19 December 2011

Marianna Preview =]

 Happy Holidays from the Ka'ahanui 'Ohana
*More to come....Pa Rum Pum Pum PUM =]

18 December 2011

little brother

My little brother Aaron gave his missionary farewell talk. He leaves to the Provo MTC Tuesday night, and then in 3 months to the Angeles, Philippines Mission. I was so proud listening to my little brother give his talk. I actually was a little nervous, as I am for all loved ones/friends when they need to present something in public, only because I want them to do very well. And he did. He had the 'pre-missionary' nervousness, but it was cute =] And can I just say that I didn't know Aaron knew soo many Filipino's. It seemed that ALL the Filipino students from BYUH came. (And they better have because they always ate free at my Parent's)

It was also a special Sunday and sacrament meeting because it was the first time in like 5 years? that my entire family was present, more importantly my siblings. We've gone through so many trials and challenges these past few years, but through simple moments such as a missionary farewell....our little 'ohana was brought together, out of love. out of support. out of the true meaning of family. I'm sure my Parents loved looking over and seeing a full row of us, now all grown adults. {Plus  it was hilarious seeing how my two older brothers walked in with a white shirt & tie...and shocked the hell out of  some of the old ward members}

I snuggled into James an arm squeeze tighter because of how complete everything felt. We were all there, we were all happy.  No one was missing.  My little baby was sitting on one uncle's lap and smiling up at the other. Friends and family filled the meeting. Christmas hymns were played. It was definitely the right place and the right time.

And then the Elder-to-be got to open his Christmas presents early. {which obviously were items to be used on the Mish} We then met up with Marianna Ah Quin, who kindly did our family photo's as a gift for Aaron leaving =] You Go Marianna!! And returned home in time for naps & then dinner! As you can see above, dinner was definitely a pa'ina {party}. Some of our very close friends {who should be family} came over, and there was some grinds! I'm still stuffed. Every room had people talking & laughing. We also had, "The Help" playing in the family room, love that movie. Tuesday my youngest & forever "little brother" will be flying out to the real beginning of his adult life. The hardest thing for him, is saying goodbye to surfing for two years, haha, that boy....

15 December 2011

money jar!

We have been selling all of our little odds n' ends. For a cheap price. I thought, hmm....mind as well make a buck or two, instead of donating to TVA's free-bin and then seeing kids run around TVA ruining it. (Annoying) So far we've made a bunch of cash, and although little, we know it will go a long way for Aaron's "Missionary Fund".

We don't move out until April'12 Graduation, but I already want to get rid of unnecessary clutter:
-stacks of unused wedding gifts
-old textbooks
-all size 8 heels/sandals (so sad) that post-preggo size 9 feet can't fit anymore!
-post preggo tops now too big for me (woohoo!)
-unused baby things
-James' old hats, sick of seeing them everywhere!

Collection amount as of now(started posting items Wed): $100.....2 purchases pending tomorrow!
My husband rolls his eyes at my little money jar, but I think its fun (and maybe addicting?)

09 December 2011

oh (no) christmas tree!

It will be a different kind of Christmas this year.
Samoa is just around the corner, after finals {of course}
And we are currently suffering without the scent of tree needles filling our home.
Even though we won't be home for the holidays, I thought to still hang a few lights and decorations here and there. Oh, Christmas...you get me so excited!
Tomorrow we are off in our black Ford sleigh to round up some more odds n' ends. 
Our naughty & nice list still needs to be tackled.
{btw, in the process of a new blog}

08 December 2011

on the move!

Our little Mahie is on the move.
She crawls!!! Well, she drags....haha.
I call her my little slug since she uses only her upper body to pull herself across the floor. Slowly her back legs are kicking in. But I'm surprised at how quickly she gets around & into everything.

We've made it to that stage where the floor needs to be vacuumed clean daily {i don't}, but I've already gotten in trouble by James for all the bobby pins Mahie has picked up. Her favorite location to 'slug' herself to: our slippers by the door. It's so hard keeping her in one spot while I try to do other things. If it isn't the slippers, it's the base of the fan, the laptop wires, random specs on the floor, and the most scariest: wall outlets. Geez this girl.

Oh, also, she loves to fall backwards, lol. Sometimes when we sit her up, or are carrying her...she'll spread her hands out and lean backwards, hahaha. I guess it really isn't funny because we've gotten some freaked out reactions from Grandma Telaya.....and also because it's totally my fault since I taught her that. You know, when you let babies lean a little & then you catch them...and they laugh. & then you repeat: fall, catch, laugh. Well I've gotten my daughter addicted to falling backwards {another thing I got in trouble for}. James sat Mahie infront of him and she thought he was playing "the game" & our poor little one toppled over with no catch from Daddy. I know she was confused, lol, but she surprised us by laughing anyways. {James was not amused at all} Yes, I'm probably a terrible Mother...but that's how I roll! More terrible stories to come, jk.
i love my daredevil slug.

Must Read!

At first glance, Naomi and Stacie and Stephanie and Liz appear to be members of the species known as the “Hipster Mommy Blogger,” though perhaps a bit more cheerful and wholesome than most. They have bangs like Zooey Deschanel and closets full of cool vintage dresses. Their houses look like Anthropologie catalogs. Their kids look like Baby Gap models. Their husbands look like young graphic designers, all cute lumberjack shirts and square-framed glasses. They spend their days doing fun craft projects (vintage-y owl throw pillow! Recycled button earrings! Hand-stamped linen napkins!). They spend their weekends throwing big, whimsical dinner parties for their friends, all of whom have equally adorable kids and husbands.
But as you page through their blog archives, you notice certain “tells.” They’re super-young (like, four-kids-at-29 young). They mention relatives in Utah. They drink a suspicious amount of hot chocolate. Finally, you see it: a subtly placed widget with a picture of a temple, or a hyperlink on the word “faith” or “belief.” You click the link and up pops the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Yep, Naomi and Stacie and Stephanie and Liz are Mormons. They’re members of a large, close-knit network of Mormon lifestyle bloggers — young stay-at-home-moms who blog about home and hearth, Latter-day Saint-style. From Rockstar Diaries (Naomi) to Underaged and Engaged (Stacie) to Nie Nie Dialogues (Stephanie) to Say Yes to Hoboken (Liz), Mormon lifestyle bloggers occupy their very own corner of the blogosphere.
Their lives are nothing like mine — I’m your standard-issue late-20-something childless overeducated atheist feminist — yet I’m completely obsessed with their blogs. On an average day, I’ll skim through a half-dozen Mormon blogs, looking at Polaroids of dogs in raincoats or kids in bow ties, reading gratitude lists, admiring sewing projects.

