Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year! Reflections on 2011

One of the first things on my long list of New Years Resolutions for 2012 was to start a blog.  I love to write, although I'm not very good at it, but it still doesn't keep me from trying.  I was also inspired by a fellow blogger, who has an absolutely AMAZING blog.  Google "High Heels and Dirty Dishes", start from the first post, and I promise you won't be disappointed!  

This first post in my blog is to make up for the 32 Christmas cards that I still have sitting on my kitchen table.  If you actually got a Christmas card from us before Christmas - feel loved.  If you got one before the end of this year - well you can feel loved also.  If you've gotten one since January 1, be thankful because I was going to recycle the cards for next year.   If you haven't gotten one yet, don't worry about it.  You are still loved too.  I'm planning on mailing the rest out next week.  So, you can either look at the glass half empty (OMG - look how delayed she was in getting Christmas cards out) or you can look at the glass half full (WOW!  Christmas cards already, and it's only January - that Cathe Johnson sure is efficient!)  I prefer the half full glass myself.  To go right along with my Christmas cards,  I get this brilliant idea every year that I'm going to write this cute, witty, fun Christmas letter that goes back over the past year.  Of course in the letter I leave out all of the embarrassing moments our kids handed us throughout the year and I conveniently leave out all the bad words they might have said at the most inappropriate time, but alas, like my Christmas cards - the letter never gets done either.  So, my very first blog post EVER serves two purposes:  1.  I'm making good on a 2012 resolution - GO ME.  and 2.  This first one is in lieu of the Christmas letter that I never sent out.   And to keep you entertained, I'm putting in some of the embarrassing stuff - bad words and all.

January 2011 - January brought the first of 3 business trips to Philadelphia for myself.  This means, it was the first time that Garry had the kids for longer than a day by himself.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried.  The last time I had left for longer than a day, was in 2008.  Garry and Brayden met me at the airport and Brayden didn't have a coat or shoes on.  It was October and it wasn't one of those warm Octobers either.  So I had a few reservations about leaving him with two little ones.  I knew he would take good care of them, liking making sure they stayed fed - I was mainly concerned that they wouldn't have their clothes changed more than once every couple of days.  As it turns out, I really had nothing to worry about - when I got home there was a trail of dirty clothes all over the house which means, someone had their clothes changed.  Emma had pajamas on, and while I didn't smell them, I'm just going to go with "they were probably clean."  Lucky for Brayden, he's big enough to change his own clothes.  So he was laying in his bed with half a Buzz Light Year costume and half a zookeeper costume on.   Garry and Emma were happy to see me when I returned - but I think Brayden was the happiest.  He had told my mom that I was never going to come home because I was staying in "Philafelfia forever to go shopping." 

February 2011-When the snow falls, I stay home.  Driving 45 minutes one way to work in good weather is one thing.  Driving 45 minutes to work in bed weather is something else.  So take that February Blizzard of 2011 or the snowpocalypse as we like to call it in our house.   We were fortunate that we had enough diapers, milk, cheese sticks, and chicken nuggets to get us through the few days that we were home bound. When it was finally time to "unbury" ourselves, the snow had drifted so high in spots that you could barely see the top of my car. I attempted to uncover it, but tired quickly and decided I would just wait for it to melt.  Now if I would have actually waited for it to melt, I probably would have had to stay home for at least another couple of weeks. Lucky for me my husband stepped in. I think he did it simply out of the fear that if he didn't unbury the car that it that I would just stay home indefinitely.  The kids and I lovingly watched him from inside our warm house.  Brayden would say "Daddy looks angry" and I would reply - "he's not angry he's motivated".

March 2011- In March, we went to see Disney's Toy Story 3 on Ice. Emma stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Poisal while my sister, sister in law, two nieces, one nephew and my own husband and kids piled in 2 different cars and headed for the Sprint Center. Brayden found a love for Toy Story sometime shortly after his 2nd birthday during the previous year.  We sat just a few rows away from the ice, and watching Brayden's face light up with pure joy and amazement at every little moment in the show is something I will probably carry with me for the rest of my life. I love to see my kids happy and that was defintiely a happy moment for my son. He quickly forget just how much fun and happiness he had once the show was over.  Enter super duper meltdown in the parking garage.  "I don't want to hold your hand!!!"  "I want to go watch the show!!!"  "I don't want to wear my coat!!!"  So, the kid had fun, but he was still two at the time.  And while the twos are a majority of the time terrific - they have there terrible moments at times. 

