Cultures, food, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, holidays, home, Music, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel

Our Grandchildren’s ‘Ulumotu’a

According to Tongan culture, the oldest male son in the family is the ‘Ulumotu’a. Here is a link to read more about this.

This role is inherited by the eldest male line. In our case, our oldest son is Robert (Lopeti). It just so happens to be his birthday this month. He has shown his ability to be a leader in his family, while serving in the Air Force, and in his ecclesiastical responsibilities.

His role (as far as his siblings are concerned) is to officiate at family activities, funerals, weddings, and special events. The ‘Ulumotu’a has the final say on these events when it comes to the family.

According to this custom, the Ulumotu’a in my husband’s family is his older brother, Sioeli. He helped to bring most of his siblings to the United States and has supported several of them while they made the transition. We appreciate all he has done for his brother while at school and for our family.

Robert James Kongaika was born October 2, 1974 in Tonga and he eventually became fluent in the Tongan language. When the family left Tonga to move to Hawaii in 1992, Robert stayed behind and lived with his grandmother, Lu’isa so he could graduate from Liahona High School.

Similar to John Groberg’s son in the movie, The Other Side of Heaven 2, Fire of Faith (2019), Robert nearly died at one point in Tonga. He had a very high fever and lost consciousness when he was less than a year old. We tried to wake him up, but nothing worked. We were frantic and the doctor (Salesi Havili) met us at the hospital. Baby Robert received a shot and he finally started crying. I was so relieved to hear his cry. Since then, he has been strong in body and strong in will.

Robert was named after his grandfather, Robert H. Anderson. My Dad taught him all about airplanes, having been a pilot in World War II. Robert soaked it all in and it stoked his desire to serve in the Air Force.

Robert met his eternal companion, Abi, at BYU-Hawaii. They had four children, Israel, Princess, James, and Robbie. They have all supported and followed him throughout his career in the military. We are all thankful for the time and effort he and the family have put into helping to keep America free and safe.

We are grateful Robert came to our family and appreciate his great example of service! We wish our family ‘Ulumotu’a a very Happy Birthday, !

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
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.

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