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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Here we go Again!

We're sick. Again. Or we just didn't quite recover the first time. Tate's got a fever and isn't eating, and Mark and I have sinus stuff going on again. Bummer!

Mariners opening day is tomorrow! We are really excited! I hope Tate is feeling well enough to be able to go with us. We are also going on Tuesday because our boy, Felix Hernandez is pitching. We don't want to miss his opening debut.

We should know more about that job I told you a bit about tomorrow. When we know more, I'll share. Don't worry, I didn't forget.

On a really exciting change of subject, check out Woman's World magazine this month. My good friend Deb is in it on page 19!! She looks so great! She's really an inspiration for those of us trying to lose weight.

Ok, I'm going to go get some laundry done. I hope your weekend is going well.

Love,
Jenni

Friday, March 28, 2008

Our online profile

http://www.bethany.org/A55798/bethanyWWW.nsf/0/9ABA15B797CAAFF58525741A006E42AC

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Break!

Well, Spring Break starts for me this afternoon at 4:26 approximately. My class ends at 4:25, and assuming all of my parents are on time, I will be on break! My break is just shy of two weeks, and to be honest with you, I am ready. I am going to spend this week doing "Spring Cleaning" and next week having fun with my kiddo and husband (I'm sure we'll have fun this week, too, but I'm going to work hard to get stuff done during nap time, etc). After break I only have 2 weeks of class and then I'm done, so really, this is quite nice. I'll have to completely restructure my life then! I want to do a toddler playtime with Tate, a "mommy and me" swim class, and a small group for moms. We'll see how that all goes.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter celebrating the RISEN LORD!!

Love always,
Jenni

Friday, March 21, 2008

Injured!

So, this is kind of a funny story, but as I type this I am stuck on the couch with my foot elevated, icing it off and on every 20 minutes.

Well, I was in the shower washing my face. Instead of putting the Noxzema back on the shelf where it goes, I put in on the soap ledge next to me...about 4 feet up, a little below shoulder level. Well, as I turned around to rinse my face, the Noxzema fell on my big toe, and it hurt like CRAZY!!! I almost barfed in the tub, and was able to hobble out before it swelled up and turned purple. I called Mark in tears because it hurt so bad, and he was concerned, but he couldn't help but laugh hysterically.

So, here I sit, in pain. My poor toe is on the mend, but it is still swollen and purple. The moral of my pathetic story is to put things back where they belong after you use them!

Love,
Jenni

PS Tate is now able to imitate a gorilla. He beats his chest and says "OOH OOH AHH AHH" in a loud deep voice. It's stinking adorable!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Big Tate News

He can now identify his peepee.

Just thought you'd like to know...

Love,
Jenni

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Just Gotta Love 'Em

Both of 'em (my boys, that is). Tate had a hard time sleeping last night because he wasn't feeling well...so I brought him into bed, and he snuggled right down. Mark made the comment "you're sleeping with all three of your boys tonight, me, Tate and Felix (I wearing my Felix Hernandez jersey to bed. He is my favorite Mariner). Anyway, it was nice to get some snuggle time as a family. Even nicer, though, that after about 15 minutes Tate was asleep and went back into his own bed so that I could actually sleep. He's quite an active sleeper and doesn't really share the bed very easily. Anyway, it was nice.

Now Tate is sitting in his high chair coloring, and I'm sitting here blogging the morning away. I've got a load of dishes waiting for me, so I'll cut this short.

Have a wonderful day!

Love,
Jenni

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Blessed Offspring

Is refusing to sleep. I just don't get it...I know he's beyond exhausted. He really is something else.

On the plus side, he said "please" for the first time today. We were walking out to the car this morning and a tennis ball was on the ground (left by Skipper) and Tate said "Ball, ball. Please. Please. Ball." It sounded like "bah, bah, peas peas bah", but I know what he meant. It warmed my heart.

He is currently jumping in his crib, so I need to go take care of that. Love you all.

Jenni

Sunday, March 16, 2008

7 Things You May Not Know About Me

I got this idea from Nate at the CF Husband blog (check it out if you haven't already!) Anyway, here are 7 things that you may or may not know about me...

1. I HATE going to the doctor.
I know it's silly, but unless there's a really good reason, I won't go (for myself, anyway). I hate waiting 45 minutes on the phone to make the appointment, waiting an hour and a half at the doc's office, and then only seeing the doc for 5 minutes, it's so frustrating. So, basically I self diagnose if it's not too serious. I hate taking pills, too, so it works out pretty well, actually.

2. I was a competitive swimmer until I was 19.
Some of you already know this, but others may not. It was a huge part of my life (I was swimming from 5:00-6:40 in the mornings, and from 3:00-5:30 in the afternoons, plus doing dry land workouts afterwards for awhile). I was on the winning team at State 3 years in a row, and I am proud to say that I contributed to our wins! My proudest moment, though, was winning the 100 fly at our district meet. I worked very hard at swimming, but didn't have a lot of talent. It was ok though, because my work ethic served me well. I don't say I quit swimming, but rather retired because I swam non stop from 6-19, by choice.

