Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Glory days… Nicaragua 2012

It seems like we’re finally re-adjusting to life in the States, after having spent two weeks in Nica-Nica-ragua in May.  I’m not entirely sure why the re-entry transition seemed to be so tiring this time around– perhaps traveling with two small children while being pregnant with a third and chaperoning 22 college students on a service learning trip… perhaps having children that woke up around 5 AM daily in Nicaragua… perhaps thinking one day off before returning to work would be sufficient… perhaps coming home to super hot and humid weather… perhaps so many things! 

Regardless, the time was good, and our kids were in their glory! 

Here’s the evidence:

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Seb was fascinated by these worm-like creatures that curl up into a spiral when you try to touch them. 

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Hard at work with the big shovel! 

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Nap-time: chair hammock style! 

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Getting an early start on political education (note: Sandino on the left; Ortega on the right… for those of you for whom that means anything!).

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End of the day routine – everyone asleep on the bus!

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At the top of Volcan Mombacho, with Las Isletas in the background… Maya’s first visit to a volcano!

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Family shot!

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A whole big pile of sand! 

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A ride on the horse-drawn cart!

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Tuckered out after a long day… Baby and mommy, too!

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Driving the big school bus on his 3rd birthday!

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Birthday cakes – Seb’s choices from the local bakery: Clifford the Big Red Dog and the “blue dog!” :)

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Our team – a fantastic group of college students from Allegheny College!  They were all such a wonderful help with our kids!

Sometimes in the midst of the hot, sweaty, tired, “wish I had a decent mattress and shower” mood, it was all too simple to question whether we had made the right decision in signing up for this trip, but… in the end, we’re so glad we could participate in the experience for the college students and the people of Chacocente (where we served) and that we could give this gift to our children.  We certainly hope that they will have many more opportunities to serve locally and globally on an on-going basis… and of course eat lots of gallo pinto, cuajada, tortillas, crema, etc.! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Our Cuties

Just some great photos of our kids for you to enjoy... They were both helping Daddy rake leaves in our backyard!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Eastern Shore – Maya meets the ocean

I have been trying to be a bit more intentional about taking time off from work, rather than hoarding all of my vacation time and using it in one lump for a maternity leave.  Whether we have more children in the future or not is irrelevant…I need to take time away from that which consumes me.  While I love my job, my boss said it best… “I’d like a little less of it.”  I have a tendency to work and work and work.  It’s something I struggle with personally, and not something I’m proud of.  Tim has less vacation time than me, and we have somewhat different ideas of what to do on vacation days (travel to a beautiful, restful (warm) place vs. work on the long and never-ending list of house projects/remodeling).  It always seems like so much work to get ready to go away, and packing for overnight trips for two little munchkins involves a spreadsheet to make sure we have all of our bases covered.  However, once we’re away and have the chance to relax, it seems so very worth it.

All that being said, we had an excursion several weeks ago to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to visit with some friends.  We had a great time!  There was no alarm (electronic, that is, cuz there certainly were other things waking us up), no pager, no e-mail, computer, charts… Just a lot of corn fields, the ocean and beach, good food, a heat index in the 130 range, a sprinkler and air conditioning to make that tolerable, good friends, more trucks and cars than Sebastian had ever seen in his life, chickens and a hamster, and crab imperial and ice cream – what more could you want?  Well, I’d take the temperature to be a little more manageable, but otherwise no changes! 

Big dump trucks and a wagon: IMG_8300Maya meets the ocean: IMG_8311Happy girl, Maya:IMG_8364 Sebastian was in his glory – biggest Tonka truck ever! IMG_8307 All four kiddos together, and yes, that’s Maya in the shopping cart!IMG_8359We stopped briefly on our way home for a little more beach time, and we came across a lovely, small and very quiet community called Prime Hook Beach.  We’d love to return some day and stay more than an hour or two!  It reminded us of the Outer Banks, and the whole time we were there, there was only one other mom and her daughter playing on the beach… and lucky for us, they shared their beach toys with Sebbie!

