26 September 2013

Additional Relief Society Meeting NOT Enrichment

Drum roll please……at the beginning of this month I was called as the Relief Society Meeting Coordinator, or in other words the person who plans Enrichment night. But now the Church has changed the name from "Enrichment" to "Additional Relief Society Meetings, lol. 

I was very shocked and overwhelmed when Bishop called me out of Nursery to meet with him. I thought I was getting a Nursery calling since I practically live there because Mahie will NOT let me leave. Even when I was called to Bishop's office, I had to drag along both kids since James needed to meet a client, leaving me alone to battle the kids. As usual, Sundays pretty much stress me out, so when I walked into Bishop Vaaulu's office, I was REALLY caught off guard with my new calling. No seriously, I stared at him with a shocked face, trying to quiet a fussy Evan screaming in my lap while Mahie was climbing all over Bishop's chairs singing 'I am a child of God'. I said to Bishop, "Are you sure?". To which he responded, "Yes, I know the sisters need someone young with fresh ideas for their activities." 

In most wards there is a committee that helps the Relief Society Meeting Coordinator plan & do. Not here though, jusssst moi. I couldn't even sleep that night & shared with James my worries & fears. "I don't even know anyone. I don't even know where to get anything." He said I'd be fine. Then I remembered, this is just another example of Heavenly Father's humor. 

I don't remember exactly when, but I had prayed that I wanted to get to know more sisters in our ward. We had already been here in Samoa for half a year and still I felt like a stranger to many of the sisters. All of whom are much older than I or who just seem very accomplished in their own lives with homemaking and running businesses, thus making me feel just so "bubbogum" as they say back home. Like when we have get-togethers, I would NEVER think about trying to bring a dish, because these ladies, seriously, can make such delicious and exquisite looking pies, tarts, cakes, pastries….and displayed so perfectly. But my prayer was heard & answered with a calling to serve. And as I planned for this first RS activity, I met and befriended so many women in just a few days. Voila I have friends!

I'm so glad it was clarified that I wouldn't be alone, but that one of the RS Counselors would work with me for every activity. The previous sister had been in this calling for almost 4-5 years, crazy. It's pretty common to serve that long in our ward. Anyways, since I had JUST been called and we were due for an activity in a few weeks, I thought I'd let Sis. Wendt take the lead one last time as I learned from her activity planning wisdom ;) She's so awesome, hilarious & creative.

"Christmas in September" Theme
What a gorgeous home with an even bigger yard out front. Sis. Wendt mentioned that RS Enrichment nights are never held at the chapel, but at sisters' homes. Which was another reason that gave me anxiety, because I was like, "hello, I don't know anyone, how am I going to ask people if I can use their homes?!". This is the home of Sister. Madeline Arp, such a wonderful host. The sister of the hosted home doesn't have to do anything, but Madeline really took it upon herself to decorate, make additional food, etc. 

We assigned various categories to sisters to make either an ornament, wreath, centerpiece or nativity, ONLY from things around their homes. Pesega Lima definitely has some of the most creative women ever. They definitely put Utah to shame. Some of the materials they used included: belt buckles, coke bottle caps (me), cardboard, shells, tuna can, old magazines, old puletasi's, vines...

We also had prizes for the best Christmas earrings and slippers. And a wonderful thought shared by Sis. Jackie Chu-Sing about always keeping Christ centered in our lives, especially around Christmas time when it's easy to get lost in all the commercialization of the holidays. She also shared favorite memories and childhood traditions, and it made me think of home & miss being a little kid. 

Clever Sis. Wendt also shared her recipe of how to make hibiscus tea from flowers she took from Bro. Meredith's hedge, haha. It was really yummy. Better than the hibiscus drink Starbucks sells. 
"Hibiscus on Ice"
30 red hibiscus flowers (as in the picture)
4 cups boiling water
juice of one large lime
sugar to taste

1 - take calyx and leaves off flowers
2 - place flowers in bowl
3 - pour hot water over flowers (colour will come out of flowers, it will be purplish, strain and throw away flowers.
4 - add lime juice....mixture will turn bright red....
5 - add sugar to taste.
6 - serve over ice cubes

There was also some entertainment by Mariah Carey (middle) and her back up dancers! 

AND THE FOOD...........DELICIOUS! Thank you so much to Sis. Delanie Tiakia for taking charge and delegating the refreshments. Look at how talented these sisters are! I never want to be assigned to the food, good thing I'm in charge, haha. *Not even half of the deliciousness shown!
I'm so glad it's over, hopefully the sisters enjoyed themselves. Everyone we gave assignments to pulled through, mahalo! And thank you so much to Sis. Wendt (I could never fill her awesome shoes) and my new partner in crime for future RS activities, Sis. Eka Arp.

I cut all those letters out by hand, it was a *! I also made tiny packets with the Sept VT message on top, which my kind hubby probably deleted my pic of. 
(Me, Sis. Wendt, & Eka)

By the way, if you're confused why we had a Christmas party in September, it's because over here EVERYONE goes on holiday off island during December. Our ward Christmas party is in November.

Yay for future "Additional Relief Society Meetings"!

28 August 2013


Goodbye August, hello Mr. 10 months, three teeth, and super quick legs.
Our little happy boy is all over the place exploring. Looking back, I think it was around this stage that I enjoyed the most with Mahie. Because after that, it's potty training & tantrums, haha. But with Evan, our only concern is trying to keep up with this little guy. He looks like a baby T-rex, wobbling all over the place with his hunched arms. He still enjoys crawling, but as soon as he pulls up onto his legs…..fa soifua!
He is still breastfeed, I'm pretty sure he'll put up a fight when it's time to wean. He is stubborn, and refuses a bottle. HOWEVER, he will drink water, ONLY water from a sippy or regular cup. Little weirdo. Speaking of water, our kitchen is blocked off somewhat, to prevent him from crawling to the water dispenser. He just LOVES to stand there and hold down the faucet thingy, making water run everywhere. When we catch him, he'll give such a sly smile. That is until we move him away, and he'll just plop over, really dramatically and cry. Can baby babies throw tantrums??? I'm serious, I think he does already hahaha. He'll just roll around and kick, until you hand him a toy and then it's like nothing happened.

So many things I've tried differently with my baby #2. Natural labor. Exclusive breastfeeding. Co-sleeping. Cloth diapering here & there. No wipes unless its big poo messes. And what has made me most nervous, but am okay with now: baby led weaning.....or just letting the baby figure out how and how much to feed themselves. It's pretty crazy how you naturally learn to figure things out. Now my chubby bubba sits at the table and I lay food in front of him :) I think it's a trend starting in the U.S., but very popular in the U.K./N.Z. I suggest you check it out online, lots of interesting benefits.
Here's some photo's I posted on Instagram. Evan is always so happy, well if I'm around. Such a Mama's boy. We stumbled upon a pretty cool (and legit looking) toy store in Apia one morning and brought home a mini pool. The kids loved it. We have a larger one, but no one's put it to use yet because of it's size. I was afraid for Evan at first, but he enjoyed splashing and almost drowning himself. 

I'm definitely one of those "Insta-Mom's". Who cares, I have no regrets when my family and I look back through old photo's and reminisce :)

And Miss Mahie is still TWO, hahaha, or....let me count.....27 months?!

