Johnson Family Photos 2016

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we gathered for a family photo shoot. We added two more little girls to the family so Nonnie wanted an updated picture. It was NOT easy getting a picture of everyone and we certainly aren’t professionals, but I think we snagged a few good ones worth sharing. 🙂


The snazzy woman who makes us all get together for these sessions (for which we are actually all grateful even if we give her a hard time).


Sometimes the test pictures are some of the best ones.



The group that all the following craziness branches from …family-pics-2016-5 family-pics-2016-6

And because this picture makes us laugh until we cry, we’re including it here. family-pics-2016-7

I could point out a million things in this picture, but I love that Anna and Timmy are holding hands. I’m also glad that my kid isn’t the only one who tucks his hands in his sleeves (ahem, Addison and Avery). 😛


The boys!family-pics-2016-13

The girls.



Oh, Timmy, why so sad?


The Johnson’s…



Then we gave the kids the camera. Yes, we did! They had fun. The rest of the pictures are courtesy of all those over the age of … well, family-pics-2016-16 family-pics-2016-17 family-pics-2016-18 family-pics-2016-19 family-pics-2016-20 family-pics-2016-21 family-pics-2016-22 family-pics-2016-23 family-pics-2016-24 family-pics-2016-25 family-pics-2016-26

I love this crazy family! The chaos, the loudness, the laughter. Just all of it.

A Day of Firsts {Church & Family Hike}


We headed off to church for the first time as a family since Cary was born. This boy was looking all grown up in his preparatory school get up. img_1910

Little MIss was content all service right there in Daddy’s arms. img_1914

After church we headed out for a family hike down at Beaverdam. It was a beautiful day and the boys had so much fun! img_1916

She did great too! img_1919 img_1925 img_1930

So grateful for these people!

Some Moments to Remember


One night I should have really been getting dinner started because it was a karate night for Samuel, but I cannot bring myself to get up. I mean really… Look at that. I didn’t get up either, and somehow Sam made it to karate on time with a full belly. It all worked out.


This kid keeps me on my toes. He’s loud, messy, and runs wherever he goes. He’s all boy and gives the absolute best hugs. He’s silly and sarcastic, loving and sensitive, and he’s growing and changing so fast! He reminds me so much of my brother and that makes my heart happy because I know this powerful little personality can change the world someday. Or at least make a big impact with bravery and courage!


Little Miss finally “woke up,” and she’s letting us know that she’s not a fan of being put down. She’s not a fan of a car that sits still or a stroller that stops moving. She doesn’t like dirty diapers on her bottom or Mommy to hold her and not let her have milk. But she’s easily consolable if you stick her right in here or nurse her to sleep and transfer her to her bed. She will let you know which one she prefers at the moment though. I hear you, Baby Girl. I hear ya’ loud and clear. ? She reminds me of Sam as a baby which likely means we will be spending a lot of time at home for naps. I’m okay with that!

We took a trip out to Walmart and the car wash, and I’m not sure, but I don’t think Cary was too big of a fan. She sure is cute though!

Cary’s Second Week in (Mostly) Pictures


Two weeks old!


It’s hard to believe she’s 11 days old already. It’s even harder to believe that I was pregnant just two weeks ago. She’s such a quiet baby. The past two days she’s started “saying” a bit more, but she’s a sweet girl. So alert and observant!


She is so peaceful! thumb_img_1775_1024

How we do most of our sleeping at night. thumb_img_1835_1024

And how we do the second leg of sleeping at night. So thankful for a Daddy who helps out in so many ways!

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We finally made it over to Nannie and Pop’s for a visit. thumb_img_1779_1024

They were so happy to finally meet her!


We had plans of all three “boys” wearing their Super Man shirts for a photo shirt, but umm… well, the new Super MAN never arrived. thumb_img_1807_1024

So, Grammy fixed her shirt and we had a fun little photo shoot to document it. thumb_img_1814_1024

The best moments in the world!


One of the greatest comforts for all of us during this transition was books. Lots of books! We did a lot of reading together and this was our favorite in those first few weeks.


