Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The month of December has been chock full o' blessings...and the page on the calendar hasn't even been turned yet.  It always feel strange to begin a calendar for the new year...everything about it feels odd.  The pictures aren't the same style, the font is different, it's squares aren't full of activity, and the new year just looks "odd" to me.  2010 just seems foreign.  Okay, that is enough about my new calendar...I am sure that our relationship will grow over the coming months.  Just in time for me to welcome my 2011 calendar.  {grin}

I managed to choose the least horrible picture of our four little men for a Christmas card.  Don't misunderstand, the Johnson boys are incredibly handsome and photogenic.  We have such amazing individual shots of them.  Getting a terrific photo of the four of them is much like nailing Jell-o to the wall.  If you have more than one child, you know what I am talking about.  Caleb is drooling, Luke is crossing his eyes and sticking out his tongue, Sam is looking at a squirrel across the yard, Matthew is sticking his finger up his nose, or my favorite - when we ask the "big" boys to "hold" their little brothers, someone always ends up in a choke hold.  So, it's rare to get a good pic of all 4 boys.  I figure anyone getting our Christmas card this year understands our situation, and they'll have to laugh along with us.  Speaking of the Christmas card, this year I was so on top of things.  I ordered the cards early, wrote the letter in record time, and then failed to buy postage stamps for the next 3 weeks!  Go figure.  Getting to the post office is not high on my priority list, I suppose.  {grin} They finally got mailed on December 22nd. 

We buy only three gifts each for the boys, so shopping would seem easy.  However, when you get a few gifts, you have to choose wisely.  I managed to get it nearly completed in one full day.  Whew!  Now, we are just preparing for Jesus' birthday party.  Gotta bake a cake & get out the party hats!  Then we'll make final preparations for our family who is visiting from out of town tomorrow.  Can't wait to see them!   It is the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

We Survived Thanksgiving

Once again, we loaded up the tribe and pointed the mighty mini-van northward to Indiana.  The past few years, we have celebrated Thanksgiving with our extended family in the Hoosier State and then stayed home for Christmas.  It allows us to remain in our pajamas until at least lunch time, take our time in reading the story of Jesus' birth (we read from a "grown up" Bible and a children's Bible), open our gifts leisurely (Sam struggles with this part...he gets incredibly excited {grin}), sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and blow out the candle on His cake, and then enjoy a big holiday meal together.  All without the stress of having to rush out the door with bags in hand.  It's one of the best decisions we've made as parents.  In spite of missing our extended families, it just feels right for our little family.  So, we make the trek to Indiana for Thanksgiving to be with our loved ones.

Traveling with four little men ages 6 and under is madness.  Our parents live just over an hour away from one another and both live in very small houses.  After all, they are empty nesters.  My mom always makes a comment about how small their space is ...and I always reassure her by saying something like, "This house works perfectly for you and dad 98% of the time.  When my family invades your space, we swallow it up."  It's true...we are a tribe of 6!  So, when you take four little men out of their normal routine, strap them in a car seat for 4 hours, give them a "nap" while en route, and then put them in an unfamiliar place to sleep for the night.  Trouble is bound to come!  For the most part, it's fine.  However, it's exhausting to shuffle things around: suitcases, pack and plays, diapers, clean clothes, dirty clothes, cameras (to capture the images of memories being made), coats and hats, and at least a million other items.  We had planned our time to maximize the fun and minimize the disruption...or so we thought.  It seems that something always happens to mess up our well-laid plans.  {grin}  Caleb struggled a bit with his asthma, his breathing was rapid and he was wheezing. Thank God that I felt the "nudge" to pack the nebulizer machine in our suitcase.  We needed it.  Brad and I were able to handle it, and it felt good to know what to do.  He was up several times throughout the night.  I gave him breathing treatments and prayed over him.  Such peace comes from knowing that when your little one is sick, you can call on God for help and healing.  He is faithful to hear and answer prayer.  I am so grateful to know that God loves my boys even more than Brad and I do.  Amazing.

So, we ate (a lot), we drove (a lot), enjoyed being with our family (a lot), enjoyed a lunch with our youth-ministry friends (a lot), and then we headed home.  We made some sweet memories along the way, too.  I treasure the opportunities for our boys to spend time with Brad's grandfather...he loves watching them and gets a kick out seeing their latest "tricks."  {grin} In fact, we were so busy making memories, that I didn't take a single picture!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lukey Boy

That's how Luke prefers to be addressed these days, "Lukey Boy."  I indulge him because I think it's adorable and I love him so.  {grin}  It seems as if my little boy is growing quickly these days...not physically, but socially, emotionally, and academically.  He is better able to put words to his emotions...."I am very sad."  "He is making my angry."  "Sam, stop.  I don't like that."  This is helpful in so many ways - we're better able to meet his needs and he feels "heard" and understood.  Fewer tantrums and better's a beautiful thing.  Socially, he is less fearful of strangers these days.  As a matter of fact, he is down right friendly to them.  He has no issues with announcing his name to someone and then proudly introducing them to me..."I am Lukey Boy and this is Mommy."  He has nearly mastered sharing and taking turns.  When the boys wrestle with Brad, Luke is quick to "cheer" on his brothers while he waits patiently for his turn.  Sweet heart.  {contented sigh}  Academically, he has come from out of nowhere lately!  I have not started any formal homeschooling with him yet.  I thought we'd spend this year snuggling and reading extra books before nap time while Sam is at school.  After all, he has never had much "alone" time with me...and he is only three.  Imagine my surprise when he began to write his name a few weeks ago.  I took at picture of the second attempt.

He has been writing like mad lately.  He has written his grandparents names, Mom, Dad, Caleb, Sam...Matthew is apparently too long. {snicker}  Just tonight he wrote the alphabet from A-Q on our deck before dinner...only stopping because I asked him to come in to eat.  What a smart boy he is!  It's so fun when things start "clicking" with a young learner.  It's exciting!  Lukey Boy loves that he can recognize letters and some words...and Daddy and I love it, too. 

Sweet Sam wrote Lukey Boy this letter after he successfully wrote his name.  It says, "Dear Luke, Good job on writing your name!"

Lukey Boy, we are proud of you!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We Lived to Blog About It...

Whenever one of our children gets sick, I breathe a prayer asking God to not allow all of our boys to be sick at the same time.  It's been a personal fear of mine since adding the twins to the family.  I just can't begin to imagine how Brad and I would care for all four of them at once.  Images of me having not showered for days, wearing holey pajamas, and my hair standing on end come to mind...oh, wait...that isn't so hard to imagine.  {snicker}

Last week, the inevitable happened.  It began with Caleb.  He had sneezed a few times before he went to bed on Wednesday night and then woke up Thursday morning with a runny nose.  By lunchtime, he was sounding "breathy" (like he was breathing more rapidly than normal), so I gave him a breathing treatment.  I prayed and then put him down for his afternoon nap.  When he woke up, I checked his respiration rate (I'm fairly certain that low 30's is normal for a little guy his size - and anything over 40 would be cause for concern) - it was 46.  He was beginning to sound "wheazy."  I gave him another breathing treatment and called our pediatrician's office.  I made an appointment that would allow me to get Sam from the bus and then jet to the office to see the doctor.

I called Brad at his office to let him know what was going on.  He suggested that I call a babysitter to stay with the other boys so I wouldn't have to take everyone.  I love that man!  So, the sitter arrived and off we went.  The doctor saw him and suggested another breathing treatment...not much help.  She took some blood for evaluation, she checked his blood oxygen level, did a chest x-ray...and ultimately, decided to send us to the hospital.   She suspected Caleb had viral pneumonia.  The doc went to write hospital orders for us.

