Sunday, November 13, 2011

3 + 1

Big brother Andrew loves his baby sister

Lily Jean was born on August 14th. A whole week late! She is just about 3 months old now which means it has been a bit longer than that since I updated this blog.  I guess my neglect is understandable considering the circumstances. She is beautiful and is a very happy baby. This past week has seen much improvement in my sleeping habits as Lily has finally gotten into some sort of normal schedule. For a while there, it was very touch and go on if I would get ANY quality sleep. Suffice to say, it has been a lot harder this time around. I imagine it has a lot to do with the busy almost 3-year-old boy in the house who is used to mommy's attention. :) It is more fun this time around though too because all the wonderful moments with a newborn are shared with Andrew.  It is lovely chaos and I'm thankful for all the memories we are making.

Other things I've been up to:

Practising photography photography (my sister Amy has been teaching me)
Cooking up a storm in the kitchen. I've tried a ton of new recipes in the past month
Making learning-activities for Andrew
Working at the BSC (I started teaching again last week)
Getting Lily's passport and visa work done
Enjoying life in general! God is good to me!

So that's it. There's just a short update on life right now.

My next post will be about the insanity that comes from joining Pinterest!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

10 days and counting...

We have been busier than bees in the Robinstein household as we prepare for the arrival of our sweet little girl. My due date is in 10 days and the house is still a wreck from last minute home improvement projects. The reason we are still doing this so close to my due date is mostly because we have been so busy with work and now we have some time off in between sessions but in addition to that, the major project we had to do (fixing up a messed up wall in the "nursery") was held up until our land-lady could get her carpenter to come and replace a wood panel in the kids' room and two spots of the ceiling where water damage had rotted the wood out. So that was finally done and then our house was overwhelmed with the rains and had to put up flood guards and mop up water as it came in twice last week. It has been stressful but we are nearing the end of our preparations and I know we will survive even if Lily were to come now instead of later when we are really ready. We've got the kids' room done, my wonderful cousin, Ronnie, tiled by the bathroom which I have wanted done since we moved into this place but Clint and are still fixing up the ceilings in the rest of the house and we have some painting to do after that. When we get that done we can put everything back where it goes and restore our normal level of crazy in this house. Clint even built Andrew a shelf for all his toys and we need to varnish that among other things but the weather has not been cooperating so we are holding out for a good, sunny day.

It still doesn't seem quite real that Lily will be here so soon. I have been pretty uncomfortable but I'm happy to know that everything is going great in my pregnancy. My doctor says Lily is head down and just the right size! I am excited to meet her! I know she will bring us so much joy as Andrew has and that excites me. I don't know how I'm going to be able to handle any more cuteness in this house but somehow we will manage. :)

God is so gracious to us! Please keep us in your prayers and especially help us pray for a safe and normal delivery in the next couple of weeks or so.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Laughter is the best medicine

There is something about the sound of rain steadily falling outside that is immensely relaxing and the sound of ocean waves can put me to sleep. But I'd have to say my favorite sound of all the sounds I can think of is the sound of laughter. Specifically, Andrew's laughter! He has such an innocence about him and all the things he laughs at are things he thinks are funny in his own precious and innocent mind. I find it so refreshing and joyful!

Andrew and I spent about a half an hour the other day looking at funny pictures of dogs and cats online and I'm going to share some of his favorites just so you too can have a laugh through the eyes of a 2 year old. No need to worry about innuendo or foul language here. :)

Andrew laughed so hard at this one and kept asking to see "The dog climbing the plant"

I don't know why but this was funny to him.

So cute!

He calls this one the "cat with the helmet"

"Great big bone!"


Andrew tried to make this face too. So cute!

Laughter can always make us feel better no matter how stressed out we are. Thank God for laughter!

What has made you laugh lately?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chocoholics Anonymous

My name is Rachael and I have a confession to make. Here's my story:

During my first trimester of this pregnancy I did not really have what would be defined as classic "morning sickness" but I did experience times of nausea and a whole not of non-existent appetite. Trying to find something I WANTED to eat was quite difficult. Plus I'd have weird cravings like I'd want a big steak at 11pm and the next day my darling husband would take me to lunch where I could get a steak and the idea of eating any meat at all made me sick! It was a rough first trimester and I ended up losing weight which was no surprise. My doctor was stern with me that I need to eat properly and eat enough calories to cover running after a toddler AND building a baby. So Clint was nice and made me eat all the time and was very patient as I scrunched my nose in distaste at many suggestions throughout the day.

