Our Family

Our Family
Benaiah, Justin, Melinda, Abishai, Keturah, and Jared

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Year 3, March 15th-17th, 2018: Time to Rest

Due to going to the Children's Museum on Tuesday and the upcoming concert trip on Sunday, we've spent the in between days at home mostly resting.  We did school and chores of course, but no major projects.  Benaiah went with Grandpa for an overnight consulting event and will be gone until Sunday. Jared and I had a mini date night on Friday night.  My brain is tired from dealing with the emotions that go along with physical stress and pain, so I'm a little short on words, but I'm sure the photos will jog my memory.

Abishai was very clingy on Wednesday, and also wanted to go out and be with Keturah the whole time.  He loves his sister very much.

They are working on their front walk overs.

So they run, skip once, and then get into a handstand.  Then the coach helps them to bend into the bridge position and stand up.  It's the very basics of doing all those fun flips you see the bigger girls do.  It takes a LOT of work to get there, and I could never do it.

Sack race time!

We drove past the church and Justin said Grandpa had just gone into the building, so Abishai wanted to stop and say hi.  And as customary, the kids had to name all the animals on the candy tray before they could have one.  Grandpa was super dressed up because he was officiating a funeral that day.  This was all on Wednesday and should have been put with yesterday's blog, but since there was already all the museum pictures there, I just threw these up on here.

I guess your sister can be a great place to stretch out your legs on while you play, lol.

At church, Justin insisted on having Grandpa's chair, and told me to use the stationary chair.  Bossy little guy.

When the wifi goes down at home, you reconvene at church for Bible lessons and then resume your normal Wednesday activities of Bible Bowl and screen time.

How big boy hands in between school and Bible Bowl.

Dinner had church because I didn't have anything prepared in time to get to church for Bible class.  Jared was out and stopped by the golden arches before coming back to the church.

Home away from home.

I got your packpack, Dad!  Hehe!

Thankfully it wasn't too full and heavy.

Watching baby Abishai videos.

Using a vehicle with a forklift to lift up his other cars to put them back in the bag to bring them home.

Most patient dog ever.

Abishai was playing with some pennies, and I thought it would be a good idea to clean them up a bit.  I'm glad I looked up how to do it properly.  This penny has either been cleaned the wrong way for its' age or was eaten by a machine.  If a penny was minted in 1982 or after, you can't use an acid based solution because it's made of zinc and covered in copper.  I always felt the newer pennies were different.  You can only use a pencil eraser to get off some of the grime, and regular soap and water.

Unfortunately, a couple of the pennies I did soak were from 1982 or more recent, but thankfully they weren't ruined.  You just use some distilled white vinegar and a little bit of salt.  Some use ketchup or tabasco sauce because it has the vinegar in it.  And you have to rinse them off or the leftover vinegar will keep eating away at it.  This was today's impromptu science lesson on acids and metals!

I don't know why it's such a fascinating thing, but Abishai will throw away his own stinky diapers in the big trash can outside.  Ok, then, sure!

Cute baby on a brick wall, which, gives me an idea for the next warm, sunny day!

We got to see the garbage truck go up and down the street!

Mommy, jump with me!  So I "jumped" or rather stepped down and walked over the other rock, and Abishai kept switching with me.

Reading time in the morning.  He's loving this Richard Scary vehicle book that is a copy of Jared's book from his childhood.

Weird snack, but ok.  Fruit, veggie, and carb.

This was so adorable!  I was having a few moments of self pity today, but Abishai decided to take matters into his own hands.  He asked for the "elephant" book and got into my chair to "read" aloud to the other two kids!  He turned the book around to show them the pictures!  He asked them to find the elephant, "Elephant? Good job!", and rewarded them!  And he told me to go drink my coffee and have fun. 3 yr olds are incredible imitators, which is cute, but is a constant reminder to check your words and attitude lest they copy them!

Highest duplo tower ever!

Abishai asked me to take all the police stickers off his bike, so I did, and then snapped this last picture of the words Keturah had added, "Abishai's police motorcycle."

Abishai was playing with his sandbox and cars and said he needed some boxes for box truck.  Then he remembered that his magnetic vehicle book had some box pieces.  He got down the box of pieces and we found the boxes and he put them in the box truck!  Genius!

Ooooo, Justin is getting quite good at this!  He decided to build a Lego Taco Bell!  He has a handle for the handicap people on one door, and has a second door on the other side.

