Friday, May 30, 2014

The most wonderful time of the year!

Nope, I'm not talking about Christmas. 
Summer is my favorite season of the year for so many reasons. 
Today was one of them.

(Liam biffing it on the splash pad.)

The last day of school for the elementary kids was today. 
We could hear all the children laughing and playing outside and 
decided we should celebrate summer vacation as well.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Deso River Trip 2014

For Memorial Day weekend, B and I left the boys with grandparents while we headed to Green River for a rafting trip with family and friends down Desolation and Grey Canyons. It's a trip I did many times with my family as a kid, but it's been years since I've been down. Having B with me was a fun and new experience! I think he enjoyed it...for the most part! ;)

Day 1: The put-in at Sand Wash

We had 5 boats and 3 families on this trip (Shaw, Baldwin, and Wilson/Lloyd)

(The whole gang.)

(Our boatmen. Super awesome guys. 
The middle one's a bit young, but the other two are single and ready to mingle. C'mon ladies.)

1st Camp: Stampede Flats

Day 2: Turtle Shell Fossil and Moonshiners Cabin

(Cheesy grin in honor of Elder Shaw's signature smile.)

2nd Camp: Rock Creek Ranch

(Randy Wilson was a good friend and father/grandfather to a majority of the people on this trip. He is responsible for getting my dad started in white water rafting. Randy passed away almost 14 years ago. In honor of his legacy, a time capsule was buried under this mulberry tree at Rock Creek Ranch with his rafting memorabilia and letters from each of his four children. This trip down, the time capsule was uncovered.

(Bathing in Rock Creek. Pretty chiiiiilllly!)

Day 3: McPherson Ranch

I swear we have a million pictures of our family in front of this rock cabin over several years of trips.

Seriously, a million.

Along with remnants of McPherson's Ranch, there is an old, abandoned motel.
It's a little creepy...

This day was a bit cold and windy. A $0.98 poncho originally purchased for a high school dance activity seemed a good idea for staying dry. Beta testing was unsuccessful, but a good laugh about looking like a certain type of Disneyland tourist was had by all.
NOTE: It appears this is where I decided to retire my camera. No documentation of our last camp and boat take-out can be found. 

4 days on the river. It was a blast. It was an adventure.
I forgot how beautiful and peaceful it is- a home away from home.
"Just another day in paradise!"
Steve Shaw

*Thanks to Whitney for getting the permit and letting us tag along, to my dad for outfitting us a bit, and to Baldwins for letting us be guests on their boat and giving us a good ride. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I am my father's daughter.

As a kid, our family didn't really vacation.
Instead, we went on adventures
One of our yearly "adventures" was whitewater rafting down the 
Green River through Desolation and Grey Canyons. 
It's about a 4-5 day trip, depending on how fast you want to go.
You raft the whole day, then set up camp somewhere along the river.
My parents did this year after year with all their kids in tow, 
ranging in ages from 16-4 years old.

Because of this, my dad made sure his kids knew how to
set up tents, roll up Thermarests, and pack sleeping bags on their own.
And he made sure it was done perfect and in the proper amount of time.
This is not an exaggeration- the WORST family home evening we ever had was when my dad set up the tent in the backyard and made Whit and I 
practice and practice and practice over and over again 
rolling our Thermarests until they fit perfectly in their bags.
It was AWFUL and we cried the entire time, 
vowing to NEVER make our children do something like this. 

*Note: Whit and I are still the BEST in the biz. If there was an Olympic event for setting up tents, rolling Thermarests, and packing sleeping bags, we would be champions. Seriously, our packing abilities are employable. I'm still waiting for the call from REI, NorthFace, and Sierra Trading to do some consulting. ;)

Let's fast forward to today. It's been years since I've been on a Desolation River Trip and the opportunity came up for B and I to go this month. My dad "bequeathed" one of his big tents to our little Johnson family- one of the tents I grew up with. So what did I do last night for FHE? I made B help me "practice" setting up the tent. Our next door neighbor yelled from his yard "Nice tent!" I retorted "We're going out of town this weekend and we have to make sure we know how to set it up!" Immediately, I looked at what we were doing and the realization hit me hard- Oh maaaaan, I am my father's daughter.

I like to think I wasn't as "iron-fisted" with B as "The General" was with me and my siblings, but I did catch myself spitting out some "That needs to be tighter. Keep that pole coming. No, it doesn't snap there!" After it was set up, I did let my kids run around and wrestle inside, which would've never happened in my childhood era. *Note: The reason my dad's gear has lasted for decades is because he took very, very good care of it. For me, a little family fun and goofiness ranked a bit higher. :)

I have to admit, though, after we rolled the tent up and slipped it in the bag with so much room, I could slip the width of my entire hand on the side, I yelled out loud "Yep, I've still got it!!!".

