Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ahhhhhh Augusta ...

What can I say ... we have truly enjoyed our time here in the south. Great friends, great food, great kids and more. We arrived at 1:30 AM on new years Eve (as in really late Tuesday night), and Lori and I stayed up until the wee hours chatting like old friends do. Wednesday was a BUSY day preparing for the New Years Eve Party scheduled for later that evening. We all pitched in to really impress the neighbors with our awesome menu. We made beef and pork tenderloin, many side dishes, brie en croute x 2. marinated shrimp and cheeses, and many other dishes. Lori and I spent many hours preparing for the event, and by the time the party started, I was still in my nightgown in the kitchen. Luckily I was able to get myself cleaned up in time to enjoy Lori's neighbors and the party. We even rented a GIANT inflatable jungle gym at the last minute for the kids! We all toasted at new years ... 20 adults and 14 kids! what fun!. The kids toasted with sparkling grape juice, of course. Then one by one, they took turns passing out around the living room! Thursday was a lazy day, and we had leftovers for lunch after cooking a bg breakfast. Dinner was casual, and we stayed up way too late again! Friday was a day for the kids, and after naps, we went to Monkey Joes for the kids to burn off some pent up energy and followed it with Mellow Mushroom and Starbucks for dinner. After dinner the kids exchanged christmas presents and went to bed too late again! Today we were meant to leave early in the morning to make it home in time to have a sleepover at grammyda's house with aunt joni and uncle nick. Here it is 4:30 pm and we are still in Augusta! Lori had replaced some furniture in her den, and graciously handed it over to us, but a couch and chair and ottoman just wouldn't fit in the marshmallow with 2 grownups, 3 kids and all of our stuff ... imagine that! So, we rented a u-haul to tote it home in, and Mark is out picking it up at this very minute. He should be back soon with a pick-me-up coffee for everyone, and then we will be on the road. Thanks Lori and you-know-who for a great time. We can't wait to visit again. Do i see a joint vacation or two in our future? I sure hope so. The ease with which our families meld is comforting to all of us, especially Mark. I haven't seen him this relaxed in a very long time. It is refreshing to see him just chill out and enjoy for once and leave the office behind. Thanks again guys for a super weekend ... a great way to kick off the New Year. Marks here, so i better finish packing!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The 12 days of a johnson christmas ...

On the morning of this christmas, my true love gave to me ... 12 months of waiting 11 hours wrapping 10 seconds to open 9 full bellies 8 hour drive 7 batteries 6 cups of coffee 5 bloody marys 4 hours of sleep 3 excited brothers 2 wrasslin' Dogs 1 Happy Johnson Family!

The giant, long, haven't blogged in almost a week, after christmas post ...

