The Mama Bear of the Johnson Fairy Tale, I am doing my best to follow Jesus and remain madly in love with my Prince, a carpenter of sorts. A Minnesota girl and an Alabama boy, we met as undergraduates at Princeton. Together we are raising our four precious children, G-Bear, E-Bear, Buddy Bear and J-Bear. In my spare time I am a physician in training trying to cultivate a culture of life, a fan of cooking anything fresh and homemade, and a not-so-secret admirer of southern hospitality.
we came together to welcome our Littlest Bear into the Christian Family.
We gathered with MoMo and Papa outside of the church,
our little boy dressed in blue.
And after renewing our baptismal promises,
we all processed in to the water fount.
T had picked the songs we sang together:
I Love Your Lord and Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go,
which the older kids helped us all to sing.
And when it was time, Father dunked our Littlest Bear three lovely times,
which upset his sister so much that she cried.
So, while the rest of us were beaming,
I brought J-Bear to get Baby's new white blanket
so that she could help wrap him up to calm him down.
Finally dressed all in white, our Littlest Bear was so peaceful.
G-Bear received his candle for him,
Father anointed him with the chrism oil,
and I promised myself I wouldn't bathe him for a week
because the smell is so sweet.
We finished at the alter, which is where we all want to place our lives,
at the foot of Jesus.
Four proud, older siblings were smiling for their little brother.
And, standing next to T with the Littlest in our arms,
I couldn't be more thankful, Lord, for your many blessings upon our family.
We will remember today as a truly special day, alongside our other family baptismal days.
Father reminded us that Saint John Paul the Great, when asked what he considered to be the best day of his life, replied, "the day of my baptism." May we, too, always remind Littlest Bear of the importance of today, and live out our own baptism in faith and thanksgiving.
Lord, make us all saints for you!
Take, for instance, our daily Duplo time. J-Bear loves her brothers' help in making whatever creation they have dreamed up. Whatever they make for themselves, they are careful to make one for her too. One day it was a tower to match their aircraft carriers. The next day, they had to make her a matching X-wing to theirs. She then proceeded to follow them around the living room, "whooshing" right behind them.
Our garden is in full swing, full of tomato plants that we grew from last year's seeds, pepper plants that made it through the winter indoors, our fruitful blueberry bush and our Alpine strawberries.
There is a daily search for ripe strawberries that occurs each morning. They taste so sweet and are pretty irresistible. As you can see, the kids have all kinds of ways of trying to get up to the hanging basket to pick some:
At least when Buddy Bear is successful, he loves to hand out his bounty to his siblings,
to J-Bear's great delight.
During quiet time, while J-Bear is napping, G-Bear is often found snuggled up with a book. She is a voracious reader these days. Sometimes she might be found working on her cursive or (if I really incentivize) finishing her math work for the day. The boys, on the other hand, are two peas in a pod, whether building at their workshop or building out of their Lego boxes in their room. Today's creations? E-Bear made a bed for his baby brother, complete with a personalized label and G-Bear's doll linens:
And then the boys emerged from quiet time to show me the robot warriors they had made from scratch. The warrior part aside, I am continually amazed by their creativity.
When T comes home, it is time for backyard fun with Dad. This usually involves some variation of baseball or soccer, but no matter what, it is one of the highlights of the day.
After dishes, it is time for our pre-bedtime walk around the blocks. Baby loves the fresh air, and while the older crew often fusses at first, by the time we pass our neighbor's house they are tearing down the sidewalk leaving me and T in the dust.
These days are full of so much joy. Thank you, Lord for these precious summer days.
We had kissed the kids goodnight before leaving for the Birth Center. We arrived back home as everyone was waking up the next morning. What a wonderful surprise to be able to present a new baby brother!
"Mom, I know I said I was hoping for a sister, but really I just wanted a baby to hold."
Truly, G-Bear is a proud and doting oldest sister. She couldn't be more in love with her new brother.
J-Bear was overjoyed to wake up and find a new baby in my lap. She couldn't wait to hold him for herself on the "baby pillow."
"Oh, Gee, Gee! He so cuuuuute. He so cuuuuute!"
"Baby brofer? Where a baby?" says J-Bear when she is looking for him.
J-Bear has been ready to be a big sister for some time. I hope this little guy is up for it.
Buddy Bear is so tender with his little brother.
I don't know that I have ever seen him treat anyone so tenderly.
He is so careful to pat his baby brother's head and feet. He is always wanting to hold and kiss him.
E-Bear has been a tremendous help. He asks lots of good questions about how to care for a baby.
He is up for any chore. He said to T at the end of our first day,
"Even though we have a new brother, nothing feels different."
"I know, E-Bear. Isn't it amazing that when someone joins your family, all of a sudden you can't remember what life was like without them?"
These three make quite the new trio.
MoMo and Papa were on hand to greet, cuddle and take the older crew to dinner with T.
Can you believe this gorgeous lady has 9 grandchildren?
And once everyone returned from dinner,
we celebrated the end of the birthday with an ice cream cake.