Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Branny!




It was my little bro's 21st birthday today...so we celebrated with him. He was the baby of the family until my kiddos came along. Asia calls him Branny.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day!!!




I think Asia's about 1/16th Irish...so...this is for her drop of Irish blood!!!

We enjoyed a wonderful St. Patrick's Day with 80 degree weather!!! Plus, we had corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread and creme brulee. YUM!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Princess

Asia at 22 months.
Weight: 23 pounds 8 oz.
Height: 31 inches
Asia and Grampy went out to feed the dog... Since it was raining when they didn't come in for quite a while I began wondering where they were... I found them like this...Asia told me she was driving fast. Grampy has been working on the boat in the carport...so it was a prefect place to play out of the rain.
The "Little Miss" wearing daddy's shoes.
Asia loves drawing on our glass doors...many hours of entertainment!!!

Leif and Slater

At their four month checkup:
Leif
Weight: 13 pounds 4 oz.
Height: 24 inches
Slater
Weight: 12 pounds 9 oz.
Height: 24 inches
Grammy and the boys. They are holding hands.

Daddy and his boys.
Leif
Leif
Slater

Great Grandma Justice & G&G Johnson Visit

Brian's Grandma and parents came for a short visit. Yes, Asia is screaming...cuz she really hates having her picture taken.


Great Grandma Justice and the boys.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another 24 Hours




The following takes place between 7:50 PM and 5:30 AM

7:50—Asia is crying in bed so I go get her, ignore her cries for mama and calm her down myself. Finally, she goes back to bed.

8:05 time to feed the boys again…Leif decides he’s hungry—and we always try to feed them together. SO, we get both boys up and they’re eating. Hey, it’s been two hours.

8:20 Change Slater’s diaper again. Poopy.

Burp them, dress them, hold Slater for a while cuz he has hiccups.

8:50 Finally they are both down. I’m about ready to follow them.
9:00….time for bed

11:40 PM We overslept. Brooke says she woke up holding her alarm, so apparently she turned it off while semi-sleeping. I get the boys up. Two more diapers. Feeding. Burping. Ra Ra Ra.
12:40 Leif is down. Slater won’t go to bed. I hold him. I comfort him. I ask him to go to sleep. I say please. I pray to God. I beg to Slater.

1:40 AM. One hour later and Slater is still awake and so am I. Finally, we decide to have an early feeding and so I get up Leif also, and we start all over again.

2:40 AM. They are finally asleep.

4:40 AM I get the boys up again and change their diapers. Asia starts crying so I get her. She goes down with milk. But in about 5 minutes she is crying again. I realize that my shorts have suddenly become soaked. Apparently her princess pajamas are too. I go in and change her diaper and her pajamas and hold her until she goes down again. The girl is finally crying for dada instead of mama. That’s a good thing.

Asia is in bed with us, apparently It wasn’t just the wet diaper. She isn’t too happy.

5:30 the boys are down, and we are going back to bed. 24 hours is over. Another 24 has just began. The Fog of Fatherhood is in full force, but we have survived. Tune in some other time when we have the time to actually write down another season of Inside the Real 24: The Paternity Leave Chronicles!*

*No babies were harmed in the making of 24. Just parents.

Monday, March 9, 2009

24: Carbon Monoxide Alarm




The following takes place between 7:00 and 7:45 PM.



About 7:00 PM —An ear-shattering alarm suddenly explodes my daddy brain into readiness. I jump up and hear screams. Flames? Smoke? ….No, Asia set off the Carbon monoxide detector in her room. She’s not supposed to touch that button…but buttons are soo much fun to push. So she did. After calming a flipping-out daughter and getting the alarm off, all is once again calm. Asia is supposed to go to bed at 7 PM. Tonight it will be a bit later.

7:15—I read to Asia


7:35—Time for Asia to go to bed…she wants mama—no, she wants me.


No, Mama.

No, me.

Brooke has told her no more books tonight--- so she wants daddy. But, I get her and start taking her to bed, and when she finds out that I won’t read her any more books either, she stops being daddy’s little girl and starts crying for mommy again. Oh well. At least she has a love of good literature. Her favorite bedtime pal at this time is books. No kidding. She likes to have about three books in bed with her at night instead of stuffed animals. Finally she goes down.


7:45 I’m sitting watching The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, holding both boys, thinking about self-defense. While holding twin boys, how am I supposed to protect them if the Bad Guys come? There must be some sort of martial arts for parents of multiples—using only piercing screams and high kicks….I should Google it… Or make it up.


