Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baby sisters are the best

This is a repost from October 21, 2008 Original Post Today is my baby sister's birthday, so this is for her! (who also made all the simple prettyness on my blog!)
I Love you, Pen!

Chicken, rice, and corn from a can

Disclaimer: this post is dedicated to my baby sister, Pene. It just might get cheesy or sad or personal. If you don't want to hear about it, I suggest you move along.

Usually, I say that I cannot remember life without my sister. I'm here to tell you it's a big, fat lie. But not a horrible one, I don't think. I have exactly one memory from before she was born.

My earliest memory is from when I was about 2 years old (plus some 5 or so months) It was the night my baby sister was born, and actually the only memory I have without her in it.

I have a vivid mental picture of our house in Salt Lake; it's night time, and we are eating dinner. You guessed what's for dinner; chicken, rice, and corn from a can. Nothing too fancy. Just fried chicken, sticky rice, and corn. I don't remember much beyond that, except that my older siblings were there, and I colored a picture. I also remember a man there, who I'm assuming was probably my cousin Tui, who I guess babysat us a lot.

After that, pretty much all my memories involve my sister. We were always "the little girls" and did pretty much everything together. Whether it was bullying the girl next door into letting us play (she had THE coolest toys) and then fervently denying it to our mom, or trying to convince a neighborhood kid that we could get him deported to Canada, we were quite the pair. We fought constantly with each other, but I knew she always had my back.

When I think of how a good sister should be, I usually think of a Jane Austen book. The sisters in her books were usually pretty close to perfect, and always totally devoted to each other. My sister has always been the Jane Austen sister, and I'm so grateful to have her in my life!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I know that I am biased because I am their Auntie, but I just think these kids are so adorable (it's ok that I am often grateful I can return them!) I love this picture; they are so little, but they look SO grown up at the same time.

This picture captures their personalities so well; the Princess is the center of those boys' universe and she knows it. (lets be honest, we are all guilty of revolving around her) She has a horrible need to know EVERYTHING, so it's no shocker that she is not looking at the camera, but off to the side, probably at what her Uncle is doing. She is a big girl, and don't try to tell her otherwise. She can do everything the boys do, and will not tolerate people doing things for her. She is strong-willed, stubborn, and loving. She cannot be bothered to do things on your timeframe, hers is much better. My mini-me in more ways than one.

The Monkey on the left can be perfectly content just doing his own thing, and is easily distracted. He looks like he is ready to pounce, leaping off into some imaginary adventure that only he sees, or maybe just off to talk to a bug before getting scared and running back. Luckily for the rest of us, he is always willing to tell you about his adventures, and test out new words. He is curious about emotions, asking you how you feel and why you feel that way, or straight up telling you how he feels ("I'm ANGRY!") He notices things that no one else does, and is so thoughtful. He is the social butterfly his mom always was, and set to be just as happy and fun as she is.

Little Mohawk on the right looks like he is pondering some great mystery of life, and is on the verge of understanding. "Auntie Latu? Why is ____" he will ask. The questions he comes up with usually shock me for a while. I have to gather my thoughts and figure out how to answer most times, and my answers usually don't sate his curiosity. But he is patient, the perfect big brother. He is coming up to that threshold of "big kid"ness. He wants so badly to be a big kid and grow up, but he's still such a sweetheart. If you need someone to feel your pain, he is your man.

So often of late, I have felt blank. Not the blank of a canvas, prepped for paint, but a different kind of blank. It seems like these kids have been the only part of my life that is in focus. The further the eye gets from them, the more blurry everything else becomes.

These kids represent the exact center of my culture; family. When I have that part of my life in focus, a lot of other stuff seems to fall into place. It is when I try to distance myself or be selfish, that things start to go wrong. It's a great thing for me that I have these kids in my life to remind me what is important, and more importantly, what is not.

They are Happiness. In every sense of the word.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bucket List

I was looking at a family crest I did for my mom's class a few years ago. It was just a simple drawing in black ink, on white paper. When explaining my crest, I talked about how the white represented peace and the black represented hardship and trials.

The black by no means dominated the page, but the way the eyes were drawn to it, you would think so. I spent a few minutes examining the black lines, scrutinizing them. Until I realize that the page was completely dominated by white-by a huge majority. But, the eye has a hard time focusing on the white (the peace), of the page when the black stands out so well. I think it is a good analogy for life.

Most peoples' lives are peaceful and enjoyable, with small splotches of trial thrown in. You must have both pieces, the peace and the trials, to make a succesful life. Otherwise, it is just a page of white or a page of black. It is when the peace and the trials fit together well that the picture becomes visible. But it is so easy for the eye to be drawn to the trials in your own life, and make no further effort to find the peace.

No single situation is pure peace or pure trial, no matter how solid the line may look. There are shades of grey everywhere, and those shades of grey are where I want to live my life. They are the points where peace is reconcilled with trial, because you need one to fully experience the other. With no reference point, the greatest joy in your entire life is merely just another day, floating on by.

Well, when I was cleaning out some of the junk I have stored at my parents house, I ran across a bucket list I made when I was 14. I am 23, so the 10-year mark is approaching for that list. I completely forgot making that list, so it was quite shocking to realize that I have done quite a few of those things in the past 9 years.

I wanted to see the Mississippi River, the river that dwarfs all others and makes every other river I have ever seen look like a quaint little creek. Done. A few times :)
I wanted to see the Atlantic Ocean. Done (side note: It is colder, uglier, and just all-around second rate to the Pacific.)
I wanted to go to the Land Down Under. Done (urban legend or not, I REALLY did see water drain the opposite way while there)
I wanted to go to Nauvoo, the City Beautiful. Done (while there, I found out I had ancestors who lived/owned land there. I for sure visited!)
I wanted to buy a Durango. Done.
There were lots more I have yet to do, but here are a few of my highlights: I want to kiss the Blarney stone and walk the Giants Causeway. I want to swim in the English Channel, Visit Neuwanschtein Castle, see me some real Shetland Ponies. I want to take pictures in Times Square, see the Statue of Liberty, visit the city of Brotherly Love, see Niagara falls, walk the Mall in DC, visit the Smithsonian.

I don't remember making the list, but I remember thinking more recently about the things I wanted to do before I die. It seemed like some huge, impossible task. Looking back at the last 9 years I realize that it was not that hard to accomplish most of those things. In fact, it was effortless. I was not thinking about checking items off my list or having awesome experiences. I was just living life, and those things just happened.

I realized that I need to focus more on the parts of my life that fall in the shades of grey, and less on the black, gloomy parts. It takes more effort, but the bottom line is this: The more I focus on on the parts that are at least partly white, the more I realize my life is shaping up to be AMAZING!