to future moses.

Dear future Moses,

Mom here, hoping that I am just good enough of a future mom to print you out a copy of this letter just as your oldest child is going through the age of three.

Let me tell you about raising a three year old.
The tiniest thing can cause you so much grief that you have no choice but to break into spontaneous fits of crying and screaming. Above you are having a fit because you were not allowed to change your pj's for the third time in five minutes. I am sure you have no choice...otherwise why would you do it so doesn't look fun. Some of your biggest "triggers" include...commercials, it not being Christmas tomorrow, being too small to do something, the sun going down, it being time for bed or your feet being too big for the shoes you insist on wearing.

Notice a trend here...yup...not a thing I can control. Awesome, right?

You also make little to no sense at times. Sometimes it is because we simply can't understand your state of English speaking or you are just being goofy. This can go one of two ways...either you think it's you are making a joke OR it causes you so much grief that you have no choice but to break into spontaneous fits of crying and screaming.

An example of your nonsensical speak...

The other day you walked into the room with a bucket on your head and stated
"I'm California".

Um, ok. I mean, what am I supposed to say to that?

Sometimes you act nonsensical as well.
For example...
the other day I walked into my bedroom, where you were supposed to be watching TV, and I caught you licking the foot board of the bed. Yep. You gave me this look like
" you didn't want to?"
Let's talk about meal times shall we?
Yep...we have totally resorted to tying you to your chair with a scarf at meals.
But we refer to it as a "safety belt" cause tying your kid to a chair sounds crazy.
But you know what? It works. You actually sit and "eat" instead of bouncing around like you have something crawling around in your pants.
So don't judge me.
And I use the word "eat" loosely.
Breakfast and lunch are pretty easy.
Dinner is easy because we make it.
You see, back before I had kids...I swore I would never serve my child something for dinner other than what their parents were having.
And then something happened.
I had a three year old.
And you know is more important to me to have a happy family meal than for me to sit there with you for hours forcing you to eat something you don't want.

If we let you, you would live off of cheese and yogurt...with often refills of milk.
With encouragement you WILL eat pizza, chili, pb and j, chicken tenders, cheese sandwiches, cucumbers, any kind of fruit, mini-wheats, triscuits and crackers.
I have faith that eventually you will come around.
How about nap time?
Um...well...we have all but given up.
We put you in your room every day.
Because you need a nap and we need a break.
The awesome thing is that you won't fall asleep...unless you are sick.

So we compromised with you to make everyone happy.
You still have nap time...but we now call it "rest" time and allow you to play or read quietly alone in your room.
Bedtime at night is touch and go.
Usually you are ridiculous gnarly because you didn't nap so it takes very little to cause you so much grief that you have no choice but to break into spontaneous fits of crying and screaming.

You also like to wake up around 6am to do things in the toilet that seem impossible for someone as small as you to do. I'm just saying. And you prefer to turn on every light in the house on the way to your bathroom so the whole household gets to share in your crack of dawn party.

Living with you must be what it is like to live with a full fledged crazy person.
You are erratic, unpredictable and always changing the rules of how you operate.
You run and jump all're loud and down right insane sometimes.

You are also very awesome and funny. We love you so much and you keep our days exciting. You are crazy and fun and silly and sweet. And loved. You love your little brother...even if sometimes that love knocks him over.
You are precious and wonderful and I AM blessed to be your mom.

And just won't be three forever.

word up.

January is like a holiday to me.
The whole month.
It's like one giant excuse to clean, purge, repaint, organize and refresh...
...every single surface, nook and cranny in my house.
Lovely, love it.
This year my word to live by is simplify.
Basically an organizers dream word.
It has already brought beautiful messes to my house.
Like...organizing all of my fabrics into colors.
Just look at all the coordinated color goodness.
Then each basket got labeled with a paint chip sample...LOVE!
The paint chips were picked up as I bought sample paint colors to repaint the living room and dining room. So far...the middle swatch(called "crystal aqua"!) and leaving it the same color are winning...what do you think? Either way the walls are in dire need of a fresh coat of the most boy durable paint I can find.
I'm also vowing to be better about NOT beings so late with my birthday gifts and greetings.
Since Aaron was born you were lucky if your birthday card or gift arrived to you in the same month as your birthday...and anniversaries? Fuggetabout.
So this year...on December MACbook and I had a date.
We went through and put in each and every birthday and set an email reminder to go out 15 days before each birthday.
Then I bought this pretty calendar from HERE to keep track of all the appointments.
She has another lovely shop HERE.
The sweet owner has given me permission to give away one copy of the calendar to one of you... if you would like one just leave a comment and I'll choose one of you later this week.

