The world of blogging escapes me. I often journal in my mind, but lack the focus to write it all down. In truth, it's more time that I lack. It would probably be easier if I just carried around a tape recorder. Hell, I talk to myself enough. It'd be nice to catch the brilliant insight that often occurs when no one is around. I could text message myself with those thoughts, but then I'd suffer the wrath of arthritis, tendinitis or some bizarre thumb disorder. So until I find the true desire to blog. You'll have to be happy with the little that you get. So, here is a quick six month review of the life and times of the Johnson Clan.
Overall, we are doing well. Landon got a new job in August at the power plant in Vernal and he likes it for the most part. He is having to learn chemistry and hates that part of it. He is still a gun nut and is actually starting to get politically involved by emailing senators and congressmen. It's a cool thing to do, but he doesn't need to lecture the secretary of Parker's school on gun laws. Next time he goes to P.'s school, he'll be frisked. Oh wait, he has his conceal permit so it's okay! Thankfully he isn't too paranoid about black helicopters yet, but if we win the lotto, I'm sure we will have lots of land and a secured facility....I mean home.
Parker is flying through first grade. In fact, I'm starting to think he's bored since he stalls on doing his worksheets until his teacher threatens him with no recess. I wish his teacher had the time to teach more science and history, but they don't since the government bombards them with tests. I guess this means we get to teach it at home. Landon is quite excited by this. He was down right giddy when I told him the library has Bill Nye the Science Guy on VHS. P. is just finishing up the bowling season. Yes, he picked bowling as his sport of choice for the winter. Landon and I have vowed that it will never happen again. You wouldn't consider bowling expensive at $25 a month, but then you add on lunch every weekend for $20-25 and it makes Owen's hockey look cheap. I know we could skip the lunch, but the bowling alley is one of the few decent places to eat in Vernal. Anyhow, this fall, we are going to highly encourage P. to play in hockey with Owen, especially since they will be on the same league. So if anyone has any hockey equipment that can be passed down, please send it our way! P. will also be starting soccer in a few weeks and most likely swimming lessons as well.
Owen is doing pretty well in kindergarten. He is always coming to me with amazing little facts. In fact, I'm convinced he knows more dinosaur facts than all of the employees at the Utah Field House Museum. O. is always on his best behavior at school. And he has also taken up singing. His favorite tune is currently the Ghostbusters theme song. It's not the singing that is so great, but his facial animation. It's like watching a cartoon whether he is singer, talking back or just twitching his eyebrows. He is the cause of a lot of shared laughter at our house. Hockey season recently ended and while it should have been a relief since it started in September, Owen and I both ended up being quite sad. His love/hate relationship with the game, turned into full on love right after Christmas. He has already said that he wants a hockey birthday party, although I'm not sure how I'm going to do that with a May birthday since the ice rink is about to close for the season. He is ready for the next season to start, but until then Owen will also be playing soccer and learning how to swim.
Zoe....sweet Zoe! She is our ultimate bundle of attitude. I hear it's a girl thing, but all I can say is DAMN! She will wave her finger at you in a heartbeat if you are doing something she deems inappropriate. Unfortunately, inappropriate to Zoe, is anything that wasn't her idea. It adds for a lot of tears. She has already started the Stomp, Stomp, Slam! Stomp out of the room, stomp down the hall and slam her bedroom door. I didn't think that would happen until age 8.
She recently tried dance lessons, but has decided that she wants to play hockey instead. Thankfully she has to wait another year before she can play hockey. Until then, she'll start preschool next fall and participate in swimming lessons with her brothers.
As for me, well, I don't have much to report. I'm starting to run more and more. I'm enjoying the warmer weather since it means I can get outside more. I figure if I sign up for a race of some kind every few months, its the best way to keep one foot in front of the other. Oh, and I'm starting to plan my mom groups summer boot camp challenge.....so ladies, if you are reading this, we are going to have a helluva good time, but you might want to invest in a hot tub now so you can rest those tired muscles!
