Thursday, April 28, 2011

Natural Instinct

A couple nights ago, we were at my parents house. Leila was playing on the floor and while her back was turned, Troy snuck up behind her. When she turned back around, his face was the same level as her face and he kind of "boo-ed" at her. She punched him right in the mouth...closed fist and all. It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter 2011

Since I was just little little we have gone to St. George for Easter. That was our chance to get to warmer weather and reunite with my mom's family. This is the first year (in history) that I did not go to St. George. Kuso's cousin James got married on Saturday and since Easter comes every year and a wedding is once in a life time (usually), I decided that staying for the wedding was more important (but Kuso did say that Leila and I could go to St. George if we wanted because he knows that I love my family traditions.)

No pictures of the wedding, mostly because I hate carrying my camera around. We missed the ceremony, but were there for the reception. Good food. They had their reception at Millenial Falls in Draper. Beautiful place, but it's kind of small and awkard shaped for a polynesian wedding. Only a few people were able to enjoy the entertainment without crowding around. Congratulations and Best Wishes to the new Mr. and Mrs. James Aiono!

Leila was SPOILED this Easter. New dress. New clothes. New shoes. A basket from the Easter bunny with candy, chips, bubbles, hair bows, etc. A basket from Grandma Bunny with candy, bubbles, (the previously mentioned shoes and some clothes), etc. A basket from the Home Teacher bunny with toys and candy. Bubbles and a teddy bear from the Home Teacher bunny. A LARGE bag of candy from the Nursery Bunny. And a little cute bunny made out of a washcloth from her church friend, Hadlee (also had some M&M's with it.) Again, no pictures because I just suck at keeping my camera around.

Because we are usually out of town, it's sad to say that I have only been to church on Easter a handful of times when we decided to stay long enough to attend church. We usually just get up and head home when the rest of the family heads off to church. In class, our teacher had us separate our chairs (for privacy), gave us a piece of paper with a picture of Jesus on one side and lines on the other, and asked us to think about and write down our feelings about our Savior. While we did that, she played songs about Christ. Initally, I thought "wow, that is a great time filler" but there was seriously a special feeling in the room.

As I turned my thoughts to the Savior, the Spirit immediately filled my soul with warmth and comfort. This is one of the first times I have FOCUSED on how I feel toward Jesus Christ and His love and His atoning sacrifice. I took that sheet of paper to work to keep in my drawer, so when I am searching for things and come across it or if I just need a boost, it is right there to remind me of how loved I am and to keep myself focused on Christ-like qualities.

Leila is also turning "spiritual" (as much as a 19 month old can be.) She LOVES to pray. She folds her arms and says "pwayew?" (prayer?) Then waits while you say a quick prayer, then says 'Amen' at the right time. She always reminds us to pray at dinner. Kuso and I have gone through times where we are good to say family (couple) prayers and times where we just don't. (Sad, I know, but honest.) With him out of town so much, it's hard to keep the habit going. But I told him that we need to take advantage of Leila's interest in prayer now and make family prayer a priority. He agreed. So hopefully, we can do that each and every day he is home, and even when he is gone when timing is appropriate - we can maybe do it over the phone. (If I'm not driving or if he isn't surrounded by the guys watching basketball or whatever.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


YEP! I slept from about 10:45 until I finally rolled out of bed at, I'll do the math for you...that is 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep! Thank you Leila. And PLEASE, do that more often.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Brooklyn's Birthday!

Saturday April 16th Leila went to her very first birthday party (that is not family or because the adults are friends...) Brooklyn is Leila's church friend. She turned 2! The party was at Brook's house. They had a Minnie Mouse theme. We had BBQ lunch, the kids played, Brook opened presents, we ate cake and ice cream, then we all went home to give the munchkins naps! Above: Leila with her mouse ears...and candy necklace.
Below: Check out her hair! She held still long enough for me to put 6 elastics in!!! Her hair looked SO cute. It was lots cuter when it was still wet before it got out of control looking, but I was impressed with how cute it was for the party! Above: Leila and Brooklyn in the wagon. One of the other girls and her parents had walked to the party and brought this wagon. The rest of the kids thought it was a great play toy. Brooklyn happens to have the SAME wagon, so they got theirs out, and some of the dads ran around the yard with the girls in the wagon. The girls were LOVING it. The dads tired out WAY faster than any of the kids tired of being bounced around the yard. Leila spent LOTS of time playing in and out of the wagon. Even during the present opening, Leila was playing by herself in the wagon. Silly girl. Below: Brook wasn't too interested in opening her presents. She kept walking between the chair her mom had set up, and these lounge chairs to sit to open her presents. Above: It cracks me up that at these young ages, the kids love to be around each other, but don't really know how to play WITH each other. These two both played with balls when we first got there, but they didn't play together. At any given time, all the kids were at different places around the yard doing their own thing, but they all had fun!

