Sunday, September 9, 2012

What have I DONE?

 Grandpa has been here!  I have a million more pictures to post of that, but I first had to post a couple updates about this constantly changing baby.  My dad helped with Gabe's HAIRCUT!  I knew it would be sad because he's such an angelic baby, I SO don't want him growing up any faster.  And I LOVE running my fingers through his fine, silky, strawberry-blonde hair.  I could do it all day long (and I do).  But it was getting pretty shaggy around the ears and neck and I didn't want to take a pair of scissors to his wiggly little scalp, so I just buzzed it.

Did I mention the silky shine? :)

It curls a little in the back.


He did fuss some, but there were no tears and he was a total champ as long as he had his thumb (surprise, surprise).
 Big boy!

Bwaaaaa!!!!  He's so adorable, but what have I DONE?  I made a BIG BOY out of him!  *sniff*

I know it's nice, but I MISS running my fingers through my baby's hair!  
However, as I've been looking back through recent pics of him, it was just a reminder that it had gotten pretty shaggy and it had to be done.  I can't stand having my babies' hair flipping way out over their ears.  And I didn't want him being mistaken for a girl (I do have beautiful boys, if I do say so myself).  But, note to self: next time let's try putting the #6 guard on it rather than a close buzz, okey dokey?

SEE how shaggy??  Right?  See?  Right!?

The other Gaber-Smacks updates

A couple weeks ago I posted about Gabe cutting his first tooth and possibly crawling, which I didn't believe.  Well, just a few days after that he DID start crawling and I ate some humble pie.  He's such a mellow and content baby though, that he's really not into EVERYTHING.  I mean, he is, but not like some curious little motors are. He's happy to crawl to one interesting thing and hang out there for a while inspecting it before moving on. He also cut a second tooth, but on top this time!  So he is my first baby to cut his bottom and top teeth before the one year mark (read: hello, formula).  He is also playing lots of games, giving high fives, finding lots of different ways to groove (he is by far my dance-iest baby), still always up for a snuggle, LOVES all food, and hasn't mastered da-da yet.  Which makes Marty ready to send him back when I walk out of the room and Gabe's little lip quivers as he pathetically whines, "Ma-ma!  Ma-ma-ma!"  Not that I enjoy that or anything...

Friday, September 7, 2012


 Yesterday afternoon and evening it cooled down quite a bit.  Wanting to take advantage of the gray skies, I told the kids we'd eat breakfast at the park this morning,  When we left the house it wasn't raining, but I brought an umbrella anyway.  After we crossed our street, it started sprinkling.  By the time we got just down the road to the park it was a full-on monsoon and we were frantically ditching the bike and scooter and high-tailing it to the covered tables.  The whole thing took about three minutes.  That's how fast monsoons come on here in AZ.  We huddled together and ate our blueberry bran muffins.
 To the tune of "We All Live in a Yellow Submarine," Brynn started singing:
           We are eating a muffin in the rain,
                                 a muffin in the rain,
                                 a muffin in the rain.
           We are eating a muffin in the rain,
                                 a muffin in the rain,
                                 a muffin in the rain.
Then Bryce informed me that he was soooo cold (I thought it felt wonderful), so I told him to wait just a couple of minutes to let the monsoon let up to a normal drizzle.  They ventured out in it once or twice looking  for "shelter" (read that word in a very dramatic Brynn voice) at the playground.

Finally, we were ready to head home, but first we had to find Bryce's shoes in the waterfall/pond.  Of course.  I can't believe how fast these drainage areas can fill up.

Lately I've been feeling very torn in my mothering style.  Torn between wanting to be the spontaneous, enjoying-every-second mom who has play-in-pajama-days and who drops everything to chase a lizard down the street and the consistent mom who pushes her kids hard so that they can learn responsibility and independence by completing a "good routine."  The last couple of months we've had a morning and nightly routine that includes things like making beds, devotional, practicing, preschool/homework, among other things.  I think it's good for the kids, but I've been pushing them so hard.  Two days ago we went to the library and as we were going through our books deciding which to keep or take back, I realized we hadn't read many of them.  I thought, "What's the point of going to the library if we can't even make the time to read the books?"  You can't win as a mom.  Just as I was feeling so good about the "routine" I realized we weren't leaving enough time for other things.  So I think we'll let up on Fridays and enjoy being a kid (which is something I never thought I'd have a hard time with).

