Monday, December 2, 2013

Big Girl Bed

Her first look at her converted bed.

She was happy with it!

So we made the switch to the toddler bed at the beginning of November, a little bit earlier than I thought I was ready for. When we bought Emery's crib, we got one that would be able to convert to a toddler bed in order to save some money. The reason we went ahead and made the switch was because of a lack of room. We moved the glider into another room so that there would be more room for her toys in her room. So that meant I no longer had a place to sit with her and read to her (other than on the floor, which I did for a couple of weeks). When she first saw the converted bed, she was excited to be able to run and get in on her own. The first night went well, and she went to bed without any issues. The next night, though, she came out once or twice before she went to sleep. I thought that I had solved that issue by closing her door until we went to bed, but as of last week, she has figured out how to open her door. At that point I realized that I was just trying to be in control, and she's growing more everyday, which means that I'm becoming less in control of her. Still, she's done pretty well since then, and has been going down more easily and with very few incidents.

I was surprised by one of the best things that has resulted from this new freedom for her. When she gets up in the morning, she comes into our bedroom and is content to lie in bed with us for a little bit. This is usually only on the weekends or non-work days, since we get up so early on work days. Previously, as soon as I got her out of her crib, she was ready to get up, so this has been a nice change. I was really struck by how much I enjoy her doing this on Thanksgiving morning as I lay with her between Jason and me, just thinking about what a blessing my little family is to me. And I actually look forward to seeing her little face looking at me when she's ready to climb into bed with us. As long as it isn't too early.

Friday, April 19, 2013

40 Thanks

Today (at least when I started writing this post on March 23, 2013) is my 40th birthday. It sounds so weird. Since January, I'd been dreading it a little, but now that it's here, I'm kind of excited. I still feel pretty young, or at least not as old as I used to think 40 was :) I guess everyone goes through that. I also posted a quick review of my 30s on facebook last night. During my 30s, my confidence increased, I graduated from grad school and began my career as a school psychologist, I met and married my husband, and I became a mommy. The 30s were really wonderful to me. Or I should say, God was wonderful to me during my 30s. I look forward to what He has in store for me during my 40s.

I recently read a blog about giving back on your birthday. The woman I read about had written letters to 40 people who had influenced them. In honor of my 40th birthday today, I had a few ideas of some similar things to do. But I knew I wouldn't really have that much time to write letters. I also had thought about writing 40 different blog posts, one for each person. That wasn't going to happen, either. So I've settled on one blog post about 40 people. Some living, some now gone. Some family, some friends, some teachers. But all added something to who I have become as a (now) 40-year-old wife, mother, friend, and school psychologist. (I think I'm doing it good to get it done within a week month of my birthday.) Here are the people, listed in sort of a categorical order...

1) Jason Johnson. My husband, my friend, the father of my child. We are going on 7 years of marriage, and I can honestly say that you have made me aware of being a more considerate person, more aware of how I come across to people, and more aware of not being controlled by my emotions. I may resist that when it's going on, but I do need it, and I love you for it. Thanks for taking care of us!

2) Emery Johnson. Of course, no event other than marriage changes someone's life like becoming a mother. You made me a mother, and it has been better than I ever thought it could be. I love watching you learn new things all the time, and grow up (even though I don't want you to grow too fast). There's a line from one of the songs on the Baby Signing Time DVD that I totally agree with..."I'm glad that my baby is you."

3 and 4) Rick & Jana Redding. As my parents, of course, you have had probably the most influence on my life, particularly my early years. I'm so glad for the way that we were raised. You had us in church from an early age, and in Christian school, which led to my own faith. Thanks for the example of marriage and commitment, demonstrated by your 40 years of marriage. And thanks for being great grandparents to Emery.

5 and 6) Larry & Barbara Johnson. Of course, I've only known you for a relatively short time in my life, but your influence has been almost as much as my own parents, just by being the parents of Jason. Thank you for raising him in a Christian home, and being an example of marriage and commitment to him, demonstrated by almost 38 years of marriage. Thank you, too, for being great grandparents to Emery, and for treating me like a daughter.

7 and 8) Fred & Roberta Redding. You also have been an example of marriage and commitment, with almost 64 years of marriage. You also have been a great example of hard work and saving money. You've been generous to help me out when I was in grad school, which was so very much appreciated.

9) Amy Martin. You helped shape my personality by making me an older sister, rather than an only child. Of course, we had the normal sibling rivalry when we were younger. But now, we are good friends, even though we're unfortunately separated by many hundreds of miles. There are countless memories of playing our different games--real ones and made up ones, inside jokes, and so forth.

10) Kyle Redding. You also helped shape my personality by being my much younger little brother. We also had some sibling rivalry when we were younger, but now get along a lot better. We are probably more alike than we realize, in many aspects.

11) Ron Upton. As my music minister at Idlewild for the 20-something years I was there, you had a profound influence. From leading choir tours when I was in high school and college, to the Christmas presentations, to praise team, to all of the "catch-up" talks we've had. And of course, you married Jason and me. You are always so gracious with people and quick to forgive.

