Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lainey loves shopping (at Target)!

eeeek. I just love her chubby little hands grasping my wallet.

Monday, January 30, 2012

[another] Heat Wave!

It's just another gorgeous January (?!?!?) day here in Iowa... The high today was 65!!! My friend Bo and Lainey's BFF Penelope came over and we took the girls on a walk...

Don't they look so so so SO cute in that double stroller? Actually, I had left my stroller in my trunk and Jed took my car to work today. I couldn't justify strapping Lainey into Jed's car and burning that much gas going to Jed's office and back just to pick up the stroller, but Bo and her stroller came to the rescue. Plus, it gave us a good excuse to hang out, which is always an encouraging time. Today, we talked about grocery shopping, meal planning and budgeting among other things... Exciting, huh? :)

I have been pretty good at WEEKLY meal planning the last couple months and sat down last night to make a MONTHLY meal plan for February. I came up with 15 recipes (7 new [thanks mostly to Pinterest], 8 tried and true) and made a grocery list based on those. I don't cook every night of the week and some of the recipes I will make twice. I tried to GUESStimate how much the grocery bill will be and we'll see how accurate my estimating skills are. I still need to add in my breakfasts, our weekend breakfasts, some lunches (usually one of us has leftovers) and snacks. I will also probably be starting Lainey on some solid foods in a couple of weeks so I will need to figure that in as well. You are probably totally bored and think I'm a complete geek but I am a little excited about this. It will be a good challenge! Maybe I will blog about how it goes... :)

It really feels like Spring outside. I have a hard time reminding myself that it's really only almost February and we could potentially have A LOT of winter left. Regardless, I am so thankful for today - a beautiful, warm day and that I got to share it with my sweet baby girl!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


[Please ignore mine and my mom's crazy voices. You definitely don't realize how ridiculous you sound when talking to a baby until you hear it played back on a video.]

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Favorites!

Favorite Meal: Brown Sugar Chicken
So... probably not the healthiest meal (*cough*a whole cup of brown sugar *cough*) I've ever made but this one was definitely a hit. This is actually the second time I've made this and I couldn't wait to make it again. I've found a lot of recipes on this gal's blog - she used her crockpot every day for an entire year (!!!!!!) and documented it all. The flavor of the sauce of this is really good. I served it with brown rice. It would be really good with some roasted broccolli on the side too but I didn't have any on hand.

Favorite Momma moment:
This is a picture from my dear friend Kristy's surprise birthday party on Sunday. I thought this was just hilarious. If Lainey is anything like her momma (and her Grandpa Wilson), she will definitely have a sweet tooth.

Favorite Verse:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
[2 timothy 1:7-9]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thank goodness babies are...

easily amused!

I consider myself someone who naturally enjoys being at home, a self proclaimed home-body. I feel like we get out and do quite a bit during the days and many evenings throughout the week, but we also spend a lot of hours at home. I'm not trying to complain...I am very thankful for my warm, furnished, well lit home. Sometimes though, even though I like being at home, staring at the same 4 walls every day makes the days a little long. I can't wait until we can get outside. Lainey will be at a great age this summer to start enjoying the outdoors. Anyway, since we're stuck inside because of the cold weather and snow we tend to move from room to room throughout the day ... a little time in the living room, onto the kitchen, Lainey's room, our room, etc. (oh wait, that's all of the rooms, ha!). Today we spent a good chunk of time in her room sitting in front of the mirror on her door.
"Oooooh, who's that cute baby? Oh wait, it's me!"
Oh Child of mine, when will you like tummy time? When will you roll over? Soon...never? This lasted all of about 3 minutes and then I try and encourage her along in rolling from belly to back and back to belly and then she gets mad. Sigh.
I could be totally wrong but I kind of think Lainey is in the beginning stages of clapping, which you can see here by noting the blurry hands. She'll bring her hands together and then kind of flap them together and pat her chest or her belly. So I guess it's not really clapping as much as flapping or patting, but it's still adorable.
Most Mom's say the same thing, but I literally feel like I have NO pictures with my little lady. This will have to do. Please note the AWESOME giant ruler/growth tracker behind me. My sweet sister saw it on Pinterest (LOVE!) and asked her father-in-law to make 2 - one for her and one for me! My sister gives the BEST gifts.

At the dentist yesterday, I made my next appointment which will be in JULY! I'm going to spend a little time now daydreaming about what that will be like...sun, warmth, fresh fruit, pool time, grilling... AHHH! Spring, Summer... Come QUICK!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snuggle buddy

Grandma and Grandpa Johnson gave Lainey a sweet toy/doll for Christmas which we affectionately call "Glowy." I think this is one of those tried and true toys that has been around forever. Probably because kids love it. Lainey is no exception.
Love at first sight.
Don't let her lack of facial expression fool you. She was ecstatic.