I’m not alone, either. Two of my closest friends — both chronically overworked Ph.D. candidates — procrastinate for hours poring over Nat the Fat Rat or C. Jane Enjoy It. A recent discussion of Mormonism on the blog Jezebel unleashed a waterfall of confessions in the comments section from other young non-religious women similarly riveted by the shiny, happy domestic lives of their Latter-day Saint sisters.

“They have lovely homes, picture-perfect kids, loving, super-attentive husbands, and things seem very normal and calm,” writes a commenter named BrookeD, who admits to reading five Mormon blogs daily.
“I thought I was the only one!!” responds another commenter.

 “THANK YOU,” adds a third. “I’m another closet non-Mormon reader of Mormon mommy blogs.”

 So why, exactly, are these blogs so fascinating to women like us — secular, childless women who may have never so much as baked a cupcake, let alone reupholstered our own ottomans with thrifted fabric and vintage grosgrain ribbon? It’s not as though we’re sniffing around the dark side of the faith, à la “Big Love.” And it’s not about religion. As someone married to a former Saint (my husband left the church as a teenager), I certainly have no illusions about what life as a Mormon would be like, and I’m sure it’s not for me, which makes my obsession with these blogs all the more startling.

 Well, to use a word that makes me cringe, these blogs are weirdly “uplifting.” To read Mormon lifestyle blogs is to peer into a strange and fascinating world where the most fraught issues of modern living — marriage and child rearing — appear completely unproblematic. This seems practically subversive to someone like me, weaned on an endless media parade of fretful stories about “work-life balance” and soaring divorce rates and the perils of marrying too young/too old/too whatever. And don’t even get me started on the Mommy Blogs, which make parenthood seem like a vale of judgment and anxiety, full of words like “guilt” and “chaos” and “BPA-free” and “episiotomy.” Read enough of these, and you’ll be ready to remove your own ovaries with a butter knife.

 “It seems that a lot of popular culture wants to portray marriage and motherhood as demeaning, restrictive or simple, but in the LDS church, motherhood is a very important job, and it’s treated with a lot of respect,” says Natalie Holbrook, the New York-based author of the popular blog Nat the Fat Rat. “Most of my readers are non-LDS women in their late 20s and early 30s, college educated, many earning secondary degrees on the postgraduate level, and a comment I often get is, ‘You are making me want kids, and I’ve never wanted kids!’”

 Indeed, Mormon bloggers like Holbrook make marriage and motherhood seem, well, fun. Easy. Joyful. These women seem relaxed and untouched by cynicism. They throw elaborate astronaut-themed birthday parties for their kids and go on Sunday family drives to see the fall leaves change and get mani-pedis with their friends. They often have close, large extended families; moms and sisters are always dropping in to watch the kids or help out with cake decorating. Their lives seem adorable and old-fashioned and comforting.

 “I’ve gotten e-mails from readers thanking me for putting a positive spin on marriage and family,” Holbrook says. “It’s important to acknowledge the hard parts — and I think we all do — but why not focus more on the lovely and the beautiful? That positive attitude is a very common theme throughout all aspects of the Mormon faith.”

 This focus on the positive is especially alluring when your own life seems anything but easy. As my friend G. says, of her fascination with Mormon lifestyle blogs, “I’m just jealous. I want to arrange flowers all day too!” She doesn’t, really. She’s just tired from long days spent in the lab, from a decade of living in a tiny apartment because she’s too poor from student loans to buy a house, from constant negotiations about breadwinning status with her artist husband. It’s not that she or I  want to quit our jobs to bake brownies or sew kiddie Halloween costumes. It’s just that for G., Mormon blogs are an escapist fantasy, a way to imagine a sweeter, simpler life.

 There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about “the New Domesticity” — an increasing interest in old-fashioned, traditionally female tasks like sewing, crafts and jam making. Some pundits see this as a sign that young women yearn to return to some kind of 1950s Ozzie and Harriet existence, that feminism has “failed,” that women are realizing they can’t have it all, after all. That view is utterly nonsense, in my opinion, but I do think women of my generation are looking to the past in an effort to create fulfilling, happy domestic lives, since the modern world doesn’t offer much of a road map. Our parents — divorced, stressed-out baby boomers — are hardly paragons of domestic bliss. Nor are the Gen X “Mommy War” soldiers, busy winging snowballs of judgment at each other from across the Internet. (Formula is poison! Baby wearing is child abuse!)

If those are the options, I’ll take a pass, thanks.

Enter the Mormon bloggers, with their picture-perfect catalog lives. It is possible to be happy, they seem to whisper. We love our homes. We love our husbands.

Of course, the larger question is, are these women’s lives really as sweet and simple as they appear? Blogs have always been a way to mediate and prettify your own life; you’d be a fool to compare your real self to someone else’s carefully arranged surface self. And Mormons are particularly famous for their “put on a happy face” attitude. The church teaches that the Gospel is the only authentic path to true happiness. So if you’re a faithful follower, you better be happy, right?

The phenomenon of the happier-than-thou Mormon housewife blogger is so well-recognized it’s even spawned a parody blog, Seriously So Blessed, whose fictional author brays things like “We have non-stop fun all the time and are LOVING married life!” and “Speaking of fall, I kind of sometimes want to start a non-profit to help moms who go all of fall without blogging pics of their kids in pumpkin patches, because it seriously breaks my heart!”

