Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Half Birthday

I can't hardly believe it has been 6 months since you arrived.  You are a go with the flow baby for the most part.  I often say you're very portable.  We're in the car A LOT and you usually do pretty well.

This past month we went on our first vacation as a family of 6.  We drove up to the North Georgia Mountains and stayed in a cabin with Gi Gi and Poppa, Nanna and Grandpa and the Riffel Clan.  You did great on the whole trip.  Slept pretty well for the most part.  You got your first sickness while we were up in Georgia...and of all things it was the stomach virus.  We ALL got it - all 14 of us.  You got it on Thanksgiving night and I am so thankful that Walmart opened early for "Black Friday" shopping because it could have meant a trip to the hospital for you.  We were able to get you some pedialite.  Me and Daddy were pretty scared for a while there, but you bounced back quickly.

You are drinking five 6oz. bottles throughout the day.  You also started solids this past month.  I wasn't really ready to start, but you've been having some tummy issues that we've been trying to get worked out.  So far you have had prunes (and prune juice), peaches, pears and oatmeal.  You were not a fan of the prunes (can't blame you) but you've enjoyed everything else.  I have been making your baby food using the babybrezza system that Sis. Bobbie Jo let us borrow.  I love using it and it makes me feel better knowing that I am saving a little bit of $$$!  The solids haven't completely fixed your tummy problems so we're going to add 4oz of diluted white grape juice to your diet and see how that helps.  You eat one meal a day - about 1-2 Tbs of oatmeal mixed with about an ounce of fruit and an ounce of formula.  I also offered you a sippy the other day with a little bit of formula.  I think more dribbled out of your mouth than made it in your belly.

You roll all over the place and you can now sit up unassisted for a brief period of time.  You're still a ways from crawling I think because you haven't gotten up on your knees yet.  You're still pretty stingy with your laughs, although you're very ticklish and that usually gets a chuckle.  You recognize your family and smile big when you see your brother or sisters come into the room.  You love to grab hair, especially Kinley's hair...and she loves it when you grab her hair too!  I'm amazed at how much Kinley loves you and I can see how much you love her too.  We've gotten in a routine of you two taking baths together and now Kinley won't even consider taking a bath unless you come too.  And at bedtime, Kinley always asks "Is Sophie sleeping with me tonight?"  Ahh and Kinley officially share a room.  Kinley sleeps great with you there with her.  You, however, are another story.  You go to bed around 8:30!  We usually put you in your bed wide awake, turn on your turtle, give you a binky and lovely and you are fast asleep in a few minutes.  But then you wake up around 5:00am most mornings and need your binky put back in.  You go right back to sleep, but a lot of times you've tossed your binky out of the bed and we have trouble finding it in the dark.  We really can't do the cry-it-out technique since you share a room, so we continue to get up at 5:00am.

Your 6 months Stats are:
Height: 25" - 24%
Weight: 14lbs. 7oz. - 20%
Head Cir.: - 17 1/4" - 85%

Today at your doctor appointment you got 2 shots plus a flu vaccine.  You will go back in about 4 weeks for your flu booster.  At that time, the doctor will also check your head circumference.  Since your head circumference is in such a higher percentile than the rest of your body it's something we need to keep an eye on.  We are not overly concerned since you are meeting all your milestones, but we do need to watch to make sure your progress does not slow/stop as that could indicate an issue.  But again, NO ONE is just gots a biggie noggin!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

"I'm Gettin' Nuttin For Christmas"

I know pretty much everyone has seen this on instagram or facebook, but I just needed to document this for myself here too!

Kinley has always been our child with stranger anxiety pretty much from birth!  She has been talking some big stuff about going to see Santa this year and asking Santa to bring her an Ariel Pillow for Christmas.  So we all piled into the car and headed to the mall to visit Mr. S.C.  While waiting in line, she was waving to him and smiling at him and singing to Sophie "You better not cry...I'm telling you why."  So our turn comes and we walk up to Santa and she instantly takes a death grip on Abbey's neck.  So we get Sophie situated on his knee and I take Kinley from Abbey.  I'm talking to her and telling her how nice Santa is and how Abbey, Brady and Sophie are going to be right next to her.  Needless to say, we didn't buy any photos (this was one that Matthew snapped on his phone).  We've made progress tho, at least we got her to sit on Santa's lap this year!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Give A Day"

For the month of December, I have challenged my kids, my husband, but mostly myself to take the time to do something generous or thoughtful or helpful for someone EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I told them that it can not be someone in our immediate family and each night at dinner we discuss what we were able to accomplish that day.  It is a way to get us all to think about others and not ourselves.

We started it on December 1st and I think Brady has worked the hardest of all of us to accomplish this challenge.  And it is a challenge.  I know for myself, I am at home A LOT with the little girls and often don't have contact with anyone outside of our family.  Brady was on the verge of tears Monday night because none of the teachers he offered to help throughout the day took him up on his offer.  I explained to him that this was not meant to make him feel bad about himself.  The point of it is to make them think about others and that is what  he did...even if no one accepted his help.

We have been so blessed in this life and I want my children to not only appreciate all that they have been given, but also learn to share...share their love, their time, their heart.

Friday, October 26, 2012

In it to win it

I've got to brag on my kiddos just a bit! At the beginning of the school year Abbey asked her Daddy if he would buy her an iPad if she got straight A's all year.  And without hesitation he said sure! Then, of course Brady wanted in on that deal too.  So Matthew made the kids a deal: if they were able to average straight A's at the end of the school year he would buy each of them an iPad.  This means that the kids would be allowed a B once in the school year in each subject and still be able to get a final grade of A's.  Me being the party pooper that I am said "Give me a break we ARE NOT buying 2 iPads" but after seeing the reaction and the determination on the kids faces, I reluctantly agreed. 

