17 June 2007

Being Michael!

Be born on March 14, 1985. Think of yourself as a pleasant surprise to your family. Grow up with two sisters, and remember with disdain playing with Barbies at Allison Savage's house with Robyn, and wishing that I had an elevator in my house like Barbie had in hers. Have fond memories of birthday parties and Christmases in Utah all before moving to California just after starting kindergarten. Enjoy kindergarten in California, where at that young age you knew (name removed) wasn't a normal child. (Robyn suggested I take his name out to protect myself from incriminating bloggage).

In the first grade, be recognized by your teacher as a burgeoning "nice guy" and be assigned a best friend. Your best friend will get made fun of for the majority of your time in elementary school, which will make it hard for you to make other friends, but you will share a lot of fond memories with him. One perk: his dad works for Disneyland, and you will go very frequently at no charge. You will remember the phone number of where he grew up for the rest of your life. You'll also gain an instinct to protect fat people from others' cruelty and be nice to them...

You're five years younger than your next oldest sibling, and your mom will be working, but don't worry: prayers will be answered, and the nicest lady in the world will watch you after school through the seventh and part of the eighth grade. Every day you're there, you will play with a girl who is five years younger than you, and you will enjoy it immensely, and your imagination will be very active because of it. In the eighth grade, you'll decide it's time for you to not have a "babysitter" anymore and you'll start going directly home. You will then make a habit of calling your mom after school to tell her you're home that will go with you for the rest of your life (except while on your mission). During that time you will watch some cartoons until you stumble upon the home building and renovating shows on TLC, Discovery, and HGTV. You will then be the only fourth grader in the world watching Bob Vila and Hometime.

In the first grade you will also break your arm twice in a row. The first time you will break it while pretending to be a dog and jumping off a couch. You'll get your cast off on a Friday, and the next Monday at school you will break it again when you fall from the monkey bars. For the rest of your life, you will tell people that your friend pushed you from the bars, but in your mind you will wonder if that's how it really happened.

In the second grade you'll learn to be a good writer. In the third grade you'll learn to hate math when Mrs. Pike rips up your paper, not because the math was incorrect, but because you numbered the paper incorrectly. You'll tell your mom, and she'll release her wrath. She'll go to the school, walk into your classroom and find your torn up paper in the trash can. She'll then confront the teacher, who will deny anything of the sort until the ripped up paper your mom is holding in her hand shuts her up. You'll feel vindicated!

In the fourth grade you'll stay after class for months to build a model mission out of clay. You will be the only student who does so. You'll also do a report on the California Gold Rush. As part of your research, you'll send out letters to the chambers of commerce in gold country. In response to your letters, they'll notify you of homes for sale in the their cities for the next ten years. In the fifth grade you'll have another confrontation with math and you'll be the school vice-president. In the sixth, you'll excel as a creative writer. You would run for school president, but you realize that you have no chance against the political power-house of Lindsey, Lana, Lauren, and Kady (Kershaw, Haag, Goodman, and Gallagher, respectively).

In the seventh grade you'll enter middle school and get an entirely new set of friends. You'll be put in the G.A.T.E. program, because somebody thought you needed a gifted and talented education. As a result, you'll have class with the same group of people until you graduate from High School. You will be friends with them for the rest of your life. In the seventh grade you'll play the trumpet in the band but wish you were in the choir. In the eighth grade you'll quit the band and join the choir. Your voice will change somewhere in the first half of the school year, and in the second half you'll make it into the Vocal Ensemble. You will also be the Tin Man in the school's production of The Wizard of Oz, a big step for the shy person you are. You won't be able to make all the performances though, because your grandma will pass away during production week. You won't mind and prefer to be with your family.

