Friday, March 30, 2012

Hawaii (Day 4)

I'm NOT writing anything about the food we ate today, although some of it was the best stuff I've ever eaten...EVER!  I'm beginning to become obsessed with the food here, I think.  So, tonight I'm just focusing on everything else we did today.    

This morning, we drove up the Pali Highway (Pali=cliff, in Hawaiian.)  It was an absolutely gorgeous day...the fourth one in a row.  So, we stopped at the Nuuanu Pali State Park to look at the view.   

Spectacular, isn't it?

The Nuʻuanu Pali was the site of the Battle of Nuʻuanu, one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history, in which Kamehameha I conquered the island of Oʻahu, bringing it under his rule. In 1795 Kamehameha I sailed from his home island of Hawaiʻi with an army of 10,000 warriors, including a handful of non-Hawaiian foreigners. After conquering the islands of Maui and Molokaʻi, he moved on to Oʻahu. The pivotal battle for the island occurred in Nuʻuanu Valley, where the defenders of Oʻahu, led by Kalanikūpule, were driven back up into the valley where they were trapped above the cliff. More than 400 of Kalanikūpule's soldiers were driven off the edge of the cliff to their deaths 1,000 feet below.

In 1845 the first road was built over the Nuʻuanu Pali to connect Windward Oʻahu with Honolulu. In 1898 this road was developed into a highway which during construction 800 skulls were found believed to be the remains of the warriors that fell to their deaths from the cliff above.  This road was later replaced by the Pali Highway and the Nuʻuanu Pali Tunnels in 1959 which is the route used today. (copied from Wikipedia)

After the Pali, we went to lunch and then to the cemetery to visit all the relatives.

Another amazing day in Hawaii.  It's a good thing those five people are waiting for me at home, because otherwise, I might have a really hard time leaving this place. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hawaii (Day 3)


Went for a walk this morning around the condo complex and the koi pond with my mom.  What a beautiful property.

Stopped at this bakery and picked up a dozen "Coco Puffs" (creme puffs filled with chocolate pudding...YUM!)

We drove everywhere today and there was so much to see.  Everything was beautiful and the day was absolutely gorgeous.
 Stairway to Heaven (see those tiny little stairs going straight up the side of the mountain??)


We ended the day at my favorite sushi restaurant! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hawaii (Day2)

Today was a MANAPUA day!  Manapua is my favorite thing to eat when I come to Hawaii.  It's a steamed or baked bun stuffed with a Chinese style barbeque pork.  (Nope, not vegetarian, I know, but it's Hawaii so I've abandoned a lot of things for the week.)

I seriously had an ALL MANAPUA day today.  I'm not sure I ate anything else.
 this is the box

 these are inside the box...

and this is what it looks like inside the bun

I think we did some other things today, but the MANAPUA was the best thing about Day 2.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hawaii (Day 1)

After an 8 hour direct flight to Hawaii, I was so happy to finally see THIS outside the airplane window.   

 This is the beautiful view from my mom's balcony.  That's a little koi pond down there.

For dinner, the whole family met for Chinese food at Kin Wah.  There were 17 of us at two tables and we ordered about 7 dishes for each table that we all shared.  My favorite was the Minute Chicken and Noodle Cake.

 My cousins, Alii and Nue. 
 My beautiful sister, Hulali

Monday, March 26, 2012


Guess what I'm doing today?

spending the ENTIRE day on this plane...

flying to...
Hawaii! see THESE PEOPLE...
I'm not excited about the flying part, but I'm TOTALLY excited to be there....with THEM!


Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games (the movie)

Since Spell Girl and I finished The Hunger Games books a couple of months ago, we have been anxiously waiting and planning our "girl's night" to go and see it.  In her mind, I think she pictured just the two of us going to the opening night.  But I mentioned it to one person and then she mentioned it to another person, and the result was an intimate movie night with 13 of our closest friends!  

It was SO fun, though.  The last time I organized a big movie night was when Twilight came out.  

We bought tickets online on Monday, and got to the theater 90 minutes before the movie started just to make sure we got seats together...that weren't in the front row!  It was perfect!  We only had to stand in the super crowded, claustrophobia-inducing line, for 40 minutes before they let us in.  