Somehow I could figure out how to use dirty diapers in lieu of throwing stars and numchucks, and use head butts and a diaper bag and my legs to protect my kiddos. I’m not sure. You just feel really vulnerable with both hands full. The boys are happy. I put them down.
Good. I can now revert to normal martial arts if the bad guys come.


Tomorrow: Another 24 Hours!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

24: Asia Awakes








The Following takes place between 2:20 and 6:15 PM.



2:20-2:40 Asia wakes up from her nap, but she is still really sleepy. For the first time I remember since she started walking, she cuddles….for 20mn. I get to hold my little thunderbolt, and that rarely happens when it’s not bedtime. Aww…



2:42-2:45…change Asia’s diaper. Aww…my goodness. What did she eat.



2:50 A friend from church brings supper.



3:00—time for boys to eat—I change Slater, He starts pooping on the changing table. But I’m good. I catch it all in the diaper….no wardrobe change necessary…yeah!...and then he pees all over his shirt. Great.



15 minutes later, change Leif’s diaper. He has flatulence that would make a 14-year old boy in freshman gym class proud. Frightening.



3:35—Brooke’s mom is at our house, and is burping Leif. Brooke asks me to dress Slater, until we suddenly smell Asia. Poopy diaper. Brooke makes a sudden about face and decides that if I can change the poopy diaper, she would be glad to dress Slater. I comply. Sometimes the mission requirements can change in a heartbeat. But the goals (parental and marital survival) remain the same.



4-5:20 Nap glorious nap. Not for Asia. For me. These days it takes me almost 45 seconds to fall asleep.



5:20-5:40 Supper…fast



5:40 Asia is ready for her bath, I clean up the dining room, and get the boys ready to eat. I have a break for one night… Brooke’s mom bathes Asia.



6:00 I get the boys ready to eat, two diapers, one poopy. Slater again pees everywhere. I change Leif, by the time I get him into the living room, he’s already dirtied his diaper. I underestimated his ability to refill his Huggies.



6:15—The boys are eating, I rearrange Asia’s room to get her crib away from the outside wall which is colder than the other side of the room.



I change Leif’s poopy diaper. Really poopy. By the time I get him back into the living room, this time it’s wet. I once again have underestimated his ability to refill with speed. Tomorrow: Carbon Monoxide Alarm!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

24: The Trouble with Milk, Air Filters and Checkout Lines




The following takes place between 1:30 and 2:20 PM.


I pull into the Wal-Mart parking lot, observant as usual. A parking space is available up close. So far so good. I enter the store. First stop, diapers. First problem. The ones that I want have only one box left, and the top of the box has been compromised. It’s partially open. After a quick check of the contents, I can see that the inner seal is still intact. Fog averted. Item #1 acquired.


I’m getting them.


While shopping at Wal-Mart during naptime, speed is of the essence. Allowing a few extra seconds for each item on the list can be near-fatal when trying to live on the schedule of three babies. I try to act casual. Much more casual than I feel. I’m a daddy on a mission.


Next stop. Milk aisle. I stop for Asia’s whole milk, and suddenly realize that almost every gallon has been compromised by a dairy disturbance. Milk is dripping all over the milk compartment, making a Wal-Mart size mess. I finally find the good gallon, expiration date acceptable. I’m on my way. The Fog is coming closer.


Next, I need a new air filter for our heater. Our old one should have been replaced 6 days ago. Shame. Shame.


Filter size needed: 20x25x1. Inches, not feet. The brand I used before has every size but that. I look some more. Not available. Should I ask for help? No. I would rather fumble my way through the Fog than ask for help. What can I say? I’m male. Who do you think starts wars and then writes books about them anyway?


There is a 3M alternative. But it’s more expensive. But wait, it also lasts longer. Some quick calculating show that the 3M filter will cost 4x as much as my normal filter and last 3x as long, which will mean an end price difference of about 25%. Or something like that. But, with the amount of time saved and the fact that the 3M filter is probably better for babies, (I saw the commercial on TV) I decide to go for it. 3M it is.


Finally, last stop. Lunch meat. I wait in line. I wait some more. I still am having more trouble than usual reading my watch because of the cheese that somehow got smeared over the watch face…I wonder who did that…


The lady finally says “next.” I get my meat and head to the cash register. This is where the Fog usually strikes, when all bets on choosing the fastest line are off. It seems like no matter which line I pick, I always end up behind the person who thinks that the sugar she is buying should be 30 cents cheaper and the cashier has to call the manager who has to get a price check to come in from the plantation in Hawaii where the sugar was grown before I can pay for my stuff.


