Saturday, April 20, 2013

I Love You Papa

I originally wrote this as a Facebook post... Then decided I should probably add it as a blog since it was so long.....

Today marks 10 years since the Lord decided that it was time for my Papa to be with his Queen in heaven. I miss you every single day. Not too many people can say that their Papa was one of their FIRST best friends. But I could. When I was 4, I was admitted in to the hospital.... I remember that he never left. When I fell asleep.. he was there. When I woke up, he was there... His clothes may have changed, but he was always there holding my hand. I remember that it took me a while to get better because when the doctors and my mom left, he would pull out the McDonald's happy meal that he snuck in for me and we'd spend all night eating and watching Sailor Moon. Then I'd spend the next day throwing up and FAT RIGHT? But who cares. My Papa constantly told me that only white princesses ate fruits like Snow White... and that they were jealous because only brown princesses looked cute eating Happy Meals and throwing up like I did.

I remember growing up thinking that Park Village was a suburb. I don't know what childhood was like for other kids growing up in Compton, but I can honestly say that for me, it was absolutely amazing. When Papa had a stroke and had to be hospitalized for the first time ever... It was so hard for me to see the strongest man I knew in a hospital bed. He hated being poked with needles and I hated seeing him flinch every time a nurse passed by. I remember cussing out a nurse for having to poke him more than once to get blood. After my tirade I turned around and he said, "Princesses aren't supposed to talk like that... and as a priesthood holder I should tell you that I'm very disappointed in your choice of words. But I'm happy you didn't slap her because that's the third time she did that." Needless to say, that nurse never touched him again! And neither did any other nurse who valued their life and self esteem.

Papa was hospitalized for 6 months and 21 days. What I cherish most about our nights together were our late night conversations. Sometimes he'd wake up thinking I was my grandma, and he'd tell me about how happy he was that he was finally able to get my Aunty Vai and all of her kids to accept the church and be baptized. Ta'afuli, Arona, and Jr were baptized and we were just waiting on Nofo. Other nights he'd wake up thinking I was my mom, and he'd spend the night screaming at me for being mean to his grandkids. Some night's he'd forget who I was altogether... those were the hardest. Then some nights.... he'd wake up and he'd remember exactly who I was... and we'd spend the night talking about Masi & Lua's future wedding. He had a stroke the morning of Masi and Lua's wedding. He was so excited about it sometimes... so I never had it in me to tell him that it had already passed. We'd spend the night talking about how funny it was when the family found out. Some night's he would remember I had a boyfriend and jokingly asked how he felt about me spending all my nights with another He had jokes for a crazy guy.

The night before he left, I woke up to his hands on my head. It was the last blessing he ever gave me. A part of me knew his time was close because he asked the Lord to help me find comfort and peace. My older sister Tali visited him that day and I almost feel like he waited to see her one more time before he left. Because he'd become so small in the 6 months he'd been in the hospital, I was able to lay in bed with him. The next morning was a Sunday. He woke me up and told me that I needed to go to church and stay for family tona'i (dinner) since I haven't done so for a long time. As I said goodbye to him that morning, a part of me knew that it was the last time. The other part of me was in denial. But just in case, I gave him a hug and a kiss and thanked him for being the best King a Princess could ever have in this life. In true Papa fashion, he ruined the moment by reminding me that he was the best King I'd ever have in ANY As I left the hospital, a feeling of contentment came over me. I said everything I ever needed to say to that man in this life. And when the time came for me to see him on the other side, I know we'd pick up right where we left off.

