Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One Week Today

Dearest Baby Bear,

You have been out only a week, but already we can't imagine our family without you.  
We thank God you are here and healthy.  You are so easy on your momma, the perfect third child.  Your siblings are in love with you.  G-Bear loves to snuggle with you on the bed.  E-Bear loves to bring you toys to soothe you.  They both love to bless you after you sneeze.  Daddy marvels at you as you lay in his arms.  As for me, I love our staring contests late at night when every one else sleeps.  These are special days, and I know now how fast they pass by.  May we have many more birthday weeks with you, sweet Baby Bear.

Happy one week birthday!

Easter 2011 Celebrations

Jesus is Risen, as He said!

What a wonderful Easter weekend we enjoyed together.

T and I found it especially meaningful, not only because of Baby Bear's arrival on Holy Wednesday, but because only four years ago we had welcomed G-Bear into the world on Holy Wednesday before Easter.  What perfect timing on the part of our April Bears!    

Our Easter morning began early, because we had a big day ahead of us.  When we woke up, we were all excited to see that our half-full basket of dried beans was indeed OVERFLOWING with jelly beans in honor of Jesus' victory over sin and death.  

The kids' colored eggs were scattered around and there were Easter baskets -- I mean, Easter bags, for the kids to open.  When a baby brother arrives the week of Easter, there are some Easter accessories that have to be improvised.

G-Bear and E-Bear were so excited about the beans.  

After we opened our Easter bags, it was time for church and then brunch at MoMo's!

The kids may have eaten more jelly bean than brunch, but I won't tell.

Jellybean monster!

G-Bear loved toting her jelly-filled eggs around with her all day.
After brunch, it was time for an Easter egg hunt, because there were rumors that a certain bunny had visited MoMo & Papa's house for E-Bear and G-Bear.

Far from being outdone, E-Bear took to the hunt like a pro!  He was a maniac!

G-Bear amazed us with her egg hunting skill, but also with her generous spirit.  When she found something that looked like it might be good for E-Bear, she would bring it over to him or call him over to find it himself.  She was so good about sharing with him.  

Taa daaa!

As Uncle C commented, the Easter Bunny knows MoMo's house like the back of his paw!  There were several hiding spots that looked familiar to Uncle C and me :),  especially the jellybeans and candy hidden on the window sills.

Of course, there were more jellybean eggs, which remained G-Bear's favorites.

After the hunt, we were off to Auntie Sharon's for Easter dinner and family time.  Yet another special celebration, because we were also celebrating her birthday!  Her cake was a huge hit, especially with the Bears.  Just look at all that frosting!

Baby Bear was dressed to impress and was on his best behavior the whole time.  It may have helped that he had several pairs of experienced hands holding him the whole afternoon.  He and Papa shared an especially sweet moment:

It is hard to count all of our blessings this Easter.  Thank you, Lord.  Hallelujah.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Eggs

He is Risen! 
Baby Bear is here! 

With so much to celebrate and savor in the past week, I am taking full liberty to relive it via blog posts over the next few days.  The kids and I have taken it upon ourselves to make sure the Easter celebrations continue.  Yesterday we had three repeat egg hunts in our backyard to relive the Easter excitement.  Baby Bear and I played the Easter Bunny while E-Bear and G-Bear (sort of) hid their eyes.  Then Baby Bear and I got to watch from a lawn chair as the hunters found the eggs.  It was a hoot.

Needless to say, I think our hard boiled Easter Eggs are a few of the best loved ever.  And to think they started out as just ordinary eggs on Saturday....

...but E-Bear and G-Bear took care of that:

Ready for eggs!

Egg monster, E-Bear, ready for action.

Baby Bear, yawning for moral support.

 Have you ever tried to wait for eggs to finish in the dye??  I mean, the suspense is killer!

The beautiful finished products:

 We even added glitter...

E-Bear and G-Bear did a great job.  Even Baby Bear was impressed.  

After four hunts, the eggs are now looking a little worse for wear, with multiple cracks and less glitter than when the started.  But, oh, have we had fun.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Baby Bear's First Days

When you are the Baby Bear,
the First Days can be very exhausting.

There are first breaths, 

 first handshakes,

first introductions,

first nuzzles,

 and first baths.

It is important to look your best...

because even the biggest celebrities may come to call.

It's all quite exhausting, really! 

But although these are just firsts,

something tells me that this little guy is going to fit in well around here,

 because he is already dearly loved.

Welcome, Baby Bear, we are so glad you are here.
We're home, healthy and oh so happy here in Happily Ever Johnson Land.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Can you guess who made his grand entrance into the world today?

That's right!

Mister Baby Bear is here!!

Born at 5:15pm 
on snowy April 20th, 2011.
The sun finally peaked through the window just before he was born.

8lbs, 5 oz.
22.5 inches long

There is so much more to say, but for now, we are going to bed (for now!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Once Upon A Dream

Once upon a time, in our living room:

If T and I are lucky, this video just might make an appearance at a wedding rehearsal dinner in the future.  
We love our bears!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Grocery Bag

This is a big week!

