Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grandma and Grandpa Johnson

After too many years, we finally made it back to Montana to see TC's grandparents. Karlee was just about the size of Zach when we were there last time so we were way overdue for a visit. Since we saw them last, Grandpa has had a very serious health crisis from which he is still trying to recover. He moves much slower and quieter now. Grandpa loves little kids especially kids right around Zach's age; he spent much of the weekend trying to win over his grandson.

Oldest to youngest.

We had a wonderful time with them and the other family members who cycled in and out of their house. TC lived with his grandparents for a couple of years when he was a teenager. Montana, his grandparents and farm-life are high on his list of favorite things. Other than any and all farm talk going completely over the head of this city girl, I have to agree that Montana and the relatives who live there are pretty great.

TC's Aunt Jayne

TC's great aunt Bev

Can you tell how much the girls loved everyone?

In addition to all the wonderful people to visit with, there were many awesome things to do on the farm. The only activity I don't have pictures of is gopher hunting. No one wants to see pictures of that!

The kids played on the haystacks so much that they constantly had hay in their hair and on their clothes. As our girls seem programmed to do, they made up games to play in the stacks and turned a few corners in to hideouts/clubhouses.

Another favorite of the weekend was the four-wheeler! Once a day or so we would all head out for short trips to find the horses, to watch the water coming down the canals or to go to the neighbor's house where a nine year old girl lived.

And finally, there were the horses. On our last morning there, Tim, who works with Grandpa, and his wife brought their horses down for the kids to ride. It was their first time on horses; they have ridden on ponies at the zoo, but I am not even sure if that will appeal to them anymore now that they've been on horses. Tim kept saying that a couple of them seemed to really take to the animals and we would have an expensive and time-consuming activity on our hands. The likelihood of us getting into horse shows and such is microscopic, but it was a good first-time experience for the kids.

We were very sad that we didn't have more time to stay and visit. TC had a hard time leaving Montana especially since we didn't get to go to the mountains. It's always a good reminder for me to see him in that environment. He loves farm-life; the openness, the hard work and the satisfaction of working the land. Of course it helps that Montana has no humidity and plenty of wind to keep you cooler on warm days. I doubt very much that he would love farming as much in Iowa.

The next leg of our trip took us to see my grandma in American Falls, ID then on to Fish Lake, Utah for our family reunion. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 25, 2010


Man, how behind am I?

Just a quick birthday post for oldest and youngest children, 10 and 2, respectively. Their big days are the 8th and 9th of November, but sshhhhhh, we won't dwell on how long ago that was.

Hannah is in the double digits! How did that happen? I do not remember authorizing this. She would without a doubt say that her favorite thing about her birthday was getting her ears pierced. She does look very cute with earrings, but now I just have to figure out how in the world to keep her from looking too grown up. She is turning in to a delightful young lady.

Zach turned two and continues to act oblivious to the camera. Atleast this year, he cared about his presents. He loves all things cars, trains, and airplanes so there was definitely a transportation theme to his birthday. He is the funnest (I know that is incorrect but 'most fun' doesn't quite capture the essence of Zach) little boy ever!

Youngest and oldest. Their birthdays may always hold a little bit of melancholy for me. The passage of time and childhood and all that mushy stuff. But, in the meantime, look how cute!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

First Reading Challenge

**Originally posted on October 10, 2009**

With due pomp and circumstance, I am signing up for my first book blogger challenge. It's all very exciting. I was surfing around trying to figure out the world of reading challenges and finally, heavens be praised, I found the site A Novel Challenge. I actually found several challenges I want to join but this is the first I am ready to join because it was so easy to copy and paste a list of books. Many of these books are ones I have had on my TBR list for a long time. Oh, and I just borrowed The Graveyard Book from the library on Thursday. Quelle chance!

I can't imagine the hours of work it took to put together this list and tally the votes. But my nerdy side is also envious of the time the ladies at Ink and Paper and A Bibliophile's Bookshelf spent elbows deep in book titles and authors. The list is quite impressive; I plan on keeping it for future reference.

Anyway, this is the list of books I plan on reading:
    COLLINS, Suzanne – The Hunger Games
    SNYDER, Maria – Poison Study
    SHAKESPEARE, William – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    GAIMAN, Neil – Coraline
    CARROLL, Lewis – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
    CARD, Orson Scott – Ender’s Game
    GAIMAN, Neil – The Graveyard Book
    BARRIE, JM – Peter Pan
    VERNE, Jules – Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
    CHAUCER, Geoffrey – Canterbury Tales
    KAY, Guy Gavriel – Tigana
    MARTEL, Yann – Life of Pi
    GABALDON, Diana – Outlander

Brenda AKA Inhaler of Books

**For a few months, I was keeping a book blog called Inhaler of Books. I soon came to realize, however, that it wasn't for me and certainly not worth taking time away from this blog which is where my family would like to see me more often. So I am shutting it down, but there are some things I wrote that I want to keep. I am moving some posts over here and I will hopefully take the time to talk here about what I am reading once in a while.**

**Originally written on October 6, 2009.**

My own space. A space to call my own. A space that is all my own even if I do have to be present at my laptop in order to gain access. A space where I can be creative and design to my heart's content. Okay, starting to sound a little like an HGTV show now.

