Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Morning Playtime

Remember when I posted this first video of Caroline's morning playtime? Well, it looks a lot different now that she can sit up and truly play. Dan and I continually marvel at what a BIG GIRL she seems with this newly acquired skilled! I can only imagine what the next big milestones will bring.

Monday, March 29, 2010

6 Months

Well hello there, blog. I've missed you. Sorry it's been a week. Caroline has been busy turning 6 months old over here, so I've just gotten a little caught up in all the excitement. Thanks for understanding.

That's right...I have a SIX MONTH OLD!!! And it seems as though these past few weeks have brought more change than I knew was coming as far as Caroline is concerned. She has been exploring new skills every day, and it is so much fun to watch. Yet, somewhere within her mommy is a small sadness that her newborn is no longer that. Any other more "seasoned" mommies out there that can relate? It's such a mixed bag - but a wonderful one nonetheless!

Here are a few of her current "stats" at the half-year mile mark:
-She weighed in at 16 lbs. 8 oz. at her Doctor's appointment last week, officially [more than] doubling her birth weight of 8lbs. (They didn't tell me percentages this time...)
- She is now 26 1/4 inches long - up 6 inches from birth
- Her new favorite thing is sitting up all by herself! She looks like such a big girl just sitting there playing across the room.
- She can roll from front to back, but has yet to master back to front (which could have something to do with the fact that she still doesn't like tummy time...she knows better than to get herself into that position!)
- She has been eating yummy rice cereal for a couple of weeks now, with the current addition of prune juice. It was a hit (in more ways than one...)!
-She currently goes to bed about 8pm and sleeps until 7-8am [most nights]...which makes for 2 very happy parents!
- She LOVES peek-a-boo, which nearly always gets a good giggle.
- She has a very funny, very high-pitched, very LOUD shriek which she likes to throw out on occasion, just for kicks.
- The previous new skill is why she experienced her first Sunday in the church nursery yesterday :-)
- She also has a fake cough, which usually kicks in about the same time Daddy gets home from work. Which leads me to my next stat...
- This girl is head-over-heels for her Daddy! And the feeling is certainly mutual :)
- No teeth yet, but she seems to be working on it a lot these days.
- She is still a very happy, very content baby. Something my Grandpa Schoon used to say, I think about me as a baby (is that right, Mom?), is very true for Caroline - "She just waits for someone to look at her so she can smile!"

Here are a few pictures of our beautiful six-month-old Caroline Harper:

Just waking up (and yes, we still swaddle her)

Flower Child

Showing off her new skill of sitting up like a big girl! (and looking quite proud of herself)

Trying to figure out the sippy cup.Hiking with Mommy & Daddy
Ready for the picnic!

"Aw, man...I think Mom is holding out on me. This has GOT to be better than that mush she keeps giving me."
A peace offering - melon instead of oreos.
"Man, I like food! Even mush mixed with prune juice...good stuff!"

Monday, March 22, 2010

just because they're cute

This was shortly after Dan arrived home from work one day last week:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

4 Years

4 years ago today, I woke up surrounded by my family and best friends. Well, truth be told, my best friend and long-time roommate Shelby had to wake me up - just like she had a hundred times before. But this day, March 18, 2006, was different than any day before or since because this day I would wear white, be escorted down the aisle by my dad, hand my flowers to my sister standing beside me, and exchange vows with the man who would give me his last name. On this day four years ago, Dan Johnston became my husband, took me by the hand, and we headed off on this crazy adventure together that just keeps going.

And I have loved every minute of it!

Okay, maybe not every MINUTE - there have been a few of those minutes. But every day, week, month, year of it? Absolutely.

Usually at a mile-marker like a birthday or anniversary, one stops to ponder and comes to the conclusion I can't believe it's been that long! But today I feel like it has been every bit of those 4 years we celebrate today. After all, here are a few of the big changes we've gone through together in that time:

-I graduated college
-We moved from Iowa to Tennessee
-Dan started grad school
-I searched for and found my first job
-We lived in a tiny shoe-box apartment together where we used an airmattress as a couch for a time until we could afford a used couch off of Craig's List
-Dan moved from class-work to a full year of rotations in which he essentially changed jobs (some of them away) every 6 weeks
-Dan graduated, passed his boards, and got his first job as a PA
-We moved again, this time across the city to a nice little town home
-We found out we were expecting!
-I got laid off
-Dan switched jobs (and fields of medicine)
-We had our first child, Caroline, in September of 2009

Whew! When I think about where we were 4 years ago - in wonderful Orange City, I still in college and Dan working construction, surrounded by our dear college friends, and totally clueless as to what marriage would really be like - to where we are now - in Nashville, TN, Dan with a great job and I at home with our nearly 6-month old daughter - when I think about that, I feel every bit of those 4 years we have traversed together. And I can say without out question that there is no one else in this big wide world that I would rather have done this with, no one else who could have loved me better through each and every change, and no one who could have made it more fun!

To a wonderful husband, fantastic dad, and crazy-fun best friend: I love you with every fiber of my being, Dan. And I can't wait to see what these next 4 years, 10 years, even 40 years (Lord willing) will bring for us.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First Bites

Last night we officially began solids with Miss Caroline. She was a little unsure of the first few bites, but before we were done she was about to fall out of her seat trying to get some more. It came as no surprise to us that the kid likes her food!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fun at Avans Farm

This weekend we had the opportunity to head out to Avans Farm with some friends for a fun 3-day weekend away from the big city. They have a beautiful cabin/retreat house - the same place we stayed over Thanksgiving when Dan's family came to visit. And they have horses and 4WD golf carts and fishing and hiking's just wonderful. We were SO excited to head back out there after our fabulous time over Thanksgiving.

