Sunday, May 26, 2013

Uda Invasion Part 4: Our Day Downtown

Saturday was the first day that everyone who made it out to Chicago was together! So to celebrate, we decided to spend the whole day downtown, sans children (except Manti who is still nursing!)

We all met at my house, gave tons of hugs, packed our things, and divided ourselves among vehicles.

I got to drive up with Kevin, Dad, Chris, and Pae. It was fun to have a little more time to catch up with them...and to take a nap!

When we got downtown, we headed straight to Navy Pier where we boarded a Sea Dog Speed boat for the Architectural Tour of Chicago!

We have toured downtown MANY times, but it was definitely an awesome experience to see it via boat, even though our tour guide was VERY strange!

After the boat tour, we walked around Navy Pier for a little while, had some famous Chicago popcorn and Hot dogs, and then started walking toward Millennium park and The Bean!

We looked like an Asian tour group with Kevin leading the way and the rest of us following behind taking pictures!

Even though the family was not complete, it was still pretty neat to get some pictures of so many of us together.

The Bean delivered, as usual, and we were able to get some pretty neat pictures by it.

Including this one....

And this one!

When we were done seeing all the park had to offer, we started to head back to our car, making sure to take in all the rest of the city's beauty on the way there.

Our visit downtown was a huge success and it was so much fun to just hang out with my family again. Favorite moment of the whole day: A bunch of teenage girls walked past Kevin while he was carrying Manti across his chest. They all started squealing with delight and talking about how cute it was. Kevin put on his most charming smile and said "Why thank you! I made him myself!" Oooooh SNAP! I was laughing so hard and expect that Tau will be coming after Kevin any moment now :)

To be continued...

Uda Invasion Part 3: Chris, Pae, and Dad!

After my sisters headed up to Geneva on Thursday, I had just enough time to nap, change all the sheets and towels, and put up a welcome sign before more company arrived!

My brother Chris and his wife Pae came in at 4:00pm on Friday and Dad arrived later that night around 10:00pm.

We had another crazy airport experience picking up Chris and Pae since we forgot to take into account that they were coming in from Bangkok and would have no cell service! So, I showed Brooklyn and Lily pictures of Chris and Pae and told them to shout if they saw them while I was circling the airport. In the meantime, Chris and Pae were waiting inside as they would have done in Bangkok, believing I would come in to get them :) After about an hour of circling Brooklyn started shouting, "Uncle Chris! Uncle Chris!" Just on time for me to pass him and have to circle the airport one last lap before picking them up!

But that's OK. We more than made up for it by making them a homemade lasagna for dinner that night. The Lasagna was a special request from Chris who has had very little of the food he grew up on whilst living in Bangkok!

After dinner, we chatted, went on a walk to go shopping, and played around with Chris and Pae for a couple hours before it was time to head back to the airport to get dad. Chris and Kevin ended up going to the airport for dad while me and Pae had some more time to talk. This was another one of those perfect moments on the trip for me. It was sooooo fun getting to know Pae (This was the first time we'd met since her and Chris got together 6-ish years ago!) She was so funny, easy going, and easy to talk to. I could tell right away why Chris moved all the way to Bangkok to marry her. She is PERFECT for him and PERFECT for our family! I LOVE her!

Sometime around midnight, Kevin and Chris arrived with Dad in tow. They had stopped to pick up some snacks for my dad before heading home. Once they got settled, we fed dad some lasagna, chatted and laughed some more, and then headed to bed.

The next morning Kevin made blueberry pancakes and sausage for everyone for breakfast! It was a smash hit, even though dad ate potato chips, squid, and seaweed with his pancakes :) After breakfast, we packed up lunches and got ready to meet with the rest of the family to head downtown for a day of tourism!

Once again, it was so much fun to have a little one-on-one time with my family members before we all got together in a big group. We loved every second with Chris, Pae and Dad, and continued to have fun with them for the rest of the trip.

Uda Invasion Part 2: Rachel and Liz!

On Wednesday, April 24th, my sister Rachel flew in from Hawaii and my sister Liz flew in from Utah!

Getting them from the airport was a bit of a fiasco, but eventually we all met up and were able to head back to my house.

Once we got home, Liz and Rae were greeted with lots of enthusiastic loves and snuggles from the nieces and nephew.

And there were enough baby snuggles for a life time!

That night, despite being awake for more than 36 hours, Rachel and Liz came with me and Sarah to my halau where Sarah taught my hula class how to dance a new Tahitian song. This was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I felt so loved when my exhausted sisters made the effort to come to halau and dance with me, and really just be a part of my life. And Sarah was so amazing! The halau girls all loved dancing with her and we have already performed the dance multiple times since then for live audiences!

That night we all curled up on the couch together, talked about life, and watched funny videos on YouTube whilst eating homemade beef stew! It was just perfect!