Leila, Brooklyn, and Hadlee eating lunch.

These 3 girls are all in nursery at church together. I also serve in the Young Women's presidency with both of their mothers. Brooklyn and Hadlee are both adopted. Leila looks like she is adopted until her dad comes around! These three love to see each other at church. Hadlee is the oldest and turned 2 in February, then Brook in April, then Leila will be 2 in September. They will probably be in different school classes, but will always be in the same church class. I'm glad that Leila has friends her same age to grow up with.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Changing of the Guard

In a previous post, I related the order of whom Leila prefers to go to. Second to the bottom was grandma, then me. Well, things have apparently changed. Now Grandma is on the top of the list (unless daddy is there...I'm sure he is still top.) The past few days, Leila only wants grandma. Last night, we slept at my parents house to cut half the commute in the morning to drop her at the sitters house. She was a cry baby all evening (she has been messing up her nap routine and it shows). She finally calmed down after I gave her some Tylenol and rocked with her while she ate some crackers...but that wasn't good enough. She wanted grandma. Soon enough, she was dead to the world. I went to bed and within a couple of hours, Leila was out of the crib and in bed with me. Fine. Until 4am rolls around and she had scooted herself so close to me that I couldn't roll over, so I moved her over about 8 inches. Well, that set her off and she screamed...and screamed...and screamed. My dad gets up for work at that time so he heard her, brought a sippy cup down and offered to take her. Leila responded with a "NO!" then said "bomma..." through tears. Soon after that, my mom came down, took Leila, and she immediately stopped crying. What a brat! Mom sat with her for a little bit. I asked Leila if she wanted to go back to bed with me. She says yes, so we go to lay down. (Cue crying.) So I took her back to grandma and she slept with her for the rest of the night (all hour that was left before my mom had to get up for work.) SUCH a BRAT! Besides all that, my brother is trying to sleep through all this. He already complains about sleeping because of my dad's snoring, so this just added to it. Sorry 'bout it! Lesson: Leila never gets to sleep at grandma's house ever again. Ok, that will never happen, but I guess I just have to deal with the commute every morning until she learns to be a better sleeper. Ugh. Interestingly enough, she sleeps better when daddy is home... **2 nights ago Leila took control of my hand and put it in and out of the popcorn bowl. One time was to my mouth, next time was to hers. She did this for a couple of minutes. She used my hand to share popcorn with both of us. It made me chuckle...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monday Funnies

So Monday night, my parents were over at my house because my mom was helping me tie a quilt and my dad was going to entertain the Bug. While we were in the kitchen, Leila walked in with her blanket, laid down, looked at us over her shoulder, said "night night", then laid down. After a couple of seconds she proceeded to fake snore...long, slow, loud snores. Not the quick ones most kids make when they pretend to snore. She seriously sounded like she was sleeping. Then she "woke up" after about 5 or 6 rounds of snoring and went on playing. A little while later, she was sitting at the table with us while I was sewing part of the blanket. She was playing with some spools of thread. Each time she would pick one up, she would say "Oh geez." Then put it down and do that over and over with 3 different colors. It was so random that it was that much more funny. I can truly say that this stage is my favorite. It's definitely more work than other stages have been, but it's more interactive and WAY more funny. (btw....see how good my dad is at watching her while my mom and I are busy?) It seems like he is a flake, but truth be told, he is so good to that little girl. He plays and plays and plays with her, reads her books, changes diapers, gives her snacks, gives her baths, snuggles with her, dances with her, sings with her (much to the chagrin of others.) Thanks dad for being a good babysitter. Actually, thanks to my mom and brother too...they are such a huge support system to me and Leila while Kuso is out of town (and even when he is in town!) Now if I can just find and keep my camera close by so I can show pictures of these funny moments....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


My little bug is almost 19 months old now! Just thought I would take a quick minute to update with some of her silliness.A month ago I put her hair in piggy tails for the first time. They were cute. Didn't last long, but cute. She has worn them a couple of times since...don't last long, but they are dang cute while they do.

