Wednesday, July 18, 2012

9 Years!

Hey hon, it's your husband. Sorry, I couldn't find any other pictures of our wedding. People probably think these are the only three pics we have of our wedding.
But, since the rest of our copious amounts of wonderful wedding pictures are back in America in storage, and we are on an island in the South Pacific, these will have to do.
I wouldn't recommend a 10-day engagement to most people, but it definitely worked for us. (We will of course forbid such irresponsible action for our children) And, I wouldn't suggest moving to Taiwan 2 weeks after your wedding to most people--but it was a perfect place for our first year of marriage.
And, I definitely wouldn't  recommend that the average couple have 4 kids in 3 years, but hey, despite the impending gray hair and new stress/laugh lines coming out in my rapidly aging worked for us.
 And we're still laughing.
We definitely haven't done things normal...but I wouldn't trade the last 9 years with you for the world. And that's saying something---because together, we've seen quite a bit of it.
Love you! You will always drive me crazy, but I'll take insanity with you and our Fantastic Four over any form of normalcy.
Normal is boring. And besides, we get a coconut tree in our backyard.
Happy 9!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Americans Abroad

We started out the 4th of July by calling the grandparents on the computer. The kids had LOTS to say.  Then, we taught them how to put their hand on their heart during the national anthem. Asia is doing it, Leif is too...Skye had both hands on her stomach, she was really trying hard... Slater was not in the mood for a picture.
And, it's almost sacreligious not to bbq on the 4th. So of course, we did.

We, along with our language helper, also watched videos of everything from Lee Greenwood to a History Channel special about the 4th. We listened to our national anthem, God Bless America, My Country Tis of Thee, and of course, Yankee Doodle.
That way we could talk about it, and compare and contrast Philippine Independence Day and their history with ours. (in Visayan of course)

I don't get homesick a lot. But it's kinda funny how good ol' Lee Greenwood singing "God Bless the USA" makes me miss home more than usual : ) I don't even listen to country music... 
Burgers, hotdogs, potato salad and watermelon. And, kalamansi juice. It's a great lemonade substitute.

And, cherry crisp. It's as American as apple pie. Almost. 
Then, this evening we let off three flying lanterns. Colors? Red, white and blue of course! 
The kids LOVED the lanterns. They actually flew really well, and it's the first time we'd ever done it. But probably not the last. Might make a good family tradition... 
The last lantern, Blue, gets ready to fly. 
Wherever we take the kids, a crowd tends to gather. When you're launching miniature hot air balloons, the crowd is even bigger than usual. 
All done! We walked back home, and called it a day. Happy Fourth of July everybody. And to everyone serving our country, and to all those who have served, Thank You!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

PE Time!

It's 7 AM on a Monday morning, and school is in session! First things first. I throw all four kids in our little black school bus (a.k.a jogging stroller) and we run our way to the local soccer field.

Hop out and do some warming-up.
Soccer goals are definitely multipurpose instruments. Everything from pull-ups, balancing, and whatever the twins are doing is possible on these things.
Everyone loves their turn at the firemen's carry. And this way even daddy gets a work out.
Asia Layne Johnson, initial preparation for the 2024 US Olympic Track and Field Trials, probably to be held in Tracktown, USA. (That's Eugene, Oregon of course)
And, Skye is probably getting ready to be the coach, because she LOVES to be in charge.
 If it's rainy, no worries, we've got everything from Taebo to ballet on tap.

PE should be fun, and at the Johnson usually is.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sari-Sari Stores

What's across the street from Starbucks in the US? That's right. Starbucks.

What's across the street from a Sari-Sari store in the Philippines? You guessed it. Another Sari-Sari store.
One of the ubiquitous features of almost any street in the Philippines: multiple "Sari-Sari" stores. You know how in the US you go mooch an egg or a cup of sugar off your neighbor?
Where we live, SO not necessary.

There are 12 to 15 Sari-Sari stores within a one-block radius of our house. What can you get there?
What CAN'T you get there is the real question. 
That is everything from sardines to sugar to monosodium glutamate in little bags to...well I'm sure you could use the stuff in those bottles for some type of cooking. 
But wait, there's more. Tired of buying those space-eating Wal-Mart size bottles of shampoo and body wash? We've got the solution. Just buy singles at your Sari-Sari store. No more wasted space! You have to shop a little more often, but the store is only 25 yards away from our house. 
And, after a long, hot walk with the kiddos, you realize, there's no soda in the house.

 No Problem!
 You can buy your orange pop and Sprite for the three kids who LOVE "orange Coke" and "green Coke." And you can get that one bottle of water for your 5-year old who for some weird reason won't drink soda, or any other sweetened drink, and you have instant widespread happiness. Yes, since you ask, they are drinking their pop in little plastic bags.
(**Disclaimer: We very rarely give our children soda, and since one of them doesn't even like it, we must be doing something right.)
And what better way to get to know your neighbors than to hang out at the Sari-Sari store? Aww...that's such a cute baby in the background. 
Run out of minutes for your cellphone? The Sari-Sari store has them! Load up on your cellphone minutes while sipping your Sprite-in-a-bag, picking up your spare can of sardines, and chatting with the neighbors.

Where can you get the local gossip? you guessed it.

Power outage at your house? Don't know why? The people hanging out at the Sari-Sari store do. Or at least they have some good theories about it, if you want to hear them.

Could it get any better?!?
Yes, actually, it could. When you see the smile of your youngest child when she finally starts to master drinking soda with a straw out of a plastic bag, you feel a great sense of parental pride.
I bet you wish you had Sari-Sari stores on your street too. Well, that's ok!
We currently have openings for new missionaries...if you wanna come, we have a Sari-Sari store (well, actually a dozen or so) just for you!

But, this is a limited time offer, so pick up your phone now!

Oh, out of cellphone minutes? Wow, you know, if you had a Sari-Sari store on your street, you could fix that problem in like 5 minutes...