Monday, July 27, 2009

33+ weeks

I'm getting big. I say 33+ weeks because I actually have 2 different due dates. The "calendar" due date is September 9th. That's the one the doctor is going off of, so if we go off that, I would be 34 weeks tomorrow. However, both ultrasounds I had measured the due date as September 12th, so that's what I'm going off of.

It's getting a little more difficult to sleep at night. And stretch marks are awesome...not. But what ya gonna do about it? I guess it's just good that I never wear short shorts or shirts. Then no one has to see them!

This past week was the Samoan Heritage festival. I saw a few friends who knew I was pregnant, but haven't seen me, or at least seen me for several months. They all told me "how good I look." They said it almost with surprise in their voice like they were expecting me to be bigger than I am. It feels good to be told that I look good, b/c like all pregnant women, I feel as big as a house even though I know I'll continue to grow bigger over the next several weeks.

Time is winding down. We are planning on setting up Leila's furniture this week and getting things ready to put all her stuff away. Almost every night we watch Leila dance in my stomach. She goes crazy at night. It's pretty funny. Kuso said he could hear her heart beat through my stomach. He was tapping to the rhythm and it was about the same as when I hear it at the doctor. Maybe he can hear it....

Anyway...we are getting more and more excited. I can't wait to meet my little girl!

Proud Owner...

I'm officially the proud owner of my car. NO MORE PAYMENTS! I received the title in the mail. Now, to make it official, I need to notify the bank that they are no longer a lien holder, notify the DMV, and notify my insurance. YEAH!!!

It's a '99 VW Passat. She just passed over 100, 000 miles so hopefully she has a few more good years left in her!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

First Injury of the Season

Kuso hasn't been playing rugby this season because he hurt his back on Memorial Day. He's been training with them when he could, but has not been feeling well enough to play. He's finally feeling a little better, so he decided it's time to start playing again, just in time for the Samoan Heritage Festival tournament.

After the game, we headed to the Insta Care to get stitches. He had taken someones head to his face and bit through his lip. It was so gross. The outside wasn't too bad, but when he pulled his lip forward, there is a huge hole that visibly went through to the other side. It took 4 stitches. All on the outside. The doctor said the inside should heal fine as long as he takes care of it.

Don't think this will keep him down though. He was excited to play again and will do what he can to keep playing.

I took pics with my camera phone, but not with the regular camera...sorry no disgusting pics to view!

3 years and counting...

Yesterday (July 22) marked the 3 year date of when I met Kuso. Here's the quick (kinda) story for any of you who don't know it, and also just to get it written somewhere.

It was a blind date. My friend Felise used to work with me. He is friends with Apinati, Kuso's oldest brother. Both Felise and Nati are married to palagi (white) girls. Kuso was talking with their wives and asked if they had any friends that would want to date a Samoan guy. Celeste, Felise's wife, knew I was dating this other Samoan guy at the time, but things weren't going so well. So she mentioned it to Felise, who mentioned it to me. (Little side note....Felise had been "looking" for a good Samoan guy for me. I had dated a few others and things just weren't going well. Part of the condition of being a "good guy" meant he had to have a driver's license and papers (his green card.) Kuso did not have either one, although he did have legal status because he had not overstayed his visa.) Despite not meeting all the criteria, I agreed to go out with him.

So the 6 of us (Nati, Shelley, Felise, Celeste, Kuso, and I) went out. I met up with Felise at his house. Then Nati picked us up, then we picked Kuso up. I was kind of nervous, but excited for something new. We went for Mexican food, went bowling, then went for ice cream. While we were bowling, Kuso asked for my number and said we should go out again. We were having a good time, and I felt comfortable with him, so I told Felise that we could just go back to his house and I would take Kuso home. (Logistically, that made sense any way.) We didn't go home right away. Kuso wanted to go dancing, but I had shorts on and didn't want to have to go change. We ended up going to Murray Park and just walking around and talking. We learned a lot about each other that night.

Felise called my phone around 2:30 am to see "what I thought" about Kuso. I told him that I was just barely driving home, so obviously, I thought things were good. (We had left Felise's around 10:30 or so.)

From there our relationship grew, but not without a few hiccups along the road. As previously mentioned, I was dating this other guy at the time (and Kuso was actually dating another girl.) I told that guy I had met someone new and didn't want to see him anymore. For a few days, it went back and forth of whether I was going to continue seeing the old guy or the new guy. Kuso and I had tearful conversations about it (after knowing each other for only 3 days.) By about day 4, it was official that I was done with the old guy and wanted to see what would happen with Kuso.

