Alec Turns 2!!!

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Happy Birthday to our sweet Alec Adam!!!

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What a wonderful two years this has been. The time is just FLYING by. Alec is so sweet and such a delight. He is so happy and carefree. He is so quick to laugh and smile.

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However, he is a total boy! He loves to run and jump and kick and throw and crash and growl…He loves superheroes, airplanes, animals and dinosaurs, but his most favorite thing ever is cars, cars, and more cars.

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He is my best eater. It is such a joy and relief to watch him eat anything and everything we put before him. Among his favorite foods are bananas, strawberries, corn dogs, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, peas, corn, beans and rice, and sandwiches. He will eat pizza…but unlike his sisters, it’s not his favorite!

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Alec favors mommy over anyone else, but he seriously loves each member of his family. He loves to tackle and wrestle with his sisters, and dance and spin with his daddy. He loves, loves, loves babies.

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He still isn’t talking much, but I feel like it’s coming along. I feel like he is standing on a precipice of speech and any moment now it’s just going to take off. He will, however, begin speech therapy next week to aid him in his speech. For as little as he talks, he sure understands so much. His comprehension is amazing. I hope that with time his speech will follow.  He also continues to walk on his tip-toes and his doctor has made a couple of suggestions for us to help him learn to walk more flat-footed. At his two-year appointment, he weighted 26 pounds and was 34 inches tall.

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I nursed Alec for the last time on New Years Eve 2014. He adjusted very well (although he continued to ask to nurse right up until a couple of weeks ago! He never got too upset or sad when I told him no.) We also began “sleep-training” at that same time. For about two months we would just sit on the couch in his room quietly until he fell asleep, but one day I decided to just tell him goodnight and the I left and he had zero problem whatsoever with me leaving. He has been going to bed on his own ever since. He goes down around 8pm and gets up around 7am. He naps about 2 hours during the day…although the last couple of weeks he has had several days where he doesn’t sleep at all during nap time and just jabbers and plays. I am so scared he is going to give up naps soon. It is too early, but the exact same age that his sisters stopped napping!!! No!!!

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We put Alec to sleep on his birthday eve in a Birthday Boy t-shirt his Aunt Mary sent him. He woke up on his birthday happy and smiling and excited about the day!

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We had a busy day, but we celebrated him throughout. We did presents after Megan got home from school in the afternoon and cake and ice cream after Adam got home from the night class he teaches in the evening.

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Alec was a little confused by all the action and gifts and cake, but he was ever the happy sweet boy.  His sisters were so sweet to him the entire day and Jane insisted he was only two after he blew out his birthday candles!

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It’s hard to believe my little boy is two. He is seriously such a delight and we are so happy he is a part of our little family. Happy birthday sweet boy! I love you so much!

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Fairy Tea Party at Provo Library

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For years I have seen the “Fairy Tea Party” advertised each spring at Provo Library. I’d always thought it sounded fun but never really followed through to get more information or considered attending. This year, however, I saw the posters and thought we should try it out. I kind of forgot about it until late one Friday night when the Provo Library posted on their Facebook page that tickets went on sale the next morning at 9am. I talked to Megan and asked if she wanted to attend and she originally said no (she’s never too keen to try something new.) Then the next morning at about 8am she told me she changed her mind and she wanted to go. I thought I would go right at 9 when the library opened and when tickets went on sale and figured I would be one of the first to purchase. Adam had to leave for work at 10 and I thought I had plenty of time to get the tickets.

I arrived at the library at about five minutes to 9. I noticed right away that there were a lot of cars. I parked in the underground parking and went inside. I was shocked to see HUNDREDS of people in line to buy the fairy tea party tickets. I had NO IDEA it was that big of a deal. I decided to wait in line for a few minutes to see how fast it moved, knowing I had to get back for Adam to get to work and also knowing they would likely sell out before I could even get a chance to purchase.

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A small section of the ticket line.

As I made my way to the end of the line, I heard someone call out “Elizabeth.” I looked around and didn’t see anyone, but then again they called out, “Elizabeth. Elizabeth Johanson!” I looked up and my neighbor was standing about 50 people back at the front of the line. She motioned me up to join her. I felt a little uncomfortable “cutting” in line, but she and the people around me assured me it was no big deal. She told me she had gotten there at 7:30, and some people had been there since 5:30am! The guy right behind us said his wife sent him at 7:30 and he figured tickets went on sale at 8am. His wife hadn’t told him 9. I just couldn’t believe it. And I couldn’t believe my “good luck” that I was able to be in the front even though I was so uninformed and unprepared. In fact, I got to move even further up because I wanted tickets for the Friday tea instead of Saturday. I ended up being all done purchasing tickets and back in my car by 9:15.