I am proud to say that BOTH kids are still in it.  Abbey got straight A's this nine weeks and Brady got 2 B's and the rest A's.  It has been a VERY stressful few weeks as we have had some issues with both kids' teachers.  But today was the grade deadline and everything is official now!  Both the kids go to magnet schools with advanced curriculums.  Abbey is in an IB (international baccalaureate) school and Brady's school is the leading school in STEM curriculum.  Needless to say, A's are not easily achieved.  In addition to Brady's daily school, he is also taking a math class through Polk Virtual School.  He is taking a 6th grade class(and he's only in 4th grade).  And, oh yeah he's got a 98.6% in that class as well.  His teacher had a phone assessment with him today and told him he "was the only student to get all the answers she asked correct without having to stop and think."  Now if we can just make it through the next 3 quarters with fewer issues teacher wise.  I think I'm more stressed out about school now than I EVER was when I was actually taking the classes.

Alternate Titles:
  • Proud Momma
  • I will either be completely gray or completely bald by the end of the school year
  • Paying for the Grades...yeah we do that
  • iCentives

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Remember When...

Remember when I used to write on this blog?   Remember when I used to have witty creative posts like "why I don't fist bump" anymore or "how to avoid ironing at all costs."  Remember when I didn't live out of my vehicle and shuffle kids all over creation for hours and hours of my day.  Yeah, I don't really remember that one either.

One of these days I shall return to my funny ways.  Please bare with me.  Please don't leave me.  I will work REALLY hard to improve my creative juices!  In the meantime, I will leave you with some random information:

Abbey and Brady have been challenged this year.  Matthew has offered to buy them each an iPad if they are able to achieve a straight A average in school this year.

Kinley's favorite sayings at 2 1/2 years old are: "I can't hear you" "Change your attitude" "Maybe" "Show me" "I so proud of you" & "Sophie smiled at me"
Also, Kinley has learned how to jump and jumps every where she goes.

Sophie at 4 months old can roll from her back to her belly(and belly to back) in the blink of an eye.  She can grab at toys.  She can stand supported.  She smiles at just about everything, but is stingy with her laughs. Was just transitioned to her crib...which means the two littles are now officially sharing a room.  I'm sure I could list more, but it's late and I can't think of anything else.

Sophie's 4 month old stats:
height: 23 1/2" - 20%
weight: 12lbs 6oz. - 20%
head cir: 16 1/4" - 58%

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

What? It's not January?

I know it's not January, but I feel like as a mom of school aged kids, I get a second chance to make changes.  At the beginning of the school year, I always get the urge to tweak what is working and revamp what hasn't worked.  After having the whole summer off and having "go with it" days, the new school year brings new activities and new schedules into our routine.  And especially since we have added a fourth child to the mix, I am really going to need to be on my 'A' game in order to stay organized and accomplish all that needs to be done.

One of the big changes we are preparing to make this school year is making allowing the kids to ride the bus to school two mornings a week.  With the kids attending the magnet schools, it is a good 20-30 minute drive each way then add car line in the afternoons and I am spending 2.5 hours in the car each add on the cost of fuel and you get one grumpy momma!  Fortunately, even though the kids are at two different schools they will ride the same bus and it picks up right in front of our subdivision.

Another change that I will be making is something that is going to require a lot more dedication and determination on my part.  I'll be honest with you, my housekeeping skillz have have been sporadic at best.  Sure I keep the kitchen cleaned and toys picked up (most days), but the weekly chores often go undone.  And that's WITH the big kids responsible for cleaning their own bathrooms and vacuuming/dusting their own bedrooms.  So I will be attempting a daily chore chart for myself.  In the past I have always done all my cleaning on one day, but with a big pregnant belly for a number of months and now a newborn, trying to block off an entire day is just not feasible.  Please pray for me that I will not let the distractions of the world (ie. facebook, blogs and of course baby sugars) prevent me from accomplishing my responsibilities.

So there we go...I bid you all a happy new school year that is!  What does the new school year bring out in you?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

8 Weeks

At 8 weeks old you are completely sleeping through the night.  You are usually asleep by 11pm and wake at either 6 or 7.  When school starts you will be on a 3 hour schedule starting at 6.  I am hoping that we can get you to sleep before 11pm consistently on that schedule.

Unfortunately, nursing is not going so well.  I am baffled by you.  Sometimes you will nurse without so much as a whimper and other times you will scream and fight to stay latched on.  It's not a production problem.  So either (1) you are too lazy - breastfeeding requires more work on your part or (2) you are too nosey and want to be able to see what's going on around you.  So sadly enough I am weaning you to a bottle.  I tried pumping on a regular basis so that we could at least keep you on breast milk instead of formula, but with 3 other kids to take care of it just wasn't happening.  You were already taking 2-4oz. in a bottle after every nursing session anyway.  As of today you nurse first thing in the morning with no supplement.  Your 9am and 3pm feeds are all formula (5-6oz.) and the rest of your feeds are nursing + 2-4oz. of formula.  I think it is awfully bizarre that my two "big" babies were not good nursers and my two peanuts were nursing champs!  Something else that is weird is I was the most diligent with you in watching what I ate and drank and yet you have been highly unappreciative! :)

You go next week for your 2 month check up (and shots - sniff sniff).  I am pretty confident you will be weighing in at a whopping 10 pounds (maybe slightly more).  That is a whole pound more than what Kinley weighed at this same age.  Who knows maybe...just maybe...I will have one kid who is a great eater!

You still like to be swaddled at bedtime or other times when you are fussy.  Tummy time usually ends in you falling asleep but your head control is really starting to come along.  Still no rolling over yet, but you have started rolling over to your side so I'm sure the rest of the roll is right around the corner.

And just for is the comparison photo of you and Kinley!
Kinley                             Sophie

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yet Another...

