Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The sounds of teething

Caleb has been teething for a while but this morning it turned a corner. It went from drooling and gnawing to alligator tears and painful sobs. I will spare you the pain of hearing his cries, but suffice it to say that the sounds of teething were enough to bring tears of sympathy to this mother's eyes.

Email Address Exchange

I have turned on comment moderation. I have been trying to figure out a way to exchange email addresses with several of you without broadcasting them to the entire blog-reading world (not that the entire blog-reading world reads my blog, but they could read it, which is the point). This is my solution. . .send me your address in a comment (which I will not publish). Brilliant, eh?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Giggles (revisited)

I know I have been posting a lot of videos lately, but I just can't help it! Some things are just too cute to pass up. If you're feeling blue, this video is for you. . . there is no happier sound than a giggling baby.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Childproof 'Do

Since the cute little guy had taken a liking to my longer tresses and seemed to enjoy pulling them at every imaginable opportunity, I chopped off all his fun.

Baked Burritos

Here is a fast and yummy recipe that has been a real hit around here. The nice thing about this recipe is that it can be easily prepared in bulk and frozen for future busy evenings. It's not the world's healthiest, but I promise it is yummy!

Baked Burritos

1 can pinto beans, undrained
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp (more or less depending on taste)ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste

In large skillet, combine above ingredients and heat liquid to boiling. Mash beans to desired consistency (we like ours chunky). Add:

1 lb ground beef, browned
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded monterey or pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup salsa
3 Tbs Chalula (hot sauce)
3 Tbs white or cider vinegar

Simmer and allow to thicken slightly.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Wrap 6-8 flour tortillas in a moistened dishtowel and heat for 1 minute in the microwave on high (this softens them and makes them easier to wrap). Spoon mixture onto warmed tortillas and wrap.

(If you plan to freeze, you would now individually wrap the burritos in plastic wrap and place in freezer bag. When ready to serve, remove however many you plan to serve and defrost in microwave. Continue with baking instructions.)

Place burritos in 9x13 pan. Brush tops generously with butter and sprinkle lightly with cheese and cayenne pepper.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or just until tortilla is golden brown.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and salsa.

We like to eat this meal with a Mexican salad (regular salad with broken tortilla chips instead of croutons, and dressing mixed with salsa) and a bowlful of fresh fruit.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The dangers of brushing your teeth

I went to the dentist last week for a check-up. When I mentioned that Caleb has been teething, the hygienist suggested I start brushing Caleb's gums now, before his first tooth breaks through. She said that not only would it feel good on his sore gums, but it would also eliminate the bacteria in his mouth that might make him ill during the teething process.

Being the diligent mother that I am, it took me almost a week to get around to doing anything about it. However, I finally made it to the store yesterday and purchased Caleb his very first toothbrush. He seemed to enjoy the whole thing pretty well, the soft little brush and the fruit-flavored baby-safe toothpaste. . . .that is until he jammed his finger into his eye while trying to suck the yummy toothpaste off his fist. Josh caught the mishap on video.

Check out the face Caleb makes just after he pokes his eye. It's quite comical!

Friday, January 19, 2007

In case you wonder. . .

Before Caleb was around, I really didn't know what a baby was supposed to accomplish during that all-important thing the child development books refer to as "Tummy Time." According to the plethora of books and websites out there, T.T. is critical in a baby's development and maturation. Well, I still don't really know what all the other 3-month-olds do during their T.T., but if you'll notice, Caleb's time consist mostly of flopping around like a beached whale!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Friendship is like Sushi

A good friend is like sushi. . . weird and yet somehow really cool.

Speaking of sushi and friends, my weird and yet super cool friend, Yvette, took me out for really delicious sushi last Friday. She took the day off work to hang out with me. We went for a walk, shopped for pants and then went out to lunch at a local sushi place. I've had sushi before but I will admit that this was far-and-away the best sushi I've ever eaten. Not only was the sushi delicious, but the atmosphere was awesome. It was Japanese chic (I made that up, but you can imagine what I mean. . . sleek, hip and Asian). Very cool.

Everything about the day was a treat. It was a treat to hang out with Yvette. It was a treat to find a pair of pants that fit. And, it was a treat to load up on wasabi.