And then we thoroughly enjoyed awesome conversation, popcorn, snacks, and PREVIEWS! until the movie started.  I was REALLY looking forward to seeing Lenny Kravitz in this movie and he was pretty good (although he's nothing like the Cinna I pictured in my head.)  

But my favorite...surprise of all surprises!...was Woody Harrelson as Haymitch!  (Also not who I pictured, but surprisingly AWESOME!)
 He was my favorite.

Oh yeah...and GALE!  (I'm totally TEAM GALE!)

I LOVE going to movies...especially the ones that are highly anticipated, and especially with a big group of friends.  We had SO MUCH FUN!  And the movie was pretty darn good.  Of course the book was better, because even super HD filming can't compare with my vivid imagination.   But we loved it anyway...mostly because we all got to watch it together!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rainy Days

We've had more rain this week than we've seen in this are in a LONG time...which is great for the grass, and great for relieving the water restrictions, but not so great for driving conditions or for getting back into my running routine. 

Fortunately, I wasn't TOO disappointed to see that it was raining again this morning.  Instead of running shoes, I opted for leggings and a sweater.  And instead of burning calories this morning, I'm wrapped up in a blanket, burning through the pages of The Hunger Games one more time before the movie opens TOMORROW NIGHT!   

Spring is coming...I can feel it.  There will be lots of days when I'll get to be outside listening to the birds sing and trying to get those miles down to under 12 minutes.  But, for now...I'm blissfully happy with one more day of laziness...and one more round of this awesome book!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Chair

This afternoon when I picked up Spell Girl from school, she was unusually happy and excited.  Wanna know why?? 
 She had a Chair Test in Orchestra and she made FIRST CHAIR! 

A chair test is when the orchestra students are given solo tests to determine how well they know the music they've been working on.  The tests are given periodically throughout the year and the students are ranked by the director based on technique and accuracy.  The ranking determines where they sit in the orchestra for practice and concerts until the next chair test.  The FIRST CHAIR is the best musician in that section.
This time it's Spell Girl!!  She gets to sit in the FIRST CHAIR, closest to the audience in concerts and most prestigious in the practice hall.  Eventually, they'll have another chair test, and she may not stay in that coveted position, but for now, she's pretty darn happy about it. 

We're so proud of her.  She's worked so hard to be really good at something she loves.  At the end of the first semester of school, her Orchestra teacher recommended that she be moved from Sinfonia to Concert Orchestra because she was doing so well.  And now...she's FIRST CHAIR!  Go Spell Girl!!
 It's so awesome to see your kids excel at things they didn't even know they could do.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Color Code

I am a huge fan of personality tests.  I was a Psych major for a little while in college and while I didn't love everything about that course of study,  I definitely loved the personality tests.  Over the years I have taken a LOT of them...sometimes more than once.  I've given them to family members.  I've dragged friends out of their homes late at night to figure out what quadrant they fit into.  I've called my parents and subtle-ly worked test questions into conversations to find out what type they were.  I'm a little bit obsessed with fitting people into boxes, I think.  

So, I was thrilled a couple of weeks ago when the Beehive Advisor handed out a personality test to the girls during her lesson.  I tried to wait patiently until the stack got to me instead of rushing up and snatching the first one off the top.  When I saw the test, I realized I had taken it many years before, so I was even more excited to try it again as an older, wiser Haunani. 

This one is called The Color Code.  After answering 40+ questions, you can determine which of FOUR colors your personality falls into.   

RED = power
BLUE = love
WHITE = peace   
YELLOW = fun

I don't think anyone who knows me would be surprised at my results.  When I took it years ago, I was 90% this color.  And when I took it a few weeks ago, I was about 65%, but still dominantly BLUE.  (by the way...the other close runner up was YELLOW which was exciting because FUN and CONFIDENT haven't always been parts of my personality.  And it was also interesting that I had almost no amount of RED in my personality.)

Here's what it says about BLUES:   Blues are motivated by Intimacy. They seek to genuinely connect with others, and need to be understood and appreciated. Everything they do is quality-based. They are loyal friends, employers, and employees. Whatever or whomever they commit to is their sole (and soul) focus. They love to serve and give of themselves freely in order to nurture others' lives.

