Monday, April 30, 2012

LAUGHING on a Bunch of Birch Birthdays

G & G Birch invited us over to their house for some birthday celebration yesterday. We ate dinner, had cupcakes, played some "birthday" trivia games, released birthday balloons, and had a "rousing" game of Scattergories. If it isn't evident by these pics, there was A LOT of laughing. That's the way I like it.

(Scott, Misty, Darrin, Dakota, and Ashley)

(Grandma and Jenna relating their shopping experience in California.)

(Lori. The best is when Shane, B, Carl get her laughing til' she gets teary. It's just the best.)


(Landon showing us "how it's done"...or not?)

In other news, I have "employed" some local teenagers to help me get this house ready for when the twins arrive. This includes: Cleaning EVERYWHERE, yard work, sewing projects for nursery, putting together freezer meals, painting, organizing, re-arranging furniture, etc. 
If you know of anyone interested, we pay a whopping $4.00/hr. 
Pretty awesome, huh? 
(That was for Shane, who is in current need of summer employment...
which, if you know of anything, let B or I know!)

My Goal: Get these babes here as close to due date as possible. 
I don't think being on my hands and knees to scrub floors or paint walls is conducive to that plan. 
Neither is moving furniture or pulling weeds. 
But it needs to be done. And B can't do it all. (Although, he is pretty amazing.)
So, we came to an agreement.
My goal: Get items on my list checked off.
B's goal: Keep hormonal wife from having a COMPLETE meltdown.

Our solution seems to be working pretty well so far.
Although, this was T's reaction when we told her we were working in the yard on Saturday:

She enjoys yard work as much as my husband does.
Which = NOT AT ALL. :)

Photographs by B. Johnson (the bomb)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The "Learning Curve" of Pregnancy

We're all "expanding" here at the Johnson home.  Babies and I are growing every day. And B's knowledge of "how-to" on caring for a hormonal woman pregnant with twins is increasing as well. Poor guy. It's kind of been "baptism by fire" this past week for my sweet husband and I don't know whether to let him lay his head on my shoulder and weep, make him a REALLY good meal, or just give him a little "atta boy!" or "You can do it!" with a slug in the shoulder.

List of things B has learned this week (actually within the past 2 days):

1. Turn the AC on. Portable fan doesn't necessarily "cut" it.
2. If wifey hasn't been clear on this, moms and grandmothers will make it clear.
3. When your wife has gotten to the "waddle" stage of pregnancy, just drop her off at the temple entrance. Less walking = Less waddling. Less waddling = THE BETTER.
4. If this wasn't clear either, mother-in-law will make it clear.
5. You're wife still has about 3 months to go on this roller coaster. And things just seem...hard.
6. If this hasn't been made clear...well it's pretty clear. You're wife looks like a planet. And that planet just keeps growing. It's possible an orbit will soon form around her swollen body with it's own gravitational pull. And. That's. Not. Sexy.
7. But, please, PLEASE remember how much you are LOVED. By SO many people. Mostly by your wifey and these 2 sweet babies she is growing. You are our HERO!!!

Keep your head up, Superman. You are doing AMAZING.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Orlando and Back

B-man here. I've become the unofficial travel writer. Since we recently returned from a trip to Orlando, Florida, I've been asked to fill you in on the details.

B sitting at a table at Sunset Sam's.You may remember last year's trip to San Francisco. Like last year's trip, this trip to Orlando was for a conference related to my job. This time, it was the Breaking Development Conference, which is for web development for non-desktop devices, like mobile phone, tablet computers, and even televisions. Also like last year, my employer paid for me to attend the conference, and we paid for Megan to come along, making it a nice little vacation.

