Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Would You Rather (Tag)

My cousin, the Napping Ice-Hockey-Loving Poker Queen, unofficially tagged everyone who reads her blog to post a Would-You-Rather dilemma on their blogs. So, here is mine:

Would you rather. . .
live in a place that's hot all year
or
live in a place that's temperate nine months of the year, but really,really cold for three months?
Weather and weather related activities can be your only consideration (no family/friend considerations)



Your turn! Answer this one and then post one of your own on your blog =)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Well-Spent $20

Last Sunday, after church, Josh and I went to Starbucks and each got a coffee drink and split a muffin. My jaw dropped when the cash register rang up over $17 (Singapore dollars, but still!). It was a nice treat, since we don't do it often, but I couldn't help but think that there was probably a better way to spend $17.

Later that day, I came across this post on Yvette's blog which was a challenge to fight the consumerism of the season by giving one day's worth of Starbucks money to Dustin's ministry in Haiti. (For those of you who haven't been following Dustin's blog, I cannot recommend it highly enough. He is with a very small team of missionaries meeting the physical and spiritual needs of a village in Haiti.) Yvette suggested $5, but since we had just spent over three times that, I thought $20 was more in order.

(photo taken from Haititrip.blogspot.com)

Yesterday, I received an email from Dustin that read:
Thanks for the donation, it will go to the John Little project. He is a little guy who had malnutrition pretty bad, we want to help him get back on his feet.

Could there possibly be a better way to spend $20?

Some send, some go. We all have a part. What's yours?

To donate to Dustin in Haiti, please click HERE.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

From the mouth of babes

Every morning, at breakfast, I lead Caleb in a prayer, thanking God for our food and our family and friends, and asking God to help us love Him and glorify Him in whatever activity we have planned for that day. This morning, when we finished our prayer, Caleb said, "Mama, I wanna pray." So, we closed our eyes and folded our hands again and I waited. . .

"God. . . Please we go to the mini-mart today. Jesus name, Aaaaaaamennnnn!"

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Candy

Every morning, for breakfast, Caleb gets to eat candy. It's actually his chewable vitamin, but I call it Breakfast Candy, which makes it oh-so-much-more desirable in his two-year-old mind. He also get to eat Prune Candy when he's, ahem, moving slowly. He thinks it is so cool when I let him have Candy for a snack!

My next idea: Broccoli Candy (I'm thinking this one might be a little harder to sell)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A quarter of a year!

Annabelle turned three months old this week. We were in Thailand for the Thanksgiving holiday. She enjoyed chilling out on a beach chair under the umbrella while Caleb played in the surf and sand.

Khai Nok Island, Phuket, Thailand

Our little Sweet Pea is a happy girl. She's full of smiles and squeals for anyone willing to pay attention to her. She is sleeping through the night and growing like a weed. She's got Daddy wrapped around her little finger. She melts her Mommy's heart. And, her burps and toots send Caleb into laughing fits. We can't wait to discover more about this little girl God gave us. What we've seen so far is delightful!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Remember when. . .

A friend of ours dropped off a few toys her daughter has outgrown. Caleb was excited about the exersaucer. I wonder if he remembers when. . .

Four months old



Two years old

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My little Sweet Pea

Annabelle is now 12 weeks old. This is the last of the weekly posts. She'll be 3 months old next week. . . old enough to graduate to monthly updates.


Lately I've taken to calling Annabelle "Sweet Pea". . . calling her Sweet Pea got me humming the song by that name. . . humming the song made me want to listen to the real deal. . . wanting to listen to the real deal led me to iTunes. . .getting on iTunes led me to spend a buck I would not otherwise have spent. So all in all, Annabelle's new nickname is good for the economy =) Anyway, more to the point, when Caleb heard the song playing, he came running over and announced, "Hey, Mom! I wanna dance with Sweet Pea!" Here's a little video of what happened:
video

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Perfect Nap Poll

Annabelle, the Queen of Cat Naps

This poll is in honor of my favorite nap-loving cousin, Jessica, who recently posted an article on her blog about the benefits of taking naps.

Are you a napper? If so, what is your perfect nap? where do you sleep, for how long, etc. . .

My answers: My perfect nap #1 would be a mid-morning nap on a cool, rainy day where you can hear soft thunder in the distance. I would curl up with a fluffy, fresh-from-the-dryer down comforter and a good book. I'd read for a bit and then fall to sleep for at least an hour.