On Sunday night, after grandma Nelson passed away, my mom, Toni, sent the boys outside to help shuck corn in order to prepare for dinner. It’s not that shucking corn is usually a sentimental past time, but on Sunday, as I watched my boys shuck corn for their grandma, I couldn’t help but remember all of the times I had done so for mine. Whether it was a few ears of corn for grandma, grandpa and myself or a few dozen for a family barbecue, shucking corn seemed far more special than just a simple meal time task. Compared to a lot of grandkids, I’m fortunate to say, that I got to spend a lot of time with my grandparents. I clearly remember the smell of Grandma’s home and how welcomed I felt anytime I was there thanks to both her and my grandpa. As a kid I got to spend about a week up at Grandma’s house every summer. She always seemed to make that week count and I’m sure she was exhausted once I left. There were the staples that we did every visit. We’d go to lunch a few times, hit the local swimming pool or make the trip to Belmont Springs. She’d always make sure to take me to see my dad in Logan at least once, and she’d always take me to church….whether I wanted to go or not. If fact, one of the first questions she would ask me upon arrival was if I remembered a dress. We’d also always stay up to watch the news and Johnny Carson after grandpa went to bed. She’d knit or sometimes I’d curl up in her lap. My favorite thing about my annual summer visit was the shopping. Every year, she’d take me back to school shopping. We’d start in “town” by going to Christensen’s where we’d never buy anything, and then we’d discuss whether we would go to Logan or Ogden to do the majority of the shopping. Usually, we’d end up in Logan. I remember the last year we went school shopping. I was going into sixth grade and I was all about “Guess” jeans. I was also moving from the Girls sizes to the junior sizes. It was this year that I found the perfect pair of acid washed Guess overalls in the Girls section that I just had to have. They fit, if I didn’t breathe. Grandma being the good sport she was with me, didn’t bat an eye at the $80 price tag. She just said it would limit what other things we could buy, but I was more than fine with that. These were the overalls that I probably wore four times. Who knew that breathing was more important than fashion? I have lots of memories of Grandma in the kitchen too. I remember her canning dilly beans as well as making oddly paired jams such as apricot plum peach. I don’t think anyone every had the heart to tell her that mixing these was not necessary. One kind of fruit in jam is enough. We all remember her and know her best for her infamous carrot pudding and its sauce. And I remember her for liking her meat particularly well done. I learned at an early age not to let grandma order my meat at a restaurant since I like things a little on the bloody side vs. the leather she enjoyed. I remember her tolerance as well. Every visit I made up to Tremonton also included a ride on grandpa’s motorcycle. I think she sat in the front window waiting for us to return the entire time we were gone. Then there were Grandpa’s three wheelers that grandma never liked. One particular memory comes to mind of Nathan and I racing around the house blazing a trail in their grass. Nathan popped a wheelie and off we both flew. My head barely missed the sidewalk and after Nathan’s quick check to see if I was okay he was running to catch the three wheeler before it went through Irene Payne’s flower bed. If she saw it, she never said anything, but I’m pretty sure that it was shortly after that that the three wheelers were gone. Grandma was full of kindness too. As I grew into my teens, I no longer made my week long stays at her house. However, between my junior and senior year in high school, my best friend’s brother died unexpectedly and she needed get away. So I called my Grandma and explained the sensitive situation. Before I knew it, Val and I were off to spend a few days at Grandma’s house. It wasn’t only a visit, it was an escape. She sent us to the rodeo with grandpa where grandpa then sent us to the fair with $100 after the calf roping made Val nauseas. There is something about carnival rides that helps the grieving process for a teenager, but there is something sacred about going to Grandma’s house. Somewhere along the lines, it turned into a place I knew I could go when I or anyone I knew needed a sanctuary and knowing it was open to my friends made it even more special. She was funny too. This is something my mom never saw in my grandma, but there was the occasion her dry wit would come out. It was easy to miss, if fact, it wasn’t uncommon for me to catch her witty comment until well after the conversation had passed. Landon and I both remember sitting at her kitchen bar laughing with her shortly after grandpa died. We just wish we could remember what the conversation was about because it was one of those priceless unexpected moments. I have a lot of things I could say about my Grandmother. I could go on about the vacation she and Grandpa took me on, her flower beds, and more. But I can’t end without mentioning her talent in front of a camera. Never have I seen anyone so photogenic that they look “three sheets to the wind” in almost every photo. I have a lot of memories that I am grateful for. But the best thing I could probably say it that I love her and while she wasn’t one to spoil me with hugs and kisses, she always made it clear that she loved me too. In fact, one of the few things I hope my daughter, Zoe, can experience is having even half of the relationship with her grandma that I had with mine. So Grandma, thanks for all the times we shared. I hope you’ve found the happiness you deserve. Oh-and Owen asks that if you see Brighteyes in heaven, that you give her a pat.