Balance:  the seemingly unattainable.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Brynn's creativity

 Brynn loves to play, imagine, and create.  It makes me so happy to see her doing those things. pretty much constantly.  I think if we never watched another movie or tv show, she wouldn't even notice.  She almost never asks me to put on a movie.  She's way too busy for that. Although if Bryce puts one on then often it pulls her in.  Because Bryce is a different story.  He loves movies and asks to watch them all the time,  but he's actually been doing a lot better at keeping busy since we started our sporadic no-tv weeks.  Anyway, I just wanted to document a few little things about living with her.

First of all, there are princesses all over the house.  The first love of her life was the set of "sparkly princessess-es" we got her from Disneyland.  They had a very special bag they all went in, because if one disappeared then she would cry for days until we found the missing princess.  She would play with those figurines all day every day (seriously).  Then at her fourth birthday party, she discovered "squishy princessess-es."  Then, we realized how much she loved little sets of figurines, so at this point she's got quite a few princesses.   We no longer have to stress about keeping them all together.  If one Snow White is gone, there is a different Snow White to take her place.  I find them all over the house in the oddest places.  I found this one while emptying the dishwasher.  It bet this one was ultra-dramatic. :)

Last night I came upstairs to find her out of bed and riding to the ball in a carriage.
 I think Ken (the driver) is my favorite part.

This is the phrase I hear more from Brynn than any other: "Can I have a piece of computer paper?"  It seems like every time I go to Walmart I am buying another package.  I know that sounds terrible, but it's the price I've decided to pay for her creativity.  I promise I recycle! :)

I found her at the piano writing music.  It was adorable because she couldn't figure out how to get the notes down on paper - probably because she had drawn about twenty lines!  So I gave her a piece of manuscript paper to play with.

And I came back to the piano to discover she'd written an actual song, which she played for me!  It looks like she gave up trying to get all the notes on the correct lines and spaces, and there is no real timing whatsoever. But I remember how much harder it was than I thought it would be when I started trying to write music (in 6th grade!).

It's also interesting to me how she can be so spacy at sometimes and so focused at other times.  She's very dedicated to her art. :)  Recently she asked me how to draw a star.  I made her a little paper that showed each step, and then just left.  When Marty got home, she was dying to show him how to draw a star.  I figured she just picked up on it.  But then later I saw her notebook laying open on her little red table.  It looked like she didn't get it at first, but then practiced.  And practiced, and practiced, and practiced, and practiced.  If I'm giving it my best estimate, I'd say she drew about...a billion stars?  :)  That's dedication.

Today while she was playing I told her it was time to get ready for school and that we were going to stop at the library (her favorite place) first.  She looked disappointed, which surprised me.  Then she said, "Will we have time to come home and play before school?"  I told her we wouldn't.  Then she let out a big dramatic sigh and said, "Can I play the SECOND I get home from school?"  I said, "Yes, the SECOND we get home."  And she wouldn't get ready for school until I promised her I wouldn't clean or even touch her toys.  Again, that makes me happy.  Now, if I could just get her to be a little more active.  It's starting to cool off enough that I think she'd be ok outside in the morning, but she has no interest.  I know it would help if I would go outside with the kids in the morning, but for the life of me, I just can't seem to put aside my work in the early mornings.  It's the only time I really feel like doing it.  It's like it's morning, or never for me.  jabber, jabber, jabber....

Also, she has started saying a couple things that are kind of annoying that, sadly, I KNOW she got from me.


And, "Duh."  Actually, that one just started this morning.  It went like this:

Brynn:  If I were a real princess then I would never die because princesses don't really die.  They just die for a minute and then wake up.  
Me:  Why don't they die?
Brynn:  True love's kiss!
Me:  Oh, right.  Duh.
Brynn:  (pause)  Yeah, duh!.  DUH, Mom!!  Ha ha, duh!

And now everything for the rest of the day has been, "Duh, Bryce!"   I guess I should tackle this one sooner rather than later.  Sigh, it's my own fault.

P.S.  I know the princess stuff seems way out of hand, and it probably is a little.  But at this point I at least know she knows she is just playing (yes, I used to wonder).  I think she's gone through a bit of a princess trauma at kindergarten because she's realizing she may be getting too old for them.  Big girls play with Barbies and Hello Kitty, apparently.  So she cooled it quite a bit with princesses the last month, but then just the last few days it's been back FULL FORCE, like she's filling her princess canteen or something.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Guess what arrived in the mail?

 A package from Grandma full of new school clothes!!  (You have WAY too much fun shopping for these three, Mom!)

 Thank you, Grandma!  They were commenting on their matching green outfits all. day. long.  :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

This little sweetie....

