Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Tomorrow is the first day of October and that does not even seem possible. I find myself in a new season of my life as we enter this fall season. I have two teenage boys (one of which is driving) and I have a toddler. I'm pretty sure they could not be any more different to parent! Even the boys are like day and night from each other yet they are so similar in many different ways.

Clearly being a stepmom means that I am not their mother and I have only been in their lives for almost 4 of their 14 and 16 years, therefore, I still don't know all there is to know about each of them. I find myself struggling with this often. Now when I say struggling, I really mean more like learning and observing, because the boys are FAR from a struggle and mothering them (even as a stepmother) is FAR from struggling. It's learning them and understanding them. Yes, I was a teenager once...not really that long ago...but I was not ever a teenage boy (obviously!) and I find myself sometimes stuck between being a "mother" and being a "friend."

When Gene and I first got together and before I ever even met the boys I told myself that I would not come into their lives as another "mother" but as a "friend." I didn't want them to resent me or their father and think that I was supposed to somehow replace their mother. I had absolutely no intentions of that whatsoever and quite honestly I think as far as that goes I've done a pretty good job. The boys and I have a wonderful relationship and because I am technically closer in age to them than their father (no comments!) we get along because I can relate to them. This fact actually helps things when they get frustrated with Gene for being their father and getting on to them or acting like a parent. They will vent to me about it and I have to tread lightly in letting them know that I am on his side because we are parents together but also help them understand that they are still kids and that they need guidance and discipline and that it's his/our job to hand those things down.

I have grounded the boys once and it was because they hadn't done their chores like they were supposed to. They were told that if they didn't they would be grounded for one week with no phone, computer or going anywhere. I got up with them the next morning and told them both to bring me their phones and that they were grounded for a week because they didn't do what they were supposed to. They did as they were told, no arguments.

This is where the struggle comes in that I'm talking about. By the end of the day I felt bad for grounding them because 1) I'm not their mother 2) they are NEVER in trouble and had done their chores wonderfully up until this one time and 3) I felt somehow like it wasn't my place. Gene backed me 100% and was perfectly ok with me punishing them. That afternoon when they got home from school I gave their phones back, told them that I would cut them a break since they'd done so great up until that point and warned them that next time it happened it would most definitely be for the full week. It never happened again. I told you....great kids.

Now they are older and we are all moving through a new season. Some of it together as a family and some of it as individuals. Either way I'm trying my best to figure it out as we go, which I guess is what every parent does, step or not, it just seems hard sometimes. No, I take that back, parenting is tough and probably the hardest thing I've ever done! In the same respect, it's also the most wonderful and rewarding thing I've ever done! I love it when Colt calls me because he wants to tell me how great his grades are (which really are great by the way and he's taking almost all pre-AP or AP classes) or that he's learning a new song on the piano and when Corey calls me Tay-Tay (which is all the time because he never calls me Taylor!) and he says he wants to go run with me and asks me to make a butterfinger cake or chicken enchiladas because those are his favorites and he knows I'll do it!

I love being a mother of 3, even if I only birthed one of them, and I love doing it with my husband. I get very impatient and upset sometimes but I remind myself that it's nothing that other parents haven't gone through and that it's just part of it.

As hard as it is being stepmom to the boys, it may even be more difficult being mommy to this 2 and a half year old little girl! Oh. My. Word. We have had quite a time this last month or so. She has discovered that she has a will, a very strong will, and that she doesn't agree with us most of the time and that she thinks she is entitled to say so! Who knew toddlers could be so dramatic and demanding. She is going through her terrible two's in a very real way and my patience, as well as her daddy's, have certainly been tested! I must say that Gene is much better at it most of the time because he's so much more patient with her. He's been there and done this twice before with the boys so he has a better understanding and what to expect with this particular season of Miss Grace's life. I, on the other hand, am going through this for the first time and I just get absolutely frustrated and upset. It's one of the those times I am somewhat thankful that Gene was married once before and has experienced the terrible two's because he can help guide and ground me when I get upset! He helps me realize that it's a part of life and that yes it is hard but we have to endure it. At least he's suffering through it with me!!

I honestly love that man more and more each day because of it and I thank God that he brought him into my life! I love my little girl so much and have finally come to an understanding that she will eventually outgrow this little phase she is growing through and we will all be fine! I can tell you right now that we don't have to worry about her being a wallflower and not having any friends. I'm pretty sure it will be just the opposite and we are going to have our hands full from here on out! Which is ok with me, she's a beautiful mix of her momma's personality and her daddy's personality and she gets along with everyone!
As hard as change is, it is also a great thing and being a parent is so neat getting to watch those changes happen and knowing that you are a part of that person's legacy!
I have had some struggles this past month and I think that it's mostly due to a changing of the seasons in the Johnson household. So, as we move into fall and all the wonderful things that come with it (amazing weather, leaves changing, hot cider, cuddling up under warm blankets and football!) we also move into this new season of our lives and I feel like now we have a better grasp on what is going on and things will begin to flow more smoothly!
What seasons are you going through? I'd love to hear from others who have, or are, going through similar situations! I would like to better get to know the folks who read my blog!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Show Us Your Life - Desserts

It's been a while since I've participated in Kelly's blog tours because 1)I didn't have a wedding, therefore, no wedding pictures to share and 2) I just haven't had the time and sometimes not even the desire to blog! However, I am today because my 2 year old is currently in trouble in her bedroom because she refuses to take a nap and I refuse to take her to town without one considering she's already whiny.