While we were sitting at our gate in the Salt Lake City airport, we realized we forgot to pack a little lunch to eat during our 4+ hour flight to Orlando that would span our usual lunch time. I knew I would be very hungry if I didn't eat anything, and I didn't want Megan (and the twins) to miss a meal either. Megs stayed at the gate to watch our stuff, and I returned with some over-priced sandwiches and chips. Unfortunately, the new Cafe Rio in the airport was not open when we departed, but when we returned from Orlando, Cafe Rio was open, along with a whole food court that was still boarded up when we left.
Megs standing in front of a Lego sculpture of a dragon outside the Lego store in Downtown Disney.
As we settled into our seats on the plane, I glanced over at the book the passenger in the window seat had on his lap. It was the back cover, but I recognized the style of the cover as that of a series of web development books.

"Going to Breaking Development," I asked.

He looked up at me, a little puzzled as to why a stranger on the plane would ask him that question, and said, "Yes, I am."

"So are we," I replied. "Well, I'm going to the conference, and my wife here is coming along with me. I noticed your book, so I wondered if you were heading to the conference."

B standing in front of a Lego sculpture of Buzz and Woody (from Toy Story) blasting off on a rocket from RC.He turned out to be Jason Grigsby from Cloud Four, and he wasn't just attending the conference, he was also a speaker at the conference. Also, about a week before the conference, he had responded to one of my tweets about my excitement for the upcoming conference. Who knew I'd actually sit next to this guy on the way to Orlando? It turned out to be really good, as he and I chatted about the conference, web development, our news of twins, his kids, Twitter, Facebook, and the Kennecott Smokestack.

The Orlando airport wasinteresting. We made our way to baggage claim after landing, where there were three carousels, but only one of them was in use for about five flights worth of people. I was annoyed by all the people who had to cram in right next to the carousel to look for their bags. It would benefit everyone if they would just hang back a little, keeping an eye out for their bags, then move in to pick them up when they see them. Instead, they insist on creating a human wall, blocking anyone but those in the wall from seeing their bags.

I fought my way through the way to retrieve our bag, only to discover the tear in the bottom of our suitcase. Luckily, nothing came out. I knew we'd have to retire this one after the trip. I just hoped it would hold together on the return, which involved a layover, unlike our direct flight to Orlando.

A picture of the torn suitcase
With our battle-damaged luggage in tow, we headed down a level to catch a shuttle to the resort. We checked in at the podium for our shuttle, where an older man who we couldn't understand wrote something down and handed us what looked like a restaurant pager. So we waited, and waited, and waited. While we were waiting, more people came until we had quite the crowd waiting for a shuttle to take them to their destinations. With each shuttle that showed up, I would hope our wait would be over. When a large bus showed up, everyone wanted it to be their bus. The guy at the podium shouted something, which nobody understood, and the crowd starting moving in the direction of the bus to try to find out if it would take them where they wanted to go. Soon after that, our pager went off, and we were directed to the van next to the bus. We were happy to get out of that mess and on our way to the resort.

B pointing out the huge and lovely sculpture in the conference center at the Gaylord Palms.The Gaylord Palms is a lovely resort, just across the freeway from the Disney parks. The conference was held in the resort's large conference center, along with a couple other conferences. The resort has shops, restaurants, alligators, and a large adults-only swimming pool. While I was attending the conference during the day, Megs would enjoy relaxing by the pool and jumping in for an occasional swim. She did notice, though, that a group of old guys would happen to also get in the pool just after she did and exit the pool shortly after her exit.

Our last evening, we watched the alligator feeding in the atrium before getting a town car to take us to Downtown Disney. If you're unfamiliar with Downtown Disney, just imagine all the people in Disney World in a large outdoor mall. Now imagine that in the evening when kids are hungry, tired, and melting down while their tired parents try not to melt down themselves. Okay, so it wasn't that bad, but there were plenty of kids and parents who were tired and ready to call it a day.

