Monday, July 31, 2006

Difficult, Yes...Worth It, I Believe So

I have been feeling God challenging me to grow in my time with Him through prayer. I just finished reading a book (which is a huge accomplishment for me to be able to say I finished a book these days!) called Armchair Mystic by Mark E. Thibodeaux. It is about easing into contemplative prayer. I have really loved its practicality, its simplicity and the way he describes prayer in different stages. The book talks about the importance of solitude in our lives - that we are so busy, and surrounded by noise that we have become uncomfortable with silence. The book is a challenge and a call to a deeper and more real relationship with God. I have decided to follow some of his practical suggestions and commit to growing in this area of my life. I believe it will be difficult to develop the habit, to strive for consistency and to approach the process with the right spirit and attitude...but I also trust that if I can be patient - God will open my eyes to a richer relationship with Him that will be very worth it! Pray for me! And if you are interested, pick up a copy of this book and let's journey together. I would love to hear how your prayer life is!

An Appropriate Gesture of Honor and Pride

Although my Dad has been gone for a year and a half already, my Mom recently shared with me something she plans to do in honor of what he loved and was proud of. My sister, Charlotte, is in a Country Gospel group called All 4 One and they just produced their second cd entitled, Along the Way. Their first cd was the pride and joy of many I am sure - but none more than my Dad. He talked to everyone about it and bought numerous copies for family members and friends - so they could hear his daughter sing. My Mom has been saving the money that was found in his wallet on the day he passed away for something to do that would honor Dad....and she is very appropriately going to buy a large number of Char's new cd's and share them with family and friends - a perfect idea - and exactly what I know Dad would have done.

Char, you are gifted and talented. Thank you for the encouragement you bring to me -and so many others - through your voice. I love the cd - it has filled the walls of our home many times already in these few short weeks since its release!

Mom, thank you for your kind and thoughtful gestures to honor Dad in our family and community.

I love you both!

A Toddlers' Self-Diagnosis

Reece: Mommy, would you snuggle with me and hold me to make me feel better cuz my tummy isn't feeling well.

Me: Of course, come here. Now tell me how it feels. Is it a little pinching feeling? Is it pinching? Or is your tummy turning round and round like it is going in circles?

Reece (with a sigh, a moment of thought and then a serious response): No, it is more like it is going in triangles.

:) Don't you love the way their little minds work!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Family Get Away for a Taste of Paradise!

Okay - so I worked hard to post all my great pictures with my new fancy camera on this thing and as I was doing it I found out there was a limit to how many I could upload before I hafta pay - grrrrr..... So....please enjoy a few of my favorites here on the blog, a few more on the sidelink (just click on one of the pics and it will open up the slideshow) and the rest after I get permission from my husband to pay the $24.95 to post them all! And please note: a few of the flickr pics are from our May trip to SeaWorld - I can't figure out how to separate them so just bear with me - I am technologically challenged!

We took a little family get away to an absolutely beautiful place called Cocoyoc. It is about an hour from Mexico City - and a breath of fresh air from the cement, traffic and busy-ness of big city life. We took a bus - which was a fun adventure for the kids. And we went alone - just us - and that was especially neat as we often do things like this with teammates, friends or family. We just spent one night but it has recharged me - it was so great! We questioned whether we should go or not....because the weather wasn't the best - but we decided to just do it and it was wonderful. It did rain hard but it was all the more refreshing and we were still able to swim and take many "family walks". We did end up being in three rooms on a one night stay (a record maybe) because the rain was coming down so hard that it began leaking through the roof in room 905, they moved us to 904 at 11:30pm for it to begin to drip on Reece again in about 20 minutes. So we packed up and went down to 813 where we were nice and dry! Great memories! Family time is so priceless and I thank God for the time we had to have it together in such a beautiful place. If you ever come to Mexico, you need to check this place out!

