Since we moved closer to where our grandchildren live (our main excuse for leaving Hawaii), we have a family home evening once a month that includes our children and grandchildren. One of our families lives too far away to meet with us, so we try to include them by Facetime or Marco Polo (an app). It has been a real blessing to be able to share our lives this way. Also, we have a grandson and a granddaughter that are at university and try to include them too.
We take turns having family home evening at each of our homes. We usually go by the age of our children. That person is in charge of the evening. They conduct, prepare a lesson, and play a game or have another activity.
When it is at our home we try to get out some games for the kids to occupy them when we are not having a lesson. The person in charge decides if they will provide food and invites others to bring something to share. We always have too much food!
We go around the room and let each child tell what they have been doing and what is coming up (sports, plays, concerts, etc.) so we can make plans to attend, if possible.
On special occasions we may go out to eat like we did on Mother’s Day. We love spending time together especially when it involves food!!
Music is a must when we have family home evening at home and with some very musical people in our family, the rest of us try to harmonize with them. We have taught the grandchildren how to sing “Love at Home” in Tongan as well as the Tongan Alphabet Song. It is fun hearing them learn Grandpa’s language.
Here is the Tongan Alphabet Song:
Ah Eh Fa Ha, Ah Eh Fa Ha, I Ka La, I Ka La,
Ma Na Nga O Pa Sa, Ma Na Nga O Pa Sa,
Ta U Va, Ta U Va. Fakau’a.
I was excited that the next time we met, the kids still remembered the song we taught them.
We always pray as a family and read scriptures. We share our feelings and love for one another. Of course there is always a bit of rough housing and joking around, all in good fun!
We cherish our time together with our children and grandchildren when we meet once a month for family home evening. It is a time to share our experiences, activities, and love for appreciation for each other and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our hope is that this traditional will continue with our grandchildren and their families for many years to come.
Our son-in-law is in the Tabernacle Choir and we often have the opportunity to go to his concerts. Here is a video of the Choir singing “Love at Home”.
Nothing makes me sadder than cousins being bad (mean) to each other! Some of my grandchildren have been staying with me this summer and once in a while they say or do something that puts down another child. Life is tough enough without the support of your cousins!
When I notice something being said or done to another child because they think they could do better, it is very difficult for me to be quiet. Almost immediately, I mention how that may have hurt another child’s feelings. I suggest to the child that they apologize and always show love and support to their cousins. Instead, they should have their back!
One thing I learned in Tonga is that cousins stick up for each other. They support one another and treat each other as brothers and sisters rather than just relatives. I love that part of the Tongan culture. Also, aunties and uncles are more like parents to their nieces and nephews. One big happy family!
I remember as a child being compared to my cousins. Since I was always the shortest, and not quite as bright, this became a common topic amongst the adults. It didn’t really help me to grow taller or smarter! Just think if all of my aunts and uncles had supported me more in my efforts, who knows what I may have been able to achieve?
For the most part, I love seeing my grandchildren together. They play well together and help one another. But there are those times when a little more kindness could be shown. As their grandmother, I leave this admonition to my grandchildren: love each other and build each other up!
The same goes for siblings. I have watched older siblings picking on the younger ones and probably that is quite normal, but it really isn’t fair. Why not pick on someone your own size?
Well, I’ve shared my thoughts. Please take my advice. Think of those cousins you may have offended and make it right! Apologize and be better for it. You will not regret it when you are in need of help.
We went to see the movie, “The Other Side of Heaven 2”, and I thought it would be good to share my impressions with you.
We were fortunate to be with a group that previewed the movie before it was shown to the general public. The theater was filled with relatives of one of the main characters in the movie, Tonga Toutai Paletu’a. The story was about his conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his relationship with his family prior to that decision and after.
Elder John H. Groberg was depicted in the movie as the LDS Mission President at the time who had served his first mission in Tonga. My husband happened to be one of his missionaries. This movie has special significance to us and to our family. Another interesting fact is that our daughter married the grandson of Tonga Toutai Paletu’a! It was very exciting to have so many connections.
