Christmas Eve 2016

Before Thanksgiving we headed to the mall for some early Christmas shopping. We happened to walk by “Santa’s Workshop” and I thought Sam’s eyes would pop out of his head. He was in sheer amazement at seeing Santa Claus in the middle of the mall.

As we walked by, he peered surreptitiously over the walls trying ever so hard to not get caught, but sly little Santa saw him and winked. Sam quickly ducked down with eyes of sheer amazement and gasped, “He is real, Mom! We were wrong!”

And so the saying goes, “The rest is history.”


We headed to the mall the day before Christmas for a special treat – to MEET Santa! Sam was amazed and Timmy was pleased as a peach. All three children sat in Santa’s lap and the boys told Santa exactly what they wanted for Christmas. Interestingly they each named one thing. Later that day, Daddy went out and bought those two precious gifts because … well, why the heck not?


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Later that evening we opened our Christmas jammies, but poor, Cary, she was just not into it all. christmas-eve-2016-5 christmas-eve-2016-6

Turns out she was really sick, and the next day would prove it. But we put her on to bed, and we played Dominoes with the boys.

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After games, we went outside to “feed the reindeer.” I grew up feeding the reindeer and thoroughly enjoyed sharing the tradition with the boys. christmas-eve-2016-8

We made sure to write a note to Santa, but since Sam had only just decided that very day that he believed in Santa without a shadow of a doubt (apparently he’d mulled over his Santa experience all month before finally deciding), we didn’t really have that great of cookies to leave him. Santa didn’t mind though, I’m sure!christmas-eve-2016-9 christmas-eve-2016-10

Timmy was over the moon excited that Santa was coming, but Sam was holding back his emotions. He was turning into doubting Thomas by the end of the night. haha!

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Lo and behold, Santa came! He worked late into the night because making little boys’ dreams come true at the last minute isn’t always easy! 🙂


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.

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!

Cary’s First Week in (Mostly) Pictures

Susannah Cary

Thanks to Nonnie for rushing out to buy little miss some pink clothes! So adorable!

Susannah Cary and Samuel

This little boy was over the moon! This picture was snagged as the overflow of love and joy exploded. He didn’t know I had a camera. This is sheer delight of a five year old boy whose dream for a sister came true today. He looked at her after this and whispered, “A sister and she is ours!”

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The Dutton girls were glad to add another girl to our mix!

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We made it through the first night!


The snores and snuggles of the first few days are just precious. Slowing down can be hard, but these are moments I will never get back. Soaking them all in right now as we heal and recoup from baby girl’s big entry. This is amazing grace!

Someone just won’t let me put her down. Shame isn’t it? I tried so hard too. Eh, rest time for everyone this afternoon.




I think it’s safe to say that her big brothers are over the moon about her!

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I never thought I would be snuggling my own pink. I was content with my occasional snuggles with nieces throughout the years. I was convinced being a boy mom was what I was made to do. But this. Just this. It’s something altogether sweet. It helps that she’s an incredible baby. I know she will eventually “wake up,” but in the meantime, this sweetness is more than I can handle.

And this right here is what kept labor stalled … That little arm right there. I love the first week or two after babies are born because you get to see all their little womb positions. I cannot count how many times we tried to check her head position only to be confused by that little arm. Ohhh, but she is here now.

This little girl right is my easiest post partum baby yet (by way of sleep and care, NOT as easy on my body though)! The last few days she’s found a rhythm, and I’ve actually been able to get more sleep than I ever dreamed possible. No, it’s not easy. Yes, I still squeeze in naps and nurse groggy eyed at night, but this girl deserves to be bragged on. I want to remember that she might have taken her merry time getting here, but she came out ready to be a blessing. I think I was wrong about the thumb vs. pacifier. She uses neither to self soothe so far. She loves sleeping in her basket at night swaddled in a thin blanket with a thicker blanket over her feet. She sleeps on her back which has NEVER happened for me. During the day, she still prefers to be held and really sleeps well when I use the Sleepy Wrap and wear her. Last night we went to bed around 11 and woke twice in the night to nurse, every few hours just like she should. Tomorrow she will be one week old, and I have to say, it’s been the best first week yet and it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with that little unique person, fashioned by God, right there.

I think I finally got a baby who looks like me. I think she’s going to have her Daddy’s hair color though, and if so, I am so jealous. So very, very jealous. I see more red tints everyday, especially if she wears pink.


First Hike of the Season

We had a nice warm day today and since we didn’t make it to church for various reasons and Daddy really needed some time of quiet to work on school stuff, I took the boys on a nice long hike.


After enduring the stomach bug, potty training madness, and lots of snowy, stuck inside days, this hike was much needed for the boys and me. thumb_IMG_0429_1024

Sam said no less than twenty times that this was the best hiking day ever. He can’t wait to go back.

Sam was more brave this time and ventured ahead of the pack a lot. I love watching his leadership skills emerging. thumb_IMG_0433_1024

Timmy was a trooper and successfully completed his first solo hike (no more carrying this little boy!). He did start lagging behind toward the end, but after an hour and a half of hiking, who can blame him?

I’m 25 weeks pregnant today with our third little boy, so it was a good pace for me. We were sad Daddy couldn’t be with us, but I’m so encouraged by how well the boys and I managed without him. I forsee lots of hikes in the spring!