Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

(Mama and Baby Liam)

Christmas was a whirlwind. Johnson house Christmas Eve, Shaw house Christmas morning, Birch house Christmas afternoon, and we're finally home. The babes are tucked in their beds with full bellies, hopefully dreaming of goodness and all the hugs and kisses they've received today.

(Baby Finn and Baby Liam are the stars of Christmas Morning.)

I watched my children today. They didn't understand opening gifts or the "Merry Christmas" wishes that were sent their way. They definitely didn't understand all the time in the car. But they smiled and cooed and brightened the day of those who held them. Today was a long day for mama and daddy, but they were our little troopers. There were meltdowns, but who can blame a little 5 month old for only wanting a clean diaper and a bottle?

(Liam and Grandma S taking a nap.)

Old traditions were kept, some were not, and new traditions were created with our new additions. Christmas Eve was spent with Grandma and Grandpa J and Uncle Shane. We ate dinner, read Luke 2, had a wonderful FHE on personal gifts, which was followed by beautiful presents made by Lori for each of us (Brandon, Shane, and me).  Afterwards, we opened the rest of our presents and ate some cream puffs. When we left, the world outside was covered with a blanket of white snow, but the air was clear. It was a perfect Christmas Eve night.

(Joey made this monkey bread for breakfast. Even if it did light the oven on fire, it was still yummy!)

Christmas morning, Liam was up at 5:30 am and he wouldn't go back to sleep. So I picked him up out of his crib and snuggled him in our bed. He fell back to sleep, but I was awake. So, I carried myself into the family room and laid on the couch, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. I reminisced on Christmas past and remembered that it was at 5:30 am exactly 1 year ago that I went into the bathroom to take a pregnancy test. I was so nervous. Then I saw the (+) and I started to cry. B, thinking I was crying because it was negative, rushed in to comfort me. When he opened the door I showed him the test. And he started to cry. It was a wonderful, surreal moment.

Remember this?

(Mom and Dad's Christmas gift to us. I miss my brother.)

While we fed babies, B and I opened gifts to each other and the little Santa gifts for the babes. Then we packed up and headed to the Shaw's for Christmas breakfast and presents. Whit had just come off a night shift at the hospital and the rest of us were a little tired, including the babes. So, we packed up and went home. We laid the twins down, got ready, got the twins up, changed them, and fed them. Unfortunately, we were about 2 hours late to the Birch Christmas party- such is our life right now. We ate more food, exchanged gifts, and played games.  And the babes were marvelous. 

(Grandma Birch all dressed up in Christmas cheer!)

I love Christmas. But, in all the hustle and bustle of trying to get gifts wrapped, cards sent, and food made...I found myself stressed and grumpy. In the midst of loading crying babies in carseats and driving through stormy weather and/or icy roads to attend another family party, getting uptight with each other became easier for B and I. At the height of all the commotion, B expressed to me "I'm not annoyed with you. I'm annoyed with Christmas." As we talked, I realized that, sometimes, in trying to keep with the traditions of the holiday, we can loose perspective on the meaning behind our celebration. It was so ironic to me that the last thing I wanted to do was be Christ-like on the day we celebrate His birth, His life, and the gifts He offers us freely. Such a disappointment for me when I clued in that I was losing the "reason for the season".  

(Two loves of my life: Baby Liam and Baby Finn)

Then my little brother sent his email from the MTC. The last few sentences in his letter read  "I hope you all have such a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Just remember to keep Christ always in your heart, there in lies true happiness...This truly has been the best Christmas I have ever had!"  My heart warmed as I remembered my days as a missionary and I recognized that I am the happiest when I am closest to my Savior. When I spend more time giving thanks for my blessings instead of wasting energy on worrying about what I don't have. When I serve others instead of having expectations of what others "should" do for me. When I quickly forgive instead of being offended and holding on to hurt feelings. When I look for the best, not the worst in people. When I hope and not fear. When the Savior is the center of my home, my family, and my life.

Merry Christmas to all! Prayers for peace, joy, and gladness as we celebrate our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know He lives. I know He loves us. And I know, along with Elder Shaw, that true happiness comes from following Him.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

6 real things I love about my real life RIGHT NOW.

(This is decorating the Christmas tree this year. Brandon did NOT like the tinsel, but I put it on anyway.
Then I agreed it looked a little cheap. So we took it off. He wasn't super happy about any of it.)