12) Mike Kahn. As my singles minister for most of my 20s, I learned a lot from you. I appreciated the Bible memory system and the discipleship programs that you taught about.

13) Henry Beiber. As Idlewild's Biblical counseling minister for several years, you were very instrumental in the confidence growth that I went through when I was 30. That's also around the time that I took the Search for Significance class that truly changed the way I saw myself. That class also was under your ministry.

My teachers: Whether in high school, junior high, or elementary, if you are on this list, you truly influenced my life in your work as an educator, as well as your personal investment in me.

14) Linda DeVore. My 10th grade English teacher, you challenged me to actually work for an A. You also were a mentor to me while in high school and college.

13) Paula Brown. My math teacher from 6th through 11th grades. Also, my youth minister's wife in 7th and 8th grades.

14) Selma Grantham. My Spanish teacher from 10th through 12th grades (and I think Doctrine one year)

15) Anna Weatherford. My 3rd grade teacher. Always pushed me to succeed.

16) Denise Gleyzel. My 4th grade teacher.

17) Mona Keister. My music teacher from 2nd through 7th grades, which included chorus from 4th through 7th grades.

18) Ethel Herman. My original piano teacher from age 4 through about 12. She taught me the basics.

19) Susan Nations. My final piano teacher, from my junior year of high school through my freshman year of college. You got me at a point where I was really motivated to learn to play well, and you honed those skills. But so much more, as a mentor to us in high school and college, and even as single and married ladies. I love that you hosted my bridal luncheon.

20) Janice (Brock) Edmiston. You were my Sunday School teacher in 10th and 11th grades, and I learned SO MUCH from you and your example. I will always think of you when I hear Habakkuk 3:19, or the book Hinds Feet on High Places.

My Friends (Early Years): So many memories of church and school activities that we did together. We all went through those awkward years together, but learned so much about how to be friends and relate to people.

21) Kathleen (Gant) Fahle. Really, you were my first friend since we're cousins. So many memories from our school years!

22) KayAnn (Blitch) Hooge. So many memories from 5th through 9th grades, and then again our freshman year at UT!

23) Jennifer (McNichols) Sack. So many memories from 1st through 12th grades!

24) Valerie (Keeth) Cuddeback. Really good memories from high school!

25) Tracie (Bragg) Burke. Again, good memories from high school.

My Friends (Older Years): Friends through when we were in college, being single together, and then as we've gotten married. Through you all, I truly learned how to be friends. There have been ups and downs, but through it all, we have maintained friendships, even when we haven't seen each other in a while.

26) Rachel (Comellas) Arocha. Love '98, the summer of Claire and Rachel (or Rachel and Claire, as you refer to it). And love our Barnes & Noble girls nights!

27) Debra Alderman. My roommate! LOVED the time we lived together. Learned so much from you and cherish the friendship!

28) Karen (Ammirati) Basham. So many years, from teaching at Walden Lake together, to working out at Bally's, and praise team together. Miss you!

29) Julie (Smith) Grant. Loved the time of Julaire, as well as other memories as we got closer to getting married.

30) Wendy (Castleberry) Teague. One Voice, praise team, and lots of other memories.

31) Ann Romagnolo. Loved when I got to be Gershwin's foster mom, and all the hanging out we used to do. And of course, technically, you were how Jason and I met!

32) Kindra (Murphy) Shah. I enjoyed our talks and learning with you.

And the rest...

33) Karen Grimaldi. College Home Fellowship times are some of my best memories from those years. Really admired your heart for us.

34) Linda Raffaele Mendez. You were my favorite grad school professor, I think because I sensed some similarities in our personality. And of course, you were my thesis chair and pushed me to (finally) finish my thesis. Even right after you had your second baby.

35) June Gregory. My intern supervisor. I learned a lot about practicing school psychology by working with you.

36) Willeva VanDenBogaert. My first guidance counselor as a school psychologist. Such good memories of my time at Bryan Elementary!

37) Lori Carmack. Really appreciated working with you for so many years and getting a good perspective of school social workers. Glad we got to be pregnant together for a little bit, but wish our daughters could have been playmates and that you still worked here.

38) Samantha (Smith) Conti. I'll always remember our weekly prayer meets at USF. Those times with our college group are some of my best memories.

39) Ken Whitten. After sitting under your preaching for 20 years, you definitely were influential in my life.

40) Scott Reynolds. Miss singing with you, friend! Thanks for always being encouraging about it.

Of course, many people have made a big impact in my life. These are just 40 of them. I truly appreciate the history that we've had and the memories that we've made. Thanks for giving to me just by being you!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Monthly Photos

Here are some of the monthly photos I've taken since Emery has turned 1. I decided to change it up a bit this year (as opposed to the same chair for her monthly photos in the first year) and take different shots both inside and outside. My sister-in-law made this awesome tutu so I could take these pictures. I got the stickers from Very cute.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

All About Emery #2

I was right, I knew that I would remember more things that I had wanted to share about what Emery has been doing lately. To continue from my last post...

