Sunday, December 30, 2007

salt 'n' pepa's here!

isaac got these itty bitty salt & pepper shakers for christmas. let me explain...
while in san diego this summer, the kids stayed w/ g'ma & g'pa in the hotel while the rest of us went to nate's show. they ordered room service & what do you think was on the tray that got isaac's attention? you got it!
so, g'pa thought it would be fun to get a set for isaac for christmas. i thought so too...
until i have had to make him an EGG every morning for breakfast! :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

isn't she lovely...

isn't she wonderful...
isn't she precious...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

welcome to the family...

She's finally arrived!
After spending all day at the hospital, my sister-in-law DeeAnn finally gave birth! Lulu is now known as:
Lilia Ann Johnson
born December 25th
9:47 PM central time
7 lbs. 4 oz.
What a great Christmas gift!!!
more info to follow...


merry christmas to all! the pictures of the kids are from a few weeks ago. they were definitely not from today because we stayed in our pajamas ALL DAY LONG! we had a great, obviously relaxing day. we leave you with some holiday music from our musicians...

christmas eve

what a busy day we had ~ up early, to the gym, went for a walk, i cleaned up the house while dennis washed vehicles, got meals ready ( for us & for the nursery workers at the church), showered, etc., went to the early service where isaac sang (downloaded on youtube if you would like to see him), stayed for the following candlelight service, went to kelcey & allan's house for their christmas eve party, home to eat, & then FINALLY open presents!

view the video of isaac below to see how excited he was this evening. sorry it's sideways...haven't figured out how to change that when i've recorded that way.

lauryn had fun, too!

merry christmas to all & to all a goodnight...

santa & mrs. claus are wiped out!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

in the spirit of christmas...

the following story was sent to us from my mom through e-mail today & takes place in ND:
We had a most touching Christmas experience today. It's one that is hard to put into words. We started out as heroes and ended up with the biggest blessing of all!
We went out to Wal-Mart and on our way home we saw a couple /plus 3 others ahead of them (it was very windy & cold this morning) .They were walking along the rode side near the airport, pulling suitcases. Assuming they'd flown into Williston and didn't know there is taxi service or couldn't afford it-we stopped to give them a ride. They were walking to the train depot, which would have been about a 3-4 mile hike! It turned out they were 5 Chinese college students in an exchange program with Dickinson State who are on Christmas break and planning a 15 day Amtrak tour to Chicago, New York, Niagara Falls & points beyond. They'd come to Williston the night before and had a problem with their ticket bookings online so had stayed at a hotel ( one without shuttle service. ) We drove them to the depot at around noon and found out the train didn't depart until 7 PM-so they came home with us for the afternoon as our house guests! We fed them, visited with them and found out about their country and lives. They had many questions of us and asked if we were Christians! As we shared about Christmas and our beliefs, we began to see that we were the ones blessed by the events of the day :) God does work in mysterious ways!
May he bless you this holiday season too!
Love to you all,
LeNae & Gary
isn't this an amazing story? i told my parents that it almost sounds like a movie. it's such a heart-warming story. to this day, i still learn from them ~ how to treat others with love & kindness and to share what you have with others. mom neglected to tell you that she played christmas carols on the piano & sang ~ they knew some of the songs to sing along. my aunt & uncle live in dickinson where these students are going to college. their future plans include going to dickinson & having the students over to my aunt & uncle's house for a meal. even though i say this is in the spirit of christmas, for those of you who know my parents, the spirit of christmas lasts the whole year long!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

back in the day

ok everyone, prepare yourselves for a trip back to the '70's! my brother nate put these photos on his web album the other day & i've had so much fun looking at them that i decided i had to blog them. below each photo are the comments we made on the web album ~ from myself, nate, dennis, & dee. have fun! i sure did!

Looks like a very content dude! ~ nate

isaac had no idea who this was....yeah, you look pretty cool ~ jen

looks like the calm before the storm ~ dennis
LOOK at that Blond hair, and in this pic his eyes look brown... Looks like someone else! ~ dee
“Hey ma! Look at my feet.” ~ nate
i loved those slippers! totally forgot all about them til now. :) ~ jen
looks so sweet and quiet... ~ dennis
I like the Pig Tails, I loved Pig Tails! ~ dee

Jen I think you've got something on your face. On your nose and a little around the mouth area. Other than that you're good. Maybe a little on your cheek. Don't worry mom will never suspect a thing. I think we're golden. ~ nate
this one always makes me laugh! wish i would let my kids get this dirty sometime... ~ jen
our kids would hate to be that dirty...never seen nate so happy! ~ dennis
I still look like this after a day of baking.... ~ dee

All these open benches and you have to sit next to me. I don't get it. ~ nate
look at the hat w/ the built-in sunglasses! mom & dad always had a knack for getting us something no one else ever had. what is up w/ our matching outfits??? ~ jen
anyone with hats like that get private rides. ~ dennis
I love this photo just for those ladies in the background. The woman with the cuffed paints looks like she's about to lay down some smack. And the lady immediately to her right isn't having it. Look at those crossed arms. ~ nate
LOL! It looks like you finished your popcorn and turned the bowls over on your heads! ~ dee

Is she wearing the same outfit I am? I this is ridiculous. How many people live in Newburg and we both show-up for xmas wearing the same outfit. How embarrassing. ~ nate
yeah, it's almost like the schepp boys showing up to church on christmas eve in their identical outfits!omg, we were pretty cute! ~ jen
we could recreate this photo...the next generation, jen has the isaac tongue in cheek smile kinda :) ~ dennis
This photo reminds me of Lauryn. ~ nate
I think you two should dress up in the same outfits again for the next family photo we all take. C'mon, it'll be fun! ~ dee

Monday, December 17, 2007


today we finally got some answers to why maxie has been having skin problems for the last year. it started last fall when i noticed some scabs on her back. we've been doctoring with her ever since. i'd take her to the vet, they'd do some tests & she'd get antibiotics. each round lasted about 6 weeks with me having to give her meds everyday & TRY to get a medicated bath in once a week or so. then the spots would disappear, only to reappear about 4 months later. so we've gone through this cycle 4-5 times since it all started. when the spots returned a few weeks ago, we finally decided it was time to spring for the BIG test ~ the HESKA allergy test. well, like i said, today we finally got some answers. anything with EA units of 150 or higher is considered a significant allergen. here is her list of allergies:

FOOD: wheat grain~168 barley~1472

TREES: red cedar~574 palm~383 sycamore~229 juniper~204 olive~145

WEEDS: yellow dock~2619 marsh elder~1280 cocklebur~1042 russian thistle~970 english plantain~495 carelessweed~312 ragweed, western/slender~308 sagebrush~225 ragweed, false~219 ragweed,short~186

GRASSES: red top grass~3883 perennial rye grass~3791 meadow fescue~3756 johnsongrass~3163 bluegrass, june~3012 brome, smooth~2890 orchard grass~2879 timothy grass~1621

ENVIRONMENT: cockroach~271 d. pteronyssinus~175 d. farinae~156

did you catch all of that? don't imagine you all wanted to read every detail of her allergies, but thought it would get the point across. the vet said it's the worst case of allergies he's seen with this test. because her numbers were so exaggerated & there were so many different allergies, he consulted maxie's dermatologist (yes, she has a dermatologist~i don't even have one) & they have decided we'll go with a hypoallergenic food to start with & some more antibiotics & go from there.

at least she isn't really affected by the allergies other than her skin. it never appears to even bother her~she doesn't scratch at it or anything. since we live in las vegas, it's quite common to not have grass (which we don't) so that is good. also, no more food scraps AT ALL!!!

if you're a pet lover (even if you're not, we LOVE maxie~she's our first "kid") we'd appreciate it if you have room in your heart to pray for her.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

goodnight sweethearts

thanks to g'ma & g'pa johnson, christmas came 10 days early for the allen kids. isaac got to help pick out a new bed for his room & it was finally delivered yesterday morning. the bomb shell was when the delivery man told us they don't assemble that bed, like we were TOLD in the store. we got that straightened out & after 5+ hours of work from dennis, isaac was ecstatic to climb atop his new bed! (lauryn to as you can see) there is plenty of storage space that we worked on filling up last night. also, the very bottom of the bed pulls out to reveal a trundle bed. the whole look of the new bed fits perfectly with isaac's sports themed room ~ which you can't really see. you have to come to our house to VISIT to get the full effect!

when lauryn inherited the queen size bed from isaac's room, we had no bedding appropriate for her. luckily her grandparents are right on top of things & sent her the set below. it's reversible & is so cute!

Monday, December 10, 2007

nate & dee's shower

saturday was nate & dee's baby shower. sad to say we missed it but were so happy that they shared pictures with us. they got a lot of great gifts & looks like they had a wonderful afternoon with their friends.
doesn't dee look great pregnant? she's got less than 2 weeks to go...yippee! we are so excited to see what lulu will look like & what her "real" name will be. oh, i just can't wait!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

like, it's totally 80's to the max!

ok, that's enough laughing!
now let me explain...
my friend kelcey had a surprise 40th b'day party for her husband & the theme was (obviously) the 80's. the invite told everyone to dress in their 80's gear. so we did our best with what we had & could find on short notice. (it wasn't short notice really, we just didn't get a chance to look for clothing until the day of the party!)
so we walk into the party & DON'T SEE ANYONE ELSE dressed like us! everyone else looks normal. well, there was one other couple & kelcey & her friend robin....the guy was dressed like tom cruise in risky business & his girlfriend looked straight out of flashdance. but kelcey looked darn cute in her outfit. it wasn't really 80's, it was all new clothes. me on the other hand, my shirt was directly from goodwill & kelcey commented that it was "the ugliest shirt i've ever seen!" thank you very much!
we had fun despite the majority of party poopers who didn't follow the directions on the invitation.

Friday, November 30, 2007

the "tell~all" of 7 random/weird facts about me...

tara tagged me for this...enjoy!

1. when recalling an event/incident from the past, my family can attest to the fact that i usually relate the event/incident to what i was wearing...

2. i love to eat cereal but can't stand for it to get soggy. i have to have the spoon right there ready to go so once the milk is poured i can get busy with it. :) hence, i'm a fast cereal eater!

3. when i buy a bag of licorice i open it & leave it for the licorice to harden a bit before i eat...i know, this is really weird.

4. i love to play board games & cards...we dont' get a chance to play very much these days. some of my favorites are: cranium, scene it, pinochle, hand & foot, the list goes on

5. this is a gross one, but...i am obsessed with blemishes - only mine or dennis'! ...i know most of you are saying "ewww" right now, but that's the truth!

6. when i make kraft mac & cheese, i put extra milk in it because i like it "soupy"

7. i record days of our lives & watch it every day! i've been watching it since i was a wee girl.

i tag jerolyn since n8 & dee have abandoned their blog :) & tara tagged me for this

Thursday, November 29, 2007

sleep walking?

a few weeks ago, we decided it was time for lauryn to no longer be sleeping in her crib. so we took the rail off to convert it to a toddler bed & the transition was great! she went to bed at night & down for her afternoon nap without getting out of bed. it was so easy! then about a week later, we moved the queen size bed into her room (isaac's waiting delivery of his new bed!) & same thing ~ pretty easy transition. once & awhile she'd get out of bed when she was just put down for nap time, but nothing major. then came yesterday...
lauryn kept getting out of bed during naptime, sometimes opening the door to come out of the room, sometimes just getting into her toys. not a big deal really, but i knew she was tired & we had plans for the evening so she really NEEDED a nap. i put her back in bed about 5 times, giving swats & stern warnings for her to stay in bed. dennis was home for lunch. i thought i'd finally gotten her down for the count when...
we hear a sound, we're a bit confused 'cause lauryn is sleeping, right? dennis says, "is that her pushing her stroller?" sure enough, she comes strollin' 'round the corner with her baby. as soon as she spots us looking at her she squeezes her eyes shut. now, all of you parents out there have experienced those times when you are disciplining your child & have to turn away because you are laughing or smiling at what they did. we had to work so hard at not letting her see our faces because she was in t-r-o-u-b-l-e. i finally got her to sleep after a few more rounds of getting out of bed.
later that night, dennis & i were recounting the incident from earlier in the day, & we discovered we had different takes on why lauryn squeezed her eyes shut when she saw us.
dennis thought she did it meaning "you can't see me" ~ thinking just because she couldn't see us, that we couldn't see her.
my thought is that she did it to show us "see, i'm sleeping like i'm supposed to be!"
either way, it gave us a good laugh! what do you think lauryn meant?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


i know i'm late with this post(s), but my parents were here for a few weeks. while they are here, i like to take advantage of every moment with them that i can get. plus, they are always a great help with all of the odd jobs that need to get done around here. mom is busy giving us haircuts (thanks!!) and always pulls out the sewing machine that i don't know how to use (but wish i did) to alter kids' clothing, etc. we always have plans to do things/go places but usually only get to do half of the things on our list. somehow we just run out of time. i am so THANKFUL for my parents! they are such a blessing to us, as is all of our family that we missed on thanksgiving. we had our traditional thanksgiving meal on my favorite holiday, & later that day, i took the kids & grandparents to lake las vegas. here are some pictures (&video) from our outing.

g'ma was great teaching isaac how to skate. me on the other hand, i needed her help too! :)

lauryn was too little to get in the rink so she & g'pa ate ice cream instead ~ i was starting to think that i should've done that instead, too.

it was our first visit to lake las vegas...what a nice place. chocolate!

Friday, November 9, 2007

post # 100!

my mother-in-law e-mailed this to us the other day. i thought it was so funny i just had to share it. read the little story before you look at the picture.
We had a "going away" party yesterday for a lady at our office. One of the supervisors called Wal-Mart and ordered the cake.
He told them to write: "Best Wishes Suzanne" and underneath that "We will miss you". As the picture shows, it didn't quite turn out right. It was too funny not to keep it.

also, lauryn had her 2 year well check today. when i told isaac that we had to take lauryn to the doctor he said, "why, to see if she's really 2?"

lauryn is doing great! she's weighed in at 21 1/2 lbs. she's met/passed many of the benchmarks that are set for her age. nice to hear as a mom!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

carhenge? never heard of it...


how many people can say that they've been to both carhenge & stonehenge?

well, dennis has & you can see for yourself that he's very excited about it! :)
(n8-that's for you)

ten years ago on our move to las vegas, we stopped in alliance, nebraska, to stay with dennis' uncle tim & aunt debbie & family. they suggested that we visit carhenge....since there's really nothing else to do there.

then on dennis' latest trip to wales, he was able to take in stonehenge. this is now in his own words...
My trip was good. After my last message from Cardiff, things didn't go exactly as planned. our equipment all worked right, but when we were going to leave the producer told us that the credentials were on the way and would be there in 20 minutes. He thought we should just wait so that we didn't have to worry about getting them the day of the fight. So, that 20 minutes turned in to over 2 hours of sitting around. By that time it was getting dark, and the Cardiff Castle was closed. That night Saul and I had a good meal at a local pub, I had"Fish and Chips" and Saul had "Steak a la Pie". His was actually asteak in a pie crust. We then walked around for a while and hit a few more pubs. We got back to the hotel at about 1 am. I kind of slept an hour at a time until it was time to get up at 7 and eat breakfastat at the hotel, then we walked to the train station. We took the train2 hours to Salisbury, then had to get on a bus for about 20 minutes to Stonehenge. We spent about 30 minutes walking around and listening to a little radio that gave you "information". Most of what it told you was that they don't know why or how the stones got there! Then we took the bus back to Salisbury where we had a nice walk though town and visited the Salisbury Cathedral. The highlight there was that we saw 1 of 4 remaining original copies of the Magna Charta. Then we were off for a little lunch before catching the train back. We tried to go into a few pubs, but they were really busy with some big soccer/football game on the tele. We found a nice little cafe that looked good and advertised some meals priced right including a steaksandwich. We all were excited to get the steak sandwich, but when I got up to order the man said they were out of steak. So alas, no"Salisbury Steak" for me. After lunch, we walked back to the train station and little did we know, but the fun was just beginning. There were some party people on the train heading to Cardiff, so napping was difficult. There was a group of young guys drinking and playing cards at a table and saying a lot of inappropriate things with kids sitting in the same car, and I noticed one snorting cocaine right off the table. Then we hit about our third stop and there is an announcement that the train has been terminated because the driver's shift was ending and his replacement was a no-show. After some confusion, we find another train and we are off to Cardiff again, only this train only makes 1 stop and it terminates also. What the F! We run to one train and get on then they say that train is going back to the yard we get off not knowing what to do, then there is an announcement of a train to Cardiff a few tracks away and there is a mad dash to that one and we had to stand for quite awhile before we finally get back to Cardiff. It was much later than we had planned for. The other 4 guys with us had to just go to the hotel and get their stuff and head right to the arena. Saul and I at least had the time to shower and change, then we headed over. The fight as I expected was excellent, real highlevel talent and action. The crowd was amazing and loud. 50,000 drunk people in a closed stadium, it gave you goose bumps. After the fight, we had just enough time to go back to the hotel, pack and head to the airport. Then the long journey home began. I did get some sleep on the way back, since I was awake for close to 24 hours straight. I made it home to my lovely family and I am very glad to be here. Well that was a lot of rambling!

for those of you who don't know, dennis was in wales to work for compubox. he & saul were both doing the punchstats for the mikkel kessler/joe calzaghe fight on hbo. here are some more photos from his trip.







Monday, November 5, 2007

birthday video

lauryn's reaction to getting her singing carebear was priceless! her favorite song is "if you're happy & you know it". we have to sing it pretty much every night before going to bed.

this video is funny....check out isaac at the end. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

happy birthday lauryn!

happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear lauryn, happy birthday to you! we can't believe our little biscuit is 2 years old already! lauryn, we are so blessed to have you in our family. you make us bring so much joy to our lives. we love you!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

alter egos

my friend jerolyn did this on her blog & it was so funny that i decided to do it too (i even stole her title)...although her names will be tough to beat!

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME:(first pet & current car)
Duchess Neon - I kinda like this one :)

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME:(fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Vanilla Oreo - this was the same as Jerolyn's

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME:(first initial of first name, first three letters of
your last name)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME:(favorite color, favorite animal)
Aqua Yorkshire

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME:(middle name, city where you were born)
LeNae Stanley

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME:(the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

7. SUPERHERO NAME:(”The” + your 2nd favorite color, your favorite drink)
The Pink Coke - this one sounds silly

8. NASCAR NAME:(the first names of your grandfathers)
LeVerne Loren

9. STRIPPER NAME:(the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent,
favorite candy) –
Candies Butterfinger - ewww!

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME:(mother’s & father’s middle names )
Joanne Alan - ok, not the greatest witness protection name for me when my last name is already Allen! :)

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Hanson Houston

12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Autumn Lily - this one is a really pretty name

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
~Raspberry Jeanie

14. HIPPIE NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Captain Crunch Oak

15. YOUR ROCK STAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”) –
The Reading Storm Tour- Don't you think that if my tour bus said this people would just think it was a giant bookmobile, they'd definitely not think that a famous rock star like Duchess Neon would be on the bus

celebrating halloween

the actual day of halloween was to be isaac's preschool celebration. but of course, that's not what happened & i didn't receive the flier that stated the celebration had been changed to the day before. so tuesday morning as lauryn, kaylee, & i were dropping off isaac at school, we noticed that all of the other kids were dressed in their costumes. i called dennis to have him dig out isaac's spider-man costume because i knew it would take too long to dress him up as bamm bamm at school when the class is only 90 min. long. i also told him to grab lauryn's puppy costume from last year & a bumble bee swimsuit cover so i could throw them on the girls. we raced home, got the costumes, made it back to the school & got the costumes on. the kids got to go trick-or-treating through the offices & the participating classrooms (his preschool is at a high school). then it was back to the classroom to enjoy snacks before heading home.

