Saturday, November 29, 2008

.26 Days.

Twenty-Six days. I can't hardly believe it. Thanksgiving was late this year, so now I am in hyper Christmas mode. We set up our tree and decorate the house as soon as we have Gobbled our last Thanskgiving bite! I want to enjoy it for as long as possible! I added my favorite Christmas songs to my blog, some are classic songs by some of my favs, others may be songs you have never heard. My favorite would have to be Silent Night by Enya, if you haven't heard it already, click on it and take a listen. This song always brings me to tears, I am not sure what language it is in, but her voice is like an angel, singing of the birth of Christ, on the most Silent of all Nights. Through all of the shopping and decorating, baking and eating, friends, family and fun, the reason for all of this joy and excitement is the birth of our Savior. I am forever thankful for that day, and for His atonement. And even though Santa is a big part of the holiday in our household, we know that CHRISTmas with Christ is even bigger. Enjoy the holiday and all the wonderful excitement it brings, and stop back by for a month full of happenings with the Jolly Holleys!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Feast for the Eyes and Ears

Last night I was fed a feast, a feast for the eyes!! How lucky am I, that on the same night I got to see both Harry Connick Jr, and Steve Young?? Yeah for me! I am normally not a Biggest Loser watcher, I am a fan of the show, but life has gotten in the way and I haven't watched this season, but last night was NFL night on BL and they had both Steve and Jerry Rice on the show. They made the contestants run all sorts of drills for prizes. Who needs prizes, being trained by those two is reward enough. I would have run across the country if they had asked!! And then, as if that wasn't enough to fill my cup, I was graced by Harry on David Letterman! Another show I am hardly ever awake for, but for the good graces of a bad dream from Ashy, I was up. Harry is so witty, his one liners kill me, I would jump off a cliff if Harry ask me to in a witty one liner sort of way, and then there is his voice, oh his lovely voice. He has put out another Holiday album, I have the other two, and will quickly buy this one as soon as I go to Target! I love that big band feel, and the voice behind that laughable smile. So thank you TV Gods, you really did me a favor last night, and my kids thank you too, Charlie Brown Thanksgiving was on as well. Now all we needed was the Victoria Secrets fashion show, and the whole family would have been happy! Just Kidding, that isn't really true, maybe some movie with Vince Vaughn or Ben Stiller, or Adam Sandler, Ryan is a hoot to watch funny movies with. He laughs so hard and loud. I really do love that about him!!

Go buy this right now!

Tommorow I will post about the real feast, but for now I wish all of my fellow bloggers, a Happy Thanksgiving! All kidding aside, me and my family have so much so be thankful for this year, and alot of it has to do with great friends and family. I really am grateful to live in such a beautiful place, and to share such happy memories with all of you, so go and download some great music, turn on those ovens, and prepare a feast worthy of such wonderful company, and then blog about it, so we can all pretend like we were there with you!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight at Midnight

Unbelievably delicious!! That is how I would describe my experience watching Twilight last night! So good, too good, loved it so much. Once you get past the fact that the key audience for this movie is like half my age, and just enjoy the movie for what it is, it was just fabulous. I was left wanting more, I can't wait to see movies 2, 3, and 4, so people, go watch this movie, so they can start production on the other three already!

