Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Amazing Man

John usually has the camera, but sometimes I remember to grab it. I finally have some pictures of him. These are from our Sunday afternoon trip up "Le Saleve," the mountain we can see from our livingroom. Thank you, John, for taking me to the mountaintop!

John is a wonder in my life, and with him, I feel wonderful!

I so appreciate all that John is and does: connecting with his family from the heart, accepting all the silly things I do and encouraging me to follow my heart, going to work each day to consistently provide our creature comforts, following his passions, being adventurous, skipping with me, being my rock and still managing to roll with me....

Oh, and he's a gamer and a technology geek, which I absolutely love, because I have no clue. This also reminds me of how John has contributed to my growth around media (TV, internet, video games, etc....), and has helped me to let go of old ideas about their value in our lives. And that brings me again to unschooling and what a great partner John is in this unschooling journey. He is so open and trusting of the life process of following one's passions, knowing that they will lead us to our best possible place. So that wraps up my big shout-out to my wonderful husband, John.
Go John! You rock Humanity!
I love you!
Jolene =)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Having Fun!

Okay, I'm getting lazy and just posting photos without a lot of insight into myself... but I just want everyone to see my beautiful children! And besides, we're having lots of fun and I don't have time to write much or think long on that writing, either. I do have a mini list of post ideas, though, so be prepared for more!

"Thanks so much, Mom, for this great basket to play with! And thanks for dumping out all those useless toys!"
Joran created "Tech Knight" by combining a few costumes here.

Jasmijn can stand up with her own strength... but needs some help balancing.

Coffee and ice cream in Neuchatel. (My coffee, not Joran's.)

Enjoying the sunny lakeside.

This is just cute!

Jolene =)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bath Time

Uh-oh, what was that noise I heard in the bathroom? I'd better go check on Joran. Turns out he was emptying the bottle of bubble bath into the tub. "Okay, bathtime!" I exclaimed. He ran off giggling, squealing with delight! He usually resists a bath, but this time, he came back and jumped right into the tub of bubbles, so pleased with his criminal exploits. I guess it's worth a few bucks to get him to take a bath once in a while.

He even let me put oil in his hair and comb out the yucky scalp build-up. Yeah, it was pretty gross.

I love this boy!
Live well!
Jolene =)

Oma and Opa

This is Oma...

And this is Opa. He's been working out.

They have 8 sons in Gouda, The Netherlands. I married the one who doesn't like cheese.


Joran was busy painting the inside of this cup when he stated to me, "Look Mom, I'm creating a galaxy." Sure enough, if you hold it up to the light, the holes that the bubbles make look like stars. Joran is fascinated with aliens, planets, stars, galaxies and such things of the Universe right now.

Joran's party mix. There are almonds and granola underneath. This was totally his own creation from things he got out of the pantry. It was delicious!

Joran's Camp. Boys only! He pulled together a few toys, a Batman cape for his "bed," more food from the pantry, party favors, and extra clothes just in case. I found John hiding out with him later in the evening... blowing party horns and eating pretzels.

Train Museum

There were so many great photos in April, and I just had to post some more of them before moving on. Joran was rocking Jasmijn here and she was really giggling a lot.

We went to this fun outdoor train museum on the east end of Lac Leman/Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

Here I am acting goofy to entertain Joran and John.

And less goofy saying "Hi!"

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I wrote this to one of my online groups the same day that I posted my last entry here. I thought it would make a good tag-along to my last blog entry.

I was listening to Scott Noelle (a parenting coach from The Pacific Northwest) and thinking about how our "shadows" show up in parenting. It's pretty easy to beat myself up for those shadows, but ironically, it's embracing and appreciating the shadow that gives it a home so it doesn't end up as my children's baggage.

I find that recognizing those shadows as survival techniques from my childhood, and knowing that they served me then, really makes me feel good about them. I also see how the more aggressive shadows help me as an adult to stand up for myself instead of playing into the meek, victimy, gotta-be-a-good-girl shadows. All of the shadows are skills that I've developed and they have served a purpose at one time or another. It is good to acknowledge that and then go on to releasing them, knowing I do not need them to protect myself from my children.... Duh!

It's just like trying to use a hammer on a screw. The shadow is the hammer, a very useful tool, but useless and damaging when used in the wrong way. I hope I have the wisdom and courage and stillness within to use these thoughts when I need them next.

Jolene =)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not So Good Moments

This blog is pretty joyful. I'm pretty joyful most of the time. But of course, there's more to life than always feeling happy and things going great.

Like right now, for example. I'm feeling pretty down in the dumps about not getting what I need or want. I find that living with a young one can be very straining. I mean really, they're incapable of reason, at least in the way adults expect reason. The whole world revolves around them and consideration for others rarely happens. At least that's the way it feels, and remaining understanding of their abilities and inabilities becomes more and more stressful.

I like to think there are ways for everyone in the family to get what they need. I like to look for the win/win scenarios. I like to find the "yes" to every demand. But then there are many moments when I feel overwhelmed by this high ideal and just feel like a fish out of water. Flop, flop. Gasp, gasp!

I try to be honest with Joran in these moments and tell him how I absolutely need a time-out for myself. Wonderfully, he often understands. Unfortunately, there are times when I can't even make this level-headed request and I end up growling or glaring at Joran (like today), and he gets the message that I need a time-out without any words from me.

This blog is a wonderful place to remind me of the happier moments and now maybe even a place to vent a little on those dumpy moments, too.

I think I'll go back and give him a hug and say thanks for a bit of space and quiet time and get on with the day.

Live well!
Jolene =)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What is unschooling?

Unschooling is a completely bizarre concept for many people on this earth. Most freedom-loving Americans haven't even heard of it, either. I mean, homeschooling only gained recognition as a respectable way to educate children a decade or two ago. But no traditional schooling as we have known it for the last century? That's too radical!

Not really, what it boils down to for me is that I intimately know my children, and I am able to assist their learning in the way that best suits them. This is not a method, there is no curriculum, there are no set answers or texts to follow... we love it! We live in "Real Life" full-time. I love that it is simultaneously simple and challenging! I love that it keeps me growing! I love the capacity for joy within it!

I rejoice that I can raise my children in such freedom!


"Our separation of eachother is an optical illusion of consciousness." Einstein

(I had to throw in this photo of Joran and I when he was 18 months old. No connection.)