Perfect nap #2 would be getting to snuggle up with a newborn in the hospital after delivery. Not exactly the best sleep in the world, certainly the most contended feeling in the world.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The basics of our Faith

When I was growing up, I had never heard of protestants going to catechism. As far as I knew, whatever it was, it was something Catholics did. Then when I was in junior high, my friend, Lisa, invited me to go with her to her catechism class at the Turlock Covenant Church. It sounded so mysterious that I couldn't wait to go with her to find out what it was. I was awfully surprised when it turned out to be totally normal. We played games and sang songs and then her pastor came in and taught us the answer to a question about Christianity. I couldn't figure out what the catechism part of "going to catechism" was.

I eventually learned that Catechism isn't just a Catholic thing and it isn't mysterious at all. It is a way of teaching the principal tenets of the Christian faith using questions and answers. And, kids are particularly good at learning this way. But, don't assume kids are the only ones who can learn this stuff. I'm learning right along with Caleb as we go through the Small Children's Catechism.



Someone is going to fill our kids' minds with something; why not let it be us, their parents, filling them with God's Word and easy to understand summaries of the things we believe are True. Obviously, memorizing the answers to the questions is just a start. It's our kids' hearts that matter. The ultimate goal is to lead our children to Christ!

If you aren't sure how to catechize, or you want to add some fun into it, I'd recommend Dana Dirksen's Questions with Answers series. They are songs taken from the Westminster Shorter Catechism. I have found that songs are one of the easiest ways for me to memorize, so I have really been enjoying the cd we downloaded from iTunes. Check her out and let me know what you think.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fight FOCA

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
. . . a time to keep silence, and a time to speak
Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 7b


Remember the story of Esther? There was that guy, Haman, who tricked Ahasuerus into signing into law a death order for the Jews. The law said that any citizen could annihilate and plunder a Jew without any consequence or restrictions whatsoever. But, God used the voice of Mordecai to spur Esther into action. Esther was committing political suicide to stand up for the defenseless, but she knew that God had called her to her position of power for exactly that purpose and to keep silent would be wrong.

There is a peice of legislation right now called the Fredom of Choice Act (FOCA) that bears an uncanny resemblence to Haman's decree. It is calling for the permanent and broad-sweeping stamp of approval on abortion, including the end of all bans on partial birth abortion, all requirements that women be informed about the risks of abortion, that only licensed physicians perform abortions, and that parents be informed and give consent to their minor daughter's abortions. In a word, it is stating that any citizen can annihilate a baby without any consequence or restrictions whatsoever.

In addition to the annihilation of the unborn, this legislation also removes legal protections for individual healthcare providers who decline to participate in abortions, and for Catholic and other religiously-affiliated hospitals who, while providing care to millions of poor and uninsured Americans, refuse to allow abortions within their facilities.

It has not yet been signed into law, but President-Elect Obama has made a promise to sign this piece of legislation. Now is the time to speak. Please consider signing the petition linked below. And, prayerfully consider spreading the word about this to your friends and family. And, most of all, please pray.

The Cookie Book

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

10 Weeks Old

My happy little girl. . .




Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Prayer for the New President

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Rom 13:1

It's 3pm, November 5th, here in Singapore (making it 11pm on election day in California). I just finished reading the headlines that McCain conceded the election to Obama, making Obama our new President-elect. Barring any extraordinary circumstances, Mr. Obama will take office in January to become the next leader of the United States.

Whether or not I would have chosen Obama for this position is irrelevant. The Bible is clear that God is absolutely sovereign over the affairs of men, including political affairs, which means Obama is God's ordained leader over our nation. Mr. Obama is the man GOD chose for the job and ultimately, Obama must seek to please God, not the American public.

God cares about justice. He calls us to defend the defenseless and to care for those who cannot care for themselves. There are many, many people who fall into this category, and though we may debate the best way to accomplish our goal, as Christians, I believe we are (or at least ought to be) striving for the same end. Mr. Obama has expressed great concern for the poor and needy of our nation and of the world. In fact, that is the reason given me by several of my Christian friends who chose to support Obama. While I disagree with his solution, I admire his compassion for these often overlooked groups.