1. Brandon Johnson. What does a "perfect marriage" look like? Is it two people who always look, act, and feel their very best? Is it a union void of any trials, tests, or turns? I admit my ideas have evolved over the past couple of years. I have learned, even over the short time we have been married, that a successful marriage requires hardships, because that's when a husband and wife have the opportunity to give selflessly and buoy each other. Jesus Christ is perfect love. And when we follow His example, we feel that, especially in the sacred bonds of marriage. Faith, Hope, Charity. We hear about these things all the time, but do we act when it really counts- when it's really hard? Brandon Johnson is my husband. He is my best friend. He is my partner. He is the person I share my most intimate self with and he holds my very fragile heart. And now, he is the father of my children. I love my life with him.

(Liam and Finn)

2. Liam and Finn. I love to hear Liam talk. It is one of the loveliest sounds. The more he grows, the louder the chatter becomes. And I LOVE it. At night, after we feed the boys, we sit in the rocking chairs in the nursery and sing songs to our babies. I love watching Finn try to sing along. It melts my heart. It makes me laugh. It makes B laugh. I love that Finn is almost above 80th percentile in almost all his stats. I love that he is 17 lbs. I love that Liam is 14 lbs. Because that means they are growing. And there were weeks and months when that's all my heart wanted. I wanted big, healthy babies. And that's what I have.

 (Whitney and Joey Rino)

3. I love that I can text my sister at 8:30 am and ask if she watched last night's episode of "Parenthood". I love that we will text back and forth about how many tissues we needed to get through it and how our husbands cry too. Then, our conversation evolves into expressions of love for our family, for our lives, for the goodness that we have been given. I love that we can still laugh at our childhood and agree that we have a good life. I love that she will drop everything to drive to my house so I can sleep for a couple of hours, while she cleans, feeds my babies, and cooks us dinner. I love that our husbands can laugh together. I love that she shares her dreams with me and I with her. I love that she loves my babies.

(T. M. Shaw)

4. I love littlest Chee. She likes to come over and watch Project Runway and I offer her anything in my pantry to eat. Usually she prefers a banana with Nutella. I try and keep Nutella stocked for this very reason. I love that she will automatically go pick up a baby when they start crying. I love that she has similar aspirations that I had at her age and that she stresses about them as much as I did. But, she can do the splits. And is much more popular. And has the best legs and feet in the family. And is more strong-willed than my young 15-year-old self. And I love that.

(Elder saying goodbye.)

5. I love that Elder Shaw is in the MTC. He has been there since November 28th. I miss him, but I know he is in the right place. I received a letter from him yesterday and my heart burst. He is growing up so fast and his testimony of Jesus Christ is so strong. It makes me miss my days as a missionary. It has caused me to have dreams for the past week about being called on another mission. It's weird. I am sad that he won't get to hold my children again until they are about 2 years old, but I am so so happy that he is able to spread the Gospel to people in Mexico. There are few greater experiences than watching an individual or family literally change before your eyes as they accept the teachings of Jesus Christ. (here's a little video of our family saying goodbye.)

(Baby Liam playing with Aunt Diane.)

6. I love that B's Aunt Diane is in town. I could sit and listen to her talk for hours...mostly because I love that eastern accent. I also love hearing her and B's dad talk about their childhood in New York. And I love her love affair with cakes, cookies, and other forms of deliciousness. Last night we met up at City Creek and had dinner. Then we went to Temple Square. What do I love most about Diane? She can laugh. I LOVE laughing. In fact, there were a couple of comments B made to me last night that got me laughing so hard, I almost didn't make it through the door and into the bathroom before wetting my pants. I grew up with a mom who can gut-laugh 'til tears flow down her face.  Some of our greatest memories have to do with laughing. Feeling down? Try laughing. Especially at yourself.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

For posterity's sake!

(Gramps with Liam)

There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think about my children's future. I wonder who they will become, the choices they will make, the mark they will leave on the world. I contemplate my role as their mother and the influence I have. On one of our early-morning walks, I expressed to my dad the concerns I had about the world my children are growing up in. I asked him what he thought was the best thing I could do to help them be strong. His answer was "Teach them that they are children of God, that He loves them, and that you love them." I admit I was a little surprised that was the extent of his advice. Is it really that simple?

