Sunday, September 25, 2011

Where are we? and a winner...

I'm in Minnesota.  

It's been fantastic. 

We'll start the road trip home on Tuesday, and it will be long grand

And the winner of my son's favorite book, Tico Tango, and the other goodies is Debbie M!  Debbie, I'll send you a FB message and get you the book ASAP!  Thanks to everyone who celebrated with us!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Reading has always been a huge part of my life.  I can still remember the first book I was able to "read" by myself.  It was a hardcover Disney storybook, based on Cinderella.  I know now that I wasn't really reading, I just had the darn thing memorized.  But even 22 years later I remember the elation I felt when I could tell myself the story, I didn't have to wait on anyone else.  I had figured out what those characters on the page were saying!  I felt like a whole new universe was open to me-all sorts of information was at my fingertips.  It's not a stretch to say that reading consumed me.  I loved stories and and new information, and especially after a rough day at school I could escape for hours into a book.  To this day (much to the frustration of LT W) I have a hard time putting down a book I'm reading...I view it as an unfinished project.  Even so, we've made it a priority to pass along to our children the love of reading.

A year or so ago, my wonderful MIL, Nana, became an Independent Consultant for Barefoot Books.  To be honest, I was a little skeptical at first.  But, much to my surprise, Barefoot Books is a rare gem in the industry!  The books are fantastic, (every single story I read to my kids is an instant hit) and affordable, too!  One of my favorite things about Barefoot Books are the many, many titles in Spanish.  Being that we're trying to have a multilingual home, bilingual books are a must. 

So, now on to the whole celebration.  Today Tate and I were reading one of his favorite stories, One Moose, Twenty Mice.   After we had finished reading it for the bazillionth time, I asked Tate if he wanted to try and read it himself. 

He said yes. 

So he sat there and read this story to me.  Then he read it to Theo.  Then he read it again.  He was beaming, so proud of the fact that HE was able to tell the story himself!

I am so proud of him, I could just burst. 

More importantly, HE is so proud of HIMSELF, he could just burst. 

So in honor of my beloved son taking a giant leap toward literacy, I'd like to do a giveaway. 

I'm going to give away one of our FAVORITES from Barefoot Books...The Parrot Tico Tango by Anna Witte as well as a few other Barefoot goodies. 

If you want to get in on this giveaway, here's what you need to do...
  1. Go to (or just click here).  Look around and tell me  by posting in the comments on this post, what product you are most interested in.  This is worth one entry. 
  2. Post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or twitter with a link to this post.  This is worth one entry each and you must comment here as well to let me know that you did this. 
**PLEASE include your email address or a way to contact you in your comment.  If you're worried about spammers, please email me at thestearns (@) hotmail dot com (without spaces) and let me know who you are**

This contest is closes on the 20th of September at midnight, PST.  


*PS If you're interesting in doing a fund raiser for your kid's school or daycare, please don't hesitate to contact Vicki HERE*

Monday, September 12, 2011


Haha, ketchup instead of catch up.  I'm so punny.

If I told you everything that our family has gone through in the past few weeks, I doubt you'd believe me.  So I won't even try, but I will hit the highlights.

  • LT W went to Mexico.  He was supposed to go to Nicaragua, but didn't make it.  We're bummed he didn't get to see our family there, but so happy to have him home, safe. 
  • I sprained my foot/toe.  I was being ornery so I guess I deserved it. 
  • Tate, Theo and I spend Labor Day weekend at my parent's house.  We went to the fair, played in the lake and had a blast. 
  • Tate inner-tubed.  By himself.  
  • Theo went to the bathroom on his little potty by himself several times. 
  • I found a way to make tee-shirts that I love but never wear into something that I love and will wear. 
  • I learned how to make gallo pinto, a Nicaraguan staple. 
  • It's pumpkin spice season.  Enough said. 
  • I'm teaching myself to hula hoop, and I'm loving it. 
  • LT W is gearing up to head to Japan for 2 weeks with the Navy.  Ugh. 
  • I get to go to Minnesota for two weeks!  Yay!
  • Tate swallowed a magnetic marble which necessitated (do you see the TATE in that word?!) a trip to urgent care.  
  • We're still waiting for said marble to pass (eeeeewwwwwwww). 
  • We sold Gus, officially. 
  • We are in the process of buying a new car.  We'll be able to take it down to's really happening!

