Friday, July 15, 2016

Deep Roots Singed Branches

Oh my has July been insane! The first week of this month Vaughan, Kai and I made a quick trip to Vegas for business and his side of the family's reunion. So fun and luckily we flew so the traveling was somewhat easier and more relaxing. We got home on Wednesday then left for Bear Hollow Creek on Saturday morning. I've never heard of Bear Hollow before but it's about a 2 hour drive north of Pleasant Grove and in the middle of nowhere. While on our way east we passed by this huge man-made lake with insanely beautiful houses and we were like "dang, i wish the family reunion was there!" hahaha and "maybe in our next life". then my dad called to see where we were at and we were a little lost. he then said, "did you see that man-made lake when you got onto the highway? that's the place" ahhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we were freaking out! there were two homes right next to each other for all of our families. the lake was right there with a boat, canoes, paddle boards and a mini beach. so many fish to catch, a volleyball court, fire pits, hot tubs, theater room, giant swings, bikes to ride and spikeball. it seriously was a dream.

Kai and Vaughan played in the water all day Saturday like the maori boys they are. We had that floatie chest and arm life jacket thingy for Kai and he honestly would just walk right into the water until he couldn't walk anymore and then just float and smile at the sun hahaha we were right there with him but he loves floating in the water so much so we obviously let him enjoy it and soak it all in. As you can imagine he was pretty smashed after going hard all day in the lake so by 6:30pm we put him down for the night, set up the monitor and went outside to play volleyball, eat and even go out in the boat and surf. Seriously the best of both worlds being able to have Kai experience all this and have fun and then know that he is safe and resting while being able to spend time with my husband and my family.

Sunday we had a family devotional in this incredible "sacred grove" area behind the houses. It was so cool learning more about my ancestors and what they went through to join the gospel and the sacrifices they made to get to America.  It was also so special for family members to stand up and share their unique and diverse testimonies. Not everyone is active LDS but we all have respect for one another to be able to share that spiritual side of us. For the rest of the day we decided not to swim or do any activities on the lake. We ate, played spikeball, went on a mellow bike ride and just really soaked up the relationships and conversations with everyone there.

Monday was the 4th and as such my aunty had American flag bandanas for everyone hahaha it was s'cute. My mom even got Kai a festive swim suit that she asked for him to wear with a giant flag on it. We went boating basically all day, all three of us for Kai's first time. He just sat and watched everyone tube or surf. The rhythm of the boat put him in a tonic. After boating, pictures, more lake time, volleyball and dinner, we put Kai down for the rest of the night. It was starting to get dark so Vaughan and the rest of the family went out by the dock and the beach to get fireworks started. At about 10:30pm I was editing pictures and talking with my cousin when someone ran in and yelled fire. I went out the door and saw huge flames in the hill about 60 feet away from me and everyone else. At that point it was no where near the house that Kai was sleeping in. All the adults were running around yelling, trying to find the fire extinguishers, getting water and towels to try and put out the fire. It was chaos. Embers were floating through the air as I saw some of the smaller children crying, yelling for their parents and terrified. My first thought was to get them distracted and out of the situation. With all of the older kids and parents working on the fire, and the fire still nowhere near the house Kai was in, I felt like it was my role to comfort the little ones. I quickly brought them into the house and sat them on the couches. They were screaming and balling. I asked them if we could say a prayer and they said yes. We all said a prayer together and once it was done the children were no longer crying. One little girl, Penny, who was hysterical before said that she felt better and that she felt brave. All the kids then chimed in saying that they were brave. Vaughan's laptop was right on the couch so I hurried and put a movie on for them to watch to hopefully distract them from what was going on outside. After only a couple of minutes between saying the prayer and getting the kids settled, I then ran to the house Kai was at. The fire was still nowhere close so I went in the room and saw that he was still sleeping. Our bags had already been mostly packed and the room opened up to the driveway which had our car about 10 feet away. So with kai asleep, the adults putting out the fire and the kids safe I decided to quickly grab our bags and throw them in the car. Just as I finished I heard Kai talking so I grabbed him out of his crib and ran out to the car.

As I got onto the driveway Vaughan ran over to us in bare feet. He said that the firetruck was on their way and ordered everyone to evacuate immediately. I gave Kai to Vaughan to put into his carseat and ran into the main house to check on the kids. At that point the parents had already grabbed them and put them in their cars to go. I ran back to the car and as we were all driving out as the fire trucks were coming in. At that point the whole entire mountain side was up if flames. It didn't even seem real. Sirens were going off as we all drove about a mile north. We then parked our cars and checked on everyone. We said a huge family prayer and then just waited, trying to figure out what went wrong. When I went to check on the little kids, Penny was in her parents car and using her Dad's phone to read scriptures. Most of the other ones were already asleep. We waited for about 2 hours. Neighbors came by and offered us bottled water. The police came to questions everyone and get our accounts of what happened. The property owners came and made sure we all were okay. Kai was having a blast being awake that late and playing on the ipad haha and Vaughan still didn't have his shoes.

