Thursday, June 23, 2016

Big, busy, chaotic ... what is it?!

Big, busy, chaotic ... those three words could describe many things, but they definitely sum up our weekend in the Big Apple.  It's just how New York City runs.  Always fast moving, crazy, and a bit of a whirlwind.  And as much as the beautiful city has to offer, it's really not for me.  I know, I know ... 
there's lots of shopping, lots of Broadway shows, and tons of entertainment wherever you turn.   I 
guess the truth is I'm just a country girl at heart ... 

We stayed at the beautiful Lotte Palace Hotel in Manhattan.  Originally a residence, the hotel was stunning.  The grand staircase, detailed architecture, and beautiful chandeliers made for a picturesque backdrop.  

Our first day was spent walking around the city, taking in some of the sights and then some fun in Central Park.  

We walked by Radio City, through Rockefeller Center, and the kids had the most fun on the random amusement park rides in Central Park.  Abby's favorite ride was the swings (of course) and Levi enjoyed flying the airplanes.  We ate lunch at Ellen's Stardust Diner ... A definite recommendation for anyone traveling to NYC with kiddos.  It was an easy way to see some future Broadway talent, right in front of you while you eat. 

Our second day in the city was jam packed ... starting with another trip into Central Park, this time to check out the Zoo.  Grizzly bears, bats, penguins, seals .... The kids enjoyed the animals and it was neat to see the Zoo that provided the backdrop for the movie Madagascar.  

After that we met up with the Hines family for some afternoon fun!  They were our old neighbors from Baltimore, who we continue to see once or twice a year if we're lucky.  Living in NYC just a couple more weeks, it was great to catch up with them - plus they doubled as some awesome tour guides!  Ha!  After am interesting Subway ride, we hopped on the ferry to Governor's Island.  This was the perfect place for the kids to RUN and be free for a bit.  The kids enjoyed the climbing apparatus and hammocks ... and of course taking in the incredible views of the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty.  

We ran into one of Abby's schoolmates while in the big city and it was even crazier that we were all staying at the same hotel!! 

Across the street from the hotel stood St. Patrick's Cathedral ... One of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen.  The architecture, the stained glass, the detailed ceilings ... Wow!  We were able to sneak in during Sunday's mass and take a peek around.  Abby, Levi, and I also lit a candle and said a prayer.  Even though the kids didn't fully understand, it was really a special experience.  

Of course a trip to visit Daddy wouldn't be the same without going to some baseball games.  This time we were able to check another ballpark off our list.  Citi Field was beautiful and it was fun seeing the hubs pitch at a different ballpark.

Overall we had a fun time in the Big Apple!  It was great spending the weekend with Jordan, catching up with old friends, and taking in the sights of a new place.  But for now, it feels good to be home (well, back in the ATL) .....

Huge shout out to Scott & Liz - you guys are rockstar travel advisors! ;)


Monday, June 13, 2016

Sweet, sweet Charlie.

Dear Charlie,

You are one of my motivations behind this blog ... without even knowing, you've pushed me to start back up again ... to keep writing.  You see, I love that this blog is a scrapbook, a treasury, a special gift for when you get older.  Over the past six years I've captured a lot of memories and I want to continue for you.

At eight months, you are a happy baby.  You've always been a happy baby.  Nothing really bothers you -- except the basics... hungry, tired, need a diaper change.  When you smile it lights up the entire room.  You are absolutely intrigued by your brother and sister -- and you watch their every move.  And because of that, you're learning so much.

Learning to talk (ok, babble) and talk LOUD. You're just starting to crawl and soon you'll be all over the place.  You're also attempting to pull yourself up on furniture and in your crib.  You can clap your hands, play Patty Cake, give high five, and wave.  There is no doubt you are one busy little lady.

We started baby food earlier with you ... it seemed you were ready and with every bite we took at the table, you pretended to chew right along with us.  So we tried it ... and you loved it.  You continue to love it, unless it's green ... then you take after your Grandad.  ;)  Recently we started introducing solids ... shredded meat, pasta, cheese, yogurt, and small pieces of fruit.  You are doing such a good job and really are such a good eater!

Charlie, you have the BEST big sister and big brother.  Ever.  They both love you so much.  Abby is a little Mommy and takes such good care of you.  Levi loves to entertain you and make you laugh.  It's such a joy watching them love on you.  I can't even put it into words.  Their love for you is just so, so special.

Sweet baby, we love you so much and feel so blessed that God chose us to be your family.  Will you do Mommy just one, small favor?  Stop growing so fast ... there's really no rush!!



