Wednesday, July 30, 2014

First day - K and 2nd

After a VERY short summer, it's that time again!  Brynn is in second grade and my little buddy is officially a kindergartner! 

I was so stressed about the first day of school.  I thought all of that anxiety would end when I stopped having "first days," but since I went strait from being a student to marrying a teacher and then sending the kids, I haven't really had that luxury. :)  I was worried because we had all been passing around a cold that we brought back with us from Utah (happens EVERY summer).  And I'm afraid to say I sent Brynn to school on her first day feeling pretty yucky.  She hadn't had a fever in 24 hours so I told her to just try it and call me if she needed me to come and get her.  And then I knew our schedule would be really tight going strait from school to the airport to pick up my cousin.  I was questioning my decision of putting Bryce in kindercare (it's an hour-ish day care at the school so I don't have to pick up Bryce and come back 40 minutes later to get Brynn from her shortened school day schedule).

But everything worked out peachy!  Brynn came home feeling fine, Bryce seemed to do ok with the longer kindergarten, and I felt better about putting him in kindercare when I realized just how much of that particular time would be spent in the car.

I was also wondering what it would be like to go back to having just babies at home with me.  Brynn was in pm kindergarten and Bryce had preschool last year, but it's not very long.  So this is the first time in a very long time I've had just little ones at home with me during the day.  I was a little worried that the babies would sort of follow me around all day moping and whining without the big kids to entertain them.  But now that it's been a week with BandB in school I can say...I actually quite love it. :)  The babies do in fact follow me around most of the time, but they are as sweet as triple chocolate cake!  They help me with my chores, ask lots of questions, play pretty well while I do what I need to do.  After a couple of hours, Camille takes a nap and Gabe watches some Dinosaur Train while I do whatever business I need to do on the computer.  Then I grab Gabe and give him a little attention, get Camille up, have a snack, a little more attention, maybe run some errands or do some more work, and then before I know it it's lunchtime and time to go get the big kids!  I can tell there will never be enough time to get done what I need to while the kids are gone, but I suspect that would be the case if they got home at 3, or 4, or 5.  I think that's life.

I was also worried about missing my Snuggly Tornado.  And I was a little worried about him missing me (this boy looooves his Mama, if I do say so myself).  But so far we are doing just fine.  When the big kids get home, the little kids take a nap and we all split up have quiet time for an hour.  For the second hour of the babies' nap, the big kids and I do homework time, reading time, a piano lesson depending on the day, and just try to make the most of that hour together.  After that, it's time for the babies to wake up and all other schedules and routines succumb to the chaos that is the four of them together.  All bets are off. And I totally live for it.  Having said that...I love seeing Marty walk in the door!  The days are bound to get more hectic as the kids bring home more homework, start sports and dance, and life just continues to be life and throw curve balls.  But a week into our new routine, I really love it.
Need to know what time it is?  Just ask Bryce!  We are still getting regular updates....

This one was Bryce's idea....

Excited to be there, but feeling lousy.

Very excited to be there, and showing a lot less anxiety than I had expected.  He just dropped his backpack, started playing, and lost sight of me as I walked to the car.

So far, so good!  The kids love their classes and their teachers!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The sad day finally came

For a very long time now I have been putting something off.  But I cringe every time I hear something like, "Bryce don't look, I'm going to change."  So, it was a sad, but also exciting day in the Johnson home.  We rearranged bedrooms and separated Brynn and Bryce.

When we first put them together, it was all just so volitile.  Bryce was two, that agonizing and difficult two, and Brynn was four-going-on-sixteen.  Very often we couldn't handle the erruptions (some form of Bryce being crazy and Brynn crying over it) and we would give up and send her to the guest bedroom for the night.  Then Bryce would be inconsolable and lonely and would beg Brynn for forgiveness.  Then sometimes she'd go back to their room and sometimes she'd refuse.  At the time, it felt like that phase was going to last for  forever, but it didn't.  At some point we realized it was the best thing we ever did for their relationship.  Brynn has just never needed as much sleep as a lot of kids need, I think.  And Bryce would nap in the afternoon.  So when it was time for bed, they would stay up, sometimes for hours, and play or talk, or sing, or sneak out, or sometimes fight. 

Recently, I stood by their door long after they should have been asleep and listened to Brynn help Bryce with his reading.  They were patient with each other.  After Bryce finished the book, Brynn praised him.  I got emotional on the other side of the door, picturing them snuggled up together.  They have become absolute best friends, joined at the hip, and I think it all started with all those hours they spent together in that room, learning to work things out and live with each other. 

