Thursday, April 30, 2009


Ok, seriously... this is what Owen's shirt looked like at the end of the day yesterday. The photo doesn't even do it justice. And here's the thing: When he put it on that morning, it was brand new. Yes, brand new. Never before been worn. According to Margie (who has been doing professional childcare for over 15 years, and has cared for literally hundreds of children), in her expert opinion, Owen is truly the messiest, muddiest, dirtiest, filthiest, hardiest player ever. In her words, "I've seen a lot of kids -- boys especially -- play hard. But these kids, Owen in particular, play real hard!" She says she's never seen anything like it. It is also her opinion that our only hope for this shirt is to "soak it good and long in BLEACH."

har·dy 1 (härd) adj.
- har·di·er, - har·di·est
Being in robust and sturdy good health.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Random TidBits

Just a few minutes ago we heard Meera crying loudly on the monitor. I ran up there to see what was going on (she had gone to bed at 6:30 and had been sound asleep since then). I found her in her crib ON HER BELLY!!!!!!!!!! She had rolled over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She rolled over! I'm pretty sure she was crying because she couldn't figure out how to get back over onto her back to go back to sleep (since, after all, she has never slept in any position other than her back, ever). I rocked her back to sleep and then laid her down on her back again. But, anyhow... MEERA ROLLED OVER! Age 11 months + 1 day, Meera Grace finally rolled over! Photo below taken yesterday-- I was working in my office at home when Margie started calling to me to come in to the kitchen quick to take a picture-- Margie had never done that before. I ran in there wondering what was happening that warranted the photo op. And this is what I found (below). I wasn't sure exactly what the big deal was, but Margie was standing there, unable to contain her delight, insisting that Meera looked "absolutely adorable" in this dress and sandals (that Margie had picked out and dressed her in), and she insisted that we get photos of it. So, there she is, Little Miss Roll Over, All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go, In The Pink Dress and Sandals.

Owen and Kyle continue to be obsessed -- and I do mean obsessed -- with airplanes and baseball. It is all baseball and all airplanes all the time. And I do mean, all the time. Photo below taken a couple of mornings ago at the breakfast table (Owen drinking his morning smoothie).
Kyle and Owen are not obsessed with candy. They can take it or leave it. Don't get me wrong, Owen loves chocolate. But he's such a food snob when it comes to chocolate. Hersheys? Whatever. Godiva? Can't resist it. The Easter Bunny left mostly the Hersheys variety. And then there's Kyle... He just doesn't like candy period. The Bunny did I fabulous job (in my own opinion) of finding all sorts of cute candies of the not-chocolate-variety. Lots of tempting little Easter Basket treats sure to excite our Ky Ky. But did Kyle like any of them? No. None of them. The photo below was taken a few days after Easter. Each of the boys laid out all of their Easter candy on a plate and sorted through it all, getting a good look and taste of it. They each ate a few pieces, then the plates were quickly abandoned. The plates-of-candy then proceeded to sit on the kitchen counter for the next 12 days. Untouched. Until finally, yesterday, I dumped all of the candy in the trash. Today neither of them even noticed that they were gone. Note to Easter Bunny for 2010: No need for candy in the baskets, maybe just one Godiva chocolate bunny.
Peter and the Wolf has been big around here for quite awhile now. Braydon sits on the floor of the family room, turning the pages of the book, while the music plays along on the stereo, and the threesome sit there captivated. All three Johnson-McCormick bambinos love it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Meera Grace 11 Months Old

