Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our Trip Down South

I know it seems like a miracle that I am posting twice in one month. Mike, Ari, and I headed down South this last weekend. Mike had a conference in St. George to attend, so Ari and I tagged along. We were able to visit all sorts of people during our trip. Most of them were people we hadn't seen for a long time. It was really nice. I even got to hear one of my best friends, Becky Rice Kennedy, do her one of a kind laugh. That made the whole trip worth while.

The Abbotts -

The Abbots were serving a humanitarian aid mission in Samoa when we got first arrived there. We spend about a month living in a small apartment by them. They were so much fun, and full of life. Elder Abbott actually served in Samoa as a young man. Part way through his mission he was called to transfer to Fiji to open the mission there. He was one of the first on that island. If you have seen the movie, "The Other Side of Heaven", you can recall the part of the movie where Elder Groberg gets put into jail in Fiji. As he is playing his trumpet another missionary comes to the jail, and bails him out. In the true story, this other missionary was Elder Abbott. For the record, Elder Abbott told me that Elder Groberg was certainly not playing the trumpet at the time, and was a scared little boy.

The Abbotts were actually called to Samoa for a second time as senior missionaries to serve in the Samoa temple. One night they ran out of their apartment to witness the entire temple burn down in a devastating fire. Instead of returning home early they chose to stay as humanitarian missionaries. During their mission they were able to do many things, including setting up water tanks in many villages, providing wheelchairs for a few handicapped Samoans. They were even able to help a deserving Samoa man travel to America to receive an artificial leg. This is only a small example of the good deeds they did for those people. In talking to them, I think their greatest reward was meeting their soul brother President Burgess who has recently passed away. They really loved him, and treasured his friendship.

The Abbotts hadn't seen Ari since she was about five months old. They had a great reunion with her. Ari was especially taken with Elder Abbott, and had a difficult time leaving him. She cried for him as we drove away. It was really cute.



St. George

We had a great time doing some fun activities in St. George. We were able to visit the wildlife museum, do a little shopping, and visit with Mike's Aunt Bonnie. The pictures below are of the museum, and Ari in her new outfit. She was SO excited to try it on and wear it to dinner. That cutie is 100% girl.











The last morning in St. George we went down to the lobby of the hotel for a quick breakfast. The room was filled with high school boys in town for a soccer tournament. Ari started to freak out, and tell me we needed to go back to the room. When I asked her why, she said her hair just looked awful. Mike and I about died. SHE IS ONLY FOUR! Four going on 24 that is. What a pill!

The Lyman Sisters

On Saturday we were able to stop in Beaver Dam to visit with two of my mom's sisters and their husbands. It is always fun to see Aunt Honey. She spoiled Mike by making his two favorites: chip dip, and hot water cake. She even gave us doggy bags, so we enjoyed them for the rest of the trip. This next picture is of Ariana teaching her "great" Aunt Honey to do the hula.



We also got to visit with my mom's oldest sister, my Aunt Melpha, and her husband, my Uncle Bob. This was the first time they got to meet Ari. It was pretty special because my Aunt Melpha was so concerned about our little two year hang up in Samoa, and gave my mom some great advice during that time. When I was a young girl I changed my name to Melpha Lula for awhile, after my aunt and my paternal grandma. Ari being Ari, she really took to Uncle Bob. He said if Ari was his he would call her Betty! It was really cute. We hope to visit them again sometime.





Becky -

We spent the last few days down in Mesquite with my great friend Becky Kennedy and her family in Mesquite. I am really upset with myself for not getting any pictures. We had a great time, as usual, with them. Mike got to do a little golfing with Becky's husband Mike. Becky and I got to catch up, and practicing our dorky laughs. Let's just say she knows how to bring out the Ernie in me. She will probably kill me for putting up this picture, but it is the only one I got. Love ya Beckers!!! Thanks again.

Friday, February 13, 2009

One Word: FINALLY!