Once again, Christmas was FANTASTIC! On the 23rd, however, I wasn't sure if I would survive. I still wasn't done shopping, Mark was still acting like scrooge, and the weather was not cooperating. All of that stress was left behind when, on Christmas morning, three little boys crept down the stairs to see if Santa had, in fact, visited our house. And he had! But before all of that happened, something truly magical happened on christmas eve ...
On the way home from GrammyDa's (that's short for Grammy and Da's House - Mark's Parents, also referred to as Sharon and Don!), Ian fell asleep, and when we got home, Keagan went straight to bed, so only Nate was awake. It was late, almost midnight, so I decided it would be easiest to lay down with Nate in my bed to help him fall asleep because he was SO excited for Christmas. So, as we were laying in be chit chatting about christmas and Santa's arrival, we heard a strang sort of 'thump" come from outside.
Nathan froze and whispered soooo quietly to me "mom, shhh. If he hears you, he might leave."
To which I replied, in a teeny tiny whisper, "what do you think that was?"
"it must be Santa because it is almost midnight. It's almost christmas."
then, another thump!
Again, nate freezes.
Then he turns to me and whispers ...
"mom, this is the most special christmas ever, beause I have never heard Santa's footsteps on the roof before."
I will never EVER tell him that the noise was not Santa, but it was Ellie (our 2 year old Beagle) tearing thru the trash on the deck right under my bedroom window!
But, oh, the magic of Christmas. This is the first year that I have actually witnessed this magic. I don't know if I just missed it all around me the last severl christmases since the kids were born because i was too busy, or too worried, or too stressed, or too tired, or just not ready for it. I sure felt it this year, though! This Christmas I decided to be in the moment, and it paid off. There was the Santa steps with Nathan, Ian's very special conversation with Mrs. Claus, and then there was Keagan.
On Christmas Eve, we let Nate and Ian open one present before their short rest before mass, and although Keagan was in his room, with the door shut, falling asleep, he heard them opening their gifts. When he woke from his nap, he immediately asked if he could open his present. Nate and Ian were already at GrammyDa's, so he was the only one home. I chose the smallest present for him to open. It was a small toy cellphone with Mickey Mouse on it that has flashing lights and beeps and plays music when you push the buttons. He already has one of these, but it is "dead of batteries" and the toy is cheaper than the hearing aid batteries it needs to work again! So, I handed the tiny present to him, and Mark and I sat and waited for him to open it. The first thing he said was "is dis fo me?"
"yes, it is."
"can I open it?"
"yes, go ahead"
he began to open the present so gently, tearing off the smallest bits of paper. He would not throw them on the floor, and was looking for aplace to put the paper. Mark streched his hand out to take the paper, and Keagan continued opening the present. When he had opened it enought to see the toy, he said, "Is this my new Mickey Mouse Phone?"
"I don't know, keep opening it."
So he finishes unwrapping the phone, he opens it and says ...
"Hi Santa. Thank you for my new phone. I love you. Merry Christmas."
He's 2. He's awesome. I cried.
Anyway, there were many, many other magical moments this Christmas. Santa usually brings the boys the toys and things that mommy and daddy either won't buy, or just don't allow. This year he brought Ian several Red Power Rangers. It was the only thing he asked for throughout the entire christmas season. He saw santa 3 times and every time, he just asked for a red power ranger. Since Power Rangers aren't allowed here because they promote fighting and wrestling, and we already have enough of that here. Ian could not believe it when he kept opening packages and there were more red power rangers! Oh, he also got roller blades, and pseudo cap guns (guns aren't allowed either for the same reason!) And playdoh.
Nate received Roller blades, Cap guns, and "tons of Pokemon Cards". We wanted to get him what he asked for, but were nervous that when he opened them, and realized that his brothers had received more cool toys, that he would be disappointed. Boy, were we wrong! He loves them. He spent an hour yesterday sorting them out and putting them in ziploc bags in their special categories. He hasn't stopped talkign about them, and how he can't wait to get to school and trade them with his friends.
Santa brought Keagan a kitchen ... much to Mark's chagrin. But, he loves it! This morning he wanted to heat his bottle up in HIS microwave. then he made some pizza and ice cream, and put some legos away in the dishwasher. He also got a ball, which was the only thing he asked Santa for. just a ball, nothing special, just a playground ball. And, all 3 of them played with it forever yesterday playing 4 square in the house!
At grammyda's, santa left more presents for the boys. Including, an electric razor scooter for nate, a real guitar for ian, and a special fire truck for keagan! the funniest part of this was that we tried to keep the boys on the loveseat so the christmas tree was in between them and their unwrapped presents from Santa for about 1 minute until everyone was ready. We kept telling them not to look, and Ian said, "I'm NOT looking! I didn't even see that guitar!"
Oh, one more magic story, then i am signing off!
At Ian's preschool they have a thing called Santa Shop. Right after thanksgiving the kids come home with a special form. Mom and dad fill out the form with the child to let the school know who the child needs to shop for, and how old they are, and their relation to the child. Then, the child goes to shop for their gifts, has them wrapped and brings them home that day in a big bag all ready to go under the tree. The trick is to get the kids to keep the secret of what the gifts are until christmas. When they shop, they are choosing inexpensive dollar store items for their loved ones, and it takes them a LONG time to choose their gifts. This year, Ian kept the secret of the gifts so well because he didn't want to break the "Christmas Promise", which is that you can lie during christmas time, only if it is to protect someone from finding out what their gifts will be!
Anyway ... on christmas morning, Ian very gently handed out all of his presents, adn we took turns opening them. Da received an ice scraper mitten for his car. Mark received a tape measure because he "likes to measure things." I got a cool pair of gloves with fuzzy cuffs. Aunt Joni got a snowglobe, etc. Ian had a story or a reason for every gift he chose. He did not select his gifts at random as it would seem to the casual observer. He had specific details of why he chose the gift. He gave Da the ice scraper because it was small and he could leave it in his glove box, and when he got out of a meeting, he wouldn't have to borrow one anymore. It was like this for all of us. I was amazed at the thoughtfullness of my 4 year old! Thank you, Totten Hall, for this wonderful gift!
After Christmas morning at our house, we headed over t ogrammyda's for the rest of the day. We ate, drank, and were very merry! We opened presents for a total of 10 hours! Then Mike and Elaine Shaffer joined us for Christmas Dinner, and we had a wonderful time.
Yesterday, with the adrenaline rush of christmas and 3 nights in a row of no hardly any sleep, I could barely get out of bed! So, I didn't! Until noon thirty! Mark and the boys had a great day playing with new toys and building legos! then it was back to grammyda's for late dinner and a, now famous, Ian melt down.
Oh, and the boys received their traditional personalized t-shirts from Nick and Joni. Nates read ... "Class of 2020" on the front and on the back it says "Seniors Rule". His previous shirt reads "Helloooooo Ladies".
Ians says "I am NOT Cute!" His previous shirts say, "Chicks Dig Scars", and "Lock Up Your Daughters".
Keagan's says "I'm a Boy", and his previous shirt says "Made in Hawaii".
We are still recovering from the big day, but it was wonderful.
Today, we are taking Aunt Kathy (Sutton) to see the Tale of Desperaux, because she says Uncle Denny won't take her to see it! It should be great, and the boys are very excited!
Mark and Keagan are in the garage working because it is almost 70 here today!
Merry Christmas! I know ours was!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I hate my router ...