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Little Husband Pride

I would like to journal some thoughts and thanksgiving for my husband. I am so impressed by his faith and service - in many ways, but I am thinking specifically about the coffee shop right now. I walked down to the shop last night with the kids so we could visit him for a bit and as I approached the shop, I was overcome with a feeling of, "wow. we really did this. we really stepped out in faith and have a coffee shop in Mexico City - how crazy!" I love the way Benjy has given himself to this opportunity. He is so good with people and it is obvious. He is gifted and natural at making people feel listened to and important. When he works in the coffee shop (because there are a few days that we have others working it and he isn't there) - I believe, people really notice that he isn't there. His face is connected to that corner. I just watch him interact and serve others and I see Jesus in him. I love it and praise God for the way He is at work through Benjy. I am proud of him. Because of his service, we spent the morning with new friends Gerardo and Dulce. Benjy took the initiative to invite him to run with him at the track and then to come over to the house after, with his wife and we would eat together. So we spent several hours today with this couple - good conversation, laughs, and the continuation of what Benjy has created with them at the coffee shop. So, I say all this to say a word of thanks to God for the good man I share my life with - and to ask Him to continue to use Him. I am one blessed woman!

Friday, July 21, 2006

What They Are Doing These Days

Since I kind of use this blog as an update but also for making notes of certain things that are happening in our lives, I completely understand if you are not interested in all the details of this post. Seriously. It will be lengthy and really it is more for my memory than anything....

As life marches on and time changes things and brings about new stages in our kids and in our family life around here, I would like to record where the boys are at. Before I know it, this stage for each of them will be long gone. So for my old sentimental heart...

