Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Night To Remember

Last month I found myself perusing the site checking for events that would be held in honor of the 24th of July celebrations. I came across a concert being held on the 22nd by the Tabernacle Choir & thought it would be a great opportunity to take advantage of that my two older girls & I could enjoy. And with the tickets being FREE, that just added an extra incentive to the already pleasure of being in the presence of such a world renowned choir. I thought to myself that I should request an extra one in case my dad wanted to attend since anyone that really knows him, knows that he's their BIGGEST fan!! :D

So the way things work is that you are able to request tickets & then it's a waiting game to see if you've actually been picked to receive them in the mail. And you don't know until you actually get them. So a couple of weeks went by & I totally forgot about them until yup. . . .you guessed it. They arrived in my mailbox safe & sound. I was so excited!! I called my dad to see if he wanted to join us & he excitedly accepted the invitation. Then he went on to ask how in the world I got the tix?? I explained to him that I just requested them online last month & that I absolutely got LUCKY!! :D

A couple of days before the concert, I was already dreading thinking about walking downtown in the dreadful heat. My feet & legs were swollen & I was just miserable. I asked my dad if he would be okay to just take my girls himself & maybe go with my mom if she was available. My dad said it was no problem. But my mom had too much homework to get done so she arranged for my niece, Tasha, to join them instead. When the girls got back that night, they were just filled with pure happiness & excitement. My daughter, Lote, said that the tickets I had gotten were really good seats & my dad echoed the very same thing. I felt such deep gratitude in my heart & knew that the Lord was mindful of me & my growing family & I uttered a silent prayer in my heart giving thanks for all that they were able to enjoy. The girls' experience made them feel special. There was a sparkle in their eyes when they returned that lingered on for the rest of the night. This was something they weren't accustomed to, but they enjoyed it very much. And the quality time & memories created with their grandpa was unforgettable & priceless. My dad also told me that the impression I had received to not go was definitely a good one cause he didn't think I would've made just the walk alone. Downtown was packed & they had to park quite far from the Conference Center. Again, I was silently grateful for the promptings of the spirit on my behalf & for being able to have heeded it's guidance.

Heading out to the concert w/their grandpa :D

All ready to go!! They were so EXCITED!! :D

Well, it wasn't all boring & nothingness for me & the younger kids. We planned a dinner out @ Chili's with the younger ones & grandma. My mom didn't want them to just be home while the older ones got to enjoy a night out on the town. :D It's these kinds of things that make me ever so grateful for such caring parents. They would sacrifice ALL for their grandkids. I know that I take advantage of them more so than should be acceptable, but I'm learning as I get older to cherish the moments I'm able to spend with them. And especially the moments my kids are able to spend with them. They absolutely LOVE my parents & at times feel lost without them.

Dinner w/grandma @ Chili's

Surprise kisses for mommy. . . .Told him to say CHEESE & instead he gave me kisses!! Priceless. . . :D

Savou's totally being modest. :D

Savou punched baby Hoko in the nose just as I was taking this pix!! Hoi. . .

My handsome 24/7 helper!! :D

Savou totally complaining cause the food is taking too long to get to us. Lol. We really didn't wait long at all, but to him, it was FOREVER!!

He's a happy camper now!! :D

This night was definitely a night to remember. Even though I wasn't in attendance with my girls at the concert, the look that remained on their faces when they got back was unforgettable. And the time I got to spend with my mom was definitely appreciated. Even with Savou climbing all over the place, making all the noises in the world that you'd hope he wouldn't for just this one night & then to top it off with his adamant plea to leave the restaurant when you're barely digging into your meal?? Lol. It was still a GREAT night with thee BEST company I could ever hope for. :D

Thursday, July 28, 2011

'A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned'

I never quite grasped the importance of this concept growing up. Truthfully speaking, it was probably because when I look back on my life. . . . .I was pretty spoiled. My parents did everything they could to not only take care of our needs, but to also provide for our wants. One of the main things that I loved to spend money on during my teenage years was definitely clothes. I learned quickly how to bargain shop & what places to hit up that had GREAT prices. My dad used to always give us lunch money, but I skipped out on lunch & would save it all up during the week so I can hit up TJ Maxx & Ross on the weekends to get me some new clothes. $15-20 goes a long way if you know where to look & what to look for. It's really not about the quantity of fabric that you own, but moreso how you are able to switch things up & mix & match different pieces. In the end, it comes down to you not being afraid of being you. Trusting yourself wholeheartedly to be comfortable in your skin that it shows in your fashion taste. :D Not that I'm in any way a fashionista or anything. But I do love me some clothes!! Lol.

