Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Johnson Family! We pray your Christmas is filled with joy, merry-making and good memories as you celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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Settling In

We are getting settled into our new home and the new school year (my baby started Kindergarten… sniff, sniff). I’m a little sad to see summer come to an end, but I’m anxious to get back into a “normal” routine after the busy and hectic year that 2013 has been so far.

We’ve been in our new house for three weeks now and have tackled quite a few projects, some big and some on the smaller scale, and while we aren’t fully complete with some of these projects we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and are finally able to slow down a bit and just enjoy living here.

This home was a foreclosure so there were quite a few things that needed some attention right away. Although thankfully, the bank replaced the flooring and appliances and painted inside and out before we even saw the place, there were other things like a hot water heater that didn’t work, a garage door with no opener, a faulty garbage disposer, no window coverings… etc. Things that you come to take for granted in a normal purchase situation. 🙂 Despite all of that we are really loving our “project” house. It’s been hard work but it’s also been fun.

My most favorite project we’ve done so far is our kitchen… which of course wasn’t a necessity to be functional, but I knew I wanted to update it and before moving in seemed like the best time to do it, so we went for it and I love the result.

Here’s a pic of what it looked like before we moved in:

Kitchen Before And here’s a pic of what it looked like after we did a few updates…

kitchen after

I’m so thrilled with how it turned out! 🙂

Now, we’ve moved on to bigger fish and started a much needed update on our yard. Ugh. We have a pretty large yard that needed a lot of help. The foundation had a bit of settling over the 3 years that it was vacant and so we had been getting some water in the basement. The yard had a lot of dips and was very uneven which wasn’t helping the water drain properly away from the house. So the last week and a half has been spent ripping out nearly everything in the yard (except for a few choice trees) and starting over from scratch… bringing in new dirt to even out the yard and eventually we’ll have some new bushes, shrubs and stuff to prettify it.

Here’s a few in process photos from our yard adventures:

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It’s going to be fun to see what this place looks like when we are finished.

In the meantime, while the work is being done on the outside, I’m busy putting the inside of the house together, unpacking and settling in. I hope to share my new art space with you soon and will be posting some new things in my shop in the coming weeks.

Good Distractions

Wow, these last few weeks have flown by so quickly! I’ve been pretty distracted… by good things though.

For one… it’s Summer! My kids are both home and we’ve been making the most of every moment… swimming, watching movies (including the newly released Monsters University), Vacation Bible School, play dates, park fun, fun with cousins and grandparents, T-Ball games, fishing, eating chocolate dipped cones from McDonald’s, berry picking and much, much more. I love that my kids are getting old enough that we can just pick up and go somewhere if we feel like it. I don’t have to make sure we have a diaper bag, clean diapers, change of clothes, food, etc. Although it is still a process if we want to be prepared for a certain activity, but not like it used to. Of course there are things I miss about those days too… 😉

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Another big distraction in our life right now is that we are in the process of buying a house! Yippee!! When we moved back to Kansas 5 months ago we decided to rent for a time and now we are closing in on another moving date… this time only a mile away and Lord willing this will be the last move for a very, very long time and I absolutely cannot wait! 🙂

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So, that’s what I’ve been up to so far this Summer. What have you been up to?

Getting Settled


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For the most part we’ve unburied ourselves from underneath the boxes and have settled back into Kansas life. It pretty much feels like we never left… with the exception of a different house in a different neighborhood and a different school; life is pretty much as it was when we left. We are grateful to be near our family and friends again, but of course miss those we met in Colorado, but it really feels as though this is truly where we belong. Home Sweet Home.

Just thought I’d share a few fun photos from the move.

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There’s No Place Like Home

ruby-slippersAfter 7 months in Colorado, we’ve come to the conclusion that there’s just no place like home. We’re clicking our heels together and loading the moving van once again. It’s time to get back to Kansas Toto.

After years of dreaming of Colorado living you’d think we’d have not ever wanted to leave, but we’ve come to realize the real dream is living near our family. My husband and I both grew up in the Kansas City area, so it’s home for both of us. As much as we have LOVED Colorado, there’s just something missing here, there’s an emptiness that is hard to explain. Once the honeymoon of being here was over and we stopped having visitors, the homesickness set in and we just couldn’t shake it, especially after being back over Christmas. We’d rather visit Colorado and live near family instead of the other way around… something we just didn’t know it until we experienced it. We want to give our children the opportunity to grow up with their cousins around, having the grandparents at their school events and activities, having the positive influence of aunts and uncles nearby… this is what God has helped us realize… home is where we’re meant to be… to live and grow… to bloom where we were planted. Not to say that’s where everyone is supposed to be, but for us, it is.