3. I can sing.
But I usually choose not to do it in front of people due to nerves, and I'm not that great, but I can carry a tune. I was actually the president of our Jazz Choir in high school (which was by audition only) but I never liked to solo. I prefer harmony and blending. There were some amazing people in that choir, and if you like, check out www.myspace.com/zachtrandum. He was in my choir and is an AMAZING musician. I downloaded all his songs, but 3 hours in a coffee shop is my favorite.

4. My favorite flowers are daffodils.
I went to my grandparent's house in Oregon one spring while my parents were in England, and my Grandma Cita loves them, too, and they were all over her garden. I got to go out and pick them and fill the house with them, and I loved it. They are so cheery and fun. My husband, the wonderful man he is, often brings them home for me in the spring.

5. I love to work out.
Strange, I know, but I find it exhilarating. I enjoy the feeling of pushing my body to the limit, and then the sore feeling the day afterwards. I know it's weird, but I just like it.

6. I don't know how to style hair.
I can now use a straightener, but that's about it. I am slowly experimenting with hair products, but mostly I just blow it dry and then use the straightener, or don't, and put it in a pony tail. I really need to get better at styling my hair. Because I don't know how to style it, I usually don't get it cut for long periods of time. However, when my life is out of control (usually brought on by the Navy) I change my hair lots because it's the one thing I can control.

7. I don't mind folding laundry, but I hate putting it away.
It's strange, I know, but I just can't stand that part of it. I don't even know why. Maybe it's because our closets are really small in this house so there's not a lot of space. I don't know. I just hate that part. I can't explain it.

Well, there you go. Seven things about me. I should go, now. Mark has come down with whatever Tate and I have, and now Tate and I have moved into coughing attacks. It's a great day at the Stearns' house!

Love,
Jenni

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Good News!

No, we don't have a baby yet:) I'm going to have to be careful about saying things like "guess what" too often because then it will be a let down when we have good news, but not Sam news. Anyway...

So, Mark put up a leave chit (for those of you non military types, basically it's a vacation/day off request form). He left it open because we don't know when Sam will be born, etc, but as long as we have one in, it's easy for him to call in when we know. If he didn't, then he would have to run into work and go through the entire process, so it's best he does it now. So, the Navy does grant paternity leave if they have enough people to cover, but you do have to take it out of your time off (everyone in the military gets 2.5 leave days per month regardless of rank. These are your sick days, vacation, etc). So when Tate was born Mark took about 3 weeks off, and it was great. We have enough leave for him to take time off, but since he's getting out soon, we didn't have that much time saved up because we'd rather save it for the end. BUT, he put his chit up, and the Command Master Chief returned his chit to him and said "Sir, there is a directive that allows you to take up to 21 days of leave for the adoption of a child WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT!!!!" How amazing is that?! So, basically when Sam is born we'll have 21 days of leave without having it deducted from our leave balance. I'm pretty excited. Mark's command is very pro adoption, the XO has adopted two girls from China, and the head Civilian on the base has a couple of adopted children, too, so they are all anxiously waiting for any news with us, and have been very supportive of us in the process. God is good in surrounding us with encouraging people.

We turned in our letters and books today, so we officially just wait now. Becky said she'd call to check in once a month or so to let us know how things are going. It's hard to believe we've been waiting for so long to do this, and now we are doing it. So exciting. I'm beside myself sometimes. I really hope the wait isn't too long, but on the same hand, at least I know that the baby will be in God's timing.

Well, I'm still fighting this awful cold, so I'm going to get some more tea and take a hot shower. I hope you're doing well!

Love,
Jenni

Friday, March 14, 2008

Quarantined!

The Stearns house is under quarantine! Tate is sick, and I came down with it yesterday. I believe Tate got the "nursery sickness" because it developed on Wednesday (what I mean by nursery sick is that he was exposed in the church nursery and brought it home). So, we have a lovely cold. Tate is having snot rocket sneezes, and I have a raw, wretched sore throat and sinus headache and stuffy nose. We're a blast to be around, that's for sure. Luckily Mark didn't have to go into work until later this morning so I was able to sleep in a bit.

Other than that, life continues to be good for us. We got our OPENING DAY MARINERS TICKETS in the mail yesterday, and we are oh so happy about it. I can't wait...the 31st of March...it's so close!

As far as adoption goes, we are getting our 7 scrapbooks for the birthmoms together. We just made color copies so that we can keep the original for Sam. We made copies of our birthparent letters and tomorrow we'll drop them off at the agency! It's exciting to be waiting, but scary, too because it could be a really long wait.

Well, I'm going to go drink my tea and rest a bit. Happy Friday everyone!

Love,
Jenni

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Waiting...

Hey Friends,
It's been a while, again. Sorry about that. I do have good news though. OUR HOMESTUDY WAS APPROVED AND WE ARE ON THE WAITING LIST!!! It's about two weeks earlier than we thought it would be, and we are stoked. It could be tomorrow or 2 years from now, so we're trying to prepare ourselves for a long wait, but be ready when the time comes. I'm going to buy small diapers to have just in case, and we're getting out the baby swing so that Tate can get used to sharing his space with some other toys.