...month has past.  My sweet baby girl is now 4 weeks old.  Where does the time go?  We had a closet company come out and look at Kinley and Sophie's closet to give us a quote on a system that would help store all of their clothes since we don't have room for two dressers.  I made a statement to the man that the girls would probably only be sharing a room for about 5 or so years because Abbey might be heading off to college at that point and free up one of the bedrooms.  Did you hear what I just said???  When Sophie starts kindergarten, Abbey will be starting her senior year of high school.  Sigh

So I will just focus on the here and now to keep me from having a breakdown.

Everyone seems to be adjusting very well.  Kinley loves being a big sister and is a great big help.  She is a pro at throwing away dirty diapers (both hers and Sophies).  Sophie is doing great with sleep.  For most of this past week she has been having a 6+ hour stretch at night.  She still fluctuates between 2 and 3 hour feeds during the day which is fine by me.  I don't have an official weigh in since we don't go back to the doctor until she's 2 months, but I think she is about 8 pounds 12 or 14 oz. (so she's gained about a pound in 2 weeks).  She is trying really hard to talk and coo and I think we've even gotten a few intentional smiles.

Sophie lost her umbilical cord right after her two week check up so she has been enjoying her baths in the nice warm water.  Her first bath she did scream, but she was already mad to start.  She has loved all her baths since then.

Friday, June 29, 2012

2 Weeks and Growing

Ht: 21" - 72%
Wt: 7lbs. 14oz. - 31% (back to birth weight)
head: 14.5" - 67%

At two weeks old, Sophie is sleeping pretty well at night (and during the day for that matter).  She, like all the other Johnson Babies, is starting to spit up more...however, I don't think it is as bad as Kinley's tummy troubles.  She seems so much more content and sleeps both day and night.  We are starting to venture out a bit more and look forward to really getting into a routine.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Another Sweet Girl!

As many of you already know (thanks to facebook), we welcomed our 4th child into this world on June 13th at 2:21p.m.  Little Miss Sophie Alyse surprised us with HER grand entrance.  Her Daddy was so shocked to see that she was NOT a boy.  We are all truly madly and deeply in love with this sweet baby!

Sophie was 7 pounds 14 ounces and 21.5" long.  We were told in the hospital that she had a small heart murmur most likely caused by a PDA (small hole in the heart).  All babies have this at birth and it is supposed to close anywhere from minutes after delivery up to 48 hours after delivery.  The murmur the doctors heard was most likely her PDA in the process of closing up because when they checked her again the next day the murmur was gone.  Praise the Lord.

At the time of discharge from the hospital, Sophie was weighing in at 7lbs. 5oz. and at her one week weight check she was back up to 7lbs. 10oz.  She is a very good baby.  I did have her on a every 2 hour feeding schedule, but I was finding it extremely difficult to wake her for her feeds.  So for the last day or so I've bumped her to every 3 hours and she seems to be doing much better, although I'm still having to wake her for most of her feeds.  At night she does awesome.  She usually is asleep by 10:30 or 11:00pm and wakes up around 2 or 3 and then sleeps until 6a.m.

Other than a bit of stir crazy cabin fever, all the kids seem to be adjusting well.  Including Kinley.  All three of them argue over whose turn it is to hold Sophie.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

39 Weeks...The End!

This baby has gotten his/her eviction notice.  Hopefully by this time tomorrow we will be enjoying the sweet snuggles of our newest addition.  This baby has been measuring big the whole pregnancy and the doctor is predicting close to 7 1/2 - 8 pounds based on the ultrasound measurements.  That is BIG for a Johnson baby AND WAAAAYYY out of my comfort zone of 6 1/2 pounders!  My total weight gain for this pregnancy has been a whopping 13-14 I'm hoping to walk out of the hospital already back to my pre-pregnancy weight! HA HA!  As you can tell by the poll on the side, it has been an overwhelming majority of boy votes.  We have a few that are holding strong on girl.  My gut says boy, mainly because I have carried this one so differently and because s/he is "big" and because it would even out the family.  However, I've had two dreams this pregnancy of the baby actually being born and both times it was a girl.  Either way, we can't wait to meet our fourth child.  It's going to be a wonderful summer!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Anyone else see the resemblance?

No matter what we do, the flip always returns! :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Heart Full

As my belly gets bigger, my patience level for unfiltered comments gets smaller.  I've gotten all kinds of comments from "this is your fourth?!?" stated in a very loud and incredulous voice, to "What are trying to do, keep up with the Duggars?"  All I'm sure are meant in good humor and I am able to shake it off or have a little jovial comment in response.  But there has been one comment of late that has really irritated me more than anything else.  The comment usually spews out of an ignorant mouth when I am out in public with one or more of the kids.

"Well, I guess you're really going to have your HANDS FULL"

Sure our lives are busy and full of appointments, extra curricular activities, sicknesses, homework, birthday parties and all the many other things that come along with having kids.  And sure there are days when MY sin nature takes over and I don't have the patience to endure the day to day trials that arise while raising a family.  But when did having children become a burden?  It really breaks my heart to think that this comment is stated in such a way that people feel sorry for me or are judging me for the choices Matthew and I have made in bringing multiple children into this world. 

So I have finally found a response that seems to put people in their place without me having to go all Preggo Hormonal on them.  It is something I have found very comforting for myself as well on those days when I am not fully appreciating the fact that the Lord has blessed us with these beautiful children.  My response to these people stated with a smile on my face is:

"Not a hand full a HEART FULL"

My children are a heart full of memories that no one will ever be able to take away from me.  A heart full of dreams for what our days ahead will be filled with.  But most importantly a heart full of blessings that can only come from our Lord and Savior above and for that I am truly grateful!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Crazy Haired Fire Cracker

It's hard to believe that in just two short years you have gone from this baldy little baby... this wild haired fire cracker. 

