One of the main reasons we moved to Utah after we retired was to be closer to our grandchildren. We wanted to attend their concerts, plays, recitals, musicals, etc. It has been a delight to watch them participate in their activities.
Here are a few of our favorite pictures and videos from performances or activities our grandchildren have been involved in.
Isi sang in the BYU-Hawaii Concert Choir. It was thrilling to watch and hear him sing.
Princess has also sung in school choirs and has a beautiful voice. Ali’i .has an amazing voice also!
Most of our grandchildren play the ukulele, piano, guitar, or other instrument.
Jacob Tupou is into writing and loves books. He has sung in some performances at school and keeps a website going called allthewriting.com
Ileina has lived closest to us since we have lived in Utah so we have attended several of her performances. She was in a Polynesian dancing group together with her cousins, Anna and Eryn.
Ali’i and Robbie are very skillful in sports. Ali’i has excelled in volleyball and Robbie in basketball. Check out their dancing skills here, especially Robbie!
It is always good to reflect on the things that we accomplished during the last year and to feel gratitude for the bad and the good. One thing for sure is that our grandchildren are growing up. This has brought tears of joy and sadness. They each work hard to enhance their talents. We try to attend as many concerts, performances, recitals, plays, birthday parties, and celebrations as we possibly can with our grandchildren. These thing bring us so much joy and happiness and keep us grounded. Liana, Ileina, and I flew to Las Vegas just to watch a Celine Dion concert and it was fabulous!
‘Isileli has spent the majority of his time driving cars for Budget, working as a sealer in the temple, and giving Patriarchal blessings. I serve as his “scribe”. During the spring and summer months, ‘Isi and I are usually found working in our yard and garden from which we had a good harvest this year.
I have spent much of my time teaching English online in Asia for iTutorGroup. I also started selling on Poshmark. This latest venture has been fun but now my home is beginning to look like Goodwill! I learned a whole new terminology as a “reseller” and spend much of my time “thrifting” and sharing my “haul” to interested buyers. I also sell Avon, mainly so I can get a discount on their products. I occasionally do some painting, write posts for my blog: grandma bloggers.com, and write blog articles for smarterparenting.com
Healthwise, this has not been our best year! Both ‘Isi and I are starting to “lose it” and have a hard time remembering where we put things, names of common things, how to swallow – things like that! We don’t drive at night. Getting old is not fun at all, but we are grateful to still be alive. We are fortunate to have our own personal Dr. Kinikini (Liana) nearby who has dealt with our frequent complaints and aches. My shingles returned and Grave’s disease continues to haunt me.
Desperate times demand desperate measures. We have tried “tapping”, “natural” medicine, hormone therapy, counseling, etc. Actually, we are ending the year on a high note (crossing our fingers)! Next on our calendar is cataract surgery! I remember when my mother and grandmother had that. Yikes!
A highlight of the year was attending my 50th year reunion from high school. Yep, I graduated in 1969! I got to meet old friends and had a wonderful time. Meanwhile, ’Isi traveled to Tonga together with Joel, Anna, Eryn, and Joseph. They enjoyed the time together and the kids learned so much about their Polynesian heritage.
We visit with Dad often. He is doing quite well for a 93-year-old. Jacob and family live in Lehi so we get to see them often. They are all so talented! Little Big Jakey is writing and Zion making a computer! Wow! James Ali’i is amazing at volleyball and Robbie loves basketball!
Our latest venture was to Arizona and this time I made it all the way there! We had a stopover in Lake Havasu and then went on to the Scottsdale area where we had a Kongaika Reunion. We spent time with all of our grandchildren during the reunion. We just had Israel and Princess visit us on their break from university.
Lily was recently in a Christmas Performance with “Friend to Friend” This group is made up of children and adults with special needs. It always helps to remind us of the real meaning of the holidays. Lily still holds her own single solos in the program!
We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! and a Happy New Year 2020!!
We recently returned from our family reunion in Arizona. My favorite part of the reunion was being with most of my grandchildren. We missed having our oldest grandson who is studying at BYU-Hawaii.
We ate, danced, ate, talked, ate, visited, ate, played fun games, ate, sang karaoke, ate, played sports, ate, etc. representatives from each family shared their talents at a talent night. It was an awesome reunion.
We are so grateful to those that were in charge of this year’s reunion. The Theme was “Our Roots Run Deep”. A t-shirt was designed by our son, Jacob. Scriptural references: Colossians 2:6-7: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” and Jacob 5: 46-47: Allegory of the tame and wild olive trees.
Rob had prepared some fun games that the children, youth, and a few adults enjoyed. Then came one game that brought out the beast in a few of our otherwise sane family members.