Here is a quick rundown of how we went from meeting to married:
* Met July 22nd - Saturday
* Following Friday, Kuso told me "I don't want to scare you, but I think I love you..." I was totally smitten, but wouldn't admit it. I told him "I have feelings for you, but am not sure I can call it love right now" yeah right! I was CRAZY about him.
* week 2 - we started talking about marriage, but down the road for sure...just casual conversation
* week 3 - he asked me to go to Samoa with him. He wanted me to see where he was from and meet his family so when he told me stories, I would know what he was talking about.
* week 4 - I bought my ticket - much to the disapproval of my mom (what are you thinking?)
* week 5-6 - we spent as much time together as possible. He was out of town working for a large part of it.
* End of week 6 - Kuso left to go back to Samoa (his visa was about to expire.)
* Week 8 - I went to Samoa (mid September 2007)
* week 8-9 1/2 - IN Samoa. Both American and Western. We had flights to come back to Utah the same day. He was stopped in Hawaii with immigration problems. Ultimately, he was sent back to Samoa and I came home. I didn't know for sure what was going on until 4 days later. WORST week of my life thus far.

From there, it was all phone calls. $5 a day for not quite 20 minutes on the phone. Fiance visa paperwork was being processed. I went back to Samoa in January 2007 for a visit. Eventually, the paperwork was approved and Kuso returned to Utah on April 11, 2007 and we got married May 19, 2007.

Monday, July 20, 2009

32+ Weeks I'm over 32 weeks now. We are at less than two months to Leila's due date. My aunt Karen took a picture of my cousin Ashley and I at the reunion last weekend. If/when she actually sends it to me, I'll post it. Ashley and I are due the same day, both with girls. We took a belly to belly pic. If I don't get it soon, I'll take another one soon and post it.

If I could live off of Coke and ice, I would. I try to throw in some water, but the Coke tastes SO good. I still love fruit, especially cantaloupe right now. I still eat a lot of cold cereal. Warm foods are tolerable, but I still prefer something cold, probably since I get so hot. The worst thing I can complain about is my silly swollen feet and ankles. I can only wear flip flops, even to work. Good thing it's warm outside! They don't hurt, they just look silly. They get worse when I don't get "down time" to just chill.

I'm down to two week visits with the doctor. I scheduled a tour of the hospital for next week so Kuso and I can have an idea of where we are going and what we are doing when it comes time. I got registered at Target, Babies-R-Us, and J.C. Penney (on-line) so I can be ready for baby showers. I've got one planned for August 15th with friends and family and one on August 18th with the ward.

Time is rapidly winding down our feelings of excitement and nervousness increase with time. Leila is becoming more and more real and we are getting so excited to meet our little girl.

Taylor Family Reunion

My mom's family reunion was held on Cedar Mountain this past weekend. I left with my parents on Friday morning. We had to leave by 7 am because Shawn and his family was coming up from California. They were going to leave at 3am, so we needed to be there early to be able to spend as much time as possible with them.

On our way down, we had to pick up Grandpa and Louise in Salina. Grandpa can't see well, but they needed their trailor down there, so dad drove him and the trailor down while mom drove Louise and I in dad's new truck. Grandpa is usually raring to go, but when we got there, they were still packing, and Louise still had to take a shower. We were there for an hour and a half before we got back on the road. Kind of frustrating, but in the name of helping grandpa, I guess it was worth it.

My niece Kiley was too funny throughout the weekend. She was in LOVE with the 4-wheelers. All she wanted to do was sit on them, or go for a ride. Either way, it didn't long as she was on one. She is definiately an outdoors lover. Her favorite person was whoever was willing to take her outside at the time. This happened to be grandpa Vic most of the time. She couldn't stay clean to save her, but she was a pretty happy girl running around camp. She had her ornry moments, but who can blame her? The weather wasn't the best all weekend, so it forced us inside for a while...she was tired from the trip, tired from playing all day, and just out of her environment. Despite her ornriness, she is still a doll and totally entertaining.

It's always nice to spend time with Shawn and Michelle too. I wish we lived closer so we could spend more time together. They are fun to talk with and just joke around together.

Kuso came down on Saturday. We didn't do much, but it was nice. We had our annual "Peso Tossing" contest. Teams were randomly drawn. Shawn and Uncle Burke were the winners, but I and my Aunt Karen took 3rd place.

