Saturday, December 26, 2009

A few pics

We had a wonderful Christmas. They were all eager for Christmas morning this year. The first pic is them waiting on the stairs for us to get everything ready for the morning to begin.






Friday, December 11, 2009

Really cool gear!

To fully understand this post you must know that the kids love to camp and that despite their repeated pleas we have not gone the bunk bed route (one broken arm this year was enough).

We got the bigger tent this year, and then they grew. They no longer can sleep on the kindergarten mats and be comfortable. Add 6 cots and suddenly our big tent hmmm...not so big. We hoped to find a deal on some off season kid sized cot gear so we can sleep well and all still fit in one tent. Little did I know I would stumble upon what my kids will likely term the "coolest cots ever." We are all camp gear junkies so I know I am in trouble. I blame it on Tim's hike, but its true. We will pay for cool quality gear when it comes to doing things outdoors. Did someone say coats? I am not up for admitting to that one on here yet. So when the rest of the crew sees this I am guessing they may have me watching for the next big Cabela's sale. Bunk beds AND camping combined...could life get any better than that?? Too cool, oh how tempted I am.



Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here's a picture of us enjoying our meal today. Laurel and Matthew are growing up. I had lots of help today!




Thursday, November 19, 2009

Handy People

We are not handy. God did not bless us with the skill set to be fix-it people. We try because we want to be handy, but it usually doesn't work out. The usual scenerio in our home when something breaks is that we look at one another in fear. I immediately think oh, no we are going to have to get someone to fix it. Tim saying "You are going to have to call someone" strikes fear in my heart. Yes, its money, yes its time, but its more than that. Its the "who are we going to get?" problem. Who will actually show up and fix it? This is why we decided to buy a new home when we moved...ha, ha, but that is a whole other post. So this week it was the dishwasher. A strange moaning sound has begun. I mentioned it to Tim yesterday. He heard it last night. "Oh, that sounds bad. I think you might have to call someone" - yikes. Today he did a little online research. We had dinner tonight and he says I think we should try a couple of things before we call the appliance people. We bought some cleaner at Lowes and ran it through the machine. No luck. Tim checked for leaks and found none. "Probably time to call someone" he says. Yikes again. I resorted to the internet myself, hoping that just maybe I could find something. Tim had learned that the "food chopper" in most new machines caused symptoms like ours, but could find no directions as to how to access it to clean it out. We finally found a post with some pictures and decided to give it a shot. An hour of work, a screwdriver, a pair of tweezers, and acknowledging that if this didn't fix it nothing else was within our ability to try and we have a quiet dishwasher again. It seems to be fixed! Yes, we feel proud. You see when non-handy people do something handy there is major pride involved. The childlike sense of accomplishment is tangible. I am blogging at 1 am and we have school tomorrow- you get my point.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Carter's White Cheddar Mac

Our Walmart was remodeled recently and stopped carrying a staple of Carter's diet: Kraft's White Cheddar Mac and Cheese. The child eats this at least 3 times a week plus leftovers. Tim has been buying them in bulk from another store 30 minutes away when he can to keep us supplied. I have called the store, asked employees, and done everything I know to do to get this stocked. Today I got lucky. The management team was standing in the mac and cheese aisle. So there's 20 boxes on order and a shelf tag in place. They will stock it within the week. Carter is back in business and our friends in town whom we've converted to the stuff can enjoy it, too. Now all we have to do is figure out how we are going to get it in Germany...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dirt Work

Since moving into the house we have wanted to do some clearing and make the woods in our adjacent lot into a fun place for the kids to play. This week we were able to get that started. Here is the view from the front now.

A path now lets the kids get into the woods and play.


There is now a path into the woods from the backyard as well.

The kids are looking forward to lots of time in the woods and are already planning to do some more clearing by hand to be able to play in a creek on the back side of the property.

This dirt had to be dumped in the front yard, but....


it goes here in the corner we cleared in the backyard. That is whenever a tractor that won't sink into the soft yard is available! Yes, I am worried we will have to do it by hand!

When our yard was first put in we had an area sink, now that is filled in and seeded!


It was exciting to see all the work get started and we are looking forward to getting the grading finished, seeded (although this may have to wait until Spring), and a few new trees planted. We still miss our "park like yard" in Martin, but gradually we hope to make this property enjoyable for our family as well.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

He is doing it!!