Daddy and Maya have the same hair-do! IMG_8374A lesson in crab anatomy on the beach: IMG_8384Baby’s first feel of ocean sand on her little tootsies :) IMG_8386 Whee!  IMG_8410 Look, Daddy! IMG_8443Pure delight for this little two year old!  IMG_8433Our time away seemed to pass much too fast, but we’re thankful for the moments that allow us to reconnect, to ground ourselves and to enjoy our precious family… til the next time!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


It’s been four months since I posted a real post on my blog, people.  Four months!  Granted, I had a baby (and have a 2 year old), we totally remodeled our third floor, adding a bathroom and turning an attic into a great bedroom for the au pair – live-in nanny – we welcomed into our home 2 weeks before I returned to work, we both continue to work full-time plus, the projects at home never end, we’ve taken a couple of weekend excursions, and the weekends we haven’t been out of town, I’ve been working…We always seem to burn the candle at both ends… so blogging has taken a back burner.  Not because that’s what I want or desire, but simply because it’s just how life goes these days.  So now, instead of finishing up my charts, going to bed, sorting through the mail, working on many unfinished tasks for work or cleaning bathrooms, I’m taking a few minutes to post a few pictures of my lovies.  Enjoy!  And I commit to trying to do a better job of posting more, cuz I know you’re pic-hungry for photos of my kiddos!

Sebastian exploring the front yard, fully protected with his gear (May 23, 2011)IMG_8260 Sebastian enjoying a birthday cupcake with Aunt Jill, while little Maya looks on (May 24, 2011) .  How in the world did my lil’ guy arrive at his 2nd birthday?!IMG_8262Sebbie doing cranio-sacral therapy on his daddy, who was having a bad headache day (May 31, 2011)!IMG_8278Maya in the heirloom Johnsen baby basket (June 2, 2011) – having since been passed on to the next Johnsen cuz awaiting a baby (we passed on the basket, not the baby!):  Iphone 009Maya’s 1st day in the Bumbo at 3 1/2 months, just after she started rolling over… (June 22, 2011) – notice fancy photo-editing tool, just another app on my iPhone!: Iphone 057  Summer fun in the pool at Grandma Judy’s house (July 4, 2011):  IMG_8286IMG_8288 Big girl Maya on the play mat (July 4, 2011)! IMG_8291 All for now… there’s so much more to tell – Seb’s 2nd b-day party, our trip to NYC, Maya’s well child checks (and Seb’s as well), the new tricycle, a trip to the Eastern Shore (and to the beach), hiking, and much, much more!  But the clock is ticking and this mama doesn’t like to live by an alarm, but now she has two – Miss Maya and my new iPhone (yes, I made the switch, and I’m in LOVE)! 

XOXO – more later! 

- Kirsten for the JM fam

Maya Dedicated

A blast from the past… Here’s a review from Maya’s dedication, which occurred Sunday, May 15th, 2011, when Maya was about 9 weeks old.  We were so grateful to have many family and friends in attendance for the service, and then several who joined us at our home for refreshments and fellowship afterwards!  Thank you so much to all who walk the journey with us – we are so appreciative of your love and care for us as a family.  We are blessed, and we know our children are too, by your presence in our lives.


We shared a letter that we had written to Maya with our church family:

Dear Maya Hope,

Today we stand before our family, friends & church community to publicly make a commitment to raise you in a way that honors and pleases God. Our love for you is great, and yet we realize that we are only human, and we need God’s helping hand to bring you up in this world. We also recognize that we are abundantly blessed to have the love, support & guidance of many who surround us today. These people are very special, and we want you to know, love & appreciate them as we do.

We're so thankful for you and for the opportunity to be your parents. We know that your life is an opportunity from God and an inspiration to let Christ shine through us by being even more intentional in our pursuit of holiness and the presence of God in our home and in this world. This truly is an occasion to reflect on God’s goodness and to celebrate.

Your birth was strikingly different than your brother’s – thank you! After having a c-section to deliver Sebastian, I desired so much not to have another c-section and was fearful that history may repeat itself. However, you were welcomed into this world without needing surgery. We know that God’s protection was over me while I was in labor, and we are so incredibly thankful for the best labor team around – they were amazing and made all the difference in your arrival!

