Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Read all about Christmas here!

We went to Wimberley's Trail of Lights on Thursday night.  It was the nicest free Christmas event!  Cocoa, Mrs. Clause, a book for each child, and lights galore.  They had a music playing area, and a bonfire for roasting free marshmallows.  Sabrina danced on stage to Christmas music.  Of course, she had to stick her head in the elf picture... See our accidental video here - we were trying to take a picture! Haha...!

Samuel on Christmas Eve. 

We had a lovely day at home with my parents, then attended Bethany Lutheran's simple & sweet Christmas service. They focused on all the Scripture of the angel coming to Mary & Christ's birth, with focused songs intermingled in between passages, and two sermons. We all really enjoyed it. Then Philip & I visited Rae & family while my parents attended Mass. The kids had a great time. Sabrina & Alessandra read the Grinch, and Samuel hung out with us in the kitchen. We finished the night up singing carols while Rae played our favorites on her piano. Sabrina danced to all of the songs, sometimes with Samuel, and piped in whenever she knew the song. This year she's learned all of Rudolph, Santa Comes to Town, and Jingle Bells. She also knows most of Joy to the World, and some of a bunch of songs: The First Noel, Away in a Manger, Deck the Halls, and Little Town of Bethlehem. She really prefers fast and fun songs, so the slower/softer Christian Christmas songs are harder to teach her as she is less motivated to learn them. I don't want to pressure her & cause her to not like any of them, so I'm just being patient.

Christmas morning arrived and Sabrina was thrilled with her new bike.  Samuel was not really sure what was going on, but he was really excited to have all of us home together.  Samuel was most thrilled with his dump truck.  Sabrina helped me with the turkey rub, and was exhausted by all the present unwrapping.  We had to end round #1 of unwrapping because she just wanted to play with the toys she had received!  Who could blame her?  We took a few more videos, I'll share them soon. All in all, we were so satisfied and content with our Christmas in Austin.  We enjoyed all of our family, and dinner was really yummy.  I didn't burn anything to oblivion! Relief....

Monday, December 12, 2011


Whew!  Well we had a busy November with a Mississippi trip, New Orleans visit, and South Texas Thanksgiving.  Samuel signs all the basic words now:
all done
thank you
arms up (looks like he's saying touch down!)
help (see note below)
He gets 'help' mixed up with more, but if he is playing, gets frustrated & yells, then walks up to you saying more, you can bet he needs help.  Context clues, indeed Sherlock. :)  He says mama, da, nana, aaaaa, dadda, eat, ezzzz (please).  He's at that stage where he sounds like he says the actual correct word all the time, but then has trouble repeating the right word again.  It leaves us saying, "did he just say xxxx?" all the time.  It's anyone's guess if he really did.  :)

Meanwhile, Samuel has turned into a big climber.  For instance, he'll move the blocks box over to the toy chest, so he can climb up on box, then climb & stand on toy chest.  This whole process will be so that he can push buttons on Sabrina's cd player which is resting on the ledge above the toy chest.  This is a very effective technique to stop any continous music play and really aggravate your sister. He's also developed proficiency at moving the small chairs to many drawers all over the kitchen so he can dig in the drawers & get stuff out.  All good until he discovers the knife drawer.  Boo... we'll be adding a drawer latch this week to that!  Also scary in that it is really a challenge to manage the stove.  Besides using the back burners, we can't really turn our backs on him while cooking. 

Samuel continues to be quite the dancer.  Put on any music, and he'll draw close, like a moth to flame.  Then he'll sway his hips side to side, bounce up and down by bending his knees, and occasionally spin.  Clap, and he'll clap with you.  If you tell him good job, he starts clapping for himself, and you can't help but join him.  He's gotten a lot faster lately.  Sometimes he'll get motivated to bolt for the laundry room (play in the doggy water bowl) or bathroom (loves the blue stool to reach the sink).  He also sometimes likes to play chase with Sabrina, but he's still inconsistent with this - has to be in the mood!  He loves to push Sabrina on her trike, or while riding the little yellow car.  He's investigated our Christmas tree thoroughly, and we are glad for all the plastic ornaments on the bottom 1/3 of the tree.  He really enjoys yanking them down & handing them to me & his dad.