This time, it’s me. For the first time ever, my signature is not accepted on the credit card screen. I write it again. This time it works. I must be more tired than I thought. I can’t even write my own name. The Fog of Fatherhood has come. I’m enveloped. I’m also driving.
Next episode: Asia Awakes!

Friday, March 6, 2009

24: The Wal-Mart Wars

The Following takes place between 1:00 and 1:30 PM.
It’s Wal-Mart time. During university, one of the books I studied was on war, by Clausewitz, translated from the original German. The name of the book is, ironically enough, “Vom Kriege,” which in English means: “On War.” Subtle, I know.

Clausewitz’s most famous phrase is “Fog of War.” Basically what “Fog of War” means is, you can lay the best plans in the world, but everything from real fog to faulty communications to misfiring weapons to almost anything you can imagine can ruin those plans once operations commence. Sort of like Murphy’s law for the military.

Before D-day, General Eisenhower said it well—“The Plan is nothing. The Planning is everything.”

Which basically means, if you know what your objectives are, you can overplan to the point that even if quite a few things go wrong, you can still make it back from Wal-Mart (or the park, or the mailbox, or whatever) alive and with most of the things on your list. Even if you have an 18-month old thunderbolt along. Today I am Wal-Marting solo. It’s a strange (and very rare) feeling. My own challenge is to survive the Fog of Fatherhood.

Operation Wal Mart is commencing.—I pull out of the driveway. But at my normal left turn onto the highway, a truck is blocking the whole left lane. Unsafe situation. I deftly whip around in time and use my alternate escape route.

Anyone watching would never think I’m existing on caffeine IV drips and 4-5.5 hours of sleep a night. Fog averted. Finally I make my way onto the highway. The church garage sale that supposedly had a very cute and cheap toddler size dining table that Asia would love is still open. I pull in. The table has already been sold. I’m back on my way to Wal Mart. Tomorrow: The Trouble with Milk, Air Filters and Checkout Lines!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

24: Cookie Crisis Meltdown



The following takes place between 11:38 AM and 12:50 PM.



11:38 Asia has a minor meltdown over cookies she can’t have. In between the unhappiness I quickly make a grab for some cheese. Or as she says, “CHEESE!!!” The cookies are safely hidden. The cheese is semi-happily eaten. Unhealthy bad parenting feeding choice crisis averted.

Now it’s time for both boys to eat. I wake up* both boys and change their diapers. They only stay awake to eat if their clothes are off, so their “handsome boy” outfits come off and it’s diapers only once again.


*In case you’re wondering, we feed the boys on a schedule, and if you think that waking up sleeping babies is nuts, then try dealing with always feeding them one at a time instead of together on a schedule…all of a sudden it makes a lot of sense.

Time to burp some boys.


Asia just tried to pull a wooden chair over on top of her. I caught it just in time.

12:00 Asia’s lunch time. A few minor meltdowns, nothing worth writing about.

12:45—I wash Asia’s hands after lunch (after washing off her food-encrusted body) and quickly grab the microbe-filled sponge from the sink that is going towards her mouth. One minute later, I quickly pull her hand away as she starts to squeeze Slater’s nostrils shut. I have three babies that are breathing regularly. It’s a good day so far.


12:50 Asia’s naptime. I have to go to the grocery store. Tune in tomorrow for: The Wal-Mart Wars!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

24: The Paternity Leave Chronicles Episode 2


The following takes place between the hours of 8:45 and 11:30 AM

8:45 The boys are up. Asia, after a bit of comforting and a few kisses and a few more hugs is just fine after getting crushed by her changing table.

Diaper change time. I change one boy, hand him off to Brooke, start changing the other one, halfway through, Asia, trying to see what’s happening, manages to grab the cord of the baby monitor and pulls it off the dresser. I catch the monitor in midair with one hand while working on changing a diaper with the other. Just another day of lightning-quick daddyhood reflexes…The boys are soon eating.

9:45 Just finished feeding, burping, and putting down the boys. This included holding Slater for an additional 20 minutes because he had the hiccups, and changing his diaper. Again. They’re finally down.

I’m up. It’s a good morning so far.