Dear Kinley,

You have grown so much in this last year.  You are funny and ornery as all get out.  I have never seen a two year old with quite the ability to get under peoples skin just to get a rise out of them.  It's actually quite scary to see you manipulating people in such a way.  There is a girl on Abbey's golf team who loves you to death, but you purposely call her by another girls name every single time you see her.  And you do it with a twinkle in your eye and a sneer on your lip.  It makes her so mad and it just eggs you on even more.  I'm pretty sure that is a Johnson trait you have inherited.  You're becoming a "pot stirrer" just like your Daddy.

On the other hand, you are so loving.  The minute you hear the back door open you come running to welcome Daddy home with the biggest hug ever.  You won't go to bed at night without running to every one's room to give them "night night" hugs and kisses.

You are very active like any two year old and you don't seem to need much sleep.  You go to bed like a champ, but you're up very early (around 6:30-7:00) no matter what day of the week it is and you don't nap much during the day.  I'm hoping that might improve some over the summer when we don't have to always be on the go-go-go.  You are showing some readiness signs for potty training, however I'm not quite ready to make that leap.  Anytime you have a dirty diaper you bring me a clean diaper and your wipes.  You ask to sit on the potty numerous times, although most of the time it's just to discuss the sesame street characters on the potty seat.  Maybe this summer or fall I will re-think potty training, but for now I have reconciled myself to having two in diapers for a time.

You are talking up a storm.  Despite Bro. Chris' best efforts to get you to say "huh" you have learned to ask "ma'am?" if you don't hear someone or don't understand them.  It's hilarious to get you and Lindsey together and listen to the conversations the two of you have.  I'm shocked at how well Lindsey understands you and vice versa.  You talk about Baby Johnson all the time lately, so I'm really excited to see how you react once the baby gets here.  I know it will be a big change for you, but I really think you're going to like being a big have the bossy attitude that fits well with that role.  You have also started calling your siblings by their first AND middle names...especially when they are ignoring your demands requests.  Your favorite sentence right now is "What are you doing, Mommy" or whoever it is your talking to. 

You're very independent and think you should be able to do whatever Abbey and Brady are doing.  Which often leads into some temper tantrums when you don't get your way.  But you have learned that crying gets you a trip to your crib until the fit has stopped.  When I go in to get you, I usually find you standing in your crib dramatically wiping the tears from your face and announcing in a very proud voice "Mommy, I not crying". 

I'm sure there are so many milestones and accomplishments from this past year that I'm forgetting.  But despite your attempts at antagonizing people, you truly capture hearts where ever you go.  You are a joy and blessing each and every day of our lives and we're so thankful that God chose us to be your parents.  And yes, I know this is a week late, but I was waiting for her doctor's appointment so that I could fill in her stats!

2 Year Old Stats:
Height: 32" (9%)
Weight: 22 lbs (2%)
Head Cir.: 18" (10%)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

33 Weeks

I had my 33 week check up today and although everything is still going along pretty well, I felt a little deflated afterwards.  Baby's heart rate was 138 today.  My blood pressure was great at 98/64.  My glucose test came back awesome at 75 (anything under 135 is passing).  However my weight according to the scale today is 2 pounds less than what I was two weeks ago.  For a grand total weight gain this pregnancy of 8 pounds.  So of course the doctor grilled me on whether or not I'm eating  or if I'm getting sick to my stomach a lot.  Now this was a different doctor than my normal OB and she uses a different scale than my regular doctor so she agreed with me that I probably haven't "lost" weight but I definitely haven't gained any either.  I explained to her that I am eating, I just don't really eat a lot because I feel full very quickly plus I'm chasing & running after 3 kids every day.  She took my stomach measurement and asked me what the size of each of the kids at birth was.  Now get this, she then told me that I'm STILL measuring a week ahead with this baby AND this baby is in breech position.  She said they're not concerned about breech until 36 or 37 weeks because they still have room to turn.  But isn't it ironic that she was getting on to me about my weight gain and yet this baby is measuring big?  So now I'm stressing over this baby being "too big," and the fact that he/she is not head down and that they'd really like to see me gain about 15 pounds in the next 7 or fewer weeks.  I go back again in two weeks and then I will start my weekly appointments.  Please pray that this baby turns around (I really don't want to have to have a c-section) on it's own, I've heard the procedure they use to manipulate the baby is pretty painful.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Catchup and Mustard

Life has been quite busy and hectic since Spring break.  So I will try to fill in all the gaps with bullet points.

Me (pregnancy)
  • Had my 28 week ultrasound (a month ago) and everything looked great.  No more issues with the placenta.
  • Baby was measuring about a week ahead (71% - unheard of for a Johnson baby)
  • Doctor wants to do another ultrasound at 37 weeks to check the size of the baby.
  • Still feeling pretty good...not a whole lot of energy and the back aches have arrived, but other than that doing good.
  • Getting busier at work.  Praise the Lord.
  • Made the school golf team.  We've been at the golf course pretty much M-Th each week since mid March.  She has matches twice a week and practice the other two days.
  • Just finished up soccer.  His team came in 3rd place for the season.
  • About to turn 2.  WHAT....Where in the world has time gone?
  • Talking up a storm.  Says peoples names really well except for her own (she can't say the 'c' or 'k' sounds).
  • Recognizes a handful of letters, but could care less about colors.  Although apparently yellow is her favorite, because she says everything is yellow.
  • Can count to 3 but thinks she can count to 10.
  • Likes to read signs/books/anything with letters by saying "e-a-o-u" or any combination of vowels over and over.
  • Has started sleeping soooo much better at night.  Hardly ever wakes up anymore. YAY!  Now if we could just get her to sleep a little longer in the mornings (on days we don't have to get up for school).
  • Loves to "snack" but doesn't enjoy eating all that much.  Likes cheese quesadillas but not grilled cheese.  Will eat a peanut butter sandwich but likes to take it apart and scrape the peanut butter off first.
  • DOES NOT like to be dirty or wet in any way shape or form.  She will bring me a diaper and wipes when she needs to be changed.  She doesn't like to have her hands messy while eating.  And really doesn't like to "sit" in a wet bathing suit.
  • HATES to wear shoes (and bows in her hair) but doesn't like for her feet to get dirty.
  • Calls any baseball game "Go Rays" anything to do with soccer is "Bubba's Sotter" and anything golf related is "Sissy's Doff"
  • Loves to have the TV on, but doesn't actually sit and watch very much.
  • Went on a mini vay-cay to Orlando for Spring Break
  • Had/having some work done on the inside of the house to prepare for Baby J's arrival
  • In the process of buying a "new to us" vehicle that will better suit our growing family.
I have lots more pictures, but for some reason blogger is not uploading pictures correctly so I will just say good-night!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Who's got the cutest baby?

