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!