We arrived to Downtown Disney hungry, so we walked from one end to the other, looking for a place to eat that did not have an hour of wait time. We stumbled upon Earl of Sandwich, and we had two very delicious hot sandwiches and shared a chocolate banana smoothie. That fueled us up to wind our way through the shops to the other end of the mall. They had all kinds of wonderful stores! Disney stuff galore, of course, and a store dedicated to Lego. When I was a kid, the Lego store would have been like heaven to me. Even as an adult, I enjoyed looking at all the cool Lego sets. Megan laughed when she overheard one kid say, "But Dad, it's only $350."
A man from Gatorland feeding the juvenile alligators at the Gaylord Palms.
Walking the length of Downtown Disney twice tired us out. We headed back, slept for a few hours, then started our return home. The shuttle to the airport was full, but I'll never forget the wisps of fog dancing on the ponds on the side of the road, and the warm morning air. We wished we could have stayed longer.

An interesting fact about the Orlando airport: they don't sell gum. I was told it was so they didn't have to clean it up. However, the Atlanta airport, where we had a layover, does sell gum. The Atlanta airport also has a Wendy's with an animated employee who broke out into "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" while he was getting our Frostys (yep, that's the plural of Frosty).

Megs sitting at a table at Sunset Sam's.Sitting across the aisle from us on one of our return flights was a father of eight-month-old twin boys. He told us, "What do they say? 'The days are long, but the years are short.'" It's good we got to enjoy this short trip to Florida before the twins come, as we're in for some long days ahead. Interspersed in those long days, though, I know we'll have some sweet, funny, loving moments with our children, and we look forward to welcoming them into our lives. One day, perhaps we'll return to Orlando for a trip to Disney World with the kids, and we'll be in the shoes of the tired, worn-out parents trying to keep our kids from completely melting down. We'll also get to see our kids faces light up as they experience the magic of the world around them. I think I'll choose to remember those moments instead.

Monday, April 23, 2012

T's 15th Birthday

The day after we got home from Florida, we headed over to the Shaw's for some chocolate waffles and early celebration of T's 15th birthday. 

Birthday Breakfast

Yesterday, we celebrated her birthday with a nice dinner, cake, and balloon wishes. The weather has been SO lovely! We ate outside with the fam, including Shaw family, husband/fiance, Grandma and Grandpa Shaw, Hailey, and Jeanna. We laughed, told jokes, stories, highlighted T, ate some "Perry the Platypus" cake and ice cream that W made, and let our balloons go. 

(W made this all on her own! I am TERRIBLY impressed!)

(Everyone is intently listening to me give my highlight of T.)

(Singing "Happy Birthday" as we let our balloons go. Please pay attention to P.)

(Our gift to Chee. We found it in Florida. LOVE Vera Bradley.)

Some pics I had to squeeze in!


B is in charge of our "travel" blogging. Story and pics of Florida coming soon.
And maybe a pic of 5 1/2 months prego.

P.S. If you haven't heard already...the rumors are true. We are having TWINS. Twin BOYS. TWO BABIES. AT ONE TIME. TWO BOY BABIES. TWO BOY BABIES AT ONE TIME.
Any prayers you care to offer in our behalf are greatly appreciated. :)
The "new" Johnson Family Motto:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One too many loose screws...and other lessons learned.

As previously mentioned, spring cleaning is underway in the Johnson home. Our first day "on the job" proved to be... adventurous? Eventful? More than I asked for? And we've only made our mark on ONE BATHROOM. Bless me, what does the rest of the house have in store for us? But within the chaos of transpired events, there was a very important and crucial lesson that I think the Lord needed me to learn. One that woke me up at 2:00 am this morning and kept me awake until 3:45 am. One that I feel strongly to write down for my children...and for me. I know this blog is for keeping friends/fam/peers updated and marking the funny, insignificant/significant moments of our lives, but I also feel it will be a great "book" for posterity to read and get to know us better...and hopefully, receive some kind of "wisdom" from the crazy lives we lead.

