Sunday, February 5, 2012

Greetings from Cairo!

Sallam Alaikum!

Where did 2011 go? It has been ages since we updated our blog, and we apologize to all our family and friends who have visited our site only to find old news! So as I repent for my failure in keeping you all up-to-date, I also make a new year's resolutions to include at least a monthly update post from now on.

Highlights from 2011:
January:
· Robert got to travel to Guam, Saipan, and Tinian, some of the Northern Marianas Islands, for work. While there he got to visit many of the World War II historical sites and gained a better appreciation for what the veterans, on both sides of the war, had to endure.


February:
· Without fail, Robert is again deployed on Valentine’s Day! Oh well, it’s the thought that counts right?


March:
· James KeAli’i turns 8….unfortunately, he has to wait for Daddy to get back from a work trip to get baptized.
· Robert Mateialona turns 6. What a bubbly, happy, and makulit (cheeky) boy he has turned out to be. Robby loves going to school and has done quite well adapting to being gone from Mommy all day and making lots of new friends!
· Japan is hit with a record-breaking earthquake and tidal-wave that kills thousands. Robert is called in to work around-the-clock at the Pacific Command Center in support of OPERATION TOMODACHI. He played a big role in providing logistics support to the rescue and relief efforts happening in the Japan.


April:
· James KeAli'i was baptized at the Waipahu Hawaii Stake Center. The baptismal service was conducted by Brother KeAloha and was a small intimate gathering of family and friends. We were blessed to have Papa Modesto with us as well to witness and perform Ali’i’s confirmationi. We love our little Ali'i (Hawaiian for King or Chief) and are proud of this big step in his life.
· Abi turns....ouch!...21 again:)
· Robert finds out he is up for an assignment and volunteers to take the position of Joint Logistics Program Manager, in Cairo, Egypt! Not exactly the safest place in the world, just experiencing a “Revolution” against the ruling government, but a lot better than the alternative of Iraq or Afghanistan!


May:
· Isiboy (Israel Modesto) officially becomes a teenager....wow, seems like yesterday I was changing his diapers….and he is still giving me crap!:). Seriously though, Isi has really grown up over this past year….not so much in stature as maturity, but he has done a great job being more responsible in his school-work and as a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood.


June:
· Our little Princess turns 12 and enters the Young Women program. What a wonderful young lady she is turning out to be. Always so loving (with an iron fist!) to her brothers, we can always count on Esa to make sure things are taken care of whenever we leave the kids alone at home :)
· We finally got our orders to report to Cairo, Egypt. Mama came to help us pack up our household and help with the move. Mom and Dad were a big help too in getting our house ready and on the Market to sell….we were so sad to bid farewell to our little home in Paradise!


July:
· Robert leaves ahead of the family to report in to Cairo, and make sure it is all clear for the rest of the family. Abi and the kids take a short detour to the Philippines to visit family and friends before joining Robert in Cairo.


August:
· Kids start school at the Cairo American College, an international school (despite its name) consisting of Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and High School. Pretty neat all 4 of the Kongaika’s get to attend the same school!
· Abi applies for and is hired on as a Certifying official for USAID, yeah….party time at our place!


September:
· We received good news that our home was finally closed on, a true miracle in this low mortgage crisis time.
· Robert receives more good news that the Air Force has decided to retain him in the service. Robert was one of thousands of Airmen being considered for Force Shaping this year (3rd time he has had to experience this since he joined the Air Force). Sadly, many of his good friends and prior coworkers were not as fortunate.


October:
· Robert turns 21+….and feeling every year:)!


November:
· We decided to take a trip to see the Red Sea and travelled to Hurgada. A nice long (4 hours) ride on the desert road, the views of the ocean and desert were pretty breathtaking. Hurgada was beautiful. We enjoyed a relaxing couple of days at the beach and pool-side and ate way too much food that they just kept serving usJ. We definitely need to go back there again!
· Ali’i tries to master the “Rip-Stick” and falls and fractures his elbow. He has to wear a cast for a few weeks and learns the importance of listening to Daddy when he tells you not to skate in the house! :)
· We spent our first Thanksgiving in Cairo. We invited our Filipino friends and had a fun time eating a traditional Pinoy Style Thanksgiving complete with Turkey, Lumpia, and all the fixing to include Dad’s famous potato rolls! Of course we couldn’t complete the night without some Thanksgiving Karaoke! :)