Carter is trying to stop sucking his thumb. The dentist said it had to go and so did our pediatrician so this week we planned to work on this together. However, last Friday he was packing to spend the night with Papa and Nana and decided he would leave "blankie" at home and try not to suck his thumb. He made it through the night and when he came home on Saturday I had new sheets for his bed and blankie was gone. He has only had one relapse so far and is doing really well. He wakes up at 5 am, so we are a little tired here, but hopefully once he adjusts to the change his sleeping patterns will go back to normal. We tried to make things as stress free as we could for him. His Papa gave him a bear to snuggle, Matthew and I picked him out some cool transformer sheets for his bed, and today the "Thumbuster" arrived (see above). He now has all the tools and we hope he will be "thumb free" in a few weeks.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The pancake eating machine

We had pancakes for dinner this week. Carter informed me he was the pancake eating machine. They all really love pancakes so I always make enough for a few days breakfasts. I was ready to be done cooking them up so I poured the last of the batter on the griddle making one giant pancake. I put it on the "pancake eating machine's" plate the next morning. He was thrilled.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Laurel and her big yellow cast

On Saturday Laurel took a hard hit in soccer. We are blessed to have a good friend who is an orthopedic surgeon and he saw her this morning. We decided it would be best to put her in a cast for 2 1/2 weeks to protect her arm and let it heal. This afternoon we all took turns autographing her cast. Here are some photos:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Times have changed

So here was the math problem this morning: A watch and a calculator cost the man $212. The watch cost $144. How much was the calculator? Which cost more? How much more? Matthew read the problem and then asked "Why does anyone need a watch?" I said, "To tell time when they are away from a clock." He replied "But everyone has a phone." I am old.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Food stealer's consequences

Our food stealer has been doing better, but today he fell victim to temptation and drank a drink I had left out in our room. Unfortunately I have been a little under the weather and he may suffer the consequences of his own actions. Lately he has taken to pointing out the opportunities to misbehave, but not always choosing to seize those opportunities. Apparently Papa and Nana's house is perfect for food stealing, but he is choosing not to do it. I'll take any improvement I can get.
The kids had a fun weekend. Since my parents moved into their new house and are getting things settled the kids were able to take turns spending the night. They thought it was really fun and are all ready to do it again. It was strange to us to only have some of the children at home. Last night Tim was even waiting on the boys to do their nighttime reading when he realized they weren't here. Matthew thought it was really cool when he and Tim "bumped into" Nana and Papa in Wal-mart earlier this week. Hopefully they will remember the times they wished they were closer and continue to appreciate having them here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Soccer

It was hot. We watched three games, sweated a ton, came home exhausted, and the kids had a blast. Yeah, soccer season is just what I remember. Here are some first game pics:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day Camping

We went camping over the weekend. It was fun, but rain showers shortened our weekend. The campground was full, over-crowded, and loud anyway. I think I'm in trouble since my need for space and privacy is starting to extend into our campground life. We have become accustomed to our favorite site which is removed from others and nice and private. However, this time we did have a nice lake view and enjoyed watching the waves roll in before the rain hit. Tim taught the kids a little science as he explained the air pressure shift and changes in the weather as we watched it all happen. They thought it was great that Dad could tell them what would happen next. Laurel built the sand castle of all sand castles and I am still in trouble for forgetting the camera. Tim drew a picture, but apparently that is not documentation enough. Loser mom award goes to me this time. Anyway, we are now back to school, soccer, and the daily routine. Mom and Dad are still with us but are planning to move into their new house in about a week. Soccer games begin this weekend which means: three teams, three games, and one tired set of parents. How many weeks is the season again??

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

4 on 4

My parents moved to town on the 13th. They are living with us until their house is completed. Its 4 on 4 now and I have been to the grocery store with just one kid! My Dad took Carter to soccer last night. Mom has been keeping my kitchen clean and helping me with the kids. Matthew and Laurel have soccer tonight. I am leaving the other two at home. Its like a new world.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chicago

We spent the last few days in Chicago. We visited Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. We also did a little "big city orientation" with the kids. They learned how to ride the train and the bus and transfer between routes. I realized again how much I love a small town. The large crowds in the city for Lollapalooza - see crowd shot here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lollapaloozafest/3802872632/in/set-72157621983473398/
and the Bears family day made getting around with our crew hectic and stressful. We lost a kid once for several minutes and constantly had to hold onto them to keep everyone together in the crowds. Stressful!! When asked what they liked most the kids said: spending time in the hotel while Daddy was working and Sue the Dinosaur:

Carter loved the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. He was the only kid brave enough to ride! He and Tim enjoyed the skyline views at night from on high (see below) as the rest of us enjoyed the sites from the ground!



We also found we still love the Drury. After trying two other hotels with suites, the Drury still reigns supreme for the Johnston crew. On the way home there were some strong storms. We took a break for dinner during the worst of it and when we left the restaurant we saw this:


Too funny. Gotta love the Drury.

The highlight of the trip was actually the side trip we took on the way up to Chicago. We saw Tim's brother and his family and visited the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library in Springfield. It was great. We want to go back and highly recommend it. It was definitely our favorite this trip. Here is our family pic with the Lincolns:



Thursday, July 30, 2009

Motivation

Today after school the house needed to be picked up. Promise of a trip to the drive-in this weekend worked wonders. I have never seen them move so fast. For the $10 cost of admission they cleaned and they showed me they could do it quickly. Now I know what they can accomplish and can expect it in the future- it was worth every penny.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Venture River

Today we went to Venture River water park with the homeschool group. The crowds were light as it rained on and off throughout the day. It was our own fault as we all had been saying prayers for an overcast morning to scare the crowds away like last year. Unfortunately, this year the gray skies stayed with us until just as we left the park. Nonetheless, we all had a lot of fun and the kids are all worn out. Carter was a lot more adventurous than his height would allow. Matthew and Tim both enjoyed the ride of their lives on the Cliffhanger- you should have seen their eyes as they made the plunge!! Katey and I enjoyed our floats around the lazy river and jumping in the waves at the wave pool. Laurel loved spending time at the park with her friends- Tim couldn't get her on the Cliffhanger.