He explained all the components to me, but I don't remember them all.  I do know that the yellow thing is the soda fountain where you can choose like 40 different kinds of pop.  And R2-D2 has a Mountain Dew slushie.  And I think they are eating the normal tacos and such.

This is the kitchen and there's a guy out front taking orders.  To the left is the bathroom.

Drive through order window!  And then you pick up the food on the right side.

Abishai is quite the builder, too!  Ok, he didn't build all of this, but he did play with it and arrange it.  I also built a house for him out of regular Lego, but he promptly destroyed it when I wasn't looking.
The first 3 guys went into the space habitat at Benaiah's school for 12 hrs on Thursday!  It's in the gym so they had to listen to everyone else coming and going that day.  They performed experiments and were tested, too.  They were going to have a live feed for classrooms half way around the world, but couldn't get it up and running.  I think maybe 1000 or so people were going to watch!  How crazy is that?  Benaiah DESIGNED this and he and his classmates BUILT this and they were showing it off to the WORLD through the company Space Port.  Crazy awesome!

Ok, so we finally saw Thor: Ragnarok.  And this is how it went down.  We had waited too long to see it in the cheap theaters, so, we rented it from Redbox, which are kiosks outside of stores that you can rent DVD's and video games from for fairly cheap.  You can reserve online, and that's what I did.  We have one at our CVS half a mile away.  So, Grandma came over and watched the kids, and we went "out on a date" to CVS to pick up the movie and a couple of other things and took it to her house to watch it, uninterrupted on their humongous screen!  This is what happens when you are a) cheap b) too busy to make time for date night and c) married this long that you really don't care how it goes down, but date night needs to happen.  And we did it early enough in the evening that we were back in time for 9pm bedtime.  Bwahahaha!  We are so lame sometimes, but we did it!  As far as the movie goes, it was hilarious if you knew going in that it was supposed to be more light hearted than the rest of the Marvel films.  There's a lot more swear words that I would have liked and a couple of other inappropriate words where they could have used something less obvious for the kids' sake.  But otherwise, it was pretty straight forward comic book film, a stepping stone to the regular big one coming up next month, the first installment of Infinity War with all the past characters in it.  Jared didn't like the zombie warriers, but I found they were very tame compared to Pirate of the Carribbean movies and weren't a big focus of the movie.  Even the big baddie, Hella, wasn't too over the top sinister.  She reminds us of the evil queen in Cinderella or Snow White (the live action remakes).  Yes, there's the Norse mythology and lots of sci fi elements but that doesn't bother us or the kids since we've been up front about other religions.  This is just all a fairytale to them.  We did let them watch it today and I had forgotten that they don't see all the behind the scenes footage and pics on Instagram that I do, so they had a ton of questions.  I had to keep telling them to watch and listen carefully and your questions will be answered.  And there were so many easter eggs and funny moments.  It looked like the actors were having a blast ad libbing a good portion of it.  Justin's main takeaway was that the Sychar, the junkyard planet, was too colorful.  And that was the whole point.  Ok, now that I've written more about some crazy fake story instead of our own story, I'll stop now.  It only took us 4 months to see this film! Lol!
And now for the main event......after 19 years.....I have the privilege of seeing the 'boys playing united! (Aka, Newboys United concert.)  It's going to be an adventure with my second born!  And in my pity moments, I have to remind myself that I say no to so many other good things so I can make these memories with my children.  Why be selfish like that?  Because the memories of going to concerts with my mom or going on a few field trips or even the homeschooling in general are so precious to me.  I want my kids to have what I had, even despite my not so good parenting moments. Right now, it's Benaiah and Justin's turn.  Keturah and I did see Anne of Green Gables the real musical on THE Island from whence the book came, just the two of us, but we will also enjoy other outings as she gets older.  They are all growing up fast and they are my primary focus.  I am glad they see their grandparents going on mission trips, and their Daddy doing ministry events because I choose to spend my strength and time taking them on different trips and educating them.  It all balances out.  And hopefully, the good stuff outweighs the not so good stuff of their childhood.  That is my prayer.  It's what I have from my imperfect childhood.  I'm clinging onto those good memories, and dismissing the bad (which have been emotionally processed).I'm carrying on the torch the best I can.  It's so very hard, so I pray that I can make it through the next couple of days, and then rest, and then back out for two days at the homeschool conference.  Is it spring break yet? Lol! For Benaiah it is, and I think for us, too.  Fun times ahead!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Year 3, March 13-14th, 2018: The Interent is Down!! (And TCM)