Yep...that's me..
The most fun thing about taking this test this time, though, was having Spell Girl take it, too!  And then coming home and giving it to TCD and the Scout Master.  (The other kids weren't interested...I'll get them in a few years!)

The Scout Master has taken this test before as well, and consistent with his "consistent and reliable" personality, his results were exactly the same both times.  50% RED 50% YELLOW (which, incidentally, makes him a great leader...driven and charismatic.)

TCD was also 50% RED 50% YELLOW which was a little surprising.  We're so much alike, that I thought she would be more BLUE, but she definitely isn't.  Our personalities are alike, but our motivation and thought process is very different.  The Scout Master was excited to know that she's actually a lot like him!

Spell Girl is...guess what!  99% WHITE 
Whites will do anything to avoid confrontation. Their only demands from life are the things that make them feel comfortable. That feeling fosters their need to feel good inside.  Whites are kind, considerate, patient and accepting. They are virtually devoid of ego. They are good at constructing thoughts that did not exist before, just from careful listening and taking time to think things through. Whites don’t commonly share what they are feeling, understanding or seeing. They won't express conflict. Whites may be unwilling to set goals. They dislike working at someone else’s pace. They can be very self-deprecating.

We were all stunned at how perfectly that describes Spell Girl's personality!  

After taking the test and commenting on everyone's results (and then speculating on June and Mack's results,) we put the test away and went about our lives...all of us except for Spell Girl.  Apparently she spent a little more time pondering what it means to be a WHITE because this morning she brought it up.

SG:  Mommy, I've decided I'm going to be WHITE.
Me:  Um...ok?? (remember it's been TWO WEEKS since any of us has talked about this test)
SG:  I've realized that I've been trying too hard my whole life to be RED and YELLOW, and it really doesn't work for me.  So I've decided to be true to my WHITE self! 
Me:  That's SO awesome!  I think you're going to be a great WHITE girl!!

That cute thing has no idea how much I adore her!  She's always pondering and contemplating things.  I love having a few minutes everyday to hang out with her and get inside her head.  And I LOVE personality tests!  It's nice to have a little self evaluation every now and then. 


Sunday, March 18, 2012

"I can do hard things"

I have managed to fill the past few weeks with some really HARD stuff.  Stuff that I normally would never have even considered doing.  Stuff that normally NO ONE would have even considered asking me to do.  

On March 3, I sang a solo in a Stake production of Women at the Well.  

On March 4, I ran a 5K with TCD.  

That night, I sang in the second performance of Women at the Well.

On March 7, I was in charge of the combined youth service activity in the ward.  

Today, I did another one of those hard things...I played the organ for Stake Conference.  

A few weeks ago, when I knew all those things were coming up, I felt strongly that I was supposed to do all of them.  I also felt pretty certain that there was some big thing I was going to learn.  I was sure I was going to have so much more confidence after all of these hard things were behind me.  I was sure that after doing all of them, I would be able to move them over to the "not so hard things" list.  

Well, the hard things are over (at least the ones on that list) and I definitely learned some things, but not exactly the things I thought I'd learn.  That Saturday performance of Women at the Well came during the first official day of allergy season (at least for me.)   I made every attempt to take meds, carry tissues, and drink lots of lemon-y water to get rid of the phlegm.  But it didn't work.  I was not at my best during that performance, and I was pretty torn up about it afterward.  

Then today, after practicing for hours this week on both the organ at the church and my piano at home, I made it to the meeting 20 minutes before it started, and played about 700 of my favorite hymns.  The prelude music went well, I felt fairly comfortable sitting there, and the Stake President timed his move up to the stand perfectly (that's always the most unnerving part for me...waiting for them to stand up and hoping that I won't be in the middle of a hymn when that happens.)  He made the opening announcements, and then introduced the opening hymn and prayer, and then it was my turn.  The chorister stood up and I started playing.  I made it through the introduction (sort of) and then the congregation started...

