Sunday, May 29, 2011

Baby Wormie


On May 4th I go to the doctor and find out we are pregnant with #6! On May 5th Peter and I go in for an ultrasound and find out we are almost 3 months along! (*We had miscarried on Valentine's Day and were just waiting for things to start going again.) And on May 6th at church I randomly tell the whole congregation we are expecting. The prize of a candy necklace was on the line for the mom with the most kids. I surprise myself over dumb competition all the time. I sit down and Peter says, "Well now we have to tell our families." And Eben, who is also in big church looks over with this, what's going on look. So on the way home we tell our kids and let them each have a 3D ultrasound picture to see Baby Wormie (Yeah, that's what Peter named this one - because she was wiggling so much like a worm.) And it worked out lovely because the next day was Mother's Day and we told our families.



*We don't usually tell people we are pregnant just in case we have a miscarriage, they are way more likely to happen before 12 weeks. So #1 it's rare to tell people we had one and #2 it's even more strange to tell people we're pregnant even 3 days before 12 weeks. My relationship with God is an amazing gift and my faith in His plans has kept me thankful and full of joy during this time. A peek into Abby's mental and emotional life:

My prayer journal entry from February 15th 2011:

God, You are a great, great God. Even in tragedy I rejoice in You. Even through this loss I have joy because I know You and Your plans are greater. You know my heart and my desires. You want to make me happy because You love me. Death and destruction will happen in this world because it's fallen and that's OK because I know You're here with me. You carry me, You hold me and You know what's best for me. Thank You for the short little pregnancy - I always love to be pregnant and thank You for taking care of the baby better than I ever could. I praise You for any choice You make in my life and I give myself fully to You. Help me follow Your will. Lead me in Your ways. Help me lead and Peter lead our family closer to You. Be with Eben, Kivi, Jasper, Opal and Berg. Help them grow into men and women who are excited and ready to serve You and love others. Make our family ready for Your plans for us. I love You. Amen.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Washington D.C. or Bust!

First of all, Easter was great, but strange. Peter worked on Easter Sunday so we went to Saturday night service - like we usually do, but for some reason, it felt weird. We put on our "oh so cute" Easter outfits right before church at 6pm and then promptly exchanged them for jammies when we got home. And Sunday was a no biggie day except for looking for the baskets, inside because of the rain. Oh well. God was glorified, it was just different. Peter and I did get to have tiny little parts in the Lake City Easter video that Pastor Jim worked into the sermon. So that was fun! You can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrXs5HiYmC0

The day after Easter my Aunt Sherri came up from CA to stay with the kids while Peter and I headed out to Washington D.C.! Well, that was the plan anyway. It didn't quite work that way. My aunt came on Monday and stayed with the kids and that part went perfectly! She did an amazing job with them and even tackled Super Buffet with all of them by herself! She sent us updates everyday via email which I'll put at the end.

What really happened was this, we had standby tickets from our wonderful friend Wendy!! We were so excited to use them and booked flights to our nation's capital. But while I was at our church's women's retreat (an awesome time!!) Peter missed his little window of booking our flight back, so he bought hard tickets instead. No problem. However, when we arrived at the airport, which we headed for after only 10 minutes of my Aunt Sherri arriving and after both of us verbally abusing her with instruction after instruction while giving her a whirlwind tour, we realized there were NO flights open to get on out to the east coast. Since we had hard tickets back we had to get to D.C. or pay an enormous fee to change our flights. Finally, we found one - to Orlando! A red-eye. So we jumped on it and after the most uncomfortable flight either one of us has ever had (Don't pick the emergency exit row with the seats that don't recline on a red-eye!) we made it to FL at 7am on Tues. neither of us having slept a wink. We didn't care though, we were still happy to have a fun get-a-way! We found a rental car and started driving up the East Coast! The good part about this is that in only one day we were able to cross four states off of "our list" that we made when we were on our honeymoon. So we made it to our destination, our friends the Dennis', after a short visit with Peter's college roommate, Wenzel, around midnight! Needless to say, after no sleep for 2 days, we slept in longer than we meant to on Wed. When we did get a start on the day our most hospitable friends supplied us with not only a place to stay but snacks and a car too! We drove into D.C. and started to see the sights!

The first thing we did was tour the Capital building, well, after 1/2 an hour of trying to return the rental car and then finding a parking spot. It was so beautiful! Peter had called ahead and booked a tour through our Senator's office, so we were able to go right past the multitudes standing in line for a tour guide and headsets. (Yes, we went to D.C. during Spring Break - we didn't think of that either. - Everywhere we went was packed with middle schoolers!)