We were invited over for dinner Sunday at the Tiakia's. Wonderful Niuean/Maori family originally from New Zealand. Thank you Heavenly Father for looking out for us & having people befriend us, haha. Mahie was given some homemade play dough to bring home. And now its smashed into every nook and cranny.
She is getting so tall. This girl can throw the meanest tantrums, and yet be very caring/compassionate. I love watching her include Evan while she plays, even though she can be bossy. It's ok for now, like Evan cares what she's telling him. Our goals with Mahie is to 1) Keep with a constant schedule/routine, especially with naps/bedtime. So far so good. Plus it keeps the drama's down to a minimum. 2)Adding more vege's/fruits to her plate & snacks 3)Brushing teeth. No silver caps for my kids *KNOCK ON WOOD! 4) Water, water, water! 5) Reading time. 6) More conversations with her. 7) Reducing poop accidents, ugh, annoying! 8) Leaving her alone in Nursery. We were successul one Sunday, and then they her teacher got called to Relief Society, back to square one, bleh! I miss Relief Society, but I can't enjoy it knowing my child is in tears.
Gone are my sacrament meetings, listening to the speakers, enjoying the reverence….instead, I'm constantly trying to keep my two year old quietly entertained and preventing my squirmy baby from wiggling free. When the weekend gets closer, I find myself dreading Sunday because of my kids. Waking up for 7:30am church isn't a struggle, my kids on the other hand….Arrgghhhh! However, I remember reading somewhere about a young husband and wife, who found themselves both in the hallways, each holding a child of theirs. The oldest child refused to go to class and the other very fussy baby….even though it seemed easier to just go home, or questioning whether they learned anything spiritually by being in the hallway, they looked at each other and smiled, knowing they were EXACTLY at the right place on Sunday. So even though I'm usually outside, straining to hear a speaker, or getting stuck in Nursery….again, at least I'm at church. And trying.

Oh & James.....he's good. He has me :)

We love our bread, we love our butter, but most of all......we love each other.

06 August 2013

Making it to August '13

I was almost ready to give up on our family blog. For a while, I was just not into it and it just seemed like a big hassle: what with limited internet issues, thus making uploading take forever & ever long, and then needing to copy n paste the photo link code because we've reached our photo uploading max on the blog, and then usually one of the kids has a meltdown, and then someones hungry, and then someone accidentally pulled the camera wire…..so by then I just want to shower (for the 100th time) and relax in some a.c. BUT THANKS to a few friends with new blogs that I've recently stumbled upon, my 'blogging love' has been reborn. Hahaha. With also a reminder, to be ME when I blog. Keep things real :)

Years from now, I'll appreciate the fact that I kept a record of our young family days. Moving from Hawaii. Being away from all my family (boohoo…..while James is probably like, FINALLY!). Living in Samoa. My kids driving me nuts and into bipolar monster mom everyday…..and then making me feel bad as soon as they hug me & apologize. James who turns me into bipolar monster wife everyday because we both know how to irritate the hell out of each other! hahaha. Living the life of Him "Business Owner" and Me "Stay-at-Home-Mom-trying-to-learn-Samoan". But anywho's, a FRESH PERSPECTIVE STARTS NOW!!

What happened to these past couple months aka the "Summer Months" for the U.S. people…..oh ya, I became useless & didn't blog anything.

August has marked our EIGHTH month living in Samoa. Crazy.
After my one month return home to Hawaii in April, and our one week June anniversary celebration in New Zealand……I am now comfortable to say that this is our home. 
Even when we were freezing in New Zealand, Mahie finally got over wearing layers & boots and finally sighed, "Momma, I do ("go") home pease." As in back to Samoa, as in my kids claim HERE home, as in I'm horrified and remind her that they were both born in Hawaii. Hahaha. 

So we have transitioned. 
1.Finally, after scarring our legs with a million kaki'os or "po'u"s in Samoan, the mosquitoes have left us alone, sort of. I still keep my can of mosquito repellant and coils burning nearby though.
2.The 110% humidity still kills me at times, but now that we're in the cooler/wet months, I feel like I'm in Hawaii. Plus, you learn to shower & change clothes throughout the day.
3. I used to get big time headaches or just get really disgusted at smelling smoke/trash burning. Now it's whatev, I've learned to not hang your towels/sheets outside on Saturday mornings because that's when EVERYONES grandma wanna burn their pile of leaves. 
4. I miss Costco & Walmart, and just the fact of paying cheaper prices for quality. Over here, everything is expensive, especially if it's an American brand and quality is almost nonexistent. Plus, you're just stuck with the general Western Family brand…..unless you want Watties (blah!) or some unknown with Chinese writing. 
5. Also, I miss the convenience of food options, especially eating healthy. Not like I really went that route, but now I regret taking it for vantage. We still have the option of eating healthy, just not the convenience. For instance, if I want 'boneless skinless chicken breasts'….I have to chop up a whole Tegel chicken myself! Which still grosses me the hell out, so that's usually James' job. (We eat chicken sold in the store from NZ, not the ones running outside, FYI) However, it's nice having an endless supply of 'ORGANIC' produce. Samoan people be like "Organic?"….you mean food? hahaha. Fresh cabbage, lettuce, carrots, ginger, papaya, bananas, many of these growing in our back yard!
6. Driving with "road sense" not according to "road rules". Here in Apia, traffic rules are modern with lights, road markers and signs….doesn't mean drivers follow it. If you follow road rules according to the book, you'll probably get into a car crash. Hence, you use your "road sense", aka, move out of the way when some idiot driving on the opposite side of the road wants to all of a sudden swerve in last minute. Wait five more seconds after a red light, because a taxi is still going for broke like there's a green. People, kids, dogs in the road! And then sometimes the traffic lights won't work for a week, eeeh!
7. I still feel sorry for them, but I'm not as culture-shocked heartbroken at street beggar kids trying to sell stale popcorn or q-tips at your car window.
8. We carry an "ili" or fan everywhere. 
9. I still crack up at the commercials on tv, even though we get only two channels, one is just less fuzzy. There's satellite available, but we don't really watch tv anyways, and it isn't worth the price. Either Hip-hop/Rap music blasting as the background music or huge fafafine's (Fafa's or Mahu's) as a company spokesperson. 
10. We don't use carseats. Just being honest. I strap the kids down the few times we drive far and they scream the entire time.
11. Still annoyed that people have NO SHAME: to ask for money (you don't know them), make you feel bad that you don't give them money (you don't know them), will stare at you & keep staring (after you said no to money or when they get caught being dishonest). I KNOW these types of irritating people exist in Hawaii, I guess I wasn't as directly involved with them as I am here daily. 
12. We've been watching some kids straight from "kuA" or like the village boonies, that my MIL wants to adopt. They are both a BIG help & big PAIN. The latest 'smh' moment: They learn correct English from my 2 year-old, while my 2 year-old learns FOB English from them. Exactly. SMH!
13. Having a "house girl". I don't know how NOT to sound weird in explaining this….basically someone who cleans/tends to your home, some even babysit, cook, for minimum or whatever wage. And hell no, not a house servant and YES I still clean, cook and watch my kids. It's just hard to explain, unless you live in Samoa. It's pretty common throughout the South Pacific. 
14. Doesn't even phase me that there are graves in our front yard :)
15. Saving your coca-cola bottles!
16. I enjoy attending our English speaking International Ward, Pesega Lima, Alafua Chapel. Oka 7:30a.m.!!! We have attended church every Sunday since January, but people still think we're new. James is the Young Men's advisor, while I'm stuck in Nursery because Mahie will go nuts if I leave. It's not really a problem, because that is the only other room (besides Bishops) that has ac!! I should just be called to Nursery since I know all the kids and leaders already. Plus Evan gets to nap in the cold.