I love and miss you every day Papa. You were my first father, friend, body guard, and cheerleader. Even with all of my imperfections, and attitude, and craziness... You still made me feel like a perfect princess.... Thank You!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Press Publish

Turns out, when you write a blog post... you have to press the publish  Here's to all of my 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Last trip of the year

On our last planned trip of the year, TJ and I went to Salt Lake for a wedding.  Nia has been TJ's friend for years and she was in our wedding line.  So we were so happy to be a part of her big day.  Of course, no matter where we go, we have to stop by and see family.  We got to catch up with our old friends King & Josie.  I've missed them soooo much.  Later in the evening, we met up with my sister Tali and her little munchkins.  They are sooo bad.  But I love them soooo much.
Izaiah and Irie have gotten so big since the last time we saw them.  Shortly after we left Salt Lake, my sister made me an aunty again and gave birth to my nephew Ivan on Christmas day.  Later that evening, we met up with Dad, Sega, Helene, and her friend.  We went out to dinner at Tucano's and saw the temple lights.... So purty...

TJ took this photo of a father and daughter who were just staring off into the pool.  I don't know what they were thinking of, but I'm so thankful for the adorable moment.

Congratulations Nia & Jose... Thanks for giving us a reason to get out of town again.  May your marriage be full of happiness and joy... Love you tons.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

6 years down.... Eternity to go!

We've been married six years now.... YAY!!!!!...  TJ and I decided to do something random and visit places we have never been for our anniversary.  Seattle, Arizona, Cancun, and San Francisco.  All four options went into a cup.  Arizona is what came out.  We stayed at the Westin Kierland.  I used to sell timeshare for this resort when I worked for Starwood.  So it was really cool being able to actually visit the hotel.  This was the view from our room.  It had a really rustic feeling to it.

This was taken in front of the hotel...

TJ's little cousin Delicia came to visit.  She is stationed in Phoenix and we spent the day visiting some of  TJ's family that lived in the area.

It was a short little weekend getaway and we didn't get too many photos... but it was so fun.  And really nice to just get away :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Grand Canyon

TJ was given an assignment in his general biology class to write a paper about a unique land form.  He had to write about the plants that existed and the type of ecosystem that it had.  In all honesty, I'm not really sure what it all entailed.  But he narrowed it down to Zions National Park and the Grand Canyon.  Since the kids were visiting, we decided to get out of town and visit the grand canyon.  The North Rim was only two and a half hours away from St. George, and we found out that they had cabins there.  So we rented a cabin for the weekend and took in the sites.

We took this photo right when we arrived.  The view of the canyon is absolutely breath taking.

TJ thought it would be best to get his assignment done early so that we could explore the sites for the rest of the weekend.  They had a seating area overlooking the canyon... so while he was working...the rest of us were sitting next to him  We couldn't help it.  It was so relaxing.

On Saturday, we woke up to a lot of commotion outside.  Turns out, there was an astronomy convention/bash.  Astronomers from all over the U.S. were staying at the canyon this weekend because it was the best time to see solar flares and planets.  The North Rim is the best place to see everything because there is no light pollution for miles.  This guy's telescope let us see the sun.  It was sooo cool.  Turns out, the sun is actually white...not yellow.  The great thing about being one of the tourist here this weekend was the fact that there were so many Astronomers who wanted to tell you something about the universe.

They had several of these large telescopes scattered around the general area.  They were setting up to see the planets.  We came back at night and were able to see several different galaxies and planets.  Because the skies were soooo clear at night.  We were also able to see the asteroid belt move across the sky.  I just have no words to describe how beautiful it was out there.  This kids were so in to it and I was surprised how much they retained after we left.

The next morning, TJ and the boys went on a morning hike.  I absolutely love this photo.  They stood on the ledge as the sun was rising.

TJ was talking this hike up so much.  He wanted me to go with him because he wanted to share that experience with me.  Of course I couldn't say no when he pitched it like that.  Aside from one really steep mountain that was about 30 yards long, the rest of the hike wasn't so bad.  This was the end of the hike.

This was before the steep hill on the way back to the cabins.  I had to take a moment to tell myself that I'd be able to make it up the of course, TJ decided to take a photo of me so that he could remind me how happy I looked when we got to the top.

