Sunday, July 27, 2008

July 24th Weekend Celebrations

(My beautiful mom Diann, and cute boy Jake)

This past week we have been running nonstop! After staying up way too late on July 23rd to participating in the Bountiful celebrations, we woke up bright and early the next morning to have a holiday breakfast with my parents and their church ward. The food was great, the kids/dogs got to play at the park, and we were able to visit with family. It was super hot, but we still had a pretty good time.

Later that evening, we continued our yearly tradition of having pizza and going to our "secret" spot near Lagoon to watch the fireworks with the Smiths. The Marsden family joined us this year, making it even more fun. Our spot is literally right under the fireworks so it is quite a show.

Of course Molly didn't like the loud noises and bright lights so she spent the 1st half of the show covering her eyes.

And she spent the 2nd half of the show covering her ears.

Luke apparently enjoyed the pizza because he had it smeared all over his face.

I don't usually take pictures of fireworks because they are never as good as the real thing, but I thought these pictures were pretty cool.

Friday I worked a 24 hour shift at the IMC hospital NICU- I have to admit I felt like I had a really bad hang over from all the lack of sleep- but don't worry, no children were harmed or killed during my shift (whew, thank goodness).

Saturday, July 26th was the Howard and Donna Johnson Family reunion held at Kurt's big new house in Farmington. There was lots of food, fun, and noisy people. It was the 1st time in years that all the Johnson brothers were able to get together and pose for an impromptu photo.

Grandma Donna Johnson, Eric, Kurt, Bruce, and Greg

And of course I have to throw in some cute pictures of
Laura Johnson, Maya Huntinghouse, and Hannah Furse

We have also been working really hard this past week packing boxes, cleaning out rooms, tearing our old garage apart, and basically dejunking the house. Kenn says we are a true American family now because we just rented a storage unit. Wish us luck as we embark on this fun adventure.
And finally one last thing- this is what we woke up to this quiet Sunday morning

Breakfast and love notes from our 6 year old!
(thanks Luke, I love you and really needed this nice treat after such a busy week).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bountiful Handcart Days

Tonight we were able to celebrate the Bountiful Handcart Days with the parade, carnival, and lots of food (especially candy from the parade). It is really convenient that the event is literally only 1-2 blocks away from my house so we were able to walk there and didn't have to worry about parking or finding a spot for the parade.
We met up with some of our good friends, Ryan and Tiffani Smith (who also happen to have kids the same ages as ours), and though it was really hot at the beginning, the parade was awesome (but a little long). Afterward we played at the Bountiful Park playground, and then since it was almost 9:30 PM and the lines for carnival food were ridiculously long, we all headed over to Iceberg for cheeseburgers and shakes (I swear they put some sort of chemical in their food that is addictive requiring you to go get your Iceberg fix on a regular basis).

Here's the kids enjoying the traditional snow cones (which were really needed this year because it was hovering around 100 degrees in the sun).

One of my favorite parts of the parade (besides seeing the military, police, and firemen)- there is no better feeling than seeing everyone paying their respects to our country and the American flag.

I love watching the kids waving their flags during the parade!

Here's the Johnson/Smith clan (Alexa, Sam, Finley, Molly, Drew, Luke, Jake and Ainsley- hiding behind Jake). These guys work so well with each other and can be entertained for hours on end. It's good that Kenn and Ryan, and Tiff and I are all such good friends too!

Molly and her best friend Finley

Here's my dream car that I will obtain sometime
when I have a midlife crisis- 1964 Ford Mustang
For some reason my kids like sticking their tongues out for pictures.

Apparently they are starting to rub off on the other kids
This was the coolest part of the whole parade- the martial arts guy that broke boards while jumping around and doing flips in the air.

Here's the guy doing a round house kick while breaking the board (he probably jumped at least 5 feet in the air on his own).

This picture totally doesn't do justice to what this guy was able to do. He ran up the stack of people and while he was flipping over in the air, he was able to break the board. He had to have been at least 10 feet in the air while his was doing this!

Ainsley, Molly, Luke, and Alexa at the park

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Updates from Afghanistan

I was sleeping this morning after a long night shift when Kenn came and woke me up after about an hours worth of sleep. My first thought was I'm going to kill someone (most likely Kenn), and as he was shoving the phone in my face, my next thought was it better not be a sales person or they will have the wrath of Jolene upon them.
To my pleasant surprise it was Scott (calling from Afghanistan). He was just transferred to Bagram and had the opportunity to give some family a call (can I say he called me before my parents or his wife- I always knew I was his favorite).
The phone call was brief (about 30 minutes), but just hearing his voice was like manna from heaven. It's difficult to have a conversation with someone in the military who is actively serving in a war because lots of the questions I asked had the answer- I can't tell you, or it's classified.
Scott says it's pretty good where he is staying- not too hot. He sleeps in a shed type building about the size of a 2 car garage that sleeps about 8-10 people. He also finally has a bed to sleep in (previously he had a wooden board to sleep on). To help blend in with the locals, Scott has grown a big bushy beard (which is so unlike Scott). My parents have a picture of his new look, and I will post it as soon as possible.
He sounds well, and loves serving in the military, but I can tell how hard it is for him to be away from family- especially Kelly, Addie, and Ethan! He has now been in the service for 8 years, and this is his second active duty (he previously served in Iraq in 2003). I am very proud of Scott for his patriotism and willingness to our country, for the many sacrifices he has made not only during these past few months, but during his whole life to help make this world a better, safer place. We are all anxiously awaiting his safe return home.
The soldiers love to receive any letters, pictures, packages, etc. (even from complete strangers). If you would like to send any words of encouragement, leave your email address in the comment section, and I will email Scott's address to you.
One last thing- Please support our troops and pray for them and their families!

