Monday, December 31, 2007

Final Days of 2007

It felt really strange to go from the New Hampshire Winter Wonderland to this (still greenish grass Pennsylvania... land of year-round golfing and biking for K & O!... these two photos taken on Friday):

But boy oh boy do our boys love coming home! We all four love to go-- and we all four love to come home again too. We came back from New Hampshire late Thursday night. Our final days of 2007 have been fun and full! Friday we had a previously scheduled big doctor's appointment and K & O got two hours of non-stop-crazy-frenetic-playtime with our 16-year-old neighbor and one of her friends (the boys LOVE it when they babysit because these girls have soooo much energy!). Saturday we had Zoe's birthday with a fabulous trip with our friends we love, the Petch's, to Chuck E. Cheese's (our very first time there but if K & O have anything to do with it it will definitely not be the last!!!). And Sunday we got a visit from Auntie Sabrina and Dave (the boys were in Heaven! and we even got to have lunch together at Panera with them). Today, our final day of this year, we spent as just a foursome... lunch out and a trip to one of the boys' favorite playgrounds. Tonight the boys were in bed at 7:00 with no real clue about New Year's Eve. Braydon and I have big plans for our first New Year's Eve ever as just the two of us... We're having take-out from our favorite sushi place and watching as many episodes of 24 as we possibly can before we zonk out. It is sad to say goodbye to such an awesome past year. But we're looking forward to an amazing 2008.

We're Back!

We were in New Hampshire for eight days and seven nights -- a magical Christmas trip jam-packed with tons of wintery-Christmasy-wonder-wonder-land-fun with the Johnson side of the family. My parents had planned an incredible itinerary for us; each day was absolutely loaded with surprises. The boys were way over-stimulated and it was a long time away from home for us, but it was an absolutely fabulous time filled with more memories than I could possibly blog about. The snow was piled higher than the boys had ever witnessed in real life! Braydon and I didn't have to cook or clean up or worry about a thing! And every detail of each day's activities was thoughtful and special. This was a Christmas we'll never forget. And we have more than enough photos to keep the images fresh in our minds (see posts below for some of them!). Just a few of the biggest highlights included~~~~~ the boys' first time skiing (a dream come true for Braydon! and for me really special too: my mother taught me to ski at King Pine when I was age three and now she's taught K & O to ski at the same place at the same age); a truly magical evening ride to visit Santa in the North Pole on the "REAL!!!" (and I do mean, REAL) Polar Express (absolutely no kidding, even I thought this was the real thing); a day-trip to Portland Maine with a New England seafood lunch to die for; the Portland Symphony Orchestra's Magic of Christmas (a Christmas Concert that my parents have brought my sister and I to throughout our entire lives); a private horse drawn sleigh ride through Freedom Village with family and friends; a winter bonfire in my parents backyard-- complete with K & O's first toasted marshmallows and s'mores; a special visit from Santa to MorMor and MorFar's house on the afternoon of Christmas Eve day (and yes! K & O got exactly what they had been wishing for: "toy airplanes that are just like real airplanes", and their cousin Sadie got exactly what she had been wishing for too: a cheerleader costume!); the boys were angels again (not literally... believe me!... but figuratively and in costume) at the Christmas Eve Nativity Pageant at the Freedom Church (nothing nearly as eventful as last year happened, but it was a near-miss... Owen was determined to use the stage to perform "stomping dance" in his angel costume, but luckily he told me about this plan a few minutes before the pageant started, and I was able to successfully divert this crisis by using a bag of Peanut M&M's to bribe him not to do it); MorMor's incredible traditional Christmas Eve Swedish Smorgasbord & tin upon tin of at least a dozen different Christmas Cookies; a magical Christmas morning (including stockings and presents of course, but also including Braydon's favorite, and Owen's favorite now too-- my mother's Danish Butterhorns); Christmas Day pork-roast-dinner made by MorFar; hours spent splashing in, and diving into, my parents' outdoor hot tub; a trip to North Conway (including a fabulous lunch at an earth-oven pizza place); and last but not least... on our final night before heading home... Braydon and my dad took K & O for two straight hours of Night Snow Tubing (the boys still can't decide what they love more-- skiing or tubing!!!). And, as always, the plane flights to-and-from were major highlights for Kyle and Owen who seriously love to travel more than any human being I know (and this time got a special surprise-- on the trip home the pilots invited the boys up to the cockpit to sit in the pilot's seats and "drive" the plane!!!). There were zillions of little highlights that happened in-between all of these big highlights too (like, K & O lovin' my dad's snow-blower and following him around in the snow like little puppy dogs!; Swedish Christmas culinary traditions for me like eating Limpa Bread Toast and Korv for breakfast; the four of us cozied up sleeping all together in one room-- K & O seriously cuddle tighter together than you could even imagine!; sledding; shoveling; jingle-bells-singing; fun playing with "cousin Sadie"; MorMor and MorFar's Santa Train under their Christmas Tree; beautiful wonderful heart-felt presents given and received; etc., etc., etc.). We are so blessed to have all that we have... materially for sure... but what is most important to us (and what we are by far most deeply grateful for) is how truly blessed we are with all that we have experientially. It is easy for us to live every day to the fullest when we're with Kyle and Owen. That, in itself, is the biggest gift that they have given us. We're back from our trip, and we're now officially 'returned' from our Blogging Break!