Anyways, that's our update/my vent sesh! hahaha. Got to go, don't want to miss Samoan Idol (my ears!!)

07 July 2013


We made it to THREE years of our eternal journey together. It's interesting looking back at our marriage celebration history:
Married: Kona, Hawaii LDS Temple
Honeymoon: Caribbean & Mexico Cruise
1st Anniversary: O'ahu, Hawaii
-Pregnant with Mahie
2nd Anniversary: Maui, Hawaii
-Pregnant with Evan
3rd Anniversary: Auckland, New Zealand
-Never ever pregnant again (just kidding)

I definitely have to thank James for all the above. He makes sure our little family never has to worry about anything. I am especially grateful that he was able to take time off from his busy work schedule and fly us to New Zealand. We both couldn't wait for our plane to land to see family....and to also be back in civilization! Well mostly we had our eyes on the movie theaters and BAKERIES ;)

New Zealand weather/seasons are opposite the U.S. While I saw everyone at home posting bikini worthy pictures, our family was layered up and bundled. We were warned that it was COLD, but it wasn't THAT cold for James and I. I actually enjoyed the crisp air, it was very refreshing. (Except when it came time to shower because there was no central heating.) Mahie and Evan on the other  hand HATED bundling up. They were always dry and didn't like putting on lotion. They kicked off their shoes whenever possible. I think in every picture, Evan is wearing only ONE sock!! He'll kick and kick until one wiggles free, but then doesn't bother with the other foot.

We stayed at good ole' Rangitoto Road in Papatoetoe, James' family home. It was nice to finally meet  energetic Sofia and her rosy cheeks. And it was also perfect timing because Asher was visiting too. The grandparents also flew in from Wellington to be with their grand-babies. 

1. Virgin airlines = uncomfortable. 
2. James' luggage was stolen. Somehow whenever we travel, something goes wrong with his luggage. 
3. Celebrated our sister-in-law Rose's birthday. Everyone was addicted to her cake. 
4. Cousin Asher & Mahie becoming buds, even though he's 7 and she's 2. She loved shadowing him.
5. Our kids in boots, mittens and coats. 
6. Bakery runs for meat pies, tarts, cream donuts, sausage buns.
7. Butter chicken and naan bread everyday at the mall.
8. Freezing toilet seat.
9. Gloria Jean's mint chocolate bomb everyday.
10. Attending James' old ward and meeting tons of people from his childhood.
11. Sprained my right ankle, collapsed right in front of a hobo.....but still went shopping after.
12. Finally watched Superman & World War Z.
13. Letting my kids run wild at the parks. NZ has awesome public parks.
14. Auckland Night Markets.
15. Family night with Papa playing his guitar and the kiddie's dancing.

A week just wasn't enough. But we were dead tired returning back to Apia.
Thank you to Nana and all the Aunties who filled our bags with treats, clothes and toys for the kids to bring back. I'm so grateful to have married into a close and loving family, one that totally reminds me of my own.

Happy three.
Love you James.
No really......I LOVE YOU JAMES!!!

07 June 2013

Checking in at 7 MONTHS

He finally got up on all fours and started to crawl. Well, he has FINALLY opened up to liking the idea of crawling. He was in a walker before we left to Hawaii in March, at almost 5 1/2 months. He didn't enjoy that at all. As soon as we got back though, he's been zooming around the halls banging into everything. But still I wanted him to crawl, especially with all those studies that show "crawling" is very beneficial to children & development. At first he would "plank" and stick his butt up, and hated being left on the floor. James calls him a big Mama's boy. He really is. As soon as I walk away Evan will freak and search for me. Anyways, at 7 months he is free, independent and exploring the house. It's very funny. James and I will be watching t.v. and then look up and realize Evan has crawled under the kitchen table or down the hall. (Mahie didn't crawl until 8/9months)

Another favorite thing he enjoys above all, is pulling up on the couch and bouncing, even gnawing on the cushions. 

Nice ah the big hole on the side? Mum said the Joyce grand kiddies really left their mark on the family house :)
Can't leave out big sister Mahie, whom Evan LOVES. He gets so excited when she's close. I know he can't wait to run around with her.

-No teeth yet!! None! (Mahie had her top and bottom two at like 5 months!)
-Still huge and getting longer
-Picky eater. We've slowly started him on baby food, which I'm proud to say, I made ALL by myself. Holy cow it's a process, but just call me Mama Organic! However, even with all my yummy puree options, he still prefers to be breastfed! Geez boy!
-I'm not sure if his hair has grown. But his wide head feels like it has. Sometimes when I watch t.v., I hold him on my lap and rest my chin onto of his his head. It's so huge and solid…and comfortable, haha.
-One big ball of HEAT. Even in an a.c. room, I can feel his heat waves.
-Happiest little boy. Always smiling at everything and anything with a big gummy smile. 
-Says, "Bah Bah Bah Bah" and amuses himself. And then shrieks with excitement. And goes back to "Bah"-ing
-Loves the outdoors and watching the chickens.
-Falls asleep to Baby Einstein lullaby soundtrack. 
-7months wearing 9 months clothes
-Pulls his sister's hair.
-OBSESSED with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse tv show
-Cracks up when I poke or nibble on his fat rolls & cries when I stop

Lately he's been a night owl, and doesn't fall asleep until midnight! Arrgh! 
Throws fits already! When I carry him back inside the house, he will cry and throw his head back until I go back outside. HOWS HIM?!!

Already showing his rascal side. No matter how squirmy he gets, or loud he cries for me when James has him....or that he still wakes up during the night to eat.....I am so grateful to have my Evie boy. 

Love you Evan!!!

23 May 2013


Talofa everyone, as in we are BACK in Samoa! Was Hawaii all a dream? It came and went just as fast, although by the last week I was crying into my pillow missing James, but that's another story. SO yes, we're back….but guess what? No heatstroke at all.

I'm totally loving this time of the year for Samoa. I feel like I'm back in Hawaii. We only need the ceiling fan on, but even without it we're ok. No sweating. No sauna. Even the mozzy's have taken a vacay with the heat. However, days are shorter and heavy rains pour down frequently, so I think it's safe to say we're experiencing "Winter" season. The kids and I even laid out in the front lawn an evening ago, kicking our legs up into the dreamy breeze. It was perfect. If Samoa could just be like this, lets say for the next 3 years, kasi, lua, kolu tausaga….things could POSSIBLY be just as perfect. Anyways…

Dad came back with me. Yay! Forever grateful to have wonderful parents (including awesome in-laws too). I tried very hard to pack early, but in the end where was I? Pulling an ALL nighter, stressing, shoving things last minute, sitting on my luggage and PRAYING the zipper to close. I may not have looked like a homeless woman on crack checking in at the airpot, but I sure felt like it with my dry red eyeballs & tita bun. 