(Baby Finn)

I sincerely believe everyone of us is a pioneer in our own way. We may not be asked to trek thousands of miles on foot, but we are required to trek everyday through good and bad choices, relationships that are sources of joy and heartbreak, and hardships that result from unemployment, sickness, and/or death of a loved one. In the midst of such a loud, negative world, the threat of falling into a spiritual drought or crisis becomes increasingly possible, and unfortunately, normal.

(Grandma with Finn)

As I pay attention to those around me, specifically close relatives and ancestors, I force myself to take note of their legacy. The trials they endured and the choices they made are not parallel to those required of me. But, I honor the trek they made, because there is no doubt in my mind that some of the decisions my grandparents and parents made have had direct effect on the life I live.

(Baby Liam)

Today, I am grateful for parents. I am grateful for grandparents. I am grateful for ancestors. I am also grateful for posterity. What choices do I make today that will influence the lives of my children's children? I must recognize that a legacy is being built, even within the monotonous day-to-day. For posterity's sake, I put my shoulder to the wheel, for there is no greater work I can think of.

Monday, November 19, 2012

St. George called. Bring them babies back!

I convinced myself and B that we should take the opportunity to travel to St. George, UT with my family to see my grandparents. There was much hesitation, mostly due to stress that accompanies any travel time with two 4 month old babies. But, my parents were willing to stop any time we needed and Parker and T were great help with feeding, changing, and holding.

(Gramps with Liam and Grandma looking at the tree with Finn.)

It was Grandpa Day's 80th birthday and we surprised them by coming down with the babes. They were excited to see us, but Liam and Finn were definitely the main event. I will never get over the joy of watching people love on my babies.

(Saturday morning. The Johnson family all together.)

So, how did the babies do? I can honestly say they did great for a majority of the trip! Poor baby Finn was a little constipated and couldn't poop the whole trip. Sleeping in a play pen was also a little weird, but they were smily and happy most of the time. Advice for traveling with twin babies? No matter how much you plan, make lists, and try to organize...just remember you WILL forget things. It is bound to happen. It WILL happen. Also, your babies run the show. You will strive as hard as you can to stick to the schedule you've worked so hard on for the past couple of months. Don't get discouraged if the schedule is thrown out the window, because chances are it takes a vacation while you do. But, you do your best. And your babies still remain happy and content...for at least 2 days. We aren't brave enough to venture any further at this time.

This is the last time P will see Grandma and Gramps for 2 years. He leaves for the MTC next week! 

Today? I'm grateful my babes are doing this. (side note: what is it about sleeping babies that is so angelic?) Anyway, B and I laid them on the bed while we packed up Sunday morning. When we went in to check on them, this is what we saw. Man, vacations are a lot of work. Especially when you're 4 months old. Grateful for a safe trip to St. George. Grateful for good weather. Grateful to spend time with extended family. Grateful to be home.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I've got the POWER!

(Baby Liam and Baby Finn)

Yesterday morning the babes and I were finishing up our morning routine when the light went out. I checked around the house and awoke my sleeping husband to announce "Brand, the power's out." After B checked the power box, walked the neighborhood, and called Rocky Mountain Power, we loaded ourselves in our car and headed to my parents' house.

When the power came back around 10:00 pm, we loaded everyone back in the car and headed home. On the way to our house, I kept thinking in my mind how inconvenient this whole day was for me and my fussy babies. Then, my mind filled with images from recent Superstorm Sandy and the many, MANY people without power still...weeks later. I felt embarrassed.

I snapped this picture this morning. Obviously, things returned to normal very quick. The babes slept through the night and are pretty happy today. I am grateful for a warm house with power, food, and lots of love. Life gets inconvenient. Be grateful anyway.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Family Night is a special night.

(Grandpa Johnson watching Liam and Uncle Shane holding Finn.)

When I was pregnant with the twins, we would go to dinner on Sundays at B's parents' house and I would joke how different things would be when the babes arrived. No surprise that I was correct. We still enjoy having Family Night at the Johnson's, even if one or two of us must postpone eating dinner to feed a baby, lessons are interrupted by crying, poopy diapers, or a smile or coo that must be recognized at that moment, and entertainment is pretty much just babies on the floor. Yeah, things are different. But, it's terribly wonderful.