Anyways, Hoko is thee total opposite of me. He has always been tight with money. That is. . . .until we had our son. Then our second son came along. But really, it started with our first son. Who just so happens to be named after him. Lol. He loves to spend money on me & the kids. But mainly, the kids, since my collection of both clothes & shoes is pretty ridiculous. And even I can conform to that. He's balanced me out so much & changed my outlook in so many ways when it comes to money. The gospel & the experiences we've gone through has made all the difference as well. Especially the fact that we just keep having kids. Hahaha. . . . .

But we've both come to the conclusion that we want to be able to well equip our kids with the tools & knowledge of the advantages of saving money. How much independence they will gain in doing so. This single principle alone affects our lives in so many different aspects of it. It's not just about the financial side of things. It has everything to do with the very principle of delayed gratification. I've heard many of the leaders talk about this single principle. How everything these days is available to us with the click of a mouse or touch of a button. . . . .they warn that we may be missing so many opportunities because of the fact that we are always so unknowingly in a hurry. I want my kids to know that things mean more to them if they've actually put some thought in to what it is they want & what it took them to get it. I've been carefully choosing different opportunities to take advantage of in which I give them the free agency to get what it is that they want, but only if they are ready to spend their money to buy it. It's AMAZING to me how much they really think about whether it's worth it to them or not. I didn't think it would be so immediate. They hate to see the numbers on their digital piggy bank decrease instead of increase. They are constantly thinking twice about whether to buy this or whether to buy that. I love it so much!! They now understand when Hoko & I tell them that we are more than happy to provide for their needs, but if they WANT something. . . . .that's gonna have to come out of their own pockets.

So a couple of months ago, a lady in my ward dropped off an Avon catalog for me to browse through. One of the things that caught my attention was this cute digital piggy bank. It was of course battery operated, but it actually displayed the amount of money you had in it with every deposit made. I was seriously flabbergasted cause I'd never even considered such a thing. But I was immediately SOLD & planned to get my hands on a couple of these for the kids. Well, as time passed on I forgot about it until we went on our road trip to Cali & the girls did their number at the reunion & got quite a bit of money from it. I didn't want them to lose any of it, but they didn't have anywhere to put it. And I didn't want to hold it for them cause I wanted them to start taking responsibility for their own money. So as soon as we got back I searched for digital piggy banks & this was the most affordable one we found.

The girls absolutely adore their piggy banks & I'll need to take pictures of them so I can post Aaliyah's creativity that she came up with in order to distinguish/separate one from the other. And while it's not much to look at, it serves it's purpose quite well. But with Aaliyah's art put into work, it'll start to bloom in no time & not be such a sight for sore eyes. Lol. :D

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Busy Busy Holiday Weekend. . . . .

Mt Ogden Park that's filled w/this playground, hiking/biking/jogging trails, & a golf course :D

Cheesin' for his dad so Hoko can see how big he's gotten. :D

Enjoying her cookie dough shake from Jake's

So I've been indulging in my kids lately. This always happens when Hoko leaves out of town for work. I get so clingy to them that I'm not interested in doing anything that they can't be with me at. So that pretty much means that we've been at parks, movie theaters, grandma's house, auntie Lote's house & that's pretty much it. It's been really difficult, to say the least, for me to go to school since Hoko's been gone cause Savou's been that much more attached to my butt than normal. And I'm sure it has a lot to do with me being pregnant, again. He's also MAJORLY clingy to my girls. But if he sees me leaving somewhere, he gets so sad. He doesn't cry, he's just really sad & constantly staring out the front window awaiting my return. :( Awful, right?? Well, I'm just as CLINGY to them as they are to me. Lol. Or at least my youngest is. My other kids could care less if they're with me or not, except for maybe the fact that my older girls are pretty aware & mindful of my pregnancy & help out in every way they can. :D

Just getting to the Junction 13

Ready for 'Captain America' :D

Excited!! :D

Popcorn & drinks in hand :D

About half-way thru the movie, I ended up out in the hall w/the three younger ones cause they weren't interested in the movie anymore. Lol

He's the BIGGEST 'Cars' fan!! :D

And so are they!! :D

Well, last Saturday we went & grabbed us some shakes to give us some sort of temporary physical relief from this heat wave we've been experiencing lately. And while it hasn't been that hot, being pregnant in this kinda weather is the WORST!! After that we headed to the park for the kids to play while we waited for our movie to start. The kids were dying to watch Captain America, but we weren't in Salt Lake so that we could just go watch it at the drive inns. And since I wasn't about to pay for all of them, we came to an agreement that we would only go watch it at the Junction 13 if the girls paid for themselves from their piggy banks. Which they just got some pretty cool new ones that I'll for be blogging about real soon. :D

So we decided to take pics the WHOLE time while we waited for the movie to end. Lol.

