Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blake, Babies, Psalm 139

At first glance, nothing seems out of the ordinary. But these boys, especially Blake, look a little younger.

Oh my heart, as PW says. Baby face!

This is two months shy of a year ago. How time flies.

The pictures are still the same in that frame. From when Ada was 6 months old. I keep meaning to change them out, but apparently that is something hard for me to get motivated about. I had other framed pictures from that summer trip in the kitchen, but they got taken down for a spice rack and shelves years ago.

Baby fever hits in the spring, when new babies are popping up out of nowhere and the air has a hint of change & anticipation.

I remind myself of how we half-joked, when I was pregnant with Blake, that if it was a red headed boy that would complete our set and we were done. A sign from God.

It still tickles me that that happened!!!

And I need to be content. It's been hard in some ways moving out of the baby stage; I miss a lot of things about it. Not so much the hard things about it, but that comes with the territory of babyhood.

It has been fun keeping up with the kids.

Still, I miss the snuggles and smelling my baby, and watching the stages of growth they go through.

And the boys, they'd be such cute older brothers!

But someone has to be the end of the train, and Blake is holding down that position well.

Very thankful for my crew, I love them all so much!!!

We started memorizing Psalm 139 this week, the kids & I. At the retreat we talked some about sowing seeds, and one of the aspects of that concept being with kids.

For well over a year, maybe longer, I've felt it would be cool to learn a verse each week with the kids.

When I saw Joy's chalkboard wall with the verses, I felt more motivated, as it's good to feel confirmation through others as they have the same thought and actually do it. Not that I needed confirmation that it was a good idea, but you know what I mean. See it implemented.

I had written H&A notes with a little present and hid them on their beds for when I was gone, and in them I did mention I'd like to start memorizing that chapter.

Then the retreat, and then Hayley talked to me about it when I was back, and she wanted to write out the verses. So she wrote out the first verse on Sunday, and she's taken on the responsibility to write out the next verse each Sunday. Love her helpfulness!

I had her calculate when we'd be done with the chapter, and it looks to be at Jeremy's birthday. I said that's cool, then you guys can recite the whole chapter for Daddy on his birthday! So hopefully we are able to stick with it and get that done.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Women's Retreat, Awesomest Workout Place Ever, Roomies

Went to my first Women's Retreat this past weekend. Our church here puts it on every other year, taking turns with the Men's Retreat. Jeremy's been to one of the guys' weekends, and now I've been to one of the ladies'.

The awesomeness factor was very high!

First, the longest time away from family by myself. With friends. At a pretty sweet hotel with a rockin work out facility. And some delicious bites. And really good messages on seasons of life and talks with the discussion group (I really enjoyed the group I was in!), and a workshop on friendship.

Workshop leader Shelly also demonstrated some TRX moves on a behind the scenes tour with myself and KV, after we ended up in the laundry department. Good times!

The roomies were fantastic, and we had some good convos, especially at the breakfast table, haha.

Also in the car too though. And at other meals like dinner and lunch.

KV & I swam some laps Friday evening before scattering the college/twenties & one 30 group out of the hot tub/spa/what do you call it when it's hot and it's outside.

Saturday there was a spot of free time in the afternoon and I went back for some more laps. I realized how much I missed swimming!

I did feel a little guilty in that that would have been a time I could have talked with more people I didn't always get time to talk to, but the pull of the pool was too strong. I did contemplate using a machine there, but the pool won out, and it was perfectly non-crowded and with the sun, very nice.

On my way to the shower, I gave in to the flesh and stopped for a dip in the inside whirlpool (I knew I didn't have time), but it felt so good. A fleeting thought of staying there the rest of the day, but knew I didn't want to miss the last message, and I'm pretty sure that would have been frowned upon!

I, however, was late, and that I was sorry for. Being that rude person walking in--didn't feel respectful to the speaker.

Learning hurts sometimes.

Overall great retreat though, and it was great conversing with people of all ages and getting their perspectives on things.

Speaking of, this morning I talked to a walking friend. (Sometimes we walk the same way home in the morning from school.) She's in a different season of life, and I learned from her this morning that health directives are a wonderful gift from parents before they start ailing from health, for when they are in a state of not being able to communicate as well. Noting that here for all the parents and Jeremy & myself and pretty much every adult I know. Health directive filling out party sometime this year?

p.s. Jeremy did a lot of fun things with the kids while I was gone, and they had a fun time! I am thankful that he is such a great dad!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Camping, Day 3

Saturday morning we got going on banana bread, bacon, and then I cooked the yams from the night before in the bacon fat. Oh, and I did cut up one potato and cook it in the bacon fat after I scooped the yams out.