Christmas Trip - Photos I

Christmas Trip - Photos II

Christmas Trip - Photos III

Christmas Trip - Photos IV

Christmas Trip - Photos V

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Wishes

As part of our Christmas celebration, we're officially taking a blogging break. Our plan is to cozy up with our boys and savor every moment with our two Christmas-loving three year olds. We hope that the magic of this season is real for you. And we hope that the spirit of it can transcend across all boundaries. We dream of peace on earth. And we dream of a world where each individual's personal potential is unconstrained.
Holiday wishes everyone!
We'll be back to the blogosphere in a week or so!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Photo of the Day

I snapped this photo at 7:30 this morning. Kyle was dressed for school, Owen was still in his pjs. I took it because I get a kick out of how they want to wear these Santa hats all the time. But after I took it, when I was downloading it to the computer, I noticed how close the boys are sitting to each other. They always are. And always have been. They are always right next to each other, usually with their bodies touching. I find it peculiar and special all at the same time. Even though I have twins, I'm still fascinated by them. Can you imagine wanting to be that close to someone, all the time? It must be really something being a twin. Also, for some reason, when I look at this photo I can just imagine Kyle being a 16 year old young man some day. Scary, but amazing, all at the same time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pennsylvania Haiti-Adoptive-Families CHRISTMAS PARTY

Saturday we hosted a Christmas Party for all of our Haiti-adoptive-families-friends from the state of Pennsylvania (or nearby Pennsylvania!). This was a mid-year-reunion of the families from the summer PA Haitian Adoptive Families Reunion (click here, here, and here), and people made the trip from all over to be here. I cannot articulate what this group of people means to our family. Because we knew they'd be incredibly excited about it, we held off on even telling Kyle and Owen about the party plans until just a few days before. Still, K & O were "counting the sleeps" and asking 100 times a day "when is the Haiti Party going to come?!" In all seriousness, their anticipation for this Christmas Party was almost equal to their anticipation for Christmas itself. And their wildly high expectations were beyond met. It was easily one of the best days of their lives. Easily. Throwing this party was probably the very best Christmas present we could give to Kyle and Owen. There is just nothing -- nothing -- like getting together with other families like ours. For five hours the house was overflowing with laughter and chaos (51 people -- 30 of which were kids under the age of 12... and when these kids get together they play hard!!!). Highlights included Corey's fried plantains and rice & beans; pass-the-present; Owen's long-awaited reunion with "Tavika"; camaraderie; contentment; solace; and a special kind of friendship. I don't think I've ever seen a group of adults bond so quickly as this group does. And I know I've never seen a group of kids play so hard as this group does. This group feels like kindred spirits. Kindred spirits with hearts for Haiti. It is rejuvenating to be in the midst. The four of us are now counting the sleeps until the summer reunion. To all who were here: Merry Christmas, and thank you so much for making the trip! More photos in the two posts below (click here and here). And, as always, click on any photo to see it larger.

PA Haiti-Adoptive-Families CHRISTMAS PARTY, photos I