And then I high-fived my husband. (Who may or may not have rolled his eyes.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mother's (and Grammy's) Day!

A Happy Mother's Day to all the women who have mothered and mentored me. 
This includes my sweet mom, who loves her grand babies so much, 
it comes out her eyes. 

"Motherhood is not a hobby,
it is a calling.

It is not something to do if
you can squeeze the time in

It is what God
gave you time for."

Neil L. Anderson

I am truly grateful for the grandmothers of my children. 
They are women I look up to, who have and continue to change lives 
with their incredible ability to love
-including, and especially, my sweet little boys.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Project: Refurbished Lamp Table

I have been reading and researching and dreaming and preparing for my first refurbishing project. I am excited to finally show off the results. B's parents gave him a side table to sit next to his "lofa" when he was still living the bachelor life. When we moved into our new house, it came out of "storage" and I thought it would be a great piece for the living room, but it needed to be updated.


I decided to take off the doors and make it an open storage table. Next, I sanded the whole thing. (Note: A bit naive, I bought some sand paper. After talking to some wise and experienced people, I was encouraged to buy an automatic hand sander. I found one at Walmart for $39. Best decision I made.) After sanding, I filled in the holes from the door screws with wood putty, sanded that down after it dried, lined the inside with painters tape, and then started painting. I ended up doing about 3 coats.

(I forgot to take an after picture before putting everything back.)

I think it turned out pretty well for a first project. When I took off the painters tape, I wasn't as careful as I should've been and some little bits of paint came off the inside. Luckily, I've decided to keep our board games in there for now and they cover it up nicely. :)

Benefits of refurbishing old/used furniture:
1. You can make it how you want
2. If kids ding it up, it's okay because it didn't cost you $300!
3. Power tools are kind of therapeutic. I'm not joking- the minute I turned my sander on, I was in the ZONE. 
4. I love the idea of taking something old, ugly, and/or outdated and making it beautiful! 

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this. My next project is the kitchen table my sweet parents donated to our cause. That is going to include painting AND staining, so we'll see how it goes. Starting small on something not as significant is a good idea to get a better understanding of what you need, the process, and gaining confidence in your abilities! I can't tell you how nervous I was to start, but once I got going it was easier than I anticipated and a lot more fun! 

Happy DIY-ing!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Beginning of Zoo Days

B took a half day today. 
We picked him up from work, went to lunch, 
and headed to Utah's Hogle Zoo for our first zoo trip of the year! 

(The lion looking quite interested in Liam.)

We didn't realize we were going on the day they opened the Lion Exhibit in the new African Savanna. It was pretty crowded, but the boys were still able to see quite a few animals. Liam was pretty interested, but Finn was just fine running up and down the pavement. It's about what we expected. :)

*We purchased a zoo membership, so we can make regular zoo trips throughout the summer. It's a way to get out, enjoy the animals, and get some park experience for our upcoming Disney adventure!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Liam and Finn. You are approaching year 2 of your life here on earth. I'm pretty sure, someday, I will look back on this time and just laugh and laugh and laugh. You are double trouble. You are craziness x2. You make me so tired. You make me reassess myself multiple times a day. There are many nights I sit on the bed and/or couch and cry to your dad. Usually he just nods his head and rubs my back.

Every morning I say a prayer that I can be more patient, understanding, calm, and do everything in love. Some days are more successful than others. Even while I'm writing this, you are right next to me, pulling out all the magazines I just picked up. Why do I clean anything while you are awake?

I think things are this crazy because you two do everything together- for the most part. When you were little, many people told me "What one doesn't think of, the other will." Let me tell ya- they were right. You have your own little language. You make each other laugh. You make each other mad. There are moments of sweet bliss when you two play so cute together, but it can quickly turn into complete chaos and screaming fits when one toy gets the attention of two boys. When you both tantrum at the same time, Papa calls it my own little surround sound system. And then he laughs.

I hope you continue to be each other's best buddy. Liam. Finn. I know your brother can drive you crazy. I know he takes your toys, teddy, and even food off your plate, but just remember he is your biggest fan and greatest ally. Even when you're in time-out for hitting him in the face, he wants to be next to you in your crib and cries when mommy takes him out of the room. Now that's devotion.

"My Buddy, My Buddy, Wherever I go, he goes. 
My Buddy, My Buddy, I'll teach him everything that I know.
My Buddy and me, Like to climb up a tree. 
My buddy and me, We're the best friends that could be.
My Buddy, My Buddy, My Buddy and Me!"