We started the night at Red Robin with a few friends. Some of us had ordered 'Stupid' Twilight shirts from a fellow blogger to show our enthusiasm for the movie. I had originally ordered the 'cold hands make me hot' shirt, but it was printed gray on gray, and you couldn't really see the writing. Hence I ended up wearing a Team Jacob shirt, that I now regret, and would like to burn in a little bonfire ritual with my friend Christine. What was I thinking??? After reading book two, I was a huge Jacob fan, Bella was so melodramatic, and Edward, well he was off having a pity party for himself too, so Jacob had to step it up. I won't give spoilers to those who haven't finished the series, but suffice it to say after last night, I will never give a second thought to Jacob again, OK, never say never, maybe him and what's her name (I don't want to give away the ending of Breaking Dawn) will have just as much chemistry as Bella and Edward, and he will gain some new found respect. Alrighty then, enough about Jacob and on to Edward. Seriously, I am still breathtaken by him. My husband asked me last night if I loved the movie because of Edward, and he had it all wrong. It is the chemistry between the two of them that leaves you wanting more. I told him it reminded me of when we first starting dating, when I had those school girl butterflies, and we would talk for hours on the phone, and then drive three hours round trip to see each other for maybe an hour or two. Or when he would write me poems or bring me flowers for no reason, or the fact that we have never really spent more than one night apart from one another. That feeling that you first get when you realize your with someone that you don't ever want to let go. That is what the movie stirs up in me, oh, and a little lust, ok, maybe a lot of lust, but this is a family friendly sight! It brings back all of those feelings that you wish would never go away, but we all know that life has a way of creeping in and kids come and housework, and then your married, and you no longer need to talk on the phone, or drive for hours to see one another, so Twilight, thanks for bringing back all of those memories, and for casting a bunch of super hot hotties in the movie. At least I can have butterflies for a few days again.

Watch out Bella, look at these Hot Hot Hotties! They really 'vamped' it up!!

What were we thinking? Bonfire tonight at my place!

They wouldn't let us take pictures in the theater, so this is as good as it gets!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My New Obsession!

So, I am completely obsessed with this new little tool I stumbled across thanks to my sweet friend Allison. It is a free photoshop like download from! It has totally consumed me for the last few days. I have been having so much fun playing with all of the different editing options. I think I may even take up photography!! Just Kidding. But maybe now I will finally put to use my camera Ryan bought me for Christmas three years ago! All I want to do it take pictures so that I can play with all of the fun tools. Here is what I have 'learned' so far. Enjoy! And go to that website, you will become just as addicted as I have. Oh, and stop with the comments about pictures of me, I am not that photogenic, but I will post some soon, just so that you all know I really do exist.

I saturated the color, and then antiqued the photo.
This one is in Sepia, Antiqued, and then color blurred.

Sepia and Antiqued.

I backlit and sharpened the photo, in the original Ashy looks really washed out.

I added the cool bordered and color enhanced Adeline, so the pink really pops.

I 'bloomed' this photo, to soften the edges, and give us a gentle glow.

(Finally a photo of me)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fall Family Fun at Pheasant Field Farms!

I had to hurry up and post this before Thanksgiving, since technically it is still the Fall!! I had meant to post before Halloween, but certain people were anxious to see pics of the Holley-Ween Party!

I love fall, love, love love, and I especially love going to the Pumpkin Patch. I look forward to this all year. We go down to Seven Oaks farm at least once a week from June through October, to get fresh fruits and veggies, but once a year we trek on over to the little town of Phoenix to partake in the fun at Pheasant Field Farms. Usually, the kids are all in matching Halloween shirts from Old Navy, but I waited too long and they were all out of their sizes, so no matching shirts this year (note to self, next year go shopping earlier). They have a variety of activities, and a huge pumpkin patch. The boys started off the day with a fun foam bear magnet craft while Adeline and Granny made fruit loop necklaces.

Next we went through the kid size sunflower maze, and played with the farm animals.

They have a little sand area too, with lots of fun toys, but it was crowded so we ventured over to the game of all games, dunk the pumpkin! This is our families favorite activity. Last year Aiden was the only one to dunk the pumpkin (besides Daddy), but this year all the boys successfully knocked that crazy pumpkin in the water! They also have a pear shooting gallery, where you can launch pears from a giant sling shot into the windows of a three story haunted mansion facade. Usually this is Ryan's favorite, but this year he dunked the pumpkin instead.

Ashy, look at that form, can you say Major Leagues!!

Anden, anxiously awaiting his turn!

The MVP, two years in a row, Aiden Holley.

They also have a huge hay tower that all of the kids love to climb up, and then slide down, and yes, they all had tons of hay in their bum!

Daddy sliding down with the kids!
Ashden sliding down the hay mountain!

