Monday, October 31, 2016

October 2016

Dorian new favorite song of the moment is Bruno Mar's "24 Karat".  The first time he heard it he couldn't keep still; he was stomping his legs and tapping his hands on his tummy.  So we surprised him with a 24 Karat-themed birthday party.  The party lasted all of maybe 5 minutes because he just wanted to go down for a nap, but he's been enjoying all the love and attention from everyone asking him about his birthday for the past couple of weeks.  He started telling everyone that he was going to be 9.  Then he'd laughed and say he was going to really be 8.  Dorian makes 8 look GREAT!

Then later that night we co-hosted the 8th Annual Halloween Spooktacular.  We had a fantastic turnout!  Over 50 people came and danced the night away.  Everyone really outdid themselves with their costumes this year, it was a great time.  Most importantly, we were able to raise a nice amount of funds for Make-a-Wish North Texas.  It's nice to see that because of the generosity and loving hearts of our friends and families, other kids in North Texas will be closer to getting their wishes granted.  

Seventh grade is whizzing by quickly for the boys. It's unbelievable that November is here already!  Last month we were able to take them to Chicago for the Nebraska/Northwestern game with our friends the Bargens and the Fitzgeralds from Nebraska.  That was a blast!  

Chicago fun! 

Last month was also Nenita's QuinciaƱera in San Antonio.  So much fun!

Both Ben and Alex will be playing basketball for their 7th grade team at school starting in a few weeks.  We're proud of Alex for signing up, he hasn't played basketball in quite a few years.  Ben is nearly finish with the Wolf Pack basketball season.  Alex stepped up and joined the G.H.O.L. committee (Get High On Life).  Last week was their big red ribbon week (after many weeks of preparation) and Alex had a blast doing all his skits and having Chris be the keynote speaker for the culmination of the week's activities.   

Dorian has really turned a corner when it comes to his schooling.  His teacher and speech therapist always leave so happy on how well he has been doing.  He anticipates cause/effect better, he is recognizing his sight pictures/words more and he is even successfully joking around about certain words and numbers with Miss Carolyn in a very intentional way.  He makes us so proud! 

Here is a picture of the boys right before they had their 7th/8th grade school dance.  Both boys were extremely nervous about the girl situation but when Chris picked them up they were all super excited and asked when the next dance would be.  
7th Grade Boys

Chris as the infamous Pablo Escobar, I was super star Whitney Houston in a bathtub. 

Freeze!  You have the right to remain adorable!  Dorian is a police officer this year. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

And We're OFF!

School year 2016-17 is in full swing at Casa de Johnson.  Ben and Alex are in the 7th grade and are getting back into their groove after starting back on August 16th.  Dorian is officially a 2nd grader and today is his first day of school.  He enjoyed posing for pictures before the school and jumped right on in with all his songs with his teacher Miss Carolyn.  It amazes us how he retains information so well, especially when it revolves around music.
When I asked Dori to smile he wouldn't.  I said "Show me your teeth then" and this was his response. 

Handsome fella 
He finally cooperated with the obligatory First Day of School pic.  Second grade here he comes!

Alex is trying some new roles at school.  He joined the Choir so today was his first time singing at Mass.  He said he was a little nervous so I told him to just lip-sync "Watermelon" in case of emergency.  From vantage point it seems like he held it together well and didn't have to do any fake singing :).  He also started this week on the GHOL committee (Get High On Life) in planning for all the substance awareness activities at the school this year.  We are so proud of how he is stepping out and doing new things outside of his comfort zone.  Since he isn't playing any sports this fall he takes Luna on a (minimum) mile-long walk everyday when Ben leaves for practice.  It's amazing how he comes back and the gps odometer is always like 1.01 miles.  I asked him how he walks exactly a mile and he says he just goes down the street in a straight line until it's 1/2 mile then just walks back.  I said you're missing the point on walking in lovely surroundings.   ha ha ha!

Ben has pleasantly surprised us!  He is adamant about getting his homework done, his handwriting looks like a real 7th grader wrote it (not a drunken lab monkey) AND he even works ahead on his homework during the weekends without us prompting him.  I asked him if he was abducted by aliens and if all this responsibility is a veiled cry for help.  He confirmed all is well and that he is just being responsible.  WHAAAAA???? He is also busy with his basketball team the Wolf Pack and has been enjoying going to the Michael Johnson Performance Center twice a week to work on his athleticism.