Reece is 3 years and 3 months old - but for some reason he seems so much older. He is still a pretty big kid for his age, I think, and the rate at which he outgrows his clothes makes me realize how quickly he is growing up. He is pretty active - loves boy things like water guns, balls, trucks and trains. He still likes his books. I am impressed that he has held on to his love for books since being a baby, and he has a pretty long attention span too. He goes through phases of his favorites - some I am glad he likes, others...not so much, but hey. We have also begun to "tell stories" rather than only read. That has been really fun. It all started with us sharing stories of when we were little and so sometimes when Reece wants to tell a story he will say, "once upon a time when I was just a little boy..." I think this story telling stuff has really spurred an imagination in him. I love to watch his expressions because he really pays attention to what might happen next. He now asks us if we would like him to tell us a story - that is pretty fun! Yesterday at the dinner table he talked for what seemed like 15 minutes with barely a pause - telling us all about his adventures with the cow and the dangerous bug they met in the swimming pool, and weaving his characters in and out of the plot. Reece almost always leads our prayers and uses "Father thank you for all these blessings" - and sometimes he will go on to list those blessings but sometimes that is it too - short and sweet. Another highlight of our bedtime tucking in is "happy parts, sad parts" We each share the part of that day that made us feel the happiest and then also the saddest. It is very insightful. It has caused Benjy and I to realize how much goes on in a day and before you grow into the habit of reflecting on those things,how much you miss. Now, it is much more natural to identify the little things that brought happiness and sadness. I love this time because it has created great communication between us and Reece. He has shared some really neat stuff. I sometimes like to play his game back at him and when he asks me what my happy or sad part is, I will respond - well, I am not sure. He is quick to state, "well, you hafta hink (because he pronounces his "th"'s as "h"'s) about it. I guess he has heard us say that to him before! I have left those "tucking in" times many nights with a very thankful heart for the sweet things that bring happiness to my son. And when I hear something like his "happy part" being that I read his favorite book to him that day, I am pretty thankful that I get to stay at home and spend so much time with him. Reece likes to learn and that is fun. He continues to seem to have a heart for God - quickly grasping important values from Bible stories, etc.. He can ask a lot of questions as he is in this "why" stage of development - but it is neat. He usually responds quite well to discipline - he has had his moments too, of course, but he is quick to restate why he was sent to the naughty chair or spanked and apologizes. He has now learned to say, "I am really really sorry" - which can be a pretty fake statement at times! He does know that it makes mommy/daddy/God and Jesus sad when we act certain ways and I have faith that someday it will all sink in (even if it seems like the lesson is not being learned in the here and now!). He is struggling with hitting or being too rough with Chase right now and that has been frustrating for me. He sometimes forgets but he really knows from the many times it has been stated to him that "throwing a fit" never gets him his way... I love to watch him play - he is in that stage of creating scenes with his animals or trucks, etc.. and he will narrarate the events taking place. Again - he has an imagination. He continues to want to be a helper around the house - especially when it involves baking. It has become an unspoken promise between us that I will always save him a little bit of dough to make his own cinnamon rolls. He has gotten really good at it too. His interest in tv is growing and he has to be reminded a little more often, it seems, than it used to be that he only gets a 30minute show a day (more or less). He likes Caillou the best and that is usually what he chooses. He also is really gaining his Daddy's personality in the "being funny" department. He has endless facial expressions or dances or voices that he uses to make me laugh. He is fun to have around, that is for sure. And as a big brother - wow. It seems like Reece and Chase are either the best of buds or fighting over every little thing - where is the middle ground? He really is sweet to him - kissing Chase's bumps and bruises, helping him up onto chairs and places he shouldn't really be up on yet, and welcoming him in to cause trouble. They can play very well together. They can. But they also can fight a lot too. Reece has a bit of a disadvantage because he is the older one and the rules are understood better by him and more is expected of him so he sometimes feels frustrated, I think. He knows he is supposed to share - but that sure can be hard to do sometimes....especially when Chase can certainly be a little tease. But it is certainly one of my favorite moments in life when Reece and Chase are laughing their heads off together. Reece knows how to get Chase to laugh and it is pretty sweet. He is a good big brother. And as a son - he is thankfully still in that very expressive stage of his love for us. He says he loves us and Chase frequently in a day. Pretty special. He is a good eater most of the time. He wants snacks all of the time. Grrrr. He can be convinced to eat or at least try almost anything these days because he is fascinated with the concept that "that makes you strong and healthy". Powerful influence on him. He is pretty shy around people he doesn't know, but once he warms up he will play with anyone. His greatest concern right now is going to school. In some ways he seems excited but also, naturally a little scared. We will see how that all plays out but I do think he will adjust quickly and thrive in that environment (if his mommy can let him go!). His favorite memory as of late has to be our recent trip to Sea World - he loved it! He is still taking a quiet time/rest time each afternoon but only actually falls asleep once every 3 or 4 days. The others are filled with him asking every few minutes "I'm done, can I come down now, my body had a good rest..." He responds well to and frequently requests the "beeper" to send him to bed or naps. In his mind, he has bought more time - even if I only set it for 3 minutes more. Oh well, if it works, it works! Anyway, I could probably write on and on about Reece but I think this paints a general picture of where he at in life right now. He is very loved and very special to us!