After that we all headed over to the giant corn maze for a game of hide and seek! We got lost for a while, which was a good thing, since all three boys had to go potty, and we were far from the bathroom, so they watered the corn stalks instead.
The kids all enjoyed picking out their pumpkins and even helped Sissy find one her size. They also tried to help me arrange the pumpkins on the door steps, but they didn't understand that putting them all in a row so people would have to step over them was a bad idea.
Last, but certainly not least, they all enjoyed a pony ride!
What a great way to spend a beautiful fall day in Southern Oregon, I don't know about the rest of you, but we sure do have the best of all seasons here in the valley. Nothing can beat the beautiful fall leaves in the hills, and the nice Indian Summer we get in October, 70 degree Saturdays!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

.thank you.

Today I braved the elements, 40 degree weather, and a horrendous downpour, to honor those who have given so much for our country. The war memorial in Central Point was dedicated today, I wasn't sure how the turnout would be on such a blistery day, but Southern Oregon bleeds Red, White and Blue, and the people came out in droves! I came with four kids, three umbrellas, and one double stroller to give thanks to our veterans. I get teary eyed right now just thinking about the sacrifice they have made so that we can have our freedoms. The memorial is not yet completed, but it truly is a work of art. I am proud to live in a community that treats our veterans with such honor and respect. My boys call them 'supers' and were so excited to see the gun salute, that was their favorite part. And a little stroke of luck had us parked right beside their van, so we got the up close and personal VIP treatment. There was supposed to be a fly over, but the weather got in the way, my boys didn't seem to mind, they thought the airplane landing nearby at the airport was just as cool!!

I don't come from a military family, so I can't speak of the sacrifice that families make so their loved ones can serve, but I am forever grateful for their duty and service. Today we honor you, those who have served and those who are still serving. May God bless you and your family, and may He also bless this great country. I know two men personally that have served our country with honor, so Frankers and Papa Fretz, from the bottom of our hearts, we honor you!!! Thanks for your service to us and for making our families proud!

(I wish I would have taken some pictures, but taking the camera would have sent me over the edge, it was all I could do to get the crew there!! Maybe I will have to 'steal' some photos from the paper tomorrow when they print the story, so check back)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Angel Among Us

This is a hard post to write. I am more suited for the fun posts, that chronicle happy times and joyful memories. I have a friend who's son needs our help. Following is an article that appeared in the Ashland Daily Tidings.

November 4, 2008
Ashland rallies to help young boy's family
By Angela Howe-Decker
Tidings correspondent

Two benefits have been scheduled to raise money for the family of Kealii Chamberlin, who has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The community is pitching in to help the family of 8-year old Kealii Chamberlin, who was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor called medulloblastoma. Doctors in Ashland discovered the tumor and flew the youngster to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland. After an 8-hour surgery, most of the fist-sized tumor was successfully removed, but the little boy will need one more surgery, six weeks of radiation therapy, and six months of chemotherapy.

Friends of the Chamberlins are organizing a soccer tournament and a movie event as fundraisers to help with the overwhelming medical and travel expenses."People are trying to step up and help the family, such as organizing fundraisers and making meals. We have also opened a bank account in the family's name for donations," said family friend Dannae LaQua. "The Chamberlins are amazing people, they are an amazing family," she added.The family has a long history in Ashland.

Nicole and Jon Chamberlin met as students at SOU in 1994, where he played football for the college and she played basketball. "We have been here ever since," she said. Nicole is an Oregon native and Jon is from Waimea, Hawaii. Kealii's name is Hawaiian, short for Kealiihoomaluokekai, which means chief protector of the ocean, but friends and family call him Bradda. He and his twin sister are second-graders at Bellview elementary. He also has a younger sister and a baby brother.

Nicole describes her son as "an old soul" who always thinks of others first and loves being with his family. She remembers as he was being prepared for his life-flight to Portland, he tried to reassure his father. "He said, 'don't worry dad, everything is going to be OK.'"Bradda loves animals and wants to be a veterinarian when he grows up. He also loves outdoor activities and sports, especially basketball.

The Chamberlins have been touched by the outpouring of support they have received since their son's diagnosis."We want to say thank you to the community for all their support, thoughtfulness and concern. It is amazing how a community can come together for a family in a time of need, from the people we know to those we don't," Nicole said. "We are forever grateful and when we are finished with our journey we too hope to help others the way they have done for us," she added.

There are two fundraising events scheduled.