Chris and all the other Wealth Management team have moved from their Dallas office (very close to the boys school) back to Addison.  He's beating me on working out alot and eating healthier so he must be getting ready for the rigors of watching college football.  To say that he is happy with the return of the college football season would be a sad understatement.  Let's all pray Huskers have a solid winning season!  We'll be traveling to watch them play against Ohio State with our friends the Mazurs (of Oktoberfest and ski trip fame) so that should be a great time!
Chris watched me MC a Make-A-Wish event a few weeks ago.  Thankfully there was plenty of beer for him to sit through all my bad jokes on stage!  It dawned on us that last week was Dori's 1 year anniversary of getting his Wish.  What a huge difference a year has made!  He continues to make us laugh and bring so much joy to all that love and care for him.  So in the words of the youngins on social media we continue to live the life #BLESSED 


Friday, August 5, 2016

Summer Winding Down

The boys officially are mourning the fast approaching end of their summer.  They have both done a nice job in their reading comprehension and grammar tutoring.  Today was their last day of tutoring and now we'll soak in the next few days until they ramp back up to school on August 16th.

This summer flew by entirely too quickly.  Chris treated us to a spontaneous trip to Mexico where we all had a relaxing time in Puerto Morelos.  We visited with my sister and Valerio during a pit stop returning from our annual trip to the Ozarks.  Last weekend we enjoyed a day trip to San Antonio in preparation for Nenita's QuinciaƱera next month.  The boys practiced their bachata dance routine for 5 hours!  Ben has kept busy with his basketball team this summer so it's been good to keep him busy.  Alex has been busy FaceTiming friends from school while playing with them online at the same time and talking politics.

Dori has had a nice stable summer, no major setbacks or scary close-calls like we had exactly a year ago around this time.  He is very talkative and loves his music more than ever.  Today another nurse turned in her 2 weeks notice so we'll be sad to see her go.  She is so reliable and responsible I was hoping she'd be a longterm placement for us.  Evidently Dorian and I must be tyrants... oh well.  ha ha!  

This summer has flown by in one huge fun blur.  This is one of the first summers where I'm not counting down the days for the boys to go back to school.  I'm actually pretty sad that they'll be gone during the days.  It's probably because now that they grow older we tend to "hang out" more and have real conversations compared to when they were little.  Chris told me I'll be a hot mess when they leave for college.  I didn't deny it because I know I will!    

Check out this video of Dorian singing his little heart out to me yesterday.  He is quite the crooner and is so fun to hang out with.  He is such a delight!

The boys had a blast at our annual Mom/Kids trip to the Ozarks.  Stacy is always a great host and the kids do an awesome job of packing in as much fun as possible!  

We loved our Mexican trip to Puerto Morelos!  

The beaches were lovely and the boys loved spending their time enjoying that crystal blue ocean 
behind us.  
Dorian always making us laugh with his wit!  He has really blossomed in some special ways this summer (being even MORE talkative, showing how well he remembers things, and having new favorite songs).  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

End of School Year and Beginning of Summer

Wow it's amazing how quickly the past couple of months have flown by!  Toward the end of the school year both boys were very busy with school projects and finals, Ben was busy with basketball, and Alex was busy with baseball.  In the final months of school we also had some staffing changes with Dorian's nurses so there was alot of interviewing and training happening all in the background.

We surprised our nephew Nicholas in early May for his masters graduation party in Georgia.  Ben and Alex had never been to Atlanta so they enjoyed seeing all the major landmarks. Their favorites were the Coca Cola Museum (because what kid doesn't love all you can drink soda?!), and they were really into all the behind-the-scenes action at CNN.  We were even able to catch the Atlanta Hawks play against the Cavaliers in the early playoffs.  On our final day we were finally able to see Nick, his wife Jen, my sister & Valerio and all of Nick and Jen's friends.  But oddly enough their biggest entertainment was riding the elevators over and over again at our hotel.  It was spooky and cool for them all at the same time.  Next time we'll save a ton of money and just take them to down town and have them ride those elevators for hours on end-- just kidding!
Fun at the Braves game. 
The scary yet mesmerizing elevators.  

Chris showing how proud we are of Nick by beating him at Beer Pong.  

