September 28, 2010


So Jaren and I had to make an emergency trip to Sydney - yes first time solo with a baby. We found out at the last minute that Jaren possibly wouldn't be allowed to enter the promised land without an American Passport. Now we had always planned on making him a dual citizen but thought we'd take care of that after our U.S. trip. Apparently the border control officials had something else in mind. Despite my suggestion that Jaren just walk through the non-American line with Varian, they told me that because he had a right to a U.S. citizenship it was mandatory that he enter and exit the states on a U.S. passport. This was only a few weeks before we were scheduled to fly out. So not wanting to risk Jaren being denied entrance at LAX and after getting a pile of documents together (sigh I never realized how much my life would need to be documented and certified) we booked a last minute flight to Sydney. We were able to make it down to the U.S. Embassy and get his certification of consular birth abroad. Crazy.

Luckily Chad and Felicity live in Sydney and didn't mind me crashing at their house. Jaren managed the flights pretty well, other than there was so much going on to see that he didn't want to fall asleep. And he's not a fall asleep in your arms type of baby, or rather we've trained him to fall asleep on his own in his crib. That's great 98% of the time, but not so good when you're crammed in a commercial flight and you're trying to get your 4 1/2 month old to fall asleep. But he made it pretty well and we had a good time.

Shockingly I ended up with only a few pictures of him and Jasmine. I don't know what I was thinking not to get more of Chad and Felicity and the boys. But it was a bit of a whirlwind trip, and our day in Sydney was very rainy...and who knows I was just trying to manage my first trip alone with a baby. :)

But I felt very empowered by this trip. I flew down by myself, I got on an early morning train (praying that I wouldn't have to feed him till we got to the Embassy), I found the Embassy and got around the whole day in Sydney. We had a terrible run in with the angry people at the security check in at the Embassy and I managed to not cry. Seriously let's be a little more family-friendly. Not every young mother is carting around explosives in her formula can.

One main drama/blessing of this trip happened on our flight home when I thought I'd maybe make up his bottle and feed him before the plane took off. Then to my horror (and yes - it's new mom anxiety and horror is not an exaggeration) I realized that I had left all of his formula back at Chad and Felicity's house. As much as I'd love to just nurse Jaren, my body has sadly never made enough for him. At that stage I would try and breastfeed him for as long as I could, then based off how long he lasted and how loudly he was crying I'd try and guess how much bottle he wanted - which was usually about a whole feed's worth. I had this image of me being on the plane with all those people and Jaren screaming because I'd have nothing to feed him. I said a prayer and asked around and thankfully was directed towards a pharmacy where I purchased an overpriced juice-box size amount of liquid formula. And it was worth every penny! 

But all's well that ends well. It was good to get it done. It was a relief that they could do his citizenship paperwork in time. It was fun to get to hang out with my lovely in-laws (sigh why don't they move back up to Brisbane???) And it made me feel that if I could manage getting around Sydney by myself I should certainly be able to manage going to the grocery store or run an errand with a baby. :)

So these were the few pictures that I took that trip. Luckily we had a seat open next to us that Jaren could lay on and as you can see he's pretty happy about the trip. The other picture is from the Art Gallery of New South Whales where we explored that day. And last but not least- pictures of Jaren hanging out with his cousin Jazzy. 

At the end of it all I thought. Okay we made it for our 2 hour Sydney trip...
USA - here we come!

September 19, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Okay so I realize it's September, but I'm determined to catch up and am trying to do so somewhat chronologically. It was my first official mother's day (technically we were pregnant last mother's day, but it had yet to be confirmed). In the early hours of the morning I woke up to Jaren crying for his binky/dummy to be put back in. So I kind of stumbled to his crib in the darkness but what I saw there totally warmed my heart - well besides his cute face which of course always does but maybe less so at 4 am. There, taped to the crib, was this darling mother's day card.

And on the floor in front the crib were 3 different pairs of ug-boots for me to choose between. (I picked these ones but they didn't have them in the right size for me and ended up getting a different style.) It was going to be winter here soon and my feet get so frigidly cold as poor Varian can attest to (wait a second, was this a present for me or for him?) It was a great present and so sweet to see first thing in the morning. Normally I would just stick the binky in and run back out to wake Jaren up as little as possible - but I couldn't resist picking him up and giving him lots of kisses and saying thank you for my card before settling him back to sleep. I then was treated to a lovely breakfast from my wonderful husband. At church I was given a corsage that lasted through most of Sacrament Meeting (Jaren liked the pretty flower) and a dinner that night with the Aston clan.

What a joy it is to me to be a mother and I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for sending me this precious gift!

I have been blessed with a wonderful Mother-in-Law and Grandmother-in-law who have welcomed me into their family and are beautiful amazing women.

I have been blessed with wonderful grandmothers. I have only a few cherished memories of my Grandma Wood who passed away just before I turned 5. When I think of her I think of warm hugs, pies and cooking, the Huntsville House where I always felt safe and loved, her soft hair and her love for me. I love her and I wish she could have lived longer to be more a part of my life. But I've always felt her spirit watching over me at big occasions in my life.