I never thought I would find so much joy in watching people kiss, cuddle, and interact with my children. The minute we walk through the door at Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's house, there is no doubt these babies are loved to the moon. I watch my father-in-law's eyes light up as he welcomes each baby to his home. He makes sure to talk to each baby individually, which I love. My mother-in-law kisses my babies all night and it makes me so happy. I think one of the best parts of staying home with my kids all day is kissing their cheeks, feet, and hands anytime I want. It's glorious. I can't get enough of them. Neither can B's mama. If Shane isn't at the door right when we walk up the porch, he makes sure to be one of the first as we walk in the house. He is so good with the babies, it's amazing. (Ladies, listen up!) He loves to get down on the floor and play with them, even if just letting their little hands grab his fingers. I love it when he gets his camera out to catch a little smile or funny expression. My babies are so adored and it's fantastic.

Today, I'm grateful for in-laws. I'm grateful for unconditional love surrounding our little family. I love feeling like rockstars every time we leave their home. It's a good "refresher" as we start another crazy week.

Friday, November 9, 2012

You know that life we wanted? We're living it.

(Baby Finn with Brandon)

October is over and November has begun. It's the month we celebrate giving thanks for our bounties. Right now I am on the computer and my little babes are playing on the floor next to me. They are kicking their legs, smiling, and looking around. During these moments I remind myself that all the long days and nights are worth it. As the weeks pass by, I am continuing to learn the sacredness of the work I do. It's not glamorous. In fact, it can leave a lady feeling tired and frumpy. Fact: I don't think I've put on make-up since Sunday. Fact: My legs are hairy. Fact: The shirt I am currently wearing has a layer of spit up covering my shoulders. 

But this life I live...this life Brandon and I live? It's what we dreamed. I remember when we were first married, we would lay in bed and talk about our family. We would dream about our kids and what they would look like, act like, be like. I don't think we realized how much work those dreams would require or how much sleep or "Brandon & Megan Time" would have to be rationed. But, I also don't think we were prepared for the amount of love we would feel in our hearts or the happiness we would experience. 

That life we wanted? That life we dreamed about? We're living it. And I am incredibly grateful. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

One of those days, weeks, whatever...

Brandon walks in the door from work and asks how my day was. My response is unchanged from the previous day: "Long." I sigh to myself and B asks what's wrong. "I'm tired." I give him a grocery list and he heads to the store. I finish burping the baby I have in my arms and lay him in his carseat while I use the bathroom. I happen to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and groan out loud. I run my fingers under some water and try to wipe away the spit-up residue on my sleeve as I ask myself "Why even use a burp cloth?"

I spend a couple extra minutes on the toilet. Such a glamorous place to find a moment of quiet. When I come back out to the living room, I notice baby is awake and babbling. I start to talk to him when something familiar catches my eye. "You've got to be kidding me! Again?" Baby has blown poop right out the side of his pants. It's on his legs, tummy, socks, hands, blanket, and carseat. Angry that I had decided to give Pampers a second chance, I pick baby up and carry him to the changing table. I try to keep things as clean and untouched as possible, but I give up when he decides to pee right after I take the diaper off. "Aw, forget it!" I strip 'im down and put baby in the crib. This doesn't go over well and baby starts to cry. I get the disinfectant wipes and start to scrub the changing table. Baby cries harder. I go to give him his pacifier, when I realize I have poop on my hands. I run to the bathroom and scrub my hands. Baby cries even harder. I run back and put thepacifier in his mouth when I hear second baby start to cry from his swing. I close my eyes and give a little exasperated laugh to keep myself from bursting into tears. This is the second blowout in 2 days. The first time, it was like a celebratory event that deserved to be photographed and documented on video. I couldn't stop laughing and left baby on the changing table to run for my camera.

Funny how quickly things change, because any humor of the situation seemed lost to me this second time around. It wasn't hilarious. It was just more work. 10, 15, 20 minutes spent cleaning poop, instead of doing...anything else!

The next morning made no promises for a better day after second baby pees all over me, the floor, wall, and himself while I'm changing his poopy diaper. WHY AM I NOT GETTING BETTER AT THIS????? I strip both of us down and jump in the shower. Two birds with one stone, so don't judge. Of course, I put more sweats on and my hair in a pony tail because anything else uses too much energy. I feel guilty about this when B gets home, because I want him to remember the young, vivacious woman he married.  Unfortunately, she is just too tired. I go to bed making a mental list of all the things I "must" get done tomorrow.  Clean out the containers of molding food in the fridge, Google "how to remove baby urine stains from carpet",  sweep up powder formula from kitchen floor, move wet laundry currently sitting in the washer to the dryer, do dishes in at least one side of the sink....and...and...I'm out like a light.