Sweet Miss at the end of two weeks!

Family Time with Pepaw and Nonnie


Pepaw came to see me and I was so excited!


We took a trip to the Virginia Living Museum after being cooped up for weeks and weeks. Nonnie and Pepaw joined us and the weather could not have been more perfect.


The boys love having Pepaw in town because he’s not afraid to get on the floor and play with them. Legoes were the activity of choice most of our days together!

Party Like You Just Had a Baby

In those first few weeks after Cary’s birth, I was stir crazy. To say we had cabin fever would have been an understatement of the century. Not only were we cooped up for weeks waiting on her to get here, but afterward I had to heal and give my body time to do recuperate which meant MORE at home time. But we kept busy, and we tried to be creative while creating special moments and memories together.


I tried to set a beautiful table at least once a day. It wasn’t always fancy or even all that “beautiful” but it was to us. We discovered German Pancakes and it changed our lives! 😉 Breakfast became the highlight of the day when the boys were able to watch the crazy shapes our pancake would take while baking in the oven. Because no two pancakes turn out the same, it was delightful, and memorable, and … even comfortable.

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The boys had a grand time setting up forts and barricades and playing “Army” together. Timmy was thankful for his helmet because he got caught in the line of fire.


Stabbing a box with an oversized pencil was also the play of choice one day. Boys. That’s all I’m gonna say.


Before Cary was born, I gathered the stuff for a Caribbean party. We dug out the decorations, glued some sequence and googly eyes on some foam hearts to make fish, and ate dinner outside one night. thumb_img_1705_1024

Nonnie and Pepaw were with us, so it was a nice family affair! thumb_img_1695_1024

Then, of course, we enjoyed snow cones together.


And all the while, little girl continued to be practically perfect. We nicknamed her Mary Poppins!

Before Five in a Row: The Snowy Day

After such a fun time rowing Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?, we decided to pull out The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.


Since we’ve been getting a lot of snow the last couple of days, it seemed only fitting, and we had so much fun with it!

The Snowy Day Activities


The first full day of being snowed in, the boys were already getting a little crazy. 😉 So, I set about finding a fun project for us to do together as a family. Daddy has been studying hard all week for school and we all needed something fun to do.

Scholastic shared a fun go-along craft for The Snowy Day on their site. It had a video to walk us through the steps.

We all watched it several times and then set about making our own Snow Day Collages. I love that we all started with the exact same raw materials, and every one of us made something totally different.


Timmy and I worked together on his. I didn’t even attempt to make my own because I knew he would need a little more help. However, he placed all his buildings. Directed where the snow drifts should be glued. Shredded all of his cotton balls and glued them down. He requested trees and a snowman with hat. It was so fun working with him!


Sam is a creative kid. There is a lot running through his little mind at one time, and he has big visions of what he wants to create.

Some notables:

  • He has a fence behind the snow drifts, and he told me that we’ll see them when the snow melts.
  • Someone also threw snowballs really high up in the sky (they almost look like two moons in the sky).
  • He absolutely insisted to get stars out to add to his.
  • And he drew Peter onto a black sheet of construction paper because it was his town and he needed to be there.
  • Oh, and he asked me what city this reminds me of from our big road trip. When I said, “Chicago!” He said, “YES! You are right, Mommy!”

He rattled off some other things, but I was also helping Timmy so I simply didn’t catch it all.


Nonnie got in on the fun making her own collage. I loved her tree creation!


Daddy took a break from reading and joined us. I loved his fence!

Then of course we had to take advantage of the beautiful snow day!

snow day 2016-2

It is likely the best snow day that I recall since I was in high school. My 10 year reunion has come and gone … so that will give you a frame of reference.

It was so fun! We all (the boys, Daddy, Nonnie, and I) got outside one day and just had a blast. snow day 2016-5 snow day 2016-6 snow day 2016-7

Snowball fights were a big hit!snow day 2016-8

Oh, and sledding! This kid was fierce and over the moon excited about sledding. Sam had a blast too! I was taking part in the sledding adventures as well (pregnant belly and all) so I didn’t get any shots of the kids.snow day 2016-10

But we did make sure to make some tracks in the snow just like Peter from the story.


