Saturday, April 21, 2012

Vaughn's 14th Birthday

Today is Saturday, April 21, 2012. How sad that it has taken me so long to get back to blogging but I felt it a very special day today as it is Vaughn's 14th Birthday!! It has been such a blessing having Vaughn in our family. He's very kind and helpful and always obedient. We love you, Vaughn Mosese!! Tonight we'll be going to a buffet, probably Arizona Charlie's, for his birthday dinner. He has been wishing for Prime Rib for his birthday. He's so funny that kid! He is our meat & potatoes eater in our family (besides his dad, of course). He'll get his wish, that's for sure, and anyway, he deserves it! It has been a wonderful year and we hope he will have another wonderful year this year.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

HELLO!!

Hi there! Wow, it's been a long time since I've been on our blog! I think my last entry was when my mom passed away. It was a difficult time but I had the most beautiful experience when we were all able to get together back home, in Hawaii, and be together again. I've since tried to find the right words to share about my whole experience in Hawaii, but especially about the day of my mom's funeral. I'll have to definitely share more about that.
What's been keeping me busy lately? Oh my gosh...FACEBOOK! That can be very addicting! It's hard not to pass by the computer during the day without getting on and checking my facebook page. In fact, I don't log off during the day...it's up all day. The only time I log off is at night, before bed. And sometimes, not even then...that's only when I get too tired and forget to log off.
Well, hopefully I'll get back into things on our family blog because I need to continue jotting down some history...family history.
Stay tuned...more scoops about the family...and pictures!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mom Has Finally Gone Home...

My mom, Elizabeth Puha Hoopii, has finally gone home to be with Heavenly Father this afternoon. Well, being that it is now 12:15am. Monday morning, I guess it would've been yesterday afternoon.
I don't know exactly how she died, but I know for sure that it was complications due to her Alzheimer's disease. My dad says that it may have been pneumonia because she's had such a hard time clearing out her lungs. Whatever it was, it has been very hard on all of us.
I think being here on the mainland has helped a little bit to not be so emotional and overwhelmed with the whole situation, but it's the very little moments where it seems so quiet that I can't help but think about it and feel really sad, and find myself shedding a few tears. Then I look at my kids, and can't help but feel so grateful for the wonderful Plan of Salvation. In fact, earlier this evening, I mentioned to Joey how great it must be for "grandma" to finally see her dad again. Because my grandpa died so many years ago, when my mom was young, she grew up MOST of her life not having her dad IN her life. I can only imagine how great her reunion with her family must've been! She's now able to see her mom, dad, sister, and four of her brothers. And now she doesn't have to suffer anymore! If her personality is the same now as before she got Alzheimer's, they're all in for a real treat!!
I have many memories of my mom, some not so great, but there are many that will always be special to me...two very special memories that I'd like to share:

The first memory is when I was preparing for my mission. My mom was so very supportive and caring. It was a very unusual "caring" that I had not really experienced before, or maybe just not remembered. She took me wherever I needed to go, to shop for whatever I needed, but it was more than that...it was her knowledge and wisdom, knowing what things I may need as simple as a blanket, a portable iron, stuff like that. And maybe something you wouldn't think was a need, but it sure came in very handy on my mission...a small rice cooker. Then she flew to Maui with me one weekend so that I could visit my grandma before going on my mission. I thought that was very special! We went sight seeing, and visited family and relatives. We had such a nice time together, just she and I. The last part of this memory was when she escorted me through the temple to get my endowments for the first time. She was a temple ordinance worker at the time, in the Hawaii temple, so she knew all the ins and outs, but what was very neat was to see her dressed in white with her "salt and pepper" color hair. She truly looked like an angel! Her voice was very soft and kind, something very unusual because she was very loud and harsh, but her countenance was amazing! She was VERY patient with me, and that helped so much since everything was so overwhelming for me. She was amazing!! I knew then that I was so lucky to have her as a mom.

