Our Visit With Peter’s Mom

While Peter’s mom, Janice, came to visit we decided to take a day trip to Saint Augustine, America’s oldest European Settlement. It’s just 2 hours north of where we live.

Here Sydney is checking out the dining table in the “oldest” house. The shelf that is hanging from rope was the only food storage space available for fresh produce – everything else would go bad because there are no places to dig cellars in Florida. The shelf also kept rats out of the food that was on it.

An outdoor kitchen and garden.

Peter took this nice picture of some pretty flowers. I don’t know what they’re called.




Isaac, Grandma Johnson (Janice), Sydney, and Liz

No, I am not pregnant. This shirt just makes it look that way. I am so tired of the maternity looking shirts that are in “fashion.”

Castillo de San Marcos



Here are some crazy dudes who think it is fun to dress up in wool in Florida and shoot off canons a few times a day to impress tourists.

Watch Tower

And of course, no visitor can come to Florida without a trip to the beach. You’re probably tired of the many pictures of my kids playing at the beach. Sorry no pics of the adults at the beach…


Isaac made this newspaper hat and telescope in preschool on Columbus Day.

Here is our week in a bullet list:

  • We have had a nice time with Peter’s mom in town. A couple of friends called me this week while Peter was still out of town and I was at home with my mother-in-law to make sure I was alright. They were surprised to find out that I have no problem hanging out with her. We get along quite well (granted, it did take us a couple of years to figure each other out). It was actually fun to sit and watch Cranford with someone who laughed in the same spots that I did!
  • We watched the new Indiana Jones movie. I’m sorry, I give it just about three stars. It was funny and all, but the whole alien thing just drove me crazy. I don’t like alien movies. Phony.
  • I was just released from my primary calling and called as 1st counselor in the Relief Society. Weird. I recieved several congratulations (for what?) and a few condolences. What say ye?
  • Peter is THE guy in the stake who plays the piano. He is playing for the stake general priesthood meeting tonight. He has a list of seven hymns he can play – they keep asking him if he can play High on a Mountain Top and he keeps telling them that he can play Choose the Right.
  • Our trip to St. Augustine totally rocked! I can’t wait to go back for a real vacation and see some other sites. There are so many more awesome things to do in Florida besides Disney World!
  • The kids have had fun baking cookies with Grandma this afternoon.

That’s all folks…

As for last week’s poll, I am planning on voting for McCain/Palin unless you can change my mind. My brother-in-law James spent a couple of days trying to convince me to vote for Obama and I was interested to hear what he said but on my own further research and my original instincts I will be voting for McCain. I have a history of voting bi-partisan.

The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up

I thought that we were done getting pounded on by the rain. Apparently I was wrong. This last week we have been pounded again and there was not room in the garage to park my minivan (because of the two torn apart motorcycles that Peter has been working on) so I have been going out in the down pour about six times a day to drive kids to school and pick them up. The drainage ditches in our neighborhood were filled up with rain water and Lake Superior once again took up residence in our back yard. While driving Isaac to preschool one day this week I had to drive down a road that was completely flooded. The next day I couldn’t get the minivan to go into reverse when it was time to take Sydney to school so she got to carpool with some neighbor girls. Peter came home and took care of the problem – apparently the brake pad or something had become rusted from driving through the flooded street.

Peter was very nice and cleaned out the garage on Thursday night so I got to park the minivan in there for two nights before he started the motorcycle project again. He does not have work tomorrow so hopefully he will be able to finish with one of the motorcycles so we can sell it! I WANT TO BE ABLE TO PARK IN THE GARAGE!!!!! You Utahns don’t know what rain is!!!!!

After this last week and our experience a few weeks ago with Tropical Storm Hanna I think it is about time I invest in some decent rain jackets and rain boots. What have we been doing all this time without them?

Peter and I have both been on a reading kick this week meaning that we both had a couple of days that we were terrible parents and got completely nothing done except finishing our long books. Peter finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and I finished The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (check out my Dizzie Lizzie Can Read blog this week for a review – also come check out my new poll and help me decide what to read next!).

Isaac learned that great rhyming song that goes “Isaac Isaac bo bisaac , banana fana fo fisaac, me my mo misaac, ISAAC” in preschool a couple of weeks ago so both of the kids have been singing it over and over and over and over and over subsitituting all of their friends’ names into it. Would anyone like to adopt a couple of kids for an evening or two? The good thing about it is that Isaac has discovered rhyming and is making some practical connections.

I ordered a couple of excellent Christmas solo books and have been playing to my hearts (not Peter’s) desire! I just got the DVD Rejoice and Be Merry with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and featuring the Kings Singers. I heard from several people that this had been their favorite Mormon Tab Christmas concert so far so I had really high expectations and although I thought it was really great and I enjoy watching it, it was not my favorite so far (I LOVE the ones featuring Audra McDonald and Sissel). I can’t wait to find out what singer/group will be performing with the choir this Christmas!

Sydney has been trying to decide what to do for a science project (yes, the 3rd graders are required to participate). So far her choices have been to make a real mummy (yes, this was one she really wanted to do), put flowers in different colors of dyed water and watch the flower petals change colors OR to try putting water in different kinds of cups (plastic, aluminum, etc) to see which kind will keep that water at it’s starting temperature the longest.