Now that I am in the second trimester we'll just say that the appetite problem is not a problem anymore! It feels like I'm eating all the time and I'm finally gaining more. Problem is...

...THIS is what I'd like to be eating all the time. Now, if you know me you know that I appreciate a yummy sweet treat every now and then but I'm not a huge fan of candies, cookies and cakes and especially not too much chocolate. But, apparently hormones can change that about a person! So while I'm grumpily munching on a carrot I'm really thinking about the big bag of mini-candy bars that are in my pantry and while I am eating chicken, rice and corn for lunch I really just wish I could fill up on a bunch of chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes! Hopefully this is just a phase because This is killing me! I guess I should be thankful I'm so stubborn because this "iron will" is probably why I have not gained 20 pounds in the past 3 weeks. :) Well, that and knowing that eating a whole bunch of chocolate can't be good for little Lily. At least now I know how many women feel when they talk about needing their chocolate fix. It really is a necessity. I am sorry I ever doubted you!

I'm off to go check the status of my mini-crunch bar stash. I'll leave you with this bit of inspiration to go green...

Friday, April 15, 2011

I think I can't. I think I can't. I think I can't.

One of my most vivid memories from the first days of being a mother was standing in my house hugging my mom goodbye after she picked us up from the hospital to bring us home and the tears welling up in my eyes as I began to break down and tell her how terrified I was that I was going to do something wrong or that Andrew would be up all night miserable because I could not figure out what he needed or what I should do. She hugged me and smiled and said she knew I could handle it. But, she offered to stay the night anyway to help and I was so glad she did. After that first night of taking care of him (with lots of help) I KNEW I really could do this! I just lacked the self-confidence.

My wonderful husband is always telling me that if I keep telling myself I CAN'T do something then I will always be right. As long as I think I cannot accomplish this task or that one then I will be holding myself back from doing it. James talks about your tongue as a rudder and that, even though it is so small, it can be as powerful as the tiny rudder on a huge ship. The older I get the more I see that my husband and James are really right. If I can just start telling myself that I CAN do this then I will be able to and have confidence that God will give me the strength I need to do it whether it's preparing VBS materials, loving my enemy or forgiving someone who has hurt me deeply.

So here's to changing "I think I can't!" to "In God, I know I can!"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When Worlds Collide

We are going to blend this....

With this...

And we are SUPER excited!

When I found out I was having a boy with Andrew I had no idea what to do with a boy! Now I like my little boy and all the joys and toys that come along with him being ALL BOY! I don't even mind the filthy clothes I have to wash.

Now that we are expecting a girl (the first grand daughter on both sides) we are even happier and I'm ready to break out the bows and ribbons and lace!

I still can't believe I'm going to have a DAUGHTER! What a change but not a bad one for sure. God gave us the perfect child for us the first time around and I know it will be the same this time! God is gracious!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Precious Moments

I thought I would share a few things that help remind me constantly of how awesome our God is and how the best things in life can come in the littlest packages... like little people!

My most favoritest little man ever!

We always encourage Andrew to say thank you to God for things during the day and at night. Sometimes he spouts out random things on his own without me asking what he is thankful for and sometimes we lay in bed and thank God for everything under the sun. Which is never a waste of time! We also like to pray for people who are sick or struggling and I don't know if he quite gets all that is going on when we ask God for things but he definitely understands being thankful. Last night while laying in bed next to him I asked him what he wanted to thank God for and he said "Thank you God for.... GOD!" I said "Well, yes. Thank you God for being a great God." and I ask him what else he wants to thank God for and his response was heart melting... "Thank you for always keeping mommy safe." See what I mean? Then he thanked God for keeping everyone in his family safe.

When I ask him who made the trees, skies, his baby sister, etc. he responds "God" and sometimes adds "God is SO powerful!" I guess we are teaching him something right.

Another thing that I absolutely adore is when he sings Bible story songs like "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho" and "Zacchaeus was a wee little man". We don't watch videos much so singing songs is one of our favorite past times and we like to look at books and sing Bible songs with his Bible story books. But it is even cuter when he is sitting in his room playing with a toy car and out of the blue we hear him singing "Jesus loves me this I know."

My recent favorite is when I ask him if he loves me he says "Yes. This much." and places his hands close together and then laughs and says "No, THIS much!" and throws his hands out as far apart as they can go. :D I love this kid!

And God is blessing us with ANOTHER one? I don't know how my heart can grown any more. But I've said that many times before! So much to be thankful for! God is good!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gotta go go go go go....

