Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Barrigada Guam Stake...

If you are not familiar with the structure of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, than telling you that we now have a stake in Guam means nothing.

Let me break it down. We have two types of congregations, Branches and Wards. A group of Branches makes a District. A group of Wards makes a Stake. It's like the difference between a high school football team and the NFL. A high school team (District) has the same rules and basic game play as the NFL (Stake). But high schools have smaller fields, bleachers, and crowds. And the players are a bit less experienced; not quite ready for the big leagues.

After years of trying, the Guam District has been "upgraded" to the level of a Stake. One key difference is that a District is run by outside counsel, often from mainland US. In a Stake, the leadership is all locals. There are other blessings that come with the change, such as High Priests and Patriarchs, but I think you get the idea.

To make the transition from District to Stake, we had one of the 12 Apostles, Elder L. Tom Perry come to Guam. Some TV stations felt his visit was worth reporting. The best coverage is here:

Part of Elder Perry's visit included choosing the first Stake President. To help him choose the right person within a short time frame, a pre-screened list was prepared. On this list was all of the current local Branch and District leaders. I was on that list.

When my interview came I was a bit less nervous than I would have expected. Partly because I had already met Elder Perry. The day before, he was having connectivity issues with his iPad and cell phone. I was asked to fix both.

During my interview Friday night, Elder Perry saw on my biographical information sheet that I was serving as clerk. He expressed how valuable that position was. He didn't say in so many words, but he seemed to recommend I continue on as Stake Clerk to ease into the transition. I expected that.

The next morning (Saturday) I got a call just before noon. I was about to put Maia down for a nap and grab lunch with Anna when my phone rang. It was the mission president asking me to go to the mission office immediately. I figured they wanted to extend the call as Clerk to me in person. I wasn't expecting that, but was ok with it. They also asked me to bring Anna and Maia.

When we got there we all sat down together. Elder Perry, Elder Stevenson (of the Seventy) and the new soon-to-be-called Stake President. Elder Perry asked Anna if I was nice to her. She hesitated for a second and then answered in the affirmative. Then I was asked if I would accept my new stake calling. Of course, I accepted the call.

After the short meeting, Anna asked if she could get a picture with Elder Perry. We got two. One where Elder Perry is looking down at Maia. One where Anna is blinking. And on both, Maia is on the verge of crying. She missed her nap - I don't think she was afraid of Elder Perry.

After this we were whisked away to a meeting with Elder Perry. He gave us great advice for starting up a new Stake. After that, we had only a couple hours free. It would take us 45 minutes to an hour round trip to go home and come back, so we stayed at the chapel. I set up for the Stake Conference Adult Session that night. Then we had dinner together as a group. Despite skipping lunch, I strangely had no appetite. Then we attended the night session of conference. I got home after 10pm and was exhausted.

The next morning (Sunday) I again went to the chapel early to set things up. When the time came, Elder Stevenson had asked for a sustaining vote to create the new Barrigada Guam Stake. I had no idea it was put to vote. It was unanimous. Then he asked for the sustaining of Arthur Clark as Stake President. He'd been the previous District President and did a great job. No surprises there. Then it was time to sustain Tom Clark as 1st Counselor. He was also in the last District Presidency and not a surprise. Then they called for the 2nd Counselor...Jared W Bodine. It was like in the movies when someone says something audacious in a courtroom. There was a small flurry of quite whispers. Clearly, I was the dark horse.

So now, Guam begins its journey as the Church's newest Stake. When I spoke on Sunday, I related it to a time I was a Boy Scout in Arizona. We hiked into the Grand Canyon to a place called Havasupai. It was a brutal summer hike down. The first thing I did was get into my swimsuit and relax in the cool Colorado river at the bottom. It wasn't long before I realized that despite my victorious triumph at making camp, I was still at the bottom of the world's largest canyon. The true work of getting out lay ahead of me. We have become a Stake and now we must take our new small stake and develop it into a strength in the community.

I'm grateful for the opportunity we have here in Guam. I'm looking forward to the coming months and am grateful that I get to be here for this historic event. Everyone in Guam will have their role to play and I'm grateful for mine. Basically, I'm just grateful all around.

Here's to the Barrigada Guam Stake, the first of hopefully many in Guam.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Special Formula...