I wake up at 1:30 am to a crying baby. I go into the nursery and put his pacifier back in his mouth. He smiles up at me.  I respond with "There is nothing funny about this moment.  You are seriously killing me kid." I lay back down. He cries again. I give him his pacifier. He smiles. I lay back down...again. He cries...again. This time I ask B to go check on him. B whines in his sleep "I'm...just...too..tired..." I get up, give baby his pacifier and hold it for about 2 minutes. He finally calms down and I go back to bed. But, now I'm too awake and I can't go back to sleep for another hour. 5:45 am hits me in the face and I'm up again to go walking with my Pops. I vent. He listens. And I feel refreshed.

And that, my friends, is my week. How was yours?

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Blessing for My Babies


Dear Liam and Finn,

Yesterday you were blessed by your incredible father, with righteous men surrounding. He reminded you that you were born into a family that loves you very much. He blessed you to make good choices, serve faithfully in your responsibilities, and to have inspiration to do good in the world. He blessed each of you to be a righteous father and husband and to love your wife and children. He blessed you to be the best you can be. 

On your special day, family and close friends gathered to celebrate your birth and blessing. 
This is what they had to say:

(Thanks to Laura Thackeray for her filming abilities.)

Babes, I hope you always know how loved you are. Not just by your parents, but by so many. You have come into this world at a time when courage, hope, and faith are greatly needed. 
Be that force.

We love you Liam. I cannot get enough of your "chatter". Just today I laid you in the cradle while I worked on the computer. 2 minutes later, you were cooing and making all sorts of noises. When I turned to look at you, you were smiling to yourself. I pray you never lose your voice. I think it will be one of your great gifts. You are strong, I can already tell. You had a rough start at the beginning and your mama and daddy worried about you a lot. But, we soon realized that when we let you do things in your own time, you arrive at your goal strong and healthy. 

Finn, we love you. Grandma Shaw constantly comments that you have a naturally pleasant nature. That's why she worries so much when you are unhappy. You have the biggest smile and it catches us off guard when we look down at your face. It's like we forget everything else, because it makes us so happy to see that huge grin and those beautiful blue eyes. I have heard you laugh twice and it melted my heart. We know that big noggin is difficult to manage, but we keep reminding you it's holding a big brain. I pray you never lose your positivity. The world needs more of it.

My boys, I am madly in love with your tiny faces. I can't help smooching them every time I pick you up from your crib, the changing table, your carseat, swing, or basically anywhere else. You watch me so closely these days. We have become little buddies and I honestly, sincerely feel you are two of my best friends. 

Loving you more than ever,


Monday, October 8, 2012

"I love you more than I am tired."

Friday night, B's parents offered to watch the twins while we attended the BYU vs. USU football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium. B even ordered a new Aggie shirt for the occasion...it was that big of deal! We didn't lay our heads down to bed until after 2:00 am. We were absolutely exhausted. But, as we turned the lights out and closed our eyes, I heard my husband whisper in my ear "I love you more than I am tired." Knowing we would be up again anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours later to feed hungry babies and that the word tired wouldn't even come close to describing how we felt, my heart wanted to explode with love for this man laying next to me. How did I end up here? How did my story become so joyful?

Don't get me wrong, we are TIRED. I mean, I thought I knew what this meant before babies, but the last couple months have brought that word into a whole new light. Just when I think I can't be any more exhausted than I already am...I become more exhausted than I already was. But, amazingly enough, we keep going. 14+ diaper changes a day? Pfff. Piece of cake. Over 10 1/2 hours daily of just feeding? C'mon, give us something hard. Non-stop laundry and dishes, only 5-6 hours of sleep a night (depending on if I decide to get up to go early-morning walking with my father), and an endless amount of spit-up? Yep, this is the LIFE.