In the ninth grade you'll join the choir. That year you will also meet your new best friend, Amanda. In the tenth grade, you'll be in the Boyz Chorus and you'll have to play the boy playing the girl in Officer Krupke, not because you want to, but because your choir director makes you. You'll also join the newspaper as a writer and you'll be in Academic Decathlon. You won't get your license 'cause you don't have you Eagle yet. You will resent your parents for a while, but then they'll let you get your license before you've actually completed the project anyway. Your dad will be on hiatus from Nissan, so your first car will be a Honda with a stick shift, and you will learn to drive the California freeways like you were Mario Andretti. Your dad will wonder why your tires and brakes are shot, and you'll tell him it's because your driving a Honda, which is clearly not comparable with the quality of a Nissan. He will admit that you are right, but will still be upset that you've managed to do in seven months what it takes others years to do.

The eleventh grade will be your busiest. You'll be finishing up your Eagle project, working as the news editor for the school paper, slacking off on the decathlon team, and you'll make it into the school's Vocal Ensemble. You will be at school (and seminary) from 6 AM to 5 PM every day. You'll love it.

The twelfth grade will be your most involved. You'll keep on at the newspaper as the news editor (and as one of the unofficial editors-in-chief since the actual editors-in-chief are friends with you but hate each other). You'll still do decathlon and Vocal Ensemble, but you'll add student government to your resume as the Commissioner of Publications and Promotions (whatever that means).

Each year you're in high school, you'll be in the school musical. First, you'll be a knight in Once Upon a Mattress. Next, Lazar Wolfe in Fiddler on the Roof, Agwe, God of Water in Once on this Island, and Percy Browne in The Boy Friend. Your director will brag to your parents that she's seen you change from beginning to end, and you'll give her some of the credit. You will lose your voice during The Boy Friend's production week, but your dad will give you a priesthood blessing that you'll be able to hit every note, and you will.

After high school, one of your best friends will run away from his past and his friends while your other best friend comes with you to BYU. You will spend every minute together over the next two semesters, which will prove to be too much, and you'll avoid her before you go on your mission. You'll come home from BYU, work with your mom in a dental office cleaning bloody instruments (and love every minute of it), and in June you'll turn in your mission papers. The next month your sister will get married, and by divine providence you will attend the ceremony in the temple. A week later you'll receive your mission call in the mail in California, and you'll open it on the freeway in Las Vegas on your way to Utah for your sister's (and brother-in-law's) open house (you won't be able to wait any longer). You'll set up a conference call with your sisters to see where you're going, and you'll get called to the Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission. You won't be able to pronounce Tegucigalpa off the bat, but your trilingual sister will do it for you. Immediately you'll be at peace, knowing that's where you were supposed to go.

Enter the MTC on August 25, become best friends with your district (who are all going everywhere but Honduras). Leave for Honduras, feel like you're in the most ghetto-fabulous country in the world, love it there for six months until you realize how dirty everything is, and gain a great appreciation for the States and the blessing it was to be born there. Never forget that. Get dengue, feel like you're gonna die, live through it and be grateful for the good story it'll make in the future.

After two years, show your parents the country you've come to love and then fly home with them. Be greeted at the airport by your sisters, brothers-in-law, nephews (it was nephew before you left), and niece, who are all wearing "I Love Michael" t-shirts. When you get to the parking lot, be astonished by how new all of the cars are and that every other one is a luxury car. It will feel great to be home.

But don't get too used to it, 'cause school starts at BYU in two weeks and your parents will be moving to Nashville at the same time. You'll get back to BYU, wander around like a lost puppy for a while, make new friends, and then feel like you'd never even left. You'll get your second real job ever with BYU catering. You'll kind of date a girl, but you'll be distracted by all the other girls. You'll swear off dating for a while, and then you'll find the one you want to pursue...so much so that you don't feel interested in anyone else. Problem: she doesn't live in Provo anymore... ¡Así es la vida!

As far as majors go, you'll vacillate between biology, dietetics, and nutritional science and then you'll stick with Latin American Studies. You'll love all of your classes, and you'll feel excited to work with Latinos for the rest of your life.

