Music I Love

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


My maternal grandmother lived with us when I was growing up.  Her life story was fascinating to me then, and I often asked her to tell me what little she knew about her parents and her early years. Sometimes, if I caught her in the right mood, I could coax out of her the most vivid details from her past.  She was born in Puerto Rico with a twin sister.  Her mother died in childbirth, but there was a much older sister who took care of them while their father worked.  Eventually, he and his three daughters took a ship from Puerto Rico to Maui where he planned to work the pineapple plantations.  Apparently there was quite a lot of work there and masses of people migrated from Puerto Rico to Maui for several years in the early 1900s.  There are passenger records that I've found that confirm his passage around 1905, but there are no records of my grandmother or her sisters.  In 1910, there is a census record showing that both my grandmother and her twin sister were residents in a Salvatoin Army orphange in Maui.  My grandmother said that after they moved to Maui, her older sister died, and their father was forced to take the twin girls to a local orphanage because he had no way to care for them during the long working season.  Both girls lived there until they were in their late teens. 

Since starting this new family history hobby (which sometimes feels more like a compulsion) I've had such a hard time finding any information about my grandmother's parents.  I have tried on many occasions to remember their names because I know she mentioned them, but each time they eluded me.  Finally last month, when I found the Puerto Rico to Maui passenger list, I found a passenger named C Bruno, and I knew that was my grandmother's father.  A little more digging led to a marriage record between C Bruno and a woman named Tamashia in the late 1890s.  That name didn't sound familiar and it didn't feel quite right when I added it to Family Search, but it was the closest thing I had to a name for her, so I printed it out and took it to the temple last week when we did baptisms as a family. 

And then today, while I was sitting in the temple, thinking about my mom and my grandmother and all of the other people whose work we've been so diligently focused on lately, I heard in my head the tiniest little whisper, "Thomasia."  And with it came all the familiarity that I needed to confirm that that was my great grandmother's name. 

I have a testimony of the miracles of family history work and the blessings that come when we are actively engaged in the eternal welfare of those who came before us.  I know that through the Holy Ghost, anything and everything can be brought to our remembrance.  I know that Heavenly Father knows the intentions of our hearts and will give us the things that we need and that will most help prepare us for his plans for our future. 

I am so grateful to have been in the temple today and to have received that one tiny whisper along with a few others that I needed.  Heavenly Father is absolutely in the details of our lives. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bike Rodeo

McKay and I went to our monthly Cub Scout pack meeting/bike rodeo last night.  Can you see by the look on his face that he's not super excited about being there?  It's funny to watch these kids of mine as they become old enough to move into new programs and organizations.  At first, they are filled with excitement and enthusiasm, but as they approach the next transition, they get antsy and move on in their little heads before they've officially moved on in age.  McKay will be 11 next month and will cross over into the Boy Scout program.  He's completed all of the Webelos requirements and earned his Arrow of Light.  And enduring additional Cub Scout activities is a bit agonizing.  I looked at this picture this morning, though, and realized that he's pretty ready for that next stage.  His Cub Scout shirt is filled with achievements (that his mother finally sewed on permanently last night...)  He's outgrown the younger boys that are still excited about new Cub experiences.  And apparently he's outgrown that bike a little bit, too.  We're both very excited for the next stage of scouting, but we have loved this time in Cubs.  (I'm not-so-secretly hoping that I'll also get to transition out of Cub Scouts when McKay leaves...)  

The scouting program does amazing things for confidence levels in little boys.  They get to build rockets, and hike, and work as teams, and discover things , and shoot stuff.  And they earn badges for all of that fun!  It's really an awesome thing to be a part of, and I'm so grateful to all of the leaders who make events like this one the middle of the summer, with less than stellar attendance.  I'm grateful that McKay has been able to earn all those badges and beads in the last 3 years and that he can look at that shirt and be proud of his accomplishments.  

Boy Scouts, here we come!  (well, not WE!  I'm definitely NOT going to Boy Scouts with him!)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Allen Celebration

Over the weekend we went to our 4th annual Allen Celebration.  Oh how I love this event!  It is ridiculously huge and SO much fun.  We look forward to it every year, not just because of the great music and the fireworks at the end of the night, but also because we get to see our friends, especially the Rodriguez family.  It's been way too long since we've gotten together, and I loved getting to connect with them for a little while in between all the celebration festivities.  

Savannah worked the event this year, so we took full advantage of her VIP parking pass and she loved being in the center of everything.  

And who wouldn't want to be in the center of this!?
Every year, we have an awesome show.  We've had Foreigner, Styx, and the Bangles in previous years.  And this year it was Pentatonix!! exciting!  We opted to sit a little closer to the stage this year because we love them so much.  

I love this time of year.  I love staying out late at night and sleeping in the next day.  I love lazy weekends, and friends finding any excuse to get together.  I love live music outside.  And I especially love fireworks! 

This is the first of lots of fireworks shows we'll get to watch this summer, and it's only June!  

I love summer.  

And here's some Pentatonix music just in case you haven't heard them before.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

High Five for Friday

Here's what my week looked like...

1.  New Furniture.  This lives in my living room now.  I'm kind of in love with it.  

2.  Lunch.  Savannah works a split schedule this summer.  She teaches swim lessons in the morning from 7:45-1:00 and then goes back to a different pool to teach in the afternoons from 4:30-8:30.  She comes home from work starving.  I found a super easy recipe for chicken pesto sandwiches that we all had for dinner one night.  The next day, since I knew I wouldn't be home, I left instructions for Savannah to build her own sandwich for lunch.  When I got home, I found a note from her on the counter next to the one I had left earlier.  ( is this girl ever going to survive in college??)

3.  Boredom.  Emma is not happy that her sisters are all working so much lately, and her brother is always off playing with his friends.  She does not like to just sit.  So...this is what she spent the day doing on Monday of this week.  In less than a day, a boring boot was transformed into a sparkly, blingy, fashion-forward accessory!  She's gotten tons of compliments. 

4.  Scout Camp.  Craig packed up all of his stuff and spent the week with these cute guys.  They seem to get smaller and smaller every year.  Next year, it'll be McKay's turn.  (Eek!!)

5.  Trek Dance.  The girls went to a trek reunion dance.  It was Emma's FIRST DANCE!  I cannot believe that we've moved into a new teenager era where now ALL THREE girls will be going to dances once a month.  (Eek again!)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Family History

It's quiet around here with Craig at Scout Camp, the girls all working, and McKay mostly swimming with friends.  

So, I've spent some time with my ancestors...

Look at this name!  It doesn't even fit in an iPhone screenshot.

Here's what it looks like on the Mac...

Amazing!  Here's what that note says: 
The full name of Kauwe was Kauwe-a-Kanoa-akaka-wale-no-Haleakala-ka-uwe-kekini-o-Koolau. Kauwe means "the cry." The full name comes from the story of a much-loved queen who died on Maui. Many who loved her mourned her death, and their cries were so loud that they were heard all the way from Mount Haleakala on Maui to the Koolau range on the island of Oahu. (Kona Historical Society) BIRTH: "Genealogy of Tutu Kauwe", paper by Beryl Blackshear Walter et al., 1967. The notes under the picture of Kauwe in "The Shipmans of East Hawaii" by Emmett Cahill, p.147 says that Kauwe was born about 1780 and lived to the age of 104. This information credited to the Kona Historical Society. She lived the last part of her life in a grass house at the foot of the homestead. The homestead is right in the back of Richard Smart's home of Puapelu near Waimea. The land is still owned by the Paris/Hind family.

The more time I spend doing family history, the more I feel very small in this ever-growing tree of people.  And I also feel like a pretty vital part.  A lot of their temple work has been done, but there is so much still to do.  I love this hunt for names and relatives.  Some of them I recognize, and some I've never even heard of.  I love finding out tiny little pieces of their lives and seeing their connection to me.  And I love knowing that because of all of these people, I have the opportunity to be here, in this family, in this church, and living at this time.    

Friday, June 20, 2014

High Five for Friday

I haven't done a Friday recap post in months!!  It's about time to get back to that routine, I think.  Here are the highlights of this week according to my iPhone, which is getting a lot more action than my camera these days...

1.  7 Days of Inspiration.  Have I mentioned how much I love social media?  This was on Instagram on Sunday night, so I happily took the challenge this week and posted pictures, quotes, and general conference talks that have been inspiring and uplifting to me.  (And if I could figure out how to download a video from Google+ or youtube and post it on Instagram, I would have done that, too...but so's just been frustrating.)  I love that there are so many opportunities to share, uplift, and connect via technology.  I love that this little iPhone is convenient and handy, and has access to a wealth of uplifting information that can be shared in an instant, whenever inspiration strikes.  I love that technology can connect us to people we might not have met before, and start conversations we might not have had.  In fact, my post on Wednesday launched an awesome discussion with my visiting teachers yesterday morning on gratitude.  Love those women.  Love #mormonchannel.  And LOVE using social media to uplift and connect.

