Friday, December 26, 2008

Being Snowed In, Got Us Out

We were snowed in from December 19th - 24th, but we took advantage of the time we had to get out and enjoy the snow!

Our first snow outing of the year was a short 15 minute walk on December 19th. We tried pulling all the kids on one sled, but Opal fell off and Bubba cried, so we found a saucer and stuck Bubba on it, strapped them all in and Peter carried Opal. We just walked up our street, to get the kids used to the sleds.

Mama pulling the sleds.

Dada and his snow baby, Opal.

Jasper and his yellow saucer.

Dada and Eben went for a 5 hour night walk the next day. Eben got some much needed alone time with Dada and got to use his headlight. Double bonus!

On Dec. 21 right after breakfast, we pulled the kids on the sleds on a mile walk to Pierce College and sledded with Grace, Nathaniel and John. Then we walked back to the Schock's house where Shari had home made chili and cornbread waiting for us. We played and hung out until dark watching the snow fall and drinking hot cocoa, and then walked back home again in the much deeper snow. It was the most relaxing winter day!

The view of our yard from our door on Dec. 22nd.

On the morning of the 22nd, we brought the snow in to us. We made snowmen, snowplanes, snow jetskis, and cooked snow on the kitchen table. It kept the kids busy for 2 hours!!! And they didn't get cold. We spent the rest of the evening sledding until bedtime forced us back into the house.

Dada and Opal sledding the next night, Dec. 23rd.

Here's the perfect sledding hill that we found right outside our house:

New December Fun!

These are some things I would love to add to our tradition list. I know we shouldn't have too many or it will get overwhelming, but they're all so much fun!

Peter took Eben, Kivi and I to a local production of The Nutcracker. The kids loved it, but Kivi asked 20 times during the show if she could go dance with the pretty girls. Afterward, we let them dance on the stage. Everyday since she has been practicing twirls, spins and her "a woe bess".

We finally went to a living nativity!! Something I've been wanting to do forever. Grandma and Grandpa told us about the "Journey 2 Bethlehem" in Auburn on Dec. 7, so we went that night. (Good thing too, cause the one we planned on going to in Federal Way was cancelled because of snow.) They only have it for 3 days, so it was quite crowded. We had to wait 3 1/2 hours to go through! The kids did awesome waiting that long and they had videos, singers and instrumentalists while we waited.  Peter was the biggest complainer of the night, but even he was impressed once we went through. We saw everything on our journey - live camels, sheep and donkeys, wise men, prophets, lepers, beggers, Roman soldiers, shepherds, flying angels, and a live baby Jesus. The moment I saw him I started tearing up. It was emotional, and so real. I'm ready to wait 4 hours next year.

Eben getting a real shekel (well, not really, but it looks and feels like it) I spent mine on some wool and unleavened bread at the market. Everyone else kept theirs.

A woman at the market selling olives (so you can see the authenticity of this place).

Eating snow treats with real snow! Just one of the things we did with our abundance of snow this year. Obviously we can't keep this as a permanent addition to our traditions, but if it snows we will.

December Favorites Part 2

On with the traditions!

Christmas calendars - the tasty way to count down to Jesus' birthday! Grandma always gets them for Peter and the kids - a tradition Peter had when he was little.

Making Christmas cookies. This year Peter was super smart and bought us pre-made dough. How ingenious! It saved us tons of time and mess.

"The Anatomy of a Gingerbread Bubba" Starring Kivi

Telling and telling and retelling the nativity story. We have this awesome activity in a box called "What God Wants For Christmas" that we do at least every other day in December. The kids LOVE it. But this day they were acting it out live. Jasper and his 'bubby"were Joseph, Kivi was Mary, Eben was an angel (yes, those are diaper wings, he's very resourceful) and Opie played the part of baby Jesus laying in a laundry basket.

Opening one present on Christmas Eve. It's always our matching Christmas jammies and one year I'm sure they'll figure out that's what it's always going to be, but so far - it's been a surprise every year! This was a tradition passed on from when my mom was little, but I added the Mama and Dada matching jammies to the mix.

December Favorites Part 1

We have a LOT of December traditions! Probably because there are so many fun things to do with kids in December. Here are a couple of our fun traditions that we do every year to get ready for Christmas and celebrate Christ's birth.

