I am so grateful for Saturdays - especially when one is sandwiched between a two-week vacation. =) Today Paul and I have been feeling a bit under the weather, perhaps due to the raininess and cold that apparently is part and parcel of Petaluma's winter season. But, since it's a Saturday, we were able to laze around the house, letting the Nyquil work its magic, watching movies, cleaning, napping, doing laundry, and baking up some treats for coffee hour at church tomorrow. Now the house looks clean and orderly, we have freshly laundered clothes to wear, the smell of brownies baking is in the air, and we're feeling better overall. Even Kitty Johnson is enjoying the day, as you can see.  


Paul and I just returned to Petaluma after spending four very busy, but very fun days in the East Bay for Christmas. Saturday we celebrated Christmas early with my parents, cousins, uncle and aunt, and great-aunt.  We basically played Scrabble, gorged ourselves on swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes, and exchanged gifts. On Sunday Paul and I went to Bay Books, played more Scrabble, enjoyed some delicious food and drink and some rowdy college football fans at the Englander, and drove around to look at Christmas lights. Sunday was a quiet, restful day before the second round of Christmas hoopla began. On Monday afternoon we rode out to Ripon with Ken and Tess for "The Johnson Family Christmas Eve." It was quite the extravaganza with 33 Johnson family members in attendance - we sang a lot of songs, participated in a pirate gift exchange, and ate a huge potluck meal. Afterward the four of us stopped in Livermore to see the legendary Deacon Dave's Christmas lights, which is where I took the photo of the jailed deer. (My photos of the lights didn't turn out very well, but you can get a glimpse of it here.) Then we attended an 11 o'clock Christmas Eve service at St. Clare's Episcopal Church in Pleasanton. The service was interesting - everyone who read spoke with an affected British accent, the choir members wore ruffled collars up to their chins and sang in an operatic style, and the organist was a knight. It all seemed a little pretentious in comparison to our church, but it was still a good service and Paul and I determined that attending a church service on Christmas Eve is the one tradition we intend to keep above all others. On Tuesday, we spent the morning at Paul's dad's house for a delicious pancake breakfast and exchanged our gifts with him and Tess, then we stopped by Tess' family's Christmas celebration, followed by a brief visit to Paul's grandpa and grandma Johnson's, and, finally, we were off to Paul's mom's house in Pleasanton for Christmas dinner. And what a Christmas dinner it was - melt in your mouth prime rib (like, seriously), mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffed mushrooms, breadsticks...yum. Following dinner, we opened presents, and had yet another Scrabble match. 
All in all, Christmas '07 was a fun time filled with family, food, and...Frabble?        


Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself. I hope Paul doesn't kill me... 
Click here to see what I mean: Merry Christmas from the Johnsons 
Thanks for the inspiration uncle Kent and aunt Jeanne! =)


Merry Christmas from Harvest Christian School! We're all smiling so big because there are only four and a half more school days until Christmas vacation - or perhaps it was the Bear's Lair merlot we imbibed. 


A couple of weekends ago Paul and I went to Union Square on a whim to go Christmas shopping. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived most stores were already closed, but we still enjoyed seeing all of the lights. (What is it about Christmas lights in particular that is so mesmerizing?) Petaluma doesn't seem to decorate for Christmas much and I have to say that, in a strange way, I kind of miss the big, tacky, burn-your-cornea, displays that Castro Valley puts out for the holiday season. 


Paul and I had the opportunity to spend four and a half days back in the East Bay during our Thanksgiving vacation. In that relatively short amount of time we were able to see a lot of people and go several places. Some of the more memorable highlights include, eating delicious smoked turkey at Paul's mom's house on Thanksgiving, seeing Beowulf (that movie was hilariously ridiculous) from the second row in the theater (why do they put seats that close?) with Andre, Tiffany, and Steve and enjoying some Krispe Creme donuts afterward, and holding Paul's cousin Brian's 3 week old baby, Isabelle. We are very grateful to have been able to stay at my parents' house too, where we could sleep in, take a shower without having the water getting cold after ten minutes, and always be able to count on having a good breakfast, lunch, or dinner provided. We had so much fun spending time with family and friends and it was a refreshing break from our regular day-to-day routine. We are definitely glad to be back home in Petaluma again, but we are looking forward to spending time with even more family members and friends in just a few short weeks!