Brad was in class (we only have one cell phone - and I had it), so I called the seminary's switchboard to see if someone could get a message to him.  The person who answered explained that they couldn't leave and there was no one to deliver a message to Brad.  I cried.  Then, I called my friend, Jodie.  She always seems to know just what to say and do.  She told me how sorry she was and then quickly volunteered to go to my house (taking her own 2 kiddos with her) to relieve the sitter and put my little ones to bed.  I love her and my kids love her, too.  I was worried for Caleb - but, now had total peace about my boys at home.  Moments later, the cell phone rang.  It was Brad! {grin}  Someone had delivered a message to him!  God is so good!  We talked for a minute - exchanging concerns and plans for the evening.  Brad would go home to be with the other boys and I would go to the hospital with Caleb.

As I drove to the hospital, I called my parents to let them know what was happening.  My mom said, "Do you want Dad and I to come tonight or early in the morning?"  I love that my parents don't hesitate to help us when we need them.  Such a blessing.  We agreed that there was nothing they could do that night, so they would leave to make the four hour drive the following morning.

Caleb and I arrived at the hospital, parked in the large parking garage, and made our way to the pediatrics unit.  They immediately got to work registering us, getting Caleb into a little baby hospital gown {pitiful sight}, and then started an IV.  He would get some extra fluids, potassium, and antibiotics through this tube connected to his little hand. {another pitiful sight}  The nurses were kind...but, Caleb and I were grumpy.  We hadn't eaten dinner and it was past Caleb's bedtime.  We were getting settled into our room when a respitory therapist came to give Caleb another breathing treatment.  She hooked him up to the pulse/ox monitor (via a little probe taped to his toe) and then called the doctor to ask about oxygen.  She came back to place a little nasal canula in his nose and start the oxygen. {yet another pitiful sight}  It's a good thing that we liked this therapist, because she would be back every 2 hours through the night for another breathing treatment.  Caleb and I did not sleep much.  I was able to keep my cool...but, I was worried for Caleb, I missed my husband, and I missed my other boys.  I spent much of the night praying for my little man and thinking of all of the other mommy's sitting by the bedside of their sick little ones.

The sun finally began to rise and our pediatrician arrived soon after.  He told me that Caleb was a very sick little guy and that it would take some time for the meds to turn things around.  Brad arrived just after breakfast with a bag of things for me.  He stayed to hang out with Caleb while I showered.  Relief!  It was wonderful to see my hubby and terrific to get a shower and change clothes!  Brad left for work and Caleb and I just hung out.  He was tired, restless, and tethered to the machines by cords attached to his body.  It was hard to keep him happy.

Just before noon, my cell phone rang.  It was just out of my reach - and Caleb had just fallen asleep in my arms, so I let it go to voicemail.  I knew that my parents and Brad both had the direct number to the hospital room, and they would call if they needed me.  Turns out, it was Sam's school calling me to come pick him up.  Poor little guy had gotten sick and school.  After a round of phone calls, I had given the school verbal permission for my dad to pick Sam up.  He had a high fever and felt miserable.  I was so torn - wanting desperately to be in two places at once.  My mom snuggled with him, gave him plenty of liquids, and kept him medicated with ibuprofen to reduce the fever.  Soon after, Matthew would spike a fever, too.  It was incredibly difficult to feel pulled in so many directions.  I just kept praying that God would bring healing to my boys and peace to my heart.  Sure enough, He did!

We continued with round the clock breathing treatments, IV fluids and antibiotics, oxygen, and added percussions on his back to break up the "gunk" in his lungs.  He was restless and just not feeling well.  It was a full-time job to try to keep Caleb content.  We read more books than I would have ever thought humanly possible, sang more children's songs than I thought I knew, and cuddled so much that even my "needy boy" was satisfied.  The most difficult thing about our hospital stay was the "rages" brought on by the oral steroid he was taking.  It was tough to watch him just get so angry and frustrated that he simply couldn't control his emotions.  It happened once or twice - usually at night.  During these "roid rages" there was no comforting him.  I just held him close and whispered Scripture in his ear.  It was exhausting for both of us.{sigh}

Saturday, Brad came to the hospital to stay with Caleb so I could go home to see our other boys for a bit.  It was so good to see them - they all greeted me at the door with shouts of "Mommy!"  It did my heart good to see them...but, it was so hard to leave them a few hours later.  Sam tearfully asked if I could, "just go get Caleb and come home."  So sad.

I made my way back to the hospital and visited with Brad for a few minutes.  After he had gone, Caleb and I snuggled into my hospital bed for a bit.  The nurse came in to unhook his IV - and switched us to an oral antibiotic.  I was so encouraged!  After Caleb's next breathing treatment, the respitory therapist felt confident in removing the oxygen.  Dinner arrived shortly afterward (one nice benefit to the hospital stay - meals delivered three times daily!) and I managed to find some things Caleb would eat.  I gave Caleb a sponge bath and hoped we'd settle in for a better nights rest.  Our pediatrician arrived to check on him (docs come twice daily - morning and evening) and said his lungs sounded great!  He asked if we'd like to go home...I laughed in disbelief and asked if he was kidding.  He told me that Caleb sounded much better and we could give him the care he needed at home, where he would rest better.  I nearly did a cartwheel!  I just kept saying, "Praise God!  Praise God!"  The nurse removed the IV (although it had been unhooked earlier), disconnected the monitor, and began the paperwork for our discharge.  After getting instructions for his care at home from our doc, I dressed Caleb and packed our bag.  We were both a little giddy as we left the hospital.  It was 8:00 pm - an hour past his bedtime and he was asleep before we left the parking garage.

When we arrived at home, Caleb was a little unsettled - I think it was a combination of exhaustion, re-entry, and the steroids.  He snuggled a bit with my mom (his "Gran") and then went to bed in his own crib.  Sweet sight, for sure.  Doctors orders required breathing treatments every 4 hours for the next 3 days.  Medications were dispensed at several different times each day. It was like being in the hospital, only we had become the nurses & therapists.  The oral steroids and inhaled steroids combined were incredibly powerful.  His breathing improved dramatically, but he was wired!  His pupils remained fully dilated for days, his behavior was more aggressive, and his appetite was enormous. .  I am so thankful that Brad was willing to share the middle of the night breathing treatments with me.  Caleb usually ended up sleeping through all of the commotion.

We follow up in a few days with a chest x-ray to be sure the pneumonia is gone.  But, for now, we are just savoring every day we have with our healthy boy.  I was too busy to take pictures at the hospital - and my hands were full with my sweet baby boy.  I did manage to get a few as we were leaving.
For some reason, I am having trouble posting pics right now...we'll try again later.

Ready to go home!
IV is finally gone!

Caleb's crib and IV pump

My bed and our stuff waiting to be packed!

Meds to be given at home.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Treats on Main

One of the very best things about living in our small town is celebrating holidays here.  Each year, fire trucks block off the main street through downtown Wilmore (all 2 blocks of it) and businesses hand out candy and host carnival-like games for children.  It’s a safe place for kiddos to enjoy the fun of  Halloween and avoid the creepy, scary, evil side of the holiday.  We also love the fact that our boys get just enough candy that they are able to feel like they’ve hit the jackpot – but, not enough that we are eating it for days or weeks. 

Brad was out of town this weekend (we missed you), spending some time with his brother(we love you Uncle Rob).  Thankfully, my parents were here visiting with us and agreed to endure the torture go along with us on our trick-or-treating adventure.  Sam and Luke ran around the house getting their costumes on with a level of excitement that was almost contagious.  Caleb, however, was immune to this frenzy.  100_2159He was not happy about wearing his pumpkin costume.  Matthew was looking down at his frog costume and looking a little concerned.  It’s not everyday that your mom makes you look like a frog.  {grin}

We managed to get everyone dressed and ready to go – Matthew nearly ran to the van…such an eager little candy beggar.100_2161



My dad wedged himself between the two car seats in the back of our mini-van (he really loves his grandsons) and we were off.  Sam and Luke were chanting “trick or treat…trick or treat…” and Caleb was crying.  Imagine the chaos.  I chose to remind myself that we were making memories! {grin}

100_2162 I did manage one picture of all of my little men together…poor little Caleb is barely visible in the back of the stroller.  I didn’t have the courage to try to get a better picture. 