Dori worked really hard for a couple of weeks with his teacher on making me an adorable Mothers Day artwork and singing me a song.  He was kinda in a cranky mood when he started to perform it but he livened up really quickly and sounded so cute while singing along to his well rehearsed tune.  It was so heart warming!  He is so precious and his teacher and nurse had been so patiently working with him behind the scenes, it really meant alot to me. 

Alex enjoyed his baseball season with the St Rita's 6th grade league.  He decided to give soccer a rest and we were proud of him starting something new.  He won some impressive awards for his writings and for loving Social Studies this past year. We are so proud of both of them for stepping it up academically this year.  YAY! 
Winner Winner (academic) Chicken Dinner 

Dori and Papi catching up on their day after a long day of work. 

For Memorial Day weekend we took a trip to Kiawah Island, South Carolina for our friend Bryan's 50th birthday.  The kids all had a blast playing in the ocean and watching movies together.  Our full day was perfect weather but then a tropical storm came in so we did lots of card playing, movies and eating with everyone.  

Ever since Memorial Day weekend Dori has had on and off days with fevers, respiratory distress and sleepiness.  After two rounds of antibiotics and one round of steroids our pulmonologist recommended we go to the ER to get him chest x-rays and have lab work done to check his carbon dioxide levels in his blood.  X-rays revealed his left lung was partially collapsed due to a respiratory infection (more than likely viral because his strep and pneumonia all came back negative.).  We spent from 2PM-9PM in the ER until he was stabilized enough to bring home.  Since then he has been progressing from needing to be on all his "heavy duty" breathing machines (his bipap trilogy vent) and his rebreather mask (the mask that has a baggie attached to it) for when he eats.  Poor fella has been bored to death in his room since we can't easily transfer him from room to room on all that equipment he isn't typically on when he is healthy.  His will to be "in the mix" and his stubbornness to not want to miss out on the fun and commotion in the other parts of the house have willed him to get better.  He is now able to breath for 30-60 minute stretches at a time on his nasal cannula.  Here is a picture of him on Sunday night when he had his first bath outside of his room.  He was so happy to be out of his room surrounded by the rest of us.  I caught something in the ER so I've been on antibiotics and steroids so this week is finally when I've been able to hang out with him more without the fear of getting him sick from whatever crud I had all stuffed up in my lungs.  Thankfully nobody else came down with anything. 
Last week Alex also had his adenoids and tonsils removed.  We've had an exciting 1st two weeks of the summer with Dori in the ER and Alex getting his tonsils removed; but we've managed to still work in alot of fun and family time.  Here is a picture of Alex eating some super soft Mac n Cheese at the Cheesecake factory earlier this week.  
Last weekend had a nice time with our buddy Alden from KC who spent the weekend doing all kinds of silly things with Ben and Alex.  

And here is a picture of Chris and I, celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary on May 30th!  Crazy how quickly the time has flown by... I told him we finally made it to the "adulthood" part of our marriage since we're 18 years in.   ha ha ha!  
Wishing Chris and all the wonderful dads that may read this a wonderful father's day this upcoming weekend!  This is one of the last pictures we all took as a family together with Wynnie.  Please say a special prayer to all the fathers we hold in our hearts this year; this will be our first  year without Chris's dad Dave.  I'm sure my dad and his dad have gotten well acquainted at this point and are having a grand old time together.  
The boys and I are truly blessed to have such a loving, fun and supportive Big Papi in our lives.  It's neat to see how their relationship continuously grows and blossoms as they all get older.  Dori still thinks that Papi is the coolest person on the planet and is always excited to hear his voice, being held by him after he comes home from work, and having their frequent R&B jam sessions in our bar area while watching sports (to very questionable music that normally is not suited for 7 year olds which makes it even funnier!!). We call Dori "White Chocolate".   Life is good and we're thankful for all our friends, family and nursing staff that help make that possible. Wishing you all a great summer... stop on by and see us when you get a chance!  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Dorian's Field Trip and Grandpa

Dorian had a chance to visit his teachers at Coyote Ridge Elementary. These are the wonderful teachers of the FLS (functional life skills) class that used to love on both Dori and Wynnie everyday. 
Don't let the screaming/crying face fool you. He managed to tell them "I love you guys" before we left. 

