Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nathaniel's First Birthday!

Yesterday was Nathaniel's first birthday.  It's such a cliche, but I can't believe how fast his first year has gone, and that he is already considered a toddler and not a baby.  He is still a baby to me!

Jeff and Jane came up to help us celebrate Nathaniel's actual birthday, and it was nice to have them here to make the day special for Nathaniel.  Nathaniel enjoyed some time playing with Grandma and Grandpa during the morning while the girls were in school.

I made Nathaniel a chocolate cake mix cake in a 9x13 inch pan, and then cut it into the shape of a one.  I had a terrible time crumb coating the cake, but then froze it and got another clean layer of white frosting on top.  Megan picked out the sprinkle color, and she chose blue.  I figured it was because Nathaniel is a boy, and blue is a boy color, but Megan later told me that she picked blue because of Elsa.  So Nathaniel also had an Elsa cake, apparently.  He did NOT want to wear the birthday hat.

Jeff and Jane brought up a few presents for Nathaniel, and the girls enthusiastically opened them all for him.  I tried to let him open one present, but he really wasn't interested in the paper.  He just wanted to play with the toys.

I know he will really enjoy this road map quilt that Grandma made for him!  Right now he is more interested in exploring the wheels of the cars and trucks that he also got, but it won't be long before he figures out how to make them zoom along the roads on the quilt.  The girls played with the push and zoom trucks in our hallway for quite a while.

Megan picked out this blue bouncy ball for Nathaniel.  He really likes balls and he has played with it a few times already.  Jane pointed out that it was Elsa blue also, but I don't think Megan chose it for that reason, because at first she had wanted a pink one, but I vetoed that, and then a green one, but the store was out of green, so she settled on blue.

Following our birthday dinner tradition, I made his favorite dinner which included hot dogs, green beans, and grapes.  We also had mini tater tots, which he'd never had before, but he seemed to enjoy them.  I never know what Nathaniel is going to decide to eat, but he ate some of everything he had for dinner.  He pretty much only likes hot dogs, grilled cheese, peas, carrots, green beans, bread, crackers and most fruits.  So there wasn't a lot to pick from when planning his dinner.

We sang Happy Birthday, and then the girls helped him blow out his candle.  Nathaniel didn't mind letting the girls help.

And then Nathaniel got to eat a piece of his cake.  At first, he delicately picked the blue sprinkles off and ate them, but then he decided that the frosting was delicious, and soon he was shoveling entire handfuls of cake into his mouth.  He actually didn't get his face too messy, but his hands and his shirt were a different story.

We are going to have another little celebration in Glenview next week around Thanksgiving. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nathaniel's Baptism

I am way behind in journaling about all the fun things we have done this fall, so I'm going to be playing catchup for the next few days.  But that's okay, because November is usually a slow month anyway.

We had Nathaniel baptized two weeks ago during the Sunday service.  Ben's entire family came up and stayed with us for the weekend, and then Mom, Dad and Becky's family came up for the day on Sunday.  It was so amazing to have almost our entire family there for Nathaniel's special day.  Thank you to everyone who rearranged their schedules at the last minute and made the long drive up to help us celebrate Nathaniel's baptism!  We are thankful to have such a loving family that values time spent together!

Amelia and Megan liked having Natalie and Noah join them at the front of church for the children's message, which was led by Mr. Sandy.  The kids sang "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock" and Amelia and Megan showed everyone the actions.

One thing I like about how the Methodist church does baptisms is that they invite the older siblings up to the front of the church so that they can see and be a part of the ceremony.  Amelia didn't really like being at the front of church with everyone looking at her, but Megan didn't seem to mind.  Megan tried to entertain Nathaniel by playing with his feet; he is always interested in watching Megan.

Nathaniel still has some stranger anxiety, so I was expecting him to scream the minute he was out of my arms, but he didn't!  He only fussed a little when Pastor Scott took him to be baptized, and he didn't seem to mind having the water poured on his head, either. 

Because another little boy was being baptized that day, Pastor Scott wasn't able to walk around the church carrying Nathaniel to introduce him to the congregation, which was probably a good thing!  Instead, I carried him around while the church sang the Little Lamb song:

Little Nathaniel, Little Nathaniel, do you know who made you,
The blue skies up above, the green grass underfoot?
Do you know God made you to teach us how to love?

I really like what Pastor Scott says as he's introducing a baby to the congregation; it's something like "When people ask Nathaniel whether he has experienced God's love, he will be able to say 'Yes!  Because I grew up knowing the people of Sun Prairie United Methodist Church.'"  Next time I am there for a baptism, I'm going to write it down, because I know I didn't say it as nicely as he does.  But it always makes me feel happy that my kids and I are part of such a friendly and caring congregation.

I wanted to get a photo of the entire Johnson family together, since we don't have one that includes all the new babies.  I thought it would be easiest to get a quick picture right after church, before everyone went home to change clothes, eat lunch, and take naps.  But it is always hard to get photos with so many little ones!  I especially like this one because of the fun expressions that Anna and Becky have, and because Dan looks like he is trying to distance himself from all the crazy baby chaos.

We asked Uncle Brian and Uncle Dan Yarger to be Nathaniel's godparents, and we were so happy that they agreed.  Thank you, guys!