Now that I have a baby, I find myself in isles of the grocery store I never visited before. On my last visit I found a special kind of baby formula.

Special Formula

We have a phrase here for things like this, "O-I-G!" That stands for "Only In Guam" and is quite apropos here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010...

This was Maia's first Thanksgiving. Neither Anna nor I have family in Guam, so we spent most of the day at home, just the three of us. In the evening we went to some friend's house where we got to have traditional turkey and mashed potatoes (as well as all the other fixings). I failed to take pictures during the feast.

The next morning, since I still had work off, we went to the beach for a do-it-yourself photo shoot. Despite being an island girl, Maia has never been to the beach. Well, when she was one month old, we did go to a beach park, but didn't even get on the sand. Maia turned 6 months old the day before Thanksgiving, so we felt it was time to take some pics to remind ourselves that we do live on an island.

This is the result of us trying to make Maia look at the camera. It was a lot of work!

And now we are sitting at home, enjoying being together and feeling thankful for it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Maia Lani's First Halloween...

Growing up, Halloween was always my favorite holiday. The costumes were fun. All the free candy you could eat. Going out in the evening with friends. It was all just so good. As I get older, I'm finding it harder to find good costumes and places to use them. I don't get much candy unless I buy it. And without kids to go with me, I don't have much excuse to go out trick-or-treating.

Maia is still a bit young to actually enjoy Halloween. After all, last year at this time, her Halloween costume was a fetus. But, I still had to go out and get her a costume anyway. I figured it would have to be one that is low maintenance and would work for an infant. I saw this and couldn't resist.

Maia as R2-D2. Or should I call her M1-L1? And she comes complete with her own sound effects...

The best part about having a baby trick-or-treat is that you get to eat her candy...

Our branch combined with another to have a big Halloween party with a carnival, chili cook-off, trunk-or treat and costume parade on Saturday night. Although Maia wouldn't know or care about what was going on, we wanted to go.

We went out shopping earlier. I'm going to be off island on Nov 2 so I can't vote that day. We went down to do early voting and it ended up taking much longer than anticipated. By the time we got home, we were all very tired. We slept through the activity. So, poor Maia won't get to show off her costume this year to anyone but the Internet. And since I don't like to have any costume go to waste, I found that if I ever convert to Judaism I can use part of her costume when I go to Temple...

Was R2-D2 kosher? I'm pretty sure he never had a Bris...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Maia's Missed Milestone Memorialized in Media...

Ok, so it's bound to happen. When the big milestones of Maia's life come, I'm bound to miss some, right? Well, I've already missed the first. Maia rolled over. Ok, not huge, I know. But it's our first baby, and up till now, she's hasn't moved more than an inch without our assistance. So, to see her finally do something on her own is big enough for us.

I was on a business trip when it happened. Mom also missed it. She left Maia on her back in the crib, came to check on her and noticed the achievement. Clearly, I have rubbed off on Anna, because her instinct was to grab the camera and record her doing it again. And so she did.

Unfortunately for Maia, she now suffers the same affliction as most turtles. Once she is rolled over, she is powerless to change it. Well, maybe we can record that moment...

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Most Redundant Day of the Year...

Where were you on 10-10-10 at 10:10:10am? I was driving a small car through knee-high water in Chuuk, FSM.

Last year for 09-09-09 we had an impromptu office party. I remember on 10-01-01 at 10:01 I was back stage at a dress rehearsal for a play I was in. It was a big deal because it was a palindrome. I'm more excited for 11-11-11 at 11:11:11am. Not only is that a perfect palindrome of time, but it's also my birthday. I expect at least 11 gifts from at least 11 people on that day. I'll have gift ideas posted 11 weeks in advance.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Take It From Me...

When on the road, don't mix up the travel shaving cream with the travel toothpaste. Minty fresh face, bad taste in your mouth.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Segway to the Afterlife...

I just read that owner of the famous Segway product driving his off a cliff.

I know that most people incorrectly use the term "ironic" frequently. But, I think this may qualify, whether it actually is defined as ironic or not.

"Segway...Simply Moving"...but not so simple stopping...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Maia Lani with a Flower in her Hair...

