Friday, April 30, 2010


The Kindergartners had a Mexican Fiesta today!  They've been studying Mexico and celebrated the completion of the unit with a Mexican-style celebration.  They dressed in Mexican garbs, put on a program of songs sung in Spanish (¡muy precioso!), watched a real mariachi band, showed us their artwork, crushed some piñatas and had Mexican food for lunch. ¡Aye aye aye!



Some of we moms even got in on the act:
Señora y Señorito Johnson

But, then the party ended and we parents had to rush back to life in the real world.  And, FYI:  Dressed up for Mexican Fiesta while at the kids' school - cute.  Dressed up for Mexican Fiesta while at Wal-Mart - not cute.

Have a wonderful weekend.  (or rather... Tiene un maravilloso fin de semana.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Easter Bunny from Hell

We just received this picture in the mail from the Easter celebration at our country club.  Honest to goodness, I think I should submit it to

This photo has not been altered in any way.  The authentic 1960s feel is genuine - I think it's a combination of the gold sheer curtains, the burgundy chair and the horrifying clashing effect of my children's finery.

Now, why I allowed my children to sit on the lap of a man-eating rabbit that is clearly suffering from mange, I'm not sure.  And, I don't remember feeling that Elizabeth was in mortal danger, but I think I probably should have.  That thing was obviously moments from biting her head off - the flash must have distracted him just long enough to allow her to escape.  Sadly, it looks like Spencer was fully aware of the perilousness of the situation.

This is just cruel parenting at it's finest.

*chink, chink*  A few more dimes for the therapy fund.  "...and I remember this time that my mom made me sit on this horrifying, dirty bunny and she told us we couldn't hunt for eggs if we didn't smile and let someone take a picture..."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Attack of the Killer Seedling

Ok.  I know I'm obsessing about this thing.  But, now I'm worried that it's gone on the offensive.



I mean, seriously.  Should I kill it while I still have the upper-hand?  (and, did I turn off that light switch, or did it?)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An entry for the grandparents

Since, ostensibly, I keep this blog to keep in touch with our loved ones that we don't get to see as regularly as we would like (well, that, and to provide a forum for me to vent all the nonsense clouding my brain so that Shawn doesn't have to listen to it - but, I digress...), I should probably give a shout-out to some of the stuff the kids have had goin' on:

Spencer's basketball season came to an end with a trophy ceremony!
...with his buddies from school, John David, Harrison and Trevor.
(And my friend Mary will be quick to tell you that I cropped out the rest of the team and only left our friends.  Yeah, well... I had limited range with my camera phone.  Whadaya gonna do?)

Elizabeth had Tricycle Rodeo!
...complete with rodeo events.
Ride 'em cowgirl!

Spencer had a violin recital!
He turned red to the tips of his ears, but he performed like a champ!
He was so proud of the applause (and so proud to be done),
he was fairly about to burst!

So, there you have it.  That's what's been happening in our neck of the woods.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Photographer's Guilt

At least I've found something new to feel guilty about, because the old things were getting a little boring...

I have lots and lots of pictures of other people that I've taken at family gatherings and school events that I've never sent out.  These pictures date back to, oh, well... January.

Here's how it goes down in my mind when I take a picture of someone that is not Elizabeth, Spencer or Shawn:  I take the picture then worry that I haven't sent the picture.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  I could come straight home and download the picture(s) and send them straight on.  But, what if I need to photoshop it a little bit?  I wouldn't want my reputation as an absolutely talentless amateur photographer to be damaged!  So then I just wait til I have some extra time to get to the photoshopping.  That time lies somewhere between never and when-pigs-fly.

But, I've reached the point where I see something picture-worthy happening and I've actually thought about NOT taking the picture because I can't handle the stress of NOT sending anymore pictures to adoring mothers/fathers/grandmothers/grandfathers/aunts/uncles.

So, I had to say "enough is enough."  The people who care about these pictures would probably just like to have them - perfect or not.  And, I did it.  I downloaded the pictures (so, so many pictures) from family gatherings and school events onto Kodak Gallery and sent them on their merry ways.  If there is photoshopping to be done, it's going to have to happen on the other end.

It's so complicated in my brain.

Friday, April 23, 2010

While the other kids were planting seeds...

...Elizabeth must have found an old cow to trade for magic beans.