As I was leaving, the man whose wife had sent him to get tickets was being told he couldn’t purchase because he hadn’t brought his library card (he said he didn’t know he needed it.) You could tell he was so flustered and had no idea what he was going to do. He didn’t want to go home empty handed and there was no way he could run and get his card and get back in time to get tickets. I quietly went and handed him my card. He was so so so grateful. All they needed was to see the card to know you were a library patron. He flashed the card and got his tickets. I was glad I was able to pay forward my good fortune of being able to get tickets to someone else.

It might not seem that big of a deal that things worked out so well for me to get tickets, but for me (and for Megan) it was a big deal. She would have been so crushed if I had come home empty handed or had not had been able to stay in line since Adam had to get to work. She had made the difficult decision to try something new and would have been even less willing to make a decision like that in the future if it hadn’t worked out. I am so grateful for the tender mercy with which we were able to get tickets.

Since this post is long enough with just the ticket purchasing background, I’ll just post some pictures of the night with brief captions.

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Pretty fairies all ready to go. As I was purchasing tickets, I decided last minute to grab a couple extra for my two nieces. I figured if they couldn’t make it then it would be easy to find someone to give the tickets to. They could make it and were so excited!

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So beautiful

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Fairy Katherine

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Fairy Megan

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Fairy Jane

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Fairy Norine

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My pretty girls

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Here we go!

We arrived a few minutes early so the girls read some library books while they waited.

We arrived a few minutes early so the girls read some library books while they waited.

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Jane holding tight to her ticket

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Katherine and Megan perusing the program and menu

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The Fairy King opening the festivities. Each ticket had an assigned seat and we had great seats!

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Jane watching the fairy ballet

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Norine watching the fairy ballet

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The girls eating their refreshments. They served strawberries, muffins, cookies, cheese, and water with lemon.

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Katherine and Megan chatting during the party

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Norine was enamored with the ballet fairies. Especially the gold one.

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The girls on the dance floor.

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Beautiful dancing fairies

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Each girl got to curtsey before the king. He gave them all a gold coin they could redeem for a book. Here are the girls posing with the Royal Fairy Court after the party.

All the girls had a wonderful time. They all said they hope to do it again next year. It was so fun to get them all dressed up for a girl’s night out.

Dr. Johanson!!

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On March 5th, Adam had his Thesis Defense!

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Heading out the morning of.

He stood before a committee and talked about his research and accomplishments during his graduate schooling and then they grilled him on the fundamentals of his research and he had to prove he knew his stuff.

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His presentation was about an hour, then they questioned him for an hour, then they sent him out to deliberate and discuss his fate. His presentation went great. And he could answer all their questions – no problem.

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When they called him back in they were all smiles and handshakes and many “Congratulations Dr. Johanson!”s. He just needs to finish up some paperwork to make things super official, but really, things are already pretty official!
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His dissertation is mostly finished, and due in two weeks. He just needs to clean it up and fine tune it, but basically, he’s all finished. He will graduate with his PhD in Astrophysics on April 24th.

I can’t even begin to describe how proud of him I am. He has worked so hard for 4.5 years (and 2 years before that for his Master’s degree…and then of course 4 years before that for his Bachelor’s… )The thing that is most impressive, however, is how well he was able to balance all his many responsibilities. He has been great at balancing his family, church calling, job at UVU, research at BYU, and all the little things in between. He is such a great man and I am so honored to be his wife.

We are anxious and excited to see what is next for our family. Adam has applied to some post doc positions, as well as at some universities for teaching positions. We trust and are faithful that our family will be taken where the Lord would have us go and serve.

Congratulations Dr. Johanson!!! You are AMAZING!

Valentine’s Day 2015

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We had a pretty chill and low-key Valentine’s Day. Adam’s parents sent Adam an Olive Garden gift card for his birthday, so our family went out to dinner a few days after his birthday and a few days before Valentine’s Day and called it good for both ;).

My cousin Sara sent Megan and Jane these bookmark Valentines she made to give to their friends and classmates. Such a big help for me that I didn’t have to make Valentines this year!