9:50 I finally have a chance to make my coffee. Our blog “Java with the Johnsons” is not just a clever name after all.

Brooke calls to me. Apparently I didn’t put the boys close enough to each other in their crib. Slater is trying to roll himself closer to Leif. The theory that twins sleep better together is now proved to be a true one. For us at least.

While the coffee is brewing, I kiss Asia’s ouchy, and relax a bit. 11 diaper changes so far. I think. It could have been 9. Tomorrow’s episode: Cookie Crisis Meltdown!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

24: The Paternity Leave Chronicles Episode 1


The following takes place between 5:30 and 8:40 AM.

5:30 AM--- We wake up the boys, I change their diapers and they have the first meal of the Season.

Then, first post-meal diaper change, not of the day, but of this 24 hour period. It was one of the twins. I can’t remember which one.

I think I changed two more before they went down after their 5:30 feeding at about 6:20.
Asia already decided to wake up at about 5:30. I tried to get her back to sleep. For once she was calling for “dada” instead of the “mama” thing. But, when I tried to put her down, she reverted to screaming “mama.” I took her in to see the twins and she hangs out during the feeding.
I change her. Brooke takes a milk-replenishing nap. I take care of Asia. The boys are sleeping.
8 AM—Asia has had breakfast, while watching Sid the Science Kid. Hey, it’s PBS, and it’s educational, and I’m too tired to care.

I change her diaper again, it’s wet. 5 minutes later, I change it again. It’s poopy this time. Do I count one extra diaper? The little sticky tag thingy broke off on her diaper so I had to use another one.

6 diaper changes so far, in 2 hours 10 minutes. If I didn’t actually change those two at the boys 5:30 feeding, my bad. I can’t remember for sure; I’m just a touch beyond utter exhaustion.
8:30—disposal of nuclear diaper waste. I think it’s close to the size (and potency) of The Football.

8:40—I start getting the boys up…a scream pierces the morning air. Asia has managed to pull over her changing table on top of herself for the first time ever. Pause, comfort. Check for broken bones…fortunately I was once an EMT. Will the boys first real outing be to the ER? Will Asia be all right? Tune in tomorrow for the next episode of 24: The Paternity Leave Chronicles!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Inside the Real 24: The Paternity Leave Chronicles

For those of you who haven’t seen the TV show 24, I’m right with you because I’ve hardly ever seen it either. But as we’ve started raising twins, the main thematic element of the show has been coming back to my mind with surprising regularity.

Everything on the show’s season takes place within a 24 hour period, which is probably how they came up with the name. The main character, Jack Bauer, is having a very bad day. He has to save the world before the clock strikes midnight and terrorists from the mountains of Montana turn us all into radioactive pumpkins. Or whatever the crisis du jour is.

Now, we’re not saving the world here, but in all honesty, it sometimes feels that way.
I’m sure that Jack Bauer’s kid was young at some point, and if Jack took paternity leave, he would have had a very different version of “24.” If you’ve had a child (or say, three children in 18 months) you know what this version is like.

So, welcome to The Real 24. In this slightly more realistic version than the Fox show, contestants have to keep infant twin boys fed, diapered and usually not screaming. Not a challenge you say? Well, our little kicker to the plot is the 18-month old wonder named Asia who has more energy than the Chinese National Gymnastics team. (And in about 6 months, she should be about old enough to join.)

Instead of torture scenes, we have 3 AM feedings and double, make that triple, diaper duty. There may be no crazed terrorists trying to capture The Football, which as most people know contains the launch codes for America’s nuclear arsenal. But, we do have disposal of nuclear diaper waste, which is close in potency to a dirty bomb. We also have Asia running around the house at 11:30 PM, yelling her head off. (We couldn’t get her. Brooke was feeding one boy and I was burping the other.)

The premise is simple. Survival is the goal for us, the parents. The goal we must achieve with our tiny trio is two thriving and happy baby boys and one daughter who smiles and smells like lavender all day long in the spotless duplex in which we live. Parental guilt is not an option.

So, for the next few posts, join us for a look inside Season One of 24: The Paternity Leave Chronicles. Hour one starts tomorrow. The following season takes place between 5:30 AM Nov 7, and 5:30 AM Nov. 8, 2008.

The fact that this happened about 4 months ago should let you know something about my amount of free time. The boys were less than two weeks old at the time and Asia was 18 months old…how time flies. What’s the prize for winning? The pride of having played well, and Another 24 Hours.