We took this photo at some point in the weekend.  I was sooooo scared because that bar was the only thing that separated us and the edge of the cliff.  It was such an amazing weekend.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From Jersey Shores to St. George Mountains

We decided to wake up early and go back to Carlo's bakery and pick up some goodies before we went home.... Yes.... it was that good.  While we waited, we tried some pizza from the  pizza shop next to the bakery.  O......M.....G....  I consider myself a pizza connoisseurs because I will eat pizza whenever its an option.  This place was legit.  There's just something about pizza on the East Coast that is just absolutely amazing.

We got pies and goodies to take back to St. George.... Sooooo good!

After breakfast we went back to the hotel to pack up and get ready to go to the airport.  TJ went down first to take most of the bags.  He left one with me to bring down after I was dressed.  It was on my way down that I met this guy in the elevator.

The wheel of my suitcase got stuck and he picked it up and put it in the elevator for me.  Next to me, he was really tall.  So I said thank you as another guy came onto the elevator.  And because I talk to everyone and hate awkward elevator silence.  This was our conversation...

Me:  Dude... You are really tall.  You must be a basketball player or something.
Guy: Naw... I wish I did.  (Pointing to his agent he says) Maybe if this guys did his job right, I could play in the NBA or something.
Me:  I'm sure you'll be able to.  Since you're really tall.  I'm sure you'll do great in the league.
***As we get out the elevator, I wish him luck and tell him that I believe he'll be a great  player some day.

When we get home later that evening, TJ turns on ESPN to watch the Monday night highlight games.  And who do I see on TV???....  This guy!

Turns out, this guy.... who helped me with my bags, and talked to me about his hopes for a successful NBA career is a starting player for the Miami Heats names Dwayne Wade.  I felt the color drain from my face as I tell TJ the story of my little encounter.  TJ saw the whole team downstairs as he took our bags down.  The team was staying at the same Hotel we were at because they were playing the New Jersey Nets that night.  I'm so grateful that I may never see him again in my life.  Because I would feel really  Maybe if this guy played for the Lakers or the 49ers... I would have know who he was...  Oh gosh... what a way to end such an exciting weekend.  I cannot wait to come back.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Church, Cherry Blossom Festival, 9/11 Memorial

Brother Salanoa made sure that we went to church today.  I thought for sure that because we were on vacation that we would spend the day in Time Square... but Brother Salanoa don't play I should have slapped myself.  I'm so grateful that he keeps me in check when I need it.  Tino got one of the members he converted while on his mission to pick us up and take us to church.  It's always wonderful seeing a new member of the church.  She cried telling us about her conversion story and how Tino and his companion showed up like an answer to her prayers.  Maria (Next to TJ) may have a hard time letting go of her sleeveless shirts... but we were happy she accepted the gospel.  Madeline and Gabi came along with us to the Cherry Blossom festival after church.

I was sooo excited that the trees were blooming the same weekend we were there.  The Cherry Blossom park in New Jersey is absolutely amazing.  It goes on for miles and there are nothing but Cherry Blossoms.  My hair was on point when we got here on Monday.  But with the humidity and heat.... I've just given up and gone au naturel....  There were both pink and white trees in the park... so of course we had to take photo's by both.

After we left the festival... we decided to take a few photos of the infamous Hudson River.  We've seen this river in almost every episode of Law & Order...  So it was nice being able to see it in person.  That is Time Square right across the river.

After the Cherry Blossom festival. We went to the hotel and changed.  Since we were flying out tomorrow morning, we decided to take the subway downtown to see the 9/11 memorials.  The subway experience was definitely interesting.  People smash in to these things like sardine cans.  The extra leg room that people usually have in movies is not the case in real life.  We caught the subway directly to the Twin Towers.  I could only imagine how many people who worked in the twin towers took this route to work.  The platform underneath the towers where the employees would usually exit the subway still looks like a war zone.  It didn't dawn on me to take a photo at the time.  I think TJ and I were just soooo stunned that after all these years, it still looked the way it did.  You could tell the New Yorkers from the Tourist.  Like us, the tourist took a minute to take in what was left of this platform.  The New Yorkers immediately walked through the chaos and onto the rest of their day.