I also had a lot of emotions piling up the night before, which of course for any wife….is to miss her husband. I missed James so much. Every day. Especially at night. Yes I had a lot of Instagram photo's of shopping, eating or out with the girl-frans; but I REALLY should've posted a blurry 'selfie' of me bawling my mascara out. And that's waterproof. So you're welcome Skype, because I became one of your top paying international callers!! And Chevron, not only do your employees behind the counter suck & unappealing to the eye, but your calling cards are a rip off! Separation anxiety for sure. I have total respect for military spouses undergoing those yearly deployments. You are strong, hands down. 

So yes, I did some major shopping back in Hawaii nei. It didn't help that our tax return lady hooked us up, so I was given even MORE opportunity do damage. Hahaha. But really, one of my greatest joys is to shop for my children. James thinks it's ridiculous…until he sees how much retail bang I can get for a buck. I think that even if I become a millionaire one day, I'll still search the clearance rack first. Not because I'm chang, but because hellllloooo! 

We arrived at Honolulu International with tons of heavy luggage & a huge container….& a million carry-ons that I tried to be sneaky about, that were all filled with clothes lol. According to my calculations, I should've forked out at least $500 for overage fees, etc. But, I think because I was surrounded with a lot of irrits fobs NOT BEING RACIST, but just stating my surrounding obvious…who kept arguing with the ticket takers and TSA-ers and Air Pacific employees about bringing the entire Hawaii back with them and blaming everyone but themselves…..my Dad & I tipped our porter? And Filipino Uncle TOOK CARE OF US! (we were one of the few easy-to-work-with passengers) I had my wallet ready and all I heard was, "Here are your boarding passes & you're good to go." Holy Cow, that news definitely woke my Dad & I up for 5am. Thank you Filipino Uncle, I wish I could've went back and gave you more. *BTW Traveling Tip for Parents….we ONLY do check-in with porters. Definitely saves you time & stress when traveling with young children. Especially with booked flights, you go straight to the front. ALL it costs you in return is a big mahalo smile and tip! 

The ride over? Eeeh, what's new. Go figure, it's Air Pacific. Dad was really excited the entire way, first passport stamp and all!

And then….Faleolo Airport & into the arms of my sweetheart!!! Poor Dad was dying of heat. & Mahie just cared about showing off her mini iPad. 

I'll need to do a separate post of our week long adventures while Dad was here. We dragged him all over. Drives here are loooooong. Now he is totally "ma'a" with Apia. And just to throw it out there, my Dad, THE HAWAIIAN from Papakolea, has been to Samoa, even out to "KuA" (village outskirts) before MAJORITY of you Samoans in Laie. Bahahahaha. K, just had to rub it in, cause I know a lot of them niele on my blog. 

Samoa we are here. Was I sad to return? Or to leave Hawaii AGAIN? Not really. Laie seriously, will always be Laie. And I was always driving AWAY from that side when I was home anyways. I'll miss at times the life of luxury and convenience. But you can survive without. It's like a breath of fresh air from being glued to the tv, wearing the latest trend, small town gossip, posting your every move on Instagram, obsessive social networking. I'll miss the little things though. Waking up to my Dad in the other room, drafting his next architectural project. My Mom coming back from work and just being home, near. The occasional drop-ins from my siblings, just to visit my kolohe kids before they drive back to Kalihi. Watching the planes come in and out from Isaac and Kiana's living room. Walking to the Laie temple. Hearing Hawaiian music. Picking puakenikeni. 

I'm not homesick, it's just crazy how life turns out to be. 
My home is with my husband and children.

30 April 2013

Mahie is a TWO YEAR-OLD

My first, my oldest...my talkative, mischievous little girl is now an energetic two year-old. How ironic that just a few hours ago, this tiny little person gave me the biggest scare of my life. Quick story:

While shopping at Nordstom Alamoana today, Kiana and I were trying to comfort a fussy Evan who woke up in the stroller, but apparently still tired. It literally took us 3 seconds to get him to knock out, and as soon as we turned around, "Umm...where's Mahie?" We calmly & patiently checked behind & near us....and then the aisles....and then we split up....and then I started to jog, run & yell MAHIE! like a crazy person. That was the longest I ever 'lost' her in a store. I frantically asked the nearest worker for help & everyone was on the hunt. Scary thoughts started to crowd my mind, and then I turned around to what seemed like a muted room. I just stood there, frozen. Absolutely no sound, as I started to feel myself believing that she was gone!

"Heavenly Father, please help me find her. I know she's here."

My lips started to tremble. I thought about my husband in Samoa. I thought about my quick desperate prayer. I thought about the exit doors and if my little one had been lured out. I thought about all those unfortunate missing person stories made into LMN movies. One by one, each worker came up empty but still searched. I turned to see Kiana's stroller appearing among the racks of clothes and slowly approached her because my emotions were about to explode. And they just about did.......little barefoot Mahie was holding her Aunty's hand!!!! I ran, scooped her up, bawled my eyes out, told her to always stay with Mommy and hugged her some more. I think she knew what was going on because all she said was, "Sorry!". Here I am the adult suppose to be watching HER, and she apologizes!

As soon as we entered Nordstrom, she kept asking me to see the sunglasses. "Glasses Momma, please. Glasses please!" To which I kept pushing off because I was always caught up doing something else. Well, I guess Mahie's patience ran out, and she set out by herself. Kiana had found her in front of a big mirror, trying on sunglasses. Just a few feet away from our original spot. Totally my fault Mahie!

By the way, looking back, the Nordstrom employees reacted very quickly in helping me to find Mahie. They even put their customers on hold and would yell out to each other what she was wearing along with her name.

Mahie Kauipuaonalani Fonofili Aspinall was due May 7th, 2011. But since I had developed gestational diabetes my last few weeks, they induced me around 38 weeks and out came our first baby at 10:50a.m. on April, 30th, 2011. 8 pounds, 11oz, 21inches long. Everyone at Castle Hospital went crazy about how much hair she had. She is named after my little and only sister and her Samoan great grandmother. Mahie in Hawaiian means, "Delightful".

For the first few days, she had to be kept in the Nursery on oxygen, as some DG babies have a hard time breathing. We then had to return home to TVA without her, which totally devastated me. However, by the end of that week, she was ours and we were up all night with no sleep. She was 100% formula fed, and loved her bottle and pacifier.

I always hoped for a boy to be the oldest, but I am so glad I was blessed with Mahie. I know she is going to become that awesome big sister that will gladly watch over her younger siblings. And furthermore, she is the oldest grandchild of the Kaahanui cousins. Which is a given, that she gets away with anything from her Grandpa. (Good, that way HE can pay for her wedding.)

But let's cut to the chase. This little girl drives me nuts! She is so independent and smart, that usually she gets into trouble a lot. All in innocence though. But boy do I chase her, threaten her with BIG eyes, scold her and when she REALLY pushes it......scare her with "Look roaches, ewww!" We have a special bond. I'm serious. Sometimes I wonder how this little girls knows all of my tricks!! She is also a big goofball and makes me laugh as much as I want to pull my hair out at times.

