Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Tate!

You are five.  

I cannot believe it. 

Four was so much fun!  But I'm really looking forward to all that five brings, too. 

You continue to LOVE baseball, video games, dogs and all things racing.  Your favorite food is grilled cheese (which you call girl cheese), and pizza.  You have gotten much more adventurous when it comes to food.  

Your love all animals, especially dogs and penguins.  You are very interested in learning about animals, but you're pretty intimidated by most of them.  Except dogs.  You have yet to meet a dog you don't like. 

You love your hermanos in Nicaragua and ask when we will move there. 

You have a love/hate relationship with Theo.  You like to boss him around and most of the time he takes it just because he likes to be with you. 

You are learning Spanish and just figured out how to roll your "Rs". 

Your great grandma Ann's dog, Dotty, is your favorite dog in the whole world.  You are always concerned that she's going to be big (but she won't...she's a papillon). 

You hate the Yankees and Steelers.  We've taught you well. 

You love the Seahawks and Mariners. 

You started preschool this year and you loved every minute of it.  You did very well, making tons of friends and always following the rules. 

You are very, very concrete. 

You spent time in Korea, Nicaragua and the states this year.  You liked Nicaragua and the states but Korea wasn't your favorite. 

Your favorite question is, "But what if it's not?"

I love you so much, and have really enjoyed spending this past year with you.  You bring a joy to my life that will never dim or fade.  Your sweet, compassionate spirit continues to grow and I believe, wholeheartedly, that the Lord is going to move mountains through you. 

I love you, Tate. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fun in the Sun

 It's finally summer here in Portland, Oregon. 

I hope you're enjoying it as much as we are!

Peace and love, 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Perfect Read for Summer: An Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

I have been busy reading a ton of material to help prepare us for moving to Nicaragua.  The books have been amazing, life changing and full of pertinent information.  But to be perfectly honest,  I'm a little overwhelmed with all the heavy reading.   Since I love to read and wanted to choose another title from Waterbrook Multnomah*, I decided to look for something fun and light.  You know...easy summer reading.


And I found it in The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck, by Kathleen Y'Barbo.  This book was perfect!  The story was absolutely delightful.  The characters were vibrant, fun and believable.  As someone who likes to make her own plans and not be controlled by anyone, I was able to identify closely with Charlotte.  

The book was about the perfect length and I was able to finish in one night (although I did stay up a little too late doing so).  The story is broken into two parts and I should have put it down for the night at the break, but the story was so interesting I just couldn't bear to not finish.  

I whole heartedly recommend this book to you if you're looking for something fun to read.  The story well written, the characters are likable and there is nothing inappropriate or cringe inducing.  All in all, I give this book a whole hearted 5 stars!

*WM provided this book to me, free of charge, for review purposes.  All opinions are my own. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kid quotes

Tate: Wow!  That is a steep mountain!
Theo: Yeah!  Peee-eeeew!  That mountain is STINK!


Tate:  I need a fork.
Me:  You need a fork?
Tate:  Yes!  It's not Sunday, so of course we use forks today!


Tate: Mom, I want you to grow another baby.
Me:  Yeah, that's not going to happen, sorry sweetie.
Tate:  OK.  Well, I still want a baby girl.
Me:  I would like that, too.  Theo, what would you want?  A girl or a boy?
Theo: No.  I don't want a girl or boy.  I want another Theo!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A week off

Over the weekend I was blessed to have the opportunity to just be me.

My beloved parents took the boys for the weekend so LT Wonderful and I could just be together, and it was wonderful.  [Although I did miss the boys terribly].

During the time by myself (Thursday afternoon and Friday) I really got to remember what life was like before I started thinking my given name was "mom".

*I had sole custody of the radio...I listened [geek alert] to my Phantom of the Opera and Rent songs as loud as I wanted to.  I forgot I had those songs on my ipod, and I forgot how much I enjoy them!

*I went out in the middle of the day!  I forgot that the world does still go on during nap time.  I haven't been out of the house to run errands between the hours of 1 and 3 in years.  YEARS.  And it was delightful.

*I went blackberry picking.  With the thorns, it's too dangerous to do it with the boys.  And it was a mostly whine-free picking session (LT W did whine a few times).

*I browsed at the craft store.

*I checked our Borders.  The clearance sales were disappointing.

*I worked out in the middle of the day.