December:
· We were planning on having Christmas in Cairo, but instead we decided to travel to Rome for more of the Christmas feel. Rome was great, the culture, the food, the history….but it was dang expensive with all the Euros we spent! After 3 straight days of walking throughout the city and seeing all the sites, we decided to camp out for the day in our hotel room for a movie marathon and some sleepy time for Mom and Dad….one of the highlights of our trip that I guess we could have done anywhere, but why not Rome?!? The other highlight of the trip was Robert arguing with one of the tour bus drivers to let us off at the advertised stopping point and hearing, “I donta lika my joba….I don’t lika the popa, I don’t lika the people who coma to sea da popa! Go cry to da popa, I donta carea!”:)


· Spent New Year’s eve at the Smbke’s. Had a great time playing games and just having fun with members of our Cairo Branch. The next day we got up, made a big spread and invited more friends over for the New Year’s after party….and of course, more Karaoke!:)

As we look back at the highlights of 2011, we are so grateful for all that the Lord has blessed us with including our challenges. We look forward to a great 2012 full of more opportunities to learn and grow as a family. To all our friends and Family we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and we hope to see you all again soon!

‘Ofa lahi atu, Mahal namin kayo, and Masalama until we meet again!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mele Kalikimaka, Maligayang Pasko, and Kilisimasi Fiefia!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sorry for the late update, but if you received our Christmas Card and are visiting to check out the Kongaika Ohana, here are some pictures and highlights from this past year:

Robbie: A real big boy, Robbie has gotten over his separation anxiety, and according to his teachers in Day Care, is the "Ring leader" of the class. He is really talking up a storm now and still thinks he beat up his older brothers:).

Ali'i: Prefers to be referred to as James, he is really growing into quite a scholar. He was Student of the Quarter and was in the running for student of the year. He loves to read, run, and most of all tease his siblings:).

Esa: Our little Princess isn't so little anymore:). Esa is involved in everything. She was elected as a student Junior Police Officer, and loves camping out and selling cookies with her Girl Scout troop. She has grown the most this year and has to fight with her mom over what to wear because they are wearing the same size clothes:).

Isi: In his last year of Grade School, Isi is maturing into a young man. He still loves to tease his younger brothers and Sister, but has been a great help to Abi while Rob has been deployed often this year. He is living up to his "Harry Potter" look, and besides doing well in school has mastered the art of Wii:).

Abi: Still beautiful as ever (you can tell Rob updates the blog), Abi's happiest time this year was when we got to go home to bless our home in L.A.....Larion Alto in the Philippines. Abi is still working for the Marines over in K-Bay but is hoping to find a job closer to Rob and the Kids, so cross your fingers and a prayer or two won't hurt either. She has been a real trooper with Rob being gone for what seemed like half of the year, and was grateful to have the support of Family and friends.
Rob: Well as you can tell, I'm the writer of this post....so, I'm good:).....Really though, this year has been quite a busy one for me. Besides being deployed Down Under in Darwin Australia, I got to go back to the Philippines 3 times, as well as short trips to San Antonio Texas and Saint Louis Missouri. Just love being back home and spending time with the family.
We are so thankful for all our challenges this year that have helped us to grow, and count all our many wonderful blessings and know we have truly been blessed. We rejoice in this wonderful season and are grateful for the greatest gift of all, our Savior Jesus Christ. We wish you and your Ohana a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

P.S....we are on FaceBook, so visit us online for realtime updates:)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring Break '09

So what do you do with kids that are off from school for two weeks? That's right, put them to work:) Here's a rare picture of all the kids working together helping Daddy clean the van....right before the water fight....didn't want to get the camera wet:)

I took two weeks of leave to be with the kids and boy did we have lots of fun! In addition to all the hard work around the house (more like just Papa and I while the kids lounged around and watched the Nick channel and played Wii:) we also went to some pretty cool places and did some cool things, like going to the beach, miniature golf, movies, and Dave and Busters, just to name a few.

One of the cool places we visited was the Bishop Museum. The kids just loved the "Animation" interactive display and the Science center with the volcano and underwater adventure. Here are a few pictures of our trips there (we got the annual pass so we can go back as often as we want....pretty cool family package!)
In front of the "boring" part of Bishop Museum (Daddy liked this the most....because he's boring too:)

The boys posing at the Planetarium. We watched a really cool movie of the Polynesian Voyagers and learned how they navigated using the stars....I told the kids that our ansestors knew all about that and was one of the reasons why we have the name we do, because Great Grandpa Sione live more at sea than he did the land. I am sure he knew all about the stars and how to navigate in the open sea.