Today our baby girl is 11 months old. One year ago I was so pregnant and just two weeks from my due date with my doctors telling us it would be "any day now" and all of us consumed with full anticipation. And now she's here, in all her glory, filling us all up with her larger-than-life-sweetness every single day. She has the four of us wrapped around her little finger, and she has us wrapped around her little toes and her little nose and her baby blues and her tushie too. Seriously, this girl has us hooked. In the second photo down from here, the one with Meera in the wagon, she's wearing our favorite t-shirt. You can't really read it in the photo, but it says, "President not Princess." And man, oh man, does that say it all. This girl, at least for now, is no princess -- forget the frills and fuss; she commands with her simple presence alone. She is all president. There is no quivering bottom lip here, if she doesn't get what she wants she simply demands it (a shriek, a pounding of the fists, a kick of the legs) and within seconds she's got her brothers (not to mention parents) running to her rescue. Anything she wants, she gets. And it is easy to do because this little president knows how to choose her battles. She chooses wisely, and she chooses rarely, but when she chooses -- watch out -- do not stand in her way... because if you do... you are standing in the way of her big brothers, and trust me, they don't let anything stand in their way. Watch out world, here they come. And this threesome means business. I did not think it was possible for their bond to get tighter, but they continue to amaze me with their three-way-tie. They are tight as a knot right now. This month they've really come into their own with the development of new games that are now for three (instead of two). Peek-a-boo is the current game of choice. A napkin, a towel, a sweater, anything will do. It is always initiated by Little Miss. She covers her face and waits --silently and patiently-- for someone to notice. Before long she's got everyone playing along. K & O love it. They'll say "where's Meera?" 100 times without ever getting tired or bored, each time the question is asked with the most dramatic flair of sincerity possible. "Where's Meera? Where's Meera? Where's Meera?" Then, eventually, she'll pull the thing off her face to expose a huge grin and a big giggle. "Oh! There she is!!! There's Meera!" and then it goes again. Again, and again, and again. Much of our dinner-time is spent doing this. Every night. But she'll do it anywhere and everywhere that she might come across a piece of fabric that is suitable (on the sideline of the t-ball field, for example). Another dinner-time-routine that has become very popular around here is something I like to call "Ms. President Claps"; we'll all be eating and talking and she'll be sitting there quietly minding her own business as her brothers dominate the scene (as usual) and then suddenly, out of nowhere, one of us (usually Owen) will notice that Little Ms. Prez is calmly and confidently clapping like crazy and smiling ear-to-ear waiting for everyone to stop everything and look at her. Soon enough all five of us are sitting there, forks put down on the table, everyone clapping and smiling and looking at Meera. After she's had her fill of our full attention she'll go back to eating. And then we all continue on wherever we had left off. Speaking of dinner... she is quite the eater. She's pretty much done with baby food. She sees the little glass jars and immediately shakes her head "no" until we take it out of her line of vision. She'll still eat baby-food green beans and, her favorite, spinach-and-potatoes, but otherwise, forget it. Instead she wants the real thing. Current favorites: bean and cheese burritos, any kind of pasta, pizza, cheese sandwiches. This month she's tried (and loved) miso soup, chicken korma, pad thai, cheese-and-refried-beans-quesadillas, tortellini, smoothies, french toast. She loves grapes and strawberries and kiwi fruit and cheerios and mozzarella cheese and, of course, bread of any variety. And we can now confirm, with total certainty, that she's a salty girl, not sweet. Salty, salty, all the way. Little bits of salted pretzels, salted cashew nuts, salted tortilla chips... the saltier the better. Bring it on! This past month Meera has started a funny little quirk that neither of her brothers ever did when they were babies. She gets highly attached to a random object for a day (or two, or three) and will not let go of it. For 2-3 days there it was a little wooden toy maraca. She had to have it in her hand at all times. She ate with it, slept with it, got her diaper changed with it. For like 60-70 hours! Another time it was a random rattle that she had not previously ever shown interest in. And those are just a couple of examples. She doesn't do this all the time, but in the past month there have probably been 4-5 episodes of this. And she will scream if you try to take away whatever-the-object-of-the-moment is. She has also become very attached to Braydon this month. Now that she is fully bottle fed we've migrated over to Braydon, exclusively, doing the night feedings and handling any night wakings past midnight. This is something with did with the boys too, and we firmly believe that this is a major mechanism that promotes bonding with child-and-Papi. Since they are just so organically attached to Mama (for lots of reasons, including the fact that I simply spend more time with them), the night-duty is a way to foster and promote the deep bonding with Braydon. And in our family, it works. Really well. It worked extremely well with K & O (they still call out for Papi in the night when they wake for any reason), and in the past month we've seen it really start to take root with Meera. She is Papi's Girl. And, of course, she's Mommy's Girl too---- she loves loves loves her Mama. Developmentally, she's cruising along (literally and figuratively). She is big-time into standing up, holding on to anything she can find and moving along it (couches, tables, chairs, walls). She is very close to being able to pull herself up on her own now. She wants to stand-- and only stand-- all day every day. Still no crawling. Still has not rolled over (!). She's talking up a storm. A quick sampling of a few of her new words this month: "kitty cat" (as opposed to simply 'kitty'), "button" (2 syllables, clear as day), "bottle all done" (3 words as opposed to just 2), "fan" (that tough 'ph'/'f' sound followed quickly by the 'nnnn' sound--- a linguistic act not easy to do when you're not even 11 months old). This month she got two new teeth -- which brings her to a grand total of 8 (four on top, four on bottom) after lots of drooling and chewing. And she had her first lousy bought with a stomach flu (nasty!). But she handled that like she handles most everything -- like a champ! She's our girl. And she's loving life. We cannot believe she's almost a year old. We only have one more month to savor life with a baby-baby-under-1... and believe me, we'll be savoring every minute of it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Photo of the Day: O Pushes M

Pat's Lawnmower!