Some advice for parents of middle schoolers - don't waste your money sending your kid, who won't appreciate, it a trip to D.C. - all they are going to do is talk about the boy/girl who is looking at them and try to throw gum in a senator's chair. Wait and send them when they are 20 or 30.
This is the very center of the capital building- and of D.C. Underneath is an empty tomb - oooooOOOOOhhhhhh (a scary sound).
The backside of the capital building - it was way less crowded than the front!

After the capital, we strolled down the mall popping into a couple of the Smithsonians, the National Gallery of Art, which I loved, and the National Museum of Natural History, which I did not. Well, we only got to see the dinosaurs-yuck!- and the rocks and gems - which were cool, but at that time we were both so tired everything was blurring together. That's also when I had my meltdown. I was so excited to be there and so sad because there was no way on earth we we going to get to see even a snippet of the amazing things D.C. had to offer.
After the Washington Monument, Peter dragged me to a late, late lunch, early dinner against my will, because I wanted to be out there seeing "stuff" even though I had no energy. We ate and sat for a while - which was good. I needed rest, it was a long walk and French onion soup always makes me happy. And decided to not be sad, and be happy for what we did get to see. Which ended up being a lot for 2 days. We saw most all of the monuments and memorials, the White House:
and ended our stroll down the mall at the Lincoln Memorial, which was swarmed with middle schoolers, at 10:30pm. It was a memorable day. Then it started down pouring and we caught a cab back to our car.

The next day, we headed to Mount Vernon. I thought this would be about a 20 minute little visit and then we'd be back to see some more Smithsonian museums. I loved it! We ended up staying for 6 hours. Peter knew I'd love it. There was so much to see, and I could see it - all. And I did. I felt like I accomplished something great. I love George Washington now.

And I love D.C. I want to go back someday with the kids, when they are older, and stay there for about 2 months - so I can see everything! (But not the dinosaurs.)

Thank you so much Wendy - without you I still would never have seen our capital!
Thank you Aunt Sherri - you came, you played and you survived all our children!
And thank you Dennis family - your hospitality was amazing and we were so blessed by being able to stay with you. Next time we'll have to spend more time together!

Here are the emails from Aunt Sherri, they're funny!

Day One (Monday):

Hi,
Just thought I would let you all know that day one is finished and it went really well. So well that Jasper didn't have to take an afternoon nap! Everyone pitched in and finished jobs and helped me out by knowing where things were that I couldn't find.
Opel is so fun and funny. I've already learned that she LOVES pink and will most likely wear only two or three outfits at the most while I'm here, these are her favorite and they are of course pink. I put her blankie in the wash tonight after she fell asleep because that is the only time her blankie can be pried from her fingers! ( I remember this well from Chad's early days). I let the kids watch a netflix cartoon and one of the characters said the word "dumb" and Opel sat up straight in my lap, looked at me and said "that was a big sin"!!!!

Kivi is soo smart, helpful and a delight. A real helper and a little mama. She had ballet today and showed everyone what she practiced. She loves craft time and tomorrow we have some fun things planned in that area.

Eben is growing up so fast. He loves the computer and has some favorite games that he loves playing so he gets his jobs done so he can spend a little time playing them.

Jasper is such a tender hearted little guy and he has stolen my heart as well. We were talking about cooking today and I asked Kivi if she liked certain foods, helped in the kitchen cooking things and if she knew how to make something. Kivi said "no I don't know how to make tht and Jasper got all excited and said "Kivi I know go to dot com!"

I'm turning in and will tell stories tomorrow if there are any and I'm thinking there will be!!!

Goodnight, :)
Sher

Day Two (Tuesday):
Hi again,

We had a great day today. We had sun on an off for almost an hour at a time so we had fun play time outside. Since it rained on Easter Sunday Peter's parent's weren't able to hide Easter eggs for the kids so we did that today. We played that game for almost an hour and then Jasper found an egg that didn't have a prize in it (this was pretty traumatic until I told him that he had found the most special egg of all the other eggs) at first he wasn't buying it until I told him that his special egg came with a very super special surprise but first he had to do 5 jumping jacks, he did the jumping jacks and I told him he was the proud owner of 5 m&m's and he fist pumped all over the backyard. Catastrophe averted! :)

My Opel story for the day is priceless. At breakfast everyone ate their cereal and Eben was the first one finished, he took his bowl to the sink and spied a few donuts that were left from the other morning and asked if he could have one. I told him I would cut the donuts so that everyone could have one. He chose the one he wanted and Opel was next, she wanted the white one with sprinkles and made sure we all knew that she wanted the white one with the sprinkles until Kivi wanted the twist. Opel decided she wanted the twist but Kivi wanted that one. Opel was not happy and fussed a bit longer than she should have and I told her that maybe today wasn't a good day for Opel to have a donut at all, she looked at me for a minute put her hands under her chin and said "Oh Aunt Therry I'm just having one of those days for me." It turned out to be one of those moments and not one of those days for Opel and she got to strike the gong at the end of the day today! Way to go Opel.

