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


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)
(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):

4 places I want to visit (before we leave Singapore):

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:
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