If you're ever in town and looking for a good sushi restaurant, let me know. I know just where to send you!

A Bowlful of Goodness

Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day. With that in mind, it makes sense to start the day with an added dose of goodness: whole-grains, nuts, dried fruit, and delicious taste. Homemade granola is a breeze to make and costs about 1/4 of the price of its store-bought counterpart. Here is my favorite recipe.

Crunchy Granola

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup water
4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg and/or cinnamon (optional)
8 cups rolled oats (you can substitute other dry goods, such as flaxseed, for a portion of the oats)
2 cups chopped nuts (I like pecans and almonds)
1- 2 cups dried fruit (I like raisins, coconut, and dried cranberries)

Preheat oven to 275.
Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray and set aside.

In a Pyrex 4-cup glass, mix brown sugar and water. Microwave on high for 5 minutes (or until sugar is completely dissolved). Remove from microwave and add vanilla, salt and spices.

In a large mixing bowl combine oats and nuts. Pour brown sugar mixture over dry ingredients and stir until oats are evenly moistened. Spread the granola onto the cookie sheets and bake for about 1 hour, stirring halfway through.

When mixture comes out of the oven it is still soft. Add the dry fruit immediately and stir. Granola will harden as it cools. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Caleb's First Step on the Thousand Mile Journey

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Chinese Proverb

God's Word very clearly teaches us that we are all sinners. Our sin nature is with us from the moment of conception to the moment of death. If we are believers, we have the Holy Spirit living in us to help us battle against our sinful desires, but the war rages on, even though (hopefully!) we are winning most of the battles.

When the doctor handed Caleb to me for the very first time, I wasn't thinking in my mind that I was holding a depraved, utterly sinful little being. However, had I been thinking that, I would not have been off the mark. That's what God's Word teaches us and that is the truth. The beautiful, sweet, rosy newborn I held for the first time three months ago was sporting a full-fledged sin nature. Just like the rest of him, it wasn't mature yet. . . of course he was not capable of exercising it in gross and outstanding ways, but give him time and remove all restraining graces from his life and I can guarantee that this sweet son of mine could potentially rival the chief of all sinners.

Caleb has been getting bigger and stronger every day. He now smiles and laughs and can steady himself in a sitting position for fairly long periods of time. He uses his hands to reach for things and his eyes to take in the wondrous world around him. He talks and wiggles and lights up when I walk into the room. Not only has he been growing and maturing in all those wonderful ways, but his depraved will has been getting stronger, too. Today, for the very first time, I saw it firmly assert itself against me.

After a nice long walk, a good meal and about an hour of playing, I decided that Caleb was due for his afternoon nap. I read him a book, gave him a big hug and laid him down in his crib. Usually, he goes to sleep with no fuss and I was fully expecting this afternoon to be the same story. However, as soon as I put him down, he began to cry. I let him cry for several minutes but when the cry became more urgent, I went in to double check that nothing was wrong. I picked him up and he gave a good burp. "Ahh, so that was the problem," I thought. I nestled him back in under his blanket and left the room. I couldn't have been more than a foot outside the door when he began screaming. Again, I let him cry for a few minutes and then went back in to make sure all was okay. I picked him up, just in case he needed to burp again. The minute I picked him up, he stopped crying and, with tear-filled eyes, flashed me the biggest grin you've ever seen. I couldn't help but smile back, to which he responded with a giggle. Oh my dear son, you gave yourself away! The first Battle of the Wills had begun. I rubbed his back briefly and softly told him that obedience to our parents is the first step in learning to be obedient to God. I told him that even though he didn't want to take a nap, I had decided that he needed one. His job was to be obedient. I told him that whether it was a smile or a scream, neither would help him win the battle. I told him I loved him and that I hoped for his sake that he would learn to quickly submit. Of course, he didn't understand a word I was saying. He just smiled and cooed at me as I talked, hopeful that his tactics were succeeding. However, he understood what I meant when I kissed him and returned him to his bed.

His angry screams (it is amazing how mother knows the difference between a hungry, hurt, and, in this case, angry cry. I think it is a simple grace God gives us to help us survive this thing called parenting.) persisted for several minutes. Meanwhile, I sat in the next room, waiting. Suddenly, about 4 minutes later, in the middle of a wild scream, he stopped. The first battle was over and Mommy was the victor.

