Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas

Julia's first grade teacher asked us if we could come play some Christmas music for her class today. We decided to get everybody involved so we had Audrey bring her cello and brought a couple of "drums" for Natalie. We taught the kids about the different instruments of the orchestra and then each of us demonstrated our individual instruments. We then played "Joy to the World" as the encore. Right before dinner tonight, we decided to get our little encore on tape. We ran through it once and decided that it was too slow so we taped it one more time and got the following video. I'm not sure how Natalie knew that it was right time to give us drum hit but she really nailed it.
Merry Christmas everybody!

Audrey's First Cello Recital

Audrey had her first cello recital a few weeks ago and she was clearly the best girl in her row. She's been working hard to learn how to hold the cello and the bow. She did a nice job at her recital and we're looking forward to many more good things from Audrey.

Natalie's 1st Birthday

Natalie had her first birthday last month and we had a little party with Grandma and Grandpa Jay and Careen who were here for Thanksgiving. We love our little Natalie but it's always a relief to make it to the first birthday. I almost feel like parents should get the presents on their children's first birthdays for keeping them alive. In any case, Natalie had a good day and she seemed to enjoy her first birthday cake.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

two fairies, a good witch, and Cleopatra

On Halloween, the girls spent the better part of the afternoon decorating our yard for Halloween. We already had some spooky ghouls, spider webs, and pumpkins out, but they wanted more and they did it for the most part all on their own. Julia added a sign post with directions to the "White ghost yard", the "skull yard", the "vampire yard" and other scary places. Perhaps the best one though was the poor scooter flung haphazardly on its side, buried with leaves. The girls are standing in front of a sign that tells of the "Legend of the bad crash of the scooter: 200 years ago thear was a famos scoter rider that was riding a scoter in a grave yard then a ghost showd up and made a huge crash hapen then the famos scoter rider was killed." R.I.P. scooter rider.


We took our annual trip to the farm for a hay ride and pumpkin picking and we had an especially good time this year. During the pig races, Julia got picked out of a large crowd to be the representative for our section of seats, which was the "Yellow Team." There were four sections and four corresponding pigs and Julia's little pig won the race! The prize was a pig nose, which she wore proudly. She was a very excited little girl to be chosen out of such a large crowd.
Our girls are starting to become good friends. (When they're not fighting) The other night, the girls were fighting over who got to sit next to Natalie so they compromised and both sat close to her. They kept trying to get Natalie to make her famous scrunched up "face" and, as you can see, they were successful. We have some funny little girls.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kamikaze Barbie

Our ward had a pinewood derby race the other night. The normal height and weight restrictions were lifted for this activity because they wanted to encourage creative entries. So, for family home evening last week, we all got pieces of paper and sketched several different ideas. There were some very interesting ideas for different cars including a toilet car as well as several different kinds of food cars. However, the winning design was the barbie car in the pictures. She wasn't very fast but then again she wasn't really built for speed. The winning car was a block of wood straight out of the box with some rocks taped to it. The "builder" of that car said that he used "Physics and stuff" in the construction process. Even though we didn't win the race, we had a good time.


Audrey and Julia spent a couple of very happy hours yesterday playing doctor. This morning while cleaning, we found the following record of their adventure:

Patient's Name__________________Anistasia
Phone Number____________________540-67
Last Name_______________________Herbert
Eye Color_______________________Blue
Doctor__________________________Dr. Dawn
Tongue Hole_____________________1/1
Eye Stuff_______________________Blind
Hair Color______________________Blonde
Chest Growth____________________None
Scout___________________________White Dots
Middle Name_____________________Min

So, aside from blindness and the lack of chest growth, our patients seem to be healthy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Virginia Hams

I don't want call my baby girl chubby but as we were walking by this sign in Fredericksburg tonight, we just had to get a picture. We're not the only ones who think that Natalie has some adorable meaty rolls. Last week for family home evening, Julia prepared a lesson on the importance of family. She drew a picture of a handsome dad, a beautiful mom, a lovely daughter and then she included the following picture of a baby. I wonder who her model was? (notice her rolls under the supporting arm)

Friday, June 11, 2010


A few weeks ago, we took the girls to Busch Gardens, VA and we had a great day. The girls were pretty brave on the kiddie rides and they wanted to try bigger and bigger rides as the day went on. About halfway though the day, we cut straight across the park which took us by the one spot in the park where the four big roller coasters cross paths with each other. We had a particularly good view of the big drop of the tallest roller coaster in the park, called the Griffon. A group of what sounded like terrified girls went flying by us, screaming bloody murder which stopped Julia dead in her tracks. She was ready to march up and hop on. We explained that she was 46 inches tall and the minimum height requirement was 53". She could not get the Griffon out of her mind and she later asked us how she could grow more quickly. We told her that she should start eating her vegetables because vegetable would make her grow big and strong.
Ever since that explanation, Julia has been eating plate after plate of vegetables. I consider this a miracle because before Busch Gardens, she wouldn't eat anything green if life depended on it. Any little piece of broccoli , a single pea or even a minuscule piece of herb would cause a twenty minute battle of wills at the dinner table. Now, she eats spinach, asparagus, broccoli and whatever else we throw at her without a single complaint. Sometimes she'll ask, "How many inches will this piece of broccoli make me grow?" before she puts it in her mouth. We tell her that it will make her grow so tall that it will make her crash though the ceiling. She will then look at it as if to study whether it's worth it or not, and then eat it. The change in attitude about food has been pretty dramatic. For example, the other day we were supposed to be at Julia's school for a kindergarten class concert at 6:30. We were pretty busy that day so I said, "Girls, why don't we go 5 Guys for some burgers?" Julia immediately responded, "No Dad...Fast food isn't healthy." So, I had to quickly cook a healthy dinner instead. Today, we went out to Firehouse Subs for lunch and she ordered a salad! After all of this, I think that I'm going to do what any parent would do-- buy her some high heels and take her back to Busch Gardens at the end of the summer.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Inn at Little Washington