I just love a new year and a new start...I've got a good feeling about 2010. :)


Lots of things I want to cram into this here post.
First...thanks so much for all your awesome comments and emails!
You guys rock...I am so glad we can share.
Kind of related to the spirit of conversation and since I never quite know the best way to answer your questions...I want to try to utilize a new tool...
Over on the right...down a bit you will see something called the Blog frog.
That is where I will try to answer if you have a question that you really want answered...but don't want to it there.
That way everyone can see...and maybe it's a question others might be wondering too. want to know what kind of camera I use?
How I make those cool collages?
What my middle name is?
Just go click on "my community" and let's get this party started. :)

Of can still email me. I love emails. :)
Next...oh my. I stumbled on THIS tutorial and knew what my next new shop item would be.
I've wanted to make these forever...
...but had no idea where to start.
I really hope they do well in the shop...
...cause they are so fun to make!
If you see one that you want reserved for you when it hits the shop...just let me know.
They will be $15 for then non-personalized ones (plus shipping).
April...I hope you like your Christmas gift...worth the wait I hope. :)

Lots more I wanted to share...but it has taken me all day to get this another day!

Go check out the blog frog! :)


should old acquaintance be forgot?

Let's have a heart to heart...shall we?

This might be you may want to go fill up your coffee and grab a snack.

Remember THIS post from before Christmas...well though I haven't talked much about it...the feelings are still there. Though just a little amended.

I think about these things a lot...a lot...night and day really. I haven't been sleeping all that great because I am SO close to getting know...when you ponder an issue and think about it all the time...and slowly pieces come together to form THE answer you are looking for(IT)?

Here goes...the biggest breakthrough so far is's not that I don't like myself. If I really think about it...I am pretty happy with me. Considering all the junk I have had to deal with my whole life...I like me. God has healed so much...I feel like an old treasure that was buried in the garden...God has been cleaning me up to be like new...there is still some dirt and grime but there are also some really beautiful parts peeking through. So, I like who I am.

Usually it is who I am NOT that gets me the most. You get that?
For example...
I am NOT the kind of person that people flock to, I have to fight for friends.

It's true. Every, single good relationship I have in my life, I have had to fight for.
My best friend...thought I hated her when we first met.
My husband...turned me down for a date THREE times before he went out with me.
My Jesus...I have been mocked and accused of being in a CULT because of my relationship with him.
There are many, MANY more examples. Nearly each and every relationship in my life, truly.
If you know me in real life...I bet you will agree.

Friends have never come easy to me. My life experiences have not built me that way. But I AM learning to change that...have been for years.

The biggest hurts in my life have come from fighting for relationships that should have been...should BE let go. Sometimes the right answer is to let go.
2009 has shown me that.

I think part of that need to the need to feel like I am included...part of the group. Being excluded matter your age. For as long as I can remember, I have never been part of the group. Growing up...I never felt like I was part of the family group but more like an intruder in my own home. All through school I was the family was poor and I was never well dressed and in the school I went to, that was enough to ensure that you never fit in. College...I was a non-drinker and never was a party person. My whole life I have been striving to fit be part of something desirable.

I guess ultimately to feel loved.

When it comes to being hurt, I'm a slow learner. I can take a lot. But I AM learning. Slowly but surely God is showing me direction, but He knows it has to be slow.
He must know because it has taken years.

Doug and I went on our first date on September 3, 2004.

That is when my life changed.
I finally felt truly secure and loved and treasured. Someone wanted to be with me...would call me first...would include me in plans...would pursue ME!

Since that day God has been showing me what He wants Crystal to look like.
He repeatedly tells me that all I need is Him. Him. Him.
HIS group is the only one I want to desire.
HE has always loved me.
HE flocks to me...and always has.
And THAT is enough for me.

Am I out of the woods? No...but I have the want to want to. If I look at who I was ten years ago and who I am now...WOW. Seriously. It's remarkable. Believe me. If you could just know the layers of mess that have been shed...WOW. Even I can't believe the changes.

I love, LOVE, how God has used my experiences to teach me.

I have become a better person, learned how to be a better friend...a better wife, a better mother.

So as I step into 2010...I am aiming more than ever to be the BEST me I can be.
To remove the final layers of hurt and past that have formed who I am and reshape them into things that will help me be a better person.

I will continue, with His help, to sift through the relationships and friendships that need to be let go...for now or's up to Him. It always has been but it's taken me a while for that to sink into my hard, stubborn head. :) And one day I hope to be happy with the things that I am NOT as well as the things that I AM.