Near the end of the reunion, we took photos. I hope someone will post the whole family picture. I only have a picture of our own family.
If I told you that someone bought the London Bridge and paid to have it moved to the desert of Arizona, would you believe me? It is true! I am a recent witness to the beauty and majesty of a bridge originally located in England which was disassembled piece by piece and moved 5400 miles. It has become Arizona’s second biggest tourist attraction (the Grand Canyon is number one).
I first became acquainted with Lake Havasu when I was a child. My father had seen an advertisement for a free flight offered by Robert McCulloch, Sr. (1911 – 1977). This rich entrepreneur flew interested persons to the middle of the desert where no roads led. He had planned a whole community in the hot dry heat of Western Arizona. The area had previously been used as a military base. Since my father had served in the Air Corps right after high school, he jumped at the opportunity to go on a free flight. He was one of many prospective land buyers that purchased a plot of desert. I’m sure he bought it in the hopes of building a winter home to get away from cold Utah winters.
I remember traveling to Lake Havasu once there was a paved road that went all the way to Lake Havasu. This lake was the result of the Parker Dam which plugged up the Colorado River running through Arizona all the way to California. Unfortunately, many Indian lands were covered by the new lake and they had to make homes elsewhere.
My husband and I stayed at the Havasu Dunes, a timeshare trade for us. It was comfortable and adequate although not luxurious.
We set out to check out the lake, the London Bridge, and the local museum. It was very interesting to learn about Mr. McCulloch. He bought the London bridge for a bit over $2 million. It had originally spanned the River Thames, but was sinking so was put up for sale. Not something you think about buying every day, but I guess it was on his radar! He was quite a visionary and the London Bridge has been featured in a couple of movies. If you are superstitious, you may see a British police bobby patrolling the bridge at night. Also, it is home to guano (bats) that inhabit the hollow interior.
Once we got near the bridge, we saw many boaters, paddlers, water skiers and a ferry. It was a water lovers paradise!
We decided to take the ferry. It was a great ride and we felt like we were back in Hawaii for a minute, but then realized we were in the middle of the desert. The learned that there were 27 lighthouses in Lake Havasu many of which were replicas of other lighthouses in the United States. We took a ride to see how many we could find. There are still plenty of land plots to purchase, some with water fronts if anyone is interested. We opted to try and pay off our mortgage in Utah before we die!
We took the ferry ride to the other side of the lake. There were plenty of ducks in the lake and the weather was fine. I thought it was a round trip, but we were heard “All ashore!”. So, along with the rest of the passengers, we took to land near a new casino. We were told it would be back soon before the ferry took off. A wind really picked up and the ride back across the lake was a bit bumpy. Safely back on shore, we made our way back through the gates to Lake Havasu and to our little cottage in the dunes.
The museum wasn’t too far from the bridge itself. We enjoyed learning more about the beginnings of Lake Havasu, the actual lake and the city. It had grown quite a bit since I first visited many years earlier. So much history, including some from London, the Indians that inhabited the land before the dam created the lake, and so much more. It was amazing!
We stayed for three nights in Lake Havasu and enjoyed the break from our regular schedules. It was very edifying and inspiring. The next time you sing, “London Bridge is falling down”, just we assured that it is well established in its new home and very much loved.
Just FYI – the population of Lake Havasu City was 15,500 in December of 1975 and by 2010, the U.S. Census estimated the population to be 52,527. McCulloch Blvd is the main street and there is actually a Beachcomber Blvd on an island where many of the lighthouses can be found. Interestingly, California is on one side of the lake and Arizona is on the other.
I decided to look back on our time as grandparents and Christmas celebrations with the grandchildren. It took a bit to find all the pictures, but here are some of them.
One year we went as a family to visit a dear friend in his 90s, Elder Glenn Rudd. He had been our Area President when we served in Tonga.
Since Lily joined our tribe, we have been going to her Friend to Friend productions which are a highlight of the holiday season. She has never been afraid to get up and sing in front of an audience and astounds us every time.
One year we had the children dress up and we did the nativity scene. It was very fun and special.
One of our favorite places to visit during the holidays is Salt Lake Temple Square.
We have two birthdays in December and one anniversary.
A few more pictures…
Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without grandchildren! We are so blessed to have our grandchildren!
Wishing each of our friends and family a very Happy Holiday. Christ is the reason for the season.
As I approach my 70th year of life on this earth, I feel the need to show my gratitude to all of those who have helped me along the way. First, I know my Heavenly Father has directed our travels throughout the world and protected us from accidents, major sickness, and has blessed us with a beautiful family. He blessed us with loving, caring children and grandchildren, for whom I am incredibly thankful. I’m so glad that all of our children love and support one another. How incredibly blessed we feel.
