Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just one of those days.

It's been one of those days.
You know, when nobody gets out of their pajamas
we've watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse about half the day
diapers have leaked all over pillows, sheets, blankets, and teddy bears
mama has more laundry to get done before nap time
little boys can't sleep without teddies and blankies
little hands grab the crackers off the table
little boys proceed to squish, stomp, and eat crackers
on the couch
under the couch 
between the couch cushions
mama has more vacuuming to do
she doesn't want the house flooded with ants or other noxious pests.
Let's see, what else did we do today?
Nope. That's pretty much it.

Diarrhea bug has threatened to raise it's ugly head in this house
this mama is on the defensive!
Poop ruled our lives for almost a month
to go back.

(Liam thinks it's funny when I say "poop".
More evidence that potty humor starts young
never gets old for the male species.
Just ask the 29 year old man I'm married to.)


Monday, February 24, 2014

A Red Vine Afternoon

got Red Vines?

(iPhone photo taken by Auntie Whit. What you don't see are bright red fingers and 
Liam passed out in the adjacent carseat from a licorice coma.
That or lack of a morning nap.)

Big changes have arrived: 1 nap a day and binkies only at bedtime. It's been a little rough- even for mama. But, we move forward and each day gets a little better...for the most part. :) To help pass the morning, we decided to do some grocery shopping, then make our Monday rounds to visit Great Grandparents. The boys were very good at the store, so we all enjoyed some Red Vines. It was Liam and Finn's first time experiencing such a delicious treat and, as you can see by Finn's face, it was received quite well. We picked auntie up before heading to Great Grandma Shaw's house and when she got in the car and saw this guy, she just had to capture the moment. 

When I have Whit with me, it's like my second pair of hands. To my children, she's just a second mama. It's been awesome to have her available to help out since they were born. Have I mentioned she is moving to Plymouth, New Hampshire in July? It's days like these that I think about not having her with us and my heart breaks a little. We will miss her and Joey and Franklin like MAD, but we are happy and excited for their new adventure. It just means annual summer vacations back East to visit Johnson family relatives in Maine and spend some time at Lake Winnipesaukee! 

Saturday, February 22, 2014


I didn't get a whole lot crossed off my "Saturday To-Do" list, yet, I've barely been home all day. That's mostly due to an 8.5 mile run with Whit. Did I mention we are training for the Moab Canyonlands Half Marathon in March? She may or may not have needed to take a serious potty break in the middle and I may or may not have hit the "bite me" zone at the end, but we were greeted with chocolate milk (did you know this is one of the best recovery drinks after a long run?) and waffles with strawberries and whip cream- all courtesy of our sweet mama.

Man, I love her.

After a couple hours home to shower and get ready, it was off to Salt Lake again to take some glamorous photos of this chica and her Sweethearts Dance group:

(Check out the red hair and matching red heels. Adorbs.(as she would say))

Happy Saturday.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Shopping Trip

Thinking of planning a shopping trip by myself with my kids causes a bit of anxiety, fear, and stress. For me, it's a huge production and, most days, I just tell myself "Forget it." But, this morning I faced my trepidations and headed out on my own with my little chicks in tow.

This shopping trip was all about couponing. I am a couponer. I don't consider myself an extreme couponer (Time? Energy?), but I LOVE a good deal and have found great success and savings using coupons. We started our day at Toys R Us:

I have memories of this store as a kid and those memories are pretty similar to this look on Finn's face. It's just so overwhelming how many fun toys there are in one place! It was non-stop jabber and jumping and pointing and wanting to touch everything. There was Thomas the Tank Engine, Mickey Mouse, Chuck, and Lightning McQueen! There were oodles of trucks, cars, balls, books, and blocks. Seriously, Finn was trampling Liam to get to the other side of the cart so he could be closer to a toy. Seriously.

We came for one item, but took our time looking around the store. As we went down aisle after aisle of cars, trucks, and all things little boy, my eyes kept glancing at that bright pink section in the middle of store. You know, the one with Strawberry Shortcake, Barbie, and all things frilly. I really wanted to go smell those Strawberry Shortcake dolls, but I forced myself to acknowledge the facts of my life: Legos, action figures, and matchbox cars is where my path leads and it is where I will tread for years to come. I better get used to the territory.

After Toys R Us, we made a run to Target. I am a complete Target junkie. I admit it. It's even more precarious when I go there with my former junkies- my sisters. But I forced myself to stick with my coupon items and the Clearance shelves. By the time we made it to Rite Aid, the boys were pretty "maxed" out. To "treat" them for being so good, I thought they might like a little ride on the truck just outside the store.

Uh...not so much. You can see Finn wanting to get off IMMEDIATELY after getting on. And Liam was holding on to that metal thing so tight, his knuckles were white. So, we decided on a different treat inside. :)

Do you remember running errands with your parents? I remember running errands with my dad. For lunch, we would always stop at the gas station to get a hotdog and a donut. It was pretty awesome. Shopping with my kids may not be quite as heartwarming, but I did have fun. Maybe one day, we'll all be sitting around the kitchen table and Liam will say "Remember when mom thought it would be fun to ride that dinky truck outside Rite Aid?" To which Finn will reply "Oh yeah. That was the worst." It's all about the memories, right?

P.S. Today's shopping trip: It's hard to believe it, but this is $105.17 worth of stuff. I paid just over $28 (almost the full retail price of the game), which is an average of 73% savings. And that is why I coupon. Boo-yah baby!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

First Dentist Visit

Another first for Liam and Finn- a trip to the dentist! At their 18 month check-up, our pediatrician encouraged us to set up an appointment for the kids to see a dentist. I think it was smart to go with a pediatric dentist instead of a general dentist. I'm sure it would've been fine either way, but the minute we walked into the door, the kids were enthralled with the big tree and playhouse built into the office and the staff seemed very prepared for our little guys. To help the boys feel more comfortable, the assistants encouraged them to sit in the big chair and she took them for a "ride" as she raised the chair up and down. I think it made them feel more at ease to have some fun in a space that was big, new, and a little scary.

The dentist was awesome and gave us good tips for oral care when it comes to toddlers. He was very comfortable interacting with the kids and knew the best way to check their teeth without creating too much trauma.

Some ideas of questions to ask 
at your child's first dental check-up:

-What toothpaste is okay to use? How much at each brushing?

-How many times should we floss our child's teeth during the week? (I know this sounds stupid, but I didn't realize we should be flossing their teeth at all yet.)

-What are some habits that could affect our child's dental care? (i.e. Milk or juice in a sippy cup at night, binky, sucking fingers, etc. Our kids don't have anything to drink with them at night, but they do still use a binky.)

-What is the best way to brush my toddler's teeth? (I needed help with this, because I can't seem to get a great brushing with my squirmy little boys.)

-What are the benefits of flouride?

More proof that our boys are just like normal siblings and NOT identical: Finn has great enamel and healthy looking teeth, but Liam has some softness and gingivitis, with some concern and watch for cavities. Since they pretty much have identical diets and we practice identical habits for both, it was chalked up to mostly bad genes. :(

All around, our first dentist visit with the boys was a SUCCESS. We'll keep watching Liam's teeth and if things don't get better, we'll be back in 3 months for more options. Yay for healthy teeth!

*Thanks to Children's Crossing Pediatric Dentistry!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Water Play

Another dreary morning and we're stuck inside. I got some ideas for water play on Play At Home Mom LLC and decided to try them out:

First Activity: I went to the Dollar Store and found a package of clear water beads. When I got home, I separated them into 5 containers and added food coloring for red, blue, green, yellow, and purple. When they were ready, I put the boys in some smocks and placed the containers where they could reach them. I also gave them each a separate bowl, because I thought they might like mixing the beads and taking them out and putting them back in the bowl. Finn really enjoyed mixing the colors together. Liam enjoyed throwing them across the table, because they were just miniature balls! I decided to give Liam a big mixing spoon and he enjoyed stirring the beads and spooning them into different containers. I think the new texture and vibrant colors were really fun the boys!