My second memory is when I was on my mission. I had left for the MTC in May 1989, so I had missed a few holidays, that I would normally spend with my family. My birthday came and went, Thanksgiving came and went, Christmas came and went, but Mother's day in 1990 came and I thought, as I sat in Sacrament meeting, "I don't know if I'll get through this day!!". I missed my mom so much!! This was the hardest time of my mission to be away from home, on this Mother's Day. I was so glad when I got home and was able to call her to wish her a Happy Mother's Day, and just talk to her and hear her voice again.

These are the memories that I will hold dear to my heart. Just as I mention "her voice", I think about the last time I heard her voice. It was when we went back home for their 50th Wedding Anniversary...she didn't talk very much then but when you played music on the guitar and ukulele, she remembered the song and would even sing the song. My mom loved singing, I'll always remember that, and to hear her sing some songs when she could barely remember us, was such a thrill for all of us. When I went back this last time, in June, she was not talking at all. Not sure exactly when she stopped saying anything, but now she's probably talking up a storm where she's at, and maybe even scolding everybody, too!
I will miss my mom so much!! There were a few times in my life when I questioned why I ended up with a mom like her, but I know there was, is, and will have great eternal purposes, which I am deeply grateful for. I will be eternally grateful to my mom who raised us all well. Many things I have learned from her, has helped me a great deal in my life. This day of her passing will be a date easy to remember being that it is the same day Pearl Harbor was attacked 67 years ago.
My prayers now will surely be with my dad. I know he's going through a very difficult time right now. I am just so grateful that my dad took such great care of her. I hope that he will find peace and comfort to be able to now go on with the rest of his earthly life, however long that will be and do things he has not been able to do for about the past four years, like go to the temple.
I LOVE YOU MOM! We all love you and will miss you! Thank you for being my mom!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend












My brother, Kauhi, and his family joined us again this year for Thanksgiving. They live in St. George, so it's nice to have some family close enough to be able to spend the holidays with. It was just our family and his so it was a small gathering but it was nice.
We had the traditional turkey meal, and Kauhi brought a ham so we had that also. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, mainly for the FOOD, and we had a pretty nice "spread" of food! Our turkey wasn't as big this year as it was last year, which I'm glad. We had leftovers last year, for days, and I think I ended up even having to throw food away, so this year our turkey was smaller, but it was just the perfect size.
Kauhi and his family stayed with us for a couple of nights, and on their last night, we went to see the Christmas lights at Ethel M's Chocolate Factory Desert Garden. It was a pretty nice night...it wasn't too cold, which was nice, considering it had rained for two days a couple days before. Of course, we had to stop in the factory to get some candy, just the free one they pass out to everyone. Santa Claus was available in the garden for whoever wanted their pictures taken with him, but my kids didn't want to. They seem to think they're too old to sit on Santa's lap, I guess. But Kauhi's kids did, and Santa gave them chocolates on their way out.
All in all, we had a nice Thanksgiving weekend. I look forward to another one next year...as always!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy 52nd Anniversary, Mom & Dad!!

Mom and her missionary companion, Amy Brown








Dad and his older brother, Edward (Uncle Eddie)