Emma turned one in March.  We celebrated with a Garden Party on quite possibly the coldest day in March.   I was thankful that I had decided to have the shin dig inside instead of on actual grass...or in an actual Garden.  We painted flower pots (and nobody ate the paint) and we decorated cookies (and I saw several licks of icing.)   It was a special day, and right smack dab in the middle I decided I was going to start toning down the birthday parties because they are truly exhausting.  Before I went to bed that night, I had already picked a theme for her 2nd birthday party.  Eh - the toning down thing seemed like a good idea at the moment.

April 2011 - The big news in April???  Garry turned 30!  Because I'm such an awesome wife, we celebrated with cheesecake and gifts.  He got $50, two Monster energy drinks, and a box of Just for Men haircolor.   Thanks HyVee for taking care of all my birthday shopping needs!  

May 2011 - Brayden turned 3 in May and we celebrated with a Toy Story party.  He requested a really cool cake, cheese puffs, and orange soda, so I delivered.   We did something special at his party and requested that the guests bring items to donate to a local women's shelter instead of presents for the birthday boy.  I was a little worried that he would be upset that he didn't get tons of gifts, even though we talked about how it was nice to do things for others and just how fortunate he was.  I would never let my child go presentless - so of course he had presents there, but that wasn't his focus.  He wanted to run around and eat cake.  We couldn't have been prouder of him.  There were no meltdowns over not getting more things that he didn't need.    It's definitely a tradition that we will be carrying on into 2012 with both of our kids. 

June 2011- June brought a couple of trips to the city - one to World's of Fun and one to a Royals Game.  Each went fairly smoothly, given our family history of traveling anywhere.  Brayden did try to take off his clothes at the Royals game, but we left before he was fully nude.  Emma had her binky, blanky, and a ball park hotdog, so she was content during the 7 innings that we stayed at the game.   The World's of Fun trip was a smooth ride also - until we bought Brayden a little toy truck and he decided he was going to ride it on our way out of the park instead of walking.  He only almost got ran over.  If I remember correctly he ended up going over daddy's shoulder and being carried out of the park.  If your noticing a theme to things, my kids don't do very well with exiting places or fun times coming to an end.

July 2011- July brought the end of Brayden’s first season of T-Ball. Emma loved watching all the kids play. Brayden loved sitting in the middle of the T Ball field, cleaning his shoes off with diaper wipes.  He also loved wearing his ball glove as a hat to make the other kids laugh.  He spent the entire last game underneath the bleachers picking flowers.  We've decided to give t-ball another chance in 2012.

It als brought a new word - Firestamps (Brayden) vs. Fireworks (the dictionary)

August 2011 - August brought the realization that my babies were truly growing up. Emma started daycare at Kid’s Kountry and Brayden brought home his first school supply list. It was surreal shopping for school supplies for a 3 year old, but I couldn’t be happier with how smart both of my kids are.  Emma's teachers told me every day how smart she was and how fast she caught on to everything.  I got the same kind of feedback from Brayden's teachers as well.  You gotta love my Mr. and Miss Smartie Pants!

August also brought to my attention that the terrible twos extend way past age two.  Let me paint a brief picture:  Sunday morning, in church, our Pastor is in the middle of his sermon.  My son decides he's going to play Mr. Funny Pants, sneak out of the pew, and run to the front of the church, in front of the pulpit and straight out the door.  Because I couldn't pretend that he wasn't mine at that point, I followed him.  Mortified is a good word to describe that day.

September 2011 - September brought some pretty exciting news for all of us - Grandma Poisal retired from her job. All of us got to go downtown to the IRS building and my kids basically got to roam where there aren’t many people allowed to roam unless you’ve passed a background check, gone through a metal detector and have an IRS badge on.  My kids will probably end up being the reason why no kids will every be allowed back in again!

October 2011 - October brought cooler weather, sugar overload,  Halloween parties galore, a pretty little butterfly and a big strong batman.  We (I) had two missions on Halloween -  go to Sonic to get our 3 free hotdogs since both kids and myself were dressed up in Halloween costumes and perform a strategic Trick or Treat night so I, I mean the kids could stock up on Reeces Peanut Butter Cups.  We got about 4 houses away from ours and a kid that was probably to big to be trick or treating scared the crap out of Brayden and he was done after that.  He told us he would try again next year.  Our Hot Dog mission didn't go much smoother - Emma had a meltdown in the parking lot because I wouldn't let her run free, on Halloween, in a Sonic parking lot that was giving away something for free.  I know, I know, worst momma ever!