The Internet is down! I repeat: the Internet is down! Crisis at command central!  Just kidding!  Yes, our internet went out at home, and I couldn't even access it over my phone's data signal.  That sent us into a panic because the kids at Grandpa class today at 4pm, and I didn't find out about the widespread outage until 3pm.  Quick! Grab the kids and the devices and head to the home away from home, aka, the church!  Thank goodness for being only 5 minutes from church and having access to a large area away from everyone else for our crazy, big, loud family! But seriously, having access to the internet is a big deal in our house.  From email, to social media, to using Skype and even Facetime for Bible class, to entertaining the 3 yr old because Mama has a huge headache from pain medication withdrawal an severe back pain from yesterday's outing to the Children's Museum.  Yes, panic did set in.  We know it shouldn't, but when things happen quickly and unexpectedly, it's hard to stay calm.  But we got to church in time, Jared picked up McDonald's on the way home from a meeting, and we get to hang out together finishing projects and doing homework before our regularly scheduled Wednesday evening plans at church.  Crazy life we lead!

Otherwise it was normal Wednesday with gymanstics, library, and recycling errand.  We even stopped at the church, too, to say hi go Grandpa, whom Justin had seen walking into the building from the parking lot.  Yesterday we spent the day at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis with some of our homeschool friends on a "field trip" discount.  We even had a lunchroom reserved for us! But we homeschoolers weren't used to the 30 minute time frame for lunch.  It felt so rushed!  At least we didn't have to pay for a locker for our coats and lunchbag.  That was a bonus.  It was a very long, exhausting day because we were there from 10 am until nearly close at 5 pm.  We saw nearly every exhibit!  But because Abishai is such a busy preschooler, and gets downright destructive after 2 pm, I couldn't rest on a bench and just watch him play.  I was carrying around my purse as well, and that got to be heavy by the end of the day.  But we did have loads of fun of course.  Abishai seemed to remember parts of the museum from going last year, too.  Someday I'll get a pass, or I'll get the paperwork together from our medicaid and get some free access passes.  I have to update them anyway.  So, almost all the pictures are from the day at the Museum.  Enjoy!

All 3 of the older kids were afraid of people in costumes at age 3.  Abishai?  Well, he RUNS over to Rex and gives him high fives and hugs!  And when the helper said that Rex was 3 years old, Abishai also showed him how he is 3 years old!  We raises his pinky, ring, and middle fingers, and puts his thumb and pointer finger together (kind of like the sign for "ok").  Sweet!

Yeah for Rex and Abishai!

We weren't even into the museum yet and Abishai was already having fun!  He said, "Turtle!" and ran over to climb the bench with turtles on it.  We've spent many, many days at this museum in the last 13 or so years.  I've seen it go through many changes but there are some things that are still very much the same! 

This is new! A huge chocolate basketball!  In honor of March Madness?  And the whole candy/chocolate theme I think goes from January through March/April/Easter time.

They spent a couple of minutes in the terra cotta warriors dig site.  It was kind of busy and hard to find the right tools.

We made sure to read most of the signs and look at the details on the terra cotta warriors this time since we had just studied them in our history lessons.  Because we had seen them many times before, and Grandma and Grandpa had seen them a few years ago on a mission trip, we already knew the basics before we even did our history lesson!  Keturah is saying, "Ta da!"

Abishai's turn to climb on the warriors.

Reading the information on the warriors.

The museum always does an excellent on recreating scenes of just about anything.

There were no rocks to pick up and put in the bucket this time, but Abishai and Justin still had fun going through the tunnel of the Egyptian tomb.  Justin was exhausted by the end of the day, and in pain from carrying his arm all day.  Thankfully he had his sling on.

Keturah figured out the double sided puzzle and Abishai got to help, too.  It told the story of the terra cotta soldiers.

This is what one of the soldiers could have looked like when they were first buried.  They were painted, that much we know.

So what colors were they painted and with what?  Here's an interactive display showing kids how to grind up pigments from stones to make the paint.

Keturah showing off that she is now big enough to wear MY super small shirts!  I found them while looking for other shirts to wear to this weekend's concert.  I'm 99% sure I will not fit in any of these small shirts again, as most of them were bought in high school and some were bought between each of the kids, but definitely before I had Keturah.  My little girl is growing up!  She was super excited to get new shirts to wear, too, even if they say "Michael W. Smith" on them, lol.