I didn't do a very good job of remembering to take pictures, but Mr. & Mrs. Avans are the best hosts and actually take pictures for you and give you a disc with everything before you leave - it's a brilliant idea. So here are a few snapshots of our time there:
Mr. Avans giving Dan & Justin a few tips before they embark on a ride across the countryside.
A little family outing in one of the golf carts. Caroline really like to wear camo.
Our sweet friends, Justin & Hannah, out for a stroll. Hannah was digging that air force jacket (a gift to Dan from Tommy a few years back).
Caroline checking out the kitty-cat...from a safe distance.She wasn't quite ready for horseback riding this time, but she really did seem to enjoy being outside. There was lots to see!
Dan collecting worms for a little fishing excursion. He seems pretty grossed out by this one...he really should have let me show him how it's done.
The weather was not the greatest - it rained a lot and became quite damp & chilly. But a little weather never stops me! I'm hardy. I really am a farm-girl at heart.
Midnight & me, ready to head out.
Daddy & Caroline about to do a little exploring.

The weather really was a bit of a bummer, but as you can see, we still made the most of our time. We enjoyed plenty of chill time indoors, too, which made it a very restful weekend and allowed for lots of hang time with Justin & Hannah, which was wonderful. Fratts, thanks for being brave enough to come on a little Johnston family adventure! We had a blast :-)

P.S. Unfortunately I don't have a picture to document this, but Caroline rolled over for the first time while we were at the cabin on Friday night! I think she just knew she had an audience - she acted like it was no big deal at all. The little bug just flipped right over!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

a few more

More pictures from Aunt Kelsey:

like this one...

I don't know how she ever captured a picture of my sweet girl looking like this.

How about this instead:

That's more like it.

Either way, you can check out more pics over at her blog today. Enjoy!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

We had a fabulous weekend with my sister & her husband (Dan's brother, as we like to call him), who were able to come down from Louisville for a quick visit. The weather was GORGEOUS and we took advantage of the opportunity to get outside. Saturday morning we packed up some food (including some homemade tortilla chips Kelsey whipped up and some fresh guacamole I made...and we all ate ourselves sick) and headed out to our favorite park. The boys had lots of time to play, throwing the football and running down hills...which resulted in this:

But he's tough, so don't worry about it.
We went on a good long walk enjoying the weather,
Grilled some brats & pineapple (YUM!),And just chilled :)

Aunt Kelsey took in lots of snuggles with Caroline,

and Uncle Brent even did a bit of serenading...which Caroline LOVED.Even Mommy snuck in some snuggles in between the smitten Aunt & Uncle.

On Saturday evening, they gave Dan & I a chance to sneak away for a date (which I don't have pictures of at the moment) which was wonderful! Sunday morning we headed out to church and took in another beautiful day. Kels & I made lunch together - which took entirely too long and was a bit disappointing (my fault - it was a new recipe and sounded much easier than it was), but we still were able to share a meal together and laugh at a naked baby for awhile.

It was a wonderful weekend, all in all, and I'm so thankful once again that they made the trip down. I love having them close enough to do little weekend trips like this - what a blessing. And Caroline doesn't mind either :-) They brought this adorable little spring dress for her this time:
Caroline thought bubble: "I can't believe I'm related to these crazy people..."

"But at least they know how darn cute I am!"
More pictures to come...but I didn't want to steal all of Kelsey's thunder since she was the one who took most of them. Thanks for more beautiful pictures, Kels! And thanks again for making the trip - we love you and miss you both already.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

New Walker

Caroline is loving her new walker! And so are Mom & Dad as it's a great new place for her to hang out. Mostly she just loves to suck on everything she can reach, which is pretty funny to watch sometimes.
"This is good stuff Mom! You should try it sometime!"
Of course, it might be a little more fun when her feet touch the ground :-)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Jewel!

Happy Birthday Jewel! 21 years old, huh? We're so proud of the beautiful woman of God that you are becoming. We love your crazy personality and sensitive spirit, and we know that God has big things in store for you. We miss you so much and wish you lived much closer than the frozen tundra of Minnesota!

In honor of your birthday, I decided to share this priceless video with the world. Caroline has so much to learn from her Aunt Jewel :-)

*Note - this is from Thanksgiving, when Caroline was just 8 weeks old.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dear Grandma,

So my Mommy & Daddy told me that today is your birthday. So I thought to myself...

hmmm...what can I do to make Grandma feel special today? I wish they would have given me a little more time to come up with something! So I sat and thought about it for awhile.
Wait a second...Mommy's trying to pull a fast one on me! Man I wish I could read. But I think that piece of paper is going to get in the way of what I'm trying to do here.

Anyway, back to you Grandma. I love you! And I'm sending smiles & hugs & kisses all the way to California today!

Wait a second...I think Mommy is at it again. I think I need to investigate.

Just what do you think you're doing, Mommy? I'm trying to wish Grandma a Happy Birthday here.
Oh've got a water glass! I'm suddenly VERY thirsty! I can almost....reeeeaaaach.....come on!
I've about had it with you, Mommy. Put that thing down and give me the water glass.

Sigh. Mommy isn't cooperating, so I guess I'll just have to tell you Happy Birthday without her help.

Happy Birthday Grandma!! I love you and miss you sooooo much! Can't wait to see you again.
Caroline (your favorite granddaughter ever!)