Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mom Gets Hitched

Well, my mom got married a few weeks ago on July 29. My mom has been widowed since the age of 46, when my dad died of pancreatic cancer in 1999. My mom's new husband, David, is a widower, as well. We actually lived in the same subdivision and went to church together when David's family lived in Missouri from 1994-2006. We knew their family well, and my parents were good friends with David and his wife, Linda. I never thought my mom would get married again, since it's been so long that she's been single and no one has snatched her up (not to mention the fact that she has me to care for), so this whole thing has taken me by surprise. 
The best part about the wedding was being with my sisters. My sister, Kristin, couldn't make it and we really missed her (and she missed us, too). I hope one of these days all seven of us Johnson girls can all be together again at the same time. (Especially since it's been 12 long years since the last time all seven of us were together.) David has five sons, and they were all able to make it for the wedding.
I was so happy that my mom's family could be there. My mom's parents are 95 and 88. Grandpa had colon cancer earlier this year, and I was afraid that it might prevent him and my grandma from coming, but they made it! 
My mom's brothers, Rick and Steve also made it. Mom's other brother, Scott, died in 1994, but I'm sure he was there in spirit.
Our bishop from church, Mark Bradley, performed the ceremony. He did a nice job, and I'm sure my dad and David's wife, Linda were both there and very happy for my mom and David. After the short ceremony, we had a small lunch reception. Party planning is definitely not my mom's strong suit, but fortunately our good friend Linda is good at that sort of thing. Linda volunteered to take charge of everything, and she did a great job.
Above is Linda (on the left) as well as a couple of our friends that offered to help. I think four or five of our friends helped Linda. My mom told Linda not to go overboard on the decorations, since she didn't really care about having the entire gym at the church all decked out. I think Linda did a beautiful job without it being too much.
We had various kinds of meat and cheese sandwiches on different kinds of rolls (my favorite were the pretzel buns), and then there were different things to put on the sandwiches. There was also pasta salad, chips, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead of one big wedding cake, my mom opted to make layer cakes herself. She made carrot cake, chocolate, red velvet, and yellow. My favorite was the chocolate. Really, how can you get any better than chocolate?!
Now that Mom and David are married, he is all moved in to our house. I must admit that I have mixed feelings about this. Of course, I want my mom to be happy, since she deserves this more than anyone, but going from a duo to a trio is still difficult for me. I mean, I know David from back in the day, but I didn't know him know him, if that makes sense, so having to live in the same house with someone that I don't know all that well or feel super comfortable with is just weird! I'm sure I will adjust to it, like I have adjusted and adapted to everything else that has come my way… especially if the Lord is on my side (and I know He is). 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"The Red Bandanna"

My mom and I recently finished reading the book The Red Bandanna. Here is a synopsis of the book: 

One Sunday morning before church, when Welles Crowther was a young boy, his father gave him a red handkerchief for his back pocket. Welles kept it with him that day, and just about every day to come; it became a fixture and his signature.

A standout athlete growing up in Upper Nyack, NY, Welles was also a volunteer at the local fire department, along with his father. He cherished the necessity and the camaraderie, the meaning of the role. Fresh from college, he took a Wall Street job on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, but the dream of becoming a firefighter with the FDNY remained.

When the Twin Towers fell, Welles's parents had no idea what happened to him. In the unbearable days that followed, they came to accept that he would never come home. But the mystery of his final hours persisted. Eight months after the attacks, however, Welles's mother read a news account from several survivors, badly hurt on the 78th floor of the South Tower, who said they and others had been led to safety by a stranger, carrying a woman on his back, down nearly twenty flights of stairs. After leading them down, the young man turned around. "I'm going back up," was all he said.

The survivors didn't know his name, but despite the smoke and panic, one of them remembered a single detail clearly: the man was wearing a red bandanna.

The Red Bandanna is about a fearless choice, about a crucible of terror and the indomitable spirit to answer it. Examining one decision in the gravest situation, it celebrates the difference one life can make.