Chase is 1 year and 7 months. He is a little guy for his age - and is feisty because of it (and b/c he is a younger brother). He is walking, running, climbing, and so on. He has figured out how to go backwards and thinks it is pretty funny. He has more soccer moves than I can believe - loves to race around a ball and kick it and move it around with his feet. He has slowed down a bit with his recent fascination of throwing things, thankfully, altho that still comes into play. It seems as though he has no fear. He will straddle up the slide and then lean over the edge - it scares me to death. He can manuever his way onto the chair or lazy-boy and loves to climb up Benjy's chair and try to hang over the top - even tho he knows he shouldn't. He loves to climb the stairs and has quickly caught on to the "hand on the wall" rule and can get up pretty fast (altho I am still afraid to let him do it alone). He spends more than 80% of his days, so it seems, walking to the cupboard, opening it and pulling out snacks and bringing them to us. He is determined! He loves getting into water and that is the first place he heads to when he is allowed to play outside (any kind of puddle or place where rain may have collected). He loves balls more than anything - but will also gain a real interest in whatever Reece might be playing with. He loves to destroy Reece's towers or roads or train tracks. He is a little tease about it too - he will grab something of Reece's and then run away as fast as he can with a twinkle in his eye and a giggle. When him and Reece fight, Chase usually comes out the winner - he is tough and defends himself well. He can also have a hard time sharing but can respond to directives to share - and you can see he is proud for obeying when he does. He isn't talking very much but he sure can understand it all. We have recently begun using the naughty chair to discipline him in time out. He can go and sit as soon as he is told too - but he also can be very stubborn as well. If he is really mad he will watch you and slide off of his bench and flop on the floor. And as soon as you tell him to get back he will either obey or just look at you with this stubborn look of challenge. He has thrown some doozies of fits. I think he might have a strong personality. I have heard Reece voice a prayer to God asking him to help Chase not throw fits - if that tells you anything! He clearly understands questions like "do you need to go to your bed, do you need a spanking, are you ready to be happy, etc.." He knows how to say sorry in action - if not in words. After serving his time on the naughty chair he comes to get his verbal reminder of what not to do, he gives a sort of sideways hug and rubs his cheek up to yours - sometimes saying, "awwwwwww". But, although he sure can tease Reece, he also really loves and admires him. He tries to do what he does and go where he goes. They have a lot of fun together. They can be as thick as thieves too when they are into trouble - giving each other a look of approval and laughter even tho one of their parents is in the mode to correct them. Chase has finally arrived at the age where he will sit through a book. He loves "The Big Red Barn" - especially the page at the end where all the animals are sleeping. He puts his finger to his lips and in a slurrish way says "thhhhssshshh" (a word he also has learned from being told he must be quiet to get to come off the naughty chair). He likes puppies, especially, and imitates them as soon as he catches sight of one. Of course, as with any toddler, he prefers the control of turning pages but is slowly letting go of that I think. He likes to sing these days - or for us to sing to him at least - he knows all the actions for "who did make the fishies swim, the flowers grow, the birdies fly" and points to heaven at the "God in heaven above" part as he tries to say "above". It is pretty sweet. And of course, he loves, "this little light of mine" and blows that candle out pretty strongly. He really likes music and is a dancer - whew. He has trademarked a new way to hold hands during prayer time. He holds out his index finger when he is in his highchair and it has now become our family's way of praying. At night when I lay him in his crib he holds out his two index fingers for me to hold on to as I pray with him. And he has also created the "double clap" in place of the word "Amen". If he feels you are praying too long, he simply double-claps to try to wrap it all up. He can certainly eat when he wants to and is well known for handing you his plate and saying "mmmmaaa, maaaa" - for more. And if he isn't interested in what you are serving he is known to swoop that arm and move whatever the undesired food is onto the floor - in spite of the many hand spanks that has produced. His speech is a little behind but I feel like he is making attempts to imitate words more and more. Before we know it he will be blabbing away. As far as naps - he is pretty much down to one in the afternnon. We have tried to give him a quiet time each morning as we did when Reece was younger. And then he naps for an hour or 2 after lunch. We have weaned him from the pacifier except for when he is in the crib (or occasionally in the car). He handled the transition really well - but sure giggles with glee when he sees it lying there in his crib, awaiting him. He is in an affectionate stage that is sweet beyond sweet. He loves to give kisses and hugs (which are reserved mostly for me!). He enjoys climbing up on you if you are on the floor and laughing and playing. And he is one ticklish little boy. He has a couple of spots on his legs and his chest that will create the greatest and most genuine laugh - it always makes my day! He is lots of fun and is very loved by all of us. It will be a lot of fun when he begins to speak more and actively participates in our happy part/sad part each evening. I love to watch him and wonder what his little mind is thinking and processing. Before long he will express a lot of what is going on there. What a special little guy we have.

Okay - well, i am glad that I wrote this all down. It will be nice to have on paper (or internet) someday.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Calling All Bakers!