It was such a blessing to have extra adult coverage for the troops.  My mom pushed the stroller through the crowd (she was pointing out two little dogs dressed as ballerinas to the boys).

100_2163   Luke pulled my dad from candy station to candy station – in wide-eyed wonder of the costumes around him.  Sam held my hand tightly and surveyed the crowd to see if he spotted any of  his friends from school or creepy costumes that wanted to avoid.  He held me captive to the point that I was unable to take his picture. {grin}  He was thrilled to find some of his friends from school…and thought it was so funny that he didn’t recognize his friend who was wearing “fake hair.”

We collected our treats and scurried home to get the little boys in bed.  Sam and Luke enjoyed passing out candy to the kids who visited our house.  Luke said, “Batban (Batman) is coming to our house!”  Sam wished them all a “Happy Halloween!”  It was chaotic, busy, blessed and sweet.  {grin}

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mr. Mayor

We are appreciating Sam’s school more and more as the school year progresses.  Today, instead of the traditional Halloween party with costumes and tons of sugar…they asked children to dress up as “community helpers.”  They are just wrapping up a unit studying these people who make our communities run smoothly and keep people safe.

Sam chose to dress up as the mayor.  The mayor of our small town happens to be an usher at our church each week, so Sam is familiar with him.  He even considers him a friend.  I love small town living.  {grin}

So, here is my sweet boy…the mayor.


Wouldn’t you vote for this guy? {grin}  Gotta love the forced smile…maybe he is a politician at heart.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Camel, Really?

One day a few weeks ago, I went to the grocery with all four of my boys.  Usually, I try to go with only one or two of them…gives them a little “individual” attention and helps me keep my composure while I am shopping.  {grin} The ultimate treat is to go alone after everyone is asleep.   It’s just easier that way.  However, there are times when we all simply have to go.  Brad has been working tons of hours the past several weeks…working all day and then returning to his office after our little ones are tucked in for the night.  The thought of my children being hungry seemed worse than going shopping with all of them, so off we went! 

The boys are typically well behaved.  Before we unbuckle seatbelts, I tell them exactly what we are going to do and how I expect them to behave.  This leaves no questions or room for misunderstandings once we are inside the grocery store.  The greatest challenge in shopping with all four boys is the logistics.  Caleb and Matthew need to be in a cart…and I am not so good at managing two shopping carts and two boys on foot.  So, when everyone is along for the shopping trip – we head to Kroger.  The lovely folks at that store offer a cart with two seats for babies in some of their carts.  The ultimate Johnson-mobile is the shopping cart with two baby seat up front and a brightly colored plastic car for Luke to sit in down below.  I really need to take a picture of this sometime.  It’s really too cute! 

So, back to the day we went shopping a few weeks ago… 

I had Caleb (the lightest weight twin by 5 lbs) in the carrier on my back, I was carrying Matthew in my right arm, holding Luke’s hand with my left arm – and Sam was holding Luke’s other hand.  We were walking into the store to get to our shopping cart when a nice middle-aged man approached us and said to me, “ Wow!  You look like a camel!”  I think I must have looked shocked, because he immediately followed that comment with, “You have so many good helpers.”  A camel.  Really?  Sam immediately looked at me and giggled.  He has been laughing about it for days now.

A camel?  Really? {grin}

Friday, October 23, 2009

Favorite Foto Friday…and Frustration.

I had invested lots of time…okay, a little bit of time…in a post for yesterday.  It has now been officially lost – somewhere in the deep recesses of my computer.  I suppose that is one of the drawbacks to using LiveWriter.  I will share more about that later…now, onto Favorite Foto Friday.

Christmas Sherrow 2002 015

This is my sweet niece, Grace.  Apparently, the Christmas of 2002 wasn’t too profitable…she ended up playing in the laundry basket at my parents house.  She is now a lovely 8 year old girl…and just as beautiful.  My boys love to spend time with her – we only wish we lived closer.  We love you, Gracie!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Favorite Foto Friday


I love, love, love this picture of my sweet Matthew.   He is wearing a “crown” that Sam made at school.  It has a timeline of the life of a pumpkin on it.  Matthew just thinks it is incredibly fun to wear.  He delights in putting it on his head…giggling…then pulling it down to his neck…then giggling even harder.  {grin}  Such a sweet little guy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Giveaway Winner is….

My very dear friend, Sarah!  We have been friends for a long time…over ten years, I think.  I am certain that it was long before anyone called us “mommy.”  Sarah and her husband, Chris, are now the proud parents of three adorable little ones.  You can learn more about Sarah and her adventures in motherhood and her heart for orphans/adoption advocacy by clicking here.


I used and the winning post was #3…

Chris and Sarah said...

I posted on my blog. =)

October 9, 2009 1:17 PM


Congratulations, Sarah!  I can’t wait to see what you choose!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, Monday…

Another weekend has flown by at lightning speed…how does that happen?  The other five days of the week often crawl by at a snails pace – but, the weekend is over in the blink of an eye.  Maybe our time together as a family is so little and so precious that we try to cram in too much. 
The boys are all coming down with a cold.  The amount of sneezing and snotting going on around here is amazing.  If it weren’t so gross, it would be impressive.  I am constantly armed with a tissue…and my services are needed often.  There are many things I will miss about having young children…wiping noses will not be one of them.  Oh yeah, and reassembling sippy cups after they have been washed will also not be on  my list of “things missed” from this season of motherhood. 
However, the bonus of having little ones who are a bit under the weather is that there are many more snuggles and opportunities to smooch their soft, chubby cheeks.  I am also reminded that a passing cold is annoying, but not such a big deal.  When I get tired, frustrated, and annoyed with the things that go along with having ill little ones…I try to remind myself to be grateful (sometimes, it even works).  Somewhere there is a mom who has a sick little one who doesn’t have access to good health care or a mom who has a little one who is chronically ill and would love to only have a nose to wipe instead of an entire daily routine to care for them.
So, I am learning to pray more – asking for God’s help.  I desperately need Him to help me be patient when I am tired, to remain calm when it’s chaotic, and to remain grateful for the joy of mothering these little men of mine.   100_2098

So, when life has you in a tight spot – call on the Lord & be thankful!  {grin}

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, 
to all who call on Him in truth.     
Psalm 145:18

Friday, October 9, 2009

Photo Jewelry Give-Away

My brother, Jeff, is a great guy and a mechanical genius.  Since he was a young man, he has been tinkering with cars and he has even made a career of it.  He owns an auto parts store...and he's doing well in spite of the economy.  It's a blessing to have a brother with some auto-know-how...he saved my poor beater car in high school more than once.  Most recently, he rescued me and my niece when we had a flat tire.  As "handy" as my brother is...he is married to someone equally as "crafy."

My sister-in-law, Laura, is an amazing mom to my three nieces and my one nephew, she works full-time as a elementary school teacher, she is a zoo-keeper to the brood of pets at her house, and she also makes some amazing jewelry. She has an "etsy" site...full of jewelry really reflects her heart...what she values and treasures.  Each piece she creates is unique, because it's crafted with a photo(s) you choose.  She has made several pieces for me...and I always get compliments and folks asking how they can get something made for themselves.  I literally get asked so often that I now carry her business cards in my wallet.  {grin}  It's amazing jewelry, the quality is great, it's unique, and it makes a great gift for someone special - she even has some things for men.

TELZ... Life TELZ a story, memories last a lifetime.

Grackilee's Shop Announcement

Fall is here!!! Time to get ready for Christmas. Look here for meaningful, long lasting gifts that will be treasured.

I will be adding some new items for the holiday season.

Welcome to my shop !!! Stop in for awhile and check out my fun, personalized, one of a kind jewelry and assessories.

I love to do custom work. I don't like to make all things the same over and over so some things pictured may be just a little different from the photo. I will be sure to let you know what may be just a little different. Maybe some different beads... Nothing major, and of course your ideas are most important.

I guarantee all of my work forever as long as I am around anyway. If you ever have problems, please let me know. I will fix it right up for you.

I have also done several pieces of memorial jewelry to remember lost loved ones and even pets.

