And I found this:
That is a huge chunk of cardboard! CARD.BOARD. Since when is that a stew vegetable?!

And, psssst... I totally put these vegetables in the stew and fed it to my family. Surely any cooties were killed by the freezing and subsequent boiling. It's not like it was a big chunk of anthrax or anything...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Who Taught Her the Alphabet?!

Elizabeth has been studying the letters of the alphabet in her Pre-K class - how to draw them, what they sound like, etc., etc. She's also been learning to spell her name. She loves to tell us that "Elizabef starts with E!"

Unfortunately, Spencer helped her figure out what letter all of our names start with. Why unfortunate, you ask? Well, I answer, because the way she chooses to display her newfound talent (in public and on more than one occasion) is by shouting: "A!... S!... S!... [and then a much quieter] E... That's us!"

Oh. dear.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Moving Update: House(s)

You may not have noticed but this whole "moving" thing is going really fast (or maybe that's just the roaring in my head). So, we made the decision to try to lease a house until we got up there and got the lay of the land. That way we can look before we leap (an odd concept for the Johnsons and homeownership, but one that has been highly recommended so we thought we would give it a try).

Now, when I think of houses available for lease, I think of shanties that have been previously inhabited by no fewer than three college boys and their livestock.

Luckily for me, the housing market sucks right now! Houses, that would have otherwise been sold, have sat long enough on the stagnant market that people are far more willing to lease.

That was the story on the exquisite home we found when we went to look around (and interview at the kids' new school) last Wednesday. Shawn called the owner on Friday (while I tapped my foot impatiently through the entirety of Thursday). And... she had been made an offer to sell. *cue the sad clown music*

In the meantime, we showed our house to some friends on Friday evening... then to some friends of some friends on Saturday... then to a colleague of some friends on Sunday... I swear to you with every ounce of my being that we did not drug, coerce or in any way spellbind these people, but every. single. one of them. made an offer on our house.

Highest bid wins and we're selling our house to our personal friends - which makes me do a little jig of joy. They are darling, darling, darling. And, if I have to give my house to someone else, I'm so glad it's another growing family that will fill it with the sound of kids' laughter. (I'm absolutely aware of how cheesy that is, but, shut up. I'm moving. I'm allowed to be a little bit sappy about the things I love that I'm leaving behind.)

Then, when Shawn got to work on Monday, he had a voicemail that the financing for the house that had been sold right out from under our grubby little leasing hands had fallen through. If we still wanted to lease it, she would love to lease it to us. Ummmm.  Yes, please.

When things work so effortlessly, it's so much easier to feel you've made the right decision.

And, a couple more things I've noticed about moving:
  • My friends don't make me sad - even though the diabolical little wenches try their hardest! I know I will see them. I know I will be back for lunches and parties - we're only moving two hours up the road. And, let's face it, we're all busy, it's not like we all get to see that much of each other at any other times than those anyway.
  • The kids' teachers on the other hand... Every sweet word. Every sweet email. Tears. Every one. How do I take my kids away from such wonderful people who love them so much and have taught them so much? (The answer is that there will be just as wonderful people in the new city who will love and teach my kids. But, I don't want to be bothered with logic right now, thankyouverymuch.)
  • Also, the vultures have started circling around Priscilla. That makes me laugh. (And, proves that my friends are pretty smart.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sara Bareilles - I *heart* you

Keep drinking coffee, stare me down across the table
While I look outside


So let me thank you for your time, and try not to waste anymore of mine
And get out of here fast



Who made you king of anything?
Who died and made you king of anything?



You’re so busy making maps with my name on them in all caps


Who made you king of anything?
Who died and made you king of anything?



Who made you king of anything?
Who died and made you king of anything?

Who made you king of anything?
Who died and made you king of anything?

Let me hold your crown, babe.

(It goes without saying that I'm not talking about Shawn here, right?! Love you, babe! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Battle for the Ages

There is some kind of epic conflict occurring here:
But, I gotta tell ya - it's not looking good for the crew on the red bucket.
I don't think their battering ram is going to be much help against that fire-breathing dragon. And, that cannon is not positioned well. at. all. Never mind that they're already a man down.

The real tragedy, however, is that all of this seems to be nothing more than an exhibition blood-bath for the audience in the "boat." (I was told that was a boat.) The dinosaurs are heartless enough for their apathy to carnage. But, let's be honest. It looks like everyone is the bunny's bitch.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How Many of Me Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?

I don't know the answer to that. But, I do know that the one "me" doesn't seem to have the mental horsepower to get it done.

The lightbulb in my nightstand lamp burned out last night as we were going to bed. Shawn got a new bulb and changed it. He turned it on... and... nothing. He checked to make sure the new bulb wasn't burned out. He tried again. Nothing. I told him to forget about it, it was clearly God's way of telling me to just go to bed.

Shawn got back in bed... and... of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone. I unscrewed the bulb again to see if something had gone awry in the socket. (Come on... you can already see where this is going, can't you?) And, there was "something" in there just rattling around. Well, clearly a lamp can't be expected to function with a "chunk" of something interrupting the process. So... wait for it... I reached in to get it. Ummm. You can't do that so much. There was a SPARK. (I wish I could make those letters more spark-y to emphasis my point.) And, my fingers looked like this:
Oddly, it didn't hurt at all.

