Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Fourth Watch: our journey to Fiji

In June of last year Vito was driving one of his friends that was visiting from fiji back to where he was staying after they had finished playing rugby. His friend mentioned to him that there was a facilities management job open for our church in fiji and they had yet to find a qualified candidate. That night Vito came home and told me about it. We had actually been looking for jobs in fiji because one of our goals had been to live in fiji for a few years. When this job came up we thought it would be perfect. Vito was dying to get out of the hotel industry and this job seemed like a perfect fit. We obtained an application and not long after submitting it, Vito had two interviews, took two assessments, and was promised a decision within the week. 

Well, after 6 long months of back and forth, and even writing the job off completely Vito got the call that he had been offered the position. We prayed and fasted about whether it was the right thing for our family at this time. We decided that it was something we felt we really needed to do and had faith that our Heavenly Father would pave the way for us, as we had a lot of things that could have been potential obstacles. In our eyes from the moment we said yes, hundreds of little miracles ensued. Here are the most notable: 

Miracle #1: one of our biggest concerns was if we could get Liam the help he needs with his speech and other issues. I prayed about it and got the impression that how he did in his playgroup therapy the next day would be my answer as to if going would be a good idea. Liam did the best he had ever done at playgroup and later that day I spoke with his therapist and voiced my concerns, she was 100% for us going to fiji. She believes it will be so good for Liam to be around family and other kids all the time (which he will be) and we can do skype sessions if we feel he is needing it. Also I just found someone in Fiji that does home visits for the things Liam needs! Miracle! 

Miracle #2: to be honest we were really bugged that they were taking so long to get back to us about the outcome of the position but looking back it was a blessing. Vito was able to get his U.S, citizenship in December which will make it so we can live outside the country without him having to redo all his paperwork when we came back. Miracle. 

Miracle #3: Obviously we owned a home, and did not want to be landlords from across the world so we knew we had to sell. We put our house on the market in October when we thought we would be getting the job soon. We were getting some showings but not as many as we expected. Around Christmas time, I had mentioned to my parents that of someone qualifies for the same loan we have through the usda, they could assume our loan(the gvt subsidizes the loan if you aren't making very much, and it is basically just a great loan). Long story short, some family friends of ours qualified for the loan and were able to buy our home, they closed yesterday (another miracle because it was suppose to close on the 20th and we were going to be in fiji which would have been a nightmare). It worked out great for both of us as they were really wanting to be in a house and we really needed to sell! Miracles, miracles, miracles! 

Miracle #4: We needed to sell our car that we still had a loan on. We had been trying for a few weeks with no luck. We had 2 days until we were leaving for California, when one of our friends happened to get in an accident where she totaled her car. She was able to buy our car from us which was such a blessing. Miracle! 

Miracle #5: As we were leaving our home for the last time we had our blazer all packed up to drive up to Sammy's house to stay the night. We had to stop at our neighbors house to drop something off and when Vito got back in the car, it would not start, it wouldn't do anything! We said a prayer that we could get the car to start and just seconds later our other neighbor pulled up. He is always fixing cars so he came over to help. After just a couple of minutes they were able to get the car started. (Just a loose battery cable). Another miracle.

Miracle #6: We rented a van to drive out to California. We left kind of later on in the day because we had to sign our closing documents that morning. We were concerned how well our kids would do in the car for that long of a drive. We fully expected multiple freak outs. On the drive from salt lake to Reno, the kids slept the first 3 hours, and were completely content the next 4. We stopped in Reno to have dinner with my cousins and uncle. It was pretty late when we got done and were headed towards the summit when we were notified that we would have to get chains to get across. We drove back to Reno and bought chains. When we got up to truckee we pulled off to install the chains ( which neither of us have ever done). I was able to get the first chain on fine. However, for whatever reason the second chain would just not go on! My hands were numb, neither of us had gloves or very warm clothes on. We were about to give up when a guy pulled up in his car and offered to help put our last chain on. It was such a huge blessing, because I was at the end of my rope! So what should have been less than a 2 hr drive turned into 4+ hours ( all of which our kids slept through). Miracle, miracle, miracle! 

These are not the only things that happened, and I'm sure there may be more small miracles before we get to fiji in a week and a half but with all that has happened, we know without a doubt that we are doing the right thing. We know God has big plans for us in Fiji. We had to give up A LOT to do this but we know it will all be worth it. Even though we can't see the future, we have faith that we will be blessed for following our promptings, and how can you not enjoy living in Fiji anyways? 

