Saturday, December 27, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

Here we are observing our family tradition of "sleeping" under the Christmas tree.
The original poem, “Twas the night before Christmas” was written by Clement Clark Moore around 1822 with the name “A visit from St. Nicholas. It’s been almost 200 years. It may be time to ruin it with an updated version.

Here is the Johnson version:

Twas the Night Before Christmas
(with three kids 19 months and under)

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was sleeping. Not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung over the window in disarray, in hopes that our Amazon order would arrive without delay.

Our daughter had finally stopped fussing and was standing up in her bed, with visions of Elmo and Dora the Explorer burning tiny materialistic holes in her cute little head.

And with mama on the couch and the twins screaming in my lap, we sat there praying that they would go down for a 30-minute nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clamor that I got up gingerly to see what was the matter. Over to the window I walked with my boys, nearly tripping twice over my daughter’s toys.

When what to my bloodshot eyes should appear, than a broken down UPS truck being pulled by a shiny new John Deere.

With a tired old driver who looked worse for wear, sporting a long scraggly beard and almost no hair.

He was dressed all in brown from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all covered with muddy snow and dirt.

He spoke not a word but went straight to his work, threw down all the packages marked “fragile” and kind of acted like a jerk.

But then he looked and saw my boys, and on the ground the little girl toys.

He smiled just a little and his mouth opened wide, and I wasn’t sure, but I think he got a little misty-eyed.

He said, “my kids are all either at college or in the war. You may not get much rest now, but I sure miss the way it was before.”

You’d better enjoy the sleepless nights while you can, because before you know it, they’ll never happen again.”

The John Deere fired up, and the UPS truck took flight, as the falling snow slowly turned the world to white.

I held my boys tightly as he disappeared from sight, realizing that a Merry Christmas has nothing to do with sleeping through the night.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Asia has decided she doesn't like to wear least on her legs.
Waiting at the Dr's office...Reading is great! Don't worry she isn't sitting on Slater.

Slater hanging with Daddy.
The little munchkins...
Asia with her umbrella sent to her from China...she loves it.
Trying sushi for the first time... Yum! Gotta love those veggie rolls.
My little men...or as their shirts say...
My kiddos...
Asia just woke up from her nap.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Great Pick-up Lines from the Bible

Our Five Year Anniversary Photo

Somewhere in between the diapers and the dirty laundry, the romance of living with the girl I love and married well over five years ago can get a little lost. So, to my wife, (and to anyone else who happens to have so little of a life that they read our blog) I give to her (and you):

Great pick-up lines from the Bible.

Here is proof that for thousands of years, guys have been trying (and often failing) to express how they feel about the significant other in their life.

Now, if you think about these lines in the context of the day (a long time ago) and location (ancient Israel), I’m sure they really spoke to the girl he was talking to. But they do sound a little...different now.

Need to spice it up with the one you love? Try one of these 2,500 year old zingers.

Here goes:

“I liken you, my darling, to a mare (that’s a horse) harnessed to one of the chariots of Pharaoh.”
(Song of Songs 1:9)

“Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing.” (Song of Songs 4:2)

“Your waist is like a mound of wheat encircled by lilies.” (Song of Songs 7:2)

The only female line: “How can you say ‘I love you’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” (Judges 16:15)

“Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.”
(Song of Songs 4:1)

And, here’s some lines that could have been in the Bible, but aren’t actual quotes.

Abram to Sarai: “I love you and I want to marry you, but we’re going to wait a while before we have kids.” (Genesis 21)

Lot to his fiancĂ©e: “If you marry me, you’ll never look back. At least you probably shouldn’t.” (Genesis 19:26)

Shem to his girlfriend: “If you marry me, I’ll take you on a round the world cruise. Do you like animals?” (Genesis 6)

And, to finish up, this isn’t my original thought, but it’s a good one.

You lips drip sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. (Song of Songs 4:11)

There you have it: undisputed evidence that no, it is not a French kiss.