So.....this week Kelly has chosen DESSERTS!! Oh yum-o! I've got several dessert recipes but I decided I would go with Monster Cookies. Now I know I have shared my Butterfinger Cake recipe on here, which came from my Aunt Cathy, and Monster Cookies is another one I got from her!! She is full of wonderful recipes I tell ya!

Ok, I will warn you that this recipe makes ALOT of cookies and you will need a really big bowl to mix everything up in!

Monster Cookies
6 eggs
1 lb. brown sugar
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 lb. butter
1 1/2 lbs. crunchy peanut butter
9 cups oatmeal
1/2 lb. chocolate chips
1/2 lb. M&Ms
Cream butter, vanilla and sugars together. Mix in baking soda and eggs. Then mix in peanut butter. Then stir in oats, chocolate chips and M&Ms. Use ice cream scoop to form balls of dough and put on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Did I mention before that they are incredibly fattening too?! Cause they really are but they are so delicious!!
Now go check out Kelly's Korner for a ton more great recipes!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Granny the Great!

Have I ever mentioned before how much I really realy really really and I mean really love my Granny?! If I haven't, let me just tell you, I do! As does Grace!

I know I said I was going to be better about blogging but it just hasn't happened because there just isn't enough time in the day. However, right now I'm making time because I have to share about Granny!

She had to have back surgery on Sept. 10th to correct her spinal stenosis (I would love to explain what that is but to be honest I'm not entirely sure and would rather not sound like a dumb dumb trying)! Luckily her doctor works out of Washington Regional that is here in Fayetteville so she was close to Mom and I. Aunt Cathy and Uncle Greg were able to drive in the day before from Atlanta to be here with her also.

The surgery only lasted about an hour and then she was in recovery for an hour and a half before any of us could see her again. We took up a whole section of the waiting room! Gene went with me and stayed up there the whole time to help with Grace and then of course Mom, Aunt Cathy and Uncle Greg were there and Monica (Aunt Cathy's best friend) came up for a while and also our cousins Julie and Courtney brought Granny Ima up! Stephanie was able to come up too because she got off work early!

I'm not sure there's been a time that I was more ready to see Granny! I was very anxious to see her and make sure that she was in fact fine! The doctor came out and visited with us as soon as he finished the surgery and told us that everything went smoothly and that she would be just fine and dandy (ok those weren't his exact words but you get the picture). We all really liked her doctor and knew she was in good hands. We also found out that he was the same doctor that did Gene's back surgery back about 5 years ago! Gene said he was great then too and came highly recommended. Whew! Good news for sure!

We were told that after the surgery Granny would have to be in the hospital for 3-4 days then in rehab for physical therapy for about 2 weeks. Sure enough, the surgery was on a Thursday and on the following Monday afternoon she was moved to Healthsouth for her rehab! We were all very relieved that she did in fact qualify for the rehab so she could regain some confidence in her abilities to walk again! She was in alot, and I mean alot, of pain for the first week and then it started to ease a little bit. She has done so wonderful at rehab and all of her therapists have been so complimentary of her progress! Go Granny!!

Mom and I met up there on Tuesday for a family therapy/meeting to discuss her discharge date. Granny was really hoping to go home on Wednesday but the doctor at Healthsouth thought it was a good idea to keep her until tomorrow (Saturday). She was a little bit bummed but after we thought and talked about it some more we all decided that was probably for the best. That would give her 3 more whole days with her therapists to build her strength more and to ensure she was really ready to head home!

Aunt Cathy flew in Wednesday to stay at home with Granny for the next 2 weeks which is a HUGE blessing! So, tomorrow is the big day and we are all sooo excited that she gets to go home and really get back to herself! It's been right at a year now since her fall that started all of her horrible pain and now she is on the road to feeling like her old self again! Just in time to enjoy the leaves changing color on her brand new deck!!!!

Ok, now that I've caught everyone up (finally) I'm going to take a shower and Grace and I are going to visit Granny!!!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ended as great as it started!

My weekend that is! I had a wonderful 4 day weekend filled with family and fun. Gene, Grace and I drove down to Granny's Friday morning to get started on her deck. Granny was on Grace patrol while Gene and I worked outside! We worked for about 4 and a half hours and got all of the framing on it done. We headed home in time to get showered and ready for the first Greenland football game against West Fork....their rival. We ended up getting beat! It was still awesome though just to be back at the stadium!! Grace spent the night with Mom and Dad and after the game Steph, the boys and I all headed to midnight madness at the fair. Oh my, I'm getting too old for that! It started at 11 and ended at 2 am. I was exhausted by the time we got home!