Well I do of course! But I'm a little bit biased.  But you can agree with us by following this link to vote for Kinley.  You will need to use a valid email address, but they will not use it to send any spam or junk mail.  Once you get to the page where her picture is click on the photo of her.  On your first time voting you will have to go through an email verification process.  Once that is done the first time you can go on and vote once every day.  She will win some pretty cool prizes if she gets enough votes.

Thanks for your help.  Look for this picture on the link!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Recipe

As I stated in a previous post, I have found through Pinterest a new Food Blog that has some neat recipes.  I decided to try this particular recipe this evening.  It was absolutely delicious and a HUGE hit with the kids (which is always a winning recipe in my book).  However, it does have some negatives that I wanted to share.  I began preparing the chicken at 5:30 this evening (because we were out running errands after the kids got out of school) and did not get it into the oven until about 6:15.  Now granted, I have a toddler clawing at my leg during this 45 minute prep/cook time as well as homework questions and I probably could have used a larger frying pan to cook more of the chicken at one time.  Which brings me to issue #2 - I used a ton of dishes to prep and cook the chicken.  I hate when recipes dirty up a bunch of dishes.  I used a bowl for the corn starch, a bowl for the egg, a plate to put the chicken on in between the cornstarch and egg (because neither the c.s. bowl nor the egg bowl was large enough to hold all of the chicken at one time),  plus the frying pan, the glass dish to bake it in, a couple of forks and serving spoons all the measuring cups/spoons necessary and this doesn't even include what we ate with. 

Anyway, I did a couple of things different.  The blog suggests serving it with fried rice, but I just made it with steamed white rice.  I also steamed some broccoli and tossed it into the chicken mix during the last 15 minutes of cooking.  Next time I make it (and there will be a next time) I might add a can of drained pineapples when I throw in the broccoli.  Overall I'd say this is a great change from the mundane dinners that I always cook, just a reminder to not make it on a day when we are gone into the early evening.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

The chicken coating:
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
salt + pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

The sweet and sour sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbs ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs. Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dish. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for one hour and during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lost in Translation

I know...shocking, two posts in one day.  Don't get used to it, it's just a fluke!  Now back to the regularly scheduled programming:

Matthew and I have been chuckling the last few days over the number of languages we have learned in the past few months.  I certainly feel as though I am qualified to add multi-lingual to my resume (should I ever need one in the next few months/years).  No, I haven't started using Rosetta Stone although they may want to consider adding this to their library of languages offered.

I have become quite fluent in the art of translating Toddler Talk.  Kinley has started using her voice A LOT more over the last few months.  Since I am with her all day long, I have been able to decipher quite a bit of what she is asking for/demanding at any given time.  Most people (even Matthew, Abbey and Brady) will look at me in bewilderment when she starts saying something, because 99.9% of the time, her word is nothing like what the real word.  But she knows what she is trying to say and she will shake her head "no" if you get it wrong.

My next language learning experience is "Moody Mumbles."  This would be the language of a nine year old boy.  This kid is moodier than a postal employee at the DMV!  You never know what might set him off but once he is in this funk you can pretty much forget understanding a word of what he is saying.  There are a few tricks to translate his words back to English: Coke (soda...not drugs), gross boy humor, star wars and if all else fails a trip to bed.

And finally, the one that I have been struggling to grasp the most is the language of "Tween Drama."  O.M.G.  I'm sure my mother may beg to differ with me, but I don't think I've shed as many tears in my entire thirty-something years as Abbey has shed since starting middle school.  You've got the sobbing of the bff gone awry, the sobbing of boy trouble, the homework sobs, and of course the "you never let me do anything" sobs!  I welcome any and all advice on this transition translation period.  I am determined to conquer this language.  I.WILL.SURVIVE!

New Blog

I came across this blog on Pinterest this afternoon and I'm totally hooked so of course I had to add it to my blog roll.  Check it out for some easy and yummy sounding recipes!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Busy Month

February has come and gone (well almost) and I feel like I haven't hardly had time to take a breath.  Pretty much the first two weeks of February involved lots of cleaning and purging and getting ready for the Florida Fellowship Meeting.  We had a house full of guests that we thoroughly enjoyed and a meeting that was not only very well attended, but one filled with spirit filled sermons and singing.  Plus we had Matthew's 40th birthday and Brady's 9th birthday in the mix of all of that.  And in case you missed it on fb, I've included Kinley's birthday song for you to enjoy!
I've also just reached the 24 week milestone in this pregnancy.  24 weeks is the magical medical number "they" assign to viability.  To be honest, I really have never put much stock in this milestone, only because I have heard of too many tragic stories of full term babies developing a life threatening issue during/shortly after birth.  So I try to focus my prayers not on timelines, but just on the health of the baby.  The irony of it all is that although these last few months have flown by, this pregnancy seems to be in slo-mo for me.  I feel like I have been pregnant for sooooo long.  Don't get me wrong, this pregnancy has been very easy for me.  It's not like I have been so miserable during the last 5 months that it has dragged on.  I'm probably jinxing myself, but I have felt really good.  My morning sickness only lasted a couple of weeks, no big deal.  No achy back like I've had with all the other pregnancies.  No major sleep issues, other than the unusual/bad dreams I started having this past week.  I've been a little fatigued this past week, but again we had A LOT going on the week before.  So overall I'd say it's going very well.  Apparently, I look REALLY pregnant, because I keep getting asked "how are you doing/feeling" in an extremely sympathetic "you look miserable" tone.  Hmmmm, just some thoughts to ponder.  Oh well, sorry for the totally boring, rambling post about mostly nothingness!  Perhaps something a little more creative will hit me in March!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Halvesies