In Matthew 14, it speaks of when Jesus' disciples were out in the sea when there was a big storm and it was tossing them and their little boat to and fro. Jesus was up in the mountains praying. It's says he came to them in the fourth watch, and he walked on water towards them. When the disciples saw Jesus they were afraid because they thought he was a spirit but Jesus told them to not be afraid. Peter then wanted confirmation, so he asked if he could walk on water towards Jesus. He began to do so, but then it says: 

30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 

Many times throughout this whole process, we have often times felt like Peter. We had faith that Heavenly Father would provide a way but when the boisterous winds came, we doubted a little bit and began to sink. Time and time again though we felt that outstretched hand there at the last minute to pull us back to safety. Our faith can be tested over and over but our loving Heavenly Father will always come in when we need it the most. He will never let us drown. 

We are so excited to be going on this new adventure as a family. I am so excited to finally be able to grow close with Vito's family, and have the chance for our kids to know them too! We have been blessed beyond belief and are so excited to see what God has in store for us! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Kid update

My babies are growing up so fast. Sometimes I look at them and they seem so big and tall, I don't know where time went. Lately people have been thinking they are twins because the height gap is closing and they look like they could be. Though there are somedays where I feel like pulling my hair out at the end of the day, the good days far outnumber the bad and I'm so glad my kids are close and will be best friends. Here is what they are up to: 


Liam is progressing with his communication skills. He is starting to identify objects with his version of words. I can understand what he is saying but a lot of it sounds very similar. He says: ball, apple, balloon, football, kitty cat, blocks, boots. He also signs for more, please, go, and we are now working on drink and shoes. He is trying really hard and it's so cute when he shows us new things he knows. He is a stubborn little boy and knows a lot more than he lets on. 

Liam is a lot nicer to Layla now. He is more cautious around her and isn't as rough. He looks out for her. Whenever Layla is doing something she is not suppose to he guides her away from it. He also loves to help me change her diaper and wash her hair or brush her teeth. Liam loves chasing Layla around the house. 

Liam likes to help me with chores around the house. He will throw clothes into the washer for me or help load the dishwasher. He loves to vacuum with me.   I also let him help me cook sometimes, and he really likes that. 

Liam is eating like a Polynesian now. He isn't as picky and eats more food in general. His favorites are still hot dogs, cheese, and grapes though. 

Liam loves to be outside. He loves "driving". He loves watching backyardigans. 


Layla is getting to be a sassy girl. She has so much personality. She is our little social butterfly. 

Layla can hold her own against any kid. Her brother is preparing her for the world. 

Layla loves her daddy. She waits outside the bathroom door while he gets ready in the mornings. She always cries when he leaves her. 

Layla's two favorite things are her pink blanket and her kangaroo stuffed animal. 

Layla is so smart. She adapts to things really fast. One example: Liam doesn't always look where he is going and would knock Layla down a lot. Now, when Layla hears him coming she squats low to the ground and braces herself. It works quite well for her. 

Layla can go up and down the stairs now. I was finally able to take down our baby gate!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Layla turns ONE

Layla turned one on the 9th! Can't believe my baby is getting so big! On Layla's actual birthday we didn't do much, just went and had ice cream with daddy after he got off work. We wanted to celebrate Layla's birthday with her aunty hailey who came from fiji to go on her mission. We had an awesome party on the 14th, where Layla got spoiled by her friends and family. 

Layla got to wear the traditional salusalu which was cool and she had fun playing with all the kids. I think her favorite thing though was digging into her cake. 

Here is what Layla is up to: 

Weight 22.4 lbs 75%
Height 30 in 80% 

Layla says: dada, mama, milk, more, ball, kitty cat, puppy, book, bubba. 
She also makes the sounds for: lion, bear, dog, monkey, duck, car. 

Layla loves: playing fetch with a ball, cuddling with her stuffed animals, reading books, chasing Liam around the house, pulling everything out if drawers and cupboards, and sneaking into the bathroom any chance she gets. 

Layla has the cutest personality. She is sweet but has a lot of spunk and is starting to get a little attitude. She is a social butterfly and has no fear. 

We love out sweet girl! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The little things....

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the day to day grind and we don't take the time to appreciate the little things that bring the most joy. These are the little things in my life that bring a smile to my face! 

1. The faint memory of Vito kissing me goodbye in the mornings ( faint memory because I am always half asleep ) 

2. The pitter patter of Liam's feet running to my room in the morning and the big hug he gives me. 

3. The way Liam and Layla greet each other when they wake up in the mornings or after naps. They are so excited to see each other and Liam says "sissy" over and over and Layla babbles "bububu". Cutest thing ever. 