November 1997






November 2006




















June 2008





This whole day, I wish to dedicate to my mom and dad....music and everything! Today is my mom and dad's 52ND Wedding Anniversary!
A little history about them:
My dad, Robert John Hoopii, was born Feb. 3, 1929 in Kalawao, Molokai, HI. to Alexander Welau Hoopii and Mary Keakealani Kawai. Because his mom and dad had the infectious leprosy disease, he was taken from his parents pretty much at birth and put in a foster home, and was basically raised all his childhood life in foster families.
My mom, Elizabeth Puha, was born Nov. 27, 1928 in Olowalu, Maui, HI. to Adam Moke Puha and Helen Alani Tungloong.
Both my mom and dad were converts to the church. My mom, at a young age, along with some of her family members were taught by the missionaries, one by the name of Elder Sperry, while living in Olowalu. They were baptized, then a few years later, the rest of her siblings joined the church. My mom, along with her parents and maybe one or two other siblings stayed active in the church from then on. She even had the opportunity to serve a full-time mission in Japan. My dad on the other hand did not join the church until his adult life. Let me explain...
When they met?? This is the story I always remember. My dad's brother, Eddie, and my mom's cousin, Maria, were married. What a coincidence...brother and cousin. Anyway, my mom and dad were introduced and I think it was love at first sight for my dad. He was always a hard worker, worked hard even as a young boy, stayed at a job for a long time, learned quite well what hard work was all about. But he also had a talent for singing, and with the friends he had from work, working for the City and County of Honolulu, they liked to get together on weekends and drink, sing, and party. My mom was also a hard worker. She was a nurse living in Honolulu at the time. That's pretty much all she did...work and go to church probably. Since most of her family were on Maui, she would often visit her cousin, Maria, and for some reason...heeheehee, my dad was always there. My dad tried his hardest to win her over but she was a stubborn one and would always give him the cold shoulder. My mom was not attracted to my dad at all. Oh, my dad was also a boxer so sometimes he would get hurt and swollen from fights so my mom didn't think he was the greatest looking guy. But my dad, with his persistence and smooth ways, got my mom to go on a date with him. My dad worked real hard to get my mom to like him, and after a while he wooed her and won her over. He wanted to marry my mom, and my mom said that the only way she would marry him was if he joined the church. Guess what?? My dad loved her so much that he was willing to give up his vices. He met with the missionaries, got baptized, and about a week later, they were married...52 years ago...and the rest is history.
Since then, they've had six children...Robert "Lopaka" John Jr., Leila Uilani Moa, Taylor Halamapuana, Me - Luana Ululani Taukinukufili, Kaiana Kyle, and Kauhi Kell. For the most part, I think we've turned out pretty good. We've each had the opportunity to serve full-time missions. We also, now in our adult lives have been blessed to have our own families. We're not perfect but we try real hard...we've been reared well in the gospel, to know that even when we fall, we can pick ourselves up, and get back on track. What great knowledge we have of the gospel.
I am so grateful for the missionaries that found my mom's family! I hope to one day meet them and thank them. I'm grateful that my dad had the courage and strength to trust and have faith that his life would turn out so much better, not only to marry my mom, but to accept the gospel in his life. I know for sure that he knows that! And I'm grateful for the faith and obedience of my parents and their unwavering testimony of the true gospel on this earth. I will always be grateful to my dad, for his great example as a man who always honored his priesthood, and was never ashamed to share it with us, and for my mom who was always there by his side. I'll always remember my dad's persistence of waking us up at 2:00 am., each morning before he had to go to work, to have family prayer, and never letting us go to bed at night without having family prayer. I'll always remember scripture reading nights, family home evening nights, Sunday evening "singing" nights since we weren't allowed to watch t.v. on Sundays. It sure helped us get familiar with all the songs in the hymn book, let me tell you. I'll always remember priesthood blessings when we were sick, and blessings when we started a new year of school. I'll also remember blessings at times when we just needed them. I'll always remember my mom and dad staying after church once a month for their temple meetings. Then going to the temple almost every week. I'll always remember my mom and dad going to the temple as ordinance workers each week when they lived in Utah. I'll always remember helping my dad at the Bishop's Storehouse each week on Tuesday and Thursday, since he was the storehouse keeper. I'll always remember family outings at Ala Moana Beach Park or Magic Island, when my dad would run over to the park right after work and save us the best spot! Then having barbecues and spending the whole day at the beach. I'll always remember my dad being home from work, even before we'd leave for school. He did that for most of my life, so he was also Mr. Mom to me, alongside my mom who didn't have to work outside the home because my dad worked so hard to make it be. I'll always remember our yearly vacations to Maui to visit and help my grandma. I'll always remember the many times we were asked to sing at birthday parties, weddings, luaus, graduation parties, get-togethers, missionary farewells, missionary homecomings, sacrament meetings, funerals, firesides, Christmas parties. Wow...we did a lot of singing! We had a motto in our family.... "A family that sings together, stays together!"...I think it still pertains to us to this day. I'll always remember my dad's wonderful falsetto voice and my mom's beautiful alto voice. Thanks to them...it's where we've gotten our talent for music and singing in harmony. And last but certainly not least, my dad's two favorite scriptures...I think he and my mom shared the same favorite scriptures, and he would often quote it to us by heart: Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 - "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 22: 6 - "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he shall not depart from it."
My mom and dad have truly lived these scriptures. What great examples!!
And now, in their "seasoned" lives, as they continue on their journey, my only hope and prayer is that my dad will get to enjoy my mom for as long as she will be with us. A few years ago, my mom was stricken with the dreadful Alzheimer's disease. It's been hard on me, as well I'm sure as the rest of my family. But it hasn't stopped my dad's loyalty and love to and for her. He has sacrificed so much in his life to dedicate his time and physical abilities, in his old age, to take care of her. She is bed-ridden now, so he takes care of her as she is now unable to take care of herself. But I'm sure his testimony of and love for the gospel and Savior goes on strong. Thank goodness for the knowledge we have that this life is only temporary, and that families can be together forever!
I, Luana Ululani Hoopii Taukinukufili, have "truly" been born of goodly parents. I am so grateful to my mom and dad for all that they have taught me, for their strength, wisdom, and love for me throughout the years, and for their love and concern for me and my family today. I'm grateful for the clear examples that they have set for me, and hope I can be at least half as strong and faithful a parent as they have been to me. I am thankful for their faith in the gospel, and deep-rooted testimonies that have constantly strengthened mine. I have been blessed in my life to have them as parents. I have also been blessed to have experienced life from and with them and I wouldn't ask for anything different.
I LOVE YOU, MOM & DAD!! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