I am currently sitting in a hotel room in St. George. Ari is taking a nap on our king size bed for three, and Mike is reading a book. I thought, "Could I possible have time to update my neglected blog? Why YES!!!" Considering how many times I check my Facebook account a day, you would think updating my blog would be easy, but.... well long story.... let's just say it hasn't been a priority.

So much has gone on it the months since I have last written, including the holiday season. I am just going to fill this post full of different pictures of all the goings on of the Fig Fam.

This first one is the cutest video of Ari dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween, singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

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Our good friend Lu Ieremia, or "Uncle Lu" dropped by in December for a visit before he went back to Samoa. Ari and I lived with his family in Ala Fua, Samoa, for about 6 months. Ari was just a baby, and ABSOLUTELY loved Lu. As you can see from the pictures, some things never change.





I hope you don't mind all the pictures of Ari, but we only have one so..... DEAL WITH IT PEOPLE!!!! Just kidding.

The next few are from December also. One is Ari in her pineapple dress her Aunt Becca gave her, and the other is in her Christmas dress.





The next ones are actually from last November. It was such a fun night. It was one of the only times I have ever seen my husband truly giddy, except for maybe our honeymoon night. wink wink!!! Rugby is a pretty big sport around the world, but not so big here in America. We attended this professional game at ReAL stadium in Sandy. Not only did the American Eagles play, but they played one of the New Zealand All Blacks teams. Not their best team, but still All Blacks. Mike was in HEAVEN. We had awesome seats, and had such a good time. I just had a good time watching my new favorite player Todd Clever do an amazing job.

Us in the Stands



The All Blacks doing the haka!



Mike with some of the AB's after their game, already a little tipsy!



We call this one Arittude!



Well, that is it for now! Stayed tuned for our spectacular St. George trip picts. Well... maybe not spectacular, but pretty cute.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Busy! Busy! Busy!

Almost exactly four years ago I was sitting in a house wondering how I was going to fill up an entire day with things to do. The next 730ish days were filled with the same thoughts. What to do? What to do? What to do? How times have changed, and thank goodness. My life has gotten steadily busier over the last two years, but these last few months have been CRAZY!!! I can't remember the last time I have been this busy. Thankfully I am loving it. I heard someone once compare life to a train ride. Most of the ride is pretty mundane, and monotonous, but every once in a while you turn a corner and see a breath taking view. Right now, I am taking a big huge breath of beauty. I just feel so blessed to literally be alive. (Check out my car accident picture to see what I mean.) Anyway.... the business has meant no blog update in awhile, so I will try to update you on all the goings on of the fig fam.

The HOUSE

Mike, Ari, and I moved into our new house around the 11th of August. I have wanted a house for SO LONG! I just love it. It isn't the hugest house around, but it is wonderful, and fits our family of three perfect. It is only five years old, and the previous owners took very good care of it. The decorating has been pretty fun, but my "to buy for the house" list is still pretty long. We want to have everyone over when we get it a little more finished. My mom is giving me her barely used piano, and I can't wait to get it in. I am still just waiting for some super nice strong men to get it over here. Mike says sometimes he will wake up in the morning and think, "Wow! This is my house." It really is hard to believe, but I guess after the first payment, we will really feel it.



Ari chose this spot to take a nap. Mike and I were busy getting our bedroom closets organized (really..i promise) and we came out to find her. It was so cute, we had to take a picture.

The TOY

Mike has been eyeing these scooters for some time now. He finally convinced me that it would actually be cheaper to make payments and pay for gas for a scooter, than to keep driving his truck around. I finally caved, and now his scoot scoot has arrived. I am not sure how long the weather will allow him to use it, but he sure is liking it. I just hope he is REALLY careful.



Ari LOVESSSSSS her daddy's new bike, and wants him to take her for rides all the time. Since my accident though, that has been COMPLETELY vetoed by the mom.

The JOB

This fall I transferred to Country View Elementary in West Haven. Not only did I change schools, but I finally graduated from the second grade to third. I LOVE IT!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!! Oh wait..... did I tell you?????? I LOVE IT!!!!!!! I am in total teacher heaven. I have such a good class this year, and my third grade team is phenomenal. The staff and parents are great, and I hope to stay around for a long time. I have never been at a school for longer than two years, so I am really hoping to call this home. I love going to work everyday, and have a hard time leaving before five or six.

