Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Presents and Lessons

I learned a very valuable lesson this Christmas. What is that you ask? Now that I'm a mommy Christmas is going to involve a lot more work. I came to this realization while putting together a Fisher Price Grow with Me kitchen at 2:00am on Christmas morning. Where were Jeremy and Emma while I was attempting this feat? Good question-they were both sleeping. Nice huh? A few spiked eggnogs and an hour later the kitchen was complete and I was more than ready to go to bed. Here's a pic of the finished product:

We went to my mom's house on Christmas Eve and then Jeremy's parents on Christmas Day. As usual we had a ton of fun and ate way too much food. Emma scored a ton of loot this year. So much in fact that I had to go through her toys over the weekend and put some away because her toys were taking over the living room.
Our poor dogs will now have to suffer through new torture thanks to the battery powered car Emma received from my mom and Harry. Daddy is teaching her how to run the dogs over-nice.

In other news I'm really looking forward to 2009. I have a theory you see and I believe that 2009 will be a great year. All of the wonderfully important and special events in my life have happened during an odd numbered year so I'm anxious to see what's in store. This weekend we will finally have Emma's 1 year pictures made and also some family photos that had to be rescheduled due to Emma's last hospital stay. I'm really excited about this (even though I still didn't manage to lose my last 10 "Emma pounds"-darn Christmas goodies) because she is a fantastic photographer. And, Jeremy and I will celebrate our 6 year anniversary. It seems very weird that we've been married that long-I'll dig up a picture of us when we were younguns' and post next time.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Down to the wire

OK, normally I'm super organized and have all of our Christmas presents bought weeks in advance. Not so this year. I'm still scrambling to buy some last minute gifts. There are a few people left that are still present-less because I have no idea what to buy for them! Jeremy's dad is not very difficult to buy for (anything Razorback will do) but we've been trying to think of something different to get him this year because we always buy him Razorback stuff . . . and does anyone have any suggestions on what you buy your mom's fiance for Christmas who you've only met one time for like 2 minutes? What's the proper etiquette? Do we have to buy him something? And if so, what?! Grrrr! Oh well, there are still a few days before Christmas so I can procrastinate a little longer!

I FINALLY got to see Twilight over the weekend. (Thanks MeMe and PopPop for watching Emma!) First let me say I absolutely loved the book and I'm fully aware that movies typically do not measure up to the book (for me anyway) but I was super excited to see it because I've heard nothing but good reviews. Well, unless you count some of the guys at the RR-but really, this is more of a chick flick anyway so I ignored their comments. The movie was good, and I probably would have liked it even better if I had not read the book. But since I had . . . I was a little ticked off because they added in scenes to the movie that were not in the book, the sequence of the storyline was changed up slightly, and they left out a lot of stuff. I know that you can't fit everything into a movie that was in the book but they left out stuff that I thought was important and made the book so great. Jeremy went to the movie purely because I begged and even he said he was lost at times because it seemed like scenes were missing. Sigh. Movies just aren't as good as the books . . .
Saturday night we squeezed Justin and Brittany into the backseat of the Envoy with Emma and all drove to Iron Mountain to see the light display. Everything was going great until Emma started hurling in the backseat. When she is snotty and has sinus drainage it sometimes upsets her stomache and triggers her gag reflex-and poor Brittany and Justin got to see it firsthand. (Sorry guys!) Luckily I have a survival kit in my car complete with diapers, wipes, burp cloths, and a change of clothes. After she threw up though she was fine and anxious to get out of the car. Jeremy, Justin, and Brittany went out to the marina and I kept Emma in the car for a little while but she couldn't stand it so I loaded her up in the stroller and bundled her up in my coat and we took a walk too for about 5 minutes. She fell in love with this display that had 3 Christmas trees that lit up along with music. We must get some of those next year!

Here we are in front of Emma's trees. (I have crappy ponytail hair and glasses on so just ignore me in the picture):
And here's a picure of Brittany and Justin (they photograph so well all the time-it's just not fair:)):

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Week in Review

So, the first week in December did not exactly go as planned. We lost Jeremy's grandfather, PaJoe, early Thursday morning due to congestive heart failure. For those of you in the Malvern area PaJoe owned and operated the local barber shop on Main St. for many, maany, years and was an absolute character. I have two "catch phrases" that I will always remember him by. The first was his greeting-Anytime you saw PaJoe he would stand up (because he was too much of a gentleman to remain seated) and give you a big hug. I would say "Hi PaJoe, how are you doing/feeling today?" To which he would reply "Oh, I'm as mean as ever." And then when you parted you would again get the standing hug and a "I'm glad you got to see me today!" So, while the entire Johnson family is very sad to see him go it is also a blessing in that he is no longer in pain/discomfort and he is now with God.

So, while dealing with the loss of PaJoe we also still had to pull off the first of 2 Santa Trains on Saturday. Jeremy and I would have easily backed out, but his dad was insitent that we still participate; mainly because we had promised our 4 year old nephew Holton that he could help Uncle Jeremy drive the train. And apparently, Jeremy is now cooler than Santa Claus-I really don't think there is any higher praise from a child do you? Holton was so proud of himself and actually did get to "drive" for a minute. And let me tell you, I could learn a thing or two from him about the inside of a locomotive. Holton could name every control in the cab and what it could do-he was even telling Jeremy what he needed to be doing. Thomas the Train is one informative little show!

