Saturday, December 18, 2010

Just Because

Here's a recent video of Caroline - just a typical morning at home, just the two of us. I have the best job in the world!

Friday, December 17, 2010

new post

There has been some concern expressed in my lack of blogging lately...oops! No need to worry about me, it's just been busy around here. That, and I've been feeling terribly uncreative -- even a step down from my typically uncreative self. Perhaps I used up all of the creative juices decorating my house for Christmas. Perhaps keeping up with a toddler just does that to a person. Perhaps I've just been lazy. Whatever.

So I've decided to try and do several days worth of the "photo challenge" all at once. And maybe that will jumpstart my creativity. Maybe not...but it's worth a try! Here goes:

Day 8: A photo of your favorite band or musician -

Sara Groves! Love her voice, love her style, love her lyrics, etc etc etc. I've recently been enjoying her Christmas album - over and over and over. Because that's usually how I listen to her music.

Day 9: A photo of your family
This is my entire family when we were all together at Thanksgiving. Even though we're not exceptionally great in number, it is more challenging than you would think to get us all together in one place, and then to also remember to take a picture. I love my family dearly, and I am so thankful that we all truly enjoy spending time together. I also love that Dan and Brent (my sister's husband) refer to each other simply as "brother," and that my parents love having the guys around just as much (if not more sometimes!) as Kelsey and me. And of course Caroline. But she's always the star of the show when she's around :)
I don't have a picture of all of the Johnstons all together, but I promise to try and take one over Christmas since we'll all be together!! We're so excited to have a Tennessee Johnston Christmas next week!

Day 10: A photo of you as a baby:

There I am - all dressed up for church with my beautiful Mama. And just in case you were wondering, yes, I was every bit as bald as Caroline. Thank goodness for bonnets and hats and headbands!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Since I skipped Day 6, here it is - a photo that makes you laugh:

Not hard to explain why this makes me laugh - it's pretty ridiculous. But it also makes me laugh to remember so many fun times growing up with my sister. It really didn't take much to entertain us most of the time, thanks largely in part to my parents requiring us to go outside and just play. Also thanks largely in part to my sister & father's crazy imaginations. Kelsey always accused me of having no imagination (I preferred to play with my chemistry set, while she was outside playing follow the leader by herself - there was probably some truth to the accusations), so I relied on them for our games of make-believe. But if carving pumpkins didn't take much creativity, it did take some thought to try and make the same face as the one we had carved. I think I came pretty close, don't you?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

blah - and I love my husband

We made it home last night around 1:00 AM, just in time for the stomach bug to hit me full force. Awesome. Fortunately, we had absolutely nothing to do today so I have spent the day on the couch alternating between sleeping and reading my book. I still haven't eaten much, except for the chicken noodle soup Dan made me work on a bit, but I think I've turned a corner anyway.

Speaking of Dan, it just seems appropriate to skip to day 7 for today - a photo of someone you love:

While it's true that I am beyond blessed to have many people in my life who easily fall into this category, my husband really belongs in a category of his own here. I love him for so many reasons that I can't even begin to name them all on here. One of those many reasons is pretty apparent in both of these photos - he is an incredible Daddy.

If you can't tell, he's pretty crazy about that precious little girl of ours. He knows how to make her laugh, but he also knows how to care for her most basic of needs. I've laid on the couch all day long today, without needing to lift a finger. Dan has fed Caroline 3 meals, gotten her up and down for 2 naps, dressed her, changed her, bathed her, picked up her toys, done some laundry, taken her out for a walk, ran to the grocery store during nap time (after unloading the van), snuggled with her, disciplined her, changed her several more times, etc etc etc. He even made some baby food for her to make room in the freezer for some frozen berries he bought to make me smoothies. And that's not to mention a single thing he did for me - which was an equally long list including keeping a fire going for me all day, keeping my drink cup filled up, and even holding my hair back when necessary (sorry if that's TMI).

There are things you know about a person when you wed, and there are things you cannot possibly know about that same person until you are years down the road. I loved Dan with all my heart when we said our vows nearly five years ago. I trusted him wholeheartedly. I expected the best. But I couldn't even think to ask for someone cabable enough to care for our child when I was ill, or someone compassionate enough to slip a headband in my hair and get me a wet wash cloth while I lay on the bathroom floor. I'm not sure I ever wanted anyone besides my mother to see me in such a state. But marriage has ways of surprising us along the way. Dan has surprised me time and time again since March 18, 2006. And with every surprise, I manage to love him a little bit more.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

hello again

As you've probably guessed by now, Dan & I headed home to Missouri last Friday and have enjoyed a full week here in the heartland. I brought my laptop home this time with good intentions of blogging more often while I was here...and you can see how well that went. There is just too much going on with family and friends all around, and I can't stand the thought of missing a minute to be on this silly computer!