Enjoy shopping and please let me know if you have any questions. You can also reach me at Lulee13136 [!at]

Thanks a bunch, Laura

**You can win $30 in jewelry from Laura's Etsy Site!**

The more times you enter, the greater chance you have to's how you do it.
  1. visit Laura's Etsy site, choose something you'd like to win, then leave a comment on my blog telling me what you chose.
  2. post about this give-away on your blog and you'll earn another entry.
  3. leave a comment telling me how you found my blog and you'll receive another entry.
 The winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday, October 14th.  Please remember to leave your e-mail address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.  {grin}

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Great Give-Away

Since only a handful of friends/family follow our have an excellent chance of winning an amazing prize.  Stay tuned for more info...this is gonna be big! {grin}

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Family Foto Fun...kind of.

Taking family photos of the Johnson Tribe is a difficult task.  Really, imagine getting four very busy, squirmy, independent little men to all stand/sit still and look in the same direction...difficult, at best.  However, I just choose to laugh - and hope that the essence of our family at this time in our lives is captured in some lovely images that I will treasure forever.  So, I don't mind photos of my little men squealing, running away, making silly faces, or even crying - afterall, that is who they are at this age. 

So, a few weekends ago, my hubby and I loaded up the little men and headed for Keeneland, where we met our friend and fabulous photographer, Carissa Martin.  The next few minutes were a flurry of people doing all sorts of entertaining things to get our boys to sit still and look at the camera.  It was hysterical!  The wind was blowing my hair everywhere.  Caleb was slobbering - leaving large wet spots on his shirt.  Luke was lovingly try to hold his baby brother - it was not received in the spirit it was intended.  Sam was doing his best to follow directions in spite of not wanting to wear his "handsome" shirt. Brad and I could only laugh at the hilarity of it all.  Well, on second thought....I am not so sure that Brad was laughing - but, he was making the best of it.  {grin}

You can be sure that Carissa is indeed a professional, she was able to get a few good shots of the Johnson Tribe.  These will be treasured almost as much as the memory of this photo shoot.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baby Talk

Well, I know that at 20 months old, the twins are hardly babies anymore.  But, they are certainly my babies.  They are chatting up a storm lately…so adorable.  It’s really fun to see them begin to communicate with us.  AwwI love baby talk.  {sigh}

both babies say:

  • all done (both still sign this while saying it)
  • hi
  • hot
  • uh oh
  • bye bye
  • Dada
  • Momma
  • cookie
  • Elmo
  • attempt to sing the “ABC song” – so cute
  • baby
  • more (Matthew still signs this when he says it)
  • juice
  • milk
  • AMEN - with great gusto!  They both bow their heads and reach to hold hands (as does our entire family)while we pray before a meal.



  • down (said when actually requesting to be picked up)
  • Sam
  • cookie
  • outside
  • shoe (when we are getting ready to leave, I tell the boys we need to get our shoes on.  They both run to their bedroom and sit in the rocking chair – waiting to have their shoes put on)
  • Gran (my mom)
  • Nee Nee (Brad’s mom)
  • brother



  • book
  • dog
  • Pa (my dad)
  • eat
  • silly
  • apple
  • Cal Cal (Caleb’s nickname)
  • ni ni (nighty night)
  • hat
  • sock

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sam at Six

Sam is an easily excitable young boy...he gets really, really excited about special occasions. The night before a special occasion (holidays, special guests arriving at our house, placing his Scholastic book order at school, etc...), he often has trouble sleeping. He usually falls asleep without much trouble, it's staying asleep that he find difficult. He wakes up throughout the night...just hoping and praying that it will be time to get up. Such an eager little guy. {grin} His sixth birthday proved to be no exception. He was up at 2:30 am...let that sink in for just a moment...that's right...2:30am. He asked if it was his birthday yet. His daddy lovingly said, "No, it's not. Go back to bed." Poor Brad, he really is a loving daddy...just doesn't do so well when awakened from a deep sleep. {grin}
So, the festivities began early...officially at around 6:15 am or so. He enjoyed breakfast with his dad at the hotel on campus. It's very near our house, very yummy (Sam really enjoys the "waffle making station" and the "little boxes of sugar cereal"), and very inexpensive. They talked about all sorts of boy things and consumed massive amounts of sugar. Bonding time.
I was enjoying a cup of coffee when they arrived back at home. Sam asked if his voice sounded different now that he was 6. . . so cute. He told me he felt taller...and his arms felt longer.
I arranged for a babysitter to come for an hour so I could join Sam at school for lunch. I took 24 monkey cupcakes for his class to enjoy. Lunch is served "family style" at Sam's school. Each student is responsible for getting their own drink from the cooler and a tray for their food before they take a seat at the small table. Bowls of food are placed on the table...and the children serve themselves and then pass the bowl on to a friend. They are reminded to say, "Please" or "No, thank you." It was amazing. I sat on the end of the table...nestled between my sweet boy, Sam, and a little boy named Earl. Earl was quick to show me his Spiderman shirt...and to tell me that you shouldn't eat turtles. He told me that turtles had "stinky breath" and the smell would make you sick. Too funny! I can't begin to imagine all that a kindergarten teacher hears from her students...or what my own son is telling her! Sam's classmates were very excited that we'd brought "monkey cupcakes" to share with them in honor of Sam's special day. They gobbled them up and were left with nothing but chocolate-laden faces and cupcake liners. What a sweet payment for my labors in the kitchen the night before. {grin}100_2009

That night, we celebrated as a family. Yummy dinner, cherry cheesecake for dessert (complete with candles and singing), and then we gave him our gifts. He was delighted...and the other boys managed to be delighted for him in spite of wanting his gifts.


Sam at Six:

  • Loves Kindergarten.
  • Reads very well.
  • Loves his baby brothers and delights in making them laugh. Doesn't delight in them when they steal his toys or "mess up" his legos.
  • Has lost 2 teeth.
  • Is beginning to express opinions about what he wears. ugh.
  • Is obsessed with character t-shirts. I loathe character t-shirts. We're learning to compromise. {grin}
  • His school bus driver has told me repeatedly what a good boy he is. {sigh}
  • Is doing several chores each day and earning an allowance.
  • Loves to ride his bike.
  • His favorite color is red.
  • His favorite meal is his mom's spaghetti and meat balls or McDonald's cheeseburger Happy Meal.
  • Thinks his daddy is a superhero.
  • Hates to wear "handsome" shirts (any shirt with a collar).
  • Loves to play and wrestle with Luke...his best buddy.
  • Loves to read the story of Samuel being called by Eli...he told me that must be what he hears sometimes in the night.
  • His imagination is remarkable...creates his own little world when he plays alone in his room.
  • Wishes that he was able to see more of the movies his friends see. We have pretty strict rules about movies, tv shows, etc... He asked me why adults would make movies that are bad for kid's hearts and minds. {sweet boy, i don't know}
  • Has started showering instead of taking a bath.
  • Wears a size 2.5 shoe.
  • Wears a size 7 pants.
  • Wears a size 8 shirt.
  • Is adored by his parents.
  • Is growing in wisdom and stature. {grin} 

We love you, sweet Sammy Boy! :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Living at the Speed of ...well, Life

