Sunday, May 8, 2011

Long ago, in the beautiful kingdom of Provo . . .

A while back, Adam got a bee in his bonnet about wanting to start a new blog. He had many reasons, some of which he could never quite put into words. Part of it was that he thought Tumblr was superior to Blogger. But a bigger part of it was that we'd just outgrown our old blog. 16 Bit Love? What does that mean anyway?

It all started when we were newlyweds and had so much free time on our hands, that we'd often sit down w/ Adam's old Super Nintendo and play our favorite SNES game, Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past. We also played a lot of Mario Kart. And let's not forget Tetris/Dr. Mario. When it came time to start a blog, we agonized over what to call it, how to brand it. Our homage to the pixilated days of yore was what we finally came up with.

But life has barreled on and these days we're lucky if we have two minutes together to eat, let alone play mindless video games. (Though Zelda is definitely a thinking man/woman's game.) Life is a whole new ball game for the Johnson family. And so we require a whole new blog. Or blogs. Adam will now have his own blog (soon to be launched) and you can find me and all the kiddos at

And just for old times' sake, here is the intro to the legendary Legend of Zelda, the stuff of legends. Just the music makes me happy inside. Enjoy.

For (Grand)Mother's Day

With much love to my mother and my mother-in-law (who is like a second mother) without whom, I wouldn't have been able to raise three such beautiful, mobile babies.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Seven Months

Chillin with Daddy

Well I missed the six month mark so I'll just pretend I did seven on purpose. Lucky number seven, right? And we are lucky. Very lucky that these kids are getting easier and easier to take care of. Here are their stats from their check-up:

Charles: 17 lb 4 oz, 27 1/4 inches

Eddie: 16 lb 12 oz, 27 inches

Lucy: 17 lb 6 oz, 27 inches

That's right, Lucy has passed her brothers and is now the heavyweight. No surprise there, right?

Miss Piggy

The babies are sleeping through the night. (Insert screams of delight and sobs of joy) They are early risers, though. Sometimes I wake to hear Lucy talking to herself at 5:30 in the morning. If I can, I just roll over and go back to sleep. If she's too loud, I stuff a binky in her mouth and then go back to sleep. They're all sleeping in the master bedroom, and Adam and I have moved into Elizabeth's old room. They also each have their own crib. Well, technically speaking, Eddie is in a pack n' play, but don't tell him when he's older that he got the shaft as a baby. He was just already in one at the in-laws and didn't seem to mind the hard, cold, low . . . ah! The Guilt! Anyway, so yes they sleep around 11 hours and if they get up much before 7, which they do most days, we give them a bottle and try to convince them to go back to sleep.

Mommy's favorite time of the day!

Having them all in the other room does present it's own problems, however. It's great at night that we don't have to hear every little peep. But for naps, it can be pretty maddening. Lucy is the biggest trouble-maker. Without fail, she'll wake up one hour after she fell asleep and proceed to gibber gabber and do this really annoying droning thing until she's woken her brothers. For the nap all four take together after lunch, I've had to learn to time it juuuuuuust right so either all three babies are dead asleep by the time I take Elizabeth in, or put Elizabeth in early and make sure she's soundly sleeping before I put the babies to bed. Otherwise I find her standing in her crib, laughing and talking to Charlie and/or Lucy, who moments before were peacefully sleeping. Oh, and did I mention that Elizabeth figured out how to climb out of her crib? Yeah. Good times.

What I usually see when I peek in during their nap.

Look what I can do, Daddy!

I ♥ my jumparoo!

The babies are rolling all over the place and they all three are pushing up on their hands and knees and rocking. Lucy, the strongest, even goes so far as to push up on her feet, downward dog style. And just today I saw her army crawling to get at something. Probably somebody else's binky. She is the biggest bully. She'll roll on top of one of the boys and grab their binky right out of their mouths. Or I'll hear crying and come in to see her gleefully kicking her brother's face. And every time she has the sweetest, most innocent smile on her face.

Lucy's favorite victims, ready to hit the town.

The other big development is that they're eating solids now. It took them a while to warm up to it (and to not hate sitting for more than a minute in their bumbos) but now they go gangbusters. The only thing I can't figure out is how much formula to feed them and when. I know they say to give them solids before their bottles, but at 6 AM, it's not gonna happen. And for dinner, we're good about giving them solids first, but then they don't want much to do w/ their bottle, and will only take 5-6 oz where they used to take 8. And some days it's a fight just to get them to take that. So it's been a rocky transition as we've tried to figure things out. Just the logistics of feeding them all at the same time took a lot of thought. And spoon-feeding them is quite the workout, shoveling food into their mouths as fast as I can while keeping an eye on Elizabeth ("Don't take the sandwich apart!")

