Tuesday, February 28, 2012


  We are blessed to have both of our families live in the same city, although sometimes during the holidays it can be difficult, especially when you have a baby everyone wants to see.  But, our families put no pressure on us and made the first holiday with Harper Kate seamless. We drove to Birmingham Wednesday afternoon since my family was having Thanksgiving that night. My whole family, both sets of grandparents, and aunt&uncle and cousins all ate dinner at my parents house. My mom cooks an amazing dinner and my aunt Sharon helps. It's so fun to have all 7 girl cousins together. We all have so much fun. We took a Christmas card picture for my parents to send out. It was quite funny considering my nephew Whit wasn't looking and Harper Kate was screaming. I've attached it below. After dinner, Jarod and I drove to his parents house where we would spend the rest of the break.
  Thursday, my mother in law cooked another wonderful meal that we all enjoyed. This year we chose to have our meal without going to grandparents with the extended family. It was great for Harper Kate since staying calmer helps with her seizures. After we ate, we went to both of Jarod's grandparents houses to visit with the family that was there. Harper Kate decided to show off at Memaw's house and eat some sweet potato casserole . She absolutely loved it! All of her extended family was so happy to see her and was so impressed with her progress. We headed back to Nana & Poppy's house where Tammy, Abby and myself decided to door bust at Wal-Mart to get some gifts for my nephew's for Christmas. Holy moly, that was crazy. After some pushing through we got our gifts, got in line& headed out. Friday we all hung out together. It was so nice to take things easy and enjoy being together since we wouldn't be together for Christmas. Saturday was the Iron Bowl! A major day in the state of Alabama! We were so excited and ready. Eric& Kristen went to watch the game with some friends, but Jarod & I decided it would be best to keep HK as calm as possible and watched the game with Nana, Poppy, Aunt Abby, Uncle Brent & their boys. HK ended up in Nana & Poppy's room bc of the noise, but we all had a great time especially since Bama dominated! Roll Tide Roll! :).  
  All in all, Thanksgiving was a wonderful time to spend with family and I'm ready for the holidays again already. I love being with family more than anything and some of the best times for me are the ones we spend in Birmingham with them. Thanksgiving was a wonderful time for Jarod& me this year. We were celebrating with our daughter who we had doubted would make it this long. I couldn't have imagined a more wonderful time thanking the Lord for the time He had given us with her. She continues to amaze us daily. I choose to say "Praise God from whom all blessings flow!".

Mommy & HK before the Alabama-Auburn game

HK ready in her custom Vinnie Sunseri jersey from Uncle Alex

Daddy & his little Bama girl!

And...the infamous Johnson Christmas card.      

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gatlinburg Family Trip

I'm back!  Harper Kate's birthday week was a huge success.  I'll eventually get to get birthday post, but we must get through our busy fall first.
  Every year, we try to go to Gatlinburg with Jarod's family. We rent a cabin and spend some great family time together.  Unfortunately, this year, Eric and Kristen couldn't join us, but the rest of us headed there for some rest and relaxation. 
  We made breakfast together, went on hikes, spent time in the hot tub and watched some Alabama football.  One day we went and drove through Cades Cove making stops along the way. Jarod's sister brought her camera and got some great photos. 
  We missed you Eric&Kristen and we can't wait until next year where we will have added two more babies. Thanks Nana and Poppy for a great weekend.  We love you! 

Sausage Gravy for breakfast!  Biscuits made by Jarod, Cole & Eli!  

She loves her daddy!

Cole wearing Uncle Jarod's shoes...

One of the cutest faces ever!

Cades Cove family pic

View from our cabin

My sleeping angel

Happy girl!

Nana & 2 of her grandsons!

my little love-bug!

Poppy walking through Cades Cove while the rest of us drive. :) 

Biscuit making with Uncle Jarod!!