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Adam had to work Saturday morning, so while he was gone I made him his favorite dish, pot pie.

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We got the kids little gifts this year. I love any excuse to give them stuff! Megan has been saying since Christmas that she asked for Battleship and didn’t get it (I have no recollection of her asking for it!), so I thought it was the perfect gift for her. Jane still loves Beanie Boos, and Alec needed a backpack to carry around all his action figures.

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For dinner we had our traditional heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s; a crowd favorite.

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I know some people think Valentine’s Day is a lame, over-rated holiday, but any excuse to shower my family with love is a good excuse for me.

Happy Valentine’s Day from my loves to yours.

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Noah’s Baptism in Vegas

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Less than 24 hours after Adam returned from Australia, my sister and I headed to Las Vegas. We took my three kids and a couple of her kids down for our nephew Noah’s baptism. I was so tired from Adam being gone that week, but I am so glad we went down.

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The kids loaded up and ready to go. Alec was so excited to be sitting in the back with his cousin Marshall. I sure missed him way back there though!

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Alec wanted Jude in his arms the moment he saw him. This boy loves the babies! (please let it stay that way!)

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Noah and my brother Loren. What a special day.

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Pretty cousins waiting for the baptism to begin. Jane loves Katherine and Lyla!

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The men from the confirmation circle. The only way this group could get more handsome is if Adam was with them.

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The baptism attendees. It was packed! You can tell lots of people love and support Noah and his family.

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After the baptism we had a luncheon at Loren and Sonya’s house. I got to spend time with one of my favorite people ever, Sara Kelley.

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We are so proud of you Noah! Thank you for letting us be a part of your special day.

Trip to Australia Number 3

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On February 2nd, Adam made his third trip out to Australia to use telescopes there. It was his quickest trip yet; he left Monday night and was home in time to teach his Thursday evening lecture.

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CSIRO is the Australian equivalent of the US National Science Foundation. Adam conducted his observations from here.

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One of the old radio telescopes that now decorates the grounds.

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Adam taking his observations.

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Apparently what radio data looks like. Adam says that radio astronomers don’t listen to anything with headphones like they show in the movies. Well…except Taylor Swift.

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This Big Mac is made with 100% Australian beef.

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Just the tip of Sydney, headed out over endless miles of ocean.

We sure missed Adam while we was gone but I’m so proud of him and his hard work.

Jane’s Eye Update

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We learned shortly after Jane turned two that she needed glasses. Her left eye was incredibly far-sighted (+6) and her right eye was perfect. We knew from the very beginning of her glasses journey that she would need to patch at some point.

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One year later, her ophthalmologist said it was time to start having her wear an eye patch. Her left eye had gotten better (+5.25) which was great news, but her vision was at about 20/60. He recommended we start patching her every day for 2 hours. The idea is that we would patch her strong eye so that her weak eye was having to do all the work, which would hopefully make the weak eye stronger. He would check for progress every 2 months or so.

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Patching was NOT fun. Jane hated it. We found a patch that slide right onto her glasses instead of stuck to her eye, and she seemed to like that more. We only saw a little progress however, and at her next appointment, the doctor said we needed to start patching all day long. After about 6 months of patching, her eyes were only at about 20/50.

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Next her doctor suggested we use eye drops to blur her good eye at all times so her bad eye was doing all the work with or without the patch. This was actually quite easy, as we could put the drops in while she was sleeping. She was also supposed to wear her patch about 8 hours a day. We also stopped using the fabric patch. I wanted to be sure that she was entirely using only her bad eye and she would sometimes look above or under that fabric.

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At her next check-up, she was at 20/20! The drops and patch combination had worked! We were so happy. We stopped the drops and patching went to 3 days a week for 2 hours each time.

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At our next appointment her bad eye was at +4.5 (YAY!), however, her vision was back at about 20/40. The doctor recommended we continue patching the way we were and see how things worked out. That’s where we are today. The doctor is hoping to have her done with patching when she starts kindergarten, so we still have about a year and a half to keep trying things.

This hasn’t been the most fun process, but Jane is such a good sport. It’s also fun finding her new glasses as her prescription changes. I am so hopeful that we can get her eye in the best shape possible. I am also super grateful that we caught the problem in the first place and that she hasn’t needed surgery.

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With or without glasses, this girl is as cute as can be.