February starts our 'slow season' with rental clients, but the kids enjoy running in-between the cars that now overload the front lawn. Evan especially likes to stand at the fence and watch the colorful loud buses pass by. It has been a little gloomy and rainy lately, which I really prefer. Samoa rainy weather = the coolness of a regular day in Hawaii, just still lacking in breeze. The rain here is warm, the kids will not get sick no matter how long they play.
Maybe it's the American in me, but I always have the urge to decorate according to the month's festivity. Living here however, has made those desires somewhat difficult. So, this is what we settled for:
(had to make use of all the baby food jars under the house)
Quite a few things have happened this month:
Nana & Papa Aspinall
This wasn't really February, but mid January we said bye to 'Nana & Papa Aspinall' who made a short trip to Samoa for a few errands & a funeral. The kids enjoyed having their grandparents here since we were just all together in New Zealand over Christmas break. It had been Dad's first time back since they relocated to Wellington for his job as a CES Coordinator. They expressed how nice it was to be home and to relax. They wanted to try our favorite steak we always rave about, so off to Kokobana's we all went, even Uncle Joe & Uncle Po'o (Mum's Stevenson brothers) joined in. Mahie enjoyed following her Nana around and Evan surprisingly, was very fond of his Papa….even allowing me to leave him home, tear free, while I did some errands. That NEVER happens.
Gateau au Yaourt
Mahie made her first cake all by herself, you may have seen my post on Facebook via Instagram. All I did was put the cake in the oven. She even cracked the eggs all by herself. I definitely recommend reading, "French Children Don't Throw Food", by Pamela Druckerman, where she studies the differences between how French children are raised verses American & British. It is very interesting, you don't have to agree with it all, but definitely an eye opener MAJOR food for thought. Like this cake making activity. You think I would EVER consider just giving my two year old ingredients and back off? Nope. (the cake is yummy & a base to add anything else) It also went along with a lesson we had in Relief Society, that at this young age children are naturally willing to help. We shouldn't be quick to shoo them away. Of course we could probably get things done a lot quicker and better without their little hands, but accepting their invitation to help has a much better pay off in the long run as a parent, as a child & as a family.
(helping at dinner)
February Relief Society Meeting
I planned my second Additional Relief Society Meeting (aka Enrichment), which to be honest, was very stressful. It felt like there was always a lack of communication and unwillingness from others to help. (Why did I have flashbacks of college group projects?) I also realized how difficult it is to want to provide something nice with a lack of reasonable resources (Walmart, thrift stores, media labs, etc.) and funds. However, the show continued on, and I am very grateful for the support and guidance of my Pesega Lima Relief Society President, and various sisters that I can truly call RELIABLE. Our theme was, "How to Sweeten our Marriage and Family Relations". Originally we had planned on having a panel of three different couples that would answer and/or give advice on questions submitted by the sisters (Similar to the Newlywed game). I was really excited, having already attended a few during youth and YSA and it was always hilarious and informative. However, I guess they just aren't as open to that activity here in Samoa, well the husbands were a definite NO. I think I asked….pleaded….with about 9 couples. Anyways, the only people actually willing and happy about participating were the senior missionary couples. And THAT would've been just fine, except they ALL were scheduled to work the evening shift that week. What the heck. Except for one, the Lamareaux's. And they were awesome all on their own. (Thank goodness!)
They are from Orem, Utah. They met when he was 19 and she was 16!!!! Married shortly after. He became a lawyer and she stayed home and raised all FOURTEEN of their children. Their youngest is my age. They have been all around the world. So yes, they were definitely the right couple for this activity. It was fun.
