15 December 2012

dancing ezra [three months]

happy three months, our sweet, smiley, sleepy sparrow!

dancing ezra [3 months]
ezra & cedar [3 months]

ezra sparrow & cedar james at three months
[see a resemblance?]

8 December 2012

snapshots [november 2012]

snapshots [november 2012]

1 December 2012

& all your 2,000 parts

& all your 2,000 parts [part 2]

& all your 2,000 parts

30 November 2012

just shy of two [cedar james]

22 months [cedar james]

its official, we couldn't be any more enamored with this guy than we are right now.
some memories of cedar james, just shy of two years old:
  • learning more words every day.  a snapshot of his brain learning two languages: "one more, tiet" (a combination of asking for more in english & khmer)
  • calling the new baby "eh-ha spa-wow", & greeting her (even when she's sleeping) with an energetic "HELLO baby!"
  • loves playing ball, watching seasame street videos online (especially featuring grover), putting tops on things & everything in their proper place 
  • on his own (& despite lots of correction!) has taken to calling us "amanda" & "daniel" (see video below)
  • really enjoys drinking mama's coffee, especially if there is whipped cream on it
  • most commonly heard phrases: "cedar do it!", "pick you [me] up, please", "what's baby do'in?", "whaa happened?, "cedar brush teeth, too"
  • favorite foods: rice, noodles, goldfish crackers & anything fishy tasting or shrimp flavored (basically all khmer food)
  • making us smile: "mama, cedar open mouth like turtle!" (while opening his mouth super wide after watching a friend's turtle swimming)

cedar [autumn 2012]

cedar is pretty stubborn about not talking for the camera, but we managed to get him answering a few questions here.

27 November 2012

gratitude x 1,000 [mary & jim in cambodia]

we were incredibly fortunate that my parents made the long journey to be here with us when ezra was born.  they helped us welcome ezra in bangkok, took care of cedar while we were in the hospital & did all the laundry & dishes in those bleary early newborn weeks.  then after 3 weeks in bangkok, they hopped on a plane with us & helped us settle back into our life in phnom penh.

[tie dyed shirts straight from the brockport, ny arts festival]

in the airport as they prepared to leave after 6-weeks in asia (we had time to chat- we had to arrive at the airport 5 hours early & their flight was delayed another 4 hours, due to the death of king sihanouk & the arrival of his body from china, but that's a whole other story!) we made of list of our trip highlights.  
so here it is.... the Top Five "Jim & Mary Asian Tour 2012" memories.

1) that first glimpse of daniel holding a pink blanket in the nursery (welcoming baby ezra)
2) lots of cedar time in bangkok
3) long weekend in kep
4) being "out & about" & meeting our community in phnom penh
5) a trip to prey veng province

19 November 2012

two months [ezra sparrow]

two months

 Little Ezra is already two months old.  In some ways, it seems like she's always been with us, but in other ways we're all still learning what it means to be a family of 4 & how ezra's joining us is reshaping us into something new & different.  It's been a really great month (I love maternity leave!) hanging out with this little lady & learning more about her.

Some thoughts on our little sparrow at 2 months:

  • she has very dramatic hand movements, especially when she is sleeping.  cambodians like to joke that she is practicing to be an apsara dancer.
  • she still sleeps a LOT, but sometimes she stays awake for a bit & we get to see her big, round blue eyes
  • she's been learning how to smile & gives us huge, wide mouthed grins (a bit crazy looking, actually!) from time to time
  • she's still a long & skinny baby, but is just starting to get some cute leg rolls
  • she seems to sleep better on the go, in her sling with mama, than she does at home lying down in a quiet place. for now, its awesome! & we've been on a lot of sleepy coffee dates together. 
  • her cries often end with cute little squeaks that remind us of a dog toy!

ezra's first smiles collage

11 November 2012

seasons [3]

[ click here for: seasons [1] & seasons [2]]

1 November 2012

snapshots [october 2012]

snapshots [november 2012]

13 October 2012

a visit to kep [mary & jim in cambodia part 5]

kep, 2012

no visit to cambodia is complete without a trip to our favorite sleepy seaside town, kep.  we went with my parents last year for a relaxing weekend get-a-way when cedar was a newborn, but this time it was a lot different with a toddler in tow.  for daniel & i, it will forever be remembered as the god-awful weekend of tantrums & [night] terrors.  luckily my parents were there to help us, the context for cedar  meltdowns was ideal - our guesthouse was beautiful & relaxing, & it seems to have just been a long-weekend freak-out phase. [fingers crossed.....]   