Make a Christmas wreath. This year my sister was here and she made us a beautiful one out of the branches we had to cut off the tree.

Decorating the tree! This year we did it as soon as we got home from cutting it down. Eben actually did a really good job of distributing them all over the tree. Jasper and Kivi tried to hang as many ornaments on one branch as they could, until the branch got too heavy and they'd fall off.

The finished product. Our tree. I added ribbon this year, a new twist, but Peter wasn't too crazy about it.

Zoo Lights is so much fun. It's just the right amount of walking and tons of lights to see. This year our friends, the Schocks, who have a zoo pass took us - yippee!

This little thing at the zoo - inside the carousel house is so much fun, until you get sick from spinning, and it's free! I didn't even know it was in there.

Gingerbread houses! Here's Jasper working on he and Grace's house. 

This year we made gingerbread houses at Tiffany N's house with our HFG mommies and kids. It was a lot of fun and we had brunch afterward while the kids watched "The First Noel".  We didn't even have to get our house messy!

This is not really a tradition. It's just our family picture in front of our tree on a Sunday when we were all looking Christmassy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Tree Hunting!

We love cutting down our own tree for Christmas, a tradition Peter and I have kept since our first Christmas in our little Pearl Street home. The first two years we went with Peter's brother's family and illegally chopped down a tree in the middle of the wilderness. All seven of us crammed into our small Colt Vista and some how made it back down the mountain with 2 trees on the roof. God taught us a lesson about stealing -  ALL of the needles fell off the tree before Christmas! After that we hacked our trees down honestly. We now pay for them, usually at Hunter's.  
For the past 7 years (excluding 2004 - I had to work) we have rounded up our HFG friends and made a group outing of it. Afterwards, we all go to pizza. What a way to end a great hunt!

Here's our collection of trees we've hunted over the years:







I wish I could find pictures from before 2002, but they weren't digital - so alas, they're lost somewhere.  
Wow - I just realized I've had that white hat for a really long time!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Johnson's Top Chef Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving was hilarious! No one in our family is a gourmet chef, but we decided to have a cooking competition anyway. Peter and I watch Top Chef every week, so I thought it would be fun to video tape the whole day and make our very own episode.  Everyone had to create their own Thanksgiving dish and have it ready by 5:30pm. We had a lot of fun making the bios and the having everyone in the kitchen at once. Mimi didn't know what to do with herself, because she's always been the one in the kitchen making a majority of the dishes. We called her the "saboteur" since she couldn't help herself and kept fiddling with everyone's food. The end result was a really funny memory! In retrospect, we should have judged the food at the end instead of one at a time, it made eating a little less pleasurable and way more stressful. But hey, it was a competition!

Here's a run down of what everyone made:
Peter - Turkey      Abby - Pumpkin Apple Soup      Poppie - Grean Bean Casserole      Nonnie - Marshmellow Salad      Dodie - Bacon Cheddar Crustini      Buggy - Mashed Potatoes      Mimi - Corn Pudding      Grandma & Grandpa - Chocolate Tier

You'll have to watch to see who won!

So, here's the Johnson's Top Chef Thanksgiving (Yes, it's long.):

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thank You, God - For Our Family!

My family was able to come up from California for the whole week of Thanksgiving! We didn't do very much in the way of activities - Peter had to work, and the kids had their naps - but we did do lots of shopping. Which normally is not my favorite thing, but my sisters, Shmee (AKA - Dodie or Shannon) and Buggy (really Nicole) played "What Not To Wear" in my closest and threw out most of my wardrobe. So my very generous Mamacita took us shopping and bought me some new outfits. Yes, I now own a pair of black leggings - straight from the '80's, and "skinny jeans" which both my sisters said was a must right now. Actually, they look pretty cute with my boots (a purchase they talked Peter into buying for me last Christmas). 

Mostly, we just relaxed, played with kids, watched TV and had competitions - something the Tague family is never for lack of.

Buggy and Eben painting with pudding.

Mimi pushing Kivi and Jasper in their "boat".

Our Thanksgiving dinner! The most stressful, but fun, Thanksgiving ever - more on that later.

