31 December 2011

snapshots [december 2011]

snapshots [december 2011]

20 December 2011

[11 months]

eleven months
[braving the NY winter - who dresses this poor kid?]

 baby cedar (i've got to use that phrase as much as possible, because its close to not being applicable anymore) is growing & changing like crazy & its a real joy to be a front row observer.  at 11 months, he's not walking yet, but has become a very fast crawler & enjoys toddling around holding onto couches, chairs, tables, people's legs, whatever he can find.  he has 3 words that we can recognize and they are all khmer (cambodian) words so far.  he says the baby forms of ch'gai (dog), p'gaa (flower), k'bal (head).  he also knows the cambodian sounds for "don't do that", which sounds like eht eht.  we know he knows that one, because he often says it to himself when he is doing something he is not supposed to do - he's a mischevious one, that's for sure.

at 11 months he has 4 teeth.  we get a kick out of the top two, because his outer teeth are coming in before his middle ones, so he looks a bit like a vampire when he grins.

cedar + teeth
[vampire baby - pictures by jamie, more to come later]

he's a good eater & this month his favorites have been rice & his grandma mary's (who he visited this month, more on that later too) turkey soup.  he's still not a very good sleeper, but makes up for it by being pretty happy & charming when he's awake.  (& his momma makes up for it with lots of coffee)

when cedar was born, i thought there was nothing  cuter and more fun than the tiny baby he was.  but i was wrong.  sitting in a cafe yesterday, i saw some new parents with their newborn & realized what a difference 10 short months makes. he's so much more fun than that little guy who could only sleep & cry.  at 11 months, baby cedar is a complete delight & we couldn't be happier to be journeying with him.

cedar in ben's overalls
[bonus picture: wearing uncle ben's hand-me-downs, 30 years later]

19 December 2011

phnom penh + evictions + injustice

 a good short video news report about some of the eviction issues happening in phnom penh recently.

17 December 2011

welcome to our world [naomi sky charity]

welcome baby naomi

Its so fun when our family gets bigger - welcome baby naomi!  
we are thankful to God for your safe arrival & can't wait to meet you.

11 December 2011

Returnee Integration Support Center [a peek into Daniel's work]

here is re-post of a story that Daniel wrote for the MCC Cambodia blog about his work. To learn more about RISC and how you can support their work, visit their website at www.risccambodia.org

[RISC case worker, Mr. Sarith (on the left), meets with a returnee in Battambang Province, Cambodia]

Returnee Integration Support Center
Posted on December 8, 2011 by MCC Cambodia

The worst of the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia’s civil war ended more than 35 years ago. But, the impact of this catastrophe has left fissure lines that continue to stretch out to today. One such line runs from Cambodia, through Thailand, to the USA, and back to Cambodia, where the repercussions continue to be felt.

During the Khmer Rouge-era, Thai refugee camps were filled with Cambodian adults and children fleeing violence and starvation. During the 1980s, the American government responded to this crisis by accepting nearly 200,000 Cambodian refugees.

While the genocide and hunger was safely behind them, for many members of the Cambodian American refugee community, the struggle was not over. Rural Cambodian farmers, often with limited English abilities, were now forced to learn how to live in American cities. With limited options, many of the refugee children learned from – and assimilated into – the local culture of America’s inner cities. Unfortunately, some of these children (now young adults), found their way into the US criminal justice system, serving time for crimes committed.

But the story doesn’t end here. Although these individuals were legally admitted as refugees, and many of them spent almost their entire youth growing up in the US (some having been born in Thai refugee camps shortly before immigration), they were not automatically considered US citizens.

In the 1990′s, US immigration law changed: Now, all non-US citizens with felony convictions would be deported. In the early 2000s, Cambodia began to accept deportations and the removals began. The law is retroactive, applies after serving time in jail – no matter how long ago – and gives no room for judicial review, or consideration of current contributions to society.
The result has been tragic. Families are torn apart, bread-winners taken from their jobs, and returnees (some with mental disabilities) are placed in a country where they often lack the necessary cultural or language knowledge to survive – a second traumatic relocation. Since 2002, nearly 300 individuals have been deported to Cambodia, with thousands more expected. They can never return to the US.

In response, a local organization has been established, called the Returnee Integration Support Center (RISC). RISC provides cultural orientation, temporary housing, job assistance, legal monitoring, emergency medical support and – most importantly – a center where the returnee community can gather together, in addition to receiving many other forms of support.

For the last 5 years, MCC Cambodia has partnered with RISC. We provide funding and advisor support, assist the organization with capacity building, fundraising, and organizational development, and have posted members on its Board of Directors. This has been been one of MCC Cambodia’s most important partnerships: helping to meet a need that falls outside of classic development sectors (HIV/AIDS, gender, environment, etc.), and helping to support and empower a unique and vulnerable community that would otherwise fall through the cracks. To learn more about RISC, visit their website at www.risccambodia.org.

Studio Revolt has produced a powerful short film featuring exiled Cambodian-Americans. View the movie here


10 December 2011

gratitude [go blues!]

thank you auntie hannah
[thanks aunt hannah for my first hockey jersey.  
i always thought i'd be a sabers fan, but it turns out that i cheer for the blues - shhh don't tell my uncles.]

& so it goes. [turning 30]

Amanda's 30th Birthday Party

turns out that turning 30 isn't so bad when you get to spend the evening celebrating on a boat along the mighty mekong dancing with beautiful friend to the sounds of  phnom penh's best bluegrass band*.

& noticing a lunar eclipse during the bluegrass version of tiny dancer only makes it that much sweeter. 

* this may be a biased proclamation, but i sure get a kick out of the grass snake union band.  watch all six of them (plue one small child) playing in a tuk tuk driving around the city here with the tuk tuk sessions (one song. one take. one tuk tuk) .

** and thanks to steve chee for the beautiful moonlit photos

8 December 2011

snapshots [november 2011]

snapshots [novebmer 2011]

6 December 2011

gratitude [ben & lindsay]

thank you ben & lindsay
[thanks uncle ben & auntie lindsay for the sweetest & cuddliest veggies!]

3 December 2011

[10 months]

10 months

at 10 months, baby cedar has taken movement to the next level; he pretty much cannot stay still for longer than 1 second.  he's got crawling totally down & zips all around the house, happy to follow behind whatever adult is around at the moment.  he pulls himself up on absolutely everything & enjoys cruising around that way too.  his cutest new trick is that he's learned how to groove to a beat - current favorite albums are baby beluga, & his half-pint harmoney lullabies.  he is also the proud new owner of 2 teeth & loves playing with cell phones more than any of his toys.

cedar + cell phone

[pinkie up is really the only civilized way to eat a phone]

but his biggest accomplishment this month has been the debut of his first word.  he now proudly says "gai, gai", whenever he sees a dog or hears a bark (which, if you've ever talked to us on the phone you know is ALL the time).  it comes from the cambodian word for dog - ch'gai.  (his pronunciation is great, i just knew it was only a matter of time before his cambodian language skills began to overtake ours.  i've been trying to say that word for 3 years & still can't get it quite right!)

he's also became quite dramatic (see below).  he is not a quiet, sweet little guy anymore.  no, he is really, really LOUD (& ok, still sweet).  whether its just babbling to himself,  telling ming kohm a story, or actually trying to get our attention, this little guy has learned how to make his presence known.

10 months & very sad
 [expressing himself after he crawled so happily & quickly towards mama's camera & then wasn't allowed to play with it.]