Sunday, November 21, 2010

Updates and a night with Mr. Manners

A chilly November greetings to you all!

Yesterday was a fantastic day. It was a balmy 63 degrees and Parker's last football game. I've included a couple pictures below. One is of him diving just before he snagged the flag of his opponent. The next one is of his QB (also his best friend) giving him a hand off:

And speaking of Parker, he finally received his Arrow of Light award in scouts. It was a great night, he was really proud. Now it's on to boy scouts, camp outs, and four more years of me enjoying sleeping outside in the cold. Bring it! He also got to go up in a hot air balloon which is a first for anyone in our family.

In Alex news, he was the 3rd person in his entire grade at school to make it into the "Sun" which is a big deal. You have to pass off math fact timed tests on addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, and mixed facts. All the tests are over 100 problems long and you have to get 100%. He is a study in contrasts. On the one hand, he gets straight A's. On the other, he is the class clown. He'd probably get in trouble more except the teacher is laughing as much as the students. He always gets picked to do class reading because he hams it up so much. Definitely a Johnson trait. :)

Josh is almost done with his required merit badges for his eagle and still loving scouts. He is also loving being a big brother and tormenting his little brothers. Let me give you an example: Parker and Alex wanted to make a password for their profile on the computer and Josh kept guessing their passwords. This was quite a feat given that Alex was the one creating them. Here's how it went:
Alex: Okay mom I have my password!
Josh: is it "cheese"?
Alex: Dang it! (type type type type) Ok, I have another one.
Josh: is it "george"?
Alex: Ah! Stop it! (typetypetypetypetype) Ok, you won't guess this one!
Josh: Um, how about "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"
Alex: Josh! Sheesh. (typetypetypetypetypetype) Ok try and guess this one
Josh: Is it "Josh sucks"?
Alex: Yep! You sure do!
All in all I think Alex had the last laugh but boy Josh was making some good guesses.

A couple other Joshisms...
Last week Neish took the young women and young men to St. George, and a bunch of the young women wanted to ride with her. Then Josh decided to ride with someone else. Without another word, three of the girls who were going to ride with Neish amazingly ended up riding in the same car as him. Apparently he didn't notice this strange migration. There have been several other strange changes that come over girls when Josh is around. We are hoping he remains blissfully ignorant. For another 10 years. One other tidbit about Josh. While in St. George he attended a free-running competition and spent some time watching lots of really good people compete. One of the best guys in the world was there putting on demonstrations and clinics all day. He was teaching the kids how to do wall running backflips and how to do all kinds of crazy tricks and flips over boxes and up walls. And when I finally talked to him last night and asked how it went, his reply was "good." That was it. I guess my son is finally a teenager.

And now to explain the remainder of our title. Tonight we were playing "the Manners game" which is a game my wife invented to try and teach our boys some culture. You see, dinner is a strange and sometimes terrifying event at our house. I've decided that boys do not naturally come pre-wired to use utencils, chew with their mouth closed, or even sit in their chair in the normal "human" way. So as I said, Neisha made up this game to try and instill basic table manners. It goes like this: The boys go outside and ring the doorbell. Neisha or I then answer the door and they are supposed to ask politely to come in. We then invite them to eat dinner and they are supposed to graciously accept, sit down, eat the right way, say "please" and "thank you" and "may I?" Well tonight was kind of a flop. For starters it is only 40 degrees outside and blowing. I answered the door and Alex, Parker, and Marcus, all said through chattering teeth, "It's about time man! We're freezing!" Score: 0. On our way to the table, Alex politely asks, "Can I use your bathroom?" This sends Marcus into fits of laughter and he asks (politely) if we can turn the lights off while Alex is in there. Once at the table, Alex asked what we were having and I said, "Green bean casserole."
"My, that's disgusting" replied Alex. Score: -2. Meanwhile Josh is squatting on his chair and using a serving spoon to eat. It was about here that I figured out that my kids were doing all this on purpose and that they were trying to be as non-mannered as possible. And just as I was about to say something about it, Parker, who had been thinking of something polite to say blurted out "Dad, you're hot." That did it. Everyone started laughing and we gave up the manners game. Sigh. At least they all cleaned their plates up and said thanks for dinner.

That's about it from the ranch so until next time remember it's not polite to sing with your mouth full.

Love, the Johnsons

Friday, October 1, 2010

Batman Crying meets the Underwear King

Greetings Bonehead fans! - that would be both of you.

There has been a a lot going on here at the desert oasis and I figure it's time to update the old blog.