Anyway, here I am today, loading pictures before we hit the road again this afternoon and high-tail it back to the [much warmer] South. We have had such a sweet time with family, and I promise to share some pictures when I have a little more time. In between all of the family time, we also got to see some dear friends, my life-long friend Kandi and some of Dan's Cali friends who now live in KS, Travis & Jenny and their sweet little Bella. We are so blessed to have so many dear friends in our lives.

For now, I'll get back to my little photo challenge. For Day 5, I'm supposed to post a picture of myself, so here you go:

I'm certainly no beauty queen here (as opposed to all of my other photos - ha!), but Dan snapped this when we were hiking along the Natchez Trace back in early October. There aren't many things I enjoy more than being out in the woods with Dan (and now Caroline, too) and no one else, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, away from the noise of the city, with nothing around me except God's beautiful, peaceful creation. We were hiking along a creek in this picture, and Dan is always amused when we have to climb over a fallen tree or hop our way across some rocks to avoid getting wet. After all this time, he still forgets that I'm kind of a nature girl at heart until he sees me again in my element, and I think he snapped this picture as proof. This will probably manage to resurface the next time Dan tries to convince me to go stomp around in the woods again. I will then point out that I am wearing shorts and a tank top here, and that this totally and completely loses its appeal when I have to wear 32 layers to keep my toes from falling off. I'm just sayin.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 4 - plus some new videos

Day 4 - a photo of the last place you went on holiday

I'm not sure if this counts as a "holiday" or vacation or whatever you might call it, but the last trip we took was to Jamestown, North Dakota for a friend's wedding. (No, it was not a destination wedding, believe it or not.) Some friends snapped a few pictures for us before the beautiful outdoor ceremony, and I was so grateful to have a few shots of all three of us dressed up for a moment in time! It was a good trip, but a bit stressful at times. Caroline decided sleeping in a hotel room was not exactly her cup of tea.

Now these have absolutely nothing to do with the photo challenge, but I thought you all might enjoy seeing them anyway. The first video is of Caroline playing with Grandma & Grandpa Johnston and her new kitchen. Grandma is officially moved to Tennessee, and we could not be more excited to have them just an hour away! In fact, we even met Grandma for lunch today and a little afternoon shopping - such a treat! We are embracing the blessing of having family so close after being hundreds and thousands of miles apart all of our married life.

And this video is from yesterday morning -- Caroline's new favorite game seems to be crawling underneath anything she can possibly squeeze her little body under. And as you can see, she can squeeze into some pretty small spaces!! Crazy kid.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 3 - a photo that makes you happy

This was a tough one to narrow down to one photo. I have so many that make me smile! I've been looking through the challenge a little more, and most of these are supposed to be photos of yourself. Goodness knows you all have seen a bazillion Caroline pictures here in the last year, so I'm going to try and stick with the challenge of posting photos of myself. (But don't worry, Caroline will still pop up all over the place, I'm quite sure!)

Moving along, here is the photo I went with for Day 3:

There are so many things about this photo that makes me happy. I'll start with the obvious - we look so completely ridiculous! This was taken my junior year of college (Dan's senior year) at an event we had each spring called "Lamrof" ('formal' spelled backwards). It was basically a dance with a ridiculous theme that called for some imaginative costumes and some good, old-fashioned, small-town fun.

The year was 2005, and the theme of that Lamrof was "My Big Fat Dutch Wedding," a play off of the popular movie about a Greek wedding and the local Dutch population/heritage in our college town. We actually had a campus-wide vote for the bride and groom, and one of my closest friends ended up being selected as the bride, and therefore asking me to be one of her bridesmaids...hence the dutch costume each of the bridesmaids donned that night. I will never forget getting ready in Rebecca's dorm room, fluffing her thrift-store, over-sized 80's wedding gown, applying too much make-up, and laughing until our sides nearly burst. We even had a wedding procession from our dorm, where the groom and groomsmen came to escort us over to the cafeteria/reception hall.

After the wedding party was released from our duties, I met my date, who was dressed as my "cousin from Missouri" in an outfit courtesy of my cousin Barb. I think everyone else was supposed to dress as wedding guests, and people really used their imaginations :-)

Aside from all of the craziness of the event itself, Dan and I were just weeks away from becoming engaged and blissfully, head-over-heels in love. Looking at this picture brings back so many wonderful memories in an instant - walks around our quiet college town, staying up way too late to finish homework because I had spent too much time with this boy, being surrounded by my best friends, random nights like this where we had no cares in the world (except maybe hoping that somehow I could pull-off looking cute in a dutch costume to impress my "cousin from Missouri" with the mullet).