Two girl's in our ward were getting baptized and I thought it would be great to take Mahie. It was a very different experience to ones that I attended back home in Hawaii. The entire ward shows their support (Wow), felt like I was at Church. It was a little long, talks + testimonies + musical numbers X2 before AND after the actual baptism. I'm used to 1-2 speakers, musical number, the testimony of the child getting baptized and then member of the Bishopric (total people involved). Again, I felt like I was at Church, lol, and Mahie kept asking when she was going to Nursery. Maybe it was because it was a double baptism, so double everything. And although the irreverence was a big shocker to me with kids running in the chapel and surrounding the font, I knew those in attendance shared a love and admiration for the two newest members of the Church. I thought it was super cute that their two older brothers baptized them.
Hanging out with P5 Sisters
Most of the friends we've made have come from our ward, which ward members live everywhere & work everywhere! I gladly attended a baby shower for Phaedra Ekeroma, it was hilarious. When we surprised her she not only looked confused but VERY irritated. Haha. The Ekeroma's are Mahie's Nursery leaders. They just had their baby boy this past weekend.
I also enjoy stopping by The Plantation House owned by my talented visiting teaching companion, Marita Wendt. She is definitely one of a kind, and I am so happy to be her friend. Talking story, shopping and being awe struck over her latest projects!
Hau'oli la Hanau
We celebrated my 25th birthday, woop woop! The best thing about being married to someone 5 years older than you……is that they make you look FOREVER YOUNG!
Kinda New Calling, still in Young Men
James has been called to be the Deacon's advisor, they moved him from the Teacher's. It's cool that the Young Men prepare and teach their lessons. What a great way to prepare for teaching in the mission field. Sucky thing is that their class sits outside under a 'lawn tent', whatever they're called, in the middle of the chapel grounds. I'll try and get a picture. I know James dies of heat. He's also busy preparing for the yearly car registration for our taxi's.
Mahie has finally bid GOODBYE to diapers, or "nappies" as they say here. She's been day potty trained since her 2nd birthday, however we put her to bed wearing one. We were too lazy to commit to waking up at midnight to sit her on the toilet. By the end of January, we were so sick of paying almost $60 tala for toddler pull-ups….so we were forced to "commit". It's not too bad and she still has accidents here and there when we forget to take her. Well, just her father forgets! Good job Mahie. Not only does she ask to help me bake, but other tasks around the house. She can fold her underwear, put her dirty clothes in the basket, load the washing machine and dryer, put toys away and grab our daily scripture book for family prayer. Still trying to get her to LOVE Nursery. Her first dentist appointment is coming up, fingers crossed!
(took the kids to see the turtles, Mahie jumped for joy when they swam up to us. Evan slept the entire time in the car)
(To Sua trench)
Evan needs a smack on the bum, hehe. Everyone just needs to stay out of his way, and life is good…for all of us. He is a good eater, and finally feeds himself, also finally picking up his cup. Weaning him is very difficult, especially at night. I feel like all of a sudden, he wants to nurse more than usual. I can't believe in two months I can officially leave him in Nursery, however I can't see that happening….probably ever. He is my little opihi, GLUED to my hip. His latest obsession is tearing off his diaper and running around naked. We always need to have shorts or a diaper cover on him to prevent this. He needs to learn how to be nice and share with his sister. He gets excited around Mahie, just punks her at times :)
Happy Birthday to my second oldest brother "Uncle Eric" Kaleolani Kaohi'ai Ka'ahanui, just felt like writing his whole name, haha. He is 27years old!! One of the hardest workers I know....and the WORST person to vent or gossip to, LOL....cause he just don't care. But he sure is a VERY loving Uncle to his niece and nephews.
(Love you Ericky!)
And Happy Birthday to my beautiful and only nephew Isaac (named after his Dad, my oldest brother), who also shares the Eric's Hawaiian name :) Mahie says, "Happy Birthday Baby Isaat" <--with a="" p="" t="">--with>
Just one more week of the month of love. This year is flying by quick. When we moved here last January, it felt like the days couldn't pass by any faster…..but HELLLLO it's practically March! And tomorrow is the day Mahie has been WAITING for…..finally can download Disney's Frozen on iTunes. No more wasting our internet!