Part of the process is writing a "Dear Birthparent" letter, so I want to share ours with you guys, so that you know what Sam's birth mom, and possibly birth dad will read about us when they see our profile.

Dear Birthmother and Birthfather,
Thank you so much for looking at our book, and giving us or someone else the chance to be parents. Deuteronomy 30:19 & 20 says “this day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” We read this verse the other day and thought about you. You have chosen life, and we believe you will be richly blessed for this choice. We deeply admire you for your decision.
We have prayed about openness a lot in our adoption, and we are very comfortable with any level, but would prefer a more open adoption. We would love to have our child know you, (if you are comfortable with it), know who you are and have very little mystery surrounding the adoption. We are really very open in every aspect of our lives, and our adoption would be no different.
Let me tell you a little bit about us. We are believers in Christ, first and foremost. We met at a Christian camp, and we friends for two years. During that time, Mark was in Maryland at the US Naval Academy, finishing his degree in Mechanical Engineering. We started dating the summer after he graduated, and got married a year and a half later. We’ve been married for over four years now, and it’s been a whirlwind! Mark is still in the Navy (for now), serving on Submarine’s, so we had to move to Virginia soon after we got married. While we were there we bought our first house-a real fixer upper. We lived there for two and a half years and during that time we renovated our entire house…and learned a lot about each other in the process. Jenni was able to finish my Bachelors Degree in Biology, with a minor in Latin American Studies from Old Dominion University. Mark spent a lot of time on his submarine, USS Florida, and we got very involved in our local church, Believers. We served on the drama team and the welcome team and really enjoyed it, even though we felt uncomfortable at first. God used our time in Virginia to strengthen our marriage and mature our faith. Near the end of our time there, we had our son, Tate. It was not the timing we had planned, but it was God’s, and it was perfect. We were able to move back to Washington (where we both call home) in December of 2006 to be near family. It is such a blessing to be close to family again, and have Mark home on Shore Duty. We have really great relationships with both of our families and we love being involved in their lives. Because we love being close to our families, we have decided to pursue other career options outside of the Navy so that Mark can be home more often. We are excited about staying in the area, and the chance for Mark to be home every night!
A bit more about Jenni…she love all things Spanish; the people, the language, the culture, all of it. She had the opportunity to travel to several Central American countries doing mission trips, and that is the foundation of her love of Spanish. It is her desire to raise our kids in a bilingual home and raise them to appreciate and understand other cultures, not just their own. This is one of the many things she loves about being a Mom and staying at home. She never anticipated enjoying this stage of life as much as she does, and is so thankful for the time she has to spend with our kid(s) at home. She loves and cares for me (Mark) and Tate very well, and is an incredible wife and mom.
As for Mark-he loves to play games...card games, board games, all of them. He is very good with strategy games, so we limit those so everyone has a chance to win. He is also getting interested in wood turning on the lathe, and is also learning Spanish and trying to complete his Master’s degree in Engineering Management. Most importantly, he loves God with his whole heart, and loves Tate and me (Jenni) with the same intensity. He is very supportive of me, and is understanding of my need to have adult interaction after being with Tate all day. He appreciates and encourages me in my creative outlets; scrap booking, knitting, crocheting and sewing, but doesn’t let them overtake my life. He inspires me to give my best, and takes over with Tate for a while when he gets home so that I can exercise. As far as his relationship with Tate I don’t think it could be any better. Mark is very involved in every aspect of his life…the diaper changing, preparing and feeding dinner, reading, playtime, all of it. He has developed his own bedtime routine with Tate, including a special book, songs and prayers. That is their “special time” together, and I don’t intrude, but I do join them occasionally. Mark is truly a great dad, and I can’t say enough about how involved he is in Tate’s life.
We’re sure you’re wondering why we are adopting when we have a biological child, and why we are ready for another one when Tate is still so young. The adoption is sort of a long story, but the basic point is before we were married God laid it on both of our hearts that when it’s time to have a family, we will adopt. We both felt that it was the right thing for us to do, and about the time we were starting with adoption the first time, we found out we were pregnant with Tate. We decided that when the time was right for the next one we would start the adoption process and continue with it as long as God opened the doors. He had blown the doors open for this adoption process, and we are content standing in the center of his will. As far as Tate’s age (he’ll be 2 in August) we both have siblings that are close to our ages, and we are both incredibly close to them. We want our kids to have good relationships with their siblings as well, and feel that it’s easier to have a great relationship with a sibling when you’re close to their age.
We hope you feel that you have gotten to know us a bit better by reading my letter. No matter if you choose us or not, thank you for making the courageous choice to not have an abortion. You are truly an example of courage, grace and love. We sincerely pray that God richly blesses you in all you do.

In Him,
Mark, Jenni & Tate Stearns


Well, I've got to get some work done around here. I love you all!

Jenni