I have been neglecting the blog lately, because I have not been neglecting my life! It seems like just when I think things are beginning to slow down a bit...the madness get even madder around here!
Just to recap the last couple of weeks:
  • Sam lost another tooth (bringing his total to 2).
  • Luke decided that napping isn't as much fun as it used to be. (sigh)
  • Caleb bit Matthew on the left a bruise and a very, very sad baby boy.
  • Matthew refuses to say, "Mama." Instead, he grins very sheepishly and says, "Dada" with great pride. Then he giggles.
  • Every year I am surprised at how much "busyness" comes with the start of the fall semester at the seminary. This year is no exception. Fall picnic for faculty, fall picnic for post-graduate students, retreat for faculty members (Brad will be away most of the weekend), and on and on. This year, Brad is teaching a new curriculum...even more prep required than normal.
  • Sam celebrated his 6th birthday - on 3 different occasions. Once with all of his grandparents and his Uncle Rob (Brad's brother) while they were visiting over Labor Day weekend. The second celebration came on his actual birthday - breakfast out with Daddy, lunch at school with Mommy, and then gifts from our family after dinner. The day after his birthday, a party for his friends at our house. It was fun to delight in our boy - but, I am so thankful it's over. {grin}
  • The washer died. It made loud, painful, horrible noises and then stopped working. At first, I was miffed. Then, I reminded myself that it was used when we purchased it 5 years ago for $100. Doing laundry for $20 annually doesn't sound so bad. {grin}
  • We bought a new washer/dryer...ugh. That was painful. I am looking forward to having a big machine to wash the many dirty clothes our family produces in...but, paying for it was not fun.
  • We got a new entertainment center. This is the first new piece of furniture in our house that didn't require assembly. I love it! It's durable, sturdy, and filled with storage opportunities! {thanks mom and dad - what a generous birthday, anniversary, Christmas gift}.
  • Brad passed his German Competency Exam (must be able to read and translate a theological article written in German) as part of the requirements for his PhD program. God has gifted him with an amazing mind! {grin} Praise the Lord - Brad is one step closer to being finished.
  • Caleb had another bout of "asthma-like" symptoms. He was breathing very rapidly and it was scary. The folks at the ER were very kind and treated him quickly...although, it was a very long night. Poor little fella was so tired and unable to sleep because of bright lights and unfamiliar noises. We are following up with a pulmonologist at the local Children's Hospital in October.
  • I got a bike for my birthday, my hubby baked me a cake, my big boys made me cards/pictures, enjoyed lunch with my hubby...felt so loved as I celebrated another year.
  • Matthew and Caleb were diagnosed with another ear infection. One more, and our pediatrician says we're having the conversation about tubes.
I know that I am leaving some things feeble mind simply can't keep up! {grin} Life if busy, full of activity, full of noise, full of motion, and full of love. Even at the breakneck speed we're traveling at...there is plenty of time for hugs, kisses, and giggles. {sigh}

Friday, September 18, 2009

Favorite Foto Friday

A few weeks ago, we were enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon at home.  Well, okay…with four little boys around it’s never really a lazy afternoon.  

Sam was playing in his room when he spied some superheroes out his window.  We live in a cul de sac with 7 houses…there are 11 small children (ages 7 and under) who live in said houses…9 of these children are BOYS!  It’s heaven on earth for our little men, although I am not sure how the little girls on the block feel about it.  Anyway, I digress….

The point is you are bound to find all sorts of things going on around here.  Your dad’s fishing boat could become a pirate ship, you could rocket off into space while bouncing on the trampoline, your bike could become a race car travelling at the speed of light…or you could become a superhero! 

When Sam spotted his friends in costume, he just had to join in the fun.  So, this foto of our neighborhood superheroes is a favorite of mine…because these are some of the sweetest days of my life –and I don’t want to forget them.  {grin}

micah, sam, isaiah, elijah, luke

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Dad, It's Not Working..."

Our sweet firstborn son has lost his first tooth. We had been expecting the event for several weeks now...the tooth was so loose for so long, I thought he might not even notice when it fell out! One evening, as I was cooking dinner, he shouted from the living room, "MOM! MOM! I LOST MY TOOTH!" He was over the top excited...we were too.
Sam's permanent teeth had begun to come in behind his baby teeth. When we visited our dentist several weeks ago, she suggested if they weren't out by his birthday - we would need to make an appointment for her to "help" Sam along. {grin} His dad and I were motivated to get them out quickly to make room for his new teeth to come forward, to avoid a potentially traumatic dental appointment (we've had only positive experiences thus far), and to save a few hundred bucks by doing the work at home. {snicker} So, we offered a visit to Sam's favorite dining establishment, McDon*ld's, when he lost the first tooth. We came out money ahead, for sure!
As we were getting ready for bed, Sam told us he'd like to put his tooth under his pillow for the "tooth fairy." We've elected to tell our boys this sort of thing is a "game" some families play...but, there really is no tooth fairy flying around collecting the little gems. {grin} So, he decided that he wanted to "play" the game...mostly, I think he was looking for some cash!
He carefully placed his tooth in a small plastic bag and put it under this pillow. He drifted off to sleep in great anticipation. Fast forward to 3:30 AM...I hear little footsteps in the hall, then our bedroom door opened. I hear a small voice say, "Dad, it's not working. The tooth fairy isn't coming." Sweet boy. Brad drags himself out of bed, mumbles something about coins, and then hobbles to Sam's room to tuck him in bed again. When he came back to bed, he said, "I suck at being the tooth fairy." Sam received a quarter and his parents learned a good lesson...don't forget to put the money under the pillow before you go to sleep. The children are paying attention! {grin}

Friday, August 28, 2009

Favorite Foto Friday

Please don't adjust your screen....that's Luke. He is wildly silly... loveable ...unpredictable ... funny...giggly...and adorable. He had just eaten his body weight in strawberries, leaving some evidence on his sweet face. This little boy can do some amazing things with his body: headstand, forward roll (since he was 11 months old), wink each eye independently, throw a ball with amazing accuracy, and cross his eyes. He thinks this is very funny. I think he looks pretty creepy, but I always giggle a little bit when I see him do this. What does that say about my character? {grin} My three year old, Luke. What a silly boy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Favorite Foto Friday

My sweet little Sam was just 13 months old when this picture was taken. Quite frankly, he was the cutest little frog I'd ever seen. {grin} He is about to celebrate his 6th birthday and his baby brother will likely wear this costume this fall. Time has gone so quickly. I was thinking about all of the cliche's that folks tell you when you have your first baby. "Take lot's of pictures - you won't believe how quickly they change." "Before you know it, you'll be sending him off to college." They were so right. Slow down, sweet Sam...let me treasure these days when you are a little boy. I am so grateful for a heart full of memories...and so looking forward to all that God has in store for this sweet boy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mr. Johnson Goes to Kindergarten *updated w/ pics

Today was the day, my firstborn was to enter the big world of formal education. I feel like I have been "eased" into this for a while now...buying school supplies, meeting the teacher at the open house, reading lots of books about kindergarten, and having endless conversations about the big day...but, today was a bit of a shock to me. Okay, okay...I realize all of those events were designed to make Sam feel more comfortable with the transition. I just thought they might have helped his parents, as well.

Our school system has not adopted full day, Sam attends in the afternoon. Our kind neighbor, Miss Mary, came over to stay with the three littlest boys while Brad and I delivered Sam to school. We were all a little nervous about the big day...and talked about how it is completely normal to feel that way when you were doing something new. Brad was a typical daddy, videotaping every moment to have a permanent record of the big event. {I love that man!} Sam's teacher greeted him, asked him to put his backpack in his cubby, and then handed him a small tub of Pl*y-Doh to occupy him until she was ready to begin. We hung around for a few minutes and then we said our goodbyes. We tried to play it "cool" - like it was no big deal- hoping Sam would play along. {grin} I smooched his cheek, told him I would see him later and I was looking forward to hearing about his day, and then he put both arms around my neck and squeezed me tightly. I thought my heart would break and my eyes were burning to hold back tears. Brad was cool...however, I think if I hadn't suggested we leave...he would have stayed all day! Speaking of Brad, he is such a good daddy. He is constantly thinking of ways to nurture, protect, and comfort our little men. Today, he asked the bus driver if he could ride home on the bus with Sam. {grin - I really, really love that man} The bus driver said no.
I kept myself busy while Sam was away. The littlest ones were napping...well, sort of. Matthew has an ear infection and wasn't sleeping so well. As a matter of fact, he wasn't letting Caleb sleep either. So, my time was filled with caring for the twins. Probably a blessing, I didn't have time to watch the clock too closely. I just kept praying for Sam, his teacher, the classroom aides, and his classmates all afternoon. It's a frightening thing to leave your kiddo in a strangers care...but, as my emotions faded, I was reminded that God was still on the job and watching over Sam. Peace to my heart.

