Sunday, November 30, 2008

We have an imposter among us

It's nine feet tall, a bit prickly and smells of... plastic. Yup, this is the year that will go down in Johnson history as the year we gave in to the dark side. We said we would never do it and criticized others for making the switch, yet here we are with one of our own. It is a sad day, and I am still doubting our choice to purchase a fake Christmas tree.

I still have memories from my childhood of bundling up and going to the tree farm to pick out a tree. Most years we bought from one of those tree lots, a few we actually went to cut it down, but in both cases, it was a treasured memory. Running and pointing to "this one, no this one!" as we inspected each tree for bare spots or found that added bonus- a bird's nest. Jeremy has similar memories, his family also believed in the "fresh is the only way" philosophy and they have not departed from it. I wanted my kids to have the same experiences, but alas, it seems their memories will be of fluffing out box-scrunched wire branches and spraying the pine tree smell to mimic what a real tree might be like.

It was not an easy choice, but for the five years we have lived in this house, we have gone and spent a small fortune on the perfect 9-10 foot tree that would do our vaulted ceilings justice and then I would tirelessly wind strand after strand of lights throughout the tree, trying to outdo the year prior and copy a tree I saw years ago that seemed so bright it might burn your corneas. Not to mention that Jeremy and I inevitably fought trying to get the thing straight in the tree stand, ugh, what a rotten task. Every year after all that work I would say never again, but then when December rolled around again I would chicken out and wax all sentimental again. Well this year we found a beautiful tree on clearance (can you believe that, in November?) and we could not pass it up. I'll admit, I cried a bit on the way home, causing Jeremy to agree that next year we can get a smaller real tree to put in the basement.

So after getting this tree up and decorated, it just didn't have the same oooh factor as the real ones did. And it's a bit too perfect, no bare spot to turn to the back, no heavy lower branches to hide or cut, and no smell! But pretty, I guess, and it is with a heavy heart that I admit that.
I'm sure I'll get used to the whole idea, but until then there is a hole in my soul, mourning this awful decision. O Christmas tree, I miss you.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Thanksgiving

I think this was the most low-stress Thanksgiving I have ever hosted. When I woke up on Thursday, my house was clean, and many of the dishes I was cooking I was able to make the day before. So when the kids woke up, suprisingly later than usual, we laid around in bed for a while counting our blessings and reflecting on all we are thankful for. At 11 family arrived, my sister Kristin and her family, Mom and Jeff, and Pop Pop. We filled up our first "thankful tree" and awaited the big meal. This year we had turkey with cranberry horseradish relish, rolls, home made stuffing, funeral potatoes, corn pudding, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes. And for dessert, oats and honey pie, pumpkin roll, and a chocolate frosted cornucopia cake the neighbors brought by.

Some of our thankful leaves on the tree incuded:





*toilet paper



*clean water

I don't know what it was about this year that made it so relaxing and enjoyable, but for some reason the kids all played together without any fighting, and all of the adults were able to sit and talk and just be thankful. I am so very thankful for my family and the bounty of blessings that I have in my life. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A couple more families...

Braving the bitter cold, I had two more photo shoots this weekend. Photographing our friends Mary and Mike was a breeze, I didn't even have to make any funny faces or noises to get them to look and smile... And the other family was one that I had not met before, but they were so fantastic to shoot. The identical twin almost three year olds were so cooperative despite the weather and their personalities really shine through. Hopefully they will like one for their Christmas cards this year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Some new pics of the boys

I took a few photos of the boys the other day. The best one of them all together is at the top of my blog. I really need to take a photoshop class to figure out how to soften the background, because a wrinkly sheet doesn't look the cutest... Something to learn from!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Winter is coming...

I can always tell that winter is around the corner when the maple tree in our front yard finally turns red. It is always the last hold out and the final beauty in our yard until spring. All week I have been stopping to look at it out the window as I go up and down the stairs because to me it looks like it's on fire and too soon it will be bare. I am enjoying it while it lasts!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jump for Joy

See MasonSee Mason jump, and jump, and jumpSee Mason worn out from all the jumping... The End

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gavin's three year montage

I do these montages every year for my kids birthdays. This is Gavin's of all of the past year. It's long, so I don't expect many will watch it all, but I like to post them for far away family. It was crazy to go back through pictures and see how this kid has grown. Gavin really is becoming more boy and less baby with each and every day. Stupid world- stop turning!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Molded Crayons

I made these crayons to give out for Gavin's party. They are just melted crayons put into those chocolate candy molds you can buy at the craft store. I found this idea at this website. This woman does crafts with her kid every day- EVERY DAY!!! Needless to say, I love so many of her ideas and they have already come in handy for preschool. I thought I would share in case you are in need of a fun project. Oh, and thanks Jamie for providing the link!

Purple Mountains Magesty

On Sunday we went up to Skyline Drive with the Turners, Wadleys, and Porters. We made a fire, cooked some dogs and s'mores, and drank hot cocoa. There were piles of leaves for the kids to jump in and throw at each other, and the weather was chilly, but not unbearable. We caught the tail end of fall up in the mountains, most of the trees had lost their leaves, but there were still some really pretty yellow trees left. We stayed up there until sunset, which was just breathtaking as the last rays lit up the mountains, truly God's country. Cameron kept saying as we drove home that he wanted to live up there and I can't say I didn't have the same thoughts. As we near Thanksgiving, I am thankful to live so close to natures beauty and splendor and be able to share it with my children.

Gavin Turns Three!

My little boy is not so little anymore... Gavin turned three on Sunday, but we celebrated on Saturday with a little party with his friends. He invited his two best friends- Coleman and Ashley, and Cameron got to invite Ashely's brother and his best friend Austin. Jeremy and I took the kids to see Madagasgar 2, which went much more smoothly than I expected! The kids all sat pretty still and we only had to leave for 1 potty break! I highly recommend the bottomless popcorn, it kept those buggers occupied the whole time (and gave Gavin some wicked diarrhea that night). After the movie, we came home and had some Wendy's and cake. I let Gavin pick out what kind of cake he wanted and he picked out an excavator cake- no easy task, but it turned out pretty well. It was a nice, simple party that went very smoothly and didn't cause too much stress for mom, that's my kind of party! It really is hard to beleive that is was three whole years ago that my little Gavs was born. He has definitely livened up our family and he keeps us on our toes! We love you little man!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lopez Family

Another great family photo seassion. How fun for me to have such wonderful families to learn from. I hope they love these photos as much as I do! As always, more HERE.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Are these not the sweetest brothers ever? I had the privilege of photographing this gorgeous, photogenic family today. What adorable and cooperative little boys! It sure made my job easy. I was so excited to see how well their family photos turned out, there are gobs for them to choose from, mostly because these boys were so awesome- and their parents too. For a sampling of the greatest, look HERE.


My favorite photo from the shoot: See more HERE