After making my list for the master bathroom and already spending 2 hours and a lunch break on accomplishing the items I had written, I decided to tackle the shower drain. Some (including my dad) asked why I needed to even worry about it. But, I was determined, especially after the log (and I really mean LOG) of gross, putrid, ickiness I pulled from the sink drain. Plus, I had cleaned out a shower drain before. All you have to do is unscrew the drain lid, pull it off, clean it, and clean the drain inside. Easy, right? Brandon (working from home), brought me a screwdriver with the right size tip I needed. As he handed me the tool and watched me take off the first screw, he made the comment "Make sure you don't loose the screws, okay? Be careful that they don't fall down the drain." Feeling slightly annoyed and that I needed to let him know I really "knew" what I was doing, I slightly rolled my eyes and said "I know. I know." And wouldn't you know? Just as I finished that last word, I pulled off the final screw with the drain lid and "Pop!", the screw falls off the screwdriver and right into the murky depths of the drain.

I slowly looked up at B and he said "What? Did you loose the screw?" All I could say was "I did." He asked "Did it fall down the drain?" "It did." I was waiting for it. You know, those words we all hate to hear, especially when we've made such a big deal in the beginning that we're right and awesome and so good at what we're doing, etc. etc. etc! Those words that start with "I told you..." But, to my surprise and a little relief, B gave me a half-laugh and proceeded to ask if I could get my hand down the drain. Then he tried getting his hand down the drain. Then I went to the garage and pulled out the box of old nails and screws, trying desperately to find something to replace my "mistake". Nothing.  Feeling hopeless and defeated, I called my grandpa (the plumber) for advice on what to do. He told me to go to Home Depot. If they didn't have what we needed, he gave me other plumbing supply stores we could try.

At this point, my first piano lesson was set to arrive in 30 minutes. I put some "real" clothes on, grabbed my purse and the one remaining screw and drain cap and headed down the road to Home Depot. After wandering around for a couple of minutes, I finally found someone who could help me. Unfortunately, he wasn't as "helpful" as I would have liked and told me I should buy two different types of screws that we looked at because he wasn't "sure" which one was right. Although a bag of screws is less than $1.00, I was already feeling guilty for the stress I'd caused my patient husband and being familiar with his "frugality", I knew he, himself, would not buy 2 bags of screws, only to try and find one that worked, etc. But, I was running out of time, so I grabbed both bags, headed to the self checkout, and ran to the car.

I got home just in time for my lesson to arrive. As my student sat down, B rummaged through the Home Depot bag and asked if I had the baggy with the screw and drain cap. I told him I did and it should be in my purse. He looked in my purse and said "No, it's not." Feeling a little agitated, I responded "Honey, it's in my purse! It should be right there." He looked and looked and looked, but nothing. We tore apart the Home Depot bag, dumped my entire purse upside down, and B went out the car to scavenge, but nothing was found. I told my student to keep playing and I grabbed my phone and called the local Home Depot. I finally got to the Customer Service line and explained my situation and asked him to see if I had, by chance, left the baggy there. The guy on the other end looked at the Self Checkout, the garbage, the Lost & Found, but he came up with nothing. We decided that, after my lesson, B and I would head down there together and re-trace my steps.

It's pretty obvious by now that I was quite frazzled. I kept waiting for B to say something or give me a huff or exasperated sigh or SOMETHING. I mean, not only had I "lost" the screw down the drain, but I pretty much lost the drain.  I told B I would wait in the car for him as he changed his clothes. Feeling so frustrated with myself, I became snippy and impatient, even after just 5 minutes of waiting. What was taking him so long? Didn't he understand I have another lesson in half an hour and we just need to get this taken care of? *grumble *grumble. Just as I was about to honk my horn, he stepped out the door.  As we headed down the road, my "defensive driving" seemed a little worrisome and B asked if I wanted him to drive instead because I "seemed" a little upset. Of course, this only led to biting responses "I know how to drive!" "I'm not upset!" We pulled into the parking lot. I quickly walked the path to retrace my steps. We talked to the girl at self-checkout. We talked to the guy that helped me find the screws. We talked to the lady over Customer Service. We walked the aisles and the parking lot. NOTHING.