Since we couldn't go on a fabulous trip for our 10th anniversary, we thought we would do the next best thing: EAT! The Inn at Little Washington is an old historic hotel located in Washington, VA, just next to the Blue Ridge Mountains and about 1.5 hours NW of Stafford. Inside is one of the top-rated restaurants in the nation with a 5 diamond ranking. Needless to say, it was food art. Incredibly detail-oriented, beautiful, perfectly cooked, perfect ingredients, etc. etc. Pictured is one of our desserts: the seven deadly sins. I wish we could have taken pictures of our entire dinner. An unforgettable experience with my sweetheart and best friend.

10 years

June 3, 2000 Temple of the Lord

June 3, 2010 Temple of food

It's been a wonderful 10 years!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

lovely models

The girls had an impromptu fashion show today. Fashion designed by Julia and Audrey.
Makeup and Hair by Julia and Audrey. Fashion and makeup donated unknowingly and very generously by mom and dad. Natalie decided to go au natural.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Comic Genius?

I never knew that a lime could be so funny.
(Natalie at 5 1/2 months)

Mother's Day 2010

For Mother's Day this year, the Johnsons decided to email a special video to Grandmas and since it features everybody in our family, I decided to post it here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

There's the Connie and the Leeza

Condoleeza Rice was in town a few weeks ago as a featured speaker for the Richmond forum. As part of her program, after the intermission she wanted to play the second movement of the Brahms D minor Violin Sonata. So the forum people called the symphony and the symphony called me. They announced me as the "accompanist" but I'll take it. The experience was a little surreal. I'm not prone to being star-struck, but this was different. A truly amazing lady.

But check this out too:

Monday, March 8, 2010


We reached a major milestone today in our big project. The carpet guy installed the carpet out in our music room which completes the room. I did a couple of fist pumps and then brought the girls out to check it out. They liked the room quite a bit because there is no furniture in it yet so they've turned it into their very own dance hall/race track. It was fun to see them having a good time in the new room but my enthusiasm waned a bit when I looked over just in time to see Audrey wiping her bare bum along the new carpet. The carpet was also christened by Maisy moments later by all of slobber failing from her mouth due to the fact that the ceiling fan was on. A few months ago, I teased Maisy by putting one of her toys on the ceiling fan and then turning it on. Ever since then, if she sees a fan on, she assumes that one of her toys is on it and she will sit or stand under it for hours, staring with crazy eyes and breathing so loudly that you have to almost yell to hear over all of noise. So, the new carpet is no longer pristine but I'm still a happy camper. Special thanks to Dad who offered some expert tile help. I'll be adding a murphy bed in the coming months and the space will also have a full bathroom which should be completed in a month or so. So, family and friends, Hotel Johnson is now accepting reservations!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Some favorite Proper Nouns in Audrey-Speak:

"Chicky" = Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's dog Tiki

"Buddy" = Woody from Toy Story

"Blue Tomato" = the Blue tango, which is Grandpa Jay's favorite ballroom routine to perform with any willing grandchild. Audrey is a fan.

I'll add more when I think of them

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Natalie's Blessing Day

Today was Natalie's blessing. I (Karen) got to dress Natalie up for the first time. Before the blessing, I usually just take my babies to church in whatever sleeper they are wearing for the sake of convenience and less laundry. However, on blessing day, I love getting them in their white dresses, tights, and cute shoes for the first time in their lives. It's like a rite of passage almost as much as the blessing. (Notice Julia behind me taking the picture by remote. It was the only way we could get her to appear in the photo)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Before and After

Karen told me that I should include a "before newborn" and "after newborn" photo of my face. So, here they are.

Recent Snow

We got a large snowstorm a few weeks ago. This may not look all that impressive to you folks in Utah but it was one of the largest snowstorms in VA history. I might add that it took me a total of about 7 hours to shovel the driveway. Right when I finished shoveling, I turned around and saw Winston, the very naughty neighborhood bulldog, walking up our driveway.


You may have noticed that I haven't added any entries since Natalie's been home from the hospital. There are at least three reasons for this. First, my laptop got dropped one too many times last month and finally died. In three short years, the poor computer went from a shiny new piece of art to a bruised and battered and, finally, broken machine. Let's just say laptops and small girls don't mix very well. Second, I've been busy finishing our music room in the new detached garage. If I get an hour or two, I try to spend it chipping away at the project. The good news is that I'm almost done. The bad news is that if I continue at the rate that I've been going, I won't be done until May of 2019. Okay, that's not quite true. I hope to be done within a month's time at which point we'll start taking reservations for Hotel Johnson. The third and most significant reason for my lack of blogging is the fact that newborns are put on this earth for one reason...TO SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF PARENTS!!!! Sure, they're cute. Yes, they smell good. And yes, those little smiles do light up the room. However, they also cause certain things to happen to parents' faces and brains that far outweigh the cute little things that they do. For example, in the six weeks since Natalie was born, my face has gone from a normal albeit slightly wrinkled state to a grotesquely distorted and nearly unrecognizable condition. My brain has, admittedly, never worked quite right but the problem has exploded to the point that I'm considering writing my own name and telephone number on my hand every day just in case I can't remember.
Do I love my new daughter? Absolutely!! Am I grateful for her? Without question. Do I enjoy the newborn stage? Let me answer that by having you take a look at my face.
Here's a couple of recent pictures of the happy times.