Saturday night proved to be a difficult night of sleep. The first night, I slept on a cot in the trailor with my parents. Saturday, Kuso and I set up our tent we got for Christmas. We borrowed an air mattress from my parents. But the air pump was missing, so we borrowed one from my aunt. For some reason, it didn't seal well, so the mattress didn't get pumped up well. I figured it wouldn't be a big deal for one night. I was SO wrong. I slept OK until around 2:30. Then I had to use the bathroom, but I didn't want to go to the trailor because Kiley was sleeping in there because she had gotten so cold the night before. I knew I would wake her up if I went there. So I waited...hoping that Leila would shift positions and the urination feeling would pass. No such luck. An hour later, I finally gave in to go use the bathroom. And yes, I woke up Kiley. Luckily, she went right back to sleep after I left.

When we got back to the tent, and I laid down, I couldn't breathe. I think due to the altitude difference, the low inflated mattress, being a little stuffed up from the mountain plants, and just breathing heavier because I'm pregnant, it made it extremely difficult to relax. I tried for about 15 minutes, but kept panicking knowing that I would not be comfortable and still had 4+ hours before anyone else would be awake. I ended up going to sit in Kuso's car so I could sit up. I wiggled around for over an hour, but then finally was tired/comfy enough to rest. I rested a little over an hour. Then the sun was up. I went back in the tent and laid with Kuso for about an hour longer before we got up. He also had a rough night of sleep because he woke up with me to go to the trailer.

Anyway, it was a good weekend. Everyone in the family made an appearance at one point or another except for Troy. He had just come back from Europe, and needed to focus on school. There also wasn't room for him to ride up with Shawn and his car is having trouble. His heart was definately there though.

I didn't take any pictures except for these pics from the Zion's Look Out point on the way up the mountain. Friday afternoon, I had to have Shawn drive me down there so I could get phone reception to call Kuso and give him directions to the camp site. On the way home, Kuso and I stopped to take these pictures. What an amazing site.

Normal Shot
Zoomed In a Little
With the Camera Flipped.
So Gorgeous!!!
Grandpa is getting older and kind of ornry at times. But he truly appreciates the effort that his girls make to keep the family together. He got a little emotional thanking everyone for making the effort to continue to get together. This tradition will surely continue as long as anyone is willing to make the effort.

Girl's Camp

Wednesday July 8th-Saturday July 11th was girls camp. We left Wednesday morning. Soon after getting to camp, we were informed that there had been a black bear shot and killed less than 2 miles from our camp the night before. The bear was shot because it ripped through a tent to get some candy that had not even been opened. Two other bears ran off. Due to the high bear alert, each camper was given a whistle that we were required to wear at all times. We were to blow three distinct whistles if we saw a bear. We were also required to put all of our deodorant, lotion, hair spray, food, etc (anything with any type of scent) in a car or locked trailer. This posed to get in the way at times, but we didn't want to take any chances.

Thursday night, Jenie, our president, was dishing up dessert and thought she heard a bear. The rest of us stopped and couldn't hear anything. It happened a second time. A few thought they might have heard it too. The third time, Brighton (our camp director) and the visiting Priesthood holder heard it too. The camp Priesthood were notified and they came to investigate the area. The main guy is named Brother Bollander, but has since been nicknamed Brother Bear. It was determined that there had not been any animals in the area. Jenie and Brighton were still freaked out, so we slept with the car keys in hand so we could set off the car alarm and the ax near our heads so we could "come up swingin" if a bear tried to attack.

We found out later the next day, that it was the priesthood holder from the next ward over that had been making the sounds. I thought it was pretty good, but probably not appropriate given the realness of the bear attack that had happened just two days prior.

Friday night we had our bishoprics come up. We had dinner and a testimony meeting with them. It's amazing what kind of testimonies can be developed by spending a few days in the mountains with a purpose of drawing closer together.

Saturday we were up and out. First one's gone. Got home, cleaned up the equipment and were home before 11 am.

We combined with another ward who also has a small amount of girls. Combined, there were 4 leaders and 6 girls in attendance. A few more came up the last days. Overall, our girls are great. One of the 12 year olds proved to be a challenge for all of us, but it also helped us develop patience and find new reasons to embrace this girl and help her learn new things.

We had the farthest camp from the bathrooms. 3 of the 4 leaders were pregnant, so needless to say, we made plenty of walks. It was the equivalent of probably about 2 neighborhood blocks. My feet and ankles were already swollen before we went and my feet won't fit in any shoes besides flip flops. By the time we had made all those trips back and forth and I was just wearing flip-flops, my feet were kind of sore. They were SILLY swollen by the time we got home. Of course I had my camera there all week and it never left my bag.