Funny faces!! Lol!!

Baby Hoko took this pic. . .he did pretty good. :D

They can't wait to watch this movie. Esp since they know they're parents grew up watching these cartoons. :D

Sunday came & we were so excited & so happy for my nephew, Gemini. He just turned twelve years old the Friday prior, so we had the wonderful opportunity of witnessing this AMAZING young fella receive the Aaronic Priesthood. I am such a proud auntie of this young man. He is such a breath of fresh air in our family. He keeps us all laughing with his goofy & class clown nature. I have the FONDEST memories of him growing up cause I took care of him a lot & I love him for the decisions that he's made thus far in his life. He makes me so proud to be his aunt. As cheesie as that may sound, it's all true. :D My kids absolutely adore their cousin. It doesn't matter how much more older he is than them, he always treats them like their special & that they mean a lot to him. I love you GEMINI VAINUKU & am so happy that you've chosen to keep yourself worthy of upholding the priesthood ordinances that you just received. :D We bbq'd afterwards at my sister's place & enjoyed the company of families & friends.

Monday came & we headed to Liberty Park for the Days of '47 parade. Our favorite float was definitely this one: The Kung Fu Panda 2 float was so nice!! It's the only one I made sure we took a picture with. :D We also got to enjoy a lil concert put on by the infamous Liahona band. This band never disappoints year in & year out. I love watching their dancers & hearing their music. The rest of the day was filled with the kids playing with their cousins & just enjoying the overcast weather that filled up most of the day. Thank goodness or I wouldn't have made it through the day. My parents were ready to leave the park around 7 pm so we decided that was our que as well. :D We stopped by Mo Bettah Steaks to grab some food & then headed home. The weekend was definitely busy, but always so worthwhile when being able to spend it with family. :D
Definitely our FAVORITE float this year!! :D

Enjoying the mini concert given by the Liahona band :D

On a side note, I'm happy to say that summer semester is coming to a close sooner than later so I'll be too happy with the couple of weeks break before fall semester starts. Until then, that's all folks. . . . . .

Monday, July 18, 2011

CUTE, much?? :D

Hoko called me this evening & told me that he posted a message for me on my FB wall. This was what I found with this message attached to it: 'wanna dedicate this to my number ONE my BEST FRIEND in the whole world love and miss you so much' CUTE, much?? :D

I've never heard this song before, but I love it!! It's exactly what we've both been feeling like being apart this time around. Whether on different days, the same days or at the same time. . . .I got teary eyed listening to it over & over again!! I think because I'm so pregnant right now & my emotions are all over the place. And because I love this man with all my heart & can't imagine my life without him. Thnx for this babe!! Especially on a day like today when everything seemed to not be so easy. With the toilet flooding our basement at the top of this list. :( Gross. . . .but we got it all cleaned up & the Roto Rooter man came to the rescue. So we're now back in business. I'm trying to do my homework, but it seems impossible with my two boys missing their dad & harassing me about when he'll be back along with Savou's question of 'where daddy mom?' for about a million times a day. And as we're coming to a close of another day and Savou is literally doing his version of IP Man on my face right now, lol, I know we're gonna be doing this all over again tomorrow except with a whole new set of challenges brought on by a whole new day. Praying for a miraculous relief. . . .even though I know I'm being dramatic right now. This moment will surely pass as they all do & I will be fine. :D

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend/Summer Fun!! :D

Pineview Reservoir

The weekend's not over yet, but we've been having so much fun together. And by 'we' I'm referring to me & my kids. Oh & my nieces & nephews as well. :D The kids have been counting down the days til the release of the Harry Potter movie. And yet I had no clue. Lol. My sister called me earlier this week to see if I wanted to take Aaliyah to the premier of this movie this weekend cause she was taking Cedez. I told her it's okay cause I hadn't heard Aaliyah mention anything about it. Plus, I really wanted to spend time with ALL my kids & I'm not willing to pay for all of US to watch movies @ the megaplex. Too dang expensive!! That only happens when Hoko's home. Which seems to NEVER be during the summer time so we can HIT up the drive inns instead. Anyways, that very same day that my sister called me, I was sitting with the kids in the living room doing homework & the preview for the movie came on. . . . .after it was done, they all turned to me & said, "We're watching that this weekend right mom??" I was like, really?? You guys really wanna watch this movie?? And in unison they all replied, "YES!!" Hahaha!! So I decided to take it to the drive inns where we can take our own food, set up our own blankets & pillows, make as much noise as we want in our van, & most of all. . . . . .it won't cost us an arm & a leg. With of course the bonus being that we get to watch two movies instead of just one. :D

My CUTIE, Savou!! :D

We got to the drive inns a WHOLE hour & a half before the movie started

Baby Hoko cheesin'

Everyone waited ever so patiently. . . . :D My handsome nephews, Gemini & Sale

Posers. . . .

