Your first born. You note take every single milestone and moment. Your heart swells with pride as you watch them make their mark on the world. They have graduations. They have “firsts”–the real hard core ones. The ones where you navigate your emotions has it hasn’t happened to you as a parent before. You are literally plunging into the discoveries of who your child is becoming and who you are as a parent.

And…the admission is right here in a neon, bold, blinking sign. I am an emotional person. My whole family knows it.”Yep, it will hit Crystal the hardest.””Oh, Crystal…you internalize everything.” Somehow, I am always caught up in the past and in the future. I am still trying to teach myself to live in the present.

Then…you have your second, third, or even fourth child. And, well you know the story. 21 months after “my first born” baby girl…we had TWINS. Girls no less. I am blessed every day by them. I think these two literally teach me a whole different level of mothering everyday.

Mom-ing is hard. Twin mom-ing is a whole new ball game on many levels. I may be biased, but I think same sex twin mom-ing is like climbing Mt. Everest. And, as it has been stated before…when you have children so close together that out number you, it literally is pure survival on many levels.

So, it begs the question…are there raw emotions left in the reserve tank for the twins? The big question everyone asked me this year as we hit a milestone–How did you do the first day of kindergarten for the twins?

Red Puffy Eyes or Cartwheels?

Yep, we hit a big milestone–Huge! Monumental! Ceremonial! All of my kids entered grade school this year. I am still internalizing that one. I wasn’t sure how the first day at drop off would go. Would I have big puffy eyes from crying, or would I be doing cartwheels out to the parking lot? I wore big sunglasses just in case….well, because I cry.

Not a drop of wetness in the eyes. I felt horrible. I felt like I was failing the twins. I felt like I didn’t care. Was I this happy? Did I not stew about it enough? Nothing. I walked away from the school like it was their typical 126th day in third grade. Disclaimer: nothing was completely feeling right. Our lives were a bit jostled as we were literally right in the middle of a move. We were living out of suitcases at my parent’s house. Nothing was normal.

This sort of thing has happened to me on serval occasions with the twins. Where I am supposed to release the emotions…I don’t. With the “first born”…they are always flooding. But, just like when the two girls were born in the hospital…I learned nothing was “status quo” with them. It was always going to be different.

So, the tears did not flow that day. I wondered when it would hit. It did. In my own way and in time. As a tradition, we have had a wonderful photographer take kindergaren photos of the girls. The sappy scrapbooker in me always pictured these photos next to their high school ones at their graduation parties. The photos radiate their personalities and capture what I think is a pivotal moment in time. When these pictures hit my email…the flood gates opened as I reflected on almost 6 years of memories. 6 years of these two little ladies that changed our world in many ways. They just looked so grown up in the photos.

Big sunglasses were not on. It was not masked. It was raw. I knew the reserve tank would always hold a special blend for them.



I have a photographic memory. I mean…a really good one. A friend called me the other day to see what she was wore to an event last year, so she wouldn’t repeat herself again for this coming year. If there is a noteworthy event in life, I can tell you, in detail, everything! I am a catalog for crazy. I pretty much have banked, utilized, and redeemed myself using this talent all through life.

I started this blog as we were starting our family. We had family literally scattered across the United States. It was the early years of social media, and quite a few of the “elders” did want to partake in such an invasive strategy-posting their life story on Facebook. So, blogging was a way to connect. What I didn’t know, is that this blog would serve as documentation. Not just mere photos thrown up on a screen, but taking account of all of the little moments that sometimes pass you by.

Having a 21 month old and a set of twins was my life game changer…in more ways than one. It was survival. I didn’t get that moment in life where you cherish your “last” baby. I didn’t smell the intoxicating smell of baby lotion and ooze pure joy when our “last” little bundle would “need” me. Rather, I was scrapping myself off the floor. I was smelling more bodily functions that I care to remember. Oh, I won’t digress there. There were screams of need, fulfillment for instant gratification, and ones of pain, as the twins had MSPI (Milk, Soy, Protein Intolerance). It was also screams from our bank account. Those screams aren’t quite fulfilled by a mother’s nurturing care.

The girls are now 5 and 7. And, recently in our area and daily life….something is seriously in the water. This momma ain’t drinking it either. Babies are blooming wherever I go. And, damn…that darn baby smell. It just invites you in. And, those precious clothes that look like they could fit a mouse they are so little. I am a mother. And, yes…I want to hold those babies as long as I am not producing them anymore. But, I realized something as I was holding babies. My photographic memory was gone. Literally. I was in panic…like when you are trying to search for that lost hidden french fry in your McDonald’s drive thru bag. You know the gem has to be there somewhere, right? Where did it go? As I held a baby on my hip (this one was older and could hold themself up–I didn’t forget everything, people!), I looked at one of the twins. I literally DO NOT remember holding them on my hip.