Those were good days when both babies would go to school. Dori would roam up and down the halls in his walker that he would propel himself by the strength of his own pedaling feet. Wynnie would snuggle with his teachers and make all his cute little noises. They both had their own little lockers. 
The teachers seemed really happy and grateful to see Dori; as was I. 

This week we continue to pray for Chris's dad who is in very critical condition. He is being transferred over to a skilled nursing facility either today or tomorrow where he can be properly attended to in comfort. Chris was there last week and flew out there again Monday of this week when it looked like his father may not make it through the night. We are prayerfully thankful that Chris was able to arrive in time and not only did Dave make it through the night, he is still with us. 
God is good and we continue to pray for his comfort and healing in the coming days. 
Here is a picture of them from our wedding in May of 1998. Thanks for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers, it means a lot to us. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

March Madness

Wow I can't believe I haven't updated the familia blog since Wynnie's heavenly birthday on December 2nd.  Time flies :)

We all had a nice Christmas ... Dori had fun telling people "Merry Christmas" all month long. I know I don't look a day over 21 (wink wink) but in December I turned 41. It also marked the 20th anniversary of my plane crash and my parents heavenly anniversary. Lots of things have changed but the people who loved and consoled me back then are many of the same people who love me today.  I walk funny, my body's aches and pain from my mobility limitations are a little bit more pronounced 20 years later, but for being in a 757 that smashed into the side of a mountain, I gotta say I came out ok. Not a day goes by that I don't miss my parents but I know their love is always with me. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for the 21 amazing years of love and parenting they gave me. I went a little overboard with celebrating my 41st birthday but luckily I have a very forgiving husband and wonderful friends/accomplices that made it a blast. 

Since December Chris has cut out soft drinks, cleaned up his diet and has lost over 20 pounds! Since December I've pretty much have done the same thing and have gained about 7. 

Ben and Alex enjoyed their Christmas break with their friends. Last month their St Rita basketball team had a heart breaking loss at the Dallas Parochial League championship game. They had a great season. Pictures speak volumes and they normally were a fun loving  group of boys. 
But after their tough loss, here is the final team picture. Poor sweet boys! 

Alex has really flourished as a writer this year. At parent teacher conferences his English teacher told us he has such an amazing "voice" in his writing. We are so proud of him! He joined the school's baseball team and last night was their first practice. He loved it! He is still goalie for soccer but he can't wait for that season to be over. 

Dorian has managed to go through the cold and flu season like a boss. He still has his hospice nurse Kathy visit him once a week. We've had a few changes in our day nursing staff these past few months but it's been fairly smooth and good for Dori. Our only major issue with him is spitting. At first he only was spitting on one of his nurses. Then from spitting on her, he has now developed a fascination with spitting on EVERYONE. It's not cute. It's not funny. I have no idea how to stop it. Any suggestions? But other than that, he is sweet as can be and always fun. 
For spring break we took the boys skiing with the Mazurs in Lake Tahoe. It was beatiful! We loved it! 
Casino night --- Arty the Party was the one man show at Harrahs and I told Chris I want him flown to Dallas for my 50th. Yes he was THAT good!! Or maybe the cheap beers made Arty seem like the next JT. Not quite sure. 
Chris, Alma and I spent an afternoon snow shoeing. I almost passed out. Chris seriously thought he and Alma were going to have to carry me off the mountain. It was pretty embarrassing. 
Back in January I went through training with Make-a-Wish and I am now officially a Wish Ambassador. Basically I'm a volunteer that gives presentations about MAW to any groups doing fundraisers for them. In some instances I can also represent MAW in accepting donations on their behalf and representing the organization when they need a face and a story to help promote MAW. I'm excited to go to my first event in a few weeks... I'll take Chris and the boys with me to WRESTLE MANIA!! Crazy right? I want to introduce Ben and Alex to the profession that put a roof over our heads and food on our table for so many years. Yay Papi!! 
All in all, it's been a wonderful winter. Chris was promoted, I was able to land NASA as a client again and have been setting the groundwork for a productive Spring/Summer work season. As always, thanks for your friendship and support. If you read through my blogs it's one of two reasons 1) you are a true friend or 2) you like bad jokes. Either way, thanks for sharing a few minutes reading about my sweet little family. Wishing you all a wonderful rest of March!