The first is on Nov. 9, at 11 a.m., at the YMCA Soccer Fields, where community members are invited to Bradda's Soccer Tournament. Local soccer teams (6- to 8-year-olds), including Bradda's, will compete during this one-day soccer tournament. Concessions will be available. Call Nick at (541) 890-7230 with questions or to help sponsor this event.

The second is on Nov. 15, at 9 a.m. when Ashland Street Cinemas will host Bradda's Family Movie Morning. The movie begins at 9:30 a.m. The cost is $10 per person, which includes free concessions. "Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa" (a new release) will be screened. There will also be a silent auction. Organizers advise arriving early as seating is limited. For more information call Rainy at (541) 779-3309.

All the proceeds from these events will go to the Chamberlin family. Donations may also be made directly by mail. Make checks payable to John and Nicole Chamberlin and mail to Lucy McLennan, PMB #159, 2305 Ashland Street, Suite C, Ashland OR 97520.

Bradda is truly an amazing little boy. He is so sweet, and has such a great demeanor. He also has a twin sister Ula, so of course I have a special place in my heart for him and his sister. I remember when they were first born, about this same time eight years earlier. They were early and had to spend a few days in the NICU, not wanting them to miss out on their first Halloween, my friend Tee and I, picked up some cute Halloween socks and hats to take to them, since that is about all they can wear in the NICU!! When my twins were born a few years later, Nicole, their Mom, was one of the first to call and tell me not to worry, that even though my babies were born early, they too would be healthy and live normal lives. What a comfort that was, having babies born at 33 weeks. I wish I could tell her the same thing now. They are an amazing family, Bradda has another little sister and a baby brother who just turned one. He is so good with his siblings, and he was always so sweet to my little boys, I think he liked that they were twins too! If you can't make it to the movie, just keep them in your prayers. He starts Chemo in a few weeks, and although the road will be long, the doctors are optimistic. His Mom is just amazing, there family is amazing, they take the kids on all kinds of adventures. I think they rafted down the river before their first birthday. He is a fighter, just look at that photo, he is such a character. We love you Bradda, keep on fighting.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

HOLLEY-ween SPOOKtacular!!!

This post was enhanced by the album version of Thriller by Michael Jackson.

As most of you already know, and the two people that may read this that don't know me, I LOVE holidays, and especially this time of year! Fall is by far my favorite season, first of all, it means turtleneck season is upon us, and I am a sucker for all things turtlenecked, mocknecked or cowl necked. Next, my house is all done in deep browns and reds, so I feel coziest in those warm neutral colors, but finally.....I love to throw parties, and this season lets me throw back to back to back shindigs!! Much to my delight (sorry Jen but it is true!!), Jen and Matt, the official adult Halloween party throwers for the last three years, were in Hawaii this year, so I became the unofficial adult Halloween party thrower for the 2008 season! How fun for me! I borrowed all of Jen's decorations, and Christine and I had a hoot decorating the house for the big event. I must say the house somehow looks better with all of those candles sticks and spooky pictures on the walls. If you don't look too closely, you would think they were just normal decorations! I wanted to do an 80's theme, because quite frankly I love all things 80's, and I think it gives some uniformity to the party, and I love uniformity. Plus, in a moment of sheer delusion, I came up with the crazy rhyming invitation:

Ghosts and goblins beware
We’re throwing a party with lots of flair!
We’ve added a twist for those who dare
A costume themed gala that’s sure to scare

Come dressed from the 80’s, all outfits will do
From Michael to Madonna, and Pac-man too
Be creative, and funny, and not too crude
Think outside of the box, like a Rubik's cube

If the 80’s don’t suit you, then come as you may,
Just don’t forget to come on the 24th day!!
The time starts at 8:00, so come if you dare,
And bring something sweet or savory to share.

My address is the place to be.
The Holley household will be dressed to a Tee.
Leave the kids at home with a proper sitter,
All who don’t attend are sure to be bitter!!

