Saturday, October 8, 2011

Can't Decide

So...I obviously haven't been active here lately. Between support raising for our move into missions in Mexico, 3 kids, and maintaining a multitude of other social media, including our other blog...I just can't decide whether to maintain this blog. And I think my indecision has led to a decision...I'll keep the site I suppose for a while, but for now, all of our blogging is occurring on our "Missions" blog. Pete and I both post there, so it's a different type. Anyway...just wanted to let the maybe 2 of you out here still that we're over here. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So...this is the family picture we ended up with:

After...a million of these types of family pictures...and threats of time-out, and finally a bribe of a cookie).

Aahhh...the joys of vacation and family photos. But, for was an AMAZING vacation. My parents took us to Lake Tahoe, and we went hiking every day. Beautiful.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Positive Adoption Language I know that pretty much every adoptive parent who blogs has probably posted about this, but, I don't know, maybe it just helps us process and articulate positive adoption language so we know what to say when people use negative words in front of our kids, you know? Anyway...just wanted to post about a few comments...

To start with, this post wasn't sparked by any one conversation with any one person...just sort of a collective sum of a lot of conversations over the past almost 2 years...and second, if you have said these things to me, you're in good company, a lot of people have, and please know that I know you probably mean well and don't mean them to be negative. But also know that I really want Ava to know that I value her so much that I won't shy away from hard conversations with people I love so that she can begin to understand how to respond to hard situations with grace, but also with truth. Words are important. After all, with any child (biological or adopted) we don't talk about certain things in certain ways because we don't want them to learn to talk about whatever the topic is in crude language or in a way that might hurt them; the same with adoption.

So, one of the most common comments I get that is annoying to me (and many other adoptive parent, btw) is "Oooh...she's so cute, I want one," sometimes it's said even more bluntly: "Oooh...she's so cute, I want a black baby." As if I adopted her because of her skin color. I didn't. I didn't adopt her in spite of her skin color either. I adopted Ava....Ava is cute, Ava is beautiful. She's not an object to be collected. I mean, I am her mom, and of course she's pretty much the cutest two year old ever...but, all babies/toddlers/children are beautiful people...and a big thing that moms of black boys especially talk about is the age when people stop saying they're cute and when people start thinking of them as black men...who experience so much racism and prejudice. Cute babies grow up. We have to be prepared to parent them and give them what they need to have strong and positive racial identities in a society that will categorize them based on their skin color. I have never had someone comment about Kylah's cuteness or Ali's cuteness and then follow that with an "I want one" comment. I don't know, maybe other people do get that type of comment with their biological children? Anyway...I'd much prefer comments to the effect of: "Ava is adorable; what a blessing; She's cute..." You don't need to follow up with some sort of "I want" comment. You can mention you'd like to grow your family by adoption if you are really interested in it! If you adopt in the future or seriously enter into the pre-adoption process, awesome...we can talk then.

Second...please don't ever say we "bought a baby" or you want to "buy a baby." We did not buy Ava anymore than we bought our biological children. We paid for services (and by we...I mean that to include more than just Pete and me because it was so many of us together who made it possible for Ava to become a Johnson)...we paid a lawyer, we paid an adoption agency to file our paperwork, translate it, mail it to Colombia, we paid USCIS for visas, we paid the workers at the orphanage who held Ava and fed her for the first months of her life, we paid money to the government in Colombia who ensures that all adoptions are legal, we paid a charitable fee to the orphanage so they can run cool programs like the maternity home which teaches moms job skills and offers counseling so they can choose to parent if they want to and the orphanage also feeds and schools and counsels a TON of kids who don't get, yeah, I mean we got way "more for our money" (if you want to think of it that way) than we did for our biological children. I paid a doctor to deliver them. I paid the hospital, I paid for pre-birth care, etc. And actually, insurance paid a lot, too, right...I mean, we paid our co-pays (and side note...we so clocked in for Kylah's birth to make sure we were in the hospital less than 24 hours so we didn't get another co-pay for a second day, lol.)

Ok...enough said I think. And I just want to say again...if you're reading this and happen to have said something similar...please know that I love you, and I'm not mad; I just needed to work out what to say...Ava is beginning to understand what is said. In her best interest, I have to respond to comments like the above.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bikes, Braids, and Babysitting

BIKES: Our eldest 2 children now own tricycles (thanks to Mimi and Grandpa!)...and it's so fun to watch them ride them. About the cutest thing ever actually! And for you locals, yes, we know we broke rules at Botanical Gardens...but I don't think our kids were breaking any speed rules on their trikes...and I think tricycles should be excluded from the "NO BIKE" policy. Just saying.