The next day, Thursday the 25th, my sister Becca drove down from Geneva (45 minutes away) to join in on the fun.

Once she arrived, we all headed over to Labriola's together to enjoy some awesome Italian food and gelato for lunch!!!

I had so much fun at lunch with my sisters and really wished it was something we could do more often. We filled our bellies with goodness, enjoyed lots of laughter, and were able to really catch up on each other's lives. More perfection in my book!

After lunch, we all headed over to a salon where I introduced my sisters to eyebrow threading. It was one of those horrific bonding experiences where you suffer DURING the event, but afterward everyone is thrilled with the outcome :)

Anyway, after the salon, Becca carted all the girls up to Geneva where they would wait for Kevin and I to pick up Chris, Pae, and my dad the following day before we drove out to join them. More to come on that...later!

To be continued...

Uda Invasion Part 1: Sarah and Manti!

As I mentioned before, MANY Uda's descended upon Chicago during the month of April! First off was my little sister Sarah and her youngest son Manti.

Sarah and Manti arrived on Sunday, April 21st and it took all of 2 seconds before she and Manti were like celebrities in our home!

Brooklyn fell completely in love with Manti and hasn't stopped asking me when I am going to "get her one" ever since then :)

Once Sarah and Manti were rested from their flight we got straight to the fun. We took them on a little walk to Ty Warner park about a mile from our home and had a great time enjoying the weather, the park, and the company.

The next day, for Family Home Evening, Sarah helped us to put together a little garden in our backyard. It was a little late-ish at night, but we still had a lot of fun piecing things together and playing in the dirt.

Something really fun about having Sarah around is that she really enjoys to craft, just like me! So on Tuesday (our last day together before the rest of the crew arrived), we set to work on a project. In one day we were able to sew an adorable blanket for Sarah's sister-in-law who just had a baby! Sarah did all the actual sewing. I cut out the turtle and did a bit of directing. In the end, I think it turned out beautifully!

Then on Tuesday night, Sarah and Kevin set to work cooking us a feast. It was wonderful to eat all the delicious goodness that they created and a fun way to prepare for the arrival of Liz and Rachel the next day!

We had sooooo much fun enjoying our one-on-one time with Sarah and Manti and are very grateful that they made the sacrifice to come out and see us. (Thank you Tau!)

To be continued...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm?

After Kevin's family left in March, we knew we only had 4 weeks before the Uda family would be in town. Thus, we tried our very best to keep things together and organized in order to minimize chaos when the Uda's arrived. But as life would have it, the week before my family invaded, FLOODS came to Chicago!

Wednesday night, the 17th of April, it started to rain...and rain... and thunder... and lightning... and RAIN! Although we were awoken several times in the night by the thunder, we really didn't think much else about the storm except that it was a big one.

The next morning Kevin thought maybe he should check our crawl space to see if it had handled the moisture alright. To our surprise, it hadn't! The floor was mostly dry but we could tell by the water marks on our boxes that earlier in the night there had been a lot of water under our house!

If fact, it had accumulated about a foot of water which is unusual for someone who has a sump pump. Then it dawned on us, our power had gone out from the lightning for about 3 hours that night, and in that 3 hours, a whole lot of our storage was destroyed before the water could be sucked back out!

I spent the next few hours removing sopping albums, pictures, journals, Christmas decorations, Hawaiian costumes, and the like from under our house and started feeling a little sorry for myself.

Then Kevin came home from work really early and explained that there was no way to get to his office because it was flooded every where! At that point I realized there were a lot of other people probably doing the same thing I was and that I shouldn't feel that bad for myself. But I still kind of did...

Once Kevin got home, he jumped on board and together we started whipping our basement back into shape. After several hours of trying to dry out our belongings, we were both feeling a little sad. So we decided to take a walk.

Once outside, we realized that there were people only a few houses away from us whose basements were submerged all the way up to their ceilings!  Some people even had flood waters that climbed several feet into their main floor. In fact, we were totally blocked in by people who were flooded in pretty deep. It was like we were somehow at the top of a hill and everyone around us was getting buried by water, but we were remarkably dry!

After our walk, Kevin and I were both feeling very grateful that we only lost a few items and didn't experience the damage our neighbors did. Later on we found out via Facebook that there were many people in our ward who suffered thousands of dollars in damage from the flood, and again, we felt very blessed and grateful. People brought us meals, and fans to dry our basement, and even heaters the next day when the temperatures dropped drastically and we realized our heaters didn't work because they had been submerged in water. So much help was offered within our ward and neighborhood towards us and anyone else who was affected by the flood. It was amazing to feel so much love!

Damage from our friend's home. Pictures taken by Liberty Cameron.

And in the end, we were able to really clean up our storage, minimize it, and store it more efficiently in plastic bins...just on time for the Uda family to arrive! ;)