Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Thank you, Jesus,

I passed the last Step of my licensing Board exam!

This afternoon we toasted with pear juice after I got the email.

A toast to the Boards passed!

This was the third and final exam, and after taking all three while pregnant,
I am glad that I won't have to do any of them again.

I have to thank T for his constant encouragement, 
Nana, MoMo and Papa and the many friends who offered up abundant prayers,
little J-Bear for putting up with all the butterflies in my tummy during the two day exam,
Buddy Bear for the practical testing of throwing up on me as I walked in from my first exam day,
and G-Bear and E-Bear for sticking with me through thick and thin, not only during medical school, but everyday since.

Most of all, thank you, Lord, for helping me leap this last testing hurdle. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Getting pretty crunchy around here...

Queen Butterfly:
"Daddy, can I cut the grass?"

"Why, yes you can." 

Last week, we finally joined the ranks of lawn mower owners.  The beautiful lawn of our rental house was getting a bit shaggy.  So, we splurged at Menards for a push mower that was on sale.  T finished his first pass across the yard and we were pretty impressed with our purchase.  Sure, there were a few tall stragglers here and there, but all in all, it did a great job.    

Seeing the delight in my eyes, T commented:
"We're getting pretty crunchy around here, Queen B."

The next day, T had several helpers in the yard.

You may notice that it was a face painting afternoon at our house.
Behold, garden angels 'Queen Butterfly' and 'Super Hero Dude!'

G-Bear helped to trim tall stragglers with her scissors,

while E-Bear used his shovel to empty mower clippings into the compost bag.

As I watched the action, I almost bubbled over with delight.  

 No need for oil, gas or electric with our intrepid crew!

Happy Memorial Day from the Happily Ever Johnsons!  
We are so thankful for our country, this land that we love!  
May this summer be full of green and lots of time outdoors.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Overheard in the house this week, Postpartum Edition

With the arrival of J-Bear, you never know what you'll overhear in our house!
Here are a few of my favorite excerpts.

"Gee, Baby Pah!"
~Buddy Bear, our connoisseur of pacis, offering to give Baby J her pacifier. 

"My favorite thing to do is hold Baby J."

"My taco tastebuds have DEFINITELY grown in!"
~E-Bear, who has enjoyed the meals prepared for us by T during the past few weeks.

"Nana, do you want to see ANOTHER kid??!"
~G-Bear, welcoming Nana to our home
 for her visit to meet Baby J.

"I love lasagne.  
Nana said you get your lasagne taste buds when you get your taco taste buds."
~E-Bear, who has enjoyed the meals prepared for us by friends during the past few weeks.

"I see?  I see baby?  I see baby, peeeeeees?"
~Buddy Bear, asking to see and hold his little sister.

"Nana, when we have another kid, you'll have to drive in your own car."
~E-Bear, noticing that the number of available seats in our minivan is decreasing :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Three weeks with J-Bear

Sweet one, 

can you hear the melodies,

 the songs of hearts singing?

 Little babe, the song is love,

and we pray

you'll learn it well.

We are so thankful for our sweet, sweet J-Bear, our little May Flower.  
She brightens our days and even my nights. 
Thank you for all your snuggles, sweet one.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

We Love You, Dee!

This morning, we celebrated Pentacost with Donut Sunday after church.  We are all enthusiastic donut eaters, but today Buddy Bear's approach was especially appropriate. 

Today is the fourth anniversary of T's dad, our dear Dee, going home to The Lord.   Dee's favorite part of cakes, donuts or any other dessert was always the frosting.  He would often leave the rest of his cake after enjoying the frosting!  This morning, Buddy Bear was a buddy after his granddad's heart.

We love you and miss you, Dee.  Thanks, Buddy Bear, for reminding us of him today.  

Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with your love.  Happy Pentacost.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Crew

Here's our crew, surprising me last weekend with treats on Mother's Day.

Thanks to T, the brains behind the operation and the camera.  :)

Can you believe we are a family of six?!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Two Weeks with J-Bear

Two weeks ago, J-Bear was nuzzled in my tummy.

