Sunday, December 5, 2010

Arizona Christmas

As usual, the weather was beautiful for the Queen Creek Christmas parade. I love Queen Creek. I love the size of the city. I love that wherever I go, I drive past fields, farms, and horses, but if I want a good shopping center, there is one 10 minutes away. And if I want a really good shopping center, there is one 20 or 3o minutes away. We now have a hospital just down the street. The airport is close to an hour away, but I'm used to that (being from Spanish Fork). Maybe that's why I love Queen Creek so much. It's similar to my hometown without actually having to BE my hometown. Who wants to live in the same city where they attended high school?

But here I am off-topic as usual. The main reason I love Queen Creek is for THIS!!!

Santa Clause sporting his sunglasses in the parade! After the parade, we found a nice soft patch of grass to eat our snow cones and watch some of the Christmas performances at the library.
Brynn got bored and ended up with a pen and a notebook, which is typical for her.

After church today, we made treats to eat while we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional.
And here's another part of Christmas in Arizona. Brynn has gotten stubborn about talking on the phone, which drives me crazy because I want her to keep in touch with her out-of-state relatives. But no matter her mood, she almost always lets Grandpa Johnson sing her to sleep at night. For days she's been wanting Grandpa to sing "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire," and she got to hear it tonight! So here she is, listening intently (it's hard to see the phone in her hand).

And here comes Bryce. Is this normal? It's not usual neutral for these two. Either they are pestering and tormenting each other, or they are loving on each other in the sweetest, most affectionate ways. Here, Bryce is gently stroking her hair.

And puckering up to give her a kiss.
And after a while, the two of them in the same bed start to get wound up and hyper, so we move Bryce back to his crib. But not before Bryce gives Grandpa (through the phone) a goodnight kiss.
Oh, and by the way, our Christmas tree was tipped over already. I'm sure that's the first of an unfortunate amount of times. :) Here's Bryce trying to put back all the ornaments. I've just had to remind myself that this is not the time period in my life to stress over having a beautiful tree. For right now, I'm perfectly content with just making Christmas fun with the little ones. I know all too soon Marty and I will be decorating the tree by our self and reminiscing about our kid-friendly tree back when we had babies.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Libraries: Pure evil or great blessing? Discuss...

I've had a temporary loss of self-control and have given myself up to books. I think it's relatively undisputed that reading is good, but when words on a page become my new reality, that's when I've crossed the line and it's time to ban books for a while. Maybe someday I'll learn some balance with books (my mom is a librarian, and she's figured that out), but for now I'm accepting defeat and pledging to stop reading until Christmas break. Then, when 3:00 a.m. shows up on my clock and I'm still telling myself, "I'll stop reading at 3:15, no, 3:30, no...," I can nap or sleep in and I'll have enough family around to justify the kid's getting attention elsewhere. :)
And if you want to connect on Goodreads, I'd love to get suggestions for new books (to read in the FUTURE of course!). I'm not great at navigating the site, but I have been updating my books lately.
Hopefully this link takes you to my books...?????

What else have the Johnson's been up to?

Brynn had a stomach flu this week, which was noteworthy to me for a couple of reasons. First of all, none of the rest of us got it! I NEVER thought I'd see the day that someone in my house got sick and I didn't. Especially since that morning Brynn woke up crying and painfully early, so I laid down with her for a minute to calm her, and the next thing I know I'm waking up with our cheeks still pressed together. She threw up not more than a couple hours later and I was bracing myself. Preparing, too. Only eating things I new I wouldn't mind coming up later. Gross, I know, but when you have a pregnancy like my first, some foods take on a whole new meaning and I find myself often thinking about the negative association I have from that food four years ago.
The other noteworthy part is that this is only the second time she's ever had a stomach flu. The first time was three years ago before her first birthday, so I think that's pretty good! We've been immensely blessed with health, even during cold and flu season, and I am so grateful for that.