*Cut his first tooth (bottom front left)
*Said his first word ("ma-ma").  That makes me three for three!  Take THAT, Da-da!! :)  He's already shown it off for all the grandparents and afterwords has an adorable expectant face while he waits for his praise.  I'll post a video soon.
*And crawled three...steps?  This one I have my doubts on.  I missed it, but Marty and the kids all insist that it happened.

These two are already the best of friends.  Is there anything better than to catch your kids in the act of loving each other?  This is a common scene at our house - Bryce sprawled out over Gabe's legs and Gabe patting him like a drum.  It gets that smile every time.  I'm posting this now so I can look back at it when Gabe is old enough to learn how to fight with his brother. :)  Bryce really does take such good care of him.  He is surprisingly vigilant about what is around Gabe and what Gabe is playing with.  If there is anything un-baby-friendly Bryce will snatch it away and immediately replace it with a baby toy before Gabe can even cry about it.  Again, I know I have many headaches to come in the future with these two boys, but right now it is pure sweetness.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

 Yes, here in San Tan Valley we were issued a warning to stop using the water due to a couple positive e coli tests.  Of course we found out about it from the school districts as Johnson Utilities remained pretty much mum on the subject.  But I digress...

Here is the stash.  It was a wake up call knowing that "some" water in our food storage wasn't going to be enough.  Luckily, we found out the day before JU was going to officially announce it, so late Tuesday night Marty was one of the ones cleaning out Fry's shelves.  The water ban only lasted a couple of days, so we definitely got more than we needed, but it will go just fine under the bed (I'll sleep better with it right beneath me!).

Brynn wrote her name on her water bottle.  I told Bryce I'd draw whatever picture he wanted on his, but he wanted his name on it, too.  "Bryce Ow-llan Johnson."  "Uh, no Honey, that's kind of long, I'll just write Bryce..."  "No!  My name is Bryce Ow-llan Johnson."

It's true, I could boil pots of water to wash my dishes...or I could buy paper/plastic, too.  Let's be honest, I've been sick on and off for two weeks, and with the three crazy kiddos...I'll gladly take this excuse to use these bad boys.

We soon found out we needed physical reminders.  Marty was teasing me for forgetting to brush my teeth with clean water.  He told me "I brought MY water bottle up," WHILE running his toothbrush under the faucet!  Ha!  

I had all these "clean" dishes in the dishwasher and didn't know if I could put them away or what.  It was really just a bunch of small annoyances and worries coming on a day that my worry bucket was already full to the brim (more on that later).

Well, if a shirtless, smiling baby is in the kitchen at the same time my camera is out...
Of course he's all smiles - he's just been fed, and now he gets a delicious dessert of thumb!

We were issued the warning Tuesday night and it's already been lifted this afternoon (Thursday).  That's what the hub-bub has been all about.  And tomorrow morning I will give Brynn a bath without the constant commentary:  "OH Mommy, that splash was ALMOST by my eye.  It's OK, I love you so much Mommy, but you gotta be careful...Oh...OH!  You got water in my EAR Mommy, and it's POISONED!  Now just remember Mommy, this is the poisonous water..."  She remains pretty spacy in our normal day-to-day conversation, but as soon as a very dramatic word, like poison, enters the conversation, then she is all ears.  Funny girl.

small school update

 Brynn is still loving kindergarten.  I don't really worry about her like I did at first.  Numbers were low, so they actually dissolved her class and put her into another.  We asked how she was doing and if she had any friends going with her and her teacher told us she wasn't worried at all about Brynn.  She said Brynn had a lot of confidence and that she was very social and outgoing.  That sounds more like the Brynn I know.

Here is Bryce on D-D-Duck day.  I know that whole point of a water table is to keep kids cooler while they play outside, but sadly it just wasn't enough.  The kid didn't want to go out into the blazing inferno and I didn't have it in me to even try to persuade him, it is (good mom award, bad house-keeper award).

What's with the fireman hat and sword, you ask?  Meh, he's three.  I'm sure it makes perfect sense in Little Boy World.

He lined up all the ducks after we read Make Way for Ducklings.  So cute.