One of the most frustrating things to me about pregnancy is the remarkable shrinkage of your bladder! Yes, I know it doesn't actually shrink but with all that baby and uterus expanding it kinda bunches things together down there and the bladder has to make room. At least that's what I've read in books and online(In much more scientific terms) to explain this phenomenon of an overactive bladder.
The unfortunate thing is that, when you are 20 weeks pregnant and taking care of a two year old at the same time, you get pretty drained at the end of the day and you are ready to sleep as soon as your tired body meets your gloriously soft bed... then you have to get up and go potty. Then you come back to bed and the baby starts kicking, then you have to go again. It is a vicious cycle and sometimes the up and down getting no sleep plus the raging hormones makes you just want to cry. I almost lost it last night when I had been trying to sleep for 2 hours and had already gotten up 3 times and I was finally getting comfortable and sleepy and Andrew started to fuss. He woke up crying and was just not feeling well. So I was up another 2 hours with him trying to sleep but he kept waking fussing and wanting mommy to hold him and talk to him. So after he finally went to sleep and I went to the bathroom AGAIN it was after 4am! I was one tired mama. For the record. He seems much better today. :)

The reality is that every pain and trial in pregnancy is worth it! I was miserable on bed rest with Andrew but I would do it over again in a heartbeat for my little man! He is such a blessing from God and I know this little one will bring me just as much joy as his/her big brother. I may gripe and complain about back pains and "round ligament pains" and about how the baby is always kicking right when I'm trying to sleep but in reality I could not be happier. I am so blessed and if I have to get up and pee 100 times in the night to bring this child into the world I am ready to do it!

We find out in just a few days if we get to reuse all Andrew's boy clothes or if we need to add some serious  frills to the wardrobe. I am very excited to know but as I have been telling everyone who asks me, I will be happy with either boy or girl. God blessed us with Andrew and I know He will give us whatever is right for us the second time around. Being a female myself, I have always loved dolls and girly things but in the past 2 years, balls, dirt and toy cars have found a very VERY special place in my heart.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Love and marriage...

We had a dinner at the Bible Study Center for all the married couples for Valentine's Day a couple weeks ago and it was a lot of fun. I took charge of games and by the end of the first game my face hurt from smiling and laughing so much.

I thought I would share with y'all what made us laugh so much. Maybe you can organize and play with several couples or you can still enjoy these games with you and your spouse even if it's not Valentine's Day anymore.

Love Letter Mad Lib Story

Click here to find this printable activity. Go to the bottom of the page for the printable version. If you have never done a mad lib before this is how it works. You have to come up with a list of verbs, nouns, adjectives, places etc. off the top of your head and then fill those words into blanks in a story. So print up enough copies for whoever is playing and make sure not to read the story before you finish your word list. Transfer your words to the proper places and then be ready for some laughs. We had 20 people last night and several of the resulting letters had us laughing out loud.

Newlywed game

We played a game like this at our party last year so I got online for some suggestions of questions. It turned out really great! Both husband and wife must provide an answer and if their answers match, they get a point! So if the question is about what the wife would like/enjoy/etc. then the wife must provide her answer and the husband must guess what her answer is and vice versa. It is a lot of fun!

The list I came up with is as follows:

1. Who would your wife say is the "better catch" of the two of you?

2. If your husband could change his job what would his dream job be?

3. If you were prince charming and your wife was Cinderella what size would her glass slipper be?

4. What would your husband say is your most irritating habit?

5H. Who hogs the bed covers?

6. What was the last book your husband read?

7. What 2 items would your wife never leave home without?

8. If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world where would your husband want to go?

9. When was the last time your wife went to a beauty parlor?

10W. What percentage of the housework would your husband say he does?

11. When it comes to home improvement your wife considers you to be?
a. Tim the tool man, (makes the job worse)
b. Bob the builder, (forever starting new projects without completing the old)
c. Al (does it right the first time)
d. completely clueless

12. If your husband won the lottery, what would be the first thing he would spend the money on?
a. pay off debts
b. buy a car
c. buy a house
d. take you on a vacation

13. What color is your wife's toothbrush?

14. What would your husband say is your favorite food?

15. What is the most money your wife has ever spent on a single pair of shoes?

16. What is your husband's favorite genre of movies?
a. action
b. drama
c. comedy

17. If you wanted to have a romantic evening with your wife what would she most like to do?
a. watch a movie
b. stay at home
c. dinner out
d. window shopping

18. When you first met your husband, what would he say is the first thing that caught his attention about you?

19. Who takes longer to get ready when going out?

20. Where was your first date?

Bonus questions:

1. Which kind of gift would your wife most like to receive from you?
a. flowers
b. food (chocolate or cakes etc.)
c. jewelry
d. clothes
e. appliances (hint: probably not this one guys)

2. Which kind of gift would be the least appropriate for your husband?
a. electronics
b. literature
c. tools
d. clothes
e. food

Well, I hope you and your spouse enjoy this and maybe learn something new! I for instance learned that my husband's other dream job would be a ski instructor! Who knew?