This week I hit the 20 week mark.  Exactly half way through the pregnancy.  We had our big anatomy scan on Tuesday and everything appeared to be strong and healthy with the baby.  We did not find out the gender but the big kids think they know what we're having.  Abbey said she "didn't see the stem on the apple" so it must be a girl.  Brady claimed the baby's foot looked like a boy foot, so it must be a boy.  For fun, I thought I would compare this pregnancy and Kinley's pregnancy.

Kinley's 20 Week

Baby J's 20 Week
As you can see I'm carrying much differently with this one than I did with Kinley.  However, that could just be because my uterus is all stretch out...

  • Kinley's heart rate at the 20 week ultrasound was 152.  Baby J's heart rate was 149
  • Kinley's approximate weight was 12 oz.  Baby J's approximate weight is 12 oz.
  • My weight gain at 20 weeks with Kinley was 5lbs.  My weight gain with Baby J at 20 weeks is also 5lbs.
  • Each of my four pregnancies has gotten progressively worse in the morning sickness (not sick at all with Abbey, a little nauseated with Brady, more with Kinley and lots and lots with Baby J.) Although all issues with morning sickness with all pregnancies ended well before the 12 week mark.
  • Lots of movement with Kinley (and it started very early ~ 14-15 weeks).  Feeling lots of movement with Baby J, however it's just been recently that I've really felt it (18-19 weeks).
  • With Kinley, took a while to agree on a boys name and I "felt" like we were having a girl.  With Baby J, still haven't agreed on a boys name and I'm all over the board on what we're having.
So there you have it!  Make your own predictions.  Everything looks great.  The only thing the doctor is concerned about is my placenta.  It is considered low lying, which means it is too close to the cervix.  He feels certain that as the baby continues to grow, the placenta will move up.  This is something they have to monitor though before delivery.  If it does not move up enough, then I will have to have a c-section.  They will do another ultrasound again at 28 weeks to check on the progress.  I'm not overly concerned about it.  So I will leave you with a few more shots and a video from Baby J's ultrasound!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Free Family Fun Night

Over the last year or so we, like many other families, have cut back on a lot of luxuries in an effort to save money.  One of the frivolities is going out, whether for dinner, or the movies or some other activity that the kids enjoyed doing that usually involved spending big bucks!  We started having Friday Movie Night at home.  Sometimes we will download a movie on the PS3, other times we will just watch one of the gazillion movies we already own.  We also try to do a fun dinner at the house, that we wouldn't normally have during the week, such as hot dogs over the fire pit (very cheap meal...yet fun family time) or fondue.  But we are always looking for other options for an inexpensive evening out.  One that we have found to be a true winner in our household is the Campfire Movie at Ft. Wilderness (Walt Disney World Resort).  I know it's hard to believe that anything Di$ney related could be free.  Not to worry, there are definitely ways to spend money during this evening out...but it is also possible to have a completely free evening (if you don't count the gas $ spent coming and going).

(we did splurge on a box of popcorn)

Ft. Wilderness Campground is one of Disney's resorts.  They play a Disney movie (rated G or PG) every single night in a big outdoor campfire setting.  They have stadium seating set up in the very back.  They have some "log" style benches in the middle and then they have a big open area for laying blankets down to watch the movie.  Parking is FREE!  Bus ride to the Meadows Trading Post (a.k.a. Campfire) FREE!  Entrance to movie FREE!  Best of all you can bring your own snacks and drinks (or you can purchase some from the snack bar).  You can bring your own Smore's ingredients and roast them over the camp fire (or you can purchase some from the snack bar).

The late Fall/Winter is definitely the best time of year to go.  The crowds are not too big.  The weather is gorgeous.  Plus the movie starts and hour earlier than it does in the Summer months (due to longer daylight hours).  This website lists the months movie schedule so you pick the best movie/date to take the family.  Camp fire is lit at 6:30pm, Chip and Dale perform around 7pm and then the movie starts at 7:40 (times about an hour later in the summer months).

We took the kids on Friday night and saw the movie Brother Bear.  Which was awesome because it had been YEARS since the kids had seen it they didn't even remember what the movie was about.  So it was like taking them to a new release.  We love living this close to Disney.  We have taken advantage of the Campfire movie on a number of occasions and the kids enjoy themselves each time.

(waiting for the bus)

Friday, January 20, 2012


I've been reflecting today.  Reflecting on parenthood.  More specifically, motherhood.  I know all mother's deal with guilt at one time or another, but sometimes I truly feel like I'm on an island.  A friend of mine recently left her full time job to stay at home with her three kids.  I am well aware that although this is the life(being a mom) I have always dreamed of and wouldn't change my "career" for anything in the world, I know that I was raised in this environment so it wasn't a foreign concept to me.  However, so many people were not brought up in a household where Mom was at home through out the day.  So for them to make a decision to stay at home with their kids, it is probably a much bigger struggle.  I decided to write my friend some words of encouragement in her upcoming journey.  And her reply caught me by surprise somewhat.  She called me "Super Mom".  And as I read this I both laughed and cringed at the same time.