He is starting to pretend, with babies & teddy bears, holding them longer and pushing them in the baby stroller.  He also is starting to like the train set, moving trains up & around the track.  He had a great time at the Barnes & Noble train table Saturday, moving the trains all over that thing.  He isn't grabby yet, so when a bigger boy took his train out of his hand, he just looked at me quizzically.  The train was returned by the little boy's father, and Samuel was back to happy again quickly.

I feel so incredibly blessed this Christmas.  Most all of our family is healthy and well.  There have been years where this was not true.  Our kids are inquisitive & fun, and we had a great Saturday shopping for all of our loved ones.  We went to the Christmas tree lighting & singalong at the Capitol a couple of weeks ago, then visited the Paramount for refreshments & Rudolph viewing.  Walked down Congress hearing live music, and did a crafts project with Sabrina.  We have most all of the presents wrapped & under the tree, and realize we are one of the few families in the world who have such plenty.  We are looking forward to Grandma & Papa arriving Wednesday night, then Wimberley on Thursday night, and Christmas Eve at Rae's.  For the first time in our married lives, we'll celebrate Christmas day in our own home, with our 2 wonderful children.  Sabrina is filled with expectation and excitement for the big day.  Allie, our Christmas elf, has been hopping all around the house since after Thanksgiving, and she serves as a daily reminder to Sabrina of the Christmas to come and how to behave to make that Christmas all that she wants it to be.

Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Our littlest of friends...

Sabrina decided Wednesday night, at 5:50, to take matters into her own hands.  She had been somewhat anxiously awaiting the arrival of Sally & Robert to join us for dinner.  By 5:50 though, she had had it.  She was not waiting any longer, and told me, "Mom, I just need to go get them, they are taking wayyyy too long!"  She then turned, as she planned to head right out that door...

I stopped her, "Honey, they aren't even supposed to be here yet.  They aren't due for 10 minutes." 
'What???'  Being a 3 year old has its disadvantages, the inability to read clocks is way high on that list. 

Finally, Robert & Sally came over and she was so excited.  Despite only meeting him a few times before, Samuel went right up to Robert to greet him when he squatted down.  Later, Sabrina gave Robert a dot picture she had made off the fridge.  Suffice it to say that I think he is welcome in our house from the kids' perspective.

Hard lesson learned by the Johnson parents this week: do not pretend to run into things to make your kids laugh.

Ok, does that sound ridiculous?  As if anyone would ever do that?  Well, the back story is that Samuel thinks it is pretty darn funny whenever one of us big folks gets hurt.  Pull your hair to elicit a howl?  Oh my gosh, gut busting laughter.  See you trip, stub your toe, bang your head?  Wow, that's the silliest hilarity ever!!! Us, being the loving parents we are, decided that the only way to keep our kids laughing was to imitate injuring ourselves by faking these things regularly, usually accompanied with slapping our hand on a wall to make the loud 'bang' noise.  Just call us the 2 stooges, well 3 when Sabrina gets in on the act too... Fast forward to this week.  The usual - Daddy is "running" into the wall with his head and making the predictable noisy bang sounds with his hand.  Sabrina joins in, doing a few performances herself.  So what does Samuel decide?  Well, time to try it himself!  Samuel gets on the floor, and proceeds to walk directly into the wall, legitimately banging his head on the wall.  Our 1 year old busts a gut laughing at himself hurting his head!  The burbling bubble from his tummy kind of laughter, for probably 2 minutes. Wait a MINUTE, buster! The idea is to PRETEND to hurt yourself, not deliberately injure your head. AHHH!  Somehow we have taught our baby to run into walls.  With his head. Nice.  Parenting FAIL.... now we just have to wait for him to forget how hilarious it is.  Luckily it doesn't seem to have caused any permanent damage. Yet.

Sabrina has figured out real cooks wear aprons.  For every meal prep.  Therefore, she has taken to wearing her apron, thank you Aunt Hanna, for every tea party, picnic, and kitchen activity in the upstairs playroom.  It's totally adorable. Wait! I have to get dressed before I can make you strawberry soup Mommy, or your blueberry soup Daddy... And then, while adorably reappearing in her pink & white gingham strawberry apron, she cooks magical meals for us.  It is so fun. :)
And the quote of the week from Sabrina... Drinks a long gulp of milk, "That's just the way I like it, sweet, and cold, and white. MMMmmm!"