4. When Liam just comes and sits next to me and cuddles. 

5. Seeing the excitement in Liam's eyes when I say we are going outside or going for a ride or taking a bath. 

6. Seeing my kids get into shenanigans together. 

7. Watching Liam and Layla chase each other through the house laughing hysterically. 

8. How excited my kids get when their daddy gets home. Layla runs to him saying dada dada! 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Layla @ 11 months

Layla will be 11 months old on Monday. She is growing up way too fast! Here is the latest on Layla: 

Layla is walking now. She has gotten really good at it and doesn't fall down very often. It is so weird having her walk at this age because Liam was just starting to crawl when he was 11 months. It is also so weird hearing footsteps behind me and I expect it to be Liam but it is Layla. 

Layla has been sleep trained now ( took me long enough!!!) she sleeps great at night and I can just put her down in her crib and she will put herself to sleep. Naps during the day have proven to be a bit of a struggle though, and we are still working on that. 

Layla is really picking up on speech quite a bit. With the way we have to talk to Liam to help him with his speech (tons of repetition, simple commands etc) Layla is doing a lot of the same things as Liam. She says ball, mama, dada, bubba, milk, more, ya, and will moo like a cow and growl like a lion. 

Layla loves playing with Liam. During nap time usually Liam will sleep way longer than Layla so I have had to start pushing a couch in front of the hallway so Layla can't go back to his room. If she gets the chance she gets back there as fast as she can and starts banging on his door to wake him up. 

Layla is so smart and so funny. She has THE BEST laugh and is still a great baby. We cant go anywhere without multiple people coming up to us and telling us how beautiful she is and how striking her eyes are. We are going to have to keep a close watch on her! We love our sissy! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Liam update

A few things have happened with Liam lately. The most recent of those things is he got stitches on his head. A few days ago I left him in the living room while I went to get dressed for the day and it wasn't long before I heard him fall anda blood  curdling scream. I ran out and from what I could tell he had tripped and hit his head on the corner of the door frame. He had blood running down his face. I cleaned it up the best I could, got him to calm down, then tried to look at it. By that time it didn't look too bad, and one of his therapists was going to be over soon so I figured I would ask her what she thought about it. When she saw it she said it would probably heal just fine so I decided not to take him in. Fast forward two days and Liam bumped his head on the wood part of the hammock outside and reopened the wound. We took Liam to my neighbors mom, who is a nurse and she suggested we go and get it stitched. So now he has 4 stitches, and we are trying to keep him from falling and hitting it again, which is no easy task!!!! 

Liam is still seeing a speech therapist. He was also reevaluated by early intervention when he turned two, so he is now also seeing an occupational therapist and a therapist that helps him with some fine motor skills. In addition to that, twice a week we go to a play group at the center where they do free play and structured play and it has been very good for him. 

The reason Liam sees the occupational therapist is because he struggles with some sensory processing things. If anyone knows Liam you know he is always on the move. Basically Liam is hypo sensitive and is not getting enough stimulus so what we do with him is rough play (wrestling,swinging, jumping, etc) 3x a day to help him fulfill his need for stimulus. It seems to be helping him a lot. It helps him focus better and listen to us better and will enable him to learn better as well. 

Liam has become quite the protector of Layla. During play group when it is time for structured play, Layla has to go in another room with a babysitter so we can focus on Liam. Often she will cry and Liam always has to go find her. The second they bring her out he is so happy and says "sissy!!!"

Liam and Layla love playing with each other. When one is napping the other always goes to their door and try's to get in to  wake them up. They get so excited to see each other. I love the relationship they have. 

Liam is such a good boy and I love him so much. He makes us laugh all day with his cute personality! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Layla @ 10 months

My Layla girl is 10 months old tomorrow! I had a few spare minutes so I thought I would get a jump on her update. 

Layla is everywhere now. She crawls normally but also has started bear crawling, I think because she can move faster that way. She is also almost WALKING. She will take 4 or 5 steps before she dives for my arms. 

Layla is still a daddy's girl. She loves him to no end! 

Layla is a social butterfly. When I take her to nursery with me at church she just goes and plays with all the boys without any hesitation. She also has no fear, as she will steal their toys even though he knows it might end badly.

Layla babbles all the time or "barks orders" as Vito puts it! She is a smart little girl. 

Layla has a contagious laugh and cracks up all day long. She had the best personality, we love it! 

Layla loves playing with her big brother. She knows now when he's running towards her that she needs to get out of the way because Liam isn't the best at watching where he is going. Layla will chase Liam too. She is such a good sport putting up with her brother.