As for the copy cat issue. Truly. You and you and you and you and you and the dozens of others who emailed me...have shown me that it is not something I should worry about because it is known...those who copy are as obvious as black cat in snow. I'll save your emails to remind me...and will enter 2010 with the hopes of being more awesome then ever! :)

Sorry if these kind of topics are too deep for you, I know lots of bloggers avoid the not good...but this is REAL.
And I always try to be real.
And one day I want my boys to read these entries and understand their mom on a deeper level.
Yes life is good and fun and bright and crazy...but life is also growing and changing and learning.

I hope you like learning with me too. :)

must be love...

Moses was thrilled to make his first life sized snow man.
And the 30 inches of snow we had finally melted enough to make playing in it manageable.
The day we made him was the perfect weather...warm enough to be comfortable playing outside...but cold enough to keep a few inches of snow on the ground.

My house is in a frenzy of cleaning and organizing...including fresh coats of paint on the walls...trips to goodwill...sorting supplies and more!

And I love it!
And in case you missed of my new items is in the shop...
Happy towels...each with a sweet sentiment on them...
...customs are available!


p.s. the font from the previous post photos can be found on picnik. :)

christmas at the johnsens...goes something like this...

(Moses was good enough to help his brother out.)
(Doug and I were making bets about what year I will have to make TWO of these!)
Moses was awesome...really. At one point he went over to Doug and said "Merry Christmas, Daddy...thank you for buying me a scooter."!!!
Then later on in the day and the next day he kept telling us "I had a great Christmas".
All worth it.
We also celebrated baby Aaron's ten month birthday!
Good grief...these photos are getting hard to take...he is SO busy!

Would you think I was crazy if I told you that I have already put all my Christmas stuff away?


the days before Christmas...

So aside from being stranded in our house for days leading up to DID make for a relaxing being housebound made me clean my house, catch up on laundry, get all the Christmas stuff done, are some snapshots leading up to the BIG day...
Moses took all his little family on a trip to visit the baby this photo he was saying "Daddy goes to see baby Jesus...he says 'Hi baby Jesus. I love you.'" It may have been one of the sweeter play moments of Moses' that I have witnessed.
Moses and Aaron pose for photos with baby Jesus.
On Christmas Eve...while Doug was finishing up with work, we made some cute paper crafts that Moses seemed to really enjoy...bonus was that they were free. :)
Somewhere in Norwegian history there is a Christmas gnome...this is Moses' version.
We enjoyed some cookies...and milk of course.
Every year I make gifts for Doug to take to his coworkers. This year I went the nerdy route...I made him bull's eye cookies(fyi-he is an exec at Target) addition to others. I LOVE how they turned out. :)
And Aaron was Aaron. We call him Baby Ho Ho or tiny ho ho.
Poor kid...that is actually his nick name.
He got a new tooth for Christmas...with another on the way.
Last photo before Christmas...two wiggly boys in matching jammies. :)

More Christmas goodness to come...and just WAIT until you see the new things I am working on for shop...hope your day is super happy! :)

how to ruffle...with or without a foot.

Here is a quick and simple way to cute up anything...jacket, shirt, skirt, bag...anything.
I did this cute cozy jacket I picked up from Baby Gap for $10.
You can almost use scrap fabric...if your scraps are big enough.
Step 1: Measure the length of where you want to put a ruffle.
You will multiply that length by 2.
Since this is a jacket and I wanted ruffles on each side of the zipper...
I had to cut two of each length. fabric strips were 14in by 2in and 12in by 2in and I had two of each.
(disregard that top piece of fabric in the photo)
Step 2: Make your ruffle.
If you have a ruffling foot...I don't think I need to tell you how.
If you don't have one...I highly recommend getting one.
The photo above shows my ruffle foot fabric strips ready to go.
If you don't have a ruffle foot...set your machine to the longest stitch length...and using a straight all the way down the length of the fabric strip...stay as close to the middle as possible.
When you get to the end of the sure to leave a couple of inches of thread at the end when you trim it off. Ever. SO. Gently pull on either the top or bottom thread and push the fabric that ruffle down the strip and go back to the top...repeat until you get your ruffle down to the size you want it. Your thread may break...this is why a ruffle foot is can pull out the stitches and start again when the thread breaks.
Step 3: Once you have your ruffles them in place where you want them to be.
Step 4: Sew on your ruffles...I stitched down the middle then off to either side about a half inch or so. If you just sew down the middle the ruffles will curl up too much when you wash them.
All done!
You can either give it as is...OR if you are worried that the person you are giving it to will freak out over frayed fabric can wash it first. :)
Be sure to trim the frayed goodness with scissors and never pull it!

Now go ruffle.

I will try to answer questions in comment form on THIS post. :)
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