Is this what it feels like when people actually have one? There are no memory triggers. There is no visual that pops into my head. There is no slide show set to beautiful music propagating my mind. Wait, what? I want the iMovie masterpiece from birth to the now scrolling my mind and soul. I want to know those times were captured when I was in the dungeon of potting training. I don’t want to completely rely on Facebook for “Remember this time” and pictures pop up on my phone. My twins are going to start Kindergarten, and I am wanting to put out a Want Ad: IN SEARCH OF MY MEMORY – NEED YEARS 2010-2016 placed back in the brain of a busy mother of three girls. Will pay.

We have been in the throngs of go-go-go. Even at 5 and 7,  this culture and societal norm has us spinning. More on that later. It is crazy how 5 and 7-year-olds can be this busy. I have enjoyed every minute. But, I have to document…so my blackout in the coming years will be marked on paper. I will have a visual for the moments I can’t seem to remember. Because…it…all…goes…too…fast.

Back to blogging. I am reemerging!


Every Friday we have Show & Tell at preschool. Oy, for momma. We are thinking of something every week for the good old, “Letter of the Week.” Well, this week is F. Now, the obvious choice here for a little girl is “fairy”. Here is what Ava said to me.

Ava, ” Mom, I would like to take dad’s phone to school with me.”

Mom, “Ava daddy isn’t going to let you take his phone to school. Phone doesn’t start with F. Why would you want to do that?”

Ava, “Mom, I want to show my class that fox video. Fox starts with ‘F’!”

Now, many people don’t understand it. And, for you “older” folks out there…the answer is “I don’t know.” Internet sensation videos happen all the time. And, yes, many are well…”stupid” as my mother calls them. Who knows why, but in case you have been living under a rock, “What does the fox say?” is the latest YouTube sensation. And, when there is a craze, daddy usually scopes it out. Well, he showed the girls and now they are saying “Ding, Ding, Ding” all over the house!

Here is what Ava wanted to take the school:

How did it end? Ava thought a fairy would be boring. So, momma put her thinking cap on for all the “F” starting words. No…kept getting heard. This morning, coming down the stairs with bed head and all she says:

“Mom…I know what I can bring to school. A fairy!!”

Really? But, we are taking the one with sparkly makeup. We like the glitz and she wears braids like Ava!

Don’t you want to know what I have to go through when Aubree and Annelise have to take items on the same day?

The Johnson household always gets catapulted into a tailspin during the month of October. There are just so many exciting events, milestones, and celebrations. Literally, momma is just coming up for air. So, please excuse me while I sip straight caffeine and attempt to catch up! I have been getting a lot of “flack” for not keeping this blog updated. So, I am back to trying to achieve my New Year’s resolution before the year is up! Ha!

We had a very important milestone happen in our house during October. Not sure if it was a bigger milestone for the girls or for mom and dad–maybe both!! Aubree and Annelise turned 3! Wow…as I sit here and reflect, the cliche has to bubble to the surface once more—how are the girls that old, where did the time go, and how did they transform themselves so quickly to independent little beauties? Time just slips by rapidly.

Brian and I feel like we are living out of Cinderella’s castle most days. While there isn’t the glitz and glam of material possessions, there sure is a lot of richness the girls provide. Whether it is their pure imaginations, storytelling, interpreting the world or just a haze of all the blinged out costumes…our hearts are sure full with these “Princesses”. The girls are obsessed with the Disney Princesses, and given the day, we have a different favorite. However, Rapunzel and Cinderella have been mainstays. So, that is the exact party they wanted to throw. We tricked out the house with a pink carpet arrival, Princess cakes, and fairy tale dreams.

Man, Brian better get ready. We have three Princesses making their mark, and every time they see a Disney movie…”We are going there someday!” is the phrase uttered when they see Cinderella’s castle. Oh boy.

In the meantime, we will laugh about our “cake debacle”, scrape off the glitter, and twirl in dresses.


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While we have not crossed the bridge of having three kids completely 100% potty trained, we have made significant strides. Ava and Aubree have had their fishes for some time. Today, another little fishy joined the family!

Meet Martin and his very proud owner, Annelise!


It all started on September 22!

Momma Johnson turned another year older on September 22nd. And, her thirty-something birthday, didn’t go out without a bang!!

The day started off with a fan fare of celebration from the little ones. Ava, Aubree, and Annelise decorated the house and were beyond excited for momma’s special day. They treated me like one of their favorite princesses. We went to church and then to a great brunch at one of our favorite places. The rest of the day was entitled to spending time with family. And, little did I know…it would be until 2 in the morning! I got the supreme birthday present before I hit my mid-life crisis next year!!