5) She has been wanting to hold the broom on her own. In fact, she cried when I tried to take it so I could finish sweeping the kitchen. So I let her have at it, at least until she started swinging the broom around and I was afraid she was going to knock something over.

6) She also has been enjoying going outside a lot. She likes to swing, but she's usually done after just a few minutes. She'll say and sign, "All done!" so then we go on to something else out there. We like to look for the neighborhood cats that roam our yards, or we listen for one of the dogs to bark. And sometimes we blow bubbles.

7) When we're outside, Emery usually likes to go into our detached garage, where we have our washer and dryer. She likes to pull out the clothes and put them into the laundry basket. After the first time that she did this, she grabbed on to the basket like she was helping me carry it in. It was so cute, and she's all proud of herself. Love it.

I just hope that all of this helping will still be around in a few years when she can really do chores! But if she's anything like me, probably not.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All About Emery

I'm afraid I'm one of those moms. You know, the ones who always talk about what their kids did or said the other day. I just can't help it. I get so excited to watch how Emery learns more and more things, and I just want to share it with people. Plus, all of the things she is doing makes her seem even cuter than I already think she is.

Here are a few of my favorite things that Emery is doing right now:

1) She puts a purse or bag over her arm, then puts her hand up and says, "Bye!" She also does this with any kind or strap or cord (not electrical). Or really anything that fits on her arm, like in these pictures.

2) Right now, Emery loves "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." She puts her hands on her head when she wants me to sing it. Then she usually touches her toes, then maybe her eyes and ears.

3) Usually close behind "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes," from Little Einsteins, is raising her arms. On the show, this is what they do to generate power for the rocket to take off. This starts with "pat pat pat" on your legs. Emery switches back and forth between the patting and the raising her arms.

4) Lately when I've been picking Emery up from her school, she starts pointing to each child and trying to tell me their name. It is so cute! So now I've started trying to teach her her name, but she doesn't really say it yet.

Those are just some of the things for now. I'm sure there are more that I'll think of that I forgot.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Project Life: Week 1 Done

In my last post I mentioned thinking about doing Project 365, which is when you take a picture every day for a year. You really can start whenever, but I think most people start with the new calendar year. I like the idea, but I knew from reading about others' experiences that it would be hard to continue. I even said in my last post that I wasn't completely sold on it, although I had been taking a picture every day since Jan.1. In the mean time, as I was "researching" others' Project 365s, I stumbled on another project, called Project Life. This is a scrapbooking system that was originally created by Becky Higgins, and it seems to be becoming very popular. Even my go-to scrapbooking site has just started a line of products that follow this type of system. I think a lot of people do Project 365 with Project Life, or think that you have to take a picture every day for Project Life, but you don't. They say you can do it however you want, so I've decided to stick to the everyday memories (which is what I liked about Project 365 and why I thought about doing it). The way I'm planning to do it is to make a two-page layout for each week. I want to focus on our everyday lives for the most part, particularly with Emery, because I realize that time is going to fly as she grows up. And I'm not worried about taking a picture every day. I only went 10 days before I decided I didn't know what to take. But I think I like it better this way. I'm still taking more pictures than I would have, and I'm thinking more about grabbing my camera than I had been, so I think this will get at what I'm setting out to do.

A lot of people work on their layouts on Sunday, for the previous week (most go Monday to Sunday, which I'm doing). I just finished my first layout tonight, so I'm technically 2 weeks behind, but I'm trying to stay on top of which pictures I plan to use. The system is supposed to be simpler and less time consuming, which I can see, I just took a while at the beginning to get materials together and to figure out exactly how I wanted to go about it. Now that I know, I expect the other weeks will be quicker.

For this, I got most of the products from, which carries the digital version of Becky Higgins' products. I also got some from Scrap Girls (see above, my go-to site). Here is my finished first week.

Project Life: Week 1 (left)
Project Life: Week 1 (right)

Project 365

Many people have probably heard of Project 365, where you take a picture everyday. I've always thought that would be fun, but I've never done it before. I have begun this year taking at least 1 picture each day, but I'm still not completely sold on doing it. The site that I've gone to for inspiration,, shows pretty artistic photos, and I don't really take those kind of pictures. But that's ok. I'm more about recording my life and, more so, my 15-month-old daughter's growth, so I think that's what my pictures will focus on.

I already do a Project 52. When my daughter was born, my husband wanted to take a picture of her everyday. That lasted until about the time that I went back to work. So it transitioned into a weekly photo, which I'm happy to say that I have kept up with. I'm actually working on a photobook for the first year of her weekly photos. Here is an example of one. I'll post a link to the entire book when I finish it. The chalkboard background was created by Melissa Renfroe of The alpha template was created by Erica Hite, and the border template by Caroline Kaiser, both of