i hate my cable modem and router! Oh and the cable company too! Last night they were worjing on something , and @ 10:30 PM our internet and cable stopped working. I called, and they did some typing, and said it was fixed. Well, my internet is still not working properly. Mark's compute is connectinog just fine, but mine ... not so much. It will work for a minute, and then not. Not only was the cable off, but then mark just figured that the bill had not been paid (which it had). Arrrrgh! All i want fo rchristmas is a bigger hard drive, and a router that cooperates!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

today was a great day @ casa johnson

after sleeping in this morning, and then running around all afternoon, we ended up having a great day here on cherry street. Nate did well in school. Ian and Keagan were so well behaved while I was on Lunch Lady duty ... which was quite fun! Ian made friends with the other lunch ladies and played with one of his own ladies, rachel. Keagan sat on the lap of a random kindergartener during story time, and only got called a girl twice. Not a bad day.
I made a real proper dinner tonight - not a chicken nugget in sight, and i made cupcakes for Ian to take to school tomorrow. He is snack boy, and asked me to make cupcakes, so i did. He should know better by now, that as much as mommy thinks she is cool and crafty and a whiz in the kitchen, she used up most of her braincells not studying in college, and now is just a forgetful dumbass. i say this because Ian saw this cake mix in target, the one with the confetti in the cake mix, and then you buy the confetti frosting to go with it with the xmas shapes to sprinkle on top, and that's what we bought to make cupcakes.
I forgot to buy the icing.
so i made the cupcakes knowing that after dinner i have to run back to target, which is literally 90 seconds away, to get the icing.
Target has icing, but they only have strawberry or german chocolate. clearly, neither of these will work. So, i go to walmart to find the special confetti icing. I find icing but it has no confetti. Oh well, I'll take it, it's vanilla. Oh look, yo gabba gabba PJ's for keagan! (ADHD kicking in!) I will also take the pajamas, the sugar gingerbread man decos for the cupcakes (as we have no confetti), and that big bag of peppermint bark (ghiardellis ... yumm).
How would I like to pay for that ...? great question.
My wallet is at home. That's ok, ive got it covered. Let me just run to my car.
Since we frequently visit the ER for stitches, I keep things in my car like protein bars, bottled water, paperback book, ipod, and rolls of quarters. Why rolls of quarters you say ... well everything in the vendy at the ER is like $2.25 so if you are going to be there for 4 or 5 hours , it could cost you $40 bucks. and since there is not 1 person in the whole place that can make change for a 5, you'd better have some quarters if you are going to the ER in Evansville.
You may be laughing at me about the quarters just like Mr. Pierce Tattoo walmart checkout dude was, but I will tell you this ... I bought $27 worth of merchandise at walmart this evening with free money! Yay me!
When i arrived home from scavenging walmart, i was preparing to ice the cupcakes, and i found a small silver package on the counter. "what's this?" i wondered.
we apparrently aren't having confetti cake either. silver mystery packet still contains confetti (aka sprinkles) and already baked cupcakes do not!
that's ok. I simply whipped up some pink peppermint flavored icing, iced those bad boys right up, threw on some confetti and a gingerbread man and called it done!
to summarize ... got up late on purpose, rolled in to school @ 945 (awesome) served lunch (fun) ran errands, kids rested for 1.5 hours (unheard of), made dinner (actually edible), bought free stuff at walmart, rocked some cupcakes, and will be asleep by 12:30 am. great day!
This post is sponsored by xanax, diet coke, and our Platinum Sponsor - Captain Morgan! Thank you for your support!