The highlight of the week though was when some of the girls were trying to double dutch jump rope. They couldn't figure out how to jump into the ropes. I told them to watch and jumped right in. I jumped about 8 times before I had to quit....for two reason...1) my legs are weak and not strong enough to hold up my heavy body and 2) I was headed to the bathroom BEFORE I started jumping. But I was pretty proud to say that I was able to double dutch at 30 weeks pregnant!

Aiono Family Reunion

July 2nd-5th marked the first Aiono family reunion...well, at least the down-sized version. The focus was Kuso's dad and his siblings. (WARNING: Names and Samoan words may be spelled wrong. I apologize from the start...) There were 5 brothers that were able to make it to the reunion. Voi from Samoa; Pailate from LA, California; Faafoi from St. George, Utah; Taaloga from Kearns, Utah; and Faioso from West Jordan, Utah. The inspiration to start the reunion came from Kuso's cousin Lisa. The last time everyone was together was 8 years ago at her mother's funeral. She had a dream to get everyone together again before the next funeral. She was in Utah last summer and the conversation started. From there it grew into reality.

Taaloga, Pailate, Voi, and Faioso

It started for our part of the family late June 30th. Nuga and Voi flew in from Samoa. I was able to spend time with them on July 1st, but Kuso was out of town working. He didn't get to be with them until the next day when the reunion officially started.

Thursday July 2nd we started with a dinner and meet-n-greet at the church park near Shelley and Apinati's house. We just had fun talking and catching up with cousins, uncles, aunties, etc. We went over the itinerary for the weekend and made sure everyone had a place to stay.

Kuso and his cousins

Friday July 3rd we went to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House. Voi used a wheel chair because it is difficult for him to walk that far. While we were waiting for the elevator that was stuck.... literally...we waited at least 10 minutes and there were others waiting before us....this older white lady asked what island they were from. She went on to explain that her grand daughter is half Samoan and that her grandparents are still in Samoa. We asked what her name was and she said it was Aiono. We told her we were Aiono's and asked her name. She said "Whitney." Whitney is Kuso's niece, his oldest brother's daughter. So how cool was that? BOTH of Whitney's grandma's were in the temple at the same time from completely different parts of the world.

Voi, Nuga, McCoy, Nati, and Shelley waiting to start the tour.

After the temple, we had lunch at the church by Nati's house. Again, we just visited with each other and caught up with what has been going on in each other's lives. After lunch, we cleaned the gym and got ready for the family dance.
Kuso, George, Alofa, Siaosi, and Deja.
This is Kuso's brother and 3 of his 5 kids.
We don't see them often, so it was great to see them.
His kids are SO adorable.

That night, everyone came back to the church for a dance. Each family contributed one taualuga. The money earned from that taualuga contributed to pay for food for the rest of the weekend. Everyone had a good time. Kuso's mom obviously loves to dance and spent a lot of time on the dance floor with a big smile on her face.

Kuso and his mom

Saturday July 4th started with Kuso marching with the Samoan band in the West Jordan parade. When he got home, we went back to the park near Nati's. The kids were playing water games. There was lunch and visiting for everyone. After several hours at the park, everyone got ready for the evening activities.

Originally, our plan was to go to Murray park and watch the big fireworks. We were told that everyone is going to Nati's and just doing fireworks on the street. So we bought some fireworks and went back to Nati's. We were kind of disappointed that we didn't get to go to Murray Park, but it was fun to watch the young kids get so excited over the simple things.

Sunday July 5th everyone (well, those who wanted to) went to Alofa's church. After church, we all met at Southridge (Kearns) Park for dinner. After dinner, we went to the Redwood Cemetery. Kuso's uncle, Tavita, is buried there. I believe I was told he passed away in 1992.
His wife is buried next to him. Faioso has a different mother than the rest of the siblings, and his mother is buried next to them as well.
While at the cemetery, we sang a couple songs and had a prayer as a family.

Later that evening, we all met back at the chapel for a family fireside. Each of the 5 brothers in attendance gave a little talk about what's going on in their family. A few others were able to tell some stories or give a little testimony. The evening ended with snacks and more talking.

Kuso's cousin Rita gathered pictures from all of us prior to the reunion, and took more during the weekend. She created a slide show and will be making copies for each of us. There are pictures from way back when all the grown up kids are little. Many are priceless. What a great blessing to be able to have access to those pictures.

It was a busy weekend, but it was SO fun to get to visit with Kuso's family. There is definitely going to be another reunion...although I'm not sure if it will be every year. I heard some talk about every 3 years. It's a little more realistic to get everyone together that often (especially for those of us that have to bring people in from out of state and the country.)