We have been led to Tonga, American Samoa, Arizona, and Hawaii during our marriage. I’m not sure why we moved so much, but here is a rundown of our moves: (I have previously written some articles about our experiences which I will link below)
Provo, Utah 1977-1978 ~ We returned to BYU-Provo to work on Isi’s Master’s Degree. We had Joel ‘Aholelei Kongaika while ‘Isi was going to University. ‘Isi’s field project was a Pictorial Instruction on How to Operate a Metal Lathe for Tongan Students.
American Samoa 1979-1980 ~ ‘Isi was hired by the American Samoa Department of Education to work in Leoni High School as well as at American Samoa Community College to prepare teachers for certification. We had Jacob Epikopo Manuia while working in American Samoa. I attended American Samoa Community College while I was expecting.
Arizona 1981-1982 ~ ‘Isi was hired by the Pinal School District to work at Coolidge Middle School and taught MIE Industrial Education classes.
God has always been in the picture as we have moved from place to place. There have been trials, sickness, and disappointments, but as we look back on our life, It seems to all have been orchestrated for our own good.
We moved to Utah five six years ago when we retired from BYU Hawaii. I grew up here and was familiar with the four seasons. We had moved to the South Pacific where there are two seasons (rainy season and dry season). When we lived in Hawaii, Tonga, and American Samoa, I missed the crisp air of the fall and seeing the autumn leaves, the white snow of winter, and the new buds of Spring. Most of the time it was warm or hot, humid or raining.
We have tried to make it a point to go up the canyon to see the autumn leaves before they loose their vibrant colors. Yesterday we got to drive up American Fork Canyon and along the Alpine Loop down to Provo Canyon. It was a warm Sunday afternoon. We noticed that the peak of the autumn leave vibrance has passed but we still enjoyed the views. Here are a few pictures I took along the way.
My grandchildren are the reason we moved to Utah as well as to be close to our extended family. Thru the years we have taken a few pictures of our grandkids helping with the leaves or playing in the autumn leaves.
October is even better because it is both ‘Isi and my birthdays as well as our Anniversary!
My favorite food of all time is pumpkin pie and I usually wait until fall to eat pumpkin cookies, rolls, muffins, and anything else you can make with pumpkin.
We live very close to the Petersen Family Farm which sells pumpkins in October. They have a corn maze and other fun stuff for the kids. I have taken some of our grandchildren to pick out their pumpkin for Halloween.
So glad that our grandkids and their families enjoy the out-of-doors.
We are fortunate to have visited far away places during the autumn and caught a few pictures of fall’s splendor including Germany, Slovenia, Austria, and Italy. Here are some of them:
The above pumpkins were in a pumpkin contest in Germany. Maybe you can get some ideas for your own decorating.
This time of the year is beautiful with the weather cooling down and the leaves changing colors. It is probably my favorite season. Both my husband and I have birthdays in October as well as our anniversary, so it is a special time for us. We have fond memories of pumpkin pie and outings to celebrate our birth and marriage. Also, we get to see our grandchildren turn into amazing creatures for Halloween!
When the kids are small their parents usually pick out their costumes, but when they get older, they create their own look. They are usually ready well ahead of trick or treating time. I have gone through our pictures and share a few of my favorites here:
Then there is our youngest son, Jacob, who makes professional photos out of his kids and their costumes:
Of course, some of our own children (the parents) sometimes get involved and want to relive their childhood by wearing their own costumes too:
Then Grandma (myself) has to take some of the Halloween children and make it into a fun Halloween collage:
Here is a picture with several of our grandchildren altogether:
Halloween is particularly fun for children since they get to dress up and beg for tons of candy. The parents “get” to take them out while they are young in inclement weather. Grandparents can stay warm and dry inside and wait for a treat from one of the grandchildren.
Halloween is not my favorite holiday but it is definitely fun to see the children enjoying themselves. I have written about ghost stories over the years and also some scary experiences we have had at Halloween time. BEWARE!
I am a very fortunate mother. I say that because I have been blessed with a very loving and caring daughter. Many people want a son as their first child, but I believe it is better to have a daughter first. This is a tribute to all loving and caring daughters everywhere, but especially to my own. She was raised in the South Pacific Island of Tonga and is the eldest of four children.
My daughter was born after a very long hard labor, but when I first saw her cute little face, all of the pain and misery left. She actually was a honeymoon baby, born nine months and two days after we were married.