Maya means “great one.” We have taken the liberty of modifying the meaning of your name, Maya Hope, to “one of great hope.” Your entry into this world represented that for us, and we believe your life will draw others to the One of great hope.

Your big brother loves and adores you. We’re sure he’ll have much to teach you as you grow older. He’s already become an expert in trucks and puzzles. It has been so fun to observe Sebastian’s developing personality – he has such a loving and outgoing spirit. We look forward to watching you blossom into the person God intended you to be as well. We already see your bright and joyful spirit in your smiles and laughs and the sparkle in your eyes.

Again, our hearts swell with love and joy. Our prayer is that we be faithful to the call to rise up and serve as your earthly parents, nurturing you in love and truth, so that you may grow to know of your heavenly Father in a personal and special way, and that you would develop a heart for peace, justice, human rights and service to all of God’s people. We love you Maya Hope!

IMG_8202Some more shots of the special day…folks we love mucho, and who love us too!  IMG_8185IMG_8190IMG_8192

Monday, May 2, 2011

The official announcement…

Finally got Maya’s birth announcements done and printed!

Maya's birth announcement_edited-1

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Happy Easter!   IMG_8089Tim has suggested that if we do any kind of Easter gifts for our children, that they be “resurrected” things.  We started the tradition this year right on track.  As I have grown accustomed to (and more comfortable with) my husband’s tendencies to go trash-digging over the years, I have also become rather fond of consignment shops and sales.  It’s a good blend for the two of us.  I had been saying that I wanted to make Seb a sandbox this year.  I was thinking wood, nails, hammer, etc.  Meanwhile, Tim found this turtle-shaped sandbox in the neighbor’s trash – they were cleaning out their house as they sold it and moved a few weeks ago.  Free!  And no building involved.  ;) I cleaned it up a bit, found the perfect spot in our yard for it, got some sand (that stuff is heavy!), and scored a great dump truck at the consignment shop for $1.00.  IMG_8083While Seb was sleeping yesterday afternoon, we fixed it all up and placed the truck on top of the sandbox lid.  Upon awakening, he looked out of his window and began to exclaim “Truck! Truck!”  When he was informed that the truck was sitting on top of a sandbox, it was pure delight!  He just couldn’t get outside fast enough!  IMG_8090IMG_8096

IMG_8098IMG_8102 Had it not been dinner-time, the Easter surprise would have created hours and hours of playing and fun.  Thank goodness I was serving up Sebastian’s favorite dinner – pizza – which was just enough to convince him to come inside! 

May you rejoice in and celebrate the resurrected Life!  (And celebrate the resurrected toys too!)

To go along with his new red boots…

As the April showers kept coming, I decided it was time for Sebbie to have a raincoat to go along with his new red rain boots.  I picked up this yellow raincoat for the happy munchkin at my favorite consignment shop, Miracles (which, yes, I am addicted to).  IMG_8079Sebastian couldn’t have been more excited!  The raincoat has school buses, trucks, cars and road signs on it.  Rain or no rain, inside or out, he’s thrilled to wear the coat whenever he can!IMG_8076And there he is playing with his current favorite toy – a puzzle called “ready, steady, tow!”  A friend from church gave him this as a big brother gift, and I’m quite certain not a day has gone by when he hasn’t put the puzzle together at least half a dozen times.  Oh, except for the day he lost his puzzle privileges for a day – that was a very sad day in our house! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Four weeks with Maya

 Maya at 4 wks

The many faces of our four week old baby girl!  It’s hard to believe she’s actually 7 weeks old today, and these photos were taken 3 weeks ago!  She continues to change and grow each day.  As you can see, she had started to smile responsively by the time she was four weeks old.  She’s a very good baby, and makes her parents quite proud (and EXTREMELY happy!) as she has been sleeping through the night fairly consistently since she as about one week old.  No complaints here!  We waited for Seb to honor us in such a way ‘til he was 9 months old! 

We visited Dr. Donna for her one month well child check, and as is the tradition in the JM household, here’s her photo:

IMG_7960She weighed in at 9 lbs, 7.4 ozs, and her length was 22 1/2 inches.  Growing, growing! 

She’s loved by all… especially her big brother, who always wants to kiss her, hold her, and give her a nuk!

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