[:( Sad - I can't believe I don't have any pictures of Grandma Wood. Granted I think in my lifetime I've only ever seen 3 or 4 but still, I wish I had one. So hopefully I'll get one from one of my relatives and insert it later.] 

My Grandma Tutu has always been a source of inspiration to me. She always had some new project to teach us whether that be carving shrunken potatoe heads, food coloring painting in corn syrup, sculpting clay or blowing out eggs to paint. She would dress up in scarves and hand symbols with us and we'd dance around to the song Celestial Soda Pop. She'd tell us stories and was always interested in what was going on in your life. She has taught me to love life and to recognize all the beauties it holds.

Most of all I have been blessed with an amazing mother who has been a best friend to me growing up. She is the best listener I know and always shows interest in what is going on in my life. She supports me and loves me and is an inspiration. She loves life and beauty as well and always looks for the good in life and others and nature. I love her dearly.

So although this is way overdue, Happy Mother's day Mom and to all you other amazing friends and aunts and sisters and grandmothers and relief society mothers who are such divine examples of womanhood and motherhood.

September 16, 2010

Secret Park

There's a "secret park" that we pass on the way to church and we always talk about going there. Well finally one weekend in May we went. We didn't have a lot of time there - we'll have to go back and actually play on the park toy. But here are some photos from that day. (We were borrowing Warren's camera to see if we wanted to buy it, so we had a little picture shoot.)

September 14, 2010

What a Blessing!

On January 9th this beautiful little blessing came into our lives, and on May 2nd we blessed him in Church.

Getting ready (you may not realize it but this is actually the extremely narrowed down version!!!) :

This outfit was loaned  given to us by our lovely neighbors the Sufias. I was really hoping to get a cute blessing outfit for him (despite Varian's suggestion of just using a white onsie). They brought this outfit over to us and I tried to clarify right then (and about 4 other times) if it was ours to keep or just to borrow but with a bit of language barriers and awkwardness we never really were quite sure what they originally intended. But in the end we have the outfit and can now use it for our other boys, keep it in a memory box, and maybe even use it for future grandsons. :) 

The day went so smoothly (mostly). We felt very supported from all our family and friends that were able to come in person and those that were there in spirit. 


Did everything go perfectly? Well pretty much. Yes you could stay we coerced our friends into giving us his outfit, yes Jaren did spew all over the church floor to the point that someone even ran to get a mop (seriously it's just a little bit of baby spit-up), yes he didn't smile lots for the post blessing pictures but he wasn't crying; so yes, other than the one main hitch - things went well. I felt so calm and relaxed and peaceful. Heavenly Father blessed my heart not to be upset that none of my family and Utah friends could be there - though it helped knowing I'd be coming home soon to see them. The food and party preparations all came together. Many of our family and friends were able to come that day to support us. So what was the big hitch then?

Our ward for one reason or the other wouldn't use microphones for blessings and confirmations. It became a bit of a soap box / pet peeve for me even though most of them were done in Samoan and I wouldn't have been able to understand them even if I could hear them. But really - what about those Samoan mothers who had sacrificed so much to bring a new life into the world - weren't they entitled to at least hear the blessing?!?! While we were debating which country to bless him in, I insisted that the congregation and I actually be able to hear the blessing. Luckily my sweet husband, who had seen my frustration of this over the years, and our sweet bishop did manage to find a working microphone that day. So when I wasn't really able to hear the blessing that day, it was no lack of microphone or consideration on the leaders part that was the cause.


In addition to wanting to hear the blessing (I know that's asking so much) I was also anxious to have it recorded. I've always tried to write down blessings for my family, but even writing at super speed you still miss a lot. So I asked a few people to write down what they could and then we also tried to record it. From my white-bible missionary days I remember it saying that you could record blessings for your own personal use. Well we gave Warren someone the assignment to record the blessing on a phone that our uncle brought. BUT instead of pushing record he pushed play and out comes this crazy music. He then fiddles with it and shoves it into his pocket, presumably off. The blessing begins and so does something else. Yes, instead of turning the phone off it just skipped to the next song on the play list. At first it sounds like one of those 70's mormon pop songs. But then as it gets louder and louder I realize that it's Karen Carpenter singing away. 

We had invited non-member friends to come that day, and just the pressure of the day had built up and all I could focus on was the sound of the Carpenters crooning and I found myself missing big chunks of the blessing and feeling a bit frustrated. The worst part was that many of the members asked us later if we had planned it - a little background music to make the day more special. Embarrassing! :) But something we tried to laugh about later. *Sigh*

So in the end it was a really great day that overall went really smoothly with just one little technological difficulty. But really - it could have been a lot worse. So here's a YouTube music video of what was playing in the background in the chapel as Jaren was getting blessed: Karen Carpenter's "I need to be in Love"

ps: In the end, we were able to get a different recording of the blessing. So all's well that end's well. :) And it will always go down as a blessing to remember. After all, who doesn't need to be in love?

September 2, 2010

Baby Blues

Some cute shots of Jaren and a look-in at his nursery (last May):