"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

December 31, 2012

Ringing in the New Year!

I'm stuck at work while the rest of my family is ringing in the New Year together at home, cooking delicious food and enjoying each other's company.  I'm not complaining though, this is one of the many things I am so thankful for.....my job!  I'm working right now with Ana and Pam and we're watching the ball drop in NYC.  I can't believe it's 2013.  Time is just flying right by!

I still remember 1993 like it was yesterday.....I remember 1997 when I graduated from high school....I remember 2000 when everyone thought the world was going to end because of Y2K, that was the year I left on my mission........I remember 2001 when those planes hit the twin towers, I was on my mission in Chile and I still remember to this day how I felt......I remember 2002 when I got home from my mission and married my handsome sweetheart......I remember 2003 when we had Makai......I remember 2006 when we had Filimone......I remember 2010 when we had our first little princess Ilaisaane Lautala.......I remember 2011 when we buried our baby Cindy's body and we watched our miracle Katea defy all odds......now it's 2013.....time is flying by!

As I look back on this past year, so much has happened.....and I can't help but count my blessings!  The Lord is real, he knows me and he is very mindful of my little family.  I can see his hand in every aspect of my life and I am so grateful for it!  I'm grateful for the gospel and the miracle of forgiveness......that even when I fall short, I know he loves me!  I'm so grateful for my family......ALL my family.....my side of the family and Ova's side of the family.  I'm especially thankful for my beautiful children.  The happiness they bring to my life, the funny things they say, the differences in their personalities....their loving and forgiving nature.  I look at them everyday and I'm so grateful in my heart that God trusted me to be their mother.  I'm grateful for the trials and hardships that I've been handed.....I can't come to say that when I'm actually going through them, but when all is said and done and I look back on what a better/stronger/more spiritual person I've become because of them....I am grateful!  I'm grateful for Ova.  We don't have the perfect marriage, but we work on it everyday and I'm so grateful to be his forever and ever.  I'm thankful for my jobs.  What a blessing they are to our family!  I'm grateful for my blog.  There are so many things I would have forgotten if I didn't keep this record.  I read back often on some of the experiences I've had and some of the silly things my kids have done and said.  I've tracked their lives through my blog and through pictures and I know one day they will read it and be so grateful that I took the time to do it for them!  I have so much to be grateful for!  I am blessed!

One thing I really need to work on this year (besides losing weight, of course) is forgiving.  I have a really hard time with that.  When people do me wrong, especially people that I love and care about, I have a really hard time forgiving.......I have a problem with it that I need to work on.....I know my spirit will grow even more if I can just forgive.  But it's hard.  Another thing I'm going to work on this year is being ita vave towards my kids.  I get angry to fast and I yell too much.  I always feel bad after, because they really are such great kids....and I really need to work on it....Ova and I both do!

For all of you who were a part of our lives in 2012.....thank you, we love you!

Here's to a happy, healthy, successful 2013!!!

Instagram December

December 30, 2012

Last Sunday of 2012

My beautiful children on the last Sunday of 2012.  Blessed that we were able to go to church together....even Ova was able to come with us!  Baby Katea has had a little cough so she stayed home with Gramma Tea, but we couldn't miss the opportunity to go to church to feel the spirit and thank the Lord for all the blessings we received throughout the year!  Finishing out 2012 great, and praying for an even better 2013!  :)

December 29, 2012

Look who's crawling....YAY!

December 29, 2012.....baby Katea is 15 months 3 days old.......and................she hit a HUGE milestone today and I'm so so proud of her!  She started..........................

I'm not talking like the army crawl, or rolling, or scooting herself around.....she's actually up on all fours, crawling!  She's been able to get herself around for a while now, but it's been army crawling or rolling over and over again until she got where she wanted.  She used to even sit on her little butt and scoot herself around....but now she's a big girl and she's accmomplised another goal we set for her and reached another milestone!  She's a little wobbly still, but that's because she just barely started.....she's only going to get better from here!  She can even push herself to sitting from the crawling position and get into the crawling position from the sitting position.  That is so HUGE and I'm so proud of her!  Way to go my little miracle Katea, you are AMAZING!

December 28, 2012

Carr Family Christmas Party

It's not very often that my mom's side of the family gets together, so when they do...we always try to go!  My mom called and told me they had planned a Christmas potluck the weekend after Christmas and as soon as we heard about it we made plans to go.