This little girl is LOVED!!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Dedicating Harper Kate

   In mid-October, we had Harper Kate's baby dedication.  At our church, Southside Church, we call it "Baby D."  Anyway, I wasn't sure how I was going to like the way the dedication went because it was done differently than I've ever seen before, but I must say I absolutely LOVE the process & way they held the ceremony.  Instead of dedicating the babies on Sunday during church, the ceremony actually takes place on a Sunday afternoon and each family can invite their friends/family to join them.  Before the ceremony takes place, Jarod & I had to listen to a set of sermons by Andy Stanley & his children's staff @ NorthPoint Community Church.  They were all very good, and really caused Jarod & I to think about what we were doing.  We also were asked to write Harper Kate a letter that we would read at the dedication.
  Sunday afternoon came and both sets of Harper Kate's grandparents came over from Birmingham, Uncle Jack Jack came and Aunt Carrie & Uncle Nate were able to come since they were on their way back from Highlands, NC.  We met at our apartment & headed to lunch, then headed to the church to get Harper Kate dressed & ready for pictures.  It was so nice.  The church had a photographer they had to take pictures of us.  Then, we went inside & had the ceremony.  The church had a slideshow with pictures of all the babies and then we began the ceremony.  Our pastor spoke for a few minutes, then he asked all the parents to stand up & read the letter we had written to our angel.  The copy is below for all of you to read.

  "Dear Harper Kate,
  You have no idea what an incredible gift from God you are!  We dreamed of starting a family, but had no idea that God would bless us with a daughter as perfect as you.  The day you were born was one of the happiest days of our lives.  We were in awe the first time you looked at us with your beautiful eyes.  Your smile & personality have already brought us such joy, and we cannot wait to get to know you even more.  The Lord has an incredible plan for your life, and we are honored to be your parents.  You might have some hard times ahead of you, but God has you in His hands.  We pray that God will use us to give you a glimpse of His unfailing love and that not a day would go by where we do not cherish you.  We hope that you never doubt your significance, that you have a heart for the needs of others, and that you truly understand God's grace.  We are so proud to call you our daughter and look forward to our life together.
We love you more than we can express,
Mom & Dad.

We also recited something called A Parents Covenant in front of our friends and family.  I'd like to post it here as well so that we are held accountable to all of our friends & family who couldn't join us that day.
"As a parent, I willingly accept my child as a unique gift from God.  I understand that my parental responsibility involves leading my child into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and helping my child understand God's specific purpose for his or her life.  Therefore, I promise today that I will strive to do the following:
     to recognize that my relationship with this child is a sacred trust which requires an investment of quality time & unconditional love
     to assume the primary responsibility to teach my child the spiritual truths and values of Scripture
     to pray consistently for the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of my child.
     to create an environment within our home which demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit of Christ.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7  "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and with all your strength.  And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." 

I really appreciate our church and how seriously they take this ceremony.  They want it to be special, important and for the parents to focus on what they are actually undertaking in parenting.  It was a wonderful reminder of just how special our children are and how much God has entrusted them to us.  I'll leave you with some pictures of this wonderful day.  Harper Kate's gown was made by my mom.  Each grandchild will wear the gown and each name of the grandchild is hand-sewn into the inside layer of the dress.  It's extremely special and we are blessed to have such a special gown.  Harper Kate also wore a necklace given to her by her great-grandmother Memaw.  It's a silver cross with some hand engraving on it.  It's extremely special to all of us.

Not the best picture of HK, but it shows the gown.  She is the most beautiful girl I've ever seen!


I thinks she's wondering, "what are we doing?!?!"

Another great face...

Our little angel girl!

I think she's almost giggling in this picture

Cookie, Doc, Uncle Nate & Aunt Carrie with the princess

Poppy & Nana holding the princess

I LOVE Uncle Jack Jack!

Big, beautiful eyes!  I also love her hands clasped next to her face in this picture

My sweet friend Martha who has been a GOD-SEND since I've moved here.

sleeping beauty...you can barely see the beautiful cross necklace here.  I should have gotten a better picture of it!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Month #9