Anyway, now and forever more we will have a girls room and a boys room.  I was really worried about it because Bryce and Gabe have been at each other's throats, because Camille is still such a baby,  and just because of the very rocky start BandB had when they first moved in together.  Everything I was worried about has happened, but to a slightly lesser extent than I was expecting.  Brynn can still read with her little book light as long as she wants and for the most part, it doesn't keep Camille up.  There have been a few times Camille has cried at night waking Brynn up, but Brynn has just gone to the guest bedroom and fallen back to sleep.  Some nights I think I won't be able to handle any more tears, so I'll just send Brynn to the guest bedroom to start off with.  But the girls are slowly getting more used to each other.  It will be interesting to see what it's like during the school year when there is more at stake in getting Brynn to bed and up in the morning at a pretty early hour.  As for Gabe and Bryce, they are also learning to live together.  Often after I shut their door for the night I hear Gabe asking Bryce if they can snuggle.  There have really only been a few nights though where they couldn't handle each other and I've had to intervene.  Their room has been less explosive than I expected it to be.  But somewhat explosive....

A couple weeks ago we had a rough night and each older kid ended up having to leave their room. I told them to just lay in my bed for a few minutes. I overheard this:
Bryce:  Brynn, I miss sleeping with you.
Brynn:  Bryce, I was thinking the same thing!!  Camille can't talk to me or play with me!
Bryce:  Yeah, Gabe doesn't talk to me and I feel lonely.
Brynn:  I'm lonely, too!

Later that night I found them snuggled up together and fast asleep on my bed.  I can't imagine them losing the close bond that they have, just because they've changed rooms.  But I still worry about it.  So far, no sign of that.  Now hopefully they can form a relationship just that close with their younger siblings, too (with a little less drama in the process)....

Awe, poor Millie thought it was time for a nap.

As you can see, I am not one for decorating.  It just doesn't seem to be in my DNA.  But I can create a comfortable space for my kids.  One where they can learn how to pick up after themselves, learn how to read, feel the Spirit, spend their quiet time, gaze at pictures of Jesus and the temple, and bond.  That should count for something, right?

Friday, July 18, 2014


Bryce is very into "career" stuff lately.  He wants to be an engineer, pilot, police officer, fire fighter, and seminary teacher, and he is determined to be all of them at the same time.  He asked if we could put an office together for him in his room again.  He spent time making phone calls (real ones, thank you Grandma), writing letters, directing airplanes, playing with cars, checking the time, firing Brynn, and getting upset with me for not knocking on his office door before entering.  Brynn was very into it, and made him lots of cute stuff like computers and ipads.

I went my whole life without pinkeye, and my kids made it quite a few years with no one ever getting it.  But then this spring/summer Bryce got it twice.

Back to school haircut!

Coming home from Utah.  I seriously can't believe how smoothly that 12 hour car trip went each way!

We discovered the scrawny kid who eats nothing actually loves pistachios, of all things.

A pediatrician was cleaning out Gabe's ear, Gabe freaked, and then this happened.  It was still bleeding off and on throughout the evening, so I thought I should take a few pictures here and there.

Brynn:  "It's a picture of you with a baby in your tummy!"  The caption?  "More love is still coming." you know something I don't, Brynn??

A full and heavy cart before I even enter the store.  Oh my.  But we found some super cute clearance shoes for school starting, so it was all worth it!

A beautiful summer morning with just a few light sprinkles.  It was one of those rare summer days where it just didn't seem to be heating up too much.  Camille had lots of space to practice her walking.
We rode bikes and Bryce spent a good chunk of the time creating bike stunts and challenges.  The funniest part was seeing his eyes become wide with panic as he started rolling backwards down a hill and not knowing what to do about it.  You know, somehow I don't think this kid is going to make it though his childhood without a few broken bones in the process.

Millie was either very hungry or low in iron this day considering all the sand she tried to eat.  Changing her diaper throughout the next day or two I realized that she had eaten a lot more sand than I thought!

I had to text this to my cousin Gabby who will be flying out from VA to spend some time with us again this year.  Last year we had so much fun grabbing half price Sonic shakes after the kids went to bed and playing Settlers of Catan.  I saw all these new flavors and got so excited!  I have totally succumb to the salted caramel fad.  And I am totally going to try a chocolate jalapeno shake!