BRAIDS: Ok, ya'll...give me some comment love because I did cornrows in Ava's hair. For those who have never met her...the amazing thing is not the fact that I have learned to's that she actually sat still long enough for 2. We'll see when she'll sit still for more...but I'm practicing. And if I do say so, I think her hair is looking awesome these days!

Ali took this picture of me doing Ava's hair. Ali LOVES to take pictures...and she actually has managed to get some good ones. Thank goodness for digital film, though, right?

This is just here because Kylah is quite possibly the cutest baby ever. And you just had to see her! She is still so zen. God knew I needed an easy baby!!

And for the BABYSITTING part...well...everywhere I go lately I've been, you have your hands full...are you babysitting? Ummm...nope. They're all mine. And I am so BLESSED!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

VIP Passes

So Pete and I got free tickets to a pre-screening of the movie Soul Surfer tonight...and I have a confession to make...I didn't want to go. Because my general impression of "Christian" movies is, well, let's just say not good. To be fair, I am kind of a, to stack up as a good movie against all the ones I've seen is tough. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the messages, it's just when the delivery is sub-par and we're supposed to get all excited about it...I just can't do it!

(I know, I know, my closest friends are saying right now as they read this...ummm, Emily, your favorite movie used to be Love and Basketball. That's my deep dark secret...not so deep and dark I've moved up in my sophistication...favorite current movie...The Chorus...boom...foreign film, I'm cool right?)

The one thing going for this film is that I am a sucker for underdog sport movies. Meaning, I cry at all sports movies...yes, all of them. I don't cry at any other type of movie, seriously. I don't even really like chick-flicks. But I devour any type of sports movie. Sometimes I cry in sport related commercials. (Disclaimer...I did used to be an athlete, so maybe it's the nostalgia, memories, whatever...)

Anyway, we went. We were waiting in the lobby of the theater with a bunch of other people and the head guy came in and was like, "All you waiting for the special pre-screening come this way" and this lady walks up to me and Pete and asks how you get free passes to pre-screenings of films. We felt cool, oh yeah! :) Totally worth it right there.

And then, wham...bonus...the movie was actually GREAT! Highly recommended. I cried. (But it was a sports movie.) And you know what, I now identify with the parents in movies. What in the world? You'd have thought I'd have realized I'm a parent by now, right, so that would mean I might identify with other parents.

Oh, and last random thought...the girl who plays Bethany Hamilton...AnnaSophia Robb...we almost named Ali that...but went with Aliana Sophia instead. Anyway...yes, our daughter has an almost movie star name (and we didn't know that when we named her, btw).

The fine print/post script/whatever you want to call it: The movie is about surfers in Hawaii, so there are bathing suits (ok, bikinis) in it. Just thought I'd save you a visit to If I hear one Christian judge, I mean complain, I mean "be concerned" about that and miss the whole point of the, will you hear my rant on this blog. I mean...just kidding, cuz I'd hate to judge back. Haha! No one's perfect, right?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Initial thoughts...

...on returning home from our trip to Mexico:

We currently live in a very clean mansion and I love good water pressure in the shower.

But in all seriousness...our trip was great! Pete and I have started a blog about our missions journey. And it's sure to be up-to-date because Pete has figured out he enjoys blogging and set up a lot of the pages on the new blog! Do us a favor and check it out here: Manna in the Desert, and then give us feedback...let us know if there are any ways you think it could improve! :) Also, we've been putting a lot of our story on the blog in various pages and more about what we'll be doing in Mexico! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wow...a needed reminder...

I have no idea how many people actually read this blog...I don't blog too much, but it's kind of a new goal to blog more often (like once a week or so)...but more about that in a minute.

For those reading who don't talk to us IRL on a regular basis, we've made some life-altering in, we're now missionary candidates with TEAM to Mexico! I'm sooooo excited and can't wait to share more of our journey because God has been doing some amazing things and answering prayer in some big ways, but for tonight, Oswald Chambers has been reminding me of the responsibility I have to obey God no matter what.

If, however, we obey God, He will care for those who have suffered the consequences of our obedience. We must simply obey and leave all the consequences with Him. Beware of the inclination to dictate to God what consequences you would allow as a condition of your obedience to Him. (Click the link to read the whole entry.)

All that because we had some meetings with TEAM last week, and I came away encouraged and excited from all of them except the missionary kid education fact, I came away from that one thinking, "Oh, crap, we're going to screw up our kids!" But I guess we're all destined to do that in one way or another, right? Fallen people raising fallen kids...praise God for His redemption!!!

So...back to my goal to post more...we're going to Mexico next week (Friday)....NEXT WEEK. Yay...we'll take tons of pictures and I will return excited to share about what's going on in the ministry site we're hoping to become a part, I think we're going to start a new blog just for our missions stuff...on which, I will post once a week...keep me honest, ok, everyone! :) That's the plan anyway!