Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yay for family!

I am so excited about the next few days. We're having a family reunion! (Although sadly, Kristin and her family can't make it, and I'm totally bummed about that.) So 3 of the 4 sisters who live out of state will be coming in with their families to spend a few days with all of us and have some fun!

The Leighs (Sharon, who is the 2nd oldest sister, and her family) are arriving this afternoon. I can hardly wait! They come up fairly often to visit and we had a BLAST when we went to Mississippi back in March. She is just such a fun person, and I love being around her! I'm picking Brett up from work so we can go straight down and start spending time with them. Spencer is great, and we just love the girls! They're so adventurous. And little Matt is just adorable. I can't wait to see him and Amy playing together again!

Tomorrow the Lambs and the Coffeys arrive. The Lambs being my oldest sister, Miriam, and her family, and the Coffeys being my 3rd oldest sister Annette and her family. We don't get to see the Lambs often because a) They live in Texas, which is quite a long drive, and b) because they are just so busy! Gordon teaches at a university, Miriam teaches private piano and voice lessons, and their girls are always involved in something. I can't imagine living life at the pace they do, I would just be a basketcase! We haven't seen them since last summer, so it will be great to hang out with them.

The Coffeys live the closest to us, and we get to see them fairly often too. (I guess I should define "fairly often". A few times a year, I think, is fairly often when the families live out of state and a visit means many hours of driving, especially with small children.) So I'm excited to see Annette, Joseph, and their family. Kimball and Rebecah are so fun to watch! I love reading Annette's blog to keep up to date on everything that happens in their family.

We won't be doing anything earth-shattering, but I'm just looking forward to hanging out with my family. Naturally since it's a Johnson gathering, there will be plenty of food involved! Tomorrow morning I'll be helping Mom with the 3 desserts we're making to celebrate the summer birthdays. There will be lots of playing, and we'll be getting out sprinklers and wading pools for the kids.

I'm just so excited I can hardly contain myself! I just love my family!

Friday, May 20, 2011

"The" cake

So, it was just a simple 2-layer carrot cake, but I had fun with it.

The logo Brett came up with, which makes me chuckle. The tagline reads "Because after dinner is not soon enough!"

Friday, May 13, 2011

First "official" order!

It's pretty obvious from the pictures I'm always posting that I love baking cakes. (And I am most definitely keeping up with my goal this year, I'm actually doing MORE cakes.)

A few weeks ago, I made a German chocolate cake for Kyra, a friend from church who teaches my Zumba class. It was a big hit! (Which of course always makes me really happy.) There was some talk and a few suggestions made that I should start actually selling my cakes. I'm pretty sure I mentioned this in an earlier post.

The tough part about doing something like that is that I have to be SUPER careful. To actually have a "bakery" I would have to have a stainless steel kitchen, etc. etc. and comply with a bunch of regulations. So I can't have an actual "bakery". What I CAN do is sell cakes to people I already know, like family and friends. But I still have to be pretty cautious about it. I'm in the midst of my research right now, as I would love to start a website but I'm not sure how to do it so that I don't "get in trouble".

(Any ideas or input from my readers would be very welcome!)

At any rate, Kyra emailed me yesterday with my first "official" cake order. So, I'll be making a carrot cake for her mother-in-law's birthday on the 19th. Yay! I'm so excited. I'm definitely looking forward to making a beautiful cake!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A truly amazing person

I've blogged briefly about my sister before (well, one of them anyway!). But having read something that really irritated me, I feel like she deserves another blog post all her own.

Heather is 2 years older than I am. Growing up, we fought a LOT. I know sibling rivalry happens all the time, but I REALLY disliked her. I thought she was mean. I'm sure I was no better! She and I were talking recently and I told her how much I wish we hadn't had all those years of not liking each other. I really missed out on having a great friend. At any rate, people change, and during my high school years, Heather really made an effort to be kind to me. I started liking her! Yeah, we weren't best buddies, but I actually liked her. She even did my hair and makeup for my senior pictures.

When Heather had her accident, I have to admit, I felt a little robbed. Here was this girl who I had finally started to get along with, and now this happened. Completely selfish? Most definitely. (I WAS a teenager, after all.) Of course, that's not the only thing I was feeling then, not by a long shot.

The majority of people who read this blog know Heather and what happened to her. I know I've mentioned it before and have linked her blog. ( But to give the story in a very tiny nutshell: When she was 19, Heather was in a horrible car crash on her way home from nursing clinicals. Amongst her many injuries, her neck broke, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down. More than 7 years later, Heather relies completely on others to care for her. Modern technology allows her to do things like blog through voice-command software, and breath without a ventilator thanks to electrodes implanted on her diaphragm.