Now, I'm not going to lie and I'm going to try to say this without sounding like I'm bragging.  But I've been called this before.  And sure it makes my ego feel good to hear someone say this about me, but in all actuality when I hear this I am secretly rolling my eyes or snorting in sarcasm.  Because when I hear these words said about me, I instantly think "wow, I must really have them fooled if they think I'm a great mom!"  My mind instantly starts replaying the fact that I totally lost my cool with the kids over a dirty sock left in the bathroom, or the dinner of frozen chicken nuggets and canned green beans I fed my family one night or the ginormous pile of clothes waiting to be ironed for the last month and a half.  Even my dear sweet hubby tells me ALL. THE. TIME. what a great mom I am and I just stare at him in disbelief...because he actually lives with me.  He hears me rant and holler over the dirty sock in the bathroom.  He eats the frozen chicken nugget meal with canned green beans.  He digs his clothes out of that massive pile and irons something himself.

So I ask, how do we combat this enormous guilt we are plagued with as mothers?

1. Try to focus on what we HAVE accomplished in a day/week/month:
"Finally, brethren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8

 2.  Be grateful for each and every situation you are in:
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.  Let your moderation be known unto all men.  The Lord is at hand.  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:4-6

3. Turn to Christ and His Word in our moments of weakness:
"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corr. 12:9 

 Yes, I will still have days where I feed my family a less than gourmet dinner.  And yes, I will still have days where I go all Archie Bunker on the kiddos.  And you can bet your biscuits there might be a day where I don't invite you in because of the entire contents of our kitchen may still be sitting in the sink with leftover chicken nuggets and canned green beans hardened into a crusty layer.  But, I know that in a few years I will look back upon a quiet/clean house and say thank you Lord for giving me this life.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A note from teacher

On Tuesday, Brady's teacher sent a note home to me.  I don't know about anyone else, but anytime a note comes home that is stapled closed and addressed to "the Parents of Brady Johnson" my heart skips a little beat.

Here is what the letter said:

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson,

I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how proud I am of Brady.  He has been working very hard in reading and math.  As a result he is making steady progress in both areas.  He has a great personality, and I can always count on him to break out the dance moves.

"His Teacher"

And in case you have forgotten how cool his moves are, check out this old post!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Change your blog roll...

Just in case you all didn't realize, Rachel A. has moved to a new blog site.  Please make sure you update her on your list.  Her new blog is also in my sidebar.  It's called Ever Growing.  She's an amazing gal who has some great things on her blog!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

1994 - Eternity

18 years ago I was just 18 years old. 18 years ago I married my soul mate. 18 years ago I envisioned this fantasy of what our marriage would be like. And 18 years later I am living every girls dream! Happy anniversary to my favorite husband in the world...oh wait, he's my one and only!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

16 Week Update

This pregnancy is really flying by!  I had my 16 week checkup this week and everything is going very well.  My OB came in to the exam room with the doppler and listened to the baby's heartbeat for a good amount of time.  Then he said "boy...dark hair...right handed!"  I asked him if this was his official prediction and he laughed and said "Oh those are just a bunch of old wives tales, they don't mean a thing."  So of course that evening I told the kids what the doctor had said and Brady (who has decided he likes being the only boy in the family and wants another sister) said "MAAAANNNN, when I wanted a boy I got a girl.  Now that I want a girl it's going to be a boy!"  I tried to explain to him that the doctor was just being silly and he had no idea if it was a boy or a girl.  But Brady is convinced that since the doctor predicted it to be a boy, then it must be.  We scheduled the BIG ultrasound for January 31.  But don't get your hopes up because we are not going to find out the gender.  We are however, going to check the kids out of school early that day so they can go with us.  I'm trying to post a gender poll on my side bar, if I have any readers left after my long hiatus, feel free to vote.  The big reveal will be sometime in June! :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Flashback Friday

Abbey - 1 1/2 years old

Brady - 1 1/2 years old

Kinley - 1 1/2 years old

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 5 of the Daniel Fast

Matthew is doing awesome on the Daniel Fast.  Not only has he not had any caffeine or sugar since Sunday, but he's still been a relatively nice guy to live with (ha ha - no seriously, I haven't seen any grumpiness at all).  And as an added bonus, he's been doing all the dinner time cooking this week.  Matthew LOVES to cook and he is really good at it.  I can only tell you the jist of what he made, because he rarely follows a recipe and just adds stuff here and there as he goes.  Here are the meals we have had so far this week:

Sunday (lunch at church): Roasted potatoes, brussel sprouts with onions and garlic.  The recipe in the book called this a Roasted Potato Salad, but his was more like roasted vegetables (it was not served cold)

Monday: Chipotle Chili - MMMMMMMMM.  This was D-Lish!  Kidney beans, black beans fresh tomatoes and all kinds of good seasonings.  We served these over Tostito brand corn chips which have no other preservatives in them, several of the websites we looked at said these were allowed, but after rethinking it we are pretty sure they are probably fried and not baked.  So if we have this again during the fast period, Matthew will have to leave these off.  This meal was a hit with the kids too.

Tuesday: Whole wheat spaghetti and fresh marinara sauce.  Again made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions, peppers, mushrooms, basil and I'm sure some other stuff that I'm leaving out.  We did put butter on mine and the kids pasta, but Matthew went sans butter!  The kids devoured it.  It was Uh-May-ZING! 

Wednesday: Leftovers.

Thursday: Stuffed bell peppers made with black beans and whole grain brown rice.  Matthew and I thought they were very good, the kids however were not big fans of the peppers.  But they "choked" it down and got two desserts for their efforts! :)

I have to say...I was not looking forward to the brown rice and whole wheat pasta.  But so far the meals have been great.  I can see ourselves making the switch (maybe not 100% of the time) to whole grain/wheat for the future.  If you want more details on any of these recipes, let me know and I will be happy to try and pin Matthew down on the specifics!  Happy Healthy Eating Ya'll!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fellow Bloggie...Check it out!

