Friday, July 22, 2011

big brother

Or should we say...
big brotherS!!!!
Surprise!!! Heath will be joining Nolan in the big brother's club this December!

Nolan is the perfect big brother- he loves Heath and wants to play with him! He shows him how to do things, kisses him goodnight, and only occasionally do we find him pinning Heath to the ground, throwing elbows, swiping toys, or licking his face like a puppy!

And now this little munchkin gets to take a crack at this important role too! He's not gonna know what hit him! Heath is our ultimate "I need attention and I need it now!" boy! So we are going to really have to find ways to make him feel special and praise him for his new big brother ways once he becomes the middle child! (Just like his Mommy & Daddy!) He LOVES to help and do little jobs for us, which I'm sure will come in handy once we are out numbered! It will be so neat to watch our THREE children grow up together so close in age!

We were definitely surprised by this happening, but God certainly has shown us time and time again that He has a plan.

I read this recently on a blog and what it had to say really resonated with me: Jesus calls us to abandon our own agendas, what we have deemed will please and fulfill us, so that we can embrace the kind and quality of life that only he gives. This is not about adding Jesus to the life we are living. This is about making Jesus our life. This is about putting our plans for our lives to death so that the abundant life he offers has room to take root and grow. The problem is, we don't really believe that God's plan for our lives could be better than the one we've crafted. We don't believe we could be as fulfilled by the life he offers as we would be by the one we've planned. It takes a step of faith to believe God will supply satisfying life now and when we die.

We are thrilled that God has chosen us to be the parents of this teeny tiny one! That He has entrusted us to guide this precious life to know, love, and serve Jesus! And we are stepping out in faith, knowing that he has a future for our family that is blessed and completely unfathomable! He's not saying that it won't be hard. Because let's get real, it will be! 3 kids, 4 and under will be insane and challenging. But it will also be so completely rewarding!

I think this picture of the boys about sums up how we are all feeling and thinking about our lives come December...
We are all a little bit frightened and we will all have times when we feel like screaming and crying! But...then Nolan will come and zerbert my tummy or Heath will repeat "baby" as I take his hand to rub my (too big already) belly and all seems perfectly right in the world!

It is wonderful to go through this all again with a 3 1/2 year old! Nolan understands things so much more than last time. His opinion of the baby changes daily but he is so interested in it all. One day he wants it to be a boy, the next a girl. One day the baby should be named "No name Jansen" and the next it should be "Dexda". He asks a million questions about when, and where, and how the baby will be born. Some of which I'm not too sure I want to answer! He is actually o.k. with the thought of sharing his way cool big boy room with Heath. And he definitely knows that the baby is coming "before Christmas"! He doesn't forget this month- Christmas and his birthday in the same week...what could be better! And now, the gift of a new brother or sister!

We find out the gender on August 9th, although we kind of already feel like it's another BOY! We'll keep you posted! But as for now we covet your prayers for health and happiness as we prepare for the arrival of this little life to COMPLETE our family!

God is so good!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy 4th...or get the point!

So I am WAY behind in posting these pictures. And I didn't even take them! Thanks Cara for sharing them with me so I could post them on the blog. Because of course in all the commotion of just getting home from Chicago the night before, I completely forgot to bring my camera up to the cabin for the holiday! Oops!

We usually go up first thing in the morning and take part in the Indian Hills Parade, spend the whole day relaxing, hiking, and playing in the foothills. But we were all EXHAUSTED from travel so we decided to bump tradition and spend most of the day as a little family at home. Heath ended up going down for an unusual morning nap, I started some laundry, and Mark and Nolan escaped to the movies to see CARS 2!!! He loved it of course! When they got home we ate lunch, and put the boys down for a good afternoon nap in hopes that they would be able to make it and stay awake for the fireworks later that night!

And they did! We headed up to the cabin for time catching up with Mark's family, dinner, sparklers, and FIREWORKS!!!
I was so off my game...usually I plan to have red, white, and blue clothes ready for the boys to wear. This year, not so much! Oh well! Mark keeps telling me they're boys, and...THEY DON'T CARE! I know, I know!

Spelling our names with the sparks!

Cheering "oooh, ahhh" with each firework! Nolan really wanted to see an orange one. He says orange is his new favorite color. But they must not make orange fireworks because we sure didn't see one!

Heath kept signing "more, more, more" between each firework boom! I think he liked them!

O.k. so now that it's the 19th of July I am finally ALMOST caught up on my blogging! Just one more post to go...TOMORROW!

Monday, July 18, 2011

V.E.E.H.M.M.S is 90!!!

This is my Grandma. My Mom's mom-
Verna Edna Emma "Hamburger" Maleske Mueller Swanberg
What a name! What an amazing lady!
(By the way, "Hamburger" is just another middle name my siblings and I have given her...this lady LOVES herself a good burger! A quarter pounder with cheese to be exact!)

I have the best memories of growing up living so close to her!
We spent weekends at her house a lot! And we always had the same weekend routine: a stop at the Des Plaines Mall where we were sure to visit the candy store, Friday night dinner out at Wag's, Saturday consisted of playing in her backyard and HUGE garden, checking out different malls- which always included a stop at the Toy Store and lunch in the food court, nights spent playing Uno and watching The Golden Girls or The Sound of Music, Sunday mornings attending her church where she sang in the choir or going out for pancakes with tons of different fruit flavored syrups, and a Sunday lunch at her house with a great fresh salad and warm rolls as a must before our parents picked us up!