I hope to always share a special bond with my Mahie. I will always see her as not just my little baby, but the greatest teacher I could ever learn from.

I can have conversations now with my daughter. I can braid her hair into a thick long braid, almost to her waist. I can tell her to watch her baby brother, and she curls up next to him and they watch ipad movies together. I can point to almost anything/anyone and she will name it, even in her secret language. I can give her one cookie and she will ask to instead hold the entire packet. I can say "one" and she will continue to "Den". I can drive down the road and hear her shout "TEMPLE!" followed by singing, "I am a child of God....and heeee sed me heeeeeere!". I can come home hating my haircut and she will run her fingers through and say, "Ooooooh Preeeetty Momma."

I can say, "I Love you Mahie. Do you know Mommy loves you?"
And she knows, "Yes Momma. I yuv you too. And Daddy in Amoa. And Eban seeping. And Papa. And Nana. And Aunty Heeery. And Uncle. And baby Isaakt. Ummmm, all pau. Have juice now, peeeeeeeeeeease?!"


07 April 2013

"Life in these Islands" -Kaukahi

We've been back in Hawaii for almost a week now. This mini-vacay feels like Samoa was all a dream. For reals. It was very easy for James, Mahie and I to fall back into our usual "Hawaii Habits". James with his movies, me with my shopping, and Mahie reuniting with all her old toys and especially her "Papa".

When you live in a place for soo long, sometimes you can get bored with it. That's how I was. Until we moved to Apia, CULTURE SHOCK......and now being back.....totally love/MISS my Hawaii nei! Not that I hate Samoa, because I don't think I've given it enough time to grow on me, but nothing will ever compare to home.

Our flight back (again on Air Pacific, eeh!), was packed and hot. Although Mahie is still "free", we decided as soon as the place took off, that we NEED to buy her her own seat. She is just way too long and heavy to fall asleep on us, plus with Evan's chubbiness too. I still think that Air Pacific has cool flight attendants, as one offered me two free seats at the back for Evan and I. (Earlier I decided to just stand at the back the entire flight because it seemed better than being squished with a fussy baby.) And thankfully, James and I got to sleep, hands free alongside our babies.

We froze when we got in. I liked it though. Better than being sweaty and hot.

Habits I didn't know I picked up from Samoa:
-Saw the front door open and sprinted to close it yelling, "the mosquitoes!!!" (but then, YAY, no Mozzy's)
-A witto fly came inside and I quickly backhanded it against the wall. LOL. Flies are wayyy quicker in Samoa, like I use a fly spray because I have to sprint after them. So I didn't even expect to get it, haha. I was both proud and grossed out.
-Thinking James was driving on the wrong side of the road. Also, being VERY attentive of EVERY car on the road. Drivers in Samoa are crazy. Now that we're back, I'm like, "Can this car get out of the way?!" or "James, just pass them who cares". hahaha
-And the Kids: they HATE their carseats. Screamed all the way home. You don't use them in Samoa. For REAL. As long as they're in the backseat, the Samoan police don't care. And even if they did, you'd just pay them off with five tala. And at least I have my kids sitting with me in the back, because you'd freak seeing people drive with newborns on their laps. *But before we GO THERE, remember people drive like that here in Laie too!

Sadly, James was only here a week. I need to rush through this part, before I start getting all emotional because I freekin' miss him. James got to see all the movies he missed out on in Samoa. Plus it gave him a nice break before heading back to working 24/7. We kept commenting on the unlimited luxuries we used to take for granted here: free wi-fi, HD cable, healthy food varieties, the weather! The kids went everywhere with us, until our last night, we went on a date! Whaaaaat? JUST US! Honestly, it felt weird. Like that, "I'm missing/forgot something" feeling. It took me a while to stop worrying about our kids and then also worrying if my parents were able to handle them incase they cried. We were suppose to head out to Waikiki, but only made it to Kaneohe for dinner. It really was nice being alone together. I think that's what probably made it harder for me to part with James. But anyways, before I get choked up, we got a lot of shopping done (not just for me!), we celebrated easter together, hung out with our kids, and took Evan to his check up together.
Easter 2013
Isaac, Mahie & Evan

So the kids and I are here in civilization for a month and James is back to his roots where he belongs, haha, jk. I have the worst cold ever, so meeting up with friends is put on hold because I'm so tired. But hey, I'm back with no car & a ghetto "go-phone" from Target.......holllllaaaaa!

26 March 2013

The Throw Down!

Let's just say that this past weekend showed how great a leader and father James is. I'm glad I didn't have to fill the shoes he needed to, in order for things run smoothly & honestly. Even though I can still be a Negative Nancy at times for living here, I am reminded by little situations like this weekend (& others) that our family was needed here for various purposes. And to be honest, it's still taking me time to adjust, even accept, responsibilities asked of us. I could go into a play-by-play about an emotional meltdown I had today, but I'll save it since Hawaii is nearby. SO near. 

So last week was drama. It pathetically found us, as in the business we manage…….and like the smart people we are, things were taken cared of, allowing us to recover Saturday, Sunday and welcoming a fresh new week. *FYI- Dumb people, will always be dumb. Not necessarily uneducated, but just NO common sense or integrity. As you can see, James is the one with compassion & I'm the one still rolling my eyes!

Friday, after the huge "throw down", we got ready & relaxed at our first Pesega Lima (5th) Ward party. It was at the gym located on Pesega High's campus. James made a yummy crab salad. Yes, VERY yummy. James is pretty cocky when it comes to cooking & anything in the kitchen, even washing dishes, but he really is a good cook. He can throw things together and it'll taste awesome. Ya, it's kind of annoying, especially since he sounds like a "know-it-all" as he cooks. hahaha. For me, I like my recipes & I stick with them. Anyways, his was one of the few dishes that was devoured, sauce and all. Good job hun! Mind you, the sister serving our crab salad was calling it coleslaw. hahaha.

I got to perform with some of my relief society sisters. It felt wonderful to dance again. I think I was OVERLY excited when I was invited & learned the dance as soon as they taught it to me. It was my first time performing a Cook Island dance. We were even called up for a hana hou. Mahie got really excited when she saw me on stage & tried to copy us, it was cute. 

Saturday, was very relaxing. Although James had to wake up for a 6 a.m client, we all were able to get sufficient rest and put in quality time to deep clean our home. I am very particular when it comes to cleaning. I'm not an OCD freak nor do I always have a spotless house, but I do get grossed out when people don't clean things properly. I almost had a heart attack  the first time we arrived and I saw our house girl wipe the table, counter & floor messes up…and then use the same rag thing to wash our dishes. Pua'i!! Blah! Anyways, I'm proud that I have made a few adjustments here and there, making it a little homier for our time spent in the family house. I still have a lot of projects in mind to keep me occupied while I roast in the Samoa heat, but I seriously can't wait to stop by Ross to bring things back. 