One of my dearest friends is this amazing photographer.  She has recently decided to further pursue her amazing talent.  If you live in the Lakeland area and need a photographer, check her out.  You can see her blog/portfolio here and also keep updated on her new stuff by clicking on her blog link in my side bar.  We are going to have her do some family pictures as well as some newborn pictures as soon as the newest member of the family arrives.  You can be certain I will be sharing those with you all this summer.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Relationship Status...

Dear 6 a.m.

We have been in a very committed relationship for the last 4 months.  I realize you must feel like I have abandoned you over the last two weeks.  But I just want to say, it's not you it's me.  I needed to take some time to regroup, reorganize and reevaluate our relationship.  Although I may have spent a lot of time with 8 a.m. and even flirted with 9 a.m. a couple of times, you were never far from my mind.  However, after this two week hiatus from our relationship, I have come to the realization that I do in fact still need you.  So if you could please forgive me for putting you on the back burner temporarily.  I would greatly appreciate you not taking your hurt and anger out on me anymore.  I will be honest and admit that I don't know if I am ready for a long term relationship with you, but for now I know you are what I need.

Your Faithful Companion

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Daniel Fast

Matthew has decided to participate in a popular Christian fast known as the Daniel Fast.  This is NOT a diet to lose weight.  It is an opportunity to commit yourself spiritually through prayer.  The Daniel Fast is based on the book of Daniel in which a number of young men are brought to King Nebuchadnezzar's palace to live for a period of three years.  During these three years in the pagan palace these men "receive a set amount of food and wine from the king's table.  However, Daniel resolves not to defile himself by partaking of the royal food."  He requests to eat only fruits and vegetables and drink water only.  Because Daniel stood up for what he believed, the Lord granted Daniel with special insight and knowledge as well as the ability to understand dreams and visions (Daniel 1:17).  Many years later Daniel is still receiving the visions from the Lord and in Daniel 10, he receives a particular vision that disturbs him greatly and he goes into a state of mourning (which is also known as fasting) for a period of three weeks.  In this chapter it speaks of the "diet" he ate during this period of time when he prayed vigilantly to the Lord for not his own needs, but for the people that he loved.  This is where the Daniel Fast comes into play.  The theory behind fasting is that when your body is hungered or craving a particular food it is a physical reminder to stop and pray.  Matthew has asked me to participate with him and although I support him in his desire to embark on this journey, I will not be joining him fully.  There are several reasons for me not taking on this challenge.  #1 being pregnant, although this is a very healthy food list, I feel like I would not be able to get the adequate calories and nutrition needed. and #2 I think this requires a strong spiritual desire that I don't feel I have been burdened with at this time.  I feel like if I were to commit to this fully, I would be doing it for the wrong reasons (because Matthew asked me) and not because I have a very specific need or desire to be in that spiritual frame of mind.  But since I want to support Matthew in his goal, I have agreed to help him prepare meals for the whole family to enjoy at dinner time.  I will not eat or drink anything from the "no no" list in front of him.

He is using the book pictured below as his guide/cookbook.  The basic idea of the diet is a vegan diet only more restrictive.  A vegan diet consists of any fruits and vegetables and any food that does not contain any animal products.  So no meat or dairy.  The fast goes a step further and says no artificial sweeteners or preservatives as well as no enriched grains of any kind.  And since Daniel drank only water, that eliminates all other, soda, tea etc.  This is where most people suffer the most.  I know I for one can not eliminate the small amount of caffeine I am able to drink.  Weak, I know...but I'm just being honest.  Over the next couple of weeks I will keep you all updated on Matthew's progress.  I will also post some of the recipes that we try.  Yesterday (January 1st) was day 1.  And it did make Matthew physically ill not having had any caffeine.  However today, he has felt much better.  I know there will probably be a few more days of him feeling the withdrawals, but in the end I think he will be amazed at his physical health as well as his spiritual health.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Long time no post, I know.  Things have been crazy hectic.  I enjoy reading all the blogs I follow, but just finding the time/energy to actually write something on my own has been on the bottom of the to do list.

2011 was filled with many shocks/surprises both good and bad.  Just after the kids started back to school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I have not written about it up until now as it has been a very difficult thing to accept.  The Lord has answered many prayers on her behalf and although she is enduring a very trying treatment schedule, her prognosis is the best we could have hoped for.  Please continue to keep her and my dad in your prayers.

In October, we also received some very shocking news (for those who have not heard yet).  We are expecting our fourth child.  After the initial shock wore off, we were overwhelmed with excitement at the blessing we have been given.  So much of our married life had been spent trying to conceive and dealing with losses.  And now to have the Lord give us another child is...well...overwhelming to say the least.  For the first time in my life I can say, without hesitation our family is complete (come mid-June).  I look back and recall many days/nights I questioned why I had such a burden for children if it was not the Lord's desire for us to have any(more).  I prayed he would remove that burden from my heart and give me peace.  When we finally had Kinley, people would often ask if she was the last one.  My answer was usually "I'm not sure, I guess we'll just see if the Lord sends us anymore."  Even though deep down I felt like with all we went through to have her, more than likely no more children were in our future.  I didn't have that same aching and yearning for more children after Kinley was born, but I was never able to say with certainty that our family was complete.  But the Lord not only gave us this special surprise baby but he also gave me that peace that I had been seeking and praying for.  The Lord always answers prayers.  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it's no and sometimes it is not yet.

As we start this new year, we have much to be thankful for and much to look forward to.  My mom's chemo treatments should end sometime in mid April.  After that she will begin radiation treatments.  And right around the time she finishes her final radiation treatment her seventh grandchild will be born.  I am confident the Lord will continue to provide us all that we need in 2012.  My prayer for you all is that the Lord is ever present in your lives as well.