Me with ten of the kids. . . .the eleventh one is taking this pix!! Lol.

So I called my sister up yesterday cause I knew that her & her husband were attending a funeral for a death in the family (her husband's side), to see if they were taking their kids with them. She said most likely not so I volunteered my services in taking all five of her kids along with my six. WOW!! Hahahaha. . . . .as crazy as it sounds, the only thing I hadn't thought about was how we were all gonna fit. Hoi!! But we did & towards the end of Harry Potter, which was our first movie, all the younger kids were sound asleep. Thank goodness. We were able to enjoy our second movie, Green Lantern, in peace. No bathroom runs, breaking up fights, cleaning up spills, changing diapers, etc. . . . .we got to just LOUNGE around & literally enjoy the second movie. :D We had such a blast, even with eleven kids in tow. But I probably won't be doing that again. And only because I don't have enough room for them to ride comfortably in to & from where ever it is we go.

These three were excited that movie finally started!! Lol.

Snacks & drinks in the cooler ready to go!! :D

So intense!! Lol.

Still in one piece!! Hahaha. . . .

After we dropped my nieces & nephews off at home, we drove back here to Ogden to OUR home. We didn't get here til after three. And surprisingly, I still had enough energy to carry my three younger ones to their beds, bring in our cooler, chairs & blankets, & clean out the van. I've kinda been going thru this phase of being OCD about keeping our van clean. I'm the same way about our home, but our minivan's much more compact in size to be able to stay on top of so I pick the van. It has a lot to do with the fact that my kids just can't clean the way I like things to be cleaned so I've given up on the fact that it'll ever be that way between now & Oct. My due date. I can't wait for it to hurry up & get here. And yet we're still evidently in July. Lol.

The view while we're driving!! :D Isn't it beautiful?? :D

Well, on to the next. Today started off kinda late in the morning. I didn't wake up until 10 am. And it wasn't by choice. It was to Savou's every morning plea to please fill up his cup. :D So I happily get up for him cause he's such a CUTIE & so innocent in his plea for his cup to be filled up!! :D It's also one of the very few things that'll make his dad jump up & run as quickly as he can to fulfill his baby's request. Lol. After doing that, I knew that Savou was up for good. But he was still a little lazy so we laid in bed for another hour or so before actually really getting up for the day. I promised the girls that we'd go to the library today since we didn't make it there yesterday. They had books that needed to be returned & they also wanted to pick up some new ones. After we all ate breakfast, cleaned house & showered, we were off to the library. While there, there was a sign up pointing to a room with it's door opened that read family movie showing @ 3. I glanced quickly & kept walking so we can hurry & return their books & get started on finding new ones. Once we were all done, we headed out. But when I saw this sign again, I stopped & told the kids for us to walk in the theater & check it out. I was literally AMAZED!! The theater is awesome. And so big!! I tried to convince the kids for us to stay & watch 'Aladin' which is what was showing, but the older girls were adamant on heading to the lake. So we came to a compromise & decided that we'll plan to come to the next movie showing which is on the 30th. And they're showing 'Alice In Wonderland.' One of my all time faves!! :D
We headed straight to the lake from there. I'm not exactly sure what this lake is called, but it's only a couple of minutes from my house. And it's BEAUTIFUL!! Today was THEE perfect day to be there. The water wasn't too cold. The sun wasn't too HOTT. The breeze was perfect, both in temperature & in movement. I was so grateful. I packed sandwiches, chips, cookies, & drinks for the kids so we were set. :D We swam, we ate, we played, we laughed. . . . .& most importantly, we spent quality time creating unforgettable memories with each other. I love my kids so much for being such a constant reminder to me that it's always the simple things in life that creates such happiness all around us. And more importantly, all around ME. It's definitely been such a memorable weekend while at the same time, there was no special occasion being celebrated or even any of this being previously planned. Yet we had such an amazing time together. :D And what surprised me the most was having so much fun in the absence of my husband. Even though I know for sure that it would've been much more enjoyable with his presence cause I know he would've went all out & had the bbq going, a canopy up & all that good stuff. . . . .but it was fantastic nonetheless. :D Here's our weekend pics!! Enjoy. . . . .

Having a blast!! :D

So much FUN!! :D

I love them so much!! Each of them are a piece of ME. . .. :D

These two were the first out of the lake!! Lol.