Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ok Jill, you asked for it!!

You said I wasn't blogging, so I am going to blog about your favorite thing. Are you ready?? I'm going to blog about my dance team days. Oh yes, I can hear you sighing and rolling your eyes at me. Whatever. You must sit and read about me and all my glory!

It all takes place in a small town
called Banks, yes my beloved Banks. I moved there in the 8th grade, just like my Dad had back in the 70's. I was 13, you know all knees and elbows trying to appear cool, yet being soooo insecure!
I was flat as a pancake, luckily I had a very clear complextion and an amazing head of curly hair. (It was nice, even if I loathed it at times) As luck would have it, there weren't too many new girls that moved to Banks. And as it were, I wasn't covered in warts or have missing teeth, so I was deemed cool. I even got a boyfriend...his name was Dusty Kalhar. I was going to marry him after knowing him for 2 weeks. Anyway, that is a different blog. I quickly became best friends with a girl name Marissa Dunthorn. We were inseparable, which was nice going into my Freshman year walking through the halls with all the upper classmen! She brought me a flyer one day and handed it to me. "We're going to tryout for dance team next week.", she told me. I looked the flyer over and saw that it was going to cost $700 in the first year, and there was a place for my Mom to sign. At this time my parents were on staff at the church, and we were dirt poor. I was so nervous taking the paper to my Mom, but much to my surprise she didn't even bat an eyelash as she signed it. I will always love her for that. She never let me know how much it took out of them to keep me dancing.
Me with the other Captains my Senior year
Now, the day of tryouts I was all knees and elbows, and of course no boobs still. Somehow by the grace of God, my uncoordinated body was accepted onto the Banks Lady Braves dance team. (Of course I didn't take into account that only 14 girls tryout and they need more bodies!) Quickly after tryouts I learned that my best friend Marissa Dunthorn had ditched me and moved to Texas with her Mom. I cried for an entire dance practice, but got over it....and quiclkly found a new best friend.
This is not my new best friend, this is Laura, a friend of convience. Moving on, for those of you that don't know. Dance starts in July with dance camp, then we have daily doubles, then football season where we would dance at every half time. Then we go into competions about 2 a month, they last an entire Saturday. (If you ever get a chance to watch one, do they are fun.) Then we have basketball season we dance at halftimes, and finally we have state that ends in March. It pretty much consumes your life. Now my first year, we dance at State to the Beatles. It was pretty much my obsession at that time, I couldn't have been happier. The State Championships are held in the Memorial Coliseum. We perform our routine, which is 6 minutes long, on the first night. If the teams routine scores high enough, you get to return the second night and perform it again. The second night after all the scores are tabulated, the winners are announced. They announce the State Champion by playing the music of the team that won. Our music opened with Ed Sullivan announcing "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Beatles!", the famous clip with girls screaming in the back ground. Now imagine all 13 girls huddled together sitting on the Memorial Coliseum floor holding hands and our breath! And of course you know how it goes! WE hear that clip and all scream like little school girls! State Champions!! Woot Woot!

My Junior year after dancing at a Basketball game
Now we got to do that twice, because my Junior year we also were State Champions. I was spoiled and blessed! Dance Team was my life...well High School was. I loved every minute of it.
Me and the other captains accepting our 2nd place trophy...I'm in the red wig!

Now my Senior year, by some glitch we got second place. (Insert Wah-Wah here) We should have gotten first and some months later we actually had a judge call us and tell us they made a mistake and we should have...but really what difference does that make after the fact??
This picture is one of my faves out of the millions of pictures from dance! This is me and my friend Laura after we got second place. Clearly our faces are saying, "We are smiling for the picture, but we are SO not happy!". Second is the first loser! Besides my second place finish, dance has been one of the most important parts of my life. My friends on that team are still my close friends.