My little baby isn't such a baby anymore...she is definitely more on the side of a little girl now. She chit chats all day long, but more recently, we can decipher some of what she says. bup bup = sippy cup bawk bawk = chicken (basically anything to eat) weeb woo = love you (says it mostly when she talks to daddy on the phone or when she is going to sleep at night.) night night = night night pweese? = please tay you = thank you awemuss = awesome hot daw = hot dog beebee = baby (that she whispers every time) poopoo = poo poo (she usually goes to a corner or in another room, comes back and reaches toward her diaper with her legs bent and says it. Lately, she has started laying down ready to get her diaper changed - we are lovin that.) Is that a sign she is ready to start potty training? dodo = koko (as in koko Samoa. Yes, she drinks it. Yes, she loves it. Yes, she is her father's child.) Ew = Ew (mostly if someone farts, or if she picks her nose. smart girl huh?) Doy = Troy (which she yells down the stairs at my parents house) dabba dabba = Gabba Gabba (as in YO! - all you moms know what I'm talking about.) Shhh - with her finger to her lips. Other words she says (or variations of but most people can figure out what she is saying) = turtle, purple, NO, up, hot, many animal sounds, and more and more each day becoming understandable. Although she doesn't communicate fully with words, she can definitely communicate and get her point across. She is VERY independent. Wants to walk up and down stairs without help, standing up, and sometimes not holding on to anything. Has started jumping off of small elevations. Gives kisses to most who come or leave the house. Loves "high fives and bump it". LOVES to dance. She just can't control herself sometimes with her shoulder shakes. She laughs a lot. Surprisingly very quiet most of the time...just wanders around playing with things here and there. Started to do somersaults on her own - correctly. She is VERY strong. Has EXTREMELY good balance. Starts to try to comb her own hair. Learning to "clean up." Very good at copying people's actions. Takes things to the garbage. Understands most of what we ask her to do (basic stuff.) LOVES to go to nursery. LOVES to go to the babysitter. LOVES to be around people. She gets very bored at home and when she gets bored she gets bratty. Wants to be outside as much as possible. Knows that grandpa is the one who takes her to feed the fish in his pond in the back yard (also where she learned "turtle.") If we are with my family, this is who Leila goes to in this order: Daddy, Grandpa, Uncle Troy, Grandma, then if no one else is available, then me. I'm glad she is willing to have other people hold her and take care of her. It makes life so much easier for me. At night when she goes to sleep (in her big girl bed that she has been in for the past 6-8 months) she wants me to lay down with her. She lays down, grabs her blanky and doggy, then points at the pillow next to her for me to lay down. Then comes a series of kisses and "weeb woo" exchanges. Then she eventually rolls to her left side then falls asleep. Although I wish I could just lay her down and have her fall asleep without me there, I cherish those moments. Being a working mom, I only spend a few hours a day with her. So that 10-30 minutes of laying beside her, letting her know that I'm there for her no matter what, is priceless. Leila is so smart, so sweet, so funny, so active, so brave, so strong, so silly, so creative, so beautiful, so athletic,...I'm so blessed to be her mom. She brings such a sweet Spirit when she is around. I said before, she is my Mary Poppins baby, "Practically Perfect in Every Way." Love you Leila bug.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Samoa (Final Final...maybe)

Air New Zealand gives all the kids a backpack full of goodies. It was a little stuffed animal ball thing, a writing tablet that you pull the page up and it erases, and a coloring book with stickers and colored pencils. The one on the way there, we just put away and gave it to Kuso's nieces and nephew. The one on the way back, she got before we got on the plane. She was playing with 2 kids who were a little older than her and since they were wearing theirs, she wanted to wear her. It looked so dang she was headed off to school...I can only imagine how soon that day will come.
She is such a doll...and yes, I would think that even if I wasn't her mother.

btw...another cool thing about Air New Zealand is when they saw we had a "baby" they brought us some wipes and diaper cream so we had some handy during the flight. Pretty cool.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Samoa (FINAL)

Just random pictures documenting our final day in Samoa...Above and Below: Yes, that is what you think it is. 4 buckets of it growing behind a real (non illegal plant) to help keep it hidden...Geez...
Above: Levi cooking in the outdoor kitchen.

Below: This is how curly Leila's hair was on a daily basis. It was SO dang cute.
Above: Toetu's mom and our mom. This is a cool picture for Alofa's family to have because it has both grandma's in the same picture. Plus, I love that Nuga is actually smiling!

Below: Leila, Palepa (Atonio's wife), Lupe. Palepa talked to me quite a bit during this trip. The past trips she hasn't said much, but we spent more time at the house this time, so obviously we spent more time with the family. It was nice to get to know my sister-in-law a little better.