Mom, can we ice skate on the deck?

So, today school was delayed two hours. Mark got up and went to his meeting, and the kids got up around 7:30 AM. I, of course, stayed in bed ...duh. That is, until I heard some strange noises coming from ... outside. My bedroom is over the deck, and i could hear the kids banging on the door outside. So i lok out the window, and Nate and Ian are outside in 25 degree weather in their new fleece jackets Da brought them from Vail that they won't take off. I Yelled down "Guys, get back in the house." and nate yells back, "Mom, can we please ice skate on the deck?"
So i suited them up in proper cold weather gear, popped their crocs on (because they "are the slippiest, mom") and sent them out to skate. Even Keagan. They had the BEST time out there slipping around on the deck. When I went to get them to get ready for school, they had gotten out a ball and 2 plastic hockey sticks and were playing Hockey! Needless to say, nate was very disappointed that he had to leave for school.
Today will be an interesting day for me because I am the substitute LunchLady today! I just think that is the funniest thing! I was thinking of getting a fake hairy mole to wear just for the occassion. The school provides the hairnet, so i thought the mole would be a great touch. Hey Kiddos, Mrs. Johnson is here ... Spit Burgers for Everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the famous 2 hour delay ...

the threat of a 'winter storm' has been looming since late saturday night. On sunday morning they were running the thing along the bottom of the tv (which mark HATES because this makes the tv show smaller) giving a pre-warning for what the storm warnings would soon be ... ice storm, wind warnings, sleet, snow, freezing rain, arctic air streaming in from the north.

It is now tuesday night, and the temperature has dropped from 55 to 25, we have had maybe 5 snowflakes, 1 hour of light misty rain, grey skies and a little bit of wind.

tomorrow, school will start 2 hours late! what a great thing - sleeping in, and nate still gets to go to school! The down side is that preschool is cancelled.
since Ian will be home tomorrow, he can help me restuff the christmas cards. They currently are unstuffed because he found out they had pictutres in them, and he wanted to see the pictures, so he started opening the christmas cards. Thankfully they were not yet sealed, but he did open ALL of them. Funny thing is every single christmas card had the same picture in it. now i have a pile of cards, already addressed envelopes, and sort of crumply pictures to stuff! Thanks, ian.
growing up outside of chicago, i remember no such 2 hour delay. We rarely ever even had a snow day. It would have to have snowed 12" or more before anyone would even consider calling it a snow day.
In Evansville, school gets called rather often, for any number of reasons, and usually on 2 hour delay days, they end up calling the whole day. The 2 purpose of the 2 hour delay is that so the roads can warm up and maybe melt a little ice off and then the busses can travel more safely. So does this mean that on 2 hour delay days, they will send a bus to pick up our kids? We don't have a bus any other day, so why should we have to wait for the roads to be safe for the busses if we don't even use them? hmmmmm ... by we, I dont just mean the moms that dont want their kids riding on public transportation. I mean all of the kids that go to catholic schools here. There are no busses for catholic schools, so if the roads aren't that bad, couldn't we just drive our kids to school like we every other day?
No way, as i am geting ready to post this, there is some weather starting out there. maybe those weather guys will get lucky after all!

