oh, christmas tree, oh, christmas tree...!

today was a VERY special day. josh and i chose, brought home, lit up, and decorated our very first christmas tree together! we had so much fun...!

this years "theme" was humor :-) we went shopping for our decorations about a week ago, and had no clue where to start. we started picking up ornaments from the shelf, and some of them just made us giggle. sooooooo, we threw them in the cart, and that became the theme! if it made us laugh, it found it's way onto the tree!

josh with coca cola santa

of course we had to include june in the festivities.
an annoying jingle bell collar was just the thing!

ooooo, so romantic... our first christmas!

the finished tree!

here we go! the fun ornaments! cookie monster... looking sharp.
the reindeer playing a trumpet became our "angel" and is sitting atop our tree :-)
and the pig? SO random...

seriously, the reindeer (that looks like a donkey) and the zebra CRACK ME UP!

bulldozer: AWESOME. ballerina frog...REALLY?

NYC taxi...YES! love the old car and the school bus :-)

favorite places: our backyard

sometimes (okay, more often than not) i get frustrated with the fact that we live in a little 2 bedroom condo, and not some great big house with a yard, garage, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, two stories, living room, dining room, island in the kitchen, 5-peice master bath, guest rooms, etc. (thank you HGTV for reminding me of this desire every day i watch you and your House Hunters marathons....) but when push comes to shove, we have plenty of space in our little cozy place. june, on the other hand, could perhaps use some stairs to keep her in shape, but that will come in time.
i've begun to think of our condo complex as our ENTIRE house. the front gate? well, that's like our gate at the end of our huge property. our walk from the car to the front door? well, that's as if our garage was huge and far from the kitchen. and the park behind our house? well, that's our backyard!!
we live right next to Sheep Hills Park. there is one large hill, a playground, 2 soccer fields, a baseball field, a sidewalk path, and some dirt paths that extend through aliso viejo canyons. we literally sneak out between two of the buildings on our property and we are right there, smack dab in the middle of the hill. as soon as we break through the buildings, we let june off the leash and she's free to roam. as soon as she sees a dog or a bunny, however, it's back on the leash for her. she's not THAT well trained...
we visit the park at least once a day. whether its for a walk around the paved loop or a 20 min playtime for june off the leash, we have found that this park is really one of our favorite places.
seeing as how it's the holiday weekend, and josh, june, and i have EXTRA playtime with each other. this morning, we threw on some hats and jackets, made some coffee, and made our way to the park. it was empty, which was a real treat because june could hang off the leash the entire time. the fluffy clouds, changing tree colors, and fallen leaves made for a beautiful sight this morning. i grabbed the camera and took a few shots of our morning. what a way to start the day!

the view of our house from the park. yup, it's that close!

playing around with each other...

and of course, a family shot :-)


Inside Me A Lunatic Sings

Music is a big part of my life. Ever since I can remember there have been certain songs, albums, and artists that can take me back to a specific memory or move me in a way that I haven't been moved in a long time. These moments are better than pictures because I can feel the emotion that went along with each time and remember the surrounding context much better than I can when looking at a picture. These moments aren't a snapshot of an instance, but rather a genuine recollection of the moment in time.

Ever since June decided she wanted to listen to my iPod (by chewing on it) while I wasn't home one day it has had issues. The play button doesn't really work all that well and it will occasionally stop playing altogether until I reset it, so I decided to take it to work and just "shuffle" it all day so I don't have to deal with it stopping every time I change the album. I bring it Monday morning, press shuffle, and don't touch it until it's time to go home on Friday evening. Kind of like my own personal radio station while at the office.

This afternoon I was busy working and suddenly was transported back in time to just over nine months ago. February 21st, 2009 in fact; Our wedding day. As soon as I heard the song I stopped working and just closed my eyes to listen and experience the memories. It wasn't that long ago, but it felt as great today as it did then.

The best part about this song was that it almost wasn't played at our wedding. While Gigi and I were searching for songs to be played for different times at the wedding, I sent her the lyrics for this song and she loved them. Then I played her the song and she said, "Those aren't the lyrics you sent me." She was right... sort of. I sent her the English lyrics, but the song is sung in Icelandic. Sneaky... I know. But with a lot of talking I convinced her that even though the song was in a different language, it was the perfect song for the moment. Although, until the moment actually happened she still didn't really believe me. You can ask her what she thinks now. Go ahead, I'll wait...

Anyway, this song makes me smile every time I hear it and so I thought it would be fun to share the video and it's lyrics...it's English lyrics to give everyone a little taste of what was going through my mind as I stood in front of God and everyone waiting to kiss my new bride.

Inside me a lunatic sings

On a silver river

You illuminate the whole world and blue eyes

Cut the starry sky

I make a wish and close my eyes

Yes do that, now begins the story

Oh no

At lightspeed

Inside a heart explodes, an airplane crash

Down on the earth sings

I make a wish and close my eyes

Yes do that, a silly dance

All is forgotten in very little time and yet begins

Open eyes

Oh no

My best friend no matter whatever happens

I swallow tears and breathe hair

A bad break, we cry in each other arms

When we meet

When we kiss

The lips burning, we hold hands

I see you wake

I see you naked

Inside me a lunatic sings

Always rushing, we run quickly

Everything becomes smaller

I scream louder

I'm with a shell, going away

My best friend no matter whatever happens

A bad break, we cry in each others arms

I swallow tears and breathe hair

When we meet

When we kiss

The lips burning, we hold hands

I see you wake

I see you naked

Inside me a lunatic sings



ahhhh, yes, it's here. HOLIDAY SEASON! halloween came and went, and thanksgiving and christmas are right around the corner.