But, really, we are happy. Really happy. Because every day we get to look into Finn's bright, brilliant blue eyes and listen to Liam snort and coo. Some of my sweetest moments are changing diapers and looking down to find a baby boy smiling up at me. It's my favorite. ABSOLUTE favorite. I get so giddy when I see my babies follow my movements, whether that's getting up to fix a bottle or throw a diaper in the pail and their little heads move to make sure I'm still there.

Liam and Finn are receiving a blessing on Sunday from their father. I get emotional when I think about these sweet babies being held by this strong priesthood holder who loves them so much. He is the patriarch of our home, our provider, and my best friend. I hope our children (current and future) never forget the sacrifice he has made and the sacrifices he continues to make on their behalf. He LOVES his family. They are his greatest joy and he does so much to make sure they are safe, comfortable, and taken care of. I hope our children never doubt that their dad loves their mama. He always has and he always will. He honors me as a wife, a mother, and a woman. Even if things get hectic, people get frustrated, and life is upside down, I could not imagine a more joyful relationship than the one that exists between Brandon and I.

When kids are thrown into the picture, sometimes "passionate romancing" is placed on hold for a minute so babies can be burped and bathed. Greater effort is required to make sure your hunk of burnin' love stays burnin' when you smell like baby throw-up, your hair looks like a bird's nest, and you can't even keep your eyes open long enough to say "Good Night." But I don't think anything could have been more romantic at that moment, at 2 o'clock in the morning, than for a dad of newborn twins to profess to his weary wife that his love for her exceeded the deep, heavy exhaustion that plagued his very bones.

To quote The Office's Pam Halpert: "I didn't even look cute. That's how I knew he meant it."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Skyline Mountain Resort

B's family invited us to their property in Fairview, UT last Saturday.
We packed up the babes and drove down for a fun afternoon.

Of course, the babes were a huge hit!

There was BB shooting. I have to give a shout out to my man- he hit the target like a pro. 
So sexy.

We took the 4-wheelers and drove around to different lookouts.
The leaves were AMAZING. So beautiful.
B also had some fun giving me and Lori a little "ride" over the rocks 
and racing along side his pops.

One of our stops was also to this rope swing that goes pretty far out over the mountain.
I might have opted out of trying it for fear of getting stuck and not making it off.
Maybe next year?

The day was topped off by getting to visit a former mission companion 
who is expecting her first baby.
She looked beautiful with her swollen belly and she seemed so serene.
Pregnancy is so good on some people.  Me? Not so much. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

2 months already?

I got a text from my little sister yesterday. It read "I'm getting frustrated. You STILL haven't updated your blog." I guess it's time to get back in the blogging saddle. Biggest news: BABES ARE 2 MONTHS. Say what???? Yep, my babies are already 2 months and I can't believe how big they are. We saw the doctor on Wednesday and Liam is 8 lbs 14 oz and Finn is 10 lbs...um, yes 10 lbs, and 4 oz. They also got their first round of shots and they handled them like ultimate champs. Too weird to be a little proud of my children for only crying a total of 10 seconds after 3 pokes in the legs? Naw. 

(Liam with Grandma J and Finn with Uncle Shane. Look how big my boys are getting!)

They are showcasing their Cougar pride...although it didn't help much for last night's game. 
I can't even talk about it.

B was down at BYU yesterday to represent his company at the STEM Career Fair. I decided to pack up the babes and head down there to visit my alma mater, see my husby at work, and visit Uncle Shane and Grandma Johnson at her work. The babes were a big hit! We ended up eating dinner at Legend's Grill and then watching part of the football game at B's parents' house. 
At 2 months:

Babes are both smiling. There's a lot of random smiling, but there's also deliberate smiles for B and me. The other day I was feeding Finn and I pulled his bottle out just to see him grin big and give a little laugh! Oh. my. goodness. It melted my heart. Their necks and heads are getting stronger. They both have double chins and I have to take extra time to clean under the folds. Finn's eyes are VERY blue and we still can't decide what color Liam's eyes are going to be. Sometimes they look dark and then the next moment they'll look steel blue. They are only waking up 1x a night! That's probably the BEST news. They still sleep in the same crib and they tend to end up with their heads facing each other. It's pretty adorable. 

Oh my sweet babies, I love you to the moon and back!
Love, momma

Thursday, August 23, 2012


(Jenna with Finn and Shane with Liam.)