Our last bike ride to preschool.  Sniff.  Bryce looooves to lead (that applies to more than just our bike rides, hence our occasional power struggles).

Taken by a kid one Sunday.  I love it when I get a chance to play some soft, spiritual music on the Sabbath.  My kids seem to as well, judging by how fast they all seem to congregate after I play my first note.

Planes land.  I guess you'd just have to see it to get it.

With a boy this high in energy, it is lucky for both him and me that he has such a playful dad.

All four!

All four!
If I lay down, a kid will join me.  If one kid joins, every kid wants to join.  Fine by me!

Here's to the year Marty became principle, opened a new program,  taught way more students then he ever had before, and all from a primary room while the new seminary is being built!  I think that man of mine is pretty amazing....

I'm sad that the exercise equipment had to take over my lovely, peaceful music room.  But I've had a great year actually using it, so it's all good!

Johnson side, UT 2014

While we were in UT, these sweet twin cousins, Landon and Carter, were baptized!  We love them so much, are so proud of the good boys they are, and we are so glad we were able to be with them on their special day!!

Later that day, we had a party!  One of Christy's friends had an old billboard that she borrowed to make the most amazing slip and slide I've been on!

This little girl.  We are so alike.  I remember going to, I think it was Raging Waters,  when I was little.  I went down the waterslides over and over and over, flying out of the pool, running up the stairs, taking no breaks whatsoever.  I remember seeing my brothers hanging out in pool chairs for a while and thinking they were totally crazy for ever stopping.  The next day I felt like I'd been hit by a bus and my mom acted like it was no surprise, considering the way I had pushed the day before.  Anyway, that was totally Brynn.  She went up and down, again and again, never stopping, never wearing out, wouldn't dream of taking a break.  For hours, literally.

Bryce had tons of fun and liked to find new ways to go down.  He loved racing best of all.

I don't even have a picture of Gabe!  (Well, I have one, but I couldn't post it due to a wardrobe malfunction!)  He was Gabe.  Spent some time checking it out and warming up to the idea.  When he was ready, he went down a bunch of times.  Usually he had to put his britches back on at the bottom (he is soooo skinny!).  At one time, I pushed him too hard and took him down with me faster and crazier than he wanted and it took him a while to forgive me.  Eventually he decided he had had enough and would like to watch, now.  

Yep, even Camille went down!  While she was actually sliding she was pretty...focused?  But at the bottom she would squeal in delight and every time we got back to the top and would set her back down she would toddle strait back to the beginning for another turn.
The older kids loved to take her.  She's actually pretty adventurous!  However, she wasn't too sure about being, ahem, propelled down on her own like a bowling ball.  (Oh, she was fine.)

Oh, yes I did.

Marty spends most of his life in a suit.  Seriously.   On our long vacations he tends to let his facial hair grow out, just because he can.  I asked him to pretty please shave it into a goatee for a day.  Back before Marty and I were even dating, but I had taken {very} special notice of him, he showed up to choir one day with a goatee.  I guess he and Greg both grew them in honor of Kelly for his wedding.  I remember thinking, "Hm, that look does not fit his personality."  Looks-wise; great.  But something about it doesn't suit him.  Still fun for a day, though!

Extra points for making it to the fence!

Marty won.

The raft:

Other things we did with the Johnsons:

  • Met up in the AF Canyon for a lunch
  • Watched the most incredible fireworks display from Greg's awesome deck
  • Saw our beautiful new niece, Macie, blessed.
  • Had a sushi and game night while the kids had a pizza party downstairs
  • Had lots of late night talks
  • Laughed and laughed and laughed until it hurt.  And then, more laughing.
  • Grandma Johnson heard about Brynn wanting to learn how to sew so she could fulfill her life's dream of being a fashion designer, so she sewed patriotic pillowcases with the kids.  I couldn't believe how patient she was with Brynn, and how much she really let Brynn do on her own!  Poor Brynn has me for a mom, and to me sewing is akin to, hm...banging my head against a wall.  But I'll be a great piano teacher to you, Brynn!  ;)
We had a really great summer trip to UT this year.  Everything just went so smoothly.  However, as usual I got just a few hours of sleep each night (Camille didn't do well when she slept in our room).  The kids went to bed at 11 or 12 instead of 7.  We ate horribly. So I suppose it's no surprise that we all came home passing an illness around.  As usual, ugh.  Tonight I am feeling pretty lousy and Marty is out of town with the young men.  Perfect circumstances tearing through blog posts, eh?  Onward....