It was much easier to get a photo of the Dueber family, probably because most of the kids are older and we waited until lunch was over and the chaos had died down a little.  I think this photo turned out really well.

We ordered a chocolate cake from Costco that said "God Bless Nathaniel" with a cross on it, and so I thought he ought to get to try it, since it was for him.  Mom gave him a bite, but he didn't seem to be very interested at first.

After a few bites, we discovered that he liked the cake, but not the frosting.  Mom prepared a few frosting-less pieces, and he quickly gobbled them up and made quite a mess!

I didn't take any photos of the cousins playing over the weekend, but thankfully, Anna did and she shared them with me.  Thanks, Anna!  Abby really liked playing with Amelia and Megan, and my girls enjoyed playing with her, too.  Megan especially liked to follow Abby around to try to convince Abby to play with her.  I don't think she understands the short attention span a two year old can have!

Abby especially liked playing in our reading tent; she liked to hide in there and pretend that no one could see her.  She warmed up to me pretty quickly, and we had a lot of fun playing together on Saturday.  She also liked playing on our playset, so much so that she opened the porch door and escaped outside one day while we were all busy doing other things.  She was happily playing in the little house when Anna ran outside to find her.  :)

 The girls even got to take a batch together on Saturday night. 

The babies all seemed to enjoy playing with toys in our living room.  They didn't exactly play together, but they all played near each other.  Natalie liked to walk behind and push Nathaniel's little riding car, and she would even push it while Nathaniel or Rosemary were sitting on it.  They liked getting rides!

And here's Grandma Jane and Grandpa Jeff with all their grandkids playing on the air mattress in the basement.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Making Doughuts

When Mom and Dad came to visit last weekend, we made our traditional Halloween doughnuts.  Do you know why we make doughnuts this time of year?  Well, when Dad was a kid, his dad would buy plain cake doughnuts at the store, and then the kids would frost them with either orange or chocolate frosting.  And when Mom was a kid, they only had a few neighbors, so instead of trick-or-treating, they would go to their Grandma's house and she would make them yeast doughnuts with cinnamon sugar.

At our house, everyone has their own specific jobs.  Mom mixes the batter, rolls the dough and figures out when the doughnuts are ready to fry.  Dad mans the fryer.  I do the glazing (although I miss having Becky help!)  The girls help pat the dough flat and then they cut out the doughnuts.  This year they were pretty good about placing the cutters close to the edge instead of right in the middle of the dough. 

While the doughnuts were rising, the girls and Dad invented a game where Dad had to put all the alphabet worm puzzle pieces in the puzzle with his eyes closed.  Amelia thought Grandpa needed some help!  She tried making it harder, too, by hiding some of the pieces from him.

They thought frosting doughnuts was hard, but Amelia invented a new way of frosting the doughnut holes - by completely immersing them in the frosting.  She decided it was a little messy, but she liked the idea of a lot of frosting.

Dad suggested that we cover the doughnuts with crushed M&Ms, and the girls thought that was a fantastic idea.  They were happy to help dunk the holes in the M&Ms or in orange sprinkles.

And at the end of the day, they were delighted to taste some doughnuts!

Don't they look cute in their new matching red dresses?  Mom picked them out - the girls love to match!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Our First Snow and Carving Pumpkins

 We woke up on Halloween morning to find that it had snowed, and that the snow had actually stuck on the ground.  I had told the girls we might get flurries, but that it likely would melt quickly because the ground isn't that cold yet.  They delighted in telling me that I was WRONG because the snow did in fact stick on the ground.  They were so excited to see the snow; Megan even said "I'm so glad it's finally winter!"  Ha ha, not me.  It was 23 degrees that morning, with a windchill below 10, but of course they had to go outside and play in the snow.  It was a good thing Amelia had a day off (for teacher institute day?) so they could enjoy the snow.

And what fun is it to play in the snow if you don't get to eat snow?

Nathaniel wanted to go outside and play with his sisters, but I made him stay inside.  He had fun watching the girls through the window.  He especially liked it when they came over and put snow on the outside of my recently cleaned windows and when they clapped their hands against his through the glass.

When Mom and Dad got here, Megan convinced Grandma to play dress up with her.  Megan is carrying the end of Grandma's veil.

In the afternoon, we finally carved our pumpkins.  I told the girls they had to help clean out the pumpkins.  Last year, they thought the "ooey gooey pumpkin guts" were cool, but this year they were disgusted by the idea of sticking their hand inside and pulling out the guts.

Amelia helped carve her pumpkin herself, with some help from me.  I had to do the mouth because she wanted lots of little teeth, and the eyes, because she wanted them heart shaped.  But she did the nose and the eyebrows mostly by herself.

Megan was a better sport about emptying the pumpkin guts, but she still wasn't thrilled.  I carved her pumpkin based on the design she chose.  Mom helped separate out all the pumpkin seeds, which Ben then roasted.  The girls remembered that he had burned all the pumpkin seeds last year, so they reminded him several times not to burn the seeds this year.  They enjoyed eating some at dinner.

Here are their pumpkins glowing on Halloween night.  Amelia's is on the top and Megan's is on the bottom.