From everyone who had witnessed it they gathered what had happened. The younger men were in charge of lighting the fireworks. On the Grand Finale they each had their own and they secured each firework in the sand on the beach, facing the water. All of the sudden there was an explosion in one of the fireworks before it actually went off. It hit one of my cousin's (luckily no injury) and the rest of the explosion randomized and shot into the hill. The flames erupted almost immediately. Vaughan was actually running up and down the hill with no shoes trying to put it out along with the rest of the men while the women got towels and buckets and water. They almost had it too, but then in a matter of seconds it erupted again and started traveling up faster. Vaughan said that while he was on the hill he heard someone say to pray. So he did. When he was done he looked out across the flames and saw the men circled up doing the same. Just then he noticed that the winds had begun to change, and that it was now blockading the fire rather than fueling it. That's when him and the rest on the hill got the message to evacuate. He then came to find me and Kai.

When we were allowed to come back to the house a couple hours later we examined the firework area again. That's where we learned that it was a specific faulty firework that had cause the explosion. The sand beneath it was literally black. At 1am we all gathered into the family room. The only damage that had been done was the mountain. The fireman were actually incredibly impressed by the men in our family and the sufficiency they had while taming the fire before they got there. No one was injured. Everyone and their belongings and the homes were completely safe. We then said another family prayer, kneeling in gratitude. The tears finally came to me as I felt the presence of the Holy Ghost so strongly. I knew that we had been protected that night. Heavenly Father and His angels were with us. I even had the thought that those angels may have been our ancestors and future family, doing the Lord's work to keep us safe.

An hour later after everyone was settled, Kai was still bouncing off the walls and showed no signs of falling back asleep. We were to leave early in the morning anyway for Vaughan's work so we decided to leave right then. We got home around 4am. Now looking back on it, it all seems like a dream. I'm just so grateful that those who were traumatized by it have now had time to heal. And laugh, even. The theme of our family reunion was Deep Roots Strong Branches. My aunty who organized all of it later posted on Instagram with the hashtag: Deep Roots Singed Branches hahaha so i'm just so grateful that this crazy adventure united us rather than splitting us apart. The reunion was still amazing and we were exactly where we needed to be, no matter what happened, with family.

 photo siggy_zpsad9baryc.png

Saturday, May 28, 2016

on to the next

these past two years i have been through so many phases of life. pregnancy, new mom and working mom. going through all those phases has been exhausting and growing and wonderful and heartbreaking and so many more adjectives that i'm too tired to even list right now. with each phase i lost parts of me but also gained so much growth and learning. 

just recently that phase of working mom was able to transition into full time mom. and i am so grateful. vaughan found a dream job after months of searching and in turn it has allowed me to be at home with kai. at the beginning of the year i would have dreaded that! honestly! i LOVED and i think needed to work or just do something. i've always liked having some sort of job. but i found that i was starting to feel more like i needed to be at home and embrace that. it wasn't a battle. i was ready. and then after much struggle, that job for vaughan was put in our path and things fell into place. our prayers were answered and we feel so blessed for the chance to take a step forward with our lives. 

with all that said, it has NOT been easy!! i repeat, FULL TIME MOMMY is HARD work hahaha it is physically, mentally and emotionally draining--to say the least! and it's been a transition for sure. even kai is adjusting to only seeing vaughan 2-3 hours a day and it's been really tough for him. but we are figuring how to cope and things are good. things are really good. 

i'm looking forward to this phase of life. and it's so sad to think about but it will never happen again afterwards. it will never just be me and kai at home at the age we are. when i think of it like that, it's so much more motivating to really just embrace our situation. and to cherish it. 

that black and white picture of kai was taken today while i was testing out the exposure in my camera. i get emotional looking at it haha (i am such a mom!) it really does bring out the tender feels though.

it's just so him right now. so wild and happy. and crazy and emotional and loving. 
the cover to our current chapter. 
 photo siggy_zpsad9baryc.png

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

shop is open!

i mentioned in an earlier post about how vaughan and i and our little family have been through some big changes at the beginning of this year! one of those changes was letting go of my former job/love of my life, Little Nuggy. the founder and my partner, Ale, became one of my closest friends through this process and by bringing me on board with her business i grew and learned so much more than i could have imagined! it truly did bless my life at a time of need. towards the end of the year we both decided that it would be best to go in the direction we felt we needed to in our own lives and our own families. 

