Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

There are a few family traditions that we just cannot skip in our family.  Carving pumpkins and making donuts are one.  We may have done it the day before Halloween, but by golly, it got done.
Gone are the days of sewing costumes and family themes for the Johnson's.  Life has become too hectic and the kids prefer the cheap crappy costumes from the store.  But it doesn't mean we don't enjoy the holiday and the memories we are making.  This year we had an army guy (again), Wolverine, and Captain America.  Oh and also Batman to go with the partial theme...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

End Hunger Campaign

This past Saturday morning our family woke up early to go and take part in the annual End Hunger campaign.  I am fortunate to work for an animal hospital that likes to give back to the community, and many of us were able to attend.  The best part was that our whole family could help, even 6 year old Mason.  We basically scooped ingredients into bags and then weighed them and sealed them before putting them in boxes.  In the 2 hours were were there we packaged over 25000 bags.  These bags are going to the Appalacian region of Kentucky.  Mason's favorite job was helping to heat seal the bags, Cameron liked weighing them, and Gavin loved scooping the rice.  So many times during the process the kids mentioned how much fun they were having.  It just goes to show you serving others can be even more fun than Chuck E Cheese to a kid.  Cameron especially was touched by this experience and has said several times that he can't wait to do it again.


This past weekend we took advantage of the weather and the changing leaves and took a trip up to Skyline drive.  The trees were almost at their peak and the views were breathtaking.  We found a picnic area to roast hot dogs and s'mores and played in the leaves with Fergus.  The "mountains" are one of our favorite things about Virginia, they sure are prettiest in the fall.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bull Run Mountain

This summer we did a lot of hiking up Bull Run Mountain because the weather was so mild.  It is about a 5 mile hike roundtrip with tremendous views at the top.  We took some of the Wilkinsons and also went with friends, and Cameron and I even did it by ourselves once.  Fergus came when he was just a bitty thing and made it pretty far before we had to carry him.  The kids do great as long as they have someone new to talk to to keep their mind off how steep and long it is.  And playing in the creek on the way down gives them something to look forward to!  And we always see a turtle or two!  Can't wait to go up when the leaves are changing!

First Lost Tooth

All last year in Kindergarten Mason watched longingly as all his little friends lost their first teeth and had a visit from the tooth fairy.  His teacher had a chart to show how many kids were losing teeth and I'm pretty sure Mason was the only one who didn't lose any.  It was with great delight that he told me he had a wiggly tooth and even more delight that he bit into an apply to try to break it free.  It worked!  He has been carrying the money around for days that the tooth fairy left him.  Now the one next to it is loose and he wiggles it every chance her gets!  Fergus also lost a tooth the same day and we kept it to leave under his pillow for a treat :)

Hungry Mother

One of my favorite traditions as a child was heading up t Granny and Pop Pop's house every December and sometimes in the summer as well for a mini family reunion.  My mother and her brother would come with their families and we would exchange gifts at Christmastime, but more importantly we would see the cousins that otherwise we would never have really known.  Granny would have it no matter what, even when our families swelled so big that we could not comfortably fit into their home, she still cooked for weeks beforehand in preparation for the big get together.  It did not matter if her house was perfectly clean or if she would have ample seating, she just wanted us to get together.  I wish I had more of that attitude.  It's getting together that counts and family is everything.

This was the second year that my sisters Lisa and Kristin and their families met our at Hungry Mother State Park.  It's mid-way between northern Virginia and Nashville in the middle of nowhere with plenty of trails, a lake and really nice cabins that each of our families can rent.  Best of all, my kids couldn't wait to get there and see their cousins.  They played outside even though the first day it was a bit rainy, they played outside even though the next day was quite chilly, they played outside with the cousins that they only see a few times a year and they loved every second of it.  And the adults got together and played too.  We are making Hungry Mother a tradition- something that our kids will look back on with fond memories just as I do with Granny's house.