2.  The Beehive Campers are home!  I missed my girl.  It was so nice to be able to pick her up and see her cute, energetic, happy face.  Our house is different when one of my little chickens is missing.

3.  Mini Fruit Pizzas.  Craig and I combined our Deacons and Webelos this week for a fun swimming activity.  We snuck in a few opportunities for working on requirements, but mostly we just let them play and have fun in the pool...after the thunderstorm passed.  And you can't have a scout pool party, and not have treats.  So Megan and I whipped up a few flowery sugar cookies and threw some fresh fruit on them.  Instant hit!  And I'm pretty sure the fruit cancels out the sugar and butter in these cookies.  :)

4.  Million Dollar Arm.  I took McKay and his two neighborhood besties to see this movie this week.  They loved it and I loved it!  Cute boys.  Awesome message.  Baseball.  And Bill Paxton.  It's kind of a combination for success, I think.  Can't believe we missed this earlier when it first came out.  

5.  Forts.  This has been my view of McKay's bedroom all week.  Sometimes when it's really messy in there, I like to close those doors so I don't have to look at it.  But I've kind of loved looking at this little creative space he's made.  I've been invited in a couple of times...and I have the code word, so I can actually come in there whenever I want.  He and his friends divided it into "rooms" for each of them.  He's slept in there all week.  And I just really love having a 10 year old who wants to do something interesting and fun with his long summer days.  

Hope you're having a great summer!  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Beehive Camp

My little adventurer has been gone since Monday morning at Beehive Camp!  

Can you believe this girl?  Totally happy and content to drag herself (and her boot) from one activity to another this summer.  She is tireless and unyielding.  

We took her to an orthopedic specialist last Thursday just to confirm what the ER doctor had told us before trek.  That little bone in her foot is indeed broken.  And she does have to wear the boot for the next month or so.  BUT!  She does not have to use the crutches.  He said as long as she keeps that boot on, she can walk around all she wants.  And so she has.  She has actually been on WALKS with friends.  She's gone to the mall.  She went to camp.  And she's babysitting tonight.  

Honestly, I have to say that if I were in her situation, I might find a lot of delight in just sitting on the couch with my foot propped up on pillows.  I don't think I would be walking around malls, and I definitely wouldn't have gone on trek.  But, Emma is clearly not me.  Her little spirit likes to be in constant motion.  And this kind of motion I can totally support!

I've gotten great reports and pictures from the wonderful leaders who made this camp possible for all the non-trekking girls (and a few of the ones who just wanted to fit in another Beehive experience before committing to Mia Maids...)  Emma is already 14, and therefore the oldest among this group of girls.  But whenever you move to a different class, it's so hard to leave your friends in the class you came from.  This was a great leadership opportunity for her.  As the oldest camper, she was able to lead devotionals, call groups of girls together, and share spiritual thoughts.  Oh, I just love the opportunities my kids have to learn and grow and spread their little leadership wings!  

And I'm super grateful for our friend, Dr. Rodriguez, who was the official camp medic and could take care of Emma when she overdid it...which she definitely did a couple of times.  

One more camp down, and another one comping up next week...stay tuned for Scout Camp adventures...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

18 Summers

My bloggy friend, Amy, wrote a post yesterday on her delightful blog that made my heart ache.  18: How Many Summers Do You Have?  You should wander over there and read it because it happens to be the inspiration for this post.  

Isn't that the thought weighing heavily on everyone's minds lately!  How Many Summers Do You Have Left?  That seems to be the topic of conversation with everyone I meet these days...perhaps it's because I'm the one always bringing it up.  But even after I do, my friends chime right in with their own lamentations about how quickly time has flown in their families, too, and how few years there are left to fit it all the things that still have to be done.  

Savannah is graduating in December, so this is our LAST summer with her!  This may have been a big part of the reason for the impulsive Memorial Day church history trip.  There are clearly NOT enough summers left for all the trips we wanted to take with the kids.  When they were little, Craig always talked about taking a family vacation to France so the kids could see where he served his mission, and so his mission could see the kids!  We haven't yet made it to France or to a lot of the places that were on that original list...Canada, New York, Washington DC, or...Hawaii!  ( many Hawaiian kids do you know who have never been to Hawaii?? I'm pretty sure that's some kind of cultural irresponsibility that I'm going to be accountable for at some point in the future.) 

