Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Noke is a Mastah!

May 1 & 2, 2014
Master of Education 
Department of Education - Culture and Society

I'm so grateful for Noke's humble devotion to our family and I am so grateful for so many awesome family members and friends who have made this experience at the U such a fun, rewarding, wonderful time for our whole family! 

Here we all are heading into commencement.  I'm mainly posting this first picture because I look thinner than I actually am.  Thanks Junior for blocking some of me, lol.

Junior lasted about 15 minutes which wasn't bad considering.  At least we got to see Noke walk in dressed in all his snazzy regalia.
We spent the remainder of the ceremony playing outside and eating kid snacks out of Amalani's backpack.

The Pututaus came, with their two future Utes...

And some from the Hafoka side...

Convocation was the next day at Kingsbury hall.  I went in long enough to see Noke on stage then I joined the kids who were happy to be outside.

Amalani was super excited to see her dad and give him a lei.  She waited in this spot watching people coming out the doors for 10 minutes.  I got a little emotional when she finally saw him.

The last push to get school done was a absolutely a group effort and took a major toll on us all.  After what seemed like about a month of bad sleeping schedules for the kids and no sleep for us and bad eating and little housekeeping, it was such a relief to be done! I felt like I was graduating, lol! 

 The week or so before graduation ceremonies, classes were over and we stayed home and recouped.  Graduation was a little anticlimactic as it always seems to be.  Celebration was a small family dinner at Dee's in Glendale during which both kids were knocked out on the seat in our booth.  Perfect.  Next up hopefully, PHD.  Woohoo!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Juni is one!!

Juni turned one on May 7th! It was kind of a lazy day but we celebrated that night with cupcakes made and frosted by Amalani.

The official celebration was the following Saturday and was sponsored/hosted by grandma and grandpa Hafoka here in Glendale.  We had some local family here and even a few Alisas.

Junior you have changed our lives and blessed us more than we imagined possible.  You are smart and happy and social!  You love to hold hands and nuzzle.  You go to new people and study their faces.  You love to play peek-a-boo.  It's so easy to make you laugh.  When you wake up in the morning the first thing you do is look for Amalani.  You crane your neck around until she comes in or until you are taken to her - then your face lights up and you want to play with her.  You started walking a month ago and are super mobile.  You love to be hugged and held but lately you'd rather be left on the ground to explore.  You love to dance and if there's ever music playing, or any rhythmic sound really, you are wiggling or clapping or stomping a foot.  
We love you Juni! You make us happy every day!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Random pics from my phone of the kids...

I wish I had better pictures of my kids.  They really are cute.  And geez, they change so much so fast.  And I know I always say this but I just hate taking pictures.  I don't like pulling my camera out, I don't enjoy coordinating shots, and I don't have an eye or a knack for capturing attractive and natural feeling candid shots.  I will live to regret this, I know.  But here, future self and kids, is a small effort to preserve some of the little I do have.  Here are some pics from my phone before I empty it onto the computer again...

At Mary's house. Just because this one's cute. She hates accessories of any kind, except for this hat.

Last month, Loni and Niata got married and Amalani and Saia got to bond a little during the 2 weeks that Scott and Aniva were in town.  She has been clingy and shy in the past at large functions but she is getting more brave and now really really enjoys running around with cousins and being at family things that go for 4 or 5 hours plus.  

Laina's first birthday was coming up so we had a little party for her while they were in town. Here she is with Hihifo and Junior who helped her dig into her cake.  They were all very cautious and methodical about the whole thing.  Not what we anticipated/were hoping for. Junior was also up and hyper for hours.

Amalani has a coin purse full of quarters and we occasionally waste them on this 30 second ride at Wal-Mart.  She giggles with delight every time and Junior joins her now and is a steering wheel hog.  She's a good big sister and lets him push her around.