Everyone potlucked.  We had lasagna, salads, lots of desserts.  There's never really an agenda when we get together.....we just hang around and talk and catch up.  See how big everyone's kids got....the kids run wild and the guys play basketball or throw a football around....the wives sit around eating and talking and it's always a good time!  I'm so glad we were able to go!

Folau & G-pa Makai
Baby Katea & Aunty Leslie
Emily & Hadassah
Family, isn't it about time??!!

Ova's PT

Since nobody can really put an official diagnosis on what the heck is wrong with Ova, they've been just trying and testing different things.  The medication they started him on is helping....he was questioning whether it was the medications that were helping, or if his body was just getting better like it always does, so he stopped taking the medication for a day.  I was so mad at him.  Sure enough, he was in so much more pain the next day that he couldn't even walk....just from missing one day of the meds.  They ARE helping him, and he does need them right now...and a lot!  He's been able to get up and get around with crutches....he's not quite able to walk completely without support, but he's going in that direction....which I'm so happy about.  Ever since he's been able to leave the house, I've been taking him with me everywhere.  Even if he sits in the car while I run into the store or wherever we go, I like him to come with me.  :)  I needed to change the oil in my Durango the other day and I made him come with me.  As we were sitting there in the waiting area for them to finish, he asked me "why did you want me to come?"  I just smiled and said "so you could be by me"  He just laughed and said, oh yeah!  Haha.  He knows how I am.  I saw a saying on fb the other day and it describes exactly how I feel....

"Sitting next to you doing absolutely nothing, means absolutely everything to me"
So cheesy, I know,  but that's how I feel. :)  It's been SO SO SO nice to have him back after being bedridden for almost 7 months!
Anyway, part of the specialist's 'plan of action' was to send Ova to physical therapy.  Their hope is that by moving and exercising his joints, the stiffness will loosen and give him some relief.  They said they've never seen anyone with so much arthritis in one area.  On the x-ray, they couldn't even see the bones in his feet because of the amount of arthritis they saw.  Their main goal right now is to lessen his daily pain so that he can function normally....and then they will focus on getting rid of the arthritis.  Right now the only options we've been given is cortizone shots (which they can't even do on his feet, which is where the majority of his pain is) or to have surgery and fuze the bones in his feet together and scrape the arthritis out.  They don't usually suggest that surgery to youger people because it could really limit the use of their foot.  Besides that, they fuzed the bones in his right wrist and scraped the arthritis out of there like months and months ago and he's still in pain from it.  :(  Physical therapy is our next best option right now and we're praying it will help.
His first physical therapy appointment was today and it was very interesting.  Since it was his first appointment.....of course, the physical therapist had to do her own assessment on him.  She moved his feet and legs in all different directions to see where the most pain was.  I felt bad for him because everything she did hurt him a lot, he was trying to be tough, but I could tell he wanted to scream.  She had to do it so she could know the areas she needs to focus on.  We found out that his left side is so much worse than his right.  Everything was a lot more stiff and didn't have even close to the range of motion that his right side had. 
After her assessment was done, she sent in one of the techs to do some exercises with him.  They were just simple little exercises that help stretch the joints....and they're little exercises he's supposed to be doing every day.  When the exercising was done, they took him to the gym area to do paraffin wax.  They said that the heat in the wax is one of the best things because it gets deep into the joints.  I joked that we're going to have to go get more pedicures now LOL.  They dipped his foot in the wax like 10 times each foot and then tied them up in bags and let them sit.  He said it felt really good....but the physical therapist said he would have to do it for a little while before he'll really be able to see the positive effects of it.
That was the extent of his physical therapy appointment.  It was very low key, but they gave him a lot of little pointers and tips on things he needs to be doing to exercise his joints.  And they want him to see them twice a week for now.  I'm so releived that we're finally getting somewhere with this.  We've got doctors, and specialists and physical therapists and pain management specialists working on him....and it feels good to me that finally, FINALLY we're going to overcome this.  :)
After his physical therapy, we had a lunch date at our favorite spot right now, Green Papaya!  There's nothing better than some warm Pho on a cold day!
Step by step, little by little.....we're going to figure this out! 