Well, it is Thursday again - which means baking morning for the coffee shop. It has become my routine to do as much baking for the weekend as I can today so that I don't feel like I am spending all weekend in the kitchen. My selection of recipes have come mainly from my Mom, a few suggested recipes from cook books, the odd experimental try, and a random search here and there on the internet. But I am ready for some variety that has the word "experience" attached to it. So, to any of you out there who love to bake - or who don't even necessarily love it but know of some good, yet simple recipes for cakes, pastries, etc.. - would you mind passing them along to me? I would love it - just remember that I live in Mexico so don't have all of the ingredients accessible like you - but I'll creatively try to figure out some kind of substitute if I need to.

Some good news about the coffee shop....we believe that we might be seeing the first apparent fruits of our work there. We have met a young couple, Gerardo and Dulce, who very recently (about the same time we opened up the shop) moved into a house up the street from us. They have become faithful customers - often sitting for an hour or so most weekends - talking, asking questions, and building a friendship with Benjy. We are thankful for what God seems to be opening up with them and we anticipate our friendship and time together growing beyond the walls of our coffee shop - exactly what we have prayed for. We have talked about going together to get tacos sometime this week. Please pray for their hearts to be open to what God wants to do for and in them. And pray for us to have wisdom to be natural, and patient with the opportunity.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

First Time to the Movies

We took the kids to see CARS over the weekend. Okay - just to clarify - there was almost NOBODY other than us in the theater so I didn't think it was a big deal to snap a few pics. Reece was quite excited as it was the first time for him to go to a theater(that counts since he was 4 months old the last time).


As parents of young children, we haven't been to see too many movies as of late and I had forgotten about the lengthy previews. I should have waited until the movie was actually beginning, because, no joke, 20+ minutes later it was time for Cars to begin. But Chase didn't mind at all because he was perfectly content with both hands in the popcorn bowl. It was pretty cute because he was barely heavy enough to hold his own seat down, yet he sat there with his own little cup of popcorn between his legs and an arm on each armrest...happy as a pig in mud...for most of the movie.


Reece kept asking when it was actually going to begin!


But once it did he was pretty into the show. His favorite part was the "tractor tipping" scene.

By the last 20 minutes or so, Chase had lost all interest in the show, the popcorn was all gone (for quite some time already) so he found more amusing ways to entertain himself!


We Are Pregnant!!

My heart is overflowing with goodness and I feel like I can't stop smiling, now that the thoughts and suspicions of new life within me have been confirmed by a very obvious 2 lines on todays pregnancy test. The last several days have made me believe there might be a chance but I just wasn't sure and I didn't want to feel disappointed. Although I tried to remind myself that it very likely may not be true, I found myself thinking about another baby a lot and so by the time it seemed logical to actually take a test - I was really hoping that we would be pregnant. And WE ARE! I love seeing the look on Benjy's face - we are both humbly thankful. While the kids were resting, I took the test and since we have been excitedly talking, thinking, discussing baby names, etc.. We revisited our previous plan to leave the sex of our next child as a suprise until the delivery room. I think we are both on board this time! After all - each of the boys had an element of suprise to their arrivals so we want the same for the next. Both Benjy and I say we would like a girl, of course we would love a baby girl, but also kind of expect another boy - which will be fun too! We have decided to not tell others of our pregnancy, including the boys, until we are a bit further along and have seen the doctor, etc.. (we'll see!) But as Reece came walking down the stairs from his nap, Benjy asked him, "Reece - would you want a brother or a sister?" His response: "a sister". "Really," Benjy said, "a sister instead of another brother?" Reece smiled and said, "How about a sister and another brother and then maybe another sister!" Luckily, Reece is too young to know the significance of this conversation. My heart feels so blessed. And this is just me to a "t" - looking at Chase a little more tenderly as I picked him up from his nap this afternoon, knowing that he isn't the baby of the family anymore, God willing. My prayer of thanksgiving and protection and development goes up to God this afternoon....

