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I have been married to Ryan for 7 years and I love being married to my wonderful husband. I am a religious Christian and I love God. I live in the United States and have lived in China. I love being free and those who sacrifice(d) for my freedoms (not just servicemen and women, but all who work to preserve and teach freedom.) My hobbies include photography, music, ceramics, time with Ryan, and trying new things. I believe in the family and marriage. I love spending time with my family.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Random Summary of October Happenings

Our little family has been so busy.  Here are a few updates from the last little while.

October 1:  Our family was made "official" and "legal."  Yay!  This is our Adoption Day.  It was pretty good.

Mostly, it was interesting to get an in person glimpse of the way the court system works.  My uncle was graciously our lawyer and we had a representative from our adoption agency with us and some of our family members were able to sit in on the hearing!  It was pretty cool.  I was a little nervous when I was answering questions.  Okay, I was really nervous.  But it all went well and we 3 became 1 family.  Legally.  We already felt like a family, so it was just more of a formality to us.

Spontaneous Family+ Photo
I got a new brother for a couple of weeks.  My parents had a foreign exchange student from Germany.  He is awesome and we loved having him.  The Sunday after he left, I was at my folks' house and just felt like things were a little lonely.  I told my dad it was weird that he wasn't there and I wished that he was.  We miss him.
My little nephew was blessed and that was beautiful.  I mean, he received his name and blessing at church.  Afterward, family and friends gathered at my parents' to celebrate and enjoy life together.

Little Man learns so fast.  He finally figured out how to crawl.  Our little friend who is a month older showed him.  Then, a week after he learns to crawl, He started pulling himself up on things!  Tada!  New trick.  "...We will now see Little Man pull himself up from the floor on a rocking chair!"

 The rest of October we were getting ready for our temple day.  It was kind of stressful at some points but totally and completely worth it.
Ready to go!
October 24:  Our Family Sealing.  It was the "Best Day Ever!"  Serioiusly.  We had been waiting for this day for 7 months and it finally came!  We were able to take our angel boy to the temple, the house of the Lord and have him sealed to us for this life and beyond.  Before God, we are now a family and if we live true to the covenants that we have made in the temple, we get to be a family after we pass on to the next life.  This is the greatest thing!  It is my favorite thing about the gospel.  One of my favorite things, anyway.

It was so beautiful.  I was stressed before we went, because we had a big weekend and my house was not perfect.  Oh well.  Then, Saturday evening we went to the temple.  We sang a couple hymns on the way.  When we arrived and went in, things just got peaceful.  Peaceful and peaceful.  We knew what we were doing was right.  We knew there were angels there with us.  We didn't give a lot of notice to our family, but a lot of our family were somehow able to come.  They changed their plans for us!  It was so meaningful.  It was so special.  It was so happy!  There was power there.  What I learned most from our temple sealing are:  1.  Angels minister to man.  And they do it in families.  2.  There is power in the temple.  3.  There is power in families.  This is power from God.  It is strength.  It is peace.  It is courage.  It is comfort.  I love it.  It's a beautiful thing.
Forever Family    ~*~    Eternal Family
The next day was his baby blessing.  It was beautiful.  I'm grateful that he was able to receive a name and blessing at church.  I'm grateful for the holy Priesthood being on the earth today.  

I wish I could thank my baby's birth mother.  She is so beautiful and we are so grateful to her for who she is and what she has done for us and our little guy.  We do say thank you, but it is never enough.  There is just no way that the words, "Thank you" can mean on paper what they do in our hearts.  We love her.  I hope she knows it.

Halloween we had a little get together with some friends.  Ryan made "Boo Bubbles" with dry ice, water, soap, and a container with a tube.  The neighbor kids LOVED it.  After our get together we still had some dry ice, so we got to have a little date at our table.  We loved it!  

Pre-Halloween Fun
Halloween:  "I (am) a horse."

Those are the big events that happened in October.  On to a new month, season, chapter, etc...

God Bless,

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pumpkin Bread

Okay, let's face it.  The reason I am putting this recipe on my blog is so that I don't lose it!  My mom sent me this recipe b/c it is REALLY good.  I know; I tried it.  And when I say I tried it, I mean that I put it in my mouth, not that I baked it.  ...yet.  :)  Here it is.  \

Another little note about pumpkin bread.  My brother made some chocolate chip pumpkin muffins and cooked it in a bunt cake pan.  It was delish!  Just an idea for you to try when you feel like it.

Love, Jeannine

This recipe is from my cookbook, Sally's Baking Addiction Cookbook, and makes one heck of a moist loaf of pumpkin bread. This fall favorite is packed with sweet cinnamon spice, chocolate chips, and tons of pumpkin flavor.