Boating at Utah Lake

This past Saturday, we held our "Johnson cousin's day" at Utah Lake (courtesy of the Furses and their boat). It was a very hot day with minimal clouds in the sky, perfect for spending the day on a boat. The kids LOVED the water weenie, the adults enjoyed the cool water, and we all enjoyed one another's company.
We spent about five hours out on the lake, so thank goodness for sunscreen (which I found my new best love- Coppertone Spray Sunscreen SPF 70, it is like a bugspray in that you don't need to rub it in). I was the only one who really got sunburned (because I used a cheaper no name sunscreen, and didn't reapply like I should have). Thank goodness I still have some Ocean Potion Lotion left over from Hawaii so now my burn is turning into a nice tan (except for my nose which still looks like Rudolph's red nose).

Jacob, Luke, Allison, Katie, and Alexa

Chloe, Luke, and Jolene

Johnson Family, July 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Memory Game

I've seen this game floating around on some of my friends blogs, and thought I would do it to (thanks Michelle).

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Updates in the Johnson Family

This upcoming week is going to suck. Both Kenn and I will be working overtime (and opposite shifts) so we won't be spending much time with one another or as a family. We are both trying to work extra to help pay for the massive project our house renovation has become.
As far as work on the house is going, Kenn and I have started taking down the old garage (removing the aluminum shingles to recycle, selling the garage door, giving some of the cinder blocks to my dad). The plans for our house have pretty much been finalized and are still being processed by the architect. After that they need to be approved by the city (which could take up to a month....sigh). Our hope is to get the actual construction on our house started by mid August, but it's looking more like September. We have started packing up some of our stuff, and we are working out the details to move in with my parents when our house becomes unlivable. It's kind of a depressing process really, but hopefully things will move quickly and we will be back in our house by the holidays.
I just have to focus on the fun we are having for now. Here are some random pictures that make me smile.

Kenn and Molly taking a Sunday afternoon nap.

The kids visiting with the cast for Kaysville's production of "Beauty and the Beast".

Kenn with his favorite Disney character Belle (who just happens to be his friend Dana Rasmussen).

Luke and Alexa slip n' slidin.

Shakes at Iceburg (which by the way these 2 shakes comfortably fed my family of 6).

Molly swimming at the rec center.

Dog pile at the gym (*correction*- Molly, Luke, and Jake).

This is one of my favorite scenes- I really love my kids!!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

4th of July

This past week we celebrated one of my most favorite holidays- Our Nation's birthday, July 4th. I think each year I come to appreciate our freedoms more, especially now that I am a mother. I love to see all the flags lining the streets, city carnivals, parades, fireworks, and parties.
Our neighborhood participates in an annual flag raising ceremony on the morning of July 4th. We as neighbors gather together to pledge our allegiance to our United States, to pray together as a community, and to hear songs and talks reminding us of our great privileges/blessings as U.S. citizens. There is nothing more powerful than placing your hand over your heart and hearing the "Star Spangled Banner" amongst friends who share your same beliefs.
I get very emotional participating in this each year because I realize what a great gift God has given me to be free. It always chokes me up to hear about those who fought for our country, who loved their country more than themselves.
This year we also had bagpipe players, the fire department, the police department, and many retired military men (including some former POW's). Since my brother is currently serving our country in Afghanistan, seeing men in uniform brought a fresh wave of tears.
Following the flag raising ceremony, we had a neighborhood breakfast of pancakes with red, white and blue toppings. Everyone visits, the kids all play, and there is lots of really great food. We also have the privilege of seeing the jets flying right over us in formation each year (they do it for the parades along the valley, and our neighborhood happens to be along that route). If you have never seen the jets flyover, you are really missing out on a patriotic part of July 4th.
Later that afternoon we continued our yearly tradition of swimming at my brother Rick's house followed by BBQ and fireworks. This year the weather was great with just enough overcast to shield us from the hot sun. Rick lives in a cul-de-sac which is a perfect place for neighborhood fireworks (and their neighbors spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on really good (and some illegal) fireworks).
We were able to make some really great memories, and it was a really good day. I hope you all had a chance to make your own special memories, enjoy the outdoors, and especially be thankful for the freedom we have- which costs many people so much. I feel very blessed to be an American. Happy Fourth of July!
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