Janet Sumner Johnson
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2019 Summer Bucket List


03, 2019 |

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The day after Labor Day. Whether school started earlier or not, this is pretty much the official day of the end of summer. Pools close. Weather starts to change (we hope!). Free weekends are a thing of the past.


But happily, memories live on, so it is time to report on our 2019 Johnson Family Summer Bucket List. To be honest, things have gotten a little out of hand. We used to make a list with the intention of finishing every last thing. Now we make a super long list with the idea that we can find something to do when we’re bored.

Personally, considering how long our list was, I’m impressed we got through so much! And because I like numbers, here you are.

Number of items on our bucket list: 70

Number of items checked off: 42

Percentage of the list complete: 60%

Even better than numbers are pictures, so here are a few highlights:


Monster Pizza!! This was our kick-off activity. So. Much. Pizza. We definitely want to do this again . . . when we can drag along a few more people!

Here’s a two-fer: Go to Oregon. Play on the beach. And really, this beach was the site of many bucket list fulfillments. Go for a walk. Go on a picnic. Roast marshmallows/make s’mores. Visit cousins. Seriously, the beach is my favorite.

We went to Lagoon.

We went to Canada.

We ran a family 5K (even if I only have a picture of two of us). And actually we ran TWO family 5Ks, so kudos to us!

But alas, we had a few items on the list I lament not getting to:

My favorite bucket list item was going to the beach (and we did that a lot). Girlie says her favorite was going to Canada (so shout out to Aunt Becca for making that happen!).

Anyway, the point is, we had an awesome summer, and I love that our kids love doing the bucket list. And who knows? Maybe we’ll keep pecking away at this list over the  fall. That WOULD break the rules, but we Johnsons are known rule-breakers,* so it wouldn’t really be a shock, would it?

Tell me about your summer! What was your favorite thing you did this summer?

*hahaha! This is a lie, we are ridiculous rule-followers, and when I DO break a rule or two, my kids are horrified. HORRIFIED.

Speak up:



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This vs. That: Beach vs. Mountains


11, 2011 |

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I have been Slacker on getting to this post in part because I hoped more people would vote, and in part, I was pulling a Donkey and enjoying the waffling with melty butter and hot drippy syrup . . . yummm . *wipes drool of her face and continues typing*

This was a surprisingly hard vote for me! So here are the results: 

Total votes: 18

Beach: 10 votes; 56%
Mountains: 8 votes; 44% 

While a few of you expressed love for your reject, and one of you did suggest mountains NEXT to the beach (after voting, so I didn’t count a ‘both’ vote), most people were surprisingly sure of themselves.

And of course, I could have decided to split the vote 50/50, because after all, I grew up among the mountains, and I consider them to be my old friends. In fact, I miss them terribly and have considered starting a petition to rename the grossly misnamed Appalachians.

Hills, people. They are definitely HILLS.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. When I vacation, do I dream of packing up my tent and enduring the hard ground of a mosquito-infested campsite? No, I do not. So of course, my vote had to go to the beach. But I agree with Missed Periods. I’ll take the 75 degree weather and crystal clear water, please. 🙂

Okay, now on to the next debate:

(And don’t even try to claim you don’t love them both!)!

Speak up:



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This vs. That: Star Wars vs. Star Trek


23, 2011 |

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I’m a little leary of a backlash by enraged fans after posting the results of this one, but since I’m a risk taker, I’ll go for it.

First though, I have to admit, the voting surprised me this time around. And apparently, this is a burning question to many folks out there in cyberspace. It was like a double contest: first in the voting, and second in the searches used to find the post. Did they search using STAR WARS vs. Star Trek, or STAR TREK vs. Star Wars?

Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Here are the results:

Total votes: 21

Star Wars: 9 votes; 43%
Star Trek: 6 votes; 29%
Neither: 3 votes; 14%
Impossible to choose: 2 votes; 9%
Need more info: 1 vote; 5%

And, because I know you’re all dying to know, here’s the second unofficial contest from the searches:
Star Wars vs. Star Trek: 9
Star Trek vs. Star Wars: 9

Yup, exactly equal as of the writing of this post. Fascinating.

[UPDATE: Star Trek surged into the lead with 12 searches as of this morning!]

Perhaps my fandom totally blinded me on this one, but I really thought Star Wars would be the obvious choice (except, of course for you, Vicki!). So yes, I voted Star Wars. Lets just say that even my two-year old knows who Anakin is, and insists on finding a Star Wars book to check out of the library whenever we go. And she’s a girl. (Not that that SHOULD have anything to do with it, but *ahem* there we are).

So, now that I’ve enraged a bunch of people (I’m sure), on to the next debate:


Speak up:



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GPS-ing Our Plots


27, 2010 |

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Last weekend I went to the beach with my kids. I’d never been there, but I looked it up on-line, plus I got an address to enter into my handy, dandy GPS.

Fortunately I had google-mapped it, because the GPS wanted me to go straight through DC (which EVERYONE knows you avoid if you can). I went around.

But on the way home, I was in no rush. The kids had a movie going, so I thought, why not? Let’s see where the GPS takes me.


A path I NEVER would have taken in a million years. Still, it got me home and it only took 15 extra minutes.

When I started my now-complete novel, I had a plan. The basic chapters laid out. It was to be a short, funny jaunt through fairydom. Apparently my internal GPS had a different idea. All kinds of elements and subplots snuck in there, and the book went a different direction than I had planned.

Was that a bad thing? I don’t think so. Was my first plot-line terrible? I don’t think so either.

That’s what’s so great about writing. Our books can go so many different directions, and it’s all up to us.

How do you decide where to go with a book?

Speak up:



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A Day at the Beach


14, 2009 |

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Let’s go to the beach! We’d been told it took 3.5 hours to get there, which sounded like a reasonable day-trip.

No one mentioned traffic.
We left at 9:30 am and arrived at 3:30 pm. We seriously considered turning around before we got there. But in the end, we’re glad we didn’t. We have two future beach bums on our hands.

On the boardwalk . . . [let song filter through your head]

First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The boys had a great time burying daddy. Did daddy mind? As London would say, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It was his idea.

Rick and I had a great time, too.

Khyah even seemed to love it.

London and Brandt tried so hard to make a sand castle. London brought bucketfuls of “gravity” from the surf just for the job.

London loved sitting in the water, and letting the waves throw him back.

Brandt didn’t like going in very far, but found the moving water fascinating. Usually he would run back when a wave hit, with a big grin on his face.

Speak up: