Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Back to School Fun

Dancing and wiggling before his teacher came to the house! 

Dori is going for an edgier look this year, thus the rocker t-shirt and the spiked hair.  

Can't believe 8th grade is here! Thanks to grandma Gerry for sponsoring their uniforms this school year :) 

It's been a fun and busy August for the Johnson boys.   We enjoyed quality time in the Ozarks with all our besties.  Ben and Alex went cliff diving and did all kinds of insane adventurous stuff.  Then as soon we returned we went straight into "back to school" mode.   

Chris went to Nebraska for the big fight with all his buddies.  He stayed an extra day to watch the eclipse since he was in the path of totality.  He said it was beyond breathtaking.  Looking forward to 2024 when Texas will be in the direct path for the eclipse.  Time to start party planning for that!  

Today Dori started the 3rd grade!!!  Two weeks ago Ben and Alex started the 8th grade!!  All three boys have a great things coming ahead for them this fall.  

Dori will be preparing all year to take the STARR Test for the first time (gulp!).  He'll have a modified version to perform with the assistance of his homebound teacher and his speech therapist from the district.  Thankfully they'll be able to work with him because if not he would be responding "Ravioli!" and "Night Night!" to all the questions. :)  He'll be learning all kinds of neat things in Science, Math and English/Reading.  Last year he had a blast with all the books and stories Miss Carolyn would share with him -- anything that rhymes is awesome for him.  Math will be tactile.  Since he doesn't respond as much to visual cues (like flash cards or pictures) she realized that if he didn't want to verbally respond he would answer simple counting and math questions by tapping the answer with his hand to her (tapping 3 times to signify the number 3 for example).  He'll also learn how to be more compliant at accepting "No" as an answer (which honestly nobody on the planet ever tells him "no"), and switching from task to task while remaining calm (instead of screaming because he doesn't want to switch to another activity that he doesn't deem as fun).  So wish Dori luck as he learns "Big Boy" stuff this year!  We still look at him in awe ... thinking that originally his life expectancy would be around 3-6 years; and here we are roughly a month away from his 9th birthday. Yay Dori! 

Ben and Alex have a super exciting year ahead.  They will be preparing and going through Confirmation (lots of prep classes, faith formation activities and lots of community service).  They also will be applying for high school.  It's a big process -- they will be preparing for a comprehensive entrance exam (it's like an SAT/ ACT test required to get into any of the parochial high schools in Dallas), preparing a resume of their accomplishments/ activities,  they need to get letters of recommendations from teachers and other adults, taking high school campus tours to narrow down their choice, and going through individual interviews with their top high school and a family interview with the admission committees.  In the meantime I'll be panicking the entire time and doing lots of screaming throughout the process.  At least that'll give us a little preparation into the college admission process and hopefully I won't be as freaked out about that at that point.  Chris is cool as a cucumber so he'll keep us all from feeling overwhelmed during this exciting time.  They'll find out by spring break which school(s) they were admitted to so we can't wait!  

Ben is playing on two different select basketball teams and Alex is playing football for St. Rita.  Ben has always been an eager athlete, but something must have happened over the summer because Alex is in beast mode about football.  He loves talking about it and loves making things happen.  They've had plenty of practices and one scrimmage at this point so we'll be ready to cheer him on once the season officially gets started.  Go Spartans!

Saturday mornings will be SO MUCH SWEETER now that College Game Day will be airing again on ESPN.  Pretty much nobody except for Chris knows my obsession with College Game Day.  Chris says I like it more than he does, and that says a lot since he is a college football fanatic.  So please don't call or text me during the College Game Day show because I'll either be laughing at the signs in the crowd, crying at one of the tear-jerker stories, or just attentively watching while drinking my coffee.  You have no idea how excited I am! 

We continue to pray for all our friends and fellow Texans going through the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.  In just one month we've seen the WORST of American culture (Charlottesville) and the BEST of American culture (Houston).  Although the devastation is enormous and the recovery will be arduous, it has given us a glimpse once again on how wonderful of a nation we can be when people forget about all the political ideologies and prejudices that divide us and instead choose to focus on our common humanity that unites us.   No president, no governmental agency, no celebrity can unite us; only WE as individuals can unite us.  It's been a blessing to witness from afar here in Dallas.  

No matter where you live, you can directly help those in need.  If you shop on Amazon, area organizations helping have posted registries of items they need.  Simply click, order and their desperately needed items go directly to the organizations on the ground helping now. has become a big way people are offering specific help and sending items directly to organizations helping Hurricane Harvey victims. Here is a list of Amazon Wish List links to donate! 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Hellooooo Summaaaaah!