Those were definitely some good times. Do you think Northwestern would take us back?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 2 - A Photo From a Year Ago

This picture makes me happy :) This was my Mom's first trip back to Nashville after Caroline's birth, and I can remember so many details so clearly. It was a sweet time as we enjoyed a 6-week-old Caroline, and she and Nana spent lots of time just "visiting."

I remember dressing Caroline that day with the intent of getting some good pictures of the 3 of us. This was one of the first full outfits that I bought for her, and I absolutely loved this little sweater. I had no idea that it would only fit for a handful of weeks! My little chunky monkey was packing on the pounds (well, ounces is more like it) back in these days!

Monday, November 15, 2010


As you've probably noticed, I've been lacking a little blogging inspiration as of late. Things are great around here, but I just can't seem to pull together a blog post to save my life. Last week, my friend Jenny (who is a fabulous blogger - you should check out her page if you never have) started this 30 day photo challenge. I think it's just the inspiration I need to get out of my little slump! Being the un-creative type that I am, I love having a formula to follow - I love recipes and directions and rules and step-by-step instructions that take the guess work out of things. Call me boring, but I'm just embracing who I am :-)

Anyway, we'll start with the photo for Day 1: your facebook profile picture

I've already posted this one here, but I'm just following the rules, ok? Besides, I think this picture is worth seeing twice - isn't she beautiful? When my Mom visited last month, she brought with her an entire suitcase full of "new" clothes for Caroline that she had picked up at a local garage sale. She knew the people holding the sale had especially good taste in clothing and a little girl who is just a couple years older than Caroline, so she made a point of being there when they opened. This is one of the little outfits she snagged - and it also has a long, peach-colored angora wool sweater to match the hat. Great find, Nana! I'm pretty sure no one would suspect this little fashionista wears hand-me-downs, but my wallet is grateful.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's Official

I officially have a walker on my hands. She has been making lots of progress and basically walking for about a month now, but just yesterday she suddenly stood up in the middle of the floor for the first time - and she hasn't looked back! Today the little munchkin was practically doing laps around the house. And she is so very proud of her accomplishment, too. She jabbers happily as she goes along, more content than ever to play by herself, bringing me various treasures from time to time. It's a joy to watch her discover this new skill, even if it means everything just became slightly more chaotic around here :-)

So does walker=toddler? I'm not sure I'm ready to totally let go of the baby stage quite yet, but I'm realizing I don't exactly have that option. Ready or not, here we go!

Here's a little video of her stomping around my disaster of a kitchen. It's a little long, but she was so cute, I just couldn't turn of the camera :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Go Colts!

Here are my Colts fans getting ready for a little grill-out before the big game tonight. Caroline is quite the little helper these days!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sneek Peek

I have a lot of new pictures to share, but not much time this evening. Just thought I'd give you a sneek peek while you wait :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dan, Dan the Mountain Man

Caroline seems to have turned a corner today, for which I am very grateful. Ear infections are no fun, sir. She currently waking up from her nap, so I need to keep this short.

Last night Dan was working on transferring some firewood from his truck to the back of our house, which is a process that requires some serious work since our townhome doesn't allow for a way to get a vehicle behind the house. As he was making his trips through the house, he said to me, "You should really take a video of this to post on your blog and call it Dan Dan the mountain man."

I won't keep you waiting any longer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Visit to Daddy's Office

Caroline and I had a date scheduled today - lunch with daddy. Unfortunately, she woke up from her nap feeling a little feverish. I called Dan to let him know and we decided I should bring her on over to his office anyway and he'd check her out. It just took a quick look in her little ears to discover the problem - her first ear infection :(

Daddy thought she was a good patient, especially considering the circumstances. We drove through the pharmacy on the way home and picked up her first antibiotics. Sad day :(

Tonight all she really wanted to do was snuggle - which is very out of character for our busy girl. Daddy didn't mind though. The two of them snuggled down on the couch for some Monday night football.

I'm praying she feels better in the morning. Those sad little eyes are just about enough to do me in.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Big ONE Year Old!