Brian and Carly came for dinner tonight and just left. It was so good to see them and visit, they held Berg and think he is precious (which he is). Carly put Berg to bed and did it like a pro. Berg you have stolen another heart. Before going to bed Eben, Jasper and Kivi showed Brian and Carly their Kung Foo Fighting dance and after it was over the kids got a standing ovation. Brian taped it on his phone and was cracking up. Carly said this makes me want to have five!!!!!!!! Go Carly!!!! Dad and I say yes!!!! :)

Kitchen clean, laundry done, Kidos asleep, no owies and all is right with the world. :)

Good night, I miss you babe but having fun,
Love,
Sher


Day Three (Wednesday):
Hi everyone,
Actually today was pretty uneventful. We had arts and crafts today and the weather cooperated long enough for all four kids to put boots and coats on and go outside to look for a special branch to make mama a special something in case she didn't get to see any cherry blossoms. Kivi and I made cherry knox blocks and Eben put on a Garfield cartoon for the little ones (and himself). We made a reading tent while Berg and Opal were sleeping.

The only funny thing today was on me. I went out to see if the chickens had laid any eggs, Puff had and I wanted to get it but Puff was in her nest right by the egg. I was scared to reach in and get it from her, every time I moved my hand to get the egg it sounded like Puff was growling which she wasn't (Eben and Kivi assured me that chickens don't growl!) Eben and Kivi got the giggles watching me be so timid. I decided to close the door and come back later to get the egg hoping Puff would be gone, I did, she was and tomorrow the egg is mine for breakfast, thanks Puff!!!

Tonight was Awana so I had cuddle time with Berg and Opal after their baths. Kivi, Eben and Jasper came home loaded down with things they had bought with Awana money, lots of treasures waiting to be played with tomorrow.

Good Night :)
Sherri

Day Four (Thursday):
Hi Everyone,
I can't believe the week has gone by so fast. It seems like only yesterday I was walking into the Johnson house looking at the "WELCOME ANT SHERRI" sign and hoping that I could keep all five kids alive until Peter and Amber came home. We have had such a fun week, thank you Peter and Amber for trusting me with your precious little ones. I know that with two sets of awesome grandparents this was a once in a life time memory for me and it will be something I will never forget.