Now I have been given the chance to coach the same team that I once danced for. Thats right, I am coaching the Banks Lady Braves! I cannot even express the excitement I have. I have 14 girls so far and as of yesterday I have 2 more texting me that they want to join. Seriously, the only way to communicate to these girls is via text! My thumbs are about to fall off I have been texting so much! Our first endeavor was Dance Camp, this last July. Its the same dance camp I went to when I was on the team, except this time I get to go to the coaches meetings! I'm not going to lie, I sat and giggled through the entire first coaches meeting. I felt like the little high school that snuck in! Here are 10 of my girls at camp:There you have it Jill! My Dance Team Blog, just for you. I miss you too!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Most Magical of Nights

A long time ago in a land far far away, I had a blog. And it was forgotten about. Now I am back to this land that I love and must update all on one of the best memories that Chloe and I have made to date.

It all starts with me sitting at my friend Alisa's house casually watching the Waitress with some friends and stuffing my face full of SPK's, Swedish Fish & the most delicious brownies ever. I get a text message from my hubby asking me if I read an Email he just sent me. I had seen it, but I didn't read it since I was elbow deep in sugar. I looked at it again and saw the words "Taylor Swift" and freaked out! I knew what he had done. Chloe and I are both Taylor Swift fans. We have both her CD's in my CD changer in the car and Chloe will shamelessly yell out all her lyrics as we cruise down the road. I immediately called him and verified that he actually got them since it was the night before the concert and they sold out 3 minutes after they went on sale. He did indeed get two seats for me and Chloe in the 100 level. I was giddy, but for a quick moment panicked thinking he paid some scalper $500 for our tickets. He told me that he happened to be looking on Craigslist and saw a post that the Rose Garden had opened up the 120 section and the tickets were available for face value! I was shocked, excited and could NOT WAIT to tell Chloe.
The next day Chloe and I got all done up in our new skirt and dress and headed down Hwy 26 with Taylor Swift blaring out of the speakers.

We arrived at the Rose Garden with a hundred million teenage girls all in sun dresses and cowboy boots and long curly hair. There were Mom's with their little girls all done up in their boots and dresses too. Chloe wanted to wear her high heels because her favorite song is track 6 on the new CD, with the line, "She wears high heels, I wear sneakers...". So thats what we opted for. We were in Taylor Swift heaven! We got in our seats and anxiously awaited for the show to start.

Taylor came out and the first song she sang was track 6 from her new CD. I'm not going to lie, I got teary eyed watching the joy in Chloe's face. She was so cute! Half way through the second song, Chloe looked at me and said, "Is she real?". I just about died laughing! Chloe was the perfect concert partner, she danced and sang along...this is a picture of her on her seat dancing with Taylor in the back ground.

Now our seats were amazing, we could see her so well. About 5 songs into the show, they played a video clip on the big screen about Taylor and boys. When the lights came on we could hear her singing, but we couldn't see her. As we all looked around trying to find her, we spotted her walking down our Aisle! I couldn't believe it!
She sang a song as she walked down and then finally stopped in front of our section and played Tim McGraw. Right there, like I couldn't believe it. Chloe had her embarrassed look on her face....I'm sure most of you have seen it. She then grabbed me and asked me to take her to Taylor. If it weren't for the mob of people surrounding her, I would've. However, I think we had an awesome view! After that she returned to the stage and sang love story all done on a castle type stage, with the drummer in one of the towers and Taylor all done up in princess clothes. She ended the show with her song, "You Should've Said No" and if any of you saw her on the country music awards where she sang in the rain....that's what she did. It was awesome. After purchasing 2 Taylor Swift T-shirts and a hat just to prove we were there, Chloe and I walked hand in hand out of the Rose Garden. It was an amazing night with my Chloe girl! One we will cherish and talk about for years to come...these are the things I have been looking forward to!
Please enjoy the clips of her singing if you would like....