So why are Mormon women such prolific bloggers? “It probably has something to do with the fact that Mormons are the world’s biggest journal-keepers,” says my husband, offering a partial explanation. Church elders have long encouraged members to keep regular journals for the dual purposes of historical record-keeping and promoting spiritual insight, and as a result Mormons are champion journalers and scrapbookers. In the 2000s, church elders began officially promoting new media technologies like blogs as a way of spreading the gospel, and the Mormon blogging community soon became so large it earned itself a punny nickname: the Bloggernacle.

For many LDS women, blogging about the domestic arts is a natural fit. As ex-Mormon designer Emily Henderson explains on her blog, The Brass Petal, growing up in large families engenders an attitude of make-do thriftiness — homemade bread, recycled soda can Christmas ornaments, Salvation Army fashion. With the rise of DIY culture across secular America, all of a sudden those skills have become trendy, even bankable.

“Blogging is something they/we can do that feels productive, can potentially make money for our families and can be done from the home at any time,” Henderson writes. For young Mormon women, who face immense cultural pressure to stay home with children rather than pursue a career, blogging about their adventures in homemaking becomes a sort of creative outlet, a way of contributing to the larger world beyond the home.

The bloggers I read may be as happy with their lot as they seem. Or not. While some Mormon women prosper under the cultural norms for wife- and mother-dom, others chafe. Utah is, after all, the state with the highest rate of prescription antidepressant use, a statistic the president of the Utah Psychiatric Association attributes to the pressure among Mormon women to be ideal wives and mothers. The creator of Seriously So Blessed, an anonymous Mormon woman, addresses this pressure in an online archive of Mormon women interviews called the Mormon Women Project: “In any highly homogeneous culture we all feel pressure to be and look and think and act a certain way,” she says. “You start to think you need to be absolutely perfect in every area.”

Clearly, life for the Mormon wife is not all crafts and cupcakes. Even if it were, I seriously doubt that crafts and cupcakes are all that much fun when you do them all day, every day.

But the basic messages expressed in these blogs — family is wonderful, life is meant to be enjoyed, celebrate the small things — are still lovely. And if they help women like me envision a life in which marriage and motherhood could potentially be something other than a miserable, soul-destroying trap, I say, “Right on.” I won’t be inviting the missionaries inside for hot cocoa now or ever, but I don’t plan on stopping my blog habit any time soon.

*Interesting article, because it's true? How many of us thought of ourselves or a friend's blog? Just some Food for Thought

30 November 2011

In exactly.....

.....4 hours (Hawaii Time) it will officially be the month of Christmas.
Even though it doesn't get white around here, we locals still know how to celebrate this truly magical, wonderful, cuddly, yummy, expensive time of the year. 
25 days til Christmas

We weren't able to make it to the Laie Christmas Tree lighting. James had to work and Mahie's little tooth is making a fussy appearance. But, I am making it up with watching "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" on t.v. I feel like such a kid around this time. Who doesn't (You Scrooge). Oh, did I mention that I had to be a ninja and sneak around James at the mall to buy his gift in secret. Geez. 
Enjoy your night. I hope Santa James reads my Christmas list :)

26 November 2011

a mother's faith

Today, I was reminded how grateful I am to be sealed for ETERNITY to my husband, baby, parents & siblings. I learned that a wonderful friend of mine (who I met growing up in TVA), was able to spend only a few hours with her son before he returned back to heaven. I read her blog and cried. Her writing truly reflects her beautiful personality and great faith in the plan of salvation.
She shared the following story:

"More than anything, I am thankful for the knowledge of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ; that families can be together forever through the Plan of Salvation. During this time, I have found peace and solace in an e-mail my dad sent me this morning, reading again a personal experience told by Elder Octaviano Tenorio of the Quorum of the Seventy:"

When my wife and I had only been married a year and a half, she was ready to deliver our first baby. We had decided that she would have the baby in the Chihuahua colonies, where she had been born and where her parents still reside. At that time I was working in Mexico City, and we decided that she would go to be with her parents a month ahead of the delivery date. I was planning to join her later.

The delivery date arrived. I was at work when I received a call from my father-in-law. The news was good: “Octaviano, your wife has given birth, and you now have a beautiful little daughter.” So, in my happiness, I began to announce this to my friends and partners at work, who in turn asked me for chocolates to celebrate the birth of my little one.

The next day I began to give out chocolates throughout the four floors of our office building. When I reached the second floor, I received another call from my father-in-law. This time the news was different: “Octaviano, your wife is fine, but your daughter has passed away. The funeral will be today, and you don’t have time to come. What are you going to do?” I asked to speak with my wife Rosa, and then asked her if she was OK. She replied that she was fine, depending on how I was feeling. Then we talked about the plan of salvation, remembering this scripture:

“And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.”

I asked her, “Do you believe that?” And she said, “Yes, I do.” Then I replied, “We should be happy then. I love you. And if you are OK with that, I’ll take my vacation in two weeks, spend some time with you, and we will return back together to Mexico City.”

We knew that one day we would be reunited with our daughter because we were sealed by the power of the priesthood in the temple. We ended the telephone call, and I resumed giving out the chocolates in my office building. Seeing me do this, one of my co-workers was surprised and asked me how I could do this after such terrible news. I answered, “If you have a couple of hours, I can explain to you why I am not feeling too sad and about my knowledge of what happens after death.” Later that day, we ended up talking for four hours. He accepted the gospel and, together with his mother and brother, was baptized into the Church after receiving the discussions.

 "Of all the kinds and types of trials and hardships we experience in life, we must trust in the Lord when He said, “All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” With this eternal perspective, we understand and accept the trials of mortality as necessary for our spiritual growth. I know one day, we will look back at our mortal experiences and be grateful for them because they have helped us reach more of our potential and become more like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are." -Lilika Funaki

As a mother, I am truly touched by her experience and the way she worded it all. That little spirit will always be her baby, and she will always be his Momma.

We love you Funaki 'Ohana.
Yes, we should ALL count our many blessings & see what God hath done. Thank you Lilika.