The entertainment of children is endless. I'm sure I've said it before. The stupid things husbands allow children to do without thinking through the consequence is equally entertaining and aggravating. Here is an example of husband stupidity and Zoe mischief!
A couple of weeks ago, Landon decided it was time to give Parker and Owen haircuts. I'm sure you see where this is going. Owen likes a buzz cut while Parker prefers it spikey on top. To keep the house loose hair free, Landon took the boys and the kitchen stool to the front yard where he began using the electric clippers. Zoe sat on the porch watching contently, while I ran to the store. My gut feeling was to take her with me, but what could happen?! Landon's responsible, right?
Thiry minutes later I receive this message on my cell phone.
With two sets of clippers and Landon using one of those on Parker's hair, he never heard Zoe turn on set two. Now, everyone who knows Zoe, know you never turn your back on her! Some even say she is plotting to take over the world. I, in this particular case, think she just wanted to feel pretty and independent. She didn't quite understand what she had done at the time, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the outcome she expected. Landon's first response was "Oh Zoe, your hairs not pretty anymore." He didn't laugh....then.
Later that night after lots and lots of laughter at Zoe's expense, we took a better picture. Go ahead and call it poor parenting to laugh at your kid, but you try not to laugh when they shave a quarter of their heard. After Zoe's bath, we let her look in the mirror for the first time. Her sadness and shock was immediate. She didn't cry, but she starred at herself intently for about five minutes. After getting into her pajamas, she quietly got her shoes and a knit beanie on then came to me to say, "Mommy, hat go buy, peeze?" I had planned on buying a couple of hats on Monday morning, but with a plea like that, there was no saying no. So at 8:30pm on Sunday night, Zoe and I ran to K-Mart and Wal-Mart where she picked out a Dora baseball hat, butterfly baseball hat, and three bandanas. There where still no smiles from the little lady, but she was satisfied. And even later in the evening, we got her to model her pink bandana with a smile.
The decision whether to shave her head or not was our next debate. Landon wanted to shave it, but after the consultation of my moms group and a local hair salon (where everyone had suggestions and snickers!) it was decided that Zoe will be going with the ultra conservatve republican comb over until it grows long enough to turn it into a cute pixie cut. Thankfully we live in Utah so a comb over will blend it well!
Two weeks later she still insists on wearing a hat or bandana if we leave the house.
There are certain things we wait for our kids to do. Things we teach and sometimes dwell on. These things include saying "Mama" or "Dada", crawling, walking, and so forth. I recall Landon coming home every night from work when Parker was a newborn. He'd hold him and say "Dada" over and over again. He'd move Parker's mouth with his thumb while he was saying "Dada". It was cute at first, but promptly got annoying. Months later, what was Parker's first word? Kitty, but Dada was the second.
I was the one who encouraged Parker to crawl and walk. I remember getting down on the floor and showing all my kids how to crawl. Owen had the army crawl down at four months and almost skipped the full crawl. He needed extra encouragement with walking. Zoe, well, we should have pushed her down. She hit all her milestones too early. Landon's grey hair will attest to this.
We encourage our kids, sometimes we push them and sometimes we are surprised by them. It was to my delight last week when Zoe came up to me and jumped on my back. This wasn't the surprise. The surprise was that she pulled my ear close and said, "I love you mommy!" There was no prompting other than our daily good morning and good night love. It was just there. It is a happy "first" that I hope to always remember.
It is so easy to loose the joy of being a parent and lately it's been a daily struggle. But, moments like this are rejuvenating-So thank you Zoe Kaye. I have a feeling you have wisdom underneath all that silliness.