Above: Semi in his church clothes.

Below: Nuga in her church clothes. I'm pretty sure this puletasi was made by grandma. Seriously, so talented.

Above: This is what Voi does all day, every day. Sits at this table and reads church materials. He fits in eating and sleeping too, but if he is awake, this is what he is doing.

Below: Where we slept. Leila and I were on the futon and Kuso was on the couch scooted up to the futon. The firs two nights we slept in one of the actual rooms...too freakin' hot. SO, the rest of the trip we slept out in the big common room with everyone else.

By the windows you can see tarps rolled up (kind of like a camp trailer.) The last night we actually had to drop the tarps because the rain was coming down so hard. But as soon as the rain stops, you need to put the tarps back up or it gets WAY hot and muggy.

Above: Kuso's good friend, wife, and Leila. The last night there, these guys, Keli & Imi, and some of the family sat out in the back talking, drinking koko, and laughing. We stayed up REALLY late, but when we were going to sleep, Kuso had the biggest smile, gave me a hug, and told me that he had SO much fun that night.

Below: Mom and Dad. It's not often you get both of these in a picture, dressed in nice clothes, and looking at the camera. I'll be making prints of this for Kuso's family.

Above: Leila and Grandpa. Grandpa Voi LOVES this little girl. While he would be eating, studying, watching TV, anything, he would randomly call her name for her to come over. He would pick her up, kiss her, then send her on her way again. Voi always sits at the head of the table. I looked down the hall one day and saw Leila in his chair and he was sitting on the bench beside her. She definitely knows how to wrap people around her cute little fingers.

Kuso also enjoyed being with his father. He said several times that he wishes he could live with him now that he is calm and loving. Growing up, Kuso's dad was very loud, demanding, hard working, and sometimes mean. There were not loving words exchanged. They knew they were loved, but it was never expressed. Voi has softened up a lot the past few years and Kuso wishes he could be around more to enjoy that side of his father.
Above: Semi and Nuga in their school uniform.

Below: Leila enjoying a bowl of sapasui before we head off to the airport.

If I haven't said it in previous posts, this trip was MUCH different than my last trips. We spent more time with the family and we spent more time living the local life and not being so "touristy." Because we had Leila, I was more aware of "gross" things like worms on the floor, cockroaches, spiders, mosquitoes, wild dogs, lizards, etc. Also because of Leila, we were more aware of a food schedule. Past trips we would come and go as we pleased and eat when it was convenient. You can't tell an 18 month old to wait, so we always had to be prepared for that too.

I'm so grateful for the opportunities I have had to visit Samoa. For the chance it has given me to see where Kuso is from, how he was raised, and develop an understanding and appreciation for different aspects of their culture. (not just the fun side of dancing and food!) I'm grateful that we were able to set aside the money for Kuso to visit his homeland. I'm grateful that even though she won't remember it, that Leila had the opportunity to meet her cousins and aunties/uncles that live in Samoa and may never travel to the states.

Although this was not the relaxing tropical vacation that most people think Samoa would be, I hope that someday we will be able to take our entire family again, when our kids are old enough to remember and appreciate the beauty of Samoa.
This was our last Sunday at church. Above: In the background is the wall to the chapel. We are standing in the Relief Society/Sunday School room. It is outdoors with just a roof and pillars. The baptismal font is just to the side, also outdoors. We were taking a picture of Kuso with the lady in purple (Apelu's mom - one of Kuso's good friends here) and everyone else jumped in the picture. But since she is in the picture, I'll tell you about the older lady. She is like a mid-wife or something. One day when we were at the church playing volleyball, I was walking around with Leila and she was in one of the classrooms with a girl laying on the floor, with her shirt pulled up and pants pulled low so she could feel her stomach. Later, there was a different girl in there, so I'm just putting that together thinking that she must be doing a little prenatal care for these soon-to-be mothers. Plus, she has the sweetest looking face. And she is the grandma to Keli (the girl who married Imi.)

Below: Sister Finau. Her daughter is serving in the Provo, Utah mission, so we brought a package back to her. She also gave me some shell earrings.Above: Lisa, Leila, Keli

Below: Kuso, Leila, Keli, ImiKuso and the guys. The guy on the far right had his mission call to San Jose, California and was leaving in early April.

Right behind them is the baptismal font. There is a gate around it to help keep the kids out of it, but the gate is not usually locked and the volleyball sometimes ends up inside, so access needs to be available to get it out.