I know Caleb couldn't understand my little spiel about obedience and love and submission to God, but I could. It was helpful to actually say it out loud. To state the goal and to commit myself to following through with it no matter how demanding his cries or luring his smiles. Today I helped Caleb take his first step on the thousand mile journey down the path of righteousness.

There will be a million tiny, seemingly insignificant opportunities to shepherd this little boy, but I must keep my eyes open and my mind focused on the goal, the thousand mile journey.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In Celebration

In celebration of the birth of MLK jr, or rather, in celebration of the day off of work that Josh received in honor of the birth of MLK jr, the Redins took a trip to one of our favorite coastal towns. It was about 60 degrees (just cool enough for a sweatshirt and cap) and sunny.

Josh and I enjoyed a fine fare of food, including gourmet pizza and scoops of ice cream in sugar cones. YUM! Caleb enjoyed riding around in his Ergo. He loved the fresh air and got very excited when we promised to bring him back to the beach this summer to play in the sand. All in all, we had a very happy day.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ps 119:9-11

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to your word.
With my whole heart I have sought you.
Oh, let me know wander from your commandments.
Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Ps 119:9-11

I thought I'd start my "207 in 2007" with a passage that would focus on the importance of scripture. As I have meditated on this passage this week, I've really been reminded of how important it is to fill my heart and mind with scripture. God has given me "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" to fight against my sinful desires and yet, how often do I try every other approach possible? Jesus should be my example in this. He didn't mess around. When Satan tempted him in the desert, Jesus responded with nothing less than the Word of God. Shouldn't I do the same?

This passage teaches us that the way to keep from sinning is to take heed according to God's word. How can we take heed according to something we don't know? We can't. The time to learn God's Word is before the temptation strikes. If you're anything like me, you have neither the time nor desire to race to the Bible in the heat of the moment of temptation. God's word must be ready for instantaneous use. . . right when we need it.

On another note, when I categorized this passage on my memory card, I titled it "God's Word" but I think it could also fall under the "Childrearing" category, too. As a mother, I can't guarantee that my child(ren) will desire Christ. There is no secret formula (if only there were!). However, this passage does give me instruction on how to raise Caleb. I can't make Caleb's decisions for him. . . only God can fill his heart with a love for Christ. But, I can help him hide God's word in his heart. . . it's the first step toward a pure life.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Caleb loves to go for walks. It's a good thing. . . with over 2.5 million steps to go this year, he'll be going on lots of walks with me!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My Boys

Caleb met Lolo & Lola (Josh's Grandparents) this weekend.

Getting bigger (and cuter) by the minute!

My two sleepy boys.

What could be more cozy than mommy and daddy's bed?


My good friend, Kay Ann, had a baby last week. Since I'm not a Xanga member, I can't post comments on her blog; I thought the next best thing was a comment on my blog. His name is Beck and he's a cutie. Check out her site and, if you're a Xanga member, tell her how cute he is on my behalf. =)

Monday, January 08, 2007

2007 (updated)

Three New Year Goals
I know I'm a week late in setting my goals for 2007, but here they are:

2,700,000 in 2007
These boots were made for walking and that's just what they'll do. . .

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was the pedometer my husband bought me. It's been very interesting to see how far (or not far!) I walk every day.

My original goal was 2007 miles in 2007. But, after an active day yesterday, I had to readjust. "Active" doesn't mean quite the same thing when you have a three-month old baby. So, I readjusted my goal to make it more realistic. Instead of the equivalent to 5.2 miles a day, my new goal is 2,700,000 steps in 2007. That works out to about 3 miles per day based on my step length. I'm going to add a section to the right to keep a daily and cumulative total going. I'm starting a week late, so I'll have to do some catching up but I think this is a goal I can actually accomplish.

207 in 2007
Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee! Ps. 119:11

One thing I've really been wanting to do is memorize more scripture. When I was in elementary school, I would memorize 10-20 verses every week (that was before the "brain sell phenomenon")! I know memorization gets harder with age, but I think I'm also just plain old lazy. There is absolutely no reason that I should not be able to memorize 207 verses in 2007. That is less than 4 verses each week.

I am going to prepare a list of verses that will 1) help keep me from sinning 2) give me wisdom in regards to raising our son 3) bring me peace (I have been waking up frequently with nightmares).

I'll be posting a list of references for the first 20 soon. That will cover the next month or so, in case any of you want to memorize with me.

27 in 2007
This is a recipe for disaster!

I have a shelf full of recipe books, internet printouts, and handwritten recipes. . . all in a pile! My goal for 2007 is to pick my top 27 main-dish recipes and post them here on my blog. That is enough for a different meal almost every night of the month. I do a lot of freezer cooking (I am still pulling out meals I made from before Caleb was born!) and have hit upon a lot of really great recipes. I'd like to clean-out my disastrous recipe collection and organize it. In the process I'm going to pick 27 recipes to share. Gourmet is great. . . for someone else. For my own sake (and for yours, too, if you're interested), I want to get the best-of-the-best USABLE recipes that I know of into one place.

Three Months Old Today!

Happy 3-month birthday, Sweet Boy!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Beef & Barley Soup

Mmmm, mmmmm, good! No, not Campbells Soup, just soup in general.

Soups are to winter what salads are to summer. . . the versatile, healthy, easy and delicious way to serve a homemade meal. I love wintertime because it means I can serve soup several times each week and never get bored.

There are broth soups, cream soups, meaty soups, bean soups, spicy soups, noodle soups, grain soups, and everything soups.

Some of our favorites include Tortilla Soup, Taco Soup, Split Pea Soup, Lentil Soup, Italian Wedding Soup, Minestrone Soup, Beef & Barley Soup, and Spicy Chicken & Lime Soup.

There are 3 great qualities that soups boast. 1) They are usually CHEAP! That's a huge perk for a family that spent way too much money eating out over the last 2 weeks of vacation. 2) They are usually low-maintenance. Prep time is minimal and as long as you have an hour or two to let the soup simmer, you're fine. 3) You can almost always create something delicious with stuff you have on hand. For instance, last night, after a feverish day with the flu, I really didn't feel like cooking. I opened the refrigerator and pulled out some leftover steak from this weekend. What to do, what to do. . . add some carrots, an onion, a few stalks of celery, a can of tomatoes and some misc spices. Good start. Throw in a handful of barley and a ton of garlic and, VOILA!, a make-shift Beef & Barley Soup. Put it to simmer and forget about it. That's my kind of meal. No measuring, no recipe, no planning. . . perfect for those down-with-the-flu days.

Over the next few weeks, I'll try to post some of my favorite soups creations. As with most soup recipes, consider them to be guidelines. Soup is definitely best when improvised a bit.
Beef & Barley Soup
3/4 cup pearl barley
1 Tbs minced garlic
6-8 cups beef stock (or water with bullion if you don't have beef stock on hand)
1 tsp black pepper
Mix together in large soup pot and boil rapidly for about 20 minutes. Then add:
2 cups chopped, cooked steak
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 can of stewed Italian tomatoes, with juice (use kitchen shears to cut tomatoes in the can so they are bite sized)
1 Bay leaf
any other spices that sound good (like Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, etc)
Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours.

Serve with warm, buttered bread.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Family (2)

When one has a cold-flu, it is particularly comforting to have a mom nearby who will bring you raspberry sorbet and tissue. Thanks, Mom.


Here are a few pictures of the Redin clan (top photo also includes my "little" sister, Elizabeth). I am very blessed to have married into a godly, warm, and inviting family. God has been gracious to me. I know many, many people who struggle to feel accepted and comfortable with their inlaws, especially if their inlaws are a tight-knit bunch. However, anyone who knows the Redins knows that they are a kind and gracious family. They are so welcoming that they have had complete strangers knock on their door (mistakenly) for Thanksgiving, invited them in, served them a plate of food, and not discovered that the strangers were at the wrong house until several minutes later. Now that is hospitality!

It is quite an honor to be one of them.

At La Morenita after a day in the snow.

Sending Joanna back to China to be reunited with her husband, Brandon.
(L-R: Lucy, Jordan, Joanna, Josh, Janella, Jeremy, and John)

Dietary Supplements

We decided to put Caleb on a dietary supplement. The results have been dramatic.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Kicking off the New Year

The Redin family is kicking off the New Year with a cold flu. Nothing like sharing germs with the ones you love.