Now, I understand that hitting is wrong. My kids usually understand that hitting is wrong, but there are times when a good punch just hits the spot as was the situation between Owie and Parker on Sunday evening.
On Sunday Parker helped Owie with his seatbelt while Landon and I were still making our way to the car. We were headed to dinner. There were no comments or crying and we found ourselves blissfully on our way with little difficulty, a rarity in our family. As we pulled into the restaurant after a ten minute drive, I turned to talk to Parker who had been unusually quiet in the car. (Parents seldom notice that something could be wrong with the silence, we simply enjoy it! And often when we realize something may be wrong, we still just enjoy the silence!) Anyhow, as I turned to talk to Parker, he burst into tears, "My brother punched me and knocked out my tooth!
Tears immediately formed in my eyes as I quickly translated Parker's blubbering for Landon. I was trying to spit out something sympathetic to Parker but all I could do was laugh. Landon was no better, but he did manage to get out of the car and go around to console the grieving boy. You see, Parker's tooth had been loose and was about ready to be pulled out. I was going to have Landon pull it out on Monday so Owen simply beat us to the punch.
After words of encouragement and a search for a tooth that is still missing we went into the restaurant. The tooth will probably never be found due to the broken white candy cane pieces that were all over the backseat of the van.
Thankfully the Tooth Fairy knows that these things happen and Parker cheerfully woke up on Monday morning to find a pack of gum and a crisp $1 bill under his pillow.
So there is excitement and terror in what I have done, but today with the help of Kamille, we created a team to run the Wasatch Back Relay. Oh, it should be fun and a bit crazy knowing us and most of those involved. Truth is, that if you are friends with me or Kamille...worse yet, me and Kamille, there isn't much sane about you.
So a team of 12...well, we are still two short, but they will come. (Any takers?) The Wasatch Back Relay, for those who don't know, is a 178 mile relay race that spans over 24 hours. It starts in Logan, Utah and ends in Park City, Utah. There is truly only one word to give this race justice.....ALTITUDE! Ha! You thought it was going to be a naughty word. I'm saving those for race day. Our van will probably need a dollar jar. And after we are done we will probably be able to buy a Park City timeshare.
Our next step, other than finding two more teammates (hint, hint!) is to name our team. Our two current possibilities are 1)WTF...I thought this was a 5k? AND 2) WWJD? Certainly NOT THIS! It's up for a vote among our ten runners, although I've temporarily named it #1, I have an equal fondness of the second. Yes, they are crude. My mother already chastized me, but as Kamille put it when hearing team name #1 was, "If that's the worst we hear during the run, we are doin' good!" Sometime Primary songs just don't cut it!
Well, I had to make a quite post to insure that there isn't much sane about me, but then...we already knew that!
Today the World's Best Cat passed away. I'm quite sad about this. We got Annie when I was 14 or 15 traveling back to Salt Lake from a weekend vacation with the family in Mesquite. We stopped at the Smith's in St. George where a boy was trying to get rid of a bunch of kittens. My mom picked this long haired black kitten. I fell in love with Annie, a perfect tabby. As we got in the car with the black kitten, I begged and pleaded for the little orange one until Delbert turned around and we went back for Annie. It really didn't take much convincing. We never even made it out of the parking lot.
Annie got his name because 1) I loved the movie Annie as a little girl. 2)The boy giving out the kittens was positive he was a she. Katie (the black cat) was also a he. We learned this when we took them to get spayed and they wound up neutered.
Annie is the worlds best cat for a variety of reasons. He would lay on your chest for hours. He'd curl up on your pillow and purr. He was friendly, but not annoying. He liked popcorn. He was great with kids. They could abuse him and love him in anyway they pleased and he would take it. Eventually he might go hide, but he wouldn't hiss, scratch or bite. He just go limp and wait for the kids to be done with their misguided love. He was tough too. I once saw him take on a raccoon. The fight was a draw because I scared them, but it takes balls for a cat to challenge a raccoon.
I'm not sure where cats go when they die, but Annie deserves the finest spot in kitty heaven. You were one of the highlights and staples of moms house.