We are in the Easter homestretch this week and Baby Bear is bound to show up one of these days.  The week calls for easy favorites!  I also can't wait to start trying recipes from my fabulous new cookbook birthday gift from T: The Indian Slow Cooker.  Fortunately, I was able to find the recipe we are going to try first online, so I have linked to it below.  

Have a wonderful Holy Week!

Day One
Thai peanut noodles with shrimp and peas
with orange slices
This recipe was the happy result of kitchen improvisation.  
Thai peanut noodles with shrimp and peas by Queen B
Serves 2-3.  Prep and cooking time: 20-30 minutes

8 ounces spaghetti noodles
2 cups shrimp, then finely chopped
1 can water chestnuts, drained
2 cups frozen peas
1-2 Tbsp vegetable or other oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Juice of one small lime
¼ Tbsp garlic powder
¼ Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Zest from one lime
Peanuts, for garnish

1. Boil the noodles according to package directions. Add peas in last 2 minutes of cooking time.
2. While noodles are cooking, heat vegetable oil in a wok or large pan. 
Stir fry the chopped shrimp and water chestnuts until the shrimp is pink and warmed through.
3. Make the sauce by combining the soy sauce through zest in a small bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste.
4. Drain pasta and peas. Drizzle with sesame oil.
5. Add noodles and peas to wok. Stir fry 30 seconds until combined with shrimp and water chestnuts. Add sauce, mixing to coat and heating through.
6. Serve, garnished with red pepper flakes, lime juice, zest and peanuts to taste.

Day Two
with basmati rice
This will be my first recipe attempt from my new birthday book from T. 
We can't wait!

Photo from Lassi with Lavina's
article on The Indian Slow Cooker

Day Three
Corn Chowder from Food & Wine Magazine
with homemade bread
This is one of my favorite soup recipes, my go-to corn chowder favorite.
It's perfect for a chilly spring day, which is good because it might SNOW here on Wednesday!

Recipe and photo from Food & Wine

Day Four

Crustless Chicken and Broccoli Quiche 
with shoestring potatoes from Cooking Light
These great bistro recipes are from the 1997 Cooking Light Annual Recipes book, 
but you can find online versions at the links above.  Yum!

Day Five
Pasta a la Betsy from The Pioneer Woman
with steamed sweet peas
Love the name, love the recipe.  I chop the shrimp finely 
and my kids barely notice it.  

Photo and Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

Blessings on your kitchen this week!  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Birthdays and Waiting Games

What better way to pass the time waiting for a baby....

...than to celebrate a birthday?

Ours has been an uneventful but special weekend together as a family.  We started the weekend with the Lent penance service at our church and finished our Saturday evening with candles and cake.  Both were treats, in different ways, of course.  :)

G-Bear worked hard on her new Brain Quest preschool workbook, a birthday gift from cousins Sparky and Tobi.  It is awesome to see and share in her excitement over learning.  One of the best parts of the present is that it will give the her a special activity all her own to work on with T and me once the baby comes.  I think the world of this book already and highly recommend it.

Contemplating the matching instructions.

G-Bear, hard at work at the learning table.
(E-Bear had vacated his Cookie Monster coloring page long before)

 G-Bear wasn't the only one who enjoyed her gift this weekend.  T got me a fabulous new cookbook called The Indian Slow Cooker.  He knows me so well.  It combines my favorite ethnic food with my favorite kitchen cooking appliance -- talk about good timing with a new baby approaching!  We were so excited to try the recipes that we ran right out to the best Indian grocer in town to buy new spices and lentils.  

On Sunday, we had a great time enjoying GranMo and Papa's gift, a Zoku popsicle maker.  I was ecstatic to open this present.  I have been thinking about one ever since our first post-church popsicle treat last summer as a family.

Thanks, GranMo and Papa!

When properly frozen for 24 hours, the Quick Pop Maker makes 3 homemade popsicles in 7 minutes, and can make up to 9 popsicles at a time without refreezing.

So, of course, when we got home from church we just had to give it a try.

We decided to make two flavors to start:  
Chocolate (using chocolate milk)

Pouring the chocolate milk into the frozen mold

and Strawberry Banana (using a Bolthouse smoothie drink)

No joke, in 7 minute the pops were ready to come out!
I don't know who had more trouble waiting, me or G-Bear.

G-Bear, placing dibs on a popsicle.

Yum!  They were so good!  

These were a hit.  They tasted great, and they were so easy.  These will be a very cost effective, immediately gratifying and deliciously homemade treat for us.  I can't wait to try more flavors ideas, layers and combinations.

Coooold, says E-Bear.

The weather better warm up soon so we can enjoy them on the front lawn together!

Thanks to Baby Bear for making all of this possible by delaying the big arrival for one more weekend.  We are having a great time waiting for you, sweetie, and we are ready when you are (I hope) !