Please, Sir. We want some more.

All in all they're much happier, mellower babies than they were a few months ago. Does that make for a happier, mellower mother? I wish. My anger and depression has gotten worse. But I'm looking for help (both physically and mentally speaking) and hoping that will make a difference. In the meantime, Adam and Elizabeth put up with me as best they can and life just goes on.

Love this guy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Worth the Wait

Elizabeth, one month old. Nov 2008

Imagine the same bald pate for the next 19 months, Nov 2008 — May 2010

Then, finally, some hair. 20 months, June 2010

By her second birthday, a little more. Oct 2010.

And then a little more. Dec 2010

And then all of a sudden . . .

March 2010

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This Is Just a Tribute

This was how it all started. The babies' bout with bronchiolitis pushed me so close to the edge that I knew something had to change. The idea of staying with my in-laws had been raised before, but I'd always dismissed it because I didn't think they'd have room for all of us. I even started to check out rentals near their house, but the thought of doing it on my own, even with help nearby, was horrific. But one Sunday morning, the idea got into my head and I just couldn't get it out. I remember picturing myself there, in their house in Mexico, sitting at the table, playing games or talking, and just feeling safe. We called Adam's mom, got the big OK from her, prayed about it, and decided I would leave at the end of the week. In fact, I would say I was pretty much impelled by the Spirit to go. The message was loud and clear.

Baby Play Time!

Adam's family welcomed us with, literally, open arms, taking turns feeding, changing, rocking, and playing with the babies. They also pitched in with caring for Elizabeth. Every night, during the babies' fussiest time after their last nap and before their nighttime bottle, Adam's mom would get Elizabeth's dinner ready, while the girls and Jack would hold whiny babies. After Elizabeth was done eating, the babies would be fed, changed, put in pajamas, sung to and put off to bed, while I got Elizabeth in her pj's, teeth brushed and story read. We'd chat with Adam on the computer, sing primary songs, then wait while Elizabeth gave hugs, kisses, and ugahmugahs (eskimo kisses) to each person, one by one. Besides missing Daddy terribly, I think she was in heaven.

Grandma and Elizabeth

The true hero in all of this was Adam's mom, Margaret. She got up every stinking night to feed babies. Sometimes, I would feed the first, then go back up to my room (Did I say MY room? I mean HER room that she and Jack gave up all to me.) I would crash so hard, and she would be so quick to get the other two, that I wouldn't wake up again until the morning, feeling terribly guilty but oh so rested.

Being at Grandma's means having LOTS of treats :)

Having so many helping hands gave me a chance to not only rest, but also do a lot of reading (Hello, Hunger Games!), cook dinner, even go on dates with Adam, who would come up every other weekend on the bus. The most memorable date we got to go on was the Sweetheart Dance their stake had for Valentine's Day. We were one of just a handful of couples who hit the dance floor, but we didn't let that stop us from thoroughly enjoying ourselves. There even was a photographer there taking pictures of each couple in front of a red and pink backdrop. We wanted to do a crazy pose, but before we could try, the lady made Adam straddle a bench, put me in front of him, legs together and torso turned to the camera and Adam's arms around my waist. I felt like I was in a glamor shots by Deb shoot. So we just tried to look as awkward as we possibly could when she said, "Smile!" To my eternal dismay, we never got the picture back. They handed everyone else a picture. But not us. Maybe we should have taken it more seriously . . .

Grandpa and Charlie

While we were there, we made some discoveries:

Eddie sucks his thumb!

Elizabeth still fits in the kitchen sink!

I have the cutest babies ever! (Okay, so that one we already knew.)

It snows a whole lot in Central New York!

Really! A lot!

I'm not kidding. A LOT!

Oh, and apparently, Eddie is tasty.

The best part of the trip, for me, was spending so much time with my family. Any "in-law" barriers between Margaret and me were totally smashed to bits. (How much dignity can you preserve when it's after midnight and you toss a screaming baby at your MIL and shout "Take him before I kill him!"?) My sisters and I bonded over vampires (and their diaries) and teasing "Uncle Matt," and Jack and I watched way, WAY too many episodes of Hitchcock Presents. I won't lie and say it was all fun all the time; I missed Adam a lot and by the time it ended I was ready to be back in my own space. But I can never repay the gift the Giovo's gave me: SANITY!