I heard about this book at the end of last year, and I thought it sounded really good, so I asked my mom to get it for me for my birthday. I have been fascinated by September 11 ever since the awful terrorist attack in 2001, which turned the date from an ordinary calendar date into an infamous one. I felt so inspired as I learned about Welles' life. Not just because of his selfless heroism on September 11, but in the way he lived his entire life. He was truly a wonderful person, through and through. The world needs more people like Welles Crowther in it! This book was really good, and definitely worth reading.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Visit from the Lambs (2017)

My oldest sister Miriam and her family came from Texas to visit a few weeks ago. It's always fun to see my nieces, and to be able to spend some time with them. I always enjoy talking with them to see what they're up to, how school is going, etc. Some of the highlights from their visit were watching the Johnson family slideshow I made for 2016, playing Apples to Apples a few times, watching the movie "Lion" (which is really good, by the way), and spending time with Chandra and Christian. They came over nearly every day, and the girls especially loved seeing Christian. The girls usually ask Chandra to braid their hair, and she's always sweet enough to do it for them. She spent several hours doing their hair, even though she didn't feel well, and ended up throwing up multiple times later that afternoon.

We took a few pictures of the girls after their hair was finished. The first picture is just the girls, and then Miriam joined them for the next pic:
We tried to get a picture of Christian with his cousins, but he wasn't interested in posing. As you can see, he couldn't wait to get away so he could run around:
We also took some pictures after church. It was awfully bright, and I had a difficult time keeping my eyes open. (We took a lot of pictures, and my eyes were closed in so many of them!)
Christian and Miriam's youngest, Victoria (who is five) were buddies. It was so cute watching them run around together, and hearing Christian say, "Victoria" as best he could. He was still calling Victoria's name the next time he and Chandra came over, even though Miriam's family had already left to go home. I thought this picture of the two of them was awfully cute:

Minnesota Visitors

I just realized that I never made a post about the visit from my grandparents and aunt and uncle over Memorial Day weekend. My uncle Steve and aunt Jackie drove my grandparents down, and they arrived on Friday afternoon and left early Monday morning. It was a quick visit, but lots of fun. My sweet grandpawho is 95had just had surgery to remove colon cancer six weeks previously, but he was doing well enough to make the trip. We had fun visiting, reminiscing, doing crossword puzzles, and eating good food. 

We took a few pictures on Sunday afternoon. Here's my mom with her parents: 
And her brother, Steve:
And Steve's wife, Jackie:
NOT the best picture of me, but I still wanted to document the moment.
Chandra's family came over on Sunday afternoon to hang out with us. Christian did not want to pose for pictureshe wanted to run around, as you can see from the pictures below. Chandra had to wrestle him to be in the picture, and he was trying to get away!
Christian wouldn't even look at the camera and/or give his mom a smile when she was trying to take his picture. That's okay, running around is probably more appealing and fun when you're only 20 months old. 😎

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Zoo

The day after Easter we all went to the St. Louis Zoo. It started raining on our way up to the zoo, and we got rained on at first. It was only about 60°F, so it was kind of cold, too. Fortunately, the rain stopped after about 45 minutes, and it actually wasn't too bad. It was much better than if it had been sunny and hot! 

The giraffes and elephants are my favorite animals to see at the zoo:
Chandra got quite the workout pushing my wheelchair around the zoo. It's not even very hilly, but it doesn't take much of an incline to give your quads and glutes a workout! Kimball and Rebecah loved taking turns pushing Christian in the stroller:
above: Annika has bright red hair, so we had to get a picture of her with her monkey twin, since the monkey also had bright red hair. below: Mom and Rebecah posed in front of one of one of the azalea bushes that was in full bloom:

One of the best parts of Annette's family visiting was meeting my newest niece, Eden (I'd only seen her via Skype prior to this). Edie is such a sweet little thing, and she's so good! Annette said that Edie was perfect on the drive, and cried a total of maybe 10 minutes on the 30+ hour round-trip drive to MO and back home to NY. [And let's just pretend that I hadn't gotten rained on and/or I was wearing makeup in the following pictures!]
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