Keep smiling!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bible trivia time!

I made this trivia quiz last weekend for our ladies fellowship and I think it does a pretty good job at testing your knowledge and peaking your interest to study more. We need all the encouragement we can get right? Grab a pen and paper and  give it a try why don't you? Answers are at the bottom of the post. Click "Read more" for the whole quiz. Enjoy!

1. Who was the oldest man recorded to have lived in the Bible?
a. Marduk
b. Meheposheth
c. Jehosophat
d. Methuselah

2.How old was he when he died?
a. 797
b. 858
c. 969
d. 1097

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Singing two year olds and flashbacks

When I was about my sons age my parents joke about my singing.

My favorite account is when my brother and I were singing "I'm in the Lord's army". In this song you go through the stanza then you sing "I'm in the Lord's army" 3 times and then sing the stanza again. Well, my brother would sing with me and when we got to that part where you sang "I'm in the Lord's army" I just kept going and going.

Another favorite was the song "The B-I-B-L-E". I would loudly and proudly belt out "The B-I-B-I-L, yes that's the book for me. I stand upon the word of God, the B-I-B-I-L."

Yes, I know I was adorable! Maybe my son gets it from me. Although he seems to be doing a better job at the singing thing so far but I know we are just getting started. He LOVES to sing and that makes this mommy happy.

The list of songs he knows is growing but lets see some of what he knows so far...

I will make you fishers of men
Ring around the rosies
Jesus loves me
10 lepers
Twinkle twinkle little star
Row row row your boat
Jesus loves the little children (in English and cebuano)
Lalum Lapad (Cebuano version of Deep and wide. He's still learning the English)
My God is so big
Jesus loves the little ones like me me me!

Ok, so he knows a bunch of songs and I love to hear him sing. He soaks stuff up like a sponge. God has blessed me with one amazing child!
(beaming smiles from a proud mommy)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Penny pinching & Centavo cinching

I know a lot of people these days are trying to save money. Some people like to indulge in simple pleasures but with the way the world is now many people are getting to be a bit smarter about how they spend their money.
God has always taken great care of me and my family and He gives me no reason to not trust Him. But Clint and I have taken some steps lately to try to trim the budget down a bit. It's especially important now considering we have another baby on the way and our budget is already tight as is. I thought I might share some of our money saving techniques with you. It's nothing ground breaking.

In no particular order...

1. We have this ongoing thing where we DO NOT SPEND anything on entertainment for a month. That means no going to movies, no buying movies, cds, songs, etc. We tried it several months ago and it kinda stuck as a semi-permanent long term thing.

2. Limit the number of times you eat out each week. This is a lot easier to do when you consider what you pay for your food and try to figure out what it would cost to make the same thing at home. It kinda shocks you into creativity with meals. The only thing hindering us from doing even better at this is our schedule and not having time or opportunity to go and get groceries as often as we might like.

3. Decide NOT TO BUY anything that you don't absolutely need. This is another thing that we tried for a month and it went well but it's a lot harder to stick to because I have a little man who doesn't necessarily NEED certain things but I want him to have.

4. DON'T BUY premade greeting/birthday cards. Seriously, they cost a fortune! You can make a cute home made card with craft stuff you already have at home and while some people think it is tacky to make a homemade card, I happen to think that it shows a lot more forethought and effort. You can even make a card on the computer and print it up.

5. Try your darndest to NOT FORGET your left overs. I am an airhead when it comes to remembering what food is in my fridge. I forget everything from yesterdays super yummy stirfry to a delicious chocolate bar. The more leftovers you eat the less you spend. I mean throwing away food and leftovers is like throwing away money.

6. Think of things that your family can do that don't cost anything. Watch a DVD you already own, listen to some CDs you have, go to the park. I know in America there are a ton of things and places you can go for FREE entertainment. One day we wanted to go to the pool but were tight on money so we set up the sprinkler in the yard and had a blast that way.

7. Drink more water. It's that simple. Soft drinks might be cheaper than fresh juices but they still cost a lot more than water.

8. Ditch Starbucks! Clint and I are not coffee people but we do enjoy a coffee drink here and there. Why not try making your own at home? All you need is a blender, some ice, coffee, chocolate syrup or caramel flavor etc. Play around with it and you are bound to find something yummy.