We were all back up by 7 Saturday morning and out the door by 7:30 headed back to Granny's. Mom, Dad and Grace got there a couple hours after us and Tanner showed up a couple hours after them. Gene, the boys and I all got started on the deck right away and then it started raining on us. We ended up having to take about 3 breaks because of the rain but then finally the clouds moved out and gave way to the sunshine. And then it got HOT!! After Mom got there me and Grace rode with her to Lowe's to get some more material and then to Wal-Mart to get stuff for lunch. Tanner's 21st birthday is this Wednesday so Mom ordered a cookie cake and bought decorations so we could celebrate this weekend while we were all together! Mom and Dad grilled burgers and hot dogs and lunch and dessert were yum-o!!

Ok, here are the deck pictures. This was a before picture. You can tell right below the door where Dad busted out all of her brick steps last week. They were in really bad condition and incredibly not safe to walk down. I took this picture Friday right after we got there.

This was at the end of the day Friday after we completed the framing! The patio was way off on measurements and not squared up so we kept having to go back and forth measuring the frame to make sure it was even and squared up.

This is the final product!!! After literally about 11 hours of working on it all day Saturday it was complete!! The boys were great and stayed out there all day helping Gene. I was in and out helping clean up inside and then helping outside when needed! Granny was so excited and I don't think she could be any happier with the end result!! It's so nice out there now and we don't have to worry about her hurting herself going down her old steps! She has nice wide steps now with a handrail!!

Corey was snapping pictures and got this one of the beautiful night sky! We were all so worn out by the end of the day and absolutely filthy with sweat, dirt and sawdust. Mom and Dad stayed the night with Granny and Grace stayed with them so that we could all come home and shower and just rest!

Grace was a busy body all day long and ran and ran and ran and ran her little heart out !! Corey was able to get this crazy looking picture of her running up the front steps!
Yesterday we all laid around the house resting and watching movies. Gene told me at about 1 that he was hungry for a pot of beans. So, I ran to town and did some grocery shopping. I knew that there was no way the beans would be done in time to have for dinner last night but he seemed to think they would be so I bought the stuff for them, fried potatoes, weinies and kraut and cornbread. However, I was right and the beans were not done by the time we were ready for dinner! So, I re-grouped and ended up putting some chicken breats in a marinade and still made fried potatoes but changed to green beans and it was delicious! Gene did a great job of grilling the chicken because it was perfect!!
So, my 4 day weekend was amazing and I'm not ready to go back to work today! But oh well, I now only have a 3 day work week! Granny is having her surgery on Thursday so Aunt Cathy and Uncle Greg are driving in Wednesday night to be here for it. Granny will be in the hospital for 3-4 days after surgery but luckily she'll be at Washington Regional up here close to us so please keep her in your prayers this week! Also pray for traveling safeties as Aunt Cathy and Uncle Greg drive in from Atlanta!! I'll be sure to keep everyone posted on how everything goes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Meet Paisley Jayne!

My weekend is already off to a great start!! Gene, Grace and I drove up to Centerton today to see Addie and Corey and meet baby Paisley Jayne. She was born last Tuesday but had jaundice and had to be under the billy lights for a few days so she didn't get to go home until Saturday. She is better now and I could not wait to get my hands on her!!!

She is soooo precious! She weighed 8 lbs 14 oz but lost a little bit with the jaundice and stuff after she was born. Grace weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and I seriously don't remember her being that small!! Grace was instantly intrigued by her and kept trying to pick her up and hold her. After she held her the first time she became more interested in all of her toys!!

I could have sat and held her all day but Addie's grandparents got there about an hour and a half after we did so I decided I'd be nice and share! ;) She was such a good good baby and just laid in my arms cooing and grunting and sleeping. So peaceful!

Addie had to have a c-section and she developed a cold while in the hospital so she hasn't felt super, but who does after child birth?! I know I didn't!! Addie started at the pd about a month after I got pregnant with Grace and her husband Corey used to be one of our officers who now works for Benton County Sheriff's Office. I just love Adelaide and I was one of her trainers when she first started!! Now she's all grown up and a mama!!

Is she not the sweetest little thing? Oh my word I want another one so bad now it's not funny. As of yet I've not talked my hubby into it. Give me some time, I'm still working on it! And in the car on the way home from their house I told Grace to tell her daddy that she wanted a baby brother or sister....and she did it! So cute. We'll see!!!
I'm very very excited about the rest of my weekend and I'm hoping to have alot of picture documentation to share with you guys! And hopefully get back on a regular blogging schedule, I've sorta fallen behind. Family, work and workouts have taken up all of my time recently!!!