You Asked For It!











Okay, as much as this grosses me out, I'm still going to show you what it looks like, since some of you asked to see it. This is Bryce's injury that just about cut off his fingertip. He's such a trooper, I tell you. So strong and brave! I thought I could handle it, but I....CAN'T!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Can You Say...ACCIDENT PRONE?











In the last three weeks, Bryce has had to go to the emergency room two times. Two times in three weeks...is that normal? I don't think so.
Anyway, both accidents happened at work, and the first one was the day before Halloween. He was cleaning up some debris, and as he tried to push down some trash that was in a big cardboard box, there was a piece of sheet metal in the box and it cut his right wrist. He said it was deep enough where he could see the tendons move as he moved his fingers. He had to get five stitches in his wrist. Of course, I cannot stand the sight of blood or stitches. I can't even hear about it, so I probably seemed very insensitive and not comforting at all. I was most worried about this injury because it happened the day we went to Salt Lake City to help the Schroeders get their shower in, and I didn't know how Bryce was going to do all of it, but he did. He said that he actually didn't feel any pain as soon as it happened, I guess because the sheet metal was so sharp.
The second accident happened about a week ago. It was something like, they were putting a big huge pipe up on the ceiling and it wasn't secured very well. One side of the pipe fell and he tried to catch it but instead, because of the weight of it, it pushed his hand up against the wall, cutting the fingertip of his right middle finger almost off, and basically smashing two other fingers. This injury hurt more. I think what saved his fingertip from coming all the way off was his glove. I'm sure if he didn't have his glove, it would've definitely cut off his finger tip.
His injuries are looking so much better now. He already got his stitches out from his wrist, but I think the stitches in his fingertip will just dissolve or something. YUK!! It grosses me out just thinking about it. I still haven't been able to look at it. I feel so bad that I can't be more sensitive to Bryce's injuries.
I hope these are all the injuries he gets, at least for a long while. I'm sure his company feels the same. My poor husband! Who would've thought plumbing work would be so dangerous?