Brad came home from work in time to see Sam get off of the school bus. He looked hot and tired, but mostly happy. He came in, got a drink and then talked briefly about his day. Brad went back to work. While we watched television, Sam began to talk about how he had fun at school...but, he missed me. I told him that I missed him, too. I admitted that I even cried a little, and that I was certain that tomorrow would be a much better day. He said he didn't cry, but that his throat hurt because his tears were collecting there. I nearly burst into tears. I told him tomorrow would be a much better day - that he would have way more fun at school than at home with me. I am not certain who I was trying to convince, him or me. {grin} Sam said he had thought about quitting school, but decided to stay since the next day was "treasure box" day...he had his sights set on a little dog he'd seen in the box when we visited for open house. I pray tomorrow is better...for him and for me. {grin} I am working to create as much enthusiasm, excitement, and feeling of security as I know how.

Sam with his backpack (thank goodness he didn't think his preschool backpack was uncool - saved a few dollars), ready to go!

Sam with his teacher, Mrs. E.

Sam's seat at the table...he's looking a little uncertain here. We were just about to leave. {sniff}

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How Did He Know?

Last night, we went to the Open House at Sam's school. My dear friend watched the three little ones so Brad and I could give Sam our undivided attention. We all had a great time. We met Sam's teacher (he told her that he was sure they would be good friends because they liked the same books), we explored his classroom (he searched through some books and discovered the "treasure box"), we visited the lunchroom (the steam table is like a train with cars - too cute), and we even got to take a short ride on a school bus(huge fun). Sam left feeling very good about things - and super excited about school. I resisted the urge to throw myself into her arms, racked with tears, telling her how special my little boy is and that she should treat him with care - Sam has a tender heart. {grin}

So, this morning, the "big boys" were playing so well together that I got a little suspicious. {grin} They were role playing going to school. Luke made several trips to the kitchen, where I was preparing lunch, to ask for my help in loading his "packback" with cars and other toys. Sam came in to announce that he was going to school for "another great day of school with Mrs. Eppingham (note: her name is actually Mrs. Eppinghoff). {grin} I love that Sam is using this fun play to work out his anxieties about the first day of school. I wish I could find a form of creative play for my own anxieties. {gulp}

So, after Luke had his "packback" loaded to the gills...he announced he was leaving for school. I hugged him and told him that I hoped he had a great day! He looked at me and said, "Now you say "boo hoo hoo" mom." How did he know? {grin}

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Front Page News

Last week, our dear friends from Indiana came to visit us. Well, actually, Erin came to visit the college here in our tiny town and we squeezed in on their time here. {grin} Brad and I have a long history with this family and share tons of fun memories together. We love them! While Lori (Erin's mom) and Erin went to visit campus, her younger siblings stayed with our tribe. John (nearly 11) and Grace (9) helped to entertain our little men. It was fun to have them around...and I think our little ones made them very tired and very grateful that they don't have younger siblings!

After the college visit, we gathered up the kids and headed to the park for some fun. A reporter for the local newspaper arrived to gather some photos of kids enjoying the fleeting days of summer fun. After asking permission, he took several photos of the kids and chatted with us.

You can see the results here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Favorite Foto Friday

It seems like such a long time ago that my little ones were actually this little. {sigh} Oh, I miss the sight of the two of them snoozing peacefully in their crib. They really enjoyed sleeping together, always ending up snuggled together with arms and legs intertwined. It was a bittersweet day when they moved to separate about 8 months old. Caleb was disturbing Matthew's sleep too much, and it was time. Oddly enough, Matthew had a more difficult time with the transition. I miss having tiny babies in my house...but, I love who they are now. {grin}

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Growing Up

Luke is changing and maturing at an alarming rate. It's like he is on an accelerated path and I can hardly keep up. It seems like just a few months ago he was a toddler...and he is clearly a preschooler now. He hasn't mastered any new physical feats - it seems his latest growth spurt is an emotional and social one. He is fully potty-trained (naps and nighttime included). He is developing opinions about things that he previously didn't care about (favorite color, choice of fruit at lunch time, etc...). He is incredibly conversational on an emotional level, not simply requesting things or refusing things. For instance, he said this to me this morning, "Mommy, you're the best. Let me kiss you, okay Mom?" You can imagine how my heart turned to mush! That little guy is such a love bug!
Last night, Luke fell asleep without his pacifier for the first time in nearly 3 years. This is a very big deal! Luke had such tummy issues as a tiny baby that his pacifier was a great source of comfort to him...and we gave it to him liberally. As a toddler, it was a bedtime comfort to him...and we didn't mind. However, as a three year was time for the paci to go. We have had lots of conversations about how he is a big boy now and he doesn't need his paci anymore. He is quick to point out that our little babies use a paci because they are babies. So, like his older brother before him, we offered him a bribe...oh, I mean a reward for giving up his beloved pacifier.
Last night, it took Luke a bit longer than usual to fall asleep. There was no drama and no tears. He woke this morning with great excitement about his success and huge joy in anticipation of his shopping trip to buy his special toy today. My baby boy is growing up...sniff, sniff. I am so thankful for this little bundle of fun, enthusiam, joy, and boy who is becoming a little boy. What a joy to watch the changes taking place in him. Congratulations, Lukey-boy!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Favorite Foto Friday

While we were in Indiana recently, we visited the Indianapolis Children's Museum. It's the perfect place for a family of busy little boys like ours. Lot's of things to see, do, touch, and experience...virtually nothing is "off limits" to them. The featured exhibit was "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." The walls were filled with large images of many of the characters. Sam (5) has never seen any of the Star War's movies, but many of his little buddies have. He knows a lot about the characters from conversations with his Dad. He was ecstatic to see all of these "cool characters" on the wall. He sweetly asked for his picture to be taken with every one of them! This is my sweet Sam with Anakin Skywalker...two of the "good guys."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Freeze Frame - July 2009

Some days I just want to freeze time for a bit. You know, just capture the essence of who my kids are at this point and the sweetness of this time in our lives. So, I decided that freezing time isn't possible (anyway, who am I kidding? I don't want to be changing diapers, buckling seat belts, and wiping bottoms forever {grin}), I should record these things so I they will be mine forever.

  • Is excited for Kindergarten, but can't hardly bear the thought of being away from me for that long each day.
  • Is obsessed with McDonald's Happy Meal toys. I don't understand it. We don't eat there very often, but it's always on his little mind.
  • Loves his little brothers. He can often be found snuggling with Matthew or reading books with Caleb. Luke is his best friend, but they have trouble sharing at times. Sam told me that he always wants the toy Luke is playing with because, "it wooks more interesting when Wuke has it."
  • We chat with Brad (on speakerphone so everyone can participate) everyday while we're eating lunch. Today, Sam announced, "Dad, I know what I want to be when I grow up." long pause for Brad to ask what his career choice was...followed by "I want to be a McDonalds worker. What do you want to be when you grow up, Dad?"
  • Brad shared snippets of the musical, "Singin' in the Rain." Sam is a HUGE fan! He loves to sing & dance to "Make 'Em Laugh" and "Moses Supposes" - quite an interesting song choice for a 5 year old.
  • Sam calls our baby monitor a "ther monitor" (as in thermometer).