December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Wow, I can't believe the holidays are here and almost another year has past.  It's crazy to think how fast time is just flying right by.  My kids are growing so big and so fast, and it kindof makes me a little sad.  I wish I could keep them young and with me forever :) 

I wasn't going to send out a Christmas card this year because I didn't think I had the time, but I had a couple people ask me to make them one....and while I was doing it, I figured if I have time to make some for other people, I have time to make some for us!  :)  It took me like 15 minutes one night while I was at work, and here's what I came up with.........I LOVE it, best Christmas card we've sent out by far!  hahaha
I'm really into crafting and making homemade gifts right now, so I was trying to think of something nice that I could make for our families for Christmas.  Gotta love Pinterest and all their DIY crafty ideas.  I came up with the perfect gift for our parents and for my sisters.  Unfortunatly the gift I had planned for my sisters didn't get finished before Christmas.....so it's still a work in progress that I'll finish and gift to them at a later date.  For the gift for our parents, I always try to think of something creative that includes the grandkids....since our parents are all about the grandkids...and I found the perfect gift.  Super simple to make, includes all the grandkids and very sentimental = a perfect grandparent gift!  :)
I should have gotten a picture of them before I put them in the shadowbox, because of the glare on it....but here is my gift to the grandparents.  The one on the left is for Ova's parents, with all 20 of their grandkids names.....and the one of the right is for my parents with the names of all 18 of their grandkids.  I put material on the back before I glued the scrabble letters down, but it still looked plain to me so I made those little flowers out of tapa cloth.  These pictures don't really do any justice, but they really are nice!  :)
I don't know what happened to our stockings from last year, but I couldn't find them....so I got to make new stockings this year.  I gotta tell you that I LOVE that iron-on transfer paper stuff....I cut out the names and little Christmas decoration designs and ironed them right onto the stockings and it was super easy...and I love how they turned out!
We didn't have any presents at all under the tree, even up to the day of Christmas....my kids were getting really worried about it, especially Mone.  They've been having a problem keeping their room cleaned and I kept telling them over and over again that I was going to tell Santa not to bring them anything because they haven't been listening to me and keeping their room clean.  LOL.  The night before Christmas Eve, the kids went to check the mail and they came home screaming with excitement.....Mone got a letter from Santa Claus.  They couldn't even believe it. 
I had to work this year on Christmas Eve and on Christmas day, which wasn't the greatest, but it all worked out!  Ova's family planned to get together on Christmas Eve at our house.  They were going all out with puaka tunu, ham, lu pulu masima, and all the sides.  We were supposed to start early since I had to leave for work at 630p, but we never seem to start when we plan to...so of course it was late.  Ova ate with me before I left and just as I was leaving everyone started to show up.  It was good to see everyone, even if it was just as I was walking out the door. With me working on Christmas Eve, I was wondering how Santa was going to be able to put all the presents under the tree before the kids woke up, since they were probably going to wake up before I got home from work.  Santa had a lot to do delivering all the presents on Christmas Eve, and since he told Mone in his letter that he would be in West Jordan around midnight, they all went to sleep early.  Santa had already worked out with some of his elves to make sure all the presents were under the tree before 7am, when I got home from work....LOL......yeah, that didn't happen.  :/  Thankfully, my kids were still sleeping when I got home from work that morning so I got to help put all the presents under the tree.

 It was perfect timing too because within minutes of being done, my kids woke up.  I first heard Mone get up and then I heard him frantically trying to wake Makai and Tala up....he kept saying "it's Christmas, it's Christmas...lets see if Santa came!"....and they all jumped up and ran to see if he came.  We had our own Christmas tree downstairs and Gramma Tea and Ma had another one upstairs.  The kids went to check the tree that was downstairs in the living room....because that's where we live....and there were no presents under it.  I think I saw their little hearts break. :(  LOL  They came to me, almost crying that Santa lied, he didn't come.  I was like What?!  Are you sure?  Santa wrote and told you he was coming, I don't think he would lie.  Makai said.....but mom, we just checked and there's no presents under the tree.  They were all frowing and super disappointed.  I told them that maybe Santa got confused because there were two trees in the house....maybe he left them under the tree upstairs.  They all ran upstairs and started screaming and jumping around.  Santa did come!!!  :)  They came downstairs and were so excited telling me that  I was right.  I told them to go around the house and wake everyone up so we could go and see what he brought

My four blessings on Christams morning.....in their Christmas Eve pajamas
We all gathered around in the living room upstairs and as our tradition, we talked to the kids about why we celebrate Christmas and that presents are not the most important thing....they need to know and understand and remember the true meaning of Christmas, and that we celebrate because of Jesus Christ.  Ova always asks them questions and takes the opportunity to teach them.  I love that part of our Christmas traditions.  Before we let the kids pass out the presents or open them, Ova talked a little bit about why this Christmas was so so special.  He said there were 3 main reasons that this year was extra special.

