Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Father's Day Thank You

Happy Father's Day to the men in my life.

Top row (on left) my Brother-in-law, Jim, who has been in my life for 20+ years, has raised two wonderful children & is the perfect match for my sister. They have an inspirational love and I love him for the way he loves her and loves his family.

Next picture, my Brother-in-law Taylor. He's a gentle soul with so much love and devotion for his two adorable children & his wife, Lindsey. He lives for them & I think that makes him pretty darn awesome!

Then, my Father-in-law, Johnny. He's a goofy, sometimes quiet, sometimes chatty man with an amazing work ethic. He and my Mother-in-law raised two Godly men devoted to their faith and their family. My sister-in-law and I are so lucky to be married to their sons!

Bottom row (left) my Dad. The first man I ever loved and still my hero to this day. God gave him the challenge of raising three girls and with a lot of help from my Mom, did an awesome job and raised us up right! My Dad is tough yet sensitive. A man of few words who is respected by everyone who knows him. And, most importantly, he has loved and respected our Mom in such a beautiful way nearly all his life.

Last picture (bottom right) - my husband, Jack. Jack came into my life when Madi was 6 years old. We married when she was 7. He has never, ever treated her like anything other than his very own. They have such an amazing relationship and such a beautiful love for one another. It makes my heart so happy to have found such a wonderful husband, but even happier to of found the very best father for Madison. And I know, when Jack sees/holds Baby J for the very first time, my heart will absolutely burst with happiness!!

Jim, Taylor, Johnny, Dad, & Jack, we are BLESSED beyond words to have you! Thank you for being the wonderful fathers & amazing men that you are! We  you!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Our Sweet Madi is 16!!!

Hard to believe, but our girl… our sweet Madi, is 16!  Her Birthday was a month ago and while it was a little heartbreaking for her Dad and me, it was, in all, a truly happy time!  It’s a strange combination of pride, joy, sadness and fear watching your child mature and become more and more independent.  As parents, I think we always carry around a mixed bag of emotions though.  And, I honestly think it gets worse the older they get! 

Anyhow, Madi’s special day turned into a weekend long event – as it usually does!  Madi’s friends come out to the house on Saturday, Feb. 22, to do some celebrating before we all traveled to Austin.

Her friends put together a really sweet video wishing her a happy birthday and talking about how special she is and how much they enjoy spending time with her. It was really kind and pretty funny, too! Lots of smiles and lots of tears. But, that’s a room full of fifteen and sixteen-(and one 30 something) year-old girls for ya! 

Madi’s main Birthday request was to spend a full day in Austin shopping.  So, that’s what we did – we stayed the night in Austin (the girls had their very own room which they were thrilled about!) and on Sunday, Feb. 23 (Madi’s actual Birthday) we took Madi and her friends exploring around Austin for a little bit and enjoyed some super-tasty donuts courtesy of Gordough’s on South Congress! Then, at their request, it was off to Lakeline Mall for some serious shopping.  To Jack and me, it felt like we were there for days, but for the girls – it was heaven! And, as the day was coming to an end, we convinced the whole crew to stop at a park on for some pictures before driving home.

Here are a few pictures from Madi’s Birthday weekend….
Madi's Tiffany Blue themed dessert table 
This GORGEOUS cake was made by Lily's Cakes in Harker Heights, Texas
I made mini cupcakes and cake balls to go along with the cake.
Instagram picture of the cake 
Sweet 16!!!!
Video of Madi opening her Nana and Papa's card - they moved to Georgia almost two years ago...she, obviously, misses them! 
Most of these pictures were taken on my cell phone - thus the granny quality. Anyway, here's the gang - Austin bound!

The girls at the Hilton Austin.
On one of the balconies at the Hilton - watching all the crazy fools on 6th street. 

We had the yummiest donuts at Gourdough's in Austin! 
I don't remember the name of the park that we stopped at, but we walked around for a little bit and took some group photos just before driving home. 
Dad and his 16 year old!!! 
First family photo with our 16 year old! 
 So, Madi got to spend her special day with good friends, doing what she enjoys most – SHOPPING!  It was the perfect 16th Birthday for her. 