  • Loves to kiss me...over and over and over again. This is mostly incredibly endearing and makes me feel like a million dollars. However, it seems Luke always has a slobbery face or a runny nose. ick!
  • Knows his colors and shapes. He likes to point them out to me everywhere we go. You can't begin to imagine the number of colors and shapes you can encounter at the grocery store.
  • Doesn't like change. He recently destroyed another pair of shoes, and his daddy made a repair (more on this later) that left them not fit for public appearances. So, Luke and I went shoe shopping on a recent "date" - just the two of us. He was not interested in getting new shoes and made his wishes known...over and over again. "No, not new shoes."
  • Luke loves to make up "knock knock" jokes..with no punchline. We love him, so we laugh uncontrollably. HE grins from ear to ear and cackles with laughter.
  • Luke loves to play outside. He especially loves to play on our new swing set. Swinging makes him giggly and happy.
  • Instead of upside down, Luke says, "ups down"

  • Loves to snuggle with me when he wakes up. He greets me with outstretched arms from his crib, and melt into my body when I pick him up. He pats my arm gently and it melts my heart.
  • He is very mellow and laid back...99% of the time. When he has simply had enough (someone takes something from him, won't allow him to do what he wants, etc...) he gets wide-eyed and throws something. It's hard to keep my composure long enough to correct him.
  • Loves to eat blueberries.
  • Is beginning to shake his head up and down to answer "yes" to my questions. Hasn't mastered "no" yet.
  • He made up a game that he plays with his daddy. When Brad is sitting on the couch, Matthew sneaks around behind the couch and pulls gently on Brad's hair. He waits for his daddy to say, "Who pulled my hair?" Then Matthew walks around to the front of the couch and squeals and giggles when Brad says, "It was Matthew!"
  • Is a tiny little guy (7th percentile in weight) and a scrapper, too. He is prone to bite his brothers (nearly always Matthew) when he gets angry. He is the first "biter" we've had...and we hope it's a behavior that stops quickly. We're working hard to break the habit.
  • Makes silly faces. He closes his eyes and scrunches his nose...and then grins with delight. He is especially happy when performing for an audience.
  • Is talking like crazy, knows lots of word/phrases. My favorite is "Hi, brother!"
  • Caleb's greatest love is dancing and singing. He loves to sing along to Sesam* Stre*t's, "Sing a Song." Can often be heard singing "la, la, la, la, la." throughout our house. He also likes to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle" and the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" - but, his favorite is "Jesus Loves Me." He sings the last syllable of every line with great gusto!
  • He loves to be upside down.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It Was a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

The blog title & the above photo say it all - yesterday was rough. I even considered moving to Australia, just like the children's book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Bullet points may be was intense (at least from the mom's perspective). {grin}

  • All four boys started sneezing, running fevers, and spewing snot in mass quantities late Tuesday afternoon. The babies are whining like mad and the big boys are grouchy.
  • Sam had mild "night terrors" Wednesday night...calling out, rolling around in his bed - but, still sound asleep. He woke Luke up more than once. Neither of them got good sleep (their mom didn't either).
  • After lunch, Sam & Luke were playing in the living room. Luke pushed Sam and it hurt his feelings. He was laying on the couch trying to explain to Luke that he didn't like to be pushed...when, Matthew bonked him on the head with a plastic mug he had stolen from the kitchen table. A large, purple, painful looking goose-egg appeared on Sam's forehead. He was obviously in pain, tired, and frustrated. The tears flowed. I scooped him up and sympathized with him...and then a crying Caleb began to crawl up on Sam. Caleb got frustrated that his climb wasn't easy - and he pinched Sam. Sam howled. He was just frustrated beyond words. Caleb and Sam were crying...Luke & Matthew were watching in horror. {grin}
  • I told Sam how sorry I was and that Caleb didn't intend to hurt him. It was as if a flood of emotion broke in his heart...he began to cry, saying, "I just want you to hold me. Pay attention to me, not a baby." His words pierced my heart...and I fought to hold back my own tears. Sam clung to my neck so tightly as his heart broke. ugh. It was bad. I quickly prayed and then began to tell Sam all of the reasons I love him. I told him that his Daddy & I do lot's of things to show him how special he is: special "dates" with only him, breakfast with daddy each morning before anyone else is up (they are both early risers), our special "school time" when the 3 little ones are napping, reading books and praying together each night, etc...
  • Caleb continued to cry while I was comforting Sam. Sometimes I just wish I had more arms for holding little ones or could clone myself for just a bit (I mean seriously, two of me would be a bit much) {grin}.
  • All of this happened as I was trying to get the twins ready to leave for an appointment with our pediatrician (18 month old well visit). It was chaos and I was overwhelmed.
  • Poor Brad came home from work to stay with the big boys (he is such a good man) and found us all in a mess! I finally peeled Sam off of my body and managed to get the little men loaded into the van. I began to cry as I pulled out of our driveway. Nasty thoughts like, "You will never be able to meet their needs. There isn't enough of you to go around. Why did you have all of these children if you can't care for them?" began to fill my mind. I sobbed...and then, I prayed. As I prayed, I was reminded that Satan is a liar - and he was whispering lies in my ear about my mothering. Each boy has been a gift from God to us..and I am the God-chosen mother to each of them. I called my friend, Granola Mom, and left an unintelligible message on her answering machine. I babbled something about praying for me and being under spiritual attack. What a great message to receive! {grin} I chatted with my dear friend, Deb, and she reminded me of God's truth about who I am and how He loves me. Deb had the wisdom to tell me that Sam was just expressing the cry of everyone's heart - notice me, pay attention to me, love on me. God soothed my heart and I managed to pull myself together before I arrived at the pediatrician's office.
  • While waiting for the doctor to arrive in the exam room, the nurse was asking a few questions about Caleb & Matthew. As I answered, I undressed Caleb and then let him toddle around the room. He walked across the small room to look out the window. He bent down to look at something on the floor, and hit his eye on the edge of the window sill. He burst into tears and I scooped him up. The nurse noticed he was bleeding. She went to get the doctor...and 20 minutes later, our doctor arrived. We've always been pleased with the care we've received - but, I thought this was a bit long to wait under the circumstances.
  • After cleaning the wound, she determined that stitches weren't necessary. She applied 6 steri-strips (looks like small pieces of tape to hold the wound closed). The cut is deep but very small.
  • Sweet little Matthew sat silently in the stroller while the doctor and I tended to Caleb. Not a peep out of him the entire time. I kept looking at him and giving him a reassuring smile. He just grinned in return and waved to me. {melt my heart}
  • Matthew was examined and she found he had a double ear infection. So, no immunizations for them since they were both feverish and feeling badly.
  • Aside from the eye gash and ear infection, both boys are healthy and growing along just fine.
  • We came home to find that Sam was much happier after a two hour nap (he gave up napping nearly 18 months ago).
I am often asked, "How do you do it?" I hear people say, " I don't know how you do it. I could not do what you do." The truth of the matter is...we can't do it. I am not gonna lie, there are times when I think I am going to lose it (my mind, that is). Raising our four little men ages five and under is a challenge at times. I am learning that we simply can't do it alone. This may not be such revelatory news to most, but I need to be reminded from time to time. I am a get'r done kind of gal...just buck up and do it. But, we can't do it alone by God's design...we aren't intended to live alone, do it alone, or be without a community. God has designed us to be in relationship with Him, rely on Him, use His strength rather than our own, and to trust Him to do what He says He will do. It was a rough day, but God is still so good.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped."
Psalm 28:7

Our Town

Not the musical, but the town The Johnson Tribe calls home - Wilmore, Kentucky. Our town is small...very small. There is a sign on the edge of town that boasts over 9,000 residents. I suppose that would be true when school is in session. Our tiny town is home to a Christian college and a Seminary (different institutions on opposite sides of the main street through town). You will find 2 stoplights, 3 restaurants, 1 Dollar Gen*ral Store, a video store/laundromat, a few parks, and one small grocery store owned and operated by one very kind man, Mr. Fitch. Since the town in densely populated with Christians, there is a church on nearly every corner. The other situation this creates is a strange one...the number of children with Biblical names in our tiny town is unbelievable. The playground becomes a Biblical geneology study as you listen to mom's directing their children, "Isaiah, get down." "Rebekah, come here please." "Gideon, it's time to go."

It's a unique little place...not perfect, but very close. Brad is a big fan of The Andy Griffith Show (he is a hard-core Black and White episode fan...none of that sissy color tv for him), he likes to think of Wilmore as his personal Mayberry. The town has had the same mayor for over 30 years, he and his brother serve as ushers at our church each week. This tiny little town is also culturally diverse...people from all over the world come to study here. We have learned so much about how wide and deep the Kingdom of God truly is - all over the globe. We've had God-loving people from so many different cultures in our home...and been blessed. We love living here and raising our young sons here is a blessing.