Hm, to post or not to post.....  To post.  Bryce has rocked my "home-preschooling is so easy and fun!" world.  He loves it.  He asks me every morning if it's time for mommy school.  But he's a stubborn and independent pupil.  I pick up a pencil to show him how to hold it and before I can get a word out he gets this jealous look on his face and snatches it out of my hands saying, "NO!!! I CAN DO IT, I can do it! Icandoit, Icandoit, Icandoit."  Then I tell him to put the bug stickers on the B page and he says, "No, the bugs don't want to be on the paper, they want to live on my shirt because they are my pets."  Then I tell him we are going to cut around the cowboy and glue it on the cardstock and he says, "No, I'm going to cut off the cowboy's head."  I've gotten used to adjusting my parenting style between my VERY different first and second born, and at first I figured it would be the same thing at preschool.  "Oh, I'll just give him more choices, and try to roll with the ideas he comes up with to avoid power struggles and enable his independence, bla bla bla."  Then I suddenly realized, "WAIT!  There are things kids are supposed to be LEARNING in preschool, such as FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS."  And then after I stopped being so flexible, all heck broke loose.  So our special Mommy-Bryce time preschool is a work in progress.  He is so smart and picks up on things so easily - when HE decides he wants to learn.  It's just like when he was potty-trained, which basically happened in one day because HE decided he wanted to get this toilet thing down and be done with diapers.  So far, he loves learning about letters and simple math concepts, but he has no interest in the "project" part of preschool, so he can't hold scissors or color, (among other things) and I feel like we don't have a lot finished projects to show for all of our preschool time.  I'm just trying to remind myself that the biggest reason for Mommy's special three year old preschool is the one on one time we spend together that year before I send him off to a real preschool and I shouldn't worry too much about having him reading and writing novels by the end of the semester.

Also, did you know that Fantasy Football season has started?  I did.  Heh heh heh.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Gabe was playing with the Woody toy, so we dressed him as a cowboy:

 He was such a willing subject, we might have gotten a little carried away...

(train engineer) 


(uh... veteran?) 

(buzz lightyear)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer 2012

Well, I'm playing a little catch-up here like I always do in the summer.  Our summer started off in May with swim lessons.  Brynn improved so quickly, I was so impressed and proud of her. Bryce is still young and was mostly interested in playing in the water.  He was doing great for a while and then we took him to a friend's pool a few times and really pushed him and he really pushed right back. :)

Shame on me.  Shame, shame, shame.  We went on our usual big vacation to Utah.  I took one picture of Brynn helping me out with Gabe at a pit stop, and my camera died.  I never charged it again so this is all I have of our big vacation this year!  Shame!

 The fourth of July was SO great this year.  We had a VERY unusual cool-down in Arizona that day and we were actually cooler than Utah.  Usually we have a tradition of going to Carl's Jr. and getting a really big burger because we feel sorry for ourselves that it's too hot to BBQ (or go to parades, or hike, or pretty much anything outside).  Not this year!  It was cloudy and so pleasant, so we BBQ'd and played at the park.
(Notice the kiss on the cheek from Brynn - you'll see it again later.)

"Take a picture of me making a heart with my hands!"

Throwing snappers.

Raise your hand if you're from my generation and remember listening to Safety Kids and Take Your Hat Off When the Flag Goes By!  It was so fun to hand that down to my kids - Brynn was so into it and was acting so patriotic all day singing about "I love America."  And since then Bryce has been singing "George Washington Was a Very Good Man," and it is soooo cute.  "Doooooorge WASS-ington was a very good man!!!  A VERY GOOD MAN, INDEED!!!"
 Our fireworks show was pretty tame, but still fun.
 We also spent a weekend in Heber, AZ at the Ostvig Family Reunion.  I live for these reunions.  They only happen every three years, but they are so special.  It is Marty's mom's side of the family, and since I was never able to know her personally, I feel like this is the closest thing to it.  The Ostvigs are the absolute most amazing, spiritual, warmest family.  I feel like just rubbing shoulders with them is such an edifying experience and they all make me feel so loved and special even though they've only met me a couple of times.  They all tell stories about Marty's mom and cry the whole way through them.  I can't wait for the next one.
 Here is Uncle Buddy with Bryce and Scotty getting ready for the hula-hoop relay at the highly anticipated Ostvig Family Olympics.  These reunions are held all over the country and we just got lucky this year to have it in Arizona since very few Ostvigs actually live here.  We were also lucky to host family before and after!  Aunt Marion and Uncle Grant flew in from Saudi Arabia and spent a night at our house.  We were also able to watch our niece and nephew from Ohio since Marty's sister is expecting twins and couldn't make it out here.  We also got to have them and Marty's dad for a few days after the reunion and it was wonderful.

Brynn got a medal and when I congratulated her on it she gave it to me without any hesitation.  Angel.

 Here's the kiss on the cheek again.
 The water guns were a hit.
 The hay ride.
 That's right, another kiss on the cheek.  I swear I could raise this girl over and over and over.
So there is a chunk of our summer.  And now I will end.   Because if I tried to post every detail of every week I'd never post again.  My apologies to all of the memories I didn't get to.