..........AND I AM SO EXCITED!

this year has brought many firsts... first time getting married (*disclaimer, this will ONLY happen once...!), first time sharing a room with a boyyyyyyy (ew...), first time being an aunt (YAY!), first time roadtripping across the western US (amazingggg), first time being a bridesmaid, first time cooking more than twice in one week... the list could go on. but what i've been most excited about for a few months now is knowing that josh and i get to enjoy the holiday season as husband and wife (and dog...of course) for the first time!

this is the year we get the opportunity to create our own little family traditions. whether it be a certain holiday movie on christmas eve, a crackling fire on the chilliest of nights, a sugar-cookie baking spree, the hanging of christmas lights, the decorating of a christmas tree, or even just a week of self-mandated annoying christmas carol-singing, we'll be engaging in our new traditions purposefully and intentionally--as this will be the FIRST of MANY.

i'm sure i have a few high hopes for the season, but josh and i will take some time to make sure we know what each other's expectations are, just to be sure we don't catch the other off guard with rediculous christmas desires. for example, i've daydreamed about redecorating our entire kitchen with RED placemats, GOLD table runners, and a whole new festive place setting at each seat at the dining room table, but he doesn't know it, yet. i'll probably tell him, and he'll probably(and by "probably" i mean "definitely") shoot it down, but at least i can stop the daydreaming and move on with my life! he's already dropped a few HINTS that he wants his "nightmare before christmas" collectables strategically scattered around the house during the month of december, and i've decided that's a battle i'm not going to fight this year :-) good wife, i know... (actually, i am quite the fan of the movie, and his collection IS somewhat impressive...)

when all is said and done, our holiday season will probably end up being simple and reasonable. and i'm glad. the holidays aren't about "keeping up with the jones'", they aren't about getting the best gifts, or even giving the best gifts, they aren't about who has the best decorations or whose lights shine the brightest after 10pm. the holidays are about the little, planned and unplanned, family traditions. they are about how each family chooses to spend time with each other. they are about celebrating the birth of Jesus with those you love most. they are about the little special moments spent together. this new family of ours will be busy with a year of first-time traditions this holiday season, figuring out how we best show our love to each other, and how we most gracefully praise Him, and i couldn't be more excited!

june, get your ears ready for some faux reindeer antlers! the nonsense is about to begin! :-)


the results of last night's efforts

sweet and sour chicken and white rice :-)
soooooo yummy!!

...and how about that fire in the background, courtesy of my man! such a good monday night...

by the way, thanks for the many recipes i've already received! can't wait to cook 'em and share 'em again...

tonight... spaghetti... a johnson family recipe!!


lessons learned

8 months of married life and it's finally come time to start cooking at home more often, and going out to eat less often. i know, i know, it's tragic. i'll give you a moment to be sad :-(

okay, moment over.

in the past two weeks of this "cook-at-home-.........adventure.....", i've learned a few things--imagine that! saturday, i learned that i don't like dill weed. not only is that a much better nickname for an idiot than for a spice, but it just has an entirely overwhelming (not-so-great-in-large-quantities) taste. turns out josh doesn't really like it either. anyone need a jar of dill weed??? i've learned that you CAN indeed leave chicken in a crockpot for too long. it turns into chicken mush. no one likes their chicken mushy. no one. a few weeks ago i learned that parsley may be the most amazing green food i know of, after green peanut butter m&m's, of course (chimichurri sauce is a new favorite). oh, i also learned that although you can add garlic to just about anything to make it edible (in my mind), josh's taste buds don't work the same way as mine. who'd'a'thunk it?!

with these lessons learned, and others, i'm beginning to find the joy in cooking. obviously, cooking is more fun on the days the meals turn out good, but i think i could get used to this.

josh and i are planning to cook together tonight. YAY, YAY, YAY! cooking becomes 9 times as fun when it's with my guy. don't rub your eyes, you read right... NINE TIMES AS FUN! ;-) we've been blessed with a little "gem" of a kitchen. it's great cause for some incredible gymnastics. the maneuvers we pull to get around each other can often be entertainment to those watching (june). i'll duck, he'll grab the bowl, i'll stand and shut the cabinet (okay, okay, let's all be honest, i leave cabinet doors open--josh will probably be the one to shut it), he'll move his legs, i'll reach for the pan in the bottom drawer and pass it to him, i'll open the fridge, he'll grab the milk and pour it into the measuring cup i'm holding, etc. etc. it's all too much fun to be in a 4x6 space working together...........!

now...to determine who will clean..............

got any good recipes? please share!! email me :-)



it's official. i've hit that point in my life where "all my friends are having babies". the "getting married thing came and went, and this next phase is, not surprisingly, more fun to shop for!! :-)

most recently, my brother and sister in law, mark and jessica, had baby joel in september. joel aaron kerns is THE CUTEST BABY BOY EVER and already keeping up first place as best-nephew-everrrr! you may remember him from the johnson family photo shoot, but here's a more recent photo of the kerns family, pumpkin and all!!

our good friends brian and jana harrelson are expecting baby number 1, hunter thomas harrelson, right around thanksgiving! we'll all be eating 10 pound turkey as the harrelsons wait anxiously to meet their 7 or 8 pound new addition. i've already seen a 4d sonogram of him (didn't even know they did that...) and he's beautiful. i cannot wait to meet him!

my bestie, kristy, and her hubby, jj, are welcoming baby #3 (yes, i said 3) in february. after already having two sweet, sweet little boys, braylon and jaxten, the sola family gets to welcome a little girl, taytum faith sola. you can imagine the excitement of a little girl in a house full of tough boys!!

to all you moms and dads, we are so thankful to get to be a part of your lives as we watch your families grow. thanks for being our freinds, and remember, we are praying for you and your lovely families!!