The GIRL

Ariana started preschool/daycare this year. The first day was pure torture for me. When I took her down to her class, she started to bawl, and gripped onto my leg. They literally had to pull her off of me. I finally got away, and had to wipe the tears off my own cheeks. As I walked out the door I faked a happy face as I turned to wave goodbye. As I turned back, I saw my pretty little princess waving at me from a barred window. (The bars are to protect the kids from falling into the window during recess time.) I then really lost it as I walked to my car. I felt like the worst mom in the whole world, and had to call my own mom so she could reassure me that I wasn't, and that I was doing what was best thing for my family.

Now Ari loves it. She is learning so much. Everyday she has a new story, and a new song to sing. She has even been using some Sign Language around the house, which is really cool. She still is so funny, and makes us laugh everyday. The other day she tried to convince me that she needed to find a new boyfriend, because she left her old one, Ethan, behind in Farmington. I told her that Ethan would have to be her boyfriend until she was at least 18. Then she could find another. Something tells me that is not going to happen, but at least I can hope. She is such a flirt, it really scares me.

She also loves the new house, and regularly kisses as many of the walls as she can before leaving it. She still likes to sneak into our bed at night sometimes, but she really likes her new pink and purple room.

The WRECK

Well, life can't be all sunshine and roses everyday. Last Saturday I was driving to my niece's baptism in Syracuse. I wasn't really running late, but enough to where I wasn't using my ummm "best" thinking skills. I got to a 2 way stop sign heading west. My brain thought I was at a four way. I brought my car to a complete stop, looked to see if it was my turn to go, and drove on through. Well, of course the car approaching me to the south didn't stop....... oh wait, he did stop, only after plowing right into the side of my car. It was awful. My poor little Stratus got totalled. We wanted to get a new car this summer, after Ari was done with daycare, but now we have no choice. At least Mike has his scooter, so we can get by with his truck for awhile anyway.

The good part was that no one got hurt. Looking at the pictures, I am just SOOOOO so grateful that Ari didn't get hurt. She was less than a foot away from being smushed. I have felt SO guilty about that. I just take extra time to hold and love on her everyday, and know how lucky I really am. She only got a small bruise on her shoulder from the strap on her car seat. She was asleep when it happened, and I think that was another real blessing.



The FUNERAL

Lastly, I said good-bye to one of the greatest human beings I have ever had the privilege of being loved by, my dear neighbor and adopted grandma, Margaret Egbert. I have never met another person who loved as she did. I hope I can live to be even just a little bit like her. She was 85, and living in a worn out little body. I am sure she had a wonderful reunion with her husband and family on the other side. I love you Margaret!



The END

Well, that I hope you didn't fall asleep. If you did..........WAKE UP! I am done for now. Leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Until next time!

Kelli

p.s. The train quote was from President Hinckley, "Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride." Thanks Lori!!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fig Fam Flashback

I was looking at some of my old e-mails today, and I came across this old video clip I took of Ari in Samoa. It was taken in Elder & Sister Miller's house in Pesega, January of 05. Ari was about 6 months old. She was such a fun baby. I hope you enjoy it, BUT please ignore my ULTRA annoying voice in the background.


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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The 24th of July Samoan Cultural Festival (Eh?)

Ever since Ariana's luau on the 18th, it seems my life has been filled with all things Polynesian. From hangin' with an old friend, eating taro, making koko Samoa, and calling friends on that favorite island of mine, I can practically smell the salt of sea.... or maybe just the burning garbage.

Top: Megan & Ari, Emme & Ari
Middle: The Big Fig Fam
Bottom: Giddy Up Ari & Caleb

On the morning of Thursday the 24th of July the whole "big fig family" attended the Pioneer Parade downtown. The Tongan community always has a band and a float in the parade. This year the Samoan community entered a float for the first time. As they walked by, I started yelling out "Fa'asamoa." All at once practically the entire group turned my direction and started yelling back, "Talofa!" It was awesome. I even made sure the Miss Samoa USA contestants (or Samoan princesses) waved at Ari. She loved that.