We spent the afternoon in Sonoma yesterday and even though it's only about a twenty minute drive away from our house, it felt like a mini-vacation. I wish these pictures could fully capture how beautiful that town is when autumn hits it. I realized yesterday that I really enjoy this season because the weather is still pleasant (in the seventies most days), every grassy hillside and meadow is green, the sun is lower in the sky, and the sky is sprayed with thin and wispy clouds that never obscure the sun (stratus clouds or cirrus, maybe?). Also, it's very entertaining to watch our cat chase and stomp leaves as they fall to the ground. Spring is still better when everything is fresh and clean and new. But it wouldn't be so fresh and clean and new without fall and winter putting it all to sleep. That's another thing I like about fall, it kind of lulls you gently into the deep sleep of winter. If only we could join the bears and slumber away 'till April.

Just as another side note, as mentioned in a previous blog, Paul had the opportunity to lead a song in church last Sunday. It was funny though, because several people came up to Paul afterward asking him if he had really written that wonderful song. As you can see, the prelude was written by Bach and the offertory was apparently written by Paul. (Not really though!) Just click on the picture and you should be able to spot the error.


Today marks our two-year wedding anniversary! I thought it would be appropriate to post some of our wedding pictures to commemorate the occasion.

I don't know why it's not grouping the pictures on the blog in the way that I arranged them, but whatever. I've tried for a half an hour and I'm giving up. Plus we are going out to Dempsey's with a bunch of people from church and we're supposed to be there at 8:30 and it's now 8:26.

So, to our family and friends - thanks for coming to our wedding and showing us your support. We are very thankful and know that our marriage would
very likely not exist (or at least would look very different) if it were not for your support, encouragement, guidance, and example.


Paul will be busy grading papers and calculating percentages this weekend as report cards are being sent home on Monday. In a way it's difficult to believe that a quarter of the school year has already passed. Paul was just saying to me "what was I doing a year ago today?" and we realized that he was still a janitor at the church. A lot has changed in a relatively short amount of time.

So, I went to get my hair cut yesterday and left the salon looking like an early nineties version of Jennifer Aniston's character "Rachel" on that show Friends. Not exactly what I had in mind. So I decided to take the matter into my own hands and spent the evening hacking off all of those funky awful layers. And I have to say, I now know why kids like lopping off their own bangs. It is such a cool feeling to take a big section of hair and slice into it, and it makes the best sound! (sssh-YAWK! - if you can hear that in your head.) I got lots of compliments on my hair today too, so it must not look too shabby. You can judge for yourself, but take off your glasses first.

Have we become "cat people?"
Here is our little fur friend fast asleep in her usual contortionist-like positions.


As promised a while back, here are some photos of the new place we call home. It's a petite thing, but it is very bright and airy which helps make it feel a bit bigger than it actually is.

Kitty Johnson is getting awkwardly cuddly as she matures. She was, amazingly, sound asleep at the time this photo was taken.

We found this book at a bookstore in Santa Rosa a couple of weekends ago. It's Winnie the Pooh translated into Latin. We also picked up Min Forste Ordbook by Richard Scarry - a Norwegian/English wordbook for children. They are both so cool. Sometimes I think about how horrible it would be if our house caught fire and we lost all of our books. But then again, we'd have a good excuse to go out and try to replace them, which would be fun.

We also just received a FREE Credenda Agenda audio cd in the mail on Friday and listened to it in its entirety today. I recommend everyone should get one before they run out. Just go here: http://www.canonpress.org/shop/item.asp?itemid=1196 and this, too, could be yours. If they have run out though, you could just go here http://www.credenda.org/ and read it for free online.

Right now Paul is playing and singing that song See What a Morning. I think that's what it's called anyway. He has been asked to lead singing at the school chapels which happen twice a month and he really enjoys it. Actually, he was also asked to consider whether or not he'd like to lead music at church on Sunday mornings too. We'll see...