Today is the official first day of summer for Ben and Alex, and today was also Dori's last day of 2nd grade.  Dorian had a blessed year with his teacher Miss Carolyn who always knew how to bring out the best of him through music, laughter and lots of love.  Here's a little video of Dorian listening to his new favorite book today during his last class.

So long 2nd grade! This handsome fella is getting ready for a fun summer and with lots of honeys! 

Ben and Alex said "Adios" to the 7th grade and had a blast going swimming with their friends after school yesterday at the country club alot of the Spartan families belong to.  A big special thank you to the Riley family -- Matt and Katie were always so kind in letting the boys walk to their home after every day after school until Chris or I picked them up.  We're confident that the boys probably ate 3 tons worth of food and drank 30 gallons worth of juice boxes, sodas and water bottles from their fridge after school so thank you Rileys for being so awesome with our boys and being such an exemplary St Rita family!

Congrats on 7th Grade Baseball Dallas Parochial League Champions St. Rita Spartans! The kids had a solid squad this year and it was a lot of fun to see them win the championship game on their last week of school.  Ben's select basketball team (the Wolf Pack) also won their league last week so we've been enjoying lots of celebrating these past couple of weeks.  

Since the last time I posted in February we bought a new vizsla puppy (Gracie).  She is such a sweet heart!  Luna didn't want anything to do with her, but she has slowly grown on her.  She has been a wonderful addition to the family!  

In other late breaking news, I accidentally ran over Gracie last week.  Yikes!!  Miraculously she'll be back to normal in 8 weeks with the help of lots of love, reconstructive jaw surgery and a small fortune.  She is ready to get back in action and play even though she gets sedatives twice a day to avoid messing with her wounds or moving her jaw too much.  She has more energy on sedatives than most normal people have after 3 red bulls.  Luna is keeping her distance from Gracie during the meantime.  Poor Gracie!  

Our two champs -- Ben for the DPL Baseball championship and Alex for participating in a special performance with the choir at school for their principal who retired this week.  We are so proud of them, they had a fantastic year. 

Thanks to the Mazurs for going with us to the 2017 Wish Night at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas earlier this month.  We had a great time and it was fun getting all dressed up for a great cause.  If you see me posting a lot more about Make-A-Wish these past few months is because I'm now officially on the regional council for Make-A-Wish North Texas.  It's a lot of fun meeting other Wish families, being a part of Wish reveals, and raising awareness and funds for amazing families across North Texas. 

This past week Chris and I celebrated 19 years of marriage.  Time certainly has flown by quickly these past 19 years and we look forward to many more years to come.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Happy start to 2017!

Christmas and the new year came and went in a flash and I can't believe it's already mid February.  In fact today happens to be my mom's birthday.  She would have been a youthful 79 years old today. Ben and Alex also are still floating around in their post birthday celebrations -- they are now officially TEENAGERS!  We had a great time spending Thanksgiving week in NYC... we had a blast attend the parade and visiting all the sites.  Both boys are playing basketball for St Rita... Ben is on the A team and Alex was happy to make the B team (there's 4 7th grade teams so he truly was happy to make the B team!).
 Ben is #24 on his select team The Wolf Pack
Here's a picture of the B&A (lower right corner) during their last day of school at the Christmas party.

Here is the B-Team St Rita Power House 

Dorian has continued to be awesomely defy the odds and spends his day singing, demanding to be rocked by his nurses, and making us laugh.  He loves Luna and calls out for her when he hasn't seen her around, and his favorite part of the day is when Chris comes home from work.  He helps me yell for Ben and Alex and is always Mr Nosey Rosey when the boys are working on homework in the kitchen.  We didn't have a night nurse last night so we stayed up late playing; here he is wishing you all a happy Valentines Day.  Don't let his cuteness fool you.  He is such a funny stinker. He ate a lot of  beans yesterday and his breath was stinky.  Marcia kept telling him jokingly "Dori your breath stinks!" and he would respond by puckering up his lips and blowing into her face each time she would say it.  Niiiiiice.    

Central Park NYC over Thanksgiving 

Gangster Dori 

Here is a picture of Cary -- my mom's best friend who I was able to visit 2 weeks ago in Florida before my annual girls trip to Marco.  Cary will be 96 YEARS OLD at the end of this month and she still takes the time to lecture me on how to be more romantic with Chris. She is the original Love Doctor.  She has always been such a blessing to my sister and I... we love her dearly!  She and my mom were always Lucy and Ethel (my mom was the crazy fun Lucy and Cary was the level headed partner in crime Ethel).  

Please join me in praying for our extended i-cell family around the world.  Since December many little i-cell earth angels have bravely earned their wings. Cold and flu season is always hard on our warrior babies and this season has been particularly hard on many.  We pray for their families to find strength and comfort in the memories of their dear children.  

Wishing you all a wonderful rest of the month and hoping your new year is off to a wonderful start!