They came into the kitchen last night together, after dinner...I followed them back into the living room on their journey. Samuel is holding on tight, but seemed happy about the choo choo ride.  Those 2!

Friday, October 21, 2011

An old draft post I never published... from Dec 2008!

ATTENTION:  turn your volume to its lowest setting, then up as soon as I hush hear Sabrina babble! I totally apologize for this one, you have to hear me sing!  And it's pretty awful, especially since I'm 1 inch from the video camera.  But I just can't help but post, because now Samuel is at this age!  And I still sing Itsy Bitsy Spider, and he is the dancer now.  Shaking that diaper... similarities abound.  It is so easy to forget how our precious Sabrina looked & acted at the same age (approximately).  Little baldy, love my sweet girl...then as much as now! If not more... ;)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

School at Miss Bethany's

I asked Sabrina on the drive in what her favorite part of school was.

Without hesitation, she said, "When Lilly gets there, and then we play together.  Lilly is my favorite part of school."

Last night at dinner, we were talking about a liiiitttle misbehaving she did at the grocery store with Daddy that morning.  How she enjoyed running away, then teasing him.  I told her that I let Daddy know that when she does that at the store with me, she has to come and hold my hand like a baby.  She calmly replied, "Well, if he tries to hold my hand, I'll just break away and run because I'm strong and I can get away.  I'm stronger than you!"

Oh jeez... somehow my parenting solution got derailed.  I'm now picturing trying to hold the hand of a screaming, squirming 3 yo in a grocery store.  Not a pretty picture.  Nice one, Sabrina...! One more point for you. :( 

We'll keep "working on that one".  Another thing she likes to tell people when we are still trying out a new manner, or way to say something politely.  "We're still working on that, right Mommy?"  "Yes, Sabrina." :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Samuel learns to push his ride on toy... and Sabrina pedals fast!

Ha!  They are so in sync sometimes.  Last night at dinner she pointed to him and smiled, wordlessly.  He watched her, then did the exact same, point, smile. :)  I especially love Samuel's first expression in this video.  Show off! ;)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sabrina morning talk..

Sabrina & I got to talking about her future because she started out asking if I missed her Grandma & Papa.  "Because they're your mommy and daddy."  I answered her, and she said that when she was grown up she would have her own mommy and daddy....?  Hmm, I replied, "Well I've had the same parents my whole life.  You know, your Dad and I will be your mom & dad your whole life too."  Which brought us to...

"Someday I'm going to get married." 
"Are you going to have kids."
"Yes, 1,2,3. 3 kids."
"What will their names be?"
"Arizona, Philip and Sarah"
Later amended to...
"Arizona, Philip, and Morgan." "Morgan's my friend"
Boys or girls or both?
1 big girl, 1 big boy, then 1 little girl.
What kind of house will you live in?
Later amended to
What will you do for work?  You can be a doctor, a scientist, a nurse, a police woman, a fire woman, anything you want!
I'll be a doctor, because I've ALWAYS wanted to be a doctor. (Emphasis here on always, despite the fact that we know she's only 3.)
Will you take care of grownups or kids?
Will you be a doctor who helps you when you are sick or a doctor you visit to have surgery, when they cut you and stitch you up?
What if you could only be one type?
OK. :)  Where will you go to vacation? The beach or the mountains.
Oh the beach, we will have a blue house on the beach.  Maybe I'll have six kids....
How will you pay for six kids?
I'll be a doctor. (She shrugged here)

Ok, bun, good talk.  We've got to let Stella outside now, it's been a while she's been making noise.
OK, Mommy! (Smile, kiss, hug.)

Ahhhh... I'm so glad Philip worked last night so SBJ and I could have this talk today.  Love spontaneous talks with my grown up gal.

Meanwhile, Samuel slept in until 8. 8! Seriously... maybe he's growing!??

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sabrina & Samuel... life in motion!

One of Samuel's favorite current moves is to yell as loud as he can 'Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!' Then when you look over at him (with a smile, who can resist?) he responds ha ha ha ha in his gurgly way. It's pretty cute. That & his mad dash to the fridge anytime the door opens. He most favors the light ranch dressing bottle in the door, and just this morning he decided it would be a great idea to try and sit in the nice cool fridge. He couldn't understand why he kept sliding down! (condensation.)