You press his or her? or its? stomach and it's face glows and it plays one of four lullaby tunes. We use it as part of our nap time and bed time routine. We play it a few times then lay Lainey down and lay Glowy down and play it for her to look at and listen to as we walk away. Nearly every day and night, Lainey escapes her swaddle (yes, I still swaddle her sometimes, don't judge) for the sole purpose of playing with Glowy before she drifts off to Sleepyville. The past few days when I've gone in to check on her, I've come upon these most precious sights...
Poor Glowy. That looks uncomfortable.
I love how she just scooted her cute self over there to press her sweet cheek up to Glowy. It looks like Glowy is giving her a kiss.
And now she's giving Glowy a kiss.

Is there anything more precious than a sleeping baby? I think not.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Favorites!

Favorite New Meal: Cheeseburger Salad from the Pioneer Woman
This was YUMMY! I think I can get Jed to eat just about anything, but when I suggested serving a salad for dinner, he wasn't thrilled. Until I said it was a CHEESEBURGER salad and showed him the picture, then he was pumped. I had never made my own croutons before and that was kind of fun to do. She suggests using a whole stick of butter to make them but I probably only used half a stick or less... the Pioneer Woman LOVES butter. I thought the flavor was really good and it was definitely filling enough for both of us. I used 1/2 lb of ground turkey instead of 2 lbs of hamburger, since it was just for the two of us. Definitely will make this one again!

Favorite Momma Moment:
On Monday, Lainey and I made a quick Target trip. I am starting to get really tired of lugging that huge, heavy car seat around so I decided since she's sitting pretty well I'd try putting her in the front of the shopping cart. I literally needed 3 things so I figured if she wasn't having it or it didn't work, I could carry her and it would be fine. Luckily, she loved it.
My oh my, she looks so big. So cute.

Favorite Verse:
A familiar one to many... but Jesus' words were especially encouraging and helpful to me as a mom this week...
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. [matthew 11:28-30]

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Worm

I think we have a little reader on our hands...
Lainey LOVES to look at books. This warms my heart as a former teacher. I hope to encourage her to enjoy books and be a lifelong reader! She gets SO excited when you put a book in front of her. If she's in your lap, she immediately lunges forward to grab the book with her little hands and makes it very hard for you to turn the pages. For this reason we're sticking to board books for now!

So many books, she just can't decide which one to read first!
We have been given SO many books from many generous friends and family members.
"Mom, leave me alone! Can't you see I'm busy reading?"

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Favorites!

As many of you also do, I follow the blog Iowa Girl Eats pretty closely and have for some time. I have tried several of her recipes (which are great!) and think it's fun that she's a local gal who is getting pretty big in the blogging world! Every Friday she does a "favorites" post and posts an assortment of her favorite finds of the week from the interwebs.

I thought I'd try and do a similar weekly post but with a little different spin...favorite meal of the week (this might help me try at least one new recipe every week?), favorite momma moment (because it's what I do all day, every day!), and favorite verse of the week (for accountability's sake...)!

Favorite Meal: Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken
This was the only NEW recipe I tried this week and it was good... not out of this world, but Jed really liked it and I think I'd make it again. I'm honestly not sure why the word "cheeseburger" is in the name because it doesn't contain any "burger" so I'll rename it Cheesy Bacon Chicken. My favorite part of following this recipe from Kevin & Amanda's blog is the advice on cooking bacon, which always scares me because of the splattering grease. I served this with a baked potato and corn.

Favorite Momma Moment:
We had a snow day of sorts this week. We barely got any measurable snow, but it was cold enough and windy enough that Lainey and I just stayed put all day on Thursday. The day did get to be a little long (as it does if we stay home all day), but it was a good day to enjoy warm drinks and warm slippers. Anyway, this picture represents a theme of this week, which was Lainey's obsession with Simon. She was watching him intently all day. She's at the perfect height in her exersaucer for him to come up and give her a little love and see what she's up to and she is loving it. She "talks" to him and reaches for him... it's so cute.

Favorite Verse:
Daniel 2:19-23

19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Our pastor is doing a series on the book of Daniel and has asked us to be reading through it as he goes through the series. This is really good for me, as I have a hard time really getting into reading the Old Testament sometimes - I need a study Bible of some kind or a commentary to help me get through and to help me understand the context of what is going on. As I was reading in Daniel 2, I was amazed to think that we serve the same God that Daniel did - the God that answered Daniel's prayer to know and interpret the mystery of the King's dream. It's pretty crazy to think about really, that God supernaturally gave Daniel such wisdom and understanding. I love learning about God's power and greatness.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

[5 months]

Wow, Lainey is 5 MONTHS OLD today! (I won't lie... I actually forgot and kept thinking that Friday was the 12th... All week long I kept telling people she would be 5 months on Friday...oops!) Today's photo shoot was NOT easy and I can only imagine the future monthly shots will be that much more difficult to get. She's just so wiggly and busy! (Not to mention my camera settings are all out of whack... not sure how that happened but I just could NOT get good lighting today! Boo.)