Full school also began this week. Field trip already- gotta love it. I begin the year with the basics and gradually add in everything as the first few weeks progress so that we can all get move into the new year smoothly and we are now up to our full load. Adding in Kindergarten with Carter (and often Katey) this year has made for long school days. Laurel and Matthew's studies are getting more involved as well-this week they are memorizing all the countries included in the North American Continent. Can you show me Nicaragua and Costa Rica on an unlabeled map? They can! They are doing great and we are all learning a lot along the way. If you call us during the day and don't get an answer please understand we are schooling and that the phone is off. I am going to have to keep us all on schedule to get everything done and that means me staying focused! We are also in the process of naming our school (we need to do that for paperwork purposes). Its been fun trying to boil down all that we do into a name that will fit on one line. We have until Thursday...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fall in July???

Crazy weather here blessed us with a beautiful fall-like weekend. We took advantage of the cool temps and headed out to LBL for camping. In anticipation of selling one of our vans we got the truck up and running and used it as our second vehicle. The kids loved riding in the back around the campground! I don't think I am ready for summer to return. I like highs in the 70s and 80s!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Last week we went to Detroit to visit my Grandmother and Aunt and Uncle. Tim spent a lot of time at the Henry Ford Museum. He purchased a membership and took a couple of kids each day while I spent some time with my Grandma. My Aunt and Uncle toured some kids around during our visit as well taking them to swim, play at the park, eat ice cream, and shop at the dollar store. It was divide and conquer so that my Grandma could spend time with them, but not all at once. We enjoyed our trip and the kids got to stay at the Drury again so they were thrilled. Here are a few pics Tim took at Henry Ford and a slide show of their visit over several days. I forgot to take pics with my Grandma!


video

Carter celebrates #5!


Carter celebrated his 5th birthday last night. He has been looking forward to his birthday for months so we celebrated a few days early while Papa and Nana were here for a visit. He enjoyed his transformers cake and toys and is happy to be five.
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Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

A pleasant day today. Temps were mild and being outside was nice- unusual for July in KY. We went to the parade downtown and the street fair. The kids had a great time collecting candy and we all enjoyed time with friends while watching the parade. We came home afterward and did some work around the house we needed to finish. We had grand plans for tonight and the fireworks. There was watermelon, picnicing, and fun for all to be had. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. We spent an hour in our basement as the storm moved through and then over an hour in the parking lot of our church later in the evening waiting to see if there were going to be fireworks or not. It was a crazy night, yet the children seemed unaffected. They dressed themselves in rubber boots and raingear before we left for the fireworks so they enjoyed splashing around in the puddles. I was not so at ease. I was so out of sorts trying to figure out how to salvage our picnic that I arrived at the church with my shirt on inside out!! We'll try again tomorrow night, and if nothing else at least I can arrive properly dressed.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

HOT

Its HOT here, really HOT. Too hot to do much of anything! I seriously think it impairs one's ability to think. Last week we swam at a friend's home, played indoors, and survived a week under a heat advisory. Whatever we could do to stay cool. I have been planning meals based on what we can prepare without heating up the house. This week promises to be a little less humid with a few degrees cooler temps. We already have swimming plans!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A little retro fun

Last night we went to the drive-in in Calvert City. We had a lot of fun. It was HOT, but we made it through (and all took showers when we got home). You know its bad when its almost midnight and despite the time the kids still had to be washed. The kids can't wait to go back. Here's a few pics:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Going to Germany

Many of you know we will be living for a few months in Germany next year (about 13 months from now). This week we got a chance to see a photo of the building where our apartment will be located. Gotta love Google! The kids and I are getting even more excited about going after getting a chance to see a little of what the city looks like. Here is the building (the apartments are in the building with the arched windows in the center of the frame):


photo credit: uploaded by a user named redhart.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Leaf's got God

Carter has been learning about leaves this week (we are on letter L). The Bible lesson has been about how we are like leaves on God's tree. We picked a leaf off a tree on Monday and have been comparing it with the leaves on the tree each day to see how it suffers from a lack of nourishment. Today Matthew also had a leaf project-making a leaf person. Katey wanted to complete it with him so they both went out to pick a leaf. Katey came in and said, "My leaf is nice- its got God."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

LBL Homeplace Children's Day

The kids had a great time at Children's Day at the Homeplace!
They carded and spun wool into yarn:

Even Katey could do it!

They picked seeds from the cotton and learned that small farms would not have had utilized the cotton gin for the small amount of cotton they grew for personal use (KY is too far north for commercial production). People on an 1850's farm would have still been doing things "the old-fashioned way."


Laurel loved the horses. I think she could have spent the entire day watching them. Jake seemed to like her as well. Yet another reason I see a little land in our future someday.