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 cribs...at 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 old...it 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.


Sam:
  • 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).

Luke:
  • 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"

Matthew:
  • 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!"
Caleb:
  • 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 helpful...it 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 attended...it'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!

video

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.



video

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 ChristianAudio.com. 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?