Having a Hawaiian name, Maia Lani really should have more Hawaiian style pics. So, this morning I took her for a little "tour" around the house and found this great little flower to put on her right ear. I tried some effects too. Not sure which one I like best, so I'm posting all three.


B&W focus

Soft Focus

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Super Maia Operation...

When I was young I liked the game Operation. Remember that one? Its the one where to have to carefully remove plastic bones without touching the sides of the holes.

Then my mom finally got me a Nintemdo. I played a lot of video games. And I was pretty good, too. I got so good at Super Mario Bros on NES that I could hold down the "run" button and have Mario race through each and every course at full speed. I would quickly get the fireball flower and would never get hit once all the way through the last castle in all 8 worlds.

I have aged and find myself playing much less games than before. But my skill with fine motor skill is still blessing my life. Case and point: Maia at bed time.

This girl is a light sleeper. She can fall asleep in her crib, but not always and not without some tears. The quickest way to get her unconscious is to hold her. And that works great. But, then comes my masterful eye-hand skills. Putting this light sleeper back down into crib without waking her up is harder than lifting a plastic thigh bone in a sea of metal contacts.

And the stakes are higher. Like Operation, should we fail, there are loud noises to ensure all know of your failure.

Unlike the game, you can't laugh and go on after a mistake. You must start over. My ability to compete Super Mario Bros in one take has trained me well.

I'm getting pretty good at this. Today in church Anna put Maia to sleep but was to leery of putting her back into the car seat. I cracked my knuckles, hummed the Mario theme and pictured myself holding Maia with tweezers and lowering her into the car seat without letting her arms touch the sides. I came out victorious.

I think all expecting parents should be required to fulfill a quota of play time on video games prior to delivery. It worked for me. And to think, my mom thought I was wasting my time playing all of those games. It turns out she should have encoraged me to play more. After all, I've never once needed geometry since I graduated. So much time wasted in my youth spent reading and studying...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Look At Me...

I think it is clear that I like being noticed. I care more about people reading my blog than most teenage girls. But that notoriety comes at a cost.

I've lived in Yigo for only 10 months. In that space of time, I've been asked to speak in my church's sacrament meeting 3 times. And its not like you think. I'm not the only white returned missionary here. I'm in a U.S. military branch. I should blend into the wallpaper here. But alas, my peacock personality just shines through. Cured be my affable aurora. I don't mind speaking in sacrament at all, but why can I get as many people in the congregation to visit my blog?

Would it be inappropriate to stand up, give out my URL to my talk and sit down? Two birds, one stone...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Just Got Done Milking My Wife...

I just got done milking my wife. Yeah, that was a phrase I never imagined myself expressing when I was young.

And before you criticize me for sharing a perfectly natural part of motherhood, remember that Anna read my blog before she married me. She knew what she was getting into...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Baby Blunders and a Liberating Day...

I've mentioned in past posts about Guam Liberation Day. It's a big holiday here, much more celebrated than the 4th of July. This is the day that American forces took back the island from the Japanese during WWII. I've only been on island for it once before, my first year here. And I know that some people didn't care for my new-to-Guam "haole" view of it. Well, to be fair, it was mostly gut reactions, partially inflammatory for the sake of being interesting to read and my own views have changed quite a bit since then. Being the first time in 4 years that I'd be on Guam for Liberation Day, I thought I would go. But...

It also is the day that Anna's mom chose to go home. Because I love to play to stereotypes, I've made all sorts of remarks regarding living with my mother-in-law. I am probably the only guy in the world that took his mother-in-law with him on his honeymoon to Maui. So when Anna's mom chose Liberation Day as the day to go back to Vietnam I joked with my acquaintances that it truly was "Liberation Day" in more ways than one.

We drove her to the airport this morning for a 5am flight. By the time we got home, we were too tired to sit at any parade. Maybe we'll see the celebration next year.

Maybe having a wife and baby has softened me some, but rather than continue my facade of unabashed funny man, I have to admit that she will be missed. Anna and I have been able to sleep through the night thanks to mother-in-law's willingness to stay up with Maia. And when I go to work all day, Anna has someone to speak to. It can get lonely at home with an infant all day. And mother-in-law is always ready to do laundry, dishes or cook a meal. But...