I will send each of you a golden egg as soon as we get the goose from the giant's castle.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sick Day

Spence couldn't sleep last night because he had a "headache".  He felt feverish to me, too, (Yes, I said "felt".  I've been in this game long enough to know that, unless my hand actually catches fire when I touch their foreheads, it's just easier to proclaim fever than try to read a thermometer in the middle of the night...) so - since I've finally succumbed to the cough that the kids have been trying to share with me for two weeks now (such thoughtful little angels) - I decided it would be a perfect day to have a lazy "sick day" at home.
Well, this is how a sick day goes when you're a Mommy.
  • Be awakened at 6:15 by your son who has completely rallied and announces that he's all well and ready to go to school.  Tell him no, it's a "sick day" to make sure he's all better and he needs to go back to bed and "sleep in".  Yeah, right.
  • Sleep in just long enough that the kids are sure to go to school and tell their teachers that they have to take care of themselves in the mornings because Mommy won't wake up (and however they say it, it's sure to make Mommy sound like a drunk).
  • Wake to help your three-year old practice riding her behemoth tricycle around the garage for the Tricycle Rodeo at school the next day.  Realize she can't.  Flip out and wonder who in the world can lend you a tricycle for tomorrow - whose own child won't be riding it in the aforementioned Tricycle Rodeo.
  • Fold the laundry that's still not done from "Laundry Day" two days prior.
  • Empty the dishwasher.  Reload the dishwasher.
  • Dress the children.
  • Feed the kids lunch and get them down for nap, so...
  • You can take the three-year old to hang with Nanny (who subsequently saves the day by bringing the easy-to-ride tricycle from her own house) while...
  • You and the six-year old go to school so he doesn't miss out on decorating the class project for Spring Fling (An item that will be auctioned to the parents at our annual spring fundraiser.  Item decorated by your child and their classmates?  And you're bidding against the other parents in their grade?  Can anyone say "cha-ching"?)
  • Help with the decorating mayhem.
  • Read to the kindergartners during their library time because it's your assigned day.
  • Pick up three-year old from Nanny.
  • Take kids to their first swim lesson.
  • Go to dinner with sister who's visiting from out of town where you meet your new nephew for the first time but are unable to hold, kiss or snuggle with him because...

There's no rest for the wicked.  And, the righteous don't need it.

I think it's fairly clear that I'm wicked.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. De Mille!

OK.  Remember the March of Dimes fundraiser I told you about?  It was actually a fashion show.  It was my debut as a model - and I can't for the life of me figure out why I haven't been signed to an exclusive contract with an agency yet...

Honestly, this is not my first time walking.  Nor was the path we took on a balance beam.  I have no idea why I look like I can't keep my balance.  Could this possibly be what I think a model looks like?!
Ummm.  Ali?  It's not...

Hey, "Crazy Eyes"!

OK, Happy.  It may be time to step away from the open bar...

Some of my girls.  Seriously, I have got to get some uglier friends.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Seriously. Has someone been building an ark?

...because I would have really liked to have had a spot reserved last Friday.  It rained, and rained, and rained some more on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  We got 4.5" over those three days.  This for a town whose average rainfall in our wettest month is 2.98".

And, the flooding was the least of our problems.  My bangs were a crime against humanity.

This made me m.a.d. The picture doesn't do justice to just how hard it was raining. And, that's our American flag. So, yeah. I went inside and told them it shouldn't be flying in the rain.
I really have become that woman.

But, on the bright side, I now have a lakehouse!
(because this is my backyard.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Amazing Johnson Family

I've been suspicious of something for a couple of years now.  But, lately it's becoming very clear to me that the kids are training to make a circus act of our family.

(September 2008)


They even have the animals in on the act.

Obviously, Shawn would be the Strong Man.  So, I think it's painfully clear that I'm going to be asked to be the Freak Show.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

March of Dimes

I'm participating in a March of Dimes fundraiser tomorrow because, unlucky me, I'm the mom of a preemie.  This is a club I wish no one would ever have to join.  Thus, I support the March of Dimes and their efforts to help identify and prevent the causes of birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

I don't have the words to describe the horror when your tiny, blue baby is whisked away after his birth. (Scratch that.  I do have the words.  They just very rarely come unaccompanied by tears).  I like this quote for that very reason:
"Light griefs are loquacious, but the great are dumb." -Lucius Annaeus Seneca
And, I don't have the words to describe the overwhelming sense of gratitude, awe-filled disbelief and feeling of undeserved blessing as I watch that baby grow into a big, healthy, average kid (and, if you ask us, above-average).  So, I'll just praise God for his mercy and praise the work of the March of Dimes - even if they keep just one baby from being born too soon.

Here are the pictures I found for tomorrow.  Some that show where we've been and some that show how far we've come.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our Acolyte

Our school begins each day with a chapel service.  The kids are the acolytes.  They start acolyting the Spring semester of Kindergarten and there are four on any given day.  Today was Spencer's turn.