In soccer news, all four boys are playing and somehow, dad got bamboozled into coaching three of them. So pretty much I live at the soccer field during the week. This is josh's last year in the rec league and it's pretty neat to see the effect being on a competition team has had on him. He usually plays striker or goalie and has a real aggressive edge now. In one game he started as a striker and had scored two goals in less than 90 seconds! Parker and Alex aren't a whit behind him in their team. Parker is turning out to be a fantastic goalie and is one of the fastest on the team and Alex is an absolute rock as the center midfielder. He frequently charges in to a group of older boys, only to pop out a moment later still with the ball! What's really fun is that he's still shorter than most household insects. Go Sharkbait!

To explain today's title, let me just remind our readers that many years ago my family was cursed by a gypsy and ever since weirdness has shadowed my home like a storm cloud.

Alex is a complete ham when he gets an audience and gets never-ending amusement from his own jokes. Oftentimes I have found him in the bathroom making faces or singing, or once standing on the toilet seat with nothing but a towell wrapped around his head like a big yellow turban. Not sure about terrorist material but it was certainly terrifying to walk in on. I digress. The other night he came out to tell us goodnight wearing a pair of transformer pajamas and every pair of underwear he owns. On the outside of his pajamas. Ridiculous doesn't even BEGIN to capture it. What's more, he pretended like everything was normal. So I told him that with that much padding he wouldn't even feel it if he got kicked in the, well, the area usually protected by underwear. Josh, being the exemplar older brother volunteered to test the theory with his overly large nerf axe. Alex challenged him and stood there, arms crossed, legs spread in defiance. It didn't quite work as well as I thought it would. So while he is rolling around on the floor in pain Marcus snuck up behind Josh wearing his batman mask. That didn't turn out so well for batman. So today Batman tried a new weapon, the rubber snake bat-whip. It worked great until he whapped himself in the head with it. I should have taken a picture because it's not often you see Batman cry, especially after he hurts himself using his own weapons.

In other news, Marcus has become the official treasurer of the Johnson household. He accomplishes this by taking things that he believes are valuable and hiding them in his "secret spots" located all over the house. The other day I couldn't find my ipod and looked everywhere for it. Sure enough Marcus had taken it "to keep it safe Daddy" and hidden it in a spot between the couch cushions that I didn't even know existed.

Other than that, everything is going great. We're excited for Halloween and will begin celebrating this weekend! Woohoo!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cheaper by the Dozen

Greeting Boneheads! As always, it's been too long since I wrote in this and I have no excuses. At least none that fit real well. Life has been great though and everyone is happy, healthy, and nuts. So let's talk about today's title. Now, if you’re talking about the latest sale at Walmart on soda, or Dunkin Donuts, then yes the above statement is true. But if you happen to be talking about how many boys are going to sleep over at your home then no, it is not true. In the slightest. Here’s the equation: 1boy x 1birthday = 8 boys. Further, 8 boys + 3 left out brothers = 2 more sleepovers. To any of you who have children you will understand this equation immediately. For those of you who do not yet have kids, I pity you. To truly understand the equation though, you must understand the Law of Chaos/Catastrophe which states: The number of catastrophes and the amount of chaos generated by one boy multiplies by 20 when that boy comes within proximity of other boys. Throw some sugar in the mix and yeh’ve got yerself a real hootenanny! Speaking of a herd of boys, I wonder if there is an actual name for a group of boys. A gaggle? A peck? A murder? A pride? Hmmm. How about A catastrophe of boys. Yes, that works well.

So far, the party has only been in full swing for about 30 minutes and already we had our first catastrophe. Let me explain. We have a trampoline in our backyard which we sank into the ground (for safety). Well, I went to see what the Catastrophe of boys were up to and arrived in time to see 8 of them all standing around the outside of the trampoline. Then someone yelled “Jump!” I thought, “how fun, this should be good” until I saw the huge pile of gravel they had piled in the center of the mat. At that moment my life went into slow motion as I watched, helplessly as thousands of tiny rocks exploded into the air and then … into the lawn only to be found the next time I mow it. Sigh. So in a moment of rare control I asked Alex if the next time he had a really cool idea like that if he would tell me BEFORE he did it. Double sigh.

Other than that, we just returned from a 2 week road trip to Indiana, and you can expect a photo essay on that experience. Suffice it to say that we are already planning another one!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Great Missionary Olympics

Greetings fellow Boneheads!

A wonderfully warm and woefully waffle-less welcome to you all. The weather has been weird for a while, we've had wind whipping things up for weeks and weeks. Okay okay enough with the "W" thing, I was just curious to see if I could make something sensible. Almost worked. Way cool.