We had been anticipating this movie since we found out there would be a Part II, having loved the first movie ten years earlier.
One thing I was interested in was that the same actor who played John Groberg’s part also starred in the second movie. He had hardly changed in many years and did an excellent job in both. Anne Hathaway who had played his wife in the first has gone on to become quite a Hollywood star, so they chose another actress, Natalie Medlock to play the part of his wife. I thought she did a marvelous job!
I enjoyed the movie from start to finish beginning from when it showed BYU TV and Kolipoki Pictures. Those of us who have lived in Tonga or are somehow affiliated with it will know the significance of the name Kolipoki. It is “Groberg” Tonganized.
The actors chosen to play Toutai Paletu’a and his family were all excellent! The man who portrayed his father even made me dislike him very much for his portrayal of a very strict minister who would not admit his own faults.
There are many lessons throughout the movie that can benefit all people. Respect, forgiveness, love of family, hard work, the power of prayer, and fasting, Christlike love, and many more.
The fact that I personally knew Toutai Paletu’a and his wife made the movie so much more meaningful. When we lived in Tonga, when you met President Paletu’a, it seemed as if he could see right through you. He knew that I was having a very difficult time adjusting to my new life in the little islands. He told me if my husband ever gave me a hard time, he would talk to him. Somehow he sensed my culture shock and was trying to help me out.
The person that played our late prophet Thomas S. Monson has an uncanny likeness to him. I almost forgot it wasn’t really him. Kudos to the person who found him.
My favorite movies are those based on true life heroes. This was definitely one of our family’s favorites. One of the stories portrayed in the movie took me right back.
The Grobergs had several daughters until they moved to Tonga where they were blessed with a son, John. The baby became very ill and was close to death when the Queen and all the people who knew them fasted and prayed for him to get better.
When we lived in Tonga, I gave birth to my first son. He was very small and became so ill that he was unconscious. We rushed him to the hospital which was a 15-20 minute drive from where we lived in Liahona. I tried to wake him up all the way there, but he would not. Once we got him to the hospital, Dr. Havili gave him a shot of adrenalin. We were so happy to finally hear his little cry and knew he would be alright. I relived this experience through the movie.
The Grobergs worried over their sick son in the movie.
Spoiler alert: Why was the movie rated PG-13? I was a bit concerned taking my grandchildren to see it because of the rating. The fact that the father threatened his son not to come home ever again and asked his other son to throw a piglet into the ocean (substituting the pig for his son). The other part that was offensive, and I understand it did not really happen, was when the father buried one disobedient son in the sand at the beach and then there was a big storm that could have drowned him, but somehow he escaped. The other scene is when their baby was thrown to a person from the boat to the shore. My little granddaughter was quite upset about that. Someone mentioned the plucking of dead chickens as being offensive, but I was used to that when I lived in Tonga (try eating one of those rubber chickens)!
My favorite part besides the adorable children’s interaction with their father was when the wife of Paletu’a’s father called him a stubborn pig. Because, he was!
I urge you all to see the movie and you will come away with a new awareness of life in Tonga and a greater appreciation for those that stay true to their beliefs despite many hardships. Congratulations Elder and Sister Groberg on fulfilling President Monson’s wish of a comeback!
I married a man of a different race and culture when it was not an acceptable thing to do. I do not regret my decision, but that choice has come with interesting and surprising consequences. It took many years for us to get used to each other’s customs and traditions. It has been quite an adventure for both of us.
The children that resulted from this union have struggled to find their own identities. Because I was doing most of the raising, since my husband’s occupation demanded that he travel quite a bit, the children mostly spoke my language and only one child is fluent in his father’s language.
I believe our children have tried to choose the best from each culture. They can also change back and forth between cultures in different circumstances to suit their desires. We have learned as parents what form of discipline worked and what did not since his culture and mine had very different opinions in this regard.