10 October 2012

one month [ezra sparrow]

1 month (border)
[our sweet sparrow at one month]

baby ezra has had an eventful first month!  she spent two weeks in bangkok visiting with her grandparents before hopping on a plane to finally return to her nest in phnom penh.  the next two weeks were spent with more visiting with grandparents & a bit of traveling (kep & prey veng), as well as getting to meet her loving cambodian community.  she weathered the changes well....probably because she seemed to be sleeping nearly all the time.  

we likely won't have many wide-eyed pictures of our sleepy little girl from this first month, but we don't mind!  her peaceful demeanor has helped to ease our transition to a family of 4 (especially with a big brother who just discovered the full meaning of the word tantrum) & who doesn't love holding a little bundled newborn, anyway?

sleeping ezra
[picture by steve chee}
it might be short lived though- after examining ezra, our doctor told us that he thinks she is going to be a very active child.  she measured in this month at a little over 8 pounds; the perfect size for all the sweet newborn clothes we've received (& which I'm sure she won't be able to wear next month at this time).  we'll hold on tight to these lovely newborn days while we can - welcome to our family little girl, we've enjoyed getting to know you (or rather, hold you while you slept all day) this month.

1 month peace (border)
and a bonus picture - little ezra throwing the peace sign!  she's just following in the family line with a mama who works with peace projects & a big brother who also proclaimed his peace child status at an early age. 

6 October 2012

prey veng [mary & jim in cambodia part 4]

prey veng, 2012

MCC also has an office in prey veng province, about three hours away from phnom penh.  life in the province is much different than in the city, so while my parents were visiting we took a weekend excursion to visit fellow mcc'ers ryan & daphne & little maya eliana.  it rained nearly the whole weekend so we spent lots of time in the fowler's house taking pictures of the babies in matching pajamas. We did manage to go for a nice walk to the prey veng waterfront.  as you might imagine, the two little white babies were quite a hit.  the [expectant] couple on the bottom right stopped & asked to take a picture of ezra & cedar because there is a cambodian superstition that if you look at cute babies while pregnant, your baby will be cute too.  we said they could definitely take our pictures, as long as we could take a picture of them too!

1 October 2012

snapshots [september 2012]


29 September 2012

welcome home little birdie

ezra sparrow welcome brunch
ezra sparrow's welcome home brunch
september 29, 2012 : phnom penh, cambodia

[have I mentioned that our community here is amazing?]

24 September 2012

homeward bound

journey home
[bringing our baby bird home]

23 September 2012

held helper [ezra sparrow talstra]

ezra sparrow

miss ezra sparrow talstra
born september 10, 2012
3.3 kg [7 lbs 4 oz]
48 cm [19 in]

We chose this name for you, Ezra Sparrow, because we want you to know that from the moment you were born God's hands have been helping & holding you.

EZRA: In the bible Ezra was a prophet & a scholar.  His name means "helper" & is also short for "God is my helper". Ezra helped to gather God's people from exile & helped to lead them in rebuilding the temple wall which had been broken & destroyed.  When we call you Ezra it is a prayer that your whole life would be rooted in our Lord, your faithful helper.  And out of this rootedness, we pray that you will grow to be a helper & a healer, helping to rebuild what has been destroyed & bringing restoration where there is brokenness.

SPARROW: A line in an old gospel hymn summarizes Jesus' words & says "His eye is on the sparrow & I know he watches me" (Matthew 10).  You, little sparrow, are a picture of this promise to us.  We have felt God's hand on you even before you were born & celebrate His faithfulness in giving you life.  When we call you Sparrow it is a prayer that you would find blessed assurance & peace in the great love of our God & that that knowledge would bring you comfort for all the days of your life.

Ezra, we pray that you be a helper.  Sparrow, know that God is always with you.  
We anticipate with joy watching you grow.

22 September 2012

[20 months]

[contemplating the coming storm: bangkok]

20 September 2012

bangkok follies [mary & jim in cambodia part 2]

Grandma & Grandpa in Bangkok

[cedar learned several letters & lots of fun songs after spending so much time with grandpa jim & grandma mary in bangkok .  it pays to have kindergarten teachers as grandparents!]

10 September 2012

4 September 2012

waiting [bangkok days]

bangkok view
[bangkok: the view from the roof of our apartment]

in mid-august we packed up our bags & transported our little family to bangkok to wait for the arrival of our new baby.

bound for bangkok with border

after a few hectic months (moving our office, moving into a new apartment ourselves, new leadership at mcc, deciding to extend our contract in cambodia) bangkok has been a welcome breath of fresh air.  we love living in phnom penh, but have really appreciated the quiet family time, sidewalks, public parks, & wide variety of food we've found in bangkok.

blog 9 (border)

here are some snapshots of how we've been filling our bangkok days.