The topic today is Missionary Olympics. Now, anyone who knows us knows that we have 4 boys and having 4 Latter-Day Saint boys means that in the not-so-distant future there will be 4 Elder Johnson's running around the globe over the span of 8 years. For any of you who aren't familiar with what it takes to be a missionary, it's incredibly challenging. We pay our own way to serve somewhere not of our choosing for two years. We don't hold a job, date, go to school or anything else during that time. We write home every week and talk to our folks on Christmas and Mother's Day. Father's Day gets the boot for some reason. We have to cook for ourselves, do our own laundry, keep schedules, be able to ride a bike through the rain in a suit and everything else. We want our boys to be prepared...

Scene shift: Family night. We told the boys that we were going to have missionary olympics and came up with 12 different events to compete in. The boys split up into companionships and rolled a set of dice to determine what events they would have to compete in. Hilarity ensued. The first event was the "Eat Something New and Say 'Thank You'" event. The something new? Cottage Cheese. Now all the boys had to do was eat a very small bowl of the stuff. The timer kept track of how long it took them too finish and say "thank you". Here's how it went:

Josh and Parker were the competing missionaries. They both sat down and I shouted, "GO!" Each boy shoved a spoonful of Cottage Cheese in his mouth and as though they had practiced for months, each boy spit their something new all over the table, cursing, gagging, spitting, and fighting for the first chance at the sink for a glass of water. Results? Absolute and complete failure. How on earth is anyone supposed to feed them when they reenact the longest death scene in movie history every time they don't like something?

Another event dealt with precision bike riding through 10 cones that were set up in the road. The boys had to ride through them, ring the end cone and come back. Well, everything was set up and Parker was about to test his mettle when from down the street came the UPS man. (insert dramatic musical tags here). All the boys cleared the road but the driver, seeing orange cones in the road must have felt that he was being tested and commenced trying to navigate the cones, pumping his fist in the air as he rambled by. I'm sure a bunch of people wondered why their stuff was all broken the next day. :)The boys ended up doing great riding their bikes while Marcus rode his official missionary wiggle racer.

Other events included writing a letter and mailing it, writing out a check, putting on a suit the fastest, packing a suitcase, and making up a one minute church talk based on an object they pulled out of a hat. They had a great time and Neish and I will pray that they never have to eat Cottage Cheese.

Well that's the news that's fit to print so until next time, wear a winning smile. It makes people wonder what you're thinking.

Love, the Johnsons

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Parental Bribery and a Lesson in Honesty

Man I love that title! No better way to start off a post than a healthy dose of conflicting values! So to start, let me be honest: There is no excuse for the deplorable laziness in my posting. I could say that in addition to work I'm back in grad school and coaching two competition soccer league teams but that would be an excuse. A good one, but still. I'm just saying. :)

Let's start with the soccer. One night over too much pizza and rootbeer I got talking with Neisha and some friends about how there isn't any soccer for our middle school kids and that that was probably the reason our high school soccer team was lousy. One thing led to another and I found myself along with 3 other dads holding tryouts for the first ever Page competition soccer league. What was I thinking!? To adequately describe my feelings about this realization let me use a comparison. Imagine, if you will, jumping off the golden gate bridge holding an umbrella because you saw someone do it once on youtube and thought "I could totally do that! That's easy!" And then, after leaving the safety of the bridge you have a moment of pure revelation. A moment when the world and the meaning of life is absolutely clear and you say, "I'm not sure this was such a good idea." that about sums up how I feel. The kids are really great though and they have even won a few games in the So. Utah RCL League. Josh is playing on one team and is really loving the game. Everyone still calls him Weasel and he's kind of become a rallying point for the team. Good times.

Now onto jusiness! (pronounced: weezness. Spanish for 'Business' I think). Right now Alex and Marcus the Amazing are cleaning their room in record time and they are laughing and having fun. Impossible you say? Well, not when you use the power of parental bribery! Some of you may not agree with this tactic. If so, you either don't have children or you have only one child or your children don't possess the psychic power of telekinesis in which they can just walk into a room, raise their arms and have everything they own suddenly fly onto the floor all by themselves. My kids have this power. Just ask them.
"Alex, how did your room get like this? It's destroyed! I just cleaned it 5 minutes ago!"
"I don't know mom, all my stuff just got on the floor by itself."
Bingo. Anyway, if you're like me once in a while you just get tired of the pleadings, the demands, the consequences, the threats of 3rd world slavery and you bribe your kids. The bribe? I hid a handful of change in their room throughout the mess and told them so. 10 minutes later, clean room. No fuss, no muss. Currently Marcus is "fsssshh"-ing around the house in his batman costume. He also ran up to me and looked me in the eye and yelled, "BURN!" Either he is referring to Superman's ability to melt things with lazer eyes or else he's practicing his power of pyrokinesis (see above). I think my forehead feels warm.