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg1
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves1
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (340g) pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) orange juice
  • 2/3 cup (120g) semi-sweet chocolate chips2


  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Lowering the oven rack prevents the top of your bread from browning too much too soon. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil, and orange juice. Pour these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix together using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. There will be a few lumps. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few small moist crumbs. This may be before or after 60-65 minutes depending on your oven, so begin checking every 5 minutes at the 55 minute mark or so.
  4. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing and slicing. The bread will stay fresh in an airtight container (it tastes better on day 2!) at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. But it won't last that long.
  5. Make ahead tip: Baked bread can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

Additional Notes:

  1. You can use 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice instead of these spices.
  2. Try using milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, or even pecans/walnuts instead of the semi-sweet chocolate chips.
This recipe makes incredible pumpkin chocolate chip muffins too – about 20 minutes in the oven, same oven temperature.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How we get ready to go somewhere.

Little Man loves his quality time with Papa.  Every father should play with his kids.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Blessed Family

Blessed home 

Sunday.  Sabbath.  Family.  Dinner.  Family time.  Sacred music.  Quiet moments.   Taking care of beautiful children.  Learning.  Family time.  Family talks.  Family dinner.  

After church worship we like to spend time with our family.  If I could paint a picture of our Sabbath, it would be beautiful and powerful.

My husband, son and I are so blessed because our family is faithful and full of love.  My sister in law came to my parents' with us today and afterward remarked how she feels so at home when she comes, that it is a good place, there is a good spirit there.  It got me thinking about the afternoon and evening.

I was in a place that was peaceful.  Even when the grand-kids were noisy, it was still a place of peace. Of joy.  Of love.  My sisters and brother helped with their nieces and nephews.  One was playing with my baby and when she picked him up she discovered a blowout, so she just started taking care of it.  After we got him all clean she washed his shirt - the only clothing that got dirty from it all.  During dinner she helped the little ones eat healthy.  Everyone helped me by holding my baby and taking care of him.  Some days a mom needs a rest!

Dinner prep:
Mom, my brother, my husband, my sister in law, my sister and I in the kitchen making dinner.  Sweetest little voice greeting his cousin, "Hello, baby b."  Me leaving to feed baby and my husband and brother finishing the rice that I was doing.  My sister, nephew and I picking tomatoes in the garden.  My sister-in-law setting the table.  Some people visiting, playing beautiful piano, playing with the kids.  Welcoming my husband's aunt.  

Family Prayer:
Everyone, children and adults, kneeling together.  Communing with Heaven, with The Divine, together offering our hearts to God.

Everyone at the table.  Blessing on the food and family.  Sister helping grand kids eat.  Rice from us.  Bread from my brother's family.  Potatoes, meat, and veggies from my parents.  People sharing what we learned, what we taught, how we all are growing.

After Dinner:
People cleaning.  Someone plays beautiful piano.  Some people sing.  Sister makes cupcakes.  We frost them.  Somehow making the frosting was a group effort. I'm silly with the chocolate chips.  Chocolate frosting "henna" - silly but fun brother.  Chocolate frosting "war" (tease) with sister.  Brothers helping with dishes.  Discussing, asking questions, teaching, learning.  Grandkids, aunts, grandpa outside looking at the stars, playing guitar and singing.  Brother and sister on a walk.  Can grandchild have a sleepover?  "I get to have a sleep over!"

Goodbyes.  We love you.

Mom and dad are such good people.  They work hard to make good in this world, to learn, live, teach, and share the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I believe in family.

Until we meet again (tomorrow for some) God bless you.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Coming of Benjamin

I shouldn't be posting.  I should be asleep.  But I wanted to write about my son.  He is the sunshine of our life.  It was kind of rough getting him here.  I'm afraid to publish this post.  Maybe I'll wait until after our court date?

My husband and I started on the adoption path.  Journey.  We have been married for 8 years this past Summer.  All the time, no kids.  None of our own, that is.

We had many friends with children, a niece and nephew, children at church, I worked with children (major: early childhood & special ed.) our little orphan babies in China, but not a son or daughter in our family.

Our hearts were... broken?  Not complete?  Shriveled?  lacking in fullness?  We loved each other and found joy in our life together, but we knew there was something missing.  We had seen it in other people's lives as adults and being from "large families," we had seen it growing up, been a part of it, felt it, loved it.  Oh, life was not perfect, but it was good.  For each of us.

We yearned and prayed for our children.  I knew that the Lord had not forgotten us.  I knew there were special kiddos meant for us.  But waiting can get tiresome, frustrating, painful.  On the other hand, it can be healing, happy and helpful.

While we waited, we studied.  One day, a friend at school asked me why we didn't have any kids.  Was it my husband's choice?  I said no.  Was it my choice?  I said no.  "Ah," he said, knowingly.  It's God's choice."  I said yes.  He understood.  Not in the same way we understood, but he understood.

The 1st and/or 2nd year of marriage, apparently people would ask when we were having kids.  That bothered Ryan.  I don't think they asked me so much.  People at church would ask.  Sometimes family would ask.  Living in a culture that loves and welcomes children and expects them in marriage was a little sticky sometimes.  But we knew that people didn't mean harm.  They wanted us to have the joy.  And we were the type of people who everyone expected to have kids early in their marriage.  Is that too personal to write?  Because it's true and obvious to everyone who knows us.