Sometimes love lasts a moment.
Sometimes love lasts a lifetime.
Sometimes a moment is a lifetime

25 November 2011

Never again

Never. EVER. doing the all-nighter black friday thing. NEVER. EVER. AGAIN.
It was for sure an experience with my Mom, Kiana, and the tiny mini we zoomed around Honolulu in. Seriously, that little car was stuffed with shopping bags.
(Below is my little brother finding some thrill in riding around Laie w/a mask??)
After the family Thanksgiving dinner at my Parent's house, all travel, work and babysitting arrangements were worked out......and off to Honolulu we left with our wallets and redbull. I was already tired by Ka'a'awa so my Mom kept forcing me to drink her redbull. 
The places we hit were
1. Walmart (Keeaumoku)
2. Target (Salt Lake)
3. Alamoana

Yes there were crazy crowds everywhere and it seemed like the a.c. was broken in every store. We went, as my Mom puts it, "to be in the holiday hustle and bustle". So we weren't die hards crawling over people to claim a flatscreen, whatever interested us we threw in our cart. We were basically half zombies and half redbull-excited. LOL. I can't believe how many filled carts people were dragging along. Honestly, there weren't even that many deals. (Although there were some very good ones too) And can I just point out the #1 sucky thing about living in Laie.......you always run into people you RATHER NOT see. Anyways, there were pretty good prices on toys, so all the nieces & nephews are covered for Samoa! Check. (And if their parents are reading this, make sure you bring batteries bc I'm too cheap to buy them)

*Asians DO have a backbone......and it sure is stiff.
1) Parking was crazy and almost bloody at Alamoana. There were zero open stalls. People would literally follow a person as soon as they left the nearest store. A japanese woman finally found a stall, but a guy out of nowhere zoomed in as she was reversing and totally stole it. *This was the first time we each saw this, so we sat there and watched: The Japanese woman got out of her car, went up to the guy's window and fully started telling him off. Ya I would've been afraid too. The guy finally left and she claimed her stall. You go Obason!

2) We got elbow-shoved by aisan-tourist-looking shoppers, who didn't apologize (Oh hellll no). And then as we ate, Kiana left to the bathroom, and some random Japanese woman tried to sit at our tiny 3-seated table filled with shopping bags, that showed no sign of "Come sit here". Oh Black Friday, you make the lolo in people come out.

I must say the best deal I came across was at Victoria's Secret. Seriously, I got sooo many things free in return. It was a long day, there were funny moments.....but no black friday for me again, except online :)

24 November 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

How I wish we could sleep til our hearts desire. But no. The mind kicks in, and all the ruckus from outside grows louder and tells you to GET UP! That's how Thanksgiving morning started, well, and thanks to my daughter for also contributing in forcing me awake. *We both fell asleep on the bed, kicking James to the couch......and what do I feel pressed against my lips in the morning? None other than Mahie's toe. LOL, she was trying to wiggle her toe into my mouth, hahaha, I was like What the heck?? and rolled her over into the pillows.

So I cooked about a bajillion cups of rice. We stopped by our Ward lunch, which had 3 full rice pots....soo I put the foil back on my container and hoped no one would touch it, so that I could take it to my parent's later, haha.
Here's Nanea and Mahie....the two rollie pollie's that take over Relief Society with their screaming, burping, farts and laughter. All their "Aunties" love stealing them away. haha, hows their faces.

I was so happy that it was James' day off. I love when he's home. I think I was more excited that he was there than it being Thanksgiving. Of course we had to watch the Macy Thanksgiving Day parade, a tradition started by my Mother. James always shakes his head at how crazy we Americans get with celebrating our holidays. 
After spending time with our ward  members, we attempted to rest while I put the ham in the oven.......but seeing that our house needed tidying....we worked together in going through a lot of old clothes, papers, etc. and got rid of a lot of stuff. 
Something cool I baked:

Easy baked cheese and vegetable twist.
I wish I had a photo of the family dinner table that my Mom lovingly decorated. We all sat around a long table with beautiful decorations....just like those holiday movies, it was fun and an enjoyable moment. Mahie was passed around and even got her hands into Hill's plate of food. It was wonderful listening to my Dad speak about how grateful he was for all of us and how sad it is now that the family house is always empty most days......but that no matter our circumstance or how long/short a visit, we will always be welcomed home :)

Thanksgiving 2011
"I'm stuffed"

23 November 2011

Ok, so I totally failed at all that "Im thankful for..." holiday countdown. I really was into it, but time stole my attention away to other things. Other than still being bummed about the Iphone incident, one thing that's a definite thumbsUP, its the night before Thanksgiving, wooohooo! Not really looking forward to waking up early to start cooking, but I'm so glad that James is off tomorrow, we'll be with family & yummy food...and no school or work for a week. And i've already done hw before hand, yeeyah!
So to update our past hustle and bustles, take a look:
 Visiting my Grandpa (Mahie's Great-Grandpa) in Kapolei, who is now confined to a wheelchair :( It's so different seeing him this way, because he's always been up and moving: around Oahu and internationally. His mind is still quick and smart, so I know he's still the same Ol' Grandpa B nonetheless. Except, he kept saying, "Ho thats one cute boy you have Ashlyn".....Grandpa I had a girl remember....."What? But looks like one boy, he's cute that one"......Grandpa, HE's a SHE!........"what? howcome? looks like one boy still".  Apparently a green shirt with glitter words saying, 'My Daddy is my Prince' and girls jeans leggings, proved to my grandpa that he had a great-grand-SON staring back at him. Lol, what a story I can't wait to share with Mahie when she's older.
We celebrated Hill's 21st birthday. Kiana made these cute minion cupcakes. We all ate the twinkies more than the actual cupcake.
Little princess trying to crawl....but still trying.
Little Princess watching Breaking Dawn.
6a.m. Samoan 201 umu. A required activity every semester if you take Samoan. I didn't attend the first two semesters because our teacher's husband passed away and I was almost 9 months preggo the last time. So I was proud that I got my butt out to help & get credit. Isn't it sad that I know more Samoan than Hawaiian and Navajo.
Our little elf enjoys doing "big girl" things....like finally riding on shopping carts, and in her stroller w/out her car seat attached. I keep forgetting that she's still a little wobbly sitting up, so she'll topple over when I cut those aisle corners fast :) Don't you love how my Mom put stockings on her feet. James adores this photo.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, love the 3 Aspy's :)