Here is a cutie video of our dancing Opal. Eben's robot, courtesy of our friends the Wileys, can entertain her for about a half hour! A really long time for a 10 month old. It looks like it has nothing to do with the Thanksgiving festivities, but it happened that week, so here it is.

Aunt Sherri

When my family came for Thanksgiving my Aunt Sherri (who lived in WA my whole life, but now resides in CA, making me and her two sons the ONLY ones who live out of state - Thanks, Aunt Sherri!) was able to visit for a day. My kids are in love with her! They try to take her away and have her all to themselves. While she was here we had a photo competition, we all had 5 minutes to take a picture with the theme of "nature".

Bubba and Aunt Sherri snuggling on the couch.

Kivi had to take her on "a walk with our purses". She took her all the way to the school park - and it was cold! But they had matching scarves, so it was alright.

Here's the winning photo - from our photo competition.

Thanks for visiting us Aunt Sherri - too bad you missed the Top Chef competition!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Small Group Thanksgiving

Our HFG (Home Fellowship Group) had our own little Thanksgiving on Nov. 19th. It was very peaceful, the kids stayed upstairs with the babysitter, Miss Maggie, and it was the most delicious meal ever! It helped that we have 2 gourmet chefs in our group. Peter cooked a very tasty bird.

 This was our table setting, it served as a trial run for when my family would come for the real deal too. 

Eben came up with the idea of folding the napkins like envelopes, which he got from his friend Martha (Stewart). 

Peter carving his turkey.

Playing the after dinner Thanksgiving game.

We are very thankful for our small group family!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Note To Self -Review "Jesus Loves Me"

After I got ready one morning, I came upstairs to see all the babes sitting on the "Mama Couch" singing songs and the camera was right there on the mantle. This is not their best rendition of "Jesus Loves Me". Maybe we will practice and try broadcasting it again at a later date. For now, here's the real, live version.

Megan Is Here!

On November 3, I got to have the privilege of being the Schocks birth photographer! It's so amazing to see a baby being born! And Megan shot out, literally. It was a water birth, which I am a huge fan of and Shari delivered her in the same room and tub at the Birthing Inn that Opal was born in, so it brought back all sorts of recent memories. It was such a surreal moment and the world seemed to stop as soon as that little life hit the air. We were all just in awe of her. I think when you get to witness someone else's birth, you have more time to take it in. In all of my births I remember just being on auto pilot. Not as much emotionally tied into the fact that a miracle is taking place as much as I should be. More driven to make sure the people around me are doing what they are suppose to be doing, pictures, videos, not letting the baby fall on the tile floor, and concentrating on being fully relaxed, so that I will feel nothing.  It made me want another chance, Megan's birth. I've had 4 very successful, and rather painless births, so I can't complain, and everyone knows I want more kids. But, I want to be there emotionally next time. I've never cried at one of my births. I want to be really there. I want to cry.

Teaching Each Other

I caught our cutie kids teaching each other some valuable lessons. The first one is of Eben teaching Kivi to read, from his phonics book. The second is Jasper teaching Opal how to push buttons. The recipients of the teaching are not as excited as their teachers. Which makes it pretty funny.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Our Garden Family

This year for Halloween our family was a garden. Peter was the gardener, I was the representative plant life (a flower if you can't tell), Eben was the caterpillar, Kivi was a bumble bee, Jasper was the garden gnome, and Opal was a butterfly.

Our Halloween festivities included a party at the Wright's house the week before, trick-or-treating at one house on the 31st; our neighbors, Mr. John and Miss Marie, who are married, that's just what we call them (They gave each kid a huge bag of candy and winter gloves!), and lastly, Nite Lite, our church's event!! Our collective young family HFGs (Biblestudies) got together the night before Halloween to set up the maze, our annual contribution for the event. The guys did an awesome job putting PVC and black visqueen together to make the winding labyrinth. It ended up being the highlight for most everyone. The kids also enjoyed the jumpy toy, scooter race, the cookie walk, and the pick a duck game.

How the Johnsons Carve a Pumpkin

On October 27th we decided it was time to carve all those pumpkins. 
This is how we did it:

#1. Wash the pumpkin.

#2 Draw the face.

#3 Have Dada cut off the top.

#4 Scoop out the seeds.

#5 Make sure all the seeds are out.

#6 Have Dada cut out the face.

#7 Put a candle inside and light it.