Our Family

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

Day 266: Apple Day!

It was apple picking day, yeah!  But first, I'm going to share what I wrote on Facebook first thing this morning:

I'm so grateful and blessed to have a stable marriage. I couldn't have gotten through this rough year without Jared and his faith in Jesus by my side. When I can't pray or I'm mad at God or I'm depressed, I know Jared prays for me and continues to push me back to God. I'm glad he gets to work with his dad today in teaching true Christian leadership to others. Jared is so humble and willing to work hard at anything and everything so I can stay home with our babies. God has always provided jobs that are just enough income so that I can fulfill my calling. Can you tell I miss my lifelong partner although it was just for a night? I love the tv show Arrow bc both the character and the actor remind me of Jared. Anyway, I just I'd share that I miss my guy.

If you want more information on e2 elders, you can check them out on the link below.  It isn't just Gary, but two other men, Jim Estep and David Roadcup, who wrote the books and teach the seminars, so be sure to look them up too!

e2 Elders on Facebook

e2 Elders Website

My man, doing his new thing, sharing about leadership, working alongside his Dad.  Sweet!  And don't forget, Leah's Dad was a minister for years, and Jared's uncle is also a minster, and his brother.  It soooo runs in the family.  Benaiah doesn't stand a chance to be anything else!  Actually, it doesn't matter, but he has said he wants to be a youth minister someday.  The preaching/teaching "force"/gene/calling/Holy Spirit gift is strong in the Cook/Johnson line!
Now, the apple ochard.  It was so stinkin' hot! I don't think it's ever been 87 degrees when I've gone to an apple orchard.  In fact, 2 years ago on PEI, it was only 60 degrees on this day and we were outside for 3 hrs! (Thanks Facebook for reminding me of our memories!) We managed to hang out with a few new friends for about 2 hrs.  The bees weren't even that bad because of the heat keeping them at bay.  Abishai did really well getting in and out of the stroller, trying to reach apples, putting down apples he found on the ground when I told him to, and staying away from the mud.  He did fall a couple of times though.  But considering it was close to naptime, he did great!  The other two didn't want to fill up their bags all the way because it was too heavy.  They asked why we didn't get the smallest bags.  We DID get the small bags, Children, since I knew you would whine about it.  Then we picked up our "Gramma" pumpkins, caramel apples to eat at home, and apple cider slushies to have on the ride home.  Even Abishai got to enjoy the apple slushie this year.  It was nice going to a place we've been to multiple times so I knew what to expect for the most part.  The orchard had changed hands and names in the last 4 years, but was essentially the same.  We missed having Benaiah with us, which would have made the trip full circle because we started going there when he was probably Abishai's age with our MOPS group.  He was on his way back from the school retreat today.  (Plenty more pictures and videos of their antics from the retreat on Facebook, including a video of the 9th graders and their skit, including a squawking Benaiah!)  We got home, ate a little lunch, and Abishai went for his nap.  He had fallen asleep in the car, but only for a few minutes.

Sidenote: Apple picking is a Howell tradition starting when I was 15 months old.  There has only been a few years in 34 years that we didn't go when I was young or I didn't go while in college or something.  We went to the same orchard, year after year.  I was even able to visit there with my nephew and sister 5 years ago when my Dad died that September and I was out there for the funeral.  We also picked pumpkins from their pumpkin pile and watched them press cider.  One of the biggest traditions is that my Dad had a certain flannel shirt he wore each year.  He owned several, but there was a certain one reserved for apple picking day.  My sister currently has it and wears to the orchard when she can go since she still lives in the area we grew up.  I rotate my stash of flannel shirts (yes, from the 90's), that I wear, so I took one today, but never put it on, lol.  I know the apple picking tradition isn't always what my kids want to do, so I make it as short as possible.  We don't pick bushels of apples.  We focus on getting some pictures of the traditions, enjoying the treats, and picking just a few apples we will eat in the next few weeks.  The other tradition is the "Gramma" pumpkin.  My parents would always get my Gramma Koski a mini pumpkin/gourd to take to her house each fall.  When she passed away, my mom still bought one, probably at the grocery store, and displayed it.  These pumpkins have been known to stay on a shelf somewhere for months. Anyway, now I buy them every year, one for my Dad and one for my Mom.  Sometimes my sister gets some, too.  My other two siblings don't hold to our traditions as strongly, and that's ok! We are to make our own traditions with our own families, too!  The Howells did not celebrate Halloween, and we don't also, so apple picking, the pumpkin patch (without the Halloween part) and Harvest festivities are what we focus on.

Making a long day even longer, we went to the movie night at church that the kids love so much and watched "Inside Out."  We ate popcorn and drank water for free, but could buy pizza and pop.  Grandma watched Abishai while the men folk made their way back from Kentucky.  And wow, what a great movie! It's going on the Christmas wishlist!  I found myself choking back tears because I identified with the little girl. I didn't catch all the dialogue because of the nature of having kids going in and out of the room, eating, whispering, etc., but what I did get was awesome!  I would definitely recommend it to others, and even Chad, our elementary minister (3rd-5th graders), he had all his leaders and volunteers watch it because it encapsulates the 11 yr old brain so well.  Go rent it!

We, Johnsons, are known for keeping busy and always traveling about, aren't we?  It's never dull with the Johnson Dozen.  (That's, Gary, Leah, our 6, and Aaron's 4.)  OOO, I like that!  The "Johnson Dozen."  Hehehe.  I better not here that in a sermon though ;-)  Just kidding!  Good night!

Benaiah and his classmates!  Southside Christian School 2016-2017

Pleasant View Orchard, formerly Anderson Orchard.  And everbody in red at my insistence.  They didn't fuss about it though.

Gourds? Watermelons? I don't know but they were gone before we came back from the field.

Making new friends.  They moved to the shade after a few minutes though.

We played on the playground while we waited for a few more people to show up for our "field trip."

Golden delicious apples that the kids claim they like.  I told them that whatever kinds they pick, they will be eating, so choose wisely!

Justin getting ever so taller!

Look at that reach!

Abishai understood what to do almost immediately.  But he didn't know why they wouldn't come off the tree! He didn't have enough strength.  Plus these are some really big apples.

I'll just take the ones from the ground.  Thankfully, he put them down as soon as I said no.

My new little apple picker, and the red plaid shirt and long blue jean shorts with sneakers, remind me of my Dad, except he had jet black hair.

Huge apples!

They weren't all this nice looking, but some definitely were!

This time last year, Abishai was sitting in front of an apple tree while I tried to get some fancier shots of him playing around with apples.  He couldn't crawl yet.  Now he runs through the orchard.  Time flies!

Look, Mom! I got this one with lots of leaves on it!  Well, that's not great for the tree, because that means there will be less buds for next year, but ok,

Where'd she go?

The flannel/plaid shirt I did NOT wear because of the heat!

Apple trees!

Oh my goodness!  Can't believe Abishai is big enough to enjoy his own apple cider slushie!  I did end up putting it in his sippy cup that has a straw though.  Yeah for slushies!

Yes, I had a slushie too, because I'm assuming they don't add sugar to apple cider.  I LOVE apple cider!

Beautiful new sign!

Keturah picked the plain one and Justin picked the sprinkle one and I think that one has chocolate in it.  Yes, I tasted both.  I couldn't resist!

The Gramma and Grampa pumpkins!  By the way, we spelled Gramma Koski just like that, so my parents always wanted to be Gramma and Grampa.  Gary and Leah are Grandpa and Grandma, and if I'm trying to making a distinction between them and my parents, I'll add the "Johnson" after "Grandpa" or "Grandma."  It's the little things!

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