The critical funny man can't stay away for too long. Frankly, I'm glad babies are made of 90% rubber the first year. Because if not, I would be afraid to leave Maia alone with those two.

Anna's mom is an OBGYN in Vietnam. And she specialized in baby delivery. She is also a mother. So, naturally, you'd think that she would be a natural for taking care of a baby, right? Hm, maybe not. I wonder how Anna survived. Seeing Anna and her mom struggling to figure out diapers, I just sigh and walk away.

Early on I'd notice that Anna would just rock or put Maia down after a feeding. Her mom would often take Maia and hold her. I noticed that nowhere in the feeding process was anyone burping anyone. I had to explain to then that a burping should come with every feeding. It was odd being the one with the maternal instinct. That was when I first realized that maybe I should stick by just in case.

Anna is a first-time mother and only child. So, her exposure to children is very limited. And since Anna is an only child, her mom only scrapped by once. She just delivers babies, she doesn't take care of them afterward. I imagine her mom helped out a lot with Anna.

It took them both to bathe Maia. With mother-in-law gone, I assisted Anna today. While rinsing her up I asked Anna if she got Maia's armpits. Anna replied that she couldn't because she didn't want to bend her arm wrong. So, I reached in and suddenly skin was rolling off like dried rubber cement. Somehow, despite the two adults over a two month period of frequent washings, Maia had never once had her armpits cleaned. I will have to explain how joints work later.

Despite the regular minor infractions to child-rearing 101, I was a bit amused watching two of the three stooges at work. It almost reminded me of the Aborigines and the Coke bottle from "The Gods Must Be Crazy." Anna being topless all day helped solidify the comparison.

I did get a bit upset when I found out that Anna's mom thought Maia was thirsty, so fed her water rather than milk. Do I really need to explain this one? I later found out it was only a spoonful, but still.

I've now said enough to get Anna thoroughly mad at me. I should probably switch back to my maudlin, sentimental voice...

Anna's mom has come and gone. And despite it being Liberation Day, I know that with her absence, I am anything but liberated. All of the help and tireless assistance she offered has left with her. The stereotype demands that I don't get along with my mother-in-law, but I just have to buck tradition here. The language gap isn't what kept us from squabbling. Anna's mom is very giving. She is caring. She is thoughtful and friendly. And why would I expect anything else? After all, look at how great Anna turned out.

Now, how do I set up internet surveillance so I can keep an eye on Anna with the baby?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Just Felt a 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake...

Just felt a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that originated between here in Guam and Saipan. That's where they dumped Megatron in "Transformers." Be vigilant...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Baby (and Daddy's) First Blessing...

In the LDS faith, we have a custom of blessing a baby within the first few months of life. It's a ritual that probably most closely resembles a Christening. Only, we do have a full immersion baptism at age 8 and there's no water in the baby blessing.

The object of this blessing is to present the baby before the Lord, give him or her a name by which he/she will be known by the records of the church and an initial blessing. One of the interesting things about being a member of the LDS Church is that unlike most every other church, the lay members of the church can hold the Priesthood, or authority to act in the name of God.

Being a holder of the Priesthood, I had the privilege of performing the blessing. I've used the Priesthood many times before. And I've administered priesthood blessings more times than I can remember. But this is the first time I've done this particular ordinance and as this was not just a baby, but my baby, I was extra nervous. To add to the pressure, this blessing is done during sacrament meeting, before the entire congregation, and amplified through the sound system so that every throat clearing and oral nuance is articulated.

I followed the protocol just fine. When the time came to go "off script" and do the blessing as guided by the Spirit, I found my voice decided to wiggle and wobble beyond my control. And although I had some idea of what sort of things I would say, I found my mind a blank slate. I am pretty sure I repeated some things a few times. None the less, the blessing was completed appropriately.

It's not appropriate to take pictures or video in the chapel, so there's no record of what I said specifically. Although my sister, Lacey, did give us a handy baby book with LDS milestones included, such as baby blessing, which has some notes in it.

Part of the tradition is to have the baby in a white outfit. A dress for a girl, white suit for a boy. Since cameras are discouraged in the chapel, there's always a photo-op outside to follow. Since none of my family could make it for the blessing I had to post the pics online so everyone could see the baby in her white blessing dress which she'll likely only wear once. Here you go.