Little brother P went through the temple last night, 
so B's sweet family offered to watch the babes.
Shane captured this picture while they were sleeping:

Nothing like a little "chin & cheek caressing" to bring brothers together...
in case sharing a womb for 9 months doesn't do it for ya.
I'm afraid the babes are getting too big for the cradle.
Onto the crib.
Tear, tear... sniff, sniff.

Went to the doctor today:
Liam is 6 lbs 7 oz and Finn is a whopping 7 lbs 1 oz!
Gettin' big...all day.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

1 Month

The babes turned 1 month old yesterday.
How did we celebrate?

The boys met Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Day for the first time.

And were loved on by Grandma & Grandpa Shaw...and Aunt Chee Chee.

When we got home, we celebrated Uncle Shane's birthday with 
Olive Garden take-out and yummy cake. 
The babes were loved on again by Grandma Johnson and Uncle Shane.


Friday, August 17, 2012

The best kind of help

The days are long, but blessed. We aren't getting a lot of sleep around here, the diaper pail and laundry basket are filling up quickly, and my newest outfit accessory is baby spit up and milk. But we have received wonderful help from family, especially from grandmas. Grandma J comes up in the afternoon. She does my laundry and dishes, cooks dinner,  changes diapers, makes bottles, and snuggles my babies. Grandma S has spent nights at our house. She gets up every time my babies wake up, changes their diapers, makes their bottles, feeds and rocks them to sleep...just so we can get a little extra sleep ourselves. Moms are rockstars!! I hope these babes know how much their grandmas LOVE them.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

First Bath

We're doing a lot of first's around here. 2 nights ago, it was first bath. Momma and I thought they might scream, but they both surprised us. Looks like bath time is a happy time. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Triumph over Tears: A Mother's NICU Survival Guide

I have written this post a million times in my head, but haven't found the motivation to type and publish.  Living in the hospital for 3 weeks can do that to a person, especially when hospital stay is due to having babies in the NICU. If there is one thing the past few weeks have taught me, it's that life has a funny way of changing plans and reminding us that, ultimately, we're not in charge. It's a hard lesson to learn at times. What am I saying? It's always a hard lesson to learn.

Our journey started at 5:15 am on Wednesday, July 18 2012. I woke up to a huge gush of fluid down my legs. I could tell this was different than bladder issues because there was no control! I cried out "Brandon? Brandon? Okay, don't freak out, but something's happening." We decided my water had broken, so we finished packing our go-bag and got in the car. We stopped by my parent's house and B and my dad gave me a blessing.

When we arrived at Alta View Hospital, they checked to confirm Baby A had broken his water and got me hooked up to monitors. After about 15-20 minutes, my OB came in and informed B and I that because I was 34 weeks and 2 days, I would have to deliver at a hospital with a NICU. That also meant, my OB would NOT be delivering my babies. That was discomforting, but I looked at B. He grabbed my hand and I knew we would be okay. The plan was to transfer me to IMC, but we were informed they were on divert (their NICU was full). So, they decided to take me to LDS Hospital. I was wheeled out to an ambulance and B and I headed downtown.

When I arrived, I was hooked up to more monitors and doctors came in to talk to us. They confirmed via ultrasound that baby A was presenting breech and I would be delivering Cesarean. They also discussed the strong possibility that our babies would need to spend time in the NICU, but assured us they were going to take care of our family. Fortunately, both our families were able to make it to the hospital and chat with us before we delivered. About 2 hours after we arrived at LDS Hospital, I was walking down the hall to the operating room. There were so many thoughts running through my mind, but mostly "Will my babies be okay?" I sat up on the operating table to get my spinal block and looked through the window at the 2 isolette beds prepared for my boys. I closed my eyes and prayed "Please, please take care of my babies."

At 2:15 pm, Baby A (4 lbs 5 oz) was out and 30 seconds later, Baby B (4 lbs 9 oz) joined him. The anesthesiologist (who was absolutely amazing) asked what their names were. We informed him Baby A was Liam Carl Johnson and Baby B was Finn Steven Johnson. He liked their names. Things I remember about that moment: 1) I didn't hear my babies cry, 2) A nurse ran in and asked the anesthesiologist if he could help intubate one of our babies, 3) I started to feel super nauseous and threw up. All I could focus on was the doctor's confirmation that our babies were okay and were being well taken care of. I was wheeled back in the labor and delivery room and started feeling extremely groggy from the Zofran. I don't remember a whole lot, but I do remember B showing me pictures of our babies and then I looked at his face. With tears in his eyes, he said "Megan, I love our boys so much."