Anyway, we finally got going on the adoption road.  It was kind of a long road for us until we got certified.  Then things started happening.  Started happening fast.
Certification.  2 months later an agency asks if they can share our profile with someone.  "You've been matched."  Someone had chosen us.  2 months later she chose her baby instead of us.  Bang.

Almost a month later: On my lunch break.  "There is a baby who is going to be born today.  The parents have chosen between you and another couple and can't decide who.  You get first voice because you have had a failed adoption."  Wow.  On my lunch break we had to decide if he was ours or not.  I took an extra long lunch break that day.  He wasn't ours.  And we were on the lookout for our child.   Ow.  The next month sometime: another baby and he falls through.  Crash.

Next month:  Do either of you speak Spanish?
Yes.  Why?
There is a little baby boy who was born today.  One of the requirements is that one or both of his parents speaks Spanish.  You meet everything this mother is looking for in a family.  Can you fly down to xx tomorrow and pick him up at noon?
Um!  Wow.  What?  Okay.  When Ryan gets home we talk.  We pray, even though we already know the answer.  This is our boy.  He is supposed to be our son.
We get on the plane before we are even usually awake.  We fly over.  All has been peaceful except for half of a second with a thought that she could change her mind, but then it just left.  I didn't even push it away.  There wasn't time for that.  We were on our way to meet our angel mom and our baby.  7 years, 8 months, 2 weeks, 3 days.  We were going to receive our son.  We were going to receive our child.
Then... we wait.

We spend the morning running last minute errands.  Clothes.  Car seat.  Honor gift. Food.  Bottle.  By the way, where are we going to stay?
We chat with her social worker.  How long have we been married?  Do we have a name picked out?  Um...Yes? Yes.  She loves it.  Do we have a picture of ourselves?  Yikes we need a picture!  Oh, you backed them up on your phone when we re-uploaded all the lovely family pictures that I had somehow erased.
Let's do that one.  (Not my favorite one, but it felt good.)  Send.
Ding.  New text.
Ryan: Gasp!
What is it?  Something bad?  ...Oh!
The most beautiful!  Priceless.  Perfect.  Oh!  Love.  Precious.  Heaven.  Oh.  A picture (3 pictures.)  Indescribable.  Heavenly, beautiful and perfect.  Peace.  Those words don't even touch how we felt, but they were, and remain still, the closest I could find.  The most beautiful baby boy.  Love-struck.  Captive.  Renewed.  A piece of Heaven itself.
Waiting.  Hot, tired, hungry, but it doesn't matter much.  We have a sandwich and wait.  Print the picture and wait.

text: We are almost ready to meet you. Start heading to the rendezvous.  We will be there in 10.  So will we.  We wait.  Grab a table.  Wait.  I watch every car that passes, even though they are already here.  Somewhere.  I watch every person who walks outside.  I look at everyone who walks in.  Turn my head to see even when no one enters.

Our social worker: "If it is taking a long time that is a good sign."  Is she trying to calm our nerves?  We are so close.
A phone call.  Religious leader back home.  I'm sorry, I can't talk.  I think they just walked in the door.
In comes a beautiful woman with a heart of purity and a perfect bundle in her arms.  We greet.  Sit down.

Would you like to hold him?  shock.
From her she means he's mine.  That was her moment of this is your son.  The greatest gift.  blessing.  honor.  How did such a beautiful thing just happen?  God is in the works.
We visit and wait for the lawyer.
Tiny, squeaky, quiet cries.  I haven't signed the papers.  "Do you want to feed him or do you want me to feed him?"
Daddy gets the bottle and formula.  Shh.  It's alright.  We'll feed you.  Formula.  For such a new baby.  The waitress brings the water.
First feeding.  Not even an ounce.
We visit.  The lawyer comes.  We sign.  That's it?
Good bye.  Thank you.  God bless you.
How do we say thank you for what she has done?  There is no way.  We can't even pay it forward?  A debt of forever.  Gratitude forever.  Love forever.  We will teach our son and raise him well.  We will love him and lift him.  We will help him in his journey to God.  We will support him in his dreams and goals.  We will give him our best.  We will give him our love.  And he will always have her love.  He will always have part of his beautiful angel mama.  
The Lawyer comes to us.   We have to sign another paper.  We sign.  I knew there had to be more.
Photo for memory book.  Picture texts.  Phone call.  Dad answers.  "Hi, Grandpa.  Hi, Grandma."  Tears of joy.

Now, we are setting the court date for finalization.  He is almost legally ours.  We can't believe how big our little boy is growing!  How fast the finalization is coming.  How soon we get to have him sealed to us, in our family for eternity!  Understanding comes and I can see God's hand working out our lives.  He has been here the whole time, stretching, weaving, and guiding so we can become who and what we are today and what we can become in the future.  Don't give up.  Trust God.  He loves you with a pure and perfect love.  He is our father.  We are so blessed.  It is through our trials that we are humbled, taught, come closer to Christ, and find out joy.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  ...For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isaiah 55