Samoan Community Float

After the parade we headed down to the Samoan Cultural Celebration at Wheeler Farm. The celebration began on Monday, and was schedule to end with the Miss Samoa USA pagent the following Saturday night. The place was pretty empty, because most people were hanging out at Liberty Park after the parade. It was still awesome though. I was able to speak the little bit of Samoan I remember, eat panikeke, and check out the Samoan whares. (They were of course triple the price than they were is Samoa.) My favorite part was talking to Doris Teo's sister. She was running Doris's booth. She looked so familar, so I asked if she was related to Doris. She turned around and was really excited to see me. I guess she had met me in Samoa two weeks before I left. She remembered Ari, and was so nice. After that, Mike and I decided to go back the next evening when the entertainment was scheduled.

The next evening we returned with empty bellies and pockets full of cash. The place was packed, and I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. I had gotten really used to that in Samoa, but it was a little bit shocking. It was good though. We had such a good time. We ate taro, boiled bananas, bbq chicken, panikeke, and best of all......koko samoa (although I burnt my tongue REALLY bad, I just couldn't wait.) We saw a few people we knew. I heard Kristen Tauiliili had been there during the week, but I didn't see her. That would have been cool. Lu Ieremia was supposed to meet as there that night with Bre, but after some gang problems, they had to shut the event down early. The entertainment was great, although it too was cut short. They flow two bands in from NZ, 3 Houses Down, and Jamoa Jam. It was so amazing to see so many Samoans all gather in one place in UTAH. Heaven!

Ari eating taro at the festival! She loved it in Samoa.

Sunday we attended our friends Lindsay and Ben Fonua's baby Leila's blessing. Ben's Tongan mom prepared a feast at the park afterward. We had this really good drink made of watermelon, mango, coconut, and coconut milk. Yum!!!

Sunday night I pulled out of the freezer the koko samoa I bought from Rebecca Lolo when she was here for her sister's wedding. Mike's family wanted to try it. The smell alone was enough to make me do the siva.:) Mike's family wasn't to keen on it, but I loved it. Mike's mom Cathy liked it, which scored many points for her in my book.

Finally today I decided to call my Samoan aiga (family) the Tagaloa's back on Upolu. Vale (the mom) heard my voice and said, "Hello my Teuila Measina!" That is my Samoan name the family gave me just before I left. She said everyone was doing great! It was so expensive to talk very long, but so hard to get off the phone. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!!

Well, it has taken me a good two years to say this and mean it, but I really miss Samoa. Our goal is to go back in 2011, but I hope we can manage it sooner. It would be so nice to visit under less stressful circumstances.

Hope everything is well with all of you! Drop me a line.

Kelli

p.s. Thanks for the great e-mail today Judiff! It was so good to hear from you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Am Finally a Home Owner!!!!!!

I thought I would show you all a picture of our new house. We don't close on it until August 7th, but all the financing is done. They just need our John Hancocks. I would tell you where it was, but since this is on the Internet..... you will have to call me! :) (Make a comment...... come on...... I dare you!!!)

Fale O'Figgins

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

If you have ever been on my blog before now, you know that my life pretty much revolves around my little angel Ari. I am a pretty proud mama, and so she is usually the topic of most of my blog postings. This is one of my favorite. She performed in her first luau last Saturday night, at Layton Park Commons. She dances with Malia Darden's group Ili O' Polynesia. She has a little bit of a focus problem in class, so I did not know how she would do. Well......... I could not have been prouder. Following this message will be a clip of each of the four dances she performed in. BUT... first a special thanks to EVERYBODY who came to watch. It really made my day to see all the support she had. Love ya guys!!! (p.s. The post just below this was done just a few minutes ago, so don't forget to read it.)

And a side note.... the financing for our new house came in today!!! We just have to sign the papers. We have waited so long... I can't wait.


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The Hukilau


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Ala Moana Annie


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Otea


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E Piko