We really hope that these memories are as special to her as they are to us! It seems like just a short time ago when birthday parties were filled with little ones running around and playing games with gifts of little toys and cute stuffed animals. It’s hard to think about how few birthdays we have left with our Madi-girl before she’s grown up but, we will definitely treasure every one!!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Just One Month

Sometimes I forget about the blog or - if I'm being honest, I get too lazy to post to it. I end up posting things that belong here on Facebook instead.  But, it's just so much easier (in my opinion) to hop on Facebook and share things.  It's a little more complicated to get it all together and write it here on our blog.

Here's an example.  On Thursday, January 23, 2014, I was thinking about Madison and her upcoming Birthday.  Jan. 23rd means that we have just one month before her Birthday on Feb. 23rd!  Just one month! And this year, she's turning 16! It's an exciting time. It's also a little stressful - trying to figure out what to do for her on her special day and how to get it all done in just one month.  And, again, if I'm being honest, it's a little heart breaking. I can't believe our little girl is turning 16!  Wasn't it just yesterday that I was kissing her chubby baby cheeks and rocking her to sleep? Sure seems like it.

So, I'm full of mixed emotions. But, one thing is for certain; I couldn't be happier for our sweet Madi! For this special time in her life and all the things that go along with being a free spirited teen.  I want her to have the BEST teen years! I want her to look back and say - "yep, it was an amazing time".  Other than school and making good grades (so that her dreams of going to her college of choice are attainable),  I don't want her to have a care in the world.  Those cares will come in due time, lets not rush it.

So anyway, here's what I posted on Facebook when I got to thinking about this special time...

This is my favorite picture of baby Madi and me. It's hard to believe that in a month my sweet, sweet girl will be 16! What a joy it has been watching her grow and mature into the young lady that she is! Her Dad and I couldn't be more proud! She is truly exceptional - and I am so blessed to be her Mom!

 This is exactly the kind of thing I want to have here on the blog so that one day we can look back and remember these times.  Facebook is nice for sharing things, but all the important things eventually gets buried by all the unimportant posts that come in after it.

One day, Madi will comb through these blog pages. She'll smile, laugh and probably cry as she does.  She'll be reminded of how very much we - Mom and Dad - have loved her and how we have dedicated our lives to making sure her's is an amazing one.  And for that, taking a few extra minutes to post here rather than Facebook is SO worth it!

Madison, we love you! As you're approaching this special time in your life, we hope that you embrace it and that when you are reading these words, years down the road, you'll be thrilled to say "yep, it was an amazing time!" 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

42 Years

Today my parents are celebrating 42 years of marriage! 

I took this picture of Mom and Dad 2 years ago on their 40th anniversary.  They no longer live here in Texas –they moved back home to Georgia a 
little over a year ago. So, I can’t be with them today or 
take an updated anniversary picture. But, this one will do 
I think - it’s my favorite anyway! 

My Mom and Dad have such a strong, united marriage and are a wonderful example of a lasting love.  I feel blessed and am so thankful for them.  

With a heart full of love for you both - Happy 42nd Anniversary Mom & Dad! Thank you for the amazing parents amazing and even more amazing grandparents that you are!

Wordless Wednesday | Total Serenity

Look out y’all, I’m on a roll! Well, I figured that since its Wednesday and since I’m going to get back in the settle here, I might as well return to my “Wordless Wednesday Posts”!    

I captured this photo the last time we were at Crystal Lake - 12.15.13. It was early morning and super cold, but it was worth it because I don't think I've ever witnessed a more beautiful sunrise or have felt such total serenity. I'm so thankful that I got to experience it, with my father-in-law by my side, in a place that holds so many memories for Jack and his family.

Getting Back On The Horse.

Just in time for the New Year, we’re back!  I know it’s been a long time since last we wrote - I’m sorry about that - but, we’re here now and ready to catch up a bit!

First , let me just say thank you to those of you who actually read the blog {back when we maintained it better} and have reached out to me to ask when we would be writing/updating it, you are blessings to us! It’s heartwarming to know that people care about our family so much!  It is because of you, and because of our wish to leave a memento for Madison, that we decided to get back on the horse and start writing and posting more often. 

The last time I wrote was on February 22, 2013, the day before Madi’s 15th Birthday. Yikes! And, even then, I wasn’t doing a very good job of writing/posting.  So, naturally, lots of things have happened within the past year.  It would be impossible to make up for lost time by going over all the things that happened, but I do want to touch on a few highlights quickly.  From here, the plan is to write as often as we can to avoid more “catch up posts”’ like this one.