The Whole Lot

Nguyen Girls

Maia and Mommy

Maia and Daddy

Maia Alone

Bodine Family

I'm sure you noticed Anna's mom in some of the pictures above. She is still with us, but leaving back to Vietnam soon. She doesn't speak more than 6 English words, but I think the experience and exposure to our faith has been positive.

So, I've completed my first baby blessing. And it was Maia's first blessing as well. I'm grateful that I was able to be the one to bless her. Like I mentioned above, it is unique to allow the general members of a religion to hold the priesthood. Although I've held that power for years and used it to bless others many times, it was something else to do so for my own child. That experience gave me a new appreciation for it. If only I could go back and do the blessing again with a little less vibrato in my voice...

Friday, June 04, 2010

Looking Back on Pregnancy...

Now that the pregnancy is over I feel more safe sharing some things with you. Namely, the funny quotes and moments courtesy of maternal-minded Anna.

Sept - Anna grips the car armrest as we drive over a speed bump because she doesn't want to shake the baby too much.

Sept - "Do you remember the woman that you don't remember?"

Oct 13 - Anna cries for no reason during dinner. She admits that she even has no idea why.

Nov - I kiss anna as I tell her I love her. She runs to bathroom throwing up. When she's done I still love her anyway, she starts to throw up again.

Dec 4 - Anna first feels baby flutter in the womb. She isn't sure if its really baby moving or not. "Maybe I'm feeling things that I'm not feeling."

Jan 2010 - Anna to Jared: "You're funny, but not your sense of humor."

Jan 13 - Anna announces that she can no longer reach her toes, and therefore, need not clip her nails. (They are starting to shred our sheets.)

Feb 6 - Anna's belly is so big I have to push her up out of bed. She says she feels so large that she has a gravitaional pull. "When I move I can feel the universe moving with me."

Mar 3 - "How will I know when my water breaks?"

Apr 6 - When watching a breast feeding instructional video, "This is making me hungry."

I'm happy to report that postpartum Anna should be just as good a source of material. If she lets me live from this post, I'll give you more...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

World, Meet Maia Lani Bodine...

Well, the waiting is over. The Stork has come at last. And according to Anna, at looong last.

The first thing I did is take copious amounts of pictures of Maia and send them to people via email, Twitter and Facebook using my cell phone. In my haste, I neglected to tell anyone the stats. Likewise you, my faithful reader, will have to read all the way through if you want that oddly gratifying sensation of hearing details of weight and labor time...

A lot has happened since my last post, obviously. Anna had a second baby shower at a friend's house. Good times.

After the two baby showers we had plenty of girl clothes. The baby had no choice at that point, she had to be a girl...or a boy that liked pink, to the point of nausea.

After these showers Anna went into "nesting mode" over time. She had washed all of Maia's clothes a few times just to make sure. The crib was up and decorated a few times over. Anna wanted to go all out and turn my manly cave/computer room to the baby room. I won that argument for the time being. I don't know how I managed to get the edge over a pregnant nesting woman, so I quietly walked out of the room backwards allowing anything else Anna wanted. I didn't want to stir the hornet's nest, as I'd pushed my fate and came out on top.

Anna's mom came on May 2 at 4am. She was stuck in customs for over an hour. My mother-in-law took English classes and learned how to fill out the customs forms. But when she was on the plane, they gave her a Japanese form. So, she sat with her luggage in Customs holding her illegible Japanese form just waiting for someone to figure out that she was lost. Had she been discarded luggage she would have been noticed and escorted out of the facility in 2 minutes flat. Perhaps next time we should have a sticker on her forehead that reads "Fragile" as she navigates the airport.

Since Anna's mom speaks no English, can't drive, and is staying with us in Yigo where there is nowhere to walk to, Anna had to take off work to babysit her mother until she could babysit the baby. A few days into her stay she noted that she'd been in Guam for some time and never seen the ocean. I took a day off to show her around.

Old Bridge

The week of Anna's due date was hectic for me. I had Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles come to my office. We had a new chapel open up in Chuuk. I had to do some big annual fleet work. We had district conference which my calling of District Executive Secretary keep me involved. And I had to get everything ready for the baby.