And we found a train table, of course!  He's getting much better at sharing, too.  He went on the big train several times, too, and noticed all the big RC trains in the display cases.

Um, is Justin 3 years old or almost 13?  Yes, he climbed UNDER the table to get up in the little play hole there.  And he played with the trains, because he can!
Trains, trains, and MORE trains!  These displays haven't changed (at least from what I can tell) in 13 years, but that's because they are classic and vintage trains.  Love it that he's actually taking the time to look at them.  The other kids just pass by them.

I want to ride this train, Mommy!  He looks so big now next to the big train!

I fix the space ship, Mom!

3..2..1..Blast Off!

Navigating the space station around.

THIS was cool!  We peeked into the plantetarium between shows and right now on loan from another museum they have this module that was lost at sea in 1961 and found in 1999.  It must have unmanned or something.  Check out all the damage!  There this 18 inch round pot of dye that is supposed to leak into the ocean to indicate where the module is and when it was found 38 yrs later on the bottom of the ocean floor, it was still leaking the dye!  Way cool!

The focus could have been better on this one, or maybe it was meant for your eye to focus on the glass.  Abishai did enjoy putting the plastic "glass" bulbs into the structure though.

The real glass ceiling.
What's with Abishai and being IN the storage bins? Lol!

It's the last month for the circus exhibit so we spent a good amount of time in there.

Very funny, Justin, you can raise the barbell up with one hand!

This guy is CRAZY!  He was LEAPING from barrel to barrel!  No fear at all!

Nailed it!

Keturah was trying to mimic the picture of a lady on one of these hoops.  Round and round she goes!

Abishai so much bigger and braver now!  He climbed up in the canon by himself, no problem, and got himself prepared to jump.  I didn't get a picture of him jumping because he would stand half way up and I would hold onto his two hands to help him jump the 3 ft to the ground.  He did it about 10 times.

Again, he's looking so much bigger!  He wanted to try the unicycle!

He scaled the ladder no problem.

Justin spent a good amount of time with someone he had met at an earlier homeschool playdate.  They hung out in the circus and the pop culture exhibits.  The boy had sprained his ankle, and of course Justin has his bum arm, so they made quite the pair.

Bigger and bolder, hanging off part of the clown car and swinging.

This box had been full of clothes at the pop culture exhibit.  Abishai thinks it is a great place to hide.

The pop culture exhibit had some very interesting pieces to it.  There were different clothes and shoes and comic books, and toys and video games, etc.

Vintage Mickey Mouse club and Peanuts gang!

Bwahahaha, yes, they were the only secular band I listened to in high school.  Yes, my sisters and I, and my mom, all had our favorite band members.  Yes, I remember this game being on the shelves in the stores.  No, we didn't own it.

Scariest movie ever.

She wore those?  Wow!

Star Trek!  A staple in both the Johnson and the Howell households.  And the furry thing is a tribble from the original series in the 60's.

Who stole my doll?  I have that exact Ariel doll at home!

This kind of thing exists?  Why yes! Of course it does!

The exhibit next to the pop culture exhibit, which is also leaving in April, was all about dance!  Dances of every kind, ballet, jazz, ballroom, etc.  This is what one of the "Dancing with the Stars" star wore for the show.

Massive, massive wings!  I think they were almost 20 feet tall! You could try a new dance move and showcase on the stage they had as well.  They also showed you what a new pair of ballet shoes looks like and what they look like after 20 hrs of use.  Same with tap shoes.  It's amazing how quickly they fall apart!  Shauna and the girls would have loved this exhibit.

A boy and a box.

We spent a lot of time on the fourth floor in the little playhouse Eli Lilly had made for his daughter.  Abishai played house and brought food to people. He's got a servant's compassionate heart.

Ketuarh was a bit bored because I couldn't play with her since I was chasing Abishai. And Justin was hanging out with his friend.  But overall, she didn't complain that much.

Abishai fixing more food for others!  He even wanted me to sit down and eat!
Abishai eating his ice cream on the playhouse's front porch.  At one point, he tripped and fell and the two ice cream scoops fell out of the dish.  I put them back in, but I did it in the wrong order and Abishai had to arrange it just so

Then it was on to playscape, the place for the babies through preschooolers to play and give Mommies a little rest, but in my case, I chased him more.  He got his sleeves and shirt and shoes wet before deciding that the aprons are a necessary part of the outfit.