Creativity In My Blood

Sr. Primary, Silver Springs Ward














Jr. Primary, Silver Springs Ward


This past Sunday, I finally discovered that I actually AM creative after all!
For the last three Sundays, in singing time, we've been working on two Christmas songs from the Primary Children's songbook, "The Shepherd's Carol" & "Who Is the Child?".
I have to admit...I've adopted some ways of teaching music from my mom, when she taught the music in Primary many years ago. No complaints here, though. The kids may complain, but the outcome is always good when I get compliments from the parents. I teach the same ways to my own kids, so I guess it's been like this for a long time. Because I'm not creative with my hands, a lot of my teaching of songs are by "rote", which means that we sing a line or two over and over again until the kids sing it right. I'm a very "technical teacher" when it comes to music and singing. It's very important for me that the kids sing the right note, and if they don't, I have them sing it again and again until they get it right. I'll throw in a game or two, here and there, but like I said, it's mostly by rote.
Now it's not so much coming up with the IDEA of "dressing up". I've heard about that idea many times. It's mostly having the creativity to put the costumes together. I think that's why I don't like Halloween and coming up with costumes for the kids. Creative ideas, a lot of times, can be in my head...I can think of things to do and picture it in my mind how it would look like, but actually putting it together using my hands can be really hard for me.
Well, this past Sunday I think it was a shock for everyone because I decided to put together some costumes so the kids could dress up as characters in the songs, like a "Nativity" scene. I think I even shocked myself. Saturday, while trying to get and put everything together, I still had no idea how it would all turn out. But I'd have to say, it turned out great!! I was pretty proud of myself, and the neatest part of it all was actually feeling the spirit as I saw the kids IN their costumes. I had goosebumps and my eyes welled up with tears. I had a great time, and I think the kids did, too, because they were saying how they wanted to do it again! I just wished we had more time so we could get the rest of the kids to dress up as well.
At least I'll have some "nativity" costumes on hand, whenever needed. I'm not one to hold on to things and pack things away. I'll get rid of things as quick as I get 'em if I think it'll take up more space for me, but these costumes are definitely keepers!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Honey!! A Stroll Down Memory Lane...

Our first memories.....