Our Cannon ward had an Easter egg hunt for the primary and OH MY GOSH there was sooooo much candy.  I was actually a little annoyed.  Every kid got way way too much candy.  There was nothing planned immediately after the 1 1/2 minutes it took for all the candy to be snatched up so all the kids hid around the chapel and ate candy for almost an hour.  Then they got yelled at for eating candy and making rubbish everywhere.  There was a ridiculous amount of trash in every corner of the chapel and on the grounds.  I walked around for at least an hour picking up trash and didn't make a dent.  I finally gave up and left.  The kids got yelled at for most of sharing time the following Sunday.  Not my idea of how to address the problem. In spite of this glitch though I love our ward and primary leaders and so does Amalani. I love that she gets to be around these good kids.

Uncle Ti brought this doll house over last week.  Someone had brought him a bunch of second-hand things to be distributed to his ward and he saved this for Amalani.  I brought out the box of my and Mary's old dolls and she was in heaven.  Noke came home though and took one look at the doll house (the wallpaper and carpet especially), and did the gag-throw-up-in-your-mouth motion, and said he would never be able to eat in our TV/toy room again.  This is a big deal - that's our hangout spot.  So he immediately jumped on KSL and started hunting for a dollhouse that was more appetizing.  

He found this one - so adorable.  I love it and so does Amalani.  Twenty bucks well spent.

Yesterday we went to Smith's and this random stray little cart was there.  This made Amalani's day.  She marched around the store loudly talking to herself about whether or not we needed apples and what treat Junior might want.  She even checked out almost completely by herself. Too bad it probably won't be there next time we go.

Lately on our walks Amalani and I become two girlfriends walking our babies. Junior is only referred to as "your baby" and Amalani's  speech adopts a mommy intonation: "it's such a nice day today", "I LOVE your slippers", "your baby is so silly".  She also waves at other adults with a more adult-ish head nod. And I just try to keep a straight face and play along or she gets self-conscious.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Last weekend I overheard a conversation between Malia and Mary during which Mary broke the bad news to Malia that she was going to be missing an Easter egg hunt/party that they had been looking forward to.  The girls have been with Mary for more than a week (instead of the usual 2 day turn in their back and forth between mom and dad situation) because of Spring Break so we decided we should have an Easter activity while the girls were with their mom.   

We got together at Mary's house and had a barbecue and Easter treats and games for the kids.  We aren't very creative or original - a lot of our family get-togethers look like this - but the kids don't seem to mind.  They love being together, which warms my heart and makes me feel like I'm doing at least that right as a parent.  I love that they have each other and that they'll have so many memories of being together as a family. I hope they stay close.

To start off the festivities we made bunny ears - which Amalani "taught", since she and I had done it before.  She was very excited about this...

Then we played Pin-the-beak-on-the-baby-chick. Such a simple game but they were all cracking up at each other and themselves and didn't want to stop playing.

While I was keeping the kids distracted with the baby chick game, Mary was hiding eggs that had written clues in them for our scavenger hunt.  The clues led the kids to four different spots where eggs with clues were hidden and finally to their Easter baskets.  They all screamed and giggled every time they found another clue and would run to the next spot screaming and giggling.  The easter baskets were filled with things from my food storage and dollar store randoms.  I wrapped them up with yellow cellophane and ribbon so they looked a lot more exciting than they actually were.  The pretty packaging worked though and the kids were totally stoked.  The biggest hit in the basket - Cup-o-noodles.  And I just put that in there for bulk, ha!  

While the kids picked through their baskets and tried all their cheap toys and ate some treats from our food storage, the boys hid the eggs in the backyard for our egg hunt.  

Thankfully, Mary's backyard is full of random clutter so there were plenty good places for easter eggs.



The first few barbecues of the year always taste so amazing and ours tasted amazing.  Summer food on paper plates, eaten outside on a blanket using your hands - mmm, the best.  After our first round of food we decorated egg, bunny, and flower shaped sugar cookies.