November 2011 - November was when we really realized how much Emma was growing. Her sentences were becoming very clear and she was starting to imitate everything Brayden did (good and bad). She is perhaps one of the most polite toddlers you would every come across. She says please and thank you before and after everything.    She drops the occassional "oh shit" when she drops something, but a majority of her words are very sweet and kind.

We went to Branson over Veteran’s Day weekend. We did some shopping, enjoyed the Christmas lights, Silver Dollar City, and the Branson Belle. We arrived in Branson after dark so it was lit up even more so than normal with all the Christmas lights.  Brayden makes a 3 hour drive worth while ooohhhing and ahhhing from the back seat and saying things like - "oh my gosh guys, this is so beautiful". And Emma makes the trip worth while with her tiny giggle and her sweet “pretty pretty” chiming in with her brother.

Garry and I were lucky enough to be able to sneak away for a night and catch the Branson Belle as an early anniversary present to ourselves. My parents kept the kids at the condo we were staying at while we enjoyed some delicious dinner and a wonderful show. Garry even surprised me with an early anniversary present - a gorgeous amethyst and diamond ring.   Sweet, right?

One of our last stops was Silver Dollar City. We stopped in to see the Frosty show first, and Brayden got picked to go on stage and help the characters put Frosty together. He was so proud (as were we). He did a great job - and later on during the parade of lights, the same person that played the mailman in Frosty, also played a Toy Soldier in the parade. We were sitting on the side of the street and the Toy Soldier found Brayden in this huge crowd of people and shook his hand and told him what a great job he did in the Frosty show. I’m not going to lie - I completely had tears running down my cheeks. Brayden had no idea that it was the same guy and was stunned that this toy soldier was telling him what a great job he did.  He looked at me and said "Mommy, did you hear that?" 

There's something special about Branson in general, but especially at Christmas time.  I can say with complete honestly that there were no meltdowns from anyone - Nobody (Garry) complained about the price of everything and the traffic.  Nobody (Brayden and Emma) had meltdowns after being up way to late and getting up way to early and Nobody (Cathe) pouted because they didn't get to go to the outlet mall or the Dollar Jewelry Store.  We had so much fun and decided that would be an annual trip for our family to keep building on the memories that have already been made.  

December 2011 - December flew by in flash, kind of like the rest of 2011. We had lots of family dinners, Santa visits, and "You better be good or you are getting NOTHING for Christmas" moments.

Garry and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary with a movie and dinner and a little Christmas shopping. We ended the night with a bottle of wine and a Jeff Dunham special.  Time to ourselves is few and far between so it was nice being able to literally laugh out loud without a little voice popping in saying "Hey - What are you guys doing out there?!"

I also celebrated my 28th birthday - I took the day off and spent it wrapping Christmas presents. It was a low key, quiet day and I enjoyed every second of it.  Because like time alone with my husband, me moments are few and far between as well.

Christmas was here before we knew it. We drove around and looked at Christmas lights one final time on Christmas Eve. The kids and I headed to Church while Garry headed for work. I cried during Silent Night when Brayden rested his head on shoulder and realized what a truly amazing, wonderous, perfect time of year this was.  Of course this was followed by Brayden lifting up his shirt and showing the ladies behind us his belly.   Garry got off work early - so by the time church was over, he was headed home. We all bundled up in our coats and Brayden had the honor of spreading our reindeer food in the yard while he yelled for Santa and his reindeer to hurry up. The kids decorated sugar cookies for Santa and colored Santa pictures. (Which I will keep forever.)  We changed into our new Christmas jammies that a magic elf had brought us that morning and read “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, one last time. It wasn’t quite as big of a trial to get the kids to go to sleep as we had expected so we were able to get everything assembled and brought upstairs fairly early. As always, we are truly blessed to be able to provide for our kids - they had a very good Christmas. Garry and I ended our Christmas Eve with watching a home video from Brayden’s first Christmas. He was just 7 months old and as cute as a button. Again, the waterworks were a flowing. I couldn’t even believe that the video was taken 3 years ago and how much he’s changed and grown.

We ended 2011 with a New Years Eve party at my moms. Both kids stayed up until Midnight and slept until 10 the next day. As someone that is usually up before 5 a.m. there is nothing else to say about that except Happy New Year to mama!

We were blessed with a pretty amazing year.  There were more laughs than frowns, more laughs than tears, and more antics then I know what to do with.  So here's to another great year and from our family to yours:  Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. Oh how I looooove this! The irony in raising children lies in the fact that the things that frustrate us the most, are the stories that we laugh the hardest about later on! So incredibly excited that you started your blog Cathe! Awesome job!