Reason #1 is that Ma is still here with us. 
She'll be 90 in a couple weeks and she's been really sick lately, but she's such a strong woman.  He reminded us how lucky and blessed we are that she has been able to spend the last 10 Christmases with us and told us that we really don't know how much longer she will be here, so we need to remember these times and how blessed we are that she is still here.

Reason #2 is because Baby Katea is home!  This is our first Christmas as a whole family all under one roof.  Last year baby Katea was in the hospital and our time was divided between home and hospital.  This year was so special because she was home, and healthy and happy.  She is a miracle and a blessing and he reminded us how thankful we need to be that she's with us.  Reason #3 is that Po was spending Christmas with us this year.  I'm going to have to dedicate a whole nother blog post about Po, but for now I'll just say that he's one amazing person and I'm so proud of him.  He is preparing to go on his mission and should get his call within the next couple weeks.  Ova talked to him directly and gave him some words of advice and encouragement.  Then he reminded us that this will be Po's last Christmas with us too, at least for two years.  He broke down a little when he was talking to Po....we all did....we're all just so proud of him, the man he's become and how far he's come!  :)  When Ova was done talking, he offered a prayer and then we let the kids pass out and open their gifts.
We got a call from one of our neighbors earlier in the month, the Oliphants.  They live a couple houses down from us and are probably the best neighbors that anyone could ever have.  From the minute we moved in they have been so loving and caring.  They helped us move in and welcomed us to the neighborhood.  They're constantly coming over to check on us.  When baby Katea was in the hospital, they brought food for our family.  When they found out about Ova, they came over to see what they could do to help.  Dave, the dad comes over frequently just to see how we're doing.  When he found out that Ova was bedridden and hadn't been able to leave the house, he offered to have a couple guys come and carry him out to a neighborhood bbq they were having, just so he could get out of the house.  When they found out that I work graves and sometimes don't get home in time to take Makai to school ontime, they offered to pick him up every morning and take him.  I am so grateful for them.  They carry the Christmas spirit year round.  They are full of love and charity.  They are true examples Christlike love.  They genuinely care and we feel it.  It's so nice to have people like that!  They called to tell us that every year they choose a family to do Secret Santa for, and that this year they chose us.  Dave actually called Ova to ask what we wanted and what we needed.  Ova tried thanking him but telling him that they didn't have to do that for us.  But they had already made up their mind.  He told Ova, you can tell me what your kids want or we can just go buy stuff.  LOL.  We told them what our kids were asking for, and Christmas morning when the kids opened their gifts from the Oliphants, they got exactly everything they'd ask for.  I'm so so grateful to them for their love for us!  :)  They even got these for Ova and me.......they know we haven't been able to do anything for so long because of Ova's immobility, so they got us a date night....movie and dinner gift cards for Christmas.  We are so grateful!

My kids get spoiled every year, and the funny thing is that they only get clothes from us.  I always go shopping on black Friday when they have all the big sales and that's pretty much the only time I ever go shopping.  I get all their clothes for the whole year on that one day. LOL.  It works out pretty good too because I can wrap them and put them under the tree, giving them more presents to open on Christmas morning :)  We've learned our lesson that it's not necessary to buy them a lot of toys and things because they don't end up playing with all of them.  Santa only brings them 1 gift, and it's usally what they've been asking for...or the first item on their wishlist.  Then of course, they get gifts from Gramma and whoever else wants to buy them a gift.

For Christmas we focus on the kids.  We try to make it meaningful and special for them.  That's the only gift I ever want, is to have my kids with me and have them healthy and happy.  Plus, it's a gift in itself to see them so happy!

They all got little pillow pets, baby Katea loved her little parrot :)
Opening their gifts
My girls :)
Tala girl is a little spitfire, she was getting on Ova's nerves so bad Christmas morning because she kept opening her presents and then throwing them on the ground.  She didn't want anything she got...she wanted all of Mone's gifts.  LOL.  Her little attitude and personality sure keep us entertained!
When we were done, we cleaned up and got ready to head down to Lake Shore to spend Christmas with my family.  I had to work on Christmas night so we didn't have much time.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to sleep at all so Ova drove us down.  We all met and ate Christmas lunch and then hung out and talked while the kids played with each other and the toys they got for Christmas.  It's always a good time when we're with family!  I found out that my brother Safi is engaged and actually getting married next month, in January.  His fiance Fale was there and we all got to meet her.  She's a sweet girl, and I'm happy for them!
We left my parents house and my family went home while I went to work.  It was a super busy, super blessed, super fun, family-filled day!
Merry Christmas, hope you all had a great one too!  :)