Unfortunately, while helping some, he has waged war on others--the very least of the "least of these". If you've ever held a newborn baby, you know who absolutely helpless newborns are. How much more so those that are not yet born! While there are, perhaps, many others who are equally in need of our protection, there is no one, no one, in need of it more. We must be in fervant prayer that God would change Obama's heart in regards to the "least of these" among us--the unborn children who are being annihilated by the thousands each day. Let us be persistent and not grow weary in praying for this!

Father in Heaven, thank you for establishing government to rule over us. Thank you for placing Mr. Obama in the position of President-Elect. Be with him and bless him. Fill him with wisdom and understanding. Give him a passion for righteousness and justice. Use him to carry out your will in our nation. Father, we know that it is your will that we protect and care for the weak. I ask that you change Mr. Obama's heart in regards to the heineous practice of abortion. Give Mr. Obama the humility needed to change course and come to the defense of the unborn children. Most of all, Father, give us the heart we ought to have, for the lost and suffering. Have mercy on our nation. Forgive us of our manifold sins. Help us to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly before you.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

8 Weeks Old

Annabelle's 8 week stats: 10.5 lbs, 22.5 inches, and as pretty as can be.

Cooing and Smiling at Mommy



Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Okay, I'm going political on you. . .

While I am not able to vote in this election (a huge bummer since this will probably prove to be one of the most important elections of my lifetime), I am still very concerned about the issues at hand in this election, both the Presidential race and California Prop 8.

I know there are a wide variety of people who read this blog and some of the readers will disagree with my opinions here. That's okay. . . that is what our political system encourages, right? Freedom to discuss ideas in not be afraid that we will be in danger because of beliefs we hold.

Jen, posted a very articulate statement released by the Catholic church, which I believe is well worth your consideration. If you believe in the absolute sanctity of life but are drawn by the Obama-Biden ticket because of their passion for the poor (which IS admirable!), their desire to end the war, or any other social justice issue, please read this essay. I think it is at least worth consideration.

Also, if you're a CA resident, please visit my sister's blog and find out more about Prop 8 and why I believe it is important to vote in favor of it. At the very least, you should be very knowledgeable on the issue and know why you're voting the way you are.

Okay, that's the end of my political posts. . . at least for now.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Six Weeks Old!

2 Years Old!

Happy Birthday, Big Boy!






1. Transportation of any kind, especially motorcycles, helicopters, jet airplanes, trains, race cars, and boats.
2. Baby Annabelle

Saturday, September 27, 2008

One Month!


One month ago, I slept all night long.
One month ago, I only had to change one kid's diapers.
One month ago, I was able to get showered and dressed before 4pm.
One month ago, I only did 2 loads of laundry a week.
One month ago, I wasn't a walking milk factory.
One month ago, I hadn't yet met the sweetest baby girl in the world.
A lot can change in a month!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

4-Weeks Old

In honor of her 4-week birthday, Annabelle requested to snuggle with her big brother this morning.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Parenting Book Recommendations

Jen recently asked me where I learned about the idea of Chair Time. I remember that I read about it in several books, but I was devouring those kind of books for a while and I really don't remember. To add to the fact that my brain now functions at half-speed thanks to the two little bundles of joy I call children, I also moved from CA to Singapore since reading those books and they are packed in a box somewhere. What I do remember is several conversations with mothers of large families (like Heather and Kendra) who recommended training Caleb to play quietly for extended periods of time. I'm very thankful to have wise friends and family that I can learn from.

While I don't remember which books introduced the idea of chair time/quiet play, I do remember a few of the books which stood out to me as particularly insightful or helpful:

Shepherding a Child's Heart
by Ted Tripp
The Most Important Place on Earth by Robert Wolgemuth
Your Child's Profession of Faith by Dennis Gundersen (not what you're expecting)
Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman
Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas
The Mother at Home by Rev. John S.C. Abbott

As with any book, I recommend that you read with discernment and judge everything by the standard of Scripture. And, keep in mind that not every great idea works in every family. Just because something worked well for so-and-so, doesn't mean you should feel guilty if your family looks completely different (I am reminding myself!) Even if you only implement one or two ideas out of a thousand, it's good to hear from others who are further down the path.

Now it's your turn. . . Aside from the Bible, the best source of wisdom, which books/blogs would you recommend for parenting wisdom?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Annabelle: Three Weeks Old

Here are a few pictures of Annabelle that I took with our current camera. With good lighting, even a sorry camera can get take decent pictures. In two weeks, Yvette will be arriving for a visit. Arriving with her will be my new camera!! (Thank you, thank you, Joshua. You spoil me beyond belief.) A DSLR was out of our price range, but I think the features on the G9 will keep me busy for a while.