Eek!!  I hadn't even looked to see exactly how many people there were, but apparently it was A LOT!  I could hear all of them singing, but all of a sudden I couldn't hear ME playing.  EEK!  I kicked up the volume and kept going (sort of) and hoped I was playing at least a few of the right notes.  (I'm not sure I was.)  The hymn ended (finally) and the prayer ended, and then I realized I didn't have anywhere to sit.  I couldn't sit up on that organ bench for two whole hours!  And I had put my kids in the overflow.  Every seat on the stand was taken up by members of the 5th ward Choir or upcoming speakers, and I couldn't see a single empty seat in the pews.  So, I put on my shoes, and quietly slipped out the side door.  Fortunately, the kids had an empty seat beside them and I sat with them about halfway into the gym.  That was the first chance I had had to breathe since getting there at 8:30, so I decided to just be comfortable with my kids, take out my notebook, and try to concentrate on the talks and not the closing hymn I would have to play in a couple of hours.  The hardest part was over, right?  

At 10:00am, I got a text from the Scout Master in Utah giving me an update on the meeting he had gone to, and asking how prelude went for me.  I was deeply involved in my response back to him when I heard the Stake President say, "We would now like to stand and sing a congregational rest hymn."  HOLY CRAP!  It turns out that I was playing the REST HYMN at 10:00am, not the CLOSING HYMN at 11:00am.  Great...!  I threw the phone down, jumped up, and RAN down the foyer.  As I got to the door, I regained composure, walked calmly up to the organ and sat down just in time to start the introduction.  Remarkably, I played the hymn perfectly but that's probably because I was running on adrenaline and it was only one verse long!  

After the rest hymn, I was much calmer and already knew where I was going to sit, so I walked back out the side door and back to my seat with the kids.   I thoroughly enjoyed both the final talks and at 11:00am made it back to play postlude with plenty of time to spare.  Needless to say it wasn't exactly the ideal way to make my Stake Organist debut, but I did it and I'm still alive (and so is everyone else...including the people I trampled in the foyer.)

But here's what I learned...

1.  Heavenly Father wanted me to do all those hard things.  But just because I was willing to do them, and prepared, and showed up, didn't guarantee that I was going to do them WELL.  I might have to do them a couple more times before I can add "WELL" to that statement.   (And I'm ok with that.)

2.  People mean what they say.  I'm not exactly the most secure person on the planet, so over the years, I've often questioned whether the compliments you get at church are genuine or if people are just trained to be kind no matter how giant the disaster.  It turns out that they are kind, but they're also genuine.  On Friday night, when I sang beautifully, a billion people said some very nice things.  On Saturday night, when I wasn't that great, only three or four people said moderately kind things.  Today, people complimented my prelude music, my willingness to show up, and my outfit.   After all of these hard things are now over and after having had a minute to weigh the different kinds of compliments I've received for the different levels of performance, I trust people more.   No one is forcing them to say nice things.  People mean what they say.  I need to believe them.

3.  It's nice to have people compliment you on the things you can do, but it's way more important to feel good about them yourself.  I know how hard I've worked to sing, to play the organ, and to run in the past few months.  I might not be the fastest runner or the most accomplished singer or organist, but I know that I'm better at those things than I was in December.  And I know that it feels really good to be able to say I've done all that hard stuff. 

and the most important thing I learned was...
4.  "Use what talents you possess.  The woods would be very silent if the only birds that sang were those who sang best...
- Henry David Thoreau

The Stake Music Director said that yesterday in the evening session of Stake Conference.  I loved that.  I'm definitely not the best singer in the forest, but I realized this week that I don't have to be.  I love to do all that stuff.  And I love to be able to say YES when people ask me to participate.  And that's so much more important than being the best. 

I have had some amazing experiences over the last few weeks.  I've met wonderful, talented, beautiful people.  And I've been able to do things I never thought were possible.  Even though not all of them were stellar, I'm so grateful to have had each one of those opportunities, and look forward to many, many more hard things in my future.


Patriarch Thunell

This morning, my husband and his family gathered in the Logan Tabernacle for Stake Conference and got to be present as my father-in-law was called, sustained, and set apart as the Stake Patriarch.  I was so sad to not be able to be there and feel of that amazing Spirit that must have been present in the entire building.  But sometimes other family members' needs take precedence (like the four little ones in my house who didn't have any place to stay because all of their friends are out of town for Spring Break.)  The five of us remaining in Texas sent our love and support with the Scout Master this time.  