22 November 2011

Very Sad

Last night James' phone wouldn't turn on.
The screen was totally black, and all the tricks we Googled couldn't help us out either. At first we didn't sweat it, since we knew Apple would save us.
And they did, in a way, but not really.
James was able to get a new phone, FREE.
But we lost everything on his sim card.
I didn't really care, UNTIL, I realized all of Mahie's newborn video footage and 1st photo's in the hospital was on his phone.
I was and still am very devastated.
Lol, yes I'm still having my random fits of anger.
Angry at dumb iphones, at James because he owned that phone, at myself for not transferring all of those albums to our computer the day before when I was looking at them & reminiscing, and especially at the Apple employee who kept reassuring me that everything would be on there, BUT NO.
Ugh, it's totally upsetting.
At least I have a few from my phone :(

16 November 2011

9. Education

Thankful for an Education. 

After James served his mission in the Philippines, he took a trip to Hawaii to visit his brother Richard.....and has been here ever since, working and studying at BYUH (off & on). He currently is on a break (to make his millions he says), and has about two years left to his undergraduate degree. If you've met James, you know that he should become a lawyer or an accountant. He is good at arguing a point and extremely good with numbers, statistics, anything math.
His educational background and academic strengths are a total contrast to mine, and further prove how dumb/behind Americans are in math and science. Seriously, I want my kids to go to school in New Zealand. Not only because they have to wear 'Harry Potter' looking uniforms (haha), but because I have lost total faith in America's public school system.

I on the other had made it known to everyone my senior year, that after graduation I was "Out of here". (I did NOT want to attend BYU-H) I remember applying early to BYU-Provo and then finally jumping for joy when I got my acceptance letter. People are surprised that I willingly decided to attend BYU-Provo, but I loved my two years there. However, I did have to struggle with homesickness at first. It's weird that when only a few us (friends connected to Laie, Kahuku, Hauula) decided to leave to Utah after high school, a lot of our friends/classmates thought we were crazy. Saying they could never live on their own or were too scared to leave Hawaii. But now a couple years later, they've all moved to Utah. I think most of them still wanted to live like high school seniors (but finally realized they needed to grow up). Anyways, I made friends with some Hawaii people, but I pushed myself to embrace "the haoles". haha. I will never forget my 1st roommates: Claire (CT), Bryn (IA), and Tammy (AZ) :)

Provo taught me how to GROW UP.
Budget finances, study, be social, gain my own testimony, cook, clean, attend church, travel. Don't worry, I mean I still stayed out late & took the random road trips to Cali :)
Keep in mind that this entire time, James and I were doing the long distance (millions of Tmobile mintues) relationship. After returning for summer break before my junior year, he proposed and a year later we were walking hand in hand into the Kona Temple.
And I was PISSED that I was transferring to BYUH, haha.
But now I got to take classes with my new husband, and then as a pregnant mother-to-be, and now finally as a working mama.
I enjoy learning and am very thankful for the opportunity to further my education. It's sad that even in our modern day AND ESPECIALLY within our own LDS Church, women still struggle with educational and career goals.
I can't wait to graduate this coming April 2012.

"Knowing, then, that marriage and family come first, what should we think about education and careers? Remember—the issue is not marriage or education; the issue is marriage and education. . . It has been said that before becoming somebody’s wife, before becoming somebody’s mother, become somebody."--Sister Marie Hafen

Let your first business be to perform your duties at home. But, inasmuch as you are wise stewards, you will find time for social duties, because these are incumbent upon us as daughters and mothers in Zion. By seeking to perform every duty you will find that your capacity will increase, and you will be astonished at what you can accomplish.
--Eliza R. Snow, Daughters in My Kingdom, p. 59

In the June 11, 2007 employee meeting with Elder Richard G. Scott, an employee who works in advising asked how to advise women who believe they cannot justify the cost of completing their education when they plan to stay home with their children. Elder Scott seemed a little surprised by the question but responded instantly: “Please, open their eyes,” he said. “A mother has got to be brilliantly educated in today’s world. One of the greatest gifts that can be given to today’s children is a mother in the home who is well-educated.”

Resolve now, while you are young, that you will get all of the education you can. We live in a highly competitive age, and it will only grow worse. Education is the key that will unlock the door of opportunity. You may plan on marriage, and hope for it, but you are not certain that it will come. And even though you marry, education will be of great benefit to you. Don’t just drift along, letting the days come and go without improvement in your lives. The Lord will bless you as you make the effort. Your lives will be enriched and your outlook broadened as your minds are opened to new vistas and knowledge.
--President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts Unceasingly,” General Young Women Meeting March 24, 2007.

There must be respect for the interests of one another. There must be opportunities and encouragement for the development and expression of individual talent. Any man who denies his wife the time and the encouragement to develop her talents, denies himself and his children a blessing which could grace their homes and bless their posterity.
--President Gordon B. Hinckley
For women, the important ingredients for happiness are to forge an identity, serve the Lord, get an education, develop your talents, serve your family, and if possible to have a family of your own. However, you cannot do all these things well at the same time. You cannot be a 100-percent wife, a 100-percent mother, a 100-percent Church worker, a 100-percent career person, and a 100-percent public-service person at the same time. How can all of these roles be coordinated? I suggest that you can have it sequentially. Sequentially is a big word meaning to do things one at a time at different times. I hope you acquire all of the knowledge you can. Become as skillful as you can, but not exclusively in new careers at the expense of the primary ones, or you may find that you have missed one of the great opportunities of your lives.
--President James E. Faust

*We hope we are becoming good examples for our children to follow in attaining their eduction, no matter what struggles come :)

15 November 2011

10. Home

Where do you call HOME?
(my left & james' right hand...flying into New Zealand)