Early Sunday morning, in the wee dark mosquito filled hours of night……I heard the happiest voice talking loudly as if no one was asleep. Mum arrived from Auckland!!! With boxes of New Zealand cookies, chocolates, lollies, clothes for the kids and things for the business. The fun definitely had arrived and I couldn't be any more relieved, excited, overjoyed! I love my husband and my babies, but sometimes a woman just needs another woman to talk to. 
Evan wearing 9-12 months clothes from Aunty Sharon in NZ
(He just made 5 months)

Mum's energetic spirit has filled our home once again and I can't believe she has been gone a month and a half/almost two months. I remember James and I dreading the day Mum would leave us alone here in Samoa, and now here we are almost 100% locals, hahaha. Almost. I made a joke to Mum when she walked in saying, "You smell really nice!! What are you wearing?"   Mum: "Oh, nothing, I didn't put anything special on. It's just me."   Me: "Oh, that's right…….I forgot how nice NORMAL smelled like". Maybe because it was 1 in the morning & we're delirious…..or that I've lived here in Samoa for almost 3 months, you know, smelling trash burning outside, sweaty people, mosquito punk smoke……..so I can make jokes like that & laugh, because we both laughed so hard. Just incase someone out there gets offended. I don't care. 

Mum has been a big help. I even got to relax baby-free, laundry-free, dinner-free, dishes-free, Aleipata kid-free, lol, watching all my Pretty Little Liars dvds…..and we even bullied James into driving us to "Kua" (not sure of the spelling), the "boonies" of Samoa where all the gorgeous beach resorts are. We are totally burnt. No where, not even the beaches back home in Hawaii can beat the crystal clear water & white sandy beaches here. 

.….now to spend as much time as we can with "Nana" before this week is over. Tomorrow I plan to FORCE Mum to bake her yummy brownies!!

13 March 2013

Teepee or Grass Shack

{*Not a post about us in Samoa, hahaha}

Culturally, my childhood was confusing at times. Ok, not so much confusing, but I was born with two separate cultural worlds. My siblings and I were raised in Laie, Hawaii all our lives. And the ONLY Hawaiian/Navajo's, for quite a while. In fact, most people didn't even know what a "Navajo" or "Native American" or "American Indian" was, especially if they were Polynesian. 

The Hawaiian comes from my Father's side, with a little part Chinese, German, etc. mixed in, raised in Papakolea. So you CAN'T argue he ain't Hawaiian. He meets the Hawaiian Homes blood quantity requirement, but us kids don't. THAT'S BECAUSE…my Mother is Navajo or "Dine", FULL BLOODED. From little Sawmill, Arizona. (Middle of Navajo Reservation) 

So this is just from my perspective & feelings, not sure how my siblings felt or feel. 

Anyways, I grew up in Hawaii, raised as a Hawaii kid with black rubbah slippahs, dancing hula, always at the beach. I KNEW I was Hawaiian because I felt Hawaiian. Of course I was also told I was Navajo too, and a few times a place called "the reservation" and "Window Rock, Arizona" where my Navajo Grandma Yazzie lived was mentioned a few times. And then every so often old albums were pulled out showing kodak portraits of red/orange deserts & canyons, recalling foggy memories of once-in-a-while trips we took to Dinehtah (Navajoland). 

Around our home I'd stare at exotic looking sand art tiles, southwestern pottery designs, and daydream as I secretly played with my mother's delicate turquoise jewelry. I always enjoyed my fish, poi & rice but was equally thrilled when Mom made fry bread or Navajo tortillas (don't know how to write the Navajo name). As a child "Navajo" seemed faraway. That changed as I grew up.

We made trips to the Navajo Reservation when we were older and I visited many other Native American reservations. I embraced its beauty with a mature mind, finally understanding all of my once foggy memories. Not replacing my Hawaiian childhood but adding to and thus completing my unique culture. My siblings and I are pretty unique. You can't get more 'NATIVE" than us. 

Just a few responses I've gotten from people trying to make sense of me saying I'm Hawaiian & Navajo:

Being Hawaiian:
-"Oh, there's still Hawaiians alive?"
-"Are you sure you're not Filipino?"
-"Soo, basically Asian?"
-"But if you can't speak your language, how are you Hawaiian?"
-"You're not really Hawaiian because King Kamehameha was Samoan"
-"Don't Hawaiians wear tons of gold bracelets?"
-"Why don't you surf?"

Being Navajo:
"What's a Navaho?"
-"Ohhhh, like Pocahontas?!!"
-stranger waves hand in circular motion and says in a deep voice 'Howww'
-"where's your feather?"
-"Do you guys always wear feathers?"
-"Oh, I'm a little part-Cherokee too"
-"Do you live in teepees?"
-"You must be rich off of casinos"
-"So you're like the bad Lamanites in the scriptures that were cursed."

People/family in Hawaii asked if people/my family in Arizona lived in teepees. People/family in Arizona asked if people/my family in Hawaii lived in grass huts. Go figure. 

Things to point out, because I can!
*Other Polynesian cultures always made fun of Hawaiian culture: chanting, hula, making up words, fighting for our land….AND YET these NON-Hawaiians are the ones giving their newborns HAWAIIAN middles names!!!! Wtf?! 

*The Pinterest/Hipster obsession of wearing a full-feathered headdress like they fashionable. No, you look dumb! Or stringing feathers in your hair & wearing tribal prints on Instagram, eeeh!

*Hallowen costumes: "Be a Hawaiian, wear a coconut bra & grass skirt kit" or "Be an indian, feather & facial paint kit". Ummm, you're turning someone's culture into a Party City costume.

*Kahuku High & their arm chops & hand over mouth "wah wah wah". I'm at fault for this too because I'm an alumni. But I was always like, my Mom, grandparent don't do this. Only "Indians" in Hollywood & Disney do. 

No, I'm not mad. lol. I'm not trying to be politically correct on anything, nor a marching sovereign-ist, activist, or negative Nancy. This was just my random blog thought for the day. Yes times have changed. Yes things have modernized. Yes even my own cultures are not perfect. Yes even people of my cultures are ignorant. Yes I'm gorgeous. hahaha, got you. 

So it's either hula girl or Pocahontas. Whatevs, I may not be fluent in any of my languages, or culturally knowledgable…but those before me were & remind me that I'm American. (Not getting so Patriotic).

Anyways, just think what my kids will go through. At least they will be greatly funded in college scholarships. And I'll randomly end with that. SHABOOYAH! 

FYI {There are over 4,000 Native American tribes; only 513 of which are still 'recognized' by the US Government. The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American tribe in the United States 300,000+ members, with also the largest owned land area.} ....someone asked

04 March 2013


Little "Evie" is now Mr. 4 MONTHS! 

I know we Mama's say this a lot, but these past months have flown by. I'm a little guilty though. I promised I wouldn't be one of those parents that noted/photographed every milestone for their oldest child and then gives the second the shaft. And I have! I blame our move and it being too hot here to function at times. I'm kidding, but here's to documenting every second of Evan's life too! I promise Son, one day you'll find this blog & feel just as important as your bossy older sister. 