TJ and I got there right before it closed.  I was sooo happy we made it.  Thank goodness there was no line.  I couldn't imagine having to wait in this maze.

What amazed me most about this enclosed memorial was how quiet and serene in was.  They are building towers all around the entire circumference of the memorial.  But in this space... it was sooo quiet.

The two memorial pools were so big.  We got there right when they turned the lights on and it made the experience that much more special.  Its hard not to get emotional here.  I may have not known anyone who lost their lives here, but being here makes me so much more grateful for the plan of salvation.  I can only hope that those who lost loved ones here can find peace somehow.

These past two days have been soooo exhausting... But we got to see so many great sites... so it was all worth it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cake Boss, Lady Liberty, & Ellis Island

It was my first day off this whole week and we literally tried to fit in as much as we could.  I think we did a pretty good job of running around the city if I do say so myself.  One of the great things about staying in Jersey is the fact that it was right in the middle of everything that I wanted to see.  The first thing we did this morning was visit the Cake Boss bakery in Hoboken, NJ.  TJ and I absolutely love this show, so it was definitely at the top of the to do list.  We were so happy to get to the front of the line... I didn't care that we looked like tourist.

 Everything in this photo was sooooooooo gooooooood.....  The Lobster tails were as delicious as they make it look in the show.

Buddy... the kid... was working in the shop when we came through... so I screamed his name and asked him for a photo.  His mom was in the back and on the phone...

This is the guy that took our order and helped us navigate through the chaos.

We had two boxes that looked exactly like this.... One for now... and one for later :)

After getting our sugar fix for the day, we went back to our hotel to drop off the car and took a taxi in to the city.  We wanted to take the tour of the Statue of liberty and Ellis Island.... Be prepared to get photo bombed..... We had to walk through the infamous Battery Park to catch the Ferry to Ellis Island.

The ferry ride circled the Statue of Liberty on the way to Ellis Island.  It is soooo much smaller in person than I thought it would be.  In the movies, the statue looks sooooo freakin huge.... so when we saw how small it was in person... I was pretty bummed.

 I was surprised how pretty this photo looked.

I've seen this entrance in several movies... and it looks soooo pretty in person...  We took over a hundred pictures in this building alone.... it was so big.

This Kissing post was right outside of the Geneology center in the building.  I loved it so much... so I took a picture.

We found these sister missionaries working in the genealogy center.  Apparently missionaries always go there to help tourist find their ancestors.  I was so surprised to see them.... and they were so happy to know that we were having dinner later with Elder

This portion of the building was featured in the movie Hitch with Will Smith.  The meaning behind what took place here is lost in the movie... but going through the tour and ending up in such a beautiful and spacious area made me cry.

After the tour, we had to wait a little bit because we needed to take the Ferry that goes back to Jersey.  This was the perfect time to kill what was left from Carlo's Cake Boss Bakery.

When we got back to Jersey, there was this guy putting golf balls in the park.  It was then that I realized that I hadn't seen a golf course all week.  Coming from St. George where we have golf parks on every corner.  I found this to be extremely funny.  Primarily because this man loved golf so much that he' play it anywhere.  But the fact that kids were playing in the park made this even funnier.

One thing I noticed about all the parks was the seating area.  There are just so many benches and seating areas everywhere.  I wondered why people weren't out on picnics or something all the time.

We ended the day meeting up with Elder Tuaila (Tino) who was serving a mission in Jersey.  We met up with him and one of his families.

To say that this day was a very productive day would be an understatement.  It was such a long day... but so exciting.  I got to see a lot of different places and eat so many different types of food throughout the day.  So much FUN....