On another day, Daddy took them outside (my pregnant self was too worn out from the day before). They had more snowball fights and did a little baseball practice which was a lot of fun!


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Sam got pretty serious about getting Daddy!

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These whimsical snowmen were easy to make. Mine is the one in the middle and it looks more like a scarecrow according to the boys. Oh well.

We free painted our paper first and while it dried we cut out our snowmen circles. Timmy and I pulled some of the snow drift scrap paper out that was leftover from our Snowy Day Collages (top of the post) to add to ours. Sam insisted on a soccer ball in his picture for some reason. We just used various scrap paper, stickers, and sequins to decorate our snowmen.

I wish I could say this was a fun activity, but mostly it was stressful. Timmy was tired and made the entire project difficult for everyone (he even spilled paint … everywhere). I do think Sam would have enjoyed it if I had opted to give Timmy a nap instead of letting him paint too. Timmy put his snowman smile upside down making it a frown and I left it because it just seemed so fitting.

Most of the time these sort of projects are a lot of fun, but sometimes, they just aren’t. 🙂


On another day, we experimented with ice melting. I set up four plates with four pieces of ice. Well, actually the boys did. They got out the plates and set the plates up with ice.

We left one piece of ice alone as our control. Then, we put salt on one, wrapped aluminum foil around another, and newspaper around the last piece of ice. We all predicted which one would melt first and last. I used our white board to record our answers.

We all thought the ice with the salt on it would melt first. Sam and Timmy predicted the ice that had nothing on it would melt last. The adults all predicted the aluminum foil would melt last.


Then, we observed. And observed. And observed. Timmy kept licking the salt and making funny faces.


While we waited we read about water from a book my mom gave me a few years ago leftover from her teaching days. I couldn’t find it on Amazon to link to it. We talked about the water cycle and at what point water freezes. The boys were totally intrigued!

Then, it was time for our results. We were all surprised by the results because the newspaper melted the slowest!

It wasn’t until the experiment was over and we had time to think about it that we realized newspaper is an insulator and aluminum foil pulls in heat which makes the ice melt really fast! I had to have Daddy come in to explain it all to us. I’m really thankful we’re a work at home family and Daddy is right here to help me when I get stuck. Plus he loved being our science superhero. 🙂

I highly recommend this experiment! We all learned a lot!

And that was our week with The Snowy Day. It was a lot of fun and totally worth spending a little time each day on!

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Christmas Cookies and Memory

I love baking cookies. It’s one of those things I wish I did with the kids more, but I’m just not a very good baker. There are very few recipes that I can actually pull off because I’m not that great with details and baking is a science. Not really my forte.

thumb_IMG_9824_1024But I’m learning that it really doesn’t matter how they turn out, it simply matters that we pull out the ingredients and grow together.

And sometimes … just sometimes, we get it right, and tonight was one of those nights. One of my favorite bloggers also happens to share recipes that are so simple I can’t even mess them up. When Lisa shared on Instagram that she had a favorite frosted tea cookie recipe, I knew it was the cookie for me.

thumb_IMG_9819_1024The boys and I made the dough earlier in the day and let is sit in the fridge until after dinner. We all (Daddy too!) pitched in to get two pans of cookies filled, and while we waited, we played a couple of games of Memory together.

Once the cookies cooled, I frosted the cookies while the boys took turns adding sprinkles. Daddy kept Timmy from getting more frosting on the shaker than on the cookies, but that’s neither here nor there.

thumb_IMG_9820_1024Then it was eating time!

thumb_IMG_9822_1024 thumb_IMG_9823_1024 These were the best cookies we have ever made. By far my favorite experience of cookie baking. Definitely saving this recipe for next time. The only problem we found was that the cookie dough was so good, the boys were a little full by the time the finished product arrived on the table. 😉