Okay, let's start with his BIG head. He has a HUGE WIDE head. Not soo much "Hey, Arnold football" width, but its pretty wide and round. That's definitely not my genes. I don't remember Mahie having a huge head, not that I'm fearing he's abnormal. I love it, it makes him even more chubby & yummier to cuddle with. Well, his fat head isn't as bald anymore. It's covered with hair, its just that his strands are so thin. And they fall out! My poor baby sheds hahaha. The thickest and longest parts are on his sides, so if you run water through, they stick up like two horns. 
instagram baby horns, just like "Sulley"

I think my kids are going to be very tall. *FINGERS CROSSED. Both Mahie and Evan are very long babies. When I nurse him, it feels like he's wrapping around my body. Currently he is about 27/28 inches long. Not sure about his weight, but James says he's heavy & can barely hold him for 10 minutes. I guess I'm just used to carrying him throughout the day because this kid WILL NOT go down. He will cry so loud if he sees you walking away.

This guy LOVES to eat. He still feeds like a newborn and sometimes I'm like, "Can I have a break to replenish my supply?" However when 9pm hits, he's out like a lightbulb until the next morning. Lately though he's been waking twice to "snack nurse" lol, really short feeding sessions to which his eyes roll back and off to deep sleep he goes. They say babies go through a growth spurt at 4 months, so maybe thats why. Sadly (for us & ME mostly) he has DENIED+REFUSED the pacifier. I guess there are highs and lows. Mahie loved her pacifier & it was hell when we forgot it at home or misplaced it. But it kept her calm, situated and put her straight to sleep. Before she turned one we decided to wean her off & that sucked for three days. Maybe it's because she was formula fed and Evan is breastfed. Correction: he USED to take it right to the day we moved here. But we stopped for a while after we kept catching our "house girls" dropping it and not washing, or holding the mouth part in between their fingers, etc; no matter how many times we scolded them. Consequently he caught a bad & fussy case of oral thrush from those germs, which annoyingly passed to me. I was in blistering pain for half a month, on medication & forced to pump for a baby that hates bottles. SO that pain = me pissed off = NO ONE touches Evan without washing their hands. He then never went back to a pacifier. I guess I'm the pacifier now. LOL. Get over it if you feel uncomfortable right now. I really don't mind if we used a pacifier or not. I say parents should do whatever gives them peace of mind. 

He is still pretty light. Not as white as his cousin Sofia, but way lighter than Mahie or the Joyce's kids. After holding him, a pink imprint of your hand will be on his skin. His cheeks will turn red even with sunscreen & being in the shade. Mahie on the other hand gets no sunburn, runs around IN THE SUN, however her face stays white and her body black!

I'm pretty sure he is size 3 diapers, but they don't go by that here. They go by kg's & i'm too lazy to check the packaging. Diapers are such a rip off here. I'm glad we only just ran out of our Costco supply we bought. Still going strong with the wipes. 

Things that I feel have come early:
-A month and a half ago he started biting. He only has full gums, so I blew off the idea of him teething. Too early? Well that gum biting has only increased and I fear a tooth may break through soon. His middle front feels firm. Please no! This is my first time exclusively breastfeeding, so I don't know what to expect, something similar to "Ouch!" He chews & sucks his hands and fingers non stop. If you get too close to his mouth, he will quickly turn and chomp at you. It's kinda scary if you don't back off quick enough, haha. 

-He also has a strong grip and midsection. Again, last month I was playing with him on the couch. As I held his hands in mine, he literally pulled and sat up….and then stood up (of course leaning on my hands). He beat Mahie at this stage. Now at 4 months, when you hold his hands as he is laying down, he automatically will sit and stand. It's so weird and cute. And then give you a full gum smile as if he's proud of his trick. 

(a typical day)

-He has also been rolling and wiggling backwards. Yup, he fell twice. Once off a low couch onto carpet and sadly once off a bed. He isn't safe anywhere, since he was surrounded with pillows and then sleeping in the MIDDLE of the bed. He's a wiggle worm. And silent too. FYI not safe on the ground either because Mahie will sit on him and watch Mulan. He's ok, don't worry. He giggles when Mahie inflicts pain on him, ummm yah?

Other than that, he is a big healthy boy. Very happy and smiley. His gum smile melts my heart. I love laying him in my lap and making all sort of noises to get him to coo or giggle. He is also VERY ticklish. Any fat you squeeze, he laughs. He gets really happy when he sees Mahie, even if she ignores him or tries to roll him and says, "MOVE!". Oh and remember that solid grip I mentioned earlier, well Mahie has finally gotten a taste of her own medicine. Lately, Evan has been able to snatch her hair when she leans in and WILL NOT LET GO. I'm such a bad Mom, because I just let him pull her hair. And it's hilarious seeing her panic and struggle to pry his fingers open. Once free, she wastes no time to tattle-tale, "Eban….hair. MINE hair. Pull hair. Ouch". She then will wait/expect me to scold Evan. After which she will say, "Aua Eban. Niiiiiiice" aka "No Evan, be nice!". I then will have to send her away or she will try to pluck off one of his precious hairs. I must be an awesome Stay-at-home Mom, cause look, I can translate baby talk, eh.

And Big Sister Mahie is making 23 months soon to be my big TWO YEAR-OLD!
Love you Evie my chunky boy. Countdown to Hawaii!

17 February 2013

Happy 24!

Happy Birthday to ME & Happy (Belated) Valentines Day to You!

One thing's clear: James can not plan a surprise to save his life. And I am just too niele about everything, that if something DOES NOT make sense to me, I get upset and thus spoil my surprise. This has happened on a few special occasions, so I don't know why James and I still fail at this. No matter what, we end up happy laughing at our dumb selves. 

Anyways…if you didn't know, I was born February 14th, 1989. Apparently I was the first baby born on Valentine's Day in Hawaii, and so my Mom was surprised with roses and gifts. I loved being a Valentine's baby until high school. Then I felt embarrassed because many of my friends (I was soooo popular, jk) came to school with all things V-day to celebrate my birthday. Again, I dreaded that day because 1) I didn't want people to feel obligated 2) I was very grateful for all my gifts, but I'd have to haul my school bag full of treats + heavy textbooks, gift bags, platter of cupcakes, welted roses, leis and the largest clump of tangled balloons that could outdo the movie "Up". I'm serious. It sucked those years rushing across the HOT football field from P.E. to my third floor class in A building. Roll your eyes about me complaining, haha, but once I got home every year, I really did take the time to read through all my cards, admire all my balloons, water my flowers….I was really happy & felt loved ;)

Favorite Valentine's/Birthday Memories:
Childhood- Woke up and my Dad had roses and things waiting for my Mom, Hill and I. I was very little and got so excited. Back then Laie used to have a small flower shop next to Laie Chop Suey and I saw these set of teddy bears with red ribbons in the window. I came home from school and my Dad had got them for me!!!

Teen's- One of my bestie's Annie stole her Mom's car one night, picked up me & my other two besties….and off around Laie we cruised. Yes, so shame, but what else do Laie kids do?!  (ANd we were good, compared to what Laie kids do nowadays!!!) Annie knows I love her, so I can say this: That old blue car was a piece of crap, BUT WE LOVED it nonetheless. It was probably our 5th best friend, lol. It squeaked, smoked, had duck tape, we played our ringtones for music….consequently it broke down on us behind PCC, just when the security needed to lock up. All of us were underage, non of us had a license, non of our parents knew what we were doing and no one knew how to fix the car. We were scared out of our minds!! Especially for Annie. Long story short, we prayed, stalled the security, pushed the car all the way to where the tour buses park until it somehow kickstarted the engine, fire shot out of the muffler….and off we chased after Annie who shouted that she couldn't stop or else!! Somehow we jumped in the backseat and cried/laughed til we got home.