[cedar cannot get enough of the parks & playgrounds]

street food
[delicious street food - pad thai & mango sticky rice]

eating fresh
[eating fresh with some north american comfort foods]

blog 8 (border) 
[& eating not so fresh, when this 9-months pregnant mama is craving french fries!]

bangkok haircut
[a haircut]

blog 3 (border)

[& a little bit of t'ai chi to round out the day]

1 September 2012

snapshots [august 2012]

snapshots [august 2012]

8 August 2012

snapshots [july 2012]

july snapshots collage

18 July 2012

gratitude [dapper polka-dots]

cedar with katie's bowtie border

[thanks auntie katie for the polka-dot bowtie.  quite a dapper addition to my collection!]

16 July 2012

snapshots [june 2012]

snapshots [june 2012]

18 June 2012

two peas in a pod [father's day 2012]

father's day 2012

[t-shirt designed by the talented, zany, & all around fabulous friend, zack rock! ]

16 June 2012

[16 months]

16 months

cedar is running full speed ahead into toddlerhood & so far, we've really been enjoying this phase with him! he's able to walk solidly now, so we have much fewer spills & tears. he can communicate pretty well what he wants, which makes life easier for all of us. he's split pretty evenly between english & khmer vocabulary (although its very possible that he knows some khmer words that we don't recognize as words!)

 the last few months cedar has been happiest when playing with balls, looking at books, cuddling with his blanket & teddy bear, following ming kohm "yay, yay" (grandma) around the house & most of all, when playing in any sort of running water. he's started the beginnings of temper tantrums (which are nearly 100% correlated to times he has had to stop playing with running water) & seems to have learned very well how to dramatically throw himself on the ground when he doesn't want to do something/stop doing something.

most of the time, he's still our mellow & sweet little guy & (although we didn't think it was possible) even cuter, now that he has his own pair of suspenders!

8 June 2012

koh thmei [island escape]

koh thmai

one good (is that possible?) thing about the hot season here is that is comes with lots of holidays.  after our april travels to sihanoukville & mondulkiri, we still got to celebrate the king's birthday in may with a 4-day long weekend.  so, we hopped on a bus & then some moto taxis & finally a boat with our friend lisa to check out koh thmei, an island off the coast of cambodia.   it was remote, relaxing & refreshing & went by in a flash!  before we knew it we were sailing the fishing boat through a thunder storm on our way back to meet our bus to phnom penh.  we got a bit nervous when the driver started bailing out buckets full of the rain water collecting in the boat, but all's well that end's well!

5 June 2012

snapshots [may 2012]

snapshots [may 2012]

28 May 2012



2 x 7 = more love, adventures & blessing than we ever could have imagined.

6 May 2012

gratitude [o canada]

o canada

[thanks auntie jamie sue for the reminder of canadian pride, even if i've haven't been there just yet!]

3 May 2012

international workers' day

On May 1st we were privileged to join with thousands of Cambodian workers to celebrate International Workers' Day.  Interestingly, it was a holiday that originated in Chicago, but is no longer celebrated in the USA.  

The workers, from several unions in Cambodia and largely young women from the garment factories, were marching to present a petition to the government asking for the monthly minimum wage to be raised to a living wage of $131.  Yes, you read that correctly, $131 per month.  I know purchasing power parity is at play, but still that's less than my previous job in Canada paid per day.  Something about that just doesn't seem right.

I think their signs speak for themselves.

:: a decent wage for workers is the simplest form of justice::

international labor day 2012

1 May 2012

snapshots [april 2012]

  [ trying to survive our fourth hot season in cambodia. & perhaps even hoping to thrive! ]

snapshots [april 2012]

18 April 2012

sweet & sour [lime tasting]

lime tasting

11 April 2012

another shirt on the line

clothes line

10 April 2012

snapshots [march 2012]

snapshots [march 2012]

2 March 2012

snapshots [february 2012]

snapshots [february 2012]

25 February 2012

gratitude [turtles & plaid]

while are we were home for christmas, my mom taught cedar his latest trick....
"how big is baby cedar?..."

turtles & plaid [thanks]

"soooooooo big"

[thanks auntie christina for the cool turtle shirt & auntie daphne for my newest orange plaid party pants]