I can't wait to see Yvette. . . and I can't wait to try out my new camera =)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chair Time Revisited

Caleb: Chair Timer Extraordinaire

If there is one thing I would recommend that a mom of a toddler do as a way to prepare for a new baby, it would be chair time (or quiet-play time). All of our chair time training of the last 6 months has more than paid off these last two weeks. Waking several times a night to feed a newborn is very tiring. But waking several times a night to feed a newborn and then caring for an energetic toddler all day is downright exhausting!

Caleb is now capable of sitting quietly on the couch in our extra room and playing (doing puzzles and reading books) for up to 90 minutes. (I normally limit his daily quiet-play time to 45 minutes, but there have been a few times when the timer has gone off and he was playing so cheerfully, that I reset the timer and "let" him have more chair time.) If you're single or married without children, 90 minutes might not sound like much, but to a mother of small kids, 90 minutes to yourself feels like an eternity.

Caleb and I have been working on chair time since February, which means I have had sufficient time to make absolutely sure that I can trust him to obey and remain on the chair, a SAFE place, until I come to get him. That means I am free to shower or nap or just sit on the couch and veg. Of course, when I do nap, I still leave my door and the door to his room open so that I can hear him the whole time. . . moms have this cool/annoying ability to sleep and yet remain totally cognizant of all noise in the house.



Anyway, if you have a toddler and are expecting a younger sibling (or even if you aren't expecting a younger sibling), do yourself a huge favor and start working on quiet-play time every day. I promise, cross my heart and hope to die, you will be very glad you did.

Bonus: Chair time is also a great way to train a toddler to sit quietly during church. =)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Civil Disobedience

Me: Caleb, please pick up your trains. It's time for a nap.
Caleb: Um. . . no, thank you.
Me: Yes. You need to obey Mommy. Pick up your trains right now, please.
Caleb: Um. . . no, thank you.


So, while it seems we need to work on prompt obedience, I'd say we have the polite words part down pat.

The Story

Jen asked me to post Annabelle's birth details. So, if you interested in birth stories, read on. If not, feel free to skip it. There will be no hard feelings =)

Annabelle was due on August 28th. At my regular check-up three weeks prior to her due date, I was already dilated to 3 cm. The doctor felt sure she'd see me within the week. But, the next week rolled around and to her amazement, I showed up for my next scheduled appointment. . . still pregnant. At that time, I was at 4 cm. Again, she said she expected to see me in L&D within a day or two, but we scheduled another appointment for the following week, "just in case." It's a good thing we did, because Wednesday, August 27th dawned and there was still no signs of labor. I had been out walking miles every day, doing squats, eating pineapple (they say that induces contractions) and still hadn't had even one significant contraction. I went to my appointment and found out I was at 5 cm! Since I was having some weird headaches which were affecting my vision (sometimes a sign of impending blood pressure issues late in pregnancy), the doctor felt that it was best to break my water for me. I checked in to L&D (just 4 floors below in the same building) and called Josh. He arrived around 1:00 and the doctor came in to break my water at 2:00. Within minutes, I was in transitional labor . . . no warm-up contractions (I guess that's the downside of starting out at 5 cm). After about 45 minutes of labor, I finally asked for some kind of pain killer, but it was too late for anything significant since I was nearly ready to push. The nurses kindly gave me nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) each time I had a contraction. It didn't really do much for the pain factor, but it made me care about the pain a little less, so it was definitely better than nothing. At 3:20, the doctor showed up and got set up for delivery. At 3:25 she gave me the all clear to push and two pushes later (one for her head and the second for her body), Annabelle was born. The doctor was really cool about letting Josh tell me we had a girl. She put the baby up on my tummy and said, "You have a beautiful and healthy baby, Rebecca. Josh, do you want to tell her what sex the baby is?!"

So, there you have it. Annabelle's labor was exactly 1/2 of Caleb's. I'm so thankful my doctor was proactive in breaking my water. If I had been at home, it would have been a very close call. We don't have a car here, so I would have had to call and wait for a taxi (usually a 10-15 minute process) and then drive 30 minutes to the hospital. I can just imagine trying to pay the taxi driver in the middle of serious contractions!