As the mother of these wonderful children that I feel very blessed to have, I have not tried to push my own culture on them. I can see the good points of both cultures and brought those to their attention. I cannot lie that at times I have been a bit sad that they chose their father’s side over mine, but I tried not to let them know that.
My children are very open minded to other cultures and loving towards all kind people. They are all outgoing and have become good citizens of our communities. We lived in my husband’s country for 13 years and now live in my country. This has given our children the foundation they need to really know who they are and develop their own families from there.
When we got married, I was very curious what our children would look like. I have blue eyes and blondish hair and my husband has a darker complexion with black hair and brown eyes. Each of our children drew their looks and characteristics from both of us. Then when our grandchildren came along, I was happy to see the variety in personality and appearance. We have a couple of blue-eyed granddaughters with light hair.
A few of my grandchildren are visiting Tonga this summer. I hope they can feel the spirit of the Tongan people and love and respect they show to others. Most of them were born in Polynesian, but now they all live in the United States. I love the freedoms we enjoy in America, but a bit of respect and true love for others is waning. Aloha!
After having exhausted ourselves somewhat on the first day of our reunion while at Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe, some of us were ready for a calmer day (except for some of the kids that wanted to swim all day again and were fried and turning crispy)!
We had a late start on our second day and ended up going to the opposite side of Lake Tahoe than the day before. Our youngest son had a place in mind to get fish and chips, and it reminded us of some of the places we had eaten at while in Scotland years earlier. Deep fat fried halibut and fries hit the spot. The deco in MacDuff’s Public House (restaurant) included tartans from Scotland and there was a little garden reminiscent of those around in the quaint villages and highlands.
It seems plenty of other people had the same idea since we were in a line of traffic that had us questioning our decision to try for Emerald Bay. But alas, once we arrived at our destination, it did not disappoint!
I had mentioned in a matter-of-fact way that the scenery reminded me of a place I had been as a child in California with all the pine trees, etc. The reply was that we were in California. I was surprised! We thought we had a sighting of Big Foot, saw two eagles flying up the mountain cliffs and the water was so blue! Wow! It was simply astounding!
We all climbed around the rocks, took photos and enjoyed the sights. There were plenty of tourists and we remarked how diverse the crowd was.
We were at Emerald Bay for almost an hour before we pulled ourselves away and made our trip back to Reno. Some mention was heard about shopping along the way, but we must have all been overwhelmed by what we had seen and experienced that we just went to the hotel. Some of the kids were still up for a swim in the pool.
We felt our reunion was a success and we had enjoyed our time together as a family. We were sad that we would have to depart and leave one another again until the next reunion.
Thanks to those that made it possible and gratitude to the Lord for protecting us all in our travels.
Just arrived back from a great family reunion, except for one grandson (me crying!) We took the I-80 from Salt Lake City, Utah to Reno, Nevada. We didn’t intend to drive in a caravan, but it ended up that three cars drove pretty close together all along the way. We Marco Polo’d as we drove (it is an app that you can record live to your party and receive live messages back -kind of like a walkie talkie, but with video). It is great because you keep abreast of where everyone is, can tell jokes, and warn of police cars, etc. One of our newest driver permit holders was driving the car we were following, so that was pretty exciting!!
A side note: I-80 Interstate freeway goes all the way from San Francisco, California east to Teaneck, New Jersey (just outside of New York City).
Another car came from Arizona with the rest of the gang except for one grandson (me crying, again), but with an additional boyfriend (yeah!). Our destination goal had been predetermined by our youngest son who had served his mission in the Las Vegas West Mission, which included Reno, part of California, and down to Vegas. I-80 is pretty exciting (not!) except you get to see part of the Bonneville Salt Flats, which are dried up desert lakes that cover 30000 acres. They were pretty amazing!
Once we got past that it was miles and miles of I-80 (about 7 hours worth from SLC) with several hungry kids and technological gadgets and chargers. The time just flew by! haha. A few pitstops later, we finally made it to Reno to a very nice hotel which was welcomed by all.