Great-Grandma and Eddie

P.S. The best part of the trip, part 2? Getting the babies on a sleep schedule and only waking once at night. Thanks, Margaret!!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Name: Edward Thomas Johnson
Aliases: Eddie, Crazy Eddie, Eddie Spaghetti
Birth Order: Second
Hair Color: Light Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Distinguishing Feature/Talent: A cry that could pierce the toughest heart
Looks Like: ???
Mom Sings to Me: Baby of Mine
Named for/Inspired by: Edward just fit w/ the rest. Thomas for Uncle Tom and Thomas S. Monson, prophet of the LDS Church

I know this post has been a long time coming. But Eddie is . . . special. And deserved special attention. That, and I had to ask Adam to upload the pictures from home since I'm still up here in the Great White North.

What can I say about Eddie? He has been so, so challenging. He was the middle child, literally. He weighed the most at birth, but was also the weakest. I figure it's because he was so squished between the other two in utero, that he was able to pack on the pounds, but not get the exercise he needed. He was the baby I
didn't hear cry when they pulled him from my belly. He was the only one who went to the NICU. I didn't even see this little guy for two whole days after he was born. His biggest challenge, once he learned to breathe on his own, was eating. Adam spent hour after hour in the NICU, trying to get him to eat just 20 milliters of formula. And I sat upstairs, pumping and pumping, trying (and failing) to get something for him to eat, cursing my body, the hospital staff, and everyone for keeping me from going to my baby.

Eddie in the NICU. I had to help Adam name him with only pictures like this to go off of.

When we brought the babies in for their first pediatric visit, he had lost the most weight and the doctor scared the bajeebees out of us, telling us I had to stop nursing him, and that we had to measure exactly how much he was eating and try to push him to eat more every day. We were measuring every stinking milliliter with this guy.

We started calling him Crazy Eddie early on, because he was so hard to deal with, especially to feed. I did skin-to-skin with him as often as I could because it seemed to help his appetite. But Adam had the magic touch when it came time to give him a bottle (of formula or my breast milk which finally, though briefly, showed up.) He was on Eddie duty for the first few weeks and I think it was one of the hardest things he's ever had to do. All of the babies were hard to feed at first, but Eddie was off the charts. We ended up having to swaddle him, lay him a certain way across our chest, and support him with our arms and legs in just the right position, while chanting the magic spell and doing the Mexican Hat Dance. Or something like that. It was, in a word, crazy.

But it wasn't all pain and nightmares and awfulness. He started smiling not long after Lucy and was the first to laugh. We found this out when his cousin was holding him on his belly, high above her head. It was music to my ears. He loves his binky but lately I've found him sucking his thumb in his sleep. He also loves to roll around, from front to back and back to front again. Sometimes I wonder if all the trouble he's given us hasn't made me love him all the more.

And to end on a happy note, he, like his siblings, are all easy to feed now. He eats his 8 oz bottles like it's no big deal, which means anyone can feed him! Hooray! But he wouldn't be Eddie if he didn't have his preferences. Low lights, no distracting noises, and if he takes his sweet time, gotta warm that bottle up again! The things I do for this kid! Good thing he's 100 % worth it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Yes, it's February. And yes, I'm just now blogging about December. I've got three good reasons, and they're all asleep in their cribs so I better get going...

December found us with our last, but not least, live-in helper, Hannah. She was a lifesaver. And I like to think she enjoyed staying with us, despite all the crying, feeding, burping, poopy diapers, sleep deprivation, etc etc etc.

Hannah and Elizabeth had way too much fun together.

She even got out to see some sights.

On the Brooklyn Promenade

Seeing Freelance Whales with Adam

Every year, at Christmastime, we go see the store windows on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. With Hannah's help, we felt brave enough to carry on the tradition . . . all seven of us!

Rockefeller Plaza

The trip to the city gave me an excuse to finally bring the babies by Adam's work. We caused quite the commotion, to say the least.

Milan, Adam's creative director/mentor, with Lucy, Charles, and Edward

Milan, Charlie, and Robin not knowing what to make of the firecracker that is Elizabeth

We had a lot of fun, but the outing wasn't without it's moments.

A few days later, we had to say goodbye to Aunt Hannah so she could go home for Christmas. But I can't say enough how incredibly grateful we are for all her help.

We spent Christmas upstate w/ Adam's family. His brother, Jason and his family made the drive all the way from Missouri to join us. It was a full house, but so much fun.