Dad's Father's Day Shout Out

I found some pictures of my dad on my computer that I want to use to show the many faces of my dad!

Dad loves kids, no matter what language they speak. In Honduras every kid wanted their picture taken with dad.
Dad is generous. He often tells people that I have a scholarship...the Bob Johnson Scholarship. In the above picture, dad risked his and all of our lives when he took out his wallet to give money to a poor (possibly crazy) woman. We didn't end up getting mugged, and the lady was very grateful.
Good thing dad rented an SUV, 'cause I think we gave a ride home to all of these people. It really was like a clown car!
Dad is a traveller. He's been all over he US, plus to Mexico, Canada, Honduras, England, Finland, Estonia, and Japan.
Here's a picture of dad pulling the legendary sword in the stone.
Dad is now grandpa to four grandkids, and he lets them know he loves them.
Dad loves eating out, and has definitely passed the habit on to me. Good thing I've got that scholarship.
Dad likes to have fun! I never knew he could play the fiddle, but I guess he must've learned since he's been in Nashville.
Dad and Taylor both like Disneyland. Maybe we should go there this summer, eh Robyn?
Everywhere Dad goes, the people love him! He has hundreds of good friends in Utah and California, and is sure to make hundreds more in Nashville.

You're the greatest, dad! Have a very happy Father's Day (or is it Fathers' Day?).

11 June 2007

Whirlwind Weekend In June!

Finally an excuse to go to California. Whitney, thanks for getting married.

Robyn, Joe, Parker, and I decided that we needed to go to California for Whitney's wedding, so we left last Thursday afternoon to make the drive. In the typical Johnson fashion, it was anything but uncomplicated.

Thursday, June 7

12:00 PM
I call Robyn to see what time Joe's getting off work. She says 2:30.

2:30 PM
Robyn calls to tell me that Joe is leaving the office.

3:15 PM
Robyn calls to tell me that while on the way to pick me up in Provo Joe realized that he forgot his wallet.

4:00 PM
Joe calls me to ask me if I can go buy an air freshener. Parker had thrown up on himself when they got home to get Joe's wallet. Robyn had to change Parker and give him a bath. The car still smelled a little like baby vomit.

4:30 PM
Robyn and Joe (and Parker) finally pick me up in Provo, and we get on the road with an estimated arrival time of 1:30 AM (2:30 AM Utah time).

Parker was in and out of sleep the entire drive, which also meant he was in and out of crying. Robyn was wondering if we really should have made the trip.

12:30 AM (California time)
Parker wakes up coughing and vomits again. The smell of baby vomit that I had gotten used to over the last 9 hours filled the car again.

1:30 AM
Devon greeted us in the driveway. We made it to San Diego. He was up pressing onesies!

I took this picture in the parking lot of the arboretum after the reception. Luke's eyes are so blue.
Parker was worn out after the reception, and decided that the pillow was much more comfortable than the rest of his hotel crib. I wish I had had a giant pillow to sleep on as well.
The Gadds at Whitney's reception.
Kimberly and Taylor.
Sandi Linville and me. She sat with us at the reception.
Mom, here's a picture of the centerpiece.
The boys and their matching shirts.

On Friday, Robyn, Kimberly, and I went running (our new tradition). This time we left the kids at home with Joe, so no strollers to push. It was much easier going up the hills. After we went running, we all went swimming. I saw that my hair was as big as it used to be after it dried! I had to take a picture.
That night Joe treated us all to dinner at Da Kitchen. He also treated us to a Broadway worthy Elmo performance. The kids loved it!
On Saturday after the wedding we checked in to the Newport Bay View Marriott. I had to take a picture with said bay view! Thanks, Stephanie!

On Sunday we drove home. We didn't leave until after we enjoyed the breakfast buffet that David Patten comp'd us. We got the hook ups!
Check out the rest of the photo album here.