One last mentionable. We always do our best to teach the kids honesty in everything they do and the other night my 8 year old Alex took a huge step toward becoming a man. Now I don't share this so that anyone will think us great parents because we make all the same mistakes as anyone else. I share this because someday Alex will read it and I want him to remember how proud I am of him. We have a rule that if someone hurts you and you get really angry about it and retaliate out of anger that you spend the rest of your day in your room. Kind of harsh but an important lesson to learn given the lack of adults who can actually do this. Anyway, I'm in the kitchen when I hear Alex yell "Ow Marcus!" and then a moment later hear Marcus begin wailing. Alex came out to the kitchen and here is the conversation as close as I can remember it:
Alex: "Marcus pulled my hair"
Dad: "I'm sorry. I'll bet that hurt. Is that why Marcus is crying?"
"I kind of freaked out."
"What did you do?"
"I picked him up and threw him on the bed."
"Was Marcus angry when he pulled your hair?"
"Were you angry when you threw him down?"
- Now here was the critical moment. He knows the consequence for retaliation in anger. He could lie and say that he was just wrestling and I would have believed him. He hates to be stuck in his room. I watched his little shoulders slump and he started to cry a little bit and then finally, in a barely audible voice he said, "yeah I guess so."

It was my turn to cry then. I couldn't help it. He chose to be honest when choosing it was most difficult. It was enough for me. I got down next to him looked him in the eye and said, "Alex you know the consequence for this don't you?" He nodded, crying. "Well, you were honest anyway. You could have lied but you didn't. You did what needed to be done and that is what it means to be a man. I think we're square on this one." After he left I sat by myself for a while awestruck at how much I still have to learn from my kids.

Well that's all the news that's fit to print so until next time remember that life only comes around once. Make the most of it.

Love, The Johnsons

Monday, January 4, 2010

Master Pu Meets the Boneheads

Happy New Years! I have officially begun my resolution, but due to their high potential for failure I'm not telling what they are. If, by the end of the year I keep them I will reveal all then. In the meantime, enjoy the blog.

New Year's Eve was a great party at our house--we had every kind of snack food imaginable, 4 children doped up on sugar until they were literally vibrating across the floor, Wii competitions, Dance-Dance competitions, movies, and two cats. At midnight we had to blow horns outside until we were sure the neighbors (3 blocks away) knew what time it was and then called it quits. Good times, good times. After two weeks of completely non-structured vacation, it was real interesting to watch the boys get ready for school :)

As for the title, it all started when I took a stupid quiz on facebook which allowed me to discover my Egyptian God name. Cautiously I typed in my name and birthdate, and, after answering that blisteringly long questionnaire I was rewarded with my true God name. It is way cool and historically accurate! I can't wait to tell the fam!

Scene shift, Dad and the family having dinner.
"Well family, I want to share something with you that I discovered today, something that I think you need to remember."
"Do we get candy?" asked Alex.
"No, you get to call me by my Egyptian God name..." I paused to give it effect. The boys and Neish stopped eating, waiting for me to reveal what was sure to be the shocker of the year. With my best Tony the Tiger voice I boomed, "Reshpu, God of War and Thunder!"

The reaction was immediate and completely wrong. Amidst the gales of laughter, my four year-old said, "Dad's name is Thunder Poo!" Oh no. Game over. The damage was done. You see, once the word "poo" is mentioned in a house of 4 boys even the most sacred discussions are over. Not wanting to be outdone by a bunch of boys, my sophisticated delightful wife said, "Hey boys I got one. He's got a Master's Degree and his name is poo. Let's call him Master Pu!" Thanks honey, that's tender. In one fell swoop, my God-status had been reduced to poop. 'Sigh'

Now I told you that story to tell you this. Tonight at family home evening I was going to give a lesson on gratitude, a precursor to asking our boys to write thank-you notes to everyone who gave them a Christmas present. Well, as I was trying to get their attention, Alex the comic says, "Everyone listen! My dum-dum wants to speak!" This is how the rest of that went:
Marcus: Dum-ditty-dum-ditty dum-dum-dum!
Alex: Speak mighty dum dum!
Marcus: Dum-ditty-dum-ditty dum-dum-dum!
Neisha: He's not dumb, he's Master Pu!
Marcus: Dum-ditty-dum-ditty dum-dum-poo! Ha!

That's all the news I can bear to write so until next time, stay away from Facebook! It's evil!