"Father, the Giver and Sustainer of Life - I praise You and thank You for giving us another opportunity to participate in creation of life. I am so thankful and so filled with joy over today's knowledge of this precious baby. Please protect and take care of our little one over these next days, weeks and months. I thank You for the love and happiness I see in Benjy's eyes as we realize the goodness of this blessing. Thank You for giving me such a great man to share life with - and a great father to raise my children with. I thank You today for Reece and Chase - and for who they are to us. We love our boys and have been so blessed by each stage of development they have experienced. I pray for them and ask You to prepare them for this change. They are going to love having a baby around - I know it! And Father, I pray for my health - please take care of me and give me a healthy pregnancy. I give this little one to You today and entrust him or her to Your perfect care. I love You Father, Amen"

Monday, July 17, 2006

Thinking about school

As of late we have had several conversations with Reece to try to prepare his mind for the possibility of entering school this fall (more on this later). When he understood that we wouldn't be staying with him after the first time of meeting his teacher, etc.. he expressed a bit of concern. I reassured him by telling him he wouldn't be alone because God would go with him and help him learn spanish and make new friends, and have fun and learn lots of things. So he has been saying he is going to school in a few months with God.

Last night when I was tucking him in he was laying there looking at the ceiling...
Me: Reece, what are you thinking about?
Reece (smiling): I'm just thinking.
Me: But, what are you thinking about?
Reece: I am just thinking about school.
Me: What are you thinking about school?
Reece: Just thinkin' about what God will do with me.

This week we plan to check out a few schools in the area. This has been a difficult decision for Benjy and I - and we have yet to decide exactly whether or not we will send him this fall or not. But we have agreed to considering and investigating so that we can make an informed decision, either way. In Mexico, they have been yearly adding a new year of mandatory kindergarten and this fall, 3 year olds are required to enter kindergarten. To us, it feels very early to put Reece in school 5 days a week (8 - 1:30pm) since he just turned 3 in April. It seems too soon to be doing homework, etc.. (Mexico has a different philosophy about learning at this age, with a higher academic push than we might be ready for for him right now - which is interesting in itself because there is a high drop out rate as kids enter middle years to high school age! Interesting). We are trying to balance our childhoods experiences, our cultures, "letting go" and all of those things with the good it would do for his exposure and ability to learn spanish, and his social development. We aren't as concerned about the academics right now, but do think it could be a good experience for him to be in a school environment....just not 5 days a week (do you get the idea we don't like the full time option?). We believe that if we don't put him in, he will be just fine to enter kindergarten the following fall - but we do need to check into that too, with the changing laws, etc.. So - it is a question of timing and finding a place that we feel is a good fit for and will work with us and our philosophy and that we feel comfortable with. We are going to look into Montessori schools as well as it seems they might have more of a "play school" kind of learning environment rather than a "sit in your desk" approach. So, that is what lies ahead for us in the next few weeks. Please pray for us to have wisdom to do what is right for our family and for Reece....and that we would find a school that is affordable, close by in location, and with friendly, flexible teachers that support our desires. We just might be shopping for school supplies! We'll see. And please - if any of you have advice or suggestions on how to process this stage of parenting, school experiences, learning philosophies, foreign schools and missionary life - please let us know! Thank you!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Prayer Request

I would really appreciate your prayers for my little brother Todd. He is going through some difficult stuff right now and needs God's power in his life. So please pray for his decisions, for God to put some good friends in his life and for his heart to begin to search for a relationship with its Creator.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I Am Finally Back

Okay - after a 2 month blogging leave of abscence...I am back! I have been frustrated for the last while because we returned from our trip to Texas and I could not get my blog to work. I am not the brightest in the area of computers, even though I tried to figure out the problem numerous times. I was beginning to consider the need to just start over with a new blog - but I didn't really wanna do that either so I decided to take another look at it today! Ta.....daaaahhhh! I figured it all out and we are good to go! So - I hope you have not already written me off and will begin to faithfully check back here again for updates on life in the Brednich household. We have lots to catch up on, including our trip to Texas; our changes in mission team (loss of the Miller family, AIMers Bryan and Stephen and addition of new AIMers Adam, Beth, Chris, Josh, Michelle); mission trip from North Atlanta; and family life of course! And, as always - pictures will be posted soon!