Call me crazy, call me ambitious but I call it FUN, today I took all five kids to SUPER BUFFET for lunch. I need to thank Nonnie for this. It started yesterday at lunch when Jasper asked me if I knew how to make Nonnie Balls. I told him that I didn't know how to make them and Jasper thought he would help me by telling me they have seeds on the outside, I still didn't know what they were but assured him that when I got home I would have Nonnie tell me how to make them. Kivi then told me that Nonnie Balls were little sweet balls that Nonnie loves at Super Buffet and she gets them every time she comes for a visit. Eben said "We love Super Buffet, have you ever been to one"? "You get to eat all the food you want and I eat as much as an adult but only get charged the kid price!" I don't know why but I heard myself asking Eben if there was a Super Buffet close by, of course he said yes it was not far at all AND he offered to look it up online for me! How could I refuse? Sure enough there it was just down the freeway a bit so I showed Eben how to do a google map direction search and he printed off directions for me. I told the kids if they would continue to be my helpers we would go to Super Buffet for dinner the next night (tonight). We finished the day yesterday awesome, toys picked up, clothes put away, pillows back on the couch…you can get ALOT of milage out of a promise to Super Buffet!!!! I"m willing to bet Peter that if you had a back forty to mow they would have done that for you too!
We got up this morning played a little before breakfast and after breakfast the questions started coming when are we going to Super Buffet, when is dinner, what time is dinner, how long before dinner. I quickly realized that holding onto the promise of SB will only last so long with the Johnson kids because it is just too wonderful so I made an executive decision and we went for lunch instead. I wish you could have seen the five faces, it was priceless..Super Buffet for LUNCH and not dinner, I don't think they knew there was such a thing. Dinner is one thing but lunch too! (I know this is long but well worth the story) Before we left I had everyone sit on the couch and I told them usually there are two adults that go with them to SB but today it's only one and I need their help when we got there, they all agreed and Eben said "Um well actually Aunt Sherry there is usually five adults that go." I know I had a look of shock on my face but quickly said "Then I really need your cooperation, right?' Everyone in unison said "right!" So off we started
Kivi and Eben helped get Jasper and Opal all buckled in their car seats and I took care of Berg, after three attempts at leaving (back into the house for my wallet, another trip for a spare diaper for Berg and one last time for the directions) we were on our way. Opel does this cute thing where she closes her eyes really tight and puckers her lips she kept saying I LOVE SUPA BUFFET AUNT THERRY, IT'S MY FAVOWIT! (all caps to emphasize loud voice and excitement). We arrived and piled out of the car, Eben leading the way, Kivi next, then Jasper and Opal bringing up the rear with me following behind with Berg, we walked in, got our table and before we could sit down I realized that I had left my wallet in the car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So back we went again with Eben leading the way, Kivi following, then Jasper and Opal and me with Berg back to the car so Aunt Sherri could get her wallet, by this time I'm thinking maybe this was not a good idea and NOT because of the kids!!!!! Back we go this time with a new leader Kivi, Jasper, Eben and Opal and back to our table to start lunch. It was great, the girls and I stayed with Berg while Eben took Jasper around to fill their plates, then Kivi took Opal, brought her back and went back again to fill her plate. We were at a table right across the food lines so I could keep and eye on everyone. Eben went a got Berg these little steamed balls he likes and half way through Berg thoroughly enjoying his steam ball the waitress leaned over and said to me "You do know that there is paper wrapped on the bottom of that, right?" Well no I didn't and Berg had eaten most of it by now but the other three he ate were paperless. The kids ate and we talked and they had so much fun and I watching them. Berg was a total mess, I'm glad you are not coming home until tomorrow Amber because it's going to take that long to get his shirt clean! Right before we left I had Eben go get everyone a Nonnie Ball and I took a picture for you Nonnie with everyone holding theirs up looking as if they are going to eat one in honor of you. Now for the best part if you're still with me. As we were getting ready to leave three older couples stopped by the table and asked if the kids were mine, I told them no and the story, everyone was so complimentary with how well behaved and adorable the kids were. By now Berg was in charge and ready to go but on the way out a young mom came up to me and stopped me and said " Are these all yours, I said no, told her the story and she said that she was new in town, only three or four months and that she and her husband have five children the youngest 5 months old and is looking for some families with more than two children who "understand what it is like" she asked if we were LDS, I told her no, that the Johnson's attend an Evangelical church in Lakewood. She is looking for friends and wanted to know more. I told her that Amber is involved in MOPS and that their church is a warm and welcoming place with large families, and family friendly. She said that she was very interested and would check it out. What I hate is that I didn't ask for her name, Berg was crying and we needed to go, but I told her that after spending the week with the five kids I so wished that Gary and I had had more children and she looked at me and started crying!! She said that she was so grateful and thankful to hear that because she rarely hears that from people. Her kids were also behaving and she just seemed lonely. Anyway I'm going to be praying that she does come to visit church and gets plugged in.

That was our crazy fun filled day. We came home made another tent, watched a little Garfield, ate a very light dinner and in bed early…it was a good day.

Good Night,
Sher

PS I'm going to the Royal Wedding online in a few hours

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sheep Farm!

My wonderful hubby was going to surprise me with this amazing trip to the sheep farm (his plan for pacifying my want for sheep), but as it was in the middle of Holy Week, actually on the day I was going to have Passover, I freaked out when I saw he had "Solstice Training" on Thursday and Friday. He pulled up the website of the sheep farm called Solstice Farms and I put it together that I had just ruined my surprise. It turned out to be a good thing. If he had tried to tell me on our Passover day that we were not going to have Passover I might have passed out. So we switched it to Tuesday and left for the farm on Thursday. We left Opal and Berg with the (Thank you Schocks!) and headed over the bridge with Eben, Kivi and Jasper.


Solstice Farms is actually a B&B, so we brought our things into the house, checked out our room and got the run down of the rules (the people who had there just before us has kids who were so rowdy they had to leave). Then we walked around the farm and said hello to the sheep and chickens and neighboring buffalo. The kids won over the B&B keepers and even let them collect the eggs that they sell in town.


Next we headed to Port Townsend, and covered every inch of the old Fort Warden bunkers. The kids both loved and were scared to death of the pitch black mazes. Good thing Dada had his iPhone to lead the way!