My father-in-law is a great man.  He would never tell anyone that, and probably doesn't even think it.  But he is.  I have known him since I was 16 years old, and he has always been an example of kindness and humility.  He is unconditional and forgiving.  He is patient and compassionate.  I can think of no better person to serve as the Stake Patriarch than Bruce Thunell.  I adore this man.  He has given me father's blessings in times of stress and turmoil.  He has set me apart in callings as my Bishop.  He has assisted in giving each one of my children blessings of healing when they have been ill.  I'm grateful that we have all had the opportunity to feel those loving hands upon our heads.  And how blessed the members of the Mendon Stake will be to now have that same opportunity!  I hope they know what an amazing vessel the Lord has chosen to speak for Him.

One of the greatest things about this new calling is that each of the grandchildren will now have the opportunity to receive their patriarchal blessings from their grandfather.  A few of them are old enough that they have already received theirs, but there are many more younger ones who haven't...and great grandchildren who haven't even been born yet.  What an overwhelming thing to think that by the time they get here and are ready for their blessings, Patriarch Thunell will have already given hundreds of them.  He will be seasoned and wise beyond what any of us can imagine. 

I am so grateful to know this man and to be able to occasionally fly in his radar.  He is one of the greatest people I have ever met.  He has always been a wonderful patriarch in his own family and we now get to share him with the entire Stake.  We all wish him the greatest joys and blessings as he serves in his new capacity as Patriarch of the Mendon Stake. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spell Girl's Room Makeover

Spring Break Project #2:  Paint Spell Girl's Room

I actually started this project about a month ago when the kids were off of school for President's Day. After taping a million little paint swatches to the walls of Spell Girl's bedroom,  I finally bought a mini paint sample at Lowe's to see which color we really wanted to commit to.   We loved this one:
Aqua Ocean

This was our inspiration...
she loved the purple and turquoise combination, so we got this comforter for her birthday LAST OCTOBER and started thinking about some kind of teal color on the walls.

And a short 6 months later, here's the result...

Don't look closely at the details on the bookshelves yet.  I was just grateful that her bed was made!
Look at how awesome that color looks on the walls!   My favorite thing is the purple sheers.   It's so fun to just hang out in that super bright, cheery space now. 

It was awesome to finish a BIG project and have it turn out so well.  Spell Girl is so happy in her new space!!  I'm grateful that we had a whole week of Spring Break to just sit around and paint stuff.   And I'm grateful for a husband who is taller than me and doesn't mind painting the top parts. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spray Paint

It's Spring Break here and since we have no plans to go anywhere this week, it's a great time to get some things done around the house.  On Saturday, I did all those little organizational things that have been on my list forever.  I found my desk under the mounds of paper, and emptied boxes that have been sitting for over a year.  

There are a few other MAJOR things on that list that I'd like to accomplish this week.  One of them is getting all of our pictures hung on the wall down the hallway.  I love that "gallery" look with all the family pictures on one wall.  We have FOUR kids, and I take a million pictures, so I'd like to fill a couple of walls with them.  

I like the uniform look of the black frames, but the frames I had were a variety of colors.  So I dug around in the garage until I found some black spray paint (because the Scout Master has EVERYTHING in that garage!) and I transformed my assorted, random pile of picture frames into classy, black, gallery quality frames.  And it took all of 10 minutes!
I used this black stove and grill paint because I really like the matte finish...and because it was available.  :)

I still have so much to do before this project is finished.  I have to choose from all the millions of amazing pictures we've taken over the years.  I have to decide whether I'm going black and white with the pictures or color.  And I might have to actually purchase a few more black frames.  I also need to convince my friend, Laura, to make me one of those vinyl stickers that has a cute "FAMILY" quote on it.    

But, at least I'm making progress.  And at least today's adventure didn't cost me any money (that's always a good thing.)   And if I could find something else to spray paint, I totally would do it because it's such a satisfying thing to make something look brand new and sparkly in less than 10 minutes!  I LOVE spray paint!!