On Monday Caroline had her official 1-year check-up. The Doctor gave her an A+, said she is healthy and growing right on track, and was especially impressed with her communication skills (Caroline was quite chatty that morning and even showed off some of her sign-language she's been learning). I thought I'd share with you her official stats, as well as a few of my own notes on what my big one-year-old is up to these days:

  • 28 1/8 inches tall, 25th percentile (she started at 20 1/4")
  • 19 lbs. 5 oz., 25th percentile (she started at 8lbs even)
  • I didn't write down her head circumference, but it is in the 75th percentile...and still perfectly round :-)
  • She currently only has 3 teeth and is working on a 4th - 2 bottom, and 2 top, but not in the middle. She might look a little like a vampire, just in time for halloween. Perhaps there is a Twighlight character she could dress up as?
  • She knows sign-language for about 7-8 words now, including more, all done, please, milk, drink, eat, bye-bye, and almost has thank-you.
  • She is so close to walking. I feel like I've been saying this for awhile now, but it's been true for awhile it seems! She has taken about 8 steps clear across our living room and often takes 3-4 steps between furniture to get to where she wants to be. She just hasn't quite figured out how to "take off."
  • Her favorite toys are containers that can be emptied and filled over and over and over again. She has a couple of purses she got for her birthday (complete with a real wallet and fake credit cards - her favorite thing to take apart) that she plays with a lot. She also loves music and "dances" quite often when it's on.
  • She's happiest when she is with her Daddy, and especially when they are outside. She'll sit quite still and listen for birds (her Papa even taught her about crows) and airplanes (a very frequent sound at our house), pointing excitedly when she hears or spots one.
  • She is a great sleeper (do I dare say that out loud?). She goes to bed around 7:30-8:00 and typically sleeps until about 7am. She still takes a nice, long morning nap (between 2-3 hours!), and then another afternoon nap of about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. It's going to be a sad day for me when she drops down to 1 nap!
  • She's becoming a better eater. Some of her favorite foods include yogurt, oatmeal, cheese, sweet potatoes, any type of fruit, and yogurt melts.
  • She is officially weaned, as of this week. I could probably write a whole post on this as there are a lot of mixed feelings for me, but mostly it's been a smooth transition and I'm (mostly) relieved to be done. She has been a little hesititant to drink whole milk, but with a little encouragement and formula mixed in, we're making progress. As previously noted, her love for cheese & yogurt helps me not worry too much about her getting an adequate amount in this department!

I could go on and on, but you all are probably bored by this point. I realize that I am totally biased, but Caroline really has such a sweet spirit and loveable little personality. It didn't even take close to 12 months, but at this point I can say with full confidence that she has totally and completely stolen our hearts this past year. It is one of the greatest joys of my life to watch her grow each day.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Picture Perfect Day

Today was just about as perfect as they come. Dan and I decided some time ago that this was the weekend we would set aside to go camping. Well, I was a bit hesitant with the whole tent camping thing with Caroline (even though I love it ordinarily), and after our recent crazy travel schedule we decided that just a day of hiking, exploring, picnicking, and adventuring would do just fine. And just fine it did!

We headed out this morning in time for Caroline's morning nap and were able to get all the way to our destination while she snoozed. A couple of years ago around the same time of year, we camped and explored the historic Natchez Trace and fell in love, so we headed back for this same gorgeous stretch of land. When Caroline woke up, we got her out and let her stretch for a bit before we hit the trails.
She was a little unsure at first...

But with a little encouragement from Daddy, she was ready to go!

Our little naturalist investigating one of her specimens from her perch on Daddy's back.

She spent most of the hike in Daddy's backpack, but then decided she needed to do a little hiking herself.

We soon learned that this is actually Caroline's idea of hiking:

"What's the problem, guys?"

We drove a bit further down the Trace, then stopped for a nice picnic lunch. Caroline was parched after her long hike.

Our picnic site was conveniently located right next to another trail that followed a creek, so we were off again after our lunch.

Caroline was plum wore out by the end of that hike and took another nap in her new big-girl carseat while Mommy & Daddy enjoyed the time to just drive and talk and take in the gorgeous scenery.

We even did a little "off-roading" (as Dan likes to call it) on portions of the original Trace. It doesn't get much better than this!

We lingered a little too long at an old cemetary we happened upon, and Caroline decided nap time was over. So we decided to stop for one more quick hike at a waterfall and do a little more exploring.

These two...they have so much fun together. And in case you were wondering, yes, Caroline did come back wet from this little excursion. (But considering the 85* weather, it wasn't a problem)

She really can't get enough of the great-outdoors.

A quick self-[family] portrait. (At least we're all looking at the camera)

Here's a peek at our drive home - GORGEOUS.

At the end of a wonderful day, we stopped in a small town South of Nashville and ate a delicious, Southern-style meat-and-three dinner, complete with sweet potato fries. Then we walked just a little bit more and took a few last pictures to end the evening.

Being in God's creation is so refreshing for my soul. It's even more refreshing to take in the beauty of Fall with my husband and daughter by my side. I'm so thankful that God gives us days like these, days that create precious memories that I will carry with me forever.