Over the years, we have become best of friends, and at times I feel that she is more of a mother than I am. I had a very troubled childhood and tumultuous teenage years. Perhaps my daughter learned from my mistakes, but she has never been any trouble and has always been there to lift me up.
I am eternally grateful that the Lord saw fit to bless me with such a beautiful and thoughtful daughter. I see the trouble other daughters cause in their family, including myself, and know the Lord was watching out for me when he sent this special spirit to our family.
The saddest day I remember is when my daughter left me to go to university. It took me a long time to get over and her absence was literally painful. But, I knew she had to find her own path and future. Her caring nature carried over into a career. She chose to be a nurse, and I have heard from several of her patients who remark about her loving character. Now she is a Nurse Practitioner and she is a doctor to many, including me.
My daughter and her husband have been blessed with their own beautiful daughter, who is also a sweet and devoted child that bring all of us many smiles and so much joy.
Daughter, I love you so much, more than I ever thought I could love another human being. I am so happy to call you my daughter and hopeful for the mother that I am becoming through you and with you. Thank you for helping me in times of need. I can never repay you for all that you have done for me.
For always and forever, you are the biggest part of my heart.
My daughter’s new daughter How precious and sweet Beautifully perfect From her head to her feet
Ten tiny fingers And ten tiny toes All dressed up in lace With a cute button nose
I look at her face And I see her bright smile I have to admit Takes me back quite awhile
I remember the day Brought my own daughter home More precious than anything I’d ever known
Our daughters are the most precious of our treasures, the dearest possessions of our homes and the objects of our most watchful love. ~ Margaret E. Sangster
A daughter is beauty at its finest. Heart of an angel, soul so pure, and sweet. Daughters are one of God’s most precious gifts that he has bestowed upon the world. Angels in Heaven do not compare to thine beauty, and grace my ever so beautiful, and lovely daughter.
Seeing you at birth brought more joy to me than all the money in the world could ever do. You are morning, bright, and shining, you are noon, you reside at the highest point in my heart, you are the dew kissed night. You are my daughter, heart, and soul. ~anonlymous
Liana has already taken upon herself the “burden” of being our family doctor. Whenever we are sick, she is right there to make sure we get the best care. She will stay up all night with us until she is sure we will be alright. If she really wanted to, she could ask any of her brothers for one of their children (although I’m pretty sure she won’t). She also asks them to take responsibilities by preparing food or giving money for a family member and they oblige willingly. I’m so glad that my sons respect their sister and help her when they can. Although we don’t live in Tonga any more, Liana is a very good example of service to the whole family.
My husband’s mother, Lu’isa Olivia Brown, was born on September 9, 1916. Her father was James Herbert Brown and her mother was Ema Lu’isa Manu Tupou. She was half Caucasian and half Tongan. She was a very beautiful lady with many gifts. She could sew, cook, dance, and she always had a smile on her face when I saw her. Besides her eight natural children, she took care of many other children who consider her their mother. She and her husband served several missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She also worked as a dorm mother at Liahona High School in Tonga and for much of her life she took in sewing for others.
When we lived in Tonga in the 70s, I would often leave my children with Luisa and Viliami. I was often surprised when I returned to pick up the children to find she had sewn them brand new outfits. She was an excellent seamstress and would sew without patterns. She could also bake delicious cakes and then decorate them beautifully. She lived most of her life in Tonga until her husband passed away after which she remained in the United States, living with her children and their families.
Lu’isa never had much in the way of material goods, but she was an elegant lady, always trying to look her best.
When I think of Lu’isa, I think of someone who was always helping others. She fed the missionaries and shared her food with neighbors. She loved all people and they loved her. She was invited to the Tongan Palace because she was a very close relative to the royal family. She was very humble and went only on occasion. She loved her sisters, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She and Vili helped many other children than her own.
Lu’isa and her husband, Vili, sacrificed many things to go to the temple to be sealed as a family. Vili passed away before the Tonga Nuku’alofa Temple was built.
Her children rise up and call her blessed: her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all. ~ Proverbs 31:28-29
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. ~ Proverbs 31:30-31
I shall never forget my mother, for it was she who planted and nurtured the first seeds of good within me. ~ Immanuel Kant
Beauty is God’s handwriting. ~ Charles Kingsley
Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed. ~ Storm Jameson
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6
The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her. ~ George Washington.
Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence. ~ Plato
There is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother. ~ Washington Irving
The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. ~ W.R. Wallace
I’m so grateful Lu’isa was my mother-in-law. She was always a good example to me and our children. She raised a fine son who is my husband, and we try to live the way she and the Lord would want us to.
Sayings and quotes from Mother,I Love You by Helen Steiner Rice.