I guess Autumn is the time for adventures. At least, their adventures according to me. This year was a girl road trip. My friend from high school (in Utah) moved out here to Queen Creek. Her husband was going out of the state for a business and she didn't want to be alone with the kids, so the two of us packed up our five kids (ages 4, 3, 2, 18 months, and 6 months) and drove with every seat filled to Utah for a week. We couldn't believe how well our kids did and how surprisingly painless it was! She's ready to go again, but I feel so guilty leaving my husband alone for a week. Luckily, it was an extraordinarily busy week for him and I doubt I would have seem him at all anyway. So one of us was bound to be lonesome for the other. And I froze lots of meals for him, I think he eats better when I'm gone than when I'm home. I can hear myself desperately trying to rationalize the whole thing, even though he was totally supportive about it! Although I will say that when I got back, he scooped me up in the tightest hug and said, "Never again!!!" We like each other. :)

The day I got back from Utah I was sick, and the next day, and the day after that Greg came!!!!!! For a whole week!!! Greg is Marty's brother (he's my age) and he absolutely just feels like another brother to me. He is a sass, teases me, we all love to play games together and laugh together, and talk about stupid stuff and serious stuff. He spoils my kids rotten and loves them to bits, and even managed to keep his patience last year through Bryce's screaming, and this year through Brynn's new emotional instability (Helloooo 4!). But this time when he came to visit, he came in a cast. He had just had ankle surgery two days before he flew out. I know the flight must have been horrible, but I am so glad he came. Partly so that we could spend time together, but mostly so that we could take care of him. I had to go through a bunch of surgeries in college and during one of them, I had too much going on to kick back at my parent's house, so I had to take care of myself at my apartment and it was no fun at all. I'm really glad he came. It was a very laid-back visit, but I think that was nice for all of us.

Our house is officially decorated for Christmas! I can't help thinking about our Christmas last year and how much the kids have changed. Particularly Bryce. It was after we got home from our Christmas vacation that Bryce 2.0 started to emerge. I've heard that crawling has the biggest positive effect on acid-reflux-y babies, and I think that must have been the case for him, because that's about when he started crawling. Anyway, for a long time Bryce has been about as delightful as babies/toddlers come. He is so playful, and such a tease. He's been pretty good about leaving the Christmas tree alone, except for one train ornament that he literally just can't force himself to keep his hand off of. So I tried to help him understand that he can play with just that one and he's been catching on really well. Bryce is turning out to be persistent, yet obedient. For example, he'll ask and ask and ask, but usually if I tell him "no" he listens. The problem with that is, he has figured out that if he patiently asks me for something enough times, eventually I'll cave. So right now Bryce's discipline comes down to my resolve. Scary. I'm a softie.

Speaking of Bryce and changes, we are breaking him of Bubby!!! Bubby is his Binky, by the way, he came up with that name. I guess that's an easy word to say, because that was also my brother's name for his blanket or something. Anyway, yeah. It's been a little rough this week. Traumatic for him. We dreaded this so much with Brynn and then it turned out to be no big deal at all. One day she was a bink-aholic, the next she forgot she'd ever had a Binky. Not quite the case with Bryce, but he's getting there. We snipped the Binky rather than just taking it away, so it's hard to get suction and stay in his mouth. But he still wants to go to bed with it in his hand. At first, I thought "sure, hang on to it, it's at least an improvement over sucking on it." But I can't let him just hang on to it forever, or I've got the same problem of constantly searching the house for Bubby. This weekend is it, though. While there are two of us parents to keep each other sane, we're going to start saying "No Bubby" when Bryce asks and wash our hands of it.

Well, I didn't expect to write a novel today, but it feels good to be journaling again. I don't expect anyone to make it through the post, but I feel like there is a weight off of my shoulders having recorded the events of the past month. Nothing earth-shattering, but the little things are what I'm the most afraid of forgetting. Next time, I'll include pictures. But today, I'd better just hurry and post before Bryce wakes up, Brynn comes home from preschool, piano students start showing up, and life gets crazy again!