So, there you have it. A brief update on our lives. Hope all is well for everyone that we don't see so often. We miss everyone very, very much. And for now, we really must go to the grocery store.




So I am sitting here at the computer and our kitten, Kitty, decides that it is fun to jump up on the bookcase and kick-it behind my books. Really, I wouldn't care that she was back there but she also seems to think that it is fun to kick the books on the floor. Scratching and biting the books is also a fun bookcase sitting activity. You see I like to keep my books as tooth-and-claw-mark free as humanly possible. So I squirt the cat with a water bottle indicating that she should remove herself quickly. This "squirt" tactic usually works. She jumps away and cleans off the water. The problem is that she jumps on the shelf again, and remains there for so long sometimes to endure nearly fifteen squirts.
Why does this game of squirt the cat strangely remind me of teaching? Sometimes it seems like no matter how much you might try to convince or prod some people they will jump back to the shelf from which you just removed them. Don't get me wrong I am not saying that students are only as intelligent as cats, they are mostly very bright. The problem seems to be a lack of a desire to think.
Funny though that I sitting here contemplating cats, kids, and discipline when I should be reading.
so bye.


Here are a few pictures taken at school:

Mr. Johnson's seventh grade grammar class in action.

Mr. Johnson's students participating in class.

Mrs. Johnson sitting at her desk.


School has officially begun. And Mr. Johnson has taken the school by storm. First graders and sixth graders alike flock to him, hoping that he'll even glance in their direction. A group of first grade boys interrogated him one day asking "if he was from the future" (to which he responded, "yes", much to their excitement) and "if he liked girls" (to which he also responded, "yes," much to their disappointment). One particular fifth grader, when asked by his mom why he thought Mr. Johnson was so cool, candidly responded, "He has such cool glasses and a faux hawk!" Duh.

Life is good for Mr. Johnson.


Kitty Johnson has turned out to be one ferocious feline. (Actually, she has the habit of blinking every time the camera flashes.) Can you spot Kitty in the picture on the top right? She's very fond of hanging out with Paul.

My blissfully carefree summer vacation officially ended last week. (By the way, I'm helping Paul figure out his grammar curriculum for this year, so I can't help but analyze every sentence I write - pronoun, adverb, adj., adj., noun, adverb, verb, adj., noun - that's all that's going on in my head as I type.) On Monday, Paul convinced me to go with him down to the school to see if he could set up his classroom and while there I got suckered into starting my job as the school receptionist/secretary at 8:00 am the following day. Whoopee. Actually, it's a good thing because it means we'll receive a paycheck a few weeks earlier than we expected and it gives me a chance to get settled into my job a bit before school begins. But still, it's funny - it always seems like once you really begin to relish something (in my case, not waking up to an alarm clock, taking long walks around the neighborhood every morning, eating breakfast and lunch at a leisurely pace, reading for hours on end), it's quickly gone. Which somehow reminds me that I should get off the computer and go mop the hardwood floor.


Last Saturday Erin came to visit! We went to this great restaurant called Dempsey's which is located right next to the river in Downtown Petaluma. We had delicious food, great scenery, and a really fun time hanging out with Erin!


After church today Paul and I decided to go to the Sonoma County fair. We got really lucky too, because as we were walking toward the entrance these two older ladies were walking out and asked it we wanted two free tickets. We accepted their generous offer and saved fourteen bucks! The fair was pretty fun - we saw a sheep shearing contest, lots of pretty flowers, and some huuuuge Holsteins. We also saw a goat named Sonya (that's for you, mom). =)

Yesterday we drove to Dillon beach which is located about a half an hour from our house. It was so windy that it almost wasn't enjoyable, but it was pretty and we enjoyed seeing our proximity to the coast. (Now we understand why we get so much fog.)

Right now Paul is at a place called Finbar Devine's with some guys from our church. Everyone at church has been very welcoming to us - inviting us to dinner, softball games, Bible studies, etc. It's been great. We have so much to be thankful for.


We got a little kitten today from the Rooks! We are so excited!

But, we are even more excited that Andrew and Bekah's baby was born today! Congratulations Andrew and Bekah!!