Before and after breakfast Ada played with her friends, and Hayley was with them for part of the time. We packed up camp and loaded the van. The boys played around the tree a good bit. Hayley helped me roll up sleeping bags and such in the tent. I wonder if she secretly regretted it though, after she learned Ada's friends shared their juice with her. (It had been her choice to help or play.)

Our kids think juice is a big deal, since we hardly ever have it at home. We eat fruit. 

After getting the cooking stuff & tent innards (personal items) into the van, the rest of the kids and I joined Ada & co. for some kicking of the soccer ball while Jeremy finished with the tent. The boys really got into kicking that soccer ball! Ours and the friend boy, whose name was Owen. Not the "real" Owen, the kids pointed out. 

Then we set off to find the "big log" before we left. First we went through the amphitheater.

Ada snuggling with my hair. She hid her face; she's a little iffy with the camera lately. (Wanting or not wanting her picture taken.) 

Next to the water to throw/skip some rocks. Jeremy is a good skipper. 

This part of the trail freaked me out last time we traversed it. With Seth older and Blake not being a baby in the carrier, it was less worrisome. And the water level was lower, that helped [Mom] too. 

The older three are very nimble climbers. On this part you have to hang on to the roots. 

Banana slug!

On our geocaching hike with Johnny & Kara, Kara saved a lot of banana slugs from getting stepped on. I think it made an impression on the girls, to be less fearful of little creatures, and also to pick up the banana slugs! Kara has a way with all animals. Definitely a good influence for the girls! 

(I don't think I blogged about that trip, but I put up pictures on fb.)

We found the big log! You can climb in & through it, and on top of it. Although I did freak out a little bit when Ada led Blake up to the top; I told him to stop and I climbed up there to spot him. Maybe I baby him more, I don't know. Sometimes it seems he likes to keep up with the big kids but isn't quite able to do everything they can yet. 

My attempt at getting the four in the log made the lead redhead run away, and the other one followed.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha. This pic needs a good caption! 

We returned to our campsite a little after the time we were supposed to check out. I made sandwiches for the road real quick while the crew went for last potty breaks and buckled in. A ranger drove by and stopped to talk about us checking out, but she didn't seem too bothered that we were late; just mentioned she had someone coming in after us. 

And then...... the van wouldn't start.

I doubt anyone likes to be in that situation. Jeremy set out to the ranger station to see if they could jump us. Here's the story he was told: apparently (I don't know how long ago) they used to jump campers' vehicles, until one day someone hooked up the cables incorrectly (not sure if it was a ranger or a camper) and it blew up the ranger's battery. 

Classic case of someone screwing it up for the rest of us. Because since that incident, it is "policy" that they are not allowed to jump vehicles anymore. They did, however, let us borrow their jumper cables. Neither the ranger that Jeremy talked to at the guard shack or the lady ranger that drove past again seemed mean about it, and in fact seemed a bit conflicted in that they would like to help but were constrained by the "policy". 

I'm wondering why the "policy" couldn't have been to train the rangers and have them in charge of the cables. 

It was what it was, so Jeremy asked our neighbors (the new ones from last night), who just happened to be at their campsite, if they would be willing to help us out. 

(The rangers had said they could call our GM Motorclub for us (it's kinda like AAA), but I wanted to save that as a last resort as I knew that could be a good wait time being out in the country.)

Our neighbors thankfully came to our rescue! One of the guys brought his car over, and he and Jeremy arranged the cables and bam, back in the business just like that. Never does the sound of an engine starting up seem so sweet as in that moment. 

We thanked him a lot and then got out of dodge. We had been thinking of going to the beach again before we headed home, but then we decided we had just better go home and call it a day. 

We forgot to turn the light switch off in the van, basically. It's so the inside lights don't come on when the doors get opened; since we were in and out of the van a lot during unloading and loading, it became drained--even though the lights do automatically shut off after a certain amount of time. 

Overall, a good camping trip!

It was funny, at dinner that evening Jeremy was asking everyone their favorite parts of the trip; when it was his turn, he said, "My favorite was when I went to turn the key and the van wouldn't start." Seth, who was sitting right across from him, looked SO confused. Like, why would dad think that. Hayley gets his humor now though, and followed up with, "My favorite thing was having eggs." 