As if we weren’t tired from a day of driving, we all headed for the local movie theater to watch Spider-Man: Far from Home, and since we missed our dinner meal we ate plenty of popcorn!
The next day was very exciting as we headed for Lake Tahoe. The altitude of Lake Tahoe is 6225 feet above sea level and Salt Lake City’s altitude is 4226. Needless to say, it was an uphill climb most of the way. But, it was all worth it to see this magnificent lake. We ended up at Sand Harbor and some of our party rented canoes and set sail!
While the rest of us enjoyed the sunshine, cool water, and took in the beautiful scenery, the men were busy BBQ’ing our lunch. Yum!!
Since this is getting pretty long, l will continue with day two of our trip on the next post. Here is more about Lake Tahoe:
So, I cheated this time, but hey, it is a holiday tomorrow. So excited to see most of my grandchildren and bring a couple home to stay for a bit. I’ll have to keep taking photos to embarrass them with again. haha!
I believe children come from heaven to us. They come with light in their hearts that shines through their eyes. I have witnessed this light many times through my grandchildren. When they are new to this world, so innocent and pure, they find joy and delight in small things. I want to share some of the pictures that portrays that light.
Jesus honored children and taught us about their spiritual development. In one instance, He motioned to a child, held the little one in His arms and said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me” (Mark 9:37).
2 And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;
When the children are loved and shown love, they reflect it back through their eyes and actions.
That is why many of us find our truest joy through having and loving children.
Here is a picture I painted depicting how I feel about children:
Loving and caring for children help us to rely on a power greater on our own. These children can say things to us that remind us we have a heavenly home. We have one granddaughter who would always remind us to say our prayers. It was very humbling to have this little “conscience” at our home.
I hope I never intentionally compare my grandchildren or do anything to make them question their self worth.
Who doesn’t love a playground? We were fortunate when we lived in Hawaii to have a fun playground in our side yard. The grandkids were basically raised there. We would gather together for BBQ under the mango tree and the kids would swing, climb the treehouse, challenge themselves on the monkey bars, and play in the sand! It was the best!
There was also a baby swing that was part of the great set that was put up before we moved into the home on BYU-Hawaii campus. My husband was Vice President of Student Life at the time. The house you see in the picture was the president’s home. The avocado tree bore wonderful huge avocados too!
At least half of my grandchildren got to swing in the baby swing. I tried to find all the pictures (sorry, only found six of the twelve, but aren’t they too cute!!):
Here is a poem about swinging:
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
How do you like to go up in a swing? Up in the air so blue? Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall, Till I can see so wide, Rivers and trees and cattle and all Over the countryside–
Till I look down on the garden green, Down on the roof so brown – Up in the air I go flying again, Up in the air and down!
I believe the power of this poem is in its cadence. The sounds swing you up and down with the visuals. It is also such a timeless poem; one with which children can still relate.
Swinging seems to make all the trouble go away. It was relaxing swinging the children and they seemed very happy.
Here is a video of Ileina and her mother got a bit carried away…
haha – kids are funny too!
Here’s more of my grandkids except this is not in Hawaii:
When we first starting having our grandchildren (my favorite accomplishment!), we were living in Hawaii. It was wonder living in Paradise. Most of the time a trip to the beach with the grandchildren was our favorite activity. I had to get used to the idea that it was not my sole responsibility to watch the children in the water so a shark would not attack or a drowning might occur. It was their parent’s responsibility. Yeah!
Our grandchildren took to the water readily and it was difficult to get them to go home (also not my responsibility)! We could just enjoy watching them as the waves threatened to suck them under or they got a jellyfish sting and their cousin peed on their wound, etc. Wow, being a grandparent is the best!
I especially taking pictures of the grandkids at the beach:
I loved living in Hawaii and being with our precious grandchildren. Nothing made me happier!