Thursday, June 9, 2016

Family of FIVE, what?!

I'm sure every writer has a writing hiatus at some point.  Whether it's writers block, pursuing other goals, or the standard not enough time, it happens.  It must.  Right?  Either way my hiatus lasted a year and in one year a lot happens. 

Not to bore you with everything that happened in the course of one year, I'll give you the quick rundown.  Our summer was full of exploring a new city ... the city of Atlanta, where Jim signed with the Braves.  For the second year in a row Megan was able to spend her summer with us.  Being pregnant and chasing two kids in HOTlanta proved to be much easier with her help!  In July Jim was traded out to LA to finish the season with the Dodgers.  The kiddos and I then packed up and headed home to prepare for the birth of our third baby. 

Wow.  The birth of our third baby.  The Johnsons became a family of five.  If you have been a follower of my blog then you'll remember this is the baby I prayed for.  And when I say I prayed for this baby, I mean I PRAYED.  Caring for two little youngsters was already a challenge and at times it felt like my heart was full.  Then there were times that sadness emptiness would creep in and I kept second guessing myself.  I wanted another baby.  I knew three would be crazy.  I knew three would be exhausting.  But I also knew deep down I may regret not having another baby.  My heart had more love to share and more cuddles to give.  So I prayed ... and prayed ... and God answered our prayers with the news of a healthy pregnancy.

Enter Charlie Elizabeth.  We kept her gender a secret until birth and it was truly the most amazing experience ever.  Being convinced we were having another boy, I was completely shocked and surprised to meet our new baby girl. Charlie is the sweetest baby and has added so much joy into our lives.  Her big sister and big brother are the absolute best and it's been wonderful watching them enjoy their baby.

My heart is full.  My heart is happy.  God has proved to me that three is our magic number.  It just feels right -- it fits -- it's our family.  Our family of FIVE.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Am I really doing this?

Here I sit.  On our comfy sofa, The Talk on the tv, and ocean waves coming through the baby monitor  as sweet Charlie naps.  It's a rare extremely rare quiet moment.  I honestly can't believe I'm sitting here, typing away on a blog that hasn't been touched in a year.  A YEAR?!?!

So what has me back?  There have honestly been several times that I've wanted to write, share pictures and stories, and file our family memories here in this blogosphere.  I simply was too tired or didn't have enough time.  Then the other day a conversation with one of my best girlfriends got me thinking.  A simple conversation about hobbies led me back here to this space ... my journal, my scrapbook, a most treasured keepsake for my children.

Hobbies.  I hadn't really thought about my hobbies in awhile.  Since adding a third child to our already busy lives, my hobbies seemed to fade into the past.  My time now consists of changing diapers, chasing after high energy kids, grocery shopping, laundry, playdates, and several trips to and from schools for drop off and pick up.  My hobbies had become my kids hobbies ... and that just doesn't seem quite fair.  So my girlfriend and I got to talking about our hobbies.  And when I couldn't come up with any, I felt silly.  I felt angry.  Slightly pathetic.  How couldn't I have any hobbies of my own?!  After all, the hubs has hobbies.  Golfing, hunting, racing, fishing .....  How was it that I couldn't think of one, single hobby?!?! It wasn't only me - neither could my girlfriend.  It's almost like after becoming moms, our free time became limited and so our hobbies were easy to dismiss.

After some laughs (thankfully we could laugh about this together), my girlfriend and I thought about some potential hobbies.  Painting.  Gardening.  Reading.  Hmmm, I do enjoy reading.... A LOT.  Cooking.  Traveling.  Exercising.  Another possibility, but not truly considered a hobby.  Shopping. Baking.  Too much of either of those and it's bad news.  ;)  Paddleboarding.  In Florida with SHARKS?!!  At the end of all this, what did I come up with?  NOTHING!

Nothing.  Nothing UNTIL ... I continued this conversation with another one of my best girlfriends.  Right away she reminded me of something I loved.  Something I was and still am very passionate about.  Writing.  Keeping my thoughts written down.  My blog.  Why hadn't I thought about this?  I love using the blogosphere as a place to vent, pray, share incredible stories about my family.  And I've missed a lot of time, a year ... ONE YEAR.

What does this mean?  I'm not going to take the time to catch up on a whole year of memories, but I can promise that I'm going to write.  I'm going to make time to enjoy my hobby.  First up ... an exciting blog makeover that is LONG overdue AND a huge thanks to my girls!