Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas Card 2017

Merry Christmas!

Since you last heard from us in 2015 (oops!), Thea Bea (Th-ee-ah Bee) joined our family and changed our lives in all the best and most inconvenient ways. If you walked into our house unannounced (please do!) you'd likely find Anna (now 7, Grade 1) jumping on the furniture or practicing a soccer or gymnastics 'move' and telling us in detail everything she did or learned or thought that day. Etta (3.5, preschool), singing a song, wearing a costume, and deep in imagination-land would be bringing out all the just put away choking hazards in the house and hiding Thea's toys where she can't reach. For her part, Thea, (15 mo) would be walking around screaming at the top of her lungs with a pair of Etta's underwear on her head and said choking hazard in her mouth while throwing our most valuable possessions in the trash, never to be seen again. Adam, home from work as a Hospitalist at theVA, would have 3 kids crawling all over him as he tries to tell Sheri about his day over the din of Casper Babypants. Sheri would be putting off making dinner, nodding politely, futilely asking everytone to PLEASE BE QUIET and wondering if she can go to bed yet.

Other days, Adam's off work and we pick Anna up from school and see what local adventure we can fit in, what park we haven't yet explored, what beach we haven't been to recently. We dream about skiing as a family this winter, reminisce about the fun trips we've taken this last year (Panorama, the Cottage, Pilgrim Pines, Mesquite), dream about the ones that lie ahead and scheme about fitting in even more. We do our best to fill our days with wonder and fun, laughter and love, lots of fresh air and so very much joy. We feel without a doubt we're the very luckiest people around and we are so grateful.

May Peace, Goodwill with all abide this Holy Christmastide.

Love, the Johnsons

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


This time tomorrow I will be frantically shoving scrambled eggs in my kids mouths and trying desperately not to be late for the first day of school. So, today I sit here in the quiet while my girls get one last sleep-in, enjoying my coffee and pre-breakfast cookie, waiting for them to emerge from their room sleepy-eyed and snuggly and not in any sort of rush at all.

It's been the summer of water (lakes, sounds, oceans, creeks, pools, spray parks, wading pools, waterparks and sprinklers), of gymnastics and soccer and sports and swimming and biking. It was the summer of lost teeth, skinned knees and sandy feet. The summer of illness, too. It's been the summer of our backyard - parties and sprinklers and trampoline jumping; 'soup making' and flower crowns and tea parties and so many dinners on the deck. We went to war with the wasps and fed flies to the spiders and painted rocks and sold lemonade. We ate 'summer cereal' and too many treats, played board games on the deck and told bedtime stories on the trampoline as Thea crawled all over us. We sang Moana at the top of our lungs and would stay in the same clothes for days on end. It's been a summer of perfect weather and wide open windows. We had a July filled with big, special trips and an August filled with simple, special days. It was the summer Thea stopped being a little baby, Etta finished with diapers and Anna learned to braid her own hair. It was the summer of 'sisters' where an already tight bond grew immeasurably stronger which means, of course, it was the summer of bickering, too. It was the summer where I didn't get a moment to myself, checked nothing off my 'to do' list and didn't mind nearly as much as usual. It was a summer that wasn't as perfect as now it sounds, filled with its own frustrations big and small, and plenty a plaintiff 'what are we going to do today?' but now on this last day this is what I remember.

And I am so grateful.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Oh my little women,

We had to say goodbye to your cat brother yesterday, a couple days ago as Etta would say. It's been hard. So much harder than I ever imagined. You have been great, done great. You are so strong and resilient. Me, not so much. You miss him, well Anna does. Etta doesn't quite understand and Thea just blows bubbles. But Anna, you were sad, and brave and mostly protective and sorry for me. I'm proud of your resiliency. I hope we can let you process.

I want you girls to know a little about him. He was wonderful. He was terrible, too, but we loved him so much and he loved you. He hated everyone, but he loved you fiercely.

He was a crazy cat and could have been such a danger to you, but somehow he knew you were off limits. There were moments of course, but on the whole he put up with you and gave to you grace that he wouldn't begin to muster for anyone else. You loved him, even though you were scared of him. You were used to his presence and he made you laugh. He filled our house with so much craziness and frustration and love. We all felt it in so many ways.

I'm sorry you had to experience loss this early in life and I'm so proud of how you have been facing it head on. You didn't run away from any of it. You even looked at his lifeless body and buried him in the backyard. You saw me cry and grieve in a way that you've never seen before and can't possibly understand. It scared you, I know and for that I'm sorry.

But we're teaching you that it's OK to feel anything you feel. It's OK to be sad. And so, you must see me be sad and let me be sad. It's a hard lesson.

When we were burying him I told you that being sad was OK because it showed how happy we were. If he hadn't been happy, if he hadn't meant so very much we wouldn't be sad. All emotions are connected and we hope to show you how to accept them, navigate them, embrace them even when it's so very hard.

I'm devastated by this loss. I miss him more than I can ever say. I'm more sad than I thought I could be and I want to thank you for letting me. Thanks for the cards, and words and hugs and kisses and thanks for letting me cry.

Jack loved you. I love you, too.