Pat and Amy are our closest neighbors. They are not the closest in proximity (although they are close; their house is directly behind our's, and our properties share a border in both of our back yards), but they are definitely our closest-neighbor-friends. I have never blogged about them before... which just goes to show how inaccurate a portrayal of our life our blog really is. Anyway... we're the kind of neighbors that you (or, at least, we) wish all neighbors were-- people you can call to help move a couch to a different room, or check in on your cat while you're out of town, or come over for a bbq. They are good neighbors. Pat and Amy are closer in age to our parents than to us, but they never had kids of their own. They --Pat especially-- have sort of taken our kids in as their pseudo-grandchildren. And this works out just great since we have no family in the area. They are good people and they've been very good to us-- and to Kyle and Owen especially. Since the moment we brought the boys home they've been rock solid for our kids. And they have given advice, been there in a pinch, and 'gone to bat' for us on many occassions. Amy is a nurse and has always been a great resource for us whenever we have had kid-related medical stuff to deal with. Pat is a retired pilot (of all things! what could K & O possibly idolize more than a "real pilot"?!)... and one of the great things about Pat is that he is a real 'Man's Man' and yet he has a definite soft spot for kids. This is just about the perfect combo when dealing with Kyle and Owen. They love that Pat will pick them up and throw them around whenever he stops by. They love that he will talk sports talk with them. And most of all, they love his tools (of which he has many)--- especially his outdoor lawncare tools-- especially his ride-on-professional-guage-lawnmower. When they hear Pat mowing his lawn they stop everything to run to the border of our property and watch. And every once in a while Pat will invite them over and give them rides on it. Today was a lucky day for two lucky boys! They were out in the sandbox playing when suddenly they heart Pat's lawnmower. They ran to watch him. And sure enough, he let 'em on! They each got two "rides" and it was, for them, spectacular! I just happened to have the camera outside with me, so for the first time I managed to get some photos of the boys and Pat's lawnmower!

Quote: Toni Morrison on Parenting

"What every child is looking for is,
'do your eyes light up when I walk in the room?'"

Sunday, April 26, 2009

12 Photos from a Top 10 Day

After what felt like a longer-than-usual winter, and a barely-existent spring, we got the gift of a gloriously-sunny-record-high day today to remind us that summer is just around the corner. Our weekend visitors were here this morning (Auntie Sabrina, Gamma, and Grandpa Robert), and the boys had t-ball until 2:00, but after that we had a string of unusually-blissfully-perfect hours in a row where it felt like we were living in our own little version of heaven on earth. There was a little something for everyone --- buckets of water for M, free reign of the hose (and lots of mud) for K & O, gin and tonic for H & B. And there was spectacular sun for everyone. One of our neighbors, our favorite teenager Lindsey, even stopped by for a bit with a cute little abandoned baby squirrel that she found and is trying to nurse to health (we gave her a baby bottle and some baby formula for it). At the end of the afternoon Braydon turned on the television for the boys to watch Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on 'Live from Lincoln Center on PBS'. I had to snap the last photo (see below) when I noticed that not only had the boys moved their chairs to be as close as possible to each other, but Owen had his arm around Kyle too. The boys were muddy, Meera was sweaty, Braydon and I were sunburned, and we were all exhausted, but that little side-by-side-arm-around-your-brother moment... well, it sort of captured the feeling that we were all having in that moment. Not often, but sometimes, it all just clicks and everything feels right... which is what it felt like for a few hours here today.

The end of Dreft

Since Meera was born I've been averaging approximately 15 loads of laundry a week. Now that Margie is helping it's so so so much easier, but it's still a lot of laundry. I don't know how people with sextuplets do it.... anyway.

Tonight is a very emotional night for me. For the first few months after the boys came home I used Dreft to do their laundry. Loads and loads and loads of Dreft laundry. When they hit One, I stopped. But it was not that big of a deal for some reason.

For the first 11 months of Meera's life I have used Dreft to wash her laundry and scentless Bouce to dry everything. All the onsies, PJ's, socks, cute little pants, tops, coats, socks. Mostly clean, terribly dirty, it all got the Dreft. It all came out smelling like baby.

We decided that this enormous jug of Dreft would be the last one and then I would start using the same Tide I use for all our laundry.

Tonight, I did my last load of Dreft laundry. And since we're not having more children, my last load of Dreft laundry ever.

Well, at least until I do my grandkids laundry in 20-30 years!

Auntie Sabrina's Birthday!

Saturday Braydon's side of the family came to visit so that we could all celebrate Sabrina's birthday together. Even though it was for Sabrina's birthday, Kyle and Owen were so excited about it that you would have thought it was for their birthday! As usual, they could not get enough of Sabrina! And it was really special to have Grandpa Robert (all the way from Georgia), and Gamma (all the way from Massachusetts) with us. It turned out to be an incredibly beautiful summery day... so much so that we got to sit outside on the porch of The Cafe (Sabrina's favorite is Thai, which gave us a great opportunity to go to our favorite local Thai place!). We had the porch to ourselves and it was truly about as wonderful as it could possibly, possibly get. Kyle and Owen were especially-ultra-adorable and pulled out all of their best-moves to charm the socks off of everyone around (including waitstaff, hostess, manager, etc.)... but especially Sabrina. They 'secretly' (with just a little help from their mommy) snuck inside the restaurant after dinner to arrange to have candles (that they 'secretly' brought from home by sneaking them into Meera's diaper bag) put on Sabrina's dessert... and then they proudly walked out with the server to present the dessert surprise to Sabrina, singing 'Happy Birthday.' I don't know who the moment was more sweet for --- Sabrina, or Kyle-and-Owen. They were so into it. The whole drive home they serenaded Auntie Sabrina with impromptu love songs made up on-the-spot just for her. They have a knack for making somebody feel like a million bucks. Happy Birthday Sabrina! Oh, and I've just to squeeze this in somehow---- Meera shared Braydon's pad thai with him... and loved it (very cute to see a 10 month old eating pad thai by the fistful!)