He stopped crawling last week. By Wednesday he decided even the shortest little moves around were better to walk than to crawl. Hard to believe I've seen his last uber motivated, army man style crawling, bam bam bam as fast as he can! No more! :( Kind of sad to gain & then lose these little signs of babyhood. Now it's official... toddler times!

Sabrina delights us with her conversation. Yesterday she explained so many things to her uber dense parents, thank goodness! She's getting really good at describing her world, things that she does out of your sight, but still messes up words & switches things around enough to be totally adorable & charming. It still makes me laugh & smile when she is blunt with us, or tries out a new word, getting it 60% right! Sabrina totally loves her brother soooo much, she gives him big hugs & takes every opportunity she can make up to pick him up and move him around our house. MOst of these moves elicit more AAAAAAaaaaah sounds out of Samuel. He's definitely figured out he has a say so in what happens, and has decided to share his opinions with a yell or a few cries whenever he is unpleased with an outcome. We can also tell, when they are out of sight by his yell when Sabrina's got him in a squish hug, him on top of her while she's laid down with him. Usually he's had just about enough, and yells to be freed. Sometimes Sabrina needs to be encouraged to let him go though, as she can't get enough! :) I was creating some decorations with scissors yesterday for Samuel's party, and she decided she needed to contribute as well. She used her pattern scissors to cut blue confetti for the party. Then she colored the confetti with hot pink, and used the glue to attach it all to a piece of paper. With one Belle sticker added to the top, her masterpiece was complete. She was at it again this morning, creating another gift for Samuel. She asked me, aren't I sweet to make this for Samuel's party?? Yes, honey, you are! :)

She is very concerned with Samuel's well being. I'll ask her to watch him when I leave the room, and she'll say yes Mommy I've got him! Then other times she'll say you can go now Mom, I'm watching Samuel, I'll keep him safe! Ha! To be truthful, she is absolutely our early detection/Samuel warning system. Mommmy/Daddy, Samuel's got the water cup! Mommy, Samuel's trying to go in the laundry room She takes unsafe objects/chokeables from him. Ok, this is making us sound unsafe, but it can be really hard to keep coins from falling out of pockets, fuzz from making tiny balls - and Samuel thinks anything smallish should be tried out for taste! Ewww... I know but we are so used to it by now, we just have to vacuum & sweep all the time. STill, you wouldn't be able to tell! ;)

Sabrina is 100% on top of the party planning for Samuel's first. She gets updates daily on how far away the party is (2 wks, 1.5 wks, 1 wk). She is probably the most excited person in the house. I get it too, who wouldn't be with all of her favorite friends coming? I'm pretty sure she has forgotten it is for his birthday and not hers, but that's ok right? We are thrilled to have so many of our loved ones come and join us in celebration. Sabrina is going to be over the moon, at 200% energy, and probably will crash hard for bed that night. Samuel will be his normal happiness, wondering who the heck all these people are... Don't worry son, you just didn't know how many people love that you are part of this big world! And they all are behind you and your family! We are so so blessed.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Samuel is 11 months

Eleven months ago I was sitting here at WF, wondering when my sweet angel boy would arrive. A week late, he came finally, with a rush, to the song Superman. I think I've rarely seen Philip more overjoyed, or more in love. Instant love. Of course, he was beyond beautiful.... Samuel is our totally wonderful, happy, playful, imitator. He laughs and crawls so motivated to get at his object. He's walking 5-8 feet now on his own, and we'll clap for him when he reaches his destination. At our claps, he'll turn with a huge open mouthed grin and clap for himself as well. He loves, loves, his big sister. Nothing is cooler than playing with her while she's playing with...anything. For Sabrina, sometimes this is a good thing, and other times then drives her batty! They do not have the same playing style, for sure. However, they have been caught voluntarily playing ball together lately... It's pretty awesome. It really doesn't seem like it has been almost a year since he joined our family officially. In other ways, it is hard remembering life before our handsome love bug entered. I'm sure if I have trouble with that, Sabrina can't remember pre-Samuel life at all. She is in a stage where she likes to sit with me (on me) all the time. She can barely restrain herself from pushing Samuel off. It's so funny, since she really hasn't sat on my lap regularly since she was probably his age. While she's intensely affectionate, she has never tolerated smothering, long term cuddling, or seem to want any of that. But now she does, and so does Samuel. It makes me wish I was a taller person with more surface area to share. ;)