After dinner at the cute and hippy Owl Spirit restaurant, we got the kids ice cream/gelato. And of course Dada bought Mama candy! Sea foam!


Back at the farm that night, we went to say goodnight to the sheep and lambs who had come into the barn for the night. Peter's plan was to come and watch a sheep give birth. But all of the sheep had already had their lambs which meant we didn't get to help out with a sheep delivery, but we got to see a lot babies! Jasper was the great sheep farmer. Even the farmers were amazed that so many lambs let him pet them.


The next morning, we got up early so we could feed the lambs their bottles.


They drank up that milk so fast!


After a yummy breakfast of Dutch babies and some reading time for the kids we went out into the field to hang out with the sheep.





After a little hike to the creek we went back to Port Townsend for some cheese from the local creamery and crepes for lunch before heading home.


Thank you Babe for our fun sheep farm experience! I loved it! (But I don't know if your plan worked, I think it just made me want sheep even more!)

Baskets and Hunts

Basket of kids
Our traditional kids in the basket picture for 2011. This is the first year they officially didn't all fit inside.



After the basket pic the kids all jumped on the trampoline, and even sat still for a while to let Berg try it out for the first time. Any time we get any sun, the trampoline is the desired outdoor activity. Their favorite game they play on it is called "the game". I don't really get how it works, but they do and they love it.


Night Hunt
From all the Easter egg hunts we've been to in the previous years, we had quite a collection of eggs. So the kids and I spent a night stuffing all our eggs with candy. We were able to use them after an Awana night at the Schocks with our small group kids. We had the kids find one egg and then run it to their family basket, which the mamas stood in front of, before getting another one. It worked so well. We kept yelling, "Get the egg to your Mama!" Everyone found many eggs and we were able to share our collection of candy as a family since all the kids worked together.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Passover

Abby did her fourth annual Passover meal this year for our family, along with my parents, Abby's sister Shannon and our friends the Schocks. This is all part of her determination to increase our family's emphasis on Easter as a celebration of Christ and how he is the sacrificial lamb for our household. Also, she goes all out and cooks a great multi course meal involving huge quanities of meat- this year was a lamb roast, which she knocked out of the park. Go Abby!

After three years, Abby succumbed and the adults got to skip the pillows on the floor and eat western style. I know it's not authentic, but I haven't sat comfortably on the floor indian style since 1983.




The seder plate. Mmmmmm....bitter herbs!




Happy adults sitting at the grown up table beautifully prepared by my lovely wife.



The pre meal excitement. Check out Eben. Nothing gets him pumped like a good rendition of the Haggadah and a generous portion of horseradish!


The "Catch Up" post for April

Hi all. It's Peter. Since yesterday was Mother's Day, I'm going to help out Abby by bringing my uncritical, C+ approach to creating a few blogs that will catch her up through May. Abby is wonderfully selective concerning what she wants to blog about and which photos she is willing to edit and post. Terrific for posterity, not so much for expediency.

So sit back, relax and enjoy a haphazardly selected smattering of unedited Johnson family pics from April!


We got lucky and caught one of the 4 non raining days in the month to watch the Daffodil parade with friends in downtown Tacoma.




The Seafare pirates where on scene and loved Jasper's eyepatch! I think they thought he was a big fan, but he probably would have been wearing the patch if we had been going to Costco or church. That's just how he rolls.







We tried out the annual Easter Egg hunt at Wilcox Farms. Positives- free omelets! Not so positives- about 1000 kids and their parents had the same idea.



We did get to tour the egg packaging plant. Very cool and humbling compared to our current egg production of two a day. Positive #2- free hair nets!




I played in my second "Helmets vs Shields" charity basketball game and made it through this year's game without stitches. While the police did not win this year, we did come in a solid second place...
Note that I'm about the shortest guy in the picture. Weird, right? Thanks to our family and friends for coming out to watch and supporting a great cause.!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pretty, pretty

Before I went on our church's women's retreat on the first of April, I told the kids about how Poppie let me and my sister put make up on him whenever Nonnie went on a women's retreat. The kids loved this idea and begged Dada to let them pass on this tradition. Time flew however and they didn't get to give Dada a make over while I was gone. Luckily though, Dada held up his end of the bargain and let the kids decorate him when I got home.





Pretty, pretty Dada!



The kids love to give us shows! Dance shows, gymnastics shows, ballet, Kung foo, light, fighting, swinging on ropes, clown shows, all types of shows. This show was a dance show that included matching outfits-with tights! So pretty!



Pretty, pretty Opie with her new bangs. She loves them and she loves not having her hair always fall in her face too.