Here's a few pictures from Madi's 15th Birthday...

We’ll start with my favorite girl ever… Madison.  Madi is in 10th grade now and is almost 16. You can’t see me, but I promise, I’m wincing having to write that.  I’m trying really hard to not think about how little time we have before she graduates – or even worse, how little time we have before starts driving. Ugh!!!

9.27.13 – so grown looking and she’s wearing a little makeup these days. 

Madi continues to be a kind, respectful, companionate & loving kid. The teenage years, so far, have been kind to us; she hasn’t turned into the hormone raging, out of control teen that everyone warned us about. For that, we are thankful and acknowledge that we are truly blessed. It definitely can’t be solely based on our parenting skills!  

10.25.13 just before homecoming 

She’s doing great in school.  Currently she’s on Christmas break, which means we’re already halfway into the school year.  Another shining example of how quickly time flies! And, although the season is over, she ran Cross Country for the third year in a row.  She improved on her 5k time and I think overall she had a fun season and enjoyed spending the long hot hours running with her friends and new coaches.

Jack switched jobs about 9 months ago and continues to work very hard for our family.  He left the company he had worked for for just over 10 years to peruse a totally different career path.  And, although he was traveling a lot in the beginning, he is now working from home most of the time. It’s nice. Real nice! Not just for Madi and I, but for him too. He likes what he does and is, for the most part, very pleased with the switch. I continue to be impressed with his work ethic and his ability to do pretty much anything that his is tasked with.  He’s one smart, smart dude. 

Jack – on his Birthday back in April last year. 

As for me, I decided a year ago that I wouldn’t be going back to school.  I wanted – needed (for my sanity and happiness) to get a job.  Thankfully, Jack was open to me finding work in something I enjoyed, something I was passionate about.  And, it’s a long story of God opening doors for me at just the right time, but I am now a certified-Yoga Instructor and a baker at a bakery.  They are both passions of mine. Y’all know I love to cook and fitness has always been important to me. So, both jobs are a perfect fit for me. Doing things that I would do anyway - working out and baking –but getting paid for it…how awesome is that?!?!  

Bella is still our four legged baby!  She is spoiled rotten and is lovin’ every sweet moment of life.  Unfortunately, she tore her ACL and meniscus right before Christmas and had surgery to repair them on Friday of last week.  But, she is doing great with no issues or problems so far. She seems to be heading toward a really fast recovery!  

Old Tex is still with us. He is the best cat! Such a sweet little gentleman!  Jack adopted him before we were married and can’t remember exactly how old he is, but we are figuring he’s about 15.  He’s our little buddy!  

Sadly, Cassie passed away on June 11, 2012. It was so sad and so hard to let her go. She had been a part of our family for 11 years.  She was my very first cat so she will always be really special to me.  

She sure was a beauty!
And! We are excited to announce that we have a new addition to the Johnston family! 
He’s name is Louis Nix III (if you’re a Notre Dame fan, you’ll recognize the name!) and he is about 8 months old.  We got him just over 2 months ago and like most kittens, he is crazy! He loves to play and sprint around the house attacking anything in his path.  Tex is not happy with this new, energetic cat that is constantly annoying him.  Louis is constantly grabbing on to his neck and taking him down. Tex, being too mature for his childishness, gets very angry with this!   

All dressed up for Halloween

Louie (our nickname for him) can also be very loving – purring loudly and rubbing his face on yours when he’s in his sweet-boy mood. 

He’s got a great personality really!  I’m pretty sure Jack is his favorite due to his willingness to play/fight whenever Louis is riled up.   

Well, that’s my update - in a nice little nutshell.  I hate that I missed posting so many pictures and events, but hopefully, I can waive some of them into future posts

From our family to yours, may you all have a wonderfully blessed New Year!    
Sorry for such a grainy picture {it was taken in a dimly lit restaurant with my cell),
 but it is, sadly, the only picture I have of all three of us taken anytime recently.

Friday, February 22, 2013

One Day.

Oh how I wish Madi and I were both that young again! Tomorrow (just one more day!) she'll be turning 15 and I'm overwhelmed with the thought of her being so grown! It's so crazy & I have some serious mixed emotions - I'm feeling a little sad and nostalgic but at the same time, I'm feeling blessed, happy, and excited for whats ahead!

 I ♥ this girl so much!