In the glow zone in a simulated lava tunnel....pretty cool exhibit made by local school age children

Alii and Robbie opening up presents....it was also their B-Day (Robbie-4/Alii-6)
We also had a big party for the two boys at the BYU-H Game Room. It was fun to have so many of our friends and family over to celebrate with us. Unfortunately, in our rush to get everything ready, we forgot our camera....so if you want to see more pictures of the event, go look on Abi's Facebook account as she had lots of good friends taking pictures too:)
Well, after two weeks of fun and sun, Daddy had to go back to work and thankfully the kids back to school! It was definitely worth it and I enjoyed every second playing and just spending time with my kids....something I wish I could do more of these days. For those of you who are able, don't pass the opportunity to spend some quality time with your children too....they will be grown up and out of the house before you know it and you will wish you could roll back the years to when they were small again. I hope the Lord allows me to be able to do more of this and that I have the good sense to do so!
Rob out!

video

Cool video of some fun we had at Bishop Museum.....

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Everyone! We pray this Easter Season finds you all happy and well. Just wanted to post a few pictures and update you on how our year has gone so far.
We finally went to get our family photos done (no small feat for our busy family!), and found out why we only do this every other year or so. The kids did great and despite the fact that I (Rob) need to loose some serious weight (love the double chin) they turned out pretty good. Here they are for you all to enjoy:
Da Kongaika Ohana (Abi looks like one of the kids in this one, love Esa's and Isi's funny faces too:)
Here's a better picture of everyone smiling (notice Robbie still holding his toy:)
Isiboy (looking line a grown up already!)

Esa (Pretty in Pink)

Alii (What a natural poser this guy is)

Robbie (showing his Palangi side:)

Well, good this that is over. Another couple years before we do that again for sure! Hope you like them.

We were also blessed to have Papa Amistad visit with us on his way to attend the conference. Here are a couple pictures of his visit:


Capturing the moments with Robbie

Showing Robbie how to fly a kite....pinoy style!

At Rob's Major Select Party

Enjoying the Luau at PCC (Alii doing the Moko for ya:)

We are grateful for Papa's visit and all the help he gave us doing spring cleaning and helping Rob with some big yard projects (put landscaping rocks all along the side of the road to keep the weeds from growing). We look forward to Mama coming to visit us soon too!

Well, we had our Easter Dinner a little early due to Rob's business trip and enjoyed a traditional Ham dinner Easter Eve. We were blessed to have Mom and Dad over for dinner and in addition to enjoying the meal and great conversation, we introduced Mom to Wii Fit:). She liked it so much she will probably go buy one now. Now we can all get fit while having fun:)!

This season we are reminded of the wonderful blessing of Jesus Christ and the at toning sacrifice he gave on our behalf. We will ever be grateful for our older brother who gave his all for us. We pray we can always remember his sacrifice and do all we can to be found worthy of his grace. May you all have a wonderful Easter season and the Lord's choicest blessings be on you and your loved ones. Sending all our love.....

The Kongaika Ohana

Friday, January 9, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Hauole Makahiki Hou!!!

We bid farewell to 2008 and welcomed in the New Year in style with around....oh 50 of our freinds. There is an old filipino saying that the more people you have over at your home on the new year, the more blessings you will receive in the new year....so we are expecting lots of blessings:).
Here are a few pictures of our fun night/morning:

Good food, good company, good fun!!


Fireworks....don't get burned!

Some Wii boxing.....go Dad!

BYUH Pinoy Club

Ali'i and Esa after all the fireworks were done

Ali'i.....trying to smile while trying not to get burned:)

Robbie....this is how to do it Ali'i

So if the all-nighter New Year's party wasn't enough, we decided to invite some more of our Ward freinds over for another party the first Saturday of new year. Here are some pictures of that event:

Karaoke Queens!:)

More food!!!

Two sweet couples dancing to the Karaoke music

Getting down singing Karaoke!


Well, we are all partied out! We were thankful to have so many friends and family to celebrate with and look forward to the opportunities this New Year brings. May your day's be filled with love and laughter, and we hope to run into you again sometime this year.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008

Mele Kalikimaka!!!
Here are some pictures of our fun Christmas this year. As you can see we had quite the crowd over at our place.

Da Boys....can't wait to open their presents!


Robbie....still shy

Esa with her gifts

Ali'i with his pile of gifts...FB nga!:)

Isi with his Nentendo DS....Santa was generous this year....had to redefine being good:)

Sleeping Students

Wake up surprise!!!

We celebrated Christmas Eve dinner over at Mom & Dads....our last dinner at their home on campus. They will be moving to the Temple View Condos next week.