Eventually, I conceded to defeat. I grudgingly told B we should look at the shower drain caps they had here and just buy a new one. As we looked at the ONLY 2 they offered, B pulled out the measuring tape he had in his pocket. I asked him if he had measured the drain cap before? He told me that's why it had taken him a little longer to get out to the car, because he wanted to be prepared. A little pang of guilt hit me because of my impatience while waiting for him in the garage.  We soon realized that neither of the products would work and B asked if I wanted him to call my dad for advice on where to get a replacement. I sadly nodded my head and imagined my dad's reaction when he found out what I'd done.  To my utter shock and surprise, B explained what had happened over the phone to my father, but instead of even mentioning my name at all, he used the words "we" or "us".  After all I had done, he still refused to place blame or point the finger.

We walked back to the car. As I pitifully open the door, B gets my attention. I look up to find him holding the baggy with the one screw and drain cap and his eyes as wide as golf balls. I might have said a little curse word. B thanks my dad for his help and explains that he just found the missing pieces that had wedged themselves between the passenger seat and car door. As we get buckled in and start the car, the tears start to flow freely from my eyes. To say I had a complete meltdown would be pretty much accurate.  I could feel the tension headache starting and I just kept asking myself "Why? Why? Why?" I reflected on the past 2 hours and all the little prayers I had offered in my heart. I questioned why the Lord didn't intervene and help us find the missing pieces BEFORE heading back down to Home Depot, or BEFORE I was so rude to my husband, or BEFORE stress completely took over my body and I turned into a raging monster.

As we returned to the house, I fell down on the couch and tears continued to come. As tenderly as he possibly could be, B grabbed my hands and pulled me close. Out of all the things that could have been said that day, at that moment, he chose these "You've had a really hard day. What would you like for dinner? You deserve a really good meal."

There are times in my life I can recall where certain principles of the Gospel are so exquisitely taught and learned. Humility, forgiveness, unconditional love, patience, and understanding. These crucial Christ-like attributes were on the Lord's list for me this day and they were taught and found within my own eternal companion. Almost ALWAYS, it is easier to criticize, demean, argue, place blame, gossip, and hold grudge. Almost ALWAYS, it is harder to live the higher law and follow Christ's example...even when it comes to those closest to you. There are so many things Brandon could have said or done...things that I, being the offending person, did myself. Instead, he chose to do better, be better, love better.

In the early hours of this morning, I went over this experience many times in my head. The spirit strongly encouraged me to pay attention. To my children, my hope is that you will recognize the importance of being a disciple of the Savior in ANY situation and that you will use this example as a reminder of that. Even more, I pray you, too, can find a companion that will have finely tuned these attributes in their own lives, as to provide a way for charity, friendship, and joy to abound in your relationship and home. Also, remember the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, has provided you with at least one solid parent. The other is a work in progress, sometimes a complete mess, with one too many "loose screws".  Hopefully this will change by the time each of you arrives...or at least by the time you graduate high school. No promises can made at this time. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Is it that time of year?

Yes it is. Spring Cleaning.
I've made a list and checked it twice.
I need to make sure my efforts are very NICE. (because clean always makes me feel better. You?)

I told B I was taking it one room at a time, one day at a time. Today we will start with the Master Bath. I've taken some tums and morning sickness meds so I don't barf when I clean out the toilet and drains. Should work, right? ;)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter 2012

We had a lovely Easter Sunday. There is nothing better than having ALL of your family around. The Johnson's traveled up to Cottonwood Heights for Easter dinner with the Shaw's. We ate outside, talked, laughed, and enjoyed the perfect weather. Mama made this beautiful Easter cake. Cute, right? I was very proud of her.

(Brando and Shane)

(Parker, Carson, Joey, and Whit playing some Bocce Ball.)

(Cuties Tay and Hailey)

(Beautiful women in my life: Mama, Mama J, Whit, and Teresa)

(Couple Pic. I haven't decided on showing belly yet. Maybe next time?)
In other news, we find out this Friday whether we're having Baby Girl or Baby Boy. I think this will be a LONG week for me! Happy Easter to all friends, family, peers. Feeling very grateful for my Savior and the hope and joy He brings to me and my sweet little family.  Oh how I love this little family of mine!