He could not have been more excited.  We had to be at school a little early so he could get in his robes and practice (with our wonderful chaplain, Paige).  So, we set our alarm clocks 15 minutes early.  He came bounding into our room, fully dressed, with the biggest smile you've ever seen.

They were also taking the CTBS (California Testing of Basic Skills) test this morning.  It was quite a monumental day.  So much so, that Spence thought he better have two scoops of peanut butter with his cereal.  (Yeah.  Yeah.  I let my kids eat peanut butter off a spoon at breakfast.  It's the only way I can get them to eat protein without gagging.  Don't judge me.)

I'm afraid if Spence had asked Shawn "Is it time to leave yet?" one more time this morning, he might not have lived to see his first acolyting duties.

But, he was so proud.  And, we were so proud.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meeting Ashley

We took a road trip to Garden City, Kansas this weekend to meet our new great-niece, Ashley Alexandra (I somehow feel adamantly opposed to be being called a great-aunt, though...)  Shawn's brother's daughter, Kristen had her two and a half weeks ago (and, I continued to marvel that she didn't sit in a corner, rock and cry at any point during our visit - unlike me two and a half weeks after giving birth).  Ashley wasn't in anyone's plans, but she is darling and precious and sweet and wonderful - and clearly a gift from God.  So, just like all the times life throws curve balls, our family will keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing what needs to be done. We'll say loads of prayers for each other and put all our faith in the fact that God has only the best in mind for all of us.  And we will be oh so thankful for the beautiful gift of Ashley.  We couldn't adore her more.

I asked Spence if I could leave him in Kansas and take Ashley home with us - kind of like a trade.  He said no.  So, I came home with the same two kids I left with.  And, I won't be facing any federal charges of kidnapping and crossing state lines.  I guess that's probably a good thing.

The Johnson clan
Elizabeth, G'Pa (David), Kristen, G'Ma (Marie), Little David, Spencer, Will, Shawn and Ashley!

It always amazes me to see newborn babies anymore, now that mine are so very far removed from newborns. Without fail I think, "This might be the tiniest baby I've ever seen." And, without fail, they always weigh somewhere around three pounds more than Spencer did at his smallest. Three pounds isn't that much... unless it's half your body weight. Case in point: Ashley weighs 7 lbs. 11 oz. - while looking like the tiniest baby I've ever seen. There was a point in Spencer's life when he weighed 4 lbs. 11 oz.  I think it must fall under "selective memory".

On the way back we hit the Liberal, Kansas Mid-America Air Museum.  It was cool.  There is a plane just like the one Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens went down in "The Day the Music Died".  There is the only remaining Osprey airplane that was one of three experimental planes built during the Vietnam War.  There are helicopters and bombers and so many more planes than I have the knowledge or vocabulary to describe to you.  It's unbelievable that they're all just sitting there in Liberal, Kansas.

However, this is our second stop in Liberal to visit the Air Museum and it is not passing my attention that Shawn is refusing to take me to Dorothy's House (from the Wizard of Oz), also located in Liberal.  Rude.

Watch out world.  If these two ever get some rotor blades on their helicopter, they'll be a force to be reckoned with.

Anyhoo... Home again, home again, jiggity jog...  And another week has begun.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I've hesitated to tell you about Priscilla because I don't think I can do it justice.  But, I'm gonna give it a whirl...

We have a babysitter.  Sure, I guess you could call her that.  She sits with the babies.  She makes dinner. She does dishes. She empties trash. She runs to the grocery store. (No, you may not have her number.)  But, she is so much more to us.  She's our "Miss 'Cilla".  She is a part of our family.  She loves our kids.  Truly loves them.  She comes to every visitors' day at EA's dance class.  She comes to all of Spence's basketball/soccer/t-ball games.  She has been to every violin recital - and if you've ever been to a violin recital, you know... it's 1% your kid and 99% other people's kids playing stringed instruments - remedially.  :-/  She takes them for playdates when they have a day off school.  She misses us when we travel.

But, along with all of that, she's our friend.

She's the little sister neither of us ever had.  When I was in Kindergarten, I came home one day crying and crying to my mom.  I told her I had prayed that God would give us a baby in a basket like Barney and Betty got Bam-Bam (see a theme for my life here?!) and it had been two days and we still didn't have one!  She kindly told me that's not how you get a little brother or sister.  Well, do I have news for you, Mom!  It did work!  She didn't come in a basket and it took 25 years, but God did bring me a little sister - and she showed up right on my doorstep.

That falls so woefully short of doing justice to our love for this girl.  But, you get the idea.

(Yep.  That's Spence.  Even I'm shocked at how long ago this was...)

