Friday, July 27, 2012

One Year

Willow Rose Johnson 
July 8, 2011 
7 lbs. 7 oz. 
20 inches 

A long overdue post about Willow's development--now that's she almost 13 months and all--life has been busy! 

These are the perfect pictures to express our quintessential Willow.
Diva. Spoiled. Sweet. Camera-Ready. 

I also realize that this is more of a record for me than anyone else. I wont be offended if you skim through and just look at the pictures. I look forward to looking back at my online journal/scrap book in the future years and reminiscing about the little Willow. 


  • Walking much more confidently now--which means she is trying her best to run. Still trips on uneven surfaces and sometimes loses her balance. 
  • Still a climber 
  • Feet were measured as 'extra wide' 
  • Teething --at least four coming in the bottom (which makes 12 teeth altogether!) 
  • Fine motor development improving as she dismantles and destroys more possessions every day. Trying to put these skills towards creation and puzzles. 
  • Very clingy at times; if I try to put her down, she wraps her legs around my calves and clings on desperately. She is impossible to put down in moments like these--like, literally impossible. 
  • An avid dancer. If she hears music, she dances. If we sing a song, she dances. If I hum while nursing her, she dances. If we say, "Willow, dance!", she dances. She dances in her diaper, she dances on tables, she dances while we're holding her. 
  • Likes to spin and walk backwards. 


  • Mostly happy, although she is a growing expert at throwing fits. 
  • Fights sleep with an increasingly strong will. This girl has energy to spare, and she desires to prove it. 
  • Silly to a fault; loves to play crazy/silly games that make her laugh
  • Thinks the world revolves around her; is happiest when she is the center of everyone's attention; most upset when she feels unacknowledged. She has been known to take the iPad out of my hands, set it aside, and sit in my lap--as if to say, "pay attention to me, mom". 
  • Obsessed with other babies/toddlers/children. If we are walking and see another small person, she demands to go over and see them. She is not opposed to kissing strangers if they are under thirty pounds. 
  • Attached to her white bunny toy. She clutches that thing with a death grip while she sleeps, and likes to stroke her face with it when she's awake. When we get her after naps or in the morning, she is still holding onto her bunny. 


  • She is becoming very social. She's not exactly bubbly around large crowds or strangers (or even people she knows), but she isn't scared either. She is not afraid of going up to strangers to have some sort of social interaction. It must be the China in her. 
  • Showing signs of bravery already. 
  • Though she does not often exhibit fear, and is very social, I think she might be something of an introvert. For months, I've noticed that she is an observer. She likes to take it all in. If you show her how to do something, sometimes she can follow those same steps after observing the action. It's a little shocking! 
  • Definitely a daddy's girl---she loves to play with Adam a lot and has a very strong sense of loyalty to him. In fact, if he plays with other kids, she screams in jealous protest. It's ok if he plays with others, as long as he is holding her and including her in the action. 
  • Still likes to cuddle at night. She often ends up in our bed for early morning snuggles. She is so sweet and affectionate, lots of kisses in the morning. 


  • What can I say? I may be 100% biased, but I think she's brilliant. 
  • Likes to bring books over to me to read to her. She had a growing attention span for reading books with me and by herself before our vacation. We took a little break from reading everyday while we were in she is sort of rediscovering that activity now. 
  • Understands many phrases and words--I love to see her comprehension at work! Some of the words she comprehends (I know she understands based on her reactions and/or obedience): 
    • want to go outside? (gets shoes, looks towards the door, or climbs into her stroller) 
    • what does a dog/puppy say? (pants like a dog and scrunches up her nose--just learned this during our time at the farm and I think it's priceless)
    • bite, eat, drink 
    • don't/no/stop  
    • want to eat? (if yes, she gets in the nursing 
    • give it to mommy (sometimes complies) 
    • want to read a book? (brings a book over) 
    • where is your baby/cat/kitty/bunny? (goes to retrieve said toy) 
    • give __________ a kiss/hug (usually follows the direction, especially if it is a toy) 
    • clap your hands! 
    • clap your feet! 
    • clap your baby's feet/hands! 
    • comprehends and plays games like 'this little piggy' and 'peekaboo' 
    • be nice (stops being rough, and sometimes gives a hug/kiss) 
    • come here
    • don't eat that/bu neng chi 
    • don't open that 
    • open/close 
    • go get daddy! (this is a great way to pass her on to Adam) 
    • I'm going to tickle you!/Tickle daddy! 
    • I'm going to get you! (she runs away) 
    • do you want some? (the answer is always yes--she loves food) 
    • pick it up/go get that 
    • mommy help you? 
    • mer (mandarin word that means to bow---she bows) 
    • zai jian (waves goodbye) 
    • bye bye (waves goodbye) 
  • So, she is understanding a lot more (the things above are just what I can think of off the top of my head)--but not communicating in words yet. She does express what she wants by grunts/squeals/whines, babbling, and pointing. 
  • Above all, she is very focused and busy. She always has something to do, and if she wants to learn how to do something, she will do it. I guess that's the combination of being determined and observant working together. 