Jeremy was impressed and laughed.

I was laughing pretty hard, and Seth looked even more confused. Ada looked somewhat confused, and I don't think Blake was following the conversation at that point. 

That's our family, and this has been: Camping Johnson Style. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Camping, Day 2b

After our hike, we made sandwiches and hit the road for the beach. While the weather at the camp was warmer than usual for this time of year, the beach was not in the same boat and had an overcast, slightly windy & chilly air. We ate our sandwiches + oranges* in the car.

*Cheetos & carrot sticks. HAHAHA. 

Then we went out to explore.

Dead. We watched it roll in with the waves. 

Dead sea raftby-the-wind sailorpurple saillittle sail, or simply Velella. These seem to be on the beaches a lot lately. I don't remember seeing them in years past. Never know what will wash up from the ocean!

Vulture pecking at dead bird carcass. 

Oranges are the state flower, CA poppies. 

The kids enjoy collecting stuff from the beach and making up a game with it. 

I think it was Hayley who rolled over this log and found this dead animal squished beneath. This post seems to have a dead theme. I know some verses about that! We were dead in our transgressions...

H was really excited about this claw and wanted to take it home. I said no.

My pretty rock collection that I put together.

She found another claw and was figuring out how to make them move. 

Ada holding a pretty flower.

I took a few tries at getting a full family selfie. This one cracks me up.

This was the best one of the bunch. I like it! 

The girls and I played the stick game. This must have been when Seth was involved at the beginning; he got caught by a wave a little as he was running back after pushing his stick in, and he was done after that. 

Some of my placements.

Seth moved on to drawing.

Dude, check out this post Ada found and placed! Alas, it eventually got washed away.

The sea is relentless.

Back at camp the girls (Ada first, she's Miss Social!) made friends with the new kids in the new RV next door. A girl Ada's age, and a boy Seth's age. I'm going to guess the boy was about to turn 5 though, he was a good sized four year old! The girl was actually the same height as Ada, another tall K. 

Those two were camping with their grandparents for the night. The four of them played some soccer, and then various running games. They got along well and had a good time! 

They paused for dinner, after which we roasted the last of our marshmallows. Seth has a tear here because he accidentally burned his marshmallow and the kid takes sweets seriously. He burst into tears when it happened; then Jeremy cleaned off what he could of the outside, and this is Seth calmed down and eating the middle. 

Thursday night Jeremy grilled pork chops and I made bacon potatoes and a veggie mix, and salad for those who wanted it. Friday night Jeremy grilled steak and I made yams and zucchini, and salad was available. I've been in a bit of a salad mood lately; it's an off and on thing with me. Some of the kids like it now. All of the kids like and want it when there are croutons. No croutons this time. 

Seth laughs just seeing these next two pictures, but when I do silly noises with them, it really gets him going! 

Boys hanging with Mom, 

girls hanging with Dad. 

The girls went off to play again with their friends after dinner, and shared their glow bands with them. The grandparents invited the girls to have s'mores with them, so they came to ask, and we said yes. They had so much fun with them! The boys went to bed right after dinner, because no nap, and they were exhausted. Pic of when I tucked them into bed:

Last pic of the grill. It was laid to rest at the bottom of a dumpster at the end of this trip. Benefits of trash service at this particular campsite. Others are pack in, pack out! Even a recycling cart here. 

This little smokey served us well for many, many years. I had bought it for Jeremy in our early days of marriage. I'm thinking his first birthday post marriage. It was when I was working at Wal-Mart, and I know I used my employee discount. 

It had a little "accident" with some unnamed kids recently in the backyard that sped along its lifespan.  Unnamed because we don't know for sure which ones, but the youngest 3 are suspects, with the youngest 2 being the most likely. No one's talking. Jeremy had to bend the legs back for this trip, but it wasn't quite the same. That and it's had a piece or two come off over the years; it was time. The end of an era. 

The boys were sacked out when I went to tuck the girls in; they must have fallen right to sleep!

Thursday night the kids were all excited and kept bugging each other when I had all four close to each other. Jeremy had the smart idea to put our bed in the middle and to separate them into pairs. We're still figuring some things out! Used to be we had a pack n play in the mix, so we're getting used to our new normal.

Had another good evening of talking with Jeremy by the fire, and we got some new neighbors to our right. We didn't know it at the time, but they would play an important part in our lives the next day.

Wow, a cliffhanger, exciting!