Let's see, other details. . . I did use Gentle Birth again. I don't know if it is a placebo or if it actually works, but for $30, I figured it was worth it either way. Thankfully, there wasn't any tearing, which made recovery a million-times easier. Anything else I didn't mention that you're curious about? Just leave it in the comments.

I plan to post more about the medical system here in Singapore on our other blog soon. " Soon" being a relative term dependent upon the sleep cycles of my two darlings =)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Turtles and Two-week Olds

Toddler Mutant Ninja Turtle



Annabelle, 2-Weeks Old

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Church



Annabelle's first trip to church was when she was 4-days old, but unfortunately, we forgot to take a family picture that day. These pictures were taken this Sunday. She is 11-days old here.

The church we attend was founded in the 1800's, thus the beautiful architecture.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

One Week Old. . . already!

It's been (over) a week since we welcomed Annabelle into our family. Hard to believe. I hate that time flies.

At her one week check up, the pediatrician said she was "the picture of health." I think she is the picture of sweetness. She has certainly captured our hearts since she made her debut. I can't imagine life without her, now.

Four Things

I got tagged by my favorite Minnesotan girl to do this little survey:

4 things I was doing 10 years ago:
-Starting my Junior year of college
-Driving a blue Honda Accord
-Reading tons of classical literature
-Swing Dancing on Friday nights

4 things on my to do list for today:
-Do a load of baby laundry
-Clean the bathrooms
-Play blocks with Caleb
-Snuggle with Annabelle

4 things I love about my husband:
-He is exceedingly patient
-He will eat whatever I cook and thinks everything is delicious
-He works really hard but never puts work first
-He really strives to live a life that is pleasing to God, even when no one is looking or would know.

4 jobs I have had:
-Pizza Delivery Girl
-Subway Sandwich Artist
-City Clerker (two different positions)
-Mommy
(as you can see, I keep getting promoted!)

4 movies I have watched more than once:
-The Count of Monte Cristo
-Nacho Libre
-Napoleon Dynamite
-Pride and Prejudice (yes, the LONG one)

4 places I have lived:
-In a dorm room
-In a house
-In a studio apartment
-In a high-rise condo

4 place I have been (this year):
-Malaysia
-Thailand
-Australia
-India

4 places I want to visit (before we leave Singapore):
-China
-Cambodia
-Vietnam
-Japan


4 t.v. shows I watch:
-We used to download "The Office" from iTunes, but that show is over now.

4 things you may not know about me:
-I haven't cut my hair in over a year (not on purpose. . . just haven't gotten around to it)
-I can sing the ABC's backwards
-I love crunchy green apples
-I love brushing my teeth

4 People I'm tagging:
Mom
Kirsten
Christianne
Dustin (this one is a stretch since he's in the Netherlands courtin' a girl!)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A tribute to one of our favorite children's books. . .

Big Kid. . . Little Kid.Caleb and Annabelle were friends.
Caleb was big.
Annabelle was little.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Family Resemblance


Caleb, 2 days old

Annabelle, 4 days old

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Love at First Sight

Caleb is in love. It happened the moment he first saw Annabelle. The first thing he says when he wakes up is "hold the baby, please" I've never seen a little boy more smitten. Here is a short clip from the first time he held her and a few of my favorite photos.






Friday, August 29, 2008

Annabelle Victoria

Annabelle Victoria Redin
6lb 15 oz
20 in
Born August 27, 2008 at 3:28pm in Singapore



Sunday, August 24, 2008

Drumming our Fingers and Tapping our Toes

There has been a lot of finger drumming and toe tapping around here the last few days . . . we are definitely anxious to meet this little one. Only 3 more days until my official due date arrives (but no telling how many more until the baby arrives).

Thanks for all your prayers. At the last check-up, the baby had packed on a significant amount of weight (over a pound in a week!) and was up in the "normal" range again. The doctor now expects that he/she will be at least 6.5 to 7 lbs, which is great!

Check back soon. . . I hope the next post will include pictures =)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Redefining Cool

There was a hands-on-science day at one of the malls this weekend. There were tons of cool displays and projects for elementary-aged kids. Caleb was too young for most of it, but he did get a cool balloon hat out of the deal. By the way he was strutting around through the mall, you could tell he thought he was pretty darn cool. Kids are funny. . . they are gloriously oblivious to social protocol.