It’s a Hebrew kiss.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Great-Family Visits

My grandparents(Tiegs) stopped by for a quick visit...along with my Aunt and Uncle.
Leif and Slater are my grandparents 22nd and 23rd great grandkids. WOW! Here I am with my dad, my kids and my grandparents.
Comparing the boys... Grandpa is arm wrestling Slater.
Aunt Jodi with Leif.
Grandpa with Slater.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Catching Up

For lack of a better title...we'll just call this what it is... My attempt at catching up posting of pictures. Life's a little crazy around here...

My darling hubby and precious kiddos...
What they really look like...Asia loves to make her "silly" face.

Asia has learned how to undress herself...and is now working on the dressing part...she loves to wear Mommy and Daddy's clothes... Here she is wearing Daddy's shirt.

Brian's aunt and uncle came for a very short visit...and Asia really liked Uncle David...

Brian and the kiddos with Dave and Barb.

Asia loves to read...but she also loves to pull every book she owns off of the shelf and climb in.

My little darlings...
As I said...Asia loves to read books...yes...even when she gets her diaper changed.

Our Thanksgiving Day family walk...
A girl and her olives.
We finally got Asia's haircut...just about an inch or so off the back... Don't worry she still has her mullet... haha We are just getting closer to the day when she will be mullet-free.
Oh...and for those of you who care...
Today, Sunday, December 7, is a day that will live in Johnson family history. hahaha We made it to church for the first time with all three of our kids. And believe it or not...we were on time. Asia was very quiet...notice I didn't say that she sat still...boy, does that girl have the wiggles!!! haha She stayed in church with us the whole time. The boys were also very quiet... Slater stayed in his carseat and Leif just needed a little holding from his daddy. Don't worry...I know it won't last.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Not Just Another Sappy Thanksgiving Post

I have a lot to be thankful for, but right now I really don’t have time to stop and think about it and say nice Hallmarkian things about it.

I would say that I am incredibly thankful for my wife, a healthy 19-month old daughter, and healthy (or at least very hungry) 1-month old twin boys. But right now my thankfulness, in between burping boys and chasing down my energizer bunny daughter, is more like ecstatic exhaustion.

I’m really thankful for these things, but I know circumstances change fast. I have friends who have lost children, had miscarriages, have children with serious health problems, and kids who have rebelled against their parents and God.

So, if I sit down to Turkey Day someday, and one or more of my kids are not there, will I still be able to say Thank You?

Well, there are two things that come to my mind regularly when I’m trying to remain thankful when there seems to be no good earthly reason.

When I was young and single (and some said good-looking), I worked on staff at a Bible school in Austria. The head of our school, named Hans Peter, or HP for short, had an important default setting.

Whenever something happened, good or bad, he chose to thank God. Now, I don’t have time to go into his testimony, but it’s a very cool one. Let’s just say he is a ski guide, national ski instructor and a mountain guide and a Bible teacher and I think an auto mechanic too…in the skiing obsessed world of Austria.

Anyway, the thank-God-for-everything idea seemed nice, (and Biblical) but not always practical. But as I was working on staff, one of the guys told me what had happened shortly before I came.
They were putting up a large new building on the Bible school property, and had the foundation laid. But, one of the guys, who was an engineering student, happened to get down in the basement area one day, and realized that the basement ceiling, when installed, would hit him right about at his neck.

And that was not good. It meant tearing up what had been done and redoing the job, at the cost of thousands and thousands of schillings.

The staff guy said the construction crew was super upset. HP’s reaction?

“Have you thanked God yet?”

His choice to say thank you didn’t change based on major economic (or other) problems.
TO some, being thankful regardless of circumstances may seem like willful blindness to the pain and problems of life. But, it’s actually the ability to see and understand that life goes far beyond what can be seen and felt. It’s also the ability to look beyond what can be observed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and in Detroit.

It’s realizing that saying “thank you” in the midst of devastation is not about masochism, but choosing to trust that God has a good reason for what is happening in your life, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The other thing I think about along these lines is a story I recently had the chance to write about for NTM News.

For most people in the US, hard economic times means fewer toys at Christmas, and maybe DVD’s instead of Blu-Ray. But for about three billion people who live on $2 or less a day, it means not having those little luxuries like food and shelter.

