April 27, 2014

New Chapters…

I have finally finished several rigorous months of training here in Washington, DC before heading out to our new adventure in Istanbul, Turkey. This training included professional and language training.

So as we prepare ourselves to leave, I am now, officially, a speaker in 3 languages: English, Tagalog, and Turkish. I feat I never thought I would accomplish.

Often people ask me, “Was it hard?” or “Compared to English or Tagalog, how hard is Turkish?” Well, as anyone would tell you, learning a new language is hard—no matter what the language is. Some languages are harder because they use a different script (i.e. Arabic, Chinese, Korean…). Luckily, my three languages use the same basic Roman letters with only a few differences.

It is funny though when I see someone that is Filipino, I can understand what they say perfectly, but when I go to speak my Tagalog is laced with Turkish vocabulary because that is all I have been speaking for the last seven months. Most of them are kind enough to nod and at least pretend they understood what I just said.

We are going to miss Target, Café Rio, H-Mart, Safeway and Trader Joes. But we are so excited to move to the land of kebab, baklava, spices and ornate rugs! In the Foreign Service life is a series of hellos and goodbyes. We are constantly on the move and because of that, our memories are usually attached to sometime reference like “…Oh that happened when we were in Manila. Or that happen after we left Beijing”

So here is to another chapter of our lives! Woohoo!

April 22, 2014

Counting Candles Book Giveaway

Counting Candles Book Giveaway

COUNTING CANDLES will not be released until JUNE 2014, but you can win a free copy of it! There is a book give away available on Goodreads.com!

It is free to enter…go enter for your chance to win one of the first copies of COUNTING CANDLES!

April 21, 2014

#Because of Him

The last few weeks there has been an online campaign for Easter based around the theme “Because of Him.”  There is a short video about how our lives are touched in so many ways by the Savior. The challenge was to recognize all the ways that we are blessed because of HIM.

I was teaching a lesson to my AMAZING Sunday School class (16 and 17 year olds whom I think are down right AWESOME!) and I realized that I need to write a few words about how I know that MY life has been a result of all that the Savior does for me.

I know that because of HIM we can be families forever. I know that because of HIM when we have trials and are knocked down we can stand back up again. I know that we are blessed daily, and I know that I am a Child of a Loving Heavenly Father.

This Easter season I hope you all realized all the blessing you have received too! Here in DC the weather was nice and we enjoyed time with Madre and Kell who visited for the weekend! Tau’aho had his first Easter morning complete with a baseball “basket” plastic eggs (which he LOVED) and some small gifts. Hopefully someday we can teach him the deeper meaning behind Easter—the resurrection of the Savior. 

Of course, Lucky Dragon had to ride the Dragon!


April 15, 2014

All Things Tau’aho

This is going to be one of those sappy, we love our baby, type of posts so if that does not interest you stop now!

This kid is growing up so fast! We love him more than we can tell (I am sure you get that with all the photos and stories we tell about him).He is nearing 9 months!

He is growing fast and his personality is starting to really mature. He loves to laugh and is so curious about life. He is constantly trying to see what people around him are doing. He LOVES to read and does not appreciate anything interrupting his precious time reading with one of us. And when Mickey Mouse clubhouse comes on he is glued to the TV. He will squeal back when Mickey is talking.

His new trick is to clap along when we play “Patty-Cake” or “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!” It is fun to watch him. He thinks he is too big to let us feed him with a spoon and wants to feed himself finger foods.

He is crawling now and will pull himself up on any piece of furniture he can find. It is fun to walk around the room with him while we hold his hands. He gets that “I’m a big boy!” Look on his face when he feels he is doing something special.
Some really great friends living in Oman visited and gave Lucky this shirt

What is going on over there?

His expressions are fun. He is really clear about when he is happy and when he doesn’t like something. (he even learned how to shake his head no—we don’t know how that happened). 


April 12, 2014

SPRING HAS ARRIIIVVVEDDD!!! (in my Olaf singing voice)


The last few days the weather in DC has been BEAUTIFUL! We are loving it. Many of you saw my Facebook post the other day that I know am certain that a sunny, 70 degree day with a slight breeze is PERFECT for me. (It is no wonder I love Hawaii so much, it is like that year-round). I also find laying in the sun so rejuvenating.

Lady Hiva and I marvel at the beauty of nature in the spring. Actually, we admire it in all the seasons, but there is something special about spring and the way everything looks so colorful and cheerful after a long arduous winter of dull grey and muddy brown.


There are hundreds of yellow daffodils soaking up in the sun—everywhere. They just grow like wild flowers.

One of the best parts of spring in DC are the Cherry Blossoms. They are SO beautiful. Lady Hiva and I (and every other person on the Eastern Seaboard) make a point of going into the District several times during the short week they are in bloom.

These trees were given to the United States by Japan as a sign of our international relationship with their country. They have grown to maturity and there when in peak bloom and filled with a fluffy canopy of white and pink flowers.

It was fun watching Tau’aho enjoy the weather, the people and the flowers. Everything is such an exploration for him. He wants to see, touch and TASTE it all.

So here are a few photos of the 2014 Cherry Blossoms in DC! If you ever get a chance to be here during the week that the blossoms are at peak bloom you will never regret taking time to enjoy them. (Even with all the other people around) You really learn how to get a photo of a tree without getting the person on the other side of the tree also taking a photo. We ended up with a few accidental photo-bombs…hehe