Monday, October 31, 2005


J-Bird and Mommy flew solo this weekend. Pappa Bird spent a weekend away from his 2 favorite people, but it was for a good reason. Our church partners with a church and an orphanage in Mexicali, Mexico, and about 7-8 times a year, we send a group down there to help them out with various things. In September 2004, a group of us travelled down there to help them paint the inside of their church, which is really just a renovated warehouse in the barrio.

I felt God calling me to go again this year, and my wonderful wife was kind enough to allow me to leave her for a weekend alone with a 4 month old. On this trip, our main focus was on helping them put on a fall carnival. Our group of 12 people left the church parking lot around 5 AM on Saturday, and arrived in Mexicali sometime around 10 AM. Shortly after that, most of us guys started putting together a donated wooden playset. Although we didn't have assembly instructions, the person who disassembled it was smart enough to number all of the joints, so it only took us a few hours. We also cleared the parking lot of quite a few loose rocks, set up some carnival games, and then waited for the carnival to begin.

Each one of us was in charge of running a carnival game. The game that I chose was a "football toss" game. Three mini-Nerf footballs, a piece of plywood with 3 different sized holes, and a huge box of candy. As basic as that sounds, the children there loved it (and some of the adults too!). A large number of these children came from the surrounding neighborhood, which honestly, makes your worst part of town seem like a nice middle-class neighborhood. These kids really only have the bare necessities in life, if that, and to be able to bring them a night of fun and joy, it just fills your heart to the top. Despite my very limited Spanish vocabulary, I was still able to communicate a little with them, give them high fives and cheers, and smile a smile almost as big as the ones that they were wearing. The carnival lasted about 4 hours, and about 350-400 people showed up. About halfway through the carnival, there was a time of worship, and the pastor spoke for about 10-15 minutes. I have no idea what she said, but it was very moving to see a different culture and their style of worship. Two days later, my body is still aching and weary, but it was so completely worth it.

Another highlight of our trip was the church member that I stayed with Saturday night, Mario. Unlike my last trip, when the people I stayed with spoke no English, Mario speaks English very well. This was such a huge blessing, to be able to communicate with each other, and really made this a memorable trip. Mario, Dan (one of the other missionaries), and I sat on his patio talking for about an hour on Saturday night, learning about each others lives, and talking about spiritual things, and just growing together in Christ. On Sunday morning, we woke up to a fresh pot of coffee, and then Mario took us on a tour of Mexicali, showing us the downtown area, and many different neighborhoods. It was very enlightening, to see how this culture lives, and it reminded me of how amazingly blessed our family is. Some of these people have to work so hard just to survive, yet here we are, coasting through life, completely oblivious to how well we have it. In any case, after our little tour, Mario took us out to a delicious breakfast, then we returned to the church and drove back to Chandler. Mario was such a wonderful host, such a kind and generous person, and I can tell that God truly has worked something special in his life. We exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and hopefully will be able to stay in touch.

I just wanted to share my experience with everyone. Some of you out there helped me out with the funds for this trip, and I am very grateful. Just like last year, this trip has renewed my fire for God. It has reminded me how blessed we are, and how important family and friends are as well. I will have pictures up in a few days, and will post the link as soon as they are there.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Next Up...

Green beans! Yum. They looked ever so appetizing, that nice green, creamy paste. Gotta get me summa that. Anywho, Joshua has mastered the sweet potatoes, and we introduced green beans in to the diet last night. I don't think he liked them quite as much as sweet potatoes (or a store hanger for that matter), but he gobbled 'em down. He did crinkle his brow on a few bites, but we are still in search of the ever elusive squidgy baby face. He did, however, fall asleep mid-meal this morning.

Prayer Request

For those of you out there that are of the prayin' persuasion, we have a request. Friends of ours, Steve and Nancy, were due to have their first child, Ashley, in early December. Unfortunately, Ashley decided that she was coming on Sunday night, 8 weeks early. She weighed in at 4 pounds, 7.8 ounces, and they have been told that she is doing extremely well and she has not needed any help breathing. Nobody foresees any problems, but she will probably have to stay at the hospital for another 3 weeks or so. Please pray for Ashley's health and for a short hospital stay, and for Steve and Nancy so they can keep their heads together through all of this and turn to God when they need strength.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I Yam What I Yam

Rice cereal was a big success, and he seems to have mastered the art of swallowing something that isn't breast milk. So this weekend, we hit Phase 2... real food! Well, real baby food. You probably won't see me crackin' open a jar of Gerber Phase 1 sweet potatoes. But J-Bird definitely loved 'em! He gobbled them down like nobody's business. We busted out the camera in hopes of catching an amusing facial expression, but he maintained a blank stare before and after that first taste. Initially we thought that maybe, like Bart Simpson on the NYC subway, he was born without taste buds. But that proved to be false when he licked a hanger at Babies R Us the next day and scrunched up his face in a look of disgust.