It's been much too long since I've given real purposeful thought to what I read in books. I love reading and I love what I take with me from my reading, but I miss writing about what literature teaches me like I did in college. I had a professor whom I loved but whose name I now, sadly, can't remember who taught me to expand on the thoughts I have while reading. He wanted us to think on purpose and at length. Most of all he wanted us to write it all down.

I loved it! Many students complained about their reading journal but I truly got into the spirit of it. It became a wonderful exercise to me to start out with some thoughts on a poem, short story or novel and see where those thoughts took me. Without sounding too existentialist, I actually learned quite a bit about myself. I also was able to use it to vent my college girl angst. Very helpful since I was every bit as much a twit as the students I now teach.

Anyway, I am happy to have this space. I hope to use it well although I fully and firmly believe that life will get in the way of being here as much as I would like to be. Eventually I may reach out and put my URL out there in the comments box of some brilliant book blogger, but for now this space is mine all mine!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sunday at the park

The weather was a little bit warmer this past weekend so we decided to take advantage of it by going to the park. I love going as the whole family because that means that Tee keeps an eye on Zach and I can take tons and tons of pictures and videos. Not to mention that Zach is happiest when he is playing with his dad so I get better shots of him than usual. Neither parent really felt like going to the park; we did it out of parental duty. Why are we always surprised by how much fun we have?

Of course he was too busy playing to look at the camera.

Gorgeous Maddie

Zach wasn't the only one too busy to look at the camera. Even with the blurriness, this is the cutest pic I got of Karlee

Always willing to pose, isn't she sparkling cute?!


They don't look much alike, do they?

Did you see how fast Karlee got going? And Hannah cheating by running across the finish line?

Zach's favorite park game: kicking Mom and getting away with it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


It's only Oct 10!! There is something unholy and unclean about having snow this early.

Although, if I get some cute 'first snow of the year' pics later I suppose it will be worth it. Maybe.

Monday, October 5, 2009

What a great weekend! Even though TC was out of town celebrating his brother's 30th birthday and it was just me and the kids, it turned out great. Of course, it was also Conference weekend. I love Conference and I love love love having it on TV. We haven't always had cable TV and are actually considering cancelling it when our contract is up. There are only two times a year when I really really want to keep it. Our family has changed in the two years since we got cable and I miss the way we used to be. But this post is not about that.

Having Conference on TV at home means lounging around the house for two days straight occasionally picking up small child detritus so we don't get buried alive in it. It also means that the house feels smaller and smaller with every passing hour.

Hannah's drawing trying to keep Zach occupied.
It means letting the kids eat their weight in candy while playing Conference Bingo.
It means getting excited at the beginning of the Saturday morning session wondering where the new temples will be and if there will be any more announcements.
It means getting teary when President Packer delivers his talk from his chair and when it is obvious how skinny President Eyring has gotten.
It means trying really hard to listen with all the noise the kids are making even though they are trying (sort of) to be quiet and reminding yourself that you can always listen again later or read it next month in the Ensign.
Maddie's artwork of our family.
Most of all, it means listening to the Prophet of God and the Apostles relate to us the things that Heavenly Father wants us to hear right now and showing the kids by example how important it is to set aside two weekends a year to sit at the Prophet's feet - on the TV.
Having said all that, one nice thing about living out here is that Conference doesn't start until 11:00. There is time to get out and do something fun if you leave early enough and if *ahem* you get home at 11:45 and start watching Conference then - thank heaven for the DVR!

We went to a little pumpkin patch here in town with another family in our ward. Even though it was quite small, all the kids had fun. Zach would barely let me put him down. At almost two years, he is very aware of all things scary. I think if I had tried to take him in the "Haunted House" (Haunted Tent, really) he would have gone all Tasmanian devil in my arms.

There was a corn maze and a little train that kept getting stuck in the mud. Hannah and Zach sat together in one car and the first thing Hannah said when they got back was, "Karlee did not stop honking her horn the entire time!" Which makes total sense since Karlee is constantly without stop ever not making some kind of noise. Maddie was in the car that got disconnected from the car in front of her. Not a big deal, but good thing it happened to the easiest going child there; she thought it was funny!

All in all it was a very nice weekend. It is wise and merciful that there are these two weekends a year where we can take a break from everything and soak up the Spirit. Hopefully the soaking up of the Spirit will increase with the age of the kids!