The grandkids are the nicest to you when they are small. Then they grow up! I used to be their idol (like a movie star). Now they are almost all taller than I am! How did that happen?
Oh, the lazy days on the beach in Hawaii. I have many fond memories of you!
Since it is Sunday, I thought I would put a religious spin on the story of our 12th grandchild, Lily Ruth. You see, my husbands name is Israel – only in his language it is spelled ‘Isileli. And, to make it more exact, his proper name is ‘Isileli Tupou (so, said the Queen – no for real!). I can get into that later, but this is about Lily.
When we discovered that my third son and his wife were expecting their fourth child, we were elated. I was invited together with the parents and their three children to the doctors office for the sonogram. What an exciting time for all of us as we anticipated whether the baby would be a girl or boy. There could not be a happier bunch in the whole wide world!
After a short time in the waiting room we were escorted into the exam room. The children and I were all seated together in front of our very own monitor screen! The nurse began the sonogram and gave commentary on what she was seeing. Suddenly there was a hush in the room. I could see that the nurse was still proceeding with the exam but she was not saying anything. Soon, we were told to return to the waiting room.
I won’t go into the details, but this is the moment we found out that our new baby GIRL would be born with spina bifida. It was a big life decision that the parents made to bring Lily into the world knowing she would need continual daily care and possibly be in a wheelchair most of her life. The doctor tried very hard to convince them to terminate the pregnancy but since both parents high moral standards and strong religious beliefs, they took upon themselves the responsibility to love and care for this precious child.
We were so happy that we were able to welcome Lily into our family. She has taught us all so very much and brought much happiness to our lives. I feel honored to have my name as part of hers. I can on imagine how joyous she will be to be able to walk up to greet Jesus one day.
Now we have six granddaughters and six grandsons. How perfect! I feel very blessed to have each and every one of my grandchildren. They are each cherished for their own individual talents and personalities. I’m so glad that they love getting together and we look forward to a gathering soon.
Stay tuned as I shared some of our most memorable adventures together.
Our eleventh grandchild, Izabella Liana, was born with a cute button nose and the need to express herself. She is such a joy to be around and she makes me so happy. Her middle name is after her auntie Liana and she loves to stay over at Liana’s house since she is the only girl child in her family and Liana and Ileina know how to keep her busy since she has a short attention span.
Bella was born in Utah. She was a sweet baby and rarely complained. As she grew she felt the need to dance. We loved watching as she entertained us by dancing, singing, or showing us her artwork. She helped her daddy paint her bedroom and decorated it so pretty.
The Many Faces of Izabella Liana!
Here is a video of her with her cousin Zara and one of herself dancing impromptu
We are so blessed to have Bella in our family. She is the source of so much joy and happiness.
We’ll take a break from our regular posts to shows how we have celebrated the 4th of July in the past and expose what we have planned for this year!
When we lived in Hawaii we usually went to the beach during the day and attended a special 4th of July program on a military base.
Since we have a Filipino side of our family, there is a tradition of singing karaoke. Our son and his family would invite friends over for sparklers, fireworks, eating and singing all night long. If you were shy, don’t worry – you would get your turn singing! It was great!
We have enjoyed the 4th of July celebration over the years and many of our fondest memories as grandparents are of those times.
This year we plan to go as a family to see Lake Tahoe. We are excited to be altogether again!
Some people ask me why I only have four children. That is especially true in Polynesian Cultures and also in our church’s culture. Truly I feel blessed to have the four I do have, but some of our friends have many more children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren than we do. Not to feel sorry for myself or just in case you are thinking “why does this grandma think she is qualified to have a Grandma Blog”, since she only has 12 grandchildren?
After our first two children we born, we were told that we could not have any more. That was disheartening for my husband and I. After many doctor visits, prayers, and blessings, we were told we could have maybe one more. That is when we had our third son. What a blessing he has been to us. We call him our “Saturday’s Warrior” baby (it is a musical). When it came time for him to have what would be his first and only son, we were ecstatic. I even had a dream and was told that the new baby’s name would be Joseph. When I told my son and his wife about my dream, they were surprised because that is the name they had already chosen!