College- My roommates and I woke up to chocolate roses and cards. We then had a photo shoot in the beautiful winter snow and James had sent me a vase of roses. (long distance relationship)

This year I turned 24!! I'm married. I have two kids plus taking care of one more. I live in Samoa (say whaaaat?!). I'm not at my ideal weight, but hopefully that will change. And, I forgot it was my birthday since I'm not mindful of the days of the week. Usually, I countdown the time til I can rush to Alamoana for a shopping spree. However, since we're so busy: me with the kids and James with work, all I wanted was to spend time together. James randomly found a resort, mind you "resorts" here are usually 3 stars and below….oh, and NEVER appear as they do in pictures. Just a FYI! Regardless of the crappy customer service (what is that in Samoa?), their a.c. was freezingly awesome for Evan to sleep forever and Mahie loved the shallow water. Not really what James had in mind (false advertisement LOL), but we somewhat had a weekend of rest.

I'm so thankful for my husband. I love him more everyday.

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes, I really mean it!

23 January 2013

Our Samoa transition

Talofa! Mama Aspinall blogging here from Lotopa, Samoa!

In the word's of Dora the Explorer (currently on non-stop repeat for Mahie), "We did it! We did it! Yah, yah, WE DID IT!!"
It's been almost TWO AND A HALF weeks since our move to Apia, Samoa. 
Drove to "Mum's" village Vailoa, on the other side of the island in Aleipata district. Gorgeous resorts along the way.

Some areas in Apia still recovering from Cyclone Evan. Very sad. Mud & logs all over in houses.

The hardest things we're battling now (and I may NEVER get used to)
     1. The heat: You sit, in front of a fan, on high blast….and you STILL sweat. (The life of living on any South Pacific Isle) I think we're getting used to the climate though, which is gorgeous. Clear sunny days and then extreme downpour when it rains. At times when I can't bare it, or when I put the babies down to nap…I escape to our a.c. bedroom. Yes, we are spoiled with our a.c, we're in Apia everyone. Meaning electricity, hot water, cable, internet, basically living in a similar community and housing as Laie. Some neighboring homes and properties are extremely gorgeous. Did I mention that a multimillionaire lives up the road and is my Relief Society president?! I'm grateful that we don't live way out in the real villages, well actually, I wouldn't have come if we did, hahaha. Being honest. The sun seriously doesn't set until after 8pm, so it really throws me off with bathing Mahie and eating dinner. That is the perfect time to sit out in the yard, it's peaceful & cool for Evan to enjoy. 

2. The "Mozzy's": Mosquitoes bite you everyday, well thats what it feels like. I wonder if we will ever build up a tolerance or if the mosquitoes will eventually leave us alone. Those green coils are constantly burning, I told James I smell like I'm forever on a camping trip. Ask anyone, I snap If the door is left even slightly ajar. I try my best to lock me and the kids in the house, but Mahie has become the most restless kid ever and NEEDS the outside. So I send her with one of the house workers or cousins because I think my legs can't stand another bite. So if you wonder why I dress Mahie in leggings everyday, that's her mozzy protection. Poor thing, already one of her bites have gotten infected from scratching and we had to take her to a Pediatrician. Which, by the way, quality care and cheap! NOT REQUIRING INSURANCE!!!! (FYI we're going to have Samoa residency & then citizenship….then on to New Zealand residency and citizenship)
Mahie snuck outside to the rain

Food has been good to us! All New Zealand brands, which means YUMMY! Real creamy butter, cheese…and even the bottled cokes taste better than in the U.S. Majority of everything is homemade (no quick trips to any drive-thru's anymore), and if not, straight from the ground and sea, obviously. I am still getting the hang of where to do my grocery shopping. American products can be found at certain places if we need them. It's funny how I bought James the Ninja Kitchen System for Christmas, and we said we'd start juicing come January. Well, since we've moved here, my Mother-in-law has been nonstop cooking and baking for us. It's a great help because the kids make me so tired, and James is tired from working all day…but we laugh because we KNOW we've put on weight! 
James and Mum having a bake off!

Pesega 5th: I don't even know anyone yet, but I love our ward. This is the FIRST time I've ever felt this way (other than my childhood ward). Everyone was VERY welcoming, and I think it helped more that EVERYone knows James' parents (Richard & Failuga Aspinall). Mahie did well in Nursery. A big change from a class of 23 kids to now 5. She only cried the last 10 minutes, to which a parent walked her over. Our ward is english speaking and called the "International ward". And, drumroll….it starts at 7:30am!!! Dannnnng, we struggle! But here, it's better to have Church early when it's cool instead of late when it's HOT! Families in the ward of friends we've made at PCC/BYUH include: the Merediths, Palepoi's, Fuimaono's and Seumanutafa's. *Cool Moment- We were approached by a missionary couple in charge of Public Affairs for the Church, and were asked to have our picture taken for a brochure representing the Church here in Apia. It will be used for both Church and parliamentary government business. Pretty cool when the Elder explained it to us as we signed waivers. Sadly we looked tired, haha and Mahie was asleep. 

James has definitely been working hard! I'm so grateful that although he works 9 to 5 PLUS any errands before or after office hours, he does it all from our home, where the office is located and where our family members help out too. I knew my husband should've majored in business, because he is quite the business man and efficient business manager. As soon as we landed, he went straight to work learning all that my Mother-in-Law would be transferring over before she leaves to Wellington. Our faith is surely embedded in our Heavenly Father. And I know James is doing an awesome job, he is in his element, seriously! Sometimes I need to remind him to take a break because he is always thinking of better ways to improve something. And his hardwork is definitely paying off! (Can't wait for April trip to Hawaii, woohoo!)

Ashlyn the STAY-AT-HOME-MOM, say what?! I don't know how my Mom did it with all 5 of my siblings and I. Mahie has hit the TWO stage (even though she's only 21months) and tries my patience all day, every day. We are seriously dumbfounded at her tantrums and fussiness. Sometimes she'll cry and we're like, what the heck? What happened? The only times I've lost my cool is when I'm nursing Evan, because she'll try to pull or pinch him to get attention. I'm grateful for our house workers and my Mother-in-law's cousins for playing with her, or taking Evan when the tantrums come around. Sometimes….most of the time lately, I want to pull my hair out…but I remind myself, HELLO, I only have TWO kids, and EVERY Mom has done this before….so suck it up! And I remind myself, how grateful I am that I don't need to work. That I can be home, right where my husband works, to play with our babies as they grow, to teach them, to endure tantrums, to watch Tangled and Mulan a million times with them, to rock them to sleep for naps……and to make sure they sure as hell don't get uku's!! :) hahaha, but for reals :) I struggle with being in baby/kid's world all day, but I'm trying!
Mahie leading the opening song. We've had 100% FHE so far!

Nap time. 

Ua lelei. That's our quick Samoa update! Everyday I try to learn some lingo, "Filifili mea tonu" Choose the Right!