Last night, as I was telling the girls that the next day was their mom and dad's 15th wedding anniversary, it brought up a thought in Sierra's mind. Sierra is a very sensitive, kind, and forgiving person. She's also a very deep thinker. Simple but deep...is that possible? All these things have become much more apparent to me as she's gotten older. Anyway, she made a comment to Cheyenne that made me think how lucky and grateful I am for this whole union between Bryce and I. This is what she said..."Cheyenne, do you know that if mom and dad never got married...we wouldn't exist??". My jaw dropped and it really opened my eyes to think that her thought is SO true!! It made me sad to think that if we never met, fell in love, and got married...we wouldn't have the beautiful kids we have!
So now as I go "down memory lane", it takes me back a little over 15 years ago......First of all, I had been back from my mission about a year. I had moved to Utah from Hawaii in the summer of 1991, and lived with my sister, Leila, and her family which was only her husband, Sonny, and her first child, Matthew, who at the time was about 10 months old. Matthew was "the apple of my eye"! He pretty much was the reason I moved to Utah. And then of course, it felt right to be in Utah.
I got a job as a teller at Bank of Utah sometime in 1992. I didn't do very much outside of work. I hung out with some friends, from my mission, on weekends. I had been on a few dates here and there but none at all serious (I'm so glad!). But I mostly hung out with a great friend, Luisa Pope. She and her family lived just a couple houses up from Leila. She had five little kids, and I'd always be there, helping her out and whatever. They were a Tongan family, and one of a very few "Polynesian" people I knew. We became very close. In fact, we confused the ward members a lot...I guess because Luisa and I hung out most of the time, they thought I was Luisa's sister instead of Leila's sister. I was just glad to be acquainted with other Poly's. At work, everytime a "Poly" walked in, I'd get so excited! Finally, people I could relate to in some way! Sometimes I'd talk to them, but I would mostly acknowledge them, and they would seem to have the same reaction towards me, which was nice.
One day while at work, in February 1993, I was at my teller station, and I noticed a Polynesian man walk in. We weren't busy at the time, and I don't think I was helping a customer, but I looked over and acknowledged him. I smiled and he smiled back. I saw him sit at the New Accounts desk so I assumed he was opening an account. A little while later, he came up to my teller station. He introduced himself as Saia, said that he lived a couple blocks away, that he had a construction business, and wanted to open a business account at the bank. If I can remember right, I think he asked if I was Samoan. I told him no, that I was Hawaiian, and he told me he was Tongan. We talked a little bit about Hawaii because he said he had lived there before. He seemed like a real nice man...I didn't feel afraid at all. Slowly, other customers started to come in, but there were other tellers that could help them so Saia and I continued to talk. Then came the more serious questions...Saia asked if I was LDS. I told him yes. He asked what ward I went to and I told him that I was going to a singles ward. Then he asked that ever uncomfortable question, "Do you have a boyfriend?". I told him no. So now here goes...he said he had a son that just got back from a mission a year before, and that I should meet him. "Oh no!" was my thought. He continued to say that maybe he and his son would be interested in coming to the singles ward. I thought, "whatever" and gave him the directions to and information of the ward. I told him that I had gone on a mission, too, and he said that it was perfect, that I should for sure meet his son. I was very hesistant, but I said, "Why don't you bring him in so I can meet him. He said, very excitedly, "Okay!". Two days later, Saia walked in to the bank, and a few steps behind him comes walking this very handsome guy with the most beautiful eyes! Saia introduced his son, Bryce, to me. Bryce stuck his hand out to shake mine and I couldn't help but notice the biggest forearms I had ever seen on a guy!! WOW!! What a hunk!! In my mind, I thought, "Okay, I could do this!!" heeheehee I think for me, it was love at first sight! In fact, my co-worker, Megan, said "Hey, if you don't want 'em, I'll take 'em!" I said, "No, it's okay. I'll take 'em!". The rest is history...or maybe not.
It was now about May 1993. Bryce and I were dating and stuff, but nothing serious. It was more like friends. We'd also go out with a bunch of my friends. But I could never figure Bryce out...if he liked me, or if he just liked the company. I was getting frustrated because I was liking him a lot, and could even see myself marrying him, but of course I was older than him. At that time I was 25, three months shy of 26. I was ready to settle down and get married, but Bryce was only 22, very young, and I don't think he was ready to settle down. I talked to Luisa many, many times about this whole situation with Bryce, but felt helpless. I finally decided that I was going to move back home to Hawaii. It felt good, and I thought that maybe the reason why I wasn't finding anyone to marry was because I was in the wrong place, that maybe my future husband was in Hawaii. So that was it...I was going to move back home. Luisa and I were sad about the decision...I didn't want to leave such a dear friend, and I also didn't want to leave my sister or Matthew. I was torn, but what do I do! Then one night in early June, Bryce and I went on a date. He took me up to, gosh what do they call that place, the hill overlooking Salt Lake City, up by the state capital. Can't remember what it's called. We talked, and talked for a long time. Then all of a sudden, out of the blue, Bryce asked me to marry him. I was shocked!! I wasn't even expecting it, but I was so happy! I, of course, said yes! He didn't have a ring for me, which was perfectly fine. We were both poor anyway. I was just happy he proposed to me. That night after our date, I had to tell Luisa the good news so instead of going home, I went over to her house. She seemed happy for me, but in an unusual way. Then she told me that she KNEW he was going to propose. I was confused. She explained to me that she had told Bryce of my plans to move back to Hawaii. Bryce wasn't very happy about it, so she said, "Bryce, if you want Luana to stay, the ONLY way she'll stay is if you ask her to marry you. I promise you, that is the only way she'll stay, but I know she'll say YES.". And it WAS!! Now the rest is history!!
Bryce and I had talked about it later...the morning after he proposed to me, he woke up thinking, "What did I do?", "What am I getting myself into?". I felt kinda bad for him because I know he was young and wasn't quite sure if he was ready to settle down. But I was so sure, and now I'm just glad he took that great big leap of adulthood and responsibility. Now look at us...15 years later. Oh, of course, we've had some rocky times. We've had our ups and downs, more ups than downs. But we've hung in there, and we keep working things through. I have to always remember and be grateful for all the UPS! We're happy and we have such a wonderful family! I love them so much!! I don't know what I'd do without each one of them. Like Sierra said, "if mom and dad never got married, we wouldn't exist", and OOHHH is she right!! To my husband, Bryce...I love you so much!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your hard work all these years, to provide for our family, for your constant willingness to serve others, and for the joy and happiness you've brought to my life! I love you, honey! Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008