James is from Auckland, New Zealand and I'm from Laie, Hawaii. However, we've been living in the BYUH Temple View Apartments for almost a year (wow), and we couldn't be more thankful. What a blessing it was to find a place to call "ours" right after we married. We were saved from squeezing into my Parent's home or any small and over priced studios nearby. We definitely got lucky, since originally we were in the 100's on the TVA waiting list, but somehow we got bumped to the top.
I love living in TVA. I always hear people talking bad about it, or residents being embarrassed to say they live there.......I don't know why. It's the best deal on rent throughout the state (unless you're one of those who munch off your parents), its located right next to school & on-campus/PCC employment, laundry services are cheap, the temple is next door, and you live among other couples going through the same challenges as you. Honestly, it may not get the highest ratings as the most gorgeous place to live, but if you're living the married-college student life, it's a definite financial load off your shoulders. So unless you're a millionaire (and so far everyone who talks this place down IS NOT), than keep it to yourself :)
This is our home. Here we learned (and still learning) how to be a wife and a husband. Where we've cooked, cleaned and prayed side-by-side. Where our stubborn temper's have flared and our most humbling moments have brought us closer. And where we've brought our little baby to raise and love.
WE are thankful for the Homes that we've come from....and being taught that we all as family members must contribute to making our house a home.
Home is where your Family is :)

09 November 2011

Holiday Giddiness

Goodbye Witches and Hello Holidays :)
Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate
If you haven't tried this, DO it NOW. It screams Christmas and snuggling up to your honey on a crisp night. I'm addicted to this yummy tummy warming drink. And just look at the cup, it gets you excited for next month.

And, it's also time to pop in Serendipity
just to drool over that irresistible
Frozen Hot Chocolate

Don't worry, we'll have more favorites to share :)

08 November 2011

Don't Stress over a Number

James and I have been keeping physically fit off and on. Usually we turn to P90X or a quick jog at the gym or around Laie. However, we've both been slacking BIG TIME. Also, I've realized how weak I still am, 6 months after giving birth. Yes the weight is still coming off slowly, but I feel its more than just weight loss. There are tons of women around me who get stick thin from breastfeeding, but I don't just want to become skinny....but strong, toned. I want my strength back in my arms, abs and legs.
As you can tell, I never have any free time unless it's the weekends or a few minutes in between running around. So Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30 dvd is PERFECT for my busy schedule. An intense 24-minute workout mixing cardio, strength and abs.
My EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE is sore. I haven't felt this 'after-workout-pain' since hmmm...Living Legends? Or an intense tahiti burnout for Night Show?
I went to class, then work, then class...then popped in this dvd for week one....shower, then back to work. I had to help with an even tonight and I know I probably looked dumb trying not to bend my legs as I walked. They were so sore. Anyways, like Jillian said on the dvd, "If 400lb people can do this, than you can too". Omg I was dying....but it'll all pay off right?
Look at this interesting picture:
(this is not me)
See what I mean? 
Muscle weighs more than fat
We shouldn't stress over a number
but seek to be fit and healthy

07 November 2011

Mommy the Intern

I sat at work today, thinking non-stop during my projects/assignments, and realized that I need to create a journal documenting my internship experience. I mean I should already be doing it for school credit (but c'mon who actually does it), but I think I should ONLY because of the funny moments I've encountered. I need to stop by the store asap to buy a book or something & get on printing the random [secret] shots I've taken here and there of my experiences. 
FOR instance:
My job has taught me the basics of Excel & Spreadsheet.
No instructor, nobody. Just me starring at a computer screen full of numbers, labels, and cells. For those who think I'm making a big deal, I AM......my education background is Communications and Political Science. Which are areas VERY far from math, statistics and business concepts and "Excel-ness". So for those Communication alumni's, you can see my dilemma.
But as a new intern, you can' t just sit there with a big dumb "?" hanging over you. (Although I wanted to) So after many clicks, highlighting, entering and deleting......I really am proud of my quick-learning cleverness. I actually now really enjoy the computer work that I get. And trust, me do practically everything on Excel. 
 The next thing to accomplish was letters.....I printed out over 500 letters, for three different purposes. I ended up enveloping half before clocking out. But to help with the mail process, I was introduced to this time-saving contraption:
A letter folder-er.....my boss was like, "this will be your bestfriend"...it sure was, I can't imagine how long/annoying it would be to fold all those papers individually. Thank you technology. It goes very fast. At one point I tried to grab the folded letters, but just wasn't quick enough, causing the rest to hit my fingers and shoot out of control all around my cubicle. I was cracking up but hurried to pick them up before someone came.  It's really loud too. I could hear workers from other cubicles thinking ALOUD, wondering what the noise was. Anyways, you 500+ people who receive this letter better read the entire thing before tossing it. :)
And so far, I've never had to worry about an empty stomach. Someone always has food/snacks to offer. I enjoy my internship, but I love rushing home to my Mahie more.
Speaking of that little chubby girl, my Dad took her with him to run errands around Honolulu. They stopped by Isaac's and Kiana's for breakfast. And then visited Hill at HCC  for lunch. A lot of the main roads are closed for APEC, but Hill and Mahie were able to see Obama pass. 
James has been undergoing some training for work. Tomorrow will be his second day, even though it's his day off.....which totally screws up schedules for everyone tomorrow. I'm tired & I don't want to think about the craziness that Tuesday will bring. So for now I'll go enjoy my fluffy pillows and warm bed. I love snuggling warm while the cold breeze blows through the house :)

06 November 2011

Weekend Awww

I took my last midterm Friday (Samoan 201) and was so happy to walk out the testing center to a weekend of freedom, friends, and fun. 
Fun with Friends, all in sweatshirts, frazzled hair-do's and returning from Brasil
1. Freedom: No work, school, assignments, tests and running around in between all of those things while worrying about Mahie, making sure life runs smoothly for her. We wonder at times what she probably thinks or if she notices going back and forth from our house and grandma's house.....so far no problems, however her grandparent's have all the toys.