Shawn looked at me in disbelief and said, "Babe! You can't do that!" [Well, no kidding.] "When you touch the side and bottom of the socket at the same time, you complete the circuit! You can't just reach in there without unplugging it first!"* [I did not know that. I did not know that at all.]

But, to my credit (Let me have something! I almost died for heaven's sake), although the small chunk seemed to be something that broke off the lamp, the lamp works now! Maybe it just needed to be defibrillated.  And, I did come to my senses and listened to God about JUST GOING TO BED after He used shock treatment to get my attention. I can be a little slow. He knows that... clearly.

So, now, you answer my question. How many of me should I be required to have before I attempt to change my next lightbulb?

*I used exclamation points with all of Shawn's statements because he was being very... emphatic. Like there was a chance I might try it again.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

There's just no cute post title for
"We're Moving"

But, we are! It turns out when your husband is a superstar at what he does, people want him to go do it other places, too. (He would tell me I'm wrong. But, I'm not.) So, we're moving as soon as the kids are out for the Christmas break. He will officially start January 1. Same firm, new office. It's such a mix of emotions.

We love our life here. We love our friends and family. We love our house (please buy our house). We love Shawn's office. We love our school. It breaks our hearts that we're making people sad with our departure. But, we also realize there are only two possible reactions to this: 1) Sadness from dear people who think we are as special to them as they are to us; or 2) A rousing rendition of "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead."

But, the new position is in Shawn's hometown. He said his parents were so excited when he talked to them about it, that there was a chance one or both of them peed a little. (Poor, unsuspecting in-laws. They have no idea how much we like to come over for dinner; and free babysitting; and foot rubs. And, I think my charming irreverence probably gets old after about a week. But, too late. They're stuck with us.)

Also, the powers-that-be sent me flowers congratulating me on the new move. Well played. I like anyone who kisses up to me. Someone go tell them that I like chocolate cashew turtles, too.

The only foreseeable problem of which I can imagine is my inability to interact well with new people. I'm shy. (Shut up. I am.) If I'm not sure someone will appreciate the sarcastic, dry sense of humor that is Ali Johnson, I just give a lot of tight-lipped grins and "what up?" head nods. That just comes across as bitchy. I'm pretty sure a few of Shawn's aunts had that opinion of me for a couple of years. Sadly, that was just me trying to be "respectable."

Luckily, I have one friend up there already (because God knew I needed one)! She has been a dream. Her kids go to the school in which we're hoping to enroll. Her nephew is in Spence's grade! She's been telling me about neighborhoods (buy our house, please). She's hooking us up with a pediatrician. I already love her in an unhealthy, obsessive kind of way.

In the meantime, back at the ranch, I have reached new levels of obsessiveness with cleaning closets and pre-packing. I have determined that Nerf bullets are the bane of my existence. And, I'm going to sign Elizabeth Ann up for an episode of Hoarders.

So, that's the big news from around here. As evidence by yesterday's absence, I keep finding myself lost in the abyss of one project or another. (buy. our. house.) So, don't be worried by radio silence. I promise to check in as often as the voices in my head let me.

Anyway. Here's to new opportunities. Here's to new adventures. And, here's to knowing that our family of four can conquer the world - as long as we do it together.


**Cast your vote: Should I keep this blog a deep, dark secret from the new people and just blog about them all? That could never turn out badly, I'm sure. (I'm kidding, of course! But, I don't think I'll run up there waving a "I BLOG" flag. Geez. Then I really never would make any friends.)

Friday, November 05, 2010

"I'm going to blog that you said that."

Everyone else seems to have an xtranormal.com movie on their blog. So, I want one, too. (And, yes. If they all jumped off a bridge I would want to do that, too.)

Here's a conversation that happened between Shawn and me last night. We were discussing a hole in the bathroom wall where the towel hook was ripped out (by the weight of a seven year old boy hanging on it pulling too hard to get his towel off of it). I finally, finally, finally remembered to buy a patch kit.

This is exactly what the discussion was like. Except that we were in our bedroom. Except that I'm not African-American. Except that Shawn's not redhead and the same size as me. Except that neither of us has a fro. And, I'm pretty sure it takes inflection for the things that we say to be funny. So, just imagine all those things, and this is exactly the conversation we had last night:

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Hysterical Ridiculousness

Don't worry. All of my trials yesterday (seriously. where is that "sarcasm font" when you need it?) did not blind me to the hysterical ridiculousness wonder in the world. Here are some observations for you:
  • I found a freaky, skinny match in the matchbox (when I was getting a match to light a candle to cover the stink from the clogged sink... wait... getting sidetracked...forgetting about "the wonder"...). I even included a normal match so you could compare (because I'm all scientific like that).
I call that one "Laurel" and the other one "Hardy."
  • I heard the song "Papa Don't Preach" followed by "You're the One that I Want" from Grease. Yeah. I was listening to the oldies station, but what of it?! What part of "Papa Don't Preach" and Grease did you not understand? The oldies station is awesome now.
That's a pencil next to it for size reference
(again: I'm all scientific like that).
  • You may rest easy, the term "Bark Nuggets" is in common, everyday usage.
Bark. Nuggets. These two words were always meant to be together.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours

It started yesterday:
  • A glass jar I bought fell out of the car while I was picking the kids up from school. [drat.]
  • Driving to tennis lessons, I missed my exit. [darn.]
  • I took the next exit so I could use the loop-de-loo (yes. that's what it's called) and circle back. The intersection (including loop-de-loo) was completely shut down for overhaul to the overpass. [damn!]
During the night:
  • Spencer awoke with eyes completely swollen shut, red and matted, crying that he "couldn't see" because they were so sensitive to light. This was clearly and obviously pink-eye. Pink-eye for which we had been to the doctor on Monday and been reassured his swollen, goopy eye was from allergies. (To be fair, his eye did look much better while at the doctor's office - so much so, that I apologized for wasting their time.) Yet again, I allowed my maternal instinct to be overruled by someone who is "an authority". When will I ever learn? [crap.]
This morning:
  • I jumped in the car to zoom to the pharmacy while Shawn stayed home with Spence. The lid popped off of my travel coffee mug while I was holding the mug by said lid. Coffee. Everywhere. [$*&#]
  • I got to the pharmacy and they couldn't find the prescription my doctor's nurse had called in. [#@$%]
  • They found the prescription! And... they're out of that drop. "It will be in the next shipment that's coming in an hour." [#&%$@!$#&*$%]
  • I got home to send Shawn (who was being so nice to me it was making me nervous - maybe I'm closer to snapping than I think...) on to work. I realized my car had been keyed. [Is that my maniacal laughter?]
  • The kitchen sink is clogged. The plumber can come tomorrow.
         [#&%$@!$#&**&^ @#*&^@&^%$#]

Ok. That's enough of that pity party. I shall now force myself to see the glass half-full:
  • The jar only cost $10.
  • We arrived at tennis safely, and got a lovely scenic tour of the airport.
  • It's just pink-eye.
  • Don't cry over spilled coffee. Too cheesy. How about, it was time for a carwash anyway and until then at least my car smells like Starbucks?
  • The pharmacist knows me and was clearly working hard to take care of us. That included a call to my cell phone the moment the shipment arrived. (Going in month after month for that birth control all those years really worked out in my favor today!)
  • At least I have a car to be keyed. (And someone else has really screwed up their own karma - that's vengeance enough for me).
  • We get to eat out tonight!

Honestly, y'all? I feel better after finding the glass-half-full scenarios to this day. You should try it.

(But, if you hear about a lady going berserk in a parking lot somewhere later today - come quick.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

One for the Grandparents

Ok. Seriously, people. If you are not related to our family, I give you permission to look away. I mean, my kid is cute and all, but even wouldn't ask you to endure iPhone video of her Children's Church Choir performance.

Now. For those of you who know The Lulu, please be prepared for greatness. This was a church choir performance a few weeks ago. I'm not sure why the footage gets so bright at random times during the song. (Those must be the parts that God likes. Or the mother that scooted right in front of me and wouldn't sit still. po-tay-to. po-tah-to.) And, I'm not sure why EA seems to be the only one doing "motions."

But, seriously. Look at this girl. Is there any doubt she would be doing "motions?"

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween Night Busy Work

I was left at home last night to hand out candy while Shawn took the kids trick-or-treating. This was necessary, according to Shawn, so we wouldn't be "the lame house."

I took the opportunity to clear out the "candy cabinet" to make way for the new booty that was being collected.

After I showed no mercy and dumped the entire content of the "candy basket" into the trash, I dug back deep. And, this is what I came up with:

I now present I Spy: Old Candy.*
Do you see...
Petrified cotton candy - in the colors of pink and blue;
Seven Pez dispensers (though you can't tell who is who)!
An almost empty jumbo bag of Twizzlers candy treats;
And an Easter egg that avoided attack - a regular Easter feat!
And, just like the stores, we've already got your Christmas candy, too.
Though, ours is ten months old... and gross; not bright or shiny or new:

There's an open and spilling candy cane of M&M chocolate bits;
And, a poor, forgotten, chocolate Claus who looks like he's suffering fits.
And, finally there are candy canes that look like they've been to Hell.
But, it can't be all bad, 'cause look, right there! There's a festive jingle bell!

Lest you worry that my children are being deprived the chance to tango with Type II Diabetes, here's what we have after one night of trick-or-treating:

And, let's face it. We're Johnsons. Marathon trick-or-treating isn't really in our constitutions. Yet, we still managed to bring in that much of a haul. This is unreasonable. Oh well. At least I can rest easy that, in ten months, 3/4 of it will still be sitting here. Petrified.

I guess it's easier to understand how so much candy was attained when I look at this picture:
I mean, who could resist these two?!

*I was inspired by my friend Mandi. She did this on her blog. It's a happy way to look at the chaos in your life!


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