Anna's due date came and went like passing gas in the wind. You think you catch a hint of something, but then it's gone.

We waited until Anna was 6 days overdue and scheduled induction for the 9th day past the due date (Monday, May 24). But late night May 23, Maia started to make her move. By midnight Anna was feeling intense contractions. They were still 10 or so minutes apart, so we just tried to sleep it off, which resulted in being waken up every 10 minutes. It's like sleeping with an alarm clock in snooze mode all night long. Only this alarm wakes you by noise and squeezing your hand so tight that your fingernails turn blue.

The morning finally came. We were planing on using a birthing center, but getting induced at the hospital. After calling both facilities we decided to skip induction and go natural. By noon the contractions were close enough and intense enough that we were admitted to the birthing center.

As soon as we checked in I plugged in my laptop, camera battery charger, set up my tripods and spare memory cards...oh, and I think Anna was around there somewhere. One strong contraction later there was no doubt that Anna was in the room.

We tried everything to get through the contractions. Bouncing on big exercise balls, leaning and swaying, walking, sitting, focal points, counting, and the obligatory "who who who heeee" thing.

By 3pm, Anna was about 5cm and her water broke. The baby was super low, so that pushing urge was strong. Anna had to fight it with every contraction. It got to the point where no one in the room could speak, move or even think too loudly. She needed total quiet and concentration just to keep from pushing. A warm bath helped to keep her calm while we waited for that darn cervix to open up. I recommended the jaws of life. No one seemed to get my joke. Note to self, birthing mothers and analytical midwives make a tough audience.

By 5pm her cervix was firmly planted at 8-9cm, which is at least one shy of where she should be. But with each contraction, Anna couldn't help but push a bit, and that was starting to cause swelling. After an hour of no improvement, the doctor decided to do something I didn't know was possible. She was going to allow Anna to push, and as the baby came, she would help tuck the cervix behind the head. I'm sure that was less than pleasant for Anna, the baby and the doctor. But it worked.

For half an hour Anna pushed with a fire and fury that I've only seen when I forget to leave the toilet seat down before I go to bed at night. I have to admit that I am very proud of Anna. The strength and control that she exhibited that night was like I've never seen before. You'd never know it to look at her, but she is a woman that can really take on any challenge and come out victorious.

After some tearing, blood and some other gross stuff I won't describe in detail, the baby, now to be known as Maia Lani Bodine, appeared at 6:43pm on the nose. This birthing center is big on the "golden hour" where baby goes straight to mom's chest and does not leave until the first feeding is complete.

I've seen plenty of birthing footage in biology class, Lamaze®, Discovery Chanel, and even my sisters' home videos. The blood and gross factor of what was happening really didn't phase me at all. And once the baby was out, and I looked at her, and my wife holding her, I was overcome with emotions. Visiting my sisters at the hospital a number of times before don't compare. It was truly a surreal moment for me. It's not often that I'm at a loss of words, but I really have no way to express the moment. I suppose it's one of those things that you can only know when you have been there yourself. And now I have.

I had some challenges calling both her family and mine due to a telecom fiasco (a whole 'nother story there). But after a quick call to my parents using a borrowed cell phone and uploading some quick cell phone pics, I got us all some food.

By the time I returned we had the stats that everybody wants to hear. She was a hefty 8.5 pounds and 21 inches long. That's big for a regular woman, but for someone with a frame like Anna that's like pulling an orange through a straw, only harder.

Before I knew it, it was after 11pm. Anna, my mother-in-law and I were all exhausted. We all slept at some point, but the details are as foggy as back stage at a Bob Marley festival.

The next morning I had to literally carry Anna to the bathroom. Use of her limbs is still slowly coming back. Mom and Baby had to continue to work out the breast feeding mechanics. This is something that you think of as natural and therefore, simple to do. We've perfected planes refueling in the air at hundreds of miles an hour, certainly breast feeding would be child's play in comparison. I've seen monkeys hurl dung at zoo patrons with more precision than Anna and Maia have been able to manage. Apparently, it's not always as simple as it would seem. I'm sure they will improve with practice.

After about 24 hours from birth, we washed up Anna, put a giant size diaper on her, bundled our Bundle of Joy into her car seat and headed to our happy home that was now truly housing a family.

