Thursday, January 29, 2009

Finally Sledding

Carter and Luke have been ready to sled. Our house is perched on top of some serious hills. Hills that make any sledder's dream come true: long steep hills on a road with no traffic.
Any bit of snow and the boys are on their sleds.
The first day was some good snow but the next was sleet and ice. They still did some sledding but ended with some face plants into the fence.
And yes Carter does have on camo. Much to my dismay both the boys have full camo suits. I can only handle so much.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Fond Farewell

Today was the last hurrah for the White House cabinet members. It was time for the departure photo with the President. My father, along with all the other cabinet members and their families, filled the West Wing this morning. We were excited to tag along.

The boys, me and Karyn
Many of the families waited in the Roosevelt room. We seized the opportunity to take lots of photos.
I needed a moment to take it all in. Looking around the rooms...filled with the cabinet members, I was standing in the West Wing (probably for the last time) with these people.
We waited and then entered the Oval Office for the photo with the President. He has always been complimentary of my father's work. He said hello to Brayden, asked how he was doing and I stood there thinking... the President of the United States knows about Brayden.
He took a moment to give the children Presidential pins. We had a large group photo with my parents, grandfather and all the kids. Then a picture of just my parents with me, my brother and sister. As we proceeded out the door to the Rose Garden, the President asked if Karyn would like a picture as well, of course she did (Karyn is a woman from church that is helping us with Brayden).
We went to the Rose Garden, took more photos and wandered outside for a few more.

Some of us rode the West Wing elevator because of Brayden's KidKart...I had to take a picture of Carter.

We all rode in my father's secret service vehicles to enter the White House. They let the boys push the siren buttons. Carter told me when we were leaving he wanted to be a secret agent!

Our last days at the White House, a fond farewell.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Portrait Unveiling

Today was my father's, Stephen Johnson, portrait unveiling (similar to the President's and First Lady's). He has served as EPA Administrator. At the end of the term, each administrator has a portrait done to hang in the EPA building. Each of the Presidential cabinet members have their portrait done as well.

A few other cabinet members attended the portrait unveiling: Secretary Elaine Chao from the Department of Labor, Secretary Mary Peters from the Department of Transportation and Secretary Samual Bodman from the Department of Energy. Family, friends and some of my father's staff joined in his office (it is a gigantic office) for the unveiling.

After a lot of pictures, we were ushered into a hall and seated for my father's goodbye speech with a room full of people and broadcast throughout the EPA. It was an emotional and a proud moment. He has enjoyed this position and has felt honored to serve the President and the country.

After the speech and more photos, we ate. The dining table was the EPA's conference room. This room is pretty new and no one has ever permitted drinks or food in but we were there today for the special occasion (with children, no pressure).
It was a surreal day; strange to see my father immortalized in a painting, realizing that this part of his journey has come to an end and that he actually was a member of the Presidential cabinet.

It has been surreal to see my father in this position: being with the President, meeting with world leaders, making decisions that effect our country...

It has been hard to hear the scrutiny about my father and the EPA (when we know that he is an honest man), members of Congress going for blood in hearings, people lobbying, the media reporting on their bias and only half truths if any at all.

Through it all my father has sot to find the best/right solutions; maintaining his composure, his humor, his humility and his faith.

Today was a day I want to treasure.

My brother posing like my father and the boys sitting in Papa's big chair.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bye Bye Baby Tooth

Carter lost his first tooth. It was several agonizing days of wiggling and not letting mommy or daddy pull it out.

After brushing his teeth this morning, it was really loose. Carter let me give it a tug and out it came!He was so excited and called anyone who would answer the phone.

Before loosing the tooth we discussed how much money he thought the tooth fairy should leave him. He declared that maybe $100 would be good, it was special because it was his first tooth. We talked him down and found that $2 would a good deal.

At night, he made a card for the tooth fairy.
There is a picture of a fairy (you can tell we live in a house of boys, he did not have a clue how to draw a fairy), a picture of the tooth and a picture of his mouth without the tooth.
He placed the card under his pillow, on the top bunk and in the back corner. The "tooth fairy" had to climb into the top bunk and attempt to switch out the card for the money. Carter woke when exchange was happening but was easily convinced that mommy really wanted a goodnight hug.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's at 8:00

We celebrated New Year's with the Drakopoulos family. It was an evening of fun, lots of noise (with our three and their four children) and food.

The children counted down for the New Year at 8:00 p.m. with hats and noise makers. They were so adorable!