Fine Dining: 

  • Favorites still include steamed green beans, eggs, and shredded cheese. She has also found that chocolate, iced tea, and cake is good. Uh oh. 
  • Ate cake, blueberry coffee cake, ice cream, cheese cake and other yummies for the first time
  • Also ate sweet corn for the first time and enjoyed it! 


  • All I can say is, what a little soul in need of a Redeemer. Already exhibiting signs of the Fall, as she runs away to hide and do her dirty deeds of disobedience. Even today, I heard her run away--when I found her, she had snagged a box of markers and was attempting to draw on herself again. She knows something is 'no'---so she hides. Or, she throws an ugly fit. She's looking for where the boundaries lie, and it's a constant fight to be consistent. That was probably the hardest part of being on vacation in America--with so many loving care givers it's hard to strike a balance. Let's just say, she got away with a lot, and now she's experiencing reality as those boundaries are reinstated. Oof. I need patience, because it's tiring going over "don't open the cabinets" for the millionth time. 
  • I see her trying to figure out what we are doing before we eat our meals. Why are we closing our eyes and bowing our heads? Can't wait till she starts to understand. 


  • Babbles almost incessantly--especially when she is not busy focusing on a task or observing an action. I love her babbling! Lots of different sounds and combination coming forth these days and she experiments with phrasing. 
  • Says, 'mama' and 'dada', and maybe something akin to 'baby' (bay-bah) 
  • Can scream really, really, really, really loud
  • Although I look forward to the day when her jabbering transforms into actual words and phrases, I will miss her little baby voice. It is the sweetest thing to hear, and I get to hear it all day long! :) 


  • Sesame Street 
  • iPad, touch screen phones, technology, remotes, lap tops 
  • Important things such as passports (ah!), money, wallets, credit cards, breakables, and other valuables like jewelry and techy stuff. 
  • Dogs and cats, which are probably the same thing in her mind since she does the panting-scrunching-up-her-nose-thing for both of them. 
  • Sweets (trying to limit these things, but she is cunning) 
  • Attention 


  • Mashed potatoes 
  • Car Seats 
  • Being hot 
  • Flying 
  • Napping 
  • Taking baths (not again! grrr...) 

New Adventures: 

  • Went to Lincoln Park Zoo 
  • Took tractor, four-wheeler, and gator/rhino rides 
  • Kissed a dog 
  • Experienced a kiddie pool 

Past Times and Entertainment: 

  • Making messes
  • Being silly 
  • Playing outside 
  • Going for walks 
  • Meeting new people 


  • Chasing her shadow when the sun was setting 
  • Dancing in the tractor cab during her first ride 
  • Yelling as the plane took off, her voice getting louder and higher in pitch as the plane rose in elevation. Too funny! 
  • Being obsessed with the dogs! She would make the panting sound the second I took her out of her crib in the morning. She would stand by the sliding door trying to catch a glimpse of them---she was determined! 
  • Playing with ice cubes until they melted 
  • Chasing a sea gull, relentlessly--and without fear

Schedule (when not impeded by jet lag): 

  • 6 or 6:30.......wake-up 
  • nurse, change diaper, play 
  • eat breakfast of cereal, fruit, and yogurt 
  • 9 or 9:30.....morning nap 
  • 10:30 or 11....wake-up 
  • nurse, change diaper, play 
  • play outside, go for a walk, or talk on skype 
  • errands or chores with mom 
  • eat lunch of left overs or something simple 
  • 1:00 or 2:00.....afternoon nap 
  • 3:00 or 3:30.....wake up 
  • nurse, change diaper, play 
  • 6:00....dinner 
  • 7:00....bed time (jammies, brush teeth, maybe a bath, and nurse) 

Life Verse: 

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of teh Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers."
Psalm 1:1-3

Dear Willow,

 I can't believe that you've been around for one year! You've changed our lives so much, and I'm thankful for that fact every moment of every day. We can't imagine our lives without you anymore, and it's been an incredible privilege to watch you grow and learn. I can't believe how tall you are, how sweet and sensitive you are, and how silly you are becoming. You are a marvelous creation, made in the Image of our Rock and Redeemer. I hope for many blessings in your life and trust Him with all the rest. I pray that you would see Him in us, and that you would turn to Him at a young age. I also hope that you will forgive us when we make mistakes, knowing that we aren't perfect. We love you so much, but please know that there is Someone else who loves you so completely, unconditionally, and perfectly. When others fail you--yes, even your parents--He will not. I pray that you will never wither under trials, but that you will be like a tree planted by waters. Be refreshed.

your loving Momsy and Popsicle.

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