Our home starts off clean, slightly organized and breathable at the beginning of the week. By the end of Tuesday night, everything is everywhere...piling up, tossed on the side, rummaging for car keys. I hate when the mess starts to grow (mess= stress), but we literally have no free time to upkeep the perfect mormon home Tues-Thurs...so when Friday comes, I wake up excited and determined to have a spotless home. And clean I did while Mahie rolled around watching Sponge Bob and (Oh Yes) Thanksgiving/Christmas commercials. Mission accomplished.

Although James never enjoys freedom from work, he comes home with the most entertaining stories. I've grown accustomed to expecting a bit of news he's experienced through the day, i love it. In turn I sometimes share a story from my internship, but USUALLY i jump straight to reporting about Mahie. Our little girl has us both wrapped around her chubby, drooling, fingers. 
*Exciting News of the Day: She is beginning to sit up by herself. We sat outside on the lawn to wait for James to come home. He was surprised to see her new baby trick, and SHE got excited when she saw it was her Daddy....and then she toppled over and started sucking on a mini coconut. So now, we're having a hard time making her lay down LOL.

2. Family Prayer: We've been progressing with prayer: morning, meals, evening & personal. 

3. Tithing: Woohoo, 100%.......thank you paychecks.

4. Wives Club: A few friends and I have established a fun, hilarious, hungry, comforting and highly EXCLUSIVE social group. So far the past outings included lunch dates at Subway (we try to eat healthy), and a quick EXOTIC trip to BRAZIL. I can't spill all the details.....but can I just say this weekend was so fun and a nice break from the ordinary crazy schedule. (Bonus: How grateful I am to have a husband who encourages me to enjoy friend outings)

5. Mochiko Chicken: <---I have been craving this and finally made it tonight for dinner. It is sooo yum, we have leftovers in the fridge and I've already called dibs for lunch tomorrow. It was my first time making this, and we were very impressed with the results. I've never used 'sweet rice flour' before. I'm glad Tamura's had all my asian ingredients on sale. Also, thank you Nea for popping by & making me jump :)

It's going to be an early day tomorrow. My baby will be in town all day with her Grandpa.

04 November 2011

6 Months

6months, 5days old
Someone's chubby little thighs is covered in band-aide's :(
Mahie got 3 shots this morning to sadly celebrate her 6months checkup. 
We've had to put her to bed 3 times, since she kept waking up very fussy.

Doctor Schlacter was very surprised at how attentive she was. She followed him all around the room.
Mahie is currently in the top 10 percentile:
17 lbs (2 pound difference)
27 inches long

rolls, scoots, grabs, holds her bottle, eats rice cereal & baby food, kicks hard, laughs loud, baby talks loud and loves feeling your face.

Her TOP fave's:
bathing in the kitchen sink
(relief to mommy's back)

watching sponge bob
typing on anyone's laptop
whenever she sees a laptop, she lunges forward, hands stretched out to the keyboard. she can sit forever just pounding away, and screams when we take it away. She can't be fooled though. James tried sitting her in front of his old laptop, but as soon as she saw him go to the MAC, she started crying, lol. Babies are sooo observant and smart. It's interesting to wonder about the world they will grow up in, surrounded by technology.

no teeth yet, but more than enough drool for everyone :)

02 November 2011

November Ramble

James and I were reminicing about a particular night when we were first still getting to know each other. The exchange of phone numbers, texting...and all that awkward but giddy feelings of secretly liking the other but being too afraid to show it.......and how funny that we both have TOTALLY DIFFERENT versions. Of course mine is the correct one, just kidding, but it was entertaining and interesting to hear James tell it, what he was thinking and all that behind-the-scenes things that I never knew. I'm not going to share it, because that's OUR little story........but it makes me smile knowing how fun our dating memories are. If you know my husband, he is way more reserved than me, and nicer. A lot of people think he's scary since he doesn't smile, but he is very friendly once you start talking to him. Me on the other hand, if I'm annoyed, I'm annoyed. LOL. But I can make friends with anyone. And once I make friends, I can talk story for days. James is friendly, but he won't just talk to people like I do. 
I wonder who Mahie will follow. She's actually very independent, and once she looses interest, she's off to something else. She can't sit up or crawl yet, but she can cover some ground pretty easily by rolling and wiggling around. 
We can't believe it's November. Hopefully we find time to enjoy it before it's gone like Halloween. James is currently chasing a flying cockroach in our kitchen. Mahie is spread out on our bed with her personal fan blasting on her, while we are sweating in the livingroom. And I'm not too happy that I'm out of nail polish remover....we are counting down the days until Christmas. Happy that we'll be seeing loved ones, but sad that Aaron leaves to the Philippines.
Good night from the Aspinalls

01 November 2011


If you live in TVA, like us, you know that by 7:30a.m your car needed to be OUT of the parking lot. Why? Because they're going to be redoing the pavement, or I don't know...it better be something OVER the top awesome with all this inconvenience they're causing. Seriously, sometimes I don't think people at BYUH use their heads. I mean, couldn't they have chosen to kick everyone out of their stalls during the summer when barely anyone is around...OR hello, when it ISN'T rainy season in Hawaii. We've been starting to get the heaviest rain now, and now having to walk far to get in your car, ugh!
Look how eerie it looks with everyone out. They haven't even started construction, but we won't be able to park in our stalls until Saturday. All they've said is to basically find parking somewhere else in TVA. But, all the empty grass areas fill up quickly.....so like the annoyed residents that we are....James and I checked the other lots late at night & which ever was empty at 1am, we've claimed it as ours until Saturday. 

On a happy note, we went to town and James took me shopping since I needed better looking clothes for my internship, lol. No more casual reef slippers. I think companies have really down graded on flats. They up the prices but most flats are just so sore! When I was attending BYU-Provo, I ALWAYS shopped at their bookstore (NOTHING in comparison to BYUH). I would spend hours in there looking at everything, over and over again. I even knew when things would go on sale. I especially fell in love with their shoes section. I think I've own everything they came out with those two years I was in Provo. Their flats were trendy, affordable and comfortable. Oh how I miss my mainland shopping. Anyways, we stopped by Sears (I've haven't bought anything here in FOREVER), saw some really cute flats, mentioned to the cashier that they were the last ones in my size but had a few scratches........and her cool manager gave us 50% off. James & I were like whoa! PLUS they added on some other deal to satisfy us.....and we walked out with a total of $0.74 flats, originally $40! What the heck, and we weren't even giving them a hard time like some demanding customers I've encountered. We were thinking they'd give us only a dollar off or something, but dang what a deal. 
Me and Mahie playing with their mirror while waiting to check out.