I can remember these weekends and countless other fun traditions with her like they took place yesterday! I will always treasure all of the time we spent together!

Verna turned 90 in late May but we waited until our whole family could be together to throw her the big bash she deserves for her incredible life!

We had the party at Stonewood Ale House in Schaumburg. The room was perfect, the food was great, and the 40 plus guests were fun company!

I made these place cards and favors for the guests.

The boxes had my Grandma's favorite chocolates inside! And if you were lucky enough to be a child at this party, you got Mike and Ike's! My Grandma always put these in our Christmas Eve "stockings" and bought them for us on Mother's Day to snack on, on our way to the cemetary to plant flowers at my great parents grave site. (Mark thinks this is the strangest tradition ever! But hey, my family is all about tradition and this just happens to be one of the many!)

The beautiful table centerpieces!

I made this special badge of honor as well and Mallory and Tyler had all the flowers, including the corsage, made at our very favorite flower shop...Streamwood Florist!

My sister and I "pinning" my Grandma!

Our handsome boy! Doesn't he look so grown up?!

Heath and I playing around!

Tyler and my Mom enjoying each other's company during lunch.

Nolan had fun pushing his puppy around on Great Grandma's walker!

Then of course we had to get Daddy in on the act and he went for a spin on the walker too!

Grandma blowing out the candles on her beautiful and yummy cake!

This is a photo of my Grandma, her three children, their children, and grand children! It is rare that we are all together because we live all across the country. But it was very nice to be able to catch up on this special day!

After we ate lunch we played the game "How Well do You Know V.E.E.H.M.M.S?"! It was a fun way to get people talking and remembering fun and unique things about my Grandma and her life! The winners at each table got to take home the centerpiece!

Heath and my cousin Chris' son Owen playing football! Touchdown! I think the party was a huge success! Great work with all the planning Mom!

The next day was our final day of the trip. We planned on having a nice lunch all together at a family favorite restaurant...

Hackney's is known for this tasty masterpiece...the onion loaf! I know it's weird, because ya'll know how much I despise onions, but I actually LOVE onion rings! Delicious!!

While waiting for our food to come, Nolan and Grandpa tried with no success to win a stuffed animal from the claw game. They had fun playing around with the other video games too!

After we ate we headed outside to snap some family photos...
I think this one turned out pretty good for propping my camera up and setting it with the self timer!

Nolan with his Auntie and new pal "Dotters"! Every time we visit Streamwood Florist, where I worked in high school, we walk out the door with a new plush toy! Nolan is always on his best behavior, super sweet, and quite the show off as soon as we walk in the door there! Think he knows the drill yet? I think so! He checks out all the stuffed animals, plants, and flowers, politely gives hugs to Soo & Ik, the shop owners and our dear friends, and in return is given his choice of stuffed animal EVERY TIME! I know most parents don't really care for yet another stuffed animal, but Nolan really plays with ALL of his! He LOVES animals!

Hackney's has great grounds with a wooded area, small pond, bridge, flowers, and this little play house!
Nolan had so much fun in his "fort"!

It had quite a few cob webs inside, and a few mosquitos too, but he didn't mind!

After playing outside for awhile we headed back to my parents house for good naps before our flight home to Denver.
Once again, our flight went SO WELL! The boys were great and Heath even fell asleep!

And before we knew it we were back HOME! We were all exhausted from 10 fun filled days of vacation and ready to settle back into our normal lives in our own house. The next day was the 4th of July, and then the next day I started my 9th year of teaching! So we really didn't have much down time to rest, unpack, do laundry, and recover from all the busyness, but that just seems to be our life these days! The busier the better!

I love being able to travel so often with our boys and to be able to expose them to so many new places and people! And I am so thankful to be able to have the resources to do so. We can't imagine life without these frequent trips and we LOVE and make the most of every opportunity we have to spend time with my family!

Thanks again fam for a wonderful week away! We LOVE you!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

HOT Summer Fun!

My sister snapped these photos of Heath in the pool on a
HOT Chicago afternoon!

Love that smile!

And then so quickly can come the frown!

Having SO much fun!

And I took these pictures of Nolan in our own backyard once we got home from our trip! It has been and continues to be SO HOT here! 90's everday! So we've been spending a lot of time at the pool with Mark's family and in our own little kiddie pool in the backyard!
The boys LOVE all of their pool toys!

And splashing their Mommy too! I'm so thankful to have a couple days off each week to splash around with them!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Out and About

Here are some pics from the boys adventures out and about with Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Mal, and Uncle T.!

First on the list of fun things to do for the week... mini-golfing! We grew up going miniature golfing alot! We spent a week every summer at a cabin community on a lake in Wisconsin that had it's own private mini-golf course! We played mini-golf at least a couple of times every day for the entire week we were there! And us Johnson kids take pride in this being "our sport"! I can kick Mark's booty in a round of mini-golf any day!

Nolan enjoyed picking out his ball color!

And they helped him learn how to putt.

He had fun and tried hard for a few holes...

And then in true Nolan form...he just wanted to be SILLY!
It was neat for me to see these pictures because this is the same mini-golf course near our house that we played at many times when we were younger!

Later in the week, Grandma and Uncle T. took the boys to Lego Land! Unfortunately, my Mom's camera battery died and they were only able to catch a few photos. But the Lego creations look awesome!
Searching for the perfect Lego! Nolan thought making Lego cars and racing them down a ramp with Uncle T. was pretty neat!

And then they also went to "Cruise Night" to check out some cool old fashioned cars.
Thank you fam for making such special memories with the boys! They LOVE you!!!