I read a blog post recently by another paralyzed woman who had been directed to Heather's blog. I was completely shocked at this person's reaction, which basically (to me) mocked Heather's ability to find joy in her life despite her disability. It made me so angry! I wanted so badly to leave a comment on her blog and defend my sister. Fortunately, my cooler side won out and I refrained from posting what would have been an incredibly scathing comment.

Heather is one of the strongest, most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Despite an accident that would leave many people bitter and miserable, Heather continues to seek joy in life, and just to be a generally happy and upbeat person. I admire her so much. I simply do not have the personality or the character to go through what she has been through and still come out the same bright, optimistic person. If it were me in that bed, I would be bitter, angry, resentful, you name it. I know that about myself.

But not Heather. I don't know how she does it, really. I know she has an incredible amount of faith. I know the beliefs we share are encouraging and comforting to her. I KNOW all that. But I still can't wrap my head around how she manages.

She is one of the truly beautiful people in this world. I love her so much. I admire her. And I am so proud to be her sister.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day pictures

Here are some of my very favorite pictures in honor of Mothers' Day.

Amy (not even a day old) and me at the hospital:

Two(ish) month old Amy sleeping cuddled up to Mama:

My big(ger) girl at 9 months with me on Mother's Day:

Heather and me celebrating Mother's Day:

Mom and the three "pipsqueaks" on Mother's Day:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My mom!

I love my mom. I mean, that's sort of a "duh" thing that probably doesn't even need to be said. But it's true!

I didn't always like my mom, though. I know everyone goes through the whole "rebellious teenage" phase. My mom and I have REALLY different personalities, and she and I butted heads pretty much all the time. I remember when we would argue, I would get so angry that I used to scream "I hate you!" at the top of my lungs while I stomped up the stairs as loudly as I could manage. I did that literally every time we would argue until finally one day she told me I wasn't allowed to say it anymore because we both knew it wasn't true. So I never did. Granted, my screaming only changed to "I really don't like you right now", but it was better.

At any rate, our rather...tumultuous relationship started righting itself once I moved home, especially after I got married. I grew up. I changed, thank goodness. And I was much easier to get along with!

I know my mom isn't perfect. I know she's made mistakes. But I think my mom is pretty awesome. She wasn't perfect, but she did a good job raising me and my sisters. She is an amazing, strong person who loves me despite my faults and despite all the things I put her through. She deserves a day to be celebrated!

I just hope that I can be as good a mother as she is. I know I won't be perfect, or even close to it. But I hope I can do as good a job as Mom has.

My evolution of Mothers' Day

I honestly don't remember much about Mothers' Days growing up. That sounds kind of bad. I know we celebrated. But I don't really remember particulars.

Once I got married, I started looking forward to having a family and really being able to celebrate being a mother. The longer it took us to get pregnant, the more frustrated I got. Mothers' Day got very...difficult, especially at church. Obviously, people didn't know about our difficulties. But all day it was comments about when were we going to start having kids, and wasn't it about time for us to start a family. It was really hurtful, bad enough that the Mothers' Day before I got pregnant, we ended up leaving church early because I just couldn't deal with all the well-meaning people anymore. I still feel kind of bad about that.

Fast forward a year, and I was pregnant. I was ecstatic! I was so thrilled that it was finally happening. Our ward does a really nice little thing for the women on Mothers' Day. The men take over all the classes, etc. in the third meeting so that the women can be together for a special lesson, and then they have this amazing spread for us. Fruit and veggies, dips, sweets, drinks. Yum! It was so great.

This year will be my first "real" Mothers' Day. I'm pretty excited. I think it means more to me now since I'm a mother. We're going to be going down to my mom's after church tomorrow to have dinner with her and my two sisters who live at home. I can't think of a better way to celebrate than with my own mom!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More pictures!

A LONG overdue 8-month picture of Amy:

Her pants were way cute, but also WAY big around the waist. She literally crawled out of them.

Amy has apparently discovered how much fun toilet paper is. I was emailing, and heard her playing in the kitchen. About a minute or two later, I realized I couldn't hear her anymore, so I went to find her. Well, she'd found the toilet paper in my bathroom, ripped some of it off the roll, and was playing with it. She was very upset when I told her, "That's not for babies." (My usual line rather than just telling her 'no'.)

Crawling toward Mama, mad and crying:

She was better once I picked her up. You can see the toilet paper all over her mouth and chin:


I know some of my readers love pictures, so here are a couple posts of just pictures.

Amy and me with our matching ponytails:

Amy's little curly ponytail:

Happy little girl after a bath:

I found Amy like this when I got her up from a nap. She'd gotten out of her swaddler and pulled up on the crib, and was just babbling and bouncing up and down. The grin behind her binky is because I started mimicking her and bouncing, which apparently was just hysterical.

Our naked little pixie trying to escape a diaper being replaced on her tiny bum: