Merry Christmas 2008

We had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas here at home. We started the day with excited, happy kids eager to pour out their filled stockings and open the gifts under the tree. We had a breakfast fit for a king, played games, snuggled,read books, watched movies, and ate ate ate!

A baby! Anna named her Abby. :)

We had a yummy ham dinner and everyone helped make a special birthday cake for Jesus, this year the kids decided He needed a lemon cake. It is so fun to see how excited the kids are to celebrate His birthday. We lit candles, sang Happy Birthday, and ended the evening sharing how we each saw or felt really close to God this year. The responses included cake, sharing, praying after a scary dream, reading the Bible, traveling to another country, and ended with a precious thought: "I like to give Jesus hugs."

After dessert we all got in to our new Christmas jammies and played a few rounds of The Hungry Hippo (one of the greatest kids games of all times)

Merry Christmas everyone! We hope you had a special day!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Jesús! Gracias a Dios por enviar a su hijo a la tierra. ¡Te queremos!

A mi familia en 'Gracias a Dios'

Feliz Navidad a mi familia en Nicaragua! Gracias por mostrarme tu Dios da la esperanza, la alegría y la luz. Usted estará en mi corazón para siempre, y siempre en mis pensamientos. Me refiero a la celebración esta Navidad, usted y los desaparecidos. Amor, de su hermana americana xo

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve Everyone!

May your Christmas be filled with joy, meaning, hope, and love as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We are thinking of you all.

A fun picture with my handsome husband! :)

Oh Christmas Tree!

This year we went up to the snow to get our tree (little did we know that the snow would be covering our driveway two days later!) We had so much fun picking out a tree that was just right. After we cut down the tree, we warmed up with some hot chocolate and candy canes.

Hot Mama!

A couple weeks ago all of the Young Life leaders in the area met for a midnight match of broom hockey. This was the first time our Young Lives group joined the fun, and since our ministry is for teen parents, we dressed up as pregnant mama's. It was SO much fun, by far the latest that I have been up for quite a while, but worth it. Here are some fun pictures, Aaron was home sick that evening so these are just of me.
Yep...that's a pill box taped to my leg. :)

To Nicaragua!

My bags are packed: my ticket, passport, Deet, journal, boots,'s all there. I leave in seven hours to catch my flight, and I am so excited for this journey. I hope to give you all a quick update during my trip, I wll have a lot to share when I return. :)

Love to you all!
Jolene xoxo


"My hope for each of you is that you find your place in the world, because it is waiting for you to find it. May you discover your place and do what is good and honorable and just, and be battered but not broken. May you know and be known. May you find grace when you need it most, and reject bitterness when it is most tempting. Most of all, at the end of your journey, may you find peace." Tony Woodlief (a friend showed me this quote)

Once a month I meet with a group of four other amazing women to pray for our children. Between the five of us we have 15 beautiful children, soon to be 16. This time together has showed me so much about the power of prayer, fellowship and prayer with other women, and how important it is to pray for our children daily.

We have each taken a week day (mine is Tuesday) to pray for all of the children and the prayer requests brought by each of us. It is so comforting to know that every day of the week, other parents are praying for my children. Another great resource (also brought to my attention from a dear friend) is "31 Biblical Virtues to pray for your kids" it is a card with 31 prayers for every day of the month. (today the 5th is Self Control: "Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self controlled in all that they do." 1 Thess. 5:6)
You can order free cards by calling 1-800-366-7788 or going to

I am so thankful for my children, and the grace, patience, and tender heart of God to guide Aaron and I in their upbringing. I am also thankful for friends and family like you...'it takes a village.' :)

Proud to be an American

Last night for Election day we had a Red, White, and Blue dessert and the kids watched the votes come in with us. They really got in to watching the states turn Red or Blue! It was moving having our family together as we watched a new piece of history be formed, a piece that will change our country forever.

Although the candidate that we voted for did not win, Obama's acceptance speech was touching and stirred a renewed sense of pride to be in a country where anything can happen. It is unbelievable to me that just years ago African Americans and women were not allowed to vote, and on our ballots this year we had the choice to elect both as leadership in our country. It is time for a change, and I am honored to be alive to see it.
I am very proud to be an American!

SNL rap

I couldn't resist, this SNL skit was SO funny. Sarah Palin was such a great sport and so cute dancing on the side. Check it out. (you will have to scroll to the bottom of my blog and pause the music player)

Happy Halloween

We had a very full day of Halloween fun! We made Creepy Cupcakes and Bug Juice for part of our themed dinner. This was our fourth year of trick-or-treating at the Friendsview Manor, a retirement community here in Newberg. It was fun to have some of the employees and residents remember the kids and notice how much they had changed over the last year. After going to Friendsview, we went to a local neighborhood with some friends and went around one of the blocks. By 7:40 we were all exhausted and ready for our nice cozy beds! Ryan said, "Man, trick-or-treating makes me really sleepy..." :)

This year Ryan was an explorer, Tyler was a construction worker like Bob the Builder, and Anna was a ballerina. They were the cutest little trick-or-treaters. :) We are off to our cozy beds to rest now. Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Carving

We carved our Halloween pumpkins with the kids last night, they LOVED getting all messy in the slimy seeds. Tyler wanted a happy, smiley pumpkin. Ryan wanted a scary, spooky pumpkin and Anna wanted to put all the seeds back in the pumpkin. Ryan was emptying and Anna was filling. They were a pretty cute duo!

More to come after trick-or-treating! Happy Halloween!

A quiet day at home

Today Tyler woke up with the stomach flu, my sweet Tyler just wanted to stay in bed. Around lunch time I got him in a warm bath, fresh clean clothes, and back in bed to drink a little chicken broth. Too early. He fell asleep for three hours and awoke as my normal happy Tyler. Crazy how that happens.
We read some stories in his room: In This Snowy Place, Jamberry, and a chapter of Farmer Boy. Anna wanted to help read stories, cover him with blankets, and rub his head. She is such a little mommy at times and it is so sweet to watch her nurture her brothers.
After the stories, my own little farmer boy fell asleep. Since Ryan was still at school, Anna and I got to spend some time together snuggling, singing and painting.

After lunch and naps, Ryan came downstairs in a new outfit and said "Well mommy, I'm going to go hunting now." "Wow, you are all ready! What are you going to hunt for?" "Probably just a bear this time, we can make it into sausage and steaks." "Yum, that sounds great!' :) He is very interested in the woods and catching his own food right now. I am thinking he would love a trip to Mt. Hood, or even better, to the Rogue in Grants Pass. Nana and Papa would love to take him in their cool drift boat for fishing. :)

A quiet day at home is such a gift after a year of busyness. Lot's of good lessons learned. I am now craving simplicity.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday To My Handsome Husband!
We celebrated Aaron's birtday last week on the 22nd, with a party thrown by three sweet kids and lovely wife. ;) The kids and I had been planning for weeks: the presents, the party, the games, the food, the cards, and the oh-so-important balloons.

We decorated the house with streamers, balloons, Happy Birthday signs and pictures. The kids all helped me make two pumpkin pies, beef stroganoff, vegetables, and bread for the birthday meal. Anna learned very quickly to say 'pup pup pie sheeez' (pumpkin pie please) and the boys declared pie as their new favorite breakfast. (you've gotta have the leftovers for breakfast:)

Aaron came home from work to find us hiding with noisemakers to jump out and surprise him, shortly after, he opened his present, 5 weeks of guitar lessons, and a card that loudly played "I Feel Good" which Tyler wanted playing as background music for the evening. So cute!

We ate dinner and then turned out all the lights to sing happy birthday and watch daddy blow out the candles, everyone helped! It was fun to see the kids so excited to celebrate. :)
Happy Birthday to my best friend, soul mate, loving father, and amazing husband. I love you! xo


Ryan's first day of school this year was September 9th which is also his birthday. He was SO excited to go to school and turn five all in the same day. Since it was his "special day" he was in charge of the three S's: Snack, Show and Tell, and Story. The night before we made chocolate cupcakes with blue frosting and tropical fish, dolphin, and shark sprinkles with apple juice. For show and tell we brought in the kids' pet hermit crabs with fresh food for Ryan to feed them. he night before he wanted to practice talking about all of the interesting facts he wanted to share about his crabs. I asked Ryan what his favorite book was to share with his friends and he said (in a very big 5 year old voice) "Mommy, my favorite book is the Bible, that's what I am going to bring." I said "Ryan that is great, but maybe we should just choose one story out of the Bible to share." "Hey, I know...we can read about Simon and the fish while we eat our cupcakes with the fish on them!" Without planning too much we had the whole sea theme going with the fish cupcakes, Simon and the fish, and our hermit crabs! It was quite comical watching mommy carry in a plate of cupcakes, Anna (trying to eat a cupcake,) the hermit crabs hanging on by my pinky and a book under my arm. :) Teacher Loekie was so welcoming to all the children, and Ryan felt so special.

Here is Ryan at age 1, he still has that sweet smile. :)

After I picked Ryan and his best friend Corban up from school, we went to Corban's house to take him home. I let the kids get out and run around for a few minutes while Beth and I stood in the driveway talking. Ryan really likes to follow the rules, including always wearing a helmet, but for smoe reason he just hopped on to Corban's scooter (without a helmet) flew down the driveway, and crashed on some gravel. He slid under our car and hit his head badly enough to go to the Dr. for stitches. (Yes, this is still on his birthday, on his first day of school) Beth watched Anna and Tyler, while I took Ryan and Corban to the Dr., Corban was very sweet and wanted to hold his hand at the Dr. :) Aaron met us there, and the Dr. said that it was not wide but very deep, so they put a special purple glue (medical super glue) in the cut, put a band aide on it, and he was good to go. He was so brave the whole time!

After the Dr. visit, when went home to rest for a while. Ryan got to choose one friend to come with him for a birthday dinner, he asked Corban to come to Red Robin with us. They sang happy birthday to him and he got to have a birthday sundae.

Anna says "Where's my ice cream?" :)
We had a very full day, but Ryan still had a great birthday and thought his scar looked pretty cool. :)