One of my favorite things about living here is The Fourth of July Celebration. It begins with a parade through town. This is unlike any other parade I've ever's charming and endearing. You won't find a marching band - but, you might find a kids from the daycare throwing candy, the local swim club squirting the audience as they walk the parade route, every truck that the volunteer firefighters have parading through town, people walking with their pets, and even a synchronized lawnmower group performs. A local family even decorated an old car and participated in the parade! It is an awesome experience! The video below will give you a taste of our "small town life." Be sure to notice the massive amounts of candy that are being thrown to my children, the fact that Luke is wearing his bike helmet (for the 3rd day in a row -only taking it off to bathe and sleep), and the synchronized lawn mower group. LOVE IT!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Favorite Foto Friday

This isn't exactly a favorite foto, but a favorite video for Friday. I am no wizard at Blogger videos, so I couldn't get the image to rotate - sorry that you have to tilt your head and risk a strained neck in order to enjoy this little nugget of entertainment. {grin} In my very humble opinion, it's completely worth the effort! This video was captured at Caleb and Matthew's first birthday party...we had a house full of family and friends, hence the conversation going on in the background. Matthew was making the most of his very first experience with a sugary cake - almost overwhelmed the poor little guy. Near the end of the video, you'll see that he is either slipping into a sugar-induced coma or looking for more efficient ways to cram cake into his mouth. {grin} He is simply adorable...and this video makes me smile.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Have you heard this book?

I am a lover of books...but, don't have much time for reading these days. Well, I actually do have time for reading daily - usually, it's something from the Children's Section of our local library and read to an audience of 4 little men. {grin}
Because I am a lover of books, I often get myself into a "pickle" with my reading. I have several books going at once and I want to read them all - it's overwhelming. For instance, I am currently reading 5 books: one is fiction, another is a parenting book, one is a book on quilting, there's a discipleship book, and another is a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. About a month ago, an old friend told me I HAD to read, "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. I added it to my wish list and made plans to ask for it for my birthday this fall. Imagine my joy this morning when I discovered that an audio recording of this book is available for FREE at The book is now waiting for me on my Ip*d...I can't wait to listen to it as I walk tonight. God is so good! So, have you heard this book?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Favorite Foto Friday

My sweet Lukey-boy diligently coloring at the kitchen table. He was choosing each color with great care from the big box of 64 colors. I was watching him ever so closely...they weren't washables and he has a history of graffiti. (grin)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Random Thoughts

I just finished cleaning the's late and I'm tired, but the music on my Ipod helped me to find some "joy" in my job tonight. While I was cleaning, my mind was full of very random thoughts. Among the thoughts was, "I should write this stuff down. Some day I'll look back on this season of my life, and I will have forgotten how sweet it was and how God was working in my life."
So, here it is:
  • Sam (5) has a very good friend just two doors down from our house. They play together several times a week - at our house or his. Joshua and Sam ride bikes in our cul de sac nearly every night after dinner. They do their best to avoid hitting Luke - who has no appreciation for the "rules of the road." {grin} Joshua and Sam have so much in common: they are both 5 (S was born just 3 days before J), they are both gentle and tender-hearted boys, they are both easily intimidated by aggressive children, they both enjoy super heroes and Star Wars (although neither of them has seen the movie). When Sam returned from a play date at Joshua's a few weeks ago, I asked what they had played. Sam said, "We played Joseph." I wracked my brain trying to think of what this meant - a new Star Wars guy? I pressed Sam for more information and he replied with, "Mom, like Jesus being born...his mom and dad." These boys are so blessed to have one another - and we are so blessed to have friends like the Chen family to walk alongside as we each work to honor God in raising our sons to be men of God.
  • I never thought that getting older would be a blessing, but it is. I am really growing in confidence in the Lord and who I am in Him. For example, I am more willing to just simply obey - even when I don't understand. It isn't always easy...but, I am learning to do it without questioning. Mind you, it's in small ways...but, I am learning. For example, I was shopping for groceries very late one night last week...and I dreaded it. It seems that the store is full of grumpy parents and very tired children who should be in bed...instead, they are crying and getting reprimanded by their parents. It makes me crazy! So, I prayed on my way to the store that I would have grace for the task...and that there would be no angry parents shouting at their children. Sure enough, I passed a dad and his three young children in the frozen food section. They were talking and laughing, so sweet. The dad pulled his littlest boy close and hugged him tight and told him he was so glad to be his daddy. I nearly cried...but, instead I smiled. Our paths crossed several more times as we each made our way up and down the aisles. At one point, I overheard the little girl ask if they had enough money to buy Che*t-os. The dad did some quick calculations in his head, and excitedly answered "Yes, we do!" She grinned from ear to ear. As I was leaving, I passed them in the "arcade" area near the exit. They were laughing and enjoying the driving game together. I walked through the exit and then immediately knew that I was to go back and give them a few more dollars to play games with. I had a short conversation with God in my mind, "Are you serious? I don't even know them? I am really a shy person..." I knew God would, I looked into my wallet and found a 20 dollar bill, and three 1 dollar bills. This was a miracle in itself - I rarely carry more than a few dollars in cash. So, I went back in...sheepishly approached them and told the dad that he had blessed me. I told him that I loved watching him really enjoy his children...his little girl grinned at me and said (in a thick southern accent), "My daddy is the best!" I handed him 3 dollars (thinking my hubby wouldn't be happy about me giving a stranger 20 dollars for games) and told him to enjoy a few more games on me. As I walked away, I heard him say, "Yippee, 12 more games!" I still can't believe that God asked me to do that - but, I am so thankful that I did. I told Brad about this...he said, "Why didn't you give him the twenty?" I love that man!
  • My heart is breaking for those who have had a bad experience with the church...and been hurt deeply as a result. Not sure what to do about it just yet...but, I feel like God is working.
  • I stink at being consistent in disciplining my children. ugh. Sometimes, I just get tired or lazy.
  • I am really more rebellious than I would like to be. For example, when people ask if we are finished "growing" our family (always asked with a twisted face that implies we'd be foolish to have more children)...I secretly long to answer with something like, "actually, I am expecting" or "we are adopting." I know that our family is large by some standards, but it's all relative (pardon the pun {snort})...many families are much larger than ours. Usually, I smile and say how blessed we are...and that we're not certain what God has in mind for our family.
  • I love being a mom of boys.
  • I don't have anxiety about Sam beginning Kindergarten this fall. He is a momma's boy and I know he'll struggle initially. However, he is so ready to go - academically and socially. It's going to be a huge adjustment for all of us. I think I am really going to miss having him around in the afternoon.
  • Matthew is sick with a virus of some sort and running a really high fever...I know it's twisted, but I have really enjoyed some extra snuggles with him today! The twins are on the move constantly these days, so snuggles are more difficult to come by.
  • Caleb is obsessed with sitting on the couch. The only problem is that he has no idea how to get down...or that the fall could be painful. It is a source of anxiety.
  • Matthew is a climber, for sure. He scaled the kitchen chair and onto the table in a matter of seconds while Brad was filling his sippy-cup with milk. Can't even imagine what this will look like in a few weeks. ugh. The joys of boys!
  • Luke has worn through another pair of shoes in just 4 short weeks. He has this little "green man" riding toy that he loves dearly...he zooms up and down the driveway and he uses his feet to brake. I bought another pair of "durable looking" shoes. We'll see how long they last.
  • My husband is an entrepreneur at heart. He always has something brewing in his mind. It's sometimes a source of stress for me...I value stability! (grin) However, God is teaching me to truly love my hottie boy for who he is...just as God intended him to be. So, Brad is teaching me through his ventures into gardening, composting, rain water collecting, fish guiding, etc... and I am learning to enjoy the ride. {grin}
  • I love that God still uses music to stir my heart and make my eyes leak. It makes me wish I could sing well...or at least on key. I love that He loves my praise anyway! What a good God!