And, I bought Holton and Emma little engineer's hats and had their names embroirdered on them. Holly said Holton wore his hat that night to his "girlfriend" Elizabeth's house. Aren't they adorable? (It was so cold Emma wore her's over her toboggan)

We have sort of made it tradition that our Christmas card picture is from the Santa Train but I'm not sure that will happen this year. Emma was so bundled up in all of the pictures that you could only see a fraction of her face and she's just too cute to not be the focal point of the pictures!
Getting a present from Diana Claus while waiting to catch a ride on the train . . .

Also, I've had two things running through my mind continuously over the last week. The first is the realization that I am utterly and completely addicted to my cell phone. I am now one of "those people" that cannot live without their cell phone. Mine died and I immediately got it replaced with a new HTC smartphone but could not get all of my information downloaded to it for about a week. I am so dependent on having my email, calendar, and 300+ contacts on my cell phone that I almost went spastic. It. Was. Not. Pretty. I get calls at odd times in odd places (10pm on Sat night at Walgreens for example) on my cell phone from customers, other railroads, etc that I HAVE to have full and complete access to Windows Outlook. Nevermind that I have a laptop- I need it on the phone also! Sigh. Oh well. There could be worse addictions . . .

And the second thought nagging me is a comment that one of my customers made. Now, I've known this guy for 4 years and he is wonderfully kind and I'm sure did not mean to offend me, but he did. Following Emma's last hospital stay he was calling to check on Emma and see if I needed any help with the Santa Train. He made the comment that if he could do it all over again he would insist that his wife stay home with their kids while they were growing up and place more importance on that than the lifestyle they both worked to maintain. That was not word for word, but hidden in there I felt a subtle rebuke for still working. I really have been struggling with guilt for continuing to work after Emma was born ever since she was born; only made worse now by her asthma. I think it is up to each family to decide what is best for them and there are days when I really wish I was a SAHM. But, it's just not feasible for me for two main reasons-1) Jeremy makes good money, but I'm paid very well for the $$ I generate for the railroad in new business and contract negotiations. It's a simple matter of we cannot afford our bills on his income alone. (Jeremy jokingly says it's my fault for going to college and being a smarty pants!) 2) I love my job and it is the type of job that will be quickly filled if I vacate it. With a railroad you have certain geographic limitations so if I leave AKMD and then get ready to jump back into the workforce my job will not be waiting and it will require that we move to find a similar position. So, I do the best I can and make sure I put Emma's needs first. Luckily, AKMD is willing to work with me and allow me to be there for Emma when necessary.
And, to end on a light note-we finally traded belated birthday presents with our friends the Stuckeys (their daughter Ava had a birthday the week after Emma but we were not able to attend each other's parties) and Emma loved the baby stroller they got her. I tried to show her how to use it properly-I strapped her little baby doll in and tried to get her to push it around the house. OH NO. She threw the baby in the floor and crawled into the stroller herself. Then daddy got the idea to turn our hallway into a drag strip so he would push Emma down the hallway as fast as he could, do donuts, etc and she would just squeal and laugh her little head off. Here is a picure of her mid-360 turn. I see a lot of gray hairs in my future from this little adrenaline junkie. I'm afraid she's going to take after me (3 broken arms, stitches 7 0r 8 times . . . ).

Here's hoping Santa Train #2 and week #2 are not near as eventful . . .

Monday, December 1, 2008


We started a new Turkey Day Tradition this past weekend- my mother-in-law Robin decided that every Thanksgiving the grandkids would decorate Gingerbread Houses. So cute! So we had two teams- Team Holton was made up of my four year old nephew and his mom Holly and Team Emma was made up of me and my sister-in-law Brittany. I didn't think to take any pictures of the work in progress but you can see our finished masterpiece below. It was a blast and I really think Emma will like this once she is older. Holton thought it was great and wanted to eat the house as soon as he was finished with his. I really don't blame him because it smelled wonderful!

The Johnson family is fiercely competitive so we were joking the whole time about who was "winning". Of course we told Holton he won but I think Brittany and I kicked butt in the creativity department due to our outrageous (and slightly scary) gingerbread men and Emma's name on the side of the roof (Brittany's genius idea). But, when it came to neatness Holly's mad 1st grade teacher skills kicked our butts. Her icing was all straight and neat . . . I think Brittany and I were laughing too hard to get it right. Oh well, there's always next year!

We also put up our Christmas decorations this weekend. We're still not completely finished but we did manage to get most of the inside stuff up. And, for the first time ever we are actually putting Christmas lights on the house. I've always decorated the front porch and put a few things in the yard but Jeremy wanted to put lights on the house for Emma because we discovered that she LOVES Christmas lights. Poor guy was outside on the roof yesterday hanging lights in a freezing cold drizzle. That's some love right there.

This was our first experience decorating with a toddler in the house. Needless to say the entire bottom half of our tree is shatterproof balls and ornaments we found at Walmart. I highly recommend them-they are Emma tested and completely unbreakable. It was so funny trying to decorate the tree though because I would hang an ornament and Emma would come right behind me and take it back off and throw it down the hall. It takes a lot of effort to squish this large tree into our narrow living room. Especially now with Emma's collection of toys . . .

Her favorite Christmas decoration so far though is the Christmas Train that I put around the tree each year. See how helpful she is . . .

All in all it was a great weekend and we're so glad to have M back home and back to her usual mischievous self.