Monday, December 15, 2008

the sick husband post ...

Dear Diary, Today when i logged on to work on my blog, i noticed that people had started reading it. I have followers! I have people making comments! I am so excited. My own husband won't even read it, but random strangers will. Maybe i do have something of value to say! Well, the xmas cards are halfway done, but the second half is going to go out without pictures because I can't bear to go back in to target to get them printed. Also, all 80 of them are going out without a letter updating everyone on our happenings for the past year. Well 2 years, since i never sent out last years xmas cards. Even though they were all signed, sealed, and even addressed. I just never made it to the post office to get stamps! So in March I just threw them away! Holy Crap, don't tell my husband! Anyway, as i sit here typing, listening to Imagination Movers, I am distracted by the buzzsaw noises coming from the loveseat. That can only mean one thing ... Mark is SICK! there is nothing worse than a sick husband. It is worse than even sick kids. At least you can give them a popsicle and some benadryl and they will sleep for a couple of hours and give you a break. Sick men are just the opposite. They even whine in their sleep. My husband, who probably is coming down with pneumonia, slept ALL day yesterday. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying he slept ALL day yesterday, then he woke up this morning and when i came back from dropping the 2 big boys off at school, he was sound asleep again. Then he said that he was going to get up and get ready for WORK! Can't he just accept the fact that he is sick and stay on the couch for a day or two until his energy is back up and THEN go back to work? I understand that he does own a construction company and a lot of people count on him to be there, but when you are sick, you're sick. So, to ensure that he would stay put, I called his daddy! He and his dad work together, so i called him and told him mark was sick and he told me to make him stay home so he won't be sick for christmas! I think he is sick because we spent the whole weekend cleaning and organizing closets, which is what we do all the time because we have too many people living in this house that has no closets! This weekend we actually had to go through and get rid of some of the kids clothes because we are just out of room! The little kids stayed at grammyda's from friday night until 8 pm on saturday night! Yesterday we worked on a special christmas project for grammy, da, uncle nick and aunt joni. I just hope they can keep it a secret! I know this is a long post, but I am energized this morning after a good nights rest (thank you, ambien!) and a mocha this morning! Now, I think I am going to do some laundry (surprise!), finish the xmas cards, and reorganize my closet!

Friday, December 12, 2008

i'm totally agonizing over this year's xmas cards ...

so, about a month ago i went to the hallmark store and bought v.1 of the 2008 xmas cards. They were nice. they were expensive. i paid full price. i took them back. then i went to target and bought xmas cards v.2. they were nice. they were not very expensive. i really liked them. i went to target today to order prints of our christmas tree hunting photo to attach to the sticky thing on the great v.2 xmas cards. Then i noticed that the cards were landscape format, and the pictures are portrait format. so ... i returned them. then i went to buy 2008 xmas cards v. 3. Well, now it is so close to christmas that the selection was a little slim. I found one that i liked but there was only 1 box of 40 and i need 60. so i did the unthinkable ... i bought 2 different kinds of xmas cards! gasp! when i got home i was excited to share the pictures with mark. i have never used to kodak picture kiosk thing and it is pretty cool. for an in store thing simple enough for everyone to use, it had some cool features. on thing was that you could add text to the photo, so i wrote "johnson family, xmas tree hunt, 2008". When i showed mark, he said "i wish you had written christmas, not xmas." now, i agree that christmas looks much nicer than xmas, but xmas fit better. could he not have first said someting like "wow, what a great idea. If i had a vote, i would have ..." anyway, enough on the xmas cards. I am looking forward to sleeping in in the am. Ian and Keagan are having a sleepover @ GrammyDa's and Nate is tucked in for the night. We were supposed to go to chicago this weekend, but since i have been sick (with pneumonia), we decided to stay home so i am not sick for xmas. tomorrow we are going to finish decorating, and then I don't know what we'll be up to for the rest of the day. it is so nice sitting here working on my XMAS cards while sitting next to the perfect XMAS tree that we cut down ourselves last weekend. PS - the facebook addiction continues. I think its so funny the people we will FB with. People we rarely spoke to when we saw them on a daily basis, ex-boyfriends, old friends, new friends, friends of friends, people we have lost touch with. It's pretty crazy how it brings people together.