on halloween evening, my friend susan & i took the kids to the district (a shopping area). they had a good time, but there were TOO MANY PEOPLE!! didn't get any pictures since i sent the camera with dennis. he left for wales this morning & will be back on sunday evening. it was a late night. we got back to the house at 8:30, ate supper while isaac handed out some treats to the few kids who came to our door, then it was off to bed! i'm so glad halloween is over!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

b'day party

saturday was a busy day with soccer & birthday parties. the day started off early with isaac's soccer game where he really came out of his shell! he scored 2 goals too. :) the team he played against was his friend carson's team. i brought isaac over to carson's house late in the afternoon for his birthday party. but prior to that party was lauryn's.
we celebrated lauryn's birthday a week early since dennis will be out of town & returning the evening of her real birthday. we decided to have the party at our house which was a big deal since i don't think we've had that many people (20+ adults & kids) in our place. we thought the halloween theme would be the easiest thing to do & have the kids wear their costumes. the kids all looked so cute! i had every intention of getting a picture of all of the kids together, but...well, you know how that goes sometimes. here are the pictures from her big day!

making a wish!

yum yum yum yum yum ~ delicioso!

showing off her goodies

Friday, October 26, 2007

trunk or treat

last night was our church's annual trunk or treat celebration. the evening was full of carnival games, cookie decorating, raffles, bake sale, face painting, & CANDY!
every year there are about 25 vehicles all decked out with halloween decor & are parked in the parking lot. the kids then get to go from car to car to "trunk or treat" and get their candy. it's a lot of fun!

bamm bamm & pebbles

isaac & his friend elijah enjoying their cookies

lauryn hoopin' it up

THANKS TO DOLLY GRANDMAfor making the costumes ~ she put in a lot of work to get them done & sent to us on time so the kids could wear them for the occasion last night. they are adorable!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

bugged out!

more isaac-isms:

he calls this a COProach

he calls this a Mug

question for you: where is the coproach when you see a mug speeding down the highway?

Monday, October 22, 2007

bye kids!

here is an update on how potty training for lauryn is going. she's doing great!! it's been 10 days since the first time she tinkled in the potty chair. she has now gone up to 6 times a day. (HUGE smile on my face!) i don't have to fight with her to get her to go, just ask her & she's on board to try. most of the time she'd rather be on the big toilet with the blue's clues seat instead of using the potty chair. today, there is even more news to share because (drum roll please) ...
she dropped the kids off at the pool. :) :) :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

my friend al

this morning as i was bringing isaac to school, there was a car in front of me (not far from our house) w/ the license plate ALSBENZ. it made me think about how i always wanted a mercedes so the l.p. could read JNZBNZ....i'm still dreaming about that one. anyway, dropped off isaac & then had to drive to bring lunch to my wonderful husband. lauryn & i are almost home & are stopped at a red light. i realize that the car in front of me is ALSBENZ. isn't that weird??? it makes me wonder what goes on in the universe to cross paths with someone ~ again ~ that you don't even know. FREAK~Y!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

girls just wanna have fun

girls rule...
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

shout to the lord

i.a. sings his heart out
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Saturday, October 13, 2007

yippee-ki-yay lolo

lauryn looks rather cute here covered in chocolate pudding, wouldn't you agree? but looks can be deceiving...remember my post from yesterday "who's the boss"? in case you thought that was just an isolated incident, you're wrong. she gives me directives every day. today lauryn thought that she should be the one to clean herself up after this yummy mess was made. uh, yeah, i don't think so! i didn't agree to abide by her rules so she threw one of her royal fits. but i forgive HRH because....

yes, you guessed it! today she used her royal throne fo' real yo!