30 May 2011

snapshots [may 2011]


[four months]

i'm cedar

at 4 months baby cedar seems so much more like a real boy. he's bigger & much more cuddly now. he has a sweet & contented disposition, usually happy as a clam to sit or lay & play with his tag blankets or stare at a fan & flash huge smiles at anyone who gives him any attention.

big smiletree 2

he's not always happy, however. he fights sleep like a champ & is very offended by the imposition of naptimes & bedtimes. we're still working on that one.

cedar + mom

this month baby cedar left the land of his birth to visit the land of his citizenship! (more on that later, you can see a preview of our time in bellingham here) while we were home, one of my oldest & dearest friends, jamie, took these beautiful pictures. you can see more of her cedar shots here & more of her photography at backporch creative (www.backporch-creative.com)

cedar + auntie jamie
[cedar + auntie jamie]

29 May 2011


daniel and amanda
[thanks be to God!]

22 May 2011

beautiful bellingham [visit home part 5]

on our way back to asia, cedar & i were so blessed to have a 4-day layover in seattle.  our brother & sister-in-law & neice live two hours north of seattle so we got to have a wonderfully plesant visit with people i love so much, in a city i really love too.  it also just happened that daniel's mom & dad were visiting from terrace (18 hours north!) while we were there, so cedar got to meet his opa for the first time & got to see his oma again who he hadn't seen since she left cambodia when he was 2 weeks old. akuun preh-a ung again & again!

we have so many lovely memories & pictures from the visit - here are some of the highlights. 

[cedar with oma & opa]

cedar + oma + opa

family in bellingham
[a day at the park in beautiful bellingham]

hanging out in bellingham
[just hanging out in sunny bellingham]

mango stick rice
[showing auntie christina how to eat tasty mango sticky rice dessert]

[cedar meets his cousin - autumn jude & they become fast friends & even wear matching elephant t-shirts for the occasion]

[i think this picture is hilarious if you think of them jumping off of something & then falling through the air holding hands]

18 May 2011

jamers [visit home part 4]

jamie + amanda

another treat during my trip home was the day i spent with my very dear friend jamie.  jamie & i met when we were freshmen in high school & have been the best of friends ever since.  we've been through a lot together & i was so excited to introduce cedar to his auntie jamie.  jamie is a really amazing photographer (see her stuff here) & took some beautiful photos of cedar, but we also managed to get some good ones of the two of us as well. 

jamie collage

after our photo shoot, we headed off for a day of treats & target!  we took cedar along so he could experience his first strarbucks & panara bread.  as you can see, he was thrilled.  

14 May 2011

graduated [visit home part 3]

one of the most memorable parts of my [amanda's] trip home in may was the chance to attend my graduate school graduation in pennslyvania.


 for the past two years i have been studying international development through a residency-based program out of eastern university.  the program is geared towards people already working in humanitarian/development in the field, so my classmates were spread all around the globe (ghana, jordan, south africa, swaziland, guatemala, mozambique & the usa).  thankfully we got to spend nearly a month together in stellenbosch, south africa in 2009 & another almost month together in kampala, uganda in 2010.


i learned a lot from my classes about the technical & theoretical side of humanitarian work, but i consider myself really blessed to have learned from the personal stories and experiences of my professors and my dear, dear classmates. they are people who realize that they cannot look at a world full of poverty, suffering & hopelessness & do nothing. the way their faith has infused their lives & their work & the beauty, passion & sacrifice they've all displayed while working with people who are poor and marginalized taught me a whole lot more than my textbooks (sorry, todaro & your gini coefficients!)  somehow our intense times together in residencies, our online interactions & the grace of God turned us into a community & for that, i am so grateful.


 & yes, it does feel good to have a master's degree too!

it worked out really well that eastern university is very close to philly, where my brother benjamin & his girlfriend lindsay live, so we got to have a really lovely (& too short!) visit with them & cedar got to meet his fun aunt & uncle.


this picture is really special to me because i know that i owe a whole lot of this accomplishment to the faithful support of my parents.  i also really wish that daniel could have been in this picture.  (perhaps i should have photoshopped him in!) because the degree i'm (or actually my dad!) is holding has definitely been a team effort.  it represents some academic work on my part, but it also represents so many dinners cooked for me, weekends & evenings without a computer or a wife to hang out with, lots of life details handled &also lots of encouragement on daniel's part. 

& so, while i enjoyed the process, closing this chapter of my life has also come with a big sigh of relief.  school work has been such a big part of my life here in cambodia & so i am excited to move forward to make the most of our time here - to pursue relationships, life & our work here more deeply & hopefully, also to take a  lot more naps!

[bonus picture of cedar's first meeting with uncle ben & aunt lindsay]

10 May 2011

great grandpa james [visit home part 2]

our trip home was filled with gezellig moments, but one of the very best was introducing baby cedar james to his great-grandpa james, his namesake (along with his grandpa james too).  my grandpa has 5 children, 13 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren & baby cedar was the only one he hadn't yet had a chance to hold as a little baby.    

it was such a beautiful meeting. 


it didn't arrive until a few weeks after we left, but here is my grandpa james with his "cedar james tree".  its a white cedar tree that he planted so that he can watch the tree grow in his backyard, as cedar grows far away.  then, when cedar comes home he will be able to see the tree that his great-grandpa planted for him when he was just a little baby.

the trip was also a great chance for cedar to be introduced to more of his family - great aunts & uncles & sweet cousins too!

8 May 2011

akuun preh-a ung [visit home]

last month the combination of my graduate school graduation, an ailing grandpa, a delta voucher & a good priced ticket meant that baby cedar & i made a last minute trip home. last minute as in i bought the ticket on monday & then flew halfway around the world on thursday! clicking "purchase" was exhilarating & then terrifying & i spent one nearly sleepless night fretting about making such a long-haul by myself with a three month old. what was i thinking?

but the next day, when i told ming kohm, our wonderful house helper & nanny, that i had bought the ticket, the first thing she said was akuun preh-a ung, which translates as "thank you, Lord".

cedar + ming kohm
[ming kohm]

not "thats crazy!" or "how will you travel alone with a baby?" or even "thats so much money!" (even though the ticket was more money than most cambodians make in five months). just a simple akuun preh-a ung.

& i took those words to heart.

i decided to recognize the whole trip for what it was - a precious gift - a cause for gratitude, not guilt or fear. akuun preh-a ung became my motto for this last minute trip & it turned out to be such a blessing in every way.

baby cedar was a totally amazing traveler, so smiley & hardly even crying throughout our 36 hour journey home & back (seriously, the seems like a minor miracle!). we got to have a number of lovely visits with dear friends & family, (on such short notice!), most especially with my grandpa. i got to celebrate my graduation with my family & classmates who traveled from so far. & we got to enjoy resting in being home in the comfort & the cold for a few joy-filled weeks.

akuun preh-a ung, indeed.

the trip was so wonderful that i think each segment deserves its own post. i'll begin with the fun of introducing cedar to my hometown in new york & to his friends & family there.

Visit for Blog2
[reunited with grandma & grandpa & introduced to cool spring weather]

Visit for Blog7
[mother's day lunch at java junction]

Visit for Blog1 Visit for Blog3
[meeting uncle seth!] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[getting cozy with great aunt tracy]

Visit for Blog6
[cedar's first WoW - wine on wednesdays]

Visit for Blog5
[watching my brother seth's final tennis match of his college career]

Visit for Blog4
[a tropical fish out of water]

Visit for Blog
[baby cedar enjoying his first taste of pajamas with feet, sweaters & fun american baby toys]