Sydney has a little scientific mind (which she gets from the Johnson side of the family). When I was in the 3rd grade I wrote down on an assignment that when I grew up I wanted to be a beautician or a cashier. I remember my dad’s response to this – “You don’t have to settle for one or the other; you can do both!” (Now imagine that said with the Gardner family sarcastic tone and you’ll get a better picture). Needless to say, we are still trying to help Sydney decide on an interesting project – I assigned Peter to be on the Science Project Committee.

We are excited that Peter’s mom Janice is coming out to visit this week. Unfortunately Peter will be out of town the first couple of days she is here but I’m pretty sure we can keep ourselves busy. I think that the kids might just have to be “sick” this next Friday so that they can spend some quality time with their Grandma!

*About the poll for this week – I hope that the single vote for NOT voting in next month’s elections is from my brother who is not old enough to vote yet. Shame on you if it was anyone actually old enough to vote! I am not a huge fan of either Presidential canditate but I do know who I will be voting for – I feel like I have to choose from the best of two evils. There is a Marriage Amendment on the Florida election that is very important to have my vote on (I will be voting in FAVOR of marriage being defined as being between one man and one woman).

Anyway, that all folks… Sorry no pics this week…

Mel and the Pesky Baseball Player came to visit

Aiden had lots of fun climbing on our stationary bike (which we are trying to get ride of if you want to trade us $50 for it). I had to keep reminding James, “Don’t worry, he’s not going to fall off.”

Here’s that Pesky uncle James hanging out with the kiddos and the dog. It is so confusing for the kids that they have two Uncles named James (one of my brothers is also named James – and strangely enough it is the rather peskier one).

Aiden and Isaac at Sea World.

Peter’s photogenic sister Melanie with her son Aiden waiting for the whale and dolphin show at Sea World.

Sydney got just a little bit wet.

Look at those muscles!

The kids were OK for this picture…

…but Isaac was not about to be photographed again.

Some of Sydney’s clay creations.

Peter’s sister Melanie and her husband James (and their way cute little boy Aiden) came to visit this last week! Peter was still out of town the first two days they were here but we managed just fine without him. James built us a handy digital antenna for our T.V. using instructions from a YouTube tutorial – he just could not go a full week without his sports. And we still haven’t watched any T.V. but I do know that I can watch The Cosby Show at 2:30 PM if I want to. Peter really only watches T.V. when he’s out of town – his treat is to watch the History Channel in his hotel rooms.

Isaac had fun with Uncle James and was introduced to sports but Sydney kept asking Uncle James to stop talking about sports. I had fun hanging out with Aiden while Melanie and James went on a couple of dates. Aiden is seriously the most easygoing and self-entertaining 16 month old kid I have ever come seen! Our dog spent most of his time outside or in his crate because he kept knocking Aiden over.

If you have read our family blog long enough you may have noticed that we frequent Sea World even though we are close to all other sorts of amusement parks. The reason is that as Florida residents we buy our tickets once and get to go free the rest of the year so if you come to visit us we will probably go to Sea World with you! I enjoy it more than Disney World because of the shows AND the rides. Sea World’s rides are more fun that Disney World’s (at least the Magic Kingdom).

This last week I accidentally threw away Peter’s gym bag. I was cleaning out his side of the closet, straightening his shoes out on the floor and picking up clutter. The black gym bag, sitting on top of the mountain of hiking boots and flip flops, looked old and yucky so I thought it was the really old gym bag that Peter replaced a couple of years ago, so being the helpful wifey that I am I got rid of it. Well, as it turns out it was the newer gym bag so Peter will be getting yet another one in a couple of weeks.

Here are some other highlights from this week:

  • I rearranged the furniture (again). Peter said, “Wow, you lasted about three months longer than I thought you would.” Then I reminded him, “The last time I moved the furniture was just over a month ago before we got the new dog.” Peter said, “Oh.”
  • We’ve been watching general conference. I missed going to the women’s broadcast but thanks to BYU Television I was able to sit and watch it this morning from the comfort of my own couch.
  • While ordering pizza on Friday night, I jokingly said that I was going to order anchovies on our pizza. Much was our surprise when the pizza showed up to our door with anchovies on it. I checked the order and yes, I had ordered anchovy and pineapple pizza (instead of ham and pineapple). I must have had anchovies on the brain. Thankfully the other pizza I ordered was plain pepperoni!
  • Sydney earned straight A’s on her mid term report.
  • I made my yearly large order from Deseret Book and the Distribution Center. I also ordered some new Christmas music! I can’t wait!
  • We found a dresser and a bookcase for Isaac at a yard sale – the total cost – $5.00! I’m not much of a yard sale shopper but I have been looking for a dresser for a while and our neighbors across the street we eager to get ride of one. Isaac had lots of fun dumping his clothes out of his plastic three-drawer Rubbermaid creation and shoving them into his new dresser. Sydney also found many miscellaneous things to buy at the yard sale: a small statue of a dog, four framed pictures of swans, a rug with pictures of horses on it, and a small white curio.
  • Peter has been busy the last couple of days trying to get organized for his new calling. And he did get to sleep in this morning because of General Conference but that won’t be the case next week!

That’s all I can think of folks…