Maia Lani Bodine

Monday, April 05, 2010

First Baby Shower...

Do you think that in the preexistence spirits that are about to be sent to Earth are thrown a “Parent Shower”?

Anyway, a few weeks back I got a very odd FaceBook message from someone I didn’t know named Debbie. I often immediately disregard random FB messages or friend requests. But, I figured there’d be no harm in at least seeing what medication they were trying to sell me just so I wouldn’t end up buying it later in a store by accident (that’ll show them). It turned out to be a friend of Anna’s from work. They wanted to throw her a surprise baby shower. I was the inside man.

So behind Anna’s back I have been secretly planning a baby shower with Anna’s co-workers. Well, to be fair, I wasn’t all that involved. I just fed the info about which weekends would work, the baby’s gender and other basics. The hard part of my share was getting a very skeptical person like Anna there without suspicion. Anna’s also very frugal. Talking her into going into a restaurant where she pays the bill is tricky. I may have had the harder part, actually.

It just so happened that I had a work visitor from Salt Lake visiting this weekend as well. I was planning on going Scuba Diving with him but the baby shower took priority. I sent him out with another co-worker. Then I told Anna that I forgot to give our guest the key to the company car. So we had to go to the office to drop off the car for him. While we were there, about lunch time, we’d just join them for lunch. Not the best cover, but I think it was believable enough to fly. We show up as they guests hide. And then, surprise!

Anna of course says nothing. She’s not very comfortable being the center of attention. Rather than make her say a speech, we hit the buffet.

Following the dinner came the games. We had people take strings and see if they could guess Anna’s current girth. Despite how large Anna looks now, she’s still pretty small over all. Almost everyone was way over.

We also played “hot potato” with a dirty diaper. Ick. And another icky game was to follow. There were four diapers on the table, each with a candy bar of some kind smooched into it, thus making every person in the room involuntarily thinks of feces. The object was to see who could guess which brand names they were. I suggested whoever wins get to keep the candy in the diapers.

Anna never did think of a speech. I offered a half one and then embarrassed her by saying she had something to say to everybody. She froze. It was fun.

We took our party favors and baby gifts home. The next morning, Anna went fully into nesting mode. Clothes and been pre-washed, sorted and folded into cute piles. Anna wants to dedicate a baby room immediately. The crib now has to be put up yesterday. It’s sort of like when you have a Christmas party a few days before Christmas. It looks like a good idea on the calendar, but all you end up doing is making yourself crave the actual occasion that much more. As of now, Anna has had her first baby shower. And every day since then, it’s been showering babies in her head...

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Brand New Year...

So after Saipan and Tinian we had a couple days left to enjoy home with my parents. We spent a lot of time working on the house as well. The yard looks a bit like jungles of the Amazon. With my parents help, it’s become a bit more like the Serengeti. I hope to make it somewhere safe enough to let little Maia run around back there safely. It’s surprising that a small yard can have so many hidden dangers. Holes, rocks, block, bricks, pipes and even a door to two. Every time I clean up I find a new item. Yesterday I found a dog bowl. I wonder how long before I find the remains of said dog...

My parents last night in Guam was Dec 31. My district was having a big New Year’s Eve bash which I was asked to DJ. So, I had to be there for sure. The party ran through midnight and ended shortly thereafter. My parents had to be at the airport at 5am. Yeah, we were anticipating to be tired.

The party was fun. I think that despite the lack of sleep the party went well and it was fun to DJ again. I used to DJ parties for a living back in Arizona, so it was like riding a bike...but to new and less enjoyable music.

Rather than drive all the way back to my house only to sleep for a couple hours and then take my parents back down to the airport we just stayed a bit late at the chapel for cleanup and then made our way to the airport. They were able to access the President’s Club and rest there for a few hours until the flight out.

So, our great big holiday season wound down very nonchalantly. My parents are back home, I’m back to the daily grind as is Anna. We are both returning to our routines with the knowledge and in a very short time from now, it’ll all be changed again with the arrival of our first child. And hopefully by then I’ll be more vigilant about documenting it all. Oh, sure, there’ll be plenty of pictures and video clips of Maia (or maybe Benji). But, somehow, I have a feeling that blogging about life will take a back seat to living it. Here's to a brand new year.