On my birthday, I became a FIRST TIME Auntie to a precious little baby boy. For those you know our family, I come from three girls. And, I had three girls. My poor father has represented the blue, along with his welcomed son-in-laws for some time. Baby blue was never on the radar for awhile. That is…until my youngest sister gave birth to our first boy! And, boy (no pun intended), did he make an entry into the world. He already has his Auntie wrapped around his finger when she stays out until 2 am on a school night!

1Greyson Christman

Greyson was born at 10:20 pm weighing 7 lbs. 13oz. and 20.5 inches in length.

And, let me tell you, since he noted his mark, he has been giving his momma a hard time from the beginning. My sister didn’t endure the easiest pregnancy. And, then after being stubborn for 13.5 hours of labor, my sister endured a c-section. With all of that commotion, we didn’t get to see my birthday buddy until 1am in the morning!!

We are all beyond excited for this little dude to represent the blue! He has a thing or two to teach us “women”. The poor little guy has about 10 little mommas to take care of him.

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Here’s the story. There is a man named Brian. He became really good friends will a man named Matt at work. Since about 2006, they have been running together. And…you are wondering where I am going with this, aren’t you?

Brian and his great friend Matt have been doing a number of running races together. Beer and Bagel runs (Gee, doesn’t that fit the mark!), 10Ks, and even half marathons. Typically, they do their training together during their lunch hour or on the weekends to prep for a big event. I do have to say…I am heavily impressed by them. Not only has their friendship grown over the years (and the families have become great friends), as they lovingly age—their times get better! They even won first place at a relay! How does that work? I won’t try to analyze that one, as I am by far NO runner. And, I give it to Brian. He only became a runner post college.

So…this takes me to his offspring. Yep…the influence, or at least introduction to fun is starting early. Yeah…back to that thought of running as fun. Right…I will just sip my wine as I write this. So, Brian and Matt do the Corporate Cup in Omaha every year, a Kiewit sponsored event. Did I mention that Kiewit sponsors practically 75% of their runs? Maybe they are running to trim off those numbers at our health evaluations every year? But, it does hold a special place for the Johnsons, as it benefits the American Lung Association. This year Miss Ava, and Matt’s daughter, Olivia, participated in the kids 100 meter dash. Now, this is not the girls’ first race if you must know. The girls’ first race was the BoysTown Memorial Run at 400 meters! So, they are pros, right?

In getting Ava synced for the event,  the conversation went like this:

“Ava, aren’t you excited to do a run with Olivia again.”

Ava, “I have to run again?” (So enthusiastic!–sarcasm)

“Yes…it will be lots of fun. It is just a short race.”

“Okay. But, my legs get really tired. You tell daddy, I will do this one, but it is my last one.” Oh my…I think she IS my daughter.

Well, race day game. Ava gets blood flowing when the big events are here! You should see her at dance recital time. That girl loves to perform in any capacity! She was rockin’, ready, and gung-ho!

Needless to say, the girls had great fun! To celebrate…it was lemonade and filling the bellies with pizza. Good thing they burned some calories! Do we have a runner on our hands? Not sure. But, we do have a budding star. Annelise was dying to get out there!! Next year babe…that girl can run–and she wants to! There is hope yet daddy! Aubree says, no way! (So, her momma! It’s alright, we’ll eat on the sidelines.)

PS…I should note that momma has endured for this races. Getting up early on both occasions to do hair and get kids out the door before the crack of dawn race times in the pouring rain twice deserves some kind of race medal, right?

Love you Bairds for all your encouragement, fun, friendship, and being a running mate for Brian! Hard to believe Ava and Olivia’s running days started meeting in the womb at a Christmas party in 2008!

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The girls were beyond excited, as they started their school year today. They absolutely love their experiences, teachers, and time at Westwood. There were no tears shed at all…we bounced into the doors. Although, mommy is foreshadowing she will be a wreck next year. This is Ava’s last year at preschool. Next year, she will be kindergarten bound. Aubree and Annelise don’t start preschool, quite yet due to age/calendar limits. They will start next year. However, they got into the spirit too with their lunch pails and backpacks. It is another year of full MDO (Mom’s Day Out) for them.

We didn’t get a picture with the teacher, as it was a bit chaotic this morning. But, we thought we better post–as we have lots of Johnson educators waiting for the backpack pictures! Mommy is off to work–not really a Mom’s Day Out! She just realized the power of 2 hours. She had longer work days this summer…now they are cut a bit. It’s time to get busy while these girls learn…

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Wow! I went the whole summer without blogging. I guess when you are having too much fun, there is no time to process photos and sit at a computer. We had quite the adventures, and now we are ramping up for “school”! Daddy and mommy tried their hand at a photo shoot this weekend. As the girls say, “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.” The session lasted about 10 minutes. But, there were a few gems in the mix.

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Here’s the girls before school…Ava and I have a Mother’s Day tea. The twins wanted their picture too!