Christmas Morning

It was fun to watch Elizabeth start to figure out what Christmas is all about. Presents! (Just kidding.)

It was also awesome to see her bond with her uncle. These two were inseparable!

Hats knit by Aunt Sara

The Sunday after Christmas, Adam, Jason, Matt and Jack (Dad) blessed the babies. The blessings were beautiful and we were so happy to have all the Johnson/Giovo men together to do it.

Coming home was hard for me. I was going to be on my own for good, and I didn't know how I would do it. The babies were still difficult to feed (= can't prop bottles) and were waking up a lot during the night. Add to that our wonderful experience w/ RSV, bronchiolitis, and a stomach bug in the weeks following, and I was one sleepless night away from a nervous breakdown. That's how I ended up back here w/ the Giovo's in Mexico, NY. But the babies have gotten much better at eating and we're valiantly trying to get them on a good sleep schedule. We're hoping we can come home soon.

Overall, though, I have to say that it was a December to remember, that's for sure.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

As Seen on Facebook

I am desperately trying to figure out how to get the boys to sleep better at night. Thank you in advance for reading all of this and giving me your two cents.

The Situation: We feed the babies around 6 PM, put them down usually by 7 and then the night-long torture starts. Eddie and Charlie alternate waking up every few hours crying very hard. It usually starts around 10 PM. Then there is the inevitable midnight freak out. Eddie will often cry from 12 until I finally give in and feed him around 1. (More on that later.) Then they will sleep well for a few hours, but will wake up and cry around 3 or 4 or 5 and I'll put off feeding them until 6.

The Background: Ever since they were newborns, I have "shooshed" them back to sleep when they awoke. It was just easier to pat their backs, give them their binkies, and soothe them back to sleep. I think I never let them learn how to soothe themselves. Before Christmas, they were both sleeping (with shooshing) until around 2 AM, when we'd feed them, and then they'd sleep until around 7 AM. All that was ruined, I assume, by traveling and then their subsequent illness.

The Goal: To have them sleep soundly until their night feeding no sooner than 1 AM. (When they eat earlier than that, they inevitably want to eat again before 6 AM.) I'm trying to help this by also getting them on a regular nap schedule (morning nap around 9 AM, midday nap around 12 or 1, and late afternoon nap around 4 or 5.)

The Strategy: We've been trying to let them cry it out. We only give them their binkies, instead of the elaborate measures we used to take to soothe them back to sleep. We've been doing this for a week now and there hasn't been any progress. The boys still wake up a ton at night and, like I said, it's always around the same times. The night feeding is the worst b/c even though I haven't "reinforced" a midnight or earlier feeding, they still wake up screaming bloody murder every night at 12 and will cry inconsolably from a half hour to an hour until I finally give in. To complicate all this, Eddie can now flip himself over onto his back and break out of his swaddle, and Charlie may be teething. Oh, and they all have colds again. But they've been waking many times a night from the get-go, so I refuse to believe it will get better "when..."

So what on earth do I do? Do I resign myself to going back to two night feedings? Do I go back to feeding them at 10 before I go to bed? Do I keep letting them cry their brains out? For another week? Two? Is this just reflux acting up? Should I try switching formula?

I'm ready to kill someone for more than two hours of sleep together. Thanks for your help.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Name: Charles Adam Johnson
Aliases: Charlie, Charlie (UK), Chuck E Cheese, The Urinator
Birth Order: First
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Eye Color: Hazel
Outstanding Talent: Impersonating Arnold Schwarzenegger
Looks Like: Mommy, a Davis
Mom Sings to Me: Let's Hear it for the Boy
Named for/Inspired by: Adam's Grandpa, Luis Charles Bodigoi; Emily's Great-Grandpa, Thomas Charles Davis; and this Charlie

I don't know why, but I was worried about having boys. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to bond with them as easily, or love them as freely as I did Elizabeth. I was worried about all the nasty that comes with boys, from cradle through adolescence (and maybe goes away by the time they get off their mission. Maybe.) But all my doubts quickly disappeared the day Charlie was born, as I held him in my arms and fell madly in love. I looked over at my mom and asked how I could ever have thought I would have trouble loving my little boy.

From the get-go, Charlie has been the easiest baby. He was the best nurser. He consistently eats the best (though not the fastest.) He is being treated for reflux, but his is the mildest case by far. He sleeps the best. If I had three Charlies, life would be much easier (though not as interesting, of course.) But he also cries the loudest and often sounds, as his father always points out, like a certain governor of Austrian decent.