video video

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Deja Vu

Last night we had to take Stella to the hospital, because she had gotten our sickness and was wheezing. We have been through this routine so many time with our other kids, but the last time we did was when Chloe was admitted for 4 days because of RSV and pneumonia. We did the whole round of temperature, blood oxygen levels, listening to her lungs and watching her rib cage as she breathed. This picture is Stell giving herself a nebulizer treatment...we deal with this stuff so much we actually have one at home. It comes in handy even when I am sick! Clears you right up. She was surprisingly happy during the whole thing.
That is until they said they wanted to X-ray her lungs. I knew instantly what that meant. The bicycle seat of tourture and terror....like I said we've been through this before. If you haven't had to do this to your children, this is what it is. They set you tiny baby on this tiny bicycle like seat and hold their arms up as they encase them in a hard plastic shell that is straped tightly around their head....yes like I said the bicycle seat of tourture and terror! I only had my cell phone and like any scrapbooking/blogging mom I snapped this picture from behind my radiation shield. Now you can't see much, but you can see Stella's mouth wide open. For all of you that say she is the quietest thing in the world, this was definitaly not one quiet moments in her life!
You can see her legs dangling and her arms are above her head. The poor Xray tech felt so aweful! I told him he did a great job, because when Payton was 3 months old they took his Xrays in this and let him out. Only to realize that they didn't get the Xray they needed, so he had to be strapped back into it!

After all was said and done, she does have broncitis and pre-pnemeonia. So she is on antibiotics for the next 10 days! I think she has had more issues at this point than Payton. May we all pray that she does not get a broken arm at age 2....seriously please pray for her!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Micah Durham


Let me introduce you to my brother Micah Durham. As most of you know, I adore him and we are very close. We frustrate our parents a lot because we rarely listen to anyone else except for each other. If my parents need something conveyed to him, they tell me to tell him and visa versa. However, we usually sensor said advise and put a twist on it, or laugh and say, "This is what Mom and Dad said! Ha ha!".

2 years ago my brother joined the Air force and signed up for 6 years. Yup, 6 years....I know really!! What was he thinking?? Anyways, he did extremely well in boot camp and was at the top of class, earning a spot in a prestigious fire fighting school. He passed the course with a 99% and got a job on the Air force fire station in Wyoming where he was stationed.

He was deployed to Iraq last year. He was loaded onto a commercial airliner and flown into Kuwait....I know I didn't know thats how we get our men there, but it is! Anyways, he then was flown in a bomber to the desert base straight after that where he hadn't ate or slept in over 24 hours. They were bustled in to the mess hall, and he went to scan his lunch card under the red flashing light and had a seizure. They flew him to a hospital in Kuwait to do test on him and his brain waves were off, but they couldn't figure out what was wrong, so they flew him to an Air force base in Germany. The German's still couldn't find out what was wrong, so they sent him back to Wyoming. For the last 9 months we have been waiting to hear what the fate of my brother was going to be. He was either going to be discharged or remain in the Air force unable to ever drive an Air force vehicle.






Micah with Payton Sept 13th 2002








Micah with Chloe Feb 2nd 2005
















Well, we received news today that Micah was given a Medical discharge with a payment to $20,000 lump sum, $300 a month for the rest of his life and Medical insurance for the rest of his life. On top of that the Air force will pay for any college that Micah chooses to go to. While this is very happy news for us, Micah and his family have a lot of healing and rebuilding to do. Please keep them in your prayers! He has two little boys that need their Daddy and need stability in their young lives. I just thank God for the answered prayer!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stella's First Ponytail


I know, am I really blogging about my babies first ponytail?? Yes I am. It is a very momentous day for a Johns' girl! Stella beat her sister to a ponytail by almost 4 months. We are very proud of her and her hair growing ability. I must say that the invention of the Bumbo may have advanced her new milestone. Is that thing not amazing?? She sat perfectly still in it, so I could even tie a little bow in her hair! She looks very proud of herself and her new hair. She knows she is beautiful. It starts early doesn't it?? I can hardly believe that my baby girl is almost 6 months old! Yes next week she will officially be half a year old! How did this happen?? My sweet baby girl is almost a toddler. Ok, maybe a little exaggerated, but really how does time fly by so fast?