Lainey's current tricks and hobbies include: squealing, playing with a spoon (we're practicing for when we start solid foods probably in a few weeks), motoring around in her exersaucer, "dancing" and kicking when Dad plays the guitar and makes up silly songs, giggling, reaching for Simon and constantly watching him if he's around, growing hair (really! It's coming in blonde too... weird!) and SITTING! (Still not rolling... sigh)
(Simon just HAD to be in on the action. You can see clearly, Lainey loves him.)
What a joy she is! We love our sweet 5 month old SO much!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just a typical (wonderful) day...

I happened to take 2 videos today...truth be told, I take lots of videos. Most of them I send to family that live far, far away like Uncle Bud in Afghanistan or Grandma and Grandpa Johnson waaaay up in northern Wisconsin. Most of them aren't what many would deem as extremely exciting or milestone-worthy, but I thought I'd share 2 today.

The first is of my little giggle monster this morning. I don't know if it was my crazy morning hair (okay, it's always crazy) or my funny looking face, but she was laughing SO hard at me and I wasn't even doing anything at all! It was so sweet and cute.

Yesterday our friends Julie and Oscar came over and when they arrived, Lainey was sitting in her perch as you can see in this video, and Julie got a kick out of it. I just started setting her here on the big chair in between 2 pillows with the Boppy pillow in her lap to help contain her and her toys. She is getting really good at sitting up on her own, but of course I can't set her down on the floor quite yet and walk away, so this is a good alternative. She gets to sit up and take in the exciting sights and sounds of the living room! And she is really starting to PLAY with her new toys, which is so cute to watch her discover things and manipulate them! This video is not as interesting as the first, but it does show off a typical, wonderful moment in our house.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Is this for real?

Kcci.com just told me that it is 64 degrees right now. In January. In IOWA! Record temperatures are being set all over the midwest! Lainey and I took full advantage of the beautiful weather and went for a walk this afternoon! I put her in the actual stroller seat for the first time today.

Oh my goodness, she looks so big and grown up! I can hardly believe it.

She LOVED being able to see what was going on and she took in all of the sights and sounds of this gorgeous spring-like day!
At first she wasn't so sure... I think she was just so confused. Where am I? What's going on? Shouldn't it be snowing?
But then she was all like, "Yeah, Mom! This is FUN!"
"Really, REALLY FUN!"

I'm thinking we should take another walk after her next nap! We've gotta soak up this lovely day!

Monday, January 2, 2012


2011 was QUITE a year for the Johnson's! Some highlights...
  • We shared our exciting baby news with our families over Christmas of last year and with our friends in January! We also got this sweet first glimpse at the little one we affectionately called "Beanie Baby" for many, many months!

  • Jed and his Dad did some hard work revamping our bathroom! They plumbed in a shower, put up a shower surround, took out a window, installed glass window blocks, removed a very (very, very, very) old vanity and installed a new one. I'm so thankful to know and be related to such hardworking, handy (and handsome!) men!

  • Jed interviewed for and was offered a new job. The Lord totally came through on this one as his increase in salary provided for us to allow me to stay home with Beanie Baby, which is something we had been praying for!
  • We adopted Simon!

  • I finished my 4th year of teaching. It was such a bittersweet time and I was so thankful to end this season of my life with a really good class, great co-workers and with wonderful memories. I officially survived 5th grade Field Day and 2 days of YCamp (an overnight!) at 30 weeks pregnant!
  • We celebrated our first wedding anniversary on June 18th!
  • Growing, growing, growing BELLY!

  • Beanie Baby Johnson was showered with SO much love and many generous gifts.

  • I had the honor of standing up in 2 weddings this year - in June with my dear friend Julie and Jeremy in Pella, and in September with sweet Haley and Greg! I love being able to share such a special day with such special friends!

  • We enjoyed life as "aunt and uncle" and got to watch both Jaylen and Claire turn the big "1" this year!
  • We welcomed our first baby on August 12th - Beanie Baby was NOT a boy, as I was totally convinced, but a sweet, beautiful, perfect baby GIRL who we named Lainey Charlotte!

  • From then on, we've gotten a bit less sleep but been filled with way more joy than I ever thought possible! Children are truly a gift and a blessing, like the Bible says. Ever since August 12th, we've done A LOT of staring at this sweet face...

  • Claire and Emily made the trip to Iowa and spent 5 wild and crazy days here with us. It was SUCH a blast!

  • Lainey's MANY firsts...

  • We spent the last evening of 2011 attending church at the DTC and then enjoying the New Year's Eve "hoedown throwdown" themed party!

{Lainey was a trooper and lasted until a little after 10. I will say she DID see the midnight hour to ring in the New Year!}

I am so, so, SO excited to see the great ways in which the Lord works in our lives in 2012. Come what may, we will cling to the truth that God is good, all the time and He works in our lives FOR our good to make us more like His Son!