After the family had left and it was just me and B, my L&D nurse told me she was going to wheel me into the NICU to see my babies before taking me to my maternity room. Both babies had C paps strapped to their faces and IV's, cords, and tubes hooked everywhere. Although a little unnerving to see, I was able to touch them for the first time. My inclination was to stroke their tiny little hands and feet, but the nurse told me stroking could be too stimulating. So, I took my finger, faintly touched their feet and told them "I love you."

The next few days were difficult. Besides recovery from major surgery, I was diagnosed with post-partum preeclampsia and put on magnesium sulfate, which made me feel like death. I had to be wheeled down to the nursery when I wanted to see my babies and could only feed them once a shift. When I was discharged on the following Monday, I was overwhelmed with feelings of discouragement and fear of the unknown. How were we going to do this? The doctors continued to tell us we should plan on their due date (August 27th) for when we could bring them home. That was still over a month away. When we left the hospital that night, I was empty handed and heartbroken.

For the next week, my anxiety would be through the roof. Yet, I continued to have this feeling "This is your 'Beautiful Heartbreak'"and the words of Elder Jeffrey R Holland would run through my mind:

When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple. Regarding our earthly journey, the Lord has promised, “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88). That is an everlasting declaration of God’s love and care for us, including—and perhaps especially—in times of trouble.

When you have a child or children in the NICU, you are introduced to a new world and you learn a whole new language. You pay attention to weight in grams, you count feeding amounts in mL's, you cheer and clap for poopy diapers, you learn how to read the monitors and know what temperatures in Celsius are normal. You become REALLY good at changing diapers and breastfeeding with heart leads, pulse oximeters, and IV's hanging everywhere. You are familiar with the frustration when your baby has to go back on oxygen, doesn't eat well, or looses weight. You are also familiar with the joy when your baby can move up a stage or reaches the 5 lb mark. Little steps forward are huge and setbacks are to be expected and require great amounts of patience and faith.

The special care nursery at LDS Hospital turned out to be a huge blessing. They offered us their Family Support Room, which had a bathroom, desk, and queen bed. B would spend his days working from this room on his computer and we eventually stayed day and night, so I could feed the babies as they moved up in stages. We became close with the nurses and doctors and felt like they truly loved our boys.

(Adriana was one of our favorite nurses. She is holding Liam right before he was discharged.)

Finn was discharged a week before Liam was, which complicated things a little bit. Although we LOVED having our baby with us, it was hard to try and coordinate feeding schedules, doctor appointments, etc. Finally, on Saturday, August 11 2012, the doctors gave the "okay" for Liam to be discharged. By the afternoon, we were packed up and headed home!

I look back on the past few weeks with gratitude. I am grateful for modern medicine and technology that allowed my babies to survive and thrive. I am grateful for doctors and nurses who do their job well and take care of us. I am grateful for family and friends who are so willing to serve, support, and love. I am grateful for B's job that allowed him to work from the hospital. I am grateful for B. I could NOT make it through this without him. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He is my everything. I am grateful for the Savior. I am grateful for the comfort of the Holy Ghost. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father, who knows my needs and the needs of my little family. I am grateful for my life...even when it's hard. I am grateful for my beautiful heartbreak.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Family members "shower" the babes

(Card made by Grandma Birch. Love it.)

Last Saturday was spent surrounded by those I love. Lori and Grandma Birch threw a baby shower for me and the babes. It was lovely. The decorations were fantastic, the food was yummy, and the company was entertaining. We received SO MANY wonderful things! 
B and I are so grateful for such a generous and creative family. 

(Me and one of my beautiful sisters. Bless my swollen face. And body.)

The days tend to blend together lately.
When I was going over the pics in my camera, I came across these:

We spent 4th of July morning with our neighborhood eating breakfast, listening to the mayor, watching the children's parade, and enjoying kids/parents getting sprayed with water 
by the local fire department.

Then we went to a movie. 
And then another movie. 
We figured we probably won't get to see another movie in the theater for a while, 
so why not live it up? Right? 

*The day ended with a phone call at 11:30 pm from Whit, informing us the hill behind our parent's house was on fire, but the fire dept responded fast and effectively. Grateful.
But not for idiots and fireworks.