Some random quotes from the last few weeks:

Tate (to Theo): I got the last piece of pizza!  Ha ha ha ha ha!
Theo (to Tate): Yeah?  Well, I'm awesome!  Ha ha ha ha ha!


And because we are always talking about poop, here's another one:

Tate: Mom, I pooped a big poop! We don't eat that. Only bad guys eat poop!


And just like that, you're up to date.  Mostly.  

Peace and love, 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Home safe

I don't think I'll ever be able to articulate my feelings of gratefulness regarding the trip LT W. made, but I'm going to make an effort. 

Thank you, dear friends.  Thank you for your words of encouragement, your thoughts and prayers, and for picking up the phone when I needed to chat.  Until heaven, you'll never know exactly how effective your prayers were but allow me to assure you...God heard you and answered your prayers on behalf of the guys who made the drive. 

I got word that Earl and Austin (who were able to finish the drive) made it safely to Nicaragua yesterday. 

And LT W is home.  

And, somewhat appropriately (for his nickname, at least) he is at Navy today. 

Please accept my heartfelt thanks.  I appreciate your prayers so much.  


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Update on the drive

First and foremost, God is good.

LT W is still in Mexico.  It's a really long story, but things have not gone according to their plan.  However, in the midst of all of the...hmm...shall we call them adventures?  God has really proven himself faithful.    

The gents are now down to one car, and two of the team members flew home.  There really wasn't space for five guys to comfortably drive one car.

There have been serious mechanical issues (hence the whole down to one car part) and there has been a lot of discouragement and some scary moments.

Please continue to pray for the guys' safety while they drive.  This has been and will continue to be our number one area of concern.

Please also pray that the last mechanical issue will be fixed early tomorrow so that they can get on the road.  They will not be traveling at night, so they hope to leave early afternoon in order to make it a few hours before they stop for the night.

Please pray for blessing over the local church in Veracruz, Mexico.  Upon arrival in Veracruz, we contacted friends who have family that are missionaries in Mexico.  After hearing about all of the, ahem, "adventures" that have come up for the guys, they drove down [three hours each way!] to encourage and lift the guys' spirits.  I cannot even explain how grateful I was to hear this.  Not only did they bless them by coming down to visit, but they sent a mechanic over from the church to work on the vehicle (on a Sunday!) to get it ready, and the church is going to cover the bill.  The generosity and compassion of the church in Mexico has brought me to tears.

Truly, there is no force like the church in action. 

I'll post more tomorrow night after I hear what the plan is.  We appreciate your faithfulness in prayer, at times it is truly the only thing making this trip bearable.

Peace and love,

Friday, September 2, 2011

Prayer Request

Mark is driving from Texas to Nicaragua as we speak.  Last night he flew to Houston and the epic adventure started this morning.  Here's some info about the trip...

  • LT W is with a group of 4 other men.  Two from Believer's Church (the best church on the East Coast, IMHO) Pastor Earl from the orphanage where Kevin lives, and Austin, a college student from Oregon State University. 
  • Two vehicles were donated to the orphanage, which is why the guys are driving.  It's much quicker (and presumably less expensive) to drive than ship.  We'll find out the exact cost benefit at the end of the trip. 
  • After a few hours at the Mexican border, the guys are now on their way.  They are very concerned about driving through Mexico, as the gang activity has been high lately.  The route they were planning to use was discouraged by the police so they found another (this is what I gather from snippets of conversations I've been able to have with Mark). 

Please pray for the safety of the men on this trip.  They are all volunteering their time to drive and are paying for their own's not a vacation.  

The plan is to drive straight through Mexico tonight and tomorrow and they should arrive in Guatemala tomorrow night.  I know that I will sleep better when I know they have made it through Mexico. 

Thanks for your prayers!  I'll let you know if I hear anything!