Charlie is also the most talkative. He will sit and coo at anything and everything with no prompting.

He was born with an awesomely full head of hair, but sadly it has been thinning. I hope he keeps his dark color, just like Daddy.

Some people say his nose is big. *coughAdamcough* I don't care. He's perfect.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This Is How We Roll

Photo courtesy of Hannah Johnson 2010. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dear Diary

I ran out of formula today. It was 10:30 AM, three and a half hours since the triplets' last feeding. I had been doing things that needed to be done since I got up at 7. But somehow the time had slipped by and there I was, half-dressed with wet hair and three time bombs about to go off. I made it back from the bodega that accepts WIC checks before anyone started to cry hysterically, but I still felt like the stronger word for poo. Leaving alone the fact that I could not feed my babies myself, (a pain I can no longer spare any energy on indulging) I couldn't believe that I had let something so important slip my mind. What have I come to?

Sunday was a black day. I was sitting in the corner of the Relief Society room, holding I don't even remember which baby. I think it was Lucy. I was trying to keep her asleep. My entire back felt twisted and weak, with hot, shooting pains radiating in and out of my left shoulder blade. I'd been feeling faint all day, as I was fasting with Adam for extra help with our marriage. Everything seemed a little off. The night before I'd been up multiple times, besides the feeding at 2 AM and consequently, I was dozing in Sunday School (holding a baby) when I'd been awakened by the change of class. Relief Society had started and there I was, listening to a lesson on the Sacrament, and everything all of a sudden became very surreal. There were my friends, sitting in the middle of the room with each other. There was my sister-in-law, texting and playing games on her iPod. There was the teacher, plugging away at the Gospel Principles book. Tears started to drop down my cheeks and my chest got tight.

I am not okay. I am NOT okay. I AM NOT OKAY!! I shouted in my mind. I kept looking around. Would anyone notice I was having a total meltdown over here? I almost started to laugh. Hey! Relief Society! I I need some relief!
It was like I could see myself outside of me telling everyone, Stop the lesson! This is an emergency! The girl in the corner who looks like death warmed up needs help! But no one looked my way and I stayed silent. What would I say anyway? What would I want? To pass around a sign up sheet? Please put your name and phone number if you can rescue Emily from herself. We have a calendar marked with the days Emily needs help living her life. If you can live it for her, make a note at the bottom. Yes, we know you've helped her for months but she STILL needs help. *Frownsmile*

So I didn't say a word. The tears stopped. Lucy woke up. I smiled at my friends as class let out.

Bonus points if you get the MJ reference and can name the music video of the image above.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I felt bad about not putting more effort into my last post (or any at all.) This blog is the closest I come to journaling or scrapbooking or any kind of family history. So I thought I'd talk about the triplets, but one by one. They are, after all, individuals with very different personalities. So ladies first.

Name: Lucy Margaret Johnson
Aliases: Lu Lu, Lucy Lu
Birth Order: Third
Hair Color: Red
Eye Color: Blue
Distinguishing Feature: Huge Cheeks
Looks Like: Grandma Giovo, Daddy, Miss Piggy
Mom Sings to Me: Oh You Beautiful Doll, Honey Pie
Named for/Inspired by: Lucy Pevensie of the Chronicles of Narnia; Lucy Mack Smith

When I first met Lucy, she looked like this:

and all she looked like to me was one of those Russian dolls. Later, she looked like this:

and all I could think of was my mother in law. No offense to my MIL, but it was a little disconcerting to gaze into my daughter's face and see . . . not me. In all honesty, of all the three, it took the longest with her to feel like she really belonged to me. But then she started to smile, and I was melted butter in her chubby little hand.

Lucy smiles all the time. She coos and gurgles and will probably be the first to laugh. (She was the first to smile.) She's the fastest eater and therefore the one we give to helpers. She also eats the most consistently.

I love how chunky she is. Elizabeth was always on the skinny side and, despite my best efforts, never fulfilled my dreams of a big fat baby. Now I have more rolls and chins than I know what to do with.

Lucy is also the strongest. Though she's small, she's very solidly built. She can hold her head up and can already flip from her front to her back. She also stays happiest the longest during tummy time. She lies there with her hands in front of her, like a Sphinx coolly appraising her little brothers as they whimper and struggle. You can almost hear her. "Come on guys. It's not that hard."

So that's Lucy. Stay tuned for the boys.