I showed Abishai how he could dry off his shirt under the hand dryer.  He used it several times!

When we are in Playscape, Keturah and Justin get "helper" badges because the area is meant to be for the babies through preschoolers.  They station an employee at the entrance to enforce this rule.  Because we had "field trip" badges on, they asked us what school group we were with, and when we said homeschool, they let us in.  Normally they don't let school groups in, and I totally understand.  Since we weren't walking around with our group anyways, it wasn't a big deal.  Justin did play on his own a bit and I had to remind him that he was a "helper."  So he helped Abishai with the ball wall instead. 

Most of the balls were stuck, but you can rearrange the tubes on the outsides.  Abishai figured out how to move them to let the balls drop down into the bin.

After convincing him that he would just get more wet at the water table, and making sure his hands were dry, I enticed him over to the sand table.  He quickly made friends and played and played.

He was a bit short to get down into the sand though.

But that didn't stop him, lol!  His feet are about 3 inches off the floor!

We walked by the big picture window and the first thing he notices is that a garbage truck is driving by!

I noticed the lovely downtown old architecture and the birds in the trees.

Abishai climbed up a bit higher this time!  He kept trying to go up further, but knew when he had reached his limits.  He definitely is determined to get places.

Keturah spent a lot of time playing with baby Sarah.  I had no idea she was walking around without her socks and shoes on though until I found them 20 minutes later near the water table.

When Abishai did walk over to the water table again, I convinced him to wear a smock.  But then he wandered off to the music room.

That's not how you play with the pretend log, is it?  This area is supposed to be more for the toddlers, so I had to watch Abishai carefully.  Thankfully, he's small enough to pass for a toddler.

Helping Baby Sarah, Keturah's favorite thing to do.

Is that being a helper?  Um, no, but, he did manage to climb into the log THROUGH the hole from ABOVE!  Despite his cast, his thinness lets him be very flexible.

I think they updated the IndyCar.  Still fun to pose in it though.

We can't go to the museum without playing with the eggs in the dinosphere nest area.

Abishai has the biggest roar and kept throwing the eggs and hitting Justin with his tail.

Keturah protecting her nest.

There are places you can stand up in to feel like you are in the middle of the scene.  You have to crawl into a little cave to do it though.

The dinosphere was the old planetarium, so they create these awesome scenes on the dome.  They have lights and sound effects, too, like rainstorms!

The replaced the polar bear with this monstrosity!  I think it's a T-Rex, but they added feathers from an emu on it because, why not?  We have no idea what they really looked like.  Oh, and you stand behind the dinosaur head, and look through the glass, and it tells you where to stand with your camera so it looks like you're in its' mouth.  Ok, then, sure, whatever.
And of course, we ended the day with a slide down the chocolate slide!  Yes, even Justin went down.  I then had these two watch the stroller while Abishai and I went down, too!

Our children's museum is incredible!  One of the best worldwide! Beautiful atrium, don't you think?

At the end of the day, we go to the museum store to play some more!  Abishai really didn't want to leave then!  There's no kids to compete with for the toys either.  And they have the newest Thomas trains as well.

Keturah remembered that a model of part of the Great Wall of China was just outside the entrance to the museum!  We took the picture from inside because it was super cold outside.  There's also the pyramids, Taj Mahal, and a ziggurat.

Opening just a few days after we were there is the Sports Experience.  They have a couple of exhibits inside and a bunch of stuff outside.  It features all the major sports including golf, football, baseball, lots of different sized basketball hoops, a sports tree house, and way, way back there, a mini Indy 500 pagoda!  Of course!

Someone is super exhausted from an all day trip to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis! Tiny hands, aww!  He walked most of the time, too.

Then, as we were coming home, it was cold enough to snow humongous fakes!  I found Benaiah outside in the back filming a video and Jared outside the front door filming a video, lol!  It snowed heavily for a bit, reducing visibility by a ton, but it was only a dusting.  It melted within the hour and the sun came out again.

What is it with Johnsons and bare feet in the snow?

I never remember to take pictures of me on all these outings, so here's one.  I did get a chaperone badge and managed to keep it on the whole day.  It had accidentally gotten stuck on the other badges before we even got started, so it was messed up from the beginning.

Snow! And sun!

Pretty snow outside my window!