during the transition of leaving Little Nuggy i had a friend text me asking if she could pay me to help run/manage/give advice about her instagram account! that same week another friend asked the same. through Little Nuggy i learned so much about the world of social media marketing and how to succeed, so when i was with my friends i would give them advice if they asked or help point out things they could do to build their following if that's what they were looking for. i would have never thought that these things i learned could turn into a business! 

and then i started getting more and more emails about my etsy shop being closed down and people wanting custom blog design and wanting to know where they could purchase my pre-made templates! during Nuggy i closed down the shop because i wanted to focus on my new venture. i was honestly so surprised of the feedback and inquiries i got once my shop closed!! i am honestly flattered! hahaha i had no idea people even really cared that much for my work. 

so, without further adieu, i have now opened my etsy shop and custom blog design shop again!! same classic templates as before but i'm totally willing to design some more if you guys want me to! and custom blog design will be few but email me and we can figure something out.

i also wanted to introduce my social media managing tab at the top!! since accepting my friends offers about working for and teaching them about social media, i've figured out my schedule and the basics of what i offer and it's all on that tab! there are so many different options and we will work together to figure out what is the best social media strategy for you that fits into your budget! there is also the option to purchase my training on how to build your instagram following or a guide to taking, editing and posting pictures. 

i have taken on a few clients so this month is limited but if you're interested i have about 1-2 spots open! feel free to email me at if you have any questions or are just interested in how it works or if you just want to say hello :) 

and if you're just here because you like pictures of kai, then i love you. yall'z are the best! 
 photo siggy_zpsad9baryc.png

Saturday, January 23, 2016

our hawaii trip. in 2015. but it's not too late to document it! AMIRITE?!

if vaughan and i could live anywhere in the world. well, not like LIVE by ourselves. but if we could relocate all of our friends and family and our ward and ourselves anywhere it would probably be hawaii. or new zealand. i don't know! both.

and wow. what an amazing intro paragraph i have going on right now! i'm sure everyone will be totally drawn in to what i have to say next! haha ANYWAY you basically get the point that we have a love for North Shore, Oahu. specifically Laie and all it's green-ness. we flew over with some of my fam and their kids and found an amazing deal on this cutest beach house right on Hukilau beach. from our bedroom we would walk a little 20 foot path right onto the sand. vaughan would tell you that this is probably the happiest he's ever been. if you ever want to see this 240lb polynesian man get giddy like a child, give him an ocean.

he would wake up right as the sun would rise and be out in the waves already. he'd come in for food and to check on baby and me but for the most part i wanted him to be out there to soak it up as much as he could! and i loved that he was only feet away from us or that we could watch him from the pergola in the backyard.

and it honestly was no surprise that kai transformed into a little fish. i would sit him down on the beach (naked most of the time because WHY NOT?! and it was only fam around and they didn't mind) and he would crawl straight into the ocean. legit get mad at vaughan or i when we picked him up if he was going to deep hahaha and then when he wasn't trying to swim he would just sit where the water breaks and play with the sand. for hours i'm sure if i had let him.

is it weird that some part of me dies inside that i can't give my boys the chance to be closer to the ocean? when vaughan was growing up in New Zealand as a little boy, his dad would take him surfing every day before school. it's one of vaughan's fondest memories and i wish i could let him and kai relive that. i know the fact that we aren't in a place right now to move somewhere like that isn't my fault, but i suppose it's just the mama and the wifey in me who wished i could give my family the world, ya know?

so what did we do in hawaii beside the beach? i honestly don't even remember. we ate of course! at seven brothers, kahuku grill, that one famous shaved ice place that is to long for me to spell out, tita's, ted's bakery. all places i would for sure recommend. but my most favorite is by far NORTH SHORE TACOS. i'm seriously craving it now that i'm even thinking about their chicken burrito. my gosh. give the girl some freaking cafe rio delivery and 12:30 in the morning already!! hahaha if you're ever near the area just go and send me a pic k?

we went to the PCC obvs and got a sick hook up because vaughan's poly (jk but sort of not jk) and i'm not even kidding when he ran into people that he knew there from all around the world. besides being in a Samoan ward for church, we don't really have much of his culture around here since vaughan's fam is mostly in NZ. so it was comforting to hear that beautiful kiwi accent that seriously just makes me feel right at home.

are my posts so long now or what? haha they are too long. so to wrap it up hawaii was bomb. i miss the food. kai should've been a fish and we are moving back to new zealand.
 photo siggy_zpsad9baryc.png