Enough said, I am a looney tune! But, it did make us all reminisce and we had some great costumes! From tons of classic 80's outfits, to Michale Jackson, Kiss, Guns & Roses, and Milli Vanilli (maybe is was the real MV-Jared and Christine were you the real voices behind that 80's sensation??). We had both sides of the Tom Cruise character in Top Gun-flight suit to black leather jacket, and even the hot Kelly McGillis. Punky Brewster, The Flinstones and Smurfs (that would be us under all of that blue) made an appearance as well as classic 80's commercials 'Where's the beef? and 'This is your brain on drugs'. We had some non 80's costumes and they looked fabulous as well, or should I say they looked 'incredible'!!! We ate lots of great food, and played some classics, like 80's movie pictionary, twister, bobbing for apples, and our favorite pass the orange with your neck game! That is always a crowd pleaser, especially with the men! This is about as crazy as a Mormon party will ever get, necking with an orange!!! In the end, I hope everyone had lots of fun, I know I did, and maybe next year, I'll buy the tickets to send Matt and Jen out of town, JK. We sure did miss you guys, no party is ever complete without Matt in a stretchy suit, aka Nacho Libre, I still laugh every time I flash back to you in that costume. Enjoy the pics, and scroll on down for the much tamer Joy School Halloween recap:

Milli & Papa Smurf-before the festivities started.

Milli & Vanilli

Yabba Dabba Doo

Michael & Kiss

Where's the Beef?

Check out the 'back' on that 'baby'!

The Incredibles

80's Classic Infomercial

Group shot #1, with Smurfette and Papa Smurf, but no Aaron or Spencer.

Group shot #2 without Smurfette, but with Spencer and Aaron, Spencer is in Camo, can you find him?

Group shot #3, with no Pap Smurf, and seriously, where is Spencer???


I strategically picked my days for joy school so that it would fall on my turn the week of Halloween! This is such a fun time of year, and my little ones will only be little for so long, so I have to take every opportunity possible to have fun with them before I am no longer the cool Mom, and they just want to hang at Benny's house because, well who wouldn't! This year I just invited the six boys from the 'big' joy school and the four boys from the 'little' joy school, and their siblings, plus two stow aways, but they are my favorite, so they are invited anytime!!! All kids came in costume, and it looked like an official meeting of the Justice League. I have never seen so many Supers in one location. Hopefully the crime rate didn't skyrocket while all of the Hero's were living it up at the Halloween party. The kids really didn't need to have any structure, they were super content just running amok and screaming at the top of their lungs. But like all good parties we needed a few activities to harness all of that energy. We did a cute foam craft, because if you have read my other posts, I love foam. It's cute, easy, and virtually mess free. We played pin the nose on the pumpkin, bobbed for apples, ate donuts on a string, and went for a quick parade through the neighborhood before eating lunch and yummy treats. I hope the kids had as much fun as I did, I really do love all of those little kids, my boys just love having so many fun friends, and I must say, I love having all of the Mom's as fun friends. What a great bunch of ladies!!

Craft Time

Tink and Pink

Ahoy Matte!

Bobbing for apples!

Donuts on a string, what could be better?

Neighborhood Parade

Supers on a mission

Lunch Time!

The whole wild and crazy bunch!


After all of those fun parties we finally made it to Halloween night! For all of you who can't tell the twins apart, Aiden is the Power Ranger, and Anden is Superman, and of course cute Ashy was Batman. The boys were the same thing last year, and we were just going to have them rotate costumes, but they were all content being their same Super, Thank goodness. I am hoping to get at least one more year out of these costumes! Our sweet little Adeline was a pink fairy princess, and let me tell you, that girl figured Halloween out fast. By the second door she knew what to do. She would walk up to the door and knock with her little fist, then pick her candy from the bowl, put it in her basket and move on! That's my girl. All of the neighbors thought she was just the cutest thing, and how could they not. Ashden was all worn out from the Trunk or Treat at the church and slept through the real Trick or Treating, but by the time Ryan got home with him, he had woken up and wondered where all of his loot was! In all, the kids had such a fun Halloween season, and I am 'super' excited for next year. They will be school agers then, and we will get to enjoy all of the fun that comes with school activities, carnivals and parades. I better start planning my treat bags for that right now, especially when everything is 50% off!

Almost ready to go!

Give me some candy!

All tuckered out!

yummy, yummy chocolate

Ready for bed, finally!