Just look at her! How could someone not want to kiss those cheeks! She is very attached to me, which I appreciate. My mom babysat her for me last week, so I could attend Payton's Valentines day party. I laid Stella down for a nap and left. When Stella woke up, she smiled at my Mom and then quickly looked around to find me. When she didn't see me, she began to scream and was inconsolable. My Mom tried bouncing her, rocking her, singing to her, ect. I opened the door as my Mom was instructing Chloe to get her shoes on so they could go get me. Stella was red faced, tear streaked and SCREAMING. I walked over to my Mom and took Stella. Stella proceeded to take a deep breath and was SILENT. My Mom just looked at me and her and said, "You need to get that baby on a bottle!". Stella, is a little dramatic I will give her that, but she loves her Mama!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A New Baby for the Johns' Family!


Ha ha to all you that rushed here to see if I am knocked up again, while thinking of who you will call the instant said news was verified! Our new baby is of the Canine variety. Oh yes, we got a puppy. A very lovable 8 week old Yellow Labrador Retriever. Her name is Bella, Bells for short....all you Twilight fans know what I mean. Aaron wants her to have puppies someday, so we may have to get a handsome companion for her and name him Edward so they can make beautiful babies together. Although, I was Team Jacob, so maybe not Edward. Anyways, that is a long time from now. And yes I know the name Bella rhymes with Stella. However after much discussion with my hubby, we decided we loved the name. Enough said.
Bella is so sweet! She absolutely loves Chloe, who has always been my animal lover. If Chloe goes into the bathroom, Bella sits outside the door and whines. Yes I am one of those people that drives through town with my dog on my lap. Only my dog isn't a lap dog...or at least she won't be for long. Hopefully you all will get to meet her soon!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sweet Chloe Ava

Where can I begin with you my sweet little one? I pushed for 9 whole minutes with you because you were facing up instead of down. We are pretty sure you would have stayed in my tummy forever if I hadn't been induced. You came out screaming. You screamed the whole time the nurses weighed you and bathed you. You didn't stop until you were finally able to nurse. Such a small victory for me that you latched on and never let go! We almost lost you after knowing you for 14 short days. I can't even imagine my life without you.

You wouldn't let anyone else hold you until you were almost 2. Daddy thought at first it was because you were breastfeeding, not like Payton. You and I new different didn't we? We knew there was a closeness with us that couldn't be broken. I love how you tell me that we are best
friends. You can't even begin to know how much I hope that is true after we weather the teen years! I loved it today when you told Payton and me that you didn't want to ever get married because you want to live at home with Mommy. We would love that too, because no guy will ever be good enough for you in our eyes! I love you sitting in my lap as we go through the list of what the "Ladies" (as Daddy calls us) like best. Starbucks, shopping, lipstick, cuddling, and horses. I love the way you boss the boys around and use the exact same phrases I would. Daddy just rolls his eyes at us! I love to cuddle with you and talk about all the things we are going to do when you get just a little bit bigger. Some relationships in life are hard, and others just come easily. Ours is one of those magical relationships that is easy. Its because you are so much like your Daddy, even though you try to be just like me. You nature is laid back and calm. I can peek into the future and imagine us baking Thanksgiving dinner together and then our conversations as we clean up afterwards. You are such a helper to me and a natural born server. You think to pick up things or do things before I ask them of you. You will never know how much a help that is to me. Now you are a week away from turning 4 and I cannot believe it! How much time has past and how much you have grown! I love you my little Chloe Ava.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Godspeed Little Man