This story, called “Worship is Smiling at a Loaded Gun” has been a good reminder to me about staying faithful and thankful, regardless of economics troubles, or the random shotgun shoved in my face.

Sometimes we can learn a lot from tribal people living on the edges of what we call “civilization.” I know I have.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

When Greek Mythology, Exercise and Parenting Collide

Somewhere in between changing the 1,257th poopy diaper of the day, I started to think about the common elements in Greek mythology and parenting. Yes, I had to study that stuff in high school too.

I’m sure you all know where I’m going with this. After a while, although it is wonderful, parenting tends to get a bit repetitive. And hard. Quite hard.

Which is why I’m thinking the myth of Sisyphus was written by a parent. As I’m sure you remember, Sisyphus was condemned to push a huge boulder up a hill every day for eternity, only to see it roll back down the hill just when he almost made it to the top.

Feels a lot like parenting sometimes.

But, fortunately that’s not the only Greek myth with parental application.

That’s right. I’m talking about Milo and the Bull. And the interesting thing is, historians believe that Milo actually lived. The story goes that when he was a boy his father had him lift his pet calf every day. Not so hard to start with, but when he was done, Milo was carrying around a full-size bull, and apparently he got in good enough shape to win the ancient Olympic wrestling championships six times.

That’s 24 years of total physical domination in sports-obsessed ancient Greece.

So what does Milo, the bull, wrestling, and ancient Olympics have to do with parenting?

Well, one of the most common complaints shared by new parents, besides the utter lack of sleep and multiple diaper changes, zero social life, no time to shower much less shave, etc., is having little or no time or energy to exercise.

It’s not easy, but there is a way. The way that Milo pioneered. It's time to use that baby weight to your advantage. That little 7-pounder may seem small now, but blink once and you’ll be talking about a 180-pound high schooler who wants to wrestle the old man.

And that’s no bull.

That’s why, after almost 15 minutes of research and experience, we have created the Triple Threat Exercise System.

In only 14 minutes a day, you too can shed the baby weight and get that pre-partum bod back, (that’s for husbands or wives) and start thinking about the day when you will actually go outside again. *

This system was designed with parents of multiples in mind, especially if they have an 18-month old daughter as well, but it can be modified to fit any family size.

You know you want your kids to think you’re the strongest man (or woman) in the world even after they turn three.

Come on. You know you do.

*This system is not endorsed by Chuck Norris, and you should always ask your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. (We know you won’t ask your doctor, but we just have to put that in there.) Also, there are other systems for exercising with babies out there, it’s just that ours is better, and the other ones aren't precocious enough to intelligently weave in Greek mythology.

Let’s do it. (The apparent mess of toys and baby books on the floor are put there to add realism. Our house, is of course, spotless.)

Exerce #1: Baby Bench Press. Lie on floor with baby in arms. Press up. Do 10 reps 2x.

Exercise #2: Baby Walkabout. Hold both babies (or one) in your arms and walk in place or around the house...raising your knees parallel to the floor. Try it for 5 minutes. You'll be surprised.
Variations: Calming calf-raiser. Stand on flat feet, raise heel and lower to ground. Repeat. Calms the babies and gives a good calf muscle burn.

Exercise #3: Baby Squats. Hold babies in arms, lower to a sitting position and stand. Repeat.

Exercise #4: Double Burping Quadricep raiser. Hold both babies as you burp or calm them. Put other child on shins. Raise legs parallel to floor. Repeat.

This is only the beginning. The variations are endless. Happy baby-fat burning.
Repeat for the next 18 years.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Family Life

Hanging out
Asia loves holding her brothers

Asia & Daddy
Asia & Mama being goofy


Gram and the boys
The boys with Auntie Holly

Getting ready to head out the door
Tummy Time
Our little princess

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The First Week

My little darlings...
Meeting Uncle Micah....
And Uncle Bran....

Chillin' with Daddy
Asia hanging with Uncle Micah. I'm so proud...I taught her to make that face. hahaha