We adopted 9 BYUH Students (Friends of our niece Naomi) who spent the night and Christmas day with us. Abi remembers Christmas as a BYUH student and how excited she was to get off campus and spend time with friends at the homes of families like ours. Out of the 9 students, 8 are spending their first Christmas away from home so we were happy to welcome them into our home for a Pinoy type Christmas meal of BBQ beef, Srimp kabobs, Shrimp pestosa (Joel's recipe), lumpia, fruit salad, and lots of sweets.

We spent the day with Mom and Day and our adopted BYUH daughters playing Wii, DS, singing Karaoke, and of course eating more good food.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 Recap

Kongaika Family 2008
Last minute Family Christamas Picture at the Hawaii Temple Visitor's Center


I am sure that most of you agree that like any other year, 2008 flew right before our eyes. And like any journal/diary, some of us have a hard time keeping up with our blogs. A quarter of the year passing without any entry is normal for Rob & I. One more thing, unlike many of you, we just had our Christmas family pictures taken yesterday, leaving us with no time to do a newsletter this year. That said, we are grateful for the Internet for those -- like you -- who would like to know what our family were up to this past year.

January: We welcomed 2008 with the company of family & friends here in our home eating, playing & singing. After a couple hours of sleep, we watched the UH big game & a few of you may remember, we weren't too happy with the results but being with good friends made up for the loss.

February: Rob was fortunate to be a part of a large military exercise Balikatan in the Philippines. For 3 weeks he got to rub shoulders with some of the members of the Philippine Forces as well as visit with families & friends.

March: On the way to the general conference in Utah, Papa came to visit for a few days. He got to play with the kids on the beach, in the pool & even have some of Hawaii's best shaved ice. We celebrated Ali'i's and Robbie's Birthdays together with family and friends and had a fun party at our house.

April: To gain my sanity back, after 5 years of being a homemaker, I went back to the workforce. I have been working with the US Marine base in Kaneohe, HI as a Budget Analyst. Except for the traffic, I am enjoying it. The job is great & the people I work with are very nice. Thanks to Meilani, our sister-in-law, Robbie & Ali'i didn't miss mommy very much :). Oh yeah, it was my birthday this month....only 23 years young....plus or minus a few:).

May: Rob left for Weapons School in Las Vegas Nevada for 14 weeks. It was a challenging course but he made it through. Isi celebrated his Birthday this month. Can't believe he is already 10 years old. Just a few more years till he is passing sacrament in Church.

June: Mama Tutu came to the rescue! We, especially me, feel so spoiled when she's around. We spent weeks visiting & partying with friends, shopping & eating a lot of filipino food. Isa celebrated her 9th Birthday. We missed Daddy but had fun with Mama and enjoyed more good home cooking.

July: Ali'i started kindergarten! He was so excited & was so ready for it! I can't believe how much work & money there is shopping for school supplies for 3 kids!! Isi & Esa also moved to a new school Hickam Elementary & they are loving it. Mama left to visit our family in Utah & my cousin, Naomi, came to study at BYUH.

August: Rob finished his training & I got to attend his graduation. Our families in UT came to celebrate with us. It was a brief visit but we were glad to have been reunited even before Mama went back home. Robbie started going to a Day Care Center and still has a hard time saying goodbye every morning.

September: Ali'i did so well during the first quarter of the school year that he was named "Student of the Quarter" for his class. We are so proud of him. He said that he will work hard so he can be the Student of the Year :) He really enjoys school although it tires him out at the end of the day. Esa joined Girl Scouts & is enjoying mingling with other girls from school. Can't wait for the cookies :) Isi was even awarded the "Rockin Reader Award" for his reading abilities at school.

October: Rob attended a conference in Cinncinati, OH for a few days. A good break from work he said, but not worth his time being away from home :) Rob also celebrated his Birthday. We took all the family, Mom & Dad, Joel & Meilani and family, to dinner at Anna Millers....they sure weren't ready for our large group but we had fun and ate more good food. We also celebrated Mom & Dad's Birthdays and Anniversary at Sizzlers with more good food (notice a theme here?).

November: We said goodbye to Joel, Meilani & kids. It was very hard for our kids to see their cousins go but we know that it will just make our reunions sweeter. We miss them dearly & can't wait to see their new angel, baby Lily. We had an early Thanksgiving Dinner with them before they left and even celebrated an early Birthday with Anna.

December: Parties & food everywhere! from school to work even home -- there's always food. We plan to spend Christmas eve in Laie & the day at home with Mom & Dad Kongaika & our friends from BYUH. A New Year's Eve party at our house is still in the works but if you're in the islands, you're most welcome to join us.

We'll post pictures of our Christmas and new years and let you all know how it goes. Love you all and hope to hear and see you all soon. Maligayong Pasko, Melekalikimaka, and Kilisimasi Fiefia!!!