You were born on Friday the 13th. We all know how the story goes, one very short first labor and one push and out you came. You were quiet after your initial first scream. You were almost pensive and if you could have your mouth hanging open in true Payton thinking form, I know you would've. I was young and entering motherhood not knowing a thing about it. I regarded you in an almost panic, thinking what have I done? I am now responsible for this little baby. You were so quiet and sweet. As we cuddled in my hospital bed all my fears and anxiety left me, and I knew I could do it. The nurses propped pillows up around us so we could take a nap together. You were my biggest learning experience, and I'm still learning. I had to grow up in that moment and realize how selfish of a person I was / am. Your every cry would send me into a panic. I didn't want anything to happen to you. We had many ER visits that first year and you had many 'issues'. From Eczema to colds, we had it all.
Yet, we made it through and as you grew into toddlerhood, you amazed us with your quick mind. Nothing got past you. You were always more active than the other kids. They would sit on the little plastic picnic table and you would climb it, stand on it and jump off with all the gusto and theatrics a toddler could possibly have. I was given looks from other moms that at first glance said, 'My he's active', but really underneath said, 'My child would never do that'. But you know what, I would much rather have a rough and tumble boy than a sissy. And the Lord couldn't have given me more of a BOY than I have. Active in every sense of the word. Always out to prove me and Daddy wrong. Like when you argued with Daddy that you could ride a bike without training wheels at 4 1/2. Daddy said fine and took them off for you. He tried to hold onto your bike and you yelled, "Let go Daddy! I can do it!". So daddy did and you took off! Not falling at all. Or you bringing your reading homework home and telling me you could read it. I didn't believe you and argued with you until you opened it up and started reading it to me. I love that in you.
Now you are 6 and in school. Causing drama between the 1st grade girls, all in love with a Kindergartener. Yet your oblivious! Your giggle, your sense of humor, the way you love your sisters, even how you can frustrate me, makes my heart sing with joy. I'm sorry for all the mistakes I've made along the way. I know these days are quickly fleeting, and I am going to open my eyes one day and you will have your own life. As I dropped you off at school today and watched you walk in by yourself without looking back at me. I realized how much you've grown and it makes me sad to know that I will never get those days back. Yet we have so much to look forward to. I love you Pay Pay.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Our Night of Debauchery!


I love Christmas. Don't get me wrong I do from the bottom of my heart. I break out my Christmas music mid November and decorate the day after Thanksgiving. However, I was so done with it this year. The snow really ruined our Christmas because we couldn't make it to any of our relatives houses. We were literally snowed in at my parent's house. Nothing like exchanging gifts with my In-laws on the side of Hwy 26 Christmas day. Now thats a Christmas.


Thankfully, as some therapeutic relief, Aaron's work has their "Christmas Party" after New Years. So no worrying about getting the date to fit into our busy Christmas schedule or worrying about dressing up to impress the other wives. Pihl Excavation holds their annual "Big Burnout" at the company office. (Or I should say outside of it) Everyone is invited to bring their Christmas trees up to be burnt up. Its very efficient really. There is a drop off place where you pull up and the hired help takes your tree and throws it onto a pile of about 100 trees...not exaggerating! Then you drive around to the parking and walk back to the party. Its not just Pihl employees there, most of the Banks community is there. Hey nothing brings out the Banks rednecks like an Open Bar and free Bar B Que!

It was an amazing display of pyrotechnics. Everytime a tree was added to the fire of its demise, it would create a flame that shot a good 30 to 40 feet into the air. Much hooping and drunken hollering would insue. I sipped on my hot chocolate w/ whipped creme and enjoyed all the sight and sounds of a good old fashion tree burnin' party!

Now this sign to my left was on the barn that was home to the food and I walked past it about 10 times before I actually read it. I don't need to say anything else. This about sums up the party
This is why you should water your tree. Most people stopped watering their tree about a week ago in preperation for the Burn Out. Whenever a well watered tree was put on the fire, there was a collective groan from expectant party goers. It only steamed and slowly burnt. Quickly, oh so quickly, another much drier tree would be heaved on the burn pile much to the party goers glee! The party was back on! So now I pity the wives that must attend stuffy Christmas parties. I am very happy to bundle myself up in muddy boots and a heavy jacket. Maybe I am still a country girl at heart.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Chloe Ava & Stella Rose 4 months

Ok here are two pictures of my baby girls at 4 months of age. I still think they look like twins separated by 3 1/2 years. What do you think?




Stella is on the top and Chloe is on the bottom.