Joseph James (after his maternal grandfather) was a healthy cute baby. He was adored by his big sisters and of course me. As he grew, he reminded me so much of when his father was younger. We still lived in Hawaii then and were so happy to visit with the family often. Jojo, as we called him adored his grandma and she loved spending time with him and the girls.He was very clever and would tolerate grandma taking fun pictures of him.
Joseph was born the same day that my mother passed away. It was a bitter-sweet day and I like to think that they passed along the way.
Jojo had an affinity for pacifiers. He could not be without several during the day and night.
My fifth grandson was a handsome little boy that looked so much like his father. His mother is from the Philippines and since Robbie would be their last baby, he was very attached to her. Unlike his oldest brother, he would rarely come to me. He was shy and would run to his mother whenever I was around. Of course, I tried my best to win his heart.
Robbie was so tiny that he could bathe inside a bucket! It didn’t help that his older brothers picked on him all the time. Israel and Princess had a sibling rivalry going on and Isi would always pick on his younger brothers, Ali’i and Robbie. When Israel left for college, Ali’i took up picking on Robbie.
Robbie spent most of his life moving with his military family. His father is in the Air Force and they have lived in Egypt, Okinawa, Philippines (while his father was in Korea), Italy, and the USA. This much moving would be hard on any kid! Despite his many trials, he has been able to grow and achieve.
Despite the long distances, I have been able to get closer to Robbie over the years. I am excited that he will be coming to stay with us this summer. He loves his cousins and his uncles and aunties in Utah. His uncle Joel took him door dashing one summer and he made a bit of money for himself.
The day you officially become a grandmother is the day you will never forget! For me it was a little over 21 years ago! I was with my daughter-in-law who invited me to the birth. It was a gruesome few hours for her and I admire her strength and tenacity. When the baby finally decided to surrender (albeit the force of the suction cup), we were all in high spirits. The triumphant arrival of the first male grandchild and his parents first child and son is a moment that will live forever in my mind.
One moment I was just a Momma and just like that I was Grand!! How cool is that! I tend to think of it as having graduated from Mommy school. After all the laughter and tears of raising my four beautiful children, I had earned a degree sort of like a Bachelor of Motherhood. Maybe (if I am lucky) I can get my Masters of Motherhood (great-grandmother).
Grandma, Grandmother, Nana, Mama, or whatever the title is – I love it!
My little Isiboy stole my heart. I doted on him whenever he was around. I spent so much time showing him everything and teaching him all I knew. I talked to him constantly when he was with me. He was my new toy. I loved shopping for him and dressing him up. I don’t remember being this excited with my own children, but this was different – I had no labor pains, postnatal blues, or responsibility! This was totally fun!!
The only problem with all the attention I gave my first grandchild was that he became very attached to me. His parents had a hard time taking him to their own home. He would start crying when he knew he was leaving and kick and scream for Grandma all the way home. Sorry about that!
So, how did you feel about your first grandchild? Were you as crazily in love with yours as I was with mine? I feel so blessed to have this amazing experience of Grandmotherhood!
Please share your thoughts in the comment section please! Thanks!
This is the place we can share our positive experiences with our grandchildren.
Recently, I realized that I have twelve beautiful grandchildren to dote on! It is quite the blessing as well as a responsibility. These precious souls range in age from 10 to 21 years. Of course, I have a birthday board with their months listed on it and a block that represents each grandchild (placed carefully according to the day). It helps remind me of whose birthday is coming up.
With so many birthdays to remember, I also keep a list with my calendar reminding me what year they were born. I don’t want to miss any milestones in their lives, and pray the good Lord will allow me sufficient health and memory to celebrate those special days with them.
I would love to hear how you remember your grandchildren’s birthdays and tell us about any of those special days you have spent with them.
Please click on “Leave a comment” at the top of the blog to post. Thanks!