Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel, Uncategorized

I Can See the Light in Their Eyes

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.

Our youngest grandchild

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). 

Three of my grandchildren sharing the light!

Children can give us a glimpse into heaven, if only for a moment. Here is a talk by one of our dear friends and an apostle of God, James E. Faust in a talk, The Light In Their Eyes:

Doctrine and Covenants 93:2

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.

One of my granddaughters with a “gift” for me

Here is a picture I painted depicting how I feel about children:

My Precious, by Ruth Kongaika

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.

Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, home, Parenting, photography, travel

Our Favorite Playground

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:

The Swing

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

(1850-1894 )

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:

What is more fun than a swing??

Baby Swing
Cultures, food, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, holidays, Parenting, travel

Fueling My Passion for Being a Grandmother

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!

The grandkids at the beach in Hawaii

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!

Burying the cousin in the sand at the Beach
Taking pictures of the grandkids at the beach in Ha
Parents watching their own kids at the beach

I especially taking pictures of the grandkids at the beach:

So pretty!
Too cute!
Dashing young man!
OK – Stop Grandma!!

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!

Recipes from Hawaii
Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, home, Parenting, Religion, travel

The Twelfth Tribe of Israel

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.

Lily doing a hula (sorry for my singing – blah)
Hula outfit for baby
Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, food, Grandchildren, health, home, Music, Parenting, photography, travel

The Little Ballerina

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.

Izabella Liana

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!

Someone was trying to take Bella’s food!!
Her little eyes can melt you!
Bella can also let you know when is irritated!

Here is a video of her with her cousin Zara and one of herself dancing impromptu

Impromptu Dance by Bella
Joy with Bubble Wrap Bella and Zara

We are so blessed to have Bella in our family. She is the source of so much joy and happiness.

Tutu for the Ballerina
Cultures, food, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, travel

4th of July Fun and Making Memories

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!

Robbie on the 4th of July in Hawaii

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!

Siope, Liana and Ileina after the parade where the Tongan Band marched and played on the 4th of July
Princess learning about the making of the U.S. flag.
Waiting for the night program on the 4th of July
Attending a military program with our son and comrade.
Some of this video was footage of a 4th of July in Hawaii with our military family.

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!

Dress up baby boy for
The 4th of July
Dress up baby girl for
The 4th of July
Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel

Made it to Number Ten!

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.

Jojo and his pacifiers!
Be sure to have a supply of pacifiers on hand!
Cultures, food, Grandchildren, health, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, travel

My Dear Little One (Mahal na isa)

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.

Robert Mateialona

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.

Robbie started the selfie lip movement!

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.

Get a deluxe baby tub for your baby
Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, home, Parenting, photography, travel

Two Little Brothers

Kids make the best pinterest ads

Jakeyboy (that’s what we called him to distinguish him from his Daddy) would be getting a new little brother. He was only two years old and didn’t really know what was going on. His parents were a bit worried that he might be jealous of the new baby, so right before the new baby was born they gave Jakeyboy a special present. They have been good friends besides brothers ever since.

Zion Viliami

I remember feeling about the same way because our first two children were fifteen months apart. Sibling rivalry is a concern for many parents. Now cousin Israel had a little sister and a brother and cousin Anna had gained a little sister. Our grandchildren were growing in number and we were quite busy getting to know them. We learned so much from each one and enjoyed spoiling them a little. We knew we were blessed to have them in our family and wanted to do the best for them.

Baby Zion Menehune

As for my artistic side, I saw an opportunity to use my grandchildren in photo shoots. This one of Zion was taken when he was on a few months old on the North Shore of Hawaii. It reminded me of the stories of Hawaiian menehune who appeared at night marching across rainforests. I couldn’t help myself sharing this fun picture!

Take photographs of your own children with these tools

Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, Parenting, travel

Seven is a Lucky Number!

In one year (2003), we were blessed with three beautiful grandchildren! They grew up together and became good buddies. The following year we received our seventh grandchild and fourth granddaughter. Little Eryn was born in Hawaii and unlike her older sister, she was very mellow and low maintenance. At least that is what we thought…

Eryn Moana (her middle name means “ocean” in Hawaiian)

I remember when she was only a month old we went with her and her parents to Turtle Bay to watch the fireworks for the 4th of July. She slept through them all and never fussed at all. We were wondering why she wasn’t crying at all. When we felt her little head, she had a raging fever! Oh, no! She was taken to the emergency room at the nearest hospital. It was not very well known for excellent service, and our new baby was rushed to Kapiolani Hospital in Honolulu. That was pretty nerve shattering!

Eryn stayed in the hospital for quite some time. She had a bad urinary tract infection which would be the start of many more to come. We each have our trials and this appeared to be one of hers and her parents. We all took turns taking the long windy road from the North Shore of Oahu to visit or stay with Eryn during her time in the hospital. Thank goodness for modern medicine!

Eryn at the beach in Hawaii, Digital Art by Ruth Kongaika
Have a thermometer on hand for baby!