*I woke up on Saturday morning and baked a cake.

*We went kayaking! And we didn't tip this time!

*We stayed out late.  And slept in late.

But most importantly, we reclaimed a bit of ourselves.  I made light of it in this post, but there are some days that I forget that my name is Jenni...I start to only think of myself as a wife and a mother, not a real person.  That is a dangerous first step to losing yourself in your children.

My goal for the next week is to incorporate some of the things I like into my daily routine.  Like the working out and listening to music I appreciate.

We'll see how it goes!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Teaching them the right way

It has been an impossibly long week at the Stearns' house.  We went to bed on Tuesday night we thought we smelled something so we opened these half door things that lead to the bathtub.  Steam came pouring out.  The inside was covered in mildew. 

So, since Tuesday night we've been dealing with fans in the crawlspace and living room, spraying down the crawlspace with bleach, and more and more time with the fans running.  It's been exhausting and loud.  And smelly.  The fumes have been overpowering and it's been frustrating to feel like a fugitive...and the boys are exhausted because they just don't nap well when we're not at home. 

 LT Wonderful, bless his heart, brought me some lilies on Sunday.  He had to play Navy this weekend, so I was busy with the boys all weekend and to be extra special nice he made sure each boy brought me flowers.  It was very sweet. 

I'm sure the boys' future wives will thank him!

Friday, August 5, 2011


God has been blessing us in overwhelming ways this last week.

Last week we decided that we needed to move.  We love our home, we love where we're living and we're very comfortable here, but since we are going to be moving to Nicaragua on support we need to be responsible in how we're living now so that we can provide as much of our one time support as we can.  Moving is a part of that.  In just a few minutes of research, we found that we can save about $400/month if we downsize and move into an apartment.  

Since we hope to be down in Nicaragua long term in about a year, we really need to get going on our saving.  When we realized that just by cutting down on our rent we could save $4800 in a year, we decided that we really needed to do it. 

So on Monday we gave our landlady 30 days notice.  

We were excited to be taking steps toward Nicaragua, but planning the move in the month of August (after a non existent summer up to this point) I'll be honest, we were a little bummed.  Our weekends are now going to be taken up with a bunch of moving stuff.  Boo. 

That afternoon our landlady called us and said that she didn't want to lose us as tenants.  However, she understood why we wanted to move and felt like it was a good reason.  

So then she did the unthinkable. 

She offered us apartment pricing in our current home for the next couple of months to let us move slower. 


We'll probably be moving in the next few months.  But we're not moving now.  And we get to save the money we were hoping to. 

How big is God?!

Huge.  He's huge. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lawyer in Training

Tate: Mom, can I watch Superman?
Me: No, you can't watch superman.  You're too little. 
Tate:  I'm not little!  I'm 4!  And look at my legs, they are really long.  Can't you see how long they are?  So I can't be little with long legs. 


Well, I guess I'm a little little.  But I'm also a little big.  So I should watch it. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: Indelible: A Novel

Indelible: A Novel by Kristen Heitzmann

A quick, enjoyable read.  The main characters were particularly likable, and the story kept me interested.  Honestly, I had a hard time putting the book down because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next!  

As far as the characters and their development, I haven't read any of the other books in this series, so from the beginning I felt a little bit lost.  Due to the amount of time spent on characters that weren't central to the story, I figured out on my own that this was number 2 or 3 in a series.  There was some backstory given, but I wasn't particularly drawn to the supporting characters (with the exception of the painter hired by Sara-I loved her!). 

Even though I was pretty uninterested in the supporting characters.  Her obsession with Trevor really annoyed me…I found it a little creepy, too.  Seriously, she's married and has a child with Trevor's best friend, why would she be pining for Trevor?  Perhaps in the previous books this bizarre behavior was explained better, I don't know.  Either way, I didn't like it; it made me terribly uncomfortable.

Although I didn't like some of the character interactions, I would still recommend this book.  The plot was interesting enough that I was hooked the entire way through.  The story has good morals (and doesn't preach at all…I was kind of wondering where the "Christian" part of the story was honestly, it was very downplayed) and is a good summer fun read.

*I was given this e-book by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for the review purposes. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

So fun!

I love these shoes.  

And I love rainbows. 

It's a match made in hippie heaven!

(Head on over to Hope by Design to order a pair of your own!)