Of course, this transition back is bittersweet as we’ve definitely met some great people here, made some wonderful friends and of course we will miss the daily mountain views, the nice weather and laid back culture. But, we know now that home is where our heart really is and it’s just where we belong… despite the flat grassy plains, crazy summer humidity, pesky mosquitos, scary extreme weather and fewer bicycles and beer… home is home whether we like it or not… it’s more about the people than the scenery and weather anyway.

So, stay tuned as the next couple of weeks will be super busy as we finish packing and moving into our new place. But, soon I will be back with lots more art, inspiration and more! 🙂

Tis the Season…

IMG_3615 ‘Tis the season to be jolly fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la… 

Yes, feeling jolly, but also busy… as I’m sure you are as well!

We’ve trimmed the tree and decked the halls…

christmas cards Sent Christmas cards…

ft collins winter marketGone Christmas shopping…

coffee  Indulged in delicious warm beverages…

christmas presence celebrated the real reason for the season (and my daughter’s role as star sheep in her on-stage dance debut)! 😉

IMG_3688 paper snowflakes made paper snowflakes…

handmade gift tags and handmade gift tags!

Despite the busyness and (honestly) a bit of home-sickness it really has been a jolly season so far… hope it is for you too… and if you don’t see much of me in the next few weeks… you’ll know why! 😉

Also… just a side note… last day to order from my shop for delivery by Christmas is December 16th and the shop will be closed from December 21st – January 1st.

35 By 35 – #1 Hike to Horsetooth Rock

Hey there! How was your weekend? Better than mine I hope! I spent the weekend, (actually the past 4 days) either laying in bed or on the couch… sick with strep! Yuck! But, am so thankful for my awesome husband who took care of everything so I could lay around and get well… and when I say everything I mean everything! He rocks! But, I’m pretty sure he’s glad I’m well again. 😉

Before the sickness arrived like a freight train… we enjoyed a great Halloween! Noelle was Batgirl and Parker a Hamburger. I knew you would want to see a photo of them all dressed up so that’s why I’ve started with it, because really this post has nothing to do with Halloween!

What I really wanted to share with you today that is long overdue is the first item on my 35 by 35 list that was checked off a couple of weeks ago!

On Friday, October 19th we set out on an adventure to Horsetooth Rock! Yippee! We had debated for a while if it was a hike that the kids would be able to do or not, but we’ve taken them on a couple of difficult hikes in the past and thought they could do it, so we went for it! Only about 7 minutes in, the 6 year old had a meltdown and said her legs were tired and she did not want to go anymore… and the 4 year old, suddenly had a bathroom emergency… “oh boy…” we thought, “we are just getting started… what are we getting ourselves into?! Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea!” but, Daddy & I weren’t taking no for an answer… we were determined to do what we had set out to do! So we took care of business and kept moving! 🙂

It was a beautiful day, we couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Horsetooth Rock is a large rock formation at the summit of Horsetooth Mountain which is easily visible from Fort Collins. It is a prominent landmark and often used as a symbol of the city, even appearing in the official city seal. The name comes from its distinctive appearance.

“The trail to Horsetooth Rock is 2.5 miles, a moderately difficult trail with primarily smooth trail surface and an approximate elevation gain of 1,400 feet… from 5,800 to 7,200 feet. The 1,400 foot gain in elevation is mitigated by switchbacks and stair cases so the hike is easier than it sounds.” (Source: www.blog.twoknobbytires.com)

After hiking about 2+ hours we made it to our destination! This is at the base of the rock (i.e. the summit of the mountain)… we debated about whether we could all four climb to the summit of the rock or not, so while Daddy went up to check it out, the kids and I hung out and enjoyed a snack to celebrate our success!

After a bit more debating… we decided to go for it… after all, we’d made it this far! 😉 And this… was the rewarding view from the very top… simply amazing!

A perfect family photo opportunity!

Another gorgeous view… those two highest mountains in the distance are Longs Peak (to the right) & Mt. Meeker (to the left). Both are located in Rocky Mountain National Park. Longs is the closest “14er” to Denver, Boulder & Ft Collins. You can actually hike all the way to the summit of Longs… but, I’m not sure I’ll be ready for that anytime soon… we’ll see… It definitely won’t be a family adventure. 🙂

Here’s me climbing down the rock… Documenting that I did in fact accomplish this feat… What goes up must come down! 😉

and I was quite pleased with the accomplishment! Awesome!

The hike down was as much of an adventure as the hike up. The sun was beginning to set and we knew we had to move faster on the way back down to make it back to the car before dark. But it was tough when you run into deer…

and a beautiful sunset…

and moon rise. But, we made it back without having to turn on the flashlights. Total, it took about 5 hours… a long time… but it was time well spent and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Such a fun & memorable experience. And one more goal checked off my list! Oh yeah! 🙂