Oh, and in case anyone cares, and I am sure you don't, we are now referring to baby poo as "The Deuce". It's quite sad that we've talked about the deuce so much that we have started to come up with nicknames for it.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Doctor Doctor

She gave us the news, and he does NOT have a bad case of loving you. Sorry. However, he is doing just great. He weighed in at 14 pounds 10 ounces (50th percentile), and his head circumference is in the 50th percentile as well. Keeping to the long and skinny Maple trait, he stretched the tape measure all the way out to 27 inches (97th percentile!!!), meaning he is about 2 inches away from being half as tall as Grandma Balthazor =) He also got another 3 stabs in the leg, which is not the type of present I would really want for my 4 month birthday, but being healthy is a nice tradeoff I guess.

Yum Yum Yummy

Breast is best, but rice cereal is...uhhhh... ethereal? Anyways, on Sunday the J-Meister took another step towards big-boydom when he chowed down on some rice cereal. And a few spoonfuls of it even made it into his stomach. Most of it, however, ended up on his face, bib, and various other areas. I'm guessing that Copper will be warming up to him fairly soon, seeing as how he will have a little flavor now. He'll be doing 2 feedings of rice cereal a day for another week or so, and then we can bring on the Stage 1's. Pictures will definitely be updated frequently, as a sloppy baby is one of the great joys in life. That and reruns of Fresh Prince and Saved By The Bell.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Nothing extraordinary to update, just thought I would take the time to post. Joshua has strayed a little bit from sleeping through the night, waking up for some grub each of the last 2 nights. No midnight crabbiness though, so it's all good. We think that he may be ready for a little bit o' solid food, so we will probably try that sometime in the next week or so. He did his little scooting thing again the other day as well, so it wasn't a complete fluke. And for the last few days, his idea of a good time with daddy is to stand on my lap, get his face about 2 inches from mine, grab onto my ears, and make a noise that can only be described as a screech and a grunt all rolled into one. But at least he's taking a break from kicking me in the crotch during diaper changes... so I got that goin' for me.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Scooter McBooter

Okay, so Joshua is about 27" long, has been wanting to stand since about 6 weeks, and is still just amazing us with his physical development. He only did it once, but a few days ago, Joshua decided to practice a little Army crawling, and scooted about 6-12 inches on the floor, on his stomach, completely by himself. At 3-1/2 months. He has never seemed to be too content just sitting around... me thinks he's gonna be an early crawler. Which means we should probably start safety-proofing a few more things (and prepping Copper for the inevitable beagle vs baby races).

All Night Long... all night..all night... All Night Long...

Sorry, had a little Lionel Richie flashback there (minus the cocaine). Anywho, this week, the J-Bird has decided that overnight feedings are way overrated, and 5 out of the 7 nights, has pretty much slept all the way through. I say pretty much because a few of those nights he decided to do a little wailing at midnight for 15-20 minutes. But they weren't hunger cries, and he wasn't bleeding, so we let him cry it out. And when we say sleep through the night, we don't mean go to bed at 11 and wake up at 4. Joshua is going to sleep around 8:30, and usually not waking up until 5 or 6. Mommy is usually about ready to burst at that point (I know, TMI), but we are definitely not complaining. He has always been a fantastic night sleeper, going right back to sleep after feeding, but we think he has turned the corner on sleeping through the night. That sound you hear is Brenda and I jumping and shouting for joy!


Today was a special day in the Maple house. Brenda and I dedicated Joshua to the Lord today. What's that you say? Our church, like most non-denominational churches, does not believe in the baptizing of babies. We believe that baptism is a choice that each and every person needs to make on their own, when they are knowledgable enough to make that decision. So what we did today was basically have a prayer of blessing by one of the pastors from our church, and Brenda and I have committed ourselves, before God, to raise Joshua in a way so that he will know who Jesus is, and why He died for us, and what all of this means. And when he is old enough, we pray that he will choose to be baptized, and turn his own life over to Christ. We took pictures and video of the ceremony... I will get the pictures in the photo album soon, and once I get the right stuff and figure it out, will try to post the video online.