It feels like I'm trying so hard lately to hang on to the little pieces of today without fretting too much about how they're going by faster than I would like them to.  But as much as I try to suppress the desperation, I can still feel it lurking beneath the surface.  Every shopping trip...  Every last day of school tradition...  Every family prayer... makes the countdown in my head more and more apparent.  18 years seems like a shockingly short amount of time when your oldest daughter is 17 1/2, and the others are not far behind. I was writing my very long comment on Amy's blog post, I had this little moment of clarity and personal revelation...

Craig and I may not have covered the whole list of stuff we wanted to accomplish before our kids leave the nest, but we've done a lot, and they have seen and experienced A LOT in those 17 1/2 years.  They've been to the Everglades, Rushmore, Carlsbad Caverns, Zion, the Grand Canyon, Teton, and Yellowstone.  They've slept in a tent, caught a fish, driven a golf cart and a tractor, and hiked for miles.  They've seen oceans and mountains, lakes and deserts.  They've experienced snow pants and snorkeling gear, ferries, cruise ships, and jet skis.  They've seen alligators up close, had monkeys untie their shoes, and had a picnic with a bear.  And in 2012 they saw the world's largest ball of twine!  But while all those trips are definitely memorable and fun, they're not the only way we can make an impression on our kids.  Even though our days are flying by and filled to the brim with so many demands and responsibilities, these kids are STILL HERE.  No one has actually left yet.    

So, instead of regretting what we don't have time to do, I've been trying to look for the things I CAN do.   I've said yes more often.  Yes to otter pops.  Yes to snuggling.  Yes to staying up a little later.  I've been trying to flop on their beds a little more often, and hang out at the pool WITH them instead of sending them off with friends.  I take the long way home when I have just one kid in the car with me and look for opportunities to hear what's on their minds.  I crawled into a fort made out of blankets last night and just listened to McKay tell me all about his dream car.  And hopefully, one day when they're all out of the house, we can look back and say, "We didn't do everything, but we did enough."

Perhaps those unchecked adventures are still possibilities in our future.  Maybe one of the kids will want to go to BYU Hawaii and we'll get to make a family trip out of setting up a college dorm room?  Maybe we'll just have to take some sons-in-laws and a daughter-in-law with us to NY or DC.  Maybe we'll take GRANDBABIES to DisneyWorld!  Or...perhaps all the things we didn't get to do will become the things that make it on our kids' FUTURE bucket lists for their own families.  

There are lots of stages of our lives that are over, and many exciting ones left to come, but oh, how happy I just am for today.  For this summer.  For these days.  And for the way life looks at this moment.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pool Friends

Savannah has been working as a water safety instructor at the Natatorium since March.  She teaches the Sharks and Minnows who are primarily elementary aged kids, and also an occasional water babies class.  And she loves it!  I think we've all known that she has a skill for leading people, but I don't think she would ever have listed "teaching" as one of her talents.  It turns out, teaching is definitely one of her talents.

During the last week of school, she and McKay were the only two at home one afternoon, so she decided to spend some time with him at our community pool.  She wanted to practice her teaching skills, and he just wanted to swim.  They were there for a couple of hours before we got this text from her...

and these videos...

I can't tell you how much my heart fills with gratitude to know that my kids are friends.  The following day, I had a chance to talk to McKay and he said the exact same thing about Savannah.  "She's so cool, Mommy!"  I don't know what about the swimming experience helped them to see each other a little differently, but I'm so grateful for it.  Whatever it takes to help them discover each other is a great thing.   "...just keep swimming..." - Dory 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

You know what...this girl of mine is seriously crazy.  She loves her dad.  She loves surprises.  And she loves to be unexpected.  So, last month, while the rest of us were still thinking about Mother's Day, Savannah ordered this hot dog toaster from Amazon.  She enlisted the help of the other kids to pitch in for hot dogs and buns.

And they gave it all to Craig this morning.  He was thrilled!  

Of course he had to wait until after church to try it out because even the biggest hot dog fan doesn't want to eat them for breakfast.

 It's possible this could be the greatest Father's Day present Craig has ever received.