Now, she is nuzzled in my lap.

Upon the birth of each of our children,
T and I marvel at how quickly life without them seems unimaginable 
despite the fact that we didn't know them only days before.

J-Bear, life without you already seems unfamiliar.  
You fit right in, you are so loved.

Your brother and sister kiss you as they leave for school and ask for you when they going to bed.
Your brother Buddy loves to tickle your feet and show you his toys.  
All three love you deeply already, in their own unique way.

You are doing everything you should be doing at this point,
and you are so sweet to us in all you do.
Nana marveled at how you only cry when you are hungry.
We keep you tucked in close, so perhaps that is why?

Walks to take G-Bear to school with you in the sling,
gardening with you nearby in your seat,
story time with you tucked in my lap,
bedtime songs with you laying next to your siblings,
all our routines have been transformed in the best possible way by your presence.

Thank you for joining us.  
We're so thankful to God that you did.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mom, You are my Sunshine

Happy Mother's Day weekend, friends.

We are having a really special Mother's Day here in Happily Ever Johnson Land.

On Thursday, G-Bear's Kinder class performed a Mother's Day Paraliturgy Program.
The moms were the honored guests of the program.  
We each had a special seat, decorated with personalized pictures. 
My portrait, by G-Bear

Our children were the stars.

The kids marched in singing "You are My Sunshine," carrying sunshines for Mom.
By the end, there were very few dry eyes in the performance hall.
I am one blessed Momma.

This weekend, we are blessed to have Nana with us.
Nana has four children, and now, thanks to the birth of J-Bear and her new cousin, she is grandmother of twelve.

Nana with G-Bear after her program.

This weekend, we are blessed to be with MoMo, who is home from Mayo and our inspiration.
GrandMo and J-Bear

To celebrate these amazing women in Mother's Day grandeur, our kids made daffodil leis. 

MoMo's daffodil lei from the Bears.

The Bears have made me feel really special too.
In G-Bear's program, each child got a chance to tell their mom something she appreciated about her.

Each response was so special, but, of course, G-Bear's comment was the most special to me (I know I am biased):
"My Mom is the sunshine of my life because she reads the best stories."

Six years ago, G-Bear made me a Momma.  
She continues to be a blessing my life each and everyday.

My present from G-Bear

E-Bear wowed me with a special present as well.  
Can you believe that he and G-Bear both gave me the same compliment in their gifts?
Do you think they planned it?

 I am glad my Bears seem to love our daily story time as much as I do :)

 E-Bear came running out of preschool with a big smile on his face as he presented me with his gift.  The lovely purple and white pansy keeps me company in the kitchen.
It is a perfect symbol of the joy E-Bear brings to my daily life.

My present from E-Bear

Becoming a mother four times over has been an incredible, miraculous experience that has blessed my life in unimaginable ways.  The blessing of mothering my children is beyond anything that can be celebrated in a single day.  But, I definitely have some teachers to thank for all the effort they put into helping my children make my Mother's Day so special!  

To MoMo and Nana, GG, and our beloved GG Isabel in heaven, we love you.  You are irreplaceable, to you we owe thanksgiving for our lives and so much in them, you are inspiration for our journey.  Thank you for teaching me daily how to be a better Mother.  Jesus, thank you for giving us Your own mother as an example for us for all time. 

Thank you, Lord, for the mothers in our lives.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Signs of Spring

The surest sign that spring has finally sprung here in Minnesota.....

....are the bears seen in Papa's garden.

They are all hard at work.

The frost is gone,

and finally,

May flowers have come.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

J-Bear's First Days

warm and heavy
as pure gold,
and the angels sing softly
to the newborn babe.
~Light and Gold, by Edward Esch

When you are the J-Bear, 
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.

There are many adoring fans to meet!

But although these are just firsts,

something tells me this little girl is going to fit in well around here.

She is already dearly loved.

Thank you for a wonderful first week, Baby J-Bear.
We are so glad you are here.