Sabrina is extraordinarily confident. She shows no fear of making friends or being in a new environment. The idea of going anyplace new is totally exciting and thrilling to her, eliciting yelps of joy and impatient nagging. It's hilarious. What? Where are we going? THE CARWASH??? WOW!!! Let's go, now, now, hurry.... ;) Philip and I joke that Samuel should model, and Sabrina is destined for drama/acting school. Yesterday I was leaving for Bible study, said all my goodbyes/hugs/kisses, then found Sabrina sitting in her rocking chair blocking the front door. Sabrina, could you please move? Nope, she replied, shaking her head matter of factly. Seriously, her tone was so perfect. It was too funny. Daddy intervened, taking care to remove her and set me free. We both chuckled as I kissed her one last kiss before heading out.

It is so hard leaving them every day, and so great to come home. Well, yesterday could have been better, but Philip and I had some laughs over dinner. Both kids had skipped afternoon naps, and by 6pm, it was so very apparent. We dined with tears/whining from both kids alternating, and sometimes overlapping. We joked about how it was just another family meal at the Johnsons, when Sabrina shed tears for the third time over some crazy tiny wrong dinner detail. There is a reason the family series National Lampoon exists, after all... it can really resemble my life at times!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thought of another one

While tugging my arm and saying Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, feed me, feed me. I told her I would finish my last 2 bites of dinner & then assist her. I completed my dinner while she continued to tug on my arm and incessantly repeat Mommy, Mommy.

I then turned to her and said, "Thank you for waiting so patiently Sabrina, I'll feed you now."

She paused, then turned to me while the fork was suspended in midair, "But Mommy, I wasn't patient. I was tugging on your arm like this...!" :) Somebody definitely knows what patient means! ha ha!

Favorite mispronounciations:

Feather for Heather

Cabloon for balloon

nilk for milk

stoy tory for Toy Story

movers teater for Movie theatre

Sam's now arching his back a lot, I think he wants to roll over to his tummy sometime soon. We'll have to wait & see!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Goodness, life changes.

Sabrina recent quotes:

"Mommy, you're the best Mom I ever seen!"

"DDaddy, I'm going to be a doctor and fix your arm." (Arm in cast from crazy wreck.)

"God bless Daddy and Mommy and Samuel and Guinness and Mommy and Daddy."

After seeing Nemo, (who tells his daddy he "hates" him), Sabrina tries the word out saying "Mommy, I hate your husband," while laughing. This sounds harsh but when I asked her what hate means she says it means time out & asks why Nemo said that to his Daddy. Anyhow, it was random & curious.

Sabrina loves Samuel and tries really hard to get things for him, help change diapers, sing, and talk to him. We are so proud when she holds him, feeds him a bottle, and loves on him.

Of course there is the occasional (while yelling in his face), "No Mom he's not sleeping!"

Samuel is such a joy. He's a good sleeper, regularly sleeping from 9 or 11pm-4am. He can regularly roll over from his belly to his back, but it still surprises him. He is such a laugher - he loves giggling at the 'whoa' game where we raise him up over our heads and lower him down to our faces & also when we play peekaboo. He is a talker too. He loves to have your attention and gurgle, blow bubbles, and make sounds 'goo', 'ah', 'oooo' at us. He likes to answer whatever questions we ask him.

I love to sing Bible songs to him, and Sabrina's at an age that she is starting to sing them with me & learn the words. She knows most of her long night night prayer, and also leads us in the meal blessings. It's been great to see her pick up & memorize prayers & songs. I guess it is time to try for Bible verses? Not sure how to do that, but I imagine it is possible.

I went back to work last Monday, and it is very surreal. After some initial awkwardness, I'm settling in again & have resumed normal quick lunches with Pops & Kim, which feels very normal. I have moved and have new neighbors now. Closer to Kim & the kitchen which is nice since I have a couple of pumping breaks a day. I miss sitting across from Nichole though, she's on the other side of my cube wall now & it is a bit more of an effort to visit now since I can't see her... Man, pumping is not a pleasure. It does feel good to know I'm providing for Samuel & giving him the best that I can. I know I'll just have to push on through, and there are many months to go.

It's hard to shake the feeling that I'm going do this for a bit (work) & then get to come home again and be with the babies once more. I know this isn't the case, so it is hard to grasp why I have that feeling. Probably just misplaced optimism. :)