*Note: My kids thought they were something to eat at first, so I had to watch out for mouthfuls of water beads. They caught on pretty quickly that these were just for play. ;)

Second Activity: While at the Dollar Store, I also picked up a bunch of different kinds (textures and colors) of sponges. I cut the sponges up into different shapes (circles, triangles, squares, star, heart, squiggly shapes, etc.) and then put them in a big bowl. I took another big bowl and put both in front of the boys. I filled a cup of water and poured it into the bowl with the sponges and let them at it! They REALLY enjoyed this. They loved picking up the sponges and squeezing the water into the other bowl or just splashing in the water. Liam really liked the star shaped sponge because we sang "I am like a star" every time he pulled it out. It was fun to talk about colors and shapes.

*Note: I've come to realize that playtime is learning time. Instead of getting worried about messes or water getting everywhere, I made a conscious decision to let them explore, create, and learn- even if that meant throwing sponges on the floor or getting water on the table, chairs, etc. It took a couple of minutes for me to be okay with that, but letting them explore and learn is more important to me than worrying about a mess for 30 min- 1 hour.

Nothing beats running around outside and exploring, but this was pretty fun for the children! I think we'll try it again and see what else we can learn and do with our new water toys. If you're like me and feel suffocated during the winter months, these are some fun activities to keep little ones happy and occupied, along with a good feeling at the end of the day that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse wasn't the only thing stimulating little brains. ;)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Let out of jail!

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike winter? I have lived in Utah a majority of my life, but I still get unhappy at the first sign of cold weather. When you're a mama of busy toddlers, it's especially torturous. So when today turned out to be pretty nice, we booked it outside and walked to the park. We all felt like we had been let out of jail- parents and children alike!

I know we live in a desert. 
 I know we're in a drought.  
I know we need the moisture. 
But, this mama needed this!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Second Lunch.

I have a dirty little secret.
My children eat off the floor. 

Okay, let me spill the facts:

1. I am NOT exaggerating when I say I sweep the floor at least 5-6 times a day.
2. Toddlers are messy
3. I've tried helplessly and hopelessly to keep 'em boys away from the fallen cheerios, Saltines, and grapes that have made their journey from peanut butter hands to the cold, brown tile, but it's HELPLESS and HOPELESS. Am I missing something? Because the way my kids scavenge the floor like ruthless dogs, you would assume food just tastes better after it's been on the ground for 10 minutes.
4. Did I mention toddlers are messy and I have two and a limited amount of time and energy to worry and clean, so I take my chances?

No, this is good. I've been wanting to get this off my chest for a while now. While I'm at it, take a good look at Liam's highchair.
It's caked with food, juice, and other stuff I'd rather not think about.


Friday, February 14, 2014

My Valentines

Today is Valentine's Day. The boys and I had a lazy morning. We stayed in our pajamas until after lunch and took our time getting ready before B came home to pick us up for dinner. I love it when I relax about checking the items off my list. The children are very sensitive to any stress or impatience I experience when I fail to execute my detailed plan for the day. I still make lists and a schedule every night, but I've decided to not go into self-destruct mode if I don't cross off every item.

Since we don't get out a lot lately, 
I decided to get us all fancied up for our date with dad.

(Admit it. Your heart is melting right now.)

After dinner, we picked up some Cherry Garcia and added it to the Paradise Bakery chocolate chip cookies B surprised me with today 
and let the boys enjoy some heavenly sweetness. 

Then we ran up and down the hall to calm the sugar rush before bedtime.

You know those days where you sit back in your chair and look at your life right at that moment and acknowledge things are good, right, and, for the most part, make sense? You cherish that minute. You cherish it so much because you realize the very next minute could be the exact opposite. Ah, the gift of an ordinary day. The gift of healthy, squirmy children with chocolate stained faces. The gift of a house filled with noisy toddler mumbles and laughter. The gift of a nourished marriage that begins and ends each day with a kiss. The gift of knowing, despite the insecurities that are part of living in this world, we are loved

Happy Valentine's Day everybody.