So on our way TO Kaneohe, we passed the bend between China Man's hat and Waikane....near that Japanese jewelry shop......and passed through the thickest black smoke ever. The air was filled with something burning. However we assumed people were burning rubbish (Its Hawaii). On our way home though, it was another story. They had closed the road an hour before, and were just opening it up as we approached (thank goodness). It was really slow traffic, but there were police and fire trucks spraying water everywhere. 
I should've emailed this to KHON2 because they were commenting on how they didn't have live coverage, haha. Next time, James and I decided that no matter what, we should call 911 just in case. Hopefully no one was hurt. 
*Time to invest in a cuter umbrella and rain boots  :)

31 October 2011


Halloween this year can be described as busy, crammed, overtired, hungry and too much sugar :)
James left to work, Mahie left to Grandpa's house and I left to last minute hw, class and a huge presentation. We had to dress up for my class and since I didn't feel like wearing a bumblebee outfit lol, my last minute idea was "a 50's housewife"....I got ready early, did the whole 50's victory curls, heels and carried a oven mit & spatula.........by the time class came, I wondered how women back then actually wore all that??? Hair ended up in a bun & heels replaced by slippers. 

Other than being irritated since Mahie and I were ready to trick-or-treat at 6pm....BUT had to wait for EVERY one who kept saying to wait for them to get ready so that they'd come with us........we all got a good night's rest afterwards from all the craziness.
 Setting up with Grandpa
I dont have a picture with my oven mit & spatula

Baby Bee & Gypsy Grandma

Halloween 2011
Aaron & Jackies costumes.....cool. These guys stood in the dark as we passed and we fully thought they were yard decorations :)

Here were some of our Halloween Album, although we have pictures galore! Check out Facebook if you have a chance. James and I were just commenting on how fast October came and went. We were also reflecting back on a year ago being newlyweds and just finding out I was expecting. How time flys! Now we have a restless baby rolling around our floor, trying to chew on our slippers. I hope you all enjoyed Halloween. Although we were suppose to be a "Bee Family" Me as Queen Bee and James as a Killer Bee....I'm satisfied that our Baby Bee came through. We know she enjoyed her night because she kept fighting her sleep to stay awake and look at everything and everyone. 
Time to eat Mahie's candy :)

29 October 2011

Good Bye Haunted Lagoon

As you know I started an internship with the PCC Marketing Department and so every night I helped out with their Haunted Lagoon ride. At my prior job I mainly dealt with the photo's tourists took with the Halloween characters or on the canoe. So I was already familiar with the long hours and craziness that this event demanded. But now at my new job, things were slightly different. Actually EVERY night my job was different. Of course there were some Up's and Down's.....but now looking back I can finally laugh at those Down's and realize they were fun experiences.

Random ppl with masks chasing you even though you yell, "I'm an EMPLOYEE"

Dressing up as pirates while selling
Famous lines used:

"1 for $15, 2 for $25.....and for 3? Let me grab my calculator "
"Please don't take a photo of the photo with your phone....yes I'm talking to YOU"
"Sorry I'm married......ya you can take me, my husband and my baby out......yup you heard me right, I'm a Mom"

Walking home after closing and watching a guy (who I guess locked his keys in), pop open his trunk, clear everything out, kick down his seats, and crawl through to open his back door....I was amazed. Ok at first I was frightened because all I saw were two legs wiggling out, but then it was a happy ending. 

 Packaging photo orders late into the night

the best help ever, 
they put up with me barking at them to "run FASTER"

Crazy Crowds + DEMANDING Kama'aina that want everything for free, eh

New Job + New Co-workers (Alex)

Hosting & meeting cool dance groups

 Meeting the "Mid-day Munchkin"

I had to operate the fog/laser light machine one night in the haunted house/maze. I was in charge of 5-6 little boys/pre-teen's that TRIED my patience the entire night. I've never been called "Aunty" soo many times. And after they kept saying, "Aunty the light machine is crooked" I stood in front & took a picture to check it's alignment and then the two above jumped out of the fog and scared the hell out of me. You bet I gave it to them after (haha) Other than it was stuffy, "Aunty can I do this?" "Aunty can I wear that?", and dealing with silly boys....they really did crack me up even though I wanted to strangle them at times. Plus you can't get a better view of people (even macho guys) screaming than 2 feet away! Little do they know they were getting scared by 10-13year olds...

Free buffet dinner

Tonight (my last night) I controlled the black light/strobe light for the "Laie Lady" while she scared the canoe riders. I'm not gonna lie, I wasn't excited to be flipping a switch on and off.....however I began to enjoy/appreciate my area (especially once it rained & I was under cover). I laughed at practically every canoe. People are hilarious when they're scared, especially the Japanese tour groups. There were three "Laie Lady" characters that would switch off (One was Junk, one was Okay & one was THE BOMB) They wait until I flip the strobe light on which is their cue to crawl and scare. I felt bad at one point, since it's easy to doze off at my area. (At one point the sounds guy actually did.) Anyways, there are kiddie rides once in a while and the monsters just stand and wave. They signal its a Kiddie ride by waving a glow stick back and forth. BUT, it was late, dark, quiet....and I was already in tired "automatic flip-on, flip-off" mode. So I flipped the strobe, the laie lady starts crawling and all I see is a glow stick hitting/swinging at the laie lady character....then I realized OOPS IT'S A KIDDIE RIDE.....so sorry traumatized kids, pissed off glow stick tour guide and new laie lady volunteer who probably got yelled at afterewards.

That was my Haunted Lagoon 2011 highlights...no late nights, yay!