Man....you are getting much bigger Harper Kate.  Mommy & Daddy are so very proud of you!  You now weigh about 15 pounds, 8 oz.  I'm not sure of your exact length, but all I know is that you are VERY tall for your age.  You are in the upper percentile no doubt.  You started sleeping in your own room this month!  Until now, you had slept in a cradle next to Mommy.  But, we moved to a new home & that meant it was time for you to be a BIG GIRL!  You have done exceptionally well.  No scary moments, although you do have an apnea monitor which makes your parents have a much better night sleep. :)
  You are still taking bites of baby food.  You got to try fruits for the first time this month and you really love bananas.  One food you really didn't like was peas.  Don't worry little girl...we'll keep trying them!  Mommy is determined you will NOT be a picky eater. :)  This month at therapy Mrs. Amy wanted you to try & find your feet.  She kept helping you, and now when Mommy or Daddy asks you to find your feet you know where to look.  You still need some help lifting them up, but it's very exciting to see you move your hands to try & touch your feet.
  The GREATEST thing happened at therapy this month!  You FINALLY recognized Mommy for the first time.  You were looking in the big mirror & when you saw Mommy you got the biggest smile on your face.  Mommy started crying because I've wanted you to recognize my face for so long.  That was the best day we have had in a long time.
  This month also called for some exciting experiences.  You went on your first trip to anywhere except Birmingham.  We went to Washington, D.C.  We flew up on Friday night, got there in enough time for dinner.  We took the public railway to the National Mall where the Smithsonian museums are and walked to the neatest restaurant called Old Ebbitt Grill.  After dinner, we walked to our hotel, spent the night and when we woke up the next morning we walked to a yummy place for breakfast next to Ford's Theatre.  From there we walked back to the National Mall and checked out all of the monuments & memorials.  It came quickly, but it was then time to head back to the airport.  We hopped back on the train, got to the airport & headed back to Atlanta.  It was a quick, but really fun trip taking advantage of your daddy's flight benefits with Delta.  We hope to do that more in the future when you can fly easier!
  It was also time for your first Halloween.  We decided we would take you trick-or-treating with your new friend William.  William's daddy works at Delta with your daddy.  We quickly found out it was your daddy & William's daddy FIRST time trick-or-treating too.  WHAT?  They used to go to fall festivals instead of trick or treat through the neighborhoods.  You were pretty grumpy on Halloween so instead of being a happy ladybug, you were a grumpy ladybug, but..we went anyway! :)
  We also went to Tuscaloosa for your cousin Kaitie's initiation to her sorority which was the same as Mommy's,...the BEST....ADPi. :)  There was a funny story that happened there and I hope you never remember it happened. :)  Your Aunt Mary was keeping you in Kaitie's dorm room.  When she put you in your car seat, your g-tube accidentally caught on the car seat and pulled out of your tummy.  She called me in a panic and she had to come bring you to the sorority house where Mommy THOUGHT she had the syringe to put it back in FOR THE FIRST TIME!  Of course, when all of this happened, you looked up at Aunt Mary and smiled, almost laughing at her.  We were so glad it didn't hurt you. :)  When Mommy started to put the tube back in, she realized she didn't have the right syringe.  Oh No!  Aunt Mary had to take me to 3 places in Tuscaloosa to try to find the right syringe.  We finally thought about going to the student health center, and when we got there thank the LORD they had the right syringe.  They were very sweet about it.  So...there we were.  You were laying in the back seat of Uncle Jeff's truck while Aunt Mary held your head and sang to you.  Mommy stood at your feet praying she could get the g-tube back in.  The first attempt...failed.  Second attempt...failed...At this point, it's starting to bleed & mommy is really starting to panic!  On the third try, Aunt Mary prayed out loud we could get it in.  Third attempt...IN WITHOUT ANY TROUBLE! :)  As soon as Mommy finished, she burst into tears...we put you back in your seat (you having NO TEARS I might add) and headed back to the sorority house so Mommy could initiate Kaitie.  We made it just in time!  Aunt Mary took you back and you were so happy.  No problem at all. :)
  Oh little girl...You are such an adventure to all of us.  Everyone in your family has learned a lot about prayer and laughter all at the same time.  Mommy & Daddy wouldn't trade you for anything in this world.  You are our daily delight.  We love you more than you'll EVER know!

William & Harper Kate with their dads trick or treating for the first time!

Halloween Pajamas...not so happy! 

the best part of the Halloween pajamas :) 


playing with my hands while Daddy holds me

I think the Washington Monument is the most beautiful at night!

All bundled up walking around D.C. 

World War II Memorial 

Looking back from the WW II Memorial toward the Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial 

The grumpy ladybug!

Happy Halloween from the Pardue family!

I love bathtime!


Just hanging out...

I love my naptime, in my OWN BED!