9. DO NOT BROWSE through the store! If you need something then get it and get out. You will find you only want what you see! You will be more content with what you have when you are not out in the malls/department stores looking at all the pretty things you do not have!

10. Make home made gifts. Get crafty! Think of something that is along the lines of your interests and see if there is a way to make a gift out of it. Like my hand painted box or bottles.

11. Figure out things that you need or want that you can do/make for yourself. For example, I was able to spend just a couple dollars on supplies to make a backpack for Andrew that would have cost a lot more to buy. There are tons of websites with great tutorials on how to do many crafts and other types of projects.

12. Get rid of cable. We did this early last year mostly because we hardly ever had time to sit and watch TV or we preferred to do other things. We now just watch videos we own or borrow from family. We still end up watching Winnie the Pooh or Blue's Clues with Andrew most of the time anyway. My dashingly handsome informant, Clint, tells me that in the US you can (legally) watch pretty much anything online for free. So who needs cable?

13. Use powdered milk instead of fresh (at least for cooking)

14.Dry your clothes on a line instead of the dryer.

15. Wear your clothes more than once before washing (you will need to use your common sense and sense of smell to do this one effectively)

16. Downgrade from kleenex or charmin TP... seriously... do you really need 20 ply toilet paper?

17. Try generic/store brand products. Store brand antibacterial hand soap still gets the job done.

18. Make your own coloring books for kids with FREE coloring pages online.

19. If you like to pamper yourself with a manicure or leg waxing, why not try doing them yourself at home?

20. Buy shampoo, lotion or soap in big bottles and use them to refill smaller bottles. 

21.Cloth diaper and breastfeed! It is amazing how much money you can save even if you don't/can't do it exclusively.

22. Never pay for babysitting. I am fortunate enough to have family close by that can help when I need a break or a night out with my hubby. Chances are, even if you don't have family close by, you know someone that has kids that you can trade baby sitting nights with. ;)

Well, like I said, it is nothing groundbreaking but just a few tips I thought I would share as I have been brainstorming a lot to see how to trim down the budget. I did not include some things that are obvious things like using coupons and taking advantage of online sales/clearances because we don't have those here but you definitely should look into it if you have that available to you!

When I think about money I am always reminded of Jesus words...

Matt 6:25-34 - 25 Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? 26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? 27  And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? 28  And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29  yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30  But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31  Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32  For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33  But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34  Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Not even Solomon in all his gory was clothed like one of these!

God is so awesome!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More bottle designs...

I made these over the holidays for some special ladies!

Front view
Back view

I just wanted to share. I'm happy with how they turned out.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Whatcha got cooking?

Well, if you must know I've got a bun in the oven!

Bun in the oven

Yes, we're expecting our second child! According to the ultrasound and my own calculations the EDD is August 7th so I'm just now entering my 2nd trimester. It has been interesting so far. I have had quite a bit of nausea especially over the Christmas holidays but it's been a lot better lately. Based on an old wives tale I must be having a girl because this pregnancy has been so different. I hardly had any nausea when I was pregnant with Andrew. I'm so emotional lately as well. I initially suspected I might be pregnant when my mother showed me the new cabinets my dad built her for her wash area and I started crying! I've also been beyond exhausted during the past several weeks. I was never this exhausted with Andrew, even in his first weeks of life. But I am healthy and we got to see the baby a couple of weeks ago and it was wriggling around as expected so despite the problems I am thankful to God.

Everyone keeps asking me if we want a boy or girl but I honestly don't care. I thought I wanted a girl when I was pregnant with Andrew but when I found out it was a boy and got used to the idea I was so happy I was having a boy and when he arrived I knew God gave me just what I needed and wanted. I trust he will do the same for us this time. He is so good! So I'm happy with a boy or a girl. I am just praying for.a healthy baby and that we don't have a repeat of the problems I had during my first pregnancy. Which, by the way, my doctor thinks is highly unlikely

Andrew turned 2 last weekend (January 16th) and he is such a big boy. He talks all the time and if you are on my FaceBook then you get to read about all the cute stuff he says and does. I don't really think he completely understands what we mean when we say we are having a baby but he understands there is a baby in mommy's "belly" and pats my tummy sometimes and says "Hi baby". It melts my heart. It continues to amaze me how much love a mother can have for her child. Just when I think I could not possibly love him more somehow my heart grows a few sizes!

What's not to love?

I'm thinking my next post will be about some money saving ideas Clint and I have come up with. :) TTFN!