Easter 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


This picture came home in Spencer's bag.  It's a self-portrait.

My heart sank.  I wondered if I knew anyone who would know the name of a good child psychologist so we could delve to the bottom of why my son felt compelled to draw a picture of himself with his face scratched out.  And, I listened with half an ear for the telephone to ring with his teacher asking for a conference.  I mustered all the nonchalance I could and said to him, "Hey, Spence?  Did you draw this picture of yourself?"

He said, "Yeah.  I'm a football player."

Well, of course you are.  Maybe I'm the one who needs counseling.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

What You're Doing Matters

My sister sent this to me in an email with the word, *gulp*. *Gulp*, indeed.

"And my greatest hope for you, sweet child, is that I can teach you how to write a good one."

Never forget:  What.  You're.  Doing.  Matters.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter Holiday

We had Friday and Monday off from school for the Easter holiday.  We've actually had a great time together - I'm not even counting down the hours until school starts tomorrow.  ;)  The kids have finally reached the ages where they're just fun.  They require so much less maintenance.  Being able to load up in the car without a U-Haul trailer full of accessories makes experiences so much more pleasurable.

Friday they helped me deliver some things to the church, then we had a lunch date with Daddy.  Friday night they had a "slumber party" at Nanny and Pop's while Shawn and I were finally able to go out with some friends we've been trying to get to dinner with for more than a year.

The kids were returned early Saturday so we could go to an Easter egg hunt followed by lunch with friends.  They dyed eggs with Miss 'Cilla Saturday night while Shawn and I took in Clash of the Titans at the movie theater.  (I thought it was good.  Shawn thought it was "cheesy to quite cheesy - but good."  You'll have to interpret that review on your own - I'm not even sure if it's positive or negative...)

Sunday we awoke to find the eggs the Easter bunny had hidden around our house, headed off to church and more Easter egg hunting, and completed the festivities with brunch.

You didn't think you'd get out of this post without having to see some Easter pictures, now did you?

This is a man on a mission and girl with some serious booty.

And, this was waiting for Daddy to come pick us up in the car after brunch.
I think the title of this is "All in.  All done."

Today we went to Toys R Us so the kids could spend some gift card and piggy bank money.  I didn't have an ounce of dread in my heart as we headed out on our adventure.  This has never been the case with shopping expeditions.  We all must be getting more mature (and mellow).  We're gonna wrap up the day with a "mini" family date night before we start back to school tomorrow (that just means an early dinner out and a short movie on the DVD player).

So, those are the highlights.  I tried not to bore you with details about trips to the gym and grocery store, time spent picking up the house, cooking meals, taking naps, attending lessons...  All in all I would say this has been a long weekend filled with some wonderfully ordinary days.

One more Easter pic:
This one cracks me up.
Spencer - not a fan of having pictures taken (like father, like son).
Elizabeth - scared to death the wind will blow her hat off.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Funny Spencer story

Spencer is our thinker.  He's our cautious child.  He often seems wise beyond his years (then he makes a burping joke and the moment passes).  He is a gentle giant.  He detests being the center of attention.  Remember this story?  Elizabeth is more than happy to step in and fill the entertainment void.  Therefore, most of our funny stories revolve around Lulu - Spence is just laughing along with us.

That's why I can not get this story out of my head:

At school they have a fleece jacket that can be worn as part of the daily uniform.  Spence loves his fleece.  Mainly, because he can take it off when he gets hot without messing up his hair (his hair which some of the Kindergarten girls tell him they like.  :-/  ), unlike the sweatshirt.

Well, our fleece went missing a week ago (spoiler alert: it was in the hamper) and, after much searching (everywhere but the hamper) we couldn't find it anywhere.  One morning we were standing in the hallway putting our stuff away in our cubby when my friend Amy came out of her son's classroom across the hall.  I thought she might be standing near the "Lost and Found" box and asked her if she saw it.  She said she did and I asked if our fleece was in it.  She said no, just a jacket.  I said, "No worries.  It's got a tag in it that says 'Johnson'.  If someone finds it, I'm sure they'll return it."

At this point, Spencer looks at her with all the seriousness a six-year-old can muster and says, "It's J-O-H-N-S-O-N." He said it very skeptically, too, like he had assessed the situation, determined that Amy might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, and may need a little help knowing what exactly she was supposed to be looking for in that "Lost and Found" box.

Amy and I now greet each other with "It's J-O-H-N-S-O-N."  And, at a birthday party this past weekend, Amy came over and told me J-O-H-N-S-O-N was sitting by her daughter, R-E-A-G-A-N.  (I bet Reagan likes his hair...).

The beloved fleece.  And, oh!, that hair! ;)


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